The VCR Is Dead, But Video Is Fast Forwarding

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The last remaining VCR manufacturer ended production last month, signaling the end of the Be Kind, Rewind Era.

To be honest, news that VCRs were still on assembly lines past the century mark is shocking, especially with the rise in digital video viewers. Even more remarkable are the advances we are seeing this year with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), underscored by the massive Pokémon Go audience.

It seems pretty clear that our methods of delivering video content have changed drastically. What hasn’t shifted over time is our fascination with video itself.

A Look at Video Today

Adults in the U.S. now consume 99 minutes of digital video each and every day. That’s 38 more minutes than just a year ago.

To date, live streaming video is available on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter – with Instagram and Snapchat releasing their own versions of collected videos from live events. Two million VR headsets will be sold by the end of this year. Though, to be fair, this medium isn’t expected to go mainstream for another six to eight years. In technology, that feels like a lifetime.
Augmented reality, however, soared past virtual reality this year with the introduction of Pokémon Go. This location-based mobile app blends the real world and the fictional world for some insanely impressive video gaming. Some are concluding the gloss is fading, but 9.5 million users can’t be wrong…right?

From live streaming to virtual and augmented reality, I think it’s fair to say we’re not in Kansas anymore.

Where Video is Headed

Digital video natives are leading the way, tapping into cord cutter audiences that abandoned cable television for online and streaming programs.

Tastemade, the fifth-largest video publisher on Facebook and born from a tiny YouTube channel, now amasses triple the number of viewers as The Food Network. Apple announced recently it’s working on augmented reality behind the curtain, calling it a “core technology.” Amazon is working on original VR and AR content, because of course they are.

The VCR has left the building, but I predict we are only at the beginning of the future.

New video technologies are gaining traction, reshaping not only how we watch videos but also how we become a part of them.

This article was originally posted on the Reach Analytics blog.

4 Ways to Find Marketing Qualified Leads on Twitter

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Hand holding a Social Media 3d Sphere sign on white background.

You already know that social media platforms like Twitter have the potential to build your client base – and your bottom line. But how do you know when you’re looking at a marketing qualified lead? When do you know there’s a good chance of generating interaction, winning a new customer and increasing your sales? A few telltale signs and characteristics will help you navigate the vast world of online discussion and find those qualified leads that you want.

  1. They’re talking

While Twitter has 313 million active users each month, not all of them are engaged. You’re looking for social media users who are active. In your research, ask some key questions about your potential leads to help you decide whether someone’s likely to take it to the next level: Is this person engaged in Twitter – in other words, do they tweet often and consistently? Do they often share content, and if so, what kind? How well do they respond to mentions?

Kissmetrics says targeting power users – those who are 86% more likely to send tweets and twice as likely to follow more than 20 brands – can help build your MQLs. Likewise, cultivating influencers – those who are generally trusted experts or celebrities who have a wide following – can be hugely influential because that one qualified lead can result in connections with hundreds or thousands of leads.

Keep in mind that 46% of consumers turn to social media when they’re thinking of making a purchase – they want to know what other people think. What’s more is people are 92% more likely to trust recommendations over brand content – even when those recommendations come from people they don’t know, AdWeek says.

That’s the power of social media discussion.

  1. They’re talking about you

We don’t necessarily mean you, but more specifically whether people are talking about what’s relevant to you and what your company offers. Are they discussing your product, similar products, or activities and interests relevant to your product? Your marketing qualified leads will display interests that are congruent with your company.

Entrepreneur magazine points to the example of Chicago-area baker Foiled, which in 2011 filled about 1,000 orders a month. Owner Mari Luangrath said she built her

customer base through “targeted listening,” or finding the conversations where her company naturally fit, starting with female followers of a public radio station in the Chicago area. Searching Twitter bios for job titles, interests and other factors can help you identify a core target audience. Tools like Socedo can help you automate that process by searching keywords and syncing with your marketing software.

  1. They fit your buyer persona

Understanding who is most likely to purchase your product or become a client is key to finding MQLs on Twitter. What is your buyer persona? It’s essential a characterization of who is likely to respond to your product or offering. What is the age, gender, geographic location you’d like to reach? What are their job titles and where do they work? What do they spend their money on, and what do they like to do in their spare time? What is important to them? How do they describe themselves in their social media bios?

Who might be the influencers your target persona engages with? What are the keywords you’d expect them to use in search engines and in posts?

  1. They’re responsive

TwitterSmallBiz says 85% of Twitter users feel more connected to brands they follow than ones they don’t. Follows demonstrate interest in your company or product, as do actions such as likes and retweets. They’re a clear message that you’ve captured a potential lead’s interest, and it’s time to follow up. Socedo has found that socially engaged leads convert into customers 22 percent faster than leads who aren’t engaged. Reach out and make a connection with a follow and a direct message, offering engaging content with a clear call-to-action tailored to their interests. When they click your link, you know you’ve got them. Wait a day before sending them an email so that you extend the amount of time your brand is in their minds.

Remember, it might take a couple of “touches” on social media before a marketing qualified lead engages – look for ways to provide the most valuable, targeted content to your leads and you’ll be most likely to win them over as repeat customers.

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 9.00.16 AMTeena Thach is Socedo’s social media and marketing specialist. Socedo is a demand generation system that empowers marketers to discover, engage with and qualify prospects through social media to generate revenue at scale.

 

 

 

 

The 9 Best Tools To Help Improve Your Content Writing Skills

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Content writing is unlike any other business skill. In most areas you can go off once a year to get a refresher course. But if you’re a content writer, you know this is not the case, as content writing is constantly changing from day to day. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, then you have to find the right tools to help you stay there. Every single day you have to teach the old dog new tricks.

That is where these 9 awesome online tools come in. Every one of them will help you and your employees take their content writing to the next level and put your content on the map.

