Now that there are sites like Tumblr and Wordpress, it is much easier to create and maintain a blog no matter what level of proficiency you are in terms of technology or code. Besides having a space to share your information, blogging can actually do wonders for your website’s search engine marketing efforts and get you ranking for the key phrases you need.
Blogging is more than just writing something clever or attention-grabbing, it has to have a strategy, just like every other marketing technique. Some might think that blogging only as a way for businesses and people to write whatever they feel. In fact, there should be much more work that goes into it. Here's our best tips for using your blog effectively.
Writers have a saying that “you should write what you know.” While that might work if you are planning on penning a novel, blogging from a business standpoint is somewhat different. The trick is to be both informative and attention-grabbing, without being too highfalutin or sensational. Think about what would grab your customer's attention. Think about something that confuses them, find the answer and then write it in an easier way. Think about something that hasn’t been said about the subject. Take the idea and look at it from multiple angles. One easy trick, type your subject into Google News and see what the most recent developments are and go from there.
Our teachers have been saying “make a brainstorm, an outline, and then a rough draft” since the beginning of time and you know what? They knew what they were saying. If you are writing a particularly long blog post, having a rough outline at the very least will keep you on track and will help your readers quickly find the information they were searching for in your article. In our society of 24/7 content and instant gratification, you have to accept that people may not be reading the entire post, but if you have a clear outline of your points, your searcher should be able to find what they are looking for quickly instead of immediately bouncing.
Ah, the Almighty Google. How often we meet here at Online Optimism.
Google’s search engine algorithm is designed to gather and glean the most valuable sources in a millisecond every time someone has a search query. In order to even be considered as a search result, Google has to determine that your content is relevant and informative enough for the user. They do this through many factors including: keywords, meta-descriptions, URLs, heading counts, word count, backlinks, image descriptions, and a host of other variables. You can use whatever keyword research you prefer like Google Keyword Planner, Wordstream, SEMrush, what have you but know this: because of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm, long-tailed keywords are being targeted more than in previous updates. This is both good and bad for bloggers. On one hand, it is harder to get quantifiable estimates for long-tailed keywords and on the other hand, more focus on long-tailed keywords makes it easier to rank and has higher probability of becoming a conversion. It does require a certain finesse that can be learned.
So instead of putting every keyword that you want to rank for on your homepage, blogging can help you to streamline that desire. If you have different facets of your business you can use blogging to advertise and rank for them. Let’s pretend you are a furniture store. You have a wide range of products: couches, chairs, office furniture, bedroom furniture, etc. While you [should] have the tags for these products on your homepage, you can blog about each facet of your collection, not only using those keywords more than once but as a branding method. Like social media profiles, your blog can serve as a unique voice for your business and be a way of expanding your search engine marketing efforts.
Do you have questions about blogging or SEO for your site or company. Give Online Optimism a call at 504-521-6222 and we can help get your blog started and get you ranking the way you need!Continue reading
One of the most annoying aspects of the industry is having to explain to people the power that social media can have, both with impressions and ROI. Let's take a look back and remember the hashtags the best social media campaigns of 2014 and examine how these campaigns were successful.
You would have had to be living underneath a rock this year to not be tagged or see the Ice Bucket Challenge hosted by the ALS Association that challenged people to either donate to the society or video themselves dumping a bucket of icy water over themselves and post it to social media. The virality of this campaign began thanks to every participant challenging three more friends to either donate or dump with the ominous end line “You have 24 hours.” Some people did neither, some just dumped icy water on themselves, some did both. While it may have gotten a tad bit irritating toward the end, The ALS Association raised over $100 million in just one month. Incredible.
While you may not be a fan of totally useless celebrities, Kim Kardashian’s attempt to break the internet with the nude cover of Paper Magazine inspired a variety of reactions. One noticeable reaction is that everyone now knows what Paper Magazine is and as if it could be forgotten, you know who Kim Kardashian is. In the first 30 hours of the magazine cover leak, Paper Magazine’s site experienced 5 million unique visitors. While they did not actually break the internet, they did break their Google Analytics.
