Samantha Cristoforetti @AstroSamantha,clearly a woman to be reckoned with


This week’s blog post will be quite literally out of this world (cliché alert!) as it focuses on the social media campaign operated by Samantha Cristoforetti an Astronaut who belongs to the European Space agency, Samantha is currently based on the International Space Station and I’ve been extremely impressed with the social media campaign which she’s conducted whilst orbiting the Earth, in this post I’ll examine what has in my opinion been good about the campaign and why I think its been such a good campaign, I apologise for the cliché I couldn’t resist it 😉

About Samantha

Samantha Cristoforetti is an astronaut & engineer who works for the European Space Agency (ESA) she is also a qualified fighter pilot and captain with the Italian Air Force which she joined in 2001.Samantha is also a polyglot speaking French, English, Italian and Russian more on this later as it impacted on the campaign she delivered.

Engineers Log. Star date 2015!

What brought the Futura mission to my attention was the widely circulated images of Samantha in space wearing a Star trek uniform a la Captain Jane Hathaway from the USS Voyager this was an elegant choice of subject matter given the slightly geeky subject. Sorry Astro physicists and propulsion engineers your field of study is a bit geeky, now what sort of entertainment do geeks enjoy? Science fantasy or science fiction and for 40 years Star trek has been the flagship (no pun intended) of the TV science fiction genre that’s the genius of just this first element of the campaign the initial hook, more science fiction later, I’ll be honest I don’t pay much attention to the European space program before Samantha’s campaign I wasn’t even aware of its existence its not something the UK media generally pick up on

Returning to Science Fiction theme the 25th of May Towel Day was commemorated

… a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non hitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, washcloth, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet-weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with. hitchikers guide to the Galaxy

We are very excited to present to you this Towel Day video recorded by astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti in space, on the ISS, and released while she’s still there. Douglas Adams’ work is read in countries all over the world, but now it has also been read IN SPACE! How cool is that?

Parting thoughts

Samantha has developed or fronted a thoughtful intelligent social media campaign which has made cutting edge science fun and given it a very human face, as I’m not a member of the ESA team, I’m having to extrapolate /guess some of the campaign goals but attracting women into science I could well imagine is a secondary goal of the campaign with raising the profile of ESA being the primary aim, both of these targets have ben quite comfortably achieved.

Multilingual & Multitalented

One of the recurrent themes in the Star Trek universe (I completely refuse to call it a franchise) is the benefit of international cooperation, ember it started at the height of the cold war! Samantha utilised her language skills and released videos & content in English, Russian & Italian given the international nature of the European Space Agency this is completely appropriate and I feel would be perfectly aligned with the late Gene Roddenberry’s vision. ESA state on their website that

ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.(source: ESA.int)

By |June 19th, 2015|Content, Social Media|Comments Off on Samantha Cristoforetti @AstroSamantha,clearly a woman to be reckoned with

The final Ingredient: 4 Metrics for measuring the impact of your content

barometer

(image Flickr :Tim Sheerman-Chase)

The final Ingredient: 4 Metrics for measuring the impact of your content
This weeks blog post returns to the content theme and will focus on the measuring the impact of the content you are creating, without measurement its impossible to determine the ROI of your content marketing efforts, to simplify the whole process the aims of your content marketing are defined by the content strategy, the effectiveness of your content strategy is where measurement enters the picture.

The #1 mistake I see demand gen marketers make is not measuring program performance regularly (Heidi Bullock quoted in Lead Generation Metrics: Marketo)

Why measure the impact of content?

Although I can understand why small businesses would look with trepidation at the idea of measuring the impact, I’ll let my inner engineer take over if the impact of content is not measured then it is impossible to accurately gauge how effective your companies new website content has been are the slideshare presentations & videos having the impact you desire? Measurement is an essential part of the feedback loop.

