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Making Sure Your Content Distribution Strategy Connects at the Right Time and Place – Kyle Harper

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In the same way that each person has a unique fingerprint, every brand seems to have their own complex publishing workflow. Your mix of ideation, editorial creation, and distribution sets you apart from any other—and your audience notices. For all the work involved in bringing even a simple blog post to a page, marketers want to know that their content will actually be seen……

Read more: https://www.skyword.com/contentstandard/marketing/making-sure-your-content-distribution-strategy-connects-at-the-right-time-and-place/

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Reputation Management SEO – Hannah Taylor

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The internet is a wondrous tool that allows you to promote your brand and tell your story. However, that doesn’t mean others can’t also share their perspective. Whether these publishers are sharing false or accurate information, you want to make sure you’re doing your best to maintain control of how your story is being told and perceived by the masses. Contrary to popular belief, not all publicity is good publicity.

So, what should an individual or company do when their brand name is returning negative or unwanted results on search engines?

Let’s take a look at some common questions I have been approached with over the years.

  1. Is there any way to completely remove negative content about my brand from the internet?
  2. What is Brand Reputation SEO (sometimes called reverse SEO or negative SEO)?
  3. What steps can I take today towards managing my brand’s reputation in Google search results?

Is there any way to completely remove negative content about my brand from the internet?

Sometimes. Maybe.

Some firms claim to offer this service, but it comes with a hefty price tag and is not guaranteed (Ironistic is not one of those firms). The only real method one can take to remove something from the internet is to contact the webmaster directly and request that it be removed. I find this tactic has a meager rate of success as many authors will not take further action. You also run the additional risk of fueling the fire, inspiring them to write additional content on the matter or promoting the existing content more heavily.

However, keep in mind that if the posted content is genuinely wrong and potentially damaging to you or your business, talk to your lawyer.  An official cease and desist letter from a law firm can work wonders at times! There are certain situations where you can have information removed from Google, but in most cases, you will need to contact the webmaster – especially if you want it removed from the internet entirely.

So, if this isn’t the best option – what is? Enter brand reputation management SEO.

What is Brand Reputation Management SEO?

Brand reputation SEO is one tactic to aid in online reputation management through traditional search engine optimization best practices. The concept is simple – when someone does a Google search for your brand name, you want to control as much real estate at the top of search results with positive content so that any potentially harmful or brand-damaging content is buried lower in search results.

What steps can I take today towards managing my brand’s reputation in organic search results?

Let’s take a look at how you can start gaining control over search results through reputation management SEO tactics. Below is the process I use when assisting clients in this very situation.

1) Planning & Strategy

Do your research.

Identify which keyword variations of your brand are returning the unwanted results. Focus on this list for your brand reputation SEO efforts.

Examine existing online properties.

Create a list of all existing sites (on separate domains) that you have control over. This could include your company website, your personal website, social media channels, YouTube videos, managed local listings, and so on. Then, evaluate where your managed web properties rank in relation to the unwanted search results – later, you will focus on optimizing these properties for the keywords identified.

Explore additional opportunities.

Next, determine other opportunities for content generation around your brand name on other domains. Is there an opportunity to put out positive press releases about your brand? Can you find other listings of your business that you could claim and manage? Are there other positive ranking articles by other authors that you could contact and request certain optimization updates be made? Are there videos you have or could produce to be optimized for your brand?

Plan your tactics.

Finally, put together a list of specific tactics you plan to use to regain control of your brand or name in search engine results. I’ve included some general recommendations below; however, these should be custom tailored based on your specific situation.

2) General SEO Tactics and Tips for Building Out Your Task List

Use these SEO best practices to include your name in all existing and newly created positive content.

Include your name as the title tag of the page or post.

The page’s HTML title tag is one of the most important aspects of SEO. Search engine crawlers will look at this to determine what the page is about – so we want them to know it is about you! Keep this in mind for things such as social media profiles and listings sites as well, as most of these sites will default to using your profile name as the title tag.

Include your name in the page URL.

When possible, make sure your name or business name is included in the URL. If you are optimizing for a keyword/name that has multiple words in it, include a special character (typically a hash) between words to indicate a space to web crawlers. For example https://www.ironistic.com/team/hannah-taylor/ or https://www.linkedin.com/in/fosschris/.

Include your name in the content.

Make sure the variation(s) of your name that you are monitoring is within the content of the page. You’ll want to make sure you’re not keyword stuffing but incorporating variations of the brand name naturally within the content.

Include images with keyword rich alt text and file names.

For the content pages you are working on, always include an image of the business or person for which you are optimizing for. Save the image file using a name that corresponds to what you are optimizing for and then add an optimized HTML image alt tag.

Additionally, you can post images on sharing sites such as Pinterest, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram and Facebook with optimized file names. These images may appear in image search results.

Build additional websites.

If you don’t have one already, consider building a website or multiple websites using the identified keywords as the domain and filling it with SEO rich content. The website we developed for Karen Curione is a great example of a resume site that is optimized for Karen’s name.

Karen Curione

Build domain authority.

For the websites you own and the positive content you want to promote, you’ll also want to monitor the domain authority and work on improving that over time through high-quality link building. Link building can be time-consuming and challenging, but it is an essential aspect in improving your organic rankings. Need to learn more? Here are 7 facts about link building for SEO.

Don’t forget about the power of video SEO.

Did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine behind Google? Your brand name will get searched for directly within YouTube plus YouTube videos can also appear in Google organic search results! I have a whole bag of tricks when it comes to optimizing videos on YouTube so I’ll write about that in my next post. Sign up for our email using the form to the right to see future posts!

Consider adding PPC to your bag of tricks.

If you’re looking for a quick win on taking up some valuable real estate with positive content about your brand, consider running a paid advertising campaign to bid on the keyword you identified earlier. Your ad will appear at the top of the search results and will effectively “push” negative results further down the page.

3) Monitoring & Reporting

This isn’t an overnight fix, so you’ll want to be sure and monitor your progress over time. I recommend setting up some sort of keyword-based web monitoring through free or paid tools so you can be alerted of new negative or positive content around your brand, such as Google Alerts (Free) or Brand24 (paid).

