Category Archives: Search Engine Optimization

Winning Strategies Focus on the Three R’s of Content Marketing

Have you ever noticed that when you see a McDonald’s, typically you will also see a Burger King? Or when you see a Target, odds are a Walmart is in close proximity? With brick and mortar brands, this is visually obvious, but the same coincidence is true when it comes to online space. Type in the keywords for your brand and you’ll notice that you might appear in the search results, but so do your closest competitors.

A little competition is actually a good thing. It gives brands a benchmark to compare or strive toward. It also provides consumers with choices. That’s right, I actually said that consumer choice is a good aspect of competition. A healthy bit of competition serves as a natural reminder for brands, forcing them to consistently have a gut check, evaluate current positioning and offerings, and push toward product enhancements.

While competition can be great for creating product roadmaps and defining consumer demand, it does make the landscape a bit more treacherous for online content marketers. Have no fear – we have three rules of content marketing that will steer your content marketing efforts toward search results success.

Roulette Anyone?

One of the biggest hurdles for any content marketer is to figure out how to create pieces that are not only interesting but also entertaining. One of the best ways to achieve this goal is to make it fun – take it back to grade school and make it a game. Get consumers involved through a game of chance…a game of roulette.

Don’t leave the reputation of your brand to chance but rather make the involvement of your consumers exciting by engaging them in a way that they’ll never be completely sure what they’ll get. Make your message the surprise.

An excellent example of this is the new Doritos campaign, which is aptly named Doritos Roulette. This incredibly creative campaign has chip lovers across the globe rushing to purchase the mixed bag of regular Doritos with a handful of extra spicy ones in order to play the game for themselves. And word is spreading like wildfire on Vine and YouTube as consumers film their games and share their experiences.

By creating something that is fun and engages consumers in such a way, Doritos has established a campaign that is self-feeding with a message that is spreading virally and organically across cyberspace.

Rivalry Develops Advocates

Rivalries are a staple of our everyday lives through athletic teams, hometown cities and our brand preferences. New York vs. New Jersey, University of Texas vs. Oklahoma University, Pepsi vs. Coke – it’s something that is ingrained in our culture.

So why is this the key to content marketing? Glad you asked! These rivalries are key drivers for creating brand advocates. Think of how many times your grandparents preached about the dependability of a Buick as you were growing up or how many times you found yourself buying the maximum amount when your favorite but slightly more expensive brand, Tide, went on sale. Brands can become such a part of our lifestyles that, as consumers, we do a great deal of storytelling in hopes of swaying others on behalf of our favorite brands.

This natural tendency of rivalries helps create some of the strongest brand advocates. As content marketers, it is our job to fuel the fires of rivalry, providing our advocates with additional ammunition and publicly thanking them when they take a stand on our brand’s behalf.

Recognition Is the End Result

Want to increase your brand’s organic reach without spending a fortune? Recognize your consumers. This gesture of recognition often instills a sense of pride and provides a natural motivator for increased word-of-mouth advocate marketing.

You see this in restaurants all the time – a menu board full of sandwiches named after the store’s more famous and/or loyal patrons. Domino’s recently took this cue and created an app that allows customers to not only customize their pizza but also name it, and they can even earn money for local charities when other consumers order one of their creations.

Not only does this give consumers a chance for the public spotlight, it also allows Domino’s to put themselves in a position of charitable giving within individual communities, giving consumers even more reason to pledge their loyalty to the brand and return again and again.

Creating a Game Plan for Your Brand

The first step to any journey is always the hardest. At Haley Brand Intelligence, we’ve helped hundreds of brands create roadmaps for success with their content marketing strategies. If you’re ready for your brand to get into the game, contact Haley Brand Intelligence and let us guide you to a winning strategy.

 

6 Reasons Your Brand Should Be Blogging

business bloggingYears ago, blogging used to be something teenagers did just for fun. More like personal online journals, they let users virtually share their stories and thoughts with others on the web.

Well, those days are gone.

While many people do still have personal blogs, the truth is, blogging is now much more of a business-dominated sphere. It plays a crucial role in marketing, and it helps brands gain visibility, expand their reach and draw in real, qualified leads.

