Google Joins Twitter, Facebook With App Install Ads Launch

Google-LogoApp install advertisements are spreading faster than a high school rumor across the online marketing landscape. And why wouldn’t they be? Mobile apps are still hot, and as long as the Kim Kardashian games of the world keep raking in bank, their popularity will only grow. First Facebook, then Twitter, and now Google is entering the space with its roll-out of app install ads within search results and on YouTube.

All of this spells even more avenues of mobile app monetization than ever before. Android and iOS developers are all welcome on Google’s new ad platform. However, Android app advertisers will have the luxury of automatic conversion tracking within AdWords.

For a recent launch, Google is already boasting over a dozen success stories on the site, with a range of app categories from games to education. Below you’ll find a preview of how the app ads will sit on the Google search page.

googleappads

Two Current Options To Generate App Installs

Now that Google has arrived, it bolsters the lower-budget app install strategies that app advertisers and publishers can undertake.

Essentially, there is a low-budget approach and medium-to-high-budget approach to increasing both initial and quality app installs.

Low-Budget Approach

Facebook, Twitter, and now Google all offer platforms that, for a relatively low investment, app advertisers can utilize to gain installs on their apps and begin to generate revenue. This low-budget approach is fantastic for new application releases without an initial user base.

Another benefit is the user-friendly aspect of setting up and carrying out these advertisements. Anyone that has set up a Facebook sponsored post or Twitter sponsored Tweet should be able to navigate the set-up process with relative ease.

Medium-to-High-Budget Approach

If you have a proven app concept and a bit of change jingling in your pockets, then it’s wise to move to app recommendation platforms. These recommendation platform firms have built up entire networks of mobile publishers who are waiting to show your app to their users. youAPPi is one such firm, which even goes as far to use “smartAPP” technology to recommend apps to individual users based on their content consumption habits.

Obviously, this approach will give app advertisers more relevant installs, leading to higher usage rates, and greater revenue.

Who will enter the mobile app ad world next? Only time will tell. What we do know is the market is continuing to bloom, and most likely won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

How-To Structure Writing To Evoke Emotion

We recently caught the redecorating bug around the Stryde office. Bare white walls are now covered with scores of decals. Including our mission statement and a collection of our favorite quotes. Inspiration should be all around you, right?

One of my favorite quotes we’ve stuck on the wall is this:

“Good stories and storytelling last forever.”

So, I got to thinking about storytelling as I was munching on my Friday morning donut. A search for “storytelling 101” on Google turns up a whole host of content marketing blog posts about the topic. But, not in the sense I was expecting. All of the articles surrounded basically the same theme: evoke emotions, make people feel something.

I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment. The greatest stories ever told have stood the test of time because they conjure real emotions.

Photo via Giphy

Photo via Giphy

Kinda easier said than done. Evoking an emotion is tough, no matter what that emotion may be. But, a simple revisit to English class will shed some light on how you can achieve just that. And hopefully give you some insights on how you can take the tried-and-true writing methods and apply them to your next blog post.

The Common Thread

99.9% of the books you read, movies, and TV shows you watch follow the essentially same basic format. This will most likely look familiar to you, depending on your recollection of your Junior High English class. It’s the good old Plot Diagram.

plotstructure

While there are mild deviations to this structure, you’ll find that most stories have this basic format.

The 7 Pieces of the Plot Diagram

First, we’ll go into the explanations of each of the 7 main points of a plot structure. Then, we’ll explore how we can apply these concepts to evoke feelings from our own blog posts.

  1. Exposition – The exposition is also called the introduction of the story. Here’s where author introduces the characters, setting, and lets the reader know of the main problem looming in the distance.
  2. Point of Conflict – Dun, dun, DUUUNNN. The point of conflict is where the story says, “Fasten your seat belts! We’re in for a bumpy ride!”
  3. Rising Action – The suspense builds and the problem only seems to escalate. The author may give the reader brief reliefs in action, only to lift them back up again with more suspense.
  4. Emotional Climax – AKA what you’ve been waiting for! Typically, this is the most exciting part of a story.
  5. Falling Action – This part of the story can be swift or drawn out, and it’s meant to ease the reader off of the extreme emotional high they just experienced from the climax.
  6. Dénouement– I jump at any chance to use fancy French words. Essentially, the Dénouement is the “Technical Climax” of the story. It’s where the logistics are hashed out in a way that isn’t clouded by raw emotion.
  7. Resolution – That’s all folks! Here’s where all of the loose ends that remain are tied up into a neat little story bow by the author.

