How To Use Attraction Marketing To Triple Your Leads

How To Use Attraction Marketing For Triple Your Leads
There are so many types of marketing we hear about today – online marketing, influencer marketing, network marketing… the list goes on.

But have you heard of attraction marketing? It’s not exactly a new player in the business side of network marketing, but it has exploded in popularity recently.

That’s because it can gain leads for your business very quickly.

It involves giving value and offering free content to pull prospective leads into your company. The ‘attraction’ part of the equation is the important bit here – the idea is not to bang on about your merchandise or your company, but to grab people’s attention on an unconscious level so that they don’t really know they’ve been converted until they take action.

Basically, you are giving before you take, and putting things into the marketplace to attract people to you. By giving, I don’t mean the product itself, but knowledge or information about it that would help the customer make a wise choice.

The workflow of attraction marketing is represented below:

Source

Let’s consider HubSpot as an example.

The marketing platform supplies its users with a volume of informative and educative content on inbound marketing.

It also provides an arsenal of tools for email marketing, CRM, selling among many others.

Source

While users may not buy something from HubSpot the first time they visit the website, they will get acquainted with HubSpot over time through its content. When the time arrives for a customer to buy a tool for marketing, they will think of HubSpot because it has already provided them with value.

This is the essence of attraction marketing. Customers, by nature, are curious to know how something works, tastes or performs before buying it as well as how much value it yields for the money spent.

For example, Home Depot is a reputed home supply company in the US. To improve its engagement with homemakers and make them buy more/stay loyal to the brand, Home Depot conducts weekly classes on how to use equipment or how to lay a tile on a small surface, etc.

Customers who attend these classes tend to buy more from the store immediately to test out what they have learned. This is the trigger mechanism of an attraction marketing strategy.

If done right, attraction marketing can be a trump card to magnify the lead generation and conversion rate of a business.

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How to master attraction marketing

The basic principle of attraction marketing is to educate customers about the ‘goodness’ or desirability of a product before you even suggest that they buy it. Think of someone handing out samples of barbecue chicken in a shopping mall. They are not explicitly suggesting you buy it, they are simply giving you something that will probably make you want to buy it without them having to say a word.

Here are six simple ways you can master attraction marketing.

1. Spread knowledge

Like I said before, attraction marketing is all about educating customers. First, let them LEARN about your product. Then, take away the ‘L’ to earn from them. To do this, you have to spread knowledge about the product, its praiseworthy points and how it can be used to address specific customer pain points.

2. Earn trust

Trust wins, at all times. In fact, when it comes to attraction marketing, it is the only thing that ever wins. Customers only want to buy from a brand or seller whom they believe is authentic and trustworthy, so be sure to align your message with your audience in an authentic way.

3. Be authentic

In marketing and branding, authenticity has a high price. Customers pay for brands which have authenticity without batting an eyelid. Think Adidas, Apple and Amazon – they are all trusted to deliver the goods whether it comes to product quality or service efficiency. Use them as inspiration.

4. Be social and responsive

Social media plays a big role in amplifying the reach of attraction marketing. Kim Harris writes in this Huffington Post article that communicating and connecting with your customers on a consistent basis is one of the most fundamental rules of attraction marketing.

5. Give insights

Do you know where the market is heading? Or what the next big game changer that will disrupt the industry is likely to be? Feel free to share it with your followers. One thing that customers expect out of marketers is subject matter expertise and it will also amplify their loyalty to you.

6. Generate and distribute content

Content can come in the form of long-form blogs, infographics, creative banner images, videos or anything that customers can consume to know about your product. In attraction marketing, through using various forms of content or repurposing already existing content, you can gain maximum visibility. When providing content, focus on creating content that educates. People want to know ‘how’ and ‘why’ more than anything else.

Final words

The best sales prospects are the ones who come looking for you. Attraction marketing makes it easy for customers to understand your product and assess its value through legitimate means. Attraction marketing improves engagement, and as an end result, increases sales.

The key to success when using attraction marketing lies in having a genuine interest in customers and their needs. Your attraction marketing strategy must therefore be devised to address such needs head-on without any hidden agendas in mind.

The business needs of profitability and sales will happen once customers are convinced about the product.

In essence: attraction marketing is the best way forward if procuring high-quality leads is your priority.

Guest Author: Megha Parikh is a digital marketing expert and has been journeying through the world of digital marketing for more than 7 years. She especially enjoys learning about social media marketing and conversion rate optimization.

10 Content Marketing Trends to Watch Out For In 2022

10 Content Marketing Trends to Watch Out For In 2022

Marketing trends keep on changing, and if you can stay on top of what your customers want, you will be able to stay ahead of the pack. For any business or brand to grow and build the correct audience, content marketing is essential. Increase conversions, enhance sales, create leads, expand an email list, are all much more onerous without it.

According to Statista, content marketing revenue surpassed $42 billion in 2019 and is still rising. Many companies will prioritize their content marketing approach if you don’t, and you will be left behind.

Focus on the latest content marketing trends and use them in your strategy to make 2022 the best year ever for your company. Here are ten content marketing trends to watch in 2022, following a turbulent fiscal year. Some of these may catch you off guard.

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1. Put a premium on customer retention

Customer-Retention

You undoubtedly already know that quality content marketing is critical for attracting new customers, improving search engine rankings, and converting new leads. But few people discuss content tactics for maintaining existing consumers. To help you fix this, there is a list of content-focused strategies that will help you keep customers interested long after you have made a deal.

  • Keeping your website up to date adds value to your consumers’ experience, which will persuade them to come back for more.
  • If you are sure of your product’s quality, it is time to look at how people engage with it right after they buy it.
  • Promotional information, compelling product highlights, and features, news about recent and impending changes, or any discounts that can bring distracted customers back into the fold are all included in email marketing campaigns.

According to statista, Global e-mail users reached four billion in 2020, and are expected to reach 4.6 billion by 2025.

2. Visual storytelling enabled by augmented reality (AR)

Visual-Storytelling

When content is conveyed through visuals, the human brain analyzes those visuals faster and retains more data. With this in mind, if you want people to remember and care about your business, you must incorporate outstanding images into your content. You can eliminate monotony from your communications and offer your customers the opportunity to want more.

Examine how augmented reality can be utilized to promote content.

  • Create a real presence with your content by incorporating interactive features and introducing your customer to something fresh.
  • Connect with your audience in a more personal way.
  • Encourage audience engagement before, during, and after their experience.

In the year 2019, 68.7 million people used AR at least once a month.

Taco Bell employed augmented reality to foster a better sense of community by connecting people with live social media content. They promoted their company as a leader in innovation, especially in the fast-food market.

3. Artificial intelligence technology

Many companies start with little resources and they must figure out how to make the most of them. Data processing and investigation are sped up, thanks to AI technology, making decision-making easier. To achieve high productivity and enhance efficiency in business, AI integration with human labor is projected to increase.

Customers want businesses to respond in real-time. Content marketing methods will continue to include AI-powered chatbots. More tools for analyzing data and creating marketing material, such as optimized blog entries, will be available as AI technology advances. This type of automation allows employees to focus on more important responsibilities.

4. More people listening to podcasts

50-Of-All-Homes-Are-Podcast-Fans

Educational podcasts are in high demand, and many businesses are set to get on board this year. There are already a number of popular podcasts geared toward entrepreneurs and businesses. Podcasts offer listeners great information on a variety of topics and have enormous potential as a content marketing strategy.

According to Podcast Insights, there are approximately two million podcasts and over 48 million podcast episodes as of 2021.

Content marketers can share their tales with the correct podcasting strategy. They can draw attention to the good aspects of products and services among niche consumers. Podcasts also work well with social media pages and can be used to complement blog content for consumers who prefer audio. Podcasts, unlike text content, have a human touch. Various qualities of the voice, such as tone and emotion, can be related to the audience.

The Distance podcast from Basecamp examines what it takes to succeed before spinning funny and inspiring stories from real-life experiences of entrepreneurs whose businesses have lasted a quarter-century or more.

5. High-quality search engine optimization

Consistency is required for SEO and content marketing. Content that is new, distinctive, and creative is quickly indexed and ranks better than content that is low-value and repetitive.

Since 95% of visitors only look at the first page of search results, it is worthwhile to optimize your content. Most visitors will not view your content if it appears on the second or subsequent pages.

Your content should be able to both entice and solve a problem for your customers. By using crucial keywords and focusing on certain visitors, you can create persuasive content. This is the most essential aspect in determining a page’s relevancy and ranking. The key to recognized content is brainstorming unique concepts and incorporating the most important keywords.

Search engine optimization and content marketing are not two separate entities. Both of them, in fact, require one another. Content marketing is only effective if it is SEO-friendly. When SEO and content marketing work together, they are a force to be reckoned with.

6. Documenting your content strategy

Content-Marketing

Many startups and established organizations have managed to execute content marketing without formal documentation throughout the years. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 41% of content marketers lack documentation for their content strategy.

The requirement for a defined content marketing plan will grow more important as content marketing evolves. It will assist you in remaining organized and efficiently executing your content marketing efforts in order to achieve the desired results in 2022 and the years to come.

Building a content marketing strategy manually, on the other hand, can make it much easier to bring on new team members.

7. More specialized content

One of the most difficult challenges for startups is to raise brand recognition. Thus, it is essential to streamline your content marketing plan so that it focuses on what your company does best and what makes it unique.

Staying informed about current developments that affect your niche is one way to accomplish this. Pay attention to your consumers’ ever-changing demands and supply them with solutions.

This allows you to accomplish three goals. To begin, you can develop content that your target audience is interested in. Secondly, it aids in distinguishing you from your competition and establishing your brand. Lastly, you may demonstrate your knowledge and competence.

8. Using voice search

As evidenced by the popularity of Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices, demand for voice-activated entertainment is at an all-time high now and is only expected to rise in 2022. Millions of smart speakers have been sold worldwide, with the Google Home Mini speaker accounting for the majority. Because of the convenience of hands-free operations, almost every home today has a smart gadget that includes voice search.

A voice-activated assistant gadget is used by about 36 million Americans.

Every individual may relate to the human voice. As more people use voice search, content marketers are likely to incorporate it into their campaigns. FAQ content is one method to take advantage of the wonderful benefits of voice search. People are always going to have inquiries. FAQ content can be extremely useful if the appropriate keywords are used.

9. Increased individualization

Data-Driven-Marketing

Startups and established organizations may now learn more about their target audience, thanks to data-driven content marketing tactics. Therefore, the information you gather can assist you in creating the correct content to address your target audience’s pain points and goals at each stage of the buying process.

It is now easy to get information about your competitors. You can position your startup to build content to pursue your established marketing goals by carefully researching the types and forms of material they provide, as well as how your target audience reacts to them.

10. ABM becoming the preferred B2B marketing strategy

Traditional-Marketing-ABM

All B2B marketers used to follow the same sales funnel back in the day. Today, and certainly not in 2022, this is not the case.

Account-based marketing (ABM), rather than throwing a wide net with generic blog posts in the hopes of catching some leads, takes the exact opposite strategy.

Account-based marketing (ABM) uses highly focused, individualized programs to win over specific business accounts rather than depending on broad ads that are supposed to appeal to the entire industry and drive more site visitors.

The importance of quality outreach and relationship-building is emphasized by ABM. Rather than continually publishing blog posts and blasting email lists with generic material developed for a large audience, ABM best practices focus on customizing content and experiences for a specific group of people from certain accounts.

According to the ITSMA study, approximately 85 percent of marketers assessing ROI feel ABM outperforms other marketing efforts, and 41% of B2B marketers worldwide plan to increase their ABM spending. So maybe it is time to boost your ABM game in 2022.

Wrapping up

Businesses have a chance to stay afloat while the pandemic is still a concern. This is achievable with a well-planned content marketing strategy. These 2022 content marketing trends to watch are a great resource for businesses planning their marketing strategies.

Guest author: Jigar Agarwal is a passionate writer at AgencyMat. He wants to unlock the world of technology and social media where every day there is a new possibility as well as innovation. Follow Him on Twitter.

5 Ways to Make Your Virtual Presentation More Engaging and Memorable

5 Ways to Make Your Virtual Presentation More Engaging and Memorable

As you’re counting down the days to your next virtual presentation, you start to wonder if there’s a way for you to do things differently this time around.

You want your audience to have fun, be more present, and engage with your subject.

Most of all, you want it to be memorable.

The best feeling in the world as a presenter is when audience members can’t stop talking about your presentation.

Stick around for five simple yet effective steps to help keep your audience’s attention and interest during (and even after!) your virtual presentation.

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Make your online presentations unforgettable and fun (5 science-backed tips)

Like-Every-TED

Before you take steps to create your virtual presentation, it makes sense to understand the elements of an excellent presentation first.

Carmine Gallo, world-leading expert on transformative communication and author of several best-selling business books, describes that every TED talk that goes viral has three elements – it’s emotional, novel, and memorable.

While Gallo is specifically talking about TED talks, you’ll notice the same patterns in virtual presentations that stick.

Whether you want to persuade prospects with your webinar or you’re pitching to a group of investors, never give a boring online presentation again with the following simple yet effective tips and tricks:

1. Begin with a memorable introduction

One of the common mistakes presenters make is taking the boring route of introducing themselves. Repeating your resume as an intro is the worst!

