Archive for August, 2010

Brian Clark Interview: Copyblogger on Content Marketing with Blogs

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Brian Clark CopybloggerOpenCamp’s Sunday schedule included presentations on blogging that included Chris Pirillo, Brian Clark and myself. I caught up with Brian before he gave his presentation to give us a little preview. John P. ended up using the video as the segue between Brian and I as we changed microphones.

Watch as Brian talks about the importance of planning content and understanding its purpose in order to be effective with blog copywriting. He also mentioned that traditional media is still doing some things right and we new media types would do well to identify what those things are and use that insight for our own publishing and content marketing efforts.

I think Brian’s presentation on content planning and editorial was a perfect setup to the marketing of content presentation that I gave afterwards, but of course I’m biased.  Of course you can find a cornucopia of copy writing and content marketing advice at Copyblogger.

My next and last post from OpenCa.mp will include a summary of my presentation along with the actual PPT deck embedded within the post.


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Top 5 Inbound Marketing Articles to Start the Week: Rockin Reviews

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

thumbs up resized 600All businesses love receiving positive online reviews; they’re a great form of third party validation. Still, we all know that not everyone follows the social etiquette rule that states, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

In this week’s top inbound marketing article, John Jantsch discusses his best tips for generating positive and genuine online reviews and testimonials on a routine basis.

1. 5 Ways to Get Rockin Reviews

Author: John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing Blog

Local search directories such as Google Maps and Yelp have made reviews a factor for ranking well in local search, which makes it even more important for businesses to generate positive reviews from their customers. But fake or over-the-top review generation campaigns can actually cause negative results, so Jantsch offers some great ways to create genuine reviews on a consistent basis:

  1. Take advantage of references.
  2. Repurpose testimonials.
  3. Teach the review process to your sales team and customers.
  4. Give out your own reviews.
  5. Hold a review party.

Marketing Takeaway: Don’t avoid review sites for fear of negative commentary. Instead, embrace them as a way to generate positive testimonials for your company.

2. How to Develop a Case Study 

Author: Valeria Maltoni of Conversation Agent

On a slightly related topic, Valeria Maltoni examines the value of the case study, which she thinks is a great medium for a B2B company to concretely show its problem solving abilities and success.

In addition to highlighting case studies’ benefits for businesses, Maltoni walks through the process of creating them, from gathering information and content to the variety of ways for structuring their flow.

Marketing Takeaway: Create case studies to showcase the successes your customers have had with your products and/or services.

3. 6 Ultimate On-Page Search Engine Optimization Tips

Author: John Britsios on Search Engine Journal

Are you making a conscious effort to improve your website’s on-page SEO? This article from Search Engine Journal offers six great tips to help make sure your pages are set up with the appropriate on-page search engine optimization attributes.

Specifically, the article advises how to appropriately set up a page’s title tag, description meta tag, keywords meta tag, heading tags, phrase elements, and alt attributes.

Marketing Takeaway: Don’t forget to optimize your website‘s on-page SEO for better visibility in search engines.

4. The Three Key Elements of Irresistible Email Subject Lines

Author: Brian Clark of Copyblogger

Despite recent buzz, email is not dead. Yet, we all know how much of a challenge it is to get your subscribers to actually open them in the first place. Therefore, Brian Clark’s article examines the art of creating subject lines that will entice readers to open your emails.

Clark discusses three key elements: the fundamentals (that they be useful, ultra-specific, unique, and urgent), the specifics, and the secret sauce (that you earn initial trust and grow it).

Marketing Takeaway: While there are a lot of elements that can make or break an email, remember that the subject line is the first thing people see.

5. Does Your Landing Page Say Trust Me?

Author: Cynthia Boris on Marketing Pilgrim

Converting site visitors to leads is no easy feat, and a lack of trust will make it even more difficult. Cynthia Boris’ article emphasizes Tim Ash’s “Four Pillars of Trust” that you need in order to make your landing pages convert:

  1. Appearance
  2. Transactional assurances
  3. Authority
  4. Consensus of peers

Marketing Takeaway: Verify that your landing pages conform to these four tenants by asking a few random people to visit your site and share their thoughts . Then adjust your landing pages as needed.