The Different types of measurements

There are a number of different metric frameworks available online for simplicities sake I’ll just use one as a framework for this blog post, the framework developed by Jay Baer (source: )

1. Consumption Metrics
2. Sharing Metrics
3. Lead Generation Metrics
4. Sales Metrics
Lets examine these categories in greater detail as all the metric frameworks I have examined(see further reading) have areas of similarity & overlap

1.Consumption Metrics

Consumption metrics analyses exactly how your content is being accessed. The measurements and tools used are determined by the type of content being analyses from page views for webpages to number of times a downloadable asset has been downloaded or accessed

Sharing Metrics

The next two metrics sharing & engagement have obvious parallels with the monitoring of social media campaigns they measure how much the content is shared and how much engagement the content engenders when shared, good content creates a response. These metrics are easy to measure, with Jay Baer suggesting that perhaps too much attention is paid to these metrics (source:convinceandconvert.com)
Digital Agency Network suggest that

The number of social shares your content receives gives you an idea of how your content resonates with the audience. If they share content with their networks, they find useful, educational and/or entertaining that advances the conversation (Source: digitalagencynetwork.com)

Lead generation metrics

The purpose of this type of metric is to determine how effective your content is at turning consumers into leads, this category measures the efficiency of landing pages, and factors such as Cost per Lead (CPL). Francois Mathieu (uberfip) argues that CPL should only be a concern where companies are out sourcing content creation (source: uberflip)

Parting thoughts

Measurement requires quite a lot of thought and planning however without it it’s impossible to accurately estimate if your content is having the desired effect, given the amount of time and money invested into the creation of content guesswork is not really adequate way of verifying if your content is good enough. Benjamin Spiegel argues ‘You can’t afford guesswork. Your content investment decisions need to be based on objective performance data’(source:Marketingland.com).Given the amount of time which is spent creating & promoting new website content, I completely agree with him.

Further Reading

1. 8 Metrics to Conquer a Content Marketer’s Fear of Measurement
2. Identifying the Metrics That Matter for Your Lead Generation Strategy

By |June 8th, 2015|Content, SME Online Marketing|Comments Off on The final Ingredient: 4 Metrics for measuring the impact of your content

The benefits of video for small business

video-cameraThis week’s topic has a foot in all three of the areas I normally cover in this blog these being social media, search and content; I refer of course to video which is a great way to promote your business in what hopefully an interesting way, video is a very powerful tool yet many small businesses fail to take advantage of it the Guardian states that ‘Small Businesses which fail to include it (video) in their internet marketing strategies do so at their peril (source: The Guardian)

‘People trying to figure out how to accomplish a home improvement project, fix their hair or prepare a recipe have helped grow YouTube’s “how-to” searches by 70 percent year-over-year.’(source: SearchengineLand.com

Cross Platform content

Research by bodies such as Ofcom have shown that popular video channels such as You Tube appeal equally to users of smart phones and tablets so its possible to produce content which will be enjoyed equally by all of your audience.

Why are Small Businesses not making better use of video?

I’ve done no hard research here but I’d imagine the reasons that prevented myself producing videos are quite widely shared

I. Lack of confidence in my ability to produce engaging videos
II. Concerns about quality
III. lack of time
IV. Skills & experience
a. Skills & experience are the most obvious barrier I’ve found personally in my dealing with video production, on reflection I failed to plan properly for creating video’s I have wanted to produce them for a while there’s a lot of factors to consider before going into video production such as
• branding
• lighting
• Sound
• planning
• editing
• workflow

At this time lack of expertise/experience prevents me from covering these topics in greater depth I really don’t want to give my readers poor advice, I’m happy to return to them in the future.

