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What’s The Ideal Length For Your Business’ Digital Content?

What’s the ideal length for my business’ digital content?” It’s a question I’ve been asked many times by startups in Asia.

Here’s the advice I give

Before you dive into how long your content should be, ask yourself three simple questions:

1. Who is my audience?

2. What are their pain points?

3. How does my business help?

Once you’ve answered those questions, start by defining your audiences in terms of personas. (Not sure where to start? HubSpot offers a free buyer personas template.)

Now put yourself in your personas’ shoes. What kind of content would solve their pain points or interest them? Let’s say your target audience are busy CEOs. They’re likely interested in topline insights and best practices rather than long-form whitepapers. (At least, that’s been the case in my experience.) Alternatively, if you’re targeting digital marketing managers, they often crave in-depth articles with practical tips on a particular topic. See the difference?

For a more data-driven approach, I recommend checking out BuzzSumo’s Content Analysis tool.

Once again, let’s assume you’re promoting digital marketing courses. If you enter “digital marketing” into the tool, it will show you the length of related articles that get the most shares online.

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According to the chart above, “digital marketing” articles over 2,000 words tend to get more shares online. It’s interesting to note that articles less than 1,000 words received around the same amount of shares as articles over 2,000 words, at least on LinkedIn.

So, it’s worth noting not only the total shares across social media platforms but also the total shares on the social media network that your personas use.

By using this data along with your personas’ insights, you’re more likely to develop the right content for your audience.

What about SEO?

Your content’s position on Google can often make or break your content, in terms of views and conversions.

So which does Google prefer: shorter or longer content?

According to search engine results page (SERP) data from SEMRush, they found that longer content tends to rank higher on Google. In fact, the average Google first page result contains 1,890 words.

Now content length is not the only factor that Google considers when ranking content on the first page, but it does have an impact according to the studies above.

Remember this…

While longer content tends to perform better on search engines and get more shares, the most important variable when considering your content length should be your audience. Keep them satisfied and your rankings and shares will follow.

Source: Forbes, article by Joe Escobedo (http://www.forbes.com/sites/joeescobedo/2016/10/24/whats-the-ideal-length-for-your-business-digital-content/#5472e0362e7e)

 

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Why content marketing should be part of your strategy

There are numerous studies showing that up to 90 per cent of clients research their buying decisions online before speaking directly to a salesperson. Yikes.

The challenge for advisers therefore is to create awareness of your services with potential clients you haven’t shaken hands with yet. It means focusing more of your sales efforts on building awareness and influence. Thankfully, ‘content marketing,’ with the help of the internet, is proving a valuable way for businesses to create awareness and influence targeted client groups.

What is content marketing?

The Content Marketing Institute describes content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” In layman’s terms, this means providing potential and current clients with access to valuable information (aka content) free of charge, which can educate them about, or simply pique their interest in, the value of professional planning advice.

Ultimately, content marketing is deemed to be a ‘soft’ sales method by marketing types. This means that through a content marketing campaign, you’re not directly selling to clients in a traditional “sales” sense in the same way as an advertisement in a newspaper does, or that persistent English backpacker knocking down the door with the latest and greatest telephone plan. Rather, with content marketing, you’re building a relationship with clients through quality content, whether it’s a blog or a video, which builds awareness of your business and its expertise.

Examples of content

Blogging is the most common way businesses deliver content today. Also called ‘thought leadership’ by the marketing cognoscenti, this is the process of providing regular, consistent commentary or opinions. Blogs are mostly delivered through your website, social media platforms such as LinkedIn or Facebook, or an industry publication such as Professional Planner.

Content is not simply limited to blogging, and it can take many forms, such as video content, inbound marketing, public relations, infographics, interactive image content and webinars. This is not an exhaustive list, and ultimately any accessible content that has a connection to your brand is a form of content marketing.

Marketing content

Every good marketing strategy needs content as a component. For example, clients are always at different points in the buying cycle. Some clients are ready to engage now, while others are not yet ready to purchase. If a prospective client is researching “financial advice” or “financial planning”, providing valuable and consistent content is the perfect way to grab attention and build awareness of your business. To illustrate, lets’ say you write a blog about your “Five top super tips for the Over 40s.” By giving clients access to this information, you’re helping to educate and engage them. More importantly, they are not hassled by an overactive sales person. If the content is valuable, brand loyalty will start to build.

