50-30-20 BUDGETING RULES

Don’t Forget The 50-30-20-Rule If You’re On A Budget

Smart Dad [internal link] says don't forget the 50/30/20 rules if You’re on a Budget.

Budgeting is a cornerstone habit for building wealth. One approach to creating a budget is the 50/30/20 rule.

In this article, we cover the 50/30/20 rule of managing your money and how to apply it to your finances.

But wait!

What are the 50/30/20 rules all about?

WHAT IS TH 50-30-20 RULE ABOUT

Senator Elizabeth Warren popularized the so-called '50/20/30 budget rule' (sometimes labeled '50-30-20′) in her book, All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan. The basic rule is to divide up after-tax income and allocate it to spending 50% on needs; 30% on wants, and socking away 20% to savings.

If the strategy sounds relatively simple, that’s because it is. One of the biggest advantages of the 50/30/20 rule is how straightforward it is to understand and implement.

Don't tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value.”
– By Joe Biden

Too many people budgets are terrifying – If you’re anything like me, when someone says the word budget, I instantly want to wrap all my favorite splurge items in a big mental bear hug.

“Don’t worry, beer money. I won’t let them get you! HBO, just don’t look at them. Maybe they’ll go away.”

A budget that makes you account for every single dollar can be suffocating. But the problem with this mode of thinking is that it focuses on the negative.

As a self-proclaimed optimist, I know I need to reprogram my brain to see the positives. But how do I do that when someone wants to eliminate all of my fun money?

How The 50/30/20 rules Works

50%: Needs

Needs include your rent or mortgage payments, gas and electricity, refuse collection, transport, medicines and health insurance. It also includes minimum debt repayment but it doesn't include things subscriptions to online entertainment, spending on takeaway coffees and juices or eating out. Needs are the basics of life.

Needs are those bills that you absolutely must pay and are the things necessary for survival. These include rent or mortgage payments, car payments, groceries, insurance, health care, minimum debt payment, and utilities. These are your “must-haves” including items that you are contractually obligated to like debt payments or bills. The “needs” category does not include items that are extras, such as HBO, Netflix, Starbucks and dining out.

Half of your after-tax income should be all that you need to cover your needs and obligations. If you are spending more than that on your needs, you will have to either cut down on wants or try to downsize your lifestyle, perhaps to a smaller home or more modest car. Maybe carpooling or taking public transportation to work is a solution, or cooking home more often.

The Essential category:

This category is for the essential bills. Let me emphasize that word: essential.

  • Rent or mortgage: You know, that place where you live.
  • Utilities: So you can cook your ramen noodles.
  • Groceries: Because those ramen noodles don’t come free!
  • Car insurance and/or car payments: You do need a car… or do you?
  • Phone and internet: Let’s face it, they’re essentials — they help you read The Penny Hoarder!
  • Gas for your work commute: Because the boss thinks you’re too sweaty if you run to work every day.
  • Credit card and loan minimum payments: Make no mistake — making the minimum payments on your debts is essential. You can’t afford to deal with the late fees and credit risks of not meeting that basic requirement. Period.
  • Other: Bills that are essential and probably no fun at all. Maybe you have prescription meds, daycare costs or even doggie daycare. Yes, Mr. Barky counts. But your wine-of-the-month club does not.

30%: Wants

Wants include the good stuff. All the things you spend money on that are not essential. Eating out, entertainment, hobbies, fashion items as well as bigger ticket items like holidays, concert tickets and the latest smartphone or tablet. You can do without these things but life wouldn't be quite as enjoyable if you did. It's perhaps no surprise that this is the category that we all tend to overspend in.

Wants are all the things you spend money on that are not absolutely essential. This includes dinner and movies out, that new handbag, tickets to sporting events, vacations, the latest electronic gadget, and the ultra-high-speed Internet. Anything in the ‘wants' bucket is optional if you boil it down. You can work out at home instead of going to the gym; cook instead of eating out; watch sports on TV instead of getting tickets to the game.

This category also includes those upgrade decisions you make, such as choosing a costlier steak instead of a less expensive hamburger, buying a Mercedes instead of a more economical Honda or choosing between watching television using an antenna for free and spending money to watch cable TV. Basically, wants are all those little extras you spend money on that make life more enjoyable and entertaining.

Personal Spending Category:

This is the category that makes this budget work for the budget-averse. It’s all of the stuff you like to spend money on but don’t really need it. You know, goofin’ off money. Did you notice the percentage? It’s a decent amount.

  • Dining out: Because eating at a restaurant means no dishes!
  • Vacations: You could make a case for vacations being a necessity, but for this budget, they’re not. Save up for it, so you can enjoy whatever you’ve saved without the guilt — or the credit card payments.
  • Going out for movies or drinks: Seriously, socializing is important. Very important. Your morning latte? Go for it. Budget for it responsibly, and it’s all good.
  • Netflix and other in-home entertainment options: Yeah, I felt you cringe here. You finally cut the cord with cable, so this is essential, right? Nope. There are ways to watch plenty of TV shows for free. That said if you can fit it into this part of your budget, go for it.
  • Shopping for clothes, decor, etc.: I know. That sale won’t last forever! You can get the latest styles, but you have to budget for them.

20%: Savings

Finally, try to allocate 20% of your net income to savings and investments. This includes adding money to an emergency fund in a bank savings account, making IRA contributions to a mutual fund account and investing in the stock market. You should have at least 3 months of emergency savings on hand in case you lose your job or an unforeseen event happens. After that, focus on retirement and meeting other financial goals down the road.

Savings include repaying debts beyond just minimum repayments, saving money for emergencies and saving for your retirement. These are the sensible things that we all should be setting aside money for. Unfortunately, we tend not to save 20% of our take-home income or to save at all. Remember, if your employer automatically deducts pension contributions from your salary, add these contributions back into your savings amount.

Savings can also include debt repayment. While minimum payments are part of the “needs” category, any extra payments reduce the principal and future interest owed, so they are savings.

Financial Goal Category:

This category puts the focus on helping you improve your financial health because it turns out that being less poor is more fun than being poor. #lifegoals

  • Investments: This includes your 401(k) and all other investments. Don’t have any yet? It’s never too late to start investing.
  • Savings: One of the biggest steps to financial health is having emergency savings so you don’t step backward every time an unexpected expense pops up.
  • Debt-reduction payments: This is for payments on your credit cards, student loans and any other debts that are above the minimum payment. As long as you owe money, it’s hard to get ahead. And yes, that $400 you borrowed from your roommate for that weekend in Vegas fits here. (Even though it’s interest-free, you may want to pay your friend back first.)

Follow the 50/30/20 rule

The first thing you must do is calculate how much money you can allocate to your needs, wants, and savings or debt. Let’s say you’ve calculated your after-tax income as $6,000 per month. In this case, you’d have $3,000 for needs, $1,800 for wants, and $1,200 for savings and debt.

Now that you know how much you can spend in each category using the 50/30/20 rule budget, the question is which expenses go in each category. You’ll have to use a bit of discretion in determining what fits into each category, but here are some general guidelines to follow.

Needs are expenses that you absolutely must keep in your budget no matter what. These include things like housing, utilities, transportation, and health care expenses; at least the minimum payments on your debts; and the bare minimum of basic clothing and supplies for living.

Wants are expenses that you choose to spend your money on but that you don’t need to live your life. This category includes expenses like dining out, alcohol, cable TV, internet, shopping trips, vacations, memberships, subscriptions, gifts, entertainment, and other luxuries.

It’s easy to confuse many wants as needs. A simple way to determine if something is a need or a want is to ask if you could live without it. If you could, it’s a want, not a need.

Finally, the savings or debt category is money you set aside for your future or to pay off debt faster than required. You can use this money to build an emergency fund, save for a down payment on a home, invest for retirement or pay off your student loan debt or credit card more quickly than required.

If you want to save money more quickly, you’ll need to set aside some of your wants money for extra savings.

So if your after-tax income is €2,400 a month, according to the 50/30/20 rule, you should try to limit your needs to €1,200, you can spend €720 on your wants and you have €480 left over for saving or repaying debts.

Getting your spending in line with the 50/30/20 rule

It's not unusual to discover that your spending doesn't match the 50/30/20 rule perfectly. It might take a little while to bring it into line.

If your needs exceed 50%, you might have to do without a few wants for a bit and use some of that money for your needs until you can get your needs down to a more manageable level.

If your spending on your wants is way north of 30% then you need to take a good look at where your money is going and reign in your spending.

If your savings are much lower than 20% because of debt repayments then you might want to look at strategies for reducing your debts.

Why the 50/30/20 Budget Works

This method works well for those new to budgeting or puts off by rigid spreadsheets.

Splitting your expenses into these three broad categories will get you thinking about the value of your purchases while providing flexibility as you find your frugal footing.

And by building pleasurable spending into your financial plan, you’ll be able to enjoy what’s most important to you while you find places to cut spending.

When the 50/30/20 Budget Doesn’t Work

For some, the numbers simply won’t add up.

Maybe you have two jobs and still can’t earn double the price of rent in your area. Maybe your daycare options are limited. Or maybe your student loan debt is taking up most of your income.

For others, there may not be enough structure in this method. (Looking at you, color coordinators.)

That’s OK.

There are plenty of budgeting methods to choose from. Sometimes, you can modify these methods to fit your needs; other times, they just don’t work.

What’s most important is that you zero in on eliminating debt and growing your personal wealth.

Is it fun? No. But when you find a budgeting method that works for you, it’s not torture, either.

Just remember: Personal finance is about prioritizing and then weeding out expenditures you can live without. It’s not about living like a hermit or denying yourself any fun.

Tips for Budgeting Success With the 50/30/20 Rule

Let’s start with the biggest chunk. That 50% number you should put toward necessities is a maximum. Yes, that’s right. A maximum.

If your monthly bills are higher than 50% of your monthly income, you need to make some adjustments. Ideally, your housing shouldn’t cost more than 30% of your take-home pay. If it does, you may need to consider downsizing. It’s not fun, but it could be a key step to getting ahead financially.

Next, take a good look at your personal spending. Again, that 30% is a hard line. If you go over your past year’s bank statements, you’ll probably find that your spending is a bit high in this category. I know I’ve been guilty.

If you worry about building your savings category to 20% of your income, try these tips:

How often do you eat out at restaurants? Are you shopping smart for groceries? Be honest with yourself, and think about lunch during the workday, too. Can you trim that expense? Maybe you’ve got space outside and can start a garden.

Take a hard look at your TV, phone and internet bills. Do you need all of those premium services? Cut back a little and see how you do. When’s the last time you read a book? Check out your local public library for a ton of free books, movies and more.

