Internet Marketing Expectations in 2014 – Lessons and Realities for Success in the New Year

Happy New Year guys! 2013 was an awesome year for Internet marketers and bloggers. Lots of dreams were fulfilled, lots of expectations were met, and lots of progress was made.

On the flip side, many were disappointed, many hopes were dashed, and much business failed. While some won, others lost! It’s the fact of life right? Yes, it is but life goes on even in Internet marketing. Here are lessons and realities of Internet marketing for 2014 success.

Learning from Internet marketing lessons of 2013 to succeed in 2014

We are now in the New Year – 2014 – and are set to go forth with new goals and plans. For many who want to make money online, the New Year presents another opportunity to do so. However, to make the most of the New Year, it’s essential to learn from the lessons of 2013.

Yes, we can learn from the lessons of 2013 by avoiding those actions or inactions that made some businesses fail in 2013, and embracing those actions or inaction that made some businesses succeed in 2013. The good news is that there is so much to learn from many bloggers and Internet marketers if we just take time to browse and access information on their experiences for 2013.

Specific Areas of Online marketing to Consider in 2014 online success

In the areas of content marketing, video marketing, social media marketing, blogging, Search engine optimization (SEO), link building, mobile marketing, affiliate marketing, freelance writing, etc, a lot of lessons are learned. 2013 has seen lots of ideas, innovations, strategies, tools, and recommendations in how online marketers and bloggers carried out their businesses. What happened in these areas should be considered as we start running with make money online ideas in 2014.

Focus of Internet Marketing efforts in 2014

The customer, reader, or subscriber should be our focal point to make money online in 2014. Whatever tool, strategy, or idea is developed or employed to make money online or achieve a successful online business in 2014, it is important to keep the customer at the heart of things. This should be done by ensuring that value in the service or product is offered to the customer.

As an Internet marketer, effective content marketing in blogging and social media should be emphasized so that “value’ is easily shared and you get rewarded easily by it. The best of blogs and websites that would offer great value for marketers in 2014 would easily get traffic, leads, and sales!

Embracing Google Updates and Webmaster’s tool guidelines for Success in 2014

To succeed in 2014 in the online sphere, we should not forget nor ignore Google updates. In the last couple of months, Penguins, Panda, and Hummingbird updates have changed the way contents and links are shared online. We get to see fresh updates periodically and these affects rankings in the Search Engines Page Ranks (SERPs) of Google.

Therefore, online success in 2014 must comply with the guidelines of the Google Webmaster’s tool that talked much about good optimization to meet the needs of the search engines. Luckily, there are many helpful articles, tips, tricks, and blogs that can be accessed to learn more about effective SEO which complies with Google’s algorithms’ updates.

So, welcome to 2014, a year of improved content marketing and value added social marketing for online success. Expectations should be high from this first day – January 1st – but it is clarity of goals, commitment in quality plans, and character in discipline that would deliver the best results for marketers in 2014. I am wishing all bloggers and Internet marketers to another year of successful blogging to make money online. Welcome to 2014!

Bull Market: What Does It Mean for Nonprofits?

If you’re like me, you found yourself on January 1 surfing the Internet without much on the agenda. News of the stock market’s incredible 2013 was being heralded seemingly everywhere I looked.

But not all was joyous to start 2014, for with the good news came the inevitable questions about the sustainability of such good fortune. Could the good times last? Which just goes to show, if you look hard enough, there is always someone willing to take the wind out of your sails.

So what does the stock market’s performance in 2013 have to do with nonprofit organizations? If you’re asking that question, you aren’t likely a development professional. Fundraising and the performance of the stock market are directly linked in many ways. Let’s take a look at the three areas of potential support – individual giving, foundation grant making and corporate support.

Individual Giving

WritingCheckOne of the first bits of advice I would give new interns during my time with NYC’s Manhattan Theatre Club was to read the Wall Street Journal every day (or at least the cover) to have some idea of how the market was performing. To learn this lesson, try calling a would-be donor, particularly one in the financial industry, on a day when the Dow has dropped precipitously and asking that person to not only renew, but INCREASE support. Once you’ve gotten an earful, you are likely to avoid making that mistake again.

The stock market’s effect on individual giving is largely psychological. Unless you are sitting down to talk to a donor prospect about a multi-year gift, the exact performance of the market on the day or week you are making your ask is likely inconsequential. What does matter is the state of mind of the prospective donor. Is the individual in a good mood? Does that person feel confident in the future performance of his/her portfolio? In my experience, a person is likely to feel generous during a time when that individual’s financial portfolio is on the rise.

Impact on Individual Giving in 2014: My hope is that many organizations in the Carolinas benefited this past holiday season from end-of-year appeals. With such sizable investment returns, some individuals were likely looking to offset the tax impact through charitable write-offs. But even if your organization only saw modest gains from those appeals, Q1 of 2014 represents an opportunity to continue building on those good feelings… before the other shoe drops on that potential market correction.