Photo Credit: Mike Baird

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Expert Advice: Overcoming Inbound Marketing Challenges

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

inbound marketing challengeHere at HubSpot we sing the praises of Inbound Marketing from the rooftops. Yes, it is an amazing way to see growth in your SEO goals, website traffic, leads and customers. It helps you develop a deeper engagement and establish yourself as a thought leader. But, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Proper inbound marketing can take a lot of hard work.

We asked the HubSpot Partners what they think the hardest part of inbound marketing is and how they work through these challenges.

Partner Teicko Hubert of Focus to Grow believes the hardest part is the understanding “of the cultural shift that has to happen to make inbound marketing work” and that “a website is merely fiction unless you understand how inbound marketing works.” That said, Teicko believes that this change can be overcome, but, “it takes diligence and a hyped focus on refining your story telling skills and probing skills.” This is a great point, just like learning any other skill, inbound marketing takes hard work and there’s an adjustment period.

Another successful partner, Phillip Johnson of Fatiguana Endeavors, says that he feels the biggest challenge is having the time to create content. However, by “creating both long and short term strategies for content creation and broader Inbound Marketing tactics” you can start to see benefits sooner and the reward of all the time you are investing. Seeing shorter term results often gives you a boost of confidence that you are on the right path and can help direct your long term strategy.

Of course once you get started with inbound marketing, you have to keep it up. Inbound Marketing Experts’ Andy Xhignesse reminds us that inbound marketing has to be an ongoing part of your daily routine. While positive results are great, you cannot stop as soon as you they occur. Instead, see them as a sign that you’re on the right track and keep going!

Finally, our always wise partner Dale Berkebile of Brandwise, chimed in to remark that inbound marketers always need to keep their priorities in order and remember “quality over quantity.” It’s great if you have a large reach but keep in mind, you also need to engage with them. As Dale says, “500+ Facebook fans + 9000 follower[s] + no interaction = disaster.”

So what do all of these partners’ suggestions have in common? Well first, don’t give up! Inbound Marketing can take time. Second, there’s no one “thing” that you can do to guarantee success. It’s not just followers, it’s not just content creation, it’s not just having a great website. It’s what happens when all of these pieces, and more, come together to form a unified inbound marketing strategy.

   

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New CMO Survey Reports Marketing Spending to Rise

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Twice a year Professor Christine Moorman at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business surveys hundreds of CMOs to get an overall measure of what is happening in marketing as part of a project aptly called The CMO Survey.  Below are a couple highlights from the latest report, released today.

Marketing Spending Should Increase

The CMOs reported that on average their budgets would increase 9.2%, a much larger increase than any of the other surveys done in the past 2 years.  Clearly companies are starting to invest in marketing as they see the economy improving.  Another factor might be that budgets that had been cut before during the recession might now be allowed to grow back to their previous size.

change in marketing spending cmo survey

Internet Marketing Spending to Grow

The CMOs also reported that on average they were going to grow their spending on internet marketing by 13.6%, a much larger increase than in any other area.  Just like 6 months ago, CMOs are cutting spending on traditional advertising.  It seems that the better marketing ROI from internet marketing and inbound marketing is influencing the investment decisions CMOs are making.  I would personally love to know if this spending is still online advertising focused or if CMOs are starting to invest in more content generation and community management to leverage inbound marketing, but that was not included in the survey.

change in marketing spending detail cmo survey resized 600

 

Social Media Marketing Spending Increasing

As part of that increase in spending on internet marketing, the survey reports that social media marketing spending is increasing over time.  Unfortunately it is not clear from the data if this is just more spending on advertising on social media websites like Facebook, or if companies are making an investment in inbound marketing by hiring people to create content and build relationships with their target market online.  This latter type of investment is the type of activity that can transform your marketing to be a lot more effective.  Merely advertising on Facebook instead of the local newspaper is not going to transform your marketing.

change in social media spending cmo survey resized 600

What do you think?  Do these CMOs have it right?  How would you allocate your company’s marketing budget if you ran the show and could start with a blank slate?