Plot Diagrams and Blog Post Structure

“Awesome, Emily, I can use this to write a novel. We’re here to talk about blogs.” Hold your horses there, bub! You can apply each of these aspects to your next blog post. Here’s how:

  1. Exposition – Instead of introducing characters and setting, you’ll be introducing the topic at hand. Whether that’s about Google’s new algorithm or the latest Facebook user experiment, draw your readers in with clearly describing the facets of what you are going to discuss.
  2. Point of Conflict – Here’s where you’ll tell your reader exactly why they’re taking the time to read your piece. Why should they read on? What’s in it for them? Express that clearly, and succinctly, at this point.
  3. Rising Action – Everything you decide to include in the rising action section should directly support what you told your readers in the point of conflict. Showcase your numbers, raw data, and evidence here, and it will function as the “body” of your post.
  4. Emotional Climax – You should carefully craft this as the “Ah-ha!” moment for your readers. Create a point in your post where everything comes together for the reader, make that light bulb turn on in their head.
  5. Falling Action – As with the falling action portion for the original plot diagram, use this time to ease your reader off of the “Ah-ha!” moment. Reinforce why your point makes sense and prepare the reader for the wrap-up.
  6. Dénouement – The dénouement is the real kicker in evoking emotions through your blog post. You’ve just lead the reader on quite the journey, and they’ve even learned something! Now, you drive the point home again with an angle they hadn’t previously thought of or a statement to make them delve deeper on their own about the topic at hand. Be controversial. Be memorable.
  7. Resolution – Again, just as with the original plot diagram, wrap up your riveting blog post in a pretty little bow for your readers. Remind them what they learned and how it can help them.

Bringing It All Together

Hopefully, now you won’t look at the prospect of evoking emotions as such an insurmountable task. If you can remember to apply the basics of writing, your blog posts will be much more successful in achieving your goals.

Take your readers on a journey. A journey that makes them laugh, cry, angry, uncomfortable, or even pensive. I find another great general tip to ensure your writing has feeling is to actively and purposefully feel how you want the reader to feel as you’re writing. While that may seem strange at first, your inner emotions can’t help but be expressed through the words you put onto a page. If you’re creating a post about how much you love a new Pinterest feature, FEEL that love as you write!

My one caveat to my aforementioned statement is similar to what the great Ernest Hemingway once said, “Write drunk, edit sober.” But, in this case, “Write with feeling, edit without.” Always make sure you’re proofreading and editing without the cloud of emotions. You’ll avoid many careless mistakes this way!

How are you telling stories? Share your methods in the comments!

Photo via Giphy

Photo via Giphy

Five Steps To Creating Bullet Proof Relationships With Bloggers, Journalists, Or People In General

handshakeBlogger and journalist outreach is broken. No matter the number of processes you have in place or the tools you have to help you develop prospect lists and and manage email outreach, it’s still less effective.

In today’s post, I want to talk about something that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, creating true relationships with people… you know, real human beings. There’s no secret formula for building relationships with others, but there are certain things you can do to help improve your chances of creating a real relationship with another person.

In this post I will run through five steps to help you create deep, meaningful relationships and hopefully, at some point in time, you’ll be able to leverage those relationships to create thought leadership content, increase linking root domains, and ultimately increase search engine rankings… the right way. Let’s dive in.

Treat People Like People

The first step in building meaningful relationships is seeing and treating people like people. This first step is critical, plays a huge role in the following four steps, and comes from a book which I recently finished reading called Leadership and Self-Deception. It’s a fantastic book, and I encourage everyone to read it, ponder it, and implement in their lives. In fact, our team here at Stryde, will be listening to this next month as soon as our audible credits are reloaded. It’s that powerful!

I would be willing to bet, that 99.9% of all marketers see journalists, authoritative bloggers, and industry influencers as “obstacles” in their way, keeping them from publishing content on the websites they own or write for. They don’t view them as real people, with real problems, and real need that need to be fulfilled. The minute we put this thinking aside, and focus on them as people we will begin to break down the strongest barriers and connect with them one on one.

Chat About Things Other Than Business

Now that you’re on the same playing field as other people, you must take great care to spend time chatting about things other than business. Why you ask? Think about how many times bloggers, journalists, and webmasters get “pitch” emails about why they should let you tell your story or publish your content. Several, sometimes dozens per day. Stop it! Right now! When I’ve created meaningful relationships with people in or out of my industry, it’s been through discussing similar interests, discussing family and kids, discussing sports, etc.

Let’s take an example from this weekend. Jeremy Dearringer from Relevance reached out to me to share a kickstarter project that Aaron Aders is running. It’s a long board that feels like your snowboarding on asphalt or pavement. I love long boarding and snowboarding and was excited to check it out and discuss further.

Now, I’ve never met Jeremy in real life. I’ve only exchanged emails, tweets, and had a few phone conversations with him, but consider him a good friend. I’d do just about anything for him and I’d be willing to bet that he’d do the same. Why? Because we’ve built a strong relationship and can share things we probably wouldn’t share with others that we don’t know as well.

Seriously, it works. I know it’s hard to put aside your business interest and your ego, but do it. You won’t regret it!

