So this year I’ve been spending a lot of time analyzing the analytics that Twitter provides me for my tweets.  You can click on that link and find the analytics for your own account.  It shows you the Impressions, Retweets, Favorites, and Link Clicks for your tweets.  It’s also a great tool to help you understand how to create more engaging content.

TwitterEngagementsOne of the many things I like is that Twitter shows your monthly and daily totals for engagements, retweets, favorites, links clicked, etc.  It’s a great way to see how your content does on average, but it also shows you how your content is trending from an engagement perspective.  On the right is a snapshot of some of the information on my account as of this morning.

Another feature that I like is Twitter shows you how many ‘engagements’ each tweet is getting and the type of engagements.  This is very helpful and can teach you a lot about what type of content drives engagement on Twitter.

Here’s a simple example: I went back and checked the tweets I had left this month.  I was looking specifically for tweets where I included a link to a blog post I had written.  Some of these tweets included a picture along with the link, some did not.  I picked an equal number of each, and then figured out the average engagement rate for each.  Here’s what I found:

Average engagement rate for all tweets – 1.2%

Average engagement rate for tweets with a link to a post I had written, without attaching a picture to the tweet – 1.0%.

Average engagement rate for tweets with a link to a post I had written, with a picture attached to the tweet – 1.6%

 

So that means that for my tweets, attaching a picture results in a 60% boost in engagement!  It also shows that tweets with a picture are 33% more engaging than all tweets.

TweetDetailI love Twitter’s Analytics section because it can be a wonderful teaching tool for you.  So much of content creation is simple trial and error.  You need to repeatedly create content to learn how to become better at creating content.  This can also be applied to sharing content on Twitter.  Experimenting with different ways of sharing content can help you understand how to create more engaging tweets.

Here’s an example:  Lets say you have a new blog post that you want to promote on Twitter.  Here’s 4 ways you could promote that post:

1 – Share the headline and link

2 – Share the headline, a picture, and the link

3 – Share a quote from the post, and the link

4 – Share a quote from the post, a picture, and the link

 

You could share the link each of those 4 ways, then see which way drove the most engagement.  Keep repeating this experiment with other posts and you may begin to realize the best way that you should craft a tweet in order to increase engagement.

Remember, it’s fine to get advice from ‘experts’, but the best way to learn is to do it yourself.  Start playing with Twitter’s analytics for your account and see what you learn.

{ 9 comments }

Welcome to the 12th episode of The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show!  BTW before I get to the Show Notes for this episode, thank y’all for making last Tuesday the best day for downloads of the show at 66 downloads!  That’s the best in the history of the show since it was launched last May!  Thanks to everyone for listening.  I mentioned my audience goals for the show earlier this month, and while January is now the best month ever for downloads, there’s still some work to do to reach January’s goal of 750 downloads.  So any help you can give me by telling others about The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show would be greatly appreciated!  In fact if you enjoy the show please consider leaving a review on iTunes, it really helps!

Show Notes:

0:45 – Thank you to Amy Robles, Sarah Seado and Kary Delaria

1:00 – The role of saying ‘Thank you’ in building an audience

2:25 – Appreciating your customers is the great marketing equalizer

3:10 – Too many companies focus on acquiring new customers vs showing appreciation for their existing customers

4:00 – Why would you not say ‘Thank you’ to the people that are helping you reach your goals?

4:45 – The bar has been set so low that when a company appreciates us, it surprises us

 

Here’s where you can download this episode directly.  And if you can,please subscribe to The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show on iTunes, and I would *love* it if you could review the podcast on iTunes as well.

Here’s this week’s episode:

And here’s all the episodes so far:

 

{ 0 comments }

You create more content.  It’s funny how there’s usually a very simple answer to the questions that everyone has.  The problem is that very simple answer typically requires some very hard work by you.

