It’s been decided: creating quality content is the most effective way to market a business. 

We are surrounded by content noise when we scroll through our social media feeds. Every business, every entrepreneur, every influencer is publishing content and trying to be heard. It’s a fight that can’t be won by everyone. But, there are ways to stand out from the rest and be in the lead of the battle.

Quality content is the type of content that achieves its marketing goal. Such goals could be:

By identifying your goals, you are one step closer to generating quality content. But the question still remains; how can you create quality content?

Follow these tactics and you are well on your way. 

1. Monitor your social media streams

Be sure to pick up on social cues and trends by constantly checking your social media streams. Take note of what your followers are posting about. Follow people in your industry such as customers, competitors, partners, etc. Get inspired by the content you see and see what gets the most reactions. Notice which posts have more engagement and why that could be. 

2. Understand your customers

Make the customer feel like they are the only one and focus on their needs. Take each relationship as unique and treat it that way. To achieve that, you need to understand their behaviours and develop effective personas. Conduct research to know who they are and what will gain their interest.  By illustrating your core customers, you can create quality content that they are interested in. This strikes a chord with your audiences and maximizes engagement. Customer knowledge is powerful and gives you the ability to catch their attention by knowing what they like, who they are, what their typical behaviour is, etc. 

3. What are your competitors doing?

Check out what type of content is most likely to be shared by your competitors. Identify influential bloggers and social media influencers that they are collaborating with. Don’t copy what they are doing. You want to make sure that you aren’t missing anything and can use it as a guide, but you want to stay unique. You want your audience to choose to click on your content, not your competitors. What makes yours different than theirs and what type of content would your users find more valuable.

4. Test your titles

Your titles should contain your primary keyword, but at the same time entice people to click and read. It needs to stop people from scrolling through their feeds and follow your link to your quality content. Your titles need to be catchy and mysterious. Get creative and consider what would intrigue your clients to engage. Check out this article to learn how to make the best click bate worthy titles. 

5. Create engaging content

High quality content is only achieved if its engaging. Hook in the reader with your title and with your introduction. Your content should make them curious and intrigued to read until the end. Leave the reader with questions and give them the ability to leave comments and react to your content. Not only is engaging content helpful to achieve credibility for your brand, but it is better for search engines to notice your content. Another technique that helps clarify a point and catch your readers attention, is using anecdotes. People will be able to relate or have a better understanding of your content. 

6. Be accurate

To build trust with your clients you need to provide them with the correct information. Don’t tell them anything that you can’t back up with proof. Referencing can only help and is worth to do. Consider who you are linking to and evaluate their credibility. Not only does it build trust, but it also improves search engines. Check out our blog SEO 101: A Guide for Beginnersto find out how and why you should be linking within and outside of your company.

7. Optimize your quality content

At this point you should have created your content and are ready for the last step before you publish: optimizing it for search engines. This is better known as SEO and has more depth to it. 

Easy tasks to optimize your content: 

8. You’re so close, but we’re not done yet. Now, it’s time to measure your contents performance

You might think that it is high quality content, but you will only know for sure once you analyze the numbers after its been published. Look at your marketing goals you established before and compare them with your ranking on google, customer engagement, retention, and conversions. Learn from your performance and improve for your next content creation! Need some more guidance on how to assess and adjust your marketing goals? Our blog 5 Simple Content Marketing Tips for Entrepreneurs provides more information.

Thanks for reading! Tweet us if you have further questions about how to create quality content. 

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What is the Content Marketing Cycle?

The cycle describes the entire marketing cycle. It’s useful to use it as a guide to ensure your content marketing is a success. There can be a lot involved with marketing and easily get overwhelming. The cycle can help you structure and give reassurance to your content creation, especially if you are an entrepreneur and have little to no background in marketing. 

