Posts Tagged ‘Krista LaRiviere’
Content marketing represents the most fundamental and widespread rethinking of marketing practices in decades. Unlike other modifiers attached to the discipline (consumer marketing, b2b marketing, trade show marketing, digital marketing), the term “content marketing” doesn’t describe an audience, tactic, or channel, but rather a completely different approach to marketing.
Content marketing turns the dominant paradigm of the last half-century—interruption-based mass marketing—on its head. Rather than interrupting prospective customers with content they generally didn’t want (product pitches) while they were consuming content they did (entertainment or news), content marketing entices targeted buyers with entertaining (consumer) or informative (b2b) content that also happens to reflect the company’s brand messages or product/service strengths.
Disruptive as it is, this philosophical shift has spread widely and quickly: according to recent research, “86 percent of companies serving consumers and 92 percent of ‘business to business’ companies now use content marketing.”
Since content marketing itself is no longer a differentiator, practitioners are asking questions like: how can I efficiently create a steady stream of fresh, relevant content? What types of content are most valuable to my sales prospects? How can content be optimized to support search engine optimization (SEO) efforts? What metrics are most helpful in measuring success and support continual improvement?
Discover the answers to these questions and many more here in more than 30 of the best content marketing articles and blog posts of the past year.
Content Marketing Guides, Tips and Tactics
5 Ways to Clone Great Social Media Content by SteamFeed
Helpfully pointing out that “You likely already have strong content on hand (either on-line somewhere or even stuck in a file cabinet in your office.) Instead of developing new stuff from scratch, riff on/reuse this stockpile of awesomesauce and use it more strategically,” Jennifer Kane proposes a handful of techniques to get more mileage out of existing content, such as “Drill down or spiral off on your content themes…if a piece of your preexisting content has resonated with your audience, consider using it as source material for a more in-depth examination of the topic or to jump off on a sub-topic tangent that will enable you to expand the perception your audience has of your brand.”
Digital Natives: How They Are Changing the Content Marketing Game by Content Marketing Institute
Patricia Redsicker presents six strategies content marketers need to embrace in order to address the information needs and wants of digital natives–those born “between the mid-1970s and the late 1990s, (who) have grown up during our current golden age of digital technology. Now in their mid-teens to mid-thirties, people in this generation came of age knowing how to interact with technology and are comfortable using it to their advantage.” Among her recommendations are focusing on content that builds trust, that efficiently answers simple questions quickly, and that makes content consumers feel valued.
Corporate Content Marketing for Best in Class Results by Creative Marketing Channel
Noting that “Best in class companies utilize content marketing for brand awareness, customer acquisition, lead generation, and customer retention” and that most companies plan to increase budgets in this area, Catherine Lockey answers six key questions about content marketing, such as “How do best in class companies create all of their great content?” The answer to that one is outsourcing; roughly half of all small companies and three-quarters of large firms outsource at least a portion of their content creation efforts.
Seeking Marketing Alpha by Propel Growth Blog
Though the panel discussion this post was written to promote is long past, the thoughts about content marketing shared here by Candyce Edelen are still well worth a read. “The Internet and email make it easier and cheaper to make noise, resulting in a virtual cacophony of marketing claims barraging customers every day – with everyone claiming to be ‘the leading, number-one, unique, value-added, trusted provider’ of ‘robust, innovative, cutting-edge, high-performance, ultra low-latency technology….’ Yawn. How can every vendor be the ‘leading provider’ anyway?”
Content Marketing in 6 Steps by Social Media Today
Steven Van Belleghem lays out “the 6 crucial steps to take in order to end up with a good content strategy,” starting with topic selection (determining what’s at the intersection of your company’s unique internal expertise and the information needs/wants of your market) and proceeding through measuring marketing performance (based on the content marketing objectives you’ve established).
Long Live Content Marketing by Rebelations
Rebel Brown offers practical guidance on how to avoid self-promotion and salesy content that “will send your audiences running” and instead focus on providing value: “For example, let’s say your audience is challenged by performance problems with their applications. Don’t send them a piece of content all about your faster processor, database, system or whatever. That’s obnoxious and pretty blatant self-promotion! Instead, share a piece of content about the key aspects of their infrastructure that they might want to check for problems. Share your expertise to guide them through the process to better understand their issues.”
5 CEO-Worthy Metrics for Demonstrating Inbound Marketing Success by Marketo B2B Marketing Blog
Jon Miller outlines five key inbound marketing metrics to measure and continually improve content marketing success, such as lead generation by content and channel: “Beyond core organic traffic and leads, track lead generation by content asset and source. What sources are driving the most traffic? What kinds of content drive the most leads? The most revenue? It can also be insightful to track how these vary by product line or business unit.”
Noting that two of the biggest challenges content marketers face are “producing sufficient content” and “having enough budget to cover the cost of content,” Heidi Cohen has compiled almost two dozen recommendations for developing content cost-effectively, from repurposing speeches delivered by company executives and soliciting employee contributions to reworking content from your distributors and suppliers.
What Tech Buyers Want From Content by Marketing Interactions
Ardath Albee reveals three key attributes that technology buyers value in marketing content, including freshness: “58% (of technology buyers in a UBM TechWeb survey) said they wanted content that was timely and current (while) only 11% said they’d consider content more than 18 moths old.” If you’ve got older content that is still relevant to buyers, refresh it to keep it current with the state of your industry.
Don’t Forget the ‘Marketing’ in Content Marketing by The Content Cocktail
Christina Pappas shares a seven-step checklist for making sure that your content contributes to company goals, without being too pushy or salesy, among them “Make sure there is an offer or connection to your product in every piece of content…every piece of content you publish should have some tie-back to your company and the solutions you provide to the market. This doesn’t have to be obvious and it doesn’t have to be smothered all over the thing, but it should be there somewhere,” such as links to white papers or other related assets at the end of a blog post or report.
Exploring the Five Cs of Content Marketing at Cisco by IT Services Marketing Association
Sherri Liebo identifies the “5 Cs” that Cisco Services looks at to better listen to customers when creating and sharing marketing content, including Customers (“What are customers looking for?”), Competition (“What is the competition doing? How does Cisco Services compare?”) and Collaborators (“What is happening with our channel and strategic partners?”).
