As a marketer who manages your brand’s social media profiles, you know how difficult it can be to come up with engaging posts every day. This is especially true if your brand relies on content like blog posts, infographics and videos to fuel your social media pipeline.
Some brands are lucky enough to have content marketing juggernauts of either in-house or agency professionals knocking out multiple content pieces a day. But if your brand isn’t so fortunate, you need to get creative to keep your social feeds stocked with engaging posts.
Want to learn more about how repromoting content can help you keep up with the pace of social posting? Check out the full post on LSAInsider.com.
The big idea: Just because a consumer has decided on a product to buy, doesn’t mean they know where or how to make the purchase. In this blog post, we’ll cover three Content Marketing strategies to help brands deliver the right information at the right time.
For marketers, this is the moment we live for – we’ve developed our content marketing strategies, created messages to promote our brand’s products and implemented our plan. And now, because of all that work, a consumer is ready to make a purchase.
After weighing all of the options from other brands, this former-consumer, former-shopper is now a buyer who has made a purchase decision. This buyer now just needs to know how and where to complete the purchase.
Content Marketing strategies to help buyers complete purchases
Recently, we covered how much research shoppers conduct thanks to their smartphones and an abundance of digital media channels. That research doesn’t stop just because a buyer has made a decision. In the decision stage of the buying journey, buyers are still turning to their phones to conduct high-intent searches to help them complete a purchase.
When buyers conduct these types of searches – especially when they include your brand’s name in the search – it’s your game to lose. For you baseball fans out there, it’s like you’re up by three runs with two outs in the ninth. You’re set up for the win, you just need to close it out.
To avoid snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, this is where most teams would pull their starting pitcher and bring in the closer – for marketers, that’s typically paid media. However, there are plenty of ways you can use organic content to lock in a win. Here’s a three-pitch strategy for using content marketing to help buyers make a purchase.
Strike one – local listings
When marketers think about managing local listings, they don’t normally think Content Marketing. Typically, they think of optimizing and syndicating foundational elements of their listings like:
NAP – business name, address and phone number
Hours of operation
These elements are key in making sure consumers can find you when they search for your locations. But there are ways to show off your content-creation chops when it comes to local listings.
Enhance your business description
Google gives you 750 characters to work with for your Google My Business (GMB) business description – use them. Don’t just deliver a boring description, write something that sets you apart from your competitors and provides buyers the information they need to know.
Answer common questions
When consumers have questions about your business, they can ask you right from your listing. Make sure to provide detailed and helpful answers to their most pressing questions.
Add photos and video
Create high-quality images and video to showcase both your location and the products that you offer. This helps buyers know that you sell the products they want to buy.
Strike two – location pages
Another effective way to deliver the information buyers need in the decision stage is to create optimized pages on your site for each of your locations. The key is to optimize each page for both human visitors and search engine bots.
To optimize the page for human visitors, add all of the information a buyer would need to purchase one of your products:
Location-specific image – a picture of the location to make it easy for the buyer to identify
In-depth copy – detailed descriptions of the products the location sells
Calls to action – messages to inspire the buyer to take the next step towards a purchase
Product images and video – visuals that allow the buyer to see the product in action
Location data – business information that makes it easy for buyers to contact and get to the location (this data should be an exact match to the information from your local listings)
For search engines, optimize the following technical SEO elements around a specific, locally-focused keyword for each page:
Meta description – a brief description that inspires buyers to click on the page from search results
Title tag – a headline for the page that includes the main topic of the page and a geo-modifier for that location
Headlines – sub-headers throughout the page to identify secondary topics
Schema Markup – structured data to help search engines understand essential information on the page
Alt tags – descriptions of each image on the page
Strike three – FAQ pages
FAQ pages help you connect with buyers in the decision stage by addressing common speedbumps in the buying process. They’re also effective at improving your brand’s presence in search results for high-intent, long-tail queries, especially for mobile and voice searches.
The main reason FAQ pages work so well for voice search is people tend to talk more naturally, almost as if they’re talking to another person. They ask specific questions and the brands that deliver direct answers are the ones most likely to end up in Position Zero (the one and only voice-search result).
Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating your FAQ pages:
Identify your buyers’ most common questions
Provide answers to specific questions
Use categories to organize common questions
Link to pages dedicated to answering your most common questions
Provide the opportunity for buyers to ask new questions
The 2019 Search Marketing Expo (SMX) West was held in San Jose, CA at the end of January. The conference is known for touching on some of the hottest topics in search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO) and local search.
