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How Effective is Your Content Marketing Strategy? Do You Really Know?

27 May 2014 by

Content marketing is continuing to be a major focus for both B2B and B2C marketers. The majority of the articles I see lately seem to all focus on tips for creating content that gets attention or how to take a single piece of content and slice it and dice it 10 ways to get more mileage out of it. Thanks to the growing focus on SEO and more knowledgeable customers that seek out information on their own, content may very well live up to the title of king.

While this may be true, marketers haven’t cracked the code on how to measure its true business impact just yet. According to a recent survey from Contently, more than 90 percent of marketers are not confident that their key content metrics are measuring business results. Here’s the link to read their report and they even offer an eBook at the end. MORE CONTENT! YAY!

But in all seriousness, if content is to stay in its throne, we have to be able to prove it deserves to be there. Here are some key findings from Contently’s report:

  • 90% of marketers expressed uncertainty that their key content metrics are effective in measuring business results.
  • 73% of marketers identified Brand Awareness as a goal of their content.
  • 69% of marketers said that they were using page views/unique visitors to measure the success of their content, while less than half are examining time on site. Yet, 50% of respondents expressed a desire to be able to measure how much real attention people are paying to their content.
  • 7% of respondents are not measuring the success of their content in any way.

Are you surprised by the report’s findings? How do you measure your content’s success? Is it of real value to you?

Your New Secret Weapon in SEO… Is PR

19 May 2014 by

Google is understandably secretive about the algorithm it uses to decide how to rank web pages in its search results. But a recent patent filing may offer some clues – and some encouraging news for PR professionals.

In US Patent application 8,682,892, Google seems to indicate that the mere mention of a brand name or keyword may count towards a site’s ranking in the search engine.

It is well known that Google considers a large number of factors – more than 200 – to determine how “authoritative” a site is. It then uses this information to determine how it will rank the site on its search engine results pages (SERPs). Though unconfirmed by the search giant, it is widely accepted the most important factor in this algorithm is incoming links.

In one section of the recently filed patent, Google shares how it identifies high-quality, independent links to a website, and this is where PR and SEO practitioners alike must take note. The patent makes a distinction between “express links” – the anchor text links with which we’re all familiar – and a new concept of “implied links,” which are merely references to a brand, product or service – without an actual link.

Here’s what the patent says:

“The system determines a count of independent links for the group (step 302). A link for a group of resources is an incoming link to a resource in the group, i.e., a link having a resource in the group as its target. Links for the group can include express links, implied links, or both. An express link, e.g., a hyperlink, is a link that is included in a source resource that a user can follow to navigate to a target resource. An implied link is a reference to a target resource, e.g., a citation to the target resource, which is included in a source resource but is not an express link to the target resource. Thus, a resource in the group can be the target of an implied link without a user being able to navigate to the resource by following the implied link.

What this says is that Google looks at mentions of a brand or related terms to determine a site’s ranking potential. The implications are enormous. If what Google describes in this patent holds true in its algorithm, then PR activity and media placements – even if they don’t lead to an “express link” – have SEO benefit.

So, what should you do with this new found information? Our advice is to continue find ways to generate buzz and grow brand mentions. As ever, this will continue to help with brand awareness – but for now, we believe, it will also help your search engine rankings.

All Things Social: Features & Tips

12 May 2014 by

I recently had the opportunity to attend a Business Wire luncheon during which media guru Serena Ehrlich discussed the ever-changing world of social media. From current trends to press releases, she covered it all, offering quick and easy tips along the way. Below are a just a few of those very tips to help you stay on top of all things social.

Facebook

Social networks are increasingly centered around news sharing, and Facebook is certainly no exception. In fact, Facebook now has an algorithm to display news more heavily within feeds. That being said, the more you link to news articles and other reputable content, the more visible your posts will become.

Twitter

To be successful on Twitter, you must include a picture. Tweets with photos and videos receive three to four times the amount of engagement as those without. So, if you’re linking to a piece of content that doesn’t have a picture, screenshot the most interesting sentence in the piece of content you’re sharing and include that in your tweet.

