37+ Tips on How to Build a Content Marketing Machine

The Key Concepts of Content Marketing
The Key Concepts of Content Marketing

Back when I started my career in SEO, content marketing didn’t exist—at  least not in the  way it exists now.

We used strategies to boost traction and traffic to websites through the  creation of great  content—it was content marketing before the term even  existed. And it worked.

I’ve carried the lessons with me ever since. And I’d love to share them all with  you—  everything I’ve used to successfully help hundreds of companies  benefit from content  marketing over the past five years.

Here are 37+ tips and resources you can use to build a fine-tuned content  marketing machine from the ground up.

The Key Concepts of Content Marketing

In 2009, I founded a company called Single Grain. It started as a part-time consulting gig but very quickly grew into a powerhouse digital marketing agency. In the early years, we were successful because we were able to help businesses of all sizes–including a few Fortune 500 companies—gain more traction online by implementing what we referred to then as link-building strategies.

via 37+ Tips on How to Build a Content Marketing Machine.

Where to Find Free Images Online by Stacey Roberts

Free Images Online

   In a perfect world, we could all take amazing photos, edit them scrupulously, and somehow manage to have enough props and stylish flair to snap the exact image you need to illustrate your post.  In the real world, we have access to other talented people who do that instead!

   I’ve lost count of the posts I’ve pinned, sent to Evernote, or emailed to myself that round up great places to find free images on the internet. To save myself that headache (and hopefully you too!) here they all are, finally, in one place. Pin it for yourself!

  [Read more of this article]

The Best Tools & Resources For Your Content Promotion

Tools & Resources for Your Content Promotion

This article first appeared on Mention on February 6, 2015    Written by: Sujan Patel 

A recent study shows that 86 percent of all B2B marketers use content marketing strategies to gain exposure and ultimately generate revenue, but only 38 percent believe they are effective at it. Testing a few different tools and strategies allows you to figure out what works best for your organization.

I’ve been lucky enough to try a lot of different tools. Below are some of my favorite content promotion tools and resources that can help get you off on the right foot.

5 best content promotion tools

There are a number of tools you can use to promote your content and connect with more audiences. Here are five of my favorites:

Tool #1: Buzzsumo

This platform allows you to track your content’s performance online, as well as your competitors’. You can use the dashboard to track specific URLs and how their content performs over time. Buzzsumo also allows users to set alerts for specific keyboards, authors, or URLs. The platform is easy to use and fairly straightforward, which makes it a good platform for any marketer or writer.

Cost: Free version with limited uses. Premium versions from $99 for a single account to $499+ for an enterprise account.

BuzzSumo 520x199 The best tools & resources for your content promotion

Tool #2: CoSchedule

This tool integrates with your WordPress blog and allows you to see your calendar for social media and blogging content, all in one place. CoSchedule also lets you communicate with your team, set tasks and guidelines, and make editorial planning as easy as possible. Having this is all in one place can help make your promotional strategy more effective.

Cost: $10 per month, per blog. Unlimited users and social media accounts.

Tool #3: Mention

Mention allows you to monitor what others are saying about you online. It tracks mentions across 42 languages and multiple platforms, including social media, forums, websites, and more. You can also generate analytics reports of the mentions, which make it extremely effective for sharing with clients or among colleagues. Knowing what gets talked about most online can help you craft future content.

Cost: From $29 for three users, three alerts, and 3,000 mentions to $299+ for a company account.

Tool #4: Open Site Explorer

open site explorer buffer 1024x399 520x202 The best tools & resources for your content promotion

This tool allows you to see who has been linking to your content. It also allows you to view that information for any URL. According to Neil Patel of KISSmetrics, this SEO tool is genius for promoting your content. You can look at who is sharing content from popular blogs and target them with your content. Share your content with them on social media; reach out for an interview for your site; and comment on their own content in order to get to know them.

Cost: Free to use for a few number of searches per day; $99-$599 monthly for various levels that also include access to the entire Moz Pro toolset.

