Online Marketing Blog – TopRank® http://www.toprankblog.com Fri, 20 Jul 2018 18:54:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 The Super Bowl of Content Marketing Audits – Optimized, Socialized & Integrated http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/02/content-marketing-audit/ Mon, 02 Feb 2015 14:03:21 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=17966 With the Patriots win last night, I can’t help but try and squeeze a football metaphor into this post. See? It got your attention! Like football of days past, mainstream Digital Marketing has evolved. From a focus on single channels like email or search, to multi-channel programs and even into omni-channel – all are driven [...]

The post The Super Bowl of Content Marketing Audits – Optimized, Socialized & Integrated appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
digital marketing audit

With the Patriots win last night, I can’t help but try and squeeze a football metaphor into this post. See? It got your attention!

Like football of days past, mainstream Digital Marketing has evolved. From a focus on single channels like email or search, to multi-channel programs and even into omni-channel – all are driven by the importance of creating compelling experiences for buyers. Or fans.

While companies with mature, sophisticated and budget rich marketing programs are riding this digital marketing wave, the practical reality is that many companies are in need of a clear plan for expansion. Creating a consistent user experience across channels, online and offline (kind of like winning the Super Bowl) is a lot easier said than done.

With an approach towards empathizing with the customer journey and how they discover, consume and act on content, this post outlines a digital marketing audit of near Super Bowl proportions. But for simplicity, I’ll focus on integrating search, social and content specifically. To get started, here is a 3 part framework for audits:

Discovery:  The first step is to research and document the current situation, goals, challenges, competitive environment and resources. With goals for an integrated digital marketing strategy in place, take benchmark measurements for a starting point and create dashboards for reporting progress on all major KPIs and business outcomes.

Assess: Review the current approach, processes, SEO and Social Media readiness. Evaluate current Content Marketing efforts and identify areas of opportunity. Consider internal and external resources, tools being used, multi-departmental coordination, measurement, reporting, staff skills and training. Also review competitors against brand KPIs for content, search and social visibility.

Recommend: Compare benchmark measurements against brand digital marekting goals. Communicate the nature of the gap and metrics to quantify what will need to be improved, by how much and when, Provide best practices Social, SEO and Content Marketing processes, tools and training recommendations.  Identify internal champions and opportunities to coordinate with reporting / dashboards relevant to each individual area as well as overall program performance.

The big mistake: (But not as big as throwing a pass on 2nd down and 1 yard to go) The Discovery, Assess and Recommend process for Audits is often treated as a one-time event, usually at the start of an internal effort to re-align marketing efforts or at the start of an engagement with an outside digital marketing agency. That’s a mistake. Depending on the program, audits should be part of a quarterly or annual process to evaluate program performance.

For more progressive marketers, an “Optimized” approach means a continuous effort at improving performance. That means breaking down marketing programs to allow for daily, weekly and monthly evaluations to improve performance.

13 Essential Components of a Social SEO and Content Marketing Audit:

What can you expect from this kind of audit the first time? Here’s a list:

  1. Current Situation: Content Assets, Social Networks, SEO
  2. Digital Marketing Process and People Evaluation and Recommendations
  3. Integrated Social Media, SEO & Content Marketing Strategy
  4. Program Goals, Monitoring and Measurement Approach – Benchmarks
  5. Recommended Social, SEO and Content Tools, Platforms
  6. Audience Segments, Buying Cycle Mapping and Personas
  7. Suggested Integrated Digital Programs to Test
  8. Content Insourcing, Crowdsourcing, Co-Creation with Influencers
  9. Social & SEO On & Off Site Best Practices & Tactics
  10. Content Promotion, Online PR & Distribution Channels
  11. Social Network Development & Community Building
  12. Integrated Implementation Plan: Optimized, Socialized Content
  13. Ongoing Implementation, Evaluation and Program Refinement Guidelines

We can leave the football metaphor behind now and wrap this up in with a marketer’s perspective:

Maturing your digital marketing efforts from a focus on single channels like search, email or social media into an integrated approach takes time, resources, expertise and a plan. If you want to start your audit experience with something specific, here’s a good breakdown of a social media audit.

Companies that want to step back from the information overload of marketing advice asking them to initiate a multitude of tactics with no clear line of sight to ROI would be well-served to consider a digital marketing audit. The experience of discovery, assessment and recommendations will give you a plan, goals, a means to measure, tools and the confidence to move your digital marketing forward in a way that’s doable and improvable.

Photo: Shutterstock


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2015. | The Super Bowl of Content Marketing Audits – Optimized, Socialized & Integrated | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post The Super Bowl of Content Marketing Audits – Optimized, Socialized & Integrated appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
How an Online Marketing Audit Can Help A Small Business Optimize Search, Social & Content Marketing http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/04/optimize-small-business/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/04/optimize-small-business/#comments Thu, 24 Apr 2014 11:02:17 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=16760 An increasing number of companies feel they have a solid content marketing strategy and tactical mix in place. Now it’s time to think about how to integrate an “Optimize and Socialize” approach into the overall online marketing program. Two key considerations for implementing a scalable “Optimize and Socialize” content marketing approach involve where SEO and social [...]

The post How an Online Marketing Audit Can Help A Small Business Optimize Search, Social & Content Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
Online Marketing Audit

An increasing number of companies feel they have a solid content marketing strategy and tactical mix in place. Now it’s time to think about how to integrate an “Optimize and Socialize” approach into the overall online marketing program.

Two key considerations for implementing a scalable “Optimize and Socialize” content marketing approach involve where SEO and social media optimization fit within the content planning and publishing process and the skills of Social Media and SEO content creators. Here is a small business example that uses an Online Marketing Audit to start finding the answer to those questions about process and skills.

Small Business Marketing Problem: No Time For Content

Tom started his own video game accessories business 5 years ago and has enjoyed steady, yet modest growth despite a fluctuating economic environment. Tom is a very hands-on boss with his small business and is doing much of the marketing himself through his website, which attracts about 75% of the orders through natural search, links and some social traffic. He also manages an email newsletter and does some PPC advertising.

Tom has tried starting and maintaining a presence on Facebook, Twitter and several industry forums, but his available time for social networking has reduced considerably. An ex-corporate marketer, Tom realizes the importance of content for his website as well as a social presence. However, he simply doesn’t have the time or resources. Or so he thinks.

Recommendations for Tom’s Video Game Accessories Business:

If Tom is going to continue performing the marketing tasks for his small business himself, he’ll want to be more intentional about how he uses his website to reach customers vs. simply maintaining the site with content about products and services information. Paying an outside resource to conduct an Online Marketing Audit of his website, blog and social media marketing should be a consideration.

An audit will provide a roadmap that identifies goals, key customer segments and what motivates them to engage and buy his video game accessories. Armed with these insights, Tom can prioritize his time to work more efficiently on marketing tasks with the highest impact.

For the sake of this example, let’s say Tom’s approach to content will focus on answering key questions his ideal customers ask during the consideration and decision portions of the buying cycle. Knowing that it would be very difficult to achieve industry authority for generic search terms and social topics, Tom’s best bet with limited marketing resources is to capture prospective customers with content that answers important buying questions before purchase.

Tom’s Online Marketing Audit will identify relevant search keywords and social topics that are in demand as well as the content types and formats that will best attract, engage and inspire his ideal customers. With a more intentional and customer-centric online marketing plan in place, he’ll understand what types of content needs to be created and the channels where that content should be promoted in order to attract the right customers.

Online Marketing Skills Training:  Tom will need to reconcile his current skills and internal resources with what he’ll need to know for content planning, optimization, social promotion and measurement. What he can’t do himself, he may need to source internally, re-prioritize or look externally.

For example, if the audit indicates customers will be most motivated by video content, then he’ll want to brush up on his video editing skills or find a reasonable vendor he can outsource to. If Tom has other employees that have product expertise, he’ll want to offer some kind of training in order for them to help with SEO copywriting, social network development and engaging with customers on industry forums and social networks.

One of the most important online marketing training investments Tom could make is with social media monitoring and web analytics. Google offers free online classes with Google Analytics that can be a great way to build a foundation for understanding how people find and engage with content on his website. A simple social media monitoring tool like Trackur could give Tom a quick heads up whenever the gaming community mentions his products or talks about his company.

It’s not reasonable for Tom to expect himself to know everything the Online Marketing Audit calls for, so he should manage what he’ll need to learn himself, what his employees will help with and what outside resources or tools will be needed.

Optimizing Marketing Processes: An editorial plan that is thoughtful about customer needs and pain points will be instrumental for Tom’s content creation effectiveness both short and long term. He can identify which content will be created and by whom as well as determining the particular media formats to use.

Content re-purposing can be planned out with his customer email newsletter and any other social or editorial promotion he’s involved with. Along with planned content creation, optimization and social promotion processes, Tom can schedule time between himself and several members of his staff for community engagement and social network development using HootSuite or a similar low cost social media management tool.

Reporting from web analytics and social media monitoring will help Tom refine the messages he publishes on social channels and on the website for better performance. Scheduling these activities on a regular basis will help make them a habit. Well defined processes and policies will ensure quality across employees who are helping.

Following a schedule and set of processes will help Tom implement search and social media friendly content that best attracts, engages and inspires his ideal prospects when they are looking to buy. Growing his skills at content creation as well as monitoring and measurement will help Tom better evaluate the performance of his content marketing efforts and make adjustments accordingly.

The longer Tom follows his plan and processes for content creation, optimization and social network growth, the more entry points he’ll create for customers to find out about his business through search engines, links and social media referrals. Following a plan, improving skills and enlisting help will provide Tom’s business with improved search and social media visibility without taking too much time away from other responsibilities.

3 Key Phases of a Social, SEO and Content Marketing Audit

  • Discovery: Research and document the current situation, goals, challenges, competitive environment and resources.
  • Assess: Review the current approach, process, SEO and Social Media readiness. Evaluate current Content Marketing efforts and identify areas of opportunity.
  • Recommend: Provide best practices Social, SEO and Content Marketing processes and tools.

OptimizeExcerpted with permission from Wiley – Optimize: How to Attract, Engage and Convert More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing.

Postscript:

One of the pages that didn’t make it into my book Optimize (I still don’t know why) was the following collection of praise quotes from a group of marketing rock stars that I highly respect. I sincerely appreciate that they took the time to write these comments about Optimize and am proud to share their thoughts here:

“There’s a lot of ready, fire, aim happening in content marketing today. In Optimize, Lee Odden gives us important blueprints for sound, smart, strategic, and measured content programs. Required reading for any online marketer or communicator, Optimize includes tens of thousands of dollars worth of spot-on advice.”
Jay Baer – Best Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and President of Convince and Convert

“Lee Odden is one of the true thought leaders in an industry where you are not always sure who to trust. Well, you can trust this book to help take your online and content marketing to the next level.  Lee details both the strategy and the tactics to position your company as the true industry expert online.  Everyone has content, but not everyone knows how to optimize that content for success.  Lee shows you how in a way that makes sense for large or small brands alike.”
Joe Pulizzi – Author, Founder of Content Marketing Institute and Content Marketing World

“If you want to be easily discovered by your ideal customers and prospects, then you need to study the principles clearly outlined in Lee Odden’s book Optimize. You’ll discover why social and search must coexist and precisely what your business needs to do about it.”
Michael Stelzner – Author, Founder of Social Media Examiner and Social Media Marketing World

“Optimize highlights a test, learn and scale philosophy – vital to winning customer’s attention given the ever changing landscape of the web.  Odden provides rich insight towards digital continual improvement; integrating SEO, social media and content strategy.”
Amy Lamparske – Director, Digital Marketing at Walmart eCommerce

“Optimize offers business owners a cutting edge methodology to more effectively create and optimize content by using high value signals such as buy cycle, persona, interest and intent thereby increasing engagement and retention that is guaranteed to improve digital marketing performance and increase revenue.”
Bill Hunt – CEO, Back Azimuth Consulting & Co-Author of Search Engine Marketing Inc.

