The days of building content and simply waiting for people to come are long gone. Today, for businesses to achieve measurable outcomes, they need to pair great content with great promotion.
In addition to creating content, most brands hire stakeholders to attain greater awareness, engagement, and media coverage. Although the content itself is considered owned media, the invitations to view it likely fall into one of two vehicles: earned or paid.
- Owned media is almost equivalent to content marketing. It consists of content created for your website and other properties that are pitched to news outlets. An ideal way to drive audience interest and website traffic is by posting clever infographics or thought leadership articles on third-party websites, such as news outlets or blogs.
- Earned media, also known as "third-party mentions" and "word-of-mouth", is a crucial factor to your brandís longevity. People trust journalists, friends, family, and people they look up to more than they do branded messages.
- Paid media can be tremendously successful if targeted. Setting up ads without targeting them is like throwing money out the window. Targeting your ads by demographics, location, and time can bring greater return on investment (ROI).
To be successful with content marketing and PR, donít forget to invite people to your content.
Click-through rate, or CTR, is one of the metrics used for measuring the performance and effectiveness of an online advertising campaign for a particular website. Search engines use CTR to determine which ads get shown and which ones donít. Search marketers have only a vague understanding of how CTR increases as an ad moves higher up on the search results page. The whole concept is wrapped in mystery.
Why does CTR matter? Click-through rate measures the amount of traffic a particular ad, or campaign as a whole, is driving to your website. For this reason alone, CTR deserves your attention. Furthermore, it directly affects your quality score - Google's rating of the quality and relevance of both your keywords and ads - and a high quality score allows you to improve or maintain ad position for a lower cost.
shares three simple steps to improve clicks on your ads:
1. Improve the position of your ads. An important principle in conversion optimization is that what is seen immediately once the page loads is more likely to grab the userís attention, whereas page elements that the user needs to scroll to see are less likely to receive attention.
Same goes for the search engine results page and how the position of your ads determines your click-through rate - the higher an ad appears, the more clicks it will receive. Because users spend more time reading ads at the top of the page, youíll want to get a premium ad placement - the investment could be worth it.
2. Keep your ad copy and keyword phrases alike. Although search marketers are aware that the closer the similarity of an ad copy to the searcherís keyword phrase, the higher the click-through rate, only a few realize the important role an ad copy plays. In premium positions, an optimized ad copyís CTR can go up as much as 160% - and this increase applies to ads at the bottom of the search engine results page as well, with CTR as much as three times higher.
3. Select low-competition keyword phrases. An underappreciated factor that affects click-through rate is the degree of competitive bidding for the search phrase. This is measured in a number of ways:
- Actual number of advertisers bidding on the phrase
- The estimated cost per click for the top ad position
- The competition level as presented by the search engines
- The number of words in the phrase
It would be wise to target a large number of specific search phrases in your campaigns instead of just a handful of broad terms. There will be less competition, and as a result, a bigger bite of the cherry. Also, this kind of niche keyword targeting benefits advertisers appearing in low positions more. So for those who canít afford to bid as much as your competitors, itís essential that you find less competitive keywords to target.
As of late, several activities have been spotted in the realm of outsourcing
. First, thereís the growing number of smaller deals, then short-term arrangements, and the overwhelming volume of niche providers armed with attractive outsourcing packages. This means several things for service providers as well because they can now cast a wide net and gain access to distinguished clients, which in turn can position them better in the aggressive marketplace.
shares five solutions that can help providers make the most out of the dynamic and cut-throat marketplace. 1. Match deals with capabilities.
Providers should avoid hoarding deals to one-up one another because the number of clients does not automatically equate to success. Instead, they should sift through the sea of clients first and analyze if they can accommodate their requests using existing resources. Providers that go after quality rather than quantity usually come out on top. 2. Select the best of the best.
If providers want to catch the attention of potential clients, they should consider putting together a team composed of only the best from each department. This will enable them to get through complex subject matters faster, and come up with innovative solutions that will blow potential clients away. Get one foot in the door, and once thatís done, send in the closers or the "A Team" to finish the deal. 3. Break away from the mold.
Itís hard to stand out when you are fighting tooth and nail in such an aggressive industry. As more players come in, the playing field is getting more diluted with promising price points and innovative business solutions. So, how does one exactly stand out in an environment like this? Vendors that specialize in specific niches have found that being able to back the things that you say is the best leverage in getting customers to close the deal because nothing beats credibility. Remember, clients today do not appreciate being subjected to strategies, business solutions, and plans that are yet to be proven. 4. Build relationships.
