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Wednesday

Steps to Creating a Brand in Digital Marketing

Branding is not just another form of marketing. It should be the underlying goal and overall effect of your marketing strategy. When you are attempting to brand your company or your image, you want to be something that people will recognize as a representation of your mission, values and goals. You want to make your brand into something that consumers and fans can trust and rely. Read through to find out the most important steps you need to know in order to brand yourself properly and see the ROI on your brand sooner.

1. Originality
When you begin branding you will want to go over your goals and mission. If you have a clear idea about who you are going to be, it will be easier for consumers to recognize your brand and it will help you to stay true to yourself. When deciding on an image or logo, make sure it is original. When consumers see someone trying to rip off someone else’s brand, it puts a bad taste in their mouth. Be authentic and original so that you can stand apart from the rest and come out on top.

2. Content
With any branding strategy, what you stand for is going to be the focus. That means that your content has to be a reflection of your brand. Content marketing is a sector of the digital marketing world that is always changing thanks to search engine algorithms. Search engines want to see valuable, informative content that the searcher can actually use. Backlinking, guest blogging and image saturated content is no longer an option if you want to appear on the first page of results. Be sure that your content is well written, contains keywords throughout (not just in a signature line) and aims to help the searcher that has stumbled upon your site.

3. Social Media
Social media is going to be the best place to verify your brand. You can use your handles and avatars as a branding vehicle. Make your own hashtags and calendar days so that your followers can participate with your brand. For example, if you are a clothing retailer, you could start a hashtag such as #savingsundays or #topstuesdays and ask your followers to showcase their fashions. Use other platforms like Facebook, Google +, Quora, and Pinterest as well so that no matter where a potential customer is searching, they keep running into you.

4. SEO
The best way to solidify your brand’s presence is by performing great SEO techniques. Be sure that keywords are on several parts of your website. Make sure that your website doesn’t contain broken or bad links. Make sure that the site links that appear underneath your web results are the most visited or most search aspects of your company so that users can quickly recognize the link as you and click where they want to go quickly. Get in touch with a New Orleans SEO company today to explore your options.

5. Be an Expert
When you are branding yourself, a great strategy to keep in mind is that you want to be an expert in whatever industry you work within. Becoming an expert means not only being knowledgeable in your field, but also being the opinion that others seek. By using social media monitoring for Reddit, Twitter and Facebook, you can find people with questions and assist them with answers. Even if they don’t buy your product or service, your help will be remembered and you will have gained a fan, all by answering questions or directing someone to the place they are looking for.

This post was written by M.G. Bachemin, a marketing specialist and content creator for Online Optimism.

Tuesday

Effective strategies that make your content ‘bigger’

‘Big content’ is a 2014 buzzword – but what does it mean? And can it really help you engage users better, using the same budget and resources?
Making your content offering ‘bigger’ – producing an ebook instead of an article, making your blog post into a whole series – is a great way to make your content resources work harder.

You’ll be making the most of your in-house subject matter experts, your writers – however many you have – and you’ll save time commissioning and signing off on content, too.

‘Big content’ can include things like:
  •       Ebooks
  •       White papers
  •       Long-form thought leadership articles
  •       Reports
  •       Blog series
The downside? It’s easy to stretch ideas too thinly, or use a longer format when one isn’t appropriate, adding to what content-marketing agency Sticky Content termed ‘the content bubble’.

Here some effective strategies for making your content bigger, while keeping every piece engaging, relevant and insightful.

Make good content ideas work harder
Producing longer, more in-depth content means you can commission greater volumes of content all at once – saving time in the process.

So, when you nail a good content idea, make the most of it. Is this really a blog post, or is it a whole series? What questions do your audiences have on this subject, and how best can you address those questions? Would a data visualisation be useful?

Once you’ve decided on an angle and a format that everyone’s happy with, your content producers can get on with the job at hand.

And if you put your agreed brief down in writing, you’ll all have one central reference point – this will be handy tool when you come to sign the content off, too.

Make the most of your in-house experts
If you’re researching a white paper or putting together a report, you’ll need some credible, expert input. Before you look externally, ask whether anyone inside the business has the knowledge you need. Look to sales teams, those speaking to customers all the time – or product owners, or customer service professionals. These people can be a mine of information on what your users are really interested in.

