A Process You Can Follow to Become an Influencer in Your Industry

The term influencer is being tossed around a lot these days.

I would even classify it as one of the top 10 buzzwords of 2016.

Influencer marketing is quickly becoming one of the hottest and most effective strategies in existence.

In fact, “59 percent of marketers use influencer engagement campaigns for product launches and content creation.”

This technique gets results because businesses make $6.50 for every dollar invested in influencer marketing, according to a poll of marketing professionals conducted by Tomoson.

But what about when YOU’RE the influencer? You’re the one calling the shots.

Becoming an influencer in your industry can have immense benefits.

You can use your experience and credibility to sway the opinion of others, build trust, develop your brand, and so on.

But how exactly does one become an influencer?

While there’s no magic recipe and a lot of variables involved, I’ve found there is a distinct process you can follow.

It definitely takes time to achieve this status, but following the right steps should eventually elevate you to influencer status.

What is an Influencer?

First things first. What do I mean when I say influencer?

Influencer Analysis is dead on with their definition:

“An influencer is an individual who has above-average impact on a specific niche process. Influencers are normal people, who are often connected to key roles of media outlets, consumers groups, industry associations or community tribes.”

In other words, people recognize that you’re an expert (or at least highly knowledgeable) in your industry and that you’ve got a sizable following.

This might include a loyal legion of blog subscribers, social media followers, etc.

Keep in mind you don’t need to do it on the macro scale to be an influencer. You don’t have to be Taylor Swift or Jay Z.

In fact, there are countless micro-influencers who may not be recognized on the large scale but hold a lot of sway nonetheless.

Some people who come to mind include Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income and Tim Ferriss.

At the core of it all, influencers have authority, and their word is as good as gold.

People recognize the value they bring to the table and are genuinely interested in what they have to say.

I’ve found that the process of becoming an influencer has five key steps.

Step 1 – Focus on a niche

The first and most important step to becoming an influencer is to focus on what you’re passionate about.

You can’t be everything to everyone. To gain traction and be recognized as an authority figure, people need to link your name to a particular niche.

Take Darren Rowse of ProBlogger, for example.

He’s a blogger, podcaster, speaker, and author who specializes in one specific area: blogging.

His name is synonymous with blogging, and his website is one of the top resources for learning about blogging and how to become a better blogger.

Notice that he doesn’t talk about fashion, ice skating, or cooking. His core focus is on blogging. That’s it.

image02

While you don’t have to completely pigeonhole yourself, it’s important that you pick a particular niche and focus wholeheartedly on it.

You need to eat, sleep, and breathe your niche. This allows you to establish authority in a particular area.

Ideally, in time, people will recognize your expertise and take notice.

They’ll want to follow you on whatever outlets you use (e.g., a blog, Twitter, and/or industry publications) and be interested in what you have to say.

Step 2 – Share your knowledge

To make a name for yourself and establish a presence, you need to create plenty of industry-centric content.

This is vital because it’s a surefire way to prove that you know your stuff and demonstrate the value you bring.

Fortunately, this has never been easier to do than today.

With a ton of media outlets available, there’s no shortage of mediums to choose from.

A good old-fashioned blog is one of the best places to get started, and it provides you with a platform to develop your unique voice.

In fact, “86 percent of influencers also operate at least one blog.” And I feel that launching my own personal blog has been a contributing factor to getting to where I’m at today.

You’ll definitely want to be active on social media as well.

Ideally, you’ll create and maintain profiles on at least three different networks because this increases your reach and gives you the opportunity to establish a strong brand identity.

It’s also great because you can connect with other like-minded people in your industry.

Notice that Darren Rowse has a solid presence on multiple social networks:

image06

However, a blog and social media are just the tip of the iceberg.

There are countless other mediums you can use to demonstrate your knowledge and boost your “street cred.”

Some options include:

  • Podcasting
  • Creating webinars
  • Creating videos
  • Slideshows
  • Whitepapers
  • Infographics

I’m also a huge proponent of writing a book.

There’s something about authorship that can really skyrocket your credibility and make people take notice.

An e-book is nice, but a legitimate printed book is even better.

Just think about it.

If someone lands on your website and sees that you’ve published a book, they’ll probably take you a lot more seriously than they would have otherwise.

Your perceived value can quickly go through the roof this way.

image00

Legitness!

Finally, there’s guest-blogging.

While this strategy got some heat for awhile because of its association with potential Google penalties, it’s still incredibly effective, especially for establishing yourself as an influencer.

I attribute a lot of my success to the fact that I made it a point to be featured on publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Inc.

Guest-blogging is awesome because it kills two birds with one stone. Or six birds. Or more.

image01

First, you can reach a huge audience basically overnight.

Say the blog or publication you post on has 100,000 readers. You can get your content in front of a large-scale audience and tangibly demonstrate the industry knowledge and expertise you bring to the table.

Second, you can increase your perceived value dramatically. Being associated with other leaders and influencers in your industry elevates your brand equity significantly.

This way, you can piggyback on their success and use it to establish yourself as a viable influencer.

If you’re looking for some guidance on the guest-blogging process, I recommend checking out this post from Kissmetrics. It has some super helpful tips.

The bottom line here is that you’ll need to put forth plenty of effort, creating a lot of quality content and distributing it across a variety of mediums.

This is key for getting your name out there and getting the ball rolling.

Step 3 – Have an opinion

What’s one thing that all influencers have in common?

They have their own take on things. They have a voice. They have an opinion.

This is what makes them distinguishable from the masses and what gives them their swagger.

What they aren’t is vanilla or lukewarm on topics.

With 1,400 blog posts, 2,460,000 pieces of Facebook content, and 277,000 tweets posted each minute, there’s an immense amount of noise on the Internet.

In order to rise above it, you need to be an independent thinker.

Quite frankly, I think it’s better to be occasionally offensive or to go against the grain than to be 100% agreeable all the time.

Not that you should go out of your way to stir the pot, but it’s okay for your thoughts to deviate from the norm.

People are attracted to those who can think for themselves and have their own views on things.

Whatever industry you’re in, hold true to your values, and be sure to have your own opinion.

This is essential for eventually becoming an influencer.

Step 4 – Network, network, network

Once you’ve established yourself to some extent, you need to make an effort to connect with others.

I’ve found that one of the best ways to create leverage is to network with other influencers.

Or as Marketing Land puts it,

“To establish yourself as an influencer, you need to interact with influencers.”

But when you’re an up-and-comer and still working to establish yourself, you’re usually the one who will need to put in the legwork.

Seldom will the heavy hitters reach out to you (at least at first). That’s why you’ll need to be the one to reach out.

There are two main ways to do this.

One is to connect digitally, and the other is to connect in person.

The first option is usually done via interacting with prominent people on social media and commenting on their blog posts and other content they post.

The goal here is to start a conversation and gradually build rapport. This takes time and can’t be done overnight, so you need to be persistent about it.

For example, you might get in the habit of providing insightful comments at the end of an influencer’s blog posts that further the conversation.

After three or four times, it’s likely they’ll take notice of you, and this can open doors for the future.

But how do you know with whom to interact?

If you need some help deciding whom to target, I recommend using Buzzsumo.

The site has a section devoted to tracking down top influencers.

image03

Just click on “Influencers,” and type in the topic you’re interested in.

I’ll use “content marketing” as an example.

After entering this as a search term, I got a list of content that received a ridiculously high number of shares. Also listed are the people who wrote these pieces.

image05

This can be an effective way to find the people you should try to connect with.

The second option is to network in person.

Some ways to do this include:

  • attending industry tradeshows,
  • going to conferences/industry events, and
  • landing public speaking engagements.

