Monday, 30 November 2015

Quick Tips: Don’t Forget to Segment Your Email Lists This Holiday Season

You may have been segmenting your lists throughout the year, but the holiday season is the perfect time to reevaluate your email lists and make sure that you’re breaking up the addresses in the most optimal way for your company. If you’re not already segmenting lists, then now is the time, but it’s important you segment correctly. Even if you’re unsure where to begin, don’t sweat it. Segmentation will be different for every company and every industry, but there are a few tips you can use to help set you on the right path.

How to Start Segmenting Your Email Lists

Segmenting by demographics is probably the most popular option and the one that comes to mind for most, but this actually isn’t going to be the most beneficial for many companies over the holidays. Consider some of the other options for segmentation below:

Purchase History

For many of your customers, they will either be those who buy early at the start of the holiday season (November to mid-December) or those who waited until the last minute. You’ll therefore want to make sure that you’re sending special offers for your early birds in early December, but send last-minute deals to your procrastinators. Those who fall in the latter group also generally need a reminder email, so keep this on your radar as well.

Keep in mind also that by segmenting into this order, you’re putting a focus on timing more so than the actual message. In other words, by segmenting using these two groups you’re still able to segment further (with some of the tips below) with the same email lists. If you use the purchase history segments to change the content, for example promote related content to what someone may have been interested in last year, that changes things a little bit, but it’s still an excellent way to give yourself the best chance for engagement. It’s all about personalization.

Engagement Type

Split up your audience based on how they engage with your emails. For example, some may click videos more often while another group may be more inclined to download a PDF or click a press release. This is a great one for around the holidays because you’re likely creating a lot of promotional content that you don’t normally create (videos in particular). Send the right kinds of messages to the right kinds of people to improve your CTR.

In addition to engagement type, don’t forget about analyzing the emails that are getting the most engagement in general. If you choose not to segment this way that’s OK, but this data can help you create message for many of the other segments discussed. For example, if you’re noticing that your infographic emails are generally getting higher engagement, then you should use that content when sending out early emails to those who purchase early and your last-minute emails to those who purchase, well, last minute.

Loyal vs. New Emails

If you see that you have seasonal subscribers, or people who are usually most active around the holidays, segment these emails into a list. Those who are new are probably new for a reason around the holiday season, so send them messages that welcome them to your company and offer links to some of your most popular products. Loyal customers, on the other hand, are going to need to be segmented further in most cases so that you can get extra personal. You have more data with these subscribers, so start looking at their purchase and engagement history and give them something new.


So this might be as obvious and basic as “demographics,” but it’s worth adding to the list as a quick reminder. For Thanksgiving particularly, make sure you’re segmenting your lists to only those in the US who celebrate. Other countries however, such as Canada, also have a Thanksgiving at a different time, so you can still use your same messages you just have to be careful on your timing. Without thinking about location it’s easy to miss these opportunities. Holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are also not known worldwide.

Extra: Don’t Reach Out to Non-Active Emails

Oftentimes we see companies choose the holidays to reach out to non-active customers because there is more activity happening during this time. This is a bad move. If someone hasn’t engaged with you in over a year, they’re not going to engage with you around the holidays. In fact, if you do send you an email to this list then you run the risk of everyone marking your messages as spam, which means that even your loyal customers will start to not see your emails. To say “big problem” is an understatement.

The Takeaway

Always remember that there is no sense in segmenting your lists if you are going to send everyone the exact same email. Even having two different email marketing messages is great, but if you can customize even further then you will be that much more relevant. I always recommend segmenting your email lists first and then coming up with messages to fit each segment. If you used all of the ideas above, that would mean you would have five different marketing messages.

Also be weary about putting someone on more than one list. Too many emails can get annoying which can cause someone to mark you as spam, as mentioned above. In fact, a study from Constant Contact actually showed that campaigns sent to a smaller group of contacts earned higher open rates.

To get started organizing and then segmenting your email lists, you’ll want to have an email marketing software such as Campaign Monitor or Salesforce. If you’re not sure how to get started, check out our email marketing webpage to learn more.

If you’ve ever segmented your email lists a certain way around the holidays specifically, let us know in the comment section below. Why did it work for you? What advice would you give startup companies just getting together an email message?

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It’s not too late: 12 ways to boost sales this holiday season

Businesses know that the holiday period can be critical to the success of their entire year, with nearly one fifth of annual sales occurring during these couple of weeks.
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Thursday, 26 November 2015

Happy Thanksgiving from the Search Engine Watch team

Join us as we set our 'out of office' till Monday 30 November and find the roomiest pair of sweatpants in our wardrobe.
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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

What are the busiest times for stores on Black Friday?

If you want to avoid the crowds on Black Friday, avoid shopping between 2pm and 4pm. At least, thats what Google's location data says.
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Google announces new store visit metrics in AdWords

Google has today announced new features for its store visits metric for AdWords users.
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Google releases 160 pages of search quality guidelines

In 2013, Google publicly shared its advice to those who perform content checks, which helped to shine a light on what it considers ‘quality’.
The article Google releases 160 pages of search quality guidelines was first seen from Review: Can You Really Triple Traffic and Shares with One Tool?

I first heard of this tool from Managing Editor of Search Engine Journal @KelseyJones because it was created by one of her writers, VP of Marketing at When I Work @SujanPatel. All I knew about the tool was that it crawls the content you publish for any mentions of anyone, authors or brands, and then allows you to notify them with just one click. It wasn’t much information, but I was intrigued. You visit the website, and it says that this is an easy way to see 3X your traffic and shares, and so again, I was intrigued. The website also features testimonials, one sentence of which stood out to me:

“The world doesn’t need more content, it needs better content reaching more people.” –Heather Anne Carson,

I completely agree! It all seems to make sense, but is there a catch? I tried the tool for several days to see what it was all about so you don’t have to, so check out my review below.

Step-by-Step Guide to Using 

The experience starts out the same way your experience with most tools and websites starts out—by typing in your domain and clicking “Start.” You then login through Twitter and you’re off.

If you want to use the tool as a free tool, all you can really do is send a tweet with a mention, as you can see in the screenshot below. Nothing too exciting. It’s really the upgraded version ($9 per month) that is worth trying. There is a 14-day free trial, and this is where you’re able to scan your posts. You can also research your contacts and let the tool help you so that you can be sure to mention someone specific in your next post. Below is a screenshot of your dashboard (with a few instructions that I left visible):


The New Outreach option let’s you create email, Twitter, and contact form campaigns so that the tool can help you automate sending personal messages if you’re into that. I personally never recommend automating messages, however.

If you do decide to scan a post, you simply click the Scan button as shown above, copy a URL into the search bar, and then you’re taken to a page that will pull all of the mentions you made in that post like so:


The colored dots next to all of the information tell you how certain the tool is that the mentions are still accurate. Once the tool finds these options, it’s up to you to click Start Outreach if you’re interested. If you want to reach out, you’re taken to a page that looks like the one below where you can choose your method of outreach:


Once you’re finished, you can easily navigate back to your dashboard screen to look at all of your projects, or all of the times you used the tool to send an outreach message.

