Content Promotion Checklist: 15 Things to Mark Off Before Going Live This Summer

content promotion checklist

Ah, beautiful summer. We’re breaking out our sunscreen and laptop protectors to soak in the sun while hustling away. Why, you ask? In the big old business world, the summer season is really the summer promotion season. While your typical summertime checklists may include items for the perfect road trip, gear for an upcoming music festival, or groceries and drinks for your next barbecue, we had a little something else in mind.

Check out our summer content promotion checklist to make sure that every content marketing campaign during the season is put live to absolute perfection, and gets you the engagement, reach, and conversions that your team desires.

1. Outline first, always.

Honestly, this is one you should already know. Defining your goals clearly and putting together actionable steps to go from concept to execution is super important to make sure your promotion goes off without a hitch. At its lowest and most basic form, you should have a step-by-step put together that outlines all the major milestones for your promotion, along with dated timelines and metric-based goals.

2. Prep your content

The types of promotion-friendly content that pull in huge SEO waves and potential, qualified new customers, can include well-crafted blog posts or articles, storytelling pieces, case studies, webinars, demo videos, viral videos, podcasts, or whatever else resonates with your audience. Just make sure that you have the right resources to commit to getting this content done to make sure it’s done well!

3. Don’t forget the visuals

Depending on your mode of promotion, take advantage of experimenting with different types of visuals to engage with different people within your audience — GIFs, video clips, stop-motion animations, illustrations, and photos are all visual media types that can be created to connect with those you’re promoting to. Have someone who has design chops to help you out here, or check out tools like Canva,

4. Optimize for search

While often times a long-tail effort, you’ll find that focusing on SEO, and even more specifically on deep linking efforts, while promoting and targeting is one of the most direct ways to reach qualified customers. Always run your targeted keywords through the Moz Keyword Explorer to make sure you’re hitting the right targets, and run your landing page through Can I Rank? to make sure your goals are attainable.

5. Double-check those discounts and tracking links

Are all of the tracking links that you need set up accurately? Test them again.

Are your coupon or discount codes live? Make sure of it.

6. Share on social

Once your content is live, the first step should be to share on your social media channels. Make sure your copy is on point for the audience that you’re trying to connect with (either broadscale or more niche, targeted segments) and that you’re writing to reach the correct audience in every way – from the grammar to the emojis.

7. Blast to your email list

Even if your goal is to acquire new users, never underestimate the power of sharing with your existing audience first – even encourage them to share if they feel like it. Send out an email to your current subscriber base, and A/B test subject line, visuals, or even main body content to test out what works best for your current crowd.

8. Set up a dedicated landing page

In the event you need to capture leads more effectively, sometimes it’s easier to set up a targeted landing page to include all the information you need to show. We love to use Unbounce to put together quick, professional looking, easy-to-tweak landing pages to direct people to from an ad, cross-promotion, or another outside source.

9. Submit to relevant sources online

List of some sources for different types of content: video, blog, white paper, case study, webinar, presentation, etc

Forums, syndication sites, link roundups, etc

10. Develop an outreach plan 

Once you’ve submitted to the sites you can and have reached out to everyone in your network currently, it may be time to put an outreach plan together to get your content into more qualified hands. This in-depth guide from Moz shows you how to set up and get started with a link building outreach plan that’ll work for you.

11. Do your outreach (and don’t forget the follow-ups)

What you’ll also find in the handy Moz guide mentioned above is a helpful tip: do your outreach perfectly and never forget to follow up with people and businesses that you’ve reached out to.

Their guide also includes some ideas for researching the right targets, getting organized, and even provides templates for outreach that have proven to work for many industries.

12. Consider paid options

Paid advertising is needed more and more often to get the right reach in terms of qualified viewers online. Use the easy tools available to you, like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn ads to promote your content to targeted audiences. You can also tap into the heavy-duty powers of Adwords and Bing to really work on your display ads. No matter what route you choose, make sure those tracking links are used!

13. Rework and repurpose for other mediums

One piece of content can so easily be made into five. You can (and should, often times) turn your written content into a video post or presentation, and turn your media-based content into text, too. Having a full spread of the text and media for your content will improve SEO and engagement at the same time, with little to no efforts. We’ve tried out Lumen5 to transform our blogs into shareable videos, and use services like TranscribeMe to transcribe videos for YouTube SEO.

