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Whether you care to admit it or not, the decisions you make today will be driven by your emotions. In emotional marketing, we talk a lot about using psychological triggers to get customers to click, convert, engage, etc.
“By leveraging common psychological triggers all people have,” you might hear, “you can drive more sales.”
While it may feel like we make decisions with our minds, using logic and reasoning, the “mental triggers” we hear about are tied more to emotion than anything else.
Case in point, Antonio Damasio spent time studying individuals with damage to the area of the brain where emotions were generated and processed.
While these subjects functioned just like anyone else, they couldn’t feel emotion.
The other thing they had in common was they all had trouble with making decisions.
Even simple decisions about what to eat proved difficult.
While they could describe what they should be doing using logic and reason, most decisions couldn’t be settled with simple rationale.
Without emotion, they weren’t able to make a choice.
This is supported by data from Gerard Zaltman, author of “How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market.”
Zaltman found that 95% of cognition happens beyond our conscious brain, instead coming from our subconscious, emotional brain.
Emotions are an X factor you can’t control, but you can’t afford to ignore them in your content marketing.
When you make an emotional connection with your audience, it’s incredibly easy to steer them to the desired outcome.
You’ve formed an emotional bond, however brief and fleeting, that makes them open to ideas and suggestions. It creates a certain level of trust that’s virtually impossible to artificially manifest.
Rob Walker and Joshua Glen found firsthand what an emotional connection can do.
In one experiment, they bought hundreds of items from thrift stores and similar locations — all cheaply priced.
The duo wanted to see if they could sell the products using an emotional connection through the power of stories alone.
With 200 writers on board, they generated fictional stories for the products and used those stories to sell the thrift store items at auction on eBay.
They raised just under $8,000, which was a profit of approximately 2,700%.
And they did it all using that emotional connection through storytelling.
That’s not to say there isn’t a place for the logical or the rational in decision making.
This is where marketers often leverage the theory of dual processing in psychological marketing.
The theory holds that the brain processes thoughts and decisions on two levels.
The first level is that of emotion, which processes automatically, unconsciously, and provides a rapid response when we need it with virtually no effort.
The second level is the more deliberate and conscious thought process, where we handle decisions with reason and logic. It happens far slower than the emotional response.
In most cases, we fire back with a ready response from our emotions and then try to consciously rationalize it.
Think about some big-brand rivalries and preferences will surface in your mind.
How do you feel when you look at this major brand comparison?
Here’s another common one that has people divided, sometimes within the same family:
And then there’s this brand rivalry we know all too well.
In each of these, you likely have an opinion almost instantly about which you prefer, but it’s not because you have a logical reason.
It’s typically tied to emotion and/or experience; how you feel using their products, or how the brands left you feeling after an experience or reading a news article.
The brain then tries to rationalize that emotional response.
For example, your emotional response goes straight to Coke and then your brain works to rationalize the decision by deciding that it tastes better in a can, it’s fizzier, has a stronger bite than Pepsi, etc.
So, while you might feel like you’re making a rational choice about your beverage, it’s really just an emotional one.
The most successful marketers know how to lean on the emotional over logic in order to make their content draw in the audience.
That’s why nearly a third of marketers report significant profit gains when running emotional campaigns, but the number of successful campaigns dips if you introduce logic into the marketing.
And those results get sliced in half when marketers switch to logic over emotion.
We experience a laundry list of emotions every day.
Is it really as simple as leveraging some emotion to make content more effective?
Yes and no.
Emotion is certainly important, but there are also other factors like timing, exposure, the format of the content, how it’s presented, who produced or shared it, etc.
Despite understanding the role emotion plays in content, we still haven’t quite perfected a formula for what makes content go viral.
Though we’ve gotten pretty close.
Brands have long tried to inflate the consumer’s emotional response through manufactured content; some met with great success.
The videos profile a person around the world who uses Intel’s technology to create new experiences and build new technology that makes a difference in the world.
Like 13-year-old Shubham Banerrjee, who used Intel’s technology to build an affordable Braille printer.
And of course, some companies try to leverage emotion and create viral campaigns that just don’t take off.
CIO reported a number of failed viral marketing campaigns, such as “Walmarting Across America.”
In this blog, two average Americans travel across the country visiting Walmart locations, reporting their interactions on a blog along the way.
After countless upbeat entries about how people loved working for the company, it was discovered that the trip was paid for by Walmart and the entire thing was a campaign created and managed by the company’s PR firm.
That didn’t receive a warm reception from the blogosphere, which deemed the content to be a “flog” or fake blog.
Many emotions fuel our behaviors and our decisions, especially our purchase decisions.
Some more than others — especially when they’re authentic.
A study was done by Buzzsumo analyzing the top 10,000 most-shared articles on the web. Those articles were then mapped to emotions to see which emotions had the greatest influence on content.
The most popular:
Conversely, the least popular were sadness and anger, totaling just 7% of the content that was most shared.
Two researchers at Wharton also wanted to dig deeper into virally shared content to find commonalities and better understand what makes that content spread.
What they found was the emotional element, and some very specific results tied to emotions.
While some emotions are more likely to engage than others, every audience is different. What drives one to action may do very little for another.
This modern adaptation of Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotion, illustrated by CopyPress, shows the range under eight primary emotions: joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger, and anticipation.
For content to be widely shared and have an impact on your audience, it needs to leverage one or more of these emotions.
The proof is on the web, not only in the statistics I shared above, but also in the popularity of user communities that regularly share content.
Just look at Reddit and some of the most popular subreddits by subscriber count. Each can be tied back to emotions (some more obviously than others) like anticipation, awe, joy, and more.
Here’s how some of those emotions can play into the engagement with your audience:
You don’t want your audience to make bad decisions. Bad decisions can lead to buyer’s remorse, which can paint your brand and the overall experience in a negative light.
But it can be helpful if you leave the audience a bit more open to influence.
A Berkeley study revealed that anxiety can be linked to difficulty in using information around us to make decisions. When we experience uncertainty, it becomes harder to make decisions and our judgment is clouded.
Still, anxiety can also spur people to act as a result of that uncertainty.
Take a two-year study by Wharton Ph.D. student Alison Wood Brooks and a Harvard Business School professor.
They found that upon increasing the anxiety of certain subjects with video footage, 90% of the “anxious” participants opted to seek advice and were more likely to take it.
Only 72% of the participants in a neutral state, who viewed a different video, sought advice.
Awe is comparable to wonder, but it doesn’t always fall under the umbrella of joy or humor.
It’s intended to captivate the audience and keep them riveted.
You often see this kind of hook in headlines that seem so earth-shatteringly significant that no one in their right mind would want to miss it.
Here’s a good example of that kind of awe used in content when Dropbox first launched.
Co-founder Drew Houston submitted his product to the website Digg, hoping to get some visibility from the social bookmarking site. That headline helped significantly.
Another great example of using Awe to capture attention is a video produced by Texas Armoring Corporation.
To emphasize the quality of the company’s bullet-resistant glass, the CEO crouched behind one of TAC’s glass panels while several rounds were fired at it from an AK-47.
Awe can impact decision making as much as anxiety.
A study from Stanford University found that people experiencing awe are more focused on the present and less distracted by other things in life. They also tend to be more giving of their time.
When you have their attention and their focus, they’re more likely to have time to rationalize a decision.
While joy and laughter can have their lines blurred, they’re really two different emotions when it comes to your content.
Because while laughter often leads to joy, not everything that is joyful is laugh-out-loud funny.
Still, next to awe, joy, laughter, and amusement were the highest contributors to social sharing and engagement in the above studies.
That influence goes all the way back to early childhood.
As babies, out first emotional action not long after being born is to respond to the smile of our parents with our own smile.
Per psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, joy and amusement are hardwired into us from birth.
His studies tell us that our innate desire for joy increases when it’s shared. That’s the nature of the “social smile.”
That explains why these feelings or emotions are such huge drivers behind the virality of content. Happiness, overall, is a huge driver for content sharing.
In fact, Jonah Berger’s study of the most-shared articles in the New York Times (around 7,000 articles) revealed the same kind of results around emotion.
The more positive the article, the more likely it was to go viral.
Brands have worked “joy marketing” into their strategies for decades, aiming to make their audience feel warm, comfortable, and happy.
That’s the intent of campaigns like P&G’s highly successful and viral “Thank You, Mom” campaigns that are injected with a lot of emotion (especially joy) when celebrating the strength of mothers.
Joy can take a lot of forms, though, and it doesn’t have to be commercially intended to elicit a direct sale.
Look at what Beringer Vineyards did with influencer marketing.
Russian Instagram sensations Murad and Nataly Osmann built a following of more than 4.5 million people with photos featuring them holding hands at locations around the globe during their world travels.
They attached the hashtag #FollowMeTo on those posts.
