As an entrepreneur, you need to be a jack of all trades—developing business ideas, marketing, public speaking, mastering finances and cash flow, and much more. But there’s one area that often leaves business owners paralyzed with fear: Writing. How do you create content if you’re not a writer?!
As we all know, these days being a “content creator” is a requirement for building your online business. Providing value through creating useful content helps to grow your audience, builds trust with your audience, establishes you as an authority in your industry, and invites people into your ecosystem.
This type of content, also called content marketing, is all about creating content that will invite people to come to you because of the value you offer, instead of just pushing out a message through advertising or traditional marketing.
Content marketing includes blog posts, email newsletters, social media, podcasts, YouTube videos, and other content that people actually want to consume. This content doesn’t involve the “hard sell” you put in your marketing and advertising efforts. Content marketing is more about offering help, building relationships, building trust, and building your community of superfans.
Content marketing is great, but it also requires a lot of writing, even if you’re creating a YouTube video or podcast.
So . . . what if you’re not a writer? What if you’re just not good at it, or don’t like doing it? What if you just don’t have the time?
Don’t despair! Here are some hacks that you can employ that will help you create great written content that will help you build your business.
Hire a Writer
This is a no-brainer, right? If you have the means to hire someone else to do your writing for you, then, by all means, hire away! This will allow you to focus on what you do best.
So how do you go about hiring a freelance writer? Ask around and see if anyone in your network can recommend a writer. Post a message on LinkedIn, or visit one of these platforms that can match you with a freelance writer.
Fiverr is a great website where you can find writers who have experience with just about any kind of writing, whether it’s articles/blog posts, white papers, sales and marketing copy, or ebooks. You can also hire editors and proofreaders.
On Fiverr, you can browse the profiles of freelance writers available for hire, and see which one may be a good fit for your needs. UpWork is a similar website.
Don’t be afraid to hire someone to help, even if it’s for only a few hours a week, or one project at a time. If the writer is a good fit, you may even eventually want to ask them to come onto your team full-time. Hiring freelancers is a great way to get to know someone before you hire them.
But what if you don’t have the money to hire someone?
Tap Your Team
If you have a team, even if they’re not in an official “writing” role, tap them to see if they will contribute.
You might be surprised that there are good writers out there who aren’t in an official writing role. So see if team members can focus on a specific topic they have expertise in, and ask them to contribute on a regular basis.
At SPI, we have several people on our team who write content, including me; our senior writer, Ray Sylvester; our co-CEO Matt Gartland; Sara Jane Hess, and David Grabowski from our podcasting team; and Jillian Benbow and Jay Clouse, from our CX team.
If you have someone on your team who is good at editing, you can also record an audio “brain dump.” This is where you record your thoughts and ideas for a blog post, and then have someone else edit the content into a cohesive article.
Repurpose Existing Content
You probably already have content that you can repurpose to make blog posts, email content, and even social media posts.
Do you have an online course? If so, take one module, or chapter, of that course and edit it down to create a blog post. At SPI, we recently did that with this blog post on how to nail your business idea.
We took one chapter from the Smart From Scratch course, and we turned it into an article.
You might think, “What if people know the blog post is taken from course content? That’s cheating!”
No, it’s not. It’s providing your audience with valuable information through more than one medium. Blog content is free. So offering free content from a paid course is adding value. Just be careful not to give away too much content for free, or that will devalue your paid content. But a slice here and there is a smart way to reuse content and serve your audience.
You can also reuse content from your podcast, if you have one, and YouTube videos. Take the transcripts, evaluate them to see what content will work best in a blog format, and edit them down.
Strategically reusing content is smart and efficient.
Invite Guest Bloggers to Contribute
Is there someone in your network who can write valuable content on topics that will benefit your audience? Reach out to them and see if they would be interested in writing guest posts. Ideally, these would be people who have a somewhat substantial audience, so you’re killing two birds with one stone—you’re providing content for your audience, and when a guest blogger promotes the post to their own audience, you’ll get some new eyes reading your content.
Make sure the guests know your audience and the types of topics you cover on your blog. Suggest topics they can write about, or collaborate to come up with topics. When their post is published, suggest ways the guest can promote the post to their own audience so you can get more traffic to your website.
At SPI Media, we frequently invite guests to write for our blog, including this one from our friend Heather Osgood, founder of True Native Media, on how to turn your podcast into a profitable business.
Whether it’s for a blog post or your weekly newsletter, curating content is another option for providing value to your audience without having to personally churn out a 2,500-word original article.
Curating content is simply putting together several pieces of content that you have found interesting and think your audience will like. For instance, a blog post could consist of a list of articles (with links) from other publications that you’ve found helpful on topics related to your industry.