“Lee’s no fly-by-night seo and social media “guru”, he’s the real deal. He’s always sought effective results and ROI for his clients, and always communicated his advice excellently through his blog and at conferences around the world. Now you hold that wisdom in your hands. Cherish it, adhere to it, and have fun implementing it!”
Mel Carson – Author, Founder of Delightful Communications (Previously Digital Marketing Evangelist, Microsoft Advertising)

Photo: Shutterstock


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2014. | How an Online Marketing Audit Can Help A Small Business Optimize Search, Social & Content Marketing | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post How an Online Marketing Audit Can Help A Small Business Optimize Search, Social & Content Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2014/04/optimize-small-business/feed/ 3
Beyond Content Marketing Basics: Optimize & Socialize Your Digital Marketing for 2014 http://www.toprankblog.com/2013/11/optimize-socialize-digital-marketing-2014/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2013/11/optimize-socialize-digital-marketing-2014/#comments Wed, 27 Nov 2013 14:51:16 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=16104 Figure out what your customers want, and give it to them. Monitor what works and what doesn’t. Adapt and optimize performance. This would appear to be common sense marketing and yet, when you examine a lot of what gets published in the name of content marketing, social media and SEO, the “makes sense” doesn’t seem [...]

The post Beyond Content Marketing Basics: Optimize & Socialize Your Digital Marketing for 2014 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
optimize socialize integrateFigure out what your customers want, and give it to them. Monitor what works and what doesn’t. Adapt and optimize performance.

This would appear to be common sense marketing and yet, when you examine a lot of what gets published in the name of content marketing, social media and SEO, the “makes sense” doesn’t seem so common.

Over the past 3 weeks I’ve given presentations to audiences in the U.S., Spain, Russia and the UK.  For just about every audience, there is a common language everyone seems to understand and if you can connect with that, it’s amazing what progress you can make.

Perhaps you’ve been in situations where you’ve followed a certain marketing process over and over again and after really looking at the “why” and for “who”, there’s a newly observed disconnect. I think that’s happened with a lot of digital marketers pressured to follow and create shiny new object strategies without alignment towards true brand and customer objectives. You know the drill: “Create more content”, “Grow our social networks”, “Rank high on search engines”.

The pivot from routine, mechanical to more inspired and meaningful is found through the customer journey.  Balance customer insights with unique stories and content experiences that guide customers from attraction, to engagement to conversion. Help customers pull themselves through the buying cycle with information they want and enjoy.

Provide answers and create experiences. Create information and media that provide context and guide customers along the buyer’s journey from awareness to interest to consideration to purchase by answering their questions in a way that motivates them to the next step.  Core to this kind of content approach is the customer behavior and how they discover, consume and act on information. Be the best answer for your customers, wherever they may be looking or influenced.

Walking the talk. At our digital marketing agency we’ve been implementing that kind of approach to varying degrees for numerous mid-market and several Fortune 500 businesses. Our experience working with companies like McKesson, Dell and recently, LinkedIn, have shown how going in with best practices must also be adaptable to ensure implementation of the tactics that will achieve the desired impact. What seems to resonate with everyone is a focus on optimizing for customer experience through high quality content that’s easy to find, engaging to consume and inspiring to share.

There’s a book about this. Anticipating customer information preferences and then optimizing for attract, engage, convert is what I cover in the book, Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing. As a preview to the book and to provide online marketers some insight into this perspective, below is a presentation I did this week for Silverpop’s EMEA group in London.  I even re-invoked the famous ZRobot example for buy cycle optimization.

Optimize & Socialize Your Digital Marketing for 2014  

On the one hand, it makes sense to focus on customer insights and then anticipate content topics and media that will resonate to achieve a desired business outcome. This is the core of what modern content marketing is.

On the other hand, it’s also very important for brands to identify their core differentiators and unique selling proposition to be included in any customer focused narrative. Thanks to the education efforts of folks like Content Marketing Institute, marketers are becoming savvy about content marketing with customer segment-specific content plans covering each distinct buying journey.

To stand out, it’s important for content marketers to incorporate brand differentiators with the voice of the customer content.  For example, if the persona “Executive Jane” prefers service over cost, it’s not enough to be the best answer for “service”. Your brand must differentiate itself in terms of the best service plus whatever it is that your company brings to that service to make it different (better for the customer) than the competition.  It might be service + low cost + socially conscious if your company has social responsibility as a core value.

Are you optimizing across the buying cycle with content, search and social media yet? Have you incorporated your brand’s core differentiators into your digital marketing messaging?  What successes (or challenges) are you seeing?


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2013. | Beyond Content Marketing Basics: Optimize & Socialize Your Digital Marketing for 2014 | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Beyond Content Marketing Basics: Optimize & Socialize Your Digital Marketing for 2014 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2013/11/optimize-socialize-digital-marketing-2014/feed/ 4
The Role of KPIs, Marketing Goals & Business Objectives in Online Marketing http://www.toprankblog.com/2013/08/online-marketing-goals/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2013/08/online-marketing-goals/#comments Wed, 21 Aug 2013 11:10:55 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=15642 The moving parts within a marketing organization often get tied up in the mastery and performance of specific tactics like content creation, search engine optimization and social media marketing. Not seeing the forest for the trees can cause some blindness towards the bigger picture. Before a business decides how, why and what to optimize, socialize [...]

The post The Role of KPIs, Marketing Goals & Business Objectives in Online Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
Online Marketing GoalsThe moving parts within a marketing organization often get tied up in the mastery and performance of specific tactics like content creation, search engine optimization and social media marketing. Not seeing the forest for the trees can cause some blindness towards the bigger picture.

Before a business decides how, why and what to optimize, socialize and publicize, it’s important to take a step back and ask this essential marketing question, “What are we trying to do?”  The answer is usually pretty obvious: “We’re trying to get more people to buy what we’re selling!”

That’s the big picture for most companies, but practical online marketing objectives will be unique to each company’s individual situation. The role of content works across departments and the interaction between departmental content within a company can actually amplify overall business outcomes.

Some companies want to grow customer engagement, some are more focused on revenue or cost savings.  These are all worthy online marketing objectives, but tying them to overall business goals is essential. Some examples of these types of goals include:

Engagement Goals

  • Members, network size
  • Posts or threads
  • Comments
  • Inbound links
  • Tags, votes, bookmarks, shares
  • Referrals
  • Post frequency

Cost Saving Goals

  • Issue resolution time
  • Account turnover
  • Employee turnover
  • Hiring and recruiting
  • Percent of issues resolved online

Revenue Goals:

  • Speed of sales cycle
  • Percent of repeat business
  • Percent of customer retention
  • Transaction value
  • Referrals
  • Net new leads
  • Cost per lead
  • Conversions from the community
  • Members
  • Posts or threads
  • Comments
  • Inbound links
  • Tags, votes, bookmarks, shares
  • Referrals
  • Post frequency
  • Issue resolution time
  • Account turnover
  • Employee turnover
  • Hiring and recruiting
  • Percent of issues resolved online

While there are these and more KPIs and marketing outcomes to consider, the simplest thing to do is assess your online marketing strategy for what has worked so far and what needs improvement. 

For example, a review of your web site analytics may show a steady increase in search traffic but there may be a significant opportunity to improve the quality of that traffic in terms of leads, sales and profitability. Ten visitors who spend an extended amount of time learning about your brand and your products are more valuable than 100 who bounce after a few seconds.

To tie marketing goals to overall business goals, think about how well the web site is performing currently and what the overall online business goals are for the future. Look at each business goal whether its focus is revenue, retention or service and then decide how that translates to your content marketing plan.

Business goals can be broad, but to create actionable plans to achieve them, it’s important to break them down into the key performance indicators that communicate progress and provide feedback for optimization.

For example, if you discovered leads that travel through your sales cycle fairly quickly are more apt to close, you’ll want to decide what content marketing tactics you can put into place that will move leads faster through the lead generation and nurturing process.  If more leads close more quickly, your marketing objectives will be achieved more effectively. In this situation, you may want to target content optimization and promotion towards prospects that fit a fast-buyer profile.

Another example might involve creating a stronger sales message in your content by using resources that better educate and inform shoppers on issues that have slowed buyers in the past. Many social media marketing efforts omit any suggestion of making a purchase.  While it’s often a mistake to be too aggressive or “salesy” on social networks, it’s also a missed opportunity not to provide a way to continue the conversation in a business context if people want to do so.

For marketing-centric objectives think about the specific things you want to accomplish through content that will ultimately lead to overall business goals, such as:

  • Elevate Brand Perception
  • Establish Thought Leadership
  • Drive Customer Engagement
  • Provide Better Customer Service
  • Increase Customer Retention
  • Grow Per Customer Profitability
  • Shorten Sales Cycles
  • Build a Bigger Referral Network

Once there’s a firm understanding of overall business goals, then you can map them to supporting marketing objectives.

Combining search and social media as channels to reach target markets means that content has to provide relevance according to where it’s found and deliver specific problem solving value based on what the target audience needs – especially according to their position in the buying cycle.

As an example, searchers using broad keyword phrases may be focused on educational or informational-themed content to learn about the category of products and services. To serve those top of funnel information needs, our job as marketers is to create optimized content focused on answering those general questions. Content should be useful and compelling enough that those who interact with it might be willing to share to their social networks. Part of social media optimization means to make such sharing easy through the use of widgets that call out specific social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.

Alternatively, customers that are looking for your products and services specifically may be further along in the buying cycle and therefore content would need to be created and optimized to address those specific information needs to guide the buyer to purchase.

Marketing related goals for content that relies on search and social media for discovery must consider the overall business goals of the company, objectives that are specific to marketing and especially, the needs of the buyer. Long term business goals that are mapped to marketing will help keep the program in context of what’s important to the business. An understanding of how to meet customer needs through content marketing leading to purchase is a win for all.

Excerpt with permission from Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing, published by Wiley.

Image source: Shutterstock


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2013. | The Role of KPIs, Marketing Goals & Business Objectives in Online Marketing | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post The Role of KPIs, Marketing Goals & Business Objectives in Online Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2013/08/online-marketing-goals/feed/ 5
A Strategic View of Search Engine Optimization – Where Does SEO Fit in Your Content Strategy? http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/11/strategic-search-engine-optimization/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/11/strategic-search-engine-optimization/#comments Mon, 19 Nov 2012 14:57:15 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=14458 Companies large and small, in industries from retail to manufacturing, publish content online with an expectation that a certain audience of people will find, read and act on that content.  While most Search Engine Optimization efforts are rightly focused on marketing goals like acquiring more customers and increasing revenue, making purchases is not the only [...]

The post A Strategic View of Search Engine Optimization – Where Does SEO Fit in Your Content Strategy? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
strategic search engine optimizationCompanies large and small, in industries from retail to manufacturing, publish content online with an expectation that a certain audience of people will find, read and act on that content.  While most Search Engine Optimization efforts are rightly focused on marketing goals like acquiring more customers and increasing revenue, making purchases is not the only reason consumers use search or ask for referrals through social networks.

There’s a lot of tactical advice online about search, social media and content marketing for companies that want to better connect with customers but that advice doesn’t always consider the differences between types of companies or even content within companies. For the best return on marketing investment, it’s important to understand that there are notable differences in tactics for effective optimization depending on who the audience is, how they prefer to discover, consume and act on information.  The very nature of B2C vs. B2B or small company vs. large company content, audience and outcomes can be different, so the approach to optimizing content for search and social media must be tailored accordingly.

As a marketer, you’re charged with assessing internal resources, overall business goals, customer buying cycle and time-frame in order to make the best decisions possible with your resources. If you can better understand the opportunities for holistic search and social media optimization of content: Internal departments such as Public Relations, Customer Service and HR/Recruiting then you’ll be able to extend the value and impact of your optimization investment.  The bonus: A holistic view brings the value of search discovery to all corporate digital content and provides the added benefit of increasing online marketing performance too.

