Archive for October, 2017

How Small Businesses Can Benefit from a Content Marketing Platform

by Jenna Scaglione on 10/30/2017

Marketing your small business can feel like a push-pull struggle. Your business may be too small to shell out thousands for the enterprise-level resources the big guns are using, but you desperately need some resources to overcome your growth challenges and create more leads and revenue with your content.

To get out of this vicious cycle, you need to do something different and make some changes. And one of those changes could be the adoption of a content marketing platform.

Do You Need a Content Marketing Platform?

You may need a content marketing platform if…

  • You are trying to be a scientist while calculating your content analytics but instead you are hitting your head against a wall. (I was a chemist in a past life and I still struggle with some of those calculations).
  • You can’t find excellent content writers who understand your brand and who can take your content to the next level and/or you can’t keep your content production consistent.
  • You invested money in graphic designers and developers but you want to find an easier, more cost-effective way to put up landing pages.
  • You have been “doing” content marketing for some time, but you can’t figure out why it is working so well for everyone else.
  • You are completely clueless about how to use your content to grow your business (Don’t worry, we’ve all been there!)

If you have thought any of the above or anything close to it, you owe it to yourself to try a quality content marketing platform.

The Benefits of Content Marketing Platforms (CMPs)

A content marketing platform is a tool or piece of software that automates one or more of your content marketing tasks. But, the ultimate goal of a great platform is to help you build brand awareness and drive leads and revenue with your content.

CMPs remove a lot of the common challenges marketers face with content and offer numerous benefits such as streamlining your processes, helping you find excellent writers, driving lead generation from your content, providing high-converting lead-generating templates, automating content scheduling and distribution, measuring your results and more.

For a more detailed guide on how quality content marketing platforms can help you… along with a sampling of some of the top tools, check out this article: The Definitive Guide to Content Marketing Platforms.

Why should I spend money on a platform if I can do it myself?

Here’s the thing: You don’t need a content marketing platform if your main diet consists of dollar-sized packages of ramen noodles and you have only five people on your email list.

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But you may need one if you are running out of time doing the things you need to accomplish to help your business grow and/or you are getting nowhere trying to get more leads, awareness, and buzz with your content.

It’s common for small business owners to hesitate spending on quality tools and services because they think they are saving money doing everything themselves. But, this is a recipe for business failure. If you want to save some money, you will actually have the ability to make more money when you free up your time.

The point is, at some stage of your small business journey you need to invest a little to get a lot more back. And that’s exactly what the best content marketing platforms can do for you.

Also, you can’t be an expert in everything. You are not a star designer, developer, search engine optimization specialist, writer, copyeditor, managing editor, content publisher, outreach extraordinaire, analytics expert, and conversion rate optimization guru all in one.

If you are, call me. I’d like to probe your brain.

CMPs supply you with the expert skills you couldn’t possibly manifest all by yourself. Your prospects want and deserve the best. This is worth investing in.

You Can Do This…

If you want to invest in a platform that addresses your content marking challenges, provides you with expert-level services and also genuinely cares about your success, well, that’s us. And what’s great is that you can try us out for free to see if it makes sense for you to work with us on your content marketing campaigns. And what is even better is that when you try us out for free, you also get more free goodies such as an optimized piece of content, promotional plan, access to our platform, and free traffic-driving content ideas you can start using right away. So what are you waiting for? Try us out for free here.

 

Content Marketing Analytics: Which Numbers Matter the Most?

by Jenna Scaglione on 10/27/2017

ver get a hefty hotel bill after an amazing much-needed vacation? Seeing those numbers can rip you out of dreamland and back into reality pretty quick.

That’s kind of how marketers feel when they view their content marketing analytics. They create awesome content, talk to people on social and push out great stuff. But, when it comes time to analyze the results, they would rather find a hole in the ground and bury their heads instead. Math, percentages, ROI, calculations? I didn’t sign up for this!

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Reviewing your content marketing analytics can be annoying. But an even bigger pain point is figuring out which metrics to track. So to help you sift through some of this stuff, and hopefully keep your head above the soil, here are some important content marketing analytics to focus on.

Consumption

Consumption metrics tell you who is consuming your content and how they are finding you. These metrics clue you into your largest traffic channels and which pages are getting the most love.

