Why Affiliate Marketing Needs Content More Than Ever

Why Affiliate Marketing Needs Content More Than Ever

Affiliate marketing continues to boom as an industry. Made possible by the rapid advance of digital technology, the simple practice of distributing customized links has become a reliable source of income for those capable of reaching relevant audiences — people deemed ‘influencers’ with opinions on products and services likely to be mirrored by their followers.

But ever since Twitter first got mainstream attention, we’ve seen a move away from in-depth reviews and roundups and towards brief and formulaic social media posts. Aspiring celebrities litter their accounts with #ad posts offering nothing more than generic endorsements with mandated hold-the-product-and-smile photos.

With all the clutter, an impartial observer might well conclude that there’s way too much affiliate marketing ‘content’ already. They’d be wrong, though. In fact, the affiliate marketing industry needs content more than ever. Why? Let’s get into it.

The demand for content isn’t going down

The digital content landscape is much like an insatiable deep-sea behemoth — no matter how much it consumes on any given day, it’s always in need of fresh, varied material shortly after. And though bland influencer posts get a lot of attention (and presumably do get results), they’re like bite-sized snacks, light and inconsequential. No one browses the glossy photos of a celebrity Instagram account and burns out on high-quality content.

discerning buyer

Indeed, the average internet user is going to consume a broad range of content types. They might browse social media channels on their phone while commuting, read long-form articles throughout their working days, then watch YouTube videos after getting home (with newer generations favoring video). Each type of content they consume provides a fresh affiliate marketing opportunity, and consuming too much of one type isn’t going to sour them on others.

And new technology is going to keep bringing new content types. We’ve already seen the world of podcasting become absolutely enormous (largely supported by affiliate marketing, notably), and it’s possible that VR content will be next. Since any kind of content can be supported through affiliate links, there’s a lot of space waiting to be filled.

 

People respect transparent sponsorships

Consider the ongoing struggles of digital advertising models. Tired of ads that affect their online experience and emboldened by access to ad-blocking tools, internet users have quickly lost their willingness to put up with invasive advertising methods. Even as programmatic technology squeezes ever-higher levels of efficiency from PPC, the industry suffers at the hands of user reluctance and marketing saturation.

Affiliate marketing, though, can be done seamlessly without detracting from the content or engaging in any rhetorical shenanigans. And it doesn’t even require any pretense. It’s entirely possible to have a strong and productive seller/marketer arrangement without hiding anything from the prospective buyers — in fact, being entirely brazen can be very effective because people like being approached with honesty.

seller/marketer arrangement

When an influencer produces a high-quality video series openly sponsored by a particular brand, it makes both parties look good. The brand earns plaudits for financing good content and the influencer gets to show off improved production values. Provided the content is good enough, followers won’t care about the promotional nature — and they’ll be more likely to want to pointedly click on an affiliate link to support the brand (as opposed to doing so unknowingly).

Social proof is enormously powerful

With every day that passes, the internet gives us more e-commerce opportunities and more product information. No matter what you’re looking to buy, you’ll be able to find countless models, versions, configurations, and prices, with every business you encounter eager to claim that only their product is worth your time — ignore all other contenders.

Since we can’t reach out to touch items through the digital realm, we are required to judge for ourselves whether any given proposition is really worth our time, and it’s hard to do that when we face so many similar options. That’s why we rely so heavily on social proof. We need people whose opinions we trust to give us some guidance and help us figure out which products are worth our money and which brands are worth our time.

While social proof has always been important (we are social animals, of course), it was less so when the internet was newer and people were inclined to give sites the benefit of the doubt.

Following numerous high-profile cases of user data being leaked, and a general push towards higher security standards through things like HTTPS, users are on high alert, and not inclined to take unnecessary chances. If you can establish yourself as an expert in your field, people will absolutely listen to what you have to say.

Discerning buyers are increasingly thorough

We’ve established that internet users are a lot more cautious than ever before when it comes to the companies they trust with their data or their money, but this isn’t purely a result of the aforementioned data leaks — it’s also a generational thing. Younger generations have reached maturity with the internet available to them, and feel perfectly comfortable engaging in large amounts of online research before making big decisions.

affiliate marketing

Someone from an older generation might go into a large store, ask the assistant which camera they should buy, and then go with that option — someone younger would be far more likely to take an in-depth look at the features and search for a comprehensive breakdown to read. And since tastes vary, they might look at various different pieces of content before finding one coming from their kind of perspective.

Combine the average buyer’s desire for thorough analysis with their eagerness to find an influencer operating on their wavelength and you get an affiliate marketing world that always has room for good content from fresh faces.

