6 Ways Marketers Can Optimize Their LinkedIn Profile

optimize-linkedin-profile

With more than 450 million members worldwide, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network–and it’s growing every second. In fact, LinkedIn reports that people are signing up for the platform at a rate of two members per second.

For many of us marketers, LinkedIn’s continued growth is no surprise. Not only is LinkedIn the place to showcase your own talents and experience, but it also holds incredible networking and marketing opportunities for promoting our clients and our own brand or agency to the masses. From bolstering professional credibility to building thought leadership to maintaining client and prospect relationships, LinkedIn is an amazing tool.

But are we all using this wonderful tool to its full potential?

It all starts with maximizing and optimizing your profile. Whether you’re reaching out to prospects for your own agency, connecting with industry influencers on behalf of a client or just looking to make some connections, your profile is quite obviously the first thing people will see. And you want it to look gooooood.

Below we dive into some best practices and tips for optimizing your profile so you can use it to build your own professional brand as a marketer and make it a powerful tool to further your marketing objectives.

#1 – Cover the basics.

The very top of your profile page is prime real estate, providing a little snapshot of who you are and what you do. This is where you want to make a good first impression and encourage people to scroll and learn more about you.

LinkedIn - 1

Some best practices and tips for this section include:

  • Upload a professional and high-resolution head shot. Make sure the photo is sized 400 x 400 and it’s in a JPG, GIF or PNG format.
  • Write a catchy headline. Use this space to sell yourself a bit. You can certainly go simple by including your job title and company, but a little creativity and uniqueness can go a long way. But remember you have just 120 characters to work with.
  • Include the industry you work in. Select the industry that best represents the space you’re currently working in.
  • Add experience and education information. Basic information from the Experience and Education sections will be pulled into your top overview, so make sure you have where and what you studied, and current and past job titles and companies at a minimum.

#2 – Get specific.

LinkedIn is not meant to be your online resume, as resumes are often tweaked and tailored to meet the requirements of a specific job. Linkedin is where you can showcase all your past professional and volunteer work history—as well as your interests and a little personality.

Use the Summary, Experience and Education sections, as well as others that you can add onto your profile, to dive deep into your qualifications, experience and accomplishments.

Summary

The Summary section is your elevator pitch. Include relevant information about your current role and company, as well as the experience that got you there and what drives you to do quality work. Consider writing this section in the third-person and include keywords that will help your profile come up in search results.

Again, this is where you make your pitch so don’t be afraid to brag a bit about some of your accomplishments. And if you can, back it up with some examples of your work. Below is a great example from TopRank Marketing’s Ashley Zeckman.

LinkedIn Summary Section

Experience

While you want to be specific and detailed, make sure you’re clear and concise as well. Start out with a brief overview of your role. Then highlight specific responsibilities, accomplishments and the results you’ve gotten in a bulleted list. Below is an example from Kevin Cotch, TopRank Marketing’s awesome SEO Analyst.

LinkedIn Experience Section

Education

Go beyond listing the high school or college you’ve attended to include your areas of study, activities or societies you participated in, and any honors or awards you may have received. Connect it with the institution’s LinkedIn page if you can. This will help you explore profiles of fellow alumni. Here’s a peek at what my own Education section looks like.

LinkedIn Education Section

Adding Other Sections

You can also beef up your profile by adding additional sections such as organization you’re involved with, certifications, volunteer experience and more. Again, the more information and detail you display, the better.

When you’re in edit mode, you’ll find this option directly under the top overview section.

LinkedIn Other Sections

Click on “View More” to see all the options that you haven’t yet utilized on your profile. Here’s what opportunities are available on my own profile.

LinkedIn - 6

#3 – Showcase your top skills.

The Skills & Endorsements section allows you to show off all your areas of expertise. The beauty of this section is that you have the ability to prioritize which skills you want to call attention to in the Top Skills portion of the section.

LinkedIn Top Skills Section

If you’re in edit mode, click on any of the edit icons to get to the editing dashboard. Then click and drag skills into the order you want. Also, make sure to check you’ve opted into serving your skills up as endorsement suggestions for your connections.

LinkedIn Reordering Skills

#4 – Add examples of your work.

Documents, images, presentations, links and videos can all be added to various sections of your profile, allowing tell your story in a visual way and letting people see your work in action. Below is a peek at content featured in TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden’s Summary section.