Anthologise existing content using a new format
Are there any clever ways you can use your existing content in a new way? For example, you could combine flowcharts, articles and video, and publish these together as an eBook.

Don’t exclude internal documents – such as presentations and email memos – from your list of possible content resources. You’ll often find something interesting in these, which can then be turned into a publishable blog post, or a section in a white paper.

Monday

Is LinkedIn More Valuable than Facebook?

If you’re around the young frequently, you know about the exodus from Facebook.  By the young, I mean “those under 20”, and by “exodus from”, I mean general disdain for.  The platform which started as a private place for college students just isn’t that appealing to their demographic anymore.  Twitter’s brevity is the generic social platform of their youth. 

Back when I was a 20-something, Facebook was just catching on with my peers, and it was being projected as the next business platform.  Email would be dead, and business networks would begin to mingle with personal networks…Facebook was the way of the future.

Clearly, that was not a completely accurate projection.  But thinking of Twitter as the business platform of the future has its up sides and its down sides.  There are meetings I definitely feel could be reduced to 140 characters, saving us all time.  On the other hand, if I hear one more hashtag pronouncement, I may #explode.

Fortunately, we will probably not have to explore that realm.  LinkedIn, once the beleaguered stepchild of the social networking world, has become a real platform for grown-ups, and has a definite place to play in a social networking strategy.  Here are a few things you want to take into consideration when you’re building your company or brand social profile.

1.      Don’t neglect LinkedIn, even if you are in a creative discipline.  There’s a myth afoot in the creative community that LinkedIn is for office jocks seeking new jobs.  The truth of the matter is that LinkedIn is a form for people who have work (hence have paychecks), are looking for work (and might have talent to contribute to your endeavors), and know people.  Who know people.  The sales world has figured out how to mine LinkedIn connections for fun and profit – look to their tactics to help your business or brand make connections and contacts you need to grow and take root.

2.      Don’t discount LinkedIn just because you don’t need work.  Even if you’re not between gigs, LinkedIn offers a wealth of valuable knowledge.  How else would you find and connect with business leaders and thought leaders in varied regions and disciplines?

3.      Don’t be shy.  If you have a valid question, thought or consideration, you should put yourself out there.  If you’re hesitant about contacting an individual directly, join a group and ask a broader cross-section for advice.  Just as in real life, though, there’s not much that compares to direct one-on-one correspondence.  Stay within the bounds of professionalism and the golden rule, and make some new friends!

No matter what you think about the future of Facebook or Twitter, don’t neglect LinkedIn.  Take advantage of the opportunity to connect your brand with leaders and maximize your exposure, no matter what line of business you are in!

Thursday

Google+ Marketing: Four (4) Ways To Market Your Brand

Google+ is a great tool employed by many businesses not just to boost search engine rankings but also to introduce and promote their brands as well. The platform has several competitive features that guarantee higher brand visibility and improved brand awareness to customers.

How To Market Your Brand Through Google+
Learn which avenues to use to further market your business. Here are four (4) of them.

1. Google+ Page. Google+ Business Pages work similarly like Facebook Pages. The former has its list of followers whereas the latter has its own fans. With Google+, the layout of the page is cleaner and more focused giving it a slighter edge against its competitor. It provides better opportunity to engage with its users due to neater discussion threads and varied topics of interest. It also has an upper hand in terms of integration with other Google products. Promoting videos has never been easier with its integration to Youtube, the most popular video-sharing website today. Boosting up your posts and increasing your credibility has never been simpler with Google+ authorship.

2. Google+ Hangouts. A hangout is a good way to connect with people in real time via “conferences”. It can be private with a certain group of users participating in or it can be made public and live in front of a global audience in a form of Hangouts On Air. You can launch product demos, do how-to videos or conduct trainings online with less preparation and effort. You can invite influencers and host a Q&A gathering to highlight the most-talked-about industry news and trends. You can also record webinars for free compared to having to pay a monthly subscription fee!

3. Google+ Events. Events provide an excellent opportunity to schedule and share different types of occasions for your company. There is its integration with Google Calendar which makes it relatively effortless for the interested parties to respond to your invitations. Then there is real-time photo stream where guests can contribute photos collectively. Additionally, there is Events On Air that allows your event to go public. Finally, there’s the chance to incorporate Hangouts On Air so that once the live broadcast has started, you can simply copy and paste the embed link to your Google+ Event invite for all the attendees to see and click.

