The Big Marketing Shift: Understanding The New Content Marketing World

When I started my career in marketing and advertising in 1985, the world I operated in—and the rules for success– were clear.  The smartest brands spent loads of money on advertising, and then spent more loads on high-priced media to blast their message to consumers (those loads paid for our expensive agency TV Shoots and our nifty client dinners at Montrachet- the ones with the $250 bottles of wine).  The media companies—like TV Networks- functioned as the “connective tissue” between brand advertisers like Sony and Coke and the “target audience” (because what passed for “targeting” in those days was declaring that you wanted to reach the “18-34 demographic”).   If you wanted to tell a whole lot of people that Wendy’s had more beef and the competition only had a big fluffy bun (like my former boss Cliff Freeman did in his epic “Where’s the beef” TV spot), you needed ABC, NBC, CBS and the cable networks to get that message to your potential customers.  And all of it unfolded under the controlled, measured pace of our production timetables, planned campaign launches (because getting all of this done took at least 6 months) and the slow build of reach and frequency shown in our media flow charts.

And then came that darn invention of the Internet and the ensuing (and continuously unfolding) chaos created by the digital media revolution (putting a serious crimp in all those nice client dinners).   Continue reading

To The Marketers Confused By Twitter: Time To Get Over It

Forrester Research just came out with a new report this week on how marketers should be using Twitter right now to drive real business results. The report points out that marketers don’t get Twitter, and because they don’t get Twitter they are missing out on harnessing one of the world’s most powerful marketing channels.  As the report’s author Melissa Parrish describes- “because Twitter is so different, marketers struggle with it…..most marketers don’t really understand Twitter- neither it’s tricky challenges nor its unique possibilities”.

So here is a dose of reality for all of you confused marketers.  You need to get over it.  You need to decide tomorrow that you are going to master Twitter, and the only way you are going to do that is to personally join the Twitter community  and start living it.  And I don’t mean posting what you have for breakfast every 3 weeks.  I mean making it a part of your daily life, sharing useful content (otherwise known as Content Marketing in it’s most basic form), and engaging with other people on Twitter. I’ve written in past posts that any marketer – or anyone interested in finding customers today—needs to join the 21st century and get personally involved with social media NOW.  This is not a drill.  Things are not going back to the way they were in the safe, predictable mass media world we all knew. To remain relevant in this new world you are going to either need to speak its language or be marginalized.  Your choice.

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Handling Negative Comments: A Quick Bootcamp For Business Owners

So we all know it’s going to happen.  Somewhere on your Facebook page, your Google Place page or somewhere on the web, the complainers are going to come out.  No matter how good your service is, no matter how great your product is, at some point someone is not going to be a happy camper.  So when that day comes, what should you do?  The question comes up all the time, and it seems like in this new world of social media, business owners just aren’t sure how to handle it.  I’ve written in the past about how to avoid the very popular “head in the sand” strategy and create a simple proactive reputation management plan.  Here I’ll get even more basic to give you a quick boot camp on some of the best
advice I’ve come across over the years on getting ahead of your cranky customers and turning what could be a bad situation into a positive one for your business.

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The Power of The Search and Social Combo Meal

When we talk to clients, we often find they think about search and social media programs as completely separate efforts.  They’re either very focused on search (either PPC or SEO), or they’re highly motivated to get Facebook working for them (since most people believe Facebook equals social these days).  Thinking this way—that search and social are distinct and separate efforts—is a shame, because the true power for your business is having both programs in place working in perfect sync.  As Jay Baer has eloquently
described, “search and social are PB&J”– and there are a whole bunch of good
reasons why you should thinking about them as your next combo meal.

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The SMX East Local Panel View: NAP is Fundamental To Rankings

Yesterday in New York City I was invited to join the SMX East Conference Panel “Hardcore Local Search Tactics” for the Q&A discussion of local ranking factors along with three of the people I respect most as true experts on local search: Matt McGee, Will Scott and Mike Ramsey. There were some great local ranking tips discussed during the session, yet probably the most fundamental single concept that everyone on the panel talked about was how vital it is to have a consistent name, address and phone number (“NAP”) across all the places your business data can be found on the web.  The reality is that among all the cool,  highly technical factors that impact search visibility (concepts that only the “guru’s” of SEO can understand—from canonicalization issues to strategies for microformats) the idea that something as basic as whether your phone number or your name appears exactly the same way across the web —just doesn’t sound sexy.  It’s an incredibly simple concept, and I find that once you explain it to a local business- the bell goes off.  You don’t need 10 years of enterprise SEO experience to get it.  The challenge of course (which all of us on the panel talked about yesterday) is in the execution of this simple concept.

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Social Media and the Marketer: You Need To Do It To Know How To Use It

Recently Forrester Research came out with a report focusing on the fact that today’s Chief Marketing Officers are woefully inexperienced personally with social media, and that this is a huge problem.  As author Chris Stutzman argues, you need to become deeply involved with social media on a personal level in order to know how to take advantage of it for your business.   And if you aren’t, there is no way you truly can.  He goes on to point out that so few CMOs are using social tools that they can’t possibly orchestrate the brand experience and understand the social impact on the customer, the competition, and the company.

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If You’re Running PPC but Not SEO, You’re Missing The Boat

Clearly the power of paid search is no secret anymore.  Google is making
billions as the world’s most valuable media brand, and marketers everywhere
now have woken up to the fact that a well managed paid search campaign can
often blow away any other advertising form in terms of its return on your  investment.  But what a whole lot of people have not woken up to is, if paid search is giving them a good return, it is almost guaranteed that organic search will deliver even more for their investment over the long term.  And, both strategies used in combination creates greater results then either used alone.

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Review Management: Going On Offense With A Proactive Plan

Yesterday I recapped a great Webmaster Radio  interview John Carcutt and Ross Dunn did with Google Places expert Mike Blumenthal, where he specifically talked about his philosophy about reviews.  It’s worth calling out one specific point he made during that interview that’s significant:

To me, a review is effective when a customer see’s it-  and the impact on the algorithm is secondary.  The value of a review is in the credibility it provides and the call to action on the part of  somebody seeing your  listing.

The key idea is that you shouldn’t be chasing reviews to increase your rank in the search engines, or have a knee-jerk reaction to every change in Google’s algorithm.

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John Carcutt and Ross Dunn Interview Google Expert Mike Blumenthal (“Professor Maps”) About Local Search

This week on Webmaster Radio’s SEO 101,  John Carcutt and Ross Dunn did a great job interviewing Google Places and local search expert Mike Blumenthal, who talked all about recent changes in local SEO as well some of the top things local businesses need to know about local online visibility.  I definitely recommend you listen to the full interview here, but if you’re time challenged, below are some key nuggets taken from Mike’s comments…..

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A Moment Of Humor In The Google + Press Fest: Top 10 Funniest Circle Names

So you’d have to be living under a rock not to be under seige from all of the coverage and buzz surrounding Google + right now.  It seems as though all the SEO & Social Media Digerati/pundits have clamped on to this puppy at lightning speed, and my personal opinion is that a whole lot of people in the biz were feeling that Facebook has become their dad’s AOL and they can’t run away from it fast enough.  But among the 2000 link bait posts out there talking about “The Top 10 Tips To Get The Most Out of Google +”, there was one tidbit I found that is really worth reading.

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