5 Tips for Choosing Effective Marketing Content For Your Blog Or Newsletter

5 Tips for Choosing Effective Marketing Content For Your Blog Or Newsletter

Content marketing is the best way to get information to your clients or customers. This is also the perfect way to gain the trust of your customers and increase your sales.

The problem is choosing the most effective type of content and presenting it in an attention getting manner.

Here are some tips on choosing the most effective content for your content marketing.

  1. Point out the competition’s mistakes. People, in general, want to avoid painful experiences as much as possible. Pointing out all the ways your competitors fail to make life easier for your potential customers works to your advantage. Top ten lists on this kind of thing such as “10 most common mistakes” or “10 things you don’t want to do” are especially effective in driving people to you, rather than your competitor. I’m not saying you should specify or point fingers at specific competitors here!!  That’s not professional (or nice). Instead, use general statements and point out what makes your company better than others.
  2. Give out industry “secrets.” They are not really secrets but if you let people think they are then their trust in you grows. Create content with bulleted lists showing how to do things faster and easier or how to make something work better. People love lists about things because lists are easy to filter through and pick out those points that pertain to them specifically. They also help people retain the information.
  3. Organize it for them. One of the biggest hurdles for some people is the organization of certain things. Do the work for them by giving them plans and ways to organize things to make their life simpler. If you can make something straightforward and easy for someone, they will appreciate it and repay you with their business.
  4. Answer common questions. When you’re discussing a common problem or situation, people tend to have the same questions. By providing the answers before someone even asks the questions, you make them feel more comfortable. It gives them the impression your company truly cares about them and their needs because you’ve taken the time to learn what they want or need.
  5. Latest trends reports. This is a way to help your clients and customers keep up to date with the latest information from your company. This type of content lists the newest information or technologies and explains them in an easy to understand fashion.

Effective content marketing is all about continually giving the client or customer whatever information they deem useful. It demonstrates to prospects your company is paying attention to the needs of their clients and responding in an resourceful and expeditious manner. If the frequency and/or quality of information begins to slow down, your client base will begin to find another source of information, taking their sales dollars with them.

Making use of a virtual assistant writing service is a good way to fulfill the needs of consistent and effective content writing. By using writers to help create your content, you can easily continue to provide fresh, new content. Once you have the articles, reports and other documents, offer them to your customers freely through email or a blog. Not only will your customers thank you in replies and comments but, more importantly, with their continued loyalty. The Smart to Finish team can help you create content and update your blogs and newsletters. Let’s talk 🙂

How to Make Your Blog Kick A$$ in 2017

Every year, it’s the same story… marketers and search engines are always telling you CONTENT IS KING and if you want to rank anywhere people are going to find you, then you best be spewing out some kind of great content. What if you’re already doing this though? And you’re still not seeing the kind of traffic to your site that you thought blogging would bring…. It’s a bummer, we know.

That’s why we are going to over you three ways how to make your blog totally kick a$$ in 2017.


It’s not just about publishing new content all the time. What search engines are really for this year is for sites to offer them high quality content that’s better than the competition! What we are really saying is offer your customers something of incredible value and do it better than the competition. If you’re having a hard time trying to figure out what’s valuable, niche down your customers as much as possible and figure out what’s most important to them.


If you’ve got a steady following on your blog, then you have the opportunity to monetize your blog in a variety of ways by just posting content! First and foremost, Google Adsense is the bees knees. It’s a simple way to make money by doing what you’re already doing… sharing great content! But other than that, blogs can also pull in a buck or two by utilizing affiliate marketing, direct ad placement, and building your mailing list.


We sign on new clients all the time who believe filling out plugins like Yoast or All in One SEO are all they need to do to optimize a blog post. That’s just simply not the case! Site speed, performance, loading time, and bounce rates can all play a huge part in your SEO strategy. One way to get a handle on where you stand is to use Google PageSpeed Tools and Google Webmaster Tools to analyze your site to see what needs to be worked on.

Obviously, there’s a lot more to each of these points. If you’re ready to make your blog kick a$$ and need a little help to get going, then shoot us a note. If you’re already on the road to success with your blog, please comment below and let us know how you were able to do it!

Hashtags 101

The American Dialect Society Declared “hashtag” (#, or hash) as the 2012 word of the year. Now that’s a social media force! This modest little symbol gives the user the ability to connect their conversations on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumbler, Pinterest and Google+. Hashtags allow social media users to “tag” key words or topics and make them into a searchable link. Hashtags present an extraordinary opportunity for business owners to identify relevant social media conversations and allows their content to be delivered to their desired audience.

What Is A Hashtag And How Do You Use Them?

Hashtags originated on Internet chat networks before they became popular on microblogging sites such as Twitter.

A hashtag contains a word or phrase followed by the “#” symbol. When a social media user uses hashtags to find particular words or topics, they will be able to view all the posts that contain that same word or topic. Creating your own hashtag can be a very powerful marketing tool. Your goal is to create a hashtag that will start trending among your followers and send a reminder of your business. So, how can you utilize hashtags to benefit your brand?

