Must-Have Google Chrome Extensions to Boost Your Public Relations

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Continuously simplifying and improving team processes is key in maximizing efficiency and success in every industry. When it comes to planning, pitching and collaborating with media and influencers, there’s a Google Chrome extension to save marketers and public relations professionals time along every step of the PR journey – from research and outreach, to monitoring and reporting.

Check out a few of our favorites below:

Upfluence Software – Allows users to search for influencers, view full profiles on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and other platforms, plus analyze performance metrics including engagement rate, reach, audience demographics and more.

Upfluence Software

Upfluence Software

Hunter – Enables users to instantly discover who to contact when they visit a website. Hunter provides names, job titles, social networks and phone numbers using domain search capabilities.

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Hunter

Bitly – Gives users the ability to shorten, measure and optimize their links. Saving and sharing links using the extension saves all link data to your Bitly account as well.

Bitly

Bitly

Evernote Web Clipper – Helps users save what’s important to them. Use this extension when browsing the web to save full pages or shorter snippets to read later. Users can clip webpages, highlight key points, annotate saved items and access that information through their Evernote account.

Evernote Web Clipper

Evernote Web Clipper

CoverageBook Clipper – Simplifies users’ coverage collection during the reporting process. This extension allows marketers and PR pros to bookmark coverage as links and posts roll in and then copy all bookmarks in one quick click to paste into coverage reports.

CoverageBook Clipper

CoverageBook Clipper

Looking to build a solid public relations strategy for your brand or business? The Social Ape Marketing team can help! Contact our team to get started on your next PR campaign.

Meet the Media Monday: Katie Peralta

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Meet the Media Monday: Katie Peralta of The Charlotte Observer

It’s time for another Meet the Media Monday! The series features a brief Q&A with leading Charlotte journalists as we get to know the faces behind the stories that matter most in the Queen City. This week, we chat with Katie Peralta of The Charlotte Observer.

Katie Peralta is one of Charlotte’s leading business journalists, having written about everything from new business openings and NASCAR to the Carolina Panthers. We caught up with Katie over coffee at one of our favorite local spots, Sunflour Baking Company, to discuss the Charlotte journalism scene, tips for staying focused and everything in between.

  • What's the craziest story you've ever covered?

    • KP: “The Panthers ownership drama. It wasn’t just one story and we weren’t the first to break the news. When Jerry Richardson was accused and everything that came after that...that series of stories.”

  • If you could write for any publication what would it be?

    • KP: “The New Yorker.”

  • Something people would be surprised to learn about you?

    • KP: “I lived in Spain for a year in college. I’m going back in six days for a trip! I wouldn’t live there, but it taught me how much I take for granted here.”

  • If you weren’t a journalist what would you be?

    • KP: “Probably an attorney. I would make more money, but probably be less happy.”

  • What attracted you to journalism?

    • KP: “Initially, I wanted to have an activity in college. I felt like I was missing a piece of something. I saw a classified ad in college for the Notre Dame Observer and that’s how I got started. My mom was also a professional writer!”

  • What are the challenges you face being a journalist in 2019?

    • KP: “Lack of resources is the biggest one. The newspaper industry is facing continuously declining print revenue. It’s difficult to adhere to certain standards if you’re part of a chain. The fact that people blame the media...we’re good about admitting when we’re wrong.”

  • What’s your favorite social media platform? (both professionally and personally)

    • KP: “Professionally, Twitter. Personally, Instagram.”

  • How long have you lived in Charlotte? What brought you here?

    • KP: “I moved in 2005 for my dad’s job. I went to college a year later, came back six months after graduating college, then I went to Chicago, then D.C. and I was back in Charlotte for good in 2015.”

  • What's your favorite activity in Charlotte?

    • KP: “The breweries. Walking my dog. Being with my family (my cousins live here too) and cooking.”

  • What’s one thing you could change about Charlotte?

    • KP: “A train that went in more directions.”

  • What has surprised you the most about Charlotte?

    • KP: “How welcoming people are to newcomers (in a good way). People take pride in the city, people aren’t put into silos and there’s an eagerness to form communities.”

