5 Ways to Get Ideas for Your Blog and Inbound Marketing

5 Ways to Get Ideas for Your Blog and Inbound Marketing

The hardest part about keeping your blog overflowing with helpful content is knowing what to write. This is where classic writer’s block pops up the most and makes blogging a chore. Let’s fix that. In this post, we’ll give you the easiest ways to find content ideas, so that you always know which content will help you achieve your marketing goals.

1. Check Your Inbox

This is supposedly an old blogger trick, although I don’t think blogs have been around long enough for that to be possible. The idea is to look in your inbox and see what the most common questions you receive are. Take these questions and list them out in a doc. This should yield at least 5 or 10 blog post topics.

For bonus points, grab your responses to those questions from your email thread. Now you have a topic and a basic outline. Your inbox is the first place to look for content ideas that you can create and post fast. So, use it!

2. Buyer Personas

These semi-fictional representations of your ideal buyer are uber-handy for marketing. They also make it easier to create persona-driven content. This is content that’s so clearly focused on one group that it feels like it was written just for them.

To find the right topics to cover, look at the challenges that your personas face. They might list one of their major challenges as being increasing the number of leads from their website. With this information in hand, you can create a blog post that explains how to increase the number of online leads your company receives. Repeat this process until you run out of challenges to help them with. Doing this will ensure that the content that you create is extremely beneficial to your buyer personas.

3. Your Blog

This may seem like an odd place to look for new content, but your blog is actually a well of information that can help you create fresh posts. The key is taking what you’ve already written and putting a new spin on it. For example, you might have written an article about “five best practices for designing a new website.” You can use the same outline and much of the same information to create a negative post based on the same topic. The new post would be titled “the five biggest mistakes to avoid when designing a new website.” This allows you to take the same information and present it in a new way that might be more insightful for your readers. It also allows you to increase the SEO value of your site for those keywords.

4. Customer Feedback and Testimonials

Many copywriters use a simple trick of taking words directly from customer testimonials and working them into their copy. This is called stealing copy. But, it’s not really stealing. All you’re doing is talking about the things that your customers have already told you are important to them.

You can also use this trick to find content ideas. Look through the feedback you’ve received from customers. What are the things that they’ve been most impressed by? For example, if a review says that they appreciated your strategic process for achieving results, then consider writing a blog post on that process. Conversely, if you receive feedback that they had felt stuck before contacting you, then you could write a post about how to jumpstart a new project. Using actual customer feedback as the basis for a new post allows you to tune into what your prospects need and care about.

5. Industry News, Events, and Launches

I wouldn’t recommend this as your first option when trying to fill your blog with content. It’s more important for you to focus on evergreen topics that your buyers will continuously be searching for. But, at the same time, it’s also important to keep your blog full of topics that are relevant to your business and have high-quality backlinks. Reporting on industry news, events you’ve attended, and product launches help you to do this in a way that’s easy and fast.

All you need to do is make sure you’re subscribed to a few neutral news sources for your industry. you want these news sources to be neutral so that you can add your own flavor to your post. Next, write a post that references the news piece, explain what the implications of it are, and then give your perspective on it. Doing this shows that your company is active in your industry, aware of recent news, and understands the implications for itself and its customers. Do the same thing for industry events and launches, and your blog will always be full of interesting and helpful content.

Need Something More Progressive?

These five tactics are great for keeping your blog full of information that’s relevant and useful to your buyers. But, you need to take things to the next level if you want your blog to be an effective marketing tool that brings in sales. To do this you need a sales funnel, SMART goals, and a carefully planned out content calendar that will boost your site’s SEO ranking for important keywords.

If you need help creating any of these, then consider signing up for one of our inbound marketing workshops. In our workshops, we’ll help you understand who your buyers are, what your blog’s voice is, what the best sales funnel is, and provide you with a year’s worth of blog topics to write about. From there your inbound marketing can go on autopilot and continuously bring you high-quality leads. If this sounds like it would save you a lot of time and headaches, then contact us today to learn more.

How to Create a Content Calendar for Your Inbound Marketing

How to Create a Content Calendar for Your Inbound Marketing

When you’re on the road and trying to get to a specific address, what’s easier?