Has your business started blogging yet? If not, it may be time to hop on board. Here are just a few of the ways it can benefit your brand:

1. It improves your SEO.

A blog can do wonders for your SEO efforts. Not only does it give you ample opportunities to work in your site’s keywords and phrases, it also gives you more links. Search engines LOVE links.

2. It provides value to your customers.

Customers don’t want to be preached to or sold to at every turn. They want information – answers to their questions, help with their problems and overall guidance. A blog gives you the perfect place to offer just that.

3. It establishes you as an authority in your niche.

You want to be known as an expert in your field. As THE best brand to go to when your customers are in need. A blog helps you accomplish that. Use it to talk about industry news, share tips, tricks and strategies, and just educate readers on your sector and what you do.

4. It is shareable.

Blog posts are extremely shareable. They give you great fodder for social media, and they’re easy for readers to email, Tweet or send to a colleague if they feel the urge. And if you can accomplish that, it’s not only great for SEO (more links!), but it can also expand your reach and bring in new leads.

5. It encourages engagement.

Marketing is no longer a one-way channel. Thanks to the web – and largely blogging/social media – you can now have two-way conversations with your customers. They can comment, ask questions and interact with your brand on a personal level, and that’s what drives brand loyalty (and repeat business!).

6. It humanizes you.

With a blog, you’re no longer a faceless company. You have a voice and a personality. You can connect with customers in a way you never could before, and that helps them feel more a part of your brand. They’ll be more likely to recommend you to a friend or come back for a second purchase.

 

The moral of the story is simple: Blogging can be hugely beneficial to your brand. Not only can it bring in new leads and customers, but it can also improve your reputation and give your clients real, measurable value. Want help starting a blog? Contact the Haley team today to learn how we can help.

 

7 Marketing Trends on the Horizon

marketing trendsA large part of successful marketing lies in your power to predict.

Specifically, you need to predict on two unique planes. First, you must be able to predict what the consumers want, need and feel (even if they don’t know themselves). Second, you need to have the foresight to predict future trends and strategies happening in the industry.

While the former is fairly simple to achieve (customer surveys and market research are great methods), the latter isn’t so easy. How are you supposed to know what marketing trends and strategies will work tomorrow, let alone 6 months down the road?

The truth is, it just takes being plugged in. Keep a careful eye on marketing blogs and headlines, and pay attention to what your competitors and others in your space are saying, doing and investing in.

That’s what we do at Haley, and thanks to those efforts, we’re able to stay fully apprised of what’s coming down the pipeline. Here are just a few of the trends we’ve seen rising through the ranks:

1. Going mobile – With Google’s big algorithm change starting today and tons of new gadgets and tech on the horizon, we’re going to see more and more mobile websites than ever before. Mobile advertising will see growth as well.

2. Content, content, content – The use of content marketing has steadily risen over the past couple of years, and it’s not going to slow down anytime soon. Blogs, ebooks, white papers, case studies and infographics – expect to see a lot of these in the coming year. Customers love them, and they’re also great for SEO, so it’s a win-win.

3. Social takeover – Social media isn’t just part of a good marketing strategy anymore. For some companies, it’s actually the whole campaign. As the power of social media continues to grow, more and more marketers are shying away from traditional marketing efforts and investing full-force in social instead.

4. Personalized campaigns – Gone are the days of pushy, one-way marketing messages and promos. Now, marketing is becoming a more personalized medium. Marketers are finding ways to better tailor their messaging to the exact customers and clients they’re trying to reach, and it’s doing wonders for building brand loyalty across the board.

5. More metrics and data – Analytics, social metrics and other data are becoming a true driving force in the industry. Marketers are slowly but surely learning which data points to hone in on and which ones provide the most insight and value for their efforts. Expect this to continue for the foreseeable future.

6. Videos galore – A few years ago, marketers only used video platforms to upload their commercials and other promos. Now, they’re learning how to use this powerful medium in more creative, effective and unique ways. They’re advertising via video, they’re creating video product demos, and they’re giving customers behind-the-scenes looks at their organizations. By the end of the year, there will likely be another dozen or so ways to utilize video in your campaigns, so get ready.

7. Visual storytelling – Instead of just blogging and writing content, many marketers are seeing success with more visual methods of storytelling. Infographics are particularly popular, as they’re easily digestible and shareable via social media. Photos, slide shows and webinars are powerful strategies as well.

