How to Create a Webinar Using GoToMeeting – Part 2

This post is a continuation of my post on how to use GoToMeeting. If you missed part 1, check out my previous post.

As a content marketer who wants to include webinars in your content marketing strategy, you can learn more about how to use GoToMeeting here. This video will give you details about the control panel and the features to use in your webinar. I also give you a few tips on how to plan and run your webinar for the best possible experience.

I hope this two-part series helps you to get familiar with the platform and gives you some ideas about how to include webinars as part of your content marketing strategy.

Have questions? Email me at Promotion.Notions2@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

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How to Create a Webinar Using GoToMeeting – Part 1

Are you a professional communicator? A writer or content developer? Are you feeling challenged as a content manager to include videos in your content marketing platform?

Why not try a webinar to explain your products and services using GoToMeeting? After the webinar you can post the recording on YouTube and embed it on your website.

Go To Meeting Logo

Whatever professional skills you have as a communicator, you can enhance your reputation by teaching others about it online. A webinar can help others, develop your reputation as a thought leader, and create something valuable that leads prospects to your website with quality content.

Check out Part 1 of my educational video on setting up GoToMeeting:

Get familiar with the platform here and stay tuned for Part 2 in my next post, which will give you more detail on how to run a webinar and avoid some common problems.

Then decide for yourself – can you include webinars and videos in your content marketing strategy?

Posted in Content Marketing, GoToMeeting, How To, Search Engine Optimization, video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Does content marketing influence you?

Pet owner influencing his dog.Are you a business owner? A content marketer? Or a social media manager?

Do you make decisions independently? We often think we are doing just that. But in reality, our decisions are constantly being influenced by media, other people, our own emotions and other experiences too numerous to mention. And we might not even know it.

Are you under the influence? The influence of content marketers, that is.

Do you read any marketing blogs online? Do they have any influence on you?

Click the pic to the right and tell us about it in our poll.

 

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The Easiest Thing To Do In Content Marketing

word cloud content marketingstudy released by SalesFusion, a marketing automation provider, surveyed nearly 700 B2B marketers from small to medium-size businesses. It found that more than half felt their lead generation strategy was above average. More than 50 percent of marketers said that content marketing was the common denominator for getting more leads.

So Just Do Content Marketing, Right?

Well, yes. But they found that creating content was not so easy. The irony of the findings as respondents noted, was that:

“… creating and marketing relevant content and managing social media channels are the most difficult tactics to execute for B2B lead generation purposes.”

What is the stumbling block for content marketing managers? They know their business and they know their customers. Why is it so hard?

Could it be the time it takes to create interesting content? Could it be that they need better research to find the data and information their customers want? Could it be the special skills needed to understand how to write great headlines and subheadlines with the right keywords?

The answers are yes, yes, and yes.

They need skilled and experienced freelance business writers, social media marketers and content marketing strategists to develop content. They need writers who entice their target audience to comment, sign up for newsletters, watch demos and most of all, provide their contact information and become a warm lead.

The Easiest Way to Develop Content

It should be no surprise then, that the study showed 70 percent of B2B organizations hired mostly external service providers to create all or part of their lead generation tactics. It has been estimated that in the new economy by 2020, more than 50% of workers will be freelancers.

Organizations looking for content marketing strategists are taking the easy route and hiring experienced content writers to create blog posts, e-books, white papers and emails.

Because the easiest thing to do in content marketing is hire a freelance content marketer.

Do you need help with content marketing, proofreading or editing? Send me an email at sheilagregory727@gmail.com. I’m a professional content marketing strategist with experience in many different industries. Check out some samples of my business blogs. Then, let’s chat about content marketing.

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Get This Simple Tool to Increase Blog Traffic During the U.S. Election

U.S. presidential election 2016 banner

This post is for my fellow bloggers who write about the U.S. election:

Wow, you sure hit a bonanza of eye-popping events to write about during this election! Here in Canada, we can barely keep up with all the insightful blogs and articles about the latest gaffe, scandal or revelation. Thank you for having such an interesting process and colourful players. It’s been truly entertaining!

I have a tool to share with you content marketers and blogger buddies out there. It’s something I stumbled on and thought you might want to include it on your websites or in your blogs as voting day approaches. It’s a site that provides updated poll counts called electoral-vote.com.

It allows you embed an icon (like the one below) in your post, and updates it with the latest poll results. Your readers can stay on top of the poll numbers anytime by  visiting your blog. What a super easy way to provide valuable information and keep readers coming back frequently.