Shopping: We all love it, even if we claim we don’t. It may be clothed. Or it might be booked. Whatever your weakness is, set a budget for yourself. Have old stuff you don’t want anymore? Sell it and add that money to this part of the budget!

Finally, realize that the financial goals category is where this simple budgeting system helps you the most. That 20% is not a hard cap. If you can find a way to save more, pay off more on your debts or boost your investments, do it.

Is the 50/30/20 rule budget good for you?

WHAT IS TH 50-30-20 RULE ABOUT

Overall, the 50/30/20 rule can be a sound budgeting method for some people. But whether the system is right for you depends on your specific circumstances.

Having just three categories to track might help you focus on fine-tuning your finances instead of getting bogged down in the process of categorizing each individual expense. For others, the lack of structure could make it harder to find ways to improve their spending habits. Ultimately, you need to decide whether a budgeting system that’s less detailed or more highly detailed will be best for you.

Another potential issue with the 50/30/20 rule budget is the breakdown of money allocated to needs, wants, and savings or debt. Depending on your income and where you live, 50% may not be a large enough percentage to cover your needs.

For instance, people who live in areas with a high cost of living may have to put a large part of their income toward housing, making it almost impossible for them to keep their needs under 50% of after-tax pay.

Finally, some critics of the plan say the 50/30/20 rule budget doesn’t work well for higher-income earners, because it calls for too much spending on wants versus needs or savings and debt.

Bottom line

For people who don’t like detailed budgeting, the 50/30/20 rule budget is a simple approach to keeping their finances in check. With only three major categories to track, you don’t have to dig into the nitty-gritty as much as you would with a normal budget.

Unfortunately, the 50/30/20 rule won’t work for everyone because of individual circumstances, such as residing in an area where the cost of living is high. Keep in mind, though, that you can adjust the rule for your particular needs by changing the percentages to match your personal situation and financial goals. If that doesn’t work, there are plenty of other budgets you can try, too.

RELATIONSHIP MARKETING (1)

15 Powerful Ways to Implement Customer Relationship Marketing

Money can't buy one of the most important things you need to promote your business: relationships. How do customer relationships drive your business? It's all about finding people who believe in your products or services. And when it comes to tracking these people down, you have two choices:

You can do all the legwork yourself and spend big marketing dollars. But that's like rolling a boulder up a hill. You want to drive your business into new territory, but every step is hard and expensive. There's another less painful–and potentially more profitable-way…

You can create an army to help you push that boulder up the hill instead. How do you do that? You develop relationships with people who don't just understand your particular expertise, product or service, but who are excited and buzzing about what you do. You stay connected with them and give them value, and they'll touch other people who can benefit your business.

Powerful relationships don't just happen from one-time meetings at networking events–you don't need another pocketful of random business cards to clutter your desk. What you need is a plan to make those connections grow and work for you. And it's not as hard as you think. Here are five essential tactics:

Now that you know what customer relationship marketing is and how it will help to propel you to success, let’s look at how to do it.

First things first:

1.Understand Your Core Values, Vision, and Mission

Your values, vision, and mission are the foundation of your brand – and as such, the bedrock of your relationship marketing efforts.

Crafting a message that resonates with your target audience begins with clearly understanding this foundation.

If you don’t know what you stand for and the impact you want to create, how will others?

This is why it’s important to create a powerful mission and vision statements. Effective vision and mission statements unify an organization. It’s like planting a flag that your target audience can rally around.

If you don’t plant a flag, people can’t really.

Once you know your core values, vision, and mission, you can begin to identify and attract other people with the same worldview and goals.

2. Know Who You’re Targeting

target your audienc

As dumb as it sounds, you can’t ask someone to prom until you know who you’re going to invite.

The same is true of relationship marketing.

Relationships are built on understanding and genuine interaction. So it’s essential to have a clearly defined target audience so you know how to tailor your messaging and interactions.

The more specific you can get, the better.

Elizabeth Gardner, the founder of Garnish Mediasaid it best: “It’s hard to target a message to a generic 35-year-old middle-class working mother of two. It’s much easier to target a message to Jennifer, who has two children under four, works as a paralegal and is always looking for quick but healthy dinners, and ways to spend more time with her kids and less time on housework.”

Luxy Hair knows exactly who they’re targeting: Women in their twenties with a strong interest in makeup, hair, and fashion.

As a result, all of their relationship marketing features images and videos of women within their target audience.

#3. Work to Resonate and Connect

resonate and connect

 

Once you know who you’re targeting, you need to find a way to resonate and connect with them.

Every video, ad, social media post, and email should make your target audience think, “Wow, they get me!”

As Ann Handley, Head of Content at MarketingProfs said, “Even when you are marketing to your entire audience or customer base, you are still simply speaking to a single human at any given time.”

Deathwish Coffee does a great job of this.

Check out the product page below where they use direct, bold language designed to resonate with their target market: “100% No B-S Guarantee.”

#4 Wherever Your Target Audience Is, Be There

Great relationships take time to develop and deepen.

So be everywhere in your target audience’s lives. You want to pop up in their email inbox, their social media feeds, and alongside their favorite influencers.

To be clear, you don’t want to spam them. You just want to have a presence wherever they spend the most time.

If you’ve clearly defined your target audience, this is easier than you might think.

To get started, partner with influencers in your niche.

Gymshark does this to great effect with their Gymshark Ambassadors program.

These fitness influencers represent the Gymshark brand to their large social media followings and within the fitness community.

This serves to keep Gymshark at the forefront of its target audience’s thoughts.

#5 Harness The Power of Word of Mouth

power of word of mouth

People talk. And thanks to the internet, word travels fast.

“It used to be that if you made a customer happy, they would tell five friends,” Bezos said in an interview on Forbes. “Now, with the megaphone of the internet, whether online customer reviews or social media, they can tell 5,000 friends.”

What’s more, word of mouth is powerful.

It’s such an influential form of communication that, 84 percent of consumers say that the recommendation of a friend or family member is their most trusted source when making a purchase decision.

This is why referral programs and affiliate marketing are powerful forms of relationship marketing.

As author and marketing professor Jonah Berger said, “Advertising brings in customers, but word of mouth brings in the best customers.”

#6 Give More Than You Take

bonus pack

Great businesses know that success comes from serving others. Whether it’s your product or service, the more you serve, the more you earn.

Think about it: Everyone knows someone who only ever talks about themselves – and no one likes to talk to them.

The same is true of your business communications.

To put it another way: It ain’t about you, it’s about them. And more specifically, it’s about finding ways to create value for your target audience.

Marketer and author Seth Godin said, “Our job is to connect to people, to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them, more able to get where they’d like to go.”

So make sure all of your relationship marketing benefits those you’re communicating with.

Matt Goulart, the founder of marketing agency Ignite Digital, explains: “Social media is about the people. Not about your business. Provide for the people and the people will provide for you.”

#7 Use Content to Deepen Customer Relationships

content marketing

Producing great content is an essential part of relationship marketing, as it’s an opportunity to create real value for your target audience without any expectation of an immediate return.

Travel gear brand Minaal creates inspirational content, as well as practical articles on:

  • Packing a Suit in a Carry-On
  • Keeping Your Passport Safe
  • Eating Healthy While Travelling

This content is extremely helpful to Minaal’s target market of travelers. And in helping their target market, they build trust and an ongoing rapport.

The key to great content is understanding that it’s not about you – it’s about your target audience.

So remember what David Beebe, the founder, and CEO of Storified Hospitality Group, said: “Content marketing is like a first date. If you only talk about yourself, there won’t be a second one.”

#8 Ensure Your Relationship Marketing Efforts are Consistent

always on track

Relationships must be constantly maintained, otherwise, they will quickly wither and die.

Thanks to digital tools like social media and email marketing, maintaining customer relationships is much easier than it was in the past.

Make sure to create a content marketing plan and schedule social media posts in advance to ensure consistency.

Beardbrand has taken things a step further.

To ensure they’re effectively deepening customer relationships, they set up a special community for their community dubbed “The Alliance.”

#9 Don’t Just Talk, Listen

taslk less

Relationships are a two-way street.

So relationship marketing must take into account as much listening as speaking.

Resist the urge to just broadcast to your customers without any thought of engaging them directly.

Business growth expert Meridith Elliott-Powell said, “To emotionally connect with customers we must listen. Listening sends a strong message that tells customers that this relationship will be more about their needs than ours. That builds trust.”

Kylie Cosmetics retweets and replies to tons of customer tweets on Twitter. This has contributed to the development of a community of incredibly devoted customers.

Plus, feedback is gold.

Listening to feedback from your customers presents a powerful opportunity to understand those aspects of your business which are worth investing in, and those that are a waste of valuable resources.

“Almost 90 percent of social media messages are unanswered by brands who send four times as many posts as replies,” said executive coach Lianne Lyne. “Build an emotional connection to your customers and create compelling stories by developing a social customer satisfaction strategy. Establish what resources you’ll need to ensure consistency, listen carefully to what your customers are saying, and respond authentically on time.”

#10 Use Technology to Personalize Customer Interactions

techology usage

How would you feel if you opened an email and the first line read, “Dear Customer 602341…”?

It’s fair to say everyone dislikes this sort of treatment.

Relationship marketing relies on personal connections. To do it well, you must personalize all of your communications.

This is easy to do when selling in person or over the phone, but what about when you’re marketing to thousands of people online?

Use technology.

Leading authority in buyer personas Tony Zambito said, “Instead of using technology to automate processes, think about using technology to enhance human interaction.”

Personalization tools such as email list segmentation can go a long way to helping you create meaningful interactions that make people feel special.

#11. Build your network–it's your sales lifeline.

Your network includes business colleagues, professional acquaintances, prospective and existing customers, partners, suppliers, contractors, and association members, as well as family, friends, and people you meet at school, church and in your community.

Contacts are potential customers waiting for you to connect with their needs. How do you turn networks of contacts into customers? Not by hoping they'll remember meeting you six months ago at that networking event. Networking is a long-term investment. Do it right by adding value to the relationship, and that contact you just made can pay off. Communicate like your business's life depends on it. (Hint: And it does! Read on.)

#12. Communication is a contact sport, so do it early and often.

your network

Relationships have a short shelf life. No matter how charming, enthusiastic or persuasive you are, no one will likely remember you from a business card or a one-time meeting. One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they come home from networking events and fail to follow up. Make the connection immediately. Send a “nice to meet you” e-mail or let these new contacts know you've added them to your newsletter list and then send them the latest copy. Immediately reinforce who you are, what you do and the connection you've made.

