Your Weekly Content Marketing Round-Up

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Welcome back to Your Weekly Content Marketing Round-up where I search the internet for great content about content marketing so you don’t have to!


Many of you offer social media marketing as a service or promote your business on social media, but you’re failing, because you haven’t learned to think with a social media mindset.

If you don’t take the time to listen, understand the medium on its own terms, and provide value, you’re going to lose. You cannot simply use tactics from traditional media on social. Social media demands a constant output of value and relationship building:

You Do Social Media, but You Don’t Think Social 


“If your content or brand is seen just once your credibility and trust level is 6%. If it is noticed 3-5 times then it goes to 60%.”

This article is about the power of influencer marketing and new ways of finding and connecting with influencers that can help you build your brand and gain credibility with consumers.

7 Influencer Marketing Insights You Need To Know Today !


While the healthcare field has widely adopted content marketing over the past few years, the legal profession is finally coming around as well, opening new opportunities for content marketers.

The Surprising New Adopter of Content Marketing: Lawyers


Stories are what sell:

4 Benefits of Using Marketing in Storytelling

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You Do Social Media, but You Don’t Think Social

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Every day I come across marketing agencies, PR firms, and freelancers who offer social media marketing as a service.

Many of them didn’t start out doing anything with social media. Most of the time they began with print or other forms of digital marketing (SEO, web content, blogging etc.)

But recognizing its importance and value to customers, they have now added social media marketing to their arsenal. In some cases (and this is actually more surprising to me), it’s a new agency which claims to be focused almost solely on social media.

But too often, I’m seeing that while these companies may talk a big game, they don’t seem to really understand what social media is all about. Judging based on their social posts, most of them have not done their homework and have not given the medium sufficient preparation or the respect it deserves.

I can tell that a marketing company doesn’t really ‘get it’ when almost every post is either self-promotional or a promotion for a client. What this tells me is the agency is still thinking in terms of traditional media marketing (e.g. TV, print, and radio). They may have made the shift to social, but they have not yet shifted their mindset to one that understands social media.

Social media marketing – and really all of digital marketing – is about providing value. You don’t have a captive audience the way you do in traditional media. There’s a lot of noise you have to compete with for attention. Therefore, you have to earn that attention.

How do you earn it? You earn it by acting like a human being and more like a media company and less like a marketer. You hit your target audience with content that entertains, inspires, or helps. This keeps people coming back for more and primes them to eventually buy what it is you’re selling when you do eventually go in for the ask.

What really makes me laugh (and cringe) is when a company will post a meme or a video explaining how social media is about providing value rather than talking about oneself, and then almost all of the other posts are self-promotional! And people pay them thousands of dollars in monthly retainers?

It annoys me, because I know if I had the resources, I could show ’em how it’s done, but on the other hand I’m happy, because it will make it easier for me to win once I have my own team. 🙂 working-in-starbucks-east-hampton

Here’s what you have to remember. Nobody goes online to see ads. Nobody wants to be sold to.

If they know you, like you, and feel like they’ve received a lot of value from you, they will not necessarily buy from you, but they will be much more likely to want to give you something in return, which could mean a transaction.

However, if you just go in for the ask without first providing value, you’re like the obnoxious guy at the party who does nothing but talk about himself. It’s like asking to marry someone on the first date. You’re like the dude who tries to go all the way before even saying hello.

Now, I get it. Some people genuinely want to try new economy strategies, but their bosses force them into utilizing dinosaur tactics. You feel pressure to show a tangible ROI to your boss or to your clients.

But if you want to win on social, you need to start acting socially. It’s not social to be talking about yourself all day. That’s lame. No one wants to hang out with people like that. You need to behave like an individual and actually contribute to the conversation. In that respect, social media marketing is very counter-intuitive for marketers and brands, but it’s very natural (and fun) when you allow yourself to respect the medium on its own terms.

Social media marketing does not provide as much instant gratification as do other forms of marketing. It takes much longer to start getting results, but if you’re patient and you spend time listening to your audience, take the time to learn about and respect the individual social platforms, and you create good content consistently, you will win in the long-run.

Your hard work and patience will pay off and leave your competition in the dust. But if you try using short-cuts and don’t invest the time and energy that is needed to build and strengthen consumer relationships, you will never get off the ground.

So, don’t just say you do social media. Start thinking and acting like it.

 

 

Should I be a Freelancer?