This year, some of the top minds in local search gave presentations to help multi-location brands and local businesses understand what it takes to improve their online presence. If you couldn’t make the conference, here’s a recap of a few of the biggest takeaways to guide marketers’ local search strategies for 2019 and beyond.
The most important local search ranking factor
The New Realities of Local Search session was particularly interesting as it broke down the main factors digital marketers need to consider in 2019 and how these have evolved over the years.
According to the most recent release of Moz’s Local Search Ranking Factors, Google My Business (GMB) signals are the most important ranking factor in local pack results (the map results that typically display toward the top of local search results). The significance of GMB signals increased to 25 percent in Moz’s latest survey, nine points ahead of the second most important factor.
New ways to optimize GMB signals
GMB signals include several factors local businesses can control – like proper category association and including keywords in your business title – as well as some you can’t – like proximity to the searcher. Google has spent the last year adding more GMB features that local business can control as part of an aggressive growth strategy for the product.
As we mentioned last year, Google does not want GMB to be a static product. Google’s goal for GMB is to drive user engagement, and they’ve released or improved several features to help brands engage with local consumers. Here’s a look at a few features to help enhance your local search presence.
Recently, many in the industry have been skeptical about the reduced visibility of brands’ Google Posts. And many local businesses don’t even know about posts. If you’re still unclear, here’s how Google describes Posts:
Posting through Google My Business lets you publish your events, products, and services directly to Google Search and Maps. By creating posts, you can place your timely text, video or photo content in front of customers when they find your business listing on Google.
The main purpose of Google Posts isn’t necessarily to drive clicks, it’s more about gaining visibility in the local pack from consistent posting (although driving consumer engagement is a nice added benefit).
Many brands are failing at monitoring and responding to questions in the Q&A section of their GMB profile, which is a big missed opportunity. At SMX West, Dana DiTomaso suggested possibly adding your own questions and answers that will offer useful information to the consumer. If you’re not sure what types of questions to add to this section, I suggest exporting a search query report from Google Ads and look for the most common questions consumers ask about your business.
The importance of review signals is on the rise – increasing almost 18 percent since Moz’s 2017 local search rankings. Mentions of specific services or products help promote your business and assist consumers looking at your reviews to make buying decisions. While I don’t recommend aggressively soliciting reviews, any business with a local presence should have a program in place that helps you encourage, monitor and respond to feedback from consumers.
For a comprehensive local presence, brands should consider paid search ads. Implementing a paid search strategy allows your brand to conquer more real estate in search results and appear in local, organic and paid results.
There are plenty of advertising features that are perfect for local businesses and multi-location brands. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Use every possible Google Ads extension like location extensions, callout extensions and call extensions to encourage online and off-line conversions
Use location-based (geographic) keywords in your ad copy
Implement pilots, or small tests, to identify which advertising campaigns work best for your brand before making a meaningful ad buy
Leverage “pin ads” on competitor locations for awareness and conquesting
Fighting local search spam
In another SMX West session, Conrad Saam discussed several ways businesses try to trick Google with tactics like photoshopped images, keyword-stuffed business names and fake reviews. For example, because data shows that consumers favor attorneys with offices near them, attorneys without physical locations provide spoofed information to Google to have their listing show as a physical location.
It’s crucial for brands with a local presence to fight back hard against these spamming techniques. If you experience local search spamming, there are a few ways to address the issue (Saam cautions to do so as anonymously as possible):
Report false addresses as spam on Google Maps
Suggest an edit to keyword-stuffed business names
Flag fake reviews on Google
Local search is as important as ever
Organic marketing efforts like local search optimization often take a back seat to paid media efforts. Local SEO is, however, a foundational component of any digital marketing strategy for multi-location brands and local businesses. If your brand needs help getting started, contact Mindstream Media Group today to learn how we crush the local search game for tens of thousands of locations across the country.
Social media advertising on sites like Facebook has become a common strategic play for franchisors, who are seeing both brand awareness and lead generation campaigns work well there. But for individual franchisees, buying social ads — let alone video advertising — it can be intimidating with all the strategic nuances, creative assets and copy required, and budget to consider.
While you may not have realized it, one of the most popular social networks – and one of the more advantageous for franchise advertising – is YouTube. Not sure if YouTube is for you? Here are five things you need to know before making YouTube part of your franchisee media mix.
