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Guest Post: How To Use Guest Blogs In Your Marketing Campaigns

Marketing jobs have changed over the last couple of years. Content strategy is a key consideration for all websites, and marketers have had to hit the ground running and develop new skills to keep up with the ever-evolving world of SEO.

guest blogging
One way to improve your marketing campaigns is to enlist the help of a guest blogger. In fact, guest blogs have become a core part of many large organisations’ content marketing projects, and thousands of agencies now work with freelance writers that provide guest blogs in any given niche.

In this article, we’ll look at how guest blogging could help you in your job as a marketer, and how the risks of guest blogging can be avoided.

What is Guest Blogging?

Guest blogging is the process of supplying top quality content to other blogs on the web. In return for the content, that blog will post a link back to your website.
No marketing specialist would recommend using guest blogging as a standalone project; it has to be integrated with a wider marketing campaign, and it has to be used in an organic way – never forced, never contrived and never as part of a spammy link swap.

Benefits of Guest Blogging

Earning backlinks is great, but there are other benefits associated with guest blogging that will benefit your marketing campaign too. These could include:

  • Brand awareness across the web
  • New-found authority on a certain subject
  • Building trust between consumers and the brand
  • Associating the brand with quality information that nobody else can offer
  • Promoting good vibes about the campaign through contests, promotions and other complementary initiatives

As you can see, guest blogging isn’t just about links: it can benefit the brand on lots of levels. Being sensitive to a more holistic approach will serve you well in any marketing job.

Risks of Guest Blogging

Google will continue to crack down on any marketing tactic that it feels is spammy or unnatural. That should always be at the back of your mind when you develop a guest blogging strategy. While the vast majority of guest blogs are of a high standard, there’s still a tendency for some guest bloggers to supply poor content. Quality costs more, but don’t compromise: if you do, it will be a detriment to your marketing plan since it’ll eventually lead to a penalty.
There are a few golden rules that will help you rise above poor quality guest blogs:

  • Keep the quality high. Don’t give away any content that you wouldn’t publish yourself.
  • Invest. Don’t cut corners by employing sub-standard writers. Go for the best writer you can afford. Cheaper is not better in guest blogging.
  • Consider your audience. Is the guest blog going to reach the right people, attract shares and promote authority? If not, you’re not working with the right blog publishers.
  • Are you trying to hit a target or fulfil a quota? Don’t. If it’s not natural, ditch it and start again.

But despite the risks, don’t shy away from guest blogging. In its purest and most genuine form, it’s a valuable tool for marketers. It offers benefits to blogger and publisher, it builds important networks and it provides Google with quality information and original thought on a given topic (which is what it really wants).
By far the most important outcome is the feedback you get from your analytics package. Be sure to track and measure each guest blog you put out there; learn what works, replicate your best efforts and ditch any tactics that aren’t working.

Sam Wright is a writer working with Brand Republic, a website listing hundreds of marketing jobs.

YouTube: What Can it Do For a Business?

YouTube and Digital Marketing

A discussion broke out earlier this week in the office about YouTube.

We were talking about life before the site, and how as recent as 2005, we dreamed of a place on the internet which would act as a magical wishing well for whatever niche or interest you had: ‘I want to watch my favourite childhood TV programme’ or ‘I want to see that goal again’. With YouTube, these aims are achievable. Yes, we probably use it mainly for cute cat videos or the latest film trailers, but one shouldn’t exclude YouTube from any discussion of useful social media.

How Social is YouTube?

Yes, YouTube is more widely considered a video-streaming site (which it is); but there is a huge social element too, which gets lost in the shuffle. Visual items, such as video and infographics, are a lot more likely to be shared and go viral than a long, wordy article; and because social is becoming more and more decisive in SEO, creating something that people will want to show off to friends is becoming vital. YouTube users have a profile which they can play around with; made easier with its integration with Google, to the point where you can now have your own name (which will please anyone who came up with an immature username at the age of 15). Unfortunately, a strong majority of users don’t bother to contribute or even read comments, because they’ve already seen a related video that they want to click on to. You’ll have your usual trolls with their all-caps, swear word-infested arguments, but you can find some very thoughtful, well-structured back-and-forth replies as well. You just have to scroll.