Optimization and the Enterprise

Large and complex organizations have many more considerations with coordinated optimization, social media and content marketing efforts. Many effective SEO and Social Media Marketing consultants have had difficulty making an impact because of their inability to win internal client support amongst interdepartmental teams needed for implementation.  Competent SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing expertise is moot if a consultant doesn’t understand how to navigate large and complex organizational structures. Success is as dependent on political and organizational savvy as it is on digital marketing mastery.

Operational Efficiency = Search Engine Confusion – A very large company in the Healthcare Technology field that generates tens of billions of dollars in annual revenue amongst more than 20 different companies decided to roll all of the disparate company brands and websites under the corporate content management system.  Customers visiting the old website addresses were redirected to the new home of the company under the main company website.  The new CMS allowed centralized management of website resources and a common brand identity.

What the company soon realized was that while the combined website presented a unified brand and redirected requests for old pages to new destinations, the methods were not as easy for search engines to understand as for people. Website traffic was affected and a SEO Audit was completed to identify the issues. Working with over 20 different business and operating units as well as corporate IT, the migration issues were identified and recommendations implemented.

Seeing an even bigger opportunity, the company decided to further leverage search as an effective method for relevant discovery and engagement with their B2B prospects. A SEO program was rolled out amongst individual business units, with the corporate website and Public Relations content.  Ongoing SEO implementation, content creation, link building, formal and informal training resulted in significant increases in search traffic and online leads across the portfolio of companies.

As one of the largest companies in the world, change isn’t always easy to implement, but the SEO consulting and training initiatives grew confidence in online marketing programs and the company has been implementing more social media components into their online marketing mix along with content and optimization.

Public Relations Optimization

When social media participation by brands became more popular, companies often began with marketing and sales outcomes in mind but soon discovered that people use social tools for many types of communications ranging from customer service to public relations to recruiting.  The same opportunity exists with optimizing content for easy and relevant discovery through search engines.

Marketing is not the only type of content to be optimized – Other areas of the organization publish content online that has an intended audience and set of outcomes. The public relations function within a company often produces nearly as much content as marketing in the form of a corporate newsroom with media coverage, press releases, images, video, case studies, white papers and other resources that would be useful to journalists. Each of those assets is an opportunity for journalists to discover the brand story through search engines or social referrals.

PRWeb is a press release distribution service (and a longtime TopRank Marketing client) that publishes thousands of press releases for PR practitioners and small business marketers every month. As a pioneer in the area of optimized press release distribution, PRWeb has been relied upon by the SEO and PR industries to deliver outcomes like high ranking press releases on Google and Yahoo News, website traffic and links for over 10 years.  Companies that optimize and socialize their press releases give new life and extended reach to their news by making it easy for bloggers and end consumers to find and share press release content.

Within the Public Relations department arsenal of content, there’s a mix of optimization opportunities beyond the press release including from the corporate newsroom to video and images to social media content and even contributed articles to publications and blogs. The unique opportunity for PR content optimization is that it serves the information needs of the media as well as consumers.

Customer Service Optimization

While much of the optimization and social media efforts of companies is focused on content related to customer acquisition, there’s tremendous value in making sure content that serves existing customers is easy to find. That means optimizing frequently asked questions and other support material for easy and relevant discovery through search.

From a social media perspective, it means being aware of what support related search queries are most popular so topical social media monitoring efforts can uncover service opportunities on platforms like Twitter, in forums or in comments on blogs.  It also affects social content creation so answers are easily discovered and shared within social channels by social media community managers, customer service staff and brand advocates.

Optimization works for internal search engines too – Optimization of content for customer discovery can happen with public information that’s accessed via search engines like Google or Bing as well as internal repositories of information behind a login.   One large company faced the need to optimize post-sale content for customers. Feedback from usability studies showed that customers were having trouble locating information in the customer portal, such as frequently asked questions and user information.

Optimize by Lee OddenTo help provide a better customer experience, SEO best practices were applied to existing content to create better content architecture and ensure relevant results were served via the internal search functionality.  The project began with identifying customer segments and working with client-side marketers and customer service reps to identify the information customers were most likely to search for.

Next, a separate keyword glossary was researched and created for the customer portal content. Following the development of the keyword glossary, best practice optimization was applied including editing titles of documents, headings, copy and cross linking within copy.

The end result was more organized, easier to find content to help serve customer needs across multiple post-sale stages.

Making customer content easier to navigate and find quickly can lead to increases in customer satisfaction, frequency of which customer portals were accessed as a resource and ultimately cost savings for related call center volume.

If search engines like Google and Bing are imperfect, then the search function within company websites are by far from perfect. That means optimizing content for internal use can help employees (like customers) find answers more quickly and efficiently.  I’m sure many people reading this have used Google or Bing to search for content on their own company website. That experience goes to show the power of a search engine for surfacing content that’s important for performing one’s job. It also reveals the importance of making any kind of content with a purpose and an expected audience to be optimized for discovery through search.

Whether your small or large business is focused on B2B or B2C markets, the overall opportunity to optimize content to aid in the connection with intended audiences is essential. Further, being able to discern the uniqueness of different customer expectations for how brand content is discovered, consumed and acted on will help marketers better plan their content optimization efforts for the benefit of customers and brands alike.

Excerpt with permission from Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing, published by Wiley.

Businessman touching tactile screen image credit: Shutterstock.


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2012. | A Strategic View of Search Engine Optimization – Where Does SEO Fit in Your Content Strategy? | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post A Strategic View of Search Engine Optimization – Where Does SEO Fit in Your Content Strategy? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/11/strategic-search-engine-optimization/feed/ 22
Take the #OptimizeBook Integrated Online Marketing Survey http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/07/take-the-optimizebook-integrated-online-marketing-survey/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/07/take-the-optimizebook-integrated-online-marketing-survey/#comments Wed, 18 Jul 2012 18:44:11 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13888 The convergence of digital media and disciplines has driven tremendous demand for best practices integrated marketing and strategy. Fortunately, that’s exactly what Optimize provides – a launching point for how to develop a roadmap and tactics that bring search, social media, content and online PR together to reach business goals. In concert with book promotions like [...]

The post Take the #OptimizeBook Integrated Online Marketing Survey appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
integrated online marketing surveyThe convergence of digital media and disciplines has driven tremendous demand for best practices integrated marketing and strategy. Fortunately, that’s exactly what Optimize provides – a launching point for how to develop a roadmap and tactics that bring search, social media, content and online PR together to reach business goals.

In concert with book promotions like the sold out Optimize Minneapolis event next week, we’re conducting a survey of business, marketing and communications professionals to gain insights on how organizations are using internet marketing tactics like search, social media, online PR and content marketing together.

The Optimize Book Integrated Marketing Survey covers some really important questions that will get you thinking about integrating digital marketing and communications tactics. How effective are these tactics, what’s the organization’s expertise and future investment intentions? What role does customer data play for integrated strategy and execution?

Taking the survey will help us all gain valuable insight into the current state of integrated online marketing that we can share with you, our readers here at Online Marketing Blog. Those insights can help you compare your own efforts to those of your peers resulting in a more effective approach.

It only takes 3-5 minutes and you can win a $50 Amazon.com gift card. Please take and share the survey:

 

Is your marketing optimized? Take the #OptimizeBook integrated marketing survey. Chance to win Amazon gift $ http://tprk.us/opt-survey

Thank you!


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2012. | Take the #OptimizeBook Integrated Online Marketing Survey | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Take the #OptimizeBook Integrated Online Marketing Survey appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/07/take-the-optimizebook-integrated-online-marketing-survey/feed/ 3
Holistic Optimization Across the Sales Cycle: Optimize Speaking Events May & June http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/05/optimize-sales-cycle-events-0612/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/05/optimize-sales-cycle-events-0612/#comments Thu, 10 May 2012 15:08:40 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13617 When you have a business that relies on attracting new business online the sheer volume of options can be confusing. Should offline advertising efforts transfer to online? Maybe email marketing? What about SEO or the hot topic, social media? So much focus is placed on tactics and channels, that a lot of misplaced digital marketing [...]

The post Holistic Optimization Across the Sales Cycle: Optimize Speaking Events May & June appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
sales cycle optimizastion

When you have a business that relies on attracting new business online the sheer volume of options can be confusing. Should offline advertising efforts transfer to online? Maybe email marketing? What about SEO or the hot topic, social media? So much focus is placed on tactics and channels, that a lot of misplaced digital marketing budget gets wasted or spent inefficiently.

To bring some clarity to the myriad online marketing options available, I think it’s worth marketers taking a holistic approach that starts with an essential understanding of goals and customers. Who are your best customers? Who are your worst? What do your best customers care about? What are their pain points and goals? While you’re answering those key questions, think about how your solutions meet the needs of your target audience and what stories you can tell to bring align those interests to a common goal.

To be an effective online marketer in today’s fast changing environment, it’s important to understand the customer journey though the sales cycle. That empathy helps internet marketers adapt to any changes in consumer behaviors. Curiosity about technology and trends will help marketers become smarter regardless of what changes occur in the industry, with specific channels or applications.

If you want to learn more about how a more customer centric and content focused internet marketing approach could work for your business, please give us a call or come to one of the events listed below. Over the next month or so, I will be speaking at a number of events drilling down into the strategy and mechanics of such an approach. Of course, a great complement to these events would be the book that Joe Pulizzi says will, “help take your online and content marketing to the next level”.

May 16, 1:00 pm Central
Webinar:  Optimize & Socialize for Better Content Marketing
Online Marketing Institute: Register Here (free)

The answer to better content marketing isn’t simply adding more content. Designing content that’s meaningful vs. mechanical for customers that inspires engagement and business outcomes enables brands to reach more people ready to buy, refer or share. This webinar will provide a framework for an Optimize and Socialize approach to content marketing that attracts, engages and inspires community and sales.

Key Takeaways:

  • 3 Key consumer trends that spell opportunity for Social SEO
  • A Framework for an optimized and socialized content marketing program
  • How to plan search and social content across the sales cycle
  • Essential KPIs and business outcomes for Social SEO and content marketing

May 23rd, 4:45 pm Pacific
Solo Presentation: Sales Cycle Optimization With Content, SEO & Social Media
Marketo Users Conference (Client), San Francisco: Register Here

While Google.com handles over 11 billion queries a month, competition for attention on the search and social web is at an all time high. There are over 65,743,590 blog posts published each month and more video is uploaded to YouTube in that time than the 3 major US networks created in 60 years. Content flows in every direction throughout a variety of platforms, formats and devices. The mass adoption of the social and mobile web has facilitated a revolution of information access, sharing and publishing.

Guiding customers on their journey through the sales cycle in that environment requires an integrated approach to content, optimization and social media marketing. Optimizing the sales funnel is essential to attract, engage and inspiring customers to buy and this presentation will provide attendees with a framework and tactics to develop their own Optimize and Socialize approach to sales cycle optimization.

June 1st, 8:00 am Central
Presentation: Optimize – How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing
Social Media Club, Redwood Falls MN: Register Here (free copy of Optimize for all attendees!)

How can small businesses approach their online marketing to achieve better visibility where customers are looking and socializing online? This presentation on Optimize will provide attendees a framework for organizing their content marketing that leverages both search and social media to attract more customers, shorten sales cycles and retain existing customers. Some of the key presentation topics to be covered:

  • Major shifts in consumer search and social trends
  • Key opportunities to improve online marketing strategy and performance
  • How to integrate customer-centric SEO with social media and content marketing
  • Using this knowledge to attract, engage, and inspire more sales online

June 7th, 9:00 am Eastern
Track Keynote: Optimize and Socialize for Better Content Marketing
BlogWorld New Media & Expo, New York

Search, social media and content marketing are converging, and consumers are using numerous ways to discover, consume and act on content. In this session, you’ll learn how to use content marketing best practices to design information that inspires audiences to share, buy and recommend your brand.