Though this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, consider this your crystal ball into the coming year for the marketing industry. Is your brand using any of these marketing tactics? Are there other trending strategies we forgot? Let us know in the comments.

5 Ways to Weave Your Brand’s Story in 140 Characters

twitterbusinessCreating strong online social presence means your brand needs to participate in all of the top platforms, including Twitter. Too many brands shy away from Twitter, not understanding the potential impact the platform can have on an online marketing strategy.

With almost 300 million users, Twitter has become one of the most effective means of getting your message out to an expansive audience. When Twitter is coupled with a comprehensive content strategy, the impacts are truly limitless! But how do you take your brand’s story and negotiate it down to 140 characters and still keep the message impactful?

Here are five ways to stand out on Twitter with an impactful and retweetable brand story:

1.    140 Characters Is the Limit – But 100 Characters Should Be Your Goal

If you want to increase your retweet power (i.e., the ability for someone to share your tweet with others via their Twitter stream), then don’t max out your character counter. When something gets retweeted, Twitter adds “RT” to the tweet – so leaving a little padding will give the would-be retweeter the room they need to share your full message with the world.

Without this space, part of your message will be cut off and removed in order to provide the needed space to add the “RT.”

Leaving a bit more room also gives you future retweeter space to add a comment.  The comment allows them to make it more personal, therefore appealing to their audience and giving your tweet new life.

2.    Incorporate Extra Tweet Power #hashtagpower

There is a time and place for hashtags – and that place is Twitter! Adding an appropriate hashtag to your tweet can not only extend your tweet’s keyword impact, it can also provide an additional avenue for your brand’s personality to come through.

To create a powerful hashtag, keep the following in mind:

–       Avoid using too many words together #toomanywordsishardtofollow

–       Limit yourself to one hashtag per tweet #hashtagoverloadisnotcool

–       Don’t use the same tags in every tweet #learntobecreative

3.    Engage Your Audience With a Question

You have over 300 million users at your disposal, so don’t miss this opportunity – engage them in a conversation. Yes, a conversation! You really can have a meaningful conversation and develop a connection with your target audience in 140 characters or less.

With a question in your tweet, you are opening up the opportunity for your audience to engage with you directly. Considering opening lines like:

–       “How many people…?”

–       “Which of our products do you…?”

–       “Did you ever wonder why…?”

–       “Why did you purchase our…?”

–       “Ever notice that…?”

4.    Everything You Learned in English – Use It Here

Just because some celebrities don’t use proper grammar or punctuation in their tweets doesn’t mean your brand should follow suit. Even if you share the same target audience as the world’s top Twitter users, don’t pick up these habits. Stay true to your brand’s personality and have fun, but do it while incorporating the basic rules and standards of the English language.

Embrace Spell Check; ask your copy editor for assistance; and if all else fails, friend your high school English teacher on Facebook and ask her for advice.

5.    Be Original – Be Yourself

Of all the tricks of the trade for being successful on Twitter, this is by far the more important. You want to stand out from the crowd? Then be true to yourself…be true to your brand.

Don’t just put the same tweets out there that everyone else does. Let your brand’s personality show through in every tweet you send out. Being unique and authentic will go a long way with the end user and will not only stand out but odds are will become something they connect with and share with others.

As you can tell, just tossing out a tweet from time to time can clearly do more harm than good. In order to get the most impact, you need to think strategically and follow a few basic rules. Once you experience the benefits of a well-crafted Twitter strategy, we’re sure you’ll never be careless in your tweets again.

Ready to talk strategy and take your brand’s story to the next level?  #tweetagoodgame  Then contact the Haley Brand team and let us show you how to launch your tweets into super-cyber stardom.

B2B Buyers Research Online Before Buying

b2bmarketingSimilar to their B2C counterparts, studies are showing that in order to stand out and grab new business, B2B companies need to pack their websites with informative content to perform well in search results and engage potential customers.

In order to generate leads online, companies are turning their websites into information destinations for potential consumers doing research on their buying needs. Just as they do for themselves, when looking to purchase for business, consumers use search engines and social channels to find out as much as they can about a company and their products before making their final purchasing recommendations or decisions.