Public speaking in particular can be a potent way to make connections because all eyes are on you, and you never know who could be in attendance—it could be a huge influencer who holds a lot of sway.

Step 5 – Engage your audience

Last but not least, you need to keep the conversation going.

Seldom do people want to follow someone who tries to be all high and mighty and acts as if they’re too good to interact with their followers.

They want to follow someone who’s real, accessible, and approachable.

That’s why you need to put in the effort to religiously respond to blog comments, reply to messages on social media, thank people for reading your content, etc.

Here’s an example of me responding to a comment on my blog:

image04

I would also recommend occasionally sharing outstanding content that members of your audience post on social media or commenting on their blogs as well.

That, right there, can be huge for boosting your brand equity and for forming super tight relationships.

The trick is to capitalize on the momentum you generate and to keep the ball rolling.

Conclusion

I’ll be honest. Becoming an influencer isn’t something that’s going to happen overnight.

It takes a lot of hard work, consistent effort, and persistence. Even after you become an influencer, you need to keep your foot on the gas pedal to maintain your status.

Although it’s not easy, it’s definitely worthwhile.

The great thing about it is that building influence has a snowball effect. While you may only have a minimal amount of influence when first starting out, this grows and grows over time.

After awhile, your influence can become immense without you having to put a lot of extra effort into it.

In other words, the first stages are the most difficult and time-consuming.

But after you establish yourself, you simply need to maintain your status, and the world becomes your proverbial oyster.

What specific things do you hope to achieve by becoming an influencer in your industry?

from Quick Sprout https://www.quicksprout.com/2016/09/26/a-process-you-can-follow-to-become-an-influencer-in-your-industry/
via My Media Pal

Filed under: Digital Marketing Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Online Strategy, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, SEO Strategy, SEO Tips

from SEO NYC https://mymediapal.wordpress.com/2016/09/26/a-process-you-can-follow-to-become-an-influencer-in-your-industry-2/
via My Media Pal New York

A Process You Can Follow to Become an Influencer in Your Industry

A Process You Can Follow to Become an Influencer in Your Industry

The term influencer is being tossed around a lot these days.

I would even classify it as one of the top 10 buzzwords of 2016.

Influencer marketing is quickly becoming one of the hottest and most effective strategies in existence.

In fact, “59 percent of marketers use influencer engagement campaigns for product launches and content creation.”

This technique gets results because businesses make $6.50 for every dollar invested in influencer marketing, according to a poll of marketing professionals conducted by Tomoson.

But what about when YOU’RE the influencer? You’re the one calling the shots.

Becoming an influencer in your industry can have immense benefits.

You can use your experience and credibility to sway the opinion of others, build trust, develop your brand, and so on.

But how exactly does one become an influencer?

While there’s no magic recipe and a lot of variables involved, I’ve found there is a distinct process you can follow.

It definitely takes time to achieve this status, but following the right steps should eventually elevate you to influencer status.

What is an Influencer?

First things first. What do I mean when I say influencer?

Influencer Analysis is dead on with their definition:

“An influencer is an individual who has above-average impact on a specific niche process. Influencers are normal people, who are often connected to key roles of media outlets, consumers groups, industry associations or community tribes.”

In other words, people recognize that you’re an expert (or at least highly knowledgeable) in your industry and that you’ve got a sizable following.

This might include a loyal legion of blog subscribers, social media followers, etc.

Keep in mind you don’t need to do it on the macro scale to be an influencer. You don’t have to be Taylor Swift or Jay Z.

In fact, there are countless micro-influencers who may not be recognized on the large scale but hold a lot of sway nonetheless.

Some people who come to mind include Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income and Tim Ferriss.

At the core of it all, influencers have authority, and their word is as good as gold.

People recognize the value they bring to the table and are genuinely interested in what they have to say.

I’ve found that the process of becoming an influencer has five key steps.

Step 1 – Focus on a niche

The first and most important step to becoming an influencer is to focus on what you’re passionate about.

You can’t be everything to everyone. To gain traction and be recognized as an authority figure, people need to link your name to a particular niche.

Take Darren Rowse of ProBlogger, for example.

He’s a blogger, podcaster, speaker, and author who specializes in one specific area: blogging.

His name is synonymous with blogging, and his website is one of the top resources for learning about blogging and how to become a better blogger.

Notice that he doesn’t talk about fashion, ice skating, or cooking. His core focus is on blogging. That’s it.

image02

While you don’t have to completely pigeonhole yourself, it’s important that you pick a particular niche and focus wholeheartedly on it.

You need to eat, sleep, and breathe your niche. This allows you to establish authority in a particular area.

Ideally, in time, people will recognize your expertise and take notice.

They’ll want to follow you on whatever outlets you use (e.g., a blog, Twitter, and/or industry publications) and be interested in what you have to say.

Step 2 – Share your knowledge

To make a name for yourself and establish a presence, you need to create plenty of industry-centric content.

This is vital because it’s a surefire way to prove that you know your stuff and demonstrate the value you bring.

Fortunately, this has never been easier to do than today.

With a ton of media outlets available, there’s no shortage of mediums to choose from.

A good old-fashioned blog is one of the best places to get started, and it provides you with a platform to develop your unique voice.

In fact, “86 percent of influencers also operate at least one blog.” And I feel that launching my own personal blog has been a contributing factor to getting to where I’m at today.

You’ll definitely want to be active on social media as well.

Ideally, you’ll create and maintain profiles on at least three different networks because this increases your reach and gives you the opportunity to establish a strong brand identity.

It’s also great because you can connect with other like-minded people in your industry.

Notice that Darren Rowse has a solid presence on multiple social networks:

image06

However, a blog and social media are just the tip of the iceberg.

There are countless other mediums you can use to demonstrate your knowledge and boost your “street cred.”

Some options include:

  • Podcasting
  • Creating webinars
  • Creating videos
  • Slideshows
  • Whitepapers
  • Infographics

I’m also a huge proponent of writing a book.

There’s something about authorship that can really skyrocket your credibility and make people take notice.

An e-book is nice, but a legitimate printed book is even better.

Just think about it.

If someone lands on your website and sees that you’ve published a book, they’ll probably take you a lot more seriously than they would have otherwise.

Your perceived value can quickly go through the roof this way.

image00

Legitness!

Finally, there’s guest-blogging.

While this strategy got some heat for awhile because of its association with potential Google penalties, it’s still incredibly effective, especially for establishing yourself as an influencer.

I attribute a lot of my success to the fact that I made it a point to be featured on publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Inc.

Guest-blogging is awesome because it kills two birds with one stone. Or six birds. Or more.

image01

First, you can reach a huge audience basically overnight.

Say the blog or publication you post on has 100,000 readers. You can get your content in front of a large-scale audience and tangibly demonstrate the industry knowledge and expertise you bring to the table.

Second, you can increase your perceived value dramatically. Being associated with other leaders and influencers in your industry elevates your brand equity significantly.

This way, you can piggyback on their success and use it to establish yourself as a viable influencer.

If you’re looking for some guidance on the guest-blogging process, I recommend checking out this post from Kissmetrics. It has some super helpful tips.

The bottom line here is that you’ll need to put forth plenty of effort, creating a lot of quality content and distributing it across a variety of mediums.

This is key for getting your name out there and getting the ball rolling.

Step 3 – Have an opinion

What’s one thing that all influencers have in common?

They have their own take on things. They have a voice. They have an opinion.

This is what makes them distinguishable from the masses and what gives them their swagger.

What they aren’t is vanilla or lukewarm on topics.

With 1,400 blog posts, 2,460,000 pieces of Facebook content, and 277,000 tweets posted each minute, there’s an immense amount of noise on the Internet.

