How to Guest Blog in Light of Google’s Restrictions

You Shall Not Pass

At the beginning of 2014, Google’s Matt Cutts made headlines by stating that guest blogging was dead. This caused a lot of stir in the online community. People naturally got defensive and protested this as unfair. After all, hasn’t almost everyone used guest blogging to help with SEO at some point or another?

In late March, Cutts followed through on his statement and shut down a popular guest blogging website called MyBlogGuest. This proved he was serious about his campaign against guest blogging for SEO. At the same time, though, it’s worth noting that many businesses have continued to guest blog and have benefitted from it.

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Recycling Social Media Content is Getting Out of Hand

Tweet from 2013

I get it. I understand the need for more content to serve to an ever-growing flow of content consumers. The art of recycling content is important, particularly on sites like Twitter where a piece of content can and should be used multiple times in order to get the message out to everyone. It’s a chronological feed, after all, and posting it once will only get it seen by an extremely small portion of your audience.

With that said, it’s getting out of hand. I have been finding posts that are months old and no longer relevant hitting my feed from car dealers around the country. There’s a limit. Old news is old news. In the case of the Tweet above, the article posted on Twitter by a Toyota dealer on March 30, 2014, is a link to an article from July 4, 2013. That’s too long for this type of news.

When recycling posts on Twitter, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Is it relevant? Old posts are find if there’s context that makes it work today. For example, posting an article about Tesla’s early days in trying to launch with dealerships would make sense to post considering their current stance.
  • Is it timeless? Some posts, particularly advice posts that give the reader information they can use today, can be posted up until the point that they’re obsolete. An example of this would be a video that demonstrates how to change the batteries in a key fob. Until they change the way you open the key fob, it still makes sense to post for months, even years after the original.
  • Is it nostalgic? There are times when old posts are even better than new ones. A picture of an old Honda ad from the 70s would play well to show how far the company has come over the years.
  • Has it been posted very recently? This is one of my biggest pet peeves. If a post comes through today that is just a different wording on something posted yesterday, than it’s not acceptable. The exception: timely events. If you have a big sale or charity event this weekend, then posting a different variation of the same thing over and over again is acceptable and demonstrates focus on the event.

As more companies use content libraries to keep the feeds flowing, it’s important to keep in mind that the libraries must be refreshed. They must be pruned. In the case of the post above, it’s simply not acceptable. That was news for about a month. There is plenty of content out there in the form of current news about every manufacturer and the local area. Don’t get stuck beating a dead horse with your posts.

Is Tumblr The New Social Music Source?

Tumblr Band

When MySpace re-launched last year, it seemed like it found its niche as a music portal of sorts. This wasn’t to say that it would take over the more renowned platforms like Facebook and Twitter in terms of popularity but it didn’t necessarily have to.

All that it would have to do is offer something unique compared to the competition. In my view, neither Facebook nor Twitter explored the music spectrum at length. With this in mind, shouldn’t MySpace be considered a “social music source” of sorts?

If Tumblr has a say in it, perhaps not the greatest.

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Tips for Creating Pinnable Content

Pinterest Random

Most marketers are aware that Pinterest can take a website from unknown to super successful with a single pin. However, up until now, finding the secret formula for content that will take off and go viral has been largely based on experiment. Marketers have been scrambling to find a way to reach the largest market possible using Pinterest as the medium.

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Website Chat Should Shoot for Quality First, Quantity Second

Tearing Down the Wall

There’s a disturbing trend I’m seeing in the automotive industry when I visit websites. Perhaps it’s been like this for a while and I simply took my eye off the chat ball. When I see chat windows that instantly prompt for the customer’s contact information, it makes me cry a little inside.

This isn’t what chat is supposed to be about. I’d love to have that debate with anyone. Chat is an alternative means of instant information. In other words, it’s more akin to phone calls than to anything else. If you believe in having a barrier of entry for your customers to chat, then you should have your receptionist answer the phone with, “Thank you for calling XYZ Motors. Can I have your name, phone number, and email address, please? No? Okay, thank you for calling.”

