Visual Content has a number of advantages over other types of information such as textual content.
A 2012 report by ROI Research found 44% of respondents were more likely to engage with brands that posted pictures on their social media channels rather than any other type of content (Source: Curve.gettyimages.com)
Photographs and other images are for more effective when it comes to conveying emotions that their textual equivalent, especially when other people and animals are featured in the photographs beautiful natural scenes also result in positive feelings, when it comes to emotions such as Joy or Sorrow, the effective use of photographic imagery has no equal. Redsicker argues that:
‘People connect more emotionally with images than they do with text. In fact, customers are more likely to take action or make a decision when prompted with an image.’(socialmediaexaminer.com)
When this engagement leads to the sharing of content, the results can be dramatic with viral videos and memes being a substantial part of what drives the social networks
One large advantage which visual information holds over textual is the ease and speed with which it is assimilated, up to 60,000 times more quickly according to some research (Walter & Gioglio 2014), in an age of limited attention spans this is a very desirable quality, especially when selling to a younger audience, Data visualization allows large amounts of data to be looked at quickly (Sviolka) this is why the use of infographics has seen such explosive growth in recent years, alongside standard inbound marketing considerations.
With the rise of social networks such as Flickr & Pinterest that are essentially visual in nature, the importance of visual content & social media is emphasized, This importance is likely to continue into the future, the purchase of Instagram (by Facebook) and Vine by twitter confirms this importance. Due to the fact the human brain is largely visual in nature, this importance is not likely to be lessened any time soon., therefore it is imperative your companies content & Social Media campaigns take the many advantages of visual data into account, for assistance in helping your company to develop an effective visual content marketing or visual social media contact me today, I’ll be delighted to help with any questions you may have
The 7 pack is the name of the area reserved for local company listings on the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP), all of the major Search Engines (Google, Bing & Yahoo) have an area set aside for local search results, as the Google area frequently contains 7 company listings it is known as the 7 pack.
Citations are an essential element when developing a profile for local search; Rutledge suggests that ‘ the best way to target your area is to make sure your business is listed on every local web directory available’ (Rutledge 2014) these listings are classified as citations. Any website which makes reference to your company is a citation. Citations have been identified as a key component of the ranking algorithms for both Google and Bing (moz.com) who go on to suggest that a citations also validate that a business is a part of the community, this is especially true in less competitive niches where competitors are less likely to have company websites.
Building an effective citation profile can be quite a time consuming process and to help a number of companies have developed tools to speed up the process and to check for errors in your citation profile such as inconsistencies, Unfortunately it looks like not all of the tools cater for the UK market.
Consistency is a vital part of the efforts to obtain a 7 pack listing for your website, by this I mean the same NAP (Company name, address, phone number need to be employed between the various websites which are used form your local search profile, Google and the other search engines will penalise inconsistencies in this data and it ill affect your chances of attaining a 7 pack listing, for these reasons I find it useful to draw up a ‘standard profile’ before my profile building efforts get underway, this is usually in the form of a Word document containing Company name, address, phone number, website URL, email address and company description so I can simply copy & paste the information required when creating company listings and accounts on various websites such as Google plus, Yelp et al, it makes life a lot easier in the long run if profiles are created with consistent data rather than trying to adjust it later.
On page optimisation also has a role to play in local Search with Rich Snippets being especially important; this involves using microdata which utilises the schema.org vocabulary this puts your company data into a format readily understood by the Search Engines when they crawl your website.
‘Use your Paid, Owned and Earned Media not only to sell in the short term but also to increase the size, engagement and value of your Proprietary audiences over the long term'(Rohrs 2013)
Rohr’s conclusion is that three elements are essential when developing proprietary audiences these being size, engagement and value (Rohrs 2013)
Genuine engagement goes far beyond a basic ‘like’ and the generic tactics utilised by organisations such as pictures of cute kittens, I’ll argue that real engagement is based on interaction above and beyond simple likes or pluses its based on conversation. I feel that ‘join the conversation’ almost qualifies as a banality such as ‘content is king’, if Social Media for business is allowed to degenerate into turgid missing caption competitions and the use of ‘cute’ stock imagery then its a real opportunity lost by Small Businesses to engage and build a genuine rapport with their clientele/customers so there is a need for businesses to genuinely join the conversation rather than just pretending to, engagement is earned it cannot really be bought.
I appreciate that social media needs to be monitored, but while developing metrics and measurements practitioners could potentially fall into the cynic’s trap of knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing. At the heart of every Social Media success story lies engagement.