LinkedIn Publishing

#5 – Make use of LinkedIn’s publishing platform.

Taking advantage of LinkedIn’s publishing platform has a number of benefits. First of all, all your posts become part of your profile, living in a section directly under the top overview section.

In addition, when you publish something new it’s shared with your connections and followers. The content is also searchable on and off LinkedIn, which is huge.

LinkedIn Pulse Content

When it comes to actually writing your posts, choose a topic that you’re experienced with and stick to it. If you try to include too many elements, you’ll lose readers. You could also use the platform to repurpose existing content. Of course, write a click-worthy headline, use keywords and aim for around 300-600 words or so.

Check out LinkedIn’s advice on writing long-form posts.

#6 – Don’t be shy about endorsements and recommendations.

Endorsement and recommendations from those you’ve worked with give your profile the depth it needs to build credibility with connections. After all, who better to describe what you have to offer than the people who’ve actually worked with?

Reach out to former supervisors, co-workers or clients you’re close with and ask them to endorse some of your skills or write a recommendation. To get more endorsements, reach out using In-Mail or email. For recommendations, scroll to the Recommendations section at the bottom of your profile and click “Ask for Recommendations.” This will allow you to select what job you want to be recommended for and the connection you want to reach out to.

LinkedIn will generate a message for you, but personalizing it will make it much more effective.

LinkedIn - 11

The bottom line is you want your profile to be a reflection of who you are as an individual and a marketing professional. The more information you provide, the easier it will be for people to get to virtually know you, allowing you to build connections and credibility, and push your marketing efforts forward.

Do you have a favorite formula for writing a catchy profile headline? Or any other LinkedIn profile tips? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. | 6 Ways Marketers Can Optimize Their LinkedIn Profile | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post 6 Ways Marketers Can Optimize Their LinkedIn Profile appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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Digital Marketing Spotlight: Amy Lamparske, Head of Social Media at 3M

Amy Lamparske

One of the great benefits of social media is the dual effect of creating access to people of influence while helping individuals with expertise and points of view become influential themselves. One of my connections that serves as a great example of this is Amy Lamparske, Head of Global Social Media at 3M.

Local events and blogging undoubtedly created mutual awareness, but I didn’t meet Amy in person until she was Director, Digital Marketing at Walmart and then again when she was Director, Digital and Social Media at General Mills. In her current role at 3M, I’ve been able to see Amy’s thought leadership in action in situations ranging from being a keynote speaker at the first Brandwatch user conference to host of a Conference Board event on Social Media. Each time was a learning opportunity because Amy provides a view into enterprise social media marketing and advertising that is deep, insightful and fast moving. I’m not alone in this sentiment:

“Amy is a world class expert in social media strategy. She understands how to reach, influence and transform minds in the corporate setting and beyond. Genius and a fantastic execution partner!”
Kamal Manglani, currently Director at eBay

Amy has plenty of experience with large brand social media advertising, operations and governance, but I’ve chosen to focus on the topic of social media influencers. In this interview, Amy talks about how influencer marketing has had an impact on social social media marketing, how to activate influencers, scale influencer marketing in the enterprise and measures of success.

I believe in empowering small autonomous teams to plow through roadblocks and old school thinking.

You’ve worked for multiple global brands throughout your career, tell us what you’ve learned through your experiences?

Every company has so much potential in digital and social – it seems every executive leadership team sees the dollars and wants to embrace the opportunity. Change management and organizational readiness are the keys to driving transformation and enabling digital to thrive within large complex organizations. I’ve had some amazing sponsors throughout my career; a huge blessing that allowed me to have fun being a change agent – disrupting from the inside out. I’ve learned to be more patient and persistent while recognizing how best to influence, inspire and motivate others. I believe in empowering small autonomous teams to plow through roadblocks and old school thinking.

Brands don’t talk…People talk.

How are influencers, or how is influencer marketing changing your industry?

Early in my career, a close friend shared “brands don’t talk…people talk.” This remains true today – this space is about relationships not simply clicks. Plus, brands aren’t able to get as far as they once did with organic social. In terms of content creation, brands don’t need to be the experts anymore. What is shifting is we’re giving online influencers the ability, power and control to develop content on our behalf. Some large companies struggle with content creation while simply trying to remain relevant. It can be far more efficient and effective to go with a third party and look at their expertise, credibility and authority online.

