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How to Create a Holiday Content Strategy

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Between the eggnog, the turkey, and fruitcake cookies, you may be prepping to get stuffed full of holiday goodies and holiday spirit. But is your content calendar just as stuffed full of holiday-ready content ideas?

Without proper planning, your business’s holiday marketing may be about as effective as a lump of coal. It’s never too early to start planning your holiday content.

Whether it’s Black Friday or Christmas or New Year’s Eve, every holiday presents an opportunity to stand out from your competitors and grab some of that holiday traffic.

Having a content game plan even months in advance ensures that you won’t be stressing when the holidays come around.

Want to get a head start and create a content “advent” calendar of your own?

Here’s how to plan out all of your holiday marketing content while still having time to enjoy the festivities.

Anticipate the Trends

The holidays come around every year, so whether you have been in business for a while or are just starting out, it’s likely that you’re aware of some yearly trends. If not, it’s worth a Google search to pull up studies that have the stats from previous holiday seasons.

For example, one study found that mobile app usage and mobile shopping go up during the holidays – likely because people are trying to avoid the crowds and the inconvenience of making multiple shopping trips.

At the same time, marketing trends show that more consumers are on the prowl for deals during this time of year, trying to strike a bargain to save some cash.

What does this mean for your content strategy?

Well, by staying in tune with the trends, you can better anticipate what type of content will strike a chord with your audience.

  • Do you need more articles optimized for mobile search?
  • Need to launch some sweet discounts?
  • Are users searching for holiday gift guides?

With the numbers in front of you, you can create content that you know people will be looking for.

Ask Your Audience

Can’t find data regarding holiday trends in your industry? Ask your audience what they want.

Many marketers and content creators skip the market research step even when it comes to regular content planning, thinking that they already know what their target audience wants.

The truth is, the best way to know is to ask them directly.

Prior to creating your holiday content strategy, send your audience surveys regarding what kind of content they are hoping to see during the holidays.

They may not tell you outright, but you can brainstorm some of your own ideas based on their answers to questions like:

  • What’s your #1 concern going into this holiday season?
  • How are you planning for the holidays this year?
  • What are you most looking forward to during the holidays this year?
  • How could [your brand] help your holidays run smoother?
  • What’s your best holiday memory?

The list of questions can go on and on, but the goal is to get a better idea about their goals/concerns/struggles/interests going into the holidays. With this information, you can plan out content that is of interest to your audience.

Further, sharing a survey is a great opportunity to tell them, “Hey! Look out for our great holiday content coming out soon!”

Audit Your Existing Content

Before you create any new content, you need to audit your existing content to assess what you already have, what content could be updated, and what new content should be created.

If you have been in business for a while and have published holiday-related content before, it may be possible to update your content for the new season. Or, it may make sense to start from scratch.

Ultimately, it depends on whether the content is current enough to be relevant for the upcoming holidays and whether there is ample traffic potential.

For example, with holiday content, often users are looking for tips, gifts, news, and trends for the current year. They may be searching for “2019 holiday guide” or “best new years party ideas 2019”.

Your 2018 guides may be chock-full of last year’s keywords. The tips or products on the list could be outdated. You should decide whether you should optimize it for the current year, or write a completely new piece of content.

You should also factor in existing content for internal linking purposes to help drive traffic to additional pages on your website.

Activate Creative Content Planning

Once you have some past holiday data on-hand and some tip-offs from your existing audience, you can dive into the fun part of content planning.

Now’s your chance to think outside the box and brainstorm content ideas that are relevant to the holidays.

Keyword research is a great place to start.

You can play around with holiday-related terms and identify keywords that are work creating content around for your site.

If your marketing strategy involves search engine optimization, this is the way to go.

However, you may want to create content for other marketing channels as well. Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and email marketing are all channels to consider.

  • What topics would really grab your audience’s attention on these platforms?
  • In what ways can you repurpose the content for wider circulation?
  • Are there any killer content ideas that you can think of that would stand out from the competition?

Have a brainstorming session and see what you can come up with.