Your audience has likely done their quick research about you. Perhaps they’ve read about your credentials before signing up for your virtual talk.

The next time you want to make a memorable and persuasive presentation, be mindful of your introduction.

Your audience will be able to make their first impression of you in just a matter of seconds. They can gauge right away whether or not your presentation is worth their time.

“You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression,” shares James Uleman, a researcher on impression management and psychology professor at New York University. “In spite of the congeniality of many professional gatherings, judgments are being made and impressions formed all the time.”

Open-Your-Introduction

Vanessa Van Edwards, the national bestselling author of Captivate and founder of Science of People, recommends the IISSAAQQ method when starting your presentation:

IISSAAQQ stands for:

  • Icebreaker
  • Illustration
  • Short story
  • Statistic or surprising fact
  • Aphorism
  • Analogy or metaphor
  • Question
  • Quote

Finally, what you say isn’t the only way to create a good impression. Pay equal attention to your body language, lighting, microphone, camera, and the state of the room you’re presenting in.

2. Make yourself visible often

If you’re part of the audience, you have the luxury to hide from the rest of the presentation participants.

However, if you’re the presenter, take advantage of the fact that humans are innately wired to respond and engage with faces. Make yourself visible often during your presentation.

Putting a face to your presentation also helps you build trust and personal connection with the rest of the audience. In fact, our brains have a specific part, the fusiform face area, dedicated to facial recognition. A happy face can also have a motivational effect on your audience.

Your body language is also a deal-breaker if you want an engaged audience in your virtual presentations. Relax and sit closer to the edge of your seat when presenting. Some presenters find themselves energized and in “presentation mode” when standing up.

Finally, use simple gestures throughout the presentation to make things natural between you and the audience.

3. Add an element of interaction

Like in-person presentations, make your virtual presentation memorable by interacting with audience members.

For a start, use the participant list to interact with your participants by name. 

Here are noteworthy ideas to help you interact with audience members the next time you’re about to deliver a talk online or host a webinar:

  • Ask questions
  • Encourage participants to “raise their hands” (some platforms have this feature)
  • Turn a one-sided presentation into a more active discussion by having a co-presenter
  • Incorporate chats and polls in your presentation (have someone else take care of this if you don’t want to multitask) for live feedback
  • Have a dedicated hashtag that people can use if they want to share your talk on social media
Carmine-Gallo

Pro tip:  For longer presentations, re-engage every 10 minutes.

“There is research out there showing that we tend to get bored after about ten minutes – which means no matter how engaging a speaker is, there seems to be a natural pattern in our brains where we tune out, literally, tune out, after about ten minutes,” recommends Gallo. “So I’m always recommending to people… always find ways to re-engage, every ten minutes. That can be a video, showing a video. That might mean going to a different speaker.”

4. Harness the power of visuals 

According to learning theorists, there are generally three types of learners: verbal learners, experiential learners, and visual learners.

It turns out that around 65 percent of the general population are visual learners. These people need to see what they are learning and may have difficulty following oral lectures alone.

With this in mind, use images to reinforce key points the next time you’re presenting online. Visual aids, when done correctly, don’t only engage your presentation attendees but also boost the memorability of your presentation.

If possible, include people in your visuals because images and pictures of real people help build authenticity.

If you have to use various types of graphs and charts, use them sparingly. While these data visualization tools can help enhance your presentation, they can potentially confuse your audience.

Lastly, use short video snippets. Tools like Piktostory help transform one long video into multiple clips of engaging content.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science even gives the same advice to their community of scientists and researchers – don’t use video clips that are longer than three to four minutes in your presentation unless you really need to.

5. End your presentation with impact (and digital goodies)

A poorly executed ending can ruin an excellent presentation.

Like your introduction, your conclusion will also leave a lasting impression on your audience.

Here are some ideas to conclude your presentation with impact and get people to say, “Hey, that presentation really resonated with me” (or something along those lines):

  • Acknowledge your audience. Communication is a two-way street and your presentation is no exception. You can thank them for the time they spent listening to you and recognize their efforts.
  • Highlight your contact details at the end of the presentation. Many presenters end their presentation with a “Thank you” slide. While this is good practice, make it more impactful with a “Contact me” slide in case your attendees have more questions about your presentation.
End-Your-Presentation
  • Make your audience laugh. Short funny anecdotes are a great way to drive your key message home and make your presentation noteworthy.
  • Give out digital goodies. “Everybody loves getting things, and it shouldn’t stop just because you are online. Digital goodies might include a downloadable PDF or document that includes more statistics/research or a list of relevant sources related to your presentation,” shares Van Edwards.
  • Present a clear call to action on what your audience should do after attending your presentation. It could be committing to your 3-day online course or joining your Discord group.

Ready to make your virtual presentations more fun and memorable?

No matter which industry you are in, engaging and memorable presentations can lead your business to greater heights – more qualified leads, a boost in sales, and even happier customers.

With isolation as part of the new normal following the pandemic, our need for connection and engagement despite the absence of physicality has never been greater.

Apart from the benefits that it brings your business or organization, you are also doing your audience a favor by making them more involved with your presentation. The best part is they’re walking away from your presentation with new insights and actionable advice.

Guest author: Kai Tomboc is currently taking care of content at Piktochart, an easy-to-use design tool that helps you tell your story with the visual impact it deserves. She has written for various SaaS brands and publications like G2. When not engrossed in a book, she’s most likely taming tardigrades. 

Top 10 Video Sharing Platforms as YouTube Alternatives

Video content is growing rapidly, it’s estimated that there will be 1 million minutes worth of video per second by 2020. In digital marketing, businesses are beginning to shift their marketing focus from blog posts to videos because of its effectiveness.

Multiple studies have shown that videos can boost web traffic, Google page rankings, user engagement, and conversion rates. Consumers are also 12 times more likely to share a video than any other type of content.

When talking about video sharing platforms, YouTube is the first site to come to mind. It’s not strange considering that YouTube is the biggest video sharing and second-largest website in the world, just behind Google.

However, not all kinds of videos are on YouTube. In this article, we’ll take a good look at 10 video-sharing websites as YouTube alternatives. These platforms have their own niche that makes them unique in their own way.

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#1. Vimeo

Vimeo is a video sharing website that’s similar to YouTube, except that it offers higher quality videos using 4k Ultra HD. It’s also an ad-free platform, unlike YouTube, to make sure that the viewers can focus on watching the videos without any distractions. Vimeo is the best place for video-makers to share their high-quality videos with others.

However, just like any platform, it has weaknesses too. You’re allowed to upload as many videos as you like on YouTube without any limit, however, that’s not the case with Vimeo. Here, the maximum limit per week is only 500MB and can be upgraded to 5GB for premium users.

But let’s be honest, that’s nothing compared to the number of videos you can upload on YouTube for free.

Vimeo for youtube alternatives

#2. Dailymotion

This is probably the most similar alternative to YouTube, as Dailymotion offers the same layout and video categories that make the transition from YouTube easier. With 112 million visitors per month, this platform is surely one of the biggest YouTube competitors.

The advantage of using Dailymotion is that it has a less harsh video policy compared to YouTube. You can upload any kind of videos you want, no one will remove them. The downside to that is the lack of supervision of pirated videos.

Moreover, you can only upload high-quality videos if you’re a pro user. The high-quality video has a resolution limit of 1080p and can only be 20 minutes long.

Daily Motion for youtube alternatives

#3. Dtube

Similar to Dailymotion, Dtube also has the same user interface as YouTube. But that’s about the only similarity they have because the way Dtube operates is completely different from the video-sharing giant.

Dtube uses blockchain technology to store the videos, not one centralized server like YouTube does. As a result, the videos and personal data here are pretty much safe from hackers. Plus, this platform contains no ads and offers cryptocurrency revenue for its content creators.

Dtube for youtube alternatives

#4. PeerTube

Just like the name, PeerTube is a peer-to-peer based video sharing platform. Instead of using one server like YouTube and many other video websites, PeerTube gives freedom to its users to host their own server, called instance. Every instance contains a user and their videos and can connect to one another.

You’re free to upload any kind of videos on this platform without having to worry about being banned. The only weakness of PeerTube is its relatively young age, making the video library not as rich as its established competitors.

Peertube for youtube alternatives

#5. Veoh

Veoh is like a hybrid of a video streaming and social media platform. You can upload videos as long as you want (no length limit) and then easily share it with your friends. You can also join groups and forums, then chat with people there. Just like social media, you need to engage with many people and get them to like your content for your channel to grow.

Veo for youtube alternatives

#6. TED

It’s time to enter some niche territory. For those of you who are looking for an educational video streaming site, TED might be a fit for you. This platform has over 3,000 lectures covering a wide range of topics like technology, science, business, society, humanity, and personal growth, among many others.

Ted for youtube alternatives

#7. Twitch

After a long day at work or a long lecture video from TED, you could head to Twitch to enjoy some live streaming videos. Not just an ordinary YouTube alternative, Twitch content is focused only on games, even though you’ll find plenty of non-gaming videos as well.

Although it has a strong gaming community, YouTube is still better in some areas. First of all, you make a lot more money doing a live-streaming video on YouTube than here. Secondly, you can’t rewind videos on Twitch and last, the live-streaming performance is a bit slower compared to YouTube.

Twitch for youtube alternatives

#8. Metacafe

Metacafe is the home of short videos that are no longer than 90 seconds which are mostly low in quality. More people will know about Snapchat and Instagram Stories than Metacafe, even though it offers a similar service and is older than both of those apps. However, videos on Metacafe will stay forever and not disappear after 24 hours.

Metacafe is like a mini YouTube alternative, where you can search for videos based on trending topics and categories, as well as subscribe to a channel. People here are usually looking for funny videos, quick product reviews and tutorials.

Metacafe for youtube alternatives

#9. Vevo

After talking about educational videos, gaming platforms, and a short video library, it’s time for a video sharing website that focuses only on music videos. So, if you love music and want to watch video clips only, head to Vevo.

This website offers more than 400,000 high-quality music videos from Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group. However, you can’t upload your own music video here, meaning that Vevo is more suited for music enthusiasts rather than musicians.

vevo for youtube alternatives

#10. The Internet Archive

If you’ve been looking for a childhood TV show or movie but can’t find it anywhere, maybe you should start looking at the Internet Archive. Just like the name, it’s a website that stores old and classic movies, documentaries, TV series, and other kinds of videos.

Besides enabling you to find rare footage that can’t be found anywhere else, you can upload your own videos as well. However, don’t be disappointed if you can’t find enough new and updated content on this platform compared to other video platforms.

The Internet Archive for youtube alternatives

Video making tools

After reading about these awesome YouTube alternatives, you might want to start creating your own videos. Well, it’s your lucky day because I’ve compiled a complete list of video making tools to help you craft your own masterpiece. The list consists of 121 tools and platforms for making videos, such as:

  • DIY Animation Tools
  • Video Marketing Platforms
  • Live Streaming Platforms
  • Video Editing Tools
  • Interactive Videos
  • Sound Effects Library
  • Stock Video Library
  • Sound Recording Tools
  • Scriptwriting Utilities

TIP: If you are too busy, you can always hire a video expert or a freelancer on Fiverr.

Guest author: Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award-winning explainer video company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales and get positive ROI from explainer videos. Connect on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Are You a Content Writer? 10 Amazing Sites That Will Pay You for Your Writing!

10 Amazing Sites That Will Pay You for Your Writing

So you’ve got a thing for writing…

Is it just for pleasure, or do you want to make a living out of it?

Perhaps you have tried to make money blogging or writing before, and you get stuck with an ineffective strategy. Or you just run out of job opportunities and are continually chasing that next one. It can be stressful.

How much better would your freelance writing career be if you had an endless supply of writing jobs available to you? A set of writing websites that would guarantee you work every time you needed it?

It might sound unrealistic, but it’s not.

The Internet offers plenty of opportunities for bloggers and content writers; you just need to trust the right sites to start making a decent income with writing.

Tip: Jeff uses BuzzSumo to generate content ideas, create high-performing content, monitor its performance, and identify influencers.

Don’t worry, you won’t need to go through a lot of trial and error to find writing websites that pay well. The following list will guide you towards reliable, safe, and profitable sites that will stock you up with jobs for whenever you need them.

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contena-screenshot
Contena has a lot of really great features to help writers jump start their freelance writing business and find specific writing work listed all over the web. That’s why it is number one on our list.

Some of the features include;

  • Job search tool
  • Email alerts
  • Submission finder
  • Pay rate database for over 1600 companies.

All memberships include access to Contena Academy, which provides members with a six module video training course and materials to show how to really jump into starting a freelance writing business. Even members with previous writing experience see the Academy positively, as it provides them with the tools they need to find success.

The icing on the cake of joining Contena is the professional writing coach they provide under their Platinum memberships that will personally work with Platinum members to help them craft their portfolio, individual pitches for jobs they find on Contena, and provide any advice they need along the way.

It’s totally free to get an account with Contena to start seeing how it can kickstart your writing career.

Blasting News is the largest global social news publisher – set up in mid-2013, it is now one of the 200 most visited websites in the world, according to Alexa, thanks to +80 million monthly unique on-site visitors.
Blasting News reports in 25 languages and 34 countries, and its freelance writers and journalists in the US currently earn up to $12 for each 1000 readers.

