The 3 C’s of Content Marketing

Content marketing has become the new buzz phrase in the digital space. It refers to the creation and distribution of media and published content in order to attract and engage a clearly defined target audience.

Most website owners understand the importance of unique web content. However, producing unique content that not only captures your audience’s attention, but also holds that attention, converting folks into profitable customers is still a budding concept. While most ecommerce websites do not rely heavily on content, they do use it to promote return visitors and customer loyalty.

The idea of content marketing is that you can communicate with potential customers without hard selling. Instead, you have a conversation with customers, giving them the information they need to make their own purchase decisions. In the process, you deliver a valuable message to customers who should reward you with their business and loyalty. The nuts and bolts of content marketing include social media, video and web.

You can develop an effective content marketing strategy by using, what we call, the “three C’s”: conversation, creativity and consistency.

Be Conversational

First things first, conversational content is jargon-free. Customers do not need to understand your industry, therefore they do not want to decipher your lingo. You should always write in a style that is straightforward and to-the-point.

The purpose of having a conversation is to engage in dialogue. Your content should stimulate a response from customers. Do this by asking your audience questions that will make them interact with you on a personal level. This will be rewarding to both you and the customer.

Get Creative

As a PR and SEO specialist, I get to wear many hats. One of my favorite hats is being able to get creative. Content marketing is the art of storytelling. The purpose of telling a story is to get the customer to take action. Unlike traditional advertising or sales, marketing is about soft action, like visiting your website.

Keep in mind, most customers visit a website for a particular reason. And when they do, they expect to be engaged in a business conversation (refer to C1). Therefore, if you can be entertaining and provide value, you can build customer loyalty, ultimately keeping customers coming back for more.

Practice Consistency

Probably the most difficult of the three C’s is being consistent. Constantly producing quality content while still meeting performance goals can be quite a challenge. We know. However, it’s important to develop a schedule that dictates when you should produce and publish content. We refer to this as an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar will hold you and your team accountable and ensure the work gets done.

In addition to increased online visibility and web traffic, the biggest benefit of being consistent is that you can establish yourself as an industry thought leader. And keeping your content fresh and consistent is the quickest way to portray yourself as an expert in your niche.

Content marketing is taking the digital world by storm. Don’t be left behind; educate yourself on the benefits of using content marketing. Become familiar with its tactics and most importantly, be consistent!

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Benefits of Using a Press Release

Back in January, I wrote about the benefits of working with public relations professionals. More specifically, how developing engaging, keyword-and-human-friendly content is the key to creating high-quality websites. I also briefly touched upon the press release as an effective SEO tactic.

Today, I am going to discuss the benefits of using a press release, in regards to your website and overall brand reputation. The purpose of writing and distributing a press release is to get your news in front of as many people as possible. An online press release distribution service is the quickest and easiest way to do this. The beauty of using a distribution service is that thousands of journalists have access to these services. And the media are always looking for new and interesting information that they can transform into a newsworthy story. Here are the benefits of using a press release:

Build Brand Awareness

A common goal of a press release is to promote your company, products and/or services to potential customers and influencers (bloggers and journalists) within your industry. A distributed press release can do exactly that. By developing newsworthy content and distributing it to the appropriate outlets, you can achieve your goal of getting your brand in front of the right audience. Likewise, you should engage your audience to ensure that people not only know about your brand but are also interested in it.

Increase Sales

In addition to building brand awareness, increasing sales is another goal of press release distribution. This tactic is particularly common among smaller businesses with limited budgets. Press releases that contain some type of free offer or incentive to the customer can generate serious business leads. You would be surprised how many people are willing to trade their contact information for free stuff. Even if just one lead turns into a hard sale, you will have achieved your goal.

Link Building and SEO Benefits

As a SEO specialist, I cannot forget the link building and SEO benefits of the press release. The mistake that many small businesses make is putting up a website and expecting people to find you without taking any steps to market the site. Well folks, let me let you in on a little secret: optimizing a press release is one of the easiest ways to market your website. The simple truth is that millions of people today use the Internet to get their news (myself included). By including high-quality and fully optimized links in your press release, you can build more backlinks and ultimately improve the search engine rankings of your website. Pretty awesome, right?

Position Yourself as a Thought Leader

As I mentioned in my most recent blog post, positioning yourself as a thought leader within your industry is another way to build powerful backlinks. Therefore, when writing your press release you want bloggers and journalists to consider you an industry expert. This can help you earn media coverage from influencers. It will also help you to build lasting relationships with bloggers and journalists. Plus, the more customers see you in the news, the more credible your business becomes. As you can see, the benefits of positioning yourself as a thought leader are actually three-fold.

