Once you’ve established a solid online presence, it’s time to go off-site to help support the growth of your business. There are many tactics that can improve an inbound marketing strategy and SEO health, but one of the fundamental elements to doing so is through the distribution of press releases. These newsworthy articles are multi-faceted as they can disseminate general company information by casting a wide net to local and/or national audiences, hook new leads with relevant content and contribute to SEO strategies by providing inbound links to a company’s website. So, how do you create a press release that accomplishes all of these things? Keep reading for a guide and best practices in writing a press release.
The title of a press release should be a one-sentence summary of the news you are publicizing. Many journalists won’t even take a second glance at the material you’ve prepared unless the headline grabs their attentions. The same would hold true for a reader. Most consumers scan headlines and read through articles that are interesting based on the point made in the title. The best way to construct this critical piece of a press release is to extract the simplest idea and frame it using relevant keywords. Using keywords will enhance visibility on search engines and boost SEO metrics.
This is a news story, so it should be written that way. Press releases are no place for fluff. Write out all the facts and/or points you want to make in your article. Make sure your press release answers the most significant questions: who, what, where, when, why and how. Rank these points in regards to importance and relevance while also keeping logical order in mind. If you consider the fact that some consumers might not read the entire article, you at least want them to get the most important information first. This is why ranking each point is a valuable tip. Congratulations, you have just created an outline for you release. Expand upon each point so that the article is complete and you have a newsworthy article.
What good is creating a press release that doesn’t tie in information about your company? Including a well-written boilerplate is key to turning readers into potential customers. A boilerplate is a short summary about the company. Think of it as a press release’s elevator speech. It should communicate the value your business provides and most importantly, contact information. The company name, address, website, email and phone number should always, always, always be included in addition to the name of a contact person that is capable of receiving the request. This way, those readers are truly are interested in learning more have an easy way to contact you.
Journalists are overworked, so make their job easy by preparing a publication-ready piece. Remove the fluff and certainly make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors. The biggest hurdle in composing a print-ready press release is to make sure that is in compliance with AP (Associate Press) Style. This sometimes tricky style of writing is what all publications use to edit pieces, which provides consistency across all media. You can purchase an AP Style Guide book at any bookstore or online. Once the content is spot on, make sure you include hyperlinks to your website and other relevant sites. It is suggested to include one link per 100 words of a release. Don’t link every other sentence, but strategically place links so interested readers can pursue more relevant information. This will also be a huge asset for your SEO and inbound marketing efforts.
Writing press releases is a simple and effective way to increase brand recognition and support strategic marketing and communications plans. If you need help with your public relations efforts, SEO strategy or inbound marketing tactics, contact our Atlanta advertising agency today.
About the author: Jocelyn Smith knows integrated marketing. Learn more about her expertise here.
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Just like fashion, digital design is always evolving – never ceasing to change. Each year, we see certain online design trends emerge that really add flavor to website development, digital advertising or when simply surfing the Internet. Web Designer Ledger has identified four trends we are seeing this year and include a range of creative approaches. From soft backgrounds to vibrant neons, 2013 is seeing a broad scope of digital design solutions.
1. Pops of Color on Muted Backgrounds
This particular trend is a great digital design solution if there is a need to highlight important information on-screen. Greyscale backgrounds are easy on the eyes, so when bright accent colors are added into the mix, the attention of a viewer can be easily focused one way or the other, based on importance. Additionally, the soft background hues with few color inflections allows the creative as a whole to be viewed simply while still maintaining a certain air of sophistication.
2. Pastels and Muted Tones
Color-crazy designers and apprehensive clients can meet in the middle with this digital design trend. Neutral color schemes can be exciting with the proper integration of soft pastels. Because there is consistency in the way the colors feel, many shades can be used without causing sensory overload. The combination of muted tones can give the creative a welcoming feel – not too loud or overwhelming, but leaving a mark of innovation. Pastels can be professional, which could set you apart from the very one-note corporate online design world.
3. Electric and Vibrant Shades
Neons have packed a punch in fashion design for a many seasons now, but the trend is still at the forefront of digital design. This is an exciting and playful way to engage online users with bold and bright creative. It’s best to use neon colors when the focus is on graphics. Too much type on a bright page can be a lot to take in. Make sure that the viewer doesn’t have to squint just to understand the messaging on-screen.