Help Your New Friend With One of Their Challenges

Another thing you’ll learn in Leadership & Self-Deception is that other people’s problems and concerns are just as important as yours. When you realize this and see people as people, you suddenly want to help them, which creates stronger bonds with your new friends. I can’t tell you how many times I see people asking questions or complaining about something on Twitter. I’ve done it and I guarantee you have too. When someone takes time out of their busy schedule to help you, how do you see that person? As more a friend or less?

So slow down and take time to listen and pay attention to those who you consider to be your friends. When you’re able to step in and solve a problem for them, your relationships becomes that much stronger.

Don’t Forget To Say Thank You & I’m Sorry

Sounds super easy AND super cheesy, but you should always express your gratitude when someone else helps you with one of your challenges. Along the same lines, if you screw up… and you will, apologize, FAST! Nothing hurts relationships faster than failing to say thank you and failing to apologize. Enough said.

Stay In Touch Often

The last thing you need to do to create amazing relationships with others is stay in touch often. As with saying thank you and I’m sorry, there’s not much else to say about staying in touch. Just make sure you take the time to keep up on what your friends are up to and communicate with them regularly.

Put these all together and what do you have? The recipe for a perfect relationship that you can use to help you satisfy your needs, whether you trying to place content, generate backlinks, or whatever.

Image Credit: https://www.flazingo.com

Think You Can Manipulate Positive Customer Reviews? Think Again!

customer reviewsThe Internet is a powerful thing.  Occasionally, the misguided try to control it.  No, not North Korea, we are talking about a tiny hospitality center in New York.  A place called the Union Street Guest House.

It appears that the Guest House was concerned that some guests might not like their house.  They were worried that these grumpy guests may try to use the big INTERNET contraption to tell others about their displeasure.

Rather than spend time and money to make sure that guests received a fabulous experience, the ‘Mensa’s’ at Union would just charge those guests five hundred bucks for writing about an unpleasant trip.

This genius idea was included in the expansive fine print policies of the Union Street Guest House back in 2012.  The early draft read -

If you stay here to attend a wedding and leave us a negative review on any internet site you agree to a $500 fine for each negative review.

If you have booked the Inn for a wedding or other type of event anywhere in the region and given us a deposit of any kind for guests to stay at USGH there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH placed on any internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding or event (this is due to the fact that your guests may not understand what we offer and we expect you to explain that to them).

It is clear that the folks at USGH (so easy to misspell it simply as Ugh!) were serious about this customer service brainchild.  By the time this policy caught the eye of a reporter at the NY Post (http://pagesix.com/2014/08/04/hotel-charges-500-for-every-bad-review-posted-online/) the warm welcome said it this way, with the requisite header -

REVIEWS:

Please know that despite the fact that wedding couples love Hudson and our Inn, your friends and families may not. This is due to the fact that your guests may not understand what we offer – therefore we expect you to explain that to them. USGH & Hudson are historic. The buildings here are old (but restored). Our bathrooms and kitchens are designed to look old in an artistic “vintage” way. Our furniture is mostly hip, period furniture that you would see in many design magazines. (although comfortable and functional – obviously all beds are brand new) If your guests are looking for a Marriott type hotel they may not like it here.

Therefore: If you have booked the Inn for a wedding or other type of event anywhere in the region and given us a deposit of any kind for guests to stay at USGH there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH placed on any internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding or event If you stay here to attend a wedding anywhere in the area and leave us a negative review on any internet site you agree to a $500. fine for each negative review. (Please NOTE we will not charge this fee &/or will refund this fee once the review is taken down). Also, please note that we only request this of wedding parties and for the reasons explained above.

Now, a thing about the Internet, it seems to be as controllable as a hose-soaked feral cat.  (Not that I condone soaking feral cats, or any cats for that matter.  In fact, I love feral cats.  Many of my best friends are feral cats)

But I digress.  The point is, ever since Al Gore invented the Internet, it has been a free roaming, uncontrollable thing.  Kind of like the Blob.

So trying to command positive responses with the threat of a penalty is going to achieve the exact opposite, and it did.  Yelp, Trip Advisor, and other Travel sites predictably blew up.

Even more inexcusable, USGH’s own Facebook reviews trashed the company.  Turn off the site people!  Most that have never stayed at the property are saying things like –

“hey Union Street Guest House Owners…now now ….don’t let all this negativity get you down, buck up chaps….just change the signs outside get rid of the name and pretend you never heard of the union Street Guest house…”

“I recently stayed at a competing hotel, the Inn at Hudson, for a local wedding. The service was excellent and upon leaving, I left a very positive review for the Inn at Hudson. Somehow, the Union Street Guest House learned about my positive review for a competitor, hired a Russian hacker to compromise my bank’s security and access my savings account, and took $500.”

“I wish I could rate you less than 1 star for your “negative review” policy.”

So, this is where the people at UGH went completely crazy.  Someone at the ‘House’ decided to borrow from quick response political hacks. You know the ones who react when their private posts of private parts somehow become public.

