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Crowdsourcing: Three SEO Themes We Keep Hearing

11 Nov

CoreyMorris

Guest Contributor:

Corey Morris, Director of Digital Marketing

During the past few weeks, I’ve had the chance to speak at a couple of Kansas City search marketing events. The first was as a moderator of the “Better Ideas, Better Strategies” session at the SEMPO Cities KC Search Marketing Conference on Oct. 27. In addition, I spoke about “The Impact of Social on Search Rankings” at the Social Media Club of Kansas City breakfast on Nov. 4.

A few SEO themes kept bubbling up at the Q & A sessions and event follow-up discussions.

First, it’s abundantly clear that the industry must be nimbler when it comes to navigating changes from Google. The company is adjusting organic and paid search faster than most of us can remember.

Second, if you haven’t kept up with the mobile friendly movement, now is the time. “Mobile first” thinking has been a topic of conversation the past few years. The initiative is now on overdrive, with Google using the mobile index for even desktop searches.

One other theme that surfaced during the SMCKC presentation was how Google does or doesn’t weigh social media in ranking websites. There’s a lot of confusing and conflicting info about this topic. My advice? It’s more important to understand how search engines work and view social content through that lens.

The two most important factors of SEO success are relevance and authority. Relevance meaning how pertinent your content is to the subject. And authority being the importance others place on your content. In other words, are they linking to and sharing your stuff?

Finally, while not a theme from the events, I always advise clients that if they want more cues on what Google is and isn’t rewarding, they should pay attention to their target audiences and the competition. By continuously working to be better when compared to peers, you’ll win in search, social and digital marketing overall.

Read my earlier post on the SEMPO Cities KC event.

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Demand Generation Tips for 2017

27 Oct

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Most of our clients are in the midst or near completion of their 2017 marketing planning. An important element we’re discussing with them is their demand generation strategy.

Demand generation is a catch-all term that refers to the marketing elements your business employs to boost audience awareness and interest in what you offer.

As you consider your company’s demand generation toolbox, keep these online elements and tips in mind.

1. User-generated content

Most people spend at least a few minutes a day on social media. Facebook is the largest social platform with an average of 1.13 billion active users in June 2016.

Remember, when users share their experience with your company or how your product provided a viable solution to a sticky problem, their social media connections – as well as others who can see their content – are paying attention.

2. Audience engagement tools

Today’s customers don’t want to stand idly by while being lectured about the merits of your products and services. They want to engage and be part of the action.

Draw your customers in and keep them coming back with interactive content. Try infographics, quizzes, polls, videos, calculators and more.

3. Easy reading

Break content into bite-size chunks that can be easily read – and shared – in a short time. Use a story-telling narrative, as well as bullets and sub-heads, so info is skim-able, and web- and mobile-friendly.

4. Maximize budget

According to Hubspot, budgets for content marketing will continue to increase in 2017. Knowing how to effectively use resources is key to boosting demand and elevating your business.

Take the guesswork out of demand generation. Let’s talk about how we can work together to develop the tools your business needs to lead and achieve your marketing goals.

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Trust but Verify

25 Oct

Questions about the Facts

Several weeks ago, a train in Hoboken, NJ crashed and quickly made national news.

The first alert I received from CNBC said, “Major train accident causes ‘mass casualties’ in Hoboken, NJ: WNBC.”

Just 25 minutes later, I received a second CNBC alert. This one read: “1 dead, more than 100 people injured in Hoboken train accident: WNBC, citing source.”

CNBC is a reputable news organization, especially among financial audiences and business leaders. I’d wager their writers are journalists with ample experience.

Tragically, one person did die in the Hoboken crash. But the first email from CNBC was based on information from WNBC that at first glance, appears to have been incorrect.

President Ronald Reagan used a Russian proverb when interacting with the country’s officials, “Trust but verify.” Meaning, I’m going to accept what you say at face value but I’m also going to confirm the accuracy with another source.

WNBC, and ultimately CNBC, likely reported exactly what a transit official shared in what had to have been a chaotic environment. But our digital 24-hour news cycle puts a premium on speed – often at the expense of quality.

After all, if CNBC was a print outlet, this error would have been less likely. CNBC would have had time to verify that one person – not many – had lost their life.

There were nearly 212,500 students enrolled in college journalism programs in 2012.

There were 305 million blog accounts on Tumblr in July 2016, up from 17.5 million in 2011. That’s just Tumblr – not WordPress or other platforms.

Why does that matter?

Trained journalists of today and tomorrow have to meet specific standards. Stories are edited and fact checked. And, the threat of getting news wrong haunts most reporters – even if it’s just misspelling a name.

On the flipside, bloggers may or may not be officially trained. Objectivity and accuracy isn’t mandated like it is for reporters at credible news organizations.

That doesn’t mean bloggers aren’t good writers. It also doesn’t mean that bloggers are okay being loose with facts. I assume most want to do good work.