I also strongly recommend putting together progress reports on a regular basis. Take screenshots of the search engine results from your keyword list previously identified before you start implementing the tactics below. Then, periodically take screenshots of the same results so you can compare over time. I like to highlight the negative mentions in red and report on how many unwanted results are showing up on the first. Do this for any search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo!, YouTube, etc.) that you are concerned about.

4) Get to Work

At this point, you’ve evaluated the situation, put together your plan of tactics, and are ready to start monitoring your progress. Now the real work begins. Start by identifying the “low hanging fruit” based on what you think will have the most significant impact and focus on those tactics first. I suggest putting all of the tactics you’ve identified into a task list and prioritizing them based so you can make sure you’re spending your time in the best way possible.

Feeling overwhelmed?  Ironistic can help! We can put together a customized brand reputation SEO strategy for your specific situation and work with you on an ongoing basis to execute tactics and report on our progress.

Your kindly Donations would be so effective in order to fulfill our future research and endeavors – Thank you

Transform Your Content Marketing Program with a Message Architecture – Katie Del Angel

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It’s necessary for content marketing teams to constantly evaluate where they’re at. From measuring performance KPIs to the strategic trajectory, it’s important to ensure that your programs are aligned and on-track for success.

One important aspect that may not be on your radar to assess? Your message architecture.

A message architecture is a prioritized set of communication goals to guide team efforts across the organization. Generally, it originates at the corporate marketing level with input from key, cross-functional stakeholders. For global content teams, it can – and should – serve as a North Star to ensure that all the content you produce supports your company’s overarching goals.

More than likely, your brand may not yet have a message architecture to evaluate. Yet, there’s never a bad time to establish a message architecture, and it’s never too late. So why not now?

Beyond content marketing, a message architecture can help teams guide decisions around everything from site structure and taxonomy to product design and partnerships. Arming your teams with a hierarchy of communication goals ensures everything you “say,” regardless of channel, conveys a unified message.

Why your team needs a message architecture ASAP

At this year’s ThinkContent 2018 conference, the idea of amplifying content efforts with integrated planning and collaborative tools was a frequent focus. One system to unify workflows and marketing assets across content, social media, PR, design, and/or product teams may seem like the holy grail of efficient collaboration we’ve all been waiting for, but we can’t forget the fundamental rule of successful content marketing programs:

Marketers with a documented content marketing strategy are five times more likely to succeed.

Although many marketing teams typically include some variation of voice and tone guidelines within their content marketing strategy, a message architecture takes this one step further: While voice and tone guides help us decide how to say things, a message architecture guides what we say. In particular, what we say about who our brand is and what we care about. And when it comes to crafting impactful content, knowing what your brand needs to say is the first step.

What a message architecture looks like

A message architecture summarizes a brand’s prioritized communication goals in a short list of attributes and phrases. This should be part of your documented content strategy to be shared among teams – which is especially useful when new members join or projects begin.

For example, Facebook might have a message architecture that looks something like this:

Considerate

Proactively transparent

Thoughtful and helpful

Friendly

Familiar, occasionally playful

Welcoming, community-oriented

Creative

Pioneering

Innovative, yet consistent

Open to user feedback

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We can see these attributes in everything from Facebook’s new feature announcements to privacy update notices to error messages. Although they never say “we do this because we are considerate,” it’s evident that Facebook prioritizes that characteristic in the way it communicates with users on a daily basis.

A quick note about what a message architecture is NOT

The concept of a message architecture stems from the content strategy discipline. Author and strategist Margot Bloomstein was an early proponent of the term in her book “Content Strategy at Work,” sharing advice for building a message architecture to guide digital content initiatives like website redesigns. As Bloomstein underscored in her book, a message architecture differs from a mission statement (which is more about what we aim to achieve as a company) and a vision statement (which establishes where we are heading) because it is both actionable and specific to communication. (These are also the primary distinguishing factors between a message architecture versus a brand personality.)

A message architecture is also not a glossary for the actual words we will use in content or marketing copy. Rather, your message architecture is a reference point for cross-functional, internal teams to decide what to communicate.

Although the message architecture isn’t a glossary, the exercise of developing one will help your teams define a shared vocabulary. And that’s at least half of the magic!

How to establish a message architecture

Option 1: Card sort approach

A 45-60 minute card sort exercise is a great way to align internal stakeholders – from both within and outside of marketing –  around a shared vocabulary, spurring conversation around a visual hierarchy of characteristics.

Step 1: Gather your words

You’ll want to compile a list of 50-100 adjectives to guide the conversation in your workshop.

In her book, Bloomstein shares an excellent list of words to use as a starting point. You can find the list in an excerpt of “Content Strategy at Work” online. She also sells a set of premade cards.

I typically make my own set by hand-picking the more relevant words from Bloomstein’s list, and supplementing with tailored additions for my client’s industry. I compile them in a Google spreadsheet, then write each word on its own index card.

Step 2: Invite your stakeholders

Workshops tend to go much smoother when everyone has a moment to digest the instructions beforehand, so it’s ideal to send an email to stakeholders explaining the workshop well in advance. (A note on timing: As most people tend not to consider themselves “word people,” I find that this workshop is best at the beginning of the week when minds are fresh and ambition is high.)

I also share the adjective list and welcome stakeholders to add their own ideas. This saves time in explaining when you get everyone together, and also makes the team feel more involved right off the bat.

Step 3: Sort your cards

Bring your stakeholders into a room (be sure to have a long table and plenty of space to move) and begin by asking the team to sort the index cards into three distinct buckets:

  • Who We Are NOT
  • Who We Are (Today)
  • Who We Want To Be (in two years, five years, etc. depending on how agile your organization is)

Take a few minutes to review outliers or words that caused dissent at the end of this round, asking the team to discuss and articulate presumptions or bias about words. For instance, does “innovative” make one member crinkle their nose in disdain, conjuring images of aggressively sleek tech startups, while another envisions a premium, industry-leading enterprise?

