Content marketing is creating articles, blogs, white papers, videos, photos, images etc which contains information that’s valuable to consumers. If your content contains relevant keywords they’ll be indexed by popular search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.
Combined with a well planned online marketing strategy it enables people and businesses to be discovered and build a credible online profile. It also results in more inbound traffic to your landing pages so you can better test and measure your website goals.
Content marketing is also aimed at making your site more sticky – ie. customers stay there longer and even follow links to your other content
It’s Christmas time and we’ll be open every day (except the public holidays) which means you can make contact with questions or support during your course.
But best of all, we’re offering a fabulous special offer with a saving of over $300. Check out the quick video below which shows you how to get $663 dollars worth of training for just $296 — a saving of $337!
All you have to do is choose your courses at our Online Course Enrolment page and the discounts will be applied automatically.
Get New Skills for A New Year!
With the New Year coming fast we find most of our students are looking to change careers and/or up-skill so as to feel confident with their computer skills in job interviews and the like, so our current special offers will train you up to be your best, cheaply. Here’s all you need to do:
Scroll down to the discounted courses section to see the Xero Training Course available for $30 less.
Scroll down further to see the Microsoft Word Course (12 month’s access, all 9 courses and Certificate), which is normally $267 is now FREE
Tick the box next to “Yes, I have a discount voucher code” and enter 8881818 to receive a further $70 discount off the Microsoft Excel course!
If you don’t have the time right now, don’t worry, you’ve got 12 months to complete all these courses at your own pace — so just enrol now to get the current special offers.
Watch this video to see how to get the discounts
New Online Courses for the New Year
It’s been a very busy year for new course creation and we’ve just launched two new courses that are all based on new online cloud-based services in bookkeeping and marketing/advertising. Read about them here:
Provide quotes on your tablet computer, convert them to invoices when you get the order and take photographs of your receipts for expenses — works on your smartphone too. These are the features of America’s most popular accounting software program that is now aggressively promoting itself to Australian small businesses.
Tired of struggling to post consistently on Facebook and other social media sites? We’ve had a WordPress course for several years to teach you how to create your own website and blog, edit images, and optimise it for search engines (like Google). But if you’ve ever struggled with fleshing out a Facebook Page, or want to start promoting yourself or your business in social media, try our Digital Business and Social Media Marketing Courses.
We show you what you should include on a modern day website as well as including Facebook Page, Content Marketing and Facebook Advertising training (which we used to help Derek Farmer show up on Page 1 in Google for the competitive Cammeray Real Estate Agent search query).
Most of all, from all of us here at EzyLearn, HAVE a FANTASTIC and SAFE Christmas — doing things you love!
So you want to digitise your business? Until I’m blue in the face, I keep telling anyone in business that content marketing is one of the most important online Digital marketing activities for businesses in operation today — particularly those with a website. Successful content marketing is about creating original, high quality content that’s relevant to your “potential” customers. It also needs to be high quality in every way (relevancy is integral to quality) and this involves every aspect of the content you’re creating — copy, layout and design. This ain’t always easy!
I’ve mentioned this elsewhere on this blog before, but I stand by my geeky analogy that great content is like an equilateral triangle, in that all parts must be equal. Copy, layout and design are the three sides of your content, and if you prioritise one aspect over one of the others, your content will be unbalanced, just as your triangle would be.
Blogging: The Staple of Content Marketing
How best to content market to your audience? Well, I’d go so far as to say that you can’t have effective content marketing without maintaining a blog. Setting up a blog is actually pretty easy, especially if you use a content management system like WordPress for your website and blog. With WordPress the the layout is pretty much taken care of for you — just choose a theme and away you go.
Many businesses outsource copywriting to a contractor or freelancer, which in our view, is a wise move. Unless you’re a clear writer who can articulate your point accurately and economically (a good writer will know that I’m talking about word count), then you should outsource it. You also have to rather enjoy doing it and be fast at it — otherwise, despite your best intentions, little will ever get published.
