How to Optimize Content to Reach Your Target Audience

Alex Membrillo

You can have a killer product and the world’s best writers tasked with promoting it. But, we are still at a point where marketing efforts live and die by their search engine placement. Four out of five purchasing decisions start with a Google search. To make sure that your excellent, persuasive content is part of what consumers see, it needs to be well-optimized. A few of the best ways to get to the top of the SERPs:

1. Create a keyword-rich, enticing headline.

Your headline should include keywords that lets audiences and search engine spiders know what your work is about. By including this bit of information, you can significantly increase your chances of indexing well. Make sure your headline is short, as well. Five or fewer words is best. Load keywords toward the beginning of the phrase so that it catches readers’ eyes.

2. Break content into sections with relevant subheads.

Well organized, skimmable content is more likely to be read than impenetrable walls of text. Breaking up using subheads also gives you the chance to inject your keywords into H2 tags. Make each subhead descriptive and inviting.

3. Tune up your technical SEO.

The technical specs of your page matter as much as the content that is on it. Every page should load quickly and completely, no matter what device your visitor uses to get there. The average surfer will leave your page if it takes more than three to four seconds to load. Image files should be small so that they don’t cause people to bounce before the page fully loads. Ensure that pages are mobile-friendly; this is now a major part of how Google assesses your site.

When you are setting up how URLs appear on your blog or website, make sure that they are descriptive. “http://www.myawesomesite.com/web-content- blog-post” does much better than “http://www.myawesomesite.com/3033ab4.” When QuickSprout analyzed the top ranking URLs, they found that they were short, contained few subfolders and generally had no extraneous characters.

4. Use descriptive title tags.

Pages on your site should not have names like “home” or “index.” These tell search engine spiders nothing about what your site is about. Instead, title your pages in ways that add valuable information. “South Texas Exterminators” tells search engines and surfers what they can expect.

5. Create a great description Meta tag.

While many Meta tags have fallen out of use, the description tag is still a valuable one. In most cases, search engines pull from this tag when they are listing your page in the search engine results. Think of this tag as like the title, but more detailed. You should organize the description so that the most important information comes first. If you have a background in journalism, think of it the way you would an opening sentence in a traditional newspaper article. Keep the content here short and to the point, no more than 160 characters.

6. Never forget that you are writing for the reader.

With all of the technical details involved in good SEO, the most important thing that you can do is always consider the reader first. Create content that is novel, informative and compelling. Elicit a reaction. Tell people something that they didn’t know. This leads more people to read and engage with your content. They are more likely to post links to your work on their own blogs or on their social media pages. These earned backlinks and the boost in traffic that they bring are also good for improving your SEO. In the end, you get rewarded by the search engines for doing the right thing by your readers.

With a little fine-tuning, you will find that you are able to get much better results with your content. By creating content consistently and keeping in mind what is needed for optimal performance, you can increase your number of readers and their engagement and get better visibility for your content and your brand.

About the Author

Alex Membrillo is the CEO of Cardinal Web Solutions, an award winning digital strategy agency based in Atlanta, GA. Named Technology Association of Georgia (TAG)’s 2015 Digital Marketer of the Year, his innovative approach to digital marketing has transformed the industry and delivered remarkable results to clients of all sizes and markets.  Cardinal has been 3-time consecutively named on Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing privately-held US companies.  Visit www.CardinalWebSolutions.com to find out more about Cardinal Web Solutions.  Membrillo tweets @Alex_Membrillo

Meet The Jaclyn Of All Trades

Jaclyn Mullen Headshot

Jaclyn and I met through a mutual friend a while back and during our first meeting in person guess who showed up? Conan O’Brien. We didn’t bother him at the time, but from that point I knew the star power that Jaclyn could reel in. I’ve never seen someone so committed to her work and since I follow her on several platforms, there’s rarely a day I don’t see an update from her. I didn’t think you could be in multiple places at once, but Jaclyn proved that theory wrong. She truly is the Jaclyn of all trades and I hope you’re able to gain some insight from this interview with her:

1) Briefly tell us how your career evolved into being an entrepreneur/consultant for social media, marketing, branding, etc.

