Archive for the ‘SEO’ Category

Content Marketing Trends Your Business Should Be Focusing On

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Contently recently released their quarterly issue, For the Love. If there is one thing you should read this week, its this publication. Here are few key points we felt were highly relevant to our customers and their businesses.

Content Marketing Trends

Four Content Marketing Battlefronts

Businesses should be conquering these four content areas in the coming year. (Find this on page 3 – The Publisher’s Note)

1. The Brand Publishing Arms Race – to recruit better talent and tell better stories. Here, here!

2. Truth in Advertising and the question of whether brands are going to proudly own their content, or revert to devious tricks.

3. Audience and the rise (and risks) of platforms that are trying to get more eyeballs in front of branded content.

4. The Numbers game in which brands will need to completely rethink publishing metrics and how to tie them to business results.

Three Content Formats About to Take Off (and be Abused)

Read full article on page 13

1. Video and Animation
Interactive brand stories drive engagement – if done right.

“When you have devices like video and animations to use, a brand’s personality – and the emotion of the story – can be more clearly communicated. The more interactive, personalized, multi-layered, shoppable, and engaging your content, the more time a consumer will spend within the experience, it’s in the [metrics].” – Renee Osgood

2. Branded Documentaries
They aren’t radio with pictures. The story must be the forefront, not the sale. Don’t make online and afterthought to bringing stories and articles to life. If you are filming interviews, find a way to propel the story by including “activities and drama that justifies telling the story through video, as opposed to another medium.” – Ryan Spanger

3. Personalized Experiences
Avoiding the creepy to get to the cool. Find a personalization strategy that gives customers an experience that benefits them, no just your bottom line.

“The [customer information] that marketers need to capture in order to create a tailored and delightful experience for their customers is the very information that their customers are increasingly worried about providing.”- Scott Robinson

Remember: The key is to focus on long-term success, not on the tactical.

Built a strategy that is backed by marketing objectives, this is the best way to ensure your marketing effectiveness and overall success.

“Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.” – Joe Pulizzi

To read the full issue of For the Love, click here.

Need help creating a content marketing strategy for your business that builds trust, helps your customers and helps your business grow?

Contact us today.

Build Brand Reputation and Visibility Through Expert Question and Answer Apps

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

There are a few websites and apps gaining in popularity right now that are focused on community-based, user-generated questions and answers. The top three biggest players in this field right now are Quora, Cinch, and Jelly. Let’s take a look at each one and see how they stack up against each other. We’ll also give you helpful hints on how you can use these tools in your role as a marketing professional or business owner.

quora_logo_620px

Quora

Quora is by far the most developed of the three platforms and has been around the longest, since June 2009. It is a question-and-answer website where questions are created, answered, edited and organized by its community of users. Questions are grouped by topic, and users can work together to edit questions as well as suggest edits to other users’ answers. You can also “vote up” questions that you want to see answers to.

Quora is available as a website, however they have also developed an iPhone and Android app as well. The cherry on top came last year when they rolled out a blogging platform. The last main updates that Quora released in 2013 is the ability to search the full text of questions and answers, and finally, the ability for writers to see how many people have viewed their questions and answers.

There are already many well-known people that are actively engaging in the Quora community, such as Rand Fishkin and Ashton Kutcher. This boosts the credibility of the website as a whole. If you’re new to the question and answer websites, this is a great place to start.

Jelly

Jelly

If you head on over to the Jelly homepage, they have a very well put together video you can watch that features the CEO and co-founder of Jelly, Biz Stone (Yes, that Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter.) He tells you the main idea behind the platform and how it all came about. Essentially he explains that they wanted to build a search engine that is built for today’s technology landscape. Their concept is “everyone is mobile, everyone is connected, so if you have a question, there is somebody out there who knows the answer.”

Jelly is an app that uses photos and people from your social networks to get you answers to your questions. It uses both your network and your extended network to give you access to a whole bunch of people who may be able to answer your question.

