1. The Hook
At the beginning of your article, you should always begin with an impacting statement or a leading question that will make your reader need to know more. For example: “Be careful, this article is trapped!”

Did this beginning entice you read the rest?

You’ve heard the rule: 8 seconds to convince someone to stay in your website. The same rule apply for everything that needs engagement from your audience.

2. Short sentences
Long paragraphs and sentences take time to read and on the internet, no one has time for that! The longer your paragraphs are, the less likely people will read your article all the way to the end. No one wants to read a wall of text.

If you want to keep the audience’s attention?

Start with a short sentence and go to the next line. (Like I did just now!)

3. Use the same words as your target
“SEO”, “Brand”, “Sales”, “Script”, “Articles”… these are words that you (hopefully), know and use. If you want to attract people in your industry as a business owner or marketer, use the industry language. By using the same words, I appear more friendly, and you feel more receptive to what I have to say.

One sneaky trick to push the experience even further :

– Send a survey to your audience.
– Grab the words / expressions that are trending.
– Use the EXACT same words or expressions in your texts (Even the most common ones).

4. It’s about you

Use the word “you” as much as you can. It makes people feel that they are the center of interest, and that you are speaking to them. We love to read about ourselves or what we can do to improve.

5. Change the tone
Why? It introduces a “break” in the reading by changing the punctuation. Just like that! I mean… like now. (I’ve inserted “?” / “.” / “!” / “()”, “…” and I bet you found this very easy to read!).

Again, a break in the reading will “reset” the attention of your reader. And since the reading flows more like a conversation, your reader will stick around longer.

Have you ever find a book too dry to read even when the story is interesting? That’s why.

Oh! And don’t forget the power of the “…” (Have you seen it here somewhere in this article before?)

6. Use powerful words

Use and abuse power words. Use power words where they create the most impact – at the beginning and the end of your sentences. They will make people want to know what comes next.
Can you spot them here ? “make no mistake” / “surprise” / “powerful” / “this is sneaky” / etc.

7. Promise a benefit
What value or benefit do you provide your reader? This is the main reason why people will continue to read. Promise something at the beginning, and share the benefit a little bit later. Don’t share this at the end of the post because people will lose interest and not at the beginning because they will have it too soon. Keep the mystery a little while and promise something that “they want”.

If you know your audience, you know what they want to know.

8. Change your words by “emotions”.
– Want to write or say “Free”? Write “I will give it to you”.
– Want to write “Congratulations”? Write “I applaud your insight”.
– Want to write “Fast”, write “like a tiger”.

These simple and empty words you use in everyday conversation will be transformed by adding some emotions in them. We are emotional people and if you want your reader to make a decision, it’s best to entice action with emotions.

9. Use lists
– You’ll read them
– Quickly
– And easily

Lists are a popular choice when you need full content articles (Like this 10 sneaky tips list!). And lists can be extremely useful resource providers for specific industries, niche businesses, and ego-bait influence engagers.
Want to use this to create your company’s selling points? Make big lists of your “customer benefits”.

10. Play with the unexpected

Have you ever seen these articles full of funny animated GIF’s or memes? Seen almost as often are the uses of bold, italic and underline type. This can be a powerful tool in your content to highlight a specific thought or resource.

10 Quick Time Saving Excel Shortcuts & Mouse Tricks for Marketers

The one thing marketers agree on is there isn’t enough time in the day to accomplish everything. Often the best way to find more time is to save time.

Improving your Excel skills is a great place to begin to claw back a few minutes on every project, because Excel is a tool used by most of us on a regular basis. It has so many incredible capabilities that are not immediately apparent. Just finding one trick can save you minutes every day.

Excel Tip No. 1: Automatically SUM() with ALT + =

Quickly add an entire column or row by clicking in the first empty cell in the column. Then enter ALT + ‘=’ (equals key) to add up the numbers in every cell above.

Excel Tip No. 2: Logic for Number Formatting Keyboard Shortcuts

At times keyboard shortcuts seem random, but there is logic behind them. Let’s break an example down. To format a number as a currency the shortcut is CRTL + SHIFT + 4.

Both the SHIFT and 4 keys seem random, but they’re intentionally used because SHIFT + 4 is the dollar sign ($). Therefore if we want to format as a currency, it’s simply: CTRL + ‘$’ (where the dollar sign is SHIFT + 4). The same is true for formatting a number as a percent.

Excel Tip No. 3: Display Formulas with CTRL + `

When you’re troubleshooting misbehaving numbers first look at the formulas. Display the formula used in a cell by hitting just two keys: Ctrl + ` (known as the acute accent key) – this key is furthest to the left on the row with the number keys. When shifted it is the tilde (~).

