How to differentiate your blog based on the time you can put into it


differentiate your blog

The name of the game is to find a way to stand out in your industry … even if it’s crowded. Today I want to help you consider a way to differentiate your blog by thinking strategically about how you use your productivity and the amount of time you put into writing.

Blogging takes a lot of work. Are you using your time to maximum effectiveness?

Your blogging output

How much time can you devote to blogging? If you spend 4-5 hours a week creating content, is it better to spend all of that time on one epic post for the month or pump out a number of shorter posts spread out over weeks? How can you decide?

There are lots of ways to look at it, but one thing you might consider in your decision is the competitive landscape. Maybe your strategy should be determined by an opportunity for differentiation through your publishing schedule. Let’s look at a few of the top marketing blogs as an example of using the time you put into blogging (or any kind of content creation) as a competitive angle.

The field of marketing blogging is extremely competitive but to make my point, here’s how a few familiar bloggers are positioned:

differentiate your blog

Of the five blogs represented here, four of the authors probably commit about the same amount of time to their blog each week. But the strategies and results of that time commitment are remarkably different. They are using time as a strategy to appeal to a certain audience. Let’s take a closer look.

High frequency, low lengthSeth Godin publishes almost every day but his posts rarely exceed 500 words … and sometimes they are as short as a just few sentences! Seth is an industry thought leader and his posts are pithy observations of the business world. Those short articles probably appeal to busy people who only have time for small chunks of content.

Low frequency, low lengthScott Monty only publishes once or twice a week, usually a short business observation and a helpful weekly industry round-up. While Scott publishes infrequently, he puts an incredible amount of time into his curated weekly highlights post. It’s probably just 1,000 words in length but packs a lot of punch. Essentially he is spending his precious blogging time in a way that saves you time.

Low frequency, high lengthAvinash Kaushik of Google writes truly epic posts. He may only publish once a month, but when you get his post in your in-box, grab a snack and prepare to settle in for a while. A few of his highly-detailed posts have been mini-books exceeding 10,000 words! Reading an Avinash post is not for everyone but if you you thirst for deep analytical insight (and have the time to read it), there is no better source.

Moderate frequency, moderate length — Here on {grow} I publish thought-provoking posts (like this one) of moderate length several times a week. I also feature regular paid guest columnists like Kerry Gorgone, Eric Wittlake, Mars Dorian, Brooke Ballard, and Kiki Schirr to offer diverse, expert views on interesting topics that might be out of my normal reach.

How did I decide on this formula for {grow}? Reader feedback and surveys. I used to publish shorter, more frequent posts but I found that my competitive sweet spot is medium-length posts published no more than four times per week. Long-time readers might even remember I used to feature weekly cartoons as a way to stand out but I learned this was just not consistent with what my readers expected. For my specific audience, I seem to be at an ideal publishing rate.

Now these great blogs I’ve mentioned certainly do not make their mark through publishing strategy alone. They are also outstanding in their unique tone, original subject matter, and writing style. But the point I’m making is that all four authors are also using their time in profoundly different ways to stand out from the pack and make an impact.

The final category on my chart is high frequency, high length. There probably isn’t any way to be both prolific and lengthy without either turning blogging into a full-time job or getting creative with the approach, which is precisely what Social Media Examiner does every day by using a cadre of staff and unpaid guest writers. The minimum length of an SME post is 1,000 words and they publish eight times per week. There is certainly a place for this approach as well in some industries.

Your blogging strategy

The most important aspect of your blog is this — you need to be interesting. All the time. That’s not easy.

But if you commit to the hard work, find your voice, and identify an un-saturated niche, you can also stand out by HOW you use your time.

If you completed a diagram like this for your industry, is there an open slot?

  • If competitors are filling the airwaves with frequent, short posts, does it make sense to distinguish yourself by writing less frequently, but in-depth?
  • If your competitors are posting once a month, could you break from the pack by posting once a week or more?
  • Could you stand out like Scott Monty and devote your blogging time to skillful curation at a low frequency?
  • Is there room for a Social Media Examiner model in your industry?

Examining frequency and length is a new way to think about using your personal blogging time in a more strategic way.

Does this open up an opportunity for you?

Illustration courtesy Flickr CC and Robert Couse Baker.

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3 Tips On How To Differentiate In Ecommerce


As the ecommerce market has evolved, customers have become more and more aware of the companies attempts to fulfill their needs and make them happy. Nowadays, customers are not looking for a plain shopping experience because they buy with their heart and soul, and they want to be surprised. Considering these aspects and the competitive market, why don’t you take a step forward and adapt your business to the latest trends from the retail market?

Even though every business is different, with its audience and target, there are some tips you can personalize and apply on your ecommerce website to make it appealing and to stand out from the retail crowd. Don’t be just a drop in the ocean, but the bee’s knees in your industry.

