Kategorie-Archiv: SEO

The collision between PR, content, and SEO: How to make it work for you

The full power of the digital marketplace was realized less than a decade ago. Suddenly, customers had seemingly limitless access to engage with brands –– to voice their criticisms and critiques, or to become super fans.

The importance of a website presence, blogging, social media posts and the other aspects of building an online brand seemed to sound the death toll for traditional communications and marketing strategies, like public relations.

However, we are nearing the second decade of the 21st century, and public relations continues to prove itself as an essential element of marketing communications. Like other aspects of marketing, it’s a discipline that has morphed and evolved to fit into the changing digital ecosystem, in which the value of appearing at the top of the search engine results page is arguably equitable with yesteryear’s goal of a front page headline.

Brands attuned to these changes and the importance of integrated, hybrid marketing will find that public relations, SEO and content marketing now heavily influence each other. Successfully leveraging this trio can help build strong brands that drive traffic, customers and revenue.

The digital brand trifecta

A consistent theme throughout the ages, branding – the practice of crafting measured messaging around a product to guide public perception – has always been a pillar for marketing communications.

Simply put, a strong and positive brand image drives customer awareness, recognition and action. The most effective brands, while simple at the surface, conjure complex responses; consider that 90 percent of purchase decisions are made subconsciously.

Evoking the right perception of a brand can make an enormous difference in conversions and revenue – this is where public relations plays a role by subtly inserting brand messaging into external sources that consumers today are more likely to consume and engage with than pushed advertising.

The expansion of the digital world and rise of the separate disciplines SEO and content marketing as a means of reaching consumers through targeted content has resulted in the consolidation of the roles of SEO and content.

The role of public relations has emerged from this phenomenon quite naturally; while content marketing and SEO traditionally focus on on-site content, public relations is the impetus for third party content that drives brand messaging and digital traffic.

Customers today hold brands to high standards: 60 percent of millennials say they expect to have a consistent experience with organizations across the various platforms. Customers expect to be able to interact with brands whenever they want and wherever they want. To meet these needs, organizations themselves need to understand how to integrate their various disciplines to create a uniform voice.

How content marketing, SEO, and public relations overlap

At its core, public relations is essentially about creating excellent professional content that appeals to quality publications, while positioning the brand at the top of readers‘ consideration sets.

These goals intertwine tightly with those of content marketing. It is estimated that we now produce more data in two days than has existed for the entirety of the human experience up until 2003, and 39 percent of B2B brands plan on increasing content budget in the next year. The online world has become saturated with content.

However, where we excel in quantity, we lack in quality. Today, consumers demand material that addresses them and their needs while also offering guidance and help. In other words, those in content marketing need to pay equally close attention to the value they are offering and how it satisfies the needs of consumer intent.

SEOs role in companies has always been to boost the rankings of the content the brand produces to get the brand site and name in front of people performing searches on the search engines. By optimizing material for particularly relevant queries, SEOs can help draw the appropriate audience back to the website where leads can be nurtured and converted.

When used correctly, public relations can be a helpful asset in accomplishing these SEO goals. Many popular media outlets, for example, rank highly on the SERP thanks to a strong domain authority.

Brands that find smart ways to insert themselves into these sites –– often via a combination of news coverage and contributed articles –– have the opportunity to establish their presence for particular keywords that may struggle to rank from their own site. This provides an opportunity for brand recognition and to create a brand impression from a place of authority.

Knowledge is the key to the digital brand trifecta of employing public relations, content marketing and SEO to work together and build the brand’s reputation online. Below are steps teams can take to begin to bring these elements into successful harmony.

Aligning SEO, content development and public relations

1. Develop common target personas

Personas remain the key to any successful marketing campaign. They also serve as the cornerstone for successful collaboration between teams.

Generally, public relations professionals will have a general idea of what they want to promote and to whom, while SEO and content marketing professionals may have their own ideas about who they want to target.

Joining the research and considerations that went into developing the target personas on both sides can strengthen them for the brand and ensures that everyone understands the target for particular campaigns.

