Another great visual storyteller, Cole Nussbaumer, has a great take on the full picture with the right kind of data visualization. Take a look at her work (below), and on her blog Storytelling with Data.
Following the presentation & design theme this week – I’ve stumbled across three noteworthy presentation design firms / designers – that also have great stuff to share (you understand how critical good design is with presentations, branding, marketing, content – when you see it). Take a peek…
You know that feeling you get when you leave a really… really bad presentation with hideous slides (i.e. – ‘I want that hour of my life back). Have you ever had the chance to sit thru a really… really good presentation? Those are typically the presentations that have less words, less clutter, nice design, tell a story and extra credit if it’s actually entertaining too. If you’ve seen that, and remember it – mission accomplished. Someone has effectively communicated their story, and their intent. It’s only confusing why some brands don’t think the same principle applies to their business. Here’s another great example from Slideshare Hero Emiliand – and his redesign of a recent NSA Presentation…
Emiliand is a Slideshare HERO – taking one of the top Internet Trends Reports (Mary Meeker‘s annual Internet Trends Report – from KPCB, the firm that assisted Facebook, Twitter and Groupon in IPO) and (very humbly) redesigning it. His work is a testament to the power of information design – and, without it – how a very valuable message, data and information can get lost. The same goes for a brand’s website, social content, app and overall digital experience (just look at brands that have MADE IT, simply because they have put design and functionality, first). Here’s a snippet from Emiliand’s work…
The best marketers know that SEO is an ongoing practice – and when done right – it is something that is monitored on a bi-weekly (if not more often) basis, noting changes in search rank due to site optimization, content, links and other ‘search signals’. Not to mention, Google rolls out hundreds of algorithm updates each year – it’s only the major changes (Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird, and iterations of those updates) that seem to get the most attention.
Among those hundreds of updates – is the latest Google Core Search Algorithm update, expected to be similar to The Quality Update in May 2015. Both of these updates push search quality forward grading several factors with site content, user experience and links – all focused on creating valuable content.
So – the moral of the story is – SEO is the constant pursuit of higher search rank (connecting search demand) to valuable content (on-page and off-page) – and if that ‘constant need’ isn’t something you can commit to service – it’s time to talk to a SEO agency.
If you don’t already have a video master creating daily / weekly / monthly video content for you on YouTube, Vimeo, Wistea, Periscope, Meerkat, Facebook, Vine, Instagram… then it’s time to commit (just to catch up). One easy way to do it – WAKE brand media just launched their video subscription service – to help you to commit to creating great video content for your brand. It’s like hiring a personal trainer – only this one will get your video content into shape!
Mobilegeddon, Instagram Ads, Pinterest Search – just a few of the top digital tactics that have come out in just the first six months of this year have (if you’re already on top of them) or will (if you aren’t) change your entire marketing plan for this year. Here’s a recap of the game changers that will change your marketing plan – and if you’re a good marketer, you’ll change it now, not later.
- Mobile First. Mobile search surpassed desktop search earlier this year – and then, on April 21, Google released an algorithm update that penalized non-mobile optimized (or responsive) websites. ‘Mobilegeddon’ as it was called, was a flurry of marketers scrambling to figure out how to either; (a) bite the bullet and redesign their website in a responsive / mobile optimized format – or – (b) find a workaround to appease Google in the meantime.
- Impact #1 – Google continues to release algorithm updates that reward sites with a great user experience. Get it right now, or scramble to catch up with the next update.
- Impact #2 – Mobile is in the lead for certain metrics, but remain device agnostic. When in doubt, keep user experience and audience interests at the forefront of all marketing decisions).
- Impact #3 – Channel strategies should shift to accommodate more mobile targeted tactics: Paid Search Campaigns skewed to mobile devices, ramp up Facebook advertising (knowing that Facebook also is a ‘mobile first’ company), optimize for Local Search, and the list goes on.
- Social Advertising & Content. Social platforms continue to open up new targeting methods with advertising options, and they’re only getting better. Pinterest now allows advertising, animated (‘cinematic’) pins that can be optimized in the same way you optimize for search (Pinterest’s search team is from Google, so you can imagine there’s some similarity in their search algorithm there). Instagram is opening up advertising options to more advertisers, and can pull in Facebook Advertising targeting capabilities. Facebook Advertising is now critical (and one of the only ways to get in front of your audience), and targeting strategies are getting better, all while advertising costs rise (so get in now, while the gettin’s cheap-er!).