Before doing any optimization experiments, there is one main aspect to set up: integrate a conversion rate optimization plan in your online marketing strategy.

#1. Focus On Micro Conversions

Sometimes, with the sole purpose of obtaining great results in a short period, we experiment too many activities on the same time and try to directly fulfill the biggest goal of your business. Even though you are 200% sure that everything is going as planned, somehow the results you’ve expected are not showing. That’s why working with small steps and objectives will prove to be a good way to plan your business: have in mind the business goal and design SMART objectives to build up your way to the big elephant.

Micro conversions represent one important step in transforming website’s visitors into paying customers. Before persuading them to place an order on your e-shop, try to connect and make a relationship with the target audience. The numbers speak for themselves: the average conversion rate worldwide is about 2% so most traffic doesn’t result in macro conversions.

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A micro conversion is an action visitors do before they invest money in your ecommerce website and buy a product. Depending on the conversion rate optimization goals and what you want visitors to do, a micro conversion could be to:

  • Look at a specific page or product
  • Click on a Call-to-Action button
  • Use the search bar
  • Combine multiple search filters
  • Download a paper, PDF, guide or ebook
  • Subscribe to newsletter
  • Join an email list
  • Engage with the social media buttons

How to get micro conversions?

The main point of having micro conversions is to know as much as you can about the current traffic, create a personalized on-site experience and take visitors down a journey of their own choosing. In this way, they’ll be more willing to give you their email and start a connecting with them at a more personal level.

One way to get leads and investigate the customers’ behavior is to create a personalized pop-up survey. For example, if you own an electronics retail website, design an on-exit intent pop-up survey on the cart page to investigate why visitors leave without placing an order and ask for the email addresses.

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Once the visitors give their email addresses, and you know their answers, start solving the problems you’ve found and interact with a personalized content strategy. Nurture the leads and transform them into loyal customers and raving fans of your business.

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#2. Use Weather Segmentation

Everybody knows that weather influences our moods and it can trigger a certain state of mind. Marketers have started to acknowledge the importance of this insight on their business not long ago.

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Nowadays, considering the evolution of mobile devices and diversification of communication channels, weather segmentation has become an even more efficient tactic to approach visitors. People have changed not only their shopping habits, but their entire lifestyle and weather effects which channels visitors use to prospect the market and to make purchases. When it’s cold or raining, people tend to spend more time indoors, surfing the internet, using their laptops and mobile devices. Therefore, it’s the perfect time to surprise visitors with the right message: “It’s time to jump into new cozy sweaters. 10% discount today!” – if you’re a fashion retailer.

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Weather segmentation isn’t a stand alone feature and it can be combined with several other segmentation criteria to fully create a personalized experience. For example, with Marketizator, you can combine the visitor’s location with the weather conditions to create a pop-up banner for a travel agency:

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#3. Use time pressure

Time pressure has become an increasingly feature in the ecommerce market and it is the ultimate trick to make people convert faster. Whether the conversion is a downloaded free ebook, a product purchase or just a click on a button, users will act on the spot if they know the offer is only temporary. Why? Because time pressure gives them exclusivity to a certain product or service. Knowing that a product is only available for two hours or that you have a 10 % discount if you place an order in the next day creates a feeling of urgency. Having the scarcity concept, as Robert Cialdini calls it, in mind and putting it into practice in the conversion rate optimization strategy is one way to increase the performance of your ecommerce website.

Why is time pressure such a great conversion trigger?

When it comes to rarity and time pressure, the actual thought of losing something motivates people to want it even more and have it as soon as possible. It’s as old as the hills that rare things, unique belongings are more valuable than mass objects everybody can buy from every corner shop. That’s why when visitors realize it could be their last chance to buy that special something, they tend to hurry and immediately make the decision to purchase it.

One way to use the scarcity effect in ecommerce is to emphasize how many people are looking at the same product in the same time. Create an A/B testing experiment and see the results for yourself. In the variation, simply add the text “{ONLINE} visitors are looking at this product” with the dynamic text replacement feature from Marketizator.

Combine time pressure and promotions for a great combo: give customers something extra if they order from your online store in a specific period. People love free stuff, and it’s a good way to spread the word about new products. Here’s one example that will make it understand how to use scarcity:

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Wrapping it up

Include out of the box ideas in the conversion rate optimization plan and take actionable steps to provide a personalized on site experience for your visitors. Define attainable goals, drive up A/B testing experiments to see which version of your website brings more conversions, use web personalization to create dynamic pop-ups and investigate customers behavior with branching logic surveys. Combine them to get micro-conversions, persuade visitors through scarcity and customize their journey using weather segmentation.

You can use these techniques with Marketizator and have all the necessary features under the same roof. Create a forever free account and see the results for yourself.

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