14. Step away and let the magic happen

Often the hardest part, once everything is out in the wild, is to let it do its thing without intervention. With a well thought out strategy and execution of the steps above, you should already be in a good place to put things on autopilot for a week or two before taking a look at how things are performing. The exception to this rule, of course, is to check in and make sure everything is at least working.

15. Gather up that data

Without the numbers, what was the whole point? Measure your success against your goals, then rinse and repeat.

 

Ready for the summer, or feeling overwhelmed? Drop your thoughts and feelings in the comments below and we’ll help you through it. 

7 Brand Voice Exercises to Keep Your Business Healthy

Brand Voice exercises

Every time your company puts something out into the world, it’s using its voice; every social media post, every video clip, every press release, every website tweak. What you do with that brand voice, and especially what its voice sounds like, is one of the biggest things you can do for the prolonged health of your brand.

Defining your brand isn’t an easy task – neither is developing the brand voice around it. Truthfully, it’s best come at from an all-hands-on-deck perspective in a lot of cases. Those who are closest to the core values and mission of the company will have a genuine interest in creating a brand voice that’s powerful, positive, and productive.

There’s a lot you can do to help identify your brand voice or take another look if things are feeling stale. Here are just some of the best exercises we’ve used and recommended over the years of consulting to develop and maximize the reach of your brand voice.

1. Build marketing personas

This should be a no-brainer, but we’re mentioning it for all of the kids in the back of the class. Before you can figure out what your brand voice should be, you have to have a foundation for understanding who you are trying to talk to – your customers. We’re talking doing the research and assigning a personality to each major audience segment; make illustrations of each one if you need to better visualize. The more you can personify each “type” of consumer that wants what you’re selling, the easier it is to develop the type of voice and messaging that resonates with them.

2. Hold a descriptor brainstorm

Hear us out, these types of brainstorms are actually really fun – think of it like a really specific improv session in your conference room. For this exercise, everyone participating should have something to write with/on, and a timer should be set to about 10-15 minutes. The object here is to come up with as many adjectives you can that accurately describe your brand. Then, everyone can compare to see where descriptors and ideas overlap.

Go through the list and stop on each word, asking yourselves questions such as:

  • Is this the most suitable word for the idea we want to convey?
  • Is there another word which better describes this idea?
  • Does our audience perceive us this way?

Set aside a solid afternoon for this activity, and make sure your whiteboard markers are all ready to go.

3. Make a list of words that should NEVER describe your brand

Somewhat complementary to the exercise above, once you identify the words that you want to be associated with your brand, you should also identify words that you don’t… and then never, ever use them. As a good rule of thumb, we like to consider using this Mad-Libs-style sentence to help weed out the bad descriptors:

[Your brand] is always ______ and [your brand] is never _______.

4. Talk about core values (again and again and again)

Not trying to beat a dead horse if identifying your core values is something that’s already been handled as a company, but going back to that conversation never hurts. If anything, talking altogether as a company or leadership team about the brand’s core values can help to figure out how your brand voice should be structured.

Beyond adjectives and descriptors like the brand voice exercises above, discussing as a team what the values are of your company is critical to defining (and refining) a voice. For each question, give your team up to 5 minutes to write down thoughts and answers. Then, have everyone share their responses and discuss them.

5. Fill in the blanks on some key questions

Having prompts during brand voice exercises is a great way to get your creative juices and strategic caps moving. Spend some time filling in the blanks on sentences such as…

  • I want my brand to make people feel _______.
  • I want people to think ” _______” when they come into contact with my brand.
  • I want to try to follow the steps of the brand voice of _______.
  • I don’t like brand voices that sound _______.
  • Interacting with customers makes me feel _______.

6. Develop tone and language

This cheat sheet from the friends at Brandfolder is also a handy way to start figuring out what you want your brand voice to be, according to personality, language, tone, and overall purpose. Here’s an example of a filled out version that defines every section in 4-5 different words, descriptors or phrases.

7. Go deep in social media

When you’re feeling stuck, another great brand voice exercise is to go straight to the source on the places where you have access to your customers – social media channels. Using social listening and social analytics tools, go and locate the people in your audience (or potential audience) on social media to monitor what and how they are engaging with things. Also, take the opportunity to find brands that you resonate with or that you want to emulate in some way on social – gathering up this list and spending some time figuring out WHY they resonate with you and your brand will make all the difference.

Do you have any brand voice exercises that you’ve tried out in the past? Let us know on Twitter, we’d love to chat!