Wordle

 

 

LinkedIn

In addition to status updates, LinkedIn users can now add blog posts to the site, increasing overall page traffic. What’s even more exciting is that this new feature is entirely free. If you have not already received an email to opt in, simply contact a LinkedIn representative and ask to be part of the program.

Press Releases

When it comes to publishing press releases, one of the newest trends is utilizing clicktotweet.com. This free site allows you to pre-draft tweets, including social-sharing headlines, hashtags and links. Unlike the regular Twitter share button that tweets only the press release headline, clicktotweet.com enable users to draft a variety of social-specific headlines and scatter them throughout the release. This is particularly good for statistics, which travel faster on Twitter than any other type of content.

7 Web Design Trends in 2014 That Will Stick Around

5 May 2014 by

The web is constantly evolving.  What kind of impact a site has, or should have can make all the difference to a discerning consumer.  Websites are one of the largest marketplaces to share your brand story to an audience, so while 2014 has already begun, let’s take a look at some of the web design trends in 2014 that have emerged and will continue to grow throughout the year.

FLAT UI
After the release of iOS7, the flat design has started to appear across the web. Companies are continuing to strip their graphics or over zealous design elements that are not 100% purposeful in a site’s functionality. As flat UI continues to grow, look for its presence to only get stronger.

RESPONSIVE DESIGN & MOBILE OPTIMIZATION
The exponential growth of both smart phone and tablet usage in recent years has mobile on track to overtake desktop platforms for web consumption in the coming years. Responsive design and mobile optimization have become the norm across the majority of the web. There is still room for growth within responsive design; soon enough look for this trend to become the standard. Check out the XINNIX website design below that embodies long scroll responsive and a hybrid of flat/minimal design (which we will discuss shortly).

XINNIX website model for long scroll

MINIMALISM
Simple web design has been emerging, and one of the main reasons is the huge emphasis that is being put on content. More designs with only one or two colors are emerging, navigation is becoming more succinct and images are replacing blocks of text. Minimalist design is stripped down to prevent unnecessary. Content is king, and designers are finding every way possible to highlight a company’s story.

TYPOGRAPHY
Web fonts have opened an entire world of creativity in web typography. Now typefaces and sizes can be mixed and matched and even magnified more than ever. The only danger to artistic fonts is the tendency to go overboard. A fancy font may not be very readable, which is a no-go for websites with lots of text. In this case, reserve the pretty fonts for headers or other small highlights. Expect to see many more websites going the way of the less boring font throughout 2014.

SCROLLING
Parallax scrolling, horizontal scrolling, column-based scrolling and infinite scrolling are all things that we’ll probably see more of in 2014 and beyond. In addition to being very easy for designers to execute, scrolling is a must on mobile and tablet devices so designers have strived to make swiping simple. Scrolling through a website is now faster and easier than having to click through links to access various information, and new techniques allow the content to be impeccably organized and formatted in a way that’s super easy to read and digest. Don’t expect this one to fade fast.

SHINY NEW BACKGROUNDS
More brands are using dynamic backgrounds to engage customers. Look for larger pictures and videos – as opposed to patterns or textures – as the practice becomes increasingly popular throughout the year. More companies are employing the technique, which adds visual interest and intrigue.

FIXED NAVIGATION
In the world of Web design, fixed position navigation is the high-tech term for navigation that remains on the page as users scroll down. This trend is currently common on newer websites and should spread to others in the coming year. Not all sites need a fixed position menu, however, as infinite scrolling and a need for good user experience grows, fixed navigation is a functional trend some may argue is a must.

To speak with one of our design experts or to learn more about our website development capabilities, check out our website offering at: http://arketi.com/work/digital-marketing/website-development.html.

Three Media Relations Habits to Stop Today

21 April 2014 by

When it comes to media relations, do you feel like you’re doing all the right things but yet no one is biting? Chances are you can improve you strategy by breaking three simple media relations bad habits.