Want to learn more about using YouTube to advertise your franchise business? Check out the full post on Franchising.com
Last week, we discussed how brands can use organic content to boost consumer awareness. This week, we examine how brands can amplify their content marketing strategy to reach people in the next stage of the consumer buying journey – consideration.
Think about your last major purchase. What prompted it? How did you discover which products were available to buy? Where did you go to research those options? Why did you decide to buy one product over the others?
If you’re like most consumers, you probably conducted most of that research online, likely on your phone. Thanks to smartphones, consumers have 24/7 access to a growing number of digital media platforms. This access to information has effectuated change throughout the buying journey, especially in the consideration stage when consumers are able to conduct more in-depth research than ever before.
How to use organic content to turn shoppers into buyers
As a marketer trying to convince shoppers to buy your products, it’s important to understand what types of information they need in this stage. Then, you have to be able to deliver.
In the consideration stage, shoppers are conducting specific research about an upcoming purchase and narrowing down their list of options. They’re asking specific questions and expect to find customized answers. This research often includes conducting online searches, watching videos on YouTube and reading in-depth content pieces on both brand and publisher platforms.
The brands that do the best job at delivering the information consumers need are the ones whose products will soar to the top of consumers’ lists. The brands that don’t provide that info will most likely end up on the chopping block.
There’s a variety of ways your brand can leverage organic content to deliver this information. We’ll take an in-depth look at three of the organic content pieces below to give you an idea of how to create the right messaging for shoppers in the consideration stage.
No. 1: Optimizing your product pages for the consideration stage
Product pages on your website are foundational pieces of organic content to help shoppers in the consideration stage. These pages serve several important functions:
Providing shoppers with the information they need about your products to make a purchase decision.
Acting as an information hub for all of the content pieces you create about a specific product.
Improving your search engine rankings for searches related to a specific product.
To get the full value out of the pages, you need to make sure each one of your brand’s product pages is optimized for both shoppers and search engines.
Tips to optimize product pages for shoppers
Provide all the information a consumer could need including product specifications, descriptions of key features and pricing/buying details.
Add images and videos to help shoppers visualize your products and see them in action.
Optimize the page’s layout to make the copy easy to read and scan on mobile devices.
Increase the speed of your product pages to keep shoppers from abandoning your site and moving on to the next brand.
SEO tips for product and service pages
Identify the terms and phrases shoppers use to search for your products and optimize each page’s technical SEO elements based on those keywords.
Optimize title tags to help search engines understand the main topic of your product pages and grab shoppers attention when the page appears in search results.
Write impactful meta descriptions with strong calls-to-action to inspire shoppers to visit your page when they see the description in search results.
Add structured data like Schema Markup to help search engines understand essential information about your products.
Include alt tags on your product pictures to help search engines understand the images.
No. 2: Creating videos to explain your products
When done right, product videos are becoming an increasingly effective resource for shoppers in the consideration stage.
Videos aren’t just an effective visual to help site visitors understand your products, they also help you spread your message across a variety of digital channels. After creating videos of your products in action, you can upload them to YouTube and promote them across social media channels.
No. 3: Developing long-form content pieces for in-depth details
A particularly powerful tool for B2B marketers, long-form content like infographics, case studies e-books and white papers provide shoppers with in-depth information about your products and showcase how they’ve helped others.
But there’s a catch, long-form pieces usually take more time to create than other organic content. To make sure your efforts don’t go to waste, here are a few ways to aggressively promote and leverage each piece of long-form content you create.
Promoting long-form content on social media
Promote your long-form content pieces on all applicable social media sites. Depending on the topic and format of the piece, it’s important to think beyond the traditional B2B lineup of LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to sites like Pinterest, Instagram, SlideShare, etc.
Repromoting long-form content
The organic reach of brand posts on social media has been declining for some time. To combat this drop, try promoting certain content pieces multiple times to reach your followers. For one of our B2B clients, repromoting long-form content like white papers, as well as blogs, led to a significant increase in engagement.
Creating long-form content pieces leaves you with a plethora of information, data and graphics. Here are a few ideas to help you get the most out of those elements:
Create animated videos to summarize and promote long-form pieces
Break e-books and white papers into chapters and publish them as blog posts
Create blog posts to summarize infographics for added SEO value
For each repurposed piece you create, make sure to include links and/or contact forms for users to download the full long-form content pieces.
Interested in amplifying your brand’s organic content to reach shoppers in the consideration stage? Contact Mindstream Media Group today to learn how our Content Marketing and Creative Services can Fast-Forward Your Business.