Getting started with content

If you’re not sure where to get started, be aware that there’s a million and one content gurus who’ll spruik their services to you. However, content must add value by educating your prospective clients, which is the best tip I can give you. This means ignoring the trap of writing about yourself or your business – prospective clients can already work out what you do from your website.

Consider topics that will resonate with your clients and provide valuable content around these themes. If you’re giving them free advice such as my “Five top super tips for the Over 40s” theme, you’re educating them in a way that engages them with the concept of financial planning and your brand simultaneously.

Source: Professional Planner, article by Anthony O’Brien (https://www.professionalplanner.com.au/featured-posts/2016/09/19/why-content-marketing-should-be-part-of-your-strategy-49392/)

 

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Social Media Lessons from 6 Must-Follow Brands on Facebook

Sometimes the best way to learn how to do something is from example. If you are seeking advice for your business’ Facebook presence, you can adopt this same mentality. There’s no better way to boost your Facebook strategy than looking at how successful brands are using the site for their own businesses. To see what the pros are doing, we explore six must-follow brands on Facebook who are doing great things on the network.

6 brands to follow on Facebook
1. Target

Top Takeaway: Provide quick and effective social customer service

Target, one of America’s largest retailers, has an equally large Facebook presence totalling over 23 million Likes. With this big of a following there are sure to be countless customer service inquiries. If you look at the comments of any of the Facebook content shared on their page, you’ll find that the majority are not reactions to the post, but unrelated customer service questions and complaints.

Although the volume of messages Target receives on their Facebook page seems overwhelming, they handle them with grace thanks to a few tactics.

They address each customer by name in their responses to ensure they are delivering personalized service.
The customer service representative signs their own name at the end of each response to show that they are actually people and not robots providing automatically generated responses.
They provide a direct phone number to the customer in case they want to speak to a person offline.
They provide a response in a timely manner (less than 24 hours, with some responses as fast as under 10 minutes).

Take a page out of Target’s book and boost your own Facebook customer service efforts by applying these effective techniques.

2. Teva

Top Takeaway: Show lifestyle-centric rather than product-centric content

Your fans aren’t following you on Facebook to be constantly sold to, which is something that hip footwear brand Teva clearly knows. Instead of simply sharing image after static image of shoes and Teva products, the brand uses their Facebook page to showcase the lifestyle surrounding their products. They show the people who are using their products, and the (aspirational) lifestyles that they lead. Teva recognizes the type of customer they attract, and align their Facebook content accordingly.

While of course they don’t ignore their products, Teva balances creative product-centric content with lifestyle-focused posts to provide an engaging mix for their Facebook audience.

Follow in Teva’s steps by making sure you:

  • Don’t put your product front and center in every post
  • Share lifestyle and aspirational content
  • Show your product in the real world, rather than solely in a studio photoshoot
  • Showcase the customers who are using your product or service
  • Keep your customer and their desires top of mind

At the end of the day, think about why you follow certain brands on Facebook. You aren’t looking to make their product the center of your life, but rather build a lifestyle that happens to include their brand. Brands don’t exist in a vacuum, so give your product the context it needs with your Facebook content.

3. Dollar Shave Club

Top Takeaway: Share user-generated content

Nobody is more important to your business’ success than your customers. They’re the ones on the ground actually using your product and know it best. Razor and personal grooming products company Dollar Shave Club uses Facebook to build meaningful relationships with their customers by regularly showcasing content created by them. As our post Content Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses explains, “people trust content created by their peers 50 percent more than other media.”

User-generated content (UGC) is a great option for branded Facebook pages as it not only puts the spotlight on your all-important customers, but provides you with unique and cost-effective social media content.

Dollar Shave Club’s #UnboxDSC campaign is a great example of user-generated content at work. The #UnboxDSC campaign asks customers to share photos unboxing their Dollar Shave Club products on their social media channels. If the company reposts a customer’s photo, they receive a free t-shirt from Dollar Shave Club.