Content Marketing Cycle
I’m going to take you through each step of the Content Marketing Cycle, and you can activate it into your own marketing.
  1. Research and insight

In this stage of the Content Marketing Cycle, you want to get to know your target audience really well. Dig deep into who they are, where they are, what do they like, what challenges them, and where do they go to solve their needs. You want to look closely at their demographics and psychographics.
  1. Goal setting

Now it is time to create goals. What do you want to achieve with your content? Do you have a content calendar that you are using? Set SMART goals that you are able to attain to get the most out of your content marketing. Check out our blog post Set Entrepreneurial Goals for Your Business to read about what SMART goals are and how to utilize it.
  1. Content strategy

Choose which approach you will use and plan out how you will execute it for your content marketing to be the most effective. You will want to have a mixture of content type to keep your audience engaged. Know what type of content they like the most and make sure to retain their trust in your business.
  1. Create content

Finally, it is time to start creating the content! Make sure to consider SEO during your creation as it will be relevant to increase your content visibility. Our blog post SEO 101: A Guide for Beginners is the perfect place to start if you are new to the concept of SEO.
  1. Curate content

Curating content is another method to sharing high-quality content to complement your own created content. It can be stressful to make your own content all the time, but it is important to know that it is very acceptable for you to curate others’ valuable content.
  1. Distribution

Figure out which path you want to take to funnel your content. How will you reach your target audience? By finding out where your target audience is, you can maximize engagement by using the most appropriate channels.
  1. Engagement

After the six steps of the content marketing cycle are complete, you want to look at the results of your content. Which posts have gotten the most engagement? Review your analytics and see if you are getting the response that you want. Make sure you are clear on how you want your followers to engage and what action you will take in response.

Start at the beginning of the Content Marketing Cycle again and you will be constantly repeating it to improve your content.

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As an entrepreneur it can be incredibly tough to manage a healthy work-life balance. It’s a constant struggle between dedicating time to your business or to your family and friends or to yourself.

Many entrepreneurs find themselves attempting to figure out how they should spend more time and energy: on their business or life. Yet, the fact is that it’s doable to have both. You just need to accept that to maintain a work-life balance you can’t do it all.

Even in the land where they are known for their work-life balance, the number of people not going to work due to stress is increasing. Sweden’s notorious culture of relaxed work hours and parental leave is what we strive to have in Canada. However, according to the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, “more than 20% of sickness benefit cases across all age groups” are due to clinical burnout. No matter where you live, what you do, or who you are; it’s important to balance your work-life to maintain a happy healthy life.

I did some field research and asked entrepreneurs about their work-life balance, many didn’t hesitate to tell me they struggled with it all the time. After collecting their answers, I picked out the top tips and tools to manage a work-life balance that they’d share with other entrepreneurs.

Tip 1: Time Management

It’s important to keep track of how many hours you are spending on your business. One of the entrepreneurs I spoke to uses CAATO Time Tracker to organize and time how long they spend on grant writing, emails, finances, meetings, and much more. The app allows you to look back and reflect on if the time you spent was necessary and worthwhile. Being able to see how many hours are put into your business allows you to re-evaluate.

In addition to keeping count of work hours, it’s helpful to use the Pomodoro Technique. This technique allows you to be fully present in your work when you work and to be rewarded with a break. Set a timer for 45 minutes to focus on your tasks, and once that time is up, go outside for a break, have a snack, or anything else. This simple technique allows you to be 100% there when you are working and in the long run allows you to spend more quality time with your friends and family. It’s easy to get distracted and overwhelmed when you are working, but the Pomodoro Technique can assist in your work-life balance.

Tip 2: Delegate / Outsource Tasks

Ask yourself, “is it worth my time and skills to do this task?” If you are hesitating with your answer, you should consider delegating the task to someone else or outsourcing it by hiring someone to do it. For example, maybe you need to do the accounting for your business and because it isn’t your background it takes a long time and energy to get it done. Instead of using your valuable time, think about hiring someone and using your time to maintain the work-life balance. It might cost you money, but it you will save your sanity by avoiding unnecessary stress. Use this spare time to surround yourself by things and people that centre you to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Tip 3: Unplug

Technology makes us accessible 24/7. Especially if you work with technology and rely on it. Frederic at WP Expert relates as he needs to be available if issues were to occur.

“I find it is not always easy to manage the work-life balance when you are running a web agency with clients on WordPress maintenance plans. You need to fix issues when they arise and it can be at nights, weekend... I try not to work more than 8h a day, sometime below especially during the summer where I am trying to spend quality time with my family.”  - Frederic from WP Expert

Unplugging can help you rejuvenate and let go of the stress that was pilling up. Make quality time and turn your phone on silent. Unplugging doesn’t mean that you need to be offline for a couple of days, it can easily just be an hour as you are eating dinner with your family, going for an evening walk and leaving your phone at home, or silencing your phone when you are at your kids piano lessons. By not reacting to the notifications from work, you will develop a stronger habit of resilience. Resilient people will have the psychological strength to maintain a low stress life.