I was studying Music Business at the University of Miami when the industry transitioned from CD’s to Mp3’s. I had always been in some form of guerrilla marketing (thank you DECA in high school). I always understood HOW to get a product into people’s hands and have them share it via word of mouth. But all of the sudden, the Internet allowed us to share an intangible product, in this case music, and still generate word of mouth plus, we could TRACK the impact and read people’s responses. From there, I started using Myspace personally then Facebook, Constant Contact and eventually LinkedIn and Twitter. Year after year, the Internet became more and more a part of my life from using it to create my own personal brand to find a job to using to to connect with customers when I was in business development/branding and the blogging space to lastly, over the years, teaching business owners and other professionals how to use it to engage with their audiences.

2) What do you consider your biggest strength as an entrepreneur?

Being outgoing. That strength allows me to meet a lot of people which in turn means I can connect a lot of people and bring them together. Plus, talking to people also serves as market research for me since so much of the social space deals with psychology, content creation and human behavior.

3) What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

Dealing with unforeseen life circumstances/family emergencies while trying to grow my company. I managed to overcome them thanks to a healthy client roster & being SUPER organized however, it’s important for service based business owners (myself included) to think about and work towards scalability/generating some passive income. If something happens to you, and you’re the business, the business shuts down unless you have another revenue stream or a team in place.

4) How would you describe your style/ personal brand?

Fun, Polished, Inviting. I fit in with my peers but can talk shop with the industry thought leaders too. I know how to balance between being an expert, being engaging and creating experiences for my people too.

5) What advice would you give other entrepreneurs trying to build/grow their brand?

Leverage the power of strategic alliances. Look for people to cross promo with and set up multi-channel cross promo campaigns, i.e email newsletter, blog posts, Twitter to start. Most people only rely on one channel for cross promos and you won’t get the full impact of exposure. Also, focus on quality vs quantity. Engage the people who like or share your stuff day to day. Thank them! In due time, THEY will help you grow those numbers and acquire more people. Rounding this out, you have the potential to talk to A LOT of people online but that doesn’t mean those people are the right audience for you. Segment your audience, i.e know where you need/want people to be located as an example so you can hone in and find the people who are likely to need your products/services/advice.

Want to access more marketing insights and support from Jaclyn? She’s creating an MIY Guide (Market It Yourself) featuring advice from brand managers at charity: water, Yes 2 Carrots and more. Sign up to learn more: www.jaclynmullen.com

How Etsy Paid Her Way Through College

LEILEI_SECOR

About a month ago, I saw an article on Entrepreneur Magazine about a Teen who is paying her way through college through opening an Etsy shop. I was so impressed that I reached out to her via Twitter to ask her more questions. Entrepreneurship has no age limit, so if you have an idea, the difference between being a dreamer and doer is taking action. That’s what LeiLei Secor did and here’s how you can learn from her story:

1) Briefly share how you got started as an entrepreneur

Like many 16 year olds, I was looking for a summer job. I didn’t get hired anywhere I applied to so I thought to myself, “Maybe I could sell the jewelry I make”. At the time, I made macrame and beaded bracelets but once my shop opened I taught myself how to make wire wrap jewelry. On July 27th, I opened my Etsy shop and a week later I received my first sale. From then on, I received them daily.

2) What do you consider your biggest strength as an entrepreneur?

I think my biggest strength was my determination. Whenever I start something that really interests me, I immerse myself in it. I would sit online for hours researching what worked and what didn’t. I spent a lot of time on Etsy’s forums reading what other sellers had to say. To this day, I will spend a good amount of time time on Etsy’s forums reading the general chitchat and sentiments of other sellers. 

3) What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced so far is keeping up with the trends and changing search engine of Etsy. As one of the most competitive markets on Etsy, jewelry sellers have to work on differentiating their product from the thousands of others out there. An important part of Etsy is keeping up with titles and keywords that will keep your listings relevant in the search engine. It’s challenging to try to figure out what will make your listing show up in the first few pages of listings.

4) How would you describe your style/personal brand so far?

I would describe my personal brand to be simplistic and young. I try to create simple pieces that would appeal to multiple age groups and compliment any style outfit.

5) What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs from your journey?

My best advice to aspiring entrepreneurs would be to just go for it and immerse yourself in whatever it is you are passionate about. I think if you put your all into something, you will surely get something out of it.

Video Marketing 101 w/ Sunny Lenarduzzi

sunny

Today’s interview in our Personal Branding Series is with Digital Marketing Guru Sunny Lenarduzzi. I stumbled upon Sunny’s work via Twitter and love her work and personality. She’s mastered the You Tube Tutorial so if you’re trying to figure out technology on your own, stop! I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting her in person yet, but I’m sure we’ll eventually cross paths once she’s dominated Canada and moves her way down south. Hope you enjoy her brief, but powerfully clear words of wisdom.

