Top Pubcon New Orleans Presentations from Day 1

Pubcon New Orleans kicked off earlier this week with Masters Group sessions beginning on Monday, March 17, 2014. But for most, Pubcon started on Tuesday, March 18, 2014. If you missed Tuesday of this event, don’t worry we’ve got you covered! Several topics, including Organic SEO, Paid Search, Content Marketing and much more were covered Tuesday with tons of great speakers.

Here is a list of the top presentations:

Organic Search:

Algorithm Chaos – PubCon NOLA 2014 by Jake Bohall of Virante from Jake Bohall

Paid Search:

PPC Basics "5 Steps to PPC Success" – Pubcon New Orleans 2014 by Mark Barrera from Mark Barrera

Content Marketing:

Visual Side of Content Marketing from Mat Siltala

Possession (of Content) with Intent to Distribute from Ben Cook

Optimizing Content for Discovery and Conversion from Copyblogger Media

Selling Guns to Gandhi: Getting Content Buy-In – Pubcon New Orleans 2014 from AXZM

7 Quick No-No’s on Mobile Site Design

irritated mobile userWhen it comes to mobile website design, keep it simple. Less is more is a good motto.

Remember your mobile website users are fast-paced. When they are on their phone, they want everything easily accessible and on the fly. They do not have the time or patience to sort though website that is clunky and full of salesy BS trying to sweet talk into their wallet. They want to get right down to the point and get their fast. Make sure you that the first thing they see when they land on your mobile site is the most important information.

Here are 7  quick mobile website design no-no’s:

1. Using Pop-Ups. Pop ups can be a pain in the you know what, and just downright annoying. On mobile devices they are a HUGE problem! The mobile user has to fight to try and get the screen just right in order to be able to close the pop up. Don’t leave them on your mobile website to distract that on-the-go mobile user.

2. Burying Company Contact Info. Make sure your contact info is easily accessible. After all, don’t you actually want the customer to be able to contact you if they are interested in your product and services?!

3. Too Much Text. People using mobile devices are moving. They want to find the information that they need as quick and easy as possible. So don’t make them sift through loads of text and other crap that they DON’T need in order to find what they DO need. Less is more when it comes to mobile website content.

4. Links and Objects Too Close Together. It doesn’t matter who you are, ALL fingers are fatter when navigating on a mobile device! When links and objects are placed too close together it leads to wasted time, effort, and energy for all parties involved.

5. Buttons Too Small. Guess what?! Fat fingers strikes again! Buttons should always be big enough for our fingers. And they should be a safe distance apart so users are not tapping the wrong button. That is so frustrating to be meaning to hit one button but hitting another because it is so close to it. Then you have to spend twice as long navigating you way around because you have to keep backing up. This can lead to mobile users just completely abandoning the effort involved to view your mobile site.

6. Burying the Call-to-Action. As you know, mobile screens are very small, so keep your call to action within the visible screen people see when they land on your mobile site or your conversion rates will suffer. I mean if they can’t see your call to action they certainly probably aren’t going to do what you desire them to do.

7. Long Confusing Forms. Remember your mobile users are on-the-go and often in a hurry to get the information they need. Only use a form if absolutely necessary, and be sure to ask for as little information as possible. If it isn’t essential, save it for your desktop site. The best forms are probably just name and email address unless it is absolutely necessary to obtain more information from the user. The last thing you want is them to get frustrated having to fill out a long form and just abandon your mobile site. We have all been there and done that.

By using the tips above when doing your mobile website design you should create a better overall user experience for your mobile website users, making them appreciate your brand and efforts. Hopefully you will see great strides in your conversion rates. And don’t forget to have your analytics set up for your mobile site as well! You want to be able to track your efforts!

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.

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

How to Increase Your Twitter Engagement by 324%

So everyone knows that nowadays Twitter is all the rave in social media. There are literally millions of people using Twitter with more joining each day. According to Neil Patel, there are more than 190,000,000 visitors to Twitter each month. Did you know that there is more Twitter engagement on Saturdays and Sundays? According to the infographic, these are the best days for engagement and the best times are 9 AM, 12 PM, 3 PM, and 6 PM.

With all that noise on Twitter how do you connect and engage with people? Don’t worry! There are some great tips on increasing engagement in the infographic below from Quicksprout. Neil Patel explains, “How to Increase Your Twitter Engagement by 324%”!

Some Quick Facts about WHAT to tweet from the infographic:

  • Engagement is 200% for Tweets with Images
  • People are 21% more likely to respond to questions, so tweet questions!
  • 86% Retweet rate for tweets that contain links
  • Engagement is 17% higher for tweets
  • 92% of engagement with brand tweets come from link clicks

 

twitterengagementsmall

Image Credit:  Quicksprout