The couple teamed up with Beringer Vineyards to create some images meant to inspire joy, love, and of course the sense of adventure the couple already shared with their hashtag.
Anger may be perceived as a negative emotion by some, but it can have positive influences as well as positive outcomes when leveraged in the right way.
A leading researcher in the study of anger, Dr. Carol Tavris, draws a parallel between anger and how it impacted society over the years.
Women’s suffrage, for example, developed from anger and frustration.
Anger can be empowering for the individual, bringing a sense of clarity and positive-forward momentum. It gives people a feeling of direction and control according to a study from Carnegie Mellon.
In the previously mentioned study on content shares in the New York Times, negatively perceived emotions like anger are equally associated with the virality of content.
In fact, Berger’s study of the New York Times content found that content which incites feelings of frustration or anger is 34% more likely to be featured on the Time’s most emailed list than the average article.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you deliberately create controversy by taking shots at readers or picking fights.
The key with using anger in content is to frame an issue that incites anger or frustration in a way that’s constructive.
You have to be thought-provoking and engaging.
This interactive graph from the New York Times is an example of how content can lead to frustration and anger over economic or societal issues.
This piece of content is simple, yet it provokes engagement as well as thought when results are revealed in comparison to what an individual perceives to be the truth.
The difference between logic and emotion in content comes down to the words we use and how we position statements and information.
When creating copy and content, you have to be acutely aware of whether you’re taking a rational or emotional approach to the information you’re sharing.
You need to think about the response you want to elicit to help guide your content development to make the right kind of psychological and emotional connection with your audience.
The context of your copy can remain the same.
By changing the words you use, however, you can make content appeal more to the emotions of the audience and prospective customer.
The simplest approach to finding the right high-emotion words takes only three steps:
What you’ll find in researching the right words is that emotionally persuasive and impactful words tend to be abrupt. It’s the short, concise, basic words that appeal most to our emotions over our intellect.
Just look at this list from the Persuasion Revolution.
The majority of this emotionally weighted list (and there are over 350 items) is made up of shorter words.
The rational mind, on the other hand, tends to associate with longer and more complex words.
It’s not easy to make that emotional connection with your audience. You have to know them.
Like anything else in marketing, your decisions and the content you create needs to be based on data. In this case, that data is your audience research.
That same research that tells you what topics to create, where your audience spends their time, and the content they prefer to view, can clue you into how to make that emotional connection.
You just need to expand your buyer personas.
In this case, you want to build up the psychological profile of your audience. You can achieve this by asking the right questions to help steer your content research and production.
Your research could turn up a common topic or theme that appears frequently in the content they read and share.
For example, you might discover that a certain segment or demographic in your audience has a strong affinity to family values, or health and wellness.
Turn that into a content campaign that shares the feel-good side of your company.
Delve into the family life of your employees, how your company supports the work/life balance, or better health initiatives.
Google is well known for its company structure, promoting flexible schedules, support of family time, personal projects, and a focus on work/life balance.
The company often shares behind-the-scenes images (visual content) showing off employees enjoying what they do. Here’s an example from Google Sydney’s offices:
That can influence a positive emotional response toward the brand when targeted segments see that content.
Don’t get caught up with the dated idea that emotion is only applicable to consumer-focused businesses.
Emotional marketing has its place in the B2B world as well.
You may be dealing with a longer buying process between one or more organizations, but the decisions are still made (and fueled by) people who are absolutely driven by emotion.
That includes emotions like:
Emotion absolutely influences B2B purchases, and in some cases, emotion matters even more than logic and reason.
You hold a great deal of influence with your audience when you’re able to tap into their emotions.
Once you understand your audience, you can better determine their emotional state.
From there, make the decision about whether you need to influence and exploit emotions that are already present, or if you want to create or give rise to emotions the audience wasn’t initially expecting or experiencing.
Even the most (seemingly) rational decisions are influenced by emotion — and that applies to everyone.
When you learn how to leverage that emotion in your content, you will see increases in engagement, social action, and conversions within your funnel.
How do you use emotion in your content and copy?
The post How Using Emotional Marketing in Content Can Help Drive Way More Sales appeared first on Neil Patel.
Case studies go beyond simple testimonials by providing real-life examples of how your brand satisfied your customer’s needs and helped them accomplish their goals.
An in-depth case study helps you highlight your successes in a way that will help your ideal potential customer become your next customer. They help you show rather than tell prospective customers how you can help them reach their goals.
But, creating a solid case study can be a challenge. Today, I’ll provide actionable tips to help you write a case study, provide background information, and identify key metrics that will help your case study drive conversions.
Do you know who your ideal customer is? If it’s someone in the education industry, then make your case studies about your university customers. If it’s someone in the automobile industry, then make your case studies about auto parts and accessories manufacturers.
The goal is to ensure that your case study will show prospective customers that you are:
Think about it on a smaller level, such as when you’re reading a how-to blog post. Most of of these posts are geared toward average readers.
But when you come across a post designed specifically for your needs (such as online marketing for the healthcare industry), you are more likely to understand and apply the information.
The same goes with case studies – people who read about results in their industry will feel like the same approach will work for them.
Storytelling is a powerful marketing strategy. A great case study will allow someone to really get to know the customer in the case study including:
But don’t stop a month or two out. Follow up with the customer in the case study and update your case study a few months down the road to show how your solutions continue to provide long term benefits.
This gives readers the opportunity to see that your goal is not only to help with immediate needs, but also to ensure long term results.
No one likes to read one huge chunk of text, no matter how interesting and informative it might be. Case studies, like blog posts, should be scannable and easy to read.
Be sure to use good content formatting elements as you would with articles, blog posts, and copywriting on your website, including:
In addition to providing great SEO value for your case studies page, these formatting elements will help your readers (especially those that like to skim) find the most important parts of your case study and get a great impression about what your business could do for them.
Consider adding multi-media elements in addition to written content, such as videos, PDFs, and images to mix it up and make the content more engaging.
Have you ever read case studies where a business states they “doubled traffic” for the customer in their case study and wondered if that meant they went from 100 to 200 visits or 10,000 to 20,000 visits?
Avoid using broad statements by using clear, direct numbers. This makes your case study more believable and helps build trust in your brand.
You want your case study to be as precise as possible. Instead of saying you doubled their traffic, provide specific, accurate numbers and (if possible) real proof in the form of charts, graphs, or analytics data.
Remember that not everyone is as familiar with analtyics technology as you are, so highlight the most importnat pieces of data and provide context to why it matters.
This way, the reader can see where the customer began and where the customer ended up with your help.
Plus having the picture proof can help the reader envision exactly what you might do for them, making your case study that much more powerful.
So you doubled a website’s traffic or sales, right? How did you do it? This is where you sell your products or services simply by saying which ones you used and how they led to the desired result.
Don’t just say “our online marketing services led to these results.” Instead, say something like, ” A three-month social media campaign focusing on Facebook & YouTube and five-month of link building campaign led to an increase in rankings, plus brand exposure led to these results.”
Don’t worry about giving away your secrets — the goal is to establish your brand as an industry leader and you need to show you know your stuff.
Case studies do not have to be fit into a story form every time. Try different types of case studies, such as an interview format where you have your clients answer the same questions mentioned earlier about what they do, their needs, their goals, and how you met them.
Quoting your customer in their own words will make the case study even more relatable to your ideal customer than you telling the story.
Infographics, webinars, and even podcasts can also be used to highlight case studies. Don’t get stuck in the same old text-only format — get creative and see what type of content your users respond to.
Here’s a case study example from Venngage that uses a brochure-style case study to highlight how Vortex was able to grow conversion. (Notice the results section that highlights specific gains.)
While some people enjoy reading, others may prefer audio, video, or visual representation of your case study. So consider taking your text-based case studies and re-purposing the content as:
The bonus with YouTube videos and infographics is that they are easy to share. This means that your case study may go further than just your own site, leading to more of your potential customers finding out how they could benefit from your products or services.
Case studies can also be embeded in other types of content — such as an ebook, how-to blog post, or resource guide.
What’s the point of having great case studies if no one will ever read them? Be sure that your case studies are organized and easy to find.
Here’s a few examples of good case studies that are easy to find — and therefore, much more powerful.
AWS provides case studies right on their homepage. They also make it easy to look for an-industry specific case study in manufacturing, financial services, fitness, and more.
Drupal provides case studies right in their hero image. Users considering using their solution don’t have to look far at all to see how other brands are finding success with Drupal.
A great case study starts with case study research. Ask your customers to fill out a short form that highlights how you helped them reach their goals — be sure to ask for specific results.
Explain how the case study will help them by increasing brand awareness and link opportunities. Remember, a highly effective case study helps both you and your client build trust and reach a wider audience.
Have any case study best practice tips or examples of case studies you have enjoyed? Please share them in the comments!
The post 8 Tips For Creating a More Effective Case Study – With Examples appeared first on Neil Patel.