All articles are produced by freelance contributors (Blasters), and fact-checked and curated by a quality team of senior professionals (Senior Blasters). To guarantee the best results, news is distributed by the writers themselves as well as by Social Blasters, a global team of top digital influencers.

Listverse

This is a website focused on the most fascinating and rare gems of knowledge. At Listverse, you can submit list posts packed with uncommon facts. If you have an idea for a captivating list post that’s 1500+ words long, then you can submit it and earn $100.

The competition is stiff, but having your post published at Listverse is one of the quickest ways to get paid to blog.

instantShift

If you can write quality articles associated to design and programming, then you should definitely submit them at InstantShift. The payments are decided on the basis of the volume and quality of your content.

Since this is a reputable website, you can expect to earn a decent amount for a top-quality article.

freelance careers

If you are tired of hunting blogs and websites that will pay you to write a single article, then you should aim for writing services that provide a constant workflow. At FreelancerCareers.com, you can easily find well-paying writing jobs associated to your interests.

The payments vary depending on the complexity of the job, but you’ll get from $7 to $31 per page for your work.

metro parent

Do you think you can write for one of the most successful parenting magazines on the web? Metro Parent is always looking for experienced freelance writers who can write content of interest to parents. You can write department columns of 500-700 words, or feature articles of 1000-2500 words.

Depending on the type of articles you write, you’ll get payments from $35 to $350.

HubPages

HubPages.com gets a lot of traffic, so it’s definitely worthy of attention. You’ll need to submit articles of 700+ words, but make sure they are free of spelling and grammar errors if you want to get them approved.

The following top 10 list will guide you towards reliable, safe, and profitable sites that will pay you for your writing!

If you are a full-time writer, then you surely know a thing or two about saving money. This website is dedicated to “living better… for less”. The best part is that it pays writers to submit content associated to this niche.

You’ll get $0.10 per word for any article accepted. If you get 3 articles of 1000 published in a month, it means that you’ll get a decent income of $300.

Pay you for your writing

This online publication distributes weekly editions with articles associated to writing, freelance job listings and markets for writers. The subscribers of WritersWeekly don’t need articles on how to write; they are interested in making more money through their work.

Once you get that part figured out for yourself, you can start submitting articles for this publication and get $60 for 600 words.

The Change Agent

This is a biannual magazine for adult learners and educators, with a mission to provide low-cost resources that feature writings by adult learners. The articles are focused on student writing, classroom activities, news, cartoons, poems, graphics, and opinion pieces. You’ll get a payment of $50 for a submission of 200-1000 words.

More writing websites where you can get paid

Here are some additional writing websites that will pay you for your skills:

A Fine Parent

eCommerce Insiders

The Penny Hoarder

Smashing Magazine

Photoshop Tutorials

Treehouse

A List Apart

Tuts+ Code

The Travel Writer’s Life

Write Naked

Viator Travel Blog

Sitepoint

International Living

Tuts+ Vector

UX Booth

Digital Ocean

Tuts+ WP

Cracked

Wrap

There are over 25 great writing websites in this post that will help you earn money from your writing skills.

I put this list together because I know how hard it can be to get a start when you are trying to kickstart a writing career.

If I was to only choose one site above to start making money with writing, it would be Contena. It brings together some of the best opportunities from all over the web and enables you to effectively pitch for jobs with their helpful training academy. Check it out and see where it takes you.

I wish you all the best with your writing career, and hope this article has helped move things in the right direction.

Guest Author: Robert Morris is a content manager, loves creating social media tips and tricks. You can find Robert on Google+

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Top 4 Ideas to Better Incorporate Video Into Your Marketing Strategy

Top 4 Ideas to Better Incorporate Video Into Your Marketing Strategy

For years now, we’ve been seeing every reputable marketing outlet touting video as the next best thing in marketing, regardless of your industry or niche. And with 85% of consumers wanting to see more video from brands, the creation of video content is unlikely to slow down any time soon. 

The problem for many business owners (and marketers) is that video marketing has a pretty high barrier for entry. Creating videos is neither quick nor cheap and deciding on the type of format, let alone the content can be very difficult.

Here are some great starting points if you’re wondering where to get started with marketing videos.

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#1. Explainer videos as a necessity

Everyone who’s been in marketing can tell you about the value of landing pages. A customer needs to know what they’re buying and the copy you write is the deciding factor in whether they buy or not. However, attention spans are decreasing in general and a video can tell much more in a minute than you could with an entire page worth of copy.

Slack’s explainer video, which doesn’t even include any product screenshots, has over 1 million views on YouTube

An explainer video is an excellent way to show off what your product does, who you are, what your values are, what the customer gets from teaming up with you, and much more. In terms of ROI, this is one of the best formats you can choose out there.

The reason is simple – the average explainer video is fairly short (or at least should be) and there are many agencies specializing in creating them. It’s a job that very few businesses can do in-house, so outsourcing is the logical choice here.

A great explainer video tells your story quickly and summarizes the main points your customer needs to know before purchasing.

#2. Video testimonials used in strategic places

Social proof is one of the most powerful concepts in marketing and it has been for decades. Simply put, we love hearing about a product or service from others before making a purchasing decision. Investing in testimonials, reviews, case studies and other forms of social proof is always a solid idea, and you can tie in video quite nicely here.

Testimonial-Jack-FromFreestyle-Web-Design

An example of a video testimonial which we use on one of our landing pages

According to Forbes, 70% of marketing professionals state that video is better for conversions than any other format, and this is especially true with testimonials. The best part is – video testimonials are simple recordings of your customers talking about how much they love what you do.

For a marketer, this means that testimonial videos are:

  • Cheap
  • Easy to create
  • Can be done in-house
  • Don’t need to be outsourced
  • Can be reused for a variety of platforms (website, social media, ads)

All it takes is finding a customer who’s so thrilled about you that they’re willing to sit down and record themselves for about two minutes. If you’re not thrilled about doing it manually, there are tools that can simplify the process. No need for fancy editing here – just the customer talking and that’s it.

The best places for a customer testimonial video include your home page and landing/product pages. Any place where you want to increase your chances for a conversion is a great one for a testimonial video.

#3. How-to videos as a self-service option

In our industry (SaaS), you can often run into customers who sign up for your product, perhaps even pay for it and then get stuck on something. At this point, they ideally have several ways to reach your customer service to resolve the problem – or you can solve it for them in advance.

One effective way to use videos is to record demos of how your product works, elaborating how certain features work. This is an easy way to kill two birds with one stone.

One of many instructional videos provided by Intercom for their current and potential customers

One, you’ll show potential customers how your product works inside out before they even sign up for a free trial. It may take them 30 minutes of fumbling around to find a feature or they can watch a quick, 2-minute video instead, to see how something works and what results they can expect.

Then there is the added benefit. According to recent research, 40% of customers prefer to solve a problem using self-service, rather than getting in touch with your customer support. This means that your how-to videos will not only increase your conversions but also improve your customer satisfaction and make your customer support team’s job easier. 

#4. Do a live video for your audience

Up until a few years ago, doing live videos was impractical, and very few businesses dabbled with this form of marketing. Nowadays, platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and others allow anyone to start a live video in a matter of a few clicks. If you’re considering this as a way to get in front of your audience, you definitely should incorporate it in your marketing mix.

There’s research to back up this idea too. According to Livestream, 80% of consumers would rather watch a live video from a brand than read their blog. Moreover, 82% prefer watching videos rather than consuming other types of content on social media.

There are several reasons for this but primarily – it’s about the interaction. As consumers are watching, they can leave comments and steer the way the live video develops. While there is a general topic of the video, as a consumer, you can never fully predict what happens in a brand’s live video.

An example of a great live video

The more spontaneous and unscripted the live video is, the more successful it’s bound to be. The best part about this strategy? It’s pretty cost-effective, as all you need is a good camera and some time spent promoting the stream to get as many viewers as possible.

If you’re in the B2B sector, webinars are a better idea for your audience because they are the preferred format for them. They require more preparation and technical know-how but can still provide massive ROI, especially if you use evergreen webinars.

Wrapping up

Video marketing can sound tedious to get started with, but the return on investment you can get is more than tempting. The tactics described here are super effective, easy to get started with immediately and don’t require significant investment. Whichever method you choose, make sure to get started with video as soon as possible, because the future is looking really bright for this marketing platform.

Guest author: Petra Odak is a Chief Marketing Officer at Better Proposals, simple yet incredibly powerful proposal software tool that helps you send high-converting, web-based business proposals in minutes. She’s a solution-oriented marketing enthusiast with more than 5 years of experience in various fields of marketing and project management.

The Secret to Getting 140k Blog Visitors From Quora Every Month

The Secret to Getting 140k Blog Visitors From Quora Every Month

Quora is one of the fastest-growing platforms for getting traffic to your blog.

It’s also a fantastic way to get targeted and highly qualified traffic that converts well.

In this article, I’ll first show you why you should be focussing more on platforms like Quora (or Reddit) to drive traffic to your blog, followed by some challenges that people face while driving traffic from Quora. I’ll finish by showing you the unbeatable method I’ve been using to create a traffic avalanche to your blog from Quora.

So without any further ado, let’s begin.

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Why Quora is the hottest traffic source on the internet right now

Everyone just loves high converting traffic.

Once a visitor lands on a page, you want that to add up to revenue (either by clicking display ads or giving affiliate sales).

But it has become a challenge to get such levels of conversions as people these days have a very minute attention span.

When people don’t find what they’re looking for, they just bounce right away.

And this attention span has further dwindled down after the introduction of TikTok and Instagram Reels.

You might be wondering how Tiktok or Instagram Reels have dwindled the attention span of people.

Well, I’ll tell you why!

On Tiktok or Instagram Reels, for example, people keep scrolling endlessly without a clear purpose – some may even come to click “like” just because it’s something new and trending.

Also, the education level of people visiting Quora is considerably higher than people visiting Facebook, Tiktok, and Instagram combined.

With Quora, most people using it, are educated (Quora isn’t visually appealing like Instagram) so they’re going there specifically looking for answers- whether that’s an educational topic or some valuable guidance for life.

In the end, when someone finds their answers, they either leave or only look at better ones; unlike Instagram Reels where people mostly scroll aimlessly until boredom kicks in or they’re reminded to do their chores.

It’s so easy to get lost in the shuffle on Tiktok, Facebook, or Instagram Reels.

But Quora is different because it provides value, education, and guidance that helps you have a better understanding of what the solutions to your problems should be about instead of just posting anything and hoping for followers.

The traffic on Quora is a serious thing.

Quora, the social network of Q&A, has more than 100 million unique monthly visitors.

What’s even better is that they rank for approximately 75 Million keywords.

Imagine if your site had just 0.01% of the traffic juice Quora gets naturally -wouldn’t it be amazing?

These are some of the important reasons, why Quora is the hottest source of converting traffic for your blog.

Now let’s proceed to the challenges of bringing traffic to your blog from Quora.

Challenges of driving Quora traffic to your blog

There are certain challenges you need to face while driving traffic from Quora to your blog.

Let’s discuss them one by one.

Challenge 1: Finding HUGE Traffic Quora Questions

Though Quora is a source of highly converting traffic, it’s hard to extract the traffic juice from it.

WHY?

Since Quora is a Q&A site, it is hard to track which question has the highest traffic-driving potential.

In fact, it’s quite easy to get lost in the ocean of questions and you may end up wasting hours giving answers to questions that hardly bring you traffic.

Plus, finding Quora questions that are ranking organically on Google is tough.

Challenge 2: Writing Meaningful and Quality Answers

As already discussed, Quora is the land of the educated and not of entertainment.

Your answers need to match the level of expertise and quality that convinces people to click on your links to land on your blog pages.

In this phase, where people have a drastically narrowed attention span (thanks to Instagram Reels and TikTok), it is difficult to convince or persuade them to keep reading your answers and then visit your blog link as well.

So make sure your answers are easy to follow and informative.

Challenge 3: Quora Moderation Rules and Guidelines

You would be amazed to know that I’ve been banned by Quora moderation a dozen times to date.

Quora moderation is quite strict as compared to other social media platforms out there.

Strictly no repeated answers, no copying and pasting content from the web, no spamming, no placing of links multiple times in a single answer, and other rules and guidelines, too.

When placing your answers on Quora, you need to take care of these things if you don’t wish to get banned for 30 days.

The banning time starts from 7 days, meaning the first time you’ll get banned will be for 7 days, then 14, then 30 days, and so on.

Spam Quora more often, and your account will be deleted forever.

These are some of the hardest challenges that people face while trying to drive traffic from Quora.

Beating Quora traffic challenges and creating a traffic avalanche to tour blog

In this section, I’ll help you beat those challenges and discover your path to that eternal Quora traffic source.

Let’s proceed with the first challenge:

How to Find High Traffic Quora Questions

I recommend you don’t go out to each and every question and start answering them.

There’s a proper strategy in place if you want to make Quora a traffic source for your blog.

In order to find high-traffic Quora questions, you’ll need to use an SEO tool called SEMrush.