Align Topics with Your Goals

Not every content idea is going to be gold.

After generating an exhaustive list of ideas, it’s time to narrow it down. It helps to start by identifying which content ideas most closely align with your business goals.

For instance, if your goal is to generate more organic traffic, sending gift boxes to Instagram influencers may not be the way to go.

Similarly, if you are hoping to create a buzz on social media, pouring all of your energy into a 30 Days of Holiday Deals email campaign likely won’t get you there.

Pick out the content ideas that:

  • Align with your existing business goals.
  • You know you can execute successfully.

Diving into new waters during the thick of the holiday season could result in a dire sink or swim situation for your content marketing.

Arrange Topics by Timeliness & Priority

On theme with the point above, your holiday content needs to “make sense” for your business.

In other words, it should strategic, planned out, purposeful, and on-brand. Simply creating content for the sake of being festive won’t do much for your marketing.

That’s why it’s recommended to also consider arranging your content in terms of timeliness and priority.

Not only should the content be ready for launch prior to the actual holiday, but if you are creating multiple pieces for a single holiday, the content should make sense in progression.

For example, a “Complete Guide to Getting More Holiday Traffic” would naturally come before the “Ultimate Guide to Converting Holiday Traffic into Leads”.

Assuming your audience will encounter multiple pieces of content from your brand, it’s best that your content is organized in a sensical and strategic way.

Add Seasonal Photos

The holidays are full of feelgood smells, sights, and sounds. Tap into that nostalgia and the holiday spirit by adding seasonal images to your content.

Images have been found to make content more engaging, and one of the best ways to snag some of that holiday traffic is to engage users with some festive, attention-grabbing images.

If your budget allows, ditch the stock photos and capture some high-quality images of your own.

Or, hire a graphic designer to make some on-season images for your blog posts, social media posts, and ad campaigns.

You can then repurpose this content across platforms, saving you time and money on your holiday content marketing.

Advertise Your Content Across Platforms

When it comes to content creation, I’m not a big fan of the “post and pray” method myself.

Why rely on one platform when you could generate traffic from multiple channels with a single piece of content?

Some platforms worth sharing your content on include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Your blog
  • YouTube
  • Email
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Paid ads
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Guest blogs

Map out a content plan and schedule that includes when and how you plan on posting your content across multiple platforms.

With tools like Buffer and Hootsuite, you can even write your captions and set the featured images in advance.

Simply schedule it out ahead of time and you won’t be scrambling to post content during the holidays.

Analyze Results

To truly make the most of your holiday content marketing, it’s best to monitor progress and adjust your content accordingly.

While it may be tempting to simply publish and put up your feet, it’s likely that readers will have questions, and inquiries will come flooding in.

You should be prepared to handle an influx of new leads and traffic.

On the other hand, you may find that your content doesn’t go viral and that you need to tweak things to give it a boost.

You or someone on your team should be available to respond to readers’ comments, fix technical issues, further optimize content, and put out any fires that may come up.

Information is power. Having the data at your fingertips will give you the power to make major improvements in your content and learn valuable content planning lessons for the future.

Apply Past Lessons to Future Content

If creating a holiday content strategy isn’t your first rodeo, it’s likely you have a few tips and tricks that you have picked up from previous years.

If so, it’s best to avoid making the same mistakes twice. Some risks just don’t pay off, especially when paired with the stress of the holidays.

On the other hand, maybe your content strategy has always gone off without a hitch, or you are diving into the world of holiday content planning for the very first time.

Even so, be sure to align your content with your business goals, create content that your audience is interested in, and add that special, festive touch for the holiday season.


Image Credits

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita



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Why behavior analysis is important online business

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30-second summary:

  • A typical consumer now owns an average of 3.6 devices which means a person’s journey may start from a laptop and end on a mobile or a tablet.
  • In the ecommerce business, the cart abandonment rate is the thing that haunts most of the business owners.
  • Developing analytical skills can help you better manage these obstacles.
  • MD of SEO Discovery shares a guide to help you understand Cohort Analysis and Behavior Analysis to eliminate roadblocks and improve engagement.

