Ever wish you could pick the brains of some of the marketing industry’s smartest people? Well…have I got a treat for you!
I recently attended–not one, but two– inbound marketing conferences back-to-back over two weeks. I met some amazingly smart people, bought a suitcase full of marketing books, saw more orange articles of clothing outside a UT football game (my Knoxville TN peeps know what I’m talking about!) and, most importantly, learned a ton.
I initially wanted to share everything possible here (you should have seen my blog drafts on everything I learned), but I’ve decided to boil down the message to something super digestable. Here’s 5 quick-and-dirty tips I learned from Inbound2012 and Content Marketing World that you can implement in less than 5 minutes. I promise– they’re really that easy!
Let’s Get Visual—Pamela Vaughan (Inbound2012)
It’s no secret that the digital world is getting much more visual. Think about Pinterest’s rocket launch to the mainstream, Facebook’s Timeline layout or the $1 billion dollar Instagram acquisition. Pictures aren’t something you just stick in anymore, images are content drivers. Still not convinced? Here are 19 statson how visual content is more engaging and results-driven than traditional text-only content. That’s great and all, but how do you go about maximizing this visual trend?
1) Tip:Create a Pinterest Board for blog images.
It’s so easy, but so practical. Don’t go scrambling at the last minute trying to find the perfect blog picture! Collect awesome pictures as you go so that you have tons to choose from. Even better, why not follow other people who pin images about what you write about? Before you know it, you’ll have a whole catalogue of images you’re just waiting to share. I just started a Pinterest now at How To Market To Me. It’s a little rough around the edges, but feel free to check it out.
2) Tip: Post image separately in Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn rather than let it pick the image itself.
This example works best as a show, not tell. Here are two identical posts I put on Facebook.
This is the exact same post, but the second one is about 100 times more visually interesting–and appealing. How’d I do it? Instead of just posting my link in the status and letting Facebook do the resizing, I saved the article’s image to my desktop and put it in the post myself. Sound difficult? It’s not. Here’s exactly how I did it:
- Left clicked image in article that I wanted to feature, saved as JPG to desktop
- Pasted article in Facebook status and clicked the “No Thumbnail” box
- Clicked the Add Photo/Video icon and uploaded the saved image from my desktop. Bam!
How Klout Is Changing Everything—Mark Schaefer (CMWorld)
Klout, an application that measures influence using an individual’s online social behavior, has always been somewhat of a mystery for me. The idea of placing a number of on your own online influence is both fascinating and terrifying (especially when they change the scoring formula on you!). Lucky for me, I got to hear Mark Schaefer, the guy who literally wrote the book on measuring online influence quantitatively, speak at CMWorld. Here’s one easy tip that blew my mind.
3) Tip: Use Klout to track influencers in your industry.
Search people on Klout, find out who’s talking about your keywords and bam, you’ve got a list of people to start building relationships with. As a job-hunter, I was always worried about what my Klout score was and if it would ever come up in interviews. I never even thought about using the metric to find other influential people in my field! Klout can be super helpful to help you target who you want talking about your product/service or newest bit of content. Who knew? Now you do.
Anticipate Big Stories Before They Happen–David Meerman Scott and Rand Fishkin (Inbound2012)
While I still haven’t read the book on it yet (it’s on my list I swear!), I’ve definitely heard David Meerman Scott’s term “newsjacking” all over the place. The idea is to earn lots of inbound links by writing about something just before it “hits” full media coverage. That way, when journalists and bloggers are looking for sources to quote, there you are all gift-wrapped and under the Christmas tree. How do you do that? Scott touched on this concept and gave some great examples in his keynote, but it was actually Rand Fishkin’s speech that connected the dots for this one great tip.
4) Tip: Search Google News for keywords in your industry.
Again, super easy but I would have never thought to do it. Google News aggregates content from 50,000 sources around the world and locally. Here’s how Google explains these features.
Not only can you personalize your settings to get more feed information from certain topics (say Business or Massachusetts) but you can also type in specific keywords (say Gen Y, Millennials or YourCompanyName) that Google will watch out for and send you news about. And if you’re a big fan of certain news sources or academic journals (such as the Advertising Journal or the Harvard Business Review), you can make those show up more in your feed too. Pretty cool.
The Sales Lion and the Power of In-sourcing (CMWorld)
At Content Marketing World, I was lucky enough to hear Marcus Sheridan (aka The Sales Lion), one of the most enthusiastic speakers ever. Perfect for waking up an audience at 8:30am! Like many of the speakers at these events, he evangelized about the benefits of Inbound marketing. In his case however, he listed countless small local businesses exponentially increased their success using blogging, content marketing techniques. What’s his advice?
5) Tip: Ask people on your team to contribute posts.
Mark Sheridan said that he thought in-sourcing content creation from within the company is the future of content marketing. Why is this an easy tip for you, the marketer? More writers =more content/voices for customers to connect with, more search engine traffic and quite frankly, more respect from colleagues who think your job is playing on Twitter all day. Yes, convincing people to help contribute can be a battle. But this woman had Marcus Sheridan come talk to her B2B medical business and now, one of their engineers is Chief Content Officer! You never know who is going to click with blogging and you’ll really never know if you don’t ask. But how do you ask? Make them feel comfortable with specific assignments about something they already know a lot about. Appeal to their expertise on a topic you may not know as well. If they say it’s too hard, point out that Bob the plumber blogs. And it’s really fantastic! There’s no reason why your team can’t as well. Period.
I can’t tell you how valuable going to these conferences were and how much I learned. Even the non-marketing speakers, such as Susan Cain and Jack Hanna, taught me lessons in marketing that I keep coming back to. Thankfully (for you guys!) I cut myself off at 1,000 words. However, I can’t promise there won’t be a part 2…hope you found these tips as helpful as I did! Thanks for reading. Lindsey Kirchoff