To wrap things up, the benefits of using a press release are this: brand awareness, lead generation, SEO maximization and thought leadership. However, keep in mind that one press release is not going to solve all of your business goals and ambitions. The best way to get noticed is to create consistency by distributing well-written, SEO-friendly press releases on a regular basis. And when I say regular basis, I mean as often as something newsworthy occurs in your company be that events, promotions, awards, new products or services, and other accomplishments.

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Introducing the Web Payment Software Card Swiper App

Picture this: you’re out at a trade show or convention, selling your products or services to the thousands of people walking past your booth, when finally a customer approaches you with a serious inquiry into what you’re selling. They’re more than interested – they actually want to buy, right then, right there. They pull out their wallet only to ask you if you accept credit cards because they don’t carry cash, and what can you say, other than, “I’m sorry, we don’t have the capability of accepting credit cards on the go”?

Web Payment Software can now help change all of that for you. Whether you’re an existing WPS customer or you need a new account to accept mobile payments, the new WPS Swiper App is built to handle commerce on the go across any and every industry. Mountain Media is proud to announce the launch of this new Web Payment Software app that is now available on the iTunes store.

How it Works

Once you sign up for a Web Payment Software merchant account, using the new Swiper App is easy. With your new account, we’ll send you an iMag Pro Mobile MagStripe Reader that plugs directly into the dock connector of any iOS device, including iPod Touch, iPad and iPhone, prior to iPhone 5 (iPhone 5 support is coming soon – this card reader will plug into the headphone jack of the new iPhone 5 devices).

From there, you simply log in to your account from your iOS device and you can begin accepting credit card payments using the app. Enter the amount for the transaction and run the customer’s credit card through the swiper mechanism on the bottom of your iOS device. The card reader will automatically pull the information off the credit card and bring you to a screen that allows your customer to sign to authorize the payment. They can then opt to have their receipt emailed directly to them.

It’s as easy as that – accepting payments on the go has never been more fast and easy, and now every retailer can accept credit cards anytime and from anywhere.

The Benefits

For starters, the major benefit of this app is that it’s free to download, plus with the Web Payment Software transaction fees currently in place, you won’t be overcharged for any transaction made through the WPS Swiper app. Our fees are lower than PayPal and our other competitors, plus, you get more one-on-one merchant support from our developers and programmers should you ever run into any issues with your account.

The ability to accept credit cards from any location at any time can be hugely beneficial to your business as it allows you the ease of selling everywhere you go. Whether you’re heading to a trade show, a farmers’ or flea market, a convention or otherwise, you will no longer have the worry of attracting a customer who only carries plastic in their wallets.

So head on over to the Web Payment Software website to find out more or sign up online for a new account, then download the Swiper App and start accepting mobile payments right away! Be sure to check out our introductory app video, as well, before you begin using the Swiper App:

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Using Video Content for SEO Benefit: 3 Ways to Make it Happen

HD Cinamatic Wedding Videographer Videography Video Production AustinNow that everyone knows just how huge it is to keep fresh, high-quality, interactive content on your website that’s frequently changed, updated, added to, etc., it’s now important to understand just how to make that content work to your SEO advantage. Since I’m a video nut, I totally swear by the power of video content and the huge benefits it can have for your website, your brand and your business, but not many SEO’s out there know exactly how and why to implement it correctly.

The truth is, video can be used for a number of different reasons, and all of them have differing benefits for your site. Knowing how and when to use the videos that you have can make or break the success of your content marketing strategy, so it’s definitely something you need to learn now.

Brand Awareness

Tons of companies are now jumping on the video train to create corporate commercials that give some insight into their businesses – but what do you do with those videos once they’re created? The answer involves more than just posting these videos on YouTube, although that is a good starting point for this type of content.

In order to increase your brand awareness, you want to send a message to as many people as you possibly can, and YouTube is a great way to accomplish just that. Being the second-largest search engine in the world, behind only its parent engine, Google, YouTube is a fantastic way to get your content seen, and the more people that see your video, the more aware they become of your brand.

