Pubcon – Online Marketing Blog – TopRank® http://www.toprankblog.com Wed, 17 Jan 2018 11:30:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 Viva Las Vegas Pubcon 2010 http://www.toprankblog.com/2010/10/pubcon-2010/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2010/10/pubcon-2010/#comments Wed, 27 Oct 2010 14:07:05 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=11695 I’ve been attending WebmasterWorld’s Pubcon conference in Las Vegas for at least 6 years although I didn’t liveblog that first one for some reason. In fact I first interviewed Pubcon founder, Brett Tabke, in 2005.  By no means am I an “old timer” since the show has been running for a lot longer than I’ve [...]

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Las Vegas I’ve been attending WebmasterWorld’s Pubcon conference in Las Vegas for at least 6 years although I didn’t liveblog that first one for some reason. In fact I first interviewed Pubcon founder, Brett Tabke, in 2005.  By no means am I an “old timer” since the show has been running for a lot longer than I’ve been attending but I do have some history with it.

When people ask me about great conference options to learn practical SEO and PPC, Pubcon is always included in my recommendations.  Being held in Las Vegas lends a certain flavor to the event, as in there are plenty of after-event networking opportunities.  Sessions are great, but its the in person connections you make and develop that yield tips, tactics that aren’t always forthcoming during the day.

The lineup at this year’s Pubcon is seriously impressive with tracks for:

  • Social Media Optimization
  • Search Marketing
  • SEO
  • Affiliate
  • Webmasters
  • Expert Spotlight
  • Interactive Site Reviews

Keynotes include David Pogue of New York Times as well as a Keynote Panel on Social Media with Chris Brogan, Sarah Evans, Scott Stratten & Brian Clark.

Some of the sessions I’m looking forward to include:

  • In-House SEO: Ash Nallawalla, Josh Gampel, Garrett Rent, Jessica L Bowman
  • Advanced Twitter – Apps, Services, and API Trends: Tracy Falke, Brian Breslin, Dan Zarrella
  • Interactive Site Reviews – Focus on Organic: Eric Enge, Bill Hunt, Stephan Spencer
  • SEO for Multimedia and Rich Media: Brian MacDonald, Morgan Brown, Wesley Cox, Marty Weintraub
  • Real World Winning Tactics for Content Creation and Marketing: Alison Driscoll, Heather Lloyd-Martin, Arnie Kuenn, Nick Stamoulis
  • Keynote Panel on Social Media: Chris Brogan, Sarah Evans, Scott Stratten, Brian Clark
  • SEO For E-Commerce Sites: Adam Audette, Rob Snell, William Atchison
  • Design, Content, and Marketing For A Mobile Website: Kurt Noer, Nathan Mellor, Michael Marti
  • Conversion Ninja Toolbox: Tim Ash
  • Mega Site SEO: Anita Bidari, Dan Perry, Derrick Wheeler, Melanie Mitchell
  • Convergence of Online Marketing and Analytics: Alan K’necht, Tom Critchlow, Maura Ginty, Chris Zaharias
  • Real World Low-Risk High-Reward Link Building: Greg Hartnett, Dixon Jones, Rae Hoffman, Aaron Shear
  • Competitors from the Darkside – Rogue SEO Tactics: Steve Plunkett, Carolyn Shelby, Giovanni Gallucci, Brett Tabke

On Thursday 11/11 at 3:15pm I’ll be speaking about Content Marketing: Intersection of SEO & Social Media with an all new version of the presentation I’ve given at SES.  This one is only 25 min or so and includes new examples.

I will also be moderating two sessions: one on “Real World Low-Risk High-Reward Link Building” with Greg Hartnett, Dixon Jones, Rae Hoffman and Aaron Shear. I will also be moderating another session on “Protecting Your Brand” with James Gold, Brett Tabke, Amanda Watlington.  I’m looking forward to the whole thing.

If you’ve been to Pubcon, what were your favorite sessions? Any stories you can tell that are actually “OK” to leave Las  Vegas?


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PubCon 2009: How Major Vegas Hotels Are Using Social Media http://www.toprankblog.com/2009/11/vegas-hotels-social-media/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2009/11/vegas-hotels-social-media/#comments Wed, 11 Nov 2009 23:57:22 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=7556 From the perspective of some, it seems like Vegas was late to participate in social media (according to the PubCon panel description). However, the prominent brands on the strip have stepped up to the plate and are actively engaged in social web participation.  They’re leveraging digital platforms for a variety of purposes – from customer [...]

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Las-VegasFrom the perspective of some, it seems like Vegas was late to participate in social media (according to the PubCon panel description).

However, the prominent brands on the strip have stepped up to the plate and are actively engaged in social web participation.  They’re leveraging digital platforms for a variety of purposes – from customer service to promotion.

This open-format panel at PubCon 2009 analyzed how Vegas marketing departments are using SM as part of their overall marketing plan and featured some of the largest names on the strip.  Brands represented were:

  • Brad Goldberg, Vice President of Marketing, Luxor
  • Brandie Feuer, Director of Interactive Marketing, Planet Hollywood
  • Peter Arceo, Executive Director of Casino Marketing, Las Vegas Hilton
  • Michael Perhaes, Assistant Vice President of Marketing, MGM Grand
  • Bryan Allison, Vice President, Marketing, Vegas.com

The session moved quickly, but I was able to jot down the good bits from each of the speakers.

brad_goldberg

Brad Goldberg, Vice President of Marketing, Luxor

We saw successes from other brands using social media and decided we wanted to pattern the same results.  While not everyone may check their emails in Vegas, many of them still check their social profiles while traveling.  People are looking to what is happening right now, up-to-date.  We wanted to be a part of those real-time conversations and top-of-mind for our consumer base.

We want to keep it fun – staying away from “cold” messages that are too commercial.  We think it’s important with regards to the social web to maintain personality/voice.  That’s one of the most important things we want to hold onto and maintain.  Otherwise, it’s just another advertising vehicle.

Making it easier for those interacting with your products to communicate about those interactions is something we see as important to our future.

peter_arceoPeter Arceo, Executive Director of Casino Marketing, Las Vegas Hilton

At the Hilton, we don’t necessarily have the same resources of our competitors.  So what we do is staff social media with people actively interested in what we’re trying to do – spread our brand.  We try to get customers to both sample our offerings and make it social.  We have a “toys for Tweets” promotion that will bring awareness to the fact that there is a Hilton in Vegas in a positive light.  Our approach to get employees involved in social media isn’t to guide them, but take the Zappos approach and let them have their own voice.  We want to find people internally interested in doing social media organically.

We design promotions and events to get people together – not just to meet us, but to meet each other.  There is a hunger and a need for people to meet each other.  We want to be the connector.

brandie_feuerBrandie Feuer, Director of Interactive Marketing, Planet Hollywood

We see social media as a great direct response channel.  But we’re also cognizant of providing value to users.  We do things like give out last minute concert tickets to our followers and promote little things that might not be worth a press release.  Social media rests with PR and our interactive department, however we also encourage others to be a part of the space.  All employees should be empowered, where possible. We want to move towards more of a social business model.

michael_perhaesMichael Perhaes, Assistant Vice President of Marketing, MGM Grand

The MGM Grand was late to the social media game compared to competitors on the strip – we finally joined for a few reasons.  The effectiveness of our email marketing was beginning to degrade a bit.  The value of email has diminished in the last few years.  We’ve seen sites like Facebook have taken up that role for many.  We want to put content into social media that may have been ignored in email.  In a few years time, social media will become an even more important network than email for our brand.

We have high expectations on response for social media as a full-blown marketing channel.  The people that choose to follow us on the social web have affinity for our brand and we want to be able to market to them.

We have specific pages for some channels, for example we have a separate food and beverage Facebook page for that department since there are people passionate about those items.  We want to engage other departments too.  Most importantly, we want to find ways to make this more meaningful even beyond direct response and reach people interested in Vegas.  We’re creating personas to try to build affinity with people.

We read (and respond) to posts customers put up on their Facebook page – specifically things like customer complaints – in order to make their next experience better.  It allows that two way communication – if someone complains about their room, we have a way to respond to them immediately.

As a promotional effort we launched a “confessions campaign” on Twitter where you can Tweet your sins, and there’s a livestream of people tweeting those sins.  Users can vote on sins which are forgivable vs. unforgivable.  The best sins can win a free night.  We’ve done advertising in LA to support it and create more buzz.  The goal is to gain additional awareness on Twitter, gain more followers and experiment.

bryan_allisonBryan Allison, Vice President, Marketing, Vegas.com

We identified people internally who were passionate about social media and empowered them to get involved and answer consumer questions.  The entire company is leveraging the social web.  We just launched a campaign called “Vegas Experts Exposed.”  This wasn’t the idea of the marketing department; rather it was the idea of some other employees in the company.  We want everyone to contribute ideas across the company.

We’ve done things that are both commercial and fun on social channels and we’re continuously surprised with how people interact with the more fun items.  We want to have something that people will look forward to on their live feed.

We use a mix of “power users” internally for promoting the product, and also customer service representatives talking to customers and alleviate their problems.  There are people internally who are really passionate and want to share their workplace/what they do all day.  We encourage them to do so, however to use common sense and ask first on appropriateness if there is a questions.

Many of our younger employees are already involved – it’s an opportunity to use them, tap that resource.  They know how to communicate and engage in these channels.  We use them to help the people who may not be as experienced in social media get up to speed.


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PubCon 2009: Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh Keynote http://www.toprankblog.com/2009/11/zappos-ceo-pubcon-2009-keynote/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2009/11/zappos-ceo-pubcon-2009-keynote/#comments Tue, 10 Nov 2009 18:46:16 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=7505 Zappos has grown gross merchandise sales from $1.6M in 2000 to over $1 billion in 2008 by focusing relentlessly on customer service – a potent digital marketing tool. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, kicked off day one of PubCon 2009 with a keynote on the importance of delivering happiness through service. Founded in 1999, Zappos [...]

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tony-hsiehZappos has grown gross merchandise sales from $1.6M in 2000 to over $1 billion in 2008 by focusing relentlessly on customer service – a potent digital marketing tool. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, kicked off day one of PubCon 2009 with a keynote on the importance of delivering happiness through service.

Founded in 1999, Zappos has grown to 1,400 employees and is listed at #23 in Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies To Work For.”