After documenting the “NOT” pile (I usually snap a picture and make notes), ask the team to focus its attention on weeding out any aspects of their brand “TODAY” that they may want to shed or outgrow down the line. Document, then clear away anything that isn’t part of “Who We Want To Be.”

Step 4: Group and prioritize

Although many adjectives may appear to be similar, this is the time to dig into nuances and preferences. For instance, maybe the brand is both “approachable” and “friendly,” but really wants to lean into being proactively “friendly.”

Typically, I encourage teams to group affinities like this, stacking one directly on top of the other to show preference and priority within buckets.

Once these buckets are defined, it’s time to prioritize the buckets, themselves. For instance, one client chose to group characteristics by the following themes:

  • Words that describe our product
  • How our community sees us
  • How our customers see us
  • Who we are at our core

Depending on the organization or industry, each bucket may get prioritized higher or lower. InVision, a design software company, for example, may place the most emphasis on the product – which then influences how the community views the company.

Step 5: Find affinities and document

Now is the time to sort through notes and pictures from the workshop. Remembering that the message architecture is not a glossary, find clear and concise ways to define your “buckets.” Check out the Facebook example above for inspiration.

2. Spectrum shortcut approach

This 10-15 minute exercise is a good way to visualize and verbalize priorities. This is a quick hack of the familiar brand personality spectrum to help us establish a message hierarchy. Because there is less opportunity to find nuance in this exercise, this is good for brands that already have a good idea about who they are and where they’re going.

Step 1: Share the spectrum

Ideally, this speedy exercise can happen during a project kickoff or another in-person meeting. If so, post the “Brand Personality Spectrum” on a whiteboard or using large (8×6 inch) Post-It notes.

Brand-Personality-Spectrum-1.jpg

If you are unable to do this in person, you can email the image to stakeholders separately, including instructions from Step 2.

Step 2: Mark your priorities

Once the spectrum is up, give each stakeholder two different-colored Post-Its or sticky dots per row. (For example, each participant would receive one pink and one yellow Post-It for “Personable and friendly” vs. “Corporate, professional,” another pair of pink and yellow for the “Spontaneous…” row, and so on.)

Ask each stakeholder to place the first color (say, pink) on each row where they believe the organization’s priority is TODAY. Then, ask them to place the second color (yellow) where they believe the organization’s priority can or should evolve to in the future. Each participant should contribute two colored markers for each row.

Take a moment to discuss here if there are obvious discrepancies or large leaps to uncover any assumptions or bias.

(If this is being done virtually, you will need to do a bit of extra legwork to follow up. A video conference call would be a great way to share findings and bring the conversation into the open.)

Step 3: Determine priority

Finally, ask each stakeholder to rank each row in terms of significance. You can do this by handing each participant a stack of Post-Its labeled 1-6, or by a color-coded tallying system on the whiteboard.

Again, this is a good opportunity to dig into the “Why” for each person, identify nuances, and find alignment.

Step 4: Document

As in the first approach, your output should look something similar to the Facebook example: concise, descriptive, and unique. (Because you won’t have a list of adjectives to get you going, you may need to be a little creative. Tap into the discussions you’ve heard to dig beyond the brand spectrum surface.)

Bringing the message architecture into your content marketing program

Once you’ve established a message architecture your organization can agree on, it’s time to socialize and fully incorporate it into your content marketing strategy. A few things you should do next:

  • Make sure to document the message architecture.
  • Update your content marketing strategy with the message architecture and ensure that all team members are aligned.
  • Explain what it is (and is not!).
  • Encourage your team to use this as a validation tool at the beginning of content planning cycles to 1. Ensure all content meets at least one stated communication goal and 2. Help prioritize scheduling or quantity of content in a certain focus area.
  • Take a look at your content hub. Is the UX supportive of your message hierarchy? Use the message architecture to consider how navigation, taxonomy, and overall layout can be improved to underscore your goals.
  • Share the message architecture with new team members and at the start of new projects, to maintain consistency.

When you know what your team really wants to communicate, it becomes that much easier to ensure you’re working toward the same goals – and measure success as you grow.

Your kindly Donations would be so effective in order to fulfill our future research and endeavors – Thank you

22 Facebook Marketing Tips for Small Businesses on a Budget – Lisa Smith

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Via: http://acceleratedgrowthmarketing.com

As Facebook seeks to deliver the content its users will enjoy most and find most relevant, organic reach has been on the decline. In fact, some say it is downright dead.

This presents a particular challenge for small businesses: You don’t have the same budgets as bigger advertisers to pour into paid posts to compensate.

“The harsh reality of Facebook today is that only about 1 out of 50 people who are already fans of your page will see any single post you make on your Facebook business page,” said Sam Underwood, director of business strategy at digital agency Futurety. “Long gone are the days of posting and knowing that many, if not most, of your fans will see that content.”

But fear not small businesses—there is hope. Here are 22 tips for how to find the right audience and offer up content and experiences they’ll value, even with a limited budget.

1. Post with intent.

According to Christina Hager, head of social media strategy and distribution at media company Overflow Storytelling Lab, small businesses need to be more mindful of how they communicate with their audiences.

You can’t just throw things onto Facebook and hope someone sees them,” she said. “You need to post with intention and then decide what you are going to do with that post”—in other words, whether you are going to boost it with budget.

To do so, Vicki Anzmann, chief creative officer at marketing agency Creativation Marketing, said to use Facebook Insights to help determine a good posting rhythm and content mix.

2. Try to blend in.

“Find ways to convey your brand by being funny, out-of-the-box, informational or unique,” said Eric Johnson, SEO specialist and digital marketer at web design, SEO and marketing firm FeedbackWrench. “Do that, and you’ll be sure to reach a large crowd on Facebook.”

Look at grocery chain Meijer.

image: https://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/bad-facebook-ad-for-small-business-622×900.jpg

facebook ad for small businessPer Johnson, this post shows below average results because both the design element and the copy strongly suggest a promotional angle.