Get a SEMrush FREE Trial

Just follow these steps:

Step 1: While in the SEMrush dashboard, go to Domain Analytics -> Organic Research -> Type Quora.com in the search bar and hit enter

Step 2: Go to pages and enter your keyword or topic

Step 3: For convenience, I’ve entered my keyword as “WordPress”, let’s see what pops up

Organic-Research

All the questions on Quora containing the keyword WordPress will be displayed in this list.

TIP: If your keyword isn’t a single word like above, try adding hyphens between the words to make searching easier.

Ex. Instead of searching for “email marketing”, in the search box, try inserting “email-marketing”.

Step 4: Click on traffic and sort by descending

Doing this will arrange all your keyword-specified Quora pages in the descending order of their incoming Google traffic.

Now you can go to these questions individually, place your answers and promote your blog’s link.

Since these questions are already getting tons of traffic and these keywords are ranking on Google, your blog can also take part of this traffic.

If you’re not using an SEO tool like SEMrush, there’s a bit of manual work you’d need to do.

Process 2 – Without SEMrush

Whats-An-AlternativeSite-To-Bookfi-Net

Try to find questions on Quora that have a follower-to-answer ratio of 7:1.

Meaning, you should answer only those questions which are in the ratio of 7 follows for every single answer already made.

Finding these types of questions is a bit tricky as there’s currently no shortcut for it.

Follow this process:

Go to Google -> Type Quora.com + inurl:yourkeyword -> Hit Search

In my case, I’ve searched for the keyword WordPress, let’s see what pops up.

Qoura-Com-Wordpress

You can see that all the questions containing my preferred keyword have been listed here.

Google will also show you the number of answers each question already has.

Now, comes the manual work.

You need to go to each separate question and check whether that question is worth answering or not.

Follow the criteria of following the answer ratio of 7:1 for maximum exposure.

Similarly, you can put this query in Google to discover some other meaningful Quora questions.

Go to Google -> Type Quora.com + intitle:yourkeyword -> Hit Search

This time, I’ve changed the query from inurl to intitle.

Now, 90% of the suggestions you get will be similar in both queries, but 10% of the questions you’ll find will be unique.

Take a look here:

Qoura-Com-Wordpress-2

The difference between these two queries is the last question.

While all the other questions are the same for both queries, the last question comes out to be different.

This was all about finding traffic-worthy questions on Quora.

The next challenge we need to face is about writing our answers.

How to Write Meaningful and Quality Answers On Quora

The best way to answer questions on Quora is by using these simple steps mentioned below.

1. Use Interactive Images

Use-Interactive-Images

If you’re looking to get more upvotes for your post, it might be worth adding an image.

Quora has found that images have a 12.5% higher click-through-rate and are answered about 20% faster than posts without any pictures!

Also, you should pay attention to your image SEO and optimization so that your answers are fully SEO compliant thus also giving your answers faster and higher rankings on Google.

2. Write Answers That Are Easy To Skim

In the era of social media and short attention spans, nobody wants to read a huge block of text.

Write-Answers-That-Are-Easy-To-Skim

So try to break down your answers into smaller paragraphs that are easy for people to skim through on their phone while waiting in line at Starbucks or any other place where they have a few minutes spare before getting back onto the fast-paced grind.

Also, headings and subheadings are great for organizing your content.

Tube-Mastery-And-Monetization

They make it easier to find what you’re looking for, especially when reading a long document on the internet that doesn’t have an index at the back of each page or large section titles alongside every paragraph.

Your paragraphs should also be easy to read by not having more than two sentences in them with 25 words max. per sentence.

For more tips on how you can write an engaging piece of content for your audience, check out this article I wrote.

Related: How To Write An Engaging and Persuasive Blog Post Or Any Type Of Written Content

Technically the tips mentioned in the above blog post apply to all forms of written content including Quora answers, social media captions, email letters, and so on.

Coming to our last challenge:

How to Defend Yourself From Getting Banned On Quora

In order to understand this, you need to follow Quora Policies and Guidelines

Once again, I’d like to remind you that Quora is very strict regarding its guidelines.

Make sure you follow its policies before placing your answers.

Conclusion – Hacking 140k monthly blog visitors from Quora

Quora is a great source of unlimited hyper-targeted traffic and ultra-quality leads.

You can not only perform lead generation and build credibility in your niche by using Quora but also connect with like-minded people who have higher education levels than those on TikTok or Instagram.

Most marketers are focusing more on Facebook and Twitter instead of exploring the possibilities that come from utilizing social media platforms such as Quora;

Don’t fall into this trap!

It’s time for you to start building your presence online through Quora.

What do you think of Quora?

Tell me in the comments below and if you found this article informative, then share it with your friends!

Also, if you face any problem regarding any of the above-mentioned topics, you can visit The Mistaken Man and leave your queries there.

Till then, have a nice day.

Guest author: I’m Palash, founder of The Mistaken Man. I am the only member at TMM who is not a blogger or freelancer myself, but instead more of an entrepreneur and content writer. My mission is to help people find their own path in life. I do this by sharing what I’ve learned with others through my blog. I have over 10,000 Monthly Readers who come to my site to learn how they can make a living through Blogging and Affiliate Marketing. If you’re looking for someone who can get your website up and running quickly, then check out my site for Blog & Article Writing Services today!

5 Amazing Visual Contemporary Artists to Follow

5 Amazing Visual Contemporary Artists to Follow

Off the top of your head, you can probably name some of the most famous European, Medieval, and ancient artists. Names like Van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci, and Protogenes conjure up images of religion, grand coronation, and historical feats. They marked their craft with sophisticated and mastered but clear and obvious messages.

But when the 19th century ushered in, the fame of medieval taste trickled down. In a deliberate timescale, gone are the days of masterful paintings where portrait and historical figures cramped the four sides of the canvas. Contemporary artists – today’s Da Vinci and Gogh – produce forms of art where subjects hide in the shadows of the material and the message lurks between the spaces. Some, with technological advancements, make their work stunning and otherworldly.

Although their works are taste-exclusive, meaning not all find them likable, their craft is meant to push the boundaries of art and challenge the restrictions of the status quo.

In this article, we name some of today’s most important visual contemporary artists. Their work is reinventing the medium of art while touching universal themes that are difficult to explain but easy enough to understand.

The good news is that we can experience their work through their social media accounts. So if you’re interested in the behind-the-scenes of their creations or don’t have enough time and money to visit some of their paid exhibitions, then give their socials some love.

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1. Chiharo Shiota

Website: https://www.chiharu-shiota.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chiharushiota/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChiharuShiotaArtist/

During-Sleep
“During Sleep” is an exhibit in Lucerne, 2002, where several women volunteers slept on the bed entangled in black yarn. It speaks of illness and death, as well as birth in the hospital. 

Image Source

Chiharu Shiota is a Japanese artist. Her webbed-like installation art has earned her the nickname “human spider.” Her main material: yarns and threads in red, black, and white color.

From Japan, Chiharu moved to Berlin during the historic fall of Berlin. At that time, many people moved from East Berlin to West Berlin, leaving their houses and belongings behind. Chiharu took this opportunity to work on his first installation, “Room of Memory” and “Father Memory,” which both explore the topic of displacement.

Since then, she has produced more installations, paintings, sculptures, and performances.

Her signature image is full of yarn: yarns surrounding boats, yarns connecting shoes, yarns interwoven around beds, and many more.

According to Chiharu, her art revolves around universal themes like death, birth, and sickness. Her most famous pieces – “Dialogue from DNA,” “Accumulation – Searching for the Destination,” “In Silence,” and “Uncertain Journey” – involve multiple sentimental objects like suitcases, keys, windows, and shoes. They represent life, lost and forgotten, and suspended in a weave of yarn.

The universality of her craft is what makes it appealing to a large audience. That’s why her shows and exhibitions are blockbusters for art aficionados and ordinary people. Her visitors often spend several hours taking pictures and getting engrossed in the art. She says that although her art is mind-boggling to see online, it’s meant to be experienced.

Keys-At-Hand
Chiharu Shiota’s “Keys at Hand” exhibited in Venice Biennale, where thousands of repurposed keys dangle from red yarns. The boat in the middle represents the hands that hold the keys.

Image Source

I-Hope
Rope, paper, steel, and yarn were the materials used in this “I Hope…” 2021 exhibition in Germany.

Image Source

2. Melodysheep

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR9sFzaG9Ia_kXJhfxtFMBA

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/melodysheep_/?hl=en

Website: https://www.melodysheep.com/

Shop: https://the-sheep-shop.creator-spring.com/

Melody-Sheeps-1
One of the worlds that Melodysheep built using CGI.

Fond of sci-fi films? Love the exquisite beauty of the expansive universe? So do I. That’s why it’s a blessing to stumble upon the work of Melodysheep on Youtube and Instagram.

John D. Boswell is behind this hugely successful channel. His short CGI films explore the vastness of the celestial world. And with the help of eargasmic musical scores and expert voiceovers, his videos have accumulated millions of views.

Boswell’s contemporary take on the universe – how it came to being and how its future will be relative to our existence – is a wonderful inspirational resource. Every time you finish watching his videos, you’ll see yourself asking the meaning of life.

Melody-Sheeps-2
Melodysheep is a well-known CGI artist focusing on the beauty and wonder of the universe.

Image Source

Melody-Sheeps-3
These are some of Melodysheep’s finished projects, as you can see on his YouTube channel.

Image Source

3. Yayoi Kusama

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yayoikusama_/?hl=en

Website: http://yayoi-kusama.jp/

Yayoi-Kusama-1
Behind Yayoi Kusama are her paintings, most of which were made while she was voluntarily living in a psychiatric ward.

Image Source

Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese installation artist and painter. Even at the age of 92, she still pushes the boundaries of contemporary art. She has received several awards in her decades-long career: Premium Imperiale, Asahi Prize, and  Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Many art critics consider her as the most important figure in the world of avant-garde.

Yayoi Kusama was born in a conservative family in Nagano, Japan. In her early years, she was a prolific painter. However, her parents had disapproved of her painting and wanted her to wed a wealthy businessman instead. But because Yayoi had always wanted to become an artist, she left Japan to follow her dreams in the center of art at that time – New York.

There she was heavily involved in contemporary art. She painted repetitive semicircles covering the whole canvas. To make money, she later would sell those paintings for 200 dollars. Those art pieces will later be known as the “Infinity Nets,” one of her most expensive works of art, racking up millions of dollars.

Upon the success of these paintings, she branched out to performing that tackled sex and liberation. Such is the time when her most famous theme – polka dots – emerged. She has created so many kinds of art pieces from then on, including her most notable creations – pumpkins, phallic chairs, and mirror rooms.

Now, despite being old and voluntarily living in a psychiatric hospital, Yayoi Kusama is still more prolific and busier than ever. She almost always paints 24/7, from morning till dusk. In addition, her army of international staff still holds exhibits under her name around the globe.

Kusama is the highest-selling living female artist of today. Her retrospective tour “Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Obsession” attracted the biggest global audience than any art in 2015. There’s no doubt that she will forever be remembered as someone who followed her dreams despite many roadblocks and ultimately became a leading figure in contemporary art.

Yayoi-Kusama-2
This art emanates two subject obsession of Yayoi Kusama: pumpkin and polka dots
Yayoi-Kusama-3
Kusama is famous for her infinity rooms, which always draw the largest crowds among today’s female artists.

Image Source

4. Ai Wei Wei

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/aiww/?hl=en

Website: https://sites.prh.com/aww

Twitter: https://twitter.com/aiww

Ai-Wei-Wei-1
These piles of rusty steels were taken from the earthquake site in China as a testament to how the country’s poor building construction killed hundreds of people.

Image Source

Ai Weiwei is a Chinese-born contemporary artist and activist who expresses his ideologies through film, painting, installation, and sculpture. He is the son of the most well-known poet and activist in China. In college, he enrolled in a film academy. Then he later moved to New York to escape his country’s restrictions.

In New York, he was a prolific photographer. But after a while, he went back to China to care for his dying father. From then, his most well-known pieces of art took form. He has mobilized groups of people around the globe to establish his activism-laden exhibits.

His notable projects include “So Sorry” (mosaic of the backpacks of dead children in Sichuan Earthquake), “Straight” (bundle of straightened steels from the ruined buildings in Sichuan), “Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn” (famous photos of dropping an ancient urn symbolizing China’s disregard to antique culture), thousands of sunflower-seed designed ceramics, and many many other works of art.

Throughout the years, even during his detention in China, Ai Weiwei has been a voice for the voiceless. For him, art is only the channel to address a powerful message.

Ai-Wei-Wei-2-Divina-Proportione
Ai Weiwei’s “Divina Proportione” highlights the craftsmanship of the ancient Chinese tradition using traditional materials.

Image Source

Ai-Wei-Wei-3-Famous-Pieces
This is one of the most famous pieces of Ai Weiwei.

5. Anselm Kiefer

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/anselm_kiefer/?hl=en

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kieferanselm?lang=en

Anselm-Kiefer-1
Anselm Kiefer’s “Walhalla” exploring the tragedies of wars.

Anselm Kiefer is a well-known German painter and sculptor. His work depicts the dark and despondent themes of war and death. Materials such as straw, ash, clay, lead, and shellac embellish his large canvasses and larger-than-human installation pieces.

