You Will Never Have A Viral Blog post

We all, as bloggers and business owners crave that one day what we write about will be seen by the masses, we need our posts to go viral. A single viral blog post can make your website a hot property and create a huge buzz around your business brand very quickly.

imagesSo what makes a post go viral?

Let’s dissect some recent posts that captured readers’ attention and attracted loads of social media shares. Here are some examples and lessons from blog posts that went viral.

 

 

 

1. Positive content

Uplifting content gets shared more than you may believe. Practical advice that can help improve life skills is always in demand. There are countless posts that hand out tips on leading a happier and more fulfilling life. Some do it better than others and make readers care enough to share.

I discovered “30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself’” on StumbleUpon. The post has garnered over half a million likes, over 20,000 tweets and thousands of shares on other social media.

a. The enticing headline:

A post’s headline is a key viral driver. Unless it motivates readers’ enough, it won’t get clicks no matter how great your content may actually be. Negative headlines have been seen to convert better than positive titles. Readers can be skeptical of positive superlatives like ‘best’ and ‘most’, perceiving them to be cliché or an attempt at endorsement, and view negative ones like ‘worst’ or ‘never’ to be authentic and impartial. In this post, use of the negative word ‘stop’ makes readers pause and wonder if there’s something they’re doing that they shouldn’t.

b. The list

Time and again, studies and split-tests have shown that headlines containing numbered lists attract massive click-throughs.
c. Structure:

Online readers get put off by chunky paragraphs and scarce use of bold and italicized font. “30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself“’ presents 30 points in numbered list with no more than four lines under each. It’s easy to read and digest.
d. Actionable tips:

The post offers readers actionable advice that can be incorporated right away. Every tip tells you what to stop doing and what positive action to take. Some also have links to books on a similar topic for further reading.

2. Personal stories

A well-told first personal account of an experience and lessons learned thereof adds authenticity and makes for an interesting read.
Consider a recent LinkedIn post ‘Why I won’t take your business card’ that was shared 281 times and elicited several comments and opinions (some from the top 1% of most viewed profiles on the network).

The post discusses the importance of building relationships over making an explicit sale at networking events through the lens of a marketing strategist who found herself in a similar situation.

While the honest narrative is compelling enough to encourage responses, the author ends her post by asking questions and soliciting comments. A simple “do you think……” or “I would love to hear your opinion on……” at the end of your blog post can nudge readers into leaving a comment. Even one or two comments encourage more people to comment, which in large part, can be attributed to the psychological phenomenon known as ‘social proof’, where we are influenced by and conform to others’ actions.

Another hugely shared (4,685 times on LinkedIn) post ‘Four Business Rules I Learnt in Kindergarten’ is an example of the author’s creative and playful approach to discussing a serious business topic. Attracting over 400 comments, the post struck a chord with readers for delivering simple yet valuable lessons we sometimes tend to oversee. A black and white photograph accompanying the post gives it a warm picture book feel, and really sets it apart from other LinkedIn posts.

3. Make it intriguing

imagesExplore ways to deliver useful content without sounding like thousands of other posts doling out tips and advice on the same topic.

A great example is ‘Marriage Isn’t for You’, which not only managed 10,000+ shares on Twitter and Facebook, but also landed the writer a book deal.

Two things work for the post:

The interesting headline that instantly incites curiosity. There’s also more to the headline than meets the eye (a clever move by the writer), which lifts the value of the post.
A refreshing and heart-warming take on marriage. Check out the post here.

Say you’re giving financial advice to entrepreneurs. A title such as ‘Here’s Why You Can’t be the Next Millionaire’ is a more intriguing title than ‘How to be a Millionaire’, which is pretty standard stuff for blogs in your niche.

Instead of saying what you should do to set the cash registers ringing, you can explain what you may be doing now that’s keeping you from being the next millionaire. ‘A Little Mistake that Cost me $7000 a Year’ is another click-worthy title and an interesting lesson on preventing financial mistakes.

