Blogs and insight related to content marketing in the digital world.

What to Consider When Hiring a Copywriter

It can be difficult to hire a copywriter, but as an agency that provides copywriting services, we’re working to make that process as simple as possible. Over the years, a lot of companies have hired us to write their copy – from small mom-and-pop companies to large international brands. Copywriting is how we got started, and developing good processes and finding the right writer/subject fit has been crucial to it remaining a specialty.

Over the years we’ve learned a few things about what works, and what doesn’t with content writing services. In this guide, we hope you’ll learn how to find the right copywriter for your current project and any content marketing plan.

First thing’s first,

Determine What Type of Copywriting is Needed

Copywriting is a broad term that encompasses a number of specialties and skills. Every copywriter brings new abilities to the table, which may include:

  • Marketing materials such as brochures and leaflets
  • Broadcast, digital, and print advertising
  • Writing as part of an online content strategy
  • Search engine optimization
  • Public relations
  • B2B and B2C marketing

Some copywriters focus on one industry, while others have a broader skill set. An agency will often have access to multiple writers to cover a myriad of industries, target audiences and writing styles.  

What are the goals of the pieces you need written? Who’s the audience? How technical is the subject? Does it need to be written in a professional or casual style? These are all questions you should ask and answer before hiring a professional copywriter.

Consider the Writer’s Experience

It may seem that an experienced copywriter would provide better service. While this is generally true, additional experience often brings higher prices. A seasoned professional who has written for top agencies and major brands doesn’t come cheap. Subject matter experts, or copywriters capable of writing legal or medical content will always be more of an investment.

If your company is on a budget, you should ask how much copywriting experience you need and how much you’re willing to pay for.  

When a copywriter has experience, it can mean they’ve optimized their process. Having a good, effective process is worth paying for and great if you’ve never worked with a copywriter before and not sure what to expect.

Read Previous Work and Previous Clients’ Feedback

Many of today’s copywriters feature past clients’ testimonials on their websites and marketing materials. If a company owner is serious about hiring a copywriter, ask to talk to some past clients in similar industries. Verifying references and recommendations can give you a sense of the copywriter’s strengths and weaknesses.

Also, it’s common to request writing samples when hiring a copywriter. They should be ready with relevant samples to show you. It’s also important to ask AND verify where their samples are actually published. If a copywriter gives you a writing sample, but can’t give you any publication sites, that might be a red flag.

What to Expect When Working With Copywriters

Copywriters have varying fee structures, with some charging an hourly or daily rate while others have a per-job or per-word charge. Some will require a down payment up front and the rest upon completion. Some copywriting services will offer monthly packages. Most writers allow clients to propose prices, which is a great benefit if you’re budget conscious. At Swell, We have prices for different tiers of content – simple  to complex – as well as word count. Which basically means the more complicated the subject, and more words the client needs to explain it, the more the content will cost. Pretty simple.

If the copywriter is good, they’ll explain their processes and describe exactly what you can expect from their process. But if they don’t – Ask about how many revisions you are allowed. Ask about the project timeline. Timelines should be efficient and revisions request should be turned around quickly.

You should expect to have an in-person or telephone interview that allows the writer or content director to get a sense of the work and its themes. Pay attention to how engaged they are with the subject during this meeting. Are they using industry specific terminology? Demonstration of a good industry vocabulary is indicative of the copywriter understanding the subject. If they get excited about the topic, or have impressive ideas on how to present it – this is probably a good chance the copywriter will be passionate about the piece. By the end of this meeting, the copywriter should have clarified their fee structure and what they expect from you in return for their services. Don’t end this meeting without getting clarity on this. They might want to review the note they’ve collected and give you a fixed bid and timeline from there. This is common.

Summary

Hiring the right copywriter is an important step in reaching the target audience and optimizing content for the search engines. But there are many things to consider when choosing the right copywriting service for your content.

Reach out today or visit our website to learn more about our professional copywriting services.

develop customer personas

Understanding Your Target Audiences With Customer Personas

As a business owner, nobody understands your target audience better than you. You can probably pinpoint what it is they are looking for or interested in based on characteristics such as age, location, job industry, job role, budget, etc. Selling at that point is simple for you, but the challenge seems to remain how to get your leads in the door in the first place. This is where digital marketing plays an impactful role by working alongside your existing team to spread the word about your product or service through a digital platform.

