5 evergreen hacks for content marketing in 2018

As we leave 2017 behind, we can be sure 2018 will be just as packed with new digital features, challenges and opportunities. One thing that won’t change for the bulk of social media and content marketers is that time and resources will remain at a premium. With that in mind, here are some low-hanging, evergreen(ish) hacks to boost engagement no matter what 2018 brings.

The challenge of tech and tactic fatigue

Back in 2014 the terms “content fatigue” and “content shock” were populating headlines everywhere. In good content marketing fashion these were used to excess then scathingly dropped (to use 2016-17 parlance people “double downed” on them too much).

Both were a reference to information overload and glut. But what about the flip-side? The overload on marketers trying to feed their content pipelines? This was a challenge then and it remains so now.

There is definitely a sense of fatigue out there. Caused by all the channels, formats and tactics now available. So many possibilities have given rise to the ironic challenge of being just too spoilt for choice. That’s why I’ve gathered what I tentatively call ‘evergreen’ hacks that should serve you well in 2018 and beyond.

1. Actually get to know your audience

It sounds obvious, but you may be surprised how many companies I’ve dealt with that still rely on hunches and assumptions over data.

As 2018 takes us even deeper into the ‘age of big data’, knowing what drives your target group is easier than ever before. You must not only know who your ideal prospects are but learn about the context in which their conversions happen.

Detailed persona profiles are the lowest-hanging fruit here. But the most effective and necessary way to do it in 2018 is to bridge your social media and CRM data. Your venerable ol’ CRM is still invaluable, but it takes evergreen data sourced through social listening to really get a handle on what drives your audience.

McKinsey found that companies using data-driven personalization to drive their marketing and sales decisions increased their marketing ROI by 15% to 20%.

2. Invest more in retargeting

Even the sharpest persona scoping and targeting aren’t going to convert everybody.

For example, the average conversion rate across all Facebook advertising is 9.21%. It’s a daunting 2% for website visitors. Don’t give up on that 90%!

Retargeting is one area where the social networks are only growing in strength. Facebook and Twitter frequency caps keep audiences from continually seeing the same ads. Custom Audience segmenting or exclusions help you do the same. You will also save money by not targeting earlier conversions.

A good tip with retargeting is to put a Facebook pixel in your emails and then retarget the people who open with a personalized paid ad.

3. Trust in SEO

Search engine optimization may seem something of an arcane art, but it is simply making your content visible to the people who care. As with organic social media it is often declared dead, but the logic just doesn’t stand.

Consider this: 80% of website traffic begins with a search query.

Using the words the people are searching for makes your content far more likely to cross their path. It can be laborious but adding keywords (especially localized ones) to your headlines, meta titles, URLs etc. are simple SEO techniques that can make a huge difference.

A basic rule of thumb is to write your content as if you were directly answering the questions being typed into Google – to discover what those are you can use freemium tools such as tinysuggest and Isigraph. An important tip is to aim for long-tail keywords – especially in light of the accelerated adoption of voice search for Siri, Google Now etc.

4. Picture it on mobile

Google’s algorithm has prioritized mobile-optimized websites since 2015. Mobile internet traffic first overtook traditional desktop devices back in January 2014 – and now accounts for 65% of digital media time.

And yet a lot of brands still don’t pursue a mobile-first marketing strategy. Only one in five do according to one study, settling instead for just ‘mobile-friendly’.

‘Mobile-first’ doesn’t need to be a technical exercise. Much of it is simply employing the classic art of short-form content: shorter headlines, tighter copy, portrait images etc.

One important technical consideration though is loading times. Mobile devices lack the CPU of desktops, so your website’s loading times need to be optimized or you risk losing people at the first hurdle.

Use Google’s mobile-friendly test to see how your website stands up.

5. Say it with (Instagram) video

No one needs to be told that video is taking over.

One poignant fact among the million available is that one in four consumers lose interest in a company if its content lacks video. But without dedicated video resources and a shoestring budget what is the best way to go here?

If there is just one format you have the bandwidth to pursue, then all the numbers point to Instagram Live Videos and Instagram Stories. Both Instagram and Facebook’s algorithm’s prioritize video, especially live video, in their newsfeeds.

Added to that is the fact that Instagram’s engagement rate is ten times higher than Facebook’s and 84 times higher than Twitter’s. And that 70% of Instagram followers follow at least one business.

Instagram – and social media video in general – has the added advantage that people expect it to be rough and ready. Basically any intern with an iPhone can produce it.

Some simple tips here include the use of links. Verified Instagram users can embed links that viewers can open with a quick upward swipe. Another is to make ample use of all the filters and effects now on offer. One thing that will never change in marketing is the value of a little pazazz.

Here’s to an energetic 2018

Content marketing is never going to not be hectic. But with trial and experiment and a few hacks like these, you can push through the tech and tactic fatigue.