Research: B2B Buyers Want Content by Social Marketing Forum
J-P De Clerck summarizes findings from Base One’s Buyersphere Survey regarding the content needs of business buyers. While the study focused on Europe, its findings are more broadly applicable, such as that “87% of…buyers look for advice before buying…The first source when doing so: Web searches. With 71% of respondents who look for information, searches are by far the main source of information.” Among other findings:
- • Business buyers are most active in sharing content on forums, LinkedIn and blogs;
- • Younger members of the buying team are most likely to read white papers and blogs, and attend webinars; and
- • Buyers “who are working in IT were more likely to have downloaded whitepapers (36%) or read blogs (28%)” than those in other industries.
J-P has also launched a blog, Content Marketing Experience, focused exclusively on content marketing issues and guidance. His post Five Reasons No One Shares Your Content is spot on and well worth a read.
Content Marketing: 3 tips for how to get started by MarketingSherpa
Daniel Burstein dispels three myths than hold content marketers back or prevent them from getting the support they need within the organization, such as “‘We don’t want to give away our secrets.’
If you can’t give potential customers enough information about how you do what you do (whether that is fixing plumbing leaks or improving marketing performance), then why should they trust you with their business?” And McDonald’s “secret sauce” is (shhhh)…Thousand Island dressing.
4 secrets to successful content marketing by iMedia Connection
Writing that “the digital world allows us to measure just about anything, including three factors that help marketers gauge the success of their content: click-through rates, time spent on content, and shares via social media,” Jacqueline McDermott Lisk outlines strategies for producing high-quality content that will both improve these statistics and drive business results.
Because not all “leads” are ready to turn immediately into buyers, Shelley Pringle outlines a four-step process for converting those leads into customers over time. The process starts with understanding your prospects’ buying cycle and creating content for the top, middle and bottom of the sales funnel.
Marty Weintraub presents “11 timeless content creation examples that have always worked,” among them demystifying myths (“Nearly every sales process is up against some level of customers’ misconceptions and other informational obstacles. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and address these sales impediments head on”), covering industry events in real time, excerpting white papers (a great content idea), and interviewing industry experts.
Content Marketing and SEO
10 Reasons Why You Need an Optimized Content Strategy Now by iMedia Connection
Krista LaRiviere, CEO of web presence optimization software vendor gShift Labs, explains how recent Google algorithm changes (including more emphasis on social signals, the clampdown on low-value backlinks, the Google +1 button, and freshness updates) now make optimized, user-focused content more important than ever for search rankings.
How to create search friendly content by Bing Blogs
This post explains how to create optimized content more efficiently by creating a template or repeatable process for content development, and presents seven tips for discovering tinely topics to write about, incorporating keywords, using hooks to capture readers’ attention, and more.
Noting that “From an SEO viewpoint, the interest in great content is to attract links, where as a lot of what Google is looking to eliminate are examples of where content is used to build links”—particularly in the wake of its Panda and Penguin updates—Kieran Flanagan steps through an approach that puts business objectives first, with links and shares tracked but not viewed as the primary goal.
Infographics, Images and Video
5 Content Marketing Ideas Worth Stealing by jeffbullas.com
Jeff Bullas recommends five content marketing techniques for obtaining and retaining the attention of your prospective buyers by going beyond text: “Sometimes you need some inspiration and you need to try some new ideas and different media that may provide a nudge to try something different and creative outside your comfort zone…Images and photos are much more likely to be shared than an article or a white paper. Videos or infographics will be shared at high velocity compared the the humble ‘written word’ that have been with us for millenia.”
Infographics can be great for generating re-posts and inbound linke—if done properly. Slavik Volinsky explains what works (e.g., start with a great idea and great distribution plan: “To create a great distribution plan, approach your industry’s ‘big minds’ and ask for their feedback with full intention of listening & improving the infographic”) and what doesn’t.
The History of Content Marketing [Infographic] – Corporate Storytelling is Not New by Content Marketing Institute
Content marketing guru Joe Pulizzi presents a fascinating history of content marketing, from cave paintings and 19th-century “customer magazines” through the emergence of corporate blogs, business video, microsites, and the proliferation of content marketing sites, books and resources.
Content Marketing and SEO: The world doesn’t need another blog post by MarketingSherpa
Advising marketers to “focus on the message, not the medium” Daniel Burstein (again) offers half a dozen suggestions for taking content beyond blog posts and white papers, like creating a mobile app or a useful online tool “Like the ESPinator from ClickMail Marketing, which helps email marketers choose an ESP that helps them best fit their needs.”
The future of content marketing by iMedia Connection
Rebecca Lieb reports on research showing that larger, more sophisticated content marketers are gradually “lessening their dependence on text-based channels” and focusing more on video and images. Interestingly, she also notes that “Search, email, blogging, digital PR, and even (brace yourself) advertising have, and will continue to have a place at the table as content marketing grows in importance,” or in other words, that web presence optimization will get more attention.
7 Rules For Writing Awesome Content by Small Business Trends
Lisa Barone presents seven writing rules to help in crafting content that will inspire customers to act, including telling stories (“If you want to improve your writing, stop lecturing to people and to start telling them stories”); experimenting (“Improve your writing by experimenting with new mediums [videos, infographics, contests, polls, Twitter chats] instead of getting caught in the same pattern of content”); and to avoid generic messages, “write as if you’re writing to one reader.”
Is Content Marketing The New Advertising? by Forbes
***** 5 STARS
Michael Brenner shares a highly bookmark-worthy infographic that positions 16 different content formats along the dimensions of attention required from the audience and ease of implementation. For example, social media generally requires little attention from the audience (being very short form), and also little effort, while something like an app, telecast or interactive game is at the other end of the spectrum on both dimensions.
How You Can Use Infographics to Tell a Story by Social Media Club
Mireille Massue offers six steps for creating a compelling infographic (such as making it sharable by submitting it to Infographic Directories); nine resources to learn more about infographics; and (of course), an infographic outlining eight steps to create an infographic.
The 6 Best Slideshare Decks on Content Marketing by B2B Marketing Insider
Michel Brenner (again) passes along half a dozen noteworthy slide decks about content marketing, from experts like Rand Fishkin, Joe Pulizzi, and Rebecca Lieb and Charlene Li, whose Winning Content Strategies presentation notes that “77% of Internet users do not engage with online advertising. A shift from ‘push’ to ‘pull’ marketing is imperative to brand survival.”