  • Page views – Page views record how many times a particular page is viewed regardless of whether the same person viewed the page more than once. This is a good overall metric that gives you a broad overview of how many people are consuming your content.
  • Unique page views – This is the metric that defines how many times a page was viewed at least once. If the page is viewed more than once, the count still remains at 1. Analyzing which pages get the most views and time on site (we’ll discuss this one later) can give you an idea of which pages your visitors like the most. This data can tell you what your audience likes to digest and also give you an opportunity to add lead-generating opportunities to highly-trafficked pages.
  • Source of the traffic – Where is the traffic coming from? Social sites? Google? Referring sites? Analyze where the bulk of your traffic is coming from so you can ramp up the traffic coming from those outlets, if possible.
  • Open rates and clicks – Review your email open rates and clicks to determine which emails perform the best. Split test different subject lines and add tracking to your email links so you can assess which links get the most love.

Social Shares and Interaction / Engagement

Social sharing analytics reveal how much your content is being shared, how often, from where and from whom. Engagement piggybacks off of sharing and identifies what type of action your content is producing and how often users are taking that action.

  • Social shares – While social likes and comments are important metrics to track (definitely track them, especially comments!), people share content they feel passionate about. Share metrics tell you how invested in your content your audience is. And if you use social media regularly, using a tool to calculate your social media analytics is vital. We list some of our top social tools picks in this article.
  • Bounce rate – The bounce rate measures the percentage of people who view your page and then “bounce” back to Google.  A low bounce rate is synonymous with higher engagement because it means that people are staying on your page instead of going back to where they came from. A high bounce rate signals that they did not find what they were looking for.
  • Time on page – In addition to bounce rate, time on site is a valuable engagement metric to measure. It shows how long people stay on your page without clicking elsewhere. Note that sometimes you may want a visitor to spend less time on a page. If your focus is to get people to opt-in and you did your job well, people will leave the page because they are opting in. In this case, a shorter time on the page is desirable.

Leads/Sales/Revenue

Analyzing your leads, sales and revenue are integral to sustaining business growth and they absolutely must be measured.

  • Click-through rates – Before people become leads they must click on a link to get to your landing pages. If you are getting substantial traffic, but you aren’t getting enough people clicking on your links, review your calls to action to see if they can be improved.
  • Lead/Sales conversion rate – Calculate the percentage of people who completed an action to become a lead or purchase vs. how many people visited your page and did not take action. Note that if you have a SaaS or services business, you should also track how many qualified leads came from your forms or content. Qualified leads are those interested in your service and they can be passed along to your sales team for follow-up. In addition, if you have complex funnels, calculate conversions at each stage.
  • Revenue – This is the metric everyone wants to see grow over time. But, you need to track it if you want to know how well you are really doing and know how every piece of your content marketing translates to dollars in your bank account. Can you attribute a single or multiple pieces of content to a sale or increased revenue? You can, but you may need tools to do it. Take a look at our “Ultimate List of Content Marketing Analytics Tools” article for some top analytics tools picks.

Hopefully this list helped you make more sense of your analytics so you can compile a list together of what to start focusing on for your business. However, if you really do want to bury your head in the ground (I wouldn’t blame you), you can let us help you with your content and measure it for you. (Yup, we do that.) The cool thing is that you can try us out for free and also receive some awesome stuff like a free optimized article, engaging content ideas, promotion plan and free access to our platform. Sign up for free right here.

4 Ways to Stand Out with Guest Blogging

by Susan Guillory on 10/25/2017

While guest blogging remains a highly effective means of establishing you as a thought leader and introducing new people to your brand, competition these days for that digital real estate is fierce. Blog editors are bombarded daily with guest blogging requests from people who simply want their links on prestigious sites, making it hard for you, a legitimate guest contributor, to get their attention.

So what are the secrets to getting editors to not only read your pitches but then also agree to publish your content?

1. Focus on Quality, Not Quantity

While you might think that pitching as many blogs as possible with your guest blogging ideas would get you better results, instead go narrow. Spend time reading and getting to know a handful of active, heavily-trafficked blogs in your industry, rather than scattering your seed far and wide.

The first thing this does is that it ensures that you only pitch publications that cater to your audience. I can’t tell you how many pitches my own marketing blog gets for completely unrelated topics like baby toys and pharmaceuticals. So know that editors are leery of guest bloggers who don’t bother to align their pitches with the theme of the site.

