Tag: Strategy

When Facebook Ads is NOT a Viable Strategy for Clients

February 7, 2021 No Comments

It’s only human nature to try things that other people are doing because it feels like a good idea and/or the right thing to do. In many instances, the outcome is either neutral or positive. However, in today’s online marketing world, just because someone is doing it, doesn’t make the outcome “good”. In contrast, it could actually backfire (both financially and reputation-wise). Let me explain.

When Facebook rolled out their advertising platform, everyone wanted to get in on the action. After a few years of “trial and error” trying to figure out the algorithm, it became clear that this was a potential money-making machine for advertisers. However, it didn’t take long for these same advertisers to see that their Ad dollars increasing while their Cost/Conversion skyrocket. It was this outcome, that started everyone to second-guess the benefit of this new PPC alternative to Google Adwords (now Google Ads)

Personally, many of my clients over the years wanted to try Facebook ads and frankly who wouldn’t? It was an amazing feeling where an advertiser could target pretty much anything they wanted. (Men 55+, Divorced, like Fine Scotch, NY Yankees and watches CNN). However, that honeymoon didn’t last very long. It was not based on strategy or setting inaccurate expectations, it was simply not cost effective and actually started to hurt their reputation. Clients would take a hit based simply on comments given by competitors and/or disgruntled people. It was this experience that quickly changed the minds of not only myself, but also the client. It was this combination of poor performance along with reputation issues that made them feel even more skeptical this new platform. However, over the years there’s been (1) one silver-lining and that is identifying which clients could benefit the most from this hyper-targeting platform.

In conclusion, as an Agency or Freelancer it is entirely OK to say to a client NO to Facebook Ads or at the very least say we should do a “test” to evaluate it’s potential. In candor, it all depends on the advertiser’s audience along with sensible strategies and agreed upon success metrics.

Digital Marketing Agency | Google Ads Consultant

Ways to get the most out of your Google Adwords PPC strategy

January 19, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • PPC advertising is a highly effective way to drive targeted prospects to websites, sales pages, or blogs.
  • Even though PPC can take up some parts of your budget, there are important benefits attached to this practice.
  • Did you know, 92% of all keywords that people type into search engines are long tails?
  • This article gives you a brief on the benefits of having a PPC strategy, must-haves for PPC advertising through Google Adwords, elements of attractive and effective PPC Ads, and more on optimizing your Google Adwords PPC strategy.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is an important component of online marketing. Specific strategies can be used by advertisers to maximize the return from their PPC marketing. PPC advertising is a highly effective way to drive targeted prospects to websites, sales pages, or blogs. Digital marketers can choose between Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, or Bing Ads. However, most online marketers prefer using Google AdWords for their PPC strategy since it displays their ads on Google SERPs.

A. Benefits of Google Ads PPC advertising

Though PPC marketing costs money, it has five important benefits:

1. Convenience and speed

Advertisers can set up their PPC ad campaigns easily and quickly. They can use PPC ads to target their prospects with precision and get results almost immediately. According to Neil Patel, SEO expert and co-founder of both Crazy Egg and Hello Bar:

                    “With PPC, you can drive visitors to your website in hours, not months”

2. Adaptability

Ad text, keywords, and other elements of PPC ads can be constantly tweaked to optimize and so maximize their effectiveness.

3. Cost-effectiveness

Google Adwords charges advertisers only when there are clicks on their ads and not merely when ads are displayed.

4. Budget flexibility

Advertisers can decide on the budget of their PPC campaign since Google Adwords does not have any minimum spending limits. For instance, they can set a maximum daily budget of twenty dollars and a maximum cost of twenty cents for each click on their ad, which they can change whenever they want.

5. Predictability

With a PPC campaign, digital marketers can easily predict the number of their visitors based on how much they spend. The search engine algorithm is less of a factor. In one of his PPC related articles, Neil Patel stated,

“Spend more, get more visitors. If you want exactly 10,000 visitors, you can get exactly 10,000 visitors”,

Despite all these benefits of Google Ads PPC advertising, first-time digital marketers should be attentive as they may lose a lot on their invested money if they ever fail to properly set up their PPC marketing campaigns.

B. Preparation before starting a Google Ads PPC campaign

The first thing new marketers should do is to read thoroughly the Google Adwords Getting Started Guide, which has a large amount of useful information. Next, they should use the Google Adwords Keyword Suggestion Tool and create a comprehensive list of relevant keywords for their products or services.

Use of long-tail keyword phrases

Since the price per click of PPC ads is determined by competitive bidding of search terms, popular search terms such as “insurance”, “stop smoking”, and “weight-loss” cost several dollars for the top three positions on the search results. On the other hand, long-tail keywords are phrases that are not searched very often but are more likely to be used by people who are willing to buy.

Ahrefs, in fact, reports that 92% of all keywords get 10 or fewer searches per month. In other words, 92% of all keywords that people type into search engines are long tails.

PPC strategy - Chart showing search volume distribution

C. Elements of attractive and effective PPC ads

Well written ads are decisive to the success of a Google Ads PPC strategy. They should highlight the key benefit of the product or service so that potential clients click on them.

Marketers should also include these elements in their ads:

1. The price of the product

Users who see the price of the product and still click the ad are more likely to buy the product. If they think the price is too high, they may not click on the ad and save the cost of that click.

2. A strong call-to-action

Specific call-to-action phrases such as “purchase”, “buy”, “call today”, “sign up”, and “order ensures” the prospects understand what they are expected to do after they clicking the ad.

3. The best performing keyword preferably in the title of the ad

Whenever users type that keyword and the ad is displayed, the keyword phrase appears “in bold font” within the ad on the Google search page. This will draw their attention to the ad.