Parting thoughts

A few of the small business videos I’ve seen have been dreadful but some have been truly excellent (I suspect they have been professionally produced), Small Business videos really don’t need to feature actors and Spielberg standard filming/editing the fact they can be a bit patchy adds to their authenticity, when I’m choosing a local firm to do business with film star good looks are not part of my requirements

Given the growing popularity of online video it’s the perfect way for smaller businesses and its also good for search engine rankings, (Google own YouTube)’Video on social media can effect search results as well as be an entry point to your website (source:warroominc.com)

By |May 15th, 2015|Content, SEO, SME Online Marketing|Comments Off on The benefits of video for small business

How Agile Methodology will enable smaller businesses to compete effectively when creating content

agile development

(image:courtesy hubspot)

For a number of years the growing importance of content has been the dominant online trend, its all well and good expounding the benefits & necessity of good website content, these benefits are understood and appreciated by smaller businesses, yet the fact remains that many SMEs underperform with regards to content development, Search Engine Journal believe this could be due to a lack of planning &content strategy

61 percent of small B2B business owners said they plan to increase the amount of content they produce this year. However, only 44 percent have a plan for exactly how they’re going to do that. You see the problem?(source: Search Engine Journal)

b2b content challenges
Personally I feel the problem lies elsewhere with the emphasis placed on planning by Search Engine Journal displaying a larger company mindset it is this issue which we’ll be examining in this weeks blog post, we’ll examine why smaller businesses fail to develop content and examining practical steps which can be implemented to enable the content challenge to be tackled head on.

Why Content is important

There are quite a few benefits website content bring to a website these include

  • Improved Search Engine performance and hence more traffic
  • Establish Authority and trust
  • Boost Brand awareness/Loyalty
  • Content is Shareable (on social networks)

The Challenge facing Small Businesses

Research by the Content Marketing Institute has shown that lack of time is the biggest single challenge which faces SMEs when it comes to the development of Content, this would be consistent with my findings when discussing content & search Engine performance with clients, the two factors are inextricably linked it is for this reason, I personally feel the reasons are more complex than this, the desire for better search rankings is nearly universal in addition I feel its vital that any content strategies take into account the limited resources available to Smaller businesses, for this reason Agile Content Development would appear to be the best solution as its lightweight and fairly easy to implement, The Agile Software development principles are as follows, using these as a starting point lets look at adopting these to suit content development

Agile Software Development Principles

  1. Customer satisfaction by rapid delivery of useful software
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development
  3. Working software is delivered frequently (weekly rather than months)
  4. Close, daily cooperation between business people and developers
  5. Projects are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted
  6. Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication (co-location)
  7. Working software is the principal measure of progress
  8. Sustainable development, able to maintain a constant pace
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design
  10. Simplicity—the art of maximizing the amount of work not done—is essential
  11. Self-organizing teams
  12. Regular adaptation to changing circumstance(source: Wikipedia)

These principles, which comprise the agile manifesto, have been adjusted to suit content marketing by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), the following list contains the CMI amendments and the original Agile manifesto side by side so any adjustments can be easily noted.

Agile Content Development Principles

Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer
through early and continuous delivery
of valuable software.
CMI adjusted) Our highest priority is to impact the audience through timely and continuous delivery of valuable content.
Welcome changing requirements, even late in
development. Agile processes harness change for
the customer’s competitive advantage.
CMI adjusted) Welcome changing requirements, even late in content creation. Agile processes harness change for competitive advantage.
Deliver working software frequently, from a
couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a
preference to the shorter timescale.
CMI adjusted) Deliver content frequently, from a couple of minutes to a couple of months.
Business people and developers must work
together daily throughout the project.
CMI) Business people and content creators must work together daily throughout the project.
Build projects around motivated individuals.
Give them the environment and support they need,
and trust them to get the job done.
CMI) Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
The most efficient and effective method of
conveying information to and within a development
team is face-to-face conversation.
CMI) The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a team is face-to-face conversation.
Working software is the primary measure of progress.
CMI) Impactful content is the primary measure of progress.
Agile processes promote sustainable development.
The sponsors, developers, and users should be able
to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
CMI) Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, content marketers, and audience should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
Continuous attention to technical excellence
and good design enhances agility.
CMI) Continuous attention to writing excellence and good production practices enhances agility.
Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount
of work not done–is essential.
CMI) Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential.
At regular intervals, the team reflects on how
to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts
its behaviour accordingly.
CMI) At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly.