You rarely meet people at the exact moment when they need what you offer. When they're ready, will they think of you? Only if you stay in their minds. It's easier to keep a connection warm than to warm it up again once the trail goes cold. So take the time to turn your network of connections into educated customers.

#13. E-mail marketing To keep relationships strong on a shoestring budget.

email marketing

Build your reputation as an expert by giving away some free insight. You have interesting things to say! An easy way to communicate is with a brief e-mail newsletter that shows prospects why they should buy from you. For just pennies per customer, you can distribute an e-mail newsletter that includes tips, advice and short items that entice consumers and leave them wanting more. E-mail marketing is a cost-effective and easy way to stay on customers' minds, build their confidence in your expertise, and retain them. And it's viral: Contacts and customers who find what you do interesting or valuable will forward your e-mail message or newsletter to other people, just like word of mouth marketing.

#14. Reward loyal customers, and they'll reward you.

According to global management consulting firm Bain and Co., a 5 percent increase in retention yields profit increases of 25 to 100 percent. And on average, repeat customers spend 67 percent more than new customers. So your most profitable customers are repeat customers. Are you doing enough to encourage them to work with you again? Stay in touch, and give them something of value in exchange for their time, attention and business. It doesn't need to be too much; a coupon, notice of a special event, helpful insights and advice, or news they can use are all effective. Just remember: If you don't keep in touch with your customers, your competitors will.

#15. Loyal customers are your best salespeople.

So spend the time to build your network and do the follow-up. Today there are cost-effective tools, like e-mail marketing, that make this easy. You can e-mail a simple newsletter, an offer or an update message of interest to your network (make sure it's of interest to them, not just to you). Then they'll remember you and what you do and deliver value back to you with referrals. They'll hear about opportunities you'll never hear about. The only way they can say, “Wow, I met somebody good at XYZ. You should give her a call,” is if they remember you. Then your customers become your sales force.

If real estate is all about location, location, location, then the small business is all about relationships, relationships, relationships. Find them, nurture them, and watch your sales soar.

Conclusion

Relationship marketing is all about nurturing customer relationships to encourage people to feel emotionally invested in your brand.

Remember, relationship marketing isn’t transactional. It takes time to develop strong relationships with your customers.

However, it’s worth the effort.

If you get it right, it can bolster all of your other marketing and sales efforts, and generate a base of devoted customers.

When approaching relationship marketing, make sure to:

  • Have a clear understanding of your core values, vision, and mission
  • Deeply understand your target audience
  • Tailor all of your messaging so that it resonates with your target audience
  • Use strategies like influencer marketing to maintain a constant presence wherever your target market spends time to Encourage happy customers to spread the word about your brand through referral and affiliate campaigns
  • Always work to give more than you take in every customer interaction
  • Use content marketing to provide value to your target audience
  • Maintain consistent communication with your target market using strategies like email marketing and social media
  • Listen to your target audience and collect feedback which you can then use to improve your relationship marketing efforts
  • Personalize your relationship marketing using tactics such as email list segmentation

Are you using relationship marketing to grow your business? How do you interact with your target audience? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

 

email marketing

How To Start A Successful Email Marketing Campaign

CREATING EMAIL LIST

It sometimes seems like email is long past its prime, with all the talk of video, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and chatbots. 

But if one should think that email is dead, you’re missing out on the real metrics. Email marketing is still growing strong as each day passes and is possibly the best possible strategy for your business.

In 2017, global email users amounted to 3.7 billion users (Statista, 2019). This figure is set to grow to 4.3 billion users in 2022 (Statista, 2019). That’s half of the world’s population. This statistic clearly shows that email marketing is an opportunity that you shouldn’t be missing out on.

Based on these data, it is undeniable that email marketing is still ranked as the most effective marketing channel, beating out social media, SEO, and affiliate marketing.

I know you may wonder – With all the hype over new channels, why is a decades-old technology still one of the most effective marketing strategies?

The answer has to do with the fact that there are more email users than other platforms— 85% of adult internet users in the US. Beating search engines by 15% and social media by 22%.

You can now see that building a successful email marketing campaign is more important than ever for entrepreneurs. Especially  Digital marketers [internal links]

Here is the big problem—how to do it right.

In this article, you'll learn how to start a successful email marketing campaign even if you have a zero-knowledge.

1. Build a Targeted Email List

targeted mail

The most successful email marketing campaigns start with an email list full of qualified leads that are interested in what you have to offer. The best way to build a targeted email list is to convert your website visitors into subscribers.

But did you know that on average, 80% of your website visitors will leave your site for good, without signing up to your newsletter? That’s why we recommend using exit-intent popups to convert those abandoning visitors into subscribers and customers.

Exit-intent popups detect user behavior to prompt them with a targeted campaign at the precise moment they are about to leave your site forever. This smart technology can skyrocket your conversions.

Click here to get started with leadsgrow today and skyrocket your email list with targeted leads.

2. Know Your Goals

goals

All good marketing starts with setting goals, and email marketing is no different. To run a successful email marketing campaign, think about what you want to achieve. Typical goals for an email marketing campaign include:

  • Welcoming new subscribers and telling them about your business and values so you start to build a relationship with them.
  • Boosting engagement with your content and your business, whether that’s promoting a webinar or trying to make an initial sale.
  • Nurturing existing subscribers by providing something they’ll value.
  • Re-engaging subscribers who haven’t been particularly active.
  • Segmenting your subscribers so you can send more targeted email marketing campaigns.

One other way you can also set email marketing goals by conversion rate [internal link: 20 quickest ways to increase your conversion throughout your salesfunnel].

3. Understand Email Types

email type plus

It’s also important to understand the different types of emails that you can send. People group these in different ways, but here are the three key email types.

We’re all familiar with promotional emails [internal link: promotional email example and how to craft your own], which talk about offers and sales and are self-promotional.

Then there are relational emails[internal link: relational email example and how to craft your own], which give subscribers what you’ve promised, like a weekly newsletter[Newsletter example and how to craft your own], a free gift, relevant information they can use, and so on.

There are also transactional emails [Transactional emails example and how to craft your own], which include:

  • Subscriber signup confirmations
  • Welcome messages
  • Order or purchase confirmations
  • Acknowledgments of changes to subscriber information

Transactional emails are usually triggered by subscribers’ actions and relate to an action they’ve taken on your site.

Now that you know the types of emails you can send, it’s time to move onto the next step to create a successful email marketing campaign.

4. Know Your Audience

If you’ve been doing email marketing for a while, you’ll likely know who your audience is. If you’re just getting started, you’ll have to make some educated guesses so you can target your content. Don’t worry; you’ll start collecting subscriber info the minute you send your first campaign, so next time around, you’ll have real data to work with.

In the meantime, gather data from Google Analytics and your social media profiles, like the Facebook Insights data shown below:

facebook audience demographics

Both sources have data on demographics, location, and interests, plus a bunch of other metrics, that’ll give you a snapshot of who your customers are and what they’re interested in. That’s a good starting point for crafting successful email marketing campaigns.

5. Use Technology Wisely

techology usage

The best email marketing services have tools to help you create more successful email marketing campaigns. Look for features like:

  • Easy campaign creation and automation, including templates and workflows.
  • Integrations with the software you already use, like WordPress and OptinMonster.
  • Ways to segment your audience.
  • In-depth analytics on email campaign performance.

Features created in Mailchimp’s automation[internal link: 6 Awesome MailChimp Automation Hacks] will help you schedule transactional emails and blog-driven updates, respond quickly to customers, and create and deliver promotional and relational emails.

These are all good ways to build success with email marketing.

6. Create Great Opt-ins

optin form

It goes without saying that you need to get people on your email list to run a successful campaign.

To do that, you’ll need to create attractive opt-in forms that get attention and encourage people to sign up. Experiment with different types of opt-in forms on different parts of your site, including:

  • Welcome gates, which appear when people arrive on your site. You can also use our page slide feature so people can get straight to the content when they’re ready.
  • Lightbox popups, which can appear on any page and temporarily blank out the rest of the content to focus on the optin. These convert very well.
  • Exit-intent popups, which appear when people are about to leave the site. That’s a good time to offer your lead magnet.

Check out our guide to optin types to see all the options for creating opt-ins for your email marketing campaign.

For best results, put optins in multiple places and choose how they appear with rules and page-level targeting. That cuts down on the annoyance level while maintaining effectiveness.

7. Plan Emails and Followups

plan emails and followups

Once you know your goals, email type, and audience and you’ve attracted people onto your list with targeted optins, it’s time to plan your email marketing campaign. This will give you an overview to use when you start creating the emails in steps #7 through #9.

A good approach is to note down:

  • Email frequency, which we’ll look at below
  • Type of email, as mentioned in step #2
  • A rough idea of content
  • The main action you want subscribers to take (such as signing up for an event, following you on social media, buying a product)

Therefore, creating your emails you need to make them timely, relevant, interesting and valuable. For example, many companies welcome new subscribers with a short email series to help them get to know their products and services.

Asana sends a series of 4 emails. The email subject lines are:

  1. Welcome to Asana
  2. What do you need to get done this week?
  3. Plan your day with Asana
  4. Hit your next deadline

The first is a welcome email with 3 key tasks you can accomplish in the software. Three days later, there’s another email asking what you need to get done and encouraging you to start using the product. Two days later, there’s an email talking about the Asana dashboard. The series ends with an email two days later, which highlights the calendar view.

Don’t overwhelm your subscribers by emailing too often. That will send them straight to the spam button. Instead, stick to the schedule you’ve told them about so they know what to expect.

Don’t be afraid to ask for subscriber input on email scheduling via a poll or survey. You can also offer an “opt down” option for those who love your emails but don’t want to get them as often.

Once you’ve outlined your email plan, it’s time to start writing.

8. Craft Your Subject Line

good email subject lines

A good starting point for any successful email marketing campaign is the subject line, which plays a crucial role in getting people to open and click your emails. Like the headline on your blog post, an email subject line has to get attention so people want to go further.

You don’t have a lot of words to make an impression, either; Campaign Monitor’s data shows that most subject lines range from 41 to 50 characters. Even less of your subject line shows on mobile screens, so it’s wise to put the most important parts at the start.

Options for improving your subject lines include:

  • Telling people what they’ll get when they open your emails; no need to be clever or witty unless that’s your brand’s personality.
  • Adding personalization, as including people’s names in the subject line can keep them more engaged.
  • Avoiding spam trigger words[10 ways to avoid your emails going into spam box] so your emails make it to the inbox.
  • Borrowing one of these high-converting email subject lines and adapting it for your own use.

9. Write the Copy

writing email copy

Next, it’s time to write your email marketing copy[internal link: How to write a perfect email marketing copy]. You’ll want to create a hook right at the start that will get people to want to read on.

