• The Five Pillars of a Solid Digital Marketing Strategy That Endures

    Literature about the importance of digital strategy is starting to reach fever pitch as marketers prepare to spend over $100 billion on digital by 2019, according to Forrester. Though every organization will need to customize its strategy to its own circumstances, the following are the foundations for building an enduring digital marketing strategy that works. Doing so will help you explain to your larger organization what role digital plays in building your brand and delivering on your business goals. Those principles become a lens through which you will make all digital decisions. Create your map by conducting research with users, looking at competitors, reviewing any analytics data you have, and marrying all that with your overall business strategy. Data and Insights: Your Pathway to Action You can gather all the data in the world, but if you don't have a mechanism for turning that data into insights, you might as well collect no data at all. There isn't a perfect way to aggregate social sentiment, Google Analytics data, and customer data in an automated way right now, but dedicating some time to merging these data streams on a regular basis will be time well spent. Discard data that isn't tied to business goals Gather additional data needed Prioritize data by business value Look for meaningful patterns Socialize the data with your team to generate insights (see No. Content: Your Value There is no doubt that users increasingly expect great content from brands. Governance and Socialization: Your Rules of Engagement Governance (how you make decisions) and socialization (explaining what you do) are crucial to ensuring your digital strategy is right for your organization.
  • Google Posts: Growing under the radar

    Google have now rolled out their Posts function for all small businesses with a Google My Business account. Hence why we are taking the time to explore what Google Posts are and what they mean for small businesses (and celebrities, big businesses and Twitter). Google say that each post will be removed after 7 days, after the date for an event has expired “to ensure that posts are timely” Impact on SEO Click-Through Rate In a case study last year on Search Engine Watch, Rebecca Sentance noticed that Google Posts were appearing for search terms such as ‘engagement rings Buffalo’, i.e non branded search terms. On the other hand, this advantage could be neutralized for non branded searches where the Post carousel is appearing directly beneath the search result, rather than under the business’ GMB profile. Much like Google Authorship, Posts will provide almost instantly indexable content and another dimension to search results. Businesses will be able to drive traffic through search results to specific pieces of content or key calls to action from Posts, adding further options for users compared with the more standard main search link or associated sitelinks. Top stories and Twitter carousel Again, we will need to see this roll out fully to see the impact on search results, but it is an interesting conundrum for Google. Currently big brands will tend to have Google’s ‘Top Stories’ and a Twitter carousel appear in search results. It adds another dimension to our role as SEOs, and we can see early adopters using it to significantly boost content marketing efforts. Interestingly – and a topic which has been briefly touched upon by Search Engine Watch – the way in which businesses utilize Posts could be a substantial influencing factor on their effectiveness.
  • The 3 Best Performing Blog Post Formats For B2B Marketers

    The 3 Best Performing Blog Post Formats For B2B Marketers. I dug into the hard data of my agency Struto’s blog on 7 Wildly Popular Blog Post Formats and used it to construct my own list based on B2B business growth goals. They are personal, informative, and make readers think critically about a topic. One of the main reasons opinion posts are a top-performing blog post format is that they’re one of the more difficult formats to master. Some important things to be aware of when writing in the listicle blog post format are: While the listicle format can deliver great success, it also has the greatest competition. In a nutshell, checklist posts are blogs that combine the Q&A format with the listicle format to drive engagement and help readers take the next step in the buyer’s journey. It’s a reason for both their lower traffic and their higher conversion rate – a checklist post doesn’t cater to a clickbait heading as well as a listicle does, but its content offers more practical value to the reader. The most important thing to remember is that you’re publishing blog content for your readers, so use your blog performance metrics to figure out how they prefer to view your content and which format they respond most strongly to. I’d love to hear about what your experiences in using opinion posts, listicles and checklists have been. For over four years, he’s worked across journalism, publishing and digital marketing.
  • 3 Important SEO Steps to Take Right Away