Know your clients and build relationships with them. This way, you will be able to see and understand what they really want instead of pushing pre-fabricated solutions that they donít want, and in the end are not the right solutions for their business. It also helps that you will at least get to be on the other side with them, and then leverage the information you got to help them while helping your own as well. 5. Have a clear and actionable reputation management strategy.
Whether we like it or not, the industry has been having troubles with its image in the marketplace. It has come across issues that have not been shaken even with thousands of press releases from leaders both from the provider side and client side. Being hands-on in reputation management strategies and putting these first before you even begin the transactions will help minimize, if not completely eliminate, the negative perceptions.
We may be well past the middle of the year, but it still pays for companies to keep an eye out for emerging trends once in a while, or every day, especially when it comes to the ever-changing world of social media.
These days, having a mobile-friendly website is imperative. Publish a book, and youíll have readers asking if itís available on the iPad. Customers just keep raising the bar on what they expect from businesses. And businesses, in turn, have to work even harder to meet those expectations.
listed the must-follow social media trends author and speaker Shama Kabani Hyder shared during the talk, "Digital Foresight: 7 Pivotal Trends Every Leader Must Know."
1. Ecosystems Based on Ideas
Hyder said people use social media for the main purpose of showcasing their own identities. A companyís Facebook page is a reflection of the people behind the brand. Tie your brand to your customerís identity and you've got a win on your hands.
2. Content: Curate and Aggregate
Our generation has gone from information hunger to information overload that an individualís email address has become more precious to give away than, say, his social security number. Donít be the brand known for sending out unsolicited junk mail. Instead, be the most sought out by customers and establish yourself as the main source for relevant information on a specific topic or interest.
3. Video Marketing
According to Hyder, internet users are more likely to finish a 30-minute video than an article. Customers can now make purchases directly through videos. People are on social media to be entertained, and what better way to hold their attention than a video campaign?
4. The Multiple-screen Revolution
The modern consumer now uses multiple devices at once - TV, mobile phone, laptop, and tablet - and frequently. Hyder expects an increase in the number of devices we are using at once in the next two to five years. The challenge for companies now is to find ways to communicate with users on multiple screens and to cope with decreasing attention spans.
5. Understanding Customers via Digital Signals
The importance of using analytics was emphasized by Hyder - to understand customers and know the best way to reach them. For example, if a significant percentage of your traffic is from mobile, make sure your website is optimized for mobile phones so you donít lose traffic.
6. Social Media-savvy Employees
In this day and age, members of your social media team shouldn't be the only ones adept with social. All of your employees are required to be social media-savvy. Each individual should create, curate, and connect, and companies should focus on agility, aggregation, and adaptability. Most importantly, people should be posting content that is relevant to the customer.
7. The Power of Reverse Engineering
Think further than your own niche and industry when it comes to marketing ideas, recommended Hyder. Stay ahead of your competitors and consider lifting great marketing tactics from companies in completely different industries.
Years ago, there were numerous discussions as to whether or not social was a big waste of time for businesses. Back then, social media was still a question rather than a statement.
Today, social media marketing has proven to be worthwhile for businesses. And that it is relatively inexpensive and easily accessible makes social media the perfect tool for small businesses and start-ups. There are so many things a business can do through social media: market, build awareness, grow its reach, and create a community, to name a few.
Social media has become a part of our everyday lives that itís easy for you, or your employees, to lose time and productivity to social media time suck which can affect profits.
Here are ways that can help you avoid wasting time on social media:
1. Select a focus.
Failing to pick a focus for their social media efforts is a trap businesses cannot fall into. Do not try to be everywhere at once and establish a presence on every existing social network. Itís okay to set up profiles to secure your brand name, but you donít need to be active on every site. Doing so only takes your time off more productive tasks.
Choose a social network that suits your industry - thatís where your audience is. An effective way for marketers to save time and put what they create to good use is by repurposing content spread across social networks.
2. Develop a strategy.
Having a strategy is critical when starting anything new for your business. Before jumping into social media, make sure you have a course of action. Set goals associated with your social media strategy, but understand that you canít do it all overnight.
The trick is to list down your biggest goals and complete small tasks each day that lead you closer toward accomplishing them.
3. Have a schedule.
Not having a schedule is another major time waster for those involved in social media. You run the risk of forgetting to publish relevant content, or devoting a whole day to social when you should have been doing more important work. Make it a regular part of your schedule so it wouldn't become a useless distraction.
4. Use the tools available to you.
The interfaces included in social networks are perfect for posting and interaction, but there are more efficient tools you can use to take on multiple networks at once, like Hootsuite and Buffer.
5. Donít use too many tools.
Keep it simple and choose the tool that serves most of your needs. Using too many tools will only distract you.