Here’s what the tool looks like:

Click for www.electoral-vote.com

And here’s where you can get the code to embed on your own site. Don’t worry if you wake up the next day after posting and see yesterday’s dates and numbers. I noticed that it was sometime in the afternoon when my icon magically updated itself. Just check it again later in the day.

What do you think of this tool? I’d be interested to know if it increases your traffic, so please let me know in the comments below if it works for you.

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Want Business Reviews Online? Do This First!

Angry social media user

I rarely write online reviews, even about the best customer experience. How about you? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Most of us are not very generous with praise online. Most people only write an online review when they’re unhappy about something and they want to fight back.

Should You Ask for Online Reviews?

I have written some good reviews online for service providers when they’ve asked me. When you know your best customers are delighted, why not ask them to provide a good review?

For restaurants, you can give them a card with the url for Yelp. For hotels, you can provide a feedback card asking guests to leave a review on Trip Advisor. There’s Google ReviewsAmazon Customer Reviews, Consumer Reports and many more … the list goes on.

But hang on. There’s something you should do first.

Listen Online First

Before you start asking for online reviews or creating any social media, make sure you’ve spent some time ‘listening’. If you blindly rush into social media or asking for reviews, you could be missing negative comments online about your business that you have to deal with first.

Does Your Customer Service Stink?

Imagine your customer had a terrible service experience in your store. She wanted to return a defective item and experienced a big hassle and a negative attitude from your sales clerk. She loves your products but she’s not going to put up with that attitude she suffered through.

Expect Them to Write Bad Reviews Online

This riled-up customer searches for your company’s social media and finds nothing, so she writes an online review hoping for a response. Crickets – your company posts nothing and she feels ignored. You were not listening. Other customers chime in to commiserate and describe bad experiences they had as well. Your company still does nothing. You have no idea you have angry customers creating a negative impression of your business online.

You’re Going to Create a Company Facebook Page Now?

A month later, you hire a social media intern and he creates a Facebook page. He starts posting happy thoughts and store promotions. Your angry customer finds it, and feeling ignored on the review site, blasts you with nasty comments about your bad customer service. All your new followers see it.

Oops, bad move. You’ve just created a platform for others to publicize your deficiencies. You should have spent some time listening online first.

You Have a Negative Online Review – What To Do

Warren Buffet said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” Is it too late for you to benefit from Warren’s wisdom? Not necessarily.

If you do find negative comments, it’s true that you are stuck with them. You can’t remove negative reviews, but you can certainly address them. Think of them as an opportunity to show how responsive and professional you can be. Be incredibly polite, and:

  • Apologize sincerely
  • Tell them you’ve heard them
  • Thank them for bringing the problem to your attention
  • Show them you understand
  • Say you take their comments seriously
  • Fix the problem and consider providing compensation if appropriate
  • Show how you plan to make changes for the future
  • You might revamp your customer service model
  • Post online about the changes you’ve made to prevent future problems
  • Consider offering incentives to persuade or entice customers to try your business again

You might think this is a lot of effort, but if you can win them over, it will be worth it in the long run. You need to be in a position where it’s acceptable to request they remove their negative comments or write a satisfied follow-up comment.

Keep Listening Online – Dig Deeper

If you were just about to create your new company Facebook page, you now know you shouldn’t act so fast. Do some online listening first and find out what they’re saying.

Just don’t stop digging after one or two sites. Do searches on Facebook and Twitter. Check out Hubspot’s list of online review sites and set some time aside for a whole lot of research. You might just be able to save your reputation before diving into online reviews and social media that could potentially make it worse.

Going forward, continue using your social media sites and online reviews to take care of your customers’ questions and concerns. Prove you’re listening and respond quickly. For more words of wisdom, I like Feast Interactive’s blog post, which provides a thorough explanation of the best practices around social media and customer care.

Good luck! Please tell me if you find any reviews of your company, good or bad. I’m ready to help, so let me know if I can provide further advice or write your online responses to help you win your customers back.

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The Value of High Traffic Web Pages

When you need a content writer, ask yourself what you want to achieve. You might say you want more traffic to your website. I’d probably ask you why. Most website owners answer, “To increase sales, of course!”

Google_Analytics_ReuseImage_hqdefault

And let’s admit it – that’s everyone’s ultimate end goal.

But, there is more value to traffic than creating sales. It usually takes several steps between a visitor finding your homepage and becoming a customer. A content writer has a way of leading them along a path. As long as they get their hands on good information.

What Are Visitors Doing on Your Website?