But if we are talking about building traffic for your blog, more content is the way to go.  It doesn’t matter if your blog is your business, if you are writing it for your employer, or if you are writing it because you are the world’s biggest Game of Thrones fan.  More content = more visitors.

The Search Effect

Here’s my monthly traffic to this blog from June 2009-December 2014:

BlogTrafficTough to read, but you can see that blue line consistently going up to the right.  Also notice how low the blue line is in 2009?  This is where most blogs die, because traffic is so low and they invest a few months and really don’t see a meaningful increase.  But as you can see, it wasn’t until January of 2011 that traffic here really jumped and started moving up.  That’s about 18 months of work put into creating content before the first corner was turned.  Like I said, it’s a lot of work but if you stick with it, the results speak for themselves.

Now, here’s something really interesting.  After I’ve made the case for more content equaling more traffic, let me shoot a hole in my own advice:

Monthly traffic here in 2013 averaged over 21,000 visitors and monthly traffic in 2014 averaged over 37,000 visitors.  That’s a jump of about 80%.  Here’s the kicker: The number of new posts I wrote here actually fell in 2014.  Sharply.

I wrote 159 new posts in 2013, and only 87 in 2014.  Almost half, yet as you can see, traffic surged anyway.

So how did this happen?  It mostly happened because of an increase in search traffic.

In 2013, 60% of this blog’s traffic came from organic search.  In 2014, that percentage had increased to 78%.  This is a byproduct of blogging here for 5+ years.  As I create more content, that content gets indexed by search engines, I collect more incoming links, and my posts start to move higher up search rankings.  The cold, hard reality is that if you start a new blog today and write a post about brand ambassador programs and I write a post tomorrow about the same topic, my post will almost assuredly show up much higher in search rankings.  Which means I will get the search traffic and you won’t.  Even though I was creating less content in 2014, overall traffic went up versus 2013 in large part because organic search traffic increased.  If I had written the same number of posts in 2014 vs 2013, that percentage of search traffic would have likely been lower, but the overall volume of traffic from organic search would have still increased.

Consistency matters. 

I started off the year writing about how we needed to stop listening to people that tell us not to write unless it’s perfect.  I did so because if we follow this advice, we will write less often, which ironically means that it will become more difficult for us to improve our craft.  You should be writing new content to your blog every single week.  I’ve said in the past that you should pick a schedule that works for you and stick with that, but too many of us will pick a lax posting schedule like once a month and not even adhere to that.

Growth requires regular work.  If you want your blog to grow then you need to work on it every single week.

 

{ 5 comments }

6462543711_4e0a692861_zOne of the struggles that companies have always had with social media marketing is balancing the functions and sometimes even limitations of the tools, with the company’s need to drive sales and increase revenue.  As I have said before, social media really doesn’t function well as a direct-sales tool.  Social media definitely plays a role in the sales funnel, but it’s closer to the top than the bottom.

In Marketing 101 class we learned about the AIDA model of consumer behavior.

A = Awareness

I = Interest

D = Desire

A = Action

 

We could change that a bit for the modern consumer’s purchase journey, especially with an online context:

1 – Awareness, a potential customer becomes aware of your brand

2 – Comparison and evaluation, the customer evaluates your brand, if it is a fit for their needs, and compares it to other brands to determine which is best for them

3 – Action, the customer decides to buy your product

4 – Post-purchase evaluation and service.  The customer evaluates your product and if they are satisfied with the product as well as the company’s support and service for the product.  This greatly influences the word of mouth that the customer will generate about the product moving forward.

 

So there are two key points to realize here:

1 – There is an actual customer journey prior to and even after each purchase.  Every customer has different content needs based on where they are in their unique purchase journey.  You need to determine how to reach the customer at each point, and create the appropriate content for them.

2 – Customers will require multiple content touchpoints prior to a purchase, and that takes time and effort.