Again, this may seem like a cop-out. But it’s not! People like convenience, and having links to several articles all in one place saves them time and effort.
Survey Your Audience
Enlist your audience to help you write content! You can do this by surveying them and using their answers to create blog posts. At SPI Media, we typically use a Typeform survey to ask our audience a question. Then we gather the answers and put them together in a blog post. This is a great way to provide interesting information, and also connect with your audience.
Last May, early in the COVID pandemic, we surveyed our audience and asked them, “What’s giving you hope?” Several people responded to our survey, and we compiled their answers in this powerful blog post.
Leverage the Power of Lists
A list of tips or recommendations is an easy way to pull together content that doesn’t require a lot of research and writing.
About once a month, our podcasting team puts together a list of their favorite podcasts. They write a paragraph about each one, and tell readers why the podcast is good. Sounds easy-peasy, right?
You could do this for anything. What are your top ten recommended online business tools? What are the best business books you’re reading right now, and what do you like about them? What are the top five things that helped you start your business? Giving people advice through a list is a great way to create valuable content.
If you’re good at asking questions and being curious, then you will probably be good at interviewing.
- Interview an expert on a topic that you think will help your audience. At SPI Media, we regularly interview entrepreneurs who are doing amazing things.
- Interview people in your audience who have found success, and write a success story for your blog. People love to read about people just like them who are succeeding.
- Interview a mentor or someone you look up to. Ask them for advice, and create a blog post with the answers.
If you record a video of your interviews, it can be used in many different ways: for a podcast, a video for your Tube channel, as a blog post. You can get a lot of mileage from just one interview!
If you want to learn more about creating content, here are some tips from Pat about how to create content when you’re a busy, beginning entrepreneur.
Tips from Google to make the most of the 2021 holiday shopping season
Before looking ahead to this holiday shopping season, let’s take a quick look back at 2020, and what a year it was. Amid all the challenges came new opportunities and unprecedented growth for ecommerce. Emerging data offers insights into shifting consumer behavior and its positive impact on ecommerce.
The pandemic definitely triggered a shift to more online shopping. In fact, online sales in early spring of last year exceeded sales during the 2019 holiday season by 7%. Additional research shows ecommerce growth on hyperdrive, with 10 years of growth happening in just three months.
There’s more good news for online retailers: 39% of consumers say they’re buying more online now than they were a year ago. And 81% of consumers in surveyed countries across the globe say they’ve discovered new brands online during during COVID-19.
It’s clear that 2021 will continue to be a year of peak demand, making it a critical time to connect with your shoppers. That’s why it’s more important than ever for your business to be discoverable online this holiday season with help from GoDaddy and Google.
Get ready to reach more shoppers online
People shop across Google more than one billion times each day, searching for products just like yours. Don’t miss the opportunity to connect with customers when and where they’re looking to make their holiday purchases.
With GoDaddy’s new Google channel, you can easily add your products to Google for free and promote them with a Smart Shopping campaign to drive traffic to your GoDaddy online store.
3 ways Google can help you prep for peak moments
Use these three free Google tools to gain greater insights into the current consumer mindset as shoppers gear up for the 2021 holiday season.
1. Explore what the world is searching for with Google Trends
Google Trends lets you see in almost real-time what people are — or aren’t — looking for across Google Search, YouTube, Google Shopping, and Google Images. You can pinpoint where there’s growing interest in products and search terms to guide you in selecting which products to promote. Take new information about what your target market is searching for and incorporate these topics into your SEO and content marketing strategy.
2. Discover what shoppers are looking for
Most shoppers today are doing more research before purchasing.
Shopping Insights gives you information on what people are searching for on Google, related to products and brands.
It’s a guide filled with articles, data, and insights that can help you navigate three critical steps in today’s shopping journey: inspiration, research, and purchase.
3. Evaluate your retail website with Grow My Store
As people spend more time online, they have higher expectations from ecommerce websites and apps. With Grow My Store, you can analyze the customer experience on your site and pick up practical tips for how to improve. You can also see how your site stacks up against retailers in the same industry and find insights on market and consumer trends to help reach new customers.
With this holiday season ramping up, make sure to position your online business in the right spot with help from GoDaddy and Google.
The post Tips from Google to make the most of the 2021 holiday shopping season appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
9 retail tips to increase in-store sales through on-site marketing
Getting a customer to enter your retail store is a win, but it isn’t the ultimate goal. Your primary objective is having them walk in and walk out as a paying customer. To help you turn in-store browsers into buyers, consider these retail tips to increase in-store sales.