Ideator

 

 

Starting off this list with a bang we have the Ideator from the clever people at Content Forest. You can’t write good content without knowing what people want to read about. You also can’t run any sort of curation without knowing what is out there on the internet. Ideator lets you track what content is going viral and which on which social media networks it is most popular. You can search in specific niche interest areas to identify your audience and you can choose topics based on what is trending from minute to minute. Before you ever start blogging this is where you need to go to decide what to write about.

Daily Page

For some of you content writing is only a part of your job. It might not even be your favorite part of your job. Daily Page helps you to get into a writing routine, producing at least one page of content every single day. First thing in the morning it will prompt you with a topic, and you have the rest of the day to write that post. At the end of the day, you decide whether or not you want to share it. If you are just getting started in the content writing world and want to hone your skills, then Daily Page might be just the right tool for you.

X-Essays

 

Sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything that you need done. On days like that you can turn to X-Essays writing services. They can turn out content at a high speed on any topic and they can do it for a lot less than you might think. Their content is all custom written and plagiarism free so it is safe to insert it in amongst your own content freely. The bottom line is this, to run a content based business successfully you need the raw material to keep up momentum. Boom Essays can give you that.

Ideaflip

This is one of those tools that you never even knew existed, but once you try it, your won’t be able to live without it. Ideaflip is a brainstorming program that lives in the cloud. You and your employees can access it from anywhere in the world using any device. It eliminates the need for endless meetings to discuss every single idea and instead creates a risk-free environment for everyone to pitch their content and blend their ideas into the best final products imaginable. The bright simple design makes everything easy to understand, you can import your own content directly into the application and the “brain-map” design makes every connection between ideas crystal clear. You are going to kick yourself for not using it sooner.

Power Thesaurus

Everyone who has passed high school English knows what a Thesaurus is. When you are trying to brighten up your writing and eliminate repetition of your favorite phrases and words you open that little fat book and start looking. What makes Power Thesaurus different is that it is alive. While the old thesaurus was a fixed list of words and most of the websites that offer thesaurus services are much the same Power Thesaurus crowd sources its responses. Synonyms for words are listed in order of how many times they have been voted up by users. This lets you find out not just which words you can use in place of others, it also lets you find out which words are the most popular replacements for others. Power Thesaurus reflects the English language as it is now, not how it was decades ago when the first thesaurus was written.

Sniply

Sniply is a neat little tool that lets you link from your content back to your website in the form of an unobtrusive little pop-up call to action. As well as driving a lot of readers back to your site it also allows you to track where your site visitors are coming from and modify your marketing strategies accordingly. This tool turns every guest post that your bloggers produce into another stream of readers heading to your site.

Rated Writing


This service is all about generating copy for you to use where you see fit. Where they differ from other companies is that they have a ton of experience in writing search engine optimized material for websites. All of the content that they generate is custom written for you to your specifications with a lot of back and forth communication to make sure that it is exactly what you are looking for. Combined with Ideaflip this can completely change your whole business. With a guarantee of unique content you don’t have to worry about finding the exact same information anywhere else on the internet and have to deal with the ensuing headaches.

Keyword Tool

So you are writing content but nobody is ever seeing it. All those hours of work are going to waste and your business is no better off than it would have been if you had done nothing. That is why you need Keyword Tool. It gives you the data direct about which long-tailed keywords are going to drive readers to your content. You can use it for Search Engine Optimization while writing your content and you can use it when you are planning out the online advertising campaign that is going to make your brand into a household name. Huge bonus, it is 99% effective and free while every other Keyword Tool out there charges you.

 

Uber Suggest

Where Keyword Tool stops, Uber Suggest begins. It finds the keywords that Google Keyword Planner hasn’t even thought of yet. The strange little idiosyncratic phrases that the right group of people put into their searches that will drive them directly to the your content. It is incredibly easy to use, clearly explained and even offers the option of downloading a spreadsheet of your keywords as a CSV file to use later.

Putting it all together

The unpleasant truth is that content writing is never going to get any easier, there is more and more competition for views every single day and there are only so many eyes out there looking at screens. Your competitors will be using everything at their disposal to keep those eyes pointed their way. Using tools like these can help you ensure your content is what people see first and what they will want to share with others.

Mary Walton is a professional editor and online tutor, currently living in Santa Monica. She's starting educational blog Simple Grad to share her thoughts on education and writing. Follow Mary on Twitter and Linkedin!

How to Increase Your Content Visibility in Google Knowledge Graph

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How-to-Increase-Your-Content-Visibility-in-Google-Knowledge-Graph

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Varun Sharma is a digital marketing expert and a director of the fastest-growing digital agency in India, KVR WebTech. You can also subscribe to Varun's personal blog at varun-sharma.info.

As a digital marketing expert, I inevitably find myself struggling to keep up with the happenings around the world. I’m always keen to grab more and more knowledge from everything I come across, but it can be difficult.

I wonder about the enormity of the human mind. From the day we are born till the moment we die, our brain collects, loads, and stores everything. This immense knowledge aids us in dealing with our routine.

What’s even more exciting about our minds is that we can think of one thing, and thousands of other relevant thoughts will pop in our heads. It’s amazing how our mind is reshaped by the information it grabs every minute.
thoughts-process-answers-processThe way our mind acquires, operates, and responds reminds me of the Google Knowledge Graph.

Google Knowledge Graph is the largest warehouse of knowledge in digital history—and it’s doing it with your help.2 (highlight to tweet) This revolutionary system has changed the definition of the online search process.

What Is Google Knowledge Graph?

Google launched a new system in 2012 to improve its search process, Google Knowledge Graph, aiming to provide an enormous amount of information in an organized way and make it accessible universally.

In a nutshell, Google knowledge graph is a systematic way of organizing facts, people, and places to improve the relevancy of search outcomes. With this approach, users now get quick access to surplus information and the option of exploring related subjects within that search.