It was founded in April 2013 and naturally is not as developed as Quora. However, the image and social network aspects of the platform are what sets Jelly apart from Quora. Quora is much more text-and-topic based whereas Jelly is image-and-relationship based.

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Cinch

Like Jelly, Cinch is a relatively new platform and is only available as a smartphone application at this time (available for iPhone only). Made by the folks at Klout, cinch is “people directly helping other people by sharing their wisdom and knowledge and influencing them to make better decisions.” It is also geared towards the home advice industry specifically, so most users are interested in topics like gardening, cooking, furniture, and so on.

It was launched in September 2013, making this the newest app of all three platforms. It is not currently available outside of the US and there is no dedicated website for the platform. The developers are currently working on creating an Android app with the hopes of releasing it in the near future.

The app has received a bit of feedback from initial users saying it’s a great concept but some of the features are not quite perfected yet. For example, as of December 2013, users are not able to edit or delete submitted questions. Additionally, some users complain that the questions they receive to answer are not relevant to them. These are kinks surely to be worked out in the future since this is a young app.

What makes this app different is you can sign up as an “expert” and the app will automatically send you questions it thinks you can answer. The marketing potential of this app will grow as the number of users also grows.

How-To Use These Platforms For Marketing Your Business

These websites and apps are perfect to establish yourself as an expert in your field by providing authoritative answers on key topics. So for example if you sell a product like baby clothes, you can answer user questions on that topic and people will begin to respect you as an industry insider. The more answers you post, the more people will be able to read your opinions and expert advice.

Great for B2B and B2C Businesses

These platforms can be used as excellent tools in both the B2B and B2C industries. In fact, they offer quite a bit of marketing power for B2B industries, which is great news considering B2B marketing can be challenging in the eyes of many marketers and business owners. For example, Rand Fishkin is very engaged on Quora and answers all types of industry questions about SEO. If you’ve been in the online marketing biz for more than a minute, you know how well-respected Rand is on the topic of web optimization. Imagine the thrill if you asked a question and received a direct answers by Mr. Fishkin? Now imagine if you take the time to answer user questions across these platforms. You can become that type of expert in your own field, so that when people ask a question, they are thrilled to see that it’s been directly answered by you.

Track and Monitor

It’s best to try and get a pulse on your specific industry by setting up “listening” tools wherever possible. Quora lets you follow topics so you can stay up to date on whatever interests you. You can fine-tune your email preferences to only receive notifications about questions and answers you feel are important.

Finally, wherever possible, track your questions and answers to see how many people are viewing them, and actively think of new ways to keep your audience engaged and coming back for more.

Ready to ramp up your marketing in 2014? Check out our services, email us, or give us a call at (818) 806-3868.

Have you used any of these Q&A sites or apps? Share your story by leaving a comment below, on Facebook or LinkedIn.

3 Ways to Improve Your Visual Marketing

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Just a few years ago, most marketing was focused around compelling copy. Crafting your words in just the right way to persuade your target audience to take action. That component is still important but more and more we are seeing how users consume content and that trend is more graphics.

Visual marketing is essentially using  the power of images to boost your brand, its messages and goals. Images can help people make sense of intangible things and abstract concepts, making visual marketing a great tool for B2B companies. Visual marketing can ultimately make your overall marketing strategy more powerful and more memorable. (Visual marketing should not be confused with visual merchandising, which refers to designing retail space in order to maximize sales.)

90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text.

(Sources: 3M Corporation and Zabisco)

Brands today are spending increasingly more time on visual marketing. In fact, many experts agree that visual marketing is the way of the future. This week we’d like to show you 3 tips to help improve your visual marketing campaigns.

Tell stories.

visual marketing should tell a story
A picture is worth a thousand words. Create images that can tell the story of your business or brand. For individual social media posts, use one eye-catching image that concentrates on a specific point of interest. This will draw your viewers into the frame.

40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text.

