Targeted Digital Marketing

How Social Media is Shifting From Marketing to Targeted Digital Advertising

The trends have been pointing in this direction for a while, but now many social media companies are making it official. The “pay to play” model is in full swing, and despite how this might make social media content companies feel, this is a really good thing for businesses.

Facebook is the most recent to announce that spam from businesses won’t be tolerated. This has really been the unspoken case for a while, but now they’re upping the ante by threatening to remove posts from brands that are too promotional.

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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.

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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:

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5 Quick Blog Post Title Tips

Blog Post Title Tips

Titles can make or break a blog. The good ones rock and can draw in an audience that you normally wouldn’t have because of the sharing component. People like to share things that sound interesting on social media and titles can be the difference. In many ways, it’s more important than the content itself.

The one out of the group that I think is most important is #2. This is no longer a world where generalizations or all-encompassing posts are regularly effective. That’s not to say that they can’t be, but as Google and Bing improve their ability to narrow down results to exactly what people want and as people get used to the search engines presenting them answers to even the most obscure questions, it has grown ever-important to solve a problem with nearly every post. In the case of this post itself, the problem could be as simple as someone searching for “blog title tips”. Hopefully, in the next few days, Google and Bing will show them this article.

Search and social sharing are the two most important components of driving new traffic to your blog. If you they can’t find you or they’re not being presented your content in their social streams, they aren’t going to become a visitor. It sounds too simple, almost a “duh” moment, but it surprises me how often this portion of content marketing gets missed.

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Offerpop Releases Hashtag Gallery, Empowering Marketers to Manage User-Generated Content at Scale

Offerpop

NEW YORK, New York (Nov. 6, 2013) —Offerpop, a leading social marketing software company, has released Hashtag Gallery, a solution that allows brands to unite social media with traditional marketing channels, compile and store user-generated content, and showcase hashtag campaign content in a single location.

Hashtag Gallery capitalizes on an exploding trend: brands everywhere are including hashtags in their TV commercials, print and digital ads, and other marketing programs.

With Hashtag Gallery, brands collect, manage and showcase user-generated content related to these hashtags in a seamless branded display, on websites, auto-generated landing pages, or Facebook tabs. Through these campaigns brands encourage passionate consumers to share photos, videos, and posts. These engaged communities span multiple mediums and generate an expansive library of valuable user-generated content that can be repurposed for marketing and merchandizing programs.

“The convergence of social and mobile is fundamentally changing how consumers interact with their favorite brands, enabling them to share experiences and user-generated content,” said Prakash Mishra, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer for Offerpop. “Hashtag Gallery gives brands ways to turn content into relevant, real-time consumer engagement, amplifying the reach of traditional marketing programs.”

Marketers have struggled to organize, respond to and reuse consumer posts that include their branded hashtags. Hashtag Gallery automates this process, allowing time-strapped social marketers to track and follow up with responses in real time. Through auto-responding to entries with custom messages and “claim your entry” links, marketers can easily get permission to repurpose user-generated content. They can also incentivize and reward consumers for participating, offering daily, weekly, or monthly prizes.

Marketers can create and launch their Hashtag Gallery campaigns in minutes, with no custom development required. With Hashtag Gallery’s powerful back-end moderation capabilities, marketers can choose to approve entries before publication. And they can view program metrics like unique visitors and participation in real time, allowing for campaign optimization.

Offerpop’s launch of Hashtag Gallery includes an early access package that rewards companies and marketers that launch a Hashtag Gallery campaign in November by giving them hands-on help from a team of Offerpop’s social media strategists, who work with brands like Audi, American Express and NBC Universal. Sign up at www.offerpop.com/earlyaccess.

To learn how to tap into the power of hashtags, check out Offerpop’s new e-book, The Definitive Guide to Hashtag Campaigns. (http://go.offerpop.com/definitive-guide-to-hashtag-campaigns/)

 

About Offerpop

Offerpop helps marketers launch powerful social marketing campaigns to reach, engage and connect with their consumers. Global brands, agencies and small businesses use Offerpop to increase revenue and grow fans, followers and email subscribers. Launch campaigns across any marketing channel — website, advertising, email, and TV — and drive engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Offerpop is a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer, qualified by the PMD program in Apps.  Offerpop is a Twitter Certified Product. Learn more at www.offerpop.com.

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SEO Do’s and Don’t’s for Hosted WordPress Blogs

Blog SEO

There are many people who believe that when it comes to WordPress based blogs, the only ones which are naturally SEO friendly are those ‘fresh out of the box’ ie. those which have not been customized in any way. When you start to add themes and plugins you begin to create a sort of hybrid version which can become somewhat incompatible with search engines.

Thankfully, there are some fairly easy ways to address this issue and with that in mind let’s look at a few of the SEO do’s and don’ts  which will maximize your WordPress based blog’s search engine visibility

 

DO Make Use of SEO Plugins

When you need SEO help it makes sense to consult an expert in that field rather than a ‘Jack of all trades’. Using a dedicated SEO plugin such as WordPress SEO, Yoast or All in One SEO Pack is a lot like consulting an expert. These plugins are designed to handle all of your SEO needs and many of them are free. There are many themes available for WordPress which offer built in SEO assistance. However, this will tie you to that theme unless you want to redo your SEO whenever you change your theme.

 

DON’T be Lazy When Adding Images

WordPress has an excellent media uploader that is easy to use, so take advantage of that when adding images to your blog posts. The tool has an easy to follow form to enter all of the SEO information relating to your image and it is important to fill it out in full. You can provide a relevant name for the image, a caption featuring your keyword, alt text and even a description all of which will go some way towards improving SEO on that page/post.

 

DO Create a Proper Permalink Structure

One of the great things about WordPress is that it gives you the ability to customize your permalinks. This is great in terms of SEO, but only if you make good use of it by choosing a blog title and thus a post URL which will tell search engines (and readers) a little something about the post.

 

DON’T Go Nuts With Categories & Tags

It is a good idea to use categories to organize your content and to tag your posts; however, it important not go overboard with the categories. If you are going to implement indexing of your blog’s taxonomy archives you will have multiple unnecessary archive pages which are basically duplicates of your posts. It is much better to come up with just a handful of categories that the majority of your content can be filed under. Many SEO experts suggest that between 5 and 7 is the optimal number of categories per WordPress site and that posts should have approximately 3 tags each.

 

Do Claim Google Authorship On All Posts

Google Authorship is a great way to gain exposure as an expert author in your particular field and will lend additional credibility to your website when used. There are lots of ways to make use of Google Authorship including a variety of plugins which will take care of it for you. Just make sure that your contributing authors have added your blog on their Google+ profile.

These are just a few of the things which will affect the SEO status of your WordPress blog. There are many others that you may wish to thin carefully about including choosing the most appropriate server hosting service and producing truly engaging content. With a little effort and attention to detail you can have effective SEO for your blog.

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