Content Marketing & Small Business Part 1

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Content Marketing & Small Business

Small businesses are shut out of big media

How did content marketing become such a big deal in the 21st century? It can all be traced back to how last century’s outbound marketing invaded people’s lives too much and didn’t do enough for small business. Outbound marketing is usually interruptive in the form of visual or audio advertising. The main problem with outbound marketing was that you had to do a lot of it to make any kind of impact.

Budget Constraints

Small businesses simply do not have the budgets to gamble with expensive advertising thatContent Marketing Budgets may not work. Television, radio and newspaper advertising each require repetition to be effective. But to gain visibility and brand awareness through this type of mass media, it can take several months of advertising to see results, which may not be the best return on investment. Big companies can afford saturating their markets with continuous advertising that can run several thousand dollars per month, but small companies cannot afford constant advertising.

Limited Message

Another problem with traditional media marketing was that it only gave you small snippets of information about the product. It was impossible to learn much about a product just from a newspaper ad or radio commercial. Part of the problem was that the advertiser was only given so much time or space to deliver a message. Last century’s marketing messages encompassed vague slogans designed to be one size fits all solutions.

One of the biggest weaknesses of traditional media advertising was that the target market was not always clear. You could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on reaching big markets, but there was no guarantee that the advertising would generate sales. The broadcast industries blurred the picture further by using questionable ratings research as evidence that people pay attention to commercials. The fact is that media advertising can work, but does not always work.

Internet Expansion

The internet opened doors for marketers who were trying to get away from last century’s marketing approach that was expensive and invasive. In many cases, advertising was full of exaggeration. A more consumer-friendly approach has developed on the internet that allows marketers and consumers to connect when it’s right for both of them.

Instead of interrupting content with commercials, content marketing provides the information people are already searching for, presented in a digestible way.By designing a series of online messages through blogs and articles, you can educate customers about products much faster than in the past. You can even get some customers to speed up their purchases.

Content marketing avoids hard sell language and concentrates on giving readers the most important product information and then funnels toward web pages devoted to deeper details. By creating thorough web pages about products, pages are indexed by search engines, which can potentially equate to vast amounts of free advertising.

Alternatives to Mainstream Media

The rise of content marketing may not have happened if small business had not been shut out of mainstream media. Expensive advertising led to big business having a heavy presence on local television, newspapers and radio as small companies were overshadowed. Thanks to Google’s AdWords pay per click program small businesses finally found low cost ways to reach their target markets.Google and other search engines have also contributed to customers finding the businesses they are looking for faster.

Take the lead in content marketing by building a website full of content that people are searching for. If you build a small business site full of unique information that cannot be found elsewhere, it’s possible for search engines to create your core market and for content marketing to nurture your market.

Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000, with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

Ian Conklin - President OTR Web

OTR Web is a Certified Partner with HubSpot and Google.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements

Contact OTR Web.

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Repurposing Content

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Repurposing Content for Various Media Formats

Multimedia has been a concept developing for decades to empower creative minds by presenting a message through different forms of communication. Computers and the internet have become the vehicles for accomplishing many multimedia dreams. The amazing power of the computer is that it can now combine video, radio, music, books, slide shows and many other types of media into one platform.

Deciding on Formats

Your computer has become your media center for producing content that can be Repurposing Contentexperienced through several different formats such as video files, audio files, news feeds, text files, image files, HTML and many other things. You don’t really need to know the technical side of multimedia other than how to copy and paste a code into web pages. Understanding basic HTML is a good idea even if you never plan to write code. Then again, if all your web-based solutions will be through easy to use cloud platforms, then all you really need to know is how to click a button that says “upload.”

No longer do you need to worry about the technical headaches and bandwidth issues of hosting your own videos, since you can just upload your videos to YouTube and link to them on your site. Images as well as videos are hosted on Flickr. You can create slideshows with SlideShare. Ebooks can be constructed through cloud platforms such as CreateSpace, Lulu or Libiro. Audio can be recorded and stored on SoundCloud. You can also upload original music to ReverbNation. Each of these platforms allows you to build a digital library for multimedia presentations. Let your imagination guide you on the appropriate forms of media to reach your audience.

