5 Things to Do When Content Inspiration Hits

5 Things to Do When Content Inspiration Hits

Inspiration Can Be Fleeting.

Do These 5 Things When Content Inspiration Hits

Inspiration can strike at any time, and when it does, you need to be ready.

But, what do you actually need to do to ensure that you get the most out of your content inspiration? Only a few things actually, and most of them are pretty self-explanatory.

Get busy cranking out killer content by knocking out these # things to do when content inspiration strikes:

1. Write It Down

This may be a little bit of a “duh” moment, but you’d be surprised at how many amazing ideas you pass up simply because you neglect to write it down. I’ll be honest, I have and now I keep a pad of paper next to my bed at all times.

I <3 my bedside journal, and you will too.

Begin by writing down every single idea you have, big or small. That way you can not only remember it, but you can also cross-reference your content ideas when it comes time to…

2. Google It

So, you’ve had an epiphany.

Great!

Now, take the next step and check your work. Because you took the first step in writing it down, you can easily plug it into Google in the morning to find out if you’re the first one to have thought of it, or if your idea is pretty generic.

Remember, that just because you aren’t the first to have the idea doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea. Think about different ways to approach the subject differently to achieve a different result with the same basic goal.

3. Sleep On It

No matter how simple or complex your idea is, it is always a good idea to sleep on it.

Sure, it seems like a good content idea now, but it may not sound so smart in the morning.

So, always try to get a solid 8 hours after your content inspiration hits to ensure that you get the best end of the deal.

4. Bounce It Off Your Friends

After you’ve let your idea simmer, start bouncing it off your nearest and dearest friends, co-workers, influencers, and network buddies.

Start with your closest friends to make sure that you don’t sound like a raving lunatic when you approach influencers and networkers. If your idea still has steam, bring it to your next networking meet!

Remember to always tread lightly. Networking meetings are always a touchy subject and you’re best off offering something that can help your networkees versus selling something.

5. Get to Work

If you’ve done the work and knocked the previous four steps out of the park, now is the time to get down and dirty.

No matter how large or small your content inspiration is, you should always start from the beginning and do it right rather than doing it quickly. You’ve taken the time to make sure it’s a good idea, why wouldn’t you take the time to do it justice?

Take your time and lay out your project in clearly defined steps from beginning to end, and attack each of those steps with a clear head.

So, next time content inspiration strikes, make sure to follow these steps to get the most out of your idea no matter what it is. Do you have a great tip to add to this list? Let me know!

Top 5 Worst Content Mistakes All Small Businesses Make

Top 5 Worst Content Mistakes All Small Businesses Make

Are You Guilty of One (or more) of These Top Worst Content Mistakes?

Let’s Hope Not!

Although content marketing is “not” a new concept, many small businesses still have a hard time grasping the idea. The only thing worse than ignoring content marketing is completely screwing it up.

So, get ahead of the curve by learning from the top 5 worst content marketing mistakes that all small businesses make.

Like…

1. Understanding the Power of Content.

Content is everything. Literally, every piece of communication that your business puts out is content. So, it would stand to reason that content is pretty damn powerful, wouldn’t it?

Sadly, many small businesses STILL don’t get the significance of good content. It can make or break any marketing campaign, customer contact, website impact, etc. So, for the sake of your sanity and the longevity of your brand, start respecting content.

In fact, here are 5 reasons great content is important to your business.

2. Ignoring the Needs of The Audience.

Your audience makes your brand go ‘round. You know it. I know it. Your audience knows it.

That being said, your audience is a unique group of people that have unique wants and needs that are specific to your business. Ignoring those needs can be absolutely disastrous to the longevity of your business, making this the WORST content marketing mistake you could ever make.

To get ahead of this and make sure that you’re respecting the needs of your audience, start by building out targeted buyer personas for your brand. Not sure what a buyer persona is? Here’s a sweet blog article to help shed some light: What is a Buyer Persona and Why Does It Matter?

3. Not Implementing Tracking Options.

Let’s face it; there are STILL businesses that aren’t using Google Analytics and Search Console. I know, crazy.

If you’re one of these businesses, get on that right now. Seriously, open a new tab and get to work.

If you are using GA and SC, are you actually tracking goals or reviewing your analytics on a regular basis? You should be. Google Analytics is absolutely crucial to knowing how your content performs and how your audience consumes content. To get ahead of your content, start by implementing some of these custom reports:

Content Analysis Dashboard

Social Media Dashboard

4. Not Testing.

You would NEVER buy a new product or system for your business without testing it, would you?

