Category Archives: internet marketing tips and techniques

8 Principles I’ve Learned About SEO Content Strategy

Here is a summary of what I’ve learned about SEO content strategy over the past 3 years.

1) Great content: What does that mean?
-ideally original (original angle or original design/look)
-engaging to readers
-engaging to other bloggers in the space or in related spaces
-visually compelling (or otherwise multimedia)
-written in conversational language
-authentic as possible
-embedded in a story
2) Keyword rich (this isn’t keyword stuffing, its more about latent semantic indexing or related terms).
But keyword rich material can only get you so far.
3) Engage experts, rockstars, and influencers.

4) Social proof (to help conversion optimization)

5) High usability (to help conversion opitimization)

6) Tied to offline activities & other online marketing activities.

7) Sharable.

8) Findable
Put your best content available to all users as much as possible.

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Thought leadership marketing and public relations

Seven Resources on Online Thought Leadership Marketing and Public Relations

Monitoring, tracking, and assessing thought leadership. Tracking thought leadership, influence, and conversations in social media communities via Hyperwords.

Social Mention, Blog Pulse (particularly conversational tracker), and Filtrbox are also great ways to listen to the direction of online conversational chatter.

Experienced thought leadership research. Malcolm Gladwell in his new book Outliers says it takes 10,000 hours to have enough knowledge and experience to become a thought leader.

Thought leadership marketing. 13 Essentials by Larry Chase on thought leadership. A fantastic read and overview.

Thought leadership for public relations. An interesting read from Duct Tape Marketing on leveraging leading ideas via thought leadership for media relations and PR.

Thought leadership with social media. Pragmatic marketing suggests using social media for thought leadership. I would add using online pr, networking events and real world community engagement, and slideshare to the list for maximum thought leadership.

Thought leadership principles. Marketing Savant suggests 7 fantastic criteria for thought leadership from the Bloom Group: Focus, Novelty, Relevance, Validity, Practicality, Rigor, and Clarity. I think relationships are more important than this rubric gives them credit. And online certainly design and user experience are part of the thought leadership puzzle.

Listening for Thought Leadership. Using Google reader to stay up to date with the industries’ leading blogs and websites is critical to understanding where your industry and customers are moving toward. Education, listening, and learning are critical for any thought leadership program.

Strategic Risk taking and Thought Leadership. One might suggest Seth Godin as the go to person for taking calculated risks based on his book The Dip. Or perhaps you would like to crowd source your answer with 100 Wisemen or Predictify. With the Enron collapse, it seems management consulting firms are so very 2001.

David Meerman Scott’s Thought Leadership Guidelines. In addition to suggesting people use nine core social media tools (webinars, blogs, podcasting, video, wikis, whitepapers, e-books, research surveys and reports and email newsletters) he suggests the following principles or guidelines:

• Do not write about your company and your products! Thought leadership content is designed to solve buyer problems or answer questions and to show that you and your organization are smart and worth doing business with. This type of marketing and PR technique is not a brochure or sales pitch. Thought leadership is not advertising.

• Define your organizational goals first. Do you want to drive revenue? Encourage people to download something?

• Based on your goals, decide whether you want to provide the content for free and without any registration (many more people will use the content, but you won’t know who they are) or whether you want to include some kind of registration mechanism (much lower response rates, but you build a contact list).

• Think like a publisher by understanding your audience. Consider what market problems your buyer personas are faced with and develop topics that appeal to them.

• Write for your audience. Use examples and stories. Make it interesting.

• Choose a great title that grabs attention. Use subtitles to describe what the content will deliver.

• Promote the effort like crazy. Offer the content on your site with easy-to-find links. Add a link to employees’ email signatures—and get partners to offer links as well.

• To drive the viral marketing effects, alert appropriate reporters, bloggers, and analysts that the content is available, and send them a download link.

What are your thoughts, opinions, or resources on thought leadership for marketing and pr? Is thought leadership even an effective method of public relations and marketing? Are you looking for a Nashville public relations firm or company?