Of all the Social Engagement Metrics I have examined, I prefer the ones proposed by Avinash Kaushik because they are readily measured but don’t rely on too esoteric metrics, the metrics he proposes are as follows:
• Conversation rate
number of replies per post
• Amplification rate
number of shares or retweets per post
• Applause Rate
number of likes, favourites or plus ones per post
• Economic Value
Value per visitor (kausik.net)
Conversation Rate. Amplification Rate. Applause Rate. Economic Value. Four simple measures that get you to focus on the right thing from a social media participation perspective help you understand how well you are doing at it, and quantify the business impact. (kausik.net)
These Measurements offer the best of both worlds as they offer actual figures for those who like to measure the impact of social media additionally practitioners can easily monitor campaigns. Kausik helpfully suggests Analytics solutions capable of monitoring these metrics.
I believe that engagement lies at the heart of effective social media some commentators dismiss engagement as a meaningless buzzword I disagree completely and feel it’s a shame that that the term has been devalued, hopefully this article has provided food for thought and a possible solution for monitoring the impact of your social media efforts. Note that Carl Potts Designs offer social media campaigns designed specifically for Smaller Businesses contact me today to request a consultation.
As the title suggests the book is mainly concerned with the behaviour of website audiences, one of the central themes of the book is that audiences are proprietary not owned the crux being audience members may choose to take their attention elsewhere if you fail to satisfy their particular requirements, the informed marketer needs to take this into account with his or her marketing efforts. The book proposes taxonomy of different types of Internet users all with different types of behaviour and motivations the art of capturing an audience’s attention and enthusiasm is providing content they value. In a number of ways this is similar to Bartle’s types taxonomy of online gamers, which I have also seen applied to Internet forum users
Rohrs proposes three major categories of audience; these categories are best illustrated by examples, the categories may be broken down into smaller subcategories detailing, which is beyond the scope of this post.
Seekers are consumers in hot pursuit of information or entertainment via the Internet ( Rohrs 2013)
Seekers may or may not know exactly what they are looking for, they do know they are looking for something and that something will be available to satisfy their needs(Rohrs 2013), Rohrs suggests what will capture and retain the attention of seeker audiences and how to acquire seeker audiences
Amplifiers are another major category of audience, unlike Seekers Amplifiers tend to have audiences of their own with whom they like to share information, as with the Seeker category the Amplifier category is then covered in further detail, i.e. exactly what Amplifiers want and how to go about acquiring an Amplifier audience, its important to realise that amplifiers may spread positive or negative views regarding your company.
What makes the book stand out for me is the categorisation of internet audiences, other social media and content marketing books generally provide examples of interaction with internet audiences, whereas Rohrs actually categorises them and then provides suggestions how to attract and retain each type of audience, this is useful information for online marketers.
Audience: Marketing in the age of subscribers is a detailed book where the author clearly knows and understands his topic well, this means it is extremely valuable for internet marketing professionals wishing to take their understandings beyond the basics, its well written and easily understood if one has a grounding in the subject but could be overwhelming for a reader just wishing to learn the basics about twitter, I especially liked the frequent references to the Cleveland Browns and other sports teams which were used to illustrate examples in an engaging way. I’d have no hesitation in giving the book 9.5/10 but it maybe more aimed at the marketing professional rather than the technophobic business owner wishing to learn the basics about social media or blogging. He highlights how the old fashioned marketing ideas of fossil fuel marketers are struggling to gain an audience in the internet age and how businesses may overcome this challenge
A common problem organisations encounter is a lack of awareness as to what content is actually present on the company website, this poses a number of problems, no-one in the organisation knows if the website content is of sufficient quality or if the content meets the requirements of your customers, as Kristina Halvorson states:
Its good to know how much content you have,where it lives,what its about, and whether its any good'(Halvorson 2012)
Anne Rockley & Charles Cooper also note the importance of understanding the nature and effectiveness of your website content. The main tool for gaining this appreciation is the content audit, which is what we’ll examine this week.
Halvorson goes on to suggest 3 types of audit, these we’ll examine shortly:
The first type of audit Halvorson introduces is the quantitative audit. This provides a high level ‘snapshot’ of what content is present on the site, what format it is in and where it is stored, in order to gain a more detailed understanding of a websites content a qualitative audit is required which we’ll examine now.
