The last few months have been an interesting time for the city of Montreal. Blocked traffic.
Smoke bombs in the metro.
Students being forced to not goto school.
Sounds like an uprising in a Third World country doesn't it? (Many people who live here sometimes consider Quebec to be a third world province, but we digress...)
It all started when students rose against the government over the increase in tuition prices, but, somehow degenerated into a protest against everything that the current provincial government stands for. Whatever you political affiliation, what is fascinating though, is how important social media and the internet plays in the keeping the movement alive.
And how the people and even the police have used social media to push its points and maintain communications. A few lessons can be learned from this event for online marketers and we've boiled it down to two:
1. Real-time social media monitoring is necessary in order to keep up with the latest trends.
The Quebec student strikes seem to follow a similar pattern: organize, gather, protest, disband and often repeat. In scale the protests are quite significant, but the most remarkable component is the organizational abilities of the students, amidst the Montreal Police’s valiant efforts to put them to a halt.
If it were not for social media, student protesters would never be able to effectively organize and communicate in such an effective manner. Through Facebook groups, status updates and tweets, everyone is aware of the most up to date information - in real-time.
It may seem obvious, but the student’s dependence on social networks is a glaring sign of today’s reliance on the most up-to-date information through social networks.
So, what's the lesson for the online marketer??
In relation to online marketing, today’s newest trends and success stories will stem from the ability to monitor and respond to emerging consumer sentiment online.
In order for companies to develop strong relationships with their clients, they need to be constantly monitoring the social networks that their customers hang out at. Just as the police are monitoring the same networks that the Quebec students are using and likewise, the reliance Quebec students have on these same networks to communicate with each other.
Within minutes, hundreds of thousands of Quebec students can be informed and unite; the same should be said for online marketers looking to cash in on new trends.
2. Organizational mistakes or alterations can be amplified to have disastrous impacts.
The Charest government never thought that a $254/year increase in tuition fees would result such a massive uprising. Although small in monetary value, the scope of backlash has caught on to 83% of Quebec’s students. The protests show no signs of slowing and recently, the Quebec Minister of Education has resigned under the increased pressure of her duties.
The same could be said in the world of online marketing.
The ability of news and ideas to spread instantly means even small mistakes can have disastrous effects for companies. Back in January, McDonalds tweeted the hashtag #McDstories in an effort to promote positive stories from their suppliers.
However, unhappy customers hijacked the hashtag, unveiling a wide variety of unpleasant experiences they’ve had - such as finding fingernails in their burgers. @SkipSullivan tweeted, “One time I walked into McDonald’s and I could smell type 2 diabetes floating in the air and I threw up. #McDstories”.
Within minutes a parade of similar tweets was sent around the twittersphere, all in criticism of the Golden Arches.
As news and ideas spread can now spread to hundreds of thousands in less than a second, organizations must be extra cautious regarding the messages they send out, and also the people they put in charge.
A great way to keep up-to date on the newest online marketing tactics and trends is by learning from the best. Many of them share their knowledge on their their own blogs and Twitter feeds . We have a small list of some of the top internet marketers, their blogs and Twitter accounts. Read and learn from them!
Jill Whalen ( @JillWhalen) is considered to be an old-timer of the online space. She has been involved in SEO since the early 90's as CEO of High Ranking, a SEO agency in Boston. She maintains a great SEO newsletter called the High Rankings Advisor and is a prolific tweeter. She is highly engaged with her followers and provides some great insight into the SEO world.
Rand Fishkin (@randfish) is the CEO and one of the founders of SEOmoz.org. He has managed to grow SEOMoz to become one of the most respected companies in the SEO space. His knowledge of online marketing, SEO and social media is great. He and his team write extensively on internet marketing and have some great insight on how to rank well.
Todd Malicoat (@stuntdubl) is an SEO teacher who creates and organizes certification programs in online marketing for Market Motive. Another one of the old-timers in online marketing, he has been involved in the internet industry in many capacities. Most recently as a consultant for various companies such as Meredith Corporation, PBS and Real Networks. He has a great blog on StuntDubl.com , where he writes about SEO, social media and online marketing.
Dan Zarella ( @danzarella ) for lack of a better term, can be considered a geek. He is the original madman scientist of social media for Hubspot, always experimenting and trying to figure out how to improve online marketing. He also maintains a blog at DanZarella.com outlining some of his experiments. An interesting experiment he recently did for a federal intelligence agency was the use of Twitter to predict social unrest and map it.
Benny Hsu is the founder of the Get Busy Living Blog and author of the Get a life that doesn't suck ebook. He writes a great blog on personal development and how you can achieve your life goals. We interviewed him on how you can get started in blogging and live a balanced life...
1. Who is Benny Hsu?
I'm 34 years old and I live in Florida. I have a regular job, but I have my passion in making iPhone apps and in blogging.
2. What is your blog about? How did you start it?
My blog is about helping people bring out the best in them to live a better life. I started it in the beginning of 2011, but I actually had the domain for almost three years. I just didn't know what to write about so that's why I didn't start a blog earlier. Finally I found a topic, personal development, that I really wanted to talk about and knew I would be interested in it to write for a long time.
