Browsing articles from "March, 2012"

The Link Between SEO and Content Marketing

Mar 23, 2012   //   by Netword Plus   //   Our Blog  //  No Comments

Ben Norman is a leading UK SEO Consultant and has extensive knowledge of search engine marketing. A regular writer on the subject, Ben’s first book, ‘Getting Noticed on Google’ sold over 25,000 copies and the second edition has sold over 30,000 copies. Ben’s comprehensive knowledge is written in a straightforward and easy-to-understand way.

I find his advice on SEO to be very valuable and enlightening. You can read more from Ben on his website.

I was very happy to find this article in his blog. It clearly explains the correlation between content and SEO. I have many potential clients who say, “I need to put more money into SEO so I can be found on Google.” Well, as this article explains, content comes first. Especially with Google’s new Semantic Search algorithm updates (read the Mashable article here).

Here’s Ben’s good advice:

Content Marketing is an important factor for SEO and it is also a popular way to inform people about your products and services. In addition, you can drive traffic to your site by optimising this content. The better your content and the more interest you create around your writing, the more traffic you can lead to your site as a result. In order for your writing to have a positive contribution for your marketing efforts, you should consider the following areas. These will help to improve your site’s visibility by attracting more attention to your content, and as a knock on effect, you should be able to encourage people to click through to your company website.

Tempt your visitors

It’s no good creating any old random content in the hope that people will find this and then click through to your website. Instead focus on writing content that your users will find interesting. Once you have them hooked on an article it will be a lot easier to get them to click trough to your website. If you keep producing decent content then people will return to your blog, or wherever your content is placed, as they will regard you as a useful source of information. Think about what you would like to see in an article that relates to your business and write with your audience in mind.

Focus on current stories

Your audience will probably want to read something that is engaging and interesting. If you can cover a new topic fairly quickly then this will also generate traffic. If you are to write on-site content, like in a blog then set up RSS feeds and social share buttons on each webpage. This will allow people to pick up on these news stories as soon as they are published, and get them to share them with others.

You can also find out what the most popular searches are via the search engines and this can give you another creative avenue and focus for your content. Spending ten minutes to do some research so that you can write about a certain topic will be far more beneficial, compared to writing about the first thing that comes to you.

Keep content simple

Where possible, always simplify your content. There are times when this will be hard to achieve although technical jargon can always be explained. There’s nothing more frustrating when you read a good headline, only to be disappointed by the article content because it is too difficult to understand. You don’t want to send your readers to sleep, you want them to feel like they have learnt something by reading your content. If this is the case, then make sure you meet these criteria.

Create a natural link to your site

Like we mentioned, you can use search engines to find out popular terms. You can then write about the subject in question, although remember that you have to create a natural link to your site. In other words it will be difficult to write about a health issue whilst tying it in with SEO. If you can naturally do this then it shouldn’t cause you too much grief, although if you are able to find a popular subject that relates to your industry, the link will be a lot easier to create and in addition it will appear a lot more natural.

Essentially, you want your content to read well. Whether it’s on-site or off-site, if the user finds it interesting then they are more likely to share and engage with the page. As a result, the strength of the link pointed towards your site will help in terms of rankings and also generate a steady flow of traffic in the right direction.

So, before considering which SEO company would be best for your company, consider a Content Marketing company first (hint, hint). Strong content coupled with a consistent Social Media campaign will be more effective in the long run and help your company be perceived as a thought leader in your industry.

Correlation: How to Judge Successful Social Media Marketing

Mar 14, 2012   //   by Netword Plus   //   Our Blog  //  No Comments

I was reading an article about Kodak’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Jeffrey Hayzlett, and his new book, Running the Gauntlet. Hayzlett talks about using social media to achieve what he calls “Kodak’s 4 E’s: Engage, Educate, Excite and Evangelize.”

That struck a nerve with me. Partially because it reminded me of Netword Plus’ own mantra of COPCA: Content, Optimize, Promote, Convert and Analyze. But even more, I realized that the 4 E’s were all values of social media that were difficult to define in terms of ROI.

ROI – Return On Investment – is a cornerstone of the traditional business model. “I paid out money; I want to know what I’m going to get back in return.” Calculating ROI for social media activities isn’t always as straightforward as all that.

How do you calculate the value of an existing customer that has become an evangelist for your company due to a good conversation through Facebook? Or the loss of a frustrated customer on Twitter who never received an answer to their question?

It has become the great debate in social media marketing: “What’s the ROI? How do you measure it?” Or more directly put: “Does it work? How can you tell?” Beyond being a hot topic for pundits to debate, social media ROI is something we address with every one of our clients on an ongoing basis.

There are four main forms of ROI: Direct, Correlated, Relative and Proxy.