Foundation Grant Making

Perhaps no other charitable vehicle is as affected by the stock market as foundations, which typically consist of a mixture of financial assets heavily reliant on the stock market. Best practices call for foundations to allocate 5% of their assets annually based on a three-year rolling average of total assets at year end. That way, foundations can mitigate years with big losses against years with substantial gains.

Using the Dow as an example, 2013 represented the fifth year in a row of positive annual gains after that monster of a loss in 2008. If a foundation were to be invested entirely in assets represented by the Dow (however unlikely), that 33.84% loss in 2008 really hurt the three-year average in 2009, 2010 and 2011. In fact, 2012 was the first year foundations were finally free and clear of 2008 in allocation calculations, and with two big years of double-digit returns in 2010 and 2011, it was a very good year for foundation giving in 2012. However, modest returns in 2011 (Dow finished at 5.5%+) and 2012 (7.26%+) would mean 2013 would need to be a big year to see that giving sustained. And luckily, it was.

Impact on Foundation Giving in 2014: It is going to be an even better year for foundation grant making in 2014. Even with the relatively modest returns in 2011 and 2012, the double-digit returns more than offset previous years in the three-year rolling average. 2014 promises to be the best year for foundation grant making since 2000.

Corporate Support/Sponsorship

When working with nonprofits, I am often surprised by the lack of connection some staff members make between corporate support and the performance of those companies. As if a corporation exists principally to fund nonprofit programming, and whether or not the company is making money is less important than the artfully communicated case for support.

Corporate support is dependent on a number of factors, and one can reasonably assume that if that company is publicly traded on the stock market, it likely had a pretty great 2013. Stock performance is linked to profits, and companies that saw 20%+ growth in 2013 probably posted some pretty significant profits at various points throughout last year.

When companies profit, nonprofits benefit in two ways. Corporations with foundations are more likely to pump increased dollars in, and unlike private/family foundations, they typically don’t use a three-year average and give it all away on a yearly basis. Those companies are also good targets for sponsorship requests. Under-funded marketing efforts in previous years are likely given new budget after a year like 2013, and nonprofits may hold the key to reaching target audiences.

Impact on Corporate Giving in 2014: Without a doubt, 2014 is a great year to submit requests to corporate foundations and submit thoughtful sponsorship proposals. Most companies have some sort of funding focus in both areas, and the 2013 market performance isn’t likely to change that. However, with the future still unknown, striking while the iron is hot is essential.

What to Expect From the Real Estate Market In 2014

After many years of challenges, the real estate market came back to life last year. It is expected that the rebound will progress in 2014, but the movement will be very slow. A lot of experts say that 2014 is a year for stabilization and continued growth favoring the housing market with the decreasing number of foreclosures, rising prices or homes and more activity seen in homeowners. But then, real estate still need to deal with headwinds since inventory is tight and the fact that lending standards remain tough.

Real Estate Tax Tips in 2014

In order to purchase a home in the current real estate market, you need excellent credit score or the ability to pay in full cash. According to experts, the average score for applicants who were denied is at 729. With this, it can be inferred that the average score accepted is at 720 or higher. It is not right to expect that the credit standards will ease up soon. This is the year where regulations meant for preventing risky mortgage products and borrowers from coming into the market takes place. These changes necessitate lenders to evaluate several factors such as employment status and debt-income ratio, assets and income very closely.

The Continued Hike in Home Prices

Apart from tight credits, rising home prices and interest rates may put off prospective buyers from buying properties in 2014. Take a look at the computed 30 year mortgage at 3.34% in 2013 that bounces to 4.48% the current year and is expected to increase further this year.

What about the luxury home market? Well, price gains are not that much of a bad news for those who wish to buy. However, first time buyers may lose hope though increasing prices may satisfy current owners whom are waiting for their homes to accumulate more value.

In the past years, first time home buyers serve as the driving force. But this year, the reverse is expected as the prices of houses rises and less mortgages becomes underwater. The degree of bounce the housing market is expected in 2014 also relies on construction. Builders are financially careful and deal with similar tight lending settings as buyers do. So, this year, it is expected that there will be a small increase in new homes out in there in the market. But then, if buyer demand hikes up, building of new homes should also follow.

Tight Inventory
This 2014, the gains in terms of demand as well as inventory will move in a slow pace. It was noted that the entire housing inventory fall during the months of October-November last year. Currently, unsold inventory is at 5% higher compared to last year and with this, it is predicted that the inventory will not speed up until 2015.

It is presumed that 2014 will be the period where the appreciation of home prices will pull back to sustainable levels. However, to be able to get through the current housing trends, ample research is needed. This may take time, but it is always better to be sure than regret later on.