4. Blocks of Color
A trend that that has really taken hold with designers and consumers is color blocking. This design treatment is actually very applicable from a usability standpoint while also showcasing cutting-edge creative elements. Blocks are great ways to segment information, grouping together related items or separating a broad scope of material. If the clean lines and enclosed spaces aren’t enough to strategically separate information, changing the colors of each piece will certainly do the trick. This simplistic presentation can be seen in web development, on sites such as Pinterest, or even on printed collateral as well.
Following the digital design trends can be an intriguing ride. This constant evolution continues to pose the question, “What will they come up with next?” infinitee has an eye on what’s ahead and can develop award winning design online or offline for your business. Call 404-231-3481 to speak with Jocelyn Smith to get your brand on trend.
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We’ve all made the switch to buying online. What’s not to love, right? Shopping from your couch and delivery to your door has become the standard for online retail. Some reports are predicating that this convenient consumer experience might actually be a $300 billion industry by 2015 in the United States alone. So, what are those cutting edge companies that are going to see facilitate the evolution of the e-commerce craze? Mashable created a list of five companies to watch as they are changing the way we shop.
#1 – STORENVY
If Shopify and Etsy had a baby, they would have bore Storevny. This unique marketplace allows sellers and shoppers to benefit from one online platform. Storenvy allows sellers to create their own stores, with complete customization details while simultaneously presenting these stores in categories for consumers to browse. Founded in 2008, Storenvy is making waves as more than 18,000 independent stores are utilizing the software and consumer use has increased, generating fourfold increases in cross revenue.
#2 – AUGMENT
Augmented reality is hitting e-commerce with this French start-up. Have you ever been frustrated when viewing a product online and you are able to see if from one specific angle? Sure, there might be a few pictures of each angle, but wouldn’t it be cool to see the product in 3D? That’s the goal for Augment as it aims to merge consumer viewing with computer-generated input such as sound or film. Advertising and marketing of products could see some really interesting changes with this technological development.
#3 – THREADFLIP
If you’re cleaning out your closet and looking to make a quick buck, this might be the socially-driven e-commerce platform for you. This startup allows users to buy and sell women’s clothing and accessories directly. If you’re not interested in doing the work to get your product moving, you can use Threadflip’s white glove service that will take your merchandise, photograph it, upload it to the site, price it competitively and ship it to the lucky buyer.
#4 – KNOT STANDARD
Knot Standard is the Nike I.D. of men’s suits. This company allows you to create custom suits online without ever having to visit the tailor. Users are able to choose from a wide variety of colors, fabrics and styles to help create a one-of-a-kind suit. Onsite tools, such as a 360-degree spin view allow customers to see and make decisions about all of the details.
#5 – THE FANCY
I know most Pinterest users would love to be able to treat their online pinboards as wish lists. The Fancy is making that happen by allowing users to create online shopping carts from various sites and purchase directly from its own site. The company is rumored to be in talks with Apple about the tech giant purchasing the e-commerce site as well as the mobile application.
Retail branding will never plateau as new innovations are being made to the industry each day. The shopping evolution continues and consumers are in for savvy new ways to purchase merchandise online.
If you need help with your retail branding or retail promotion efforts, contact our Atlanta advertising agency today.
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Today’s society has become accustomed to having the world at its fingertips. Most of these consumers have high speed Internet, decreasing attention spans and a low tolerance for fluff. They want to search for what they need and find what they are looking for in a matter of minutes. This ideology should affect the way your content marketing materials are developed. If your content has captured the attention of a consumer, it may only be for a few brief moments, so you need to structure your content in a way that makes it easy to read, easy to understand and easy to convert a lead. HubSpot has outlined 6 tips to help make content “snackable” that will enhance your digital strategy.
1. Headlines are Clear and Concise
Don’t try to explain the entire content section in your headline – that’s what the body copy is for. Give consumers a direct explanation of what they will find in the paragraph. They may choose to read that section or skip along to the next. Either way, you’ve structured the content so the reader can engage with what they feel most drawn to. Think of the headline as an item on a menu at the restaurant and use the body copy to explain the intricate details.