This is why working closely with a digital partner can greatly help you grow your visible reach. With two teams working together (you knowing your business best, and an agency understanding the strategies of digital marketing best) your efforts online can be multiplied versus with traditional small business marketing strategies alone.

How to Develop a Customer Persona

Whether you think you fully understand your customers or not, one of the most helpful ways of marketing for your business is to segment different personas of your buying audience. This doesn’t have to be a limited number, but there are probably at least three or four general types of customers that you run across consistently in your sales. These buyer personas are fictional profiles, but are used to represent a generalization of a type of customer you sell to. These personas can then be used to make targeted approaches to any sort of marketing plan, whether online or otherwise.

How do you develop your target customer personas? Simply put, you break them down based on personal characteristics and then use that data to market to a specific audience, rather than a more generalized sales pitch to all customers as a whole.

Step 1: Bio

Start with easy to spot demographics about the persona. What typical age range is this category? What size company do they work for? What is their role there? What are their hobbies or interests? The more specific you can be the better so try to hone in as best as possible for each persona. The bio of the buyer persona can be filled with anything related to their background, and focusing on the qualities that are most directly related to your product or service will be helpful (e.g. if you’re selling computer software to entire businesses or organizations then knowing what your buyers role and company size is may be more beneficial than knowing if they have outdoor hobbies).

Step 2: Goals

The next section to build in your buyer’s persona is a list of that customer’s goals. What are they trying to accomplish as it relates to your service or product? Fisherman Frank may have a goal of spending as much time out on the water as possible so he can enjoy a full day of his weekend perfecting his hobby. Working with that knowledge, you can cater to Frank’s goal by touching on how your sunglasses are polarized and are guaranteed to handle the action of being on the water.

Step 3: Frustrations

Another step would be to dig into the mind of your customers by really understanding what their frustrations are. Maybe their time is so valuable that they don’t see the ability to complete a task themselves. Or perhaps they belong to a company that has grown so quickly they are now in a role that demands superior expertise to remain successful. Problems are great things when you can offer solutions to them!

Step 4: Reservations

Even if your product or service is the most amazing to be offered on the market, your customers will almost always come with reservations about making a purchase. Being able to foresee what those reservations are will help you and your sales and marketing team be able to combat those concerns in a strategic way. Maybe College Grad Courtney is looking for a used car but is concerned about her overall budget. As a car dealership, having resources available to her with financing options, trade-in deals, promotional specials, or even creating an online price filter through your website will help direct her search rather than turning her away to other solutions.

Use the Segments to Your Benefit

Once you’ve created a solid outline for your business’s buyer personas, don’t just let them go unused. Continually use your outlines of customer segments to curate the most effective content possible for marketing. Use these segments to create strategies that will bring more leads through the door and through your sales funnel. Find out where your target audience spends their time online and meet them there. Are they on social media? Which platforms? What words might they use to search for information related to your product or service? Get into the mind of your consumer and tailor your marketing to showcase what they are interested in.

Strategizing how to do this best can be overwhelming for business owners and even those in marketing. The landscape of digital is changing so rapidly that it can help to have a partner who can guide your business in the right direction. Contact SWELL if you’d like to have a consultation in what type of strategy may be best suited for you. (No, we don’t charge for that.)

Video Shoot

Why Your Small Business Should Use Video

We’re in the midst of a marketing revolution, and video is leading the charge. Videos are the medium of the future. If that’s true then it looks like we’re already in the “future” because one-third of all online activity is spent watching videos, according to Hubspot Marketing. Numbers are expected to increase as marketers everywhere realize the value and impact video has on campaigns. Sites such as Google and Facebook are using algorithms and ranking methods that favor video content compared to images and text alone. Let’s take a look at the upside of adding video to your marketing strategy and what it can do for your company overall!

Google Loves Video

Google runs the show, plain and simple. Google is the largest search engine in the world followed by Youtube, which happens to be a subsidiary of Google, surprise!  Incorporating videos on your homepage and blog posts with relevant keywords is one way Google ranks for search engine results. With the right combination of SEO, content creation, and video marketing you’ll soon see your company climbing up the SEO ladder.

Video Boosts Conversion and Sales

The internet is a very competitive landscape, especially for small to medium sized businesses. Customizing your marketing plan that will appeal to both Google and your customers is crucial when it comes to maximizing ROI. By creating videos you can increase the ability to build relationships with customers and prospects while also pleasing Google’s algorithms at the same time. Having videos on your site will entice visitors to stay on your page longer and will help them gain more trust by learning about your product in a visual way. This marketing approach is what will result in a high conversion ratio for you and your team.

