by

5 Things You Should Automate When it Comes to Your Content Marketing Strategy

, , ,

Content marketers wear many hats. From researching content topics to writing engaging content to promoting content, there is a lot of work to do in order to run a dynamic content marketing strategy. But what if we told you that your workload could be lighter?

Learning what areas of your content marketing strategy that you can automate and identifying the tools you need to make it happen is going to save you a lot of time. You can use this time to focus on things you can’t automate like creating awesome content that resonates with your target consumers.

This post will take you through a few things that you can automate when it comes to your content marketing strategy in hopes of adding a little time back into your day.

Editing

Grammarly is a Chrome plugin that you can use to automate the proof reading of the content and even emails that you produce. The tool goes beyond spelling and grammar mistakes and alerts you when there are errors with your writing, style or tone. While Microsoft Word or Google Docs will alert you of basic spelling or punctuation errors, Grammarly catches commonly confused words when they’re used in the wrong context.

Grammarly has a free plan and a premium plan. The premium plan offers advanced suggestions about word choice, run on sentences and more. The tool will even send you weekly updates on common mistakes that you’re prone to making so that you can learn from them.

Save time editing blog posts, emails, social media copy and more with this freemium tool!

Content Digests

Automating news and blog posts to subscribers and leads can save you a ton of time and free up more time for you to focus on creating great content. FeedOtter allows you to send weekly or monthly digests of the content your brand puts out. Choose from different templates and sync it up with your marketing automation platform so that distributing your content literally runs on autopilot.

You can hook FeedOtter up to any RSS or news feed. It even has a bookmarking plugin that allows you to bookmark content that you would like to put in your content digest. From there, insert a personalized greeting to show up at the top of your content digest email and let FeedOtter do the rest.

Content Curation

Sharing your own content on social media takes a lot of time, let alone sharing like-minded content to keep your followers engaged. Luckily there is a tool like DrumUp where you can automate the content you curate. This tool recommends content for you to share on each of your social channels. It’s super easy to peruse through and find great content to curate that will resonate with your social followers. After you find content on DrumUp, the tool allows you to edit the original post, add images and schedule it on your social sharing platform. It even recommends hashtags to use.

Monitoring

In order to make the most out of your brand shout outs on blogs and social, you need to monitor for these brand mentions in real-time. Manually monitoring for brand mentions is tedious so we recommend using a tool like Mention to see all of the brand recognition that you’re getting. Mention allows you to see every time that your brand is mentioned on social or in a blog with a streamlined dashboard. The tool even allows you to message and engage with the channels who mention your brand straight from the dashboard. To make sure you don’t miss any brand mentions, Mention will email you every time your brand is recommended or talked about.

In addition to monitoring your own brand, Mention allows you to track competitors.

Identifying Content Topics

Brainstorming and researching topics to write your content around can take a lot of time and work. You want to write something innovative and that will resonate with your audience but sometimes it’s hard to come up with new topics every week. There are tools out there that can automate the brainstorming process so to speak like BuzzSumo. This tool’s content analysis reports allows you to look at how popular a topic is and how often it gets shared. It will also tell you which content types are performing better like infographics compared to video or “why” posts compared to list posts. Leverage content topics that are the most shared by your target readers to come up with a content topic for your next post that you know will resonate with your audience.

Final Thoughts

It’s no secret—content marketing strategies take up a lot of time. Luckily there are tools like the 5 we’ve listed in this blog post that can automate parts of your content marketing strategy and ease your work load. Learning what to automate and which tools help you automate your strategy are going to add a bunch of hours back into your work day.

Do you have a strategy or tool that allows you to automate pieces of your content marketing strategy? We’d love to hear from you on @Feed_Otter!

by

How Drip Campaigns Can Fill Your Sales Funnel

, , , ,

Email marketing comes in all shapes and forms. It can be a simple one-time message blasted out to all your contacts, or it can be a large-scale multi-tiered campaign carefully dripped out to specific customers at key times. In order to truly understand the how, when, and why of email marketing, you should be studying the sales funnel and consumer journey. Here, we’ll go over all the steps of the funnel, and how your email campaign can optimize the journey.

The Consumer’s Journey

First, let’s take a look at the consumer journey. There are many versions of this, so we’ll choose a general five stage model.

Awareness Phase: Prospective consumer becomes aware of your product or solution.

Consideration Phase: Prospective consumer begins research on both your product or solution and your competitor’s.

Conversion Phase: The consumer has made the decision, works through negotiations, and makes the purchase.

Loyalty Phase: Your brand continues efforts to retain that consumer and reinforce loyalty.

Advocacy Phase: Inspiring that consumer to advocate for your brand by telling others about their experience.

The Sales Funnel

The term funnel is a common one, as it implies large amounts enter the first phase in order for a few to finish the journey. It may be helpful to picture it as more of a circle, as later phases can actually aid the earlier ones.

The different stage of the consumer journey are what fills the sales funnel and helps your sales team how and when to reach out to a leads. Ideally, through keeping the consumer journey in mind, you help new leads go through the different stages of the journey and warm these leads up for your sales team.

You should also be equipping your sales team with the right content assets that they can share with their leads to convert someone from consideration to conversion.

Targeting Each Phase

Let’s focus on the consumer’s journey and how your content and email efforts can move leads along the path to becoming a new client. Each phase needs a particular strategy applied to maximize effectiveness. Let’s go through the journey with accompanying strategy, and we’ll provide some examples as well.

Awareness Strategy

At a time where the consumer is unaware of your brand, you should resist the urge to push the sales tactics and self-promotional material specific to your product. Now is the time where you want to establish your brand as a thought leader and provider of solutions, so creation of newsletters, eBooks, and informative blog posts should be a priority. Have your newsletter and/or eBook gated, so you can start adding more email addresses to your list, and make sure to promote them on social media as well. That said, you don’t want to bombard people with emails they never wanted to receive, so make sure it’s an opt-in situation. You want to establish and build trust and expertise, and not much more.

Example:  SEO giant Moz sends wonderfully curated and informative newsletters out to all their subscribers, without any pushy sales tactics. The quality of their product speaks for itself, which is pure gold for B2B marketing.

Consideration Strategy

Now you’ve got their attention, and, based on their response, they are definitely interested in your product. You still want to stay away from the hard sales pitches, though, and continue to provide informative and solution-based content. You’re developing a long-term relationship here, so you want this to be increasingly personal as the campaign progresses. This is the stage where you identify who you’re working with, and then provide them with relevant content that applies to them. Case studies, success stories, and maybe a few testimonials are good, but make sure you are still focused on providing solutions and building trust.

Example: PerfectAudience retargets social ads for businesses that are not seeing the results they want. By offering a case study to read, along with juicy success statistics in the email, it encourages potential customers to read that study, as well as continue on to their website to get more information.