2. Establish Structure in the Introduction
The headline of a piece of content is important, but the make or break moment for consumers is most likely the introductory paragraph. Those few sentences are always the best way to decide whether or not the content is something worth reading or engaging with. If you fluff up the introduction, those visitors attracted to the article by your headline will quickly leave. Let them know the benefit they will get for reading the content in its entirety.
3. Break Up the Copy
If a consumer navigates to a particular blog post or article that looks hard to read – long paragraphs, no headlines, no bullet points – chances are they know they will need to commit more time to engaging with that piece and they will leave. Make it easy for them to stay. Use lists whenever possible. Rather than stringing along five pieces of useful information in one sentence, list it. And, always set up your list with a quick reference of what the bullet points are addressing.
4. Consider Importance and Structure Accordingly
Even though it seems so easy for a user to scroll down a page, they may not be so willing. Write like a journalist and make sure that your most important points are at the top of the article. If a consumer isn’t entranced with the content from the beginning, you don’t want them to miss the most valuable information – they may even hold it against you that you didn’t give them the secret sauce until the very end.
5. Create Quality Content
Creating content that isn’t good helps no one. Make sure the time you invest in developing an article or blog post is relevant and something useful that your potential consumers will actually want to read about. Posting content for the sake posting content will not drum up more business – it might even deter some. Make sure that there is a purpose for the content and follow up with a clear and related call-to-action that will extend the relationship.
6. Think About a Series of Posts
If you’ve got something really valuable to say but it’s starting to get a little lengthy, there is no shame in creating a series of posts – it actually might work to your advantage. Breaking an article into parts of a series can allow you to keep the snackable structure we’ve discussed here while also adding the necessity for return visits. If the content requires a lot of explanation, you could even consider turning it into a white paper, an infographic or a video.
The goal with any piece of content is to enhance digital strategy but make it consumer-friendly. After all, they are the ones that are driving business decisions.
If you’d like to learn more about how to develop content to build a stronger brand identity, contact our creative advertising agency.
Jocelyn Smith – Author
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Retail is changing each and every day. It is an industry that has been so drastically affected by the digital age that it requires constant re-invention. The retail customer has changed and the way they shop has been transformed. It’s hard to stay ahead of the curve when certain industry-altering technologies and consumer insights haven’t even been tapped into, but the key here is to understand that retail and its consumer will change. It’s important to remain knowledgeable about emerging technologies, but also how these technologies affect the shopper. After all, consumers are the number one priority. The Customer Insight Group has outlined 5 consumer-driven trends for 2013 that hone in on the new shopper and how digital is affecting their purchasing habits.
1. Social Shopping is All the Rage
Now that consumers have the ability to be constantly connected to one another through social platforms, sharing information can happen anywhere, anytime, specifically about your brand. The every day shopper is always looking for support in making retail purchases. Whether this support comes from a consumer’s research of sales, a customer review of an appliance or a business’s distribution of a coupon, most shoppers need motivation to make a purchase. This motivation is different for everyone and that is why having a social media presence is so important. Social media can reach your consumers and sway purchase intents.
2. Watch Out for the Millennials
Millennials are beginning to transform into big spenders, so it’s important to consider how, when, where and why they want to purchase. To support the first point, Millennials are social and 51% say consumer opinions make a big impact on purchase decisions. If this demographic is starting to take hold of a piece of the market share, listen to what they are asking for and provide an answer. If you need more consumer feedback to feature on your website or social platforms, campaign to gain more qualitative support for your brand and share that information. It’s also important to consider that many Millennials are finding an economic voice. 63% of Millennials said that they are more willing to pay higher prices for products where portions of the sale are given to good causes. This is a statistic that is win – win. Companies can be mindful of their social responsibilities and generate sales.
3. Mobile, Mobile, Mobile
E-commerce is already taking hold in how people purchase products. Now, the m-commerce craze is emerging. In a study conducted by Forrester Research, it is estimated that mobile commerce will increase from $3 billion (2010) to $31 billion in 2016. That is powerful. Mobile shoppers have stronger purchase intents and are highly convertible consumers. No matter what your retail business may be, a mobile strategy must become a part of your overall marketing plan.