According to a recent study by the Acquity Group, 94 percent of business buyers and purchasers complete some sort of online research before making a purchase decision. The methods they use follow similar trends seen on the B2C side of business:

  • 77 percent use Google Search or Bing
  • 84 percent check the company’s website
  • 34 percent visit third-party websites to find out more about a company
  • 41 percent read online reviews about the company, their products and customer service

Like their personal consumer counterparts, business consumers consult an average of 10 online sources before finally making their purchase decision.

Create a Competitive Content Archive

Depending on your industry and size of purchase at stake, consumers may or may not want to conduct the entire transaction autonomously online. However, regardless of industry or size of purchase, the fact remains that consumers will do research before making their decision

In order to capture their attention and earn their trust to move on to the next phase of the purchase life cycle, you need to have an army of content resources ready and at their disposal to answer their questions. A strong content archive can educate your leads and help guide them through the sales funnel.

For many consumers, a lack of online information about a company is becoming a deal breaker and is seen as a warning sign; companies without content or willingness to provide information are viewed as too new, not large enough, and having no stamina or longevity.

Give your consumers what they are thirsting for – create a content archive that is full of information about what sets your company and products apart, provides insight into who you are as a company, and explains to the consumer why they need you. And once you’ve created the content, you’ll want to share it across the web on various social platforms, forums and industry publication channels. The more of your information that gets out there, the more the search engines will find it and deliver potential consumers to your site.

Doing the research, planning and outlining a plan of attack, and creating informative and captivating content is a huge task and one many companies don’t have the resources to achieve. That’s where Haley Brand Intelligence comes in. Our team of industry experts can create a content archive and content marketing strategy that will get your company noticed and bring leads to your doorstep.

When you’re ready to engage prospective consumers online, contact Haley Brand Intelligence and let our team create a content strategy that will deliver for you.

4 Ways to Drive Up Your Brand’s SEO Power With Pinterest

DrivePinterestSince first appearing on the social media landscape in 2010, Pinterest has captivated users and puzzledonline marketers around the globe. The free site is now valued at over $5 billion and has proven itself a force in the online social realm.

Online marketers are now faced with the task of creating comprehensive social strategies that incorporate Pinterest. What makes this platform trickier than the others is that it is based solely on visual content – videos and photographs. For brands that don’t have tangible products for sale, this task can seem very daunting. But don’t give up just yet!

We have pulled together a list of four can’t-miss, proven strategies both B2B and B2C brands can incorporate into their current social strategies that will drive up SEO performance and increase your brand’s overall online performance.

Let Your Brand’s Personality Shine

As counterintuitive as it might seem for many, lifting up the curtain and letting consumers see what goes on in the daily life of your brand is actually a good thing, and Pinterest is the perfect place to do it.

In fact, introducing prospective and current customers to the “personality” of your brand instead of always simply spouting the praises of your products creates a relationship with your target audience. It’s the brands with strong, more personal relationships with consumers that survive when times are tough and create consistent positive gains year over year.

Consider adding Pinterest boards that not only show your various products and services but also introduce your team, show behind-the-scene moments from company events or even tell about your staff’s top movie and book picks. Let the personality of your brand’s employees help to tell the story of your brand.

Let Pinterest Do the Heavy Lifting

As Pinterest’s authority grows, so will its impact on SEO performance and its ability to more strongly impact your search rankings. Incorporate links to your site and hashtags that relate to your products and services into most of the items you post on Pinterest. Incorporating them here ensures that a larger number of those within your target audience will see them and that the search engines will capture them and consider them in the algorithm and site analysis.

The additional practice of incorporating links and hashtags into your Pinterest postings will go a long way in increasing your overall search rankings.

Making Your Content Pinnable

Along the same lines of Facebook’s “like” button and Twitter’s “tweet” button, Pinterest has an option to let users share content they find across the web by “pinning” it. These “pins” onto Pinterest count as backlinks to your website and will go into your overall SEO scoring algorithm.

Don’t let your brand miss out on this opportunity! Incorporate social share buttons, which include the ability to like, tweet and pin, into your blogs and galleries on your website.

Pay Attention to Performance and Trends

Want to make sure your content gets picked up and repinned on Pinterest?  Then make sure your brand is pinning content that your target audience is interested in.