Well, the same goes for testing your content to ensure that your audience is getting the best you can provide, and your marketing team is getting the most out of that content.

Now, depending on what kind of content you’re running, testing may come in different forms. But, there’s always a way to do it.

One free testing option is actually through your Google Analytics account (you do have one of those, don’t you?), called Google Experiments.

Another free option is a very aptly named program called ABTesting.net. You get 5 free A/B tests when you signup, and you can earn more free tests by sharing your experience on Facebook and LinkedIn. That’s a pretty small price to pay to know how your audience responds to content.

Need to know how long to run your test? Check out this handy dandy little tool: Visual Website Optimizer Split Test Optimizer. Or, THIS TOOL to determine the significance of your landing page.

5. Not Hiring A Dedicated Content Marketing Pro.

Last, but not least, is the idea that if you are utilizing content marketing, then you should definitely hire a dedicated content marketer for your team.

This may seem a little overkill to most small businesses, but trust me, content marketing is a FULL-TIME JOB. The worst thing you can do is overload an existing employee with the responsibilities of a content marketing representative and just wait until things fall apart.

And, fall apart they will.

Trust me when I tell you, from personal experience that there’s a fine line between wearing many hats and being overwhelmed. Save yourself and your team the stress by vetting and hiring a professional to handle your content marketing needs.

Keep in mind that this person can be an intern, contractor, or a part-time employee. As long as their sole focus is on content marketing, you don’t have to break the bank

So, to rock the socks off your audience from the very beginning, work to avoid all 5 of these content mistakes that all small businesses make and you’ll be in good shape.

Have you made a content mistake that you’d like others to learn from? Share it with me in the comments below!

Make Content Creation More Fun in 3 Simple Ways

Make Content Creation More Fun in 3 Simple Ways

Content creation can often be seen as a chore. It’s a regular chunk of time that could be spent on something more tangible, like hustling sales. But, in the current age, creating quality content should be a priority because it is an opportunity to promote both value and community, which goes much farther for your brand in many ways.

If you’ve been avoiding content creation for any reason…

Here are 3 simple ways to make content creation easier and more fun for everyone involved.

1. Crowdsource

Make a point to regularly ask your audience what they want to hear from you, and be GENUINE about it.

You can go about this several different ways, and one method will work better for you than for other businesses.

  • Sift through testimonials.
  • Email survey.
  • Web pop-up survey.
  • Social media survey posts.
  • Ask them in person.

Test each of these methods to streamline your best opportunity for crowdsourced content and stick with it. Your content should evolve with your business, and your customers will always be the best source of inspiration.

2. Make It A Team Activity

No matter whether you’re a company of one or a Fortune 500 brand with over 200 employees, making sure to include your employees in the content creation process is crucial.

Everyone has a different perspective and personality, so trying to incorporate that into your content can take your content from “ok” to “amazeballs”.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Take your content from “ok” to “amazeballs” by making it a team activity.” user=”inkedigital”]

Start small and work within your particular department. If things go well, expand outward slowly (with manager permissions, of course) until you create a healthy number of involved individuals and departments.

Schedule a meeting at regular intervals to collaborate and gather ideas, but always be sure to stay on topic. Be wary of the dreaded meeting hole and read our article: 6 Ways to Make Meetings More Productive.

3. Involve the Family

Strange as it may sound, your family can provide some real insight into the value of your content. Plus, incorporating human elements and culture into your content can be more rewarding than you expect.

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Set a day each week or month to sit down for an hour with your friends and family to involve them in your work life. Your spouse will likely provide the most tangible ideas, but your children will provide the element of fun and creativity that your content needs. Never underestimate the mind of a child!

TIP: If you’re often accused of being a “workaholic” this would also be a great opportunity to show your friends and family exactly what you do all day and invite them to pitch in. Not only will you gain incredible insight from someone outside the business, but you’ll also gain more respect from your peers.

No matter where you are in your content process or what kind of industry you’re in, you can apply these three simple methods to make content creation and curation easier and way more fun for everyone.

Do you have a great way to make content creation more fun? Share it with me!

Content VS. Copy: The 3 Key Differences You Need to Know

Content VS. Copy: The 3 Key Differences You Need to Know

Have you ever wondered exactly what differentiates content from copy? Well, I’m here to tell you that the differences are monumental. Literally, everything is different.

Tip: Don’t ever call a content writer a copywriter. You may need to run.

So, in the great battle of content vs. copy, here are the 3 key differences that you need to know.

Content Is:

1. Conversational

Being conversational is probably one of the most important facets of what makes content, content.