In order to rise above it, you need to be an independent thinker.

Quite frankly, I think it’s better to be occasionally offensive or to go against the grain than to be 100% agreeable all the time.

Not that you should go out of your way to stir the pot, but it’s okay for your thoughts to deviate from the norm.

People are attracted to those who can think for themselves and have their own views on things.

Whatever industry you’re in, hold true to your values, and be sure to have your own opinion.

This is essential for eventually becoming an influencer.

Step 4 – Network, network, network

Once you’ve established yourself to some extent, you need to make an effort to connect with others.

I’ve found that one of the best ways to create leverage is to network with other influencers.

Or as Marketing Land puts it,

“To establish yourself as an influencer, you need to interact with influencers.”

But when you’re an up-and-comer and still working to establish yourself, you’re usually the one who will need to put in the legwork.

Seldom will the heavy hitters reach out to you (at least at first). That’s why you’ll need to be the one to reach out.

There are two main ways to do this.

One is to connect digitally, and the other is to connect in person.

The first option is usually done via interacting with prominent people on social media and commenting on their blog posts and other content they post.

The goal here is to start a conversation and gradually build rapport. This takes time and can’t be done overnight, so you need to be persistent about it.

For example, you might get in the habit of providing insightful comments at the end of an influencer’s blog posts that further the conversation.

After three or four times, it’s likely they’ll take notice of you, and this can open doors for the future.

But how do you know with whom to interact?

If you need some help deciding whom to target, I recommend using Buzzsumo.

The site has a section devoted to tracking down top influencers.

image03

Just click on “Influencers,” and type in the topic you’re interested in.

I’ll use “content marketing” as an example.

After entering this as a search term, I got a list of content that received a ridiculously high number of shares. Also listed are the people who wrote these pieces.

image05

This can be an effective way to find the people you should try to connect with.

The second option is to network in person.

Some ways to do this include:

  • attending industry tradeshows,
  • going to conferences/industry events, and
  • landing public speaking engagements.

Public speaking in particular can be a potent way to make connections because all eyes are on you, and you never know who could be in attendance—it could be a huge influencer who holds a lot of sway.

Step 5 – Engage your audience

Last but not least, you need to keep the conversation going.

Seldom do people want to follow someone who tries to be all high and mighty and acts as if they’re too good to interact with their followers.

They want to follow someone who’s real, accessible, and approachable.

That’s why you need to put in the effort to religiously respond to blog comments, reply to messages on social media, thank people for reading your content, etc.

Here’s an example of me responding to a comment on my blog:

image04

I would also recommend occasionally sharing outstanding content that members of your audience post on social media or commenting on their blogs as well.

That, right there, can be huge for boosting your brand equity and for forming super tight relationships.

The trick is to capitalize on the momentum you generate and to keep the ball rolling.

Conclusion

I’ll be honest. Becoming an influencer isn’t something that’s going to happen overnight.

It takes a lot of hard work, consistent effort, and persistence. Even after you become an influencer, you need to keep your foot on the gas pedal to maintain your status.

Although it’s not easy, it’s definitely worthwhile.

The great thing about it is that building influence has a snowball effect. While you may only have a minimal amount of influence when first starting out, this grows and grows over time.

After awhile, your influence can become immense without you having to put a lot of extra effort into it.

In other words, the first stages are the most difficult and time-consuming.

But after you establish yourself, you simply need to maintain your status, and the world becomes your proverbial oyster.

What specific things do you hope to achieve by becoming an influencer in your industry?

from Quick Sprout https://www.quicksprout.com/2016/09/26/a-process-you-can-follow-to-become-an-influencer-in-your-industry/
via My Media Pal

Filed under: Digital Marketing Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Online Strategy, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, SEO Strategy, SEO Tips

from SEO NYC https://mymediapal.wordpress.com/2016/09/26/a-process-you-can-follow-to-become-an-influencer-in-your-industry/
via My Media Pal New York

A Process You Can Follow to Become an Influencer in Your Industry

How Any Small Business Can Compete with the Big Boys Using SEO and Social Media

I get it.

I understand how brutal it can be—trying to market your small business in a world of billion-dollar businesses and multi-million dollar marketing budgets.

You have a limited budget, limited time, limited knowledge, and a limited arsenal of tactics that you can afford to implement.

But the big brands? They can do anything they want, hire as many people as they want, and unleash any tactic they want.

Today’s small businesses are forced to compete in an increasingly saturated marketplace.

The competition is fierce, and it has become incredibly difficult to rise above the noise.

Combine this with the massive disparity between a small business’s marketing budget and a much larger enterprise’s seemingly infinite resources, and it’s obvious that the cards are stacked against small businesses.

In fact, finding new customers is one of the top concerns of small business owners, and 66% claim this is the biggest issue they face.

How can small businesses tip the scales in their favor and go head to head with mega juggernauts?

It all boils down to two specific marketing strategies: SEO and social media.

When done correctly, these strategies can help any small business compete with the big boys.

I’ve been able to help small businesses do exactly that—upset the sumo-wrestler-size businesses in their niche.

It’s part of the glory of digital marketing. Anyone can compete. Anyone can succeed.

Even the little guy.

You just have to know how.

Leveling the playing field

The beautiful thing about these two mediums—SEO and social media—is that they are impartial. They show no favoritism.

Google doesn’t care what business is offering which product. It’s just looking to provide users with the best and most relevant results.

The same goes for social media.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a brand new startup bootstrapping its marketing or a well established company that’s been around for years.

You can still achieve significant exposure as long as you understand the process and how to reach your demographic effectively.

While it is true that there will be inherent difficulty outranking a behemoth like Amazon or Walmart on search engines and you’re unlikely to gain the same size of a social media following as a corporate titan, the right know-how definitely makes it possible for small businesses to gain traction.

It’s a matter of implementing the right techniques and having an understanding of the processes that are working at the moment.

Small businesses benefit the most from social media

A 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report came up with some interesting findings in terms of who benefited the most from social media.

According to their findings, 90% of respondents agreed social media was important to their businesses.

The interesting thing is that 67% of self-employed individuals and 66% of small business owners were more likely to strongly agree with this statement.

image05

In terms of the specific advantages, 88% of respondents said the top benefit was increased exposure for their businesses.

Second, at 72%, was increased traffic/subscribers.

image03

With roughly two-thirds of all small business owners claiming social media was important to their businesses, it’s clear that a well run campaign can have a significant impact.

You also have to take into account the possibility for going viral and seeing massive growth in an extremely short period of time.

If you really understand your audience and know how to connect with them on social media, you can not only gain exposure but also earn your audience’s loyalty and bring repeat business.

So in theory, a no-name startup can experience wide scale exposure overnight and get a flood of traffic along with off the chart sales.

Killing it at SEO

There’s no denying that search engines have forever changed the way we find information and the way businesses approach marketing.

To put some perspective on things, “Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.”

image00

Wow! That’s a lot.

But let’s be honest. Small businesses stand little to no chance of outranking colossal companies for broad search terms.

But when small businesses use smart tactics like long-tail keyword phrases, they have a realistic chance to outrank the big boys.

Here’s a very simple example.

I entered the keywords “razor blade” on Google—a very broad search term.

As you might expect, the top results were dominated by Amazon:

image07

Then I entered a more specific and much narrower search term, “best double edged razor blades.”

Here are the results:

image01

As you can see, much smaller companies are getting the top results, and Amazon is the very last entry on the first page.

Of course, the more specific, long-tail, keywords won’t get as many searches as the broad ones. But they can still generate a lot of quality organic traffic.

This allows small SEO-savvy businesses to consistently bring in a stream of leads that are ready to buy.