In today’s digital age, the customer journey is getting complex day by day and if you are doing online business then it’s vital to understand your customer journey. A typical consumer now owns an average of 3.6 devices which means a person’s journey may start from a laptop and end on a mobile or a tablet.

In the ecommerce business, the cart abandonment rate is the thing that haunts most of the business owners. According to Statista, 88.05 percent of online shopping orders were abandoned in March 2020 worldwide, which means over 88% of people added selected products into the cart and left without buying for various reasons. This is a massive business opportunity loss for ecommerce players.

Developing analytical skills can help you better manage these obstacles. Without adequate knowledge of analytics, your marketing won’t work because you won’t know what worked and what didn’t work. All the marketing suits come with analytics tools to help perceive the behavior, engagement metrics, and demographics of the visitors coming to a website. The most common web analytics tools are Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Kiss Metrics, and Mixpanel. They generally come with the following features and capabilities:

  • Real-time analytics
  • Mobile analytics
  • Attribution modeling
  • Segmentation
  • Ecommerce tracking
  • Funnel analysis
  • Cohort analysis
  • Cross-device tracking
  • In-page analytics (Session recording, click tracking, heatmaps)
  • Goal conversion tracking
  • Event tracking
  • A/B testing

Every feature has its own data sets which can be compared to help you make informed decisions. Today we are going to understand Cohort Analysis and Behavior Analysis to eliminate roadblocks and improve engagement.

What is a Cohort Analysis and why is it important?

Cohort analysis is a subset of users grouped by shared characteristics. It simply allows you to compare the behavior and metrics of different cohorts over time.

Cohort Analysis Example – Finding Engagement Drop

Let’s suppose you have an online food ordering website/app and using acquisition date (when users started their first sessions) cohorts you can find out when in the customer lifecycle your users tend to drop off.

Cohort table for behavior analysis

The best way for visualizing this data is to chart out the retention curve, portraying retention over time.

Cohort Curve - Behavior analysis

This retention curve clearly reflects the most important insight – around 75% of the users stop using the website after the first day. We can see a downfall in the engagement. Hence, it’s evident to improve the overall experience and abet customers through daily offers/coupons to boosting retention.

Cohort Analysis Comparison – Organic vs Direct

The below cohort analysis indicates that organic traffic has a better retention rate than direct.

Cohort - Organic vs Direct - Behavior analysis

 

Visitor behavior analysis and its importance

It’s a process of tracking user behavior on a website and there are some great tools in the market that give accurate information. Tools like Hotjar, MouseFlow, Crazy Egg record visitor sessions to see how visitors are navigating on the website. They also offer click tracking and heatmaps to analyze the most engaging and ignored (skipped) elements on a page.

Screenshot - Mouseflow - Understanding visitors' behavior analysis

If you look at the above heatmap, you would notice that no one bothered to click on “PORTFOLIO” in the top menu, which means people aren’t interested in see the portfolio. Maybe we have to replace it with something more interesting (like Case Studies, Achievements, and more) which grabs a visitor’s attention. These kinds of insights help you add/remove elements to improve page engagement.

Using filters, you can further segment your audience to dig deep and pull out actionable insights, see those filter below:

Screenshot - Mouseflow_Filters

In Google Analytics, behavior flow gives you a visual presentation of how people are navigating on your website. You can apply segments to get a deeper view of their behavior and it also enables you to apply different dimensions on top of these segments to get actionable insights.

 GA Behaviour Flow

The power of these analytical tools lies in the fact that it allows you to view which customers leave and what’s making them leave your website/app – so that you can fix it. You can also hire a professional digital marketing agency that can help you find these hurdles and remove them to enhance your overall engagement.

Mandeep Singh is the MD of SEO Discovery. He’s mission is to provide affordable digital marketing services to startups and SMEs. He’s an official member of Forbes Agency Council. You can find him on LinkedIn.



