Posts Tagged ‘Ian Lurie’
Content marketing is a hot topic, primarily in the B2B world but increasingly in consumer marketing as well. The number of Google searches for the phrase have increased 400% since January 2011. And as noted here yesterday, 93% of B2B marketers are now using content marketing, with more than half calling it their biggest priority this year.
The first step toward content marketing success begins with (or at least should begin with) creation of a content marketing strategy. But where does one begin? What are the best practices and frameworks for creating such a strategy? What are the critical elements to include, and pitfalls to avoid, in developing a strategy?
Discover the answers to those questions are more here in 18 of the best guides to crafting a content marketing strategy of the past year.
Content Marketing Strategy Guides
Why you need repetition in your content strategy by iMedia Connection
According to the brilliant Rebecca Lieb, “One of content marketing’s biggest challenges is coming up with new material. One of content marketing’s other biggest challenges is overcoming something you’ve been told not to do since you were small: repeating yourself.” She then explains how to “repeat yourself” creatively in order to drive home a message, without seeming repetitive or redundant.
How to Build Your First Content Marketing Strategy by Search Engine Watch
As the title implies, Jayson DeMers here outlines a solid content strategy-building process based on five questions (starting with “Who Are You Writing For?”) and five guidelines (among them, “Review Your Data to Develop Great Content”).
Content marketing: What is more important than strategy? by GO Marketing
Writing that “A sound strategic planning process is based on consistently applied business objectives that flow through functional areas and support each other,” John Gregory Olson presents a helpful model for planning, and makes a case for the one element that’s more important than strategy.
Let’s Move Beyond The Content Marketing Hype by WCG CommonSense
Michael Brito contends marketers “must move beyond the content marketing buzzword and commit to building a content strategy that will allow you to execute your tactical content marketing initiatives flawlessly and at scale,” and promotes a four-pillars framework for content strategy development.
8 Steps To Become A Brand Publisher by B2B Marketing Insider
Stating that “Brands need to become better storytellers and think and act like publishers,” Michael Brenner showcases his presentation detailing the impact the Web and email have had on traditional print media, and why this means brands need to tell their own stories by creating “content hubs” to earn traffic instead of buying it through advertising.
Experts outline key content marketing trends for 2014 by The Guardian
A half dozen “content marketing gurus” offer their predictions for impactful trends in 2014, among them the importance of taking an “integrated omni-channel approach” not just in terms of devices and formats but also measurable multi-channel online marketing; an increased focus on user experience; and putting the story first (“Brands need to tell a story and it has to be a story that people can care about. The format, channels, platforms, devices and timing of how that story is told will be dictated by what you want your audience to feel”).
The Top 10 Content Marketing Strategy Lessons from the Last 15 Years by Content Marketing Institute
***** 5 STARS
Joe Pulizzi, the godfather of content marketing, shares 10 key lessons including “Content marketing is the great equalizer…Large budgets don’t always win; actually, the smaller players usually come out on top because they are equipped to move more agilely and quickly than their larger competition”; it’s more productive to focus on using a few channels well than being on all platforms; and being distinctive is a must.
Noting that “The old adage — build it and they will come — doesn’t work for content marketing,” Laurie Sullivan reports on Forrester Research guidance on building a content distribution strategy to overcome the glut on content online.
How to Create a Content Strategy (In Only 652 Steps) by Portent, Inc.
***** 5 STARS
Few writers can match Ian Lurie’s blend of sardonic humor and useful marketing wisdom. While there are not actually 652 steps here, there is a remarkable guide to auditing your current content marketing, setting goals, and then crafting a strategy to meet and exceed those objectives.
How To Develop A Content Marketing Strategy Framework by BloggerBeat
Matthew Anton presents three dozen questions to ask when creating a content marketing strategy, from questions about the company’s business model (e.g., “Which products make up most of the revenue?”) to analyzing competitors, to determining the driving factors behind customer purchase and loyalty.
4 Reasons Why Content Marketing Should Care About Audience Development by Tony Zambito
***** 5 STARS
Reporting that “60 to 70 percent of content churned out by b-to-b marketing departments today sits unused,” Tony Zambito explains why the biggest problem for b2b marketers isn’t a lack of content, but rather a lack of the right content—and how to fix it by strategically using buyer personas.
A Bigger Megaphone Doesn’t Mean Better Marketing by MediaPost
Laura Patterson addresses the same topic as Tony does above, explaining how mapping content to the buying journey and customer lifecycle enables marketers to more strategically build out their content marketing editorial calendars.
The Content Marketing Pyramid: Are You Hungry for Content? by Business2Community
***** 5 STARS
Pawan Deshpande presents a remarkably useful model for content planning, the “Content Marketing Pyramid.” At the base of the pyramid is curated content, “which is relatively low effort and lends itself to high frequencies,” with each higher level representing formats which require greater effort and should be used with correspondingly lower frequency.
4 secrets of a successful digital content strategy by iMediaConnection
Miranda Anderson suggests four principles to underpin a content strategy, including the idea that all content should have an objective: “We create content because we want our audience to do something — to buy, learn more, or love our brand. Your content should always point back to that core objective.”
5 Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Content Marketers by SteamFeed
Ross Simmonds helpfully exposes a handful of beliefs held by the best content marketers, among them knowing “when you have an ugly baby” (“This is one of the reason you see so many TV ads about people who work in marketing – Tunnel vision”) and my favorite, “Accepting Best Practice is Accepting Status Quo.” Don’t copy your competitors—be the source they try to copy.
The Top 6 Reasons You’re Failing at Content Marketing by BuzzStream Blog
Dan Tynski expertly provides “a guide to common errors and pitfalls that beginner content marketers should make themselves aware of,” starting with “problems of scope”—is your goal in content marketing to find new customers, improve search rankings, or up-sell/cross-sell existing customers? “If your goal is to create content that can drive leads or sales, it doesn’t make sense to create content that is too broad or targets large audiences with only cursory interest in what you are selling. Whereas if your goal is brand awareness, or perhaps link-building for SEO, going broad with your content can be an excellent strategy.”
