Swing for the Fences with Gated Content

The word ShareFunneling gated content into your websites is the lifeblood of your business.

When you have a sufficient stream of content flowing through your company’s site, you could have a guaranteed steady flow of customers.

If you want that circulation to continue, you must keep a steady stream of content behind the gates.

Uber active websites with daily and hourly content will build a devoted viewership base that will grow exponentially, while websites with dribbles of articles will plateau at a certain level and eventually wither away.

Here are some top tips on how to get more relevant content centered on your business:

  1. Recruit a Few Dedicated Writers for Your WebsiteYou don’t have to hire a full-time staff writer for 40 hours a week. You don’t even have to find writers and hire them directly. One of the best ways to keep gated content streaming on your website is to hire a marketing agency. Marketing agencies hire freelance writers for you, come up with the topics for them to write about, and bundle it all up in a neat little package that you don’t even have to publish yourself. With a marketing agency and dedicated writers behind you, your pool of gated content will overflow. As the following article looks at, here are 3 more of the4 simple ways to increase your amount of gated content.
  2. Center Content on Customers’ DesiresYour customers always know what they want. To build content and keep your customers happy, center content on their desires. Of course, to do that, you have to actually find out what they want. You can do this with surveys, opinion panels, behavior tracking and analysis and more. Their desires and wants are a wealth of information on what type of content should be published. Emails and comments that they give you either directly or on your business social media pages are clues telling you what your customers want. You can learn what they aren’t getting or understanding, what needs to be better iterated, and what they are interested in getting from your company.

    Watch What Other Websites Are Doing

    Pay attention and observe what other popular websites are doing. What are they publishing, which pages are getting more comments, what’s making them gain page views and comments, and what premium content are they selling? If a website is getting attention while yours is not, spot the key differences and make the change. Grab your market share.

    4. Share the Load

    Your premium content doesn’t all have to be from you. Consider partnering with a non-competing website. Offer to link-back to their site in return for content that doesn’t require a lot of man hours; video interviews, podcasts, and such. This media rich environment for premium content will give your readers value and give you a much needed break from content creation.

    In the end, your gated content has to deliver on your promise to your customers.

Make sure your content enhances your reputation by following these tips.

Photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com

About the Author: Kate Supino writes extensively about marketing and best business practices.


Don’t Underestimate the Power of Guest Posting

Market Segmentation Background Concept GlowingWhether your business is a major one or a one-person show, the importance of spreading the word about your brand can never be taken for granted.

Think about it; more and more consumers are visiting company’s websites and social media initiatives. If your company is not actively pursuing potential business via the Internet, can you really survive over the long haul?

While some companies can keep the revenue door open because they’ve been around forever and/or rely primarily on walk-in business, a much larger number needs some degree of web presence.

One of the ways you can increase your web profile is by guest posting.

Do You Hire SEO Help Along the Way?

For those companies looking to either start with guest posting or ramp up their current efforts, one thing to consider is whether or not you can do the work in-house or will require outside assistance. If you find the right guest posting services provider, your work may become all the more easier.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to properly promoting your brand, with search engine optimization (SEO) playing a key role in that process.

Let’s use the example of a company blog.

If you have a blog, how often are you updating it? If the answer is frequently (and that means with relevant content, images, data, infographics etc.), that’s a good start. If the response is infrequently, then there is work to be done.

With the right SEO plan in place; your content marketing efforts can outdo the competition and then some.

By strategically placing a keyword link in the content, you are much more likely to drive traffic back to the site listed in the link.

If you’re providing guest posting content related to your brand on other sites, by all means push for having a relevant link back to your site added to the article you author. In doing so, you increase the odds of having more visitors pay you a visit online.

So, what are the keys to writing good guest posts that ultimately will bring more traffic your way?

