Tagged content marketing

The Best Money You’ll Ever Spend on SEO, Social, and Content

 

You may have all the technology and expertise in the world at your disposal, but do you have this crucial element to SEO, content and social media success?

the best money you'll ever spend on seo, social and contentDo you have a fantastic SEO platform? A beautiful piece of software, with all the data dots connected, and all the keyword bells and social media whistles that you could ever ask for? If your brand has a culture that is forward-thinking enough to recognize how crucial a tool like this is to the success of your digital marketing, then I hope the answer is yes.

But that’s not the only thing that demands your precious marketing dollars. Are you promoting your posts to precision-targeted audiences on Facebook? Gaining a following on Twitter by advertising your best stuff to key influencers? Utilizing all the many paid search tools to drive traffic to your brilliant content?

All these magnificent things are not cheap, but they are certainly worth it . . . IF you’ve also made another important little investment. An investment in great people.

Don’t underestimate what it takes to win in SEO, Social, & Content Marketing

It’s no secret that the biggest bottleneck in content marketing (and by extension, SEO and social) is TIME. It takes a huge amount of time to develop truly great content that delivers value, ranks in search, and resonates throughout social media. This is one of the biggest stumbling blocks that brands hit when developing their content marketing strategies and social plans. Most brands just don’t have enough people to actually execute what is needed to outpace competition and gain more ground in their markets.

I mean, on their own each thing you do for digital content doesn’t seem very daunting, and this is part of the perception that makes content ‘seem’ easier than it actually is. Seriously, how long does it take to write a 500 word blog post? But what about 4 or 5 of them? Maybe add a whitepaper in there, too? Throw together a handful of tweets every day? A few Facebook posts? Couple of things for LinkedIn? Pic for Instagram? And let’s not forget the time needed to crush it on YouTube. It adds up fast.

But that’s just reality, isn’t it? I mean, you can’t just ‘buy’ time, can you?

clock-1274699_640Yeah, actually, you can buy time.

What if I told you for the low, low price of a single person’s salary, you could flat-out BUY dozens more hours every week? Because that’s exactly what you’re doing when you hire people. Every person you bring on is paying your brand back with their time. All of it. Every day.

Hiring great people gives you their time, their expertise, and their knowledge to execute your strategies and tactics. Without great people to action those ideas and plans, they’re nothing more than decorations on Powerpoint slides.

1+1 = 2, mostly. Sometimes it’s 3. Possibly 4?

This is really basic math. When you go from one content writer to two, that’s instantly doubling the amount of content you can churn out. That’s two times the amount of original, fresh, relevant and valuable content for your brand to rank in search and share in social.

Yeah, it’s that simple, and it scales in huge ways. Once those two writers begin to develop synergies, sharing valuable research, conducting brainstorming sessions, etc, you’ll find that your content team becomes more than just the sum of its parts. They now have the support they need to do more than they could on their own.

Investing in people pays the biggest dividends of any dollar you spend in SEO, social, and content. People give you the ability to action what you’ve been told by all the data that you have in your analytics tools and platforms, and put in motion all the advice coming from your agencies and consultants. Great people and their time are the best things you can buy for your brand.

Marketing Doubleshot Podcast – Ep.11 – Pinterest the Search Engine & Agencies Making Software

In this episode, Jonathan Barrick and Josh Muirhead discuss how Pinterest and its search mechanics combine with other key aspects of the platform to bring power to digital marketers, and a recent article about how marketing agencies should be taking a good hard look at software as a competitive differentiator.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode:

Pinterest – pinterest.com

25 Pinterest Stats, Facts & PR Best Practices – www.cision.com/us/2015/01/25-pin…r-best-practices/

Jim Dougherty – twitter.com/leaderswest

Why ad agencies need to become software companies – www.businessesgrow.com/2015/10/13/ad…re-companies/

Mark Schaefer’s {grow} blog – www.businessesgrow.com/blog/

Marketing Doubleshot Podcast – Ep.10 – Ad Blocking & Missing out on the Mobile Moment

In this episode, Jonathan Barrick and Josh Muirhead discuss the latest in digital ad blocking developments, and the ‘mobile moment’ that many brands and marketers are approaching from the wrong angle.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode:

The Verge – Welcome to hell: Apple vs. Google vs. Facebook and the slow death of the web – www.theverge.com/2015/9/17/933896…death-of-the-web

Mark Schaefer’s {grow} blog – www.businessesgrow.com/blog/

Luke Wroblewski – Product Director at Google – twitter.com/lukewwww.lukew.com/

Hotel Tonight – http://hoteltonight.com

Marketing Doubleshot Podcast – Ep.9 – Content Calendar Strategy & Being Adaptable in the Gig Economy