No matter which platform it is being executed within, good content can create, promote, and nurture healthy conversation by being HUMAN.

While copy is often cold, distant, and lacks a human element that people connect with.

2. Valuable

Value can be perceived in many different ways depending on the platform or media outlet being used, but the basic definition is:

“The regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.” Thanks, Merriam-Webster!

Content is useful in every sense of the word. If it doesn’t work hard to solve a problem or answer a question, it’s not content.

[easy-tweet tweet=”If it doesn’t work hard to solve a problem or answer a question, it’s not content.” user=”inkedigital”]

On the other hand, copy simply just tells you one version of the story without attempting to resolve the issue.

3. Non-Interruptive

Good content is designed and implemented to provide value without being obnoxious.

You don’t feel like you’re being marketed to because properly executed content can inspire you to make your own decision.

4. More Than Just Words

Content can often be perceived as being just words. It’s not, content is literally everything that you’re putting out there to connect with your audience. From blog posts to radio shows.

Content evokes a feeling.
Content inspires action.
Content creates community.

Copy? Copy just tells you what’s going on.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Think of copy as a boring news article, and content as an in-depth “How To” article or video.” user=”inkedigital”]

So, if you’re still confused about what you need to further your brand marketing efforts…ask any millennial passerby. They’ll help shed a little light on the subject in simple terms.

How to Tell If Your Content is Valuable as a New Brand

How to Tell if Your Content is Valuable as a New Brand

Determining if your content is effective and valuable is easier than you think, especially if you’re an established brand. But, what if you’re a newly minted business? It can be a real challenge to figure out where you stand with no benchmarks for comparison.

Here are 4 steps to determine how to tell if your content is valuable:

1. Do YOU Believe What You’re Saying?

Take a minute to evaluate whether you genuinely believe in what you’re saying. If you don’t, no one will.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Evaluate whether you genuinely believe in what you’re saying. If you don’t, no one will.” user=”inkedigital”]

If you don’t passionately believe in what you’re doing and saying, it will be obvious in the. If that happens, you audience will pick up on it right away, and it will automatically put them off.

2. Do YOU Find It Valuable?

Not only do you need to believe in your content, but you must also find it valuable. Even if you don’t fit into the primary demographic of the brand, you should still find something useful about the content. If not, your audience won’t love it either.

3. Run it by Your Staff

Has your content passed the first two personal tests? Run it by your team!

You’ve already chosen your team well, so give them the opportunity to share their opinion.

4. TEST IT!!

So, your content has passed each internal test put to it by yourself and the team. Now, what?

FIELD TEST IT!

Now, you test, test, and re-test.

Check your content as many times as you find it necessary to get the results that you desire. Depending on the type of content or the source of delivery, some content may require more or less testing.

But, the bottom line is, if you have been diligent and have cross-examined your content carefully, your audience will devour it in seconds.

5 Reasons Great Content Is Important to Your Business

5 Reasons Great Content Is Important to Your Business

By now, you probably realize that content is important. But, how important? What kind of content? Are you different?

The questions can be a little overwhelming, and many businesses avoid content marketing because they just don’t quite understand it.

The truth is, everyone needs content for a different reason and in a different context. But, the overall importance of that content never changes.

Here are 5 reasons why great content is important to your business, no matter what industry you’re in.

1. Great Content Builds Trust

The definition of content marketing is offering value to your audience and answering their questions in a way that is non-obtrusive and easy to understand.

“Content Marketing represents the gap between what brands produce and what consumers actually want.” ~ Michael Brenner

[easy-tweet tweet=”“Content Marketing represents the gap between what brands produce and what consumers actually want.” ~ Michael Brenner” template=”quote”]

So, by default, providing great content helps build trust and foster brand loyalty among your customers, prospects, AND employees. When your employees see you making a genuine effort to provide support and value, they’re more likely to become brand advocates. We all know that an employee is one of the best brand ambassadors a business can have, right?

2. Increases Brand Awareness

By churning out content that is specially tailored to your customer’s needs, you are building brand awareness on several different levels.

  • First, you’re developing healthy SEO by creating quality, consistent content.
  • Second, your audience sees your name more often, which fosters top of mind awareness.
  • Third, audience members that interact with your content are more likely to share it with their friends and family.

3. Helps You Understand Your Audience

By appropriately tracking and measuring your content marketing efforts, you can learn more about your audience in one month than you learned all of the last year.

Seriously, if you follow best practices, you are guaranteed to learn something that will help you tailor future content to the appropriate demographic.