Conversion Strategy

This is what you’ve been nurturing these relationships all this time for. It’s time to close, but you still don’t want to overwhelm them with sales calls. You can still provide them with content that reassures them that they’re making the right choice. A few more success stories can provide the social proof they need to make the purchase. Now that they’re almost part of the team, you can invite them to webinars or trickle them onboarding videos. And if you want to offer a welcome wagon discount, make sure there’s language to convey a sense of urgency like “one-time offer” or “limited availability”.  That could be the final gem that makes the deal happen.

Example: Here, Grammarly flaunts a little of their social proof, citing testimonials and easy-to-digest samples of how well their service works. Prime example of how these sorts of emails at the conversion stage can make the difference.

Loyalty/Advocacy Strategy

We are combining these phases into a single strategy, because the ideas are similar. Turning away from your consumers after they’ve been converted is a big mistake; retaining existing customers is worth as much or more than getting new ones. Let them know you’re still excited about their business with entertaining and engaging monthly or weekly email drips, informative posts about how to best use your product or service, and incentives to resign with your brand early. Surveys and feedback can both reassure your customers and give you valuable market research at once.

Turning your existing customers into advocates is a worthy investment, and you can get momentum going with the content you’re sending them. If you sent surveys, let them know how much their feedback meant, and offer them further discounts for referrals. Ask them for testimonials, and make sure that you are linking back to their awesome brand at every opportunity on social media.

You can see now how your efforts on the tail end of your funnel/circle can start moving the needle in the awareness and consideration phases at the front end. The key is to continuously provide great content, personalized messaging, and a trusted presence throughout.

Example: American Express, in one fell swoop, thanks their clients for their loyalty, offers them discounts, and invited them into a no-risk referral program. This covers all of the bases in a non-intrusive yet rewarding way.

Final Thoughts

The consumer’s journey helps fill your sales funnel and it’s helpful to tag leads according to what phase they’re in for both sales and marketing so that sales knows when to call the lead and so you know what content to drip them from marketing. The goal is to steer these leads through the funnel to purchasing and then once they become a client, to keep them as a client with your awesome product and helpful content.

Do you have any tips on nurturing leads according to where they fall in the consumer’s journey? Share your tips with us on Twitter @Feed_otter

 

by

5 Habits That Could be Ruining Your Content Marketing and How to Fix Them

, ,

As content marketers, we live and breathe our brand all day and every day, so it’s easy to get tunnel vision when it comes to our content marketing strategy. This fixation can prevent us from critically looking at our content marketing strategy from an outsider’s perspective, and see where things could be done differently or need refreshing. That’s where this post comes in.

There are some best practices or routines that we can get in the habit of doing when we are creating and promoting content. However, some of these things that we think we are doing right might actually the wrong things for our strategy, and can potentially flatten our brand instead of lift it.

So, I invite you to try to remove yourself from this tunnel vision, read this post, and evaluate your strategy from the perspective of one of your buyer personas.

Let’s explore some habits that may actually be doing your content marketing strategy more harm than good.

Engaging Leads with Your Newest Content

Sometimes your latest content isn’t always your greatest content. It’s likely that you email out your content occasionally. However, ask yourself this: if this is a lead’s first time seeing your content, are they seeing your best work? Or are they just seeing your most recent work?

Of course, we believe you should consistently send content out weekly or monthly to your leads and subscribers. But when a new lead joins your database, we recommend that you set up a drip campaign that nurtures them. This nurture plan should be carefully thought out and prioritized, and utilize your best relevant content instead of adding leads straight to your newsletter list to receive your new content.

Ignoring the Buyer’s Journey

The buyer’s journey is how a potential customer navigates their way around your brand from awareness to their purchase decision. Depending on where a lead is at in the buyer’s journey, this should dictate how you market to them and what content you provide them with when. While it may be tempting to send your leads the same content every week, you should segment them according to which stage they are in the buyer’s journey. Here are some examples of what to send:

  • Awareness: Thought leadership blog posts and eBooks that give them tips and strategies to accomplish their goals better
  • Consideration: Send information about how your brand can solve pain points they may face in their own personal or professional lives, like white papers or guides
  • Decision: Email them with resources that prove your brand is the missing link in their business, like case studies

Some brands like to add an “advocacy stage” to the buyer’s journey, in which past and current clients advocate for a brand. This word of mouth recommendation is great for generating new leads so it’s a good idea to send your clients sharable content and set up a referral program.

If you patiently walk a new lead through all of the stages of the buyer’s journey, but they still don’t purchase?  Don’t give up, as it’s likely they may be ready for purchase later. Keep them in a “closed lost” email drip where you send them news, updates and strategies so that your brand is on the top of their minds when they are finally ready to purchase.

Writing Too Much Content

Arguably, you should be spending as much or more time promoting your content and segmenting your leads than actually writing content. If you spend all of your time producing awesome content but nobody reads it, what’s the point?

Check out this post on how to promote your B2B content for ideas on how you should spend your time promoting the great content that you write for your brand. You can’t rely on people to find your awesome content on their own so perhaps you should analyze how you spend your time and determine if you need to spend less time writing content and more time promoting your content.

Giving Sales Leads Too Early

When you generate new leads, sometimes the sales team might get a little over-eager and want to call them right away. However, leads are more likely to become clients if they are nurtured first. The right nurturing campaign will provide the lead with brand trust and credibility way before sales reaches out to them.

We recommend that you send each lead a series of five emails before sales reaches out to them. These emails shouldn’t be self-promotional at all. They should be full of thought leadership resources like eBooks, blog posts, white papers, videos, etc. The fifth email can then have a CTA for the lead to register for a free trial or demo, or to get in touch with a sales representative if they are interested in learning more about your brand. After the 5 emails are dripped, then your lead should be considered ready for the sales team to reach out.

Expecting Instant Results

Content marketing can be a slow build, but it is worth the effort. When you create evergreen content, it can be discovered and generate leads for years to come.

Creating brand awareness and trust with your audience takes time, so don’t abandon your content marketing efforts if you don’t see big results right away. Like we mentioned, it takes time to walk your target consumers through the buyer’s journey. So, don’t expect instant sales after you publish a really cool eBook.

Set realistic expectations with your co-workers and leadership. When you launch your blog, it’s going to take time to get subscribers. When you generate new leads, it’s going to take time to convert them into sales. You catch my drift.

Have you noticed any content marketing bad habits that you want to tell us about? We’d love to hear from you on Twitter @Feed_Otter

 

by

New Strategies for Reaching Decision Makers with Your B2B Blog

, , , ,

By now, everyone knows you need a blog for your B2B brand. However, keeping up with a blog takes a lot of time and marketers don’t always see the results they want from their content. Desired results typically include generating new leads and converting leads into a client, as well as giving your website better visibility.

