Category: Content Marketing

Content Marketing

How to Get Blog Post Ideas From YouTube

About two-thirds of companies find it tough to produce engaging content. If you’re one of them, there’s a good chance your problems stem from the ideation phase. In other words, you’re struggling to come up with enough engaging blog post ideas.

Now, if you’re a regular visitor to my blog, you’ll know I write a lot of content (also, thanks for reading!). I’ve been doing this for a long time now. But I still sometimes struggle to come up with new blog post ideas.

So what do I do when writer’s block strikes?

Well, I lean on the tried-and-trusted methodologies I’ve built up over the years for devising new content titles.

Of those methodologies, one of the most consistently useful is to raid YouTube for blog post ideas. I’m going to tell you exactly how to do it in this article.

Why Should You Use YouTube for Inspiration?

It might seem counterintuitive to use a streaming video site to find blog post ideas. Wouldn’t it make more sense just to look at other blogs?

Sure, that can be a super effective tactic, too, but you can’t learn everything from reading your competitors’ blogs. If you keep relying on the same old sources to find content inspiration, you’ll inevitably keep producing the same sort of content, time and again.

If you want to keep pushing the boundaries and creating fantastic content that makes a real impact, you need to cast the net wider. Here are a few reasons why YouTube can help you do that.

It’s Easier to Differentiate Yourself

When you use other blogs to inspire your blog post ideas, you might find yourself wondering: “How can I do this better?”

Sometimes, you’ll be lucky. You’ll stumble across a super engaging title, but the actual article will be poor quality. Maybe it’s several years old and the information hasn’t been updated. Or perhaps it only scratches the topic’s surface, rather than going in-depth.

Other times, there’s no obvious way to improve on the original. But because you’re so convinced it’s a great blog post idea, you end up effectively rewriting your competitor’s article and adding a ton of extra information that doesn’t add any real value. Congratulations, you’ve written a worse post than your rival!

This is far less of a problem when you use YouTube to find new ideas. Why? Because with a lot of videos, there simply won’t be a decent written version available. There might be a transcript of the video, but nothing that’s been created with readability in mind.

That makes it much easier for you to go out and create something better.

There’s So Much Content to Draw Inspiration From

An astonishing 500 hours of content gets uploaded to YouTube every minute, and that number is growing every year:

find blog post ideas - hours of video uploaded to youtube

To put that into context, the major six movie studios released 87 pictures in 2019, at an average length of just over 96 minutes. That means it takes YouTubers around 16 seconds to upload the equivalent of an entire year’s worth of Hollywood content!

With such a wealth of content available, even super niche businesses are pretty much guaranteed to find something relevant to inspire them. And you don’t even need to navigate multiple platforms to find it.

People Interact With Videos & Blogs in Completely Different Ways

This is a subtle point, but an interesting one. Say you find a YouTube title that sounds like a perfect blog post idea, but it has not generated many views or engagement. Well, that’s not necessarily a problem.

Why? Because people engage with different content types in different ways.

blog post ideas - how users interact with content

As this HubSpot graphic shows us, people prefer to thoroughly consume videos rather than skim through them to find the information they’re looking for. That makes sense; videos are designed for watching from start to finish. There’s often no easy way to jump to a specific section.

Blogs are different. Only 29 percent of people read them from top to bottom, with 43 percent preferring to skip through. That’s because blogs are fantastic for skimming. Subheadings, bullet points, numbered lists, tables, and various visual elements make it simple to find the most relevant information.

So what does this tell us?

A piece of content could perform poorly on YouTube because it’s just not a good topic for a video. Yet it could still make for a fantastic blog post. So you don’t necessarily need to worry about how many views a video has racked up; you can just focus on finding good titles.

4 Ways to Find Blog Post Ideas From YouTube

YouTube is a gold mine of potential blog post ideas! Now here are four ways to find them.

1. Stalk Your Competition

If your competitors are on YouTube, they’ll have done a lot of the hard work for you. Chances are their content will be highly relevant to your audience, too. Go check it out, pick the best titles, and turn them into high-quality blog posts.

Start by drawing up a list of your competitors. Not sure who they are? Try the following:

  • Speak to your sales team: They’re the people selling your product, so they’ll know which companies they come up against regularly during the sales process.
  • Ask your customers: They likely considered a couple of different products before purchasing yours, so find out which other options they evaluated.
  • Do some social listening: Your audience might use forums and social platforms to seek out advice about your product and compare it to your competitors, so go find those conversations! Not sure how? Check out this article on my four favorite social listening tools.

Now you’ve got your competitor list, simply visit their YouTube channels and browse their existing content. In the “Videos” tab, you can use the drop-down “Sort By” menu to segment their content by:

  • Most popular
  • Oldest
  • Newest
browse competitor youtube to find blog post ideas

So let’s imagine I’m one of your competitors. Checking out my most popular videos feels like a good place to start.

Straight away, you’ll see a bunch of titles that you know have resonated with my audience. Most, if not all, of those titles could also be written up as blog posts, like:

  • SEO for Beginners: 3 Powerful SEO Tips to Rank #1 on Google in 2020
  • How to Promote Your YouTube Video When You Have ZERO Subscribers
  • How to Create a Digital Product That Generates (AT LEAST) $100,000 Per Month
  • How to Write a Blog Post From Start to Finish
  • 1 Simple Hack to Getting 1,000 Likes on Facebook

You don’t even need to watch the videos (although you should, they’re great). Take the titles, switch them up, do your research on the topic, then turn them into new blogs.

2. Read the Comments

YouTube comments get a bad rap, but they can be a surprisingly rich source of content inspiration. Commenters are rarely short of advice on how videos could be improved or expanded, and those suggestions can help you formulate new blog post ideas.

Again, let’s use my YouTube channel as an example. Currently, this is my most-viewed video:

As well as clocking up more than 1.7 million views, it has received thousands of comments. A lot of those comments are essentially just people telling me they like the video, which is always nice to hear but not super helpful for finding new blog titles. But some of them give me (and my competitors, if they’re paying attention) a useful steer on future content ideas. Here’s a good example:

use youtube comments to find blog post ideas

Wendy wants to know how I use keyword information from Google Search Console to optimize my content. 

As you can see, I’ve already left a short response. But I could go further and create a whole blog post explaining how to use Google Search Console to improve your existing content and create new articles.

Here’s another useful comment on that same video:

Find blog post ideas from YouTube comments

Manav asks me if I have any content on Google AdWords certifications. As it happens, this isn’t something I cover, but it could make an excellent blog post idea for some of my competitors.

3. Take Advantage of Predictive Search

You probably think of YouTube as a video-sharing platform, but it’s also a search engine. In fact, it’s the second-largest search engine in the world.

With over two billion logged-in users visiting YouTube every month and watching more than a billion hours of content a day, the platform generates a ton of search activity. Thanks to its built-in predictive search functionality, you can use all that activity to track down potential blog post ideas.

This is a really simple process. Just enter a topic into the search box, and you’ll see a bunch of predicted searches:

Find blog post ideas with YouTube predictive search

Now, it’s a case of exploring the options that sound most relevant. “Marketing degree UK” probably isn’t right for me, but I like the sound of “marketing strategies for small business,” so I’ll take a closer look.

using predictive search to find blog post ideas

Just from viewing this tiny subsection of results, it seems that “how-to” content resonates with people looking for small business marketing strategies. So do listicles. In other words, we’re not only getting insight on blog post ideas; we’re also learning how our blogs should be structured.

But there’s more. Scroll down the page, and you’ll find a section on related searches:

Find blog post ideas with YouTube related searches

Each one of those could potentially give me a bunch of additional titles and reveal yet more related searches. The deeper you vanish into the rabbit hole, the more blog post ideas you’ll find!

4. See What’s Trending

It’s important to remember that there’s a whole world of content outside your specific niche. What’s going on out there will naturally affect you and your audience, so it might make sense to write about it.

But what if you don’t know what everyone’s searching for? 

Fortunately, YouTube can help here, too. Just visit the “Trending” tab in the left-hand homepage menu to find the content YouTube deems to be most relevant and topical:

use youtube trending topics to find blog post ideas

Sure, not all of it will be relevant to your audience or brand. Chances are, most of it won’t be. However, I make sure to check in with the Trending section at least once a day to be sure I don’t miss any opportunities to piggyback on viral topics.

Conclusion

Once you start thinking of YouTube as a search engine rather than a video platform, its role in finding new blog post ideas makes a lot more sense.

Just like Google, it’s effectively a huge directory of content on every subject you could ever imagine. But unlike Google, the vast majority of that content exists to engage audiences; the search results aren’t crammed full of product descriptions and category pages. That’s why it’s such a treasure trove for marketers seeking the inspiration they need to create superb content.

What tactics do you use to come up with new blog post ideas?

The post How to Get Blog Post Ideas From YouTube appeared first on Neil Patel.

Content Marketing

The Do’s and Don’ts of Ethical Marketing

Ethics is not something marketers can afford to ignore. More than ever, customers expect their favorite brands to have positions on relevant social issues. One report found that 64% of Americans make purchasing decisions based on the brand’s ethical values and authenticity. Meanwhile, 42% will stop doing business with companies that respond poorly to controversial social issues.

The inverse is also true — when brands are transparent and ethical, people are far more willing to become loyal customers. What marketers must remember is that there’s a right and wrong way to speak up on current events. Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.

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Do put someone in charge of ethics

One reason why brands keep stumbling into ethical quandaries is they treat ethics as a side issue. Many companies will focus on growth or profit, while sustainability or diversity are secondary considerations. This is especially true in large brands where departments silo responsibilities and are not fully aware of what happens across the organization.

One way to address this issue is to create a dedicated leadership role for the entire brand. The cosmetic brand Lush, for example, has an Ethical Director who ensures products are cruelty-free, BPA-free, and sustainably sourced. Interestingly, Lush prioritizes ethics to the point of refusing to advertise, preferring to let its positive reputation spread by word-of-mouth.

Prioritizing ethics prevents brands from letting controversial issues slide, keeping them at the forefront of every internal conversation. Ethical directors can also help monitor supply chains or seek out diverse voices for the team. Such a position can also ensure brand messaging is consistently ethical, especially on channels like social media.

Don’t overreach with empty messaging

Ethical marketing is about more than sharing positive platitudes or a Black Lives Matter hashtag. We’ve seen countless brands try and attach themselves to social movements, only to retract the campaign because it does more harm than good. In our social media-driven age, critics will find gaps in your brand messaging that contradict your brand history. In a worst-case scenario, your pleasant advertisement may become a full-fledged scandal.

In 2018, McDonald’s experienced that worst-case scenario firsthand. It tried to celebrate International Women’s Day by flipping its iconic arches upside-down. Social media commenters pushed back almost immediately, noting the chain didn’t offer women equal wages or paid family leave. More recently, Twitter received backlash when it formally adopted the Black Lives Matter hashtag — critics reminded everyone that the platform frequently fails to ban white supremacists.

To be clear, brands should not stay silent on important issues, but they shouldn’t be blatantly opportunistic. If brand messaging doesn’t align with brand actions, many people — including your customers — will notice. Before rushing to show support, use the opportunity to recommit yourself to relevant brand values. And if possible, put your money where your messaging is with charitable donations.