If I told you that you could become a sucessful vlogger, would you believe me?
Or do you think that there is too much competition?
YouTube is saturated — 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. There are dozens of million-dollar YouTubers creating thousands of hours of video a year.
How could you possibly break through the noise?
Well, I’m here to tell you that video blogging still has huge potential.
Just look at the growth of video ad investment among brands and agencies and where it’s predicted to go:
Investment is growing because it’s following consumption. More than 85% of US internet users watch video ads.
It might not be as easy as it was five or seven years ago to break onto the vlogging scene, video is more important than ever to build a successful online marketing strategy.
First, video remains one of the best and most effective ways for people to get to know you.
When they see you, their brain develops an impression of you that helps to build trust. You’re not just an anonymous content creator trying to drive your business. You’re a real person.
Second, video is a preferred method people have for gaining information. The stats don’t lie. People spend up to 2.6 times as long on web pages with video than without video.
Third, the cost of good equipment keeps on falling, and the cameras in our phones keep getting better.
Finally, video blogging can be lucrative in itself. The top YouTubers make between $14 and $22 million dollars a year.
The power of video is undeniable.
All of this brings up the question: how can you become a successful vlogger?
I’m going to explain the steps you need to take to become a successful vlogger, from starting a vlog and coming up with concepts for a video series to making a quality video and making sure people find your videos.
Let’s jump in.
Many people follow the desire to make a video by coming up with one idea for one video.
That would be like starting a blog with an idea for only one article.
As you probably know, that wouldn’t get you very far.
I explain how long content marketing takes in this video:
Video, like any other form of content marketing, needs a long-term strategy defined by a subject, tone of voice, and approach.
Here’s a question to ask yourself:
“What am I trying to convey to my audience?”
Once you know what you’re trying to do, you can define your vlogging content concept:
You have to document your plan to determine if it’s going to be feasible for long enough to achieve your goals.
The reality is people need to see consistency in order to understand why they should subscribe to your channel.
If you are making random, sporadic videos, it’s going to be harder to convince people to follow you.
The content of your video will be what determines your success.
That is, of course, only if you make quality videos.
Video making is a complicated profession. When you see all of the elements that go into shooting a television broadcast or feature film you can be forgiven for thinking that you could never make anything like that.
And you probably can’t.
People who are going to watch your video on your blog are not expecting a Steven Spielberg production.
People understand what vlogging is.
But that doesn’t mean that you should not care about quality. Quality is still super important.
Luckily, the cost of creating quality video has been steadily dropping and continues to drop. There are more and more types of equipment available that can make your video go from amateur to professional-looking.
You might be tempted to use your iPhone.
And honestly, cameras on smartphones have gotten amazing over the years. You have probably taken some great photos and videos on your phone already.
But smartphone cameras are difficult for serious video blogging for the following reasons:
Selfie videos are best used for things like Instagram Stories.
They can be a part of your video strategy but shouldn’t be the foundation of it.
Cameras range in quality a lot, from basic models that run in the low hundreds to professional gear that can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Most DSLR cameras also have video modes, though the options can be just as limited as on smartphones.
If you don’t know, DSLR cameras look like this:
The good news is that if you’re not chasing snow leopards in the wild, you won’t need all of those fancy settings.
What you need is a camera with a good lens that’s can take high-quality video. Not 4K necessarily, but enough quality to be able to work with if you want to add any extras.
You can find refurbished HD digital video cameras like this one for under $200.
Then, mount that camera onto a tripod. Nothing is worse than shaky video.
You could always place your camera on a table or shelf, but tripods are very affordable and give you 100% control of your filming.
Full-size tripods can go for less than $20, so there’s really no excuse not to have one.
You can either get a camera with a mic-in jack to plug in an external microphone (something you can also do when filming with your smartphone), or you can buy a USB microphone and record the sound directly to your computer.
It depends on the type of conditions you’re filming in, but you usually don’t want to capture sound from directly from the camera.
Separating the recording between two devices adds the challenge of having to sync up sound and image later.
You can overcome this by creating a clap sound that spikes up your audio visualizer for each syncing, then you line that up with the audio from the video.
I can’t stress the importance of having great sound in your videos. Sound is one of our fundamental senses and it should be a part of your marketing strategy.
Here are a few ways to leverage the power of sound:
Simply put, poorly recorded audio can turn people off and get in the way of you getting your message across.
Lighting videos is an art all unto itself. But it’s surprisingly easy to get a great effect since there are normally only three primary lights in a video setup.
The important thing is to separate yourself or your subject from the background. You can do this with the focus and depth of field, of course. But it really looks professional when there is a difference in lighting as well.
You don’t even need a professional lighting setup.
You can create a fairly decent lighting setup from lamps that you might have around the house.
You can also buy LED board lights that diffuse really well without getting hot — one of the drawbacks of using incandescent bulbs. You can buy versions that you can mount on your camera if you aren’t shooting in a controlled environment.
As a general rule, it’s better to be brighter. The image is clearer since the camera captures more light and therefore more detail.
It’s great to be able to speak off the cuff effortlessly. There are some vloggers with a natural style that works really well. Take the beauty vlogger Freddy My Love. Her effortless and natural style has been honed from years of practice.
Chances are, you will need help to deliver content in a clear and structured way.
You could memorize talking points and do a couple of takes. Then you can splice together the best parts.
That’s a longer process, though, than using a teleprompter.
A teleprompter makes it easier to hit all of the important points without memorizing or awkwardly transitioning between them. You could even write a script to follow verbatim.
But it’s more than a time saver. It drastically improves the way that you interact with your viewers.
Having notes or something written off screen causes you to break eye contact when you’re addressing your audience directly.
According to a study by Cornell University, humans will naturally increase eye contact with people that we admire or like.
Conversely, we tend to break eye contact when talking about embarrassing or uncomfortable subjects.
Viewers will subscribe to vloggers they respect. You can look directly into the eyes of your viewers while still reading your script or bullet points.
A teleprompter might seem complicated, but it’s actually pretty simple.
Teleprompting uses a slanted piece of glass to reflect the words so you can read them.
As long as there is darkness between the glass and the camera lens, the camera won’t pick up the light reflecting from the text on the glass. The camera will only see you.
You, however, will be able to clearly read the text as it scrolls. It looks like this:
You can buy a teleprompting setup and use your iPad or tablet with a teleprompting app.
There are also more advanced models that hook up to pedals for your feet that control how quickly the text scrolls.
If all that sounds like way too much, you can always try to build one yourself with a CD case and your smartphone to see if you like it.
This might sound a bit controversial – and I’m OK with that because I want you to have all of the options available to becoming successful – but people like watching videos with people who are put together.
(This explains why so many movie stars can be bad at acting.)
You don’t need to be Brad Pitt, and you definitely shouldn’t go overboard, but make an effort.
You’ve got an HD camera and a lighting setup. People have never seen you as clearly as right now.
For example, when you light yourself there will almost certainly be shiny parts of your skin. That’s your natural skin oil.
The most common makeup is a powder that absorbs oil so that your skin appears smooth without reflecting too much light.
Try testing your lighting setup and seeing where your skin is a bit too shiny.
Just to be clear, this goes for men as much as women.
Then, apply a powder if needed. Your video (and you) will look a whole lot more professional.
Making videos is like any other skill. You will get better at it the more you do it.
Video editing makes your life a lot easier by making it easier to cut between the best takes to more rapidly built your content.
Video editing software is easy to find — and use. iMovie comes on all macs and is available as an app on iOS.
The drag-and-drop interface makes it a snap to use.
If you are ever wondering how to do something, like shorten a transition or overlay an image, there are tons of tutorials on YouTube.
The bottom line is that you should be creating a lot of content. The majority of it you might not even use. But you get better and better each time you try something new.
And you should be careful to avoid oversharing. Instead, you should focus on a more qualitative approach.
Even if you think you did something great the first time through, force yourself to try it again.
You never know when you’re going to stumble onto something great.
OK, you’ve got the keys to actually making your videos to execute your strategy, now comes the hard part.
When you make a video, you are in control of everything.
You decide how much you can invest time and money into creating your video. You decide who you work with and what you want the outcome to be.
Then, you decide when you put it online.
You don’t decide when other people watch it.
You can only try to grab their attention.
Getting people to watch your video can be difficult, but there are many steps that you can take to maximize your potential audience and get more people to click play.
The first thing that many people will see is the thumbnail on the player before they start the video.
In fact, this is the piece of communication that reaches all the people that come across your video but don’t play it.
That digital real estate is your little promo box and can drive engagement. Take the time to make it great.
Here are two examples from Gary Vaynerchuk. He varies the style of the thumbnail from a photo collage with the title in a fun YouTube-style:
To a more elegant and serious tone when his subject matter is more inspirational:
There’s one thing you will always see in the thumbnail though: the title.
It’s crucial real estate that you can entirely personalize to get people to click.