At the launch of the Knowledge Graph, Google Product management Director Johanna Wright said, “We’re in the early phases of moving from being an information engine to becoming a knowledge engine, and these enhancements are one step in that direction.”

Google Knowledge Graph does this by organizing information into “Entities” and the “Relationships” between them.

How the Knowledge Graph Works

When you look up a person on Google, say “Barack Obama,” Google will refer to its data bank (the Knowledge Graph) and will display everything about Obama. Google’s Knowledge Graph is its own pool of data, where all the information is collected from authoritative sites. The search results are presented based on a user’s search patterns.

This is similar to how our mind functions. When we think of a person in our life, say our best friends, our mind immediately presents a picture carousel before us comprised of their names, faces, families, good and bad moments we shared together, etc.

Here, the data we look for is known as “Entities.” Knowledge Graph revolves around these entities and their “Relationship” with one another and utilizes them to organize relevant data for presenting in the search result. These entities real-world things, including individuals, places, organizations, works of art, movies, and so on.

Google no longer takes a search query as a string of keywords, but rather as distinct entities.

Below is a simple Entity Relationship Diagram:

entity-relationship-diagram
While “Barack Obama,” “Oval Office,” “USA,” and “President” are entities here, they are related to each other through relationships: “Work In,” “Located In,” “Lives In,” and “Designation.”

If you want to know the different entities on your web page, read this comprehensive post from Barbara Starr.

The Significance of Google’s Knowledge Graph

There are several English words with multiple meanings. Interpreting such words depends on their context. Till now, Google ignored the actual context used in phrases. With the launch of Knowledge graph, Google has greatly improved its semantic search; it can actually understand the meaning of a given word and its relationship with the entities.

Gone are the days when the Google search process was based on keyword match. The Knowledge Graph works just like our mind and is easily able to distinguish between the various search queries and their meanings. With the Knowledge Graph, Google has now become more flexible. It is now capable of understanding the objective of a particular search query and answering successfully by refining the search result.

5 Types of Knowledge in the Knowledge Graph

Google divides the Knowledge Graph into five main types.
Google-knowledge-graph-types

The Google Knowledge Graph is smart, and you’ll need to get smart as well to utilize it in the most efficient way. You’ll need to cultivate a better understanding of how users can get things they’re looking for in the search. Here are six tips for increasing your visibility in Google Knowledge Graph.

1. Build Your Brand Presence in Wikipedia

Knowledge Graph collects information from authoritative sources in order to ensure data reliability and accuracy. And what could be more promising than Wikipedia?

Having your brand on Wikipedia hooks your online presence up to a high-value online encyclopedia. Wikipedia is an influential data source, open for all, but it does follow strict guidelines on what information it accepts. To get listed your page on Wikipedia, follow these tips:

  • Get mentioned in third party sources like newspapers and magazines.
  • It’s important to have multiple users contribute to the page.
  • Collect and include references to other reliable sources
  • Get referenced in other Wiki pages. This helps to bolster your notability.
  • Encourage an active discussion page.

If you can create a Wikipedia page for your brand successfully, you’ve got a higher chance of increasing your content visibility in GKG.

2. Register Your Brand in Public Data Centers

Besides Wikipedia, Google also refers to sources like Wikidata.org to retrieve relevant information about entities. Wikidata.org acts as a secondary repository for Wikipedia and Wikisource that records statements and their sources, which in turn helps in reflecting the diversity of information available and ensuring that it is verified.

Similarly, the CIA World Factbook is a reference resource that offers detailed information about the demographics, geography, government, communication, economy, and military of the 267 international entities around the world.

Registering your brand on these data centers ensures Google will collect verified information about your business.

3. Organize Your Content by Schema Markup

Schema markup is a set of predefined code that defines elements of your webpage and support search engines to return the best search results to users for a given query. Schema helps search algorithms understand your page content and provide additional information about the entities in an organized way. This is what the GKG demands.

If you really want to increase the visibility of your content in the GKG, put effort into defining important things on your website. Structured data can be used to mark up all kinds of items, including products, places, organizations, individual, events, and even recipes
implement-google-knowledge-graphYou'll Also Like

4. Make Your Social Media Profiles Optimized

Your social media presence serves as evidence that your business is an online entity. When you stay updated on your social profiles with regular posts and reviews, it informs Google that you’re actually using your page. Moreover, Google Knowledge Graph displays information about your social media profiles when displaying information about your business in the search result.

Also, make sure to have a Google+ page for your business. Out of all the social media channels, Google+ has the most impact on Google Knowledge Graph. In order to create your knowledge graph, Google will use the information obtained from your Google+ profile much more extensively. In addition, use Google+ author relation tag to make your recent posts and other valuable information visible.

5. Get More Mentions

A mention from the right blogger can trigger a cascade of great press for your business. Getting more mentions on the web helps you increase your brand awareness and credibility, which ultimately gets you more traffic. The more you get mentions, the more chances your business has to be recognized by Google Knowledge Graph. Sharing great content with consistency and regular tweeting are just some of the ways you can get more mentions on the business.

6. Optimize Your Google Local Business Page

According to Google, over 73% of online activities are associated with the local search. In order to learn and evaluate the companies in their area, customers often turn to local search. By appearing in the Google Knowledge Graph, you can keep your business at the top of the local search results and can get the maximum traffic.

Make sure that your Google Local business page has a 100% score, with all the information filled in completely. This means in addition to filling in the required text fields, you should fill in the optional ones as well. Your page should also contain product or service keywords in the description, customer reviews, and your contact details. This will help Google get complete and viable information about your business.

While it’s your job to provide as much information possible about your business, your place in the Knowledge Graph also depends on the Google’s ability to synthesize the information it receives over the web. Still, when it comes to user search queries, Google Knowledge Graph can have a huge impact on your content visibility.