I hope these tips from entrepreneurs can help your life-work balance! Try it out for a while, see what works and what doesn’t work, and let us know!

It's about time you learn more about the entrepreneur who dedicates so much time and passion to his enterprise WP Expert: Frederic Sune!

He’s the resident WordPress wizard. With an extensive IT background and a degree in electronics, he has gained the skills to be the CEO of IT in MIND and WP Expert.

"The first website I designed was in 1996. It was pure HTML/CSS," began Frederic when I asked him what the catalyst was that sparked his passion.

Frederic grew up in Lyon, France and came for the first time to Canada in 2001. A few years earlier, he had met a woman named Cecile in France, and they had stayed in touch when she moved to Canada. Years later he broke up with his then current girlfriend and visited a friend in Montreal, and Cecile in Toronto. He fell in love with her and decided to officially move to Canada in 2002. Both of them agreed that French food may be better, but Canadian culture is incomparable.

When they lived in Toronto, Frederic worked at the French Catholic School Board and made his way up to becoming a Network Administrator. During this time, they also got married and had their child, Chloe. In 2008, they moved to the capital of Canada because they wanted their daughter to get the best French education.
When they moved to Ottawa, he didn’t have a job and was trying to find free activities to do with his daughter. He began which is a platform that provides all the free activities that you can do in Ottawa, and even Canada-wide! He began this website when blogs weren’t all that popular, even though now they have boomed.

Soon after he joined the CIA.

Yes, the CIA. The Canadian Institute of Actuaries!

Frederic worked as a web administrator, and his passion of becoming a web designer blossomed even further.
In 2011, he started IT in MIND, an IT company. From there he started designing websites for clients and realized he really enjoyed it. Two years later, he began WP Expert so that he could focus on what he loved most.
Now, Frederic has a fulltime job and runs two of his own businesses: WP Expert and IT in MIND. His passion for helping others start up their own enterprises has him also volunteering with the Ottawa Tool Library, the Impact Hours and now, the Centre Espoir Sophie.

When asked if Frederic has any words of wisdom for beginning entrepreneurs, he shared his top four tips:

  1. Get an accountant ASAP.

He did his own accounting at the beginning of IT in MIND, but wished he had hired someone right away. It’s better to leave that to the professionals.

  1. Meet people.

One way to grow your community is by joining a co-working space. Frederic joined Hub Ottawa in November of 2012 and has been an active member since! He even offers his expertise to Hub members every Wednesday at noon during the WordPress Happiness Bar where people can ask any questions they might have about WordPress. He really enjoys being able to help others.

  1. Have a mentor.

It can either be a mentor that you personally know and look up to, or someone you don’t know and are just inspired by their work ethics. Frederic’s mentors are: Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Warren Buffet, and Bill Gates.

  1. Offer great customer service.

You need a topnotch customer service, no matter the type of business you run. Your clients should be your top priority and for a long-term success, it is good to focus on your clients. They like fast responses and actions, clear communication. Over the years, he has acquired many testimonials on his website regarding his services at WP Expert.

"I highly recommend Frederic for work on your WordPress site. First, he does excellent work, in little time, and at a very fair rate. Second, you will get more than WordPress advice. He takes the time to understand your business, and makes sure that the site is aligned with your business objectives...”
- John Stroud, CEO of Crowdsourcing Solutions

Frederic finds it vital to do what you love: “If you have the passion, you will succeed.”

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you enjoyed this article below in the comments. Interested in checking out my other articles? Click here

Content marketing is the backbone of SEO. Saying that, it is vital to create a content marketing plan to have a very strong presence. It is becoming more evident by entrepreneurs that it’s important to dedicate time to have a solid content marketing plan. Research shows that 70% of B2B marketers are creating more content than they did a year ago! Even though it takes dedication, innovation, and perseverance to have a successful content marketing plan, it is worth all the work.