4. Google+ Communities. This is a good technique to build your reputation as a leader in your niche. For instance, if you are a digital marketing agency in Manila, let this be a hub to encourage participation from various digital marketing agencies in the Philippines as well as enthusiasts and advocates around the globe. Use this to share, interact and develop your authority in your field. 

Monday

SEO and Google Authorship Explained

With social media being at the forefront of mainstream acceptability and awareness, many niche bloggers and website owners are quick to adopt a variety of such platforms. Utilising social media networks and applications can certainly help grow connections and engagement. However, the average content creator is frequently found to be uneducated with knowledge of additional strategies. Whilst a wealth of Content Management Systems contain plugins to increase SERP rankings, there is a whole universe of untapped resources at your fingertips.

In order to gain a wider online presence, it is valuable to become educated in the world of digital marketing. Within itself, digital marketing has many fields and subfields, each comprising of dedicated, specialised knowledge and skills. One such field is Search Engine Optimization. The world of SEO is vast, sprawling plain that encompasses a multitude of techniques and methods. Many individuals who are serious about their blogging often employ the services of an SEO agency. However, if you feel this is a step too far right now, there are plenty of SEO-based practices that beginners can undertake. One such tool that every blogger and website owner should utilise is Google Authorship. Please note that this article does not detail the steps needed to take in order to setup Google Authorship.

Rich Snippets
The most aesthetic of the SEO differences when utilising Authorship is the appearance of the rich snippet. For those in the dark, rich snippets are an advanced version of the description found underneath hyperlinks in a search engine results page. Whilst there are many forms of rich snippets, such as stars for reviews or calendar dates for events, Authorship employs its version. By connecting to your Google+ profile, Authorship utilises your profile name, photo and number of circles you are in amongst the rich snippet. It has been found that the mere appearance of a rich snippet can increase your click through rate dramatically, setting it apart from other standard results. Let’s say that a translations and voice over agency has a low CTR on organic search results: a surefire way to improve click through rate would be to add the author attribute or a rich snippet with reviews from clients.

Plagiarism
As the title suggests, any content you create is attributes you as the author. This greatly impairs chances of your work being plagiarised. Additionally, if your work is plagiarised, Google recognises that you are the creator and thus ranks your page higher than those who have copied you. Also, Google can impose penalties and decrease traffic to duplicate sites.

Indexing
As you post content, your associated social media profiles are updated in real time. However, indexing doesn't work in such a timely manner. The best way to quicken this process is to utilise Authorship. By having your content indexed quicker, you allow for the chance of higher rankings due to a stronger SEO effort.

AuthorRank
Despite not being officially confirmed as to directly affect higher search rankings, AuthorRank is generally seen as to play a large role in future SEO practices. Verified Authorship profiles have been officially noted to directly affect posts to rank higher. However, AuthorRank is more of an enigma. Based around the singular, AuthorRank essentially provides a ranking to an individual. Whilst it isn't entirely known what metrics are at play, it has been seen that the more circles you are in, number of +1s, shares and comments, level of interactivity and communities you follow seemingly impact AuthorRank. Those with a higher AuthorRank are deemed to have a stronger authoritative role, thus increasing their posts attached to Authorship in search engine results rankings.


It has been mentioned and debated by Mozblog that besides Page Authority, Google +1's are potentially correlated to higher search rankings. Whilst this topic is still controversial, having someone +1 your post frequently means that is also shared amongst Google+. Such actions are seen to definitely impact your SEO as shared links are backlinks, essentially producing organic link building.

Thursday

Is Facebook really falling?

Every time we speak about social media, two sites are ubiquitously mentioned: Facebook and Twitter. The runner up is, hands down, Google Plus, but it is still way behind the first two. Every online marketing plan includes interaction on Facebook and Twitter, and it is not rare to see heads banging when Facebook makes a move and, say, changes the image sizes of the social network. Community managers usually growl for a while when that happens.

If you have worked at a digital agency for a while, you know it.

What would you say, however, if I told you that, based on a suggestion by George Aguayo, one of the SEO guys at InTechCenter, Facebook glorious days might be counted? Yes, I am serious. See for yourself.