4. The URL of the specific page on the website that has the product

If people who click the ad do not find the product on that page, they are likely to exit and click some other ad.

D. Fine-tuning PPC management to boost its profitability

Advertisers can experiment with different offers and call-to-action phrases and test multiple ads. Google Adwords rotates ads automatically within the ad group and displays, more often, the better-performing one. They can remove keywords that are not getting enough clicks and replace them with others. Also, they can decrease or increase the maximum cost-per-click and check the effect on the performance of their ads.

E. Additional strategies to increase the cost-effectiveness of your Google Ads PPC marketing

Submit negative keywords

Advertisers should make a list of keywords that cause their ads to be displayed but are not related to their product. After that, they should submit them as negative keywords by putting a negative sign in front of those keywords. By doing this, they will ensure that anyone using those keywords won’t have their ad displayed to them. For instance, if the product is about “how to stop smoking”, advertisers should exclude anything like “smoking chimneys” or any other sources of smoke!

Some keywords might have far different user intent and bring in clicks that are an immediate bounce but won’t turn into a conversion”.

Explained SEO expert Rinko de Jong, in an email interview.

This could also lead to ad impressions that result in no clicks. Both can weaken the quality score of your ad resulting in negatively impacting your ad placement and cost per click”, he added.

Disallow ads to be displayed in Google’s content network partner sites

Clicks originating from these websites are usually of a lower quality than those from search results because they come from people who are browsing that website, not people who are actively searching for the product of the advertiser. So, these clicks might result in fewer sales but will cost definitely just the same.

Pay-Per-Click marketing has the potential to drive a steady stream of visitors to affiliate sites, sales pages, or websites resulting in increased sales and profits if it is properly set up and constantly monitored.

Jacob M. is a copywriter, marketing blogger, and inbound marketing consultant.

The post Ways to get the most out of your Google Adwords PPC strategy appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch

How to use XPath expressions to enhance your SEO and content strategy

January 13, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • As Google increasingly favors sites with content that exudes expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T), it is imperative that SEOs and marketers produce content that is not just well written, but that also demonstrates expertise.
  • How do you understand what topics and concerns matter most to your customer base?
  • Can you use Q&As to inform content strategies?
  •  XPath notations can be your treasure trove.
  • Catalyst’s Organic Search Manager, Brad McCourt shares a detailed guide on using XPath notations and your favorite crawler to quickly obtain the Q&As in a straightforward and digestible format.

As Google increasingly favors sites with content that exudes expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T), it is imperative that SEOs and marketers produce content that is not just well written, but that also demonstrates expertise. One way to demonstrate expertise on a subject or product is to answer common customer questions directly in your content.

But, how do you identify what those questions are? How do you understand what topics and concerns matter most?   

The good news is that they are hiding in plain sight. Chances are, your consumers have been shouting at the top of their keyboards in the Q&A sections of sites like Amazon.

XPath and how to find customer questions and preferences

These sections are a treasure trove of (mostly) serious questions that real customers have about the products you are selling.

How do you use these Q&As to inform content strategies? XPath notation is your answer.

You can use XPath notations and your favorite crawler to quickly obtain the Q&As in a straightforward and digestible format. XPath spares you from clicking through endless screens of questions by automating the collection of important insights for your content strategy.

What is XPath?

XML Path (XPath) is a query language developed by W3 to navigate XML documents and select specified nodes of data.

The notation XPath uses is called “expressions”. Using these expressions, you can effectively pull any data that you need from a website as long as there is a consistent structure between webpages.

This means you can use this language to pull any publicly available data in the source code, including questions from a selection of Amazon Q&A pages.

This article is not meant to be a comprehensive tutorial on XPath. For that, there are plenty of resources from W3. However, XPath is easy enough to learn with only knowing the structure of XML and HTML documents. This is what makes it such a powerful tool for SEOs regardless of coding prowess.

Let’s walk through an example to show you how…

Using XPath to pull customer questions from Amazon

Pre-req: Pick your web crawler

While most of the big names in web crawling – Botify, DeepCrawl, OnCrawl – all offer the ability to extract data from the source code, I will be using ScreamingFrog in the example below.

ScreamingFrog is by far the most cost-effective option, allowing you to crawl up to 500 URLs without buying a license. For larger projects you can buy a license. This will allow you to crawl as many URLs as your RAM can handle.

Step one: Collect the URLs to crawl

For our example, let’s pretend we’re doing research on the topics we should include in our product pages and listings for microspikes. For those unaware, microspikes are an accessory for your boots or shoes. They give you extra grip in wintry conditions, so they are particularly popular among cold-weather hikers and runners.

Example for finding details using Amazon

Source: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=microspikes

Here we have a list of 13 questions and answer pages for the top microspike pages on Amazon.com. Unfortunately, there is some manual work required to create the list.

List of questions - XPath and creating content

The easiest way is to search for the topic (that is, microspikes) and pull links to the top products listed. If you have the product’s ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) handy, you can also generate the URLs using the above format, but switching out the ASIN.

Step two: Determine the XPath

From here, we need to determine the XPath.

In order to figure out the proper XPath notation to use to pull in the desired text, we have two main options:

  1.       View the Source-CodeDetermine the XPath
  2.       View the rendered source code and copy the XPath directly from Chrome’s Inspect Element tool

Copy XPath

You’ll find that the expression needed to locate all questions in an Amazon Q&A page is:


Here is XPath notation broken down:

  •       // is used to locate all instances of the following expression.
  • Span is the specific tag we’re trying to locate. //span will locate every single <span> tag in the source code. There are over 300 of these, so we’ll need to be more specific.
  • @class specifies that //span[@class] will ensure all <span> tags with an assigned class attribute will be located.
  • @class=”a-declarative” dictates that //span[@class=”a-declarative”] only locates <span> tags where the class attribute is set to “a-declarative” – that is, <span class=”a-declarative”>

There is an extra step in order to return the inner text of the specified tag that is located, but ScreamingFrog does the heavy lifting for us.