The viable marketing pool keeps growing

Affiliate programs are far more common and well-rounded than ever before. The cost-effective nature of the model has been consistently demonstrated, and since detailed analytics make it easy to tell where a page visitor came from, the range of companies supporting affiliate marketing out of the gate continues to expand.

Note that the end result of an affiliate marketing arrangement needn’t be someone buying a product — it could be someone using a service, or downloading a file, or visiting a page. Through call-tracking software and the establishment of sophisticated analytics goals, you can place a monetary value on almost any action, online or offline. And where there’s value, there’s an opportunity for affiliate marketing.

To get the ball rolling, try throwing together some niches on a whim. Here are some quick tips:

  • Start with terms like “best”, “top” and “roundup” — they’re clear markers for affiliate reviews because they immediately get to the point.
  • Think of a subject that you can usefully comment on and add a product or service associated with it (e.g. “Best motorbikes” or “Top cycling gloves”).
  • To find a query with less competition, add on some additional terms that you can optimize for. Try terms related to purpose (“Best scarves for jogging”), location (“Top headphones in Chicago, Illinois”) or pricing (“Budget tax software roundup”).
  • Once you find something without too much competition for rankings, start looking into affiliate schemes for those products — if you can’t find anything, contact the seller directly to see if you can arrange something manually.

(Note: Be careful that you choose something with a fairly static range. For instance, “Bluetooth speakers in New York” should return a product set that will change infrequently, while “Houston businesses for sale” won’t be so useful because they’re one-time deals and could sell while you’re writing the content (content is great for real estate if you’re close to the deals, but not if you’re just doing affiliate work). If you’re going to create high-quality affiliate content, make sure it can continue to deliver value on an ongoing basis.)

As you can see, there’s a remarkable amount of uncovered ground in the affiliate marketing world. In fact, there are so many different searches carried out every day that the idea of the affiliate marketing world being totally saturated is ludicrous. You may not be able to grab the low-hanging fruit at this point, but if you diversify your affiliate work, you’ll still reap the benefits.

Conclusion

Wrapping up, the affiliate marketing world needs content more than ever before for the following reasons (and possibly more):

  • No matter how much content is created, people always want more.
  • Sponsorships are readily accepted today.
  • Social proof is only getting more powerful. In-depth research needs new perspectives.
  • More things can be marketed than ever before.

 

If you’re just getting started in the affiliate marketing world, or you’ll be trying it for a while, don’t get discouraged by the apparent saturation of basic Instagram influencer posts. That isn’t the only kind of viable content — you can reach your audience elsewhere, and if you make your content good enough, the results will amaze you.

 

Patrick Foster contributes to Ecommerce Tips — an industry-leading ecommerce blog dedicated to sharing business and entrepreneurial insights from the sector. Check out the latest news on Twitter @myecommercetips.

Patrick Foster

Ecommerce Consultant, EcommerceTips.org

What is Link Prospecting and how can it help your SEO efforts?

What is Link Prospecting and how can it help your SEO efforts?

                                  [Guest post by Emma Miller]

 

Did you know that over 3.5 billion searches take place on Google every day? This simply means that to get a piece of traffic and boost conversions, you need to appear on the first page of Google. And, to do so, you need to have an SEO strategy. Well, link prospecting certainly can help identify relevant opportunities for your website.

When implemented properly, SEO can double your site’s visibility in the SERPs, drive more traffic to it, help you address the right customers, boost their conversions and, above all, give you a chance to build a solid brand name.

After all, it’s 2018, and no one trusts businesses that are not online. In other words, SEO has become an obligatory investment for any business that wants to stay relevant.

Now, you don’t have to be a seasoned marketer to know that guest blogging is one of the most significant SEO practices. It’s a powerful way to build links and is basically synonymous with doing off-site SEO.

However, many digital marketing experts claim that this technique is dead. Just remember Google’s Matt Cutts, who claimed that “guest blogging has gotten too spammy” in 2014.

However, his judgment could have been wrong. Maybe guest blogging is still alive and kicking. You just need to know how to implement it properly.

So, what is the idea behind Link Prospecting?

Finding quality guest blogging opportunities may seem simple at the beginning. You run a couple of Google searches and make a list of content-rich sites in your niche, where you can publish your guest articles.

But, this sounds too good to be true. Namely, when you take a closer look at your list, you will understand the challenge you’re facing. Not all the sites on your list are worth connecting with, for instance. No matter if it’s a bad content strategy or low PA or DA, once you spot a poor-quality blog, you should run away screaming.