Expert Copywriting Tips
Harvard Lesson: Verbs Beat Adjectives by Neuromarketing
Roger Dooley, commenting on one of the toughest sales jobs of all—”selling” yourself to Harvard Business School, where nine out of 10 applicants are rejected—concludes that verbs sell more powerfully than adjectives. Verbs persuade more effectively because they “require actual examples of the behaviors or characteristics in question…These specifics will increase the credibility of the copy, in addition to providing more information than when the adjective-driven shortcut is taken.”
Using Great Storytelling To Grow Your Business by Fast Company
Former McKinsey consultant Kaihan Krippendorff outlines two approaches for producing more compelling content (or presentations): using LOTS (“language of the senses…When telling a story, share with us what you see, smell, feel, taste, and hear. When you trigger a sense in someone, you bring them into the story with you”) and building on your story spine–a structured approach to use in opening a presentation or throughout a longer document.
25-point Web copy checklist: How to write for Google by Success Works
***** 5 STARS
Heather Lloyd-Martin provides a remarkable checklist for creating content that will appeal to human readers and search engines alike, from starting with a customer persona and keyword/topic research to crafting a compelling title and meta description to effectively “sell the click” to searchers.
Copywriting: How to improve headlines on landing pages and blog posts by MarketingSherpa
Adam T. Sutton, noting that “people are busy. You need to write a headline that convinces them to ignore distractions and pay attention,” outlines four attributes of value to consider when crafting headlines along with five tips for writing attention-grabbing headlines, such as front-loading (start with the most valuable phrase, e.g. “Get Paid to Take Online Surveys” is a much better headline than “We Can Help You Get Paid to Take Online Surveys”).
Write the Best Titles for Content Marketing: A 10-Point Checklist by Content Marketing Institute
Roger C. Parker recommends 10 questions to ask when writing headlines, such as “Does your title clearly promise a desired benefit?,” “Did you emphasize your intended readers in your title?” (for example, “C. J. Hayden’s ‘Get Clients Now: A 28-day Marketing Program for Professionals, Coaches, & Consultants’ targets readers by occupation”), and “Does your title include the keywords readers use searching for information online?.”
The past year has seen a steady flow of thoughtful articles and blog posts dealing with topics like the changing world of SEO, the convergence of search and social, the growing importance of PR in website rankings, the critical role content marketing plays in online visibility, the need to coordinate the efforts of various types on digital marketing experts…in short, about web presence optimization (WPO)–even if most of the authors don’t actually use that term.
WPO is the overarching term and concept that these writers are searching for to describe the significant and undeniable changes that have taken place in the search landscape over the past 12-18 months. Backlinks still matter—but the quality of those links matters more than the quantity (indeed, sites can even be penalized for having too many spammy, low-quality backlinks pointing to them). PR, social media, and the production of fresh, high-quality content are vital for maximizing search engine visibility. Online advertising doesn’t directly affect organic search, but it is a vital component of online visibility and can support social and content marketing efforts.
Whether they use the WPO term or not, the authors here deal with a range of compelling questions related to optimizing visibility on the web today, such as: what is “influencer marketing” and why does it matter? How is the role of social media evolving in online visibility? How are agencies and brands successfully integrating owned, earned and paid media efforts? How can you best manage a team of digital marketing professionals to coordinate and optimize overall efforts?
You’ll find the answers to those questions and many more here in more than two dozen of the best WPO guides, tips, tactics and strategies of the past year.
Influencer Marketing – What it is, and Why YOU Need to be Doing it by The Daily SEO Blog
Eric Enge notes that while quality content is a vital component to maximizing online visibility, “superior content is not enough. Unless the world gets to know about it your superior content will get you nowhere. You have to have a way to get the word out. This is where ‘Influencer Marketing’ comes into play. By definition, influencers reach a lot of people (often more than you do), and they have the ability to influence people’s opinions.” He then explains, in richly illustrated detail, how to identify the influencers in your market and persuade them to amplify your content.
The Real Relationship between Social Media and SEO by SocialMouths
Writing that “Everybody knows social media and SEO are connected, but how?…Unfortunately, it’s hard to sort things out because the social-SEO relationship is becoming more intertwined (some would say, muddled) all the time,” (well, that’s why a sound WPO strategy is required, but anyway…) Brad Shorr first distinguishes between rankings (which are what your website gets) and overall display visibility (which includes ads, third party content about you, news, etc. and is much more important) then lists 10 action steps to focus “on social media activities that have SEO impact.”
Why the future of marketing relies on social by iMedia Connection
Curtis Hougland reports that “The average shopper in 2011 used an incredible 10.4 sources of information to make a decision. Simply, there is no epicenter to your marketing any more — not the advertising, not the website, not the store, not the social channel.” He then explains how this insight requires a change in behavior in terms of how marketing teams approach brand, awareness, structure and channels. (It’s also a driving factor behind the WPO framework.)
Brand Choreography Through Integrated Marketing Communications by Blue Focus Marketing
Observing that “the subject of Integrated Marketing Communications is hotter than ever It’s a source of competitive advantage. However, both planning and executing remain a challenge,” Mark Burgess outlines a strategy for what he terms “brand choreography,” essentially communicating a consistent brand message across multiple media channels. He concludes that “Marketers must explore new methods to leverage all elements of the communication mix—advertising, sales promotion, PR, direct marketing, search, Web, and social media—into a single, cohesive, holistic approach.” Which is WPO.
Marketing Research Chart: Does your organization have an inbound strategy? by MarketingSherpa
Kaci Bower reports on MarketingSherpa research showing that “while three quarters of organizations think integration of SEO and social is essential,” less than half of marketers are integrating these tactics (much less content optimization, PR and SEM). But they should be: “the integration of these complementary tactics improves conversion rates. Our research showed a 59% improvement in conversion rates from organic search traffic for marketers who integrated social media and SEO, over those who did not.”
SEM + SEO [PRESENTATION] by e-Strategy Trends
David Erickson shares a presentation from Performics detailing “the cumulative and powerful effect of combining search engine advertising and search engine optimization.” Among the findings presented: “Paid search ads increase clicks to your site, even if you have the #1 organic listing on the search results page,” and a unified web presence strategy will ultimately drive more traffic to a web site than doing organic or paid search alone—or, for that matter, with PR, social or industry marketing.