Stopping every 5 minutes to look at your map and figure out where to go next? Or letting Google Maps tell you where to go next?

Google maps is the obvious choice.

There’s a similar challenge in inbound marketing (or content marketing). Most marketers have to stop marketing and decide what to write for their blog each month. This means they can only write a few articles at a time with no real rhythm.

Sound slow and painful? It is. These stops can even reduce the effectiveness of your inbound marketing campaign.

What you need to succeed is a clear step-by-step plan. The solution is a content marketing calendar.

What should an inbound marketing content calendar include?

Your inbound marketing content calendar will be the guide that helps you achieve SMART marketing goals. But, for it to be effective, it needs to include the right elements. These include:

  • Subject: This isn’t the same as a title, instead it’s the overall subject that you want to cover or the question that you want to answer in your post. Some also call this a vision or purpose.
  • Title: This is the title that the blog post will use. You can leave this blank until you actually write the article since it will be hard to know what the right title is until you’re done.
  • Sources:  Including reliable sources to support the post that your writing will give it credibility and give you the inspiration you need to write a great post.  Select sources that are neutral and respected.
  • Persona:  Every post should have one intended reader. Generally, this will be one of your buyer personas. For each post decide who you’re writing for since this will make it easier to adapt the content and message to their needs.
  • Call-to-action:  Having a call to action is essential to effective inbound marketing. At the end of every post,  you need to offer something valuable to your reader that makes sense with your post. This will turn site visitors into leads, which can increase your sales.
  • Links: Your content calendar should always include a link to the working draft of the post. Generally, it’s best to do this in a Google doc since the format can be accessed from any device. You should also include a link to the article once it’s published on your website, this will make it easier to incorporate it into emails, social media posts, backlinks, and comments.

These are the essentials you need to include in your content calendar for it to be useful and for your site to be full of effective copywriting.

Entering a months’ worth of content ideas will be extremely helpful when its time to write for your blog. All of your research, subjects, persona information and calls to action will be laid out for you. All that’s left to do is write the post and wait for the visitors to roll in.

If you want a head start, then copy our super simple Google Sheet template here.

Need Help Filling Up Your Content Calendar?

If you’re interested in content marketing, then you know how difficult it can be to create a year’s worth of topics.

If you need help creating topics based on real-world data that will drive sales, then fill out this simple little form. Right now, we’re offering a free 6-month B2B content marketing calendar to you. Take advantage of it now to see the difference that a content calendar can make.

Why you need to change your B2B content marketing in 2018

Why you need to change your B2B content marketing in 2018

Give something away for free. This is the timeless principle that every sales process depends on. Whether you’re giving away a sample, lead magnet, or the salesman’s knowledge.

This idea has blown up on the internet. Marketers are giving away everything they possibly can just to get a tiny bit of interaction from their site visitors. The result is that thousands of websites offer downloadable checklists, ultimate guides, and complete toolkits.

This means that traditional content marketers are in a commodity business. We all have more or less the same information, methods, and goals. To win you need to be bigger, faster, or just plain lucky. Things you can never count on.

For content marketers to pull away from the competition and have a meaningful impact on sales things need to change. Here’s four ways to do it in 2018.

1. Build a Brand not an Offer

89% of B2B marketers say brand awareness is the most important goal, followed by sales and lead generation. – Content Marketing Institute

 A free demo offer like this one from Salesforce might be just what your prospects want. A free demo offer like this one from Salesforce might be just what your prospects want.

Traditional content marketing says, “if you build the best offer you’ll win.” But, that’s far from the truth.

Who are you more likely to trust when it comes to SEO? Moz or your local web design company? When you’re looking for authority content to read, Moz will almost always win. It doesn’t matter if the local company did more research or has a better offer. Why? Because their brand isn’t as trustworthy or renowned as Moz.

To starting fighting this battle, the local web design company could:

  • Align messaging across its site and strengthen its brand identity.
  • Build its service offering around a meaningful value or ideal.
  • Generate brand awareness and respect through guest posting, interviews, and PR work.
  • Become the experts in a very tight niche, then start expanding toward Moz-like fame.

These actions will make their brand stand out from other local web design companies. Prospects that learn about you from an article on Forbes will be much more likely to trust you than those coming in cold from a search page.