Tool #5: Zemanta

Zemeta is a content distribution network that focuses on the premise that content is more engaging than banner or text ads. They work with content sharing networks such as Outbrain, AOL, and Yahoo! to share your content across external platforms that may have much higher audiences and networks to increase your content’s visibility.

[Read more]

 

 

50 Tweet Ideas for When You Have Brain Freeze by Kim Garst – Boom Social

I have just received this from Kim so I thought I would share it with you.

50 Tweet Ideas

Running out of things to say on Twitter? Join the club! It can be hard to constantly come up with new and interesting things to tweet. This article will give you 50 tweet ideas for when you have brain freeze. I hope this helps to make sure you never again run out of stuff to say on Twitter!

  1. Participate in Follow Friday (Use #FollowFriday)
  2. Recommend one of your favorite businesses or tools
  3. Link to a new post on your blog
  4. Share a random fact about your business or ask for a random fact about your followers
  5. @mention an influencer in one of your tweets (great for getting noticed!)
  6. Ask your followers for help, or retweet someone else’s request for help
  7. Tweet a link to a survey created using Google Forms (it’s free!)
  8. Share an inspiring or motivational quote (these are great for getting retweets!)
  9. Share a random deep thought
  10. Tweet out a call for guest bloggers
  11. Share breaking news in your niche or industry
  12. Hold a flash sale just for your Twitter followers
  13. Help forge connections by introducing tweeps you think would benefit from knowing one another
  14. Share a random piece of trivia (you can find completely random facts using The Random Trivia Generator)
  15. Tweet a picture from an in-person event or meeting
  16. Build up anticipation by tweeting out a countdown to a big event (sale, conference, book launch, etc.)
  17. Share a tip to help your audience with a business problem
  18. Tweet breaking news
  19. Thank someone for a great blog post, or simply for being a great person!
  20. Share a funny moment or observation
  21. Send a shout-out to your new followers
  22. Reply to someone who has mentioned you
  23. Send a word of encouragement to someone who needs it
  24. Share an interesting or relevant industry-related fact or stat
  25. Share a prediction you have for your industry (great for getting retweets!)
  26. Tweet a link to a List.ly list
  27. Tweet a link to your Facebook Page or Instagram account
  28. Respond to mentions of your business: Use a tool like Social Mention or Hootsuite to find tweets to respond to.
  29. Tweet out a link to a great Pinterest board (not necessarily your own)
  30. Comment on someone else’s tweet
  31. Invite your followers to join your email list: Offer an enticing opt-in incentive for best results!
  32. Recommend a book or movie your followers would enjoy
  33. Use relevant hashtags to grow your business (here’s how)
  34. Tweet out an exclusive coupon just for your followers
  35. Try out a product card to showcase one of your products
  36. Share a favorite song or playlist that inspires you while you work
  37. Conduct an informal poll by asking your followers a question
  38. Post an inspiring proverb
  39. Announce an upcoming event or promotion
  40. Live tweet from a conference, meeting or webinar
  41. Share a comic or cartoon your followers would appreciate
  42. Post a fill-in-the-blank tweet: “If I could change 1 thing about myself it would be ____________”
  43. Ask your followers what you can do to help them
  44. Send out a holiday wish, or announce a random holiday (like National Candied Orange Peel Day!)
  45. Show your personal side by sharing a personal thought or reflection
  46. Say something controversial to get people talking!
  47. Share a candid photo of yourself, your workspace or your staff
  48. Share a link to an old blog post: This is a great way to make sure your new followers see your old posts!
  49. Ask your followers for recommendations for a restaurant, business tool, service or new music to listen to
  50. Promote your product or service: Notice I left this one until last? It’s okay to be promotional, but do so sparingly! The majority of your content should be valuable, informative and/or entertaining!

The 29 Rules Of Social Media – And Which Ones To Break

The 29 Rules Of Social Media – And Which Ones To Break.