Among them:

  1. Write with a purpose – For starters, make sure you have a purpose behind your writing efforts. If you’re trying to make a sales pitch instead of providing worthwhile content to readers/potential customers, you stand a good chance of losing their interest. The purpose of your content should be giving the reader something valuable, not something they hear from way too many other business;
  2. Don’t be pushy with sales – When you stop and think about it, consumers get all but hit over the head daily with sales pitches, so don’t pile on. You can be rather discreet with your sales initiatives by noting that current or first-time customers could be receiving deals if they do business with you without shoving a sale down their throats. Share with them the benefits that come with being one of your clients. When you do that, you stand a much higher percentage of landing a sale;
  3. Clean and exciting copy – Last but certainly not least, be sure to have content that is not littered with errors, boring or no images at all, and is easy to share amongst consumers. Make sure your keyword links all work and lead to the relevant page/s you want consumers to go to, not an error message. If a consumer has trouble surfing your site, especially if they want to see content they think would be worthwhile to them, don’t hold your breath waiting for them to return.

When it comes to solid content marketing, are you writing copy that will sell itself?

Photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com

About the Author: Dave Thomas writes on a variety of business topics for different websites.

Should I start a podcast?

“All my friends are doing it!”

That excuse doesn’t fly in our house, and it shouldn’t drive your marketing decisions either.

Podcasting is experiencing a well-deserved renaissance, because audio-based content is the perfect way to squeeze more productivity into our busy lives. Learn and laugh while you’re on the treadmill, while you’re driving, and while you’re brushing your teeth in the morning.

All of the great podcasts out there, and all of the discussion about podcasting, may have triggered an urge to start a podcast of your own. Before you go out and invest in that professional microphone and headphones, you need to test the idea against your marketing strategy.

A podcast can be a powerful component of your content marketing, but only if it fits into your overall business plan.

Key considerations – should you start a podcast

  • Do you have a voice for radio? If you’re going to be the primary host on air, you need to evaluate the quality of your voice when it’s recorded. Do some test recordings using your equipment, and have colleagues listen to it. Not everyone is cut out for broadcasting.
  • Are you committed to a schedule for the long term? You don’t want to burn out or ignore your primary business. Just the same as for starting a blog, you want to be sure you’re going to commit before launching your podcast. Don’t leave your listeners high and dry after three episodes!
  • Do you have a promotional plan? Producing a podcast is just the first step. Once it’s recorded, you need to know what you’ll do with that great show, and how you’ll find your audience. Check out this fantastic post from Jay Baer on producing and promoting a podcast for some inspiration.
  • Have you found a topic that you are an authority on, and is not saturated already? I don’t buy the whole “I can’t create content about X because everyone else is already covering it,” because no-one else has your specific point of view and life experiences. However, you do want to give yourself a fighting chance, so find a topic where you are the ultimate authority and can spend lots of time talking about it without running out of ideas. What are you endlessly curious about?
  • Do you have a content plan? Is the format of your show like a talk show? Will you be monologuing? If you’re going to be conducting interviews, start with a dream list of guests and do some outreach to get bookings. Bone up on the structure of a good interview, while you’re at it.
  • Do you have professional equipment and resources? The bar has been raised. You can’t just use your little white iPhone earbuds and hope for the best. The top podcasts have bumper music, logos, high quality sound, and other professional touches. You don’t have to build a studio in your backyard, but put some care into your sound equipment and it will pay off. Here’s a good summary from ReadWrite on podcasting on a budget.
  • Does your target customer listen to podcasts? Do some market research…ask your current customers if they’d listen to a podcast from you. Check out the professional research on podcast listeners and trends.

You went through the checklist above, and oops…you got derailed on a few of them. But you still want to take advantage of the power of podcasting. No worries, there are other ways you can incorporate audio into your marketing plan.

Alternatives to producing your own podcast

  • Sponsorship – Invest some of your advertising budget in sponsoring a popular podcast in your business niche.
  • Be a guest – All of those podcasts are constantly seeking interesting guests and good stories, so why not go pitch yourself to some of your favorites?
  • Invite a podcaster to your blog – Flip the tables and interview some popular (and relevant) podcasters on your blog. They’ll probably promote it to their audiences.
  • Create content that accompanies a podcast – Create a partnership with a podcaster and help develop written content (or video) that compliments the audio.

I’d love to hear from any readers who are doing their own podcasts. Post a link to your show in the comments so we can all listen!