Brands are partnering more and more with influencers to insert themselves, provide value or utility and share their stories. There’s tremendous value in speed to market activating the crowd. Buying behavior is shifting dramatically – we see an influencer publish content one day and the next thing we know, we are buying it. Influencers are growing trust, people relate to people like themselves, not always executives or celebrities.

How can brands best activate influencers to help share and promote brand content?

There are a lot of options for brands to partner and activate these days – technologies and solutions continue to sprout ongoing. I view partnerships both from a media standpoint as well as with customers to be a simple way to improve content performance. Demonstrate offline relationships online for transparency and reach purposes. Some brands still try to control the message and the way content is developed via influencers – the best approach is to provide appropriate direction from the start, and allow them to run with it. External ideas can be fresh and drive business growth in new ways. If you crowdsource content, embrace it and promote it even if it’s not 100% on brand.

You’ll want real friends online that have your back when negative sentiment comes knocking.

How can you scale influencer marketing at an organization?

Build an influencer or blogger network internally so the organization has a clear understanding and can tap their relationships on an ongoing basis. Ensure this isn’t simply paid influencer efforts – you’ll want real friends online that have your back when negative sentiment comes knocking.

With anything in social media, if you can’t scale it, don’t bother.

How do you know when its time to scale up with influencers?

We continue to grow within the B2B side of our organization. Some areas of the organization are new to working with influencers while other businesses have already built up relationships and programs. With anything in social media, if you can’t scale it, don’t bother. The idea is to provide something that is of huge value to be leveraged ongoing across the organization. Scale it yet be smart about how you make it relevant and customized for each individual influencer involved.

What are some of the most important measures of success for social influencer marketing?

Measures that drive business outcomes including: sales, stock performance, lead/demand generation, share of voice, enhanced sentiment breakdown and volume or mentions to influence the crowd.

I’ve seen brands invest too heavy on the paid side where it backfires eventually – brands need to balance.

Do you have any advice to share with other brand marketing executives when it comes to paid vs. relationship based influencer engagements? How do you decide?

It varies – if it’s something that simply makes sense for the brand and company to be involved with ongoing, true relationship based influencer engagements are the way to go. If you are looking to activate a chapter in your always-on book or align with a major tent pole event, product launch or seasonality; a blended approach is fine. I’ve seen brands invest too heavy on the paid side where it backfires eventually – brands need to balance this.

Now let’s play a little social network word association. After each platform, share the first thing or short reaction that comes to mind.

  • Facebook – Oldest yet most robust targeting
  • Vine – Short & sweet video
  • LinkedIn – B2B, requires real content marketing not simply snackable pieces
  • Periscope – Was pretty cool for six months
  • Twitter – When will you be bought? Partnership w/Google is good for SEO. Love you yet need you to be respected.
  • Google+ – Enhances SEO, good for brands w/reputation management issues, product could offer the world so much more coming from Google
  • Snapchat – Where everything is headed, wish I could just play here all day
  • YouTube – Oldie but goodie, will love you forever
  • Instagram – Requires high design, starting to provide analytics and better ads
  • Flickr –Old school photo sharing still kickin’

Thank you Amy!

You can find Amy on the social web at:
Twitter (@amylamparske)
LinkedIn (in/amylamparske)


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. | Digital Marketing Spotlight: Amy Lamparske, Head of Social Media at 3M | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Online Marketing News: CEO Social Success, Influencers Love Instagram & Pinterest Video

Social-CEO-Infographic_thumb_3

Social-CEO-Infographic_thumb_3 3 Things Every CEO Should Do to Succeed on Social Media [Infographic] This new infographic from MDG Advertising illustrates three simple rules for CEOs on social media: Start with LinkedIn, pick a few networks outside of LinkedIn and stick with them, and avoid being boring. Why should CEOs be on social media in the first place? It gives the organization a human face, and it’s a great way to positively impact a company’s reputation. MG Advertising