You will have to abide by the brand values and guidelines, but you should create something custom to make sure you are putting your best foot forward.
To add a thumbnail to your video, click on the video in your video manager.
Then, in the middle of the screen next to the player, you will see a few images that come from your video that you can select as your thumbnail.
Click on upload image to add your own custom image. The best size is 1280 x 720 pixels. A 16:9 ratio works best since that’s the format of the layout.
But you have to keep your thumbnail under 2 MB.
I’m not just talking about Google search here.
YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine by itself. All of those searches are powering an insane amount of views.
To optimize for search, you need to work on your descriptions. YouTube can’t crawl through your videos like Googlebot crawls through your website.
You need to lend a helping hand to get YouTube SEO right. Here are a couple of things you can do:
There are also a few of the advanced settings that are helpful to turn on.
If your video is focused on a local area, you should add a localization to the video.
Then, you want to drive as many views as possible so you should make sure that the two options are enabled: allow embedding and notify subscribers.
This way people can share your video on their websites, and you can benefit from their traffic to drive views.
And wouldn’t it be silly if your subscribers didn’t know you had a new video? It’s checked on by default but just double check.
Anyone who has watched your video to its completion is probably very interested in what you have to say. That is the best time of all to catch them.
YouTube developed end screens to keep people’s attention at the end of your video.
20 seconds before the end of your video, and/or for a bit afterward, you can present related or featured videos to your viewers.
To do that, go to your YouTube account and click on the video manager in the menu on the left:
You’ll see a list of your videos. Click on one of them.
You’ll see all the options to edit your video, like enhancing it or adding audio. Select Editor, then Add an end screen.
The end screen adds extra time to the end of your video where you can do two key things: promote your other videos and get people to subscribe to your channel.
Click on the Add element button.
You’ll see a dropdown menu with a few of different options. All of them are great for driving traffic.
YouTube provides three options for promoting your other videos and playlists that are pretty great.
You can choose to feature your most recently uploaded videos, or you can choose a specific video that you want to promote.
Or you can let YouTube do the work and automatically recommend videos from your channel that would be the most relevant for each viewer.
You could even link out to other people’s videos if you want.
When you add a video, it will display the thumbnail plus the title and the duration of the video:
You can reposition and resize the video.
You can add up to four elements to expose people to as many of your videos as possible.
If you want to create a successful vlog, you need to increase your subscribers.
Views come and go.
Subscribers are more than people that happened to see your video.
They are people who were so happy with that video that they want to see more. They are anticipating that you will give them something great again.
What’s more, media outlets and brands looking to partner with vloggers will use subscribers as their key metric when evaluating opportunities.
The most important is adding the subscribe action. When you do you will see your channel’s avatar in a round circle.
You can position this button wherever you want on the screen.
You can also use the end screen we discussed above to increase subscribers.
Don’t forget to add a link to subscribe to your website, email signature, and Instagram bio. It’s not just enough to add the YouTube link. You should tell people something clear like “Subscribe to see more videos.”
Live video is the new wild west in digital marketing. It represents a lot of opportunities. It’s much easier to be featured on the Live home page than the regular YouTube homepage.
I’ve written all about how you go live on YouTube and why it’s important.
Live also gives you the opportunity to interact directly with people while they watch you.
You can instantaneously respond to people’s questions that come up in the chat. This creates a real-time relationship.
Video blogging is becoming more and more important for content marketing.
And there’s no time like right now to get started in video marketing.
Organize your thoughts, sit down, and create a concept for a video series.
Like all content marketing, your video needs to give the viewer something of value, whether that be informative or educational or entertainment.
Then, make that video with the highest quality that your time and budget allows.
If it’s helpful, read some books about cinematography. I recommend Gustavo Mercado’s The Filmmaker’s Eye. You can skim through to get the basics about things like shot composition.
Finally, whatever you do, don’t forget to get your video in front of people.
You could make the best video the world has ever seen, but that won’t make you a successful vlogger.
What are your experiences with vlogging?
As a digital marketer, you know just how important the tone and message of your blog are to the overall success of your business. A cohesive approach to your digital content, especially the content on your blog, is critical to your brand.
The best way to ensure your site is editorially cohesive is with an editorial style guide.
This article will walk you through the basics of an editorial style guide. You’ll learn the steps you need to follow to create your own style guide whether from scratch, with the use of a template, or with help from a freelancer.
An editorial style guide is a set of guidelines for the writers and editors on your team. These guidelines will include standards for grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and image use.
The goal of a style guide is to ensure your content stays consistent and high quality no matter who is writing or editing the article.
More than just a preferred list of grammar rules, an editorial style guide provides your content team with guidelines for the creation of useful, on-brand content. An editorial style guide ensures a standard baseline for quality and consistency. This will become more critical as your in-house editorial team grows.
Perhaps you think your website is too small, or you can always create your content now and flesh out the details later. The truth is, the sooner you can get your editorial style and processes nailed down, the less work for you and your team.
Without clear guidelines in place, your inbox will soon be flooded with questions from your writers and editorial staff. Your editorial staff may think that lack of guidelines gives them free reign over content. This may result in inconsistent and maybe even poor quality work that has your brand name all over it.
There are specific elements all style guides should include, such as:
Do you expect your writers to use the Oxford comma? Are there instances where you prefer the semicolon over the em-dash? These are the grammatical rules to call out in your style guide.
Other grammatical elements to take a stand on include where punctuation falls in relation to quotation marks (inside or outside), prepositions at the end of a sentence, and starting sentences with conjunctions.
A subscription to services like Grammarly takes care of the majority of misspellings. There may be times where a word can be spelled correctly in two or more ways, so which one should your writers choose?
The most common spelling differences are those with American English versus British English variations. Examples include:
You should consider where the majority of your audience lives when deciding on a spelling “style.” But the most important thing is to choose one style and be consistent.
The voice is the overall expression of your brand, while the tone is how that message is delivered. The tone will vary depending on the medium (e.g. social media post, blog post, newsletter, press release), but the overall brand voice will be your writers’ guiding light.
Is your brand voice considerate and simple like Uber or functional and expressive like Starbucks? Once you have found your brand voice’s sweet spot, it’s time to determine what your tone is and when that may change depending on the medium or circumstances. Perhaps your tone is casual and conversational in blog posts, but witty in social media posts.
You’ll want to include relevant examples here as Uber does in the Applications section of their style guide. These will help to solidify your stance while also giving your writers a handy guide to refer to should they need it.
From witty one-liners to groupings of five to six sentences, there are many valid ways to form a paragraph. Here you want to outline your general preference and when exceptions should be made.
On academic websites, for example, longer sentences and paragraphs are the norm. This is because there is a lot of high-level information that needs to be delivered at once. On recipe or hobby blogs, however, shorter sentences and paragraphs can help to drive a point home.
This section of your style guide should discuss how links on your blog should be formatted, but also how often to use links and to where (e.g. external versus internal content).
If you’re a medical or academic marketer, for example, you may require that links to outside sources meet a minimum quality standard. If that’s the case, you should provide explicit examples of websites and sources that you trust.
Your editorial style guide should be in-depth, but if it’s too long it can be difficult for your writers and editors to use effectively. One way to reduce your style guide’s length without compromising content is with resources.
The resource section of your style guide should include links to guides that you have properly vetted. These may include:
You want to set up your writers to be self-sufficient. An expansive resource section within your editorial style guide is a great place to start.
If you encourage the use of images and other media in your website content, you’ll need to be explicit about formatting, attribution, content, and more. What do these elements cover?
There are very real potential consequences to improperly attributed imagery, so this part of your style guide should be very specific. It’s best to provide examples and even templates for your writers and editors to use.
Now you’re ready to create your own style guide. Where should you begin?
Before you become overwhelmed with the process, let’s discuss three ways you can go about creating your own style guide.
You can hire a freelancer for just about any blog or website-related task, so why not consider hiring a freelancer to create your style guide? Freelancers with experience in writing industry-specific content, including style guides, do exist. If you can find a freelancer with experience creating a style guide in your field, then even better!
There are various freelance recruitment platforms, such as Freelancer and Upwork. You can also reach out to your personal and professional network for recommendations.
An experienced freelancer can walk you through the process of editorial style guide creation. You should come to the table with some information prepared, though. For example:
You hired the freelancer for their knowledge and expertise, so don’t forget to utilize it. If your freelancer has created an editorial style guide in your niche, then ask them for recommendations based on their previous work.
You may be surprised at the sections you didn’t even think to add, and others that you can cut. Using this previous experience can boost the quality of your style guide and prevent issues caused by ambiguity.
If a freelancer isn’t in your budget, you don’t have to go it alone. There are many style guide templates available for you to work with.
The best place to look for such templates is on marketing, branding, and design blogs.