Should You Even Bother With Article Marketing Since Google’s Hummingbird Update?

I’ve been an avid article marketer since I wrote my first ebook back in 2002 and discovered that I could get free coverage by simply writing content and giving it away for others to distribute “all of the web.” Since then, there’ve been so many Google updates you’d think the search giant was running a zoo instead of an online marketing firm, eg, Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird, etc.

But with every update, and with all the SEO experts declaring that article marketing is dead, ineffective and can be downright harmful, I’m still in love with this form of content marketing. And make no mistake, that’s what article marketing is.

3 Reasons I Still Believe in Article Marketing – Even Post-Hummingbird

Following is why I STILL think article marketing is effective – yes, even in spite of Google’s latest most talked about update.

1. It’s Just Content Marketing: What do industry leaders like the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) say you need to do to get more site visitors, traffic, conversion, leads and sales? Produce more content.

In fact, one of the findings of the CMI’s B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends-North America report, the company flat out says, “It seems to be that small businesses need to realise that… producing enough content on a regular basis is crucial for success.”

Article marketing is just content marketing – and if done consistently (this is where many fall down), it’s still effective.

2. It Forces You to Produce Better Content: Piggybacking on this last point, almost all of Google’s algorithm changes work in some way to make what web surfers want to find on the web better. They want to get rid of spammy, keyword-stuffed articles that aren’t helpful to end users and reward content that is the exact opposite.

As well-known social media and content strategist Jay Baer writes in the post, How Google Is Forcing Your Content to Get Better:

Google has stated for many years that their goal is to make search behave more like people… and this [Hummingbird update] is just the next step in that direction. Content that people like, Google will like.

Google wants you to figure out what content to make not by obsessing over keywords and data reports, but to answer the questions that you can genuinely answer well, and be authoritative for the topics about which you truly are a good solution.

3. It Forces Scammers Out: With every Google update, more and more of the spammers, schemers and scammers as I like to call them, give up and go away because they’re after a quick buck. But real business owners who are invested in their sites, blogs, brands and image rejoice. Why?

While we may get frustrated if our sites lose rank for no apparent reason, we know that if we keep producing great content and distributing it, we’re building a community – a community of loyal readers and followers. This makes us less reliant on what Google and other search engines are doing – because it’s never been about “gaming Google,” but meeting our customers’ needs.

And a strange thing happens – Google rewards this because your “community” sends signals their way (via shares on social media, comments on blogs, reviews in forums, etc.) that, “Hey, we like this site!”

Remember the quote above from Jeff Baer’s post, “Content that people like, Google will like?” Well that’s how it works folks.

I’ve been saying this for a while now, if you want to “beat Google,” focus less on the intricacies of what they may or may not be doing with their algorithm updates, and more on what they tell you directly, which is to have original, high-quality content. Proof?

In the Search Engine Land post, FAQ: All About The New Google “Hummingbird” Algorithm, founder, editor and search engine guru Danny Sullivan writes:

Does this mean SEO is dead?

No, SEO is not yet again dead. In fact, Google’s saying there’s nothing new or different SEOs or publishers need to worry about. [Google’s] Guidance remains the same, it says: have original, high-quality content. (emphasis added) Signals that have been important in the past remain important; Hummingbird just allows Google to process them in new and hopefully better ways.

How Effective Has Article Marketing Been for Me

Well, it’s kept me on the first three pages of Google for many keywords relevant to my niches, eg, SEO writing – and quite a few more.

SEO Article Marketing: Well Over 1,000 Articles Written!

Once I learned how to write SEO content in 2007, I increased my article marketing efforts and I haven’t let up since. In my opinion, it’s still some of the cheapest, most effective online marketing you can do – yes, even in spite of Google’s Hummingbird update.

China Bolsters Copper Market

The United States is crawling into 2014 with the Federal Reserve Board doing everything it can to stave off deflation. Years of zero percent interest rate policies along with the current $85 billion per month in stimulus have failed to generate inflation in anything but the stock market. This leaves GDP well below 2% and unemployment remains stubbornly high. Meanwhile, the European Central Bank just cut their rates in half, now at a.25%, to spur any kind of economic growth of their own. Typically, two thirds of the world, North America and Europe mired in economic doldrums would lead to a generally soft commodity outlook. However, China’s growth continues to be the real story and this is best explained by the inner workings of the copper market.

China’s growth rate continues to exceed 7.5% and is expected to register a third consecutive quarter of growth, which may top 8% for Q4. The vast majority of this growth is in building. Industrial infrastructure and residential construction continue to boom. China’s arcane domestic investment laws are partly to blame for this as their residents have very few open channels of investment other than real estate. Further muddying the waters is their version of the loan qualification process, which now accepts hard assets, like copper as collateral. This has put China in the top spot in global copper consumption. In fact, they consume approximately 40% of the world’s copper shipments.