“When coupled with a link to buy the product, Facebook’s algorithm was likely able to easily determine the overtly promotional approach that this post took on,” he said. “Due to this, the post was, overall, a failed effort.”

Meijer’s other sunscreen post, however, had more than 15 times the interaction because it exists purely for the entertainment value of reminiscing.

image: https://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/facebook-ad-tips-for-small-businesses.jpg

native facebook ad“Since there was no overtly promotional angle here, the post reached a much larger audience and garnered tons of engagements that got the Meijer brand noticed a lot more effectively than a direct sales approach,” Johnson added.

3. Don’t post without a content calendar.

In order to plan effectively, implement a content calendar.

image: https://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/facebook-content-calendar-600×401.jpg

content calendar for facebook marketing

Via Falcon.io

“A content calendar is the most effective way to maximize your efforts while minimizing the time spent on Facebook marketing,” said Dan Towers, senior manager of digital marketing at marketing and advertising firm Arcane.

“You can plan out content at one time and by using a scheduling program, like Buffer or Sprout Social, you are able set it and forget it,” he added. “But don’t actually forget it—still monitor your posts and focus on community management. Your customers will appreciate it.”

4. Optimize your profile page.

Because tabs serve as the navigation bar for your Facebook business page, it is important to make sure they are well organized and improve the audience’s ability to find information. By optimizing tabs, restructuring their hierarchy and including or removing important tabs, you provide the user with a smoother experience, said Mackenzie Maher, social media account manager at digital marketing agency Power Digital Marketing.

“If you are a service-based business, make sure your review tab is turned on. If you add tabs that link to your other social pages, make sure these are all grouped together. If you’re promoting an event or hiring for a new position, make sure these tabs are also turned on and advertise your information here,” she said.

 

facebook business page tabs

Via HubSpot

“It is simple, yet seemingly obvious tweaks like these that are often overlooked but can make or break the user’s experience. They should never have to look that hard to find the information they need.”

5. Establish a community page.

Ben Taylor, founder of freelance advice portal HomeWorkingClub.com, said community pages tend to give more organic reach than commercial business pages on Facebook.

“If you make the page invitation-only it makes customers feel special and is a good place to maintain relationships with them, one on one,” he added.

Taylor said he got the idea from the NicheHacks private mastermind group, which discusses affiliate marketing, and then set up his own advice group for HomeWorkingClub.com, which gains about 25 to 40 new members per week.

image: https://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/facebook-community-for-small-business.jpg

how to start a facebook community“When people sign up to my email list, they’re invited to join the group,” he said.

6. Create a Facebook group.

Maria Mora, content director at digital marketing agency Big Sea, said to create a Facebook Group, not for promotional purposes, but to allow for an exchange of information related to a given business.

“For example, if you sell essential oils, you can create a Facebook group specifically about pet owners trying aromatherapy,” she said. “The key is to find a niche within your customers’ interests and give them a space to connect. As that group grows, you can sparingly share your content, such as relevant articles or whitepapers.”

She pointed to the Ethical Aromatherapy group, which is moderated by essential oil retailer Stillpoint Aromatics, and has more than 13,000 members. Mora said it was created as a resource for consumers to discuss where essential oils are sourced and how to use them safely and it grew organically through members inviting their friends.

However, she warned not to use the group to promote sales or calls to action. The Ethical Aromatherapy page, for example, allows discussion and recommendation of other essential oil importers.

7. Be strategic about your group name.

When creating a group, marketing consultant Ron Stefanski recommended naming it after something people will actually search for in Facebook to increase the odds users will find it. He used this tactic when creating a Facebook group for his website, BengalCatClub.com, which has since gained over 10,000 followers.

“I personally think this tactic could work for any business in any area/industry—Facebook groups do really well to further the awareness of the brand,” he said. “I feel like it’s a good idea that most people aren’t using.”

8. Keep adding to your Facebook story.

According to Bernie Clark, founder of digital marketing and advertising agency Majux Marketing, Facebook Stories make posting often to Facebook much more casual.

“Stories don’t even necessarily have to pertain to company-specific news, they could be anything from fun questions to interesting links, anything to keep your audience engaged and cause a higher likelihood for a click on your profile,” he said.

image: https://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/facebook-stories-tips-for-small-businesses-600×487.jpg

small business facebook stories marketingNedelina Payaneva, digital marketing specialist at translation services firm Asian Absolute agreed, adding Facebook Stories don’t require slick production value either.

“This type of content has a casual, on-the-go feel,” she said. “Users feel like they are behind the scenes and that works. Similarly, Live feeds are increasing in popularity. From makeup tutorials to studio tours, brands can go live and interact with fans. These can be saved and shared, and have value on the replay side, too.”

9. Don’t obsess over vanity metrics.

Per Tommy Baykov, marketing manager at WordPress hosting services WPX Hosting, small businesses tend to have more limited marketing budgets, which is why they should focus on the things that make a difference to their bottom lines—and not the ones that make them temporarily feel good, like likes.

image: https://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/facebook-ads-average-click-through-rate-graphic-600×520.png

“Depending on your business and strategy, CTR, 50% video views [and] messages received are just some of the much more meaningful and actionable metrics,” he added.

10. Use Facebook for customer service.

Rafi Bitchakdjian, head of social media at marketing firm Cue Marketing, said smaller brands can lean on Facebook to help them deal with any customer service issues that arise much as corporations use bots to communicate with clients online.

“Audiences expect replies within minutes and Facebook is the ideal on-the-go platform to use when wanting to solve an issue or even just thank a customer for their positive review,” he said.

11. Post with a (small) budget.

Underwood recommends adding a paid budget—even a small one—to ensure reach.

“Try experimenting with different types of content, messaging, imagery and times of day, and use Facebook’s built-in A/B testing system to see what can help stretch your ad dollars to the max,” he said. “Posting without a paid budget is now officially a waste of time—you’re much better off posting just occasionally with a small budget to ensure that content gets in front of your valuable customers and prospects.”