Google Knowledge Graph is not about quick wins and tricks—it’s about high-level reliable marketing efforts. The basic aim of Google Knowledge Graph is to give useful information to the readers and allow them to make the best decision.

This article was originally published by ConvenienceandConvert.com

The 7 Best Content Editing And Proofreading Tools

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Here are seven tools to aid content generation, editing and proofreading efforts of content creators.Writing good content is an art unto itself. It’s not good enough to throw together a blog and put it up online, you have to craft it so that it’s informative, engaging, and encourages your readers to come back for more. While doing this, it needs to stay on brand, and keep your readers interested in your product. That’s a lot to ask of one content creator. How do you make sure you’re doing your best every time you sit down to write? These seven tools will help you get the job done well.

  1. Spell Check Plus

Not sure where to start with proofreading? This tool is the best place to get started. Just paste your writing in, and it will underline and spelling or grammar errors you’ve made.Then, it will give you suggestions on how to correct them. It’s one of the simplest ways to get started with proofreading, and you’ll find it’ll help improve your grammar too.Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 2.53.44 PM

  1. Boom Essay Service

Creating content all day every day would be the dream, but sadly real life doesn’t work like that. There are other tasks that need your attention, and sometimes you just can’t keep up with the demands of your site or campaign. This is where this writing service steps in. Send them the topics and products you need to cover, and they’ll send back polished content that you can publish straight away.Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 2.55.24 PM

  1. Byword 2

If you’re an Apple fan, Byword 2 is the best text editor for you. It can be downloaded onto all of your devices, including your iPhone and iPad, and used while you’re on the go.Create content wherever you are! The best thing about it is that you can publish directly to several blogging platforms from it, including WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr.

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  1. Wordy

If you need to outsource your text content creation, this is a really helpful service. Set up an affordable plan with them, and you can get content whenever you need it. Simply outline what you need, and you’ll be matched with an editor within a few minutes, and sent your completed order within half an hour. As services go, none are quite as fast.

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  1. WordRake

This tool is the next best thing to having a real live editor with you as you write. Download the tool into Microsoft Word, and when you’re writing, click the ‘rake’ button.

Then, watch as it goes through your text, underlining, crossing out, and suggesting edits to it. It’s the quickest way to edit your writing.

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  1. EssayRoo

Editing a proofreading can be time consuming. While you know it’s vital for creating good content, you just don’t have the time. The best way of solving the problem is by sending your drafts to this writing service.

They can go through them all for you and edit them, sending you back content that’s polished to a mirror shine.

  1. StackEdit

This tool is perfect for all of those who use Markdown to create professional looking content. Write in this app, and you can edit it with Markdown tools as you go.

It also offers a live preview function, as well as built in spell checking. Once you’re done, you can upload straight away to your blog or online drive, including Google Drive and Dropbox.

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Now you have these tools at your fingertips, get out there and start creating full professional, high quality content.

 

It won’t be long before you see more readers coming to check you out, and it’ll be easier than ever to convert them into paying customers.

 

This article was originally published on DigitalAgencyNetwork.com

About Mary Walton

Mary Walton is a professional editor and online tutor, currently living in Santa Monica. She's starting educational blog Simple Grad to share her thoughts on education and writing. Follow Mary on Twitter and Linkedin!

Avoid PR Disasters with the Perfect Social Media Policy

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Belgrade - May 07, 2014 Facebook, Twitter And Other Popular Soci

Do your employees know which countries giraffes reside in? Have they ever heard of the Challenger disaster? While these questions may seem pointless and completely unrelated to social media, they have actually been the cause of several PR disasters. During the 2014 World Cup Championship, Delta Air Lines congratulated Team USA on their victory over Ghana by tweeting a picture of the Statue of Liberty for the U.S. and a giraffe for Ghana. Twitter users quickly pointed out that there are no giraffes in Ghana.

That was a relatively minor slip up compared to a month later, when American Apparel posted a picture of the space shuttle Challenger explosion on their Tumblr. According to their official apology, their social media manager was born after the disaster and was unaware of it.

This doesn’t mean that all of your marketers should receive history and geography lessons. The dozens of other PR disasters that happen on social media every year occur for any number of reasons. What it does mean is that your organization needs a social media policy to prevent PR mistakes and to mitigate the damage if any potentially harmful messages are released.

Preventing Social PR Disasters

The best way to prevent social media blunders is to only allow company messages to come from one person and one social media account. Unfortunately, that’s not the best way to receive any real engagement on your social channels.

Social media messages that are shared by employees reach 561% further than those shared by official company channels.

Using employee social advocacy safely and successfully requires that you and your employees have a clear understanding of what messages are encouraged and which should be avoided.

Build a Strategy and Social Media Policy to Guide Your Employee Advocacy

If you have a social media strategy, share it with your employees. Giving them an understanding of what your social goals and positioning are will show them how their networks can best support the brand. In addition to strategy, a clear social media policy should also define what employees can and cannot do online.

Establish Guidelines for Posting

Avoid sending your employees a 50-page document of Social Media Don’ts. Your guidelines should encourage sharing! Make your guidelines simple and based on common sense. Most of the information will be better communicated through training, but it will be valuable to have an official document in case any incidents occur.

Train Your Employees on Social Media

53% of salespeople say they’d like social media training. Despite this fact, 93% of them have received no formal training from their company.

Look to Dell for an example of an excellent social media training program. Over the past 5 years, Dell’s Social Media and Community University has trained over 15,000 of their employees on social media best practices. The benefits they’ve seen extend to all areas of their business:

  • Sales via social media has seen a 69% year-over-year increase.
  • With 4,000 customer service cases a week on social media, they hold a 98% first-time resolution rate.
  • 89% increase in the number of external hires coming from employee social referrals.

Provide Employees with Social Media Content to Share

Supplying employees with suggested social media content is another way to increase advocacy while also controlling the messages being sent out. You can send out regular post suggestions or for certain salespeople and brand advocates you can post on their behalf through a social media lead generation tool like Socedo. This is particularly valuable for sales reps who need to regularly share messages to leads in a timely and relevant manner.