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Top 15 Chrome extensions for social media marketers

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30-second summary:

  • When it comes to the internet browser, Google Chrome, with its extensive list of extensions is the indisputable chart-topper.
  • As a digital marketer, you have to keep track of so many things – different projects at various stages of development, research, reporting, new leads, existing clients, et cetera.
  • Bhavik Soni shares a list of the top 15 Chrome extensions that will make social media marketers more productive, smart, and efficient.
  • These are categorized into extensions for – Productivity, research and tracking, content creation and implementation, and digital marketing. Dive in!

When it comes to the internet browser, Google Chrome, with its extensive list of extensions is the indisputable chart-topper. From simple theme-based to technical coding-related, the extension list in chrome is practically endless.

This extension-packed list also boasts a wide variety of efficient social media extensions that boost professionalism, punctuality, and productivity. And, who wouldn’t love a convenient free plugin that makes life easier!

As a digital marketer, you have to keep track of so many things – different projects at various stages of development, research, reporting, new leads, existing clients, et cetera. These extension apps create a focus-orientated and organized work environment by keeping marketers updated on project developments, sending to-do reminders, enhancing content, and more.

In short, these install-and-use plugins act as the ace up their sleeves for social network marketers. They work as useful gadgets and trained assistants. They are the must-have social media marketing tools for every marketer.

You can optimize and make Google work for you in a jiffy by adding these 15 Chrome Extensions to your browser today.

Chrome Productivity Extensions

1. StayFocused: App block & website block google chrome extension

Designed to boost productivity, the StayFocused extension limits the amount of time you spend on vanity Googling. It offers the brute force you need somedays to anchor your focus to what’s more important.

Pricing:

Free

2. Momentum: Personal dashboard new tab chrome extension

Perhaps, Momentum is the best Chrome extension for productivity. It steers your focus from idle to important by motivating you with quotes, encouraging positivity with mantras, and inspiring with serene photography. Features like Daily Focus, To-Do, Countdowns, Metrics, Event Reminder and Links help you browse the internet with intent. What’s more? The plus version is available for just $3.33/month.

Pricing

$3.33/month

Research and tracking extensions

3. Diigo Web Collector: Highlighter and bookmarker for chrome

Diigo is a research chrome extension that lets you highlight important phrases, bookmark and save pages, write notes, and collect references at a single place. It comes in handy for social media marketers, who generally invest hours in R&D for planning a campaign, learning trends, and comparing the competitor’s strategy.

Pricing:

Free

4. Google Analytics URL Builder: Online UTM tracking

This is a tracking extension that lets you build UTM parameters. With the help of this plugin, you will be able to gauge the effectiveness of the UTM tags used in the campaigns. Google Analytics URL Builder also allows you to share templates with others, saves time when you have to generate URLs manually, and shares progress with clients.

Pricing:

Free

5. Ghostery: Makes web cleaner, faster, and safer

Ghostery is designed to block ads and trackers, this productivity chrome extension makes a great social media marketing tool. With its help, you will be able to learn the trackers on the competitor’s sites that they use to attract, engage, and convert the visitors.

Pricing

$11.99 USD /month/user*

6. SpyFu: SEO and PPC tools for professionals

Yet another efficient tracker extension that lets you peek into the competitor’s site data. Spyfu reveals extensive information, including where the competitor appeared on Google in the past nine years. The social media marketing (SMM) plugin also shows all keywords bought on AdWords, every ad variation, and every organic rank for $33/month.

Pricing

$33/month

Content creation and implementation

7. Canva: Design is all around us

How social media advertising will perform relies a lot on visuals. Photo-driven platforms like Instagram and Pinterest yield better ROI than content-driven Twitter or Facebook. It is because photos get more engagement. To ensure you can make most of this social media trend, creating impressive and attention-grabbing posts become imperative. It is where Canva comes into the picture.

Pricing

Free

8. Figure it Out: Solve your time zone pain

A digital marketer works for clients and target audiences in different time zones. For them, Figure it Out proves to be a handy tool. It is an extension that lets you keep track of up to 10 time zones, and makes scheduling posts accordingly.