In this episode, Jonathan Barrick and Josh Muirhead discuss ways to be more strategic when planning your content calendar, and how important it is to be adaptable in the current digital marketing career economy.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode:

Content Marketing Institute

CMI Content Calendar Template -> How to Put Together an Editorial Calendar for Content Marketing

Gary Vaynerchuk – Gary on Twitter @garyvee

Marketing Doubleshot Podcast – Ep.6 – Brands Mixing with Social Causes & The Optimized Personal Digital Brand

In this episode, Jonathan Barrick and Josh Muirhead discuss some of the latest news in social cause marketing, including Dove’s latest and greatest campaign, along with the dangers of not being prepared for what comes with social cause marketing. Also, we take a look at what it means to have an ‘optimized’ personal digital brand, and how you can start optimizing your own digital presence.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode:

Dove’s ‘Choose Beautiful’ campaign -> www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DdM-4siaQw

Chipotle’s social marketing -> www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUtnas5ScSE

LinkedIn -> linkedin.com

Sam Fiorella -> twitter.com/samfiorella

Sensei Marketing -> senseimarketing.com

Marketing Doubleshot Podcast – Ep. 4 – FCC vs Llamas and a Dress & Finding Good Content Resources

In this episode Jonathan Barrick and Josh Muirhead discuss how the net neutrality ruling by the FCC was completely dwarfed on social media by a pair of llamas and debate over the colour of a dress, and how the content resources we rely on evolve over time along with our own approaches to marketing.

Links & resources mentioned in this episode:

FCC Net Neutrality Ruling – http://mashable.com/2015/02/26/net-neutrality-wins/

Llamas on the loose – http://mashable.com/2015/02/26/escaped-llamas-arizona/

The Dress Debate – http://mashable.com/2015/02/26/what-color-dress-blue-black-white-gold/

Podcamp Toronto – http://2015.podcamptoronto.com/

Stephanie Fusco, Community Manager at Tribal Toronto – http://twitter.com/stephaniefusco

Marketing Doubleshot Podcast – Ep. 2 – Creating Smarter Content & The New Approach to Blogging

In this episode, Josh Muirhead and Jonathan Barrick look back at 2014 and talk about what digitally savvy brands in 2015 will need to do in their content marketing strategies to truly achieve success, as well as how the world of blogging has evolved to a rich-media platform.


Links and resources mentioned in this episode:

Gary Vaynerchuk on the importance of Context – www.youtube.com/watch?v=PT7hAh5hxkk

gShift’s blog post series on Creating Smarter Content –www.gshiftlabs.com/create-smarter-…-conversations/

Kevin Spacey at CMWorld on Storytelling – www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJnP2wsgnoA

Mark Schaefer on Content Shock –www.businessesgrow.com/2014/01/06/content-shock/

Chris McBrien – Mr. Fantasy Baseball Podcast –www.dmfantasybaseballpodcast.com/
Chris on Twitter – twitter.com/cmcbrien

Storehouse iPad app – www.storehouse.co/

5 Tips to Manage the Demands of Content Marketing

No time for content marketing? It might not be quite as demanding as you think.

5 tips to manage the demands of content marketing

Businesses of all sizes are jumping on content marketing with gusto, but unfortunately many are lacking a logical and sensible plan to manage the demands that it places on an organization. It’s extraordinarily common for brands to sprint right off the start and get as much content out there as fast as possible, and then burn out within months when they create a pace that they can’t possibly maintain.

Fortunately, there are many simple ways that brands can ease the pressure off their content marketing demands. Here are 5 things you can start to incorporate today to your content plan to make it more manageable, and more effective.

1) Break it down in to manageable pieces – One of the most daunting aspects of content marketing is the time it takes. Often, brands look to others who are doing well with content marketing and think “How do they do it?”. Well, the simple answer is that the savvy ones do it with a structured content schedule. They plan out how much content they are going to put out there according to a manageable timeline, factoring in what’s happening inside the company, out in the industry, and how they can spread out their content on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to get the most out of what they have, and not overreach their resources.

Simply Put: Plan out how much activity you can manage on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, and then actually throw it in to your calendar so you know what’s needed for each channel, and when.

2) Focus on the core platforms – Ah yes, the problem of trying to be everywhere. While it’s an admirable pursuit, it rarely works. Limited time and limited resources translate in to the need to pick the platforms and social networks that work best for your brand and your audience. Evaluate your social networks and content platforms based on the size of your audience (both existing and potential), where you’re achieving (or stand to achieve) the most engagement, and which ones are poised for the most significant growth.

Simply Put: Be where your audience is, and where you can deliver the most impact.

3) Curate from complementary sources – Competitors abound in the digital space, but so do allies. The fact that there IS so much content being produced by brands is often disheartening for those brands struggling to break through and gain traction, but it can also be a huge advantage if you approach it right. Look for complementary brands that are delivering great content. These are brands that aren’t competitors to your business, but are still relevant to your audience. These complementary brands are great sources of content that you can share, relieving some pressure off your resources to create original stuff, but still delivering solid value to your audiences.