How to avoid creating worthless content by iMedia Connection
Stacy Thompson highlights three key elements to take into account in order to avoid wasting your (and your prospective audience’s) time, including relevance: “content that neglects to factor in the preferences of the reader is nothing more than what CMI (the Content Marketing Institute) defines as ‘informational garbage.'”
Building Content Marketing Strategy – 10 Steps by B2B Marketing Insider
Michael Brenner (again) lists and expands upon 10 key steps for developing a content marketing strategy, such as stepping into your customer’s shoes to understand their point of view on what constitutes valuable content, and going mulit-format—maximizing the value of your content by repurposing a white paper as a series of blog posts, a YouTube video, and a SlideShare presentation.
This was post #3 of Content Marketing Week on Webbiquity.
The inbound marketing experts at HubSpot along with Jeff Ente of Who’s Blogging What have just published an outstanding collection of social media insights, 54 Pearls of Marketing Wisdom by “26 of the world’s best marketing experts.” The assembled pundits weighed in on one or more questions regarding social media strategy, mobile marketing, online content, guidance on allocating resources between social networks and more.
Among the experts are Seth Godin (author, most recently, of We Are All Weird), Jeff Bullas, Sarah Worsham, Ian Lurie, Sharlyn Lauby, Valeria Maltoni, Heidi Cohen, Maddie Grant and Joe Pulizzi. Quite a lineup.
A few highlights of the 66-page report include:
Seth Godin: “I think the relentlessly ebbing of perceived privacy is happening faster than most people thought it would. This is leading to both small pockets of frustrated, trapped people who are afraid of what’s known about them, and a larger portion of the population that’s redefining what they think is normal.”
Linda Bustos (on Google+): “I notice that retweets of my blog’s articles are down since it’s launch, understandably, especially since Google Reader removed other sharing options in favor of the Plus button…I’m also surprised that there’s room for another social network. This and new sites like Pinterest show us there’s still room for new social networks, provided they offer something Twitter and Facebook don’t.”
Sharlyn Lauby: “After what seems like countless failed attempts at social by Google (Buzz, Wave, Orkut, etc), Google+ is already enough of a hit to force marketers to leverage, if only for its search implications.”
Heidi Cohen: “With increasing smartphone penetration, the following mobile marketing elements are the cost of entry: mobile website (fast loading, streamlined to main mobile function and easy to use), mobile search, and email marketing (the top mobile device activity). optimize to be read on-the-go with mobile call-to-action and phone number. ”
Dave Chafey: With mobile I always start with the current level of mobile usage for a company through analytics – to make sure decisions aren’t swept away by the ‘mobile web access to replace desktop access by 2014’ hype. Sure, for some brands in fashion and publishing mobile access is more than 20% in 2011. But for many others it’s in the single digits. Most mobile usage will be around search and the social networks, so make sure these work locally.”
Maddie Grant: “Marketers should stop marketing and start connecting. Start solving problems. Start building relationships.”
Joe Pulizzi: “Every piece of your content should be excellent enough that customers are compelled to share it. With Panda and four (maybe five) major social networks, the best content will rise to the top. That means, velocity will not be as important as truly impactful content.”
Michael Lazerow: “Content needs to be not only interesting, but also engaging and shareable. Content is constantly evolving, so brands need to stay ahead of the curve as best they can. Before you publish anything, think to yourself: is this something I would share with my social network? Is this something that my audience would identify with?”
Cameron Chapman: “The way that content is distributed now is both fantastic for those who are publishing content, and disastrous for the general public. On a daily basis I come across content littered with errors, either intentionally or accidentally, that is being passed around as gospel. Content creators need to take it upon themselves to verify everything they’re putting out there. In many cases, it goes unnoticed, but when it is noticed, it destroys your credibility. I hate to see an infographic or any content that obviously involved a lot of time made useless because someone didn’t fact check.”
And there’s much more, including my thoughts on social network resource allocation on page 39. It’s a hefty document, but the wisdom is handed out in easily digestible bite-size chunks. Want to be ready for what’s coming in social media tomorrow? Download 54 Pearls of Marketing Wisdom today.
If 2009 was the year many marketers puzzled over, poked at and pondered incorporating social media into their marketing mix, 2010 was the year of diving in. Adoption soared. According to a HubSpot study, 71% of marketers viewed Twitter as a useful marketing tool last year, up from just 39% in 2009. Facebook added more than 200 million users last year, and Twitter more than doubled in size, adding 115 million. 85% of Inc. 500 companies now call social media “very” or “somewhat” important to their marketing or business strategy.
With that rapid adoption came a great deal of learning. Mistakes were made. Myths emerged and (some) were busted. ROI remains a contentious issue, but in at least a few areas best practices began to emerge.
Now that social media has advanced from the “should we do it?” to the “how do we do it better?” stage, many new questions arise. How does the traditional notion of a corporate website need to change to embrace social median norms and capabilities? How should you integrate social media with other marketing tactics like email? How can you “train” your CEO to use social media productively? What’s the difference between a “like” and a “share?” Should social media be under the overall purvue of marketing or PR? What will be the “next” big issues in social media marketing?
Discover the answers to these questions and more here in 55 of the best guides to social media strategies, tactics, tools and statistics of the past year.
Social Media Tips, Tactics and Techniques
How are marketers really using social media? by iMedia Connection
Dan Neely discusses which social networking sites get the most attention from marketers (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, no surprises there), how marketers can best use social media for branding and business development, and concerns about the use of social media in brand planning. Most valuable is his dissection of the best way to use the popular social sites, YouTube and blogging in an integrated manner that capitalizes on the strengths of each platform.
How to Use Your Blog to Drive Social Sales by Social Media Examiner
“The ultimate goal for many businesses is profit, not engagements, retweets or Facebook likes,” as Nathan Hangen points out, so he offers a four-step plan to making a blog into an effective, non-pushy sales tool.
