SEO

Transform Your Blog Into a Traffic-Generating Machine

How to Transform Your Blog Into a Traffic-Generating Machine

How to Transform Your Blog Into a Traffic-Generating Machine 900 600 Kari Switala

Apple chips, hummus, Ninja warrior, the naughty list…these are not topics you’d normally connect with a content marketing company. And yet, these are some of the keywords we ranked highly for in Google searches back before we really understood keywords and search engine optimization (SEO)

Relevant keywords and good SEO can work wonders for your blog, as can consistent posting, using quality images, and visitor engagement. Without utilizing these tools, it can be difficult to get much traction. But with them, you can transform your blog into a traffic-generating machine.

First: What Not to Do

Since those early blog posts, we’ve learned a lot about the importance of optimizing our blogs for SEO. Now we can easily see why we ranked for those crazy keywords: the blogs we were writing had fun titles with analogies that drew the reader in once they got to our site, but they didn’t help people FIND us in the first place. They introduced topics that were totally unrelated to what we do. Here are a few prime examples (it’s ok to laugh…we think they’re pretty funny now too):

While these articles did cover relevant topics (smart marketing strategies, customer experience, and differentiating yourself from the competition), they weren’t written in a way that helped us attract the audience we were looking for: businesses looking for great content marketing.

Keyword Research is, Well…Key

Transform Your Blog Into a Traffic-Generating Machine

The main thing those early blogs lacked was relevant keywords that signaled to search engines what the blogs were about. Keywords essentially represent the main ideas of your content. They are the words and phrases people would type into a search engine when looking for the topics you are discussing. When you use keywords on your page that are relevant to what people are searching for, they have a better chance of finding your content. The goal is to rank highly on search engines so that your content will show up among the first options people see when they enter your keywords. This drives organic traffic to your site. 

Before you write your content, you need to determine what keywords you want to rank for. Keyword research tools like Semrush, Moz, and Google Keyword Planner are helpful when determining the keywords that will be most relevant to your audience. These tools allow you to see what keywords are the most popular and drive the most traffic, as well as how much competition each keyword has. Ideally, you want to choose keywords that are highly relevant but don’t have so much competition that you have no hope of ranking for them.

Focus On Long-Tail Keywords

You’ll want to focus your time and energy on long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are more specific phrases—typically 3-5 words or more—and are almost always a better choice than broader keywords. They are more targeted in their approach, so they help you connect with an audience that is more likely to engage with you. For example, a person searching for “content marketing company in MN” is much more likely to engage with us, a content marketing company in Minnesota, than someone simply searching for “marketing” would be. Long-tail keywords help you find the RIGHT traffic, not just a lot of traffic.

Make a Plan For Your Content and Stick To It

Transform Your Blog Into a Traffic-Generating Machine

To get into a good rhythm of content production, you need to lay out a clear plan. Pumping out articles just to have something on your site won’t get you the results you want. You need to know where you’re heading with your content and what kind of schedule you need to keep to get there.

Use the keywords you’ve researched to determine what topics you will write about. One easy way to do this is to start typing your keyword into the Google search bar and watch what search suggestions pop up. These suggestions indicate topics that people are regularly searching for. Or you can scroll to the bottom of the search page to the “searches related to” section for more good ideas. 

Make a list of the topics you think will be the most relevant to your audience. Then, create a schedule for yourself, setting deadlines for creating the first draft, editing, and publishing the finished content. Creating and sticking to a content schedule will help you post more consistently. And posting consistently will help you rank higher with Google and other search engines.

Create Relevant, Well-Written Blogs

Next comes the writing. Good writing is just as important as using the right keywords. Done well, a blog can help establish you (and your business) as an authority in your field. Plus, Google and other search engines aren’t just looking for keywords—they’re looking for relevant content that answers the questions site visitors are asking.

Your blogs should be well-thought-out, well-written, and grammatically correct resources for your audience. If you have a wealth of ideas but aren’t the best writer, it’s a good idea to hire out your writing (we know a great writer or two if you’re looking!). Mediocre writing won’t draw the traffic you’re looking for.

The length of your blogs makes a difference with SEO as well. Currently, the ideal blog length for the best SEO is around 2,100-2,400 words. Long-form content like this performs better in search results than short blogs. This is primarily because longer posts are naturally more keyword-rich and go into more depth on their topic, making them more likely to answer visitors’ questions or solve their problems. This, in turn, makes them more likely to get shared on social media or to get backlinks from other sites—both things that drive up web traffic. 