The Negatives to

My very first thought was the fact that you have to have an @mention or email address in your post. Once you’re using this tool and you know how it works changing the way you write to include @mention’s or email addresses as opposed to just names or just using @mention’s in general wasn’t a big deal, but it does cause you to slightly change the way you write. Again, it’s not a big deal, but it seems like something a developer could potentially improve in the future to give us writers more options with the same benefits the tool has with @mentions.

The Verdict

After using the tool for several days, it seems like the logic is sound. It would take several months to really determine if 3X your traffic and shares is an accurate statistics, but I believe them when they say it because the tool works so well. We go crazy trying to form important connections with influencers and trying to get our names out there through shares, so being able to identify those you are helping and vice versa is a great way to create these partnerships. A tool like this encourages us to mention external sources and gives us even more motivation. As you can see, I’m planning to use this tool for this very post!

So what’s the verdict? I say absolutely this is a great tool to use and it’s something that really works. Give the tool a try at and let us know what you think in the comment section below.

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Three user behavior metrics that make a difference in SEO

Why a well-rounded SEO approach must include optimizing for user behavior as well as keywords. [Sponsored content]
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Monday, 23 November 2015

Paid search and PPC: a super accessible beginner’s guide

This will hopefully touch on all the various elements you might hear uttered in the same breath as paid search, taking in such puzzling acronyms as PPC, CPM, CPC and SERP.
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Search News: New Yahoo Product Ads on Search and Display

Google and Bing have long had Product Ads for their search engines, so it makes sense that Yahoo would follow suit. Fortunately for us, the announcement comes just before the holiday season, and can appear in both Yahoo search results (through Gemini) as well as Polyvore, a social commerce site that you can learn more about here. In other words, they can launch in several different places.

Just as with the other product ads that you use, ads are built from your (the merchant) product feeds and you can use Yahoo data for targeting and insights across the ad systems. Among the first to try out the ads were Kohl’s, Wayfair, and Overstock. They display on mobile, table, and desktop and will soon be available as native ads. The moral of the story: The sooner you can get started the better.

How Yahoo Products Ads Will Work

So Product Ads are all about showing off your products to not only a targeted audience, but a new audience. You want to make sure you’re consistently reaching new customers to grow your business, and this is a big area where product ads can help. According to the official Yahoo announcement, there are three major ways that products ad work for you:

  • Superior targeting. Yahoo offers product ad data and insights that can help you target your ads in order to reach new customers and increase awareness with them early in the sales funnel. It’s also a great way to drive sales from your recent visitors.
  • Expansive reach. We all know that around the holidays people are shopping around for the best deal. According to Yahoo, 53 percent of customers spend more time online looking for the best deal when online. Product ads allow you to reach customers while they’re researching on Yahoo and then drive them to your website.
  • Engaging ads. You can create image rich, dynamic search and display ads in order to pop out and catch a users attention. Creativity is key!

According to the announcement, one retailer with product ads on Yahoo Search since July saw a 14-to-1 return on ad spend, and it makes sense—the more relevant your viewers the more likely you are to see conversions. Yahoo also added, “Early advertisers using product ads have seen up to 20 percent higher conversions rates and more than 30 percent lower cost per acquisition, enabling them to scale campaign impact without scaling budgets.”

In order to get started with Yahoo Product Ads, talk with a Yahoo account representative and they will get you started on the right path. If you’re interested in Bing and/or Google product ads (a must during the holidays), check out the following articles we wrote on the topic within the last two months to learn how it all works:

Bing Product Ad Updates Not to Miss This Holiday Season

Google Shopping Updates to Master Before the Holidays Hit

In the end, if you’re going to try and up your PPC advertising game then the holidays are the right time. This is when you’re going to have your audience most active (most likely), so it’s the perfect opportunity to start gathering your own data so you can continue to improve year after year. After all, Product Ads aren’t going anywhere.

Are you planning to use Yahoo Product Ads this holiday season? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Twitter kills share counts, hands end of dirty stick to distributors

A couple of months ago, Twitter revealed that it was going to release new-look ‘tweet’ buttons with the share counts removed.
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Friday, 20 November 2015

Six of the most interesting SEM stories of the week

Welcome to our weekly round-up of all the latest news and research from around the world of search marketing and beyond.
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Google’s five key success factors for effective teams

There’s more to building a team than simply assembling a bunch of the smartest people you can find.
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Nine useful mobile stats from ClickZ Live: Chicago 2015

This week I had the opportunity to attend the ClickZ Live in Chicago to talk with some of the leaders in mobile design, advertising and engagement.
The article Nine useful mobile stats from ClickZ Live: Chicago 2015 was first seen from

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Three B2B landing pages and how they were improved

Today, we’ll take a look at three unique cases of B2B landing pages, the challenges, the recommended solutions and what happened.
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ClickZ Live Chicago recap: Scott Shamberg on mobile payments and multichannel retail

Why the over-used phrase "this is the year of mobile" may actually be true this year. Sort of.
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What is app indexing and why is it important?

Imagine a version of Google where any search you do on your mobile will serve results from not just the mobile web but the apps on your phone too…
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How Bing’s Mobile Friendliness Testing Tool Works

Google launched their mobile-friendly testing tool about one year ago, and Bing has finally made the same move (took long enough). We thought we were going to see a tool from Bing over the summer, so after much anticipation they finally announced the tool here. As you might expect, the new tool offers a free way for you to analyze your mobile website and see whether or not it is “mobile friendly” according to the Bing algorithm. Consider some of the key factors, what it means to be “mobile friendly” on Bing, and what it means to you below.

How the Bing Mobile Friendliness Tool Works and Getting Started

You’ll find that the tool works similarly to Google but with a few different criteria for evaluation. To get a general idea of how it all works and how your website is crawled and evaluated, consider the following quote from the Bing announcement:

“When you submit the URL of a page to be analyzed to the mobile-Friendliness Test tool, our Bing Mobile crawler fetches and renders the page, extracting important features that are used by the tool to determine how the page performs against each of the above factors. The outcomes are then aggregated into a consolidated mobile-friendliness verdict for the page.”

So that is generally and technically how it all works. To get more specific, the announcement outlined several points of what makes a webpage mobile friendly. The Tool will therefore run a check on all of the following factors:

  1. Viewport configuration. The viewport Meta tag has to be set with the content width equal to “device-width” in order for mobile-friendly pages to work well on different devices. Below is a sample given in the announcement:

<meta name=viewport content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1”>

  1. Zoom control. This check will let you know if users are able to zoom the page easily (because of your configuration of the viewport). Using the scale-related viewport settings should help make sure your pages are zoom-able.
  2. Width of page content. Your content width should not be larger than the width of the screen. Otherwise, users will be horizontally scrolling, which doesn’t make for a good user experience.
  3. Readability of text on the page. This has everything to do with font size to the viewport scaling. In other words, the average area occupied by text when someone zooms a page out to fit with the screen.
  4. Spacing of links and other elements on the page. This makes sure that your links and “tag targets” are large enough to click at maximum zoom out.
  5. Use of incompatible plug-ins. Something like Flash would be considered incompatible. If something used was not intended for a mobile screen, this could pull up an error message or have terrible user experience.
  6. Resources blocked by Robots.txt. The tool will also check for whatever might be blocked by robots.txt rules. In short, if you get this red flag when running your report you may need to update your robots.txt file, which you can learn more about here.

