The 7 Rules of Writing High Quality Online Content

7 Rules for Writing High Quality ContentRules, rules and more rules.  I’m not much of a “rule follower” myself. However, when it comes to writing high quality online content, I do follow a few rules. Ok, they are really just guidelines. Here they are:

1. Use Simple Language

Keep the language simple and plain. Don’t use any words that the reader might need a dictionary to understand. Avoid using too much jargon or technical language that only your friends will understand. Keep sentences short and uncomplicated.

2. Watch your tone

The tone of your web content should be casual, as if you’re talking to a friend. Write like you’re writing to a friend. It’s also perfectly fine to use ‘I.’ Writing that is stiff and formal alienates readers and doesn’t build a personal connection, in addition to being hard to read. The exception is if you represent a stiff formal business with a stiff formal audience.

3. Use Small Chunks of Text

The same goes for the text. There’s nothing tougher than reading a huge block of text on a computer screen. It’s even worse when you’re using a mobile device. Paragraphs should be short and to the point. There’s nothing wrong with a paragraph as short as a sentence.

4. Break It Up with Headers

Break your articles up into headers. These are subtitles that tell the reader what each paragraph or part is about. These are great because people skim online web content. You can write your headers afterward and they can just be a few simple words describing what that section is about.

5. Keep it Short and Digestible…Sometimes

There are two sides of this debate. How long should your blog post really be? It’s often best to keep posts short and centered on one main point.

It should be mentioned, though, that longer articles tend to bring more benefits in terms of SEO. The search engines tend to favor longer content over shorter content. But for the sake of getting started, keep your posts short. You have to get used to writing a bit before you can stretch it out to longer articles.

6. Give It the Quality Test

Gear your web content toward solving readers’ problems. Of course, your 300-word blog post may not solve the problem completely for them. But give them some tips and advice that they can use. When you finish writing, read over it and ask yourself, “Does it offer value?” If it does, it probably passes the quality test.

7. Help Readers Take Action

A nice touch is to add a few takeaways at the end of the article. These are specific things your reader can do to solve their problem right now. You can summarize with steps if the article describes a process.

Now you have the rules. Which one’s will you follow?

How to Get Good Reviews Online: 7 Quick Tips

how to get online reviewsDo you know how to get good reviews online?

Online reviews can be a blessing or a curse to your company. The review is classic word of mouth taken to a whole new level. There is a wide array of websites that allow customers to write reviews. After trying your services or products, customers can tell others about you on one of these sites. Reviews on the Internet can reach a huge audience, so it’s very important that what’s written in the reviews is positive and accurate.

You don’t have any control over what customers write about you. However, if you get enough good reviews, a few bad ones will hardly be noticed. Here are seven quick tips:

Tip #1. Quality Products and Services

Offer the best products and services possible and follow it up with excellent customer service. This is where many businesses fail. They ignore customer feedback about their products and don’t respond quickly enough when there are problems. If you make your customers happy and try your best to deliver what they want, you will earn great reviews.

Tip #2. Ask for Reviews

If you offer good products and services that genuinely help your customers, you don’t have to twist their arms to get good reviews. All you need to do is ask. Right after they’ve enjoyed your product or service, gently remind customers that good reviews help your business grow and continue providing these products. Most customers will leave a review if asked politely.

Make it as easy as possible for people to leave reviews, and you’ll receive more and more. Give customers the URL to the review site where they can write their comments. If you’re interacting with customers online, give them a clickable link. If you’re offline, consider using QR codes. Then your customers can scan your QR Code with their mobile devices and be directed straight to the review site.

Tip #3. Offer Incentives

Many companies include reviews in their customer loyalty strategies. If you’re not getting as many good reviews as you’d like, offer your customers an incentive. Make sure they understand that they don’t have to say good things; they only have to leave you feedback. Offer a freebie, coupon, discount, or extra service first and let customers know it’s no-strings-attached. You may take a loss ñ they may not write a review ñ but if they don’t feel forced, they will be more likely to do it.