Key Points
1. Learn the framework for an optimize and socialize approach to content marketing
2. Understand the framework for optimizing across the customer lifecycle
3. Know the difference between KPIs and business outcomes for web and social measurement

June 11, 10:30 am & 3:30 pm
Enterprise SEO
Content Marketing Optimization
SES Toronto

Enterprise SEO: This session will also include a proven model of organization for your enterprise-level SEO campaign as well as a summary of key metrics that you should be measuring to drive ongoing SEO strategy.

Content Marketing Optimization: Pandas and Penguins and Zebras Oh My!  If your SEO is all about chasing tricks and shortcuts with content and links, then this session isn’t for you. If you are interested in building a competitive advantage focusing on customer centric content marketing that works with or without search engines, then make sure you have a front row seat.

It will be a busy 30 days but there’s been so much interest in a more integrated approach and with Optimize, that it’s been a real pleasure meeting and exchanging ideas with marketers looking for a more holistic perspective to marketing on the web. I hope to see you at one of these events.  To get a tase of these types of presentations, take a look at this deck from the Fusion Marketing Experience conference that I presented last week in Antwerp. It’s currently featured on the home page of Slideshare.

For anyone that liveblogs these events, please be sure to email me the link to your post and I’ll send you a copy of Optimize. If you have one, I’ll send you one to give away to your readers.  lee at toprank dot org


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2012. | Holistic Optimization Across the Sales Cycle: Optimize Speaking Events May & June | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Holistic Optimization Across the Sales Cycle: Optimize Speaking Events May & June appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/05/optimize-sales-cycle-events-0612/feed/ 3
Is Your Optimization Meaningful or Mechanical? http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/05/optimize-paris-meaningful-mechanical/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/05/optimize-paris-meaningful-mechanical/#comments Mon, 07 May 2012 12:04:57 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13600 While I’ve been to Belgium the past week for the fine Fusion Marketing Experience, I decided to take a day trip to Paris yesterday since it was only 2 hours away by train. As you may know, I do a bit of traveling. The quality of the experience, memories and the stories you get to [...]

The post Is Your Optimization Meaningful or Mechanical? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
optimization meaningful or mechanicalWhile I’ve been to Belgium the past week for the fine Fusion Marketing Experience, I decided to take a day trip to Paris yesterday since it was only 2 hours away by train. As you may know, I do a bit of traveling.

The quality of the experience, memories and the stories you get to tell after visiting other countries are usually the most meaningful. Sure “stuff” is fun to get, but how often do you think “I met too many cool people” vs. “I bought too many souvenirs”?

As I talk to other people about traveling (and online marketing), the spectrum of perspectives is pretty amazing. It’s just like the wide variety of perceptions towards optimization and social networking. For some people, both are simplified as checklists. Keyword list? Check. Take a picture of the Eiffel Tower? Check. But what did it mean?

The purpose of my day-trip to Paris (my first) was all mechanical. I was there mostly to get Flat Stanley photos for my 8 year old princess and to get lightly familiar with the Metro, navigating the city. I will make no claims whatsoever about having “seen” Paris. I didn’t “really” see, or more importantly, experience much of anything significant. As there is infinitely more to Paris than photos of the Louvre Museum, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower, there is much, much more to SEO than keywords, Pandas, Pengiuns and links. There’s certainly a lot more to social networking than fans, friends and followers.

So the question is, why do you settle? Why do you let your company settle? Why are so many companies still siloing their SEO and social media marketing and counting success through KPIs? Even those companies that have developed their appreciation towards what SEO can do, get caught up in Google update drama or link counts and rankings vs. focusing on what’s important.

The same goes for companies that have some experience in the social media realm. Blog? Check. Fans, friends and followers? Check. Ooh look! Shiny object Pinterest. Check!

KPIs are not business outcomes. At least not for most companies. Rankings, organic non-branded search traffic, Google+ circle counts, video views, comments and retweets are KPIs. Last time I checked, none of them carry a wallet.

Optimize for experiences. Any content or media that a company publishes digitally can create an experience for prospects, customers, investors, employees, journalists, potential employees and industry peers. It’s important to monitor key performance indicators as it relates to search and social media attracting visitors. Engagement KPIs are important too. But I think there’s opportunity to look beyond the fan, friend, follower and ranking metrics to attempt to understand what progress in those areas actually means for the business.

London? Been there, done that. A while back, a peer in the online marketing world mentioned to me having been to London for a day. The summation was, “I’ve done London” check. I see the same assessments from online marketers about their SEO and social media efforts. They have a blog, they’re getting data on links, visits, retweets, likes and comments. Check. But that’s where it stops for them.

In the way that there’s more to Paris, London and the city where you live than seeing a few tourist spots, there’s more to your online marketing than measuring KPIs. They can indicate progress, but they are not the end goal when it comes to customer acquisition and engagement (the business my agency TopRank Online Marketing) is in. It’s also a big focus for my new book, Optimize.

My 30 min of internet at the Antwerp airport is about to expire. I wish I could finish this post, but maybe you can share your thoughts? Do you think most online marketers are practicing meaningful or more mechanical SEO and social media marketing?


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2012. | Is Your Optimization Meaningful or Mechanical? | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Is Your Optimization Meaningful or Mechanical? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/05/optimize-paris-meaningful-mechanical/feed/ 16
Integrated SEO, Social Media & Content Marketing at Fusion Marketing Experience 2012 http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/05/fusion-marketing-experience-2012/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/05/fusion-marketing-experience-2012/#comments Wed, 02 May 2012 09:47:56 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13593 The new book on internet marketing we’ve recently published, “Optimize“, has been very well received and I’ve been doing a number of interviews and speaking engagements (as you do) around it. One of the most common questions I hear concerns the challenges of implementing an integrated “optimized and socialized content marketing” approach within an organization. This is a reasonable [...]

The post Integrated SEO, Social Media & Content Marketing at Fusion Marketing Experience 2012 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
optimized integrated online marketingThe new book on internet marketing we’ve recently published, “Optimize“, has been very well received and I’ve been doing a number of interviews and speaking engagements (as you do) around it. One of the most common questions I hear concerns the challenges of implementing an integrated “optimized and socialized content marketing” approach within an organization.

This is a reasonable question, because while it makes sense that content, SEO and social media (as well as email, online PR and advertising) should work together, the challenge for many corporate marketers and communications professionals is how. That’s where a good approach and plan come in to play and Optimize is a blueprint for such a plan – in particular, when it comes to optimizing and socializing content. Here are a few key considerations for integrating these high impact online marketing tactics:

The challenge of optimized integration. When SEO is owned by marketing and public relations runs social media and content creation is shared across multiple departments, integration of those tactics across a company’s content efforts can be a challenge. What brings things together are:

  • Leadership support through common goals
  • Identification of how an integrated approach will help each individual group as well as the company overall
  • Training, process and tools/technology to enable integration of tactics

Find the low hanging fruit for an integration project and share the results upstream and horizontally. Make sure that as different departments work together to integrate Social, SEO and content (as well as other online marketing tactics where appropriate) that there is a feedback mechanism in place for those involved to see that they are having an impact. Even if it’s not specific to them, showing a trend line of how something like website traffic, or share of voice or leads and sales have improved during the time integration best practices are in place can be very motivating.

Make sense?

This week I’m in Belgium on my continued travels to spread the good word about an “Optimized State of Mind” and integrated online marketing. On May 3rd I’m giving a keynote presentation at Fusion Marketing Experience “Digital Marketing Integration: the Mix of Social, Search and Content“. Details on this keynote:

The sheer volume of content produced and shared by connected consumers is overwhelming. With independent search, social media and content marketing efforts, brands are hard pressed to find an effective model for integration.

The search and social web are reliant on content and it is through more effective content marketing that brands can cut through the noise to meaningful customer engagement and sales.

This keynote will outline key trends in the relationship between consumers and content by understanding Discovery, Consumption and Sharing preferences and how a content marketing strategy that integrates the best of SEO and Social Media can boost Digital Marketing effectiveness.

On May 4th I’ll be doing a workshop at Fusion Marketing to put those key integrated concepts into action: “Setting up a Winning Customer-Centric Content Marketing Strategy”. Details on this workshop:

Who are your customers? What do they care about? What content do you need to create in order to guide customers through the sales process from attention to purchase to advocacy? Get answers to these questions and more with a customer-centric content marketing strategy.

Improving content marketing isn’t about creating more content. It’s about content that’s meaningful vs. mechanical for customers that also inspires engagement and business outcomes. Effective content marketing helps brands reach more people ready to buy, refer and share. This workshop will provide the framework for an Optimize and Socialize approach to content marketing to attract and engage customers across the buying cycle.

Granted, I’m looking forward to a weekend in Antwerp and Brugge but I’m also excited to give these strategic and tactical presentations that exemplify the key messages of Optimize. Since the vast majority of our readers are not in Belgium this week, please be sure to check out future speaking events in the right sidebar of this site.


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2012. | Integrated SEO, Social Media & Content Marketing at Fusion Marketing Experience 2012 | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Integrated SEO, Social Media & Content Marketing at Fusion Marketing Experience 2012 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/05/fusion-marketing-experience-2012/feed/ 11
Optimize – How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/04/optimize-book/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/04/optimize-book/#comments Mon, 16 Apr 2012 14:03:20 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13550 By now you may have heard that I’ve written a book called “Optimize“.  After months of writing and editing, it’s now the real deal and online orders just started shipping a few days ago.   I haven’t done a formal post talking about the book and so here are a few highlights. Essentially, Optimize it’s [...]

The post Optimize – How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
Optimize - Discover, Consume, EngageBy now you may have heard that I’ve written a book called “Optimize“.  After months of writing and editing, it’s now the real deal and online orders just started shipping a few days ago.   I haven’t done a formal post talking about the book and so here are a few highlights.

Essentially, Optimize it’s a more holistic view of content and social media optimization than what you’ll often hear at events, read in other books and online.  So many optimization efforts are focused on chasing exploits and loopholes only to be shut down by search engine quality efforts. Why not focus on quality in the first place?

Optimization using keywords and links is making room for a new set of signals and tactics resulting in the need for a more customer centric approach. Many online marketers “get” the value of SEO, social media and even content independently, but working them together in a way that makes sense is often a challenge.

“Optimize” is organized in 3 phases (here’s a preview) and starts by answering why it makes sense to integrate search, social and content as well as practical examples for B2B, B2C, small business, a Fortune 50 and use case examples within organizations for marketing, public relations, customer service and recruiting.  There’s guidance on conducting audits for SEO, Content and Social Media for benchmarking and ongoing performance.

The second phase is by far the largest part of the book covering tactics and implementation ranging from customer segmentation and persona development to search and social keyword research, developing a content plan, on-page web page and social media optimization, social network development, promotion for links and measurement.

The third phase provides examples of bringing it all together and assessment for training and processes to scale an “Optimized State of Mind” to the rest of the organization.

Optimize is designed to be useful as a end to end guide for anyone that creates digital content in an organization that wants to extend the reach and usefulness of that content. That includes marketing, PR, customer service and other departments. The customer centric approach works as well for B2B as it does for consumer focused companies.

Optimize is also a great reference tool for experts. At the same time, Optimize can be used as a reference for those marketers and communications professionals that are experienced in a particular area and not others. They get the “why”, they need the “how”.

At the moment, there are a handful of reviews, webinars and interviews about Optimize but more are coming.  So far, I’ve had several speaking events specific to Optimize in Minneapolis, New York and Chicago with another coming up this week in Leeds, UK and then Antwerp Belgium. In between I’ll be visiting a number of regional events.

