While we try not to use too much industry jargon, we are sometimes guilty of using unfamiliar terminology at SpinWeb when talking with clients. When decscribing what we do, we explain that we deliver corporate web solutions and inbound marketing.
Another way of saying it is that we create and maintain industry-leading corporate websites, deliver a robust Content Management System, and help our clients maintain content. Then, we help turn their sales teams into super-heros by generating leads using SEO, social media, content strategies, email, and marketing intelligence.
We sometimes get the question: "What is inbound marketing?"
We explain that inbound marketing is the practice of earning attention (rather than buying it), and then creating a system to turn that attention into sales. However, sometimes a picture is worth 1,000 words so we've put together a detailed infogrographic that explains the inbound marketing process. Enjoy!
This is a guest post by Rocky Walls, CEO of 12 Stars Media, an Indianapolis video production company that provides full service production, strategy and outsourced video editing services through their Candidio service line to companies around the world.
Memes, gifs, and viral videos seem to come and go on an weekly basis these days. The last trend to hit YouTube was the The Harlem Shake meme. In the last month you've undoubtedly been unable to log onto your computer or check your social media feeds without seeing at least one person linking or embedding a Harlem Shake video. In some cases, you may have even participated in one of the attempted viral videos.
However, after all the hullabaloo dies down we were left with these ultimate questions during last week's episode of Video Pep Talk (watch the full episode at the bottom of this post): what is the point of a Harlem Shake video and can it really help us in the content marketing world?
Use of viral videos
Viral videos are almost unanimously one thing: entertaining. But while they may grab your attention, do they really make good content marketing material for your audience? Will a viral video really help promote who you are or what you do as a company?
Videos, like other forms of content marketing, should answer questions or solve problems for your customers. Unless you have unlimited resources and especially if your company is trying to identify the the only video you plan to produce this month or year, the viral video route probably ends in disappoint for you.
Originality is key - or is it?
When you take a look at the advertising world overall, there are copycats and trends that make it seem like you should be following suit. In the case of the Harlem Shake craze, many ad agencies and other companies jumped on the bandwagon and started creating their own versions. But these videos rarely, if at all, go viral. Instead, it’s the original video that makes the most waves. For instance, the Dollar Shave Club video showed off personality in a whole new way last year. The California based company made a video that explains who they are in a fun and new way. The problem? Companies started copying the style used in the original video, and it just didn’t work the same.
So, instead of trying to follow suit and create the next viral video, think about how you can create original content to share. BUT, here's the real kicker - originality isn't really the secret sauce, value is. That's right, I said it. These days people don't care nearly as much about how original and entertaining you are as they do how much value you actually bring to them. Dollar Shave Club had originality, but even more importantly it showed value to its audience.
The ultimate purpose of any video should not be to go viral, but rather, it should be your call-to-action. What is it that you want your viewers to do after the video? The Dollar Shave Club video lucked out by going viral and getting so many orders that they were back ordered by a few months. Instead of creating a video with the intentions of going viral, create content that is useful and moves your viewers to click a link, contact you, or purchase your services or products.
You shouldn’t be wasting resources like time, money, and energy to make a video that hundreds or even millions of people watch but don’t do anything after. Make videos that are original and solve problems. In other words, you should be creating valuable content that engages with a viewer and encourages them to do something after watching the video. Watch the full episode of Video Pep Talk below and sign up to stay notified about our weekly Video Pep Talks on Google+ Hangouts On Air every Wednesday for more thoughts on digital video marketing and communications.
You may have recently seen the new ad campaign from Microsoft that promotes its new Outlook.com email service. Outlook.com appears to be the next evolution of Hotmail and is designed to compete with Google's popular Gmail service.
Outlook.com actually looks pretty good and appears to be a well-designed system. However, rather than promoting the positive aspects of Outlook.com, Microsoft is instead running a misleading campaign that attacks Google. The campaign is called "Scroogled" and is a rather weak attempt to create a fake bogeyman out of Google's advertising policy.
The commercials feature a somewhat unlikable couple having pie with cheesy music playing in the background. The clueless husband complains that ads "just started showing up" in his email after which his wife explains that Google "goes through every single word of your Gmail" and uses that information to sell ads. He then exclaims "so I get Scroogled!"
The "Watch How You Get Scroogled by Gmail" video is particularly saucy. Look! Google goes through all your personal email between husband and wife about relationships, money, etc. –– how scary!
The commercial and the campaign overall is quite cheesy and not terribly believable but that's not really the issue. What bothers me is the misleading way that Microsoft is presenting the facts.
So why is this campaign misleading?
The campaign claims that Google "goes through your email "and violates your privacy" in order to sell ads. This conjures up images of hordes of spies at Google that personally read your email and inject nefarious ads in your browser window while cackling maniacally (probably while wearing monocles).
In reality, Google explains very clearly that no human ever reads your email. The entire system is automated. Gmail simply uses algorithms to automatically display ads that might be relevant to the viewer based on the content of the email. If this still sounds creepy, then just being on the Internet is creepy because it happens to everyone just about every day.
Ever notice how you might be planning a trip to Hawaii and then all of the sudden you start to see more ads about travel to Hawaii? Or maybe you start to get more emails from travel sites with special offers on vacation packages. This is all automated. Your browsing history and activity online leaves a trail of data that advertisers can use to target messages more specifically to your needs. It's been happening for a long time now and it's done by software.