How does this differ from traditional content marketing? The difference is your focus. Your focus should be on producing content that enhances your brand and its reputation and not just getting conversion or being an optimization junky.

This requires careful forethought. You need to know what you want your brand to be before it can become it. If you feel at a loss, then consider running a brand sprint. It’s the fastest way to get back on track.

2. Be Unique

The content of your articles and blog post should be new, fresh and original. It should add something to all the junk that’s already out there on the internet. – Yoast.com

 Having a hyper-clear purpose and an interesting format can be all it takes to stand out. Having a hyper-clear purpose and an interesting format can be all it takes to stand out.

Traditional logic says if you want your post to rank higher than the competition, you need to make it 500 words longer. In fact, most content marketing experts will recommend that today. Here’s why it will eventually fail.

Another company will see your top ranked post and write a longer one. Conversely, a stronger brand with more domain authority may swoop in and steal the top spot from you with a smaller post. When you’re playing the word count game it’s only a matter of time before someone outranks you. To be competitive your content needs to be unique.

What exactly needs to change?

  • Don’t spin content. Spun content will eventually fail as Google gets smarter and you’ll have to start your efforts from scratch.
  • Write content that wins because it’s different. Either it covers different points, offers a new approach, or provides meaningful inspiration. Take a journalistic approach to add more creative juice to your content.
  • Make your content persona-driven instead of keyword-driven. Keywords may help you rank, but you’re selling to people and not Google. Write with people in mind.
  • Ensure that the content is high calibre and is worth your reader’s time.

You may think these ideas are obvious or that being unique isn’t really possible. In that case, consider Jake Knapp’s Medium post on the brand sprint process (previously referenced). This post was shared with me by the owner of a successful design firm (virality). Since then, I have referenced it in my book, multiple blog posts, social media, and email. Now, my company offers brand sprint facilitation as a service and requires it as part of a content marketing retainer. I’ve yet to find a post to rival or replace Jake Knapp’s original brand sprint post.

Creating truly unique content and coupling it with a powerful brand will beat optimization and other technical tricks every time.

3. Make Your Offers No-brainers

The $50 off coupon generated 170% more revenue than the 15% off coupon, and its conversion rate was 72% higher. – Entrepreneur.com

 GatherContent offers extremely valuable information through its free master classes. GatherContent offers extremely valuable information through its free master classes.

An email address for an ebook used to be the standard exchange rate. Now there are millions more ebooks and more or less the same number of email addresses. This is called content inflation.

To keep your sales funnel full of marketing qualified leads, you need to do one of two things:

  1. Offer content on a topic that’s high value and hasn’t been covered by anyone else.
  2. Offer content or a small service with serious monetary value so that the exchange rate shifts from an email address for content to an email address for money.

The second option is easier to use in competitive markets. Since most content marketers are dealing with heavy competition, we’ll focus on the monetary value offer.

  • What do your potential buyers need in order to save time or be more effective at their jobs? Answering this question will help you choose what to offer. For example, a content marketer might offer a content marketing calendar template that populates based on values entered by the user.
  • What would you normally charge for that service? If you’d normally charge $500 to create a custom content calendar, then place a value of $500 on the download. Now your prospect views entering their email address as earning them $500.
  • How should you position the offer? Positioning the offer correctly is absolutely key to this process. Don’t use the old-school “get my free marketing toolkit ($5,000 value) for free today!” Instead, build in transparency. If you have a rate sheet, then link to it. Make it clear that you actually charge money for what you’re offering and you’re not just making up an inflated price to increase conversions.
  • What’s the catch? After you give away something valuable for free, you need to be able to sell the prospect on something else. What’s the next thing they’ll need to move closer toward their goal? Someone who downloads a content calendar template will need help writing the content. Use the information you collected to cultivate the lead and then make your offer.

HubSpot is good at this method. Their site is full of templates and other high value offers that have a more meaningful impact than an ebook.

Using this approach can make your content marketing stand out since you’re changing the exchange rate and the way prospects view your offers.

4. Create a Brand Voice

“Fully connected customers (emotionally connected) are 52% more valuable, on average, than those who are just highly satisfied.” – Harvard Business Review

 My personal favorite example of a strong brand voice is Field Notes. My personal favorite example of a strong brand voice is Field Notes.

