Great content is essential, but it is only beneficial if it is relevant and well-organised. A content audit helps you determine the relevance of your website’s content. Read on for more.

What is a content audit?

A content audit is a thorough analysis of the content on your website. This process factors in your blog, landing, core content, and product or service pages. The idea is to determine whether your content is still effective in helping you achieve your objectives, such as targeting and connecting with a specific audience segment.

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What are the benefits of a content audit?

Helps identify issues with your website content

A thorough website content analysis reveals performance concerns and points out broken links and areas where accessibility is challenging. This way, you can apply quick and lasting fixes to boost its appeal and search value. Additionally, the site becomes more appealing to returning and new visitors.

Enables content repurposing

You should always keep your content fresh, exciting, relevant, and informative. This does not necessarily mean coming up with new content every time. For example, older blog posts can be repurposed to meet new objectives. Therefore, you’ll approach customers differently using the same content to greater effect.

Reveals content gaps

Apart from fixing and repurposing existing content, you’ll identify what content your website lacks and what your audience needs. After interacting with your audience and gathering new information, you can tell what you need to add after a content audit. Therefore, you’ll effectively fill those gaps by relying on up-to-date information.

Ranks content quality

A content audit also looks at the nature of the content in terms of its length, ease of consumption, variety, areas of focus, reference links, SEO, etc. Quality is an important factor when it comes to Google search results rankings. The system can accurately determine which content exists only to increase hits without adding any real value to those browsing. Therefore, you need to remove low-quality content quickly, and the audit helps determine what to remove.

Reorganises content for a bigger impact

Your website may have rich and relevant but poorly organised content. A content audit informs you of this issue and gives you a chance to organise all content better to make it more accessible to visitors and search engines. Ease of accessibility is important in promoting more content consumption and initiating the positive feedback loop where you enjoy even better reviews and ranking.

When should you do a content audit?

The type of content being audited determines the frequency and intensity of your audit schedule.

Blog posts and similar awareness content need time to become effective due to their organic nature. Therefore, you need to give them at least six months before performing an audit.

Consideration content, such as how-to guides, is the most sought-after variety and needs to be as updated as possible. Therefore, auditing every three months is ideal, with six months being the longest you should take.

Conversion content affects overall performance differently, depending on your industry. Considering its relevance, a quarterly audit is necessary to be safe.

Retention content like tips-and-tricks often has the least conversion impact since they aim to inform existing consumers. Therefore, an annual audit is suitable and cost-effective.

Conclusion

It is important to be aware of your website’s content, its effectiveness in meeting your objectives, and its appeal to visitors and search engines. A content audit reveals this information and helps you address all problem areas. For objectivity and efficiency, you need to rely on experienced professional services to handle this exercise. Get in touch today and let us make your website powerful again.

When it comes to creating content, our ultimate goal is to create a piece that our reader’s not only engage with, but also share it with their friends, peers or colleagues; but this can be tricky. There’s SO much content out there, more than ever before. So creating something that is unique is key to getting noticed, and getting shared!
shareworthy content

But, Why Do We Want Our Content Shared?

Well, this is simple. From a content marketing perspective, shareable content will ultimately engage an audience and enhance brand trust. Creating a thought provoking piece that is shareable will encourage an audience to remember you for all the right reasons!

Isn’t It Hard To Constantly Think of New Ideas?

No! Depending on your type of business, creating content doesn’t have to be complicated; developing a content marketing plan that spans either three or six months (or even longer in some cases!) will help you schedule relevant and share-worthy content that your audience wants to read.

via GIPHY

Using content calendars is a great way to see what you have coming up, helping you to create a strategy. Content marketing doesn’t have to just be a blog with some words and images thrown on it, it could be video marketing, infographics, quizzes, anything you can think of! There’s no pigeon holing when it comes to shareworthy content.

Creating Share-worthy Content

Whether you are creating content for an on-site blog or for outreach purposes, the key things to remember when you produce this content are the same. And one of the most important things we want you to remember is to not create content for contents sake, if you’re half-way through writing something,and realise that it’s a bit naff and pointless. Then stop. Re-evaluate the topic, and maybe look to link it in with something else to create a longer, in depth article that will add much more value to an overall strategy.

Here are a few quick tips for creating share worthy content:

  • Understand your audience
    There’s no point in trying to create anything unless you understand your target audience, delve deep into their demographics; age, interests, geographical location etc. can all help determine what kind of content they want to read.
  • Crafty Headline
    Now, we all know that click-bait is the devil in the content marketing world. Those crafty headlines that get you clicking on an article and discovering the content inside has nothing to do with the headline will turn your readers off, and unless you work extremely hard, they just won’t come back. Create a headline that cleverly entices your audience to want to read more
  • Use images/videos
    You know what they say “a picture says a thousand words”, well a video can say even more. Video and image content is the most shareable out there, easy to view and convert into real, engaged readers.
  • Don’t forget to share across social
    If you’ve done all of this and you’re still wondering why your content doesn’t seem to have hit the right spot, when you’ve put a lot of effort into it and thought it was the best piece ever it COULD be because you’ve failed to share it across your own social platforms. 

via GIPHY

Often, it is the smallest thing that could lead to the biggest impact on your marketing campaign. If you need a structured content marketing campaign that will help you create shareworthy content, contact Digital Next today.

Have you heard, we are living in the Digital Age? No? Well, neither has my dad to whom I attempted to explain all about the digital age. He replied simply with “It is all like blah blah blah and tweet tweet tweet right?” To be fair, some may argue that he is correct, but with 3 billion people now using the internet every day, it is time for those that are afraid or confused about the digital age to embrace it.

What is the digital age?

what is the digital age

Starting in the late 1970’s the digital age introduced us to personal computers, the free flow of information and the ever advancing world of technology. After the birth of the internet, it was only a matter of time before businesses wanted to get involved. Companies knew they needed to harness the power of quick and free flowing information to improve their prospects.

What does this mean for businesses?

For many, the digital age meant they had to create their own websites, establish an online brand and enter the world of emails all to keep their business ticking over. For some, the digital age had overtaken them completely. Digital marketing, SEO, PPC, Web Content and other key aspects of having a business online merely sounded like terms from a sci-fi film that no one actually knew anything about. If that sounds just like you then it might be time for you to get educated. To help you here are a few key definitions:

Digital Marketing:

The promotion of products or services (marketing) using digital channels (the internet/digital) to reach the consumers. The main objective of this is to promote your brand/company through every possible digital media forum and therefore reach as many consumers as possible.