Pricing

Free and paid ($3/month)

9. WhatFont: Identify fonts on web pages

We get it, fonts are tricky. Download an app, and it gives you hundreds of fonts that are too similar-looking, too familiar, or too quirky for your campaign. One day you browse a site – may be a competitor’s – and find just the font you were looking for but have no clue which one it is.

That’s when WhatFont comes to the rescue. A single click and it reveals not only the name but also the family, style, weight, size, line height, and color of the font.

Pricing

Free

10. Unsplash Instant: Beautiful photos in your new tab

For every social media marketing post, there is a tedious task to find high-quality, professional stock pictures, usually for free. Unsplash Instant lets you find great photos ranging from flowers and skies to desktops and artsy portraits. You can save them for free and use it for all kinds of commercial use.

Pricing

Free

11. Colorzilla: Advanced colorful goodies

Colorzilla allows you to hover over any color shown on a webpage and learn about its hex code for future use in a social media ad post. With this plugin, you will be able to create consistent color themes, appealing visuals, and come up with perfect palettes.

Pricing

Free

12. Sniply: Drive conversion through content

Social media promotions through third-party content are more effective when they include a tempting call-to-action that takes the reader to your own online space. Sniply helps you make those conversion-generating posts by letting you add custom CTA to any piece of content. On the dashboard, the plugin will show how many clicks your links are getting and the level of engagement for tracking purposes.

Pricing

$29/month

Digital marketing extensions

13. IFTTT for Marketing and social media automation

IFTTT free digital marketing extension syncs multiple apps and automates them, thus saving a lot of time and effort. In simple terms, you could post a pic on a dozen different platforms all at once.

Pricing

Free

14. Buffer: Share content easily

With this social media extension, you will be able to schedule and manage posts across different platforms. Buffer will also let you follow up with analytics to track the performance of each post.

Pricing

$85/mo

15. LastPass: Free password manager

By downloading the LastPass Chrome extension, you will not need to remember dozens of passwords to each social media platform. This free password manager will do it for you. You could also create a master password through LastPass.

Pricing

Free

Let’s sum it up

Here’s a guide to 15 best Chrome extensions available for social media marketers. From saving bookmarks to managing posts and passwords, these plugins will work as assistants to digital professionals.

Note: Details like pricing are subject to change as per the respective tool provider.

Bhavik Soni is a Creative Writer at Auto Monkey. We provide an original analysis of the latest happenings in the social media industry. Connect with Latest Social Media Trends and News plus tips on Twitter, Facebook, and other social tools on the web.



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How to make your website ADA-compliant and win at SEO

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30-second summary:

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990 does now include mobile apps and websites.
  • An ADA-compliant website helps more people than those covered by ADA.
  • There are many SEO benefits such as increased visibility on google image searches, and featured snippets.
  • Co-founder of Ally digital media, Abhishek Shah says, “Responsive websites help with ADA compliance and further improve your website’s overall search presence.”
  • The four best ways to make your website ADA-compliant with a clear outline of its ADA as well as SEO benefits.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990 does now include mobile apps and websites. Specifically, Title III of the ADA has taken an official stand on how websites should be accessible for disabled users. However, when you look at what’s necessary to make a website ADA-compliant, you will see that these also will help improve your site’s SEO.

Some elements such as title tags, heading structure, alt text, and responsive design are things all websites should include. By ensuring these are done properly and in an ADA-compliant way will maximize your website’s effectiveness.

How ADA accessibility prioritization benefits everyone

Ensuring your website complies with the ADA helps you serve a larger audience and gives a boost to your search engine rankings. This is because most of the necessary components of making your website ADA compliant feed directly into SEO best practices.

After all, the whole point is to make your website easier to view, understand, and navigate. What business doesn’t want all that for their website?

Four ways an ADA-compliant website helps improve your SEO

Here are 4 ADA-compliant must-haves (in no particular order) that will help improve your SEO. This list is by no means comprehensive, but it is a good place to start.

1. Title tags help screen searches and readers

Title tags are very basic SEO. They let the reader, and search engines, know what the page is about. A title tag doesn’t show up on your website. Rather, it appears on the results page of a search engine, and the tab at the top of your web browser.