So, you need to do a more complex, advanced analysis and separate the wheat from the chaff. This is what link prospecting is about – finding quality and relevant sites in your niche that will give your SEO efforts an actual boost.

Why is Finding Quality Link Building Opportunities Important?

The idea behind writing awesome content and publishing it on quality sites is earning quality backlinks. Your backlink portfolio is the decisive factor for Google when assessing your site’s value. If it notices that there are numerous highly authoritative and quality links pointing back to your domain, it will consider it relevant and boost its rankings in the SERPs.

Generating exceptional backlinks can also boost your overall domain authority, expand your target audience, prove your expertise, and help you establish a recognizable brand. This is also an opportunity to build relationships with the influencers in your niche and boost your exposure. Namely, once they see that the top players in your industry share or link to your posts organically, your target audience will trust you more.

How to Know which Sites are Valuable Enough?

To make sure you find the right prospects, you first need to set your objectives clearly. For instance, if you want to boost your authority in your niche via guest posting, you need to become a regular contributor on all major sites in that industry – so, just make an actionable list and go!

On the other hand, if you just want to earn some organic and high-quality links, guest posting will be much simpler for you. Of course, you will have a much longer list of prospects to connect with and publish your work. All you have to do is check the site’s DA, see if they published guest posts before, and reach out to them.

Once you select the right targets, you need to see who their target audience is and what their niche is. You should also check traffic and see if people visit their site, as well as pay attention to their backlink portfolio, the quality of their articles, and engagement metrics like the number of shares, likes, comments. These are all some key performance indicators that tell you whether the site is worth your attention.

Finding Quality Link Prospects

Once you set your goals, understand the metric you need to track, and what sort of sites you should be looking for, you can start your search. Here are a few most effective link prospecting ideas you should keep in mind:

  • Start with basic Google search strings
  • To narrow down your searches, use advanced search operators, such as the intitle search, the inurl search, the exact match search, etc.
  • Automate your link prospecting efforts using link building tools. These tools will analyze and choose only quality link building opportunities for you, give you invaluable data about your prospects, show their contact emails, helping you find the right sites and connect with them much faster.
  • Conduct competitor analysis to monitor and replicate their most effective link building strategies.
  • Take the time to produce original images and include them in your piece – that can become an effective SEO strategy to bring traffic back to your site!
  • Search for broken links on a site you’re interested in, offering a link to your similar post as a replacement for a broken link.
  • Look for influencers to boost your authority. To do so effectively, you can use Twitter search or its advanced options or simply use a link prospecting tool.

 

Back to Us

Link prospecting is an immensely important part of building valuable backlinks. It helps you publish your content on quality sites that will really bring value to your SEO. Most importantly, it helps you improve your visibility, expand your target audience, and position yourself as authoritative. And, these are just some of a myriad of practices you may use to find relevant link building opportunities.

 

Emma Miller is a digital marketer and blogger from Sydney. After getting a marketing degree she started working with Australian startups on business and marketing development. Emma writes for many relevant, industry related online publications and does a job of an Executive Editor at Bizzmark blog and a guest lecturer at Melbourne University. Interested in marketing, startups and the latest business trends.

Emma Miller

Digital Marketer and Blogger , Bizzmark

What The Best Brand Publishers Are Doing Right Now

What The Best Brand Publishers Are Doing Right Now

Traditional publishers and print media companies have seen their profitability tumble as more and more of our daily media habits have moved online. This change gave rise to the seemingly-unstoppable growth of digital content marketing as a core promotional tool, which subsequently spawned the concept of a brand publisher.

Recognizing that they no longer needed to rely on conventional media platforms to reach people and get attention, businesses have begun to produce and distribute their own content. It allows them to lower their advertising costs and operate with much greater creative freedom.

But the model of a brand acting as a publisher isn’t a magic bullet. There are companies getting it horribly wrong, as well as companies executing it to perfection. In this piece, we’re going to look at the latter, seeing what the successful brand publishers are doing to make this relatively-fresh arrangement function optimally.

Carrying out regular content audits

A content audit is a comprehensive review of all of your live content, looking at numerous elements (such as page titles or subheadings) and collating the data into a single spreadsheet suitable for an overarching assessment — and the brands with the best content know how important it is to schedule a regular content audit.

Newspaper content goes out of date rapidly, and that’s fine given the disposable nature of the medium. You read one edition, discard it, and await the next. But old digital content isn’t worthless, particularly if written to touch upon universal themes, and savvy brands take every opportunity to spruce up their old content and bring it in line with today’s standards.

Following the advent of smarter content tagging and structuring suitable for search algorithms as well as humans, a lot of content (even from recent years) is lacking in some important areas. This is one reason why it’s important to have a solid structural framework in place (either systemwide or provided through an integrated tool) to make the updating process easier.