    3 Important SEO Steps to Take Right Away. The new search Gone are the days of only typed searches. You better believe I thought long and hard about my optimization strategy for the world’s most popular podcast search engine when I launched this show recently. SEO still matters You’re also making a critical mistake if you’ve started to believe that SEO no longer matters. For example, the Content Optimizer tool that is built into StudioPress Sites, which I mentioned earlier, can help. When you know how your ideal audience talks about your topic, and what kinds of questions are most pressing, you have the knowledge you need to create titles, subject lines, and body content that will be relevant for a wide variety of different semantic contexts. Step #2: Focus on more engines The second step you should take is to brainstorm all the different engines where people may be looking for the type of content you create … and then figure out a way to get yourself into a new one. Because when it comes to any search context (text or voice), and when it comes to any engine that may deliver your website as a result (think Google or Bing, but also social media), you need to make sure the hosting and design infrastructures of your site have all the basic elements in place: Your site needs to load fast — a factor that actually influences several different ranking factors because of how it impacts a visitor’s experience. If I thought I was compromising my site’s optimization just to use Genesis themes or StudioPress for hosting, I wouldn’t. And we’ve discussed three steps you can take immediately to put that new mindset into practice: Search: Listen better and empathize more.
  • 11 Marketing Experts Whose Insights Could Change Your Business

    11 Marketing Experts Whose Insights Could Change Your Business. And, in this regard 11 industry veterans stand out in particular: Through their books, blogs and public speaking engagements, these experts are helping others make sense of today’s marketing landscape. Currently the CEO of Lemonlight Media, an emerging video marketing company that’s winning kudos across the nation, Horner has shared her personal insights and stories -- many gleaned from her Pepperdine University beginnings and her three startup ventures --through the biggest publishing platforms on the internet, including Entrepreneur and the Huffington Post. The company now powers advertising for two-thirds of the Fortune 500 companies and delivers ad experiences in more than 30 global markets per year. Durand has said she sees herself as an energetic cheerleader for her company, helping her team stay creative, attentive, energetic and knowledgeable in order to zero in on a company's target audience with TV advertising in an ever-expanding world of streaming and smart devices. Mari Smith Mari Smith has become known as a digital marketing expert, training small business owners in the ways of building traffic, subscribers, clients, alliances and targeted media attention. From textiles to financial services to entertainment, Cohen has honed her skills into her Actionable Marketing Guide, a blog providing insights on social media, mobile, branding, public relations, and small business. Andy Crestodina Co-founder and strategic director of Orbit Media Studios, an award-winning Chicago-based web design company, Andy Crestodina specializes in content marketing, social media and analytics. With more than 20 years of keynote speaking experience, Crestodina is consistently named a top presenter at prestigious events, including Content Marketing World's 2015 conference. These 11 industry leaders can point you down the path to better engagement and connections with your customers.
  • 3 Important Ways Social Media Can Boost Your SEO

    After all, SEO is arguably the founding-father-tactic of digital marketing, and social media is the place on the web where our audiences gather, share and engage every day. Back in 2010, Google told Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan that links shared on Facebook and Twitter were used as a ranking signal. However, regardless of whether social signals are used as a ranking factor—when done right—social media can most definitely enhance your SEO efforts. While ranking science on backlinks has evolved over the years, the number of quality backlinks a website has is still an important ranking factor for search engines. Social media marketing is all about sharing your best of the best content, and fostering engagement around that content. The more engaging your content, the more people will share, and the more opportunities people will have to find and link to your content. And while your pages can be so much more than a promotional platform, one of the greatest social media benefits is the potential reach your content could get. In addition, make sure you understand what hashtags actually mean, so you can use them in the appropriate way for each platform. Any content you’re creating for your website or blog should have an SEO component. Not only do those you tag and mention get notified when you do so, but they’ll be more compelled to engage on your post or share your post with their audience.
  • Biggest Social Media Mistakes That Can Get You Fired

    Biggest Social Media Mistakes That Can Get You Fired. Making an Offensive Comment: Never post something racist, sexist or offensive. Remember, in 2013 Justine Sacco tweeted “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. By the time she landed in South Africa, she found out that she was already fired from her job at IAC. Therefore, think twice before you post something to social media because it can go viral in seconds and can cost you your entire career. Posting on a “Sick” Day: Everybody can have days that they don’t want to work and especially if the weather is nice, you may want to go to a park or a beach to relax and have some fun. Just hold off on them until the weekend and if you use your “sick” day with your friends, tell your friends not to tag you or not to post any pictures of you online. Job Searching from Work: Don’t make your job search public. Keep your job search to yourself.
  • A Social Media Audit Template and Guide for Marketers