The Social Media Marketing List: 45 things you should be doing but probably aren’t by Conversation Marketing
In the inimitable words of Ian Lurie, “When discussing social media marketing, lots of folks, including me, say things like ‘be authentic’ and wave our hands around. That makes you want to kick me in the coccyx, I’m sure. So, here’s a list of 45 specific things you should be doing,” including learning (at least a bit of) HTML, using bit.ly, retweeting someone else at least twice per day, and my favorite: “Don’t track ROI. You can’t track return on investment from social media. Not directly, anyway. Don’t set that expectation, and smash it anywhere it shows up. Social media marketing is about building a reputation that you can trade on to boost other marketing efforts.”
A formula for finding social media fans by iMedia Connection
Making the observation that “Every brand Facebook page or Twitter account begins with an audience of zero, unlike every medium that’s come before it where access to a given channel brought you a defined audience size and type. In the new world of owned media, you start at the beginning with nothing. The early agenda is to earn your way into a trusted relationship,” Bob Wheatley explains how to build social media marketing programs around what your audience cares about, not your corporate messaging.
Gina Gotthilf proposes “6 questions to ask in determining if your website welcomes interaction,” such as whether or not your content is sharable, dynamic, and open to reader input.
How to Use Social Media for B2B Marketing by Inc. Magazine
J.J. McCorvey explains how to integrate targeting, monitoring, content sharing and analytics into a coordinated b2b social media marketing program.
10 Social Media Tips And Pointers For Start Ups by Simply Zesty
For those fed up with the hype and “shiny sparkly” type enthusiasm often exhibited in posts about social media, Niall Harbison provides a breath of fresh air: brutal honestly about both the benefits (you have incredible freedom, it complements other forms of marketing, helping other people really works) and the limitations (it’s not a quick win, your friends aren’t your customers, it’s easy to spend too much time there) to be mindful of in using social media for small business marketing.
Learn to leverage the social-search connection by iMedia Connection
Liza Hausman explains how feeds, traditional search and social network search can work together and steps through “four ‘musts’ of on-site social optimization” for organizations.
Which Profile Aspects Should Be Emphasized on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn? by Served Fresh Media
Chris Tompkins suggests tailoring the style of your profiles in the big 3 social networks much as you’d dress differently for various types of business events.
How to: Use B2B Social Media for Lead Generation by TopRank Online Marketing Blog
Adam Singer identifies situations where social media marketing doesn’t make sense (e.g. you have a tiny customer base and they are all in top-secret military installations) and what groundwork needs to be laid before embracing social media in your marketing practices, then delves into how to use content for lead generation and integrate social with other marketing activities like email.
So, Your CEO Wants to Tweet! 7 Steps To Avoid Disaster by iMedia Connection
If your non-social-media-savvy CEO decides it’s time to get active, Rob Rose outlines seven steps to set up your new “engager-in-chief” so that he or she has the best chance at success, staring with understanding the “why” and easing into it and ending with making sure someone is listening and measuring activity around the CEO’s accounts.
Aliza Sherman supplies an outstanding list of “basic ways you can use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter for specific business activities. No bells, no whistles, just business.” Among them: asking questions, getting answers, building your brand, and driving targeted traffic to your website.
In the wild days before Google acquired YouTube, users would routinely create and upload videos using any music tracks they had about. The squealing of the music industry and desire of Google to add some respectability to the video-sharing site put an end to that. In this post, Peter VanRysdam helpfully outlines four free-to-reasonably-priced sources for legal music soundtracks. You won’t get Black Eyed Peas or Nickelback, but you won’t run afoul of YouTube’s censors either.
6 social sharing best practices for driving traffic by iMedia Connection
Liza Hausman (again) explains the difference between a “like” and a “share” (and why both are important), why it’s important to enable users to easily share content beyond just the largest social networks, and how to use social sharing to build relationships.
4 experts on how to turn social media into sales by Social Media Today
J.D. Lasica share insights from Becky Brown of Intel, Michael Brito of Edelman and others on how to generate revenue through social media. The specifics are different in each case, but “listening” and “trust” are recurring themes.
Getting Started Social Media Advertising on Facebook, YouTube & LinkedIn by TopRank Online Marketing Blog
Frequent “best of” contributor Lee Odden provides a great explanation of how ads work on three of the most popular social media venues, the pros and cons of each platform, and best practices for creating and targeting ads on each site.
Social Media Strategy Guides
The Difference Between Doing Social Vs. Being Social by Social Media Today
Vanessa DiMauro contends that “Most companies start doing social within their marketing and sales departments to drive traffic to their site and raise awareness about their products or services…However, being social means building competencies across the organization that encourage, support and institutionalize the use of social tools by a broad cross-section of employees and other stakeholders.” She shows how to identify and emulate organizations that are “truly social.”
Jonas Klit Nielsen advises marketers and business executives to ask critical questions about objectives, targeting, internal resources, synergies with other efforts and more before embarking on a social media strategy.
Do You Want To Succeed At Soc Media Or Soc Media Marketing? by MediaPost Online Media Daily
Forrester senior analyst Augie Ray distinguishes social media marketing success (creating online buzz, having lots of Facebook fams) from true social media success (delivering on brand promises, fostering genuine, even fanatical advocates online and off).
9 Ways to Sell Social Media to the Boss by Social Media Examiner
It’s not just small businesses that question the value of social media. Ekaterina Walter quotes Doug Frisbie, Toyota National Marketing Manager, as saying, “The price of inactivity is greater than the risks of anything we’d be doing in social media.” She explores why some executives seek to avoid social media and presents nine tactics to demonstrating its value to the higher-ups.
Does social media belong in PR or marketing divisions? by iMedia Connection
Ben Cathers answers this question with an unequivocal…it depends. He demonstrates how staring with your company’s primary objectives for social media will determine how your efforts should be structured.
Top 10 Responses To Use When Dealing With Social Media Naysayers by PR at Sunrise
Andrew Worob provides an excellent, thoughtful list of responses to common social media objections such as “we don’t have the resources,” can’t justify the costs, or executives don’t believe their audience is using social media.