How to integrate your paid, owned, and earned media by iMedia Connection
Noting that while “agencies recognize the importance of integrating these three media channels for marketing effectiveness…agency revenue models, particularly media agency models, are potentially threatened by integrating paid, owned, and earned media,” the awesome Rebecca Lieb explains how to get it done, including ensuring that the agency understands the importance of (WPO) metrics.
Search in A World Of Converged Media by MediaPost Search Insider
Expanding a bit on Rebecca’s post (above), the brilliant Ryan DeShazer recommends that digital marketers take on the role of “orchestrators” of “all facets of digital and traditional marketing” (or in other words, web presence optimization), and that they use thought leadership as a marketing communications hub.
Search Critical in Brand-Building Strategies by eMarketer
“Search is where the audience can be found,” according to research from eMarketer, noting that 85% of U.S. internet users used search engines either daily or fairly often. Furthermore, “Brands need search—and not just paid ads and higher organic rankings—to help them achieve their overall marketing goals…(but) since search does not stand on its own, all brands should continually develop a broad range of destinations and content that take advantage of the keywords, key phrases and language the target audience uses.” In other words, WPO.
Why social media agencies are a farce by iMedia Connection
***** 5 STARS
Writing that “When I first saw social media agencies starting to pop up all over the place, I started to wonder if there were ever fax marketing agencies. Was there a rush of ambitious entrepreneurs setting up shop to offer fax marketing services when fax machines were brand spankin’ new just because they knew how to use one?,” David Waterman brilliantly drives home the point that social media needs to be integrated into overall online marketing efforts.
Though he doesn’t use the term WPO specifically, he does offer this succinct analysis in support of the WPO model: “For example, you can take any part of his statement, swap the order, and still be left with a valid statement:
- SEO is part social media, audience development, part advertising, and part PR.
- PR is part SEO, part audience development, part advertising, and part social media.
- Audience development is part SEO, part social media, part advertising, and part PR.
- Advertising is part SEO, part audience development, part social media, and part PR.”
Top Inbound Marketing Activities For SEO [CHART] by e-Strategy Trends
David Erickson (again) presents some interesting data on how SEO pros handle inbound marketing. Of the top 10 activities, only a few are “traditional SEO” tasks; the others are focused on social media, analytics, competitive analysis, and content development. As the lines between different specialties continue to blur, silos will have to be eliminated in favor of coordinated efforts.
The Search Power of Brand by SEO Book
Contending that “Having a clear identity (brand) makes you memorable. People will remember your site name. People will search for your site name. And when enough people do that, then there is little chance Google can ever drop you below number #1 for brand searches. If you get it right, Google will even rank you against relevant related keywords you aren’t targeting,” Peter Da Vanzo argues that building a strong brand online is as important for SEO (and web presence more broadly) as traditional generic keyword optimization techniques. He concludes that “SEO, and wider marketing and brand strategy, will all meld together,” which is a pretty good description of WPO strategy.
Why PR Should Not Own SEO (Nor Social Media or Content Marketing) by Social Marketing Forum
Observing that “Since Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, social interaction and relevant content have become more important for search engine optimization (SEO) than ever before. Social media, content marketing and search (SEO and SEA) must be integrated,” the insightful J-P De Clerck concludes that “No channel or tactic should be isolated and no department should own a tactic.” Indeed! The different disciplines need to be unified under a comprehensive approach to web presence.
Investing in SEO: Marketers Do More SEO than They Think by iMedia Connection
Krista LaRiviere, CEO of web presence optimization software vendor gShift Labs, offers some excellent guidance on creating a content marketing strategy that incorporates content development, SEO, social media, PR, video, email marketing and paid search in an integrated fashion. She also shares some slightly misleading numbers, claiming that “94% of searchers click through on organic search results, and that the top three positions in Google earn 61% of the clicks” while just 6% of clicks are on paid search results (ads). While this is true for the universe of all search results, for commercial searches (that is, those searches where a user is looking for information about a product or service in support of a buying decision), clicks on paid results are significantly higher.
Content Optimization Beyond Search [INFOGRAPHIC] by eStrategy Trends
David Erickson (yet again) presents a fascinating infographic on, as the title implies, the importance of optimizing content beyond search. While search is still vital, web users are increasing discovering content througn social networks and social sharing (and search engines are increasingly considering social signals in rankings), meaning that – content needs to be compelling and optimized (and promoted) in channels beyond search.
SEO, Social and Content Marketing in Top Demand by eMarketer
Research from eMarketer shows that nearly a quarter of marketers spend time on content marketing, social media and SEO on a daily basis, and that “over two-thirds of online marketers worldwide generated short-form content assets such as blog posts, social media updates, articles and guides—all of which are used in SEO, social media and content marketing.” We’d add that combining these tactics is even more effective when done by a team focusing on coordinated WPO objectives.
Five Ways to Maximize your Digital Marketing Team by Digital Marketing Suite
Jani Rayner offers tips to “get the best from digital teams,” such as encouraging “the Display, Social and Search teams to work closely together – you will be surprised (or perhaps not) how often this doesn’t happen,” and scheduling regular monthly report[http://wpoinc.com/wpo-metrics-dashboard/business-wpo-metrics-pricing/].
5 Killer SEO Insights from Analyzing a Billion Dollars in AdWords Spend by The Daily DEO Blog
***** 5 STARS
WordStream founder and CTO Larry Kim, slumming on an SEOmoz blog, presents five key insights gained from analyzing an enormous quantity of SEM data, including the average cost of keyword clicks by industry (in the b2b technology realm where we dwell, it ranges from $1.11 to $1.67), to the phenomenal growth in paid search clicks (driven by Google utilizing more screen real estate for these) to demonstrating how the Google display network is effective and complementary to organic SEO efforts. As with WPO, it all works together.
Go Alexa Pro and improve your SEO by WordPress Hosting SEO
Berrie Pelser showcases an infographic from Michelle Shaeffer detailing how she took her blog to a top 100K rank on Alexa using social media, guest blogging, article marketing, news releases…in other words (without quite using the words), through web presence optimization.
