During a recent conversation about networking and cross-promotion, a colleague expressed doubt about her ability to promote my business because she had little traffic on her website and social media. She said creating content would be futile because nobody would see it. The implication was, “I need to build an audience before creating content.” She had the equation totally backwards. Create content first, and the audience will come, over time. In this article we will go over several strategies that show you how to create content and help you build your audience online!
Introduction to Content Creation
Consider this analogy. You just moved into a house and want to host a party. Are you going to invite guests over to an unfurnished home? You need couches, chairs, tables, food, music, activities, etc. Is your website or social media page an unfurnished home? Do you provide anything to entice people to stick around? If not, don’t expect many people at your party. Would you visit an online magazine without any articles? How do you feel about a website when the last entry on the Blog was 18 months ago? I get a mental image of tumbleweeds blowing through a ghost town.
People are attracted to websites and social media pages that provide engaging, valuable, current, and relevant content. We live in a time where we can create and publish our own content whenever we want! We don’t need the Yellow Pages or an advertising firm to share our message. If you want to promote yourself and build your brand, content marketing is paramount. There is no excuse for failing to create content. If you are passionate about your project, there are plenty of formats you can choose to broadcast your message, including:
If you enjoy writing, this is a great vehicle to share stories about your product or service, and to share yourself. You can incorporate pictures, link to other sites, and share on social media.
You can share your product or service on several outlets, both on your business and personal page. Share stories about the evolution and improvement of your product or service. Post pictures and show your product or service in action.
Share articles relevant to your project, but it is critical that you add your own commentary. Don’t just Share, Comment and Share!
People want to know the real you, and this is a great vehicle to share yourself while sharing your product or service. People need to know if they like and trust you before they decide to buy from you. Live videos are starting to explode on social media, so get out of your comfort zone and try it.
Find strategic partners and cross-promote each other. Write guest blog posts, share each other’s content on social media, shoot a video together, or even create a page on your website where you promote and link to your partners.
Regardless of your preferred medium, the following factors are critical to creating quality content: Value, Patience, Relevancy, Non-Monetization, and Storytelling.
It’s all about your audience, not about you! You need to give them real value. Don’t waste people’s time talking about how great you or your product/service are. Talk about how your product/service will improve the reader/viewer’s life by filling a want or need. When I’m scanning a website, I’m looking for content that provides value to me. I’m subconsciously looking for content that makes me think, “I need to read/watch that.” I am looking for content that is conducive to my growth or appeals to my needs and wants.
Your titles and substantive content should demonstrate how the material will appeal to the reader/viewer’s self-interest. When reviewing content, I take about 15-30 seconds to decide if I’m receiving any value. Time is too precious and attention spans are too short. I’m sure cat video metrics might suggest otherwise, but I venture that most people don’t go online looking for cat videos. When I find myself sucked into trivial content online, it’s almost always by accident, and I get out of there as soon as I recognize I’m wasting my time.
Give your content real value. Don’t lure people with the promise of content as a ruse to grab personal information or even worse, hit them with a pay wall. Don’t do the bait and switch. Have you ever been tantalized by a link description, you click, and then presented with a landing page demanding your email address before revealing any content? When this happens, I know the content is just bait, and I will have to manually opt out from daily email blasts to escape the funnel. You might generate some leads that way, but you aren’t giving value or building a positive brand. Provide value on the front end, no strings attached, you will draw more people in over time, and you will build a brand that people appreciate. This leads into my next point.
It takes time to build a brand, so manage your expectations. Even if content unexpectedly goes viral, your fame will be short lived if you don’t have other content to entice people to stick around or return.
You cannot have a mindset or expectation of immediate gratification. I once shared with a friend that I boosted a blog entry on FB, and he smugly responded, “What’s your ROI on that?” I wasn’t looking for immediate ROI! I boosted a blog post I thought would resonate. It led to hundreds of clicks, dozens of likes, and new followers on my business page. Certain people didn’t know about my business before, but they knew about it after. That’s the ROI I was looking for. Immediate business would have been great, but I am patiently building a brand here.
When you are creating content for your business, whether it’s a blog post, video, or social media post, don’t expect an immediate ROI. If you’re doing paid advertising, then you certainly want to track ROI, but this article is about content creation, not advertising. Content marketing is a long game.