It’s important to note that this will only work for Amazon Question and Answer pages. If you wanted to pull questions from, say, Quora, TripAdvisor, or any other site, the expression would have to be adjusted to locate the specific entity you desire to collect on a crawl.

Step three: Configure your crawler

Once you have this all set, you can then go into ScreamingFrog.

Configuration -> Custom -> Extraction

Configure your crawler

This will then take you to the Custom Extraction screen.

Custom extraction screen

This is where you can:

  • Give the extraction a name to make it easier to find after the crawl, especially if you’re extracting more than one entity. ScreamingFrog allows you to extract multiple entities during a single crawl.
  • You can then choose the extraction method. In this article, it is all about XPath, but you also have the option of extracting data via CSSPath and REGEX notation as well.
  • Place the desired XPath expression in the “Enter XPath” field. ScreamingFrog will even check your syntax for you, providing a green checkmark if everything checks out.
  • You then have the option to select what you want extracted, be it the full HTML element or the HTML found within the located tag. For our example, we want to extract the text in between any <span> tags with a class attribute set to “a-declarative” so we select “extract text.”

We can then click OK.

Step four: Crawl the desired URLs

Now it’s time to crawl our list of Amazon Q&A pages for microspikes.

First, we’ll need to switch the Mode in ScreamingFrog from “Spider” to “List.”

Then, we can either add our set of URLs manually or upload them from an Excel or other supported format.

After we confirm the list, ScreamingFrog will crawl each URL we provided, extracting the text between all <span> tags containing the class attribute set to “a-declarative.”

In order to see the data collected, you just need to select “Custom Extraction” in ScreamingFrog.

Run the desired URLs

At first glance, the output might not look that exciting.

However, this is only because a lot of unneeded space is included with the data, so you might see some columns that appear blank if they are not expanded to fully display the contents.

Once you copy and paste the data into Excel or your spreadsheet program of choice, you can finally see the data that has been extracted. After some clean-up, you get the final result:

Final list of questions created using XPath

The result is 118 questions that real customers have asked about microspikes in an easily accessible format. With this data at your fingertips, you’re now ready to incorporate this research into your content strategy.

Content strategies

Before diving into content strategies, a quick word to the wise: you can’t just crawl, scrape and publish content from another site, even if it is publicly accessible.

First, that would be plagiarism and expect to be hit with an DMCA notice. Second, you’re not fooling Google. Google knows the original source of the content, and it is extremely unlikely your content is going to rank well – defeating the purpose of this entire strategy.

Instead, this data can be used to inform your strategy and help you produce high quality, unique content that users are searching for.

Now, how do you get started with your analysis?

I recommend first categorizing the questions. For our example there were many questions about:

  • Sizing: What size microspikes are needed for specific shoe/boot sizes?
  • Proper Use – Whether or not microspikes could be used in stores, on slippery roofs, while fishing, mowing lawns, or for walking on plaster?
  • Features: Are they adjustable, type of material, do they come with a carrying case?
  • Concerns: Are they comfortable, do they damage your footwear, do they damage the type of flooring/ground you’re on, durability?

This is an amazing insight into the potential concerns customers might have before purchasing microspikes.

From here, you can use this information to:

1. Enhance existing content on your product and category pages

Incorporate the topics into the product or category descriptions, answering questions shoppers might have pre-emptively.

For our example, we might want to make it abundantly clear how sizing works – including a sizing chart and specifically mentioning types of footwear the product may or may not be compatible with.

2. Build out a short on-page FAQ section featuring original content, answering commonly asked questions

Make sure to implement FAQPage Schema.org markup for a better chance to appear for listings like People Also Ask sections, which are increasingly taking up real estate in the search results.

For our example, we can answer commonly asked questions about comfort, damage to footwear, durability, and adjustability. We could also address if the product comes with a carrying case and how to best store the product for travel.

3. Produce a product guide, incorporating answers to popular questions surrounding a product or category

Another strategy is to produce an extensive one-stop product guide showcasing specific use cases, sizing, limitations, and features. For our example, we could create specific content for each use case like hiking, running in icy conditions, and more.

Even better, incorporate videos, images, charts, and featured products with a clear path to purchase.

Using this approach your end product will be content that shows expertise, the authority on a subject, and most importantly, addresses customer concerns and questions before they even think to ask. This will help prevent your customers from having to do additional research or contact customer service. Thanks to your informative and helpful content, they will be more ready to make a purchase.

Furthermore, this approach also has the potential to lower product return rates. Informed customers are less likely to purchase the wrong product based upon assumed or incomplete knowledge.


Amazon is just the tip of the iceberg here. You can realistically apply this strategy to any site that has publicly accessible data to extract, be that questions from Quora about a product category, Trip Advisor reviews about hotels, music venues, and attractions, or even discussions on Reddit.

The more informed you are about what your customers are expecting when visiting your site, the better you can serve those expectations, motivate purchases, decrease bounces, and improve organic search performance.

Brad McCourt is an Organic Search Manager at Catalyst’s Boston office. 

