Viewing all posts by Angie Nikoleychuk.

Content Criminal Minds: Eye candy, passion & community dedication

Your content needs to be attractive, passionate, and show dedicationIn “Content Criminal Minds: Why your content needs a BAU” (the first of my Content Criminal Minds series*), I introduced the stunning Derek Morgan. Yes, he’s eye candy, but he’s functional eye candy. While he adds beauty to the show, he also shows a lot of passion for his job and dedication to his community.

Content and content strategies need that same functional beauty. After all, first impressions make all the difference. If your content and website look spammy and low quality, it won’t get the attention it deserves and no one will see the value.

 

Content and Content Strategies Should Be Pretty

Whether you’re looking at an individual piece of content or all of your content as a whole, it has to look good and reflect well on your brand. (And yes, I mean it should be high quality, but it should also have visual appeal.)

For example, a piece of content should have images, video, audio and other mediums instead of just text. This will make it easy for people to read, it’ll make the page look nice, but it will also help with things like SEO, social sharing and comprehension. Your content strategy should be the same.

Including a variety of mediums in your content strategy will:

  • Keep your site (and your brand) fun and interesting.
  • Expand your reach by catching those who prefer alternative media.
  • Improve your authority and value by further exploring a topic.
  • Make your content easier to consume and share.
  • Better show the value and benefits of your products/services.

 

Use Content to Show Your Passion and Personality

Part of what makes Derek Morgan attractive and such an important member of the group is his personality and passion for what he does. And it shows in everything he does. He knows when to have fun and when to get serious. Your content and content strategy needs to do that, too.

It’s important to get down to business and get your information out there, but that doesn’t mean it’s your only option. Even if your brand is highly professional and refined, you still need to be personable and show your personality. You might even want to have a little fun.

Take Nike, for example. They’re a huge company and very, very formal and professional. Their advertising also screams quality and professionalism, but they’re not afraid to have a little fun, either. And they’re passionate, too.

If you can’t get excited about your industry, products and services, your target audience won’t be able to, either. So, get excited, show the love you have for what you do and open the window to all the benefits, value and opportunities your industry can bring. You’ll find it will get a far better response and be much more effective.

 

Be Easy to Work With and Make Sure People Know What You’re About

Derek Morgan may have the occasional disagreement with other characters on the show, but he’s easy to work with and they always know where they stand with him. There’s no beating around the bush or playing games. Your content and content strategy should be the same.

Everything you do should have a single purpose. If you add something to a page (or to your strategy) that doesn’t meet that specific purpose or goal, it doesn’t belong. This strengthens your marketing, adds clarity and strengthens your message. Visitors will be more likely to get your message and you’ll be more likely to meet your goals.

Navigation through your content and your content strategy are also important. Everything you create should be easy to find. People should be able to find what they need without digging, and most importantly, they should find it in the right order.

In other words: You need clear content funnels that move visitors from the landing page to the “goal” or “money page”. That being said, your content strategy can’t just be a stream of advertisements and product pitches.

Your content should be well rounded. It should be a well rounded strategy filled with relatable, confident and valuable content that informs or entertains. And it should all have an emphasis on serving your community (your target audience).

Derek Morgan adds good looks, passion, a fun personality and an unwavering dedication to his community. Your content and content strategy should do the same.

*The Content Criminal Minds series:

Content Criminal Minds: Why your content needs a BAU

Content Criminal Minds: 11 essentials goals of a solid content strategy

Content Criminal Minds: Fast & easy ways to streamline your content strategy

 

About the Author ~ Angie Nikoleychuk

A seven-year veteran in the war against boring, crap content, copywriter Angie Nikoleychuk loves writing, but she loves content strategy even more. She’s always up for a challenge and enjoys showing others how much fun (and effective) content can be. When she’s not running Angie’s Copywriting or on Twitter, she can be found doing other weird and wonderful things like geocaching, crafting, or performing as a professional oboist.

photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Learn the latest in content marketing and SEO copywriting best practices – check out my SEO copywriting training options and find the best program for your needs!

Content Criminal Minds: Fast & easy ways to streamline your content strategy

A solid content strategy will organize & track contentEditor’s note: This is the third in the Content Criminal Minds series by Angie Nikoleychuk. You may want to check out her first post, Why Your Content Needs a BAU, and her second, 11 Essential Goals of a Solid Content Strategy, as they are every bit as creative and resource-rich as this third! – LJC

If you are familiar with the show Criminal Minds, then you know that Aaron Hotchner, the exalted leader of the Criminal Minds BAU Team, makes sure everyone meets their goals – but that’s not his only job. He also needs to organize and track everything they do. You need to do the same thing with your content strategy.

Sounds easy enough. But, if you publish frequently, or work with more than one site, you can spend just as much time tracking everything as you do creating the content. Don’t worry. There is a solution…

What Your Content Strategy Needs

No matter what type of content you create or what industry you work in, a quality content strategy will have the same traits and goals.

It should:

  • Contain a good mix of content styles each week — Having list posts, longer pieces, short tidbits, funny images, controversial discussions, etc. ensures there’s something for everyone.
  • Have a nice mix of content types including images and video.
  • Include clearly defined and easy-to-use themes (categories and/or series) — Can readers get from one part of a series to the next?
  • Take advantage of current hot topics. — If the big topic of the week is women in tech, publish an interview with a leading lady, an opinion piece, or news items that you could tie into the topic.
  • Get readers emotionally involved. — It’s harder for readers to forget about you when you make an impression on them. Do your best to make them feel something. Bonus points if you can get them to act or react.
  • Include notable resources visitors will return to over and over again.
  • Address the needs of each of your target audiences at each phase of the life cycle.

 

This is just a short list, of course. Your content strategy could have any number of additional needs depending on your assets and where you are in your journey to success.

The real issue for many of us is figuring out how to actually track and do all of this!

How to Make Managing Your Content Strategy Faster and Easier

The answer? Work smarter.

Create a routine that works with your personality/strengths and take advantage of automation. No, I’m not talking about buying cheap articles and spinning them thousands of times. Or, auto-posting and “curating” tons of content published elsewhere. I’m suggesting you automate the mindless stuff, and optimize your time, so you can focus on the things that need your attention: creating content and running your business.

Here are a few ways to make content management faster and easier:

Content Ideas & Generation

  • Make use of programs such as Yahoo! Pipes, Huginn, DERI Pipes, or even an RSS reader with a decent tag system to collect and track the latest happenings in your industry and those related to you.
  • Need some inspiration? Try the Content Idea Generator V2 Google Spreadsheet tool from Daniel Butler or the Ultimate Link Building Query Generator (Google Doc) from Gaz Copeland.
  • Short on content? Break longer pieces up into a set of smaller ones and add internal links. You may even want to manage it with plugins like Organize Series.
  • Ideas come at any time. Do yourself a favour and write them down along with links to related images, videos, media, and the source of your inspiration. Then, you can return any time to create the content and finish it up.
  • Don’t sweat the big stuff. Not everything you write has to be a massive undertaking. Usually, I find a quick rant I knock out in 30 minutes will often do better than the pieces I spend hours putting together.

 

Content Management and Tracking

  • You might be tempted to blog every day, but don’t overdo it. Decide what you can comfortably commit to and stick to it. Remember that all marketing costs time or money. It’s up to you how much of each you’ll “pay”.
  • Plan your content ahead of time. If your brain doesn’t work that way and you can only create when you’re inspired, plan out the basics like a category or content type. Then, create as you get inspired and schedule it in. If you find there are certain goals or topics you can’t seem to cover, find someone else who can or an alternative way of meeting the demand. It might sound silly, but I often find this leads to new and creative ideas I wouldn’t have come up with otherwise.
  • Track everything in a spreadsheet. Include details like the goal of the content, the audience it’s intended for, and how it performed. Getting into the habit can be a bit tough, but you’ll find it gets faster and easier when you train yourself to do it as you go. It will also prevent you from having to keep looking it up.
  • Bring existing and former customers into the conversation. You and your readers will be able to learn a lot from their experiences. Besides, you never know what will happen when customers start interacting with each other.
  • Use an editorial calendar to track your ideas, what’s waiting to go live, and what has gone live. Tools like Trello work great for this, too. In reality, there are tons of other methods and tools. The important thing is to find something that works the way you do.

 

And don’t forget to track the results of all your hard work:

  • Content shares are important. Who shared? Where? This will help you identify patterns and improve future content.
  • Did you get any backlinks for it? If so, where? What kinds of sites?
  • Who commented? Which audience do they fit in? Can you make use of this connection later?