  • What’s your favorite season in Charlotte and why?

    • KP: “Fall! Because I hate the humidity and have no patience for how Southerners handle snow (haha).”

  • Advice to aspiring journalists?

    • KP: “Be deliberate and know what you want to do or be clear about what you want to cover. Be realistic.”

  • Favorite restaurant in CLT?

    • KP: “Good Food on Montford, Alexander Michael’s, and NoDa Bodega.”


Want to learn more about The Charlotte Observer? Head to their website or follow along on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook for the latest.

How to Find the Right Journalist for Your Story

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Do you have BIG news about your business but aren’t sure how to go about contacting the right person to help tell your story? These six tips will help you find the right journalist to help spread the news.

Familiarize Yourself with Local Media

Research all digital, print and television media outlets in your area. Know what content they typically produce and the tone of their writing. It would also be helpful to know if the outlet issues a daily newsletter in addition to their online stories.

Consider Your Audience

Think about which outlets and programs your target audience may read or watch. For example, if a national barbershop chain is looking to receive press online or in print about a new hair service, ideal outlets to pitch would include Men’s Journal or Men’s Health, as the readership for those publications would likely be men in their mid-20s to 50s. In this instance, it wouldn’t make sense to reach out to Cosmopolitan as their readership is typically young, millennial, women that obviously wouldn’t receive haircuts from a barbershop.

Research

Once you determine which outlet would be the best fit for your story, research the writers who work at the publication. What do they typically write about and how often do they write? Today, fewer and fewer journalists are full-time at publications and instead may freelance for multiple outlets. That’s okay! If you do your research and read the articles that this journalist has already written, you’ll know if your story would be something they would even consider for that particular outlet.

For example, if you own a popular coffee shop and will soon be making an announcement about the opening of a new location, you likely wouldn’t contact a health and wellness writer for a lifestyle magazine. For this example, we would recommend reaching out to a reporter that writes about new business and real estate at your local business journal.

Find Contact Information

When you find the perfect journalist to pitch your story, you’ll also need to find their contact information. If you do not have access to PR software such as Meltwater or Cision, you may need to do a little digging. If you’re lucky, you may find their information directly on the outlet’s website. Their email will likely be listed under their bio.

If you’re still having trouble, check out their social media handles. Many journalists place contact information in their Twitter bio or link to their online portfolio. No luck there? Check out their LinkedIn profile. If there is still no trace of a reporter’s email, try using hunter.io. By using Hunter, you’ll be able to find the best bet of a journalist’s email address.

Tailor Your Pitch

After finding the journalist’s contact information, it’s time to send your pitch. But first, you’ll want to personalize your email to the journalist. See below for an example:

“Hi, Sarah,

I hope you’re doing well. I recently read your article about the Pet Adoption happening this Saturday at the Humane Society and am convinced I need to add another dog to my family!”

Include the journalists’ name and a sentence about an article that they have written that you enjoyed. This will show that you care about the journalist’s work and keep tabs about what they’re writing and are aware that the pitch you’re sending to them is relevant to their beat. Adding a personal touch can also help you stand out among the hundreds of emails journalists receive daily. If you’re contacting a freelance writer, be sure to include which publication for which you would like them to consider your story. See an example below:

“Would this story be a fit for a future article in PureWow?”

Follow Up

Follow up is key when it comes to securing a pitch. We suggest following up 24-48 hours after the initial pitch. Sometimes a follow up is what it takes to receive an answer. If you receive a no, be sure to have a Plan B. If you receive a yes, Congrats! You’ve secured coverage for your story!


Don’t want to handle pitching journalists on your own? Contact the Social Ape team HERE to learn more about our Public Relations services.

Meet the Media Monday: Alicia Valenski

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We recently connected with Alicia Valenski for round three of Meet the Media Monday. The series features a brief Q&A with leading Charlotte journalists as we get to know the faces behind the stories that matter most in the Queen City.

Alicia is a contributor to CharlotteFive and SouthPark Magazine and co-founder of Work for Your Beer, the ultimate guide to beer fitness in Charlotte. We had a blast chatting with Alicia about her favorite beers and breweries, dogs and her move to Richmond, VA.

