8 Successful Brands That Rock From Using User-Generated Content


Show; don’t tell.” It’s the first thing every journalistic student hears, and truthfully it’s a good piece of advice to everyone even up to now. I still remember when my teacher imparted this piece of advice to me a couple of years ago, to instill this notion in my mind when writing for people.

You see, “People want to imagine themselves as being part of a story, rather than just listening to someone narrating the story.

So when it comes to writing good storytelling, it is always advisable to tell your brand story in a manner deep enough that it moves the hearts and minds of your audience.

This makes them remember you whenever they see your company logo or any of your marketing campaigns.

So what exactly is story branding?

Well, story branding is the art and science of creating an entire cult or “persona” about a product or company which can help consumers feel that they know and “feel” a product. When they relate on that level with a company, they are much more likely to purchase the company’s products and interact with it by posting user-generated content on social media sites, review sites and other digital outlets.


Just like the old saying, “every brand has a story to tell”, far from being just a single narrative, it’s also the aura that surrounds the company, the way a person feels about your company or brand.

A very classic example would be Apple. The company has created an entire cult around it’s cutting edge products, starting with the image of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in their parents’ garages in the 1970s, to their introduction of game-changing products like the iPod, iPad and iPhone.

Another earlier example would be Volkswagen and their iconic VW beetles and buses, and Betty Crocker foods, with the image of the wholesome, friendly mom baking in the kitchen.


Story branding, (if done well), is marketing a product in such a way that the consumer can feel or imagine themselves using it before they even buy it. You see, the ultimate aim of story branding is to get in touch with people’s emotions so that they will remember you.

Types of storytelling you can use in story branding

Good story branding combines the best elements of a good novel and a good biography. That’s not to say you should make up the facts as you go along, but the story you tell needs to be as engaging as a Stephen King thriller and as interesting as Winston Churchill’s life story.

One of the chief advantages to story branding is that it encourages customers and potential customers to share their thoughts and ideas via user-generated content, blog comments or social media posts.

According to “Bazaar Voice,” 64% of millennials and 53% of baby boomers want to have more options where they can share their opinions about brands.

Other studies show consumers trust user-generated content more than all other forms of media, that they view it as more legitimate than marketing that comes exclusively from the company. Sharing is beneficial for both the company and the potential customer.

Marketing managers can use comments to better hone their message; customers can feel more connected with the company they patronize.

There are many different ways to approach user-generated content. Below are just a few:

  • Blogs — Welcoming comments on your frequent blog posts is one of the best, and most well-established, ways of encouraging user-generated content.

  • Question and answer databases — Sites like Yahoo! answers and Ask.com can be used to look for common questions your customers may have.

  • Videos — Videos on sites like YouTube are another great way to interact with your customers. Most of these sites allow viewers to post comments.

  • Microblogs — If you don’t have time to keep up a full blog, consider microblogging on sites like Twitter or Tumblr.

  • Podcasting — Producing podcasts that are downloadable on sites like iTunes is another good way to reach out and tell your company’s story to your customer base.

  • Review sites — Sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor allow customers to post reviews about your business or product. It’s not only good, free advertising, but it helps posters to be more connected to your business.

  • Social media sites — Of course, there’s no denying the extreme reach of sites like Facebook, with its more than one billion registered users. However, Facebook isn’t the only way to harness the power of social media. There are more than 400 such sites, many with targeted niche audiences.

According to the “Harvard Business Review,” human minds are meant to see in pictures, not in graphs or lengthy pages of text. By mixing up how you present your marketing message–in videos, images, tweets and blogs–you’ll be more likely to engage your readers, customers, and potential customers.

Story branding in the world today

As we have discussed, Apple uses story branding extremely well. However, they are far from being the only company making use of this marketing technique. Below are just a few examples of how story branding is being used effectively by companies all over the globe:

1. Nike. This Oregon sports apparel and equipment company is known all over the world for its iconic “just do it” ads, featuring top athletes in sports ranging from golf to professional basketball to soccer. When people think of Nike, they think of cutting-edge, innovative products.


2. Starbucks. Although you can certainly buy a cup of coffee for less elsewhere, Starbucks has created an image of stylish coffee houses all over the world where you can meet people, grab an elaborate latte and check your email messages. All people have to do is see the Starbucks logo to feel this sense of connection.


3. Warby Parker. This high-end eyeglass manufacturer has created an interactive website whereby potential customers can “try on” the company’s glasses before they even enter a retailer, and then post their opinions of the product.

Once they’ve found the perfect pair via the site, they are much more likely to purchase them rather than start the process all over again in person.


