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Using Visual Content to Increase Blog Engagement

1This is a guest contribution from Tom More of Slidely.com. 

Visual content is your secret weapon to boosting blog engagement. The blog posts of today demand fresh, eye-catching content that can be read and shared easily, which makes videos, infographics, photos, and slideshows a perfect companion to blog posts. People absorb information quicker and more intuitively from images than text and visual content attracts more engagement on social media channels. Additionally, visual content is extremely easy to integrate into your current blog posts, as well as add to your past posts. On your blog homepage, strong visual content can sustain new visitors attention so they are more inclined to explore your blog.  For these reasons and more, it’s clear that visual content partners great with blogs, but how will visual content affect your blog engagement?

Visual content increases social media engagement for your blog

Blog posts are a powerful content medium on their own, but a large part of their strength is their ability to be shared across social media channels easily. Blog engagement is largely built through social media because social media channels allow you to gain exposure, focus your posts to relevant audiences, and respond easily to those who comment on your posts. According to a study by HubSpot, posts with photos received 53% more likes and attracted 104% more comments than those without (via HubSpot).

2

Sam Kusinitz / Hubspot

 

Visual content generates more click throughs

When you link to a blog post, attach a catchy visual to grab viewers attention and prompt them to continue on to the post. Photo posts can generate over 80% higher link click through than simple text and link posts, HubSpot reports. So next time you link to a post, do your best to add a picture or video that illustrates your point.

Visual content helps you reach your audience by saying more with less

As you know, brevity can be key when it comes to blog posts. Visual content conveys information succinctly and quickly, making it a great way to say more with less. Using photos to replace excess words is a powerful way to boost engagement. In fact, posts below 250 characters can boost your engagement by up to 60% (via Visual.ly).

Let visual content speak for itself. You can give an introduction and a call to action, but sometimes a standalone video or slideshow is more powerful than one with a lot of extra text. Once in awhile, save yourself time and effort by using visual content to your advantage to replace long text-based posts.

Visual content makes your blog memorable

Not only can audiences absorb your message quicker and clearer, but using visual content in your blogs can lead to better retainment of information. We often remember large amounts of information better when conveyed visually rather than verbally, and when you need to get across an important message in your blog, you don’t want to risk it being forgotten after you put in so much effort to create it.

Visual content is evergreen content

Evergreen content is highly valuable in the blogging world, because evergreen content that is not just relevant in the moment, but retains its value over time. This makes it one of the best types of content to build engagement over time because it can be shared and re-shared, resulting in many more chances for views and engagement. Visual content is evergreen because it has value in and out of context – in other words, even if your blog post becomes dated, the great photos or videos included in it can be relevant on their own, boosting traffic to your blog and shares for the individual video content.

If you are ready to get started with integrating visual content, here are some tips on using visual content in blog posts…

Remember while all types of visual content are powerful, not all are created equal. Different visual content mediums benefit different channels. For example, when it comes to social media sharing, the best engagement comes from photos, followed by videos and infographics. Slideshows are also on the rise as an engaging visual content medium because they can be used during live presentations or for online sharing.

You can see how we manage slideshows at Slidely:

Steve Jobs – Tribute by Slidely Slideshow

Additionally, when you post visual content matters too. According to Fannit, people are less likely to check Facebook during work hours, but morning is a peak time to check their newsfeed (via Social Media Today). When it comes to Twitter, engagement is higher on weekends than weekdays. For all types of social media, posting at night returns the least amount of engagement. What does this mean for you? Strategize with a posting calendar so you are consistently releasing visual-packed posts at peak hours.

Always consider your audience and use the medium most suited to them. Visual content is far less effective if it doesn’t match the audience it is intended for. Consider whether your target audience prefers videos, slideshows, or photos and then go heavier on this content (while still including a variety of different types). For example, travel bloggers often use photos for the majority of their visual content because travel photos can tell a story well, while business bloggers tend towards slideshows and presentations because their audience often wants a takeaway. Educators also often utilize slideshows and presentations, while a fashion blog is more likely to use photos. These are just some examples of how audience affects the type of video content.

