3 Types of Killer Content to Slay Your Competition

Online shoppers have one goal. To find what they want. Sure, they want a good price and good shipping terms, and a company with a solid reputation and the right range of services—but what they really want most is enough information to make an informed decision…you know, to find what they want.

The Google Gods understand this and that’s why they create algorithms designed to defeat terrible content and drive it off the top of search engine results pages (or SERPs).

As a business, your armor against the scourge of Google updates is high quality content.

Because high quality content is what users want, it’s what Google wants to show them…and if you’re smart enough to provide it, your website will never suffer the Google smackdown. (And, hey, it’s not just about Google—all search engines run algorithms written to deliver the best quality results.)

Is Your Content Killer?

3 Types of Killer Content to Slay Your Competition : As a business, your armor against the scourge of Google updates is high quality content.There’s no single definition for quality content. The definition changes by industry, niche, target audience, type of product, etc. Nevertheless, you can follow these basic guidelines to ensure your content is solid each and every time.

Killer content comes in the following forms:

  1. Stable, evergreen content that includes popular draws like instructional how-tos and in-depth information about your product or service, industry, and related topics.
  2. Fresh and relevant content like industry buzz, breaking news, and new ways to think about your product or service.
  3. Copy—your top-level sales pages that tell customers about your products and services, and about your company.

With a mixture of in-depth information and a constant stream of new angles and fresh information, you can cover a lot of bases.

The length of your content should correspond to the topic, but a good rule of thumb for average blog posts and articles is 550-850 words. You can also benefit from longer content in the form of eBooks, white papers, and newsletters. Length is a controversial subject, especially if your audience is largely mobile.

One way to address mobile users is to put a lot of information at the top. Make that headline count. In journalism classes, they call that impactful title and the first sentence “the hook.” The success of your written content (whether people care enough to continue to read) often depends on the quality of your hook. In a web search, users often only see a title and the first sentence. Don’t waste that space.

3 Types of Killer Content to Slay Your Competition : As a business, your armor against the scourge of Google updates is high quality content.

Fierce Fightin’ Tips for Wicked Content

  • Add Visual Appeal: Content is not limited to words. Graphics and videos add appeal and drive traffic. Visuals can be in any or all formats—videos and vines (micro-videos), slide presentations, infographics, product or user photos, and branded graphics. Visual content is popular and more likely to be shared than anything else. But more importantly, companies using visual content have 7x higher conversion rates.
  • Go Pro: Be sure to take your content seriously—every piece should be free of grammar and spelling errors.
  • Document Your Content Strategy: The Content Marketing Institute found that only 35% of B2B marketers have a documented strategy…and that those who do have a documented strategy are twice as successful.

Before you can start any successful marketing effort, you have to have a complete strategic plan working for you throughout the Growth Cycle Marketing process, from attracting the attention of potential customers to inviting repeat customers back with new offerings. That’s what creating quality content is all about. You can’t fake it or cheap out by hiring terrible writers to churn out terrible writing in volume. When it comes to content, quality is always better than quantity if you want to slay the fearsome beast that is your competition.

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Happy Social Media Day from Cultivate Communications!

Everyone at Cultivate is pumped up and ready to celebrate Social Media Day 2014 with crazy hashtags, social themed everything, and lots of laughs.

Which hashtag-tee is your favorite?

sm-day

Looking for ways to celebrate Social Media Day in your city? Check out our previous blog post to find Social Media Day events near you AND where you can find our staff celebrating around downtown Milwaukee! Happy #hashtagging!

10 Social Media Resolutions for 2014

“New year, new game plan” — a phrase I’ve been repeating a lot lately. It’s not surprising that businesses’ marketing plans for the coming year revolve around increasing their social media, visual, and content marketing efforts.

Has your business been ignoring the buzz? If so . . .

Open up your eyes and ears, my friends, because 2014 is the year of CONTENT and SOCIAL. { Tweet this! }

This “Top 10 List” of social media resolutions will help put your company on the road to social success.