4. Belkin – Lego iPhone Case. In the year 2013, Belkin created one of the most creative marketing campaigns by integrating their user-generated content onto their product page, which allowed their customers to show other potential customers how cool the Lego casing can be. This idea is just so awesome and authentic.

5. Minnetonka Moccasin. This small Minnesota company proves that you don’t have to be a corporate giant to use story branding effectively. This company has taken the story of how it makes its superior, hand-crafted footwear to YouTube. It’s more than just a production video. It shares stories about the people who work for the company, making the company seem more accessible to customers.

6. Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes Benz created a campaign called “Take the Wheel” competition in 2013. What they did here was that they invited five of Instagram’s top photographers to take part in the competition. The campaign gave these five young photographers an opportunity to publish their best photos on Instagram, and the one with the highest total number of “likes” accumulated was announced as the winner. It is such a great way to build your brand exposure.

7. Target. Target recently launched a story branding campaign that made good use of user-generated content. Using real college acceptance letters in the ads, Target appealed to the emotions of new college students and their parents.

8. Spanx. The Atlanta company that makes the undergarments that have become an essential part of every Hollywood star’s red carpet kit was started by one 27-year-old woman who was fed up with how ill-fitting pantyhoses were. She used her meager savings and enlisted her mom and sisters as test models and launched a phenomenon. It’s a compelling story, one that the company uses to full advantage in its marketing. Who doesn’t like a Cinderella story?

Story branding is an essential part of any marketing arsenal. Not only does it help customers and potential customers feel more connected with your company, it also encourages them to contribute user-generated content that gives you vital feedback and that further cements the relationship between you and your customers. If you’re not making use of story branding, it’s time to start doing so.

Other related articles:

  • How Psychology of Color Affects Your Marketing and Branding
  • How To Improve Your Sales Emphatically Through Storytelling
  • Tools and Techniques You Should Already Know in Successfully Managing a Brand Social Media
  • How Does a Small Blog Adopt Brand Strategies to Build Strong Community
  • Updated: 7/7/15

    8 Best Off-Page SEO Strategies That Will Boost Your Rankings


    If you’ve been keeping up with our blog, then you are aware of what SEO is and how effective it is in helping to draw traffic to your website. However, what you may not realize is that there are two types of SEO – On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO.

    The On-page SEO consists of strategies such as optimizing your titles and descriptions, your internal links, your images and more. However, off-site SEO consists of SEO strategies done outside the boundaries of your website; for example, through link earning and social media.

    The Importance of Off-Page SEO

    Now that you know the difference between on-page SEO and off-page SEO, you’re probably wondering, “what’s the point of doing off-page SEO?

    This is a perfectly normal question to ask; after all, isn’t the point of doing SEO to increase the page ranking of your website’s content?

    How can you increase your website’s search engine ranking if you’re not optimizing the actual pages of your website?

    Well, the way that Google’s algorithm works is that it judges the quality and performance of a website through the eyes of others. Google does this by tracking external links and social signals. When another high-quality website links to your company site, Google takes this as a sign that your website must be good enough to be worth linking to.

    The same can be said for social signals – if people are sharing your content on social media, it’s a sign that your content must be good. This is why when you optimize your website for SEO you should focus your strategy outside of your website as well.

    The Benefits of Off-Page SEO

    So now you understand why off-page SEO is important to your online marketing strategy, but what are the actual, direct benefits of performing off-page SEO?

    There are three main benefits to off-page SEO. It will help increase your SERP rankings, it will help increase your PageRank and it will help you to obtain more exposure for your website.

    • Increase your SERP – SERP (Search Engine Results Page) rankings determine how far up your website ranks on Google’s results page. The higher you rank, the more likely users will see your website when they do specific searches, which means that they are more likely to click on the link to your website. So by increasing your SERP, you’ll undoubtedly increase your CTR as well.
    • increase-serp

    • Increase your PageRank – It’s easy to mistake the PageRank as the SERPs. Your SERP rankings is basically the ranking of your website on the results page, after all.

      Your PageRank is an entirely different thing though. PageRank is a numeric measure Google gives to each individual web page on your website based on the number and quality of the links to each page.


      Google provides a ranking of 0 to 10 based on these factors. The PageRank is only one factor out of many that affects your website’s SERP rankings.

      The confusion arises from the term “page ranking.” After all, this sounds like it should refer to the page’s ranking on Google’s results page.

      So why did Google name it “PageRank?”
      Because the ranking was invented by one of Google’s founders, who happens to be named Larry Page. A little bit confusing, to say the least. But anyway, a strong off-page SEO strategy will help you to increase your website’s PageRank.