How to hire the best viral marketing firm for your next viral video

Most viral marketing and most viral marketing firms are bunk

This may not be universally true, but it is a good standard principle when hiring social media consultants or a social media agency. Subservient Chicken and Elf Yourself corporate viral successes and limited exceptions to the rule. At the moment, the closest effect you can get is link bait campaigns on Digg, Stumbleupon, and the strategic development of Facebook applications. Leah of Edleman PR confirms “Viral marketing is snake oil”

Amusing Viral-ish Video

Viral Video Marketing Resources:
Top 10 Worst Viral Videos at CIO

Great list of viral marketing articles at Wilson Web.

Top 10 Viral Videos from Time

Unethical Internet Marketing Scams to Avoid

Multi Level Marketing Scams

I would avoid these internet scams like the plague. They use social proof and testimonials very well, but prey on vulnerable individuals. USA Today clarifies:

All MLM programs share the same fundamental flaws, including:

Recruiting your competitors: If I’m in sales, the last thing I want is more salespeople competing with me. But in MLM, your goal is to get lots and lots of competitors. Why would I want to do that?
You pay to be a customer: Overwhelmingly, buyers of MLM products are MLM salespeople. A legal counselor to MLM programs advises that a mere 20% of sales to outside consumers is high enough to avoid legal scrutiny. Can you imagine any other business where 80% of sales are made to employees?
You’ll pay far more: Expect to be required — or pressured — to buy samples, marketing materials, training courses and tapes, seminars, etc. You’re very likely to spend far more than you’ll ever bring in from sales.
Your products are priced too high: No matter how good the quality of your products, consumers are likely to be able to find better deals elsewhere. Just think about it — all those middle layers of salespeople and commissions means higher prices to the consumer.
You turn your friends and family into “prospects”: MLM programs typically suggest you sell to — and recruit — people you know well. Do you really want to be constantly beseeching those closest to you?
You face group pressure: One of the positive sides of MLM groups is the support given to those who spend a lot of money or who try hard to succeed. The flipside is that those who don’t spend as much or believe as strongly in the program are likely to face strong negative judgments from the group.

Funny Internet Marketing Video

While I acknowledge that is is possible that 5 to 10% of MLM marketers are legitimate, or that there may be a host more that are illegitimately manipulated to participate. Overwhelmingly multi-level marketing is a strategy to avoid. Why would you want to buy into an unethical method of marketing?

Creative Fusion Media is a ethical search engine optimization company and social media agencythat provides white hat internet marketing services from Nashville, TN.

User Experience Optimization and Web Design | Tim Ash Interview

Tim Ash is an expert in Landing Page Optimization and user experience.

You can learn more at about landing page optimization, user experience, and website conversion at Landing Page Optimization Book.

Creative Fusion Media provides social media consulting services and ethical and affordable search engine optimization solutions to innovative companies and forward thinking non-profits.

The Only Three Social Social Media Rules You Need To Know

Social Media Money Quotes:

I was recently reading in the comments section on Sparkplugging, and ran across a fantastic comment by Chris Cree that you can’t say enough:

Here’s the money quote for me:

Add value to the community, be real, be a friend

Add Value to Your Community:

The big question then becomes what is of value to your community or the community you are looking to build. Four great ways to find out:

1) Find your community and listen intently. Listening in an inter-cultural arena, is always a great first step.
2) Targeted listening. One example of targeted listening is checking what is popular on del.icio.us. search keywords can help tell you what they are talking about and wondering about. Although if you want to get information on the bleeding edge of innovation, this tactic may be used more at the meta-level.
3) Identify and Engage Prominent Online Communities. If you want to take a more anthropological approach to getting to know the culture and community. Try ethnographically finding the watering holes and strike up a conversation in the heart of the community. Perhaps find your passionistas (your top 10% to 20% most passionate members of your community) and ask them what they want, why they are passionate about your product, and what you can do online to help them interact with your product better.
4) When In Doubt Ask (aka Crowd source it) Pro-actively ask your community (this is commonly known as “crowd sourcing” the community)

“Real, real, real”

One you’ve listening: being real is certainly the next step:
1) Finding an authentic voice for writing and content creation. Hopefully this means askewing abit of the antiquated corporate speak.
2) Gradually discovering what level of transparency works best for you.