Source: Zabisco

Get your employees into the action. You can either showcase your business by taking photos of your employees, or you can give your employees a little bit of creative control and let them take pictures that capture their unique point of view.

Get your fans involved. Photographs are an excellent way to encourage conversation. Ask them to share their photo moments as it relates to your image. Photo contests are also a neat way to engage with your fans.

Evoke emotion.

facebook_header_image-blog-full
If you sell products, use pictures in your social media marketing in the same way you’d use a display window for window shopping. The pictures can lure potential buyers into your e-commerce site. Nordstrom’s does an excellent job at this across Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Google+.

If you don’t sell consumer products you can still utilize visual marketing successfully. Think outside of the box and create images of interest. Ask yourself: What would an outsider want to see about your business? How can you show the personality of your employees in images? For example, maybe you could do a montage of people’s lunches or work spaces.

Be consistent.

Boon-Marketing
It’s important to remember to incorporate attributes of your brand into your photographs. Maybe you want to always use the same frame or filter so that viewers will instantly recognize who created the image. Consistency is key in order to gain loyal followers and fans in the social media world.

Do you have a specific marketing question as it relates to your business? We’re happy to help! Give us a call today at (818) 806-3868 or shoot us an email and we’ll be sure to respond. You can also browse our other social media blog articles for more tips and advice on how to supercharge your marketing campaigns.

Key Takeaways from this Week’s Top 5 Digital Marketing Stats

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

digital marketing stats

Instagram captures 15 times higher interaction rates than Facebook.

According to research from L2 Think Tank which analyzed 249 brands and their social media campaigns, interaction rates for Instagram posts were 15 times higher than those on Facebook. [Source: eMarketer.com]

Takeaway:

If you haven’t yet ramped up your marketing campaigns on Instagram it’s about time you start. As a tip, you can easily insert Instagram custom tabs into your Facebook page now that Facebook owns Instagram. Many companies are experimenting with promoting Instagram campaigns on Facebook due to this higher engagement. For example, encouraging users to submit their own photos with the same Instagram filter (like sepia-tone or Lo-fi). This trend is likely to grow in the future if Instagram engagement remains strong for brands.

The average click-through-rate for Facebook Ads has jumped 275% since 2012.

Facebook has improved its targeting abilities since 2012 which is partly why CTR’s are on the rise. Another reason these ads are seeing more success is due to third-party Facebook ad tools. [Source: Wishpond]

Takeaway:

If you’re not happy with the ROI of your Facebook Ads, take some time to sit down and analyze why your campaigns may not be performing well. Maybe your ads could benefit from additional creative copy, or it’s possible you could have some tracking issues that are preventing you from knowing the true stats of your ads. Don’t hesitate to reach out to other professionals to help streamline your Facebook ad campaigns.

Companies that blog 15 times per month get 5 times more traffic than companies that don’t blog.

[Source: Ektron]

Takeaway:

Don’t let content marketing overwhelm you. Gather your team together every couple of weeks to brainstorm fresh content ideas. Then delegate responsibilities like managing the content calendar, writing and editing articles, and promoting across social media channels to different team members based on their skills and interests.

4 Out of 5 Yelp users visit Yelp.com before spending money, and 93% say that visiting Yelp leads to a local purchase.

According to a Nielsen survey commissioned by Yelp, four out of five Yelp users visit Yelp.com before spending money, and 93 percent say that visiting Yelp leads to a local purchase. [Source: MarketingLand]

Takeaway:

Online Reputation Management is an important part of your overall digital marketing strategy. Whether you’re a local business with a presence on Yelp or a global brand with wide international reach, it’s inevitable that your customers and other key audiences will talk about you online. Creating a plan for ORM can help save time and stress when issues arise and keeps the pulse on emerging competitors and developing trends.

Daily we spend 9 minutes on email via a mobile device, that is 7.6% of the total 119 minutes we use our phone per day.

[Source: EmailMonday]

Takeaway:

It’s time to ensure your mobile email marketing campaign is flawless. If you’re struggling with your email marketing campaigns now that mobile is dominating the market, get help from a pro. You don’t want to miss out on business just because your promotional emails aren’t displaying properly on mobile devices.