We often refer to copper as, “the economist of the metals market.” The logic follows the line of copper as a base need for economic expansion, which we view as building stuff – houses, electronics, buildings, cars, etc. It appears that the Chinese growth story is bigger than old world economic malaise. The copper market has seen renewed interest in commercial buying since Bernanke’s tapering talk in August signaled an, “everybody out of the pool,” moment. In fact, cash copper prices are trading above the copper future’s price and copper miners are negotiating just how high they’re going to set their premiums for 2014.

The current spot premium is around $.05 – $.07 per pound which reflects the highest premium since the collapse of ’08. The surge in demand is prompting premium increases of 50% and higher as producers negotiate with Europe, Asia and America. Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer has announced plans to raise Chinese premiums by 41%. There are similar increases of 50% for the U.S. and up to 75% for the European Union. These price rises come in the face of an expected surplus of 200, 000 tons (less than 2% of total market) after experiencing a three-year supply deficit. In spite of the projected surplus, Codelco has openly admitted that they’ve hedged none of their forward production.

Commercial traders in the copper market were what tipped me off to the market’s increasingly bullish outlook. I was so busy looking at our domestic economy that I didn’t see the rebound in their buying after initial talk of tapering, which pointed to slowing growth and declining demand created the bearish scenario I outlined in Augusts’, “Copper Points to Slowing Economy.” Clearly, the cash market premiums are leading end line users to hedge their future needs through the purchase of forward copper futures contracts.

The largest net long position I can find for commercial traders in the copper market is near 40,000 contracts. This was made during the July sell-off. Previously, the largest net long commercial position I could find was in February of 2009 when copper was trading at $1.75 per pound and we were coming out of the major market crash. What the market is seeing now is a greater willingness to own copper at much higher prices. This buying support is putting a floor in the market around the $3 per pound level and is prolonging the sideways market direction that has persisted throughout the year. The longer this occurs, the closer we are to breaching the downward sloping trend line that originated at the 2011 highs around $4.80 and now comes into play around $3.36 per pound. Obviously, a move above this would confirm the move for 2014.

We see two potential concerns in this 2014 scenario. First of all, China has always been an opaque marketplace where the economic statistics produced by the government must always be taken with a grain of salt. There is talk that end line demand is nowhere near as strong as Chinese imports suggest. However, for our purposes, it is pretty irrelevant if China is using their copper imports or, storing them. Either way, supplies are being taken off the market. Secondly, much of the mining that’s counted in moving us to surplus is in new mines whose production is only estimated. Therefore, their production numbers aren’t yet solidified. Finally, all things considered, copper may be one of the best physical assets to own as we approach 2014.

B2B Content Marketing Statistics and Trends: How Do You Measure Up?

The Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs recently published their annual B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends–North America report. Looking back at 2013 and ahead to 2014, the study revealed many intriguing B2B content marketing statistics. You will definitely want to check it out for yourself, but below are a few key findings to help gauge how your content marketing efforts measure up to your competitors.

Not surprisingly, B2B marketers who had a documented content strategy were more likely to consider themselves successful (66 percent compared to 11 percent), and the majority of the most effective marketers (86 percent) said someone oversaw their strategy.
Key takeaway: Your business needs a leader to own your B2B content marketing activities. Whether you outsource content or manage it internally, give one person the primary responsibility of executing your plan.

Marketers used an average of 13 B2B content marketing tactics last year. Seven tactics surpassed 70 percent in popularity, topped by social media, articles on their own websites, eNewsletters, blogs, in-person events, case studies, and videos. The most successful B2B marketers rated blogs as the most effective tactic (79 percent), while infographics have seen the largest year-over-year increase in usage.
Key takeaway: Your business needs to use a diverse set of tactics to connect with prospects and customers. While blogs and social media will likely continue to be the best B2B content marketing tactics, you should also consider repurposing content as eNewsletters, case studies, white papers, videos, infographics, and online presentations.

B2B marketers used an average of six social media platforms. SlideShare, Google+, and Instagram saw the largest increase in usage, but the top three platforms are still LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook (in that order).
Key takeaway: While you should continue to engage with prospects and customers on the most popular social media platforms, branch out to other sites on which your target audience hangs out. The most effective social media sites will, as always, depend on your industry and type of business. They can range from video-sharing sites like YouTube to presentation-sharing sites like SlideShare to Google’s favorite social networking site (its own, Google+, of course!).