Free Download: Marketing Data: 50+ Marketing Charts and Graphs

Marketing Charts

HubSpot has compiled over 50 original marketing charts and graphs on topics including Lead Generation, Blogging and Social Media, Marketing Budgets, Twitter and Facebook

Download the ebook now! to have access to these charts for use in your own presentations

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Social Media SEO Success with Blogging

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010
Army Golden Knights

Army Golden Knights: SFC Dave Herwig (@gkdave), SGM Steve Young (@gksteve), LTC Joe Martin (gkjoe)

My presentation on how to leverage Social Media SEO to improve the reach and effectiveness of blog content for marketing at OpenCa.mp DFW this weekend ended up being a lot of information in a very short period of time. The use of a video interview I did with Brian Clark as the segue into my presentation ate into some of the 30 minutes I had to present plus I simply had too many slides.

(Thanks to Lt Colonel Joe Martin for the photo taken right after the presentation. His team were literally sponges for information at the event.)

The good news is that there’s Slideshare, so I’ve embeded a copy of that presentation below. Chris Pirillo and Brian Clark gave witty, informative and entertaining presentations on blogging and copywriting for blogs before me, so the stage was set to talk about marketing that blog content.

Marketers familiar with “Push and Pull” can relate to Social Media being the push, where (along with listening & engagement) you syndicate, update and share your content via social channels. The pull is SEO, where you optimize that content with customer centric keywords they can use on search engines to easily find your content ahead of the competition.

Cycle of Social Media & SEOMy presentation shared a model that I call the Cycle of Social & SEO that starts with creating, optimizing and promoting content along with listening to and growing social networks. As the relevant content gets shared socially and others link to it, the exposure and traffic builds momentum to a point where search traffic and the social community you’ve fostered provides priceless data via social media and web analytics on what content to create and share on a go forward.

Guessing what keywords and what social channels your customers are connected to is the reason why so many companies don’t see an impact from their efforts. Being smart from the start and planning on developing a cycle that continues to provide value and refine effectiveness at meeting customer search and social media needs is a win for all.

Companies in the marketing space like Marketo, PRWeb and our own agency at TopRank Marketing have made strong commitments to content as well as SEO and Social Media with the payoffs coming in the form of competitive search visibility and growing social communities.

We’ve recently been engaged by another well known company in the online marketing space that sees the value in both our strategic marketing & implementation expertise, but more importantly, is making a commitment to content and it’s role in customer acquisition and customer retention through Social Media & Search Optimization.

Check out the presentation below and let me know what you think.

Better Blog Marketing with Social SEOView more presentations from TopRank Online Marketing.


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Visualizing How a Link Spreads Through the Twitterverse

Monday, August 30th, 2010

A few months ago, I did some research into visualizing how a story spreads across the Twitterverse and how that spread could be visualized.

Using a combination of the Twitter API, the TweetMeme API and the Processing visualization library, I was able to graph the spread of a handful of popular links.

In the TweetMaps below the circles represent each user who ReTweeted the link, they’re bigger or smaller based on the number of followers they have. People who are following accounts that Tweeted the link before they did have lines drawn to the accounts they’re following (and could have “caught” the link from).

The graphs show the first wave of Tweets of each link (generally the first few hours). When you see a number of circles extending horizontally across the graph that means that those accounts all Tweeted the link very close together in time.

17 great

The first example is a post on the HubSpot blog. You’ll notice there’s a line of accounts that posted the link at very similar times. This is because there are a number of automated Twitter accounts that post every link on the HubSpot blog RSS. You’ll see this pattern again in the examples below. You’ll also notice that there is a high amount of variance in the size of the circles, indicating that the people who Tweeted the link have varying amounts of followers, and there is a high amount of interconnectivity between them as well.

80 signs

The next example is from celebrity gossip blog TheFABlife. The difference is striking, other than a single, highly followed account (which is probably the blog’s own official account) all of the other accounts have few followers. This is a good indication that this link’s audience is much more “mainstream.” Again notice the high level of interconnectedness visible.

but youre

Now let’s look at a TweetMap of a link from Seth Godin’s blog. You’ll notice there isn’t one big account that starts the chain (since there is no active, official Seth Godin Twitter account). There is a lower amount of interconnectivity present than in the previous examples, and most Tweeters have low numbers of followers.

chrysler recalls

The above example is from MSNBC’s site. There are very few connections between ReTweeters, and there are a few very large accounts amidst mostly low-follower accounts. The large accounts are probably official MSNBC accounts.

helen thomas

An example from FoxNews tells the story of a community with a high variation in follower counts and lots of inter-connections.

meet the

An example from Alternet.org shows a set of accounts with lots of followers and a moderate amount of connection.

startup life

The final example, from TechCrunch, shows the main Techcrunch account followed by a large number of low-follower accounts. It also displays lots of connections and a large automated Tweeting line.