SEO:

Simply Search Engine Optimisation. This means using techniques and strategies to ultimately increase the amount of visitors to your website by obtaining a high-ranking placement on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing and many others.

PPC:

Pay-per-click or cost-per-click. This is a digital advertising model used to direct traffic to your websites. This happens when an advertiser pays a publisher (a website owner) every time an ad is clicked on.

Web Content:

Every website, advert and digital marketing campaign needs great content. Content is simply the words on the page, the tag lines, the blog posts and everything else that your consumers are reading when they visit your site. Without it, search engines such as Google can disregard your website because it has poor or repeated content.

Different Devices

Mobile Friendly

The digital age has progressed dramatically from its birth in the late 1970’s. Now, within the 21st century, more and more consumers are using their mobile devices to view websites, make orders and email people. They have said goodbye to huge computer monitors and are utilising their time on the move by browsing and purchasing on their mobile devices. These I Want to Know, I Want to Go, I Want to Do and I Want to Buy moments mean it is extremely important for your website to be mobile friendly. So try this simple test; see if your site is mobile friendly using this link.

It is? Great! that is a good start and its time to see how a digital agency can improve your SEO.

It’s not? Do not fear! It is time to contact a digital agency, make your website mobile friendly and see just how much your consumers will appreciate it.

What Can a Digital Agency do for you?

With all this new found knowledge about the digital age, it is time for you to consider what’s next. You have heard about the digital age, you know that it is all around you and yet your company isn’t reaping any of the benefits. Instead of losing out to the digital age, it is time for you to hire a digital agency.
No, dad, they don’t just change your website’s colours, no dad, they don’t just take all your money and tweet everyone. It takes a little more work than that. In my opinion, digital agencies are doing exactly what needs to be done to optimise businesses and make sure that they don’t get left behind. If you want to dominate search engines (make sure your businesses website is right at the top of the pack when searched for on Google), grow your business, and have all your digital marketing (marketing now online) done under one roof, then it is a digital agency you are after.

Look Towards the Future, Choose Digital Next

The digital age doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon, with new technologies comes more connections and with that, better business relationships no matter where you are in the world.
Digital Next are dedicated to taking your business to the next level. Looking towards the future you can contact one of our team and discuss what you want and what you need for you to succeed. You may be looking for a new website, to improve your SEO, an online marketing campaign or even all of them put together. Get your product out there, make your company’s services visible to anyone that needs them and help your business stand out no matter which device people are viewing you on. For more information about us, digital agencies and our processes then visit Digital Next.

The planning, organisation and execution of a marketing strategy is not always such a straightforward process. However, there are literally tons of creative marketing tips to explore in order to generate more business for your company, without blowing up your entire marketing strategy.

Marketing Tips

Well, in this blog we have combined a list of marketing tips and ideas full of strategies that we have previously executed for ourselves or our clients for you to take note from. The marketing campaigns have been used to generate inbound leads and are taken from past techniques implemented in-house here at Digital Next.

Winter is slowly approaching, which can only mean one thing… There are only 20 weeks left before the big man comes down your chimney! This is the BIGGEST season for both shoppers and retail stores, which makes it a critical time to up your marketing game and stand out against your competitors during the holidays.

E-Commerce

Ensure your marketing efforts are on the mark this winter, particularly paying attention to huge retail dates such as Black Friday.

A brand who did this well in 2015 was O2 who went all in claiming “no price is safe” on Black Friday. The brand sold devices such as the HTC One M9, Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Tab S2 for as little as £1!

This could generate more traffic to your site just in time for Winter. The below marketing tips will help you optimise your online presence by focusing on the latest trends in online shopping.

Homepage Links

Homepage links may seem common knowledge to most, but it’s still a common omission from a lot of websites and it can be detrimental the overall experience of your customers.

It’s very important to ensure your homepage has links to product categories, and all deeper layers to your website. You should also be regularly creating content that caters to relevant keywords and is based around your products/services.

You should also ensure that each page has a unique page title that is 70 characters or less, and a meta description that’s 150 words or less; which basically outlines to Google what keyword you want the page to rank for.

Email Triggers

The dreaded three words: ‘out-of-stock’… We all fear seeing this when we’re trying to add products to our basket.

Instead of losing custom, add functionality by encouraging shoppers to submit their data. This can allow the user to be alerted when the items are back in stock.

If customers know they’ll eventually be able to get the item from you, it mitigates the possibility of losing them to the competition. You can also try suggesting similar items that are in stock to demonstrate that you’re business still remains able to understand and meet the needs of the customer.

Urban Outfitters automatically sends this email to users when they request to unsubscribe from their emails. The purpose of this automated email is a last-ditch effort to convince recipients not to unsubscribe. To appeal to their young adult target audience, this email creatively plays on the idea of a salvaging a relationship.

urban-outfitters-unsubscribe

This was an excellent method of engaging with their customers to show how valued they are to their business, and that they’re in touch with their target audience through means that they can relate to – on multiple levels.

Become A Google Trusted Store

Becoming a Google Trusted Store can help customers to recognise that you are both trusted and safe to shop with, but it’ll also help to increase the exposure of your brand.

Take the necessary steps to meet the correct requirements to do this; once you meet the criteria, you are given a badge that appears on Google Shopping.

This could also have a positive impact on your search rankings on Google in the future, as more and more alterations to the search listings become display oriented.

google-trusted-store-badge

Audits

Carrying out regular audits on your online store can help to identify places where you can improve the buyer journey.

Auditing your site can help to determine amends and changes to your current customer journey; starting with click through and bounce rates, to testing different landing pages in order to gauge with tweaks might improve results.

Items You Might Like

An ‘Items You Might Like’ section could encourage users to browse for longer on your website; adding photos or other relevant items to each product landing page could provide that item the customer may eventually choose to add to their basket.

Website Ideas:

When it comes to your website, there are tons of ways you are able to utilise, test and optimise your web pages to generate more, relevant traffic. Below are some tips to drive more online traffic to your business.