Investing in video marketing can be expensive, but the benefits that come with adding video will pay dividends. The more shots you take the better chance you have to score, and by adding videos you’re giving yourself the opportunity to take more shots!

Video Builds Trust

A key component to attaining and retaining customers is trust. You can’t always hold your customer’s hand through the buying process and often times the only reason they will reach out to you is when they have a problem that your product or service may be able to solve. Creating videos that are engaging and helpful to your customers allows them to understand who they’re buying from, which will help build a relationship and establish trust! Creating videos that describe product information and product demonstrations will help your clients understand how something works!

  Social media is another tool your business can use to build trust, and incorporating videos on social is a great way for customers to engage with your content. According to Hubspot, 92% of mobile users are likely to share videos on social media. The more likes and shares you get the more exposure your company receives through back links and clicks to your site. Oh yeah, can’t forget to mention this will also help improve your Google ranking as well!

Video can explain anything, whether you distribute steel or build fences, being able to convey your story through video will help your customers get a better understanding of what you do and how you do it on an everyday basis.

If you’re not convinced video marketing will improve your overall digital presence, then let’s hope your competitors aren’t convinced either. Otherwise, you may start to see some of your numbers fall. Not all companies have the time and resources to invest in video, but if you and your team are trying to step ahead of the competition, reach out to our team at Swell!

advertising and content marketing

New Age Lead Generation with Advertising and Content Marketing

As an agency marketer, it’s our job to bring in more leads for our clients. Business owners understand the concept of marketing, but they may not fully understand how to navigate the waters of the “digital ocean”. To them, marketing may mean a billboard or magazine ad. While that is absolutely true, there are different ways to go about marketing now, especially online.

Let’s walk through two common ways of marketing with digital content and digital advertising to explain how lead generation has shifted course throughout the years.

Advertising

Marketing is about getting in front of people and making an impression for your brand. It’s about spreading the word about your product or service by exposing potential customers to the brand where they already are. One way of doing that is by advertising. With advertising, placement is key. Sure, people driving down the highway have a great chance of seeing your billboard, but it’s difficult to measure how many people are actually seeing it, let alone whether you’re reaching your core demographic or not.. Measuring traditional advertising methods such as billboards and television commercials is almost always estimated. You can never really know how many people saw your ad and then either ignored or acted on that impression. 

This is where advertising with digital really shines. By advertising digitally, through both display and native methods, you can track who actually viewed the ad and what their next action was after seeing it. Did they click on the ad and browse? Did they buy something? Or did they bounce away from the page entirely? Digital ads have an advantage over traditional ads because they aren’t a wasted spend – at the very least you’re gaining valuable insights about your customer base. In fact, targeted display advertising has grown to a point that it will comprise 59 percent of all digital advertising this year and is expected to grow to 70% by 2019. But digital ads are highly targeted ads that are only displayed if the viewer reaches the criteria you have set for the ad to appear on their internet pageview – which means your demographic sees the ads that are most relevant to them at exactly the right times.

There are several different types of digital ads you can run. (Some are considered more effective than others.) But they still are much easier to understand what sort of reach they achieved versus traditional methods.

Content Marketing

There’s been a huge change in how marketing is carried out since the rise of the internet. While traditional marketing methods are not dead, it would be crazy to say that it shouldn’t at least be supplemented with digital content marketing as well. Why? Because digital content is inexpensive to create, it’s proven to be effective, and it’s 100% trackable from source to sale!

Many business owners don’t fully understand the value of content marketing, let alone know what it is. Content marketing is any sort of information offered to customers and potential customers in either written, audio, or video format. This content is almost always free, but some content of higher quality may require their contact information in exchange for download.

The idea of giving away free information related to a company’s product or service makes sense, right? Of course you would want to inform your leads of all of the benefits you have to offer them! But what business owners may not realize is that content can even be supplied to leads that don’t directly relate to their product or service… but why would you ever want to do that?!

It’s seems like a strange concept, but it makes sense when you think about the [buyer’s journey]. If you are selling software that helps car dealerships keep track of their inventory, but your blog features posts on the hottest cars being revealed in the new year, anyone can realize that it’s not necessary for a potential customer to know that information before purchasing the inventory software. So why waste your time supplying this information?