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Adapt Your Business for the New Facebook Algorithm

Algorithm

Today has never been a more important time to solidify your business’ online presence, especially with the progression of Facebook algorithms constantly changing. Social media plays an ever-growing role in not only engaging in customer interaction, but also in building your overall online reputation.

Business owners are having a harder time these days adapting to Facebook’s newest algorithms, stating in their announcements that if companies want reach, they should pay for it. And while many companies are starting to utilize Facebook ads more, there are still numerous methods to gain user visibility that are either completely free or very-low cost. Here are some ways which you can use Facebook to gain more social proof and essentially grow your company: [Read more...]

Should I have One Blog or Multiple?

Multiple Blogs

When I first started in digital marketing back in 2006, I had a dream of helping people take over the internet realm for their particular niche. At the time, I had 4 automotive clients and with the thought that content and links were so powerful for SEO while social media was the future, I pictured a product where my clients were blogging several times a week and posting them on several different blogs that fit in with particular topics.

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Defined by the Quest: The Three Types of Marketing in 2014

Quest Marketing

One of the most amazing parts of my job is spending time reading, watching, and testing the practices of others. It’s conceivable that the true secret to my success over the years has less to do with creativity and more to do with listening and deciphering. You have to listen to the channels like Google and Facebook. You have to listen to your customers. You have to listen to your customers’ customers (if you’re an agency like me).

The annoying part of my job is sifting through the recycled techniques and reinvented terminology that surrounds so many marketing practices. In most cases, it’s the same old things repackaged into a different form or applied from a different angle. Those are valuable, but not gamechanging. Still, it’s important to go through them all in order to find the hidden or not-so-hidden gems that arise. The best practices I’ve found over the years haven’t been on the pages of Mashable, Search Engine Watch, or Social Media Today. The real winners have come from some of the least likely sources.

With all of that out of the way, let’s get to the point. There are three types of marketing. Despite all of the various names – push and pull marketing, social media marketing, gravitational marketing, search marketing, influence marketing, content marketing – the easiest and arguably most pure way of looking at it is to tackle everything from a perspective of venue and intent. Where are the people going and what are they doing when they get there? It’s important for me as well as business owners to look at it from this perspective because the collision of the various marketing types is forcing a holistic marketing model to outperform niche marketing techniques or specialized strategies.

In other words, if you look at venue and intent, you can craft your overall marketing strategy much more easily. We look at it as following the quest – what are they doing, why are thy doing it, and how can we be there to help them choose our clients. When people buy your products, they are fulfilling a quest. No, they’re not slaying an actual dragon, but if they’re on a quest to buy a car, then your dealership selling them a car is the culmination of that particular quest.

Here are the three types of marketing for 2014 (well, early 2014 at least – it changes so quickly) that we like to tackle:

Fulfilling the Quest

This is the easiest to understand and often the hardest to achieve because of the simplicity of purpose. Everyone knows that if someone is interested in buying a car, they’re probably going to go to Google, Bing, or one of the various classified sites to start looking. They might go to review sites and OEM sites as well, but for the most part they’re ready to seek the fulfillment of their quest, they’re going to try to look for cars.

Search engine marketing of all types, whether it’s SEO or PPC, gives you the opportunity to drive them to your website so they may fulfill their quest. They aren’t searching for Honda dealers to have fun. They have a purpose. They’re in buying mode. This is where you have to be in order to help them fulfill their quest.

Renewing the Quest

More businesses are starting to do this. Many of them tried to do it in 2009-2012 and failed miserably. Part of it was because the venues such as Facebook, banner advertisements, retargeting, and other forms of “passive” marketing arenas weren’t developed to the point that they are today.

Now, the goals have come full-circle thanks to the overall availability of the internet. Mobile devices have made checking social media sites and reading websites the common activity when there are no activities to do. As people ride a bus, wait in line at the bank, or even perform other mundane activities like watching television, they are also surfing the internet. They aren’t going to Facebook to buy things, but they’re open to the concept. They’re open to having their quest renewed.