Place Your Keywords For Optimal SEO

Transform Your Blog Into a Traffic-Generating Machine

As you write your blog, you’ll need to include your chosen long-tail keyword throughout the copy. There isn’t a set number of times to use your keyword in your blog, but don’t overdo it—less is more in this case. In fact, don’t focus on counting your keywords at all. Instead, check their placement and make sure they’re built naturally into your topic. Carefully work your main keyword into your title, first paragraph, a header or two, and the closing paragraph. If you’ve chosen your keyword and blog topic well, this shouldn’t be difficult to do: your keyword should resonate with or serve as the entire topic of the post.

In addition to your main keyword, you’ll also want to use secondary or synonymous keywords throughout the body of your blog. Secondary keywords are related terms that help support your blog’s main topic. For example, if you were writing a blog titled “Best Winter Coats For Below-Zero Temperatures”, your long-tail keyword might be the entire title, and some of your synonymous keywords could be “winter coat”, “parka”, “down coat”, and “cold weather gear”. Make sense?

But don’t overdo your secondary keywords either. Ultimately, search engines look for high quality, highly relevant content when ranking for keywords. So it’s better to naturally work your keywords into your content less often than to stuff them in as many times as possible.

Make Your Posts Pop With Great Images

Keywords are vital, but they aren’t the only thing you can use to boost your SEO and drive traffic to your blog. Incorporating great images throughout your blog posts can help as well. Good quality images do four main things:

  1. Help readers get a sense of what you’re writing about. Visual aids like infographics and photos invite the reader in and can help simplify complex concepts.
  2. Attract more clicks. Your post’s main photo will typically show up when readers share your post on social media. A great-looking photo will make viewers want to click on the post to read more; a dull one won’t.
  3. Offer another chance to optimize for better search engine placement. Your images themselves can be optimized to help your content show up in search results. Adding your main keyword into an image’s “alternative text” field, file name, and caption gives search engines a better idea of what your post is about.
  4. Make your content look authoritative. A post with attractive photography or well-designed infographics is more likely to be taken seriously by potential readers than one using old clip art.

A couple of notes on images: First, when choosing photos for your blog, make sure to keep an eye on the file size. Image files that are too large can make your page load slower, which search engines don’t like. Second, never use photos you don’t have the rights to: you could end up paying hefty fines. To avoid this problem, grab photos from one of the many royalty-free stock photo sites available, such as Big Stock, Unsplash and Pexels.

Encourage User Engagement

Transform Your Blog Into a Traffic-Generating Machine

Once you attract readers, those readers can in turn help attract more traffic to your blog. Encourage readers to engage with your posts by leaving a comment (make sure you respond to comments!) and by sharing them on social media. The more engagement your post receives, the better it will rank with search engines and the more traffic you will see on your site.

Also, include an invitation to join your email newsletter in every blog post. This allows you to notify visitors when you post new blogs, which can result in even more traffic and shares. Make sure to include an email signup form somewhere in each blog post—this can be in the form of a pop-up box, a form at the end of the post, or simply a call-to-action line within your post that is linked to a signup form.

Update Existing Blog Posts

Another way to increase traffic to your blog is to optimize older blog posts for better SEO. If you have older posts that are relevant to your audience but haven’t generated much traffic, take the time to go back and update them.

Start by using what you’ve learned here to improve those old posts: include well-placed relevant keywords, add great images throughout, make sure the post invites comments and shares, and add an invitation to join your email newsletter somewhere in the post. Also, if the post doesn’t have headers throughout the body copy, add some to break up the text (and include your keywords in them if you can do so naturally). One note: when refreshing an old post, don’t forget to update any information that has changed since you first wrote it.

Transforming Your Blog Into a Traffic-Generating Machine Takes Time

Transform Your Blog Into a Traffic-Generating Machine

Your blog can be a great way to draw visitors to your website, but it will take consistent effort and time. Be patient—you likely won’t notice a huge influx of new site visitors from just one blog post, no matter how great it is. But over time, creating and consistently executing a solid plan for your content will transform your blog into a traffic-generating machine. 

And if you’re thinking, “Who has the time to do all of this?”, we’ve got your back. We know it can be difficult to find the time to create consistently great blog posts for your website. That’s why we offer blog writing services here at Wild Fig. We can do your keyword research, brainstorm blog topic ideas, research and write your blogs, find great images to complement them, and post them on your site for you. Plus, our writers are SEO pros who will make sure your blogs meet the standards that search engines like Google are looking for.