Here’s the breakdown… your key customer is most likely a dealership owner or controller, or some sort of purchasing manager. But right now, they may not be in the market for a new inventory software, but maybe they are interested in what the hottest cars are to invest in next year. So content isn’t about always selling your product or service – it’s about providing value to your target market, outside the sale. When your leads are searching for relevant information and land on your blog, they will find the free information helpful to them, which builds rapport between you and your potential customers.  And once they’ve already arrived,   the likelihood that they decide to shop around or learn more about your product/service is significantly increased. Even if your lead isn’t ready to buy from you then, they will have you in mind for when they are ready. They just need to find you first!

Both advertising and content marketing is important, and both can be complicated to carry out in their own ways. If you need an expert to walk you through each and every process with digital marketing, you can always ask us for help!

How to Prioritize Your Digital Marketing Budget.

If you’ve been following our series on digital marketing budgets, you’ve probably read the previous posts. If not, you may want to back up a bit…

In this post, we’ll be discussing how best to prioritize your digital marketing budget. First, let’s focus on where to get the most bang for your buck.

Which Marketing Strategies are getting the best results?

In a few surveys by leading digital marketing research firms a couple years ago, companies reported on what marketing activities had generated the best results.

The charts below shed some light on this question:

Source: http://econsultancy.com

As you can see from the results; Email Marketing, SEO, and Content Marketing are the dominant channels for ROI – all yielding over 45% “Good” rating respectively. The fact is, this has been true for the better part of a decade (if not longer) and with advancements in marketing technologies and automation being able to bring together, analyze, optimize, and capitalize on your digital marketing tactics, this dominance is not expected to go away.

My digital marketing budget is going to be limited. How do I prioritize it?

For this post, I’m going to assume you have some sort of web presence already. If you’re just getting started, the following guide will apply to you as well, but before you dig too deep into expanding your digital presence, you’ll want to first focus on establishing one. Nevertheless, these steps should help anyone put the pieces together for an effective digital marketing budget.  

Let’s get started:

You have to know where you are, to get where you want to go!

If you haven’t taken advantage of our free website analysis, you should do so right away. There are many free website “auditors” out there and while I’m rather partial to ours because it gives you the ability to compare yourself to a competitor (and some other really cool features), all of them measure pretty much the same stuff.

A report like this will tell you where the problem areas are on your website. Specifically problems that might be keeping you from ranking for keywords on search engines and gaining valuable web presence. Even if you don’t understand everything on a report like this, most of them will give you a general “grade” that can give you a sense of where you stand.

Not only is a website audit valuable for surfacing problem areas on your site, it also serves as a benchmark by which to measure your digital marketing tactics moving forward. And because so many of these reporting systems are free, it doesn’t hurt to check often.

Check Your Website Here, Now!

 

Please note that while many audits are free, they have basic info and will only point you in the direction of the issue. I.E. “25 of your images still need alt tags”. They will not get into specifics about which images, or their locations are without alt tags. If you are looking for a more in-depth analysis, hire a digital marketing agency to put together an in-depth analysis. At Swell, we consider the number of pages that you’d like analyzed and WHAT you’d like analyzed. Our audits start at about $275 for a few pages and go up to about $5000 for 600 Pages.

Analyze your website for User Experience (UX).

Try to get into the head of your potential customer and travel every page of your website starting with the home page. How do you feel when you first arrive? Is the message about who you are and what you do, being communicated clearly? Is the content digestible and well thought out? Is it easy to navigate?  Is it obvious what action you want your users to take (call, request a quote, come into your location)? Again, pay attention to how you feel while traveling through it. Would you want to work with or buy from your company based on the website alone?

Visit your competitor’s websites. Look at your contemporaries. What are they doing better or worse?

If your answers aren’t positive to most of these questions, then it may be time to design a new website.

While there are many DIY platforms and other inexpensive methods to build a functional website that might even save you a bit of money at first; they may end up costing you more money in the long run. Having a well-designed, well-coded website is crucial to rising in search engines quickly. It’s also one of the key factors in how Google auctions ad space. So don’t skimp.

I’m not saying you can’t do great things on a shoestring budget, I’m just saying, if you’re going to save costs anywhere, it shouldn’t be in the foundation of your entire digital presence in a digitally dominant marketplace.

