Posts Tagged ‘SEO’


How PR and Marketing Work Together to Drive Growth

Thursday, July 24th, 2014
PR Marketing Work Together Growth Hinge Marketing BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas Public Relations PR

Flazingo.com

by Chris Ourand*

In one corner, your marketing team is doing their darnedest to drive conversions and generate leads. And in the other corner, the PR people are working to generate awareness and tell a compelling story about your firm. This is historically how these two disciplines have been handled and understandably so, to an extent.

But in our increasingly digital world, firms that continue to treat public relations and marketing like separate entities might miss out on opportunities for significant growth. In reality, these disciplines can empower each other—the marketing team helping to create awareness, and the PR team contributing to lead generation and conversions. Here are a few ways to help get the most out of both.

Produce compelling, quality content for prospects. Changes in SEO and analytics have made it necessary to produce plenty of high quality, unique content. PR professionals are expert at making organizational and industry news into compelling content. Your in-house team understands how industry trends impact your firm and clients and can tell these stories in ways that engage prospects and generate interest in your firm.

Integrate news into marketing content. Take news packages (videos, press releases, articles, interviews, etc.) and work them into your content marketing. Integrate these items into your blog, email marketing campaigns, newsletters, guides, whitepapers, and e-books. Find ways of providing this type of content to different audiences. Your PR people will know the best angles for the stories and your marketing folks will know the best time and way to reach the appropriate prospects. Marketing’s ability to monitor and measure your channels will help you know how and when your re-purposed news items are striking a chord.

 Strategize your big picture and the details. Regardless of the particulars of your PR and marketing content, you’ll need a specific strategy. You can start with broad goals (like convey expertise in new market, or grow influencer audience), but the more specific you get, the more likely you’ll generate results and be able to track them. Having a clear idea of your firm’s overall strategy helps the two arms of your visibility/conversion team to work together. Your marketing folks can tailor websites, emails, etc. to combine expertly with your public relations department’s case studies, press releases, speaking opportunities and so forth.

 Connect with customers. Your marketing team is expert at talking to your audience … from a distance. Creating PR events and opportunities outside marketing’s normal comfort zone is a great way to build audience loyalty and get face-to-face feedback on your products, services, and initiatives. It never hurts to remind prospects that you’re part of their community. Nourish these connections and you’ll create brand ambassadors who will promote, support, and recommend you.

 Stick with your story. Sure, taglines are great and can make you quickly memorable. But the story of your organization needs to be told, not replaced by a bumper sticker’s worth of copy. You know why your firm is remarkable. There will be times to be brief, but make sure your combined PR and marketing efforts tell a consistent, compelling story. Include calls-to-action where appropriate and your narrative will drive conversions.

So bring your PR and marketing teams out of their respective corners. Meet in the middle of the room. PR and marketing are different in some very basic ways, but combining them will generate buzz through social media, connect you to the media and other influencers, and create actionable visibility that will result in growth.

 

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Chris Ourand is an Account Director at Hinge, a marketing and branding firm for professional services. Chris can be reached at courand@hingemarketing.com or 703-391-8870.

 

Image courtesy Flazingo.com.

Follow the Money, Follow the Pins: How Pinterest-ing Should You Be?

Monday, January 20th, 2014
flickr user mkhmarketing

flickr user mkhmarketing

E-Pins are landing on Target’s physical shelves.  When last browsing the store’s home accessories section, you might have noticed Pinterest tags next to certain items. This is one recent example of how hybrid retailers translate digital pins into tags and use social media in their inventory and sales decisions. With top-pinned items selling well online, the question is, will top-pinned items become best sellers on the shelf?

For business and communications professionals looking to Pin-tegrate their social media presence, Target’s evolving Pinterest strategy provides lessons and steps, as Pinterest has become a significant part of their sales and traffic strategy.

In late 2011 and early 2012, Pinterest started driving increasingly significant amounts of traffic to retailers’ websites, becoming a top five source of traffic for several retailers, following Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Yahoo, though search is still all-dominant.

2013 was a significant growth year for Pinterest, particularly among women. In fact, Pew Research data says that Pinterest is used by one-fifth (21 percent) of adults, and that one in three women are Pinterest users.