Pop-ups

Test pop-ups on your website with special offers; there’s so many different types of pop-ups you’re able to utilise on your online store. Some of my personal favourites are:

  • Multi Pop-Up – The website will launch multiple pop ups upon entering. Different techniques are used.
  • Come And Go – Pop-ups are launched upon entering and exiting.
  • Timed Pop-Up – Pop-ups are programmed to launch after a certain amount of time. Normally, 5 seconds.

Mobile

After the Mobile-geddon release in April 2015, Google made it clear anyone without a mobile optimised website would not reap the benefits of mobile optimised search in the future.

Google released a mobile-friendly test which means you’re able to ensure your website is Google-friendly.

Reviews

Consider starting a triggered email campaign that asks your past customers, who value your business, for online reviews.

This can work well in order to spark trust amongst your new audience, and is also a great way to enhance SEO. We advise Google Reviews and Trustpilot as great review tools.

dn reviews

A/B Test

A/B testing, a.k.a split testing, is comparing two versions of a web page or email campaign to see which one performs better.

The aim is to identify changes that increase the chance of what you want to happen, to happen!

CTAs

A big part of utilising your website is by ensuring you have the right CTAs (Call to actions) to help speed up and guide a user on its journey by providing them with targeted and relevant content by their stage in the buying cycle.

A great example of a website with compelling CTA’s is Evernote.

“Remember, Everything.”

The design on Evernote’s website makes it super simple for users to see quick benefits of using the app and how to actually sign up to use it.

Plus, the green color of the main and secondary CTA buttons is the same green as the headline and the Evernote logo, all of which jump off the page.

evernote-cta

Social Media Ideas:

You should already know the true value of using social media to expand your reach.

Keeping up with trends and constant changes within the social realm is incredibly important; it’s not enough to just follow the same old rules and tactics.

Below we have noted some tips and promotional tips for you to execute as part of your winter campaign.

Video Ads

We all read how video is the next BIG thing on everyone’s mind, and how it’s here to stay.

Once such benefit of video advertising, specifically on Facebook, is you don’t necessarily need to have a strong presence.

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Facebook Live

Facebook’s livestream is still a new concept which many brands aren’t utilising. Try using it, as Facebook’s algorithm ranks these higher than regular content!

live-android-screen

Social Influencers

Partnering with social media influencers, such as bloggers, celebrities and users with a excessive social media following can work wonders integrated into a social media campaign.

When it comes to making purchasing decisions, users look for endorsements on products from influencers and it’s great to generate that organic reach.

Targeted campaigns

There’s a wide range of different re-targeting campaigns that can leverage reach on your best performing offers and best selling products.

The tips we have given only scratch the surface of what ideas can be implemented as part of your seasonal campaigns.

If you’re looking for even more, in-depth marketing tips and ideas, take a look at our Digital Next blog.

Avoid Dodgy SEO Providers – Top 10 Tips!

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is important in all kinds of ways – so important, in fact, that many businesses, large and small invest a small fortune in outsourcing SEO activities to other expert, specialist companies.

Happen upon a great SEO provider or company and you will soon notice the results. However, end up with a provider that seems to talk the talk, walk the walk, but doesn’t deliver on results. Then they might end up taking your money for effectively doing nothing, or very little at most.

1. Low quality and duplicated content

SEO at one time was about cramming as many keywords into a sentence, paragraph or blog post as many times as you could – even if it made no sense whatsoever. Those times have thankfully changed, and more SEO companies know that high-quality content, regularly and consistently posted is the key to SEO success.

Monitor your blog and content. Shady operators will simply rehash the same pieces over and over again, changing one keyword for another, from one post to the next. The bad news is that if this is happening your website could be being penalised by Google and others for poor quality and duplicate content.

2. Outdated tactics

Overly long meta tags, a huge number of meta keywords, everything hidden behind a ‘read more’ link. If it all sounds a bit like, ‘I can’t be bothered’ then they probably can’t and you will end up paying not only their bill but also the price of your website getting nowhere – other than sliding down a slippery slope.

If you are not sure, a quick search online for current SEO practices will either confirm or deny your suspicions.

3. Blog posts… one after the other… and only blog posts

Blog posts are undoubtedly a key part of SEO, but if the strategy is focused solely on blog posts, then this is not good news. There is more to making your website the must-go-to authoritative place than umpteen blog posts.

Woman frustrated at computer

Blogs and articles are just one slice of the SEO pie.

4. Lowered bounce rate

via GIPHY

The bounce rate of a website is the percentage of people who visit your site but ‘bounce’ away after visiting only one page.

Some experts suggest that an increased bounce rate gives an indication that the home or landing page is boring and not what it should be. Clearly. Creating an enticing homepage will make for a better-used website but obsessing over this one statistic means you or your SEO provider are missing other important aspects of SEO.

If the SEO company say they can drastically reduce bounce rate, then ask them what they are doing, as there are technical means of artificially decreasing this rate, without adding any value to the process.

5. SEO buffet

This is where an SEO provider offers you a menu of choices allowing you to pick and choose what you want doing and how.

animated man with menu

You may think this is a good sign – it saved on the budget! – But, the SEO provider should be THE expert on SEO so offering a piecemeal approach to their services is not giving you the service that you need.

Clearly, there will be different levels of packages but no choice of SEO components.

6. Guaranteed ranking

We’ve all seen the websites that promise or guarantee instant success. ‘Hand over your cash,’ they more or less say, ‘and let us propel your website into the stratosphere within 10 minutes or less.’

This is rubbish – and it always will be. Rankings are worked out via a series of complex ranking factors, the majority of which remain hidden and secret, known to only a handful of search engine executives, a bit like the recipe for Coca-Cola.

No one can guarantee rankings.

7. Cheap-as-chips SEO

SEO is one of those time consuming, labour intensive activities IF it is done being done correctly. And this is why you, along with thousands of other companies outsource their SEO activities to an expert company.

If they say that they are cheap-as-chips, check that what they are doing is SEO work and not posting a blog every week on your behalf. There is a difference.

8. Set up fees

At the other end of the scale, you have SEO providers that charge set up fees. All well and good you may think but, ask them what it is you are actually paying for.

There is research needed at the front end of the project but if this is not included in the first month’s fee then ask questions because seriously, this is a bit of cheek.

9. No Google Analytics

Google is THE biggest search engine in the world, so frankly, these are the people and the algorithm that you want to please with SEO activities and tactics.

There are some shady SEO providers however, that for some reason hide Google Analytics from their clients and there is, in all honesty, no reason why they should be doing this. Likewise, if they don’t ask for your Google Analytics, then you should run away just as fast.