For best results, keep email marketing copy short, and avoid pitching your offer too early. You want people to get comfortable first.

Address subscribers by name. Personalized emails are more successful. Buffer also suggests personalizing your emails based on need by sending emails that meet different user expectations. This makes them more targeted and more likely to be successful. Some studies show that educating and segmenting your audience will boost your click-through rate on emails by up to 50%.

Other items to consider for your email copy include:

  • A personal story. Being human never hurts a company and often helps people make an emotional connection. Some of the most successful emails we’ve seen use this technique.
  • Something of value to your readers. That can be a piece of content, some useful information or the resource you’re promoting. Make it clear how this will help them. The example below from SEMrush underlines the potential benefit in the first line of the email.
  • A poll, survey, GIF or video, all of which are proven to keep readers more engaged.

Of course, you don’t have to put all of those in every email. Ideally, your emails should be short, with only a couple of main points within each one. If you do decide to go longer, make your email scannable.

The last part of your email marketing copy is the call to action (CTA). Your CTA reflects the one thing you most want people to do when they’ve read your email.

CTAs usually appear multiple times within your email marketing copy. While you don’t want to pitch to readers too soon, there’ll likely be a CTA near the start, in the middle and near the end.

The best calls to action[internal link: how to create the perfect call-to-action] are short and clear. If you’ve got your copyright, then it should be a no-brainer for subscribers to click your link.

10. Focus on Email Marketing Design

Email design matters in any successful email marketing campaign. If your emails look terrible, that reflects badly on you and can make people stop reading. With more people than ever reading emails on mobile devices, it’s important to use a responsive email template so your email resizes automatically whether people are reading it on a phone, tablet, or desktop.

Most good emails have more text than images. There’s no denying that images make your email more attractive, but know that many people disable images. That means your email still has to work even if people can’t see them.

Our tip: avoid hiding information in images, because that’s bad for email accessibility[internal links: how email accessibility can boost your revenue]. And remember to use alt tags to describe images so people who’ve disabled them know what they’re supposed to see. A good description might make subscribers enable images, which will make your emails look even better.

11. Test and Track

Finally, sending your email is just the first step in achieving email marketing success. To really nail it, you’ve got to collect data to improve future campaigns.

That means testing everything: design and layout, email marketing copy, subject lines and calls to action. Consider testing emails with different segments and experimenting with email send times, too.

You’ll also want to monitor email analytics from your service provider relating to opens, clicks, unsubscribes [internal links:10 simple perfect ways to reduce email unsubscriber rates] and forwards. This will enable you to figure out what’s working and what’s not with email marketing.

Another issue to monitor is your sender reputation, which affects email deliverability. Use Sender Score to see if there are any red flags that might stop your emails from reaching subscribers’ inboxes.

Finally, manage your email subscriber list by attempting to re-engage inactive subscribers, and by removing them if your attempts fail. It’s better for email marketing open and clicks rates to have fewer active subscribers than large numbers of inactive ones.

Now that you know how to run a successful email marketing campaign, check out these email marketing conversion killers[minternal links: mistakes that are killing your email conversion rates] so you can avoid them. And be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more advice on email marketing.

HIDDEN EMAIL FACTS

10 Unravel Fact About Email

EMAIL FACTS

Email remains the most-used communication channel on the internet and it is still substantially around for fifty years when Ray Tomlinson sent the first one on a historic morning in 1971. And its main plus is found in its simplicity and usefulness.

In this article, I will share with you the:

10 UNRAVEL FACTS ABOUT EMAIL.

#1 – Email Began in 1971

EMAIL ORIGIN

Quite totally different from the historical inventions of other IT tools, there was no set up for email as a project. It was a simple idea that turns up to be a giant invention. To Tomlinson himself, it absolutely was born out of his burning interest and curiosity.

It may surprise you to grasp that the first email did not cross the ocean of the recent royal house in the USA to PARIS. However, it was sent by Ray Tomlinson via ARPANET between two computers resting in the same space at BBN in 1977.

The address ‘tomlinson@bbn-tenexa' was accustomed to attain this milestone, along with a content “qwertyuiop” –  According to Ray himself, it absolutely was simply an irrelevant and random message.

#2 – Origin Of The @

the @ orrgin

The symbol @ that is currently the best used on the internet was chosen by Tomlinson to separate the username from the domain. Before then, it absolutely was one in every of the least symbol used among those available on keyboards.

#3 – That Word Called “Spam”

SPAM EMAILS

The word ‘spam' was initially used for the name of a canned spicy pork product – abundant to the chagrin of Hormel Foods, maker of the canned “Shoulder Pork and hAM”/”SPiced hAM” luncheon meat.

Many believe that it came from the spam skit by Monty Python's Flying Circus. Because it gains its popularity to designate something that was repetitive and annoying.

Later, in the early days of the Internet (around 1978), and particularly within the field of newsgroups, “spam” began to be accustomed to designate the messages of people who tried to “sneak” annoying and repetitive advertising messages. From there, it leaps to email and to world fame.

#4 – The First Email From Space

email sending time

On 28th August 1991, First E-mail From Space was Sent from a Mac Portable PC. Astronauts Shannon Lucid and James C. Adamson sent the message to Marcia Ivins, a shuttle communicator at Johnson Space Center:

Hello Earth! Greetings from the STS-43 Crew. This is the first AppleLink from space. Having a GREAT time, wish you were here,…send cryo and RCS! Hasta la vista, baby,…we'll be back!

#5 – The Birth Of Hotmail In 1996

hotmail origin

Hotmail now replaced with outlook, is the first free email service. It absolutely was born by the hand of Jack Smith and Sabeer Bhatia in 1995 but released in 1996. A year later, in 1997, Microsoft would acquire this company.

The idea was to make a straightforward, secure and free email system that might be accessed from any computer through the internet. Prior to this discovery,  one required to download software to be able to send and receive emails.

#6 – Best Time To Send Emails

FIRST EMAIL SEND

According to some studies[internal link], these are the days of the week in which we make the most writing emails.

  1. Tuesday: The best day to send email is by far on Tuesday.
  2. Thursday: when sending two emails a week, choose Thursday for your second day.
  3. Wednesday: it came in second place several times.

Here is how you can prioritize your send times based on the research data:

  1. 10 a.m.: late-morning send times were the most popular in general, several concluded that the best time to send emails is at 10 a.m. Another notable time is 11 a.m.
  2. 8 p.m.-midnight: You may not expect this one. Emails generally receive more opens and clicks in late evenings. As Campaign Monitor notes, this is likely due to people checking their email before going to bed.
  3. 2 p.m.: Sending emails later in the day is a good one, as people are checking out of work mode or looking for distractions.
  4. 6 a.m.: Good morning! I guess this makes sense – 50% of people begin their day by emailing in bed. Before you even stand up, you're opening emails.

These emails send day and time tips are widely accepted by the Email marketing community. They are great when you’re starting off.

#7 – Email Still Remain The Most Used

email usage

Although it is estimated that it ceased to be the foremost used service on the internet in 2014 (it would have been surpassed by instant messaging tools), email remains the second most used service these days, nearly fifty years when Tomlinson created it.

#8 – Costly Mistake To Avoid When Sending Email

Considering that emails with errors tend to urge fewer responses. Here are 9 costly mistakes to avoid when sending an email.

  1. Sending emails only when you need something
  2. Forgetting that there is someone on the other side of the email
  3. Using the first person too much
  4. Sending an email at the wrong time
  5. Sending to too many people
  6. Knowing nothing about the person receiving it
  7. Forgetting to send update or interim messages
  8. Making messages too long
  9. Using email exclusively
  10. Not changing the subject line

#9 – Writing Better Email

better emails

Commit to writing better, simpler, clearer emails – the kind of emails that people truly anticipate reading – chances are, you’re going to spend over a quarter of your workday dealing with emails, so if there’s one thing you should choose to upgrade, that should be writing a better email.

Here are 14 key ways to improve your email etiquette, get your emails read, and spark action:

  1. Keep it short and simple
  2. Be direct
  3. Include on ‘big idea' per email
  4. Use statement NOT open-ended question
  5. Always reply quickly
  6. Reread before sending and always do it twice
  7. Be surprisingly generous
  8. when responding to criticism, be respectful and polite
  9. Add the address last
  10. Express your humanity
  11. Tell your readers what you need and when you need it
  12. Occasionally, Send Emails That Include a Compliment, Not a Demand or Request
  13. Whenever Possible, End With Some of the Most Beautiful Words on Earth
  14. Above All: Astonish People With Your Brevity

#10 – More Opens From Email Subject Line

email subject lines

One primary driver of increased email open rate is your email subject line. Craft out email subject lines that subscribers simply can’t resist.

Here are five data-driven sites that can help you craft powerful email subject lines;

 

 

email teaser man

How To Create An Irresistible Email Teaser Campaign

image-teaser 2

Let me guess: You've wondered why building a solid email list [internal link: how to build a solid email list] is difficult? Then, you must understand the importance of an irresistible email teaser campaign.

Building a solid email list is hard because you need to gain the trust of your subscribers with what is of utmost value to them.

An email teaser campaign can help you build buzz for your email list – enough buzz that your subscribers will be lining up for your mails. But first, you must segment your list so that everyone gets exactly what they truly want. To achieve this, you need to constantly monitor your bounces and prune your list to keep it updated.

So What is an Email Teaser Campaign?

EMAIL TEASER

An email teaser campaign is a perfect way to get your subscribers excited about a new release. It's a proven marketing strategy that builds interest via curiosity. Most times, it is designed to intrigue and tantalize subscribers, leaving them with the eagerness to learn more.

With a teaser campaign, you use your list of existing contacts to build buzz and generate excitement about an upcoming product or service. No matter what the product or service is, you can use an email teaser campaign to get your list subscribers excited about it.

With teaser emails, we usually try to announce these three things:

1. Upcoming sales

This is the most common teaser campaign. As a business person, we all love sales, by announcing our upcoming sell we put our business in its unique selling position. With the right email teaser campaign, we can achieve measurable results.

See what apple does with: 

“Save The Date” email teaser.

It is a fact that Apple’s products, like iPhones, are the most awaited products of the year. Are they the only ones who produce good smartphones or smartwatches? Definitely, not. But Apple marketers know for sure how to create the “Save The Date” email teaser campaign. Making her customer anticipate for the next product yet to be released.

This teaser email campaign is best at making customers anticipate the next product yet to be released.

– See What is good about this teaser email:

They don't tell us about what is to happen but ask us to save a specific date. No additional info is needed. However, to make this teaser email effective, you have to offer something really special to gain customers' attention and win their trust.