Chances are though, if you’re reading this post, you’re not seeing the results from your blog that you’re hoping for. This is a common content marketing pain point, especially in the B2B world. And if the market is so saturated with good content, how do you make your content stand out? And, more importantly, how do you make sure your content gets in front of the right people?

Due to the pressure of delivering a blog that actually converts readers into leads and leads into sales, you may be considering getting rid of your blog together. But, before you decide to give up on your hard-earned content, consider these ways you can reach the real decision makers through your blog.

Take Buyer Personas Seriously

The first thing you need to do, if you haven’t already, is create definitive buyer personas for the decision makers at the types of companies you want to get your content in front of. We like this template from HubSpot. You should be sure to include the following persona components and more:

  • Job titles
  • Company size
  • Skillsets
  • Professional background
  • Industry knowledge as it pertains to your brand
  • Years of experience in your industry
  • Age range
  • Budget
  • Career goals
  • Challenges they face in your industry
  • Pain points they encounter when trying to perform their goals
  • How your brand solves pain points
  • An elevator pitch about your brand that would appeal to decision makers
  • Where they can find your brand (search, case studies, blog, etc.)

It’s likely there are different types of decision makers that you’re trying to reach, so be sure to create a buyer persona for each job title, industry segment, etc. We find it’s helpful to name each persona, and, keep in mind the different personas you are creating content for and to make sure to spread the content out evenly that caters to those specific people.

Cater Your Content Topics

Once you create your buyer personas, it’s time to plan content accordingly.

Next time you fill in your content calendar, consider the topics that actually appeal to decision makers. It’s possible that “101” type basic content might get a lot of views, but it won’t get the right views. If you’re a decision maker at a top brand, you almost certainly have a solid understanding of the niche your brand falls into. How can you take your content to the appropriate level to meet these buyers where they’re at?

One way to plan the most relevant content is to meet with your client-facing coworkers. Ask them to come up with common questions that clients have or pain points that they notice. Turn these questions into post ideas, or even use the question for the post title. It’s a great way to grab attention and resonate with the decision makers.

Move Your Readers Through the Buyer’s Journey

Just like you need to create content for different personas, you also need to create content for different stages of the buyer’s journey. The established (but useful) stages in order of how a buyer moves through them are awareness, consideration and decision making.

Be sure to move your buyer personas through the sales funnel from awareness to making a purchase decision by linking up your content with the right resources. For example, if you are creating a blog post to generate brand awareness, you want to link your post with content that takes the reader to the next step, consideration. In the consideration phase, it’s likely the reader wants to learn more about how your brand can solve pain points so links to a landing page and/or case studies would move them to the next step. Another example, if you’re creating a post that caters to buyers in the consideration phase, you want to link to resources that guides them through the purchase decision page like how to get in touch with your brand or examples of work you’ve done in the past.

Say you’ve created 3 buyer personas and you want to move each one through the buyer’s journey. That means you have 9 different posts to create to cover the full spectrum of your buyer personas and your buyer’s journey. Say you’ve named your personas Alice, Peter and Bob. Your upcoming post targets should look like this, with 3 posts per persona:

Alice: Awareness, Consideration, Decision Making

Peter: Awareness, Consideration, Decision Making

Bob: Awareness, Consideration, Decision Making

Feel free to mix them up, but be sure to create an equal amount of blog posts that speak to each of these personas in each of their phases. It’s helpful to create a content calendar where you can keep track of the posts geared toward your target personas and stages.

Optimize Your Email Program

If someone within a brand has reached the decision-making phase of their career, they are almost certainly a high-ranking employee in the company, knowledgeable about the industry, and don’t have a lot of time on their hands. Therefore, they aren’t doing a lot of research about or keeping up with a scattered variety of blogs. This means you need to get your blog in front of them and accessible when they have time. You can do this through emailing a weekly digest of your blog content. Use your most valuable post titles in the subject line, and consider segmenting your emails either by industry or buyer personas.

Because we believe in content digests so passionately here at FeedOtter, our product is an easy-to-use content marketing tool that automates content digest emails and integrates with tools like Marketo, Pardot and more so that you can drip content to all of your leads and clients. It only takes 5 minutes!

Use LinkedIn

There are a few ways you can use LinkedIn to get in front of your target audience. Let’s explore a few:

  • Message your contacts: You can message up to 50 of your contacts at a time. We recommend using this feature wisely and limiting the messages you send out to once a quarter, so be sure to lead with your strongest content. Research shows that people open LinkedIn Mail 85% more often than regular email. So, while you could export your LinkedIn contacts and email them directly, we don’t recommend doing it that way.
  • Updates: You should share your content on both your personal LinkedIn profile and on your company page. Be sure to leverage hashtags and catchy taglines. We recommend you update your profile and company page once per post. When decision makers are considering your brand, they might vet your LinkedIn profile so you need to establish thought leadership.
  • Ads: LinkedIn Ads allow you to get really specific when it comes to the types of companies and job titles that you are trying to get in front of. We recommend not just putting an ad up about your company; you need to lead with thought leadership resources, like your best blog posts. This works with any budget and you can pay per click to be sure the right people are reading your posts.

Align with Sales

Be sure that your sales team knows everything about the awesome blog content that you produce. If your sales rep is talking to a lead, that lead is in the consideration or decision stage of their buyer’s journey. Equip your sales team with content that appeals to the different stages and industries, and sales can leverage your thought leadership content to establish brand credibility and close deals.

While brand awareness content is part of the buyer’s journey (and thus part of your blog), know that if sales is talking to a lead, they have obviously moved passed the awareness phase, so you shouldn’t need to share that type of content with your sales team.

You might want to consider an internal library that you update with your new content. This way you can slice and dice it up to sales by categorizing your content by buyer persona and buyer’s journey.

If you want to take it a step further, you can pre-write social media posts for your sales team to share on their own social channels every week. Any bit of word-of-mouth recommendations you can get that point to your content is extremely helpful.

Re-Think Your CTA

The usual CTA (call to action) at the end of a blog post functions for readers to ask pertinent questions or share personal insights in the comments below. But, are people really commenting? If you feel like you’re doing everything it takes to reach the decision makers, but you’re still only reaching mid-level or entry level readers, invite them to share your post with their boss or co-workers.

Conclusion

The key things to consider when creating a blog targeted towards decision makers is to make certain you’re utilizing and integrating your individual buyer personas and buyer journeys. Leveraging email and LinkedIn can be really powerful, and don’t forget to have your co-workers share your awesome content. Give these strategies a try before you decide to give up on or put less time in your blog.

Are you ready to get your blog in front of the right people? Try our curated newsletter feature to stay on the top of mind for your target consumers.