I owe a ton of thanks to the TopRank Online Marketing team for chipping in and helping out in a variety of ways. We’re really building something special at our agency and the real growth is just beginning now in 2012. Thank you too, to Mike Grehan, Vice President & Global Content Director for Search Engine Watch, ClickZ and Search Engine Strategies for writing an awesome introduction.

A HUGE thanks goes to the following search, social media and content marketing smarties for giving early endorsements of Optimize (many are best selling authors):

  • Chris Brogan – Human Business Works, Author, Speaker
  • Ann Handley – Chief Cupcake Officer, (Oops, I mean Chief Content Officer) MarketingProfs, Author, Speaker
  • John Jantsch – Duct Tape Marketing, Author, Speaker
  • Melanie Mitchell – SVP Search Marketing Strategy, Digitas, Author, Speaker
  • Scott Monty – Global Digital & Multimedia Communications Manager at Ford Motor Company, Speaker
  • Brian Clark – Copyblogger Media, Recovering Attorney, Entrepreneur, Speaker
  • Joe Pulizzi – Junta42, Content Marketing Institute, Author, Speaker
  • Mel Carson – Digital Marketing Evangelist, Community & Social Media Manager, Speaker & Blogger at Microsoft Advertising, Speaker
  • Bill Hunt – BackAzimuth, SEO God, Author, Speaker
  • Jay Baer – Convince & Convert, Author, Speaker
  • Michael Stelzner – Social Media Examiner, Author, Speaker
  • Amy Lamparske – Director, Digital Communications at Walmart
  • David Alston – CMO Radian6, Speaker

I couldn’t imagine a more impressive group of people to give their approval for a book on this topic.

So many people have reached out to me, unsolicited to offer help to promote the book through speaking, interviews and social shares. I really, really appreciate that! After sharing insights with our readers for over 8 years it’s great to see that kind of appreciation to help get the word out about Optimize.

If you’d like a practical content marketing book that does a deep dive into both why and how, especially when it comes to SEO and Social Media Marketing, then I hope you’ll check out Optimize: AmazonBarnes & Noble.


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2012. | Optimize – How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Optimize – How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/04/optimize-book/feed/ 17
Digital Convergence: Marketing & Public Relations #PRSADIConf http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/04/digital-convergence-marketing-public-relations/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/04/digital-convergence-marketing-public-relations/#comments Mon, 02 Apr 2012 11:00:42 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13506 Since 2004 or so when I started this blog, I’ve been promoting the convergence of SEO and public relations, especially through press release optimization. Shortly after, that focus has shifted to emphasize the intersection of search, social and content. In fact, here’s a post from 2006 on social media, SEO & PR. Winds of Change. [...]

The post Digital Convergence: Marketing & Public Relations #PRSADIConf appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
optimize prsa digital impact

Since 2004 or so when I started this blog, I’ve been promoting the convergence of SEO and public relations, especially through press release optimization. Shortly after, that focus has shifted to emphasize the intersection of search, social and content. In fact, here’s a post from 2006 on social media, SEO & PR.

Winds of Change. If you work in the Public Relations world, you’ve undoubtedly observed significant changes both in the news media business and the relationship between PR, intermediary news organizations and consumers. Information preferences have changed, technology and media have changed and the business of news and corporate communications have changed.

44% of Americans own a smart phone  and 51% use them for news.  18% of Americans own a tablet device and 56% use tablets for news consumption. 23% use multiple devices to consume news content. The shift from print to digital goes beyond the desktop to other devices and it’s essential for PR and Communications professionals to understand how target audiences discover and consume news content.

Yin & Yang of Marketing & PR. Marketing goals are influenced by PR and media relations activities. PR objetives are increasingly achieved through online marketing activities. The trend with business leaders expecting marketing and PR outcomes as a result of their investments in content is growing. Across the US, heck all over the world, light bulbs are popping with the realization that siloed marketing and PR no longer works.

Crash or Catapult. Whether it’s an evolution or worlds colliding depends on how organizations understand and prepare themselves strategically and tactically for the fundamental shifts that drive communications, influence, behaviors and marketing/PR outcomes.

Digital Convergence at Digital Impact. At the PRSA Digital Impact conference in New York this week, brands (Facebook, IBM, Google, Dell) and top practitioners are converging to create a perfect storm of insights into the essential answers PR and communications professionals need to know to evolve themselves and their organizations in this always connected digital age.

Optimize State of Mind. For my part, I’ll be covering the role of content, search and social (as I do) and how PR/Communications can leverage a marketing-centric understanding of audiences to create optimized and socialized content that facilitates both PR and Marketing objectives.

Here’s an outline of what I’ll be presenting on Monday April 2nd at 2:30pm EST:

  • Convergence: PR, Marketing
  • Customer Optimization Trilogy: Discover, Consume, Act
  • Content Marketing Framework & Best Practices
  • Know your audience segments
  • Search keywords, social topics
  • Optimized editorial, socialized promotion
  • Social networks for engagement
  • Optimize your story: share, buy, recommend
  • Essential measurement for optimized and socialized content

First Sighting of Optimize! It turns out that PRSA Digital Impact 2012 will be the first event where I will have hard cover copies of my new book, Optimize. This is exciting to me because of my PR and SEO roots and having worked with the PRSA as a consultant for quite a few years.   I’ll be presenting on Monday 4/2 at 2:30pm and if you’d like an opportunity to win one of the very first, signed copies of Optimize, then make sure you’re there. And bring a few friends too!

It’s Kind of a Big Deal. Optimize has been the culmination of my 15 years in the online marketing business and being a “walk the talk” practitioner, working on our own online marketing and with many of our clients. Optimize provides a 30,000 foot view of why and then does a fast, deep dive into a framework and specific tactics that PR and Marketing professionals can use to improve the reach and engagement of their content the same day. Smart folks like Joe Pulizzi, Chris Brogan, Ann Handley, Jay Baer, John Jantsch, Michael Stelzner and digital leaders at Ford, Microsoft, Vocus, Radian6 and Walmart have endorsed Optimize.

Begin your journey to optimized digital convergence. If things work out, I’ll have some books available for a book signing on Tuesday.  In case it doesn’t, be at the 2:30pm Content Marketing & PR session where I’ll give a preview, a few free copies to the best questions and a free SEO Audit Guide for everyone as a thank you for attending.

The digital version of Optimize (i.e. Kindle) is available right now. The hard cover version will be out April 17th through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and many other online book sellers.

 


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2012. | Digital Convergence: Marketing & Public Relations #PRSADIConf | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Digital Convergence: Marketing & Public Relations #PRSADIConf appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/04/digital-convergence-marketing-public-relations/feed/ 5
Content & Customer Optimization Presentation from Search Congress Barcelona http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/03/optimize-content-customers-sc12/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/03/optimize-content-customers-sc12/#comments Thu, 01 Mar 2012 15:34:15 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13374 I’m about to go on stage at the Search Congress conference in Barcelona and I thought I’d share the presentation that I’ll be giving. Don’t worry, only the title page is in Spanish but all the photos are from my last trip to Barcelona. As a complement to the growing amount of Content and Social [...]

The post Content & Customer Optimization Presentation from Search Congress Barcelona appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
Barcelona Search Congress

View from our "boat" in Barcelona during Search Congress

I’m about to go on stage at the Search Congress conference in Barcelona and I thought I’d share the presentation that I’ll be giving. Don’t worry, only the title page is in Spanish but all the photos are from my last trip to Barcelona.

As a complement to the growing amount of Content and Social Media focused advice being given by traditional SEOs, this presentation is in line with our approach at TopRank to customer-centric content optimization.

Instead of focusing solely on keywords as inspiration for optimization, this presentation provides a framework and example of how a customer centric approach would segment customer data into personas and then map keywords, topics and content types according to each persona’s journey through the buying cycle.

The notion of SEO and optimization is so much more than keywords and links (as pointed out in yesterday’s well-received SEO post) I hope you find it useful.

Thanks to Ouali and the Search Congress team as well as to the attendees of Search Congress for attending.


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2012. | Content & Customer Optimization Presentation from Search Congress Barcelona | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Content & Customer Optimization Presentation from Search Congress Barcelona appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/03/optimize-content-customers-sc12/feed/ 5
#Optimize This: Online Marketing Optimization Best Practices http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/02/optimize-this-online-marketing-summit-2012-presentation/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/02/optimize-this-online-marketing-summit-2012-presentation/#comments Mon, 06 Feb 2012 15:21:57 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13298 I’m headed to (hopefully) sunny San Diego today for the annual Online Marketing Summit conference where I’ll get to present on one of my favorite topics: Optimization. Of course, if you read Online Marketing Blog very often, you’ll know my definition of optimization is a bit different than traditional SEO.  My post last Thursday “Are [...]

The post #Optimize This: Online Marketing Optimization Best Practices appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
Optimize This OMS

I’m headed to (hopefully) sunny San Diego today for the annual Online Marketing Summit conference where I’ll get to present on one of my favorite topics: Optimization. Of course, if you read Online Marketing Blog very often, you’ll know my definition of optimization is a bit different than traditional SEO.  My post last Thursday “Are You Optimized?” touched on this.

The competition for attendance during the breakout sessions at OMS is really tough during the time slot I’m scheduled for. SAP, Wider Funnel and SAP are all presenting at the same time as I’m giving the all new “Optimize THIS: Integrating Social, SEO & Content presentation”. This post is a bit of a preview on the presentation so if you’re at OMS this week, make sure you check it out.

In Optimize THIS, I have about 45 minutes (including Q & A) to help attendees learn the principles and best practices of optimizing content and social media participation for better marketing performance.  Most marketers and even consumers face a deluge of information as they look for answers online. Google has morphed itself into an entirely new type of social search engine and the state of flux has many businesses facing new challenges that are difficult to keep up with.

There’s plenty of speculation that businesses like Google that have attracted a huge user base because of their ability to organize and provide useful, relevant information see free or organic information as a problem to the advertising solution. In other words,  SEO is seen as a bug, not a useful way to modify websites so search engines can crawl and index them more effectively to the benefit of all: user, brand, search engine.

Google Dominates search, but should they dominate your online marketing?  What would happen if Google disappeared tomorrow? What if your business disappeared from Google tomorrow? What would that mean to your marketing? What would it mean to your business? There are numerous stories of companies devastated as collateral damage to algorithmic updates.

Google’s market position over-influences SEO practitioners to develop keyword glossaries, create, promote and optimize content solely focused on Google. That’s a reasonable approach, but I for one, am not a big fan of putting all my marketing eggs in one basket. The perceived reward of single stop marketing is also a risk.

Diversification or “Un-Googling” your online marketing isn’t just good for mitigating risk, it’s also a better approach to meeting customer needs, especially when optimization is viewed holistically with the way a business communicates digitally with its customers.

A more customer centric approach to online marketing is the catalyst for integrating content marketing, SEO and Social Media. The icing on the cake of customer centric online marketing diversification is even better organic performance on Google vs. focusing solely on traditional keyword popularity and links.

Optimize for customers

The road to Social, SEO and Content Marketing integration is through understanding the fundamental shifts in how consumers discover, consume and share information online. Search behaviors are not just inspired by a consumer need, but by paid, owned, earned and share media. The consumer journey online for solutions weaves its way through search and social interactions finding, interacting, reacting, buying and sharing.

Online commerce and content are increasingly a social experience and content is the key to helping companies Attract, Engage and Inspire their target audiences to act: purchase, interact and share with their networks.

What does a customer centric optimize content marketing approach look like? Start by identifying common customer characteristics. Segment that data and develop consumer profiles or personas that describe: Search Keywords, Social Topics, Pain Points, Triggers and Goals. Figure out what information would be most meaningful during the stages of your customer segments’ journey through the buying cycle. Essentially, find out what customers care about and leverage that data in a way that allows you to target your “best” customers as a group.