Influencers: Instagram Is the Most Engaging Platform (Report) A new report shows that 60% of influencers consider Instagram to be the most effective platform for engaging with their audiences, while only 18% said Facebook was the most engaging. The same study showed that 34% of influencers didn’t think that brands had a realistic understanding of the costs of influencer marketing. SocialTimes Pinterest Says It’s Making a ‘Bigger Bet on Video,’ Debuts Promoted Videos According to Ad Age, Pinterest “on Wednesday introduced Promoted Video ads, allowing users to expand its existing, animated Cinematic Pins to access a full auto-play video with sound. Brands can display six Buyable Pins beneath each video as it plays.” Ad Age How to Outperform Fortune 500 Brands on Instagram [Research] Content Marketing Institute analyzed a year of Instagram content from Fortune 500 companies and found four key takeaways: The most engagement is between 10pm-3am Eastern for F500 brands, F500 companies are posting mainly on weekdays but Sundays see the most engagement, pre-editing photos to post on Instagram isn’t a good idea and use hashtags and question marks rather than exclamation points. Content Marketing Institute Marketers have high hopes for automated content “In a poll conducted to accompany the ClickZ Intelligence Digital Trends 2016 report, nearly a quarter of respondents identified content marketing as the key trend for their company this year.” However popular, ClickZ also found that the majority of companies surveyed didn’t have a dedicated content marketing team. ClickZ content marketing and email marketing for lead generation 3 Billion Shares: What We Learned from Analyzing the 1 Million Most Shared Articles from December 2015 to June 2016 Fractl and BuzzSumo paired up to analyze the 1 million most shared articles in the first six months of this year, and the results are enlightening. For example, Facebook accounts for 90.2% of social shares, and only 14 publishers averaged 5,000 or more shares per article. Fractl Enterprise Marketing in 2016: Channel and Priority Trends “Enterprise marketers say television advertising and social media are two of their top channel priorities this year, according to recent research from Clutch and R2i,” Marketing Profs reports. 34% of marketers say increasing brand awareness is their top priority this year, and 32% cite building customer loyalty as their top priority. MarketingProfs Blab shuts down its live video platform Blab co-founder Shaan Puri announced late last week that they’ve closed the platform, citing “user churn was a problem because live video streams require a user’s complete attention. Puri says only about 10 percent of Blab’s userbase visited regularly.” Marketing Land Twitter Is Now Letting Brands Sponsor Its Emoji-Like Stickers According to AdWeek, “In June, Twitter launched stickers that let users overlay searchable emojis and graphics on top of their photos. Now Pepsi is the first to launch a paid ad campaign using the visuals.” However, it’s not immediately clear how promoted stickers are sold. AdWeek After redesigning Discover, Snapchat finds viewers grow but engagement drops About two weeks after Snapchat launched their new Discover section, publishers are seeing an increase in overall viewers, but a drop in total views, completion rates and time spent per user. Publishers are also noticing that viewers are opening editions and only viewing the cover article, resulting in a 28% drop-off after the first snap vs. 13% prior to the redesign. Digiday What were your top news stories this week? I’ll be back with my lovely co-host, Josh Nite, next week with more online marketing news. Have something to share? Tweet me @Tiffani_Allen or @toprank.

The post Online Marketing News: CEO Social Success, Influencers Love Instagram & Pinterest Video appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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[eBook] Welcome to The 2016 Content Marketing Summer Games

Content Marketing Summer Games Cover Image

Every year, thousands of high school students head to the track, pool, or stadium dreaming of greatness. Hundreds make it to college-level competition. A handful become pros. But when all’s said and done, just one athlete takes the gold.

Likewise, content marketing has become a highly competitive landscape. Thousands of writers, brands, marketers and entrepreneurs compete day in and day out for attention on the web. But did you know that a single consumer is exposed to thousands of marketing messages every single day? And that 50% of content marketers don’t know what success looks like?

To have a shot at connecting with your audience, you must become a champion content marketer. But what does that look mean?

In our latest eBook, The 2016 Content Marketing Summer Games, we uncover the 7 traits of champion content marketers, and tapped into medal winning advice from 7 content marketing athletes to help you train for content marketing greatness.

summer-games-blog-post-ad-2
What Makes a Champion Content Marketer?

We all have the opportunity to do something great, but it’s the dedication to training and pushing yourself to be better that makes true champions. This eBook will identifies and provides guidance on traits of champion content marketers including: how to create a winning experience, ways to push content potential, how to confront your fears, and more!