Ready to grow your blog and generate new leads for your business? Contact us today to get started!

Pssst…Marketing Doesn’t Have to Suck!

Pssst…Marketing Doesn’t Have to Suck! 900 600 WildFigAdmin

“Ahhhh . . . This is so refreshing!” We’ve heard that a lot over the past couple of weeks. We’ve had several new clients who, after completing a Strategic Marketing Session with Wild Fig Marketing, have commented that they are once again excited about their marketing. More specifically, they’ve realized marketing can be fun, and it doesn’t have to suck!

Here’s what we recommend our clients do to make marketing fun again:

1. Infuse your hobbies and interests into your marketing content. If you love to downhill ski or fly-fish, think about how you could tie that hobby/sport into your business. For example, if you were a financial planner who loved to fly-fish, you could write a blog about the correlation between preparing to fly-fish and preparing for your future. What lures/financial tools do you need? How much time should you allot? How do you find the best fishing spots/right mixture of financial products?

You get the idea, right? Take something you find fun or enjoyable and incorporate it into your marketing content. It will make content writing much easier. It’ll also help you connect with your customers and prospective customers. Who knows? Maybe it’ll help you land your next big client who also happens to love fly-fishing!

2. Tell a story. Stories are incredibly powerful and memorable. Think about it: How many stories have you heard already today? I consider myself a master at taking everyday stories and turning them into opportunities to educate and connect with my customers and prospective customers.

For example, a blog article I’m working on right  now is about my dog, Steve, who’s incredibly persistent and a bit naughty, too. But it’s also about  about the importance of persistence when following up with prospects. I’m going to tie it to the story about how Steve conquered our garbage due to his persistence. Stay tuned–this will be a funny one, I guarantee!

See, marketing really can be easy and fun when you tie it to your everyday stories! Think outside-the-box and use your stories to educate people in a more meaningful and memorable way.

3. Incorporate your personality and voice. This is SO important to remember when it comes to all of your marketing content. So often we forget that people do business with people, not businesses. If your marketing content sounds just like everyone else in your industry, what will set you apart? Make it easier for your prospective customers to identify with you by infusing your personality as well as your company’s personality into your content. Don’t hide your larger-than-life personality or your calm, soothing tone of voice.

EMBRACE it and USE it!

Want to test how effective this idea is? Go find one of the brands you follow or buy from on a regular basis and read their home and about us pages. Then go to their competitor’s website and read their home and about us pages. Which one drew you in? Which one would you buy from? I’d bet that you’d choose the first brand again because you connect with them and their messaging. There’s nothing wrong with the other brand. They are simply appealing to a different audience.

Marketing doesn’t have to suck. If you incorporate your interests, stories, and personality, it can even be fun! If you’re still feeling uninspired, Wild Fig Marketing can help you find a fresh perspective.  Contact us today to get started.

Every Good Story Has a Villain

Every Good Story Has a Villain 900 600 WildFigAdmin

As a business, do you know yours?

When you think of the components of a great story what elements come to mind? Plot, setting, conflict, resolution – all important elements, right? But there is one central story element that underlies each of these elements and that is the relationship between the protagonist and the antagonist – the hero and the villain. Without a struggle between the two any potentially good story will otherwise fall flat. This is also true in terms of content marketing. Let’s take a look specifically at the important role of the villain and how this element of story can propel the success of your marketing efforts.

First off, why do we love a villain? David Robson, in his blog British Psychology Society, describes how when we witness the good vs. evil tension in books or film the empathy network part of our brain displays the greatest response. We long to see our hero shine brightly and triumph over his/her adversary. What is a hero without an adversary to overcome? Marketing expert Donald Miller has some thoughts on this, “Villains deepen our love for the hero of the story and captivate our attention – we keep watching because we want to see our hero take the bad guy down.”

In the same way, incorporating a villain into your marking efforts gives you the opportunity to position your brand as the shining hero that saves the day. As a business owner you are well-acquainted with the hero of your story – the product or service your business provides. In the hands of your customer this product or service equips him/her to do battle against the villain of your story. But who exactly is your villain? What is it that your brand goes to battle against and triumphs over? Is it a competitor, a nagging problem, a lack of knowledge or expertise…? Or maybe it’s crummy customer service, a confusing process or a safety hazard…? This is your story and you can tell it exactly how you want. You may even consider creating a piece of company lore about your brand’s place in the world.