Featured image via Flickr CC: Patrick Breitenbach

Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for Social Strata — makers of the Hoop.la community platform. Check out the Social Strata blog. You can find Rosemary on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee


Steal This Growth Idea: The Power Of Group Expert Interviews for Your Blog

By Jessy Troy

The Power Of Group Expert Interviews for Your Blog

Lately, there have been a lot of groups interviews showing up around the web, Transcripts, email group discussions, Google Hangouts on Air footage… everyone wants to put together influencer round-ups on their blog, and it is no wonder.

These mastermind roundups have become a primary way to produce high quality content, and offer something truly valuable to the user.

The problem many people have is that they don’t know how to go about getting an expert to take part in an interview, especially if their blog is not yet huge enough. Pitching to someone who already has a full schedule may seem nearly impossible. Perhaps you have even tried, but never managed to land the opportunity that you so badly wanted.

MyBlogU, the absolutely free community of bloggers I’ve been using for several months now to feature and get features in expert interviews, has you covered on that front.


Group Interview Feature

Group Interview Feature

Rather than having you contact experts, the Group Interview feature takes you to where they already are. You ask your question of people within your industry, and they answer. Since they are already there to connect, and are interested in both sharing and taking part in the creation of content, you are guaranteed results every time you post a question.

Not only that, but you are able to get multiple quotes from various sources, and bind them together into a group interview transcript. It is much faster, easier to organize, and doesn’t require all of the planning usually needed to find a good time or chance to bring people together for a discussion.

Building Your Reputation

Once you start publishing these interviews, you will notice a jump in your own reputation because you are producing and promoting quality content, with established names attached from your industry, you are going to get more attention. With this attention comes a chance to connect with other influential people in your niche.

This can lead to what? More interviews! It is a great way to climb up the ladder and produce more and more popular content while offering a really helpful resource for those who are reading it. Who doesn’t want tips from those who are already successful, and have had to work their way up to the top?

I don’t suggest publishing only interviews on your blog! Too much of anything could become harmful as you risk losing your voice! But making it a regular colums (once a month or once a season depending on your editorial calendar intencity) covering hot trends is a great idea!

Brainstorming With The Pros

Another great feature is the brainstorming tool. MyBlogU allows you to put ideas out onto the site, and get feedback from others who are a part of the community. If you feel uncertain of an idea, just want some opinions on what should be included, or even want to bounce off of someone else to generate more ideas for future content, this is the place for you.

You can also help to influence the others in the community. Offer your own feedback on their ideas, and let them know what you would personally like to red. Share insights from your followers and what you have learned through your target audience. Build yourself as an authority, and soon people will want to interview you!


MyBlogU is a great tool that allows users to join a community of like minded individuals. While there you can take advantage of their expertise, and create unique group interviews that will provide you with excellent content.

Try it for yourself!

Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with the site except for I am a member.

Example interview from the screenshot can be found here. Here are more examples from MyBlogU and their members.

Featured image via Flickr CC: aboutmodafinil.com

Author’s Bio: Jessy Troy is a creative writer and editor at Social Media Sun. She Tweets as @JessyTroy.

How to Use Curated Content for Content Marketing

By Jessica Davis

Content is at the center of everything digital. It is what people look for when searching for something on the web and it is what makes them share, like, subscribe, comment, follow, buy or donate.

But creating valuable content can often be quite challenging, and when you are not quite ready for this challenge, curated content comes to your rescue.

What is curated content?

Content curation basically involves sifting through relevant information on the internet and sharing the best of what you can find on your social profiles. However, curating content manually takes a lot of time and effort. To make things easier, you can use tools like DrumUp, Scoop.it and List.ly and overcome this hurdle. Using high quality, curated content projects you as an expert and an authority in your field. It gives you the reputation of being a reliable source of information, which will act as your social capital.

Why use curated content?