Taco Bell is one of the biggest players in the fast food industry and they proved their staying power this year with their #OnlyintheApp Social Media Blackout campaign. We know, it seems like a counterproductive idea. Blacking out your social media accounts so that you can boost sales? Why did they do this? To promote their new ordering app that lets users order from Taco Bell through this app. The company’s Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr pages are still out of commission, diverting all traffic to the app. The result: 24 hours after launch, 75% of all stores had already processed an app order.
Simpsons fans rejoiced when news hit the Internet that FXX would be showing every, single episode of the 25 year running animated show. That is 522 episodes, or 261 hours of Simpsons (with commercials)! Needless to say the hashtag #EverySimpsonEver was the right call. The marathon gained about 1 million viewers and the Twitter account offered real time questions, prizes and replies to their many fans. Engagement at an all time high and a massive number of impressions sure sounds like success to us.
When you first saw this story hit the internet, fury was unbounded. At first, all you see is a 12 year old girl getting ready to be married to a 37 year old man. In Norway, Plan International brought attention to the estimate 40,000 children forced into marriage everyday through this clever campaign. Outrage sparked thanks to the blog that showed “Thea” picking out cakes, trying on dresses, and getting her hair and makeup ready (all sans smile) for her big day. As the “wedding” was streaming online 3.5 million people on social media commented #stopthewedding. Effective and hard to ignore, the two perfect ingredients for an effective social media campaign.
When video leaked of Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice beating the daylights out of his wife, there was outrage. When it was revealed the NFL Commission had the video for at least a year prior, Commissioner Roger Goodell’s head was on the chopping block. Making matters hard for him was cosmetic conglomerate Covergirl re-issuing one of the advertisements for the Ravens with a “re-touched” image of a model sporting a black eye with the alliterative hashtag #GoodellMustGo. While this campaign wasn’t pretty, Goodell is still Commissioner, but he best watch his p’s and q’s.
African violence and war has always been an intermittent problem in the eyes of American social media. Think back to #KONY2012, the character assassination of the African warlord Joseph Kony. Earlier this year, 273 schoolgirls were kidnapped from their school in Nigeria by Boko Haram terrorists. When news broke, #BringBackOurGirls went viral, especially as celebrities began to chime in. Even Michelle Obama became involved in the social media frenzy and the onslaught against the Muslim terrorist organization. The result: the US Government became involved and about 50 girls were returned home (they escaped). However, there are still over 200 girls missing and as with #KONY2012, something new and disturbing caught our attention and that was pretty much the end of that.
Sorry to Mrs. Kardashian-West but her attempt to #BreaktheInternet did not succeed, in fact, her posterior photograph was trumped by the Philae Lander landing on a moving comet. This is one of the biggest moments in astrophysics and people noticed. On the day of the landing, over 450,000 tweets announced the landing of @Philae2014 while Kim Kardashian had about 300,000. In fact, each space rover has their own Twitter account, and landings are announced in numerous languages so that people all across the world can retweet what is happening. Who says science can’t be cool?
There you have it. Online Optimism’s list of the best social media campaigns of 2014. We can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store for us. If you have questions about making an effective and viral-worthy social media campaign next year, give Online Optimism a call at 504-521-6222 or tweet/FB/email us, whatever works best for you!Continue reading
It is easier said than done but it is possible to make your Google Adwords campaigns effective no matter what product you are selling. All pay-per-click campaigns requires two things: creativity and data.
As with every other advertising strategy, there is the usual 5 W’s: Who? What? Where? When? Why?
In order to understand how you are going to sell your product or brand, you need to know who you are selling to. You need to know how they would phrase a question into their search engine. What kind of wording would they use? What would gain their attention the fastest? What would seem most creditable to them? Understanding your audience is just one part--the creativity part we discussed. Once you have gotten creative, you need to cross-reference those ideas with data. In order to select the best keywords, use the Google Adwords Keyword Planner. But be careful, if you are not stringent with your parameters, your data may be skewed, leading to bad selections and money/time lost.