Great content can help you get inside your ideal customer’s head and understand their unique wants and needs.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Great content can help you get inside your ideal customer’s head and understand their unique needs.” user=”inkedigital”]

Plus, this insight can help you tailor in-person interaction to further conversions. Meaning that you can use what you’ve learned to train your staff and adjust your physical location to better suit the customer’s wants and needs.

4. Set the Standard for Your Team

By being consistent, creative, and thoughtful with your content, you are automatically setting the standard for the rest of your team.

Whether you’re a small or large company, someone is always looking to you to set the standard of quality for the brand. Quickly and efficiently do this by providing great content that your audience actually NEEDS. Your team will catch on and carry through in less time than you’d expect.

5. Content is 100% Actionable

While many people say that content marketing is hard to track, that doesn’t mean it isn’t actionable.

Creating great, actionable content that does it’s job and engages the user can help you:

  • Learn from your mistakes.
  • Monetize.
  • Build a foundation for further marketing efforts.
  • Inspire action in your audience.

So, if you’re still in the dark about whether content is important to your bottom line or not, ask your customers. They’re not afraid to tell you what they think, and believe it or not, will praise you when deserved.

Do your part to make your content work for your business by developing and implementing a solid content marketing strategy. Combine that with tailored platform content strategies, and you’re unbeatable. Get it going today!

My Journey Down the Content Marketing Rabbit Hole & Why You Need to Take The Leap

Like Alice, I randomly stumbled upon and tumbled down a rabbit hole. The difference is that my proverbial “rabbit hole” happened to be a headlong skid into the realm of content marketing. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that tumble saved my life.

So, I’d like to share my journey down the content marketing rabbit hole and explain why you need to take that leap as well.

What Is Content Marketing?

In essence, content marketing is the act of providing rich, relevant content to your audience across all platforms. This means that you’re doing your very best to engage your customer and give them what they’re looking for on your website, social media, newspapers, etc.

Content Is everything and everywhere. You can’t afford to mess it up.

Everything the light touches is content.

My Personal Journey

My personal journey into content marketing began in 2011 when I inadvertently landed my first marketing job.

I had just moved back home and was in desperate need of a job. I ended up taking a marketing and office assistant position at a local sign-making franchise and found myself immersed in all sorts of social media, email, and direct marketing. Needless to say, I was lost but I quickly learned how to “swim” and took to marketing like a duck to water.

Since that fateful initial marketing position, I’ve always gravitated towards marketing in many ofits different forms taking jobs in copywriting, social media management, and SEO among others.

I began hearing about this new-fangled type of marketing called “content marketing” and after reading up on it I realized that it pretty much sums everything up in two words. I continued to learn and keep myself up to date on all the new things happening in the world of content marketing, as I plugged away at my day job.

Why It ClicksWhy It Clicks

Day after day of learning about content marketing but not being allowed to implement best practices within my current day job kind of cinched it for me.

I decided that in order to do right by what I know and what I’m good at, I had to strike out on my own. I needed to be able to share the wonderfully simple idea of content marketing with people that were willing to listen and were willing to grow their business.

Thus, Ink.e Digital was born and I am now pushing my content marketing craziness on everyone that I meet!

Why It Makes Sense to You

Content marketing is a very simple concept that takes quite a few different moving parts to be effective. However, when it is effective…boy, is it EFFECTIVE! Seriously, you’ll notice a difference and you’ll hear your customers talk about you (and your content) in such an excited tone.

Taking advantage of the wonders of content marketing and taking that leap down the rabbit hole begins here. Are you ready to take the tumble and begin giving your audience what they crave?

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Or, if you need a little more convincing…here are a couple of other articles that I’ve written about the wonders of content marketing.

What Is Content Marketing & Why Should A Business Owner Care?

Does Your Business Need a Content Marketing Strategy?

5 Ways Content Marketing is Like Owning a Cat

 

6 Key Things to Look For In A Professional Content Writer

6 Key Things to Look For In A Professional Content Writer

As a web developer, your forte is focused on the user experience and visually pleasing page elements. But, what about the information that the user comes there to get? What about the content? That’s where a professional content writer comes in, and here are 6 key things to look for when hiring a content writer.

  1. Punctuality

Punctuality should be a given when dealing with any professional. You wouldn’t continue working with a brand or individual that was perpetually late, would you?

For content writers, punctuality begins with responding to your initial contact and runs all the way through the final content delivery. A pro content writer should be prompt in each aspect of their business, otherwise, it makes for a late website launch. No one likes a late website launch.