- Impact #1 – Shift advertising budget allocation towards social channels (not next year, now) to ensure that you’re getting highly targeted visibility in a new channel, while the ‘channel clutter’ is low, and taking advantage of a low-cost awareness and conversion platform.
- Bonus Point – Social signals still count as a factor in search rank, even with Google’s latest algorithm update.
- Impact #2 – Optimize your social content both for search engine and native search indexing. We’ve created a culture of ‘searchers’, it’s up to you to connect searching consumers with your brand.
- Impact #3 – Create relevant content. Start first by defining the specific channel audience, then the targeting capabilities, and develop the most relevant social content possible for that audience.
- Twitter Counts in Search. Now that Google & Twitter have a deal to index tweets again, this easy content channel can turn into a long-tail search dream.
- Impact #1 – Reconsider Twitter in your social channel mix. Consider it as a SEO aide and a social channel, with a focus on driving visibility for long-tail terms and converting that visibility to traffic.
- Impact #2 – Optimize Tweets. Look to your SEO Keyword Research / Plan to help guide your Twitter content calendar by incorporating target keywords into topics and tweets.
- Impact #3 – Run Twitter Advertising Tests. There is a solid correlation between highly visible tweets (via retweets, audience size) and the likelihood that your tweet will show up in Google search. Consider running Twitter advertising tests to help boost channel visibility, followers and select tweets.
- Content is More Than King, it’s the Kingdom. Search, social and paid advertising channels can’t run without content. Yet, if siloed, content development becomes very segmented and inefficient. It’s time we rethink how we look at content as an afterthought, and make it as important as digital marketing is to a business. Reconsider how you look at content. Is it an afterthought, or the leading thought?
- Impact #1 – Create a master content calendar that aggregates content needs and output on all channels: SEO, Blog, Social Media, Paid Media, Email, PR. Find content gaps where there are missing holes between the ideal customer content experience and what you currently have. Then create the right content, and make it user friendly. If you wouldn’t watch / read / share it – why would your audience?
- Bonus point: Create a content repository, if you don’t already have one. With needs for content growing, staying organized will be key.
- Impact #2 – Invest in rapid, high-quality content resources and partners. Content can’t take forever to develop any more, and it doesn’t have to. The right resources and partners can enable you to produce more content that is valuable, visible and trackable. You have to feed the beast, and he’s hungry.
- Impact #3 – Make content accountable. Every piece of content should have a set of performance metrics attributed to it. Some content will perform better than others, and that success path should be tracked. Consider content like shooting arrows out to your audience: you’ll want to see where they land, and figure out what you did to land the good ones.
So – if you’re following the digital marketing plan that you set in place last year, it’s already out of date. Follow the plan that will work, now – and use an agency to tell the difference.
Search Engine Watch and Pratik Dholakiya recently published a great list of seven ‘directives’ or rules for SEO today that sum up many of the questions we get on a daily basis – so here’s my key takeaways from the list;
- Link Building isn’t dead; it has evolved. Building links is still a critical aspect of SEO (and equates to about 40% of search rank factors) – its just how you build these links that matters.
- If you want to build backlinks, build relationships. High quality content and backlinks both take time, nurturing, and can’t be automated.
- SEO must be an enterprise-wide effort. You have to go big or go home – SEO is so content driven that every aspect of the business has a need for it, and content worth producing (from operations, to supply chain, R&D to marketing).
- Long-Tail goes a Long-Way. Google’s Hummingbird update made long-tail search more relevant than ever – and it starts with items 1-3 already on this list.
- Usability, UX and Mobile Optimization take you the rest of the way. With Google’s mobile algorithm update, it’s a clear signal that Google is rewarding those that provide a great customer experience that aligns with the upward trend of internet & search use.
- Your brand is social, Twitter is more relevant than ever. Now that Tweets are appearing in search results, implementing items 1-5 within social are critical. Next stop – Pinterest. With an ex-Google team developing the algorithm for Pinterest, it’s set to head the same way. And if you didn’t get how important video has been over the last two years, you’ll need to pick up on that, too.
- Do your thing – what is right for your business. Google updates have, and will continue to come out on a regular basis. Stick to what you know is right, and you’ll continue to stay in the good graces of Google.
Scott Brinker of @chiefmartec has done it again – further updating his Marketing Technology Landscape infographic / map. I love this infographic for two reasons; (1) if I ever need to see what companies are providing services in a certain area, I just have to zoom in 15x, and (2) it gets bigger, and bigger, and bigger every year.
