Last week, we had our second most successful webinar ever – Online Marketing Tips for 2016! Guest panelist Vishal Kataria, talked about content marketing and shared online marketing tips that can help you generate more than just awareness for your brand.
Vishal is currently building Aryatra, a training and development organization. Prior to this, he spent over 6 years, developing skills in varied sectors – marketing, social (digital) media, BPO and customer operations. Now, that is someone I want online marketing tips from. Don’t you?
So here’s the webinar recording, in case you missed it:
Content Marketing & Distribution
1. For SMEs, what is the best start to increase visibility to content?
Facebook is a terrific place to start. Because everyone is present there. Use remarketing techniques to target website visitors to see your sponsored posts, or custom audiences to ensure that the right audience is exposed to them. Initially, work on getting more people to engage with your page (20% about yourself and 80% other interesting stuff – images, GIFs, etc.). After that start promoting yourself covertly.
2. How do you suggest we keep a balance between branded content (say sales related posts/content) & shareable content?
This has to be 80-20 percent ratio. Shareable and relateable content has to be 80% and branded content has to be 20% or less.
3. Can you share an example of a brand doing content marketing really well?
I’m a huge fan of Practo’s content marketing. Most of the stuff done by Practo is not about Practo itself. It’s about them adapting to the existing trends and not just putting something out because they want to put it or trying to leverage a hashtag.
- They created a beautiful Mother’s Day video saying, “Happy Mother’s Day to the first doctor of your family.” You can watch it here:
- When the lastest X-Men movie launched, they made caricatures or cartoons where they very cleverly leveraged the X-Men hashtag. Check them out here.
- When Netflix had launched in India, Fosters put out a tweet in which it said, “Hey @netflix let’s chill with a #DaaaaamnCold one. Welcome to India.”
A lot of brands are doing really good content marketing. We just need to keep our eyes open.
4. For B2B, what kind of content do you suggest for SlideShare? Do you suggest repurposing technical blogs and such for it?
Case studies in the form of PPTs will work well on SlideShare for B2B content. Repurposing technical blog posts is a good idea. Also, if you can get C-suite executives (CEO, CMO, COO etc.) of your firm to share their lessons from the industry, it will add credibility to your brand, and drive relevant traffic.
5. What are some points that could be kept in mind while writing a blog post which can help market your content when the target audience is people coming from search engines like Google?
Keep in mind that search rankings are now semantic i.e. search engines are now mirroring user behavior. Stuffing keywords in a 500-word blog post are no longer effective. Instead, use long tail keywords (keywords with 3 words or more) and write top quality blog posts which are 1200-1500 words. Create infographics; they get shared a lot. Publish content regularly – once a week is good… anything better is awesome. But be consistent. Insert a link back (to your posts or other ones) in every 120 words. And most importantly, create content that is useful for your target audience. From there, you can create sales funnels to redirect visitors to your sales pages and convert them.
6. How should we put advertising content in an informative blog? What should be the strategy?
Look for how the service that you want to talk about enhances lives of readers. Find out the pain points which the service addresses. Then make a blog post around that. Mention and link to a few competitors too. That way, you can drop them an email saying, “Hey, we linked to you in this blog post.” Hopefully, they will share it, and that will lead to your content (and advertised service) getting more visibility. Buffer did this a lot in their initial days. Remember to keep the content relevant and interesting for your target group. Make it informative and preachy, and they will run away.
7. Is it advisable to create different angles or formats for a piece of content or just keep it single and simple?
Repurposing content is very important.
- If a blog post of yours has done very well, why don’t you convert that into an infographic? You could also think of converting that to a SlideShare presentation. As time progresses, things will change. So when you repurpose that piece of content, make sure you update it.
Here at LeadSquared, we have repurposed several posts via SlideShare. Here’s an example:
- Look at the comments or feedback you have received from your readers, in your blog posts. Maybe try to create a new post from that. You’ll be surprised to see how valuable their feedback is.
[We always ask our webinar attendees to give us feedback on our LeadSquared webinars. And based on their feedback, we have been able to come up with several webinar topics in the past]
- Try different things with your content. Be unpredictable.
8. Many companies are working without content marketing but they are still ranking well. How is it possible?
I can only speculate because I haven’t researched those companies: It’s probably because they invested heavily in content marketing during the initial years. They are now reaping the rewards. They are getting traffic organically and that is an indication to search engines that their content is really good. Hence, they are ranking well in search. Plus they may have got organic backlinks from high-quality sites, which further makes them important in the eyes of search engines.
9. What avenues should I look for, to bring more people to my blog? An average 10-15k people come on a monthly basis, however, the expectations are sky high. Current mediums used are social media (Facebook & Twitter), email newsletters & the growth has been not more than 5-7% month on month basis. What do you suggest to improve & increase the traffic on the blog?