2. Obliterate working siloes

To achieve maximum success with public relations, you should develop common campaigns that will use principles from both SEO and PR. Combine the resources that each team utilizes to see how they might benefit each other.

For example, the material produced by the public relations team should be appropriately optimized by the SEO team and reviewed by the content team to ensure a consistent voice and to ensure that it ranks for the keywords the organization wants to target.

The public relations team can also work with the SEO and content teams to secure contributed columns and backlinks from reputable publications. Remember that content marketing is not just about producing content, it also needs to incorporate distribution. Coordinating with public relations can ensure that this piece is not overlooked.

3. Collaborate on content

Although SEO, content marketing and public relations teams will have different central goals, they should run their campaigns using a common base. Keywords that the SEO team targets, for example can also be incorporated into press releases to boost brand recognition.

If there are words that the domain struggles to rank for, creating press releases for well-regarded publications can help capture these rankings.

Reputable publications speaking about important research or releases that your brand has can lend greater credibility to these announcements, making it easier for your on-site announcements to gain traction and engagement.

4. Measure your progress and success

As with any marketing effort, brands need to measure every step of their collaboration between these three key teams. Look at KPIs that let you see how well customers engaged with material, the amount of traffic and leads being driven from press releases and how having a strong PR campaign impacts the engagement and conversion metrics across other aspects of the marketing strategy.

Look at the numbers before and after the efforts have been used, as well as the impact across different buyer personas and stages of the buyer’s journey. The greater the insight and understanding you have, the easier it will be to identify strengths and weaknesses of the campaign.

In sum, public relations is far from dead. Its value has grown to become one of three essential digital marketing elements. The marketing efforts that brands must use to build their organization’s name and shape the reputation of their brand online continue to remain of critical importance.

The difference now, however, lies in the means of this self-promotion. Public relations now has the strongest impact when it finds a strategic home with SEO and content marketing. The closer you can align these different departments, the easier it will be to see how public relations can be helpful in boosting your brand.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

Learn Influencer Marketing 5 Ways

A quick look at Google Trends comparing Influencer Marketing to other marketing disciplines shows a near hockey stick growth trend. Since my team consults and I advocate, write and speak about influencer marketing so often, people often ask me: “Is influencer marketing a real trend?”.

Google Trends Influencer Marketing

Looking back on my experience in digital marketing over the past 20 years with the advent of disciplines like SEO, social media and content marketing, I’d say the momentum around influencer marketing has many of the same characteristics. It’s here, it’s still early and will continue to grow.

While working with influencers isn’t all that new, my experience talking about influencer marketing with B2B brands (and many agencies) has taught me that many B2B marketers are not fully aware or confident about where working with influencers fits in their marketing mix.

The good news is that we’ve been in the thick of B2B influencer marketing and content marketing for the last 6-7 years. Starting with experiments, we evolved our offering by practicing what we preach and introducing best practices and process to our clients. Today we’re delivering influencer content marketing services to major B2B and B2C brands including SAP, LinkedIn, State Farm and 3M.

To learn what we’ve learned, I invite you to check out the following 5 events where I will be talking about influencer marketing from essentially 5 different perspectives. From New York to San Francisco to Milan, there’s something for everyone.

Learn Influencer Marketing for Influencer Marketers

Sept 26: New York
Influencer Marketing Days #InfluencerDays
Keynote: B2B Influencer Marketing: Top Trends, Examples & Opportunities
The irony of this presentation is that I will be in New York as an influencer for IBM and while there, giving a presentation on influencer marketing at an influencer marketing conference! It’s like influencer marketing inception!

Learn B2B Influencer Marketing

Oct 4: Boston
MarketingProfs B2B Forum #MPB2B
Solo: From Why to ROI: B2B Influencer Marketing Case Studies for Success
One of my all-time favorite conferences of the year, B2B Forum is where I get to truly geek out on B2B influencer marketing with some of the smartest B2B marketers in the world. And there’s Ann Handley too – who would want to miss hanging out with her? No one!