Just as with the Google tool, when you run the report of your website you will get recommendations for what you need to fix in order to become mobile-friendly. To get started, you simply visit this link and type in a URL. The screenshot below shows a report that I ran:

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 11.05.33 AM

As you can see, I evaluated the website Will Run for Food and they got two green check marks but three red “x.” Once you know what each of the criteria means (see above points), then you can simply make the changes and improve your website. Again similarly to Google, all of the updates happen in real-time, so when you make a change you can simply run the free report again and see if the changes you made worked.

If you’re still not convinced about the importance of mobile on all search engines including Bing, I highly recommend checking out these statistics we gathered a few months ago. Then, give the tool a try and let us know what you think or if you have any questions below.

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Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Preparing your ecommerce SEO strategy before the holiday code freeze

Search professionals need to sharpen their SEO strategies prior to the holiday IT lockdown.
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Google Now Uses Points to Increase Reviews: What You Need to Know

Google has been making changes left and right when it comes to Google+ and Google Maps, and now their local review system, called Local Guides, is following suit. According to the official announcement, the Local Guides program will now allow you to share your favorite local places—essentially reviews—with others directly on a Google Map. When you sign up, you earn points based on everything that you contribute. The points unlock new products, contests, events, bonus Drive storage, and more, so you have incentive to share and then earn these points. It’s really as simple as that.

A Deeper Looking Into the Local Guides New Point System

So what exactly can you “contribute” besides reviews? You can write reviews, upload photos, update any business local information, answer questions, add a new place on the map, and more. Which of these things you choose to contribute will determine how many points you earn. Below explains what you earn based on your points:

  • Level 1 (0-4 points): Enter exclusive contests, such as new Google devices. Answering questions, fixing information, adding new places, and sharing reviews are all 1 point.
  • Level 2 (5-49 points): You will get early access to new Google products/ features.
  • Level 3 (50-199 points): Show up in the Google Maps app with an official Local Guides badge.
  • Level 4 (200-499 points): Receive a free 1 TB upgrade of your Drive storage.
  • Level 5 (500+ points): You will become eligible to apply to attend our inaugural summit in 2016 where you can network, check out the Google campus, and get the latest information about Google Maps. More details to come.

According to a Search Engine Land article, Google created a program a while ago that was created to “accelerate the acquisition of high-quality local business reviews.” In January the name was finalized as Local Guides, and now that Google is shifting away from Google+ it seems that their new points system opens up opportunities for more than just reviews.

How to Get Started With the Local Guides Point System

To get started earning points, you sign up on the official website here, make sure your Google Maps app is up to date, and then track your progress on the new Contributions tab. Below is a screenshot that shows the Contributions tab and then a screenshot that shows how it works:

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 7.25.51 PM

Once you click that tab, below shows what your dashboard will look like on Google Maps. I’m looking at the “Review” tab:

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 7.27.08 PM

As you can see, you have your points, your level, and suggestions for places to contribute (called your to-do list) all in that Contributions tab. When you share photos, you can also see your view counts change, so it’s nice to see how a photo can make a difference.

What It Means to You

In the end from a company perspective, the new point system is just another way to encourage customers to review your business. If your audience doesn’t know about the new system, it’s your job to help use that to entice people to not only review, but also add photos. You should still work to improve your engagement and review numbers, which you can learn more about here, but you can use this point system to help your case.
Once again, you can learn more on the official Local Guides website.
What do you think about the new points system for Local Guides? Do you have any plans to use the points system to improve your review and engagement rates for local traffic? Let us know your ideas in the comments below.

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Three steps to promoting linkable assets for shares, links and relationships

Securing links doesn’t happen by creating linkable assets, it happens by promoting linkable assets to relevant, engaged site owners.
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Tuesday, 17 November 2015

App Indexing Now Used to Send Google Users to the Facebook App

Facebook is at it again and this time they’re seeking out the help of Google. Although Facebook is the powerhouse of social networks, Google is still the overall champ when it comes to users. Facebook wants in on the action, so just last week it was announced that they would now be using Google App Indexing in order to drive visitors from Google Search to the Facebook App. As mobile continues to be more and more important (check out some stats here), the new system makes sense, but how exactly will it work?

How Facebook Will Use App Indexing to Draw In Google Traffic

A good way to look at the change is to think about indexing websites (as opposed to apps) in general. In the same way that the Google bots crawl websites, index them into their library, and then have those websites to present to relevant users, Google bots can also crawl and index the content on Facebook. If someone posted an article on Facebook or a comment and Google wants to rank that as the most relevant for a user, they can because they indexed it. This means they have more content to offer users, and Facebook gets traffic from Google.

When talking about apps, we have the same principles just in a mobile context. According to a Search Engine Land article, “The news about Google App Indexing support doesn’t add more content, but is aimed to ensure that those finding existing content from Facebook within Google have a better mobile experience.” In other words, it allows Google to help a consumer jump from a webpage to an app with the same content. Apps are notoriously better for user experience on mobile than even mobile websites, so it’s a win-win for everyone. Therefore, if someone clicks on a Facebook result in Google search while on mobile, it will send users to the Facebook app to read that same content as opposed to a webpage.

Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, there are still a few roadblocks in the plan:

  • This will only happen for the content that Facebook opens up to Google. Therefore, private profiles, groups, and events (even if not private), will not be a part of the App Indexing. Not a bad thing, but even personal posts or status updates that are open to the public will not be involved. They will still be indexed, but users will be taken to the browser and not the Facebook app.
  • There will be no new information. Going along with the last point, Google will get all of the information that they’ve always gotten in the past. Google has always been able to index certain Facebook content, and that content isn’t changing, it’s just the place it sends users (browser vs. app) that’s changing.
  • App Indexing is only for Android. Meaning Apple and Bing won’t be involved. As of now, we don’t really know why these devices were excluded.

So it’s clear that this is just an interesting and productive change that consumers will see and benefit from, but what this all essentially means for Webmasters is that more and more companies will surely begin starting to implement Google App Indexing. Because this allows for a better user experience, this is something that Webmasters should be praising because it means better SEO.

In order to get your company involved, you have to first have a company app, which you can learn more about here. Once you have that set to go and optimized, you can visit the Google Developers App Indexing page to learn more.

What do you think of the new app indexing use from Facebook? Let us know in the comments section below.

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How to set up a content marketing radar station in Slack

I’m going to show you a technique that may help cure your content discovery headaches.
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How to get an exact match vanity YouTube URL

I recently went through the process of setting up a YouTube channel for one of my websites and came across a very unusual issue…
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Monday, 16 November 2015

Remarketing tips with Bing Ads

Remarketing allows you to re-engage with the audiences that have previously visited your site. Here's three valuable audience segments and some insider tips that will get you off to a flying start with remarketing.
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Will 2015's SEO best practices carry over into 2016?

As we near the end of 2015, it’s important to consider which elements of your SEO campaign will be relevant throughout 2016 and which ones might expire or change in unfamiliar ways.
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RankBrain: SEO friend or foe?