How to build your customer model

Don’t speak more than you listen

As marketers, we know successful campaigns occur when we listen to and understand our audience. When marketing campaigns go wrong on an ethical level, a failure to listen — or simply read the room — is almost always where things went wrong. Sadly, these marketing horror stories are all too familiar and have real-world consequences:

The German skincare brand Nivea had to retract its “White is Purity” social media campaign once it gained the attention of white supremacists. Ironically, this campaign was meant to target Middle Eastern customers — and utterly failed to do so.

A decade earlier, Italian car manufacturer Fiat delivered 50,000 personally-addressed love letters from an admirer — secretly a new car — to prospective customers. Before the revelatory follow-up message arrived, women were locking themselves in their homes, fearing a stalker.

Both of these campaigns were tone-deaf and thoughtless at best. Yet, in each case, they could have been avoided simply by understanding the impact such messaging has on customers.

Never hurry to deliver what you think is a witty message. Instead, make yourself aware of your audience’s expectations. Even better, support a diverse marketing team with a broad range of experiences who can address your blind spots well in advance.

Do be transparent with your audience

People aren’t perfect, and neither are brands. Marketers will occasionally produce tone-deaf messaging. Leaders fail to live up to brand values. As customers, however, we usually forgive missteps if companies behave transparently. More specifically, brands must be open about internal work processes, honest about controversial issues, and upfront about what they’re doing to resolve any problems.

Surprisingly, the NFL is just now proving itself to be a great example of transparency. A few short years ago, the football league utterly failed to address the Black Lives Matter movement during Colin Kapernick’s protest. In the wake of current protests, however, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell admitted fault and acknowledged efforts to change the organization.

“We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people,” Goodall said. “We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter.”

The NFL still has lots of work ahead of it, as transparency doesn’t erase a poor reputation overnight. Yet this promising first step can go a long way towards restoring audience trust, to say nothing of players and employees.

Ethical marketing is not some buzzword or catch-phrase — it’s good business. When applied effectively, it can highlight your brand values and establish trust with customers. If you hope to grow in 2020, prioritizing ethics, cultivating transparency, and listening to customers must be where your attention lies.

The post The Do’s and Don’ts of Ethical Marketing appeared first on Post Funnel.

Content

103 Content Ideas to Add to Your Editorial Calendar

Ever feel like you’re in a content rut? Feel like you finally have a great content marketing strategy, but you need some inspiration to kick-start your creativity? Trust us, we’ve been there before. Some days we can’t wait to jump into the content calendar and pour our ideas onto the pages. Other days … not so much.

For days that look a little more like the latter than the former, check out our handy list of 103 content ideas to add to your editorial calendar. For each idea, we try to include some insight, guidance, how-tos, or even links to additional resources we hope will help you along the way.

1. Lists

Lists are a tried-and-true content marketing favorite. You love them. We love them. But, most importantly, readers love them. In fact, some of the most popular content on the Convince & Convert blog is in the form of lists. Just take a look at “25 Best University Websites for 2019” as an example.

2. How-To

How-to content offers step-by-step, process-driven information to help your audience do something better. It’s specific and to the point. As a bonus, how-to content is naturally Youtility-based content, meaning that it helps instead of hypes, so it’s going to do a great job of building affinity. Really, it’s win-win for both your audiences and you brand.

And just like list articles, there is a ton of how-to content on Convince & Convert’s blog, like “How to Build a Content Calendar (Plus a Free Template)” or “How to Manage a Social Media Crisis.”

3. Questions and Answers (Q&As)

Q&As are fantastic because they’re genuinely helpful. We can take the questions our audiences are already asking us and turn out great content just by answering them. Oh, and Q&As can be incredibly entertaining. Just look at how WIRED does their Autocomplete Interviews, which is where celebrities and other public figures answer questions in the form of Google’s Autocomplete feature.

4. Why

“Why” content explains in detail how something came into existence, or more generally, why things are the way they are. It can be extremely powerful when combined with fact-driven information, or even a controversial flare.

Just take a look at Co-Schedule’s “Why People Share” post, which was based on research and has received a ton of shares and comments since its original publish date.

5. Topic Archaeology/Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO has changed so much over the years. While focusing on target keywords was a hugely successful tactic in the past, Google’s all about semantic search today. Instead of prioritizing content around keywords, focus on uncovering hidden content opportunities instead with our Topic Archaeology process, which focuses on assessing opportunity by looking at a variety of channels, not just keyword volume.

6. Case Studies

You don’t have to tell your story all by yourself. Case studies tell the story of how you’ve helped your customers solve their problems—and they can be extremely influential in helping prospects make a purchase decision.

7. Testimonials

Testimonials are very similar to case studies, except that a specific customer of yours tells the story directly from their perspective. These are their own words—a form of word of mouth—that you use to inspire interest in your company, products, or services.

8. Quotes

Think of quotes as short-form testimonials. Alternatively, you can use quotes from influencers to complement your content—which works particularly well in shareable graphics embedded in your content.

Why Instagram is the Cookie Monster of Content and How You Should Feed the Beast

Jill Paider gave a great quote as a guest on Social Pros, so we turned her quote into a graphic quote card.

9. Interviews

While interviews may be an avenue to gather testimonials and quotes, you may also use them for gathering insight from industry influencers you may have never met before. Late night shows are famous for their interview content, and an easy way to incorporate that into your content marketing is through podcasts.

podcasts are a solid type of content

Influencers like Pat Flynn are well-known for their podcasts featuring folks throughout the industry. Even if you can’t do one yourself, consider being a guest.

10. Demos

Demos are a virtual show-and-tell for your product or service. While some demos can take up to an hour, and many users just don’t have that kind of time or attention span, you can always break demos down into shorter snippets, kind of like chapters in a book.

11. Product Review

Have a product you love that you think your audience will really dig? Do a review of it, telling your audience how it’s helped you solve your challenges, and how you think it’ll help them out, too.

12. Comparisons and “Versus” Content

You may see this a lot for product reviews, comparing one product to another. However, you can apply this storytelling tactic in many different ways to compare or contrast topics to help your audience learn the better option to pursue.

13. Company News

Just like the news in 2020, your company is ever-changing, too. Share your latest adventures with your audience to show your business is made of humans who are dedicated to making their lives even better every single day. Even silly, simple news can help your customers feel a connection with your company.

14. Industry News

Monitor your or your customers’s industry and report on the biggest news that may likely make an impact. Your audience will notice when you are the first to market with great news consistently. Just take a look at the growth of blogs like The Next Web.

15. Roundups

Roundups: the content of choice for marketers who may not have a ton of time on their hands. Simply take a look at the most popular and impactful content in your industry, and compile a comprehensive list for your audience to save them from doing the research themselves.

16. Book Reviews

If your continuing education is anything like mine, you’re reading new material constantly to stay ahead of the curve. When you read something amazing that your customers will love, share it with your audience.

Convince & Convert’s own Jay Baer actually does this quite a bit:

Content Idea: Book Reviews

17. Opinions and Rants

Controversy is one of the ways to publish viral content. Now, that shouldn’t be your goal, but rants have the potential to be super-interesting. Take a stance on a popular belief, and turn it on its head.

opinion

For example, CoSchedule’s post about the best blog post length generated quite a bit of buzz and comments from readers, as seen above.

18. Metaphors

Try writing content that begins with an unrelated story and includes a unique angle as the foundation of the content. There is too much “How To Write A Blog Post” out there but not enough “What My Stubborn, Opinionated Grandma Could Teach You About Writing An Awesome Blog Post”.

19. Personal Stories

When Greg Digneo laid out his life story on Copyblogger, the audience responded. He told the story of why quitting was the most profitable thing he’s ever done, and it was super-inspiring for tons of other readers. Connect the dots between your personal story and what your readers really care about, and they’ll eat it up.

personal stories

Greg Digneo laid out exactly how he quit his job to pursue his passion in this successful post on Copyblogger’s blog.

20. Predictions

Joe Pulizzi is notorious for making content marketing predictions. They’re always interesting, and he jokes about them when they don’t come to fruition. So he gets to become a thought leader while also showing his humanity—creating a personal and somewhat humorous connection with his readers—all at once.

21. Successes

You’ seen these awesome headlines from folks like Neil Patel and Brian Dean: Tell your audience how either you or someone you know was successful using the tactics you recommend.

Content Idea Example: Successes

Neil Patel is awesome at writing list posts that focus on successes to help his audience learn how to do something better like this post.

22. Failures and What Not to Do

Just as successes are fun for your audience to read, outlining techniques that don’tt work well is also interesting because there is an element of controversy to this type of content that people crave. Turn a generally-accepted-as-true idea into a lie, and people will read. This is also one content area that I am fortunately and unfortunately very familiar with, as evidenced by my COO article, Failure: The Ultimate Content F-Word.

Content Idea: Failure

23.  Company Goals

Groove has caught the attention of our friends at CoSchedule, because they’ve laid out exactly how they want to grow their business and give reports on their progress. The best part is that their blog reflects it, too.

Groove's goals

Groove lays out their goals out and tells the story of their progress.

Every post seems like a story on their blog that helps you understand how they’re reaching their goals all while drawing you in to become a customer. It’s a brilliant, bold, and super-unique type of content.

24. Transparency

Similar to Groove’s blatant outlining of its goals, transparency in the form of open information on your business’ financials and growth in general can build trust with your audience. Buffer does this well with its “Open” blog, telling their story as a startup while building a connection with their audience.

open blog

Buffer’s Open blog is an example of transparency.

25. Research

Your customers and audience are a perfect source for your own research. Become the source for industry research and studies. Speaking from our own experience at Convince & Convert (see our Instagram for Tourism report), research helps you understand your audience better than ever while helping you become a credible and respected source in your industry.

26. Facts and Stats

Similar to research, this is when you heavily research a topic with existing studies and present the findings to your audience. This can save you a bit of time from doing the research yourself, while also helping you become the go-to source that has compiled all of the information available on a specific topic.

27. Guides

Guides dive deep into detail on a topic to help your audience do something better than ever before. Some awesome guides use the skyscraper technique to provide more robust information than any other source.

28. Worksheets

Worksheets are perfect for turning the actionable advice from guides into printable materials for note-taking, brainstorming, and ideation. Think about elementary school and your teacher’s handouts for homework—it’s the same thing, just helping your audience work through the material you’re helping them learn.

29. Checklists

Checklists are a type of worksheet that helps your audience follow a step-by-step process to achieve a desired outcome. Think about using checklists to complement list posts, for example.

30. Templates

Templates may combine information from guides, worksheets, and checklists all into one type of content to walk your audience through a step-by-step process, blatantly telling your users how to do something.

Our own Content Calendar Template is one of the most popular pieces of content on our website and helps support our lead generation goals. Check it out.

Content Calendar Template

31. Tear Sheets

One of the most-downloaded pieces of content at CoSchedule is a tear sheet compiling a massive list of emotional words that help people using their headline analyzer get even better scores for their content. Think of this as a quick-glance document to help your audience do something better, faster.

32. E-Books

Ebooks are a perfect way to round up individual posts as chapters in a larger content format. Make ebooks to provide long-form content that tells a bigger, more comprehensive story.

33. Audio Books

Now that you’ve written your ebook, complement it with an audio version for your auditory learners. Adding an audio element to your content increases engagement and time spent interacting with content. See how adding audio articles (not quite audio books, but similar) to our own site increased time on site.

34. White Papers

Used to provide robust technical information, white papers are perfect for telling complex stories in a concise format, often appearing as PDFs. They are also a perfect format to complement case studies to show the problem, solution, and outcome of how you help your customers overcome their challenges.