What brought you to Charlotte?

AV: “My boyfriend at the time (now husband) and I were living in upstate New York after college, which was a mistake. It was so cold! We visited one of my college friends who was living in Charlotte and it was so fun. We wandered around NoDa and went to all the shops and restaurants like Salud Beer Shop and Smelly Cat (I’m an avid Friends fan). My now-husband and I went back home to New York and couldn’t stop thinking about Charlotte and thought, we have to move there, so we did!”

What’s your favorite activity in Charlotte?

AV: “Beer yoga! When I first moved to Charlotte, I actually didn’t like beer. When I moved here, I knew that breweries were popular so I started with wheat beers and eased into it. Now I enjoy all the beers. I went through Cicerone training. A sommelier is to wine what Cicerone is to beer. It was so enlightening and has been helpful in writing about beer to know how to properly describe what I’m tasting. My biggest tip for for anyone looking to find the fun activities in any place is to talk to bartenders. The first brewery we went to was Heist and we became friends with the servers and asked them what to do in Charlotte. That’s how we learned the cool things to do.”

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What attracted you to journalism?

AV: “I’ve been a writer my whole life. I won an essay contest for Seventeen Magazine about why I had the best boyfriend in America, which is the dumbest thing! I got flown to New York, did a photoshoot and got my picture in the magazine along with my article. But that got me started thinking, “Oh I’m a writer.” Then I started interning for the Patriot News in Harrisburg (I grew up in Hershey, PA). I worked for them all through high school and also interned for a Harrisburg-area magazine called MODE Magazine. It was a fun time! I went to Penn State for journalism and straight out of school I wrote for an online magazine called Her Campus and was an editor for their main site.”

What’s the craziest story you’ve covered?

AV: “When I was working for Her Campus, I was invited to interview Aziz Ansari when he was releasing his book Modern Romance. I got tea with him in SoHo, which was so much fun. It’s probably one of my favorite things I’ve written. He was super nice but a lot of people think comedians in general are really outgoing. When you meet them in person, they’re kind of reserved and a little shy. He got Earl Grey tea.”

What’s surprised you the most about Charlotte (good or bad)?

AV: “One thing I was really surprised by when we first moved here is just how new everything is. Charlotte is such a young city. It’s been here a long time but a lot has been torn down. Walking around Richmond, VA recently, there are so many old historic buildings that are kept intact. Here it’s very tear it down and build something new. And it’s so spread out! I was surprised when I first moved here that if something is 10 minutes away, that’s far. When we first moved, we didn’t mind driving 30 minutes to go to one particular brewery. But now if we’re in NoDa, we’re not going to make the trip to South End.

One thing that I love about Charlotte is that it’s such an active city. You can be at a place that’s relatively upscale but be in your workout clothes and no one would think it was weird. I feel like that’s something I take for granted here a little bit. That I go everywhere in my lululemons and sneakers and no one really cares because everyone expects that you’re active.”

What’s your favorite social media platform?

AV: “I manage so many Instagram accounts and I’ve gotten pretty good at it with knowing about photography and how lighting works, how to focus, etc. I can do it well but I don’t love it. I don’t like that everything has to look so visually perfect. For me, my favorite account is Twitter. It’s the most fun. Everyone is just putting the weird things out there thinking, “Maybe someone will think this is funny.” Some people are so funny on Twitter! I connect with a lot of people there that I haven’t met in real life. I like it partially because it’s not that popular anymore.”

Want to learn more about Work For Your Beer? Head to their website or follow along on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook for the latest.




5 Social Media Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

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Social media marketing can be one of your most effective tools to increase awareness and drive sales. Here are 5 ways small businesses can use social media marketing to gain new customers.

Let Your Fans Promote You

If customers are already praising you on social media for free, consider contacting them with an offer, freebie or discount if they'll keep it up or use your official hashtags. Their smaller account may not have the reach of an influencer with 100K followers, but then again their appreciation is genuine and their help comes with a cheaper price tag. Even a shoutout or a retweet goes a long way.

