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TODD SMITH — Leverage your content marketing strategy in 2017

TODD SMITH

Content marketing is a powerful marketing tool that can drive your branding success in the new year. It can establish your business as an authority on a topic, increases traffic to your website, helps your brand reach new customers and much more!

If you intend on using content marketing in 2017, it is important to be aware the constantly evolving communications vehicle.

Marketers are consistently discovering new ways to create valuable content and use it effectively.

Here are five exciting techniques that will vault your content marketing in 2017.

1. Combine the written word with visual content.

Traditionally, content marketing has focused on written pieces only. Blog posts, eBooks, articles, white papers, etc. This is because it is very easy to create and share this type of content. It can be used on a website, emailed directly to customers or downloaded as a PDF.

In 2017, businesses must be more creative in the ways they present content. Brands must strive to use multiple types of content to make their material stand out in a crowded marketplace. That means combining text content with videos, audio, interactive components and visuals.

Some of the ways you can use visualization to make your content marketing succeed include:

» Infographics that highlight key statistics mentioned in the piece.

» Short introductory videos that explain the purpose of the post.

» Full-length videos that present the contents of the entire article.

» Interactive elements, such as maps and graphs that allow users to explore the information discussed in the article.

» Interactive slideshows that make browsing the key points in your article simpler.

Creating multiple forms of visual content gives your visitors the option to consume the content in the format they prefer – videos, images, infographics or interactive presentations. Having multiple forms of visual content also gives you the ability to share it on more platforms. You can upload your videos to Vimeo or YouTube, submit infographics to Visual.ly, post slide decks to Slideshare, or upload images to Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest. Users can share the other forms of visual content via social media, which can potentially increase the reach and engagement.

2. Make content that is highly targeted.

As you might have noticed, content dominates online. There are billions of blog posts and articles covering nearly every topic known to a human being. For this reason, it is becoming increasingly important to avoid writing about generalized topics. Chances are there is already an article or blog post out there that tackles the same topic in great detail.

Instead, look for topics that are targeted to your audience or related to current affairs. Always carefully tailor your content to match the background and knowledge of your audience. If you focus on creating highly targeted content that your audience cannot get elsewhere, it will be considered highly valuable.

Remember, evergreen content still plays an integral role in any content marketing strategy. Hence, using a skyscraper technique, which mainly focuses on developing content that already ranks well by making it longer, more comprehensive and detailed can certainly level up your marketing game in 2017.

3. Focus on reader retention.

Anyone advancing a brand knows that it is much easier to retain a loyal customer than it is to find a new one! If you have built an audience that reads your emails or visits your website regularly, it is crucial that you spend some time thinking about reader retention.

Some of the best audience retention techniques include:

» Provide regular stream of quality, useful and relevant content.

» Engage in a dialogue with your readers via the comments section or Twitter. This will help you build a relationship with your audience.

» Make it easy for your audience to obtain and subscribe to your content.

» Create a seamless experience for readers to find your best content and related posts.

» Offer incentives for readers to keep coming back, including competitions, giveaways, discounts on products, or access to special content.

» Use email marketing to reach your users directly

4. Embrace user-generated content.

Internet marketers have discovered that users trust content made by other users. That includes comments on blog posts, discussions in forums, and shares via social media. When a user comments positively on your article, brand or product, it carries a lot of weight with other visitors.

Take advantage of user-generated content by encouraging your audience to engage with your work. Ask for feedback via Twitter, encourage comments on your blog, ask people to share your post via social media and so on.

5. Promote your content.

Making compelling content is a waste of time if readers can’t find it!

In 2017, most content marketers are concentrating on finding new ways to promote their most valuable pieces.

In addition to promoting your content through email marketing, social media and news releases – consider using paid promotion to highlight your phenomenal pieces. Consider investing into paid ads, such as Google Adwords, Facebook Ads and Stumble Upon.

Also take advantage of paid content discovery networks like Outbrain and Taboola, among others.

Apple devices most activated during holidays

Every year, Christmas week brings in the highest number of new device activations and app installs. Twenty sixteen also had Hanukkah to help, but the main result was the same: Apple dominated the results, according to Flurry, a mobile analytics and advertising firm.

Just under half of device activations (44 percent) were for an Apple device this Christmas, down from 49.1 percent last year. One in five were Samsung devices (21 percent, up from 19.8 percent), with the rest of companies settling for single digits under 5 percent.

Flurry’s data is global, although it is naturally skewed towards those that use its platform. The Yahoo-owned mobile analytics and advertising firm supports nearly 250,000 developers, reaching more than 800,000 apps across more than 2 billion devices with 10 billion sessions every day. This is the basis used to determine which devices were purchased and which apps were the first to be downloaded and installed.

Microsoft unsurprisingly fell out of the list, while Huawei showed up to the party for the first time.

Amazon has best holiday season ever, fueled by Echo, smooth talking Alexa

Amazon.com Inc. said it had its best holiday season yet, having shipped more than 1 billion items through its Prime and Fulfillment services, and receiving a record number of orders for its own Alexa devices.

Sales for Echo speakers based on Alexa’s voice-recognition software were nine times more than the 2015 holiday season, according to Amazon.

Gauging demand for a product is difficult. Retailers risk losing money by overstocking or missing sales and disappointing shoppers by not having enough items available.

Amazon actually sold out of its Echo speakers in mid-December. The Echo shortage shows voice-activated assistants are resonating with shoppers. Consumers can use voice commands on the gadget to order pizza, check homework, and play music, among other tasks.

More than 70 percent of Amazon users shopped using a mobile device during the holiday, Amazon said.

Golden Mic | Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds defined image of leading ladies

Carrie Fisher – forever light sabered into our pop culture minds as Princess Leia in the Star Wars series – and her mother, actress Debbie Reynolds, Fisher’s mother and 1950’s icon best known for her role in Singin’ in the Rain, who died within days of each other, forever changed how a movie going public perceived leading ladies.

The mother-daughter Silver Screen dynamic duo will be buried together at a Hollywood cemetery, a fitting ending to two Hollywood heroes.

The actress who portrayed Star Wars’ Princess Leia died December 27th, four days after suffering a massive cardiac episode aboard a Los Angeles-bound plane. A day after Fisher’s death, Reynolds died following what was described as a “severe stroke.”

“She said, ‘I want to be with Carrie,'” son Todd Fisher told the Associated Press.  “And then she was gone.” In an interview with 20/20, Fisher added of his mother’s death, “She didn’t die of a broken heart. She just left to be with Carrie.”

For the indelible impact these two made on our lives, these Sliver Screen sweethearts take the Golden Mic. Whenever we see a starlit night or feel like singing in the rain, we will fondly remember these women who touched us all in amazing ways.

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

» Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.

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