The Content Marketing Forecast for 2014 that you should know about !

The Content Marketing Forecast for 2014 that you should know about !

 

What you should know for your Business

What you should know for your Business

(Image via submitedge.com)

 Content Marketing has definitely come a long way! Something that began as a niche strategy has quickly grown to become one of the dominant methods of attracting meaningful and good leads. Harnessing the power of words, or images or videos is essential for building long-term success and an online presence.

 

So here’s a gist of what we believe are trends for this year and where it is headed!

content-marketing- has to be Original and valuable

 (Image via siliconangle.com)

 Did you know that 92% of marketers are using content marketing? According to infinigraph.com 2014, is all about going beyond experimenting to full content marketing integration and executions.

 

Instead of arguing about its significance and wondering what strategies to follow and the budgets to go along with it, this will be the year where you will need to have your content marketing strategies organized and in place.

 

58% of B2B and 60% of B2C marketers will increase their content marketing budget over the next 12 months. That being said, companies need to become aware of the importance of content marketing so that CFO’s can make investments in solid content strategies; meaning creating more positions and teams that are dedicated to creating great content. Without a good strategy in place, results won’t be as effective for every aspect of content marketing

 

Online Marketers have seen an explosion of how people are accessing the web via their mobile devices. From when they wake up until their heads hit the pillow at night, people are on their phones. So why shouldn’t marketers take advantage of this trend and offer consistent and effective content that is accessible on not just mobiles but also tablets? – Trend to look out for is Multi-screens

 

Marketing needs to be Integrative – it’s not enough to just simply focus on content marketing or social media marketing but to take a holistic view of online marketing in general. Connecting e-mails, content and social media would do a lot to promote the brand and to build relationships.

 

 

New SEO –Google’s new algorithm Hummingbird, delivers better results based on the way we speak, so you will now need better and greater content. This update means better use of grammar, synonyms and words that deliver results.

 

Content Curation:  As more content is being churned out everyday, 2014 will see a greater need of efforts to organize all the information into relevant and better ways for audiences to absorb them- like Custom Timeline in Twitter to tweet about a specific topic or event or LinkedIn Showcase pages that allows brands to segment content for audiences based on different aspects of their business.

 

Providing value and quality content:  The overall quality of content will grow more than ever this year and as more people consume this content; brands and marketers will step up their game by integrating photos, videos, journalism and innovative story telling into their strategies.

 

So it’s time to get your Business on board and incorporate these into your strategy!

What are your content trends for 2014? What do you think people should include into their content strategy?

 

Let us know!

 

-Social Pandora

 

 

 

 

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How to Rock ‘Rich Pins’ for your business – What marketers need to know about Rich Pins

What are Rich pins? (Image via Technobuffalo.com)

On a personal level individuals use Pinterest for dozens of reasons and statistics will tell you just how awesome it is but on a business level, users have found it a great tool for engagement.

In today’s post, we’ll tell you how to rock ‘Rich Pins’ for your business.

‘Rich Pins’ are pins that include more information about pinned images; they include more information on products (see examples), recipes (see examples), movies (see examples), articles (see examples) although they may not be suitable for every business profile, they do however work as a powerful tool that both you & your audience will love because it is a time saver really, eliminating the need to manually update each pin with content.

The advantage of using Rich Pins is that they always display the latest information for pins because they are updated from the Meta data that is placed on a business webpage , if you are having a sale or a promo or increase in price, everything on Pinterest is synched to what is currently present on your website making shopping or finding information easier!

Product Rich Pins:

Product rich pins

Recipe Rich Pins:

Recipe Rich Pins

Movie Rich Pins:

Movie Rich Pin

So why should you have Rich Pins for your business?

  1. Automatic Updation: As mentioned above, no manual editing, 70% of people on Pinterest use it for inspiration on what to buy, if they’re in the area they might come over and check out your store!
  2.   Increased Visibility: Rich pins include your business/brand name & logo underneath the image. The more it is shared the more you’re known!
  3.    Product Pins display current prices, availability and where to buy them. Recipe pins allow information like ingredients, cooking times and temperatures, calories per serving to be displayed while Movie pins display reviews, ratings and cast members, Article pins show the source of the article, the writer, a brief description and you can create a board that will act like a reading list, something that is immensely useful for readers an content sites alike.