10. “What monthly report?!”

It is your website. You have worked hard on it. You have spent hours on it. It cost you a fair bit of your budget too. It is the shop window to your business on the web.

Investing in SEO is a big move too, and so you want to know what you are getting for your money. If the package does not include a monthly report, look elsewhere.

Monthly Report

If the monthly report is next to useless, only offering ‘feedback’ on keyword rankings, for example, then this is of little use whatsoever. A report should show organic traffic and trends over time.

Avoiding shady SEO providers

There are times when, due to our lack of knowledge and expertise, we can be sucked in by someone who seems to know what they are talking about. Bear these ten tips in mind to get the best out of your SEO provider!

If you are looking for an SEO Provider, be sure to focus upon your local area prior to launching any national campaigns. For tips on how to succeed with your localised SEO strategy follow this link: https://digitalnext.co.uk/blog/6-tips-ensure-local-seo-campaign-track/

Though as an industry we are well aware of the important and intrinsic role content plays in search strategy, its role in regard to the buying process and conversion path is a grey area for businesses who often struggle to see the worth of it when it comes to the buying and selling process. (more…)

Digital marketing is simply a must for any business looking to expand and thrive in this technological age, as floods of consumers use the web to live their day-to-day lives. For many businesses, it is where their customers are at, but deploying the right digital strategy to appeal to your target market is where many marketing teams lack direction. So, in this post, we give you 9 key tips on how to really make the most of your business’s digital marketing efforts.

Social Media

There is no doubt that social media is an essential addition to any digital marketing strategy. In fact, you could go as far as to say that any digital strategy without social media is not worth the paper it is written on, simply because social platforms offer much more than just brand awareness; it instils trust and authority in your brand; it increases your audience size enabling you to connect with a broader range of consumers; it allows you to effectively manage your reputation to the wider digital landscape. The benefits of factoring social media marketing into your digital strategy are truly endless, which affirms the need to integrate both organic and paid social campaigns into your strategy.

However, this should never be a one-size fits-all strategy, you should take time to choose social media platforms carefully, ensuring you are active on the channels where you know your customers are at. For small businesses, focusing on two or three platforms reaps far more benefits that spreading too thin over every social media platform there is. For larger businesses, analyse Google Analytics data to comprehensively understand where your traffic is coming from and other social tools to report on engagement.

Temporary Marketing

Also known as ephemeral marketing, meaning short-lived or transient marketing – SnapChat is leading the way, especially with younger audiences. SnapChat is great for creating a buzz around a new product or service, so don’t dismiss it completely.

This kind of marketing is ‘now you see it, now you don’t’. Promotions and infomercials are short and sweet with the younger generation apparently liking content that is straight to the point.

Content Is ‘You-know-what’

We all know how important digital content is to any digital marketing strategy, hence why I’ve altered the regurgitated adage to refrain from continually using Bill Gates’ statement some 20 years ago. As you will have read (or heard) it countless times before, it would seem that there’s no letting up for the foreseeable future – in any digital marketing strategy, you need content – however taxing or laborious you may find it to be.

Countless studies have proved this, and Google have updated their algorithm to emphasise the importance of content in search marketing. On average, 8 out of 10 people believing that a company with good content wants to build relationships and not only that, but content marketing costs much less than traditional methods; in fact, for every lead it generates it costs half as much, a saving worth having for any business.

Content builds trust, loyalty and engagement, in addition to the myriad factors that have been known for a long time, but yet it is surprising that many businesses still don’t have a content strategy as part of their overall digital strategy.

Location-based technology

For businesses that regularly host events, the use of the latest location-based technology is an important addition to a digital marketing strategy.

The latest technology of this ilk utilises Radio Frequency Identification or RFID can be used as an alternative to bar codes. Consisting of three pieces of kit, companies with regular events are buying into the technology that offers them the edge over competitors.

There are other means of doing this, of course, and hosting events is not the only way to locate your customers that could be near-by. Google have shown that the use of data enabled devices by customers in a certain area is one way of showing them local business etc. Beacons are another effective means of exploiting location-based sales and leads, though finding customers wanting to use these could be a challenge.

Brand advocates/influencers

A digital strategy that focuses on short, sharp and quick interactions is only going part of the way. Brand advocates are loyal customers, so by concentrating your digital strategy on not only finding customers but also keeping them, you will find brand advocates that enjoy your product or service. Customers like to feel this relationship is organic and not forced, genuine, authentic and credible.

Additionally, industry bloggers can offer a wealth of benefits to generating interest in a product/service to their following as it’s generally understood that popular influencers are considered to trustworthy and authoritative across the ‘sociosphere’. However, on important point to remember which often requires iteration is that to get bloggers on your side for promoting your content the relationship absolutely has to be mutually beneficial.

Scheduling tools

Any business active of social media will know how much time it can and does swallow. Managing tweets and posts is essential. Combine this with the amazing power of content and you have a digital strategy that could take off.

As well as outsourcing part or all of social media management, there are a variety of platforms such as Hootsuite and Buffer than can help out with scheduling tweets and posts. However, always keep a sense of human-ness about tweets and posts, as being too automated can be a turn off for customers and fans

Wearable tech

Wearable tech – the LG Urbane watches the Apple watches and so on – are a steady burn in the world of technology. Some people love them and see the value in them, others are still unsure.

What this denotes is a distinction in behaviour. As a company, you will want to take advantage of this as a means of more targeted marketing. Are your customers into wearable tech?

Understanding who finds this kind of technology exciting and a must-have accessory should be a high priority because, if they are your customers and fans, this needs to be worked into your digital strategy.

Video Content

YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google, which shouldn’t really be too surprising when considering that the latter bought out the former for US$1.65 billion back in November 2006. So, when Google deployed a similar algorithm to the one embedded into their search engine, it enabled YouTube videos to be indexed in a similar vein to how Google Search indexes websites.

What does this mean for you, you may be thinking? Well it means that creating videos, vines, films, animations and having your own YouTube channel could pay dividends. And it does – which is precisely why video creators invest so much time into frequently updating their YouTube channel.

The addition of live streaming takes this to a whole new level so if you are yet to look at this as digital strategy then the time is NOW! This coming year, it is essential you explore SnapChat, Periscope as well as building a presence, or improving it on YouTube.