Responding to Social PR Disasters

No matter how well trained and informed your employees are, eventually a social media crisis will strike your company. However, that doesn’t need to spell disaster for your brand. Many companies have been applauded for how well they handled a PR disaster.

Two companies that prove this fact are DiGiorno and Entenmann’s. Both companies received backlash after unintentionally leveraging trending hashtags that were related to sensitive issues. Entenmann’s tweeted using the #NotGuilty hashtag related to the Casey Anthony murder verdict while DiGiorno used the #WhyIStayed hashtag related to domestic violence.

Entenmann’s responded by avoiding Twitter for years until they had lived down the crisis. On the other side, DiGiorno personally responded to offended Twitter users and went to great lengths to own their mistake.

Because of their response, DiGiorno was able to limit the damage done to their brand and continue to use Twitter as a valuable channel.

Create a Social Media PR Disaster Plan

In addition to your social media policy, you should have a formal plan in place that defines what a social media crisis means to your brand and what actions you will take in the event of one. Some incidents may require personal apologies to every offended customer, like in DiGiorno’s example. Some incidents may require you to put out a press release or issue a formal statement. Understanding what is required in various situations and having the resources in place to respond quickly will greatly reduce the damage a social media PR incident can have on your brand.

Monitor Your Online Reputation

Responding to PR disasters and regular customer complaints in a timely manner requires that you actually know about them. While users reference brands on Twitter all the time, less than 3% directly @mention the brand when they do. Monitoring real-time keywords can help you identify potential disasters the moment they occur so your response can be quick and effective.

Social media PR disasters happen. However, if you create clear guidelines so you and your employees can be authentic and communicate with honesty, you can limit the potential for major incidents and limit the damage they will have on your brand.

This article was originally featured on Duct Tape Marketing Network 

Teena ThachTeena Thach is Socedo’s social media and marketing specialist. Socedo is a demand generation system that empowers marketers to discover, engage with and qualify prospects through social media to generate revenue at scale.

The biggest security concerns startups face

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The following post was written by Jeremy Sutter, a tech and business writer, the original article was posted on PitchBook and can be found here 

Cybersecurity is quickly emerging as one of the most important threats to businesses in 2015 and beyond. The last few years have seen a massive rise in the utilization of Big Data, automated software tools, cloud storage, and other techniques and systems that involve harvesting customer data. These are lucrative, especially for marketing, but they also have created a whole new set of risks. All of that customer data is valuable for identity theft and similar unscrupulous uses. Hacker groups dedicate their time and resources to attempting to steal customer data. This poses an especially grave threat to startups, who typically have less resources of their own to dedicate to security. In this post, we'll outline three major forms of attacks and why they are so dangerous.

Direct Attack

Some hacking groups try to target businesses directly and breach their security. They might be obvious or subtle, but their goal is the same—to break into the company's network and find any valuable data or software around. That data could be anything from industrial secrets to credit card records or social security numbers—it need not be customer data, although that is the most common target. Direct attacks pit the ingenuity and dedication of hackers against that of the startup, and the greater experience of the hackers means they can frequently find some kind of hole. On the other hand, they are in it for the money, so if they can't locate an opening easily, they are likely to move on to a softer target.

Social Engineering

Sometimes it doesn't take a real breach to get access to sensitive data. Hacker groups frequently use social engineering to get passwords or permissions. This involves manipulating employees by, for example, posing as an IT worker and asking for a password to verify an account. They might also try calling up the ISP of the startup and try to obtain some information that way. Social engineering is easy to do, as well as cheap, so a hacker can spend their time sending emails or making calls instead of coding. It is faster and frequently just as effective, because they only need to find one link. The best way to defeat social engineering is to have strong security policies and ensure everyone follows them. That includes things like never putting passwords in emails, always verifying the identity of anyone purporting to be from IT, creating new passwords frequently, and conducting regular internal tests to probe for weaknesses.

Vendor Software

One of the biggest problems for startups is that they cannot control all of the software they use. Every business relies to a greater or lesser extent on external vendors. If the vendor becomes compromised, all of their clients are also at risk. It is common for hackers to target vendors first and then use corrupted vendor software as a springboard for getting into bigger targets, like banks and retailers. It is difficult to completely vet all vendor software, because the whole point of using a vendor is the convenience and speed compared to internal development.

This last point especially is leading to major changes in cybersecurity. There are growing calls for laws governing liability for breaches, both for companies in charge of data and the vendors that supply them. In addition, the market for insurance that covers data breaches is growing. More and more startups are getting business insurance quotesonline for policies that pay off if they are hacked, lessening the expected risk of such a breach. The fallout from an attack can be severe. The loss of customer trust and negative publicity is enough to doom a startup, to say nothing of any damage to the network or loss of essential data. Worse, some hackers slip in quietly and stay within a company for months or years, siphoning off data. The growing complexity and scale of the cybersecurity threat means that startups are finding it worthwhile to invest in insurance rather than try to go head to head with the hackers. It is hard to do when resources and time are already stretched thin moving the business forward.

Content Curation Tools to Make Your Content Rock

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Belgrade - May 07, 2014 Facebook, Twitter And Other Popular Soci

You might have heard that you should write your own posts so to get the attention of your audience and search engines. That it will increase your sales and keep your customers coming back to your website or blog. And yes, this is true. But it doesn’t mean that this strategy is the only one available, as publishing curated content can also help you to achieve the same goals and in a much more practical way.

You can actually write an entirely new article just by listing the best influencers’ ideas in your industry, for example. And your target audience will love it  –  nothing better than a perfectly organized list so that you can get to know what you want without having to go through tons of pages. But where can you find the best content related to your niche so to curate them wisely? This is where these 15 content curation tools below will help you out.