Learn About ABM & Influencer Marketing

Nov 7: San Francisco
Dreamforce #Dreamforce17
Solo: The ABCs of Influencer Content for ABM
Salesforce event staff have told me I will have a room that can seat 800, which might not seem like much for a conference with 90,000+ attendees, but I’ll take it. Companies that use marketing software are definitely great potential clients for TopRank Marketing.

Learn About SEO & Influencer Marketing

Nov 9: Las Vegas
Pubcon #pubcon
Keynote: In Search of Influence
Brett Tabke gave me a shot at speaking early on in my career and because of a longstanding client conference date that conflicted with Pubcon, I haven’t been able to attend in many years. Now I’ll be giving a keynote to the community where I got my start in marketing and I can’t tell you how much that means to me. My hope is that the presentation will mean something to the amazing search community.

Learn About Content & Influencer Marketing

Nov 15: Milan
SMXL #smxlmilan
Masterclass: Content Marketing & Influence Integration
I will be back in Milan to talk about content marketing with an influencer marketing flavor to the hungry Italian marketers converging on Milan. This event will also give me the opportunity to connect with my European search marketing pals.

5 Steps to Influencer Marketing Awesome

I know it’s possible you might not be able to attend the conferences listed above. So I’ll share a few tips to provide some direction for those just getting started with the idea of incorporating influencer collaboration with their marketing. Broadly, there are some universal truths to influencer marketing where content is the marketable asset produced. Here are 5 worth paying attention to:

1. Be specific. When setting goals for what’s possible, define your topic of influence specifically. Focus topics drive influencer identification as well as influencer content, SEO and social media themes.

2. Be the best answer. Map focus topics to your normal content, SEO, advertising and media relations plans.To be the best answer wherever customers are looking and influenced, it’s more effective if there is continuity of message across channels where buyers discover and consume solutions content.

3. Give to get. Brandividuals that play the game of influence will respond to compensation early, but most niche and brand influencers require romance. Start recruiting through social engagement long before you ask influencers to collaborate.

4. Collaborate to create. Invite influencers to make something together that drives the influencer’s objectives while at the same time, fuels brand objectives. At a minimum, influencer engagement results in content co-creation that can be repurposed by the brand for demand gen programs. Also consider the power of pride. When influencers invest in creating something that makes them look good, they will be inspired to share and help your brand reach new audiences.

5. Measure smart. Inputs, outputs and outcomes of influencers and their communities relative to your content collaboration is essential. When content is part of your influencer collaboration, then you’ll have all the measurement opportunities with any other content marketing program as well. The key is to map KPIs of working with influencers to business goals for your brand.

Whether you are in New York for Advertising Week, Boston for Marketing Profs B2B Forum, San Francisco for Dreamforce, Las Vegas for Pubcon or Milan for SMXL, I hope to see you so we can connect and learn from each other about the amazing world of influencer marketing.

Tim Washer Interview

Do you have proven community management, content and influencer engagement skills? Work with TopRank Marketing! If you are an experienced influencer marketing professional and would like to join a team that is fast tracking growth and working with some amazing brands, then be sure to check out our careers page or contact me directly: lodden at toprankmarketing .dot com.


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Learn Influencer Marketing 5 Ways | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Learn Influencer Marketing 5 Ways appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

How to use demand generation channels to effectively expand your reach

As Q4 approaches, it’s crucial that you plan to capitalize on all the traffic that comes with it.

We all know how effective search is, but it’s also limited to those already in the hunt for what you’re offering.

To continue to scale, you need to effectively get in front of audiences that aren’t yet interested – but could be! – in your service/product. That’s where demand generation comes in, and marketers have more (and better) options for demand generation than ever.

As we head full-steam into Q4, here’s a list of demand generation channels, considerations of when to make use of them to expand your reach, and best practices we’ve honed across clients of all budgets.