TechWhirl offers a Word document template for download, and Lucidpress has its own template you can customize using their online editor. You may also have luck with template repositories like this one from Microsoft.
The important thing to remember is a template is a guide, not a rule book. You don’t need to include all of its sections, and you’re free to add any sections you feel necessary.
If you prefer to create your own style guide from scratch, then consider the step-by-step process outlined below.
At this stage, it’s time to choose an established style guide as your base.
There are plenty of options as described below, including APA and MLA. By choosing one of these guides as your baseline, you make it easy to create the foundation of your style guide.
These established guides already include rules on grammar, structure, and formatting. You can then build upon those rules to create a robust editorial style guide for your website.
Two critical elements of marketing content are often overlooked: brand voice, and tone. The reason these are so often overlooked isn’t because they’re unimportant, but because they can be difficult to distinguish.
The voice is your brand’s personality. This remains the same throughout the life of your brand.
Skittles, for example, has a playful and upbeat voice. Their marketing campaigns are slightly fantastical with an eye towards bright colors, loud sounds, and catchy quips.
The tone is the inflection on your brand voice that will change depending on the situation. Even if you have an army of writers, you can ensure your blog stays cohesive by setting a tone for your writers and editors to abide by.
Now you know the tone of your content, it’s time to outline the “how-to.” How do you intend for your writers to speak to your audience? The answer will depend on the tense, voice, and point of view you prefer.
Writing tense refers to the three tenses: past, present, and future.
There may be reasons all three tenses are used on your website or blog. You should still pick a dominant tense for your writers to defer to in most circumstances.
Voice refers to active voice versus passive voice. That means putting the subject first (active) or putting the object first (passive). Active voice is the standard for most bloggers and marketers. It offers a more conversational tone readers find compelling.
Point of view refers to the perspective of the writer: first, second, or third person.
Bloggers and marketers will typically utilize first person (“I” statements) or second person (“You” statements). The point of view you choose will depend largely on your content niche and your overall tone.
It’s best to have a default recommendation for all three of the above. You may include exceptions to the rule, but be sure to provide specific examples if you do so.
The way your content flows is largely dependent on its formatting. Some basic formatting guidelines to consider are headers and subheaders, bold and italic text, and hyperlinking text.
You may want to consider your content management system and any potential limitations when it comes to header tag guidelines.
If you are heavily relying on a style guide such as the APA, you can utilize their recommendations for text formatting. For example, italicizing terms that have a technical or special meaning.
There are many good reasons to include imagery on your website. However, images can take up precious space, and they come with their own copyright risks. This is why you must define image requirements within your style guide.
On the technical side, you should define minimum and maximum image size. This will largely depend on your content platform, and it may vary by image type (featured image versus in-content image). With copyright infringement always being a risk, you also want to provide strict requirements when it comes to including images in content.
If you use a premium image repository, like Shutterstock, you may include account login details in this part of your style guide. You can also link to free image repositories such as Unsplash or Pexels.
Beyond that, you should clearly outline (with examples) the desired format for image references. What should be included, and how should it be formatted? Again, it may be helpful to fall back on your chosen style guide’s standard.
How will your writers know when they hit the nail on the head or, conversely, miss the mark? This is where standards of performance come in handy.
Standards of performance are guidelines that your writers and editors can refer to when evaluating their content piece. The more objective your standards of performance, the better.
When it comes to establishing standards of performance, it helps to think of a grading rubric. For each standard, it’s possible to score anywhere from one to five points. What standards can you choose that will be easy to evaluate on a five-point scale? A few examples include:
The standards of performance will be beneficial to your writers, as well as your editorial staff.
The likelihood is something will inadvertently be left out of your editorial style guide. This is why having a default style guide for your writers and editors to refer to is crucial.
These style guides have typical use cases, though they can be adapted for uses beyond the norm. Let’s look at the four most common style guides.
The Associated Press (AP) style guide is most commonly used by journalists. Its focus is on disseminating information clearly with simple formatting.
The American Psychological Association (APA) style guide is most commonly used in college in science and social science courses. It has a slightly more formal bent than the MLA, though not so formal as the Chicago Manual of Style.
This style guide is ideal for academic writing, including blogs or websites dedicated to discussing academic subjects.
The Modern Language Association (MLA) style guide is most commonly used in college-level English courses, and it’s also the default for many bloggers, marketers, and content writers. This guide offers a more laid-back approach desirable to writers, editors, and readers alike.
The Chicago Manual of Style is the most rigorous of the style guides. This style guide isn’t a popular choice for most bloggers due to its meticulous nature.
The key differences between the four style guides are largely related to formatting, though there are some grammatical and structural variations as well. There isn’t one style guide better than the other as they all have their strengths and weaknesses. The guide you choose will depend largely on preference, ease of use, and familiarity.
You’re ready to create your style guide, but where should you host it? You have a few options, and they each have their pros and cons.
A word document is perhaps the simplest option. The most obvious limitation of word documents is the inability to automatically update the guidelines. You would need to send the updated document out to all writers and editors as additions or changes are made.
If you like the idea of a simple document, then consider Google Docs. You will still have access to the basic content tools offered by a word document, but updates will be reflected live. You can also collaborate with members of your editorial team.
Perhaps you want a more secure platform than Google. If that’s the case, then Sharepoint may be for you. Sharepoint is compatible with the Microsoft Suite, including Word. Using Sharepoint, you can upload an already existing Word document or create your own within the platform.
Just like Google Docs, your changes are reflected immediately and you can collaborate with as many team members as needed.
If more robust collaboration is needed, especially when you’re just beginning to create your editorial style guide, you may prefer a platform like Confluence. This is a wiki-style platform that enables you to create your style guide with your team.
As you create your style guide, you’ll find yourself going down many rabbit holes. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of helpful resources to get you started on your research.
To familiarize yourself with institutional style guides, check out these resources on the AP, APA, MLA, and Chicago Manual of Style style guides.
Are you finding yourself needing some inspiration? Take a look at the style guides created by institutions like Princeton and Rutgers. Your favorite companies and brands may also have their style guides publicly available, including Mailchimp, Google, and Atlassian.
An editorial style guide ensures there is no ambiguity in your requirements. When utilized correctly, this style guide will help you to maintain a high standard of quality for your site and consistency across your written content.
It can also clear up any confusion or questions from your team and contractors, to cut down on the back and forth questions.
What unique elements will you be sure to include in your editorial style guide?
You already know that WordPress is a popular CMS and that most content marketers love it for their business or personal blog. But there’s a question lingering: How do you choose the right free WordPress theme when there are so many out there?
Trust me; it’s not as easy as you think.
When I started blogging, one of the crazy activities that killed my productivity was checking out new personal blog themes. I just couldn’t find the right one for me. But I know better now.
The reality is you need to find one of the responsive WordPress themes for your personal blog launch’s success.
Did you know that your success as a content marketer goes beyond writing great content?
There are so many factors that will ensure that you’re always at the top of your game and getting the juice from any given search engine.
Your attitude to work, the way you market your content, and, most importantly, your blog’s look all play a key role. It must have a responsive design, not just be pretty.
Investing in a professionally-looking theme is important, but what if you’re just a beginner and you want a free WordPress theme that still looks gorgeous? Can you find one?
Sure you can. I decided to write this article because I get a lot of emails from readers who want to find the right WordPress themes that will aid in effective content marketing.
A free WordPress theme is great, but don’t forgo a responsive design for your personal blog when many themes have a very cost-effective, one-time fee.
Trust me, I’ve got you covered. Without much ado, here is a list of 32 professional, free WordPress themes that you can download:
It’s time to sparkle your personal blog. If you’re looking for a flat, clean, and professional-looking theme, Sparkling may just be the right one. It was developed using Bootstrap 3.
This modern theme has a front-end framework feature that optimizes it to display smartphones, desktops, tablets, and other devices well. This WordPress theme is unique from the millions out there because of its pixel-perfect design, full-screen slider, and widgets that you’ll fall in love with.
‘Sparkling’ is built to have a premium layout, and every content marketer who prides content above everything else will benefit from it. If you’re looking for one of the SEO-friendly responsive WordPress themes, you’re in luck.
It’s Schema compatible — which is great for SEO. Most of the free and paid plugins out there are supported, such as SEO by Yoast, W3 Total Cache, Quick AdSense, Akismet, Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms, and more.
For effective content marketing, you need a WordPress theme that hands control over to you so that you can add, modify, or delete any plugin, section, or even modify the layout as you see fit.
Whether you’re interested in using the Sparkling WordPress theme for your personal use or business, you’ve won the jackpot. This theme cuts across different industries such as education, business, web design, marketing, health and fitness, and many more.
Dazzling is an unrivaled responsive theme. It’s developed using Bootstrap 3 and comes with an optional full-screen slider. This is useful when you’re building your first corporate or portfolio site.