Bad habit #1: email blasts.

For more, watch the video below as Arketi’s Joy Reddy fills you in on the habits you need to stop today!

For more, check out Best Practices in BtoB PR from Arketi Insights.

 

Video Transcript:

Media relations is often a key tactic to the overall success of your company’s PR and marketing strategy, but if you’re like most companies, you’d like to land more ink.

First, you have to understand that the way journalists work has changed. The landscape has shifted because of new tools, outlets, writers and producers.

Here’s my suggestion: Stop pitching and start listening. If you want to see more media relations success, stop these three habits today.

First, stop blasting. An email blast is potentially the worst way to get a reaction. Instead, know what your key targets have been writing and adjust the angle to speak to their audience.

Second, stop pestering. Learn how to be persistent but not intrusive. Follow up sparingly, politely, and take no for an answer. Remember, journalists today are being asked to do more with less. Be mindful of their workload.

Finally, stop pigeon-holing. There is a wide variety of outlets, angles and mediums. Keep an ongoing conversation alive with your top 10 targets, but consider widening your scope far beyond traditional media to other market influencers.

By trying to put an end to these bad media relations habits, you’re likely to see more success with your outreach and land more ink!

 

 

How to Build Credibility Via Third Party Content

14 April 2014 by

The Center for Media Research released a Research Brief reporting on a new survey that found “consumers rely on credible, third party content more than branded content or user reviews when making decisions.”

On behalf of the entire public relations industry let me be the first to say, “WE TOLD YOU SO!”

After all, this is the foundation of the PR tactic know as media relations. It’s why you do it and what you hope it will earn you.

The-Role-of-Content-in-Buyer-Centric-Marketing-third-party-content

While not surprising, this research does add some depth to the understanding of the impact of 3rd party content across the buying cycle.  We have developed a killer infographic that tracks the role of content in the BtoB buying cycle. To take a look at it visit:  http://www2.arketi.com/buyercentric

Below is an excerpt from the article and a link to it. Simply put, it is data supporting the need for public relations.

3rd Party Content Appears More Credible

According to a new study from inPowered and conducted by Nielsen, consumers rely on credible, third-party content more than branded content or user reviews when making decisions. (credible: third-party articles & reviews).

Several key findings from the research indicate that the credibility and unbiased nature of the content was critical for consumers:

  • 85% of consumers regularly or occasionally seek out trusted expert content (credible, third-party articles & reviews) when considering a purchase
  • 69% of consumers like to read product reviews written by trusted experts before making a purchase
  • 67% of consumers agree that an endorsement from an unbiased expert makes them more likely to consider purchasing

The study, to determine which type of content was most impactful across the different stages of the consumer purchase process, and to help marketers identify the most effective blend of content types to effectively inform consumers, showed that expert content (such as articles from credible journalists) was the only content type to exhibit a strong lift in all 3 areas of the purchase cycle. It provided the most familiarity lift for 7 out of the 9 products, the most affinity lift for 5 of the 9 products, and the most purchase intent lift for 6 of the 9 products.

For the full article hit:

http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/222553/3rd-party-content-appears-more-credible.html

Bulletproof Your Marketing Budget

10 April 2014 by

So, you want to bulletproof your marketing budget? Then it’s time to build an ROI model for your organization’s marketing spend.

Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t be! Considering just three key factors to help you get started.

#1 Understand how marketing affects the sales pipeline.

For the other two factors, check out Arketi pricipal Sami Jajeh’s video below:

Want to learn more about how to bulletproof your marketing budget?  Click here.

 

Video Transcript: 

If you want to bulletproof your marketing budget, the key is to build a Return on Marketing Investment model for your organization’s marketing spend. Three factors to consider are your sales pipeline, spend saturation and program attribution. Here’s a quick look at each:

First, understand how marketing has affected the sales pipeline. Start with what revenue has been generated in the past year, and determine how many of these sales, in dollar value, resulted from marketing’s lead generation activities. Then, look at the current active pipeline and determine how much of what’s in there is due to marketing efforts.

