Friday, August 31, 2012

Understanding Message Channels and Target Audience Preferences for Marketing

I was thinking about all of the things we didn't have as kids (“we” meaning those of us who were born pre-1970s). The world has changed so much in the last four decades. In fact, the speed with which technology evolves seems to grow exponentially faster each year.

When I was a girl growing up in Philadelphia and spending my summers at the New Jersey shore, I had to pick up the corded telephone to call my friends and make plans. If I was making a long-distance call from the shore house, I even had to tell the operator the telephone number from where I was calling. Today, that sounds like such a strange concept with things like email (which is passé among our youngest generation), text messaging, Skype, ooVoo, Google Chat, IM and the myriad of other ways people can be instantly contacted. 

During the winter months, my friends and I wrote letters (on paper) to one another and addressed envelopes. We had to purchase stamps at the post office and then mail our letters and wait for days and sometimes weeks for a response. I remember checking the mail every day when I’d get home from school hoping for a letter from one of my friends who lived in New Jersey, Florida, Maryland or a host of other places.

For the traditionalists, baby boomers and gen-Xers reading this blog, think back. We didn’t have cell phones, PDAs, apps, satellite radios, cable TV, DVRs, GPSs, social media, reality TV, DVDs, mobile transit messages, electronic games (not until Atari anyway), digital photo sharing, and the many other things available for sending and receiving messages today.

And for the millennials out there, it’s also important to remember that while all of these different means of communication exist, there are three generations ahead of you who may prefer more traditional means of communicating. 

In the age of electronic communications there a nearly limitless ways people send and receive messages, it is important to understand all of the channels to reach your intended target audiences based on where and how they are communicating.  Before you assume that your blog, website, brochure, billboard, direct mail piece, advertisement, text, etc. – all tactics used for marketing and public relations – are reaching their intended audience, do your homework. Find out how your target audiences want to be reached. Then deliver your targeted messages in ways they can’t ignore.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Social Media Stories / Trends

Posted by Leah Ludwig

As I was perusing my usual favorite sites and feeds (my LinkedIn Today newsfeed, Mashable.com, Ragan.com, etc.) for PR and marketing industry news, I came across some intriguing social media posts. Some of the posts below address global / national issues and happenings and how social media is being integrated into or utilized for each situation. Others are articles that stood out to me as ones that I wanted to make sure to share with our readers as an FYI or for general best practice knowledge.

•    How New Orleans is using social media to prepare for Isaac (Ragan.com)
•    Facebook and CNN Launch Hub for Election Insights (Mashable.com)
•    Watch Out for This Sneaky Facebook Scam Disguised as a Photo Notification (Mashable.com)
•    Should You Hire Staff Based on Their Klout Score? (Mashable.com)
•    How to be a Twitter standout (Ragan.com)
•    Digital lessons from Martha Stewart (Ragan.com)
•    3 Ways Marketers Can Leverage the New LinkedIn (Social Media Examiner)
•    The two times of day brands should avoid tweeting (Ragan.com)

Monday, August 20, 2012

The State of SEO and Internet Marketing in 2012


I listened in on a fabulous webinar today conducted  by Rand Fishkin (@randfish), CEO + Co-founder of SEOmoz and Dharmesh Shah (@dharmesh), CTO of HubSpot. They delivered information on The State of SEO and Internet Marketing in 2012. SEOmoz conducted an SEO-related industry survey that saw 6,491 respondents provide detailed answers to 53 unique questions. The survey formally ran from March 21 to May18, 2012. From independent consultants to agency SEOs to in-house marketers, HubSpot got to see responses from a wide swath of the industry's demographics. Individuals from more than 100 countries contributed.

In the one-hour webinar, there were tons of nuggets of great information. The Twitter Hashtag is #StateofSEO but be careful when you review the posts – it appears that spammers saw it trending toward the end and starting posting some obscene content. Be sure to look at some of the earlier tweets from 1:05 – 1:55 pm EST (8/20/12).