  1. Storify

Storify brings several cool features to your curated content. It will allow you to build a social newsroom so that multiple editors can add content from different locations through real-time collaboration. They also offer a great app with a drag-and-drop option, and you can search for photos and videos, not only texts.

  1. Feedly

If you miss Google Reader, you will love Feedly. You just need to type a couple of keywords to have access to news, blog posts, YouTube channels, and more, using their powerful RSS feed reader. You can also secure private content, organize everything into collections, tag stories and URLs (so you can read them later) and share your content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or by email. And as if it wasn’t enough, Feedly can be integrated with Hootsuite, Buffer, Evernote, Pocket and Instapaper as well.

  1. Triberr

Tribber put together content shared by communities of bloggers and influencers. So if you are in need of fresh ideas, just search their categories, and find out which groups are more related to your industry or to your favourite topics – and you can also share your own content there.

  1. Trap.It

Proud of their over 100,000 sources, Trap.It offers a content library focused on social selling and employee advocacy. The first time that you use it, you will search for whatever you want and storage it to read later. But the best thing comes next: based on your choices, the tool will learn, look for related content, and leave it nicely organized in folders for you.

  1. Quora

Quora is a great option for those who want to hear opinions and insights about any topic. And if you think that is a bit tricky to find out the accuracy of some answers, just check the upvote/downvote ranking. You can also write your own questions there and wait for the best answers.

Digital Marketing Branding Strategy Online Media Concept

  1. Scoop.It

With just one click, the content that you create on Scoop.it can be shared on social media, added to your website or blog, or used on email newsletters - they have partnerships with MailChimp, Hootsuite, WordPress, Wix, and more, so to make it happen. Plus, you can create you own digital magazine there and let other users follow your curated content.

  1. SlideShare

SlideShare is the place for you to go if you are looking for presentations. And quality won’t be a concern as over 70 million professionals, experts included, share their content there. We are talking about over 18 million slides distributed into 40 categories at your disposal -  and you can also upload your own files there.

  1. Quuu

Looking for curated content that you can share it directly on social media? Then you should try Quuu. With this tool, you can select your favourite categories; receive hand-curated content straight to your Buffer account; manually edit it; and share it with you followers. The free version provides you with 2 posts per day while the paid one will deliver 10 posts per day.

  1. Pinterest

Pinterest is a great social network platform to curate content. You just have to search it by keywords or categories and save your pins in your boards – so when you happen to need them, you will have great ideas of content waiting for you.

  1. Trust my Paper

Trust My Paper is a curation tool (and not only for papers!) with which you can ask professional copywriters to curate and create content for you. They also provide proofreading, editing, plagiarism-check and rewriting help for those in need. Their website also has plenty of relevant information about content writing.

  1. Pressly

With Pressly, you can put all your content in one place, share it with your team or community, and even insert call-to-actions. You can also add RSS feeds and social media networks, or simply use their bookmarklet or apps.

  1. Learnist

Search Learnist's categories and create boards, so to get your curated content organized there. It is also possible to use keywords instead, but the best thing here is that their content is always fresh and collected from niche leaders in their industries.

  1. MyCurator for WordPress

WordPress also has its own curated content solution. With this plugin, you will receive content filtered by your chosen keywords, and it will pre-fills the post with an image, attribution link, and an excerpt, so you can customize it as you wish.

 14.  Content Gems

Content Gems allows you to monitor and search through their 200,000+ RSS feeds or your own sources. You will be able to add different kinds of filters, such as keywords or social signals. These two things together will create a stream of curated content for you, so then you can share it on social media, or add it to emails, newsletters, apps, websites, intranets, and more.

   15.  Curata

Thanks to its self-learning software, more often you use Curata, faster it will improve itself and give you better search results back. You will also be able to organize everything you find after just a few clicks, so then you can publish it anywhere anytime.

 

Wrapping it up

Content curation can be a life-saver. It will provide you with fresh ideas related to your industry, so you can quickly write posts just by organizing them and adding your personal touch. But with so much information been published daily on the internet, it is understandable that you will need a powerful tool to make this task easier, such as those mentioned above.
So test each one of them, and see which one is the best fit for your needs. Even though they have the same goal, they will deliver it on their own particular style. So take your time with them, and don’t forget to make the most of any free extra resources that you can put your hands on.

The Most Common Mistakes on B2B Websites

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Shaking hands and business team in business a hall ** Note: Shallow depth of field

Marketing in the B2C (Business to Consumer) space is very different than marketing in the B2B (Business to Business) space. B2B marketing is unique for a lot of reasons. In the B2B market, the sales cycle tends to be longer, multiple decision makers are typically involved, the partnerships are often long-term, and the products or services carry a higher price tag than many B2C products and services.

Approaching B2B marketing the same way one would approach B2C marketing is a huge mistake. Organizations need a website and digital strategy geared towards their unique B2B customers. Read on to learn what common mistakes that marketers make when designing websites for a B2B firms.

Going for the Close Right Away

Traditional B2B industries covers a broad range of industries including, but not limited to: medical devices, recruiting services, manufacturing products and financial services. One of the few things most B2B industries have in common is a long sales cycle. These sales cycles tend to be 6 months or longer, often spanning to nearly a year.

A major mistake that marketers make in designing a B2B website is going for the close right away. Asking a prospect for their contact information before they’ve gotten the opportunity to learn more about the product and services a firm is a huge turn off. This is particularly true in our new age of information, where a person’s name and e-mail address are coveted. And generally, B2B companies aren’t offering low value widgets that a consumer can return if they decide they don’t like it. B2B products and services ten to have price points in the tens of thousand, and products and services that require a lot more thought and consideration before a commitment is made.

Instead

Instead of going for the close right away, a B2B website should tell a story, draw the prospect in, and educate him or her on why the firm’s products and services are of value to them. Calls-to-action should be clearly placed and encourage the website visitor to take the next step, such as Read Our Blog, Download Our White Paper, Learn More, etc. A well-designed B2B website nurtures a lead through the sales funnel, often over an extended period of time.