Like Facebook or Twitter, you can also see relationships built up over time. Someone posts a video here and there; someone else replies with a ‘cool video dude'; more people see it, and want to throw in their two pence or expand on your reply. A comment strikes a chord and gets a “thumbs up”. If you keep at it as a creator, promoting your video on the other proper social networks, and tagging your video properly, your uploads will spread further. People will post a link on forums, or even sites like Reddit, and in turn, YouTube will register that your upload is getting a lot of views, and give it a nudge.

Soon you’ll have subscribers (i.e. followers) who’ll look forward to your next upload. They can even see it pop up by making YouTube’s homepage a port-of-call, along with Facebook or Twitter. If they’ve decided to follow you on those platforms, you can post a link there to remind them you’re still around and have uploaded fresh content. Like the concept of ‘followers’, ‘subscribers’ assumes that even if you don’t personally know someone, it’s socially acceptable to follow their activity. So whereas some businesses struggle to earn likes from those beyond their friends and family, YouTube is a bit more lax in that you don’t have to wait for someone to accept your request. This way, strangers can observe you from a distance for a while before making a decision to take on your services.

How YouTube Can Be Used By Business

Only a small majority of our clients use YouTube, because it captures a visual element of their services which they wish to demonstrate and which is not as applicable to other industries. How-To tutorial videos, for instance, builds up authority as a knowledgeable or capable source if you’re in the building trade. Viewers can put a face to a business and get to know you as a personality – which can be endearing, provided you pick the right person to represent you on camera. Videos are also an alternative route to posting images on their own on Pinterest or Facebook; putting together a slideshow to music can be easier on the eye, and show that much more effort has been put in.

If you’re interested in seeking out this, or another of our services, browse our services or get in touch with us.

 

Slow and Steady Wins the Race: The Road to Olympic and SEO Gold

Many prospective clients we speak with come to us seeking immediate results with a turn of a knob here and tweak there. Though Seach Engine Optimisation is our bread and butter, it is an industry that is constantly changing, and adapting to that change is part of our job on behalf of our clients to keep them in the game against their competitors. So unfortunately the implementation of SEO services is not as simple as doing a specific set of actions for a client and cashing their cheque without a second thought; it requires careful testing and re-testing, evaluating the needs of their customers as well as close discussion with the client themselves. Just as we expect that our clients treat each and every one of their customers as individual and unique consumers, we treat all of our clients differently.

So one must not expect SEO to be an added on feature to boost one’s business; something that can be bought or tacked on to give a quick boost. Yes, you may obtain some brief success but that is all it will be; brief, and I can’t overstate the temporary nature of that success enough. SEO must not be ‘turned off’ when you see that your website traffic is up; it is integral in seriously redirecting focus and initiative towards exploring new goals, markets, and avenues of income.

I thought I would bang you over the head once more with something Olympic-themed to explain the long-term game. Watching press clips of various athletes speaking of how they have trained for years and years, their whole lives building to these few weeks, brought to mind the steady process required for your business to properly reap the full rewards.

We have many enquiries who expect the world immediately though they do not recognise that this requires a long-term relationship. That is why usually, I Say! Digital will offer initial services that are smaller and cheaper so as not to falsely present clients with promises of the impossible. Then once we can prove that we can make a difference, we can move forward and discuss additional services.

Business is all about the here-and-now. What does it matter if you were doing well this time five years ago, if you’re close to failure now? Similarly, no athlete wants to peak too early whether in their career, or in one race; effort and conditioning is preserved for when it really matters; when everyone is watching and when most is at stake. No business wants to do well temporarily and then simply fall away like a runner who trails further and further behind having at one time led the pack. The bigger the mountain, the greater the victory.

Why doesn’t a track-runner just strap a rocket to their back? The SEO equivalent is obvious keyword-stuffing on a site; and seeing someone get away with it while you’re doing the right things can be a bitter pill to swallow. Some of the more sneakier, covert tactics like hiding text on your site by disguising it as the same colour as your background are more along the lines of performance-enhancing drugs, which don’t show up on the surface as clearly. While these black hat tactics are promised and utilised by some agencies, Google will see this and (if not immediately) will penalise you. Stigmas related to quick fixes or cheats in the sporting world can ruin a reputation, and the same can be said for black hat techniques for businesses who risk ruining their own image by taking on the wrong SEO agency.

Visit our contact page to find out how to find us and get in touch to discuss the proper way to get you found.

Google’s latest Panda Update – Questions to ask yourself

Tonight, Google’s Panda update 3.9 will be rolled out, and we can almost hear the black hats shaking in their boots, and the conscientious webmasters’ paranoia setting in that they’ve unwittingly done something they shouldn’t, and will be penalised.

But fret not if you are a small website owner; provided you can answer the following questions honestly and fix any issues that might be detrimental to your site, you’ll be fine. If you have a larger website with thousands of pages, we’re here to help and work strictly within Google’s guidelines to help save your site from the black and white beast; so do get in touch if you are looking for on-site SEO support.

We eat Pandas for lunch

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
  • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
  • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • How much quality control is done on content?
  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  • Is the site a recognised authority on its topic?
  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
  • Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  • Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
  • Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
  • Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
  • Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

“SEO-lympics”: Social Media in business during the Olympics

seo olympicsThis year, the Olympics will be on everybody’s lips and subsequently at their fingertips too as they tweet their thoughts and update their Facebook profile photos with photos of themselves at these events. Simply, these will dominate the trending topics as something always has to.

While everyone will be enjoying these events, hopefully in the sun, business must go on. In industries and companies of various sizes, work will trudge along in order to keep in touch with current customers, while aiming to reach new ones as well. To do this, it would make sense to take advantage of these current sport and cultural events and jump on the bandwagon to get some publicity. Just like television advertising is currently littered with brands calling themselves the “official shampoo of the Olympics” or the “official bathroom cleaner of the Olympics”, social media will be provide a great advertising platform, but eve more current as updates may be posted at a moment’s notice.

But why is this important? Last November, Google highlighted the importance of content that reflects the very latest news and events with its Freshness update, where SERPS will prioritise the most recently-updated content which is relevant to what is happening right now. It is widely known that Google loves fresh content anyway. Meanwhile Facebook is once again planning to update its Timeline look by testing an interface where your basic details are not listed underneath your profile photo but on top of your cover photo; people often complain that these changes are infuriating and unnecessary, however one must appreciate that Facebook is at least attempting to evolve and keep people on their toes before they get bored and leave.

So we understand the importance of being on the cutting edge. While we are brimming with huge happenings this summer, we always need something to talk about and distract us from work and boring conversations on our tiny screens. So how will social media compliment our summer 2012 experience? And how will businesses make the most of it? Here are a few suggestions.

As well as a platform for individuals to discuss and express their enjoyment, sadness, enthusiasm and disenchantment, businesses will be wise to interject on these conversations. First of all, brands which are purchasing advertising space will be exposed like no other with user-generated photos of their ads and logos being forwarded very, very frequently and not limited to the television coverage as it was a decade ago. Businesses will likely attempt to humanise their images by beginning discussions about a particular event that has nothing to do with their business dealings; there would be no direct attempt to sell a product or inform about their current state, but simply make people aware they exist and are interested in the same things as you. Additionally, with more eyes than ever on their social networks, there are more potential clients seeing a brand’s campaigns. The popular discounts they usually share to their followers via these means will possibly be seen by more people, and may in turn generate more revenue. This brings to mind one classic episode of The Simpsons, where Krusty Burger offers a free burger for every gold medal America wins; while businesses may not be as audacious (read: moronic) and do something similar, they may be wise to offer congratulations to winners as events occur to stay relevant and in tune with what will inevitably be trending at the time.

These are just a few off-the-top ideas and off course will not be relevant to all businesses; it does depend on their specialty or industry, and other factors like location, resources, income etc. A more detailed campaign, tailored to your objectives, like that which we offer at I Say! Digital, would need to be planned and executed with more precision and thought. As well as the events themselves, it will be very interesting to keep an eye on the role social media will play as well.

This will be likely be the first of several articles which tie into the Olympics so bookmark us or keep checking back in the near future for more, and of course share this article with those who may be interested.

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