Zazzle Media » Blogs http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk We are a content and data led Content marketing, SEO consulting and social media agency Fri, 04 Sep 2015 08:43:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 5 Powerful Tools for your Social Strategy http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/blog/social-strategy-tools/ http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/blog/social-strategy-tools/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 14:38:24 +0000 http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/?post_type=blog&p=6849 Anyone who is worth their salt in digital marketing and social media will apply the first definition to their social media efforts. Having a long term or overall aim is a very smart approach and a great starting point for any social media offering. strategy ?strat?d?i/ noun 1. a plan of action designed to achieve […]

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Anyone who is worth their salt in digital marketing and social media will apply the first definition to their social media efforts. Having a long term or overall aim is a very smart approach and a great starting point for any social media offering.

strategy
?strat?d?i/
noun

1. a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.

“time to develop a coherent economic strategy”

2. the art of planning and directing overall military operations and movements in a war or battle.

A social media strategy will outline how you are going to achieve your businesses goals and an ideal strategy should include these steps:

  • Audit of current offering
  • Content Development
  • Competitor & Industry Analysis
  • Execution
  • Evaluation

However, the second definition is something that we certainly shouldn’t ignore. Now this might be slightly over dramatising social media but, if you think about it, these military terms can be applied to what you can expect to experience when executing a social media strategy.

The ‘military operations and movements’ are what you’re posting, tweeting, snapping from your brand on social media but the ‘war or battle’ is what’s going on all around you – it’s competitor or friend activity on your customer’s timeline.

Theses battles can get quite noisy and violent, so how do you come out the victor? Well, luckily, there are a few powerful weapons that can help you not only win the battle but also the war.

The Armory

This list will provide tools that are relevant to each facet of a social media strategy and how you can fully utilise them to assist you in making a watertight plan of attack.

Mention

What for? Competitor & Industry Analysis, Execution, Evaluation

Mention is a social listening tool that shows you what’s being said on social and the wider web. By setting up alerts Mention tells you when a piece of content that would be relevant to you is shared by monitoring millions of sources from over 40 languages.

The real-time alert system is Mention’s USP but it can be utilised in different ways which makes it a very handy weapon to have for your strategy. You can connect all your different social accounts so you can react to the alerts without leaving the conversation.

Mention

Mention can also add value to the analytical side of your social strategies. It gives you understandable data of your mentions by source, language and other metrics. You can also generate reports and export them to help with your competitor analysis.

Facebook Audience Insight

What for? Auditing, Competitor & Industry Analysis, Content Development

Here at Zazzle Media we recognise how important this handy tool is and use it in every single social strategy we create. In terms of weaponry – this is our H-bomb. Available in the ‘Tools’ section of your Ads Manager, Audience Insight unlocks a huge amount of audience, demographic and behavioural data.

Facebook Audience Insight

To see information such as demographics, page likes, location, activity, household and purchase from within your audience type your page name into the ‘Connected to’ tab and watch it generate you a report. These statistics can be invaluable when you are auditing your current social media efforts.

Not only can you see and digest data about your own audience you can also see information regarding a specific competitor or industry. This can be brilliant in understanding and creating wider audience pools or for spotting gaps in the market. This is done slightly differently through the ‘Interests’ section.

Audience Insight can also be used to assist in content development. By looking at the information provided around what pages specific audiences like or their employment status, you can feed this into your content creation piece so you know that the content you’re creating will be relevant within your target audience.

For a complete guide to familiarising yourself with Facebook Audience Insight check out our own Naomi Parry’s beginner’s guide to Facebook Audience insight on HubSpot here.

Studio

What for? Content Development

At Zazzle Media we’re blessed with a fantastic design and development team that pretty much means, when it comes to content, if we can dream it we can do it. But we aware that not everybody reading this will have such easy access to world class design and development.

With this in mind we decided to include a tool solely for its content development capabilities. Studio is a design app that helps you create fun and powerful images easily. Designed to work hand in hand with Instagram we’ve found that you can use it to just as good effect with other networks.

Studio lets you easily add text, layers, filters and offers other design based opportunities that could prove quite costly if you were to use an external design team. Furthermore, Studio lets you view other people’s creations so you can take inspiration or ‘remix’ their designs into your own.

If you still need convincing Mashable’s take on Studio was this: “What Instagram did for photography, this app will do for design”.

Cyfe

 What for? Competitor & Industry Analysis, Evaluation

It shouldn’t be underestimated how important it is to align your social media strategy to other aspects of your business. None more so than direct sales and leads, especially to see if social has had an affect on these figures. So it is beneficial for you to have these figures all in one place – which is exactly what Cyfe does.

Cyfe

Cyfe is a very powerful tool that offers a varied number of features from a number of different marketing tools including Google Analytics and all major social media channels. Their social dashboard lets you connect your brand’s pages and pull in all encompassing or individual reports as well as other accounts – such as your competitors.

By having all this information, such as social engagement performance, sales and leads, you can clearly see where you are having the most success meaning it is easier for you to make informed decisions when it comes to evaluating the success of your strategy.

RiteTag

What for? Auditing, Competitor & Industry Analysis

This is our new favourite tool at Zazzle. We have found it so useful for our social strategies and also to help our clients understand the social space that they’re entering and how their customers communicate on social.

When developing a social strategy you need to know what your customers are talking about and more importantly how and why they are going to engage with you. More often than not this is achieved by well-chosen hashtags but which hashtags should you be using? RiteTag identifies trends that have had proven records of achieving results within your space.

RiteTag

For example, if we were to start researching popular trends around ‘fitness’ it then gives you a lot of top-level stats regarding the trend – as well as other sub-trends that relate to give you multiple different avenues of allowing you to not only find your customers but more importantly, for them to find you.

Let Battle Commence

These tools will give you enough ammunition to develop a comprehensive social strategy that will have you reaping the rewards of your careful planning. Of course, there are thousands of other tools that would assist in similar ways – and if you know any, please comment below with your suggestions – but these are a selection of our favourites.

So hopefully you’re now ready to lock and load and take on a social media strategy head on.

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Digital Marketing Reporting – The Why, How and When http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/blog/digital-marketing-reporting/ http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/blog/digital-marketing-reporting/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 13:33:32 +0000 http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/?post_type=blog&p=6755 As marketing professionals, whether in–house or agency-side, we all have a need to visualise and understand the fruits of our labours. Primarily, this is so we can optimise campaigns, see what is working (or not!) and give ourselves the knowledge and insight to improve effectiveness. The other side of the coin is that there are, […]

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As marketing professionals, whether in–house or agency-side, we all have a need to visualise and understand the fruits of our labours. Primarily, this is so we can optimise campaigns, see what is working (or not!) and give ourselves the knowledge and insight to improve effectiveness.

The other side of the coin is that there are, invariably, other stakeholders that will need to see that insight.

There are many reasons for this, so…

Why does your boss/client need a report?

During my in-house days, reporting was all about understanding the numbers in a high level of detail. Every day was reported on in minutia, usually because the numbers you supply will be compiled into much larger team or departmental reports. Your boss needs your numbers for their own report!

Another reason for in-house reporting is budget justification. With spend monitored precisely, all in-house activity must be aligned to results and ROI, so internal reporting to do just that is key.

In-house, in reality, is always a case of proving worth, and that includes you and your role. Your reports are an important way of showing the value of your role, your channel, your team, and ultimately you! Use the opportunity that reporting presents to shout from the rooftops about the effectiveness of your channel.

Agency-side, it’s a somewhat simpler affair. Essentially, the client absolutely MUST see that their investment with your agency is providing results. SEO can muddy the water somewhat, with its results occurring over time rather than in real-time like, for example, PPC or display, however the agency should be in a position to explain trends and show progress in the mid to long term. Communication is key here so the client understands and their expectations are managed.

In-house vs agency reporting requirements

The big difference between the two, in my experience, is the level of detail required. As a rule, in-house reporting requires more detail than agency reporting, however the big variable in agency is the client budget. It’s accepted that a bigger budget will require a more in-depth report, of course.

A good example of the differences is time periods. A ‘main’ agency client report will usually look at specific time periods comparatively, e.g. month-on-month or year-on-year, for a specified range of KPIs, whereas an in-house report might report daily, over a much wider range of KPIs in more detail.

Understanding objectives and KPIs

Ultimately, the purpose of any marketing report is to show success and contextualise losses. The key to being able to do this, in a true way, is to know what the measures of that success and loss are.

Objectives and KPIs are imperative to this.

In reality, no report will focus only on the KPI. Let’s say a team or agency’s KPI was cost per order; if all the report showed was the cost per order for the relevant time period, it would add no value to anyone. What the report must do is support the KPI metric with cause and effect. What happened during the time period and how did it affect the KPI?

And of course, it is always in the marketer’s interests, in-house or agency, to report on ‘other’ relevant metrics to show value in other areas. Remember, we’re all trying to prove value with our reports.

Despite this, the report should always focus around the objectives and KPIs and to do this, those objectives and KPIs must be defined as early as possible.

Measures of success

Further to the above, I have listed below some example organic metrics that typically might be used to report against defined KPIs. Your report might incorporate one, some or all of them!

Ecommerce focused:

  • Traffic volumes
  • Transaction volumes
  • £ Revenue
  • Conversion rate % (=<transactions>/<traffic>)
  • £ Cost per order (=<spend>/<transactions>)
  • ROI (revenue as a % of spend)
  • Device usage (the above, but split by desktop/mobile/traffic)

Content focused:

  • Reach of off-site content
  • Long tail rankings for target terms
  • Social shares of on-site content
  • Traffic into specific landing pages
  • On-site engagement (bounce rate, average time on site, average page views per visit)

SEO focused:

  • Key term rankings
  • Number of terms ranking
  • Ranking spread (number of terms in top 5, number of position 1 rankings, number of terms in top 10 etc.)
  • Search visibility (a trend of how visible your site is in search engines, based on what terms it ranks for and where it ranks for them)
  • Number of landing pages receiving organic traffic
  • Indexation status (number of SEO errors, e.g. 404s, duplicate meta etc.)
  • Brand vs non brand

Reporting the right data, and using the right data sources

A KPI, and therefore a report, is worth nothing if the data used is inaccurate. Understanding the right metric to use is key and often that data will come from quite a small number of sources. I have replicated the above list of organic metrics below, but with the addition of the data source you should use and, where relevant, where in each source you should look for your organic data.

N.B. I reference Google Analytics here, however your business, specifically in-house, may use other analytics packages such as Web Trends or Coremetrics. In this case please try to find similar data in those packages to ensure consistency with wider business reporting.