35. Infographics

Some of your audience’s learning styles lean heavily toward visual content. Infographics help tell a story by showing key statistics, facts, and short-form text in a visual format.

infographics as types of content

Infographics are awesome for showing data in a visual way to take a relatively dry topic (text-wise) and add some vibrance to it, like this infographic example of the best times to post on social media.

36. Data Visuals

Bring research-intensive content to life with data visuals, like pie charts, bar graphs, line graphs, and more to prove the points you’re making throughout your content.

37. Listicle Infographic Summaries

Infographics are a great way to visually surface big points in content. These visuals work extremely well to draw attention on pretty much any channel you can think of. Here’s an example of an infographic we created for the release of Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin’s book, Talk Triggers.

38. Diagrams

Sometimes, a complex pattern is best told in a visual way as a symbolic representation of information. Diagrams are awesome for demonstrating relationships and organizational flows.

39. Posters

Did you know that posters date back to the mid-nineteenth century? Even in our digital age, posters can still work. Offer them as digital downloads, or consider printing them off for in-person events or conferences.

posters are types of content

This poster example actually combines a diagram right into the poster to demonstrate how to repurpose old content into new blog posts.

40. Photography

Thankfully, stock photography has gotten much, much better over the years, but custom photography is alway the first choice for the best results. Also, be sure your photography shows the faces and places where you work and the humans behind the scenes at your company.

41. Memes

Sure, sometimes these have no business value at all. However, humor and entertainment is one of the main reasons people share content on social media. When you want to show a little personality in content like a blog post, memes get the point across with a little flare.

42. Comics and Cartoons

Humor gets your point across in a memorable way. But not all comics or cartoons need to be funny, necessarily. Hand-drawn or even computer-generated cartoons can tell a step-by-step story, too.

43. Screenshots

Ah, screenshots—one of the best ways to show examples of digital content to prove your point. Social Media Examiner almost exclusively relies on screenshots to complement their blog posts, including one in at least every five paragraphs to break the monotony of text.

Screenshots Example from Social Media Examiner

Posts like this one from Social Media Examiner rely heavily on screenshots to demonstrate the how-to, step-by-step nature of the content.

44. Animated GIFs

Animated GIFs take screenshots to the next level. These work super well for complementing demo content to show how something works or how to use a new feature on your website, blog, or in your software.

45. Illustrations

The CoSchedule content marketing blog uses tons of illustrations to highlight the main points of their articles. An illustrated post of theirs even turned humorous by featuring a unicorn with the headline, 5 Unicorns Of Refreshingly Unique Marketing That Will Make You Stand Out. Illustrations create visual interest in your content and make for some very shareable graphics.

illustration

46. Hand-Written Notes, Sketches, and Brainstorms

Some solo marketers may not have the luxury of a designer on hand. There are times when images of sketches, written notes, and brainstorms work well to illustrate your concepts.

Handwritten Note Example

47. Texts, Short Message Service (SMS), Web Push, and Push Notifications

Texts work for some businesses to share content, while others may opt for mobile push notifications from tools like Pushbullet. Or maybe your audiences could benefit from website push notifications from tools like PushPros.com?

48. Emails

Sometimes, it’ best to just go back to basics. Emails work, and they work incredibly well, especially when content fits the medium. In fact, according to a recent report, email generates $38 for every $1 spent, making it one of the most effective channels and types of content available.

49. Courses

Courses are a great way to create content dedicated to education. We would even add workshops to this category, too. Convince & Convert is no stranger to offering content marketing courses, and we know first hand how valuable they are for growing your email list and building a community around your brand.

 

50. Certification Programs

When you find courses work well for your business, certification programs take them to the next level. Imagine even more robust courses that provide your students with homework, tests, and certificates of completion. Make your students feel special with exclusive membership in a special network.

51. Marketing Automation

Courses often run on marketing automation, but there are even more ways to use it. Marketing automation, at its core, involves sending emails to your audience after they complete a specific action. It works extremely well when coupled with new signups (whether it’s email subscribers or customer conversions) to onboard them and keep them engaged.

52. Newsletters

Most newsletters work well through email, though now printed newsletters may be a way to stand out from the crowd, since only .5% of bloggers include printed newsletters in their content strategy.

53. Websites and Web Pages

We’re pretty sure we don’t have to go into too much detail on this one. Just make sure to tailor your messages to answer the WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) for your customers, and you’re set.

Company Images Example

Images of our team appear on our About Us page to show the real people behind the scenes at Convince & Convert.

54. Landing Pages

Like websites, we’re pretty sure you’re all up to speed on landing pages. We like to use landing pages a lot for specific content campaigns.

55. Feature Pages

Some people talk about feature pages interchangeably with landing pages, but we like to think of feature pages as deep-dives into the details. Target these more toward the benefits of how your offering solves your customers’ challenges.

56. Microsites

When AT&T addressed a huge social problem with texting and driving accidents, they launched a microsite to complement the social media campaign #itcanwait. The site is a great outlet for information on the campaign, only more targeted than if they included the information on AT&T’s own website.

Microsite Example

Pro Tip: Supporting social causes is a fantastic way to create shareable content.

57. News Releases and Pitches

While news and press releases themselves are targeted more at journalists and editors who write publications your audience loves to read, the idea here is to get coverage in influential publications to reach your audience.

58. Pitch Packets

Pitch packets are sort of like public relations gift baskets that are specifically themed around what you’re pitching. For example, when I worked at philosophy (the skincare and cosmetic company), they were launching a brand-new perfume that had slightly effervescent, champagne quality to it. Their pitch packet to each targeted media outlet contained a full-sized bottle of the yet-to-be-released perfume, a marketing piece about the perfume, and a mini bottle of Veuve Clicquot.

59. Public Service Announcements (PSAs)

Yes, seriously. PSAs are great, and you can actually have some fun with them. Make them animated, get special guests, deliver important information in lighthearted ways—the opportunities are endless.

PSA example from Alamo Drafthouse

Alamo Drafthouse uses public service announcements to reinforce their strict no talking, no texting policy.

60. Awards

Whether it’s awards for your customers, suppliers, or even your industry in general, these are a powerful way to show you’re listening and supportive. And the folks who receive your recognition? You can bet they’ll share it with their networks, too.

61. Polls

Ever have that feeling when you just want to know your audience’s opinion on something? Polls are great for a quick, one-question dialogue to get you the information you need. Ask a question to get information on upcoming content ideas to create even better content based on your audience’s advice.

62. Surveys

Surveys are perfect for gathering data you can use in research-based content. They’re also great for getting to know your audience’s needs, so you can create even better content. Use surveys when your readers and customers sign up and unsubscribe to understand areas where you can improve.

Survey Example

SurveyMonkey has great options for getting to know your audiences’ needs.

63. Quizzes

Quizzes complement courses super well and are a fantastic way to teach your audience something and measure what they’ve learned. You can use them for data points, but these are best used simply for engagement.

64. Games and Gamification

If your content marketing includes education, entertainment, or social causes, how can you turn your content into a game? Games are terrific for engagement with an interactive element.

65. Web Apps and Tools

When CoSchedule found out that nearly 800 bloggers and marketers searched for the term “headline analyzer,” and that there wasn’t a great solution for them, they decided to research 1 million headlines in their database to build a tool that would help them write better headlines. It’s their #1 driver for new email subscribers.

other apps

The headline analyzer from CoSchedule is an awesome way to improve your headlines to increase your click-throughs.

66. Voice-Activated Content

From Alexa to Google and more, voice-activated content and apps literally surround us, yet it’s so often overlooked when we think of creating content. Instead of optimizing like we would for search engines, we need to optimize for conversation, because we don’t say, “Hey, Google. Time now.” Instead, we say, “Hey, Google. What time is it?” It’s a whole different way of thinking about how users engage with our content, and how we answer their questions in return.

67. Plugins

When CoSchedule launched a Click To Tweet WordPress plugin, they found an opportunity to help their audience enable their readers to share content directly inline in blog posts. It was also a terrific way to add “Powered By CoSchedule” to more than 10,000 blogs.

click-to-tweet

This is an example of what CoSchedule’s Click To Tweet plugin looks like when embedded in a blog post.

68. Contests

By now, everyone is familiar with the Lay’s Do Us A Flavor contest, which used social interactions as votes to choose a new flavor of potato chip that would be created. Your contests can be as simple as replies or likes on social media, or as elaborate as the Lay’s contest. If you go the Lay’s route, be prepared for some … interesting submissions.

Lay's Do us a Flavor Contest Example

Thankfully, Today.com reviewed Lay’s cappuccino-flavored chips.

69. Challenges

Challenges are like contests, except that it’s up to each individual reader to compete with themselves to improve. Think about 30-day challenges where you can provide your readers one thing to do every day to build a new skill.

70. Video

Video is one of those content types that every brand should be investing in and creating, but they’re not. If there’s one thing social media platforms have been telling us over and over again, it’s that video consistently generates more engagement, and they prioritize video content in our audiences’ newsfeeds. To be honest, video is really not a nice-to-have content type any more. It’s a must-have. See the video marketing statistics you need to know for more proof.

71. Paid Social Media

There are so many ways to better reach your audiences on social media, thanks to paid advertising. From sponsored posts, to dark social, to paid ad placement, social media has just given old-school advertising a new place to spend. Remarketing is also a great option for targeting those who have visited your website or even certain posts.

72. Sponsorships

Sponsorships are on the rise for content marketers to fund events, podcasts, webinars, and more to reach new audiences. Some larger brands even sponsor sports leagues and teams to connect with their audiences.

73. Native Advertising

Native advertising is content that appears in a publication of some kind—blog posts, magazine articles—that a brand pays for. Sometimes, brands even write the content themselves instead of the publication’s own journalists. Native ads look just like normal content and may contain disclaimers to inform readers they’re looking at messaging a brand pays for.

74. Advertorials

Like native advertising, advertorials are content that appear in publications as ads. These are common in newspapers and magazines—more print types of content. These ads often include more text that is similar to an article, but is clearly not mixed in with traditional content.

75. Magazines

While they might be a rare sight these days, printed magazines can be a terrific format to reach audiences who don’t constantly stare at a screen (plus, they’re easy to repurpose as digital publications).

magazines are types of content

Content Marketing Institute publishes Chief Content Officer magazine to reach their audience.

76. Reports

This is a perfect format for sharing your custom data. Reports often include graphs, charts, and text you can repurpose into other content formats, too.

best university websites

Here’s an example of our own report on the Best University Websites for 2019.

77. Digital Brochures

A classic: The digital brochure offers specific information on your business or specific services or features you offer.

78. Fliers

Fliers are perfect for quick take-along content, usually well-suited for physical promotion for events. However, if you design them correctly, you can easily repurpose them for online posts and publishing.

79. Webinars

2020 has turned into the year of the webinar, but that’s because it’s a great format to deliver content. Training and demos are well-suited for webinars, and they’re also a terrific way to build your email list with subscribers.

80. Virtual Events

On second thought, maybe 2020 has actually turned into the year of the virtual event? A lot of traditionally in-person events have had to move online this year, but that doesn’t mean that the content has suffered at all. Just make sure to download our free 11 Ways to Win with Virtual Events guide first!

Win with Virtual Events

 

81. Event Replays

Record your webinars and virtual events to provide videos of the content after the events are over. This is a great way to repurpose the hard work you put into a form of content that exists only momentarily to get the most bang for your buck.