Simply Put: Find smart companies that deliver solid content, and share it with your communities.

4) Revisit & Refresh – Struggling for blog post ideas? Go back to your archives. Look for those posts that talk about currently relevant topics, but are maybe a bit out of date. These can be the catalyst for new posts that highlight just how things have changed for your audience. Explaining why things are the way they are can be of great interest to engaged communities, and often can give insights in to where things are headed. Use past posts to talk about how much better things are now due to new tech, product features or services. How have concepts and ideas evolved over time? While these may not be of interest to your ENTIRE audience, don’t underestimate the power of delivering thoughtful retrospective posts to those that are interested.

Simply Put: Look back through your archives for content that can be updated and refreshed with a new perspective.

5) Get Help: You’re not alone. Every organization has hidden resources that can be unlocked to assist with the content marketing effort. Maybe they are part of the sales team, engineering, customer service, or the C-suite, but they are there, and they know stuff that matters to your audience. Engaging those resources to deliver the raw materials you can use to deliver new and valuable content to your audience can bolster your efforts in ways you didn’t see before. Also, don’t forget that guest bloggers are often used to great success. Put out a call to bloggers in your community, and start a discussion with them on what they might bring to the table. Set out some guidelines, and give it a try. User-generated content carries a lot of weight.

Simply Put: Content marketing doesn’t have to be isolated inside the marketing department. Recruit resources that deliver value.

So as you can see, these aren’t lofty or unrealistic options for most brands. It simply comes from a different way of looking at what you’re doing, where and when it is happening, and how you can get more impact and better results with whatever resources you’ve got. Content marketing is powerful, no doubt. But if you approach it with a plan, focus your efforts, and incorporate every advantage you can, it doesn’t have to be quite so demanding. Hope you find these tips useful!

What tips do you have for making content marketing more manageable and less demanding?

Onward, to Total Immersion!

My next challenge has arrived, and oh what a challenge it will be.

It’s certainly no secret that I have a passion for the digital space, and all it entails. I see digital (web, internet, online, or whatever you want to call it) as a marketing battleground of equal or greater importance to any other that exists. We humans spend a huge amount of time with our faces glued to screens of various sizes; consuming, sharing, interacting, engaging, ranting, raving, recommending, and questioning. For a business to deny this fact simply ensures its demise, be it fast or slow.

Beyond that, however, advancements in digital over the last several years have enabled us to forge relationships between businesses and customers that were at the very least highly improbable, if not impossible. What used to take place within the confines of a businesses walls, or in the isolation of a one-to-one phone call, now takes place online, across multiple social channels, in full view of the world. Now, you can interact with a business online as if they were an old friend, and businesses in turn can in turn take advantage of word-of-mouth on an unprecedented scale. Local businesses can have global impact, and global brands have the ability to relate to customers on a local level. Lines have blurred, and in my opinion, it’s better for everyone.

Over the last several years, my career in marketing for an industrial B2B equipment manufacturer has evolved dramatically. Way back in the distant year of 2003, we used to play almost entirely in traditional media. Print ads in trade mags, directories and guidebooks, trade shows, etc. The web was typically just a supporting piece. An online catalog, in essence. Over time though, we saw a huge shift over to digital as the main resource for anyone researching potential suppliers like us. Being findable online was no longer an option, even for well-established B2B brands. You had to be present, and your presence had to be awesome enough to hit page 1 of Google’s results.

Then social media came along, and things changed again. Your website is now just one touchpoint in the digital space. Your blog, YouTube channel, LinkedIn presence, Facebook page, Twitter feed, etc, are all now weighed and measured against everyone else’s, and your relevance is calculated by factors out of your control. Namely, Google’s algorithm and the opinions of the people your customers talk to. Your brand isn’t what YOU say it is, it’s what THEY say it is.

While initially apprehensive on how an industrial manufacturer could really capitalize on these new channels, we made the decision to go for it in 2010, and the benefits of it became apparent almost immediately. The reasons were pretty obvious, even in the early stages of businesses using social media and content marketing. Who would read an ad when you could read a blog article that actually helps you solve a problem? Who pulls out a 2000 page directory when Google sorts the most relevant businesses for you? How would your business stack up if you’re the one who willingly helped a customer BEFORE they were ready to buy? Hmm…. I wonder.

We interwove social actions and content marketing in to our existing marketing efforts. We integrated social tools in to the website, published more content of a variety of types, expanded our presence at industry events, forged stronger relationships with customers, and connected with the community.