When they go to Fox News to see what’s going on and the retargeting ad pops up in front of them, they are reminded that they are still on a quest even if they aren’t actively on it at that point. When the business they visited last week pops up on their Facebook news feed, they get that reiteration that they still need to buy something. It might take a dozen instances of seeing a brand and its message before they actually click through, but the statistics are showing that it’s working. Not every sale is made through Google. In fact, some of the most important and actionable clicks come through other venues when they’re not in active buying mode.

Creating the Quest

Of the three, this is the one that’s ignored the most. It’s the hardest to do and the least rewarding when not done right. However, it can be the most rewarding when companies are able to make it sing. This is one that we focus on in particular because in our industry, nobody is doing it right.

In many ways it’s like good old fashioned advertising. No, it’s not like the commercials that we see on television today. Think along the lines of the early days of television when brands were built by establishing a problem that people will see in the normal course of their day and then having that problem solved either in the middle of the initial marketing effort or after further research.

The reason that it’s so hard today is because of attention span. We have seconds instead of minutes to get the message out through most advertising and marketing venues. There’s no longer time to tell a story…

…or is there?

The art of creating the quest is about putting the right content on the right venues that will reach people and establish a need whether they’re in the market right now or not. With this particular article already breaking the 1,000-word mark, there’s not enough time to go into it in detail. We’ll do that next time. Instead, watch the following video that shows two commercials that worked well in their day. Today, having a minute-long television commercial isn’t practical for most businesses, but taking advantage of the various channels online to accomplish the same goal and better is something that we know will move the needle. It’s hard. That’s the point. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

More on that next time. For now, here’s the video:

Tumblr Can Make Theses Fun

Tumblr Band

When you think about school at the end of the semester, what are some of the ideas that come about time and time again? I have to believe that “finals” and the sort are the ones which are the most common. Stress is going to be constant and tension is going to be high, so why not kick back and try to find humor in the assignments that seem to bring students so much grief? This is where Tumblr has come into play and the results have cracked more than a couple of smiles.

Harvard College senior Angela Frankel took it upon herself to start a Tumblr blog entitled “LOL My Thesis” last month and she described it as, “…a means of procrastination from my own thesis.” Basically, it’s a blog that calls for people to give one-sentence summaries of their own theses. When you think about these kinds of papers, typically images of long, drawn-out narratives form in your mind. However, these summaries ranged from humorous to surprisingly insightful.

From Marine Biology at St. Andrews, one summary was, “Jellyfish don’t like it when you acidify their tank.” It’s absurd in its own right but strangely captivating enough to where you might actually want to click on the thesis in order to read what exactly happens in this case. From Philosophy at Reed College, another thesis had the summary of, “Numbers either exist, or they don’t. Depends on how you look at it.” It’s such a vague sentence and yet it’s interesting enough to where you may have the desire to see what it means in context.

In the end, though, “LOL My Thesis” wasn’t exactly made for those on the outside to look in and have a good laugh. It certainly succeeded on that front but the object was to give students an outlet. It wasn’t created to necessarily make fun of the assignments given but to ease the tension that comes with writing multipage-long papers. Frankel created something unique and the Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology major deserves recognition for that.

A Long Island social media agency can tell you that certain vehicles are more useful for brand awareness than others. While Tumblr is more hobby-esque by comparison to Facebook, for example, it can still attain popularity if an idea is creative enough. From what I have seen, “LOL My Thesis” brims with creativity and the fact that it racked over 50 pages of sentences three weeks after its launch speaks volumes.

In short, when others are in the same spot as you, it doesn’t pay to be distressed all the time.

5 Toolkits That Help Pump Up Your Content Marketing Efforts

Tool Kit

Content marketing is hard. It requires your business to take up the role of a publisher. Now, that’s not something businesses or brands are used to doing traditionally. Most of the marketing now focuses on the “inbound marketing” phenomenon and that requires patience, extreme focus on generosity, establishing trust, and providing value. It also calls for the need for thought leadership and an ever-demanding presence over the web (including blogs and social media).