Marketing Takeaway

The internet now gives marketers a way to map word-of-mouth that was previously impossible. Take the time to understand how your content as well as your competitors content spreads online. Look for opportunities to optimize the word-of-mouth spread of your content on Twitter and other social networks.

Free Download: Marketing Data: 50+ Marketing Charts and Graphs

Marketing Charts

HubSpot has compiled over 50 original marketing charts and graphs on topics including Lead Generation, Blogging and Social Media, Marketing Budgets, Twitter and Facebook

Download the ebook now! to have access to these charts for use in your own presentations

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Yahoo! Search Marketing Results Now Powered by Bing

Monday, August 30th, 2010

bing yahooIn HubSpot-approved Grateful Dead parlance, “What a long, strange trip it’s been.”  Just two years ago, Microsoft made a $45+ billion bid for Yahoo! but when the two business bemohoths couldn’t agree on a final price, the Redmond-based company withdrew their offer. 

Yet, last week Yahoo said it would begin transitioning to Bing on the back end for search, noting that search results pages would display the line “Powered by Bing” at the bottom for searches using Microsoft’s results.

To provide a bit of background on this endeavor, here is an overview of the Yahoo!/Bing deal from Search Alliance:

How Yahoo! and Microsoft will work together:

  • Search ad inventory from Yahoo!, Microsoft and their respective partners will be combined into a new unified search marketplace.
  • Microsoft will acquire an exclusive 10-year license to certain Yahoo! search technologies.
  • Microsoft will manage the technology platforms that deliver the algorithmic (powered by Bing) and paid (powered by adCenter) search results.
  • Full implementation of the terms of the Search Alliance is expected to occur within 24 months following regulatory clearance.
  • Yahoo!’s Sales team will exclusively support high volume advertisers, SEO and SEM agencies, and resellers and their clients, and Microsoft will support self-service advertisers. In addition, Microsoft adCenter will be the platform for all search campaigns.

How Yahoo! and Microsoft will compete:

  • The Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance does not include each company’s display advertising, web properties and products, email, instant messaging, or any other aspect of the companies’ businesses.
  • Each company will maintain its own separate display advertising business and sales force.
  • Yahoo! and Microsoft will innovate their own consumer search experiences to compete for search users and search queries.
  • Yahoo! and Microsoft will service their respective publishers, also known as affiliate search partners.
  • Yahoo! will continue to syndicate its existing search affiliate partnerships.
According to a recent report from comScore, a global leader of digital marketing intelligence, Google Sites accounted for 61.6 percent of total core search queries conducted in July, followed by Yahoo! Sites with 20.1 percent and Microsoft Sites with 12.6 percent. Ask Network captured 3.5 percent of total search queries, followed by AOL LLC with 2.2 percent.

Search Engine Usage

Marketing Takeaway

Microsoft Inc. now owns 28.1% of the search market and even though it represents a bit less than half of Google’s 65.8% share, the new Bing/Yahoo! search entity offers marketers a valuable SEO opportunity.

 

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OpenCamp Blackhat SEO with Social Media

Monday, August 30th, 2010

gio
The first content session I’m attending at OpenCamp is by Gio, aka Giovanni Gallucci, a longtime search and social media marketer based in Dallas. The topic is “Blackhat SEO” and the room is packed!
The session was cut a bit short due to technical difficulties with getting the conference started and Gio took it in stride and was both entertaining and informative – the right mix for a morning tech crowd.

Gio says “Black hat is simply another way to automate a time-consuming process. In other areas of marketing and life in general we encourage automation in order to maximize efficiency and get a leg up on our competitors”.

According to the conference session description, the nature of this session doesn’t allow liveblogging or tweeting, which i think is a load of crap, so I’ll liveblog it anyway.

Speaking of liveblogging, I am writing this on an iPad and the brilliant WordPress app deleted the first version, so I am writing now from memory on a notepad app.

