How Marketers Can Take Advantage of Super Bowl 50

By | advertising | No Comments

Think you can’t take advantage of the biggest marketing event of the year if the name of your company isn’t Coca Cola or AB InBev? Think again! Even in the absence of a five million dollar budget, digital marketing firms and ad agencies can still garner significant amounts of traffic—all from the other side of a computer screen.

One of the easiest ways to learn from the Super Bowl is to study the experts. Watch Super Bowl commercials from years past and look into large-scale marketing campaigns that were effective last time around, and find a way to apply similar techniques to your business.

Plan to update your digital marketing on the day of the game (or the night before). Whether your business caters to college students or senior citizens, consumer goods or business-to-business strategies, showcase as many Super Bowl-related media and offers as makes sense for your business. Above all, keep it relevant.

This year especially, focus on mobile, social and interactive marketing techniques. The Super Bowl is a massive multimedia event that brings together people from all across the country simultaneously—take advantage of that inclusive group mindset with a flurry of entertaining and relevant social media posts. Consumers want to be entertained—so give them something to work with.

Google’s new “Real-Time Ads” make keeping up with the latest social media memes a breeze—that is, if you’re willing to pay the price. For the rest of us lowly peasants, funny, shareable social content requires actual creativity. That, and a team of social media gurus on call throughout the game.

Digital marketing firms both big and small have a number of ways to get involved in the nation’s largest multimedia event of the year. With a little research, creativity and planning beforehand, even the lowest-budget marketing firms are sure to find a way to profit from the festivities.

New Facial Coding Techniques Show How Effective Content Marketing Is

By | content marketing | No Comments

Digital marketers from the Midwest to Utah have long known the effectiveness of content marketing strategies. Now, an innovative new study from the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) gives us some numerical data to demonstrate exactly how effective content marketing really is, and what marketers can do to up their game.

BBC StoryWorks, the content marketing division of BBC Advertising, partnered with facial coding technology company CrowdEmotion to analyze consumers’ feelings of positivity toward familiar advertising brands. The study used participants from Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada, Germany and parts of the U.S., such as Utah. Minuscule facial movements were recorded and analyzed as unconscious behavioral indicators of consumer emotional responses to content.

According to the data, well-labeled, high-quality content marketing campaigns are both emotional and persuasive. Overall exposure to content marketing campaigns increased explicit positive feelings toward brands by 77 percent. Exposure also increased subconscious positivity by 14 percent.

Participants seemed to appreciate when brands were upfront with their marketed original content. 64 percent of participants appreciated content marketing so long as the presenting brand was clearly labeled. In addition, respondents appreciated marketed content more when it was in line with the quality of the news provider’s editorial content. 63 percent of respondents were happy with high-quality marketed content, and over half of respondents found the content interesting and shareable.

Overall, content marketing was most effective when it followed these five tenants: being both transparent and educational, matching the editorial quality of the pieces around it, clearly establishing its purpose, integrating the brand with the narrative and being placed in a premium news carrier environment.

In other words, content marketing delivers solid, quantifiable results when it brings interesting, high-quality information to consumers in a way that doesn’t feel forced or misleading to the consumer. For digital advertisers in Utah and around the country, the message is clear—keep doing what you’re doing, and do it well.

Stop Worrying About the Future of SEO—SEO is Now

By | SEO | No Comments

In the first few weeks of January 2016, the SEO world was abuzz with a flurry of activity—from listicles along the lines of “23 things that are the future of SEO in 2016” to local search trends in Utah to ever more conjecture surrounding Google’s upcoming Penguin algorithm update (which will come out eventually, we’re sure).

The SEO world loves to speculate about the unknown; what the future of mobile search is, what the hottest SEO trends will be, etc. At the end of the day though, much of this guesswork remains just that—guesswork. Rather than fretting too much about the future, SEO specialists need to focus on the here and now.

While it can be tempting to jump on the nearest SEO bandwagon when something new and exciting comes out, SEO isn’t really a game to be played with fleeting trends. Rather, SEO is a long-term strategy that focuses on optimizing content to better fit the needs of your customers—and consequently, search engines.

Whether you’re optimizing a website for a local Utah business or a multinational corporation, many of the core concepts remain the same. Good keyword research, social media presence and original content creation will always be relevant. Building a wealth of high-domain authority backlinks and other such things will follow naturally, so long as your content is focused first on real human beings—in quality SEO practices, search engines come second.

SEO has always been a long-term strategy, Most campaigns take months, if not more than a year to deliver real quantifiable results. For such an enduring strategy, changing the game every few months or so could potentially be detrimental to overall SEO gains.

Whether you’re optimizing for a small business in Utah or a larger nationwide chain, consistently delivering high-quality, relevant content that real consumers will want to read is sure to boost your search rankings better than any trendy new quick-fix SEO practice. Instead of fretting over every new trend, focus on the SEO practices that work for you.