Underwood said one national restaurant chain client has a per-post reach of 1.06% of its total likes on Facebook over the past several weeks—and another Midwest-based food client has seen its per-post reach drop to less than 7% in the last several weeks.

“Both of these are representative of what we’re seeing across all of our client pages recently,” he added.

Keri Lindenmuth, marketing manager at web design and software development firm KDG, agreed Facebook ads are effective because they allow you to custom-tailor the audience by location, age and more.

Recommended for YouWebcast, August 9th: Improving B2B Paid Marketing Campaign Effectiveness Through Pipeline Measurement

“Sometimes it is best if these ads look and sound no different than a regular Facebook post,” she added. “We have found that promoted video and image posts work best.”

12. Narrow your audience.

George Schildge, CEO of digital marketing agency Matrix Marketing Group, said the objective is to narrow down audiences and test to see which will produce the most results for a given objective.

“Think about it as if we were running TV ads and testing in different cities,” he said.

So, for example, for small batch coffee roaster EspressoLuv.com, he narrowed down Facebook users to those who like roaster Blue Bottle Coffee. From there, he can research what else these demographics like.

facebook targeting strategies small business“I’ll do this until I have about 30 other pages to begin narrowing my target audience before I start testing my ad creative,” Schildge added.

13. Consider boosted posts.

Per Greg Bullock, marketing manager at migraine relief company TheraSpecs, Facebook’s boost post feature allows users to expand the audience for their posts exponentially and target highly engaged and relevant prospects—with very little budget.

“Not only can it help you recoup lost organic reach from ongoing algorithmic changes, but it can increase visibility that ultimately generates traffic to your content and/or purchases for your product or service,” he said. “In fact, we have seen our most popular posts generate thousands of clicks for literally two or three pennies per click.”

And while Bullock noted there is tremendous value to setting up a larger campaign in Ads Manager, “sometimes you really only want a few clicks to get going. With boosted posts, you just set your target audience, your budget and you’re off and running.”

He pointed to this boosted post from TheraSpecs, which received nearly 1600 paid clicks at $0.02 per click.

facebook boosted postsTommy Burns, marketing specialist at digital agency Bluehouse Group, however, warned that small businesses have to be even more careful about how they spend their budgets and boosted posts have less targeting, bidding and pricing options.

“Ultimately, that means you’re getting less bang for your buck on each advertisement placement,” he said. “Small businesses use boosted posts because they’re quick and they’re busy. Unfortunately, they are giving up control over the advertisements their audience sees.”

14. Use boosted posts to optimize ads.

For his part, Kevin Namaky, founder of marketing education company Gurulocity, suggested using Facebook ads and boosted posts in sequence.

By creating two ads and giving both a small boost of around $50 to drive initial engagement, small businesses can see which ad generates the most engagement, such as likes, shares and comments. Then, Namaky said, advertisers can create a Facebook ad in Ads Manager with their conversion goal, but instead of recreating the ad, they can reuse the exact boosted post as their creative, complete with likes and shares already on the post.

“This will help your ad convert better than if you ran a new cold piece of creative with no likes or shares on it to begin with,” he added.

To run the exact same post with the social proof, go to your business page, scroll to find the boosted post and click on the date and time at the top of the post. The URL has a unique post number, which you can copy and paste when creating the ad by clicking on ‘use existing post’ and entering the ID under Creative,” Namaky added.

15. Learn how to use Facebook’s Power Editor tool.

If you’re serious about Facebook advertising, Burns suggested learning Facebook’s Power Editor tool to promote posts.

“It allows you to set up A/B test campaigns, create custom audiences based on conversion pixels and use advanced bidding models,” he said.

16. Use Facebook’s product catalog ads.

Kevin Simonson, CEO of performance marketing agency Metric Digital, called not using Facebook’s product catalog ads a “wasted opportunity.”

“This template is a surefire way to create a rich browsing experience for shoppers, encouraging greater product discovery and engagement,” he said. “It’s also the perfect tool for implementing dynamic retargeting. Not to mention, it allows you to connect an existing catalog from another platform, such as Google.”

One ecommerce client saw sales from Facebook remarketing increase by about 300% after implementing Facebook’s product catalog.

“Their ROAS went from 600 to 3000% and their CPA dropped from $45 to $9,” he added.

17. Structure your pixel strategically.

Scott Selenow, president of marketing agency Immerse Agency, said the Facebook pixel collects data about who is visiting your website and allows you to retarget those consumers later.

Facebook also has a lookalike feature, which allows you to target people who have similar online habits as your site visitors.

“The next ad campaign you set up can be all that more successful if you are able to specifically target folks you know have a propensity to interact with your campaign,” he said. “This pixel can help you maximize that intelligent targeting.”

However, if your Facebook pixel is poorly executed, you’ll lose because you’re not getting the data you need, Simonson added.

Facebook conversion tracking Time Spent on Site audience“Smart brands do everything it takes to make conversion tracking, optimization and remarketing easier. Pixel is the perfect tool for doing so,” he said. “It’s what helps you find new customers who are similar to your website visitors. And, shockingly, many of the companies we audit don’t have it set up.”

A small business client was able to turn Facebook into a channel that drove eight figures in spend, which is more than any of its other paid channels.

“Without having their pixel in order, that never would have happened,” Simonson added.

18. Use Facebook Custom Audiences to retarget users who have watched your videos.

Per Andrew Schutt, founder of internet marketing firm Elevated Web Marketing, one of the most consistently effective strategies is using video ads to retarget warm audiences.

“One of the great things about the Facebook Ads Manager is the ability to create custom audiences for your ads based on how long people watch your videos,” he said. “For example, a dentist might run a video advertisement to a cold audience talking about how important teeth cleanings are. After the teeth cleaning video has been running for a few days, we could then set up a retargeting ad that offers a discounted teeth cleaning to new patients.”

But, Schutt said, that dentist can choose to show the ad only to people who have watched over 50% of the teeth cleaning video.