Also, switch up the types of visual content you use. Photos are great for almost every blog post or hyperlink on social media sites, but it’s also important to include videos, slideshows, presentations, infographics, and moving graphics to keep your audience interested. No one wants to see the same type of content all the time, so vary what you present.

I’d love to hear – what kind of visual content do you feel works best for you?

Tom more is CEO and founder of Slidely, a popular creator of slideshows, videos and imagery.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

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Using Visual Content to Increase Blog Engagement

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Burn Out or Burn Bright? 3 Essential Tips for Digital Marketers

Digital Marketing Burnout

Come Autumn, there’s nothing better than a good ‘ol campfire. It’s the season for crackly leaves, chilly Fall air, and marshmallows on a stick.

A hot, well-tended fire during the chill is a joy indeed – and if you’ve ever sat around a bonfire, you probably know that it takes some skill to keep a good fire going. Fires don’t tend themselves. They need oxygen and fuel to survive. Someone has to actively feed the flames with new wood and stoke the embers when the flames start to die out.

In other words, fire isn’t self-sustaining.

As digital marketers, our “fire” is the passion and energy that keeps us going. Just like physical fires, our inner flame takes some tending to keep it bright and strong.

But what about fires that stop burning so brightly? There are a thousand factors contributing to a subdued digital marketing flame, from a packed schedule, to unexpected challenges to our physical health. Just like in any industry, without intentional action, these challenges can smother our marketing fire until we fizzle out.

How can you prevent turning into a pile of cold logs? Whether you’re on the brink of burnout or staying toasty warm, you can avoid future digital marketing burnout by improving your personal health, professional habits, and creative pursuits. With these 3 tips you can throw a log on that marketing fire of yours and watch it sizzle!

Spark Your Personal Life

Maintain Healthy Habits. Nail the basics – a good diet, sleep, and exercise. You know the food groups, but are you working fresh fruits and veggies into your day while avoiding processed foods and watching your portion size? On the “zzz” side, health experts typically recommend seven to nine hours of sleep a night – don’t cut corners here if you can help it. And find the type of sweat that you can stand – whether it means swimming laps at the community center or just hopping on the elliptical machine.

Socialize. If you’re consistently cancelling dinner commitments with friends to get more work done, it may be a red flag you shouldn’t ignore. Time with our friends and family is crucial to our health and happiness. In times of stress, it’s especially helpful to spend time with people who can help us view challenges in a positive light.

“Me Time.” Some of my girlfriends look forward to a regular massage or manicure for some much-needed personal time. Others have weekly hobbies – yoga, cycling, art – that they regularly enjoy. “Me time” can be as simple as a tromp through the fall leaves, a quiet afternoon fishing on the dock, or time to sit on the couch in peace. Whatever “me” time means to you, make sure you work some into your schedule so you stay recharged and relaxed.

Spark Your Work Life

Work Your Network. Stay inspired by continuing to talk about what you do with other digital marketers. Grab coffee with someone who can teach you a thing or two about an area you want to learn more about – for example, PPC, email automation, or social advertising. For daily networking, join an online community – like a LinkedIn group – or follow a blog where like-minded professionals gather.

Don’t Stop Learning. Conferences are excellent opportunities to rev up your marketing know-how. Continual education fans the flames by opening our eyes to new strategies and tools, and giving us potential ways to improve our marketing efforts. If you can’t sign up for a conference, podcasts are an easy way to learn while we’re commuting or at the gym.

Make Your Routine Enjoyable. The start to your day often determines the whole course of your day – do you have a positive wake-up?  As the day commences, take breaks. Try a new online tool or productivity app. Allow yourself to check Twitter and Instagram. Make a new playlist – while listening to the same song on repeat may help with productivity, it could add a fresh aspect to your day to change the soundtrack.

Spark Your Creative Life

Experience Art. Remember back in college when you attended orchestra concerts because student tickets were cheap and the experience made you feel cultural? You may not get a student discount anymore, but what’s stopping you from hitting up the local theater, art museum, or concert hall? Art may not be the cure for burnout, but experiencing (and appreciating) the result of another person’s hard work can supply us with the inspiration or motivation to keep creating.