I started writing this article with a very long checklist to create a notable content marketing strategy, but I’ve compiled the most important and resourceful steps for you to achieve it. Use these content marketing tips to have amazing results.

1. Identify Your Purpose

The foundation of any successful strategy is setting your goals. Before you begin, write down what you want to achieve from creating a content marketing plan. Perhaps it is to build awareness, increase retention rates, or generate more leads. Make sure you have set your priorities and have established reasonable organizational goals.

2. Create Your Personas

After setting goals, know who your audience is and get to know them. Personas are used to facilitate effective content creation.

Ask yourself:

To get these answers, you need to conduct research. Use social media to see what’s happening on other accounts, especially your competitors. You are most likely targeting the same demographic and therefore you need to create content that will set you apart from the others so that the customers will go to you. By conducting research, you will be able to stay up to date with trends and can evolve with time. Identify ways to develop better content to be unique by creating outstanding personas. This tip, out of all the other content marketing tips, is very vital as it is used as a base to have a successful presence online.

3. Get Started

It’s time to start creating content!

Will you be the one who will generate it? Or will you make room in your budget to hire someone?

If you are deciding to hire someone, you will want to figure out what else you will be spending your money on. Dedicate time to come to a conclusion on how much and where you will use the money. For example, lots of businesses have found it valuable to pay for promotion (ex: Facebook, Google, YouTube, etc.). When creating the content, remember to incorporate your brands voice and keep it consistent within all of your platforms.

Don’t forget to craft a distribution plan for viewers to access the information. Will it go out via newsletters? Blogs? Social Media? Or any other platforms? Do some research to find out where your demographic is spending their valuable time.

Almost there, keep reading to find out the rest of the content marketing tips! 

4. Commit and Create a Schedule

A part of standing out and having a great content marketing strategy is content consistency and quality. I see many businesses who aren’t putting in 101% into their content strategy and it’s very visible by their low numbers. Creating content that comes out periodically and is valuable for viewers will get a good response.

By trial and error and simple research, figure out what times and dates work best for your demographic. Perhaps they are Moms with young children and are often up at night, or government workers who often go on their smartphones when commuting. Schedule your content to go out at a time when viewers are most likely to interact with.

5. Assess and Adjust

You will want to keep track of how your content marketing strategy is going and if it’s working as you had hoped. Track your progress by collecting data and analysing it throughout the initiation period.

Things to track:

Record all of it down and adjust whenever needed. You may start to see some patterns and come to the conclusion to follow or stick with one topic rather another or an array of topics. Visual learner or not, it’s advisable to create graphs and pie charts to see the data. Visual representations can be great motivators to get to a perfect result of 100 percent.

Thanks for reading! Please let me know how you liked these content marketing tips below in the comments. Interested in checking out my other articles? Click here

1. Turn it off to Increase Productivity

Everybody is guilty of getting distracted from work by scrolling through social media feeds or browsing the web. A healthy balance of work and life will increase your productivity. But how to achieve that mysterious balance everyone talks about. Here are a few tips you should try: schedule a set amount of time to work and then reward yourself with a fun activity. This will encourage you to work hard without any distractions. Turn off your notifications on your phone and computer to stay focused on your task. Make a list of all the things required to be completed. Crossing them off is satisfying and will motivate you to finish more tasks.

2. Keep a Memory Jar of Your Successes and Failures

I began this experiment last year and have found it therapeutic to write down the good and the bad. Find an old mason jar, keep it in a safe spot where you often are and write down the professional and personal successes and failures that happen throughout the year on pieces of paper. Put them in the jar until the end of the year when you begin your reflections. This will allow you to learn from your failures and look at them as ways you can improve. The successes will motivate you to keep going and do the things you enjoy.

3. Personalize Your Social Media.

This is a challenging task for introverts as it will draw attention to yourself. Your followers on social media don’t just want to hear about your product(s) or service(s), they also like the inside scoop. It’s appealing to them because it makes businesses genuine. You can humanize your social media content by incorporating your personal life, showing the behind the scenes of your business, introducing your employees, and sharing your daily tasks.

One way of personalizing your social media is through videos. Videos are an emerging trend in the marketing world. Live and promotional videos have been rapidly becoming the norm across industries and are very popular with followers because it gives your brand authenticity. People love knowing more about the company and feeling like they are along for the adventure.

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