(sources: agilemanifesto.com, contentmarketinginstitute.com )

Parting thoughts

Most if not all Small Businesses wish to achieve better search engine rankings and good quality website content is the best way to achieve this. The agile methodology, which is pretty lightweight, offers smaller businesses with limited resources the chance to compete effectively in the content arena, the above framework offers them the chance to do this effectively

By |April 28th, 2015|Content|Comments Off on How Agile Methodology will enable smaller businesses to compete effectively when creating content

The Role of Psychology in promoting content

contentpromotion
For this weeks post, I wish to revisit the idea of content promotion; this is one of the areas of my own marketing I’m keen to improve. I feel there’s a lot more to it than bang it on Facebook and hope someone likes it its that more I wish to briefly examine in this post so you can maximise the potential of your content, in my opinion it’s a skill worth taking the time to master. Developing great content is one thing, however it does not promote itself, as it’s a completely overdone quotation, I’ll refrain from referencing the film Field of Dreams (Which I’ve not actually seen) at this point of the post. That said effective Content promotion is an essential part of any content marketing efforts. If people don’t know your content is there they won’t visit it or recommend it to friends.

Obviously Social Media has a large part to play in the promotion of website content Curata.com argue that

‘When it comes to promoting content, social media is one of the most powerful tools available. However most content marketers fail to truly maximise its potential’ (source:curata.com)

Given the time, effort and cost of creating good quality content is a glaring shortcoming in any plans to utilise content as part of a companies marketing strategy, one its worth spending time to address properly, that’s what I’ll examine with this post.

The Psychology of sharing

The excellent study by the Customer Insight group of the New York Times investigates the ‘Psychology of Sharing’ in this they examine what motivates people to share content, within the study a number of sharer personas are developed, these being

1. Altruists
2. Careerists
3. Hipsters
4. Boomerangs
5. Connectors
6. Selectives

Each of these 6 personas has different motivations for sharing content
2 of these personas certainly describe my approach to sharing content. I don’t generally waste the time of friends & acquaintances by sharing what I regard as poor quality content(selective persona).Plus I genuinely like helping people without thought of rewards(altruist) On the contrary content has to be genuinely excellent for me to share it with friends, so in a way I act as a sort of content gatekeeper passing what I regard as superior quality onto my friends when I know it is a subject or area, which interests them. This is an approach I adopted from my time working at the University of Salford

Sharing is not a new concept its now moved online

The study highlights the fact people have shared content for years be it book, music or newspapers and that this sharing is part of human nature with an inference being drawn to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, this would certainly tie in with the anthropological view of online communities where a ‘gift economy’ operates ands status in the community is determined by the quality & regularity of the gifts ( in this case information rather than physical goods)

Personally I find the wisest piece of information in the study to be

Appeal to consumer’s motivation to connect with each other not just with your brand (source: The Psychology of sharing 2011)

Parting thoughts

In their Comprehensive guide to content promotion Hubspot recommend a 1:1 ratio of time spent promoting content: time creating content, its an excellent guide I feel is more targeted at large agencies than my company, the well structured strategies certainly gives me plenty of food for thought, i.e. content is not produced willy-nilly without any planning or forethought, I hope this blog post has given you an appreciation of just how important Content Promotion is if your company is using content marketing.

By |April 7th, 2015|Content, SME Online Marketing|Comments Off on The Role of Psychology in promoting content

Why developing a content marketing mindset will enable to you leave your inspiration woes behind

This week I wish to examine want to examine what I call the ‘content marketing mindset’ a year ago I would have thought there is no chance of me developing 40 odd weeks worth of blog posts, I’d say it’s the content mind-set and a bit of self discipline, I’ve turned creating a weekly blog post into a habit (yes, I am somewhat pleased with myself), I think that nearly every successful blogger has tapped into this vein of creativity, its what in previous ages was known as the muse

Ok, so what exactly is the content mindset?