Optimised, responsive website

At this point in 2016, having a fully optimised and responsive website that can seamlessly display on all devices (mobile, tablet and desktop) should be a no-brainer, but some businesses have been slower to change than others.

Customers are now expecting a heightened level of responsiveness from websites. A slow, chunky site is an immediate turn off and worse still, if a customer cannot comfortably access your site without too much fiddling, they will simply navigate away.

The use of mobile devices to access the web has steadily climbed in recent years, for audiences across the globe and with the number looking to carry on climbing, if you have not already created or adapted your website for mobile or tablet, then you simply must – or face being left behind.

As recently reported across the vast digital landscape, many SEOs and webmasters reported some major ranking activity in Google SERPs over the weekend, similar to what was witnessed just the previous weekend. Though many of us perceived this to have been a potential major update to the Penguin algorithm, Google were quick to quash any such rumours with Gary Illyes indicating that the consequence of these fluctuations was as a result of ongoing updates to their Core Algorithm.

confirmed google update twitter

Despite the impending arrival of the next update to their Penguin algorithm, it’s possible that these common core ranking algorithm updates may be being rolled out as an early warning sign to prepare SEOs and webmasters for the expectedly significant effects of the next major Penguin update. Without succumbing to speculation, it’s worth considering that ongoing updates could be the search giant’s method of fine tuning their Core Algorithm in order to enable Penguin to operate more efficiently, or become more discriminatory to further improve the quality – and accuracy – of search results for any given term. Although we are yet to fully understand what the true impact of these updates are to the world of SEO, we can infer that there’s likely to be some wholesale changes when the Penguin update is rolled out.

What have we seen?

From an agency point of view, we’ve seen many positive movers over the past couple of weeks with some really quite noticeable increases to many of our client’s rankings, as shown in the image below.

ranking increases google core algorithm update

As can be seen from the above image, there has been a major uplift in organic rankings for many of our clients’ sites that we track in our self-developed ranking tool. Though we can see also see an increase in rankings in Bing, we can clearly discriminate between the two by looking at the ranking fluctuations over a set time period which would indicate that such movement is consistent with this month’s two confirmed updates to the Google Core Algorithm.

ranking decreases google core algorithm update

To further prove that these sudden increases were as a consequence of the Google Core Algorithm update and, if we look at the some of the negative movers that were tracked, you can clearly see that despite a loss in positions in Google, almost all campaigns in the below image demonstrated an increase in rankings in Bing (as shown above). As such, we can now confirm the notion that the cause of these fluctuations was Google specific.

ranking increases google core algorithm update

By drilling down into the campaigns that demonstrated the greatest increases across the board, this evidence only serves to prove that this uplift was as a consequence of this weekend’s Google update. In fact, the graphs (above and below) clearly demonstrates huge increases on the days that the Core Algorithm was updated and has shown further positive increases since.

ranking increases google core algorithm update

With the Google Panda algorithm now fully integrated into the Core Algorithm, it’s possible that these changes may pertain to the quality of site content – particularly since we have encouraged many of our clients to refresh their site content in 2016. Not only that, but with this integration, Google are now unlikely to specifically release a major update to their Panda algorithm, as any change to their Core Algorithm will inadvertently update Google Panda too. So although we can’t necessarily interpret this as a major update to Panda, we can rationally assume that Google is further tightening the screw on what it defines to be quality and relevant content.

Don’t fear though. Such volatility in the search results over the past couple of weeks should simply be used as a guideline to determine whether you can panic or relax when the next Google Penguin update is confirmed. However, providing that standard and best practice is followed on a consistent basis, there should be no need to worry as it’s likely that many of us will have already made efforts to switch to a more natural strategy.

The art of blogging is so much more than just putting pen to paper and pouring out your thoughts on a particular topic. While many have made a successful career out of being a ‘blogger’, or even the more recent rise of ‘vloggers’, you can bet there is more to it than just being able to write. Likewise, blogging does not stop once the last word has been written.

In 2016, blogging continues to grow and develop at a fast pace, building on its principles but taking them to that next level. Blogging in 2016 is very different to when the term ‘blog’ itself was coined in 1997, and here you’ll see why.

Visual content is key

As your audience become hungrier for fast, easy information, it is important to find ways to give it to them. Creating visual content, whether it be an infographic, video or simply an image, can be highly effective as well as being incredibly interactive for your audience.

The digital era in which we live often demands new ways to set yourself apart, and visual content could be a pivotal role in your efforts. With over half of us being visual learners, including the likes of videos or popular memes in your blog can ensure it does better than you could have imagined.

Mobile-orientated blogging

With more people using their phones and tablets for on-the-go browsing, it is crucial that your blog is built to be mobile-friendly. Google have now rolled out their ‘mobile-friendly update’, meaning the ranking of mobile-friendly pages will be boosted on mobile search results. Your blog could massively benefit from the volume of mobile traffic, which has begun to outnumber desktop usage.

Integrated strategy

You could benefit from having an integrated approach with your blogs; reaching out on social media and learning how to format your blogs to the best of your ability are both tips that can give your blogs the extra boost you didn’t know they had. A strong presence on social media is an important attribute and will continue to be so into 2016 and beyond.

Optimising your content will ensure your posts are good quality, unique and relevant, whether you are an individual or a business.

Over the years Google has put more and more emphasis on the importance of quality content, and having the right content on your site can help you achieve any number of goals.

Google Panda has continued to grow and evolve since its inception, but in February it will turn 5 years old. Let me just say that again…we have been talking about Google Panda for 5 years now!

In this time, we have experienced several phases of the Google Panda algorithm, though they haven’t been reported as different phases. Instead, it was through the 28 announced updates Google have pushed out, the focus has definitely shifted onto what content was an issue and what content was deemed as fine. The way Panda has been sculpted has been highlighted by each update and what effect it had. For example, you may have had content on your website that didn’t become an issue until update #27 3 years into the Panda algorithm.

Below, I have gone through the 3 main phases of the Panda algorithm and in my hands on experience, what each phase was implemented for.