    • Increase your website’s exposure – More exposure is what you want, since more exposure improves the chances of getting more visitors and more customers. By using off-page SEO to increase your page ranking, which helps to increase your SERP rankings, you’ll end up increasing the exposure of your website, thereby drawing even more traffic to your website.


    Now that you know some of the benefits of doing off-page SEO, let’s take a look at what some of the off-page ranking factors are now.

    So what are some of the Off-Page Ranking Factors

    The importance and benefits of off-page SEO should be pretty obvious at this point, but what are the actual off-page factors that Google takes into account when determining your PageRank and SERP rankings?

    The following are a few of the off-page ranking factors that Google’s algorithm focuses on and that you should focus on as well:

    • The number of websites linking to you – There’s a pretty big difference between having a few links directed towards one of your web pages and having dozens or even hundreds of links directing readers to your web pages. Google keeps track of how many websites link to any given page on your website because this helps them judge your authority. If there are a ton of websites linking to one of your pages, it most likely means that this page is a high-quality source and Google will rank it as such.

    • The PageRank of the websites that link to you – Google also takes into account the individual PageRank of each website that links to you.

      Why does it do this? Think of it as a sort of quality control. If the average PageRank for all the websites linking to you is 1, then Google is going to assume that something fishy is going on.

      That’s because a lot of websites try to take advantage of Google’s algorithm by using link farming in order to build up their links. Google wants to make sure that the websites linking to you are of high quality because otherwise the fact that they are linking to your website doesn’t mean much – therefore, the PageRank of those websites are an important factor in your off-page rankings.

    • The page titles of the websites that link to you – Like the PageRank, the page titles of the web pages that link to you are an important factor as well. This is because the page titles help determine whether the links are relevant to the pages that they are linking to.

    • The anchor text of the links – Google will also track what anchor text that is being used for the links to your webpages. Anchor text that is more relevant to the content on linked pages has a greater positive impact on your off-page ranking.

    • The amount of outbound links of a website that link to you – This can both help and hurt your ranking. If a website links to your page hundreds of times, Google will know that something is up – odds are you are just farming links from another website in an attempt to increase your ranking, a strategy that Google looks down upon. There’s no magic number that divides how many outbound links should be directed to your web pages from one website and how many shouldn’t – so just avoid those black hat practices and allow the links to come naturally so that you won’t get penalized by Google for doing something fishy.


    8 Best Off-Page SEO Strategies That Will Boost Your Rankings


    Knowing how Google factors in off-page SEO will certainly help with how you go about with your off-page SEO strategy.

    The following are 8 of the best off-page SEO tactics that you should use in order to boost your off-page ranking:

    1. Use social media


      Social media is one of the best ways to earn links. Google keeps track of social signals, which means that content that is shared or liked on your social profile can help increase your off-page ranking.

      While many social channels only allow no-follow links, which means that they are not accounted for when determining your PageRank, no-follow links are still effective in generating traffic as well as exposure.

      In addition to shares and likes, you can also host contests via social media, which is another effective way to increase traffic to your website.

      Make sure that you add social share buttons to your content so that readers can instantly share your page on their social media profiles. Basically, social share buttons make it easy for readers to create links for you.

    2. Gain link earning from authoritative websites
      There are numerous ways in which you can earn links from respected websites. One way is to just simply write good content and promote it properly on all of these different online platforms – if you grow a big enough reader base, authority websites will eventually take notice.

      A quicker way to go about this is to share content from these authority websites on social media and to link to these websites in your blog posts. You are not only helping them with their off-page SEO, you’re also sending them traffic from your audience.

      More often than not, they’ll not only notice but they’ll return the favor by doing the same for you.

    3. Write guest blog posts


      Writing guest blog posts on other websites is hugely effective for a number of reasons. First of all, that website will typically add links to your website on your blog post, which will help with your off-page SEO ranking.

      You’ll also be exposing your brand to a new audience that will click on the link if the content is of good quality. Last but not least, by writing a guest post, you are helping to strengthen your relationship with that website, which means they are more likely to mention your brand or link to your website in the future.

    4. Use press releases

      press release

      Press releases are also another great way to build your off-page SEO ranking. A press release service can distribute your press release all across the web, essentially helping to spread awareness for your brand and increasing traffic to your pages.

      A good press release service will send it out to syndicated media outlets. If it appears on some of the larger media outlets, such as Google News, you’ll experience a spike in your web traffic.

      While press releases use no-follow links, they often lead to other posts on outside websites that include follow-links to your website.