Also, why would you want to contribute content on a site that doesn’t attract your audience? You don’t. It’s well worth the time you’ll spend to carefully explore a few handpicked sites and then craft your pitch in such a way that the editor would be a fool not to accept your ideas.

2. Step Away from the Canned Pitch

If you’re not sending out dozens of pitches, you have the time to write each one from scratch. Sure, you can use a boilerplate for your own introduction (“I’m Susan and I write about content marketing. My company is blah and does yada yada.”), but the rest of the email should be customized. And short.

If you start out your pitch with a reference to that blog, do so in a genuine manner. So many bad pitches start out “I was looking for some information on X and came across your site. Great stuff,” which tells the editor that you send exactly the same thing to everyone.

Instead, actually read some posts related to what you want to write about (bonus: this will help ensure that you don’t pitch a topic already covered) and make an insightful comment on an article (“I thought your article on artificial intelligence was informative, but it left out its role in marketing, which I’d love to cover for your blog.”).

Two paragraphs plus three topic ideas are sufficient for your pitch. If the editor wants more, he or she will reply and ask for it. Unnecessarily long emails will get deleted.

A Lot Of Used Spray Cans Of Paint Close-up

Your pitch shouldn’t come in one of these.

3. Follow the Rules

In researching a given blog, you may come across contributor guidelines. Ignore these at your peril. Not only do they provide consistency in the guest posts an editor accepts, but they also serve as a test. If you aren’t willing to follow them, you’re instantly disqualified from the pool.

Pay attention to style guidelines, because every blog will have its preferences. You can also determine how the editor wants pitches. He may prefer to get the entire finished article for consideration, rather than just ideas. Read and reread these guidelines to ensure that you at least get considered.

Once your pitch is accepted, ask for a deadline to submit your article and then beat it. There’s nothing that will perk an editor up more than you turning in an article not just on time, but early.

4. Show Your Commitment

Writing one blog post on one blog won’t help you attract new customers and build relationships. But consistently writing content for that blog will. And editors like knowing they can rely on good and responsible guest writers. So after your first article is published, let the editor know that you’re interested in writing on a regular basis.

Whenever an article is published, promote it to your social media audience. You’ll get another kudos from your editor, since you’re essentially helping market her website.

Yes, there is a lot of noise in the guest blogging space right now, but that’s exactly what much of it is: noise. If you can prove yourself as a solid writer who knows how to read guidelines and show that he’s actually read a blog and knows it’s a good fit, editors will move you to the front of the line.

Looking for more help with your content? Get a free trial today!

‘Dying to be Barbie’ is Brilliant – but Disheartening – Content Marketing

by Jenna Scaglione on 10/23/2017

A brilliant content marketing campaign focuses on building leads and potentially sales-but that’s not all content marketing can be used for. Anytime you want to build awareness for a cause or a brand, content is the way to go.

But, if you really want to make an impact, it can’t just be any ol’ content. It needs to stand out, offer something unique and intriguing, and make us salivate much like the whirling sounds of an incoming ice cream truck on a balmy summer afternoon.


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For a content piece to become viral, it must have the “stuff” that amazing content marketing is made of–the stuff that our featured infographic below knows how to deliver.

The infographic example I am featuring here was created by Fractl for Rehabs.com, a company whose mission is to inform and raise awareness for addictions, and match sufferers with reliable, helpful treatment.

One condition Rehab focuses on is eating disorders. And to raise awareness, it created an infographic in hopes that more people would understand how devastating this disorder can be and also the media’s role in shaping young girl’s lives.

The infographic titled “Is A Barbie Body Possible?” compared the stature and measurements of the “average” woman to that of Barbie, the international doll icon. It accompanied a long-form post called “Dying to be Barbie” on Rehab.com that discussed the media’s role in encouraging the prevalence of eating disorders in female children.

The infographic showed how bizarre a life-sized Barbie would really look and how the doll’s proportions would be impossible were she a human (she could only fit half a liver). Measurements like a 3.5” wrist, 16” waist and 6” ankles, coupled with a child’s size 3 foot, would mean life-sized Barbie would be walking on all fours to distribute her weight evenly.