 

by

How to Announce New Product Features Through Content Marketing

, , , ,

Do you have some cool new product features that you’re about to launch but don’t know how to tell your target consumers about them? Or maybe you want to tell your current clients about features they can upgrade to? Or maybe both? This post is here to help, because launching a new feature and marketing it effectively is no easy task.

The trick to a successful feature launch is starting your marketing plan way before the product is actually ready. Outlining your goals, messaging, and strategies that you want to tap into before the feature actually launches is the best way to proceed, and here are some hints on how to pull it all off.

Create Buzz Before the Launch

Before you actually launch your brand-new feature, you’ve got to get consumers excited about it before it’s actually released. You can do this by:

  • Posting “teaser” social media posts with pictures or short video clips highlighting aspects of your new feature
  • Creating an anticipatory “coming soon” video and putting it on your homepage
  • Giving beta access of your new feature to a select few people, and asking them to blog or post about it on social media
  • Sending out an email to your customers and leads telling them that you have some exciting new things coming up with your product

Work with Influencers

Influencers are people who specialize in a niche and have a large and loyal following on blog and/or social media. Influencers are so powerful because they create authentic content and can talk organically about your brand in ways you can’t talk about yourself without seeming self-promotional.

It’s a common misconception that B2B brands can’t utilize influencer marketing effectively, but we’re here to tell you that there are influencers in every vertical. You just need to find them, and you likely need some help. Innovative tools like GroupHigh and BuzzSumo are ideal options for influencer identification.

Once you’ve found your target influencers, think of a creative way to work with them to create maximum buzz around your new product feature. This can include giving them access to your product before it actually launches, or you can have them use your new feature in a project they are working on. Just make sure to ask them to write a blog post about their experience with links to your site, so all their loyal readers can get the scoop.

Email Marketing

Tapping into email marketing for a new product feature is a given so let’s explore some creative ways you can tap into email to announce your new feature.

  • Buying an email blast from a like-minded publication and tapping into their network
  • Considering a newsletter insert from a thought leadership site
  • Emailing your leads and incentivizing them with a gift card for joining a demo of your new feature
  • Reaching out to your current consumers and offering them exclusive early access to your new feature as a “thank you” for being customers…this also creates a sense of urgency for them to upgrade their current plan to the plan that includes your new feature

Strategic Blog Posts

When launching a new feature, it’s key to create a handful of exciting blog posts to accompany your launch. Of course, you want to post blog posts on your own website, highlighting aspects of your new feature through screen shots and video, but you also should place some guest posts on popular sites that highlight your product as well.

When guest posting, sites will generally not take a self-promotional “sales” post. So, instead of trying to get a guest post that only talks about your new feature, think of a thought leadership topic that discusses why this feature would be beneficial, and then subtly insert a link to your brand. This strategy will be far more effective in both engaging readers and getting clicks.

Utilize Video

Many of your target consumers may wish to visually digest information, so you want to create a short video surrounding the launch of your new feature. Highlight the components of your product and address pain points that it solves. Once your video is ready to go, consider these ways of sharing it:

  • Marketing emails
  • Blog posts
  • Social Media
  • The homepage on your site
  • Press release

Social Media Ads

It’s key that you utilize your social media channels in the launch of your new feature. To ensure that news of your new product gets in front of as many people as possible, you may want to consider purchasing some social media ads. You should “a/b” test them to see what messaging and visuals are getting the most clicks.

LinkedIn will be especially helpful, and it lets you target multiple segments, including company size, job titles, location and more.

Tap into Your Customers

By now, you should know who your happiest customers are. Try giving them early or free access to your new feature and ask them to share with their own networks about your brand’s new product. It also would be beneficial to ask them for testimonials about their experience with your new feature that you can incorporate on your site. People are far more receptive to a feature that has already been used and has positive recommendations that accompany it.

Write a Press Release

Writing a press release about your new feature can help you gain traction and buzz about your launch. Here are some things to keep in mind when writing your press release:

  • Addressing how this new feature makes consumers’ lives easier and focusing on pain points it may solve
  • Including a video or screen shot
  • Quoting your CEO on why this new feature was brought to the marketplace
  • Including a quote from an influencer or consumer who tested out this new feature
  • Providing an email address for the press to contact

Once your press release is up, you can send it to like-minded websites with a personalized email to see if they want to write about your new feature.

Run a Webinar

When you start marketing your new feature, it is sure to pique a lot of interest, but consumers might not be quite ready to buy or upgrade. Meet these prospects on their buyer’s journey and provide them with a webinar, where they can see your feature in action and learn more.

Your webinar should be about 30 minutes and should weave in how your new feature solves their problems, in addition to showcasing the feature in action. Leave time for questions either in your webinar hosting platform or on Twitter, and make sure to answer all that you can.

You can include a link to sign up for your webinar in the same marketing emails that announce your new feature so that your target consumers can decide if they’re ready to buy (or if they want to learn more).

New Feature Checklist

We know we threw a lot of ideas at you, and we don’t want it to be overwhelming to plan your new feature launch, so here’s a checklist that wraps up everything we just discussed:

  • Create a video that highlights your new feature
  • Run a pre-launch social media campaign
  • Identify influencers to talk about your product
  • Reach out to happy customers
  • Give early access of your feature to influencers and consumers
  • Identify email blasts that you can purchase
  • Write out all your marketing emails
  • Create and schedule out your social media posts
  • Purchase social ads on LinkedIn
  • Identify guest post opportunities
  • Write blog posts for your brand’s blog and your guest posts
  • Schedule a webinar
  • Write a press release
  • Distribute your press release to like-minded sites

Do you have any suggestions for announcing a new feature? We’d love to hear from you on Twitter @Feed_Otter

by

Creating a Story Map from A to Z

, ,

Story mapping is a practice that can be applied to many verticals to organize and visualize a new project, including (but not limited to); customer or product journey, go-forward plans, or basic project management. The process is useful when collaborating with multiple stakeholders to understand key objectives, communicate on workflow, and visualize progress.

Story maps are most prevalent in software development, especially among teams practicing agile methodology. However, they can be a valuable tool for any industry. Of course, the specifics of a map will differ based on the vertical and project. Follow these steps to use a story map for any new initiative.

Define Your Vision and Goals

What is the overall objective of your project? Are you creating a new internal system, working with an outside client to develop a service, building a website, visualizing your customer journey? Whatever it may be, identify the main goal of your project so that you can work backward from there, to start your story map.

Once you identify your end target, the next step is to outline your vision. Think of this step as telling the initial story. Here are a few examples of initial stories:

  • E-commerce site– walkthrough the customer journey. Customer searches for an item, finds your website, views products, selects a specific product, looks at images, puts product in the cart, enters payment information, enters shipping information, confirms the order.
  • Planning an event– walkthrough a guest’s experience. The guest arrives, valets their car, checks their coat, finds their table, has cocktails, participates in the silent auction, enjoys their meal, watches live entertainments, departs with their thank-you bag.
  • Developing a job board– outline the job seeker’s journey. Applicant uploads resume, applicant browses open jobs, applicant finds an appropriate job and applies, the employer is notified of the new applicant and can choose to engage or not, communication is established.