A Word on Google Images
So, to design. In the case of blogging, you usually select an image to illustrate your blog posts, which brings us to the subject of this blog post: understanding image rights. Unless you intend to use your own photos and images that you’ve taken or created yourself (hands down, one of the best ways to drive search engine rankings and increase reader engagement, just sayin’) and therefore own the copyright to, then you need to understand image rights first.
As a general rule, never ever use Google Images to find an image for your blog. That’s not to say that Google Images isn’t a great starting off point if you’re creatively spent and in need of some inspiration. I frequently punch a few keywords or phrases into Google Images to see if the results turn up, and then go back to my image library, which categorises images in a more literal sense than Google Images does.
******** SPECIAL LAUNCH OFFER ********
UPDATE: WordPress Courses, Content Marketing Course, Social Media Marketing, Facebook Pages, Updating the Facebook Timeline, Facebook Advertising, Facebook Pixel and Remarketing, Google Analytics and our Digital Business Course are now ALL included in our Digital & Social Media Marketing Course! That’s 6 courses for a VERY LOW price. Check it out and see the prices on our Enrolment Page so you can get a solid start to your digital marketing in 2017.
We showcase what we did at EzyLearn in 2008 and what we did for Derek Farmer (Cammeray Real Estate Agent) in 2015 to get onto page 1 of Google and in front of his entire database every day on Facebook
******** OFFER PRICE IS FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY ********
This has a lot to do with indexing and keyword usage; put simply, think of Google Images as your own personal brainstorming team. Traditionally, brainstorming has always worked best when there was more one person, but if you’re on your lonesome, then this is where Google Images comes in handy.
You punch in a few key phrases or concepts and you can see how other people have illustrated their websites and blogs, based on those same phrases.
What makes the images from Google Images dicey is that, as a search engine, it’s not beholden to the laws of copyright usage and image licensing; it’s up to you to do your due diligence and find out what the terms of the image’s license are.
Generally speaking, to use an image that you haven’t created, you must track down the creator and ask for permission to use it. Obviously, this would be a lengthy and arduous process if you had to do this for every image you found on the internet, so, thankfully, there are plenty of ways to find images where the copyright holder has already released the image with a license that allows specific uses.
Using an image in a way that isn’t allowed under the terms of its license is still considered copyright infringement, so make sure you’re certain you understand each image’s license before you use it on your blog or website.
Most online image libraries offer images with license terms that deal with:
Type of use: Commercial or non-commercial use, with the first being any use of an image to sell or promote a product, service, or idea.
Attribution: Credit may need to be given to the original creator of the image and required format (e.g. a link) specified.
Modification: The image may have to be used unchanged, or you may allowed to modify it and create new images or materials from it.
Number of uses: Some licenses may restrict the number of times an image can be used.
Of course, one way to avoid having to deal with image rights is to take your own pictures. As I said earlier, this not only gives your content its own personalised stamp of authenticity, but it also helps drive search engine rankings and reader engagement. This is very important in content marketing.
If you’re not able to take your own pictures, for whatever reason, then using an online image library is the best way to ensure that your content is not only looking great and will engage your customers, but that you’re also not contravening any copyright or licensing terms.
I was reviewing some of the content we’ve created this year and I was actually astounded at the number of blogs we’d written that mention content marketing. Even so, when I mention content marketing to many business people, they’re still not really sure what I’m talking about. So I asked Angela in our office to put something together — just for fun. Better still, I recorded an audio commentary to go with it; I hope you find it of use.
All the content marketing talk
Want a recap of all the times I’ve written about content marketing? I did a whole lot of posts about real estate agents and how important content marketing is for them. Here are some of the blog headlines in our content marketing category:
Maybe I’m a bit more passionate about content marketing than I even realised (which is saying something!) Watch the video below and let me know your thoughts.
Video presentation with annotations and a call to action
Want to know more?
If you’re interest in learning about the contents of our Content Marketing, Facebook and Social Media course which is currently being uploaded to our LMS read about it here and follow the links to pre register for alerts. When we release it we’d have a great offer for early students. 🙂
Thought you may like to know that we are going to reveal everything we did for Derek Farmer’s real estate site for property sales in Cammeray – even Facebook advertising and re-targeting to stay front of mind with his client database.