4. More Channels = More Sales
Shoppers that engage with retail business across multiple channels spend 18 – 36% more than the consumers who only engage with a brand through one medium. This is reason alone to develop a marketing portfolio that casts a wide net to engage all consumers and hopefully in more than one way. Things to consider could include the following: a PC website, a mobile website, an app or social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.). This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it gives you an idea of all the different strategies you would need to develop to increase engagement with consumers and generate more sales.
5. Big Insights from Big Data
There is a buzz about “big data” this year and for good reason. It is projected by the McKinsey Global Institute that companies taking advantage of “big data” services could increase operating margins by more than 60%. Obviously, big data comes with big costs, but it just goes to show that the numbers don’t lie. It’s so important to invest in research – and often! It will allow you to keep a finger on the pulse of what your consumers are feeling, thinking and doing, which could help you craft strategic marketing and communications campaigns that give the consumer what they want. build brand identity and increase sales.
For help with your retail branding, contact us today. Call infinitee at 404-231-3481.
Want to know more about the author. Get to know Jocelyn Smith.
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If your company is just now getting on the corporate blogging train, you’re already falling behind. Blogging is an essential part of developing an online strategy that seamlessly integrates with other digital and traditional marketing efforts. Now, blogs are no longer the only “content” component in a healthy inbound marketing strategy. The scope of “content” is deep and wide, which gives businesses lots of opportunities in developing fresh and unique consumer-driven information. The easy part in participating in this content evolution is idea creation – the hard part is actually producing it. As such, Business 2 Community has outlined a seven-step program to building a content machine that will allow your company to create large amounts of content on a regular basis.
Photo credit: Marketo
Any strategic effort cannot exist without a plan. What you’ll need to do more specifically in the planning stage of developing content is define personas. Who are you developing this content for? What type of consumers are you trying to attract to your website? What information are they looking for that you can provide? This step is really about looking at your strategy from the consumer’s perspective.
You really have to think about developing content like an editor thinks about publishing. The editor alone cannot develop, create, disseminate, track and analyze content. There must be a dedicated team developed to each of these efforts with assigned and clearly defined roles and responsibilities. In this “content machine” situation, those assigned to the tasks cannot be a part of each phase, but the team as a whole needs to understand how each individual section operates so the process can be efficiently and seamlessly refined.
In introducing the steps to building a content machine, it was said that idea creation is the easiest part of this process. That can certainly be the case, but sometimes it might be difficult to get started. Feelings of writer’s block will inevitably arise, but doing a lot of the legwork upfront can help break down the content dam and let the ideas flow. Before diving into the actual production process, take the time to have a very focused brainstorming session with the team to create a bank of ideas, to which you can continue to add. Ideally, this bank should keep your content machine moving for at least six months. Imagining ideas for content can be sparked by keeping a close watch on what your competitors are doing (or not doing that you can take advantage of), answering your consumer’s top 10 questions or taking your own niche spin on what might be happening in your industry.
This is the fun part – seeing your content come to life. Production is also the most critical part in properly executing a content strategy. The saying goes, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but we all do it – it’s human nature. If something looks intriguing, we are more willing to spend the extra time delving in a bit further to learn more. Think about how the content will be best received and deliver it that way. Is this content best suited for a blog article? How about a YouTube video or SlideShare presentation? Can we create an infographic? Is it a white paper? Decide what might be most enticing, but make sure the medium is relevant to the content.
5. Audience Development
You don’t want to invest all of this time and effort in developing content and then only be able to share it with a handful of people. Think about how you can expand the range of your audience and how best to engage those users. Popular ways to build a following would be through social sharing, syndicating your content on other website, paid search campaigns or even guest blogging.
Your content will speak for itself in this phase. If you’re producing great content on a regular basis, consumers are going to want to come back for more – increasing the number of people subscribing to receive the content when it is published. Build relationships with these engaged users to turn them from admirer to client. Create touch points that keep them intrigued and know that you value their participation. Email marketing is a great way to nurture these leads.
7. Measure & Optimize
How are you going to measure the success of your content? This is a question that must be answered before the content is even developed. Different metrics apply to different types of content based on topic, target audience, goal result and the medium by which it is distributed. If you answer that question first, then you can focus in on what analytics are most important. Based on that, you can make changes for the next piece developed that address the pros and cons of your results.
If you need a helping hand in developing an integrated marketing strategy or building a content machine for your business, contact our Atlanta advertising agency today.