1. Spend more time building your social family. In the New Year, businesses will start to view social media as a necessity instead of a luxury. Companies will begin to hire full-time social media managers and content specialists . . . and for good reason.

Contrary to popular belief, social media is NOT free. It takes time, effort, and understanding to be done effectively, and that has a cost. If your business doesn’t have a social media and content expert, it’s time to add a new member to your company’s family tree in 2014! {Click here to get a glimpse of a fun company who’s successfully harnessed the power of social to connect with its customers.}

2. Trim the fatty content. Whether it’s on your blog or Facebook account, less truly is more. You have only seconds to win over a reader — don’t scare them off with mile-long paragraphs. Stick to short sentences, lists, and graphics. Turn your bulky, dense information into slim, SHAREABLE content.

3. Cut back on the #Hashtags . . . #Seriously. When you’re constantly adding #hashtags, things get #hard to #read and your #followers #scan right by your #amazing #content and will eventually #UNFOLLOW #YOU.

I like to think of overusing hashtags as having a giant chocolate appetizer buffet at your important dinner party. You think everyone loves it, but if there’s too much too soon, you’ll: (a) make your guests sick, (b) ruin their appetite, and (c) make these cherished individuals not want to think, look at, or even dream of chocolate for a week. Now your chocolate buffet is suddenly not such a great gift.

Don’t let hashtags ruin your followers’ appetite and love for your content! If you must use hashtags, limit yourself to 1–2 per post.

4. Straight-talk less, Emoji more. Now, I’m not advising you to add dancing pandas to your email blasts or Monday-morning tweets, but it is time to start showing a little {positive} emotion on your social channels. A big trend for 2014 is companies becoming more “human” within their social presence. Don’t be afraid to share a funny photo from the office or a Vine of the company holiday party. Your audience will appreciate seeing your shared humanity.

5. Travel to new platforms. I don’t believe that all social platforms are appropriate for every type of business, but don’t be afraid to explore new pastures in 2014. Do your research, and find a platform that will fit into your social strategy and add some value to your social presence. {Need help? Check out “Which Social Media Platform Is Right for YOUR Business?“}

10 Social Media Resolutions for 20146. It’s time to give back and share . . . your blog content. Let’s take a step back. If you haven’t even started a blog yet, that’s OK. But the time to start one is NOW. {Learn how to start a company blog here.} Blogging has become one of the biggest phenomenons in content marketing. When creating your content, make sure it’s relevant, intriguing, and shareable. In 2014, don’t forget to share your blog content through ALL of your social channels. The more eyes on your content, the better — don’t waste a single opportunity!

7. Plan, plan, plan — and then plan some more. Social media has become so much more than tweeting silly phrases like, “Oreos are my only friend.” In 2014, make your social presence count. No more tweeting or Facebook posting on a whim or sharing content that has zero relevance. Create a SOCIAL STRATEGY, and plan to optimize your presence and social interaction this New Year. {Get tips for creating email and content marketing strategies in our FREE eBooks.}

8. Get out more. I don’t mean ditch your desk and rush to Happy Hour. But it is important to get out of the day-to-day office routine from time to time. This coming year, get your company involved in things outside of the office: charities, networking opportunities, local and client events {and take pictures of it all}. Share your photos and experiences. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn from simply “getting out more.” Your blog and social content will practically write itself! {Click here to learn how content marketing done right is like a hosting a successful cocktail party!}

9. Accept who you are, and ROCK IT! Are you a B2B who isn’t on social networks because you think your content will be too “boring”? It’s time to leave those negative — and incorrect — assumptions behind in 2014. Whatever your business type, you can be engaging on social platforms if you use them correctly. Try incorporating more video, storytelling, and creative spins on your content. {Or get some other inspirational ideas here.} Being a B2B can make living in a content and social world more difficult; but it is 100% doable!