Ecommerce focused:

  • Traffic volumes – Google Analytics > Acquisition > Campaigns > Organic Keywords (Site usage view)
  • Transaction volumes – Google Analytics > Acquisition > Campaigns > Organic Keywords (Ecommerce view)
  • £ Revenue – Google Analytics > Acquisition > Campaigns > Organic Keywords (Ecommerce view)
  • Conversion rate % (=<transactions>/<traffic>) – Google Analytics > Acquisition > Campaigns > Organic Keywords (Ecommerce view)
  • £ Cost per order (=<spend>/<transactions>) – Google Analytics > Acquisition > Campaigns > Organic Keywords (Ecommerce view)
  • ROI (=revenue as a % of spend) – get revenue data as above and combine with your own spend tracking, then calculate manually or with a formula in Excel
  • Device usage (the above metrics, but split by desktop/mobile/traffic) – Google Analytics > Audience > Mobile > Overview > Add Segment (Organic Traffic)

Content focused:

  • Reach of off-site content – Hitwise (cumulative monthly estimated traffic of placement sites)
  • Long tail rankings for target terms – A specific rank tracker (Zazzle uses serps.com) > track the terms your on-page content is targeting over time
  • Social shares of on-site content – sharedcount.com > enter the content URL
  • Traffic into specific landing pages – Google Analytics > Acquisition > Campaigns > Organic Keywords > Set Primary Dimension to Landing Pages
  • On-site engagement (bounce rate, average time on site, average page views per visit) – Google Analytics > Acquisition > Campaigns > Organic Keywords (Site usage view)

SEO focused:

  • Key term rankings – once defined, use specific rank tracker
  • Number of terms ranking – Searchmetrics > Overview > Organic Keywords – updates monthly to show the number of terms ranking in the top 40
  • Ranking spread (number of terms in top 3, number of terms in top 10 etc.) – SEMrush > Organic Research > Positions > Select Keywords on the main graph – this will show terms in top 3, terms in P4-10, terms in P11-20 and total top 20 terms
  • Search visibility (a trend of how visible your site is in search engines, based on what terms it ranks for and where it ranks for them) – Searchmetrics > Overview – the main graph is the site’s visibility trended over time
  • Number of landing pages receiving organic traffic – Google Analytics > Acquisition > Campaigns > Organic Keywords > Set Primary Dimension to Landing Pages > Look for the number at the bottom right of the list, i.e. how many landing pages there are in the list (be careful not to do this while doing a date range comparison, as the landing pages for both date ranges will be included in the list!)
  • Indexation status (number of SEO errors, e.g. 404s, duplicate meta etc.) – Google Search Console (previously Webmaster Tools) > Crawl Errors – PLUS the output of a crawl tool such as Screaming Frog or Moz
  • Brand vs non brand – Follow my Google Analytics method outlined in this post I wrote for Econsultancy (look for the ‘Brand and non-brand’ section) > Track non-brand over time to show growth in ranking-related traffic

Being consistent

The above metrics and data sources are only reliable for as long as they are consistent. Once you firm up the source and method for extracting data, be consistent with it. Any changes, forced or otherwise, should be included in the report as a caveat.

A great current example of this is Google’s switch from Webmaster Tools to Search Console. Historically, there has been a section called Search Queries, a great source of data around keywords sending traffic, however, it has now changed to Search Analytics. In my experience with it so far, the new version is much more cloaked and no longer divulges full data sets. Shifting from the old source to the new source could create inconsistent data and this should be highlighted in the report, for example:

“Search query data source changed from Google Search Queries to Google Search Analytics as of July 2015.”

Consistency is especially important when trending info over time and, comparatively, against previous time periods.

Reporting against targets

We referred to objectives and KPIs earlier, and importantly that the report should be built around the metrics that measure those targets. When doing so, it can be useful to report differentials against target.

For example, part of a ranking target report might look like this:

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 15.30.58

Showing progress over time – trends, and direct time comparisons

There are 2 main points here:

  1. Graphs are your friend
  2. Time comparisons can give false readings, so use them wisely

Graphs are the best way of showing progress over time and tracking metrics across a number of reports. Pie charts can also be useful to show your channel’s performance in relation to other channels. For example, a pie chart showing that organic is the biggest driver of revenue at 40% ahead of PPC at 34%, is a positive indicator.

Graphs are also useful when annotations are added… highlighting on a graph when major changes or events occurred can add context to the performance of a trend. E.g. highlighting where a new website or product was launched can add real insight in relation to performance fluctuations.

The big factor to be aware of with time vs time comparisons is that they are not always true comparisons. For example, today vs yesterday might not be relevant because yesterday was a Sunday and it’s a quiet day for the site, and this month vs previous month might not always be the best comparison because last month might be December, containing a super-busy Christmas.

The ‘truest’ comparison we find useful is year-on-year.

Referring back to consistency, if week-on-week, day-on-day or month-on-month are being used, ensure to caveat with relevant insight where needed. The best place do this is in commentary…

Commentary

Commentary is your opportunity to add flavour to your numbers, by picking out headlines, drawing attention where you want it and ultimately explaining why things have happened as they have.

My main advice here is to avoid storytelling. Stating what the numbers say is fine, but ensure it’s supported with reasoning. For example:

“Organic traffic is up 23% this month”…

We already know that! However…

“Organic traffic is up 23% this month, driven by a 2 position increase in rank for ‘insurance’ and a resulting traffic increase into the /car-insurance landing page. This has also been influenced by March having 3 more days in the month than February.”

… is an insightful explanation and one which avoids questions from the reader.

Formats

There are 4 main methods of building reports:

  • Word
  • Excel
  • Powerpoint
  • Online tool

The best one to use for your report will depend on its contents and your intention with regards to the message you’re portraying.

A data-heavy report would suit Excel, a commentary-heavy report would suit Word and an imagery/creative-heavy report would suit Powerpoint.

Online tools can be great in providing consistent formatting and templates, and each have strengths similar to Word, Excel etc. so make sure you pick the right one for you.

One of our favourites here at Zazzle is megalytic.com

Methods of delivery

Regular update reports should always be delivered by email and in a non-editable format, e.g. PDF. This may vary in-house where the recipient will need to copy or manipulate the data for their own reports.

Big end-of-campaign and review reports should be supported with face-to-face or conference call walk-throughs, whether that be in-house or agency.

Talking through / answering questions

As the reporter, it is your responsibility to ensure the report is understood and valuable. You can do the hard work with regards to this by building the most watertight report you can, with the best insight you can muster, however there will always be questions and queries, so always be prepared to back up your metrics and commentary with further explanation.

Frequency of report generation

In-house, it is likely that report frequency will be defined for you, however you may have the opportunity to flex the level of detail in those reports. For example your weekly reports might be top level and monthly reports may go into much more detail. Too much data too often can cause unnecessary panic!

On the agency side, frequency of report is a little more variable. A few factors to consider are:

  • Client budget – should we be spending 40% of the budget on in-depth weekly reporting?
  • Level of detail required by client
  • Breadth and depth of defined KPIs – more KPIs means more reports and more detail

Striking a balance between a fair level of reporting as a % of the budget and ensuring you’re giving the client what they need is the key.

Manual vs automation

For me, nothing beats a hand-built, bespoke report designed specifically for each client, however it isn’t the most efficient approach and can lead to huge time issues.

There are many tools out there that use Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to pull in data from various sources, however I am yet to find one that has the level of functionality to rival a manual report. There are even reports out there that claim to be able to write the commentary for you, however referring back to my point on ensuring commentary is precise, I’m not convinced this would give the level of insight I’d be looking for and would be storytelling, which I recommended avoiding earlier.

Looking ahead

Monthly, weekly, campaign and review reports are there to show performance and insight for that time period, however equally as important is a focus on what can be done with that information.

  • If things are negative, how do we fix it?
  • If things are positive, how do we maintain it?
  • What are the next steps?
  • What did we do wrong?
  • What can we learn?

Overall, remember the important points we’ve covered. In your report you’re trying to:

  1. prove value in you and your channel
  2. minimise kickback/questions
  3. report progress against KPIs
  4. give confidence
  5. provide insight

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6 Tools to Help You Steal Competitor Ideas http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/blog/competitor-idea-tools/ http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/blog/competitor-idea-tools/#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2015 14:53:45 +0000 http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/?post_type=blog&p=6683 Creating consistently brilliant ideas that resonate with your digital audience is one of the biggest challenges of modern marketing. We write regularly about this challenge, covering everything from our ideation process through to looking at an understanding of audience search behaviour and science. But one of the most rewarding of all techniques involves stalking; and […]

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Creating consistently brilliant ideas that resonate with your digital audience is one of the biggest challenges of modern marketing.

We write regularly about this challenge, covering everything from our ideation process through to looking at an understanding of audience search behaviour and science. But one of the most rewarding of all techniques involves stalking; and theft!

It may sound clandestine and even slightly illicit but in reality it is very important for you to constantly monitor your market and understand what your competitive set is up to. And most importantly of all, to understand what is resonating with your audience RIGHT NOW.

To do that we rely heavily on a handful of tools and we’ve skimmed through our favourites to highlight just what you can implement into your process, depending on what your desired outcome needs to be!

SEMRUSH

  1. Determine your current position

It’s always best to first check where your client lies in terms of paid and organic search traffic. What’s great about the graph, is that you’re able to determine exactly where rankings might be improving, what keywords you are ranking for, as well as backlink data. A great example of this sort of data can be seen below.

image

The client shown is fairly popular, with a reasonable amount of backlinks pointing to the site. When you are faced with this image for your own site, try to highlight exacts:

What is my traffic?
Is my paid traffic picking up traction?
Have I got any keywords ranking at a decent number?

Although the information might be relative to you, it’s always important to note these down to compare with the competitors we’re looking to essentially overtake with this data.

  1. Keyword analysis

Particularly when you’re looking to surpass competitors, one of the most vital things you can do in this process is to do a small keyword analysis to see where the competition are flying.

image

In the example above, we’ve decided to look at the keywords that AO.com are ranking for. In SEMRush you are able to do a comparison of your client’s ranking keywords and their competitors under ‘ORGANIC COMPETITORS’. It’s important to note that high monthly search volume is a treasure-trove purely because it means traffic and in turn, conversions go with it.

Low competition keywords can present itself as a brilliant opportunity for your client to climb the rankings through relevant content; this could be the perfect chance to shine your client in the right light when it comes to the written word online, as well as link building opportunities, should this be your aim!