The author of this article is Jocelyn Smith. You can find out more about her expertise in strategic marketing and communications by visiting her bio page.
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Search engine optimization (SEO) has seen some drastic changes in the past two years. With the Panda and Penguin sweeps, old SEO tricks are a thing of the past. A solid integrated marketing strategy that compliments and boosts traditional SEO is the way of the future. Another digital enterprise that has seen a world of change since 2011 is social media. Yes, the online platforms have been around for much longer, but they have never been as seamlessly aligned with consumers every day lives before now. Herein lies the key to online marketing strategy – linking SEO and social. Based on a “search and social” mentality, Search Engine Land breaks down how to combining these two efforts will garner big results.
Make Yourself a Big Fish
Relying on social SEO can help companies that have not previously invested in SEO, or those companies just starting out, compete with the big fish that have been campaigning for years. Before social networking and before social SEO, sharing content only happened through press releases and news outlets. Consumers had less information at their fingertips. Now, sharing content happens daily, hourly and even by the second. If your blog post is retweeted, the traffic to the site and authority of that page can skyrocket. If that same post receives a +1 from a very well connected admirer, the article can easily become a top-ranking listing.
Suck It Up – Get on Google+
Since Google is basically the end-all, be-all in regards to search, it is definitely a good idea to invest time into its social network, Google+. Though the social platform doesn’t traffic as much engagement as Twitter or Facebook, your registered profile alone helps with search engine optimization efforts. The strategy for having a Google+ page may be different than having a Facebook page, but the end goal is the same.
You’ve Got Followers, Now Build More Relationships
You’ve spent countless hours devoting your efforts to increasing the number of fans and followers you have on all relevant social sites. After these folks are engaged and are here to stay, build more relationships. Continue interacting on an individual level and bring in new fans and followers. You have to keep working and networking on social media. The growth of these platforms isn’t slowing down and neither should you and your social media services team. Just like a friendship – you’ve got to constantly work on the relationship to keep it healthy. In the end, these efforts will be returned to you ten-fold when those engaged fans and followers share or recommend your content. Don’t forget to thank them when they do!
Create, Share, Repeat – Fast!
As soon as your content is ready to be published, make sure it is shared on all relevant social platforms. This will help your articles become indexed more quickly and will increase traffic to your site. This is definitely a best practice in social media strategy and integrated marketing strategy.
Ask Yourself – Is This Shareable?
Make sure that any type of content you’re dedicating time and resources to developing is something that consumers or media would want to share. If it doesn’t have a purpose, it probably won’t do much for you in return. You get out of social SEO what you put into it.
Branch Out to Pinterest and StumbleUpon
If you’re not already taking advantage of Pinterest and StumbleUpon, you’re potentially missing out on a providing a consumer the opportunity to see and share your content. With Pinterest, your linking numbers can soar. With StumbleUpon, your referral traffic can jump enormously. To help cultivate these efforts, add the “Pin It” and StumbleUpon buttons to your social sharing toolbar.
Social media will never outpace traditional SEO efforts, but these networking platforms are great indicators determining the quality of content, which is what search engines love to see. Think of social SEO as a building block in your tower of an integrated marketing strategy.
To learn more about how to enhance your integrated marketing strategy, contact our Atlanta advertising agency today or click here for a complementary SEO assessment.
Jocelyn Smith is the author of this article. Learn more about her expertise in strategic marketing and communications by clicking here.
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Social media is taking on a broader scope in purpose as new online platforms develop. From shopping, to banking, to crowd sourcing, social media is leading the way in providing digital solutions to human experiences. Social Media Today briefly touches on 6 of the most popular social media services among consumers for 2013.
Online shopping is not what’s new for consumers in 2013. What is new, however, is the efficiency and the customization platforms available. With new technology, apps and designs implemented everyday, we are experiencing new levels of speed, convenience and ease. Take every fashionistas’ favorite site Rent the Runway for example. You can search by availability date, color, size, occasion, price – everything and they will send you a couture dress to wear for one night for a fraction of the price. They will even send you a back up size in case it doesn’t fit. On top of that, they can pair jewelry and accessories and send style tips on how to wear the dress.