    5. Participate in online forums


      Joining relevant forums is a good way to increase your brand awareness. Make sure that you are providing valuable information and making relevant contributions to the discussions.

      Because many websites began spamming online forums in order to build links (you can add your link to each post), many forums now only use no-follow links – but as you know, no-follow links are still valuable in generating traffic and brand exposure.

      Also, you never know who is reading your posts – someone may write an article on their blog and link to your website just because they found your blog through the forum you were using.

    6. Use video marketing


      People love visual content, especially videos. As long as they are relatively short, people are much more likely to share videos on social media than they are on any other type of content. You can also post your videos on video-centric social sites, such as YouTube and Vine.

      You can also do a reference to your website by adding links to the video content itself, as well as to the description of the video, to help boost your off-page ranking.

    7. Use social bookmarking sites


      Social bookmarking is yet another great way to earn links. A social bookmark is basically a link that people post to certain social websites for other users to see because they think the link is valuable, interesting or just cool.

      Think of a social bookmark as a link that is bookmarked to save on a website instead of on your browser. You can post links to your website onto social bookmarking sites such as stumbleupon, reddit, digg and more.

      Users can then openly share these links with other users, which results in unlimited growth potential.

    8. Use cross-linking
      Cross linking is a strategy in which you have two separate domains that you use to link to one another. This can be quite effective as long as you don’t have a separate domain just for the act of cross-linking as Google will see right through this. As long as your two websites are unique from one another, cross-linking can be quite successful.

      For example, if you own a car repair shop as well as a car dealership and have websites for both, then you can effectively cross-link between the two of them to improve your off-page ranking.

      When implementing an SEO strategy into your online marketing campaign, make sure that you focus on off-page SEO as well as on-page SEO.

    Updated: 30/6/15

    13 Surefire Ways to Reduce Blog’s Bounce Rate


    What is bounce rate?

    In simple term, a page’s bounce rate is actually the percentage of visits that land on the page and leave immediate without visiting your other blog pages.

    As a savvy business owner in a fast-paced world, you know that having an online presence is crucial to having a thriving business.

    Your website is often the first information a prospective customer will receive about your product or service, and you want them to be impressed.

    Oftentimes, readers will browse through a single web page and leave the website without pursuing further information.

    Bounce rate, a useful analytic, shows you the percentage of readers who, for one reason or other, chose to leave your site after browsing a single page, your homepage.

    Bounce rate matters to your business – a lot more than you might think. High bounce rates can mean many things, including a boring or not well laid out homepage.

    You want that first page to be spectacular, something to keep readers on your site. Rest assured, lowering that bounce rate percentage is easier than you think.

    Here are 13 ways to go about reducing your blog’s bounce rate:

    1. Having a super niche site will help bring in readers who are actually interested in what you have to offer. They will be more likely to browse around your website, reading multiple posts because everything will be closely related. Take care in choosing a niche, and work hard to stick to it.

    2. Having links to other areas of your website will keep readers engaged. Your home page may be awesome, but none of that matters if you have no content. Things to include are an about me page and a list of relevant posts in the sidebar, easily visible for readers to browse through. If you have reached you proper audience, chances of your link click-through rate being high are good.

    3. Make sure that the posts you offer are relevant and free of fluff, stuffing that readers could care less about.

      Pay attention when creating new content, and make sure that each new post adds value to your website, instead of cluttering it down with useless jargon.

    4. When readers frequent the web, they tend to gravitate towards certain kinds of posts that feed their need for information.

      Having a selection of these available for perusal will help lower your bounce rate considerably. How-to posts are great, as are list and video posts. However, people often forget to include what and why posts, which are equally important.

      An example of a what post would be about what you learned by lowering your bounce rate, and a why post would try to inform a reader about why to do something or why something, like your product is now essential.

    5. The internet has changed over the years, and so has how people utilize it. Now that internet equipped mobile phones are the standard, they are beginning to replace computer-based browsing.

      Having a responsive web design will help keep bounce rate from skyrocketing.

      No one wants to have to struggle through a website on their phone, swiping their screen way to the side every time they want to read a line of text.

      Make it easy for them, or they’ll leave.

    6. Having catchy headlines will help draw readers in. Think about when you personally browse the web.

      You click on articles that have headlines that draw you in. The title of a post is the first thing that readers see.

      You need to make it clear what the post is about, and you need to word it in a way that will intrigue readers.
      Having informative headlines can also help you gain traction in search results, increasing overall traffic to your website.

    7. Making sure your traffic is targeted to the proper audience will go a long way in helping to improve your bounce rate.