All of that is hard work.

Is there a way this can be made easy for you as a business owner? They say technology is a savior, so do tools exist that help to pump up your content marketing efforts?

Here are some web-based tools you can use to accelerate, streamline, and organize your content marketing efforts:

 

Content Aggregator Tools

To develop content, you’ll need an influx of incoming content. You’d basically need to read a lot to write as much as you ought to. How do you practically crawl over the web to consume so much information that’s spewed out everyday? You get smart and use an aggregator tool!

You can start with LinkedIn’s Pulse, move on to Flipboard for your mobile, TrapIt (claimed to be the world’s most advanced content curation app), set up good sources through Feedly (an alternative for Google’s now-dead RSS reader), and finally wade through Reddit manually.

By working with these tools, you make content available to you at all times. Read, repurpose, develop content on your own string of ideas, or gather information from other content on the web to make your own brand of valuable content. Curation is a pill for content creation and aggregator tools help you do just that.

 

Content Creation, Organization and Management

Organized efforts are a must for content marketing and there are plenty of tools starting from project management to content organization. Google Drive is ubiquitous and plugs well into the workflows that most small businesses have. You might also want to check out Trello, Asana and Basecamp for organizing projects, content, and teams. To actually create content, you could use tools such as one of the ubiquitous meme generators, Visual.ly, Issuu or UberFlip.

If you are a business owner, you can use Evernote in a million different ways. Note ideas as you get them or jot down facts you can later repurpose as full-blown resource pages or social media updates. You might also use the web-clipper for content curation.

If you work with a team of social media managers and content developers or freelancers, you could bring your team aboard using Evernote for business and collaborate on ideas, content planning, blog posts, and a host of other things.

 

Plugging into a Hot Spot

Most of the popular publications now have tons of content already as “pillar content” or “resource pages.” You could visit Social Media Today for syndicated posts and resources. HootSuite has a special section with tons of resources too.

In addition to that, many other websites provide on-site tools for helping you to create even more content.

Further, you could literally create an endless flow of content based on ideas from comments, reviews and user-generated posts on communities, forums or rating sites. If you have anything to do with food and restaurants, for instance, you could use reviews from Yelp for first-hand information and then turn it into list blog posts. For technical niches such as hosting solutions or servers, you could make use of information from comparison engines such as Who Is Hosting This and cite them as sources for your blog posts.

 

Content from Social Media

Social media is big and it’s a huge resource by itself. Using a tool like Storify, for instance, you can create stories using social media data. Use Swayy to get some of the best content to share with your audience based on their interests and engagement behavior. You might also want to consider a tool such as Curata that can help you find trustworthy content quickly and curate this content to fuel your content marketing efforts.

Even without any of these tools, you can still use the dripping content off social media updates and quickly whip up posts relevant to your business niche or industry. It’s quick, it can be credited, and it works for you in multiple ways. Don’t just create content for social media; make your content attract attention off social media too.

 

Tools for Other Types of Content

While writing posts and creating content based on text is easier, it’s not the end of the road. There are videos, slide decks, podcasts, magazines, and tons of other forms of content that you should create. There are tools for you to develop this kind of content too. Animoto or GoAnimator are ideal for creating short videos. Using Jing or Camtasia, you can create screen casts to show off your products or provide courses.

You can use Blip for video podcasting or launch audio tours with iAudioGuide. If you are into audio podcasts, you may consider tools such as BlogTalkRadio or Libsyn.

While it could be a daunting task to create so many forms of content and pump up your content marketing efforts, you also have a mind-boggling and never-ending list of tools to help you create content. Most of the tools are affordable and you can also pick the tools that fit your purpose or budget.

The question is: the tools exist and the list will continue to grow. How are you going to use them? If you are in business, which of these tools are you using currently? Which of these could turn you into a full-fledged business content publisher?