2. Partnership Publishing
Again, technology has proven to be a driving force behind consumer transformations. It seems like we can do everything on our own these days, including publishing our own materials. But what’s really popular now, is the ease of partnership publishing where you can be an independent author pairing with an established publishing boutique. The publishing business better learn to up its social media services more to this idea before they get left in the dust of competition.
It’s honestly amazing that this has taken so long to develop popularity. This allows people to create their own online fundraising campaigns for any effort of their choice. It’s an easy way to get your cause out in the public’s eye and start bringing in some cash. From mission trips, to non-profit events and even health costs or tragic accidents, sites like GoFundMe and GiveForeward are making headway fast in the social media services category.
4. Hyper-Local Commerce
As we continue to recover from the economic recession, community is ever increasing in value. People want to support their local community stores whether that be from a boutique standpoint or a large entity retailer. They still want the online convenience but they appreciate supporting their local businesses. Sear Local is a perfect example of this new concept.
5. FriendSourced Travel
As far as new social media inventions, this takes the cake. We’re always jealous of our friends’ recent vacations or dining experiences and now there are apps that actually allow you to share these experiences. As any social media strategy suggests, people haven’t changed, technology has. People have been sharing since the beginning of time but now there is an app to even share your travel and dining experiences.
The last big social media service we’re seeing a lot of already in 2013 is online education. People are able to acquire degrees on their own time, from their home, opening up more hours in the day for family, jobs and travel. Whether these online universities will compare in credibility with established schools is something to be told by the future. But for now, they are certainly growing as a new trend.
Social media services are changing daily and it’s hard to keep up with where consumers are. For help with your social media strategy, contact us today or click here for a complementary SEO assessment.
infinitee can help with social media strategy. Learn more about infinitee's CEO and author of this post, Jocelyn Smith.
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This blog post is for all the almost-graduated college and high school students out there beginning the search for their first real-world jobs. Social media is great. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn – they’re all fantastic ways to keep up with friends, promote business, organize online content and posts pictures. But, students can be overlooking things posted on social platforms that can seriously impact their futures. It’s true – life planning is now social media planning. As Mashable posted, here are 10 things that students should never put on the Internet.
1. Illegal Activities
You probably think this is beyond obvious, but truthfully it’s not as easy as you may think. Individuals should not post pictures of anything that could even be perceived as illegal. Personal social media strategy should always be clean and a thorough sweep should be made every few months to ensure personal brand is reflected in social media.
This is big. A lot of people don’t exactly know what constitutes bullying, aside from physical abuse. Anything said on social media platforms, even blogs, can be traced back and individuals can be seriously prosecuted. Without context, a joke can be seen as bullying and it’s just better to refrain entirely.
3. Teacher Talk
Here’s one point most students never think about. If you say something bad about your teachers, you can get into serious trouble. Not only from the school, but there goes future recommendations from not just your least favorite teachers, but their colleagues as well. Then you can kiss that future job opportunity goodbye.
4. School Computer Content
The best rule with this is don’t ever get on social media outlets from a school computer or a school IP address and Internet access. They track everything.
5. Don’t Overlook Personal Information
Sure it’s great to post a picture of your email saying you got accepted to the University of Georgia Law School or you got a new job, but look more into what that has on it. It has your email, contact information and the school’s information.
6. Monitor your Check-Ins
Of course you get great deals sometimes by checking in on Four Square, but be wary of how specific you are with those. Don’t tell people you’re by yourself, or walking home alone, or exact GPS coordinates of your whereabouts.
Lying incorporates verbal lies, plagiarism and cheating. If you tell your teacher you are sick and they see that you were in Nashville celebrating the New Year, you’ll be in big trouble. Beyond that, don’t post things that aren’t yours or brag about how you cheated the system.
8. Watch Your Venting
Police can track what you say if they perceive something as a threat, they will come for you. Don’t treat Facebook as a your sleeve to wear your emotions on.
9. Unprofessional Content
This is seems like a no brainer but it’s important enough to reiterate. Watch the content, music, and especially the things friends share on your walls.
10. Privacy Settings are not 100%
No matter what your privacy settings, they are not fail proof. There’s always a way to get to your page and businesses are figuring that out more and more everyday. Changing your public profile name from your first and last name to first and middle name is going to cut it either.