Translate what you now know about your customers into a content plan that addresses pain points, triggers and consumer goals with brand content optimized for search keywords and social topics. Implement website, blog, social content and engagement marketing to meet your target customers needs with the right context, relevant language and meaningful topics that will inspire them to take action.

Structure your content marketing plan with optimized and socialized channels of distribution. We like the hub and spoke model that can scale to a “constellation” of hub and spokes.

Monitor social channels for community response and engagement with socialized content. Use web analytics to monitor search and user experience impact of your content on engagement, fueling social network growth and of course, inspiring sales.

By formulating a content plan based on consumer segment information needs as they move through the buying cycle, optimization can be more in tune with customer interests than generic keyword popularity. Content is more helpful, usable and likely to be shared socially. For customers prone to use search, you’re visibile. For those that focus on social channels, you’re there too. For those that use both: even better.

There’s a lot more to say on this topic (as I’ve done in Optimize) but you can expect to see plenty of screen shots and some examples in my presentation tomorrow. If your’re ready to get optimized for 2012 and beyond, I hope to see you there.

2/7 OMS – San Diego
Hilton San Diego Bayfront
Optimize This: Integrating Social, SEO & Content
Learn the principles and best practices of optimizing content and social media participation for better marketing performance
11:45 AM–12:30
Room: Sapphire H


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2012. | #Optimize This: Online Marketing Optimization Best Practices | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post #Optimize This: Online Marketing Optimization Best Practices appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/02/optimize-this-online-marketing-summit-2012-presentation/feed/ 17
Top Online Marketing Books for 2012 http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/12/top-online-marketing-books-2012/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/12/top-online-marketing-books-2012/#comments Wed, 28 Dec 2011 11:34:20 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13115 The New Year will soon be here and we are looking forward to continuing to learn from some of the top marketing minds on the web about the strategies and tactics that will shape  online marketing efforts in 2012 and beyond. To help you get a jump start, I have compiled a list of books coming [...]

The post Top Online Marketing Books for 2012 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
The New Year will soon be here and we are looking forward to continuing to learn from some of the top marketing minds on the web about the strategies and tactics that will shape  online marketing efforts in 2012 and beyond. To help you get a jump start, I have compiled a list of books coming out in 2012 that cover a range of online marketing topics including:  mobile, social media, content and search engine marketing. Enjoy.

[Note from Lee: We didn’t include second editions, re-releases in paperback or books that didn’t have cover images uploaded yet.]

Mobile, Local, Location Based Marketing

Mobile Marketing Book

Mobilized Marketing: Drive Sales, Engagement, and Loyalty Through Mobile Marketing (Wiley) by Jeff Hasen

Jeff Hasen, CMO of mobile marketing forerunner Hipcricket, provides timely mobile strategies and tactics leveraging his experience from more than 130,000 past campaigns.  As mobile marketing continues to move to the forefront of the marketing world, the insight Hasen provides into mobile optimization, budgeting, and measurement should prove to be indispensable in 2012.

Location Based Marketing Book

Go Mobile: Location-Based Marketing, Apps, Mobile Optimized Ad Campaigns, 2D Codes and Other Mobile Strategies to Grow Your Business  (Wiley) by Jeanne Hopkins and Jamie Turner

Go Mobile offers a step by step guide for mobile marketing in 2012.  It includes practical campaign instructions in order to develop a mobile website, deploy SMS for business, utilize QR codes, leverage mobile apps and more. One can also benefit from strategic instructions to use location based marketing in order to build your customers base and how to integrate social media into mobile campaigns.

Search & Social Media Marketing

Social Media Analytics Book

Social Media Intelligence: Extracting Knowledge from the Fire Hose of Conversations (Que) by  Sally Falkow

Upcoming in June of 2012, Social Media Intelligence illustrates how to use the leading social media analytics tools in order to gauge the effectiveness of social media marketing and make strategic decisions. Sally Falkow will guide you in moving from reactive brand monitoring to proactive information gathering in order to take advantage of business opportunities. This is a great read for those looking to progress from just doing social media to using it as an effective piece of their marketing strategy.

Google+ for Business - Social Media Marketing Book

Google+ for Business: How Google’s Social Network Changes Everything  (Que) by Chris Brogan

The much buzzed about Google+ seems likely to have a big impact on search in 2012.  Author, Chris Brogan, discusses how businesses should be taking advantage of the newest social network and defines those strategies and tactics to use for business.

Content Marketing

Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customer by Integrating SEO, Social Media, Content Marketing

Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customer by Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing (Wiley) by Lee Odden

TopRank Online Marketing CEO Lee Odden helps companies develop an optimized and socialized content marketing strategy to attain new levels of customer acquisition and engagement in 2012.  Balancing the practical with the innovative, Optimize is ideal for those marketers that want a more effective content marketing strategy that wins and retains more customers, builds thought leadership and dominates the competition. Scheduled for release mid-March 2012.

Content is Currency - Content Marketing Book 2012

Content is Currency: Developing Powder Content for Web and Mobile (Nicholas Brealey Publishing) by Jon Wuebben

Already receiving great reviews, Content is Currency, by Jon Wuebben delivers practical instructions and step by step guides to manage content through four key phases: Creation, Optimization, Distribution and Curation.  This book is a great opportunity for business owners and marketers to understand how to create content which will engage their audience and drive results.

B2B Marketing

B2B Social Media

The B2B Social Media Book: Become a Marketing Superstar by Generating Leads with Blogging, LinkedIN, Twitter, Facebook, Email, and More (Wiley) by Kipp Bodnar and Jeffrey L. Cohen

The B2B Social Media Book is the ultimate reference guide for B2B marketers looking to expand their knowledge of social media strategy and contribute to their business growth.  Readers will discover actionable items for leveraging blogs, LinkedIN, Facebook, Twitter and more to form the cornerstone of their B2B marketing strategies.

B2B Digital Marketing

B2B Digital Marketing: Using the Web to Market Directly to Businesses (Que) by Michael Miler

B2B Digital Marketing looks to be a great resource for B2B marketers interested in learning how to sell directly to other businesses using digital marketing. Leading with a broad summary and then diving into individual channel tactics for strategy, implementation and measurement, B2B Digital Marketing is another good guide for those looking for a B2B marketing overview.

There are many books publishing in 2012 that promise to introduce us to new ways to strategize, develop online marketing plans and deploy campaigns across a variety of channels. What books are you anxiously awaiting in 2012?

 


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2011. | Top Online Marketing Books for 2012 | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Top Online Marketing Books for 2012 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/12/top-online-marketing-books-2012/feed/ 13
Social Media ROI as Return on Influence #Optimize http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/12/social-media-roi-as-return-on-influence/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/12/social-media-roi-as-return-on-influence/#comments Wed, 14 Dec 2011 13:07:17 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13076 While the topic of return on investment with social media participation seems to polarize many marketing, advertising, and public relations pundits, there are a growing number of companies and agencies that are implementing social media marketing and analysis efforts to answer the question firsthand. We’ve all read about or seen favorite examples going back to [...]

The post Social Media ROI as Return on Influence #Optimize appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
Optimize Social Media ROIWhile the topic of return on investment with social media participation seems to polarize many marketing, advertising, and public relations pundits, there are a growing number of companies and agencies that are implementing social media marketing and analysis efforts to answer the question firsthand.

We’ve all read about or seen favorite examples going back to Dell Outlet selling a few million dollars worth of discounted computer equipment through Twitter, to Blendtec selling more blenders because of its YouTube videos showing what happens when a Blendtec meets an iPhone, or a rake. Of course, there’s also the famed Old Spice example of selling more body wash because of Isaiah Mustafa on a horse on a beach.

It’s About the Customers 

Besides those very viral and frequently shared social media ROI examples, there are also marketers that realize that it’s not always about selling widgets on Facebook or YouTube. It’s about the connections they make with customers being instrumental for recommendations and serving as inspiration to buy. It might not mean purchasing at the moment of social media interaction, but at some point in the future as the customer navigates the search, social, and mobile web.

It’s About Relationships

The value companies can get from investment in social media is directly tied to the relationships they build with customers and a relevant community. If a business wants to sell more widgets through Twitter, they could certainly achieve that goal providing they understand what information and experiences trigger those purchases and respond with an appropriate customer engagement plan. Whether Twitter is the sales channel or simply a proxy to the sales experience depends on the customers – not the brand’s objective of selling widgets on Twitter.

ROI is Also About Cost Savings

Sometimes realizing measurable business value from social media investment is a matter of creating efficiencies as some companies have by developing internal social network platforms that result in more effective collaboration and operational effectiveness. Those efficiencies often translate into better, faster, and more useful information for customers that result in cost savings or even more sales.

Measure What Matters

The better connections brands have with consumers, the more likely those consumers will be positively inclined to buy. Many social media ROI models are based on a direct marketing approach with an offer and response approach. The problem is that companies are chasing after a platform where relevant customers might be vs. understanding how to influence those customers through a social experience. The ROI from social media investment doesn’t have to come from direct sales through social networks, but that’s exactly how most companies evaluate.

It’s About Inspiration and Influence

A lot of productive social media marketing efforts are more likely to influence business outcomes than be the channel where those outcomes occur. Public and media relations, for example, isn’t that different. Positive media coverage creates awareness and inspires search or discovery of the brand and the sale occurs on the company website. Social experiences like influencer marketing programs can provide brand-advertising benefits and inspire consumers to buy sooner, more quantity, or more often, as well as to choose one brand vs. another. What company wouldn’t want to sell more products, more often, more quickly?

Here are a few interesting data points and examples that suggest a correlation between social engagement and consumer buying behavior:

  • eMarketer – Over 50 percent of Twitter followers are more likely to purchase from brands they follow.
  • USA Today – Coca-Cola Facebook fans are two times as likely to consume product and 10 times more likely to purchase than non-fans, according to Wendy Clark, senior vice president of integrated marketing.
  • Yahoo – Brands who sponsored content with social features increased purchase intent by 13 percent.
  • Mashable – “Following Brands on Twitter Increases Purchase Intent.” A study by Constant Contact and research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey reports that 60 percent of brand followers are more likely to recommend a brand to a friend after following the brand on Twitter, and 50 percent of brand followers are more likely to buy from that brand.

The missing piece to many assessments of what value social media participation provides is that most marketers are chasing popular platforms with their own interpretation of what will motivate customers to buy. What they should be doing is understanding customer preferences and optimizing for the kinds of social experiences that will not only inspire purchase, but social sharing, advocacy, and loyalty. Social media is a communications platform that can help businesses serve customer needs across the lifecycle, not just at the top of the sales funnel. Understand that and an entirely new opportunity is revealed.

This post originally appeared in my Social Media Smarts column on ClickZ.


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2011. | Social Media ROI as Return on Influence #Optimize | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Social Media ROI as Return on Influence #Optimize appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/12/social-media-roi-as-return-on-influence/feed/ 5
4 Step Content Marketing Framework for Start-Ups http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/12/content-marketing-framework-for-start-ups/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/12/content-marketing-framework-for-start-ups/#comments Mon, 12 Dec 2011 11:39:17 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13053 Thousands if not tens of thousands of new companies are formed every month in the U.S. and one of the most common problems to be solved relates to creating awareness, interest and motivation to buy.  Is buying Google AdWords, throwing up a blog and a Facebook Fan page the answer? What about sending out Tweets, [...]

The post 4 Step Content Marketing Framework for Start-Ups appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
optimize socialize toprank

Thousands if not tens of thousands of new companies are formed every month in the U.S. and one of the most common problems to be solved relates to creating awareness, interest and motivation to buy.  Is buying Google AdWords, throwing up a blog and a Facebook Fan page the answer? What about sending out Tweets, press releases and investing in SEO?  If your start-up is executing content marketing tactics without first hand insight into the market and target customers, those tactics are a crapshoot. The irony is that most start-ups don’t have a lot of money to waste on marketing and advertising. But they do, every day. And so do many of the people reading this blog post.

Never fear, that’s why Optimize is here.