82. Conferences and Workshops

While online events may be easier to coordinate (since anyone from around the world has the opportunity to present and attend), physical conferences and workshops are an excellent avenue of training and networking. We have a feeling that 2021 and beyond will see a fierce and enthusiastic return to in-person events.

Content Marketing World

 

83. Meetups

Less formal than traditional conferences, Meetups provide an opportunity to connect with others in your industry, often localized to specific cities or communities. This is a perfect way to meet your local audience, and several have even moved online.

84. Live-Streaming Video

For any event, live streaming helps marketers bring in-person events to online audiences in real-time.

85. Presentations

SlideShare is still a good place to plant all those decks you create for your webinars and events, although it’s not the only place you should be posting them. Don’t forget you can also write a blog post and embed the presentation into the post as supporting content.

86. Podcasts

Podcasts have taken a slight dip, now that commute times are way down, but they’re still a great option and content format. They work well for interviews and, as Joe Pulizzi mentioned once in his “This Old Marketing” podcast, they are likely to attract an audience of near-customers when you post them regularly. (If you haven’t already, check out our own podcast, Social Pros social media podcast.)

87. Live Chats

Whether you invest in a chat bot or you have a real, live person proving real-time customer service to website visitors, live chat is a great opportunity for you to connect with your audience and answer their questions. It’s also a terrific way to gather content ideas directly from your audience.

88. Blog Posts

Well, this one was bound to come up sooner or later! Just make sure you’re not creating random acts of content, and your blog addresses both your audiences’ needs and your business objectives.

89. Vlog Posts

I always love a good portmanteau and some great videos. Vlogs check both of those boxes. Vlogs are also great ways to complement normal blog posts.

vlogs

If the written word isn’t for your audience, maybe the audio-visual nature of vlogging will connect with them like it does for Casey Neistat.

90. Audio Articles

We actually just recently started adding audio articles — audio versions of every post on the Convince & Convert website. Like podcasts, this is a terrific way to connect with an audience who is constantly on-the-go or would rather just listen to the audio version of an article.

Audio Articles Example

91. Photo Galleries

Especially useful for showing portfolios and company culture, photo galleries are a hub designed to help you share visual content. Other uses could include infographics.

92. Content Libraries

CoSchedule includes a guide, template, e-book, infographic, or worksheet of some kind in all of their posts. So they decided to build a content resource hub to share all of the bonus materials they create in exchange for an email address. It’s another great list-building technique that their audience also find incredibly helpful.

Content Resource

CoSchedule’s Marketing Resource Hub is the perfect place to share lots of free guides, templates, infographics, and more.

93. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Like Q&As, FAQs are great for answering your audience’s questions. Those questions typically concern your product or service and may be technical in nature, though you could expand this to your industry in general to target highly searched terms and provide the answers.

Pro tip: Check out our formula for content marketing success, which uses your customers’ most frequently asked questions.

94. Content Hubs for Curated Content

You can complement your own content with the best content from other experts in your industry with curated content hubs. Tools like Uberflip are great ways to share awesome content with your audience that you may not have published yourself

95. Guest Posts, Podcasts, Webinars, and Videos

Publishing all of this content on your own platforms? Why not share your knowledge to introduce your brand to new audiences by writing or recording content for other awesome resources in your industry? Guesting for others with content types like blog posts, podcasts, webinars, and videos is a great way to expand your existing audience..

96. Content Syndication and Republishing

If you just published some awesome content on your blog, there’s a good chance other blogs in your industry will gladly accept and republish your content on their blogs, too. It’s called content syndication or republishing—a great way to maximize the work you’re currently doing to help you reach a larger audience.

97. Twitter Chats

Content Marketing Institute holds a weekly Twitter chat, to help connect with their followers. And it’s a simple social media event you can do, too. Just let your audience know you’ll be asking some questions at a specific time, and invite them to participate in the conversation. All they have to do is use the specific hashtag you define for your chat.

Content Marketing World Twitter Chat

98. User-Generated Content

Why user-generated content? Well, for starters, Hootsuite notes that “Consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view user-generated content as authentic compared to content created by brands.” Also, creating strong content partnerships can open your brand up to an entirely new audience that otherwise would have taken a ton of time and a lot of resources to reach. Just remember that when asking for UGC, be specific with your content request, always ask for permission, and always give credit back to the creator.

99. Blog and Social Comments

Blog and social media comments are an awesome way to connect with others in your industry, provide your business’ insight, and even link back to your content (when done well). Just remember that no one likes a salesperson at a party, so make sure you’re jumping in on the right conversations, in the right ways

100. Influencer Programs

According to Tomoson, 51% of marketers believe they get better customers and build stronger audiences from influencer marketing. That’s because the relationship begins with trust in the influencer. But don’t make the mistake in thinking that the bigger the influencer, the better the results. Instead, look for micro-influencers who have a dedicated yet active and loyal following.

101. Ask Me Anything (AMAs)

This type of content combines forums, up-vote communities, and FAQs into a social event where you help your audience ask questions which you then answer. Popular marketing communities like Inbound.org are well-known for examples of this type of content.

102. Trends

At Convince & Convert, we’re constantly reviewing and analyzing every report we can to make sure we’re bringing the latest insights and greatest information to our clients.

You’re probably also doing that exact same thing. So, why not help connect the dots between all those great reports you’re reading anyway, and pull out rich trends and themes, so your audience can benefit from all those fantastic insights you’ve discovered, too? You could even make a super-meta “trends report.” Just don’t forget to cite your sources!

Here are a few examples from Convince & Convert’s own marketing: B2B Content Marketing Trends for 2021 (analysis of CMI’s annual report) and Social Media Trends for 2021 (our own take on social media trends).

B2B Content Marketing Research

B2B Content Trends for 2021 (example of a “Trends” post)

Social Media Trends for 2021 (example of a “Trends” post)

103. Iconography

Text is great, but we all know that web readers don’t actually read; they skim pages for information. Thankfully, we can help them skim more efficiently while still communicating key points we’re trying to make with icons. As Nielsen Norman Group points out, icons are pleasing to look at, fast to recognize and can be used to draw a user’s attention to key pieces of information. Just be sure to follow their advice on icon usability, which includes adding a short text description or pairing and icon with text for context, since there aren’t really any universally recognized icons.

When you’re ready to calendar all those great new ideas…

Ok. So now that you have all of these great, new, amazing content ideas, now what? Head on over to one of our other favorite blog posts, How to Build a Content Calendar, and take a deep dive into how you can easily build a more successful editorial calendar and score with completely free content calendar template while you’re there.

This post was originally written by Nathan Ellering in 2015, and extensively updated by Anna Hrach, Digital Strategist here at Convince & Convert, in 2021.

The post 103 Content Ideas to Add to Your Editorial Calendar appeared first on Content Marketing Consulting and Social Media Strategy.

Content Marketing

Going Beyond FAQ: How to Use the Q&A Format…

People have questions, and they want answers to those questions. When they do, where do they go?

Well, they usually go to someone who has the answer, and if you’re lucky, that someone might be you.

The Q&A format provides a great way for you to answer many queries in a short amount of time. Best of all, you don’t even need to have the answers if you know how to find someone who does.

What is the Q&A Format, and Why is It Important?

Q&A stands for “question and answer,” which is similar to a FAQ page, but it usually provides a more personal experience for the viewer or reader. This is because a Q&A format often makes it possible for whoever is looking to get involved in the question-and-answer process.

If you watched a video about building an affiliate site from scratch, you could come in armed with Q&A questions. Hopefully, you have the chance to ask some of them, and if not, it’s likely that other viewers will raise the same inquiries as you.

This type of content can be done in a live video, chat, text, social media event, prerecorded video, in-person event, and more.

From a content creator standpoint, this format can help you drive more traffic to your site and provide your audience with more of the information they want. Here are some specific reasons you should pay more attention to the Q&A format.

Q&As Can Optimize Content for Organic Search

As we know, FAQ sections and pages do a lot for our SEO. Q&As take on a similar shape by answering important questions raised about a specific topic.

They’re a great way to target long-tail keywords and land featured snippets through targeting “question-based” keywords.

For example, if we head over to Google and look up “how to upload an article into WordPress.”

Example of QA in featured snippet

You’ll find that the first result provides a direct answer to that question. When you’re putting together question-and-answer content you want to find relevant questions that other people are asking on Google so you can potentially rank for those searches.

If you scroll down a little more on the page, you’ll find a section titled “People Also Ask (or people also search for).” Google makes it so easy for us by telling us what other people are searching for related to the keyword you typed into the search box. So, you may want to include some of those phrases in your Q&A session as well.

Q&A google example

While you’re doing all of this, you’re including a variety of long-tail keywords that you can convert into a blog post to include along with your video. This is a fast and simple way to put together a keyword-rich piece of content without having to do too much research.

Q&As Help Your Audience Understand Information Better

Google makes it pretty clear in their quality guidelines that they want you to produce content for users, not search engines. It’s our job as content creators to provide answers and solutions to whatever it is people want to know. The question-and-answer format is the perfect place for you to address a large number of questions in a short amount of time.

All in all, we know that Google wants us to write great content and provide answers to questions upfront. The algorithm doesn’t favor people who beat around the bush, drag things on, and fluff up their content.

The sooner you can get someone on your page and give them the answer they want, the better.

One potential way to do this is by answering as many questions as you can in the shortest amount of time while still maintaining proper quality control. Doing this increases your chances of ranking for all of those keywords while also providing a bunch of answers to queries that people may have.

Q&As Are Easy to Create

Question-and-answer content is easy and fast to create because it creates itself. Compared with a FAQ section where you need to know all the answers, all you need to know here are the questions.

You’ll do your research ahead of time by seeing what competitors are ranking for, who has the snippets you want, what does the “people also ask” section say, and so on.

From there, you’ll craft those questions in a way that appeals to both Google and the people. Doing this ensures you keep Google happy while providing valuable and direct information (that also keeps Google happy).

Once you’ve done that, it’s up to the interviewee to provide you with the answers. This is an enjoyable way to put together some extremely valuable content with commentary from industry experts.

You may even be able to rank some of your video content for voice search.

6 Ways to Use Q&As in Your Content

You understand the importance of Q&A interviews and you might even have some ideas as to how you’ll get started. Here are some simple and effective ways you can incorporate this format into your content.

Live Q&A Sessions

Within the live Q&A we have two subcategories. One is you’re the expert and people are asking you the questions. Two is you’re the creator and you’re asking the expert questions from the community.

Both of these methods work but they require their own set of steps to prepare.

You’re the Expert

If you have a skill, talent, or area of expertise, you can set up a live Q&A session on your YouTube channel, social media, or via a Zoom link to your list. The goal would be to preach the value of attending your live session so you get a lot of people to attend.

As the day rolls around, continue to send follow-ups via email and social media motivating your audience to sign up for the question-and-answer session. Prompt them to prepare some questions ahead of time because you’ll be answering as many as you can during the time slot.

Keep in mind that you won’t be able to prepare answers to the questions because you won’t know what people are going to ask. You’re firing straight off the cuff, which has its pros and cons.

On one side, you’re going to seem genuine because people know you’re pulling answers right off your head. On the other side, there’s more room for error if you don’t know the answer or you answer incorrectly.

Make sure you’re recording the interview and breaking it down well enough so you can convert it into a piece of content for your blog or website. You should be able to take many of the questions from the live session and convert them into rankable content.