Meet RankBrain, a machine-learning artificial intelligence that interprets what someone is searching for and presents that request in new ways.
The article RankBrain: SEO friend or foe? was first seen from

3 SEO Tips for Time Sensitive Pages This Holiday Season

Part of what separates a good company from a great company is the relevancy of their content. The more you can connect with your audience and engage them, the better. While it’s not always easy, part of making this happen is following the news and following the trends that happen during different times of the year, for example, you guessed it, the holidays. It’s about writing and publishing content that ties into what a customer may be going through at the specific moment. In other words, time sensitive pages.

Time sensitive pages are essentially the opposite of evergreen articles—they’re relevant for a short time and a short time only, but they get excellent CTRs because they use headlines that focus on the present time. These pieces are more specific and create a sense of urgency. It shows that you’re writing something with information that can be used right away. The problem is, you only have a short amount of time to get that content ranked.

3 Major SEO Tips for Time Sensitive Pages

The biggest fear for businesses is writing a piece of time sensitive content and then having that content wasted because it didn’t get the visibility it needed while it was still relevant. Naturally, this causes a lot of businesses to shy away from this type of content, and so their websites are full of evergreen articles. While this isn’t the worst thing in the world, you miss out on a lot of potential clicks to your website and your blog can start to feel stale.

So how can you make sure that you’re not writing content that is never going to get seen and is then going to become irrelevant? In other words, what SEO and optimization tips should you employ for time sensitive content? We covered this topic back in 2013 here on Search Engine Journal, but check out the 3 major things you can do with a few updated revisions below:

Start building links and promoting immediately.

Naturally if something is time sensitive then whatever links or promotion you plan to use is also time sensitive, but the question here is really how far in advance you should be preparing.

My advice is to push out a time sensitive page as soon as possible even if you aren’t quite finished with your content and/or don’t have all the information you need just yet. Put something like “stay tuned for updates” or “check out Part II tomorrow when xyz is announced.” This will allow you to publish a page, start building links and even start promoting your page on social media. Of course you need to make sure that what you are publishing is still quality and is still important, but adding updates this way is a common practice. This is probably most important if you’re covering or hosting an event. Don’t wait until the event happens; start creating a page with build-up first so you can begin your SEO. The same can be said for the holiday season. No need to wait until Black Friday to start promoting some future content.

Anticipate changes in your industry or buying patterns. Brainstorm content ideas.

When thinking about content ideas, always think about time sensitive content that may arise in the future. This is pretty easy to do if you’re on top of the latest news in your industry. For example, knowing that Halloween is coming up can allow you to start writing content (similar to the last point). However in general the longer you have been in the industry watching trends or following influencers, the easier it will be for you to pickup on a potential time sensitive story coming in the near future.

I recommend starting to write the content, but also anticipating related subjects that you can write about in the meantime to use as internal links in your near-future time sensitive piece. Start brainstorming those ideas so you’re ready to go when the time comes.

Keep the SEO going: Don’t delete the content when it no longer seems relevant.

This is a big one that we see businesses do all the time. Once a holiday or an event is over, they either delete the content or ignore it altogether. If the time sensitive period is over, what’s the point in spending any more time optimizing that content, right? Well, not really.

If you delete a page, then any SEO value that the page earned will go down the drain. This is of course a big problem if the piece ever was to become relevant again, but even more so because you can always alter the page slightly to become more evergreen for the future. Once you make this change, you’ll be able to keep that link juice. You can learn more about revising content to be more evergreen here.

Keep in mind that some of the ways you optimize time sensitive pages is similar in most ways to evergreen content, but by thinking about this content differently you can give it a better chance of success. Do you have anything you would add to the list? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Friday, 13 November 2015

Seven of the most interesting SEM stories and stats of the week

Welcome to our weekly round-up of all the latest news and research from around the world of search marketing and beyond.
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Google's Q3 earnings: how did mobile search perform?

Google recently released its Q3 earnings, citing strength in overall results and calling particular attention to the mobile search business. How did search perform and what’s next for the channel?
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Thursday, 12 November 2015

A Reminder: You Don’t Need Analytics or Data to Have Great SEO

First things first, Analytics and data do matter. In fact, Analytics can help you make conclusions and analyses that you wouldn’t be able to have found otherwise, so it’s an important part of creating an advanced online marketing strategy. Whether you’re thinking about content, paid search, design and usability, etc., Analytics play a big role. However, you don’t need them in order to have great SEO. Analytics are step two, but it’s important you get step one right first before burying yourself in data.

Steps to Successful SEO Without Analytics (with HigherVisibility Resources to Help)

Again, thinking about SEO without being in the context of Analytics is important so that you understand the fundamentals. Oftentimes we see businesses come to us with all sorts of data and information, but this is actually confusing them in the end. They don’t have the initial groundwork in place and solid enough to even begin trying to read Analytics. This is why it’s so important to first master SEO without any Analytics at all. They shouldn’t run your strategy.

Below are a few different ways you can improve your SEO without touching your Analytics or getting overwhelmed by data, along with a few HigherVisibility articles that can help you take each tip one step further:

Find trends by talking with as many customers as you can.

This could include sending out surveys through email campaigns, talking face-to-face in store, or even the new Twitter poll feature. By simply talking with customers you can start to get a feel for the type of content they’re looking for, what they’re searching for online and how they found you, and what they think needs improvement.

How to Reconnect with Old Customers and Make This a Priority

Using Social Media to Improve Your Customer Service

How to Easily Earn More Reviews for Your Business (and Why It Matters)

Put time and energy into researching competitor content.

The number one key to great SEO is content. Now this is an area where Analytics can definitely come in handy in telling you what content is popular and which content is falling flat, but you don’t need those official numbers to research new and relevant content. Check out what your competitor’s are writing, check out where your visitors are commenting, and spend some time thinking outside the box when coming up with different content types (video, infographic, interview, etc.) and ideas.

How to Take Full Advantage of Your Indirect Competitors

5 Ways to Evaluate Your Website Content vs. a Competitor’s Content

Part I: Top Types of Shareable Content and How to Get Started

Examining Long Form Content: What It Means and Why It’s So Successful

Use tools to check for spammy backlinks.

So this one is cheating a little bit because it does involve some data, but looking at your backlinks doesn’t necessarily help you make any conclusions about trends or visitor behavior. All this data will do is give you a list of all the links pointing back to your website. It’s up to you to determine what to do with them. Hint: Disavow the spammy links and connect with the websites that have been giving you good publicity through natural links.

Best Tools to Perform a SEO Audit

Google Removal Strategy: How to Remove Unnatural Backlinks

An Alternate Way to Remove Unwanted Links: Remove the Pages Altogether

What Google Has to Say about Negative SEO

Social media activity is a huge contributor to SEO success.

While it’s true that Google does not use social signals to rank your websites, social media is the way to build a community and improve visibility and reputation of your brand. The more people that are connecting with you and interacting with you on social media; the better the chance of earning those natural links. When spending less time on Analytics, you can spend more time really promoting your articles and your business on social media. Spend that time getting creative with contests, trying out new platforms like Quora or Medium, and really research influencers and try and make connections that way.

How Social Impacts SEO

SEO Experts Interview: What’s the Hottest New SEO or Social Media Tool This Year?

Using Social Media to Improve Your Customer Service

Spend your time keeping up with industry news.