Inspire and Create a Path from Inspiration to Purchase

Target launched its Pinterest page in March 2012, and introduced the Pin button in the lead up to that year’s holiday season. Bonnie Gross, Target’s VP of digital marketing and loyalty, said last August that Target is in fact “still experimenting … We are in the phase of doing a lot, learning a lot and figuring out what works.” Gross says that Target boards are meant to inspire and then “create a path from inspiration to purchase.”

Target.com users have been pinning (saving) favorite products on their Pinterest boards. Target’s Pinterest approach has evolved into featuring and calling out the most pinned e-items in the physical stores with Pinterest signage.

Other retailers are using Pinterest in creative ways, most recently for their Black Friday and Cyber Monday strategies. Steve Patrizi, head of partner marketing with Pinterest, says that Lowe’s created Pinterest boards of items that were about to go on sale. It was a new way of doing digital circulars to ensure they reach Pinteresters.

Retailers are leveraging their Pinterest partnerships because, as President and CEO of Walmart Stores Inc. Mike Duke said, “The biggest opportunity we have is winning the intersection between physical and digital retail.”

Follow the Money:  Your Audience is Diversifying their Social Media Platforms

Is Pinterest a good marketing opportunity for your organization? Marketers tracking markets and their social media behaviors are honing their consumer connectivity accordingly. If your customers are diversifying their social media presence, your social media strategy should reflect that.

The growth of Pinterest does not mean that your audience is abandoning other social networks. Pew found that 42 percent of online adults in the U.S. use two or more social networks and nearly one-fifth use three or more social networks.

“People are diversifying their portfolios when it comes to [social networks],” Aaron Smith, a senior researcher at Pew, told Mashable. “The addition of a Pinterest user is not necessarily taking away a Twitter user or a LinkedIn user.”

Are you Pinnable? Making your Site Pinterest-Friendly

PR and marketing professionals are used to thinking about SEO and search-engine friendliness. With Google’s Hummingbird, which launched in September 2013, SEO stopped being about keyword quantity and link-building and became about content quality strategy. Pinterest, on the other hand, is image-driven and has different rules for directing the traffic to your site.

Pinterest’s visual focus can be a hard concept for some businesses, like news organizations. But even news editors are finding ways to turn text heavy articles into a Pinterest-friendly visual format. The Wall Street Journal has been using Pinterest, in conjunction with Instragram, to cover the New York City Fashion Week.

As with other social media platforms, the idea behind Pinterest is to foster community engagement along with self-promotion. You are more likely to have a follower share on Pinterest if you include a pin on your website. Pinterest has an application to install a Pin It button to the bottom of your page. You can also have the Pin It button appear when viewers hover over images on your site. Conveniently, Pinterest integrates with other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

How has your thinking about Pinterest evolved? How much of a challenge is Pinterest’s focus on the visual? Are you finding ways to visually express your business and products? What kind of results are you seeing from pinning?

Five Tips for a Strong Start in 2014

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Five Tips for a Strong Start to 2014 - Goals and resolutions - Ellis Friedman BurrellesLuce Fresh IdeasNow that 2013 has almost ended, it’s time to kick your professional resolutions into high gear. We don’t know what will come in 2014 but today we share a few goals that will keep you ahead of the pack. (For some personal goals that pack a big professional impact, check out this month’s newsletter.)

Find and tell your corporate story: One of the hottest PR topics this year has been content marketing, and that’s not expected to change in 2014. Effective content marketing requires a savvy strategy, and part of executing that strategy is telling your corporate story. Not only should all content reflect your organization’s brand values and voice, but it should also have universal appeal that also supports business growth.

How do you find your corporation’s story? It’s not really about the organization itself, it’s about using a certain platform to relate to your audience. Use resources to dig a bit deeper into the company’s history, its mission statement, and its values. Use those values and stories as pivot points to engage with your community and spread ideals and positive, consistent messaging.

Say “No” to GIGO: Garbage In, Garbage Out. Your end product is inherently tied to what you put into the project, especially your time, your energy, your content. GIGO isn’t a solution; it’s usually a last resort or a byproduct of time or money spread too thin. GIGO comes with a lot of pitfalls, like incomplete data, misleading results, poor performance, unmet goals, and having to go back and fix or re-do work you’ve already done. Assessing where your GIGO is and deciding how to fix it can be a huge upfront investment of time and resources, but it ultimately pays off in greater, long-lasting rewards. We’ll be talking a lot more about getting rid of GIGO in 2014, but for now check out this newsletter and our Seussian poem on GIGO.