Anselm grew up in Germany after the death of World War 2. His projects speak of the depressing facets of war. It’s evident in his exhibits in White Cube’s “Walhalla” and many other parts of the globe. His recent work in the United States, commissioned by the Rockefeller Institute, has received worldwide recognition. Anselm has received numerous accolades – Premium Imperiale, Wolf Prize, and the Carnegie Prize.

Anselm’s neo-expressionist abstract paintings are laden with thick paints, old clothes, threads, hays, papers, books, etc. His subjects explore the reverie and the mythical, depicted with dark constructions and black illusions. Although abstract, his pieces are quite vivid and evocative, and most people can relate to their universal themes.

Anselm-Kiefer-2
Aurora, 2015–17, oil, emulsion, acrylic, shellac, and sediment of electrolysis on canvas
Anselm-Kiefer-3
A monumental artwork by Anselm Kiefer (Osiris and Isis)

Image Sources

Final thoughts

It’s silly to think that some people dislike modern contemporary art. Sure, some modern art pieces suck. But it also goes for the same underrepresented and, often, mocked art of the medieval period. Look at them now, celebrated, prized, and historical.

The good thing about contemporary art is that they speak the very thing that people nowadays experience. It can be death, life, sickness, diseases, awe, and wonder. If an art revolves around these universal themes, who cannot admire them?

So if you want to follow in these artists’ footsteps, it’s vital to start exploring now: dive into your dreams, past experiences, mentorship, etc. Then build up your brand, craft your logo, your font designs, color palettes, niche, fictional tales, and more.

Over to you, what pieces of contemporary art have you admired recently? Share in the comments.

Guest author: Marvin Espino is a writer from the Philippines. A marketing specialist from DesignCrowd and BrandCrowd, he has written several pieces on branding, marketing, and design. When not working, Marvin hoards well-written short pieces of writing. He’s also an avid fan of baking and singing.

How to Host a Webinar Your Audience Will Love

How to Host a Webinar Your Audience Will Love

The pandemic has disrupted not only our day-to-day lives but has also entirely changed the landscape of businesses and consumer demands, forcing global organizations to adapt to a new normal to thrive.

Webinars have emerged as a powerful tool to help marketers engage with their prospects and drive leads while working from home.

Though webinars are not a new trend, they have gained immense popularity as the ideal tool for effective remote communication. Owing to the several benefits, such as flexibility, time-saving, and cost-effectiveness, webinars are here to stay even after we’re back to some normality.

If you are contemplating conducting a webinar but are not sure how to take the plunge, do not fret! In this blog post, I cover seven tips to help you deliver a compelling and impactful webinar that your audience will remember. Have a look.

Zoom-GoToWebinar-Livestorm-Webex
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1. Choose the right platform to deliver your webinar

Selecting the right platform depends on your objective – whether you want to attract new leads or educate your customers. Also, decide on whether you want to do a live webinar or a pre-recorded one.

There are many webinar platforms available off the shelf, such as Zoom, GoToWebinar, Livestorm, etc., each having its own features, capabilities, pros, and cons. Choose the one according to your business needs, objectives, and audience size. You can also use Facebook, YouTube, or other live streaming platforms to host a webinar.

2. Create an eye-catching slide deck

You are required to present something relevant and interesting that resonates well with the audience in order to intrigue them with your webinar. So, use images to make your deck visually pleasing. Pick the images that go well with the overall objective and design of your presentation.

Plus, the images must be in proportion to the size of the slides. In case you have to compress the images, make sure that their resolution and quality don’t get impacted. Avoid writing text over the images as it will be difficult for the audience to read.

Useful Tip – If you are running short of time and can’t design images on your own, you can choose pre-designed and professional-looking templates that feature stunning visuals and well-researched content.

3. Complement your webinar with various media

You can’t ace your webinar merely by including good content. You must consider incorporating various media types, such as animation, videos, audio, downloadable checklists, etc., to make it more interactive and keep the audience focused, listening, and engaged. Further, the inclusion of multimedia will help break up a large chunk of information into small and understandable snippets.

4. Create “hooks” for audience engagement

With the increasing popularity of webinars, many platforms are expanding their features to let presenters engage with their audience in the best possible manner. For instance, some platforms allow the audience to take quizzes during the webinar, while others let them vote in polls and comment with questions.

As a webinar planner or moderator, you just need to be a little bit creative and think of ways to leverage these features to turn your audience from passive listeners to active participants.

5. Make a difference by sharing innovative ideas

If you really want to add value and make your audience keener to attend/watch your webinar, refrain from presenting the same content that they have already seen several times before. Choose a specific niche of your industry that has not been covered before or has scope to be covered with a new perspective. Think outside the box to establish yourself as a thought leader, make a difference in the industry, and spark change with your ideas and products.

In the world of webinars, where lots of webinars are available on common topics, you can compel your audience to register for your webinar by being creative with the topic and purpose. So, do careful research to come up with an engrossing subject to cover.

6. Schedule the webinar considering time zones

When your webinar is tailored for a global audience, it becomes imperative to schedule it, taking into account time zones. However, there is no particular rule about the best time to plan a webinar. It is extremely difficult to choose a time that fits all time zones. I suggest picking a time when the highest proportion of both nationwide and international audiences will be able to attend it.

Useful Tip – Record your webinar and make it available when someone signs up. It will help you boost conversions even if audiences of any time zone can’t attend it live.

7. Show appreciation for your audience

Since you are conducting the webinar online and there is no team waiting outside the conference hall/meeting room for the next meeting, it doesn’t mean that you should extend your webinar beyond the specified time. Acknowledge and respect the valuable time of your audience and try to conclude your webinar within the stipulated time frame.

Furthermore, express sincere and genuine appreciation for your audience’s attention and time. Make them feel important by showing how grateful you are for this opportunity to present and speak to them. After all, it’s the audience that makes your webinar successful.

The bottom line

Good webinars are like short movies that encourage viewers to take on the world and leave them inspired and delighted. Undoubtedly, planning the perfect webinar, especially if you are hosting it for the first time, takes lots of time, but the benefits it brings are worth it. If you genuinely want to make your webinar useful and interesting, avoid all potential pitfalls and live up to your own hype that claims your webinar is truly valuable.

I hope these tips will help you make your audience fall in love with your webinar. If you have some other tips/suggestions, leave your response in the comments below. And, if you like the blog post, share it on your social media handles.

Guest author: Ashish Arora is the Co-Founder of SketchBubble.com, a leading provider of result-driven, professionally built presentation templates. Travelling the world to gather new creative ideas, he has been working in the digital marketing space since 2007 and has a passion for designing presentations. You can also find him on Twitter or LinkedIn

How to Start a Podcast: A 10-Step Guide

How to Start a Podcast: A 10-Step Guide

Learning how to start a podcast is an effective and convenient way to deliver content. It builds an intimate relationship with listeners because of its one-on-one communication structure.

When content is delivered in this manner, listeners get information while simultaneously feeling it to be a personal conversation. Podcasts are effortless and easy ways to consume content. Podcasts can only be delivered digitally, eliminating the costs associated with written content, such as hiring a writer or blogger to share expertise on a subject.

All a podcaster needs are their voice and creativity (along with a few other things, but we’ll get to that!), so it avoids costs for the upkeep of an elaborate corporate system. As a bonus, podcasts are easy to archive, which reduces meeting and email storage costs.

With podcasts, the pressure for exposure and visibility is not as immense as other forms of content. Once a listener subscribes to a podcast, every new podcast is automatically downloaded to their account. It is a mutually beneficial relationship that allows podcasters to update their platforms easily and listeners to tune in to the shows conveniently.

According to a study by Podcasthosting.org, 55% of Americans have listened to at least one episode of a podcast, and 37% report listening to a podcast every month.

Listening to podcasts can be done anywhere – at work, at home, even during a commute. In a business setting, instead of having long meetings about a particular subject, a podcast can conveniently convey all the information that needs to be shared. This saves time and improves productivity with all parties.

If a specific podcast holds essential information, let’s say, instructions from a manager, one can download it and save it in storage. If it is kept on a mobile device, the podcast is available anywhere and anytime. This perk is especially beneficial for people who are on the go and need to consume information while attending to other tasks.

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What to consider when starting a podcast

There are various ways to monetize a podcast, but the most common method is through sponsorships. When you promote a sponsor during the podcast, you are essentially creating an advertisement, and how much you earn from a sponsor depends on your number of downloads.

The higher the subscribers you have, the higher the rate that you earn. To raise your number of listeners, it is essential to determine what and how they want to listen to content. Ultimately, what they look for is a quality podcast.

There are five basic principles to a quality podcast:

  • It must be authentic.
  • It must have structure.
  • It must have a central idea.
  • It must have a targeted audience.
  • It must be regularly scheduled.

Incorporating these elements together into one meaningful experience is an impactful understanding of how to start a podcast from scratch. Because podcasting is an intimate communication medium, speaking from a place that is informational, structured, and authentic is the key to building an audience.

Now that you understand the makings of a quality listening experience, here is a step-by-step guide on how to start a podcast from scratch:

Step #1 – Understand the purpose of the podcast

Why do you want to learn how to start a podcast? Do you want to do it for fun? Do you want to do it to promote a business? Do you need it as a marketing tool? Whatever the reason, a podcast is a great and effective way to build credibility and provide your listeners with entertaining and valuable content.

A podcast reaches a vast amount of people through easy listening, and your purpose in creating it affects the structure of the experience. If the podcast is a personal preference to talk about your interests, you will attract people who have the same fascinations.

If the podcast is a marketing tool, you will have to consider various methods to boost your visibility and traffic regardless of the topic or subject you have chosen and seamlessly include them in the podcast.

In either case, knowing the reasons behind wanting to learn how to start a podcast helps you stay motivated and dedicated to your goals.

Step #2 – Choose a specialty

If you have an existing blog or a business to promote, choosing a topic for a podcast is relatively straightforward. From a business point of view, it is best to stick to the subjects related to your company.

For example, if you manage a gym, you would want to create a fitness and health podcast, wherein you can discuss helpful tips on how to stay fit, including brief spaces of information on the services you provide. The audience that you attract will be people who are interested in healthy living.

From a hobbyist point of view, your selection of topics is just about anything under the sun, and your audience will comprise people that share the same array of interests.

Either way, podcasts are standard recreational and marketing tools, so it would help to do research and check on how many podcasts cover the same subjects. Suppose the topic is not extensively covered in other podcasts. In that case, that is an opportunity to blaze a trail and attract people interested in the subject but have no references.

If there are many podcasts about your topic, listen to them and consider ways to set yourself apart from competitors. Otherwise, you will merely be creating a podcast that has already been done, and it will be harder to build an audience.

A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself who you would want to listen to this content. This way, you can keep a specific persona in mind and curate your topics for that customer base. Understanding the type of audience you are looking for helps to choose a specialty, which guides you in creating engaging content.

Step #3 – Pick a title

When you are picking a title, there are several ways to go about it, and each method comes with a set of pros and cons. The most common choice is to go with a name that explains right away what your podcast is.

For example, a health and fitness podcast titled “The Way To Weight Loss” depicts exactly what it is on face value and will attract listeners interested in losing weight. This approach is the most likely to pull in a specific audience.

However, it lacks memorability due to its unoriginal and common label. As long as the title is not overly wordy or vague and you are voicing quality content, it effectively finds the audience you are looking for.

If you want to stand out, you may opt for a clever and unique name for the podcast. For example, a podcast about lifehacks with the title “The Chamber Of Secrets.” Though it is a great way to have people remember such a distinct name, the audience would be unable to detect a lifehack podcast. Nor will they easily find it if they searched for podcasts on lifehacks.

But let’s say you change it to “The Chamber of Lifehacks.” That is a wonderful balance of uniqueness and clarity.

You may also name the podcast after your name, like “The Robert Caulfield Show,” but this direction is more suited when you have already built a large following. If you prefer to go in this direction, try to include a descriptive phrase along with it.

If your podcast is about hiking tips, you may title it “Hiking Tips, with Robert Caulfield.” This technique explains what it is right away with the bonus of gradually making your name known.

Step #4 – Decide on the format

Once you have decided on the topic, you need to consider the format of the podcast. Will you, as the host, provide all the content? Will you feature interviews with experts who have the content? Will there be another host alongside you to entertain the audience? How long will each podcast take? How often are you going to publish them?

This may seem like a bombardment of questions, but the answers are essential in understanding the structure of your podcast.

If you decide to go solo, you are building your own reputation and authority on the specialty. You solely choose which sponsorships to promote, and you don’t need to split the profits. The biggest challenge with going solo is the intimidation of being on your own and finding ways to entertain the audience by yourself.

If you want to host the podcast with another person, you no longer have to face the pressure of entertaining the audience by yourself. You have someone to banter with and make openings for a continuous conversational flow. You must have chemistry with the co-host for an enjoyable listening experience.

The downside of this format is having to integrate another person throughout the entire experience. This includes scheduling disruptions if one person is unavailable and potential conflict on the monetization. Is it 50/50? What if one person does more of the talking – does that change the balance of profit? And what happens if the other person is no longer interested in partaking?

If you are planning to have a co-host, establish strict guidelines to ensure that the podcast runs smoothly.