You’re the Interviewer

In this scenario, you’re no longer the expert. You might be the one with a huge audience looking to bring valuable information to said audience.

Do some outreach and find an industry expert that you want to interview live in a Q&A format. This will provide value to your audience and you’ll also be able to discuss it ahead of time.

Now you can prepare questions that will work from an SEO standpoint while also providing initial value to the people who attend the live event. Your goal should be to ask questions that are related to the questions that people are asking on Google.

They don’t have to be word-for-word in the live event, but they need to be close enough so you can convert the video into written content.

Recorded Video Q&A Interviews

This strategy could be an extension of the previous method or one of its own. You can interview experts on industry topics, commonly asked questions, or go completely off the cuff and see where it goes.

If you recorded your live Q&A that we discussed previously, this could serve as your recorded video interview.

You can also start from scratch. This has a few pros and cons.

You’ll be able to prepare more and discuss with the interviewee so they are prepared for whatever you’re planning to ask. You can also do more SEO work ahead of time so you can easily convert the interview into a piece of rankable content.

The downside is that it might not appear as genuine and you won’t have the opportunity to engage with your audience live because they’ll be watching a replay.

If you’re using this format for the first time, this could be the way to go.

Written Q&A Interviews

Written Q&A Interviews

A text interview will function the same as a video, except the conversation will be written in text. You can do this live or prerecorded as well.

There are many different formats in which you can do this; Facebook groups, Twitter threads, and Reddit to name a few.

Make sure you’re keeping tabs on the questions that are being asked and saving everything so you can convert the information into a blog post later on. You may even be able to use some of the questions asked in a live Q&A when you have more context about what people want to know.

Q&As in Content Headers

If you’re trying to rank content around popular questions, you’ll end up putting them in header form in your blog posts. This strategy functions much like a FAQ, but the difference is that you’re seeking the questions or answers from a separate source.

For example, if you’re the expert, you’ll want someone else to provide the questions. You can do a social media post or an email blast asking people for questions related to your area of expertise.

Once you’ve compiled enough questions, you can take them and build out a blog post with all the answers.

This works best when focusing on one narrow subject and ensuring that all the questions are relatable to your audience.

If you’re not the expert, you’ll want to follow the same steps but instead, reach out for questions to ask someone else. This person may be a popular figure that will draw attention.

As a result, when you do your outreach, people will be excited to ask this person their questions and will likely check in on your blog post when it’s up.

Ads and Social Media Campaigns

Expert interviews can give your brand a nice boost because the experts provide name recognition and visibility if they share it with their audience. This is a powerful way to build trust, create a buzz, answer audience questions, and rank for a variety of long-tail keywords, all at the same time.

experts Q&A interviews

The example above shows how an entrepreneur interviewed an industry expert and was able to provide a ton of value without having to actually know the subject himself. You can do this as well.

Best of all, it’s live without actually being live so you can prepare questions ahead of time and still be able to answer inquiries from the audience on the spot. This method allows you to control the quality of your answers, cater to the SERPs, and provide massive value to your audience.

Question Now; Answer Later

I like this method for YouTube, especially if you run a brand where people don’t often get to see “behind the curtain.” A lot of YouTubers do this when they provide a “day in the life” video.

You can create a social media post or send out an email to your list. Ask them what they want to know about you and what questions they have about you on a personal level.

Take a break from the business talk and allow your audience to get to know you. This can show that you’re relatable and people prefer to buy from people they know and trust.

Conclusion

There are really no limitations to what you can do with the Q&A format. Most importantly, it should be relevant to your brand and provide value to your audience.

If you can take the content and convert it into a blog post or repurpose it in some way, that’s a bonus.

Just remember that the featured snippets live in these Q&A sections so there’s a lot of ranking juice here if you can keep your question-and-answer sessions on topic with what people are asking Google.

Do you regularly create Q&A content? If so, what methods do you use?

The post Going Beyond FAQ: How to Use the Q&A Format in Your Content appeared first on Neil Patel.

Content Marketing

How to Effectively Use Memes in Your Content Marketing

Did you know that archeologists have traced the origin of the meme back to the year 3 B.C.?

Memes, a term coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in 1976 to describe how ideas replicate, mutate, and evolve, are a way to carry a shared idea or trend to engage a target group. Over time, different groups take memes and tweak them to make them their own.

Memes are all about creating engagement and community by communicating something that everyone in your circle understands. It’s a way to develop a sense of belonging, something platforms like Facebook have been savvy to for years.

That’s precisely why your brand should be including memes in your content marketing plan. If you can create and share on-target memes that engage your audience, you could create that same sense of community, develop brand loyalty, and even tap into new markets.

Why You Should Use Memes in Your Content Marketing

Some of the most recognizable brands in the world include memes in their content marketing strategy. Here’s why:

Memes Increase Engagement

Memes are very shareable and help people connect through humor.

If done right, they make people feel part of an inside joke, and who doesn’t like to be the one in the know?

Subscription service BarkBox has based their Instagram account on all those funny little quirks about dogs that only dog lovers know. One of their running jokes? The war between dogs and squirrels. They’ve created a series of mosaics with their Instagram posts, which is a pretty creative way to display their memes.

BarkBox Instagram Meme for Marketing
BarkBox Instagram Memes for Marketing Squirrels vs. Dogs

Not only does BarkBox keep their audience engaged, but they play off of themes that function as inside jokes between themselves and their 1.7 million followers. These are themes only dog lovers would understand, making them feel part of an exclusive group.

Memes Entertain Your Audience

Users are most engaged on social media when they’re entertained. Study-help site SparkNotes gets that, and they also understand that students aren’t always enthralled by their assigned reading.

So, SparkNotes uses pop-culture trends to liven up classic novel plots and plug their service at the same time.

SparkNotes Instagram Memes for Marketing Schitts Creek

However, you don’t necessarily have to create brand-related memes. You can make memes that simply entertain and relate somehow to your audience. In fact, in many cases, linking a meme to your brand can feel forced. Sometimes it’s better to let the meme speak for itself.

Clothing retailer ASOS is great at creating memes that play off holidays, current events, and trending topics. Although many of their memes tie to their brand, they’re not afraid to throw in a funny meme just to keep their audience entertained.

Here’s a meme they released for Thanksgiving.

ASOS Twitter Memes for Marketing Thanksgiving

It has nothing to do with the brand but everything to do with the mood of the day. It got some shares and likes and kept their brand top-of-mind on a day when most people’s minds were on their plates.

Memes Are Easy to Create

Memes like the ASOS example above are pretty easy to make, and they’re inexpensive, too. You don’t even need fancy image editing software, just a free meme generator, such as Imgur.

Meme generators let you search for images for your meme by filtering through popular memes or uploading your image.

Creating Memes for Marketing on Imgur Choose an Image

Once you choose an image (I chose Annoyed Picard), it lets you add text using that all-too-familiar meme font. They even give you suggestions from recently created memes with the same image. (Just keep in mind that not all of them are office-appropriate. I’ve blurred out some questionable ones in this example.)

Creating Marketing Memes on Imgur Choose Text

Once you add your text, you can download your meme and use it on your social platforms.

That’s it. No expensive image creation. No keyword research. Pretty simple.

Memes Let You Be Creative

You don’t necessarily have to piggyback on a popular meme that’s already trending. Frankly, it can be tough to keep up-to-date on all the latest memes.

Once you have a good sense of what your audience responds to, you can try creating your own memes from scratch. Of course, this does require more effort and more money for original, quality images, but if your audience responds well and starts sharing, it could be worth it.

Doritos fills their Instagram account with original memes, many of them tapping into nostalgia for the 80s and 90s, no doubt addressing their target audience.

Doritos Memes for Marketing

If you grew up in the 80s and 90s, you probably remember the popularity of friendship necklaces.

Memes Allow You to Show Your Brand’s Personality

There are two things you can do with your social accounts. You can reinforce your current brand personality or use them to create a whole new one.

Many older brands have done the latter, using the more relaxed, casual tone on social media to shed their stuffy reputations and inject their products with a fresher (or even a snarkier) persona.

MoonPie is a great example. The original treat was invented in 1917, and the company that makes them started in 1902. However, to look at their Instagram account, you wouldn’t take them for a 118-year-old company.

They’ve created a much younger, much funnier persona to cultivate a new following for the centenarian dessert.

Moonpie Instagram Memes for Marketing

8 Ways to Effectively Use Memes In Your Content Marketing

So, now you’re convinced you should include memes in your content marketing strategy, but before you jump in, there are some things to consider first. As easy as memes are to make, some planning is still involved, and some solid techniques to incorporate can make your memes relatable, shareable, and maybe even viral.

1. Know Your Audience

Have you ever seen a stand-up show where the comedian’s jokes kept missing the mark? The audience didn’t understand the jokes, or they just didn’t think they were funny? More often than not, that happens when a comedian hasn’t tailored their material for their audience.

A joke about the AARP, for instance, isn’t going to fly with a Gen Z crowd. They’re not even thinking about retirement. Meanwhile, a joke using terms like stan and salty with Gen X will most likely fall on deaf ears.

The same goes for memes.

Take Chase Bank’s tweet ostensibly advising a Millennial. While not exactly a meme, it became one when Senator Elizabeth Warren slammed them for what many called a tone-deaf and condescending post.

Chase Marketing Memes

No doubt you already know your audience’s age, cultural background, race, location, industry, and every other demographic. All that information you’ve collected for your other content marketing initiatives can help you make memes that hit the mark, too.

2. Create Original Memes

Even if you’re using a popular meme image, your message should be original and somehow related to your audience or brand. Don’t try to repurpose someone else’s joke for your audience. It just won’t work.

Some memes tap into the nostalgia factor. Whether it’s about 90s dance music or 80s fashion, a good nostalgia meme, like the example from Doritos, makes your audience feel like part of something bigger. Memes are all about community building.

Other brands use sarcasm or satire to get their point across. Still, others inject their memes with a bit of humility. Don’t be afraid to poke fun at yourself because it can make your brand seem more human and approachable. Chipotle, for instance, has attracted a million followers with their humorous and often self-deprecating tweets and memes.

This one riffed off a meme format that trended in 2020 during the COVID lockdowns.

Chipotle Marketing Memes

No matter what, it has to be funny. Whether you’re trying to make a point or get people to reminisce about the good ol’ days, every meme does it with humor. If your meme isn’t funny, it most likely won’t be shared.

3. Do Your Take on a Popular Meme

One of the easiest pieces of content to create is a riff on an already viral meme. In 2018, Ruffles did a witty take on a stock photo that went viral a few years earlier.

Ruffles Marketing Memes

4. Stay Relevant With Memes

When a mysterious monolith appeared (and then disappeared) in the Utah desert in 2020, the memes weren’t far behind. Amazon jumped on the opportunity to show its relevance and humor.

Amazon Marketing Memes

If you can seize on an opportunity to be on-trend and make it relevant to your brand, go for it! Just don’t force it if it doesn’t work for your brand voice or your audience.

Pro Tip: If a trend is a few days to a week into its life cycle, consider skipping it and moving on to the next trend. You may have missed the train on that one, and you risk your brand looking out of touch.

5. Develop Your Brand’s Personality With Memes

Wendy’s has one of the most identifiable brand personas on social. In 2017, the fast-food chain decided to take a risk and turn their sweet-looking mascot, Wendy, into a witty snarker who trolls other fast-food brands’ accounts.