The one aspect of branding that most people overlook is their brand voice. Probably because they don’t know what it is or why they should care about it.

So, what is a brand voice? It’s the unique way that your company communicates using words. Just like Ernest Hemingway and Dr. Seuss are both great authors with totally different voices/styles, companies can distinguish themselves from the competition by having a great voice.

Here’s the problem: even if you personally have a great voice that’s unique and enhances your brand, it’s not enough. Eventually, other people will start writing for your brand and they’ll bring in inconsistencies that will destroy the voice you’ve cultivated. To stop this, you need to create a brand voice that everyone can apply and follow.

If you’re interested in developing a brand voice, then what should you do?

  • Define your audience. Buyer personas and market research will help you understand who you’re talking to and what type of voice is appealing to them. When your voice appeals to your audience that’s an instant win.
  • Define your core values. Companies need to build themselves on values and vision. If you don’t communicate these effectively, then you’re another commodity competing on price.
  • Examine the competition. A brand voice is useless if it makes you sound like your competitor. For it to be effective, you need to stand out and cut through the noise.

Once you’ve done this basic research, you can start putting together a brand voice style guide. This topic deserves an entire post, so I’ll link to my method for creating a brand voice style guide here.

How to make your content marketing effective and powerful

The traditional ideas on content marketing are starting to become less and less effective. To pull away from the competition, increase sales, and build loyal customers, you need to be better. You need to stay ahead of the curve.

To help you do this, we’ve created a workshop for brands that aren’t afraid to stand out and lead the market. We call it our Rogue Inbound Workshop.

This workshop is right for you if you want:

  • To clearly define and differentiate your brand
  • Marketing decisions focused on strengthening your brand
  • Content marketing customized to your company’s needs
  • Marketing to match your unique product or approach
  • Less aggressive, more effective sales

Learn more about the process, timeline, and price here. You’ll be able to view the pitch deck and cost without entering an email address and you can request a brief call using the learn more button.

We hope to talk soon and help you change your content marketing for the better.

8.5 Ways to improve your company’s brand voice today

8.5 Ways to improve your company’s brand voice today

Creating a brand voice is a must for any company that relies on written communication. But, the actual brand voice creation process can be very time-consuming. These 8.5 tips will help you to jump-start your brand’s voice and content today.

1. Use words wisely and consistently to reinforce your brand voice

As you develop a consistent brand, you begin to take ownership of your own niche in the market. When you choose a position and then consistently reinforce your position, it becomes more difficult for competitors to come in and take that advantage away. The ability to manage your market position trains customer expectations, setting a foundation for continued success.

BrandExtract

Some brands confuse consumers with inconsistent terms. For example, a software company might call a single piece of software a “tool,” “suite,” “dashboard,” or “solution.” This approach could make the user think that software X comes in 5 different versions. Similarly, user-interfaces, help text, and marketing campaigns will suffer big time if clear, consistent terms aren’t used.

What’s the solution? How can you stop the madness? The absolute easiest way is creating a glossary and sending it to all your content producers.

I like to make my glossaries in Google Sheets. You might divide it up like so:

 How to use a glossary as part of your brand voice

Having a glossary will allow content producers to confirm that they’re using the right term, capitalization, and spacing. It can also provide them with helpful alternatives when they’re trying not to be repetitive.

The first step in creating your glossary is taking an inventory of the terms used throughout your content. To do this, make a copy of our glossary template and start reading through your website, social media, sales content, blog posts, customer service info, and help documents. As you read, fill in the term column with terms that you see frequently or that need to be used consistently.

Once you’ve inventoried the terms, start eliminating anything repetitive or that doesn’t match your brand’s voice. If possible, copy these into a doc and list them as a term to avoid using.

Next, take your lean group of terms and start defining them and filling in the other columns. This step could give you surprising insights into how your brand has been communicating. You might even see that major changes need to be made to product names. But, don’t worry, this is all part of the process of optimizing your brand’s content.

 Using a glossary ensures that you have a consistent brand voice.

2. Share client stories

Everyone loves a good story. They even prefer a bad story to a list of dry facts. Why are stories so powerful?