Zappos is “Powered by Service.” Its goal is to provide the best online shopping experience possible.

Customer service in action:

#1 driver of Zappos’ growth is from repeat customers and word of mouth. Put a focus into the customer experience, create something that is worth talking about. Let customers do the marketing for you through digital (and physical) channels.

Customer service:  What customers see first on the Zappos website:

  • 24/7 1-800 number on every page
  • Free shipping
  • Free return shipping
  • 365-day return policy

Consumers are bombarded by thousands of marketing messages daily.  As low tech and unsexy as it may sound, the telephone is one of the best marketing devices out there.  Zappos encourages customers to call them – and yet, 95% of their orders are online.  What they have found though is on average, nearly all customers contact them at least once through the phone.  Zappos is actively building personal relationships with their customers, who in turn are helping them grow.

What customers experience:

  • Fast, accurate fulfillment
  • Most customers are “surprise”-upgraded to overnight shipping (creates a WOW experience)
  • Friendly, helpful, “above and beyond” customer service – even directing customers to competitors if they are looking for something Zappos doesn’t have

What Zappos does internally:

  • No call times, no sales-based performance goals for reps
  • Run warehouse 24/7
  • Inventory all products (no drop-shipping)
  • 5 weeks of culture, core values, customer service and warehouse training for everyone in Las Vegas office
  • Customer service is not just that department, it’s everyone
  • Culture book – all employees contribute a few paragraphs. Except for typos, it is unedited. Everyone reads it.

Zappos wants to own the three C’s: clothing, customer service, culture.

Customers tell them Zappos is “happiness in a box”. Whether that happiness is from the product, their customer service team or the internal culture, it’s all about delivering that experience through both digital channels and a tangible product.

Zappos top 10 core values:

  1. Deliver WOW through service
  2. Embrace and drive change
  3. Create fun and a little weirdness
  4. Be adventurous, creative and open-minded
  5. Pursue growth and learning
  6. Build open and honest relationships with communications
  7. Build a positive team and family spirit
  8. Do more with less
  9. Be passionate and determined
  10. Be humble

Tony touched on the importance of hiring people who consider themselves lucky/optimistic. People who consider themselves lucky pay more attention to detail and are cognizant of their surroundings. Luck is about being open to opportunity. This is important in a world where we are all connected: Your employees are potentially a great marketing asset to spread your brand in the right light.

Committing to transparency – Zappos puts themselves in the public spotlight:

During Zappos tours, visitors are free to walk around the offices and talk to whoever they want. They are comfortable doing that since they invest so much in hiring/training of employees up front. Employees are trusted to represent the Zappos brand just by being themselves. People leave buzzing about the brand.

What Tony hears frequently: “That’s great for Zappos, but it would never work at my company …”

The response: It doesn’t matter what your core values are, as long as you commit to them. First, figure out what your core values are. Second, seek alignment across all staff. Values must be “real,” not overly corporate/lofty.

In terms of vision: Whatever you’re thinking, think bigger. Decide if the vision actually has real meaning. Then, chase the vision, not the money. The money will actually follow.

For entrepreneurs: “What would you be passionate about doing for 10 years even if you never made a dime?

For employees: “What’s the larger vision and greater purpose in their work beyond money or profits?”


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Pubcon Las Vegas 2009: Are You Ready? http://www.toprankblog.com/2009/11/pubcon-las-vegas-2009/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2009/11/pubcon-las-vegas-2009/#comments Mon, 02 Nov 2009 16:41:22 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=7384 Another year in the Search Marketing world, another WebmasterWorld Pubcon in Las Vegas.  Pubcon was one of the first search marketing conferences I attended and where I first met a number of highly talented SEOs in person. TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog has been liveblogging the Pubcon conference since 2005 and includes a mix of content [...]

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Another year in the Search Marketing world, another WebmasterWorld Pubcon in Las Vegas.  Pubcon was one of the first search marketing conferences I attended and where I first met a number of highly talented SEOs in person.

TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog has been liveblogging the Pubcon conference since 2005 and includes a mix of content ranging from interviews with Pubcon owner Brett Tabke to Google’s Adam Lasnik. Also videos (Neil Patel giving interesting tips), photos (see the 2006 Yahoo Party in the Playboy Suite and many, many posts from the sessions offering strategy and tactics of the day.

neil & joe pubconWhat I like about Pubcon is that the conference organizers don’t try to be the same every year.  For example, they mix up the keynote speakers from a variety of backgrounds including people from outside the search marketing industry (Author Malcolm Gladwell, Craig Newmark of Craigslist and this year Tony Hsieh from Zappos).

There’s a longstanding community behind the Pubcon conference at WebmasterWorld which slants towards people that focus on search marketing as a client side marketer, SEM consultant or owner/operator of web based businesses. That said, the Pubcon conference content and delegates come from a variety of industries and backgrounds ranging from soloprenuers to big advertising/PR/interactive agencies to brand marketers to domainers to affiliate marketers.

There are many, many ways to get significantly more value from attending conferences than what is paid for, just read these tips: “Conference Liveblogging Tips” and “Increase ROI from Attending Conferences“. The single most important thing you can do to get more out of a conference is to plan which sessions you’ll attend beforehand.  With little time between sessions, you can really miss out on incredible information if you don’t know where you’re going next. Pubcon has an Itinerary Builder for just this purpose.

Recently I was asked by a Digital Strategy guy at one of the biggest PR agencies in the U.S. which conferences he should attend besides SXSW and one of the first recommendations I made was Pubcon. Why? Because the content mix at Pubcon has always involved quality information about search marketing (SEO and PPC), Affiliate Marketing, Webmastering and New Trends, whatever they may be.  It’s a great mix of the practical/tactical with what to expect from the next 6 months to a year.

I started speaking at Pubcon on a session focused on SEO for Public Relations several years ago and over time was invited to speak on up to 4 sessions at each conference including a SEO Bloggers panel that has run 4 years in a row.  This year I will be speaking on 3  panels and TopRank’s Adam Singer will be presenting on a panel about Social Media Marketing and PR.  Here’s the info on those sessions. We’d love to see you there:

pubcon grid 2009

Tuesday, November 10th: 2:55-4:10pm

Experts on PR & Twitter

 

Can Public Relations 2.0 be summarized in 140 characters or less? Don’t let the character count lull you into complacency. To break through, today’s PR efforts must be powerful, targeted and social. This panel of social media and PR professionals will take you on a journey from mid-level public relations to advanced online PR and social promotions in no time.

Moderator: Krista Neher

Panel: Adam Singer, Account Manager, TopRank® Online Marketing, Sean Jackson, CEO/Creator, Ecordia, Lisa Buyer, President/CEO, The Buyer Group, Ben Fisher, President, TechPad Agency.

Wednesday, November 11th: 10:15-11:30am

How Do Social Media & Search Intersect?

 

With social media seeming to fill the promotional role previously occupied by search marketing, it only makes sense that social media prevents the need for search, right? Don’t fall into this trap. Join this panel of social media and search experts as they detail how these two tactics both intersect and complement each other in supporting your overall marketing objectives.

Moderator: Vanessa Fox

Panel: Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank® Online Marketing, Tony Adam, SEO Manager, Yahoo, David Wallace, CEO, SearchRank, Bill Hartzer, Search Engine Optimization Manager, Vizion Interactive.

Thursday, November 12th: 1:30-2:45pm

 

How SMBs Can Use PR Campaigns to Grow Traffic

Online public relations makes it possible for today’s small businesses to grow into tomorrow’s major online marketing players. Learn how small businesses can master online PR to drive traffic and achieve business objectives from Odden and his panel.

Moderator: Alex Bennert

Speakers: Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank® Online Marketing, Jiyan Wei, Product Manager, Vocus, Sean Jackson, CEO/Creator, Ecordia

Thursday, November 12th:  2:55-4:10pm

Search Bloggers:  What’s Hot & Trending?

 

Can bloggers maintain their influence with the emergence of newer forms of social media? With the right strategies, ‘yes.’ Discover what these blogging strategies are, and understand how to integrate them into your efforts, from Odden and his panel.

Moderator: Greg Hartnett

Speakers: Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank® Online Marketing. Michael McDonald, Managing Editor, iEntry Inc.. Barry Schwartz, President, RustyBrick, Inc.. Loren Baker, Editor, Search Engine Journal.

After all those conference sessions there are, of course, plenty of networking opportunities both during the day and afterwards. It’s Las Vegas after all.

pubcon-networking-07

PubCon 2009:  Social Media, Search, Affiliates

Las Vegas, NV

November 10-13, 2009


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My Pubcon South Roundup in Pictures http://www.toprankblog.com/2009/03/pubcon-south09-photos/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2009/03/pubcon-south09-photos/#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2009 15:57:25 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=4612 The Pubcon South conference sessions have wrapped up and my whirlwhind 3 session speaking journey as well. I made it to Austin Wednesday night, re-did my Twitter session Thursday morning and presented at: noon, 2pm and 4pm. During that time I was still able to take a few candids of the good people attending Pubcon [...]

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The Pubcon South conference sessions have wrapped up and my whirlwhind 3 session speaking journey as well. I made it to Austin Wednesday night, re-did my Twitter session Thursday morning and presented at: noon, 2pm and 4pm. During that time I was still able to take a few candids of the good people attending Pubcon South. Here are a few of my favorite photos and links to blog coverage of the sessions I spoke on:

Wayne Sutton, Lee Odden, Chris Brogan
Super Session on Social Media for Business – Wayne Sutton, Lee Odden, Chris Brogan. Unfortunatley, Chris brought, but did not decide to wear, his pirate hat. Wayne was awesome. Chris brought the “tell it like it f-ing is attitude” also awesome. Watch WebProNews for a their video coverage of Pubcon South including a video interview with Chris and I about, what else, social media marketing.

Blog coverage of the Super Session:

Neil Marshall & Joe Morin Pubcon South
Neil Marshall & Joe Morin are two of the guys that make the magic happen behind the scenes and up front for Pubcon. They’re two genuinely good people. Please wish Neil Happy Birthday!  Notice Joe’s perfect head tilt. I think he picked that up from Paris Hilton – most likely in person.

Brian Clark & Tim Ash

If this isn’t a meeting of the minds, I don’t know what is. We have acomplished entreprenuer and recovering attorney Brian Clark aka Copyblogger & Tim Ash, a talented author, master of landing page optimzation and internet marketing. See them smiling? All the way to the bank.