Without going into things too deeply, Direct ROI is just what it sounds like. Direct ROI is where you directly track the impact your social media activities have on increasing revenue, reducing costs, or both. On the revenue side, Direct ROI can be used for social media initiatives that directly drive customers to purchase a product or service, often while passing through tracking links. Examples include pushing coupons or discount codes through channels such as Twitter or Facebook, driving early-bird event registration via an exclusive offer through a blogger outreach effort, and so on.

But I wanted to talk about Correlated ROI, as I feel that this is the main form of Social Media investment that will impact your businesses. And it’s also harder to track.

Correlated ROI is a function of tracking measurable social media activities over a given time – a focused blogging effort, launch of a new community site, a Facebook campaign, etc. – and comparing it to the performance of key business or marketing metrics, such as website visits, sales volume or customer service calls over the same period.

You’re looking for statistically significant correlation between the two data sets. For a given investment in social media efforts, or a given level of activity, you attempt to identify a corresponding impact on a key business metric like sales.

Correlation may not give you a definitive  measure like direct ROI will – invest $1, get $1.50 back, and so on – but it can be very useful as a general indicator that tells you if all that online conversation and activity you’re driving is generally good, bad, or irrelevant to the bottom line.

So when I’m asked by a client, “What’s the return on my investment?”, and I answer, “That depends”, I am not trying to be evasive. It’s simply that Direct ROI is not always possible with Social Media marketing. However, using Correlation, we might determine the impact of a Social Media campaign has increased your company’s website traffic or elevated your company’s brand awareness on social platforms, eventually creating on impact on sales.

The analytics we provide help our clients understand Correlation by comparing their Social Media campaign against Google Analytics for their website, as well as reporting on growth on the social platforms over time.

Let Netword Plus promote your company through Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing. We’ve got you covered.

Small Business & Social Media, Spring 2012

Mar 6, 2012   //   by Netword Plus   //   Our Blog  //  No Comments

CreditDonkey.com (quite a name) created this infographic trumpeting the benefits of Social Media for Small Businesses. We couldn’t agree more. There are also some great tips included in the infographic. We’ve shared it below. Enjoy.

Social Media & Small Business infographic

A blog is a great idea! But what do I write about?

Mar 3, 2012   //   by Netword Plus   //   Our Blog  //  No Comments

This is an open letter to our clients and soon-to-be clients.

I’ve asked a few of our clients:

“What would you like us to write about this week in your blog?”

And the reply has been:

“I don’t know. What should I write about?”

Naturally, we can come up with content for your business. You could even argue that’s what we’re being paid to do. But every business is different, and no one knows your business better than you. And who knows, you might want to contribute your own personal advice or anecdote.

So, if you’re looking for ideas for your business’ next blog, or ideas for your Social Media and Content Marketing company to write on behalf of your business (hint, hint), here are a number of great content sources to inspire your search.

1) Your Competitors

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But isn’t that stealing?” We are in no way advocating taking content directly from your competitors websites and posting it as your own. However, you may be inspired by what you find on your competitors’ website or blog, because you agree with what you’ve read, or even better, because you don’t agree at all.

You can easily find out what all of your competitors are writing about on Alltop. Simply search for the topic area your blog is about, and check out the top news stories in that arena. It’s completely appropriate to write a blog post about one of the popular articles you find on Alltop, as long as you’re adding value through your own perspective and linking back to the original.

2) Subscribe to Blogs in Your Niche (and Share)

We often read content relevant to our business on our favorite blogs, and then we hold onto that information as if it were gold. The instinct can be to hold onto this information for our own benefit, and share it with no one else. This is a mistake. First of all, the information is out there already. Second, you can become a hub of useful knowledge to your clients, who will regard you as a knowledge base in the industry. And third, you open up a dialog with people of similar mindsets… people who could be your next employee or business partner.

3) Ask Your Readers

If you have a popular blog, why not ask the readers what they want to read about on your blog? It’s a great way to get social feedback before your article is written.

4) Interview someone

Readers love to read, listen to or watch interviews.  Host your own interviews with celebrities from your niche, testimonials from your customers or as a feature for your employees. Social Media is about engaging with people; interviews are a gateway to know your company better on a personal level.

5) Keep a Notebook Nearby

Try and collate all your ideas in one place so you are not searching for that piece of paper with the brilliant idea you had earlier on in the day. I’m not one to carry a notebook and pencil around in my pocket, but my iPhone and Evernote app help me to quickly jot down ideas that come to me, and they are waiting for me later when I need them.

There are many more avenues to inspire you – Google Keywords, niche newspapers and magazines, your family, reviews, free association – but hopefully these five ideas will give you a nice starting point the next time you say, “What should I write about?”

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