Google Display Network

Once rather maligned, the GDN provides a number of targeting options that allow you to leverage the thousands of data points they collect on users across the web. Among the most effective targeting options when it comes to both demand generation and direct response are:

Keyword contextual targeting

Choose your top 10-15 keywords and let Google place ads accordingly.

My strong recommendation is to start off with content-based keyword targeting first; this gives you more control over what is being targeted (websites relevant to your keywords). When you select “audience”-based keyword contextual targeting, you end up targeting a significantly larger group of users where the targeting is not only websites relevant to your keywords but also audiences who may be interested.

This gives Google a lot of power to find users – but it also opens you up to more risk. By starting out with content, you are taking a low-risk approach to GDN. As you see success and build up conversion history, feel free to experiment with audience targeting.

In-market audiences

Based on audience behavior, Google determines users who are currently shopping for different products/categories. The feature combines search intent with display’s reach, and it’s definitely worth testing.

Custom affinity audiences

If you provide Google with competitor websites or industry-relevant domains, CAA will analyze the types of audiences visiting those sites (demographics, interests, website topics) and target audiences similar to them. I recommend that you test by starting off with your top 5 competitors.

As you build conversions – about 40+ conversions is a good benchmark – I would strongly recommend switching your bidding style to CPA optimizer and allowing Google to leverage its thousands of data points and optimize towards your target CPA. We’ve had a lot of success with this option.

Facebook/Instagram

The Facebook/Instagram duo offers powerful audience targeting capabilities. We’ve seen two strategies work consistently:

Make use of lookalike targeting and base your seed lists off your customers

Rather than taking your full customer list, however, segment by identifiable characteristics. I typically recommend high LTV or high AOV, or segmenting by category/type depending on the product or business. If you have a big enough seed list, start by testing a 1% audience, as those users will be most similar to your existing customers.

Use interest/behavior targeting and insights from the platform’s Audience Insights tool

Upload your top customers to Audience Insights and analyze the valuable demographic, interest-based data. Now begin building various personas of audiences you want to target (each ad set should represent a different persona).

When selecting your targeting options within Facebook, layer in demographic data from the Insights tool to make these audiences more relevant.

Pinterest

I recommend this fast-growing channel more for ecommerce than B2B. Remember that Pinterest is somewhat intent-driven, as users are typing in keywords to look for relevant pins. Start off with your top keyword list and test from there, and focus on strong creative that can stand out among the many other pins.

Your Pinterest creative should be eye-catching, high quality, and include compelling images of the product. Write detailed descriptions highlighting the most compelling aspects of the product and inviting users to click on ad, and leverage text overlays on your pins to help any core message stand out.

Twitter

Twitter tends to perform well for B2B or more technical businesses. I recommend that you leverage lookalike targeting on your top-performing customer segments; you can also try targeting followers of certain influencers who may be core to your brand or followers of competitors in the industry.

Last general recommendation: begin leveraging these options ASAP so you can build up a retargeting audience to engage when purchase motivation is higher. Cast a wide net now, and you’ll have more fish to land in the holiday season.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

Digital Marketing News: Predictive Analytics, Blockchain and Email Marketing Industry Report

Predictive Analytics: Predicting Customer Behavior to Improve ROI
As marketers, we’re always trying to stay ahead of the curve. But, does that curve factor in what customers or clients are looking for? This infographic shows us how predictive analytics can help do just that. Business 2 Community

IAB sets up Blockchain Working Group for advertising
Does blockchain have a place in marketing? According to recent reports, blockchain is no longer only for those trading bitcoin, it can provide a highly secure and transparent way to manage funds. MarketingLand

2017 Email Marketing Industry Report
Marketers are feeling overwhelmed. They don’t have the resources needed to do the marketing they’d like to do. This is evident in email marketing particularly because many marketers surveyed say email marketing drives ROI but it’s not integrated with their marketing strategy overall. Digital Marketing Depot

[REPORT] The State of Social Video 2017: Marketing in a Video-First World
“According to Cisco, video will make up 80% of consumer online traffic by 2020, and Mark Zuckerberg said he sees video ‘as a mega trend on the same order as mobile.‘ Animoto set out to shed light on the video-first landscape.” Animoto