Focus on influencer outreach. Quote relevant influencers in your post and link to them. Then email them informing them about it. Also work on guest posting and republishing your content on websites with much larger reach. Also use BuzzSumo to find people who have shared posts similar to your content. Email them informing them about your post too. Check out posts from Neil Patel, Noah Kagan, Brian Dean and Jason Quey on influencer outreach. It will take time to implement, but done right, your traffic will double easily. And all this time, keep working on increasing your email newsletter base and click through rate.
10. What kind of video content will help to engage the audience in B2B organizations?
- Testimonials from customers: These testimonials should not solely talk about how amazing your product or service is. Rather, it should talk about, how this product helped my company improve its revenue by 20%-30% or other similar benefits.
- In-house videos: These videos should capture the company culture, capture people having fun, etc. They appear genuine. It further humanizes your brand. Your clients essentially want to see how human your brand is.
- Promotional videos: Make promotional videos which talk about your product but put it in a storyboard form. Check out the website, The Better India. They make some fabulous videos as far as storytelling is concerned. And check out Kickstarter, the online crowd-sourcing platform. Go through the most popular videos on their site and the most funded projects. You’ll find some phenomenal stories. And once you get the idea of story-boarding, put out videos like that. It works for both, B2B and B2C.
This webinar recording on Viral Video Marketing will help you get started.
11. How can I optimize my distribution of content?
Optimizing distribution of content is a challenge that we all come across. The most successful content creators spend 20% of their time creating content and 80% distributing it. There are various ways to do it.
- You can leverage your email marketing group. Just ensure that you get a large email subscriber base which again comes from really high valuable content.
- Infographics are very useful. In my experience, I have seen that infographics are shared 4-5 times more than plain old text content. Try to make your content as creative as possible.
- Find influencers in your field. You can do this by using a tool called Followerwonk by Moz. Check out their blogs. Try making your content relevant to their subject and link to them. You can also comment on their blog posts so that they notice you. And then reach out to them via email. However, don’t start with, “I wrote something about you. Please share it.” Just say, “Your content is amazing. I linked to it in my post. Just wanted to give you a heads-up. Cheers!” This has to be a consistent effort.
- Use the MozBar extension in Chrome to find out whether a website’s domain rank is better than yours. Reach out to them. Try to get them to list you in one of their resources.
12. How can content marketing help established brands?
If you are looking to increase your audience size, content marketing really helps because you can reach out to a much larger demographic for half the cost, as compared to hoardings, TV and radio ads. Your target audience gets to see what people, similar to their age group or interests, are talking about and that can lure them to taking a decision about buying or trying out your product.
For an established brand, content marketing helps engage the existing audience, if you use storytelling well. It will help you increase your market share.
For more inputs on online branding, take a look at this webinar, Online Branding Strategies, Practical Ways to Reach Your Customers
13. Can I compare my product/service with my competition in my blog post? The idea is not to downgrade the competition but provide users with info they may consider while taking decisions.
You can do this once in a while. But ideally, I wouldn’t think someone would want to compare their product or service to their competition’s because everything is present on review sites and social media. When people want to buy something, they don’t generally read a blog post and decide unless it really touches an emotional chord with them. They go onto social media, review sites and other 3rd party websites to read reviews of products or services.
If you really want to do a comparison through a blog post, I would suggest you have your customers talk about your product or service, rather than you talking about it.
14. How to implement content marketing in case of expanding business in different regions of the world? In our case, it is India, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana.
Use Facebook to target audiences in specific countries. If possible, translate your website’s content into native languages, which will change according to the IP address of your visitor. Target Google ads specific for each of the countries where your business is present. This is a start. You can further research which platforms do people from these countries prefer, and be visible accordingly.
15. Which strategy is the best for content marketing in 2016?
A holistic strategy. One which is a blend of amazing content, paid ads, guest posting, email marketing, search engine optimization, content syndication, and everything that one can think of. All this must lead to your ultimate aim of increasing conversions.
16. What trends will impact content creation in the near future?
I still think we are going to be a 96-4 kind of world, where 4% of the content will be viewed by 96% of the world and 96% of the content will be viewed by 4% of the world. And as Meenu Joshi from LeadSquared said, distribution is important.
Content doesn’t take off immediately. If you read Medium, a lot of posts on it actually start going viral after 2-3 years. A lot of people say that their posts show up on Google Search Results after 4 years of posting it.
- Podcasts will get more emphasis as time progresses because when people commute, they would ideally want to hear stuff.
- Video content is already getting a lot of push from Facebook.