      This is where promoting your content becomes especially crucial. Even if you have tons of great content with links to other areas of your website, none of that will matter if the people winding up at your website have no interest in your topic.

      Work on promoting your content based on a careful selection of the right interest-based network, that is related to your niche.

    8. Photo courtesy: CRWconnect

      Photo courtesy: CRWconnect

    9. Another trick to add to your bag is the use of pictures and videos on your website. People are strapped for time and want something that will engage them in a matter of seconds.

      As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. That’s a lot of words conveyed in a single second that would have taken minutes to read.

      The same goes for videos. A lot more can be absorbed in a few minute video than a lengthy blog post. Just take care and make sure to have auto-play off, or you risk startling someone and turning them away from your website.

    10. Many website owners fail to examine the small stuff, completely looking them over.

      What they don’t realize, is that small things, like not having links open in new windows, can turn away readers and help worsen bounce rate percentages.

      Open link in a new window.

      Open link in a new window.

      When you link to someone else’s blog post, that’s great, but stop to think for a moment.

      If you don’t have that link opening in a new window, you’re losing all your traffic to people who click those links.

      They are taken to the new website and yours is forgotten instead of waiting safely in another window to be read through in more depth after they are done with the link you gave them.

    11. People want information, ready at the click of a mouse, immediately. Website owners used to be able to get away with a site that loaded slower than molasses, but those were the days.

      With the information boom, if your site takes more than a few seconds to load, people are going to click out of your site and look elsewhere for what they need.

      Many things can slow down your site, from huge pictures with lots of data, multiple videos loading, tons of plugins, or even broken links, so take care to have a simple, streamlined web page.

    12. Infographics Source: Kissmetrics.

      Infographics Source: Kissmetrics.

    13. Cleaning up your website so that it’s easy on the eyes and simple to read is important.

      Cluttered footers and sidebars do nothing to attract traffic and paying customers, even if they are a bit nifty.

      Make sure you keep your sidebar clean just like the a=one above.

      Make sure you keep your sidebar clean just like the a=one above.

      Keep it to the minimum to keep your site from being annoying.

      Take away any moving graphics and keep it streamlined. You should concentrate on making sure that everything on your site is working for your intended purpose. If it’s not, toss it.

    14. A poor website design will cause your bounce rate to jump sky high overnight. Hiring a good designer or taking the time to do this properly is one of the most important steps you can take as a business owner.

      You want to aim for a clean website that functions well, with posts that are easy to read, not just huge blocks of text. You want your website to look professional, but not so flashy that it turns people away. Links should all be in good working order, not broken links that lead to nothing.

    15. Lastly, being active and responsive on social media will keep people coming back to your website for a long time. In today’s digital world, much contamination is done online, even through the comments section of your website.

      Responding to comments and being helpful will show readers that you are involved and care enough to invest time into your business. Other areas to work on building a social media presence include Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, among others.

      Always be on the lookout for new lines of communication. Communicating on the level of your customers is more than beneficial, it’s crucial.

    Decreasing your bounce rate percentage may seem like a lot of work at first, but once you get down to it, you’ll realize how easy these changes are to implement. Performing a number of simple tasks, from cleaning up your website to producing quality content that a specific group of readers wants to read, will help your blog’s bounce rate stay at a consistent number that will raise your spirits a good deal.

    Keeping readers on the page is important, and these solutions will help you achieve it.

    Download The Definitive Guide To Hashtag Insights Now!

    Updated: 26/6/15

    Choose The Best Interest Based Networks That Will Make Your Local Business Fly

    interest-based social networking

    Social media platforms are an important way for companies to communicate directly with their target audience. They can be leveraged in order to help increase brand trust and loyalty as well as to raise awareness of your brand.

    Like many businesses, there’s a good chance that you have a presence on at least one of the major social media networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

    While these major social channels can be very effective if you use them properly, you should keep in mind that billions of people use these social networks, which means hundreds of thousands of companies are actively competing for their attention.

    This results in a lot of noises that can sometimes make it a bit more difficult to reach your audience. Which is why we recommend supplementing your activity on major social channels by using an interest-based social network.

    What exactly is an interest-based social network?

    Interest-based social networks are smaller social networks that are based around a niche, often a specific industry.

    For example, PatientsLikeMe is a social channel focusing on the healthcare industry while Catmoji is a social network designed specifically for cat owners and enthusiasts. Many of these interest-based social networks range in size.

    Some only have a few million users. some – like Pinterest (yes, Pinterest is an interest-based social network) have over 70 million users. It’s not the size of the user base that defines an interest-based social network, it’s the niche that it focuses on.

    Pinterest is an interest based social network.