The post How to use XPath expressions to enhance your SEO and content strategy appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch

Align Your B2B Digital Marketing Strategy With The Sales Team

December 24, 2020 No Comments

One B2B paid media pro reflects on all of the important questions to ask your Sales and Marketing teams to drive alignment and improve paid media performance.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero

SEO and cybersecurity: Incorporating cybersecurity into your SEO strategy

December 15, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Website security directly impacts the SEO performance of the website, as the non-compliance with the security requirements can cause low rankings or Google penalties.
  • Blacklisting, malicious bots interfering with the crawling process, and spam attacks are among the main consequences of low website security.
  • The “site not available” warning, the presence of strange JavaScript code, not working login credentials and frequent error messages can be the warning signs of a cyberattack on your website.
  • Making security checks a part of your SEO strategy would help you create a website that is resistant to cybersecurity attacks.

Every site needs to be secure and there are no “too small” or “too unnecessary” sites for malicious attacks. Online businesses are fully centered on high search rankings for online reputation and profits. For this purpose, they often implement the most effective SEO tactics, from link building to great content marketing, to land up on the front page of Google search. Nevertheless, apart from delivering the best content to the users, Google is also aimed at making the internet a safe environment, hence placing importance on websites’ cybersecurity practices.

In fact, hacks may not only be destructive for your reputation but also for your site’s organic search performance. Hence, cybersecurity and SEO go hand in hand towards building a firm’s online reputation. If the website doesn’t mean the latest security compliance it can be blacklisted by Google, suffer from spam attacks or activities of malicious bots. 

So we want to share effective advice on how to recognize the security vulnerabilities in time, how to integrate the security checks into your development strategy, why you should regularly scan your website, and how to protect your local networks. 

Four main steps to improve website security

Security or the absence of security may seriously affect your SEO. We all know that the HTTP certificate is no longer a reliable way to secure the site and the HTTPS has, for the most part, become the poster boy of the security standard. In 2014, Google started to prioritize the sites with HTTPS in the search results. 

Focusing on SEO and security will help your business to step on the steer of success. The struggle to improve the website’s ranking and keeping it cybersecurity is common for many companies so here what we suggest:

#1: Learn to recognize the earliest warning signs

Cyber attacks can cause malicious bots activity. Bots will always represent a part of your traffic but not all bots are harmless to the site’s security. Cybercriminals, however, launch bots to crawl sites in the search for vulnerable parts, data theft, or content crapping. Malicious bots use the same bandwidth as the “good” bots and normal visitors do. If your server is a subject of repetitive tasks by malicious bots, it may lead to the server to stop serving pages. 

Cybercriminals always rely on the website’s weak sides to hack it. Thus, it’s essential to stay ahead and pay attention to the following warning signs of cyberattacks that are supposed to make your inner radar shout. Cybercriminals can cause malicious bots activity. 

Google Alerts and notifications

In case you received a Google alert notification or see a “Site not available” warning in search results, we have bad news. This is a sign that your website has been hacked. To confirm this fact, go to the Google Search Console, the Security Issues section, and look for the hacked URLs that Google has detected.

Presence of strange JavaScript code

The presence of a weird Java code in the source code of your website is a reliable alert sign. Javascript codes are often used by hackers to steal precious personal data like credit card details or passwords from your site. If you see any trace of strange-looking code, get rid of it immediately. 

Your login credentials don’t work

Not hard to guess that something goes wrong when you enter the valid login info and get the “wrong password” notification. Your login credentials have been altered by cybercriminals. 

You get frequent random popups or error messages

More than half of malicious attacks on websites are performed by “black” SEO’s who are aimed at improving their own site’s ranking. They target the sites with prominent search rankings and insert links or use Javascript to redirect users to their own malicious websites. SEO spamming allows scammers to use high-ranking websites in order to promote low-quality content to low masses and, consequently, push their rankings. SEO spam has several negative impacts:

  1. The site will get blacklisted by the search engine.
  2. The site’s spam ranking may reduce the site’s ranking
  3. The business reputation will get dramatically spoiled as visitors will see lots of spamming content.

Very often hackers use cross-site scripting or insert their own code into the source code of your website to bypass its security system. So if you get any kind of these notifications, don’t ignore them. It’s time to run a serious scan in order to discover the malicious software.

#2: Make security check a part of your developing strategy

If you ever become the subject of a cyber attack, financial losses are not the only concerning consequence. The compromised website may face a range of penalties by Google and distort the search results. When potential customers will look for your website, they will most probably first meet a warning page that will dissuade them from visiting your site. Consequently, it is essential to make cybersecurity a part of your SEO strategy.

Trusting Google alerts is a good piece of advice there’s more than that to be done. Learn to predict the possible threats and control the cybersecurity level. In addition to involving your team of IT-specialists, hire one more cybersecurity professional. Only a qualified specialist will help you discover the site’s vulnerabilities and elaborate on the cyber protection strategy for your eCommerce business.

#3: Use effective scanning tools

One more way to get rid of malicious intervention is by using a file malware scanner. The system looks at the website code to check web pages for malware or strange PHP or HTML files on your server. The examples of scanners that can prevent your site from being penalized, blacklisted, and maintain your search engine rankings are Sucuri SiteCheck or Web Inspector. 

In addition, open-source web analytics tools like AWStats can scan your log files for suspicious activity. This tool offers data on every bot that crawled your site, bandwidth consumed, last crawled date, and total hits, allowing you to detect malicious activity.

For example, a bot’s throughput does not exceed a few megabytes per month. If you face thousands of page hits from a single IP address within a short time period the available bandwidth will be limited.

Finally, use tools like Ahrefs and Majestic to check your backlink profile. They will not only improve your site’s SEO but also track down unnecessary backlinks from SEO spammers.