Need Help Writing an Engaging content or running a Facebook ad that converts into clients? Call 08161333171

See why social media managers are freaking out about Facebook’s latest policy change

In July, Facebook stymied the ability of page owners to customize link previews in order to stop the spread of fake news. Though it doesn’t seem to have achieved that, this change has had page owners and social media managers up in arms, some of whom took to Facebook’s blog to vent their anger:

The problem: 60% of websites don’t define the Open Graph tags necessary for Facebook to display an attractive link preview. This means that most of the time, page owners wanting to share a link are confronted with something like this:

Even if you’ve got full control over the link you’re sharing, it’s a lot of work to change the meta-tags of every page you want to share, and there’s often a lot of back-and-forth going on between the social media team and the IT team just to customize a single link preview. In addition, social media managers sometimes want to share the same link multiple times (when re-sharing a product page that has been popular in the past, for example), but want to use a different image for each post.

A seemingly easy fix is to share an image post with a link in the blurb above the image, rather than using Facebook’s link previews. However, there’s research to show that the click-trough rates on image posts are 82% belowthose using the native link previews (yes, I double checked that number ?). And to some extent, that’s intuitive: When socialites click on the image, they’re presented with a larger gallery-version of the image, but nothing else to click on. In the case of the native link previews, however, they’ve been trained by Facebook to click anywhere if they want to know more.

Luckily, there are two ways which allow you to continue editing link previews. The first can be done through Facebook’s interface itself. Create a new image ad, set the destination to the link you’re trying to share, customize the image and title to your liking, and tick the “Also post to my page”-checkbox. Then, set the campaign’s budget to $1 and wait until your ad has been approved by Facebook. Your newly created ad will then be posted to your page’s timeline.

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of creating a new ad every time you want to post a link to Facebook, you can try the second way: ShareKit.io. You simply upload your image and enter a title and description, and ShareKit will generate a new link for you that you can then post to Facebook. Their agency plan lets you use your own (or your client’s) domain, so the link won’t appear as a ShareKit link.

It’s a shame that Facebook has decided to make the lives of social media managers harder than they’d have to be, but as you can see, there are a few alternatives that let you continue to customize link previews to your heart’s content.

Six Tips for Using Twitter (and Other Social Media Platforms)

For journalists already enduring understaffed newsrooms, shrinking news holes and daily deadlines, social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter may seem more like an additional burden than a useful tool. But they don’t have to be.

Social media can be a powerful tool for culling sources, breaking news, and promoting your work, among other things.

Adam Harris, the former social media editor for ProPublica and now a breaking news reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education, shared tips for mastering social media during an October webinar for EWA. Read on for some highlights of his suggestions, plus other tips for making the most of social media. (View Adam’s presentation slides.)

1. Present a human face, not just a headline. Be conversational. Share some of your life and personality. “Your professional account should still reflect that a human operates it,” Harris said. “It shouldn’t just be something that an RSS feed could create.” Examples of reporters who do this well, he said, include David Fahrenthold and Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post, and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times.

2. Use Twitter as your reporter’s notebook. Tweet news releases in a format that’s easily searchable and easy to catalog. For example, Harris said he tweets such information with the words “inbox” and a descriptive term. Use an advance search to go back and search through your tweets.

3. Thread tweets to create a mini story in your timeline. To thread tweets, just reply to your own tweets in succession, one after another. This displays them in linear order. It’s similar to jotting down ideas in your reporter’s notebook. This also helps you stay on top of the story, Harris said. You then can polish the tweets into the narrative of your story.

4. Know when you are in danger of crossing the line. As always, be professional and use your news judgment on Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms. “Know that you are in a public space still, so there should be some limits to what you’re saying,” Harris said. “Also, you want to continue to be fair, continue to be accurate.” Don’t rant about something you are covering or might cover in the future. Find your comfort level with what you’re willing to post, he said.

(Pew Research Center) Journalists can’t afford to ignore Facebook. About 68 percent of U.S. adults use the social media platform, according to the Pew Research Center.

5. Be creative with how you use Twitter, Snapchat, and other social media platforms.Reveal (The Center for Investigative Reporting) put together an entire investigative series on Instagram. The New York Times uses Instagram and a third-party platform to link back to stories on its website. You can use Snapchat to share mini-interviews when you’re on location. Facebook Live seems to be the go-to platform for live streaming. You can also use it for live Q&As, Harris suggested.

6. Don’t forget about Facebook. Twitter tends to be the go-to site for journalists to share and follow breaking news. But reporters neglect Facebook at their peril. The number of adults using Facebook still far exceeds the audience for other social media platforms, including Twitter, according to data from the Pew Research Center.

To engage with your audience on Facebook, be intentional about sharing photos (and even short videos). Monitor the analytics data on Facebook (and Twitter) to gauge what gets the strongest response from your audience.

When you create a Facebook Page, you also get access to data about the number of people your posts reach and how many people actually engage with the posts.

Similar information is available on Twitter (analytics.twitter.com). Here’s an example of what it looks like.

Twitter and Facebook analytics data can help reporters see how people engage with them on social media.

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