Often, visitors are simply researching your products or services and comparing them to others. They have a bunch of tabs open and switch from one site to another in search of the best choice. If they come back to your site at this stage, they may still be getting to know you.

Your ability to get leads and inquiries, develop relationships and help prospects depends on your ability to keep them on your website, spending time and following the path to buying. Ushering prospects along that path requires writing effective website copy, which depends on knowing what interests them.

A Content Writer’s Secret

Content writers have a little secret about this dance of the web page visits. Details about high traffic are valuable to them. Web page analytics are their best friend and they use them to determine what to write. They love to know which web page or blog post is getting the most traffic with lots of time spent on page.

Why Finding a High Bounce Rate is So Exciting to a Content Marketer

Of course, the reverse is important too. Content writers also want to know about bounce rates – when visitors spend just a fleeting moment or two and click away from your site. That gives them feedback about titles and topics that don’t work.

The first thing I’ll do with your analytics reports is look for opportunities to improve the headline on a page that has a high bounce rate. Then I’ll beef up the content and make sure it’s relevant to the searcher.

What Do Content Writers Do with Analytics?

So what do content writers do with the information that one page is more popular than another?

First they do keyword research and try to understand what led your customers to a web page. They look at what pages seem most interesting to your customers so you can brainstorm together on developing more content about those topics. For example:

  • ‘How to’ blog posts
  • Adding links to pages with more detail
  • Pinpointing spinoff topics to attract visitors

Content writers also create social media posts on hot topics and direct people to your most popular pages, generating even more traffic.

Knowing what website visitors are attracted to informs content writers about the interests of your leads and helps them develop buyer personas for you.

You can find out your visitors needs, curiosities and problems through the comments section on your blog or social media sites.

Give Your Content Writer Access to Your Analytics

Make sure your content writer has this information to use in all your marketing channels, including print, social media, public relations, email campaigns and event marketing. The best way is to just give your content writer access with your password. If you just can’t do that, then maybe you can give them screenshots of the reports on a weekly basis.

Now you know that I have fun with web page analytics because I’m results-oriented. I cannot get enough numbers or measurements. No topic is boring. I always want to learn more about your readers’ needs and what makes them read on. And I believe in content tweaks to test what makes your website traffic go up.

I cannot overestimate the value of your high traffic web pages. When you share this information with me, it provides me with insight about how to write to your prospects and get them interested in your products and services.

Do you need help with content marketing, proofreading or editing? Send me an email at sheilagregory727@gmail.com. I’m a professional business writer with experience in many different industries. Check out some samples of my business blogs. Then, let’s chat about content marketing.

Posted in Analytics, Content Marketing, Freelance Writer, Writing Web Copy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

9 easy ways to come up with blog ideas

Ideas appear as light bulbs floating over a person's head

“What should I write about?”

This is one of the most frequently asked questions by new writers who want to start blogging and need good blog post ideas or blog name ideas. No one can tell you what to write about. At least no one should. You have your own ideas in that brain of yours – you just need to know how to get them out into the blogosphere.

You have a goldmine of education, contacts, experience, memories, and stories in your head. Let’s get started on digging those blog ideas out of your brain and sharing them with the world. Try these 9 simple ways to generate some great ideas for your next blog post:

1. Take notes while reading a book or magazine you love

A woman thinks while reading a bookMaybe you’re like me and you do this: When I’m reading a book, I often have a pen in my hand to take notes. Sometimes I jot down words I like or am not familiar with on those blank pages at the end. Then I look them up later. Sometimes ideas flow from those words.

Do you ever stop and ponder an idea in the last paragraph or chapter you read? What would you say to the author if you were having a conversation? What ideas could you insert into the story to take it in a new direction? If you don’t like writing while reading, you can use an app, like Quick Voice, to record your ideas.

2. Review books to develop blog post ideas

Love it or hate it, now that you’ve read it, tell the world what you thought. What inspired you? What could have been better? Could the author have gone further with her analysis? Were the arguments flawed or do you have better examples to strengthen her arguments? What experience do you have with the subject matter? Reading and reviewing another author’s work is probably the single most important and enjoyable thing you can do as a new writer to develop blog post ideas and sketch out a story of your own.

3. Create a mind map

Reach deep into your mind with a mind map – a system that’s a bit like the word association game. For original blog ideas, start with a central idea or word and branch out with whatever words  pop into your mind. Branch out further and further. Before you know it, you may have several blog ideas or even headlines for your next blog post. Here’s a mind map I created just before starting to write this post:

A mind map generating blog topics

You can see I started with just one word, ‘Ideas’ and branched out until I had five possible blog ideas to write:

  • 10 Thoughts on How a Writer’s Brain Works
  • My Brain Without Caffeine
  • Make Your Fantasy of Becoming a Writer Come True
  • Need a Great Idea? Think Like a Child
  • 5 Reasons You Might Get a Headache Today

This exercise took me about 10 minutes. Now I just have to get to work putting them on my editorial calendar and writing them. But before I go back to work, there are a few more techniques I want to share to help you come up with your own blog ideas.