2. Product Launch

This is one of the most serious email teaser campaigns. But commonly this type of email is implemented by big corporations that produce gadgets and automobiles, like Samsung, Apple, Tesla, etc.

See what apple does with: 

“stay tuned” email teaser.

This email teaser campaign focuses on time. Unlike the ‘Save the date' teaser email campaign the date was not mentioned. But in this teaser email campaign, Birchbox mentioned the full date and a photo of the girl looking somewhere aside as if seeing something really exciting and intriguing just spiced up the “Stay tuned and get excited” inscription.

– See What is good about this teaser email: 

Staying on the given Time and date can be difficult for subscribers and it can be particularly challenging as they're surrounded by constant distraction. With this “Stay Tuned” email campaign, it makes subscribers have a mental focus on the given time and date. Calling their desires and bringing it into focus.

However, to make this trick, you must have gained a high level of credibility.

3. Special Event.

Are you about to open a new shopping mall in your town? Or you are releasing a new movie? Then definitely, you should inform your potential attendees about it.

Not only Apple and Birchbox can intrigue its subscribers with teaser emails. Some companies manage too. Now that we have seen two great examples above,  you need to take a look at it this:

“It’s Big” email teaser campaign

It may surprise you to know that an email teaser campaign like this can take your subscribers off their feet putting them in a waiting queue for their anticipation.

– See What is good about this teaser email: 

 

This teaser email is a big sequence. It's a great idea to make customers await the next email in long anticipation. With this email teaser campaign subscribers becomes unrest until they take action on your promises. However, to make this work better, you must have delivered on your promise on many occasions.

What Benefits Can An Email Teaser CampaignBring?

MORE EMAIL TEASER BENEFITS

The beauty of using an email teaser campaign is that it can stretch far beyond your existing list – If you succeed in getting your list subscribers excited about your upcoming product, chances are they will share their excitement with their friends.

If everyone who receives your teaser email shares the information with just ten friends, you have successfully multiplied the scope of your product tenfold and increase your list as well.

When Can a Teaser Campaign Be Profitable?

HOW EMEMAIL TEASER BENEFITS YOU

While an email teaser campaign can be a great way to build buzz and excitement, it is needful to look at a number of factors to make sure an email teaser campaign will be profitable in your case.

In order to be effective, the product you are touting must have a compelling story – something that readers can get behind and get excited about. While many products fit this description, others do not. Knowing the difference can help you determine the best course of action.

You will also need to make sure you have enough content to justify sending multiple emails. If all your teaser emails repeat the same points, you run the risk of alienating your list members.

When properly used, an email teaser campaign can be remarkably effective and a great way to build word-of-mouth advertising that will help you succeed and sell more products.

As you can see,

Now that you know that an email teaser campaign can be good for you and your business. Allow us to jump into:

How To Create An Irresistible Email Teaser Campaign

TEASER EMAIL ACESS

There’s no need to come to this trick very often. Do it only when you have something really huge to offer to your clients!

When creating a teaser campaign you should think everything over:

  • the strategy, the object of a focus,
  • subject line,
  • and certainly the email design.

This will take you long. But the result will be really impressive. Use our HTML email templates to save a big amount of time — choose the one that fits your current strategy, modify it in accordance with your goals just within 10 minutes and surprise customers with sophisticated teaser emails.

These simple tips can help you put together a winning email teaser campaign that gets results.

#1 Determine your goal before you begin

Do you want to build traffic for an upcoming website launch? Do you want to get pre-orders for a new product? Are you touting a new contest for your subscribers? Knowing what you want to achieve will make your teaser campaign more effective.

#2 Build buzz with a compelling story.

Your email teaser campaign should tell a compelling story – one that subscribers will find irresistible and too good not to share. Think about ways to entice your list members and get them to share their excitement with their real-world and social media friends.

#3 Create a four-part plan.

An email teaser campaign is not a single entity; it is actually a four-part strategy. The four parts of a successful email teaser campaign include the tease itself (something that will get the attention of the reader), the introduction (a look at what the product is all about and what is in it for the buyer), the buildup (creating excitement and interest in your readers) and the conclusion (what your readers have been waiting for).

#4 Test and revise your message to maximize effectiveness.

Testing is a critical part of any email marketing campaign, and it is certainly important for a teaser campaign. You should constantly be tweaking your message and testing it for maximum effectiveness.

#5 Make your emails as accessible as possible

Test your messages to make sure they are easily readable across a wide variety of email platforms and formats, use text instead of images for important headlines and critical content and utilize alt tags with real useful content.

 

CONTENT RULE

THE CONTENT CODE:10 Addictive Types of Content The “Elite” Copywriters Pray You Never Find Out.

One major challenge of writers is providing content that will engage their audience. The type that will make readers anticipates more.

As a writer, you should bear in mind that your reader has a problem or a need to be solved or satisfied. Helping them find solutions and ideas for their pain points is an easy way of providing addictive content.

Indeed you want your blog to be a “Go-To”. Then stay put as you will discover the:

10 Addictive Content-Type

that will make your reader always come back for more.

#1. Reviews

Writing a review article is one way to help people have a better understanding of a particular topic without going through the stress of reading the entire detail of the topic.

It is more than just citing an interesting topic and gathering the relevant references to the topic. But gives an opportunity as a writer to contribute to the development of expertise findings.

A well-writing review article can end up becoming the definitive “go-to” guide for your audience. Reviews of products, books or applications in a particular niche help them save time as they serve as shortcut solutions to their quest.

The best way to present your thoughts depends on what you’re writing about and who you are writing it for.  However, finding the right content may seem difficult.

Here is a simple structure that you can stick around with to helping you start writing good reviews that resonate in real ways with your audience:

 – Thesis

Knowing your message before you start putting up a review article is very important. A simple thesis can help you out, keeping you from going off-topic.

This could be as straightforward as “I liked this dress!” or as direct as “These clothes took a while to wear it.”

 PROS and CONS

PROS and CONS in a review article create a balance. But in the most glowing review, you may not include the CONS. On the other hand for a critical review, try to include at least one PROS, just to provide a break in between.

– Recommendation

Most readers check out for recommendations, and this is the first thing they tend to look for.

It doesn't have to be lengthy. You may make it short, like “I tripled my Christmas money bag many times before they knew it,” or “I’d recommend these tools, but only if you’re a Tech-savvy as I am.”

If you need more directions, Grammarly is a great place to help you:

  • For a book review: Grammarly has tips and tricks on how to keep your review informative, enlightening, and kind.
  • For a movie review: Grammarly can help keep you from getting too stressed about how to rate the film you just watched:
  • For a review of your new favorite restaurant: You may need to paint a bigger picture of your experience in your favorite restaurant. Grammarly can help with that.

#2. Lists

target email list

Creating and sharing the list of content has remained viable and efficient in content marketing, making your content achieve a more optimal influence.

Although the list content-type is not a new technique. Writers have figured out that content arranged in list form is quicker to find, easier to remember, and more actionable, which makes lists a great deal for sharing content as part of a highly effective content plan.

It's a good practice to include a long list of tips, tactics, and answers that provide readers with a resource that maps out many ideas that they can go back to as a reference.

Here are a few steps to helping you make a well-ordered content list that will connect with your readers in real ways:

– Create a Branded Community

Having a community of like-minded individuals, enthusiasts, or professionals can extend the reach of your content. This is where a well-ordered content list works better.

Example:

In late January 2013, twenty Microsoft SharePoint consultants decided to embed a list of resources on their blogs. Each member received a SharePoint Community Partner badge to display on his/her blog’s front page, which links to a Community page that contains the complete embedded list of members.

The SharePoint community awards the partner who earns the most views from his or her embedded content by featuring him or her at the top of the following week’s list.

To add to this – the SharePoint Community has synchronized its own Twitter list of members with a Listly-based Twitter list, so the whole community can recommend people to follow on Twitter, and both lists will be updated with the relevant information.

This helps community members find more people with which to share relevant content.

– Create A Contest

Designing contests around lists is a great way to attract a qualified audience to your content. Contests are all about creating awareness and exposure for a business or company brand.

Example:

Here’s what leading gamification expert Gabe Zicherman does with lists for GSummit gamification events:

GSummit runs multiple contests and acknowledges the best in the workplace — they focus each contest on a specific content niche (or domain), such as Human Resources, Start-ups, Enterprises, Education, Hospitality, and Health & Wellness.

Each time it runs an event, GSummit creates a unique list of content on Listly for each domain and seeds that list among a few possible candidates. The candidates then embed these lists on their blogs, along with the rules and expectations of the contest and the contestant’s branding, and invite others in their networks to engage.

The GSummit model is easy for anyone engaged in a contest to replicate, providing a way to share content, showcase themselves (or their company), and attract votes.

It’s an efficient and engaging way of putting crowd-sourced content in front of your audience and distributing it across multiple online locations both before and during an event.

– Create Buzz Around A Conference

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ability for audiences to engage with conference speakers through lists is a great way to build buzz for your organization’s upcoming events.

Consider creating a list of your attendees ahead of your event, which allows people to prioritize how they should network, as well as how and what content they will likely want to share before, during, and after the event.

Distributing dynamic lists of conference speakers can extend the reach of the speakers’ insight, as well as serving as a way to curate their content for viewing after the conference, or to allow people who were unable to attend the conference to benefit from the subject matter.

Example:

Consider the case of Tomorrow’s IT Service Future Today’s 2012 conference (TFT12), the first 24-hour global ITSM virtual conference.

Speakers were asked to make their submission following precise instructions to include presentation title, synopsis, biography, and preferred time zone (EMEA, Australasia, US).

The top 24 speakers for the event were chosen for their popularity, as voted on by the community on the Listly list.

This list participation created enormous pre-conference buzz and engagement as a result of the speakers adding themselves to the list, promoting themselves and the conference, and adding to this the voting by others.

#3. How To’s

target email list

If you’ve ever shared a recipe or do-it-yourself guide, then, you already understand the basic structure of writing a”how-to” article.

How-to is written as a sequence to inform a reader necessary steps to follow. One common question every writer asks when writing a how-to is, ‘what happens next?”

When you want to write a how-to article, start at what is considered the beginning, and just keep answering that question over and over again. Before you know it, you completed the draft of a how-to article.

Here are a few steps to help you come up with a good how-to content

– Pick An Interesting Topic

Pick a topic that will catch your reader's interest. Compelling enough to make them never want to take their eyes off your page till they exhaust the content. Narrow it if it is broad and be specific with your subject.

– Address Your Audience Pain Point

 

Now you've been able to pick a perfect topic that will resonate well with your reader. But the question is: does it address their pain points?