If your title is a click-magnet, make sure your content sustains the curiosity created by it. Also remember that it may not be possible to drum up a captivating, click-worthy title for every post.

4. Capitalise on the most happening news events

Readers tend to get behind blog posts surrounding buzzing news and major events they’re exposed to on news sites, in the papers and on their social media pages.

Oxfam GB timed their blog post on maternal health around the birth of Prince George, a hugely popular event that took the web by storm. The charity organisation used Facebook to draw attention to their blog post and delivered the important message that every baby’s arrival into the world is a cause for celebration.
Use Google Trends, BuzzFeed, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon and Reddit to stay on the pulse of trending news items. Explore possible ways of relating news stories to your niche. Lessons, opinions, potential consequences : there are many ways in which you can use viral news to grab readers’ attention and encourage shares.

Finding blog post ideas

Viral Blog posts with useful content keep readers coming back for more. You must keep posting new content on questions people are asking, topics they’re searching for, and discussions they’re having online.

It continuously supply blog post ideas. You’re sure to find issues and topics that may have escaped your radar. Don’t worry about the spelling, grammar and style of forum posts, they are bound to be very casual. Focus on what people want to know about and the kind of problems to which they’re soliciting advice from fellow forum members.

Identification of forum members occurs through user names and some forums also allow guests to comment. Naturally, discussions are honest and open. This gives you a chance to really get into people’s minds and understand their needs, problems, interests, fears and lifestyles.

Quora

It is an authoritative and popular Q&A social media site that can help you zero in on winning blog post ideas. Its early adopters were technology pundits, internet marketing gurus and entrepreneurs. As such, the content quality and credibility of the site ranks highly.

You can type a keyword to see questions related to your topic. You can also test if potential blog topics may generate interest and response from readers by posting questions and seeing if they’re answered.

Yahoo! Answers

It is another community-powered Q&A site covering 25 categories. You will not find as high a number of intellectually curious and elite members on the site in comparison to Quora. There is, however, no dearth of opinions, musings and personal experiences, which can spark off interesting blog post ideas.

Parting tips

Here are a few more tips to make your content move and become viral posts.

Analyse blog comments for ideas
To increase views, link to past and future posts
Post to Facebook, Twitter and Google+
Submit to Reddit, Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon.

What about you? What content and headlines have you found to work? Look forward to your insights in the comments below.

Do You Make These Social Media Mistakes

Today 90% of businesses use social media, of those that do many make these social media mistakes which can be costly to the growth of your business or brand.

imagesBut, simply opening an account or sending out some tweets and liking the odd thing here and there is not enough to make social media platforms a viable and profitable part of a marketing strategy. By avoiding some basic mistakes, many businesses have the ability to increase ROI and create more opportunities from social media accounts.

 

Listed below are 14 social media mistakes to avoid.

1. Not having a strategy

Less than 20% of businesses say that their social media strategy is mature. Social media users are inundated with information and messages every second of the day. Businesses that don’t have a strategy won’t ever cut through the clutter and deliver an effective message to their target audience. Creating a strategy includes having distinct and measurable goals, developing a clear social media policy, thinking through a brand’s social media voice, and planning out a content calendar with end goals in mind.

Without a clear strategy, businesses could create the best content on the web, but receive little to no engagement.

2. Not integrating with other digital assets

Social media works best when integrated with other digital marketing efforts. One mistake many businesses make is to leave their social media accounts on islands. Not only should the accounts be linked together through profiles, but they should also be directly tied to websites, emails and paid search advertising campaigns. Not connecting these accounts reduces the amount of reach each asset has separately.

3. Not using images

Images on twitter cause tweets to take up more space on the feed and help drive engagement. Tweets that include an image have 200 percent more engagement than tweets without images. While an image may not be appropriate for every tweet, businesses should include one whenever possible to help draw attention to their message.