Insights From Medal Winning Content Marketers

We were fortunate enough to gain some incredibly valuable insights from some amazing content marketing athletes at brands like LinkedIn, Uberflip, UPS and GE Digital. Here’s a preview of some of the medal winning advice you’ll learn from these champion marketers:

“Be careful not to stretch yourself too thin. Top athletes and top marketers have an unyielding sense of focus.” @amrynnie Tweet This

“Experience content the way your customers do by looking at your content experience with a fresh set of eyes.” @hanaabaza Tweet This

“When building your content marketing muscles, collaboration & conversation are key components of success.” @robzie_ Tweet This

“Every content marketer should schedule time to refresh old content. If you don’t schedule time to do it, it won’t happen.” @amywhiggins Tweet This

“Become a source of trusted answers by identifying pressing questions and answering them.” @cnmoody Tweet This

“Go outside of your comfort zone to spark creativity by getting a fresh perspective from new resources.” @JournoMaggie Tweet This

“Content curation should be an essential part of every marketer’s daily training routine.” @TweetsFromPawan Tweet This

Learn to Become a Champion Content Marketer

The tips, tactics and insights in this new eBook are all focused on one thing; helping you become a content marketing champion. Now’s the time to dust off your keyboard and start stretching your content marketing muscles to prepare for the race of your life! Take the first step by downloading The 2016 Content Marketing Summer Games

content-games-ad-blog-post


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. | [eBook] Welcome to The 2016 Content Marketing Summer Games | http://www.toprankblog.com

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#123: How Much Money Should I Spend on Facebook Ads to Be Successful on My Webinar?

My friend and Facebook ad EXPERT, Rick Mulready, is back and together we are answering the number one question we both get asked all of the time—

How much should I spend on Facebook ads to ensure a successful webinar?

Today we have THE formula that will help you calculate your exact cost per webinar registrant that you can expect for your Facebook Ads.

I also have two freebies for you. They are incredible and I’m over the moon excited to share them with you.

When you sign up for our freebies, you’re going to receive a special link to a Facebook ads online calculator that you can use to determine your exact Facebook ads budget for your next webinar.

You will also get a cheat sheet detailing the the exact info you need to plug into the Facebook ad spend calculator. It’s all neatly packaged up for you when you sign up for the freebies!

Click here to get both now!

https://amyporterfield.leadpages.co/leadbox-1471375310.js

Rick and I know that Facebook ads can be confusing and often times it feels like the whole ad spend thing is a big guessing game. Well…not anymore.

podcast123

We can say that without a doubt Facebook ads give you the best return for your money in terms of the quality of webinar registrants.

This is our best episode yet! I’m bursting at the seams for you to get this info, so jump in now!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Amy Porterfield Episode #123 Download
Rick Mulready

Podcast Details:

Click here to download the transcript of this week’s episode.
Click Here to Subscribe via RSS (non-iTunes feed)

Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield

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20 Must-Have Content Marketing Tools for Writing Better Blog Posts

20-content-marketing-tools

Fans of high culture rejoice. We have finally realized our potential as a species. We have reached the pinnacle of creative expression.

That’s right. MacGyver is getting a reboot.

For those of you born in the 90’s, MacGyver was a TV show starring Richard Dean Anderson and his amazing mullet:

MacGyver

Image via Telestar

Breathtaking, isn’t it? MacGyver was a secret agent who used the power of feathered hair (and an array of improvised gadgetry) to fight the forces of evil. Give the man a paperclip and some bubblegum, and he could make anything from a deadly weapon to a stylish evening gown.

Content marketers tend to be the MacGyver of the marketing world. We may not have the hairdo (or any hair at all, in my case), but we’re used to making miracles with an improvised toolkit.

To celebrate MacGyver’s triumphant return, let’s put away our tin-foil-and-dryer-lint contraptions and give our tools a much-needed upgrade.

Here are tools you can use in every stage of creating a blog post, from creating concepts to amplification.

Concepting

Content marketing starts with audience and keyword research. After that, it’s time to take that research and turn it into actual concepts for individual posts. These five tools can help.

#1 – HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator

 hubspot topic generator

This little wizard is still the gold standard for simple idea generation. You can enter up to three topics, and it will put together sample headlines for you. The suggestions are based on HubSpot’s own incredibly successful blog. They may be a little on the generic side, but they’re a good starting point.

#2 – Portent’s Content Idea Generator

portent idea generator

Put in a keyword, get a single headline. It’s a simple little generator, but one thing sets it above some of the other tools I considered for this list: It’s a teaching tool. Each component of the headline gets its own little mini-rationale.

