Top Content Marketing Takeaways for Thanksgiving

Having trouble navigating the content marketing arena?

Never fear, because the good peeps at the Content Marketing Institute have done an impressive roundup of lessons learned over the past year, and how you can apply them in your own marketing.

Laid out as a Thanksgiving commentary, each team member offers a little tip about the content marketing methods that are working best for them, and why they’re grateful they learned those lessons.

You can check out the roundup right here: What We’re Grateful We Learned About Content Marketing

Online Video Marketing Reaches a New High

These days everyone and anyone is ordering a video for their website, and a brand new shiny YouTube custom channel in order to showcase that video.

Social marketing and video marketing are grabbing the attention of buyers of consumers every age, causing many brands to rethink their marketing priorities.

And video marketing is becoming ever more popular due to the increased popularity of iPhones and iPads, that allow people to watch them nearly everywhere.

According to a recent article in Nett magazine, research firm Frost and Sullivan expects video marketing to grow even more in the next five years. So if you’re not yet marketing using videos, you could be missing the boat.

Find out more about the future of video marketing here: Online video advertising grows by 58%

Awesome Landing Page Inspriation From The Webdesigner Depot

Need some ideas for your new landing page design? There are plenty to steal in this excellent post from freelance designer Kendra Gaines over at the Webdesigner Depot: 30 amazing landing pages for your inspiration

Her selection of samples includes landing pages promoting services, apps, charities and  downloadable products.

Gaines points out that preparation and research – both into your product and your audience – are the keys to creating a successful landing page.

How to Create an Effective Home Page

The home page is usually the most popular page on your website. But most first-time visitors will spend less than 30 seconds reviewing it. So you don’t have long to convince them to stick around and explore the rest of your content.

A home page has several important jobs. It must communicate who owns the site and what it’s for. It must establish credibility and trust. And, most importantly, it must convince visitors not to leave the site.

Here are five tips for creating an effective home page that sets the scene for first-time visitors:

1. Welcome visitors with a positioning statement

Your home page is your introduction to first-time visitors. And usually the first thing they want to know is, “What do you do?” So don’t make them guess. The opening paragraph of your website should give a concise description of what you do and who you do it for.

But whatever you do, don’t actually write “Welcome to…” These cheerful salutations are old hat and a waste of valuable space. A prominent statement of who you are and why people should do business with you will work much better.

2. Emphasise priority content with feature links

Your home page should not be a site map giving equal emphasis to all content. It’s more like a magazine cover that draws readers in with enticing cover lines highlighting the best stories inside.

The 80/20 rule applies to website content. This means the majority of visitors will only visit a few key pages of your site (e.g. pages about your best selling products). These are the pages you should emphasise on the home page.

Feature links are like signposts to your best content. Their job is to present a compelling summary of the most interesting and important content that makes the reader want to click for more. They communicate the essence of what’s on offer and provide visitors quick access to what they need.

There are three ways to determine what your most interesting and important content is:

  1. Use web analytics data to see which pages are most popular
  2. Review sales figures to establish your best-selling products, and
  3. Editorially select the best pages.

One-line short cut links to your site’s most popular content are also helpful on the home page.

3, Minimise options

Often many interests compete for space on the home page (especially in bigger companies). This can lead to bloated pages with an array of buttons, banners, links and other tid bits scattered about.

But too many options confuse readers. They can’t decide where to click. A good home page usually contains only a few visually prominent feature links to the most important content.

Anything with a prominent home page link is guaranteed to get more traffic. But you dilute this effect with every additional link. So remove any information that doesn’t need to be on the home page and restrict feature links to the most important content.

You also should keep your home page as short as possible to minimise scrolling. Only 50% of readers will scroll below the first screen.

4. Tell them what’s new

A latest news section on your home page gives your site a sign of life. It can include links to new products, your latest article or case study, a favourable media mention, or your new downloadable special report or white paper.

This is also a good place to highlight special promotions and sales. A news section doesn’t have to be long. A couple of descriptive sentences with links to more information is adequate.

5. Group company information

Group links to company information – such as media releases, job vacancies, stock prices, mission statement, about us, etc. – in one small section.

How to Come up With Great Ideas for Your Content Marketing

What are the two essential ingredients of an effective content marketing strategy? According to a recent post on Copyblogger, they are creativity and innovation.

But constantly coming up with fresh ideas for content for your business or brand is tough.

So Copyblogger have thoughtfully provided us with a handy cheatsheet based on an idea from top global innovation consultanting firm IDEO.

You can check out the surprisingly simple cheatsheet here: A Content Marketing Innovation Cheat Sheet

21 Things Master Copywriter Bob Bly Doesn’t Like About Marketing

Bob Bly is a living legend of copywriting and direct marketing. I’ve learnt more from reading his classic book The Copywriter’s Handbook than I did doing a three-year marketing degree at university.

So when Bob talks about marketing, I listen. Recently he wrote a tongue in cheek rant about 21 things that bug him about marketing.

No prizes for guessing calls from telemarketers – both robots and humans – topped the list. But you might be surprised to learn Bob’s views on content strategists, copy in reverse type (the ignorant graphic designer’s favourite) and rotating web banners.

You can read Bob’s post right here: 21 Things I Don’t Like About Marketing

The Foolproof Recipe for a Landing Page

I think the biggest opportunity for AdWords advertisers to improve their results is building better landing pages.

Every time I click on an ad and go to the businesses website home page, I lament the lost opportunity.

A post by Oli Gardner on the Unbounce blog provides a simple, step-by-step recipe for creating superior landing pages.

Not only does he outline the essential elements of the page, but he gives some great examples to guide you.

Check out his recipe here:  The Perfect Landing Page Recipe

Copywriting Video of the Week: The 2 Most Important Words in Copywriting

This week’s video by AdWords Guru Howie Jacobson is inspired by advice from legendary copywriter Robert Levenson.

He was one of the original Mad Man and wrote classic ads for Volkswagen and El Al airlines.

When he sat down to write copy, Levenson pretended he was writing to his friend Charlie.

So he would actually start the page with “Dear Charlie… ”

This simple yet profound tactic of writing to one person makes it easy to write conversational copy that connects on an emotional level.

Take a look:

Great Advice for Anyone Who Wants to be a Better Writer

Ernest Hemingway once said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

And while I don’t believe mastering copywriting is as difficult as writing great literature, writing copy is still a great struggle for many people. (And sometimes even for me!)

Here’s some great advice from veteran copywriter Demian Farnworth on how to write well:How to Become an Exceptional Writer

I particularly liked his 7 strategies for building knowledge. His last point is also very important: remember to enjoy it!

Your Content Marketing Not Working? It’s Probably Boring!

In a recent post on Copyblogger, Associate Editor and blogging expert Jonathan Morrow dishes out a little tough love to content marketers.

He says if your blog posts, videos, podcasts or white papers aren’t getting the results you’d like they’re probably boring!

The antidote to boring content is empathy. Rather than trying to solve your readers’ problems, communicate that you understand their woes.

Simply repeat their complaints back to them in a pithy way. This demonstrates that you understand them perfectly.

You can read the complete post right here: Why No One Cares What You Think (And How to Stop Being So Freaking Boring)