Hard Copy Formats

The physical world and digital world can work together in an efficient streamlined manner. While digital publishing is more cost efficient and eco-friendly than print, there are certain times when it’s reasonable to use print to expand your market. It’s also true that CDs and DVDs are wise to manufacture if you know there’s a demand for them. It becomes unwise to manufacture thousands of physical discs if you have no way of marketing or distributing them. You may want to create different versions of your content for each type of media format so that it’s not considered duplicate content by search engines.

The best of both worlds is accomplished when you use an on demand philosophy. If you have 100 requests for your ebook in hard copy form, then it makes sense to print 100 books. You can do the same thing with selling videos as downloads or DVDs or music as downloads or CDs. By interacting with followers on social networks, you will be able to learn the formats in which people want to consume your content. You may want to manufacture a limited number of DVDs and CDs simply to give out free at street fairs and trade shows. Printed flyers are still one of the best ways to get the word out about your business.

Advanced Multimedia

Remember that standing out is always more important than blending in when it comes to content marketing. If your competition isn’t doing anything too amazing with content, then almost any multimedia ideas you come up with will be better. But if your competition presents a lot of videos, photos, audio and ebooks, you might trying taking multimedia to the next level. Creative cutting edge media such as video games, highly attractive colorful infographics and heat maps, animation and interactive technology. Take the lead in content marketing by investing in equipment and software that helps you produce sophisticated, artistic multimedia productions.

Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

Ian Conklin - President OTR Web

OTR Web is a Certified Partner with HubSpot and Google.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements

Contact OTR Web.

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Reactive Content for Social Sharing

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Reactive Content for Social Sharing

Content that creates any kind of significant and fast spreading online buzz is considered viral and sometimes called “contagious content.” What are the qualities of videos, images, blogs and articles that go viral? It definitely has more to do with standing out than blending in. Evidence suggests that people who sort through YouTube deciding on what to watch pay attention to views, as popularity attracts more viewers. That’s why the more “likes” you can initially generate, the more chance others will watch it.

Seeing Through Viral Hype

The biggest myth about viral content is that there’s a certain formula that can work for anyone. viral contentObviously not all content creators have equal significance. No matter how many experts you listen to about the keys to crafting viral content, the top viral videos and blogs will usually either come from an already popular website or somehow receive exposure from a popular media outlet.

The video to the novice song “Friday” by Rebecca Black was the most viewed video on YouTube in 2011 and sparked a national discussion on how such an amateur could overshadow professional recording artists. What was amazing was that over 80 percent of viewers who rated the video voted “dislike.” The mystery can be explained by the fact that the viral activity began after the video was mentioned on a popular blog by comedian Michael J. Nelson. From there it was reviewed and ridiculed by several media outlets.

Viral videos can also be rigged. In December 2012 YouTube discovered and cancelled two billion views for music videos were faked possibly by hackers who worked for the music industry. In other words, don’t be distracted too much by what’s considered hot online because there’s always a chance it’s misleading, distorted, rigged or hyped information.

Viral Factors

Your video or blog might never be viewed by millions, but you might still have a chance to get enough attention to attract an audience that helps your business. One of the most important factors of viral content is that it gets reviewed by influencers such as popular bloggers. Developing an ongoing relationship with several successful bloggers can plant seeds to future viral action. Content that has no connection with other online influences will likely not go viral on its own.

The actual content can take on many different forms in viral scenarios. Short wacky videos and informative lengthy blogs are typical examples of contagious content. But there are no real ways to predict what can go viral, other than the content is usually filtered through popular media channels. Other terms that have been used by experts to characterize viral qualities include: relevant, controversial, personable, creative, inspiring, emotional, humane, humorous, shocking and daring. Catchy titles help as well.

Consistent Vision

Stay true to what you believe in instead of trying to figure out how to fit into popular schemes. Brand StrategyCompromising your vision for short-lived popularity might not be worth it because viral activity does not guarantee sales conversions or building long term loyalty. As long as you craft creative content you should be in the running for viral opportunities, provided that it catches the attention of influencers with big audiences.