The book Made to Stick, dives deep into the power of stories. It includes the example of photocopy repairman sitting around on their lunch break and telling stories. During one story, a repairman goes into great detail on the work he put into resolving a false error code. The reason he shares this story instead of saying, “watch out for this false error code”, is that the story aids in memory and comprehension.

You can leverage this same power in your content. Telling the story of a client who was dealing with a frustrating situation gives your customers someone to connect with. They could even be in that same situation. Explaining how your product or service solved that paint point will help them to imagine how they could benefit from it too. Finally, bring the story to a memorable conclusion; this will help customers to remember the entire buyer’s journey and make your ideas stick.

Try to use this outline when creating a client story:

  1. Share the client’s situation and make sure to keep it relatable.
  2. Now, bring up the pain point. What problem are they facing and what negative impact is it having?
  3. Enter your product/solution. Explain how the client solved their problem by using it.
  4. The happy ending. What benefits are they enjoying?
  5. Call-to-action. Encourage readers who are facing a similar issue to contact you, learn more about your products, or buy.

 Client stories are an excellent way to highlight the value of your products.

3. Share your story

If people are interested in others’ stories than you better believe that they’re interested in your company’s story. Think of a job interview, the interviewer asks you a bunch of questions to learn your story and see if they want to be in business with you. Your customers want the exact same thing.

Whether we acknowledge it or not, customers prefer working with companies that share their ideals. In fact, there’s an app called Shape that’s designed to help investors find companies that align with their own morals. The market wants this information about your company too, so give it to them.

Here are a few places where you can include your story:

  • Your About page
  • A Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) page
  • Bios on social media accounts
  • As part of a newsletter or email series
  • In online videos or commercials
  • As part of your sales documentation

Besides these key spots, pepper your story into other pieces of content. For example, when announcing a new product say something like “we remember building our first [your product] in mom’s garage. Our goal was to help people like you to [benefit]. The [new product] was built in line with that same vision.” Doing this shows that your company has a history of caring for its customers and that it knows where it came from. This makes your company and its products more appealing to consumers.

 Customers align themselves with brands that share their values.

4. There’s an email template for that

In 2009, Apple launched the genius marketing campaign lead by the catchphrase “there’s an app for that.” Yes, no matter what challenge or difficulty you were facing Apple had a solution to help you out.

Something similar happens in the business world. Emails are the bread and butter of business communication, but writing effective emails is hard! And with so many people writing emails for a business, with varying styles and writing abilities, your brand’s unique voice will break down pretty quickly. But, creating email templates is a handy way to solve this problem.

How should you go about this? First, get someone with solid writing skills and an understanding of your brand’s voice. Have that person go around to people who regularly send emails, this will mainly be sales and customer service. Find out what types of emails they typically send and which formats give them the best results. Then create a series of templates based on common emails, employee suggestions, and your brand’s voice.

Once you have a set of emails make sure to clearly mark your variables, so that they’re always filled in correctly. An easy way to do this is to put variables inside of square brackets and highlight them in an obnoxious color, like so “[Client name].” This will prevent any embarrassing mishaps.

Also, think of guidelines to give employees for their follow-up emails. Having an initial template is great, but you need something in place for emails further down the line. Take steps in advance.

Finally, make it easy for employees to use the templates by integrating them into your email service (for example, in Gmail you can set up canned responses, which serve as email templates). Also, explain that you’re not trying to micromanage their emails, you’re simply making sure that the company is always accurately represented and following these templates and guidelines will help them to do a better job.

 Email templates can help you maintain a strong brand voice.

5. Where’s your content taking you?

You might be familiar with the Chinese proverb, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” That whole journey is made up of millions of individual steps. Each piece of content that you create is a step in that journey, but where are all those steps taking you?

Content strategy is the process of taking strategic business goals and using content to achieve them. For example, you might want to raise awareness, get more email list subscribers, or increase your sales.These smaller goals all contribute to your company’s mission. They’re like a road map.

The problem is that a lot of companies produce content inconsistently and without direction. They take a step to the right, a step to the left, a step back, and a step forward. In their minds, they’re really moving, but they’re staying in the same place. Don’t make that mistake.