  1. Pin pointing competitors

The competitor positioning map is a quick fire way to see exactly where your competitors lie in terms of organic search and organic keywords. What this enables you to do is pin point your top 3 competitors to focus on.

What is great about the positioning map is that the domains provided may not necessarily be direct business competitors. The example below shows this well. With over 22,000 competitors, many shown to be banks, parent related and branded car sites. They are seemingly competitors on an SEO level, but what needs to be remembered is that their products or services might completely differ.

image

The Domain Vs Domain tool in SEMRush is also an efficient way of determining what keywords you and your competitors are ranking for, as well those that you’re not targeting, that they might be covering already.

As shown in the example below, three extremely popular brands cover over 2000 of the same keywords, but New Look holds the most, that H&M and Topshop are not covering. You are then also able to view these specific keywords in table view, with an average amount of searches for these keywords in the last six months.

image

image

With this great tool within SEMRush, you’re able to determine what you aren’t targeting, and content or general work towards these keywords can begin to ensure you’re covering all your bases.

  1. What is working for your competitor? (including ads)

Ad history in SEMRush is a great way of seeing actual examples of the type of adverts that your client’s competitors have been running. In the blue box, as shown below, you can see the amount of keywords that trigger the ad in a paid search.

image

Not only does this allow ad managers to run ads based on the same structure as their competitor, but it also allows you to construct content that will work just as well for whomever you may be representing.

  1. Backlinks

Referring domains with great power is important when looking at the impact of your site. This is true for your competitors as well, and an old but great way of building links is looking at your competitors’ backlinks to see where their power is coming from.

image

image

If the backlinks that your competitors are looking at are decent, there is no reason why you’re not able to use them yourself, as well as targeting sites that boast similar content.

Majestic is a similar tool that you’re able to use to extract this data. What is great about SEMRush is that an overview can show you exactly where Follow and No Follow links are coming from, filtering the data for you to go to straight to what you need for a client.

This tool presents so much actionable data that is required, ensuring you are fully informed of your competitor’s digital marketing capabilities and allows you to be on top where your clients are concerned. Once you’re able to match their success, there is no reason why the work you set up will not fly.

AHREFS

This tool is ideal for looking to where competitors have built new links. What is great about this is that it’s an indicator for how sites are accepting of link building efforts and where you’re able to build new relationships for future projects. There are two aspects with AHREFS that stand out, particularly from a content to PR standpoint.

1. Content Explorer:

The section shown below is off the tool that enables you to gather the most shared pieces of content, depending on its social impact at that particular time. With writing new content and ensuring that you’re up to date with what site owners might be after, it serves as a reminder for marketers to keep on trend with what the biggest sites are featuring. The columns on the right ensure that you know exactly how popular the content is, and highlights that if you were to share similar news items, it should be equally as well received.

image

2. Site Explorer:

Checking ‘NEW’ inbound links of your competitors in the Site Explorer allows you to specifically see where they may have started to link build for a new campaign or just to generally up their rankings. What is great about AHREFs, is that you’re able to filter up to 60 days to gather a substantial amount of sites to contact to build relationships from.

image

HITWISE

Hitwise is said to be the most accurate and detailed form of working out traffic for a website. You’re able to see Internet users, searches and the amount of visits to a particular site. What this allows is for you to effectively understand what sites would be suitable for use in your campaign.

The world of SEO has moved on a long way since the days of Page Rank and Domain Authority; as much as they make an impact in some sense, the traffic that websites cover are also a pivotal aspect now you are looking to build relationships, and links, on these said sites. As a general rule, aim to use sites with a Hitwise traffic of 1000. In the grand scheme of things this may not seem like a lot, but dependant on the campaign that you’re working on 1000 HT should, in theory, be your minimum.

GOOGLE ALERTS

Setting up a Google Alert for every time a competitor is mentioned, whether this is just a regular mention or a link, allows you to see what they are doing, so you’re able to action it better. Monitoring keywords as well as social data from this platform is incredibly helpful in learning your competition’s successes and shortfalls.

image

Alerts are specifically designed for you, whatever your needs, you’re able to set up an alert. The amount of alerts are totally down to you as well, whether it’s daily, weekly or fortnightly, it is entirely down to what you require for your campaign.

INFINIGRAPH

Grabbing data from your social circles dependant on industry, this tool is able to specify exactly what is trending amongst different audiences. This is a great platform to adopt when you’re looking to create accessible and engaging content for clients.

Described as identifying “crowd sourced Social Intelligence” it really is a tool that stands at the forefront of social relevancy. Infinigraph works through real-time interactions to aid brands in finding influencers and content for their desired niche. Again, to ensure the response you’re looking for behind your client name, there’s no better way than delving deep into your social platforms to find the content information that really grabs their attention.

GOOGLE KEYWORD PLANNER

Considered to be one of the ‘best’ out there, and although it is technically designed for analysis on your own site, you are able to search for your competitors and target their data to integrate better aspects into your client’s work.

As with SEM Rush, you’re able to find the best keyword data for your competitors, to ensure that your clients are on top. Of course, highlighting where your competition is coming up trumps is a vital part to pinpointing the keywords that could be adopted for your campaigns.

Although this tool is a great resource for those specific keywords, SEM Rush is something that should be hailed as a front-runner. With the ability to combine the information of up to three competitors and eject information that will be carried over to influence the way you devise your client’s campaign, it’s takes a lot less time to dig deep into what will work and what won’t.

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Has Google Reinvented Brand Serps? A Panda Update Special http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/blog/panda-4-2-brand/ http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/blog/panda-4-2-brand/#comments Thu, 06 Aug 2015 08:53:00 +0000 http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/?post_type=blog&p=6593 TLDR – Google has changed brand related search queries meaning it is the beginning of the end for being able to leverage other popular brands with high search volume for your own gain. We have been closely monitoring the SERP flux since it was announced that Panda 4.2 was rolling out a few weeks ago […]

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TLDR – Google has changed brand related search queries meaning it is the beginning of the end for being able to leverage other popular brands with high search volume for your own gain.

We have been closely monitoring the SERP flux since it was announced that Panda 4.2 was rolling out a few weeks ago and there does now appear to be an eye-opening pattern emerging. And it hits at the very heart of our understanding of Panda.

Alarmingly, many sites that had historically appeared for other brand related searches have seen a massive drop in search visibility and it appears to be related to how Google is increasing its entity and semantic understanding.

While in the past a search for a brand such as Facebook would have featured a real mix of domains it now appears that patterns are emerging – patterns that fill SERPs ONLY with URLs that directly relate to the entity that is Facebook.

There also appears to be a separation of what we are describing at commercial and non-commercial intent brand searches. For example, searching for brands like eBay, PayPal and Rightmove is different to Sony TV. The first three brands are entities and non-commercial searches but the latter clearly has some commercial intent behind it as a search term. As a result SERPs contains a mix of domains and commercial options, while the former is very, very different.

Brands like House of Fraser, Debenhams, Currys, etc will rank for a large number of brand queries due to the products they stock. They have the right to rank for these queries and it’s great to see that these have not been wrongly impacted. This type of query has implicit intent behind it to make a purchase decision, whereas queries such as PayPal, eBay and Skyscanner want to return their brand entities – website, brand information, etc.

Let’s dive into the data to understand this in more detail.

Meaningful traffic v Meaningless traffic

A website ranking for a large brand keyword is seen as meaningless due to the nature of the search. Users who search for the likes of eBay, Skyscanner and Rightmove aren’t looking for an alternative website.

Google has now taken this intent and run with it, and as a result, a search for Skyscanner returns:

  • Skyscanner website
  • Skyscanner related ‘In the news’
  • Skyscanner mobile website
  • Skyscanner app on iTunes
  • Skyscanner Facebook page
  • Skyscanner Google Play app
  • Skyscanner Twitter page

There is no other commercially related brand/website on the first page for this brand related query, when before there was.

1 - Skyscanner

This is incredibly relevant to the user’s search for Skyscanner as it displays a lot of different options of Skyscanner entities, from its app to the Facebook page.

The inclusion of apps in organic desktop results is something we’ve not seen a lot of before, but we can see from the iTunes website in the US that they’re now appearing for a lot more search terms, which has increased their search visibility exponentially over the last month – a 36% growth.

2 - iTunes Apple

We are also now beginning to see huge growth in the UK for the apple iTunes store for brand related queries who have apps.

3 - iTunes Apple

Another website to have thrived through this update is the BBC. This is a sign to me that Google has created a list of verified sources that deserve to rank for brand related keywords. Another to have done well through the update is London Stock Exchange.

5 - BBC

Facebook, Twitter and Google Play have all seen an increase in visibility and rankings for brand related queries. Facebook’s largest growth this week has come from brand queries – see below. This is evidence that Google is pushing brand entities in search results through Panda 4.2.

4 - Facebook

Google Play used to be nowhere for a lot of brand related queries. Now, if you have an app on Google Play, it is beginning to appear on Page 1.

It is also interesting to note that this pretty significant change may actually be tracking under the radar to a degree for a couple of key reasons.

If we look at popular SERP volatility trackers such as Mozcast we can’t see hugely drastic shifts but this could be explained by the fact that they monitor key commercial intent SERPs and don’t monitor, or heavily weight, change in brand search results as much.

The other point is then an internal one. While search visibility may note huge drops, the affect of not ranking for low converting searches will have a much less pronounced effect on the metric that matters – revenue.

With updates like this, there are always losers. If you have historically gained search visibility through utilising other brand’s search volume through content, you will see a drop.

A great example of someone being impacted by this is Windows Phone – windowsphone.com – who have experienced a 90% drop in search visibility.

All of the significant drops that contributed to this loss are mainly brand related keywords that the website used to rank for. Their apps used to rank highly for the keywords that have been impacted (see below), but we have noted there is some technical questions to be asked about the website through their current redirect structure. Nonetheless, it’s odd.
6 - Windows Phone

Where they haven’t got it quite right…

Soundcloud have seen a large increase in search visibility as a direct result of this update due to the vast amount of authors/DJs that they have with brand mentions forming part of their name.

For example, DJ Paypal now ranks above PayPal’s twitter.

7 - PayPal

 

8 - Soundcloud

 

9 - Soundcloud

Another example of difficulty in understanding the nature of the term is ‘Broadband Choices’, a large brand in its own right, but the nature of the keyword is vague and open to subjectivity.

The search result for this lists the brand and then GoCompare in third, clearly showing the update has not impacted this SERP and that Google are perhaps targeting large/global brands first.

What does this mean for marketers?

In conclusion, we’re seeing a huge shift in brand related queries. If you have a website ranking well for a brand that isn’t related to your own, you are more than likely going to see this drop in the next few weeks, if not already.