This flat theme has mint green accent colors and will inspire you to embrace the best side of content marketing. I’m fond of this theme because it’s clean, unbeatable, and will enhance your personal brand. What more could you want?
Startup entrepreneurs, CEOs, and public speakers will benefit from the full-screen slider because they’ll use it to showcase their keynote speeches or other key presentations.
Dazzling WordPress theme includes added optimization for a lot of the essential plugins and custom widget designs out there, such as All-in-one-SEO Pack, JetPack, Contact Form 7, and more.
OceanWP is a single theme, but it’s so customizable that it feels like getting multiple themes all at once. With more than 3 million downloads, there’s a good chance you’ve come across a few websites using this ultra-flexible theme.
What really stands out about OceanWP is its demos — these are essentially fully-build websites you can copy and then customize. The theme is fully responsive, offers fast load times, built-in SEO features, and is translation ready.
If your business sells physical or digital products, OceanWP has you covered with built-in WooCommerce functionality.
Travelify is another free WordPress theme. It has some premium functionalities that allow you to change the theme layout (full, no sidebar, or wide, for example).
This responsive WordPress theme is mobile responsive, modern, and can be used for virtually any subject or business objective. For example, if you’re a content marketer, Travelify puts value on your content and highlights your best work for your readers to enjoy.
It’s a pixel perfect design, with a featured slider which you can turn off with a single click. The flexibility that the theme offers enables you to alter its layout until it suits your objective. You can also use a background image to customize the theme to your brand.
Ascent WordPress theme is designed with responsiveness in mind. This means that it’ll appear well on tablets, smartphones, laptops, and desktop of all sizes. The innovative technology used is based on CSS3 and HTML5.
What I like about Ascent is the richness of the slider that appears above the header. It’s more than just a personal blog; it’s a visual blogger’s dream.
In other words, your pictures get an added optimization that would make them stand out from the rest. If you’re a photographer, digital marketer, or content marketer, you can use Ascent to improve user experience.
This theme has been downloaded over 30,000 times, making it one of the most popular responsive WordPress themes of both professional and free.
A right and left sidebar gives you added flexibility, and this theme is translation-ready. This is essential if you’ll be serving a wider audience in different languages.
Do you struggle to create the right content for your customers? You’re not alone. If you want to attract and nurture an audience with your personal blog, you need various content.
But, let’s assume that you’ve created a variety of content; how do you showcase all of them in the right manner? You need the right WordPress theme and Auberge may just be the right one.
This impressive WordPress theme is free, professionally-designed and it’s currently used by over 30,000 blogs. Auberge’s overwhelming quality and usefulness make it a one-stop theme for those who want to expand their content marketing reach.
Auberge is built around a mobile-first design concept, which makes it 100% mobile responsive. One vital reason why you probably should consider this theme is because the content can be easily showcased on retina displays that have high resolutions.
A challenge that most site owners face when showcasing their best content, is resizing and compatibility issues, which severely drops the value of the content.
The theme would suit every niche, but it’ll probably best serve restaurants and cafe pages. When constructing your pages, you can use the Beaver page builder plugin. You can download and use the lite version at no cost.
Hestia is a website builder that features a slick, fully customizable design. Don’t let their branding as a”one-page theme” make you think it will limit you — you can build a fully functional, multi-page site with this theme.
Top features include easy to use customizer, WooCommerce ready, page builder compatibility, and fast load times. It is also SEO friendly and provides clean, optimized code for fast loading times.
If you are looking for a highly flexible theme with e-commerce capabilities, Hestia is a solid choice.
Awaken WordPress theme is free and has a 4 out of 5-star rating. If you’re fond of a minimalist design, this theme is for you. It’s extra white spaces push your content to the forefront and eliminate distractions.
Awaken is a magazine theme that includes two widget areas. The posts are also showcased, using three distinct widgets.
The layout of this theme is constructed using the Bootstrap framework, with mobile responsiveness in mind. In particular, mobile users will benefit from your blog, if you use this theme.
Another essential feature of Awaken is the nifty slider. The theme options panel gives you added flexibility, which enables you to change the theme color, font attributes, and links.
Neve is a light, modern WordPress theme that will serve your content marketing needs because it has clean and validated code.
This means that no matter how minimal your technical skills, you can edit and structure your theme to display your content well.
With basic HTML/PHP knowledge, you can structure your content display area. If you’re not a skilled developer, you don’t have to worry, because the theme options panel enables you to update your settings, including custom header and footer designs and layout.
One other feature of Neve WordPress theme offers easy setup, reliable updates, fast load times, and it is compatible with AMP.
Neve is focused on being lightweight, fast, and easy to use, making it an ideal free WordPress theme for beginners or anyone who wants an easy-to-build site.
SSMAG is a mobile responsive, plug and play free WordPress theme that has a grid-based layout. Content creators will find this theme useful, because of its feature that positions your content to go viral– well-designed social share buttons.
The design layout is optimized to engage readers and to cause them to explore your site further. SSMAG was created in 2015. It has custom widgets, to display text and HTML elements.
Apart from being browser compatible, the SSMAG theme supports embedded video, which will play a vital role in explaining what your blog is all about, instead of using your featured image on a post page.
Albar is a multipurpose WordPress theme that can be used to build a business website, portfolio, e-commerce store, or blogging site. It is responsive, which means it easily adapts to all types of devices including tablets, mobile phones, and desktop computers.
The theme features minimal settings to make it easier to use, but enough customizations to let you build exactly the site you need. It is lightweight, scalable, and offers security features so your site will be fast and secure.
Most beginners to blogging are looking for a WordPress theme that will showcase their portfolio or samples so that potential clients can find them easily. If that’s what you’re after, Esteem will be the right personal blog theme for you.
Esteem is a simple theme that offers unlimited theme color options so that you can change the feel and look of your site to stand out from the competition. The Esteem theme comes with two custom themes.
One of the themes is custom-built to display your products, portfolio or services. You can upload and set your custom logo and site title from the theme options panel.
If you want to gain traction, nurture a loyal audience, and establish your brand online, you should leverage the Esteem theme customizable header image.
Who says that you can’t find a modern WordPress theme with a premium look for your site?
Well, Accelerate is right here to fill that spot. Accelerate is a super flexible theme that’s suitable for portfolio, personal, travel, corporate, or business services sites.
If you’re an artist, like a photographer or illustrator, you can use the fullscreen slider to showcase your best work.
Accelerate theme sends a strong, clear message to your target audience, through its flat and straight-forward design that blends perfectly with your content (video, blog posts, audio, etc).
Accelerate is fully responsive and displays well on any type of mobile device. Moreover, the theme is retina-ready, to enhance your audience viewing experience and lower bounce rate.
It’s time to personalize your blog with this eye-catching and professional theme. Ample is a free minimalist and multipurpose WordPress theme that comes with feature-rich options for customizing your layout and setting the right metrics for your site. Mobile device responsiveness helps your search engine results.
Building your personal brand is an essential part of running a successful online business. So, it’s necessary to customize your site, by adding a professional logo and relevant header text that will appeal to your target audience.
Ample multipurpose WordPress theme is suitable for business or personal blog use and will play well in any industry, but it’s particularly useful for authors, freelance writers, and book review writers.
If you’re familiar with Copyblogger, you’ll agree with me that their first theme looked similar to this theme. I also know a few bloggers who started out with this theme, but later changed when their business grew.
Why am I saying this?
Well, it’s to let you know that WP Premium free WordPress theme provides a rich experience for the end-user, as well as premium functionality and a trendy look.
If you’re looking to start a serious blog, you should consider using WP Premium. It’s 100% responsive, which means that your texts and images will display smoothly on any device.
This theme is powered by Foundation – a front end framework that’s flexible, user-friendly, and professional.
WP Premium takes a content-first approach. The homepage widget areas let you manage your sidebar, header, navigation menu, and footer. Other functionalities are a wide selection of widgets, such as the author widget that displays relevant information about the author or blog owner.
You also have the advertisement widget, for monetizing your blog content with AdSense, ClickBank, CJ, and any third-party affiliate network that supports HTML code and CSS.
This is a free and professional theme from Gabfirethemes.com. What differentiates this theme from others is the fact that you can structure your personal blog layout as you want it to be.
Your category page doesn’t have to be a bland list of articles; you can now put the right content there and re-engage your audience. From the themes control panel, you can select alternative header templates quickly. No coding experience is required to effect this change in a highly responsive design.
Localization support is also enabled, because Quickstart was designed to appeal to international and local site owners. It supports multiple languages and it’s compatible with WPML’s multilingual plugin.
There is also another feature that makes this theme unique. The Gabfire module. This is an extended functionality that enables users to embed videos and default post images, so that the difficulty associated with embedding YouTube videos, for example, is eliminated.
Quickstart free WordPress theme is equipped with a single post image slider, category templates, page templates, and an advanced control panel. It’s search engine optimized and mobile one of the mobile responsive WordPress themes we like.
