Interview with Matt Siltala: See Him Speak at @Pubcon NOLA

Matt-SiltalaMatt Siltala is the Owner/President of Avalaunch Media and he will be speaking at Pubcon NOLA on Tuesday March 18, 11:30a 12:45p in Salon C. You can also see him on Tuesday from 4-5pm in Salon F for Site Reviews – Focusing on Content Marketing and Development.

Matt is well known and respected for his experience and knowledge about content marketing and social media. Because he is such a brilliant guy we thought we would pick his brain a bit about content marketing and see what we could learn.

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

As most people know, my company, Avalaunch Media specializes in visual content marketing. Things like infographics, interactive graphics, videos & motion graphics. I am obsessed with visual content and these are the things I will be getting into during my presentation. I will be sharing best practices, case studies and tips for staying ahead of the competition.

What content marketing mistakes are you hoping businesses will avoid making in 2014?

The thing that frustrates me the most is people putting up 300 word blog posts with no thought and calling it good in the content marketing department. They don’t use imagery, they don’t answer questions their community is answering, and they are not being helpful. Understanding the things that people are wanting to consume in your specific industry is key, and then coming up with an editorial calendar around that is crucial, and sticking to that calendar is even more critical. You will build up a better audience when people know they can turn to you for consistent information.

Which content marketing strategy do you feel people still don’t quite understand?

I think the fact that people look at things like infographics or videos as “tactics”. They are not tactics, they are part of marketing and an overall strategy when done right. You don’t just do “an infographic” hoping it gets you all the links or brand mentions you could ever want or need, because you typically will fail every time doing that. A plan needs to be in place whether your content is PPTs, white papers, memes, ebooks, infographics or video it is important to remember none of these are “tactics” and that they are all part of “marketing”.

Your company, Avalaunch, makes many beautiful and effective infographics. Can you tell us what you think has to be improved when it comes to infographics?

avalaunchA story needs to be told, and this is where I think a lot of infographics fail. They are thrown together too quickly and they are not thought out or researched out well. Big fonts and big numbers is not data visualization.

When you have a story board you can give your infographic designer that is easy to understand and follow, you will make that data so easy to consume and the public will love it and share it until the cows come home.

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

First one is make sure you do good research, second understand the social network or community that you want the content do well on and third stick to your editorial calendar. Again, consistency is the key here. I often talk about content marketing being like a game of baseball. Most of the time you are going to hit singles and doubles, but every once in a while you will hit a home run or a grand slam. Sticking to an editorial calendar will help build a community so you have more chances for home runs.

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

In all honesty my best resources are paying attention to the major social networks that are out there. I really understand what is doing well on major social networks like Pinterest & Instagram I would pay attention how imagery is being used for example, since these are very visual networks. I recognize what kind of content is being shared the most on specific networks and do my best to create the same type of sharable content. I am not copying what they are doing, only getting ideas and figuring out how to make that work for my clients communities. So the recommendation would be to pay attention to top content that is being passed around and shared on major social networks.

Do you have any recommendations for Pubcon NOLA attendees?

My biggest recommendation to anyone attending is to make sure and say hi to the presenters. They are normal human beings just like you and most of them. I’ve learned that if you buy them a beer, they will just about tell you anything. Also, plan out the sessions you want to attend, with multiple tracks going on, deciding on the spot which session to go to could cause you difficulties. Oh and bring plenty of extra battery power. Most of all have fun and don’t spend all your time in the conference center, see where dinners are taking place and where the parties are going on at and enjoy the city!

Fun Questions – (conference fodder)

Biggest Pet Peeve – being asked what my biggest pet peeve is. :-)
Mac or PC? – Mac all the way baby
Beach or Snow? -  I don’t know what this thing you call snow is??
Beer, Wine or Neither? – I am boring – don’t drink.
Star Wars or Star Trek? – Star Wars
Beer or Wine? – I think you were drinking when you put this together cause you already asked that above :-)

Thanks Matt!

We really appreciate your time and awesome responses. We will see you on March 18th! If you haven’t been able to hear Matt speak yet I highly recommend you go see him at Pubcon! You can also check out his past presentations on Slideshare.