Excel Tip No. 4: Jump to the Start or End of a Column Keyboard Shortcut

You are thousands of rows deep into your data set and need to get to the first or last cell. Scrolling is OK but the quickest way is to use the keyboard shortcut CTRL + ↑ to jump to the top cell, or CTRL + ↓ to drop to the last cell before an empty cell.

When you combine this shortcut with the SHIFT key, you’ll select a continuous block of cells from your original starting point.

Excel Tip No. 5: Repeat a Formula to Multiple Cells

Never type out the same formula over and over in new cells again. This trick populates all of the cells in a column with the same formula, but adjusts to use the data specific to each row.

Create the formula you need in the first cell. Then move your cursor to the lower right corner of that cell and, when it turns into a plus sign, double click to copy that formula into the rest of the cells in that column. Each cell in the column will show the results of the formula using the data in that row.

Excel Tip No. 6: Add or Delete Columns Keyboard Shortcut

Managing columns and rows in your spreadsheet is an all-day task. Whether adding or deleting, you can save a little time when you use this keyboard shortcut. CTRL + ‘-‘ (minus key) will delete the column your cursor is in and CTRL + SHIFT + ‘=’ (equal key) will add a new column. From an earlier tip, think about CTRL + ‘+’ (plus sign).

Excel Tip No. 7: Adjust Width of One or Multiple Columns

It’s easy to adjust a column to the width of its content and get rid of those useless ##### entries. Click on the column’s header, move your cursor to the right side of the header and double click when it turns into a plus sign.

Excel Tip No. 8: Copy a Pattern of Numbers or Even Dates

Another amazing feature built into Excel is its ability to recognize a pattern in your data, and allow you to automatically copy it to other cells. Simply enter information in two rows which establish the pattern, highlight those rows and drag down for as many cells as you want to populate. This works with numbers, days of the week or months!

Excel Tip No. 9: Tab Between Worksheets

Jumping from worksheet to worksheet doesn’t mean you have to move your hand off the keyboard with this cool shortcut. To change to the next worksheet to the right enter CTRL + PGDN. And conversely change to the worksheet to the left by entering CTRL + PGUP.

Excel Tip No. 10: Double Click Format Painter

Format Painter is a great tool which lets you duplicate a format in other cells with no more effort than a mouse click. Many Excel users (Outlook, Word and PowerPoint too) use this handy feature, but did you know you can double-click Format Painter to copy the format into multiple cells? It’s quite a time-saver.

5 Instagram Tips and Tricks for Marketing

Viewers and consumers want to see engaging and exciting images, and as marketers, we want images that compel them to comment and continue the discussion beyond social media. If you want to market your brand, Instagram may just be the way to do it. Here are 5 great tips and tricks to market through Instagram:

Relate to Your Customers

The first step to creating a strong Instagram following is to identify your cookie-cutter customer, and attempt to relate through your pictures and captions. This rule does not necessarily mean merely posting pictures of things you believe your customers love and enjoy. The best way to relate to your customers is to posts pictures of things they will enjoy that can also relate back to your brand and product. This concept will help to create a following of customers who share common interests.

Use Hashtags to Your Advantage

One of the potentially best ways to market your product and brand is the proper and deliberate use of hashtags. Hashtags are a great method to create a community or following of people behind a few buzzwords. On OpenSesame’s official Instagram, @opensesamenow, we create and add to the elearning community through our Instagram posts and hashtags. By hashtagging #elearning, we add to a community of those interested in elearning on social media. It’s a great way to put your foot in the door whether you are a B2C or B2B business.

Show Your Brand’s Beauty

Even if you are a B2B business, and your product itself is not aesthetically pleasing, there is certainly beauty in your brand. All you have to do is find it! Instagram is a great way to market this beauty, especially through photography.

Make the Most of Features

It’s easy enough to simply post and caption pictures, but it takes another level of skill and creativity to use the filters and photo effects to your advantage from a marketing standpoint. When posting pictures, don’t forget to employ your creative side and use filters to increase the excitement and engagement of your Instagram post.

Grow Your Instagram Following Through Others

After utilizing the above suggestions to create beautiful and well-done content, you’ll still need to create a following of viewers and customers willing to comment and like on the posts you make. The easiest way to do that is essentially treat other accounts the way you want your account to be treated. Begin by following other Instagram accounts similar to your own, and like and comment on their posts. You will soon find that the combination of posting and interacting with other posts begins to create a larger and larger following for you.