The beginning of a new year, which is typically the quietest as people take a while to adjust to the work and school routine, is when a lot of business owners spend time setting goals for the year ahead.
Just as individuals set their own personal new year’s resolutions, many business owners use January to set some new year’s resolutions for their business’s marketing activities.
Here are the Digital Marketing tasks that staff can do to bring more inquiries and more sales:
Business blogging vs paid Google Ads or Facebook Ads
Getting video into social media advertising and marketing is king for real estate agents
You may recall a recent post about the exciting work we are doing with real estate agents around Australia to help them with their social media marketing as their industry goes through massive technological change.
Real estate agents are adopting Facebook pages, using Facebook advertising and creating their own websites to make them stand out from other agents but most importantly to show property sellers that they’re very experienced in the local property market and also great people to deal with. This stuff also applies to bookkeepers, accountants and most businesses where a good personal reputation is important!
Creating videos, serving videos and displaying videos
We spend much of our marketing efforts “writing” blogs to add value to you, the reader. We also optimise these pages so they can get discovered by people who use Google and other search engines to find information. Through our digital marketing agency, virion we’re doing this work for real estate agents AND bookkeepers so make sure to check these services out or contact us if you want to know more.
The thought of creating, uploading and then displaying videos on a website is very daunting to some people and usually it’s the inserting the video into a website as a blog or a page that is the part people aren’t sure about. So, I created a video for you! Yes, feel free to enjoy my calm, relaxing, yet very capable voice go through a process that our team go through dozens of times a week.
We have a course on WordPress and this video and other new videos will shortly be inserted into that course but the other aspects of performing this type of work involve these questions:
Where are you going to store the videos. We prefer Wistia because of their fantastic analytics but most people are familiar with Youtube and the fact that it’s free is a great benefit too.
How are you going to display it. We prefer to keep our content on our own websites but lots of real estate agents are happy to build up a following on many different social media platforms and Youtube is definitely one of them.
Enjoy the video below and make sure to Request a Quote if you are interested in having my team and I manage your online digital marketing using quality content.
6 Weeks from Zero to Hero in Google Organic Search
I HAD A GOOD, long think before writing this blog post. However, I’ve decided it’s OK to write this blog — because the blog should be about helping business people reach Page One in Google’s organic search results (that’s the FREE ones!)
You should see the number of emails I get each week from overseas companies in Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and even the US and UK.
All of these emails are telling me the same thing: How they will get my company onto Page 1 in Google!
You might be thinking, “Yeah, so what? I already know how to do that!” or let me see your list of companies. Point is, there are lots of these self-professed experts around — and I’m probably no exception!
I last wrote about real estate agent, Derek Farmer, before Christmas when we had already created his new website. The aim of this was to help property owners find him when they’re ready to explore selling their property.
We’d already begun the process of creating relevant content but ramped it up in the last 6 weeks and the results were amazing as you can see from the chart!
The work we did to help Derek get onto Page 1 of Google WITHOUT spending a cent on advertising, involved all the tools we use at EzyLearn just to run our business. The thing with this is that we practise what we preach.
That’s the beauty of running an online business: You get pretty good at all the technical and content stuff, particularly when you have to compete with the marketing muscle of billion dollar organisations like MYOB and Sydney University!
Of course, Derek was a good real estate to begin with. He had a great existing reputation in Sydney’s Lower North Shore and over 170 property sales under his belt. Quality speaks volumes.
Give something away
Derek had also spent a lot of time, considerable money and brainpower coming up with an educational series of videos. These helped his vendors (people selling their homes) and prospective customers better understand the various stages of the sales process.
This reflects the need for businesses to generate great quality content that people will find valuable — it’s something everyone needs do in the “Google information era” we all now live in.
Whereas the EzyLearn blog is chiefly about what we teach,the virion blog covers more of what we do. I’d love to share the work we do with you. Who knows if you see something you like, you can even join us and get involved!
Having your own website enables you to build a credible online profile (that lasts a long time) and the power to clearly understand visitor traffic analytics. This is important because your goal with a content marketing strategy is to provide useful information that your website visitors are looking for and just like real property there are risks that strangers want to get inside and cause damage.
