Day 15 growth campaign

Creating the “Stickiness” effect from Pinterest

Pinterest isn’t just for women pinning their favorite fashion finds & recipes anymore — on the contrary,  it has become a serious force in social networking. Although its audience is still primarily females aged 25-40, by no means does that correlate into creating boat loads value from tapping into your own demographic:

Check out this awesome infographic for more details on Pinterest users!

Although most Pinterest users don’t want to be marketed to, they do want to buy — spending an average of $140-180. So even if your primary business niche is spread across multiple products, it’s easy to make Pinboards dedicated to a wide variety of areas.

(Example) Lowes has boards titled “Grillin’ and Chillin” & 50 projects under $50.

Ok — I want to share, but how do I get started?!

Well if you’re running your blog by now, then you want to encourage users to pin your images! A WordPress plugin called Social Image Hover will display a “Pin this on Pinterest” and it also works with Facebook, Twitter and several other social networks.  Cool little add on to increase the sharing & engagement of your audience.

(Tip) You can increase sharing by syncing the “Pinning” of your content with some of the great giveaways you have going on! Just ask your users to share their Pins via Facebook and/or Twitter and tag you in their post so you can officially enter them into the giveaway. Or read the next paragraph 🙂

Pin Alerts

How would you like a notification every time someone pins something from your site? (Don’t worry about the Pins on your board as Pinterest already sends you a notification if someone repins something you posted). Pin Alerts can help and you can use this service in tandem with the WordPress plugin noted below (Viral Tag) so you can track how often your images are pinned.

Viral Tag

Schedule pins on Pinterest with this tool — with prices starting $4.99/month for 100 pins, it’s not too shabby!  On the next rainy Sunday, have some fun and build up your Pinterest “To be pinned” feed.

Daily Chore:

1) Start sharing on Pinterest.

(Tip) Don’t pin every product or every page — but highlight those that you feel will match with your brand image the best. One of the simplest ways to get started with Pinterest is to find what inspires you in your business and share it.

2) Make sure every board you create has a purpose, and a clear supporting “cover image” that entices people to click. As with any social network, it’s important to stay relevant and update your boards often by (re)pinning other pins.

3) Engage with the community rather than being on your own little island.

4)  Also remember, more does not necessarily equal better — focus on quality pins over quantity.

(Tip) People are always looking for something new, fresh or innovative — and Pinterest users are looking for the motivation to say “Hey, that could work for me too!”

 

Day 16 growth campaign

Infographics – the “Sliced Bread” of the internet

Considering we just talked about the stickiness factor of Pinterest, let’s talk about something that has a tremendous possibility of creating that “Pinning”virality factor; inforgraphs. These visual breakdowns of statistics and information, when done right, can be a huge traffic magnet on both the popular pinning site, and not to mention your own website.

With infographs, there are a few things that you definitely want to get right:

  1. Research & Sources
  2. Engaging Topic
  3. Visually Appealing

DOING THE RESEARCH & CREDITING YOUR SOURCES

Doing the research and gathering the statistics is going to be the most time-consuming part of the infographic creation process, but you do NOT want to put out an infographic that is not accurate as that could be extremely detrimental to your brand.  Luckily, there are a few sites that can make this easier:

Pew Internet Research

The Granddaddy of them all. They also have their own infographics as well as research on a variety of up-to-date topics, including cell phone usage, online banking and web security.

Statistic Brain

Stats and numbers on everything from food to sports and much more.

As stated before, finding and citing the most recent sources for your statistics is crucial to creating your infographic, as many sites can post questionable stats as fact. Here’s an excellent article along with examples of what to do, and what not to do, when it comes to proper sourcing.

CREATING CONTENT THAT PEOPLE WANT

The next step step (and the one many infographics get wrong) is that the information you’re displaying has to be the kind of content that people want to absorb, and not just absorb, but help spread the message!  Just piling stats on for the sake of creating an infographic is never a good plan. So here are a couple good starting points for topics to get those creative juices flowing:

Comparisons

How does one thing compare to another? Have the changes made a significant difference? Why or why not?

Relationships/Cause-and-Effect

How are things intertwined? Has something happened to cause something else? How has it affected your business?

Time

Timelines of inventions or processes in your industry can show how practices and strategies have evolved over time.

Differences

How does one group or segment react versus another?

(Tip) If you can take this core “structure” and apply it to your business and / or passion, then more than that’s going to do wonders for spreading your brand awareness.