Very basic, relatively “cookie-cutter”, but effective websites can be accomplished for a couple thousand dollars. However, depending on your goals – most local and small businesses should plan on investing at least $5000 in their website. Larger small businesses, e-commerce platforms, or those with more complicated functionality often invest no less than $10,000+.  

Invest in SEO.

No matter what.

If you’re going to start anywhere, start with search engine optimization (SEO). A well-optimized website is the center of your digital footprint. If you’re just starting to learn, SEO is a series of tactics that earn a website more authority with search engines like Google. Put simply, we’re translating your website in the language that Google understands and then expanding your overall digital footprint by acquiring links back to your website from other related websites.

There are some pretty basic, but essential SEO tasks that you can do yourself with limited knowledge, but beware that best practices SEO is a technical process. Hire a consultant at the very least, and depending on your needs, it would be wise to hire a full-service agency. Even the best SEO can take time to see drastic differences in rankings and authority, so many business owners and marketing departments end up getting overwhelmed on the amount of work and time it takes. But search traffic is the most dominant source of high-quality users you can earn. And since you are truly earning rankings, SEO is a pure investment in the equity of your website.

When we budget SEO strategy at SWELL, we take into account five primary things:

  • your goals
  • your keywords
  • your geography
  • where your website optimization currently stands
  • & your competitive atmosphere.

We take all these factors into account and discuss the amount of work it’s going to take to accomplish your goals. Consultancy often starts at a few hundred bucks a month and full-service SEO packages start at around $600/month for a small local campaign and up to $4500+/month for highly aggressive commercial SEO. Beware of companies with large up-front costs, contracts, “too low to be good” monthly rates or “too good to be true” promises or guarantees. Be sure to get an exact list of deliverables from your SEO provider, and if they have trouble explaining any one of the items, that’s probably a red flag.

Ok, I’ve built a great website and my SEO is underway. What now?

Consider your budget.

Make a decision on how much your business can afford to budget on digital marketing. Again, there is no cookie-cutter budget for every company, but most companies with an established marketing budget spend about 30% of their TOTAL budget on digital channels. If you’re just starting out or if you have a limited budget, we would recommend that most businesses invest in digital first – it’s relatively inexpensive, ridiculously trackable and almost always yields an ROI.

We’ve broken down some sample monthly digital marketing budgets below. Obviously these are only examples. Every industry, size of company, and internal resources will have different budgetary considerations. We’ve left the categories broad to simplify things but this should give you a great start:


Summary:

Marketing budgets are changing and companies are putting more into digital channels every year. If you don’t already have a website that will engage your users, start there. After that, prioritize your technical SEO investment. Only then should you start to consider more advanced tactics. Consider your budget and use the above sample budgets to break it down into priority areas.

We love helping companies of all sizes figure out their marketing priorities. Swell offers a free consultation and investment recommendations to help you figure out exactly how you need to prioritize your budget for your audience and market.

How Long Should My Digital Content Be?

We get the question a lot: “How long should my digital content be?” And we’ll often answer – “As long as it needs to be to get the point across.” But the truth is, there has been a lot of research into how long (or short) various forms of digital content should be. Let’s dig into the different types of digital content and their recommended lengths based on research into performance.

Informational articles

Informative articles are pieces of content that comprise the majority of your website. They are better known as the pages that give users information about your products or services and your company in general.

Informational articles should be around 1,500 to 2,000 words. This might seem like a lot, but content with this high of a word count has been proven to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).  

(SearchEngineLand) SerpIQ conducted a study that looked at the search results for more than 20,000 keywords. The average length of the top 10 results in SERPs, was around 2,000. In fact, the average word count for the number one ranked pages was 2,416 words.

Even though it might be a little more than what you’re used to writing – 2000 words is the magic number for word count on primary pages and information articles.

Blog posts

Blog posts are pieces of content that you’re probably a bit more familiar with. Blogs are articles which share insights, news, opinions, etc and work great to spur conversation. They’re are intended to be easily digestible and shareable on your social media platforms and in email newsletters.

Just like “informational articles”, it’s been proven that the longer your blog posts, the better they will be for ranking in search engines. However, since blog posts should offer your users insights or info rather quickly,  you should shoot for about 1,000 words, broken up by images and graphics, to strike a balance between ranking highly in search engines and being an easy-read.

10x content

10x content is named “10x” because it is created to be 10 times better than other content written on that topic. 10x content should be about topics that you have expertise on, that you can speak at length about, and should provide serious value to readers on the subject. Instead of just text, 10x content should also include images, videos, mini-graphics, and other multimedia to help demonstrate the information and keep the content from feeling like a long trail of text.

