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Monthly Archives: April 2018

How to Manage and Analyze Your Social Media Marketing in 1 Dashboard

Need a better way to manage your social media marketing activities? Looking for a tool to show you performance metrics from multiple accounts in one place? In this article, you’ll discover how to use Cyfe to organize and analyze your social media marketing activities across several top networks and content channels. Why Use a Social [...]

This post How to Manage and Analyze Your Social Media Marketing in 1 Dashboard first appeared on Social Media Examiner.

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Crushing Conclusions: Why Content Marketers Shouldn’t Skip the Ending

Importance of Conclusions in Content Marketing

Importance of Conclusions in Content Marketing

We marketing writers spend a lot of time crafting a piece of content. In fact, according to Orbit Media’s most recent blogger survey, most writers spend about three and half hours crafting one blog post—which is a one-hour jump from its first report in 2014, highlighting to me the focus on quality over quantity of output.

But let’s be honest, regardless of how long we spend on a piece of content, we have our priorities in terms of how we spend that time. The title, while just a few words, is how we grab audience attention or entice the click. The introduction is how we hook the readers. And, of course, the body is at the heart of it all where we make good on everything we’ve promised in the headline and introduction.

But when it comes to tying it all up with a solid conclusion, I’d argue that many of us aren’t giving that component the thought and care it deserves.

In today’s crowded content landscape and increasing numbness to marketing messages, we can’t afford to leave any opportunity for engagement, connection, and conversions on the table. So for me, conclusions shouldn’t be an afterthought, but rather an essential marketing storytelling element for three main reasons—which is something I detail in this little video shoot I did with TopRank Marketing President Susan Misukanis.

Take a peek at my video debut if you want the Cliff's Notes, but I encourage you to keep reading to get more depth and examples that can inspire the next piece you craft.

3 Reasons Conclusions Deserve Content Marketing Care

#1 – Content consumption is bite-sized.

First of all, it’s no secret that humans have short attention spans. How short? Roughly 8 seconds. And in an age of so much content at our fingertips, so much content that is ready to be consumed—it’s overwhelming. As a result—whether we’re curious about a new trend, researching something we may need to purchase, professional development—we often scan or skim content to get satisfy our need for credible, quality content in the shortest amount of time.

All that said, there are absolutely moments when we’re willing to commit to diving deeper and give something our full attention—which brings me to my next point.

#2 – If we’ve done our jobs and we’ve enticed a reader to the end, we absolutely want to leave them with something of value.

At a minimum, you should be circling back to your main points to give your audience a great summary and then providing them with a next step. Depending on your industry, audience, topic and stage in the funnel, there’s a few different considerations here:

The Engagement Play

Keeping folks on-page and encouraging them to interact with the content. The easiest example here is asking a thought-provoking question that relates to the topic and gives readers a chance to lend their voice.

Here’s an example from my recent post regarding Facebook’s latest algorithm changes and what they meant for influencer marketing.

As you can read, there’s a summary, actionable next steps from a takeaway and other reading standpoint, and then a related question to encourage discussion.

Engaging Conclusion Example for Content Marketers

The Emotional Play

Appealing to your reader’s emotions by leaving them with a little food for thought, inspiration or encouragement is a great way to reinforce every word up until that point and create a more personal connection. From my perspective, this route is especially great for thought leadership pieces.

In my journalism days, one of my go-to tactics here was to end with a compelling quote from one of my sources. I’d bring it all back together and then frost it with an interesting, uplifting, or sometimes a little heart-wrenching quote to really drive it home.

Here’s a subtle example from the *LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog. Titled Play Ball! How Marketers Can Apply the Principles of Spring Training and Experimentation, this baseball-themed post discusses how marketers can use spring training as inspiration for validating and optimizing social ad campaigns. With baseball season kicking off, the metaphor itself has a great hook for appealing to their audience’s interests.

When it comes to the conclusion, the minimum best practices of circling back and providing a summary are in play. And it’s done with the inspirational, “you can do it” sentiment woven throughout. Then the final line—”Step on up to the plate and give it a try”—gives readers “permission” to try a little something new. Of course, there’s a related CTA, too.

Emotion Evoking Conclusion Example for Content Marketers

The Tactical Play

This one is simple and probably one of the most widely used. This is all about giving readers something to do next. You’ve addressed a pain point or issue, you’ve offered insights and some solutions, but now the question is: What do they do next?

I want to be careful to say that this isn’t just a simple call to action. The conclusion should absolutely lead them to believe that the end CTA is worth their time.

Here’s a lovely example from TopRank Marketing’s Anne Leuman. Her recent post on search marketing integration, which featured a philosophical theme, she reinforces her main point and highlights key benefits. When it comes time to deliver the next step, she uses a “but wait there’s more” approach that tells the reader they have more integration possibilities to discover.

Tactical Conclusion Example for Content Marketers

Play Integration

These three plays don’t stand alone. They can be played with and combined to fit your topic, audience, and natural next steps for readers.