One company that has knocked this ball out of the park is REI. In 2015, the outdoor gear giant took a marketing leap with their #optoutside campaign. They pitted holiday consumerism as the villain, closed the doors to all their retail stores for a day and encouraged consumers to rally against this big bad villain by spending Black Friday making outdoor adventures and hashtaging them on social media. In doing this REI discovered that there are literally millions of people out there who want to join this fight. Long after the Black Friday campaign is over consumers continue to feel a strong sense of brand loyalty to REI by choosing to #optoutside (5.5 million hashtags and counting!) in this worthwhile fight.

Utilizing “the villain” in your brand’s content marketing strategy will not only give your audience something to rally against therefore increasing brand loyalty but it will also make your brand stand out from the competition by highlighting its unique attributes. Mac pulled this off successfully in its series of Mac vs. PC commercials a number of years ago. Mac strategically pitted itself against the PC by personifying PC as boring, nerdy, clunky and irrelevant while casting it alongside of its own hip and progressive image. While the villain in this marketing campaign wasn’t inherently evil, Mac portrayed PC as something many consumers want to rally against – convention for convention’s sake. This campaign won over countless consumers who want to embrace a hip, progressive and more user-friendly personal technology experience as reflected by Mac’s 36% increase in overall sales the first year of the campaign.

Strategically incorporating a hero-villain dynamic into your content marketing strategy can ignite a passion for your brand’s cause and give consumers something to stand behind – increasing brand awareness and loyalty. If you want help clarifying the villain in your brand’s story, sign up for one of our Cultivator Strategic Marketing Sessions. One of our marketing experts will help you identify the villain you’re trying to overcome and help craft a perfectly detailed strategy to help you attract and retain more clients and generate more revenue!

Ontrapalooza 2017 – Automation & Digital Marketing Highlights

Ontrapalooza 2017 – Automation & Digital Marketing Highlights 900 600 WildFigAdmin

What is Ontrapalooza?

If you’re crazy like I am, and you drive your RV 4,360 miles to get to Santa Barbara and back for the Ontrapalooza conference… You get “camp-a-palooza”! But what is Ontrapalooza? It is the annual digital marketing summit hosted by our friends at Ontraport – our software of choice for digital marketing and business automation. This was my third year there and, wow, what an incredible event! For those of you that missed it, I will try to give you a high-level overview of what you missed. Let me know if you are interested in attending next year and I will keep you in the loop!!

Attendance

This year we were lucky to have two of our clients attend the event with us! This made it super fun as we had much to talk about and could learn and bounce ideas off of each other. The Wild Fig dinner was rather fun too I might add!!

A new way to tell secrets

This year Landon Ray (CEO, Ontraport) announced a different approach to new feature releases. The past few years it has been part of the excitement at Ontrapalooza to hear about the unveiling of some new and exciting features on the platform. This has caused them to delay the release or race to get it ready for the exact date of ‘Palooza’. The new approach will be to recap what has been added and talk about what is coming next. This way, they can deliver new functionality as fast as it is ready and not delay. This was awesome news for me – a slow drip of exciting enhancements all year!

New features

OK, now for the juicy stuff…

Campaigns – We have been using Ontraport Campaigns for a few months now since version 5 of the software came out. Some of our clients are here and some are still using the sequence model or a little of each. Campaigns bring a fantastic visual representation of the automated business and marketing systems we build for us and our clients. They have now added an embedded notes feature to help document what is happening in the flow of your campaign – like “here we are split testing green -vs- orange CTA buttons”.

What-if Analysis

So as if campaigns weren’t exciting enough… imagine if you could predict your traffic and how your paid ad budget could impact your business. Imagine that you could take your proven campaigns and apply some “what if I paid more” or “what if more leads converted here” type logic and see the results, BEFORE you made the investment or change??? Yup – you got it – they built that for us!! There is now an Ontraport Projection Mode of the campaign builder that allows you to change the counts throughout campaigns to see how it would affect your bottom line!!

More new stuff

There have been a couple additions to the platform, a couple of these were released while we were at Palooza…

  • 15 Minute Automation Processing – The simple explanation of this is that you can now have automation steps happen every 15min instead of 30min. The larger explanation is to think about how much horsepower it takes to run every OP user’s automation – now think about running that twice as often?! Wow – that must’ve taken a few more cycles and memory!!
  • $0 Coupon Codes – segment offers without affecting pricing, tag purchase type with a code…
  • Subscription Invoices (receipts) – This was huge for us and a few of our clients! There was an issue where the system would only send a single receipt after signing up for a subscription (like weekly, monthly, whatever) – now the system can send a receipt every time a payment is made for the subscription!!
  • Google Analytics eCommerce Tracking – ability to tie purchase tracking data to your google analytics account to enhance your total reporting.