SEO benefits

Title tags, while basic SEO, are very important. This tag needs to match your user’s intent. For example, when someone googles “best phone” the phrase best phone (or a variation like “best smartphone”) will appear in the title tag.

Writing a title that accurately reflects what the page is about is the best way to get found and clicked on. It’s why a title tag should be specific: “The best Android phones for 2020” is far better than “Why you will want to buy one of these phones.”

ADA benefits

For those who need screen readers to help them use a computer, a specific title tag such as the above example is much more user-friendly. So, it is vital the title tag accurately reflects the page content.

The accessibility guidelines say the title should be “The best Android phones for 2020” instead of “Why you will want to buy one of these phones.”

2. Descriptive alt text

Alt text is not the same thing as a caption. A caption is visible usually beneath an image. Whereas alt text is not visible on the front end of the site. The alt text is a written alternative to a page’s visual elements. This includes: .jpegs, .pngs, and .gifs. the alt text is a description of an image that lives in the backend of the site.

SEO benefits

Alt text lets search engines know the subject matter of an image. It also helps search engines to better understand the page. Additionally, if you want images to show up in Google, then writing descriptive alt text is a must-have.

ADA benefits

For web users with visual impairment using screen readers, descriptive alt text is read aloud. This helps a visually impaired reader get a better sense of what’s going on, on any given page.

A useful descriptive alt text might be: “woman at café with laptop drinking coffee” 

A useless alt text would be: “SEO tips for freelancers | Get more clients with SEO | Writing your way to success with SEO”

3. Responsive design

Responsive design has been around since 2012/2013 in one form or another. But it means more than just your website being able to adapt to whichever screen size it finds itself on.

It’s about where your logo sits, how easy is your site to navigate, how easy is it to read, and how quickly does it load?

SEO benefits

Websites that offer good, functional user experience rank better in search results. User experience isn’t just one ranking factor but an umbrella term for quite a few. Google has said that a site that takes longer than three seconds to load on a mobile site will rank higher.

How easy content is to read (and how useful it is) is also an important ranking factor.

ADA benefits

Good responsive design puts the user first. It starts from the premise that a website needs to be easy to look at, easy to navigate, and be easy to understand.

This is why you need legible text for the visually impaired. As well as quick load times for people with slow internet. And straightforward navigation to make it easy for people to get around your website.

4. Proper heading (and subheading) structure

Headings (which show up in the code as <h1> or <h2> or <h3> etc.) define your content’s hierarchy. These headings (and subheadings) work along similar lines to when you wrote essays in school.

Proper heading structure:

  • Goes in order: a h3 doesn’t go directly after a h1.
  • Describes the copy beneath it.
  • Follows a sequence: if your h2 is “4 ways…” then the h3s would be each of those points.

SEO benefits

When your writing is clearly structured it is easier to read, and easier to follow. It’s also easier for Google to crawl your content and understand what is the most important (starting with h1, and so on).

Good header structure can also your content appear in the featured snippets in the search engine results page (SERPs).

ADA benefits

For users who have limited reading comprehension or cognitive impairments, clear and direct headings make it easier to read. Headings and subheadings let a reader know what’s worth reading and what’s worth skipping over.

And just like a reader skips heading, so too can a screen reader. Which only reinforces the need for a strong, clear heading structure.

An example of a website that has both good SEO and is ADA compliant is Enviro Safety Products. When you review this site you will see it ticks all the boxes, and provides the user a seamless, friendly experience.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA-compliant) - Example

Source: Enviro Safety Products

How making your website ADA compliant will help you win at SEO

By applying all the necessary ADA compliant elements to your website, you are helping the one in four Americans with a disability use your website. Additionally, you will also greatly enhance your website’s SEO.

If you would like to know more about how making your website ADA compliant will help you win at SEO, you can throw questions in the comments section below.

Abhishek Shah is the co-founder of Ally Digital Media, a leading voice in digital media and marketing. He advocates for evidence-based marketing strategies to fuel the businesses. He can be found on Twitter @abiishek.





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