What are you selling? What makes your product better than any other competitors product? Is it different? It’s okay if it isn’t, but you have to sell it like it is going to get a Nobel Prize. Think about what about the product would attract YOUR attention. What feature would make you take a second look at the product you are advertising? Do you have a better price? Better materials? A feature that competitor’s customers wish their product had? What promotions or sales do you offer? You have to get into the mind of a potential customer and have the promotion that would appeal to them. These will be the keywords and call to actions that will make up your campaign.
After you have done this, use your Analytics feature “Search Queries” find out what search engine question are triggering your ad. This can give you a better idea of how people phrase their questions when they are looking for a certain product as well as helping you see if certain keywords are triggering superfluous clicks.
Knowing that you want to target the whole nation is a nice thought, but it is a thorough thought? If you have a product that can be distributed nationally, that is great. But you have to realize, when you want to swim in a big pond, you have to compete with bigger fish. And not only compete for customers, but compete for keywords, headlining ad space and budgets. If you are a local company and want to target local consumers, then do you just target your city? No! Take into consideration the areas around your city, cities that may appreciate you product (if you sell surfboards in California, think about branching out to Hawaii and Florida too!)
It is isn’t just what physical place that you decide to promote your product, it is where you decide to promote it as well. In Google Adwords campaigns, your Display Network can provide a host of “placements” for your ad. Under your Tools Button, and under the Keyword Planner, you can find the Display Planner.
By placing your product page, your competition’s product page, or just a few keywords, Google will find the ad space on different websites, apps, and videos that are relevant to your product. The Display Planner can even target your request if you want:
They say that timing is everything and this maxim holds true in your Google Adwords campaigns. In Google Adwords, you have different options for the timing aspect of your ads.
Option 1: Delivery Time
In your Adwords campaign, under the Settings tab, you can find the Delivery Time section looking something like this:
Now this allows you to decide how and when you budget is spent. The general rule is that you want a standard delivery for most of a campaign, ensuring that your ads are shown across a variety of times. With the “Accelerated” option, you can have more ads shown quickly in the day until your daily budget is reached. This option may be more applicable to the advertiser that has to meet a budget.
You can also coordinate the times you want you ads showing. Under the Settings tab, there is a “Schedule” section. Let’s say you begin to notice in your Analytics that you have repeated clicks past 11 PM but all of these clicks have high bounce rates and lead to no conversions. This time space is doing nothing for your client and is draining your daily budget. You can make an ad schedule so that never happens again and if you have a time of day that your ads are most often clicked, you can focus in on that time slot.
Why use Google Adwords? I see those ads and I never click on them, you might be saying. Are these ads really effective? These are common and valid questions. Unlike their billboard, radio, and television counterparts, advertising online, especially with Adwords is a controlled and scalable to do advertising. If you want that billboard in Time Square, you’re going to have to pay tens of thousands of dollars. A commercial during the Super Bowl? Millions. When you use Google Adwords, you compete for the keywords, not the airtime. Just because someone has the biggest budget does not necessarily mean that they will get that coveted spot. Google decides the chances of your ad selling based on a number of factors including:
This stringent review process means that only those with relevant products and well made ads are going to be shown. This makes it a lot easier for startups and small businesses to compete with their corporate counterparts.
For those that don’t believe “those ads never get clicked on”, you couldn’t be more wrong. As Google continues to improve their algorithm, PPC ads appear more like organic search results, making people feel more comfortable with clicking on them. As recent as 3 years ago, that is how Google earned 97% of their revenue through advertising at an estimated 32.2 billion! If that doesn’t convince you of the validity of this method of advertising, I don’t know what will!
Here at Online Optimism, we're all about helping businesses grow around town. And while we love doing it for our clients, we're also partial to helping out everyone we can!
Thankfully, there's more than a few organizations in town who agree, and they've asked us to lend our expertise to a few talks over the next month. So where can you learn from our team?
Do you think tweeting is for the birds? As if! Twitter is one of the biggest social media platforms in the biz. Follow Online Optimism as they show you how easily you can utilize 140 characters of space to instantly connect with customers, potential clients, other businesses, partners, the media, and many, many others. By learning how to tweet, retweet, and hashtag, you'll be joining the conversation in no time. #seeyouthere
Register for the event here! For bonus points, check out the other two parts of the series: A talk on Instagram & Pinterest by the always-entertaining team at Rapjab, and a talk on Facebook by the focused, smart creatives of FSC Interactive.