Tip #4. Boost Your Online Presence

Build your online presence and connect with your customers in as many places online as possible, including Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. Especially for your under-30 customers, this engagement will go a long way in building customer loyalty and encouraging them to interact with you, which includes leaving reviews.

Tip #5. Quick and Efficient Damage Control

Respond to negative reviews quickly. Negative reviews donít necessarily have to be a bad thing. They offer you an opportunity to show people that you care about customer service. Ask the reviewer about his or her bad experience and offer ways you could help fix the issue, such as offering a free replacement product or a refund. Bend over backwards, not to save face, but to make the reviewer happy. Others will see this and think more highly of you.

Tip #6. Give Reviews

Give before you get. Review other products and services on your blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, or on LinkedIn and you you might be surprised how many people reciprocate.

Tip #7. Get into a Routine

Getting good reviews is a numbers game. The more proactive you are in giving and seeking feedback, the more feedback you’ll get. Make it part of your regular sales process and daily routine to get customer feedback wherever possible.

Take online reviews seriously. Your online reputation is worth it. 

10 Simple Tips for YouTube Marketing

youtubeIt’s not a question whether you use YouTube as your video marketing tool to reach your audience online, it’s only a question of how well you’ll use it. Here are 10 simple tips for YouTube marketing:

1. Keep your video short.

People generally have small attention spans and the percentage of viewers that are going to stick around for your big finale – and link information – after even 5 minutes is pretty slim. Ty and keep your information brief and to the point. Use your YouTube channel as a method of enticing viewers to view your other content, and give them more information when they get to that point.

2. Don’t forget about your mobile audience.

A growing number of people are using their phones to access YouTube and watch videos. Bear that in mind when you’re including text – it has to be easily viewable on a small screen.

3. Watermark your content.

Keep your information secure and not easily reproduced by others by adding a watermark to your video. Just make sure it’s not too overpowering that it distracts from your content.

4. Spread the word.

Having a consistent level of communication between your YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other social media accounts will do wonders for your flow of traffic. As soon as you’ve produced a new video, get it out there and let everyone in your network know about it. The good news is that it will automatically post to your Google+ account since you’ll already have your Google and YouTube accounts linked.

5. Focus on SEO.

Add captions, tag your content, add a succinct description, think hard about your title and make sure your video file name is relevant, (dog-chases-car as opposed to 10-10-13) … these are all great methods of making sure your content gets viewed.

6. Think about Audio.

You want to make sure your audience is engaged… but not overwhelmed. If you have spoken audio, it’s good to include intro and outro music to the video. YouTube has some fantastic options to choose from.

7. Prepare your videos.

Use the best quality video and audio equipment as you can afford right now. Keep shaky camera movements to a minimum and plan the video before you shoot it – think about writing a script and practice first!

8. Link.

Make sure you take good advantage of the fact that someone is viewing your content – give them a link to the rest of your content or relevant content, and make it easily accessible in both the annotations and the video description.

9. Do something different.

Never has ‘thinking outside of the box’ been so important. You’re up against a lot of competition and the more you stand out, the better.

10. Go beyond YouTube.

Once you’ve created your video content there are plenty of other video sharing sites online where you can post it and increase your audience.

 

What other tips have you learned that have helped you?

13 Instagram Marketing Tools

instagram-logo

Looking to get the most out of Instagram? Well you are in luck. There are many apps and online tools that can be used in conjunction with Instagram. Below is a list of 25 tools that will help you get more out of your Instagram experience.

Online Tools That Help You Get The Most Out of Instagram

Statigram – This tool is great for engaging your community with contests, tracking your stats, and managing comments.

Igertools – Easy to use tool that allows you to quickly follow your followers back, unfollow those that do not follow you, and easily find new comments.

GramFeed – Is like a newsfeed to view your photos. You can also view your followers photos, like photos, post comments and more. It is an easy tool to use.

Cool Apps You Can Use From Your Smartphone:

Instafollow – This is an app tracker you can download that shows you who followed/unfollowed you, who you didn’t follow back, and who didn’t follow you back. The price to download is .99.