The real lesson out of all of this is that if you – as a business – have to rely on a graph like this to get traffic / customers – instead of showing up on page 1 search results for a simple, topical search keyword – you have a SEO problem.
Media, news & information done right – via Vox’s Card Stacks & pubs / media brands (like Eater, Curbed, Vox.com, Polygon, The Verge, SB Nation, Racked). With their success (and Google’s own Cards / Knowledge Graph), it’s clear that new content forms are not just nice to have, they’re a requirement (short, sweet, & visual) – a trend that has already been happening in the mobile space, is now coming to desktop (see apps like Looksee, Nat Geo View, etc.)
If you remember Altimeter Group‘s Converged Media Imperative when it came out in 2012, you’ll be surprised when you reread the content and realize that marketing as an industry – and most marketers – still aren’t there yet. Channels are still siloed. SEO still reigns supreme, Paid is still questionable, Social Media still exists in a bubble – and for most, marketing budgets still match last click attribution. Reevaluating this Converged Media Strategy – and with a checklist – might be the way to help make a drastic (better late than never) change in your Content Strategy;
…and, this year – starting things off right with their 2015 Enterprise Buyer’s Guide to SEO. This guide includes some 2014 SEO highlights, but also promotes a NEW SEO Structure that is at the core of all content production (right where it should be, aligned with Content Marketing) – as opposed to the OLD way of sticking SEO in a nice compartment right under all of search marketing;
Jim Yu (founder and CEO of Brightedge) compiled a great collection of top stats from 2014 in an article for Search Engine Watch – some stats need a bit more explanation, but at best, a great collection of some of the top stat providers last year;
Organic Search Statistics 2014
No doubt that the organic search channel has proved its place in marketing over the past few years, and data points from 2014 show it:
- According to BrightEdge data, organic search was the largest driver of traffic to websites across sectors studied, and the largest driver of revenue – even over paid search – in most sectors studied.
- Thirty percent (30) of traffic to insurance sites in June 2014 came from search, according to a study by Millward Brown Digital.
- According to an experiment conducted by the Groupon marketing team, up to 60 percent of direct traffic is actually organic search traffic.
- Mobile implementation errors cost websites 68 percent of organic search traffic, according to BrightEdge data.
- Search engine marketing, including SEO, is the most effective acquisition channel for 85 percent of retailers, says Shop.org.
- Search is the starting point for 60 percent of travelers, according to data from Kenshoo.
- According to BloomReach, 49 percent of U.K. consumers use organic search to find retailers.
Content Statistics 2014
Fueling organic search success is content, and it has its own set of unique opportunities and challenges. From the Content Marketing Institute’s most recent research on content for the B2B and B2C sectors, we find the following stats …
B2B Content Stats
- Eighty-three (83) percent of B2B marketers use content for lead generation.
- Website traffic is the key metric for tracking content success, according to 63 percent of B2B marketers, while 39 percent say SEO rankings is.
- Eighty-one (81) percent of B2B marketers say articles on their websites are a most-used tactic; 80 percent say blogs are, and of those that use blogs, 60 percent say it’s the most effective.
- Publishing new content multiple times per week was the norm for 26 percent of B2B marketers; the next largest data set was “weekly,” at 17 percent.
B2C Content Stats
- Seventy-seven (77) percent of B2Cs use content marketing.
- Engagement was the primary goal for content for 88 percent of B2Cs.
- Sixty-two (62) percent of B2Cs say website traffic is a key metric for content success.
- Blogs were the most effective platform for content, according to 54 percent of B2C respondents.
- Thirty-one (31) percent of B2Cs publish new content multiple times per week.
With more than an abundance of ANY content on the web (really, any. editorial, whitepapers, reports, webinars, galleries, infographics) – what seems to be rising to the surface is the return of the POWER of CURATORS – i.e. where consumers are so overloaded (bombarded, bamboozled) by an onslaught of content, that the only way they choose to receive content is through curators they enjoy / trust. A great case in point, Ivanka Trump‘s latest website redesign and new daily email campaign (where she’s simply curating content that her brand/product audience wants to hear). Brilliant work, ladies!
Creating a Culture of Content is a never-ending task that I see in almost every marketing organization that has taken the social media and SEO bull by the horns. Enlisting support and consideration from every aspect of enterprise business is critical – and – Altimeter Group does a great job of visualizing the pieces that need to come together. Better yet, they’ve also provided a framework for a Content Marketing Platform RFP – filled with requirements you can apply to any talent-driven or technology-enabled process.