Investing in cornerstone work

There’s an absurd amount of content available for free through the internet. It barely even matters what the topic is, because even the most niche pursuit will have myriad dedicated blogs featuring similar articles. Brands that aspire to become respected ‘publishers’ but lack any sense often settle for the content barrage method — release as many articles as you can, on as many topics as you can cover, and as quickly as can be achieved.

But just as 100 multiplied by 0 is still just 0, no amount of low-quality content will accomplish anything of note. And when I say ‘low-quality’, I don’t simply mean simply technical quality. I mean general quality — how useful the points are, how good the writing is, etc.

Great brand publishing is about quality, not quantity. That means looking past the hammered-out posts about nothing and focussing on creating content so good that it will get the kind of attention you’re looking for. It doesn’t even have to be that long or complex — it just needs to resonate, like this sponsored Airbnb piece.

Airbnb - Brand Publishers and Influencers

Getting feedback from the people who matter

Let’s imagine for a second that I consider this piece the best thing I’ve ever written, viewing it as an informative masterpiece (untrue, but go with it). If you can barely tolerate my style and reach the conclusion feeling that you’ve entirely wasted your time, what difference does my opinion make? It may be notable, but it isn’t valuable. I’m not the target audience.

Since brand publishing is just another evolution of product or service marketing, its end goal is crystal-clear: make more money. How it gets there might vary, of course, but every path leads in the same direction: you promote a product so the reader might buy it, make your brand look good to make people want to buy from you, or provide a valuable resource to earn goodwill and (yes, you guessed it) make people want to buy from you.

The top brands in the world commit a lot of time and effort to acquiring, interpreting and learning from feedback. They know whose opinions ultimately lead to sales, and whose aren’t worth considering at all, and they use that information to make their published content more practical.

Effectively using user-generated content

As a brand publisher, you’re not simply a humble purveyor of in-house content — you’re in charge of your very own content ecosystem, and you can feature whatever you want. User-generated content (UGC) is perfect for this scenario, because it has so many benefits: it entertains your audience, brings in their feedback (important, as we’ve just seen), provides fresh perspectives, and takes some of the load off your content production team.

Coca Cola innovated with its ‘Share a Coke with’ campaign in a time (2011) when the concept of UGC was very fresh (and only fairly recently made possible through the mainstream acceptance of social media). People really wanted to be involved and produced a lot of visual content that made the Coca Cola brand look great.

Share a Coke - Brand publishers and UGC

Indeed, the practice of using UGC in the form of reviews and/or photos has been a cost-effective revelation, particularly for ecommerce where anyone with a basic webshop host system like Shopify can curate gallery feeds using add-ons like Covet.pics or TagTray. Dominant brands know how to balance content types, mixing expert in-house long-form content with lighter fare driven by user-created work.

Experimenting with different formats

This piece by Samuel Scott really tears into the notion of a brand publisher, describing it as contradictory, but it misses the mark in a lot of places. For example, Scott presumes that brand publishers must present themselves as journalists, when in reality that’s only something bad brands do. The good ones are quite nakedly promotional, and understand that people will accept promotional content if they’re sufficiently entertained.

But Scott’s general point about content feeling generic certainly hits home. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the “X Things You Need To Know About Y” format, but that kind of piece is only ever going to achieve a certain level of traffic. Any brand publishers that want to be exceptional need to try different things.

And while the title is definitely worth considering, the format is a far more interesting and valuable matter. Look at any roundup of hit branded content (such as this one from Forbes) and you’ll see a lot of content rich with imagery and narratives. And see how this Nest-sponsored piece from The Atlantic mixes media types to provide a more engaging experience than a standard article could ever achieve.

Key Take-Aways

Brand publishing isn’t about feigning neutrality and posting countless pieces concluding that your particular software, service or product is superior to any other. It’s about using your keen understanding of the people you’re trying to address to find new and creative ways to entertain, inform and delight them, establishing your personality in the process.

I can guarantee you that the top brand publishers are doing each and every one of these things right now, and that’s the dedication that’s needed to stand out. If you aspire to turn your brand into a respected content source, you know where you need to start!

 

Patrick Foster contributes to Ecommerce Tips — an industry-leading ecommerce blog dedicated to sharing business and entrepreneurial insights from the sector. Check out the latest news on Twitter @myecommercetips.