You guessed it.  The Union Street Guest House PR team misspoke, fibbed or just plain lied.  Here is what they posted on the their Facebook site –

“The policy regarding wedding fines was put on our site as a tongue-in-cheek response to a wedding many years ago. It was meant to be taken down long ago and certainly was never enforced.”

Really, that is why it existed from at least 2012.  That is why it was rewritten?  Or maybe all of their policies are meant to be tongue-in-cheek.  Here are a few that are just hilarious   -

  • We reserve the right to hold deposit[s] until we feel that all charges, taxes, fees, damages, or any other financial obligation has been resolved regarding you and anyone in your party.
  • Cancellations made within 15 days will be charged for the entire length of stay. 100% of your reserved stay will be billed to your credit card when we accept your online booking.
  • Children are welcome although we would ask you to watch over them as all of the furnishings are one of a kind.

Their legal team should do stand-up.

On a serious note, we sympathize with small businesses trying desperately to make a living by offering a great product for a great value. We understand how hard it is to try to do it all, but when you make a mistake, own it.  Apologize. Ask for forgiveness.

The idea of holding cash captive to coerce positive feedback was misguided and mean.  It was a huge miss.

Tell the truth.

Some people don’t get your lodging.  It bugs you. You wish they appreciated what you offer. If they don’t, you can’t help it, and you certainly can’t control it.

A Nap To Replace Your Caffeine

It’s 2:30 p.m. and my eyes have a little burn to them from being open since 6:45 a.m. Man, were those lights that bright this morning? My thoughts start to slow down with a haze surrounding what I thought at one point were great ideas and direction to take for a project. I already drank a 32 oz. Mountain Dew with a squirt of berry in it at 9:30 a.m. to get me up and awake for the morning and afternoon, but now it is starting to wear off. What I wouldn’t give for a 15-minute nap to recharge myself…

Cat nap

The Culture Of Naps Overseas

A few years ago I lived in the central Philippines islands for two years, and the culture was literally a world of difference. One thing that stuck out to me right away after arriving and being there just a day or two was at lunchtime everything closes down and everyone takes a nap! Yes, most shops and stores close, and everyone either naps in their small shop or heads home for an hour or so. It amazed me to see this as a business move and as a part of the Filipino culture. I enjoyed this time as well! I would head home from my morning activities and for about two hours had time to nap 15-30 minutes and clean myself up a little from the jungle-like sweat I had going on at the time. I can truly say that the little nap and break in the day was a real relaxer and energizer for my afternoon and evening. 

What’s The Big Idea?!

I have often imagined what the productivity level would be like in this country if companies would allow a 15- to 30-minute nap during the day to give our bodies a break and recharge from the long morning of already being up for seven to eight hours. If you can believe it, it is actually becoming a more popular idea among larger companies, such as Google, AOL, Ben & Jerry’s, Nike and British Airways. In an article written earlier this year for the Medical Daily, Vincent Walsh, a professor of human brain research at University College London, told Cheltenham Science Festival, “It’s best to give your brain downtime.” He said, “I have a nap every afternoon. It’s only since the industrial revolution we have been obsessed with squeezing all our sleep into the night rather than having one or two sleeps through the day.”

Do You Have A Doctor’s Note?

Did you know there are actually different types of naps depending on how long the nap is? According to WebMD, these types are:

  • 20-minute power nap – Good for alertness and motor learning skills like typing and playing the piano.
  • 30 to 60 minute power nap – Good for decision-making skills, such as memorizing vocabulary or recalling directions.
  • 60 to 90 minute power nap – This plays a key role in making new connections in the brain and solving creative problems.

Aaaaaaand She’s Out

My wife and I were talking the other night about our 6-month-old daughter and how she gets fussy right before she falls asleep. My wife posed this question to me, “Why do you think we don’t need a couple of naps a day?” My first quick thought was to respond with a, “Because we aren’t babies.” But as I thought about it more I simply said that I didn’t know and maybe because our bodies are bigger which can handle more of the day without a break in activity… Wrong. Looking into it further, the Mayo Clinic actually has a little section in Adult Health suggesting that no matter the age, our body’s benefit from short naps. Now I don’t want to make this into a science debate or anything like that. I just wanted to include a little medical background to show that the medical field has suggestions about this subject as well.

Already Napping At Work

Now I know what a lot of people might be saying already, “Well heck, I already take a nap at my desk every afternoon. The only difference is my boss doesn’t know about it.” True, very true. But there is a big difference in a worry free, clear conscious nap compared to a nap you could get fired for if it isn’t your first time getting caught waking up and wiping drool off your cheek. Come to find out you only woke up because your co-workers started throwing things at you, which you find all over your desk area. Or even the dreaded wake up from your boss as he passes and tries to play it off as a joke but really it’s not good. Now what if you had this option:

picture via http://blog.creativesafetysupply.com

picture via http://blog.creativesafetysupply.com

picture via http://blog.creativesafetysupply.com

picture via http://blog.creativesafetysupply.com

Food For Thought

As much as I would love to do it, I am not going to go running into my boss’s office swinging it around yelling, “I need a nap! Science demands it!” Even if I did, I probably won’t be employed the next day. But I truly think that this will become more popular in the future as more companies try to create new ways of bettering the employee experience, which in theory betters the company. Just like my 6-month-old daughter who naps a couple of times a day to refresh and reboot, a company could very well benefit from this concept. Maybe try it out on free day, when you feel that afternoon haze come over you. Set a timer for no more than 30 minutes and see if it does wonders or makes you wish you had more time. In my personal experience, a quick 20-minute nap restarts me and I am fresh minded, but a nap lasting more than an hour makes me feel sometimes worse than before! So nap wisely.