The key with this step is to understand your end game (goal), and the ideal storyline (vision) you would like to happen to get there.

How to Establish Your Strategy

Knowing where to start when creating a strategy can be tricky. Take each step of the initial story and group and define activities from there. Ask yourself; what needs to be ideated or created to make that step occur? You might need to break down each step further if the process is complex.

After you establish what needs to happen, make a list of specific activities or tasks to complete. Intuitively group activities into stages. For example, what are the tasks that need to be done first? In many software related story maps, these individual tasks are referred to as the backlog.

Assign each task to a person or team, ensure they understand the task and set a firm deadline. Communication plays a crucial role in story mapping, no matter if you have a team of five or two-hundred. Each stakeholder in the story map should have a point person they can turn to for issues; this will help you avoid roadblocks.

story-map

Determine the Best Way to Visualize your Roadmap

This is the step of actually putting together a physical story map (often referred to as a roadmap) for your project. Original practices used a white-board or a large open wall space, with colored post-its or index cards to outline the roadmap. The main concept being that everyone could visualize steps and assignments, and physically move cards as they progress.

Traditional roadmaps generally have the following stages; backlog (unassigned tasks), in progress (assigned tasks), testing (testing the first iteration), and completed.

If you don’t have all employees or stakeholders in one physical office space, or you would prefer a digital alternative, there are many story-mapping programs. These platforms allow for interactive, usually cloud-based, story maps, accessible from any location, with real-time updates. A few popular options include:

  • Cardboard– takes the post-it format and makes it digital, very customizable, offers integrations with other software and programs, with free and paid versions available.
  • Realtime Board– also uses the digital post-it format for their visual story maps. Realtime offers multiple story-board templates to choose from, a benefit to new story-mappers. The platform is customizable, with third-party integrations, and free or paid subscriptions.
  • Trello– a digital project management system that you can also use for for story mapping. Trello uses lists and boards to organize information, but is very interactive, and can integrate popular programs like GoogleDocs, Dropbox, or Microsoft OneDrive, as well as the Atlassian suite products.

For more options for digital story mapping, check out this article by Feed Otter.

Pro-Tip: Translate Software-Specific Principles for All Story Maps

While every story map will differ depending on the industry, company, and campaign, there are main software and agile principles that apply to any project.

Deliver important requirements first.

If you’re working on a large project with many moving parts, determine the must-haves. Then move those to the front of your story map, to work on and deliver them first. Items that are non-essential, but would be nice to have, should be given second or third priority. This way, if the project takes longer than expected—which it often does—you can cut those tasks.

Break down complex requirements.

If there’s a large requirement or task, break it up into smaller more manageable pieces. Even though you might not physically be working off of post-its or index cards, break down updates or tasks as if you are. If the task description can’t fit on a post-it, divide it into multiple tasks. This can also help you divide less critical components, to move them to a later time frame.

Focus on communication and progress documentation.

Agile software teams have daily or weekly stand-up meetings, where they quickly go over all of the need-to-know information, give progress reports and discuss roadblocks or issues. From here, if further meetings need to happen, they break off into to one-on-ones. While you might not need to have frequent meetings, communication should be key. Further, make sure to document the progress of each task, whether that be on an actual board or the digital story map. Each stakeholder should be able to see progress and understand the current stage of each assignment.

Ready to Create Your Story Map?

Story maps offer a dynamic process to organize any type of project with multiple stakeholders, stages, and tasks. If you’re facing a challenging new campaign, try creating a story map to set progress in motion.

Image Credit: www.visual-paradigm.com

by

What Are Second-Tier Links, and Why Do They Matter for SEO?

Back in 2016, Google confirmed that content and link building is what put your website in the SERPs. And unless you’re brand new to the digital marketing and SEO world, you’re probably not surprised. Link building is often the most used form of SEO because, for the most part, it’s the easiest. Create ways to link back to your website and BOOM, instant traffic, right? Not so fast. It takes time to build a link building strategy, and there are a few ways you can boost traffic to your website.

This is where “second-tier links” come into play. You’ve probably used these types of links without even knowing what they’re called, but it’s important to realize what SEO tactics you’re using so you can get more advanced in the future. Below shows you the less talked about type of link that can be an asset to your strategy.

What are Tiered Links?

When you think of link building, you most likely don’t think of tiered links, but there are first- and second-tier links that build traffic to your website. Sound like black hat SEO tactics? It can be if done incorrectly.

  • First-tier links are web links that link directly back to your website, and they are easy to create. For example, you may write a blog post that has a link to your website. That would be a first-tier link, or more commonly known as an internal link.
  • Second-tier links are a bit different—you’re linking to content that has links to your website. An easy example would be sharing an email or social post that links to your guest post. That guest post would then link to your website. Make sense?

Of course, second-tier links go a bit deeper than social posts. For example, you can find an authoritative site to link to the website where your guest post is housed. This doesn’t mean linking to your website (that would be an external link), it just means getting one authoritative site to link to another authoritative site that isn’t you, but does link to you.

Why Second-Tier Links are Important

Traffic is great, but what does that have to do with SEO? While second-tier link building is great for traffic, it’s also super helpful for SEO. Traffic is one of the features that Google uses to rank websites. Google looks at the traffic going to and from a website to determine whether or not it’s worth ranking. The use of second-tier links also allows search engines to determine the following:

  • Authority. It’s not always what you know, it’s who you know. Writing a guest blog post for an authoritative site helps build your credibility, but getting an authoritative site just to link to you does the same thing (the true organic way to earn links and always the best).
  • Relevance. Google loves relevance. Think about your keywords—they’re related to your website information, right? The same should be of your links—it helps Google and other search engines understand what your website is about. When your website is linked with others in your industry, Google understands exactly where it belongs.

These factors come together to help with your SEO strategy. It shouldn’t be the only focus, but it does help boost rankings. You can learn more about other factors that affect rankings here.