My hyper-simplistic example by no means demonstrates the full potential of SEO for small businesses. It simply proves that small businesses can in fact compete with their much larger counterparts.

Ideal for small marketing budgets

What’s the primary advantage large companies have over small ones? Money.

Of course, they have a plethora of other advantages like more brand equity, a formal marketing department, an HR department, etc.

But when you break it all down, big businesses can easily have hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars to funnel into their marketing campaigns each year.

On the other hand, small startups may be on a shoestring budget, and $50,000 annually may seem like a lot.

Fortunately, legitimate SEO and social media campaigns can be run without a lot of financial backing.

This is especially true when you do everything in-house.

Rather than hiring a high priced marketing agency, small businesses can cut back on their costs significantly by having staff members run their campaigns.

Instead of a financial investment, a time investment can bring about legitimate results.

The point I’m trying to make here is that SEO and social media are both cost-effective marketing channels and can be very affordable if you’re willing to put in the time.

In fact, “those who spend at least six hours per week are almost twice as likely to see leads generated as those who spend five or fewer hours.”

image04

While small companies probably won’t have the budget for expensive mediums like TV commercials or paying big-named influencers like Taylor Swift to promote their products, they can almost always afford SEO and social media.

And when they really know what they’re doing and stay up-to-date on cutting-edge techniques, there’s absolutely no reason why they can’t compete with the big boys.

How can I thrive on SEO and social media?

I’ll be totally upfront with you.

Seldom can you just launch an SEO or social media campaign and get instant results.

And quite frankly, it’s not as easy as it looks.

On paper, it might seem like you simply perform some rudimentary keyword research or post a cool article on your Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Then presto, an influx of traffic floods your site, and your product flies off the shelf.

But that’s just not how it works.

To truly reap the benefits of these marketing strategies, you need to develop an in-depth understanding of the process, go through trial and error, and have plenty of patience.

You also need to stay in the know of what’s going on and continually make adjustments as new trends unfold.

But nonetheless, you definitely can thrive as long as you “get it” and persevere.

The good thing is, there is an abundance of free resources online that will teach you everything you need to know.

Sites like Moz, HubSpot, Quick Sprout, Social Media Examiner, and Search Engine Journal are just a few that can guide your efforts.

So, let’s briefly examine some specific ways you can position your small business to compete with large competitors.

Effective SEO strategies

For starters, it pays to be niche-centric with your approach.

Ideally, your business will cater to a fairly narrow target audience.

Rather than trying to be everything to everyone, you’re usually better off focusing on a smaller demographic and being the company that’s best capable of meeting their unique needs.

This mainly revolves around using long-tail keywords rather than trying to rank for broad terms.

Let’s go back to my example about “razor blades” and “best double edged razor blades.”

While the former keyword phrase would be extremely difficult to rank for, the latter is a realistic possibility.

In fact, small businesses were able to rank for it and bring in a reasonable amount of traffic and leads.

It’s also important that you pursue link-building opportunities.

According to Moz, domain-level link features, such as quality of links, trust, domain-level PageRank, etc., were the number one influencing factor on Google algorithm in 2015.

image06

You can accelerate your SEO campaign exponentially by reaching out to and building relationships with influencers and top publications. If you’re able to get links from reputable sites, this can be the catalyst for a spike in your search rankings.

Some other strategies include:

  • Creating valuable content that’s based around user intent (e.g., answering common questions and addressing customer pain points)
  • Performing on-site optimization (e.g., incorporating keywords into your URL, headers, meta description, etc.)
  • Optimizing your site for mobile

Potent social media strategies

I love social media because it gives small businesses the opportunity to convey their identities and build highly personalized relationships with their audiences.

You can showcase your swagger and let consumers know why your company is worth doing business with.

It may sound a little cheesy, but I think the most important part of finding success on social media is to be yourself.

I, for example, am building my strategy with the specific goal of reaching MY customers and not worrying about the masses.

This coincides with Seth Godin’s concept of building a tribe (a community) around your brand.

Like the old saying goes, “Try to please everyone, and you’ll end up pleasing no one.”

Dollar Shave Club is a great example of a brand that embraces being itself.

Their off-kilter, slightly smart-ass marketing messages are unforgettable and definitely appeal to a certain segment of the population.

Saying things like, “Our blades are f**king great” is ballsy. But it’s hard to deny that this attitude has been a key contributor to their success.

image02

Another integral element of a well run social media campaign is to be constantly engaging your audience.

Whether it’s retweeting epic content relevant to your niche, responding to comments on your Facebook page, inviting others to connect on LinkedIn, or asking questions to ignite digital discussions, it’s important that you’re interacting.

In other words, be on the offense.

The great thing about social is that it can actually be used as an outlet for handling certain aspects of customer service.

People love giving their feedback via social channels, which gives you an opportunity to strengthen relationships and quickly fix escalating situations when the feedback happens to be negative.

It’s also essential that you’re using the right networks.

Each social network has its own demographic and appeals to a different segment of the population. You want to make sure you’re spending your time on the networks your core audience is using.

For example, if your target audience is primarily female, Pinterest would be one of your best bets because 81% of Pinterest users are female.

Some other strategies include the following:

  • Use a consistent tone and style to strengthen your brand identity
  • Be authentic
  • Provide genuinely useful and valuable content
  • Use plenty of images (people respond favorably to visuals)
  • Maintain a consistent presence (e.g., don’t go MIA for months on end)
  • Curate content as well as create your own
  • Use analytics to measure your results and make the necessary adjustments
  • Consider using tools like HootSuite and Buffer to automate some aspects of your marketing (e.g., scheduling posts ahead of time)

Conclusion

In my opinion, the current day and age is the most exciting ever for small business owners.

While in the past, smaller enterprises almost always had to play second fiddle to huge companies and “pick up the marketing scraps,” these days, it’s totally possible for them to compete and even thrive.

Even if you just recently launched a startup and have to watch every penny, you can still get ahead and create massive exposure for your brand.

By getting on board with SEO and social media and understanding the nuts and bolts of these mediums, you can gain traction in your industry and drive quality leads to your site.

Can you think of any other marketing strategies that level the playing field between small and large businesses?

from Quick Sprout https://www.quicksprout.com/2016/09/23/how-any-small-business-can-compete-with-the-big-boys-using-seo-and-social-media/
via My Media Pal

Filed under: Digital Marketing Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Online Strategy, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, SEO Strategy, SEO Tips

from SEO NYC https://mymediapal.wordpress.com/2016/09/23/how-any-small-business-can-compete-with-the-big-boys-using-seo-and-social-media/
via My Media Pal New York

How Any Small Business Can Compete with the Big Boys Using SEO and Social Media

Here’s How We’re Using Lean Startup Methodologies for Local SEO

Posted by dan_leibson

Product and project management is a critical part of managing any business based on SEO; it’s also something that doesn’t get discussed nearly as much as SEO in professional circles. For me, I care equally about how our internal process are working versus how our SEO services are performing, primarily because they can’t be separated.

If your internal processes suck, your products and services are likely going to be heavily burdened by that fact.

Conversely, great internal processes will likely be a huge boon to your business by enabling you to deliver on your SEO engagements.

Before we get too deep into that, you should know I am a big believer in Lean Startup methodologies.

So, if you want to model any part of our internal processes in your own businesses, I would highly recommend reading The Lean Startup as some light background reading while you ponder how to implement any of this stuff.