For Advertisers, Combining Big Data with Storytelling Wins Big

By | content marketing | No Comments

In an age where conventional advertising is becoming increasingly ineffective, more and more digital marketing companies are turning instead to content marketing strategies, churning out content through every channel possible.

There’s nothing wrong with a large quantity of content. But when marketing companies focus too much on quantity, they tend to pump out generic content pieces like nobody’s business. Instead, what online marketers should be focusing on is getting people to engage with compelling written and visual content that sells a story—not an object.

The marrying of journalism and marketing has been a long time coming. Not only does compelling storytelling increase shares on social media, it also ups engagement with the marketing world’s currently most highly sought after demographic—millennials.

Millennials are surprisingly receptive to corporate engagement, whether it involves following Wendy’s on Instagram or watching DJ Khaled’s Snapchats of his lion statue. And Twitter’s new Periscope feature makes it even easier for marketers to reach out to prospective audiences through the most unscripted of channels—live video feeds.

These are all great ways for marketing companies to up their storytelling game. But where does big data fit in? Two words: data journalism. Journalism giants like The New York Times and The Atlantic have committed significant resources to data journalism, and it shows. Original data in the form of infographics and think-pieces are oil to the fire of social media engagement; they provide new information in a clear, concise and meaningful way.

As most marketing companies know by now, infographics are the kind of content most likely to be shared on social media, which gives them high inherent value. Solid visual data presentation not only looks good and shares well, but it adds value and authority to your personal brand as well.

With the abundance of open data available to the general public, brands have near-limitless opportunities for original, engaging data analysis. Don’t listen to that old marketing professor you had in college—fresh, original data makes for a fantastic way to tell a story.

Search Queries, Content Marketing and Unladen Swallows: How Voice Search is Changing Content Marketing

By | content marketing | No Comments

Voice recognition software has proliferated over the past few years. With Apple’s Siri, Google’s Voice Search and Microsoft’s Cortana, speaking commands directly into your phone is no longer just for self-important Utah businessmen with Bluetooth headsets. According to a 2014 Google poll, 41 percent of adults and 55 percent of teens utilize their phone’s voice-search feature more than once a day—a figure we can only assume has since risen.

With the proliferation of voice search, the way that consumers search for content is fundamentally changing. Rather than searching through broad categories or a mix of relevant keywords, consumers in Utah and elsewhere are looking for specific answers to their questions. For content marketing, this means changing the way content is structured to better fit consumer inquiries.

A general query is often the first stage of interaction between a potential consumer and a business or institution. If companies can structure their content marketing strategies to better capitalize on consumers in the query stage, marketers will be posed to better take advantage of the growing voice recognition market in Utah.

Voice recognition software also changes how search engines rank results. For example, if one were to pose the question “what is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow” using a Google Web search, the top response is a large box proclaiming the correct answer to be precisely 11 meters per second (or 24 mph, for us Americans), according to a website called Armory.

However, if one poses the same query using Google’s Voice Search, the answer changes. Rather than a definitive numerical reply, Voice Search instead gives you a rather long, pandering response from The Armory response doesn’t even make the front page.

While the results from Voice Search and traditional Web search are clearly different, it should be noted that both top results are direct attempts to answer the question posed. While one posing this particular query is almost certainly searching for Monty Python, you’ll find a link to the relevant clip from the British sketch comedy show actually ranks further down the list.

Thus, even if your content is inherently relevant to the question at hand, it will inevitably rank lower than content that directly answers the question. Content marketing strategies will need to change to better provide information to the curious consumer or risk losing out on potential conversions. If content marketing campaigns are structured along the lines of natural human speech and intent, voice search will bring together consumers and businesses in Utah like never before.

Is Guest Blogging Still a Viable SEO Strategy?

By | SEO | No Comments

It’s 2016. By now, you’ve all heard the news: renowned Google software engineer Matt Cutts declared guest blogging officially dead… back in 2014.

However, while we bow to Matt Cutts’ inherent superiority in all things SEO, we can’t help but disagree. Whether you’re running a website for a Utah-based design firm or an East Coast bookseller, guest blogging can still work for SEO—if it’s done well.

Now the reason why guest blogging was disavowed in the first place had to do with the bane of all online marketers: black hat SEO. Sketchy guest writers were filling blogs with spammy links, money for PageRank and largely unrelated content, and Google understandably clamped down on it.

In 2016, guest blogging is all about quality. You should be very selective about which blogs you write a guest post for, or which writers you allow to post content on your own blog. The other party should be well known, highly relevant to your target demographic, and should above all have a solid reputation. Writing for a music venue in Utah? Consider penning a piece for a reputable local music blog that caters to your demographic.

A guest blog post should be your top content. Don’t just whip something up and throw a few keywords in—that’s just a waste of time. Instead, take the opportunity to craft an intelligent, informative piece that people in Utah and elsewhere will genuinely want to read. If a blog post isn’t good enough to go on your own website, it’s not good enough for a guest post.