Despite the fact the picture is from Google Trends, which is not an official web counter for Facebook, the giant social media site appears to be showing a decline in its use. As you know many users do not type www.facebook.com on their web browsers directly. They prefer to open up Google and search for Facebook so they can just click through to their site. The graph might not be too inaccurate.

Why is this happening? Thisarticle on Time gives some more light about the phenomenon and why it could be happening. The extremely short version, for those who won't click-through and read, is that Facebook is a fashion, and, like every fashion, it will eventually fade away.

Yet what affects users will eventually affect us, marketers, too. Have you asked yourself what would you do if suddenly Facebook stops being the social media vehicle you could use for marketing your site or business? If you haven't, then maybe it is time to start building your plan B.

Some companies and blogs seem to begin taking measures about this situation. LifeHackeris already on Diaspora*, for example. There is also an evident raise on the use of Google Plus company pages.

It is too soon to tell yet, but, as George commented, it could be a great idea to start diversifying your social media locomotives.


Tuesday

Tips to Learn 3D Animation Quickly

Willing to learn 3D animation and find a lucrative job in the field? If yes, then the following post offers some important tips to learn 3D animation quickly and easily. Read on...

With the emergence of new technologies, the role of three dimensional graphics and animation has increased. As a result, there is no dearth of lucrative animation jobs. 3D animations and graphics find application in gaming, cartoon and movie industry depending on the different types of software used. This software may be programmed to design various living creatures or non-living creatures like buildings, and vehicles.

Steps to find a career in animation

It is mostly seen that the novice 3D animation and graphic students struggle to easily learn the basic concepts of animation. Here we discuss simple steps to learn 3D animation in a much easier and effective manner:
  • Focus on a Particular Discipline
In order to perform well in a particular discipline, it is important to practice it by working with various assets available online for free. For instance, for a candidate willing to become an animator, the right approach to learn it is to download some character rigs that are available online for free to start practicing animation. 
  • Take note of your learning experience at every stage
It is beneficial to keep a record of what you are learning. Making notes on what you are learning every day. At the end of every week, take a look at all the notes to see your learning progress. This exercise helps you to know the areas covered by you and what remains to be done. Preparing notes acts as your roadmap to excellent learning.
  • Build your network
For learning more about the new things in animation industry, establishing a strong network of like-minded professionals plays a crucial role in finding an animation job of your choice. Expanding network has become much easier with the dozens of available online forums like Facebook, Meetups, Twitter and LinkedIn. Such social networking sites offer a great advantage of finding and interacting with people with interest in the same profession.
  • Get and give feedback
The above discussed method to build network not only helps in discussions on common topics, sharing techniques and making work strategies, but also a useful way of exchanging ideas and giving feedbacks. Novice artists can find it helpful to take feedback on their work before putting it on display. Giving and taking feedback on your work is a useful method to learn more and improve on your weak areas.
  • Focus on setting and meeting your goals
To achieve success in your endeavors to learn and perform well in animation industry, it is crucial to set a schedule and meet your defined goals. At the starting level of your learning, achieving even smaller goals such as completing your craft within the scheduled time gives a boost to your learning process. This motivates you to stick to your daily schedule and learn every day.
  • Avoid any distractions
It is important to understand that any distraction from your learning and work is not right for your progress. So, while learning stay focused and try to avoid any distractions like television, emails and phone call.
  • Seek out for a mentor
To learn and gain knowledge in the field, find a mentor who can make a difference in your learning experience in your discipline. An experienced artists or animator can have much more to teach you than just the theoretical knowledge.

Animation is an exciting, rewarding and a highly liberating career path. Pursuing a career in animation is a fun, provided you remain focused, creative and skilled!

About the Author:
Swati Srivastava is an avid writer who has been lending her expertise to various job related websites. Her articles and blog posts offer an insight into the job opportunities in different sectors such as Animation Jobs, hotel management jobs and Engineering jobs.

Monday

The dos and don'ts of social media for businesses

If you want to promote your company and ensure that it gains online visibility then you can consider social media contests that are not only an effective medium but free as well. Similarly there are several other social media strategies that you can use to get more traffic, generate leads and sales while there are a few things that you have to avoid to get maximum benefits.