5 strategies for a captivating social media conversation by iMedia Connection
Peter Platt quotes Emily Post—from 1922—to illustrate that market conversations are nothing new, it’s just that social media now amplifies and accelerates the spread of such communications. He offers five tips to help “get your brand into the social space without becoming a bore.”
The 6 Next Most Important Social Media Issues by BlogNotions
Now that social networks have global reach, account for a significant percentage of time spent online, and are increasingly being adopted as core marketing channels, Danny Flamberg says the next steps are about differentiation, quality, and accurately valuing brand advocates.
Is social media making you anti-social? by iMedia Connection
David Grossman offers six tips for building trust in social media communities, among them: be approachable and friendly, be respectful of others’ ideas and perspectives, and make sure your social media words align with your real-world company values and actions.
Why Banning Social Media Often Backfires by Mashable
Greg Ferenstein cites a range of examples and research to show that banning access to social media sites—whether in schools, companies or done by national governments—is ineffective and ofter counterproductive.
Are social media professionals unfairly constrained by organisations? by Governing People
***** 5 Stars
Craig Thomler astutely asks why many organizations that give their accountants, customer service reps, graphic designers and other employees specialized software to perform their jobs still block access to sites like Twitter and Facebook that marketers need to use to communicate with prospects, customers and industry influencers.
The 8 Steps of B2B Social Media Marketing by EngageSciences
Richard Jones details an 8-step process of “web and social nurturing that complement and extend email centric concepts of lead nurturing to drive better lead generation.” The process starts with segmenting and targeting and ends with conversion—no suprises there—but interesting incorporates social proof, monitoring and harvesting “positive posts and tweets about your company and products and merg(ing) them with your marketing content, on multiple display units across your websites and Facebook. Use your community to help you promote your products…Customer advocacy drives sales.”
How to prepare for social media’s big shift by iMedia Connection
Philippe Guegan declares that social media is now officially “well beyond a passing marketing fad,” and therefore “marketers need to start thinking, behaving, and organizing themselves as content producers who treat engage consumers as audiences.” He outlines five key differences between the old world of advertising / paid media and the new earned media realm.
How to Introduce Social Media to Your Business by Social Media Today
Writing that “too many businesses still need to wake up and realize that social media is not ‘one of these Internet fads’ that will disappear,” Danny Brown recommends clearly defining your audience, objectives and tools among the first tasks for developing a cohesive business social media strategy.
Social Media…Not as Free as it Seems? by Green Buzz Agency
Social media marketing can be very cost-effective, but Victoria Ipri reminds us that it’s not free, spelling out the multiple area of costs to consider, such as implementation (copyrighting, image rights, project management), engagement (testing time and tools), and analysis (reputation management tools and tasks).
Erica Swallow reports on research from social media guru Jeremiah Owyang summarized into seven key tips for building a successful, strategic social media program including being proactive rather than reactive (“You cannot wait for the company to catch up to you. You have to go to the business units and tell them what is required to participate in your company’s social media program before they ask you for a Facebook Page.”), organizing for success, and deploying scalable social media programs (“when you take your best customers and you give them a platform and let them do the work for you, and you don’t pay them—those are scalable programs”).
The 5 components of a complete social media program by iMedia Connection
Adam Kleinberg places strategic planning, customer insights and integrated programs among other components in the core of a comprehensive social media program.
The 3 Pillars of Social Media Readiness by Social Media Examiner
***** 5 Stars
Michael Brito believes that most brands “get it” when it comes to social media listening, engagement and transparency—but “there’s an underlying challenge that’s not being addressed as it should be,” the transition to becoming a social business, which is elegantly defined here.
Only Stupid Answers: What Is Social Media by MediaPost Online Media Daily
Andrew Ettinger searches for a common definition of “social media” and concludes that “Social Media lacks a singular definition—one on which we can all agree…Ultimately, each company will need to create their own Social Media taxonomy; one size does not fit all.”
Social Media Metrics and ROI
6 Key Metrics for a Social Media Measurement Dashboard [Best of SEW 2010 #4] by Search Engine Watch
Nathan Linnell says companies need a true social media measurement dashboard in order to really understand their progress toward achieving objectives in social media, and specifies six key metrics that dashboard should track.
Measuring the Impact of Social Media by Adotas
Jim Wehmann predicts that social media measurement will move from inconsistent, ad hoc measures to more sophisticated approaches as the tools and techniques mature, as happened in the early days of the web with email and website analytics.
The Maturation of Social Media ROI by Mashable
Brian Solis reports that most marketers still aren’t measuring the ROI of their social media marketing efforts even though such analysis is increasingly expected, and predicts that CMOs will increasingly attempt to tie social media marketing programs to revenue, conversions and average order value. Nevertheless, the social media ROI debate is not over.
Vital statistics for B2B marketers – The case study by Earnest
***** 5 Stars
In June 2010, Earnest produced an outstanding video about social media use in b2b marketing (highlighted in this post). A few months later, they wrote this case study about the experience, detailing their initial objectives, the production, how the video was promoted, the results, and lessons learned from the project.
8 Social Media Metrics You Should Be Measuring by Social Media Examiner
Nichole Kelly details eight key social metrics that in her words, “you may not be measuring, but should be,” such as comparing conversion metrics for your social media connections vs. a control group of non-social media users, growth rate over time, retention rates and customer saves.
Mark Schaefer cites several examples of how companies are offering perks to customers based on their social media influence, as measured in various ways such as Klout scores. He predicts, only half tongue-in-cheek, that “within a 12 to 18 months, you will be able to use new augmented reality technology to scan a room of people with your smartphone and get a numerical social rating for every person in sight.” This scenario is, as he notes, creepy—but also potentially very lucrative for businesses.