3. When did you realize you made it as a blogger?
Well I don't think I've made it as a blogger yet (still shooting for the top), but I do remember my first post that went viral for me. It was a list post about 40 bloggers that were doing great things online. I got so many comments and retweets from it. Brought me a lot of recognition and new readers.
Since then I would say being asked for an interview makes me realize I've done something right with blogging.
4. How does your blogging career differ from your previous careers - especially in terms of life satisfaction?
It's much more satisfying. I love it. I could spend all day reading about blogging and working on my blog. It allows me to be creative which I love. I get to meet people all over the world. I get to inspire people and hear from people how much I've helped them. It's really rewarding.
5. What were your challenges in starting the blog and how did you overcome them?
Getting readers was a big challenge. We always want more readers. We don't just want ten visitors a day. I overcame it by constantly commenting on other blogs. I would share other great posts. I would focus on writing content worth sharing. It wasn't an overnight success. I had to do everything a little at a time.
6. How has your success as a blogger affected other aspects of your life?
It's given me more confidence. It's opened more opportunities that I would have never had before. I've been able to meet some amazing people.
7. How did you grow and market your blog?
I did it one step at a time. I did a lot of commenting on other blogs. It wasn't a quick "Great post" comment, but I took the time to really read their post and leave a good comment. I created a Facebook page and slowly got followers. Now Facebook is one of my top sources of traffic. I created a free ebook to give away and that's helped with gaining new readers. I love Twitter so I use that to share any new post.
8. What are the most effective revenue generators for your blog?
Right now my biggest source of revenue is affiliate marketing. I'll promote products I trust to my readers and make a commission from them.
9. Blogging takes a lot of work - how do you balance your life?
I try to focus on only blogging when I have time. I try to not let other distractions bother me when I'm blogging.
10. What would be the best advice for people new to blogging?
Just get started. Don't wait to be perfect before you start. Every A list blogger started as a beginner. Start now and focus on learning as you go. It's much better that way.
11. What is your vision - where do you see yourself in the future?
I see myself as having a media empire. I love being an entrepreneur. I'd love to be in video, writing, speaking, and creating products. I'd share my experience and knowledge with others to help them perform at a higher level and make more money.
You’ve just created a new blog for your website and have published a few great posts. And like the saying - if you build it, the readers will come. And so you wait for the rush.
But nothing happens.
So, now you're thinking, "What do I need to do to bring people to my blog?"
And the answer is: People won't know your blog exists if you don't market it! Not only must you optimize your blog for the search engines, you should have also created a marketing campaign that will help bring visibility to your blog launch.
Here are a few things that you can do to get the blog marketing ball rolling.
For those who love to travel, looking for the best deal can be extremely frustrating with all the travel operators, airlines and hotels on the internet. With the prevalence of group deals and hundreds of tour operators, there is stiff competition to grab the consumers' attention. With sites like TravelAlerts, consumers can comparison shop and look for the best rates and cheapest deals in one location.
TravelAlerts.ca is what you call a travel affiliate site, where they aggregate the deals by their travel partners and deliver it by email or listing it on their site. Although they are riding on the coattails of the Daily Deals and group buying sites, their business model does not revolve around group buying.
Trends in the travel industry
Travel has always been an extremely competitive; however, TravelAlerts have largely succeeded because of their focus on Canadian travel deals. Now that the Canadian daily deals space is getting crowded, they need to build a stronger brand and adjust their lead generation strategy to take advantage of new consumer trends in the travel industry.
Some trends that are being seen are:
Consumers do not respond to highly discounted deals anymore. They are looking for great value.
Due to the high cost of PPC advertising for travel, it makes sense to focus on SEO and content marketing as a way to build value and their brand at the same time. One of the best tactics to do that is to create frequent content in the form of an online magazine. This not only grabs the attention of search engines but also engages prospects...
Here are some more reasons why creating an online magazine can help TravelAlerts:
How can they do it? Some quick tips in creating an online magazine...
Creating a magazine isn't just about making a new website and posting content on a regular basis. You have to do your planning and understand that it meets the needs of your readers while achieving your marketing goals. Here is a list of things you need to do in order to set up a magazine.
1. Do your research
Research your competition and potential topics on what you will write about. Understand your readers and get answers to these questions:
Once you have enough research information, you can use the data for your content plan.
2. Create a content plan
Like a business plan, a content plan allows you to focus your content towards achieving your marketing goals. Your content plan components will include:
Although print magazines may be dying, the online versions are not...By creating one, not only will you be able to achieve your marketing goals from:
Creating an online magazine is more than just producing a few articles and posting it. You need to that the content you create is focused and relevant for the specific audience you want to attract. Like a marketing campaign, content is used for a purpose, to either get sales or make your prospect perform an action that you can convert to a sale in the future.
Doing anything else is a waste of time.