#4: Protect your security and privacy with VPN

No matter where you are in a remote area, at home, or office, local network security should be tightened under any circumstances. A large network is highly susceptible to human error, and the risks cannot be underestimated compared to a small network. All users need to ensure that they’re compliant with all standard security measures. Despite the time and place of their work, they must ensure that the traffic is controlled with the Web Application Firewall and the connections are encrypted with a stable VPN.  

There are three main ways in which a VPN significantly increases the security of your website. First, it encrypts all the sensitive data, so hackers can’t access it. Second, VPN intercepts any malicious software or phishing attempts stopping them from infiltrating your system. And third, VPNs are a must-have for companies having remote employees who might be accessing companies’ systems using public hotspots as doing that without a VPN can lead to security vulnerabilities. 

Today’s market does not experience any shortage of quality VPN suppliers. So do your research and choose the VPN that would meet all of your business needs. 


Internet security matters and it matters a lot. The security breach in your website’s operation may cause dramatic damage to the eCommerce web site’s reputation and income. Cybersecurity needs to become a part of your SEO strategy for all eCommerce companies that want to take the leading position on the market of online sales. Now when you know that safety is crucial within the web, it’s time for the SEO and IT team to unite the forces and make up a reliable strategy that will raise the website’s ranking and maintain the security of your site.

Connie Benton is a chief content writer, guest contributor, and enthusiastic blogger who helps B2B companies reach their audiences more effectively. You can find her on Twitter at @ConnieB34412379.

The post SEO and cybersecurity: Incorporating cybersecurity into your SEO strategy appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch

LinkedIn Events: Mixing Your Organic and Paid Strategy to drive Webinar Registrations

December 12, 2020 No Comments

LinkedIn Events is an elegant solution to driving registrants to online events. Learn a LinkedIn Event strategy that will set your audience’s interest ablaze!

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero

Social media techniques to integrate into your digital PR strategy

December 4, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Social media can provide a personable avenue for starting a connection.
  • Keeping connections on social media and emails consistent allows for a solid flow through the construction of a relationship.
  • Compliments and details are valuable if used in the correct context in conjunction with a relevant pitch.
  • Media Relations Lead Nicole Franco shares personalization tips and tricks on sending both professional and personalized media pitches.

Marketers who strive to build backlinks and brand awareness often engage in digital PR. 

But creating amazing content and then pitching that content to writers is not an easy earned media strategy. The outreach alone can cause many marketers to struggle and eventually give up on the tactic.

However, although easier said than done, appealing to the writer away from a regular pitch email can set any market apart from the wave of emails a journalist receives daily

Read on to discover several ways to not only compose an exceptional media relations email but also how-to create organic, personalized relationships with writers by utilizing social media.

Technique #1: Complimenting via Instagram

One natural way to start a relationship with an editor or journalist is to start the connection via Instagram. 

First, add them and maybe like their most recent post. Read the situation, maybe leave a witty comment or compliment on a relevant post relating to the content of a potential pitch. 

After a minor connection has been made, send them a message or email regarding their Instagram post while mentioning your content and ideas for a collaboration. 

Below is an example of a potential way to reach out to an editor. Keep in mind the content you are pitching and if it’s a serious topic. Editors covering lifestyle topics would be keener on receiving these kinds of requests. 

1. Instagram DM

digital PR outreach using social media - 2 Twitter 1

Pitch email

digital PR outreach using social media - Instagram email pitch

Keeping in mind the kind of journalist you are reaching out to is important. In the example above, the writer had posted about Disney and had consistently covered witty travel content. 

Analyzing their coverage and writing style can provide valuable insight into how to properly reach out. Also, noting something that happens in everyday life or mentioning some seasonal holiday plans are great examples of how to personalize a pitch. In the example above, I chose to connect about Halloween costumes via Instagram. 

Technique #2: Asking for contact info via Twitter

Similar to Instagram, a great way to connect with journalists is by starting a conversation on Twitter. Instead of liking a photo or leaving a compliment, try retweeting or liking a relatable post. 

Twitter DMs are also a great way to ask a publisher for their preferred form of contact. Many publishers have open DMs and are willing to accept a news tip right in their Twitter inbox!

Twitter DM

digital PR outreach using social media - 2 Twitter

Pitch email

digital PR outreach using social media - 3 get acquainted on LinkedIn 1

Pitch Response

Twitter pitch response

One of the most important things to note when reaching out on social media is making sure the content you’re pitching is relevant. This connection worked because the marketer did their research and took the writer’s beat into consideration and referenced a recent article they had covered in the pitch email.

If your content is not relevant or doesn’t align with the writer’s coverage, don’t expect a response. 

Technique #3: Get acquainted on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is considered by some to be the most formal way to go. But in order to send a message via LinkedIn, you must be connected to the person, making this a longer connection process. 

When reaching out on LinkedIn, it’s important to note that witty or informal comments might not be taken well on this platform. Keep in mind LinkedIn is used in regards to making professional connections, so keep a PR message short, concise, and professional. 

LinkedIn DMs

digital PR outreach using social media - 3 get acquainted on LinkedIn 1

In both examples, the message was to mention their beat and simply ask for an email to best contact them at.  Although it seems simple, the writer will expect your email in their inbox and most likely remember your name. Additionally, as mentioned above, personalize your subject line so the writer knows exactly which email is yours. I’ve provided an example below. 

Pitch Email

digital PR outreach using social media - 3 get acquainted on LinkedIn - Email

Aside from just asking for an email, try and connect with them by starting a conversation about the college they went to or an experience they had. Any fellow Gator is always welcome in my inbox!

Technique #4: Reference social to get relatable

Although we are reaching out to journalists in hopes of creating a professional relationship, appealing to their personal likes can go a long way. One way to do so is by reading their bios on their social media or personal website. Some might be writing a book or might express something they really enjoy. 