Astra has some amazing functionalities that you’ll love. This is a professional-looking theme that would have sold for $39 or more, but you can download and use it as a free WordPress design.
It has a clever ‘above-the-fold’ slider that displays your best and latest works. If you’re an author, you can use this to showcase your book. If you’re an artist, such as a photographer, illustrator, or web designer, this sleek slider will be very helpful for you.
Astra free WordPress theme displays your content using the default font face that’s clear and professional. If you’re an intermediate blogger or online entrepreneur and need a sophisticated theme that has all the modern functionalities intact, Astra may just be the right one for you.
As the name implies, Onesie is a flat and free WordPress theme. It’s a one page, responsive theme and can be used for business or personal blog purposes.
It adapts to different screen sizes, making it possible for your texts and images to display perfectly on iPads, iPhones, tablets, and other mobile devices, including smartwatches.
Onesie is easy to customize. You can change the background image to whatever you want. The header images can be customized to your taste. You can also create custom navigation menus, choose the right font, and alter the layout design for optimal user experience.
Onesie is browser compatible, which means that it displays perfectly on popular search engine platforms that your target audience will most likely be using, such as Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and more.
It also contains standard theme features, such as the theme options, automatic updates, and translation-reader functionality.
Note: Path is no longer free, but at just $14, it’s still incredibly affordable and may be worth the cost if you love the features!
You can use Path, a stylish WordPress theme, if you’re working on a multi-author or magazine-related site.
One powerful functionality of Path is that you can use the built-in WordPress custom header to manage your site’s feel, control the logo and other branding aspects of your site, as long as it’s in agreement with WordPress and Hybrid Core.
Several plugins, such as Gravity Forms, Social Path, SEO by Yoast, and more, are fully supported. No matter your industry, as long as you’re passionate about building a community, creating viral content, and generating leads for your business, you can use the Path theme.
If your theme looks professional, it’s going to give you a mindset that makes you think as if you’re on top of the world. You might be a personal blog beginner, but it wouldn’t make any difference – because you’re already on the right foot.
Sinatra is one of the most lightweight and easily customizable WordPress themes that you can download for free. It’s designed by sinatrateam.
This is one of those themes that could have been sold for $39 or more, but the company decided to give it away. While it’s still free, you can download it for your next blog.
It’s mobile responsive, SEO-friendly, and contains multiple layouts for customizing your blog so that your content gets attention. It’s also translatable and built with SEO best practices in mind.
Calenotis Magazine WordPress theme comes free of charge. It’s ideal for any type of project.
If you’ve just launched your book (whether ebook or hardcopy), or you want to create in-depth content that will generate organic traffic for you, this magazine theme will do the job right, from the very beginning.
Calenotis is a popular theme used in the health and fitness industry. The majority of the internet marketers out there aren’t aware of this theme. If they were, why would they not be using it?
The good news is that you’ve got the chance to use it while it’s free. The fullscreen slider will house your best works, latest pictures, upcoming programs, and more. This theme was designed using the minimalist principle – “omit needless things!”
The default font size for the body text may not be perfectly legible, but with HTML and CSS experience, you can always change your text’s size to suit your users.
Portum WordPress is free, responsive, and has a stylish front page slider where you can showcase your best work. This theme also supports modern web tools and plugins.
Site speed is one of the Google ranking factors that you’ve got to always consider. This theme is super fast. Your users will thank you for it.
The single post area is professionally designed, and the font style and size are carefully set to make maximum impact. This is a true, modern free WordPress theme that’s responsive, used by thousands of sites, and is absolutely free.
Typepress is a free and colorful WordPress theme. Colors drive people. In fact, in the psychology of colors, certain colors have proven to improve click rate on call-to-action as well as increase sales.
If you’re looking for a free theme that will be colorful, agile, and has all the powerful functionalities to build your business, Typepress could be your answer. It was developed by Arm Studio and released for free to the world.
Browser compatibility is one feature that makes this theme a resourceful one. No matter what browser that you or your visitors are using, they’ll not have issues reading your content, watching videos, or downloading your report. Even on mobile devices, mobile users will enjoy navigating your site because of it’s mobile-friendliness.
Not all content marketing sites are business blogs or news sites. If you’re looking to build a food or recipe-based website, consider Foodica.
Foodica fills the food-blog gap by providing a beautiful, easy to use theme for food or recipe-based websites. It features a beautiful slider, responsive layout, and featured slider support for posts.
Note that there are two versions of Foodica — the Lite version is free, while the Pro version costs $69 and comes with additional customizations, support, and a recipe index.
When you mean business (a site that will make you money), you’ve got to consider a theme that was designed for that. There are several ways to monetize and make money from a blog.
That said, do you know that the manner by which you place your affiliate links, promotional banners, and other calls-to-action plays a vital role in your conversion rate?
Absolutely. It does!
Business WordPress theme may be free, but it comes with premium functionalities that make it easier to advertise on your blog like a pro. Apart from the monetization aspect, the single post is given top priority, as well.
You can customize your logo, header image, background color, or other images. Its responsive design with the drag-and-drop slideshow interface gives you an added experience, and your site visitors will fall in love with it.
GreatMag is 100% free to use. It’s a magazine theme and has features that enable you to optimize your homepage and add important sections such as about us, our portfolio, products, and careers.
The front page image slider is ideal for showcasing your latest completed projects, clients you’ve worked with, testimonials, or some of the works you’re proud of.
When it comes to branding, GreatMag is flexible. You can upload your logo in the header section, and it’ll be seen clearly because the space provided is large. You can also use different themes to customize your site to your liking.
It also offers bundled widgets so you can easily (and quickly) get your site up and running, works with Google Fonts, features a page builder, and is 100% translation ready.
At some point in your blogging business, you’ll need to focus on getting the right content out, attracting a loyal audience, and answering their questions. You may not need a fancy theme at such points, except if you don’t have enough money to buy a premium theme. But, you can use this Basic theme.
You may think that there is nothing special about ‘Basic’ free WordPress theme, but that’s not true. Most successful marketing blogs are built on minimalist personal blog designs, with the primary focus on the content and user.
If you’re just starting out with WordPress, you need to start with a theme that you can learn from, not a sophisticated one that requires a high level of coding experience.
The layout of the Basic free WordPress theme is super simple, giving you the freedom to customize your site’s look and feel. You can achieve this through the Themify options panel.
This theme was designed with features that will take you from where you are in your content marketing career to a new level. The lightbox gallery, RSS, footer menu, 5 theme skins, social icons, child theme support, and more will enhance your blogging experience and that of your users.
Parallax is a free WordPress theme, and I’ve seen it at work on several industry blogs. It’s well designed and has modern features to bring your content to life. It features parallax scrolling to present beautiful images in an easy-to-navigate format.
One of the challenges of content marketing is producing engaging content. Even if you succeed at creating the right type of content, how do you present it to your audience? What format will be best for you? Parallax is one of the responsive WordPress themes that can help here.
What if you can cut through the chase, use the different widgets for the header, sidebar, footer, and single post to showcase different content types such as videos, slide presentations, blog posts, e-books, and continue to evolve your site based on real metrics?
Parallax offers a drag-and-drop editor, meets SEO best practices, and helps increases time on page with 3D animation effects. Just remember that these images are heavy, so they can slow page speed down.
Airi is the right WordPress theme to use for pretty much any type of business site. For example, if you run a digital camera reviews blog, you can use this theme to display your best shots, edited works, and more.
This theme is highly customizable, as it was built with the Elementor plugin that allows you to easily move all the elements around. It also supports Ecommerce if your business sells physical or digital products.
Airi also offers a bunch of demos you can import, edit, and publish. If you want a professional website done fast, this is an ideal theme to consider.
I like Live Wire WordPress theme because of two things: it’s free, and it’s clean. Any search engine will love its responsive design. It’s primarily designed with mobile in mind and includes an advanced options panel for structuring your layout. It supports Hybrid Tabs, post formats, Gravity Forms, and much more.
Live Wire has features that make it possible for you to customize several elements, such as your navigation menus, layouts, CSS, and even your background.
The theme also includes breadcrumbs, sticky posts, translation-ready capability, featured images, and more.
Note: LiveWire hasn’t been updated recently, but it still gets great reviews. Just keep in mind you could have issues with newer WP features and plugins.
Hemingway’s free WordPress theme is specifically made for bloggers who want to improve their blogs. This theme was designed to conform with the latest version of WordPress, it’s streamlined, and it has the parallax scrolling effect.
It features a two-column layout that was designed specifically with bloggers in mind. Other features include retina-ready assets, block-editor supports, and customizable styles.
As a high-quality theme, Hemingway is sleek, but the developers kept it minimalist design style that always puts content first compared to some other highly responsive WordPress themes. It’s mobile responsive, which means that any device can display this theme perfectly.