#3 – TweakYourBIZ Title Generator

 tweakyourbiz

Unlike the first two, this title generator spits out multiple lists of ideas, organized by type of post. You may notice a lack of variety, but with this many options available, you’re bound to find a few winners.

#4 – The Content Discovery Tool

content discovery tool

This tool is a unique little beast. It’s built entirely in Google Sheets, using XML commands, JSON scripts, and unicorn blood to pull information from dozens of sources. Type in a topic and the sheet populates with trending articles from around the web. You can dig in and customize it, but it works well even for non-tech folks like me.

#5 – Buzzsumo

 buzzsumo

Sometimes seeing the top performing posts on your topic is the best inspiration. For that, Buzzsumo is an extremely useful tool. Type in a topic and see the most-shared posts of all time, or the past year, six months, month or week. You can even see what posts are about to hit big on the Trending page. Buzzsumo has a decent amount of functionality for free. Pro accounts unlock a host of other features and start at $99/month.

Headline Optimization

The concept generators can give you a good idea of how to approach your topic. These tools can help you write a headline that gets people’s attention.

#6 – CoSchedule Headline Analyzer

 coschedule

This tool is a favorite around the TopRank Marketing office—my colleague in content Caitlin Burgess mentioned it in her post on writing compelling headlines. This list would be incomplete without it, though. It’s easy to use, informative, and educational.

#7 – Sharethrough Headline Analyzer

 sharethrough headline analyzer

Similar functionality to CoSchedule here, but it’s always worth corroborating results. This one focuses more on the emotional feel of the headline, too, so it can deliver insights that you don’t get from CoSchedule.

#8 – KingSumo Headlines

 kingsumo

After you analyze and optimize your headlines, this WordPress plugin can automatically A/B test them for you. Load it up with three different headlines when you post, and it will randomly serve them to visitors and monitor social shares. Over time, it can consistently deliver the best-performing headline. Nifty!

Drafting

Now comes the hard part, and the fun part: Actually drafting. There aren’t any tools yet that can do the writing for you. Which is good, because it means people like me keep pulling a paycheck. However, there are tools that can help you focus on getting the job done.

#9 – Freedom

Freedom

Freedom is a customizable distraction blocker. You can build custom blocklists for sites/notifications/apps you want to block, and on which devices you want to block them. Choose time limits, schedule your day, and get your productivity back. Free trial, plans start at $2.42/month.

#10 – FocusWriter

focuswriter 

This program is essentially a stripped-down word processor. It hides all its menus and widgets off the screen until mouseover, so there’s nothing between you and the words you’re typing on the screen. It also helps avoid the eye strain with soft gray text on a translucent background. $5 download.

#11 – StayFocusd

stayfocusd 

If you’re using Google Chrome, this is the productivity taskmaster you’ve been looking for. Set up a list of time-wasting sites and it will block them completely, after an amount of allowed time that you specify. So if you say 30 minutes, then spend 20 on Facebook and 10 on Twitter, you’re done for the day. It also features the “Nuclear Option,” which blocks every site on your blacklist for a set amount of time and can’t be undone without uninstalling. It’s merciless—which is exactly what a writer needs sometimes.

#12 – Zen-Cast

 zencast

Studies show a little ambient noise can help focus and productivity. This webpage is a simple, surprisingly customizable nature sound generator. Spend hours working by the seashore, in the rain, or under a waterfall, with insects and birdsong to boot. Although nerds (like me) might find this ambient sound more relaxing:

Cleanup

So your first draft is done. But unless this is your first rodeo, you know the first draft is the beginning, not the end. These tools can help you edit for the 4 Cs of quality content.

#13 – Word2CleanHTML

 word2

If you draft in Word and then upload to your CMS (like me), this little tool is a godsend. It strips out blank spaces, replaces proprietary tags with HTML standard tags, and converts special characters to universal ones.

#14 – The Hemingway App

 hemingway

This is another tool I have recommended before, but this list would be incomplete without it. The Hemingway App checks your writing for convoluted sentences, passive voice, and overuse of adverbs. It can even tell you what grade level you’re writing at. Just take the suggestions on sentence length with a grain of salt. Too many short sentences in a row makes writing feel choppy.

