Friday, March 22, 2019

Chris Brogan’s Guide to Building a Fast Blogging Framework

Chris Brogan at Social Media Marketing World 2019

Chris Brogan at Social Media Marketing World 2019 Blogging is a part of our origin story here at TopRank Marketing. In fact, we just celebrated the TopRank Marketing Blog’s 15th birthday this past December. But despite our blogging longevity, we’re always refining and optimizing, too. That’s why I attended Chris Brogan’s session on creating a fast blogging framework at Social Media Marketing World 2019. While there, I learned this bestselling author's approach to writing blog content (and had a few laughs along the way).

Be Fast

The key to Chris’ framework? The word “fast.” Being fast matters to Chris, informing the audience that “the average human only read 19 minutes a day. That includes texts, emails, and BuzzFeed articles. They’re not going to read your 2,000-word missive.” So, be quick. Get to the point. Don’t complicate things. Don’t write a white paper when it’s supposed to be a blog post.

Follow the Great Blogging Checklist

Chris is able to be a fast blogger because he has a list of what every blog post needs:
  • A great title
  • A relevant graphic
  • A “strong+story” first paragraph
  • A great first example
  • A second and/or third example
  • A list of action items
  • A call to action
To create blogs, Chris starts at the top of the list and works his way down, checking things off as he goes. But just like most lists, there are items on there that are prioritized. According to Chris, a great title is at the top of the framework because in today’s world “the subject line is the blog post.” Your title or subject line is what gets read the most by your audience. And if it doesn’t pull people in, convey the story you want to tell, and convince them to read, you’ve already failed. But what comes after that? How can you keep people on your blog once they’ve agreed to read it? Chris suggests reflecting on your own experience: “Think about when you read blog posts. You rarely ever read the whole thing. You can’t write your story like it’s a murder mystery and reveal the butler did it on the last page. Get the story into the first paragraph.” [bctt tweet="You can’t write your blog like it’s a murder mystery and reveal the butler did it on the last page. Get the story into the first paragraph.” - @chrisbrogan" username="toprank"]

Brevity Is Your Friend

As Chris said, people only read an average of 19 minutes each day. They don’t have the time to read a long, run-on sentence or a paragraph that refuses to end. Once you’ve finished your blog post, go back and see where you can make it more simple and get to the point faster. Your audience will appreciate the time you’re saving them in the long-run. For us, this doesn't mean long-form content is out. It means be concise, deliberate, and intentional with your language. If there’s a sentence that isn’t needed, cut it.

Connect on a Human Level

When it comes to the nitty gritty part of actually writing your blog post, Chris suggests letting go of your stuffy corporate identity and instead be human. Don’t be the brand. Be the person that represents the brand. Show your audience that you have feelings, opinions, jokes, and more.

Be a Guide

Chris’ last blogging tip is probably the most important: be a guide. Sure, a cool story is fun to read. But is a story really valuable if it doesn’t teach you something? Your blogs need answers to important questions. They need to solve problems. And one of the best ways to do that is to be a guide for your audience, helping them avoid disaster and reach their destination.

Blog Like Brogan

Content is everywhere—and so is our audience's attention. As Chris said, we need to strive to create blog post that people actually want to read. For Chris, that means eloquently getting to the point early on to hook readers, and then delivering on your promise in an intentional way. You're not trying to fill a web page. You're trying to fill your reader's mind with information they truly care about. Experiencing FOMO when it comes to Social Media Marketing World? Subscribe to TopRank blog or follow me on Twitter to stay up to date.

The post Chris Brogan’s Guide to Building a Fast Blogging Framework appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.



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Mobile app ad fraud scheme stuffed banner ads with multiple video players

Sold as premium inventory, the scheme resulted in two million fraudulent ad calls per day, said DoubleVerify. The post Mobile app ad fraud scheme stuffed banner ads with multiple video players appeared first on Marketing Land.

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Dropping Digital Distractions With Brian Solis

Brian Solis at Social Media Marketing World 2019

Brian Solis at Social Media Marketing World 2019 Photos. Texts. Emails. Video. Digital is a pivotal part of our daily lives. So what if we stopped using it? Brian Solis, the author of Lifescale: How to live a more creative, productive and happy life, wants us to think hard about our digital distractions and drop them from our habitual behavior. As digital marketers, this notion sounds antithetical to our mission. But Brian promises that disconnecting is beneficial to marketers as well. Below, I share Brian’s thoughts on digital distraction and business from his session at Social Media Marketing World 2019.

Focus Is Elusive

“My ability to be creative, to dive deep, to focus, to give myself time away from my device, was not only difficult but impossible,” Brian said. In fact, this inability to tune out the noise and focus prevented Brian from finishing his eighth book. Now, Brian isn’t suggesting that we stop using technology. He’s just suggesting we use it in a different way. Instead of using it for productivity, Brian suggests using our devices for the purpose of creativity. If we’re able to put our devices down and truly ignore the notifications, we can focus on the tasks that are important. It will improve our output in quality and quantity.