How to improve sales in a retail store
Before we dive into specific retail tips to increase in-store sales, let’s consider the strategies that can help you improve sales in a retail store. As you develop marketing ideas to increase in-store sales, ask yourself these three questions.
- What in-store assets can I leverage for on-site marketing?
- How can you leverage omnichannel marketing?
- How can you tie your marketing to the customer’s journey?
Let’s take a closer look at each question below.
1. What in-store assets can I leverage for on-site marketing?
As you think about how you can use these retail tips to increase in-store sales, start by considering what you have to work with. Take stock of the types of in-store marketing that are available to you.
- Print signage
- Digital signage and video screens
- Live product demos
- WiFi marketing
- Overhead messaging
- Store layout
- Check-out experience
- Product packaging
- Your team
2. How can you leverage omnichannel marketing?
When thinking about in-store marketing, don’t completely turn off your digital marketing mind. Instead, consider how you can connect the in-person shopping experience with the online shopping experience. Consider how you can use omnichannel marketing.
Customers often merge the two worlds of shopping. They shop online and then come into a store to make a purchase, or they shop in a store and then buy online. According to Statista, 74% of customers use a mobile device for product research while shopping in a store in the United States.
As you develop on-site marketing ideas, consider how you can help the customer connect their in-person experience to their online experience. Think about what a customer may have done online before their visit (or while shopping in the store) and how you can connect that experience to their in-store visit.
3. How can you tie your marketing to the customer’s journey?
As you plan your in-store marketing, don’t think only about making a sale. Keep in mind that you can use on-site marketing to move prospects through their customer journey.
Instead of tying all of your marketing to the goal of generating a quick sale, consider how you can use on-site marketing to reach customers in each phase of their journey.
- Awareness Phase: What can you do to bring awareness to new products or offerings?
- Consideration Phase: How can you educate or inform customers when they are considering whether or not they want to buy?
- Decision Phase: What can you do to help a customer make a purchase or drive them toward an up-sell once they have decided to buy?
- Post-Purchase: How can you bring customers back and stay connected with them once they have made a purchase?
9 retail tips to increase in-store sales
Now that you have some guiding principles to keep in mind as you brainstorm on-site marketing ideas, let’s look at some specific retail tips to increase in-store sales.
- Convert print signage to digital screens.
- Collect information from in-store shoppers.
- Remind people to follow you on social media.
- Create packages and up-sell opportunities.
- Create a loyalty program.
- Use QR codes to guide customers to online sources.
- Create a photo opp.
- Allow online customers to create in-store baskets or pick-ups.
- Utilize your packaging and bags.
1. Convert print signage to digital screens
Don’t let your static signage grow stale and get overlooked. Switch to using digital signage so you can regularly change promotions and feature multiple messages at once.
2. Collect information from in-store shoppers
Run contests or give incentives to in-store shoppers so they join your customer database by entering their phone number or email address. When you have customer contact information, you can reach out to encourage customers to come back and buy again — or to buy for the first time if they left without making a purchase.
3. Remind people to follow you on social media
Another way to create a connection with customers before they go is by asking them to follow you on social media. This connection gives you another opportunity to encourage interested in-store shoppers to come back again.
4. Create packages and up-sell opportunities
Increase revenue by showing customers why it’s a good idea to purchase two products or services together. Create packages and up-sells that add value to items customers are already planning to buy.
5. Create a loyalty program
Encourage customers to visit and buy (while also growing your customer contact database) by establishing a loyalty program that rewards shoppers for visiting or making a purchase.
6. Use QR codes to guide customers to online sources
Make it easy for shoppers to join your loyalty program, follow you on social media, and react to your digital in-store call-to-actions. Use QR codes that they can scan to be taken directly to relevant web pages, social media accounts, your online store, etc.
7. Create a photo opp
Give customers a reason to visit your store and share their experience with their followers. Set up a photo-op in your store so shoppers can take a photo, share it on social media, and drive brand exposure.
8. Allow online customers to create in-store baskets or pick-ups
Connect your online and in-store experience by allowing online customers to create in-store baskets that they can retrieve when they visit the store. This approach is great for clothing stores where customers may want to try on items.
9. Utilize your packaging and bags
If a customer makes a purchase, use it as a gateway to get them to come back. In your packaging or bags, include a coupon or promotion that encourages them to visit again.
Start selling more in-store and online
If you have a retail business, you have a variety of ways to promote products and offerings to customers.
Use these retail tips to increase in-store sales. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, consider how you can leverage digital and in-store marketing to increase sales. And if you primarily sell online, see how a physical storefront can help you reach new customers and showcase your business in a new way.
The post 9 retail tips to increase in-store sales through on-site marketing appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
How technology is changing the advertising industry
- Technology has upended the advertising business.