The infographic was wildly successful and has been featured in more than 200 outlets including Huffington Post, Ad Week and Fast Company, and shared more than 55,000 times. Kudos to this company for bringing this level of social awareness for these devastating conditions.

The Anatomy of a High-performing Infographic

Infographics are a popular strategy to increase brand awareness and generate links and popularity. But, not all infographics are created equal. You can’t just slap up some stats, add a few graphics and expect people to notice. Here are a couple of reasons why the “Is A Barbie Body Possible?” infographic became so popular.

Touches on an ongoing social issue – The image tugged on heartstrings and defined a mounting social issue, one many have been fighting for years and continue to do so.

Unique and creative – Rehab.com could have played it safe and created an infographic that simply mentioned the prevalence of eating disorders, how many children it affects and how the media plays a role. This would have been valuable but it would not have spread the way it did. By coming up with a creative angle and an interesting way to display the facts, the graphic captured attention immediately.

Tied to a popular icon – By comparing the average woman to that of the infamous doll icon, Barbie, the infographic caught the attention of more people and gave it viral potential. Rehab could have used any doll, image or comparison in its infographic, or none at all. But, by using Barbie, it was able to get more eyeballs on the infographic and make it shareable.

If you want to create an infographic that gets noticed, think outside of the box, get creative and tie in popular figures and icons. It may take you twice as long to create an infographic of this caliber, but it will be worth it in the end.

Infographics are just one small component of an overall high-performing content marketing campaign. If you want to learn how to use your content to generate awareness and leads, we are here to help–for free. Try us out for free and get an optimized blog post (you can keep it forever, we promise), traffic-driving content ideas, a promotion plan and exclusive access to our platform. No commitment required.

The 10 Fundamentals of Good Business Writing

by Tristan Anwyn on 10/20/2017

If you want to communicate more clearly, it’s time to master the art of good business writing. To polish your writing and make it a useful tool in any business setting, remember to follow the 10 Cs of good business writing:

1. Complete. It’s all too easy to forget that your reader doesn’t have the same information as you. A complete message should include all pertinent information – the when, where, why, who and how. You should also include a clear explanation of any action you want your reader to take.

2. Concise. Check your writing carefully for redundant words, such as “postpone until later” (you can’t postpone until before, so “postpone” is sufficient). Cut out stock phrases such as “I am writing to inform you.” A concise message shows the reader that you value their time. (more…)

How Shared Content Helped Us Drive 100 Leads in a Week

by Jenna Scaglione on 10/18/2017

What if I told you that you could get 100+ leads in just seven days with only one piece of content?

Believe it, because that’s exactly what we just did.

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Media Shower CEO, John Hargrave, wrote a sponsored article for a popular outlet and in one week the article brought in dozens of new leads along with a whole lot of buzz.

Let’s look at exactly why this piece of shared content produced so many leads–and exactly how you can create a similar piece of content.

What is “Shared Content?”

Shared content, in the context of our discussion, refers to two parties sharing something of value to receive something of value in return. John created sponsored content for MarketingProfs, a popular marketing blog. MarketingProfs received payment for the piece plus a lot of engagement and shares on the article, and we received 100+ leads (people who downloaded our Content Scoring template) plus increased brand awareness.

Not a bad deal.

Why Did the Article Perform So Well?

Here at Media Shower, we know how to do content—and we do it well. But, we also like to teach others how to do great content too. Let’s break down what John created and look at why this sponsored post was so effective.

John’s article focused on the five ways Google scores content and helped marketers determine where they stand with their own content. The post also included a call to action for people to download our new Content Scoring template. This topic was valuable to MarketingProf’s target audience which is one reason why it performed so well. Here are some other reasons:

Topics with wide appeal and value

Even though search engines have been around for many years and discussed ad nauseum, Google still seems to be the popular topic at the internet water cooler. People have been trying to dissect and figure out Google’s algorithm since its inception. So when thought leaders share their expertise and personal experiences with Google, we stand up and take a listen.

If you want your sponsored content to have an impact, write on a topic that has wide appeal in your industry. What have people been talking about that they just can’t get enough of? Focus on these topics and inject your own experience and unique angle, making your piece different than anything else out there.