This is similar to what some observers describe as ‘the publisher mind-set’ (source inc.com), which appears to be about regularly developing content, Personally I’d say the main focus of the content mind-set is slightly different it focuses on the needs of the customer rather than the need to be constantly publishing new content, I’m not an advocate of the content for contents sake approach it leads to a web full of underwhelming content, i.e. does this content answer a question my customers are asking? or will it enable them to develop a better understanding of online marketing and managing an effective website ,is there a concept or idea which causes a lot of confusion to those outside your industry? These concepts are frequently quite simple when broken down and explained properly, understanding this will enable people to make better-informed decisions, this is frequently

Easily overcome the most difficult hurdle

As with so many thing the biggest hurdle is actually getting started, finding a topic to cover or content to develop generally is that difficult first hurdle, fortunately developing a content marketing mind-set makes this a lot easier. I am constantly thinking is this a question or topic of interest to my customers? As with social media, listening is everything, listening to people either in face-to-face communications or via social media provides constant source of inspiration, to paraphrase the Guardian ‘learn to think like a customer’ I find that every day I am constantly attempting to view things from a customers perspective and looking for gaps in the content currently available on the web.

Parting thoughts

This week examined what some experts call the content mindset; my argument is that developing lots of good quality content does not need to be intimidating(I was very nervous about it at first plus I’ve only just begun to develop website content, it just requires a constant willingness to see things from a customers perspective this is a constant attitude personally I am always on the lookout for inspiration, especially when talking to customers or potential customers. If your site has lots of useful good quality content then both your customers and search engines will love you for it, so it’s a mindset well worth developing, personally I like helping people. Developing a content mindset is in my opinion an essential step on the way to successfully implementing content marketing within your organisation, without it you’ll be struggling to find inspiration.

By |March 20th, 2015|Content|Comments Off on Why developing a content marketing mindset will enable to you leave your inspiration woes behind

The Danger of SEO Misconceptions

image source :(Flickr India Amos)

image source :(Flickr India Amos)

This weeks post is inspired by a phone conversation this week, it concerned the lack of understanding the caller had about SEO, for those offering SEO service, as I do (the exact packages I will offer are currently being developed) I feel this could be a real problem, given the constantly evolving nature of Search Engines its completely unsurprising that the public’s perception of SEO is behind the time, SEO tactics which worked in 2005 are now (2015) markedly less effective, there appears to be a misconception that some arcane keyword related wizardry will boost search engine rankings and magically send you to the top of Google, sorry to disappoint you there is no shortcut if you are worried about poor search engine rankings of your website the solution is actually quite simple provide a website full of good quality interesting & useful content and you will attain good search rankings, anyone promising instant top page rankings in Google is a con artist trying it on, as this quote from wikimotive.com illustrates

For others, ones that have a peripheral knowledge of the field, they associate SEO with sketchy tactics, spammy comments, and just generally black hat tactics. The reality is that true SEO is nothing like that, but these kind of perceptions can be hard to get past. (Source: http://wikimotive.com)

by black hat tactics the author means SEO methods which Google do not approve of such as buying links & spamming the web with links, poor quality duplicated website content, I’ve covered black hat vs. White hat in a previous blog post so I don’t intend to examine the merits of both approaches here, white hat meaning SEO tactics the Search Engines do approve of such as good quality content & lots of it, this Content based model is not likely to radically change in the next few years although it will certainly evolve , I feel that if the SEO industry is to gain a better reputation these misconceptions will need to be addressed by practitioners.

Parting thoughts

What worries me is that someone will probably offer the caller or someone very like her a load of glib promises about being top of Google in next to no time as far as I know it doesn’t work like that historically it has been possible to use dodgy methods & tactics (some of which is regarded as black hat it violates Google guidelines), given the constantly developing algorithms leave less of these loopholes for this type of trickery to exploit, its you versus Google’s staff of 100s if not 1000s of PhD holders guess who is going to win. Dr Pete Meyers touches on this in his moz.com article, I feel the route problem is a lack of understanding from the general public and far too many people more than happy to exploit that desire for quick and easy great SERP rankings and widespread myths regarding the nature of SEO,I generally get one email a week from abroad offering me all sorts of services, many of which are no longer effective or never were effective or necessary, sorry you don’t need to submit your website to Google or have 100s of badly written articles submitted to various websites, a website cram full of good quality useful content is going to rank well in Search Engines

