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How to Succeed on Pinterest and the Meaning of Life OSP 100

In this 100th and final episode of the Oh So Pinteresting podcast I reveal the cold hard truth about what it really takes to succeed on Pinterest.

I also throw in a bit about the meaning of life (at least what it means to me).

No long show notes this time. To get the details you’ll have to push the play button above and listen in.  :)

In this final episode of the Oh So Pinteresting podcast I reveal the cold hard truth about what it really takes to succeed on Pinterest.

 

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Tools for Social Media and Content Marketing OSP 099

Digital marketing can be an overwhelming and time-consuming task. In this fourth episode of the Summer Super Fun Digital Marketing Spectacular Ian and I share some of our favorite tools for social media and content marketing that that keep us organized and help us save time.

Tools for Social Media and Content Marketing

 Scheduling and analytics

In episode 98 Understanding Content Marketing Part 2, we talked a bit about Buffer and Tailwind for scheduling. These tools are great but there are other tools that go beyond scheduling and offer other features such as allowing engagement, monitoring, analytics and reports.

Each tool offers different features at different price points. It’s impossible to say which one is best for your businesses because it depends on your budget and business needs. Each one offers a trial or a part of their services for free. Before you make an investment, check out what they offer for free and see if it’s something that you find easy to work with and if it can meet your needs.

When it comes to social media, what I find crucial to monitor is the amount of traffic each network is sending to my website. While repins, likes and comments are important for keeping things social, it’s the referral traffic that has a greater chance of becoming a sale.

For this type of monitoring, nothing beats Google Analytics and it’s free! Unfortunately, it isn’t the easiest tool to figure out it can give you a lot valuable information. The good news is there are tons of tutorial videos on YouTube and Google themselves has a free course.

If you use WordPress and haven’t yet installed Google Analytics, WP Beginner has a great step-by-step walkthrough article with a video.

How to Install Google Analytics in WordPress for Beginners

How to get  Google analytics on WP Beginner

 

Quill Engage is a free tool that integrates with Google Analytics and sends you weekly and monthly reports that explain what’s happening with your website in plain English. It’s still important to go into your Google analytics and dig into the data but this will give you and overview and maybe reveal something you might have missed.

Content curation

When it comes to Pinterest the practice of only sharing your own images or content is frowned upon and the same is generally true for other networks. The best Pinterest accounts are built as a resource for people who follow it to find relevant information about the things they’re interested in.

Here are some of our favorite tools to find great shareable content:

Triberr is a tool that allows you to form groups with other content publishers and if you choose, automatically share their content on social media. It’s also a great way to amplify the reach of your content as other group members share your content.

Feedly

Swayy

Google Alerts

 Social Media Automation

IFTTT is short for If This Then That is a handy tool for setting up “recipes” or commands that spur an automatic action when something else happens. Ian has some great recipes to share.

  • If you want to keep up who has linked to your website on Twitter but hasn’t @ mentioned you in the tweet, you can set up a IFTTT recipe to notify you. This can really help you keep up with who is sharing your content on Twitter.
  • If you want to share some of your images from Instagram to Twitter, you can set up a recipe in IFTTT that will embed the image into a tweet when you use a specific hashtag on Pinterest.
  • Cross promoting your Pins on twitter can be a technique used to attract new followers. You can set up an IFTTT recipe to automatically Tweet pins when new ones are added to a specific board. I would be careful not to select a board thats really active and  would flood my Twitter account with pins. Limit this to boards that you only pin your original content to.
  • By combining Feedly and Buffer in a IFTTT recipe you can automatically send selected articles to your Buffer account’s Twitter queue.

Image Creation

Canva can help you save time with image creation. One feature that is overlooked on Canva is the ability to create templates that you can use over and over.

To create a template on Canva you can use an existing image as a lay out or pick from one of Canva’s pre-made layouts. Once it’s saved on your Canva account, hover over the image and click the triangle in the top right corner.

How to Copy a Canva Image

Once clicked on, click the copy option. A copy of the image will be added to your account. Click to open it and change elements such as the background image and text to create a whole new image.