Start with What’s Important: While there’s plenty of great marketing advice out there, it will never solve the problems of an imperfect product. Creating great products and customer experience is probably one of the most important marketing investments a company can make. Outside of that, identifying compelling stories about how the product or service solves problems, meets a need or adds value for customers are essential steps for start-ups and established companies alike.

A great example of a company that inspires marketing by it’s fans and customers because the product quality and experience is so good, is Evernote.

evernote

There are over 76 million references to Evernote on Google.com and over 8 1/2 million references on blogs. On Twitter there are positive references every hour like “oh wow! I love Evernote and use it everyday” and “Evernote ftw. it’s not just about the list, it’s about the sync as well – smile”. That steady stream of unsolicited endorsement (and social content) is a tremendous marketing asset.

You Can’t Score Sales Without A Goal.  The framework for implementing a holistic and strategic approach to Content Marketing starts by answering key questions including establishing goals ranging from overall revenue to cost efficiency of marketing and advertising tactics.  Then identify what methods of measurement you’ll use as well as Key Performance Indicators to track progress towards your goals. Forecast or hypothesize what measurable impact on the business there will be and how to track progress over time.

BTW, some great people and resources on measurement for search and social media marketing as well as online media and communications on Twitter include: Katie PayneChuck HemannShonali Burke, Jim SterneMarshall SponderEric PetersonAvinash Kaushik. There are more I know, so please share your faves in the comments.

With that foundation of establishing goals and identifying an approach to measurement, follow through these steps:

Get to Know Your Customers:
It’s one thing to optimize content using specific keywords researched for SEO purposes. But rather than start with keywords, what about starting with customers? In the advertising, content and direct marketing worlds (even web development and user experience) there’s specific attention paid to understanding customer segments and creating profiles or personas to guide the most successful approach. By empathizing with customer categories of interest, pain points and behaviors, a qualitative picture emerges of what kind of content, topics and optimization can be focused on in order to achieve business goals.

That insight into what customers care about can be translated into search keywords and social topics used for specific content optimization on a start-up’s website. It can also be used to inspire social content creation for sharing on sites like Facebook, Twitter or Reddit where customers spend time and are influenced. Which keywords to use and which social channels to spend time on depends on your research. And that research is ongoing – something that is iteratively and continuously refined.

David Meerman Scott has explored buyer personas quite well in his book, New Rules of Marketing and PR. Vanessa Fox has some great advice on searcher personas in her book, Marketing in the Age of Google.

Where Does The Money Come From: Keywords or Customers?  Most SEO practitioners focus solely on keywords, popularity and relevance to the brand’s website content and rely on the brand to figure out relevance to customer needs.  The problem is, many companies simply don’t do that homework. They decide internally what content to publish online without consideration of specific customer-centric perceptions of the problem that the brand’s product and services are to solve. That causes a disconnect and performance issues when the SEO practitioner achieves top keyword visibility but corresponding increases in sales don’t follow.

Few things are more frustrating for a SEO consultant (and the client) than to deliver top keyword visibility and traffic as promised, but only to be deemed a failed program because there was no corresponding increase in sales. That’s a conversion optimization issue in many cases, but also a disconnect in how keyword research was conducted relevant to actual customer needs.

Identify Search Keywords & Social Topics:
Understanding the drivers for why customers seek information online will help marketers identify what topics are the best reflection of meeting those needs. From a SEO and content marketing perspective, that means keywords. Keywords are a reflection of what customers care about and should serve as a guide for on-page optimization and link building efforts. At the same time, customers are not just influenced by search in their journey from discovery to purchase. Social media influences are increasingly a part of the buying cycle.

Another way to manifest what customers care about into actionable marketing is to understand what social topics are relevant for your business. Find out what people are “talking about” on the social web through comments, blog posts, tags, updates and tweets as it relates to your business and the customers you’re after.

As search keywords are managed with a keyword glossary, social topics can be managed or tracked as well. See this post on fixed list keywords and dynamic social topics for more.  The combination of search keywords and social topics can keep start-up marketers on track and efficient with their editorial plans and proactive efforts towards ongoing optimization and social content creation. The tie-in to social media monitoring and web analytics will help refine messaging to be more effective at generating leads, sales or whatever your objectives might be.

Ron Jones just came out with a book dedicated to the task of keyword research called Keyword Intelligence that is worth checking out. Also, Bill Hunt has an awesome presentation on Advanced Keyword Modeling that he’s given at SES events.

Create a Content and Promotion Plan:
Once you have a solid keyword glossary, a next step is to create an editorial plan to identify and manage what content you’ll create when and for what topics, customer segments and intended outcomes.  Sprinkling keywords in the right places on existing content is technically SEO, but it’s simply not enough to be competitive. Becoming the most relevant answer for a search query means ongoing creation and optimization of content that supports the topic. This extends to social content and networking/sharing channels as well.

Think of it in terms of signals of credibility. Wherever your customers can be influenced along their journey from awareness to decision to advocacy is where you’ll want to create optimized and socialized content.  A content promotion plan includes dates, topics, keywords, categories, tags, media types, promotion channels and where the content will be re-purposed in the future.  Here are two work horses for such a task: keyword glossary and editorial plan (blog).

content promotion

Implement Optimization, Socialization & Promotion:
This is where the rubber hits the road and content is created, optimized and socialized.  If you think of each piece of content as having a purpose for a particular audience segment, then it follows that you’ll want that content to be relevant at communicating your brand’s unique selling proposition (USP) as well as relevant for keywords customers are searching on.  Unfortunately, creating really fantastic and relevant content isn’t enough. Promotion of that content is important in order to gain the visibility that results in broad based sharing.  You know: tell 2 friends who tell 2 friends, and so on.

When it comes to great resources for SEO Copywriting and Content Marketing, I have to mention: Heather Lloyd Martin’s SEO Copywriting class, Joe Pulizzi’s Content Marketing Institute, Content Rules by Ann Handley & CC Chapman, Content Marketing by Rebecca Lieb and Accelerate by Arnie Kuenn. Last, but not least, is my own book about Content Marketing, SEO and Social Media Marketing that’s coming out in March of next year called, Optimize (Wiley).

Not all content is created equal when it comes to promotion, so be realistic about expectations and the resources you’ll need.  Also, don’t treat your promotable content like a one-night stand.  For most start-ups, the goal isn’t just to get a sale here and there, but to build a successful business. That means a persistent effort to stay top of mind and relevant amongst a growing community of customers and fans. Feed that community with themes of social content and participation and they will reward your start-up by interacting and sharing to networks beyond your reach. Interacting with a growing community will also supply an infinite number of relevant topics for future content.

Limited resources and a rush to revenue can cause many start-ups to make rash decisions about their online marketing mix. When it comes to content and better connections with customers, making an effort to develop customer-centric content with an optimize and socialize approach to promotion will help grow momentum, sales and referrals for short and long term success.

If you work with a start-up on marketing, what are some of the most common challenges you’ve faced with regard to content? What about social media and SEO?


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2011. | 4 Step Content Marketing Framework for Start-Ups | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post 4 Step Content Marketing Framework for Start-Ups appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/12/content-marketing-framework-for-start-ups/feed/ 11
Where Does SEO & Social Media Optimization Fit Within Your Company? Hint: It’s Not All About Marketing #optimize http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/12/seo-social-media-optimization-fit/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/12/seo-social-media-optimization-fit/#comments Mon, 05 Dec 2011 11:59:00 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13057 When most people think of search engine optimization for a company, it’s usually as a marketing function. That makes sense since SEO is such a low-cost, high impact and measurable method of attracting new customers and revenue. However, I think looking at SEO and optimizing social media solely as a marketing function is like looking [...]

The post Where Does SEO & Social Media Optimization Fit Within Your Company? Hint: It’s Not All About Marketing #optimize appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
social seoWhen most people think of search engine optimization for a company, it’s usually as a marketing function. That makes sense since SEO is such a low-cost, high impact and measurable method of attracting new customers and revenue. However, I think looking at SEO and optimizing social media solely as a marketing function is like looking only at the eyeball of your favorite portait. Take a step back and you’ll see a bigger, more interesting picture.

Think Outside the Marketing Search Box. Companies publish a variety of content besides products and services but usually rely only on people’s familiarity with the company website to find that information.  Customers, employees, partners, job seekers, news media, industry analysts and investors need a variety of information from those companies and with over 11 billion queries handled every month by Google, search is a prime channel for discovery. So is social. Facebook has over 800 million members, Twitter has over 200 million and LinkedIn over 100 million. If content has a purpose and an intended audience, why not optimize for findability and shareability?

Go Holistic. As companies are making plans for resource allocation in the coming year, I’d suggest consideration of how to facilitate the ease of connection and sharing between the online content published by the brand (on and off the corporate website) and the intended audiences. In particular, the holistic application of search keywords and social topics on marketing, PR, Customer Service, Talent Acquisition and HR.

organizational seo

ROI on Optimization Isn’t Just for Marketing. There are more departments that publish online content than those above, but it’s a good example of the opportunity that companies have to make it easier, more efficient and effective for intended audiences to discover and engage with a company’s content. If Marketing can show a return on investment based on content optimization that attracts website traffic and converts visitors into sales, then so can optimizing other types of business content with a specific purpose. For example, optimizing news content for discovery by journalists, bloggers and analysts who are doing research.

Amplify PR Investment with SEO. If a company is spending $10,000 per month on a Public Relations firm retainer and part of that budget is specifically for media relations and getting press coverage, then optimizing press releases, the newsroom, digital assets like PDFs, images, video and even social media content can help connect the brand story with journalists who are in need of sources. With effective PR content optimization, the impact of that $10k spend might be increased by 50%. We spend nothing on media relations (not that I don’t think we should) and gain about $5k in value of media coverage every month because our news content is discovered by journalists, analysts and bloggers through search and social media.

Make Connecting & Sharing Easier. So think of search and social media optimization not only as way to boost leads and sales, but as a way to amplify the effect of communications between the brand and its community of customers, media, job seekers and employees.  Whatever can be searched can be optimized. Facilitating search and social media based discovery of that content can mean attracting better employees, solving customer service problems online without phone calls and increasing credibility of the brand where key constituents are looking.

Are you optimizing for search and social media discovery outside of marketing? If you could show an impact on increased effectiveness or even a deflection of costs, where would you start?


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2011. | Where Does SEO & Social Media Optimization Fit Within Your Company? Hint: It’s Not All About Marketing #optimize | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Where Does SEO & Social Media Optimization Fit Within Your Company? Hint: It’s Not All About Marketing #optimize appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/12/seo-social-media-optimization-fit/feed/ 11
Optimize & Prosper: Discovery, Consumption & Engagement http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/11/optimize-prosper-discovery-consumption-engagement/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/11/optimize-prosper-discovery-consumption-engagement/#comments Mon, 28 Nov 2011 11:00:01 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=13022 A recent study “State of Digital Marketing Report” indicated that for both B2B (57%) and B2C (41%) websites, search engine optimization was the most effective marketing tactic for lead generation over paid search advertising and social media marketing. Keep in mind, the study was sponsored by a provider of SEO services and had a conservative [...]

The post Optimize & Prosper: Discovery, Consumption & Engagement appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
discover consume engageA recent study “State of Digital Marketing Report” indicated that for both B2B (57%) and B2C (41%) websites, search engine optimization was the most effective marketing tactic for lead generation over paid search advertising and social media marketing. Keep in mind, the study was sponsored by a provider of SEO services and had a conservative sample size. Despite that, the findings are consistent with what many successful SEO practitioners have known for years.

There are a number of additional studies that have supported the notion that Search Marketing (PPC and SEO) are the most effective and efficient practices for improving website traffic, leads and sales. In fact, Google has compiled a number of case studies and examples of how online search has driven substantial offline sales. Earned, Owned, Paid and Shared Media all drive search as search drives both online and offline outcomes for business.