At 82 percent, brand awareness has been the number one goal for marketers for the last four years. After brand awareness, the top B2B marketing goals were lead generation, customer acquisition, thought leadership, engagement, and customer loyalty.
Key takeaway: While you are undoubtedly trying to achieve many goals with your B2B content marketing strategy, they all start with creating and sharing high-quality content your target audience wants. If you don’t provide it, they will find it with a competitor.

On average, 43 percent of B2B marketers use a combination of in-house and outsourced resources for content creation. Although large companies outsource content creation more often than small companies, more small companies plan to increase their budgets over the next twelve months.
Key takeaway: B2B content marketing spending will inevitably continue to rise as businesses of all sizes–and in virtually every industry–reap the benefits of implementing an effective content marketing program. With so many options available and competition steadily increasing, you need to define a specific strategy that is tailored to your goals. An unfocused approach will likely result in spreading yourself too thin in too many different areas.

How does your business measure up to these B2B content marketing statistics and trends? Which tactics have been most effective? How do you plan to outperform your competitors this year? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

What’s Forecast for 2014? 5 Predictions for the New Year

What’s Forecast for 2014? 5 Predictions for the New Year

1. The Gamification of Education – connecting like-minds to consolidate learning.

It’s a well known fact that gaming captures a teenager’s attention for hours whilst the traditional, listen-and-learn, lecture-theatre environment is failing to capture imagination with quite as much vigour as once did. 2014 will be the year when inspired educators seek to have fun with existing technology by way of making their material more captivating in its consumption. This will further open up the accessibility to advanced learning material. It will give Further Education Establishments a competitive challenge that will see them specialize with strong unique selling points or struggle to stay alive as information created by learners for learners, in practical, digestible terms – finds fun ways to reach its audience.

2. The Internet of Money – leaving behind the legacy of the recession – will it bite again?

#Bitcoin is gaining attention as financiers and entrepreneurs ask whether or not this currency is worth investing in. When I spoke with Andreas M. Antonopoulos, a leading #Bitcoin pioneer, his answer was clear. “Bitcoin is more than money for the internet, it’s the internet of money”. When you think about what the internet has done in terms of decentralizing communication, levelling the audience reach of a growing talent pool and increasing the accessibility of advanced learning materials as inclusively accessible – suddenly you can see how a currency with such a strategy as its raison d’être could implode the money markets as we currently know them to be.

The recession left us very slow at making decisions – whether we’re able to push past the cold-climate mindset the financial dip collectively caused remains a challenge for 2014. Analysts predict a potential market collapse as interest rates rise in May/June and we’re far from completely out of the dark days. The future is open to innovators and entrepreneurs willing and able to embrace the open doors such dramatic shifts in the sands of society – create.

3. Pinpoint Marketing and SOCIAL Engine Optimization – building on mobile, location, sensory and diverse data technologies to accurately target you at your most receptive.

Adverts dotting the sides of our screens and positioned as banners on pages are no surprise to us – quickly we’ve learnt to largely ignore them. Adverts disguised as cleverly positioned posts from our friends – entertaining, enlightening, captivating in their ingenious designs… infiltrating our social networks, pinpointing our needs with alarming accuracy and stimulating us into sharing them with our friends… 2014 will see the rise of directly targeted marketing. Created for social sharing, such advertising will blend with peer posts and leverage the trust you have in your network by way of enticing you into to a sale.
It’s scary. If you’re selling something you need to know how the power of such promotion works if you intend to retain your market share. Your search field will narrow as analytics get “better” at giving you what they think you want. Search Engine Optimization matters but SOCIAL Engine Optimization will matter more in 2014.

4. “Mean Green” (selfish shockers we thought we’d all out grown) – giving rise to an environmental agenda of growing economic interest as viable business models emerge.

A friend of mine’s 19 year old daughter asked for a real fur scarf for Christmas. I’ve been a vegetarian for 27 years – and an active feminist all my live – what I mean is I live to expect equality between men and women and give nature my full respect. We have had all of these debates endlessly; the environment, equality, poverty etc. – “Green” – as this colour has come to mean. I predict 2014 will sadly shed light on selfish acts we thought we’d outgrown with regards to disrespecting minority groups and disadvantaged individuals as well abusing nature and the environment. Such behaviour, seemingly unacceptable a few years ago will go relatively unreported and openly tolerated throughout the year.

This bad behaviour will be counteracted by Green communities, further incentivised by a noticeable decline in support for their cause. Suddenly the Green movement will gain momentum and accelerate in the right direction as re-innovated technologies become cost effective and viable business models emerge – particularly in respect of the supply of Green Energy.

5. Cross-cultural collaboration like we’ve never seen – driven by Millennial minds; people around the world, connected by a common cause, sharing and transferring know-how on a large scale.