Relevant and on trend 

This notion of Google scoring organic content was briefly introduced a few years ago but it wasn’t until the last few months that it started to catch on. Not everyone has heard about it though. So those who can report on it, share their experience and give valuable advice, will position themselves as thought leaders. And leaders breed followers who want to digest their content.

Are there current trends and new ideas catching on in your industry? Couple your experience with a new industry trend and write a valuable article on it.

Challenge the status quo; correct the misconceptions

In the article, John challenged and corrected a common misconception which further established him as a thought leader. You can see how he did that here when he discussed the real definition of bounce rate, an often misunderstood concept.

Is there a misunderstood strategy, concept or idea in your industry? Write about it and offer your expertise.

Experience-based 

You can tell the difference between an article written by someone who has personal experience with the subject matter and one that is written by someone who has researched experience. The former is much more powerful.

John has firsthand experience with content. You could even say he lives it daily. As a result, he was able to dig deep and give unique advice to readers. This experience-based content has mass appeal and it will take your content to another level.

My advice to you if you want to create experience-based content like this is to… stay in your lane. Choose topics you can teach a personal perspective on and share your experience, stories, and case studies. If you have already lived the content, it will jump off the screen to your readers.

Detailed Visuals 

Use detailed visuals to demonstrate your concepts. John used diagrams throughout the article to visually depict what he was saying. Here is an example of an image portraying how Google perceives visitor time on a website:

Notice how simple the graphics are. They don’t need to be magazine-quality. It’s more important that they allow your readers to visualize what you wrote, enhancing their user experience.

A seamless segue into the CTA 

Your sponsored content should include a call to action to download your lead offer, but that’s not all it should include. If you wrote your article well, it should not only be targeted to your audience, but also intimately related to your lead offer. In John’s article, the segue from the content into the CTA was, in my opinion, a thing of beauty. It was effective because the entire piece wet readers’ appetite enough about content scoring that, by the end, the only question they likely had was, “How can I score my own content?”

And wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly what the lead offer gave them, the ability to score their own content. It was a content scoring spreadsheet that allows marketers to score their most valuable content pages to look for opportunities where they can improve.

Here is that awesome segue from the article:

Do you think you can do this? Of course you can! Let’s review the game plan:

  1. Find a popular blog in your industry and partner with them to create sponsored content.
  2. The content should culminate in a call to action to download your lead offer (you want leads, don’t you?)
  3. Your topic should have wide appeal but also be targeted to the blog audience and closely tied to your lead offer
  4. Consider a relevant topic and/or one that is on trend
  5. Create experience-based content that lives and breathes in you (Stay in your lane!)
  6. Challenge the status quo
  7. Include detailed visuals
  8. Create a seamless segue into the call to action

So, that is exactly how this shared content helped drive 100 leads in just 7 days.

Here at Media Shower, this is exactly what we do. We help your brand get noticed, get leads and get revenue and we do it all with conversion-driving, high-performing content. If you want to try us out to see how we can transform your content marketing, try us out for free here.

Oh, and if you want to get your hands on the same downloadable content scoring template John talked about in his MarketingProfs article, you can download it below. Developed in conjunction with MIT-trained engineers and easily linked to your Google Analytics account, this template can help you score your own content so you can improve it and, you know, get more leads. Get your Free Content Scoring Spreadsheet right here.

How Expedia Sells the Travel Experience with Its Blog

by Ashley Horsfall on 10/16/2017

If you’ve ever searched for excellent travel deals, you have likely seen Expedia pop up in your search. The travel website is known for offering hot deals on plane tickets, hotels, cruises, car rentals, and more. In addition to its wide variety of travel offerings, Expedia has its own blog called ‘Out There Starts Here.’

On ‘Out There Starts Here,’ Expedia provides helpful tips for traveling all around the globe. Whether readers look forward to spending a weekend in the big city or a month abroad, Expedia knows how to appeal to each type of traveler with its approach to content.

 Reading Expedia’s blog makes it seem as if you have your own personal travel agent.

 1. Expedia Uses Storytelling Visuals

Visuals are essential storytelling tools because of the way people process photos. In a matter of seconds, readers understand the tone and theme of a piece. In many ways, text may fail to express the breadth of the situation.

Capturing the tone of a piece is about more than demonstrating smiling faces and romantic walks on the beach. It’s about finding the perfect color scheme to convey raw emotion. It’s about using titles that intrigue and assist. It’s about looking beyond the literal context of the words and discovering what it is about them that moves people.