‘A qualitative audit analyses the quality & effectiveness of the projects content’ (Halvorson & Rach 2012)
Halvorson & Rach propose two variants of qualitative audit, both of which are appropriate at different stages of a content project:
This type of qualitative audit is usually undertaken at the beginning of a project, it grades content against established best practises and examines that it actually satisfies user requirements
This is the most in-depth type of audits and is usually performed towards the end of a content project, giving an indication of how well your existing content aligns with content strategy, this will allow gaps and shortcomings to be identified and hopefully eliminated
Unlike quantitative audits automated audit software is not really appropriate for qualitative audits as some degree of human review and grading is essential
Most Content experts are keen to emphasise the importance of content audits for content marketing projects and content-rich websites, although auditing can be time consuming it has a number of important benefits:
Identify Content Shortcomings
it is better to do this in the early stages of a content project rather than close to launch, auditing can identify shortcomings early in the project and if necessary eliminate them
Audits allow substandard content to be identified and removed
when integrated with Analytics software it is possible to identify the content which really strikes a chord with visitors and act accordingly with this information, if necessary develop additional popular content and remove the content that has failed to make an impact
Identify content for reuse and cross referencing purposes
Rockley suggests that an audit allows organisations to identify existing content which may be re purposed or utilised elsewhere, given the costly nature of original content it makes sense to extract the maximum benefit from existing content.
Gain a complete understanding of the content present on the website
Develop effective planning and content maintenance programs
This weeks blog post will examine Relevance one of the most important factors when determining search engine rankings,the other important concept Popularity was covered in a previous post, Wikipedia defines relevance thus:
In information science and information retrieval, relevance denotes how well a retrieved document or set of documents meets the information need of the user(Wikipedia)
Dover and Dufforn point to the importance of these factors
‘Popularity and Relevance are two concepts that make up the bulk of Search Engine Optimisation theory'(Dover and Dufforn 2011)
other important factors include:
• Keyword use in page title tags
• Anchor text of inbound link
• Keyword use in page headings
• Keyword use in body text
The Content of a web page has a huge impact on the relevance score, this is perfectly logical when you think about it, The Search Engines perform a detailed analysis of a web pages content and build a map (known as the semantic map)of the page’s data, this map is then analysed so the the search engine can ‘understand’ exactly what the web page is discussing, so the search engine can retrieve and provide relevant results in response to the search query (Enge et al 2010)
The Search engine now needs to sort through huge numbers of results which match the search query, therefore the relevance is somewhat query dependent relying heavily on matching query terms to important on page elements (which were discussed earlier),Using a combination of factors the Search engine returns the most relevant and authoritative results to the end user, this is why on page SEO factors are so important when optimising a website.
The Search engine calculates statistics such as the tf-idf (term frequency inverse document frequency)to determine how important a word is in a web page, the tf-idf is an important factor, this is somewhat more complex than the keyword density which was utilised in the past for this purpose. Keyword Density refers to how often a keyword phrase is repeated within a web-pages content, in the past this was a ranking factor, it is no longer the case and it is regarded as bad practise to repeat keywords too much within a pages content in the mistaken belief it will boost a pages search ranking, it is actually counter productive and will alienate web site visitors, without any perceivable effect on a pages search engine results .A keyword density of around x% is regarded as perfectly adequate.
As stated previously, Authority & Relevance are the two most significant factors when determining website rankings, the Search Engine Optimisation process needs to take this into account when developing & promoting your website, carefully researched keywords should be targeted to ensure your web site provides relevant answers to the search queries people are using.
Each of which we’ll examine in this post. Planning is frequently neglected by companies venturing into the Social Media arena(Blanchard 2011,Carvill & Taylor 2013.Hootsuite 2014). Carvill and Taylor argue that
‘Social Media isn’t something an organisation does just for the sake of doing Social Media (because everyone else is!) but rather, something you do to deliver on specific business objectives as part of a well defined marketing strategy ‘(Carvill & Taylor 2013)
‘without a clear strategy for social media use, your business will struggle to get the customer engagement levels and increased sales you’re looking for. ‘
If goals are set for social media strategy then the success in trying to achieve these goals can be measured. Blanchard argues that goals need to be monitored if ROI is to be calculated (Blanchard 2011)he then goes on to suggest ‘having a social media plan without attaching it to some sort of goal is just creating additional work for your staff, that’s about it'(Blanchard 2011) we’ll now examine the setting of objectives which are fit for purpose. Blanchard presents a convincing argument for setting specific objectives, rather than vague ‘woolly’ objectives which don’t encourage staff to reach set goals or the problem solving mentality required to overcome any hurdles, specific goals do encourage a proactive approach to a companies social media. This is best illustrated with an example.