FOUND the ROI of Social Media for B2B Marketers! by Buzz Marketing for Technology
Paul Dunay believes “there is one place that delivers a strong ROI in Social Media and if you follow my advice not only will you conquer social media but you will delight your customers in the process!” And that place is…
10 ways to measure social media for business by Socialmedia.biz
Writing that “tracking a few well-chosen metrics…can contribute to the bottom line,” J.D. Lasica (again) details 10 key social media metrics that can be tied to business performance including customer engagement (e.g., number of retweets on Twitter, number of comments per blog post), brand sentiment and customer retention.
50 Ways to Measure Success in Social Media by B2C Marketing Insider
Garrett Ira recommends 50 potential metrics for measuring social media success (though, as he notes, you don’t need to use all of them), categorized into website/blog measures (e.g. average time spent per visit, bounce rate), email, Facebook, Twitter, other networks, and ROI metrics.
Social Media Tools
50 Social Sites That Every Business Needs a Presence on by Focus
***** 5 Stars
Social media is about more than just the “Big 4” sites as illustrated by this post listing a wider range of sites where a business social media presence is important, categorized into social bookmarking, professional networking, niche social media (e.g. Tweako for gadgets, Sphinn for online marketers), general social media, and job sites.
22 Social Media Marketing Management Tools by TopRank Online Marketing Blog
12 Social Media Monitoring Tools Reviewed by Six Revisions
Jason Schubring first defines some of the key terms used in social media monitoring (e.g., influence, sentiment, volume) then reviews a dozen social media monitoring tools ranging from Google Alerts and Twitter Advanced Search to more powerful offerings like HootSuite and Scout Labs.
Online Database of Social Media Policies by Social Media Governance
Need to write a social media policy but not sure where to start? Need some inspiration? Check out these 164 examples from companies and organizations that have put guidelines in place to help their employees use social media wisely and productively in the workplace.
Social Media Facts, Stats and Figures
MIT Study Suggests Social Networks Influence Behavior by MediaPost Online Media Daily
10 Outstanding Social Media Infographics by NowSourcing
Brian Wallace shares a series of infographics showing information like social media use by country, the age distribution on various social networks, a timeline of social media sites, and uses for social media at various levels in the corporate hierarchy.
Riding the rising tide of social media investment by iMedia Connection
Gordon Plutsky reports on recent research showing that, of companies embracing social media for inbound marketing, 90% are doing the job internally, with an increasing number making social media management a dedicated role rather than just another task for already harried marketing staff. Almost two-thirds of responding companies are blogging and half are on YouTube, but less than 60% are measuring results.
Twitter is adding 300,000 new users per day, and 80% of Twitter use is on mobile devices. 22% of all online time is now spent on social networks. 210 billion email messages are sent each day, which is more than the annual volume of postal mail letters in the U.S. And lots more.
Social Media Trends
Citing AOL, MySpace and Friendster as cautionary tales, guest author Jay Pinkert warns that Facebook and Twitter, despite their tremendous current popularity, aren’t invincible. Privacy and usability issues, among others, could damage the leaders and allow upstarts to unseat them. Jay advises marketers to keep an eye on the landscape for new entrants and test new platforms as they emerge.
Six Social Media Trends for 2011 by Harvard Business Review
David Armano, who did pretty well at predicting some key trends (such as the explosion of mobile social media use) in 2010, reveals his predictions for the coming year on issues like social media integration within enterprises, further developments in tablet and mobile computing, Google’s new social media strategy and more.
Ranking well in organic search results becomes more imperative every day, particularly in the B2B world. According to recent research, 9 out of 10 B2B buyers say that when they’re ready to buy, they’ll find you. 93% of these decision makers use search to begin the buying process. And it isn’t just low-level minions conducting searches at the behest of higher-ups; 63% of C-level executives say they first turn to mainstream search engines to locate information.
That makes optimization more important than ever, and leads to questions like: How can SEO be used in online reputation management? What common SEO mistakes are critical to avoid? How important are footer links to SEO? How can PDF content be optimized for search? How does the introduction of Google Instant change SEO tactics? What are the crucial tasks to include on site audit and pre-launch SEO checklists?
Find the answers to those questions and many more here in more than two dozen of the best guides to SEO tips, strategies, techniques and tactics of the past year.
SEO: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners by KISS Metrics
Neil Patel provides an excellent and largely non-technical guide to SEO success, from keyword research and content development through meta tags, search-friendly URLs and link building.
For those without the time, inclination or webmaster jargon knowledge to read Google’s 32-page SEO Starter Guide, this blog post nets it out: choose the right keywords (based on your market knowledge, not so much what keyword tools tell you), optimize your site, pursue quality links, and unless you have such expertise internally—hire professional help.
SEO 101: Defining the long tail by Conversation Marketing
Ian Lurie lucidly explains the meaning of “long tail” in search with simple and compelling graphics showing that while individual “head” terms may get management salivating for top rank position, it’s the less sexy but more specific 3-word and longer queries that collectively generate more traffic and a much higher conversion rate.
What Is SEO, Really? by SEO Book
After providing an explanation of SEO, brief history of the discipline and recommendations on how to learn modern SEO techniques, Peter Da Vanzo concludes that SEO isn’t only about rankings—but it isn’t just about money either.
You WANT Rankings, But What Do You Really NEED? by Search Engine Guide
Frequent best-of contributor Stoney deGeyter elaborates on the “key components to a well-rounded optimization campaign,” including keyword research, website architecture, copywriting, on-page optimization, analytics and more.
Advanced SEO Tactics, Techniques and Considerations
The dangers of ranking No. 1 on Google by iMediaConnection
***** 5 Stars
Drew Hubbard quantifies both the value and risk of high rankings. On the value side, getting your site ranked #1 on both Google and Yahoo/Bing means you’ll attract (on average) 40% of ALL organic search clicks for that term. On the risk side, however, carefully choose which terms you really want to rank for. People search for different reasons. Ranking highly for an informational—rather than transactional—can end up drawing a ton of traffic to your site and putting a big load on your servers for no real business benefit. Ranking for high-conversion keywords is far more important (i.e. profitable) than just showing up well for high-traffic terms. Still, considering all of the worries that might keep an SEO pro up at night, this one is probably pretty low on the list.
