Chris Brogan’s Guide to Building a Fast Blogging Framework

Chris Brogan at Social Media Marketing World 2019

Chris Brogan at Social Media Marketing World 2019

Blogging is a part of our origin story here at TopRank Marketing. In fact, we just celebrated the TopRank Marketing Blog’s 15th birthday this past December. But despite our blogging longevity, we’re always refining and optimizing, too.

That’s why I attended Chris Brogan’s session on creating a fast blogging framework at Social Media Marketing World 2019. While there, I learned this bestselling author’s approach to writing blog content (and had a few laughs along the way).

Be Fast

The key to Chris‘ framework? The word “fast.”

Being fast matters to Chris, informing the audience that “the average human only read 19 minutes a day. That includes texts, emails, and BuzzFeed articles. They’re not going to read your 2,000-word missive.”

So, be quick. Get to the point. Don’t complicate things. Don’t write a white paper when it’s supposed to be a blog post.

Follow the Great Blogging Checklist

Chris is able to be a fast blogger because he has a list of what every blog post needs:

  • A great title
  • A relevant graphic
  • A “strong+story” first paragraph
  • A great first example
  • A second and/or third example
  • A list of action items
  • A call to action

To create blogs, Chris starts at the top of the list and works his way down, checking things off as he goes. But just like most lists, there are items on there that are prioritized.

According to Chris, a great title is at the top of the framework because in today’s world “the subject line is the blog post.” Your title or subject line is what gets read the most by your audience. And if it doesn’t pull people in, convey the story you want to tell, and convince them to read, you’ve already failed.

But what comes after that? How can you keep people on your blog once they’ve agreed to read it?

Chris suggests reflecting on your own experience:

“Think about when you read blog posts. You rarely ever read the whole thing. You can’t write your story like it’s a murder mystery and reveal the butler did it on the last page. Get the story into the first paragraph.”

[bctt tweet=“You can’t write your blog like it’s a murder mystery and reveal the butler did it on the last page. Get the story into the first paragraph.” – @chrisbrogan“ username=“toprank“]

Brevity Is Your Friend

As Chris said, people only read an average of 19 minutes each day. They don’t have the time to read a long, run-on sentence or a paragraph that refuses to end.

Once you’ve finished your blog post, go back and see where you can make it more simple and get to the point faster. Your audience will appreciate the time you’re saving them in the long-run.

For us, this doesn’t mean long-form content is out. It means be concise, deliberate, and intentional with your language. If there’s a sentence that isn’t needed, cut it.

Connect on a Human Level

When it comes to the nitty gritty part of actually writing your blog post, Chris suggests letting go of your stuffy corporate identity and instead be human. Don’t be the brand. Be the person that represents the brand. Show your audience that you have feelings, opinions, jokes, and more.

Be a Guide

Chris‘ last blogging tip is probably the most important: be a guide. Sure, a cool story is fun to read. But is a story really valuable if it doesn’t teach you something? Your blogs need answers to important questions. They need to solve problems. And one of the best ways to do that is to be a guide for your audience, helping them avoid disaster and reach their destination.

Blog Like Brogan

Content is everywhere—and so is our audience’s attention. As Chris said, we need to strive to create blog post that people actually want to read. For Chris, that means eloquently getting to the point early on to hook readers, and then delivering on your promise in an intentional way. You’re not trying to fill a web page. You’re trying to fill your reader’s mind with information they truly care about.

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The post Chris Brogan’s Guide to Building a Fast Blogging Framework appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

Five ways SEOs can utilize data with insights, automation, and personalization

Example of structured data on Google

Constantly evolving search results driven by Google’s increasing implementation of AI are challenging SEOs to keep pace. Search is more dynamic, competitive, and faster than ever before.

Where SEOs used to focus almost exclusively on what Google and other search engines were looking for in their site structure, links, and content, digital marketing now revolves solidly around the needs and intent of consumers.

This past year was perhaps the most transformative in SEO, an industry expected to top $80 billion in spending by 2020. AI is creating entirely new engagement possibilities across multiple channels and devices. Consumers are choosing to find and interact with information by voice search, or even on connected IoT appliances, and other devices. Brands are being challenged to reimagine the entire customer journey and how they optimize content for search, as a result.

How do you even begin to prioritize when your to-do list and the data available to you are growing at such a rapid pace? The points shared below intend to help you with that.

From analysis to activation, data is key

SEO is becoming less a matter of simply optimizing for search. Today, SEO success hinges on our ability to seize every opportunity. Research from my company’s Future of Marketing and AI Study highlights current opportunities in five important areas.