Do those things relate to you as well? If so, let them know! Yes, the human on the other side of the email loves coffee or dogs just as much as you; who knew?

Pitch email

Pitch response

digital PR outreach using social media - 5 reference social

Some say people love dogs more than humans, and this pitch is no exception. Here I decided to take a leap and mention the journalists’ pup in their email. I included a picture of their own pup, mentioned their dog in my email subject line, and shared similar experiences. 

Although this may not always be successful, in this case, it was because of the marketer’s research and analysis. Again, always do your research. Most journalists already mention how they would like to be pitched in places like Muckrack, their personal website, and just by reading their articles (example included below). Marketers can get a feel about how to personalize an email.

digital PR outreach using social media - example

Final tips and tricks for your digital PR strategy

Some things to remember when starting a connection on social media: always do the research, don’t be too invasive and keep it simple. None of us need an elaborate summary of what we tweeted in the summer of 2016. Keep it short, sweet, and relevant.

Consequently, all journalists are different. Although some prefer basic intros, using some sort of external connection can increase a marketer’s chance of building a long-lasting connection. 

Whether it’s referencing dog pictures from Twitter or referencing a line from a recent article they wrote, paying attention to those minor details may be the difference between an email ignored and a new digital PR connection. 

So when in doubt, turn to social. Happy pitching!

Nicole Franco is a Media Relations Lead at Fractl. She’s an extrovert with a passion for building connections with entrepreneurs and working with aspiring businesses to tell their stories. Aside from loving content development; traveling, volunteering, and seeking adventure is what she lives for.

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Winter is coming: How to prepare your content strategy for a COVID-19 winter

November 8, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • With the number of cases of the novel coronavirus rising once again, content marketers face a resumed challenge to meet consumer needs.
  • Sales around the holidays will need to be approached sensitively, as unemployment rises and families are forced to tighten their belts.
  • Creating empathetic and emotionally-driven content will be more likely to appeal to audiences during these times.
  • The potential for future lockdown measures will see a potential increase in the demand for video content, particularly tutorials and explainers for new skills and products.

Although the last few months have seen quarantine restrictions being eased around the world, a resurgence in COVID-19 cases has led to a new round of measures being put in place to quell the spread of the virus before winter. However, now that scientists have a greater understanding of the nature of the novel coronavirus, it seems more likely that these new rules will be less all-encompassing than they were the first time around — pending any drastic rises in numbers, of course.

What this does mean, however, is that people in lockdown are likely to still be looking out for content that’s relevant to their current situation. We already talked you through what businesses learned about content marketing through the first phase of the pandemic, and the ever-changing state of things shouldn’t stop you from maintaining something close to your regular content schedule.

But based on what we now know about the virus, and what has and hasn’t worked with content strategies during the pandemic, there’s a lot your business can do to prepare for the winter ahead. Here are four key things to consider.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Traditionally the day for huge savings on big-ticket items, Thanksgiving weekend accounts for around a third of consumers’ entire holiday spend. But with Turkey Day fast approaching, many consumers are not even sure how (or if) they’ll be able to see family safely. Stores are having to come up with new ways to mark the occasion and give their customers the discounts they expect. Fortunately for most businesses, this primarily means giving their online offerings a shot in the arm.

In the midst of a huge global economic downturn, however, businesses will be wise to approach content around sales and promotional offers extremely carefully. The products you choose to put on sale at a discount may have to change to meet the different demands customers have had and will continue to have, during the pandemic. Consequently, writing copy that will emphasize your business’s reasons for doing this could help potential customers see eye-to-eye with your motivations, and help demonstrate an understanding of what consumers need on a wider level.

Emotional content

Going beyond Thanksgiving, the other focal point of your fourth-quarter content marketing campaign will likely be Christmas, but this festive season will clearly require a different approach from previous years. In particular, as The Drum points out, “how brands give back to communities and people will be a huge influence on shoppers this year.” This means that in addition to the keyword research you conduct to determine what you write about, how you write your Christmas content will be just as important.

Beyond the economic impact, most are feeling as a result of the pandemic, which is highly likely to shift consumer behaviors, people are far more likely to be reevaluating what is important to them during this time of year. The possibility of not seeing friends and family as they would on a normal.

Christmas means that the content your business releases will need to be sensitively-written, and seriously take this into consideration. However, Retail Week recently reported that nearly two-thirds of shoppers are more willing to “explore new products” at this time of year than any other time, so combining the emotional appeal with consumer appeal is critical.

This doesn’t only apply to customer-facing companies, however, no matter how easy it may be to forget that real people are responsible for the decisions a business makes. In the wake of the pandemic, emotionally-driven B2B content has been widely discussed and strongly recommended. One Linkedin discussion which took place in early May noted that “B2B audiences share the same fundamental human priorities and are just as interested in seeing their personal experiences reflected in the content.”

Video content

The most effective form of emotionally-driven content your brand could put together for the holidays is through video, which has seen a huge increase in viewing times since the onset of the pandemic. This has been the case across all sectors, and Econsultancy reports that video ad spend has increased by between 60% and 74% since the pandemic began.

As a result, it’s never been more important to start preparing easily-digestible video content to promote your products, explain your brand’s values and give people something fun to watch. But your work isn’t going to be done once you’ve completed the final cut — taking steps to carefully optimize your video content is essential if you want your videos to be seen.

Tutorials and explainers

From makeup tutorials and guides to making your own facemasks, to step-by-step advice on developing new skills, video content has been particularly beneficial during the lockdown as people seek out new ways to pass the time and feel a sense of accomplishment. DIY learning resources have become big business, and the most-searched-for terms — which YouTube has publicly claimed are “astonishing” in their consistency — mainly revolve around picking up new hobbies or coping mechanisms.