If you decide to put up a podcast to interview people and share their expertise, you provide credible information to the audience. Additionally, the peers of your guest will likely tune in to listen and support them. Many podcasters have built a following this way due to its trustworthy and authoritative spin.

However, podcasting is not the same as interviewing. To go with this format, you will need to practice how to be an interviewer. This means knowing when it is time for you to talk and how to ask the right questions.

Aside from the people involved in your podcast, you must also determine the duration of each episode. To do that, you must consider your topic and your target audience.

For example, if your topic is about task management skills, your listeners probably don’t have the time for a 45-minute podcast – they need something quick and useful. If your topic is casual, like gardening tips, you have a bigger window to discuss in-depth advice.

This also applies to businesses that want to cater to a specific audience. If your target audience is fitness devotees who enjoy listening to podcasts, you can create a longer episode to listen to as they train for the next marathon. If your target audience is business owners who like listening to podcasts but don’t have the time for them, make it short and relevant.

Step #5 – Choose a host

Every podcast needs a hosting account. Podcast hosting accounts are platforms that store your audio files and let people find you. They allow listeners to download and subscribe to your podcast.

You must sign up with a media or podcast hosting service to store your files. You might be wondering why it is even necessary to transfer your podcasts to a separate server.

Once you have accumulated many podcast episodes, it results in a big bulk of audio files that you may not know how to organize and store. Using a host server avoids the inconvenience of a slow website, plus you never have to worry about reducing the quality of your files just to fit everything into storage. The server does all that work for you and preserves every episode of your podcast.

Media hosts vary, but all in all, they provide the same benefits:

  • Exposure to listeners
  • A fast website
  • Large storage space
  • A better overall experience

Step #6 – Design a logo

First impressions are crucial. Colors and visuals are one of the first things that people perceive about a brand, and it is often the quality that pulls them in. 

A study shows that it only takes people 10 seconds to form a first impression of a logo. Having an attractive logo for your podcast is vital in standing out during those critical 10 seconds.

If you need the perfect logo for your podcast, LOGO.com’s logo maker has everything you need to create an attractive and suitable visual. Podcast logos are usually displayed in a small size, and it will be one of the first things that potential listeners notice. 

How to start a podcast - logo design

Since the visual is small, try to avoid cluttering it with unnecessary details. 

LOGO.com is one of the few logo makers that understands the qualities of a good logo and shares designs that will work for your brand today and in the years to come. Of course, you get the chance to customize it as you please, but you’ll still end up with a professional and brandable logo.

Step #7 – Get the equipment and software

Podcasts don’t have to involve extensive equipment. The bare minimum for any podcaster is a computer with a good microphone and internet access. 

However, it is important to note that the higher the quality of your setup and equipment, the better the sound quality of your podcast. 

Since you are starting a podcast from scratch, there is a benefit in keeping your operations simple and easy. This way, you can focus more on keeping the content interesting and building a following. There’s always time to upgrade your equipment later on once you start gaining momentum. 

Just be sure to run a microphone check before every podcast to ensure that everything is running smoothly.

Step #8 – Record an intro and outro

Every podcast has a brief introduction that includes the name of the show, what the show is about, and why people should listen. The statement is usually a part of every episode. Because it is a constant presence, you may start practicing and recording it yourself. You may also opt to have it done by a voice-over artist.

It is also a good idea to include an “outro” in each episode with a call-to-action for your audience. For example, you can end the podcast by telling listeners how to contact you or where they can access more related content. This portion of the podcast is a helpful way to keep listeners engaged by voicing your appreciation and showing enthusiasm for the next episode.

Once you are happy and satisfied with your recorded intros and outros, save them as templates in audio editing software. This allows you to simply attach the templates in each episode, making the editing process convenient and easy.

Step #9 – Plan and promote your launch date

Launch your podcast like it’s an exciting event (which it is!). People won’t anticipate it or know it is a big deal unless you make a big deal out of it yourself. This is the time to attract as many eyeballs as you can to your podcast before it launches. Tell your friends, family, colleagues – anybody in your network – to support you and look out for the launch date.

Suppose you have access to a broader group of people, like social media platforms, email lists, various groups, post about it and let them know that the podcast is launching soon. The more visibility you get, the better.

During the week of the launch, show your appreciation to the people who interacted with your posts. You may ask them to leave comments, reviews, feedback – anything to show your audience that you are keen on building a relationship and sharing your knowledge. Let them know that they can share this with anybody who may find your information helpful. Even if you start with a small audience, the direct and personal interaction lets people know that your podcast is an engaging one with an invested host.

Step #10 – Launch and continue to promote your podcast

Launch your podcast! And even when you have launched it, you must constantly promote it. Don’t fall for the misconception of “If you launch it, the listeners will come.” The more exposure and effort you exert into promoting your podcast, the more people will start getting in tune with you as a host.

Though the process of starting a podcast is a bit more involved than creating a blog, it ultimately requires less energy and time in the long run. Once you have launched your podcast out into the world, always think about promotions and building your audience. The bigger the audience, the more profit you attain from sponsorships. First things first, focus on molding a trusting and loyal relationship with your audience.

How to start a podcast – Let your voice be heard

Podcasts play a massive role in the digital marketing space. If you know how to operate them for your business, it can be a powerful tool that leads to more traffic and a loyal community of supporters. Not only can podcasts promote your brand, but they are also an effective medium in conveniently building a solid rapport with customers. And that is a crucial element for all long-term success in a business.

Guest author: Kari Amarnani is a content marketer at LOGO.com. She’s a creative writer who is fascinated by the world of business and marketing. Outside work, she enjoys reading, painting, and a great cup of coffee.

5 Content Marketing Mistakes Reducing Your Organic Traffic in 2021

5 Content Marketing Mistakes Reducing Your Organic Traffic in 2021

We know this – quality content that attracts lots of organic traffic takes time to write. And you don’t want to sit for hours writing a post that collects dust on your blog.

I surveyed professional content writers on LinkedIn to know how long they research and write a 1000-words blog post.

The result – 33% of writers use a staggering 6 to 8 hours.

How-Long-Does-It-Take-To-Research-And-Write-A-1000-Word-Content-Piece

Sadly, many blog posts do not get read because they fall for several content marketing mistakes. According to research by Ahrefs, 90.63% of pages get zero organic traffic from Google.

90.63-0f-Pages-No-Organic-Search-Traffic-From-Google

Your posts can be among the 9.37% of content that gets organic traffic from Google. To achieve this, you need to avoid the content marketing mistakes in this post, including those of 2012 and 2015. They are all capable of suffocating your blog posts among the millions of posts published daily.

So let’s dive in.

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Content marketing mistake #1 – Targeting keywords instead of topic clusters

In the early days of Google, it was easy to grab a keyword, write a post on it, and boom, the content ranks. The story is different in 2021. Many websites are competing for Google’s top spots by targeting keywords. Rather than join the crowd, use the topic cluster model.

The topic cluster approach has been around for a while. It was introduced and first tested by HubSpot in 2015. This approach requires the creation of pillar and cluster content.

Topic-Clusters

Pillar content: Pillar content is detailed posts or pages on your website. These posts contain a broad range of keywords that you want to rank. An example is this Google Tag Manager guide.

Cluster content: Cluster content is posts or web pages that thoroughly discuss topics on the pillar page.

According to Anum Hussain, a former growth marketer at HubSpot, focusing on topics rather than keywords resulted in a better organic ranking.

In-Fact-The-More-Links-To-Related-Content-We-Had-Across-Our-Site-The-Better-We-Ranked

HubSpot isn’t the only brand that benefits from adopting the topic cluster model. Ninja Outreach had a 40% increase in organic traffic a few months into an internal linking campaign similar to the topic cluster method. And yes, good ol’ Google wants you to implement this SEO strategy. According to Google Webmaster guidelines, your website should have a clear conceptual page hierarchy.

Google-Search-Central

Keep the following in mind as you use the topic cluster model:

  • Your pillar page should link to all cluster content once
  • Your cluster pages should link once to the pillar page
  • Your cluster page could link to other cluster pages once (where the text fits naturally. Don’t force it!)
  • Cluster pages should cover only one subtopic in detail. Don’t discuss something else. Instead, create another cluster page
  • Write your cluster pages like regular blog posts while following SEO best practices

Content marketing mistake #2 – Zero voice search optimization

Voice search is on the rise. And many voice search stats show you should capitalize on this emerging trend.

Here are some of the interesting statistics:

  • According to a PWC survey, 50% of respondents use voice search to buy or order an item.
  • The average voice search query contains 29 words
  • Pages using Schema Markup provide 36.4% of voice search results
  • 40.7% of voice search answers are pulled from a Featured Snippet
  • Voice search result pages have an average of 2,312 words

Failing to optimize your pages for voice search is a content marketing mistake capable of reducing your organic traffic. There is a claim that websites using schema markup rank an average of four positions higher in the search engines than those without schema markup. Also, less than one-third of websites use schema markup. This offers massive SEO real estate for improving your organic traffic.

So, how do you optimize your website pages for voice search:

1. Find Long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are search terms of three or more words. You can find them with keyword research tools like Answer the Public or Long-tail Pro. For instance, after typing my seed keyword (voice search) in the Answer the Public search bar, it returned 321 results.

  • Questions – 55
  • Prepositions – 43
  • Comparisons – 23
  • Alphabeticals -192
  • Related – 8
Voice-Search-192-Alphabeticals

This data has lots of questions like:

  • What is voice search?
  • What is voice search optimization?
  • What is voice search app?
  • What is voice search SEO?

Here’s why you should care about these long-tail keywords framed as questions.

  • According to a voice search SEO study by Brian Dean, many voice search queries are question-based
  • Since 40.7% of voice search answers are from featured snippets, it means you should answer questions that your audience is asking

So, how can you effectively use the long-tail keyword data?

  • Use them to form headings for your posts
  • Use them to answer questions in your Frequently Asked Questions pages/posts
  • Use them to create long-form content that satisfies your audience

2. Schema markup

We have discussed how schema markup can increase your organic ranking and traffic. If you don’t have trouble with coding, you can apply schema to your posts by following the Google schema markup guidelines.

But if you are not good with code, you can use a plugin like Rankmath, assuming you use WordPress as your content management system.

This is how a recipe blog post looks after schema markup implementation.

The-Best-Vanilla-Cake-I've-Ever-Had-Sally-Baking-Addiction

It is important to note that there are different types of schema markups and you should choose the one that applies to your page.

Structed-Data-Markup-Helper

Content marketing mistake #3 – Lack of content promotion

You’ve sat down for hours to write and edit a post. You finish and hit the publish button.

Now you are waiting, hoping, and praying that your ideal audience searches for your target keyword and finds your blog post.

My friend, that is how blog posts stay within the confines of page 2 and beyond of search engine results. They don’t attract organic traffic from Google… even though they are well-written.

Many people now know the benefits of publishing blog posts. But only a few get the desired results because they care to promote what they write. Here are two ways of avoiding this content marketing mistake and putting your posts before your audience:

1. Find broken links

Broken links are links displaying a 404 error message and they are bad for SEO. Finding broken links is an easy way of attracting quality backlinks to your content and getting organic visitors to your website. You can use a tool like screaming frog to find broken links.

After identifying a broken link in the target website, you can send an email to the website owner. Here’s a sample Backlinko email template you can model.

Brian-Dean

2. Write Guest Posts

Writing guest posts is an efficient way of proving your authority to your target audience. It also adds the benefits of getting you at least one link to your website. Take the Jeff Bullas blog as an instance. This blog has 459 articles on just the B2C website alone.

B2C-JeffBullas

And the B2C website get a tremendous amount of organic monthly traffic – 507,469

Traffic-Overview

This amount of traffic means a lot. For instance, as people read any of Jeff’s 459 guest posts, they could view his website as well. As they check his website, they could subscribe and join his email list. If they love the content they receive from his list, they could buy any of his products or subscribe to a product or service via any of his affiliate links. This and other ways of content promotion is how a post can make you money through guest posting.

Content marketing mistake #4 – Publish, forget, and don’t update

Write it, promote it, then forget it.

Here’s the result of such a dreadful SEO effort – Google will send your content to the pile of posts resting on the other side of search results where no one reads them.

What if you update them. Any benefit? Of course.

According to Pamela Vaughan, HubSpot achieved the following after refreshing its old content:

  • Doubled their monthly leads
  • Had a 106% increase in organic traffic

This is why marketers like Neil Patel update and sometimes rewrite up to 90 of his articles monthly. But don’t go on a content updating spree yet. Before updating any content, ensure it has organic traffic potential. There is no point in updating an article that won’t get you the results you want.

So, how can you update an old post?

  1. Use Google Search Console and Google Analytics to find posts with organic traffic potential
Overview

2. Read the posts you’ve identified and look out for the following:

  • Can the introduction be better?
  • Are there outdated stats and facts in the article?
  • Can you include videos in the article to better explain a concept and attract traffic through video optimization?
  • Can you change any image?
  • Can you tweak a section of the post to read better and sound more human?
  • Can you add more keywords to get found in search engines?

Once you’ve updated an article, the next step is to monitor your results with a free tool like Google Analytics.

Navigate to Behavior >> Site Content >> All pages. This gives you an overview of your “before and after” organic traffic based on the selected timeline.