How to optimize page Titles and improve click through rates by Web SEO Analytics
Vasilis Vryniotis runs through the basics of optimizing titles for search: make them brief, descriptive, attractive and branded, with the most important keywords up front.
25 tips to skyrocket your search engine rankings by Socialmedia.biz
Karan Singhal offers 25 tips that may not “skyrocket” your site’s rankings but should help, among them: understanding your target market and how they search, using internal linking with anchor text, utilizing keyword-rich URLs, and keeping your site’s content fresh.
12 Amazing SEO Infographics by HubSpot Blog
***** 5 Stars
Kipp Bodnar compiles an outstanding, highly bookmarkable set of SEO infographics suitable for printing out and posting in a highly visible location. Examples include the SEO Order of Operations (grab and include with the post?), SEO vs. PPC stats, and the ROI of SEO.
Search Marketing in a B2B World – PPC and SEO by SlideShare
Magnus Nilsson guides b2b marketers through search optimization in this online presentation, from recognizing the differences between how buyers search at home versus at the office, and how different types of business buyers search, to using analytics to measure what’s really important.
Do You Make Any of These 10 Simple SEO Mistakes? by KISS Metrics
Kristi Hines details 10 common SEO mistakes and how to correct them, such as focusing on link quantity over quality and not creating compelling, linkworthy content.
SEO Raises Awareness and Reputation Better than PPC by MarketingSherpa Blog
Adam T. Sutton reports on MarketingSherpa research showing that more marketers view SEO as “very effective” than PPC at increasing brand/product awareness (42% to 34%), improving brand/product reputation (29% to 19%) and improving PR (27% to 6%). For many if not most companies, PPC and SEO should both be part of the marketing mix; but it’s important to recognize their differing and often complementary strengths.
Noting that “The Internet can be a hostile place, with powerful companies paying handsome sums to hide negative content in Google search results…Unseen battles are waged every day to protect and destroy brands and reputations,” Peter O’Dowd demonstrates how companies and political figures are turning to content marketing and SEO to push negative mentions of them off the front page of search results.
The Problem with Footer Links in SEO by WordStream Internet Marketing Blog
Lior Levin writes that footer links generally don’t carry much weight with search engines: “Since the webmaster has heavily devalued the link, it only makes sense that the search engines would as well.” While footer links have valid purposes, important links should be placed more highly, and prominently, on the page.
We’ll Stop Screaming “Relevance” When You Start Listening by Search News Central
Gabriella Sannino demonstrates the centrality of relevance to search results by stepping through the process of optimizing a single page, from keyword targeting and meta tags to content development and link-building through guest posts or bylined articles.
The Art and Science of SEO Site Audits [Best of SEW 2010 #10] by Search Engine Watch
***** 5 Stars
Adam Audette outlines an extensive checklist and process for performing SEO site audits, including on-page and off-page factors, reporting, and audit tools.
Twitter & Facebook links affect SEO on Google and Bing by Web SEO Analytics
Another noteworthy post from Vasilis Vryniotis, this one detailing how search engine are using social signals to impact rankings and what type of information the search engines attempt to glean from links in social media.
Fundamentals of PDF Optimisation for Search by Bruce Clay
Explaining that “Properties to a PDF are what meta tags are to a web page,” Aaron Egan demonstrates how to use text, properties, tags and navigation to make PDF documents as search-friendly as possible.
The SEOmoz Internal SEO Pre-Launch Checklist by The Daily SEO Blog
Aaron Wheeler outlines critical (e.g., title tag, URL structure, image alt tags) and “worth double-checking” (robots.txt file, H1 tags, images optimized) SEO tasks to complete prior to launch. Danny Dover elaborates on this SEO “cheat sheet” in the accompanying video.
Google Instant and SEO
Google Instant: Fewer Changes to SEO than the Average Algo Update by The Daily SEO Blog
Rand Fishkin pulls data from a variety of sources to show that the introduction of Google Instant had only subtle impacts on search behavior.
6 Ways to Ensure Better Rankings in Google Instant by Search Engine Journal
Kristi Hines here offers a half-dozen tips for ranking better in Google Instant, though most are just good solid SEO practice regardless, such as thinking like searchers, keeping your online reputation clean and producing content in a variety of formats—not just text.
Google: Complexity is Good! by SEO Book
***** 5 Stars
Aaron Wall posts an entertaining and informative rant on how the increasing complexity of Google search (incorporating personalization, social signals, video results, Google Instant, etc.) has also led to a proliferation of bugs. A quote that every SEO should print out in a large font and tape up on his or her wall: “Sometimes you don’t rank because you screwed up. But sometimes you don’t rank because Google screwed up.”
SEO Planning for 2011 by Search Engine Watch
Eric Enge reviews some of the most impactful changes for search optimization in 2010 (e.g., May Day, Caffeine, Instant) and identifies four key factors SEO practitioners will need to focus on for search success in 2011.
SEO for Bing
SEO Tips for Bing by MarketingProfs
With Bing now accounting for roughly 30% of organic search in the U.S., John Pring provides timely advice on how to optimize for this search engine and differences from Google; while backlinks, pagerank and fresh content matter less to Bing, many of the same factors (keyword research and density, an XML sitemap) apply.
SEO for Bing: Don’t Ignore It by Search Engine Watch
Stating that “Google is absolutely watching Bing’s every move, and search marketers should be doing the same thing,” Adam Audette predicts that Bing’s market share will grow and provides several general (e.g., clean code, quality content) and specific (use XML sitemaps and keep them up to date) tips on optimizing for the #2 search engine.
Google Webmaster Tools and SEO
Beginner’s Guide to Google Webmaster Tools by KISS Metrics
Neil Patel (again) provides an outstanding primer on the functions and use of Google Webmaster Tools, from adding your site and uploading an XML site map through sitelinks, settings, identifying your best external links and keywords, and much more.