Get more mind-blowing digital marketing sound bites and stats by following us on Instagram.

Moving Forward After Google Hummingbird: 4 Must Read Articles

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Over the past few weeks, the entire digital marketing industry has been discussing Google’s announcement of their most recent update to their user protocol that is essentially going to be a huge game changer for many marketers and SEOs.

google-algorithm-hummingbird

The big news?
Referring organic search keywords will be 100% encrypted (from Google’s search engine) and will no longer be visible in Google Analytics. It is important to note that you will still continue to see referring keyword data from other search engines like Bing. In a previous update in 2010, Google had encrypted referring organic keywords from users who were signed into Google. This information would show as (not provided) in Google Analytics. But now, this information is being kept confidential regardless of whether or not a user is signed into Google.

Key takeaway and bottom line
As Digital Marketing consultants, we believe this does cause a challenge and there are many opinions on what this means for the future of SEO companies. However, in the interim it means spending a little more time to gather data from multiple resources to extrapolate this data for proper use.

Our key takeaway though based on multiple opinions and discussions from the industry and information provided from Google, is that Google appears to no longer be focusing strictly on a single page but looking at the entire domain and the content that it contains as a whole. So, basically, your entire domain will be measured on the quality of content it produces and the basket of keyterms it is relevant for.

Bottom line: Build a relevant, valuable and useful site for your customers, visitors and prospective customers. This is something we have always encouraged our clients to do. Focus on your customer, where they are in the sales cycle, what information paths they will take and what information you can provide them that is valuable. Optimize for your customer and you will also be optimizing for the search engines.

Below are 4 Must Read Articles to help SEOs and marketers get the data they need:

10 Ways to Get Organic Search Data

Structure Your Sites Content with Rich Data For Better Google Access

Useful Content vs Unique Content

Google 101: Search Engines, Algorithms and Updates

 
Photo credit: Dolores Sanches

How-to Use A Newsroom Content Plan For Your Non-Newsroom Content Marketing

Friday, August 16th, 2013

Putting together a content calendar is easy compared to the task of actually creating the content, especially when you have been tasked solely with sourcing topics and creating the majority of the content (including images, copy and social media messaging). But, with an easy workflow and checklist to follow, each piece of content created can be more effective and less fragmented. In turn, making the content creation and content promotion more manageable and enjoyable.

Thanks to Steve Buttry for posting the original story budgets work flow that was ultimately the inspiration for this post. I’ve taken Steve’s newsroom list and reordered it for the marketer and not the journalist. I’ve created new sections as a guide to approaching content, the organization of it and tips for creation. I left in Steve’s original notes from the newsroom because I felt they sparked creativity in how one can approach content creation and promotion. You may want to set up a spreadsheet or Word document that you can customize for your needs based on the tips below. We went ahead and created one for you to get you started.

Download the Content Marketing Plan Template here. If you’re solo use this as a checklist, if you have a team of writers have them fill one of these out for every piece of content that’s created – it will help you stay organized, productive and maximize on promotion of each piece.

CONTENT SETUP AND CREATION

Slug

  1. In the newsroom: A one-word identifier for the content.
  2. For the marketer: Make your slug a “one-liner” vs a “one-word-er” for the content, such as your headline or title of the post, take the title of this post for example “Adapting Newsroom Content Planning to your Non-Newsroom Content Marketing”
  3. Tip A: Use this to build promotional headlines in email marketing and social media messaging
  4. Tip B: Use this same process for other types of content like images or slide decks.