Vague objective: increase twitter reach
specific objective: increase twitter reach by 500 followers a month*
* This is a goal which can be quite easily tracked. I personally like the hierarchy that Blanchard proposes for developing specific measurable goals each goal can be split into the following tiers. Utilising this hierarchy will lead to well defined goals, essential components for the planning phase of a successful social media campaign .
As many people have commented social media is all about Conversation and listening is an essential part of having a conversation a concept those treating social media as a traditional broadcast network are failing to take into consideration. Listening is crucial factor in the social media equation.
If your followers are actually listened to, you can discover what issues concern them “their pain points”, if social media is being used for customer service then effective listening is essential (Carvill & Taylor 2013)
Listening will allow for the development of personas which accurately reflect your customers, leading to the improved targeting of content and social media efforts which will contribute to more engagement with your followers & leads. Listening is also a great way to build trust and rapport with your followers. Personally I believe engagement is the defining characteristic of excellent social media, in order to build engagement there is a need to listen and react accordingly
Carvill & Taylor equate listening to ‘real time research’(Carvill & Taylor 2013) It is quite possible to measure most social media interaction, this will lead to a far richer understanding of your target market
• What networks do people use?
• At what times are they most active?
• What questions & content interest them?
• What content causes them to engage?
Fully understanding this information will facilitate the development of excellent social media campaigns
Getting a page like on Facebook, or a new follower on twitter is only the first step in building engagement on your channel, if we reference the updated content marketing sales funnel developed by Joe Pulizzi which is equally applicable for social media, the final aim is to turn these followers into loyal customers & brand advocates, this is where engagement comes into the equation. As Hussain warns ‘be careful not to confuse growing your social media following with
seeing success on social media. While gaining a following is critical,
have real, human, conversations with those followers is just as critical.'(Hussain 2011) Engagement basically means having real conversation & genuine interaction with your followers.
Simply adopting a haphazard approach to social media is inadequate, it it is to be successfully utilised by your business. There needs to be a genuine strategy & goals supporting your social media efforts.
This week I will be returning to the theme of good quality content, depending on the author you are reading this is known by a variety of names, McGovern refers to “killer content” where I prefer the Valuable Content” label used by Sonja Jefferson, same concept, different label. Both McGovern and Jefferson point to the decline in traditional broadcast marketing suggesting that the way business can successfully utilise the web is to produce good quality content which answers the questions of potential customers so building trust and rapport with these leads, basically what’s generally known as content marketing. Jefferson suggests that
‘Good marketing has always been valuable but the difference today is that buyers no longer tolerate or respond to marketing which is less than good (Jefferson 2012)
the perceived lack of quality of much online content is a concern many authors share, its a concern I certainly agree with a lot of online content is frequently rather poor in agree quality with there only being a few golden nuggets of content being available, McGovern complains about the prevalence of filler over killer content, I’ll be using the rest of this post to compare and contrast two definitions of ‘good quality’ content, I’ll then proceed to develop my own definition from this which will be used as the quality benchmark for the rest of the content added to this site
Redish (2012) highlights the usefulness of a websites content and its role in converting visitors into customers, she goes on to suggest that content needs to be
• easy to find
• easy to understand
• up to date
• credible (Redish 2012)
Redish places a lot of emphasis on the usefulness of content
‘People come for information that answers their question and helps them to complete their task’ (Redish 2012)
This tallies completely with Jay Baer’s Youtility concept and Jefferson’s recommendation that valuable content needs to be useful.
This week we’ve looked at a number of viewpoints on what constitutes good content, this is important because a number of prominent authors & thought leaders bemoan the variable quality of online content, its a concern I share, a lot of online content I encounter is rather mediocre, excellent content stands out and will differentiate you from the competition, now I’ll attempt to develop my own definition of excellent quality content which builds upon the previous definitions, In my opinion excellent quality content needs to tick all these boxes.
2. Useful either Informative or entertaining
6. Easily Found
7. High quality
9. Mapped to sales funnel
I personally find that most online content is beginner level only, there is a lot less intermediate and advanced level content available, this is a problem, which extends to printed books as well as online content; perhaps the beginner market is more lucrative? I personally find there is a real dearth of intermediate/advanced level content available freely online, perhaps I need to look harder but I don’t really feel its through lack of looking on my part, Carl Potts Designs offer Content Marketing services designed to
1. Boost Search Engine Performance
2. Improve Brand awareness and trust
3. Improve client retention/satisfaction
If this interests you contact me today either by phone or use the contact form.
