In my many years of working in the field of Search and Social, the cool thing is our approach has always been focused on creating strategies all centered around research and data. (Check the tag line…)
Research could range from search engine rankings, analytics, content auditing, analyzing the competition, to the actual data research for the development of the content piece.
Prior to writing any content, we always research the targets, the competitors and ranking, the available data sources (free & paid), the authority influencers who can either be a contributor in our content piece OR would be interested in reading the content itself. From there, then we begin reviewing the topics and content types which the competition holds a strong placement for. And finally, once we gather all our background research, is when we decide on the content type we plan to create.
There has been many times we have gotten halfway through our process where we decided it wasn’t worth continuing if we couldn’t offer the user something of substance. If the information wasn’t totally different than what any other site was publishing in our space, I have made the decision to “Stop the Presses!”
Because when we develop content, we develop content with a purpose. If we don’t hit one to three of our goals, then the content didn’t perform the way we intended it to. When we don’t hit the goal, as a team we examine and analyze what went wrong and take a note so we don’t repeat.
Part of our SEO and content development process is using social media to find authority influencers.
What exactly is an authority influencer (AI)?
Of course the first thing that enters the mind is a celebrity, but the reality is how many people can interview or be in direct contact with a celebrity. So for the regular person who doesn’t have the connections to get a Kardashian’s phone number, where do we turn? Social Media has opened a path to connect with others throughout the world but mining through all the profiles on all the multiple networks can slow down the content creation and promotion process, hence slowing down the influencer courtship.
One suggestion, which we have used is to create a criteria that your influencers must meet. Whether they have over 10,000 followers, converse about a topic a few times a day, has a strong community within their own website niche; these are just a few ideas prior to spending your time researching for your AIs.
This week, I will be presenting at NCDM 2012 Orlando about this very topic with a colleague where we will share more details about the criteria we use when using social media data to find influencers. Incorporating Search, Social and Content Development data is all part of the strategy we created and continue to use as well as internal proprietary tools. Let’s connect!
Doing an evaluation of your site content every few months allows for growth and opportunities.
Ask yourself or team a few questions to get the discussion started:
- Does your content attract readers?
- Are the readers the type of traffic you want to attract to your website?
- Which content type brings in the most engagement?
Just like how teachers are taught to create lessons using Bloom’s Taxonomy, which attempts to hit all learners: the auditory, tactical or visual learner; the same approach should be used when creating content. There are a variety of users visiting your website and the population demographic may not just be in your city or even country!
Data used in content doesn’t just have to be written. Try a few different approaches with the data you collect.
Example: The site is a provider of gluten-free products and considered an authority source of information about Celiac Disease and living with gluten intolerance. After reviewing the site analytics your team sees that traffic is strongest on Monday and Tuesday between the hours of 9:00am EST and 12:00pm EST. It shows traffic coming directly from search the first hour and then from the social promotion campaigns. Twitter is driving the most eyes so with all this information, the first indication is to create a piece of content for Monday morning which is focused on what your site is known for which is gluten free information.
- See where your site is positioned to make sure you do not create content which either your site already has ranking for or that a competitor already has strong placements.
- Research to find any new studies that were published in the past 6 months to a year where your team can use the data; but not use all the information from just one study but research 2 or 3 studies and decide on the unique attributes to overlay and present.
- Places to research for data could be the Journal of Medicine, Newswise or the Department of Health.
- In reality, you are creating your own survey to continue being the authority source on the subject.
What brings readers to your site and share with others are unique data points.
Once these data points are decided, then the content type brainstorming sessions can begin. This is where the fun begins. Since the analytics indicated the high traffic days and times, consider creating a few pieces of content, presenting different data points in a variety of ways, to publish on the different days between the hours when eyes are on your site.
Be creative and optimize for all uses…Happy Publishing!
It has been a wild year in search with Panda and Penguin being tossed out by the big “G” but what an exciting year in search and social it has been.
My big deal moment came a few weeks ago when I was chosen as a presenter to speak at SMX East on the Authorship to Authority panel on October 3 at 3:30 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in NYC! I am joined by many other greats in the industry and very lucky to have the opportunity to share my 15 years of content development, SEO and Social knowledge with a ballroom of interested attendees.
From Authorship To Authority: Why Claiming Your Identity Matters (#smx #23C)
With all of the recent focus on “content is king,” many marketers overlook that there’s a much broader process involved in establishing and maintaining the all-important factor of “authority.” This comprehensive session considers the entire process of “claiming your identity,” starting with brainstorming sessions with SEO, social and content development teams, to content promotion tactics for gaining authority links. Both enterprise SEO teams as well as outside consultants will benefit from this session.
Mike Arnesen, Senior SEO Analyst, SwellPath (@mike_arnesen)
Brahm Booth, Director of Marketing and Ecommerce, WowWee (@brahmbooth)
Bill Slawski, Senior SEO Consultant, Webimax (@bill_slawski)
Lisa Weinberger, Director, Content Promotion, Bankrate, Inc. (@PearlyWrites)
After 3 years of not speaking at industry conferences, a few colleagues gave me the push to send out proposals to get myself out from behind the computer screen and be seen in person. My first industry presentation was at Simon Leung’s (aka Coolsi) first conference in 2007 in San Jose and prior to that experience, thanks to my education background, I taught in college classrooms since 2003. If you can keep hung over college student’s interested at 8:00am, presenting to 75 – 400 attendees doesn’t seem too difficult.