Below I have also included a TED Talk and a quick YouTube video that were both interesting on the concept of sleep that some may like to watch. 

YouTube “How Much Sleep Do We Actually Need”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVQlcxiQlzI 

TED Talk On Sleep & Naps

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MklZJprP5F0#t=34

Build Relationships of Trust & Watch Your Online Sales Skyrocket

build relationships

Sales is about building relationships with others… PERIOD! How about that for an opening sentence of a blog post found on an online marketing blog? The thing is, it’s absolutely true, even if you are an online business.

As the years go on, consumers are becoming more and more internet savvy. They aren’t afraid to search for your company name coupled with “reviews”, “complaints”, or any other modifier that might help them dig up dirt on your business before spending money with you.

Since this is the mentality of most buyers these days, it’s more important than ever to build relationships of trust with every individual who visits your website. But how do you do this if you’re an online business only? (Meaning you don’t have a brick and mortar store front)

It all comes down to becoming a thought leader in your space as well as publishing great content and having a fantabulous drip email campaigns. It’s also critical to have a killer support staff to assist your customers post sale to ensure 100% customer or client satisfaction. We’ve seen this in the case with Zappos and many other online businesses who are growing exponentially year over year.

So let’s break these four components down and talk about each one specifically and why they are important for your business to succeed online.

Becoming a Thought Leader In Your Space

Let’s start out by defining exactly what I thought leader is. According to Wikipedia, who is the expert in all things, a thought leader is and individual or firm that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field and whose expertise is sought and often rewarded. Becoming a thought leader isn’t easy, but it’s necessary if you want to develop and maintain a thriving online business. So how do you become a thought leader? Well, there isn’t really a good answer… it just sort of happens. However, here are some things you need to start doing today to get started.

  • Start blogging everywhere! Write on your company blog, write on authoritative blogs in your industry (also known as legitimate guest blogging), write on LinkedIn, Etc. When you write, you must write amazing content. It has to be better, more thought provoking, and data driven than your competition.
  • Curate content and provide your own strategic insight. Nothing gets you noticed faster than sourcing other writers content and providing your own insight and angle on the topic.
  • Answer questions on social media. Looking for people asking questions on Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, and other platforms and providing solid advice will help you get noticed and will help you start building a steady a following.
  • Start speaking at events. Usually after you’ve created a voice and a following through blogging, using social media, helping others and answering their questions, you can start speaking at industry events. Depending on how large the events are will determine how many people consider you an expert in your field, so start small and work you way up to large events.

Publishing Great Content

As I’ve just discussed, this goes hand-in-hand with becoming a thought leader in your space. There are two problems for many businesses when it comes to content. First, they try to create too much content and the quality suffers. No one, I repeat no one likes to read bad content and it kills your credibility. Second, the content isn’t targeted to your prospects needs or problems they’re trying to solve. If you can nail both of these with your content, you’ll build trust quickly and close more business.

Having Fantabulous Drip Email Campaigns

Email drip campaigns, also referred to as lead nurture campaigns move prospects through the sales cycle via email strategic email communication. Believe it or not, email is one of the most powerful marketing tools you have at your disposal. When building your content, make sure to build some pieces that require a name and email address to access. Once you have this, you can start sending non-intrusive emails on a regular basis that provide additional content to “warm them up” to you and your company. Remember, the goal is to build relationships of trust.

Having a Killer Support Staff To Assist Your Customers Post Sale

Your support staff should be ready and excited about providing world class service to your customer base. This can be done by providing live chat, phone, and email support as well as support via social media. When building relationships with your customers, there can’t be too many touch points or ways to get a hold of you. Make it easy and make it effective and you’ll win the hearts and increase the lifetime value of those who keep you in business.

Now that we’ve run through each component, can you clearly see how putting the four together will create a lethal weapon for growing sales exponentially. Yes, it takes time, yes, it takes a lot of work, but doesn’t anything worth pursuing? Good luck and looking forward to hearing your thoughts on building relationships and sales.

15 Tips To Tweet: Insights From Digital Marketing Thought Leaders

TIPS TOThe world of digital marketing is wonderfully diverse and ever-changing. Business leaders have three basic approaches to this varied industry. One is to research, learn, and stay current on changing landscapes. The second would be to dive into digital marketing with a rough plan, get frustrated after the first failure and call it quits. And the final approach isn’t really an approach at all. It’s just to ignore the industry hoping that it is just a passing fad.