Take-aways: 
  • Google gets 3 billion-plus searches/day and 75% of all clicks go to SEO (organic) links
  • As soon as you stop paying for search ads, they go away. SEO is an enduring asset (investment)
  • There are a lot of SEO opportunities in multi-channel distribution if done right. 
  • Nearly 20% of people were fighting against the PANDA update and now companies are fighting against PENGUIN. 
    • PANDA is all about the content on your website and the near duplication of content – you don’t want to have “biotech law Philadelphia pa”,  “bitech law chester pa”, “bitech law bryn mawr pa.” 
    • PENGUIN – this is all about links and if you are building them, manipulating them, purchasing links, etc., all of which is considered a big no no. 
  • Exact Match Domains are dying slowly – it is much better to invest in the brand and building the brand.
  • Shrinking domain diversity – when you search you will find a lot of links to the same website (check out weather 98122 on Google).
  • There are massive opportunities in Polls, Surveys, Video, Audio and Whitepapers when it comes to SEO.
  • Media mentions are extremely important for SEO.
  • Detailed contact information is an essential brand signal for SEO.
  • Need to be listed in all SEO registered official bodies for better SEO (Better Business Bureau, etc.).
  • Slow, steady and authentic content is much more valuable to SEO than quick blasts of a lot of content.
  • Google rewards real businesses that provide real value.
  • You need to have a Google+ profile – there is a trend that they are going to become extremely powerful in search results and directly biasing the rankings.
  • With fewer companies showing up in SERPS, solid and consistent branding is essential.
  • Most bloggers are being measured so share good content.
  • Guest bloggers are a great way to increase value of content and traffic.
  • Blog comments are a great way to build reputation but you should not use it for link building – add value to the conversation – don’t just comment for commenting sake.
  • Predictions: Mobile will change marketing and Facebook will dominate the social field.
  • The most popular inbound marketing action for 2012 was setting up a Facebook business page.
SEO Tips:
  • In order to be in the top results, everything you post should answer “does this make me more rank worthy?”.
  • A faster speed on your website makes it more SEO friendly. Whatever changes you make should happen site-wide. 
  • Need to make sure your website is crawl-able but most websites have major problems in their design – need to get the basics right first.
  • High performance websites lead to higher visitor engagement, retention and conversations.
  • Have a third party review your website regularly.
  • Pay it forward – promote the promoters.
  • One of the best things you can possibly do for SEO is create some incentive to share your content (anything but direct payment) (Example “People love us on Yelp” sticker) – try to build in an incentive structure (survey).
  • If you’re new to SEO, start with the long tails where other people are not ranking yet then move up that chain which will get you better long-term results.
  • Don’t beg influencers to share content, involve them (ex: include them and tell them in research/content).
  • Don’t just go for rankings, aim for click-through rate (CTR) – use images, dates, rich snippets, meta descriptions, etc. 
  • Create content that delights and surprises users. This should be required for every piece of copy. 
  • Get transcripts of your programs and use them on your websites and blogs – they are great for SEO.
Resources mentioned:

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Internet and Social Media Trends, Stories and Statistics

One of my favorite iPad applications is Zite - an app that delivers content from the Internet based on personal preferences. I can read the posts for hours and never get bored. Among my business key terms and phases for content are social media, lawyers, legal marketing, SEO, and many others Based on my hobbies and interests like photography, science and yoga. Here are a few must read articles from this week that I just had to share.


Why Blogging Is Even More Critical In the Age of Social (Duct Tape Marketing)
http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog/2012/08/16/why-blogging-is-even-more-critical-in-the-age-of-social/

Social Media and the Judiciary (The IT Courtney Justice)
http://theitcountreyjustice.wordpress.com/2012/08/18/social-media-and-the-judiciary/


Sneak Peek: The State of SEO and Internet Marketing in 2012 [New Data] (Hubspot)
http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33503/Sneak-Peek-The-State-of-SEO-
Internet-Marketing-in-2012-New-Data.aspx

Does Your Klout Score Determine Your Value? (Social Media Examiner)
http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/does-your-klout-score-determine-your-value/


Your Deleted Facebook Photos Will Now Be Gone Forever (Mashable)
http://mashable.com/2012/08/17/facebook-permanently-delete-pictures/

Should You Upload Videos to Your Facebook Page or Share From YouTube? (Sprout Social)
http://sproutsocial.com/insights/2012/08/how-to-facebook-videos/

Social Networking Stats: LinkedIn Is Most Important Social Network for B2B Marketers, #RLTM Scoreboard (The Real Time Report)
http://therealtimereport.com/2012/08/17/social-networking-stats-linkedin-is-most-important-social-network-for-b2b-marketers-rltm-scoreboard/

Facebook Doubles Up On Trending Articles (All Facebook)
http://allfacebook.com/double-trending-articles_b97641









Monday, August 06, 2012

YouTube Pushing Its Users to Switch to Their Real Names

YouTube wants you to use your real name when uploading videos, making playlists and especially when leaving comments on its platform. In a recent announcement, the video-centric social media network housed under the Google umbrella encouraged users to connect their anonymous YouTube usernames and accounts, for example laserscooter7 with his or her Google+ profile which shows a real name like John Smith.

According to Wired.com, Google’s reason for the change is to proactively combat and eliminate abusive and crude comments from anonymous users. If a user has to use his or her first and last name when interacting on YouTube, perhaps they won’t be so quick to leave vulgar remarks on other user’s videos.

Before users decide to commit to the change, however, there is an option to review a history of their comments, playlists and videos uploaded from the account over the years, allowing users to clean up their account by hiding or deleting old postings, if necessary. However, the change isn’t mandatory for all users. Those with a well-known channel and fan base can opt-out from using their real name.

The announcement on the YouTube blog drew many comments. One commenter noted that changing a username to a Google+ full name does not change the YouTube URL of the channel. Thus, the person will always have YouTube.com/laserscooter7. Many users are reluctant to tie their Google+ profile to YouTube because of the lack of user base on Google+.

Google was tightlipped about other changes to the video sharing platform, but users are vocal with a variety of suggestions for possible future YouTube upgrades and improvements. Do you think removing user anonymity will reduce crude comments?

Courtesy of YouTube.com

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