Better still! What ways will your content fit into your audience's needs and concerns?

Let's switch gears for a moment – Imagine you’re the writer of this article.  As the writer, what questions would you like answered? You might not know the answers yet but list the questions anyway.

– Research On The Topic

The research will ground your article, providing you with more details to include in your how-to article. Ensure to put together all information need in a draft. These may include:

  • Statistics
  • Quotes by well-known people
  • Definitions
  • Anecdotes (short, illustrative stories about yourself or someone else)
  • Quotes and examples from people like the reader, or popular books on the subject
  • References to other media (film, television, radio)
  • References to local venues or events (if for a regional/local publication)
  • Helpful tools, resources or products (if many, consider creating a sidebar)

– Get Your Draft Ready

Its time to get your draft ready. While you do that; ask yourself: Is it working? Is it too general, too lightweight, uninteresting, unclear or choppy? If so, comb break it down. Then, write a better one incorporating the new supporting information you’ve collected.

See techniques the Elite writers are using that you might employ. [ internal link]

– Clearly Define Your Points

Double-check to see that you’ve included every pertinent step in the process. How-to articles have to be thorough. You want your reader to walk away knowing exactly how to do exactly what is stated.

If your narrative goes on and on, or off in too many directions, break it down into key points indicated with subheads (as in this article). Synthesizing complicated information and breaking it down into steps is especially crucial for online writing, and is also a trend in print.

– Always Remember The 3Rs: READ, REVISE, REPEAT

Read the draft of your how-to article out loud to a supportive friend. Then, ask a series of questions: Do they understand the process? Are there any steps missing? Is there more to know about the subject? Could they do the task themself?

Revise the draft, With your friend’s suggestions in mind, use your best judgment in doing that.

Rewrite, find a proofreader and, only when you’re satisfied you’ve written an effective how-to article, submit your piece to an appropriate publication with a short cover letter.

#4. Experts And Thought Leader Interviews

EXPERT INTERVIEW

One term that raises the eyeballs of a writer is thought leadership.

But what is thought leadership?

I define thought leadership as a type of content marketing where you tap into the talent, experience, and passion inside your business, or from your community, to consistently answer the biggest questions on the minds of your target audience on a particular topic.

In simpler words: Thought Leadership means you provide the best and deepest answers, to your customer's biggest questions, in the formats your audience likes to consume.

Here are a few steps to help you start on a good page

– Know Your Audience

This is true of any marketing activity. You’ve got to know your audience before you begin strategizing, writing or designing. If it’s not written for the right people, they obviously won’t read it. When it comes to thought leadership, you should know a little bit about your audience before you talk to a small to mid-size enterprise (SME). It’ll help you shape your questions and frame the content better.

–  Get a Primer

It's important to get a primer. This will help you have a productive conversation.

Sometimes we generate ideas on our own and pitch them to our clients; other times, our clients toss an idea to us and suggest someone who could serve as an SME.

The best way to understand the specific angle of a selected topic.

– Do Your Research

It’s hugely important to research before talking to an expert. While you may not be able to do a whole lot of research around the exact topic itself, it pays to have a general understanding of the main principles of your topic.

That means you should:

  • Research your topic online and find authoritative sources. Obvious, content from competitors can provide context, but try to find other useful resources to learn about your topic.
  • Identify industry publications. Find spots where other similar thought leaders sound off and where your audience hangs out. You’ll get an idea of where your audience stands on the topic and any recent developments.
  • Explore social media. For a B2B audience, check out LinkedIn groups that might be applicable. You may also find a fair amount of chatter on Twitter and Facebook, depending on the topic.

– Develop Lots of Questions

You may place yourself in an awful position, if you don’t have enough background information and your goal is to get information out of your SME to write a thoughtful and intelligent piece of content.

You need to develop lots of questions before the interview. Better still! Get into the habit of sending SMEs the questions before your interview. It’ll help them prepare (if they have time) and help you avoid procrastinating.

– Be Specific

I can’t stress enough how important it is to be specific during the interview—and how difficult it is to be specific if you don’t understand a topic. Asking specific questions and follow-ups are the best way to figure out the nuance of a content piece and make it as interesting as possible for your audience.

However, this is often easier said than done. It may mean driving your SME to avoid industry jargon and generalities and provide specific examples about a topic. If I’m talking to an SME about insurance funding strategies, for example, I always ask for a real-life client example. This helps me confirm that I understand what the SME is saying, and it’s also often useful to include in a piece of content.

– Think on Your Feet

Interviews are tough—you’ve got to phrase questions the right way, take notes and listen at the same time. You’ve also got to make sure you’re getting what you need out of your SME—which may require rephrasing a question or asking it in a different way to tease out the information. We call this “thinking on your feet”—it’s a matter of digging deeper into a topic or offering a creative suggestion quickly, and the best way to get better at is with lots of practice.

– Ask

Even after spending time researching and planning for an SME interview, you might not uncover everything. Ask your SME if there’s anything else they’d like to add to the conversation. Often it’s this question that helps to add context to the conversation or provides an opportunity to discuss other relevant information that can help shape the message. We’ve even found these open-ended questions lead to other topics that could be covered in the future.

Examples

From Zero To 40,000 Facebook Fans: Interview With Mike Watkins

#5. Case Studies

Earning the trust of prospective customers can be a struggle. You will need to demonstrate your ability to deliver on what your product or service promises.

Writing a case study is a great way to do that.

Sure, you could say that you're great at providing “Y service”, or that you're way ahead of the competition when it comes to “Z services”. But the bottom line is that your prospective customers need a certain level of trust to influence their purchasing decisions.

One of the best ways to prove your worth is through a compelling case study.

Here are a few steps to help you out:

– Determine The Case Study's Objective.

All business case studies are designed to demonstrate the value of your services to meet client's objectives or goals.

Your first step when writing a case study is to determine the objective or goal of the subject you're featuring. In other words, what will the client have succeeded in doing by the end of the piece?

The client objective you focus on will depend on what you want to prove to your future customers as a result of publishing this case study.

Your case study can focus on one of the following client objectives:

  • Complying with government regulation
  • Lowering business costs
  • Becoming profitable
  • Generating more leads
  • Closing on more customers
  • Generating more revenue
  • Expanding into a new market
  • Becoming more sustainable or energy-efficient

– Establish a Case Study Medium.

Next, you'll determine the medium in which you'll create the case study. In other words, how will you tell this story? Case studies don't have to be a simple, written one-page piece.

Using different media in your case study can allow you to promote your final piece on different channels. For example, while a written case study might just live on your website and get featured in a Facebook post, you can post an infographic case study on Pinterest, and a video case study on your YouTube channel.

Here are some different case study mediums to consider:

  • Written Case Study: Consider writing this case study in the form of an ebook and converting it to a downloadable PDF. Then, gate the PDF behind a landing page and form for readers to fill out before downloading the piece, allowing this case study to generate leads for your business.
  • Video Case Study: Plan on meeting with the client and shooting an interview. Seeing the subject, in person, talk about the service you provided them can go a long way in the eyes of your potential customers.
  • Infographic Case Study: Use the long, vertical format of an infographic to tell your success story from top to bottom. As you progress down the infographic, emphasize major KPIs using bigger text and charts that show the successes your client has had since working with you.
  • Podcast Case Study: Podcasts are a platform for you to have a candid conversation with your client. This type of case study can sound more real and human to your audience — they'll know the partnership between you and your client was a genuine success.

– Find the right case study candidate.

Writing about a given projects requires more than picking a client and telling a story. You need permission, quotes, and a plan. Better still! finding the right case study candidates.

To start, here are a few things to look for in potential candidates.

  • Product Knowledge: It helps to select a customer who's well-versed in the logistics of your product or service. That way, he or she can better speak to the value of what you offer in a way that makes sense for future customers.
  • Remarkable Results: Clients that have seen the best results are going to make the strongest case studies. If their businesses have seen an exemplary ROI from your product or service, they're more likely to convey the enthusiasm that you want prospects to feel, too. One part of this step is to choose clients who have experienced unexpected success from your product or service. When you've provided non-traditional customers — in industries that you don't usually work with, for example — with positive results, it can help to remove doubts from prospects.
  • Recognizable Names: While small companies can have powerful stories, bigger or more notable brands tend to lend credibility to your own — in some cases, having brand recognition can lead to 24.4X as much growth as companies without it.
  • Switchers: Customers that came to you after working with a competitor help highlight your competitive advantage, and might even sway decisions in your favor

– Contact your candidate for permission to write about them.

To get the case study candidate involved, you have to set the stage for clear and open communication. That means outlining expectations and a timeline right away — not having those is one of the biggest culprits in delayed case study creation.

Most importantly at this point, however, is getting your subject's approval. When first reaching out to your case study candidate, provide them with the case study's objective and format — both of which you will have come up within the first two steps above.

To get this initial permission from your subject, put yourself in their shoes — what would they want out of this case study? Although you're writing this for your own company's benefit, your subject is far more interested in the benefit it has for them.

Here are four potential benefits you can promise your case study candidate to gain their approval:

  • Brand Exposure: Explain to your subject whom this case study will be exposed to, and how this exposure can help increase their brand awareness both in and beyond their industry. In the B2B sector, brand awareness can be hard to collect outside one's market, making case studies particularly useful to a client looking to expand their name's reach.
  • Employee Exposure: Allow your subject to provide quotes with credits back to specific employees. When this is an option to them, their brand isn't the only thing expanding its reach — their employees can get their name out there, too. This presents your subject with networking and career development opportunities they might not have otherwise.
  • Product Discount: This is a more tangible incentive you can offer your case study candidate, especially if they're a current customer of yours. If they agree to be your subject, offer them a product discount — or free trial of another product — as a thank-you for their help creating your case study.
  • Backlinks and Website Traffic: Here's a benefit that is sure to resonate with your subject's marketing team: If you publish your case study to your website, and your study links back to your subject's website — known as a “backlink” — this small gesture can give them website traffic from visitors who click through to your subject's website. Additionally, a backlink from you increases your subject's page authority in the eyes of Google. This helps them rank more highly in search engine results and collect traffic from readers who are already looking for information about their industry.

– Draft and send your subject a case study release form.

Once your case study candidate approves of your case study, it's time to send them a release form.

A case study release form tells you what you'll need from your chosen subject, like permission to use any brand names and share the project information publicly. Kick-off this process with an email that runs through exactly what they can expect from you, as well as what you need from them. To give you an idea of what that might look like, check out this sample email:

You might be wondering, “What's a Case Study Release Form?” or, “What's a Success Story Letter?” Let's break those down.

– Ensure you're asking the right questions.