At the same time, there are certain types of information that just don’t work well in infographic format. Mainly feelings, emotions and in many cases, humor just simply don’t work.

(Tip) A good rule of thumb to keep in mind when creating your infographic is “Would this be valuable to my primary customer base and would I be comfortable to share it with them?

CREATING YOUR INFOGRAPHIC

If you’re completely new to the whole infographic scene, you may want to check out some “marketplaces” that host many different types of infographics.

  • Visual.ly — an infographic creation tool as well as a gallery
  • Easel.ly — an infographic creation tool as well as a gallery
  • Piktochart — an infographic creation tool as well as a gallery

Once you’ve got more of a feel for how it’s done, then feel free to jump right in & start creating!

I’VE GOT MY INFOGRAPHIC, NOW WHAT?

Once you make your infographic, the work isn’t over yet. The next task is promoting it and getting traffic to share and re-pin it. For Pinterest, you’ll want to try the Social Image Hover WordPress plugin from CodeCanyon, or simply incorporate Pinterest Widgets.

Next, you’ll want to share your new infographic across various popular infographic galleries which have been listed above.

Finally, you can make the best stats you’ve uncovered “tweetable” on Twitter. ClickToTweet lets you copy and paste a stat in a box, and then create a clickable link that auto-fills in the person’s Twitter message area with that Tweet. It’s a great way to share mind-blowing stats plus showcase your infographic to the social web.

Daily Chore:

1) Do your research using credible sources & record the root source so you can add in the correct citation.

2) Come up with an engaging topic that you care about and want associated with your brand.  You can use the various infographic galleries to come up with some ideas.

3) Try out Easel.ly orPiktochart to create your first infographic.

4) Use an embed code generator to make it easy for people to embed the infographic on their own sites, or check to see if the tools you used to create it offer that functionality.

5) Use a plugin like Social Image Hover or a Pinterest widget to make your infographic share-able on social networks, then submit it to high-traffic infographic galleries.

6) Don’t forget to incorporate Click-to-Tweet featuring the most groundbreaking statistics you uncovered, as this will help redirect more traffic to your infographic, and ultimately to your site.

 

Day 17 growth campaign

Spread your Expert Insights by Doing Interviews

How’s the saying go – “If you got it, flaunt it?”  Well, you’ve gotten into business for a reason, so why not share that reason along with your experiences with the rest of the world?!

Needless to say, there are plenty of opportunities out there to make yourself heard on mediums such as radio shows and podcasts — if you know where to look. Here’s a great example:

RadioGuestList.com

Welcomes both interviewers and interviewees to post their expertise or information about their show. Each show is required to post a description, audience demographics, audience size and proof to back up that claim, as well as the format of the show. You can also subscribe to their mailing list to receive updates on new radio guest opportunities available.

Beyond being an incredible resource for pitching, publicity and radio interviews, the site also has a wealth of articles on how to prepare yourself for a radio interview, plus details on how to get your business / product reviewed.

But, whatever you do, don’t stop there!  There are a plethora of other opportunities out there to get your voice heard and we’ll list a few of them off here:

Blogtalkradio.com

Syncing up with popular blogs to do Podcasts

“AMA’s” for Reddit, Social Media, etc

AMA, or “Ask Me Anything” provides an opportunity for the public to, well, ask you anything!

(Tip) We suggest that you check out past AMA’s, or participate as part of the public before hopping into hosting one on your own.

Twitter Chats

Twitter chats use hashtags to organize a public discussion on Twitter.

If you’re really looking to branch your wings out with doing interviews, we would suggest doing some independent research and identifying the influential blogs & social media voices within your respective niche.  Profile them, what their expertise is, what they are looking to accomplish, and create a mutually beneficial proposition before opening up a conversation with them. Once you have compiled what you need, then swing for the fences and start expanding your network along with your own influence!

Daily Chore:

1) Sign up with RadioGuestList.com and look for opportunities that match your expertise and the demographic you’re trying to reach. Most of these shows are small-time interviews, but it only takes one to create a ripple effect that will reach out to the bigger players in the field.

(Tip) You may want to setup a separate email address just for RadioGuestList alerts as you don’t want your inbox overloaded!

2) Check out an “AMA” on Reddit or Twitter.  See how the expert carries themselves & take notes on what you liked, and didn’t like.

3) Partake in a Twitter chat as part of the “public” asking questions.  This is a great step to build up your reputation that you can refer back to when taking the next step.