    A Social Media Audit Template and Guide for Marketers. There are a number of different steps involved in this process, so we have put together a social media audit template to help you conduct your first (or second, or third…) one more efficiently. What is a social media audit? The purpose is to ensure that each of your profiles are on brand and functioning correctly, identify and shut down any rogue or abandoned accounts, and ensure that you’re using the channels that make the most sense for your brand. A 6-step guide to conducting a social media audit Step 1: Create a social media audit spreadsheet Your social media audit needs a home, which is why you need a spreadsheet. To start, create a column for each social network, URL to your profile on that social network, and owner. You can either create a separate spreadsheet to track the results of this search, or add a new column—labelled “Shutdown Y/N”—in the original spreadsheet. Step 3: Evaluate your social media profiles This is an important part of your social media audit. Step 5: Centralize the ownership of your passwords The process of doing a social media audit can help you make sure that all your social media profiles are secure. Step 6: Create a process Once you’re done your social media audit, it’s time to take what you learned and create an internal process when it comes to creating new social profiles going forward.
  • To Build A Community, You Need To Action A Community

    To Build A Community, You Need To Action A Community. You have to build a community, to action a community. A Vested Interest In A Community, Creates Action When there is shared mindfulness, it leads to shared responsibility. The reason I am highlighting this is that it represents an initiative started by an organisation (MEN) that has a continually vested interest within a community. A regional newspaper has far stronger links within a community, rather than thinking that the answer is to always target a demographic group via Facebook. The whole reason to build is to create an incentive to action. Actioning Others — Another Example To build a community, you need a vested interest, to action others. The Flavourly magazine that accompanies each box highlights the beers that are distributed to their community each month. This shines the spotlight on the brewers who are responsible for what people are drinking within articles in the magazine. It is time to build, to then ask people to action.
  • Forrester Study Reveals How Enterprises are Embracing Social Selling

    Forrester Study Reveals How Enterprises are Embracing Social Selling. In fact, 36 percent believe that social selling will become the “default way to engage with buyers in the future.” In response, they are investing in social media tools and embracing social selling tactics. What is social selling? The Forrester study explores social selling adoption trends and the challenges and benefits that go along with developing a social selling program. “Empowered buyers prefer to self-educate, gain third-party validation, and rely on peers to learn about new products—and increasingly prefer to use social networks to do so.” The fact that their customers and potential customers are on social makes it vital for organizations’ sales teams to be there, too. The study found that 98 percent of B2B enterprises see the value in social selling in the short- and long-term. The potential of social selling is still unrealized Although the study found that social selling is a priority for most organizations surveyed, far fewer have a fully optimized program in place. Marketing and sales need to join forces The study found that a “fragmented approach to social selling weakens efforts to sustain a formal program within the enterprise.” According to Forrester, the top three barriers for social selling are: A lack of confidence within the sales team to engage on social (32 percent) Limited understanding of available social selling technology (29 percent) A lack of alignment between sales and marketing teams (28 percent) The study says that addressing these barriers and creating a successful program involves improved training programs and tighter alignment between marketing and sales. “Broad implementation of social tools signals that sellers and marketers are eager to embrace social media and connect with buyers in their digital communities.” Hootsuite’s Amplify for Selling app makes it easier for marketers and sales teams to work together to generate leads and build relationships that turn prospects into customers. Read the full Forrester study The full Forrester study, Social Selling: A New B2B Imperative, includes these and other insights into how B2B organizations are adopting social selling.
  • How to Create a Social Media Marketing Plan in 6 Steps