 

A big reason why many companies start and abandon social media marketing is because they don’t fully understand the role that social media plays in the customer’s purchase journey.  Since interaction with social media content happens at the top of the sales funnel for most customers (during the Awareness stage), then it’s often difficult to tie the sale back to the content that moved the customer closer to the sale.  At the same time, it’s imperative for companies to continue to create that content because if not then it won’t rank as well in search engine results, which makes it more difficult for a customer to find your content to begin with.  If you google ‘creating a brand ambassador program”, you’re going to find one of my posts, you won’t find the post written by the agency in 2010 that hasn’t written a new post on its blog since 2012.

Let’s go through a hypothetical.  Let’s say I have a laptop that runs hot as a firecracker after 15 mins.  So hot that it’s uncomfortable, and I am doing research on what I can do to make my laptop run cooler.  I google the term “Why does my laptop run so hot?”, and I come across a post on your company blog titled “Why does your laptop run so hot?  Because it needs a cooling pad!”

A cooling pad?  I had no idea such a device existed!  But apparently it does, and your company sells it.  It’s a pad that has two fans that you put under your laptop while it is running that cools the laptop down.  So now that I know such a device exists, I move from the Awareness stage to the Comparison and Evaluation stage.  This is where I ask my friends if they have ever used a cooling pad, and I research them online on sites like Amazon, etc.

This is where it’s very important for your company to stay connected to its customers.  If your company that sells the best little cooling pad in the world has been actively engaging its happy customers, then those happy customers will now happily sell me on why I should buy a cooling pad from your company.  They will be writing blog posts praising your cooling pad, and 5-star reviews on Amazon.  See how we are already dealing with multiple content touchpoints?     

So I found out about your cooling pad by reading a post on your company blog.  I then researched several cooling pads and your company’s happy customers told me that your company’s cooling pad was the best.  So I went to Amazon and bought your cooling pad.

Here’s the thing that drives companies crazy.  Even though I bought your cooling pad, and even though my purchase journey began with reading a post on your company blog about your cooling pad, it is incredibly difficult if not impossible to tie that post to the sale of a cooling pad.  Which is why many companies will abandon social media marketing efforts that may actually be working, they just can’t easily track the results.

But I’ll talk more about ROI in a few days.  For now, you have to understand that multiple content touchpoints will be required to generate a sale.  Typically you won’t have one blog post that directly generates all the sales you need.  You need to not only create a steady flow of customer-centric content, you also have to keep engaging the customer at every step of the purchase journey.

Pic via Flickr user Alexis Fam

Hey y’all, welcome to the 11th episode of The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show! Today I discuss three simple ways to create more customer-centric content!  I hope you enjoy it!

Show Notes:

0:45 – Special thank-you to Robyn Wright, Kelly Hungerford and Kerry O’Shea Gorgone.

2:00 – Three simple ways you can create content your customers will love.

2:12 – Focus on questions that your customers have

3:30 – Focus on addressing complaints from your customers

8:00 – Involve your customers in the content-creation process

 

Here’s where you can download this episode directly.  And if you can,please subscribe to The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show on iTunes, and I would *love* it if you could review the podcast on iTunes as well.

{ 0 comments }

One of the areas I struggle with every year is creating a consistent stream of content, especially here on this blog.  Invariably, at the first of the year I have more time to post because work is slower, and then when work picks up in the Spring, Summer and Fall months, I put the blog and really all of my social media activity on the backburner.

I bet you are the same way, right?  When we’re busy with work it just makes more sense to focus ON the work, right?  I’m the same way, but every year I watch how my blog will start out strong for the first 2-3 months of the year then lose momentum as I stop posting due to being busier.

I am determined not to let that happen this year, and I want you to help hold me accountable.  To this end, I have set some pretty lofty goals for both my blog, and my podcast.  I’ve decided to share these numbers with you, as well as my goals to not only hold myself accountable but also because for whatever reason a lot of bloggers don’t like to share their traffic numbers, so I wanted you to see what they can look like.