Marketers, Are You Taking Gender Representation Seriously?

gender representation in marketing

Gender roles and identity have fluctuated in the public eye a lot in the last few years. As perspectives are continuing to shift and evolve in the “real world,” so too must perspectives change for brands. The average consumer isn’t taking the same outdated ideas to heart – they are more conscious and informed than ever. In response, brands are beginning to take notice, are trying to hear and understand, and are making necessary changes to implement more inclusive and representative branding.

Let’s look at it this way:

“From a statistical standpoint, 50% of millennials feel that gender is on a spectrum, and 56% of Gen Z’ers know someone who uses gender-neutral pronouns.” – Andy Bossly

So, is your brand making the effort to accurately represent and being wholly inclusive? A Marketing Dive article we recently soaked up helps explain why companies should take another close look at gender representation, and how it can be made possible with the use of amazing marketing technology. Here’s a sampling of the piece:

While there may be a swell of support, ads that break with a male-female mold are exceptionally rare. Part of that might stem from marketers’ fear of backlash from either side of the political aisle — conservative viewers in favor of traditional gender representation and also progressives sensitive to ensuring people are accurately and tastefully portrayed. In the latter case, panelists said it’s more of a learning process than a crucible.

“The language is evolving […] don’t get stuck with the language, keep up as best you can,” Shane Whalley, the owner of Daring Dialogues Consulting and an adjunct assistant professor at The University of Texas at Austin, said. “The other really important piece is that if you make a mistake, which we all do, just stay in those conversations and listen to the community.”

One example of an ad depicting gender fluidity that earned praise was Coca-Cola’s Super Bowl TV spot from this year, which used they/them pronouns. Though the creative calls this out, it does so without distracting from Coke’s broader messaging, which has always been about optimism, according to Bossley.

“It all laddered into their existing brand platform that they’ve had for over 130 years,” he said. “It made sense — it didn’t feel like an outlier for them.”

However, if the appeal of gender fluidity in advertising does grow for marketers like Coke, it’s important for them to be especially mindful of actually embodying inclusivity beyond what’s presented to consumers.

“Let’s say you do a great campaign and I feel seen. I’m going to go to your company’s website, look up your non-discrimination policy and see if it’s inclusive,” Whalley, who identifies as genderqueer, said. “The inside-out piece is really important.”

Read the rest of the article on Marketing Dive here >>

Then reach out to us with your thoughts here >>

How to Create a Winning Business YouTube Channel

Business YouTube Channel

YouTube is hard, but it’s not impossible to master as a brand. The platform as it stands today isn’t just reserved for vloggers, un-boxers, and young stars-in-the-making, it’s a seriously lucrative source for SEO, content marketing, and other acquisition and engagement strategies. If you’ve got videos that are watchable and the will to put some work into your channel’s branding and content, you’ve got a chance of making a winning business YouTube channel.

A lot of consumers use YouTube like they would Google these days– type in a query or topic to the search bar, and be instantly served with curated, highly-ranked videos. With almost 5 billion videos watched on YouTube every day, creating compelling video content is the perfect way to get your brand in front of new, eager eyes. If you’re a newcomer to the YouTube scene, we’ve got just the steps for getting started with a successful business YouTube channel.

STEP 1: CREATE YOUR CONTENT

What we mean by “create your content” isn’t just “make videos and put them online.” In case you missed our earlier stat, 5 BILLION videos are watched on YouTube on a daily basis; plus, it’s a well-known bummer that people will leave a video in the first 10 seconds if it doesn’t grab them. That being said, you shouldn’t just make videos, you should make GOOD videos.

Business YouTube channels should always have a healthy mix of videos that inform, engage, and entertain to keep consumers interested and more likely to click the subscribe button. Hot tip! The more promotional you lean, the more people will not like your channel. Simple as that! Here’s a video we love that summarizes how to create business videos for YouTube that are simple, straightforward, and look fantastic.

STEP 2: BUILD YOUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

In just a few quick moves, you can go from no YouTube presence to having a channel of your very own – one that accurately represents what your company and brand means.

First, create a Google and YouTube account. 

We’re guessing you already have one (if not, head here), so we’ll skip the steps on how to get all set up on that front. If you have multiple Google accounts, be sure to select the one you want to be associated with the YouTube channel. With a Google account in tow, you can navigate over to YouTube.com to customize your channel from the account menu.

Hot tip! You don’t have to use your business name when creating a brand channel account right away – you can always add that in later.

Next, optimize your channel with brand details.