This campaign has been successful for Dollar Shave Club because they:

  • Pay attention to the content their Facebook audience is already sharing and align their campaigns accordingly
  • Made the process of sharing user-generated content easy for their customers
  • Highlight those who share creative and unique images so that the quality remains high
  • Feature use-cases and the product in action

User-generated content invites your customers into the conversation around your brand, and allows them to feel as if they are part of a greater community. Incorporate UGC into your next Facebook campaign with the above tips as a guide.

4. A Mighty Girl

Top Takeaway: Inform and inspire your audience.

As the “world’s largest collection of books, movies, and music for parents, teachers, and others dedicated to raising smart, confident, and courageous girls,” A Mighty Girl is a unique brand in the Facebook marketing space. Rather than blatantly pushing the products they sell, the organization shares ideas, debates, news articles, and content aiming to inspire and educate their audience. They recognize who their audience is and the information they are seeking, and create content that satisfies these needs.

Some approaches from A Mighty Girl’s page that you can apply to your own Facebook presence include:

  • Consider your audience and their interests, and build content that pertains to these
  • Only push your product or service when it organically fits into the conversations happening
  • Rather than using it as an advertising platform, turn your page into a community hub for those whose interests and values align with your organization’s.
  • Facilitate unbranded discussions and share content that is relevant to the values of your audience and business
  • Think about the problems your audience is facing, and provide information that can solve these problems
  • Have industry experts and thought-leaders share information, inspiration, and their expertise with your audience

By creating a positive space for your customers to engage with your brand and one another, you invite the opportunity for a community to build—something that will become irreplaceable to your audience.

5. Netflix

Top Takeaway: Optimize Facebook video

If it isn’t a part of your social media strategy yet, now is the time to focus on social video. As our post A Guide to Social Video, and Where it Fits in Your Marketing Plan explains:

  • 72 percent of businesses who use video say it has increased website conversion rates
  • 74 percent of all internet traffic in 2017 is projected to come from video
  • Facebook has 8 billion average daily video views from 500 million users
  • Facebook sees 100 million hours of daily video watch time

For Netflix, using Facebook video as a part of their social media strategy was a natural fit. The majority of the content they share on Facebook is video, including new show trailers, highlights from current programming, and throwback or topical clips (i.e. scenes from Elf around the holidays, etc). To optimize your video content for Facebook just like Netflix:

  • Ensure that your videos are created with silent playback in mind. Digiday found that 85 percent of Facebook videos are watched without sound, so check out our guide Why Your Facebook Videos Need to be Optimized for Silence to find out exactly how you can do this.
  • Share sneak peeks and teasers for upcoming product launches. Netflix shares clips and trailers of soon-to-be-released shows and movies, but you can easily apply this method to sharing short videos giving your Facebook audience access to your future product launches.
  • Build your brand voice through the videos you share. Video naturally conveys more emotion than text or images alone, so ensure you use video to not only align to, but enhance, your established brand voice.

Like Netflix, you can use Facebook video to support your social media strategy— and contribute to your overall marketing objectives.

6. The Honest Company

Top Takeaway: Provide special incentives and content for your Facebook audience

While you could just share the same content to all of your social channels, you will provide your audience with a much more dynamic experience if you can offer customized content for each platform. I’m not saying that you need to create hugely different campaigns for each social network, but provide slightly tweaked content that makes sense for each platform. The Honest Company works with this principle by offering the following through their Facebook page:

  • Discounts and Facebook fan-only coupon codes
  • Exclusive contests for Facebook fans
  • Behind the scenes content
  • Expert advice
  • Product sneak peeks

You need to give your Facebook audience a good reason to follow you, and the above incentives are a great start. By knowing your customers and what drives them, you’ll be able to offer incentives that will be of interest and value to them.

One of the best ways to learn is to take note of what leaders in your field are doing right. Follow these six brands to continue seeing prime examples of how organizations can use Facebook to increase customer engagement and find business success.

Source: Hootsuite, article by Dara Fontein (https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-lessons-6-top-brands-facebook/)

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