1. Data cleanliness and structure

As the volume of data consumers are producing in their searches and interactions increases, it’s critically important that SEOs properly tag and structure the information we want search engines to match to those queries. Google offers rich snippets and cards that enable you to expand and enhance your search results, making them more visually appealing but also adding functionality and opportunities to engage.

Google has experimented with a wide variety of rich results, and you can expect them to continue evolving. Therefore, it’s best practice to properly mark up all content so that when a rich search feature becomes available, your content is in place to capitalize on the opportunity.

You can use the Google Developers “Understand how structured data works” guide to get started and test your structured data for syntax errors here.

2. Increasingly automated actionable insights

While Google is using AI to interpret queries and understand results, marketers are deploying AI to analyze data, recognize patterns and deliver insights as output at rates humans simply cannot achieve. AI is helping SEOs in interpreting market trends, analyzing site performance, gathering and understanding competitor performance, and more.

It’s not just that we’re able to get insights faster, though. The insights available to us now may have gone unnoticed, if not for the in-depth analysis we can accomplish with AI.

Machines are helping us analyze different types of media to understand the content and context of millions of images at a time and it goes beyond images and video. With Google Lens, for example, augmented reality will be used to glean query intent from objects rather than expressed words.

Opportunities for SEOs include:

  • Greater ability to define opportunity space more precisely in a competitive context. Understand underlying need in a customer journey
  • Deploying longer-tail content informed by advanced search insights
  • Better content mapping to specific expressions of consumer intent across the buying journey

3. Real-time response and interactions

In a recent “State of Chatbots” report, researchers asked consumers to identify problems with traditional online experiences by posing the question, “What frustrations have you experienced in the past month?”

Screenshot of users' feedback on website usage experiences

As you can see, at least seven of the top consumer frustrations listed above can be solved with properly programmed chatbots. It’s no wonder that they also found that 69% of consumers prefer chatbots for quick communication with brands.

Search query and online behavior data can make smart bots so compelling and efficient in delivering on consumer needs that in some cases, the visitor may not even realize it’s an automated tool they’re dealing with. It’s a win for the consumer, who probably isn’t there for a social visit anyway as well as for the brand that seeks to deliver an exceptional experience even while improving operational efficiency.

SEOs have an opportunity to:

  • Facilitate more productive online store consumer experiences with smart chatbots.
  • Redesign websites to support visual and voice search.
  • Deploy deep learning, where possible, to empower machines to make decisions, and respond in real-time.

4. Smart automation

SEOs have been pretty ingenious at automating repetitive, time-consuming tasks such as pulling rankings reports, backlink monitoring, and keyword research. In fact, a lot of quality digital marketing software was born out of SEOs automating their own client work.

Now, AI is enabling us to make automation smarter by moving beyond simple task completion to prioritization, decision-making, and executing new tasks based on those data-backed decisions.

Survey on content development using AI

Content marketing is one area where AI can have a massive impact, and marketers are on board. We found that just four percent of respondents felt they were unlikely to use AI/deep learning in their content strategy in 2018, and over 42% had already implemented it.

In content marketing, AI can help us quickly analyze consumer behavior and data, in order to:

  • Identify content opportunities
  • Build optimized content
  • Promote the right content to the most motivated audience segments and individuals

5. Personalizations that drive business results

Personalization was identified as the top trend in marketing at the time of our survey, followed closely by AI (which certainly drives more accurate personalizations). In fact, you could argue that the top four trends namely, personalization, AI, voice search, and mobile optimization are closely connected if not overlapping in places.

Across emails, landing pages, paid advertising campaigns, and more, search insights are being injected into and utilized across multiple channels. These intend to help us better connect content to consumer needs.

Each piece of content produced must be purposeful. It needs to be optimized for discovery, a process that begins in content planning as you identify where consumers are going to find and engage with each piece. Smart content is personalized in such a way that it meets a specific consumer’s need, but it must deliver on the monetary needs of the business, as well.

Check out these 5 steps for making your content smarter from a previous column for more.

How SEOs are uniquely positioned to drive smarter digital marketing forward

As the marketing professionals have one foot in analysis and the other solidly planted in creative, SEOs have a unique opportunity to lead smart utilization and activation of all manners of consumer data.

You understand the critical importance of clean data input (or intelligent systems that can clean and make sense of unstructured data) and differentiating between first and third-party data. You understand economies of scale in SEO and the value in building that scalability into systems from the ground up.