Before you execute the questionnaire and actual interview, make sure you're setting yourself up for success. A strong case study results from being prepared to ask the right questions. What do those look like?

Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • What are your goals?
  • What challenges were you experiencing before purchasing our product or service?
  • What made our product or service stand out against our competitors?
  • What did your decision-making process look like?
  • How have you benefited from using our product or service? (Where applicable, always ask for data.)

Examples:

1. “New England Journal of Medicine,” by Corey McPherson Nash

When branding and design studio Corey McPherson Nash showcases its work, it makes sense for it to be visual — after all, that's what they do. So in building the case study for the studio's work on the New England Journal of Medicine's integrated advertising campaign — a project that included the goal of promoting the client's digital presence — Corey McPherson Nash showed its audience what it did, rather than purely telling it.

Notice that the case study does include some light written copy — which includes the major points we've suggested — but lets the visuals do the talking, allowing users to absorb the studio's services.

2. “Shopify Uses HubSpot CRM to Transform High Volume Sales Organization,” by HubSpot

What's interesting about this case study is the way it leads with the customer. This reflects a major HubSpot credo, which is to always solve for the customer first. The copy leads with a brief description of why Shopify uses HubSpot and is accompanied by a short video and some basic statistics on the company.

Notice that this case study uses mixed-media. Yes, there is a short video, but it's elaborated upon in the additional text on the page. So, while case studies can use one or the other, don't be afraid to combine written copy with visuals to emphasize the project's success.

3. “Designing the Future of Urban Farming,” by IDEO

Here's a design company that knows how to lead with simplicity in its case studies. As soon as the visitor arrives at the page, he or she is greeted with a big, bold photo, and two very simple columns of text — “The Challenge” and “The Outcome.”

Immediately, IDEO has communicated two of the case study's major pillars. And while that's great — the company created a solution for vertical farming startup INFARM's challenge — it doesn't stop there. As the user scrolls down, those pillars are elaborated upon with a comprehensive (but not overwhelming) copy that outlines what that process looked like, replete with quotes and additional visuals.

4. “Secure Wi-Fi Wins Big for Tournament,” by WatchGuard

Then, there are the cases when visuals can tell almost the entire story — when executed correctly. Network security provider WatchGuard can do that through this video, which tells the story of how its services enhanced the attendee and vendor experience at the Windmill Ultimate Frisbee tournament.

#6. Negative or Contrarian Stories

It never ceases to surprise me that a negative headline and position will drive more traffic than a positive slant on a story or article.

When you say something counter to received wisdom, people pay attention. This works in every vertical, no matter how boring. Check this out:

 Hey, let’s be honest – PPC is pretty boring in the grand scheme!) Marketers often wonder, how can I create engaging content when I work in this boring industry? The truth is, the people who work in your industry don’t find it boring. You’re trying to hit a nerve with them, not the general population. As long as your content speaks to what matters to them, it won’t be boring.

Accordingly, contrarian content earns attention and boosts all your engagement metrics, getting more:

  • Traffic – Unexpected ideas are click magnets. This includes high return traffic – people come back to read the comments!
  • Social shares – When something is making the rounds, a lot of people share even if they don’t read the post. That’s still good for you: the more people who see the link, the more people are exposed to your brand.
  • Email shares – “OMG, check this out!”
  • Comments – Controversial topics always have higher comment counts, plus the comments are much more compelling than a string of people saying “Nice post.”
  • Links – Expect round-up links as well as response articles – people may refute or build on your argument.

Controversial ideas have a huge ripple effect because people take an interest – clicking, reading, commenting, and often sharing – whether or not they agree. That's because it tends to hit people's emotional triggers, like surprise and anger.

Since contrarian opinions tend to get your content in front of new audiences that weren’t familiar with you before, it’s often a way to expand your reach, get new email subscribers and blog readers, even trigger a chain of more first actions and conversions on your website.

The best way to stand out in a crowded, redundant space is to say something different. But how do you come up with those ideas?

Here are two ways on how to come up with differentiating Ideas:

– News Scanning Tools

These tools will help you to stay on top of trending stories:

  • Twitter – Follow influencers in your space and spend a little time every day doing a news scan there. It’ll be obvious when everyone is talking about the same thing – no hashtags required.
  • News aggregators – In our industry, Inbound.org is a good indicator of what stories are earning attention from your peers. See also Reddit, Y Combinator, etc.
  • Email subscriptions – Again, using search marketing as an example, you can subscribe to newsletters like the Search Cap and the Moz Top 10 to see what stories and topics are having an impact.
  • Google Alerts – Subscribe to get alerts when topics you cover are getting a notice in the news.
  • Google Trends – This tool also could surface interesting trends to write about, depending on how niche your industry is.

– Appoint a News Scan Point Person

Another tactic you can deploy internally is naming a point person to do a near-daily news scan. This way, everyone in your marketing department or company doesn’t need to devote time and resources to looking for stories to pounce on. Someone on the content team can be responsible for scanning the news and sending out a digest-style email to stakeholders with interesting stories.

#7. Facts, Figures, and Statistics

Has this ever happened to you?

You’ve discovered a fascinating statistic that clinches your persuasive argument. You save it for your last point and deliver it. You expect a wave of emotion to hit your audience, but…

Nothing. Your audience doesn’t react at all. Do they not get it?

If this sounds familiar, then you are not alone. A Six Minutes subscriber, Akiko Takeshita, sends this question via email:

I wonder if you have any advice for working statistics into a speech. Sometimes it works for me, but I often feel like the audience isn’t impacted by the statistic when the statistic seems very powerful to me. What am I doing wrong?

In this article, we examine the importance of using statistics in your speech, and how to do so effectively.

Knowing how to leverage statistics in your speech is an important skill.

Want to learn more?
You can read much more about these persuasive elements in an article series: Ethos, Pathos, Logos: 3 Pillars of Public Speaking
  • Statistics add realism to your speech. It’s okay to talk about big ideas in abstract terms, but you also have to make it real. Numbers and facts are one way to staple your speech arguments to reality (thus boosting logos). For example, claiming that correctly setting your tire pressure will increase your fuel mileage is one thing. But stating that it could save $500 a year in fuel costs is much better.
  • Statistics can have an emotional impact (pathos) on your audience. For example, you can amplify the emotional response in your speech about poverty by revealing the percentage of children in your community who will not be receiving gifts this holiday season.
  • Statistics raise your credibility (ethos) in two ways. First, using a statistic demonstrates that you’ve done the research and are working hard for the audience. Second, using statistics from trusted sources (e.g. the World Health Organization) boosts your credibility by association.
  • Statistics can be memorable, sticking with your audience beyond the duration of your speech.

Here are a few ways on how to choose the right statistics:

– Numbers and Facts

CONTENT CODE

“Numbers and facts are one way to staple your speech arguments to reality.”

If you plunge yourself into research for your topic, you’ll find that you are soon swimming in statistics. With so much data to choose from, how do you decide which material to use?

Consider the following factors when making your choice:

  • Which statistics would impact your audience most? While it helps if you feel the statistic is powerful (so you can speak with sincerity), it’s more important to choose statistics that your audience will find powerful.
  • Which statistics are most surprising? This, too, is dependent on the audience. Your goal is to have your audience members leave the room and say to their friends, “You’ll never believe what I learned in a speech today…
  • Which statistics help validate your arguments? Statistics should not be included in your speech because they are merely interesting trivia; they must be closely tied to your core message or supporting points. If it isn’t relevant to your speech, your audience may remember the statistic, but they won’t remember you or your message.

– weaving the statistic into your speech.

If you remember just one thing from this article, remember this: you must provide a meaningful context for your statistics. A naked statistic will not impact your audience if they do not have the background knowledge to assess it properly.

For example, suppose I tell you that Six Minutes has ten thousand subscribers. You may be impressed, but you may not. Is that a big number? A small number?

However, if I also tell you that this makes Six Minutes one of the most popular speaking blogs on the planet (or perhaps the most popular), this allows you to interpret the statistic in a more meaningful context.

  • Follow up the statistic with a comparison in concrete terms to which your audience can relate.
  • Bring your statistic to life by telling the story of one of the “numbers”. For example, if your statistic is the number of people with breast cancer, you might begin by telling the story of a breast cancer victim and then reveal that “she is just one of 100,000 women in this country who will find out they have cancer this year.”
  • Compare the statistic to itself earlier. The most powerful aspect may be to see how the value has changed from one year to the next, or from one decade to the next.
  • Don’t rely on your audience to just “get it.” Explain the connection between the statistic and your message. A direct approach is usually best, such as “This is important because…

– Delivering the statistic for maximum effect

Want to learn more?
Using statistics well is one of the 25 essential speaking skills. What are the other 24?

Assuming you’ve used one of the earlier tips for weaving the statistic into your speech, your effectiveness still hinges on successful delivery. Here are a few techniques you can use to maximize the effect you desire:

  • Hint at its importance. You can do this earlier in the speech to build suspense (e.g. “In a few moments, I’m going to reveal a shocking statistic that will make you change the way you view civic politics…“) or use a quick, immediate approach (e.g. “If you remember just one thing from this speech, remember this…“)
  • Pause immediately before the statistic to create suspense.
  • Articulate clearly, and speak slightly slower than your normal rate. This will also signal the importance of the statistic.
  • Pause immediately after the statistic (a little longer than before) to give your audience time to process the meaning and “feel” the impact.
  • Use gestures to demonstrate the magnitude. Standing with your arms wide open, for example, creates a sense of size.
  • Use facial expressions to convey the appropriate reaction. (i.e. show your shock, surprise, sadness, etc.)
  • If you are speaking with slides, you might reveal a slide to coincide with your statistic. You could use a chart to highlight the magnitude of the number, or you could use a photograph to strike a more emotional tone. Whatever you do, make sure that the slide is simple! You want your audience to easily digest the meaning along with your spoken words.

People love facts and figures and aggregating the latest data about your industry will provide a focus on your blog that will keep your readers coming back for more. Providing this regularly will assist you in positioning your blog and content as the hub to keep on top of the latest numbers. Statistics help businesses pick trends and opportunities in their sector.

Example

50 Fascinating Facebook Facts And Figures

This is, in fact, a hybrid content type that mixes the mega list format with the facts and figures

#8. News Stories

It is a known fact that News stories has always been an attractive and valuable content type. Businesses don't hesitate to put a slant on the news that displays the grasp of their industry.

However, writing well-structured news stories articles that inform, educate, and entertain is not as easy as it looks.

There is, of course, a definite knack to writing well, especially about a newsy topic. Journalists are trained to write content that will hook readers from the first sentence and make them want to read on.