“That way, we know they’re interested in teeth cleanings already, so our ad is going to be much more relevant and effective,” he added. “Whereas if we were to just serve that discount teeth cleaning ad to a cold audience, the engagement rate on the offer would be much lower.”

Schutt said he’s used this strategy with a solar panel installation company and a chiropractor to help generate leads.

“What makes this strategy so effective is that we only show that free offer to people who watched over 75% of the first video. So we know they’re interested in the benefits of chiropractic—we’ve already prequalified them, to a degree,” he said. “In a single week, with minimal ad spend, we generated 18 leads for [a] free [chiropractic adjustment].”

19. Create saved audiences.

Unlike Custom Audiences, Saved Audiences are those you configure through the standard Facebook Ads targeting options. But instead of configuring your audience each time you create an ad or want to boost a post, you can create saved audiences that you can use each time you start an ad campaign, said Chris Smith, co-founder of digital marketing and sales coaching company Curaytor.

 

facebook saved audience

Via Udonis

“This is a great option to use if you plan on targeting similar audiences each time you create specific ads or boost posts from your page,” he said. “Especially when you start creating ads in mass quantity and boost posts regularly, it will save you a lot of time and money.”

20. Test different bidding strategies.

Stacy Caprio, founder of marketing firm Accelerated Growth Marketing, said her #1 tip is to test different bidding strategies, including amount of bid and type.

“You can create four or five different ad groups for an identical ad with different bid amounts and types, let it run for a week or two, then kill off the underperforming ad sets and let the best bid results continue to run,” she said.

In addition, Simonson said Metric Digital has audited more than 1000 small businesses since 2013 and has noticed some companies use conversion bidding, but don’t have enough events tracked to optimize.

“Facebook insists that an ad set needs to generate 15 to 25 conversions per week at minimum to provide enough data to be successful,” he said. “Now, this could be difficult to reach if your company has just started advertising and your budget is small. In our audits, we will often see conversion bidding used on ad sets that are getting far less than this number of conversions. Meaning, if your ad sets can’t hit 25 purchases per week, you can try setting your conversion event to add-to-carts, or another event closer to the top of the funnel.”

21. Don’t forget to test ad placements.

Try both the Newsfeed and right-hand-side ads to see what performs best. That’s according to Namrata Arya, head of digital marketing for domain portfolio registry Radix, who added, “The right-hand side ads, while cheaper than newsfeed ads, may not get you the desired amount of clicks or conversions.”

22. Capitalize on link retargeting.

If you’re using Facebook retargeting ads to boost conversions and attract visitors to your website, you should use link retargeting, too. That’s according to Louisa McGrath, content manager at link management tool Rebrandly, who said this allows you to build out your retargeting lists and reach audiences that haven’t visited your website before, but which have been influenced by your brand on social media.

“Basically link retargeting allows you to add Facebook retargeting pixels to your short link when sharing curated content. Anyone who clicks on this content can be retargeted with relevant ads,” she said. “So you can retarget people who’ve clicked on media coverage, reviews or industry news related to your business, even if the link led to a third-party website.”

 

5 Key Elements of a Great Content Marketing Plan – Neema Kapoor

 

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First of all, I know that you are in all probability a one-man team with a deadline that expired yesterday but having a written plan is not only important but non-negotiable for the following 5 reasons.

  • A written plan with personas, themes, and strategies is a part of a formal process that allows you to request a budget and support without which even the best content will remain unseen.
  • A document allows you to get inputs from people smarter but busier than you (including the future you) and helps you map trackable goals of what you expect to achieve and when.
  • Writing down all the good ideas reduces the organization’s dependence on people (mostly you), plus it enables teamwork and is intuitively a smart idea in every way.

Good campaigns are ongoing and a lot more work than a single person can handle. You will need approvals, often be asked to make modifications, and be required to work with subject matter experts, writers, and designers for the final output. At times like these, having a document that you can send over or use as a common discussion point helps immensely and is far more efficient than explaining the bald, depressed potbellied guy in your head who you know NEEDS a shower head with 5 pressure settings.

Now plans follow standard templates with predetermined sections, often standardized within companies or downloadable by the dozen from a standard online search. You may often choose to combine or break down sections to make it your own but all plans should ideally cover the 5 elements outlined below.

1. THE STORY:

This is the foundation stone and, if neglected, also the place where most plans come to die. It is the “why” behind everything else. Why are you the fairest of them all? Create desire, passion, and drama, and elevate it BEYOND the ordinary. Do a short video, include props when you finally present it but make sure your team understands and shares the vision. A lot of companies create story boards with real life characters and details that get more vivid with time.

If you are stuck, I would recommend the HubSpot Academy Content Marketing Certification Course  to get started. It covers basic concepts but does a really good job of explaining the storytelling bit.

2. USER PERSONAS:

While tackled at the story level, this section is about their income, their lives, and their hopes and aspirations.

Where they shop, what they eat and how many children they wished they had. What they read, where they hang out and what other brands keep them company. This detail is important for 2 reasons.

A) It helps you visualize and therefore talk to them better.

B) It helps your media department advise you on how best to find them.

The niche you define needs to be large enough to be profitable but similar enough to have enough common features that make them a relevant sub group.

It is also extremely important to update these personas when necessary. A 60 year old grandma in 2018 looks and acts very different from a grandma in 1972.

A buyer persona is simply the most detailed, composite visual and textual sketch that you can create on the basis of hard evidence. I find the below 3 absolutely necessary before you can start writing.

  • Demographics along with a picture. (Age / Gender / Income Group… etc.)
  • Hobbies / Interests / Dreams in the context of how your brand fits.
  • Challenges / Difficulties / Problems in the context of how your brand can help.

But in case you have a mature understanding of your customer then you can refer to the nine that are discussed here:

60-75 year old grandmother who lives alone on a fixed but small school teacher pension.

Interested in keeping herself busy. Reads a lot. Always trying to learn a new recipe or skill in her free time.

Educated but still struggling to grasp new apps and smart gadgets which she wants to use to stay in touch with her family and friends.