SEOs have long nurtured a deep understanding of how people search for and discover information, and how technology delivers. Make the most of your current opportunities by picking your low-hanging fruit opportunities for quick wins. Focus your efforts on putting the scalable, smart systems in place that will allow you to anticipate consumer needs, react quickly, report SEO appropriately, and convey business results to the stakeholders who will determine budgets in future.

Jim Yu is the founder and CEO of leading enterprise SEO and content performance platform BrightEdge. He can be found on Twitter @jimyu.

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The post Five ways SEOs can utilize data with insights, automation, and personalization appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

Social listening 101: Six crucial keywords to track

Screenshot of mentions for a specific keyword

Social listening is a tactic that’s not unheard of. Quite a number of brands use it these days and even more consider trying it out in the near future. However, for many, the step-by-step process of social listening remains unclear.

This article aims to answer the most burning questions about social listening:

  • What is a keyword?
  • Which keywords should you monitor?
  • How do you get relevant and comprehensive results instead of all the noise that the Internet is filled with?

What is a keyword?

As we know, social listening is a process that requires a social media listening/social media monitoring tool (e.g., Awario, Mention, Brandwatch). The first thing you do when you open the app is entering keywords to monitor.

Keywords are the words that describe best what you want to find on social media platforms and the web. A keyword can be one word (e.g. “Philips”), two words (e.g. “Aleh Barysevich”), four words (e.g. “search engine optimization tool”), etc. Each one of these examples presents one keyword. After you typed in your keyword(s), the tool will search for mentions of these keywords and collect them in a single place.

Which keywords should you monitor?

You can monitor absolutely anything. You can monitor the keywords “Brexit” or “let’s dance” or “hello, is it me you’re looking for”. However, in terms of marketing purposes, there are six main types of keywords that you are most likely to monitor. They are:

1. Brand/company
2. Competitors
3. Person
4. Campaign
5. Industry
6. URL

Now let’s go through each type together to make sure you understand the goals behind monitoring these keywords and how to get the most out of them.

1. Brand/Company

Monitoring your brand/your company is essential in most cases. While the goals of social listening can be very diverse (reputation management, brand awareness, influencer marketing, customer service), most of these goals require listening to what people say about your brand.

To make sure you don’t miss any valuable mentions, include common misspellings and abbreviations of your brand name as well.

In case your brand name is a common word (e.g. “Apple” or “Orange”) make sure to choose a tool that gives you an option to introduce “negative” keywords. These would be keywords such as “apple tree”, “apple juice”, “apple pie”. Excluding them from your search will help get mentions of Apple the brand only. Any tool that has a boolean search option will also save you from tons of such irrelevant mentions.

2. Competitors

Pick a couple of your main competitors (or even just one), and enter their brand/company name as a separate project. There’s a good reason for that: Questions and complaints directed at your competitors can be replied by your social media manager first. They could explain why your brand is better/doesn’t have specific problems that your competitor does. This is social selling, a process of finding hot leads on social media.

Most social media monitoring tools also let you compare how your brand is doing on social media against your competitor’s brand. This can be useful for tracking your progress and discovering new ideas.

For example, knowing which social networks, which locations, and what time slots get your competitor more attention could help you upgrade your social media strategy. Knowing how their campaigns, social media posts, and product releases perform could help you improve your own plans, and avoid some mishaps.

3. Person

The CEO of your company might not necessarily be the company’s face or even a public persona at all. However, if reputation management is one of your goals, monitoring mentions of the CEO are important. Their actions on social media could easily attract attention and cause a social media crisis. Also, you’ll know straight away about any publications that mention your company’s CEO.

Same, of course, goes for any other people in the company.

4. Campaign

It’s crucial to monitor marketing (and other) campaigns as well as product launches. Reactions on social media happen very quickly. Only by monitoring such events in real time, you’ll know straight away if it’s going well or not, if it’s working at all, and if there are problems that you might’ve not noticed while creating the campaign. The earlier you know how the reality is unfolding, the better. To monitor a campaign, enter its name if it has one, its slogan, and/or its hashtag as a keyword.

Example of how social media activities could go wrong

It’s important to understand that there are loads of marketing campaigns that have caused serious problems for the companies. Something that could’ve been avoided with social media monitoring.

5. Industry

Not in every industry can you monitor the so-called “industry keywords”. However, if you can, these are the source of endless opportunities. Most of these are in the realms of social selling, brand awareness, and influencer marketing.

For example, if your product is a productivity app, this would be your keyword “productivity app”. Include a couple of synonyms and words such as “looking for”, or “can anyone recommend” and you’ll get mentions from people that look for a product like yours. Specify the language and the location to get more relevant results.