 2. Expedia Knows What to Sell

Expedia also offers visuals that make the reader think, “That could be me.” Any reader could be the one sunning on a beach or surfing the righteous waves of Australia. That latte could be in your hand, keeping you warm on a cold winter’s day.

When the traveler could be anonymous, said traveler could be anybody. This allows the reader to put herself in a position where she can envision surfing, sailing, hiking, dining at a fantastic restaurant, or even staying in a luxurious hotel room overlooking the heart of the city.

 3. Expedia Inspires Readers

Through the use of stunning visuals and illustrative text, Expedia paints pictures of travel experiences. Rather than offering a list of beaches to surf, the blog offers the details a traveler needs to make plans. ‘Out There Starts Here’ throws out vague notions and instead tells readers where to go, providing more bang for their buck.


 Strong content encourages you to make a decision now.

 4. Expedia Offers Organized Content

Want to read more about traveling in Asia? Are you ready to explore the outback? Inspired to trek across the U.S.? Companies like Expedia use data to figure out what its readers want to know and how they want to shop.

Expedia creates organization by offering categories that make your research easier. Filter out the content you don’t want to see and focus instead on the material that speaks to your interests.

Creating content that appeals to the sense on several levels is no easy feat. It takes imagination and dedication to craft material that works.

Want to let the experts hook you up with great content? Get a free trial today!

The 10 Best WordPress Plugins for the Content Marketer

by Jenna Scaglione on 10/13/2017

WordPress is currently used by 59.6% of websites with known content management systems, and used by nearly 30% of all sites on the web (That’s 364 million WordPress sites and climbing). One of the reasons why WordPress is so popular is its flexibility to allow non-techie users to add custom functionality, which is easily achievable with plugins.

Not all plugins are created equal, however, and as a busy content marketer, you need tools that will make your life easier, not harder. Outdated and sub-par plugins can be frustrating to use, slow down your site and also make it more susceptible to hacking attempts. To help you safely navigate plugins, at the end of this post, you will find a short checklist on how to determine if a plugin is updated and safe to install.

But first, here is a list of some top-rated, high-performing WordPress plugins for content marketers:

Content Scheduling Plugins

1. Editorial Calendar

Editorial calendar is a top-rated WordPress plugin that simplifies content scheduling and management. Its easy drag-and-drop calendar interface allows you to move posts from unscheduled to scheduled and edit them directly inside the interface.

Pricing: Free

 2. CoSchedule 

If you are looking for a more robust and feature-rich scheduling plugin, CoSchedule is the way to go. CoSchedule is a premium plugin that not only allows you to manage and organize your content schedule, but it also automatically posts your content to various social platforms. Features include a drag-and-drop editorial calendar, Google Analytics, Evernote and Google docs integration, headline analyzer, content scheduling and posting, re-queuing content and more.

Pricing: CoSchedule offers a 14-day free trial. Monthly plans start at $49 / month billed monthly with discounts for annual billing.

If you schedule posts regularly and you are looking for a way to make this process MUCH easier, download our FREE Content Planning Toolkit and Editorial Calender here.

Optimization Plugins

3. Yoast SEO

Known throughout the WordPress community as one of the most powerful SEO (Search Engine Optimization) plugins, Yoast SEO is a robust tool which will help you optimize your site and pages for the search engines. The plugin also offers suggestions and tips making it easy for the SEO novice to optimize his site to increase traffic.

Pricing: Yoast offers a packed free version with allowance of one keyword optimization per page. The Premium version is $89 / year and it is ad-free and allows more page previews, up to 5 keywords to optimize, automatic internal linking suggestions, content insights, redirect manager and 24/7 support.

4. EWWW Image Optimizer

Page load time is important for content marketers. Just a two-second improvement in page load time can double your conversion rates. Heavy images slow download times which can negatively affect your search engine rankings and your conversion rates. EWWW is a free plugin that optimizes your images automatically to speed up your website. Set the plugin to automatically optimize newly uploaded images as well as optimize older ones currently on your site.

Pricing: Free

5. WP Super Cache

Caching plugins also help you speed up your site by creating static versions of your pages for repeat visitors instead of loading a new page from your database every time the same visitor accesses a page. Re-loading the page over and over can drain your site resources and slow down your site. Note that this plugin may require some light maintenance to perform properly.