  1. Portfolio

This is another huge DUH. If you were hiring a graphic designer, you wouldn’t give a second thought to a new designer without a portfolio. A content writer needs to present their best and most recent work in a portfolio, too.

Make sure each prospective content writer has a portfolio that is clearly and beautifully presented, and that their writing style meets your needs. Some content writers are adept at transforming their writing style to meet a customer’s unique style and need, which is a huge bonus.

  1. Communication

Basic communication should always reflect the quality of work, meaning that a good content writer will carry a solid caliber of writing through to emails and texts.

Pay attention to how a prospective writer communicates with you in short bursts. If they cut corners and use acronyms and slang, you might want to consider looking elsewhere.

  1. Grasp of Brand Voice

Because content writing is different than copywriting, a good content writer should have a solid grasp of how to recognize and use a brand voice.

Each brand should have a unique voice and tone that they use in all communications. A content writer should be able to interpret and weave your voice into their words for a cohesive message.

P.S. If you don’t have a brand voice defined for your business, we can help!

  1. Understanding of Analytics

A basic understanding of analytics and how content affects analytics is another very simple thing that every professional that works with the web should have. A content writer is no different.

A good content writer must know how to navigate analytics, and how to determine if their content is functioning the way it was intended to. For instance, new content should be evaluated after a time to determine what effect it has on bounce rate, new organic visitors, retention rates, and goal conversions.

  1. Keyword Savvy

Keywords are a huge part of every content writer’s job. Because proper keyword research makes a big difference in how web content performs, a pro content writer should have good keyword research skills.

Whether you’re looking to hire a freelancer or an entire agency, try to keep these 6 key elements in mind when hiring a professional content writer.

How to Create the Perfect Content Pizza

How to Create the Perfect Content Pizza

Pizza is the cure for all ills. Don’t deny it. Sometimes all you want is a slice of pizza and a cold beer after a crappy day. So, it would make sense that building the perfect content pizza is the cure for your content marketing ills. So, let’s get crackin’!

Just how do you create the perfect combination of style and story to come up with a content pizza? Simple, start with the crust! The below infographic runs from the bottom up because … gravity.

How to Create the Perfect Content Pizza Infographic

 

Crust – As the foundation, your pizza crust is the most important part. That’s why it represents your brand story and mission. This is the groundwork for every single piece of content you’ll produce as a brand or business.

Sauce – Because the sauce adds a unique flavor to your content pizza, it represents your brand voice. A unique brand voice adds spice and personality to your content and should be recognizable no matter where you’re using it.

Cheese – Because the cheese holds everything together, it would make sense that it represents your content strategy.  While a content strategy is a little different than a content marketing strategy, it is still equally as important. This will help you determine where and how you are creating content based on where your targeted buyer personas are spending time.

Toppings – Last but not least…the toppings! Everyone likes something a little bit different on their pizza, so your toppings represent your unique targeted buyer personas. For each brand or business, you may have 2-4 different buyer personas and each of these personas may be interested in something different in terms of topic and media channel.

So, are you ready to begin creating your perfect content pizza? Get in touch with us to discuss the development of a tailored content marketing strategy for your brand.

Creating Community through Content

I’m sure you’ve all heard that content is king, and it kinda is. Well, rather the context of said content currently reigns supreme.

(This article goes for each and every presence on the internet, whether it be your company website, Facebook or your blog. Cover your bases everywhere you have carved out a corner.)

Writing for the web is no longer about how many keywords you can jam into a 100 word paragraph. It’s about how you can speak to your readers on a truly personal level. Instead of pushing your brand or your product on your visitors until they collapse, try giving them something that they want.

Try…

  • Sharing your experiences with them.
  • Ask them what they think or want..
  • Invite them to participate in something that you have going on.
  • Play fun games with them.
  • Treating them like people and not profit.

People love feeling like they’re a part of something, hence creating a community.

Your Community Isn’t About You

It isn’t, so don’t make it all about you. Giving back to your community isn’t just about charities and volunteer work, it’s about putting a part of yourself into what you’re doing. Hell, give it your all if you’re feeling frisky. Just don’t half-ass it, you’ll regret it in the end.

Make your visitors feel included. As I mentioned above, they like feeling like they’re part of something. Don’t alienate them with pushy advertising or snarky customer service. Give them what they crave.

Oh, and did I mention that acting like a human being is a hell of a lot easier than trying to be a fake company figurehead? Truely. It’s always easier to be yourself than someone else.

Your brand is all about people. Show them that and you’ll create a strong community that will be your biggest supporters for free.