Don’t get discouraged if your content receives little or no engagement at first. Keep plugging away, keep improving your craft, keep putting your message out there. The mere existence of substantive content on your website improves your SEO. Some people need to see you post multiple times before they click and check you out. Some people need to review your content several times before they engage or buy. Those people never would have engaged if you decided, after posting a couple videos, that you weren’t getting enough ROI, and shut it down. There is no instant gratification or overnight success in business, and anything violating this rule is likely illegal or immoral.
Simply put, your content must be relevant to your business’s mission. By all means, have some variance in your content. Change it up. Be original. Push the envelope, but ensure that all of your content is somehow relevant to your business.
For example, if you own an auto body repair shop, don’t post about politics! (Avoiding politics is good advice to any business.) If you own a nail salon, don’t post about gardening; if you’re an SEO consultant, don’t post about woodworking. You get the gist. I know someone in the printer repair business who shares random content on social media having no relation to his business, and every share includes a preamble pitch for his service. The shared content and the message have no synergy or place together. Would you prefer grapefruit with your steak, or mashed potatoes with your steak? The whole point of content marketing is to increase brand awareness. This purpose is frustrated when you post irrelevant content.
The subtext of your content is for people to create a mental association with your brand. You want people to associate your product or service with their need, and quality content creates that connection. This is a legitimate quid pro quo. You provide valuable and engaging content, and consumers provide brand recognition and loyalty. Over time, that leads to revenue for your company. This kind of monetization is subtle, indirect and takes time, but is very powerful because the consumer ultimately initiates the sale.
People are turned off by content that is overtly monetized. Unless one is shopping or sees an ad with cute animals, people do not actively seek advertising. Remember, people view your content because they are enticed by the proposition of receiving free value. People are guarded when they feel they are being sold, especially when they did not expect a sales pitch.
I once attended a “seminar,” where the ostensible purpose was to teach about marketing, but the speaker could not stop interrupting himself to pitch his coaching service. He would tease with some marketing nuggets, then pull away saying we could hear the best parts if we signed up for his program. “Seminar” was written in quotation marks because I felt I was attending a live infomercial against my will. I got fed up and walked out. I feel the same way when I’m viewing disingenuous content online. Don’t publish thinly-veiled advertorials. The value of your content is tainted when it is overtly monetized.
Don’t get me wrong here. There is nothing wrong with selling. If you want to overtly sell your product or service, then go for it! Just don’t be deceptive.
Facts tell, stories sell. Couch your messages in terms of stories, and people will engage with your content on a deeper level. People remember stories that touch them emotionally, and they remember the source of the story – your business. People are attracted to stories, it’s just human nature. Most people lack the attention span to delve into dense factual material, and you’ll lose most of your audience
Do not wait for an audience to build before you start creating content for your business. Start creating and publishing content now, and you will grow a following over time. If you seamlessly weave facts about your product or service into a story, while giving value and avoiding overt monetization, you can create powerful content and a powerful brand.
First Tech Startup to join Camden NJ
First Tech Startup to join Camden NJ
Penji is a new tech startup who recently launched in Camden NJ. Instead of having costly all-inclusive packages that design agencies typically offer, Penji offers unlimited graphic design, unlimited revisions, at a flat monthly rate. The startup launched on October 21st 2017, a day after Camden Catalyst, a startup pitch competition hosted by Waterfront Ventures to bring startups into the city.
Penji solves a unique problem that startups, small businesses, and agencies tend to have. According to Penji, startups and small business owners spend too much of their time attempting to design their own marketing materials, logos, business cards, etc. And even if they hire a company or a freelancer to help them, it often costs quite a bit more than they originally thought.
” It’s a huge time waster. And that’s why we created Penji, to solve that graphic design problem for startups and small businesses.” – Johnathan Grzybowski (Cofounder)
Penji’s unique mission
Penji also has a unique mission. The startup plans to be one of the first community conscious startups to plant their flag in Camden NJ. For Penji, being a community conscious startup means giving back to their community on a consistent basis and in ways that truly helps their community. The startup plans to offer jobs and opportunities specifically for students and residents in Camden. Their goal is to hire as many talents as they can from the city with the hope of keeping those talents in Camden. Camden is home to major school institutions such as Rutgers, Rowan, Camden County, and Cooper. Despite having these big names investing in the city, few job opportunities currently exist for students graduating from any of these 4 colleges.