This is because Google appear to be favouring ‘credible sources’ over other websites ranking well in organic search for brand terms that aren’t their own.

To boost your own brand presence in organic search, it’s a good idea to get the following set up to be on the positive side of this update.

  • Wikipedia
  • If you have an app, list it on iTunes
  • YouTube
  • News
  • Stocks, if listed

We’re seeing this now in the UK and I imagine that this has already rolled out aggressively across the US.

The main takeaway from this learning is stripping it right back, again, and always focusing on the thought of building an awesome brand. As a brand, you want to develop it across the right channels to ensure this presence is earned.

Creating a brand footprint is essential and this can be done through earning citations in big pieces of content; the distribution of award winning content; creating a large social following with great engagement; developing mobile friendly websites and apps for all devices/platforms; and making noise through offline activity to earn all of the above naturally as an added extra value.

Lastly, the only way of capturing traffic lost through this update is to bid on brands that you used to rank for – yet another huge win for Google Adwords.

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25 Quick SEO Wins That Will Really Move the Needle http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/blog/25-quick-seo-wins/ http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/blog/25-quick-seo-wins/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 13:54:31 +0000 http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/?post_type=blog&p=6528 Working out where to start with on-page SEO can be a tricky business. There are so many different places to look, and so many different bits of advice, that it can cause your head to explode! It certainly seems daunting sometimes, and may feel like it will take years to get everything sorted out. But […]

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Working out where to start with on-page SEO can be a tricky business. There are so many different places to look, and so many different bits of advice, that it can cause your head to explode!

It certainly seems daunting sometimes, and may feel like it will take years to get everything sorted out. But that just isn’t the case. Today we are going to explain some quick and easy things to consider that can help your website perform better!

  1. Navigation Structure

This one is actually really important, so it’s a great place to start. Basically, the main navigation should allow quick access to all the important pages on a website, and will also pass the most strength to those pages!

  1. HrefLang

In this day and age, having multiple languages for a website is commonplace. But, the problem with that is that it often leads to duplications in content. By using the Href Lang tag you can tell Google that a page is just a different language version of another page, and not a duplication!

  1. Rel Next and Rel Prev

You know when you have a category of products or articles, or any on page content, and it goes onto another page? Well, by using rel=”next” and rel=”prev” on the pagination buttons, you can tell Google that the other pages are still part of that category, which helps it understand the strange URLs and duplicate page titles that often come with pagination.

  1. Rel Canonicals

Rel Canonicals are actually incredibly useful! They tell Google what is the correct version of a page to index, in case people forget a trailing slash or the “www” from a URL, for example. However, you can also use it to force Google to crawl pages you want, such as crawling permanent category pages rather than temporary product pages.

Canonical_preferred_url-1

  1. Mobile tagging

If you have a separate mobile site, make sure that you use the proper tags in the headers of both the desktop and mobile sites to tell Google which is which, and that they are related!

  1. Over linking v under linking

Now this might seem like a strange one, but it may be worth removing internal links from your site. If you have an overabundance of links to a page in an attempt to build its strength, it may be better to simply put it in the main navigation.

On the other hand, if a page is not in the navigation, and has few to no internal links, it can become an ‘orphaned’ page, which Google look at negatively.

  1. URL Structure

This may seem an obvious one, but it’s also one that so many people get wrong.

The URL structure should be short and concise, and relatively self explanatory. Looking at the Zazzle Media site, you can see that the URL structure clearly identifies what the page is related too!

http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/services/content-creation/

This is far better than, say, having “index.php?article=6” or some other non-descript URL structure, as it will also help Google identify what the page is related to.

  1. Minimize external file calls

Did you know that page speed is officially a ranking factor, but is almost always ignored?

Well, one of the big things that can slow down page speed, and therefore (and more importantly in this case) crawl speed is having too many external file calls.

How many CSS or JavaScript files do each of your pages require upon load?

Keep in mind that a lot of these may actually block the rest of the page and prevent it loading until they have been crawled. So, when Google just wants to look at your webpage, they are forced to load however many other files before they even get the slightest hint of the actual content of the page!

  1. Don’t use images rather than text

This should be pretty simple, but if you can use text you should. There is little point in having a header that is an image if there is no header text that Google can crawl!

  1. Robots.txt (site search)

Believe it or not, most sites end up with some sort of duplicate content, even purely by accident. This can be caused by parameters in URLs, or article tag categories that contain the same posts. One way to help ensure that you address these duplicate pages is to perform a site:domain.com search, replacing domain.com with your own domain.

Then, by going through any ‘omitted’ results, you can see which parameters or other aspects of the URL or page create the duplication, and block this aspect’s URL structure in robots.txt!

  1. Use WMT Search Queries

Google have actually been rather kind with the information they have given us.

Everyone knows that keywords are important, but many don’t know where to start when it comes to choosing them.

wmt-search-queries-overview

That’s where Google Webmaster Tools’ Search Analytics (what used to be known as ‘search queries’), comes in handy. The data in this section of Webmaster Tools actually tells you what keywords your site is currently getting visibility for. From here, you can see which have the highest click through rate, or the highest amount of impressions (think of that as your visibility), and choose which of these to focus upon as a starting point.

  1. Content length

Another basic one, but how often have you heard the phrase ‘content is king’ by now? We all know it. It’s been drilled into our skulls, are we right? Well, if that is the case (and it is), the content should be descriptive and detailed, which can often equate to long copy. Google loves text! So, where it doesn’t seem out of place, try to add relevant, thoughtful and useful content to a page.

  1. Responsive design

We all know that Google pushes mobile friendly sites for mobile device searches.

It was a logical idea even before ‘mobilegeddon’. So, if possible (and with WordPress sites it is very possible), why not sort out a responsive design for your website? This way, you don’t need to have a separate mobile site, and therefore, you don’t need to separate your optimization tasks over two different sites!

  1. Schema

Whilst we are looking at on-page SEO, why not take a look at schema whilst you are at it? Okay, it won’t boost your rankings, but it may improve your click through rate, which still ends up meaning more traffic to the site!

sg-ebay

  1. HTTP v HTTPS

Does your site allow users to register? Does it hold information about users, such as email addresses, physical addresses, names or card details?

If it holds any data on a user, then you really want to look at switching to HTTPS, which is a secured connection. Google values sites that hold data with a secured connection considerably higher than those without.

  1. Homepage redirections

Again, this may seem obvious, but it’s something I see consistently overlooked.
Did you know the ‘www’ and ‘non-www’ version of a homepage are seen as separate pages? As is that delightful /index.php or /index.html page, or any other such version of the homepage.

And as they are all the same page, that means that the most prominent and important page on your site is duplicated! So what do you do? You choose which version you want, using Majestic SEO’s citation and trust flow scores for ‘domain’ (non-www), ‘subdomain’ (www) and URL (index.php) to see which has the best scores.

Then, you set the others to a 301 redirect to that version!

  1. Recycling lost pages with 301 redirects

Having an abundance of 404 pages, especially when they are linked externally, can be annoying. However, by using 301 redirects pointing to relevant live pages, that link equity needn’t be lost, but rather passed to the live site instead of getting stuck at the 404 page.

  1. Subdomain v Sub directory

These days almost every website has a blog, which is great. However, many of them are on subdomains. The argument for and against subdomains and sub-directories has been going on for years, but isn’t it best to go with the safest bet when it comes to SEO? As such, you should try and make sure your blog is on a sub directory. This will help to ensure that any social shares or links pointed to a blog post will help the overall website.

  1. Don’t repeat keyword choices

It’s always better to have a different page for each of your target keywords. Why? Well, it stops Google getting confused about which page to rank. Now, you may be one of the lucky ones who gets to dual serve (appear more than once) but the chances of that are very low, and it’s more likely that you would actually lose positions overall for that keyword. So remember, one page per keyword!

  1. WWW and Non-WWW

Another rule to remember is that when you get a domain name and set up your site, there are at least two different ways to access it, and in some case, three. This is because http://www.example.com and http://example.com will both load the homepage, and if your homepage is a static PHP or HTML page, then http://www.example.com/index.php (or index.html) and http://example.com/index.php (or index.html) will also load the homepage.

Since they are all different URLs, this means there are multiple duplications of the homepage. So make sure you set up redirects from the index.php/index.html URL and either the www or non-www URL to whichever you want as to be the ‘real’ homepage.

A good way to judge which one to choose is to use Majestic SEO’s trust and citation flow and seeing whether the Domain or Sub-Domain has the best score (with domain being the non-www and sub-domain being the www URL).

  1. Make sure your content is crawlable!

We cannot stress this enough! So many people create awesome interactive pieces of content, with loads of written content within them. But then, when you view the source code of the page, or the cached version of it from Google, you see that Google can’t actually see the content. And that means it isn’t benefiting the page it’s on.

In fact, if the page only contains this interactive module, then in Google’s eyes the page is empty. So make sure all the content you have is crawlable. Use HTML5 if you can, as it will allow Google to see the awesome content you have created!

  1. Keep an eye out for soft 404s

Webmaster Tools is very kind with its crawl errors section, showing you what errors it has found. When there are soft 404s, you should take a look at them pretty quickly. A soft 404 basically means that the page cannot be found, but doesn’t return a ‘404 not found’ error code.

As such, you should have a look at the pages and see whether they do actually exist, and if not, make them 404 errors or redirect them to a relevant page.

  1. Fix unnecessary 302 redirects

302 redirects are known as ‘temporary redirects’. As such, they are used to temporarily take users (and crawlers) to a different page, with the intent that the original page will be crawlable again in the future. As such, these redirects do not pass any link equity.

Therefore, if the original page is not going to be used anymore, make sure you change these redirects to 301 redirects, so that link equity is passed to the new page.

  1. Rel=”canonical” temporary pages

Most e-commerce sites selling used items, or job listing sites, have temporary pages that expire and are then removed. The annoying part of this is that these pages could end up ranking whilst they are live, and then when they are removed those rankings will be lost. So how do you fix that?

By giving these pages a rel=”canonical” pointed to the category they are in. This will stop the job listings from being indexed, but pass the link equity they get to the category page, meaning that the category (being a permanent page) could rank instead.

  1. Get the basics down

And of course, you have to get the basics sorted. This means getting your page titles, H1s and H2s, meta descriptions and all the other bases covered, because if you don’t get those sorted, you’re going to have a bad day!