Read a Book. Stories give us new perspectives by which we can understand our lives. If you’re feeling like burnout could soon overtake you, maybe some literary respite is just the thing you need. If you feel like sitting down with a novel is far too recreational a concept for you, try the latest marketing read or business how-to guide to combine down-time with gleaning what may be valuable information you can leverage at work.

Explore. Of course, we often advise the near-burned-out to take a vacation. If you can travel, do it. If you can’t, seek out new scenes in your neighborhood. Is there a restaurant you’ve been meaning to try? A bike trail you’ve wanted to hike? Even if it’s just running errands in a different part of town, go someplace new to see something new and get a fresh perspective on the old.

At this time of year, we’re all busy trying to do our jobs well and keep everything balanced as the holidays arrive. Don’t let your passion dwindle. Before the fire dies, practice good fire tending so you can keep your flames burning hot and bright.

Photo: Shutterstock


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2014. |
Burn Out or Burn Bright? 3 Essential Tips for Digital Marketers | http://www.toprankblog.com

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B2B Marketing Convergence: Disappearing Silos, B2C to B2B Mind-Meld, Inbound Outbound Mastery

convergence b2b marketing boston

My first experience with B2B Marketing in the digital marketing industry started as the worlds of Public Relations and SEO started to collide early in 2001.

Our tiny agency won a media relations account for a $1 billion company in the high tech industry. What set us apart from all the other big PR shops was how we used SEO with PR content to attract incoming media opportunities on top of outbound media pitching and brand content creation. As time went on and content as the key player, other disciplines converged in our B2B marketing practice.

Since then, the coming together of marketing/communications disciplines in the B2B world has accelerated. Why? Changes in technology and buyer behaviors for sure (like prospects pulling themselves through 60-90% of the sales cycle before contacting sales). Other driving forces range from the need to achieve greater impact to delivering a more congruent experience for buyers through the sales cycle.

This trend towards convergence will continue even more in the coming year and as part of our work with MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum, I was fortunate to talk to 3 B2B marketing experts on the topic – to get their perspectives on how B2B convergence and integration is impacting the future of B2B Marketing:

Michael Brenner

The Disappearing Silos of B2B

Michael Brenner @BrennerMichael
Head of Strategy at NewsCred

Content is the 2nd largest marketing expense after advertising at the majority of large businesses. Yet most marketing resources and people are devoted to creating content that often goes unused, unread or unshared.

In the future of B2B, silos like branding, advertising, & lead generation will all disappear! @brennermichael

The B2B Marketing organization of the future will begin to rapidly transform. Silos like branding, advertising, lead generation will all disappear!

The B2B Marketing organization of the future will be organized around data, content and technology: data (for personalization), content (for target audience consumption) and technology (required to act like a 21st century marketing organization).

Jason Miller

Mind-Meld: B2B and B2C Share Insights

Jason Miller @JasonMillerCA
Senior Manager, Content Marketing & Social Media at LinkedIn

B2B companies will increasingly hire B2C agencies for fresh perspectives, new ideas, and to learn how to better humanize their messaging and campaigns to better connect with their prospects earlier on in the buying cycle.

B2B and B2C will learn from each other to create better overall marketing experiences. @JasonMillerCA

In turn, B2C will start utilizing B2B’s technology for relationship building and more effective cross selling and up-selling along the way.

Both disciplines have something to learn from one another as forward-thinking marketers stop citing acronyms and start focusing on creating better overall marketing experiences.

Frank Days

Master the Inbound Outbound Universe

Frank Days @tangyslice
VP of Marketing at TwinStrata

The lines between inbound and outbound marketing continue to blur as mainstream media are being forced to change business models.

Content marketing and traditional marketing will become fully-integrated and indistinguishable. @tangyslice

Much like ecommerce versus brick and mortar retail ultimately morphed into multi-channel retail, I expect content marketing and traditional marketing to become fully-integrated and indistinguishable.

B2B marketers who master the intersection of inbound and outbound marketing will thrive while others will get stuck in outdated silos.