The bottom line is to always maintain a professionally appropriate social media page. When in doubt, don’t post it and share this information with your friends.
For more advice on social media in education, contact us today.
Get to know the author, Jocelyn Smith.
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Search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing have impacted businesses around the world, particularly in recent months, with numerous algorithm updates and techniques for determining quality websites. These changes and updates make search engine optimization (SEO) practices even more complex and critical to maintaining a company’s successful online presence.
As companies become more attuned to the need for strong SEO initiatives, businesses are hiring more experts to execute strategic and tactical campaigns in-house. Practicing SEO is a highly technical skill and requires research, planning and on-going education. If companies want to see increasing results from integrated marketing strategy, then there should be careful evaluation of the current management, program structure, support, tools, and ability of the SEO team.
1. SEO Team Structure
It is important to remember that no two companies are alike. As such, no two companies’ SEO strategies will be the same, nor the internal management structures identical. The SEO team model that works best is one that is appropriately staffed properly trained and supported by management. The size of the team should reflect the size of the company and their goals. Once the goals and budget for the SEO department have been set, determine the number of people needed to complete the monitoring, management and reporting tasks.
2. Tools for SEO
It is important to engage search engine optimization tools that can handle the automation and thorough evaluation of SEO. There are a plethora of options for businesses of all sizes that streamline SEO reports and updates. Subscriptions to these tools vary based on need and budget, but the following are a few to consider: HubSpot, SEOMoz or SEMRush.
Automated SEO tools should be researched to determine if they address the needs of a specific business. It is important to consider the number of staff that will need access, how the tool can increase engagement or make the data received more actionable. Just as a diverse financial portfolio proves to be the healthiest form of investing, having a diverse arsenal of SEO tools ensures better accuracy and improves efficiency.
There are also free and very valuable tools businesses can utilize for SEO such as Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. Google may be the most preferred search engine, but Bing and Yahoo are also widely used search engines and their metric tools can also be useful and worth comparing.
3. Systematic Execution and Development
Creating a structured auditing system and a systematic approach to execution and development of SEO is critical. Reports should highlight the tactical efforts that need to be created and executed, those that are functioning at an appropriate rate and those that are really shining and boosting the overall SEO of the site. These results should be analyzed and should spark recommendations for additional efforts for improving site rankings within a desired and agreed upon timeline.
4. Constant Education & Training
SEO is an ever-evolving practice that requires constant evaluation and collaboration from the SEO team to positively impact strategic online efforts. Whether providing advanced training or educational development sessions, investing in learning more about SEO as a whole will improve productivity and ROI. Businesses can experiment with what types of training is best for their employees, but continuing education is essential since search engines “rules of the game” change frequently.
5. Incorporating SEO Goals Company Wide
Integrating SEO into all aspects of online strategies and making the goals clear to every manager is critical to achieving overall company objectives. All department managers should be well aware of the company’s SEO efforts so that the goals can be supported with supplemental tactics that reinforce the efforts by the SEO team. SEO results should be periodically provided to all managers who share this information with their respective teams and include an opportunity for feedback from their team for additional suggestions and requested additions that may improve rankings. An entire company commitment to improving SEO will allow businesses to achieve their goals faster and more efficiently.
6. Analyzing SEO
Companies should consider identifying the SEO metrics that make the most sense for their business objectives. The key components that need constant evaluation are: fresh content, keyword rankings and back-end meta-data updates. Organic content enhances visibility by search engines and should be created using original ideas developed around specific long-tail keywords. Knowing what keywords companies want their site to rank for can then be compared to how difficult it will be to achieve page one results and help to determine if a keyword paid campaign is necessary. Make sure that sitemaps, meta-data, alt tags, and headers are being updated frequently enough based on new and refreshed content.
SEO is an investment – in time, resources, people and focus. It is imperative that a structure is created to set a standard of progress. Once the SEO team is in place, the real work begins with identifying the right metric tools to use, the most valuable reporting structure, developing goals and strategies to achieve them, and providing continuing education for team members. For the best results, SEO should be integrated and embraced company wide.
Whether you're in the early stages of developing your integrated marketing strategy, or you're ready to begin, we can help. Contact our Atlanta advertising agency today or click here for a complimentary SEO assessment.
Article written by Jocelyn Smith.
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