Lack of Helpful Information

A bare bones website works for a variety of B2C companies that offer a quick experience with a service or an inexpensive product. However, in the B2B space a bare bones website lacks credibility and the information a prospect needs to make a decision.

An all-too-common mistake we see with B2B websites is a lack of actionable or educational information about a company’s service or product offerings. Services and products in the B2B space have a tendency to be detailed, customized, and/or complicated. As such, prospects need as much information as possible to make a well-informed decision. Firms that are able to provide helpful information to prospects set themselves apart from their competition and establish themselves as a true resource and authority in their field.

Rather

We often see B2B firms who have a plethora of offline marketing materials but very few materials available online. Rather than keeping all these great, educational materials in only print format, we encourage B2B companies to digitize these materials by adding them as pages on the website, creating case studies online, writing blogs about how to use their products or services, or create other content marketing materials that can be housed on their website.

Content Isn’t Accessible

Accessibility. It has a lot of definitions, but for marketers and those of us in the B2B space, accessibility translates into whether or not out content is available and easy to comprehend for our intended audience. We live in the age of information where everything we want to know ia at our fingertips. To continue to compete in this landscape, it is important to have information that is easy to find and to understand. If you’re not saying it, someone else is, and that someone is likely taking your traffic.

Content For All Decision Makers

A pervasive issue on B2B websites is that content isn’t accessible for all of the decision makers. A firm’s main prospect may be an engineer, but the engineer may have to get the approval of a CTO or a CFO before moving forward with a deal. If all the content on the website is aimed at the engineer, the firm isn’t providing tools that make it easy for the engineer to convince the CTO or CFO that the products or services are necessary.

Alternative

An alternative to creating content just for one client persona is to create content for each of the decision makers in the target organization. This sounds like a lot of extra work, but with the right planning, it’s quite simple to integrate into a website. For example, a CFO may be more interested in the financial costs and benefits of a particular service, whereas the engineer is likely interested in the technical aspects. Creating accessible content for the CFO, such as case studies or cost savings comparison sheets, and for the engineer, like spec sheets or technical guides, that are both hosted on the website worthwhile. While often overlooked, it’s an easy solution to effectively communicate with multiple decision makers.

Few Credibility Elements

In most industries, there are more than a few players. Competition can often be dense. However, most B2B firms have a unique value proposition that sets them apart from their competition. A firm may not be the cheapest or fastest, but there is a lot of value in being the most thorough or the best at something specific.

This issue is that they often don’t clearly communicate their value proposition clearly. Many B2B websites lack the credibility elements that build their case for the value they offer and why prospects should trust them. Long-term partnerships are founded on trust, respect, and added value. In the B2B space, this is true for almost all partnerships. As such, a B2B website and digital presence absolutely must engender trust and build confidence in a firm’s products or services.

Try This

There are so many ways to build credibility with a website. Instead of a firm saying they are better, faster, or more compliant, they should try showing they are better, faster, or more compliant. This can be done through client testimonials, industry awards, before and after demonstrations, a portfolio of work, and case studies. How the website performs (page speed, ease of navigation, imagery, etc.) should also uphold the value proposition and credibility assertion.

There is rhetoric out in the marketing world that there is no B2B or B2C, that it’s all the same type of marketing. However, it’s simply not true. Building and designing a B2B website according to the same principles used in B2C marketing is designing for failure. Having an understanding of what makes the B2B audience different enables a firm to create messaging, content, and a digital presence that accommodates, nurtures, and compels that audience.

Promote Your New Blog Post Like a Pro: An 8 Step Checklist for Small Business Owners

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Who’s been here?

Someone – maybe a friend, coworker, or blogger – planted a tiny seed in your mind. That seed:

Wouldn't it be great to start a company blog?

The benefits to your business would be enormous. It would skyrocket traffic, leads, and sales. The idea was so appealing that the seed finally grew into action. You slaved away with what little free time you had. You navigated the complicated blog setup process and settled on a design.

Once everything was in place, you started creating content. It seemed simple enough. Content is king, right?

But there was a problem.

Once you hit publish, nothing happened. Your traffic never took off. Those leads never appeared. Sales haven't changed.

What’s worse, you’re not even sure how to promote your content or where to start.

Sound familiar?

I promise you’re not alone. Many business owners struggle with this same problem.

Today, I’ll share a step-by-step process you can use to promote new blog posts like a seasoned pro.

Why Hitting Publish Is Not Enough

In case you didn’t get the memo , publishing content in 2016 is no longer enough.

There are upwards of 2 million blog posts published every day. Most people are overwhelmed with the sheer volume of content presented to them daily.

Aside from writing long form content and using an arsenal of other tactics to stand out, you still need to promote your content. Otherwise, chances are good no one will see it.

In other words:

You need to promote your content like crazy. But not like a crazy person.

You want to avoid haphazard promotion and a lack of clear planning. Small business owners need to make the most of what little time we have.

Instead, I'll show you how to implement a strategic plan and turn it into a company-wide process to follow. This will help you achieve the success you’ve been hoping for since the beginning.

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Internal Linking

Here's the first step to take after you hit publish:

Link to your new content from other, more powerful pages on your website. Sales pages, product pages, or other blog posts… it doesn't matter.

Why? The reasons are twofold:

  1. Navigational – We’re creating more places website visitors can discover your content.
  2. SEO – Internal linking is a great way to get more traffic to a new post. It’s also a great way to give it a rankings boost. Strategic linking from older, established, and more trusted pages on your website to a new page helps funnel authority.

Just make sure you’re linking from relevant pages. Take a moment to find the places where it makes the most sense to link to your new blog post. Write them down, and add them after reading this article.