When you’re not worrying about Analytics you’ll have more time to read the popular blogs and publications about your niche. This will help you stay up-to-date on the latest changes so that you don’t miss a beat. This can help make sure you’re taking advantage of every cutting-edge opportunity that might be out there, it can help you learn more about your industry in general, and it can help give you more content ideas that are relevant to your audience.

The Many Google Blogs You Didn’t Know Existed

Google Launches News Publisher Center to Help News Discovery

Keep up with website maintenance and updates.

Last but not least, something that may seem obvious is the importance of updating your website and keeping it fresh. Believe it or not, we see a lot of companies with an excellent handle on the Analytics from their content and landing page data, but they’re missing basic user experience features including webpage load time, navigation, and overall design. Before you start bothering with Analytics, you need to make sure that users are able to see all of your pages and that your website architecture isn’t too confusing.

Your Website’s Architecture Can Impact SEO

SEO vs. User Experience: The Problem and the Solution

For even more information about SEO without Analytics, check out this article we wrote on Entrepreneur a few years ago that still rings true today.

What do you think about SEO without Analytics? Do you think this is an important framework to set before diving into different data points? Let us know your thoughts and what works for you in the comment section below.

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How to use social media at every stage of the sales funnel

Many customers are using social media more than ever before and the challenge doesn’t stop at marketing.
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How successful were publishers jumping on the James Bond publicity bandwagon?

Publishers used James Bond’s latest adventure Spectre for their own content marketing efforts. Here's how they performed.
The article How successful were publishers jumping on the James Bond publicity bandwagon? was first seen from

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

10 years of Google Analytics… and 10 features you’re probably not using

Back in 2003 Google bought a company called Urchin Software, and subsequently launched the first free, commercial-grade analytics platform. How time flies!
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Eight steps for an advanced PPC competitor analysis

The battle for leads, customers and revenue through PPC advertising is fierce and it’s getting harder and harder to differentiate yourself.
The article Eight steps for an advanced PPC competitor analysis was first seen from

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Are beacons the most disruptive force in mobile search?

Warning: contains unfettered references to Star Wars, but happily no Force Awakens spoilers.
The article Are beacons the most disruptive force in mobile search? was first seen from

6 Best Blogging Platforms for Your Business That Aren’t WordPress

So businesses are constantly hearing that “content is king,” so creating a company blog is the next step. Relevant content, frequency of content, and different content types are all very important when it comes to create a content strategy. Guest blogging is also at the top of the list for many businesses as a way to increase visibility and draw people to the website and blog. While this is all great (and necessary), it stops here for the majority of companies.

However, if you’re looking to take your content strategy to the next level, there are actually many other blogging platforms out there that can help you improve your visibility as a brand through content sharing and publishing. You just have to know how to get involved and which platforms are worth your time.

Top 6 Best Blogging Platforms for Companies to Try

Below are some of the top blogging platforms online as well as a few reasons why and how they can work for a business’s content strategy:


Medium is one of the most popular blogging platforms in recent years despite the fact that it’s been up and running since 2012. The founders of Twitter and Blogger, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, created Medium, and it definitely have some cool features. For example, readers can go through and highlight pieces of text and leaves notes and comments right there in the piece. You can connect with authors, follow publications, and the best part is that anyone can publish content on absolutely any subject. Oh, and did I mention it was free?

How to Use it for Business: Even if you don’t want to write original content all the time, you can upload some of your blog articles easily to the platform. Start connecting with those who leave comments on your pieces so that you can make connections. You can also start a publication, which allows others to add content to your publication (think of it more as like a folder full of writing from various authors). Starting a publication can help you earn visibility without actually having to write every single day, and it’s a great way to build a community. Below shows what a publication looks like. Most publications are general, like the one below, so I would recommend doing the same for a company publication. You being the editor is enough to gain that visibility and those connections:




This is one of the only platforms on this list that isn’t free ($8/month minimum), but you will get your own domain name if you sign up for an account annually. You also get to choose your own template that will work on mobile and on desktop and you won’t need to know anything about coding or design, so it functions much more like your own personalized blog as opposed to just a platform where anyone can offer content.

How to Use it For Business: This is definitely a more advanced option; so some businesses stick with this as opposed to a WordPress blog. In other words, if you want to use this for business you should use it just as you would a blog on your website—publish frequently, publish relevant and engaging content, and keep the content easy to read with bullet points and subheadings. This is a great place for long-form content. Below shows a screenshot of the first process in setting up your account. The platform takes you through the process and only takes a few minutes:


If you’re familiar with Evernote, this will be a very easy platform to work with. It actually turns an Evernote into a blog, so all you need to do is connect your two accounts ( and Evernote). It’s free to use and you can “tag” your notes as “published” to make your blog public. There are themes you can choose from as well as the option to name your blog and your URL. Extra: You can also connect your Tumblr account for even more automatic syncing.

How to Use It for Business: Create an Evernote that is relevant to your audience and let the platform do the rest. You can change the title of your posts to make them more compelling as well as shorten the URLs, and of course you can comment on other blogs to help improve your visibility on the platform. Below shows how easy it is to make the connection:



Believe it or not, Ghost is actually the product of a Kickstarter campaign that ended up raising $300,000 back in 2013. Ghost is free if you download and install the platform yourself, which you can learn more about on the homepage, but it’s definitely one of the best alternatives to a company blog on WordPress and even boasts the tagline “Just a blogging platform.” It publishes open source, which means you can modify and share all of the content you produce. It’s considered one of the easiest platforms to use and fastest as far as load times go, it’s responsive, and is easy to customize.

How to Use It for Business: Similar to Medium, Ghost aims to be simplistic and let you focus on content without other distractions. You can use this platform for your business as a supplement to your blog or as a replacement. All of the data about your Ghost blog will be pulled into one dashboard so it’s easy to keep track, and this is definitely the place for long-form content, so don’t be shy! Below shows your dashboard for the platform. I just got started today, so you can see there is a “Welcome Page” as well as one post I have written. On the left-hand side you can also see the ability to add team members.



Don’t forget that LinkedIn also has a publishing platform where you can start building a reputation. The content will be shown on your LinkedIn profile and will show up on the LinkedIn feed for your followers, so it’s an excellent way to get your content in front of a targeted audience.

How to Use It For Business: We actually wrote an article here dedicated to this exact topic, but in short LinkedIn is a great platform for you to publish content about your niche. It’s not quite as creative as some of the others on this list but again, it’s targeted and extremely valuable in terms of improving credibility. The more informative your content, the more likely people will be to connect with you on LinkedIn and then start seeing your updates. As you can see below, you can simply click the “+Write a new post” to get started and your post will appear right there on your profile page.



Last but not least, this is probably a platform you’ve heard of before. Tumblr was actually sold to Yahoo for over $1 billion, so it’s a big deal and it definitely has the readership. Currently, Tumblr has over 217 million blogs and over 420 million users according to a Expanded Ramblings report. The platform is definitely a place for micro-bloggers and has a very young audience, but aside from the huge user-base it makes it easy to connect and favorite different posts.

How to Use It for Business: Historically, Tumblr posts are best if they are short and humorous, so gifs and infographics are great. It’s also a good place to post to frequently (even a few times per day), but again it won’t be too difficult because it’s not a blogging platform for long-form content. Create short little videos and anecdotes and start building a community, so it’s a good supplement to your company blog.


