Interview with Dave Rohrer: See Him Speak at @Pubcon NOLA

dave-rohrerDave Rohrer, Sr. SEO Strategist at Covario, will be speaking about content marketing at Pubcon NOLA on Tuesday March 18, 11:30a 12:45p in Salon C. He will also be speaking on the In-House Team Building and Training panel on Tuesday 4:00p 5:00p on Salon A.

Dave started his online career in 1999 as a web developer where he quickly gravitated towards SEO and online marketing. He spent 10 years in-house as an online marketing manager and SEO manager where he gained a deep understanding of how all facets of online marketing work together. In his free time he is helping startups with their SEO and PPC campaigns

You are speaking at Pubcon NOLA about Content Marketing. Can you give us some hints on what you will be discussing?

I am going to cover two Ps of content marketing – process and pivot. I am going to give the audience some ideas on how to best organize themselves to create content and then measure what is working to pivot as they need.

You have been an in-house SEO and worked at an agency so you understand the importance of content marketing in regards to SEO to businesses. What do you think businesses need to understand?

Not everything you do is going to blow up and drive 100s/1000s of links, retweets, likes, or plus ones. You should have an overall strategy with lots of small projects and a few “go big or go home” projects mixed in. This overall strategy should have goals, metrics and be tied to the business itself but be flexible enough to jump on opportunities as they come up.

What are some content marketing mistakes that make you cringe?

There are many, but two that quickly come to mind are:

1. People assume that ‘this’ is going viral

2. ‘This’ should be easy and not cost anything. Even with the best content, plan, and outreach you aren’t guaranteed anything. Your audience may not care, your timing may be off or a competitor will launch something similar just a week prior (had it happen). Nothing is easy and doing diligent research, creating visuals, hiring developers and writers all cost time and money.

What are 3 general recommendations you could make to any business in regards to content marketing?

Just three is all I can give? For any business I think I would ask myself these three questions prior to any new project and then answer them prior to moving forward:

1. What is the goal of this project, how does it fit in with our overall marketing strategy and how are we going to judge its success?

2. What is our budget and resources to put towards it?

3. What is our overall plan for research, production, and promotion?

Do you have a favorite content marketing #fail?

Does Pepsi Clear count? How about New Coke? I don’t know that I have a favorite specific fail that comes to mind. I do however count any project that is being led by someone that has perhaps seen “Field of Dreams” one too many times a #fail

You have to build it right and promote it! It takes hard work and luck for something to go BIG.

If people want to learn more about effective content marketing strategies what resources would you recommend?

I think you can learn quite a bit from just looking at different companies/industries and seeing what is working and failing. What have your competitors tried and what has worked/failed for them? I’d also suggest watching for the type of content people share on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest that you know but more importantly what your target customer shares. You can always create a Private List on Twitter and “follow” people and companies. I also suggest checking out what this guy Matt does and says. Lastly, I suggest giving a read to Todd’s  “The Link Baiting Playbook: Hooks Revisited” which I often use to help brainstorm ideas on how to frame a project.

Do you have any recommendations for Pubcon NOLA attendees?

Put down your phone and/or laptop. Tell your husband/wife/boss that you have to go. Then go to the exhibit hall, go to sessions, go to dinner and events and meet people from the conference. My goal at every conference is to try and meet and then get to know at least one or two new people. I’ve written about this in the past (Pubcon Networking Above and Beyond), and so has Ralf, and the key take away is just this – get out and network and meet people! If you want another example I can give you a recent tweet from Joe Hall where I personally know and have met 8 of the people (Joe included) on that list through conferences over the years.

Fun Possible questions – (conference fodder)

  • Biggest Pet Peeve – Having to repeat myself (sorry Mom, I understand now!)
  • Mac or PC? PC – I tried banning Apple products, but the wife snuck one in (and
  • eventually more)
  • Beach or Snow? I live in Chicago, have you heard about our winter? Beach please!
  • Beer, Wine or Neither? I will look to George Thorogood on this – “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” but please hold the scotch
  • Star Wars or Star Trek? Original Star Wars

Thanks Dave!

We really appreciate your time and fantastic answers. We will see you on March 18th! If you haven’t been able to hear Dave speak yet I highly recommend you go see him at Pubcon! You can find Dave on Twitter @Daver.

7 Reasons It Kills to Have Awesome Content

What Makes a Good Infographic chart by DashburstIn the music world, a one-hit wonder is a group that hits it big with one song that rises quickly in the Top 40, but then that group is never heard from again. Think Pseudo Echo’s “Funkytown,” Calloway’s “I Want to Be Rich” or Billie Meyers’ “Kiss the Rain.” Being a one-hit wonder is great in the moment — you get tons of attention and make a little money — but most singers would rather have a career like the Beatles or Madonna, who produce consistent hits that stand the test of time.

So it is for content marketing. It’s easy to become a one-hit wonder with a fluke infographic or video that goes viral. But it’s much more rewarding to offer consistently impressive content that remains relevant a week, a month or even a year from now. Among the many arguments for high-quality content, the most convincing is the many long-term benefits of using this strategy. Investing in content can pay off in a plethora of ways, not the least of which is more sales. In fact, 90 percent of consumers say that custom content is useful to them.

Here’s a look at seven reasons why it’s worth offering awesome content and how that strategy can work for you.

1. Increase Your Search Engine Presence

It stands to reason that the more content you put out there, the greater your online presence. And the greater your online presence, the more chance there is that someone will come across your site on Google. When you’re publishing lots of high-quality content, that’s a lot of information for Google to crawl. Make sure you are optimizing it correctly, which will help you show up in results more often. On average, a site with a blog boosts indexed pages and indexed links by a whopping 434 percent.

Some high-quality content you may want to consider publishing:

  • Blog posts
  • Studies
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • White papers
  • Podcasts

 2. Offer Link Bait

It only makes sense: The cooler the content you publish, the more people will want to link to it. Link bait is essentially anything that is so compelling, so unique and so interesting that it draws people in, and prompts them to link to it from their own sites. There are many forms of link bait. “How Tos” and “Ultimate Guides” are two approaches that tend to get a lot of link backs. Infographics are also a rich source for link bait.

3. Build Trust with Your Potential Customers

Advertising is a proven way to raise awareness of your business. But if you want to really connect with consumers and teach them what your company is all about, content marketing is the best approach. Seven in 10 consumers say they would rather learn about a company by reading articles than through an advertisement. Your content should convey not only your mission statement, but the essence of what’s important to you and your business.

For instance, CJ Pony Parts is in the business of selling Mustang parts to collectors. But its owners are also car enthusiasts who care about Mustangs, as reflected in their recent infographic The Reveal of the 2015 Mustang, which demonstrates the company’s giddy excitement about the new reveal.

 Mustang infographic

4. Grow Your Newsletter

Part of creating great content is training people to look to your company as a source for great information. When you consistently offer new information, unique perspectives and invaluable advice, you’ll have people clamoring to get your newsletter so that they never miss a post. As a business, this is valuable because you have a greater chance to reach out with them through newsletter posts, and thus also a better chance to close a sale.

5. Drive More Social Shares

Loose Threads infographicWhen you post something that is out of the ordinary or has popular appeal, you will get more shares on social media. People like to show others the things that make them laugh or make them think. When your content engages them, they will want to know what others think about it, too.

One smart way to do this is to piggyback on a topic that many people are interested in, such as a pop culture event. For instance, rehab center Clarity Way had great success with an infographic about “Breaking Bad,” the popular AMC drama. The Loose Ends that Could Unravel Walter White went viral in 2013, getting tons of traffic from Facebook and StumbleUpon shares. Plus, a pop-culture-focused topic like this is just fun to produce.

6. Increase Your Social Following

Not only will you earn more social shares with top-notch content, you’ll also build up an audience of loyal followers who want to hear from you. Think about your own social media accounts. You follow people who have interesting things to say and who share information that you want to pass on to others.

By sharing blog posts, studies and infographics, things your followers can’t find elsewhere, you’ll establish yourself as an expert in the field. And experts tend to have a huge social media presence. Just look at Moz. The search engine optimization site has established itself as one of the top-shelf experts in the field by publishing engaging and informative stories, and that’s reflected in its social media. Moz has 287,000 Twitter followers and almost 146,000 Facebook fans.

7. Close More Sales

Ultimately, closing sales is what your business is aiming for, and you can achieve that goal by employing smart content marketing strategies. This approach helps turn visitors into customers, especially when you employ sales-driven content, such as:

  • Product pages
  • Product content blogs
  • Product awareness surveys
  • Sales training presentations
  • Product digest emails

The Smart Approach to Marketing

There are many benefits to offering high-quality content to your customers. In addition to establishing your company as a thought leader in your field, it can also pay off with greater sales, increased social media reach and a boom in newsletter subscribers. Just make sure that the content you’re producing is actually high quality. Pumping out oodles of low-quality blog posts and mediocre infographics is not going to have nearly as great an impact as smart, well-researched content.

5 Ways I Eliminate Potential Clients

WarningI am not the most experienced person out there, but I have enough experience to have learned to watch out for particular warning signs from those that are reaching out to me for work.

Sadly, I learned these warning signs from dealing with difficult clients. So, I want to share some tips that might help you avoid dealing with a difficult client that will end up making your life miserable.

This post was inspired by a conversation with Dave Rohrer.

1. I Don’t Reply to an Inquiry For a Minimum of 24 Hours

I know if you are really needing the work this may seem like a dumb idea, but just stay with me for a few minutes…

Someone calls about needing your services and leaves a message. Same day, 1-2 hours later they either call again, email or use your contact form to inform you that they called. Then, they either contact you again the same day or the next morning angry that you have not responded.

danger

WARNING SIGN!!! This person has an inflated sense of self-importance. They believe that you should stop whatever it is you are doing and reply to them immediately! How dare you not be honored at the idea of working for them? I shiver just thinking about it!

If you chose to work with someone like this let me spell out what the next few months will be like:

  • They will expect you to be at their beck and call days, nights and weekends.
  • They will not stop calling even when you tell them you don’t work on nights and weekends.
  • God forbid you let a few hours go by after an email – you will receive an email or 4 about how they are dissatisfied with your professionalism.
  • They will have unrealistic expectations in regards to, well really everything.
  • They will not EVER have real respect for you and it will show in how they treat you.
  • You will spend so much time managing them and their expectations that when you tally up the time spent on them you will see you are losing money.
  • They will stress you out and you don’t need that kind of stress.

There are exceptions to this rule like when there is a crisis. Example, the time Godaddy got hacked and millions of sites were messed up. Those people were desperate and needed help and they paid well to get the help.

2. “I Need Your Services and I Have an MBA!”

stuckupmoron

Oh man, if someone has to scream at you about their MBA and how smart they are on the initial contact this is someone you don’t want to deal with.

I will swear on a stack of Bibles that every time I have worked with someone like this they are the dumbest people I have ever worked with. YET, they believe they are smarter than everyone else.

  • They don’t listen.
  • They question everything!
  • They double check your work even though they really have no idea what you are doing.
  • The insist on changes constantly because they believe that they know better, an MBA an all, so changes must be needed!
  • They want constant meetings, because they think meetings are what are really important. Tons of meetings, yet they never give you what you asked for in the meetings.
  • They are argumentative and there is often a level of narcissism that will irritate you like nails on a chalkboard.

I AM NOT SAYING anyone with an MBA is like this; I am saying those that have to say that they have it right away and explain how smart they are like this.

3. They Want to Talk on the Phone for Advice First

phonecreepI will admit that when I first started I would talk on the phone and I gave away too much free advice and these people never ended up paying me a dime! If they say they want to hear if you have solid advice first you will be wasting the time you could spend with a paying client.

There are people that excel at getting on the phone and getting free information and they have no intention of ever paying for it. They won’t become a client, they are sneaky people! So, if someone calls and they have a legitimate business question and they want to know if you can help, okay. You can help, but don’t you dare give them anything for free.

Also, if someone really respects you they will believe you deserved to be paid for your time. Always remember that.

4. “I Need Your Help so Bad, But I Have Little Money”

no money!

There are so many of these that come in that it is crazy! I tried back in the day to work with some of these folks and here is what I discovered:

  • Many of them had plenty of money to spend, but were cheap as crap.
  • All of the low paying clients took more time than any other client.
  • I lost money on every single one of these clients!!!!!
  • They kept wanting more for nothing.
  • When they didn’t get what they thought they deserved (unlimited help, website changes, etc.) they were rude.

These are some of the most stressful clients to have and you won’t even make any money, so walk way before it starts. If you have clients like this now let them go before your brain explodes!

At this point in my career if I am giving you help I am getting get paid well for it. You get what you pay for.

5. “I Want a Quote for X, Y, and Z Services”

QuoteIf these people have no interest in speaking to you or communicating and state they just want the quote, period, they are doing one of two things:

  1. Collecting 20 quotes for their boss & the cheapest one wins (which means they know nothing, so you don’t want to work with them anyway).
  2. They are a competing agency acting like they need services to get info on your prices.

Those That Want to Talk on the Phone or Email

Some of these people will want to talk, but they don’t understand why you need to get a lot of information before you can give them a price. Basically, they don’t understand that you need to evaluate how much work will be needed before you can calculate a price.

I would say 15% of the people get it after I explain why I need to gather info first and then tell me I am the first SEO person to even explain that. BOOM, trust created and possible client. The other 85% are like, “Well that is all fine and good, but this other company quoted me $XX a month. Can you match that.” BOOM, instantly not a possible client. These folks don’t get it and they won’t and they also fit in the #4 category above.

So, If You Run Your Own Business

It is really up to you which clients you take and which ones you don’t. In the beginning everyone takes every client they can to build up their business and they deal with nightmare clients. It is kind of like paying dues, but as your experience and reputation grow you  should get to choose who you want to work with. I say “Aim for Sane!”.

It is better to have less money and be less miserable than it is to have extra money and want to shoot yourself in the head every night.

Guest Blogging Hacks from a Guest Blogger

helpful tipsThis title probably seems all wrong because no one should be “just a guest blogger,” but even if there was “just a guest blogger” he/she shouldn’t be using any kinds of hacks or shortcuts (at least not according to Matt Cutts). Nevertheless, we all know that guest bloggers still exist and guest bloggers have little tricks they use to be successful.

It’s true that guest blogging should be about more than links and shouldn’t be your only tactic when it comes to SEO, I agree with this completely, but even when you’re following these rules and doing everything right it helps to have a few hacks to get your by. As a full time “guest blogger” (who is also an editor, in charge of outreach, analyzing data, following trends, etc.), I know a few of these tricks and I know how helpful they can be, so let’s get right to it!

Top Guest Blogging Hacks Only a Guest Blogger Would Know

You still have some of your obvious guest blogging rules (put out quality content and make sure you edit being number one), but below are some tips that I’ve found you only learn from experience:

  • Have an article ready to go when you pitch your ideas, just in case.

It’s always nice if an editor has something to work with right off the bat. This shows that you’re serious and shows that the process doesn’t have to take too long. Always offer to send other story ideas, but send something so he/she can get a feel for your writing right away.

  • If you have a good portfolio, mention that before you even utter the word “guest post” (this includes in the subject line).

Many times an editor will be so annoyed with people asking to gust post that he/she won’t even continue reading an email if it seems like that’s where the message is going. However, if you have a good portfolio and have worked with good sites in the past, chances are that editor will want to work with you. You’re the one out of hundreds, remember, so it’s best to get all of that out there before you mention guest blogging. I usually use the subject heading “HigherVisibility Inquiry” as opposed to “Guest Post for Your Site,” and I’ve found this really works.

  • Don’t mention links back to your website at all. Put your author bio at the bottom of your article and be done with it—by now most good editors understand that you want one link back to your company.

This point is coming directly from Matt Cutts himself. In his announcement about guest blogging for spam, he gave an example pitch that talked about needing a link and how the company was willing to pay for it. Even if you’re not necessarily asking to buy a link, it’s best not to mention it at all. Talk to an editor about your experience and what your article is about, and let the obvious speak for itself.

  • It’s who you know more than what you know. Name-drop and ask for introductions.

If you have a close relationship with one editor who happens to know another editor that you want to work with, see if you can get an introduction. This will go much further than sending out an email on your own, and it’s usually well received in the SEO world. It’s also not a good idea to name-drop in your pitch unless you clear it with the person you’re mentioning, but name-drop website names anytime you can!

  • You’re going to get ignored, but keep those sites on the back burner. On that same note, a follow-up email goes a long way.

I oftentimes find that a website will get back to me after I’ve sent a follow-up email. It shows I’m serious and it gives them a reason to actually respond (after all, a spammer isn’t going to send a follow-up email). If a site ignores you after a follow-up, record that and then try to circle back in 6 months. It could be under new management or remember you from before, which again, shows you’re really serious.

The Takeaway for Small Business Owners

This might be an article catered toward writers, but even if you’re a small business owner some of this information can be helpful. By understanding how guest blogging works and some of the techniques that go into being successful, you will be able to weed out some of the better writers out there.

Are you a guest blogger with any tricks you’d like to share? Any stories you’ve learned from in the past? Let us know your thoughts and your story in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock marekuliasz

Social Media Storm: Responding to Negative Comments

social mediaIf you run a business you likely have a presence on several social media channels, if not, then you should! Don’t be taken aback when you receive negative comments via social media. If it has not happened to you yet, congratulations! But sooner or later it will. I mean let’s face it, we are all human and we cannot please everyone.

In an ideal world everyone would have a pleasant experience but everyone is different and my idea of a pleasant experience and your idea of one may be totally different, therefore we would give two very different reviews of the customer experience.

Negativity Happens

It will all go down a bit like this: you will be working in your office when you suddenly get a notification from Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. At first this is going to be exciting because someone commented on your business profile, right? Yes, that’s right, after all, social media is all about engagement so you are absolutely ready to engage with your customer. However, as you read the comment, you are totally crushed. This person had a negative experience and they are not happy with your brand at all. The more you read the worse you feel.

You should be very concerned for your brand about this negative experience, BUT you also CANNOT take this personally. The last thing you need is to take the comment personally, lash out at the customer, and then have to backtrack trying to repair yet ANOTHER negative experience. Or worse, start a viral case of bad PR for your business!

The important thing for your brand is to be prepared for these negative comments BEFORE they happen. So let’s take a look at some easy steps to responding to negative comments on social media.

3 Steps to be Prepared for the Social Media Negativity Storm:

1. Have a plan in place.

This is the absolute most important step of this process. If you have no plan in place the only plan you do have in place is a giant FAIL! Without a plan the chances of everything going completely wrong and out of control are much higher. To combat this, go ahead and take some time to sit down and work out your plan for negative comments on social media. You should consider having a direct customer service link for the customer such as a direct phone number they can call and speak to someone personally or an email address. Perhaps it will be a specific person dedicated to handling these complaints. Let it be known who that person is. This adds a personal touch and makes the customer feel like they have an advocate on their side. You should already know in your plan what you are willing to offer them in order to correct the situation. This could be a discount, refund, gift card, etc. Whatever it takes to make them happy and turn this negative into a positive.

2. Respond on the fly!

You need to respond to this comment ASAP! The best response time would be within minutes of the comment. If not within minutes you should at least be able to within hours. And, you better respond within 24 hours because by that point you are pushing it. I don’t think anyone is too busy to be able to address a customer service situation. If you are then you need to have someone dedicated to the customer experience. Remember, the longer the comment sits there with no response, the longer the problem sits there festering, continuing to boil to the point of another negative comment or lash out against your brand.

When you do take the time to respond to their comment, stay calm. Let them know you care about their situation and be courteous. You want to let this customer know that you are truly sorry about their negative experience and that you are committed to giving them a positive customer experience on behalf of yourself and your brand. Then you need to quickly get the correspondence offline, out of the public eye. This can be handled via private messages, email, phone calls, etc. utilizing that dedicated customer service person we were talking about.

3. Do not get combative and attack them.

If you need to actually release a statement on social media regarding a specific situation, stay calm, courteous, and positive. Always show your brand’s dedication to a positive customer experience. DO NOT attack the customer or undermine the legitimacy of their complaint. Remember what I said about different people having different opinions about the measurement of a positive customer experience. No matter how big or small, a customer and their concerns should always be important to your business. If you attack and/or downplay their complaint, this will very well likely lead to even more problems with the situations quickly escalating into a PR nightmare for your brand.

By following the above steps, you will be able to minimize the chances of the situation escalating while maximizing the chances of changing the mind of the upset customer. You will also demonstrate to other customers and potential customers that you can handle their frustrations in a professional, helpful matter. These same steps are also useful for customer reviews on Google, Yelp, Foursquare, etc.

You Cannot Ignore

Before we wrap this up, let’s take a look at a major question that you may be thinking: Why can’t I just ignore the negative comments? It can be tempting to just ignore negative comments, especially on social media, and hope they go away. And if you did, you would not be alone; people do it all the time.

Here’s the thing, by ignoring negative comments, your brand is missing out on a prime customer service experience opportunity. Over half of the customers whose complaints do get a response end up with positive feelings about the brand.

Keep in mind, you are not just responding for the upset customer’s sake; social media followers who see that you are ignoring customer complaints will conclude that you don’t really care about customer service and you could lose scores of customers without even knowing it.

The good news is that, by following these steps –having a plan, responding quickly, and avoiding attacking the complainer– you can minimize the damage of a negative comment on social media and prove that you provide the excellent customer service your brand claims to.

Image Credit: Shutterstock Bloomua

AuthorityLabs Now Has AdWords Volume Data and a New API

We have been hard at work on several new features here at AuthorityLabs. We take all customer requests into consideration. When those requests make sense based on our current road map, we do what we can to make sure they are implemented and improve everyone’s experience.

AdWords Volume Data Now Available

Exact match data from AdWords is now being displayed in the volume column of our interface. This is the same data that you would see in the Keyword Planner tool and will be updated regularly. These volume metrics, coupled with ranking data and our universal result reporting are key to determining campaign priorities. Sign in or sign up and check it out.

AuthorityLabs Reporting

API Access for Enterprise Accounts

We know that API access for our interface accounts is something many of you have shown interest in and now it’s here! All paid Enterprise accounts can request access to this new API. Documentation can be found at http://docs.authoritylabs.apiary.io/. If you would like to get started, contact us and we will enable the API on your account.