My presentation will focus on “Content Development with Purpose.” If you have been following my twitter stream the past few weeks, I’ve been posting some small tidbits of information about this topic which incorporates all three focuses of search, social and content strategy. How all teams working together can produce not only amazing content, but content which is informative, interesting, engaging and visitors want to SHARE and READ. BUT does all content have to be read?
Can’t wait to meet you at SMX East and answer this and many other questions.
In the past year the phrase which keeps being repeated to me when I am seen in a dress & make-up, “You clean up nice.”
Is this suppose to be a compliment?
Since my teenage years I always chose jeans, t-shirts or shorts to wear. Hair in a ponytail, thanks to Shirley Temple curls and I was never into make-up or trying to impress others. Spending most of my childhood up on a stage where I dressed in costume and globs of make-up was applied to my face as I gracefully danced around definitely had something to do with not wanting to add fakeness to myself as I grew older. With the addition of always ending up with some skin irritation and eye infection, putting make-up on left me with a bad experience.
Up to age 25, it never bothered me till my wedding day. I walked over to my grandmother (Pearl) during my wedding reception where she said the most sarcastic thing to me, “You clean up nice.” My mouth dropped open, I smiled, hugged her and said, “I love you too grandma!”
Since I always felt living a natural and an organic life also included natural beauty, why did I have to “dress” up for others?
Then I realized what my grandmother was trying to say that day. It wasn’t so much about the make-up or hair but the way I held myself like I used to up on stage during all my solo dance performances. The confidence which shined through that day because I was “put” together from hair, make-up to the wedding gown and my ballroom dance placed me back up on that stage ready to perform.
When approaching brainstorming sessions with my team, before the content creation process, there are a series of questions we ask ourselves. These questions are focused on the presentation of the content and how others will perceive it. Another way of saying, “you clean up nice” but focused on the production of content.
If a piece of content isn’t formatted in a way that is eye pleasing or easily understood to your target audience, then why bother to write or even create the piece? Taking all the time to create with no real reward, what is the reasoning behind this?
To relate this idea back to being told that I clean up nicely, I am guessing the effort to be presentable, to each individual, have different “clean up nice” levels. A lot of my reasoning of why I choose to dress the way I do is I am a shy person and getting attention from others has always been an internal fight.
Could this also be a reason why some pieces of content that are created are not overly driven by data and promotion? Does the creator not want the attention for their piece?
As I have grown into a “mature” woman, I am getting more used to “cleaning up nicely” but the internal struggle will always be there. When it comes to content, I’ll always make sure it is presentable and as my grandmother said to me it will “Clean up nicely.”
Although many people know us as PearlyWrites, the history of how we became PW needs to be shared. In 1994, I started as a freelancer where I consulted small businesses on how to be found in the search engines like Ask, AOL and Netscape. My father is the person who got me interested in search engines, thanks to his engineering and government background, he was on the Internet, even before AOL! (Yes the Al Gore Internet…)
So when my parents launched their housecleaning business website and I saw how using keywords brought in traffic to the site, I wanted to learn more. My thirst for knowledge about search led me to finding mentors in Internet marketing and learning more technical items like back end coding and how search engines work.
Jump ahead to 2002, while completing my Masters degree in education, I decided to start PearlyWrites. I began transitioning from individual freelancer to business owner. Although I was already a business owner of a private tutoring service, the new venture was a business which was based on gaining exposure online and through referrals which was different than the tutoring service where we were the first choice by 4 synagogues in Northern New Jersey and was referred new business every week due to my reputation of “being able to teach a bear to dance”.
And PearlyWrites.com was born and we were the second choice of many of the proposals we sent. It was a different world for me; from being first choice to now fighting to create a reputation in a whole other field. BUT the cool thing was the new business was virtual which meant business could come from anywhere! No longer did I have to be marketing just to the local market, I could market all throughout the world.
While based in New Jersey, our first client was based in the UK which was awesome! Our second client was based in Australia where we provided all their web copy, marketing collateral and email campaigns for UnlocktheGame.com. Ari Galper was great to work for and very innovative. Then we signed our first client in the mid-west who we signed a contract for a year. Within 3 months of officially launching the business, we set a year goal which we hit 3 months later.
Now in month 6, it was time to bring on contractors to help with the client work and I went from freelancer to project manager to business owner. Although we grew by yards quicker than we planned, many of the clients who signed with PearlyWrites, we were actually their second choice. The first few times got me aggravated and then I realized, “Who cares! They want PW to do their work.”
Thanks to my earlier years of SEO experience, when Google came into the search world, understanding the algorithm was easy for me to connect it to content development and promoting to gain the most exposure and engagement which today is considered social media. So when PearlyWrites started we may have been the second choice for many of our first clients, but without them we wouldn’t be where we are today. We wouldn’t have gained the experience or even walked through the doors that have opened for myself and our team, would have never been possible without taking those first steps and taking the chance of being the second choice.
Going from a business where we were the first and only choice to a new business endevour and being the second choice allowed us to realize that sometimes a different approach and change is good. From the beginning of PW, we have relocated 3 times thanks to the lessons the business has taught us.
Change is good! Change lends itself to the continuation of learning!
So if a client comes back to you and you are their second choice, if the project is something that benefits you or your business, don’t say no right away. It may surprise you 10 years later when you look back and see how far you have come.