Different companies and industries may find some variation with the role of search optimization in their mix, but there’s no mistaking that optimizing content and social media for relevant visibility where customers are actively looking has tremendous benefits and cost efficiencies. But despite the benefits, many companies neglect to engage a proactive content optimization strategy and even fewer optimize social media and overall website content holistically.

For a better picture of how to think about holistic optimization (An Optimized State of Mind), I’m going to share one of the key models from the book I’m currently writing, Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing to be published by Wiley in 2012.

For effective optimization as a state of mind, I believe there are three key components of brand and customer interaction to optimize for. Focusing on these three areas can help companies become more relevant and effective in their ability provide meaningful customer experiences that inspire action.

Optimize for Discovery

Optimize Discovery

Customers arrive at the act of searching for a variety of reasons ranging from longer term research for larger or more complex purchases to solving an immediate problem or need.  People search for more reasons than to buy a product or service and companies publish more content online than things for sale. Any content brands publish online is an opportunity for optimization to make it easier and more relevant to connect with intended audiences whether they are prospective customers, existing customers, industry media, job candidates or company employees.

Optimizing for discovery goes beyond search though, since consumers use a variety of channels to find information online.  According to Cross Channel Commerce (pdf), a report from Oracle, “When purchasing a product or service, more than three-quarters of consumers use two or more channels to research and complete the transaction. Nearly one-third of consumers said they use three or more channels.” Optimizing for customer discovery means a 360 degree view of how people prefer to find content.  For search, it means keywords, content and links. For social media it means topics, networks and communities. Knowing how your audience prefers to find information relevant to your business will provide valuable insight for your content marketing, optimization and social media strategy.

Companies can get a good start on finding consumer discovery preferences by using a combination of CRM, web analytics, social media monitoring tools and competitive research tools. Data from those sources relevant to your desired audience and outcomes can fuel a more effective approach to Social SEO & Content Marketing. Monitoring and revisiting those sources can provide an ongoing source of insight for iterative improvements as you implement tactics that are more thoughtful about consumer behaviors.

Optimize for Consumption

Optimize Consumption

Search is just a start. Appearing high in search results or being mentioned as a resource within social media and networks is only part of the journey for customers as they navigate the kind of information that leads to a conclusion. It’s important to understand what content formats and media types a target audience prefers. There’s a lot of “one size fits all” when it comes to content creation and promotion because it’s tough to scale or be efficient otherwise.  But how useful is the exact same content format online as mobile or email? Congruency of message and branding can be important, but it’s not the same thing as using the exact same content in every channel.

Content needs to deliver on the search and social promise. In the way that we research how our customers and target audience prefer to discover content, it’s also effective to identify what formats they prefer for content consumption.  Do they respond best to long form articles (like this one) or a series of shorter form tips? Do they like images or video? Do they respond better to infographics or tabular data?  Are they inspired more by case studies and white papers or demos and webinars? What combination of these content formats and user experiences are most likely to resonate with your audience?

Make the case for better user experience as a content marketing tactic. Web developers and interactive media designers often create personas and use case scenarios for the applications and designs they create. Some of that same insight is appropriate with content marketing. If a brand expects the most effective and efficient outcomes form their online marketing investment, then some understanding of content formats and types is essential.

Optimize for Engagement

Optimize Engagement

High visibility in search is just an initial step in the consumer journey for a solution.  Consumers might perform multiple queries on a search engine as they refine their search and possible solutions. With the increase in consumer use of social media, customers increasingly expect to interact with what they find in search results. Most marketers are focused on the shortest route from discovery to revenue. In the SEO world that means optimizing content for keywords most likely to convert. Of course this assumes you’ve solved the attribution problem and then we have the whole Google encrypted search referrers issue.

Is this a date or the honeymoon? There’s nothing wrong with that but website marketing efforts that are solely focused on converting every visitor to a sale without realizing other consumer needs in the purchasing decision may very well be leaving a lot of money and goodwill for referrals on the table. Social engagement is an increasing influence on the decision to buy. eMarketer has reported that over 50% of Twitter followers are more likely to purchase from brands they follow and Coca-Cola has shared that Facebook fans are 2 times as likely to consume & 10 times more likely to purchase than non-fans.

Not every consumer that finds brand product and service content is ready to buy, but if there’s useful content provided to help them appreciate the value of the product/service, they might bookmark or share it. Some sales cycles involve a bit more “content romance” and education.  In the way that consumers expect to find a way to contact the company for a sales or customer service inquiry, they expect to find things like a company blog or social media presence. Engagement runs the spectrum from a Google+ share or blog comment to making a purchase, writing a review or making a specific social network recommendation about a product that was just purchased.

Be wise and optimize for great customer experience. Optimizing for engagement means conversion optimization as much as it means optimizing for a great user experience and social sharing. Engaging and useful content that tells brand stories about customer use of products and services is the kind of content that inspire both sharing and conversion outcomes.

A key question for marketers that want to better optimize for engagement is: What messages, topics and contexts motivate your community to interact, share and convert?

What Next?

Holistic optimization of content is relevant across the brand and customer relationship and lifecycle.  Most companies focus on content marketing optimization solely for customer acquisition and sales, which makes sense because the focus is on revenue and marketing departments are most likely to fund and implement such tactics. But it’s entirely possible for companies to realize additional revenue goals as well as improved reach, brand awareness and thought leadership with a holistic content optimization approach.  Additionally, companies can improve efficiency and effectiveness of other content publishing entities in the organization ranging from Public Relations to Customer Service to Human Resources by making sure their content is optimized for the target audiences that are looking (searching and socializing).

I’ve briefly mentioned the notion of optimizing for consumer content when it comes to Discovery, Consumption and Engagement in the past, through blog posts and industry conference presentations without having a dedicated post to link to. Now I’ve solved that problem and also provided more specific insight into these opportunities for readers to evolve their online marketing.

I know from first hand experience, the temptation to focus solely on popular keywords and popular social channels as a means to drive online sales and engagement is more the norm than an “old way” of doing things. But as more marketers realize the importance of content marketing and a more customer centric approach to connecting holistically to brand audiences, I think an effort to extend the notion of what can be optimized will broaden. At the same time, it will become more focused on customer lifecycle and not just the buying cycle.

What are you doing to optimize more holistically in your search, social media and content marketing mix?

Next Monday I will be publishing another glimpse at Optimize, focusing on a framework for Content Marketing and Social Media Optimization that carries through these principles of Discovery, Consumption and Engagement.

 


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2011. | Optimize & Prosper: Discovery, Consumption & Engagement | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Optimize & Prosper: Discovery, Consumption & Engagement appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/11/optimize-prosper-discovery-consumption-engagement/feed/ 8
An Optimized Framework for Better Content Marketing & SEO http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/09/optimized-framework-content-marketing/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/09/optimized-framework-content-marketing/#comments Thu, 15 Sep 2011 11:18:30 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=12753 The pressure of competition and desire for business growth pushes marketers towards tactics that promise quick wins. Pundits advocate strategy first (been there) but doing so in a comprehensive way isn’t always practical, especially when it comes to areas like social media and content marketing. For marketers in need of practical advice on customer-centric, practical [...]

The post An Optimized Framework for Better Content Marketing & SEO appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
Framework Content Marketing OptimizationThe pressure of competition and desire for business growth pushes marketers towards tactics that promise quick wins. Pundits advocate strategy first (been there) but doing so in a comprehensive way isn’t always practical, especially when it comes to areas like social media and content marketing.

For marketers in need of practical advice on customer-centric, practical content marketing, a solid framework can be invaluable for an adaptive approach that is thoughtful about overall direction and measurable short term impact at the same time.

An increasing number of Search Engine Marketers are advocating both Content Marketing and Social Media in concert with achieving SEO objectives which is a great sign, but often lacking a customer-centric approach.

Here’s a Content Marketing framework that proves to be customer-centric as well as SEO and Social Media savvy that I think any smart online marketer can follow.  Keep in mind, with a holistic approach, this 4 part framework can be applied to any type of online content that a company produces: HR, Customer Service, Public Relations, etc.

Optimize - Content Marketing Optimization

I talked about this approach at Content Marketing World recently and will be elaborating on it at several future events as well. Of course I drill down even deeper in “Optimize“.  But since that book won’t be out until the first part of next year, here is a bit of an elaboration.

Customers – Optimize for keywords or optimize of customers? It may be semantics and it’s certainly not a mutually exclusive situation with customer segments and individual search keywords. Many online marketers focus on keywords that are popular and relevant to products and services without ever considering things like customer pain points, behaviors and position within the buying cycle and how that manifests as a search query.

Content Marketers organize their campaigns according to customer needs and how to influence those customers to buy. Add keyword optimization (SEO) to that mix and you have a very powerful combination.

  • Identify customer segments – What do they care about? What is their context?
  • Document pain points & information needs during buying cycle.
  • Build a path of content including triggers that inspire purchase and social sharing.

Keywords – As you understand the language of your customer, the opportunity to optimize content for search “findability” becomes very important. What better place to connect with customers than at the moment they proactively seek a solution? Build relevant keywords according to customer interests into a content creation plan with key messages and you’ll be one step closer to “relevant ubiquity” .

Besides search keywords, it’s worth considering social topics. The interplay between searching and social referrals is becoming more standard as buyers navigate information resources online.

  • Brainstorm and research keywords with tools like Google AdWords Keyword Tool, Wordtracker and Ubersuggest.
  • Tap into social media monitoring tools to gauge what topics cluster together on social networks, blogs and Twitter, relevant to your search keywords.
  • Organize search keywords and social topics into a keyword glossary shared with anyone in your company that creates online content.

“Content – is King and Creativity is Queen”, according to Pan Didner of Intel. I happen to agree. Content Marketing is growing and soon “everybody will be doing it” but certainly not doing it well. Through a combination of keen customer insight, analytics and smart creativity, online marketers can stand out amongst the 27 million pieces of content shared in the U.S. each day or the 5 Exabytes of information created every 2 days around the world.

Keywords and topics can fuel a Content Plan that provides a calendar of planned content publishing, topics, optimization focus, promotion channels and planned repurposing. Allow for wildcards and spontaneous content creation according to real-time opportunities and current events.

  • Plan content according to customer segments, keyword topics and business services/product offering.
  • Leverage search keywords for content optimization on the website, blog and on social media sites.
  • Create modular content that can serve its purpose individually, as part of a matrix of topics and as repurposed content in the future.

Optimize & Socialize – Armed with customer insight, a keyword glossary and a content plan, it’s time for those Social SEO smarts to see some action.  With content staff and social media teams trained on SEO best practices, new content will be easier for prospects and customers to find – when it matters. They’re looking for it!   Monitoring search analytics for refinement of on-page optimization helps keep your investment in optimized search and social content high impact and current.

In today’s online marketing world, there is no “Optimize” without a smart dose of “Socialize”.  Social network development and content promotion is essential to inspire sharing, traffic and links. Social links and web page links to your content provide a powerful combination for search engines to use when finding and ranking helpful information that leads your customers to buy and share.

  • Train copywriting and social media staff on keyword glossaries and SEO best practices. Keep social topics up to date!
  • Optimize web and social content on and off the corporate websites while engaging and growing social networks.
  • Create, optimize and share useful content that will inspire customers to buy and share with their social friends.

The particular strategy, goals and methods of measurement will vary according to your situation of course, but as I mentioned above, this framework is applicable to any area of online content that a company might be publishing: Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, Human Resources, Public and Media Relations.

Have you seen examples of companies doing a great job of going from basic SEO to more robust content marketing optimization? Have you implemented or observed some great examples of “optimize and socialize”?


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2011. | An Optimized Framework for Better Content Marketing & SEO | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post An Optimized Framework for Better Content Marketing & SEO appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
http://www.toprankblog.com/2011/09/optimized-framework-content-marketing/feed/ 13