Pricing: Free

Analytics Plugin

6. Google Analytics Dashboard (GADWP)

GADWP is a free plugin that works with Google Analytics enabling you to add your Google Analytics tracking code to your WordPress site and also view your analytics stats inside your WordPress interface. This plugin makes tracking your results easier and also displays advanced data collection like events and custom dimensions (tags, user engagement). Also included are Google tag manager tracking and Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) features.

Pricing: Free

Engagement Plugins

7. MashShare

A top-rated social sharing WordPress plugin, MashShare offers multiple sharing widgets to allow your website visitors to share your content on many social platforms. The share features are coded for high-performance so they won’t slow down your site. MashShare also integrates with the SEO by Yoast plugin.

Pricing: Pricing is free but the plugin offers premium add-ons such as floating sidebars, video posts, Facebook Like bars, additional network sharing, Google Analytics integration, URL shorteners and more.

8. WordPress Related Posts 

The WordPress Related Posts plugin allows you to add related posts to the footer of your content. Offering visitors related posts can increase engagement and keep people on your site longer. Google also tracks how long people stay on your site as one of its ranking criteria. Note that if you purchase a premium WordPress theme, it may already include a related posts feature. In that case, you will not need this plugin.

Pricing: Free

Lead Generation Plugins (Optin forms)

9. OptinMonster

OptinMonster is a top-rated plugin that enables you to create high-converting professional opt-in forms. Create in-line opt-in forms for your blog posts as well as after posts, sidebar forms, floating header and footer bars, popups and more. Other features include email marketing service provider integration, exit-intent technology (visitor mouse tracking), advanced page level targeting and behavior personalization, A/B split testing, Google Analytics integration and more.

Pricing: The plugin packages start at $9 / month billed annually.

10. Icegram

Icegram also offers opt-in form creation, however, this plugin includes a free version. Icegram’s free version is not as feature-rich as OptinMonster but Icegram offers paid add-ons. If you want a more affordable plugin option for opt-in forms, Icegram may be the way to go. If you are looking for a more robust platform, consider OptinMonster instead.

Pricing: Free

Additional lead generation plugins:

Sumo – Free and paid versions

Bloom – $89 / year or $249 lifetime access

LeadPages (Landing pages) – Starts at $25 / month paid annually and includes a WordPress plugin. I am a big fan of LeadPages. See more detailed information on LeadPages in our Comprehensive Guide to Lead Generation Tools.

OptimizePress (Landing pages) – Starts at $97 (for use on 3 sites)

How Do You Know Which Plugins are Safe to Install?

I can’t guarantee 100% success when you download and install WordPress plugins as WordPress does not review and test each individual plugin. But, follow the below suggestions for best results. Note that you should be backing up your site regularly. This way, if any installation messes up your site, you can restore it easily. I recommend UpdraftPlus for a backup plugin as it is easy for non-techies to maneuver.

If you are searching for plugins that are safe to add to your site, evaluate them based on the following criteria:

  • Updated within the last 3-6 months; ideal if within the last month
  • Reviews with 4 stars or higher and a high number of reviewers
  • High number of downloads
  • Recent comments on the download page and the developer is active and answering questions
  • Compatible with the most recent version of WordPress
  • Includes specific instructions on how to use the plugin

WordPress plugins will help you optimize your site and make it easier to add functionality. But, if you are looking for additional assistance with your content marketing efforts and you want to achieve a measurable return on investment from your content marketing campaigns, this is what we do best. Try us out for free here and get free platform access, optimized content that is yours to keep forever, and a custom promotional plan, with absolutely no commitment required. See you on the inside :) .

Mastering the Call to Action

by Susan Guillory on 10/11/2017

Even with the best content out there, without one critical component, it will fall flat.

What’s that essential element? A solid call to action.

A call to action — also neatly called a CTA — simply tells visitors to your website or blog what you want them to do next. That could be:

  • Sign up for our emails
  • Buy a product
  • Register for the webinar
  • Download an ebook

It might sound silly, having to tell people what you want from them, but trust me: they don’t mind. And you shouldn’t either: adding a solid CTA to your web page can drastically increase your conversion rate!

Here are tips to help you get people to do exactly what you want them to do on your website or blog.