Hopefully you do not subscribe to that last group, or we would have to burst your bubble! Digital marketing is not going anywhere, businesses must either adapt or be left behind. Now, that leaves the two other approaches. Clearly, the first option is the best. But, you may be thinking that it’s too much time, too many resources, and too complicated to undertake.

Not so fast! While the world of digital marketing is constantly evolving, many core tips apply regardless of the place in time. We reached out to some of the brightest minds in the digital marketing industry, covering everything from SEO to social media, with one simple question:

What is your favorite (less than 140 characters!) digital marketing advice?”

Not surprisingly, these industry thought leaders did not disappoint. You’ll find their favorite tips listed below. If any, or all, strike a chord with you, Tweet it and share the knowledge.

On Digital Marketing

@ChadPollitt “Consistency is the key to successful digital marketing. Otherwise, the audience you build will not have their expectations met.” Tweet Me!

@nelsonjames “Don’t look for shortcuts. Almost all shortcuts lead to poor marketing tactics that will hurt your brand in the end.” Tweet Me!

@dustinheap “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket regardless of what that basket might be.” Tweet Me!

@lyena “Sometimes very simple observations lead to meaningful insights.” Tweet Me!

On Content

@shuey03 “Before you begin any content initiative, you MUST know the needs and pain points of your target audience and be ready to address them.” Tweet Me!

@amabaie “Visuals are more effective than just text. But the most effective visuals include text.” Tweet Me!

@Casieg “Look at your data when creating content.” Tweet Me!

@lyena “Become obsessed with pictures this year. Snap shots of your business, of people working there.” Tweet Me!

On Social Media

@ChadPollitt “If content is king then distribution is queen and she wears the pants.” Tweet Me!

@Matt_Siltala “Instagram is hot right now, and one of the most powerful tools for bringing the online and offline marketing worlds together.” Tweet Me!

@PapaRelevance “Organic reach on major social platforms will be reduced to rubble. Tune in to the paid content promotion ecosystem.” Tweet Me!

@PapaRelevance “I believe Twitter, Pinterest and the like will follow Facebook. You’ll need to pay for substantial exposure to your own audience.” Tweet Me!

On SEO and Optimization

@RavenJon “UX is quickly becoming the next big thing in marketing. The tipping point for #SEO was when they realized UX creates signals.” Tweet Me!

@lyena “Know your audience and understand what they want to accomplish on your website. Give them what they are looking for.” Tweet Me!

@DavidWallace “Just because Google says it doesn’t make it gospel. Marketing is war & Google is not your friend. Take what they say with a grain of salt.” Tweet Me!

Never miss a beat by following these Tweeps on Twitter. That way, you’ll be one step closer to staying on top of all Digital Marketing news, trends, and insights.

Dear Facebook, You’re Gross

“In hindsight,” wrote Kramer, “the research benefits of the paper may not have justified all of this anxiety.”

jimmy-fallon-ew

Allow me to preface this with the following:

I have never had any inkling of an issue with my privacy being “infringed” upon. Do I mind retargeted ads? No way. Do I mind firms collecting my data among countless others as we go about our normal lives? Absolutely not. I firmly believe this ultimately serves consumers by giving them what they truly want.

I willingly give my personal information to Facebook. That willingness is under the assumption that, yes, you will be watched. Deal with it.

Now, what I (and any reasonable person) does not assume, is that their emotions will be purposefully and intentionally altered for Facebook’s research benefit.

The Problem: Mood Manipulation

By now, you’re probably aware of Facebook’s experiment on nearly 700,000 users in 2012. You’re also probably aware of the backlash they received from users and media outlets alike. If you need a bit more background information, The Atlantic published a fabulous, comprehensive article explaining the study, ethics, and psychological issues. For your convenience, listed below are two great quotes from the original study.

“The experiments took place for 1 wk (January 11–18, 2012). Participants were randomly selected based on their User ID, resulting in a total of ∼155,000 participants per condition who posted at least one status update during the experimental period.”

Facebook must have found something TOTALLY groundbreaking, right?

“Although these data provide, to our knowledge, some of the first experimental evidence to support the controversial claims that emotions can spread throughout a network, the effect sizes from the manipulations are small.”

The Apology

Sadly, what the network can’t measure is how these people actually felt. How this impacted their emotions and actions in the real world. The authors of the study from Facebook assure that the impact of their manipulation was slight:

“[A]t the end of the day, the actual impact on people in the experiment was the minimal amount to statistically detect it…”

So, it was barely noticeable, right? Anyone with a basic knowledge of statistics understands that if your data IS statistically significant, that’s a pretty big deal. Facebook actions cross the line. This is worlds away from combing your posts to serve you ads or collecting the date of when you changed your relationship status to plot alongside millions of other data points. Facebook is recklessly manipulating users for the sake of “science.” I reached out to the point of contact for this article to confirm that none of the users knowingly participated in the study. He did not reply. However, Facebook has released statements, on Facebook of course, regarding the questions surrounding the experiment:

“[O]ur goal was never to upset anyone. I can understand why some people have concerns about it, and my coauthors and I are very sorry for the way the paper described the research and any anxiety it caused.” – Adam D. I. Kramer, Facebook Core Data Science Team member.