Just like real property these risks are mitigated by good site management services and you can learn about some of the hacker risks below.
Anyone can attempt to hack your site
Hackers are found all over the world from developed countries to countries where their people earn less than a dollar per hour so in some circumstances the time it takes to hack a site is irrelevant and the rewards are significant. Those rewards can be for:
the challenge of it,
recognition, or even
out of boredom
This means that every business, regardless of size or industry, is susceptible to a hacker attack.
Hacker attack types
Remember that hackers can sometimes spend a lot of time planning an attack, but all you see are the end results over night so it is important to be vigilant at all times. Hackers can affect your business is different ways and there has been a lot of publicity about these attacks this year. These are some of the goals for hackers:
Stealing your customers’ data
Stealing your private business data (like internal communications)
Serving malicious software
Deleting or disabling your site
Gaining control of your website or computer
Directing traffic away from your website
How your website is vulnerable
Most websites of small businesses are managed using a content management system like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal etc and these systems have the capabilities of creating user accounts (including the administrator) and enabling users to create content like comments on blog posts. They also include the capability of using themes, plugins and other programs that connect to the main content marketing system and give it more functionality. It’s when these aspects of a small business website are not kept up to date, managed for hacker activity and originally configured to minimalise the chance of attack, that you can get unstuck.
Why to choose 123ezy for content marketing for real estate agent websites
We’re combining with content marketing writers and our team of experts to make content marketing available to individual real estate agents to help them build a profile and credibility online. I’ve been working with online services even before EzyLearn started teaching people about “how to send and receive an email” and “how to navigate around a website and use a search engine” at our Dee Why training centre since 1999 and I’m looking forward to helping other sales and marketing focussed people do the same.
We operate an online training business that relies on our websites being up and running ALL of the time – if there are issues we need to be able to redirect website visitors to an alternative site for continuity and we are constantly monitoring our website visitors, vulnerabilities and remedies.
Even with the latest themes and plugins and fancy graphics and animations, just having a website is not enough these days. Real estate agents (and most other professionals) need a system that collects prospect information AND sends automated marketing messages to them, while allowing them to opt out at any time and that is just the start of the content marketing we’re offering to real estate agents. Want to see our ARMS working? Register Here.
Real Estate Agents Want to Get Discovered Online By Property Vendors Ready to Sell Their Property
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you’ll notice the slant towards accounting, bookkeeping and the frenzied competition between the software companies that provide software for this purpose. However, we also teach students how to use WordPress so they can take advantage of the massive benefits of content marketing.
We’ve also changed the layout of this blog using a responsive theme in WordPress. This enables the blog to be read easily no matter what device you are using (computer, tablet or phone), or at what orientation (portrait or landscape). I am also involved in an exciting new project that enables real estate agents to build credibility online using the tools we use at EzyLearn.
Real Estate Agent Websites
Real estate agents can build a credible online profile by creating a website and use content marketing to help people who are interested in selling their property and it might be a good time to do that in the heated Sydney and Melbourne property markets!
Derek Farmer is a successful real estate agent in Cammeray (in Sydney’s Lower North Shore) and he has created a series of educational videos that demystify the process of selling a property. His video topics include:
Tips for Buyers on Auction Day
Tips for Sellers on Auction Day
Nothing is Happening After Months on the Market
How to Handle an Offer
How to Handle Feedback
Commission – How Much Should You Pay
Preparation – How Much Should You Do
Marketing – How Much Should You Pay
What I love about this project is Derek is part of a new breed of real estate agent who is open and transparent with information and he has gone to the trouble of creating these videos because it also give him an opportunity to reveal himself to potential sellers. He’s effectively pitching himself to thousands of potential property sellers with information they’re looking for and he’s taking the opportunity to enable them to get to know him – electronically.
Content marketing involves video, images and text
Content marketing involves the use of relevant content that people find useful and if you do a good job at it potential customers will connect with you to learn more and stay connected until they are ready to use your services. If you’d like to learn more about the importance of having a website and keeping it updated regularly watch the video interview I had with Michael Griffiths, the referral marketing guru.
