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Content marketing 2014, Debbie Meltzer, Canimpact

Content marketing 2014 guidelines

It baffles me… B2B businesses spend on average 30% of the marketing budget on content marketing. A flood of  statistics show that 58% of marketers will increase their budget in 2014, even though only 42% find their efforts successful.

 So, where are we getting it wrong?

What can be done in 2014 to prevent the run-of-the-mill content factories from churning out digital debris?
Probably the hardest step is the first one.  As a marketer I have fallen into the trap of creating customer personas, developing a strategic plan, assessing marketing automation tools and neatly executing task driven excel sheets. If you’re about to fall down that rabbit hole, hit the pause button now!

Stretch beyond the cubicle. Scan the digital sphere like a giraffe from the tree tops.
Why bother? Well, another blog post, e-newsletter or video may meet your manager’s checklist, but sometime in 2014 management will lose patience, especially after tracking  conversion rates.

 

Follow the money trail, especially the one from Mountain View
You might want to ask; who is responsible for the digital content transformation, and why? How come most SEO strategies are not working as well as they used to? And why most social media posts, even videos, reach mediocre results?

New Google ranking tactics are partly to blame.

Digital nectar for the elusive hummingbird
Each month, on average, 8.5 of the top 10 will change their Google ranking.  Why? Because Google wants to link searchers’ intent with what they’re actually looking for. They want to connect millions of search requests seeking quality content, that lack keywords. So the mountain people figured; if they could build an infrastructure round these search streams, they could help searchers find what they want; help their customers reach better advertising results and help themselves to more revenue. Incidentally, Google’s new platform is appropriately called Hummingbird.

In 2014 thou shalt stop ignoring Google+
Google+, Shmoogle+… Why bother, when the world of Social Media gravitated round Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn? Well, no more… A new Google+ toolset will help to boost brand positioning by exploiting Serp  real estate opportunities.

Premium content in the right place at the right time will rake rewards
Strong keyword signals simply won’t work anymore; neither will Social Media spins that churn out shallow posts padded with key phrases.  Premium content written or designed in the right context that adheres to Google’s new guidelines will realize rankings and better CTR (Click Through Rates).  Content optimization solutions such as Sitecore, Optimove and Outbrain are digital candy for big brand and e-commerce sites seeking better, more measurable results.

Thinking like a brand again
2014 signals the growth of internal branding. The era of hiring inexperienced social media and SEO novices is over. Organizations will need to strengthen their own team’s skills and if needed, outsource for high quality content.  Brands that can afford it, will invest in multi-content platforms that integrate owned, earned and paid media to grow more targeted distribution. Native advertising and mobile advertising will continue to surge.  Ads designed smartly for mobile could generate interesting metrics, despite size and functionality limitations.

 Companies investing in brand journalism will need to build better content factories.
Innovative brands have been ditching the news makers to become the news makers. Already big brands such as Southwest airlines, American Express, and TopShop have been establishing their own editorial channels. The flip side is that some brand content is not only competing against other companies, but the brand’s own eco-sphere, even their own customers. To avoid digital debacles, branded content will need to be more personalized and measurable.

Content will need to be more visual and more useful.
People are visual. Visual stands out. It resonates in ways that words cannot. Effective how-to-videos, eye-catching Slideshares and Snapchats are some examples of attention grabbing visual content formats that will trump in 2014, as long as they have SEO link-backs. Short form video will continue to rise. Short form video is easy to consume and can even be shared on Pinterest. The concept of video blogging or “vlogging” continues to grow as an industry.
Now the only real enemy is time.

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marketing writing israel

Stanford, Duke & Wharton free online marketing & management courses

Over 70,000 students a week enroll  into Coursera’s free online education courses in subjects ranging from management, marketing and programming. So,not surprisingly, the ticker is moving up every few seconds.

Courses such as “An introduction to marketing”, “Understanding media through Google” and “Design thinking” are just some of the programs that are providing access for millions to higher education for free.

Many of Coursera’s 400 courses are offered by some of the most prestigious universities such as; Columbia, Princeton, Harvard and even the Technion.

Just last month Coursera nabbed another stamp of approval with the closure of a $43 million investment round from the World Bank. Piling on the prestige, the American Council on Education (ACE) approved a handful of courses for credit, affording Coursera a boost ahead of Udacity and EdX.

So, just how did Coursera take the online university scene by storm? How come it has the blessing of the top universities and councils around the world? And how can you and I make the most of Coursera?

Coursera is a MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) that is disrupting academia and heralding a transformation in higher education. I have to admit, MOOC at first sounded to me like street gang code, but the real meaning couldn’t be further from a back alley.

MOOCs are gaining momentum, just when students are facing dwindling options. They are forcing top ranking universities to sit up, shake the dust and budget for free online courses, even though they haven’t worked out a way to monetize them.

Eventually Coursera hopes to make a profit from offering verified certificates. But one of its biggest challenges is the huge drop-out rate of enrollers.

Today there is already a new breed of Coursera junkies who cannot collect certificates but find some courses a great way to step up their training and job seeking opportunities.

Here are some of the tips they offer to make the most out of the courses:

1. The introductory videos don’t necessarily lead on to the course content, best to give it a try before making conclusions

2. Although most courses don’t offer accreditation, to some employees they demonstrate a personal commitment to learning, so it’s important to emphasize the merit

3. Try taking a course with a friend, or even a study group, to get each other motivated

4. If you have a project requiring you to learn a particular topic, you’re going to be able to take better advantage of Coursera and other MOOCs

5. Don’t assume there is consistency between classes; some courses won’t require you to submit anything till the end while others will not pass you if you miss 30% of one week

6. Coursera can provide a structure for producing portfolio items; let’s say you want a job in advertising. It’s hard to just come up with a fake campaign without somebody giving you some constraints and strategy.

7. Learn your limits, don’t enroll in more than one time-demanding course at once, try out the first week and quit if it doesn’t appeal to you

8. One of the most recommended courses is Wharton’s marketing course, which is a part of their MBA program. It focuses on branding strategies, customer centricity and new market entry.

For more, follow the twitter account; @MOOCNewsReviews, and the following Linkedin discussion thread; http://www.linkedin.com/groups/How-many-Coursera-certificates-you-4613607.S.232817708

Check out more marketing and business courses at: www.coursera.org

Debbie Meltzer

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