Apple’s New Animojis Are the Latest Sign That Brands Need to Embrace Augmented Reality
Tailing on the news of the release of Apple’s new iPhones, there is an exciting new development. What happens when you mix artificial intelligence and a leading technology company? You get, animojis! Apple’s version of the Snapchat’s Lens, this feature enables brands to connect with younger audiences in a meaningful way. AdWeek

Email Marketing To Total $22.2 Billion In 2025: Study
MediaPost reports: “The total dollar volume of email marketing will hit roughly $22.2 billion by the end of 2025, for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.60%, according to a study by Transparency Market Research. Last year, the annual total was U.S. $4.5 billion.” MediaPost

Google Offers Olive Branch to Publishers by Relaxing Policy on Subscription Sites
According to The Wall Street Journal – but not yet confirmed by Google – Google is ending their ‘First Click Free‘ policy on paywall gated articles through SERPs. This could reportedly help publishers boost subscriptions. The Wall Street Journal

Google Search App to Suggest Related Content
Content creators rejoice! Google is reportedly now showing related content in Google searches based on what content other searchers have viewed based on their related searches. Search Engine Journal

What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?

We’ll be back next week with more top news! Need more in the meantime? Follow @toprank for daily updates.

The post Digital Marketing News: Predictive Analytics, Blockchain and Email Marketing Industry Report appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source:: toprankblog.com

How does Bing’s voice search compare to Google’s?

bing-it-on-1347020038

Google remains the dominant player in search marketing, but the industry is changing very rapidly and the old certainties may erode. Does voice search provide a platform for Microsoft to compete?

A study earlier this year revealed that Microsoft’s speech recognition technology demonstrated only a 5.1 percent word error rate in Switchboard, a conversational speech recognition task. This shows impressive development and shows that Microsoft is more than competitive in this domain, but it is only part of the picture.

Speech recognition and voice recognition are significantly different. The former extracts words and comprehends what is said; the latter also understand who said it. We could frame this as content and context.

Context will be the defining factor in who becomes the dominant player in voice search, with an increasing amount of internet-enabled devices providing the opportunity for a seamless, conversational experience.

No doubt, search is at the very heart of this battle.

Bing has positioned itself as simply a more effective search engine, with campaigns like Bing It On aimed at showing users the quality of its results compared to those of Google.

Occasionally we see stories of impressive user growth for Bing, but never quite enough to suggest a significant threat to Google’s totemic stature. Latest estimates from Smart Insights put Google’s global share of the search market at 77%, with Bing on about 8%.

The signs so far suggest that Google will remain the dominant search player in the West, but the sands are shifting and it is increasingly difficult to predict where the industry will go. With a newly-announced partnership with Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft is clearly not going to give up the fight.

So, if search is the glue that holds this together, what is Microsoft’s strategy to compete with Google? We know Microsoft’s speech recognition technology is effective, but how do its voice search capabilities stack up?

Microsoft voice search: the key details

Microsoft’s digital assistant, Cortana, is embedded into Windows-enabled devices and into Microsoft’s Edge internet browser. That provides access to over half a billion users, once we factor in Microsoft’s Xbox gaming consoles.

Cortana has a multitude of uses. It helps users navigate the Windows interface and can respond to a multitude of wider queries, powered by Microsoft’s Bing search engine, for example.

Of course, mobile is a core focus and therefore Cortana is available via a range of Microsoft mobile hardware and software.

Like other digital assistants, Cortana is always ready to answer queries on a Windows device. It now prompts users to test its broadening functionalities by pushing notifications like “Ask me to remind you to buy eggs next time you’re at the supermarket” or “Would you like to know which song is playing?”

It can be a bit creepy and intrusive, but for the most part users will only really notice Cortana when they need to use it. The list of prompts is quite formulaic and Cortana simply searches a query on Bing when it can’t understand what the user wants.

