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October 18, 2017

An Easy Guide to Discovering Content Ideas

Two of my favorite things, outside of my wife and daughter (of course), are 1) beer and 2) creating content from high volume keywords. I can hear you saying, “Really, Greg?” and I would say, “Yes, really.” So, what a better blog topic that combines these two and gives some tips for creating content that people actually want to read?

You might have guessed, but I’m a beer snob. I used to be ashamed to admit that because I hate being trendy, but I can’t hide the fact that 2017 is the height of craft beer mania. Check out how the term “craft beer” has trended since 2004 according to Google Trends. Craft beer may as well be Taylor Swift, pointy fake nails, Herschel bags, or one of those undercut haircuts with a tiny ponytail on top.*

*For the record, I’m currently drinking a Lamplighter Stardust IPA brewed with Simcoe, Summit, and Amarillo hops. I love Lamplighter Brewing Company in Cambridge, Massachusetts (Lamplighter employees: Hit me up to coordinate my free cases).

Cool chart, huh? It's free courtesy of the Googs' Trend tool. You can get a graph on anything you want there.

Let’s imagine I came up with the really unoriginal idea to start a beer blog. For the sake of this blog, let’s assume I want to be a source of education for beer newbies. So, where do I start? I can hear you saying, “Greg, it must be really overwhelming to figure out what to write about, right?” And I would say, “Wrong.”

With the right (mostly free tools) and a little bit of SEO know-how, you can figure out exactly what you should be writing about and how to drive traffic to your site over time. The best part is - it’s all based on real data and what people really want.

I bet a lot of beer newbies see a porter and a stout as being similar. Looking at Google Keyword Planner, we can see that “porter vs stout” gets 5400 searches per month. BAM! I’ve written my first article entitled “What is the Difference Between and Porter and a Stout?” For those of you who aren’t aware, Google Keyword Planner is linked to an existing Adwords account. If an Adwords account doesn’t exist, there’s a great free keyword research tool through “The Hoth.”

When should I write this article? In the chart below, it looks like search interest around the term “stout” peaks in the cool/cold weather months - not surprising since a stout is a hearty beer. It’s also not a surprise that searches peak around St. Patrick’s Day. Guinness is a stout and it’s one of the most famous Irish beers. With this knowledge, I’ll likely publish my article in the fall, and then maybe I’ll do another feature on stouts around St. Patrick’s Day. BAM! Who am I? Emeril Lagasse? Punch me…

Ok, so now my mind is working. What about summer beers? I see a lot of people drinking shandy-style beers in the summer. Since I actually have no idea what a shandy is, I’m going to Google “shandy” now. Based on Google’s “Auto Complete,” many other people have the same curiosity as I do:

 

Based on this tip, I confirm that many people are curious to know what a shandy is. After doing some keyword research, I see that 1600 people per month type in the exact query “what is a shandy?” Sweet.  Check out the shandy search trends below. There’s no surprise that queries around “shandy” peak in the summer since it is a light, fruity, and refreshing beer.

Search data is great and all, but what is actually resonating with the public? What have people been sharing over the past year? Using BuzzSumo (which just got acquired by Brandwatch), we can see the most shared content pieces pertaining to a given topic over a preselected period of time. I love using this tool to understand the types of content that actually resonates with the public. Check out the results below for the query “craft beer.”

An article entitled “IPAs Are Giving You Man Boobs” was shared over 93K times. This list has some great inspirations for fun and lifestyle content that I can add to my blog. Most importantly, I’m currently rubbing my chest and thinking that I might need to go to the gym.

TLDR: Use keyword data to discover and create awesome content.

  1. Google Trends to see popular searches
  2. Google Keyword Planner to see the volume of searches for particular keywords
  3. BuzzSumo to see what’s being shared in social
July 24, 2017

Content Marketing: Being Honest and Keeping Your Friends

I just read a Content Marketing article which discussed whether Content Marketing needs to be rebranded now that it’s been a buzz term in the industry for a handful of years. For those of you that know me, I absolutely loathe forced marketing lingo. I’d like to think that many people see right through it, but maybe I’m overestimating the “BS” meter than people are born with.

With that said, imagine ourselves in a professional situation. Let’s assume we're colleagues and we’ve come across one another at various events and we have a cordial professional relationship. At an industry event, I turn to you and say,“What are your thoughts on leveraging a synergistic approach to acquiring palliative hydration?” Translation: “Do you want to go grab a beer with me?” Of course, you wouldn’t want to get a beer with me, because I’ve just outed myself as a giant arse.

For some reason, I feel that marketers are constantly trying to reinvent the wheel. I get it. Our job is trying to sell things, but whether we’re trying to sell something to fellow marketers or the general public, a certain level of honesty needs to be involved. This notion is especially true in the case of content marketing.