Facebook Makes Changes to Facebook Email

Facebook is posting the following announcement:

“UserName, we want to let you know about an upcoming change to your Facebook email address:

When someone sends you an email at that address, it will no longer go to your Messages on Facebook. Instead, the email will be forwarded to the primary email address on your account:

We’re making this change because most people haven’t been using their Facebook email addresses, and we wanted to make it easier to view all your emails in one place. Plus, we can focus on improving our mobile messaging experience for everyone.

Learn more about your Facebook email.

facebookTo be perfectly honest I was quite irritated when Facebook created their “email address” and didn’t even ask me if I wanted it. I have not utilized it in anyway and I know no one that has. I think Facebook email is/was essentially wasted time, energy and money.

Ask Us What We Think!

I think all social networks, and search engines, could save wasted time, energy and money by asking the users what they would like or not like. If you are not asking your user what they like or don’t like you are missing out on valuable information that could help your company create something amazing and useful.

Marketers are constantly talking about the importance of user feedback. TV and movie studios use test audiences all the time. Product producers use testers and get opinions. What I don’t understand is why social networks and search engines, both are used pretty much non-stop, don’t ask their users what they would need, want or would like or dislike!

Obviously social networks and search engines do a lot of things right, but I think they fail at a lot of things because they fail to get the input of their users. What do you think?


Friday Humor, Because You Deserve It

It is Friday and we have all had a long, exhausting work week. So, I thought I would share some funny videos because you deserve some smiles and laughter today. As you probably know Jimmy Fallon took over the Tonight Show on Monday night and he has some done some hilarious things this week. I thought I would share some of them with you. Happy Friday!

Dancing…I can do none of these.

Rapper’s Delight

The Fabulous Will Ferrell Figure Skating

A Remix of R. Kelly’s Ignition

Something Social Geeks Will Understand

Coca-Cola Sees Content Marketing as Optimal Marketing Strategy

All the marketing blogs are discussing how important content marketing is, but many businesses are still not believers. Well, there is one brand that believes in content marketing and I think most businesses can trust what they have to say, Coca-cola. Looking at how the big brands handle content strategies and targeting is always a good way to gain some insights. Fannit created an infographic based on Coca-cola’s content marketing strategies. Below are four questions/strategies summarized from Coca-cola’s manager of digital communications and social media, Ashley Callahan.

I believe every business needs to examine the 4 questions below closely before they consider creating any form of content marketing – blog posts, videos, articles, infographics, etc. Then, after content creation your team should look at the piece created and ask the 4 questions again. Content marketing can work, but strategy and research are needed first.

Click to expand infographic.


4 Ways to Up Your Testimonials Game

Are you actually using the testimonials and reviews that you already have for your business?

For most of us in business, it is hard to get testimonials from our current and former clients. Some businesses just do not think about getting them and others just do not want to bother clients with it. So once we get them sometimes we don’t put much into the thought process of what to do with them. However, doing thtestimonialsis just means that we have totally wasted a lot of time and energy getting valuable testimonials and reviews.

Website Testimonials

Most of  us have visited a website where the testimonials are tucked away in some far corner of the website to rarely actually be found. We have also seen the reviews left on social media sites and review sites just sitting there dormant. The businesses have often not taken the time to reply to them or get additional feedback regarding the review. This is a mistake, especially if the review is high quality and beneficial to your brand.  Reviews and testimonials are meant to help your brand. People trust what other people say, so great reviews typically influence others to buy from your brand, which helps grow your business.

We know all too well that many reviews are just blah, nothing more than a quick, generic, one-liner; nothing more than to say the person did a review. These often don’t need a response, but if there is a negative review be sure to respond and get feedback.

So the question is, why aren’t we actually utilizing the testimonials that we have currently?

If you want to maximize the benefit of your testimonials and reviews, you are going to have to up your game, to take them to the next level. Let’s take a look at some ways we can do this:

1. Don’t hide them! Feature them on your site in a prominent location.

When people visit your site, they are beginning to check out your product/service, or they may be returning to get more information about your product/service that they are already somewhat familiar with. So of course they will have to overcome many objections while they do the typical debate on whether to invest or not. People have to decide if they really need your product/services or not, if they like the price of your product, and most importantly, if they TRUST you. So in order to combat these objections, you have to be prepared to prove that your brand is worth their trust. This person may have never heard of your company before or may know very little about your brand.