But it does mean that anyone can call themselves a blogger. And, not everyone can claim to be a trained journalist.

Bloggers aren’t held to the same journalistic standards. And, they don’t have the same repercussions as traditional reporters for inaccurate reporting.

As we enter the final weeks of a presidential election fueled by hysteria, hyperbole and even panic, it only seems appropriate to reference the Gipper’s line.

Consider the source. Consider the outlet. Don’t just accept what you read online and regurgitate it as truth.

Trust but verify. Before you share, like, retweet – or repeat.

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Our Take From Cleveland: #CMWorld Day Two

9 Sep

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Corey and Kate spent two days at #CMWorld in Cleveland. This is the second of two posts sharing their quick takeaways from the event. If you haven’t seen the first, check it out

Our second and final day at #CMWorld. And, like day one, it was a whirlwind of fresh ideas, new friends and awesome swag. (No stress balls!)

Airborne to KC, we’re chatting about what stood out on our final day. Here’s what comes to mind.

First, a stat: For every $5 spent on content creation, marketers are spending just a buck on distribution.

Does that surprise you? It sure caught our eye. Seems like we should be investing more than four quarters to maximize ROI.

Day two gave Corey the opportunity to talk with Jeff Julian on the Enterprise Marketer podcast.

Jeff and Corey chatted about the efficiency of content being pushed through digital channels, rather than dictated by SEO. They also talked about Google updates and how the company continues to show it’s learning context, which is yielding better content as a whole.

We’ll be sure to share Corey’s interview once it’s live. So, stay tuned.

It’s easy to leave a conference like this brimming with new ideas but unsure where to start. Fortunately, Thursday’s opening panel gave some encouraging words on how to take your content strategy to the next level. Here’s a hint: start.

Stephanie Losee with Visa, fresh from Rio for the Olympics, said it just takes one piece of content to begin. Not a launch party. Not a seven-figure budget. Just one piece of content from one SME conversation.

In the same vein, Jenifer Walsh with GE reminded us that content strategy is a marathon, not a sprint. And, that it takes time to build content traction. So, take a deep breath. You don’t have to have a community of a thousand followers on day one.

Finally, Raj Munusamy with Schneider Electric, told us the mind digests visual content six times faster than text. Six times.

What we heard: Goodbye 10-page white papers. Helloooo visual content that wows! (Apparently we should be drawing you a picture, not writing this post.)

So there you have it. Our initial take on two days of all content all the time.

Would we go again? Absolutely. Would Corey remember Cleveland is hot and humid? No doubt. Would Kate pack less? For sure. (Okay, that’s a lie.)

Keep an eye out for future posts from us. In the coming weeks, we’ll share more in-depth learnings from the show.

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Top 5 B2B Social Media Marketing Myths

26 Jul

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Social networking is a large part of most people’s lives. But we don’t always know how to make it a part of our lives as B2B marketers. If you are not on social media or if you are not having strong results, you may have fallen prey to one of these common social media myths.

  1. Social media marketing isn’t for B2B. 

There are social networks that are expressly for B2B communication, such as LinkedIn, SlideShare and, to a lesser extent, Quora. There are also social networks that you should consider just because they are a huge part of most people’s day-to-day lives, such as Facebook and Twitter. Remember that businesses are made up of people; go to the networks your people are most likely to be on and you will find a way to connect.

  1. You need to be on every network.

Joining every social network that comes up will lead to burnt out employees, too much money spent networking and not a lot to show for it. Every network is different and has a different audience. LinkedIn is a place where professionals gather. Quora is a good place to hang out if you have a lot of knowledge to share about your industry. YouTube and Instagram are great for sharing visual content. There are many customers for building materials on Pinterest. Pick two or three networks and work on building out robust presences there. Don’t worry about the rest.

  1. It’s never okay to automate.

Automation can give you a chance to connect with people who you might not otherwise reach. If you have an international customer base, automating a few posts to show up while you are in bed and your prospects are up and at the office or job site can mean access to people you might otherwise miss. Automation can also allow you to keep posting consistent even when you are away from the office or otherwise tied up with other tasks.

  1. Automate everything!

It’s easy to go too far in the other direction. Have you ever posted on Twitter and immediately been hit by an @ message from a Twitter bot triggered by a phrase you used? No one else likes this any more than you do.

  1. Social media marketing doesn’t work.

Every year, hundreds of think pieces come out claiming that social media just isn’t the place for business. The figures prove these people wrong. According to HubSpot, two out of three companies with a presence on LinkedIn have gotten a customer from there. Businesses that use Twitter have twice as many leads as those that don’t. The benefits of a social media presence are measurable and powerful.

Social media marketing success does not come overnight. It can take a while to find your niche and your audience on social media. When you have gotten into the groove, you will find that you have better relationships with customers, a better-known brand and more business by using social media well.

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