Blogs You Should Stop Writing in 2014

We’re already halfway through January, and we have already lived through the Best of 2013 lists. Now the “Things to Watch For in 2014” lists have all but sent us out into the streets armed with improvised month-old fruitcake weapons. January 17th is Ditch Your New Year’s Resolution Day, meaning that this Friday will be the best time to get rid of something annoying. With that in mind, let’s start with some blog posts.

blogpicSeriously, still? That’s right, I’m looking at you, fellow bloggers. Sometimes you create less-than-stellar blog posts, but you can still avoid the biggest sins. These are the big five when it comes to social media blog posts.

  • Obvious optimization techniques: You mean I can really just pay Facebook to boost a post? Well, thank you so much for that tip! Social media marketing is still a new and innovative environment, but it’s hardly the Wild West anymore. We all know to check Facebook Insights for optimum post times.

Solution: Share something that you personally do to improve your social media management. Perhaps you’ve made Twitter lists for all your competitors. Share that. It may not work for everyone, but at least it’s something new.

  • Insanely long list blogs. Hey, I know lists are our bread and butter for content. But the truth of the matter is the average adult’s attention span is only about five minutes. Worse still, less than half of the online audience reads anything beyond 100 words on a website. And less than a third of all viewers of this blog (28%) will finish it. With such short focus, do you really want to test their patience with 57 More Ways to Attract Your Audience?

Solution: Don’t repeat yourself. Be brief. If you really do have 57 pieces of useful content, do everyone a favor and make a series about it.

  • Explaining Social Media Platforms: This one is really about knowing your audience. Anyone that has sought out your blog probably knows what Twitter is. The most recent case of this was the Edward Snowden coverage. Every other blog post re-explained who he was and why the reader should care about the situation, despite the meat of these stories being about something very specific or current.

Solution: Get to the point. If you have someone relevant, just say it. All of your readers have access to Google; they’ll look something up if they aren’t familiar with it.

  • Social Media is like… Please stop trying to say social media is like everything. It’s not. You’re not Forrest Gump, and it’s not inventive anymore. Sure, I’m a little guilty of this, but I was at least a little clever about it. I also didn’t stretch the metaphor like a pair of two year old skinny jeans.

Solution: Ask yourself, does this really fit? Because if you have to work too hard on the connection, it’s not. You went on a cave diving trip and we’re glad for you. You can always do some social media research on the way home. Don’t torture it into a blog post.

  • Exaggerating Your Optimization: If you have a foolproof way to get all of your readers a million Twitter followers, I doubt you’d be writing a free blog about it. Exaggerating the usefulness of your content seems unprofessional and spammy.

Solution: Be honest and show your work. If you’ve had real luck with using text-only Facebook posts, tell your readers how much that has helped you (in numbers) and perhaps show an image of how many fans it reached.

Social media marketing is going to get very crowded in the near future. Trying to get past the wall of noise will be hard enough for someone with useful content so don’t clog up the pipes even more with these posts. Think outside the blog and come up with something cool.

What blog posts are you sick of seeing? Comment below or message me on Twitter at @mendal187.

Conquer Content in 2014

You’ve probably heard the buzz phrases “content is king” and “content marketing” over and over again in the past few months. If it wasn’t already obvious, content is the heart and soul to everything online. In 2014, content will also be the key to SEO. Everything we publish is content, from Instagram to blogs to Twitter. As a business, you can’t escape content if you want to stay ahead of the marketing curve.

Think of your content marketing plan as a hub and spoke model.

hub-and-spoke-marketing1

The center of the model (the hub) should be your website which contains the content that you create. The spokes are all the different ways you can distibute that content, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Email Marketing, contests, Pinterest and any other social networks you use. You use all the “spokes” to bring consumers back in to the hub, aka your website. Through your website, your content should give a call to action, eventually leading consumers to a sale.

So what makes for intriguing, shareable online content that will draw potential customers to your brand? Here are a few suggestions to set you apart from the competition:

  • Negative Headlines. Don’t underestimate the power of a negative headline. Negative titles can work brilliantly for bringing in traffic. For example: 20 things you shouldn’t be sharing on Twitter. Sometimes, a negative headline will draw in more readers than a positive one.
  • Reviews. I’m not talking about a single product or restaurant review, but put together a compilation of reviews in one blog. Maybe you’ve been researching what type of vacuum to buy. Review 10 different vacuums, include product screenshots and save people time from reviewing each one individually.
  • Evergreen Content. Is your blog content as valuable one year down the road as it is today? You should have a mix of evergreen items and news topics on your blog so that it doesn’t date quickly. This way, you can repurpose your content or link back to previous blogs.
  • How-To Information. Some of the most shared content topics on social media are how-to videos and tutorials. If you sell a product, create how-to instructions for using your product in real life scenarios or to solve everyday problems. You can even use a how-to video for customer service if a user has an issue. These are fairly simply to make but very effective.
  • User-Generated Content. Do you sell a service or product that can change someone’s life? Have you customers create testimonials or short blogs about how your product has helped them and why others should buy it. User-generated content costs nothing to create…someone else is creating it for you! It also urges your customers to share it because it spotlights individuals, who will share with their online communities. Everyone loves getting their 15 minutes of fame.

If you need help creating valuable, quality content on your blog, contact us for help. What kind of content do you use on your blog that performs well?

What’s in Store for Social Media in 2014

Does your brand have New Year’s resolutions for 2014? Do you know what will be trending next year? Here are a few marketing trends you can expect in 2014:

  • A budget for social media will be a must these days. Yes, it is free to create and manage social media accounts but with a lot of these social media companies going public, they will need to start making money to keep their shareholders happy. Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and the American Management Association recently did a study and found that in August 2013, social marketing spending accounted for an average of about 6.6% of marketer budgets.In 2014, that share is expected to rise to 9.1%, and in the next five years, marketers expected social to account for 15.8% of spending.
  • Start paying closer attention to your analytics. Check what’s trending each day and engage in conversations about topics that are relevant to your company. Be cautious on straying too far from trending topics that have little to do with what your company represents. Engagement should be natural and commenting on a random topic will come off as forced or a publicity stunt.
  • Content marketing is critical. Google’s new search algorithm, Hummingbird, uses “conversational search” which brings up better results based on the way we speak. Simply put, you will need to have quality content that is published frequently. The steady rise of platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram and Google+ will make pictures matter more than text. Your content is much more valuable when it is shared and according to Kissmetrics, photos get 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs than posts that only have text.
  • While photos are easily the most shared content, micro video is becoming very dominant in visual storytelling. With Vine only allowing 6 seconds of video and Instagram allowing 15, it will take some creativity to correctly get your message across. But with Instagram being owned by Facebook and Vine owned by Twitter, these marketing tools will only increase in popularity.
  • User-generated content is a great way to get your fans to be a part of your company. One example of this is having your customersupload photos to Instagram with a relevant hashtag so that other people can see them using your product. Having your fans take an active role in your marketing is a cost-effective strategy.

2014 will surely be a visual year for social media marketing. What other trends are you predicting?  Feel free to leave me a comment or connect with me on Twitter.