    Pinterest is an interest based social network.

    Types of Interest-Based Social Networks

      Photo courtesy: Altimeter Group

      Photo courtesy: Altimeter Group

      There are basically two types of interest-based networks. The first type of interest-based network is known as specialized vertical social networks. These are social platforms based on specific subjects, such as PatientsLikeMe, Fitocracy, Foodspotting, and Catmoji.

    1. PatientsLikeMe:


    2. Fitocracy:


    3. Foodspotting:


    4. The other type of interest-based social network is known as specialized horizontal social networks. These tend to have larger user bases because they are a bit more broader in scope.

      Unlike vertical social networks, horizontal social networks tend to cover a range of different niches or interests. What makes them considered interest-based social networks is that they provide a different kind of interaction model.

      For example, Fitocracy and Foodspotting. The other type of interest-based social network is known as specialized horizontal social networks.

      These tend to have larger user bases because they are a bit more broader in scope.

      Unlike vertical social networks, horizontal social networks tend to cover a range of different niches or interests.

      What makes them considered interest-based social networks is that they provide a different kind of interaction model.

    The following are a few examples of both vertical and horizontal social channels

    1. GovLoop – Think of LinkedIn. It’s the ultimate social platform for professionals that covers every industry. GovLoop is similar in that it can help users find career opportunities and training as well as educate them through blogs and other resources. The biggest difference is that GovLoop is specifically targeted towards those that work in the government sector. GovLoop might be useful for B2B companies within the government sector.

    2. Learnist – Learnist is very similar to Pinterest in that it allows users to add different online resources, from blog articles to podcasts. The difference is that Learnist is aimed at educators and is meant to be used to help create lessons and units that can be shared. Learnist would be very useful for companies that sell educational materials, such as textbooks or software.


    3. Catmoji – This one is also similar to Pinterest except it’s targeted at an even smaller niche – cats! Users can share cat pictures, advice, videos and stories with one another. Pet stores or companies that produce cat food shouldn’t have a difficult time connecting with their target audience here.

    4. MySpace – That’s right, MySpace is an interest-based social network. It wasn’t when it first started out, but it was driven into obscurity by Facebook. It has recently risen from the ashes as an interest-based social network focusing on artists, specifically musicians.


    How Using Interest-Based Social Networks Can Help Your Business Growth


    When doing a little research on interest-based social networks that are relevant to your specific business, don’t be turned off by the smaller user bases.

    You could compare using an interest-based social network to fishing. Say you have a pond that contains only Tilapia fish. Then there’s the ocean, which contains every type of fish you can think of. The ocean may be bigger and it may have more fish, but you’re going to have a better chance at catching Tilapia if you go fishing on that small pond.

    This isn’t to say that we are recommending that you should only market on interest-based social networks – instead, you should be using both.

    Think about how difficult it is to try and reach people on major social networks that are part of your target audience. It takes a lot of effort to target the right users.

    With an interest based social network, all of the users are part of your target audience, basically allowing you to skip a step. There’s also much less competition to worry about, which means that smaller business owners in particular have a better chance at connecting with their target audience.

    The following are some of the things that we urge you to consider when using interest-based social networks:

    1. Find your audience – Many marketing experts believe that you should create as big of a presence as possible. This means using as many relevant social platforms as you can.


      However, smaller companies simply don’t have the resources than bigger businesses have, which means that you probably won’t be able to successfully maintain a presence and engage with your followers on dozens of different social platforms.

      If you’re already on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn, you’re probably wondering how you’re going to manage to create a presence on two or three interest based social networks (much less just one).

      Here’s what you need to figure out – what social networks, whether relationship-based or niche-based, are going to be the most effective at connecting you with your primary and secondary audiences?

      For example, if you focus on selling pet cat products (cat toys, cat food, etc.), then Facebook and Twitter are not two platforms you want to ditch.

      However, you probably will want to use Catmoji considering its niche audience aligns with yours. On the other hand, LinkedIn is probably one network that you can do without, regardless of its size. You’ll probably have more success out of using Catmoji than LinkedIn in this case.

    2. Authenticity matters – Yes, you won’t have the difficulty in finding your target audience on an interest based social network, especially if it aligns perfectly with your brand – whether it is through a niche subject matter or a specific industry.


      However, because interest-based social networks are based specifically on niche subjects or industries, authenticity is going to matter even more. You’re going to have to put more effort into actually connecting to users. You’ll need to be very knowledgeable about your niche in order to succeed. Expect to have to answer much more specific questions than on larger social sites.

      For example, someone on Facebook might ask you about the healthiest types of cat food (yes, we’re going with the cat example again).