4. Visit Buzzsumo.com

Not sure what your readers would be interested in? Pop a search term into the Buzzsumo search bar. You’ll get some interesting results telling you what types of posts are most shareable on a variety of social media platforms.

Buzzsumo Logo

This is valuable data – the most shared posts must be the most useful, entertaining or interesting, right? Read a few to see what people are talking about. Of course you don’t want to copy the author’s ideas. But you might see a new angle on a topic, get a flavour of the best writing styles, and find out what’s useful and valuable to your readers. I also use Buzzsumo when I’ve been assigned a blog topic I don’t know much about. It helps me get up to date on the current ‘buzz’.

5. Use Writer’s Market

Writer's Market Reference Book

If you’re a professional freelance writer like me, you probably already have Writer’s Market on your shelf to help you find writing jobs. This reference is a handy tool for finding out what magazine and trade journals want in terms of articles to publish. It’s organized by categories such as Pets, Travel, Auto, Food, Health, etc. Within each category is a listing of publications and the details of their needs. You’ll find lots of opportunities for submitting manuscripts for paid work. While you’re at it, you might just get some great blog post ideas.

6. Review a new app

Did you just download a new app you love? Why not tell everyone about it? If you want to see an example, I occasionally write about apps on my blog, Social Kitty. I’m planning to write another review soon about two that are new to me: Spotify and Chromecast. I use them together to listen to music that I ‘cast’ to my TV. I’m still amazed whenever technology takes me to a new experience like this! And I’m not alone. There are loads of technophiles out there who’d love to read your take on the latest cool app, so why not start writing about your favourites now?

7. Check out an image library

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. And that’s great because your blog post might be about that long if you use visuals to stimulate great blog post ideas. There are so many places to look for images online, it’ll make your head spin. Google Images comes to mind first, but you might want to pay a small amount for images that you can use without having to worry about infringing on licensing or copyright laws. Check out iStock, Getty Images or Fotolia for starters.

Don’t forget your own library of images. Sometimes a simple album from your travels will bring back a memory related to your blog. Weave a story around your favourite image combining some of the idea generating techniques above.

8. Animals = Amazing Blog Post Ideas

A black cat sits on a book stand to provide blog ideasI ask my cat Charlie for ideas. Ok, I know that sounds crazy. But I spend a lot of time with my cat and there are boatloads of blog ideas that arise out of the simplicity of her happy, little feline world. I study cat behaviour and draw themes and stories around it. See if you can come up with your own topics by watching your pet’s behaviour. Here’s how my wild and crazy brain works when I let my cat give me ideas:

A chart showing cat behaviours and related blog ideas

9. Children = Amazing Blog Post Ideas

I bet you can come up with a lot more blog post ideas than me if you have small children in the house. Kids are a great source of ideas because they have no boundaries to their imaginations. Try writing down little things they say. Watch them as they play with imaginary friends. Their pretend worlds are rich in ideas allowing them to invent something out of almost nothing. Have you ever seen a child play in the backyard using some leaves, grass and twigs to build a bridge, a boat or a car? Getting in touch with our children’s play can reap huge benefits in developing our own ideas and enjoying the power of imagination.

Did any of these blog idea generators work for you? Do you already have your blog name idea, but need a writer to write the blog? Have you already written your blog, but want a professional proofreader or editor to polish it up?

If you need help coming up with blog ideas, writing, proofreading or editing, send me an email at sheilagregory727@gmail.com. I’m a professional blog writer with experience in many different industries and would love to work with you.

Let’s cook up a great idea together!

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5 key things to remember when writing website copy

Writing web copy – what have you got to lose (in 15 seconds)?

Writing Web Copy on a Mac Computer

When you’re searching for something online, what’s important to you? You want information now! Visitors to your website are no different. Welcome to the breakneck speed of content marketing! Hold onto your hat! We’re going to move fast – like the readers of your website content.

What have you got to lose? Your visitors! Research shows that readers will spend 15 seconds to find what they want. If not, they’ll leave you in the digital dust. So make sure these 5 tactics are included in your content marketing strategy.