  1. To save time and money
    Original content can be expensive and takes a lot of effort and time to create. Content curation is a way in which you can make sure that you have quality content when you’re strapped for money or time.
  2. To become the trusted source of information
    Prudent use of quality curated content will turn you into an authoritative source on the web. Sharing high quality content can make you the preferred source that others refer to for advice, tips and suggestions.
  3. To create round-ups for better engagement
    Your audience could easily miss some content you share because information moves quickly on the web. Doing a round up of the best stories of the week on a specific topic can help them stay up to date. They will be grateful to find all the noteworthy advice and news that interests them in one post.
  4. To reach out to a wider audience
    Using different content formats such as audio,video, presentations, and infographics on different social media platforms will add variety to the content you share and will help keep it interesting.

Top 3 ways in which curated material can be shared and how

  1. Social media
    In a survey of 400 marketing professionals, 76% of the respondents said that they share curated content on social media. When using curated content on Twitter, try expressing an opinion or asking a question. But you’ll have to keep it short since you only get 140 characters. Facebook and LinkedIn on the other hand give you a little more scope for long-form content. You could write a summary, add a commentary or ask a question to begin a conversation.
  2. Newsletters
    Use newsletters when you need multiple pieces of fresh curated content all put together in one place. Remember that newsletters should include the latest in industry trends and data from the previous week, fortnight or month. Along with curated content, a good newsletter will include a note from the editor, original articles, calls-to-action and information on how to contact you.
  3. E-mails
    Though email has often been prematurely declared dead and irrelevant, there are marketing tactics that live on. Curated content can be used in email marketing. You can charm your subscribers with interesting and quality curated content sent straight to their inboxes. Share links to your blogs and social network profiles in the mail. You will only earn more loyal subscribers.

There are three main challenges you face while creating original content – paucity of time, inability to create sufficient amount of content and inability to create engaging content. Curated content can help you overcome all these challenges effectively.

Are you curating yet?

Author’s Bio: Jessica Davis has a keen interest in social media and content marketing, and writes about it extensively. She represents Godot Media – a leading content development company.

Simple Ways to Make Your E-Newsletter More User Friendly

By Shaun Chatman

Your newsletter is an important way to get relevant information across to your customer base, clients, or readers. But all of these people will be viewing it on different devices. Use these tips to simplify your newsletter’s content and formatting, to enhance readability and keep your content user-friendly.

Format in a Single Column

You may be tempted to use fancy design work in your newsletter, but the best way to go is a simple format that puts all your information into a single column. Go for a column 500 to 600 pixels wide, and be sure to take into account special formatting for mobile devices. You won’t be able to keep formatting completely uniform over all devices, but you can take many steps to ensure that it doesn’t fall apart and become unreadable on certain devices. Simplicity is your best friend in these instances. Choose a few design elements (like text formatting and social media linking) that make the content easier to consume and then stick with those and ignore the impulse to go over the top.

Break Content into Headings

Your newsletter probably contains multiple points you want to communicate to your readers. Rather than writing it in the style of a letter with each paragraph flowing into the next, create a new heading every time you come to a new newsletter item. Make that heading obvious and separated from the rest of the content. By doing this, readers who are skimming through on a device with a smaller screen will know where to stop and start reading.

Use Images Sparingly

One or two interesting images will enhance the content of your newsletter, but overloading your newsletter with images is a surefire way to make it more difficult to read on multiple devices. Images, by default, require different formatting than text does, so no matter how careful you are, the more formatting you add to your newsletter, the more likely it is something will go wrong. Also, images take longer to load, especially on hand held devices like phones or tablets that may be connected to a 4G network rather than wi-fi.

Streamline Your Content

While skimming through paragraphs of content may be easy on a laptop screen, if someone is reading from his or her phone, it takes longer to scroll through a lot of text. Even with headings, keep your newsletter’s content relevant and brief. If you’re wondering about types of content apt for your newsletter, go for content that your readers can consume in bite-sized chunks. Tips and tricks for your customers, a short letter from the CEO of your company, or lists of significant blog posts or news articles are great places to start.

Remember, it’s not just about formatting. Good content also keeps your newsletter fresh and interesting for your readers. Each newsletter will look different, but by keeping it simple and following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating a newsletter that works on as many devices as possible.