Good content marketing keeps people at your website longer and even takes them to other parts of your website and all of this visitor information is tracked by search engines like Google, who then improve your rankings in organic search results. It means that when you spend time and money on good content marketing you gradually build a credible online brand with a reputation that lasts a long time. It’s a long term strategy taken by committed people who want to be in business for the long term.
[button link=”http://derekfarmer.com.au/property-training-tips/derek-farmer-newsletter/training-video-gallery/” newwindow=”yes”] Take a Look at the Videos Now[/button]
Receive “Content Marketing for Real Estate Agents” Information Pack
Education is obviously something we think is very important, whether you’re changing careers, starting a new business, or looking to upskill for a promotion. But what about education to keep your current job? The Australian Government thinks that’s equally important, especially for BAS and tax agents.
In March this year, the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) changed their renewal process to now include continuing professional education (CPE) as a mandatory for all registrations after July 1, 2016. Between now and June 30, 2016, it’s sufficient for BAS and tax agents to merely show they have read and understood the new CPE policy to renew their registration, but this arrangement can only be used once; moving forward those BAS and tax agents will still need to complete further education to register again as a BAS or tax agent the in the future.
Are You a Currently a BAS or Tax agent?
Over the last few years, the Government has introduced a lot of new measures that BAS and tax agents have had to comply with in order to continue to offer their services to clients, namely the changes in 2010 that made it mandatory for all BAS and tax agents to hold a minimum qualification of a Cert IV in bookkeeping.
The new CPE requirement could seem like just another measure that BAS and tax agents need to comply with just to be able to keep their jobs. It’s not. CPE has been introduced to ensure that BAS and tax agents continue to understand, not just their own industry – that of tax and finance – but also how other industries are changing too.
There are more people leaving their jobs as employees and starting to work for themselves as consultants and freelancers and contract workers, across a wide array of industries. Marketing professionals, for example, no longer simply come up with marketing hooks for companies; they also have to understand how to create websites and how SEO works and social media. In some cases, they even become unofficial spokespeople and sales reps for the companies they’re consulting with, leveraging their contacts on their clients’ behalf.
CPE makes BAS and tax agents more valuable, not less
This vastly complicates a marketing professional’s tax if that marketing professional’s job now encompasses the roles of several other professions within it. Similar changes have been observed in bookkeeping, with registered BAS and tax agents now providing more operational and administrative-type services, in addition to just bookkeeping.
The point, then, of CPE is not to make it more difficult for tax and BAS agents to renew their registration with the TPB, but to help tax and BAS agents to remain as highly skilled as they’ve ever been, in an ever-changing labour market. And the better skilled you are as a BAS and tax agent, particularly those self-employed BAS and tax agents, the more value you’ll be able to provide your clients, and the more work you’ll get from them in return.
To learn more about continuing professional education for bookkeepers, visit the TPB website. Otherwise, to read more about bookkeeping, particularly starting your own bookkeeping business, continue reading our blog.
Are you a Writer and Want to Work from Home Blogging for Businesses?
Enrol into the Blogging for Business Course now and take advantage of it’s current cheap price. We’ll soon be adding real life exercises where blogging students will be asked to create content and have it edited and published so they can participate in a real world business blogging project!
Create a Business Blog to Start Your Content Marketing Strategy
I started Business Blogging when we took our training courses online because there is a lot of information to share about MYOB, Xero, Microsoft Excel and the other software programs that help small business owners streamline their business, manage their accounts and finances and perform sales and marketing to bring in new sales.
Another reason was my realisation that keywords are king in the age of discovery where getting discovered by Google results in over 70% of the traffic to many websites!
Keywords Are King
A lot of small business owners throw thousands of dollars at Pay Per Click advertising in the hope of getting more visitors to their website. The most common service to help people spend these advertising dollars is Google’s own Google Adwords. Here’s a blog post about Google Adwords from 2010.
[quote]Have you heard the promise “I can guarantee your website appears on page 1 on Google”? It’s often by using Google Adwords and targeting selected keywords that companies can deliver on this claim, but at what cost?[/quote]
Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)
Google Adwords is the perfect capitalist advertising tool because every advertiser competes for the keywords they want. The more competitors there are for a keyword or keyphrase the higher the cost per click – How scary is that!?