Jon Henshaw & Steve Boymel Pubcon South
Raven SEO Tools smart man Jon Henshaw & consumate conference goer & internet marketing student/practitioner Steve Boymel strike a pose during the Buzzstream event at Molotov in Austin.

Melanie Mitchell & Motoko Hunt
Big company search marketer and all around amazing woman Melanie Mitchell & Japanese search marketing extraordinaire Motoko Hunt stop mind melding for a moment in between sessions and give good smile before I ducked into my second session of the day about the intersection of SEO and Public Relations.

Here’s blog coverage of the SEO and Public Relations session:

Dave Snyder & Joe Laratro Pubcon South
Here we have Dave “I look like I’m going to kick your ass but I’m really a teddy bear” Snyder & Joe “South Florida pretty boy” Laratro hanging out at the Buzzstream event at Molotov.  Dave, Jon (above) and Joe along with Dan Zarella presented at Pubcon on Twitter Marketing which was liveblogged by Janet Driscoll Miller “Twitter and the Microblogging Revolution“.

A toast to butter at Joe's Crab Shack
The best:  Friends Toasting to Butter and Crabs @ Joe’s Crab Shack.

Great job to Brett Tabke and the entire Pubcon staff.


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Post PubCon: Real-World Winning Tactics for Content Creation http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/11/content-creation/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/11/content-creation/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2008 15:25:47 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=3713 Editor note: In order not to overwhelm readers with posts during Pubcon, we’ve saved a few additional sessions for posting this week. Enjoy! Content is king. In spite of all that has changed in the online sphere since its inception, content is still the critical element to a compelling website. Providing relevant, fresh content on [...]

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Content CreationEditor note: In order not to overwhelm readers with posts during Pubcon, we’ve saved a few additional sessions for posting this week. Enjoy!

Content is king. In spite of all that has changed in the online sphere since its inception, content is still the critical element to a compelling website. Providing relevant, fresh content on a regular basis can increase site traffic and improve search engine rankings, which in turn increases ROI. Yet delivering well-structured content of interest to your audience can be difficult. In Real-World Winning Tactics for Content Creation, three content experts gave their tips and advice for effective content creation, from blogs to mobile websites.

Moderator Derrick Wheeler introduced the concept of content as “anything a user can see, and anything a search engine can see.” Ted Ulle, partner with the MEWS Group, Robin Liss, Founder and President of Camcorderinfo.com, and Rupali Shah, Organic Search Manager of GroupM, each spoke to creating specific types of content successfully for your website.

Ted Ulle began the session with a lesson in how not to create a ‘Frankensite,’ or a website whose content and structure is a hodge-podge of mismatched elements that don’t work together. His broad definition of content included not only the text on a site, but also the structure and format of the site itself.

Ted advised beginning the content creation process with comprehensive training:

  • Locate and educate everyone involved in the content creation workflow: IT Department, web design, writers, analytics, research & development, etc.
  • Dedicate specific analytics to gauge each person’s performance in their role
  • Hold regular team meetings to ensure everyone is on the same page

Above all else, content creators need to keep the business goal in mind at every stage of the process. All aspects of content creation and site design should support the bottom line.

In terms of actually creating the content, Ted cautioned against drafting copy around what he referred to as “trophy keywords,” or terms you think your site should be found for instead of the terms your audience is actually searching on. A solid base of relevant keywords is the first step in successful content creation.

The structure and form of a site tie directly to the effectiveness of content. Ted advised using the content as a guide for structure by dividing it into logical groupings that will inform the site menu. A solid site layout will support good copy, so site designers should be familiar with elements such as typography that can enhance usability and reinforce the tone of the site content.

Formulating a strategy and creating a complimentary structure for site content are important elements, but the meat of content creation lies between the two: drafting copy. Robin Liss has extensive experience in this department, having been writing for content-rich websites since the age of thirteen.

Robin likened the content creation process to Ford’s assembly line. Content producers should approach writing copy like manufacturers approach creating a product. Whether writing for a personal blog or coordinating the efforts of several professional writers and editors, a similar assembly line mentality can help content creators produce successful copy.

The basic steps in the assembly line are as follows:

  • Acquire Information Conduct any necessary research to create your content
  • Draft Copy Write an initial draft of your content
  • Create Supplemental Assets Acquire or make any images, graphics or other supplemental material that will complement your copy
  • Submit for Feedback Have an editor review the initial draft and make edits
  • Second Draft Revise initial draft based upon the edits
  • Second Edit Send the revised copy through a second round of edits to ensure it’s grammatically correct and on target
  • Content Production Push the content live – this step can have its own assembly line if necessary, and encompasses loading the copy, optimization, marketing and revision and updates.

This assembly line structure can be modified to fit the needs of the lone blogger or expanded to accommodate those of a large-scale online publication. For a blog, the modified assembly line procedure could be as simple as:

Acquire Information -> Draft Copy -> Content Production -> Marketing -> Revision & Updates

An assembly line approach allows content creators to efficiently write the fresh, relevant copy that can ensure high site traffic and high rankings. Isolating each step of the process allows content creators to identify any bottlenecks and address issues to ensure the entire content creation process is streamlined.

Liss recommended assessing a company’s content needs and adjusting the assembly line accordingly. In some cases, a company may want to hire professional writers skilled in their area of expertise to write copy. If this is the case, you get what you pay for, Liss cautions. There is no substitute for high quality copy so prepare to compensate accordingly.

Good site content is important no matter where searchers view a website. Yet what constitutes good content can vary. Rupali Shah took the session in a different direction by examining the content demands of mobile search.

As of January, 84 percent of iPhone users reported accessing news and information via a web browser on their phones. Those with access to smart phones are using them to search the web, and as this number continues to rise so will the number of searchers who view a given website on a mobile device.

Different elements should be taken into consideration when creating mobile site content versus creating traditional web content. Rupali outlined several important factors to keep in mind.

  • Site Layout On mobile devices less is more, so keep the layout as uncluttered as possible and limit colors and stylistic elements
  • Site Structure Design mobile sites with categorized browsing to help users find what they need quickly
  • Page Size It may seem obvious, but mobile devices have very small screens, so page size should be adjusted accordingly
  • Optimization In addition to copy, all digital assets should be optimized

Those getting started on creating a mobile site can use several free web tools for assistance.

Overall, mobile Internet users are searching for information they need on the go fast. This dictates content creation for mobile sites and should be taken into consideration before embarking on mobile site creation. Some products and services are better suited for current mobile Internet use while others may not yet have a market on the mobile web.

The three presenters in this PubCon session illustrate an important point. Content on a website extends beyond text and encompasses layout, structure, images, and more. Effective content creators must ensure all of these elements are compelling and relevant in order to attract site visitors, increase search engine rankings and improve online business performance overall.

Check out all of TopRank’s blog coverage of the 2008 Pubcon conference here and view our Pubcon photos on Flickr.


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PubCon: Earning Big Bucks with Social Media Traffic http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/11/pubcon-earning-big-bucks-with-social-media-traffic/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/11/pubcon-earning-big-bucks-with-social-media-traffic/#comments Sat, 15 Nov 2008 18:26:46 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=3680 Have you considered developing content specifically to drive traffic from social media sites? Have you also considered what you want from that social media traffic, and what to do with it once you have it? In a session titled, “Earning Big Bucks with Social Media Traffic“, Social Media Marketing advocates including Rank Fishkin, Vanessa Fox, [...]

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PubCon Earning Big Bucks with Social Media Traffic

Have you considered developing content specifically to drive traffic from social media sites? Have you also considered what you want from that social media traffic, and what to do with it once you have it?

In a session titled, “Earning Big Bucks with Social Media Traffic“, Social Media Marketing advocates including Rank Fishkin, Vanessa Fox, Michael Gray and Alexander Barbara gave some great tips to drive traffic via social media channels and how to monitize that traffic.

Michael Gray kicked off the session discussion how making a connection within the social media world is key to drive traffic to your website. Michael stated that monetizing social media traffic is harder than most other types of traffic and you should only try to make money from this type of traffic if you truly grasp the concept of social media and monetization.

First off, don’t break the rules!

  • understand the written and unwritten rules of the community
  • know the communities tolerance for sales promotions

Get involved in the social community before you start to market to users.

Michael offered three tips to help business successfully integrate into a social community.

1. Create a knowledge resource:

  • create valuable content that is helpful and solves a problem
  • offer free solutions
  • up-sell only premium products or services

2. Use social media to promote a review:

  • compare similar products from different vendors
  • works best with new or leading edge products
  • keep reviews honest
  • be in-depth but avoid TLDR posts

3. Use social media to build memberships:

  • use blogs, twitter, and email to create a group of loyal followers
  • feed them information with the occasional sales pitches

Twitter can also be leveraged as a way to drive traffic to your site. Michael made the recommendation to design your Twitter campaign around a deal or give a sense of urgency, an example being Woot or Amazon MP3, as this type of campaign has been more successful at driving traffic.

So, what works and what doesn’t work to market within the social media realm?

What Works:

  • information resources
  • reviews
  • problem solving
  • deals
  • time sensitive offers

What Doesn’t Work:

  • direct product links
  • hard sell
  • mass goods that aren’t unique
  • no information value ad

Next up is Alexander Barbara giving advice on how to create content and manage traffic for social media sites such as Digg.

With social media, the bottom line is that your campaigns will be more successful if you create content that speaks specifically to the community audience.

Before you try to promote your site on digg, the first thing you should know is if your site can handle the traffic of being on the first page (what would 200,000 visitors do to your website server?).

The quality of traffic will vary for each social media channel. Sites such as Digg, and Twitter may help you reach a more targeted audience, while StumbleUpon and other niche sites such as Hugg drive non-targeted traffic.

Alexander gave some advice for creating, managing and converting social media traffic:

  • understand your audience and create content that appeals to that audience
  • choose wisely about your monetization strategy, think about how the traffic will respond to ads
  • be prepared for the traffic, if you can’t handle it, you can’t monetize it.

Vanessa Fox took a different approach to social media traffic, providing insight on how to lose lots of money with social media.

If you are a large brand spending a lot of money to develop a ‘viral’ campaign, you may be losing a lot of that money if your content can’t be found.

How search impacts social media:
First thing people do for an offline campaign is to search for more information online. 2/3 of searchers are driven to perform a search online as a result of exposure to offline advertisement.