The bottom-up revolution in the restructuring of society will gain momentum as the millennial generation empower ways of collaborating, creating together, sharing and transferring knowledge and skills in ways the baby boomers could never imagine. 2013 showed us how huge groups of people can quickly be pulled together through the power of social media – and how first hand facts, recorded and shared from the scene will spread faster than the information reported by mainstream media. Quite where this collective force will carry us throughout the year – remains to be seen.

There is a lot of positive energy surrounding 2014 and I am very excited about the prospects the year ahead has in store. Furthermore, I get the feeling that I’m not the only one caught up in such emotion.

We’re realizing more and more how much our state or mind, our mental well-being – how we feel, emotionally and intelligently – makes a massive difference to the quality of our health and wealth.

As you move into 2014 – my approach is to embrace the year whole-heartedly. Be aware of targeted advertising and the narrowing of your search field that will ensure. Work openly to broaden your interests.

Follow what excites you – make a point of meeting more like-minds, and be open to unexpected opportunities. It is with certainty AND surprise that TOGETHER we will thrive!

Have a great year!

To be included in the 7 part email series celebrating the start of 2014 – PLEASE CLICK HERE.

Content Marketing Ideas: 14 Simple Ways To Get Awesome Ideas For Your Content Marketing

Content marketing is continuing to play an increasingly important part in marketing your business effectively.

There’s only one small problem. You need to have a steady and consistent supply of content for it to work… and how can you come up with enough content marketing ideas to keep that flow going?

What content can you continue to create that will attract the right traffic for your business, and bring new leads and customers through your door?

That’s where this article comes in, and it’s actually far simpler than you might believe.

Here are fourteen awesome ways to keep ideas flowing into your content marketing funnel, and allow you to build an increasing level of online visibility and traffic for your business in the months and years ahead.

1. Keyword research

Did you know sites like eHow.com have built much of their success on keyword research? Their content is largely created on what their research tells them people are looking for online. You can simply employ the same strategy.

2. Quora

Quora has a huge amount of potential for idea generation. It contains queries on a ton of different topics – simply find your niche, and look through the queries to discover what people are trying to find out about.

3. Customer Questions

Your own customer support is an invaluable source of ideas, because you hear straight from the horse’s mouth what information your customers and prospects are looking for.

4. Blog Comments

Similar to the above, comments on your blog enable you to listen directly to your marketplace, and you can then create content to respond to those needs.

5. Other Blogs In Your Niche

By reading other blogs within your niche, you can get some great ideas for your own posts, and gain further inspiration from the comments they receive. For example, you might be able to flesh out a topic they briefly touched on in their post, or approach it from a new angle.

6. Twitter

Search Twitter and discover what’s happening in your own niche. As well as comments you’ll see links to a lot of other content that could help inspire your own.

7. Hot Topics

What are the main topics of conversation in your industry right now, from your customer’s point of view? What are their primary concerns, right now?

8. How-To Tutorials

How-to type content remains very popular, and providing such content is a great way in which you can immediately gain authority and trust with someone. You’ll also find people get referred to your tutorial from others who have benefited from your advice.

9. Items in the News

What’s in the news right now that affects customers in your niche? Alternatively, how could you adapt and apply key news stories to your business? Tapping into the conversation already in your customer’s mind can be a powerful way to capture their attention and reach audiences who haven’t come across you before.

10. Previous Content

Content you have created before can easily form the basis of new content. For example, you can approach it from a different angle, or use a different media. A blog post written previously can form the basis of a video on YouTube. Topics briefly touched on before can be expanded into completely new content items.

11. List-From Content

This article is a list-form article – content formed on the basis of creating a list about something. What lists could you create of relevance for your own potential customers?

12. Stay Alert!

Train your brain to take advantage of new ideas as they arise. Opportunities for new content are all around you! Start carrying a notebook and pen around with you, or use your smartphone. Jot down new ideas whenever they arise… your brain will get used to it, and supply you with increasing numbers of ideas to pick from.

13. Interview Someone

Who is well known and familiar to your customers, and who has relevance to your business (or how can you make what they do relevant)? You’ll be surprised at how willing most people are to be interviewed. Just make a list of questions, and record the conversation… use Skype or a Google Hangout.

14. Interview Yourself!

Either ask someone to interview you, or interview yourself. This gives a great opportunity to display your expertise, gain credibility with your audience, and reach new audiences you wouldn’t otherwise reach. For example, someone interviewing you could make the interview available to their own list.

So there you have it… 14 simple ways to get an everlasting supply of awesome ideas for your content marketing.

Psychic Insights and Prosperity Horoscopes for 2014

Psychic Impressions of 2014

Life is going to get wild, folks. The surf is UP, it’s action time- apathy is scarce and life seems more acute in this fast moving, fast-changing, transitional year. It’s time to ride the waves and accept all the interesting things that can happen. Many, many things can happen to a person in just one year. 2014 feels to be a surprise, possibly mind-blowing… very real and revealing and renewing. Many take the plunge and truly leave the past behind. People free themselves left and right. Good news for people wondering “if they will ever change”: we are much more willing to follow our intuition and spiritual guidance than in past years.