Recently, we looked at the role of organic content in the new consumer buying journey. To help marketers put this information to use, we’re now going to dive deeper into each stage of the buying journey. In this post, we examine how organic content can help increase brand awareness and get consumers moving in the right direction.
An overview of the awareness stage
The awareness stage is perhaps the most critical leg of the buying journey for consumers. After all, consumers have to realize they need to buy something before making any purchase. And, to buy something from a specific brand, consumers need to know that the brand exists.
Using organic content to increase brand awareness
In the awareness stage, consumers are just starting their buying journey and often have a lot of questions about the purchase. When done right, organic content pieces can help your brand answer those questions and build a rapport with consumers. Here are a few examples of organic content strategies your brand should be using to engage with consumers in the awareness stage.
Create informative and optimized blog posts
In the awareness stage, consumers aren’t necessarily looking for in-depth product detail, they typically want more high-level information. Instead of creating content about the features and benefits of your products, try publishing blog posts that answer common questions consumers have about them.
To explain what we mean here, let’s look at an example of how we’ve used this strategy for one of our clients – AT&T Experience. Last year, we worked with the brand to generate traffic to their site ahead of the new iPhone launch. Rather than pushing out content promoting deals or specific features of the new models, we created blog posts designed to answer popular search queries about the iPhone in general.
Months before the launch, we published a blog post with a timeline of Apple iPhone launches. The blog post wasn’t designed to sell phones, it was just an informative piece about the history of the iPhone. There was no paid search promotion around the piece. But, by employing SEO best practices, we were able to earn the post a coveted featured snippet result on Google.
As the launch grew nearer, iPhone-related queries spiked as the post climbed to the top of several search result pages. The result was thousands of new visitors to the site with an average time spent on the page of almost 7 minutes. The influx of visitors and the time they spent on the page indicated there was a lot of interest in the topic and people found our piece valuable. By the time the new iPhones launched, the monthly web traffic numbers to the post were up considerably.
Produce more video content
If you’re still not using video to increase brand awareness, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. Today’s consumers are increasingly turning to online video to find information about products and discover new brands.
One of the best examples of a brand using video content to boost awareness is Dollar Shave Club’s introduction video. The relatively low-budget production (the video cost DSC just $4,500 to produce) has racked up more than 26 million views on YouTube to date.
In 2012, the brand entered a crowded marketplace and needed a message that would help them stand out from other razor companies. Producing a generic commercial about the quality of their razors wasn’t going to cut it. So the brand eschewed standard product promotion in favor of a video highlighting their unique personality. DSC used a dancing bear, an upbeat employee named Alejandro and their machete-wielding CEO to differentiate their brand from other razor companies. And, to really make the video stand out, the company introduced a tagline that consumers could not easily forget: “Our blades are f**cking great.”
But if your brand doesn’t have the factory space or access to dancing bears to create a 90-second feature like this one, there are simpler options. For example, here’s a recent video we produced here at Mindstream Media Group. It’s concise, visually appealing and perfect for social media audiences.
Improve your social media presence
Social media platforms are a great place for your brand to engage with audiences of potential and existing customers. But when using social media in the awareness stage, it’s important to think beyond your existing followers since these users are most likely already familiar with your brand. To increase brand awareness on social media, you need to create content that your existing audiences find interesting enough to share, re-tweet and distribute out to their followers.
Here are a few tips to help you create social media posts that grab users’ attention, get them talking and generate a buzz.
Use eye-catching visuals
Social media users typically scroll their feeds at lightning speed, giving you just a split second to grab their attention. To increase the chances of them noticing your message, make sure to add eye-catching images or video to each post.
Tag others to amplify your posts
Tagging people in your social media posts is an easy way to get your message out to their followers and reach new audiences. It also increases the likelihood that they’ll like, share or comment on your post.
Leverage the power of hashtags
Adding hashtags to your posts makes them searchable and easier for new audiences to find. But randomly adding a bunch of hashtags to your posts isn’t good enough. You need to be strategic with which hashtags you use and how many tags you include in each post.
Number of hashtags per post vs. average engagement per post
While creating blogs, video and social media posts are a good start, we’ve only scratched the surface on all the ways you can use organic content to increase brand awareness. If you’re interested in implementing a holistic organic content strategy, contact Mindstream Media Group today to learn how our Content Marketing campaigns can Fast-Forward Your Business.