Even though content strategy is a full-time job, small brands with limited resources can still use and benefit from it. Here’s a simple way to define your content strategy:

  1. Research: Get to know your audience. Answer questions like: what kind of content do they want? what’s holding them back from buying from my company? what other needs do they have that my company could also take care of? how do they consume content? Once you’ve answered these questions, turn the data into buyer personas (characters who represent your ideal clients).
  2. More research: Now that you know who your audience is, you need to find out what they’re searching for online. You can use Google’s Keyword Planner to find terms that your target market searches for. Also, considering using a Google Form to survey your existing customers to see what topics they care about. Turn all these keywords and topics into a list.
  3. Set goals: Based on your research, what goals could your company achieve within the next year? If possible, create a few SMART (specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic, time-based) goals and align the content you create with them.
  4. Create content: Based on your list, choose a main topic or series of topics to cover. Spread these out onto a content calendar, so that you move in the same direction consistently. Then trickle out the content.
  5. Promote your content: Some think that creating content is the hard part, but promoting it is the real challenge. Set up a promotion checklist in advance. For example, every time you create a new blog post your promotion checklist might be: 3 tweets, 1 email to your list, post to Facebook groups, republish on LinkedIn, syndicate on sites with a similar audience. Having a checklist ensures that each post gets the promotion that it deserves.
  6. Analyze: Every few months look at the analytical data to see if you’ve reached your SMART goals. Have you increased web traffic? Do you have more sales? Do your clients have a better impression of your company? If you see that your content efforts haven’t moved the needle, then revise your strategy and try again.

Content strategy can be complicated, but if you follow these basics steps you’re sure to gain a deeper understanding of your audience and have content that moves your business forward.

 A content calendar can help you use your brand voice more consistently.

6. Tractor beam them with benefits

If you’ve already heard this a million times, then let me say it to you one more time. People buy benefits. They don’t buy a blanket with 300 gram wool; they buy a warm blanket. The benefit matters more than a specification ever could, because a benefit relates to emotion and not logic.

Unfortunately, brands continually forget the first lesson in marketing. They focus on why their products are better instead of the benefits. This leads to the cardinal sin of content…being boring. You don’t want your brand to be boring! So, what can you do?

Let’s compare two pieces of copy from two made up car companies. Which one do you like more?

Example 1: Feel like the king of the road while saving fuel and protecting the environment. With a clean design that eliminates waste, the X2 is the culmination of what a car should be. Get yours today.

Example 2: The X3 uses a high-efficiency fuel system to increase torque while reducing consumption. This advanced efficiency is also reflected in the X3’s low emissions and reduced risk of breakdown due to carbon build up. The X3 can be purchased from your nearest dealer.

Which car company are you more inclined to buy from? The X3 has features that you didn’t even know you wanted, but the content is a bit dry. The X3 may be logically better in every way, but it has zero emotional impact. However, the X2 appeals to emotion while sharing a few key facts. This style appeals to a broader audience and brings emotions into play, allowing it to blow the X3 out of the water.

If this is something your company struggles with, then ask yourself these questions:

  • Get into your customer’s head and imagine what they’ll do with your product or service. What impact will it have on their life?
  • In real-world terms, how is your company providing a better solution than the competition?
  • What problems can your customer avoid by using your solutions?
  • How will using your solution impact the lives of those around your customer (for example, their family or co-workers)?

The answers to these are the benefits that you need to inject into your copy to make it appealing on an emotional level.

 Show don't tell. Sharing the benefits of your product is an excellent way to strengthen your brand voice.

7. Destroy your second face

Has this ever happened to you? You’re buying a new product and the salesperson is great. They understand you and get you excited about the product. Their great attitude makes you really trust the company. In the following months, you enjoy interesting emails and blog posts from the company. But, then the product  breaks and you need to contact customer service. You get grilled about what happened to the product, they’re rude to you, and the company doesn’t fulfill its warranty. Trust broken.

This is an everyday case of two-faced company syndrome. Somewhere between sales and support there’s a disconnect. This leads to clients who feel deceived and will bad mouth your company every chance they get.

There’s only one way to combat this: destroy the second face. You need to be the same company through and through to maintain loyal customers and improve your brand voice.