Run Contests and Deals

Whether you're trying to build your followers or increase engagement with the ones you already have, both contests and deals can be a great way to do achieve your goals. Certain contests may encourage user-generated-content which, in turn, helps with content creation. Examples include sharing an exclusive coupon code shared with your followers for a percentage off a future purchase or a giveaway that asks people to tag friends and follow your page for a chance to win.

Post the Content Your Followers Want

Many businesses make the mistake of posting dry, straightforward content to their feeds. People don't spend time on social media because they like infomercials. You want to get the word out about your business and the best way to do that is with content that people are actually drawn to. Pay attention to what kinds of posts are popular on each platform and figure out how you can fit them to your message. Pro tip: a picture is worth a thousand words.

Use Social Media Advertising

Organic social media marketing will only get you so far. If you want to maximize your reach and lead generation, it pays to pay. Paid ads can benefit businesses of all sizes, from the smallest startup to the biggest corporation. For little spend, you can get your business in front of thousands of eyes in the form of an Instagram story, Facebook messenger ad, promoted tweet or Youtube video ad, growing your reach and your bottom line in the process.

Provide Customer Service

Growing a business is about more than sales. You've got to keep customers happy, so that they keep coming back, tell their friends and leave glowing reviews on your product or service page. Whether it's questions or complaints, social media has become a popular place for customers to seek customer support in recent years. It also helps to be proactive and actually seek out people who are confused about your product or venting their frustrations without directly contacting your page.

Want to learn more about our Social Media Marketing and Social Media Advertising services? We’d love to hear from you! Contact us HERE.

Meet the Media Monday: Taylor Bowler of Charlotte Magazine

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It’s time for round two of Meet the Media Monday! The series features a brief Q&A with leading Charlotte journalists as we get to know the faces behind the stories that matter most in the Queen City. This week, meet Taylor Bowler of Charlotte Magazine.

Taylor is one of Charlotte’s leading food journalists, but her experience spans many beats having written for Best Self, Jezebel and more. Currently, Taylor’s role as Associate Editor of Charlotte Magazine has led her to write about local cuisine and travel features (check out her Puerto Rico trip here). We caught up with Taylor over coffee to discuss the Charlotte food scene, The Real Housewives franchise (Team Bethenny) and everything in between.

What's the craziest story you've ever covered?

TB: “I’ve covered health and fitness, beauty, plastic surgery. Cool Sculpting… a corporate magician...like a motivational speaker but using it as a metaphor for leadership.”

If you could write for any publication what would it be?

TB: “The New Yorker.”

Something people would be surprised to learn about you?

TB: “Cannot cook to save my life even though I cover food (haha). Luckily, my husband is a great cook.”

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If you weren’t a journalist what would you be?

TB: “An illustrator or photographer. I went to SCAD as an illustration major and I still do illustrations on the side.”

What attracted you to journalism?

TB: “I love to write (first love) and love to tell people stories. I believe everyone has a story and I’m fascinated by what makes people tick. A majority of people, if you ask the right questions, like to talk about themselves. I also love to read.”

What are the challenges you face being a journalist in 2019?

TB: “Being at a monthly print publication where everything is digital now and keeping up with that. One luxury is we can spend six weeks on a story, but, at the same time, staying current and relevant. Finding that balance is a challenge. And the influencer phenomenon is a new one for me. It’s fascinating how much influence you can have now just through your social media platforms. It’s kind of expected now.”

What’s your favorite social media platform? (both professionally and personally)

TB: “Instagram. I was late to the game and have only been on for a year. I did Facebook and a blog, but Instagram is the source of so much inspiration for stories, pitches...it’s amazing. It’s fun.” Give her a follow @taylormadenarratives.

How long have you lived in Charlotte? What brought you here?

TB: “Six years, and we moved here because of my husband’s job. I was in Atlanta before that. I've moved around a lot, but I grew up mostly in Northern California. For SCAD, I received a brochure in the mail and knew I wanted to see a different part of the country. I went to SCAD sight unseen and loved it.”

What's your favorite activity in Charlotte?