3. DESIRED ACTION AND METRICS:

What do you want them to do? How will you know if they have done it? DO NOT write a word till you have a clear idea of your objectives. Now, setting quantitative goals is hard especially if this is the first campaign that you are doing with no benchmark data but it is essential to have a number to work towards.

The simple act of having a number brings you way closer to it that you can imagine.

While everything ultimately maps onto the customer journey cycle, I found this one article particularly useful, one way to visualize it is as below.

DO THEY KNOW YOU EXIST?

Depending on how competitive your niche is, this first step can be hard enough and the metric will depend on the channel used. The simplest measure for this is traffic, sessions, or views. Unfortunately, while the Rule of 7 is not cast in stone, getting noticed takes more than a casual bump in the hall. You will need to ensure that each prospect gets multiple opportunities to interact with your brand and story in order to truly understand it.

NOW THAT THEY KNOW YOU EXIST, DO THEY WANT TO HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH YOU?

Ok, so far you could blame your measly marketing budget or your ancient website’s loading speed but now comes the BIG moment of truth when your story REALLY comes into play. It is truly wise to set as many micro goals like session time/comments on a blog post or the downloads for an e-book as you can. These help ease your prospects into a more definite engagement, whatever that may be.

WHAT DO THEY SAY ABOUT YOU WHEN YOU ARE NOT AROUND?

This is a clear bonus, an icing or sprinkles kind of an extra, but having people say nice things about you, refer your services, promote, and even defend you is every marketer’s wet dream. Make sure you put in place processes, tools and even rewards that allow and incentivize people to put you on a pedestal.

4. PROMOTION STRATEGY AND BUDGET

Once you have a number of leads, views or shares in mind, you need to ensure that you have a promotion plan that supports it. You could write the greatest piece of content ever created but your customer is NOT going to see it till you invest in promoting it in the right channels be it a sponsored post, social advertisement or email. You will need a budget and point 3 is the only way you are going to get it sanctioned.

Now, I’m going to skim over this section but only because I plan to give you the link to the greatest book ever written on the subject. Please just read it cover to cover and become a content promotion GOD overnight.

5. TEAM AND THE OPERATIONAL SPECIFICS

Who will write, edit, QA, and promote it? In what quantity? Do you need subject matter experts, freelancers, or full time staff? What will be their respective roles and responsibilities? These are all questions you must ask yourself.

A content campaign is ideally not a one person job. You may feel

the need for subject matter experts, writers, editors, analytics pros, IT folks or marketing promotion support. You should work towards building efficiencies and scale through repurposing and recycling content that is successful. Modify and re-test the content that is not.

If everyone who read the articles and like it, that would be favorable to have your donations – Thank you.

How Big Rock Content Drives Major ROI – Dawn Papandrea

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When embarking on a content marketing initiative, you might think you need a significant library of content to get things going or attract attention. But if you go big enough with just one epic piece of content, it can fuel your content strategy for quite a while, allow for lots of spinoff content, and drive huge ROI.

Whether it’s an e-book, a whitepaper, infographics, or a video, “big rock content” can result in major returns on your time and money investment. “Whatever it is, it has to be big,” said Jason MillerLinkedIn’s Head of Content and Social Media Marketing at NewsCred’s ThinkContent London event. He’s one of the loudest industry cheerleaders for big rock content, and has the results to prove that it works.

Consider this: “The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide To LinkedIn,” achieved an ROI of 18,000 percent when it launched back in 2014, and is still LinkedIn’s number one asset today. It was most recently updated for 2017, and runs 48 pages.

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Need more convincing? Take a look at how big rock content can help you meet your ROI and KPI goals:

Building buzz, awareness, and impressions

After the blood, sweat, and tears of putting together its Breaking2 campaign – Nike’s big rock content project to chronicle if it was possible to run a marathon in less than two hours – it crossed the finish line with style. Some are even comparing Nike’s success to Red Bull’s infamous Stratos stunt, which featured daredevil Felix Baumgartner successfully jumping to Earth from the stratosphere.

Nike’s Breaking2 took two years and many different collaborators to put together, and culminated in more than 13.1 million people watching the livestream of the race on Nike’s Twitter page. As a follow-up, there was an hour-long documentary special produced with National Geographic, which brought in another million and a half views. A post-race teaser video has been viewed 6.5 million times on Facebook.

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Nike also had almost 600,000 mentions on social media, with the hashtag #Breaking2 being used more than 400,000 times, garnering more than 2 trillion impressions.

But there was so much more to the project than just the live event. In the leadup to the race, Nike created features on each of the three runners, and other pieces about its innovative shoe line.

Big rock tip: If you come up with a great idea, whether it’s commissioning an industry study, filming a documentary, or writing a definitive guide to help your customers, don’t fixate on the time and budget investment. Think about what such a piece of content can do to help establish your brand’s voice, position it as a thought leader, and/or showcase outstanding customer service. If you can achieve any of those high-level goals, it will pay off many times over in the long run.

Bringing in leads

When it comes to lead generation, one of the most proven ways to collect contact information is to offer audiences something of value in return for their information. Many brands have used content of the big rock variety to entice prospective customers.

In fact, Miller points out that while 73 percent of LinkedIn’s marketing qualified leads are driven by content, a third of them come from “big rock” pieces of content.

Ellevest, the online investment platform aimed at women, is a great example of how gated long-form guides can help drive leads. Although the company offers some free blog content, visitors who are most serious about getting into investing provide their email addresses to access premium, gated content, like “The Go-Getter’s Guide to Investing.”

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The challenge is, your gated big rock content has to be so alluring that people will be willing to relinquish their email addresses in exchange. One way to build trust with your audience is through blog posts and shorter pieces of content, which they’ll check out before accessing a gated big rock piece.

Big rock tip: Do the research to figure out the major questions and problems your audience has, and make that the focus of your big rock projects. Then, polish your shorter, un-gated content pieces so that they are high-quality enough to inspire audiences to take the next step into your lead-driving big rock content.