Well said Michael, Jason and Frank. If you’d like to see all 3 of these B2B Marketing experts in person, (along with over 50 others) then I hope you’ve already registered for the sold out MarketingProfs B2B Forum in Boston Oct 8-10. If not, no worries. You can sign up for on-demand access.

For more B2B Marketing insights and predictions, check out this Future of B2B Marketing eBook we created for MarketingProfs. It includes a range of predictions ranging from practical, to wishful to things that are so far out there, they’re literally science fiction.

Do you see similar converging disciplines in the B2B Marketing space? What predictions would you add?

Photo: Shutterstock


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2014. |
B2B Marketing Convergence: Disappearing Silos, B2C to B2B Mind-Meld, Inbound Outbound Mastery | http://www.toprankblog.com

Former Google Employees Launch Adult Entertainment Search Engine

A handful of former Google employees have created search engine Boodigo, which helps users find pornography on the Internet.

7 Powerful Tips for a Winning Twitter Sales Strategy

This is a guest contribution from freelance writer Jawad Khan.

More than 73% US companies use Twitter to connect with their target audience, get direct feedback from their customers and keep an eye on their competitors.

You might be one of them.

But are you getting any real value from the time you spend on Twitter? Have you been able to engage your potential or existing customers? Have you ever created enough momentum with your Tweets to impact your sales numbers?

A large number of businesses on Twitter fail to do any of those things.

Why?

Because they don’t see Twitter as a sales channel. They don’t have a sales strategy for Twitter and never design their Tweets to impact sales.

But you can change that with a few smart modifications to the way you approach Twitter.

Twitter can be a powerful sales channel. It might not always give you direct sales, but it can always impact purchase decisions.

Here’s how.

1. Understand the Objective

Before you get started, understand that Twitter, like all other social networks, is primarily designed to encourage social connections, conversations and engagement. Their primary purpose is not sales. You can’t keep posting links to your product pages or sales landing pages and expect people to buy from you.

That’s not how things work on Twitter.

Your objective should be sales, but it can only be triggered through engagement. More than 65% of Twitter users are likely to buy from the brands they follow on Twitter.

Why?

Because they trust them and engage with them regularly. So in effect, the only way you can convert Twitter users into customers is by building trust and engagement.

2. Attract Relevant Followers

As I said in the first point, your followers are much more likely to buy from you as compared to normal Twitter users.

But not just any followers. You need to have relevant and active Twitter followers. 100 relevant followers who engage with you regularly are better than 1000 followers who never speak up.

So how do you find such followers on Twitter?

By mass following your competitor’s followers? No!

Never use mass follow in the hope of getting followers. That will destroy your brand image and credibility.

Instead, list down your closest competitors and have a good look at their Twitter timeline.

Do you see any responses to their Tweets? Any unanswered questions from their followers? Any unacknowledged suggestions? Any complaints that went unheard?

There’s your opportunity. Jump in and join the conversation. Offer help and respond to their queries.

This natural engagement will increase your brand awareness and goodwill, and will also earn you natural followers.

3. Structure Your Tweets Carefully

I’m sure you must have seen countless Twitter accounts with thousands of tweets but no engagement. Incorrect Tweet structure is one of the main reasons for that.

Yes, even these 140 characters need proper structuring. Here’s how

  • Tweet Length – You’re allowed 140 characters per Tweet, but Tweets that attract the highest engagement are between 110 and 115 characters according to social media scientist Dan Zarella

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 10.19.44 am

  • Link Placement – Link placement also impacts click through rates and Retweets. Instead of placing links at the end of a Tweet, put them in the middle and near the start.

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 10.21.59 am

  • Images – Tweets that contain images attract 200% more engagement. So make sure most of your Tweets, especially the ones that contain links, have images.
  • Vines and GIFs – After Google Plus, Twitter has also allowed animated GIFs. GIFs and Vine videos attract a lot more engagement as compared to simple text or static image based Tweets. Using these multimedia Tweets in combination with image and text Tweets can give you great results. 

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 10.46.11 am

  • Hashtags – Hashtags expand the reach of your Tweets and give you exposure on the trending topics. Tweets with appropriate hashtags have a 55% higher probability of getting Retweets. Most experts recommend using up to three hashtags per Tweet. 