TB: “Things I do with my kids. I do an Annual Day of Yes where the kids get up in the morning and can make any request and I have to say yes. Last year we went to Duck Donuts in our pajamas. Aside from that, my favorite activity is taking my kids around Charlotte for a “mural crawl” to see different artwork in the city.”

What’s one thing you could change about Charlotte?

TB: “I wish public transportation was more accessible to me. The light rail is great though. I love city living and wish I lived on the light rail.

What has surprised you the most about Charlotte?

TB: “How easy it is to make friends. Majority of people here are imports or transplants. And having kids helps with making friends.”

What’s your favorite season in Charlotte and why?

TB: “Fall. I’ve always loved fall. The new school year, anticipation for holidays. A lot to do in and around Charlotte. Fun, seasonal stuff.”

Dream location for a travel piece?

TB: “Capri or anything that pushes me outside my comfort zone.”

Favorite beat?

TB: “Food & drink is just fun. foodie culture (I have an adventurous palate), self-made people have been interesting, creatives, entrepreneurs, risk-takers and tracing how they got there.”

Favorite restaurant in CLT?

TB: “I love sushi. It’s my favorite thing to eat. I love Sushi Guru, O-ku and Flourshop (try the lamb bolognese). I also love Poppy’s Bagels (She orders an asiago bagel toasted with cream cheese and salmon). I love a good breakfast.

Favorite kid-friendly restaurant?

TB: “JJ Red Hot’s, Hawkers, Cantina 1511.”


Want to learn more about Charlotte Magazine? Head to their website or follow along on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook for the latest.



Meet Communications Specialist: Paxton Shaw

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We’re thrilled to announce the latest addition to the Social Ape team, Paxton Shaw. Paxton is our newest Communications Specialist and will be working closely with clients to help increase their brand awareness through public relations and events. We asked Paxton a few questions so that you can get to know her a bit better. Welcome to the team, Paxton!

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Where are you from? How long have you lived in Charlotte?

Born in Charlotte, raised in Gastonia, NC. I’ve lived in this area my entire life aside from college.

Who is someone you admire, and why?

In my personal life, I admire my mom because she’s always been a hard worker, funny and super creative. She’s also very independent. A celebrity I admire is Bethenny Frankel because she built her business from the ground up and is constantly working on new things and evolving.

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Finish this sentence. On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me…

On my couch with a coffee.

Your top 3 favorite Podcasts/Books?

  1. Podcast - The Morning Toast

  2. Podcast - Ladygang (the podcast is better than the show on E!)

  3. Book - The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F%$k

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Outside of work, what do you do in your spare time?

I like trying new restaurants, catching up with friends, spending way too much time at T.J. Maxx, whipping up a HelloFresh recipe and watching Bravo with my basset hound/husky mix Pippa.

How to Track Email Marketing Performance

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With so many different email analytics to consider, it can be tough to know which numbers really matter. To simplify reporting, we've gathered the important metrics every email marketer needs to track.

Open Rate

The first metric to evaluate is your open rate. In your email marketing dashboard, find your open rate statistics. This metric measures how many recipients click to open your email. Keep in mind that your open rate isn't the best metric for evaluating campaign performance as it's difficult to accurately measure. An open rate of 29% or higher is widely considered a healthy number. Open rate is tracked in two ways:

  • By an image loading in the recipient's email client

  • By the recipient clicking a tracking link within the email

Even with its inaccuracies, when the open rate increases, it indicates that your message is likely being read. That's the first step to a successful email campaign.

Bounce Rate

A high bounce rate can affect your overall deliverability. For example, if the email address doesn't exist, it's a hard bounce. Generally, after three hard bounces for one email address, the address status is changed to undeliverable, so make sure these are removed from your database. A healthy bounce rate is 2% or lower. There are a number of other reasons an email may bounce:

  • If it's a temporary condition, such as a full inbox, it may be marked as a soft bounce.

  • Your email marketing platform may have up to 20 types of bounces.

To reduce the frequency of bounced emails, use a clean email address list. A clean list only has legitimate email addresses that opted into receiving your messages. Cleaning your list reduces its size, but improves your metrics with more accurate data.