I understand that “Insurance” is one of the highest cost keywords you can “bid for” and there would be some pretty big players in that business. They keywords in this paragraph is “bid for” because that is exactly what happens, you place a bid for the maximum you are willing to pay for that keyword or keyphrase for EVERY time someone CLICKS on your ad.
There are ways of making sure a competitor doesn’t send you broke by clicking on your ad over and over, but essentially this strategy involves choosing keywords and bidding in the marketplace with all of your competitors.
Would You Rather Have People Come to You?
Bidding for keywords using Google Adwords is a great way to quickly test an idea or a strategy because you can guarantee website visitors, albeit at a high price, but people come across our website from all sorts of different keyword searches and that is where this blog has come in very handy.
I admit when I first started blogging for business the concept seems very NERDY! It’s like keeping an online diary for all to read and share. Then I justified it by affirming that keeping a blog is really just like having a “News” section to your website, demonstrating that your business is active and there’s a lot going on. Now I realise that it’s even more than that! Blogging for Business helps you
build an online reputation,
explain how some customers use your products
encourage readers to become customers
encourage readers to be part of your community
enable customers to be advocates and recommend your business
Having a business blog with useful content, good use of relevant keywords and landing pages that give internet users answers to their questions will help you begin the journey into Inbound Marketing, where potential customers discover YOU and what you have to offer. Do it right and you’ll just need to guide your website visitors to the conclusion you want – usually a sale.
Your Blog Becomes More Valuable Every Week
The other great thing about Blogging for Business is that your blogging site and the landing pages you refer to become more and more valuable over time as they remain in Google’s cache. They also become tools that can be used by your staff as they refer the blogs to customers who have specific questions that are answered in your blog posts.
Google is the current flavour for search engines and they seem to be doing a great job to stay in front, but Bing (owned by Microsoft) and others in China and Russia are always looking for ways to do better and get more people using them and having an active and useful blog will ensure success no matter how the search engine market changes.
Choose EzyLearn for Your Blogging for Business Training Course
We’ve been blogging about our online training courses since 2008 and we are a training company that designs courses in a logical fashion from basic to more advanced skills to ensure you experience the epiphanies most students are looking for when they do a course.
We include all of our content for one low price and we add updates that we create during the year to our existing courses, creating more content and better value for money every month.
Best of all our Blogging For Business Training Courses includes real life blog site membership, exercises where you get to create your own blog posts and link to landing pages, participate in social media and in a community of like minded beginner bloggers.
Finding Income Opportunities for EzyLearn Students
We’ve had some exciting news in the last couple of weeks: EzyLearn students who are completing the MYOB Training Courses and WordPress Courses are starting to earn money because we’re helping them get customers AND improve their skills!
I’ve been working with the team at Workface and we’re assembling a training and mentoring program to help EzyLearn students start and operate a business from home. The best part of this, and something I am passionate about, is that we’re helping people from all over Australia become remote contractors (teleworkers, call it what you want) and work from anywhere via the Internet.
You may also recall that we’ve also launched the Startup Academy this year to provide formalised and structured training and mentoring support. It’s for you so if you are interested in starting a business and working from home we’ve teamed up with some products/service providers to give you a flying start and projects to start on right away.
Explore running your own business from home now
There are opportunities to provide office/admin support services, content marketing, business telephone systems and IT support and of course bookkeeping services and if you’d like to start a business in one of these areas then explore the business opportunities.
When you sign up and join our team you’ll gain exposure to many new online (cloud-based) software and services that enable us to:
work on project together,
set and manage goals and daily tasks,
turn to each other for support,
create and build your own online profile, and
many more skills that will enable you to work for yourself and generate your own income, no matter where you live.
Remember our goal is to help you start a business and work from home – NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE. Helen from Bright is our latest virtual assistant and she is doing some website design and content marketing for an infant massage business starting up in Sydney’s Northern Suburbs! I looked at a Google Map and discovered that she’d have at least 3 hours travel if she wanted to work in her nearest capital city!