Patrick Foster

Ecommerce Consultant, EcommerceTips.org

How to build a successful marketing strategy with Influencers and great content

How to build a successful marketing strategy with Influencers and great content

Digital marketing is expanding in a world of almost infinite possibilities, where every bit of strategy matters: there’s always the alternative that the one you chose a might not perform well on its own. In that scenario, content marketing and influencer marketing are two sides of the same coin and they could and must work together to build a strong strategy.

Everyone involved in the business can use marketing tools to reach greater success and higher interaction with their brand. So the question becomes, what kind of initiatives should be used? In 2018 there are many different types of marketing strategies so it can be hard to keep up with them all, let alone know which one would be best for you or your company. According to HubSpot, 55% of brands know they need a content distribution strategy, but only 26% are willing to pay to do that. There’s two kinds of marketing strategies that are showing great success right now; influencer marketing and content marketing. Although they have some similarities, they are actually quite different.

HubSpot Inbound marketing graph

How great content can catch your targeted audience’s attention

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “the process of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage an audience with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” This kind of marketing is well known and well received. However, there are some limitations to what will work. The quality of your content plays a prominent role in the success – or the failure – of a marketing campaign. Customers want to experience informative content, rather than promotional. They don’t want to feel as though you are pushing a product on them. Besides, content must be authentic, engaging and, above all, useful. It is better to position your brand as a resource for your audience, in the fields that interest them.

Loyalty to your products will come once the initial relationship has been established.

To get a better understanding of what your audience wants to see, it’s always better to conduct some market research to determine what interests them. You can look at previously published content and compare what has been successful within your demographic. It’s important to know what your audience likes, dislikes, and responds to in general, not just about your company. Producing this kind of content will show that you care about the audience and understand what’s happening within your target community.

There are a number of different content marketing variations you can try. One of the simpler strategies is creating and maintaining a blog. With this platform, you allow yourself the opportunity to continuously post articles on subjects your community cares about. It’s a great place to position yourself as a resource or “go-to” spot for information on your industry. Other methods include different mediums of content such as video or podcasts. These forms of content are more popular than ever, and some consumers even prefer it to written content. According to Brightcove’s blog, “brands that use videos can expect to see an average increase of 157% in organic traffic from search engines.”

Video content

In addition to these content formats, the list goes on. There are more traditional forms such as infographics and interviews. You can also explore trendier types of content like GIFs, memes, and general social media.

Content marketing is beneficial for many reasons. It is relatively inexpensive, which means it can lead to a considerable ROI. This kind of marketing plan can also support other projects you’re working on. It proves to be efficient because it can blend into other strategies such as creating additional content for social media, and it may help to boost your SEO.

Influencer Marketing: find the right match for your brand

If you think you’ve never heard, witnessed, or been affected by influencer marketing, think again! This form of marketing is being used equally, if not more often than content marketing. First of all, to engage your audience with influencer marketing, you need to create an ideal influencer persona that fits your brand’s needs: once you find it/them, you can start working with your chosen personality and having them market your brand or product for you. Although many people assume this happens with big celebrities who have millions of followers, that’s not necessarily the most efficient or effective route. Depending on the influencer you want to work with, the price can vary. Thanks to micro-influencers, this might not be as expensive as you once thought.

The term micro-influencer has become a bigger topic within the past year, and for good reason. These are influencers with a smaller following of around 10,000 to 100,000 across social media. Because they aren’t as well known or a “big name” they often charge less, and might even accept some products or social shoutout in return for mentioning your brand.

Influencers with a smaller following tend to come across as more authentic than well-known celebrities, who clearly only talk about a product for the money. Most often micro-influencers share a product or brand because they truly like it, and want to share their honest thoughts and advice to followers. It’s an authentic way for influencers to connect with their followers and build trust in the long run.

These influencers share your product by creating video reviews, Instagram posts and stories, and tweets. With more than 700 million people using social media per month, these methods can be vital when trying to grow a business.

If you’re more concerned with getting your product or content to a larger number of people, influencer marketing is becoming the chosen strategy for this. It is almost guaranteed you will reach your intended target audience, as long as you choose the right influencer to work with. Choosing an influencer involves several steps: look at their social accounts, see if they’re interacting with followers and have a positive following. Be sure to check and see if their tone matches your brand and mission – it’s important to work with someone that seems like a natural fit.

Audiences can immediately tell if a product doesn’t match what other things the influencer is typically supporting. It’s imperative that the influencer’s message doesn’t seem forced and they’re genuinely happy to talk about your product.

Which kind of strategy should you use?

Both content and influencer marketing are successful strategies and have been proven to work. In the end, choosing one depends on what you are trying to promote.

