By Hank Kellerman
You’ve seen it in cartoons: A freshly baked pie is steaming hot and placed on the window sill to cool. The tantalizing aroma begins to drift around the house and finds a hungry character. With a quick flick of it’s cherry scented finger, the character slowly floats up a bit and begins to follow the wonderful smell.
Simply put, this is a great example of inbound marketing. In recent years there has been an explosion of inbound marketing across all types of businesses, but more specifically smaller businesses. Inbound marketing is the process of developing online content that is compelling, informative and fulfills your audience’s hunger for the product or services they want or need. Inbound marketing focuses on bringing customers to you versus having customers go out looking for them. This can be done in a multitude of ways, but some of the more common methods include blogs, social media discussions, forums and SEO optimization.
Before you jump head first into the rapid currents of inbound marketing, strap on some water wings and follow these guidelines for developing an inbound marketing strategy.
Develop Buyer Personas
How do you know and write for your audience? If you just write about topics without the proper research, you could fail to reach your desired audience. One tool that can help you create some excellent audience-specific content are your buyer personas. Buyer personas provide the inside scoop about what your customers are like. They can tell you numerous demographic and psychographic details such as their age, income, hobbies, day-to-day activities and more. Developing buyer personas enables you to accurately create specialized online content to address questions and topics focused to your customers.
SEO and Keywords
Most people know it is extremely difficult to show up on the front page of Google. Google uses digital spiders to crawl across the Internet and search for the most relevant content on that matches the needs of the search query. To get on the front page, your content must be optimized for search engines by using keywords.
There are a multitude of tools that can be used to find keywords, including the Google Adwords Keyword Planner and Long Tail Pro. These tools help you search for relevant keywords with regards to your topic and also can show you things such as how often a certain word is searched every month, its keyword competitiveness and other sites that use this keyword. If you find the right keyword and include it in your content’s titles and main body paragraphs with great surrounding content, your page will be much more likely to rise from the depths and find itself on the first page of Google search results.
Content is Key
This phrase has been uttered by marketing and public relations professionals millions of times. It also has never been so true. Creating compelling content that is relevant to what your consumers are searching for is only the beginning. For a successful inbound marketing strategy, your content has to be better than great. It has to be amazing.
Anyone can write a blog post about how to rebrand a business, but it takes a talented individual to write an in-depth, informative and star-studded post. You need to create content so great that other sites want to back link (the process of other sites linking to your post or site) to it. This also aids in the chances of your site being found organically by search engines. Search engines will view your site as having more credibility with more back links and, in turn, will lead to your site appearing higher up on search engine results pages.
How Do You Put This All Together?
Grab your mixing bowl and get ready to bake that aromatic fruit-filled pie that will have your audience flocking to your content. Do your research. Developing buyer personas, finding relevant keywords and writing amazing content all take time and effort. Spend the time to develop these three items and get ready to watch your consumers come to you. The world of marketing is changing rapidly, and the power of the Internet makes it is much easier for your consumers to find you on their own time than it is for you to reach out to them. So what are you waiting for? Start doing your research and that content-rich pie sitting in the window will be too irresistible to pass up.
by Briana Piercey
We live in a world that is totally saturated with social media. Being constantly connected is the new standard. If you don’t post, tweet or “snap” a video of your every move, people may just assume your life is boring. The problem is, this habit can cause people to share too much, which can have much worse consequences. Let’s just say that everything isn’t meant to be posted.
There’s an old saying: “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” When it comes to social media, though, it’s not how you post, it’s what you post. Social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are platforms where people brand themselves — whether they intend to or not. Posting without careful thought can create unnecessary risks, and although social media sites are great for sharing and connecting with others, they can also taint your professional image.
Control your content
Some people may think that if their profile pages are set to private instead of public, they’re protecting themselves. Although that’s ideally true, that’s not always the case. Despite the general privacy settings on a person’s page, the content they share is often available to “friends of friends,” which greatly increases the number of people who can see their post. Always check your privacy settings to see who exactly can view your content.