Content marketing mistake #5 – Poor user experience

Writing quality content is not good enough to attract organic traffic from Google. You need to provide users with an excellent experience on your website. From May 2021, Google will implement its page experience update.

This update will take the following into cognizance and impact your organic search rankings:

  • Core web vitals
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • HTTPS-security
  • Intrusive interstitial guidelines (aka annoying popups)

Here are some ways to avoid reducing your organic rankings due to poor user experience.

1. Check Your Website on PageSpeed Insights

PageSpeed Insights gives you a quick scoop on what you need to fix.

PageSpeed-Insights

2. Optimize Your Images and Videos

If you use WordPress, you can use a plugin like WP Smush to reduce your image size. A better alternative is reducing the image size with an online tool before uploading them to your website. When using videos on your content, copy the video link and embed it in your post.

3. Use a CDN

A CDN (Content Delivery Network) like Cloudflare helps speed up your site and quickly deliver content to your audience.

4. Eliminate Render-blocking CSS and Enable Browser Caching

If you don’t use WordPress, you’ll have to do this manually. For WordPress users, you can use a plugin like WP Rocket. WP Rocket also has other awesome functionalities that help speed your website.

Final thoughts

Writing quality content is great. But what’s the point if no one reads it?

The first page of Google search results accommodates only ten blog posts. And that’s when ads are excluded. Many website owners want to gain page one rankings because that could translate into revenue for their brand. You could be among such website owners if you care to avoid these content marketing mistakes.

So what’s your next step – take action and start implementing.

Guest author: Precious Oboidhe is a Copywriter and SEO Content Writer at Content Estate. You can learn more about Precious at contentestate.com and connect with him on LinkedIn.

4 Examples of Brands With Brilliant Omnichannel Experiences

4 Examples of Brands With Brilliant Omnichannel Experiences

Did you know that companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain 89% of customers compared to just 33% for those with a weak omnichannel strategy? Furthermore, Google research claims that 42% of in-store shoppers search for information online while in-store.

Another extensive study by the Harvard Business Review studied the shopping behavior of just over 46,000 customers and focused on which channels they used and why. Here are the eye-opening findings of the survey for omnichannel customers:

  • 73% use multiple channels and retailer’s touchpoints during their shopping journey – such as smartphone apps, in-store digital tools (think: interactive catalog, price-checker, tablets), in-store pick-ups, online websites, etc.
  • They spend an average of 10% more online than single-channel customers.
  • They conduct prior online research, leading to 13% greater in-store spending.
  • They demonstrate greater loyalty. Within six months of a shopping experience, they logged 23% more repeat shopping trips and were more likely to recommend the brand to family and friends than those who used a single channel.

The writing is on the wall: Fusing the shopping experience across channels – or in other words, omnichannel marketing – is the future, and the future is now.

To that end, let’s look at four examples of brands that are offering a seamless omnichannel experience and blurring the lines between physical and digital shopping, one channel at a time.

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The top 4 brands with an omnichannel experience worth emulating

1. Target’s Partnership with Pinterest

Target-Partnership-With-Pinterest

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Target partnered with Pinterest to integrate its visual search technology – Lens – into the retailer’s app and desktop website.

The idea: It will empower Target shoppers to take a photo of any product and find similar items available for sale at Target. In other words, the camera can be substituted for a keyword search.

How will this help?

  • Enable a rich and easier way of exploring Target products
  • Drive more customers to Target’s online site
  • Increase the brand’s ad buy with Pinterest
  • Help catch customers at the ‘moment of discovery’ and push them into the buying cycle via Pinterest instead of popular search engines like Google

The learning: Combining the power of omnichannel marketing and visual search (or audio search) can provide brands the edge over their competitors.

2. Starbucks’ Omnichannel Funnel

Starbucks’ omnichannel strategies are the stuff of legends. To stick to the social distancing norms and make things easier for the customer, the brand recently rolled out the “Mobile Order and Pay” initiative in India:

Memeber-Exclusive

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The idea: Here’s how the process works:

  1. Customers download the latest Starbucks India mobile app.
  2. They switch on the location or GPS services to allow the app to display the eligible stores.
  3. They register to become a My Starbucks Rewards™ member and provide their mobile number.
  4. They order and pay ahead for an order using the Mobile Order & Pay feature, without having to wait in a queue at the nearby Starbucks store. They simply go and pick the order up when it is ready:
Starbucks-Order-&-Pay

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Other benefits include the ability to:

  • Customize the beverage.
  • Pay using a registered Starbucks Card.
  • Add balance to the card through the app and earn Stars on every order.

The learning: Integrating offline and online channels can provide users with convenient, personalized, and contactless transactions – a must in today’s business environment.

3. Lululemon’s Video Chat and Mirror Feature

Athleisure brand, Lululemon’s omnichannel strategy involves continually evolving the physical experience with digital driving momentum to bring the “ultimate omnichannel experience,” as the brand puts it.

Take, for instance, the brand’s “Video Chat” feature on its website:

Lululemon

It enables one-on-one interactions with customers and allows for a more personalized experience:

Shop-Face-To-Face-With-A-Team-Member-From-Anywhere
Shop-Llulemon-Mirror-Appointment

Then, of course, you have the intuitive and futuristic “Mirror” feature – dubbed as “the world’s first nearly invisible gym” – that allows home-style workouts through a mirror-like device. Basically, members can select from a huge collection of customizable workouts, on-demand classes, and one-on-one virtual personal training sessions, and train on a reflective mirror-screen hybrid:

Mirror-Feature

The learning: By integrating the latest technological tools, brands can bridge the gap between the physical and virtual shopping experiences, as Lululemon demonstrates. All in all, the brand is able to deliver a memorable, shareable, repeatable, and addictive shopping experience to its loyal customer base.

4. ModCloth’s Live Chat Feature

Brands are increasingly using conversational customer experience platforms such as Acquire to deliver a seamless user experience. Take, for instance, ModCloth’s live chat feature that enables customers to connect with support agents instantly and have their queries addressed in real-time:

Modcloth

For brands like Nike that do not offer 24 x 7 live support and cater to a more global audience, they inform customers of the agent’s next available slot and allow users to send their queries which can be addressed by the next available agent. This way, no customer goes unnoticed, and none of their queries slip through the cracks, making the experience positive and complete:

Chat-Support

Brands can also make use of chatbots, a.k.a., conversational agents, to offer personalized service to customers and offer contextual support from the get-go, as American Eagle’s bot “Aerie” demonstrates below:

AerieReal-Inspo

The bot can also be trained to offer predefined options that customers can choose and leverage a relevant and hyper-personalized shopping experience:

Secure-And-Even

These tools can also be used to capture critical customer data and gather feedback in real-time to improve the user experience as well as the product offering.

The learning: Using technological tools such as live chat and chatbots facilitates a more seamless and personalized user experience, encouraging repeat purchases and boosting customer engagement round-the-clock.

Wrapping up

Customers today live in a channel-rich environment. For brands to raise the bar, providing a seamless and consistent omnichannel experience has emerged as a basic necessity.

With changes in buyer behavior and a dynamic shift in virtual shopping, owing to COVID-19, traditional brands will need to pivot their customer engagement strategy. Additionally, they will need to focus on creating an omnichannel funnel (and not just an isolated strategy) – one that understands the customer’s needs and provides them with a friction-free and consistent experience across every touchpoint. Thoughts?

Guest author: Srushti Shah is an ambitious, passionate, and out-of-the-box thinking woman having vast Digital Marketing exposure. She is working as a Digital Marketer and Content writer at Acquire. Her key focus is to serve her clients with the latest innovation in her field, leading to fast and effective results. Working beyond expectations and delivering the best possible results in her professional motto. Other than work, she loves traveling, exploring new things, and spending quality time with family. Reach out to Srushti Shah on Twitter or LinkedIn

8 Must-Have Types of Content for Your Digital Strategy

8 Must-Have Types of Content for Your Digital Strategy

If you are running a business online or just going to enter the market, then content marketing will help you with your marketing initiatives.

Whether it’s an email newsletter or a corporate blog with thousands of articles, content marketing opens up new opportunities for your business.

What are the main pillars of your content marketing strategy? What types of content should be must-have elements to make your business fly? Let’s dive deep into this question together!

Types-Of-Content
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#1. Videos

According to recent Google data, over 50% of readers who watch a product video are more likely to buy products and services advertised online. Video content has always been the king and still remains the most demanded type of content on the Internet.

Is it worth mentioning how the popularity of YouTube and TikTok is off the charts? Since its launch in 2018, TikTok has maintained its position at the TOP of the most downloaded applications in the world, with a multi-million army of users.

There are no secrets to the popularity of video content – it is easiest for a person to perceive multimedia information. Therefore, no matter what your field of activity is, a creative approach to creating video content will significantly increase leads, sales, brand recognition, and traffic.

It’s best to create short and catchy videos, no matter how long your post is. Video content can perfectly support your brand and highlight its benefits. A half-minute video will tell the consumer much more than a long article.

If you are looking for a tool that will help you produce tons of quality video content, then check out Movavi software. It is a cutting-edge solution packed with multiple tools for in-house video making and editing. 

#2. Live Broadcasts

Live broadcasts and streams are watched up to three times longer than traditional pre-made videos. They also create a feeling of direct participation in what is happening as if everything was happening next door. From a psychological point of view, this increases trust and interest in people and is better stored in their memory. It’s also a great way for brands to understand their audience and communicate with people openly.

Online conferences and seminars, webinars, training, master classes, and live communication – these types of interaction with your audience will become a must-have in any marketing strategy in 2021. So if you want to make your content perform at its max, make sure that live broadcasts are a part of your content marketing strategy.

#3. Infographics

Infographics are among the most used types of content marketing assets. They have had the biggest increase in usage among B2B marketers in the last four years.

Infographics are a marketing tool that brings together a lot of different information and can contain pictures, texts, graphics – just anything that can work for you. It accompanies the text and gives readers a clearer idea of ​​what is being said. It is no wonder that users following directions with the text and illustrations do it 323% better than those who do the same just without illustrations.

Visual data is becoming more popular thanks to the ability to take good pictures and videos using cameras on smartphones. Marketers explain the reasons for the popularity of infographics as follows:

  • It makes posts more readable and draws additional attention;
  • It reflects important issues;
  • It brightens messages and removes monotony;
  • It is accessible to everyone and conveys information easily.
  • It adds persuasiveness to text.

So the next time you work on a landing page for your corporate website or want to start a blog, sit down and think about the main points and key ideas you want to deliver to your audience. Create infographics that best deliver the target information.

If you lack experience with this type of task, then the infographic maker by Canva will be of great service to you. The tool is easy to use and doesn’t require any tech or design knowledge from people.

#4. Interview with Experts

There are key opinion leaders in every industry. These are people who have thousands of followers – fans, readers, subscribers. Any information about them is always in demand. People wait for it, read it with pleasure, and then share it with friends.

Therefore, interviewing a key opinion leader or an expert in the industry is a great way to attract the attention of your target audience. For any entrepreneur, this is a great opportunity to get targeted traffic and gain respect and recognition.

#5. Messengers and Chatbots

Social media applications and messengers have become not only platforms for entertainment but also channels of communication between people and brands. Not only is it a way of direct contact with companies but also a way to do highly personalized marketing, which allows for:

  • Building close relationships;
  • Talking about your business, products, and services;
  • Increasing sales rates;
  • Making your audience more active;
  • Maintaining customer relationships.

All these tasks can be solved with the help of an established marketing system in messengers and chatbots. Of course, email marketing copes with similar tasks. However, chatbots and messengers allow for a more personalized approach.

#6. Case Studies

Customer cases are one of the best ways to convince customers that you are capable of solving their problems in a quality manner. After all, it is through cases that you tell about your experience or about the experience of your clients. Case studies go hand in hand with how-to articles. The only difference is that the latter talks about various tips that help to solve a certain problem, whereas the former is more about the application of these steps in practice.

Cases are great for social proof in the service industry. You can show a client’s results before and after using the service or product as well as tell exactly what you did to achieve the result. As practice shows, readers willingly share a good case study on social networks, which allows them to attract new targeted traffic for you.

#7. Content Optimized for Voice Search

According to recent data, more than 30% of people in the United States use Google Assistant and Siri every day to quickly find the information they need on the Internet. Marketers predict that this number will grow to 50% in 2021.

This means that now the content on sites needs to be adapted for convenient voice search as well. To do this, it is important to enable the use of long-tail search queries and shift the angle to the use of interrogative key phrases. This will allow you to diversify your audience and reach a new market share level.

Content-Optimized-For-Voice-Search

#8. Personalized Advertising

People are tired of seeing random advertisements that have nothing to do with their actual interests and needs. This forces us to switch channels during commercial breaks and buy paid subscriptions to turn them off.

Therefore, traditional commercials have become ineffective. Most Internet users and marketers claim that personalized ads generate more interest and desire in people to go to a brand’s page and make a purchase.

Marketers have already started to actively use new tools to personalize advertising content. Therefore, you should rethink your strategy to stay in the advertising trend if you have not already started doing it.

Get started with digital content today

Now that you know everything about the types digital content, let’s summarize what we have talked about.