Are you looking for someone to help you in your business?
We’re going to document our journey with these remote contractors and share with you some of the growth they go through as they grapple with the new frontier of internet working.
If you are a business looking for any of these services you can Find a Contractor through Workface and our team can get to work for you too.
[button link=”http://workface.com.au/services/find-contractor/”]Find a Contractor[/button]
Inbound marketing is the focus on creating quality content that attracts and draws people toward your company and product. In the last few years, it’s come to replace the outbound marketing methods of old, which involved buying ads and email lists and paying for leads, making it one of the most effective online marketing methods. If this sounds a lot like content marketing that’s because it is, or at least, it’s a subset of it.
Content marketing is the process of consistently creating valuable, relevant content that you share online to attract more customers to your business. Inbound marketing is about being found online, through search engines, social media, and the like. See the difference? No, well allow me to elaborate.
But first, a little history lesson
Content marketing has been around for ages – it’s thought to have started with John Deere, the agricultural machinery manufacturer, which started it’s own magazine in 1895 called The Furrow – but it’s only recently gained more traction as businesses and marketers alike try to find new ways to engage customers online. Despite that, content marketing is just one cog in the greater online/inbound marketing machine.
Inbound marketing, though now very intimately linked to content marketing, is actually a far newer incarnation of the more traditional marketing activities. Inbound marketing is maybe only a decade old, and grew out of the shift in the way consumers interact and respond to advertising. Where consumers were once passive observers of advertising, the Internet made them powerful advocates or critics of a brand, aided greatly by social media.
Which side of that fence a company’s customers fell on was entirely up to what they did with their marketing. Increasingly, though, it became clear that consumers weren’t interested in straight advertisements, especially not on the Internet; they want content and they want content that’s informative or engaging – or both.
If you’ve been following this blog, then you’ve also been following our own content marketing strategy: to share valuable, informative content with our students and prospective students, to form a community of individuals who are as passionate about learning and development in their professional lives as we are.
Can content marketing exist without inbound marketing?
Before I talk about whether content marketing can exist in isolation to inbound marketing and vice versa, I’d just like to summarise exactly what content marketing is and what inbound marketing is.
Content marketing is the strategic creation of informative, engaging, and valuable content. It’s the blog posts, newsletters, web pages, and – yes – print advertisements, flyers and brochures.
Inbound marketing is the overarching marketing plan or approach to attracting customers. It’s the distribution methods and channels of your blog posts and newsletters; it’s opt-in email lists; online community building (social media management); search engine optimisation; pay-per-click advertising; and so forth.
Because content is such a big part of marketing, whether it’s outbound or inbound marketing, I believe that, while you can use content marketing on its own, it’s not really possible to use inbound marketing without any content. Besides, there is some overlap between content marketing and inbound marketing, anyway.
Is there a career or business opportunity in Inbound Marketing?
In content marketing, you may decide to regularly write and publish blog posts, promote them on social media, and encourage people to subscribe to your blog using an opt-in widget on your web page. That single content marketing activity – blogging – involves, by default, some components of inbound marketing. No one writes a blog post, after all, and leaves it in their content management system without publishing it and then linking to it on social media.
That’s why we decided to develop a content marketing course, rather than an inbound marketing course because, by convention now, many elements of inbound marketing are carried out as part of the regular content marketing process. Content marketing also integrates better with other marketing activities, like networking or outbound marketing, which means you can create content for to be used on your blog and repurpose it for a letterbox drop.
A client of ours showed me an email that came from Sensis and it looked a little sad. It showed how many times an ad appeared and how many people clicked for more information. The saddest part is that this Billion dollar company is now just another online directory. It’s another example of how a traditional business, that hires professional and persistent sales people to sell high cost packages is dying an accelerating death. The other large one I recall was Encyclopaedia Britannica – remember those door to door salesmen who made a good income selling these for your children’s benefit? OK, now I’m assuming you’re over 45 😐
Why Content Marketing
We decided many years ago to go down the blogging route because it makes sense. These days the correct term for blogging for business is “Content Marketing” and it’s great because it’s a way of:
Constantly informing readers,
Demonstrating an active business and website
Informing website visitors about changes in the business,
sharing stories about how people use our services and
Making general announcements.