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 10.48.25 am

 

  • Tagging – When responding to a Tweet or tagging someone, make sure your Tweet doesn’t start with a Twitter handle. If it does, it will only appear to the tagged person.

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The Wrong Way to Tweet

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  • Tweet Timing – Tweet at the wrong time and even your best content will go to waste. Timing is crucial on Twitter. Tweets between 9AM to 6PM everyday attract the highest engagement while Saturday and Sunday are the most engaging days of the week. I personally recommend using the BufferApp for scheduling Tweets

4. Become a Knowledge Source

Twitter allows only 140 characters per Tweet but, even here, content is the king. If you want to convert your Twitter account into a sales lead generator and a major source of referral traffic for your blog or website, you need to establish it as the knowledge hub for everything associated with your niche.

Users should be able to rely on your account alone to learn about the hottest news in your niche, solutions to the most common problems of your target market, innovations and industry hacks, and top quality content.

You can do that by dividing your Tweets into categories like news updates, blog posts, occasional product updates, quotes, tips etc. Schedule your daily Tweets in all these categories. You don’t always have to produce original content. You can curate the best content in your niche and still attract a lot of followers and engagement

5. Use Twitter for SMS Marketing

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 10.59.19 am

Twitter SMS is a highly underutilized feature. If you own a retail store or a small business that involves personally meeting customers, then this feature is for you.

Many people in the real world do not use Twitter. But you can still approach them with this feature. Whenever you meet a new customer, ask them to follow you through SMS to get updates on the latest products, discounts, competitions etc.

Your customers can subscribe to free SMS updates by sending ‘Follow @YourUsername’ in SMS to 40404 (this code is different for every country, here’s the list).

Whenever you Tweet, your subscribers will get it as an SMS. Make sure you create a separate Twitter account for SMS subscribers so that they don’t get all of your Tweets. Send occasional SMS Tweets for maximum impact.

5. Get Unfair Advantage With Twitter Lists

Twitter lists are a powerful way to monitor your target audience, divide them into segments and create targeted content for your followers. If you use Twitter lists intelligently, you can get an unfair advantage over your competitors because this is a largely underutilized feature.

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 11.00.17 am

You can create your own lists and add users of a particular type to monitor them separately. You can also join public lists of other users that are already populated. Tools like Twitonomy can help you find the lists that are following your competitors.

6. Simplify the Buying Process

Things move at a much faster speed on Twitter as compared to Facebook and Google Plus. In order to give yourself any chance of attracting customers on Twitter, you need to simplify the buying process of your products.

Instead of Tweeting links of your product landing page, use Twitter’s built in feature of Twitter cards. Twitter cards display additional information within the Tweet content and increase the functionality of your Tweets. Twitter is also planning to add “Buy Now” buttons to its Twitter cards feature.

You can also use social selling tools like Selz. When you create a product on Selz and Tweet it to your followers, they’ll be able to see your product image, stock details and price along with a direct link to the checkout page. Selz also allows users to accept product payments from Master Card, Visa and PayPal so you won’t need to integrate any additional payment gateway.

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 11.01.48 am

This approach makes your products much more sellable on Twitter and makes the buying process much more convenient. I personally recommend using Twitter cards in combination with Selz since it massively increases your Tweet CTR.

Conclusion

Selling products or services on Twitter requires a careful strategy that revolves around user engagement and a simplified buying process. You also need a balance between sales oriented Tweets and general Tweets aimed at user engagement. If you follow this strategy consistently, you can convert Twitter into a high value sales channel and your paid customers into loyal word of mouth marketers.

Jawad Khan  s a freelance writer and professional blogger with a keen interest in content marketing, blogging and wordpress. With professional experience in Web Project Management, he also provides content and design consultancy to a number of tech companies. He blogs at WritingMyDestiny.com

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

7 Powerful Tips for a Winning Twitter Sales Strategy

Improved Targeting Available for Bing

As Google continues to take more and more flexibility and targeting options away from its users, Bing has taken the opposite approach, providing more options for its end user.