These have included baking (particularly sourdough), yoga and guided meditations, and home improvements, all of which would be useful in less fraught times, but particularly centering now. And brands which wouldn’t otherwise be providing this sort of content are getting in on the act, with the likes of Nike and DoubleTree Hotels diverting their budgets and strategies to give searchers the kind of useful content they need. With no clear end in sight for the most recent round of restrictions, videos of this nature are likely to continue being an excellent entry point for bringing new customers to your brand, so finding relevant subject matter will stand you in good stead through the holidays.

Edward Coram James is an SEO professional and the Chief Executive of Go Up Ltd, an international agency dedicated to helping its clients navigate the complexities of global SEO and the technical aspects of delivering location-specific pages to targeted audiences.

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Crowd marketing is the forum link building strategy you need to know in 2020

October 10, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Link building is still one of the best tactics to boost your Google rankings
  • Forum link building can help you tap into niche communities
  • Crowd marketing is the concept of setting up a strategy for forum link building
  • There’s no need to be discouraged if you’re just getting started
  • Quality is important both in your content and the forum that you decide to join

SEO is evolving through the years and it’s still more important than ever in your digital strategy.

It takes time to rank high in Google’s search results and one of the best ways to improve your success is to aim for credible backlinks to your content.

Backlinks can prove that the content is trustworthy and useful enough for the users to get you higher in SERPs. 

Through the years, link building is still one of the most effective methods to build your SEO. It helps you improve your search visibility and work towards reaching higher in the SERPs in a consistent and efficient way.

The question is, how can you make the most out of it in 2020?

Forum link building can be your secret weapon. Crowdo has released ‘The Ultimate Guide to Forum Link Building in 2020’ sharing tactics and examples to make it work.

Here are the key takeaways:

Content created in partnership with Crowdo.

Embracing crowd marketing

One of the most common tactics in link building is guest posting. It’s the process of featuring your content on another blog to get a link back to your site.

Although it’s a popular method, there are still more options to consider.

For example, ‘crowd marketing’, involves link building through communities and forums.

Crowdo is listing the benefits of ‘crowd marketing’ on their latest report:

  • Forums can be relevant for every niche industry. You can get links back to your site even when trying to reach a very specific group of people
  • It can be easier to get a link on a forum compared to getting a guest post published.
  • A lot of forums have been around for many years, which increases their credibility as a source of a link

It’s relatively easy to get a backlink from a forum. Your research can help you find the best way to reach your target audience to maximise the value.

It’s important though to avoid spamming or automated link generators. Crowd marketing should be a white hat technique rather than a quick win with no tangible results.

Focusing on the right links

You don’t want to gather as many links as you can if they don’t add value to your site and your ranking.

The quality of backlinks is crucial. If you’re unsure how to define the quality of the backlink, here are the key factors to consider:

  • Website traffic. Examine the traffic of the website to understand its popularity and it value it can bring
  • Relevance. Pick the forums and threads that are relevant to your site’s content. Don’t waste your time on links that are useless.
  • Authority. Look at the domain authority (DA) of the website. Tools like Ahrefs/ Moz / Semrush can help you discover a site’s DA. Aim for a DA that’s at least 50.
  • Context. Make sure your link is naturally placed in a sentence. Don’t just add the link on its own but rather link it to the right context.
  • Quality of forum. Analyse the forum’s quality. Too many spam posts are not a good indication of its quality. Aim for forums that are highly moderated as this may indicate the increase in the quality and the trust.

Best practices for scaling up link building

If you’re just getting started with link building, it might feel challenging to scale up your efforts.

There’s no need to quit though.

Here are Crowdo’s tips on how to address your challenges:

  • Don’t skip research. Research is crucial. Find the communities that are more relevant to your target audience. Look at their metrics. Read the latest threads to explore the topics that you want to be featured on.
  • Build trust. When you’re just getting started in a community, it’s important to take the time to build trust. If you need to register, fill all the details on your profile, join additional conversations, and aim for the long-term relationship.
  • Confirm that the threads are indexed by Google. Make sure that the forum threads that you’re about to post are indexed by Google. You don’t want to waste your time without seeing the content indexed.
  • Treat link building as an investment. Link building takes time. If your niche forum requires a registration fee, work on your end goal and what you want to get out of it. If it justifies the investment, do not hesitate to invest more time and resources on it.

Practical examples

If you want to see what forum building looks like, here is an example from Crowdo’s report.

In this example, the target niche is insurance providers. The community has more than 80k visitors, 93 DA, 48 TF. Thus, it makes the perfect source to add value to a conversation along with a dofollow backlink.

It’s a great example of how your research can lead you to the right source to make your link both useful and relevant.

Next steps

If you need additional help with your forum building, agencies like Crowdo can help you with on-demand link building services.

They are offering an exclusive offer to our readers with a 10% discount. You can find out more here and make the most of the offer using the coupon code provided in the link.

If you want to find out more about forum link building, make sure you read their latest report here.

The post Crowd marketing is the forum link building strategy you need to know in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Post-COVID-19 strategy to restore your social media reputation

September 30, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Trends suggest that about 25% of businesses paused their marketing and advertising on social media during the first six months of 2020.
  • Facebook reports that 89% of advertisers reconsidered their budget in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • This post attempts to underline some of the strategies you can consider practicing to restore your reputation and recognition on social media.

COVID-19 has had an impact on everyone and everything – starting from our lives and lifestyle to economies and businesses across the world. Business processes were forcefully shut down as a preventive measure to stop the pandemic earlier this year and the same has reflected in paid advertising, digital marketing strategies, and brands’ social media reputation management efforts.