In our own Nick Nelson recent post In a World of Diminishing Trust, Data-Driven Marketers Can Turn the Tide, Nick tackles consumer mistrust and what that means for marketers moving forward. He begins with data-mishap story, outlines the trust issue, talks about the solution, and then it’s time for the conclusion where he artfully leverages a combination of the plays above.

His first few paragraphs tug at the emotional and inspirational heartstrings, but also delivers tactical value with next steps and takeaways.

Conclusion Example from Nick Nelson

But his final line really drives it all home:

Final Line of Nick Nelson Conclusion

Finally, the related CTA isn’t just a simple “Read more” line.

CTA in Nick Nelson Conclusion

#3 – Every great story has a great ending.

Last, and certainly not least—and although it may sound a little hokey: Every great story has a great ending. No actually, every great story deserves a great ending. Period.

In Conclusion …

< Wow. No pressure or anything. >

We marketing writers are dedicated to our craft, spending hours to develop click-worthy headlines, compelling hooks and valuable body copy. But let’s not forget that every great story needs to have a great ending.

At a minimum, you should be circling back to your main points to give your audience a thoughtful summary and then providing them with a next step. And depending on your industry, topic, audience, and stage in the funnel, you should blend tactics to leave readers with something of value—whether that be inspiration, food for thought, actionable nexts steps or takeaways, or a little mix of everything.

The bottom line? Take it from the Master of Conclusions, Tom Smykowski:

Don't Skip the Conclusion Meme

Looking for ways to up your writing productivity, while also delivering on quality? Getting started can be the hardest part, so why not start with your conclusion? Get more content productivity hacks to help you take creation from failing to flying high.

What are your thoughts on the importance of conclusions? Do you agree with me? Disagree? Share your thoughts on the subject.

*LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Crushing Conclusions: Why Content Marketers Shouldn’t Skip the Ending appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Use Customer Lifetime Value to Clone a Facebook Audience

Need to increase the effectiveness of your Facebook ads? Want to target better-quality audiences with your ads? In this article, you’ll discover how to reach a highly targeted lookalike audience of your best customers using Facebook custom audiences and lifetime value. #1: Prepare Your Current Customer Data for Optimal Match Rate in Facebook The first [...]

This post How to Use Customer Lifetime Value to Clone a Facebook Audience first appeared on Social Media Examiner.

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Facebook and Instagram Data and Privacy Updates

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, Erik Fisher and Kim Reynolds explore Facebook ad improvements and changes with Amanda Bond, Facebook and Instagram data and [...]

This post Facebook and Instagram Data and Privacy Updates first appeared on Social Media Examiner.

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Digital Marketing News: CMO Diversity Shortfalls, Goo.gl Retirement, Facebook’s New A/B Tests

Brands Fail to Meet the ANA’s Diversity Goals, Too Progress has been strong in CMO gender balance while ethnic diversity continues to face significant shortfalls, according to new research from the Association of National Advertisers and its inaugural CMO scorecard. While 45 percent of top marketer positions examined in the ANA member data were female, [...]

The post Digital Marketing News: CMO Diversity Shortfalls, Goo.gl Retirement, Facebook’s New A/B Tests appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to View Full Conversion Details in LinkTrackr

Having the ability to track conversion is essential when it comes to gauging your marketing efforts, but having the ability to go even further is what sets Linktrackr apart from other tracking services. Not only are you able to see basic conversion stats in Linktrackr, but you’re also able to see the entire history of […]

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Chat and Messenger Bots: New Research for Marketers

Wondering why chatbots are gaining popularity? Interested in how savvy businesses are using bots to improve communications with their customers? In this article, you’ll discover insights from research that show how bots are evolving and affecting customer service experiences across many industries. #1: Bot Technology Is Changing How Businesses Communicate Many companies in a variety [...]

This post Chat and Messenger Bots: New Research for Marketers first appeared on Social Media Examiner.

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Mental Cost: Your customers pay more than just money

If you don’t understand them well, mental costs can be detrimental to conversion because they add to the cost of the decision beyond just the price of a product.

The post Mental Cost: Your customers pay more than just money appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

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To Gate, or Not to Gate? Answers to an Age-Old Digital Marketing Question

When Not to Gate Your Content

When Not to Gate Your Content

Modern marketers understand that quality, engaging and relevant content is at the core of any integrated digital marketing strategy. After all, in a world where consumers are increasingly self-directed in researching their options to make purchasing decisions, that quality, engaging and relevant content aids their journey and decision-making.

But let’s face it. While marketers want to inform and engage their audience, they ultimately want to generate viable leads to meet their goals and grow their respective businesses. Oftentimes, that means deciding when, where and how to gate certain content assets. In fact, perhaps one of the most common questions we get from our book of clients is: “Should I gate my content?”

The answer? It depends.