Search Marketing: Time To Re-engineer by MediaPost Marketing Daily
Contending that “Long the afterthought of the digital marketing tool kit, ‘search’ is emerging as a nexus between consumer behavior and real-time data. In fact…search must be viewed as a strategic imperative in today’s convergent marketplace…But in order for search to be truly effective, the way we approach it must evolve,” Sargi Mann outlines three key areas that must be addressed and warns against slipping into “turf wars” of disconnected areas of expertise.
6 Small Business Marketing Trends for 2013 by Masterful Marketing
The insightful Debra Murphy outlines six key trends that will affect small business online visibility in 2013, including content marketing, mobile support, and most importantly, “Web presence optimization is the future…(it) helps you consistently increase the digital footprint for your business. Expanding your presence onto the proper social media sites creates more visibility for your brand, enables you to network with people online in addition to offline, and attracts your ideal client through useful information and tools that help them solve a specific problem.”
SEO – Content | Confusion | Clarity by Search Engine Watch
Andy Betts writes that SEO professionals are no longer just tactical implementers, or strategic thinkers, or content marketers, but all of those plus being “holistic and integrated digital marketer(s).” He details the changes forced by Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, comments on the convergence of paid/earned/owned media, and muses about the importance of content production and distribution in this excellent post.
It’s Still the Wild West for Digital Marketers. Get Excited. by BuzzStream Blog
Dan Tynski discuss recent changes to the search markeing landscape and concludes that “If you consider yourself an just an SEO, it is probably time to shift your perspective. Ranking well in Google has become much much more than it was in years past where typical SEO tactics alone could lead you or your clients to success. This new era requires that you become a digital content and online PR expert.” Or perhaps a maestro of web presence optimization, coordinating the efforts of all of the different experts involved in online presence (PR, SEO, content development, social media, PPC) to maximize total online visibility for a company or brand.
Seven Principles to Building an Online Reputation by Spin Sucks
PR expert and author Gini Dietrich shares a presentation and guidance on building an online reputation. Among her key principles: create engaging and valuable content; build a community (“you don’t have a community until people begin talking to one another without the help of the blog’s author”); and comment on other content (her example proves that you never know where this may lead).
Breakdown Of A Person’s Google Results by The Backup List
Though WPO and online reputation management are commonly thought and written about in terms of companies and brands, the same principles apply to an individual’s online presence. Here, Mark Hayes shares an infographic detailing “how people look in Google,” from key points to know (such as that one billion individual names are searched on Google each day, but only half of people own the top result for their own name) to how to make your individual online presence more positive.
Public relations (PR) or media relations has long been treated as its own world, separate from marketing. It was viewed as being about name recognition and industry credibility, not something as mundane as lead generation.
But as the world has shifted from marketing brochures and printed trade publications to everything online, the connections between PR and marketing have become more apparent; that white paper may be a lead generation asset, but it can also be used to pitch a bylined article. An online ad may be marketing, but the credibility built through PR makes prospective buyers more likely to click on it. A news release may be designed to get media coverage, but it can also create valuable backlinks for SEO.
In the online realm, PR, search engine optimization (SEO), social, advertising and marcom are all vital and intertwined elements of web presence optimization, and as such need to be measured and managed to coordinate efforts for maximum online visibility.
So how exactly does PR support SEO efforts? How can media relations skills be leveraged in social media? What do PR pros need to do differently to support online journalism? What are today’s best practices for B2B PR?
Find the answers to those questions and more here in seven recent expert guides to social and online PR.
8 Steps to Leveraging PR for SEO by iMedia Connection
Noting that news releases incorporate three elements that search engines love—trusted backlinks, social sharing, and fresh content—Krista LaRiviere provides a brief but helpful eight-step guide to improving rank and traffic to optimized content through the proper use of news releases.
7 secrets of a master digital storyteller by Get in Front Communications
Susan Young explains the concept of brand journalism, which “allows your company to tell its own story in an engaging way that we’ve never experienced before,” then reveals seven “secrets” of master brand storytellers such as “a master storyteller weaves images, video, audio, graphics, and other social tools to make stories pop and impact people.”
Why PR Should Take Social Media Seriously by jeffbullas.com
After advising PR professionals to take social media seriously due to its believability, efficiency and leverage, Jeff Bullas outlines eight major social media channels and contrasts their level of influence with the waning reach of old media. He ends with a discussion of PR values of new media, including Twitter, where “you are able to listen and to respond to what people are saying about your brand in the market place within seconds with worldwide reach.”
10 Simple Strategies To Boost Your B2B PR Campaign by Marx Communications
Wendy Marx offers 10 tips for amplifying hard-earned media coverage, such as promoting your press in your blog, spreading the word via social media, linking to your news from appropriate LinkedIn groups, and “Rework(ing) an article to function as an abstract for a speaking proposal.”
PR Pros Not Keeping Up with What Journalists Want by Spin Sucks
Gini Dietrich reports on recent research showing that “Eighty percent of journalists you’re working with in your media relations efforts want images and nearly that many also want video,” yet among PR professionals, “only four percent (believe images are) important to journalists and just a little more than half (56 percent) routinely add images to their media relations efforts.” And even among Fortune 500 firms, “Only 24 percent of the company sites offer images and 22 percent offer videos.”
Best Practices In B2B PR by Fast Company
Wendy Marx interviews Brian Kardon, CMO at Lattice Engines and formerly with Eloqua and Forrester Research, about PR and its integration with B2B marketing, social media and lead generation efforts. Among Brian’s recommendations are that B2B companies should partner with their outside PR and marketing agencies (“get to know them as people”) and should “Be generous to your influencers. Give them credit. Compliment them. Never shill for your company or products. Be helpful and genuine.”
12 Perspectives on How B2B SEO Can Better Support PR & Communications by Search Engine Watch
Derek Edmond shares guidance from a dozen PR experts including Stacey Acevero (it’s “essential for B2B PR, marketing and communications teams to have a concrete understanding of SEO elements – it results in a much more harmonious process”) and Elizabeth Sosnow (“You may not be a Sherlock Holmes fan, but you probably know that he couldn’t make it very far without his loyal wingman, Watson. B2B PR folks really need SEOs to help them solve mysteries for their clients”).
Will Google+ be a “Facebook killer” or just Google’s next failed social network? It’s certainly gaining traction, with over 500 million users now on board, already half of Facebook’s total. Then again, the average Facebook user spends nearly seven hours per month on the site—compared to just three minutes for the average Google+user.