4. Not providing content users demand

Many businesses decide to use Instagram as another way to push static ads that could be posted on any other platform. However, Instagram is best used when businesses give consumers a behind-the-scenes look at what is going on and give insight into the personality of the brand. Instead of posting a touched up photo destined for the pages of a magazine, businesses should use Instagram to send out a picture of the photo shoot, the models laughing, the chefs cooking, or the crew eating some pizza around a big table. Businesses can stay on message and keep a consistent digital voice while still allowing followers to feel personally connected, which in turn fosters more sharing and increased followers.

5. Not using a consistent voice

A business’ Twitter account should be used for business, not personal anecdotes. While unique, funny and chatty messages can make a Twitter account seem more “human,” getting into arguments, insulting other brands or using it to advance the unrelated interests of executives pushes the platform off-message and can create backlash. Brands shouldn’t have their Twitter account act and sound like a robot either. Repeatedly sending out the same messages can create ill will from consumers as well. The key is to find a happy middle ground where the brand’s voice is consistent, caring and human at the same time.

6. Not utilising images or using the wrong size image

Visual stimulation helps drive engagement on social networks. In fact, 40 percent of people respond better to visual information than plain text according to Zabisco. On average, photos get 50 percent more impressions than any other post type on Facebook, while also gathering more likes and comments according to a study by Roost. To optimize images on Facebook, businesses should make sure to use the correct image size, which varies depending on where the image is going to be used. For the average post, that means uploading a 1,200 x 1,200 pixel image, while Facebook ads have different guidelines businesses should follow to drive the most potential engagement.

7. Not removing the URL from a post

When you put a link in a Facebook update, the social networking site automatically creates a clickable image that also works as a link. Because of this, businesses don’t need to include the URL in the post. While having the extra link doesn’t hurt anything, it does show to some users that the business doesn’t understand the capabilities and features of Facebook, so it’s best to delete the extra URL.

8. Not interacting with followers

Social media is meant to be interactive and consumers expect a certain amount of responsiveness from businesses on Facebook. Responding to posts, thanking consumers for commenting and addressing complaints helps consumers feel more connected to the brand. Businesses should have a strategy in place to respond to comments, both negative and positive, and how to use the social media platform as a part of a crisis management strategy. Not every comment needs a response, but responding to followers helps build camaraderie and trust between brands and consumers, which can affect future sales and word of mouth marketing.

9. Not using the platform at all

Google Plus may be the most underutilized social media platform today. It is directly integrated with Google search results, making profiles an integral part of any digital marketing or search engine optimization strategy.

10. Not utilising circles or communities

Circles on Google Plus allow businesses to segment followers into groups and address each segment separately with unique content. If circles aren’t utilized, each piece of content goes to every single follower. To increase conversion rates and engagement, instead of pushing content to everyone, businesses should create content that appeals to specific audiences and then post that content to the applicable circles and communities.

11. Not including descriptions or prices

Pinning images to Pinterest is simply not enough if businesses want to use the social media site to drive traffic and increase sales. Despite easy access, many businesses are forgoing the use of rich pins, which include a thorough description of the item and the price. Descriptions should use terms that people search for and be as descriptive as possible and including the price entices pinners to click the link. In fact, a study from Shopify found that rich pins with prices get 36 percent more likes and repins than regular pins.

12. Not using active images

Pinterest is all about visual stimulation, but many businesses are using static and uninspiring images to portray products. Instead, businesses should use colorful images that show the products in action. For example, instead of a picture of a sweater on a table, use an image of someone wearing the sweater doing something fun. Curalate looked at a half million Pinterest images and found that factors like color, white space and even the inclusion of faces make a difference in terms of engagement.

13. Not linking to product page

Businesses should strive to make it as easy as possible for shoppers to go from browsing Pinterest to buying a product. To do that, businesses should link directly to product pages instead of home pages or other non-related content. The more links and moves a consumer has to make before buying a product, the less likely they are to make a final purchase.