1. Content Marketing = Keywords, Keywords, Keywords!

How can you get visitors to your website without a huge advertising budget? There are oodles of search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to boost your page rank results. One of the most important is using relevant keywords.

Before you write any web copy, do your research. Find three or four terms related to your business. Think like your target audience – what terms would they search to find your products or services? Then check out Google Trends or an online keyword research tool. Pop in some terms and get a boatload of insight. Work these new terms into your web copy several times, making sure it appeals to the average reader.

2. Content Marketing = Headings, Headings, Headings!

Part of your content marketing strategy must be to make reading fast and easy. You need to make your website copy a breeze to scan for relevant information.

When writing web copy, break the information into chunks. Give each chunk an interesting heading that can be found by the web crawlers by including a keyword. This tactic can boost your page rank and keep your readers’ attention, leading them closer to your call to action (CTA).

3. Write web copy with important information “above the fold”

Write important headlines at the top of the pageThink of a real newspaper in a box. “Above the fold” refers the main headlines showing through the window, enticing readers to buy. It’s the same with website copy. The most important information goes at the top. Visitors should see it without scrolling down. The Google ‘bots’ will rank your page higher and your readers will stay longer when on a relevant page.

4. Include a Call To Action (CTA)

What should website content do? Do you want visitors to subscribe? Register? Purchase a product? Your web copy must give clear instructions on what to do. Consider adding a brightly coloured “Call Now” or “Buy Now” button at the top (above the fold of course!)

 5. Content marketing means providing value

Your website content strategy must produce a flow of valuable information. Visitors should want your content! Create helpful lists, how to posts, and entertaining, informative articles. If you provide value and promote your site, they will follow. When your readers are ready to make a purchase, your content will have done its job. They’ll visit you first, because you’ve built a “top of mind” brand through your content marketing strategy.

Do you need help with writing website copy? Blogging? Social media? Writing e-blasts, media releases or a fundraising letterCheck out a few pages on this site to see if my writing style fits your needs. Then send me a note. Let’s work together to reach your organization’s objectives.

(Credit: This article was originally written for Eden Advertising in Toronto, Ontario, Canada).

Posted in Content Marketing, Freelance Writer, Search Engine Optimization, Writing Web Copy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Repurpose your content: Make a movie out of your podcast

Sometimes a freelance writer likes to branch out and create more than just words on a website. I love to write, but I also like creating all kinds of media: images, audio and movies.

If you are the marketing and communications guru at your organization, have you ever thought about recording your own audio and video to get your message out? If you have a Mac, this was never easier. Just open up GarageBand and iMovie and play around with them. They’re so easy and intuitive to use. You’ll be amazed at the content you can produce right in your own office or living room.

GarageBand logo iMovie logo

Once you get familiar with the programs, why not create your own podcast using GarageBand? Most podcasters put their productions on iTunes or Soundcloud, but you can also turn them into movies using iMovie. Then your message can get even more exposure on your YouTube channel.

Here’s a podcast I just created as a movie for Digital Marketing Experts to help promote their services. It’s an interview with president, Maryam Golabgir. In this podcast/movie, she talks about ways businesses can avoid committing “Social Media Suicide”. I wrote the script and questions, and Maryam just winged it, as experts tend to do.

To do this yourself, you don’t need a lot of special equipment. But one thing I’d recommend is to buy a headset with a microphone. I just borrowed a pair from my hubby, but if you think you’ll be doing this a lot, you can pick up a set for around thirty dollars from Best Buy.

The intro and outro music, plus all the little buzzing sounds and other effects are available for free in Garageband. I edited out all the tongue-twisters, blunders and embarrassing ums and ahhs. Then I shortened the interview to a length that I hoped would not put listeners to sleep.

After that, I opened up iMovie and dumped in a png file for the video portion – the company logo. Then I popped the audio file on top of it. It’s important to ensure the visual file is extended to the same length as the audio file so you’ll actually have a movie. Although, the visual is just the logo since this is really a podcast. Then of course, you upload the completed file to your YouTube channel directly from iMovie.

Content writers and marketers, give it a try! When it comes to digital marketing, there’s more to being a freelance writer than writing text. Creating this content was completely free except for my time. So there’s nothing to lose and your customers want to hear from you. After all, YOU are the expert in your organization! Don’t forget to repurpose your content to maximize your digital presence and drive traffic to your website.

Do you have content that could be repurposed? Do you have a presentation we could turn into a podcast or a video? If you need a script writer, moderator and post-production work, I will wrap that all up and deliver it in one package for you!

Send me a note or email me at sheilagregory727@gmail.com

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