How Bad is the Yellow Pages Directory Going?
Telstra recently offloaded their majority ownership in the Yellow Pages business they branded as Sensis and in the fine print on page 15 (2013 year) and page 18 (2014 year) you can see that the revenue for this business declined by 11.7% and 22% respectively.
I remember when most local tradies (plumbers, electricians, chippies, builders etc) would spend tens of thousands of dollars per year to keep their position in the large display ads. I even remember the days of the golden phone that Yellow Pages use to make available to business to PROVE just how many phone calls would be coming in the door as a result of advertising with them. If anyone remembers the golden phone offer I’d love hear from you on our Facebook page..
Where do you spend your marketing money?
The idea for this blog post came as a result of being forwarded an email, but it ties in nicely with our Small Business and Startup Course which is now available at a hugely discounted price! Read on to see how we changed our pricing structure.
In this course we have two subjects which cover marketing for small business and we have some great interviews with Michael Locke who shares information about the 4P’s. Sensis would represent an excellent case study of where the marketing function may not have been submersed in the strategy business decision making to stem this significant change in their business model.
The recent change we made to this course was to separate the business coaching and assessment options and make them available separately. In this way the Small Business and StartUp course is much like our MYOB course where you can work through everything at your own pace and request support if you need it.
If you are interested in doing a number of different courses as well as the Small Business Management course you might want to enrol at the Australian Small Business website where you can choose our software courses at a discounted price (when combined with the small business management course). This way you’ll be able to use WordPress for your content marketing, MYOB or Xero for your accounts and Excel for any spreadsheet work.
Traffic from Russia, Eastern Europe, Philipines and India?
We’ve been busy these last couple months in upgrading and optimising our websites, fine tuning our online marketing and studying our Google Analytics and came across a Russian based website that was sending a lot of traffic to several of our sites. After closely monitoring our website traffic, landing pages, bounce rates, time on site etc, we found a lot of in bound traffic from a Russian site called Darodar. It made me wonder why we’re all so scared of web traffic from the USSR. In fact it’s a reminder of the fact that labour is very cheap in some of these countries and some companies or individuals can go to great lengths to
The best thing to come from all this really is that by looking at our statistics regularly, updating all scripts and plugins and server side applications not only do we have an up-to-date website with security and protection against online risks, but we understand our website traffic in detail. This is helping us fine tune our website content constantly to provide our website visitors with what they are looking for.
I don’t normally write like this
I don’t normally like to write about all the technical details we have to go through as an online training course provider, but we’ve been assembling some marketing information about our new online business opportunities and realised this is exactly the type of information that we’ll be sharing with students who come along on our online marketing business opportunity.
As it turns out the type of traffic we were getting is called HTTP Referrer Spam or just Referrer Spam and hundreds of people are talking about it online already. Here’s a snipped of some of the sites we discovered. There is a lengthy conversation on an official WordPress Support Forum, and an article on a popular article site called Reddit.
The Best Answer
The best answer we found was this link that confirmed that this type of attack is not malicious to your website, is not a server side issue and won’t affect the ranking and traffic to your site. The biggest issue is that we spent all this time and even ended up going to the site in question (that’s one of their goals!!) and that it distorts our Google Analytics information.
We disable the Darodar Spambot and any traffic from this location. It’s not the best solution because we can’t do this for every website that performs this type of activity, but again, it gives us more clarity about what is happening with our website traffic.
If you want to get to know more about our online marketing contractor business opportunity go visit the StartUp Academy website for more information. I’ll be sending more information out shortly so stay tuned – including the services we are launching to help people start their own bookkeeping business..
We’ve been writing about referral marketing a lot lately, and in a recent post about marketing action plans, we talked about why you should include referral marketing and/or networking as a marketing strategy in your marketing plan.
That may seem silly to some people, since networking doesn’t always translate to sales straight away, but we’ve discovered another reason why you should include it in your marketing plan: Google!Continue reading Is Google Your Sugar Daddy?