With a social media monitoring tool that finds influencers, you can go to the list of influencers that is built around your industry keywords and choose the ones to work with.

Example of finding influencers using social listening keywords

6. URL

Monitoring your brand by excluding your brand’s URL (which is possible with a social media monitoring tool) is important for SEO purposes. It’s a big part of link-building. All you have to do is find mentions of your brand that don’t link to your brand, reach out to the author, and ask for a link. In most cases, the authors wouldn’t mind adding the link to your site.

Besides, you can monitor competitors‘ URLs. This will give you a list of sources where they get links from. It’s only logical that if the author is interested in the niche and is willing to write about your competitor, they probably wouldn’t mind reviewing your product as well.

Conclusion

There’s a lot you can do with social media monitoring. All you have to do is start. Starting is the hardest part. Then, appetite, ideas, and knowledge come with eating. Hopefully, this article gave you a clear idea of where to start.

Aleh is the Founder and CMO at SEO PowerSuite and Awario. He can be found on Twitter at @ab80.

The post Social listening 101: Six crucial keywords to track appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

Dropping Digital Distractions With Brian Solis

Brian Solis at Social Media Marketing World 2019

Brian Solis at Social Media Marketing World 2019Photos. Texts. Emails. Video. Digital is a pivotal part of our daily lives.

So what if we stopped using it?

Brian Solis, the author of Lifescale: How to live a more creative, productive and happy life, wants us to think hard about our digital distractions and drop them from our habitual behavior. As digital marketers, this notion sounds antithetical to our mission. But Brian promises that disconnecting is beneficial to marketers as well.

Below, I share Brian’s thoughts on digital distraction and business from his session at Social Media Marketing World 2019.

Focus Is Elusive

“My ability to be creative, to dive deep, to focus, to give myself time away from my device, was not only difficult but impossible,” Brian said.

In fact, this inability to tune out the noise and focus prevented Brian from finishing his eighth book.

Now, Brian isn’t suggesting that we stop using technology. He’s just suggesting we use it in a different way. Instead of using it for productivity, Brian suggests using our devices for the purpose of creativity.

If we’re able to put our devices down and truly ignore the notifications, we can focus on the tasks that are important. It will improve our output in quality and quantity.

Disconnection Improves Our Health

How we currently use digital devices isn’t healthy for us.

Brian pointed out that an astonishing 41% of people have had an accident relating to our smartphones. There’s a new health concern called “selfie wrist.” Plus, depression and anxiety are on the rise among teenagers, the world’s most avid social media users.

“As with cigarettes in the early days, we didn’t understand that our digital indulgences were made to be addictive, and we didn’t have information about the health effects on our bodies, emotions, and psyches,” Brian said.

He then added: “Living our best life isn’t really living at all.” It’s just posturing.

These distractions weigh down our cognitive load, robbing us of creative moments and pulling us out of focus, and this has a real business impact and we need to change:

  • The average person spends 2 hours on our smartphones each day – and it’s not work related
  • Humans used to shift attention every 3 minutes – it’s now 45 seconds

How to Disconnect

Be Aware

Getting over our digital distractions boils down to one thing: Awareness. If we’re aware of our dependency on the digital world, we’re more empowered to do something about it. We can make more intentional choices about how to avoid these distractions and stay focused.

Measure Your Distractions

Check how many times a day you:

  • Reach for a device
  • Check messages
  • Check your feeds for updates
  • Share a picture

Knowing how often you’re taken away from your work is a good indicator of how much creativity you’re losing. This also allows you to make more noticeable improvements in your work, life, and mental health.

Dedicate Time for Creativity

Write. Draw. Paint. Play guitar. Sing. Creativity is like a muscle that needs to be worked. So just like you workout at the gym, you need to make time to be creative.

And it’s not about talent, it’s just about expressing yourself. It’s about being happy, mindful, present, and intentional about how you spend your time. Block off time to be creative and block off time to check email, respond to tweets, etc. Just make sure you don’t mesh the two.

Dropping Our Dependencies

To do our best work, we need to be our best selves. And digital distractions take us away from the creative activities and ideas that make us happy. As a result, digital distractions make it impossible for us to focus on the things that really matter in life and instead take us out of the moments we’re living.

So, take some advice from Brian: “Allow yourself to color outside the lines and do something absolutely silly.”

Hear more of Brian’s thoughts on creativity and digital distraction by reading our full interview with him.

The post Dropping Digital Distractions With Brian Solis appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com