4) Do some additional research on the experts within, or the would compliment, your own niche.  Come up with a game plan to create a mutually beneficial opportunity to setup an interview.

Day 18 growth campaign

Help A Reporter Out

HARO or Help A Reporter Out is a free email list that helps connect reporters with experts. Topics vary, and there’s currently no search function or way to filter the emails you receive, so like with RadioGuestList, it’s a good idea to set up a separate email just for HARO requests. HARO requests run the gamut from exceedingly niche requests to requests for stories and much more.

HARO publicity alerts let you connect with reporters across a variety of news andmagazine outlets

While you may not find any publications needing help at first, it’s a good idea to take a look at the alerts you do receive to determine which ones would be a good fit. As with Radio Guest List, many of the players involved in HARO are small-time news outlets and niche magazines, but it’s much easier to get a mention on these smaller players with a link to your website than some of the larger mass media companies.

THE HOPEFULL COMPANY DOUBLES SALES

One of the many companies that has benefitted from HARO is the HopeFULL company, which sells kits to help children and cancer patients with digestive issues to create healthful popsicles with nutritious whole foods. They responded to every relevant HARO inquiry with a pitch, and were featured on many local and international outlets, including the Nate Berkus show and Daily Candy to name a few.

HopeFULL was one of the many companies who achieved extraordinary success

with HARO

As a result of one of their media appearances, their sales increased 95%! Think about this — if a company selling recipes and popsicle mold kits can make it big across a number of media outlets — what could your own product or service do?

Not every request you receive through HARO will ultimately turn into a media feature placement — but it’s free and it could be a major turning point for your business. I recommend creating a specific email address — like haro@yourdomain.com and then setting up filtering in your email program to add all the HARO requests to their own folder. This way you don’t miss any potential matches.

Today’s Homework

Sign up with HARO at HelpAReporter.com with

an email address designated just for that purpose.

You’ll receive new alerts whenever a reporter needs an expert in a particular field. Not every one will be a match, but as the main story profiled on the home page demonstrates, it’s entirely possible to get a “lucky break” and get into a major magazine with a huge and active readership base.

Day 19 growth campaign

Don’t Neglect Local SEO

If you operate a business locally, you’re missing out on the potential for very lucrative, ready-to-act traffic in the form of local customers.

The first step is claiming your business page on Google Places. In this case, you want to make absolutely certain that you are NOT using any keywords that aren’t specific to your business name or description.

But even if you claim your >Google Places page, you’re still not getting the most out of local SEO.

GETTING CITATIONS

Your citation is the name, address and phone number of your business (also known as NAP). Having these correct and up-to-date is crucial to making sure that Google authenticates your business as a real, verifiable place. There are spammers and scammers out there that set up fake Google Places locations, and if your NAP information isn’t exactly the same everywhere, it could mean a penalty.

Exact names, addresses, phone numbers and even photos can make

a difference with your listing

Beyond your own Google Places entry, Google also looks for citations (mentions of your NAP) on other sites. If it’s not 100% exact, you won’t get a citation. Google pulls your NAP details from review sites, guest blogging links, directories and more. Even seemingly minor differences like St. in one place and Street in another can hurt your listing. You can be hit particularly hard if you’ve moved locations recently.

The more of your NAPs that match across other sites, the higher your ranking on Google Places will be. You can also add your business location to your Places on your Google+ profile.

It’s worth noting that the closer you are to the city center, the better your rankings are going to be for a listing in that area — particularly if you live near a major metropolitan area, than being located on the outskirts.

LOCAL SEO TOOLS

There are a few helpful tools to see your NAPs and make sure you’re ranking for all the search phrases and variants out there, plus gain visibility across local SEO sites beyond Google Places:

WhiteSpark.ca

WhiteSpark lets you type in search phrases to see what other variations people are searching for and then shows you citation listings for the top ranking sites. This way, you can build your own citations and keep track of those you already have. They also offer services to build the citations for you.

WhiteSpark helps you uncover and manage citations

YEXT

Yext lets you see where your locally-targeted site appears across a variety of search engines and specialty sites, including Yelp, Topix, Superpages, Patch and more:

An example of the many sites searched by

Yext to show you how your business appears on each one

The search/scanning service is free, but Yext also offers a PowerListings service to help local businesses secure a presence across 30+ local search sites. They also offer review monitoring and analytics services. Their dashboard allows businesses complete control through one central hub, plus gives you the opportunity to update listings across all sites rather than individually.