For example, if you’re trying to spread the word about a new product launch, influencer marketing is a great way to go. If you’re just trying to promote your brand or message to a larger market, content marketing techniques such as blogging or interviews would be a good choice. If you can’t decide, try both! Marketing is an important tool for all companies, and it wouldn’t hurt to learn about all forms and incorporate each into your business plan.

 

Sara is an experienced tech expert who writes with her colleagues on Enlightened Digital, to share her passion with others around the web. After 15 years in the industry, her goal is to bring information on all technology to the masses. Her philosophy is to create each article so that anyone can understand the content, whether they are a consumer or a technology expert.

Why Storytelling is a Powerful Strategic Business Tool

Why Storytelling is a Powerful Strategic Business Tool

Our purchasing decisions, on a daily basis, are affected by the kind of personality that a brand has cultivated for itself and how we relate to the values it embodies. Of course, the product/services the brand offers factors in too, but the role of a strong brand-customer relationship cannot be overlooked.

That’s why storytelling is a powerful strategic business tool, because, more often than not, it is through the stories that brands tell that we decide how we feel about them.

Storytelling allows brands to experiment with their creativity and write content that are like short stories. Be it your blog or a thoroughly researched article, you can weave a personal narrative or stories of other people into them to make your content interesting.

Such content creates intrigue and engages readers, and the stories help brands build a relationship with the customers. Brands can then reinforce that relationship by living up to their word—and, of course, with the quality of their product or service—to ensure brand loyalty.

Stories can be a powerful tool in any given situation, and the business sector isn’t immune to the magical powers of storytelling. Today, social sharing, social media marketing, and content marketing are big parts of a business’s promotional strategy, and storytelling is at the very core of these tools.

Stories are a perfect way to create a personality for your brand, make sure your readers remember you, and to inspire potential customers to make actual purchases.

Storytelling Helps Brands Depict What Values They Embody

There are thousands of brands out there in any industry. How, in this case, do brands create a personality for themselves that stands out from their competitors and that users can relate to?

Through storytelling.

Consider this for a second.

If you are showcasing and promoting your personal brand on your website or blog, would people want to know what you believe in?

Definitely.

From sharing what you believe in, to what incidents made you imbibe certain values in your personal and professional life goes a long way in cultivating your own unique personality.

Thanks to social media and a plethora of business blogs that allow customers to follow companies and their work regularly, people expect these businesses to have their stories too. And through the power of stories, brands can establish clearly what their core values and mission are.

Warby Parker: socially conscious eyewear

Take, for example, Warby Parker, an eyewear brand that sells quality glasses at affordable prices. Their story speaks of how the company was born when as students one of them had to go a whole semester without glasses, living his life surrounded by blurry images.

They wanted to be able to see the world clearly without having to empty their bank accounts and wished to offer a solution to other people too.

The founders say that the company was founded ‘with a rebellious spirit’ and aims to offer ‘designer eyewear at a revolutionary price’ and forge the ‘socially conscious business’ path.

Their brand story incorporates their mission and the values that guide them, but that’s not all it does.

They also create an image of themselves that would appeal to their target market. ‘Rebellious’ and ‘socially conscious’? Millennial consumers surely want to associate themselves with these values. This alignment between the brand’s personality and the target’s beliefs allows the brand to build a special bond of trust with its customers and stand out from its competitors.

If you want to create a unique personality for your brand, you have to tell people what values your company embodies, and the best way to do that is by telling stories.

Tug At The Heartstrings Through Storytelling

Research has shown time and again that in the post-truth era emotions usually win the battle against facts. Now, I am not asking you to lie to your consumers about your products. All I am saying is rather than making your product specifications the sole focus of your marketing efforts, try tugging at consumers’ heartstrings through storytelling. According to a study, stories are up to 22 times more memorable than just facts.

Oliver Sacks: making neurology accessible through narrative

Though it’s not a business-related example, when it comes to storytelling, I can’t help but mention the accomplished neurologist and colorful raconteur Oliver Sacks. He understood that it was important for medical journals and articles about complex brain functions to be accessible to the uninitiated. And he believed the best way to get the wider public interested in such complicated articles was to weave them into engaging narratives and stories.

He delivered complex neurological case studies in the form of quirky stories like ‘The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat’, ‘The Music Never Stopped’, and ‘The Brain-Damaged Hare Krishna Who Believed He Had Reached Enlightenment’, among other stories and books.

Beyond your product

Similarly, when it comes to information about products and services, your readers are less likely to read complex product or service specifications. You need to have that info, but when it comes to converting website visitors into leads, stories about how your brand came to be, what drives your brand, and how it has touched lives are crucial.