‘This is why I sometimes refer to analytics as WMD or Weapons of Mass Delusion, we can become so myopic about making sure the graph is always going up and to the right that we become fearful about doing anything new'(Pulizzi 2011)
These concerns are echoed by Robert Rose who suggests that focusing completely on ROI, does not help content marketing campaigns to flourish. On the contrary
‘Trying to pin ROI on content marketing is a bit like asking what’s the ROI of your telephone system ‘(Rose 2011)
Rose contends that ROI should be used as a goal or objective rather than a reason for “whether content marketing is worth doing”, Measurement is necessary in order to monitor the effectiveness of your campaign so that adjustments may be made as and when necessary, it is the Analytics Pyramids suggested by both authors that we shall examine next.
The analytics pyramid suggested by both Rose and Pulizzi is divided into 3 layers these being:
1. Primary Indicators (metrics of interest to executives)
2. Secondary Indicators (metrics of interest to Company Management)
3. User Indicators (for use by the Analytics team)
As can be seen each level of the pyramid is intended to provide the measurements required by different strata of the company from executive down to Analytics team, the successive layers increase the granularity and detail, with the Primary Indicators only providing the high level view of various metrics required for strategic decision making by the company executives such as lead generation rate and cost per lead generated.
At first glance a full analytics pyramid may seem somewhat excessive for smaller businesses to employ, especially in micro businesses where Management and executives are probably e content marketing campaign?one and the same. I don’t agree with this view, the detailed metrics and feedback offered by the User Indicator level allow the business to accurately gauge the effectiveness of their content marketing, this fine tuning is required if the content marketing is going to completely satisfy its objectives
I hope this post has given you an insight into the role of metrics in a content marketing campaign, although initially confusing when stripped down to the basic underlying logic its reasonably straightforward
1. What are the objectives of the content marketing campaign?
2. Use metrics to gauge if the campaign is satisfying the objectives set in stage 1,
3. If it is not adjust accordingly, otherwise continue
both Pulizzi and Rose argue that measurement and analysis are necessary, if content publishing is truly to be regarded as content marketing, then continual feedback is required to fine tune your content program, however the satisfying of these metrics should not become the be all and end all of the content marketing program, that defeats the point. Carl Potts Designs offers content Marketing Solutions designed to enable your company to achieve its online goals, if this is of interest to you please contact me today for further information.
This week I’ll be examining Authority one of the two main criteria along with relevance which determine how a website performs on Search Engine Results pages, so if you wish to be at the top of Google its well worth taking the time to understand this concept.
Copyblogger identify 4 core components which determine the authority of a website, these are:
1. Sites which solve the problems or questions of potential leads, this is the Youtility which Jay Baer refers to in his book of the same name
2. Sites which attract links from other authoritative publishers
3. Sites which attract a lot of attention where the audience helps to share your content
4. And it’s the site with a confident, ethical sales process that converts attention into business.(Source: Copyblogger )
Hopefully this list makes it pretty obvious why SEOs constantly harp on about content (I know I do!), but this post is focused more on search authority as opposed to content, although the two factors are definitely interrelated. A site with little or no content will fail on nearly all of the 4 points; a site needs good quality content in order to satisfy the points above.
Note that I highlighted the words authoritative publishers in point 2, this means that links from dubious sites carry little weight when Google determines SERP rankings, Google does not approve of the purchasing of links and will penalise sites it suspects of engaging in the practise, reciprocal linking (if you link to my site I’ll link to yours) schemes carry a lot less weight these days the best way to generate quality backlinks is to develop good quality website content which is worth linking to, this is a point argued by Link building expert Eric Ward (aka Link Moses) who argues that
‘The less useful your content, the less likely you are to ever receive a link to it “(Ward 2013)
this accentuates the link (no pun intended) between website content and good search engine performance.
Point 3 highlights the link between content and social media. Google and the other Search Engines take account of how much attention sites get on the social networks, a Site with 1000s of links from Social Media is perceived as having more authority by the search engines and will perform well on the SERPs
‘The larger your social footprint, the more impact social media will have on your SEO efforts. (Search Engine Land 2011)
Experience suggests that its relatively easy to publicise a site full of interesting, entertaining or informative content on social media (a fact the likes of buzzfeed.com & quickmeme.com utilise) conversely a site with little or no content will receive little or no attention on the various social networks.
Although this article is ostensibly about Website authority, the concept is completely intertwined with website content and backlinks, in a nutshell the website with loads of good content will develop authority naturally leading to better SERP rankings & website traffic which is something most small business owners want. Carl Potts Designs offer Search Engine Optimisation services, Social Media support and content creation designed for specifically increasing your websites traffic.