Content marketing is pretty simple. Employ a value based entity with the desired outcome of positive absorption (Non- jargon translation: Write stuff that people want to read that provides them with value). Google has figured this out. Organic rankings are no longer filled with fluff results from SEO’s overstuffing keywords and manipulating the latest algorithms. Sure, there is still an art to SEO, but organic rankings are now based on Google’s machine-based algorithms, aka robots, who ignore all the cheesy jargon.

And while we are on the topic of cheese, let’s talk about a real life example. If you’re a brand that wants to sell more cheese, try positioning yourself as the ultimate authority on cheese. Answer all of the questions people have about cheese in a useful and valuable manner. Google will see you as being a purveyor of valuable content. People will start thinking of you as an authority on cheese and they’ll trust your brand more than the brand that just tells you that their cheese is the best, and then talks about how great their founders are. If you don’t tell them which kind of cheese pairs best with Pinot Noir, somebody else will.

What it comes down to, is that agency folks need to be honest with brands. Content about mission statements or awards is not what converts. People are generally not interested in anything aside from what they’re typing into a search engine at that specific moment. Be their buddy and give them an answer they’ll feel good about. Do your research to figure out what people are looking for. You just might be rewarded with free organic traffic for years to come.

January 10, 2017

Instagram Is Testing Mid-Roll Video Ad Pop-Ups In Stories

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The new Instagram tests are essentially an extension of Facebook's ad experiments in live video, where it has been serving mid-roll ads into broadcasts. Facebook has been tinkering with these mid-roll video ads as a way to make money from streaming. Now with options available on both platforms, publishers have more opportunities to test the viability of the format as a marketing investment.

New year, new ads.

January 10, 2017

Why Trello, A Simple To-Do App Is Worth $425 Million

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Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes describes Trello as a simple online application. But simple doesn’t have to mean cheap: His company just agreed to acquire the web-based project management app for $425 million—a ridiculous-sounding amount of money that may well be worth paying. Despite being only the fourth-most popular project management tool according to Project Management Zone, Trello was the fastest growing in 2016 increasing from 4.5 million users in 2014 to over 19 million in 2016.

Trello, it’s me.

December 12, 2016

Why Sex, Millennials and Video Didn't Sell For Elite Daily

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Eight months ago, Elite Daily was “the voice of Generation Y,” in the words of a presentation it made to advertisers. Two weeks ago, the Daily Mail General Trust, its parent company, wrote down the entirety of its investment in the millennial-focused publisher, a tacit admission that the site was worthless to the company and its investors. That plunge is the latest turn in a wild ride Elite Daily’s been on since it launched in 2012.

Forty million down the drain.

December 7, 2016

Netflix Wins Top Marketer of the Year

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Topping a list of 10 brands that were recognized for highly effective work this year, Netflix isn't what you would call a quintessential marketer. For one, the streaming video service does little in the way of traditional marketing. And what it does do, it doesn't like to discuss.

The A-list.

December 5, 2016

Can You Figure Out the Mystery Inside This Remarkable Ad About High School Love?

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At the outset, we meet Evan, a high school kid who can't wait for summer break. He's so bored that he begins etching words into a table in the library. The next day, he finds that someone has written back to him on the table—and there ensues a back-and-forth that's pretty captivating. Perhaps too captivating. 

A message deeper than sketches.

November 15, 2016

Publishers Turn a Blind Eye to Content-Recommendation Ads

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Those article recommendation boxes at the bottom of publishers’ article pages have a clickbait problem, which is why prestige publishers Slate and The New Yorker recently removed the modules from their sites and others are reconsidering them. In testing, “it makes people angry,” About.com CEO Neil Vogel said of the content in the modules. But how do these links get there in the first place? 

Survival of the spammy-est.

November 10, 2016

Instagram Will Now Let Creators Add URL Links, Tag Friends, and Create Boomerangs in Stories

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Today, Instagram is adding three new features to Stories in what they are calling the biggest update to Stories since its launch, including letting creators add URL links. One of the biggest gripes with Snapchat has been creators can’t add links to their Snaps and Stories, meaning their viewers are stuck inside the Snapchat ecosystem. This makes it extremely hard for creators (and brands) to monetize.

Your move, Snapchat.

October 26, 2016

For Now, TV Broadcasters See Facebook Live as Marketing

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Facebook’s live video might rack up enormous numbers, but TV broadcasters still see it as a marketing vehicle for the cash cow of TV. While Twitter has started buying broadcast rights to live sports, and a few Facebook-savvy publishers like Bleacher Report and The Lad Bible are doing some live-game broadcasts of their own on the platform, the reality is that live sports on social platforms at scale is still pretty far away.

Going with the flow.

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