Keep your goals SMART: Setting SMART goals keeps you focused and give you direction, as well as ensuring that the goal you’re setting is both measurable and achievable. SMART goals must be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. So no matter what you’re plotting – content market strategy, sales goals, or social media tactics – remember that SMART goals are achievable goals.

Keep your social media consistent: We know that in a digital, instantaneous world, updating consistently and often is paramount to staying relevant. But it’s also important to keep your organization’s digital voice consistent to maximize your brand’s impact and recognition. If more than one person runs or has access to your organization’s social media accounts, bring them together for an early 2014 meeting to refine the corporate voice and get everyone on the same page.

Similarly, ensure that someone’s consistently monitoring those social media accounts to check for comments or mentions and respond to any questions, shout-outs, or complaints. Users expect a response from a brand within an hour, especially if it’s regarding a complaint, so stay connected, and don’t forget to engage, even with a simple “Thanks for the RT.”

Think about SEO in a whole new way: SEO isn’t about keywords anymore, it’s all about semantics. Google’s Hummingbird update is changing the way the search engine displays search results. Now, it’s about content quality, not just keyword quantity and link building. Build your new SEO strategy along with your content marketing strategy, as the two will now go hand in hand. And don’t neglect Google Plus – while this seems like it should be part of a social media strategy rather than an SEO strategy, Google Plus will become integral in search engine rankings. Check out our post on integrating Google Plus into your SEO strategy for more tips.

For more SEO tips, read our newsletter about SEO strategy and our recently-updated SEO tip sheet with an SEO checklist.

Integrating Google Plus Into Your Social Media and SEO Strategy

Friday, December 6th, 2013
Flickr user Frau Holle

Flickr user Frau Holle

With the introduction of Hummingbird, Google’s latest semantic search algorithm, and the changing landscape of SEO and content marketing, Google Plus has become crucial to SEO success. Here are the hows and whys of integrating Google Plus into your content marketing and SEO strategies.

How Google Plus and SEO correlate

That Google Plus is a Google product is not the only reason it helps pages rank highly in Google’s search results; it’s also because Google Plus is “the unification of all of Google’s services, with a common social layer,” explained Vic Gundotra, senior vice president of engineering at Google.

Optimize your Google Plus profile

The first step –after setting up a Google Plus account, of course – is to optimize your profile. Your meta description is what shows up in search results, and it’s only the first 160 characters of your organization’s name, tagline, location, and then the description. That’s not much space for a lot of information, and all that information should contain keywords targeted to what you do.

Put your most important keywords as close to the beginning as possible to ensure they show up in search results.

Fill up the links section

Completing the links section of your profile is absolutely necessary, and there are three sections for links. The first is “Other Profiles,” which should feature no-follow links to your other social media accounts. The “Contributor to” section is necessary for completing Google Authorship, so provide no-follow links to the blog you contribute to (this would be your company blog and any other industry blogs your company contributes to). Finally, provide do-follow links in the “Links” section, which should link to your organization’s blog, homepage, and any other company resources.

Set up Google Authorship

If you’re a regular contributor to online content anywhere, using Google Authorship can help boost your search rankings. Google Authorship verifies the identity of the author, and identity verification may be important in future Google algorithms. Establishing Authorship doesn’t just benefit individual authors or influencers; by encouraging regular, or even occasional, contributors to your company blog to set up Google Authorship linking to the company content, you raise your organization’s profile and the profile of those who work at your organization. Check out a complete guide to Google Authorship to get set up.

Post on Google Plus

Once you’ve set up your profile, make sure to create and share posts on Google Plus. Unlike tweets and Facebook posts, Google Plus posts are crawled and indexed. Plus, posting increases your chances of having that post shared. You don’t need to pursue +1’s per se, as +1’s don’t increase your search ranking, but by getting +1’s, it means your post is probably getting shared and linked to, establishing your credibility and increasing links back to you.

What’s your Google Plus strategy? Have you found that using Google Plus has enhanced your SEO and/or search engine rankings?