Background

So let’s talk about our Lean Startup process real fast before we go over the ideas that inspired it. We utilize a process called SCRUM that I’m sure many of you are familiar with (and many probably aren’t). The way we leverage SCRUM is two-fold:

  1. We have daily SCRUM meetings These are primarily about fostering a group dynamic in a remote working environment, creating a shared sense of accountability, and eliminating road blocks. Moving from weekly to daily SCRUMs was actually suggested by team members to help them prioritize; we haven’t looked back.
  2. Sprints – Sprints are basically “production units.” Every single task, whether it’s a citation audit, website audit, or a month of link building can be a sprint. Team members are limited in the amount of sprints they can have at one time to force prioritization. (This process is called Kanban.)

And, of course, we utilize a project management tool to help us with this. Having used lots of project management tools before (Trello, Basecamp, Podio, and JIRA, to name a few), I settled on a tool called LeanKit. I really love LeanKit for its robust feature set and customization options. It’s also really affordable. So, if you are considering moving to a lean/agile system or are unhappy with your current project management software, I totally recommend giving LeanKit a try.

There are a few some more things we do related to project management, but I will get to those in a second.

How the Lean Startup can help

For those of you unfamiliar with “lean startup” methodologies, the most important thing to know (in regards to our process) is “Validated Learning,” which is basically a way to iterate on your products and services based on data and insights gained in a production environment.

By now, you’re probably wondering, “Dan, what does this have to do with running SEO operations?

Good question!

In order to make sure that we are constantly improving our service offerings, we set up everything in a way that allows for it to be measured.

That means we can internally measure the success of basically everything we do regardless of final client deliverable. That allows us to have regular post-mortems where we discuss both the efficacy and efficiency of a process.

Let me share an example: We had a client engagement recently where we were really struggling with the citation audits (which is the build part of validated learning). It was a really complicated situation, so the struggle was no surprise. However, since we track how many citations get tracked across citation audits/cleanups as well as scope how long we expect individual audits/cleanups to take, we knew exactly where things were going wrong. (This is the “measure” part of validated learning). During our post-mortem for this sprint, we talked about these breakdowns in a meaningful way. As a result, we were able to surface two things to incorporate back into our process, which would prevent the same issue from happening again in a similar situation. (And this is the “learning” in validated learning).

There is no rocket science in any of this. It’s just about being mindful of how you build and implement your processes so that you can leverage them for success instead of having them be an albatross around your neck. As a result, we are constantly improving the way we perform Local SEO, which to me is the true measure of success.

What can you do right now?

Obviously, it’s not feasible to overhaul you entire project management and operational system overnight. That doesn’t mean there isn’t stuff you can do right now as you plan how to go lean/agile. Here are some quick wins that you can implement right away:

57ceff5cd76036.95151789.jpg

  • Install The Five Whys process – This is a process of question-asking designed to get to the root cause of a problem/failure. When you are trying to iterate fast to improve/learn, then surfacing root causes of problems is critical. That is why many consider the 5 Whys the most important tactic of all in lean/agile methodology .
  • Adopt internal kick-offs – This is in addition to kick-off calls with clients. I know what your thinking: “Ugh, more meetings.” But seriously, this is a meeting that can save you lots of headache in the future. An internal kick-off allows team members to discuss potential challenges before they happen. When everyone in the project is on the same page in regards to potential roadblocks, troubles are much easier to navigate.
  • Start using post-mortems – Seriously, hold post-mortems for all your projects. It may sound like a daunting process, but #4 in this post shows just how easy it can be. Create a questionnaire for team members, have the meeting, and start trying to figure out what went right and what went wrong. We have primarily talked about what went wrong. However, post-mortems are a perfect opportunity to also discuss what went right and make sure team members are recognized in front of their peers for solid work. What’s more, it lets you talk about how to make sure those things that went right can be incorporated into your processes in the future.

Preserve the good, eject the bad, rinse, and repeat.

Additional resources:

What are your thoughts on using the Lean Startups methodologies to enhance our SEO-related experiences? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

from Moz User Generated Blog https://moz.com/ugc/heres-how-were-using-lean-startup-methodologies-for-local-seo
via My Media Pal

Filed under: Digital Marketing Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Online Strategy, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, SEO Strategy, SEO Tips

from SEO NYC https://mymediapal.wordpress.com/2016/09/23/heres-how-were-using-lean-startup-methodologies-for-local-seo/
via My Media Pal New York

Here’s How We’re Using Lean Startup Methodologies for Local SEO

Three Ideas for Amping up Your Brand’s Social Media Presence

Posted by JessicaDavis35

Reach and visibility are of absolute importance in today’s social media scenario. Unless your extend your reach to as large an audience as you possibly can, the goals you may have set of brand building, social media, engagement ,or sales conversions will result in reduced impact.

Why?

Over 2,000,000 blogs are published each day; about 350,000 tweets are sent out every minute.

To get noticed through that density, your content has not only got to be excellent but also has to be amplified. The following are three simple but effective ideas that you can use to amp up your social media presence.

1. There’s strength in your numbers

One of the simplest ways to amplify your content is to request your employees share it on their social media accounts.

The best brand advocates are people who believe in the products they promote. The best brand advocates are also “people like me.”

Studies show that people trust people they know more than they do advertisements or other sources.

If you have 1,000 employees, and your employees have an average of 1,000 connections on social, encouraging them to share brand communication will create many thousands of views for you on social.

gVODJlV.jpg

That’s instantly amplified reach. But of course, nothing is immediate with social media management. There’s some amount of structuring and perseverance involved in getting you to where you want to be.

If you consider applying employee advocacy to your organization, the first thing you’ll need is a plan.

You’ll also need answers to these questions:

1. Why should your employees share branded content on their accounts? What’s in it for them?

2. How will you train them to share the best way possible for your brand?

3. What goals will you set for your employee advocacy program?

4. How will you measure results?

5. How will you build a self-sufficient and smoothly functioning program that demands less effort on your part?

Implementing employee advocacy

There are cool employee advocacy platforms like DrumUp that help you manage and drive the program. These apps have built-in gamification leaderboards to encourage participation, common content streams accessible to employees that you invite, and in-app analytics dashboards to help you measure results.

A good employee advocacy platform will allow you to provide your employees with content recommendations for social media posting; as well as monitor their performance and the performance of their shares on social media. Managing the entire program on a single platform will make the process a lot easier for you.

Before launching the program, ensure that your employees are well-informed about the concept and are trained to use the employee advocacy platform that you pick to the best effect.

You could even delegate the training to your in-house social media marketing and tech teams, and use it as an opportunity for your employees to interact with each other and exchange knowledge.

The potential benefits of implementing a good employee advocacy program is immense. To make the most of it, make sure that you have documented goals and metrics; and have a system in place to continually monitor and optimize your progress.

Sbay9WE.jpg

To ensure your program runs smoothly, it’s also good to have representatives among your employees at various levels of the organization. Pick a person who’s a team player and gives out positive vibes, which is what you need to be reflected in your employee advocacy program.

2. Serve it while it’s hot

Creating unique content is not a requirement for generating social media engagement. In fact, any idea that you can envision has probably already been implemented in some part of the world. Providing your audience with the latest high-quality content that you curate for them has many benefits.

Benefits of good content curation

1. Positions you as a go-to resource in your audience’s mind

2. Helps you stay on top of developments in your industry

3. Lets you build relationships with the people whose content you curate

4. Helps you manage social media marketing with less effort

The idea is to give the audience in your niche everything they could ask for on your social media pages so that they don’t have to look for it elsewhere.

How to increase social media engagement with content curation

Step 1: Share what your audience is seeking in a timely fashion.

To understand what your audience wants, or what your industry’s audience is reading or talking about on social, you could use a good social listening app to monitor the playing field.