1) How did you get into video marketing as a career?

My career started in broadcasting and after years of reporting and hosting on television and radio, I fell in love with the digital space. Now, I feel like I’ve combined those two passions into my dream career. I love creating video content and working with brands and individuals to help them grow their influence and create tangible results through a visual medium.

2) What do you consider your biggest strength as a communicator?

Perhaps it’s a strength and a weakness, but I’m very straightforward. I like getting right to the point and I do my best to deliver messages as clearly and concisely as possible.

3) What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

It’s funny, I can’t think anything that I would consider a big challenge. Have there been hurdles? Yes. But I love what I do so much that I see every challenge as an opportunity for growth. I would say one of the most difficult aspects of my job is to stay ahead of the trends and keep up with the fast pace and information overload.

4) How would you describe your style/personal brand?

Simplistic. Joyful. Informative.

5) What advice would you give other entrepreneurs trying to build their audience/brand?

Know your audience and what their needs are. You have to start with researching your target audience extensively to ensure that every aspect of your marketing initiatives matches what they want and need to hear.

An Interview w/ @TheNoLookPass

the no look pass, rey rey, rey moradle, no look pass twitter

If you know me or listened to any of my podcasts I have a deep love for sports, basketball in particular. In addition to starting Lakers Fans Unite, Twitter has given me the unique opportunity to meet some sports bloggers/media and get a first-hand perspective of covering athletes for a living. I admire how these professionals both view their role and have built their personal brand/following. A little over a month ago, I met Rey Moralde a.k.a. The No Look Pass for coffee and we chatted it up about basketball. I asked him if I could interview him for my “How to Build Your Personal Brand Series” and he graciously agreed. I hope you enjoy his story and can learn from him how to build your personal brand the right way.

1) How did you get into sports blogging as a career?

I just kind of stumbled onto it. I used to be obsessed with playing ball years ago before I rolled my ankle severely. While on the shelf, my friend suggested I write and blog about the NBA. After a couple of weeks, my little writings somehow caught the eye of an old sports blogging network called Most Valuable Network. It went from there and here I am, still writing and blogging nearly six years later.

2) What do you consider your biggest strength as a writer?

I don’t think I’m the best technical writer, far from it. I don’t think I’m the best basketball tactician, either, and I’m definitely far from that. But I do think that basketball is fun and writing about it should be fun. I like keeping it lighthearted and, at the end of the day, we use basketball (and any form of entertainment) to escape from the real world. People get so invested over sports that it turns into something we get angry over and that’s just unhealthy. I like to keep it fun and I’m glad that people have recognized that. So I would say “not taking it too seriously” is my biggest strength as a writer, if anything.

3) What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced?

Trying to avoid burnout. You need breaks every once in a while and I get obsessed, sometimes, over this entire thing. While I do say that not taking it too seriously is my strength, I also feel you’re “only as good as your next write-up.” And it can be a marathon; the NBA pretty much goes every day for eight months (playoffs included). I’m going into my 7th season and I think about quitting every summer, believe it or not. It becomes more of a relief than an accomplishment after the final game is over. But when the summer goes too long, I clamor for the NBA to come back. Figure that out. I’m hoping to pace myself better this season. But, yeah, avoiding burnout is my biggest challenge.

4) How would you describe your style/personal brand?

Fun. Silly. And it should be. I’m not sure if I’m a universally funny guy but I do like to make people laugh. You can see that attempted poor humor on my Twitter feed and in my blog entries. I think my style does stand out because I have no problem integrating things like 90s music, video games, teen dramas, wrestling, and my dating experiences into my NBA talk. Besides, having everyone do the same ol’ thing gets boring, anyway, right?

5) What advice would you give to other bloggers trying to build their audience/brand?

Be yourself and don’t give up. Never apologize for being yourself. That’s definitely helped me along the way. If you’re a serious guy, then be serious. If you’re silly, then be silly. Stay in your lane. And blogging about a sport takes a lot of time. Not only do we have to write but we also have to watch a lot so that we know what we’re talking about. What we do isn’t easy; we don’t snap our fingers and produce a blog entry over 45 minutes. We honed our craft over the years when it comes to writing and being a student of the game. People can definitely do it; if I made something out of it, I don’t see why others can’t.

Oh, and don’t burn any bridges. Because you never know if you’re actually going to need that person’s help down the line.