Having said that, Cree’s quote is on point. Once you’ve gotten your feet wet you might want to set up some goals and objectives. For instance Chris suggests possible initial objectives for your corporate social media and blogging include:

* Raising brand awareness
* Increasing personal profile
* Driving product or service sales
* Improved search engine visibility
* Put a more personal face on your business
* Providing a personal creative outlet

Blogger Relations Tactics for Blog Marketing: Be human, Add Value:

Chris’ article in the The Age of Conversation relentlessly drives this point home. For instance, you don’t want your blogger relations campaign to look like a spammy viagra advertisement or like a bad used car salesman. Cree remembers getting this less than human–and less than successful pitch:

Hello. I like your http://successcreeations.com. I wonder if you could write a review about my site and place it on your blog (around 150 words, 1–2 anchor). Is it possible? How much will it cost me? If not, tell me what kind of links can you offer. (I don’t need sidewide [sic] ones). Thanks. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

I declined the request. Politely.

If you want to get bloggers to write about you then do what I teach my clients. Start by actually reading their blog. Leave some comments that add value to their readership and show you are engaged. Give yourself time to learn a little about them.

When you finally make your pitch, focus on the bloggers and how they’ll benefit. Give them real value. Make them look like heroes to their readers.

If you treat bloggers like people instead of pimps, you’ll have a much better chance of connecting with them.

Don’t treat bloggers like pimps. Great advice. Nobody want to have to take a bath in clorox bleach just to wash of your played out marketing schtick. Besides, at the end of the day, its easier just being human.

Thoughts?

Creative Fusion Media provides social media consulting services and ethical and affordable search engine optimization solutions to innovative companies and forward thinking non-profits. Nathan Ketsdever is the chief internet marketing and online pr strategist at Creative Fusion, which is located in Nashville, Tennessee.

20 Reasons Your Small Business Should Use Social Media Marketing

Shana of Social Desire just posted this comprehensive list of 20 reasons. To get the last 9, you’ll have to check:

1) Branding – Create a recognizable identity for your product or service. This is extremely important for a small business.
2) Create a buzz – Get the word out about your products and services in a way that promotes online conversation.
3) Online reputation management – Keep an eye on what other people and sites are saying about your name, company, or brand online – and fix any problems, if need be.
4) Establish yourself as an expert – Use forums and message boards to answer questions professionally, honestly, and correctly, which will earn you respect as an expert in your niche. People will look to you for answers.
5) Word of mouth – Customers need to trust before purchasing – people trust their friends and loved ones more than anyone else. So, if they hear from someone trustworthy about your product, chances are higher that they’ll buy. Market your products using word of mouth virtually.
6) Build relationships and become more personal – Use a variety of social media, and you’ll build relationships with customers and potential customers. Trust comes through honesty and sincerity.
7) Open up the line of communication between business owner and millions of potential customers – Millions of people who could possibly become customers? You could not have this easily in the offline world.
8| Small businesses can compete with the large companies – In the past, this was very difficult with the advertising and marketing budgets of large companies. With the right type of viral social media, you could get an immense amount of traffic with quickly-growing natural links, and keep traffic coming for a long time.
9) Social networking with potential clients and customers from all over the globe – With social networking sites such as Facebook, StumbleUpon, MySpace and Twitter, among many, many others, you can hold personal conversations with each of your customers. Tell them about new products, sales and coupons, suggestions and tips – the topics are endless.
10) Get great traffic – Not only great traffic…. but freakishly crazy amounts of traffic. For example, if one of your items becomes viral and makes it to the front page of Yahoo Buzz (a social news site), it could get you 100,000 to 1,000,000 viewers; from Digg around 2,000 to 60,000; and from Reddit around 2,500 to 30,000. Check out some more awesome stats on this great post by The SEO Company.
11) Increase your link-ability – One way to move up in the search engines is to have links from other sites pointed to your site. Natural links – or links that come naturally to your great post, awesome video, or amazing picture, are the best kind for your business. They’ll not only bring in traffic, but should also help move you up further in the search engines.