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8 Things you Must Include in your Content Strategy http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/blog/8-things-in-content-strategy/ http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/blog/8-things-in-content-strategy/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 13:59:06 +0000 http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/?post_type=blog&p=6516 If like us, the casual use of the clichéd phrase ‘content is king’ brings you out in a cold sweat and makes you want to punch yourself full on in your face, then chances are that other over-used ‘fashionable’ marketing buzz-words will have a similar effect. Big Data. Brand journalists. Storyscaping. Content Strategy. They’re all […]

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If like us, the casual use of the clichéd phrase ‘content is king’ brings you out in a cold sweat and makes you want to punch yourself full on in your face, then chances are that other over-used ‘fashionable’ marketing buzz-words will have a similar effect.

Big Data. Brand journalists. Storyscaping. Content Strategy. They’re all just words made-up by someone working in a graffitied office in Brick Lane, wearing oversized spectacles and slip-on shoes with no socks, aren’t they? They have no place in a real, proper place of work, do they?

Well actually yes, they do. Or at least content strategy does (storyscaping is definitely a made up one) because for any company having, or planning to have any type of content that will be consumed by customers (or potential customers) you absolutely, definitely, unquestionably MUST have a strategy for this.

Creating and distributing brand content without a strategy is like driving at car at night, with no lights on, blindfolded, with your hands tied behind you, and your kids in the back asking repeatedly whether you’re nearly there yet. You get the picture. It’s a scary and confusing place to be.

And yet, in spite of the many thousands of talks, books, articles and videos produced warning brands of the danger of failing to arm themselves with a robust content strategy, we are still amazed by the number of blindfolded drivers there are out there in our digital highways – clogging up our fast lanes with meaningless, directionless content produced for the sake of it.

Content strategies don’t need to be complicated or arduous. In fact, they’re infinitely better if they’re not. However, they do need to cover the basics.

So without further ado, here are 8 things your content strategy absolutely must include:

  1. Mission Statement/Goals

What do you want to achieve with the content you produce, and how will you know whether the content you’ve produced has been successful in achieving your goals?

If you want to create kick-ass content that will help convert causal site visitors into repeat customers that spend lots of money with you, then say that. If you want to create content that will make people laugh their socks off and therefore come back again and again, then say that too.

Knowing this stuff in advance helps you quickly dismiss the production of anything that won’t help you achieve these goals. What’s the point in producing a 20-page eBook to sit within your site that you’ll do nothing else with, when you’ve identified that brand awareness is a major goal for your business? Why throw all your efforts into building a huge social media presence when search visibility and increased organic traffic is your goal?

Set yourself two or three overarching goals and then stick to them!

  1. Audience insight – micro-moments

Did you know that 91% of smartphone users turn to their smartphone for ideas when doing a given task? Google refers to these moments as ‘I-Want-To’ moments and informs us that all the best and most successful brands are building strategies around these mini windows of opportunity. Most of us encounter these moments several times throughout the day, and rather than ask friends or read a book to find the answer (like we did in the olden’ days) we turn to our digital devices to provide the info.

These moments include:

  • I-want-to-go
  • I-want-to-know
  • I-want-to-do
  • I-want-to-buy

But how do you even begin to identify what ‘I-want-to’ questions your customers are asking? Well, to start with you need to know who your customers are (fast forward to point 3 – personas) but you then need to add an extra layer of detail to these. What are their pain-points? What are they currently struggling to do or find?

The answer to these questions will get you well on your way to figuring out the content they need.

Keyword research will help you out a lot, and my esteemed colleague explains how to do this in much more detail than I ever could here

You’ll also find lots of really useful by having a general search around the data in SEM Rush – look at the organic search terms for you and your top 2/3 competitors. Don’t focus on those big traffic terms here, this about getting a general feel for the questions people are asking – and here’s a heads-up, they’ll ask the same question in a variety of different ways.

Google are also awfully decent people, and regularly release new and useful information via their ‘Think With Google’ pages. If you haven’t already signed up for their newsletter then I urge you to do so immediately.

  1. Personas

Developing a deep and intimate knowledge of the customers who will be buying your products or services is an absolute must.

It’s easy for brands to say: “We don’t want to pigeon-hole our customers” for fear of alienating an important purchaser. But by avoiding this important task and trying to target everyone you’ll quickly find yourself in a content black hole.

Knowing your buyers inside out allows you to create the content they want and need (remember those micro-moments?)

Social data, namely the wealth of information available through Facebook audience insights, can provide you with enough information to pull together two or three data driven personas.

You can add to this a raft of information freely available through YouGov Profiles – a tool that allows you to search for any brand, person or thing, and providing they have enough data, you’ll be able to see what is particularly true of people who like XXX compared to the general population.

  1. Competitor analysis

It’s a well-known fact that everything’s a remix, and there is no shame whatsoever in taking a sneaky peak at what your key competitors are doing. Evaluate what’s working well for them, and what should be avoided. Look at their blogs, on page content and product descriptions, email newsletters and social pages. Ask yourself how their tone of voice and approach differs to yours – are they targeting a different audience, or are you missing a trick?

Enter their URL into Buzzsumo or ahrefs to analyse what content is performing best for them in terms of social shares and links.

SEM Rush is another valuable tool for analysing competitor content. It allows you to establish the organic keywords they’re currently ranking for, and establish the volume of traffic asking that particular question – you also have a snapshot into the landing pages for the content.

Cross reference this information against your own site and make an informed decision about how you can start to properly compete with them using content as your weapon of choice!

  1. Honest review of all current content

If you wrote every word on your site, you are probably not the right person to do this step!

Ask someone who’s not emotionally connected to your content to perform an honest review of your on site content. Check for the following:

  • Usability – easy to read and digest? Typos? Subheads? Text links – too many/few?
  • Knowledge level – is it written in a way your personas will understand?
  • Findability – Is the content easy to navigate to?
  • Actionability – What does the reader do next? Is there a clear call to action?
  • Accuracy – Is it all accurate and have you used the most up to date data?

The book ‘Content Strategy for the web’ by Kristina Halvorsen and Melissa Rach contains an amazingly comprehensive chapter on carrying out a web content audit. If you’re serious about content strategies then I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

  1. A large sprinkling of creativity (n.b – you can’t teach this stuff)

Here’s one of those woolly points, but it’s vitally important nonetheless.

Creativity has been described as the art of breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way, and this is never truer than when creating a comprehensive strategy that will allow you to compete with the 1 billion+ other websites currently in existence.

Whilst the core of what you create should answer those ‘long tail’ questions and help people during their micro-moments of need, your content strategy should intrinsically link with your marketing plans; and good marketing needs creativity.

Turning the simplest of ideas into something people talk about and remember is the advertising professionals bread and butter, and you need to recreate this in a digital space.

Here at Zazzle Media we call this ‘big bang content’ and realise that all good content strategies and plans need a flow of content that includes at least one ‘big bang’ to get people sitting up and taking notice.

For Dove it was their ‘Choose Beautiful’ campaign, and for The Food People it was this ‘Food Trends’ Infographic.

You see, that’s the beauty of digital; it allows big and small brands to compete on the same stage – it’s all about the idea. Make sure your content strategy includes a couple of ‘big bangers’ that will set the web on fire.

  1. Road map for how and when you are going to achieve number 1

You’ve done most of the hard work; you now know what you need to do, who you’re doing it for, and what you need to do to get there. But, do you know how long it’s going to take to achieve your ambition?

Creating a road map will allow you to set realistic goals for your strategy and ensure you’re spending time evaluating whether what you’re doing is working (or not!) It’s not a detailed editorial calendar – this comes later. This is an easy-to-use reference that should be shared across your business to ensure you’re all on the same page.

Your strategic roadmap should include the following:

  • Budget/hours allocated to content creation & distribution
  • Content goals
  • Overall timeline
  • Internal stakeholders
  • Content types
  • Content review & audit time
  • Individual content creation and distribution timelines
  1. Governance/Editorial calendar

The final part of your content strategy is the implantation of a content governance framework and detailed editorial calendar.

Content governance is described as: The day-to-day detailed management of content delivery and style.

Whilst it’s important you encourage as many people as possible from within your business to contribute to the content you produce, this doesn’t mean accepting and publishing absolutely everything.

Before publishing anything, ask yourself the very same questions you asked during the content audit phase. If it doesn’t tick every one of these boxes, then it doesn’t get published.

The final part of the strategy process is the creation of a detailed editorial calendar. This should spell out the content you plan to create and execute for the next few months – titles, topics and content type. It should detail who will be creating it, how long it will take, in addition to seasonal or marketing events you will (or should be) talking about.

Key Takeaways

  • Put someone in charge of web content NOW
  • Set 2-3 content goals
  • Use data to create at least 3 personas
  • Consider what ‘I-want-to’ moments your personas encounter daily
  • Carry out a thorough audit of your existing content – be ruthless
  • Check out your competitor’s content
  • Be creative
  • Create a roadmap and editorial calendar and stick to them

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Linkedin > The 15 Mistakes You’re Making Right Now http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/blog/linkedin-business-mistakes/ http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/blog/linkedin-business-mistakes/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2015 15:50:19 +0000 http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/?post_type=blog&p=6509 With over 350 million users, it’s no wonder businesses across the globe are noticing the effect LinkedIn can have, and jumping in head first. It’s fast becoming one of the biggest professional social networks around, but why are so many businesses doing it all wrong? LinkedIn can be a great tool within your wider marketing […]

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With over 350 million users, it’s no wonder businesses across the globe are noticing the effect LinkedIn can have, and jumping in head first. It’s fast becoming one of the biggest professional social networks around, but why are so many businesses doing it all wrong?

LinkedIn can be a great tool within your wider marketing strategy, if done correctly! There are so many ways to advertise, and get noticed, but there are also a lot of stumbling blocks along the way, and mistakes that can easily be made.

In this post we’ll be talking about the top 15 mistakes businesses make, and a solution to each.

A successful campaign is broken down into three main sections:

  • Establishing Your Brand Presence
  • Connecting With Your Audience
  • Creating Engaging Content

Establish

Being one of the largest professional social networks, not having a brand presence on Linkedin can be very damaging to your business, and brand. You could also be missing out on potential opportunities as no one knows that you’re there.

1.  Not Having A Complete Company Page

Incomplete company profiles have on average around 40% less interaction. It doesn’t take long to get your profile up to date, so make sure you do it. Not having a complete profile shows you to be unprofessional and more importantly not a leader within your field. Why should someone trust to work with you if you can’t take the time to complete your basic information?

Solution: Ensure that your profile is as up to date as it can be. Take inspiration for your competitors and see how they market themselves. If you’re not sure on what you need to include, there’s a checklist here, for you to use.