Step 2: Social Media Scheduling

Next, you’ll want to share your new blog post on social media channels.

The most productive way to do this is through social media scheduling. For this, consider tools like Buffer or Hootsuite.

How many times should you share a new blog post? Check out this handy visual for some guidelines:

Now, you might think: "This is useless. I have no followers or fans.”

That may be! But if you want to grow your social following, you have to start somewhere. That means sharing content.

You can’t expect other people to share and link to your content if you’re not willing to promote it yourself. Don’t expect others to do the heavy lifting for you. Be a voice for yourself, first. Allow your ambition and enthusiasm to be contagious, and others will follow suit.

Step 3: Find Relevant Social Sharing Sites & Niche Specific Social Networks

Consider options outside of the major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest and Instagram.

Untapped traffic sources can include social sharing and bookmarking sites, like Reddit and Stumbleupon.

Not sure how to use either? No need to worry. There are tons of online marketing guides that address these platforms, like this one and this one.

Another great idea is a niche-specific social network. While there may not be a specific social network for every industry, these can prove to be a gold mine for your business.

Here's an example:

Pack Dog is a social network for dog owners. If you were in the pet business, joining Pack Dog would be a great move. You could share photos of your dog and links that interest you and other dog owners. Your new blog post about dogs would fit right in!

Perform a few Google searches to see if you can identify any relevant niche-specific social media channels or social sharing sites that could bring you more traffic. Once you've found sites that are a good match, create an account and become a member. This will allow you to share your content with hyper-targeted groups of people.

Just make sure to become an active participant in these communities. Avoid spamming by only sharing content that promotes your business. That is a quick way to lose goodwill (and possibly get banned).

When in doubt, follow the 80/20 rule: 20% promotional content and 80% non promotional.

Step 4: Share With Your Email Subscribers

If you’ve been building and grooming an email list, don’t forget about these super-important people!

Why? They’re your biggest fans!

Anyone who's opted in to receive email, news, and information from you should never be ignored.

Create an email campaign to let subscribers know about new content, and encourage them to check it out. Provide a strong call to action, inviting them to share it with friends or leave a comment.

This is a great way to generate early buzz and engagement on your post.

Step 5: Contact Weak Ties

Despite what you might think, everyone has what’s called “weak ties.” These are people who will happily promote your content.

Who are these people? Brian Dean refers to them as people in your professional network, or even acquaintances. But I think they can go beyond that. Maybe it’s your mom, your partner, close friends or family.

Don’t be afraid to approach them. Now’s not the time to be shy or proud. Ask for a social share.

Weak ties may also be old colleagues, people within your company or department, or even your employees. Chances are you’re both on the same team, or work within the same industry. Most people will want to promote their profession and see their place of business succeed. Many will be more than happy to lend a hand.

Most importantly, don’t view this as begging for help. This is a strategic marketing move to generate buzz.

Don't be afraid to get out there and hustle!

Step 6: Reach out to Previous Linkers

This is one of my top link-building secrets.

When you perform any kind of email outreach or link development campaign, you should keep track of your efforts. This means recording:

  • Whom you contacted
  • When you reached out
  • For what reason
  • Responses

Think of this as your little black book of recurring link prospects. When you’re working on something new, comb through your records for what I like to call “previous linkers.”

These are people who linked to you in the past, and with whom you’ve built up a rapport. Often, you can count on them again for a link or social share.

Be careful not to ruin these relationships by spamming.

Only reach out if you have something they may be interested in or something that's relevant. If so, reach out again.

You'll be surprised at just how effective of a tactic this is.

Step 7: Contact Brands or Influencers Mentioned in the Post

Next, review your content for any mentions of brands or influencers, even if you didn't mention anyone directly. Did you share an idea, tip, tactic, or strategy of theirs?

If you have, contact these people! Shoot them a quick email letting them know they were referenced in your article. Gently ask for, or suggest, a social share.

While you won’t get a response from everyone, this is a valuable tactic. It uses a share trigger called social currency.

People want to share content that proves their position or makes them look good. If you featured their work in a positive light, they'll want to share that with their audience.

Most brands or influencers will likely have a larger social following than you. This type of strategic promotion will send you traffic, increase social shares and engagement, and possibly open the doors to new potential customers.

Give credit where credit is due, and reap the rewards.


Step 8: Conduct an Email Outreach Campaign

By now, we’ve done a good deal of legwork to generate early buzz and acquire quick links.

This is crucial. We've created what's called social proof. We're now going to leverage this in the rest of our outreach efforts. If we can show other people are engaging with our content, it makes other prospects more likely to do the same.

Basically, we have people talking, and now we're going after the big fish.

This is where you begin an email outreach campaign. The type of campaign and tactics you'll employ will depend on the topic and type of content you created.

The ultimate goal is to find other people, blogs, and publications that are likely to share your content, and reach out to them to make them aware of it.

If you're unsure of where to start, I would read Moz's How to Start a Link Building Campaign. Another gem is Neil Patel's The Link Builder's Guide to Email Outreach (complete with email templates and all).

Now, get out there and get started!

Recap

Content promotion takes time and effort. But it’s critical to content marketing success.

Even the busiest of people can find the time to implement at least a few of these suggestions. At the very least, getting organized and following a strategic, step-by-step plan will increase your chances of success.

Again, the 8-step process goes like this:

  1. Add internal links
  2. Schedule social media posts
  3. Utilize social sharing sites and niche-specific social media networks
  4. Share with email subscribers
  5. Ask “weak ties” for help
  6. Reach out to previous linkers
  7. Contact brands or influencers referenced within content
  8. Conduct an email outreach campaign

Give this 8-step content promotion process a try, and leave a comment letting us know how it worked out for your business!

A link to said memo might be great here?

I didn't cut this line, because I was on the fence about it, but I think it's prime for cutting. It doesn't seem strongly implied elsewhere that the reader will immediately take to their new blog post after reading this article.