Phase 1 – The Clean-up

In the beginning, Google introduced Panda to crack down on the volume of content spam there was on the internet. People working in SEO knew content links worked well, and as a result of this, the internet was flooded with low quality, meaningless content. The reason it was so poor is because people who knew content related links were good, also knew that the quality of the content was irrelevant. Poorly produced content was then spun time and time again to create even lower quality content, but at the time it worked well and everyone did it.

festival clean up

Credit: Daily Mail

At this point, Google introduced Panda, and with one update, they started to clean up the internet. The first iteration of Panda (I believe) was launched to help combat link spam. Most, if not all, the poor content produced online was done for link building, so creating an algorithm that combat this not only improved the quality of the internet, but also started the fight against spam link building.

The main sites that were targeted in round one were content farms, press release and article submission websites, and any other forms of spam content that had been created on mass by the marketing industry.

Phase 2 – Home Improvements

As time went on, Google got on top of the spam content used for link building and, as it started to affect site rankings, webmasters focused their attention on removing spam content that had been produced purely for ranking purposes, which saw an increase of spammy content being cleared off the internet. For many webmasters, this was simply a links task – until Google went into phase 2, that is.

Phase 2 was changing the focus from content farms and websites that displayed large amounts of spam to websites that are doing the optimisation themselves. Google started looking at on page content that websites used, homepage, category, service and product pages all had their content scrutinised by the Google Panda algorithm.

home improvements

First in the firing line were people that had content as a second thought i.e. content hidden when the page loads, or content that was placed at the bottom of the page. If people add content for the search engines and made it harder for the user to read, Google became clever at realising this and took action.

Blogs were another aspect that became an issue, when blogs took off, people really invested much time into adding blogs to their website every day, 7 days a week. The issue with this was that the content was produced for the sake of it – because webmasters knew they needed to – and not because it was good content for a user to read. Again, Google started to see this as an issue.

As a result, people started removing content from their websites and, as a result, they did improve the quality of their website. However, this was only making a slight improvement from poor to OK.

The next phase started making webmasters think about the content on their site in an effort to further improve the quality of site content in general, gearing it more towards engaging visitors and offering relevant and accurate information.

Phase 3 – Fine Tuning

The final phase of Google Panda is how it’s been for the last 12 – 18 months. It’s not wholesale updates any more that devastate rankings and, if you got through phase 1 and 2, then Panda isn’t causing you penalty issues, though your website may no longer be up to scratch to achieve great rankings.

Having no site content is better than having spammy content, but good quality content aimed at users is what gets a website ranking better.

fine tuning

Google Panda is now built into the algorithm, so there are no longer Panda specific updates that get announced. However, Google does still update their algorithm with content at the source, but instead of it being an update, it’s more about turning the screw and tweaking the effectiveness for continual improvements.

To be a success you need to look at the following on your website and see if it can be improved (in no particular order):

  • Do you have any duplicate content on your site internal or external?
  • Is the content on your website aimed at a user or a search engine?
  • Do all your pages have content on them?
  • Is the content engaging and meaningful?
  • If you were the client, does the content on your website tell you everything you need to know to achieve its goal and convert?

If it’s been a while since the last time you refreshed your site content, then it’s likely that you’ll need to refresh your entire site to bring it more in line with today’s requirements. Not only that, but it can potentially provide your site with an uplift in organic rankings as Google indexes and assesses these content changes to your internal pages.

We are delighted to announce that we have expanded and dedicated a department to help SME’s become established online. The new department will be called ‘Digital Next Express’.

The department has been formed to ensure SME’s are given precise advice, support and guidance from the outset. We feel SME’s deserve the same dedication, attention and time as some of the larger clients who may be very time-consuming. Having been at Digital Next since the start of the company, I have seen many SME’s try and fail due to the smoke and mirrors nature of the industry. The company has tried to take a different approach ever since it has been founded, being as transparent as possible whilst offering a non-contractual service.

We are an accredited Google partner which gives us a head start whether we are working with a start up or big blue chip company. We will offer the right advice and implement effective strategies to give our clients the best possible chance of exposure via Online Search, Web Design and Social Media.

As such, we will offer the following services;

  • SEO
  • Web Design
  • Digital PR
  • Content

The above services will be set up perfectly for SME’s to be able to gain traction online whilst being affordable.

With our original focus mainly involving larger integrated projects we feel SME’s deserve the same amount of time and effort. We have seen on many occasions a lot of small businesses drain their marketing budget incorrectly due to false promises or bad advice from the outset. The department are keen to help businesses falling into the trap of wasting their funds before even beginning their online journey.

If you’re an entrepreneur or owner of an SME and struggling to find your feet online, then Digital Next Express can help guide you to success. For more information contact Chris Tipper at chris@digitalnext.co.uk, call 0161 674 9508 or visit www.digitalnext.co.uk.

The PR landscape is evolving, moving towards an ever increasingly digital environment. Public relations as a discipline has had to expand its abilities far beyond the traditional, incorporating a more integrated outlook over all mediums. Digital PR has expanded in definition over the last few years, incorporating a range of strategies and disciplines designed to increase brand value and visibility online.

Digital PR is a term now being used frequently to describe not only traditional PR in a digital setting, but now incorporates Manual Outreach, Social Media and Content Marketing. This combination of disciplines requires detailed organisation, clear communication and a holistic strategy to meet clear objectives. Ensuring all these spokes are integrated is the key to quality digital PR, it allows for flexibility and scope, in order to be more fluid in the ever-changing online environment.

Manual Outreach

Manual Outreach has become a key component of Digital PR strategies, aimed at influencing opinion on the internet and generating leads. By connecting with influential websites and bloggers can give your brand important leverage in an increasingly crowded market.

“It is all about earning targeted media coverage for your business.”

Targeted brand exposure places your content in front of attentive eyes, which can generate online traffic to your business.

Outreach teams should be dedicated to sourcing strong links based on relevance, credibility and domain authority (DA). Reaching out to quality websites and blogs for your business not only helps promote new content, but also generates positive signals for your search engine rankings.

Earning links requires strong relationships to be built with bloggers and webmasters. With a focus on blogger relations, outreach teams can expand their knowledge of a given industry and reach across larger audiences. A network of online publishers can help potential clients find your content, generating online conversations and building your authority.

Collaborating with influencers across blogs, social media and other channels provides a stage from which to shout your message – resulting in relevant coverage for your business.

“It is all about working with the right people to amplify your brand in front of the right audience.”

Content

Having a team full of fantastic writers has become part and parcel of Digital PR. In depth research, strategy and creativity are key skill sets for your content team. They also need to be savvy in areas such as SEO and social media to understand how content must be structured to be digitally compatible.