10. Reconnect with long-lost friends . . . and followers. One of the biggest trends for 2014 is the idea of RETENTION. Companies have realized the importance of nurturing their clients in order to continue business and retain more clientele. Use social media to connect with the clients you already have — share their content and interact with them. Let 2014 be the year of building and strengthening relationships with your clients; they are the ones who made another year of business possible, right?

Don’t drop the ball this New Year. Use these 10 social media resolutions to hit the ground running in 2014.

Not following us on social? We knew someone was missing from our friends list!

Find Cultivate on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Happy New Year, everyone!
heather

Are You Ready for a Retina Resolution REVOLUTION?

I pride myself on being on the frontlines of technological updates, standards, and breakthroughs so we can get out in front of new tools, programs, and approaches we’re going to need to keep pace with work, life, and everything in between. I like to prepare as best I can on all fronts.

That being said, one thing evaded my radar and I didn’t understand the true impact of my lack of attention until I found myself once again trying to stay ahead of the game, a little late in the game.

I purchased a brand-new February 2013–release model of the new MacBook Pro with Retina display and all of the other cool bells and whistles that go along with it.

The screen is OUTSTANDING. I may have terrible hearing (or so my wife tells me), but my vision is spectacular, and having the privilege of owning this new MacBook is truly a pleasure.

The only thing is, I was used to creating my graphics a certain way. Any graphics I produced started in Adobe Illustrator, then moved into Photoshop for finishing and web prep or whatever else was needed. If I needed a 900 x 250 pixel banner for a website, that was pretty normal, right? Well, not anymore.

As I was looking at some graphics I had created for the web in the past, even my own photography, I suddenly realized that I hadn’t been looking to the future AT ALL in respect to how graphics in web development and computers were evolving.

I couldn’t believe the quality difference in what I was seeing. Those brilliant individuals who stayed ahead of the game and created graphics for sites that were now optimized for Retina display BLEW MY MIND.

A quick test on my new MacBook showing our newly redesigned Cultivate website that’s in development vs. our existing GROW blog header clearly proved the point of NEEDING to stay on top of this trend in graphics resolution and learn as much as I could about how to streamline a process for implementing Retina-compliant graphics into new developments I create — both personally and professionally.

{Are You Ready for a Retina Resolution REVOLUTION?} Look at the difference between the logo images as shown on the new MacBook Pro with Retina display. I think you’d agree that the quality difference is insane.Check this out. . .

Look at the difference between the logo images as shown on the new MacBook Pro with Retina display (click to enlarge). I think you’d agree that the quality difference is insane.

Armed with this new insight, I’ve been circling back to transition the graphics for our new website so that the quality of our graphics will blow people’s minds just as those optimized graphics did for me the first time I saw them on my new screen with Retina display.

As this trend in high-resolution graphics evolves over time into the new standard, how are you going to approach the subject? Have you even thought about it yet? Are you thinking about it now?

How are you changing/will you change your processes in graphics development to keep pace with screens featuring Retina display?

I know there’s some discussion of SVG formats being the new web standards soon, and that would rock — but what about all those graphics (like photographs) that can’t really be vectorized? There’s still some uncertainty there, it seems. What’s the best approach to handle this Retina Resolution Revolution right now? And what do you think it will be 6–12 months from now?

Web developments and graphics remained fairly standard for a long time. Web technology, coding, and design evolved, for the most part, at a pretty typical pace in accordance with Moore’s Law.

But Retina display was a huge eye-opener for me — one that only came as I immersed myself in the technology. Sometimes we can’t stay ahead of the game until we see and feel what’s all out there for ourselves.

I want to hear your thoughts on this topic and start a great discussion because I’m sure there are many of you reading this who have already taken a huge leap into this new high-resolution frontier.

Please contact me, comment below, or share this article with your friends — I really want to hear everyone’s take on this latest trend and what you’re all doing to respond to this exciting new development. (And don’t forget to check back this fall to see our newly redesigned website featuring graphics optimized for Retina display!)
nick75