It will take a little more work on your part, though, than simply posting to YouTube and letting Internet users do the rest of the work. Overly-commercial content on YouTube isn’t going to be successful – engaging content will. Take this Nike commercial, which was meant for web purposes based on its length (2:30 is far too long for a television ad, but online, people will spend the 2:30 to engage with content that’s entertaining like this) – 2.6 million views later, everyone knows about Nike Free sneakers and how they stand for true love (metaphorically speaking):

If you wish to create this kind of content, keep in mind that your audience is much broader than your typical target audience. Insert and reflect your brand wherever and however possible, but know that the content still needs to be share-worthy. Then, after your video is posted, do what you can to share it. You can post your content across your social media platforms, write guest blog posts with the content embedded in it and simply share with your company’s contact list.

Good quality content will handle the rest – once you’ve done your part to share it, others should pick up on it.

Building Links

Say you want to get hundreds or even thousands of high-quality backlinks to your site, which has become so much harder to do in the post-Panda realm that we SEO’s now live in. It’s easier said than done, but if you have the right kind of quality video content, at least you have a starting point.

If you’re looking to build links, viral video content will be your best friend. You’re looking for something that’s going to be entertaining enough to be shared, and hence lead to more links to your website. So make sure you have a funny corporate video like the Dollar Shave Club guys (see below – this is my favorite!), or some kind of video that’s going to attract attention and encourage people to like and share your content.

Now, to help in your link-building goal with your awesome video, there are a couple of things you’ll have to do after you’ve implemented it on your website using a third-party media server (we like Vimeo Pro). First, when you’re loading your video on to your third-party server, make sure you click the settings to allow your video to be embedded anywhere. Then, embed it onto your website using HTML5 or JavaScript – steer clear of using iFrames, as these are difficult for search engines to read.

You can create custom embed codes to share with others so that when your video gets shared, your website gets credit for the additional embed. Target the page with your video content using optimized anchor text and make sure you give users the option to share the video across the major social media platforms (typically Facebook, Twitter and Google+).

Then, share away! Use your custom HTML5 or JavaScript embed code to share to your business’ own social media profiles, and let the quality of your video content do the work from there. Voila – natural, quality backlinks to your site!

Increasing CTR/Conversions

Obviously, every website’s goal is to rank on the first page of search results, if not own the #1 position. We all know how difficult that can be, and there’s no real trick to make it happen quickly, although video content, when implemented correctly, can definitely help move your website up in the rankings and increase your click-through rate.

Search users are proven 80% more likely to click on a search result that features a rich snippet thumbnail of any sort, especially video. When more users click on your search result over others, despite its position in the SERPs, Google interprets that as your site being of high-quality that people regularly find valuable information on. Then, Google begins to trust your site more, and then begins to rank you higher in the SERPs. As you rise in the SERPs, your CTR could increase by as much as 60% because of your video snippet. It’s really a cyclical win-win for all involved.

As far as your conversions go, having a video on a product page of an ecommerce site can hugely increase the likelihood of a customer purchasing a product. It gives a customer a chance to really “see” the product in a way that they can’t through images and text alone.

So, to implement a video for these purposes, simply create a product video that doesn’t necessarily have to be all too engaging outside the context of your website, and upload it to a third-party media server. Select the settings that hide the video from the third-party server to ensure the video will appear on your website and your website alone (so Vimeo or Wistia or whichever service you’re using won’t rank for content that’s yours).

Then, place it on the desired page of your website using HTML5 coding (the “old embed code”) that’s readable by search engines. There are some ups and downs to this – HTML5 is not readable by mobile devices, only iFrames are, but iFrames aren’t read by search engines. So you either have to choose which is more important to you, or program in a way to serve up different versions of the video to different servers/bots based on their entry point (mobile vs. desktop).

Mark-up your video content using schema.org Video Object tags, and submit a video XML sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools (some third-party media servers, such as Wistia, create these sitemaps for you – others, you’ll have to work with your web provider to create and upload to your website). Wait a week or two, sometimes more depending on the overall power of your website, and you should begin to see your video snippets appearing in search results when you enter the query for which you optimized your video for when you marked it up.

Here’s an example of a video we recently implemented earlier in 2012 for a phrase that receives 3,600 monthly searches and is highly competitive. This website ranked at the 46th position in the SERPs prior to video implementation, and after the video was placed and indexed, the search phrase jumped to the number 2 spot:

Now, that page of the website is one of the top performing pages, and the conversion rate has increased on the page, as well. The video, while not otherwise too terribly engaging, is serving its purposes of producing the video rich snippet in search results to increase keyword rankings, CTR and conversions, just as intended.

If you’re considering adding video content to your website, just make sure you have a plan in place based on your goals for the content prior to creation and implementation. How you place the video can change its overall performance drastically, so make sure you and the marketing company that your business is working with understand the goals and know how to implement your content properly to achieve them.

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