Every platform available to you as a business—be it your blog, website, your sales pitch, social media or your business plan—is an opportunity to tell your story. When your story tugs at people’s heartstrings, they are likely to remember your product and develop a personal connection with it.

Your stories allow your customers to look beyond your product and see the people behind it.

Brands like WeddingWire, a one-stop shop for couples planning their wedding, and DanniJo, a jewelry brand founded by two sisters, have hit the nail on the head when it comes to this.

Through an integrated approach, they use all digital platforms from Instagram to their website to podcasts to tell their stories in every possible format. Their posts don’t only feature their products but also how they run their companies on a daily basis and how it has changed their lives.

People’s purchase decision is influenced by what brand they can remember. And businesses constantly use storytelling to elevate them above others and make their brand memorable. But for your stories to have the desired effect, you have to make sure your content is relevant and readable.

Build A Relationship With The Customers

Emotive ads help humanize brands allowing them to foster a relationship with their customers.

Sharing the story of how you developed your brand on your ‘About Us’ page is a great way to distinguish yourself from your competitors.

If you offer digital marketing services, for example, and if you tell people only about products and services, your page is going to look the same as every other digital marketing firm’s. On the contrary, if you tell people how you came to set up your business, you will trigger their interest.

If your customers can relate to certain aspects of your story—about how you quit your day job to make your dream come to fruition, for example—that’s even better. They will see your brand as a reflection of themselves and build a relationship with it.

High Brew Coffee’s page tells the story of how the founder decided to set up a company to sell cold brew coffee when he went on a rafting trip through the Caribbean.

The stories, however, don’t have to be limited to just the founders. Storytelling is an even more effective tool when the stories are coming from people whose lives the brand has changed in ways big or small.

The best example for this is Krochet Kids, a non-profit that produces high-quality, affordable apparel. The company believes in telling not just their own stories but also the stories of their producers. The items come with labels signed by the person who produced them, and customers can go to the person’s profile and read their stories.

That’s a great way Krochet Kids shows customers that it cares about people who are associated with the brand. These stories also help build a connection between individual producers, who work so hard to make the products, and the end-users.

Final Thoughts

With more and more platforms available to brands to tell their stories on, storytelling has taken on a new life. While it did seem like storytelling was going to be outmoded, different kinds of storytelling content are still being used to create a cohesive brand narrative and connect with potential customers. And storytelling has proven to be a powerful strategic business tool.

Why? Because everyone loves stories—be it a fable about a hero who slew a monster or about how your brand’s belief in equal opportunity helped changed someone’s life.

These stories touch our hearts and urge us to act. Storytelling, thus, is a perfect tool to create a personality for your brand, make sure viewers remember you, and to inspire potential customers to make actual purchases.

 

Anish Sah, CEO and Founder of Elance Digital Media, is a Digital Marketing SEO Consultant from Nepal, a Speaker, SEO Trainer, a professional blogger and an established digital marketer. He has an experience of 5+ years in the SEO and Digital Marketing field.

Automating content marketing for WordPress, a chat with Ruth Raventós

Automating content marketing for WordPress, a chat with Ruth Raventós

Content marketing is a popular strategic approach, but it takes time and a lot of efforts. Automating as much as you can content creation, optimization, and distribution can be key to success. We discussed this topic with Ruth Raventós, one of the co-founders of Nelio Software.

If you don’t come from Mars in the world of marketing, you’ve probably heard about content marketing — and, probably, you’ve even experimented it with your organization. If so, you probably know that creating content in order to drive lead generation and sales is not effortless.

It takes time, creativity, research, money, and the ability to measure your results, just like any other marketing approach.

Nevertheless, 91% of B2B and 86% of B2C marketers are relying on content marketing according to a research published this year by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs and sponsored by Brightcove.

What is content marketing and why it’s such a big deal?

“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

Content Marketing Institute

Content marketing is an excellent way to build your own audience. When your brand shares valuable content, people are more likely to trust it. And trust is like a magic glue that makes your audience stick with you.

Are blogs worth for content marketing?

The same research mentioned above, states that 79% of marketers use blogs to distribute their content — and, even more importantly, 60% of the most successful marketers think that a blog is one of the most effective formats.

When it comes to blogging, there is no CMS like WordPress. But, even if WordPress simplifies a lot the editing and publishing process, you still need to organize, optimize, distribute, and promote your content through different channels to reach your audience.

Here is why we decided to ask a few questions to Ruth Raventós, who created two WordPress plugins to make content marketing easier and is truly devoted to this approach.

A chat with Ruth Raventos, co-founder at Nelio Software

You are one of the co-founders of Nelio Software and a Ph.D. in Software Engineering. Talk me about your background: how did you find yourself interested in content marketing?