1. Strive for business –specific conversations. Take advantage of Twitters’s news, advice and business variety resources. Look to #smallbiz for small business advice, as this type of hashtag can provide a large number of results and the information it contains could inspire your next marketing tactic.

2. Consistency and Simplicity are best practice. When creating your own hashtags, it is important to consider keeping your tags simple and direct. Do not create long or complex hashtags. They are not search-friendly. You also need to keep in mind that weighing you tweets down with excessive hashtags will only make you look desperate to your followers. Keep it simple by using 1-2 hashtags per tweet.

3. Create your own hashtag. Hashtags are the perfect way to create buzz around your marketing campaign. Events are a great way to create conversation around a hashtag. So, get creative and develop your own business-specific hashtags.

4. Use hashtags to cross social media channels. Connect your different social media outlets and reach more people by using the same hashtag in each of these platforms. Imagine the number of people you can reach by using ALL of these platforms.

Things To Consider

  • Don’t use more than two hashtags per post.
  • Anyone can search and view your hashtag links if you use a public account.
  • Never send spam with hashtags.
  • Use relevant hashtags.
  • Monitor hashtags to see how much activity it receive before you use them in your post.
  • Don’t use spaces, commas, periods, apostrophes, question marks, exclamation points or any other special characters.
  • Create a unique hashtag for your business.
  • Follow trends and make use of them.
  • Generate a buzz by offering a promotion or contest to get people talking about your brand. Users are more likely to retweet hashtags if you offer prizes to do so.

Which Social Media Platforms Support Hashtags?

1. Twitter: Twitter has been called the “birthplace of modern hashtag usage”. Hashtags via Twitter are generally used to represent specific topics of conversation. You can find an item called “Trends” on the Twitter sidebar that generates a list o f suggested hashtags based on your tweets.

2. Facebook: Facebook has supported hashtags for a couple years. Popularity on this site is not as prominent as on Twitter. Clicking on a Facebook hashtag will take you to a list of posts that contain the same hashtag. The results you see come from people you know, as well as those users you do not.

3. Instagram: Instagram hashtags are used to complement photographs. This also helps you to discover new accounts and may lead to you picking up additional followers. Instagram has also created specific hashtags to encourage certain photo posts. #ThrowbackThursday is used to encourage users to post old  or “retro” photos.

4. Tumblr: Hashtags on Tumblr are not links when they are used within the body of the post but, instead posts have a “Tag” section that you enter your tags. Tags will function like those in Twitter and be organized by topic. The “#” will be inserted automatically.

5. Google+: Google gives you an option to search within Facebook and Twitter for specific tags. Clicking on a hashtag in Google+ will generate a list of search results that include the original hashtag and other posts that have related tags and keywords.

6. Pinterest: Pinterest hashtags are placed in a pin’s description allowing users to click on the link and be taken to a list of pins that may contain that hashtag. Keep in mind that not all hashtags are indexed. Pinterest can be a great social media marketing tool if you know how to optimize your pins. Use key words in your pin’s description. The pin should also come from a URL that has the keyword in it. Keywords should also be included in the picture’s file name.

The Hashtag, a once lonely keyboard character, is swiftly becoming the most powerful punctuation mark in human history. Harness the mighty marketing power of a Hashtag and watch your social media base flourish.  You will be hashtagging like a pro in no time!


5 Brilliant Ways to Use #Hashtags in Social Media Marketing. by Uri Bar-Joseph. Retrieved October 1, 2015 from: http://searchenginewatch.com/sew/how-to/2327748/5-brilliant-ways-to-use-hashtags-in-social-media-marketing

How to Use Hashtags on Every Social Media Network. Michael Patterson. Retrieved October 1, 2015 from: http://sproutsocial.com/insights/how-to-use-hashtags/

The Beginners Guide to the Hashtag. by Rebecca Hiscott. Retrieved October 1, 2015 from: http://mashable.com/2013/10/08/what-is-hashtag/#HB7807Cbwu

The Big “Facebook Slap”

In an effort to cater to Facebook users Facebook has a major change coming that will affect millions of businesses that use Facebook to drive traffic for sales and conversions.

In November Facebook made an announcement that stated that it is going to change how your news feed posts that are used for the purpose of:

1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context.
3. Posts that reuse the same content from ads

A couple examples of the type of ads they are describing:

Facebook Ads

Per Facebook’s changes the problem with this ad is the part directing people to purchase their Season 1 DVD set.

Facebook Ads

Per Facebook’s changes the problem with this ad is the part directing people to purchase and install the app.

These changes are going to force businesses to purchase more ads from Facebook if you want to promote any type of the above ads. This does two things 1) increases revenue for Facebook and their shareholders 2) allows Facebook to have control over what “advertisement” content users are seeing. Basically Facebook is forcing business to “pay to play”.