Copy Canva image

If you’d like more image creation and Canva tips, be sure to check out my course Web Images Made Easy.

Connect with Ian

HUGE thanks to Ian for being a part of the Summer Super Fun Digital Marketing Spectacular. It was truly an honor.

Ian Anderson Gray

Ian Anderson Gray is a digital Marketer, social media consultant and a web developer. He’s also a great singer :)

On Seriously Social
On Select Performers
On Twitter
On Pinterest
On Sound Cloud Hear Ian sing!

Digital marketing series by Oh So Pinteresting

Be sure to check out each episode of this series!

Week1: What Businesses Need to Know About Websites 

Week 2: Content Marketing Part 1 – What is it and why you need it

Week 3: Content Marketing Part 2 – How to create and distribute your content

Week 4: Tools for Social Media and Content Marketing (You are here)

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Understanding Content Marketing Part 2 OSP 098

Welcome to the third installment of the four-part Summer Super Fun Digital Marketing Spectacular with Ian Anderson Gray! Last week we brought you the first part of Understanding the Mythical Beast of Content Marketing, this week we’re going to take a look at tips and tools for content marketing planning, inspiration and promotion.

Understanding the Mythical Beast of Content Marketing Part 2. Good content marketing doesn't happen by accident. Here are some tips and tools to guide you through

Planning Your Content Marketing

Sometimes we are so excited about something it’s hard to slow down a bit and do the planning and leg work first. This happens a lot with businesses jumping into content marketing. They’ll start social media accounts and creating content without taking the time to plan it out and wonder why, months later, that they’re not seeing any results.

As with most things in life there needs to be some planning and preparation before success can happen. Heaven knows that many an argument would have been avoided if my husband and I had mapped places out BEFORE we got in the car and started driving ;)

Ian believes that sometimes it’s a good idea to just “unleash your inner creativity” but ultimately planning is essential, here are a few reasons why:

  • It saves time in the long run by avoiding the last minute rush.
  • Looking at previous content and researching what has done well will help improve your chances at creating content you audience will be interested in.
  • It helps keep you focused on your goals for content marketing.
  • It lessens the stress associated with content marketing.

Tools can be very helpful in getting your content planned out. You can use something as simple as a hand written list, a calendar, a spreadsheet or get a little more high tech and use tools like Trello or Evernote.

One system I like is a white board and post it note system.  When I have lots of projects going on at the same time it helps me stay organized plus gives me a physical visual reminder. Brandy Agerbeck calls this a “tangible to do list.” The entire video below form Brandy’s Ted Talk is great but the explanation of the to do list starts at 6:00.

No matter which tool or system you use to help you plan your content marketing, choose the one that works best for you.

Frequency

As a part of your planning you should include ideas for the topics of your content as well as the frequency you’ll be producing that content. Of course, once these plans are made, work  and life might get in the way. Good thing the plan can always be changed. Consider it one of the living and flexible parts of you business.

How often do I need to blog-For my clients, I recommend having a list of topic ideas ready to go. When they are ready to create their next piece of content they don’t have to spend time coming up with ideas, the have a list to choose from. The number of ideas you’ll need will depend on how often you’ll be publishing and the type of content you’re creating.

Many “experts” out there will say that you must publish content a certain number of times per week or per day to be successful. Bah! Nobody creates content like you do or knows your businesses as well as you do. Work on a schedule that works best for you.

The schedule you decide on now doesn’t have to be the one you keep forever. When I first started Oh So Pinteresting, I listened to one of those “experts” and was blogging three times a week. I was also taking care of four kids and working a full time job. After a few months I was burned out!

Something had to change. I couldn’t quit my job yet, the kids’ needs weren’t going to change anytime soon but I could cut back on blogging so I did. Guess what happened? I was less stressed and it freed up time to do other things like get new clients and build my business.

Consistency is important especially for podcasts and blogs. However, it’s not everything. My publication schedule has shifted a lot from when I first started. I used to beat my self up when I missed a week of podcasting or blogging. Not anymore!

I believe it is important to be as consistent as possible but it should be kept in perspective. Sometimes there are more important things to spend your time on such as your health, your family and your current customers. If your business will fail because you missed publishing a couple of blog posts or podcasts, how strong is your business to begin with?