Making the case for blogger relations

Current PR, Marketing, and Advertising Looks Like This

Have you ever had this experience? Awkward huh?

But this doesn’t have to be the case…Companies can be less corporate. More personal. More human.

There are alternatives to traditional advertising and media buys:

The influence of blogs is spreading to more traditional, mainstream media. Hence, effective social media and blogger relations can lead low cost media coverage (How is that for return on investment?):

Meanwhile, the blogosphere has exploded. According to Advertising Age, “There are about 15 million active blogs read by 57 million people, a number that gives bloggers great credibility, power and influence as sources of information for everything from news to corporate reputations to product purchasing.”

However, much of the talk a few years ago – that blogs would supplant mainstream media – seems antiquated now.

• A Pew Internet & American Life Project survey found 85% bloggers read newspapers, while a Fusion PR survey found 78% of technology journalists read blogs.
• While some of the most popular bloggers are being assimilated by mainstream media, 35% of technology journalists maintain their own blog.
• According to The State of the News Media 2007, “The relationship between blogs and traditional media, in the end, may be more complementary, even synergistic, as time moves on.”

(SEO PR)

Its also a great way to create ethical search engine optimization. It beats SPAM and other black and gray hat SEO strategies with a stick.

Sound Advice for Online Community Managers

Building Better Community and Passionate Evangelists:

Justin who works for Clearspring has some great words of advice for social media community managers. He points to four key words of advice on community building:

Step away from your computer
Find someone who LOVES your product and company to lead your community
Find your community and get to know them personally
Make love to your users

I like how Justin doesn’t focus on the technology, but the people. Check out the full post over at Oatmeal Stout.

Resources for Cultivating Online Conversation and Relationships via Social Media

Also, check out 1000 True Fans, if you’re trying to build a community. Also check out Connie Bensens online resources on community strategy. If you are looking for more social media marketing resources, you can check out these great resources.

The Six Reasons Social Media Marketing will Slowly Kill Traditional Marketing

I recently ran across a great comparison between traditional and social media marketing. It provided six criteria, on which to compare and evaluate the inevitable social media marketing vs. traditional methods of marketing:

Source

Social media is produced through self-publishing and user-generated content vs. the professional media outlets such as television, radio, newspapers and magazines used in traditional media.

Marketing

Social media leverages pull marketing while traditional media relies on push marketing strategies.

Cost

Social media requires a far smaller monetary investment than traditional media usually does.

Market/Audience

Social media typically reaches and influences a highly targeted or niche market vs. traditional media which often reaches a broader audience.

Messages

Social media messages come directly from individual consumers while traditional media messages most often come from the company behind them.

Interactivity

Social media is highly interactive generating ongoing conversations between multiple individuals while traditional media provides one-sided messages in a passive format.

Thoughts?

Why ROI on Traditional Advertising and Marketing is Down

What is the life blood of the social web?

The Building Blocks of Internet Life:
“What is the currency of the web? What do some web projects fail and others succeed?” While I was brushing my teeth this fine evening at 1:34 am, I contemplated such things. I guess anyone who wants to succeed should ask this fundamental question. So, what’s your answer? What do you think makes the digital world go ’round?

To me, successful online business gets back to three basic things:
• (Interesting and/or engaging and audience-centric) Content
• Links (or hyperlinks if you want to turn back the clock)
• And finally relationships. In other words, creating, building, and nurturing relationships.

Moving Forward. If you get those three issues right, you can have an amazingly successful online campaign. What do you think is the lifeblood or currency of the web? What is your strategy doing to galvanize all three of these verticals? Whats the best way to get there?