2. Not Knowing Your Target Audience

Targeting the wrong audience can often be worse than having no presence at all, as if you’re not targeting the right audience, you won’t be seeing the results! As a business you should know exactly who is buying your product. Not only to help market yourself in the correct way, but by seeing what other opportunities are out there for you by what your audience are doing and buying.

Solution: Get to know your audience. It’s as simple as that. Carry out some research into who is buying from you. You can start by getting to know your current customers; you can also look at who are working with your competitors. This will help you begin to build up your personas.

What do they like, dislike, what other products and services to they use? Who do they follow? What are they really interested in? Try and build up in depth personas. In the long run, this will help you in many other ways than just marketing. It’ll enable you to define the way you sell and approach people; it’ll show you where your customers actually are and the different ways to cater your business to them.

3. Hiding Your Page

When a page isn’t optimized correctly it can be seen as ‘hidden’. This means that your audience can’t find you. If your page isn’t optimised for the correct audience, links on your page aren’t working, or there’s no detail on your page, this can result is people loosing trust within your business.

Solution: Ensure that you’re linking to all relevant pages, i.e. social platforms and company website(s). Add company specialities and values to give your page a bit of personality and let your audience get to know your brand. Adding detail will give your page more credibility, and build trust within your brand. Your company page will rank high in Google so it will be seen, so make sure it’s good!

Connect

Connecting with your customers is a great way to build your brand. It helps spread awareness for your business, and shows thought leadership in your field. Existing and potential customers are more likely to take notice of you, and trust in your brand once you have our own community.

4. Not Using Groups Or Not Using The Right Ones

Groups are a great way to connect with your customers, potential leads, and begin to influence. Not being a part of this means you cannot further your business through making new connections and more importantly, network with others interested in what you do.

Solution: Make sure you join groups with other professionals within your industry to share ideas, and build relationships. Groups also enable you to look at where you customers are, and join groups that they are part of. Here, you can share your thoughts as ‘the expert’ or ‘professional’ and help build up your personal and business brand. It allows you to connect with individuals you may never have come across, on a common ground. You can also create your own groups, and filter within them. This will allow you to better target your potential customers with ease.

5. Not Making Use Of Sponsored Updates

Not using sponsored updates means that you’re not reaching out to as many people as you could be, and missing out on potential leads. Sponsored updates are only available to company pages, and they allow you to reach out to more people. They appear on the newsfeed of the targeted audience, and enable you to share your content directly with them, by using a mix of precise targeting, and native advertising.

Solution: In simple terms – use them! They help your content get in front of the right, and different people that aren’t in your ‘usual circle’. It allows you to share your content with people other than just your following as it looks at who you want to see your content, and targets them. They’re easy to use, and the ad looks natural on the newsfeed as its content they will be interested in, and will expect to see anyway. You can learn more about how sponsored updates work, and how to use them here.

6. Or Ads!

Arguably ads aren’t as successful or eye catching as sponsored updates can be, but are defiantly worth looking into, and using within your wider marketing plan. Ads are displayed at the right hand side of the page, and similar to sponsored updates will be targeted to the niche you want. Ads are a small but can be successful way of marketing your brand. Not making use of them means you’re not making potential connections aware that you exist!

Solution: When creating the ad, make sure it’s clear, simple and shows what it is that you’re offering. Make sure that it links to the right place, and does what it says. LinkedIn ads are great for a wide spread campaign, but not recommended for a small campaign with a limited budget.

7. Not Making Use Of Showcase Page

Showcase pages are great for highlighting your content to the right people. They’re an extension of your company page, and are there to ‘show’ or spotlight your brand, business, etc. You can create multiple pages for the different areas within your business. By not using these you’re not allowing yourself to build up your brand, and network in a different, more specialised way.

Solution: Try to make use of showcase pages. They allow you to target users of Creative Cloud & Marketing Cloud, and let you target different audiences within the different areas of your business. Allowing you to interact with potential customers based on their different product interest, which will ultimately open you up to new opportunities, and expand your network. You can share company updates and sponsored updates just as you can with your company page, however these are aimed at building relationships and are more social. To find out more about how to get started, there’s a great beginner’s guide here.

8. Not Making Use Of Your Own ‘Brand Army’

Your employees represent your brand and are ultimately what make up your business. Not having them on LinkedIn can be detrimental for themselves and your brand as they could be writing, sharing, and networking. It can lower the visibility of your brand, as if your own employees don’t like and share your updates, then how will other see them?

Solution: Studies show that 9 out of the top 10 brands with the most LinkedIn followers have at least 60% of their employees online, so try to encourage your employees to create a profile, grow their networks, share the businesses content, and interact with people as much as possible. LinkedIn allows any one individual to share their knowledge and innovation to the wider industry through the content they, and your business produce, to people they network with. Your employees are your businesses own brand ambassadors, who should be celebrated and praised for the work they do, so make sure they share it!

9. Not Adding ‘Easy Links’

Not adding all the relevant links is such a simple yet easy thing to forget. When someone lands on your page and they cannot access the thing that they want, for example your website, some people will try and search to find you, however others will loose interest very quickly as it seems as though you have been ‘slack’ and not interested in properly completing your profile.

Solution: Ensure you add all external links to your business/brand on your company page. This includes:

  • All marketing channels, ie. – email, newsletter, blog, etc
  • Follow buttons to your site
  • All relevant social channels

Try and make it as easy and simple to find you. Research indicates that 50% of people are more likely to buy and work with you if they can interact with you on LinkedIn, so don’t stand in their way.

Engage

Now that you’ve mastered establishing your brand, and making sure the right people are seeing it, you need to make sure that your content is as high-quality and engaging as possible. Creating engaging content is a problem faced by so many businesses. The world of content is forever changing, and what worked a year or even 6 months ago might not be so successful now. Ideally you want to make your content go viral, Adam covered this a few months ago in his post here.

10. Not Sharing Your Content Correctly

A lot of businesses will write an article, share it once, and then never share it again. By sharing the content once, only a limited number of people will be able to see it. By not sharing your content on a more regular basis you’re missing out as you’re not spreading awareness of you as a brand as much as you could be, and ultimately engaging with that potential customer.

Solution: Create a plan for sharing your content. Try to work out which posts are time sensitive, and which ones will be relevant for a few weeks or even months. This will help you determine what content to share and when. With LinkedIn, content really is key, it’s not just enough to create the amazing content, you need to make sure people will see it, too.

11. Not Using The Right Media

Many businesses can be ‘stuck in their ways’ when it comes to content, and only use one specific type of media. Times have changed, and content is king! Ensuring that your content is right for your audience is now more important then ever.

Solution: You first need to try and establish the right media platform(s) for your content. See what your competitors are doing, and check out your customer personas to try and discover what media they’re interested in already. Researching into your audience will give you the best chance of finding the right media for you.

The below chart shows you what different types of media can achieve; once you know what you’re trying to achieve with your content, it can be a lot simpler to try and implement it using different types of media.

Screen-Shot-2013-12-16-at-1.12.21-AM-1024x840-1
(What you want to do > the right media to do it)

12. Not Making Diverse Content

Often businesses will stick with one method that worked for them at one time, and not try any others, which can loose you potential leads, and not show you as a thought leader. Sticking to one kind of content can be seen as a little dull, and uninteresting. Why would someone want to work with you if you’re not creative and imaginative with your own content, let alone to help them as a client?

Solution: Try and look at what others are doing, and what is working for them. Take another look at your customer personas and see what kind of content each of them like to read, and try to ensure that you are covering a little something for everyone in each area of your business. The ultimate aim with creating amazing diverse content is to be creative, and always remember that content is not ‘one size fits all’ and it must be diverse to engage with your whole audience.

13. Making Your Statuses Too Long

The rule ‘quality over quantity’ really fits in well with this common problem. Sometimes it’s not about the amount of detail you write, but the context that you say it in. A lot of businesses have written detailed lengthy statuses which on average do not work. People want information fast, and in the age where we can find out anything that we ever wanted to know in a matter of seconds, long and detailed information that could be broken down a lot smaller parts is not the way to go.

Solution: Ensure that your status is short, sweet and to the point. 60% of users have said that they are interested in industry insights – there are people out there who want to read your status, so make sure it appeals to them! Studies show that when you share a status you are 10 times more likely to get noticed, so make sure you’re getting noticed for the right reasons.

14. Not Asking Questions

Asking questions is one of the biggest ways to directly interact with your network. It shows that you’re interested in what your followers think, and are interested to learn about them. By not doing this you’re creating a barrier, which people can view you to be uninterested, and inactive on LinkedIn.

Solution: It’s as simple as you think – Ask questions, and make sure you reply to the answers! Asking and responding to your followers is great interaction for your brand. By doing this you are directly engaging with your network and potential customers. It will show you as a thought leader, can boost your brand, and help build trust within your business. Never forget that LinkedIn is a social network – interaction is crucial to success.

15. Not Making Use Of Analytics

This is where you can monitor and track engagement, which is potentially one of the best tools that you should be using. By not making use of this tool you won’t be able to see what has worked, and what hasn’t. It’s true that there are other ways to do this yourself and many other tools you can try, but this will analyse a whole range of data as well as data specific to LinkedIn, and show you what has worked well, and what hasn’t.

Solution: Ensure you are making the most out of analytics. It allows you to see:

  • What posts are driving engagement
  • Your demographic
  • Key influencers
  • What social channels work for your content

As well as much more..

This is the final result from all the hard work you have put in to try and increase engagement. From here, you’ll be able to find out exactly what has worked and why, which you can then implement to create your new marketing plan.

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What’s the Search Value of Video http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/blog/search-value-of-video/ http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/blog/search-value-of-video/#comments Fri, 10 Jul 2015 09:01:27 +0000 http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/?post_type=blog&p=6501 At the beginning of 2014 Google began to show video (also known as rich snippets) to answer specific search terms. The idea was that any domain could host their own video content and see it rank in Google. However, later in the year Google scrapped this, so now, the bulk of these rich snippets is […]

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At the beginning of 2014 Google began to show video (also known as rich snippets) to answer specific search terms. The idea was that any domain could host their own video content and see it rank in Google. However, later in the year Google scrapped this, so now, the bulk of these rich snippets is from YouTube (which Google owns). This is a similar approach to how they removed Authorship from search results.

Why and what does this mean?