Fullby was inspired by Twenty Fourteen, one of the world’s most popular themes, with over 1 million downloads. At first glance, Fullby gives you that feeling of a professional site, because of its layout design.
The framework for this free WordPress theme is based on the latest Bootstrap framework. This is a grid style, lightweight, and fully responsive (displays well on any mobile or desktop device) theme.
You’ll also like the lightweight theme, which includes two customizable images, and the featured option for the posts can be structured exactly as you want it.
This is a good platform for your content, and the galleries and videos that are supported make this theme a favorite for most celebrities. If you’re a blogger, you’re a celebrity, too.
This Fullby free WordPress theme is fully optimized for search engines and has functionalities for your single post page and custom sidebar.
There, you’ve got it, the 32 professional, free WordPress themes to help make your content marketing more effective. Remember that it doesn’t matter which industry your working in because as much as content is king, design is the prime minister.
Getting one of the most responsive WordPress themes is important, even when starting. And there are so many to choose from.
When you give ample time to choosing the best theme for your blog, especially at the beginning, you’re establishing your foot in your industry. Your brand becomes noticeable to your target audience, and, trust me, that is priceless.
What is your favorite free WordPress theme, and why do you love it?
The post 32 Free WordPress Themes For Effective Content Marketing appeared first on Neil Patel.
One thing that never changes is our desire to keep up with the news.
These days, most people prefer to read their news online. According to Pew Research, 89% of Americans get at least some of their local news online.
And, it’s not just consumers who are reading the news online. It’s just about everyone. While some SEOs assume press releases are merely an SEO tool, such couldn’t be further from the truth.
News readership statistics for the U.S. population
As a matter of fact, press releases are branding and credibility tools, not SEO tools. They are a great way to get the word out and more effectively brand companies, products, and services.
If a release is engaging enough, it can generate social signals, drive shares, direct targeted and organic traffic, and create journalistic interest abroad. All of this is in addition to the sweet maraschino cherry on top – the possibility of major media coverage.
To get all of these lovely amenities wrapped up with a big, red bow on top, you’ll have to play by the rules.
A press release lets you spread the word about your company and its offerings in an ethical, journalistic-manner that focuses on newsworthiness and branding over SEO, social media, or anything else. The simple tenets of who, what, where, why, and when apply (the five Ws).
To make it work, you’ll need to follow these 12 unbreakable rules for obtaining publicity.
If you have never written a press release, consider using a professional content writer or service. Press releases are about telling a story; your story. Writing from a journalistic approach takes years of studying and practice. That’s not to say that any good writer isn’t capable of doing it; it’s just that you want to be as knowledgeable as a professional or hire one.
Press releases must cover something newsworthy. A PR Daily article outlines six necessary AP style guide steps for composing your release to assure that it’s newsworthy.
They include: stating your objective clearly, use the five Ws, minding your spacing, using proper grammar and style, and sharing names and titles correctly and appropriately.
The proper format for writing an effective press release
Writing for your audience is critical when producing any piece of content. A bit of demographical and customer research will go a long way toward achieving this goal.
For example, if your target market consists of the 45-and-over age group, using modern terms that don’t appeal to them won’t do much to help you gain traction. Understand your audience and who you are writing for before you craft your newsworthy release.
All releases are targeted when you set them up to go out for distribution. Proper targeting can mean the difference between thousands of reads and plenty of traffic streaming back to your money website or the lack thereof.
Be sure you research every industry your company, products, or services apply to before setting your industry targets pre-distribution.
Industry targeting options for distributing your press release
Remember that press releases are a major form of branding, which is exponentially vital in the online marketing world of the present day. SEO today is often more about branding and engaging content than just getting backlinks.
The best way to write a classy elevator pitch with viral potential is to make sure you know your brand, understand your market, and have a deep understanding of the competitive edge you have to offer.
Still, you’ll also want to add some spice, bravado, and swagger to your headline to capture more attention.
A stagnant headline may be newsworthy, but that doesn’t mean it’s not making people pull their hair out when they read it. Read more on these in an article by TechCrunch.
An example of the most amazing press release ever written
Let’s say you own a software company that is releasing its next version with a much-anticipated update that users have begged for the past few years.
You could propose a boring title like: “XYZ Software Company Announces Newest Version of XYZ Pro.” This title certainly is newsworthy. It’s definitely going to get approved by the editors. But the problem is that it’s boring. It does nothing to engage the reader.
Try to be more creative. Revamp the title above to make it punchier, catchier, and more engaging. For instance: “Almost Human: XYZ Pro Takes Thinking Out of Doing; New Update Adds Human-Response Feature to Interface.”
Editors at press release distribution services, newspapers, and online news websites are stringent. Keep in mind that they are usually fervent studiers of the English language, AP style, tone, and prose. They don’t see any wiggle room in proper grammar or adherence to style; they see only black and white with no spatial gray area in between.
A Community Tool Box publication offers some tips on avoiding press release rejection by using proper grammar, spelling, titles, style, and prose. Remember, editors won’t fix your document for you; that’s on you. They might make minor changes.
However, if your release is not almost picture-perfect, it will go in the rejection pile with all of the other shoddily composed (and promptly rejected) news releases that editors get bombarded with day after day.
Read this article by the Torontoist to find out what editors – like the one at the Star, mentioned in the article – do when they are over-inundated with error-prone articles and news releases.
Teamwork goes far in helping to develop an effective press release. Collaboration is how some of the finest marketing pieces are created.
So why limit the idea of the piece and its composition to just your ideas? Instead, brainstorm with a few others and co-create and co-write the piece together. This will improve clarity and can drastically enhance the quality of your press release.
Cross promoting is often called, “Free Form of Advertising,” which is exactly how the Edward Lowe Foundation references it. Cross promoting can help your information spread across multiple platforms quickly.
But, there are three inherent rules of cross-promotion: cost, control, and credibility.
Finding a cross-promotion partner is easy if you already do business with them. Imagine splitting the cost of the press release distribution and syndication with a brand that improves your overall branding and reach.
Reaching out to a few business partners may be you need to find a cross-promotion partner for your next PR campaign.
Cheap distribution is not good, and good distribution is not cheap. Distribution costs money, plain and simple.
There’s a lot of squabble online about which press release distribution service is the best. Speaking from personal experience, there is only a handful worth using.
I’ve nailed Wall Street Journal time and time again using Berkshire Hathaway’s Business Wire, but it costs $400 or more for a release with a 400-word limit. (They charge you for every 100 words after that.) You’ll also pay a pretty penny to add photos, videos, social media signals, and so forth.
Marketwire gets decent traction and features an awesome dashboard with good analytics. PR Web is the most profitable of all distribution services but still charges nearly as much for tier-one distribution as the other services.
As for add-ons, you get more bang for your buck on PR Web because you can add videos, images, and hyperlinks for free. Other services to consider include: PR Newswire, B Wire, and 1888PressReleases.
Distribution services provide varying degrees of options for your press release.
Syndicating your press release is crucial. Sure, it’s going out to all of these places. But, if you don’t take some additional “traction-action” yourself, you could be wasting your own time and money.
Ensure that your social channels are all set up to syndicate your press release. That means Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Reddit, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. When syndicating your press release, you will want to access the dashboard and find different major mediums that it was posted to for distribution. Use a different medium for each social channel syndication. For example:
Syndicate your press release post-distribution through your social channels
There’s only one service I’d recommend for your press release’s syndication on social channels, and that service is Pitch Engine. This is a social branding and marketing distribution service that you piggyback with your press release.
It allows you to track social analytics and traction as you gain more headway. You’ll want to write a unique copy of the actual release for Pitch Engine to gain even more traction.
When you do syndicate your actual release on social media (as explained above), consider boosting those posts to spread brand awareness, garner more social signals, and create chatter.
Avoid reposting the actual press release on your website because this can denigrate your content authenticity and page-score ranking with Google and the other search engines.
Instead, write a unique teaser paragraph or two, then link it to the release on the host site that distributed it or one of the major media outlets that picked it up.
This greatly enhances credibility with your site visitors because they see that you were just covered in the New York Times (and they can read your full release on that portal instead of reading it on your site). Imagine how that makes them feel about your brand.
Most press release distribution services offer a few very worthwhile add-ons. The first is the SEO enhancement feature. By all means, opt for do-follow links. A few more high PR backlinks will never hurt your website.
Consider expanded distribution to hit more sites, albeit at an increased cost. For example, if you are a multinational company, consider worldwide distribution with AP Newswire syndication. If you are a domestic company, target national regions to hit every major news medium in the U.S. instead of the limited newsfeeds in your set geo-region.
Finally, pictures, videos, and sound files are worth a million words. Adding these multimedia elements to your press release helps gather more attention, improves social media reach, and drives brand awareness.
Ultimately, the future of your public relations – and your brand’s reputation – is in your hands. Make the most of it.
Has your company had success with press releases? Share your experiences below!