If you come across viral content that inspires you and fits your vision, then go ahead and experiment with it, but don’t just do something controversial or shocking to try to go viral. What works for others might not work for you. It’s fine to experiment with humor and novelty, but never lose site of solving problems. Take the lead in content marketing by crafting edgy educational content that no one else is doing.

Would you like to get exclusive & relevant information such as this blog/article  delivered to your mailbox? Join our OTR Web Newsletter now.

Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

Ian Conklin - President OTR Web

OTR Web is a Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements

Contact OTR Web.

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Interacting with Followers

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Interacting With Followers Is Crucial To Your Business. Learn Why!

Content marketing is strengthened exponentially with social media in mind. You can rely on search Social Media Brandingengines to a degree to help bring you a certain amount of traffic, but if you want to accelerate loyalty and possibly sales, you will need to interact with followers through social media. The most popular social networks are Facebook, YouTube, Google Plus, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. You don’t need a presence on each of them, just the ones that suit your goals.

The Power of Interaction

The quote from Ian Conklin that “clients want to believe they found you .. not that you found them” applies to search engines, websites and social media as vehicles for knowledge discovery. People feel rewarded by making the right connections in their networks. Take advantage of the fact that half the world is now looking to make new friends online through social media to help with problem solving and possibly career advancement.

Interaction through the internet is a much more empowering form of communication than a person who passively absorbs television or radio programming. Social media can deliver immediate answers and responses faster than email or any other electronic medium besides the telephone. Social media is more convenient than the telephone, which can be interruptive at times, whereas people with social profiles crave attention. Another strength that social media offers is group discussion that can expand through content sharing.

Mixing Art with Messages

Putting Paint to Canvas

Putting Paint to Canvas

What’s spectacular about social media sharing is that it allows you to express yourself in artistic ways that had previously not been possible. You can now easily associate your message with a song, a movie clip or a painting to help reach a common ground with followers. Sharing original art, music, video or photography with your message can give a personal touch to your campaign. It’s easy to type a post with a link to your blog or article and upload other media at the same time, creating a multidimensional post.

Posting news articles with artistic graphics and a theme that goes along with your writing is a creative way to lead followers to your content. Facebook and Google Plus give you flexibility for combining multiple links on one post. The visual imagery helps pull in readers from their news feed, which is important, since only about 15 percent of your Facebook friends will see your posts in news feeds. Facebook learns through “likes” and comments what the most active friends are for each individual and serves them their own individual news feed of top connections. So it’s important to create as many impressive posts as possible to increase visibility.

Comments and Likes

Your social media interactivity should include reading other people’s posts as well as writing your own. You can write comments on people’s “walls” on Facebook just by clicking their names. If someone likes your comment it’s a good idea to like their comments at least once in a while. It helps remind them of your content and builds a connection that keeps your feeds active.
Adding new unknown followers on Facebook can be done for a business profile, but is discouraged for personal profiles, so you may want to have two separate profiles on Facebook.

Google Plus is more about building new relationships online and engaging in more about knowledge, while Facebook has a more fun and casual orientation. Both social networks allow you to create subgroups focused on specific discussions. Twitter is more about promoting links with simple short statements.Take the lead in content marketing by interacting with followers on a level that creates a meaningful bond that is mutually beneficial.

Would you like to get exclusive & relevant information such as this blog/article  delivered to your mailbox? Join our OTR Web Newsletter now.

Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

Ian Conklin - President OTR Web


OTR Web is a Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements

Contact OTR Web.

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Data Collection and Audience Measurement

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Data Collection and Audience Measurement

One of the things that makes content marketing more scientific than traditional marketing is the fact that it provides a mountain of data. Most of this data can be obtained at low to no cost. Google Analytics is one of the best tracking platforms for your online efforts to find out how well your content attracts traffic. Various other tracking services can help you gauge your performance. Studying this data will help you determine your strengths and weaknesses at content marketing.

Google Analytics

There are many different services that offer audience measurement for websites, but Google Analytics isHands hold tablet PC with graphs by far the most popular and it’s well respected due to its comprehensive detail. Analytics tell you how much traffic you’re getting, where it comes from and how visitors behave on your site. The research is designed for marketers and is divided into free and premium services. The basic free package tells you how many visits your site got in a given day, week or month, along with average session time and bounce rate, which reveals the percentage of visitors who exit the site after viewing one page.