  • One theory is that making YouTube the source of almost every video search result would boost YouTube traffic. The more traffic YouTube gets the more adverts it sells, and therefore the more money Google gets. You’d like to think this wasn’t Google’s prime motivator, but I would put good money on the fact it came into the conversation when they were thinking about doing this.
  • Google is trying to get people to use the ‘tabbed search’ features and by removing a lot of videos from universal search forces users to go onto the tab more often. On the tab feature any domain can still rank for video snippets.
  • The main reason for rich snippets being implemented was to enhance the user experience in helping to bring search queries to life, but it was easy to exploit to manipulate search rankings – something Google polices heavily. They were easy to spam and this meant people were making poor quality video just for SEO purposes.
  • Censoring videos is a difficult task and one that cannot be handled with an algorithm. This meant people were exploiting the system again – you could even get a rich snippet without even having a video on your webpage.
  • With the recent mobile update, video results render awkwardly on some domains and in some cases don’t work at all. With YouTube being so efficient and having a great app, it made sense to strip back the results so Google knew exactly what it was dealing with.

This meant a big shift in the way businesses used video marketing. Although search value for video is, unfortunately, almost non-existent, it doesn’t mean that video marketing is a wasted resource. Video content still brings lots of opportunities that definitely should not be missed. It hasn’t become redundant, it’s just your job to change the way you utilise its power.

VIDEO SHOULD NO LONGER BE PART OF AN SEO STRATEGY, BUT PART OF A CONTENT STRATEGY.

Although this graph is from 2009-2010, it shows just how much video is being consumed across the world, especially from YouTube. Almost half of all video consumed, is hosted by YouTube, reaching almost 35billion by May 2010.

But this still doesn’t tell us about the value of advertorial YouTube videos.

So if it really is true that there is no SEO value in having them on your site, why do businesses still use, and pay for, video content and how do they measure it success?

It’s all about the consumer. People like videos. This means that if you’ve got video content on your website, people are more likely to stay on your page for longer. Some recent research Zazzle Media did with our proprietary tool ‘ROADMAP’ (which monitors Google’s algorithm signals) has heavily suggested that user engagement metrics result in better organic rankings.

On average, people stay on a website two minutes longer if it includes videos. So, if you’ve got good video content on your site then you’re likely to keep people interested for longer and in turn rank higher in Google. Even though Google cannot crawl videos, the fact that it gives a website extra usability and decreases bounce rates will see your site being rewarded.

Brand awareness is now a huge part of video too. Although the video will go straight on YouTube, good video content can get people to engage with your brand. Once people are on your business’s YouTube page, if they like the content, the chances are, they will check out your website. The ‘extra added value’ part here is that once a person ‘likes’ a business’s YouTube channel, their videos will start to appear on the user’s default homepage due to the customisation of YouTube.

Businesses should set up video content as they would any written or visual piece. It needs to be engaging, the title should be interesting and the description should include all the keywords you’d like it to rank for. If a video ranks highly on YouTube, it is far more likely to be included as a rich snippet in Google’s universal rankings.

Something that I think will start becoming more prevalent, is videos ability to convert a user into a customer. Now, this is mainly for retail outlets but it’s something that is growing. Sites such as ASOS and TheWatchShop are spearheading the trend with 360° catwalk displays and video being used to unveil products, so you can really see sizes and what they look like on a person. Although again these videos have no search value, they provide a lot of new opportunities in aiding the selling of goods. People like videos, they like real life and that’s exactly what this is. Seeing what a product looks like in real life.

There are so many different types of video content out there now. Whether it’s a walk through guide, product endorsement, review or a viral video, there will be something out there for your business to use.

Here is a list of 10 types of online video that you should be looking at.

This actually related directly to search value, but it’s not specifically the video. Posts that include video footage attract 3x more inbound links than text content alone. That is a huge increase and something that will undoubtedly affect your universal rankings.

Basically, if you have a strategy that doesn’t include video footage then you’re missing out on a massive opportunity.

So, what does all this information tell us? Well, video content certainly isn’t dead. It’s just in the middle of a very drastic change. No, it doesn’t have any direct SEO value. But yes, it does still bring in links. Yes, it does still affect your rankings. Yes, it does keep people on your page for longer and even make people buy your products.

Who knows, maybe in the next couple of years Google will bring back rich snippets for more and more domains and make it more difficult to spam? For now though, people have to completely switch up their video strategy and think of more innovative, interesting and creative video in order to compete.

Gone are the days where people could post uninteresting, badly filmed videos and still pull in links. In order to get your video noticed you need to put something new and interesting out there. Something that will grab the viewers’ attention and make them want to either stay on your site, or click through to your site from your YouTube channel.

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The Power Of The Human Interest Story http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/blog/human-interest-story/ http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/blog/human-interest-story/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 11:24:15 +0000 http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/?post_type=blog&p=6492 The way in which we consume ‘content’ has undoubtedly changed. From newspapers to magazines, radio, television and the many platforms offered up by the internet, there’s an ever-evolving process through which people can find out about the world around them. But, while the method of delivery may have changed one thing has remained constant – […]

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The way in which we consume ‘content’ has undoubtedly changed. From newspapers to magazines, radio, television and the many platforms offered up by the internet, there’s an ever-evolving process through which people can find out about the world around them.

But, while the method of delivery may have changed one thing has remained constant – and even pre-dates all of the media above. Quite simply it’s in our nature as human beings to be interested in the things that happen to fellow human beings.

No matter how it is delivered, a good human interest story has always had power. The best journalists and writers are able to recognise how stories impact on people and bring this power out to great effect.

It’s important to understand what a human interest story is, how it’s delivered, what the impact is and what lessons can be learned when it comes to almost any piece of content.

The story

A human interest story puts people at the heart of the events. Doing this brings a two-fold benefit. It gives the reader someone to relate to and taps into our natural curiosity in the lives of others.

The emotion of others can raise awareness of worthy causes and help people to realise the real human impact of a whole host of issues, ranging right up from local politics to war and everything in between. These stories also, at a simple level, can give readers something fun, amusing, emotional or thought-provoking to engage with.

John Dilley, Senior Lecturer and Director of the Leicester Centre for Journalism, is undertaking research into how local and national newspapers covered the First World War.

His blog offers a real-time week-by-week account of how the conflict was reported 100 years ago in the Market Harborough Advertiser. He told me how one thing in particular shines out from the pages of 1914 and 1915 that he’s looked at so far:

“When you look at those papers from 100 years ago, of course they’re different – the size of the newspaper, the page layout, the language used in the headlines – but you know what the core of those stories is all about? It’s human interest.”

In a series of moving letters from the front in particular, the human impact of the horrors of war hit home much harder than the ‘party line’ dispatches printed by the nationals and, for John, show how the desire to relate stories to real people has always been important and continues to have resonance in today’s world.

He said: “It crosses over the decades and generations. It has always been like that.

We’ve always wanted to read human interest stories – it’s just about getting people – whether that be newspapers, social media followers or clients – to realise that that’s what readers want.

“I think it’s the single most important thing for the reader and I think it is for the journalist as well.”

Identify

John tells would-be students that there are three reasons why people train to be journalists. The first two are the chance to write and also to be creative but: “The most important part is because we’ve got an interest in people and if you’ve got an interest in people then you can find stories about people that other people will want to read about.”

Everyone has a story to tell, however big or small. Writers and journalists need to develop an instinct for finding the issues that are relevant to their readership.

A good writer doesn’t just commit pen to paper – or indeed pound away at the keyboard – they should also be a good listener and be naturally curious about the world around them.

You’ll have nothing to write without good, powerful material. Interview technique is probably a separate piece entirely, but suffice to say you need to ask plenty of questions, be inquisitive without being intrusive and don’t be too rigid. The worst interviewers simply ask a list of questions, robot fashion, without reacting to what is said and exploring the answers further. Often comments that could be ‘throwaway’ actually form the heart of a powerful human interest piece. The same logic applies to research for an article, as interesting facts or information can take you off into a different – sometimes more interesting – direction than you originally considered.

Writing

The power of any story or piece of content can easily be lost if the writing does not do it justice. When it comes to human interest stories it is not the job of the writer to take centre stage. Powerful, purposeful prose should underpin any good story – but you must let the emotion of the piece come through from the subject. It’s not a task in proving how clever you are.

Strong, emotive quotes should be at the heart of the text, featuring as quickly and prominently as possible – and those words should be backed up by heartfelt photos and videos. Don’t simply tell the reader what you’ve seen, heard or felt – let them find that emotion for themselves.

Delivery

The strength of Facebook and Twitter merely opens up new avenues for human interest stories. Stories can emerge on social media and be spread quickly and effectively this way. A powerful piece will be something that is worth sharing, posting and re-tweeting. If the reader is sufficiently moved by a story they will pass that on to their followers.

If anything, regional news reporters have been liberated by this – their work can go beyond their traditional geographical boundaries to a potentially global audience.

The recent example of Winnie Blagden from Sheffield shows this. BBC Radio Sheffield made an appeal for cards on behalf of Winnie, who has no surviving family and not much contact with the outside world beyond her carers, ahead of her 100th birthday.

The appeal went viral – reaching an audience far beyond the station’s 240,000 listeners and 10,200 Facebook followers – and saw presents and cards pledged from far and wide – including the US. Good human interest content is universal.

People who write content do need to think about different platforms. The heart of the story is the same but, for example, the picture is crucial to help catch the eye on Facebook while strong headlines or stand-out quotes work well to jump out of a busy Twitter timeline. Again, these platforms don’t change the heart of the story – it’s just that different parts of the presentation of the story matter more depending on where they are shared.
Consider, too, the rise of the Vlogger. The YouTube shows produced by these people invite us into their lives and homes. We invest in them and their lives and they are able to deliver matter on what feels like a one-to-one individual level. Our human connection with the subject makes the content more enjoyable and powerful.

Result

Human Interest Story

Strong human interest stories can tug at the heart strings like no other – and the most high profile examples can set the news agenda.

Consider the case of Stephen Sutton. The 19-year-old cancer patient caught the public imagination with his story and online ‘bucket list’ of ambitions to achieve before he died. His emotional case inspired donations and support totalling £4.5million – money that, one year on, has been donated to helping others in his heartbreaking situation. Perhaps just as significantly, his case also inspired other cancer sufferers, who took heart from his brave battle.

Each of us knows the devastating impact of cancer – but this human interest story had the power to move many of us into actually acting and making a difference.

Human Interest 2

The case of Alan Barnes had a similarly powerful impact on the public psyche.

The vulnerable 4ft 6in pensioner was attacked by a mugger but, thanks to the kind fundraising of a stranger, was able to benefit from the generous help from people in his community and beyond. He was also able to see his attacker brought to justice.