The session is basically about what Gio does on a daily basis for his SEO clients. Based on insights from Woopra analyticz Gio says these are 5-6 social media sites you need to focus on to drive traffic and affect your search visibility:

- Media sharing: YouTube and Flickr
- Social Bookmarking: StumbleUpon
- Social Networks: Facebook & Twitter

When you undertake your social media marketing efforts, don’t let “little people” and naysayers hold you back. Gio gives Cali Lewis as an example with her growth of online shows and current success with GeekBeat.TV

As far as as Geolocation services like Gowalla, Foursquare, Whrrrl, etc Gio says these are cute and fun, but that there’s not much measurable social media marketing value to them. (If you don’t buy that, check out Mashable.com for FourSquare case studies)

We’re 15 min into the presentation and thee’s no black hat SEO yet :)

YouTube lists are unreal for driving search traffic. Organize your individual videos into lists and optimize them. Find other videos that are highly trafficked and add them to lists that include your own videos. If you’re not creating video, you’ve got to get started.

Tools: tubetoolbox.com (Now we’re getting into the automation and almost black hat stuff). With YouTube ToolBox, Gio says you create a message in 2-3 sentences, mail merge their username and then create multiple versions of the message with different content and the same call to action. Then you can schedule the sending of messages to YouTube users that have been harvested at the rate of about 20 messages per hour. Something like: Hey “username” I saw that you commented on a video about XYZ and wanted to let you know about another similar video and would love your opinion.”.

I have to note, using automation tools like this must be done by someone that REALLY knows what they’re doing or you will suffer consequences. Managing risk vs. reward is important and for the record, my agency doesn’t use automation in this way.

The key to getting YouTube videos ranked high is activity on YouTube. with Flickr, you can add comments with a link back to your content.

Take advantage of current events. Gio shows a video of ComicCon geeks talking about how comic are not geeky anymore. Thee’s some irony to a code geek making fun of comic book geeks.

When going somewhere offline to get photos or video for content, blend in. Gio tells a story of buying a cowboy getup to blend in at a rodeo or maybe it was somewhere else like that where there was a concentration of cowboy types.

Keep it fresh. For example, make a presentation the day you give it.

Tool: tweetaddr 3.0. Using this tool makes it appear as if you’re communicating with Twitter via a web browser (when you’re not and actually using an automated follow tool).

“Can’t is not an option”. Gio gave an example of a how a school with only 200 kids earned 68,000 votes on a list of top schools.

“Show up and just get it done”. If you look like you’re supposed to be there, no one will bother you. (Regarding collecting content or promoting online content in the offline world).

Tool: Bookmarking Daemon – Put in your social boomarking accounts and it will randomly pick your content and promote it.

According to the room monitor, that’s all the time we have. You can find out more about Giovanni on his blog: Blog.gallucci.net and get a copy of his social media manifesto at: gallucci.net/smm


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Chris Pirillo on SEO & Social Media @ OpenCa.mp

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

At the OpenCa.mp conference in Dallas this weekend I was able to re-connect with Chris Pirillo of Lockergnome and the Gnomedex conference (We’ve interviewed each other in the past). We both jumped out of the same airplane with the Army Golden Knights last week and are also speaking today about blogs at OpenCa.mp.

I caught up with Chris to talk about his take on SEO and social media.  He had pretty strong opinions about people who are too aggressive and not always relevant in the social connections they’re making.  This is what he had to say:

You can find Chris online by Googling “chris“. How’s that for the effect of links on search engine visibility?


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Chris Pirillo on SEO & Social Media @ OpenCa.mp | http://www.toprankblog.com


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Who should guest host HubSpot TV?

Friday, August 27th, 2010

hubspot tv marketing video podcastWe’ve had a fun filled 2 years on HubSpot TV, but for the next couple weeks my co-host Karen Rubin is away.  So I need someone to help me out as a guest co-host on September 3 or 10.

Don’t know what HubSpot TV is? We’re broadcasting live really soon (4pm EDT) so watch the live show.

I posted a message on Twitter looking for volunteers and suggestions for a guest host, and I got a ton of them. There were way too many for me to decide, so I am turning to your help in the community to pick a winner out of all the suggestions that people made on Twitter.

Click here to vote on the Guest Host for HubSpot TV  (Voting closes 12 noon on September 1.)

<– VOTE HERE –>


The results below should be updating (seems like there is a litte lag) or view in a new window here.

 

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