It depends on your objectives. It depends on your brand or product’s maturity in the marketplace. It depends on your content ecosystem. It depends on the “content of the content.” And it depends on your lead nurturing capabilities.

As a result, strategic decision-making is crucial, otherwise your content may never see the light of day. With that said, there are several situations where we believe gated content should be left off the table.

#1 -  When you’re looking to build brand awareness.

Simply put, if you’re hoping to get eyeballs on your content and drive traffic and on-page engagement, give your content away “for free.”

If you’re an emerging brand or part of a younger or smaller company, brand awareness is an important step in building your audience. By providing your prospects with great, accessible content throughout the funnel, you can plant seeds and strengthen your perceived value—which can pay off later.

For more established brands, you know that just because you have high visibility and a strong reputation doesn’t mean a focus on brand awareness is no longer necessary. Awareness is still key for growing your audience, staying top of mind or gaining share of voice when a new product or service is released into the wild. So, if you’re creating content with the goal of strengthening awareness at the top and middle of the funnel, leave it ungated.

[bctt tweet="Simply put, if you’re hoping to get eyeballs on your content and drive traffic and on-page engagement, give your content away “for free.” - @Alexis5484 #DigitalMarketing #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

#2 - When your brand, product or service is new to market.

This point is particularly important for startups or rising brands in a competitive marketplace.

For those pioneering a new field, you’re likely up against little to no demand for your product or service—meaning you’ve created a solution for a problem your audience doesn’t know they have yet. So, how can you expect someone to “pay” for content if they don’t know anything about your purpose, function or value?

For those rising brands in more established sectors, you’re likely competing with well-known or long-standing brands the same share of voice. And while you may be desperate for leads, providing quality, relevant content for “free” is where you should start in order to stand out.

#3 - When you don’t have quality, ungated content to bolster a gated asset.

When you gate a content asset, you’re signaling to your audience that what you’re offering is of premium value; content that requires a bit of payment to be enjoyed. So at the very least, you need to ask yourself if the content is truly valuable and worthy of that payment.

In addition, you need to make sure that your “free” content is up to par, too. Think of it this way: Your ungated content serves as an appetizer for your audience, allowing them to gauge whether their entree, a gated ask, may be worth it. So, it’s important to ensure you have a strong ecosystem of ungated content to bolster any gated content. It’s as simple as that.

[bctt tweet="It’s important to ensure you have a strong ecosystem of ungated content to bolster any gated content. - @Alexis5484 #DigitalMarketing #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"]

#4 - When you don’t have a thoughtful nurture strategy in place.

We’ve established that all marketers are hungry for leads and gated content helps satisfy that hunger. But once you get those new leads in, do you have a lead nurturing strategy in place to support them?

If your plan only involves a standard “thank you” email and then sending the names off to sales, you’re not ready to gate an asset. You need to put together an automated email nurture first, as well as tracking and testing, to make sure you can optimize and personalize the experience for prospects.

#5 - When you’ve co-created content with influencers.

When you co-create a piece of content or asset with influencers, you want them to be proud of the finished product and ultimately share it with their followings. However, in our experience, if that content is behind a wall they’ll be far less likely to promote it.

Why? For a couple reasons:

  1. If your influencer partnerships were unpaid, some may feel uncomfortable with you “charging” for their content and expertise—especially if it comes as a surprise at launch. Or they may feel like they deserve further compensation, which you probably haven’t budgeted for.
  2. Your influencers have more skin in the game if your content is gated. Think about it. If they’re promoting a gated asset to their followings, they’re sending the signal that this content is premium. If at the end of the day they don’t feel it’s worthy of payment, they may not share.

Now, there is a slight caveat to this. If you’ve developed an integrated influencer content campaign with multiple content types, a gated asset may be mixed in there. However, something needs to be left ungated not only to demonstrate value to your target audience, but also to make it easy for influencers to share.

Gate With Care

Gated content absolutely has a place in the digital marketing mix. But you need to be thoughtful and strategic when choosing which assets to gate—otherwise you run the risk of investing time and resources into content that stays mostly hidden.

So, as you ponder whether to gate or not to gate, consider your objectives, market position and industry, current content ecosystem, nurture strategy, and influencer partners. This will help you see the bigger picture, while also enabling you to align your objectives and expectations.

Looking for a way to build and bolster your content marketing strategy? Check out these seven steps for documenting your strategy.

What other factors do you consider when choosing to gate an asset? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

The post To Gate, or Not to Gate? Answers to an Age-Old Digital Marketing Question appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Create a Facebook Local Event for Your Business

Do you market a local business on Facebook? Have you heard about the Facebook Local app? In this article, you’ll discover how to use Facebook Local to create events that drive in-store foot traffic. What Is the Facebook Local App? Facebook Local (iOS and Android) was previously the stand-alone Events app before Facebook rebranded it [...]

This post How to Create a Facebook Local Event for Your Business first appeared on Social Media Examiner.

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