    So you need to create a social media marketing plan. Learn what a social media marketing plan should include, and follow our six-step plan for creating your own. What is a social media marketing plan? A key component of setting effective goals for your social media strategy is to determine what metrics you’ll use to measure their success. Take the time you need to determine the purpose of every social profile you have. Here are a few suggested sources of inspiration in different areas of social media marketing: Content marketing: Unbounce, Virgin Social media customer service: Tangerine, Warby Parker Social media advertising: Airbnb, the American Red Cross Facebook strategy: Coca-Cola, Walmart Twitter strategy: Charmin, Oreo Instagram strategy: Herschel Supply Co., General Electric Snapchat strategy: Taco Bell, Amazon Step 5: Create a content marketing plan and a social media content calendar Having great content to share will be essential to succeeding at social media. Your social media marketing plan should include a content marketing plan, comprised of strategies for content creation and content curation, as well as a content calendar. How often will you post content? It’s the perfect place to plan all of your social media activities—from images and link sharing to blog posts and videos—encompassing both your day-to-day posting and content for social media campaigns. Once you’ve mapped out your social media marketing plan, use Hootsuite to schedule all of your social media posts, engage with your followers, and track the success of your efforts.
  • An Audience Building Mixtape Called ‘Lean Into A Group’

    When you reach out, participation is key and you get people to action. It all comes down to finding the right group of people to help propel you. What this highlights is the ability to centre a relevant message to a targeted audience, intended to resonate. Lets also not forget the Grime4Corbyn campaign group for grime stars to encourage their audience to vote for Labour. The whole link to your business is that you have the opportunity to help others build better businesses based on the foundations of what you do and how you express yourself to help others create a concierge type service. Marks & Spencer launched last month (May), their ‘Spend It Well’ campaign. Whilst we have one side that is stable and looking healthy (the food side is doing well), the other is becoming unstable (clothing). In 2019, there will also be 290 people of pensionable age per 1,000 people of working age — this number will increase to 370 in 2039. Taking Things On Board Your Side What is the approach that you can take onboard and minimise wastage by thinking that everyone is your audience? Here are some audience building, mixtape tracks that all relate to finding your audience and then leaning into them.
  • CNN Puts Focus on Audience Development Connections

    How CNN is making audience development a bigger part of their culture to face their limits of scale. The network has built a massive audience online and on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, but it wasn’t becoming a daily habit. Traffic would spike during breaking news, but then fall off. Individual departments like news and social were doing audience development work on their own, but they weren’t working in concert. It’s been trying to course correct. About a year ago, CNN hired Chris Herbert from The Weather Channel to build an audience development team, among other things. Herbert, svp of digital operations and strategy, brought on Alan Segal in September as vp of audience development to strengthen direct relationships with CNN’s audience through products like newsletters and podcasts; grow engagement during non-breaking news periods to give advertisers more predictability, and double audience-based sales. Segal has created a 15-person team including data scientists and analytics experts and is expected to roughly double that over the next two years. “How we see audience development is to use data to develop a news habit for the next generation and improve monetization,” said Herbert, who reports to Andrew Morse, CNN’s digital GM. The shift we’re making is focusing less on overall scale in the form of uniques to looking at engagement, daily active uniques, time spend in video.”
  • As audience development grows, publishers question who should own it

    As audience development grows, publishers question who should own it. But now the question facing publishers is how to ensure it serves all sides of the business, whose interests often conflict. So we created an article about how to help, and it went viral because we know the work that resonates the most is what’s mission-driven.” The case for editorial Publishers are addressing these varying audience development needs in different ways. O’Leary makes the case that with social media often being the first place where people encounter a story, audience development should be as close to the editorial creation as possible. “Part of my goal is not just to lead edit but to have an understanding of our business goals.” Having audience development outside of editorial also means “the newsroom loses a huge opportunity to learn. I wouldn’t want to give that up.” Other organizations treat audience development as part of marketing or, more recently, revenue. The editorial side isn’t operating in the dark, though, he said. “Our editors understand the platforms — it’s already part of their DNA.” Elsewhere, audience development has a hybrid business-edit role. “You can reach so many more people, but the definition of audience is murkier than ever.” At National Geographic, audience development became part of the digital team as part of a digital transformation that started last year, said Jonathan Hunt, the company’s new svp of digital strategy and audience development. “If it’s only in edit, you’re going to focus on things besides what makes money.” CNN execs said it believes its independent approach has paid off, pointing to its newsletter growth.