2014 has a rollicking, reckless rhythm that goes to extremes… it’s an exciting time to be a teenager! I’ll bet they have their fair share of adventures they don’t tell anybody about, and get less sleep than usual.

Showing Up Matters: A year of personal triumph and arriving somewhere new. Within themselves, people are ready and willing to act, to revolt, to revolutionize their self-image, wardrobe, country, religion, and take on daunting challenges. It’s a more pointed year of personal re-invention, transformation of work styles, and even the metamorphosis of society’s institutions. The biggest changes come this year, and the greatest exhilaration. Peoples’ sense of purpose is renewed.

Love, relationships, and partnerships are much more of a focus this year than last. People’s need for comfort and intimacy becomes more important.. They get together for a wider range of reasons, finding the answer in partnerships of various kinds. Collaborations can be very successful this year. People will look back and be glad about the love that has come into their life… it’s a good year to get involved and care about others, and be enriched. Emotional healing is in the air.

The U.S.: Reasons to be optimistic are: President Obama has a surprisingly great year so he must be getting more done. Perhaps he is effective in some new way about “income inequality”. It looks like the stock market does well in some commodities and new kinds of industry/technology. Echoing this year’s phenomenon in people, where they get a clear view of their low and high points, the worst and the best of their life, disenfranchised poor Americans might be going through the same thing-seeing how bad it can get, and then seeing new opportunities made. There may be many more solutions forthcoming… there is something about this year (maybe it takes both 2014 and 2015) that is like turning a corner.

The Speaking Stones: The Speaking Stones are a divination system I use with individual clients, in circles to create a group divination, and also for messages about the year or month. There are eight stones, and I used only six for 2014 because two stones “didn’t’ belong” in the design, and a stone excluding itself gives its own message:

The stones left out of the 2014 design suggest that it will not be a grounded, stable time, but another transitional year of major earth changes, fierce uprisings in society, continued abuse of Mother Nature, and crazy weather.

The 2014 design puts a spotlight on “unexpected developments” that have a big impact. It suggests we witness rapid change. Something could temporarily throw our money situation up in the air. A really big problem could surface. If a person’s world or some important aspect of their life is based on something false, it could be coming apart at the seams in 2014. Instability gets revealed. Although ultimately the stock market might do well, the drama and change in this design suggests there will be volatility and panic.

Astrological Triggers in 2014

All of January: Venus retrograde in Capricorn promotes us to make various upgrades, i.e. we introduce better-serving systems into our lives, more efficient procedures; we create better web presences, and nicer wardrobes. People in estranged relationships might reunite for emotional as well as practical reasons.

Jupiter in Cancer moves into Leo July 16th: When Jupiter is in Cancer, people tend to go on an inner journey concerned with personal growth and preparation, often for some new offering or venture. When it moves into Leo, they are more outgoing, presenting something to the world, and on stage in some new way. This astrological framework is helpful so you’re not concerned if you are inward-focused the first half of the year, it’s natural.

Grand Cross of Spring 2014: really intense!! The cavalcade of change-invoking circumstances in 2013 continues-only with greater intensity. Life highlights a choice: Are you choosing to shrink your world, or learn and expand? The Spring energy is unusually pressurized, so don’t worry if you’re not feeling on an even keel, few are! All that matters is you keep adjusting back to a centered place.

On an individual level, a Grand Cross of four squared planets in April intensifies and highlights the polarities within us. If we are able to use its energy because we want to help ourselves or someone else, we can have strong, strong energy to get something done that’s difficult. Being “on your own side” allows you to move forward with this energy.

This time will deepen our need for inner peace. It makes us search for what we stand for and value. We seek to exist on ever more truthful levels that keep life manageable. Innovations in our personal life will entail cleaning out and clearing out, especially the first half of the year.

Positive Response to Pressure: The Year of the Mighty Collaborators: Heroes come out when crises emerge! With courage and candor, collectives of Concerned Citizens for Planet Earth begin to operate full-throttle. We’ll hear of innovative solutions and how we can benefit from streamlined processes. According to a Mayan shaman I heard recently, there’s hope in that we have a new 25 year cycle to look forward to, in which we can make up for having blown it so far as planetary stewards, by trying much harder from now on. Or else.

Personal Guidance: It’s easy to get out of balance in excessive 2014. The best time to establish personal health routines is right now in the beginning of the year: make a ceremony out of personal stability with the twenty minutes of exercise you do in the morning, or make time for exercise classes if that’s what works; diet and health routines deliver the balm of well-being and you’ll want them in place by Spring.