Facilitating the content-sales connection

It’s not always the case when you can draw a direct line between content marketing and sales. But when you can, there’s a good chance that big rock content played a role. One of the best examples of this is still Marriott’s ambitious big rock short film, “French Kiss.” It drove more than $500,000 in Marriott bookings in less than 60 days.

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The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide To LinkedIn” also directly resulted in revenue to the tune of $4.6 million in its first 90 days, said Miller in an interview.

Big rock tip: If your big rock content is intended for people lower in the funnel who are closer to their buying decisions, include strong calls to action and clear next steps. The LinkedIn Guide simply ends with a link to its marketing page, for example. Think about what you want your reader to do next, and make sure it’s a seamless journey.

Creating operational efficiencies for content marketing teams

While it’s true that a big rock content campaign can become all-consuming, remember that you can repurpose the heck out of it once it’s complete, thus making it the gift that keeps on giving.

Content Marketing Strategist Rebecca Lieb originated the “Thanksgiving turkey” content marketing analogy, which is perfect for big rock content: “You cook up this giant bird to serve up on one glorious occasion and then proceed to slice and dice this thing for weeks on end. If you are like most families, you are going to be repurposing this bird as leftovers for quite some time, creating everything from sandwiches, to soups, and more.”

MarketingSherpa is a brand that got lots of bang for its big rock buck after embarking on an extensive customer satisfaction research study that involved surveying 2,400 people and resulted in a 54-page report. The team was then was able to break it into chunks that focused on smaller data points and create press releases, short YouTube videos, and other social media postings.

Big rock tip: Be creative when it comes to different ways to slice and dice your big rock projects. Some ideas: Turn individual e-book chapters into shorter blog posts, create infographics from data points, put together a SlideShare presentation, create Instagram and Twitter-worthy images with pull quotes, do a “behind the scenes” podcast or video interview, and/or pull out key bullet points in your email newsletter.

Big rock content does take time, effort, and money, but it should be an integral part of your content strategy. Because you’re giving your audience something of value, it will result in a substantial return for your brand. Once it’s ready to go, launch it loudly, promote it heavily, and watch the ROI soar.

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Six Key Ways to Distribute Your Content & Grow Your Following at The Same Time

If you’re a leader in business, you’re probably not enamoured by social media. Sure, you’ve got accounts on LinkedIn and Twitter that an assistant or a member of your marketing team maintains, but you’re not too active there personally. You don’t have many followers, but you don’t mind; you have bigger things to worry about than who’s reading your tweets.

Too many leaders shy away from social because they see it as “kid stuff” or a time suck that has no place in their already-too-busy days — but social media is a crucial element of branding, content marketing, and meaningful content distribution.

As a leader, you’re the face of your brand, and if you’re looking to help your company reach new audiences and make the most of the content you’re producing, then your personal presence on social is necessary.

“But I don’t have more than a few thousand followers,” you might protest, secretly thankful that your slim following might get you out of your content distribution responsibilities.

The thing is that the more content you share, the more your following grows — and the greater the reach your company content achieves. It won’t happen overnight, and it will require strategy and effort. But with help from my marketing team, I’ve reached 144,000 Twitter followers, so I know it’s possible.

Social media is critical to your marketing and content distribution. But for it to be useful, you’ve got to build and nurture your following. I’m not suggesting leaders immerse themselves in all things social; you’ll probably be more productive if you keep your social apps at arm’s length. However, there’s plenty of room between being a Luddite and being a Twitter addict.

Here’s how to grow your following and boost your brand without being consumed by social:

Set ground rules

I’m blown away by the fact that less than half of B2B marketers don’t use social media guidelines. Social media trends push platforms to change all the time, and you can’t use them effectively if you take a blanket approach to all outlets.

Begin by identifying the platforms your audience uses most and then familiarizing yourself with best practices for those platforms and considering how you can engage most authentically there. You don’t want your posts to become formulaic, but reminders and guidelines will help you engage quickly and effectively on whichever platforms you use.

Create a social calendar

You schedule important deadlines, client meetings, and family events — your social media posts should be no different. Strong social followings are built on consistency, so use your editorial calendar as a jumping-off point.

Does your team have any big content projects planned? Any industry events coming up that you want to highlight? Ramp up your typical posting schedule, and get your distribution strategy for those events on your social calendar as well. Doing this keeps social media top of mind and your audience consistently engaged.

Use appropriate hashtags

Unless there’s a serendipitous opportunity to use general hashtags, resist the temptation to piggyback on popular but unrelated campaigns. Instead, before sharing an article or a blog post on social, use a tool like TagCrowd to analyze it and generate a word bubble based on the content. Next, use RiteTag to evaluate your potential hashtags and identify any popular ones you might have missed. (Bonus points if your brand keywords overlap with trending hashtags.)

Follow with discretion

When you’re first building your following, you may be inclined to follow everyone who throws you a like or a retweet. Be discerning about who you follow, and use hashtags and social search tools to identify who else is part of the conversation in your space. Avoid spammy accounts and bots as well. People will recognize fake accounts in your follower list, and they’ll see these as a desperate, artificial play to increase your follower numbers.

Engage your followers

Social isn’t passive. To make the most of it, you need to build relationships. Respond to people when they share or comment on your work, and reply to (relevant, not creepy) direct messages. Share high-quality content from other influencers, too. Your followers want to know what you’re reading and what you think about industry events; they’re not just there to see you tout your company’s latest article. Social success comes from both promotion and engagement.

Establish benchmarks for social growth

Use content distribution tools or custom content software to track your posts’ performance. Gather data on which types of posts and content inspire the most likes, shares, and comments and which platforms see the greatest engagement. As you learn what interests your audience, shape your content and social strategies around those preferences to better serve their needs. Adjusting as you go will also help you ramp up your social following because you’ll be able to deliver more of what your followers love.

Participating in your company’s content distribution strategy doesn’t have to be time-consuming or anxiety-provoking. By simply committing to your responsibility, scheduling posts, and monitoring performance, you can grow your influence and your company’s reach. Your brand will grow as you help it gain visibility, and that should be reason enough to shake your aversion to social media.

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