Fast forward to 2014. Content marketing, inbound marketing, and social marketing now play a huge role for almost every business, even industrial B2B niche brands. It doesn’t matter if you sell a $10 widget or a $1 million piece of machinery, customers want to know that you’re the most relevant. Period. Content marketing accomplishes this, but only if done right. The question each business now faces is this; What is our ‘right way’ to do content marketing?

Which brings me to the entire reason for this post; I’m moving on. I’m now going to be completely immersed in the world of content, social, and inbound marketing. I’ve accepted a gig as a marketing strategist and content architect at gShift, a company that has developed an incredible software tool that not only enables businesses to compile all their web presence stats in one powerful dashboard, but also enables them to overcome many of the obstacles currently plaguing marketers in the digital space. Struggling with the ‘not provided’ situation Google has thrust on you? gShift’s software can help. Under pressure to prove impact and ROI from your content marketing? gShift’s software can help. Want to know how your web presence stacks up against your mortal enemies? gShift’s software can help.

I’m pumped to begin this new challenge and be a member of the team that is at the forefront of developing the tools and techniques that businesses use to connect more effectively with their customers, become more findable online, and build a thriving brand. I believe that businesses who approach content marketing in the right way, and truly understand the impact that they can have in their industry by changing their mindset to deliver real value in their marketing, will be the ones that customers desire to do business with above all others. That’s the goal, and it’s an admirable one.

And now, onward! To total immersion!

Check out the awesomeness that is gShift -> http://gshiftlabs.com 

5 Tips to Unleash the Power of Long-Tail SEO

long-tail seo

People ain’t searching the way they used to. It’s a fact. Google doesn’t arbitrarily change their algorithms just because they ‘feel like it’. They do it because they’ve got endless piles of data that tell them how you’re searching, and they constantly tweak their system to deliver the most relevant results.

The most recent update to Google’s world famous/infamous algorithm (Hummingbird, for those of you keeping track) is mostly about ‘semantic’ search (aka: conversational search). In it’s simplest terms, semantic search is more like asking an actual question instead of just plugging in keywords.

For example: “hotels Toronto” vs. “What are the best boutique hotels in downtown Toronto?”

Semantic search queries have additional qualifiers beyond the basic subject. Words like best, closest, cheapest, fastest, etc. get at the root of what KIND of products and services the searcher is actually hunting for. Adding qualifiers to the base keywords creates what is known as ‘long-tail’ searches. These long-tail searches are looking for much more targeted, refined results. This is where the real opportunity presents itself for businesses. Get found for long-tail searches, serve up quality content that solves the searchers problem, and you’ve immediately delivered real value to a potential customer.

How do you make this work for your business? It’s actually a pretty simple formula.

1) Start with a powerful question – Think of the questions your business gets asked every day. What are the frustrations your customers have when evaluating alternatives & choosing products? What knowledge or experience do you have that can alleviate these frustrations? Choose a clearly defined question that originates from the point-of-view of your customers. The key to long-tail search is being a problem solver, so solve THEIR problems, not yours.

2) Write in your customers language – Your company may make the coolest widgets complete with MegaWidget® technology now available in colours like Arctic White™ and Fierce Red™, but none of those proprietary or trademarked words are going to make their way in to your customers search vocabulary. Long-tail search can only be unlocked if the language matches up. Your content needs to be crafted to read in the same manner that your customers talk. Use their terms, not yours.

3) Optimize & maximize – Once you’ve picked a valid question, and written a solid answer in the language that your customers understand, you need to make the piece of content visually readable & optimized. This includes a lot of little things that add up to make a big difference. Break out key points in to bold sub headers or lists, add in supporting images & graphics, embed related content like videos or tweets, link to related content in the body through keywords or phrases, provide a few options at the end for additional content that might be useful. All of these things give your content more weight, and deliver more value to the reader.

4) Put it here, there, and everywhere – You’ve got your content ready to release in to the world, and the time has come. Hit publish and spread it out to all relevant channels. If your community consumes content in various places then make sure this shows up in each of them, but be sure to tailor the share/post to fit the style of the place it’s being shared. Cookie-cutter repetition usually doesn’t jive when you’re dealing with different platforms and formats.

5) Repeat – Great job! You’ve now published a solid piece of content that will reap the rewards of targeted long-tail searches. Now do it again, again, and again. Sorry, but this is how it works. Do it for each and every relevant long-tail search you can think of that you are able to produce and deliver valuable, helpful content. Each question you answer and each problem you solve builds up your brand as the industry expert, as a solution provider, and as the preferred choice.

It’s a long road to go down, but the benefits of being found not just for ‘keywords’, but for solutions to well-defined problems are massive. The most crucial factor of the long-tail search is that it hinges on your ability to deliver value at first sight. You need a legit solution to the question being asked. Solve the problem, and you’ve delivered the value. Search is getting smarter all the time, and so should your content. This is what long-tail is all about; smarter searches, smarter content.