The Next Web - 29 Social Media Rules

How did you end up learning the unwritten rules for social media etiquette?

For me, it was a lot of watching and waiting, a bit of experimenting, and tons of trial and error. When I first started out on social media, I had just the most basic rules and intuitions. Even now, I feel like I learn a new quirk or quibble on a near-daily basis.

[Read more]

5 Infographics to Teach You How to Easily Make Infographics in PowerPoint [Free Templates]

HubSpot Marketing Blog by edevaney@hubspot.com (Erik Devaney)

Despite the spattering of headlines that have popped up over the past couple years proclaiming “infographics are dead,” infographics are, in fact, alive and well.

We just checked — they’re totally healthy. I mean, there are a lot of them, but when marketers spend the time aligning the topic, content, and style of their infographics with the needs and preferences of their target audiences, they’re still finding success. (And by “success” I mean driving traffic — and potential leads — to their websites and generating social buzz through people sharing and commenting.)

A 2014 study shows that the use of infographics among B2B marketers increased 9% from 2013 to 2014: from 43% adoption to 52% adoption. And a recent report from Social Media Examiner shows that original, visual content is the number one form of content that marketers want to learn more about in 2015.

But how can those who don’t necessarily have a design background — or the budget to commission an agency, hire a dedicated in-house designer, or purchase expensive design software — create professional-looking infographics that are able to captivate their audiences?

We’re so glad you asked! Here’s a little secret: You can do it using the software you probably already have installed on your computer. That’s right! PowerPoint can be your best friend when it comes to visual content creation.

And to help you get started, we’ve created 10 fabulous infographic templates you can download and use for free right within PowerPoint. Don’t be shy …

Download your 10 free infographic templates right here.

And in this post, we’ll highlight five of the infographic templates from the download and teach you some PowerPoint infographic creation basics along the way. Just be sure todownload the PowerPoint templates for yourself so you can easily customize the designs you see below!

5 Infographics That Teach You How to Create Infographics

1) How to Create an Infographic Filled With Data

Infographics and data visualization are the peanut butter and jelly of the visual content world.

When you have new data to reveal to the world, you can use an infographic to display that data as part of a cohesive, visual narrative. And that’s exactly what the “Data Geek” template is for.

The Data Geek Template

 

 

 

 

We’ve loaded this template with a variety of different charts and graphs, which you can easily update with your own data. (Just right click on a graph, choose “Edit Data,” and you’ll be able to customize the values in an Excel spreadsheet.)

Not sure which types of graphs to use for your different data sets? Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Column chart: Use for comparing different categories or for showing changes over time (from left to right).
  • Pie chart: Use for making part-to-whole comparisons. (Note: They work best with small data sets.)
  • Line graph: Use for showing data that changes continuously over time. Ideal for displaying volatility, trends, acceleration, or deceleration.
  • Doughnut chart: Use like a pie chart. This stylistic variation allows you to put a number, graphic, or other visual in the center of the chart.
  • Bar chart: Use like a column chart. (The horizontal bars make it easier to display long category names.)

2) How to Make a Timeline Infographic

Telling the history of a particular industry, product, brand, trend, or tactic can be a great topic for an infographic. And while there are a variety of different ways that you can visualize time — including in a circle, which is what we did with our Google algorithm updates infographic — the timeline is by far the most common and easiest design method to use.

To tell your story with our timeline infographic template below, update the time periods in the center circles, replace the placeholder text, and adjust the visuals and colors to your liking. For those latter adjustments, you can choose “Insert” > “Shape in PowerPoint” to add in different visuals, and use the paint bucket (a.k.a. “color fill”) icon to change the colors of different elements.