Nevertheless, 10x content is the longest kind, and should be at least 2,500 words. Still, we recommend focusing less on the word count and more on the value you’re providing and that you’re covering all the details of a subject.  

Case studies

Case studies can be extremely valuable to potential customers because they are real-life accounts of how your services or products have affected your current customers. Potential customers like to know what they can expect from working with you. Case studies give you the opportunity to share not only your process, but the results it yields.  

It’s hard to say exactly how long case studies should be. The goal shouldn’t necessarily be length as much as capturing the full story. If you only give snippets of a customer experience, your study won’t be of much value to readers. After reading a shorter, less in-depth case study, users might assume your service or product has no depth – and move on.

Videos

Videos and video marketing have become crucial tools in capturing and maintaining the modern user’s attention. Topics for videos can be wide ranging and either in-depth or simple.  Either way, however, keep individual videos short for easy-absorption of the content. If you have a complex topic you’d like to discuss via video, break it up into a series or augment with a blog post or 10x content for the more engaged user.

Videos from 10-20 minutes in length will only be watched 50% of the time. Conversely, videos that are one minute or shorter will be watched 75% of the time.

Summary

The above guidelines are just that – guidelines. At Swell, we always say quality is better than quantity. But it is important to remember that you are creating content to expand your web presence and your company’s potential for being found on search engines – which means keeping these content lengths in mind will significantly increase your opportunity to attract and engage customers.
Need help with your content strategy? We’re here to help! Reach out to us, or send us a comment below!

How Visual Content Improves Your Social Media Strategy

Social media is an ever-changing platform with a multitude of ways to expose information. We can all agree we’ve quickly checked our Facebook timeline before starting our next task of the day. No need to feel guilty but pay attention to what sticks out to you and what you can do for your business to attract customer engagement.

The deeper we dig into social media the more we understand the importance of including visual content such as images, videos, and infographics. Visual Content is more than 40x more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. Being able to create engaging visual content will separate you from your competitors, and will have customers sharing your information all over the web.

Visual Content

Let’s take a look at how you can effectively include images, videos, and infographics into your social media strategy!

Images

Social media can be overwhelming, the amount of information online is abundant and using images will enhance your brand. Why tell somebody about something when you can show them? Showing facts, stats, or procedures through images creates an emotional connection which makes people more likely to interact with your content.

When creating images make sure they align with your brand image and are relevant to past themes and future visions. A nice tool that we use here at Swell is Canva. For somebody like me with no design experience, Canva has unique templates that help me create an image with a unique background that can be shared quickly with any audience.

Video

4x as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product then read about it. YouTube is the second largest search engine behind Google, and it continues to grow faster than any other video sharing website in the world. Being able to repurpose your content on different platforms will make all the difference in your marketing strategy.

It’s harder today than it was in earlier years to get someone’s attention. Using animation in your videos to connect with your target audience will boost shares and further promote your brand’s messages. 51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI. Facebook’s Newsfeed algorithm is placing an enormous weight on video, so the more you use video the more likely it is to be seen!

Video Marketing

Infographics

An infographic is a visual image such as a chart or diagram used to represent data or information. The sole purpose of infographics is to help people quickly and easily understand your information. Our brain remembers 80% of what we see, 20% of what we read, and 10% of what we hear. So being able to effectively use infographics not only increases your chances of being seen, but it also increases the chance that people remember your message.

 

Setting aside a short amount of time each day to develop a plan to incorporate visual content into your marketing strategy will go a long way. Implementing one, if not all, of these tactics properly into your social media strategy will boost your engagement and have a great impact on your brand awareness. If time is a concern for you and your business, reach out to our team at Swell. We have the perfect package that will differentiate your social media strategy from others!

blogging and seo

How is Blogging Related to My SEO?

“I’m paying for SEO, isn’t blog content separate from that?”

We hear it all the time, “If I’m paying for SEO shouldn’t that be back-end web fixes and link-building?… why is blog writing a part of the package?”blogging for seo

Sure, optimization of your website’s code and increasing backlinks (etc., etc.) certainly all has to do with SEO. I would also agree that it’s the real focus of search engine optimization, but as Google continues to advance, so does its requirements for increase in rank. That’s why there has been a shift in digital strategy over the years to move towards an inbound method of ranking and gaining more customers through web.