COVID-19 and digital marketing

The number of people using social media has skyrocketed during the epidemic. Despite that, many organizations paused their digital marketing and even social media due to the lockdown.

Social network is one of the most effective tools businesses use for marketing, branding, sales, engagement, and delivering customer care. And to make the most of it, you should not stop your brand’s social media activities. This is something that a brand should never do.

Contrarily, trends suggest that about 25% of businesses paused their marketing and advertising on social media during the first six months of 2020.

However, this can’t be said for forward-looking marketers.

Facebook reports that 89% of advertisers reconsidered their budget in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

But there is no denying that the activities of brands have reduced to a great extent and has changed a lot during the pandemic. As a result, many have lost their customers and other their online reputation.

This post attempts to underline some of the strategies you can consider practicing to restore your reputation and recognition on social media.

1. Evaluate your situation

If you too had closed off your social media at the beginning of the pandemic, the first step for you to take would be – evaluate. Peep into the insights and evaluate the condition of your social networks.

Run an audit involving all your social networks. This will give insights related to engagement and traffic your activities generated during this period. You will also learn what worked well and what didn’t work for you.

You will be able to identify and understand the mistakes you made. Doing all this will help you develop or modify your social media strategy.

2. Develop a positive and supportive brand voice

When looking to rebuild your lost empire on social networks, you might want to reconsider your brand’s voice as well.

Review the voice and tone of your updates on each social network, and ponder – does it represent your brand?

The idea is to develop a positive voice for your brand that is supportive and feels like you care for customers.

It is obvious that people do not want to be pitched directly by marketers in a difficult time like this. In that picture, it perfectly makes sense to build a brand voice that does not sound overly promotional.

So, this would be the right strategy to give your social networks a new voice – a voice and tone that is calm, positive, and always ready-to-help.

3. Do campaigns broadcasting the benefits of your brand

While direct pitches may have a negative influence on customer behavior, there are ways you can promote your brand indirectly. One such way is – telling the benefits of your products and services.

Another would be to share stories around how your product helped a customer or how your service eased an individual’s life. Posts like this are a great motivator; they help build a positive brand image among your audience.

You can also encourage your customers to share their experiences or review on your brand’s social network. Such campaigns do indirect marketing for your brand, apart from adding to your efforts to rediscover your reputation.

You might want to make some strategic adjustments in your approach to social networks. For example, you can create and share visual content backed by keyword-rich captions or descriptions on your social networks. However, the type of content you share depends largely on factors like your brand, your products, and the media preferences of your audience.

This way, not only will you generate traffic, engagement, and sales for you, but also build a name for sharing high-quality, valuable, and above-all useful content.

And just for a reminder: you don’t need a big budget to get started with a completely new style of posts.

4. Social media influencer marketing

Influencers can also help you turn up your social media reputation. Influencers are celebrities that you can partner with to promote your brand among their fans and followers. In short, they will influence their followers – who follow suggestions and advice from their idols. This is how influencer marketing works.

Since 63% of customers trust their favorite influencer more than they trust brands, you can consider hiring an industry-specific influencer for your brand to give your brand-building efforts a quick boost.

If celebrities don’t fit into your budget, you can shift your focus on onboarding micro and small influencers. When it comes to influencing, micro-influencers get you better engagement and results than celebrities do.

Micro-influencers are students and professionals with a few thousand followers looking to earn some extra cash. They have an active follower base, with which they interact on a daily basis. They can help you reach specific market segments and target audiences more effectively that too without much investment.

And to get started with that, you will need to have a well-planned social media cum influencer marketing strategy.

5. Introduce social media tools

The best part of social media is – everything you do here is measurable. Impressions, likes, dislikes, engagement, clicks, and several other user actions can be traced using the default analytics feature of all leading social networks.

You can analyze user behavior on various factors such as the time zone, the age group, the device, the location, and the gender of those who engaged on your updates. You can use these metrics to develop a new or modify your existing social media marketing strategies.

But, using the inbuilt analytics of social networks could be a time-consuming job, because as a brand you have to manage and analyze multiple social networks at a time.

So, you could consider having an all-inclusive social media management and marketing tool that gives you access to all important metrics related to the performance of all your social networks on a single dashboard. Imagine how much time your team will save with one such tool!

6. Respond to reviews

Reviews are possibly the best thing that helps brands in building social media reputation. While positive reviews make everyone happy, negative reviews on social networks can boost your sales and reputation.

Take negative reviews and criticism as a chance for improvement. Address each issue and complaint raised by customers, and try to resolve their concerns on the same thread. It has two advantages.

First, it turns an unhappy and unsatisfied customer into a happy and satisfied customer. And second, it builds a positive impression which ultimately improves your online reputation.

But, that does not mean you should respond to negative reviews only. Don’t skip positive reviews as well. Thank everyone who posts a review on your timeline.

If it is a positive review, thank them for their kind words. And if it is a negative review, thank them for bringing their concern to you and assure them that you will leave no stone unturned in resolving their issue.

Bottom line

When you restart your social network to regain your lost online reputation, try to be consistent with your activities. Respond to comments and inboxes on an everyday basis. In addition to that, never miss a chance to socialize (that’s what social media is meant for) and engage with your audience.

Encourage your followers to share their opinions on your posts. Celebrate festivities and special days and display the pictures on your brand’s social network. These small yet impactful steps and tactics help you connect with your audience in a more humane way and add to your online reputation.

Birbahadur Singh Kathayat is an Entrepreneur, internet marketer, and Co-founder of Lbswebsoft. He can be found on Twitter @bskathayat.

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