Second, understand when a specific program has reached its saturation point. This is the point at which additional investment will have no additional impact on revenue. Make sure you know what that point is and build your budget accordingly.

Third, correctly attribute where a lead came from. A prospect may read about you in a trade pub, or see you at a tradeshow, and later does a Google search to find you. SEO gets the credit, rather than your successful PR and tradeshow programs. Your model must try to attribute these inquiries and leads across all your marketing programs.

By letting metrics drive the conversation, you can build a ROI model that will not only protect your marketing budget, but even increase it. And that’s a marketing budget that’s bulletproofed.

State of the Industry with TAG president Tino Mantella

8 April 2014 by

Join the PRSA Tech SIG for a discussion with Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) president and CEO Tino Mantella as he shares insights into the rapidly changing landscape of the Georgia technology industry.  Tino will discuss where the increase in jobs are developing, how technology is shaping communications, what emerging platforms are sprouting in Georgia, how companies are looking for and hiring talent, and much more.

As the region’s largest technology association, TAG has unprecedented access to technology leaders and innovators that shaping Georgia’s own Silicon Valley.  This session will help PR pros better understand the technology landscape and what trends are emerging both locally and globally.

Register here:  http://www.prsageorgia.org/events/event_details.asp?id=427849

 

Date:  Wednesday, April 16

Time:   5:30-7 p.m.

Location:  TAG Headquarters, The Hodges Room

Topic:  State of the Industry with TAG president Tino Mantella

Speaker: Tino Mantella, president and CEO, Technology Association of Georgia

 

 

Do Not Underestimate the Value of Good Business Cards

7 April 2014 by

While driving home the other night I heard a story on Marketplace that reflected a long held belief of mine. That is, despite our increasing need to digitally make business connections, we still crave tangible connections.

And, while it’s true that you can reach more customers in real time electronically, the good ol’ business card is still a very cost effective way to leave a lasting impression with prospects.

Think about it. If a prospect just adds your contact information  into their phone, it merely becomes an entry in a long list with no context or real connection to the individual. But a physical card? The prospect has to do something with it, even if it’s just to take the card out of the pocket and put it in a drawer.

business-cards-Little-card-Big-impact

Years ago, my business card had a unique shape and a clever account of my design services. I can’t tell you how many times people would say, “I remember you, you’re the designer with the cool business card.”

To learn more about the staying power of business cards here, check out this Marketplace article: http://www.marketplace.org/topics/business/why-business-card-keeps-keepin.

Or send us an email at info@arketi.com for business card design examples or more info.

 

Give Your BtoB Buyers What They Want on Your Website

2 April 2014 by

For the majority of vendors, websites exist with one goal in mind: to generate leads and sales. Yet, according to the recent B2B Website Usability Report, B2B vendors are often their own worst enemies when it comes to facilitating the buying process.

Late last year, this study was issued to customers, prospects and others involved within B2B marketing to determine what buyers do once they get to a vendor website; which elements increase a vendor’s credibility, which detract, and which cause them to leave the website. The results were surprising.

BtoB buyers need information to take the “next step.” The three top types of information buyers wanted included pricing (43%), technical information (38%), and case studies (38%). Guess what was most lacking on websites. You guessed it – case studies (54%) and pricing (50%).

Even more surprising, survey results indicate that social media activity has minimal impact on the buying process. When asked “How much does a company’s social media activity impact your vendor decision making process?” only 6 percent stated “a lot” with 37 percent saying “it is not a factor.”

And, how do buyers prefer to contact you: e-mail (81%), phone (58%), and contact form (39%). Interesting that phone is so high, when 60 percent of them prefer they not give it to you on a website contact form. For more fascinating insights from KoMarketing’s 2014 B2B Website Usability Report, visit: http://www.komarketingassociates.com/b2b-web-usability-report-2014/

btob-buyers-website-must-haves