Today’s Homework

If you operate a locally-focused business, check out WhiteSpark and Yext to see what citations already exist

and to update and correct them so that they’re all identical. The more correct citations you get from other sites, like those featured on Yext, the higher your Google Places ranking.

Day 20 growth campaign

Creating Animated & Whiteboard Explainer Videos

Creating a whiteboard-style animation or“explainer video” as they’re popularly known, can be a great way to drive traffic depending on the topic you’re explaining. Many of the highest converting affiliate programs use whiteboard videos in some capacity, and it’s relatively simple to create your own:

SPARKOL VIDEOSCRIBE

Sparkol Videoscribe creates whiteboard videos easily Videoscribe is a whiteboard animation software-as-a-service which lets you import graphics or use the pre-made graphics and effects to create the appearance of a hand sketching and writing on a whiteboard.

There’s a 7 day free trial and two tiers of account, with the pro version having more features than the standard. In addition, you can resell the videos you make with the pro version. The videos are also rendered as HD quality, letting you use them for more than just web output.

POWTOON

PowToon creates a variety of animations via a drag-and-drop interface

PowToon lets you create animated presentations that include whiteboards as an option. It is based on templates, where different characters, props and call-outs can be used to create a seamless presentation. Styles vary from cartoon to whiteboard and everything in between.

If you’re happy with the sound of your own voice, it’s easy to record yourself narrating the explainer video by way of a software program like Audacity or Total Recorder, otherwise, you can get a short, quality voiceover (often delivered by trained radio and TV announcers) over at Fiverr.com

THE SCRIPT

It’s one thing to have the resources to create an explainer video — it’s another thing entirely to be able to create one that’s compelling and interesting. Remember too, that it’s the internet, and people have limited attention spans. The shorter your video, the more likely people are to remember its content.

Introduce:

  • The Problem (20 seconds max)
  • The Solution (5 seconds max)
  • How it Works (25-50 seconds max)
  • Call to action (10 seconds max)

It’s also very tempting to pile on the features here – but again, focus on the benefits and how it’s relevant to the consumer, not to the tech-spec crowd.

THE MUSIC

Music isn’t always a part of explainer videos, but it can add to the effect of animation and a professional voice-over. Sites like AudioJungle and Tunefruit let you license music at very affordable rates.

THE HOSTING

Where you host your video can make a big difference on how fast it loads, the buffering and even the quality. Sites like YouTube are the most popular in terms of views, but hosting your video on sites like Vidyard or Vimeo Pro can make sure that your new explainer video is online for everyone to see along with your personal branding, customization and analytics.

Today’s Homework

Try your hand at creating an explainer video via either Sparkol or PowToon. Remember to focus on keeping it

short and to-the-point by introducing the problem, your product as the solution, how it works, and an easy call-to-action that users can take after watching the explanation.

Day 21 growth campaign

Using Zemanta, a “Content Discovery Network”

Zemanta bills itself as a “content discovery network” and owns a couple of “related posts” plugins on WordPress. It works by suggesting posts and other relevant content as you blog, and is most often used by bloggers who are just starting out as a way to gain backlinks and enrich their own sites with relevant content.

An example of Zemanta’s related posts on a baby blog

But what if you want to use it as a content distribution system?

Ideally, Zemanta works best when you have 100 posts or more on your blog. The key point to using Zemanta effectively as a publisher is that your content is high quality, relevant and has broad appeal to a larger audience. Zemanta carefully vets each publisher that applies to their network, and if accepted, you’ll be sharing valuable screen space with trusted advertisers including Facebook, Wikipedia, Amazon, IMDB and more.

Using a combination of natural language processing and semantic search (i.e. does Apple refer to the company or the fruit?), Zemanta’s servers analyze content to provide related links across millions of blogs and well-known networks.

According to Zemanta, the best types of content that earn the most backlinks through related posts include the kinds of topics you should already be writing about, including:

  • How To’s
  • Tips and Tricks
  • Tutorials

Zemanta also works with images — and the cleaner and more relevant your image appears, the more likely it will be to be chosen by bloggers as related to their own topic.

Today’s Homework

Although Zemanta “interviews” every potential candidate the applies to their network, this doesn’t mean you can’t start things off on the right foot by getting in touch with them at Zemanta.com (click on Publishers) and see how your site can become a part of their content network.

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