Real-time monitoring apps like Social Mention allow you to eavesdrop on what people are saying about your brand, industry or any topic across the internet. Alternatively, you could also set up notifications for any keyword on Google Alerts. Also, you can search for FAQs in your vertical on hubs like Quora.

Scv3EFF.png

Step 2: When you identify a trend, something that your audience is looking for or what they seem to like or dislike, document all your findings.

Step 3: Once you have them down, create a list of topics that you could discuss. For instance, if you’re a fashion e-commerce platform, you could cover fashion trends, accessories, great looks, celebrity inspired looks, etc.

Step 4: After creating your content bucket, make a list of top notch content sources to follow. This step could be simplified by employing a content curation app for the job.

yPeH60V.jpg

Step 5: Consider the content formats that best suit your industry. You could curate blogs, quotes, infographics, graphs, Gifs, videos and more. Using multiple content formats helps you keep your pages versatile and also capture a larger audience.

Step 6: The substance in your content also matters. Make sure each of your shares has valuable takeaways – actionable tips, knowledge, humor, inspiration are some great takeaways.

Step 7: Once you’ve made a list of topics, formats, and takeaways, the next step is to create a content calendar.

Calendar apps like Google’s calendar let you mark dates for events and set reminders for them. So all you have to do is sit on one day every month and slot a theme for each day in a cycle.

For example, a fashion e-commerce platform’s content curation calendar could be based on a list of seven themes, one for each day of the week. It could look something like this: fashion accessories, great everyday looks, celeb-inspired looks, cutting-edge trends, wearable trends, special occasion looks, and classic looks.

tRYarwG.png

There’s a certain appeal to fresh, newsy content; so, while sharing, you’d do well to share only the latest must-read stuff for each item in your content bucket.

Once your content calendar is ready, the process won’t require much of your attention on a daily basis. If you’ve followed all seven steps of the process I’ve just explained, you will be set to generate substantial engagement on your social media pages.

3. Be visual

Most of us have been programmed to communicate primarily with our words — with language. However, text is mankind’s invention. The fact is, we were made by the laws of nature to communicate and perceive signals visually.

The human brain processes images 60,000 times quicker than it does text. Internally, over 90% of all communication sent to the brain is visual. This is why visual aids are very powerful in learning processes.

With the rising volumes of content on social, you need more than just words to captivate someone. You need content that communicates emotions.

If you really want your message to stay with your audience, team your wordplay with stunning images. There are myriad ways to say something visually.

For instance, consider the example I used in the beginning of this blog post to illustrate the amplification potential of an employee advocacy program. You could visually communicate that with a graph, cartoon, infographic, or even a short video.

pM1a56Q.jpg

If image creation is a difficult task for you, then you may want to experiment with using free or low-cost apps that simplify the process. Social image design apps like Canva are based on simple drag-and-drop modules and even stock pre-designed template selections sized perfectly for the most popular social platforms.

5KqdkOX.png

You don’t have to be a designer to create great images. You can glean ideas from images you find in Google image search, and combine them to form new concepts that you incorporate into the brand new images you create.

Graphic apps like Piktochart are great for infographics. All you have to do to visually explain your concept is pick from pre-existing templates, fonts, and graphs.
LQZzXxR.png

Five areas where visuals matter:

1. Display and cover pictures
2. Social media posts
3. Blog cover pictures
4. On the body of blog posts
5. Event posters

Treat each of these fields as assets for visual canvassing. If you focus your effort on creating captivating visuals for them, you will see an increase in social media engagement.

There are several ways in which you can approach the task of giving your brand a better presence on social media. But harnessing your employees’ voices, providing all-inclusive, actionable content on your pages, and sprucing up your social media accounts with excellent visuals are three fundamental ideas that can help you make noticeable performance improvements.

Remember, you know your brand best. So, take these ideas, but use your knowledge to make them your own when implementing them.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

from Moz User Generated Blog https://moz.com/ugc/three-ideas-for-amping-up-your-brands-social-media-presence
via My Media Pal

Filed under: Digital Marketing Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Online Strategy, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, SEO Strategy, SEO Tips

from SEO NYC https://mymediapal.wordpress.com/2016/09/21/three-ideas-for-amping-up-your-brands-social-media-presence-2/
via My Media Pal New York

Three Ideas for Amping up Your Brand’s Social Media Presence

Three Ideas for Amping up Your Brand’s Social Media Presence

Posted by JessicaDavis35

Reach and visibility are of absolute importance in today’s social media scenario. Unless your extend your reach to as large an audience as you possibly can, the goals you may have set of brand building, social media, engagement ,or sales conversions will result in reduced impact.

Why?

Over 2,000,000 blogs are published each day; about 350,000 tweets are sent out every minute.

To get noticed through that density, your content has not only got to be excellent but also has to be amplified. The following are three simple but effective ideas that you can use to amp up your social media presence.

1. There’s strength in your numbers

One of the simplest ways to amplify your content is to request your employees share it on their social media accounts.

The best brand advocates are people who believe in the products they promote. The best brand advocates are also “people like me.”

Studies show that people trust people they know more than they do advertisements or other sources.

If you have 1,000 employees, and your employees have an average of 1,000 connections on social, encouraging them to share brand communication will create many thousands of views for you on social.

gVODJlV.jpg

That’s instantly amplified reach. But of course, nothing is immediate with social media management. There’s some amount of structuring and perseverance involved in getting you to where you want to be.

If you consider applying employee advocacy to your organization, the first thing you’ll need is a plan.

You’ll also need answers to these questions:

1. Why should your employees share branded content on their accounts? What’s in it for them?

2. How will you train them to share the best way possible for your brand?

3. What goals will you set for your employee advocacy program?

4. How will you measure results?

5. How will you build a self-sufficient and smoothly functioning program that demands less effort on your part?

Implementing employee advocacy

There are cool employee advocacy platforms like DrumUp that help you manage and drive the program. These apps have built-in gamification leaderboards to encourage participation, common content streams accessible to employees that you invite, and in-app analytics dashboards to help you measure results.

A good employee advocacy platform will allow you to provide your employees with content recommendations for social media posting; as well as monitor their performance and the performance of their shares on social media. Managing the entire program on a single platform will make the process a lot easier for you.

Before launching the program, ensure that your employees are well-informed about the concept and are trained to use the employee advocacy platform that you pick to the best effect.

You could even delegate the training to your in-house social media marketing and tech teams, and use it as an opportunity for your employees to interact with each other and exchange knowledge.

The potential benefits of implementing a good employee advocacy program is immense. To make the most of it, make sure that you have documented goals and metrics; and have a system in place to continually monitor and optimize your progress.

Sbay9WE.jpg

To ensure your program runs smoothly, it’s also good to have representatives among your employees at various levels of the organization. Pick a person who’s a team player and gives out positive vibes, which is what you need to be reflected in your employee advocacy program.

2. Serve it while it’s hot

Creating unique content is not a requirement for generating social media engagement. In fact, any idea that you can envision has probably already been implemented in some part of the world. Providing your audience with the latest high-quality content that you curate for them has many benefits.

Benefits of good content curation

1. Positions you as a go-to resource in your audience’s mind

2. Helps you stay on top of developments in your industry

3. Lets you build relationships with the people whose content you curate

4. Helps you manage social media marketing with less effort

The idea is to give the audience in your niche everything they could ask for on your social media pages so that they don’t have to look for it elsewhere.

How to increase social media engagement with content curation

Step 1: Share what your audience is seeking in a timely fashion.

To understand what your audience wants, or what your industry’s audience is reading or talking about on social, you could use a good social listening app to monitor the playing field.