The “non-renewable” post
When on a social site, think of your control of your content as a non-renewable resource; once you’ve used it, it’s gone. When a Facebook or Twitter user hits that post/tweet button, that status leaves their control, never to be returned. Of course, you might have the option to delete specific content, which may provide a sense of authority as a social media user. However, websites often keep caches of everything people post and other users are able to take screenshots of content. By the time you delete something, it may already be too late. Once you post, you can delete but you can’t hide.
Social media safety
Along with potentially damaging your image, being careless on social media can also pose risks to your physical, financial or legal safety. Features such as location tracking or the contact information section of your profile page, for example, can reveal more than you might think. Crimes related to social media have increased at an alarming rate in recent years, so if you want to be cautious, here are a few tips for staying safe on social media:
Don’t announce your every move
“I just brushed my hair in the bathroom on 122 Lane Avenue and I’m headed to the Lennox shopping center all by my lonesome!” Okay, so this is a bit of an exaggeration, but it definitely simulates posts made by our fellow social media addicts. Publicizing your every move keeps family and friends informed of your whereabouts, but it updates potential predators as well. Play it safe and spare us the details. Simplicity is key.
Know who your friends and followers are
Contrary to what they would have you believe, not everyone on social media is your friend, and some may even have ill intentions from the moment they message you. Avoid accepting friend requests from people you don’t know and be aware of who’s following you. It might help you steer clear of hackers or other potential threats.
Avoid using profanity, images with alcohol, or other questionable content
Here’s a good rule of thumb for knowing if something is okay to post: If you’re not sure whether or not you should post it, #DontDoIt.
Are you conscious of your social media content? Do you have any tips to help people stay safe on social media? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
By Jonathan Haile
It might trouble the Innovative PR specialists (at least one in particular, I can imagine) to know that I had never heard of Kate Spade New York until yesterday. After all, I have no use for or pay any attention to ladies handbags or jewelry. That said, I appreciate a good integrated campaign, and Kate Spade is on top of that.
Anna Kendrick and “The Waiting Game”
This year, Newcastle made a few waves online with its “not Super Bowl” commercial, featuring Pitch Perfect star Anna Kendrick. It appears Kendrick, quickly becoming the queen of integrated and online campaigns, is back in this Kate Spade’s holiday ad, “The Waiting Game.”
The short and clever video shows the misadventures of Kendrick as she returns home from the retailer and quickly realizes she doesn’t have her keys. Watch the insanity ensue.
Why is it integrated?
When you find yourself on Kate Spade’s Facebook and Twitter pages, the first thing you see is The Waiting Game. It’s what makes social media so beneficial. The two minute and 30 second short film can play in the digital space, whereas it couldn’t fit as a television advertisement. Low and behold, you’ll probably find a 30 second version of it hitting your TV set as we get closer to Christmas.
It’s also instantly shareable. If you wish, you can easily send it to a friend or two, or you can tweet about it, using the hashtag #missadventure. Any time you search for that hashtag, Anna Kendrick and Kate Spade’s Twitter accounts are suggested to you in the results.
There isn’t just The Waiting Game video. I admire brands that give us these short films, but also give us behind-the-scenes access. When you watch the video on Youtube, another Kate Spade/Kendrick video is featured to the right.
It’s just a hunch, but I’ll go out on a limb and say that newspapers and fashion magazines will probably have Kate Spade print ads feating the young actress. Kendrick continues to build her star power and brand, and she is easily recognizable.
What can we learn from this?
Of all the things I touched on above, the thing that sticks out to me the most is the hashtag #missadventure. While it’s cleverly derived from the word “misadventure,” it helps the reader understand that this is a comical story about a character before they watch the video.