Google Webmaster Tools 101 by ClickZ
Ron Jones explains how to use Google Webmaster Tools to diagnose SEO problems and make improvements in different areas (HTML, internal links, keywords) to optimize overall website performance.
Despite constant change on the search landscape—personalization, localization, Caffeine, Google Instant—SEO is not dead, not even close. It is certainly changing though. How can you stay current and adjust? What basic SEO factors and techniques remain important? What common mistakes should you avoid? How do realtime platforms like Twitter affect search results? What trends should you be watching? How do you optimize non-text content such as video? Is duplicate content always bad? What does Matt Cutts have to say about all of this?
Yes, Rand Fishkin and SEOmoz are cited several times here (not surprising for a “best of SEO” post). No, he isn’t paying me. At least not yet.
10 questions to evaluate an SEO by Conversation Marketing
The brilliant and always entertaining Ian Lurie provides an amusing yet practical guide to separating true SEO pros from fakers and wannabes. Example (question #9): “Do you have partnerships with major search engines? If they answer ‘Yes,’ make sure they’re not calling you from prison: They’re a total fraud. Any credible SEO will make a sound like they just choked on a lemon and explain that no one has a partnership with a major search engine.”
SEO Stuff to Think About When Starting a New Website by Pure Visibility
Catherine Juon details five considerations to keep in mind when building a new site, such as keeping your design simple and writing “findable” content. Though nothing here is rocket science, it’s amazing how many sites still fail these tests.
SEO 101 Common Mistakes by David Naylor
Extensive list of common SEO mistakes made in strategy, market research, keyword research, content development, URLs, link building, coding and more. As David puts it, “If you’re a web designer who thinks that ‘good CSS = SEO,’ a writer who thinks that ‘good content = SEO’ or a developer who just thinks ‘SEO = bullshit’ then here are a few pitfalls to bear in mind if you’re considering using SEO as a way to bring your products to market.”
Twitter and Real Time Search by SEO Wizardry
If you spend any time on SEO, you’re aware that even though Twitter uses insidious nofollow links it nevertheless impacts search results. Pete Hollier explains how authority and relevancy on Twitter affects search.
Social Networking Becoming More Important For Google SERPS! by Massachusetts Real Estate
Bill Gassett explains how Google is incorporating social signals into search results. His bottom line: “Having connections, followers, friends at the various social media sites such as Twitter, Friendfeed, and others is going to help your SERP placement!”
5 can’t-miss SEO trends by iMedia Connection
Kevin Ryan details five search trends including the impact of social media, real-time results and rich media content.
How To Name Your Website’s Files by Daily SEO Tip
Naming your files in a more intelligent and strategic fashion than simply products.html or image0498.jpg is not only helpful for SEO but also more intuitive for human visitors. This post explains how to use file naming for both optimization and good, solid web design purposes.
Who knew the humble footer could be so powerful? Here’s a great explanation of how bottom-of-the-page real estate can be capitalized on to improve the user experience, enhance indexing, connect with visitors through social media and more.
What Does Google Social Search Mean for SEO? by Search Engine Watch
John Greer explains how Google utilizes social signals in search, what types of queries are affected and what sources of data are used to adjust results.
3 Skills You Need To Be An SEO by Search Engine Journal
SEO requires more than just geek talent. Danny Wong makes the case for why successful SEOs also need other talents including (perhaps most importantly) patience: “You also need to understand that your rankings in the SERPS will not always change overnight.”
Matt Cutts Interviewed by Eric Enge by Stone Temple Consulting
Eric Enge gets deep into the SEO weeds with Matt Cutts on topics like indexing, PageRank, duplicate content, “crawl budget,” link juice, 301 and 302 redirects, the rel=canonical tag, Session IDs, affiliate links, faceted navigation, HEAD requests, NoFollow and more. It’s great stuff, but don’t even try to read this post before your first coffee or Mountain Dew in the morning.
For those who found Eric’s post above just a bit too much to get through, Rand Fishkin provides a clever summary in illustrated cartoon format. Kind of like the Classics Illustrated comic book series (for those old enough to remember them). Rand’s post may miss a little of Eric’s detail but it’s much more fun.
How to optimize your site for Google in 2010 by iMedia Connection
Jason Prescott shows how SEO, paid search and social media (including blogging) work together to not only enhance an organization’s web presence but also a lift in click-through rates.
How To Optimize Your Mobile Content by MediaPost Search Insider
Todd Friesen offers five tips for optimizing your site for mobile devices. Considering that one out of five Facebook users accesses the site through their mobile device and 30% of social media users access a social media site “several times a day,” mobile SEO can no longer be ignored.
Nine common SEO campaign mistakes by Econsultancy
In this cleverly written and creatively illustrated post, Jaamit Durrani details common SEO mistakes such as over-reliance on the home page and ignoring long tail key phrases. One minor quibble: SEO isn’t a “campaign,” it’s a continual effort.
30 SEO Problems & the Tools to Solve Them (Part 2 of 2) by SEOmoz
***** 5 Stars
It’s Rand Fishkin again (what a shock), this time presenting an outstanding list of SEO concerns and tools to deal with them, such as using GSiteCrawler or Xenu to identify crawl errors, and Backtweets to measure tweet activity to a URL across multiple URL shortener platforms.
Google Experts Answer your SEO Questions by Digital Inspiration
Wondering how to get more of your site’s pages into Google’s index? Or how useful article submission sites really are for improving your site’s search ranking? Amit Agarwal publishes a highly informative, straight-from-the-horse’s-mouth interview with several members of Google’s search quality team that answers these questions and many more.
Video SEO: YouTube Optimization and Universal Search Video Ranking Factors & Signals by The Fire Horse Trail
Terry Van Horne offers a detailed, step-by-step guide to “the nuts and bolts of video optimization.”
9 Expert SEO Tips for Small Businesses by Small Business Trends
Anita Campbell picks the brains of nine SEO experts including Aaron Wall, Matt McGee and Debra Mastaler for their best tips optimizing small business websites.