 So you get all that by just clicking on one image! You could read more on why Rich pins are so valuable for business here  (Source: Social Media Examiner)

  • In May 2012, Shopify did a study that showed an average sales order of $80 from Pinterest referral traffic, compared to $40 from Facebook referral traffic. Pins with prices were also 16% more likely to get likes than those without.
  • In February 2013, Sephora found that Pinterest users spent 15 times more than Facebook users.
  • In February 2013, Business Insider noted that Pinterest now has 25 million users, many of whom are wealthy young females who love to shop.

Okay this is exciting right? Now on to how to get them!

Pinterest has a developer’s page that explains very clearly how to get Rich pins. These are the steps involved:

–       Determine which type of pin you want to receive the rich text application

–       Determine the method of embedding for content. oEmbed or Semantic Markup (Schema.org or Open Graph metatags)

–       Apply for your rich pins to be accepted and used

–       Add the Meta tags on your website

–       Validate and apply rich pins

Now encourage your customers to share images too, it will help with the reviews, engagement and in getting more views for your website and store.

If you want you can choose to opt out of rich pins by using 
the Meta tag <meta name="pinterest-rich-pin" content="false" /> 
within the head section of the HTML markup page.

Increase Brand exposure  with Rich pins and watch how it works for your business. With Christmas around the corner this will be well worth it!

What do you think about Rich pins? Have you integrated in into your website as yet? Here are a few examples of companies for whom rich pins have worked, and we hope it inspires you too!

Let us know what you think!

Happy Pinning folks!

-SocialPandora

Content Curation for Google Plus

content curation(Image via WeSEE)

Howdy!

You might be sitting in front of your computer tapping way fervently at the keyboard creating posts, articles, tweets or status messages for your different profiles or you could be staring into space wondering what to say! (You’re not alone) and we know that it’s not easy. We’ve got a few pointers that might help you. While we’ve written posts on how to create content on Twitter (Applicable to Facebook too) this one is a post focusing on using Google+ page for curating content.

Simple and effective steps to creating content that saves time and adds value to your business page. In the last post; we compared Facebook and Google+ and found that Google+ is the second biggest social networking platform to have a presence on.

Google+ can be used because of the following advantages:

  1. Easy to use, easy to create a page and if you so choose, you can assign multiple people to manage the page and then assign different responsibilities for each.
  2. The layout is easy on the eye and allows for rich media and attractive images.
  3. Integrated Hashtag function
  4. Its seamless integration with all things Google, YouTube and Picasa (If you have a Picasa account)
  5. Users can comment and recieve notifications when there’s new content
  6. Video hangouts for multiples people
  7. A Google + page can be connected to your website and blog
  8. No paying to promote your posts!
  9. Google + allows for indexing, gaining page rank and authority which will help it’s performance in search results

A Google Plus page will need a personal account to log in, making you the face of the brand as opposed to just having a brand page sharing the content.

Discovering content:

Like other networks, you can collect and curate content from sites like Scoop.itCurata , Bagtheweb, Curationsoft , Bundlr.com or alternatively from Blogs, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.  You can also use tools like Sproutsocial and Hootsuite.com to post content on Google plus page. So if you are connected to your Twitter account and your Google plus page, you can cross- post it.

HINT: When you’re browsing for cool content, save to Pocket and Evernote and use it for posts later.

Make use of communities:

These are organized around interests or particular topics.  You will notice that when you search or post about a particular topic, you will find discussions being made around it.  That’s a great way to find content as they would have done the discovery for you and you’ll have a wide range of perspectives.

Make use of circles:

You can organize people into different circles such as customers, influencers, or a reading circle or even subscription circles. As you find others who post regularly on certain topics, you can put them into the corresponding circle and share the content. Better still if they belong to a community, join it for more content.

Creating circles also lets you target your messaging to share the right things to the right audience. It’s a simple drag and drop process, all you have to do is follow the user and then pull their icon into the circle of your choice.  You can additionally also see which users have added you to their circles under the ‘Added you’; as a user needs to be following you before any content can be shared with them.

Make use of search:

Create Hashtag and keyword searches for curating topics of interests. You can also search for conversations by typing either your name or the other user’s name, and Google + will return every single post that you’ve both interacted on. Use the ‘More’ drop down at the top of the search results to filter the post types.