What does this mean? If you don’t appear in the results during the information search, you don’t exist to that searcher.

Word of Mouth Search
If you spent money to develop a viral campaign and it ‘spreads’ via word of mouth, which helps to drive and increased number of searches for your campaign, but you aren’t actually resulting for the main keywords, what went wrong?

Did your campaign go against the search rules to help you actually get found?

  • did you use text, search engines can’t read images (or flash)
  • do you have an html version of your site for search engines
  • did you include a description or meta tag
  • are your title tags descriptive

Metrics and engagement
Anytime you embark on a social media campaign, you must identify your:

  • Objective
  • Goals
  • measurement for success
  • adjustment plan

The whole point of social media is engagement, abandoning your community mid campaign will deter the audience from further engagement

Metrics Options:

  • views
  • qualified visitors
  • increased sales
  • increased brand awareness

Vanessa wrapped up the session stating that it’s not enough to just have traffic, you have to have qualified traffic. In addition, having a call to action and compelling value proposition is key to making your campaigns worthwhile.

Final thought: measure at each stage of your process to identify where the fail points are.

Check back with the TopRank Marketing Blog for more blog coverage of Pubcon 2008 and the Pubcon photosset on Flickr.


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PubCon: Universal & Personal Search – This Changes Everything http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/11/universal-search/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/11/universal-search/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2008 15:01:07 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=3683 Universal search has been touted as the biggest change to happen to search in recent years. Certainly universal and personal search have altered the search landscape to an extent, however to what extent is up for debate. In Universal & Personal Search: This Changes Everything, panelists moderated by Jake Baillie brought differing perspectives to the [...]

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Universal & Personal Search

Universal search has been touted as the biggest change to happen to search in recent years. Certainly universal and personal search have altered the search landscape to an extent, however to what extent is up for debate. In Universal & Personal Search: This Changes Everything, panelists moderated by Jake Baillie brought differing perspectives to the adjustments SEOs should make in light of universal search.

Brian Combs of Apogee Search began the session with an overview of Universal search. The biggest change, according to Combs, is that search is no longer just about text. Now images, videos, and local results can all rank, and rank highly, for any given keyword term.

This opens up a range of opportunities for the search marketer. A given site can now increase their search real estate by appearing multiple times on the search engine results page (SERP). Conversely, universal search can negatively impact your rankings. Local listings can push your site, which ranks number one in the general listings, below the fold of a SERP.

Combs outlined several advantages to getting your digital assets into universal search.  So-called vertical listings, or listings for a specific vertical such as image or video, attract more attention from searchers. Also, many vertical search engines are less competitive than traditional engines like Google. It may be easier to get your video ranking in YouTube for a specific keyword, which can then show up in Google when it blends its results to include video.

Combs recommended going after local search, as it’s often not very competitive and ranks very prominently. He also advises keeping your messaging consistent across all of your digital assets so that you present a unified message no matter how many rankings you capture in the SERP.

Amanda Watlington of APR explained the advent of universal search in terms of the changing role of SEOs. The SEO is now a conductor, not a mere soloist. Search marketers today have to coordinate with others within their company or client’s company to both produce and optimize the assets used for digital search: video, images, PDFs, etc.

Universal search has also changed the meaning of rankings. With personal and local search, the SERP may alter from person to person and location to location. Its becoming more impossible to control your search rankings across the board.

Amanda also pointed out the change in the definition of search engine. By number of queries and visits, YouTube is now the second-largest search engine after Google. Other sites like Facebook, Craigslist and eBay also rank highly in terms of popular search engines.

With Amanda’s point of view on universal search, nearly everything has changed. So how does a modern SEO adapt and become the ‘conductor’ she mentioned?

Search marketers must grow accustomed to working in more of a team environment in order to coordinate the creation and optimization of digital assets. They must also set new optimization procedures and new priorities in terms of what gets optimized and when.

In order to do so, an SEO needs to:

Inventory Digital Assets Identify what types of files you currently have on your site, and what are missing. Look for opportunities.

Evaluate Current Optimization Ensure your traditional search optimization is solid. “Chase universal results from a position of strength,” Amanda advised. Only go forward with universal optimization if you have a strong foundation.

Identify Optimization Gaps Go for the low-hanging fruit and optimize digital assets that already exist on your site, in particular items like PDFs and product descriptions.

Develop a Plan Create best practice documents and train support staff to ensure everyone working on digital asset creation has knowledge of optimization. Also set performance indicators beyond ranking and traffic, as measuring the success of your digital assets can be difficult.

Amanda reminded the session that “the rules have changed, but the expectations have not.” SEOs are still expected to return results. Don’t just create digital assets for the sake of it, create and optimize assets that make sense for your organization.

Greg Boser took a more cautionary approach the changes universal search has wrought upon traditional SEOs.

“The lion’s share of searchers are being served old-fashioned regular results,” Greg stated. He pointed out that even when your digital assets rank in the search, it does not necessarily translate into greater sales and leads. Searchers can’t buy something directly from a video.

According to Greg, an SEO’s primary focus should still be on optimizing for traditional search results. However, universal search should help shape an overall optimization plan. When doing keyword research, be aware of which terms trigger universal results that could cause your ranking to occur lower down the page.

Greg did give some good advice for people optimizing digital assets. Using subjective adjectives, like ‘beautiful’ or ‘funny,’ particularly when optimizing photos can be effective for showing up in the SERPs. Also, many bloggers make the mistake of grabbing photos they host on Flickr for their posts. By inserting pictures directly into their blog platforms, the blog and not Flickr gets credit when the image appears in universal search.

While they brought different perspectives, all three panelists agreed that a site should be solidly optimized for traditional search results before progressing into universal and personal search optimization. While universal search as of yet may only represent a small portion of the overall optimization a site needs, this portion will continue to grow as search becomes more personalized to the individual searcher.

Take a look at all of TopRank’s Pubcon liveblogging coverage here and Pubcon photos on Flickr.


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Pubcon: In-House SEO and PPC http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/11/pubcon-in-house-seo-and-ppc/ Thu, 13 Nov 2008 23:31:46 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=3677 The last regular session of the day I decided to attend was on In-House SEO and PPC which was moderated by Melanie Mitchell and included Jessica Bowman, Dan Perry, Ana Schultz, Allison Fabella and Jill Sampey. The issues that in-house search marketers experience are the same issues that SEO agencies experience when performing enterprise SEO [...]

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Jessica, DAn, Ana, Allison & Jill

The last regular session of the day I decided to attend was on In-House SEO and PPC which was moderated by Melanie Mitchell and included Jessica Bowman, Dan Perry, Ana Schultz, Allison Fabella and Jill Sampey. The issues that in-house search marketers experience are the same issues that SEO agencies experience when performing enterprise SEO and PPC programs.

I walked in at the start of Jessica Bowman’s presentation who was talking about roadblocks to internal search engine marketing efforts:

  • Adds projects to man hours
  • Inconsistent with other goials
  • Goes against existing progrtamming standards
  • Were not technically feasible
  • Added to the project timeline and cost

Once you get executive buy in, you cannot stop. Most opposition stems from lower and middle management. Middle managers need to get upper level support.

You plan of action needs to constantly and consistently reiterate the SEM message to all employees. The buy in includes a preview that SEO will run into roadblocks. It will take time and there will be complaints. Prepare executives for obstacles before they happen.

  • Devlop a 24 month internal PR campaign for SEO
  • Create a SEO presentation you can use internally: Why it makes sense and that it gets high priority and give to anyone and everyone
  • Offer SEO Brown bags
  • Train everyone on SEO
  • Have regular SEM update meetings for all levels
  • Use the same slides you used to get buy in
  • remind them of the timeline and progress
  • The internal PR campaign for SEO never ends

Now up is Allison Fabella, SEO Manager for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution who discussed SEO at the middle management level.

There are four sections to consider for middle managment in-house SEO::

1. The product manger – Your first and last defense for the longevity and success of a SEO effort. They approve each phase of the project.

2. The developer – The backbone of your SEO and can directly impact traffic positively or negatively.

3. The designer – Plays design cop to the layout and aesthetic of your web pages. Educate them on how search engines “see” web pages

4. The content producer – Directly affects whether content has a chance of ranking. Give them examples of how ironic or clever headlines show up in search compared to literal references.

Achieving SEO Harmony

  • Estahlish your credibility by making quick changes that will show results. This is critical when you are new to the organization.
  • Document your successes. Theirs, not yours. Emphasize how SEO benefits them, not you.
  • Be omnipresent and locate your SEO at the intersection of development, design and content if possible.
  • Goals and Accontability – attach success to the productivity of those in the organization helping implement SEO.
  • Make sure SEO gets included in the life cycle checklists
  • Training – train everyone in your organization on SEO. More education and awareness the more they will appreciate SEO.
  • Compromise. “Well, what CAN be done?”

SEO in middle management isn’t so much about writing content, coding pages, desiging grapihics. It’s about leadership.

Next up is Dan Perry from Cars.com who says when you’re first meeting company executives, to stay at 30,000 feet and speak their language. Show them the math that demonstrates financial opportunity for SEO implementation.

Train everyone on SEO. With marketing and PR, explain you can influience brand perception by optimizing the display of brand messaging. IT needs to know that small changes can have large impact. Biz Dev needs to be realistic. SEO is built in to new hire training to let them know the company puts a lot of value in SEO.

Build SEO into the process for new content development and publishing. Seek out SEO Superstars that will help evangelize the benefits of SEO to the organization. Be available to people in the organization who have questions about SEO.

Have a plan and show the math (opportunity to generate revenue), show what the competition is doing, be ready because it will involve a lot of work.

Next up is Ana Schultz Marketing Manager at Qwest who talked about the pros and cons of in-house and agency PPC.

For PPC the pros of in-house include better internal communication and product offer knowledge. The cons include the difficulty of staffing and the available talent pool. Technology and information sharing can be a challenge.

Do the due dilligence for SEO budget justification. Quantify the results for each initiaitive. Ensure the implementation process is clear and too many page owners can mean content can easily get overwritten.

Last up is Jill Sampey from Blast Radius and previously an in-house SEO from ThomasNet.

Use an agency or not? Look at the specific goals at a specific point in time. How complex is it? What is the learning curve and is it unique to the business? What bandwidth, talent and time available. Who are the stakeholders involved? Do you have the right access to the stakeholders who will evaluate success of the program.