How to keep your content interesting

Some businesses make the mistake of using their blog as a kind of diary. They’ll write about what’s going on in the office or how much fun they had at a trade show. Their customers don’t care!

Ian emphasizes the importance of sharing the businesses story without being boring. The stories should share information about the business but be interesting to the reader. For example, when writing about a trade show visit also include some information about what was learned that would be helpful to the customers such as new industry trends. What matters most is that you give value in each piece of content you produce.

Keep the ideas flowing

After creating the initial plan of your content marketing you might find yourself at a point where you’ve run out of ideas. Below are a few places to look:

  • Comment section of your blog
  • Questions asked of you on social media
  • Questions you wish your customers would ask about your products or services

Pinterest is also a great place to find ideas. I found this great image from Pauline Cabrera of Twelveskip with over 70 ideas for blog posts titles. Any one of these could be a great starting point for a blog post, video or podcast episode.

 

 

Buzzsumo is a tool that Ian uses to help him find what’s trending across social media around a particular topic. He likes to add his own spin and insights on popular topics on his blog.

Promoting your content

Once a blog post, podcast episode or video has been created, it then needs to be share with the world on social media. Ian finds this repetitive task something that is perfect for automation to help save time and energy. But he strongly warns against automating engagement, I totally agree! For example, NEVER automate thanking someone for following you.

When I first started blogging I was hesitant about sharing my content on social media. I though it was pushy and rude to tweet, pin and post my own stuff. WOW was I wrong! If I didn’t let people know I had published it how were they supposed to know??? Bad move.

I now pin, tweet and post my content as soon as it’s published and a few times afterwards. I’m careful not to be overly self-promotional but I can’t be so arrogant to expect people to always watch my website for my next piece to be published either.

There are scheduling tools that make this part of promoting your content super easy.

  • Pinterest- Ian and I both use Tailwind

Use what you have

While Ian and I both recognize the value of creating new awesome content, don’t discount the work you’ve already done. As long as it’s still relevant, it’s a good idea to re-share content that was published weeks or even months ago. You’ve probably added new followers on social media and they might have missed some of your older content. Long time followers might not remember the older stuff and even if they do they probably wouldn’t mind seeing it again every once in a while in their feed.

You can even use old content to create new content. Checkout my article How to Bring New Life to Old Content with Pinterest for ideas.

Keep your website safe

Some automation tools have plugins that can be added to your website. Before adding any plugin, you want to be sure that it’s from a reliable source and isn’t likely to leave your website vulnerable to hackers.

As a safety measure Ian likes the iThemes security plugin. Though it won’t make other plugins more secure, this plugin will make it much more difficult for hackers to break into your website overall. As another safety measure, Ian also recommends keeping your existing plugins up to date as much as possible.

Coming form previous experience, only update one plugin at a time. I once made the mistake of updating several at once and caused some pretty big problems on my website. I had to delete each one then reinstall each one individually to find the one causing the problem.

Connect with Ian
Ian Anderson Gray

Ian Anderson Gray is a digital Marketer, social media consultant and a web developer. He’s also a great singer :)

On Seriously Social
On Select Performers
On Twitter
On Pinterest
On Sound Cloud Hear Ian sing!

Digital marketing series by Oh So Pinteresting

Be sure to come back for the next week to listen to the last episode of this series!

Week1: What Businesses Need to Know About Websites 

Week 2: Content Marketing Part 1 – What is it and why you need it

Week 3: Content Marketing Part 2 – How to create and distribute your content (You are here)

Week 4: Digital Marketing Productivity and Timesaving Tools

Our sponsor Web Images Made Easy

You only have a couple of seconds to make a great first impression with the images you use online. If you want those images to be shared across social media and clicked on, they have to be good. But what if you’re not a graphic designer or professional photographer or don’t have the budget to hire one?

No problem! Web Images Made Easy is here for you! Click for more details.

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Understanding the Mythical Beast of Content Marketing OSP 097

Content marketing is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot but what exactly is it? Does your business really need it?