Upcoming stuff

Here is where we transition to the new way of delivering upgrade announcements. We heard about a few things on the radar to deliver throughout the next year…

  • Automatic email tracking
  • Grab URL variables automatically
  • Time stamp fields – and relative waits
  • Transaction data merge fields in webhooks
  • New accounting system based on industry-standards

Drum roll please…………

  • Ontrapages Version 3!! – This one is huge folks! We got to see a preview of the next version of the web page/landing page builder and it takes building sites to the next level. Customize your blocks and then build your page – for total control, and still mobile-friendly!! Amazing to see, and great to know they are listening to us!!

New Ontraport Weekly VLOG

Ontraport will be presenting a new weekly video blog on how Ontraport uses Ontraport. This should prove to be very exciting since they truly run their own software and some of us have learned some handy ways to leverage the platform because of this. Now the Ontraport team will be sharing some of their own secrets on how they use the awesome sauce, that is Ontraport, once a week!

Next Steps…

Think about how these new features can help you and your business. If you have any questions as to how we could leverage some of these in your account let me know. Maybe you have been on the fence about stepping up your automation or digital marketing? Now is a great time to get started with Ontraport and Wild Fig Marketing. Click here to setup a time with me to discuss the new features and the whole platform and how it can help you and your business!!

kevin@gowildfig.com

http://30minwithkevin.wildfigmarketing.com/

Dark Social: What it is and how your business can effectively engage with it

Dark Social: What it is and how your business can effectively engage with it 900 600 WildFigAdmin

As foreboding as it may sound, dark social is something we all engage in – most of us on a daily basis. Let’s demystify the term, take a look at some challenges it poses and shed light on ways your business can address it.

Originally coined by a senior editor of The Atlantic, Alexis C. Madrigal, in 2012 dark social refers to one-to-one sharing of internet content through private channels such as email, text and messaging apps. It is social sharing from sources that web analytics are unable to track. According to RadiumOne, it is estimated to account for up to 84% of global on-site sharing – the vast majority! And dark social sharing is still on the rise. As of February 2016 clickbacks from dark social shares is up to 62% from mobile devices and 38% from desktops.

As a business owner dark social may strike fear into your heart. How in the world are you supposed to accurately track your marketing metrics when so much sharing happens under the radar? The reality is that this trend is on the rise so the challenge is staying ahead of the curve and utilizing dark social to the benefit of your business.

Why is dark social sharing so difficult to track? For one, tracking devices or ‘tags’ are not attached to the shared links unless the consumer intentionally copies the original tag into the link when sharing. Often through social media sharing tags become skewed and appear to originate from a given social media platform when really they exist from an outside source. In these cases referrer data is lost and marketers have a difficult time discerning who their audience is how they’re interacting with their brand.

The manner in which consumers share information – through various channels and from numerous devices – also makes it challenging for businesses to track dark social sharing.

Fortunately, there are some great ways to work with the dark social trend instead of constantly feeling like you’re fighting against it:

1. Generate quality content – As a business, the sharability of your content is in direct correlation to its quality – continue to focus on generating relevant information that provides value and people will share it!

2. Simplify the sharing process – Guarantee that the “Share” link on your website is easy for visitors to locate, ensuring that the content sharing process is streamlined through your predetermined, easy-to-track method.

3. Include a copy-and-paste button at the bottom of your content – This option encourages your audience to share your content privately therefore working with the dark social trend. It preloads a UTM URL into the bar and the UTM serves as a tattletale that captures the origin of the content sharing.

4. Shorten URL’s – They are more “sharable” and look cleaner on certain social media platforms. Ow.ly is a fantastic URL shortener and allows you to integrate images, track clicks and post to various social media networks.

5. Consider utilizing dark social tools – One fantastic dark social tool is GetSocial.io. It allows you to track dark social sharing on your website through a piece of code you insert into your HTML. Other great tracking tools include Po.st, ShareThis and AddThis.

If you are concerned about dark social sharing and would like help navigating this topic, schedule your free 15 minute consultation where one of our marketing experts can help formulate a plan that best helps your business.