Real-time monitoring apps like Social Mention allow you to eavesdrop on what people are saying about your brand, industry or any topic across the internet. Alternatively, you could also set up notifications for any keyword on Google Alerts. Also, you can search for FAQs in your vertical on hubs like Quora.

Scv3EFF.png

Step 2: When you identify a trend, something that your audience is looking for or what they seem to like or dislike, document all your findings.

Step 3: Once you have them down, create a list of topics that you could discuss. For instance, if you’re a fashion e-commerce platform, you could cover fashion trends, accessories, great looks, celebrity inspired looks, etc.

Step 4: After creating your content bucket, make a list of top notch content sources to follow. This step could be simplified by employing a content curation app for the job.

yPeH60V.jpg

Step 5: Consider the content formats that best suit your industry. You could curate blogs, quotes, infographics, graphs, Gifs, videos and more. Using multiple content formats helps you keep your pages versatile and also capture a larger audience.

Step 6: The substance in your content also matters. Make sure each of your shares has valuable takeaways – actionable tips, knowledge, humor, inspiration are some great takeaways.

Step 7: Once you’ve made a list of topics, formats, and takeaways, the next step is to create a content calendar.

Calendar apps like Google’s calendar let you mark dates for events and set reminders for them. So all you have to do is sit on one day every month and slot a theme for each day in a cycle.

For example, a fashion e-commerce platform’s content curation calendar could be based on a list of seven themes, one for each day of the week. It could look something like this: fashion accessories, great everyday looks, celeb-inspired looks, cutting-edge trends, wearable trends, special occasion looks, and classic looks.

tRYarwG.png

There’s a certain appeal to fresh, newsy content; so, while sharing, you’d do well to share only the latest must-read stuff for each item in your content bucket.

Once your content calendar is ready, the process won’t require much of your attention on a daily basis. If you’ve followed all seven steps of the process I’ve just explained, you will be set to generate substantial engagement on your social media pages.

3. Be visual

Most of us have been programmed to communicate primarily with our words — with language. However, text is mankind’s invention. The fact is, we were made by the laws of nature to communicate and perceive signals visually.

The human brain processes images 60,000 times quicker than it does text. Internally, over 90% of all communication sent to the brain is visual. This is why visual aids are very powerful in learning processes.

With the rising volumes of content on social, you need more than just words to captivate someone. You need content that communicates emotions.

If you really want your message to stay with your audience, team your wordplay with stunning images. There are myriad ways to say something visually.

For instance, consider the example I used in the beginning of this blog post to illustrate the amplification potential of an employee advocacy program. You could visually communicate that with a graph, cartoon, infographic, or even a short video.

pM1a56Q.jpg

If image creation is a difficult task for you, then you may want to experiment with using free or low-cost apps that simplify the process. Social image design apps like Canva are based on simple drag-and-drop modules and even stock pre-designed template selections sized perfectly for the most popular social platforms.

5KqdkOX.png

You don’t have to be a designer to create great images. You can glean ideas from images you find in Google image search, and combine them to form new concepts that you incorporate into the brand new images you create.

Graphic apps like Piktochart are great for infographics. All you have to do to visually explain your concept is pick from pre-existing templates, fonts, and graphs.
LQZzXxR.png

Five areas where visuals matter:

1. Display and cover pictures
2. Social media posts
3. Blog cover pictures
4. On the body of blog posts
5. Event posters

Treat each of these fields as assets for visual canvassing. If you focus your effort on creating captivating visuals for them, you will see an increase in social media engagement.

There are several ways in which you can approach the task of giving your brand a better presence on social media. But harnessing your employees’ voices, providing all-inclusive, actionable content on your pages, and sprucing up your social media accounts with excellent visuals are three fundamental ideas that can help you make noticeable performance improvements.

Remember, you know your brand best. So, take these ideas, but use your knowledge to make them your own when implementing them.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

from Moz User Generated Blog https://moz.com/ugc/three-ideas-for-amping-up-your-brands-social-media-presence
via My Media Pal

Filed under: Digital Marketing Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Online Strategy, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, SEO Strategy, SEO Tips

from SEO NYC https://mymediapal.wordpress.com/2016/09/21/three-ideas-for-amping-up-your-brands-social-media-presence/
via My Media Pal New York

Three Ideas for Amping up Your Brand’s Social Media Presence

The Only Checklist You Need for Launching Your Startup’s Website

checklist

Ah, website launches.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they are something every business needs to do.

I’ve been through a ton of website launches, so it’s kind of a ho-hum process now.

But even if I go into a website launch with a nonchalant attitude, something usually happens—something unexpected.

  • In one website launch, the webmaster forgot to turn off the disallow on the robots.txt
  • In another website redesign, the developers forgot to add the subdomain to 200k pages.
  • In another website redesign, the developers accidentally used the wrong footer for all 1.1m pages.

I could go on and on.

Here’s the thing—website launches are important. And more often than not, there’s something wonky that happens. These wonky surprises can destroy your SEO and cause your entire website to flounder from the start.

Even if you’re fairly experienced with the process and have built multiple sites, launching a new website can still be overwhelming and stressful.

There are a lot of components involved in a website launch, and there’s a lot of potential for hiccups along the way.

Overlooking even a few subtle elements can have disastrous consequences.

What if there are blatant typos? Or what if your visitors get the dreaded “page not found” error?

It’s going to be a poor reflection on your company and could send would-be customers running.

The bottom line is that no one is perfect, and even the top professionals can overlook a few details.

What I’ve learned from launching multiple sites is that it’s crucial to follow a formula that forces me to leave no stone unturned. This way I can cover myself and ensure that the entire process goes off without a hitch.

The best way to accomplish this is to follow a checklist and work your way through it step by step.

Here is the only checklist you need for launching your startup’s website.

Layout

First things first. You’ll want to cover the basics in terms of web design to ensure your site looks great and is easily navigable.

Visitors should have a seamless experience without needing to think too much about how to get where they need to go.

Here are things to attend to at this stage:

  • Your homepage includes your business’s logo.
  • The logo is appealing and professional.
  • Visitors should be aware of the product or service you’re selling upon landing on your site.
  • Images are optimally positioned.
  • Images can be viewed on mobile devices.

Compatibility

Today’s Internet users access websites from a variety of devices and browsers.

In particular, the use of mobile devices has become increasingly common: 80% of people are using smartphones, and 47% are using tablets.

image05

That’s why it’s crucial to avoid fundamental glitches that can create compatibility issues.

Make sure that:

  • your site is compatible with all major browsers, including Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, etc.
  • your site is fully optimized for mobile users. There are multiple ways to create a mobile-friendly site, but responsive web design (RWD) is regarded as one of the most effective techniques.
  • you’ve optimized cascading style sheets (CSS) across your site.
  • all coding has been done correctly, and there are no glitches that can ruin the user experience.

Functionality

It should go without saying, but users expect a fluid experience.

Any glitches or malfunctions can increase your bounce rate, and it’ll be much more difficult to nurture leads.

With 55% of visitors spending fewer than 15 seconds on a website, you need to cover all the bases and optimize your site’s functionality to keep your visitors browsing and minimize your bounce rate.

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Make sure that:

  • You’ve corrected any issues that could potentially slow down your site’s load time.
  • There are no broken links.
  • There are no 404 redirects.
  • All internal links point to the intended page.
  • All external links are working correctly and point to authoritative, relevant sites.
  • You’re not linking to resources that offer no value.
  • Links open in a new tab. (It can be annoying for users when they lose their place because a separate tab isn’t opened after they click on a link).
  • You’ve set up a favicon icon so that users can easily identify your site when they bookmark it. (This is crucial for proper branding).
  • You’ve optimized navigation by adding pages either to the top or to the sidebar so that users can quickly find what they’re looking for.
  • You’ve added a search bar to expedite the search.
  • Your site isn’t clogged with annoying ads or popups.
  • Popups can be closed with ease.