Have a plan
If you have a goal in life then you need to have a plan so that you can work towards it. The same applies for social media strategies for small businesses. Of course there are some merits to random acts of kindness, but remember that random is not a word that you can associate with social media today.

Set boundaries
It’s important to have your rules set in place; from age limits to location specifications, entry period etc. You should also make this information easily visible to your contestants so that they won’t miss it. This will make sure that there is no misunderstanding and confusion throughout the contest. That’s the reason setting boundaries is critical right at the onset and you should also make it a point to stick to the rules you have set.

Add value
Social media should be looked at as an additional medium of communication. It’s important to add value to your content so that you make a mark with your clients, users and fans alike. If you are trying to cater to the fans then think of ways and content that will make them sit up and take notice. Once that’s done your users will keep checking on things to see what else you have to say. Bear in mind that your social media pages are not to express your personal interests but should be tailor made for your customers.

Stay authentic
If you want to maintain your business identity and make your mark then it’s important to stay authentic at all times. Let your online presence express your true beliefs. It often gets tricky but think of it from your audiences’ point of view. Once they find you they need to know what they should expect. That’s why authenticity and consistency is the key.

Build your network
The big idea of social media is to set up a network with your audience. It can be a grave mistake to set up a Twitter or Facebook page, add some press releases and forget all about it. The good thing about social media is that you have access to your present and potential customers. Make the most out of it by starting forums and groups with a community manager who constantly interacts with them. You are also well served by following industry experts and joining groups with common interests.

Ask questions
Do you want to get hundreds of comments on your posts? Then there’s only one way to go about it; ask them direct questions. Keep the questions relevant, simple and conversational. Don’t make them about your own opinions and use visual imagery wherever you can so that users will pay attention and want to engage.

Avoid multiple profiles
It can get very tricky to manage multiple profiles, no matter how hard you try. But it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing philosophy where you live out your life on social media. However if you have chosen to be on a particular platform then you should take the effort to understand security settings. It will help you keep tabs on things you want to post privately and publicly.

Avoid spamming
Spam is a put off, be it with emails or social media. Don’t overdo things because posting the same content over and over again can get you reported and your page runs the risk of being shut down. You can also turn your fan base away from you.

Negative feedback should be taken on the chin
If you are on social media there’s bound to be some kind of negative comments. It’s tempting to filter them out so that you protect your brand’s reputation. But that will not be taken kindly by consumers who like to know that all types of voices are heard. Hence it’s a good idea to listen to the negative comments rather than just deleting them. You can try and understand why you are getting this negative feedback in the first place and respond politely. It can actually help you address the issues people have and it will lend you credibility.

Use more than one network
If you have found a good article or piece of content, you can share it on different platforms you are on. It shouldn’t be exclusive to any particular medium. That’s the way it works with social media today. But you have to remember that the content shared on Facebook might have to be dressed up differently to be shared on LinkedIn. The tone of every network has to be kept in mind when doing that.

Don’t get into promotional overdrive
Brand accounts are followed because people like to build a relationship with them. They are looking for an experience with a brand and don’t want to be bombarded with advertising every given opportunity. Your content on social media cannot be just about your brand; it can include things from your site or other sites, which might have similar interests. It will be an interesting mix of things for your users.

Don’t hide behind your logo
This is the time to come out from the shadow of your logo, and share personalities behind the brand. Your users find it easier to relate to people behind the brand as they can relate to them and it builds invaluable trust too.

Don’t be robots; share your voice
You might be using social media to promote your brand but you will find that bringing in some personality into it will add to the success of your campaign. You can easily do it by offering your expertise on a relevant subject or just thanking them for re-tweets. You can also share some personal details and build a level of familiarity with users. Of course have an opinion, but try and stay a human voice rather than sounding like a robot

Author bio:

I am Ramya Raju a freelance web design writer with 8 yrs of extensive blogging experience on a variety of online publishing and social-media platforms. I generally write high-quality articles on travel, photography, SEO, Web design, English courses, and generic topics too. I’m also an extrovert with a passion for photography, anthropology and travelling to different countries to learn the culture and living of the local inhabitants. Website: http://www.colorcharacter.com/uk/services