You pesky, pesky terms and agreements. These kinds of inclusions in terms and agreements that seem to be out of line to a reasonable person aren’t illegal, yet. Bottom line is that Facebook has done nothing illegal. I’m not going into semantics here with the difference between illegal and unethical. We know that distinction.

Gross, Reckless, and Desperate

This experiment was reckless and gross. But, it also reeks of desperation. Desperation from a company struggling to prove value to shareholders. Was this bit of buzz worth the absolutely negative response from users and press alike?

It Was Never About YOU & It Never Will Be

reality check

Image via anthillonline.com

Dear business people everywhere, it’s time to have “the talk”. The talk about how it’s not all about you. Sorry, I know it hurts. I know a lot of you think it is all about you and your world, and what’s happening with your “this” and your “that”, but I am here to bring up something that I truly think successful business people do or should start doing. Helping other businesses. Creating relationships with as many businesses and people as possible and here’s why.

Don’t Be THAT Guy

I recently had a good friend go to a business lunch that was created specifically for any businessperson around to go, sit in small tables of eight, have some lunch and just talk. There was no set topic, no specific agenda except to exchange business cards, see what everyone did for a living and build new relationships. But instead, people showed up thinking it was their business birthday party and made the afternoon all about them. My friend explained how he sat next to a man who from the moment they all sat down made it all about him. He talked about what he was doing, what his business practices were and how successful his world had become. My friend went on to say how short sided the conversation of the whole table became once everyone’s brains shifted to thinking “it’s all about me”. Of course you have to make an introduction, saying who you are, what company you are with and what you do for them, but then the conversation shouldn’t come back to you unless another points it that way. No one wants to do business with you if the conversation never leaves you.

Back in 2011, New-York Times columnist David Brooks wrote an article titled, “It’s Not About You”. His thoughts focused around college students as they graduate and how, “Today’s grads enter a cultural climate that preaches the self as the center of a life. But, of course, as they age, they’ll discover that the tasks of a life are at the center.” I LOVE this. It’s not about you, it’s about the bigger picture at hand, the long term thoughts of business. The culture of becoming a successful business is thought to be what Zangief from Wreck-It Ralph states, “crushing skulls like a sparrow egg between my thighs.” (If you haven’t seen Wreck-It Ralph, make it a goal of yours because it doesn’t disappoint.) Back to the point, businesses want to crush all, gain all, reap all and leave nothing left. I make this much and this is how successful I am because of this and this and this. Well, what if we put YOU second and put simple and easy relationship building first?

“No Soup For You!”

We have all met those people who think it’s all about them, like the chart below illustrates. Walk into a room and if the conversation isn’t involving them then they make it about them. Sorry, but no, no it’s not all about you and you know what, “No soup for you!”

mememe

Image via forbes.com

Whenever I go anywhere that requires me to sit and interact with others, I always try my best to get to know them and what they do. I have always just truly been interested in others, their backgrounds and culture, and how they make a living. With more than 7 billion people in the world, there are too many people to make relationships with in my opinion. In a weird way, the old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” can apply here for the better. If I meet someone at a marketing conference who is in need of a service that someone I know happens to provide, say a friend or coworker or even a client of mine, then I will gladly get him or her in touch with one another. Now without wanting something in return for myself, my networking space just gained more credibility and strength, which in turn could help me in the future, but it was not my initial intention.

Take It Online

Except for a lunch every month, I don’t get many face-to-face business networking event opportunities. So, I take it online. I take a few minutes every morning to have some personal time before the workday gets going and get networking; not for myself, but for others. I have an idea of people I want to try and connect that morning, like maybe a new connection I made earlier in the week needs a service I can find easily for them through a connection I already have. Some mornings nothing comes up and I don’t end up helping anyone, but other times I’m the link that two people needed. Creating online relationships seems to be the quickest way to connect businesses and people, but it’s not always the easiest way. Due to the amount of creepos and fake accounts out there, people are a little more guarded online today, so when reaching out, make it genuine so the person you are trying to connect with that has never met you knows you aren’t creepin’ on them.

See Where It Takes You

Here it is. The challenge. The next time you attend a conference, convention or social event where business is being discussed and swapped, don’t make it about you but about the others in the room and how to help them. Or heck, just spend a few minutes every morning on LinkedIn or Twitter seeing who can benefit from a connection you helped make. In 2012, Jodi Glickman wrote a great little piece for the Harvard Business Review Blog called, “Confession of a Networking Pro” showing what happened when she did just this. You should read her experience if you have mixed feelings about this untraditional way of creating relationships and networking. I challenge not only myself to do this over the next few months as much as possible, but everyone else as well to see just how it improves your networking and maybe even provides opportunities for your own business down the road. Give it a try. See how helping others with a simple notion that you are just being an awesome person, passing along contacts and helping the world of business thrive will open more doors for everyone, including yourself.