The description of your company is just as important as (if not more so than) the descriptions of your individual videos. Make sure that your “About” page includes a brief mission statement or welcome message that will lead back to your main website. Hot tip! Add in a business inquiry email to help potential new customers get a hold of you faster.

You should also add any relevant social media profiles outside of YouTube, as well as your website homepage, new blogs, or whatever you’re trying to promote at the moment. Adding in links to where you’d like your YouTube traffic to land increases the chances of your traffic becoming actual customers and loyal fans of your brand.

Then, customize your channel with visuals.

This means adding in brand-friendly imagery and text that will provide more context to your videos and company – just be sure to always use high-resolution images! YouTube’s required image dimensions are…

  • Channel icon — recommended as 800×800 pixels, displays as 98×98 pixels
  • Channel banner — 2,560×1440 pixels, safe area for mobile and web (without text and logo cropping) is 1546 x 423 pixels.

We love to use Canva to create beautiful, perfectly-sized images for YouTube channels (among other creative projects!).

Now, add your videos!

Find a cozy spot right next to your WiFi router, sit back, and watch the magic happen.

For more great tips on building a great YouTube channel for business, check out this SproutSocial article with handy screenshots!

STEP 3: OPTIMIZE THAT SH!T

Cultivating a qualified audience on YouTube certainly doesn’t happen overnight – getting people to find and watch your videos in the first place is always what you need to focus on first after setting up your channel. We have a tried-and-true checklist of best practices for YouTube video optimization that makes it simple make sure your videos are cleaned up and searchable.

  • Have your video content transcribed using your transcription service of choice. You’ll use this complete transcript to upload as a part of your main video description – a huge lure for SEO, especially if your script is chock-full of keywords.
  • Generate a list of the target keywords for each video that you’ll be uploading. Be sure to consult with Moz.com or your SEO tool of choice to make sure you’re optimizing for the right things, too.
  • Update your video file name to include the keyword. It seems small and insignificant, but we promise it’s a big one.
  • Edit the video title to be around 5 words long (the ideal length for SEO purposes), and include the keyword at the beginning.
  • Structure your video title in a way that will encourage more views and higher search rankings. In general, Google tends to use video results for how-to keywords, reviews, tutorials, anything fitness/sports related, and funny videos.
  • Update the video to include closed captions. We don’t highly recommend just using the default YouTube tool for this, either, as the captions always turn out clunkier than expected. Accessibility is important!
  • Add a captivating thumbnail image. Don’t just pick whatever default YouTube happens on – first impressions are really important here.
  • Write a short description that includes the keyword within the first 25 words, and place it at the top of the description box.
  • Include the full transcript below the short description in the description box, making sure that the keyword is used 3-4 times throughout.
  • Using the list of keywords you generated earlier, add the target keyword(s) and all other relevant keywords to your video tags.
Feeling stuck/overwhelmed/a little stressed out? We’re happy to walk you through how to make a great business YouTube channel – give us a shout!

25 Excellent Optimization Tips From SEO Specialists

SEO optimization tips

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is something we’d classify as “gruelingly worth it.”

As part of such a dynamic, constantly shifting area of online marketing, it’s one specialty that takes life-long learning, and consistent education and testing in order to truly master. Even then, the strategy differs greatly from industry to industry, and business to business. While there are some set SEO best practices that should always be addressed, optimizing for search is a practice that’s never truly over.

If you’ve ever felt downtrodden from your SEO efforts, you’re not alone (far from it!). If you’re looking for some inspiration, motivation, or a fresh new tactic to try out for your own search engine activities, look no further than these tips and tricks from SEO experts around the world.

1. “SEO is much more than just rankings and traffic, it’s a complete marketing process from bringing in the right visitors to converting them into brand advocates. You can’t just pick one part of the process and expect your business to shine.”
— Moosa Hemani, SETalks.com

2. “Spend more time on promoting your content. I have the rule to devote more time marketing our content than writing it to get the most value out of each piece. Promote your content on social media both organically & paid.”
— Adam Rowles, Inbound Marketing

3. “Never underestimate the SEO power of refreshing and republishing your historically popular posts. Gently rewriting, or adding in more information or variety to the existing content is a solid strategy for bringing more high-quality traffic in via organic search.”
— Ariel Phipps, Oliver + Sons Digital Marketing

4. “Your competitors are your best friends in helping you boost up your site traffic.”
— Iftekhar Ahmed, IftiSEO.com