- Interactive content like giffs are being used a lot by marketers. More of interactive and engaging content is going to get emphasis as time progresses.
- Blog posts will always remain evergreen.
But I still think it’s going to be a 96% to 4% ratio.
17. How is effective link-building done?
Effective link building is about organic link building (not trying to buy links). You can try the following:
- Insert links to your post for every 120 words. So if you have got a 1200 word post, ideally you should have 12-15 backlinks which you have linked out to other people.
- Using Google Alerts to find research and statistics related to your specific blog post, are really useful. Look for statistics from “.edu” sites. That gives search engines an indication that you are linking out to high ranked websites (because they rank anywhere between 81-98 on the Moz domain). And that tells Google that, the kind of stuff that you are putting out is valuable.
- Use an app called BuzzSumo. Put in the keyword of the post that you are working on and find the top content out there and link to those posts. Email the respective writers saying, “Hey, I’ve mentioned / linked you in my post. Just wanted to let you know.”
In BuzzSumo, if a post has been shared a lot of times, it shows you the people who shared that post. You could find these people on Twitter or elsewhere and reach out to them saying, “I noticed that you shared this post. Here is something that might interest you as well.”
18. Blog posting and commenting help in getting ranking in Google?
High-quality blog posting will get you ranked better in Google (read the 10X content philosophy by Rand Fishkin to understand what high-quality blog posts mean). Commenting does not give a do-follow backlink. But if you leave a genuine and insightful comment on a high authority post, the author and other commenters in the community might check your site out. This is relevant traffic (although a trickle). Done consistently, this slight increase in traffic can lead to your building relations and genuine backlinks, which are good for search engines.
19. Do you suggest doing ‘On-Page’ optimization anymore? Do keywords matter today or is it all about powerful social media presence?
On-Page optimization is very important. Social media presence is good but social media is essential just a way of driving traffic to your site. On-Page optimization ensures that you target the right keywords, which if the content is valuable, will help your website rank higher in search engines.
A lot of factors come into play when you talk about search engines. The age of the website and the kind of keywords that are targetted are important. In fact, the keywords that you are using, are those keywords that are actually being used by your audience to search for something.
You need to interlink your pages to reduce the bounce rate. When people click on these links, it gives an indication to search engines that people are interested in your content. And when that happens, it gives signals to search engines that your website content is valuable.
Another point to remember is that Facebook’s algorithm has changed now. It is giving more importance to ‘users’ than it is giving to ‘pages’. It’s giving more importance to profiles.
You can create content and then promote it using Facebook (via the Boost option) or through Facebook ads. But you ideally would want to create content that users will share. So the amount of money that you spend comes down, plus your presence on social media improves. But that’s only going to happen if the content we see on your website, on a guest post or anywhere you are present, is useful for them.
20. What are the steps we should take as a start-up who has just started with digital marketing? What will make a strong foundation?
It’s a combination of online and offline marketing. Only doing digital marketing to reach out to a lot of people is not going to be as effective and you are going to spend a lot of money. As a startup who is just starting out with digital marketing, these are the steps I recommend:
- Read Geoffrey Moore‘s book called Crossing the Chasm, in which he actually talks about how influencers help you develop your product and then they become advocates for your product. And this is similar to the concept of the sheep and the shepherds where the sheep follow whatever the shepherd says.
- Reach out to influencers online and offline. Create really valuable content. Be seen at seminars, at orientations and not just as someone who shares visiting cards but as someone who interests people, who intrigues people, who holds conversations, etc.
With this combination of online and offline marketing, your startup will absolutely catapult.
21. How does digital marketing work in the training sector?
- Blogging is the way to go. Create posts and infographics. Try guest posting as well. Go onto other sites with a better ranking and write insightful posts there.
- Use Facebook retargeting. Once in a while, you could put out a sponsored post on Facebook about an upcoming program or a regular post.
- Put out testimonials.
- You can also put out photographs of training programs that you conducted where the responses from people were resounding.
Social Media Marketing
22. What is the best rate of engagement for content on social pages?
There is no such parameter because it’s all subjective. Facebook is essentially pushing content which more users are engaging with. Some of its metrics are the time between the content being put out and the first person engaging with it or the number of people engaging with it, etc.
So it’s not surprising that some of my clients have seen an organic reach of about 20%-25%. The engagement has been somewhere around 15% which is organic. For some of the others who are essentially just pushing their stuff, it’s been as dismal as 2%-3%. So you can get up to 25% also.
It makes sense to see what is the kind of content your audience is engaging with and do more of that.
23. I work for a real estate firm. I want to know how can we target NRI audience through relevant content using targeting options like Facebook Display and Lookalike Targeting?