Again, it’s easily shareable and designed to get the user to the Kate Spade social media pages. It allows all the people talking about the video to find each other, interact with each other and interact with the company. If you don’t believe me, check out this tweet:
As PR students and professionals, we often have to explain to friends that we’re not in marketing and advertising, but those three ideas are often interwoven in integrated campaigns. Kate Spade does this brilliantly. It doesn’t surprises me that this was AdWeek’s Ad of the Day.
by Stephanie Harvey
Grabbing bloggers’ attention and getting them to talk about your company is becoming more and more important. Even a simple mention by an influential blogger with a large following could lead to a great deal of exposure.
Bloggers have a lot to say. The bigger their following, the more this may be true. That is why in the next few points below you will be provided with four easy ways to get bloggers writing about your company.
Choose targeted bloggers
It’s important to choose specific and targeted bloggers who are interested in or already write about topics relating to your company and industry. You can better understand the blogger by going back and reading over their posts. This may take some time, but it’s worth it. Doing this will help your company gain a better understanding of the blogger. Make sure to understand the blogger’s specific audience. They’re the people you want to reach.
Get bloggers interested
You can get bloggers interested many ways. One of the most common ways is to send them products to test. If your company solely provides services you can invite them to a one-on-one meeting. The blogger might also be interested in attending a product launch party or other exclusive event to gain inside access. Simply meeting the blogger over lunch or coffee and discussing your company may even get them more interested.
Motivate them by building a relationship
Give the blogger further information about the specific product that you are wanting them to promote or talk about. Images and videos are always make great content worth sending. Don’t forget about the highly influential video bloggers on YouTube and other video services.
Make sure to not send the blogger too little or too much content. Give them ways to find content on their own if they continue to show interest. Always make sure not to send them dry content. Giving them a digital and print media kit is a good route to take.
Share the blogger’s content
It also might maintain the relationship if promoting their original content. Bloggers that makes money from advertisements on their sites, so they’ll appreciate the increased traffic. Promoting their YouTube channel would help them as well.
By following the four steps you can not only gain insight into a blogger’s world, get them talking about your company, and most importantly, build a long-lasting relationship.
by Ana Guzman
Have you noticed that it’s less people are seeing posts from your Facebook page? Over time, Facebook has applied algorithmic changes to its news feed, drastically changing the content your fans see. This algorithm was designed to create a news feed specifically targeted to you, making it the perfect “personalized digital newspaper” as Mark Zuckerberg called it. However, it has created another problem. Over the last year many organizations, small businesses and users noticed a decrease in interaction. Users feel like it has converted Facebook from a free platform to a “Pay-and-Play” platform.
Suppressing organic posts
In an article last year on Forbes.com, columnist Nick Bilton, explained how he noticed decreases in likes, shares and comments in his posts, so he decided to experiment with the system. Bilton paid $7 to promote his column and within a few hours noticed the huge difference in shares and likes. He publicized his reaction, a belief that Facebook could possibly be suppressing other posts in order to boost others.
The algorithm as Facebook sees it
Facebook immediately replied, “There have been recent claims suggesting that our news feed algorithm suppresses organic distribution of posts in favor of paid posts in order to increase our revenue. This is not true.” The company explained that engagement has gone up 34 percent for those who have activated the Follow Feature and have followers. They also explain that people cannot compare engagement rates in posts from a year ago to today. Facebook says it is as if comparing apples to oranges. The comparison in engagement is irrelevant because the posts are not the same. Facebook also stated that decrease in interaction could merely be due to the content or type of post.
There’s more to Social Media than just Facebook
Users with little to no budget to promote posts have been bothered with the changes, and some even see it as an ultimatum. They can either find the means to boost their posts or leave the platform. However, Facebook’s algorithm does not mean users have to pay to maintain social media engagement across all networks. We as marketers can blame the algorithm for some of our troubles, but we’ll always be able to get creative with other social media outlets. A picture is worth a thousand words so capture an amazing one and tweet it, post it on Instagram or Pinterest and compare the engagement. And who knows? We may just have to strengthen our content on Facebook to make it more appealing to our audiences.