Author’s Bio:Shaun Chatman is a seasoned writer featured on many authority blogs. Writing is his passion, and he spends most of his waking hours writing about everything from Tech to Education. He lives in Dunedin, Fl.

A spoonful of sugar for your next blog post

In every job that must be done
There is an element of fun
You find the fun and snap!
The job’s a game

And ev’ry task you undertake
Becomes a piece of cake
A lark! A spree! It’s very clear to see that

A Spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
The medicine go down-wown
The medicine go down
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
In a most delightful way ~Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins

I’m not saying that your blog content is medicine, but if it’s useful information for your audience, there’s no harm in adding a bit of sugar to make it go down easily.

Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for Social Strata — makers of the Hoop.la community platform. Check out the Social Strata blog. You can find Rosemary on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee

Video: Show Us What You’ve Got

By Lisa D. Jenkins

Coupled with the mass adoption of smartphones and mobile devices, platforms like Instagram and Vine allow social brands to take advantage of video’s popularity with online audiences.

The days of expensive, drawn out video production are gone. Video is easier than ever to create, publish and share.

If you think video is something that should be added to your marketing strategy but don’t quite know where to start, read on for some inspiration.

I just found Bart’s Fish Tales on Instagram. Fish Tales uses 20-second video to produce the world’s shortest cooking show featuring recipes, tips and tricks on how to make great sustainable fish dishes.

On Vine, Home Depot has a variety of 6-second videos that show followers “what it takes to go from to-do to done”. Here’s a great one that shows us how to plant an easy-to-care-for kitchen counter herb garden.

PowToon publishes video on YouTube that shows viewers how to use their animated presentation tool to produce demos, business presentations, social media clips, etc.

GoPro encourages people who use their camera to tag their own videos with #GoPro, creating a wealth of user generated video content the brand shares online.

Video isn’t out of reach for you.

While there’ll always be a space in the market for professionally produced video, the reality is that today’s easy-to-use tools and video-friendly platforms make it possible for SMB’s that couldn’t afford the medium a few short years ago to give it a try.

Go ahead! There are any number of ways video can be used to advantage in your marketing – share your mission, create a how-to, show off your customers. What do you have to show us?

Author’s Bio: Lisa D. Jenkins is a Public Relations professional specializing in Social and Digital Communications for businesses. She has over a decade of experience and work most often with destination organizations or businesses in the travel and tourism industry in the Pacific Northwest. Connect with her on Google+

3 tips on using Facebook to curate content fast

By Dorien Morin-van Dam

Entrepreneurs are always busy!

Sometimes time just gets away from you; the phone rings all morning and you can’t get anything done. A client calls with an important question and you can’t put off answering it. Your car breaks down and needs a tow, delaying you and your long list of tasks. A family member needs you, now and off you go.

As a busy entrepreneur, even the best laid plans and to-do lists get sidetracked by unexpected events. There’s no one else but you to address the problems and nothing you can do about it but go with the flow and regroup when you can.

speeding through a tunnel

On any given Monday morning, I get back to my desk after a weekend away from my computer and find social media emergencies and tasks that need my undivided attention. Lucky for me, I have a social media plan and a content calendar for myself as well as for all of my clients, so I don’t often have to post ‘fast’ and unexpectedly.

Do you have a social media plan? Do you have a content calendar? If you don’t have either, find a social media consultant to help you create a social media plan and a content calendar to put in place ASAP!

Of course, there are times I am on the go, busy, forget to get my content calendar updated and I need something to post…now. What to do? Don’t panic! This is what I do…

I go to Facebook to find content quickly!

Here are three ways I use Facebook to find content to curate, fast!

1. Interest Lists

I have many interest lists I curate content from. Are you familiar with interest lists? If not, start here: Everything you need to know about Facebook Interest Lists

I follow a lot of people and I have liked a lot of pages. To be able to find what I am looking for, I have created lists of pages, people and news outlets all of who are relevant to my business and my clients’ industries. To find content fast, all I have to do is go to those lists on my profile and look at what everyone is talking about! From there, it’s an easy share to my profile, or a few (extra) clicks to share it to one of my pages. I recommend you subscribe to pages as well as create your own.