14. Not using hashtags effectively

imagesThere is no limit to the number of hashtags a business can attach to a post and for some that freedom has led to an overuse of this normally effective outreach tool. Hashtags allow people to filter through the millions of posts every day, and it’s very tempting for businesses to try and wedge their way into conversations where they don’t organically belong by using hashtags. But, just like traditional marketing outlets such as email, traditional mail and phone calls, spam can turn off consumers. Instead, businesses should only use hashtags that directly apply to the post or the company.

 

 

In Conclusion

Brands should strive to create their own social media voice, while also attempting to optimise their social media efforts by avoiding the common pitfalls listed above. Social media has the ability to be an effective and cost controlled method for reaching out to potential consumers, engaging with current fans and helping increase sales. Just like any other marketing strategy, social media efforts should be continually monitored and updated for full effect.

 

5 Blog Topic Tips

Never Run out of An Idea for A Blog Topic Again.

Below are five Simple Blog Topic Tips that Work

Developing new and exciting article topics, titles and inspiring headlines can be challenging for content marketers due to the overwhelming amount of existing online content.

To help content producers and bloggers create lists of article topics and create great headlines when they face writer’s block, I’ve listed five topic creation techniques you can use to make sure you never run out ideas for blog topics.

 

1. Use the blog topic generator

The Blog Topic Generator is a HubSpot tool which generates a list of article topics based on the keywords you input.

For example, if you fill in the fields using keywords SEO, content marketing, and social media, Blog Topic Generator will generate potential topics such as 10 Signs You Should Invest in SEO, What Will Content Marketing Be Like in 100 Years?, and 15 Best Blogs to Follow About Social Media.

Using Blog Topic Generator to develop a list of article topics saves you a tremendous amount of time because you’re getting a tool to do the preliminary brainstorming work.

2. Play the ‘Ad Strategy Game’

Here’s how the ad strategy game works:

Create a list of marketing practices such as content marketing, SEO, and social media marketing.
Create a list of industries such as accounting, manufacturing, and retail.
Select a marketing practice and industry.
Develop an article topic based on the marketing practice and industry. For example, if you select content marketing and retail, create articles such as 5 Content Marketing Secrets Retailers Should Know or How Content Marketing has Revolutionized Retail.

While the ad strategy game is similar to the function of Blog Topic Generator, it’s slightly different because it forces you to think outside the box using your own creative juice and develop article topics that the Blog Topic Generator can’t produce.

3. Visit your older articles

Visit your older blogs and develop new article topics based on them.

For example, if you’ve previously written articles such as 5 Digital Marketing Trends in 2013 Every Entrepreneur Should be Aware Of or Unraveling 10 SEO Tips Digital Marketers Must Know in 2013, create new articles such as Entrepreneurs! Pay Attention to These 5 Digital Marketing Trends in 2014! or 2014 SEO Secrets Revealed. This approach will help you develop articles quickly since you’re just updating new versions of older blogs.

As a bonus, developing new versions of previous articles gives you a chance to perform internal linking and boost search ranking. When you create a new version of an older article, you can link the new version to the old one, and vice versa, and pass SEO juice between the two. This tactic will help both pages improve their search ranking. To learn more about internal linking, read HubSpot’s Deep Dive Into Internal Linking for SEO guidebook.

4. Think about your clients’ pains

Come up with different client pains and address them in your articles.

For example, if you’re a social media marketing agency and your clients have trouble attracting customers over the summer because their target audiences are on vacation, you can write an article on how businesses can stay top-of-mind with prospects by using mobile Facebook ads. Customers who are on vacation go online more than ever these days to post holiday photos, stay connected with friends back home, or browse for local restaurants and events.

Thinking about your client’s pains and developing topics based on them will help you generate plenty of article topics because your customers, just like every other business, have numerous problems.

5. Think about your product benefits

Think about your product benefits and create articles on each benefit.

For example, if you offer social media marketing services, write an article about how social media is an effective marketing research tool.

Then take it further. Maximize the number of articles you can write for each benefit by showcasing the benefit from different angles. For instance, you can develop articles such as How Facebook Helped Me Discover 10 New Clients, 10 Effective Ways to Use Twitter for Marketing Research, and 18 Simple Ways to Generate Inbound Leads Using Instagram. These articles all focus on the central benefit: social media is a powerful marketing research tool.