Social Media: The Next Frontier. Where is it headed? How are people using it? Are people going to continue to use it? How can I use it for my business? Join us for this webinar chat where we'll dive head-first into our best guess for the future of marketing. There are lots of predictions out there - we'll tell you which ones you should be better on.
Online Optimism's certified professionals will be providing a thorough lesson in Google Analytics, from installation to experimentation. Google Analytics is the industry standard tool for tracking visitors on your website and mobile app, but it can do far more than just measure internet traffic. The course is for both newbies and experienced users.
For beginners, we will briefly cover how to install Google Analytics. Moving beyond that, we'll cover the basics, such as navigating the user interface and how to solve common marketing questions, like "Where are my Visitors coming from?" and "What pages on my site are causing visitors to stay or leave?" Finally, we will provide you with the resources to tackle more advanced topics on your own, such as determining if your blogging / social media / billboard / print strategy is actually working!Continue reading
If you’re trying to get a business off the ground, I could list few places better than Kickstarter to start off, other than your really generous friend’s trust fund. Not everyone is that lucky, though, so most people with either a product or service to sell has to start somewhere small. There’s no shame in that small start being in crowdfunding.
Kickstarter, and similar services such as Indygogo, often get a bad rap because of the success rate of projects put up on those sites. The average percentage of crowdfunding projects that fail hovers around the 50% mark, much higher than you as a business owner would want it to be. Why do Kickstarters fail? Other than the amount of just plain laughable projects up for funding, what many folks don’t realize that there’s a pretty specific formula you have to follow to rise to the top of Kickstarter. The formula isn’t so much rigid as it is moldable to your own needs, but it does include a few key aspects, of which we’ll discuss today.
Before you even touch Kickstarter, the first essential step is to build up your audience. I can’t stress this enough. Kickstarter gives you a limited time frame to get funded, so why not get ahead of the game and start building hype for your project? Figure out what your niche is, and find bloggers who are in the same demographic you’re trying to target. Connecting with these bloggers is an art in itself, and Alex over at Groove wrote a great post explaining how to successfully build relationships with bloggers and other influential people in your niche. To put a long story short, don’t be too pushy in your engagements, focus on building a real relationship, and make sure you can help them too. No one wants to give you free help, so contribute to conversations on their blog, offer them constructive criticism, and be the least pushy as you can be. Think of it as speed dating, but instead of a hot date, you’re looking for backers.
Again, here we’re using time to your advantage. Instead of trying to complete everything within a month, make sure you have as much planned as you can beforehand, sometimes even months before you start your campaign. Devise a marketing plan in advance, and schedule every milestone you plan on hitting. Use tools such as Hootsuite to schedule regular social media posts so that’s one less thing you have to worry about it. From a marketing standpoint, you should treat it as if it’s already a business. If you’re that serious about it, you’ll have a higher chance of it actually becoming one. Some things to take into consideration while planning:
This could be the hardest aspect of running a successful Kickstarter, and is entirely dependant on how creative you are or how large your budget is. Unless you have the next innovation as big as the light bulb on your hands, chances are people are just going to skip over your project with a mediocre video and zero graphics. For example, would you pass over a Kickstarter that offered a new type of screw? Unless you’re a contractor, I bet you said yes there. Now, how about after seeing this video?
I’ve never wanted a screw so badly in my life. Now, that video was obviously professionally done, but the point still stands: professionalism is key. Humor is key. Branding is key. Making your project stand out above the other-guy-doing-the-same-thing is key. So, do what you need to do. If that means hiring someone to handle the creative aspect, it might be what you need.
If you keep these three steps in mind, I can’t guarantee that your project gets funded. You will, however, have a much better chance and will learn some things about running a business along the way. Happy crowdfunding!
Looking for assistance getting your idea off the ground with a Kickstarter? Give us a call at 504-521-6222 and we'll work together to make your crowdfunding campaign a success!Continue reading