News (change to description)

  1. In the newsroom: Brief description of the issue or event being covered.
  2. For the marketer: Make your News column the “description” of your content piece.
  3. Tip A: Use this short description as your “sell” line for the piece of content; it can be used for promotional teaser copy in email marketing, social media messaging (replace the copy pulled in from Facebook, additional messaging on Twitter)
  4. Tip B: Use the slug and the news for social media that allows for longer messages like Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+

Staff

  1. In the newsroom: Names of staff members covering (identifying lead staffers if it’s a large team).
  2. Tip: Use this if you have multiple writers or if you are utilizing multiple staff members from different departments to put together your content, use this to pre-plan and understand where you need to gather your information.

Accuracy

  1. In the newsroom: Have you applied an accuracy checklist to ensure that your facts are correct? Are you struggling to verify key pieces of information? Should you withhold publication of some or all of the information until you verify facts? Is there a responsible way to crowdsource verification for this story? You should note any corrections needed or already made in this column.
  2. For the marketer: Who is watching your back? Who is your go-to for reviewing and editing? We can’t do it alone, use someone as your backup for checking for accuracy, typos and grammar and improvements overall.

Concerns

  1. In the newsroom and for the marketer: Does this present legal issues that might require consultation with an attorney? Does this present ethical or sensitive issues that will require the top editor’s attention? Does the story use unnamed sources and has the appropriate editor approved the granting of confidentiality? Spell out the concerns and make sure you address them before publishing.

Sharing (change this to Public Relations)

  1. Is this a story of potential national or regional interest that you should share with other newsrooms in your company or in any sharing arrangements you might have.
  2. For the marketer: How can I promote this internally to get colleagues and friends to share your content? Is this buzzworthy enough to send to our PR team?

Web (change to Web Publish date)

  1. In the newsroom: When it was/will be posted to the web and plans, if any, for updating.
  2. For the marketer: Are you crazy? Heck yes it is going to be posted to the web – question is, when and how it will get there.
  3. Tip: Make a schedule for all your content, this includes reviewing and editing dates, original post date and promotional dates, also follow up content promotion dates. If you are using WordPress there are great Editorial Calendar plugins – we use Edit Flow but big gun Chris Brogan recommends Editorial Calendar. Edit Flow gives you a few more options for collaboration and editing scheduling. I’ve used both so check them both out and see which might best be suited for your needs.

Crowdsourcing

  1. In the newsroom: What, if anything, are you doing to invite the community to contribute to the story?
  2. For the marketer: This goes for us too. Think of this as “your call to action.” Do you want people to leave comments, share their story, opinion, photo? Identify this to encourage interaction and engagement from your audience.

Data (change to Data tracking)

  1. In the newsroom: Plans, if any, for database use.
  2. For the marketer: Change this to “data tracking” – how will you track the success of this piece and monitor its performance? What will you do if it catches on like wildfire? What mechanisms do you have in place to help keep it flowing? If you’re using Google Analytics (GA) and your content is getting published on a third party site or if you are promoting it socially, utilize the Google URL builder to create a tracking code for each traffic/referral source. Additionally, setup a special report in GA to track performance of content from different writers, topics, sources.

SEO (we recommend this be added for all content including but not limited to blog posts, Pinterest graphics, press releases, videos, etc.)

  1. Tip: Write an individual Title tag and meta description for blog posts and press releases, do a little keyword research on your topic using Google’s keyword tool. Make sure you add a description with relevant keywords to your image and topic to your Pinterest graphics.

Graphics

  1. Plans, if any, for graphics. On which platform(s) will you use the graphic(s)?
  2. For the marketer: See also visual and visual social.

Blog

  1. Is the story mentioned (or should it be?) on appropriate topical blogs on your site? Or is it a story that originated in a staff or community blog? Does the story present an opportunity for engaging with any community blogs?
  2. Additional questions: Are there other relevant blogs or content partnerships that you can leverage to further promote your content?

Links

  1. In the newsroom and for the marketer: Does the story have links to digital sources of information used in the reporting? Does it have links to earlier stories you have written on this topic or issue? Does it link to competing media or distant media who have reported some of this information already?
  2. Tip: With regard to SEO, if you are afraid to link to third party sites, don’t be. This used to be the case but nowadays search engines look favorably upon linking to other sites because you are linking to additional sources and related information making your piece related. But, if you have written something related to your topic make sure to link to that piece of content too.