Different mediums such as video or infographics should also be considered, to connect your message to the consumer in a different way.

A strong content strategy helps nurture leads, by ensuring all potential customers are informed, entertained or provided with value in some way. You should be looking to position yourself as a thought leader within your industry, verifying your reputation as the top brand. Proving and exhibiting your expertise helps expand your audience and form brand advocates.

Playing raconteur and illustrating your brand with a personality will resonate more clearly with potential clients. Well-written and strategically placed content has the potential to naturally nurture clients, ensuring trust is built as a part of your brand offering.

Social Media

Social media is the most fruitful way to engage with your customers on the web. It not only should provide information about your business, but communicate with your audience to develop relationships. Successful social media strategies, not only lead to greater brand engagement, but can also increase web traffic.

Social media channels can be utilised to gain insight into your audience, knowing what people say about your brand is essential. Listening to what is trending and how people are engaging can bring about significant advantages. It can provide vital intelligence to ensure targeting is accurate and allows measurements to be made to understand the success of a given campaign.

Brands now communicate directly with customers, offering them live advice and information via social platforms. Social media is a key driver of brand reputation. It hosts the world’s digital conversation – adding a personal touch to Digital PR.

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PR

Traditional PR techniques are still at the heart of Digital PR, with practices such as building relationships and producing press releases being a valid part of the marketing arsenal. PR shows its importance in establishing stories to capture the imagination of journalists or magazines.

At the core of PR is effective media relations, which ensures publications regarding a given brand are formed in a positive light, helping to secure exposure to a larger audience.

Multichannel focus ensures maximum exposure, whether that be online or offline, and provides an opportunity to spread your message in a cohesive and effective manner.

Ultimately a successful PR campaign will add value to your overall Digital PR strategy by picking up coverage online.

“Digital PR can be viewed as the glue of an integrated digital campaign, fashioning brand personality and building trust to influence consumer decision making online.”

Digital PR is an ongoing process, it requires monitoring and analysis in order for it to be continually optimised and amplified. The internet is constantly changing and requires a knowledgeable team to keep up to date and adapt with the digital landscape. Identifying digital trends and utilising online tools are also an integral part of any Digital PR campaign.

There is also increasing emphasis on the relationship between PR and search engine visibility, as both disciplines begin to become more intertwined. Since the Google updates of Penguin and Panda, many old SEO techniques are now dead and are now considered to be unethical. PR and Search now work alongside each other as having common aims, embracing both people and technology. There is little doubt Digital PR directly impacts your SEO campaign, meaning you are much more likely to be found online.

Digital PR provides another angle to ensure your brand gets heard, helping you drive conversation and improve brand perception online.

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Whereas PPC continues to be the beast that will not be abated, SEO has to constantly evolve and adapt due to pressures put on it by ranking algorithms, and Social finds itself becoming more and more important in an increasingly connected world, where does content’s role lie in all of this?

No doubt you’ve heard the phrase ‘Content is King’ a million times, and it has become so oft-repeated and taken out of context that it has almost become a fallacy in 2015.

While first uttered by Bill Gates in 1995, twenty years later we are in a state of content overload with every minute on the internet seeing YouTube users uploading 300 hours of video, Facebook users sharing 684,478 pieces of content, Instagram users sharing 3,600 new photos, and Tumblr seeing 27,778 new posts published. So what does that mean for content production in 2016 and how can it be streamlined? Check out a few of our predictions:

Less Is Definitely More

At its heart, developing content and content marketing as a whole is about telling a story, building a relationship, and growing a potential audience-market. For this reason, content for contents sake – oft-produced to arbitrary word-counts by an inexperienced pool of freelancers – will only lead to unengaging work which will be ignored by your audience or market. Getting smart about your content, and picking and choosing how and when it is produced and targeted to, is the smart way forward.

Direct Publishing Will Continue To Grow

LinkedIn Pulse, Twitter Moments, Facebook Instant Articles, Apple News. All of these social-content curation tools have disrupted the traditional model which digital publishing is built on and allowed individuals to curate their own news.

A content creator’s number one resource is attention, and as Direct Publishing continues to grow people will realise that users don’t necessarily want to be redirected – they want to read the content there and then. This is only going to see the power balance sway from publisher to platform and if the publisher hopes to keep a readership on site they will have to re-establish brand loyalty.

Introducing Instant ArticlesMake your articles load faster in News Feed and deliver a better reading experience for people on Facebook with Instant Articles.

Posted by Instant Articles on Thursday, 14 May 2015

Content-Strategy Is King

Slapdash content production to boost SEO rankings will slowly lose its viability as more and more businesses understand the importance of having a bulletproof strategy to back it up. Developing objectives, goals, and measurement tools to go hand-in-hand with content production will see businesses start to find a real benefit in content and see them move away from a desire to fill their blogs with monthly content that has no direction. Speaking of which…

Content ROI Will Become More Obvious

The stumbling block for content and its intrinsic use to businesses has always been its lack of a tangible way to track ROI – PPC can be tracked through click-throughs and conversions, SEO can be tracked through reporting, but with content it has always been difficult to offer exact hard evidence of its benefits. As tools for measuring the effectiveness of content become more and more sophisticated, with them will come transparent results, and this will see content marketing budgets grow.

content strategy

Native Advertising Will Become More Prominent

The constant war between ad blockers and ad providers goes on and on, and with the difficulties that come from this as well as with trying to achieve reach through organic search, the spotlight will fall on content as the means to connect and engage with potential customers.

Similar to the advertorials you see in newspapers and magazines, native advertising will grow in prominence as a way for businesses to gain more viewers and click-throughs than traditional targeted adverts can achieve. This will be an increasingly effective way of reaching new audiences without them feeling like they are being hard-sold to.

These are just a few of the ways we see content taking on a more prominant role in digital marketing in 2016. What do you think the future holds?

In the digital age, businesses are competing fiercely to gain an advantage online. But what is it that makes ideas spread across the web? What makes a campaign go viral? What makes people want to share content? And how do you craft contagious content in 2016?

jonah berger stepps

Jonah Berger discusses the science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission in his book ‘Contagious’. He describes six dimensions which he calls STEPPS to explain the reasons behind popular ideas – here we discuss Social Currency, Practical Value, Emotion and Stories:

Social Currency

Social currency is a powerful concept which affects us all. Sharing information which makes us look good socially is part of our complex outlook as social beings. If a person feels like they are ‘in the know’, they form a positive impression on family or friends. We are all driven to engage in conversation and share information that is not only interesting, but makes us look cool.