      This is a pretty easy question to answer if your company produces cat products.

      However, on a more niche-oriented site, the question might be “what ingredients should we look for in cat food?” or “What type of food should we avoid feeding to our Balinese cat?”

      The users of niche-based social channels are going to find you out quickly if you don’t know what you are talking about.

    3. Listen – Not only should you be listening to what users are saying on interest-based social networks in order to better figure out what their needs are (thereby giving you a more accurate picture of your target audience and buyer persona), but you should also pay attention to what other interest-based social networks are popping up.


      If your audience begins discussing a new social interest, then you should probably look into it to see if is an effective social platform for your brand.

      Creating a profile on this social network is a fantastic way to connect with your target audience. It’s also an excellent way to educate yourself on the wants and needs of your primary and secondary audience and developing your brand as an authority that people can trust.

      An added benefit of engaging with users on a niche-based network is that many of these users most likely have profiles on larger social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter. You can also connect with these users on these platforms, which will make your social media strategy even more effective over there since these followers will be more likely to interact with you and share your content than more casual followers.

      What does that mean for you? It means that you’ll have more activity on your Facebook and Twitter pages, which helps improve public perception of your brand. It also means that the users that followed you over from a niche-based social network will be more likely to share or like content with their own social circles, thereby helping improve your brand’s exposure.

    Updated: 25/6/15

    8 Powerful Ways to Promote Your Blog Posts

    You need to actively promote your blog posts

    You need to actively promote your blog posts

    Let’s say you’re regularly posting content on your blog and you’ve realized how important it is to make sure that your content is of high quality and are now regularly cranking out exceptional content that is relevant, informative and helpful.

    While this is an important step towards reaching some of the goals you’ve set for your content marketing campaign (from building brand authority to increasing your leads), you’re not quite done. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how good your content is if nobody is reading it.

    This is because you need to promote your blog. Once you start getting your blog out there, you’ll start gaining more readers and your content marketing efforts will really start paying off.

    So how exactly should you promote your blog? Glad you asked!

    The following are 8 powerful methods for promoting your blog content:

    1. Brand Your Blog

    Branding your business is a no-brainer, but what about branding your blog?

    brand your blog

    Brand your blog

    Branding your blog is important because it makes your blog and its content more recognizable to readers. Someone who has read and enjoyed one of your blog posts is more likely to click on a link leading to another one of your blog posts if they recognize that blog.

    The following are a few tips for branding your blog:

    • Establish authorship – Make sure each post has the name and photograph of the author. Sign up to Google+ so you can use the Google authorship tool. This way, whenever content from your blog comes up, the author’s name and image will appear, making the blog more recognizable for previous readers.

    • Create a publishing schedule – Choose certain times of the day and certain days of the week to post to your blog. This will make it easier for readers to check for new content.

      For example, it makes your blog’s brand stronger if your readers know that you usually release new content at noon on every Monday. They may even look forward to it whereas if they have no idea when you release new content, they may never visit your blog again.

    • Be helpful to the community – Join different forums that are relevant to your brand and provide helpful advice and information when participating in discussions. Readers will recognize helpful comments and will check out the link to your blog to see what else you have to offer.

    • Write about trending topics – Your blog will be branded as a relevant authority within your industry if you write about trending topics that are relevant to your business.

    2. Make Your Blog Post Searchable

    One of the most effective ways to get more exposure for your blog is by using search engine optimization in order to improve your blog’s page rankings.

    The higher the page rankings are for certain keywords, the better the chances are that people will be exposed to links to your blog on their search results.

    You’ll need to do a little research in order to figure out what kinds of keywords to use in your content. This requires an understanding of your buyer persona.

    Additionally, it’s important that you use keywords in your blog content naturally – you don’t want the unnatural inclusion of keywords to hurt the quality of your posts, nor do you want to be penalized by Google for keyword stuffing.

    It’s also recommended that you use long-tail keywords. Head keywords, which are typically only one or two words long, are incredibly hard to rank for because they are broad and vague. Long-tail keywords are much more specific and often contain three to four keywords. By using words that are specific to your industry and location, you’ll give yourself a better chance at ranking highly for your long-tail keywords.

    For example, if you run a small shop in Orlando that repairs only Chromebook laptops, then “computer repair” is a keyword that you are not going to rank very highly for. However, a long-tail keyword such as “Acer Chromebook 15 repair in Orlando, FL” is going to be much more effective.

    3. Use Visual Content


    Human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text.

    Not only are Internet users more attracted to visual content, it also helps to break up the text on your blog as well as provide context for what your posts are about.