Guest blogging isn’t some kind of one-hit-wonder for the SEO game. Rather, it’s more about building a solid relationship with other websites in a similar market. Promote yourself as an expert in the field who invites other experts to share their opinions on your website, and vice versa.

Even if it isn’t the SEO juggernaut it once was, guest blogging can still be a great way to build upon a brand and increase organic traffic with high-quality content.

Why Periscope is the Next Big Thing

By | Video | No Comments

If you haven’t heard of it already, Twitter’s Periscope is an app that allows users of the fast-paced social media platform to stream live video to all their followers, with live interaction capabilities.

Periscope is remarkably easy to use: any Twitter user with a smartphone running Android or iOS and reliable Internet access can download the app and start broadcasting live video right from his or her phone. Periscope has the potential to open up an unprecedented amount of interaction with latent customers, and marketing agencies are paying close attention.

While most current Periscope users are merely people testing the waters—YouTube bloggers trying out the live format, budding entertainers practicing a comedy routine, etc.—the potential for real-time content marketing campaigns is huge. Rather than spending months working on one marketing campaign that might flop, marketing agencies can bounce prospective ideas off their target audience ahead of time—or even ask consumers directly.

Periscope can also give followers a glimpse into the inner workings of your company or business. Sure, tweets and Facebook posts are useful, but nothing speaks louder than live video. Live streaming gives views a sense of authenticity—rather than a doctored PR video, a live video feed shows a company with a strong commitment to transparency.

While the biggest draw of Periscope is the capability of real-time interaction with large numbers of followers, videos are archived afterwards, allowing followers continued access to Periscope feeds for 24 hours after the user stops streaming. While this might seem like a drawback, the short half-life of Periscope videos is exactly the point—live streaming is inherently a current undertaking. Keep videos around for too long and the content gets stale.

Should marketing agencies rush to reassign staff members to focus solely on Periscope? Clearly not. However, in an age of increasingly fast-paced information flow, it would be imprudent for Web influencers to write off Periscope entirely—at least before giving that live video streaming business a proper shot.

Savvy Shoppers Relying More on Mobile

By | digital marketing | No Comments

Up to 86 percent of shoppers now utilize mobile while shopping in stores, according to a report from InReality, one of retail’s largest digital marketing firms. It’s easy to see why—when shoppers have questions about a product or want to compare prices, their smartphones are much more readily available (and knowledgable) than the average sales associate.

Want to check out the specs on a new consumer electronic, find the best deals on groceries or finally figure out which department store carries MAC cosmetics? A quick Google search can help you out. Rather than asking an in-store sales associate, third party reviews tend to hold more weight in consumers’ eyes. And rather than going to a particular store’s website or using an app, 82 percent of shoppers prefer search engines.

If a store is out of a product or a specific size, shoppers may turn to their smartphones to make purchases. In fact, 25 percent of shoppers will make a purchase on their phones while in-store.

Mobile phones are a great resource for consumers. But what about retailers? The switch to mobile isn’t all bad for brick-and-mortar retailers—in-store shoppers who use their phones spend an average of 25 to 50 percent more than those who do not use their phones.

Digital marketing firms recommend that retailers make their websites more mobile-friendly and make product information and customer reviews more readily available. It’s a chance for stores to utilize digital marketing firms and up their SEO strategies for mobile—and turn more in-store purchases into online ones. Stores can also offer price-matching to keep customers from going over to the competition.

Brick-and-mortar shopping malls haven’t gone the way of the dinosaur just yet, but retailers need to step up their mobile game if they want to keep up with demand. If retailers can manage to seamlessly integrate the in-store and online shopping space, a better consumer experience and increased brand loyalty will surely follow.

A Glimpse into the History of Web Development and Design

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

How many times a day do you pull out your phone, tablet or laptop and “Google” something? Not so long ago, those intricate website design techniques and search engine interfaces you see today were non-existent.

After the creation of HTML coding in 1990, the Internet would achieve several milestones over the next 25 years, becoming a global platform for content marketing in Utah and other states alike. The Web has come a long way since the 90’s.

If you’re curious how the Internet developed into a wildly successful tool used everyday by billions of people, check out the following timeline.

History of Web Development IG

SEO That Works: 22 Qualities of Powerful, Valuable Links

By | SEO | No Comments

Does your business have great products, but you’re struggling to reach a wider audience on the Web? SEO and your Google search ranking can have a major effect on increasing a site’s traffic.

Content marketing materials and other links that are published online need to be trustworthy, relevant and diverse to have a positive effect on search rankings and audience engagement levels. For example, linking to keywords in your content can improve the relevancy of search results to your site.

If you’re looking for some more quick tips and tricks on how to improve your SEO skills and rankings, don’t miss these 22 important qualities of powerful and valuable links.

Qualities of Strong Links IG