One of the helpful indicators that Google Analytics provides is how users found your websites. Referrers such as search engines, social networks and websites are listed as sources that brought you traffic. You can use this information to share with referrers to let them know they provide you value. Another use of Analytics is finding out which geographic locations bring you the most traffic, which can help you determine if your branding messages need to be more universal or focused on certain regions. The main limitation of Google Analytics is that users can disable cookies in their browsers, which blocks data collection on how they use your site.

CrazyEgg

You can help improve your conversion rate by analyzing why people leave your site with Crazy Egg heat maps. The software shows you specific locations on web pages that visitors clicked before exiting. A scroll map shows how far visitors scrolled on pages, which helps you determine which parts of pages are most and least effective at holding people’s attention. The Confetti tool within the software helps you learn search terms that were used by people to find your site.

Alexa and Quantcast

Two audience measurement sites that can teach you a lot about web popularity are Alexa and Quantcast. Both sites rank millions of websites, using separate methodologies to measure web traffic. Unlike ComScore and Nielsen, Alexa and Quantcast publish their rankings for the public. You can even use them for free to find out how your website compares with competitors in traffic rankings. If you sign up for either service and paste their code on your web pages you can get much more detailed statistics.

Alexa, owned by Amazon, tells you how your site ranks globally as well as in the United States. If your site gets enough traffic it will tell you other interesting information, such as bounce rate, daily pageviews per visitor, daily time on site and heat maps for gender, education level, browsing location (home, school, work) and visitors by country. It will also tell you the percentage of visits that originated from search engines and the top keywords used from search engines. It will also give your site an SEO score on a 0-100 point scale.

Quantcast is useful for looking at income levels and other demographics of your users. Both sites provide much more information if you subscribe.Take the lead in content marketing by utilizing website Analytics, which will help fine tune your understanding of your audience.

Would you like to get relevant information such as this blog/article  delivered to your mailbox? Join our OTR Web Newsletter now.

Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

Ian Conklin - President OTR Web

OTR Web is a Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements

Contact OTR Web.

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Lead Nurturing for the Sales Funnel

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Lead Nurturing for the Sales Funnel

The whole point to content marketing is getting leads with a good ROI, unless you’re just doing it as a hobby. Most people who go through all the trouble of massive content creation appreciate the business that it can bring. Your business will be elevated by implementing a system that captures, nurtures, scores and converts leads through your sales funnel, which ultimately directs users to your product pages.

Landing Page Optimization

A landing page, as defined by Google Analytics, is the first page that a user enters on a website. Marketers tend to extend the definition to pages where customers arrive after clicking ads. To avoid confusion, you might refer to pages where you sell products as your product pages or lead capture pages, whether the products are physical or digital. Use these pages to develop leads you can nurture for future sales. You can capture leads by offering a form, email address or link to your social media profile.

The most effective product pages will make it easy for the consumer to quickly learn the product name, what it looks like with a thumbnail or image, the price, product reviews and a purchase button. No matter how sophisticated the e-commerce software is, the buying experience needs to be simple. The consumer should have multiple methods for purchasing, such as credit, debit or PayPal. Product images need to be sharp and colorful. Reviews are essential because they provide real life experiences and give the consumer deeper insight.

A/B Testing

One of the ways to improve landing pages is through A/B testing, which is a process of experimenting with various versions of web pages to narrow down the most effective lead generation strategy. Multiple pages can be tested either at one time or in a sequence. The goal is to figure out which type of presentation gets the best click-through and conversion rates.A/B testing does not produce complex statistics. It’s more of a simple approach to decision-making that doesn’t require a lot of time, effort or expense. Variables can be the layout and the choice of wording, color and images.

Creating a QA Page

Offering a QA page is strategically advantageous because it’s what many leads gravitate toward when they have questions and want quick answers. Think of 10-20 or more questions that your customers might ask you regarding the purchasing process and how to learn more about the product. Provide links for further information if necessary. Be sure to also provide a link for followers to ask further questions, which captures leads.