To achieve this you need global guidelines that apply to how your company communicates and behaves toward the customer. Here are a few ways that you can make your company’s communication more consistent:

  • Be up front about restrictions, exceptions, and any other “negative” things the customer may encounter further down the line. This eliminates any surprises that could hurt your relationship with them.
  • Create guidelines for Customer Service to use. As I mentioned earlier, email templates can help with this, but you also need to give guidelines to make sure that Customer Service doesn’t break your company’s image.
  • Give the customer an outlet for their suggestions, concerns, and complaints, and show that you listen. Just feeling heard can have a huge impact on how customers view your company.
  • When the customer runs into an issue, offer a gift or a free bonus. Inject the negative situation with a touch of positivity, so that it doesn’t damage how they view your company.

Implementing these suggestions may require doing a little bit of restructuring, but they can go a long way toward building a more loyal customer base.

 A brand voice will let your company communicate the same way throughout every interaction with your customers.

8. Collaboration fuels imagination

“Stop, collaborate, and listen.” Even though the command to “collaborate” makes absolutely no sense in the opening line of ice, ice baby, it can be valuable to us. For years, musicians have understood the power of collaborating with others. The results are exciting, interesting, and expose each musician’s music to new listeners.

As a brand, you should take a page from their playlist and collaborate with businesses or industry experts. This gives you credibility and can help you expand your audience with minimal effort.

Here are a few ways that you can collaborate:

  • Is there an industry expert with a new book out? They’d probably be eager to share their ideas with your company’s audience. Have them do a few posts on your blog based on their book. This will give your audience interesting new content while giving the author a platform to promote their book on.
  • Does your company have any key partnerships? Exchange articles or social media posts with your partner. This will strengthen your partnership and help your customers to better understand how you collaborate with others.
  • Have your company create its own unique content to syndicate. Share it with industry publications to establish your expertise or publications/websites your customers read to use as a lead tool.

Collaborating gives tired content a jolt of creativity and excitement. This can be just what your brand needs to holds its audience’s attention.

 Industry experts can give your content a fresh perspective and unique insights.

8.5 Use the best and cut the rest

Case in point, this guide started out as 23 points. Don’t bore people or lower your brand’s perceived quality by pushing out sub-par content. 5 great pieces of content will always do better than 100 mediocre ones.

Bonus point: Create a brand voice

Didn’t see that one coming, did you? Yes, the simplest way to improve your brand’s voice is by creating a brand voice. In fact, your brand voice guidelines can help you to apply all the above points and more.

How will a brand voice benefit you?

  • A brand voice makes your content stand out.
  • A brand voice shows that you care about your audience’s needs.
  • A brand voice cures two-faced company syndrome.
  • A brand voice gives your brand a consistent personality.
  • A brand voice simplifies your long-term content strategy.

Don’t get stuck in stale, outdated marketing approaches. Join the next generation of marketers. Create a brand voice today!

PS

Do you want an expert to create your brand voice? We literally wrote the book on it. Contact us and we’ll be happy to help!

How to easily boost your app’s ranking and sales

How to easily boost your app’s ranking and sales

Creating an app can take hundreds of hours. What may start out as a simple idea, can turn into hours of coding, testing, and reimagining. We all appreciate a well-designed app, but most of the time developers aren’t paid enough for the actual work involved. Why is that?

You may have noticed that a lot of great apps are buried at the bottom of searches while poorly built apps dominate the category. This isn’t because people want low-quality apps, so what’s the deal?

The problem is discovery. A lot of genuinely useful apps are hard to find or might be presented in a “sketchy” way. This will obviously reduce downloads, which leads to a lower app store ranking and even fewer downloads. That means that you could earn less than minimum wage for hundreds of hours of work. Is there any way to turn this around?

The key is ASO (App Store Optimization). When your app’s title, description, and icon follow a few simple guidelines you can quickly turn an app with a falling ranking into a best-seller, or at the very least earn a decent wage. Let’s find out how!

 The problem with creating a new app is discovery

Create a Keyword List

Unsurprisingly, the main way that users discover and download new apps is through searches on the app store (up to 63% of apps are downloaded this way). This is good news because you can do things to improve your search ranking, but it’s harder to create word-of-mouth.