6. Donít try to do everything yourself.
Your daily tasks increase as your social media efforts grow, just as your business increases with the expansion of your social presence. And when that happens, you might not be able to handle it all on your own. Should that time come, you can get help by outsourcing tasks like post-scheduling and analytics monitoring. Youíll still be in-charge of the message; youíll just have some assistance spreading it to your audience.
7. Schedule posts in advance.
Failing to schedule posts can put a major strain on your workload. Youíll either be scrambling to publish posts or end up with nothing to publish at all. Also, the idea of going online and being present on social media sites at all times is the kind of time suck that discourages business owners from considering social media marketing.
8. Donít get caught up in real-time chatter.
Conversation and engagement are important to your social media efforts, but avoid getting wrapped up in trifling conversations that distract you from your larger social goals and your regular tasks. Keep your social conversations focused and direct to the point to avoid wasting time.
9. Donít let every notification distract you from work.
Responding to mentions, comments, and messages is important, and it is imperative to respond in a timely manner. However, responding to every single one of them only pulls you away from some other task repeatedly. Answer queries that require immediate attention, and save the rest for later.
10. Engage with your audience.
Real engagement and conversion are two of the major factors that let you build relationships with your audience and humanize your brand. The perfect complement to your social media efforts is responding to people who have taken the time to reach out to your brand.
Over the years, it has been observed that more and more companies are incorporating outsourcing
to their business operations. With the numerous IT solutions offered in the market today, chief information officers (CIOs) have to weigh in the pros and cons of outsourcing and how these will add value to the company as a whole. InformationWeek.com
shares some of the top outsourcing consultantsí insights that are said to be driving the IT outsourcing industry. 1. Cloud is gaining more traction.
Cloud technology is becoming more popular among multinational companies and can soon make traditional outsourcing a thing of the past. However, CIOs should not forget that in some ways, cloud integration is also a type of outsourcing since they would have to source the technology as an add-on from other companies, or have an external cloud service provider to manage the cloud software for them.
An expert pointed out that large IT players are acquiring smaller cloud providers so they can still offer cloud technology in a traditional manner. This is also to avoid being priced out by the direct cloud technology providers.
Back then, the public cloud was taboo for a lot of companies because they believed it could pose a threat to data security. Now, it is being used as a primary tool in developing, testing, and even running live applications for customers. A lot of retailers use the cloud since it is faster and more economical and accessible. 2. Dynamic pricing: low cost vs. outcome-based.
Outcome-based pricing is a new thing in the world of outsourcing because of its complexity. Normally, pricing is fixed and is based on a certain timeline or number of outputs. But those things are not considered as major factors when looking at the initial goal of the outsourcing campaign.
In a call center, for instance, the high volume of calls does not immediately equate to success, because their main goal is to help the client on the other line. What clients want is value for their money, meaning they strongly consider the quality of the output and they are analyzing if they are getting their moneyís worth. 3. IT providers in India are more competitive.
Indiaís IT outsourcing industry is more bullish than ever - even beating US-based providers. The large Indian IT providers like Wipro, HCL, and Infosys can now be seen going head-to-head with IBM, CSC, and Hewlett-Packard and the tie-breaker is cost. These offshore providers can be accessed through remote management of data center monitoring, servers, and patching.
India can produce a large number of IT graduates per year, and the lower cost of labor is attracting foreign investors.
4. Insourcing is also making a comeback.
Offshoring still has drawbacks such as language and cultural barriers, political instability, and inflation. This is making way for smaller, rural areas in the US and Canada, which are both major outsourcing markets, to become "domestic sourcing" locations.
Being a PR professional doesn't only require building and maintaining media relationships, but producing consistent coverage with great quality as well. And we understand the plight of not achieving both roles when you donít have a new product, service or opportunity to talk about.
Itís time you stop thinking about sharing news. Become the news! Vocus
listed three proven methods to cut through all the social media noise and bring the mediaís attention to what you have to say, and gain mentions.
1. Be a newsjacker.
Newsjacking is the practice of taking advantage of the popularity of a breaking story. Writing about a popular news story increases your organic search visibility and sales conversion rates.
2. Promote your product.
Product promotion can be done both traditionally and digitally. Another thing you can do is to give a sneak peek to a core group of influencers. By doing so, you win their favor and the content they publish, also known as earned media.
3. Liven up your traditional promotion with digital media.
Not only does adding a digital media component like live streaming or photography liven up your campaign, it also extends the life cycle of your in-person events. Blending traditional and digital tactics gives you content you can use before, during, and after an event. Furthermore, it draws attention to your brand, with attendees and spectators participating with your content, sharing it and sometimes creating content of their own.