Microsoft would be making a reasonable point by saying that Outlook.com doesn't show ads and this would have some value to a lot of people. However, don't be fooled into thinking that Google is "invading your privacy" in any way.
If you truly don't want ads in your email, then by all means check out Outlook.com. However, if you are living in fear of the "spies" at Google then you can relax. Microsoft is using hyperbole and misleading advertising to try to fool you.
As a corporate web and marketing company that also happens to be a ROWE, we get lots of interest from potential team members who would like to work at SpinWeb. Though we are growing, we unfortunately can't hire everyone that comes our way. However, we always try to help great people find great job opportunities.
There are some skills and behaviors that today's marketing professional needs to possess in order to compete in the modern economy. Marketing has changed significantly over the past few years and has become intimately integrated with technology.
So what does the modern marketing professional need to know to get a great job?
Stellar writing skills
Today's marketer must know how to write effectively for the web. This is why English majors often make great marketing pros! Modern inbound marketing is built on great content, such as corporate blogs, guides and ebooks, video scripts, podcasts, website copy, and articles. Great content is the fuel that drives inbound marketing and great writers are the brains behind the content.
A love of analytics
Lots of marketing professionals are very creative, outgoing people who love to get excited about big picture ideas but often lack attention to the "boring" aspects of marketing like analytics. No more! Modern inbound marketing is a world of data and experimentation. We have more tools today than ever before that let us measure the effectiveness of our marketing efforts and you need to learn to love analytics to be effective.
Silos can lead to less-than-optimal campaigns. If one side of the company is on a different plan than the other side, the whole team becomes inefficient. The modern inbound marketing needs to be in tune with what the sales team, the customer service team, and the CEO are all doing. In addition, he or she needs to be able to help these teams all work together to support the organization's marketing plan so that all the peices are in sync.
So how does a person with these skills find that dream job in marketing? Well, finding the right job is not easy but here are some things that can help give you a competitive edge.
Blog - professionally
We've gotten applications from people who list their personal blog in their profile and it's less than impressive. Some employers might be happy to see that you have a social life but in general, a strictly personal blog is not going to add much relevance to your productivity footprint online. Even if you are unemployed, maintain a professional blog that offers insights and solutions in marketing. This demonstrates your expertise and is the online way of "dressing for the job you want."
Don't just send out resumes and hope something sticks. Get out and meet people. Look up networking events in your area and attend as many as you can. Ask friends to take you along to business events that they attend. Join groups on LinkedIn. Ask for referrals from friends or past co-workers. Networking is a lifelong skill that should be "always on" no matter what your situation is.
Build trust before being assertive
We've sometimes gotten messages from people who want to work for us and they start off with a very agressive campaign of emails and social media posts that get very annoying very quickly. Instead of annoying your potential employers, start off by helping, providing value, offering to do some limited contract work, etc. Once trust is built, then you can get a bit more driven.
Make sure your materials are well-designed
If it takes a little money to get some professional design work done on your blog and other work samples, invest it. Design affects credibility and credibilty is exactly the thing you want to build.
While you want to come of as a credible professional, do show some personality. Marketing is a creative profession and requires a love of people and human interaction so don't be afraid to let your sparkling personality shine.
Are you a marketing pro looking for the next great opportunity? I frequently share job openings on Twitter so feel free to follow me there and I will do what I can do help.
If you've been paying attention to recent trends in SEO, you've probably heard of AuthorRank, which is the next evolution of search. AuthorRank is based on Google's Authorship system which allows greater tie-in between content on the web (such as an article or blog post) and the author of that content.
We covered the "why" of AuthorRank in a previous post on how highlighting your employees can be good for your search visibility.
So how do you, as a marketing director, CEO, or business owner get ready for AuthorRank and take advantage of it for your organization? Here's a step-by-step guide.
1. Set up a Google+ profile
If you're not on Google+ yet, now is the time. For AuthorRank to have the best impact, you'll need to set up your Google+ profile correctly. Go to plus.google.com and get started there. It's painless, I promise. Oh, and fill out your profile completely with photo, bio, and everything.
The next thing you'll need to do is make sure your website and Google+ are configured properly for Authorship. We cover this in a handy 15-minute webinar called Google AuthorRank and Why It's a Big Deal for Your SEO Efforts. Basically, at minimum you'll want to add your website's domain name in the "Contributor" section of your Google+ profile.
3. Be active online
Ok... this is kind of vague but in general, get in the habit of using your social networks to communiate with people. Share interesting content with your network, comment on posts, and above all else be sincere. Include Google+ in your activities as much as possible.
4. Create content
In order to develop influence, create content in the form of blog posts, videos, and articles that teach and solve problems. Be careful, though. It's not enough to just spit out content for the sake of volume. Your content must be relevant, well-researched, well-written, and useful. High-quality content leads to greater influence.
Contributing content to your own website is great. However, to really build influence you'll also want to start writing for other websites. Look for opportunities to write guest posts for partner sites or articles for influential publications. Then, include those domain names in the "Contributor" section of your Google+ profile.
Influence is a process
Building influence through AuthorRank is not a one-time project. It takes time and consistency but can pay off with the right approach. Google is always looking for ways to make the experience better for the searcher and measuring the influence and credibility of authors is one more step in that evolution.
If you take the time to nurture your online influence, you'll be laying the groundwork to provide better visibilty to both yourself and your organization.