Quick Glossary

SEO – Search Engine Optimisation
Whitehat – SEO tactics which follow Google guidelines
Blackhat – SEO tactics which violate Google guidelines

By |March 6th, 2015|Content, SEO, SME Online Marketing|Comments Off on The Danger of SEO Misconceptions

Why Content requires Commitment

Original Image: Flickr Peter Mooney

Original Image: Flickr Peter Mooney

This weeks post was inspired by an article on the Searchengineland.com website, it is of interest because it examines where a number of regular topics here converge namely content marketing, search engine optimisation local search, my target customers are primarily small local businesses so this is of particular interest to me and I’d imagine of interest to small local businesses In the article Chris Silver Smith examines the types of content which produce tangible benefits and highlights strategies which are now much less beneficial such as guest blogging, this is a constantly evolving arena as search Engine algorithms develop over time to counter spammy tactics. I’m eager to develop website content and improve the Search Performance of this website, Silver Smith examines a few types of content and analyses the effectiveness of these tactics from a SEO perspective.

Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is a prime example of a now devalued tactic. I’m often inundated with emails offering blog posts & articles to be submitted on my behalf (which is why Google now place much less weight on blog posts for SEO purposes) I’ve covered this in a previous post on this blog

Blogging

Silver Smith suggests that

A blog can easily be a foundational element for performing content marketing and social media marketing, and they’re so easy to do that there’s little excuse not to have one.(source:searchengineland.com)

I often encounter quite a lot of reluctance to commit to maintaining a company blog, I’m not sure what the root cause is here, perhaps it’s a lifelong dislike of writing developed in school also there is an inaccurate perception of what blogs are about, many people seem to associate blogging with vitriolic rants obsessed with popular culture, sure some blogs are like that but the overwhelming majority are not, the web abounds with company blogs that stalled after literally a handful of posts this brings us to what I consider the most important message from the Silver Smith article, which is ironic because this very blog was stalled for quite a long time, lets say 6 months

Parting thoughts

Personally I feel the salient point of the article is the emphasis on the need for long term commitment to creating good content, its this hurdle I feel that most small businesses fail to clear. Chris Silver – Smith argues

Most of the time, content marketing requires steady, consistent production over time for the beneficial effects to noticeably accrue. I’ve seen a lot of businesses that publish 5-10 blog posts and then run out of steam. Perhaps they’re not imaginative enough to come up with ongoing topics to post about, but it seems more likely they lose the initial enthusiasm and motivation.(source:searchengineland.com)

This failure to Commit to long term Content creation has been noticed by other observers it certainly tallies with my own findings. Derek Halpern at social triggers.com implies that

It turns out that most people who start blogs quit within the first 3 months.(source:socialtriggers.com)

if content is to deliver, the results that businesses want (better website traffic, more engaged customers/visitors,better Search Engine results) then these results are NOT going to come overnight

By |February 27th, 2015|Content, SME Online Marketing|Comments Off on Why Content requires Commitment

Where SMEs are failing to address the content problem

Small Business Content
This weeks post has been influenced by a conversation with a potential client who was concerned about the low SERP (Search Engine Results page) ranking of his company website, a quick perusal of his site showed it had negligible useful content, this is a recurring problem I find with small business websites, the overwhelming majority have very little in the way of website content, for some it maybe a problem but it is also an opportunity to differentiate your company from the competition. Fortunately its in an industry where developing interesting and useful is quite possible, its not a nightmare scenario industry like creating a social media campaign for an undertakers (which is an intellectual challenge I feel I’ve solved in my own time and is a project I’d probably avoid ha ha ☺ .SEO is not a quick fix and it would be dishonest to infer that making one or two tweaks to the website would result in much better SERP rankings, In 2015 Good SERP rankings require good Content, Kristina Halverson’s definition is still the best I have encountered so its worth repeating, if you have a site chock full of great content you wont need to worry about SERP Rankings or backlinks it will attract them quite naturally

‘Great Content meets users needs and supports key business objectives it engages and informs. It’s well written and intuitively organised. It keeps people coming back for more. ‘(Halvorson & Rach 2012)

Most if not all Small Businesses I deal with want to achieve good Search Engine Results Page (SERP) Rankings, yet there appears to be a reluctance to develop website content, this may be down to a lack of resources or understanding of how important good content is

Finding Inspiration is easy!