The Timeline Template

Want to make sure your timeline infographic hits all the right notes? Here are some tips to consider:

  • Research. Research. Research. The best timeline infographics aren’t just beautifully designed — they also tell a great story based on extensive research. So before you start the design phase of your infographic, put in the time to surface the best information possible.
  • Narrow the scope: Timelines that cover hundreds or thousands of years can certainly be interesting, but they can also require weeks or months of research. To keep your sanity, stick with shorter time periods.
  • Keep your copy concise: Infographics are supposed to be visual. If you find yourself writing 100+ words for each date on your timeline, a blog post may be the better content format.

3) How to Design a Totally Hip Infographic

Ok, so “hipness” is definitely in the eye of the beholder. But for this infographic template we wanted to do something that reflected modern design trends, including using banners and arrows.

In terms of content, we provided plenty of space for both stats and copy. There’s also a column chart at the bottom. But remember, you can always add different charts and graphs to the template wherever you see fit. Just select “Insert” > “Chart …” and you’ll have several options to choose from.

A Totally Hip Infographic
The Hipster Template

To make sure your end result is as hip as possible, here are some design tips to follow:

  • Experiment with new color palettes. There are tons of free color palettes online. Don’t believe me? Do a Google image search of “color palette.” When you find a palette you like, drag the image directly into your PowerPoint presentation. Next, select the “color fill” bucket, choose “More Colors …” and click on the eyedropper icon. With the eyedropper tool, you can select colors from your palette and use them for elements in your infographic.
  • Take the time to manipulate shapes. PowerPoint has an extensive library of shapes — including banners, ribbons, and arrows — that you can use in your infographic design. By clicking and dragging on the little yellow diamonds that appear on these shapes, you can customize them. For example, you can make the pointy ends of a ribbon longer or shorter, or make the body of an arrow thinner or thicker.

4) How to Create a Flowchart Infographic

Warning: Creating a flowchart-style infographic is not for the faint of heart.

While on the surface a flowchart infographic may appear simple and fun, a lot of thought and planning need to go into making sure the different sections flow into each other in a logical way.

In our flowchart PowerPoint template, we created a basic flowchart structure, with positive responses guiding viewers to a conclusion at the bottom left of the infographic and negative responses guiding viewers to a separate conclusion at the bottom right of the infographic.

The Flowchart Template

To ensure your flowchart infographic makes sense and is easy for viewers to navigate, follow these tips:

  • Draw out the branches beforehand. Before you dive into PowerPoint, get out a pen and paper and do a rough outline of your flowchart. Test for weaknesses in your logic by answering questions in every possible combination and seeing where you end up. For best results, have a friend or coworker run through the flowchart too.
  • The smaller the scope, the easier the execution. The more questions or stages you add to your flowchart, the more difficult it will be to create (and the harder it will likely be for viewers to understand). So try to narrow the focus of your flowchart.

5) How to Design an Image-Heavy Infographic

So far, the infographic templates we’ve looked at have relied primarily on illustrations that you can create within PowerPoint. But of course, there’s no reason why you can’t bring external photos and other images into your infographic design.

We’ve created this image-heavy infographic template for that exact purpose. It’s great for comparing different categories, ideas, or results, and since you don’t need to create or customize a lot of shapes, it’s a lot less work.

The Image Heavy Template

Here are some suggestions for ensuring your image-heavy infographic is easy on the eyes:

  • Use high-quality images. It’s better to scale down a big image (e.g. 2,000 pixels by 2,000 pixels) than to scale up a small image (e.g. 20 pixels by 20 pixels) in order to fit a particular space. The latter approach will result in images appearing pixelated and grainy.
  • Use borders. Adding borders to your images will help make them feel like their part of a cohesive design. In PowerPoint, you can control the size, style, and color of borders under the “Format Picture” tab.
  • Save your infographic as a PNG file. This is a best practice for all infographics, but is particularly relevant when publishing an infographic that contains photographs. The PNG extension offers better quality than other options. To save your finished infographic as a PNG file, you simply need to choose “File” > “Save As …” and select PNG from the dropdown.

What are you waiting for? Grab your free infographic templates so you can start customizing fantastic-looking infographics of your own!