The Agency Advantage: Training is less of an issue because the agency will have expertise that can hit the ground running and less overhead to get started. Many agencies will have proprietary tools of benefit not present within the company. An outside party like an agency often carries more respect than someone in house to champion a project. Agencies can be a catalyst for change to provide outside perspective and involvement. An agency can offer another set of eyes and a perspective as a result from working with many different companies and industries that are not as obvious for people in-house.

Potential Issues with Hiring an Agency. The agency is external and removed from the core business. Agency engagements can be expensive if objectives aren’t clear. Hiring an outside agency requires management of the agency. Finding the right agency is difficult and should be considered according to the specific needs.

Make your own ROI goals instead of putting it on the agency to come up with ROI. Emphasize the value and importance of analytics and make sure you have access to the data/reporting.

Take a look at all of TopRank’s Pubcon liveblogging coverage here and Pubcon photos on Flickr.


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Pubcon: Top Secret SEO Tools http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/11/pubcon-top-secret-seo-tools/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/11/pubcon-top-secret-seo-tools/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2008 22:00:18 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=3659 The first post-lunch session of day 3 of Pucon brought together a great mix of SEO experts including: Todd Malicoat, Rand Fishkin and last minute fill-in for Jessie Stricchiola, Andy Beal. Moderator duties were handled by Joe Laratro. First up is Todd who covered 30 different tools which are too many to mention here but included tools [...]

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Rand Fishkin, Andy Beal, Todd Malicoat

The first post-lunch session of day 3 of Pucon brought together a great mix of SEO experts including: Todd Malicoat, Rand Fishkin and last minute fill-in for Jessie Stricchiola, Andy Beal. Moderator duties were handled by Joe Laratro.

First up is Todd who covered 30 different tools which are too many to mention here but included tools for: browsers, domain server, keywords, competitive research, ranking checkers, backlink checking, on page optimization, spidering, productivity and tools for fixing duplicate content. but the most interesting included:

  • User agent switcher allows you to surf the web as if you were a bot from an engine so you can see sites the way search engine spiders see them.
  • Search Status Firefox plugin shows you various time saving information all in one place
  • Header Checker
  • SiteUptime lets you know when your site goes down
  • Domain Tools Bookmarklet that gives you whois information on the domain name you’re looking at. Also shows other domain names someone owns (paid)
  • Ping time shows how fast your site responds to web requests. If slow, it can cause issues with spidering.
  • Keyword tools: WordTracker.com, KeywordDiscovery.com, tools.seobook.com also offers a free keyword tool
  • SEOBook – SEO for Firefox
  • SpyFu scrapes Google AdWords and can give information about competitor keyword purchase activity
  • Compete.com shows competitor traffic and keyword information (paid tool)
  • Caphyon Advanced Web Ranking – rank checking tool
  • Link Harvester shows unique linking domains to a specific URL, deep link ratio, number of .edu links, etc
  • Hub Finder – will find collections of sites that all link to a particular URL. If they link to that URL, maybe they will link to you.
  • SoloSEO.com is a project management tool for SEO projects
  • Link Suggestion Tool shows a list of search phrases you can combine with keywords to research link opportunities
  • Xenu Link Sleuth broken link tool.
  • Roboform remembers form field information for filling out information
  • Jing Project ScreenCapture
  • Copyscape will show you any time someone copies your content on the web
  • DupeCop

Next up is Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz with “6 Tools that Rock” and promises there is very little if any overlap with Todd.

  • SEO Automatic Tool – looks at common on page optimization factors and offers recommendations.
  • DaveN’s Keyword Density Tool will analyze keyword occurrence on-page and it surfs as Googlebot.
  • blogpulse – Tracks millions of blog feeds and provides insight into what bloggers are discussing as well as trends of phrases over time.
  • LinkfromDomain Command @ Live.com – who is a particular site linking to. (linkfromdomain:toprankblog.com)
  • Historical PageRank Lookup from SEOmoz tools
  • Linkscape SEOMoz is a crawl of the web that offers metrics on link and score mozrank on the domain level and at the URL level. Shows who 301 redirects what page, anchor text distribution and others.

Last up is Andy Beal from Marketing Pilgrim.

  • SEOResearchLabs.com offers keyword research for $100. Extensive spreadsheet of keyword data.
  • SEO Link Analysis – Firefox extension gives you a bit more information when opening such pages, it gathers the PageRank for the linking page, the anchor text used on the link, and checks whether the link is nofollowed or not
  • Google Webmaster Central
  • Backlinkwatch.com – Shows the URLs of link sources, PageRank, follow/nofollow.
  • SEMCheck.com – $12 tool that automates basic SEO functions and issues.
Now we have the Q and A which mentioned additional tools:
Take a look at all of TopRank’s Pubcon liveblogging coverage here and Pubcon photos on Flickr.

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Pubcon Day 2 Favorite Photos http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/11/pubcon-favorite-photos-day-2/ Thu, 13 Nov 2008 13:00:33 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=3644 The second day of WebmasterWorld Pubcon didn’t dissapoint with great sessions throughout the day.  In between sessions, I was able to take a few candids and had help from Lisa Barone and Ashley Bruce during the sessions where I was speaking. Elisabeth Osmeloski and Alex Bennert Barry Schwartz and Ken Jurina Jessica Bowman and Heather Lloyd [...]

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The second day of WebmasterWorld Pubcon didn’t dissapoint with great sessions throughout the day.  In between sessions, I was able to take a few candids and had help from Lisa Barone and Ashley Bruce during the sessions where I was speaking.

Alex Bennert and Elisabeth Osmeloski
Elisabeth Osmeloski and Alex Bennert

Barry Schwartz and Ken Jurina
Barry Schwartz and Ken Jurina

Jessica Bowman and Heather Lloyd Martin
Jessica Bowman and Heather Lloyd Martin

A taller Matt Cutts and Lee Odden
A taller Matt Cutts and Lee Odden

Lisa Barone and Tamar Weinberg
Lisa Barone and Tamar Weinberg

Andy Beal, Jane Copeland and Mike McDonald
Andy Beal, Jane Copland and Mike McDonald

Jake Baillie and Eric Enge
Jake Baillie and Eric Enge

Dante Monteverde Website Magazine
Dante Monteverde 

Susan Esparza and Rebecca Kelley
Susan Esparza and Rebecca Kelley

Google Booth
Google Booth

Take a look at all the Pubcon photos from TopRank opn Flickr.


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PubCon: Online Reputation Management http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/11/pubcon-online-reputation-management/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/11/pubcon-online-reputation-management/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2008 04:00:13 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=3632 The sheer quantity of different information sources online has resulted in a media circus. The various blogs, tweets and mainstream media outlets are like different acts vying for user attention. Online reputation management amid all the chaos can be difficult. It seems only appropriate that a circus insider, Jessica Berlin of Cirque du Soleil, weighed [...]

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Lee Odden Speaking on Reputation Management

The sheer quantity of different information sources online has resulted in a media circus. The various blogs, tweets and mainstream media outlets are like different acts vying for user attention. Online reputation management amid all the chaos can be difficult. It seems only appropriate that a circus insider, Jessica Berlin of Cirque du Soleil, weighed in with some tried and true advice in Reputation Monitoring and Management.

Andy Beal, Internet Marketing Consultant with Marketing Pilgrim and Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Online Marketing and primary author of this blog, also contributed their advice for keeping the positive spotlight on your brand in this session moderated by Todd Friesen.

Why Monitor Online?

Lee pointed out that both your brand influencers and those influenced by your brand live online; your customers, prospects, competitors, etc. What is being said about your brand online can have a huge impact, both positive and negative, on your business.

“It’s not just a search engine, it’s a reputation engine,” Lee said.

Rankings in the search engine results page (SERP) can be as valuable as a hit in mainstream media due to the volume of people who see it. A negative SERP ranking for your brand can come in the form of a YouTube video, blog post, Flickr image, forum thread or just about any format imaginable.

Andy Beal pointed out a wide range of reasons to monitor your brand online, both positive and negative, including:

  • Getting product ideas
  • Finding new relevant keywords for SEO
  • Reaching out to brand evangelists
  • Learning blogger sentiment
  • Conducting informal market research
  • Discovering industry trends

Regardless of your reason for brand monitoring, a brand can be missing huge opportunities by failing to properly monitor and manage online reputation.

What to Monitor

Andy stated that a given brand should be monitoring more than just the brand name in order to effectively manage online brand reputation and fully utilize online resources that can improve brand perceptions online. He mentioned monitoring the company name, individual products, company executives, competitors, clients, industry patents, reviews and more.

Different companies will want to monitor online buzz for a unique mix of these elements in order to serve their purpose. To effectively monitor the online brand reputation of its six different Las Vegas Shows, the marketing team at Cirque du Soleil looks for:

  • Customer Experiences Cirque du Soleil considers its customer experience to encompass everything from purchasing the ticket to when they leave the theater. They look online for both good and bad customer comments relating to any part of the overall experience so they can address concerns and build strong brand connections.
  • Information Accuracy The team looks into any negative online mentions of Cirque du Soleil to correct any inaccurate information.
  • Brand Mention Wording With six different shows in Las Vegas, Cirque du Soleil’s marketing team wants ensure each show is getting mentioned distinctively and not under the Cirque du Soleil umbrella term.
  • Sphere of Influence The team looks for indications of how far and wide mentions of Cirque do Soleil spread, to see if one blog post mention can spread into social networks, bookmarking sites or even mainstream media.

Monitoring Tools to Use

With the circus of different media outlets online, brand reputation managers need an arsenal of tools in order to effectively monitor brand sentiment online. All three panelists mentioned several good tools to use in order to monitor your brand reputation. With most of these services, you can set up an RSS that alerts you of new items relating to specific brand names or keyword terms:

  • Moreover.com Monitor competitors, industry news and trends with this site’s very granular news categories
  • Google.com/trends Monitor up and coming industry trends to get ideas for new products or promotions
  • Technorati.com Monitor blog posts and social media mentions
  • Backtype.com Monitor blog comments about your brand or a competitor, or blog comments relating to your keywords
  • Blogpulse.com/trend Monitor the trending of keyword phrases or your brand name to see if people are talking about you more or less
  • Keotag.com Monitor tags of your choice across several bookmarking and tagging sites
  • Boardtracker.com Monitor forum posts
  • Copernic.com Monitor changes or updates on any given website
  • Radian6/Buzzlogic Monitor a variety of different online media outlets and a wide range of social media

Marketers should also monitor their brand name in social media sites like YouTube, Flickr and Twitter to effectively manage brand buzz in multiple media formats.