Best Digital Marketing Strategies for 2014

In this contemporary world, internet use becomes more and more prevalent with each passing day. In recognizing this reality, many business owners are interested in learning what types of digital strategies they need to implement in order to accomplish all of their professional goals in 2014. While there are a variety of different internet marketing techniques that can help businesses experience continual growth and expansion, the following three can be particularly helpful:

1. App Development.

These days, more and more businesses are developing their own apps, and for good reason. Apps give businesses an opportunity to become an integral feature of their consumer's electronic device. With an app, business owners can provide customers with information regarding new products, sales, and any other data that is relevant to the goods and services it is attempting to advertise. If your business wants to excel in the world of app development during 2014, the key will likely be the implementationof a mobile app development strategy. These days, more people are purchasing mobile phones than personal computers, a fact which makes the development of mobile apps seem both practical and important.

2. Web Design.

Although web design has grown common and prevalent enough to now constitute a career, its relevance and importance has not yet grown old. In fact, web design may be more important now than in previous eras given the steady increase in internet use. In order to ensure that your business maintains an edge over its competitors in 2014, it is important that you pay attention to each component of your website. There are many, and some of them include your font, background, content, functionality, and use of widgets. Generally, it is a good idea for business owners to seek assistance from professional web designers when working on its site. Doing so can help ensure that you have an aesthetically appealing and functional site capable of catching and keeping the attention of prospective clients.

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

The use of effective search engine optimization techniques is one of the best digital strategies your business can use in 2014. Although broadly defined, search engine optimization is basically a process that involves the implementation of specific strategies that will help a website, blog, or video reach the top of the search engine results pages. There are a variety of SEO strategies your business can employ to accomplish this purpose, and some of them include the creation of great content, anchor text, internal linking, external linking, social media optimization (SMO), and online reputation management (ORM).

Conclusion

If your business is serious about expanding its online presence and sphere of influence in 2014, utilizing proven digital strategies will be the key to its success. By attending to the three techniques listed above, your business will likely witness the increased conversion rates and expanding customer base that you want. Good luck!

Friday

An Overview of Email Marketing for Startups

The United States sees countless new startups launch every day. Such new companies must contend with a wide variety of issues. Typically, a startup's handling of these issues directly affects its chances of success. Most of these companies operate online, and online startups must engage their customers. Engagement occurs through various marketing tactics, of which there are many. For the best results, startups need to utilize multiple options at their disposal without going over budget.


Effective Marketing Wins; Ineffective Marketing Dooms

A company that engages its customers effectively will see results. Otherwise, those that don't could fail to attract customers from the start. Ineffective marketing can doom even the best products and services online. Too many companies figure this fact out the hard way. Therefore, effective marketing is required, so startups need to utilize the best methods. They must walk the line between cost-effectiveness and great marketing, though. Finding the middle ground here isn't always easy.

Email Marketing Benefits For Brand New Startups

Without a doubt, startups need to use email marketing in order to target potential customers. Engaging customers through this method couldn't be any easier. A new company still needs email marketing tips to avoid making mistakes. However, the benefits of such marketing tactics speak for themselves. Emails cost pennies on the dollar to send, and thousands of emails can be sent at once. Potential customers are reachable around the world without requiring tons of time.

How does email marketing work?

Email marketing is commonly performed by utilizing mailing lists. These lists contain the email addresses of thousands of consumers and potential customers. Sometimes, companies acquire these lists from advertising services. They might even compile their own list from users that sign up for regular emails. Either way, a startup must know how to utilize these lists in order to succeed. The idea that mass-sending emails leads to success is a slightly misguided notion these days.

Quality Beats Quantity For Email Marketing Today

Startup companies need to send quality emails to potential customers to see results. A consumer won't respond well to an automatic message filled with advertisements. Likewise, they don't like being spammed with countless messages per month. A company needs to strategically craft these emails and send them out on occasion for maximum effectiveness. It doesn't make sense to customize each email for a recipient. Then again, emails should make customers feel like they were singled out.


Most companies find email marketing relatively simple and straightforward. Plus, these startups often see great success with this method. It's a low-cost, high-return investment that's proven useful time and time again. New companies should heed email marketing tips from the professionals to avoid issues. Like other tactics, there are wrong ways to handle this situation. No startup wants to purposefully doom itself before it can build a large customer base for its future success.