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Clickbait Ooh Ha Ha!

Today, I’m here to talk about clickbait.

sharkbait

Hopefully, you (or your kids) are big enough Disney/Pixar fans to understand the reference to the cinematic classic, Finding Nemo. For those that aren’t, I’ll give you a run-down. In the scene where Nemo is christened with the name “Shark Bait,” he first has to pass through the “ring of fire.” Sounds terrifying, right? That’s how all the aquarium fish make it seem. But, it turns out it’s really not that much of a feat to conquer. Nemo passes through the “ring of fire” with ease and the fish begin the celebratory chant, “Shark bait ooh ha ha! Shark bait ooh ha ha!”

The Sliding Definitions of Clickbait

How does this relate to clickbait? Let’s head over to the ever-reliable Wikitionary for an open-sourced definition:

Website content that is aimed at generating advertising revenue, especially at the expense of quality or accuracy, relying on sensationalist headlines to attract click-throughs; such headlines.

Just like Nemo was lead to believe he was about to perform an incredibly dangerous task, readers are lead to believe they’re about to read an earth-shattering piece of news. In reality, what ends up happening is far more anti-climactic.

Now, this is not to say that the amazing piece of accurate, viable content you just created doesn’t deserve to be honored with an attention-grabbing headline. Quite the opposite. What distinguishes clickbait from a dang good headline is that the content itself is obviously sub-par.

Purveyors of Clickbait

In April of this year, Luke O’Neil scored popular sites and their respective clickbait utilization in his article, “Every Major Website Clickbaits, But Not as Much as You’d Assume.” O’Neil and the folks over at Mediaite even put their findings in a nifty visual, pictured below for your enjoyment:

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While you’d expect sites like BuzzFeed and Upworthy to be off-the-charts in clickbait use, it just isn’t that widespread. However, just because it isn’t as widespread doesn’t mean those that do occur go unnoticed. Clickbait inspires such a violent distaste in some that The Onion created an entire site, Clickhole, solely filled with clickbait posts. Below is a screen shot showcasing some of Clickhole’s clickbait headlines:

clickhole

Now, take a look at ViralNova’s site (screenshot below). ViralNova scored a 94/100 on Mediaite’s clickbait scale. Meaning that out of the 100 random articles collected, 94 of them were guilty of clickbaiting. Can you tell the difference between Clickhole’s parody and ViralNova’s reality?

viralnova ss

Clickbait’s Ripple Effect

Clicks to your website or blog are typically a go-to analytic for measuring online success. Understandably, this has lead to bevy of online marketers doing just about anything for clicks. Firms churn out content that talks a big headline game, but simply doesn’t deliver when the reader arrives. Not only does this hurt other, arguably more important metrics, it hurts the brand that’s producing the clickbait. A short-term attempt to gain clicks really creates a potentially long-term trust and credibility issue for firms. But, if clicks are how you measure, where can you go from here?

Changing Measurements

In a recent article in Forbes, Upworthy’s director of business intelligence, Daniel Mintz, spoke on formulating a new metric to measure content impact beyond clicks and page views. “Attention minutes” is a metric that Upworthy just recently began tracking. “If a user isn’t actively scrolling down a page, mousing around it or playing a video for more than a few seconds at a time, she’s no longer considered part of the audience,” explains the article of Mintz’s attention minutes.

While this measurement is far from forgiving, it gives marketers real insight into visitor behavior. Using this data and intelligence can translate into creating content that better resonates with your audience on a more consistent basis.

upworthy screenshot

A Solution to Clickbait?

There will always be members of the online community who perpetrate poor-taste tactics. Furthermore, there will always be an audience present to click blindly on the links. But, that doesn’t mean your brand needs to fall victim to this get-clicks-quick strategy. So, what can you do to get clicks AND gain trust?

Create Quality Content

The most simple manner in which to avoid a piece of content that could be construed as clickbait is to create quality content. This content is NOT driven by a purpose of simply spiking traffic or going “viral.” The content is reliable, accurate, and is of real value to your audience.

Create Quality Content… All The Time

Creating quality content is a lot like bathing. You don’t bath once, then figure your good for months, right? Hopefully not! Each time you create content, it should be of high enough quality that you’re proud of it.

Create Quality Content… All The Time… For Your Audience

The final and vital facet to creating quality content is that it is tailor-made for your audience. Content inspiration should be drawn from one source: your target audience. If it is not useful, or entertaining, to them in any manner, it simply shouldn’t be created.

What are your thoughts? Do you think clickbait is over-mentioned for it’s actual volume of use? Do you think it’s damaging to the blogging community as a whole? Did the aquarium fish clickbait Shark Bait?