“The only way to successfully revitalize Camden sustainably is if our students are willing to stay in the city and invest in the city themselves. And they can only do that if there are good paying jobs available in Camden. Currently there aren’t many available, and we plan to change that.”- Khai Tran
The startup already hired 4 students from Camden and have plans to hire more as they grow in Camden. Things are definitely looking up for Camden NJ as the interests for startups are growing from surrounding cities. The Camden city has been struggling with bringing in new businesses for the past few decades and many efforts have been put forth to revitalize the city. Things may be different this time around if enough startup companies join Penji in Camden and invest in the city.
Melissa Le (office manager of Waterfront Lab, Camden’s very own co-working space) is optimistic that Camden will be revitalized this time around.
“We’re feeling good about Camden’s revitalization and we know it will be successful if enough key industries get involved. Having major companies such as American Water, Holtec, and Subaru is a great start, however we need more interests from startups and small businesses to make Camden’s growth sustainable.”
Marketing Lingo you need to know for 2018
7 Marketing Lingo you need to know for 2018. If you own a small business, chances are you’re wondering how you’re going to market yourself. Looking online you’re going to find quite a few article and resources for marketing, most of them coming from marketing company themselves. Give or take an hour of research and you’re pretty much ready to quit because there’s too many options and because you’re not a part of the marketing or digital marketing world, all the lingo being used such as SEM, SEO, Digital Marketing, etc. becomes overbearing. That’s ok, we’ve created a short guide for you to follow that will help you better understand the world of Digital Marketing. These are the essential keywords and lingoes in digital marketing that you’ll need in order to navigate marketing information.
SEO (Common marketing lingo)
The first is the most common marketing lingo. Search Engine Optimization. This is a service that many digital marketing agencies provide to help get more people to come to your website via an organic search result. When someone online searches for a keyword that your business represent, your website will come up on the front page. They will then click on your link and be directed to your website. This doesn’t guarantee business, but it does increase the likelihood of you getting more leads and sales.
Search Engine Marketing. This service is similar to SEO because it rely on you getting good rankings on the 1st page of Search Engines. The difference is that SEM depends heavily on paid advertisements to get you there instead of appearing there organically. You know those ads on top and on the side? Those are probably the works of an SEM Campaign. Learn more about Search Engine Marketing here.
Paid Per Click. How SEM does it’s work is through a Google service known as Paid Per Click. This is where you pay Google to place your business on the front page in the form of an advertisement. Whenever someone clicks on the advertisement, you pay google a small fee (anywhere between 50 cents to $20 depending on keyword and competition).
Social Media Marketing. The goal for this is to deliver traffic to your website via Social Media. Depending on your business certain social media platforms may be better suited for you. A clothing/retail business may benefit more from Instagram and Pinterest than Twitter for example. Learn how to maximize your social media’s effectiveness here.
Digital Marketing is a broad spectrum of online marketing services. Typically a Digital Marketing campaign will include more than one services to accomplish a goal, whether it be branding or simply more traffic and customers. Digital Marketing can include SEO, SEM, SMM, PPC, and many other online-related marketing services. Typically it doesn’t include direct mail, bill boards, or bus wraps.
This marketing lingo stands for Cost Per Click and is most common with Google’s Pay Per Click model. However many other advertising platforms also utilize CPC to determine the effectiveness of a campaign. Cost per click simply means how much does it cost you every time someone clicks on your promoted ad. Usually you want the CPC to be low, that way you won’t have to pay more for people clicking on you ads.
This is a confusing marketing lingo because it could mean a lot of things. Conversion could mean the rate at which someone goes onto your website and then converts to become a customer. Your formula would be Sales conversion / Visitors. However Conversion can be something completely different if you’re advertising on Google, Facebook, of Instagram. Conversion doesn’t mean sales on your website, it could mean simply someone converting and eventually browsing to a desired page on your website, however not necessarily making any transaction. Learn about social media conversion here.
Low Cost Business Ideas
Here are some low cost business ideas to feed the entrepreneur inside you. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need thousands of dollars to start your own business. If you want to make it as an entrepreneur, what you really need is determination and patience in order to survive the business world. If you’re looking for low cost business ideas, you’ve come to the right place because we have some brilliant ideas you can cash in on.
1. Ride Sharing Service
Thanks to platforms like Uber, ridesharing services are becoming popular worldwide. If you already have a car, you can start this business without shelling out a dime. If all goes well you can turn your ride sharing service into a chauffeur service, or hire other subcontractors to launch your own brand.
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