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Home office. The life of a freelance copywriter is not always glamorous.

Should you be a freelancer?

That’s a question only you can answer. And to answer that question, you will have to develop self-awareness.

How can you know if freelancing is your calling?

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Perhaps, you will try it out for a few months or a few years and then discover whether or not it’s for you. Another way to figure out if you should freelance is by talking to people who freelance about what their experiences. You can even gain clarity by discussing  your thought process with family members and close friends.

I can’t truly answer this question for you, but what I can do is tell you what I have learned so far, which might help you gain perspective.

Financial Considerations 

If you want to freelance, you have to be prepared financially and emotionally for the possibility that you might not make much money in the beginning.

Getting started is always the hardest part.

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You might have to keep your day job and freelance on the side at first. Perhaps, you’re ready to strike out on your own, but either way, don’t expect things to happen quickly. It takes a while to gain traction and build momentum.

Make sure you have a plan in place before undertaking full-time freelance work, because the money will not likely come in quickly or easily in the beginning.

You need to be comfortable with the fact that your financial situation will vary greatly from month to month and it will be difficult when you’re starting out, not only to earn steady paychecks, but to ascertain what you will likely earn by the end of the fiscal year.

Finding Clients

If you are not yet known, you will have to fight very hard to win over every single one of your clients.

Amassing a client base in the beginning is tough. No one knows who you are and you may not yet have a huge portfolio. Therefore, you will have to aggressively pursue leads or create a vast amount of quality content online to get noticed.

You will go through booms and busts. You might have a large client base one month and very few clients the next. It may take you a while to find your footing. If you’re someone who likes to play it safe, can’t stand rejection, and is afraid of unpredictability, then freelance work is not right for you.

Know Why You Want to Freelance

Why do you want to be a freelancer?

Is it because you think that it will afford you more time to travel the world and lay on the beach?

Trust me, you will not have much time for that if you want to succeed. Yes, there is a lot more freedom in being a freelancer, but even a ‘working vacation’ is still mostly work and very little vacation. You need to love it enough to  work at odd hours and be willing to sacrifice nights and weekends.

Why I freelance

I do it, because I can’t stand having to answer to a boss, when I think I can do it better. I value my freedom above all else. I need the room to create and experiment without being told it’s a waste of time or detracting from expected routines.

I don’t like having my salary determined by someone else. I don’t like the idea of another person limiting what I  earn in a year or only letting me keep a percentage of commission. What I earn should only be limited by my own ability to hustle and produce. I’d rather earn less and work longer hours hustling on my own than earn more and work less by working for someone else.

Most importantly, I freelance, because it cannot be any other way.

Working for myself is my only option. I’m not good at being an employee. I’m not good at staying in one place or following rules that I find pointless or counterproductive. I will not work within someone else’s system that doesn’t allow me to win. I refuse to settle for anything else.

That’s why I freelance.

I don’t believe everyone can freelance or be in business for themselves. Not everyone has the stomach for it.

But there are some of us who literally cannot do it any other way. If that’s you, then you didn’t even need me to convince you to work for yourself.

Own your truth and go do it.

 

Interview with Emily Merrell of Six Degrees Society in The Huffington Post

In my latest Huffington Post interview, I chatted with Emily Merrell, the founder of Six Degrees Society, about her background in fashion marketing and her fast-growing start-up that is giving professional women a space of their own to network in a relaxed, fun environment.

“I’m always on the search to meet innovative, young entrepreneurs and hear their stories. So, I feel very fortunate have been connected with Emily Merrell, the founder of a popular new business networking group for women called Six Degrees Society.”

Read more

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How to Hack the Instagram Hashtag

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There are many ways to hack Instagram. But if you’re trying to boost engagement and get likes and comments on your posts, learning how to properly use hashtags is essential.

Ironically, while Twitter was the first to popularize the almighty hashtag and is the network we most often associate with hashtags in popular culture, Instagram’s algorithm encourages more hashtag usage than does the algorithm of any other platform, so why not use Instagram hashtags to your advantage?

Mastering the art and science of Instagram hashtags can be tricky. But the key to getting your posts in front of more people, as well as the right people, is making sure your posts show up as Top Posts for your targeted hashtags.

How Top Posts Work

Instagram Top Posts appear as the first 9 images that pop up when you click on a hashtag or enter a tag into Instagram’s search bar. These top posts are what Instagram has decided are the best posts using that hashtag and they are the first ones users see when they look for anything associated with that hashtag. By getting your content to appear in Top Posts, your images will gain more impressions and exposure.