Look at the websites of similar companies to yours located elsewhere (either in the UK,USA or elsewhere in the world) there is no need to write War and Peace(in fact its preferable if you don’t) it does need to be good quality, well written and original, not simply copy & pasted from elsewhere, Google takes a dim view of plagiarised/pilfered content.

Parting thoughts

Observers point to a number of common failings with Small Business websites however I’m unconvinced that social media buttons are a priority on a site with little or no content worth sharing, I’ve tried to utilise social media for companies with content free websites and it’s a semi impossible situation to rectify ‘hey come along and see this website there’s nothing of interest on it’ isn’t exactly a tempting proposition for would be customers.

My Content plans 2015

I understand it’s a bit rich me saying all this when then my site is not exactly abundant with content, there are a definitely plans to add more during 2015, there remain one or two technical challenges I need to overcome before I can implement those plans.Once I had added the content to my website then I aim to offer content development services tailored for smaller businesses, if you are interested contact me today.

By |February 6th, 2015|Content|Comments Off on Where SMEs are failing to address the content problem

What exactly is SEO?, Defining SEO

Defining SEO
This week’s blog post is inspired by an on-going disagreement with a friend regarding the value of SEO.I think its important, She believes that good quality content is more important than SEO I broadly agree with that however its SEO which allows you to research what content your customers are looking for. I think the root of the disagreement lies in our understandings of what SEO is, I’ll try to explain how I see SEO, you may of course disagree and you are more than welcome to leave a comment below should you wish to

My view of SEO

The fundamental aim of SEO as I see it is to make it easy for your customers to find your website, this involves market research (keyword research) to discover what your customers are searching for be it information, products or services. The owner of the website then develops good quality website content which answers the questions of customers Nothing particularly controversial so far if you ask me, it’s the standard white hat perspective of SEO, all of this in my opinion makes good sense from a business perspective.

What I feel SEO is not

I don’t feel SEO is about merely researching keywords and then developing a website packed full of keyword stuffed rubbish, buying loads of high page rank backlinks and then hoping that ones website flies up the Search Rankings, this is an older view of SEO one commonly held by customers personally I feel its hopelessly out of date/touch and SEO Snake Oil Salesmen have done the industry no favours at all, lack of content is the major problem I find with small business websites
As far as I can understand it the other facet of online marketing my friend disputes is the need for greater website traffic and the desirability of converting a certain percentage into paying customers. Which as I understand it is pretty much the standard model for online business

Parting thoughts

Personally I tend to take the long-term view and I’m writing from the perspective of Smaller Businesses I feel that the Black Hat methodology is a fairly short term always looking over your shoulder to see what Google will do is no way to develop a solid SEO/Content strategy, the white hat approach which consists of developing good quality website content of use to customers (Good quality content is by definition useful/interesting/entertaining), ethics aside I feel that the web is better served by developing websites chock full of great content rather than spammy/underhand tactics designed to give temporary Search Engine Ranking boosts, this ethos also applies to buying backlinks & followers, I can completely understand the temptation to do it when your Company website needs more traffic but I eschew that mentality because in my opinion its short term and unethical. I’ve noticed my blog posts now reflect my opinions a bit more I’m much happier with this and I hope you are as well; if you disagree please feel free to post a comment. I offer SEO & Content Consultancy services please feel free contact me to find out more so we can discuss what’s right for your company.

By |January 23rd, 2015|Content, SEO|Comments Off on What exactly is SEO?, Defining SEO