Once you’ve developed a large list of topics, schedule them in a content calendar. A content calendar helps vary different topics so that you avoid writing articles about the same benefit too close together.
Wrapping it up

With the increased usage of content marketing by companies, content marketers are expected to develop new, enticing articles on the fly to compete for consumers’ attention. This can be mentally challenging because it’s difficult to constantly create new article topics.

By using the five techniques above, you can leverage free tools such as the Blog Topic Generator to develop new article topics easily and quickly, visit older blogs for inspiration, and think about your clients’ pains and create numerous articles to address their issues.

If you’ve other topic creation approaches you want to share, please leave them in the comments section below!

20 Twitter Facts and Statistics

What first attracted me to Twitter and social media was that you could achieve world wide marketing for free, called an organic reach. This enabled bloggers to build global brands. That is changing, here are some Twitter facts and statistics you should know about.

This year we are seeing the rapid emergence of pay to play, to reach your followers. So questions need to be addressed.

Is the social media free lunch over? That also leads to another question. Is social going the way of mass media where the only way to gain attention is to pull out the cheque book?

The answer is much more complex than that. It is dependent on many factors including your choice of social networks, tactics and tools.
Is Twitter’s organic reach going to disappear too? Facebook is pushing the comfort boundaries of organic reach.

For Twitter though the filtering is not an option as it is a news breaking social network. Applying filtering algorithms to it’s stream will take away its meaning for existence and continuing evolution. You only have to look at its latest hiring trends that are mass media and television centric to realise that Twitter is pushing towards the integration of television, social and mass media.

That focused strategy by Twitter management to make mass media and social work together is maybe one of the reasons that its latest quarter two results that exceeded every analysts expectations. The World Cup marketing coup by Twitter was evidence of that successful and ongoing evolution. I don’t expect Twitter’s organic reach to disappear as it has too much to lose if it takes the Facebook path.

Twitter facts and statistics

Below are some surprising facts and statistics that show Twitter is on the path to successfully reinventing itself.

1. There was a 24% increase in monthly active users over the last 4 quarters with the total now at 271 million.

2. Twitter has added 53 million users in the last 12 months

3. Twitter’s monthly mobile users now total 211 million, which is a gain of 29%

4. 81% of Twitter’s advertising revenue came from mobile ads

5. Increase in sales is up 124% from a year ago at $312 million compared to $139.3 million in second quarter of 2013

6. Twitter expects to have revenue of between $330 and $340 million in the third quarter of 2014

7. Twitter is growing the fastest in Asia Pacific with expectations it will increase its user base by more than

33% in 2014 according to eMarketer

8. Twitter penetration rates in Asia Pacific stand at 19.8% for Japan, 18.3% for for Indonesia and 12.2% in Australia

9. Twitter penetration rates in the USA stand at 27.9% of all social networks users, 19.2% of internet users

and 15.2% of the total population

10. In the USA the number of Adult Twitter users is estimated at 34.7 million

11. Timeline views reached 173 billion for the the second quarter of 2014

12. Twitter is currently valued at $27.3 billion which is 200 times forward earnings compared to Facebook at 39.4 times

13. During the World Cup there were 672 million tweets

14. Germany’s defeat of Argentina in the final generated 618,000 tweets per second

15. There were 32.1 million Tweets during the World Cup final

16. The previous record for an event was the Superbowl, and that received 24.9 million tweets

17. Twitter spends more than its competitors on stock based compensation as a percentage of revenue on its

employees at $158 million (50.29%) compared to Facebook (10.9%) and LinkedIn (14.3%)

18. Advertising revenue per thousand timeline views reached $1.60 in the second quarter of 2014 which is an

increase of 100% over the last year

19. Katy Perry has the most Twitter followers currently at over 55 million followed by Justin Bieber (53 million)

and Barack Obama (44 million)

20. Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks than those without