Altimeter Group‘s Rebecca Lieb provides very simple, yet useful perspective on the role of content in B2B social selling – or – what you could also consider as the most valuable use for social media in a B2B business (supporting sales), where content is key;
Without “content,” all you have left in social sales is “social,” i.e., a platform, a forum or a social network. Devoid of content, all these channels amount to empty containers.
She provides some great tips to start right with strategy first;
- Align Content to the Sales Funnel
- Empower Staff to Curate & Aggregate
- Listen & Respond
- Apply Metrics (to measure performance)
- Build Social Sales Content into the Overall Content Strategy
- Train (and educate internal staff and execs)
- Hire Accordingly (you’ll need the extra help)
Lastly, it’s helpful to know that if you are in the conundrum of ‘what to do with social media for my anti-social B2B business’, you’re not alone. Consider this an opportunity to blast ahead of the competition.
Doug Kessler of the B2B marketing agency, velocity, provided a great recap (even self-appointed awards) for the MASSIVE amount of content at Content Marketing World – he seemed quite content with the content;
The content of Content Marketing World is content about content. And if you think the preceding sentence is unique in having the word ‘content’ in it four times, you haven’t been to Content Marketing World.
Content Marketing Stats – in comparison with – Traditional Marketing (esp. for B2B businesses). Thanks, Marketo.
Here’s another great new tool – Outbrain – “a content discovery platform that allows you to get your content onto thousands of premium publisher sites around the web.” It’s like a DSP ad network, only for content – or a new way to accelerate content discovery marketing. By setting your daily budget and bids for content, your content will appear w/ links on publisher sites driving in new traffic. NOW YOU KNOW where all of that RANDOM content on CNN is from…
Hat’s off to Betabrand – and there relentless promotion (and strategic targeting methods) with their office yoga pant. They know how to target the right consumer audience and go in for the kill (even if it takes unlimited promoted posts in a row and Free Shipping to compete with all of the other marketing noise out there). They also understand that they can generate demand with consumer-tested/demanded products with tactics like promoted posts, email list gen, and product annoucements before the product is even available. In today’s day & age, 2-3 months isn’t too long to wait for a good thing…
Andy Betts of Search Engine Watch talks establishing your OWN media value as part of your Content Marketing Plan in ‘Future of Content Marketing; Business & Scaling Beyond the Noise‘. Think of it as a way to gamify Content Marketing… Owned Content that generates Conversion to CRM/Analytics? 5 POINTS!
Marketers are starting to see success in content marketing and appropriating more budget – using content as the means to making the right connections with researching consumers. That explains the 9.4% increase in budget to fuel content marketing tactics…
Copy & pasting content from other sites to create “new” web content won’t help you rank (or is it not really so bad? …yet?). So yep – we’re back to square one with content marketing here – original, quality content. Cutts provides a great response to a question in from New Delhi, India…
“I fear you may be heading for heartbreak,” Cutts replied in the video. He added that if this is something you’re considering, you should really be asking yourself why you’re doing it in the first place. For example, are you trying to automate? – SEW.
Facebook released additional confirmation that they are promoting and rewarding more high-quality content on the network (aka – it’ll reach more fans, impressions, lower CPM/CPC). They deem high quality content to be content that completes these questions…
- Is this timely and relevant content?
- Is this content from a source you would trust?
- Would you share it with friends or recommend it to others?
- Is the content genuinely interesting to you or is it trying to game News Feed distribution? (e.g., asking for people to like the content)
- Would you call this a low quality post or meme?
- Would you complain about seeing this content in your News Feed?
Andy Betts of Search Engine Watch recently shared 20 key insights from 20 brands (with plenty of great infographs and presentations) on the topics of earned media, search and social – as a result of the BrightEdge Share13 Conference. Here are the highlights;
- the rise of earned media (more trusted than any other channel)
- the future of search (and how it’s changing with mobile)
- attribution and content (multi-device approach)
- the digital CMO (predicting consumer desires)
- the digital CMO challenge (articulate digital value)
- global and mobile SEO
- quality content marketing at scale
- enterprise content marketing & reach
- search forcasting and business impact
- social, search & tv (digital consumption has outpaced tv)
- metrics and analytics that matter (big data)
- adapting SEO metrics to SERP changes
- metrics that drive SEO engagement
- search & earned media case study
- search & earned media (how to bring it together)
- aligning content & SEO
- creating content for customers (not spiders)
- webmaster tools and whitehat practices
- loving links beyond SEO
- the social business transformation
- mobile and SEO budgets changing