All of this functionality is at its best when a user is logged in across a range of Microsoft devices, however. The same is true of any digital assistant, but the the respective cases of Apple and Google this is simply more likely to occur.

This means that Cortana misses out on vital context, not through any technological shortcoming, but rather through the lack of mass adoption of Microsoft’s hardware.

On the software front, Microsoft fares better. There are now over 100 million monthly users of Cortana via Windows 10, and the latest edition of the Edge browser continues to bring voice search to the fore.

This is still not quite enough to make a significant dent in Google’s lead, however. One of the most searched-for technology-based phrases on Bing is [google], after all.

Microsoft’s voice search strategy

The challenge for Microsoft has always been to gain enough of the valuable mobile software market to compete with Apple and Google.

Where Apple controls a very profitable section of both the hardware and software ecosystems, Google has historically focused on its Android OS as a Trojan horse to ensure continued use of its products on a wide range of devices.

With Google Home, the Google Pixel smartphone, and Google’s soon-to-be-completed purchase of Taiwanese smartphone company HTC, the focus has shifted to hardware as the Internet of Things comes of age.

Microsoft’s Invoke smart speaker ensures it has a seat at the table, but it is the partnership with Amazon’s highly successful Echo speakers that should increase usage numbers for Cortana.

Invoke

Microsoft has always fared well in the enterprise market (albeit under increasing competition from Apple and Google here, too), but the personal smartphone market has been harder to break.

Further integrations with popular platforms such as Spotify, to go along with Microsoft’s ownership of Skype, could start to position Cortana as an appealing alternative to the walled garden approach of Apple.

How does Microsoft voice search differ from Google voice search?

Although both function in similar ways, there are some core areas of differentiation:

  • Speech recognition: Cortana does this fantastically well and, although Google Assistant is still very accurate, small margins do matter in this arena. Although only a sample size of one, I can also attest that Cortana comprehends my Irish brogue much more accurately than Google Assistant.
  • Business task management: Cortana can be a huge timesaver with commands like “Pull up the latest version of my task tracker.” With full access to the Windows OS, it can locate documents quite easily and reduce time spent on laborious document searching.
  • Context: When a user is logged in across Windows products, Cortana can serve accurate contextual results. See below for an example of the same phrase searched by voice on a Windows laptop using Cortana and Google:

Cortana-Leeds

The differences are slight, but telling. Cortana knows that I am currently in Spain (I am using a Windows laptop), and therefore provides the kick-off in my local time. Google is not privy to this information and serves the result in Eastern Time, as my account is based in the US.

When results default to Bing, it all gets a little hairier.

I follow up by asking who will be in the starting lineup and receive a bizarre result about the USA soccer team, a news story about a Leeds starting lineup from three years ago, and some news about the Leeds music festival.

Leeds line-up

Google does a better job of this, but both lack the immediacy that integration with a social media feed would provide:
Google Leeds

This same pattern plays out across a wide range of travel, weather, and commercial queries. When Cortana can pull an immediate answer, it does so very capably; when it resorts to providing a list of search results from Bing, the quality varies. Google therefore represents a much more consistent, reliable option.

The new partnership with Amazon may open a range of avenues for Microsoft to reach a wider audience, which will only help to refine these recommendations. For the moment, Google’s superior search experience remains its trump card in the battle for digital assistant supremacy.

In summary

A graphic comparing the voice search capabilities of Microsoft and Google, respectively. Under the Microsoft section, the pros are listed as: speech recognition, ecommerce offering via Amazon, and Skype integration. The cons are listed as: voice recognition, lack of third-party integrations, and Bing search results. The devices which support Microsoft voice search are listed as: Microsoft devices, Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge. Under the Google section, the pros are listed as: context recognition, linked to all Google products, and Google search. The cons are listed as: speech recognition is flawed, shopping offering is a work in progress. The devices which support Google voice search are listed as: Android devices, Google Chrome and Chromebooks.

Image created by Clark Boyd

Source:: searchenginewatch.com