Instatag – This app allows you get more likes and follows by giving you easy tagging options. Using the right hashtags is very important. The app costs .99.

InstaCommentor – This app helps you know exactly what comments were replied to and which ones weren’t. Very important for networking and connecting with others.  Download the app for .99.

InstaEffect FX – This app will help you get those amazing photo effects. There are over 70 photos effects and filters. You can layer as many effects as you want. Definitely worth playing with. The best part is this app is free.

InstaRepost – This app allows you to repost photos you like. It works similar to retweets on Twitter. You can also customize your reposts. It also allows you to search for new photos and find interesting people. This app is free (there is a paid pro version as well). There is a free and paid version.

Textgram – Create texts and share them on Instagram. It is now very easy to quick to text or draw on your photo or without a photo. Download the app for .99.

Over – This is a fun app that allows you to add beautiful text overlays to any of your photos. It comes with images and fonts so you can easily add text or artwork to your photos. Download the app for $1.99.

Superimpose – You don’t need any expensive software to superimpose any more. You can change out backgrounds, foregrounds, mask out parts of the photo, change the size, color and more. The app costs .99.

And lastly if you wanted to turn your Instagram photos into magnets you can with StickyGram. Or if you want you can print out your Instagram photos you can with Copygram.

What are some of the tools you’ve found valuable to use with Instagram? Please share your comments below and download our free guide “How to Grow Your Brand with Instagram”.

 

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Why You Can’t Afford To Ignore Twitter Lists

twitter-list

Do you use Twitter Lists? If you aren’t familiar with it yet, a Twitter List is a cool Twitter feature focused on getting people and their tweets into a group so you can see them all in just one place. It’s very convenient. Although most businesses have been using it for quite some time now, there are still a few who aren’t – probably because they just haven’t recognized how powerful it is yet.

If you aren’t using Twitter Lists, here are 5 reasons why you should choose the opposite route:

Twitter Lists allow you to organize the profiles you’re following. You can sort them in categories and themes that are relevant to your business. You can create a list of influencers in your industry to help keep you updated with the latest business trends, or you can secretly group your competitors together in just one list.

Twitter Lists reduce the clutter. When you follow tons of people on Twitter, your newsfeed tends to be flooded with tweets. Because Twitter Lists organize people and their tweets, you can avoid the noise by simply going directly to a list and read tweets of important accounts you follow.

Twitter Lists save you time. If you put a group of thought leaders in your industry together in just one list, it’s easier for you to track their tweets and updates. This saves you a lot of time because you don’t have to check each of their profiles just to get the latest scoop of news.

Twitter Lists provide content. Since tweets are filtered automatically, you have a constant stream of retweetable content and a steady source of topics which you might want to tackle on your next podcast, video or blog.

Twitter Lists are a great way of showing support. How would you feel if someone added you to a list that says Top Profiles To Watch? Or to a list of Awesome Inbound Marketers? Wouldn’t it feel great to know that someone values you and looks up to you in your industry? Twitter Lists can be used as a tool to show support and respect for key influencers who initiate a positive change to many businesses.

Ways To Use Twitter Lists

Don’t know how to use Twitter Lists? Here are some of our suggestions:

Location-based Lists

If your audience is targeted by a specific area or place, setting up a Twitter List can work to your advantage. You can add people from that specific location onto your list so you can be more effective in listening to and identifying their needs.

Thought Leaders List

Is there an industry expert you look up to and get insights from? Do you have a mentor who has helped you develop your skills? You can group these people into just one list so you can easily access their profiles in case you need a little motivation to get through a challenging day. If you’re an expert, a Twitter list can help you highlight other experts or great individuals and show recognition for their work.

Customer List

We think a customer list is one of the most important lists you can create. It can be a great resource for improvement as it is much easier for you to learn about the things they rave about your products or services and determine areas for improvement. It can also be used to reward customers and provide an opportunity for them to connect other individuals with similar interests.

Many businesses use Twitter for its clever features such as Twitter List. So if you haven’t paid much attention to this feature before, we suggest that you  jump right in and make the most of it.