The heartwarming moment when he met the woman behind the campaign that helped him was a feelgood resolution to a sad story, which had also raised a debate on our unhealthy attitude to image and disability and the sort of legal highs used by his attacker.

Human Interest Story

When it comes to powerful stories, there can be few as emotional as that of baby Teddy, who was just minutes old when he became the world’s youngest organ donor. His parents had signed him up when it became apparent that their child would only live for a day or two.

His story was so moving that it encouraged 15,000 people to sign up to the NHS donors register.

These are three recent high profile examples of the power that strong human interest stories possess. But, of course, these are rare or extreme examples and we shouldn’t think just of these cases when we consider the impact of the human touch in content.

Consider a ‘bread and butter’ newspaper issue such as hospital parking charges, for example. This story from the Halifax Courier is a perfectly acceptable account of a change of policy from the local hospital to introduce charges for disabled people.
It would clearly be a strong page lead in a print paper and is a good web story that has attracted 20 comments from readers. But consider how much more powerful this, slightly older, story from the Gloucester Citizen is. The strong quotes from the subject and the picture (which isn’t done justice on this link) of a person rather than a ‘scene setter’ of a hospital would make this a more prominent story. It’s the same subject matter as the first link but it’s more emotive and engaging for having a person at its heart.

John Dilley used to teach the vagaries of local government to students and preached the mantra ‘council is people’ to hammer home that, at their heart, all stories come down to how they impact on people.

Lessons

John’s local government mantra could easily apply in a wider sense. Put simply, ‘content is people’ in that the best writing makes matters relevant and interesting to people.

That’s the clear lesson that all writers can take from the power of the human interest story. Clearly not everything we write will have the power of Stephen Sutton or Teddy – but these and other cases show how it’s easier to engage with even the most complex or challenging subject matter when people are at its heart. Keeping this in mind as writers encourages us to deliver the most engaging content possible for a host of different brands or issues.

For businesses, the challenge is to realise that their customers appreciate seeing their ‘human side’. There’s also a need not to be inward-looking – if your company and the individuals within it do great things then share them.

Every company has a story to tell and they shouldn’t be afraid to tell it, offering a personal account of how and why they were formed and developed.

Staff bios shouldn’t be stuffy or factual either. A business that prides itself on the talents and individual qualities of its staff should let their stories shine and put them across properly. Google, after all, values authentic content and this can help you to deliver that.

Personal and individual touches to on page content make a matter interesting and tap into some of the power of the human interest story. The exciting thing for journalists and writers is that the ability to convey this is important – it’s now up to us to show how we can use this power in a multitude of ways to help businesses stand out from the crowd and succeed.

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Amsterdam Affiliate Conference > Hunting the Long Tail http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/blog/amsterdam-affiliate-conference-2015/ http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/blog/amsterdam-affiliate-conference-2015/#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2015 13:42:03 +0000 http://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/?post_type=blog&p=6486 Our Head of Strategy James Perrott took to the stage at the Amsterdam Affiliate Conference to talk about how Google is changing search forever thanks to Hummingbird. The session covered how we are seeing a shift from head terms, to the rewards that long tail searches and search personalisation now offer. Below you can find […]

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Our Head of Strategy James Perrott took to the stage at the Amsterdam Affiliate Conference to talk about how Google is changing search forever thanks to Hummingbird. The session covered how we are seeing a shift from head terms, to the rewards that long tail searches and search personalisation now offer.

Below you can find the slides and full transcript from James’ presentation at the event:

The Presentation Slides

The Transcript

Historically, all you’d need to do is create a piece of content or even point links at a commercial page for it to rank. This meant it was a case of who could build the most links, not who provided the best user experience and content.

Vanity keywords was the sole focus of a lot of online businesses due to the instant search volume they are associated with. Also from a vanity perspective, brands wanted, and still want, to rank for the most competitive terms in their niche. Long tail wasn’t a ‘thing’ until recently.

Create a page that targeted a vanity keyword and use old unethical and unnatural link building methods and you would see your page rank well for highly competitive keywords. There was no reward for simply having great content.

But, Google got better. Websites that had used these unethical methods got caught out and businesses/websites suffered massively as a result. A large scale clean up operation would be required.

How did Google get better at catching these methods? Google Penguin. Penguin looks at the legitimacy of a link and deems it to be either natural or unnatural. If you’re entire link profile is based on unnatural links, you’ll be impacted. Penguin does not refresh regularly, which makes recovery hard.

But… this is a whole different topic. We’re specifically looking at content and the algorithms important for this is Panda, including their manual actions.

Example 1: Interflora

A manual Panda action from Google impacted them for the use of advertorials on mass scale. Incentivising newspapers and bloggers to take part in a review prior to Mother’s Day was deemed unnatural by Google and impacted them significantly. They overcame this quickly due to it being a manual action and removing the content.

Example 2: eBay

eBay mass launched a significant number of /bhp/ pages that were created to drive a better user experience for popular products. The problem; no content was on the page and the structure was identical but on the scale of hundreds of thousands. Due to the exact same structure and no copy, a manual action was applied and the impact was said to be around $200 million. Our job? To identify those pages penalised and help create content to aid their recovery and drive that better user experience they were seeking.

Hummingbird has completely changed how content is measured and rewarded by Google due to the shift in how users search. Conversational search has significantly increased due to mobile usage and in turn user metrics such as bounce rate, time on site, pages per visit etc are suddenly all crucial metrics.

So how is it now?

Google has changed how it sees queries, they’re broken into two elements; the implicit search and explicit search. Explicit search is the actual search query and implicit is the data Google has collated about you – you’re on your iPhone, in London and are 32 for example.

Because of this mass shift in the algorithm, long tail keyword opportunity holds MASSIVE potential.

This graph shows how search queries are shifting away from just vanity terms into long tail and the importance of creating a content strategy to capture this.

The initial reaction was for people to mass create ‘how-to’ content due to the long tail search opportunity. Google has quickly quashed this with a specific update to cull the amount of thin how-to content on the web. Only good content is rewarded.

Everyone has micromoments. A micromoment is a moment of need when a search is required to answer your problem, and quickly.

A few examples:

– I-want-to-know
– I-want-to-go
– I-want-to-do
– I-want-to-buy

Micromoments have surged in the last year especially due to the usage of smartphones increasing exponentially.

This increase has seen Google react with releasing a mobile specific algorithm and penalising websites who deliver a poor user experience. Having small font, links too close together etc are a few of the performance indicators it uses to determine whether or not a website is mobile-friendly. There is talk of a entirely separate mobile index being created, but the resource investment to see this through is massive and will take time, and may not happen at all.

Due to the increase in smartphone usage and the average Joe becoming much more tech savvy, the demand for relevance is high. If a user does not find what they’re after instantly, they will look elsewhere. We are that impatient now due to the access we have.

If you capture this traffic when demand for relevance is high and patience is low, you will attract the right type of audience/customers. A study by Microsoft has shown that the average attention span has gone down from 12 to 8 seconds since 2000, this is how demanding we have now become.

Another micromoment is in-the-moment, we use our phones for purchase decisions, unexpected problems, the pursuit of big goals in small moments (such as saving, using a mortgage calculator etc) and in routine moments (such as for seeking different hairstyles whilst doing your hair each morning etc).

This information discovery largely sits between the ages of 18-34.

There are even more micromoments to consider for your users:

– is-it-worth-it
– show-me-how
– time-for-a-new-one

So, how do we ensure we capture these micromoments for your users/audience?

We have a tool called SCOT which measures functional content (on-page) to ensure it’s delivering what Google wants in order to perform well. Here are a few examples of how it measures npower.com’s funciontal content. This looks at vanity and long tail and shows us how well and how bad a piece of content is optimised for a particular keyword.

SCOT shows us that the better optimised a page is between 80-100, the better the average ranking. This is not a coincidence and it allows us to instantly identify good and poor performing pages to focus our attention.

Roadmap is another tool we use to continually check on ranking signals across 100,000 keywords in fiercely competitive niches.

The creation of personas through data insight is one of the first stages to identify who you’re actually creating content for.

Social data is awesome for this. I’m going to run through an example that we’ve done recently on GoDaddy’s social audience.

After looking at the audience’s gender, age, bio, work, hobbies, relationship status and other likes, we’re able to create four personas which accurately represent the GoDaddy audience.

From this, we create a moments map for each individual. This includes all of the micromoments I mentioned previously. What moments are your users going to go through and what will they be searching for, map this out and you will be there for your existing and new customers.

Mapping the moments and personas is one piece, then follow this up with manual and keyword research. Look for existing search queries that are popular and a Google Answerbox returns for – more on this later.

Let’s run through how a typical user journey looks today. For example, recently I wanted a new TV.

The first moment I go to is the is-it-worth-it and i-want-to-know moment when searching for the latest technology – 4K.

We can see that for the search ‘what is 4K TV?’ a Google Answerbox returns. This takes click throughs away from the first search result and it’s not the first article to organically rank for this keyword… odd?

You’re probably thinking – how do I do this?

Google uses human manual reviewers to ensure the best content returns in these answer boxes, otherwise it wouldn’t be informative, which is Google’s thought process behind the introduction of these.

What does it look at? Does the title of the content correlate with the user’s search? Is the content structured well with heading tags that answer more questions on the same topic?

We can see that Which have done that perfectly. The h1 tag matches the question and the first paragraph answers the question succinctly. This is what’s included in the answer box.

I then decide that 4K technology is worth it and search for “4K TVs”.

This Curry’s result returns and does not try to instantly sell me a 4K television, it educates me even more with the option to see their products as a small call to action at the bottom. Brilliant.

I’m convinced, I-want-to-buy a 4K television.

I search for “Samsung 4K TV” as I’m a bit of a Samsung fan in regards to electrical equipment. I found this brilliant article on tech radar and more importantly, a TV within budget and it’s Samsung!

I then specifically search for this model and Richer Sounds returns with an insane amount of offers. All are great offers and the price matches competitors.

Purchase made.

You’d think that as a brand, the journey ends. It doesn’t.

There are plenty of i-want-to-do moments with my new TV. I want to connect my Macbook to the TV and again, an answer box returns.

If you identify these moments at the beginning of your content strategy and follow the right content structure, you have a great chance of a) being included in the Google Answer Box, b) ranking well for this keyword and c) delivering a great user experience.

In conclusion, the Google search journey I performed has completely changed and you have to change with it in order to capture the opportunity.

  1. Have a mobile-friendly and technically healthy website
  2. Create personas
  3. Map their moments
  4. Create relevant, informative content that is mobile-friendly and structured correctly

Thanks!

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