Site speed

Time is of the essence when your website is loading.

The longer it takes your site to load, the higher your abandonment rate will be. If it takes longer than three seconds to load, you’ve already lost 40% of your visitors.

That’s no good.

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Here are just a few other eye-opening stats. A one-second delay in page load time yields:

  • 11% fewer page views
  • A 16% decrease in customer satisfaction
  • A 7% loss in conversions

That’s why I can’t stress enough just how crucial it is to check the speed of your site and do whatever it takes to optimize it. Ideally, you’ll be able to get your loading time under three seconds.

Here are some specific things to look into:

  • You’ve checked the speed of your website using the Pingdom Website Speed Test. This will let you know the precise speed and provide you with some performance insights to indicate problem areas.
  • You’re using high-quality servers capable of keeping up with heavy website traffic at times.
  • You’ve enabled browser caching.
  • You’re not using an excessive number of images, videos, or other media that could potentially slow down your site.
  • You’re not going overboard on plugins. (These can make your site sluggish).
  • You’ve ensured that above-the-fold content loads quickly. (This should be a priority over below-the-fold because it doesn’t matter all that much if below-the-fold content takes a few seconds longer).

This should cover the basics, but you can get a lot more ideas about speeding up your website by checking out this resource.

Content

It’s been said time and time again—content is king.

Content is arguably the lifeblood of your website. Any lack of professionalism or mediocre quality will hurt you in the long run.

Providing A+ content is important not only for maximizing average session duration but also for your overall conversion rate.

That’s why you need to be borderline obsessive about dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s in this department.

Make sure that:

  • You’ve used a light background with dark fonts to make text easily readable.
  • You’ve thoroughly proofread every landing page, blog post, etc.
  • You’ve corrected every single spelling and grammatical error.
  • You’ve created engaging and captivating titles.
  • You’ve broken up content into digestible chunks by incorporating H1s, H2s, H3s, and bullet points.
  • You haven’t used massive blocks of text that are ugly and difficult to read.
  • You’ve given proper attribution to external sources you’ve cited.
  • You have plenty of visuals to make your content appealing to the eye. (46% of marketers say photography is critical to their current marketing and storytelling strategies).

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  • Images are high-definition and professional in appearance.
  • You’re not infringing upon any copyrights with your images.
  • Images are correctly formatted and can be viewed on any device.
  • You’ve added videos where appropriate.
  • Videos are correctly formatted and viewable on any device.
  • Downloadable content, such as whitepapers, e-books and slideshows, are working properly.
  • You’ve added your business’s contact information in a visible area.
  • Visitors can find answers to FAQs.
  • Pricing information can be easily found.
  • There are calls to action in relevant locations.
  • You’ve added social share buttons.
  • You’ve implemented SEO

Understanding and implementing the fundamentals of on-site SEO is incredibly important.

This is your ticket to getting found in search engines and driving a consistent stream of organic traffic to your site.

When it comes to SEO, a lot of elements need to be covered.

  • You’ve created an XML sitemap.
  • You’ve performed keyword research to identify which keyword phrases to target in your content.
  • You have chosen longtail keywords so that you have a legitimate chance of outranking the competition.

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  • You’ve peppered those keywords throughout your content but without keyword stuffing.
  • You’ve incorporated targeted keywords into your URL.
  • You’ve included targeted keywords in your meta description, titles, and headers.
  • You’ve added relevant tags to your content.
  • Alt tags have been added to images.
  • Tags have been added to videos.
  • URLs are brief and user-friendly. (They’re not long and ugly.)
  • Meta descriptions are a maximum of 160 characters. This ensures they’re not truncated in search results.
  • Meta descriptions are engaging and summarize what your content is all about.
  • You’ve set up internal and external links.
  • You’ve practiced hyperlink optimization where links don’t contain your targeted keywords. (Targeted keywords in hyperlinks can result in penalties from Google).

Analytics

Right from the get-go, you need to be diligent about keeping tabs on your traffic.

You want to be able to analyze visitor behavior, ways you are acquiring your traffic, length of time visitors are staying on your site, your bounce rate, and so on.

Doing so is essential for spotting patterns and trends and ultimately making key adjustments to optimize conversions.

That’s why I recommend setting up some type of analytics platform when launching your startup’s website.

I think that Google Analytics is sufficient for generating the basic data needed for most startups, especially during the initial stages.

However, you may also want to utilize a more comprehensive platform such as Crazy Egg so that you can visually see where your visitors are clicking. One of my companies, Kissmetrics, is another helpful tool for better interpreting your data.

Here are some essential analytics-related steps to cover:

  • You’ve properly inserted your analytics code into your website.
  • You’ve checked to make sure that it’s set up correctly with no formatting/coding issues.
  • You’ve set up conversion goals.
  • You’ve set up e-commerce tracking.
  • You’ve set up event tracking.
  • You’ve linked Google Analytics and AdWords if applicable.

Security

Did you know that “the number of U.S. data breaches tracked in 2015 totaled 781?”

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, “this represents the second highest year on record since the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) began tracking breaches in 2005.”

Website security is no joke, especially for companies in the business sector, health/medical industry, and banking/financial/credit sector because these industries have reported the highest number of data breaches on average.

According to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, the catalyst for the majority of cyber attacks was hacking.

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It’s important to remember that no one is completely exempt from an attack. If it can happen to big name companies like Sony and Target, it can definitely happen to a small startup.

I’m not trying to freak you out, but website security has never been more essential than today.

If your data is ever compromised, it can quickly open a can of worms. It can tarnish your reputation, lead to costly downtime, and even result in costly penalties from the government.

Some specific points you’ll want to check off include the following:

  • You’re running your site on a secure host.
  • You have a business continuity plan in the event of system downtime.
  • You’ve made sure that your website is properly backed up in case of data loss.
  • Your site utilizes a secure login system.
  • All passwords are stored in a secure location.
  • You’ve made it so that users are denied entry after a certain number of login attempts. You can use a WordPress plugin like Login LockDown for this.
  • You haven’t shared login information with unwanted third parties.
  • You’ve instructed team members to not share sensitive information through unprotected channels such as unencrypted email.
  • Login pages are fully encrypted.
  • You’ve protected your site against Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. This is a common type of attack that hackers use. Although it’s nearly impossible to prevent these types of attacks altogether, utilizing a Cloud mitigation provider can help dramatically.
  • You’ve implemented a secure payment processing system that will protect financial information of your customers.
  • You’ve created a plan to continually test your website security.

Conclusion

This checklist should serve as a way to foolproof the process of launching your startup’s website. By having a systematized sequence of steps to follow, you’ll know for sure you’re not missing any important details.

Once it’s actually time to launch, you can rest easy, knowing your visitors will have the best experience possible.

Your site will load quickly and have plenty of aesthetic appeal; visitors will be able to navigate your site with ease; and security won’t be an issue.

When it’s all said and done, you can keep visitors on your site longer, efficiently move them through the sales funnel, and, most importantly, maximize your conversion rate.

Which elements do you think are the most important to address when launching a new website?

from Quick Sprout https://www.quicksprout.com/2016/09/19/the-only-checklist-you-need-for-launching-your-startups-website/
via My Media Pal

Filed under: Digital Marketing Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Online Strategy, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, SEO Strategy, SEO Tips

from SEO NYC https://mymediapal.wordpress.com/2016/09/19/the-only-checklist-you-need-for-launching-your-startups-website-4/
via My Media Pal New York

The Only Checklist You Need for Launching Your Startup’s Website