Other

  1. In the newsroom: If the story will have sidebars or other elements not covered in the other columns, you should have a place to mention them.
  2. For the marketer: Think about what other content has been produced that is related to this piece? Make sure you link to those related pieces in blog posts (this is will help increase visibility to other areas of related content via search engines and lead the reader to discovering additional information on our site).

 

 

GRAPHICS

Visual

  1. What are plans visual content such as breaking photos for social media and web, video, photo galleries, multimedia, etc.? If not clear from staffing, this column might identify who is providing visual content. Another approach would be separate columns for photo (could be multiple columns, perhaps for breaking photo for social/web, photo gallery), video and multimedia.
  2. Tip: Identify what images you’ll need to accompany this piece of content.
  3. Ask yourself: How will I be promoting the content? With images? If so, on which channels, what will the message be and what images will accompany which promotional message? Which social sources do I need to do this for (Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)

 

 
PROMOTION AND ENGAGEMENT: SOCIAL MESSAGING AND VISUAL SOCIAL

Visual social
Mention plans for sharing photos and videos via Twitter, Facebook, G+, Tout, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr and/or YouTube.

Tweet, Facebook, Google+

  1. Whether the news has been tweeted, with or without a link, and whether more tweets are expected. Whether it has been or should be posted to Facebook, with or without a link, and whether the post is likely to need updating.  Whether it has been posted to G+, with or without a link.
  2. Tip A: You can use the slug and description here, but also use this area to create additional promotional messages and create a promotional schedule for you and other team members.
  3. Tip B: Review your content are there pieces of it that you can pull for teasers, like a quote, statistics or intriguing line? Make these your additional promotional messages. 

Live

  1. Plans, if any, for live coverage, including tools and techniques used, such as ScribbleLive, feeding in live tweets, live chat, livestreaming video (staff or embed from another source), etc.
  2. Tip: If this is a webinar, we suggest selecting a hashtag that can easily be tracked for Q&A and to monitor engagement before, during and after. Promote your hashtag pre-webinar in emails and social media and add it to your deck in the footer to remind attendees.

SMS

  1. In the newsroom: Whether a text alert should be or has been sent, and whether updates are likely.
  2. For the marketer: If you are utilizing SMS add this into your spreadsheet to craft a message. Text messages are 160 characters long, use that as your guide. If you aren’t utilizing SMS utilize this field for additional Twitter and social messages, trim your message to 120 or 100 to leave room for re-tweeting and mentions.

Email

  1. In the newsroom: Whether an email alert should be or has been sent, and whether updates are likely.
  2. Tip: will this piece be used in your upcoming email marketing communication? If so, plug in your Slug and Description – you already did the work!

Webcast

  1. In the newsroom: If you have a daily news webcast, is this a story you suggest for inclusion?
  2. For the marketer: Should this be included on the home page or promoted to specific groups on LinkedIn, partners, internal staff?

Print (change to Formats)

  1. In the newsroom: Do you suggest this for the print product, and if so, how long do you expect that version to be? What other elements should be used or considered for print? This could easily be multiple columns: Print, Length, Page one, Section, Sidebar, Visual.
  2. Tip: If you don’t have a print piece to consider then change this to “Formats.” How can this content be created in other formats – a slide deck then promoted on slideshare and LinkedIn, photo album on Facebook? How can this be transformed into a photo story on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Other to drive engagement? Is this topic worthy of a podcast or video?

Promotion (change to third party promotion)

  1. In the newsroom and for the marketer: What digital content should you promote in print and vice versa? Where might you share links externally?
  2. Tip: Use this column to cross your t’s and dot your i’s. Run through all areas of promotion or new areas to promote content that are appropriate for this type of content, check with internal folks, management or networking groups to see if there may be an opportunity to boost the visibility of your content.

What tips do you have for creating and organizing your content? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook.