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4 Things That Innovative Companies Are Doing In 2014 To Avoid The #DigitalApocalypse

4 Things That Innovative Companies Are Doing In 2014 To Avoid The #DigitalApocalypse

4 Things That Innovative Companies Are Doing In 2014 To Avoid The #DigitalApocalypse

4 Things That Innovative Companies Are Doing In 2014 To Avoid The #DigitalApocalypse

There will always be companies that are innovators, adapters and sadly those that are incapable of seeing the future of industry. This is the business equivalent to natural selection, unfortunately.

America was once driven by the production of goods and as we transitioned to a more service oriented country, there was an evolution of sorts.  There were companies that adapted and some that didn’t do so well.  Those companies went the route of the steel mills in Allentown, Pa. The decline of a primarily production oriented world to a more service oriented world took a while to totally decline, but the transition of traditional to digital, that we are living through now is moving at a much faster pace toward its demise.

Two examples of the extreme change and fast transition from a traditional to digital world is the release of the Beyonce album, or I should call it the Beyonce Digital Project because that’s what it was. Some are saying, what’s the big deal and who really cares. WELL, we all must take notice because the release of the Beyonce Digital Project was a game changer in the music industry. This album release will change how marketing is done moving forward and this change will not be limited to just the music industry. At one time artists had to go through a series of procedures and promotions to push a new project. Beyonce’s release flipped the script on the entire industry in a mind-blowing move that totally blind sighted the industry. She used the brand that she built by way of social media, to be her own team of brand ambassadors willing to plop down their hard earned money to grab that digital release. In this bold move, Beyonce went directly to the consumer, cutting out any and everyone in the process by releasing her music directly to iTunes to be downloaded digitally. THIS was HUGE and changed the game more that we could ever imagine.

The second instance that displayed a step in a digital direction was Paramount dealing the deathblow to film, as we once knew it.  Paramount will be the first movie studio to go all-digital with the distribution of their films. THIS IS HUGE! At one time, Paramount would release films in 35 mm format, which costs around $2,000.  Now, due to going digital with the future releases of film, they can release films in digital format at around the $100.00 price point. The kicker here is that although this format is cheaper for the movie distributor, the smaller movie houses will incur the brunt of this move at least initially. These smaller and probably mostly independent movie houses will have to shell out upwards of $70,000 to become digital ready. This again, is a huge demonstration of the “adapt or die” philosophy, which will impact some business in an adverse way.

Both of above examples are an indication that we are at the beginning of a full blow digital revolution.  Organizations should take notice of the changes that are happening before their eyes, some will but many won’t. I’ve actually noticed that some organizations are not embracing digital at all but in fact, they are moving back to their toasty non-digital comfort zone.  All indications point toward a mostly digital world so it’s advantageous to embrace the change sooner rather than later. Progress is never comfortable but is inevitable, ready or not.

Although the changes that are happening within organizations are not as extreme as the two examples that I spoke of previously, companies still must adapt to a world that is moving closer to all digital. Below are four relatively simple things that can save your organization from the #DigitalApocalypse.

Concentrating on Content:

Concentrate On Content

Concentrate On Content

There is an ongoing debate about content; it’s effects on SEO, if it should be called Content Marketing and more.  Who cares about all of the back and forth and the correct phrasing, WHATEVER!  What matters is that without content, moving into 2014, you will most definitely be screwed.

The importance of content is irrefutable, you must have it and it must be GREAT. Content will effect your entire digital marketing plan, your social media strategy, your SEO and more. Content creation has become a $118.4 billion industry. Those numbers alone are an indication of the importance of great content. So prepare to become a publisher, outsource your content marketing or essentially become invisible online.

If you think about the importance of content creation it is very logical, if you produce more quality content it increases the amount of content that is available to be indexed by Google. This is especially important after the Hummingbird changes with Google, which was a game changer for websites, indexing and SEO.

NOW, it is just not enough to grab your local black hat SEO dude that promised to get you to the top of Google and have him buy some back links for you. In fact if you do that, you may not need content for quite a while, because Google may penalize your website or your website could even be banned.

At one time the black hat SEO route, to increase search rank was a method that could get results, if only for a short while.  Even if the results were temporary it would allow your neighborhood black hat SEO dude to run out his 3-month contract while looking like the magical SEO guru. NOW that is not enough, so black hat SEO dude may have to step his game up.  The folks over at Google are pretty darn smart and are hip to those tactics. The days of black hat SEO are seriously numbered if not extinct.

Leaving black hat SEO methods behind in favor of content creation is a great route to go and it’s an above board method of increasing rank with Google without the risk of being penalized. Content creation will allow companies, small and large to compete on a level playing field, for moving up in search ranking with Google. No matter the size of the company, if they produce great content and if they push that content by way of their social media channels THEY will reign supreme in the relevance game with Google.

Content is truly KING for a variety of reasons:

  • Great content allows you to present your company as an authority in your industry, increasing your rank on Google.
  • Content will increase the likelihood that people will link to your website, this solves your back link issue. Hence, increasing your rank with Google.
  • Great content shared on social media was not thought of as important a few years ago, but those days are over. Social Media is extremely important and sharing great content on social media channels allows you to appear “likeable” and this will increase your rank with Google.
  • Great content with effective keywords increases your on page optimization and guess what? It will [let’s say it all together now] increase your rank with Google.

The takeaway about content:

There is NO easy button, no guru to bail you out and no work around. YOU must start to produce great content if you want to become relevant enough with Google to increase your ranking. Google is a business, just in case that has slipped the minds of folks. As a business it is their job to produce the best results for search queries because this allows them to generate ad revenue and to STAY in business. Gaming the system is not the best route to take at this time with Google. So guess what, either make a decision to dedicate yourself to the work needed to create great content that is worthy of being pushed higher in search ranking or your competitors will.  It’s very simple.

Focusing on Mobile

Focusing on Mobile

Focusing on Mobile

Mobile is not going away, primarily because we have evolved beyond talking on the phone that is attached to the wall. Beyond just the telephone aspect of your mobile device, it has essentially become a pocket-sized computer that forward thinking organizations are using for targeting a previously untapped demographic.

At one time it was just enough for organizations to have a website that displayed the brand, company name and address. Then we progressed to having a Facebook page with a company brand and relevant content. NOW it is not optional but imperative that organizations have a mobile presence as well.

With the decline of desktop and laptop sales the increase in buying trends for mobile and tablets are hard to miss. I actually had a conversation with a Director of Marketing at one of the largest organizations in my area that said, “We do not need a mobile presence.” My mind slammed shut with a final, “Conversation Over” as she was obviously living through a #DigitalApocalypse.

The takeaway about mobile:

It doesn’t matter if you decide to go with a responsive design or traditional mobile design. It is, however imperative that your company’s online presence be viewable by mobile and tablet, this is no longer an option.

#DigitalApocalypse is the disastrous phenomenon in which individuals; organizations and entities have selected NOT to embrace our new digital world.

Analytics

Analytics

Analytics

I will be the first person to tell you that I am not really a numbers person, but what I should say is that I am not a numbers person when those numbers have no relevance to my interests.

I took a web Analytics class in grad school, I absolutely loved it and I was immediately HOOKED. This was a tough class for some but for me, the concepts immediately clicked.  I think this is because I saw how beneficial these concepts would be moving forward. When I saw the heat maps and demographics I fell in love, in fact it was love at first sight. Oops I’m so sorry, I’ve digressed terribly.

One thing that I immediately loved about analytics then and what I still love about it now is that it shows the data. You know where your visitors are coming from, you know how long they’ve stayed, you know which pages and content they’ve focused upon.

I can never express the importance of analytics enough; because analytics display your success and bring attention to areas that you may need to focus upon more, in graphic details. If your brain rejects the word analytics think of it in terms of measuring your results, because that’s exactly what analytics are. Analytics measure the effectiveness of your campaigns, your efforts, and your time. They allow you to see what’s happening, what you are doing successfully and what you need to improve upon.

The takeaway about analytics:

You can have the most beautiful, fancy website with all of the bell and whistles imaginable, but if you have no data to analyze the successfulness of your web campaigns, your website is essentially worthless. This applies to traditional websites and mobile websites alike.

Increasing Your Google+ Usage

Increasing Your Google+ Usage

Increasing Your Google+ Usage

There is so much back and forth about Google+, it always has been and probably always will be.  I was a part of the original beta team on Google+, as were most of my digital marketer friends, so of course I have always been a huge advocate of the platform.

Google+ has been improved upon since its original debut!  The layout has improved substantially, Google integration has greatly improved and it has grown its user base.

Although the improvements to the look and feel of Google+ have been spectacular what is more impressive is that content posted on Google+ show up in search results.  This is why I don’t understand the push back about this platform. Why would we NOT want our content to show up in search results, after all that is WHY we are there right, why we are online, why we work so hard to increase our exposure, right? Increased exposure means more business and more sales, which is after all what most web presences are all about.

The takeaway about Google+

If you want more exposure on Google start using Google+, it’s just that simple.

Wrapping up:

Digital Marketing is a game changer on a worldwide level but organizations must have the ability to recognize the change and adapt in mid-stride sometimes, due to the quick nature of the changes. We are living through an exciting time for those involved with digital marketing and those that are willing to embrace the change. Lets all embrace the many changes that I anticipate are ahead and enjoy our brave new digital world.

As usual, I welcome any comments, good, bad, ugly or indifferent. I can be found on Google+, Facebook or Twitter, so please circle and follow.

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10 Steps to Using Digital Marketing Strategies To Find Your Dream Job in 2014

10 Steps to Using Digital Marketing Strategies To Find Your Dream Job in 2014

10 Steps to Using Digital Marketing Strategies To Find Your Dream Job in 2014

10 Steps to Using Digital Marketing Strategies To Find Your Dream Job in 2014

2013 is coming to an end, therefore it’s time to analyze, evaluate and make changes going into the New Year.  We all make resolutions about, health, wealth and happiness so why not include changing our employment situation. This is especially the case if you are one of the 71% that hate their jobs.

When I wrote the article, 71% of people hate their job; I was astounded by the response to the article.  I was more surprised that there were so many people that were unhappy with their employment situation.

Sometimes people can feel stuck in a situation due to a variety of reasons and they become very reluctant to make a move, so they just grin and bear it.  It seems that there are up to 71% of the population that are willing to grin and bear it.

Guess what people, we are moving into a new year so NOW is the perfect time to make changes in your life.  More people need to be a part of the 29% that LOVE their job instead of the 71% that hate it.

We are now living in a very digital world, so now we need to look at new ways in which we can gain the edge in competing for jobs. If you are a Digital Marketer, you may find yourself consulting, working for an organization or both.  Sometimes as digital marketers, we do not effectively market OURSELVES as a BRAND and that is very important.

If you are in a more traditional industry, chances are you are NOT marketing yourself as a BRAND either.  In this increasingly digital world, all people that are looking for new opportunities should start to see themselves as brands so that they can compete in this tough job market. Most people are using some type of social media recreationally. So, if you are involved with social media even socially, these ten tips will be perfect for your 2014 strategy for grabbing your dream job.

Whether you are a digital marketer or just someone looking for a new career path, it is imperative that you see beyond your present situation and come up with a creative way to change your career path.  The first step is visualizing yourself, not as JUST a person trying to get a job, but as a brand. It is very important that you think of yourself as a BRAND and you should market yourself accordingly.

A huge part of viewing and marketing yourself as a brand, is maintaining a very visual digital marketing footprint separate from the brands that you work with, if you are a digital marketer.  It is GREAT to work in this ever-growing digital marketing industry but as digital marketers we must maintain our own digital marketing persona totally separate from the organizations that employ us or that we consult with.  So, it is very important that we continue to develop and grow our own individual personal brand and digital footprint.

If you are NOT a digital marketer you should start to incorporate some branding content into your personal profiles. It is very important that all people see themselves as marketers, if only to market oneself to the world in seeking a new or better career path.  It is more important than ever to utilize social channels for career advancement in addition to traditional résumés and this is primarily due to the growing importance of our digital footprint.

I’ve read on numerous occasions that traditional resumes are very close to becoming irrelevant because our entire digital presence is available online for all to see.  More and more recruiters are utilizing the digital presence of employment candidates to get a better feel for potential employees before they even read resumes.  This is one of the reasons that we must make sure that we have a positive and flattering digital footprint and that we continue to develop our own personal brand.

Use Social Media To Improve Your Job Search
Use Social Media To Improve Your Job Search  produced by Gumtree

There are pluses and minuses to having your entire online persona for all to see. The biggest plus is that you are always visible; the biggest minus is that you’re always visible. LOL. This is the primary reason that we must be aware, more than ever about the types of content that we display on our digital marketing channels. So it is imperative that we have a strong personal brand and a positive digital footprint. Take a look at the ten steps below, to help develop your personal brand:

Anise Smith logo

Anise Smith logo

1.  Logo: Create a logo for your brand. My brand is Anise Smith, so the first thing I did when I started to develop my brand almost five years ago was to have my name created in logo form.  If you are creating a new logo make sure you have it created in 3 different formats.  Have your logo created in EPS format, which allows it to be duplicated for print and web, PNG for use when you need a transparent background AND jpg for general use.

2.  Uniform Branded Look: You should have a consistent branded look across all of your social media channels.  So create your Facebook cover, Twitter layout and other digital collateral with the same branded look.

Create A Uniform Branded Look On Social Media

Create A Uniform Branded Look On Social Media

3.  Facebook: CLEAN up your Facebook profile! I have seen some things in my daily virtual travels that would definitely be viewed as negative. If you want to promote a positive personal brand YOU MUST start with presenting a positive Facebook image.

I am connected to my father, teenage son and many family members on Facebook, so I only share information that I would share with them offline.  This is a great way to mentally keep your content clean and shareable. Don’t post information that you wouldn’t share with your grandparents, parents or children. If you wouldn’t yell it across the dinner table during a family meal, DON’T post it on Facebook. PERIOD!

Before you hit the POST button, think about how an employer would view your post. If there’s even a question of how your post would be viewed by employers or just followers in general, DON’T hit POST.  Better yet, picture your grandma peering over your shoulder while you’re writing your post. If grandma wouldn’t approve, don’t post.

Facebook is a huge part of branding yourself and you should use it wisely. Assume that ALL potential employers will check your Facebook profile, because they probably will. So it is best that you put your best foot forward starting here.  After you clean up your profile, showcase yourself. This may involve loosening some of your privacy settings to showcase certain areas of your profile.

  • Make a cover photo that showcases your talent. Facebook covers are 851 × 316.
  • Add your employment history, in the work and education section.
  • If you attended college, utilize the education section to add information about your school.
  • Use the project area to add the projects that you’ve worked.
  • Facebook just added a section for professional skills; add your skills in this section.
  • Don’t forget to use the contact us section to add your website, blogs and social media channels.

Facebook can be utilized almost as a resume if you add the right content and if you are a little creative.

Branding Yourself Using Facebook

Branding Yourself Using Facebook

4.  Twitter:  This is a great avenue to showcase your knowledge and to present yourself as an expert in your area, which is very important in creating a brand for yourself. Having a great Twitter profile allows you to make amazing connections while building followers organically, both of which are crucial to your personal brand.  So make sure you are utilizing this channel and showcasing your capabilities to your followers and potential followers.  If you are unfamiliar with Twitter start practicing keeping your verbiage short, because you only have 140 characters to make your point. So, you must use them wisely. To get started check out these easy steps:

  • Create a header for your Twitter layout, it should be no larger than 1252 × 626.
  • Create a Twitter background with your contact information. Twitter backgrounds are 1920 × 1200.
  • Display a presentable image of yourself.
  • Add a descriptive; yet brief bio using 140 characters.

The importance of Twitter cannot be overlooked in the process of branding yourself. Studies have shown that recruiters from the top employers in the country, are using Twitter as a way to recruit top talent. YOU want to be considered the top talent and you want to be noticed by these recruiters.  So Twitter is essential!

5.  Google+: There has always been some controversy about the importance of this platform. I’m not exactly sure why, since it is a GOOGLE platform. Most know that Google is pretty darn awesome.  So, needless to say I’ve been a fan since the Beta release! Another reason to get acclimated to Google +, Facebook has been losing a bit of steam recently so it is very important that you create a profile on Google+. Additionally content shared on Google+ shows up in search results. Enough said!

*Note* You can schedule your posts for Google+ and other social channels.  I’ve used a few but I find that, Buffer is the best scheduling platform available.

6.  Blog: I am really partial to WordPress but the most important thing is that you have a blog, which you contribute to regularly. So, select the platform that you are most comfortable with. [Wordpress, WordPress, WordPress, hmm, did I suggest WordPress?] A blog allows you to present yourself as an expert in your field utilizing your own content AND it allows you to provide this content to your social media channels.

Additionally you can create a page on your blog for your online resume. A web version of your resume allows you the convenience of sending a link quickly from pc, tablet OR mobile device directly to anyone that is interested.

Also, make sure that your blog is viewable by way of mobile device. So many people are mobile that it’s almost mandatory that your blog be viewable by mobile device.  This also offers you the unique opportunity to respond to emails from recruiters and send a resume link right from your mobile device, within seconds. WINNING!

7.  Triberr: If you have a blog YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST be a part of Triberr. If you are not familiar with Triberr, you need to become familiar quickly.  Triberr is THE BEST platform to utilize if you want to get exposure for your blog. This platform is second to none!

So, Triberr in a nutshell: It’s a platform that allows exposure of your blog through mutual sharing of content.  As a part of Triberr you would join tribes of interest. After joining the tribe(s) you would then connect the RSS feed of your blog to the Tribe. This allows your tribe mates to share your blog content to their Twitter followers.  Additionally all of your tribemates will have their blog RSS feed attached so that you can share their blog content with your Twitter followers.

The Triberr platform allows you to multiply the reach of your blog through the mutual sharing of content. This platform is Google Juice for blogs and if you have a blog you need to be a part of Triberr, period. Check out Welcome to Triberr and the Guide To Getting Started With Triberr.

8.  LinkedIn: Is probably the most important step you can take to meet contacts, extend your network and place yourself in the faces of recruiters searching for your expertise! Make sure you have a presence on Linkedin, make the proper connections, get endorsements, join groups and totally embrace this platform.

MOST companies in search of top talent will be actively involved with LinkenIn, so make sure you have a GREAT profile and keep it updated.

  • Use keywords in your headline and through out your profile.
  • Use an appropriate profile photo.
  • Complete your entire profile.
  • Add slideshows, links and blog posts to display your skills.
  • Share professional content that is relevant to careers or your industry.
  • Monitor your profile because you can see who has been checking you out. If you have a visit from a person of interest, visit their profile. They will now know that you have visited their profile and this may allow you to spark up a conversation.
  • Follow companies that you have an interest in because you may be able to connect with people of interest at that company.

Linkedin is one of your most valuable resources you can utilize, if you want to change your employment situation.

9.  YouTube: Videos are a GREAT way to showcase your talents. So create a 2 Minute video to showcase your capabilities.

  • Add keywords to any and all videos that you create because this will help Google to index your videos.
  • Add your video to your website or blog.
  • Share your video on your social media channels.
  • Add your video to your LinkedIn profile.

10.  BrandYourself.com: Allows you to monitor your digital footprint as it displays on Google.  You will get a report if any of your digital marketing channels have gone up or have fallen down in ranking.   This service is GREAT because it allows you to see how your brand is displayed on Google according to rank and it is FREE!

BrandYourself.com

BrandYourself.com

Are you currently utilizing any of these platforms to brand yourself? Are you using different channels? Let me know!  As usual, I welcome any comments, good, bad, ugly or indifferent. I can be found on Google+, Facebook and Twitter, circle me and/or follow me.

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QR Codes: Because Why NOT?

QR Codes: Because Why NOT?

QR Codes: Because Why NOT?

QR Codes: Because Why NOT?

 

Three years ago on September 13, 2010, I uploaded a video about QR codes and I got a lot of confused questions that pretty much translated to, “What The Heck!!” At the time I was still learning about this technology, because it was still new to the United States.  I would consume as much information as I could, with the goal of learning more about this cool “new” technology.  In some circles I became the “GoTo” person for QR Code technology.

 

 

As my excitement grew I started to notice more and more of this technology out there. QR codes were on everything, people had them on their websites, online catalogs and more. I was guilty of this as well, until I though “Hey, wait a minute….” This is all wrong. That is when I started to understand that this technology is being utilized in the “hey new shiny object sort of way” but it was not being used as effectively as it could have been.  That’s when I realized that the usage of QR codes might not ever reach its full potential because in some instances they were being used incorrectly.

 

My findings:

  • There is no reason to add a QR Code to your website because people are usually on your mobile or traditional website when they are viewing the QR Code.  So if you had plans of using the QR code to direct them to your website, they are already there, there’s not need. Don’t use QR codes on a website to direct them to your website.
  • QR Codes that are geared to open to a website should ALWAYS open to a mobile website, not a traditional website. We all know by now that a traditional website may not display properly on a mobile device.  There ARE NO exceptions to this rule.
  • QR Codes should NOT scan to “Download my catalog” because most of the time people have scanned a QR code with their phone. Absolutely NO one wants to use all of their data to download your HUGE PDF catalog to their phone.

 

QR Codes Should Scan To Mobile

QR Codes Should Scan To Mobile

 

The BEST and most practical use of QR Codes are to tie traditional print media to digital media.  As digital marketers we can sometimes not grasp that everyone is NOT so enamored with the growth of technology as we are. However it is true!  There are still many people that are very print-oriented and QR codes are a great option for that population of folks.

 

So as marketers we must recognize that although we are focused on digital media there is still an opportunity to tie traditional print to digital for clients that still utilize this form of marketing.  QR codes are the perfect vehicle to get this done. As a matter of fact, this is the primary reason that QR Codes should NOT be discounted and should be revisited.  There has not been an equivalent and cost effective medium introduced that is capable of tying together these two media as QR codes can, if executed properly.

 

Although it was once thought that NFC could bridge the gap between traditional print media and digital, it has not materialized as we originally thought that it would. This is primarily due to the cost and complexity of this technology for mainstream populations. Since the need to bridge traditional and digital, QR Codes remain the logical and least expensive way to go, as long as traditional marketing remains even a little relevant.

 

At one time we exclusively used traditional marketing, but we all know that things have change. In spite of this, there has not been a total elimination of traditional print media. So, we can still utilize traditional media to drive traffic to digital channels, creating a bit of a fusion between the older traditional marketing strategies and the new emerging digital marketing strategies.

 

Until the total discontinuation of traditional print media, as marketers we must find a way to tie together traditional and digital mediums for ourselves on occasion and for our clients. QR codes can be a very cost effective way to do this.

 

So lets give some thought to revisiting QR codes, if you’ve worked with them before or venture into something new if you haven’t.

 

As usual, I welcome comments, good, bad, ugly or indifferent. So follow me me on Facebook, Twitter and/or Google+ and let’s start a QR code discussion!

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The What, When, Why and How of Content Creation

The What, When, Why and How of Content Creation

The What, When, Why and How of Content Creation

The What, When, Why and How of Content Creation

 

We have moved full force into a world where marketing has become education based, NOT sales driven as it was in the past and this calls for a different route to be taken with marketing based initiatives.

 

Content creation is rapidly moving toward being a huge driving force behind what once was traditional advertising, marketing and sales.  This changes how we think about marketing in general and will require organizations to re-evaluate their marketing strategies.  Based on these changes, the ability to create original, thought provoking and shareable content is not optional anymore it is mandatory.

 

According to Ad Age’s survey, 55% of marketers have increased their content-marketing budgets this year and is expected to do so in 2014 as well. The companies that are forward thinking enough will be a part of this trend, those that are still old school will not and fall that much father behind in creating the digital footprint needed to present themselves as authorities in their field.

 

At one time there were sales collateral produced by companies that were used to promote that company as an authority in their field. Traditional print pieces, brochures and magazine articles were once used to promote organizations but with so many people living in a plugged in world these channels are no longer as effective as they were during the print era. This is the dilemma, so what’s a company to do?

 

It’s time for companies to take the shift in consumable media serious and open their eyes and minds to change. People are just not consuming media utilizing the channels such as print as much as in the past. Media or content is consumed on social media channels and blogs by way of tablets and mobile devices. So it is imperatives that business who want to be viewed as authorities start to take content creation very serious. Businesses MUST start creating content AND publishing that content to the channels that people are utilizing!

 

So let’s take a look at the what, when, why and how of getting started.

 

What

This is the easiest question you can address because the WHAT of content creation is promoting WHAT it is your organization does. Every office has one or two people that are informed about EVERYTHING about the company. These are also usually the people that have been with the company since the company started. This person is a valuable source of information to a content creator! They are your brand ambassadors and they have the ability to provide the WHAT of content creation for your content creator.

 

When

You should create as much content as you or your company can physically manage and post it as much as possible.  If you get a content creator that is on their game they will be able to stretch out a small amount of content into multiple pieces of creative and engaging posts on a blog.  This content can then be posted over a period of time. It would be a great idea to create a publishing calendar so that you can have an organized and consistent flow of content moving through your digital channels at all times.

 

Why

By providing an abundance of content this allows you or your company to become authorities within your industry. If you become an authority in your industry you can increase your exposure, improve Google placement and potentially increase sales. This is just a no-brainer.

At one time the company with the biggest marketing budget was the company that had the most exposure and sales. The same thing applies here except we are dealing with online content, which has essentially replaced a lot of traditional marketing channels as a way to consume media.

 

How

There are so many ways to create content and so many types of content that you can create, written, visual, video or a combination of all. The most important thing is to provide a variety of types of content and use analytics/insights to gauge the effectiveness of the content that you are providing. Some say that visual content does best, some say video but every audience is different. This is why using the data from analytics is imperative because it will allow you to see what kind of content your readers like. This allows you to create and share more of the content that is in demand and less of the content that is less than favorable.

 

To get a better idea of the importance of creating content for your brand, take a look at the infographic below.

 

Content Marketing

Content Marketing

Infographic via wishpond 

 

As marketing changes so MUST the willingness of companies to keep up with the trends that will keep them ahead of their competitors and content marketing is one of those trends. We no longer have such a high demand for print, brochures but an increasing demand for blogs, newsletters, website articles, white papers, and special reports. Content creators are key to providing this type of content and it is essential that that content be original, engaging and shareable.

 

So stop reading and get started with creating great content for your brand!

 

As usual, I welcome any and all comments good, bad, ugly or indifferent. I can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, find me, follow me and let’s strike up a conversation about content creation!

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Hey Old School Marketers: Your Target Audience is DEAD

Hey Old School Marketers: Your Target Audience is DEAD

Hey Old School Marketers: Your Target Audience is DEAD

Hey Old School Marketers: Your Target Audience is DEAD

I grew up in an era that was not technology focused; there were no computers, mobile devices, or Internet when I was in high school. My generation did not even grow up with cable. In fact I remember when cable initially hit the scene, when MTV actually played music and the HUGE campaign “I want My MTV” which was used to push MTV to mainstream. Oh, those were the days. A lot has happened with the growth of technology since my high school years. If you have been able to adapt and embrace this super fast growth of technology, that is fantastic. However, if you have not you could be a little screwed now and a lotta’ screwed later. This, is especially the case if you are trying to run a business based on philosophies and an organizational structure from the 1980’s, MTV Era. The biggest mistake in taking that path is that this audience is dead or on life support.

Think about this, we are reaching an age when we have augmented reality and your business cards can talk. We are moving toward the Semantic Web, closer to an era when ALL of the computers mechanisms in our devices will be able to communicate with each other. Do you seriously THINK that people are in touch with old school methods? NO one is looking backward, or I should say consumers aren’t looking backward. This means that your organization is being left behind,  if you are not forward thinking.

Companies that have not embraced our new social oriented culture and the growing mobile market, are  whistling in the wind. Those companies are targeting a dwindling population. Just visualize it as a numbers game. Think about the target markets that are NOT online and those that are NOT mobile, this number is growing smaller and smaller as more people embrace the digital marketing space. So companies should NOT be gearing  their primary marketing campaigns toward a demographic that is shrinking. It’s really common sense. Companies should be looking to always GROW their audience NOT focus on the shrinking audiences.

Social-Media-Stats-of-2013

Social-Media-Stats-of-2013

In essence, in choosing NOT to adapt to newer technologies companies are choosing to throw in the towel on their businesses whether they realize it or not. Companies MUST go where their audiences are, that’s the only way in which they will continue to grow. In fact Seth Godin wrote a post “What do you think of my brochure? ” 7 YEARS ago, about the total reliance on brochures as a way to reach an audience. That piece was applicable in 2006 and is even more so now.

The Internet is the 2nd most widely utilized channel for news. If people go to the Internet and social media channels for something as valuable and important as news, they will also go there for other information as well. So, every business SHOULD make it a priority to have a strong social media and mobile presence. The old saying, “If we build it, they will come.” definitely applies to a strong digital footprint. On the other hand, if we build it and it’s geared toward a dwindling demographic, they may NOT come. As business owners we should be interested in substantially shifting those odds in our favor by going where our customers are.

Where America Turns To For News  via Gallup.com

Where America Turns To For News via Gallup.com

Ultimately if companies are not tapping a new more social and mobile oriented market with content geared for this demographic, they are taping a dead audience. Take a look at the video below to see exactly HOW much social and mobile is ingrained in who we are, as a culture now.

People are on the go, we now live in a super fast paced world, and people are looking for content that they can access easily and quickly on their mobile device. They DO not want to read a companies long-winded prepackaged full-page ad in whatever magazine that’s lying about in an office or waiting room. They want quick access by way of mobile while they are on the go. So as business owners we must be willing to supply them with this information or they will go to competitors that will.

The take away, while your organization is spewing their prepackaged printed message, other more innovative companies are going where their audiences are and moving past that 1980’s strategy. The time to step it up was a few years ago and companies that have not done so may be living a “STUFF” got real nightmare if they select to continue on this path.

I am not saying that companies should roll over and die, I am trying to subtly nudge those living in a time warp to adapt or die.

As usual, I welcome all comments, good, bad, ugly or indifferent. I welcome dialogue even if we don’t agree, so follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and lets start a conversation.

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It’s A Brand New World, It’s Mobile And Is Your Organization Ready?

Mobile
Just a few years ago people were feeling a sense of urgency to get a very basic web presence up and running. Now companies that panicked in creating that very basic website now have bigger issues if they have not moved beyond updating that website.

 

Organizations not only have to keep up with all of the changes with web creation vs content management systems, they now have to integrate mobile into the mix. With the integration of mobile platforms, organizations must be able to adapt marketing strategies for mobile while keeping up with the many changes that go along with those platforms.

 

It is a brand new world, that world is fast moving, powerful and can literally fit in your pocket. We are living in a world driven by mobile technology and users that need to have an ongoing source of information all the time and at their fingertips drive this. This is GREAT for people like me that are driven by technology, that have embraced this super quick moving technology but for businesses it can be tough keeping up. Especially if your organization is NOT technology focused.

 

So, not only do organizations have to adapt to mobile technology they MUST see that the dynamic that pushed the change are the people that are utilizing these technologies. PEOPLE are the driving force behind the change, they consume information differently, and they NEED to have information at their fingertips. So since organization MUST adapt their business strategy to incorporate mobile technology they must also understand that people have also changed. This understanding will help in visualizing the future sales and marketing strategies of their organizations.

 

At one time people were fine with consuming content by way of traditional sources such as newspapers,  radio, television and other printed materials. NOW there’s a wave of people that have limited interest in those forms of media. These are the people that are driving the super quick change and this is a huge demographic that organizations must adapt their content for and recognize that these people are the population that are driving the change.

 

Mobile technologies are growing at a quicker rate than any technology in history. Take a look at the infographic below to give you the what, when, how and why of this growth and what you need to do to adapt your organizational structure to capitalize from this growth.

 

 

Infographic Source:  InternetService.net Infographic Source:  InternetService.net  

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Digital Marketing: Targeting Your Audience [Infographic]

Digital Marketing

 

Digital Marketing will be used to some degree for practically every marketing campaign moving forward. Whether we go with a campaign that includes video, slides or social media channels, digital marketing now is a huge aspect of marketing now.  One of the most important things we can do when deciding which digital marketing channel that we utilize is deciding which platform(s) may target our audience best. This is becoming increasingly more important with so many digital marketing channels available now.

 

If we want to be successful in our Digital Market campaigns it is very important to stay abreast of all of the channels but also to be aware that all channels do not fit the needs of all audiences. For instance Pinterest is primary geared toward a female demographic so if we are marketing services that are geared mostly toward men, this may not be the ideal platform to use.

 

Take a look at the Infographic below to give you an idea of HOW to target the proper digital marketing channel for your target audience.

Digital Marketing: Targeting Your Audience

Digital Marketing: Targeting Your Audience

Please Include Attribution to InternetServiceProviders.org With This Graphic

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That guy just posted some stuff to #Facebook, He’s obviously an EXPERT. I’ll hire him said no company ever!

DigitalMarketingManager

I often have conversations about Digital Marketing and how things have changed. We have gone from focusing on Social Media and toward focusing on Digital Marketing all within a year. Although there has been a transition in dialogue and definitely a shift in consciousness, one thing that has not shifted is the degree of people claiming to be experts.

I’ve had a number of people say, “ I am a F-ing Expert.” Oh, I’m sorry seriously? I wonder if these people realize that I’ve been following them on a variety of social media channels AND I have a permanent echo in my mind of some of the dumbazz questions that I’ve seen in their feed. So, um yeah you post some stuff to your Facebook page but a Digital Marketer, that does not make you.

We have really reached the age in technology that companies are searching for more than a person that can post a few cute animal photos to their Facebook feed. I have always said that Digital Marketing is about way more than just posting content to Facebook. The social media aspect of digital marketing is about posting content that reaches out to touch readers/views and engages them enough for them to respond and share. This is of course all WITHOUT tagging 200 friends with the highest Klout score.

Not only do the peers of the so called experts KNOW that these people are no such thing, so do employers looking for talent in the Digital Marketing space. It’s NOT enough to post some stuff to Facebook, you must be on your game now that capabilities in this space is high. The first indication that a person is NOT on their game is those that claim the loudest about their expertise in an industry are usually the ones that aren’t. How can you be an expert in a field that is growing at super quick speed? The people that are dominating this space are those that quietly go about their way doing their thing while continuing to learn their craft.

It is not even a question about companies diving into this space; it is a must if they want to stay in business. Guess what, if you really think that claiming that you are an expert is going to be enough, good luck with that.

I read a statistic that said 90% of content consumed occurs in front of a screen. This means that most of the content that is being read, which has to be created by someone will probably be created by someone in the Digital Marketing space.

A huge part of being a Digital Marketer is creating engaging, relevant shareable content NOT just posting some crap on Facebook. Although the creation of this content is very important, there are so many more things that define what digital marketing is all about. Those that GET THIS, will be the ones that will be in demand in this space.

Right now we are at a pivotal moment in history and in the growth of this industry and it’s the ultimate Shit Got Real moment. NOW is a time when the Marketers that are so in demand move to the top of the pack and the chest beating, “Im a F-ing expert” Gurus fade to black.

If you want to compete in this space it’s time to start doing and stop yapping. Some of the in-demand skills are any combination of the following:

  • Social Media Marketing
  • Social Media Optimization
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Content Management Systems
  • Web Analytics
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Web Usability
  • Mobile Web
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Direct Response Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Content Optimization
  • Product Marketing
  • Branding
  • Marketing Agency Experience
  • Project Management
  • Video Editing/Creation
  • Video Marketing
  • Social Media Analytics and more

This list includes just some of the expectations of a Digital Marketer that I’ve read about. So needless to say you MUST be on your A Game, beyond just posting stuff on Facebook and boasting about your perception of your own expertise.

Hiring within this Digital Marketing Space is at an all time high and I expect that it will be continuing it’s upward growth. This growth is primarily due to the opinion that traditional marketing is failing in the area of producing tangible results. There was a huge report conducted by The Harvard Business Review, which states that CEO ‘s are tired of traditional marketing that lack results. This opinion is probably a huge factor in the growth of the Digital Marketing Industry. Take a look at the graphic below to display the growth in this field.

[Source: WANTED Analytics] Digital Marketing Employment Growth

[Source: WANTED Analytics] Digital Marketing Employment Growth

Although traditional marketing may be struggling according to this study it doesn’t minimize the need for businesses to market their companies capabilities. This is one of the things that are fueling the growth of Digital Marketers. It allows companies that are hiring to merge services already in use with new technologies to cover an area that is growing exponentially.

So if you are on your game in this digital marketing space, you are holding a winning hand right now. Take a look at the areas in which companies expect to place organizational focus in the graphic below.

Digital Growth Areas 2013

Digital Growth Areas 2013

If you are NOT holding a winning hand in some of these area, brush up on your skills, stop bragging and get on your game. Because really no one wants to hear about what a rock star, guru, maven what-ever-the-hell you are calling yourself this week, especially if your game AIN’T TIGHT.

As usual, I welcome comments, good, bad, ugly or indifferent. I can be reached by Facebook, Google+ or Twitter. I’m pretty sure the GURU’s will be the first to comment.

If You WANT To Be A Chief Digital Officer You’d Better Start Preparing NOW

Cheif Digital Officer

 

It seems that the role of digital marketing is having an even bigger impact on the organizational structure than anyone had thought it would. At one time the only player in the technology driven workspace was the IT Department. They WERE the GODS of the workplace, the organizational powers that be, the Oz of all things with a technology function.

 

Well, times are a changin’ and those changing times are directly connected to super quick growth of digital marketing. As we continue to venture into the digital space more and more, it is realized that the IT space is very different than the Digital Marketing space. The traditional IT departments’ focus has been on supplying information and technology resources, updating software, infrastructure, viruses, onsite servers and more.  These functions are very different than what is required within the ever-changing digital marketing space. Digital Marketers although technology focused have a different function and that’s to adapt business processes from traditional to digital.  The function of Digital Marketers are geared toward but not limited to Social Media Optimization, Big Data, Content Management, Digital communications, Social Engagement and more.

 

This space is growing, as is the demand for employees in this Digital Marketing space. It’s not just about having a great website anymore, that was so last decade. Now businesses are scrambling to adapt to changes in consumer behavior. If you know anything about business, you know that losing touch with consumer behavior could be equivalent to digging a grave for your organization.  At one time, consumers read circulars and clipped coupons. Now, consumers use their ipads, mobile devices and QR code scanners to compare pricing and grab deals. Organizations must have a sense of urgency if they plan to keep up with these changes in consumer behaviors. Quite simply they must adapt or die.

 

Organizations are now aggressively trying to catch up and keep up. They must now be on top of mobile, social, local, visual in ADDITION to web.  Lets not even discuss what new technology is looming just seconds away from being the NEXT BIG thing. The ability to adapt is huge for any organization! This is where the need for a Chief Digital Officer would come in. So, now is the time to jump into this space if you have not done so already.

 

Roles such as Chief Digital Officer will be an integral part of any organization and they will play a huge role in the very structure of the organization as it moves from traditional to digital.  These Digital Marketing pioneers will be responsible for moving the company’s entire digital presence to another level, from initial digital project development and beyond.  There will be a need to tackle ecommerce, online marketing and social media and transformation of analog to digital media. So this field is huge and growing faster than anyone ever imagined, I’m sure.

 

According to a study, it is predicted that 25% of businesses will have created and filled the position of Chief Digital Officer by 2015. That is just two years away, so I suggest you dive into the digital marketing space right now if you have not done so already.

 

If you are in anyway dabbling, working and/or educating yourself about Digital Marketing Technologies you may find yourself on the receiving end of aggressive pursuit because the supply has yet to catch up with the demand for those with this knowledge.

 

Take a look at the slideshow below to give you an idea of some trends that have been instrumental in directing us toward this path of no return.

 

In closing I say, we are living through a historical time when everything is transforming before our eyes. NOW is the time to be apart of history making events that will be as pivotal as the 1st automobile, the invention of electricity and/or the 1st color tv.  I recommend anyone that has even the smallest interest in digital marketing dive right in……. the waters warm.

 

As usual, I welcome comments, good, bad, ugly or indifferent. You can catch me on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ !   Cheers!

Are Women Falling Behind In The #Digital Marketing Space? [Infographic]

BehindInTEch

 

We are indeed in a new era now and yet there are still organizations that haven’t really fully grasped that times have changed. There are still remnants of what the world was before The Digital Marketing Revolution, but much has changed. A huge example of exactly how much has changed is TIME Magazine’s decision to go totally digital with their magazine. Pay attention!

 

Digital Marketing has literally changed the world in the past few years and will continue to alter the things that we have become accustomed to.  We are moving past what once was to a new reality in the digital marketing space.  Digital Marketing has changed how content is created and how content is consumed. So many things have changed from tradition to digital.  We now consume most of our media, news and other content digitally. We are now moving toward mobile payments by way of our mobile phones. Advertising will soon be virtual and visual by way of Google Goggles or a similar device. Semantic Web is moving close to our reality, nudging us into a world where all of our devices will have the ability to communicate with each other.  WE are literally in a brand new world and it’s happened so quickly.

 

Organizations’ door of opportunity of denial about the importance of digital marketing is closing swiftly. ALL organizations should be embracing this technology, no exceptions!  I believe that the full transition to digital marketing is not only mandatory but inevitable.  As an individual you can continue to deny the importance but on an organization level, it is NOT the wisest move.  Women, unfortunately may be in denial more than others. C’mon ladies step it up!

 

Back in the day people started their day with coffee and a newspaper. NOW people start and END their day with their Facebook feed. HELLO!!!!  That means if you are NOT on Facebook and other digital marketing channels you are missing the opportunity to float your company content through the newsfeed of hundreds maybe thousands of people.  Can you afford to miss that kind of opportunity, as an organization? Believe that your competitors (at least the ones that HAVE stepped their game up) are willing to embrace the technology that you are NOT willing to embrace. So, RIGHT now your competitors are reaching YOUR customers. Awkward.

 

We MUST start to think about Facebook and all digital media channels as the source of news that was once totally dominated by traditional media sources like newspapers and the local news. PLEASE DON’T WRITE ME, MISUNDERSTANDING WHAT I AM SAYING because I am not saying that those venues are no longer relevant ONLY that there is now competition and that those channels no longer dominate media as they have in the past. People can and are tuning in to Facebook on a regular basis, maybe more so than traditional news channels. I know personally when I get a bit of a buzz about a breaking story, I don’t run out to buy a newspaper, or wait for the 6:00 news!  I pull out my iphone and check my Facebook newsfeed. Every FACEBOOK page and Facebook friend are discussing news that hasn’t yet reached the televised media channels. Why would you NOT want your organizational content floating through the newsfeed of people that feel a need to have information FROM YOUR ORGANIZATION at their fingertips? Even if you have a rockin’ website social media is the vehicle that will push your web content to your readers and present an opportunity for readers to share that content with their friends. Umm WIN!

 

As an organization it is not important to be savvy in the digital marketing space just to say you are, but it is important for the well being and continued growth of your organization.  Think of digital marketing channels as the VEHICLE that will drive your content to current and future clients. It’s just that simple. If you EVER doubt the importance of the digital marketing space and why you your organization needs to play an active role, again, take a look at the choice that TIME magazine made to go totally digital. YOU need YOUR ORGANIZATION to be a part of this revolution. Adapt or DIE!

 

Although there are many women business owners that have really embraced digital marketing, there are still some that really don’t see the big picture about the digital marketing space, it seems as if women are ignoring the importance to a greater degree than men.  This is unfortunate especially in organizations when men tend to rule, this could be an opportunity for women to move ahead of the pack.  Although women that are NOT business owners are affected more by the lack of movement in the digital marketing space, there are unfortunately women at all levels that are lagging behind. There seems to be a Digital Marketing and Internet usage disconnect about the importance of this technology that is affecting women more than men and this could have devastating consequences to women business owners if not addressed sooner rather than later.

 

Take a look at the infographic below to see how much women of all educational and economic levels are falling behind in the digital marketing space.  On a personal level women may be able to bounce back from this but women business owners may have more of a challenge ahead if they chose to continue to ignore the importance of Digital Marketing to the wellbeing of their organization.

 

 

Women Lag Men By 25% In Internet Adoption

Graphic via Braintrack

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