Wendys Twitter Marketing Memes

Sure, it could stop at its memes, but Wendy’s takes it a step further, jumping on the memes of other fast-food chains to maintain their rep.

Take the Twitter war that erupted when Burger King tried to throw shade on Wendy’s:

Burger King Memes
Wendys Marketing Memes Response to Burger King

6. Don’t Be Tacky

No self-respecting brand starts out thinking, “We’re going to make an inappropriate meme that gets all the wrong kind of attention.” Still, brands do occasionally stumble into a topic they shouldn’t touch.

When you try to make a funny meme on a topic that’s all wrong for your brand (or all wrong for any brand), you come off as tone-deaf at best.

I’m not sure that Dr. Suess would have appreciated this tweet from Charmin.

Charmin Twitter Memes

You can, however, turn someone else’s tone-deaf moment into an opportunity. In October 2020, Kim Kardashian received major backlash after she posted pictures of herself and her closest friends partying on a private island, just as COVID cases began to surge once again. The caption read:

After 2 weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine, I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip to a private island where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time.

All kinds of brands, including the New-York Historical Society, leaped at the opportunity to throw their two cents in.

New York Historical Society Memes

If you try to tackle a trending topic like this, tread carefully. You don’t want to come off as insensitive or thoughtless yourself.

7. Research Your Memes

While Wendy’s generally receives high praise for its social media content, even this master of the meme can take a wrong turn from time to time. On one occasion, Wendy’s responded to a customer’s tweet by posting a Pepe the Frog meme, a symbol that has been adopted by white nationalist groups.

Wendy’s deleted the post as soon as they realized their mistake, and they eventually recovered from their gaffe. However, some damage was done, and a lesson had to be learned. Always research your memes before you post.

8. Stay on Brand

What do all of the brands highlighted in this article have in common? They’ve created a consistent brand persona and stuck with it.

No matter what you decide to do with your memes, keep it consistent. Otherwise, you risk confusing (and losing) your audience.

Conclusion

If done right, memes can become a pretty useful tool in your content marketing plan. They can help you reach new audiences and give your brand a human element through humor. Plus, they can help you connect with your audience without having to worry too much about keywords or content frameworks.

Memes can even help a brand reinvent itself. Their casual, funny tone lends a lighter, more contemporary voice to brands that may have previously been known for their serious demeanor.

Besides, memes are just fun.

What kinds of memes would be most effective for your brand?

The post How to Effectively Use Memes in Your Content Marketing appeared first on Neil Patel.

Content

Top 10 Marketing Articles for 2020 (and What We…

2020.

What a year.

Before we close this chapter, let’s revisit our top 10 most-visited marketing articles published or extensively updated and republished in 2020, including lessons learned that you can apply to your own content marketing strategy.

Side note: our site has been around forever (in digital marketing years), so a significant portion of our organic traffic is from content that is 1-10 years old. But this post focuses on what new and republished content performed in 2020.

1. How to Create a Webinar from Scratch in 10 Simple Steps

How to Create a Webinar

No surprise here, but our number 1 most popular post of 2020 is an update of an evergreen post on webinar creation. In mid-March, as the world shifted to remote everything, I dug up this post and gave it a reboot, with new tips, images, and other details. It went from an okay performer to the most popular post of the year.

Key Lesson: Updating and repurposing old content can give your website a bigger boost than publishing a brand-new post.

2. How to Communicate with Your Customers During the COVID-19 Crisis

How to Communicate with Your Customers During the COVID-19 Crisis

During the start of the pandemic, I was hesitant to cover COVID-19 on the blog because we aren’t a news site (never will be, either), and most of our content focuses on marketing tactics and strategy that tend to be evergreen, and I didn’t want to be stuck with a glut of outdated content.

But once it became clear that Coronavirus was the new normal, I published this post from contributor Ann Smarty, and it killed it in terms of organic traffic, becoming our #1 most popular piece of content directly mentioning the pandemic.

Key Lesson: As the world shifts, so must your content strategy. Covering news-worthy topics can result in a serious amount of organic traffic too.

3. Podcast Statistics for 2020 – Charts and Data

Podcast Statistics for 2020 - Charts and Data

Jay started writing these podcast statistics posts based on research reports way back in 2015. Every year, as new reports are published, he writes a new version of the post.

This year, I tested leaving the 2019 version live after we published the 2020 version. I wanted to see if both articles would rank organically for “podcast statistics” because 2019 statistics are still interesting for certain people. I monitored the results for roughly 4 months, and the 2020 version never overtook the 2019 version in the SERPs, so I finally setup a 301 redirect and, as of today, this post is position #3 for podcast statistics (this changes all the time).

Key Lesson: Rewriting content on an annual basis can deliver a steady stream of organic traffic.

4. 101 Content Ideas to Add to Your Editorial Calendar

Content Ideas

Here’s another great example of how updating and republishing content can improve your rankings and give your content new life.

This post, originally written by Nathan Ellering in 2015, was getting some decent organic traffic and ranked around position 10 for “content ideas” phrases. But it was woefully out-of-date (it mentioned Google Plus) and not a great first impression of the Convince & Convert brand.

I asked C&C strategist and content extraordinaire Anna Hrach if she could update and add a fresh spin. She narrowed it down to 101 ideas (it was originally 105), and added new, fresh examples. I made Anna a co-author and organic traffic increased significantly. The post also performed well in our weekly newsletter, with the highest number of clicks in all of 2020.

Key Lesson: Make sure your existing content delivers a great first impression. If your content ranks but is stale, it’s time for a refresh.

5. 11 Social Media Changes to Make in a Coronavirus World 

11 Social Media Changes to Make in a Coronavirus World

Once it became clear that COVID-19 wasn’t going to end anytime soon, our fearless leader Jay Baer immediately sprung into action and assembled a panel-discussion webinar on Social Media During Coronavirus with C&C social media strategists Zontee Hou and Lauren Teague.

Not only did this webinar generate over 1,000 registrants and exceed our Zoom webinar limit, but it was an easy, excellent starting point for written content. Shortly after the webinar, Jay turned the same content from the webinar into this blog post, becoming our 5th most visited new post of the year.

Key Lesson: The fastest way to create new written content is by turning your video or webinar content into a written asset. We call this content atomization, and it is a no-brainer.

6. How to Create a Successful Virtual Event for Your Company

How to Create a Virtual Event for Your Company

The first piece of pandemic-related content Jay created was this page on his speaking website, 7 Virtual Event Success Factors. I knew this would be interesting to our Convince & Convert audience, so once I got our post on “How to Create a Webinar” republished, I did keyword research, made some updates, and published an updated version of the article for this blog on March 23. It ranks well and still receives considerable traffic. It also performed in our weekly newsletter.

Key Lesson: You don’t need to always re-invent the wheel. Updating existing content for different audiences can help you achieve quick wins.

7. 18 Marketing Tactics to Try in 2020

Before COVID-19 was a thing, contributor Brandon Anderson pitched this article to me based on research he did in his company’s content tool, Ceralytics. Admittedly, the topic of “marketing tactics” wasn’t exciting to me at the time, but he was convinced it would perform well, and he was right!

He used Certalytics to find a topic that people are searching for but there isn’t a lot of content on, and it worked.

Key Lesson: Make sure your content creation is backed by keyword research.

8. Five Things Social Media Managers Must Do In the Age of Coronavirus

Social Media Manager - Coronavirus

This is the post that inspired the webinar that inspired Jay’s post on social media changes in the age of Coronavirus (whew). Published on March 18, Lauren Teague wrote this based on advice she gave to her clients on what to do in mid-March.

Key Lesson: Write what you know. Talk about what’s happening in your business. If it’s relevant to your current clients, it will be relevant to your prospects and future clients as well.

9. Ten Content Marketing Statistics for 2020

Content Marketing Statistics

People love data. They love facts. And they just love statistics. If you’re in martech content marketing, you know there’s a big competition over who can own all the marketing-related statistics searches. And this post (almost) owns some of them.

Key Lesson: Take another company’s research and add your own spin and angle. They’ll love the publicity, and you’ll love how much easier it is than creating a report from scratch.

10. Top 20 Best Content Marketing Examples for 2020

Best Content Marketing Examples

The only other thing marketers look more than statistics are examples. We created this post to showcase our client work and other work we love. It ranks number 2 for “best content marketing examples”, and I think it would have been higher on the list if we published it earlier in the year (we published this post in October).

We also turned it into a nifty PDF download.

Key Lesson: Everyone loves examples (not just marketers), AND they’re a great way to highlight your partners and clients.

The post Top 10 Marketing Articles for 2020 (and What We Can Learn from Them) appeared first on Content Marketing Consulting and Social Media Strategy.

amazon

B2CRM News: Jack Harlow and Jonny Cota Help Mix…

It’s always amazing to see how an ad by a small brand or an unknown agency goes viral. Equally, it’s impressive when a huge one is doing something so smart and low-fi.

This week, on our B2CRM News Highlights, we bring you two examples of when big names combined content and merchandise in ways that at least at their core – any marketer can try with their brand.

Watch:

The B2CRM News Highlights weekly segment is part of PostFunnel Insider, powered by Optimove.

Check out previous clips, our 7 commandments of CRM, and the weekly CRM hack, all on our YouTube channel.

From last week:

Watch: CRM Hack on How to Reduce Subscription Cancellations, B2CRM Weekly News Update with John Oliver and Pringles, and CRM Analysis on Essence

The post B2CRM News: Jack Harlow and Jonny Cota Help Mix Content and Merch appeared first on Post Funnel.

Content Marketing

How to Run a Content Audit

Have you thought about running a content audit of your website?

Content needs to be updated regularly, to meet search engine optimization standards and your online marketing goals. Make sure it’s performing well, to get the most out of your content.

Brands use online content in so many ways; from explaining who we are and what we do to updating customers on our latest products and services, content is how we communicate.

What is a Content Audit?

A content audit is just as it sounds: it’s a comprehensive audit of all the content assets that reside on your website. It’s a way of evaluating what’s working well and what could use some work.

It also helps you to clearly see what the next steps should be to optimize your content, while prioritizing the highest critical needs all the way down to the options that would be nice, when you have time.

A content audit is very detailed, so it can seem tedious, but the results are worth it. At a glance, you’ll be able to get a clear picture of how your content is doing. In this way, you’ll not only know how to step back and optimize content that’s already there, but also how to proceed in the future with content that reflects what’s working well.

It may feel time consuming now, but it can save lots of time and guesswork in content creation down the road.

Why Does My Website Need a Content Audit?

You should carve out the time to do a content audit to see where the gaps are and to start creating better content.

Why should you do a content audit? There are a number of reasons a content audit can help your website perform better.

  • It provides a full inventory of all the content that’s already been created, including what could be repurposed for future campaigns.
  • It analyzes how content has performed in the past or is performing now, so you can identify strengths and weaknesses.
  • It gives you an overall picture of your content flow by showing you who is creating content, when it’s getting posted, and more.
  • It provides a framework for creating a content strategy moving forward.

Still not sure if your website needs a content audit at this point? Here are a few signs that it may be time:

  • If your website has been around for a number of years.
  • If you have content living there that you can’t remember or aren’t using actively.
  • If your team is creating content haphazardly, without a clear plan.
  • If you’re struggling to know what to create or post next.
  • If your content is starting to feel dry and lifeless and you aren’t inspired to make more to support your brand’s marketing strategy.