Click-Through Rate

The primary goal of email marketing is to entice your audience to click a link in your email campaign. Your CTR measures the number of unique clicks in an email, divided by the number of emails successfully delivered. Generally, the more relevant your message is to your audience, the higher your CTR. Some marketers see high open rates but low click-through rates. This likely indicates the message sparks interest, but the internal content fell flat. A healthy CTR is 5%. That being said, you want this metric to be as high as possible.

Use your email metrics to learn what valuable information your audience wants to receive from you. When you act on what you've learned from your email marketing analytics, you can improve your metrics and grow your audience's loyalty.

Want to learn more about our email marketing service? Contact us today!

How to Use Google My Business for Your Small Business

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Do you want to stand out from your local competition on Google? Google My Business is a free tool set up by the search engine giant to help businesses take control and ownership of their brand and location. If you haven't started using it already, you're running the risk of customers receiving incorrect information or not being able to find your business. Google My Business allows you to get noticed by genuine potential customers, manage your reputation and generate more business. Get started and set up your profile with these easy steps.

Create your listing

1. Log in to Google and click Manage Now.

2. Start typing the name of your business and if Google already has a listing, click the name.

3. If your business isn’t listed, fill in the details including address and/or delivery area. Pro tip: If you run an online store from your home, you might not want to have your address visible.

4. On the next screen, move the pin to your exact location, if you want customers to find your business. If you offer deliveries, you can determine your delivery method and service area.

5. Select the category your business falls under by typing it in and picking the best fit. Then, choose how you want your customers to contact you by providing a phone number and/or website link. Pro tip: If you don't already have a website, you can get a free one built based on your Google My Business data.

Check your email

If approved, you'll be notified by email. If you're denied, you'll be notified by email and have the ability to suggest an edit to the listing or, in some cases, request an appeal. If you don't receive a response after seven days, look for a claim or verify button on your dashboard and you may still be able to claim the business.

Verify your listing

Once you've filled out your information, Google needs verification that you are who you've claimed to be. This can be confirmed in a variety of ways. Here’s how to complete verification via mobile.

  1. Choose the business that you'd like to verify, then click Verify Now.

  2. To receive the code via an automated phone call, click Verify by Phone.

  3. You will be given a code on the call. Enter it on the website and click Submit.

Optimize your listing

Add key information to your profile like an address, business description, website, hours and phone number. Next, you'll create and add media to your listing. This should include a profile image or logo to allow readers to quickly identify your business, as well as a cover photo to showcase the personality of your business. You can also add a 30-second video clip to highlight your brand even more. Pro tip: they need to be 100 MB or smaller and 720p resolution or higher.

Google My Business is an essential tool for businesses of all shapes and sizes. It's also very straightforward to set up, so why not make it easy for your local customers to find you?

5 Evergreen Content Ideas to Drive Traffic to Your Website

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Does your business need content that consistently drives traffic, shares and links to your site? Find out why evergreen content is one of the most useful and effective content marketing strategies to boost your SEO and website traffic.

1. Interview someone with authority in your niche

Ask a handful of questions to someone that is interesting or authoritative within your niche. The great thing is you don't have to write it yourself, the interviewee creates the content for you. Additionally, the interview doesn't have to be conducted face to face and can be done via Skype or email.

2. Secure guest posts

Invite well-respected bloggers to contribute to your site. This allows for guest writers to get in front of your audience, while you benefit from additional blog content. You could also consider partnering with newer or smaller blogs that could benefit from the exposure and invite them to guest post on your site!

3. Follow the top people on Twitter within your niche

Bring attention to influencers in your industry and other colleagues, friends or accounts you discover that are sharing valuable content. It's a great resource for your followers and it's an even better way to get people to notice you.

4. Create a resource

Create a post, infographic or video that people will find useful. For example, if your website is in the photography industry, why not create an Instagram Photography Cheat Sheet? These are resources that people will find useful while giving you a web asset that will always attract traffic.

5. Host a giveaway

Partner with a business to offer prizes for your readers through competitions or quizzes. As an online marketer, you’ll find that using giveaways as a marketing channel can be an effective way to generate leads and drive traffic to your website and social channels.