Lookalike audience is good but I have seen that even if you don’t choose a specific age group, Facebook essentially shows it to those people also.
- I would suggest retargeting. Get NRIs onto your website using Google Ads. Once that happens, ensure that those NRIs, even if they leave your page, see your content on Facebook. You could also use Facebook by the ‘designation / job’ targeting concept.
- Email marketing will also be useful.
- Reach out to banks. Although, I’m not sure if they will share those details with you. If you can find email addresses of NRIs, send relevant emails to them.
- LinkedIn is also a good avenue.
- Experiment with Snapchat. If it’s possible for you to target youngsters there, go ahead. In turn, they might go to their parents and talk about it.
24. Any online marketing tools that you recommend?
25. How to drive engagement on social media?
Be regular, be interesting, and be human. Think about how you would consume content on social media. Make content accordingly. And be smart in your targeting of audiences.
26. Is Facebook a good tool for online marketing, especially for organic content?
Yes, Facebook is good for organic content reach if it is interesting. If you only share links, you will have to dish out money and target a specific audience. But photos which interest viewers in what you offer can get good organic reach. We have witnessed over 25% organic reach in the last year for specific updates, and got about 15-20 leads for a niche product when they clicked on the ‘Contact Us’ button and were redirected to the Contact page.
27. Is posting content on Facebook on a regular basis, a good idea?
It is good. But it depends on the quality of content you post. If your content is good and appears regularly on your followers’ timelines, it is the best source of traffic for you.
28. What should a health care company which is into the B2C model do, to improve its brand and get deep market penetration? What modes of promotion do you suggest? The company provides discounts at various hospitals on consultations, all hospital-related expenses, etc.
It comes down to trust and value addition. Create a basic health blog with posts on better nutrition may be and how people can live healthier. Make small snippets of these interesting points and share it on social media. Create and publish images as well, addressing simple ailments that people have and provide solutions as well.
As you make the content interactive, as you make it more viewable, people will start checking it out and the word will spread. Once the word spreads, encourage people to download your app. When they contact you, direct them to a CTA such as Sign up for our newsletter or Share on social media (that they have downloaded your app) and get an additional 10% discount next time.
That also gives you a database which you can again use when you are targeting people through Google ads, Facebook ads, etc.
29. How do you funnel in legitimate leads in a health care firm (Specific to Infertility Treatment)?
Google ads and Facebook ads are an option. I would have suggested remarketing to website visitors on Facebook, but I don’t know if they will be comfortable with it. You will know that better. Also, write high-quality blog posts about health and diets which help in maintaining fertility. Republish these on Huffington Post and high authority health and fitness websites.
At the end of the post, share a link which drives interested people to a mobile-friendly landing page with crisp and enticing content, which converts them. Offer a session for people to get their fertility level checked in return for their name, email address, and phone number. These can turn out to be qualified leads.
Conversion Rate Optimization
30. In the education sector, we have a lot to communicate, making the web page content copy heavy. How should we tackle this?
It comes down to one thing. It’s about one message that you want to drive. Find the three most important messages that you want them to see.
For instance, when Twitter was launched, it wasn’t launched with hashtags, mentions, retweets, direct messages, etc. It was launched with just 3 basic features and eventually it grew.
Understand who your target audience is. Give your target audience a form. Ask yourself, “What are the three things my target audience cares most about.” When you find those three things, write content which only addresses those.
Eventually, the goal of your website is not to give people information. It is to
- Ensure the website does well in terms of SEO (by targeting right keywords)
- Show that you are an authority in your field and you know what you are talking about
- Accomplish your ultimate goal. For an education institute, it would be lead generation or scheduling school visits, or driving more enrollments.
Ensure that you pick the most important points and address them on your website just enough, to ensure that people complete the action that you wanted them to take.
31. What is your opinion on tele calling?
Most of your customers are actually using their phones for social media and WhatsApp. They would prefer not getting a call. Polls have shown that 70% of the people would get ticked off if they received a phone call.
A lot of people are doing out-of-home advertising on hoardings but people aren’t looking at the hoardings. They are not even looking at the road. They are looking at their phones. Use telecalling if it works for you. But don’t place so much impetus on it. Look at the digital avenues.
So use telecalling if it works for you. But don’t place so much impetus on it. Look at the digital avenues.
32. Is email marketing still important for conversion?
Yes. Most of your visitors won’t return unless you remind them to. Email marketing is the best way of doing so. The visitor has given you the permission to send her an email, which you can use to drive repeat traffic to your site. Optimize your site for conversion. A few visits to your site will increase trust in visitors. They will check your services out. And trust is essential for conversion.
For further inputs, take a look at resources on email marketing.