Determine Your Content Audit’s Purpose

Before you dive into the detailed steps of a content audit, take a moment to consider your particular goal for this audit. What are you hoping to get out of it?

The only way this can be successful is if you know what the definition of success will be for this task.

Your goals will also help to determine which areas of the content audit you need to focus on most, to gather the data you need.

  • Are you trying to up your content marketing game?
  • Are you ready to put a content strategy in place?
  • Are you pulling data together for your team to analyze?
  • Are you interested in improving the SEO of your website?

If your goals are related to technical SEO, and making sure that the technical details of your content are helping your website be more visible, then check out this page about how to optimize your website. This article details how to conduct a technical, SEO-driven content audit, that can support your content marketing goals overall.

Content Audit Tools

As you are deciding whether you need a content audit right now, and what your goals will be in the process, you may want to research a couple of tools that can help you along the way. These can save you some time and manual effort so you can get to the results faster and start implementing those next steps right away.

Ubersuggest

Especially if you are looking to improve your SEO, Ubersuggest can help you see how well your website is performing overall. Just enter your URL, click “Search,” and click “Site Audit” on the left. Think of this as a quick, free overall look at how your website is doing.

You’ll also get a snapshot of which SEO issues are most prevalent on your site and how critical they are.

Content Audit Use Ubersuggest

Google Analytics

Another tool to use, if you’re not already, is Google Analytics, which can provide valuable data about how your content is performing and how users are interacting with it.

Broken Link Checkers

As you’re analyzing your content, you’ll want to find and fix broken links. Integrity and Xenu Sleuth can help you there.

Content Inventory

You could manually pull each content link associated with your website, but that could take far too long and you could risk overlooking some things. Instead, you may want to try a content inventory link such as Blaze, DynoMapper, or ContentWRX Audit.

Content Audit Steps 

Although there are a number of tedious tasks associated with your content audit, the overall flow is pretty straightforward.

#1: Create a List of Your Content Assets

First, you need to make a list that contains all the data you need. You need to see your content assets and associated data all in one place. This will allow you to move methodically as you compare, prioritize, and update each asset.

I mentioned a few tools that will pull the content data for you. A quick Google search will uncover more. Note that some of these have a trial period, after which you have to pay for ongoing crawling and inventory updating. For very large websites, this may be worth the cost. For others, you may just want to pull the data and move on. Some websites may be small enough for you to take inventory yourself.

However you approach it, make a spreadsheet, which will allow you to list not only the links to the content, but also the meta data, descriptions, word count, creator, date posted, and more. Here’s a snapshot of a quick Google Spreadsheet you can make for your content audit.

Content audit spreadsheet design using Google Spreadsheets

Content Audit Templates

As I explained above, you will want to build a content audit spreadsheet so you can keep all the data in one place. You can build one from scratch, download one of the following templates, or use these as a launching point and customize your spreadsheet.  

  • CoSchedule Content Audit Template
  • HubSpot SEO Template
  • Alexa Content Audit Template
  • Distilled Content Audit Template

Keep in mind the goals we discussed earlier. There are lots of stats or data points you could pull with each content link. However, some data is going to be more relevant to you than others.

If you are using this audit to improve your content marketing engagement, you will want to check information about click throughs, social media engagement, comments, and so on.

If your goal is associated with SEO, you may want to include warnings and recommendations you gather from Ubersuggest.

#2: Create List of Content Issues to Identify

After you’ve made your comprehensive content spreadsheet, it’s time to analyze it. What’s sticking out as a major problem or gap? Where are some factors that you can address right away to improve how your website is performing?

Again, go back to your goals. Are you trying to improve technical SEO? Are you evaluating your content strategy to create better content moving forward?

Some issues will have overlap, improving all areas of your content as you update them. Here are a few things to look for:

  • Duplicate Content: Search engines prioritize fresh content. If you have a lot of duplicate content living on different pages or posts, you’ll want to go back and fix that so there isn’t repetition.
  • Outdated Content: This is important from a personal and technical perspective. People don’t want to read outdated content, and search engines overlook it too.
  • Evergreen Content: On the other hand, evergreen content can be a versatile tool in your content toolbox, providing relevant information to customers anytime. Identifying your evergreen content will let you make use of them by sharing them again and to refresh and update it as needed.
  • Content Gaps: What’s missing in your content? Are there topics you haven’t addressed yet? Target markets you haven’t spoken to? Being able to look at everything at once can help you find the gaps, and fill them in.  
  • Target Keyword: In your spreadsheet, you can include target keywords that pieces of content were meant to address, and how well they were incorporated. You can also do some keyword analysis to ensure you are incorporating effective keywords and continue to do so in the future.
  • Meta Data: Have you written metadata descriptions for all pages? This spreadsheet is going to help you see which ones need to be written and which ones are repetitive and should be updated.
  • Image Data: Do you have alt texts on them? Now’s a good time to make sure your images are SEO and accessibility friendly. Complete the alt text for the title and description of the images you use.
  • Word Count: Do your pages and posts have enough words to optimize for SEO? Or are they too long? Check that word count to see if pages need to be updated or edited down.

Maybe it’s as simple as realizing that certain people are posting more often than others, or that certain topics are being addressed too often while others are overlooked.

Whatever is standing out to you, start making a list of issues to address.

#3: Address Content Issues

You can’t do everything at once, so take your list and start to prioritize based on how critical each issue is and how time consuming or difficult it will be to address it.

When you run an SEO audit on Ubersuggest, as I showed above, you’ll receive recommendations with these priority factors listed. You can use that as a guide for all your content issues. Here’s a review of how they are ranked on UberSuggest.

How to Run a Content Audit UberSuggest recommendations chart

How much impact will it have?

How difficult is it?

Do the critical (SEO Impact) easy (Difficulty) ones first, then move on to the harder but still critical, as well as the less critical but super easy. Finally tackle the low priority, difficult tasks.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially with the time consuming or technical tasks. You can hire someone to dive in and update duplicate content, add meta descriptions or alt tasks, or fix broken links.

Conclusion

The idea of a content audit may feel overwhelming at first glance. Don’t let that stop you.

A content audit is one of the best first steps you can take to improve your content marketing strategy. Once you see everything together, you can be empowered to use all that content in better ways.

Furthermore, once you do this comprehensive content audit, you’ll have the spreadsheet and data to work from in the future. You’ll be able to quickly go in, make updates, compare stats, and see what’s working. You may even choose to keep your spreadsheets updated on an on-going basis.

You’ll be poised to take your content marketing and creation to the next level.

What’s stopping you from tackling your first content audit?

The post How to Run a Content Audit appeared first on Neil Patel.

Content Marketing

Why You Need to Use Video Marketing

Video delivers the experience that most customers prefer, which makes it a must-have for marketing.

Authenticity, storytelling, engagement. These are all terms that marketers now attempt to incorporate into their campaign strategies to really connect with and motivate audiences.

All those are attainable with good video content. That is what makes it your secret weapon for engaging your audience.

Hand someone a whitepaper, and you have to pay them to read it. But everyone enjoys a good story. If you can bring that story to life by showing it through video rather than merely telling it, so much the better.

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That’s why video use keeps growing among marketers who recognize its effectiveness.

When you put out content that engages, you’re directing your audience toward the first step of the customer journey.

According to Wyzowl’s 2020 State of Video Marketing Survey, 66% of us identify video as our medium of choice to learn about something. That’s far ahead of the second most popular category – articles, posts, or text on a site – that is the choice of 18%.

In anticipation of this year, 86% of people said they would like brands to serve more video content. Among these, 36% prefer to see explainer videos, and 14% would like product demos. Customers find good videos more relatable and are more apt to share them than other forms of content.

As Vidyard, one of the video services available to businesses, reported, “Campaigns incorporating video routinely have higher engagement than campaigns with static assets and video-based assets have proved to be easier for customers to digest and share.”

More marketers have gotten on board

That’s why over the past few years, more marketers have come to recognize its power to engage their audiences and deliver more effective branding impact. They realize that video marketing has shifted from a possible addition to a central component of a comprehensive marketing strategy.

Seeing its ROI certainly contributes to the adoption. Back in 2015, only 33% of marketers believed they were getting a positive ROI from video, according to Wyzowl. By 2019, 88% were on board for the ROI. This is not just about general awareness.

In fact, 80% attribute increased sales to marketing video content. On the consumer end, 84% report that watching a brand’s video is what made them decide to buy what it’s selling.

Why isn’t everyone using video leads?

As using video content in marketing delivers such obvious benefits in terms of engagement, driving more traffic to your site, and even increasing conversions and sales, the question is what’s keeping everyone from adopting it?

The answer emerges from those who explain what made them take the leap. Close to half of those who only began to use video in 2019 said they did so then because the technology is now in place for quick and easy video content creation, according to Wyzowl.

It’s possible the other half was hesitating about adopting a medium that calls for having a story to tell. Businesses often make the mistake of thinking their brand doesn’t lend itself to an interesting story.

How to show – not just tell – your brand story

Every business has its own unique stories to tell. You  don’t have to limit yourself to what you sell; you can bring out your one-of-a-kind nature with a feature on your people, your culture, or even the customers you serve.

Here are four different angles for marketing videos that convey authenticity and establish a connection with your audience that were produced with Wistia’s service:

Tell your product’s story

Niche Modern, a lighting fixture fabricator, uses video to show the creativity and craftsmanship that goes into each hand-blown glass lighting pendant. The video opens with “Every handmade product tells a story. This is ours.”

Demonstrate your product in action

Wipster is a video review and approval platform that removes the tediousness of annotating frames. Rollo Wenlock, Wipster’s founder not only talks about the features but brings in dancers, music, annotations, and suggested cuts, making the most of video’s capabilities  to show what his product can do in just 30 seconds.

Tell your people’s story

David Delmar, Founder and Executive Director of Resilient Coders, introduced Soapbox to his students to allow them to showcase their work and who they are with the split screen feature: “You get a sense for who each student is as a person and as a potential colleague, something a faceless GitHub profile could never do,” Delmar observed.

Tell your customers’ story

Stephanie Capouch, Senior Director of Corporate Marketing at Conga, used Soapbox to launch her company’s podcast, Agents of Change. She explained that while most companies that feature client stories give themselves the starring role, they decided to take a different approach:

“The role Conga plays may come up, but that’s not our end goal. It’s really about them, the work that they’re doing, and their story.”

Customer marketing challenges and opportunities

Using video to track the customer journey

For marketers who think that engagement is nice but doesn’t necessarily translate into conversions, there are integration tools to track your audience through every stage of the funnel.  Vidyard outlined how that can work in How 5 Videos Drove $6M in Revenue for One Construction Tech Company:

Though the first video and the teasers are not gated to extend reach as much as possible, the ones beyond that are to enable the business to track the customers. In the case discussed, the gating allowed information taken in through Marketo forms to be paired with Vidyard’s viewing data.

The integration is key to being able “to apply a lead score for MQLs in Marketo based on length of video and percentage viewed.” They also would follow up on the top leads through a Marketo and Salesforce integration to follow up with a Salesforce campaign. That would then be tracked within Salesforce.

Now a number of companies offer various levels of marketing integration that allows businesses to derive meaningful analytics on their audience’s video consumption. As the base price of some of these is free, there really is no reason for any business not to capitalize on the engagement potential of marketing videos.