Black Hat vs. White Hat Tactics

Here’s where things can turn from white hat to black hat quickly. If you’re looking to build second-tier links, an easy way to do that would be to create a bunch of websites that link back to your website. But that’s not a good look for your SEO strategy. Here are more effective (and legitimate) ways to secure second-tier links:

  • Approach a quality, authoritative site and ask them if they’d like to link to your website content. Offer them an example. This isn’t overly affective and it is definitely a long term play, but it can work.
  • Find a broken link in another website’s content? Why not use this as an opportunity to ask them to replace that broken link with one of your own.
  • Propose a guest post to another website, and then generate links to that guest post (potentially by more guest posting!). If other sites are sending traffic your way via your guest post, you’ve secured a second-tier link.
  • Share your guest post on social media outlets. Chances are the site owner will also be sharing your post to boost traffic to their website.
  • Find out who’s linking to your website already. Use a site explorer tool, like Ahrefs, SEMRush, or Moz’s Open Site Explorer, and find out who’s linked to your website. Once you have this information, use it to your advantage and build links to those pages! Here’s what you’ll see if you use Open Site Explorer:

open-site-explorer

The Basics: Things to Remember about Second-Tier Links

As any true digital marketer knows, there’s more than one focus you should have when it comes to your SEO strategy (hint: automation can help!). As with anything else, link building shouldn’t be your only SEO trick. Remember that Google and other search engines are constantly changing—one tactic won’t work forever. Some things to consider when you’re utilizing second-tier links:

  • Create quality content. Content is still king, and Google will certainly take notice if your content is garbage.
  • Perfect your target site list. Just because a website is linked to your page, doesn’t mean it’s credible enough to link to. For example, if it’s not in your niche or industry, why would you want it as a second-tier link?
  • Quality over quantity. Don’t use this as an opportunity to grab up any link you can. Just because a website is willing to post your guest blog or link back to your website, doesn’t mean it’s going to be helpful to your SEO strategy. Go after quality rather than quantity—it’ll pay off in the long run. Learn more about earning traffic to your blog this way here.

The Takeaway

Tiered link building doesn’t have to be black hat—it is possible to use these types of links to boost traffic to your website. While it’s not always the first tactic on every marketer’s list, it’s an effective one. Continuing to create quality content that’s worthy of being linked to and from will set you up ahead of your competitors.

How to you earn second-tier links? Is this something you focus on, or let happen naturally? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

by

The Anatomy of a Technically Great Blog Post

,

For many, a “technically” great blog post has everything to do with SEO and optimization. While this may be a small part, SEO is actually a very creative aspect of blog post writing. Focusing on something called Open Graph can actually bring your blog posts to the next level. This idea is unfortunately still overlooked by your average blogger, but why be average? Open Graph helps you move from average to technically above.

Open Graph (Og) is a digital data communication protocol that allows your publications to become enriched objects within the social graph. The Open Graph protocolOpen Graph. Confused? Don’t sweat it. Read on to learn more about what this means and how to take advantage.

What a Great Blog Post Should Look Like

Twitter cards and Rich Pinterest Pins, for example, are specific tools for these social networks that allow you to add metadata to your posts to be read by each network. To implement this protocol on your website, you must add a series of Meta tags within the <head> of your website, where you indicate the specific metadata that will be accessed by Facebook trackers and search engines. These are known as open graph data. The tags include:

Og: title: The title of the object as you want it to appear. There is no limit of characters, but for good practice, it is recommended to put between 60 and 90 characters; In the case of Facebook if you put more than 100 characters this will only take 88.

Og: type: Specify the type of the object.

Og: image: A URL that points to the image that will represent your object.

Og: URL: The canonical URL of your object that will be the permanent ID of the object.

Og: description: Some descriptive lines for the object. For good practice, we should not use more than 200 characters.

Og: locale: We declare the place of origin of the object in the format.

Og: site_name: If the web or app is large, so to speak, this property will be the one that identifies the entire site.

Og: Audio: The URL of the audio that accompanies this object.

Og: video: The URL of the video that compliments the created object.

Once you have implemented the Meta tags for your website, I recommend that you use the Open Graph Object Debugger from Facebook, a tool that will find the Meta tags that you have added and will point out the errors if any. It will also show you a preview of how your publications will look, with everything implemented.

google-developer

If your website is in WordPress, you can use the Facebook Open Graph Meta Tags plugin for WordPress, which makes this implementation much easier. Besides, your integration already brings by default the basic Meta tags that you should use; all you have to do is complete the information on your website. It all sounds technical, but it’s just like uploading any other plugin.

The Basic SEO Technicalities for Your Blog Posts

When talking about technical, you can’t ignore SEO. It’s always a fine line to walk when it comes to SEO and blog posts because blog posts should not focus on SEO. More than anything, it’s important for you to focus on writing quality content for your readers. With that said, there are SEO tips to keep in mind when the creative part is done and it’s time to get technical.

A few optimization tips to remember include:

Alt Text on Images

Always remember that Google cannot see your images. Whatever you type into the alt-text will let Google know what the image references. Use your keyword(s) here to further boost your bottom line with the bots.

alt-text

URL Structure

You have control over the URL structure of each individual blog post. Always check this to make sure your keywords are included, it is under 100 characters, and there are no symbols other than letters, numbers (if relevant) or hyphens.

url-structure

Meta Description

This is where you can tell Google directly what your blog post is all about. We highly recommend using the SEO Yoast plugin in order to easily see when you wrote the perfect optimized description (aka using your keyword and keeping it short). Visual Composer is also one of our favorite plugins to help you stay technical, which you can learn more about here.

meta-description

Heading Tags

On each individual blog post you should utilize heading tags to establish a structure to your blog post. This makes it easier to read for users, and therefore is seen as a positive in the eyes of Google because you’re improving user experience.

heading-tags

For other options when it comes to a technically great website in general, including page speed, https protocol, linking, and more, visit here. For more information about how to write a technically savvy blog post for mobile specifically, visit here.

The Takeaway

It is likely that you are producing relevant and very good quality content, but you should use the same effort in making search engines understand and recognize those masterpieces you are writing to appear on the first page of search results and reach as many possible readers as you can. In the end, although being technical may come second to creative, it can be what puts your blog post ahead of the rest. Once you’re read, use FeedOtter to send your blog posts to your Pardot and Marketo leads.

What do you think encompasses a technically great blog post? Let us know your thoughts and your experiences in the comment section below.

 

by

How to Grow Your Blog Traffic (Without Obsessing Over SEO)

,

Ever wonder how to not only grow an audience for your blog, but a committed audience? One that comes back to read your content and, potentially, grow your business? It’s easy to say you’re going to grow your blog traffic and then pay for ads, social posts, email lists, and more, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that growing a committed audience takes a lot of hard work and a ton of dedication. While SEO is essential, there are other ways to grow your traffic that are underrated. Below focuses on the ten best methods you can use to improve your blog traffic meaningfully and efficiently.

Consult With Other Bloggers

Building relationships with other bloggers in similar subjects or fields is absolutely essential. Why? Because you all have the same goal: to attract a bigger audience. Collaborating to give and receive feedback can be useful when evaluating your audience’s experience, the style of your writing, the content you publish, and the frequency of your posting. You can start by reaching out to other bloggers via social media or subscribing to their blogs and developing a rapport through comments.