First of all, you should mix up different types of content. The more diverse your content is, the more traffic it will bring. Don’t be afraid to test.

Create a content plan. Any business loves structure and discipline, so create a content plan ahead of time and stick to it. This will help avoid posting random content for the sake of it.

Implementing any of the approaches in your marketing strategy requires careful analytics, target audience research, planning, and elaboration.

Guest author: Egor Blokhin is a digital marketer with more than 10 years of experience. A contributor to Content Marketing Institute and regularly quoted as an expert in large media outlets. Egor’s job is to make your business known all over the Internet.

9 Tools to Create a Result-Driven Visual Marketing Strategy

9 Tools to Create a Result-Driven Visual Marketing Strategy

Having the right visual strategy for your brand is extremely important, especially when it comes to social media marketing.

Using visuals effectively can not only increase the power of your core marketing message but also create more engagement with your online audiences.

Creating powerful visual marketing materials wasn’t always easy but fortunately, today we have access to several free and premium tools that allow you to quickly create awesome visuals for your brand.

In this blog, we’re going to take a look at 9 of the best tools that can take your visual marketing strategy to the next level!

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Importance of visual marketing in 2021

To understand the real importance of visual marketing in 2021, you need to take a look at two important statistics:

  • As much as 81% of people do not pay attention to what they’re reading online and usually just skim through content.
  • Posts that contain visual elements, such as images and videos, receive 650% higher engagement when compared to posts that only contain text.

When you factor in visual-first social media platforms such as Instagram, it is easy to see why visual content performs better than non-visual content in 2021. With that being said, let’s take a look at the top 9 visual marketing tools that you should be using today.

9 Top Visual Marketing Tools

The following list contains many different tools that have different purposes such as image editors, graphic design software, image resizers, etc. They are not ranked in any particular order as they serve different purposes but each of them has something to offer when it comes to visual marketing.

1. Taggbox Commerce

Taggbox Commerce is a visual and social commerce platform that helps brands to curate visual content like images and videos from social media platforms into a gallery, tag products to these visual posts to make them shoppable, and publish the visual commerce galleries on eCommerce stores.

Toggbox

The tool allows brands to turn their Instagram feed or user-generated content into shoppable galleries to inspire customers and grow their conversions. There are multiple visual marketing features in this tool that maximize the visual content impact on users.

2. InShot

Creating engaging videos is a key part of any visual marketing strategy. InShot is an app that makes the process a bit easier. It is a relatively new video creating and editing app that comes with some powerful features such as the ability to create 360-degree videos that can be shared on social media platforms like Instagram.

InShot

With InShot, you can access basic video editing features such as splitting or trimming video clips. You can also merge different video clips, add visual effects, add sounds effects or music, and more.

The only downside with InShot is that all videos made by the free version will contain a watermark. To remove the watermark, you’ll have to buy the paid version of the app.

3. PicMonkey

PicMonkey is a graphic design tool that comes with some photo editing features, design features, and also a handy collage maker.

PicMonkey

While the free version is great when it comes to just rotating and resizing photos, the Royal version offers additional features like templates, backgrounds, tutorials, and more that make the process of creating awesome visuals a bit easier.

4. Evernote Skitch

If you want to create quick images for social media, Evernote Skitch can be a pretty helpful tool to use. The program is available on iOS and comes with a free plan. However, if you want more powerful features, there is a premium version available.

Evernote

Evernote Skitch is not the best app when it comes to creating visuals from scratch but it is really good at quickly editing any type of image or visual on-the-run. The mobile app is also handy if you want to work on your visual marketing strategy on the go!

5. SCRL

To create the best visual content, it is important to stay up to date with trends and use the features of the social media platforms to your advantage. For example, Instagram’s carousel feature allows you to post up to 10 images in a single post.

One of the current trends in visual marketing is to use the carousel feature to the full extent and use multiple images to tell a story in a single post. As you can imagine, creating graphics that perfectly line up in an Instagram carousel can be a time-consuming task that requires design skills.

SCRL is an app that can be used to create seamless Instagram carousels. It provides a drag-and-drop interface and you can add images, text, colors, and more. You can also choose from a wide range of fonts and use stock images from Unsplash.

SCRL-Collages-For-Instagram

Unfortunately, the app is currently only available on Apple’s App Store and not available for Android users.

6. Piktochart

Did you know that infographics are 30 times more likely to be read than a full article? Infographics definitely play an important role in visual marketing and Piktochart is a great tool that helps you create amazing infographics that engage and inform your audiences.

Pictochart

You can get access to more than 100 different themes and an extensive graphics library that is updated regularly. With Piktochart, you don’t need any design skills to create attention-grabbing infographics in no time!

7. Impresso

Impresso is a handy visual marketing app that provides an easy way to quickly make professional-looking videos for social media. You can upload and use both images and videos with Impresso when it comes to creating promo videos for brands.

Impresso

One of the best features of Impresso is its huge collection of professional ready-to-go templates that covers hundreds of styles that are designed for all types of businesses. You can also customize the colors and fonts to create the perfect video that is in line with your brand’s identity. The app also offers dedicated libraries for both images and music.

Lastly, Impresso comes with a social share feature that lets you quickly post your videos to all major social media platforms. The app is currently available on Apple’s App Store and contains in-app purchases for additional features.

8. Canva

If you’re a digital marketer, you have probably already heard of Canva. Canva is an online graphic design tool that can be used to create visual content of any type you can think of. It comes with an easy drag-and-drop interface which makes it accessible to people who might not necessarily have graphic design skills.

Canva-Design-Collaborate-Share

While the core tool is free to use with some restrictions, Canva also offers premium products such as Canva for Work which adds many additional premium features for you to use.

9. Made

Instagram launched the Instagram Stories feature in 2016. By 2019, Instagram Stories had more than 500 million daily active users and has become a vital visual marketing channel for brands. Made is a dedicated app for creating powerful Instagram Stories for your brand.

Made-Story-Editor-Collage

The app makes the process easy with several free templates, backgrounds, fonts, and filters. Instead of worrying about things like design, Made allows you to focus on the content and the message. New templates are constantly added every month which means you’ll never be out of options when it comes to creating beautiful Instagram stories.

Marketing in an increasingly visual world

If we follow the trend that we’ve been seeing with social media platforms, it is fair to say that most marketing content in the future will be visual.

Thankfully, creating visual content is easier than ever with the great visual marketing tools available today with most of them offering free plans!

We hope this blog was helpful in guiding you towards creating a more powerful visual marketing strategy for your brand.

Guest author: I’m Anne Griffin and I’m a digital marketer and technical writer. I’m passionate about exploring and writing about innovation, technology, and digital marketing trends.

9 Tips for Aligning Creative and Marketing for Better Content Outcomes

9 Tips for Aligning Creative and Marketing for Better Content Outcomes

Like many in marketing, creatives have been doing more with less for a long time. Last year, however, brought things to new extremes.

Despite resources cut by about one-third, in both staffing (31%) and budget cuts (31%) more than half (58%) of creative and design teams say they were met with larger workloads.

Those are among the findings from the 2021 Creative Management Report, which polled over 400 creatives and marketers. The fourth annual report is a collaborative effort fielded by inMotionNow and InSource, an industry association for creatives.

The study shows creative teams rose to the occasion. They brought their problem-solving talents and adaptability together in a time when marketing and the business needed it the most.

For example, more than half (57%) of creatives say they became more productive. Further, two-thirds said they were asked to learn new technical skills such as digital interactivity, video, live streaming, and podcasting.

These skills proved essential to marketing as work went remote, events went virtual, and most of the budget went to digital. In other words, marketing became increasingly reliant on creatives during the pandemic and those teams saw their standing in marketing grow.

As Matthew Rayback, creative director at Adobe wrote in the report, creativity and design is “not just art or content execution, but creative thinking and creative problem-solving.”

Creatives-Report-That-They-Are-Being-Asked-To-Learn-New-Skills
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Beware of creative burnout

One of the more worrisome themes woven throughout the findings and sentiment of the survey was burnout. The research shows creatives aren’t just being asked for more work with fewer resources – but facing such requests under the added pressure of even tighter deadlines.

The survey found the top challenges facing creatives are:

  • The speed at which they are expected to work (73%)
  • Having enough resources (61%), and
  • The volume of creative content demand (59%).

Creatives can only do more with less for so long, and then something has to change. Creative leaders like Jim Nicholas, at the Florida Power & Light Company, recommends focusing on process and technology.

“For my team, it’s all about efficiency and putting a premium on the creative team’s time,” he says in the report. “I want our creative resources focused on high-value work.”

The key is to focus on the activities that drive results for the business, such as finding ways to automate low-value tasks.

What-Are-The-Top-Challenges-Facing-Your-Creative-Team-Today

Alignment is the secret to better content

Driving the best possible content outcomes requires alignment between the creative and marketing teams. Alignment means both teams have agreed on processes, priorities, and standards. Below are 9 actionable tips that leaders in both camps can implement to that end.

1. Foster a common vocabulary

Creatives and marketers tend to use different vocabulary. Marketers speak to data while creatives speak to design. It’s important to create a common vocabulary around customers, objectives, deliverables, campaigns, and results.

2. Define creative projects by tiers

All creative projects are not equal. A strategic omnichannel campaign that unfolds over months requires more creative assets than a one-off graphic request. On the other hand, too many one-off graphic requests eat up time that should be spent on that strategic campaign. Both marketing and creative teams must define projects by tiers so both teams understand the needs and prioritize accordingly.

3. Standardize creative requests and briefs

Too many creative projects start with an email request lacking the detail a designer needs to get started. Consequently, this evolves into a time-consuming back-and-forth email exchange to elicit the information needed. It’s a crucial mistake because it derails the creative process in the beginning. Standardizing requests – preferably on a dedicated system other than email – goes a long way toward saving time and frustration for everyone involved.

4. Meet to kickoff projects

Some projects are easy – and once requests are standardized – only require a simple form. Others are more complicated and require a meeting. Nobody wants an extra meeting, but strategic marketing initiatives are worth it. The 2021 Creative Management Report found that among those teams with well-defined processes, 84% meet with the project stakeholders as part of the kickoff.

5. Benchmark what constitutes a “rush” project

Everyone wants their creative projects faster. However, if everything is a priority then nothing is a priority, so creative and marketing need to agree on what constitutes a “rush” job.

Data the team collects from tracking creative projects is useful for identifying benchmarks. For example, Franklin Energy, which produces an astonishing 1,600 creative projects a year, has determined that on average the typical creative project takes 30 days. Therefore, any project requested with a deadline of fewer than 30 days is categorized as a rush project.

6. Eliminate scope creep

One part of putting some structure behind project requests is to put parameters around changes. Often what starts as a minor change to an initial request can snowball into several changes. Suddenly, a minor change that should have taken a few minutes is like a whole new project. In turn, that siphons resources from the agreed priorities and interferes with deadlines.

7. Provide visibility into status and progress

When marketing doesn’t have visibility into creative work, one of two things happens:

  • Creative becomes a black box where marketing has no idea where things stand, or
  • Creative becomes a button of sorts, where marketing puts a request in and creative magically comes out the other side.

Both of these perceptions lead to unmanaged expectations.

Once a project is started, creative teams need to provide visibility into its progress and status. There are many ways this can be conveyed. For example, some creative teams present a project slide in a periodic meeting or use a project management tool that provides stakeholders with self-serve visibility into the status of their requests.

8. Develop a process for reviews and approvals

Sometimes the review and approval of a creative project can go sideways. There are many reasons for this including:

  • Duplicative, conflicting, or unclear feedback
  • Sidebar conversations that leave out key team members
  • Out-of-sequence reviews

A clear process for review and approval will make this step smoother. A good review process has three characteristics: 

  • It’s easy for reviewers to give feedback
  • Routing – who needs to review and when – is defined
  • Reviewers have deadlines

Sometimes a limit to the number of review rounds is useful as well. However, if a project goes through more than three rounds of review without being approved, chances are the problem isn’t the review process, but the creative brief and project kickoff process.

9. Create an executive dashboard

Creatives often struggle to demonstrate value in a language marketing and business understand. When building out processes for managing creative projects, be sure to add a step for capturing metrics around those projects.

What metrics should you track? Here again, Franklin Energy is an illustrative example.

Cherise Oleson, a senior creative director with Franklin Energy, asked her executive team what metrics they thought were useful. Based on their feedback, she developed a quarterly dashboard with six key metrics:

  • Total projects currently in progress
  • Total projects completed YTD
  • Top 10 highest rounds of review YTD
  • Average hands-on design time
  • Projects per team member, and
  • Average time to complete projects.

If you want to learn more about the dashboard they use and why, Cherise presented a short 30-minute session at Adobe MAX – which was recorded and is freely available – that puts it all into context.

The-Metrics

A feedback loop for creative performance

The same study last year found about half (55%) of creatives rarely or never see performance data stemming from campaigns. This means the metrics marketing uses to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns never makes their way back to the creative team. While that’s not a tip for improving efficiency, per se, it’s an important way to drive efficacy and alignment between creativity and marketing.

Guest author: Elise Hauser is a senior marketing manager at inMotionNow, a leading provider of marketing resource management solutions for marketing and creative teams. She has led the creative management research process and publication of the report for the last three years.