On Wednesday night, I was at the Web Marketing Wednesdays Meetup in Ottawa, a pretty cool event for the professional online marketer. The meetup is organized by the Ottawa Web Marketing Meetup Group - Jackson Lo of Cardinal Path, Tyler Gibbs Director of Operations at Cardinal Path, and Ben Myers . They want to be able to bring together the Ottawa online marketing community and share information "...on better ways to work with online traffic generation to monetize business for your clients or your company."
Each month, they have a guest speaker and the other night it was Jen Butson, Marketing Director at Select Start Studios. She spoke about how they were revising their marketing strategy and discussed the raison d'etre behind it.
You can check out her slideshow here: Online marketing engagement and how to measure it.
A lot of people argue that of the goals of an online content marketing strategy is to support your link building efforts. However, content marketing should be more than just a way to get link juice for SEO purposes. You should consider it as a way to build your brand - increasing your reach within your target market. Here is why guest posting should be a part of your online content strategy.
1. You get more brand exposure
If you have a popular blog, you know the speed in which buzz can be created from publishing a great post - controversial or not. When you write as a guest blogger on another site (or even have someone write on your site), not only do those readers get an unique point of view, they have access to new expertise that they couldn't have found themselves.
Readers always look for fresh information and once they realize that they get great content, it's more likely that they will share the blog to others. By writing on other blogs as a guest poster, you are taking advantage of expanding your network and brand exposure by showcasing your expertise. You will have access to new readers and by engaging them, they will perhaps become your fans.
2. Improving your website's SEO
It doesn't matter if you guest post on another blog, or have someone post on yours, guest posting is not only a way to get more varied and interesting content but also helps with your own site's SEO. By posting on popular blogs, you get the opportunity to get your name on authority blogs, whose backlinks will provide you with some great link juice from search engines. Additionally, when readers find content that is interesting and informative, they tend to share it with others. With traffic from guest postings, plus shares amongst readers, you will receive targeted organic traffic. Many SEO experts mention that receiving a high authority backlink from a guest post carry more weight from Google than the thousands of links received from article marketing or directory submissions.
Remember that writing for your own blog is quite different from writing guest posts for others. You must not only be aware of the writing style of the blog but also make sure that your topic is related to readers' interests. Take the time to write a great guest post as this will be your calling card to increasing your own blog's visibility.
We always get asked by our clients as to how often they should post content on their blogs... Our answer is that you should post frequently and consistently. Here is a great article with great data to back us up... What is the best blog frequency...
How not to make your press release boring..
A well written press release attracts the attention of not only the press, but your customers as well. An ineffective press releases benefits neither your company nor your prospects, but fortunately, it is easy to create a press release than the complemuch more common sense than it is rocket science.
Although you may have heard of the upside down pyramid method of creating an effective press release, there are other concepts that you should be aware of:
Due to the brief nature of press release, it’s not surprising how many marketing professionals seem to get it wrong as they don't put a high importance to the process.
When it comes to creating content for your website, there are a lot of myths out there. If you ask online marketers, webmasters, and bloggers about their opinions on creating content, you’ll receive so many different answers it'll be hard to separate fact from fiction. We'd like to set the story straight. In no particular order, here are six misconceptions on creating online content so you can avoid making mistakes that may kill your website...
Writing for SEO doesn't mean that you must sacrifice on quality.
Why would you want to drive users to your site, only to push them away with poor content? It is wasted effort and becomes expensive for the long term.
Using a plagiarism detection service or rewriting an article makes it unique.
Putting an article through a plagiarism software only checks to see if it's a duplicate article. It doesn't mean that the article is unique and can't be found elsewhere. If your article is considered to be a duplicate, even when it's rewritten and passes Copyscape you could still be penalized by the Big G.
Article marketing works, sometimes.
When Google changed it's algorithm to include the Panda update, it dramatically affected spam article directories such as EzineArticles.com, ehow.com and others. Don't worry, it doesn’t mean that article marketing no longer works, it's that you'll have to make sure that your articles meet stricter quality standards. Poorly spun and private label rights articles won’t do well. However, original, well-written, and informative articles helps, especially when other websites link back to it for their readers. Be careful when posting junk because it will affect your website's brand..
Keyword density is king.
While keywords are important, stuffing your article with a particular keyword is frowned upon by Google. The best way to get great organic search rankings is by:
using the keyword phrases strategically, including variations of the keyword,
creating anchor text, considering basic SEO tactics such as headlines, bolding etc.,
and encouraging incoming links.
Work ends once the content is uploaded.
Once your content is uploaded, your work does not stop there! Not only must you continue to add fresh, original content to your site on a frequent basis, you must also start promoting it. This will keep the search engines and, most importantly, your users coming back.
Web content writing is the same as writing for print.
Writing for the web requires a different skillset than writing a print publication. Not only must you be aware of who you're writing for, you should also have knowledge of SEO, article structure and readability. You have to remember that readers do not read online, they scan material quickly following a triangular path on a web page.
Creating online content isn’t easy and as an online marketer, you must be aware of how these misconceptions can cause more damage than good.