Client testimonialsSo, what better way to earn this trust than to show them what your current and past clients have to say about you and your brand with reviews and testimonials. Don’t tuck them away on a single page of your website to only be stumbled upon by a few people.

After all, this is free trustworthy advertisement for your brand from the people who use or have used it. You should feature at least one on your homepage, pricing pages, product pages, etc. with each testimonial linking to your actual full testimonials page; this allows for maximum exposure. You could also have rotating testimonials so that people see multiple testimonials without having to leave the page that they are on.

Regardless of how you decide to feature them, the most important thing is that the great things people say about your brand are easily visible to anyone who visit your site.

2. Check this out! Place them around clear calls-to-action. (See what I did there)

All businesses should have clear calls-t0-action on their pages. It may be “DOWNLOAD”, “BUY”, or “CALL”; essentially you are directing people to act.  This of course is very important to your brand because it is a conversion. When people are staring as this large button telling them what to do they are often still in the decision-making phase, trying to decide if they should trust your brand. You want them to see your testimonials so that they will trust you and conversion is possible. But do you want to distract them by asking them to leave the page in order to read testimonials? Of course not!

So why not feature a quick testimonial or review near the call-to-action? This feature could also be just a small portion of a larger testimonial from your testimonials page. By going ahead and placing a review near your call-to-action, you are making a bold statement to the potential client. You are putting it all out there by saying to them, “See, you can trust me….others did and look how pleased they are!”

3. LIKE this. Share your social media reviews and thank the client.

I have written before about ignoring clients on social media, especially negative comments, but many businesses also ignore positive comments. Wait, what?! People actually ignore POSITIVE comments?! Yes they sure do.

Do NOT ignore them. If you fail to acknowledge someone who has left a positive comment about your brand, you have just missed a major opportunity from not only a social media perspective but also from a review-gathering perspective as well. If someone takes the time to actually leave you a positive comment about your brand, be sure to thank them! For example, on Facebook, you can actually reply to their comment and say “Thank You” and use their name to tag them. This makes the reply more personable and shows the consumer that you care, making them feel special. You can also in turn share their comment post so that others can see just how great your product is. Again, this is helping to build trust and brand awareness. This works particularly well if the person left a long comment or even a photo. If you’re on Twitter, no wait, WHEN you are on Twitter, simply retweet the positive tweet or use the quote tweet feature and add a quick thanks at the beginning.

So, you may be thinking WHY should I partake in all of this? You are showing your positive comments to potential customers to build trust, but you are also showing your current and future clients that you care. You are also telling your current and future clients that you appreciate their business. You are engaging the client in a conversation, which is Social Media 101. Doing this is going to build brand awareness and help your social media presence. By social sharing, you’re providing fan exposure, and giving them a few minutes of glory, if you will.

4. Take one! Shoot video testimonials.

VideoEveryone knows that there is just something about seeing someone’s face that is super convincing. Seeing their face allows you to see just how happy they really are with a product or with their brand experience overall. Hearing the enthusiasm in their voice and just how awesome their experience was is just something that you do not get from written word. You most definitely can, however, get all of this from a video testimonial!

I know what you are saying…video will take time and energy to do. You are absolutely correct. But it will be worth it after converting several potential clients into actual clients because they watched some of your video testimonials. This will take more effort than any of the other tactics mentioned above, but people love video so use this to your advantage.

Another great aspect of video testimonials is that you can utilize them in other areas of the web besides just your website. You can upload them to YouTube, they can be shared on your social media platforms and you can also include them in emails. To add to this tactic, you can have the clients that are featured in the videos share them with their audience as well. This allows you even more reach!

In conclusion, in order to maximize your overall marketing strategy, you have to up your game with the individual parts of your strategy. This includes your reviews and testimonials. Do not just rely on the testimonials to reach out and convince potential clients on their own. Don’t be afraid to get out there and think outside the box. See how much more convincing your testimonials can be by upping your game, taking your reviews to the next level.

Image Credit: Shutterstock faysal and Yuriy Vlasenko.

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



Image Credit:  Quicksprout