ID-100113617It can be difficult to give up control. You want your content to be factually correct, knowledgeable, and interesting to a number of individuals, from potential customers to other industry pros. So why choose to outsource? It is true that in most cases, the person writing your content will by and large not have the same experience as you do in your field, and that can be an intimidating prospect. However, just because someone is not an expert in their field does not mean they cannot create quality, inviting content for your marketing needs. In fact, it is often the content team’s lack of expertise that makes them capable of producing quality content. Unlike industry professionals, who may have a difficult time getting out of the “expert” mindset to break a topic down into layman’s terms, content writers are capable of bridging the gap between expert and interested reader. That in turn makes for more interesting, and ultimately more accessible, content for your marketing needs.

Bridging The Gap Between Expert & Audience

When choosing to outsource your content, it is important to decide early on just how technical your approach will be. Part of this process is identifying your target audience. Ask yourself what your audience is already likely to know, and what they may be interested in learning about. Determine where your knowledge can meet the needs of your target audience. From there, you can work with your content writer or team to come up with the approach that will work best for your – and your audience’s – needs.

The team in charge of producing your content will ensure that what you know is delivered in a way that is accessible to the audience.  One of the big benefits of outsourcing when taking this approach is that someone else is in charge of determining how that message is delivered, leaving you to focus your energies on the message itself.

Let Your Content Creation Team Utilise Your Skills

While the talent in charge of your content are not experts, you are. By making yourself and your knowledge accessible to them, you can come up with a winning content marketing approach. One of the most rewarding things about this give-and-take, as many who choose to outsource find, is that the content creation team often acts as the audience surrogate. They can see things that you can’t when it comes to your marketing approach,  which can make them an even more valuable asset beyond the creation of your content.

By letting them ask questions and make use of your knowledge, you may be able to uncover new areas where your expertise may be of use.  This can lead to even more engaging and innovative content.

Thanks!

Sean

 

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com


InboundDo you know the difference between outbound marketing and inbound marketing? Outbound marketing includes things like email blasts, outsourced telemarketing, pay-per-click advertising, trade shows, and seminar series. These are “outbound” marketing techniques because you are pushing your message out to as many prospects as you can and hoping you reach some of them. Most people are riddled with these types of advertising “interruptions” on a daily basis and are getting better and better at blocking them and tuning them out. Inbound marketing, by contrast, means that you create and distribute relevant content that your target audience will find without your direct involvement. A social media presence, your blog, YouTube videos, and white papers are examples of inbound marketing.

Starting An Inbound Marketing Campaign

Outbound marketing to a large group of people who are all trying to avoid you is a bit like beating your head against a brick wall. Instead, develop your inbound marketing so that people who are already shopping in your industry will find you naturally. These days you should be investing much more of your marketing efforts on inbound techniques. Done right, this can attract visitors organically to your website through social media and search engines.

Understand Your Targets

Your goal is to get visitors to your website, but before you can develop content that will attract them, you need to know who they are. Determine which customers you are trying to reach by analysing your past customers. What do they have in common? You can use these shared traits to target new customers. For example, if your analysis shows that a lot of your past customers come from a specific social media site and fall under a certain age group and gender, you can use this information to create content that appeals to the specific demographic.

Plan Your Actions

Now that you know who your target audience is, you can decide on the best inbound marketing approach. This could include things like what type of content to create, providing a way to subscribe to your email list, creating relevant videos, or sharing your content on social media websites.

Don’t Forget To Distribute

Once your content is complete, get it out there so people can find it. Be proactive by finding the social networks your target audience frequents the most. Become an active member of these communities. Take the time to share content other than your marketing pieces and be an involved, respected member. And ask “power users” – authorities in the industry – to share your content with their followers.

Measure Your Success

Make sure your results are measurable – for continued success, you’ll want to know which actions drew the most customers. Use the available conversion rate tracking tools to monitor your results so you’ll know whether your efforts are paying off – and which ones – so you don’t waste your time and so that you can maximise your results in the future.

Thanks!

 

Sean

 

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

 

(Image: Flickr)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYour SEO content is of utmost importance to your marketing strategy, but not everyone has a team of writers at their disposal. Oh, wait, yes they do – this is what outsourcing is for. Outsourcing your content creation is easy and has great benefits, but there are a few things you should know in order to do it right.

Why Should You Outsource?

For starters, outsourcing saves you time and money. Using a writing agency to create content prevents you from having to provide full-time employee benefits, hire temporary writers, or train current employees to write your content. And a good content creator will provide you with excellent work, and relatively fast – depending on the project. Hiring a content creator also allows you to multitask – focus on more specialised projects while the writing agency works on blogs or website content, for example. And just because you or your staff are highly talented in one area does not mean you are all great writers. Take advantage of the expertise of your content creators and leave yourself free to focus on your own area of expertise.

Choose Wisely

Having someone else create your content can be nerve-wracking, and for good reason. You are asking someone else to represent your brand. So take a few steps to help ensure a productive, successful relationship. You can’t skimp on your content; don’t skimp on your writers. Invest in quality help. Ask for testimonials and references – and actually checking them is not such a bad idea. And read writing samples. Make sure they are interesting and free of errors.

Start Off Right

Be clear about your expectations. Talk about exactly how much content you need and how often. And give clear directions. The best writers in the world can’t give you what you want if you don’t tell them what it is. Keep in mind that the more your writers know about your business, the more fitting your content will be, so provide them with plenty of information such as operations, promotions, product lists, and existing content. And be specific: do you want certain topics? A certain format? Communicate all of this to your writing team.

Maintain The Relationship

In certain situations, you might want to implement a formal training program for your writers. If you run a particularly complex business, for example, this might get you the best results. In other situations, some basic information might work just fine – but again, you must communicate clearly about what you want. And periodically follow up with your content creators, giving feedback and letting them know what you love and what you, well, don’t – that way your content gets better and better.

Thanks!

Sean

Sean McPheat
Managing Director
The Internet Marketing Academy

Home

(Image: Morguefile)

scenery image displayed on ipadYou may have noticed that the image credits on these blog posts often credit Morguefile, an excellent source of royalty-free images by photographers from around the world that can be used on websites or in marketing materials. There are many other sources of free images that are shared under a creative commons license or other distribution model that gives you the right to legitimately use the images in your Internet marketing however you like, without needing to pay the original image creator.

Stock image databanks

Two of the largest and most well-known databanks of stock images are Morguefile and Stock Xchng, although you can find other databanks by searching for “royalty free images”. Both of these databanks allow you to search images by keywords. Stock Xchng additionally allows you to specify image details such as colour or composition to find the perfect image. All of the images in Morguefile are free for use, while you need to consult the individual licensing agreement for each image in Stock Xchng that you are interested in using. In addition to the free images both of these services provide, they are both affiliated with paid image databanks. So if the perfect image is not available for free, you can find a low-cost option in the affiliated databanks.

Government image files

Governments and governmental organizations maintain large collections of images, generally of historically significant people and events. These images are available for your use, even if you are not a citizen of that particular government. Depending on your industry, you may find these online indexes to be a treasure trove of images. For example, anyone looking for images of stars, constellations, or other heavenly bodies can use the publicly available images from NASA. If your industry involves pop culture or fashion trends, on the other hand, you’re unlikely to find anything in these online image vaults.

Google image search

It comes as a surprise to many people that you can easily find legally reproducible images via Google image search. After all, when you view any of the images in a Google search, the first thing you see on the page is a copyright warning. That’s true for the standard Google image search. However, if you go to the search settings pulldown and select Advanced Search, you can scroll down to the bottom of the list of options and sort your results by usage rights. Select the usage rights “Free to use, share or modify, even commercially” and you’ll be able to legally use any of the results from the Google image search as part of the content you create.

Thanks!

 

Sean

 

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

 

(Image: Morguefile)

arrowIf you are already using Google Reader to manage your blog feeds so that you have a steady stream of new ideas and blog links you can offer your site visitors and social media contacts, you are probably aware that it is being sunset. Fortunately, there is an easy tool you can use that does everything Google Reader does and more. It is called Feedly.

If you already have a Google Reader account

Feedly can import all of your Google Reader settings, provided that you open an account with Feedly prior to July 1. So if you already have a Google Reader account, it is important that you open a Feedly account before the end of June. When you create your account, you will be asked for your Google Reader information. The software will then automatically set up your account so that you follow all of the same blogs you were following with Google Reader.

If you do not already have a Google Reader account

Until July 1, Feedly requires a Google Reader account to open a Feedly account. Since you cannot get a new Google Reader account at this time, wait until July 1 to open your Feedly account. At that time, you will be able to open a new Feedly account without restriction.

Select blogs to follow

It is easy to search for new blogs to follow using the “Add Content” button on the left side of the interface. Search for blogs by title, author, or keyword. Feedly gives you an option to rename the blog in your listing, so you can list the author’s name or Twitter handle in addition to the topic of the blog. That is especially helpful and time saving if you’re planning to retweet links to blog posts in your own tweets.

Organize your blogs

Organize your blogs by general area, such as business or personal, or create individual categories for every niche or industry in which you operate or every hobby in which you participate. When new blog posts are displayed for your viewing, the new blog posts in each of your categories will be displayed on your main page.  Therefore, it may be helpful to combine blogs that are infrequently updated into categories that include frequently updated blogs, so that there is always something new in each category. Change how your blogs are organized by click on “Organize” on the left side of the interface. If you do not like the way the blogs are displayed, you can change the display format by clicking on “Prefs” on the left side of the interface.

Share your comments

Of course, the reason you are following all of these blogs is to generate content for your website and social media platforms. At the bottom of each blog post are a number of buttons that allow you to add your comments and link to the blog directly in Facebook and Twitter, among others. Or, you can send your comments to a content publisher like Buffer and have them released over the span of a day or week.

Thanks!

 

Sean

 

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

 

(Image: Morguefile)

information signInfographics are graphic images that mix pictures and text in a way that conveys meaning quickly and easily. For the Internet marketer, a catchy infographic can be a traffic generating gold mine, as it is copied around the Internet, shared, and reposted, usually with a link back to the original site.

Tip #1: Use worthwhile information

The core of your infographic is the information it is conveying. Make sure that the information is from a credible source, and that it is complex and interesting enough to warrant repeating. Moreover, make sure that the information will be valuable to your target audience. Even at Christmastime, an infographic with the names of Santa’s reindeer will not generate much interest. An analysis of the derivations of the reindeer names, on the other hand, could be a great infographic for a holiday-related store.

Tip #2: Make the information easier to understand

Infographics distill complex information into easily understood nuggets. If your infographic is filled with so much text that it’s illegible, or you’re comparing items along four different axes at the same time, your infographic is failing at its primary mission. If the information isn’t easy to understand, no one will share or comment on it.

Tip #3: Find a new and different presentation

Everyone is familiar with pie charts. They’re boring and not worth sharing. Spice your data displays up, however, and people are much more willing to share them. One popular trick is to use cartoon graphics of whatever you are counting to represent each hundred, thousand, or other unit of measurement. You can also experiment with colour, layout, or other design features to make your infographic pop.

Tip #4: Talk to the industry, not about your company

You may care about the statistics relevant to your company. However, other people are unlikely to. Instead, create an infographic that other bloggers and social media users will find general enough that they can easily comment on it for their audiences. The text of the blog or news article in which you use the infographic can still refer to specifics about your company. Be sure that there is identifying information about your company on the infographic itself, so it’s clear where the infographic came from. Just don’t make it about your company.

Tip #5: Reference your sources

Provide a list of the sources you used in small print at the bottom of the infographic as well as referencing them in your blog or news article. That way, when the infographic is shared, the list of sources goes with it.

Tip #6: Offer a next step

Information is great, but information that helps a person to take action is even better! Make sure that your infographic offers a clear next step for people who read it. Ideally, make that next step one that involves your products or services.

Thanks!

 

Sean

 

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

 

(Image: Morguefile)

article on computerYou can write an excellent article about a topic, put it on your website with Buy Now links, rank for a specific long-tail keyword, and pick up the occasional sale. Or you can write hundreds or thousands of articles, spread throughout the Internet, ranking for multiple long-tail keywords or ranking multiple times for the same keyword, and take advantage of a flood of sales. Done correctly, both options take the same amount of work. Smart Internet marketers use the second approach.

Link to your sales funnel

While some article databases, especially paid ones, allow you to include context links within the body of your article, no matter where your article is posted, you will be allowed a short blurb including a link at the end of it. Don’t waste that link by sending people to your main website page. Instead, send them to a tailored sales funnel page, where you can get them to give you their contact information in return for a white paper or special report that elaborates on the topic of the article. Now the article is generating more than simply traffic. It’s generating leads.

Keyword research topics

Use a keyword research tool that tells you both how many clicks specific terms receive on a daily basis, as well as how many other websites target that keyword. Starting with your main keyword, which is most likely a company name, product name, or general concept, find low-competition keyword phrases that receive 10 – 20 clicks per day. With a good landing page, you should get one new lead every day for these articles.

Create three basic articles

Write three basic articles for the keywords, or outsource the writing of the articles to someone with excellent written English. One of these articles should be placed on your website, one should be placed on ezinearticles.com, and one should be placed on hubpages.com. These are high quality article directories, so make sure that the articles you submit to them are unique and well-written.

Spin the articles

Using automated article spinning software, you can turn each of those three basic articles into hundreds or even thousands of unique articles. If you are using software such as the Article Marketing Robot which also automates the submission of the articles, you can set the software to schedule submission of the unique articles to the thousands of lesser article directories over the days and weeks to come. Otherwise, if your software merely spins the articles, you will need to manually submit the articles to article databases which you identify. These lesser articles should drive traffic to both your landing page and one of your three main articles.

 

Thanks!

 

Sean

 

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

 

(Image courtesy of ddpavumba, FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

excellenceWith the high volume of content that must be created for your company every day, week, and month, it is easy to focus on the quantity of marketing content that you create. In any given month, you may have the time to create only one really great piece of content. Fortunately, there are seven simple ways to elevate the quality of the rest of your marketing content that do not take much time.

1. Numbers, trends, and other facts

The easiest way to punch up the quality of your marketing content is with specific details, such as statistics, trends, or other facts. The quality increase is only as good as the quality of these details, therefore you should always check any facts you include. If you do not have the time to independently check the facts, include the source of your information with a footnote, hyperlink, or mention in the text. Adding quality details will give added weight to your opinions, raising the overall quality of your marketing content.

2. Infographics and visuals

If you are citing statistics, these can be easily pulled out and turned into an infographic. Other common visuals are process flows, decision trees, and organisational structures, using templates in presentation creation software such as Microsoft PowerPoint. If you are referring to software or websites, you can create simple annotated screen shots with the free screen capture tool Jing. This can be repurposed for visually oriented social media such as Pinterest with links back to your original content.

3. Illustrate complex points

Your content can almost always be made clearer and more compelling by including an example. These can be hypothetical examples, such as the classic “Imagine what you would do with an extra £10,000.” Or they could be real examples, drawn from your business and personal life.

4. Use simple language

You never know who will be looking at your content, and what jargon or lingo they will understand. Sure, it’s faster and easier to type “SERP”. However, more people will understand you if you say “search engine results placement” or even “where you rank in the search engine results”.  The easier it is for someone to understand you, the higher the perceived quality of your marketing content.

5. Include sound bites

Sound bites are those pithy comments favoured by magazines and television which condense an entire complex topic into a single memorable message. Find an expert or other quotable luminary, and get a sound bite from them that can be included in your content. You can even repurpose quotes that have been used elsewhere, so long as you reference the original source.

6. Format for readability

Include bullet points and bold subheads that allow people to quickly scan your content to determine the gist of your message. If they’re interested – and they should be or your content has bigger problems – they will go back and read it more carefully.

7. Get a second set of eyes

You are too close to your own content. Have someone else give it a once-over before you publish it, to make sure that the words you thought you typed actually appear in the text, and the logic of your argument flows the way you expected.

 

Thanks!

 

Sean

 

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

 

(Image: Stock Xchng)

pushTraditional marketing is push marketing, where a single message or campaign is pushed out to the masses with little or no personalisation. Much of Internet marketing, such as search engine optimisation, is pull marketing, where businesses attempt to pull people who are actively looking for what they offer to their website, one person at a time. Email marketing is a bit of a hybrid, in that it can combine elements of both push and pull marketing strategies. While the sending of emails is push marketing, the content of the emails can be a type of pull marketing.

Repurpose popular social media

Your social media such as tweets, Facebook status messages, and blog posts are pull marketing. By tracking the number of retweets, shares, and reposts on your social media, you can tell which of your messages are pulling the most interest from your potential customers. Those social media messages can then be repurposed into either a single email or combined into an email newsletter. For the most pull impact, the emails should be those that inform rather than those that make sales offers.

Segment your list

Traditional push marketing gives the same message to everyone. By segmenting your email list, you can send slightly different slants on the same message to different groups, so that you are able to refine your messages to be most applicable to that specific group of people. This is especially useful if you are providing information that is location specific. For example, different information can be sent to people who live in a major city, small city, or the countryside. You are also able to avoid obvious misfits of product and customer, such as sending information on the best baby products to a childless couple.

Show off your customers

Showing off your customers goes beyond simply informing your email list of new projects or big deals that you have landed. It’s even a step beyond sharing testimonials you have received about your products. When you show off your customers in your email, you are actually showing off content that they have created about your products or services. This could be excerpts from a customer social media post, customer comments to your social media post, photos submitted for a contest, essays submitted for a contest, product reviews, or any other customer interaction that you have permission to share. This has a double benefit of both providing social proof that other customers think highly of your product, and inspiring your other customers to provide additional social proof so that they can be recognised in a future email communication. It can also pull people to your website, to see additional customer submissions that are not included in the email.

Thanks!

Sean

Sean McPheat
Managing Director
The Internet Marketing Academy
http://internetmarketingacademy.com

(Image: MorgueFile)

I am not referring to a short list of things you can do to achieve success with Internet marketing. Rather, you can use the technique of creating a short list to ensure that you have the most successful and profitable business dealings with subcontractors and vendors. This is especially useful for Internet marketing, since you have a global pool of subcontractors and vendors.

What is a short list?

For any situation where you are accepting proposals from a wide variety of vendors or subcontractors, you want to get the best deal that you can. The best deal is not always the least expensive deal, although price is usually a component. Your short list consists of those vendors or subcontractors whom you are confident could adequately perform what you are requesting, for a price that would not give you too much heartburn. If you threw a dart at the list of names, no matter where it hit, you would be satisfied with hiring that business or person.

Get better deals with a short list

Since only the best proposals will make it onto your short list, the vendors and subcontractors are motivated to offer you the best deal they possibly can upfront, rather than holding out for concessions during negotiations. Once you know which vendors and subcontractors are on your short list, you can compare their deals, and ask them for modifications. For example, if you were asking for a graphic design to be created and only one of the businesses included a free revision of the design, you could ring up the other people on your short list and ask them if they would also offer a free revision of their design. It may be that others didn’t mention this on their bids even though it is part of their service because you hadn’t explicitly asked for it, or would consider including it in exchange for some feature they normally offer which you didn’t want.

Using a short list

In order for a short list to be effective, your vendors and subcontractors must know that you will be assembling a short list, and then coming back only to those that make the short list for a final set of negotiations. When you send out your initial request for proposals, tell everyone that you will be assembling a short list within a week of when the proposals are due – if you are getting fewer proposals, you will need fewer days to read and consider them all – and that you will contact everyone on that list before making your final decision. Also, consider their ability to follow your explicit directions regarding submitting their best proposals and awaiting your contact as a sign of how likely they are to follow your directions in completing the project you assign them.

Thanks!

 

Sean

 

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

 

(Image: Rawich at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)