Welcome to the second installment of my four-part Summer Super Fun Digital Marketing Spectacular with Ian Anderson Gray. Last week we talked about what businesses should know about websites, this week we’re going to take a look at the content marketing side of things.

Content marketing is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot but what exactly is it? Does your business really need it?

In this week’s episode

For Ian, content marketing is telling a story, it’s creating something that will engage with people. We both see it as something that has been happening since the dawn of time only the mediums have changed.

Well-produced content can display knowledge or expertise on a topic and can build trust, which can lead to sales. One of the oldest examples of massed produced content marketing is a magazine called the Furrow begun in 1895 by John Deere. As a manufacturer of agriculture equipment, the company’s target market is the farming community. The magazine includes articles that are relevant to commercial farmers and is still being published today. Throughout the magazine John Deere products are featured which helps keep the company top of readers’ minds.

What Content Marketing isn’t:

One aspect of content marketing that can be confusing for businesses is that it isn’t necessarily about directly selling. Ian mentions the dreaded tweets that read, “See my latest testimonial” or “Buy my latest product.” Most people wouldn’t do this in real life but somehow find acceptable to do online.

Ian shared a story of a previous job and a manager who taught their employees to use very pushy, in-your- face sales tactics. Ian being the cool guy that he is didn’t go along with what his boss was teaching. What a rebel! Ian took a more patient approach. He asked customers questions, he let them take their time in deciding to make a purchase and ultimately sold more than his coworkers.

There is a time to ask for a sale and offer your product but there has to be time spent listening and engaging with your potential customers for both sides to end up feeling good about the transaction. No body likes to be sold. Nobody likes to be “convinced” to part with their money.

Recently my family and I went to a theme park for a vacation. After a loooooong day of walking we were headed back to our hotel and came upon a guy offering rides on a bicycle driven rickshaw. We were exhausted but had already spent so much money during the day we questioned if it was worth saving our feet the extra steps.

Before talking with the driver, my husband and I set set a cap on the amount we would be willing to spend. If it was going to be more than $30 our feet could hurt just a little more. When we asked him how much it as going to be he surprised us by saying it was all done for tips, whatever we wanted to pay. Woohoo, mama was getting a deal! My feet would be spared and all for a $5 tip!

Can you guess which park we were at?

On the short ride back to the hotel, the friendly young man started a conversation with us. He told us about things to do in the area, how long he had lived there and what he was studying in school. In a few minutes he gave our feet a rest, he gave us helpful information of what to do in the area and he shared some of his personal story. We ended up liking him and gave him more than the $30 limit that we had set for ourselves.

Ian has found that in this world of perceived “perfect lives” shared on Facebook that people are getting tired of this false picture. He’s found that when he’s been honest about some of the things that haven’t gone smoothly or when he’s made a mistake in his business that people really resonate wit it. Ian sees this as an honest way to share his story, to start conversations and build relationships with people. Perhaps at some point down the line they will need the kinds of services he offers and look to him for help.

Social media, what was old is new again.

Ian points out that for over 100 years mass media and huge corporations controlled the information we received. Now it seems that social media has taken us back to the way things were in in the 17th and 18th centuries. Back then, conversations and business transactions happened in cafes and pubs. Prior to that, in medieval times, business was conducted in public markets where people would often build up trust and relationships with their favorite vendors. Now, these kinds of face-to-face conversations are happening virtually and globally. The best part is that it’s open to businesses of all sizes.

Brands used to only work with big name celebrities and athletes to endorse their products. Now, some brands have recognized the following and strong connections that “regular” people have build with their social media profiles that they are being sought out to endorse products. Influence is no longer limited to the rich and famous. It can be a blogger who blogs from their kitchen table but has built a following and gained their trust.

Content marketing and its many forms

Content can come in many formsContent marketing can happen in different formats including print, audio and video. What’s important is that you find the format that works for you. For me, writing is a challenge. I prefer audio and in the past year I have put a big focus on my podcast. The show notes that you are reading now help keep my website visible to search engines but I have removed the pressure of writing blog posts from my schedule and focus on creating content in a format that I enjoy.

