Article Marketing

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In Blogging and Social Media, Editing is Your Friend

Posted by Brandsplat

The writer of this blog worked as an underpaid assistant and mildly abused copywriter back in the day where we faxed stuff to clients all day long. Other than how to nap in the copy room without getting caught, one of the valuable lessons we learned was the importance of double-checking and editing our work. Our mentally unstable boss might have pushed us over the edge with this task, but we certainly learned how to edit for content and how to clearly present the intended message. As a social media expert, it’s a lesson I’m grateful for 17 years later and one I use everyday in blog marketing and social media content creation. 

Recently, I had a client in a panic. After shooting off a post on the company Facebook page which can only be described as bonkers and then getting the expected angry responses from followers, he looked like a kid who nearly burnt down his kitchen after playing with matches. The first thing we did was delete the post. The next thing we did was have the editing talk. The editing talk is one we all get — one that is incredibly vital in social media. Especially with branded blogs and social media accounts, we have to pause and ask ourselves, “Is this the kind of post that even makes sense for our company to comment on?” If we find that maybe our impulse was of the reactionary, angry variety, maybe we should hit delete button before we incite a riot and damage our company’s reputation.

All of this digital marketing comes back to reputation, essentially. Look at the difference between a brand like Oreo and a brand like Chick-fil-A, for example. One kept it fun, light and entertaining while the other got political and in hot water. Oreo has emerged as a leader in social media while that other place is still trying to repair the damage nearly two years later.

The next question in the talk is this: Is it social or personal? Social should be the kind of stuff you talk about at a cocktail party while personal should be reserved for you inner circle and done only in person. Fans will turn on brands in an instant when they start commenting on stuff that is inappropriate for their image. You want to yell about Obama or your mother-in-law? Super. Just don’t do it on the company blog or Twitter page.

The last and most important part of this talk is reread, reread, reread. Take a cue from my old boss and take five minutes to read your post. And then read it a few more times. Not just for brand-friendly content but for grammar, language, cohesion and spelling. Well-edited blogs and social media posts are the kind of things your brand can be proud of and set you apart from the crazy people.

 

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Long Live Article Marketing or RIP Article Marketing?

Posted by Brandsplat

Not too long ago, article marketing was the be-all and end-all for a successful content strategy. Articles, we thought, were a sure-fire way to get our brands, websites and products noticed on search engines like Google. Marketers touted their power to brands; SEO professionals told clients to get on the article marketing train or perish.

Six or some years later, however, things have really changed. Thanks to social media marketing, the image sharing revolution, digital PR and stricter search engine algorithms, the way we market online rarely relies on articles anymore. So should we still bother with the practice of article marketing?

“Yes, article marketing still converts and converts well, but only if it is done right,” writes journalist and SEO expert Warren Wooden in a recent blog post for Business2Community.com. “Where most people fail at article marketing is they are not placing their articles on sites that get read much, they are not writing about a related topic, and they don’t bother linking to their site with an appropriate link.”

Wooden isn’t alone in the opinion that article marketing is still worth marketers’ time. In fact, the channels for distribution have quadrupled over the years, making it even easier for folks to read your articles. Sites like LinkedIn work wonders for getting technical and professional pieces in front of the right eyes. Twitter is another great social media channel to promote links to articles. Also, business and industry blogs have exploded since the inception of article marketing and there now thousands of blogs to market your articles to.

Yet there’s just one little catch about today’s article marketing: Unlike in the past, only good articles with dynamic and engaging content stay alive and put you on the search engine map. Crappy, spammy articles with no soul will be bounced and are essentially a waste of your time. As Wooden put it, “Just know that article marketing is something that many people are still doing and because of that you should know that it still works. The only way to get article marketing traffic to convert is to make sure you stay on top of it and are constantly publishing new articles on article directories, guest blogs, and Web 2.0 sites. Trust me on this one, article marketing traffic will convert much better than you can imagine as long as you write high quality content.”

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In Blogging, Keywords Still Count

Posted by Brandsplat

In_blogging_keywords_still_count

Whether the final death knell for search engine marketing has been officially rung is a debate we’d rather not get involved in. What we do know is that some of our old SEO marketing practices are still incredibly valuable, especially in blog management and blog marketing. Keywords, for example, are one tool from the golden days of SEO that hasn’t gone out of style. But even after all this time, many folks new to blogging might wonder, “What are keywords and why the heck should I even care?”

A keyword, to put it simply, is that word which pops up in bold when a search engine like Google or Bing returns a list of results. At the top of the search engine result heap are the sites which use the keyword in question. Google wants bloggers to use keywords and wants readers to click on sites that use them too, so by putting the keywords or phrases in bold it makes the decision of which search engine result to click on even easier. Every blogger should give a hoot about keywords because they are incredibly easy to use and help make finding your brand online a snap.

To dip your toes in the keywords waters, start simple. With branded blogs and blogging for business, the best place to start is keywords which reflect what you do and where you do it. If, by chance, you are a landscaper in Atlanta, Ga., something like “Atlanta landscapers” or ” Georgia gardening experts” would do the trick. More keywords can go deeper into your specific services and topics that your blog talks about.

Once you’ve picked out keywords, start sticking them in your posts. Coincidentally, a good list of keywords makes planning your posts less stressful, too. As you map out your posts for the week, peruse your keywords and pick out the magic word you want to discuss and optimize. Use this word in your headline and throughout your post, but also use it in tweets and other social media marketing platforms. And don’t worry about packing your posts with tons of keywords. Keyword density isn’t as important as we once thought. Plus, using keywords over and over looks awkward to readers (and for good reasons).