If you have any experience with search engines then you already know how important keywords are. Keywords are words or phrases that match your app description. For example, your app might teach people English grammar, in that case, related keywords might include: grammar lessons, grammar trainer, English tests, etc.

The easiest way to find what keywords to use is by doing research with Google Adwords. To use this service simply sign up for an account (this is totally free, you only pay for the ads purchased). Once you have your account, go to Tools and select Keyword Planner. Then all you need to do is enter in keywords that you think would be related to your app and check the search volume.

For example, let’s say you have a free app for tracking calories. So, you put “free calorie tracker” into the keyword planning tool. You would get results like:

Keyword    Avg. Monthly Searches
Free calorie counter    2,400
Calorie tracker    6,600
Calorie calculator    110,000
Calorie counter    201,000

This gives you a good idea of what search terms are most common on Google, but now you need to see how they do in the app store. Try searching for the terms with the highest monthly search volume and see whether your app would fit in with the search results.

Based on these tests, you might decide that instead of calling your app a “calorie tracker” you’ll use the term “calorie counter” since it has a higher search volume and still matches your app. This simple step will ensure that app appears as a result in as many relevant searches as possible.

 Target keywords that have better search volume

Choose a Title

Next, you need to choose the right title for your app. You probably have a cool ultra-modern one-word title that perfectly encapsulates the essence of your app. Maybe you planned on calling your calorie counter “fi”, which is obviously short for fitness. Would this be a smart choice? Not really.

You see, your app’s title is part of ASO too and not taking advantage of it to optimize your ranking is a waste. So, how can you keep your cool name while optimizing?

Let’s take a page from one of the most popular calorie-counting apps MyFitnessPal. Does this massively popular brand rely on its name alone? Nope. It optimizes its title for the best ranking. Currently, it appears in the Play Store as “Calorie Counter – MyFitnessPal.”

So, what can you do with your ultra-chic name? Why not try something like “Calorie Counter by fi”? By including keywords in the title you can increase your app’s downloads by 10.3%.

 Your title should help people find your app

Write a Great Description

Now that you’ve gotten your app to pop up in the search results and your amazing name has drawn people in, you need to work on an app description. What are the keys to a great description? Just follow this not so secret formula:

  • Start off with an elevator pitch, this is one or two short sentences that sum up your app
  • Once they click to read more there should be a more extensive paragraph describing it
  • Now create subheadings to logically divide the information on your app
  • Use bullet points instead of paragraphs at this point
  • Keep them short
  • Show off your Unique Value Proposition
  • Focus on the benefits for the user
  • Include excerpts from positive reviews
  • Include a call to action

The description’s purpose is to explain your app to potential users in just a few seconds and get them to download it. So, keep it short and snappy. Users appreciate clear, concise communication.

A good example of this is the MyFitnessPal:

 MyFitnessPal does a great job of optimizing their app for the app store

Check that out! This is a great example of the elements we listed. If you implement this format on your app you’ll be able to quickly show it off and boost sales!

Ensure that your app gets great reviews

Finally, you need to make sure that your app gets great reviews. Now, you may think that this is out of your control, but there you can do a lot right now to get more positive reviews.

  • Be responsive: When your app receives a negative review, respond to it and try to resolve the issue.
  • Listen: If you notice that a lot of reviewers would like to see a certain feature then add it in an update. This will ensure that users will stick with you instead of going to the competition.
  • Promote quality: Your app’s perceived quality doesn’t just depend on how good your code is, its logo, description, content, reliability, versatility, and innovativeness work together to create a high-quality app. To get good reviews you need to make sure that all of these elements come together.
  • Be accurate: The simplest way to avoid negative reviews is to accurately describe your app. Some negative reviews are simply the result of people downloading an app that was advertised as a meal planner but is actually a calorie counter.

 Get rave reviews by listening and responding to your users

Your app is only as good as its content

Remember that no matter how good your app is, without the right content it can still fail. The easiest way to ensure that your app succeeds is to put the above suggestions into practice or get a professional to do it for you.

We offer specialized editing and writing services to help app developers like you to get more downloads and boost their income. To learn more about how we can make your app a best-seller, talk to us today. We look forward to hearing from you!