- Changes in ad tracking and consumer habits are impacting how advertisers reach people and spurring new competition for ad dollars.
- Here's a breakdown of Insider's coverage of how ad buyers and sellers are impacted.
- See more stories on Insider's business page.
The advertising industry is going through big changes as technology changes upend consumer habits and where and how marketers reach them.
The shift to online shopping has attracted new players for digital advertising.
The crackdown on ad tracking is changing advertising
Targeting changes are forcing advertisers to come up with new ways to reach consumers. Google and Apple have sent shockwaves through the ad industry when they announced changes that would put an end to longstanding ad targeting practices in the face of pro-privacy regulation.
Those moves have led marketers, their agencies, and adtech companies like LiveRamp and The Trade Desk scrambling to find workarounds.
- Google's move away from targeted advertising threatens to upend marketers' scramble to save digital ads
- Apple's recent privacy changes are already wreaking havoc on Facebook advertisers, and ad buyers are scrambling to manage the disruptions
- Ad giant Dentsu is going through a massive culling of its agencies – here's what we know about the winners and losers
- The ad industry is looking for a way to save targeted ads, but publishers worry it'll cheapen their reader relationships and cost them revenue
Marketing meets tech
CMOs are finding new ways to zap ads at people by building homegrown tools, using targeted ads, or snapping up ad tech and martech companies.
- Meet 19 execs at companies like Adobe and Shopify who are shaping the future of marketing tech
- Anheuser-Busch InBev has amassed data on 2.5 billion consumers and is using it to get around new ad targeting challenges, growing sales as much as 80%
- Candy maker Mars built a tool that tracks people's emotional reactions to ads, and says it's lifting sales by as much as 18%
- Big brands like Nike and Neiman Marcus are snapping up tech companies to learn more about their customers as old ways of ad targeting go away
- 21 advertising execs who are finding new ways to target people in a privacy-centric world
- Online fashion marketplace Farfetch is doubling down on 'addressable' TV ads as competition intensifies with Amazon for luxury shoppers
Adtech is hot again
Even as advertisers slashed their spending in the economic downturn, the rise of streaming TV and online shopping has benefitted adtech companies that help connect ad buyers and sellers and solve advertising and marketing problems.
Investors are pouring money into firms like like TVision DoubleVerify that are solving problems in digital advertising. Other firms are going public as Wall Street fell back in love with adtech due to broad macroeconomic changes.
- A startup that wants to bring a 'Moneyball' approach to ads raised $8 million from investors like Stage 2 Capital and Samsung
- TV ratings giant Nielsen has lost the media industry's backing. These 6 companies could replace it.
- 9 hot European digital-marketing companies that experts say are prime acquisition targets in 2021
- The Trade Desk is taking on Google for digital ad dollars, and the battle is about to get more complicated
- 9 adtech companies that advertisers are flocking to for new ways to zap ads at people and measure whether they work
- The 18 hottest adtech companies of 2020
- 8 of the most promising tech startups in public relations, according to investors
- 20 experts who are working on big solutions for advertisers as ad targeting as we know it goes away
Ad agencies are getting disrupted
While the established holding companies scramble to adapt to the digital shift, new ad companies focused on digital specialities and armed with new private-equity funding threaten to take their place.
- 12 advertising upstarts that are challenging ad giants like WPP and Omnicom
- Dept is one of the fastest-growing advertising companies. Its CEO explains the Carlyle-backed firm's plan to become the leading digital agency.
- 13 power players at S4 Capital helping Sir Martin Sorrell build a digital challenger to ad giant WPP
- Ad agencies that are top acquisition targets as private equity money pours in
- Experts name 12 companies that are likely acquisition targets as online shopping takes off
Retailers are seeking a piece of the ad pie
A new set of companies sees an opportunity in selling advertising include food delivery companies, online retailers, and brick-and-mortar grocers. They're hoping to replicate the success of Amazon, which claimed 10.3% of the US digital ad market in 2020 and is competing with Google and Facebook for ad budgets.
- Advertising is Amazon's fastest-growing business and brought in $21 billion in 2020. Here are the 21 top insiders leading the charge.
- Alan Moss is spearheading Amazon's push to steal ad dollars from Facebook and Google. Insiders lay out his playbook for getting a slice of the $70 billion TV ad market.
- Uber just hired a top Amazon advertising exec. Here are 45 other big hires that show how it and other companies are warring for advertising dollars
- Amazon, Walmart, and Instacart are vying for advertising dollars – here's exactly how much they charge for ads
- 18 firms that are helping solve marketers' giant problems selling and advertising on Amazon
- Experts lay out how Instacart, Walmart, and other retail ad sellers can take on Amazon in digital advertising
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