31 Predictions on the Future of B2B Marketing

B2B Marketing Forum eBook

Precognitive Marketing, neural interfaces to marketing dashboards, Google cranial implants – is this science fiction or is it the future of B2B marketing? Maybe a bit of both!

These and many more insights (of the predictive and practical kind) can be found in our latest eBook, The Future of B2B Marketing as part of our promotions for MarketingProfs B2B Forum. With a conference theme of “Marketing for What Comes Next” we’ve connected with 31 of the top B2B marketers from Xerox to LinkedIn to Marketo to get their predictions about the future of marketing to businesses.

The future of B2B marketing is far from boring and now, more than ever, B2B marketers are thinking creatively and dreaming big about new ways to attract, engage and inspire business buyers.

Dreams of the future ignite our imagination about what’s possible. They create anticipation for what’s next from the latest gadgets to the newest trends in B2B marketing.

A nostalgic look back to the 1950s brings to mind dreams of flying cars, moon bases and unlimited power from the sun. We may not have a “flying saucer for everybody” yet, but advances in technology and media have made many futuristic predictions a reality.

Flying Saucer for Everybody

From innovative technology to predictions so far out there that they’re science fiction, this eBook will inspire your thinking (and maybe your dreams) about the future of B2B marketing.

To spark your imagination about what’s next in B2B, TopRank Online Marketing and MarketingProfs bring you this Future of B2B Marketing eBook. Featuring predictions from 31 top marketers presenting at the B2B Marketing Forum, you’ll get to explore B2B like never before.

Here’s a full list of B2B Marketing experts that shared their predictions:

Here’s the full eBook: The Future of B2B Marketing

If you’re a B2B marketer, MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum is a must-attend event! There are just a few tickets remaining, so be sure to check it out.

After you check out all 31 predictions, be sure to leave your B2B marketing prediction in the comments below. I’ll pick the best comment and send a copy of my book Optimize plus a copy Ann Handley’s new book, Everybody Writes!


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2014. |
31 Predictions on the Future of B2B Marketing | http://www.toprankblog.com

It’s been 2 Years Since I’ve Seen A Blog Training Program This Good

EBA FB Graphic 2

It has been almost two years since I’ve found training for bloggers that I’ve considered good enough to promote as an affiliate.

I’m very fussy with who and what I promote (because there is so much hype and dubious practice in this space) but today have a recommendation for an authentic and valuable program that I know will help many ProBlogger readers.

The Short Story

The Elite Blog Academy is one of the most comprehensive blogging courses I’ve ever come across – and it’s available to enrol in with an early bird offer for just over 48 hours with the coupon code EBASAVE50 (which saves you $50).

Check it out here

The Longer Story

Ruth-Profile-2013-Rounded-735x1024Earlier this year after running a ProBlogger Training day in Portland I had opportunity to grab a coffee with Ruth Soukup. 

Ruth shared with me the story of starting her blog Living Well Spending Less in 2010. Like us all she made her share of mistakes but persisted with it and struggled on and four years later has built a blog with over a million visitors a month that generates her a full time income.

I was really impressed with both Ruth’s success but also the clear and strategic she applied to her blogging.

Numerous times as she spoke I wanted to take notes as she’d been experimenting with techniques I’d not come across before – particularly around Pinterest and social media.

At the end of her story I remember thinking ‘I wish we could bottle what you’ve done and share it with ProBlogger readers’.

No sooner than I’d thought this Ruth slid across the table a white folder with an outline for her Elite Blog Academy course. Yep – she’d bottled it!

The Elite Blog Academy: Enrolments Close in 48 Hours

Ruth’s Elite Blog Academy is literally her stepping you through her process for building a profitable blog in 12 wonderfully crafted lessons. You can learn more about it here (but use the coupon code EBASAVE50 to save $50).

The course is delivered through 12 fantastic videos, 12 very detailed workbooks, 16 helpful handouts, 30 assignments, a series of 4 live webinars with Ruth an a private Facebook Group where you can interact with Ruth and other attendees.

This course is practical and actionable. Really meaty stuff.