Lead Scoring and Nurturing

As leads come to you through forms, email and social media, you can save time with the conversion process by developing a lead scoring system. You can use marketing automation software such as Hubspot, Pardot, PlanPlus, LeadMaster and a variety of other programs or you can do it manually. Simply create a 0-10 or 0-100 scoring system with the highest numbers being the most likely leads to convert. Then score your leads based on the information the potential customer gives you.

Concentrate your efforts on high scoring leads so that you don’t annoy the people who are not interested in making purchases. Low scores may someday shift to high scores if you nurture them in a friendly way. You can maximizing lead nurturing by keeping all contacts on your radar and interacting with them through social media and finding out more about their lifestyles and interests. Offer them free information whenever you can.

Would you like to get relevant information such as this blog/article  delivered to your mailbox? Join our OTR Web Newsletter now.

Take the lead in content marketing by converting leads to sales based on a sensible system that evaluates followers of your content.

Ian Conklin

Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

OTR Web is a Partner with HubSpot.

 

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements Contact OTR Web.

 

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Content Marketing – Distributing Content

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Distributing Content

Content marketing is unique from paid advertising in the sense that the intent is for followers to find you more than you chasing them. This concept is changing views about distribution in many ways. Instead of mass producing a compromised message at a high cost determined by gatekeepers and hoping for a return on investment, you can craft a more engaging low cost message using various interactive distribution channels.

Social Media

A powerful way to share your content is through social media networks such as Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Facebook is a great place to share content with existing followers while Google Plus is a useful platform for finding new followers. Social media can be a time consuming experience because it involves interacting with several people, but it’s a great way to build relationships and loyalty.

Ideally, you want to create a brief catchy post about your blog on a social network with an attractive image and a link to the blog. There are different ways to post content, depending on how much time you want to spend. But if you want to post the same blog in several places including social networks, you should consider an automated system known as RSS (really simple syndication).

Subscribers

Blogs can be distributed to many different places at once using an RSS feed, which is designed for internet subscribers of frequently updated content. An RSS reader is software that aggregates various RSS feeds from the internet and displays them in one place. It eliminates the need for large companies such as USA Today to email their content to millions of subscribers each day. Subscribers can opt in and out of the content anytime they choose. They can subscribe to these feeds just by clicking a “subscribe” link.

Once you complete your blog on a blogging platform such as WordPress or Google’s content marketing rss feedsBlogger, you can click “publish” and the platform will automatically generate an RSS feed URL for your content that can be retrieved by subscribers. You can also syndicate audio or video podcasts. It saves you quite a bit of time from manually sending it out to each recipient or posting in various places. Each social network has instructions for where to place your RSS feed URL, which is a one time setup.

In order to set up an RSS feed you will need an RSS management platform if you’re not using a blogging platform that does it for you. RSS Builder and Google’s FeedBurner are software programs that will do the coding and generate an RSS feed URL for you in one click, while you fill in a form for your title, link, publish date and other information. MailChimp is useful software for scheduling your blog or other content for email subscribers.

Mobile Optimization

Let’s face it, mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets have surged in popularity and have become an easy way to access the internet for people on the go. Optimizing your website for mobile users can help your cause, especially if you run a local business with a physical location.

Some owners prefer to create a separate “mobile website” for mobile users, who need to conserve bandwidth and just need simplified versions of websites to access the most important information and links without dealing with big files. However a “responsive website”, one website that in effect remakes itself for each browser and device type is most often thought as the best solution overall. Google refers to the responsive web as a best practice. The Google app Currents and the iPad app Flipboard create simple ways to syndicate mobile content in real time.

Take the lead in content marketing by making your content available to your followers based on whatever the easiest way is for them to connect with your messages.

Ian ConklinIan Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements Contact OTR Web.

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Content Marketing Providing Useful Solutions

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Content Marketing : Providing Useful Solutions

Your job as a thought leader is to pinpoint problems and offer time saving or money saving solutions. Around that core dimension you can add a wide variety of elements to your storytelling. Bloggers who don’t offer solutions tend to get discarded into the space of forgettable internet history, which is by no means a lonely place. There are  more blogs that fail than succeed, but the winners are the ones who make life better for others.