As blog creation changes and SEO morphs, keywords remain a powerful and easy tool. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised to see keywords flourish even further with the continuing explosion of tablet blog reading and ongoing Google algorithm updates.

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Five Things You Might Have Missed!

Posted by Brandsplat

Welcome to the Five Things You Might Have Missed, your one-stop resource for the new and noteworthy stories from the world of online marketing. Giveaways gone wrong, content marketing explained and oh-so-much more await you, so let’s get cracking!

1.) Buzzkill: Kicking off our list this week is a story that many of us can relate to. Sure, most of us haven’t tried to give away vibrators on the street only to be met with disdain. But we’ve all had marketing ideas that didn’t pan out exactly like we wanted. Trojan went back to the drawing board last week after the mayor of Boston said “hell to the no” to Trojan’s vibrator giveaways in his fair city’s plazas. Although free speech prohibits shutting down Trojan’s buzzworthy blitz, Mayor Tom Menino has played the family friendly card and is currently persuading Trojan to go elsewhere.

2.) Uprising, Tweeted: In a country known for oppression, a powerful yet underground revolution is happening — on Twitter. If you missed this story about how Twitter is being used in Saudi Arabia, it’s worth a look for both marketers and newshounds alike. We’re constantly amazed how Twitter is changing the way we communicate, and this little revolution illustrates that beautifully.

3.) Bounce that Bad Blogger: So you’ve paid someone to handle your blog and it just ain’t working out. Follow the lead of CouponCabin.com and fire them! The deal-centric site announced last week that it would no longer be using the blogging services of reality star Kate Gosselin. After 11 months, CouponCabin reportedly wasn’t happy with the diva’s blogging style. We say “nicely done,” CouponCabin! Life is too short for bad blogging that doesn’t work with your brand. (P.S. We just so happen to know some folks who can blog circles around Gosselin.)

4.) Is Anybody Home?: Does your company’s Facebook Like page feel like a ghost town? A recent study says that you’re not alone. According to Napkin Labs, a puny 6 percent of fans engage with a brand’s Facebook page. The study shows that engagement on Facebook is more challenging than ever, but who doesn’t love a good challenge?! Brands are forced to be more creative when engaging on Facebook, and that’s always a good thing.

5.) Contented Content: Wrapping up our list this week is an infographic that really gets to the meat of content marketing. How do we judge the success of content marketing? How can we tell if it’s working? And should we even bother? These questions and more are thoughtfully answered by BitRebels and Pardot in Content Marketing Metrics — a must read. And for more on content marketing, be sure to read our four-part series entitled “Crash Course in Content Marketing” coming to these pages in two weeks!

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Your Content and Google Penguin Can Be Friends (Really)

Posted by Brandsplat

Content marketing gurus and SEO mavens alike were in a tizzy earlier this week as Google rolled out its Penguin update. Penguin, like Panda, is an algorithm update aimed at catching webspam. Sometimes these updates, which Google routinely does, do really have an impact on online marketers outside the SEO world. But Penguin is unique. Being smaller than Panda, its focus is more direct and strict. And if blogging for business or article marketing is your thing, you could get bounced by Penguin and not even know it. Luckily, there are ways for your blog to play nicely with Penguin and they come straight from Google’s mouth.

Google’s top 8 things to avoid via WebProNews on Penguin are:

1. Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
2. Don’t use cloaking or sneaky redirects.
3. Don’t send automated queries to Google.
4. Don’t load pages with irrelevant keywords.
5. Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains or domains with substantially duplicate content.
6. Don’t create pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans or other badware.
7. Avoid “doorway” pages created just for search engines or other “cookie cutter” approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.
8. If your site participates in an affiliate program, make sure that your site adds value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first.

These are all great tips — especially the keyword stuffing — Penguin or no Penguin. We’ve seen clients eager to jam as many keywords into a blog or article as possible and it never seemed like a good idea. Now we know it isn’t. Things like sneaky redirects, hidden links and multiple pages of duplicate content have always been looked down on by Google and now Penguin is better way combat it. In short, Google is getting smarter all the time and updates like Penguin are on a mission to take out bad, spammy content.

The good news is that these updates actually help those of us who create original, non-shady content. By playing along with Penguin, instead of against it, your content can now be found faster and read by more people!

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Freshness Rules!

Posted by Brandsplat

Freshness is a word we preach often in the custom content biz. Fresh and timely blogs, articles and social media updates are king in online marketing because they help readers and consumers find brands. Now Google’s latest algorithm overall includes a freshness update which is bound to confirm the power of keeping it fresh.

Google conducts hundreds of algorithm updates a year, but this current batch of ten updates is creating a buzz in the content marketing world. The freshness update in particular is causing marketers to salivate because of its proposed power. The update will impact 6 to 35 percent of web search results and it includes searches for up-to-the-minute events, news stories, blog posts and hot topics. For small business owners, the update is titillating because it will also push up the ranking of product and service reviews. According to Google’s official blog, the freshness update will allow searchers to find the latest information about a topic first. This means if you typed in “online marketing” the most recently updated blogs and articles would rank higher. Likewise with current news stories. If you searched for Demi Moore, news stories about the newly single actress would appear before biographical information, with many of the items being just a few minutes old. Basically, your new Google searches will have faster and more recent results than ever before.

Freshness is now not only ideal for our businesses content but a necessity. In order to stay relevant, our content has to be fresh and interesting — and this a good thing. Bloggers and article marketers and small business owners now have the opportunity to keep their followers up to date with the latest happenings in their world. Content creators are now not only spreading the word about their business but providing news.