Update: if you’d like to hear what others are saying about it, check out this post I did on Facebook where a couple of ProBlogger readers have already chimed in with their experiences of previously signing up to Ruth’s Academy.

This course is not designed for the faint of heart – it requires work (as does successful blogging) and a willingness to really buckle down. That said, for those who are willing to do the work, it also comes with a 200% money-back guarantee.

Anyone who completes the course and has not seen measurable results in both traffic and income growth will get double your money back, no questions asked. That’s a pretty incredible promise, but it means that you’ve literally got nothing to lose. 

If you are ready to finally take your blog to the next level, sign up now to secure your spot here

Don’t forget to use the coupon code EBASAVE50 – it’ll save you $50 at check out. The code expires and enrolments close at midnight US Eastern time on 30 September in just over 48 hours.

PS: as stated above – I am an affiliate for this product but do so having checked it out and genuinely recommending Ruth it’s creator and the program itself.

Update: What to Expect

A few people have been asking for more information on what’s in the units. Here’s what I just shared over on Facebook to give you some insight into what to expect:

1. Start with Awesome – Learn the secret to successful blogging and master the 3 steps to starting with awesome. Understand what makes YOUR blog unique (and therefore marketable), and create the framework for a powerful platform that gets results.

2. Content is King – Discover why the key to a successful, popular, and profitable blog starts with amazing content, master the four essential strategies for creating content that rocks, and learn exactly how to FOCUS™—the secret to creating a killer blog post every single time.

3. Presentation is Everything – Uncover the three visual areas every blogger must focus on in order to be successful and learn not only why Pinterest is the most powerful marketing tool ever created,

and how to harness that power through creating the Perfect Pin™.

4. Grow Your Platform – Learn how to increase, diversify, and stabilize your platform through eight proven strategic growth strategies. Develop the confidence to promote your core message with an authority that draws people in, master field-tested techniques for networking and collaboration, find out exactly how to grow your subscriber list, and discover why good SEO really isn’t as complicated as everyone makes it out to be.

5. Social Media & Viral Growth – Uncover the mysteries of capturing and retaining viral blog traffic through social media and learn to determine which social media platforms are most valuable for your own audience. Find out the ten crucial steps to take if your blog post goes viral, then create comprehensive marketing plans for both Facebook and Pinterest in order to develop a cohesive social media strategy that gets results.

After that it gets more into monetising through ad networks, affiliate sales, private advertising and creating products.

Lastly it gets into working smart/efficiently and being strategic to grow your business.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

It’s been 2 Years Since I’ve Seen A Blog Training Program This Good

How to Get Executive Buy-In for Your B2B Influencer Marketing Program

shutterstock_144653342

Increasing numbers of marketers are enthusiastic about the power of influencer marketing – and not just in the B2C marketing world. B2B marketers are also discovering that influencer marketing goes beyond things like asking bloggers to vouch for their products on Twitter in return for a free sample.

Professionals with clout are engaged in active digital conversations about things that matter to them with their audiences – audiences that contain buyers that are influenced about which products and services they buy. According to a study by Nielsen, 85% of consumers seek out trusted expert content when considering a purchase.

Aligned with these influencers, B2B brands can build relationships, speak to industry issues, and form mutually beneficial partnerships. As Lee wrote recently, influencer marketing can be a faster way to build thought leadership than creating it from scratch. We’ve been implementing B2B influencer content programs for ourselves and clients for several years. The impact has been substantial, creating greater awareness, consideration and authority for the B2B brands involved. We’ve also learned the importance of gaining consensus about what an influencer marketing program can achieve.

Savvy B2B marketers know that changes in marketing strategy and tactics require some convincing and support in order to be successful. Before you go full steam ahead with something new like an influencer marketing program, it’s important to get buy-in from executives, your stakeholders, and anybody else whose support is needed with marketing strategy decisions.

So how do you take a new B2B influencer marketing plan back to your constituents on Monday morning and get them as excited as you are?

Even if you’re enthusiastic about how an influencer marketing will help your B2B brand grow awareness, you may still be a few steps removed from getting your boss on board. From conceptualizing content marketing campaigns to carrying them out, marketing teams already have hefty to-do lists. Researching and writing content, designing visual components, building ebooks and landing pages, hosting webinars – you and your team’s hands are probably already pretty full.