Pinterest offers outstanding analytics for businesses, so take advantage of them.  Their analytics will give you the perspective you need to evaluate whether your current Pinterest content strategy is the right answer or if you need to shift into a different direction.

Mastering the waters of Pinterest and creating social media strategies that outperform the competition is something the Haley Brand Intelligence team understands completely. Online social media brand marketing is our passion and creating strategies for success is what we do. Wherever you want your brand’s social strategy to take you, Haley Brand Intelligence can provide the guidance to get you there.

3 Revealing Musts From the Content Marketing Institute

The practice of online content marketing is a mainstream practice and one that has been adopted by both B2B and B2C marketers over the past 10 years. In their fifth annual report, the team at the Content Marketing Institute has provided facts about the trends, challenges and best practices found within the science behind content marketing.

The detailed report offers insight into several areas, but there were three in particular that stood out to us.

Guidance for B2B Marketing Content Creation

Not surprisingly, there isn’t a definitive answer on this. However, the report found that 59 percent of B2B marketers publish content at least weekly. Of that, 42 percent publish new content daily, leaving only 20 percent who stated they only published once a month.

This percentage is growing annually as more and more content marketers discover the power of online content development. Publishing content occasionally is no longer an option; daily interaction on social media and minimum weekly blogging or on-site content creation is now a requirement in order to stay ahead of the competition.

The Most Effective New Methods for Content Marketing

One of the things the report does well is create a distinction between method usage versus effectiveness and establish the importance of how the two concepts must work together for long-term strategy success.

Case and point, search engine marketing (SEM) is seen as being effective by more than 52 percent of B2B marketers surveyed for the report; however, content marketing tools, which can help establish baselines, report on impact reach and outline keyword strategies for optimal performance, are only used by 13 percent.

If these tools were used when strategies were developed, these marketers would see a drastic increase in their overall effectiveness, making the effort they are putting into its use more cost-effective, impactful and worthwhile.

Adjusting the Right Budget for the Job at Hand

The report had a surprising find – on average, only 16 percent of the B2B marketers surveyed spent most of the budget on content marketing and 44 percent admitted that they spent less than 25 percent on content marketing.

Although it is clear that historically the bulk of most of these budgets is being spent on avenues other than content marketing, more than 54 percent of those surveyed stated that they will be drastically increasing their spend over the next two years in order to stay ahead of the competition.

The Haley Brand Intelligence team understands the pressures of needing to maximize your budgetary dollars. Our team of industry professionals knows how to deliver on performance without breaking the bank.  When you’re ready to take your content marketing strategy to the next level, contact Haley Brand Intelligence and let us guide you toward online performance success.

How to Successfully Integrate Social Media Into Your Website

Adding Social Media to WebsiteIntegrating social media into your website, branding and marketing is just as important as creating main content for the various pages of your website. As the content within your website tells users what you do, it’s the social media content that brings them to the site and oftentimes serves as the initial introduction of your brand to new potential consumers.

The Importance of Social Media Engagement

Social media engagement now plays a huge role in a website’s search engine optimization (SEO) performance. The content developed, both by a brand and by social consumers, now counts toward your brand’s overall search results rankings.

A well-delivered strategy could easily move your brand’s search result display from page three to page one within weeks, making you visible to an endless number of potential consumers.

Still unsure about the importance of an integrated social media strategy to your brand’s website community? Here are a few statistics that might just sway your way of thinking on the matter:

  • The message received on a brand’s Facebook page has a 47 percent impact on a consumer’s purchasing decisions
  • More than 62 percent of the global population engages in social media on a daily basis
  • 76 percent of Twitter users actively retweet updates and posts by their favorite brands
  • More than 12 percent of Twitter users have admitted to purchasing a product based on the message/updated of a brand posted on Twitter
  • 70 percent of the Fortune 500 companies engage in social media on a daily basis and have incorporated social media tools into their brand websites

Social Share Icons for Social Media Success

Now that you understand just how much is at stake for your brand when it comes to social media, let’s take a look at a few steps that will help you create and implement a more successful social media engagement strategy on an ongoing basis.

Social share icons typically appear as a small group of buttons (like a mini-toolbar) on content, such as blogs, images and articles, which provide consumers the ability to quickly share your content with others on social platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Social sharing tool bars are available for free via Po.stTicketMy and Sociable.