Challenging Common Thought

One way to enter the realm of online problem solving through blogging is to analyzeContent Marketing current market conditions and evaluate trends with the intent to be critical of the ones that don’t really matter. If you study the music industry you’ll find that many trends have been nothing more than well executed marketing schemes. Certain genres  or artists have remained a continuum through multiple generations, such as the Beatles, whereas certain trends have had short life cycles before burning out.

Figure out the difference in your field between long term mainstays and short term trends. Don’t be afraid to criticize short term trends because it can help build your track record in the long run. Embrace established order that you probably can’t change and pick apart the quick rise and fall schemes that are fragile and aren’t worth defending, especially if they add up to big expenses over time. Consider how the SEO schemes of a decade ago are now outdated and could have been costly for followers who latched onto them. You can demonstrate thought leadership by helping readers learn to see through popular myths.

Identifying Problems

Every business or industry has limitations, which many times are swept under the mat. Businesses tend to hide their problems from public view for branding reasons. You don’t necessarily have to single out any competitors, but you can gain an advantage in your content marketing by developing a list of customer “pain points,” which are any scenarios that create uncomfortable problems for consumers regarding products or services.

Even if you do not have readily available solutions to specific problems, take note of them anyway. Create a list of pain points as long as possible because every single one of them can be turned into a compelling blog at some point. Rank the pain points by severity and by your ability to resolve them at least through ideas. You many not have the resources to develop product solutions, but that doesn’t have to stop you from establishing yourself as a thought leader. Eventually you may come across partners who can help create such products.

Offering Solutions

Content marketing at its best is about offering useful solutions that improve an industry and consumer experiences. Your ability to provide solutions in your blogs can be enhanced through inspiration and brainstorming. Inspiration can come from art, movies, music, books, sports or other areas of pop culture. Solutions do not always come from the top geniuses on the planet. Many times they surface as a result of group discussions or ideas triggered during a game or activity.

Solutions are powerful topics in your blogs because not only can they win the loyalty of online customers, they can also get the attention of possible business partners or even the media. Newspapers and TV news reporters crave covering new ideas and inventions, because it helps build their own images as thought leaders. Search engines are waiting to rank web pages, especially blogs, that provide answers that their users are searching for.

Take the lead in content marketing by offering blogs that speed up people’s quest for resolving difficult matters.



Ian ConklinIan Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements Contact OTR Web.

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Content Marketing – Thought Leadership

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Content Marketing – Thought Leadership

The core objective that determines whether or not content marketing will be worth the enormous amount of time and effort is thought leadership. Are you able to become a thought leader in your field or are you more comfortable with being a follower? If you just want to be a follower you will inevitably be overshadowed in search rankings by more creative competitors. Thought leadership is about assuming command and determination in your industry at creating a huge community of followers.

Modern Expertise

Traditionally, leadership in general in our culture was reserved for the few who chose Content Marketing - Thought Leaderspaths through higher education or may have already been born into powerful circles. Rarely were mainstream people expected to become heads of big corporations or invent products that change the world. Experts were considered individuals with degrees from prestigious universities, professors, high profile business leaders and people with years of experience in their trade. Authors of books released by major publishers gained similar credibility.

Thanks to Google and other search engines, the definition of “expert” now includes a longer list of people who might not have those traditional qualifications that define expertise. Apple innovator Steve Jobs also inspired a new culture of people who want to change the world. These inspiring tech pioneers elevated the confidence of many people to pursue innovation as a vehicle for attention and respect. It’s now ok to go against the status quo and offer new ideas to improve systems and products. People who inform and inspire others online with original content are now called thought leaders.

Gaining a Competitive Edge

Study your competitors to understand their strengths and weaknesses. You may not be able to counter their strengths but you may find creative ways to counter their weaknesses. Perhaps they have limitations that are short-sighted. Even if you do not have the means to offer a better product you can still use their weaknesses to your advantage by commenting on them. Look for weaknesses that you can be the first to comment on and offer ideas for improvement.