To your stakeholders, the idea of adding a relationship-building outreach component may bring up a few questions:

  1. Concern that your brand’s messaging will lose its focus by bringing in other people to contribute,
  2. Worry about a potential bottleneck to the content creation process, or
  3. Doubt that pursuing influencers will contribute to your overall goal of generating more leads or sales.

And yet for many B2B brands, influencer marketing is working – and it’s worth a shot for your brand, too. TopRank Marketing influencer content programs and those of clients like Dell, LinkedIn, CMI and MarketingProfs are great examples of B2B influencer marketing in action.

To echo the Beatles, brands really do get by with “a little help from their friends”. So how do you communicate that vision to the powers that be?

Be the expert

Working with influencers is a whole new world for many B2B marketers. As the marketing expert spearheading the influencer marketing program, you will need to serve as the guide that your stakeholders can trust.

Help your boss and constituents understand what influencer marketing is and is not:

  • Influencer marketing is aligning with prominent industry leaders in order to develop relationships with the goal of mutual promotion for everyone involved.
  • Influencer marketing is not stalking and schmoozing popular people with the hopes that their breeze will lift your sail.

Depending on your company’s business goals, make sure you highlight how implementing an influencer content marketing program will help you achieve the bottom line – or contribute to facilitating the customer journey. Communicate the potential benefits of an influencer marketing program. This includes:

  • Increased brand awareness where buyers and other influencers seek expert information
  • More awareness amongst industry media and blogs
  • More social engagement and social penetration for your content
  • In-depth expert content that can be repurposed in blogs, white papers, social messages, and more.
  • Lasting relationships with real people who matter to your industry
  • Contacts and leads
  • Shorter sales cycles

Show them the data

There’s no guarantee of success with every new marketing initiative, but you can go in with some analytical confidence that you’re making a smart move with a clear line of sight to important business goals. In one study from Augure, 70% of marketers reported success from their influencer marketing efforts. From the consumer standpoint, numerous statistics show that consumers listen to and trust what influential folks are saying on social media when they make purchasing decisions. Furthermore, 92% of consumers trust earned media, according to Nielsen.

Industry proof points will also help your stakeholders get on board with an influencer marketing program. Consider:

  • Which of your competitors are moving in this direction?
  • Are there others in your industry who have chosen to pursue influencer marketing?

Before you make your case, do a little research so you can say with confidence whether or not your company would be pioneers and leaders in this venture, or whether there is an opportunity to one-up what’s already being done.

As buyers become increasingly wary of brand-first, sales-oriented communications, the data definitely supports joining hands with influential friends in your industry to provide education, engagement and affect purchasing decisions.

Share a game plan

When pitching an influencer marketing program, bring a well-defined strategy, but be open for discussion. Will you go all in, or test how influencer outreach goes first? Starting small could mean wholeheartedly targeting a few quality influencers for an upcoming campaign, and then analyzing the results afterwards to gauge the success of the tactic.

Provide examples of a thought leader who is already speaking to your target audience – whether it’s a prominent expert who tweets hourly about the issues your C-suite executives are battling (that you can help them fix), or an entrepreneur who shares productivity tips with a following of business managers who may also need your B2B solution. Share steps for how you might attract, engage and partner with those influencers.

The success of a B2B influencer marketing program will ultimately depend on the cooperation of your selected influencers. But if you can make strategic outreach informed by social data to the right people, the results and relationships that come out of the initiative could truly be spectacular. If your stakeholders believe in the power of friendship and the notion that “a rising tide lifts all ships”, it’s likely that they’ll be enthusiastic about the prospect of an influencer marketing program, too.  With that consensus, your executives will be more willing to support whatever time and effort you need to make an influencer content marketing program happen.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. What other tips do you have for getting B2B buy-in for an influencer marketing program?

Photo: Shutterstock


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2014. |
How to Get Executive Buy-In for Your B2B Influencer Marketing Program | http://www.toprankblog.com

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