These journalistic principles can be adopted by content marketers to help engage their audiences.

Here are ten rules for writing a captivating story on a hot topic, whether in print or online:

  1. Begin with the most important facts first. The intro to every article needs to grab the reader’s attention instantly and summarize the story with around 25 to 30 words.
  2. Make your text thorough but succinct. The first few sentences need to include “who, what, where, when, why, and how.” Remember most people will not read more than 250 words before they start to skim. You should try to give them all the information they need as quickly as possible.
  3. Use the active tense. It is faster and uses fewer words. For example, “Argentina was beaten by Germany in last night’s World Cup final …” takes longer to read than “Germany beat Argentina …”
  4. Communicate what’s new or different. Why would the reader care about what you have to say? Why is it relevant to them? Is there a trend happening in pop culture or the world that you can incorporate? What are people talking about right now, and how does this tie in with what you do?
  5. Focus on human interest. While people may be interested in the latest political polls, a new cancer treatment, a food or product recall, or what the weather will be like tomorrow, if you can put a human face to the story, you will create an emotional connection that will draw readers in and keep them engaged.
  6. Avoid jargon. Every industry has its language, including journalism. For example, do you know what a byline is? (The name of the author included in a box at the beginning or end of a story.) How about a NIB? (News in brief: short snippets of news, which run down the outer edge of a newspaper page.) Or a splash? (The lead story.) Think about the language you use — keep it clear, concise, and to the point.
  7. Write acronyms out in full in the first reference. Consider the following acronyms: ROI, ASBO, PCT, SATs, and FTSE. What do they stand for? Answers, respectively: Return on investment, Anti-social behavior order, Primary care trust, Standard Assessment Tests, and Financial Times Stock Exchange.
  8. Use quotes. It’s powerful to convey important thoughts with someone else’s words. However, when you quote others, make sure to get it right. Double-check the spelling of your interviewee’s name and make sure you don’t take quotes out of context in a way that distorts the person’s intentions.
  9. Keep it real. Although journalists often joke about never letting the truth get in the way of a good story, you should never, ever write something you know is untrue. We all make mistakes, but a mistake is very different from a lie.
  10. Have someone else proofread your work. Very few people can spot their own mistakes, so it’s wise to have a colleague double-check your work before you publish. Remember that the human brain reads words rather than letters, so if the first and last letter of a word is correct, we will often read it correctly, even if the others are jumbled up.

Example:

Apple makes Huge Announcement about Twitter

#9. Infographics

Having infographics that simplify the presentation of complex information is proving to be most helpful in making content easily understand.

This content type has lent itself to being embedded in blogs and websites. One way to come up great infographic idea is to figure out what your audience wants.

A common mistake that I’ve seen people make when creating an infographic is that they try to choose something that is generically popular rather than specifically relevant to their audience.

The infographics with the most traction, most attention, and most virality, are ones that meet your target audience right where they want it most.

Here are 8 Infographic Tips That You Wish You Knew Years Ago:

– Keep it simple.

Like everything else in life, infographics are better when they are simple. One of its advantages is to distill advanced ideas into the simplest visual form producing the  “Oh, I get it” experience.

Simplicity wins – a four or five Infographics would work better.

– Keep it focused.

Simplicity, as mention above, is ultimately about focus.

Infographics are not attempts to randomly assemble all the data you can compile. Instead, an infographic is intended to drive a single, focused point.

So make it streamlined and focused on a single topic.

– Keep It Visual

Most infographics are short on the “graphic” and long on the “info” . The best infographics are ones that have a good balance of visual information with written information.

To qualify for the “graphic” in an infographic, it needs some more visual pizzazz.

– Promote it.

Infographics don’t automatically go viral. If you want your infographic to explode in popularity, you will have to promote it.

You do so in the same way that you’d promote any other valuable piece of content:

  • Reach out to influential sources in your niche and ask them to feature your infographic.
  • Make your infographic shareable with social plugins.
  • Ask users to share it.

– Make it easy to read and view.

Your infographic should be easy to read and view, whether the user clicks to enlarge or not. 600 pixels wide is a good width to aim for.

Sometimes, an infographic lost its readability in its resizing. The designer makes it huge, then the developer has to downsize it. In the process, the readability gets lost.

Also, most infographics have a variety of font sizes. Make sure that the smallest font on your infographic can be seen without too much difficulty.

– Make it a manageable length and size

Infographics are supposed to be big. We get that. But go too big, and you’ll start losing views.

I would recommend a limit length of 8,000 pixels. Anything longer, and you’ll start to presume upon your user’s attention span.

Along with a length, another limitation is size.

Users might be on a slow connection, so be courteous, and keep your infographic to 1.5 MB.

– Add white space.

Any graphic designer will tell you that white space is important in every design. An infographic is no exceptional.

Good infographic design includes a balance of visual elements with the necessary negative space to help guide the viewers as they look at the infographic.

– Create a killer headline.

Your infographic’s headline is extremely important.  The infographic doesn’t get any attention if it doesn’t have a great headline. This principle is the same as with a great blog article.

Good headlines will have these features:

  • They describe the infographic
  • They grab the user’s attention.
  • They are short enough to understand at a glance.
  • 70 characters is a good length.

Example

20 Stunning Social Media Statistics Plus Infographic

 

Conclusion

Hybrids of these ten content types are also very effective and mixing these into mixed formats can provide creative variations that can drive traffic and sharing.

What content types have worked for you on your website and blog? I look forward to hearing your success stories!

 

Orange’s initiative was to create an application rom

When, while the lovely valley teems with vapor around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream; and, as I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me: when I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, and grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms of the insects and flies, then I feel the presence of the Almighty, who formed us in his own image, and the breath of that universal love which bears and sustains us, as it floats around us in an eternity of bliss; and then, my friend, when darkness overspreads my eyes, and heaven and earth seem to dwell in my soul and absorb its power, like the form of a beloved mistress, then I often think with longing, Oh, would I could describe these conceptions, could impress upon paper all that is living so full and warm within me, that it might be the mirror of my soul, as my soul is the mirror of the infinite God!

O my friend — but it is too much for my strength — I sink under the weight of the splendor of these visions! A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence, that I neglect my talents. I should be incapable of drawing a single stroke at the present moment; and yet I feel that I never was a greater artist than now. When, while the lovely valley teems with vapor around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream; and, as I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me: when I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, and grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms of the insects and flies, then I feel the presence of the Almighty, who formed us in his own image, and the breath of that universal love which bears and sustains us, as it floats around us in an eternity of bliss; and then, my friend, when darkness overspreads my eyes, and heaven and earth seem to dwell in my soul and absorb its power, like the form of a beloved mistress, then I often think with longing, Oh, would I could describe these conceptions, could impress upon paper all that is living so full and warm within me.

Orange’s initiative was to create an application rom

When, while the lovely valley teems with vapor around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream; and, as I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me: when I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, and grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms of the insects and flies, then I feel the presence of the Almighty, who formed us in his own image, and the breath of that universal love which bears and sustains us, as it floats around us in an eternity of bliss; and then, my friend, when darkness overspreads my eyes, and heaven and earth seem to dwell in my soul and absorb its power, like the form of a beloved mistress, then I often think with longing, Oh, would I could describe these conceptions, could impress upon paper all that is living so full and warm within me, that it might be the mirror of my soul, as my soul is the mirror of the infinite God!

O my friend — but it is too much for my strength — I sink under the weight of the splendor of these visions! A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence, that I neglect my talents. I should be incapable of drawing a single stroke at the present moment; and yet I feel that I never was a greater artist than now. When, while the lovely valley teems with vapor around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream; and, as I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me: when I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, and grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms of the insects and flies, then I feel the presence of the Almighty, who formed us in his own image, and the breath of that universal love which bears and sustains us, as it floats around us in an eternity of bliss; and then, my friend, when darkness overspreads my eyes, and heaven and earth seem to dwell in my soul and absorb its power, like the form of a beloved mistress, then I often think with longing, Oh, would I could describe these conceptions, could impress upon paper all that is living so full and warm within me.

Orange’s initiative was to create an application rom

When, while the lovely valley teems with vapor around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream; and, as I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me: when I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, and grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms of the insects and flies, then I feel the presence of the Almighty, who formed us in his own image, and the breath of that universal love which bears and sustains us, as it floats around us in an eternity of bliss; and then, my friend, when darkness overspreads my eyes, and heaven and earth seem to dwell in my soul and absorb its power, like the form of a beloved mistress, then I often think with longing, Oh, would I could describe these conceptions, could impress upon paper all that is living so full and warm within me, that it might be the mirror of my soul, as my soul is the mirror of the infinite God!

O my friend — but it is too much for my strength — I sink under the weight of the splendor of these visions! A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence, that I neglect my talents. I should be incapable of drawing a single stroke at the present moment; and yet I feel that I never was a greater artist than now. When, while the lovely valley teems with vapor around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream; and, as I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me: when I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, and grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms of the insects and flies, then I feel the presence of the Almighty, who formed us in his own image, and the breath of that universal love which bears and sustains us, as it floats around us in an eternity of bliss; and then, my friend, when darkness overspreads my eyes, and heaven and earth seem to dwell in my soul and absorb its power, like the form of a beloved mistress, then I often think with longing, Oh, would I could describe these conceptions, could impress upon paper all that is living so full and warm within me.

Orange’s initiative was to create an application rom

When, while the lovely valley teems with vapor around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream; and, as I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me: when I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, and grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms of the insects and flies, then I feel the presence of the Almighty, who formed us in his own image, and the breath of that universal love which bears and sustains us, as it floats around us in an eternity of bliss; and then, my friend, when darkness overspreads my eyes, and heaven and earth seem to dwell in my soul and absorb its power, like the form of a beloved mistress, then I often think with longing, Oh, would I could describe these conceptions, could impress upon paper all that is living so full and warm within me, that it might be the mirror of my soul, as my soul is the mirror of the infinite God!

O my friend — but it is too much for my strength — I sink under the weight of the splendor of these visions! A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence, that I neglect my talents. I should be incapable of drawing a single stroke at the present moment; and yet I feel that I never was a greater artist than now. When, while the lovely valley teems with vapor around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream; and, as I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me: when I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, and grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms of the insects and flies, then I feel the presence of the Almighty, who formed us in his own image, and the breath of that universal love which bears and sustains us, as it floats around us in an eternity of bliss; and then, my friend, when darkness overspreads my eyes, and heaven and earth seem to dwell in my soul and absorb its power, like the form of a beloved mistress, then I often think with longing, Oh, would I could describe these conceptions, could impress upon paper all that is living so full and warm within me.