Ruth Raventos - Co-founder at Nelio Software

Ruth Raventos – Co-founder at Nelio Software

After finishing my degree I started working as a software developer. But I was attracted to the academic world, so I did my Ph.D. and became a teacher and researcher of topics related to information systems development.

However, I like challenges and in 2013 my partners, David Aguilera, Antonio Villegas, and I chose to leave the comfort of a good stable job and build our own startup, Nelio Software. We didn’t have a concrete project in mind yet, just a vague idea of creating a scalable service. What service? How would we do it? We didn’t know, but we were super thrilled about running our own business… so, who cares, right?

In the end, we decided we would work within the WordPress ecosystem and would develop plugins. We started brainstorming a lot of alternatives related to WordPress. In the end, we came up with two different projects that shared one vision: making WordPress sites more impactful

And from there, our interest in content marketing came naturally.

Your company developed two different plugins for WordPress, Nelio Content, and Nelio A/B Testing. What needs are you trying to solve for your customers?

Nelio Content features an editorial calendar and a content assistant. It has been designed to help you to efficiently create, schedule, and promote the content of your blog by automatically creating social publications on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest. Focus on the content that works best with its built-in analytics, and run a successful blog while saving tons of time.

Nelio A/B Testing is a powerful and versatile conversion optimization service for WordPress. It helps you define, manage, and keep track of A/B-testing experiments, combined with powerful and beautiful heatmaps.

With Nelio A/B Testing you can create alternatives to titles, featured images and excerpts without the help of designers and developers. Nelio A/B Testing will tell you which ones keep traffic on your site.

How did you understand that there was room for your plugins within the WordPress environment and market?  

The idea of plugins came from our own needs as web owners. We had a clear idea of what we wanted for ourselves. From there, we made an in-depth analysis of the plugins and other similar tools that existed in the market and their popularity. It seemed to us that there was a market and, at the same time, they could be improved in many ways to have a much greater impact. And that’s it; we started with the development of an MVP for each one.

Talking about WordPress, you are part of the organization of the upcoming WordCamp Barcelona. Why do you think it’s crucial for the community to stick together?

Being part of this community has been critical to our success. It allows you to meet other interesting product developers, with whom to share your experience. An open source community is a great place to learn new things and grow as a professional, especially when you’re getting started and you don’t know exactly where you’re headed.

As you progress and become a better professional, you can’t help giving something back. Our first contact with the community was like everybody else’s — we attended a few meetups, talk to the organizers, met people… but as soon as we felt more confident and identified we too had a story to tell, we quickly got involved with the organization. Keep in mind these communities are volunteer-driven, so it’s very important that everybody who can and cares gets involved!

You often write content on your blog… do you ever struggle with SEO?

I’ve always been surprised at how many people present themselves as SEO experts. For us, the only formula that has worked so far is to improve our positioning in a totally organic way thanks to the regularity and constancy of the post published in our blog and their automatic promotion in social networks with Nelio Content…

But yes, SEO is anything but easy. So far, we’ve been focused on following the best practices everybody talks about (links, tags, keyword management, and so on) and we’ve recently integrated your plugin, WordLift, to our content marketing strategy, hoping it’ll help us rank even better.

Do you think content organization can make a substantial difference in engaging your readers and, at the end of the day, converting them into customers?

For us, it has been key. Our experience is that with no advertising budget, but with great planning in creating content and seeing what is working best for us on our website, we have been able to create our current business. In fact, the use of our two products has helped us grow and make a difference.

If you had to sum up your experience in content marketing in three tips, what would they be?

Content marketing is based on the generation and promotion of content. Therefore, the creation of a blog is the starting point for any online communication strategy of any professional or company. A blog with quality content helps you improve the visibility of your brand, it is the key factor to generate leads and, of course, the best way to improve your SEO. However, from our experience, a blog requires a lot of sacrifice and perseverance. Therefore, my recommendation to make this trip more bearable would be:

First, have a topic that you’re passionate about.

This way, it’ll be easier for you to write quality content. You’d better like what you write about or you’ll soon leave it aside. 

Second, be consistent.

You may not be the best writer in the world or you may not always choose the best topics possible, but if you persevere and, whatever happens, continue to publish content, you’ll eventually get better than most.

Finally, be as much as efficient as possible in the entire content generation process and its promotion.

Automate as many tasks as you can and don’t waste time doing work that doesn’t give you value. Tools like WordLift or Nelio Content will help you to save a ton of time.

Talking with Ruth has been really inspiring and I’m sure you’ll find much interesting content on Nelio blog too, check it out!

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