In addition to simply market research, utilizing other bloggers audience can be incredibly beneficial. Depending on your company, you may want to work with a complimentary business (in other words, definitely not a direct competitor), or if you are more focused on entertainment, it may make sense to consult with others in your direct line of work. For example, MasterCard and Apple don’t usually have much in common, but with the new Apple Pay their audience is suddenly overlapping. Apple wants people to use their service to pay, and MasterCard wants those same people to pay with their card. It’s a win-win:

Contribute Guests Posts: Celebrity Shot!

Once you build up some of these relationships, consider writing a guest piece to contribute to another blog (and returning the favor). This can expose your content to an entirely different audience that could potentially share your information and commit to your blog. Put your quality content out there and respond to questions or comments to build relationships just as if it were your own blog.

Now this may sound overdone, and you’ve likely read the “guest blogging is dead” articles, but it can still be incredibly effective if done right. The truth is that content is still king, and while guest posting has lost some of its luster; Google is still taking it seriously. Google aside, focus on high quality blogs over quantity as a way to get your own blog in front of new, relevant eyes. It’s time consuming, but well worth it.

Publish Content Tailored to Your Target Audience

Your faithful subscribers count on you to keep them up-to-date on what’s current and pragmatic. You, therefore, need to be aware of news, buzzwords, and trends as they are happening. You could subscribe to Google Alerts to help you with this; every time content related to your blog topics is published, you will be made aware of it.

Some of the options you can choose from include how often you are alerted, the sources from which the information comes (news, blogs, web, video, books, discussions, or finance), the country or region from which you want the information, and where you want it sent.

Create a Schedule and Maintain It

Whether you post once a week or once a month, you want to make sure you maintain a consistent schedule. If your audience is waiting for your weekly post on Monday mornings, do not disappoint them. The more it becomes a habit of yours to post on the same day at the same time, the more it becomes a habit of theirs to read those posts on the same day and the same time. You want this consistency and commitment from them just as they want it from you.

A great way to stick to a schedule is to upload your blog posts, schedule them through WordPress (shown below, just click “edit” and then “OK” and the “publish” button will change to “schedule”), and utilize a calendar plugin such as Editorial Calendar. Write all of your blog posts as early as you can and then schedule them accordingly.

Note: We recommend that if you have a solid amount of traffic and data, consider a CRM tool to help you grow your reach even further.

Encourage Social Sharing

You want your content out there, wherever “out there” might be. You don’t just want your audience members to read your content – you want them to share it with their friends, partners, and employees. To encourage this action, you must provide sharing on your blog; see the example below:

You will note a few things: the location on the page, the number of networks, and the number of shares. The social sharing options don’t need to be overbearing or distracting from your content; a relatively small icon to the side of your post is sufficient. These options also do not need to include EVERY social media network in existence. Do some initial research. Where are you seeing your information posted the most? What are your followers using the most? Choose a few of those networks and roll with it. Finally, consider how many shares you are actually getting before making your share count visible. If the number is relatively high, include it. This shows your audience that your content is worthy and sought after. If the number is relatively low to start with, then wait until you build up your audience.

Also keep in mind that connections mean everything to your blog’s success. As I’ve mentioned, it’s not enough to just have avid readers. You need your readers to share your information in order for your audience size to grow. More than that, you need to connect with your readers on social media. Follow up one of your posts with a fact or anecdote on social media. That way, when you are in between your lengthier posts, you can still provide a brief reminder of the quality information you provide to your followers.

Clean Up the Audience’s Blog Experience

Obviously, your page should be easy to navigate and aesthetically pleasing. Unnecessary distractions such as too many menu options, too many ads, sidebars, or pop-ups can deter readers and diminish your audience size. The page should also be organized in a way that catches readers’ eyes. Balance what is necessary and unnecessary to be successful. Elegant Themes put together a list of bad blogs that shows what not to do:

Your Turn

Building your blog’s traffic is essential to building your audience. You want visitors to not only appreciate what they read, but subscribe to it and share it. Following the listed steps will ensure your audience grows and your blog remains successful.

What do you grow your blog traffic? What has worked for you in the past? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below.

Feature Image Photo Credit: DigitalMarketingPro.net

by

Dialing in WordPress for a Company Blog

,

Did you know that companies who have blogs receive 55% more visits to their website than those without blogs? Blogging is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your company’s website because it’s free marketing that doesn’t require much more than consistent blog posting. This is, of course, time consuming, but the benefits far outweigh the time-spent writing. This is where WordPress comes into play as a place to not only house your company website but also your company blog. Below provides a foundation for starting a company blog with WordPress from how to incorporate images into your posts to how long your posts should be and everything in between.

First: Creating Content 101

Before we even get into WordPress, in order to have a successful blog for your company, your blog posts need to be valuable to your audience. Your blog posts will be used to show that you’re an authoritative source in your industry, so you should avoid crafting blog posts that have zero relevance to your product or service. It seems obvious, but so many business blogs today worry about keyword rankings and where they’ll get the most eyes that they forget the importance of writing what you know and what makes sense to the business. This will get you the eyes you want.

As you begin to focus on creating great content and using WordPress to market and highlight that content, consider the tips below.

Start with a Great Headline

Think of some of the most recent articles you’ve read. What about them caught your attention? Chances are the catchy headline made you want to click on the article or post. Crafting a good blog post for your company should start with an eye-catching headline. You should consider the following things when crafting the perfect headline:

  • Urgency. Craft a headline that creates some type of call to action. For example, an article listing the ways a customer can use today or for a limited time.

“Use THIS Tip to Create Excellent Blog Posts”

  • Try to incorporate blog headings that touch on something none of your competitors have written about before. Use words or phrases that will grab the reader’s attention. This sets you apart from the crowd and keeps your readers interested in what you have to say.

“5 Supercharged Ways to Boost Your Blog Traffic”

  • Remember, you’re trying to create valuable, informational posts for your customers. Tips, tricks, and how-to guides are just a few types of headlines you should create so that people know you are offering actionable tips they can take with them.

“10 Examples of Excellent Blog Posts”

If you’re having trouble coming up with useful, engaging headlines, WordPress has tons of plugins you can use to create the best headline for your post including plugins specifically created for law, sports, and news blogs.

Extra Tip: Having trouble figuring out the topics you’d like to touch on? Look to your customers! You may have received reviews or emails addressing topics or questions your customers may have. Take a look at this data and use it to power your next blog post.

Choose the Ideal Length for Your Post

The “ideal” length of your post is changing as quickly as the digital marketing industry. The magic number used to be around the 500-600-word mark; however, long blog posts are being seen as better for search engine optimization (SEO) as well as for your readers’ attention spans. According to several studies, the length of your blog posts should be between 1000 and 1500 words per post.