7 Social Media Tools For Small Businesses To Manage Their Social Presence

With the positive effects of social media marketing becoming more and more apparent, most small businesses have started working on a social media marketing strategy.
One of the main aims of social media marketing is to stay relevant to your audience. This might be harder for small businesses as they have more to juggle, in terms of handling tasks. Social media tools and apps can help reduce the stress of multi-tasking and keep your social media activities consistent. Below are social media tools for small business to help make your life as a social media marketer easier.
Social Media Tools for Small Business

DrumUp is a must have app for managing your social media presence on multiple accounts. For small businesses, content curation can be a life saver when it comes to maintaining consistency. Curation allows you to seem knowledgeable by posting others’ content with a mix of your own.
DrumUp has multiple functions that are great for content curation and sharing like content recommendations, feeds, scheduling and re-posting. It delivers a list of fresh, relevant content based on your keywords — straight to your dashboard. You can also add feeds to get content from. You can then schedule out posts with a single click or plan it out specifically.
While scheduling, it suggests a list of hashtags you can use with the posts. You can also create custom posts effortlessly and schedule them out. The app allows you to re-post your content over a period of time so your queue is never empty.
DrumUp has a Chrome extension that recommends content and lets you schedule it while you’re reading other material.

Social media automation can save small businesses a ton of time — it eliminates mundane tasks, so you can focus on more important ones. IFTTT stands for If This Then That — it’s a tool that takes social media automation to a whole new level.
As the name suggests, IFTTT lets you create functions or “recipes” that make apps work together. For example, if you have a blog on Blogger, you can create a recipe that automatically schedules tweets every time a new post is published. You can have an unlimited number of recipes to perform functions as simple as keeping your profile pictures in sync to saving photos to Dropbox.
For beginners, the app also suggests recipes that are useful based on a niche of your choice. It works with over 280 channels/services and is a must have tool for serious marketers.

RiteTag is a social media management toolkit that works across 14 major websites including Twitter, Facebook and Tweetdeck. The app is most useful for Twitter as it can enhance your tweets with a single click. While creating a tweet, clicking on the RiteTag button lets you add images, hashtags, GIFs, emojis and customized CTAs on all your shared links.
One of its main features is the ability to analyze hashtags — it shows you recommended hashtags, which ones are most used, which ones are trending, and which ones aren’t popular. You can also automate sharing by connecting it with your favorite content curation services or RSS feeds.
The app also has a Chrome extension to make it more accessible.

Commun.it is a Twitter tool that is a favorite among big brands but is extremely valuable for smaller businesses as well. The tool eliminates all the noise from your timeline so you can see the most important updates.
It’s most important feature is the ability to show you whom to follow and unfollow. It lists users into three groups: Influencers, Supporters and Engaged Members, based on a variety of factors — this enables you to target your audience more efficiently.
It also provides free Twitter analytics, allows team members to manage your account and recommends people whom you should respond to.

As mentioned before, content curation is vital for small businesses. Feedly is one of the best tools for discovering great content from a variety of sources. It is an RSS reader that can gather feeds from multiple sites based on your preferences. You can add feeds from publications, blogs and even YouTube channels. You can also monitor news about your company, product and competitors by plugging in Google Alerts.
Feedly also gives you secure access to your company’s internal portals and SaaS applications. All your feeds can be organized into collections so that they are easily accessible in the future.
You can integrate Feedly with a multitude of other apps that enable you to save content for later and share it on your social accounts.

With social media, visuals are a great way to grab your user’s attention. However, social media managers for small businesses rarely have enough time to create detailed visuals — this is where Canva comes in. Canva is the easiest way to design beautiful images to go along with your social media posts.
The tool provides features that make it easy to turn ideas into visuals. You can create images with quotes, conversation bubbles, custom icons, and stickers. It can enhance images further with it’s various amazing filters/effects and the ability to straighten, crop and resize images. In case you’re too busy to start from scratch, it comes loaded with a ton of customizable layouts that can be changed to suit any occasion.
Canva is great for creating visuals for anything from social media to blog posts.

As you grow your social presence on Twitter, it is necessary to keep track of your followers, your reach and analytics. ManageFlitter has numerous features, including PowerPost — which shows you the best time to post your Tweets for maximum reach. It also provides you with free analytics to make sure your campaigns are getting the desired engagement.
One of ManageFlitter’s best known features is the group Unfollow or Follow option that lets you unfollow/follow a large number of people based on a number of criteria including influence, date of follow and many more. The search feature also comes in handy when you want to find influencers.
At the end of the day, social media is about connecting with your audience and creating new opportunities for business growth. You can use all the tools in the world but if you’re not being smart, then it’ll all go to waste. Using a combination of these tools can free up your schedule and give you time for new ventures.
Just remember to choose social media tools for small business wisely and to use them smartly.