But above all else, I am hoping that this year-long project will prove this point: That it’s not enough to have a blog or a podcast, you have to consistently create content.  You can’t create content whenever you want, building an audience takes time, work and consistency.  I’ve talked to fellow bloggers and podcasters, content creators that are hammering out great content on a consistent basis, and they are killing it from an audience standpoint. I talked about the importance of not only building but sustaining momentum on #FanDamnShow last week, and am applying this thinking to my blog and the podcast this year.

So here’s what I am going to do: The first week of every month, I am going to write a post like this one, recapping whether or not I met the previous month’s goals, and talk about what the goals are for the next month.  Here’s this month’s goals and the yearly goals:

For the Blog, I want to reach 50,000 visitors for the month of January, and by December I want to be averaging at least 100,000 visitors a month.  I think I can reach January’s goal pretty easily as I am already on track to hit it, but it’s going to be tough to have at least 100,000 visitors in December.  The only way I have a chance of meeting that goal is to write new posts here every single week in 2015.

Now those sound like big numbers, and they are.  But you have to realize that I started this blog at the end of May in 2009.  So it’s almost 6 years old.  For reference, here’s the average monthly traffic here for each year:

2009 – 2,131 monthly visitors

2010 – 5,428 monthly visitors

2011 – 12,426 monthly visitors

2012 – 13,719 monthly visitors

2013 – 21,239 monthly visitors

2014 – 37,626 monthly visitors

As you can see, I will have to at least double my average monthly traffic in 2015 vs 2014 in order to reach my goals.  Not gonna be easy.

Unfortunately, my goals for the podcast are even more ‘ambitious’.  #FanDamnShow really never had a chance to get off the ground last year.  I launched it in May and then in June I had some medical issues and didn’t restart it until the end of July.  I pieced together about 4 episodes through August but then hit another wall when work got busy and I didn’t put up an episode in Sept, Oct or November.

Here’s what downloads of the podcast have looked like:

PodcastDLsA spike at the left when the podcast launched, then traffic fell in June and July when there were no new episodes.  Traffic went up a little bit in August when I got some episodes up, but really low in Sept, Oct and Nov with no new epiosdes.  But traffic did go back up over the last couple of weeks as I’ve gotten new episodes up.  My guess is if I had been able to stick with getting a new episode up weekly from launch back in May that monthly downloads would now be at a couple of thousand instead of a couple of hundred.  But I did get up an episode last week, one this week, and the goal is to put up a new episode every week throughout 2015.

As for my goal…..the goal for 2015 is to hit 10,000 monthly downloads of #FanDamnShow by December.  For reference, last month the show was downloaded 133 times.  You do the math.

Here’s this month’s goals for the blog and podcast:

Blog – 50,000 visitors

Podcast – 750 downloads

After the first 7 days, I am on pace to hit my goal for traffic for the blog, and I am almost on pace to hit my goal for downloads of the podcast.  Since the podcast is having to build its audience, I think after another 3 episodes this month of the podcast, I should be able to hit my goal.

So those are my content creation goals for 2015.  For the rest of the year during the first week of each month I’ll write a post like this one recapping how I did the previous month, and talking about my new goals for the next month.  I’ll also talk about why I did or did not reach my goals and any tweaks or changes I made or will make as a result.  Hopefully this will serve to keep me honest about my content creation goals, and also be helpful to you in building an audience for ether your blog or podcast.  Or both!

{ 7 comments }

Stop telling other bloggers to stop creating crap content.  I get fired up about this one.  One of the things that drives me insane is people saying that you shouldn’t create crap content.  Imagine a boy asking his dad if he can join a Little League team and the dad tells him ‘Ok son, but you have to hit a home run every at bat, or you’re off the team!’  Insanity, and that’s the same thing we are telling new bloggers when we tell them that they can’t write a post that’s ‘crap’.