Many of this year’s best posts about Google’s newest social platform were written early in the year. Since then, though the user base has continued to grow, enthusiasm seems to have waned. While Marty Weintraub offers a more provocative metaphor below, it almost seems like Google+ is becoming the colonoscopy of social networks: everyone agrees it’s vitally important, but few people really want to talk about it or spend any more time on it than absolutely necessary.
“Ghost town” or not, many experts agree that Google+ is here to stay, and it’s valuable for b2b marketing, SEO, personal branding, and reputation management. So what makes Google+ special? What are the best practices for business use of the platform? How can an individual or organization most efficiently grow a following there? And will Google+ end Facebook’s domination of social networking—or will it “break the Internet”?
Find those answers and more here in two dozen of the best Google+ guides, tips, rants and raves of the past year.
Google+ Guides and Tips
5 Things Google+ Offers Brands That Facebook Doesn’t by Sprout Insights
Susan Gunelius outlines five social networking features unique to Google+, including circles (which enable you to “separate your customers from your colleagues and online influencers from your business partners”) and hangouts (which can be “used for things like small-group webinars, question and answer sessions, and more”).
Why brands will lose if they ignore Google+ by iMedia Connection
Though he calls Google+ a “half-baked invention,” Daniel Flamberg nevertheless advises that “savvy marketers should use Google+ these five ways,” including experimenting with hangouts, expanding social assets and audiences, and optimizing branded search: “Link owned digital assets to Google+. Use the +1 and encourage your followers to do the same. Plant +1 badges on all your assets to take advantage of the Direct Connect tool that automatically brings customers and prospects searching in your category to your page.”
6 Steps to Getting Started With Google+ by Social Media Examiner
For marketers who are either still on the fence about Google+ or just haven’t done much with it, Marc Pitman provides an excellent guide to the basics like filling up your links “While you’re editing your ‘about’ page, be sure to pay attention to the ‘other profiles’ section…(consider adding) links to other social media networks, links to your business sites (and) links to special pages on your website.”
The First 5 Things You Should Do With Your Google+ Business Page by WindMill Networking
Once you’ve finished with Marc Pitman’s post above, Mark Traphagen presents a five-step process for taking your business presence on Google+ to the next level, starting with 1 four-item list on optimizing your page for SEO followed by upgraded the visual appearance of your page and filling your stream with quality content.
3 reasons Google+ is not a social network by iMedia Connection
Lauren Friedman explains why she thinks Google+ is not a social network but brands should be there anyway–for example, for SEO purposes: “The best way brands can take advantage of Google+ is to amp-up their SEO. Each time a user clicks the +1 button, it helps with that brand’s SEO and the content getting served to users above other content. Search results are personalized based on the +1s of those in your circles, and as a marketer, that changes the game. Search results are still based on Google’s proprietary algorithms, but sites with more +1s will appear to be more relevant and thus ranked higher.”
3 Successful Google+ Pages and Why They Work by Social Media Examiner
Lisa Peyton highlights three examples of successful Google+ brand pages such as the NASA page, where “The active space and science community on Google+ may support speculation that platform users are mostly tech-savvy early adopters. This finding contradicts the fact that the TOP Google+ profile belongs to pop star Britney spears. However, her page garners less engagement based upon the number of followers than the top brands outlined in this article.”
Google+ for SEO? Don’t Focus on Your Brand Page! by B2B Digital Marketing
Contradicting popular wisdom, Eric Wittlake argues that “Google+ Brand Pages are not the ticket to SEO success. In fact, if you focus your Google+ efforts on your new brand page, you will miss the most important search benefits of Google+.” He then outline three strategies he says are designed to improve search rank and traffic.
6 Reasons Why Adding Google+ to Your Web Presence & SEO Strategy is a Good Idea by iMedia Connection
Krista LaRiviere of web presence optimization software vendor gShift Labs offers six reasons for brands to embrace Google+, among them fresh content (“Google+ is just one more place to publish your press releases, blogs, testimonials, case studies and news. The difference with Google+ is that your content, if found, will be listed at the top of Google personal results mixed in with traditional search results”) and the fact that Google+ produces social signals which factor into Google’s ranking algorithm.
32 Totally Free Google “Search Plus Your World” #SEO Resources by aimClear Blog
***** 5 STARS
Frequent best-of honoree Marty Weintraub compares Google+ to a dominatrix (it makes sense the way he writes it), offering short-term pleasure (search rank improvement) at the expense of long-term frustration. Still, he thinks it’s worth the effort to chase the temporary bump and so shares an excellent list of nearly three dozen how-to articles from writers like Lisa Barone, Matt McGee and Stephanie Cain.
Reputation Management: How Google+ Can Be Your Best Friend or Your Worst Enemy by Business2Community
Contending that “PageRank, Google’s ranking scoring system, is profoundly impacted by these (Google +1) votes,” Danny DeMichele provides a simple four-step process for using Google+ as part of a broader reputation (personal or brand) strategy.
20 Google+ Terms and Definitions You Need to Know by Sprout Insights
Susan Gunelius (again) presents helpful definitions of basic (e.g., “Chat: Using the Chat feature, you can notify people in your Google+ Circles that you’re online and available for an online chat from within Google+”) and advanced Google+ terms (such as “Data Liberation: Use this feature to download and backup the content in your Google+ Account, which is available through the Google+ Settings option [the gear icon in the upper-right corner of your screen when you’re logged into your Google+ account"]).
How Google’s +1 Button Affects SEO by Mashable
Keith Kaplan explains that although “The +1 has an indirect effect on your site’s search rank. This does not mean the more +1’s a link has, the higher rank it achieves in traditional search results,” it can indirectly help with SEO by making a piece of content more likely to be clicked on and shared on other social networks—which does actually affect rank.
How to Effectively Create a Google+ Following of 10,000 Engaged Fans by Search Engine Watch
Eric Siu shares advice from Fraser Cain, publisher of the Universe Today space and astronomy news website, on how to build, maintain and engage a large following on Google+. Eric contends that Fraser’s success, based on unique content and active network, belies the notion promoted by some (such as Austin Carr, below) that Google+ is a “ghost town.”