#15 – Readability Test Tool

 readability test

Similar to the Hemingway App, feed this test a URL or copy-and-paste your text in, and get a detailed analysis. This tool evaluates on a few more metrics than Hemingway does, and provides useful stats on average sentence length, percentage of complex words, and more.

Images

The right image can be a compelling visual headline for your piece. These tools can help you find and customize your images.

Finding Images:

#16 – Pixabay

pixabay 

This site is my go-to for royalty-free images. It features hundreds of thousands of photos and a robust search engine that can actually return useful results.

 #17 – Stocksnap

 stocksnap

Another collection of royalty-free images with a great interface for discovery. There’s a little overlap with Pixabay, but it has plenty of original content, too.

 #18 – rgbstock

 rgbstock

This site has a less intelligent tagging system than the other two, and the way it displays results isn’t the best. But it does have pictures the other two sites don’t have. It’s worth braving the interface to get fresh photos.

Editing Images:

 #19 – Pixlr

pixlr

This surprisingly feature-rich free web app has functionality to rival professional software. It’s good for everything from resizing images to in-depth layer-based composition.

#20 – Canva

 canva

Canva is the star player for creating social media images. It’s so simple, so intuitive, so easy to create cool-looking stuff. Make a free account and you get unlimited uploads, unlimited use of a big library of assets, and downloads in high-res and web optimized sizes. There are also huge libraries of elements you can buy for a dollar or two apiece.

Maximize Your MacGuyver Instinct

Content marketers are used to making the best of what’s around. But there’s no need to work with paperclips and chewing gum when there are dozens of free and low-cost tools to help with every stage of the process. From creating concepts to adding visual flair, these tools can help you make content as majestic as the mightiest mullet.

What are your favorite blog writing tools? Let me know in the comments.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. | 20 Must-Have Content Marketing Tools for Writing Better Blog Posts | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post 20 Must-Have Content Marketing Tools for Writing Better Blog Posts appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

from Joshua Nite Online Marketing Blog – TopRank® http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/08/20-content-marketing-tools-blog-posts/
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6 Tips for Increasing Facebook Organic Reach in an Age of Decline

Increase-Organic-Facebook-Reach

In late June, Facebook announced they would be changing the News Feed algorithm to favor content from users’ friends and families, triggering a collective sigh (and maybe some choice words) among publishers, brands and marketers who rely on Facebook to boost brand awareness and generate referral traffic to their website and blog content.

While Facebook admitted that they anticipated a dip in reach and referral traffic for some pages, many Page admins were probably already noticing a decline. Shortly after the announcement, BuzzSumo released data they’d collected after reviewing 25 million Facebook posts that the top 10,000 publishers has posted in the last year. Generally speaking, the average of total shares were up, but BuzzSumo discovered that average shares for posts with links were falling.

Graph of Facebook Posts - BuzzSumo

The bottom line? The type of content you post, along with the new algorithm changes, has a significant impact on reach and engagement, as well as the amount of traffic you can draw in.

For brands and content marketers especially, it’s more clear than ever that posting links to your website or blog content can’t and won’t get you the results you’re looking for, but rather it’s time to embrace Facebook as a way to connect with your audience, encourage discussion, show your value and build a rapport, as well as drive some traffic.

With that said, we’ve put together a few best practices along with some tips for boosting your the reach and engagement of your posts on Facebook.

#1 – Put in the work to really understand your audience.

For Facebook, their advice for boosting organic reach in light of the News Feed changes is for Pages to “post things that their audience are likely to share with their friends.”

After reading that, you’re probably thinking: “Duh.” While it may seem obvious, it’s also an important reminder we all need sometimes. Once we get in the daily grind, or as new initiatives roll out, or as some other new social trend comes along, we can lose sight—if only just for a minute—of who our audience is and what they really care about.

Take the time to dig into your website analytics and Facebook Insights to uncover the types of posts that are really resonating with your audience. Look at the kinds of posts that are driving the most traffic to your website, as well as those that are garnering the most engagement on your page. Use that information to tweak your content plan, as well as your messaging.

Of course, knowing that your audience can certainly change what they like, make sure you’re reviewing this data often, and making the necessary adjustments.

Check out Facebook’s suggestions for getting the most out of Page Insights.

#2 – Avoid using clickbait headlines in the content you share.