So Should You Use These Platforms Instead of Having a WordPress Blog?

You’re probably thinking that it is tough enough to manage one blog let alone several, so this question is bound to come up. The answer to this question is, of course, it depends. It depends on the company you’re running and your audience, and it depends on the blogging platform. If you give a few blogging platforms a try and realize that you get more engagement on a blogging site as opposed to a blog on your website, this might be worth it for you in the end.

However, the vast majority of businesses will still want to have a blog on their company website for SEO purposes. This gives you more material to rank, more material to index, and more material to offer readers already visiting your website and wanting to learn more. Most blogging platforms, therefore, are used best when it compliments a company blog.

Do you use any of the blogging platforms mentioned above? How do you make them work for your company, and do you still have a blog on your company website? Let us know what’s working for you in the comment section below.

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Lowe’s: the customer journey from search to checkout

In which we take a look at the experience of searching for a product, testing the relevancy and helpfulness of its PPC ad, the subsequent landing page and clicking-through to purchase an item, all from a customer’s point of view.
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Monday, 9 November 2015

Case study: will new domain extensions provide an SEO boost?

While many in the SEO community debunk the myths that the new domain extensions will have any impact on SEO status, others have proven otherwise.
The article Case study: will new domain extensions provide an SEO boost? was first seen from

How to Write an Abandoned Shopping Cart Email

Trying to avoid shopping cart abandonment is always the first step for marketers—include deals at the right time, offer “save now” options, make users click a button before they leave, etc.—but sometimes it’s just inevitable. This is especially true during the holiday season when more and more people are shopping around online, so it’s imperative that you have an abandoned shopping cart strategy in place. Most businesses, unfortunately, only consider this first part of the process.

In other words, trying to get users not to abandon a shopping cart in the first place is the first piece of the puzzle, but there is a second half to any good strategy. After someone abandons his/her cart, that doesn’t mean it has to be over. Next comes sending the abandoned shopping cart email.

So What Exactly Is an Abandoned Shopping Cart Email?

According to a CPC Strategy article, 67.89 percent of shopping carts are abandoned for e-commerce companies on average. However, if you can manage to re-peak a customer’s attention with an email, your chances of turnover will be much lower. A SaleCycle report last year stated that more than half of cart retrieval emails were opened, and over a third of car retrieval emails result in purchases.

So how exactly do they work? You can think of this type of email campaign very similarly to a remarketing campaign. Consider the example below from Doggyloot:


As you can see, this email was sent to someone after they abandoned a shopping cart and is full of great ways to bring that person back. We’ll discuss the characteristics below.

Also keep in mind that sometimes people don’t even mean to abandon shopping carts. According to a Shopify article, 24% of customers say a website crashed, and 15 percent say that a website timed out when asked why they abandoned. This makes it even more important that you create an email to get a customer back on track.

The Characteristics of a Great Abandoned Shopping Cart Email

Below are several different things you should add to really optimize your email:

Make sure you state what exactly they abandoned.

This should include the title of the item or items they abandoned as well as images. If your email was too general there is a good chance the recipient won’t even remember what they were shopping for (especially during the busy holidays).

Include a link to re-visit the same shopping cart.

You want to make it as easy as possible for someone to get back to shopping and/or to remember to buy that item(s). Extra: Try and offer a link that doesn’t require customers to input all of their information again.

The copy matters.

Focus on creating something engaging (subject line, description, eye-catching image, sense of urgency, etc.) just as you would any email marketing campaign. You also want to use this as an opportunity for even more marketing, which includes making your social channels easily accessible. You can learn more about how to create great email marketing copy by reaching out here.

Consider offering a discount.

In my opinion this is a thin line to walk. You don’t want people to purposely abandon your shopping carts in the hopes of a discount and then move on if there isn’t one (or worse, forget entirely). However, because price is such a big reason shopping carts are abandoned in the first place, and it’s safe to assume most people aren’t spending the time trying to see if you’re going to offer a deal, it can be a good way to reel back in the customers. Send them a coupon code for the item(s) they were going to buy and go from there to see how it works.

Time it right.

No surprise here, you want to make sure you don’t wait to long to send the email, but you also don’t want to send it right away. So when is the optimal time to send? While some companies will say sending something immediately works best, we have found that waiting about 2-4 hours is a good window of time because it gives them enough time to re-think while not completely losing interest. Do some testing to see what works best for your business specifically. Extra: Also don’t forget to A/B test your design in general. You can learn more about A/B testing here.

You may need an email schedule.

A HubSpot article cited that 95% of people who purchased after abandoning a cart took up to two weeks after abandoning to finally complete their purchase. This obviously means that one email 2-4 hours after abandonment may not cut it. For this reason, it helps to setup a schedule with an email 2-4 hours after, 24 hours later, and then two weeks later.

There are a few more options you can offer for an abandoned cart email, such as placing items on hold or creating fancy gifts, but above are the most effective and the “must-haves.” Check out this article from Ometria for a list of even more ideas and examples.

How to Get Started Creating an Abandoned Shopping Cart Email

In order to get started creating this email, there are several different apps and software programs you can use. Hopefully you’re already familiar with some sort of email marketing software, but if not a few good options include Rejoiner, Shopify, and CartRescuer.

What do you think about sending and/or receiving these emails? Have you seen some more successful than others? Let us know about your experience in the comment section below.

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Three things advertisers should consider about Yahoo and Google’s deal

While many in the SEO community debunk the myths that the new domain extensions will have any impact on SEO status, pioneers in the space have proven otherwise.
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Friday, 6 November 2015

10 things to look for in your site search data

The terms that visitors type into your site search box can provide valuable insight which can be used in other marketing efforts.
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Nine fascinating SEM news stories and stats from this week

Just like the current series of The Muppets, our weekly programme has been put on hiatus for re-tooling.
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Thursday, 5 November 2015

Content Marketing: Make Your Content Shine with These 4 Editing Tips


A few years ago, best-selling author and wizard-ninja hybrid Seth Godin said, “content marketing is the only marketing left.” The industry took him at his word. Over the last decade, marketers have devoted ever more time and energy to creating content.

This year, 76% of B2B marketers plan to produce more content next year than this year. Only 2% plan to produce less.

As someone who creates content for a living, I find this trend encouraging. As a marketer who wants my content to be seen, the content explosion presents a challenge.

Seth expanded on his statement in an interview with Contently this year: “Real content marketing isn’t repurposed advertising; it is making something worth talking about.”

In other words, it’s not just about creating more content. Our content needs to inspire people to like, share, link to it, and come back for more. A solid content marketing strategy can ensure that your topic is relevant to your audience’s needs. But the quality of the writing is what makes it sharable.

So once you have created a rough first draft and eliminated clichés, it’s time to turn your diamond in the rough into a sparkling gem. Jewelers use four Cs evaluate the quality of a diamond. We’ll use four Cs to make sure your content is:

  • Clear
  • Concise
  • Coherent
  • Correct

Before you begin the process, if at all possible, put the draft away and let it breathe for a bit. You fought bravely to get it from your brain to the screen. Now a little distance can help you approach it with fresh eyes. Go ahead and take an hour, or an overnight. I’ll wait.