First off if you are reading this, hopefully you understand that when we are talking about increasing in rank for Google search results we are speaking specifically to whichever keyword is entered into the search bar. This is why there is an emphasis on targeted keywords that your company would like to rank for with potential customer searches. With that in mind, let’s say you are a fencing company that wants to come up as an option for “best weatherproof fencing material”. Maybe you have a full page dedicated to all types of options for weatherproof fencing, or maybe you have only a full product page with basic product information under each one. If this potential customer is looking for some in-depth information about comparing the best fencing materials for weatherproofing, your website probably isn’t going to be the answer that has that.

Now consider that this remains the case, but you do have a blog for a year back on which materials are listed as the best for weatherproof fencing and have a comparison of each. That one blog post has a much better chance of ranking in Google for that search result, even though it isn’t one of your main webpages. With a couple of internal links added within that blog for more information on where to purchase these “weatherproofed fencing materials”, your audience now has a place to go and make a serious purchasing decision on your website.

seo analytics

That’s the basic inbound methodology behind the importance of blogging for any business website. As far as SEO is concerned, blogging is a puzzle piece within the whole sitewide equation because Google will always favor the more relevant and informative content related to a particular keyword. Hence the importance of adding well worded, in-depth content that is useful to your target audience. Blogging isn’t the only way to help ranking within search engines, there are so many other forms of providing information to customers that may be more user friendly to them like:

  • Infographics
  • White papers
  • Case Studies
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars
  • eBooks

But blogging is usually regarded as a quick way to professionally add information to a site on a regular basis. This is key because by adding fresh and updated pages to your site, it essentially sends a message to Google saying (in Jason’s words) “the lights are on”. Meaning this website is actively being updated with new content as often as possible. Blogging also provides an opportunity to include external links as well from highly-ranked pages increasing your site’s authority. Companies that do keep up with a regular blogging schedule average about 55% more website visitors monthly than companies who don’t blog at all.

When it comes down to it, search engine optimization is all about increasing your ranking in Google and other web browsers in order to increase traffic to your site. This is all complete in the client’s interest and desire to gain more qualified leads with minimal advertising spending and minimal work on their part. So while blog writing is created content, it is directly involved in the search engine ranking process. Any coding expert or SEO consultant can fix your sites basic problems and discover roadblocks – and that’s a necessary step to get accomplish, but finding the right marketing partner who understands your business and your customer is a long-term relationship that brings long-term benefits.

 

new marketing trends in 2017

7 Marketing Trends to look out for in 2017

One of the fun (and sometimes the more frustrating) parts about the marketing industry is how quickly trends turn over. With the advancement of digital communication, there is always something to be learned about and adjusted with your marketing campaign. With the beginning of the new year, let’s take a look at some of the latest digital marketing trends 2017 will have to offer.

Interactive Content

While written content remains a vital part of a healthy marketing campaign, interactive content seems to be climbing the charts in popularity. Examples of interactive content can range from online quizzes, infographics with personalized results, or interactive maps as the user toggles the mouse. While some of these projects may sound a bit overwhelming to create, there are plenty of programs available now with drag and drop type functions for creation. Programs like Ceros or SnapApp can assist you and your marketing team in creating engaging content for your online visitors.  

Social Ambassadors

Using celebrities and professional athletes to endorse a product or service is nothing new in the marketing industry, however, with the rise of social media as a form of communication, many people are now utilizing social media as a platform to share in their expertise. Those that stand out from the rest in what would be considered expert-level knowledge will have a high number of followers of their social profiles and would be considered “influencers”. Because of the interest that these self-made social celebrities create online, some companies are now sending their related products to them to be reviewed or even create partnership with by making them social ambassadors for their products.

Take makeup artist Jaclyn Hill for example. She has grown quite a following of nearly 4 million followers on Instagram. Makeup and beauty companies now send her new products to review and promote online for her followers to see.

 

instagram social ambassador jaclyn hill promotes makeup brands

 

Live Stream Video

With the social media updates of Facebook Live and Instagram Live, live video streaming is now becoming increasingly popular as a means of promotion and the online community in general. Live product reviews and live broadcast of events will only become more prevalent this year.