How to Monitor

Lee outlined both a short-term and long-term approach to effective online brand reputation management. In the short-term, a company wants to ensure positive brand mentions are ruling the SERPs, as the search engine rankings tend to be highly visible. To do so, a company should focus on:

  • Creating a brand optimization process
  • Optimizing all digital assets including text, video, images, audio, press releases, etc.
  • Optimizing across departments to ensure online assets from all departments are optimized. For example, HR should be optimizing job posts

In the long term, a brand should be working to identify, qualify and engage dissenters by correcting any inaccuracies and responding directly to negative mentions.

Jessica outlined Cirque du Soleil’s current online PR practices to illustrate the changes online brand reputation management has undergone in recent years. In particular, she highlighted transparency and building long-term trust between Cirque du Soleil, journalists and fans. Cirque du Soleil actually allows fans to control several of its ‘official’ groups on social sites such as MySpace, and gives them inside information to post as content. They also allow journalists and bloggers greater access to Cirque du Soleil content to build strong media relations.

What are the Results?

Companies can decrease attention on negative brand mentions with effective optimization tactics that result in multiple positive rankings on the SERPs. By directly addressing negative brand mentions in a personal manner, a company can turn a brand de-evangelist into a brand evangelist. Strong and open relationships with content producers in the form of journalists, bloggers and fans can prevent negative buzz and help ensure only accurate brand information exists in the online sphere. The comprehensive brand management advice from Jessica, Andy and Lee can help you make sense of the online media circus and keep a positive focus on your brand.

Check back with the TopRank Marketing Blog for more blog coverage of Pubcon 2008 and the Pubcon photos set on Flickr.  Also be sure to visit the video interview on reputation management with TopRank CEO Lee Odden and Mike McDonald of WebProNews.

Other Search Industry blogs covering this session include:

And lastly, you can view Lee’s PowerPoint deck here on slideshare: Online Reputation Management TopRankMarketing.

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PubCon: Managing Brands Online http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/11/pubcon-brand-management/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/11/pubcon-brand-management/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2008 23:35:13 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=3626 The speed and availability of information online has given more power to the individual to be vocal about their opinions and feelings, both positive and negative.  Social media, blogs, forums and online groups can leave you vulnerable to negative attacks if you are not involved in the conversation. This panel of brand ambassadors, including Jessica [...]

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PubCon Brand Management

The speed and availability of information online has given more power to the individual to be vocal about their opinions and feelings, both positive and negative.  Social media, blogs, forums and online groups can leave you vulnerable to negative attacks if you are not involved in the conversation.

This panel of brand ambassadors, including Jessica L Bowman, Sr. Marketing Manager for Yahoo!, Lauren Vaccarello, Director of Publishing for Forex Capital Marketers, Tony Wright, CEO and Founder of WrightIMC, and Brian Combs, Senior VP & Chief Futurist for Apogee Search, discussed the ins and outs of how to manage both your reputation and brand in the intricate and sometimes hostile environment on the web.

Jessica Bowman kicked off the session, giving a broad view of brand management, stating that as an organization you need to deliver a consistent customer experience to build credibility for your brand.

The ‘halo’ affect is your ability to deliver that positive brand experience across all customer touch points, including your’ in-store location, your customer service line, as well as the interactions your customers have with traditional news, the search engine results, Facebook, MySpace, your blog, Twitter, and YouTube.

Traditional approaches such as your customer service line, in-store experience, and news releases address less than 50% of the ‘halo’ channels, and the ratio continues to decrease as online platforms evolve.

The opportunity for your customers to complain about your brand online gets easier each day.  Technology such as the iPhone puts the power to be vocal in their hands.

The main difference today is speed of information, customers can post complaints in the heat of anger, as technology advancement eliminates the ‘cool off’ time.

It’s imperative to train your company to maintain the positive brand.

  • Great customer service needs to be the company culture
  • Train all employees that interact with your customers on how to handle complaints
  • It’s too easy for anyone to complain to thousands of people via Twitter, Facebook, iPhone

Establish boundaries and rules. Jessica urged the audience to add guidelines for online commenting and blogging to your employee handbook.

Grant employees access to social media sites so they can monitor what’s happening and what comments are being made about the brand.

What might an upset customer do to voice their complaint?

  • Comment at Yahoo and Google local
  • Write a blog post
  • Twitter update (which may push out to their Facebook network)
  • AdWords ad with the complaint
  • Primary purpose to get the attention of a VP who can instill change

Next up is Lauren Backarello, offered tips for maintaining your brand online. Defending your brand online requires both a defensive (preventative) strategy as well as an offensive strategy to deal with negative attacks that occur.

Defensive Strategies:

Get the best players

  • Buy domains around your target keywords and brand name
  • Make sure to own ‘mybrandsucks.com’
  • Own your ‘CEOsname.com’

You don’t have to use these brand names, but have them so no one else can.

Don’t overlook social media

  • Register your brand name on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Naymz, Wikipedia, and Squidoo.

Know what your competitors are doing

  • Know who is bidding on your branded terms.

Keep an eye on your key players

  • Create alerts for your brand name, executive names, and key product names.

Monitor everything

  • Twitter is a great place for people to connect and interact. It is also a great place for people to complain about companies to hundreds of their friends at once. Tweet Pro is a tool that helps you organize the contacts that are talking negatively about your brand

You can use Twitter to help manage your reputation by monitoring tweets for complaints and responding to help them find a solution for their problem.

Offensive Strategies

  • Empower your loyalists
  • Respond to negative publicity quickly

Brian Combs talked mostly about how to pre-empt a negative attack online, giving advice about online customer service.

Before you have a problem:

  • Dedicate resources to online customer service
  • Monitor online conversations
  • Use consistent Naming conventions
  • Create and propagate multiple sites

Upon finding a problem:

  • Engage and attempt to diffuse
  • May create an online fan
  • Don’t be defensive or attempt to strong arm, you’ll make it worse
  • Don’t engage with trolls and internet tough guys
  • Take it offline if possible
  • As if they’ll block with robots.txt (instead of asking to take the negative content down)
  • Attempt to scrub the list

Own more real estate in the Search Engine Results page with:

  • Sub-domains, product sites, int’l domains
  • Social media like Facebook, MySpace
  • Articles on their party sites
  • Microssites to address specific concerns
  • Blended search
  • Content must be Unique
  • Sites may require link building

Risky Techniques:

  • Wikipedia
  • Pay Per Post, ReviewMe (for scrubbing)
  • Google Bowling
  • Deceptive Practices

Key takeaways:

  • Reputation problems are easier to prevent than to fix
  • Customer Service 101: Engage and don’t be defensive
  • If you  must scrub the listings, take a diversified approach

Tony Wright started off by telling a story about a Paris Texas and a reputation management issue between the local elementary school teacher and the ramifications of a situation that spiraled out of control.

Lessons Learned:

  • Emotions can ruin an online reputation
  • Sometimes responding makes it worse (if you are emotional)
  • If you are an employer, you need to have policies in place to keep employees from responding inappropriately
  • Threatening violence on the internet can be dangerous, but most of the time it makes you look like an idiot
  • Local politics is very interesting indeed

Reputation, Influence and Branding:

  • Reputation, branding and influence are not the same thing but are interconnected
  • Of the three, start working on reputation. The others will come if your reputation is good
  • Don’t let good branding get in the way of a good reputation
  • Monitor your reputation. Create a formula for keeping your reputation solid, deal with snags as they come

Creating a formula for online reputation:

  • Items to consider, sign weights to how each affects the brand:
  • Reach of the venue (ie: New York Times, vs. unknown blog)
  • Influence of the poster (what is the page rank for the blog, how many visitors)
  • Tone of the content (Look at the comments to the post, are they all negative?)
  • Follow-up on the post (watch for on-topic vs. off topic)
  • Viral effects (has the post been picked up on other sites?)

The panel closed with a discussion about the need to have a full time person in the company dedicated to monitoring, managing, and maintain a positive reputation and brand online.

What are your thoughts about having a full time brand ambassador? Does your company have a full time representative dedicated to connecting with customers online?

Check back with the TopRank Marketing Blog for more blog coverage of Pubcon 2008 and the Pubcon photosset on Flickr.


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Pubcon Day 1 Favorite Photos http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/11/pubcon-day-1-favorite-photos/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/11/pubcon-day-1-favorite-photos/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2008 13:00:11 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=3620 As is tradition at Online Marketing Blog, we take quite a few photos at conferences. I’ve never come back from an event thinking that I took too many.  Here are a few photos from day one of the WebmasterWorld Pubcon conference in Las Vegas, which for me, was interrupted by a trip over to the [...]

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As is tradition at Online Marketing Blog, we take quite a few photos at conferences. I’ve never come back from an event thinking that I took too many.  Here are a few photos from day one of the WebmasterWorld Pubcon conference in Las Vegas, which for me, was interrupted by a trip over to the Zappos headquarters where I took a tour. Afternoon sessions were well attended as was the Zappos Tweetup at Hard Rock Cafe.

Vanessa Zamora, Joe Morin and Melanie Mitchell
Joe (here flanked by Vanessa Zamora and Melanie Mitchell) is always the luckiest guy in the room – especially in Vegas

Zac at Zappos

Zack at Zappos Headquarters

Zappos Elvis Style
Zappos, Elvis Style (including music)

Marcus, Bob, Chris, Greg, Neil, Cameron
6 SEOs Can’t be Wrong: Marcus, Bob, Chris, Greg, Neil, Cameron

DSC00967
Dan Perry and Ethan Giffin are pretty happy about Pubcon

Audience
Another packed session room at Pubcon

Microsoft Smiles!
Microsoft with big smiles and plenty of visibility as an underwriting sponsor at Pubcon

Between Sessions
There’s plenty to talk about in between sessions

Jeff Randall WebmasterWorld
Jeff Randall from WebmasterWorld making sure registration runs smoothly

Andrew Beckman & Cindy Turrietta

Andrew Beckman & Cindy Turrietta

Brian, Brian, Jordan & Jeremy @Zappos Party
Brian Chappell, Brian Carter, Jordan Kastaler and Jeremy Luebke chumming it up at the Zappos party

Brett Tabke
The Man of Pubcon: Brett Tabke

Check out all of TopRank’s photos on the Pubcon 2008 Flickr set.