Per Facebook’s statement the reason behind this is:

“One of the main reasons people come to Facebook is to see what’s happening in their News Feeds. Our goal with News Feed has always been to show people the things they want to see. That’s why we often look to people on Facebook to tell us how we can improve. As part of an ongoing survey we asked hundreds of thousands of people how they feel about the content in their News Feeds. People told us they wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content.

We dug further into the data to better understand this feedback. What we discovered is that a lot of the content people see as too promotional is posts from Pages they like, rather than ads. This may seem counterintuitive but it actually makes sense: News Feed has controls for the number of ads a person sees and for the quality of those ads (based on engagement, hiding ads, etc.), but those same controls haven’t been as closely monitored for promotional Page posts. Now we’re bringing new volume and content controls for promotional posts, so people see more of what they want from Pages.”

Moving into 2015 Facebook is still the #1 place to go for businesses to advertise their products or services. Even with this major change Facebook still has the most highly targeted advertising capabilities and the largest diverse audience you will find anywhere. In the 3rd quarter of 2014 Facebook had reported that is has 1.35 Billion active users on Facebook and this number continues to climb.

Facebook continues to be a great avenue to market on with a little training or by hiring the right company to assist you; you will be able to use this powerful platform to reach millions of people when promoting your business.

Written by Skye Hawk, Smart To Finish Diva

On Page SEO Best Practices

We have been asked by several of our clients what the SEO best practices are that we use here at SmartToFinish as well as when we support them with their WordPress page setup. You asked and we have answered!

Here are on page SEO best practices for you to follow if you want your website to get better rankings in the search engines.

1. Keyword in post title

The title is perhaps the most important SEO element on a page. It has to be unique, and it should contain your main keyword for that particular page or post.

2. Subheadings for easy reading, with keywords in subheadings

Viewers will be scanning an article for words and phrases that jump out at them. The easy way to Get important point across to readers is to use subheadings, bullet points and lists. Subheadings are “mini titles” that are used in the body of the content to introduce a new concept or idea. Use keywords in subheadings. The best subheading to use are “<h2>” and “<h3>”. For some reason Google and the other search engines think that any text inside a code tag, like “<h2>” is more important than the rest of the words on the page. The same holds true for bolds, italics and links.

3. Use images and insert a keyword in the alt text area of the image.

Images are very good for SEO, but few people know how to insert them correctly. In order to comply with the on page SEO best practices, you need to always add an “alt” tag to your images. Write a description that makes sense and use the keyword in it. Make sure the image is also related to what you put in the alt tag because there are chances to rank in Google Images for that particular keyword.

4. Use an SEO plugin like WPSEO by Yoast.

These plugins allow you to optimize the Google search entry, which makes it more enticing for people to visit your website. Use a single keyword / keyword phrase for each post. That keyword needs to be in:

  • the title
  • keyword area
  • meta description

of the SEO plugin editor. The plugin will indicate the level of on page optimization of your post, so you will know if you need to further tweak those elements in order to be in line with the most important on page SEO best practices.

5. Keywords used in the content on the page

You would think this is a given …. but it’s not. Putting a keyword in the post title and the description of the page is not enough to make that page relevant. You also need to use it in the page content. Try to include semantically related words in the context, as that increases the relevancy of the page for your particular keyword. As a general rule, it’s good to include your main keyword once in the first sentence of the content and in the last sentence. If you have a lot of content, you may consider adding it once or twice more. If you have too many instances of the keyword, you risk an over-optimization penalty from Google.

6. Link to different pages or posts on the same website and link to outside websites with a higher page rank.

Internal linking is very important if you want to improve your rankings. It’s good to make references to older posts and link to them naturally.

In order to improve the internal architecture of your website, you may consider adding a related posts plugin. There are a few good ones out there. Choose one and have three to five related posts displayed under each article. It improves the navigation for both people and search engines spiders.

Linking out should also be part of your on page SEO strategy. Unlike inbound links, outbound ones can be controlled by you. Take advantage of this and always try to link to websites with good authority and with higher page rank. Be careful, it’s best that all resources you link to are related to your niche and to the topic of your post. The best thing about such links is that some websites have the trackback function enabled, so it’s possible you get a good link back from them automatically.

When you are consistent and persistent with these SEO best practices, you will see a rise in your website traffic and your page rank.

If you would like us to support you with your SEO best practices, please schedule a call with us to find out more!

Preventing WordPress Hacks

It seems like a day does not go by where I have not read a headline that involves a website being hacked. The ones that make the headlines are big hacking situations. I had to change my own debit cards after shopping at Target not too long ago. Some other memorable hacks include Citibank, NASA, and Sony, which included the PlayStation3.

However, often hackers simply hack for the fun of it, and they hack anything and everything, including small to medium websites. In my 17 years as a web developer, I have had five clients report damage to their websites from hackers, and I want to provide you the same tips I have provided them to keep their sites safe.