5. “Do competitor research in regards to links to see what kind of things your competitors are doing that are actually attracting links (as opposed to building their own links).”
— Marie Haynes, Marie Haynes Consulting

6. “Only a user-centered strategy is future-oriented. That is exactly what search engines want: Get the user the best search results. If it is useless for the user, it is useless for the business. Instead of trying to be smarter than the algorithm, focus even more on creating awesome and useful content for your customers.”
— Nina Baumann, Linkspiel.de

7. “The beauty of SEO is that, instead of pushing a marketing message onto folks who don’t want to hear what you have to say, you can reverse-engineer the process to discover exactly what people are looking for, create the right content for it, and appear before them at exactly the moment they are looking for it. It’s pull vs. push.”
— Cyrus Shepard, Fazillion Media

8. “Search engine marketing and search engine optimization are critically important to online businesses. You can spend every penny you have on a website, but it will all be for nothing if nobody knows your site is there.”
— Marc Ostrofsky, Author of Get Rich Click

9. It’s much easier to grow your business by getting more traffic than by playing with your conversion rate.
— Balazs Szilagyi

10. “To make search engines fall in love with your website, try to please your audience first, because search engines are also trying to do the same.”
— Shubhanshi Aggarwal, GrowWithWeb.com

11. “The reality is SEO can benefit from PR best practices and PR can benefit from SEO best practices.”
— Dave Lloyd, previously Adobe

12. “Search marketing, and most Internet marketing, in fact, can be very threatening because there are no rules. There’s no safe haven. To do it right, you need to be willing to be wrong. But search marketing done right is all about being wrong. Experimentation is the only way.”
— Mike Moran, Mike Moran Group

13. “A real estate agency in Wichita has no shot at ranking for the phrase “real estate;” a lawyer in Fresno has no shot at ranking for the word “lawyer.” Optimize for relevant, specific keywords that will bring targeted traffic.”
— Matt McGee, previously SearchEngineLand.com

14. “It is still important to pay attention to quality content vs. just content. Google is watching all the websites very closely and may penalize the websites with duplicate/thin/low-quality content.”
— Pratik Dholakiya, Preceptist

15. “Successful SEO is not about tricking Google. It’s about PARTNERING with Google to provide the best search results for Google’s users.”
— Phil Frost, Main Street ROI

16. “You can’t just ‘SEO’ your website and be done. It’s a forever moving goal post.”
— Stoney deGeyter, Pole Position Marketing

17. “Think beyond commercial keywords. The majority of search engine users start with a question. Answer those questions. Make your content marketing stand out from the ever-growing crowd. Think of SEO as a list building and lead acquisition exercise and not just sell, sell, sell.”
— Marcus Miller, Bowler Hat

18. “Optimize for what would happen IF you ranked, do not optimize to rank.”
— Will Critchlow, Distilled

19. “Create quality backlinks ONLY from reputable sources. It’s important to understand that links from low-quality directories or other such sites will only get your website penalized. The harder it is to get a backlink, the more valuable it will be. Backlinks are still the most important metric for SEO, but their quality is what makes the difference between success and failure.”
— Felix Tarcomnicu, Monitor Backlinks

20. “On-page SEO is no longer satisfied by raw keyword use. Matching keywords to searcher INTENT is critical.”
— Rand Fishkin, SparkToro (formerly of Moz)

21. “Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.”
— Wendy Piersall

22. “When a site links to your blog or a post you’ve written, Google sees it as a recommendation to their readers, like a vote of confidence. Write great content that helps your audience, guest post on other blogs, feature in roundups, and you will get lots of backlinks. These will increase your ranking in Google’s searches and your domain authority.”
— Minuca Elana, MinucaElena.com

23. Good SEO work only gets better over time. It’s only search engine tricks that need to keep changing when the ranking algorithms change.
— Jill Whalen, High Rankings

24. “Never focus on building backlinks, focus on earning backlinks.”
— Naveen Kumar, F5TheRefresh.com

25. “Don’t invest it all in Google. You never know what’s coming down the line and, although we target traditional search engines (Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo), your users may not. Pay attention to social search, because it’s growing. Some people get their news from Facebook and Twitter. Others find out about products on Facebook or Instagram.”
— Gabriella Sannino, Level343

 

What are you doing to stay ahead of the SEO curve in 2018?

Is there a strategy you’re excited to test out soon?

We’d love to hear your thoughts or provide any SEO services where needed!