    Human beings are visual creatures.

    Human beings are visual creatures.

    Visual content, such as videos, pictures and infographics, are also more shareable than regular text posts, which means that they’ll draw more traffic. Many blogs will simply use stock photography found on free-to-use sites, but we recommend creating your own unique visual content in order to stand out from the pack.

    For example 1:

    Source: Ko'an Center

    Source: Ko’an Center

    For example 2:

    Source: Mayo Clinic

    Source: Mayo Clinic

    4. Know Who Your Target Audience is

    Know your target audience.

    Know your target audience.

    One of the most common mistakes that blogs make is to just begin posting content with no regard to who they are writing for. This is a big mistake.

    There’s a saying that goes “if you’re writing for everyone, then you’re writing for no one.

    This means that if you are writing for a broad audience, then you’re not really writing for an audience at all since you’re not targeting anyone in particular.

    Do your research and find out who your target audience is. This will help you pinpoint what their major problems are so that you can create content that provides solutions to these problems.

    Additionally, knowing your target audience allows you to determine what kind of voice is appropriate. If your target audience is made up of retired women, then you don’t want to write in a voice that uses slang and popular culture references that only teens know about.

    Nor would it be appropriate to use a sarcastic and humorous tone if you’re writing a blog for a funeral service. Once you know who you are writing for, you’ll also know who you are trying to promote your blog to.

    5. Build a Relationship With Your Audience

    Many blogs will try to promote their content before creating a relationship with their audience. This is a poor way to go about it, since your audience will have no reason to want to read your blog.

    Take the time to establish relationships before you begin promoting your blog. This means taking part in group discussions on social media, engaging with followers, visiting forums and offering up good advice and sharing content from other blogs.

    Once you begin promoting your own blog, the people you’ve created relationships with will want to check your content out. And if you’ve been sharing content from other blogs on your social media profiles, there’s a good chance those blogs will return the favor and provide links to your blog on their social media profiles and blog posts, thereby sending even more traffic your way.

    6. Send Personalized Emails

    One easy way to promote your blog – one that many people don’t think of – is to do it through your email list. The people that have opted into your email list are more likely to check out new blog posts than anyone else – they’ve already proven that they have an interest in your brand, after all.

    One thing that you should do, however, if you plan on using your email list to promote your blog is to segment your recipients. This way, you’ll only promote a blog post if it’s relevant to the interests of the recipient.

    For example, say you are writing a blog for a pet food company. You’ve got a new post on the best types of dog food.

    Send personalized emails to your audience.

    Send personalized emails to your audience.

    You don’t want to send an email linking to this blog content to recipients that are cat owners and not dog owners. If you make this mistake, your recipients will assume you are just blindly sending out emails, which means that may stop reading them in the future.

    Consumers expect more personalized shopping experience.

    Consumers expect more personalized shopping experience.

    Additionally, make sure that you use their name to make the email more personal to them. As you can see from the above, 75% of the consumers prefer retailers to use personal information to improve their shopping experience.

    Also, bear in mind that your emails should be optimized for mobile use – people are checking their emails via their mobile devices at a much greater rate and the last thing you want is for them to be unable to read your emails properly because they can’t be viewed on mobile screens.

    7. Perform Targeted Distribution

    Before trying to mass promote your blog, target your promotion towards specific people, such as social media followers that have shared your content on previous occasions.

    These people are more likely to read your new blog posts and to share them, helping you promote your content in doing so. You should also target influencers within your industry.

    Reach out to influencers on Twitter and ask them to review your content – if it’s good, they’ll often post a link to it, which means you’ve just gained exposure from an important audience.

    8. Promote Your Blog on Social Media

    Make sure you promote your blog posts on social media.

    Make sure you promote your blog posts on social media.

    Social media is useful for so many reasons. By promoting your new blog post on social media, you’ll not only make followers out of your new content (and if they are following you, they are already interested in what you have to say), but you also give it the opportunity to get shared by your followers.

    When a post gets shared, the post gains exposure to the entire social circle of the person who shared it. Take full advantage of many social channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and more. Don’t forget about other social bookmarking sites such as StumbleUpon and Reddit as well.

    In order for your blog to be effective, you need readers, which means that you need to promote your blog posts. These are 8 incredibly effective methods for promoting your new blog content and attracting more web traffic to your blog.

    Learn How To Make Your Content Go Viral With This E-Book

    • 18 pages of unorthodox techniques.
    • 8 building blocks of contagious content.
    • 6 types of readers who will share your content.
    • Unusual approaches viral writers use.

    Updated: 18/6/15