Native Advertising

Let’s face it, people are wising up and clicking less and less on paid display advertisements online. There is even a term now called “banner blindness” that refers to the habitual reaction of the average online reader who avoids looking at any banner advertisement online. People (your target audience) now naturally avoids looking at your display ads. This is why the solution to this marketing tactic has been to disguise or dress the ad as actual content that the viewer is engaging with. Native advertising occurs when the ad resembles non-sponsored content that follows the same form and function of the user experience in which it is placed. Consider advertisements disguised as Instagram posts while the user scrolls through their Instagram feed.

Marketing Automation

Any company with a larger sized contact list of prospects and customers will want to consider investing in a marketing automation platform in 2017. Not only do marketing automation systems have excellent email marketing capabilities, but they have the ability to track contact’s behavior on your website and through the email correspondence. Track what pages have been viewed online and for how long, see what links were clicked from the email or advertisements, segment your contacts into lists for comparing data and streamlining communication. There are a lot of great marketing automation software options to consider like Hubspot, Salesforce’s Pardot, and Sharpspring. All platforms will have their different strengths and weaknesses, so be sure to do your research for what your team needs to find the best fit.

Sharpspring email automation

Email Automation by Sharpspring

Visitor ID through Sharpspring automation software

Lead and Visitor ID tracking by Sharpspring

 

Mission Marketing (B-Corp)

One particularly popular method of business that is increasing is mission or purpose driven marketing. This method taken on by B-corporations that partner with charities and nonprofits or are large enough to have their own charitable program creates a very positive brand for companies. More consumers are choosing B-corporations when making their buying decisions, knowing that their purchase will go towards a good cause. Two successful companies that hold this model are TOMS shoes and Warby Parker. Both using the buy a pair/supply a pair to someone in need model of business.

Social Media Purchasing

Although it’s is geared toward retail companies, social media purchasing has increased sales for e-commerce sites in 2016. Not only do social media sites hold excellent marketing capabilities for advertisement of retail, they now have the option to purchase the item from the social site it is featured on. With “buy” buttons on both Facebook and Pinterest, the ability for browsers to purchase an item they want right from the social display, fast-tracking the shopping experience.

You know what they say, “new year, marketing strategy”. Yeah?

 

social media marketing campaign

Be Social For The Holidays

Just because you don’t think social media will work to your benefit over the holidays, doesn’t mean that’s true. Be the first in your industry to market this way, and you’ll be the one that’s set apart, and set ahead. Don’t be mislead to believe that people have their minds on other things this time of the year. They are geared up for shopping, and now is your chance to enter that conversation.

Don’t say Christmas. Say, Holidays.

To err on the side of caution, it’s best practices to avoid labeling the holiday break as “Christmas” or any other religious holiday unless your business is targeting a specific group of people and is religiously affiliated. Using the term “holidays” also encompasses the start of the new year!

Who is your audience’s audience?

Every post should be crafted for the most engagement possible, which means likes and shares. What does your audience think of as relevant information that they’ll want to share with their followers? Consider these questions when before posting:

    1. Will this post stop my audience’s thumb from scrolling?
    2. Will they want to like and share this post?
    3. Will this post fit in with the context of my follower’s pages? Does it fit into the content they like to share and post, while also standing out?
    4. Does it offer useful content?

Get emotional, and tell your story.

The holidays are a fuzzy-wuzzy lovey gooey shmoopy so-sentimental-I’m-going-to-puke time of year. Cash in on this! Everyone loves a good story, everyone ESPECIALLY loves a good story during the holidays. This is a great time of year to start posting about your behind the scenes moments. Talk about your employees, the history of your company, or any other tidbits that will pull at our little heart strings. Get cozy, tell us about your deepest dreams and wishes, tell us about something (or someone) you love.

  1. Think about how to connect and facilitate conversation with your users. Utilizing user-generated content, and giving your clients/customers heart-felt shout outs will help spread the warm fuzzies. The best part is, those warm fuzzies will be associated with you and your brand.
  2. Use unique visuals to make your posts stand out. We’re telling you this all the time: People aren’t attracted to text. Posts with a picture or video aren’t even worth comparing to text posts, because they will ALWAYS outperform. Think about how to contribute images that fit into the context of the season, yet stand out to your users.
  3. Consider promoting a holiday offer for your customers. It is very easy to customize a discount, sale, freebie, or other type of offer on Facebook. Feel free to reach out to us for more help on this if needed.

For more information on how to post for the most engagement during the holidays, or for other digital marketing answers feel free to reach out to us at SWELL!