The takeaway? While longer blog posts are ideal for generating traffic, you should also remember that quality posts, no matter the length of words, will always generate a better response than poor quality posts regardless of length.

Incorporate Images into Your Blog Posts

Blog posts that contain images receive 94% more views than articles that do not. Adding images, graphs, and charts within your content make it easier for your visitors to read, but there is a science behind it. Having too many large image files in your WordPress blog post can make your site run slower, and the quality of the image can be ruined.

There are a few factors to consider when you determine the ideal size for your images. You need to consider the file dimensions, width and height in pixels, and file size in kilobytes (KB) or megabytes (MB).

In order to optimize your images properly, make sure that the width (dimension) of your image is not wider than your web page. WordPress gives you three default options to resize your images:

  • Large – 600 pixels
  • Medium – 300 pixels
  • Small (Thumbnail) – 150 pixels

You also want to make sure that your file size is not too large. The larger your file size, the longer it takes to download to your page; however, you don’t want to lower image quality as you lower the size. In other words:

  • If an image takes up the full page, the best size would be between 80 and 100KB. A half page image would ideally be between 20 and 30KB.

This may take a couple tries to ensure you’re not affecting quality. To make sure you haven’t over optimized your image, compare the original image to the optimized image. If you notice any significant pixelation, you may have lowered the quality too much. You can learn more about images for your WordPress blog post here.

Second: Dialing Into WordPress Features for Your Company Blog

Now that you know how you craft the perfect blog post, let’s take a look at how WordPress can help you craft your company blog. WordPress offers tons of features, including their many plugins available. We’ll take a look at how you can optimize your blog just by using the WordPress features.

Use SEO Plugins like Yoast to Optimize Your Posts

One of the most beneficial plugins you can use within WordPress is the WordPress SEO by Yoast. If you’re struggling with the science that is SEO, this is handy plugin takes all the pressure off you. Below are some of the most helpful parts of this plugin.

Open Graph Tags

Chances are you’re going to share your blog posts on social media. But have you ever scrolled through your Twitter or Facebook feed and seen a poorly optimized link? When you share a post on social media, you should see a custom thumbnail, title, and a description. That’s where an open graph tag comes into play.

However, using open graph tags can be a pain to get right. Unless you’re an HTML pro (and if you are, more power to you!) you probably don’t want to mess with adding graph tags into your posts. That’s the great thing about the Yoast plugin – it automatically adds in these tags for you.

Once you’ve installed the plugin, head over to SEO > Social. Make sure the “Add open graph media data” feature is checked. The plugin will automatically add graph tags to all social media outlets including Facebook and Twitter.

Keyword Focus

Even an SEO novice knows that keywords are one of the most important factors in an SEO strategy. If you have some keywords in mind for your company blog, do you know whether or not you’re using them enough?

Yoast SEO helps with that. Simply set a focus keyword (the keyword you’d most like to be searched for) and Yoast runs a check throughout your content. It will pick up things like:

  • You use the keyword too often
  • You used the keyword in the URL
  • You used the keyword in a blog post title
  • You have links in your keyword

The plugin then takes this feedback and ranks it with a green, orange, or red bullet. Ultimately, you want to have a green bullet next to your focus keyword. Below is a screenshot that shows how it works:

Readability Check

You’ve created content for your blog, but how do you know it’s easy for users to read? Among other features, Yoast has a readability check that tells you just how easy it is to read your blog posts. Some things it will consider:

  • Length of sentences and paragraphs
  • Use of transition words
  • Excess use of passive voice versus active voice
  • Calculates the Flesch Reading Ease score

You can see how this works below. It shows you what you need to improve upon if you want it to be easier to read:

Commenting Systems

Allowing comments on your blog posts promotes engagement. But it’s not enough to simply allow blog comments. You need to utilize the best commenting system available. And while WordPress has an excellent commenting system in place, there are other options available that will make engaging on your blog posts more enticing for your readers. We’ll run through some of the best commenting plugins available to implement into your WordPress company blog.

Disqus

Disqus is one of the more popular WordPress plugins for commenting. While one of the downsides is the requirement to sign in (users can create their own Disqus account, or they can login via their social media accounts, such as Facebook). This prevents many users from commenting. However, there are impressive qualities of this platform that also encourages users to comment. Here are a few positive qualities of this platform:

  • Users are able to leave media, such as images or videos, in their comments
  • Disqus users can follow each other and view their comment history
  • You’re able to moderate comments from your end
  • Email notifications so users can reply immediately to other users

Jetpack

Yet another popular commenting system plugin available through WordPress, Jetpack takes the native WordPress commenting system and elaborates on it. One of the great features of Jetpack is that users aren’t required to sign in to comment. They are, however, required to leave their name and email address (which makes it easy for you to use these email addresses as future leads).

Users are given the option to receive email notifications. So if they decide they’re done with the conversation, they won’t continue to receive notifications of a reply.

wpDiscuz

This is a newer commenting plugin that you may not have heard about. Some of its key functions include:

  • Anonymous comments or the option to sign into favorite social media networks to leave a comment
  • The ability to comment directly from the user’s email notifications
  • Comments are loaded on an as needed basis – for example, comments are loaded once the user has made it to the bottom of the post
  • Additional add-on options including emoticons, the ability to tag other users, and the ability for users to flag the least helpful comments

Other WordPress Plugins to Boost Your Company Blog

There are literally thousands of plugins available in the expansive WordPress directory. There are so many that you could spend days looking through them. We’re looking at some of the must-have plugins that will help advance your company’s blog.

OptinMonster

Possibly one of the coolest plugins available in the WordPress directory, OptinMonster allows you to turn your blog’s abandoning website visitors into leads. As soon as your visitors try to leave your blog OptinMonster targets them with a campaign right before they leave. This plugin uses technology to determine when a visitor is about to leave. This is one plugin your blog definitely needs.

MaxCDN

Chances are your blog posts will incorporate images and videos within them. However, these types of media can slow down your blog quickly. And everyone knows that the slower your website loads, the quicker visitors will opt out. MaxCDN works to cache your content so images, videos, and downloads on servers that are located closer to your visitors.

MonsterInsights

If you’re already using Google Analytics, you need a great plugin to incorporate the data from your company’s blog. One of the coolest things you’ll get from this plugin is the ability to see where your visitors are coming from, and where they’re headed to next. There’s also a link tracking feature that helps you keep tabs on your outbound links. You also get a clear view as to how your users are interacting on your website. You can take this information and make changes to your blog or keep things exactly the same.

Your Turn

You may have thought that WordPress was only for the personal blogger, but it is growing into one of the most popular tools for companies to use for their business blogs. Having total control of your company’s blog is one of the many perks of using WordPress.

How do you use WordPress for your company blog? Are there any tools you would add to the list? Let us know in the comment section below.

Feature Image Credit: ElegantThemes.com