Your social share icons should blend in with the rest of your site and not be too distracting, as the focus needs to remain on your content. When positioning the buttons, keep them in line with your content and how users will interact with it. For example, on a blog, put them at the bottom of the blog, as that’s where users will look for them after they finish.

Along with a social sharing tool bar, allow for users to provide comments and feedback on your website. This is traditionally seen on product and services pages, testimonials pages and blogs.

Giving consumers a chance to pass on an opinion or provide quick feedback in the form of a comment section allows for user engagement, two-way conversations between your brand and your target audience, and provides additional content for your website.

Once you have incorporated the ability to share and engage into your website, you’ll want to add social media tracking to your tool sets. Whether you add it to your Google Analytics or incorporate it into your internal in-house reporting and tracking, being able to see how your social media engagement is performing in real time is what is more important. This real-time reporting provides great power in the “what’s hot now” with your consumer base and will let you adjust your content, roll out a new promotion or put out a public relations fire at a moment’s notice.

Have questions on how social media can incorporate into your brand’s current marketing strategy? Contact the Haley Brand team and let us work with you to develop a strategy that helps you connect with your target audience and uses the power of social engagement to further promote your marketing message and drive home sales.

Know the Elements of a Twitter Strategy for Success

Twitter StrategyOver 85 percent of today’s Fortune 500 companies are active daily in social media, and of that group over 73 percent have Twitter accounts. To stay on top and garner the most impact of their social endeavors, these brands have carved out entire positions and teams who do nothing but focus on social media and online brand marketing interactivity on their behalf each day.

Smaller brands face a different challenge when it comes to social media engagement, as they typically cannot afford to hire entire teams to drive their social media engagement, so they must maximize and streamline their daily efforts.

Believe it or not, Twitter has turned out to be a bit of a secret weapon for smaller brands. Not only does Twitter put you in front of a larger audience you may otherwise have not reached, it also has a direct impact on your search engine rankings and performance.

Know Your Audience Demographics

To get to the heart of things, if your target audience demographics are on the younger side of the population, then being on Twitter is a no-brainer…it’s an actual must.

Recent studies have shown those most active on Twitter are those who find themselves in the 18-24 and 30-49 age range groups. If half or more of your user base or target audience falls within either of these two age groups, then Twitter needs to be a long pole in your marketing tent.

Know Your Competitor’s Strategy

Take time to get to know what your competitors are doing on Twitter. If your competition has been successful in building their social media audience, then learn from them.

Take a bit of time to review their Twitter pages. See if there is anything they do that is working that you could improve on and implement into your own strategy. Compare them all and decide on what you could do on Twitter that would help you stand out from them.

Know the Value of Daily Activity

Unlike the content on your site, to develop credibility and a consistent following, daily activity is a requirement on social media for long-term success. The less known or understood aspect of daily activity comes with the concept of “being in the right place at the right time.

Specifically, Tweeting at a bad time, when none or less than the majority of your target audience is online or active, is futile. Unlike other platforms, if they aren’t there when your Tweets hit the wall, odds are they won’t see the message.

There are three options available here:

  1. Block time on your calendar to work on Twitter manually a few times a day. The trick to this method is that you can’t miss your window of opportunity – if you do, then your efforts might be wasted.
  2. Use a social media management tool to schedule your Tweets to post automatically throughout the day or week. This way, you only need to set aside time once a week to schedule all of your social media posts for the week and then allow the tool to push out the content at the right time. Of these two, especially for a smaller brand with limited resources, this is obviously the best option, as it will maximize both your time and effort to the cause.
  3. Work with a marketing agency that not only understands the importance of social media engagement but the value in online brand marketing.

Know the Value of Experience

For so many brands, having the expendable time to focus on understanding their target audience and the intricacies of the art of social media is a luxury few can afford. That’s where understanding the value in incorporating the experience of others comes into play.

The Haley Brand Intelligence team has years of proven social media strategy and execution success. When you’re ready to move your brand into the realm of social media, contact Haley Brand and let us create a social strategy that will allow your brand to stand out from the crowd and flourish online while you spend time focusing on the other aspects of growing your business.