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PubCon: Social Media – The Big Sexy Buzz http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/11/pubcon-social-media-the-big-sexy-buzz/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/11/pubcon-social-media-the-big-sexy-buzz/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2008 02:00:33 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=3590 You may or may not be using social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, or Digg in your business. The overarching theme from this panel at PubCon was… why not, what do you have to lose? Social media gurus, including Warren Whitlock, Co-Author of The Twitter Revolution, Brian Carter, Director of Search Marketing for Fuel [...]

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Social Media: The Big Sexy BuzzYou may or may not be using social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, or Digg in your business. The overarching theme from this panel at PubCon was… why not, what do you have to lose?

Social media gurus, including Warren Whitlock, Co-Author of The Twitter Revolution, Brian Carter, Director of Search Marketing for Fuel Interactive, Guillaume Bouchard, CEO of NVI, and Kent Schoen, Facebook Product Manager, joined forces at this session to discuss the Big sexy buzz around social media and provide some food for thought to convince skeptics that social media can be a successful marketing channel.

Warren Whitlock kicked off the session discussing twitter habits.

There are two stages of Twitter:
1.    Denial: Why would anyone care what I ate for breakfast?
2.    Reluctant Acceptance: I have a Twitter account but haven’t seen any traffic

The Twitter Revolution really is about making meaningful connections.  Let people know what you are up to, because contrary to some beliefs, people do care.

Warren explained that in today’s online world, we are all publishers. If you have a MySpace page, a Facebook account, or use Twitter, you publish content for other users.

Many people have asked the question, “how do I get more people to my website?” Warren’s advice: publish more content and tweet more. Give users more advice, resources, and content and they will find your website and make a connection with your brand.

The most important thing to know about Twitter is that there are no rules.

You can use Twitter however you want, but know that people are not going to follow you if you spam them, and only post promotional links. Be authentic in your approach and you will make a connection.

Next up, Brian Cartern discussed the benefits of the big Trifecta.

What is the Trifecta?

The Trifecta is a combination of blogging, bookmarking and Twittering. The key is to incorporate optimization into each corner of the Trifecta.

Optimization = Getting the results you want faster

Brian gave us his 5 step process to optimize anything:
1.    Identify your goal
2.    Establish a measurement
3.    Where you at?
4.    Plan Route to Goal
5.    Let results guide progress

In social media, if you want to succeed, you need a brand that is more powerful than your target markets. In social media, you need a powerful goal.

Why does the trifecta work?
–    Blog is a place for you to establish your authority
–    Bookmarking is social proof
–    Twitter gets you attention

Guillaume Bouchard talked mainly to social news and the benefits of sites such as Digg and StumbleUpon, and stated that the main principle of social news sites it to catalyze natural link growth.

The realistic role of social news:
–    Produce link worthy  content
–    Taking luck out of the equation

The Social platforms: Digg and StumbleUpon make up 90% of social traffic.

Digg:
–    Onsite voting
–    Tough to succeed
–    Can get buried
–    Large traffic spike
–    Success: home page

StumbleUpon:
–    Toolbar voting
–    Not as tough to succeed
–    Can get thumbed-down
–    Lower total, more gradual spike
–    Success: recommendation surge

Make it or break social media strategy involves:
–    Content
–    Platform
–    Submitter
–    Category
–    Vote (solicitation)

Content Development:
Approval = perception of quality and enjoyment / time taken to enjoy

Give quality:
–    They like to laugh, but avoid failed attempts at humor
–    They appreciate hard work, but avoid build-content-quick-schemes
–    They like learning
–    They tend to follow their communities (dis)approval
–    They do not like spam, or SEO & marketing, for that matter

Save Time:
–    They don’t want too much text
–    They want to be able to skim and get the basic idea
–    They don’t like having to click unnecessarily
–    They resent when your server can’t handle their visitorship
–    They like being able to vote right now

Platform of Trust:
Both Digg staff and users value trust. Unfortunately, trust isn’t easy to earn.

The numbers
–    Trusted domains account for +90% of home pages
–    Of non-trusted domains, 30% are images, 10% are videos
–    ~100-125 stories hit the home page every day

The Trusted Submitter:
–    Domains are trusted, but so are people
–    Trusted submitters are less likely to be buried
–    Receive immediate fried votes
–    More than 30% of sites on the home page are from top submitters

Category Selection:
–    Different categories have different voting requirements
–    Digg has a proportional home page breakdown for each category

Soliciting Votes:
–    Look for exchange opportunities
–    Leverage instant messaging
–    In-site communication services
–    Vote on lots of stories

Ken Shone, product manager for Facebook, wrapped up the session sharing some Facebook statistics with the group.

Facebook Users:
–    120 million active users
–    15 million mobile users
–    1billion profile details
–    20 million daily status updates
–    100 million daily pokes
–    20 million daily wall posts

Social media is influential. A survey conducted asked users when they were considering purchasing a product or service, what was the most trusted and valued source of information. Over 70% said word of mouth.

With massive amounts of content online, communities and friends have become the filter to help determine an individual’s media preferences and is used to identify what content is worth their time.

Measurement and analytics with Facebook:

Passive measurement
–    Lexicon measures social interactions and demographics on Facebook
–    Identify the trend in conversation
–    Ad tools can help you understand who is out there (geographic and demographics)

Active measurement
–    Discover who’s engaging with your business and how

Demographic data may confirm your suspicions or lead you in a new direction. Make informed decisions based on how people interact with your content.

If your company has not adopted social media as part of its marketing mix, what are some of the common objections or road blocks you have run into?

Be sure to check back for more TopRank Pubcon coverage and visit the Pubcon photos on Flickr.


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PubCon: Understanding the Complex Social Media Marketing Playing Field http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/11/understanding-social-media/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/11/understanding-social-media/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2008 01:49:49 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=3593 Building and designing a successful social media campaign can be a lot like designing and building a skyscraper. You need to research the materials, lay a strong foundation, and continue regular maintenance to ensure your building, or social media promotion, doesn’t collapse. In Understanding the Complex Social Media Marketing Playing Field, moderator Joe Laratro led [...]

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PubCon: Understanding the Complex Social Media Marketing Playing FieldBuilding and designing a successful social media campaign can be a lot like designing and building a skyscraper. You need to research the materials, lay a strong foundation, and continue regular maintenance to ensure your building, or social media promotion, doesn’t collapse.

In Understanding the Complex Social Media Marketing Playing Field, moderator Joe Laratro led a panel of social media marketing architects who shared their social media design tips.

Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz, gave an overview of some of the various materials an online marketer can use when constructing a social media plan. Michael Gray, president of Atlas Web Service, created a strategic design plan for building successful social promotions. Cameron Olthuis, CEO of Factive Media, outlined best practices for interacting with social communities in ten steps. Neil Patel, CTO of Advantage Consulting Services, Inc., ended the session with a controversial look at “the dark side” of social media marketing.

Building Blocks

The strongest social media plan involves a mix of the below materials.

  • Democratized Social News sites These tools allow online marketers to interact with a community by voting on content and submitting their own content to be voted on by others. Examples include Digg, Reddit, Mixx, and Newsline.
  • Editor-Controlled News Sites Sites like Yahoo! Buzz accept and display user-submitted content that fits in with their editorial guidelines. These sites generally have a high profile and can generate huge results.
  • Social Sites These sites are a great opportunity to build and interact with a network as well as publish original content in a variety of forms including links, news, photos, videos, and more. Examples include Facebook, Myspace, and LinkedIn.
  • Micro-Blogging Sites On Twitter, Plurk, and Friendfeed, you can submit interesting content in 140 characters or less. This can act as an instant megaphone, allowing you to broadcast strong points of interest to a large audience.
  • Social Bookmarking Sites Marketers can submit interesting URLs to sites like StumbleUpon, Delicious and Blinklist to drive traffic to specific pages. These sites are also good for research in terms of finding out what type of content interests your audience.
  • Social Content Sharing Sites Youtube, Flickr, Yelp and DeviantArt all allow you to post specific types of content, from video to photos to reviews. These sites can help marketers build brand messaging and reach new, relevant audiences, and can also show up in universal search results.
  • Wiki Sites Wikis are another good way to dominate the search results, as they often rank highly. Use wikis to post original content and edit existing content while reaching a new audience. Wikipedia is the penultimate example of a wiki site.
  • Social Question & Answer Sites Marketers can both post questions to other users and answer existing questions on sites such as Yahoo! Answers and Wiki Answers. This can grow brand reputation and authority and is also a good way to conduct audience research.
  • Niche Sites Social sites that target a very specific niche, such as Corked for wine enthusiasts, allow marketers to reach a highly relevant audience.

Blueprints

Creating a successful social media campaign requires a well-thought out and detailed plan. Take the proper steps to ensure your social promotions are sturdy and effective.

  • Background Research Find out where your audience is online. Look at the content they themselves are submitting on these sites for ideas of what interests them. Also, identify thought leaders to target in order to spread your message to a broad audience.
  • Brainstorming Generate as many ideas for promotions as possible. Look at what has worked previously and build upon that without copycatting. Filter your ideas wisely in order to find something that will feasibly work for you.
  • Idea Research Follow up on your ideas to see if they will work based upon what is already happening in the social media you are targeting. Be flexible and adapt your ideas if something won’t work. Don’t force a bad idea.
  • Story Production and Formatting Ensure you’re writing in a viral writing style. Avoid marketing speak and obvious sales-oriented messaging. Use videos and photos to enrich your stories.
  • Schedule and Launch Know the times in the day, week, etc. your audience interacts on social sites. Tie promotions in to holidays and major events to generate timely interest.

Building a Foundation

Interacting with a social community is the key to building a strong foundation for your social media marketing campaign. “It’s called social for a reason,” Cameron Olthuis points out. Be sure you are socializing within a community and following its guidelines.

  • Network & Be Social Make new friends, join groups and generally participate in the community. This should be a continual process.
  • Be Genuine, Authentic and On Target Stick with what your audience wants.
  • Provide Value Give users something they can use, in the form of advice, expert tips, inside information or something entertaining.
  • Let People Act Naturally Allow users to play with your content and have fun. Don’t force a specific interaction.
  • Listen and Respond Look for both positive and negative reactions by monitoring content once it’s live. Respond to users and improve content accordingly.