I agree with the sentiment, but there’s three huge problems with this idea:

1 – There is no agreed-upon definition of what ‘crap’ content is.  The guy that’s looking for 301-level content may think a post that’s 101-level is ‘crap’, even though that same post could be insanely valuable to anyone looking for 101-level content.

2 – Everyone knows that you get better at writing and creating content by writing and creating content.  You improve your craft, any craft, by practicing said craft.  It is the same with blogging, writing and creating online content.  You can read all the ‘How to Write Awesome Blog Posts‘ posts you want, but the only way YOU will ever write an awesome blog post, is to actually write an awesome blog post.

3 – Every ‘expert’ that says you shouldn’t create crap content is a hypocrite.  Because they’ve created crap content.  I’ve read it, you have too.  They got better by continuing to create content.  And for the ‘expert’ reading this post that is fuming thinking you do NOT create crap content, refer back to the first point.  Yeah, like I said that’s the problem.  When someone says ‘Stop creating crap content’ what they really mean is ‘Stop creating content that *I* think is crap!’

 

Like I said, I get the sentiment.  We all want fellow bloggers, whether they work for a company or themselves, to create valuable content.  The problem is, to the point of the tweet above, that most of the railing against crap content has become more about trying to win the soundbyte and get the RTs than it is about trying to help others.  We’re also scaring the hell out of companies and even individual bloggers that are just starting out that are bombarded with DON’T WRITE THAT POST UNLESS IT’S AWESOME rants.  To a new blogger that has no idea what she is doing, telling her that she shouldn’t write a post unless it’s awesome is the quickest way to scare her into dumping her blog before it starts.

 

So if you are confused by this advice, here’s mine:

1 – Ignore the ‘experts’ on this issue, simply do your best.  Until said ‘expert’ starts signing your check, tell him to stick it.  The only way you will learn how to write better blog posts is by writing more blog posts.  Do it regularly and repeatedly.

2 – Write the content that you know to be valuable.  An article that’s ‘crap’ to one person could be the article that changes another person’s life.  If you have a blog post in you that you want to write because you believe others will find value in it, then write it.  Then tomorrow do it again, and again, and again.

3 – If you are writing for a company, always consider your customer.  No one knows your customers better than you do.  What information are they looking for, how do they use your products, what questions can your content answer or what problems can you solve?  Write from the customer’s point of view, not the company’s.

 

At the end of the day, you’ll see that there are a lot of people that will happily tell you what you are doing wrong, and not very many that can show you how to do it the right way.  Critics vs experts.  Soundbytes vs instruction.

Wasting time vs investing time.  Here’s to making smarter investments in 2015.

The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show Episode 10: Why Companies Won’t Connect With Their Customers

January 6, 2015

Welcome to the 10th episode of The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show!  Today we are going to talk about a marketing problem that everyone knows exists, that not too many marketers seem to be doing anything about: Creating customer-centric messages and connecting with customers. Show Notes: 0:50 – “What’s the Biggest Mistake That Marketers Make?”discussion from the […]

Read the full article →

What’s the ROI of Making Your Customers Cry?

January 5, 2015

Watch this video.  Now. Then forward it to your boss and ask her “What would our business look like if our customers loved us that much?” Or maybe the better question to ask is, “Why don’t we love our customers as much as Taylor Swift loves her fans?” Because you don’t.  And you should. I […]

Read the full article →

The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show Episode 9: The Art of Building and Sustaining Momentum

December 30, 2014

Happy New Year. y’all!  Welcome to the ninth episode of The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show!  In this episode I talk about the power of momentum, what it allows us to do once we have it and why it proves so elusive to build and sustain.  At least it is for me, what about you? Show Notes: […]

Read the full article →

You Are Known For the Content You Create, Curate, and Share

December 4, 2014

Have you ever thought about the content you create and share as personal branding tools?  You should, because every piece of content that you create, curate and share helps us define you.  Our opinions of who you are, what’s important to you and what you stand for are influenced greatly by the content we see […]

Read the full article →