We could see our personal bottom and our personal top, and you could reach both in the same year. This is no time to judge yourself: performance in different areas of life varies. Of all years, individuals benefit from increased self-understanding and self-acceptance. Remember Edison: something like 10,000 failures before he succeeded to make a light bulb. In the long run all that counts is showing up.

Individual messages for the Astrological signs: OK, here comes the awful part: I have lost all the messages, maybe. The digital recorder I used just flashes “error” and nothing online helps me figure this out. Although this manufacturer still has real-people customer service, and maybe the file can be recovered. Meanwhile, I have a set of 2014 prosperity and “how to succeed” messages already posted on my blog and the Examiner; they will have to fill in until February’s newsletter, when I’ll write individual messages for the astrological signs.

For all signs: Success and projects in 2014 take effort and grit.

Banish hate! If it isn’t in your repertoire of emotional responses to yourself or anyone else, you will avoid connecting with a lot of weird energy batting around the planet this year; don’t align with the weird side of 2014 because it’s a mile wide.

How to Succeed in 2014 for the Fire, Water, Air and Earth Signs

Aries, Leo, Sagittarius, Fire signs: This year is about getting your fire re-ignited. Now you feel free to do what brings you prosperity. It’s going to be hard if you must know what’s going to be successful; never mind how things look now. Do what you find most compelling, it leads to success.

Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces, Water signs: The route to prosperity begins with having to clear things out of their lives, then knowing what it is they’re willing to put energy into, and being willing to start at the beginning of something. Recognize you have the tools, the strength, and the inner resources to begin in this freer place

Gemini, Libra, Aquarius, Air signs: You have better connections and backing or support this year, yet you’re keenly aware it’s still up to you and your work, and how you follow through, to make a success out of your better prospects. But you have a very good running start with plans that have already started before the year begins.

Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn, Earth signs: This is a year where you may not see revenue from your new ideas, but you can get invaluable feedback. Don’t overextend yourself investing in what’s new: you’re more in the dreaming-up and experience-gathering phase.

2014, 2015 And Beyond: Best Stock Investing Strategy

Sometimes your best stock investing strategy is to find the best stock fund you can and stay with it. But “buy and hold” might not work so well in 2014, 2015 and beyond. Stock investing consists of bull markets and bear markets, and the bear may be coming out of hibernation soon.

Stocks are the key to making higher returns, but simply buying and holding equities has been disappointing for investors since the year 2000. Most investors lack a clear strategy and the best stock investing strategy for 2014, 2015 and beyond may be simpler than you think. Recent history has shown that sometimes investors need to take some money off the table. It’s all about bull (up) and bear (down) markets.

The time to get aggressive is AFTER a bear market has driven prices down heavily for about two years as in early 2002 and 2009. The time to consider a defensive strategy is AFTER a bull market has sent prices upward for several years (like 5). In 2014, we again hit the 5-year mark… as we did in 2007… when a bear market again took more than 50% from investors for the second time in recent memory. For 2014 and 2015, the best stock investing strategy calls for defense vs. aggressive buying.

This is not rocket science. Think of it as the art of balancing fear vs. greed. Between the two emotions, FEAR is the stronger. It took less than two years for the last two bear markets to destroy 50% or more of the stock market’s value vs. several years for investors to recover from those losses. The best stock investing strategy is not about selecting winners in the market. It’s about timing market trends called bull and bear markets.

I’m not taking about selling all of your equities or equity (stock) funds and moving your money into bonds or cash for 2014 and beyond. We’re talking about the best stock investing strategy for long-term investors here. If you’re heavily into the market, consider taking money off the table. Cut your expose and take some profits. If you missed out on this last bull market – don’t jump on the bandwagon now. Investing is an ongoing process, and your best strategy is to avoid ever taking heavy losses.

Once you’ve taken a 50% loss, you then need to earn 100% on your money just to break even. When you consider those numbers you realize why stocks have been disappointing for investors in general since the turn of the new millennium. Forget about trying to find the best stock in a risky market. Focus on conserving your assets in 2014 and 2015, because a bear market could be coming. Sometimes the best stock investment strategy is to keep some powder dry in anticipation of the next bull market.

Investors tend to be overly optimistic near the end of a bull market, and that could be the case for 2014, 2015. Bear markets are often swift and brutal. Over the long run, successful stock investing is a matter of market cycles. Going into 2014 the market was up five consecutive years for a gain of well over 100%. The best stock investing strategy going forward could well be protecting yourself from potentially heavy losses.

There will be another bear market, whether it starts in 2014, 2015 or later. Once it’s well under way, then it will be time to plan ahead for the next bull market. Don’t overreact in any market. Your best stock investing strategy as a long term investor is to buy or sell in increments over time as market trends go to extremes. We’re talking sensible stock investing here, not speculation.