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Images that make it into Top Posts stay at the top longer, and unlike the Most Recent section below it, Top Posts aren’t in chronological order. Rather, they are based on the amount of user engagement or interaction with the post within a finite amount of time.

How to Consistently Make it into Top Posts

I doubt anyone outside of Instagram’s staff actually knows the platform’s algorithm, but I discovered a nice little trick to get more likes on posts through my own experiences of trial and error using Instagram. I did not have a large following (and I still don’t have a super huge following), but I wanted my posts to receive more meaningful engagement and my profile to accrue more targeted followers who would be truly interested in my content. To do that, my posts would have to show up for the right people – the sort of people whom I want to attract.

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Most people think of Instagram as a social media network and that is true, but I realized Instagram (like Twitter) is actually a search engine as well, and a powerful one at that.

Applying what I knew about search engines, I decided it would be better to rank higher i.e. get into Top Posts for narrow, niche hashtags that specifically target the audience with whom I wished to interact. I also wanted to get more exposure on hashtags with a wide enough following to be relevant, but a small enough following so as to minimize competition for the coveted Top Posts section.

I began to research ‘long-tail,’ niche or targeted hashtags that relate to my audience and my business to see how many previous posts each hashtag had. Those with a low enough number of posts to make competition for the top spot low, but a high enough number of posts to get a significant number of eyeballs on my posts were deemed worthy of use.

I now consistently (or at least most of the time) make it into the Top Posts section for hashtags like #businessstrategy, #contentwriter, and #internetbusiness, which is useful to me as a freelance copywriter and marketer. Occasionally, I get into Top Posts for even more popular hashtags such as #copywriting and #contentwriting. I also use more popular hashtags like #marketing, #contentmarketing, and #freelance.

Note: No, I’m not scared that some of you are going to ‘steal’ those hashtags, because I welcome the competition and you will not defeat me. Bring it, #&%$*!  🙂

While these narrow hashtags are the most helpful, I still use broad hashtags when appropriate that are based on specific themes related to the image or general trends. Examples include #summer, #grind, #hustle, #MotivationMonday, and #creative.

I do this because the post will briefly appear at the top of the Most Recent section of some very popular hashtags, which increases the likelihood that the post will be seen and and pick up a few likes quickly after it is posted before it disappears down into the Most Recent section of those popular hashtags. In the short-run, this may attract likes from people outside my target audience, bots, and fake or fickle followers, but I’m cool with that. It’s OK, because these first few likes will tell Instagram that the post is valuable, which will get the post bumped up higher into Top Posts for the narrow hashtags.

Once I’m in the Top Posts section for the targeted hashtags that I was aiming for, I’ll be up there for a while achieving more visibility, more likes for a longer period of time, and new followers who are actually interested in topics related to my brand.

Don’t Underestimate Most Recent: 

While landing in the Top Posts section is far more valuable than being at the top of the Most Recent section, over-indexing for Most Recent on narrow, long-tail, targeted hashtags that relate to your brand is also a smart strategy.

Remaining at the top of the Most Recent section for a long period of time ensures that even when your post has faded away from the Top Post limelight, you can continue to mine that post’s equity. For narrow hashtags, you may stay at the top of the Most Recent section for a especially long time, because the hashtag receives new posts so infrequently. When your content dominates the Most Recent feed for a niche hashtag, this can keep you at the top of mind for the people you wish to target. You may also gain more likes and find yourself back in the Top Posts section now and then.

Furthermore, if you begin to dominate the Most Recent section of a given hashtag, you’ll become the account most associated with that hashtag on Instagram, which can be a tremendous asset to your branding efforts.

Branded Hashtags

Another important strategy, which could very well be the subject of its own blog post, is leveraging branded hashtags.

Branded hashtags are hashtags that relate specifically to your business. Creating a hashtag that is specific to your business, such as one that features the name of your business or one of your campaigns e.g. #madewithchobani (Chobani) or #OfficeHack (Staples), can go a long way toward crafting a brand on Instagram.

Experiment with several branded hashtags and reuse the ones that receive the best results. If one of your branded hashtags starts trending, more attention will be shifted directly to your brand.

Good luck and if you found this post helpful, please follow me on Instagram @zevg1 for more inspiring, useful content related to digital marketing! #followmenow #thanksforreading #GoGetEm