 

One Tool to Rule Them All

I know this is a TON of information to remember and track. Want to know how I do it? With a content management spreadsheet. (I’ve made templates available in .xlt and .xltx format.) Enjoy!

 

About the Author ~ Angie Nikoleychuk

A seven-year veteran in the war against boring, crap content, copywriter Angie Nikoleychuk loves writing, but she loves content strategy even more. She’s always up for a challenge and enjoys showing others how much fun (and effective) content can be. When she’s not running Angie’s Copywriting or on Twitter, she can be found doing other weird and wonderful things like geocaching, crafting, or performing as a professional oboist.

 

Did you know? You can become certified in SEO copywriting FREE when you register to join me in Phoenix next month for a seminar on freelance SEO Copywriting business-building & advanced SEO topics. Apply by April 30thDetails here

 

 

 

 

Content Criminal Minds: 11 essential goals of a solid content strategy

11 business objectives addressed by a strong content strategyDoes your content strategy have a team leader? It should.

When I first wrote about the characteristics of a strong content strategy in Content Criminal Minds: Why your content needs a BAU, I introduced you to Aaron Hotchner, the team’s leader. He’s known for making sure the team meets its goals. He keeps everyone focused and makes sure everything gets done. It’s a big job, but he does it with a devoted, professional air.

How do you handle all this? Are you dropping the ball?

Does your content strategy address all of your business goals?

Content strategy is a lot like a cake. You have to have just the right mix of ingredients to end up with the perfect dessert. Miss something, and it might be edible, but it’ll be a struggle to turn it into something you can use. (Angel food cake in Jell-o. Yum!)

Your business is the same. It has a range of needs that your content will need to meet.

Like Aaron Hotchner, a solid content strategy should corral and direct your organization’s content so that it accomplishes these 11 essential goals:

1. Generate Customers – Sales copy accomplishes this goal, but it’s not the only example. Customer stories or how-to’s that demonstrate the value of your products or services can do this, too. This content is written directly for people who might buy or convert.

Learn more: How to Write Great Copy Using Storytelling Techniques – Men with Pens

See the technique in action: The Business Case for SEO Content Development: Turn Words Into ACTION! – SEO Copywriting

Case Study: Stitches Online Marketing Campaign and Website – Angie’s Copywriting

2. Attract Links – Written for related businesses and those who already sell to your target audience, content that earns links by triggering an emotional response or providing superior value. Either way, it needs to get attention from the right people.

Learn more: Golden Rules of Linkbaiting – Smashing Magazine

Copywriting Master Class Sneak Peek: Creating Successful Link Bait

See the technique in action: Thomson’s Evolution of Music

David Mihm’s Local Search Ranking Factors

3. Make Specific Connections – Certain people have enough pull in your industry or in related industry to give your business a huge push. You know who they are. Content made to get the attention of these people is the right topic, in the right format, the right tone, and written in just the right way to get their attention and compel them to share.

Learn more: Beyond Social Scoring – The Situational Factor of Influence – Danny Brown

See the technique in action: Stop Writing for Google. Really. Stop it. – Jim Connolly

Crime and Punishment: Are Big Bloggers Taking Dirty Money? – Angie’s Copywriting

4. Generate Buzz – Usually created with a high shock value, this stuff gets a LOT of attention, and not necessarily from a specific audience. News items, current hot topics, reports, and some opinion pieces fit in this category.

Learn more: How to Generate Publicity for Your Business – Entrepreneur.com

See the technique in action: Where Are All the Women SEOs? – Search Engine People

How to Generate Scientific Controversy – Live Granades

5. Build Authority – Pillar content and resources that show your knowledge and expertise in an area. These are the things that set you apart from others — what you’re KNOWN for — but they’ll also get readers returning to your site again and again. This is content you’d want to bookmark if you were a customer.

Learn more: How to Write Great Blog Content – The Pillar Article – Yaro Starak

Killer Flagship Content – Free Ebook – fellow Canadian Chris Garrett

How to Develop the Strategic Pillars to Hold Up Your Content Marketing Strategy – CMI and Chris Moritz

7 Tips on How to Write Sticky, Memorable Blog Posts – ProBlogger

See the technique in action: Remarkablogger’s Diamond Business Blogging Framework (Free eBook with newsletter signup)

31 Days to Build a Better Blog?- ProBlogger (eBook for purchase)

Ultimate Guide to AdWords Remarketing – PPC Hero

6. Retain Customers – Designed for existing customers, this content adds value to those who have already converted. It’s an excellent way to keep them engaged, push upsells, and address issues as they arise.