Ready? Let’s polish.

#1 – Make Content Clear

There are two types of clarity that will make your content easier to read. The first is structural: make sure the piece has a clear road map that pulls the reader from one paragraph to the next. Since you started writing from an outline, you should already have a solid structure. Just make sure your structure is easy for readers to follow, and that it matches the road map you lay out in the introduction.

The second type is clarity in the words you use. As someone who loves language, it’s tempting to include flowery prose meant to strike the reader to the quick with its beauty. It can also be tempting to leverage buzzwords so to growth hack the thought leadership ecosystem.

But what the audience wants is simple, direct speech that’s easy to read and process. That’s not to say you should dumb it down, of course. Just make sure your ideas are the star, not fancy words.

#2 – Make Content Concise 

You know what’s really very annoying? When someone uses a variety of multiple words when just a few would do the trick just as well.

How many extra words did you spot in the previous two sentences? You can communicate the same thought with “It’s annoying when writers are not concise.” Some content marketers think a “professional” tone means writing like they’re paid by the word. We can do better.

Here are a few words and phrases to eliminate:

  • Passive constructs: “The ball was thrown by the pitcher” vs. “The pitcher threw the ball.”
  • Intensifiers: “The building is really very ugly” vs. “The building is ugly.”
  • Weasel words: “some people say,” “most marketers know,” “a majority of people would agree…”
  • Cliché: “Are you ready to take the plunge and get started?” vs. “Let’s get started.”

#3 – Make Content Coherent

Your draft probably makes sense at a base level, unless you doze off mid-sentence and pear plastic rutabaga dog collar. Editing for coherency in this case is more about optimizing your work for the way your audience reads. Make your prose easier to read online with these steps:

  • Break up long sentences into shorter ones. Watch out for semi-colons, emdashes, and long lists of clauses separated with commas. A few long sentences per article keeps your prose from feeling choppy, but try to keep most sentences brief. And yes, I still struggle with this. Do as I say. Not as I do.
  • Break up long paragraphs. In school we learned to write five-sentence paragraphs. Online, keep it to two, or three at the most.
  • Use headers to let a reader skim before they dive in.

#4 – Make Content Correct

Now that your content is clear, concise, and coherent, you only need one final polish to make it sparkle. Make sure your grammar, usage, and style are correct.

Unfortunately, your brain will work against you on this last pass. Once it gets the gist of a sentence, it will gloss over any little mistakes. Which can lead to embarrassment once the piece is published and someone points and laughs at your “their/they’re/there” or “then/than” confusion.

You will have to trick your brain into working with you. Read the piece bottom to top, one sentence at a time. That way, you will be able to focus on the words independent of the content.

Then read the piece top to bottom, out loud (somewhere your co-workers won’t get violent). Even better, enlist a co-worker to read it to you. You will be surprised how many little corrections you’ll find when you’re hearing it instead of reading silently.

Shine on, You Crazy Diamond

Good content starts with solid content strategy to make sure your topic speaks to the audience. But to take your content from good to great, use the four Cs to polish each piece before you publish it. Keep your content clear, concise, coherent, and correct, and your audience will be compelled to share it.

What is your content pet peeve? What can an author do that makes you stop reading as soon as you see it?

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Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Content Marketing with Virtual Conferences: Pros, Cons, Examples and Best Practices

Virtual Conferences

The Internet has created a space where meaningful conversations, connections and content creation can happen anywhere in the world. As a result, content marketing tactics have evolved to leverage all the Internet has to offer–and one of those tactics is virtual conferences.

For decades, real-world conferences have been an effective way for businesses of all kinds to attract and engage prospective customers. When done right, real-world events allow businesses to shape and spread their message through content to a captive audience, all while networking, establishing brand credibility, and moving people through the sales process.

Virtual conferences aim to do all of the same things as a real-world event, while also being more convenient, affordable and inclusive.

Since coming on the scene in 2007 -2008, virtual conferencing technology has greatly improved and a growing audience is welcoming virtual event opportunities. In fact, recent research by Content Marketing Institute shows that 25 percent of B2B marketers named virtual conferences as a top content marketing tactic for 2016.

Definition: Virtual Conference

A virtual conference is a web-based event that brings many of the content marketing elements of a real-world event to life online. From breakout sessions and networking to keynote speakers and Q and A, virtual conferences can be an easy and accessible alternative to live events.

Virtual conferences can range from simple to the extravagant, with platform providers offering a range of options to customize the look and feel of the conference space. In addition, there are often hybrid events, which combine both online-only and live conference elements.


As technology continues to evolve, it will become more and more important for businesses and organizations to connect with their audiences online. Virtual conferences uniquely combine a variety of marketing tactics such as social media promotion, video and live blogging. Here are some of the top benefits of virtual conferences as a content marketing tactic:

  • They allow companies with smaller marketing budgets to put on quality, engaging events where a mix of brand and 3rd party content can be delivered to prospective customers.
  • Virtual events can result in better leads because participant information is easily captured during the event and brands can engage attendees in real-time.
  • Many virtual events offer presentation playback at the convenience of the attendee, making it easier to consume more of the content being presented.
  • Attendees can save time and money by eliminating travel which may attract a larger audience.
  • Messaging systems within Virtual Conference platforms enable speakers or the moderators to easily push additional content out during or after the presentation such as handouts, case studies or worksheets.
  • The attendee comments within Virtual Conference platforms can be curated and published as a stand alone blog post or as part of a wrap-up post.


While virtual conferences offer a number of exceptional benefits, they’re not a one-size-fits-all marketing solution. Disadvantages of virtual conferences include:

  • Managing an online event is similar to an offline event, but online events may require investments in new technologies.
  • Online platforms can take some getting used to and may alienate part of the audience.
  • A low cost of entry and the virtual nature of the event can make it easy for attendees to leave early or not show up at all.

What the Marketing Industry Saying About Virtual Conferences

“Twice a year, I host a ginormous virtual event for my brand, GroupHigh. This online conference has generated and converted more leads than any other tactic I’ve implemented. I think these online conferences have been so successful because I spend a ton of time vetting my speakers and the topics they present on. Forward thinking, new information where marketers feel like they will be left out of the loop if they miss the event is so important to me!”
Kristen Matthews, Marketing Director at GroupHigh.

“Virtual events also allow a potentially greater breadth of customization options. The only limitation to virtual events is your own imagination. The space can be big or small; simple or elaborate. Providers have created past virtual events that look like convention centers, malls, actual physical landmarks, and locations like London or New York.”
Dave Smith, senior technology editor at Tech Insider (Source: Inc.)

Brand Examples of Virtual Conferences

From big-wig companies like Apple to smaller professional industry associations such as the Idaho Science Teachers Association, organizations of all sizes are integrating virtual conferences into their marketing strategies.

Association of College & Research Libraries

The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is an higher education association for more than 11,000 librarians and other interested individuals. Earlier this year, it held its annual conference as a hybrid event.

Virtual Conference ACRL

For those who didn’t travel to the real-world event in Seattle, live webcasts featuring real-time interaction opportunities were offered, and the sessions were run on a real-time schedule just like the live event.