Build Your Google Plus Page Following with Topical Pages by WindMill Networking
***** 5 STARS
This tip from guest blogger Mark Traphagen (again) is almost too good to share. “What if you could create opt-in subscription lists on Google+? You can! Here’s the wonderful secret: you can create a Google+ page about virtually anything, including a topic. It doesn’t necessarily have to be connected with a brand name.” He then details a “simple strategy for using Pages to create opt-in subscription lists about specific topics.”
Quick Tricks to Make Your Google Plus Business Page Sparkle by ZD Design Blog
Again arguing against the “Google+ is a ghost town” thesis, Donnie Bryant here provides a handful of helpful tips for getting more performance out of a Google+ business page, from creating a short URL and maximizing the use of photos and video to encouraging sharing.
The Marketer’s Guide to Google Plus by KISSmetrics
Zach Bulygo offers a highly detailed and richly illustrated guide to marketing on Google+, from the basics of business page setup and getting a verified name to optimizing your tagline, use of photos. Google+ author tag and the +1 sharing button.
How to Use Google Plus for Personal Branding and Establishing Author Rank by WindMill Networking
Neal Schaffer quotes Mark Traphagen (one last time), who calls Google+ a “powerhouse” because of its “tight integration into Google search. Google+ posts are easily indexed by Google search, and unlike tweets or Facebook posts, are treated much like regular web pages. That means a well-constructed G+ post (with a main keyword in the first sentence/title and a good amount of engagement) can rank well in Google search and, unlike other social media status posts, actually stay ranked for a long time,” and explains why Google authorship is important and how to set it up.
Google+ Rants and Raves
Google+ Is Going To Mess Up The Internet by ReadWrite
Jon Mitchell is not a fan of Google’s latest social network and isn’t afraid to say so. He writes, “Google tools used to enhance the Internet. But as Google ships ‘the Google part’ of its new Google+ identity, it’s breaking the Web it once helped build,” and then offers half a dozen specific reasons why.
Danny Sullivan details the use and results from the “Don’t be Evil” browser bookmarklet, stating that “The companies behind the tool feel Google’s hasn’t focused on what’s best for its users with Search Plus Your World. They have a good point. But the tool makes this point better than all the debates that have happened so far around Search Plus Your Word, because it shows what Google could have done to better serve searchers, if it had wanted to.” He also explains how some features of Google+ are part of the problem.
How Google+ Is Encircling Your Brand by MediaPost
Though he believes “Google+ is emerging as a great way for brands to connect directly with consumers,” Gavin O’Malley also notes that a disproportionate share of interaction is driven by a few aggressive, early adopting brands on the platform, and points out “Google+ still has less than 1/100th the number of total consumers interacting with the top 100 brands that Facebook has achieved.”
Austin Carr reports on the findings of a study which paints “very poor picture of the search giant’s social network–a picture of waning interest, weak user engagement, and minimal social activity.” Among te research findings from RJ Metrics, “Roughly 30% of users who make a public post never make a second one” and “Even after making five public posts, there is a 15% chance that a user will not post publicly again.” The author concludes that Google+ “might indeed just be a ‘virtual ghost town,’ as some have argued.”
Think You Don’t Need Google+ in Your Business? Think Again! by Rebekah Radice
While acknowledging that Google+ has its shortcomings and that many marketers remain (not entirely unreasonably) skeptical about the platform, Rebekah Radice nevertheless offers half a dozen reasons to embrace Google’s social network, such as the circles and hangouts features and the B2B networking value.
Tom Cheredar explains how Google+ Communities work and how this capability compares with Facebook groups: “There are a few notable (notable differences between Google+ Communities and Facebook Groups), including the ability to start a Google Hangout video chat with the community and sharing things specifically with G+ communities from any +1 button. That’s pretty cool, and something that might actually attract people to use it over Facebook.”
Writing that “While Google announced Google+ reached 500 million users, the bigger announcement by far was the roll out of Google+ Communities,” Steve Hart explains what Communities are, how they work, what they can be used for, and why they are “a BFD.”
One of the most interesting aspects of web presence optimization (WPO) is how frequently bloggers and journalists write about the concept without actually using the term. They use terms like “search and social,” “inbound marketing,” “social media optimization,” “online reputation management,” “internet marketing” and others, with general agreement that the art and science of getting found on the web today require much more than just SEO–but no consensus on what to call it.
Rand Fishkin recently devoted 1,700 words to the topic of conversations about the industry’s nomenclature and inspired nearly 170 comments, all with no mention of WPO. Krista LaRiviere (see below), a co-founder of gShift Labs, is one of the few bloggers who have embraced the term.
Oh well, whatever you call the discipline of maximizing a company’s online visibility in a world where search is much more than Google-Yahoo-Bing and where web presence is much more than a corporate website, here are 18 of the best blog posts and articles from the past year on how to do it well.
Web Presence Optimization (WPO) Guides and Insights
The New Breed of B2B Buyer by Chaotic Flow
Joel York argues that “A new breed of B2B buyer has arisen, a species that is more connected, more impatient, more elusive, more impulsive, and more informed than its pre-millennium ancestors,” and that marketers need to understand how the B2B buying cycle has changed and adapt to the “new B2B buyer rules of engagement” across several traits including impatience (by making content easy to find in a self-service manner).
Inbound Marketing: Unlock the content from your emails and social marketing by MarketingSherpa Blog
Observing that email marketing efforts often produce “a mountain of content, but little of it gets used for marketing,” Adam T. Sutton shares tips from Chris Baggott on turning email content into optimizable content, such as publishing customer service answer emails as blog posts: “Sales and service teams write thousands of emails to answer customers’ questions…The answers to these questions are extremely specific to each customer’s situation. If published, they’re potentially valuable for long-tail (low volume, highly qualified) search traffic. What is the best parka for sub-zero temperatures? That sounds like a Google search to me.”
We’re Looking In The Wrong Place For Our Attribution Models by MediaPost Search Insider
Gord Hotchkiss explores John Yi’s concept of Pinball Marketing: “The new game of marketing is much more like pinball. The intersections between a buyer’s decision path and a product’s marketing presence are many, and each can send the buyer off in a different direction. Some of those intersection points are within the marketer’s control — and some aren’t.” WPO is about increasing the number of those intersection points and having as many of them as possible within the marketer’s influence, if not actual control.