Learn more: Customer Life Cycle & Content Marketing – Where Do You Stand? – Lee Odden

Marketing Content During the Customer Lifecycle – TopRank

Understanding the Customer Life Cycle – David Loshin

See the technique in action: SEO Copywriting’s Certification Grad Interviews (scroll down a bit to see the interview series) – SEO Copywriting

Trello helps existing customer get even more value from the Trello software (“How to use Trello like a pro”) – Trello Blog

7. Battle Competition – Content that counteracts moves made by your competition. For instance, when your competition releases a new product or takes steps to best you, this content counteracts it and lessens its impact.

Learn more: In Search, Your Competition Isn’t Who You Think – TopRank

Stop Trying to Be Better Than the Competition – Duct Tape Marketing

See the technique in action: While this is a technique that’s done in a bit of a sneaky way, through several bits of content and marketing moves, there is always a more direct route…

Gravity Charge Kills Your Members… – Your Members

(Woothemes Sensei Integration is another good example from the same company)

8. Recapture Lost Sales/Customers – Customers leave for a reason. Usually, it’s because you failed to satisfy a need. This content is designed to address these issues and may even include special offers.

Learn more: Winning Back “Lost” Customers: Who Do You Woo – and How? – Revenue Performance (The formatting is sucky, but the information is solid.)

Designing Effective FAQ Pages – Six Revisions

See the technique in action: The Trello development board addresses this, as well as helps keep current customers excited and tuned in.- Trello Development

9. Expand Your Audience – While serving your target audience is great, it’s not your only option. Content that meets this need often talks about alternative uses for your products or services, but it can also talk about topics on the fringe of your industry.

Learn more: How to Expand Your Blog Audience When Traffic Plateaus – Problogger (section 4)

Why You Shouldn’t Stick to Your Niche – Men with Pens

See the technique in action: Alternative uses for Trello – Trello Blog

10. Trigger Loyalty – This content talks about the traits your customers love most about you – the things that make you special. The idea here is to remind customers of their loyalty to you and share it with others.

Learn more: How to Get Your Customers to Compete With Each Other and Why You Should – Duct Tape Marketing

Building Brand Loyalty 4-Part Series – AYTM

See the technique in action: HPSauceUK’s Movember Competition videos - HPSauceUK’s YouTube Channel

11. Engage – If you hope to build authority, convert visitors, and maintain your existing customer base, you need to engage with others. This content type (like user-generated content or pieces asking for opinions) encourages others to get to know the “real you” — you show your personality, your strengths, and your core values.

Learn more: How to Find & Engage Your Target Audience Online for Profit – Matthew Woodward

See the technique in action: GiffGaff’s Do This Better Campaign - GiffGaff

A1 Steak Sauce’s “Sing For Your Beef” video competition – A.1. YouTube Channel

It’s important to note that, while content may fulfill more than one objective, and some objectives may overlap, your focus should be on one main goal. You also need to make sure your content strategy has balance.

If you only publish content designed to generate customers, you’ll find yourself lacking in other areas, which can make the actual conversions of customers more difficult. The same principle holds for the other core goals – all must work in concert for your organization’s long-term success. Just like Aaron Hotchner’s BAU team.

What goals would you add as an essential part of a strong content strategy?

About the Author ~ Angie Nikoleychuk

A seven-year veteran in the war against boring, crap content, copywriter Angie Nikoleychuk loves writing, but she loves content strategy even more. She’s always up for a challenge and enjoys showing others how much fun (and effective) content can be. When she’s not running Angie’s Copywriting or on Twitter, she can be found doing other weird and wonderful things like geocaching, crafting, or performing as a professional oboist.

Learn SEO copywriting and content marketing best practices. Earn more money. Check into my SEO Copywriting Certification training – today!

 

 

Content Criminal Minds: Why your content needs a BAU

Content creation requires a behavioral analytic teamI love the show Criminal Minds. I realize this just adds to my nerdy image, but I can’t help it. The show is usually well written. It has a fantastic group of characters, and does a great job of combining science (psychology) with entertainment. (I wouldn’t kick Reid out of bed for spouting statistics, either. Just saying.)

The Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) uses someone’s behaviors and character traits to predict their actions. And like the show’s characters, I’ve made a career out of analyzing and using people’s behaviour. I just use it to influence their actions rather than arrest them.

Introducing Your Personal Content BAU

You may be the only content person in your business, but your content still needs a range of characteristics to be successful. Leave one out and the quality of your content will fall. How you integrate these characteristics and what you do with them will depend on the behavior of your target audiences. (That’s another book…er… post on its own.)

Ready to meet your content BAU?

Management, Organization, and Focus

AhotchAaron Hotchner, the BAU’s exalted leader, is a straight-to-the-point kind of guy. And like Hotchner, your content and content strategy need a leader with the same traits. You need to keep everything organized, keep track of your to-do list (generating customers, getting attention from related businesses, building authority and trust, etc.), and monitor the results of your efforts.

Successful content creation requires a no-nonsense leader, too. Each piece you create has to be complete (introductions, summaries, META data, call-to-action phrases, etc.), and gone over by a ruthless editor.

Formatting, Confidence, and Community Dedication

DmorganCMDerek Morgan is the eye candy. He’s pleasing to look at (read: downright yummy), outgoing, confident, and devoted to his community. Don’t you wish your content strategy had these traits? It should.

Regardless of what industry you’re in, your content strategy should “be pretty” (contain a mix of text, images, and videos and have a balanced layout).

Your content should be pretty, too. Everything should be easy to navigate, easy to read, and include whitespace and images. It should be relatable and confident.

And don’t forget: Successful content is rarely self-serving. It should enrich the lives of your readers by providing them with information, entertainment, and solutions, not just advertise and push concepts.

Promotion and Communication

JjareauJennifer Jareau (JJ) is the team’s PR person. She deals with the media and acts as a liaison between the BAU, the families, and local law enforcement.

To add JJ to your content BAU, dedicate time to reputation management, audience interaction, and outreach programs. Make sure your message gets to the right people in the right way and always presents the right image for your business.

 

Facts and Information

SreidSpencer Reid is an eclectic genius who has all the facts, formulas, history, details, and information you could ever need on a subject. (Hey, some girls like bad boys. I just happen to like the ones best described as “a little odd” or “geeky”. We all have our addictions.) And guess what? Spencer is the Criminal Minds equivalent to the facts, links, and details you inject into your content.

While Spencer can often go a bit overboard (you might want to avoid that), his facts are irrefutable and usually pivotal to solving the case. By adding a little (or a lot) of Reid to your content and content strategy, you can have the same reputation. Fact check, fact check, fact check!

Lastly, Reid would never waste time on things that have no value, so why should you? Make sure each marketing effort is earning you some kind of ROI.

Fun, Balance, and Standing Out

Kirsten_VangsnessPenelope Garcia is the fun, outrageous, shocking computer genius in the BAU. She’s perfect for balancing out the dark topics and relieving the emotion strain. Your copy and content strategy needs that, too.

It’s ok to provide serious content like news items and informational/instructional content, but you also need to have fun and show some personality. The stronger and more unique your personality is, the more you’ll stick out, which means you’ll get noticed and be remembered.

Passion and Class

Joe_MantegnaDavid Rossi is notable for his old-world class, handsome charm, and Italian passion. He seems a bit more rough around the edges than the other characters, but he’s dedicated and smart, tactful and insightful. Rossi is key to the team and he should be key to your content strategy, too.

When you’re passionate about something, it shows no matter how hard you try to hide it. Passion will keep your readers enthralled and make sure you’re always doing your best. Rossi’s class, charm, and insightfulness will reflect well on your business and encourage readers to see you as the expert you are.

Who will be part of your content Behavioral Analysis Unit? And the important question: Who is your favorite Criminal Minds character?

About the Author ~ Angie Nikoleychuk

Angie Nikoleychuk is the senior copywriter, consultant & strategist at Angie’s Copywriting Services. She specializes in link bait creation, content strategies, and content optimization. Like to learn more about creating effective link bait? Check out her book entitled Copywriting Master Class: Creating Successful Link Bait.

Criminal Minds images courtesy of Wikimedia

photo thanks to California Cthulu (Will Hart)

Is your content in need of a BAU? Or some fine-tuning? Check into my SEO Content Review service for a low-cost, high-value assessment!