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Monday, March 29, 2010

Online PR Trends to Follow

Online Public Relations Trends to FollowAccording to Janet Thaeler's (@newspapergrl) article on AMEX's OPEN Forum, the Internet has made it easier to find media contacts and form relationships with journalists, but more importantly the rise of social media and online PR has meant bypassing the media and going directly to your audience. Online PR has changed the PR industry and it’s not going back. While many of the same PR principles apply, there are a lot of new expectations for PR professionals.

Here are a few key trends to watch.


The Line Between PR and SEO Continues to Blur.
Who should do your PR, your online marketing company? Your PR firm? Both? While traditional PR may be excellent at finding the angle or pitch and have relationships with the media, they may not be the best choice for SEO.


A big part of SEO is building quality links – including links from authority sites – like brand name news sites. A link in a New York Times blog or story is a trusted link. What's one of the most efficient ways of getting onto one of these authority sites? Online PR.

Another factor in the Online PR/SEO equation is social media. People share and often include links to news stories, blog posts, YouTube videos and the like. Google has added these conversations and given them more weight in search results than in the past. So even links in 160 character tweets are valuable. They can lead to higher authority which is rewarded with higher search engine placement.

Social Media Press Releases and Social Media Marketing Requires New Skill Sets.
If you've ever discounted social media, consider that according to Nielsen, social media usage has increased by 82% in the last year alone.

Social media, especially when integrated into an online PR strategy is no place for your salesy boilerplate. Try to imagine how you would message your value and differentiation at a cocktail party. Allow your message to have a drink and "loosen up." No one wants to be sold to via a tweet, but we'd love to hear the ups and downs of your business.

Traditional Media is Tapping Into Online Networks for Story Ideas and Promotion.
Traditional media, often short-staffed and overworked, is depending more on online networks and the people who have built them for their stories. Recent research says 89% visit blogs and social sites to do research.

Interestingly enough, rather than hurting TV or traditional media, online networks and offline networks are simply feeding off each other. It appears the media is actually giving a knowing nod to these online sensations.

In much the same way that TV is being buoyed by the Internet, savvy PR professionals stand to benefit, but only if they capitalize on these trends and expand their skill sets. Some are partnering with online marketing companies. As they do this, they’ll become even more relevant to their clients.

Learn the latest best practices for online PR in JDM's Online Public Relations article. Also, learn more about JDM's mPR campaign package.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Email Marketing - The Future or Necessary Evil?

Email VS Direct MailDuring 2009, the U.S. spent $13.4 billion of direct marketing dollars on email marketing. Some estimate email marketing's average ROIm is as much at 40X. That's quite a return. However, speaking to the average consumer (as well as the average B2B buyer), email is the last medium they would like marketers to employ. So, is email marketing the future of direct marketing or just a necessary evil?

For marketers, email represents a way of touching subscribers at home, at work and (thanks to smartphones) on the go. It's also significantly less expensive than traditional direct mail marketing. However appealing email marketing may be, it does have a few challenges:

  • Slow List Building - CAN-SPAM Act requires marketers build their own opt-in lists
  • Easy List Attrition - Opt-ins can unsubscribe permanently from your list at any time
  • Email Filters - Even the most basic email filters catch wanted emails by mistake
  • Low Activation - Although easy to click, email is not a proven medium to activate a new purchase cycle.
Email marketing best practices can help overcome many of these challenges (see JDM's "Design Your Email for Delivery & Response" email marketing best practice article). However, traditional direct mail has few (if any) of these drawbacks, but many still regard it as too expensive or even antiquated.

Fact is, they are not mutually exclusive.

At JDM, our feeling is that email marketing will never fully replace direct mail. Rather, these mediums work best when they work together. Our research has show that in every respect,
integrated direct marketing (e.g. email, online and direct mail together) performance is greater than the sum of its parts.

What do you think? Is email marketing the future of direct marketing or potentially its undoing?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Google: The Relationship Algorithm

GoogleOften I find myself explaining SEO and 'visibility' to clients in terms of a relationship. It's a pretty useful analogy, so I thought I'd share it. Feel free to take credit for it.

Google Is My "Other Girlfriend"
I've made peace with the fact that I'm in a relationship with search engines, like Google, as well as my girlfriend. The way I'm constantly trying to figure out what Google is thinking mirrors the way I'm always baffled by my girlfriend's line of thought. So let's take a stab at understanding Google's ranking algorithm as they can not possibly be as complex as my girlfriend's.

Communication is Key
When you're speaking with someone and hoping to begin a relationship, you have to let them know about you, who you are, what you do, and what your interests are in life. When you're building a website, you also need to be communicating to search engines who you are, what you do, and what interests might bring people to your website. You can't just skirt the topic, you have to have content that's relevant and makes "semantic sense". By that I mean, using real sentences not "keyword stuffing".

The way you present yourself and dress says something about you too. No it's not being shallow. A stained and wrinkled 'Blame the Intern' T-shirt sends a message. It sends a message in much the same way as header tags (h1, h2, h3), ALT tags and META tags do. They send a clear signal about your page's content, what's important, and what's obviously not.

Meta-tags are Pick Up Lines:
Do you believe in love at first sight…or should I walk by again?

You only have one chance to make a first impression, and being far too forceful can have just as negative an impact on your chances of impressing search engines, as an attractive woman. In your first conversation, you need to be truthful about what it is you actually do. If you claim to be "in finance" and turn out to be a cashier at the local Quickie Mart, then you aren't going to be seen as particularly trustworthy.

In your META, TITLE and DESCRIPTION tags you need to describe what it is your site is about, without adding items that you don't actually cover. Recently, Google's been making changes that make keyword stuffing a thing of the past (see our blog post on keyword META tags).

Think of your META tags as "pick up lines." You don't want to be pushy or totally misrepresent yourself. Girls (and Google) see right through that stuff.

Don't hate the Player, Hate the Game
If the people who know you refer to you as "shady", or "flirtatious", then a woman you want to be in a relationship with is going to be second guessing you, questioning your actions and generally not secure in her relationship with you. Likewise, if you link to shady and disreputable sites and they to you, you're hanging out with the wrong crowd. Search engines look at not just the number of inbound links, but the quality/credibility of the sites linking to you. A single link from CNN is worth more than a hundred links from SPAMMERS-R-US.

See our post on "Google's New Anti-Linkspam Algorithm" for more information.

It's All about Trust
To summarize my analogy, no relationship can function without trust. Without it, both partners will start taking on negative behaviors, and trust me, you do NOT want to have Google as your Ex-Girlfriend! But if you stick to the straight and narrow, and faithfully update your content, find trustworthy links and friends to support you, then over time you'll form a positive and fruitful relationship with Google—I mean your Girlfriend...

I Now Pronounce You Man and Search Engine
Let's make a commitment to ethical SEO practices. Repeat after me:

I SEOer,
Take Thee Google,
To Love and to Optimize for,
With useful, unique content
through serp changes and algorithm updates,
For Adsense or Adwords campaigns,
Till Death or Server Outage do us part.
Related Stuff

Monday, March 1, 2010

Report Suggests 10-20 Percent Hiring Increase

Hiring Trends Report PublishedAmidst the doom and gloom in the job market, a new hiring trends report, published by our friends at HRmarketer, finds 31% of hiring professionals will be staffing up by 10-20 percent in 2010.

The report, "Trends in HR Marketing: HR Buyer' Behavior: What to Expect in 2010," is based on data from human resource and employee benefit buyers collected during October and November of 2009 and has some really interesting findings.

Learn more on JDM's Shameless News media center.

The report, itself, is available for direct download from HRmarketer.
No registration is required.

 
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