SEO vs. SEF by ClickZ
The prolific Mark Jackson explains how to use keyword research, content, information architecture and blogging to turn a search-engine-friendly (SEF) website into one that is truly optimized.
Whiteboard Interview – Google’s Matt Cutts on Redirects, Trust + More by The Daily SEO Blog
Scott Willoughby recaps an interview (video + notes) of Matt Cutts by Rand Fishkin, covering topics ranging from 503 status codes and PageRank to displaying geo-specific content based on user IP and chaining redirects (which is bad).
Normally a title like this would trigger my mental spam alert, but this is from Glen Allsop, so it’s legit. He describes how to use the fact that 20-25% of Google searches every single day are brand new and combine it with event news and trending topics (from Google Trends) to capitalize on these high volume, low competition searches to potentially generate large amounts of search traffic.
10 ways to screw up your SEO by iMedia Connection
Dave McAnally outlines 10 ways that companies often sub-optimize their web presence, such as managing social media activities independently from search, confusing real-world competitors with true competition in search, and implementing a CMS without applying best practices in SEO.
The Beginner’s Guide to SEO by SEOmoz
***** 5 Stars
Must reading for anyone involved in SEO. This is an extensive but rich guide to optimizing websites, written in clear language, covering everything from how search engines work and the basics of search-friendly web design to common SEO myths and using metrics to track SEO results.
Ecommerce SEO Checklist by SEO Scoop
Rebecca Wright provides a concise nine-item checklist for optimizing keywords, code, content, images and links. Though written with ecommerce sites in mind, this is a good basic checklist for any site.
Matt Cutts Movie Marathon by SEOmoz
“Dr. Pete” Meyers presents his 10 favorite Matt Cutts YouTube videos, addressing topics like the importance of the meta keywords tag (per Matt: “I wouldn’t spend even 0 minutes on it, personally”), the impact of dofollow comments on blogs (moderate comments!) and an admission by Matt that “Good content is necessary, but not sufficient” (with a more detailed explanation in his video).
Learn How Google Works: in Gory Detail by PPC Blog
***** 5 Stars
This phenomenally popular infographic (5,756 tweets as of the time of this writing) precisely what happens between the time you post content to the web and the moment someone first finds it on a Google Search. It also includes trivia like the fact that Google has 36 data centers worldwide that cost up to $600 million each.
25 Ethical Tips That Will Skyrocket Your Search Engine Rankings by The YOUmoz Blog
Why Duplicate Content Is Good For You by Search Engine Journal
Huh? Doesn’t duplicate content (almost) rank up with their with link buying as an SEO no-no? Not necessarily. John Hargrave presents a case study on how a great piece of content, duplicated word-for-word on a popular website, went “megaviral” boosting search engine rank and traffic for both the original and duplicated content site.
How to Optimize Your Site for Search by Inc. Magazine
An excellent primer for those fairly new to SEO and helpful review for experienced pros, this article covers the basics from keyword research and placement to link seeding.
9 Steps to Diagnosing Lost Search Engine Traffic by High Rankings Advisor
A sudden drop in search traffic can cause heartburn for any website owner. Instead of reaching for the Prevacid, check out this post where Jill Whalen outlines a nine-step process for determining the cause of the decline and then rectifying it. One familiar example: “Review and filter out ‘brand’ traffic. Most websites get a lot of Google traffic from people who’ve typed some version of the name of their company as their search query…If you receive fewer visitors for your brand, this could be caused by a decrease in marketing and advertising.”
Prioritize and Summarize – Final Step of the 8-Step SEO Strategy by The Daily SEO Blog
The finale of a 10,000-word, eight post series on SEO strategy from defining your target audience and identifying their needs through prioritizing efforts and presenting your action plan.
SEO: The Road To Strategy by MediaPost Search Insider
Gord Hotchkiss muses about how a truly effective SEO strategy needs to reflect overall corporate strategy, noting that “SEO tactics that are grounded in the day-to-day business and the strategic objectives of the company will always outperform the ‘links for hire’ and ghostwriter content creation that still flourishes in this business. Is it easy? Hell no. Is it worth it? I believe so.”
6 Ways to Learn SEO by SEOmoz
Rand Fishkin (geez, this guy almost needs his own “best of” post) defines six levels of SEO knowledge, then walks through six training methods (e.g., free online guides, published books, conferences) and explains who can benefit most from each method and a ballpark estimate of the time required.
The On-Page SEO Cheatsheet by Conversation Marketing
The Challenges of Measuring SEO Success, Part 2 by Search Engine Watch
Ray “Catfish” Comstock explores the impact of personalization and localization on search results and advises SEOs to focus on average rank per Google Webmaster tools and optimize for “share of voice” rather with than an obsessive focus on top search spots.
How to measure SEO for maximum impact by iMedia Connection
***** 5 Stars
Don’t let the title fool you into thinking this is just a post about analytics. John Faris describes in concise yet comprehensive fashion how to create actionable search ranking reports then act on the data to increase productive traffic through content gap analysis, behavioral keyword targeted, competitive link analysis and other tactics.
Rand Fishkin (again!) confesses via Danny Dover to five SEO mistakes his group has made over the years. #2 is indeed a bad one. #3 still seems like a good idea, especially if it improves the human user experience.
A Minimalist Guide to SEO: Get It Done in 6 Simple Steps by KISSmetrics
For those without a lot of SEO experience, a small website and a tight budget, James Chartrand prescribes six basic SEO tactics that can help improve search rankings and traffic.
aimClear’s 2009 Daily Training Link Library by aimClear
And finally…if the resources above aren’t enough to sate your appetite for SEO knowledge, grab a cup of coffee and a comfortable chair. Marty Weintraub shares his team’s “list of over 1,500 search industry articles, ideas, tweets, tool reviews, notes, snippets and snark” they use to stay current on SEO practices and trends. This is a remarkable list of resources from experts like David Harry, Rand Fishkin (what a shock), Jill Whalen and Debra Mastaler.