Use Google Ripples to locate your shares, see who has shared your post or URL and how many times, and the comments they’ve made.

Crafting Content:

Google + posts should have a Title, some description and attribution to the author. If you want to mention someone either to cite them or for attribution, you can use the G+ compose box or use their Google plus ID proceeded by a ‘+’ symbol. Add relevant Hashtags to make your post searchable and spend time to look up the author of a post on Google+ for trackbacks.

Here are 5-steps by Stephan Hovnanian to rock your attribution and citations

  1. Write your blog post like you normally would and link to the relevant content
  2. Go to G+ and find the profile of the author of the posts you’re linking to.
  3. Go back to your blog post and link to their profile in a citation next to their link. This creates a back-link to their Google profile.
  4. Publish your blog post
  5. Share your blog post on Google Plus

For sharing, you can either schedule it post it straight away on Google+

Building Followers:

Google+ is the ideal platform for establishing yourself as an authority on a subject matter.

  1. Share the business page to your personal profile with a gist of what it’s about. This helps build trust and have a face that people can relate to.
  2. You can re-share your business page’s posts to your personal profile- Just include a ‘+’ mention of the page, your own follower base will re-share the content.
  3. Shared circles- Look for users who might be interested in your topic and add those people to your page’s circles to share their content and they could follow you back!
  4. Interact with those who interact with your page-   Always thank them for commenting on your posts. You could use your personal profile or the business page to respond but use your personal profile more as its more personal and makes it easier to manage notifications afterwards.

Although this is how to get your business page out there, making it successful will require continuous refinement on how you want to engage with your subscribers. Authenticity and attribution always work well on Google+.

Be sure to provide content on specific topics your audience or subscribers are interested in or if they see content that they aren’t keen on they might just leave you or your page from their circles.

One of the downsides of posting on Facebook and Twitter is that you can’t control the font. You can’t make words bold, you can’t strike-through, and you can’t put words in italics. However, you can do this on Google+, which means you can get very creative with your posts.

Check out this infographic by Big Mouth Media, on how to format your fonts and make them more interesting.

Get creative with your Google+ posts

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

 

Create blog posts that will rock your reader’s world

rock your world(Image by WeSEE)

 Blogs are a great way to keep friends and family abreast with all the latest news and happenings in your life, for businesses to read new and updated information, or to learn step-by-step tutorials and even host photographs of events.  Albeit being informal and causal in tone, blogs are a wonderful tool to attract a broad audience.

And hey, if you have something informative or fun to share with the world, blogs are your source of doing it! But how do you decide what to blog about? How do you bring your audience back to you time and again?

Look no further; we’ve got a few tips and tactics for you.

We hope our insights will help you create good content for your blog as well as help you connect with other bloggers.

While interests can vary and go up to plurals, it is unwise to right about everything under the sun.

Bringing you rule no 1:Pick you area of expertise

 Choose your niche when it comes to blog posts because even if your interests vary, trying to cover everything as well as creating content for all of it is not easy. Start by focusing on your niche, and then work your way up. Most importantly, do you connect with your content? If you don’t, no one else will either.

Choose a category:

 

lack of clarity

(Image by Quotescover)

Even if you’re writing a stand-alone post or as part of a series, the post should definitely fit into a blog category. This should in turn match your overall content strategy.

When you choose categories, check to see if it’s part of the company’s objectives and name it accordingly.

Word choice is extremely important:

 Clear the clutter in terms of words that will weaken your post. Keyword density is very important for SEO.

 

word choice matters

 (Image by WeSEE)

Choose a good topic or post title:

This is the most crucial part of your blog because it’s the point of actually getting readers to get up and notice your post.

The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning” – Mark Twain

Your title should

  • Kindle your reader’s curiosity
  • Get them thinking
  • Provide a solution

Have a Call to action

 After reading your post, your readers should have a small bulb go off above their heads; prompting them to think and apply it. This will also help create a better connection between bloggers through the exchange of ideas and information.

ThinkingofIdeas

 (Image by Beingcreative.co)

 What do you really want to say?

Long posts or short posts; the blog post needs to have a direction. A good title may bring readers to your page but if the post doesn’t make sense or matter to them, you’ll have them leaving.

A good way of overcoming this is when you have identified your target audience and ‘listened’ to what they talk about or what their interests are through social media channels, you can apply that knowledge to creating content for blogs as well.

Also check if your blog’s content reflects these:

-Does your post offer a solution to your readers?

– Show them ‘how’- to do something?

-Pave a path for them to make decisions?

-Bring out an emotion from your readers?

-Does it inspire them?

 

Post Promotion

 After writing your blog, do some post promotion to increase exposure and increase your audience base.

Proof-read:

proofread (Image by WeSEE)

 Errors such as spelling mistakes as well as grammatical errors are a huge barrier for engagement.

It’s better to edit and proof read your content before it’s published.

We’ve found that when the post is read a few times by various people, it helps clear the errors as well as provide perspective. We’ve also noticed that some of our writers read the post out loud to themselves. No, it isn’t crazy; it actually helps in putting yourself in the reader’s shoes and looking at it from their perspective. The bottom line?  Try out ways that will work for you to make it interesting as well ensuring that it gets done.

 

 Spice it up!

 spice it up

 (Image by WeSEE)

 Add images, videos and spend time making the post look good. You will be making your posts more useful and memorable to your readers.

 

Lastly, Time your posts:

Strategic timing of posts can ensure that the right people see it at the right time.

 

These are  our 10 tactics to create great blog posts that are sure to rock your reader’s world!

Let us know if you have any more great tips to add!

-Social Pandora

Creating Twitter content without racking your brains

 racking brain

Often, we find it hard to create content that is both fresh and interesting and not to mention, witty. There have been numerous occasions where we stare at the blank screen in front of us wondering what to say and then calling it a day.

Sometimes there really isn’t anything happening! Given that circumstance, you can’t afford to not post anything. So here are a few tips that we’ve come up with for which we really did rack our brains!

Our team comprises of a mixed bunch of people, some who are witty and some who aren’t, but we often come together to create an interesting mix of content. Hopefully you will find this useful. We would also like to hear your tips on what has worked for you.

Though this post is about twitter, the principles can be applied to the other social media channels too, as we often find that we’re in the same predicament every now and then!

How not to suffer from tweeter’s block

racking brain 2

Hit the share button!

share

We always come across great content from other people’s blogs, news feed or YouTube channels, so go ahead and hit share. If it caught your attention, it could get others attention too! Plus your followers will see what kind of stuff you’re reading about and will get an idea of your sense of humor. (Humorous videos, cartoon, articles, photos always work) While posting, always find a balance between funny and serious content to share.

 humor

 Use Pictures

This one’s a given, pictures give your followers an idea of what you’re doing. Share content that is fun and where the message can be read in less than a minute.

Make your content smarter:

smart

Be helpful; use your content to educate, inform, enlighten and broaden people’s minds. Doing this takes some time along  with attuning yourself to what your audience wants.

Write content that will make them respond:

respond

Polls, questions, agree or disagree questions are one of the easiest ways to create conversation and engage your audience. This is great even if you have a few followers and allows them a chance to talk a little about themselves.

Spread the news!

Have you gained 100 new followers? Reached a 1000 mark? Do you have any good news to share? Use this time to share the good news!

You can also share fun facts, tips about either your business or your industry. You can also promote news, events or promotions that are happening right now or in the next few days.

Retweet others interesting content

twitter conversation

Retweet someone else’s interesting content and give them credit for it. It is a valuable relations building tool. If people notice that you’re reading their content, they might pay more attention to yours.

Use search features for discovery

Use search tools to find out what your audience wants. They give insights in to what your audience has in mind and might also address a few of their issues.

Connect with the right audience and tweet with them

Follow people who follow your brand and thank them for following you. Also thank them if they compliment you on something. Help them with their concerns. It is good to follow people in your industry or region to make it more audience specific.

Above all, be fun, engaging and original. Don’t make the mistake of letting your account go inactive for a few days. Most companies who follow you will notice how often you tweet and how engaging your tweets really are.

There you go! That’s all it takes to create content without racking your brains. Another tip is to create content a week at a time so that you’re not bogged down with it all at once.

Now put your thinking hats on and begin the content curation!

happy zone

-Social Pandora

( Images via Shutterstock)

Creating a twitter strategy over a cup of coffee

 twitter over coffee

Twitter is a 140 character micro-blogging tool that has helped thousands of businesses reach and connect with people. You’re either already on it or are considering joining.

This post is about creating a twitter strategy from scratch. If you’re stuck on what kind of content to post or how often  to post, this one is for you. If done right, twitter can provide an audience of over 200 million followers ( your audience will be a subset of this ) You just need to find the right audience for your brand and include that as part of your strategy.

Coffee cup in hand; get your team together and let’s get this started!

twitter strategy

STEP 1: Listen

Most companies do this for weeks before they start posting. Why? Because, you need to know what people talk about, what are your competitors tweeting about? Who are the key influencers in your industry?

Listen carefully and jot it all down.

Since this is a coffee session, we will do the listening a little differently. This will give you a gist of what your influencers are saying and generally what content is being shared amongst followers in your industry.

Write down a minimum of 10 things you ‘Listened’ to and read about the people tweeting and retweeting.  Now get each of your team members to do the same. That’s 10 per person on your team to give you the basic information you need to get you going.

STEP 2: Choose your audience

You would have chosen a minimum of 5- 10 followers when you created your twitter profile and will therefore have access to a few tweets. Now start focusing on whom you want to reach on twitter. Limit your scope to the demographic you really need. If you are a B2B, you would want to reach other businesses and follow the people who run them or are employed there.

If you’re a company with a fair amount of customers, look them up on twitter and follow them. Also see who they in turn follow. These people will form a part of your audience.

But, if you are a small company with not too many customers, type in keywords or terms relevant to your industry to find other like-minded people.

Remember that you are not trying to find everyone you’d like to interact with but those who will fit into your audience description.

STEP 3: Create content to Tweet and Retweet

tweet

This is the basic content we’re talking about. Now that you are done with the listening and choosing your audience, you should have the following information accessible

 

  • What are people in my industry talking about?
  • Do they jump into any conversation or are they influencing people through their tweets?
  • What are your competitors doing?
  • What tone is your audience using? Are they formal or informal?
  • What kind of content is being shared? Links? Photos, maybe? What keywords are they using?
  • Does any kind of content put them off?
  • Check if hashtags are being used and then follow it to see if they are garnering enough conversation.

Use this to tweet and retweet content. Ensure that you are providing value or something useful to your followers.

Go ahead and pour yourself a second cup if you’d like, we’re half way there!

coffee large

STEP 4: What is your twitter lead worth?

Part of being on Twitter is to connect with people, learn new things, have fun with it but the essential reason is to get a good return on investment. Have a call to action component in your tweet. Are you looking for sign ups to your website? Sign-ups to events? Or just brand awareness?

STEP 5: Track your goals

goals

Your overall goal for a larger audience would most likely be to build brand awareness and to promote your company. So consider metrics that capture an overall influence like retweets, blog posts, clicks, link shares

For a skewed audience, each lead carries more value so your goal should probably be to generate new leads. Consider metrics like sales, e-mail, sign-ups, direct messages, mentions and clicks.

STEP 6: Refine your approach

Once you tweet a few times, you’ll know the language people use to tweet, the kind of content and the frequency of content to post.

Ask yourself these;

  • What buzz words or hashtags do I use?
  • How much effort do I put in to reach specific or new followers?
  • What kind of content do I share?
  • What offers/promos or freebies can I do?
  • How do I ensure that my content reflects my brand proposition and positioning?
  • How do I ensure authenticity through my content?

And…

You’re done! As promised, over a coffee session!

However, a twitter strategy is a constant work in progress and definitely longer than a coffee session! But these are a few basic steps to get you started.

Please note that if you do face any negativity, accept the feedback and try to resolve it the best way possible. Always convert negative feedback to positive feedback.

Additionally: Use these tools

1.Twellow.com and Tweepi.com to build your audience

2. Socialoomph.com for automated tweets

3. Twylah.com for tweets that increase engagement and stay relevant

4.Hootsuite.com and Tweetdeck.com for managing your tweet stream

5.Tweetcounter.com and Google Analytics for monitoring and measuring

These should definitely get you up and running and hopefully you will find results soon enough!

-Social Pandora

(Images Via: WeSEE)