Sharing opinions with others in our social group produces positive signals to the brain and is an important part of our psychology. For business to thrive and take advantage of this phenomenon it is important to form a strategy to capture the public’s enthusiasm.

please dont tell new york

Please Don’t Tell is now a famous bar in New York City, but this wasn’t always the case. When they started, their marketing strategy appeared to be non-existent; the bar purposely had no advertising and not even a sign above the door. Instead, an old phone placed inconspicuously on a wall held the only clues to the bar’s existence. From the outside, they made an effort to avoid public attention, and even told guests lucky enough to stumble upon the bar – “please don’t tell anyone.”

We are all guilty of not being able to keep a secret; the fact people were told not to tell anyone made people desperate to do exactly the opposite. They told everyone. The trick worked and the fact that the bar was a secret generated excitement which spread like wildfire. The bar became a huge success, using word of mouth online and offline to generate its client base.

If people are desperate to talk about your brand or product, your marketing message will spread organically. Give people an opportunity to look good whilst promoting your product or service. Ensure that your idea has remarkability and make the public feel like they are insiders. Word of mouth is a powerful tool in marketing, and with the influence of the internet can generate a huge amount of interest for any business.

Emotion

Emotion plays an important role in spreading a particular message on the internet. As humans, we only share information if we care and we only care if an emotion has been induced. Therefore, activating emotion is key to transmission on the web.

Emotions can range from anger to amusement and excitement to fear. Emotions of high arousal can be positive as well as negative, as long as they provoke a reaction. Emotions are a key driver of action and in turn ensure your message is carried across the web.

In 2009, Google came up with a plan to instil positive emotions into an advert for their search engine. They developed a series of online videos called ‘search stories’. Most notable was the episode ‘Parisian Love’, which shows a love story developing through the medium of Google search, crafting emotions of joy and romance into a seemingly dull topic. Once published to the public the video become an overnight success and was shared throughout the web being viewed millions of times.

BMW kindled the fire of their 2001 campaign by utilising emotion. They created a short film series which featured their cars in FBI raids and near-death experiences, unlike the idyllic scenery their consumers were accustomed to. ‘The Hire’ series generated emotions of excitement and fear, racking 11 million views in four months. The campaign increased sales by 12% and prompted a huge increase in website traffic.

Statistically, articles which evoke ‘awe’ such as wonder, surprise and amazement are 30% more likely to be shared. Sharing emotions helps us connect; they are a social glue. Social media has made it incredibly easy for people to share emotions fast and effectively. Ensure you campaign touches people’s emotions and make them care about your business, but always remember:

Emotions make us laugh, shout and cry. They make us talk, share and buy.

Practical Value

Delivering content of practical value also plays an essential role. Content which is genuinely useful is naturally more sharable. People like to pass on information, which will save you time or money, in the hope that the recipient will return the favour at some point in the future. Crafting content which helps people can be an extremely effective tactic to spread your message across the web.

The internet is the largest source of practical value, utilise this and position your business as a helping hand.

Stories

Stories have been a constant feature in human society. Ever since we could communicate there has been evidence of stories to grow social bonds, to craft messages and lessons to society. Stories provide us with a broader narrative to wrap our ideas in, they keep our audience interested and focused on the message at hand.

As marketers it is important to utilise stories to drive engagement. Stories can bring colour to an idea or meaning to product. They can provide context to an audience or a given society. If a story is vivid and engaging, it gives people an easy way to discuss products, services and businesses.

Take the Dove Evolution Story for example. Discussing the perception of beauty between women provided Dove with a story to sell their product. The video was shared through social media millions of times. Dove became a product that stands for real women, giving fresh perspective and position in the cosmetics industry.

Stories must be directly relatable to the product and any product that has to be mentioned as part of the story will enjoy greater success.

Blendtec have been successful at this, having gathered 267,185,428 YouTube views since 2006. They are experts at driving user engagement, creating a series of videos blending random products selected by its audience. Blendtec’s main product becomes the central piece of the story, and an essential component of the story. Therefore, ensure your story hosts information which is not only intriguing but of value to the product or service. Make sure the product or service you want people to remember is crucial to the narrative.

Ensure your campaign has a story, which is relatable to your audience, integrated across all platforms.

Follow these steps to craft contagious content in 2016.

An integrated blogging strategy that suits your business can be difficult to get right. As an important SEO tactic that you should be utilising, a blog holds shareable content that shows off your brands personality and builds an engaged audience that will keep coming back. As we’ve iterated previously, link building is dead but publishing valuable content on a blog is a way to really get your brand noticed.

Even though consistency is key to a successful blogging strategy, as the saying goes… quality over quantity is important – there’s no use churning out blog after blog that are thin on content and not relevant to your sector as this could harm the authenticity of your brand.

Increase Indexed Pages

The indexed web currently contains around 4.7 billion pages and this has been constantly expanding since 1991, focus your SEO strategy on building quality indexed pages that your audience will find, read and engage with. Those Google spiders we hear so much about crawl your website to find relevant content related to a user search. The more relevant indexed pages you have, the more chance you have of your web page appearing on a user search, increasing conversion rates, driving the success of your business.

Engaged Audience

A blog can be a great place to put a personal touch on your brands image, you can be a bit more informal and use it as somewhere to announce behind the scenes company news that your readers won’t find elsewhere, as well as providing informative content that establishes you as an authoritative figure in the sector. Relative content increases inbound links by 97%; search engines love fresh, quality content and your audience does too!

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Authority

Blogs have been ranked as the fifth most trusted source for reliable content; you know your business better than anyone and by creating valuable content related to your sector you can establish yourself as an authoritative figure. If you provide your readers with an engaging piece that is informative and well thought out, this is the first step to building an audience that will trust what you’re saying (it will also help make sure they come back AND they might even reward you in the long term by utilising your products or services).

Share-ability

Blog content can be integrated to complement an existing social media strategy that creates shareable content that will boost your reach across the different platforms and engage an audience.

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Often, blogs are neglected as people simply do not have the time to be writing quality pieces that people want to read, but you can always outsource this to a specialist who will understand your business needs and targets to help you incorporate your blog into an overall marketing strategy.