Every publisher, brand or marketers has probably used a sensational headline to grab attention and get the click at some point. In my opinion, that can be OK if you can actually deliver content that’s equally sensational and valuable. But oftentimes that’s not the case—and it’s just clickbait.

Facebook actually uses a system to detect clickbait headlines in content after a link is shared on the platform, identifying Pages and web domains that are consistently posting that type of material and reducing the distribution of those posts in the News Feed.

Facebook suggests using headlines that are informative, clean and set appropriate expectations. Basically, don’t be spammy or misleading, and don’t just focus on the click-through, but rather use text to encourage engagement. Here’s an example that Facebook gives as a what-not-to-do.

Celebrity Gossip Example

Read more about what Facebook has to say about clickbait headlines. Also, check out our post 9 Dos & Don’ts for Writing Compelling, Clickable Headlines to Draw Your Audience In.

#3 – Use hashtags.

While hashtags have always been an important best practice for Twitter and Instagram, it’s been a little unclear whether they’re important for gaining reach and exposure on Facebook. So simply put, hashtags are definitely a great way to get your content discovered.

Like Twitter or Instagram, when people click on a Facebook hashtag or search for a hashtag, they’ll see results that contain that hashtag, allowing them to find content on topics that interest them.

If you’re looking to join a conversation, use popular hashtags to foster that discussion. If you’re looking to brand your content and posts, create your own hashtag that represents that topic and use it whenever relevant. Find relevant hashtags by searching Facebook natively.

Facebook Native Search

You can also use Hashtagify.me to get some ideas, but technically this tool is for Twitter and Instagram hashtags. If you do use a tool like this, run the hashtags you find through a native Facebook search to see how and if those hashtags are being used.

When it comes writing your hashtag, if you’re using a phrase, capitalize the first letter of each word to make it easy to read, understand and remember, and avoid using spaces or punctuation. Also, make sure you understand the meaning of any hashtags you intend to use. While a hashtag may look like it represents a conversation or your brand, use a tool like #tagdef to learn if they’re being used for anything that’s a little more unsavory.

Read more about what Facebook says about using hashtags.

#4 – Utilize the mentioning and tagging functions to find new audiences.

Mentioning and tagging other pages and users in your content is one of the best ways to amplify your posts. Not only do those you tag and mention get notified when you do so, but they’ll more compelled to engage on your post and share your post with their audience.

Here’s a recent example from TopRank Marketing’s own Facebook page. Carlos Gil is a brilliant social media marketer. We wanted to give him a nice little shout out, as well as share something valuable and interesting with our audience.

Carlos Gill - 2

As you can see, this post got more than a dozen likes and a few comments, including one from Carlos himself.

Also, when it comes to mentioning, don’t let that stop in your original post text. If you receive comments from anyone, use the reply function to automatically populate their name as a mention and keep the conversation going.

#5 – Consider native video.

Most publishers, brands and marketers have known for a while that including images and video content in their posts is a way to drive engagement and give Facebook’s algorithm something it knows people are interested in seeing.

But native video specifically can be the type of media post that gets great reach. When looking at it in the context of social media, native video is any video content that is created in or directly uploaded to a social media platform, and then auto-plays within the news feed.

It actually lives on your Facebook page, removing the a barrier to interaction and making it easy for people to share so you can expand your reach.

Upload videos that you’ve already created or utilize the Facebook Live function for more informal or sneak peek style posts.

Here’s a great example from Microsoft. In just the first hour after posting, this video had more than 3,000 views, 8 shares and 54 likes. 

Microsoft 1

#6 – Encourage employees to share and engage with your posts.

Your employees should be some of your greatest fans. Encourage them to engage on your Facebook page or share your posts to help generate some reach and give engagement some momentum.

Send out a weekly reminder email to let your employees know about some of the interesting conversations or posts that are ripe for their engagement, or provide them with pre-written messages that they can copy and paste.

Here’s an example of one of our own employees, Debbie Friez, in action.

Debbie Share 1

Have you noticed a drop in your organic reach and engagement? What are you doing to improve them? Tell us in the comments section below.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. | 6 Tips for Increasing Facebook Organic Reach in an Age of Decline | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post 6 Tips for Increasing Facebook Organic Reach in an Age of Decline appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

from Caitlin Burgess Online Marketing Blog – TopRank® http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/08/increase-facebook-organic-reach/
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