Disconnection Improves Our Health

How we currently use digital devices isn’t healthy for us. Brian pointed out that an astonishing 41% of people have had an accident relating to our smartphones. There’s a new health concern called “selfie wrist.” Plus, depression and anxiety are on the rise among teenagers, the world’s most avid social media users. “As with cigarettes in the early days, we didn’t understand that our digital indulgences were made to be addictive, and we didn’t have information about the health effects on our bodies, emotions, and psyches,” Brian said. He then added: “Living our best life isn’t really living at all.” It’s just posturing. These distractions weigh down our cognitive load, robbing us of creative moments and pulling us out of focus, and this has a real business impact and we need to change:
  • The average person spends 2 hours on our smartphones each day – and it’s not work related
  • Humans used to shift attention every 3 minutes – it’s now 45 seconds

How to Disconnect

Be Aware

Getting over our digital distractions boils down to one thing: Awareness. If we’re aware of our dependency on the digital world, we’re more empowered to do something about it. We can make more intentional choices about how to avoid these distractions and stay focused.

Measure Your Distractions

Check how many times a day you:
  • Reach for a device
  • Check messages
  • Check your feeds for updates
  • Share a picture
Knowing how often you’re taken away from your work is a good indicator of how much creativity you’re losing. This also allows you to make more noticeable improvements in your work, life, and mental health.

Dedicate Time for Creativity

Write. Draw. Paint. Play guitar. Sing. Creativity is like a muscle that needs to be worked. So just like you workout at the gym, you need to make time to be creative. And it’s not about talent, it’s just about expressing yourself. It’s about being happy, mindful, present, and intentional about how you spend your time. Block off time to be creative and block off time to check email, respond to tweets, etc. Just make sure you don’t mesh the two.

Dropping Our Dependencies

To do our best work, we need to be our best selves. And digital distractions take us away from the creative activities and ideas that make us happy. As a result, digital distractions make it impossible for us to focus on the things that really matter in life and instead take us out of the moments we’re living. So, take some advice from Brian: “Allow yourself to color outside the lines and do something absolutely silly.” Hear more of Brian’s thoughts on creativity and digital distraction by reading our full interview with him.

The post Dropping Digital Distractions With Brian Solis appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.



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Email Marketing: How to engage with your current prospects and drive more traffic to your site

Before you engage in CRO ideas that drive sales opportunities deeper into the funnel, many travel brands need to get customers from an email to their site. From our research into building a model of the customer’s mind, we’ve discovered a seemingly simple yet often overlooked email marketing tactic. (I’ve used three experiments from the travel industry as an example, but this discovery is broadly applicable to most industries).

Move your main call-to-action to the top section of your email, and make sure it’s clear and prominent

Remember, the goal isn’t to get the vacation package booking within your email — that’s the website’s job. Your goal is to get the click. As marketers, we often want to throw the kitchen sink at our prospects to spin the odds in our favor. I mean, they are bound to click on something at that point … right?

Wrong! Make sure your objective in your email is focused, and construct your calls-to-action accordingly. Too many options can overwhelm or confuse your prospects when they don’t know what to do. When your prospect doesn’t know what to do, they tend to abandon the email altogether.

340% increase in CTR by adding prominent CTA

Take an experiment we helped a river cruise company run. Its email had many “clickable” areas driving to the landing page, but it lacked a clear call-to-action (CTA) to invite the prospective traveler to take action. Without a prominently emphasized CTA, it is difficult for a reader to quickly identify a primary objective of this email communication.

By adding a yellow “See Offer Details” button near the top of the email that didn’t otherwise exist previously, we saw a 340% increase in clickthrough rate (CTR).

17% increase in CTR by moving CTA button to the top

In a similar test, a vacation brand had an email that actually did have a clear call to action, but it was hidden under a paragraph of copy mid-way through the email. By moving the button to the top and pulling out the most important value claims for the vacation, this version resulted in a 17% increase in clickthrough rate.

43% increase in CTR from reducing number of CTAs

Finally, here’s another A/B test example that we ran with another vacation provider where we saw a 43% lift in clickthrough rate. We reduced the number of CTAs and focused it on the key actions we wanted the prospect to take. We also made them much more visible to a prospect who is skimming dozens of emails. We continued to refine this tactic in two additional follow-up tests to fully optimize the email, which continued to compound the lift in clickthrough rate.

Bottom Line: Make the CTA a no-brainer

In email, we must recognize that our prospects skim dozens of emails in their inbox for flight deals, cruises, hotels and vacation packages. If you’re skilled enough to get the “open” from a compelling subject line, make the next micro-yes a no-brainer for your prospect.

There are many complex things you can do with email marketing from a technological and personalization perspective. But before you dive into those, the lowest-hanging fruit may be to simply test the clarity of the email “ask.”

Related Resources

Email Messaging on-demand certification course (from MECLABS Institute, MarketingExperiments’ parent research organization) — Take this course to capture more subscribers, craft effective email copy and convert email clicks to sales

Optimizing Email Capture: 9-point checklist to grow your email marketing list by minimizing the perceived cost of opting in

Marketing Chart: How vacation booking methods are being considered and used

The post Email Marketing: How to engage with your current prospects and drive more traffic to your site appeared first on MarketingExperiments.



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Cognitive biases: How to get people to prefer your business

Using the mere exposure effect to retarget campaigns, risk compensation theory, social proof or using someone else's halo are just some of the ways marketers can influence purchasing decisions. The post Cognitive biases: How to get people to prefer your business appeared first on Marketing Land.

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3 key components of mobile audience marketing

As mobile advertising begins to mature, so does the ability for marketers to use data before, during and after campaigns. The post 3 key components of mobile audience marketing appeared first on Marketing Land.

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Digital Marketing News: B2B Content Effectiveness Study, Modern Marketing Skills, & Influencer Social Benchmarks

The post Digital Marketing News: B2B Content Effectiveness Study, Modern Marketing Skills, & Influencer Social Benchmarks appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.



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