The post Why You Need to Use Video Marketing appeared first on Post Funnel.

Content Marketing

Best WordPress Themes for Blogs

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

Presentation is paramount for blogs. Whether you want to blog as a side hobby or for a business venture, it’s essential to find the right platform and theme for your blogging needs. Luckily, WordPress is one of the largest online CMS and offers many customizable themes for blogs. Different themes will determine how easy it is to navigate your blog.

As WordPress stores over 100 diverse themes, it can be daunting trying to find the right one for you. However, there’s no need to worry, as we’ve narrowed it down and found the seven best WordPress themes for blogs. 

This in-depth guide includes reviews for a mix of free and paid WordPress themes with a methodology for choosing the best theme for your needs.

The 7 Best WordPress Themes for Blogs:

  1. Baskerville 2 – Best WordPress Theme for Most Standard Blogs
  2. Hemingway Rewritten – Best WordPress Theme for Photography Blogs
  3. Maxwell – Best WordPress Theme for Online Creator Blogs
  4. Escutcheon – Best WordPress Theme for Writing Blogs
  5. Perle – Best WordPress Theme for Portfolio Blogs
  6. Olsen – Best WordPress Theme for Lifestyle and Fashion Blogs
  7. Veggie – Best WordPress Theme for Food Blogs

The Different Types of WordPress Themes

There are many types of WordPress themes to consider. As listed above, I have found individual themes for the seven most common niches in blogging.

WordPress has many great free themes, but not all of them are free, which is a prerequisite for some people. There are different themes for many niches, however. Business, magazine, wedding, and collaboration are just a few of the diverse variety of theme choices that WordPress offers its users.

Whether you’re looking for a free or paid theme, the most important thing is to understand what to look for, which is where we come in.

#1 Baskerville 2 – The Best WordPress Theme for Most Standard Blogs

If you’re looking to start a blog that contains writing, photos, and videos, then Baskerville 2 is the theme for you. WordPress restricts many themes to a particular category, making it difficult for people who want to operate a standard blog.

However, Baskerville 2 is a simple theme that is easy to use and navigate. It has added flexibility that will allow you to use your blog to its full potential.

The theme is easy to customize, so you don’t have to be tech-savvy to use it. With recently upgraded flexibility, it now comes with a custom menu option just below the header. This allows you to easily add menus that link to different parts of your blog.

Baskerville 2 offers many features, including:

  • Custom backgrounds
  • Custom colors
  • Custom and flexible headers
  • Full-width templates
  • RTL Language support
  • Site logo
  • Author bio
  • Threaded comments

Not only does this theme have many helpful features for a standard blog, but it’s also free. You can use Baskerville 2 to create an outstanding blog with little investment, which is great if you are blogging as a side hobby. 

With the new upgrades, this theme now supports all content options stored by WordPress. You can choose how you display your content, including choosing to showcase your work in a full post or as an excerpt. This is a unique option for free themes, but it’s significant because customizable displays will make your blog less cluttered and easier to read.

#2 Hemingway Rewritten – The Best WordPress Theme for Photography Blogs

Hemingway Rewritten is the theme made for photographers. As soon as someone enters your blog, it greets them with elegant design and stunning visuals included as part of a featured header image.

The featured header image is perfect for any photographer wanting to share their visuals boldly. WordPress suggests using a decorative background image as the most appropriate header, as the image can vary slightly depending on desktop, mobile, or tablet use.

However, not being able to use any photo for the featured header can be a disadvantage.

Alongside featured images, Hemingway Rewritten supports different post formats such as ‘aside,’ ‘image,’ and ‘quote.’ I found ‘image’ to be a great format if you want to add images to your blog with a small caption underneath, which lets you tell a story.

Similar to Baskerville 2, the Hemingway Rewritten theme lets you:

  • Customize your header
  • Customize your background
  • Customize your menu
  • Add sticky posts
  • Add widgets

However, a unique element of this theme is the parallax-scrolling header. The subtle fade of your header as someone scrolls through your blog adds extra points for presentation.

Hemingway Rewritten gives you a lot of room to be creative as a theme focused on photography. The customizable featured header is one of the most important aspects, as it’s the first thing people will see once they enter your blog.

This theme is free for WordPress users, with no limit on customizations or posting.

#3 Maxwell – The Best WordPress Theme for Online Creator Blogs

Maxwell is the most expensive theme on this list, and it’s considered a premium theme. However, the price shows how high-quality it is. This modern theme is ultra-clean and is best for online creators.

If you’re a YouTuber, musician, or artist, this theme will be the best choice for you as it supports the ‘featured content’ option.

‘Featured Content’ allows you to highlight your three most important posts at the top of your blog. You can include links to videos, too, which is especially useful for YouTubers and streamers.

Maxwell is an easy theme to navigate, with a separate customizer section for adding a site logo, header, and background.

Alongside the basic features, Maxwell includes:

  • A mobile-ready layout for any device
  • Multiple menus
  • A hashtag section for visibility
  • A location section where you can add maps
  • Social media widgets

Since this is a premium theme, Maxwell gives you six free color palettes to choose from. For unlimited customizable colors and typography packs, you will need to upgrade to a premium or business WordPress plan.

If you are a free WordPress user, you can purchase Maxwell separately for $100, which is a little pricey and may be a downside for some. However, you receive this theme for free when purchasing either WordPress plan.

  1. Premium plan: $10 per month
  2. Business plan: $33 per month

If you love the look and features of Maxwell, it would be best to try out the premium plan, as you get advanced design customization at a cheaper price point.

#4 Escutcheon – The Best WordPress Theme for Writing Blogs

Escutcheon is by far the most simple yet effective theme on this list. This theme is best for writers who want to stand out from the crowd.

The theme looks like a virtual journal, with posts listed in reverse chronological order. With bold, large typography, blog posts quickly catch the eye of the reader.

Escutcheon is a minimalist theme that gives just enough information to entice the reader. The font and color palette makes it easy for readers to navigate and read your blog.

As this is a theme for writers, your writing is the main showcase, leaving images on the sidelines. However, Escutcheon supports large featured images within blog posts, displayed beneath the post title if you want to add more life into your blog posts.

Like most WordPress themes, Escutcheon comes with drop-down menus, social media widgets, and customizable headers. However, it also offers:

  • A ‘related’ section so readers can find similar blog posts with ease
  • A search bar
  • Comment section
  • Site logo

The only problem with this theme is that it shows widgets on posts instead of your actual blog or archive page.

Escutcheon is another free WordPress theme and is the last free option on this list. This theme is perfect for a blogger looking for a place to share their stories.

#5 Perle – The Best WordPress Theme for Portfolio Blogs

Just as the name suggests, Perle is an elegant theme. If you want to start a blog that showcases your portfolio projects, Perle is the best choice for you.

Similar to Escutcheon and Maxwell, this theme has a simple look and offers different layouts that are super clean.  

Perle keeps your portfolio polished with featured content. You can highlight up to four portfolio pieces, pages, or posts on the front page of your blog with this add-on.

Among features like author bio, site logo, a social menu, and featured images, Perle offers a few unique elements, including:

  • Overhanging images that let you place an image in the middle of your text
  • Drop caps that let you enlarge the first letter of your sentence, making your text look super stylish
  • Subheadings that let you italicize your text, making it stand out
  • Subtle animation to create a soft fade on your image when a reader is scrolling

Perle is a little cheaper than Maxwell, costing $71. However, you can get this theme for free when purchasing a Premium or Business WordPress plan.

#6 Olsen – The Best WordPress Theme for Lifestyle and Fashion Blogs

If you are a lifestyle or fashion blogger looking for a place to store all of your content among a focused layout with crisp fonts, Olsen is the perfect theme for you.

Providing a fluid and peaceful reading experience, Olsen is the theme for anyone who wants their images to stand out next to their content.

Olsen is completely customizable and is the perfect place to show off your best work.

Two unique elements this theme offers are a  Featured Content slider and an Instagram footer widget. Both elements are great for sharing your work with readers.

The Featured Content slider is a little different from the average Featured Content add-on. This element allows you to pick up to six images or posts and include them at the front of your blog. The reader can navigate this slider by clicking the left or right arrow.

The Instagram footer widget is unique and doesn’t appear in any other theme on this list. This is the perfect add-on for a fashion or lifestyle blogger who wants to showcase their photos. It shows the widget at the bottom of your blog and features your most recent Instagram posts in a large single row.

The downside is for people who want the Instagram feature for free. Unfortunately, you must pay for the theme or buy a plan to use it, but we think this trade-off is worth it.   

You can get started with Olsen today for just $57 or get it for free with a Premium or Business WordPress plan.

#7 Veggie – The Best WordPress Theme for Food Blogs

Veggie is the perfect theme for the foodie in you. This theme perfectly suits food bloggers or recipe writers who wish to showcase tasty treats and recipes.

This theme comes with easy-to-read typography packs and minimalist designs so you can easily share your passion with the world.

Veggie has a very responsive page and blog layout, which is customizable in seconds. It’s easy to read and navigate on a desktop, mobile, or tablet.

This theme has a wide variety of unique options, which is paramount for blogging success. Veggie comes with six different blog layouts and five diverse templates. With these options, you can add a sidebar, grid, list, or full-width display.

Not only is there a wide variety, but Veggie can change into a resourceful restaurant website. This premium theme offers several homepage layouts that let you engage with a whole new audience.

If you’re interested in this multipurpose design, Veggie is $86 as an individual theme or free with a Premium or Business WordPress plan.

How to Choose the Best WordPress Theme for You

Now that you know our seven best theme recommendations, it’s important to understand what matters. It’s time to talk about how you can make the right decision by following these considerations and choosing the best theme for you.

Know Your Blogging Niche

It sounds self-explanatory, but it’s relevant when choosing the perfect theme. Today we looked at the seven most common blogging niches, and how each theme suited for those niches is different.

When choosing a theme, you must know your blogging niche because you don’t want to install Veggie if fashion blogging is your focus. Different niches require different themes with distinct features, layouts, and designs.

I would suggest creating a list of your most passionate hobbies and start there.

Customization is Key

Having a customizable theme is crucial for an easily-navigated blog.

It’s okay if you are not interested in investing money into your blog. However, many free themes have limits on customizing, whether for headers, colors, or layouts.

Every theme on this list is customizable to some extent, some more than others, so it’s important to look into the nitty-gritty before installing.

Features

Every theme listed here today has some incredible features that work best for its particular niche. However, some themes have more unique elements than others, and it’s critical to weigh whether you need them.

Paid themes are more likely to have more unique elements, such as Olsen with the Instagram footer widget, and Perle with the subtle animation.

If you know you won’t need an Instagram footer or subtle animation as a writer, it’s best to keep your money in your pocket.

Some basic features that are imperative for most blogs include:

  • Custom colors
  • Site logo
  • Flexible display
  • Classic menu
  • Widgets

So, make sure you look for these when installing any theme.

Summary

Baskerville 2, Hemingway Rewritten, and Maxwell are our top three WordPress theme recommendations for a blog.

Two of the three are free, making them very affordable. However, Maxwell is worth the cost if you’re looking to invest in a more high-end design with features suitable for professional blogging. All three are easy to use, non-technical, and presentable.

With that said, your niche and blogging needs will dictate the perfect theme for you. However, if you follow our considerations closely, it will make finding a theme that much easier. 

The post Best WordPress Themes for Blogs appeared first on Neil Patel.

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