Neil Patel Social Media Panel
The Fake Façade
Neil Patel outlined what he calls “The Dark Side” of social media marketing with some less-than-wholesome tips and tricks marketers can use to generate social media results

  • Screwing People Impacting a competitors reputation by submitting useless content from a competitor’s site to social news or bookmarking.
  • Social Media Rings Creating a ring of people to vote up your content. This quickly becomes a “dark” practice when abused through overuse.
  • Social Media Applications Tube Increaser and Twitter Friend Adder allow marketers to automate adding large quantities of friends to their accounts.
  • Forced Actions Patel mentioned iframes code, which is useful for ‘forcing’ people to automatically subscribe to content such as your YouTube channel just by visiting.
  • Blog Links Certain blog formats, such as WordPress, can be hacked, allowing marketers to insert their links.

Patel also advised visiting several “light” reading resources, including SEOmoz.org, Techipedia.com and our very own TopRank Online Marketing Blog.

Create a holistic social media campaign by ensuring you’ve put time and effort into the three major stages outlined in this session: the proper building blocks, a strategic blueprint and a solid foundation. Continue routine maintenance by building your profile and interacting regularly within social communities. Conduct regular inspections of your progress by searching for your content on Technorati, Google Blogsearch, search.twitter.com and other monitoring resources. And while going to “The Dark Side” may have its appeal, following social media marketing best practices should generate solid results.

Check back with the TopRank Marketing Blog for more on Pubcon, and don’t miss photos from the conference at TopRank on Flickr.


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Pubcon 2008 Keynote Shawn Rorick of Cirque du Soleil http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/11/pubcon-2008-keynote/ Wed, 12 Nov 2008 01:16:11 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=3594 The WebmasterWorld Pubcon conference in Las Vegas opened up today with remarks from founder Brett Tabke, who mentioned that only about 30% of the content of this year’s event are dedicated to search marketing. The rest is made up of social media and other related internet marketing topics.  As interests in the industry changes, Pubcon [...]

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Brett TabkeThe WebmasterWorld Pubcon conference in Las Vegas opened up today with remarks from founder Brett Tabke, who mentioned that only about 30% of the content of this year’s event are dedicated to search marketing. The rest is made up of social media and other related internet marketing topics.  As interests in the industry changes, Pubcon is also evolving.

The opening keynote presentation was done by Shawn Rorick of Cirque du Soleil who talked about the changing media and marketing landscape and how online marketers need to focus on consumers, learn traditional media language and focus not so much on linear marketing but on prioritizing what online marketing tactics make sense in a fragmented web.

Shawn Rorick Cirque du SoleilThe amount of information in the world doubles roughly every 6 months. The speed and availability of information via cloud computing means a sea change for marketers.

The web is getting smarter. Instead of getting search results, we’re getting “recommendations”. The evolution of search is providing innovative ways to discover information.

Online spending today is focused on search, display, rich media and email with largely flat growth for each. Current online media doesn’t account for the massive changes in information expansion and availability.

The future of online media involves: social media search, search, mobile, virtual worlds, widgets, rich media and in-game ads.  In-game and mobile advertising are the fastest growing segments within new media according to eMarketer.   Mobie, social and widgets are changing the long tail.

The last big jump in internet usage was 2001 and 2003. Now those people have had 5-7 years to get familiar and experienced with the web. The maturity of those users should be considered with web marketing.

The recent presidential campaign offers a good example of social media. McCain used video sharing. Obama used video, in-game ads, blogs, mobile, viral marketing.  One viral video effort from MoveOn that benefitted Obama’s campaign and was particularly effective was the CNNBC video that could be customized to any person’s name.

2.9 million U.S. mobile customers received a text message from the Obama campaign, making it the largest mobile campaign to-date.

Old school thinking: Average age of board of directors of major companies is 55+. Once the old school retires, the next generation gets in.

In 1995 the advertising world split between online and offline. Now they’re coming back together due to acquisitions and mergers of old school media and new media. Also, the formats are comparable. For example: telemarketing and mobile marketing or outdoor advertising and in-game advertising.

“Halo Media” encompasses what media fragmentation is all about. Users decide when, where and how they consumer their media. This results in a cluttered environment. Marketers need to figure out where to best place their media for best impact. Traditional web marketing is very linear. A cluttered environment requires marketers to create a circle of presence around the web site/company.

A key question for online marketers is where to spend their time and what media deliver the best impact?  Measurement is critical and not all shiny web 2.0 objects are applicable.  Forget traditional marketing rules.

Online marketers need to get closer to understanding traditional media: formats, metrics, etc. Get involved with new media conferences and interactive marketing groups. Ask lots of questions. Be somewhat transparent about what you’re doing. It will take competitors 6 months to catch up anyway. Always put yourself in the users’ shoes.

In the digital marketing age, web marketers are the trendsetters and opinion leaders.  Marketers need to question, test and define new web media technologies.

Be sure to check back for more blog coverage of WebmasterWorld Pubcon, and you can also find our photos of the conference at TopRank’s Pubcon Photos on Flickr.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2008. | Pubcon 2008 Keynote Shawn Rorick of Cirque du Soleil | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Upcoming TopRank Conference Schedule http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/08/upcoming-toprank-conference-schedule/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/08/upcoming-toprank-conference-schedule/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2008 12:30:22 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=2594 I promised myself I’d slow down on conference speaking last year and while I’ve turned down more offers this year than ever before, (and been turned down myself the one time I formally pitched) some really great opportunities have popped up. Here are the upcoming conferences I’ll be speaking at for pretty much the rest [...]

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I promised myself I’d slow down on conference speaking last year and while I’ve turned down more offers this year than ever before, (and been turned down myself the one time I formally pitched) some really great opportunities have popped up.

Here are the upcoming conferences I’ll be speaking at for pretty much the rest of this year not including private company engagements:

Aug 20, 2008 – Search Engine Strategies, San Jose
Presenting: “SEO Through Blogs and Feeds”
Presenting: “News Search SEO”
Media Sponsor
TopRank is sending 4 bloggers to cover the event (Thomas, Jessica, Dana and Ashley)

Sep 18, 2008 – OMMA Global, NYC
Panel: “Digital Asset Optimization”

Sep 20, 2008 – Blog World Expo, Las Vegas
Moderating a Panel: “SEO and New Media
Media Sponsor

Oct 16th – DMA08, Las Vegas
Workshop: “SEO and Public Relations”

Oct 25 & 27 – PRSA International Conference, Detroit
Panel: “Future of PR and New Media”
Workshop: “SEO for News Content”

Nov 12, 2008 – WebmasterWorld Pubcon, Las Vegas
Presenting: “Alternative Discovery and SEO – Feeds, PDF’s, and Blog SEO”
Panel: Five Bloggers and a Microphone

Dec 1 & 2 – DMA Seminar, New York
Workshop: “Social Media Smarts – Introduction to Social Media”

You can get a lot out of conferences just by attending. Exhibiting, sponsoring and speaking add even more opportunities. While we’re not doing any exhibiting this year, it’s something we’ll start to look into for 2009. Having been a media sponsor for most of the major search engine conferences, we’ve gained a noticeable increase in visibility. Speaking, attending sessions and networking have also been instrumental for our growth.

If you’re attending any of the conferences listed above, please be sure to say hello.


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What Conferences Are You Attending? http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/04/what-conferences-are-you-attending/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/04/what-conferences-are-you-attending/#comments Tue, 29 Apr 2008 12:58:32 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/04/what-conferences-are-you-attending/ Jeremiah Owyang posted recently asking his readers what conferences they would be attending in the coming months and I thought that would be a great question for Online Marketing Blog readers as well. Over the past 3 years we’ve been focused on search marketing conferences but have expanded more into direct marketing, interactive and PR. [...]

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Facebook Marketing Panel Web 2.0 Expo

Jeremiah Owyang posted recently asking his readers what conferences they would be attending in the coming months and I thought that would be a great question for Online Marketing Blog readers as well.

Over the past 3 years we’ve been focused on search marketing conferences but have expanded more into direct marketing, interactive and PR. We’ll continue that trend the rest of this year but with more conferences outside of search as our online marketing agency evolves.

Conferences that I’m attending in the coming months include:

Personally, I try my best to limit conferences to one per month and those I am speaking at. The above list is not comprehensive for the TopRank team of course, since we do typically blog most SES and SMX conferences. We’ll definitely be at SMX Advanced this year as well as SES Chicago in December. It just won’t be me that attends. There are several other events that I may attend or speak at, I’m just not confirmed that far out.

There are many other great conferences with programming that touches on search, social, interactive and PR the rest of this year. What conferences are you attending in the coming months and remainder of 2008?


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Pubcon Images: The “pub conference” http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/12/pubcon-images-the-pub-conference/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/12/pubcon-images-the-pub-conference/#comments Sat, 08 Dec 2007 17:48:50 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/12/pubcon-images-the-pub-conference/ The last day of WebmasterWorld’s Pubcon is literally a gathering in a pub. This is the genesis of how Pubcon was started, an informal gathering of members from WebmasterWorld. Through the efforts of Brett Tabke and the community, it has grown into one of the finest search marketing conferences with thousands of attendees, major corporate [...]

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The

The last day of WebmasterWorld’s Pubcon is literally a gathering in a pub. This is the genesis of how Pubcon was started, an informal gathering of members from WebmasterWorld. Through the efforts of Brett Tabke and the community, it has grown into one of the finest search marketing conferences with thousands of attendees, major corporate sponsors, top notch speakers and a spirit like no other event. There’s a real sense of community and “co-opetition” amongst participants that makes it a great place to learn and network.

Here are my final favorite photos from Las Vegas Pubcon and a few with friends from iEntry afterwards.

Wynn Las Vegas
Wynn Las Vegas

Brian Prince Lee Odden
Sport coating the BOTW colors

Danny Sullivan Melanie Mitchell
Danny Sullivan and Melanie Mitchell

Greg Boser
Greg Boser and friends

Search Engine Land on Mike's dome
Search Engine Land on Mike’s dome

Rich Tiffany Mike
Rich, Tiffany and Mike from iEntry

Ceiling at Blush
Ceiling at Blush

Shadow Bar
Shadow Bar


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