STAREAST by TechWell

STAREAST by Techwell is a software testing and review conference hosted in Orlando, FL. This hybrid event allows online participants to watch keynote speakers, technical presentations and live interviews throughout the five days of the event. Below is a little peek at what the conference space looks like.

Hybrid Virtual Conference

American Marketing Association

Our very own Lee Odden recently participated in a virtual conference put on by the American Marketing Association (AMA). The event was solely held virtually, and the schedule was simple and straight-forward. Below is a look at the presentation dashboard where attendees could chat with each other, post questions to the speaker and download handouts provided.

AMA Digital Marketing Conference

Virtual Conference Best Practices

  • Treat your virtual conference with similar content goals as a real-world event. While the venue is different, the mission of the conference itself is the same: to positively connect your audience with your brand through presentation content and encourage them to take some sort of action (e.g. sign up as a new member, ask for more information on your product, etc.)
  • Planning makes perfect. Closely vet your speakers, whether internal or 3rd party, and the topics they’ll be speaking on. Communicate with them regularly leading up to the event and create a detailed event schedule so participants know what they’re getting.
  • Market it hard. Marketing any event is crucial, but remember that people aren’t buying a plane ticket to attend a virtual event. Online events require far less commitment than real-world events, so keeping your event in front of people with marketing content is important. Use email, press releases, social media, blogging and any other relevant tactic.
  • Make it easy for people to spread the word. Create shareable content such as pre-written tweets or boilerplate content for a blog post for before, during and after the event.
  • Make it visual. Visual content captures and keeps audience attention. Period.
  • Incorporate live elements. Allowing people the ability to view presentations and interact  in real-time adds major value.
  • Liveblog content. As with real-world events, presentations that occur virtually present a compelling opportunity for content creation by capturing tips, insights, quotes and statistics from the speakers for publishing on your blog. Encouraging attendees to do the same creates a multiplier effect for exposure of your conference.

Virtual Conference Software and Resources

There are a number of different virtual conferencing software platforms on the market. Many offer multiple tiers of functionality and pricing to customize the virtual event experience. Some of the most popular Virtual Conference platforms include:

  • Cisco’s WebEx
  • Adobe Connect
  • Citrix GoToMeeting
  • InterCall
  • Communique

Virtual Conference Platform Reviews

For more information on virtual conference platforms, and both offer useful reviews.

Virtual conferences will likely never replace traditional real-world events completely. After all, we’re still humans and face-to-face interaction is important. However, as technology continues to evolve and the need to create content-focused experiences for prospective buyers increases, marketing strategies need to consider solutions like virtual conferences.

Are virtual conferences going to be part of your content marketing evolution? Be sure to check out some of the resources included in this article and you may find out.

Have you experienced producing a virtual conference? How have you used virtual conferences for your content marketing?

If you liked this post, be sure to check out the content marketing tactics index page with links to over 25 posts similar to this one.

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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2015. | Content Marketing with Virtual Conferences: Pros, Cons, Examples and Best Practices |

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Tuesday, 3 November 2015

How to Pick the Best Content Marketing Tools for your 2016 Content Marketing Strategy


To remain competitive, brands have become increasingly focused on creating a higher quantity of content, while still striving to maintain quality. Unfortunately, the quantity and quality struggle is real for so many B2B and B2C marketers alike.

Along with finding the right people and creating a sound content strategy, there is the matter of finding the right tools to integrate with your process and help you reach your goals. With the help of Alan Belniak (Principal Social Media Manager at The MathWorks), we reviewed 12 of today’s top content marketing tools to save you the legwork.

Below you’ll find key benefits for each tool as well as the “wow factor” that is unique to their solution. As an added bonus, we also asked experts from each of these companies to share their best content marketing tip to provide you with some additional information to add to your content arsenal.

#1 – Contently

Key Benefits: This complete content marketing platform track leads, uses a visual editorial calendar to align teams around content goals and integrates into other business systems.

Wow Factor: Contently offers both a tool, and a writer marketplace to help companies find quality writers to augment their existing staff.


#2 – Curata

Key Benefits: Combines insight (analyze pipeline impact), alignment (streamline content supply chain)  and simplicity (ease of adoption).

Wow Factor: Get up and running in less than an hour with limited/no IT support; addition of CMP to existing curation tool/product makes Curata a viable all-around player.


#3 – DivvyHQ

Key Benefits: Easy to use dashboard, workflow alerts and the ability to manage multiple calendars (by content type, persona, buyer profile, etc.).

Wow Factor: Unlike many tools, DivvyHQ offers a monthly option for users that aren’t ready to make a large investment at once.


#4 – Expion

Key Benefits: Content discovery engine, employee advocator, paid optimization module, asset library/storage and performance scoring.

Wow Factor: The employee advocator module creates an entirely new distribution model for branded content in a way that can be easily tracked and managed.


#5 – GatherContent

Key Benefits: Collect, organize and prepare for approval all in one place.

Wow Factor: The automated reviews, progress indicators and built-in templates help provide a good starting point for small businesses.


#6 – Kapost

Key Benefits: A built-in workflow to manage content production, content review and publishing.

Wow Factor: Eliminate the need for time consuming planning outside of the platform with an intuitive planning calendar and distribution mechanism.


#7 – NewsCred

Key Benefits: The ability to plan, create, publish and measure from the same tool; strategy, content creation, global asset management; social listening; audience insights.

Wow Factor: A social monitoring built in to track chatter about the very content you just created.


#8 – Oracle Content Marketing

Key Benefits: Supports custom workflows and uses custom rights/roles for publishing. Plus multiple tag support, real-time content scoring, multiple content formats supported, multiple ‘publish to’ locations, integration with email to dynamically produce emails, full support of metadata tags, easy connections to popular social networks, easy dashboarding of metrics and SEO advice

Wow Factor: Because it is an Oracle product, it integrates with their other products fairly seamlessly.


#9 – Content Director

Key Benefits: Easy content curation, autoscheduling for maximum reach and metrics on a per-post level.

Wow Factor: In addition to new creation/authoring platform, there is the ability to leverage powerful curation opportunities.


#10 – Scribe Content

Key Benefits: Yields preferred audience language when searching and discussing on social networks and aids in ID-ing guest posting opportunities.

Wow Factor: There is an SEO-optimization algorithm built in and includes suggested content cross-linking for increased usability and time spent on site.


#11 – Uberflip

Key Benefits: Integrates with top-end marketing automation software like MailChimp, HubSpot, Eloqua, Marketo and Pardot.

Wow Factor: Users can turn standard PDFs into active flipbooks that include embedded videos and other interactive content.


#12 – Zerys

Key Benefits: Different levels of service depending on company needs, built in SEO tools and task management for writers.

Wow Factor: There is a user forum and community support that  actually connects you to other, real users.


Are You Prepared to Implement Content Tools?

If you aren’t producing quality content, investing in a content marketing tool can be a waste of precious resources. Part of our role as a digital marketing agency is to help our clients determine which solutions will help them reach their marketing goals and business objectives. If you need help creating a customer focused content marketing strategy or want our help creating awesome content to make your content tools worth the investment, contact us today to see how we can support your efforts.

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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2015. | How to Pick the Best Content Marketing Tools for your 2016 Content Marketing Strategy |

The post How to Pick the Best Content Marketing Tools for your 2016 Content Marketing Strategy appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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