If you can develop a steady stream of ideas that can improve your industry, you can take the lead in content marketing by utilizing business blogging. One rant isn’t going to change the world much, but a series of well thought out blogs can at least start to attract like minded followers who can convert to customers. As OTR Web Solutions President Ian Conklin has said, “clients want to believe they found you .. not that you found them.” 

Blogs are important because search engines regard them as potentially authoritative and prioritize them in rankings. That’s how many people end up connecting with thought leaders.

Video Credibility

Making informative videos adds to your credibility as a thought leader. YouTube has become the new encyclopaedia for people to gain knowledge quickly from trusted thought leaders. While blogs are meant to be personable written journalism, video can be even more personable and memorable. Now that online video has become so popular, a huge body of evidence is showing that people are more likely to remember what they see in an online video than what they read in a book. One reason for this phenomenon is that viewers can start and stop videos whenever they want.



The ability for people to learn from video has accelerated the time frame of learning curves in our society. The more you can inform people in videos, the more they will regard you as a helpful thought leader and want to check out more of your videos. Sharing your videos on social networks will help increase views.

Ian ConklinIan Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements Contact OTR Web.

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Is SEO Dead Alive or Just Different

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Is SEO Dead or Alive?

We have all read the (often self proclaimed) pundits writing articles about how SEO is dead and web masters are wasting their time and money concentrating on that aspect of their websites. As in most blanket type statements there is some truth and some non-truths in such a statement.

Organic SEO

Organic SEO or Natural SEO is alive and well – always has been and in my opinion always will be an effective and important tool for web masters. In simplistic terms Organic SEO comes about from researching the key phrases your website readers will use to search for your product or service.  Those phrases must then be placed within your web copy in such a manner as to attract not only the search bots but also your website reader…compelling them to take a specific action. Remarkable web content is still king.

Organic SEO also involves your website structure and navigation scheme by developing your website so as to assist the requirements of the search engines. In other words the back-end of your website, the part you do not see, must be coded to be effectively read by search engines such as Google or Bing.

If you build or have built a website without these elements (and yes there are many web designers that pay only lip service, if any to these critical elements of a website) you will find your website buried about 50 to 100 pages back on Google.

Not So Organic SEO

There hardly seems to be a day or a week that goes by that I do not get an email or phone call from a company the “specialises” in SEO. You answer the phone and you hear the crackling noise of an overseas caller telling you in not so good English how they can get your website number 1 on Google! Or the email comes across your desk extolling the virtues of their company and talking about link building and only “White Hat” strategies and techniques. Ever notice that most times the email is not from a business address but rather a free email service such as GMAIL or Hotmail or Live? RUN is the best advice I can give.

Then there are the companies that specialised in print ad books. They suddenly came to the understanding that they were falling behind, becoming irrelevant and jumped into SEO late in the game. They often coerced you into staying with their print ads by combining with their new super duper SEO packages. Those SEO packages seem eerily similar to the ones being developed and maintained by those offshore companies … with the same link building techniques and on-page web strategies. I have looked at the page coding on some and just shuddered.

Is this orchestrated type of SEO dead? … well if it is not it probably should be and with the changes in algorithms of the search engines, it will soon be dead and possibly your website along with it.

Where is SEO Alive and Well

SEO has become an entire package of responsibilities for your web marketing firm. Encompassing not just a new website with Organic SEO, but Social Media, Business Blogging, Email Marketing (to opted in recipients) and Online Video amongst others. This package when bundled together is called Inbound Marketing. Drawing customers to your product or service.

I penned a phrase in an earlier blog about Brand Strategies Inbound Marketing. In that blog I wrote, “clients want to believe they found you … not that you found them” in other words the days of cold calling on potential clients or invasive marketing techniques are long dead. Today a potential client recognises a need and searches to find the answer and that is when your information needs to be available. Sounds  a whole lot like SEO to me.

Take the Lead in SEO – access our eBook on Creating Remarkable Content



Creating remarkable content is still king in SEO. It is just that today that remarkable content is across a wider spectrum of media. Yes SEO is alive and well.

Ian ConklinIan Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements Contact OTR Web.

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