Likelihood to Click by The Daily Numbers
David Erickson reports on recent research showing that “48% (of searchers) are likely to click if a brand shows up multiple times within a set of search results.” That figure seems low, but even if accurate, it makes a strong case for WPO activities designed to get a brand to show up multiple times, high in the search results, for core key phrases.
What Wins In Google Universal Search? Videos, Images & Google! by Search Engine Land
Barry Schwartz reveals that in Google Universal Search results, “videos are by far the most found results in Google, with image content a distant second,” while maps, blogs and news also rank highly—another reason companies need to utilize a diverse set of tactics in order to maximize their exposure near the top of search results.
Get Found: Stop Doing SEO, Start Doing WPO by iMedia Connection
***** 5 STARS
Krista LaRiviere of web presence optimization software firm gShift Labs quotes a client who told her that “once his marketing team started focusing on the company’s entire web presence (not just the website), organic search traffic increased, leads increased and business increased. His team noticed a significant difference within a three-month time period,” then provides a helpful six-step process for getting started with WPO.
6 SEO Jedi Tactics to Try Before Turning to the Dark Side by Search Engine Watch
The brilliant and always entertaining Angie Schottmuller uses a Star Wars analogy to argue for the benefits of white hat over black hat SEO, but several of her six “SEO Jedi” tactics apply to WPO, including universal search optimization (“Leverage the diversity of Google universal search results mixed with videos, images, shopping, books, maps (local), and news…video and image formats dominate Google mixed results, yet few sites actually apply SEO to these assets…Surround on-page images or videos with relevant textual content to help search engines better understand the asset and in-turn boost the relevance of the page as well”), clever link bait, and social media optimization.
How to cure your SEO blindness by iMedia Connection
Alan Bush writes that “The SEO process is multi-faceted and detailed, requiring coordination between client and agency, as well as among many departments such as marketing, IT, and more”—which is true, although the model he presents here is closer to WPO than pure SEO, incorporating as it does (in addition to traditional aspects of SEO like keyword research, competitor analysis and link building) social marketing, blogging, news releases and online articles.
SEO, Social Media and WPO
7 ways to make SMO work in the post-Google age by iMedia Connection
Contending that “The days of search engine optimization (SEO) as a critical audience-driving strategy for digital publishers are numbered. Forward-looking marketers need to educate themselves about a far more meaningful and effective way of bringing audiences to media destinations—social media optimization (SMO),” Ben Elowitz makes some excellent points (content is again becoming more important than technology) and provides some helpful guidance for driving more traffic through sites like Facebook and Twitter. But the truth of course is that SEO and SMO are both important and need to be practiced as part of a WPO strategy.
From SEO To Social Media, Getting All Channels To Drive Traffic by MediaPost Search Insider
Derek Gordon notes that “From newsletters to advertising, PR to social media, it’s no secret that a good marketing strategy leverages every available channel to drive traffic to Web sites…And all it really takes is (an) old mantra: work together,” and supplies some excellent tips for what is, effectively, WPO.
The Fabulous Collision of Search and Social by Social Media Today
Rohn Jay Miller offers keen insights into what he terms the “collision between social networks and search engines,” writing that social networks are remixing search in three key ways: through social content evaluation (“If a lot of people on Twitter like Bill Bob Thornton’s grilled chicken marinade, the link to his Website will move up in the SERPs”), social content results (browsing social updates or viewing user-generated content served up in Google results) and social network search (searching within Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter instead of using a traditional web search engine).
5 reasons why social media is good for SEO by Success Works
The delightful Stacey Acevero contends that “what most (marketing and PR professionals) don’t realize is that social media is in fact great for SEO and can help boost your search engine rankings,” then explains how this connection works, e.g., “Social media encourages the sharing of multimedia, and multimedia is shown to increase time on page. PRWeb did a study which concluded that including multimedia in news releases increases time on page by an average of about 30 seconds. Imagine what that could do for your blog and social media posts.”
Optimizing Social For SEO: A Three-Step Beginner’s Guide by MediaPost Search Insider
Frequent best-of honoree Janet Driscoll Miller lays out a three-stage process for making social and SEO work together, starting with claiming your company profile on the major social networks (at least Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, SlideShare and YouTube) and then connecting those accounts through a Google profile.
Social Content Seeding for SEO by Search Engine Watch
Pointing out that as the major search engines have incorporated social signals into their rankings, “now you need more than just backlinks to rank. You also need tweets, likes, and other ‘votes’ from social users to let search engines know that your brand is relevant,” Guillaume Bouchard explains how to produce content that is “shareable” (e.g., because it is unique, inspirational or entertaining) and encourage sharing on networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Online Reputation Management and WPO
6 Ways to Manage Your Online Reputation by Content Marketing Institute
CB Whittemore points out that “Using digital and social tools leads to more links to your website, better quality visits and more indexing,” and offers half a dozen helpful tips for online reputation management, such as “Your goal is to ‘own’ as many first page search results as possible (yep, that’s pretty much the definition of web presence optimization) for your name and/or your company’s name with content you’ve created or positively influenced…Complete and robust social profiles allow you to own more of those page one results. Claim your profiles (on sites like LinkedIn, Google+, SlideShare, YouTube, Facebook, Flickr and Twitter) and make sure they consistently describe you and your company.”
Online Sentiment and Link Building by Search Engine Journal
Julie Joyce identifies six social networks where every business should at least have a profile (note though that these are oriented towards local, consumer businesses; Google+ and YouTube are more important for B2B firms than are Google Places, Bing Local or Foursquare) and outlines a process for tracking and responding social content and product reviews to avoid making a negative first impression in search.
Me, Myself and I: Helping to manage your identity on the web by Google Public Policy Blog
Andreas Tuerk explains how Google has attempted to “make it easier to monitor your identity on the web and to provide easy access to resources describing ways to control what information is on the web,” since your “online identity” is shaped not only by your postings but also by tagging and what others write about you.
HOW TO: Manage Your Online Reputation Using SEO by Mashable
Reporting that “Of the almost 80% of U.S. hiring managers who had searched for candidates online, 70% of them said they had rejected a candidate based on what they found in his or her search results,” Sarah Kessler provides a four-step process for improving the results of those searches, such as posting positive content: “Profiles on social networks are powerful tools for this purpose, as results from large sites like Facebook and Twitter often carry more SEO power than a single post on something like a personal blog.”