1. Stick to One Call to Action

You might be thinking, “Ohhh, there are so many things we want people to do on our website!”

That’s neato, but listen carefully: you get one CTA per page. More than that, and you’ll confuse people.  Keep it simple. You can have several CTAs throughout your website, and each page can have a different one.

2. Focus on a Theme

Consider what the main idea of a given web page is. If it’s a landing page for a free ebook download, your call to action should reflect that. But some pages, like your About or Contact Us pages, might not have such an obvious theme.

If you start by making a list of CTAs you can use, you can then choose one for any page. So your Contact Us page might have a CTA like this after the email form:

Ready to start saving money in your business? Get your free consultation today to find out how!

list

3. Make it Urgent

You want people to feel like if they don’t take action this minute they might miss out on something great. To that end, use urgent and timely language to light a fire underneath them:

Save 30% on your order TODAY ONLY!

Limited Offer: Buy this book and get a free coaching session

4. Make it Clear

Your calls to action should be short sentences. There should be no confusion about what people should do.  There’s some argument in the writing community in favor of writing to the eighth-grade level in order to be accessible by all levels of educated people. Keeping your CTAs clear and simple expands your reach.

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Get 20% via email when you join our email list

5. Encourage Sharing

Often people don’t know what sort of call to action to create on blog posts. A great one is to encourage sharing of the post on social media so that you can expand your reach:

Like this post? Share it on Facebook with your friends!

Click to share on Twitter!

Including a call to action on every page or blog post on your site will help you reap the benefit of having traffic to your site, and will turn visitors into customers through your various channels to your sales funnel.

Learn how to convert more of your traffic to customers. Click here to download the report.

Amazon’s Avalanche of Echos and the Lessons for Your Content Marketing

by Ashley Horsfall on 10/09/2017

There is no surprise that Amazon always has something new up its sleeve. With the announcement of a variety of new Amazon Echo devices, including the Echo Plus, Echo Spot, and Echo Connect, it becomes clear that the Internet may be changing faster than anybody could anticipate.

In a world where everything is expected to be ‘Smart,’ how can you wisen up your content marketing strategy?

Offer the Choice Consumers Expect

One of the first things you will notice about Amazon’s new announcement is that there are so many different Echo products coming out. The Echo Dot is small and compact, whereas the Echo Show provides a screen the perfect size for viewing your favorite videos.

Offering several different packages is one way to provide consumer choice. When you package up your services so that consumers can easily see which benefits come with which groupings, your customers feel that you can cater to their needs.

Offer High Value & Affordability

The Amazon Echo Dot is not only the company’s most popular Echo, it’s also the most affordable. Consumers want an Echo that will offer value without having to put so much on the line to make sure it works.

What is stopping interested potentials from taking the step to become clients? The cost of entry to determine whether or not you have something to offer is hard to rationalize for many consumers. Providing a track record of high value at a great rate is security for clients.

Offer Consumers New Ways to Interact

Major retailers have begun to incorporate the Amazon Echo products into their strategies. For instance, Starbucks customers can use their Echos to check the balance of gift cards. The Echo is about much more than simply telling you the weather or keeping track of your upcoming appointments. The device can actually integrate with your apps and other accounts. This interaction makes using an Echo feel more personal. After all, nobody wants to feel like they are talking to a device.

Pay Attention to How We Search

Sources suggest that by the year 2020, half of all searches will occur via vocal command. This appears more likely when you consider the recent improvements in hands-free digital assistants. Over time, these services are becoming better at understanding human speech.

The Amazon Echo Show is much more responsive than a smartphone. This means that content marketers need to focus on creating a strategy focused on visual searches. How can you cater your services to those who aren’t going to be reading content but rather watching or hearing it?


Amazon already delivers to your doorstep, but now it could deliver to your kitchen, bedroom, or living room.

Expect Advertising Methods to Change

When the Amazon Echo begins to integrate more with other products, especially with video services, you are likely to see changes in marketing opportunities. The type of data available to advertising professionals will differ from the data available now. What advertisers choose to do with this information remains to be seen, but it will certainly shape the way content is shared.

Are you looking forward to the changes to come? Get Your Free Content Scoring Spreadsheet to see how you can make changes to your marketing strategy today to benefit you in the future.