I recently met a woman who showed me a YouTube video she had made for her business. It was amazing! In the video I could sense her enthusiasm and passion but when I read her blog, that passion and enthusiasm just didn’t come across. She said she was able to do the video in one take and had a lot of fun making it. I strongly encouraged her to do more videos and if she was concerned about the SEO factors she could have the videos transcribed and include the transcription in her blog.

Ian loves to write and goes into a lot of detail in his writing. The drawback to his approach is that it takes a long time for him to write each blog post and it’s difficult to publish his work on a regular basis. He’s found that he can create short videos quickly and easily. He’s decided to incorporate video in to his content schedule so he can publish content on a more frequent basis.

When it comes to the form at of content you’ll produce, it’s also important to consider where your audience is likely to be and what type of content they’ll be likely to consume. For example, with my business, I know some of my community only listens to my podcast while others prefer to read blog articles. To find a happy middle ground between the content I like to create and the ways my community wants to consume it, I create an audio podcast with detailed show notes.

Find inspiration and content to share

Ian and I both use a tool called Feedly that lets us know when content has been published by websites and blogs we choose to follow. Keeping up with other content gives us insight into news and industry trends and helps to inspire ideas for our own content.

BuzzSumo is another tool that Ian uses for finding inspiration for content to create. It helps you find the top shared content around a particular topic. With this information you can see what it is people are interested in and in what format it was published.

Of course my favorite tool to use is Pinterest. Through Pinterest searches I can see the what’s being pinned about a particular topic and what kinds of images are being used. From the number of number of repins, comment and shares I can get an idea of its popularity. I then use this information to guide some of the topics of my podcast episodes. Even if a topic has been written or talked about before, I can still add my perspective.

 Sharing and repurposing your content

Once you’ve created your content you’ll want to share it across your different social accounts but once you’ve shared the link or pinned the image that doesn’t have to be the end. You can create different forms of spinoff content from the original piece. For example:

  • This podcast has written show notes.
  • I can create a slide presentation based off this episode and upload it to SlideShare that can also be viewed on Pinterest and my LinkedIn
  • I can turn some of the slides into an infographic to pin and share on my social accounts.
  • I can create a video of me narrating the slides upload it to YouTube and share on my social accounts.

Honestly, this isn’t an approach I have yet taken but it is something I would like to do as my business grows and I’ve added more team members. Interested in becoming part of the team? Send me an email.

Curating content

Sharing the content we find online to our social networks gives us an opportunity to add our voice and commentary to it. This can be a great way to start conversations and build relationships with followers. Sharing or curating useful, helpful or entertaining content takes us back to the more social side of our online presence and helps to position us as a resource for our community.

Real content marketing

Each piece of content you create doesn’t have to be perfect. I will never be an award-winning writer but I have definitely improved over the past few years. Ian recommends not comparing yourself to others just be your self and communicate your story.

Cats on social mediaThere is help available if you can’t handle the content creation on your own. There are many agencies and services available that you can hire by the project or on a recurring basis. If you choose to hire this part out I STRONGLY recommend that you don’t completely hand over the reigns to them. I have seen instances where the business’s core message was lost and all that was produced was fluff. While cat pictures get lots of engagement, unless your business is about them, cats shouldn’t be the focus of the content you produce.

 Connect with Ian

Ian Anderson GrayIan Anderson Gray is a digital Marketer, social media consultant and a web developer. He’s also a great singer :)

On Seriously Social
On Select Performers
On Twitter
On Pinterest
On Sound Cloud Hear Ian sing!

Digital marketing series by Oh So Pinteresting

Be sure to come back for the next two weeks to listen to the rest of this series!

Week1: What Businesses Need to Know About Websites 

Week 2: Content Marketing Part 1 – What is it and why you need it

Week 3: Content Marketing Part 2 – How to create and distribute your content

Week 4: Digital Marketing Productivity and Timesaving Tools

Our sponsor Web Images Made Easy

You only have a couple of seconds to make a great first impression with the images you use online. If you want those images to be shared across social media and clicked on, they have to be good. But what if you’re not a graphic designer or professional photographer or don’t have the budget to hire one?

No problem! Web Images Made Easy is here for you! Click for more details.

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