2. Trending Topics

This is a great way to get content out, quickly! Simply go to your personal profile and look on the top right side of your newsfeed. You’ll see ‘trending topics’. Click on the topic that would best fit your industry (there is a blue, clickable link for each topic) which will generate a feed of articles related to that trending topic. Pick whichever one you like and share!

3. Hashtag Search

If you are looking for a specific topic, try searching Facebook for related articles by using a hashtag. I admin several pages for which I use this approach and using hashtags is a great way to find news content on Facebook. For example, for a plumbers page, try #plumbing or #plumbingtip, for a golf community, you could try searching #golf and find out the latest news. Make sure to try several hashtags, sometimes it takes a while to find the right one. Don’t forget to also use hashtags on your own posts when sharing your own content, so others who use this approach can find and share your content, too!

I know there are many other ways to find, share and curate content form Facebook. What is your favorite content curation tip?

Author’s Bio: Dorien Morin-van Dam is owner and social media marketer at More In Media, a social media consultancy in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Dorien provides social media consulting, management, training and education; she is passionate about teaching social media to small business owners. She services clients all over the USA and has worked in many different industries as well as with several NPO’s. In her spare time, Dorien manages four kids, three dogs and a husband. She runs marathons and loves to bake, travel and read.

Photo Credit: Loïc Lagarde via Compfight cc

Your Business Story Can Change The World

By Chris Craft

My story began on February 12, 1979.

The light bulb in my head for story’s business case in content marketing went off only about a year ago.

Yes, I was late to the party but hey … it’s my story. At Nao Media, we focus on story because we know story drives our clients’ connecting with their community.

Stories inform, instruct, inspire, entertain, and motivate. Everyone from parents to CEOs can use story to not only get results and gain awareness, but to change the world. I want your business to focus on telling its story so our global community can be empowered by your example.

beacon of light from mountaintop

Businesses really have a story?

Yup! A business’s story is usually best told by its founder(s). Your business’s story shouldn’t focus on what it does. Your story, for it to be compelling, should be centered on why the business was started and why it exists today.

Other questions to answer:

  • When: when did you know that your business had real potential?
  • Which: which decision did you make that made your business viable?
  • Who: who started the businesses and who and/or what kind of talent makes up your team?
  • How: how does your business impact its community?
  • Where: where does your business have the most impact? (consider thinking outside of revenue)

Changing the world is hyperbole though, right?

Nope. If your business doesn’t aim to have a positive effect on the world, then you should really think about your business model.

Your business won’t change the world by news-jacking on Twitter for the pure sake of attracting eyeballs.

It won’t change the world through direct mail coupons.

It won’t change the world by shilling your product or service without an interesting backstory.

Your customers want to know about you. They want to be intrigued by your beginning, middle, and end (which is usually the “reveal” or “present state” of your business). Your customers and the community you aim to impact want to know how they fit into your story. Some might even want to learn how your business contributes to the betterment of the world.

Businesses have a huge opportunity with story because of the resources they can put into production and distribution. If you have the resources for scaling the distribution of your positive story to the masses, do it! Especially if you know your story can change lives.

Knowing your story is not enough.

It must be told and shared. You can’t afford to ‘die’ with your story in you. And that goes for individuals and businesses. Though I’m a writer and lover of books and blogs, I must admit the best medium for telling your story is video.

Video simply appeals to more senses (if we take a reader’s imagination out of the equation). A high quality “About Us” video can cost $5000+ USD. If you’re not quite ready to invest in a video, call on a writer to get your story on paper. Your written story (or a portion of it) can be used for website copy, books, periodicals, and more.

Need help telling your story? Download Nao Media’s latest e-book, “The Nao Blueprint: How to Develop a Content Creation Machine.”

Author’s Bio: Chris Craft is a believer in the greatest story ever told. He’s also the Founder and Chief Visionary at Nao Media, an Atlanta-based content creation agency. Follow him on Twitter at @ChrisQueso.

Photo Credit: 8#X via Compfight cc