Smart YouTube Video Captions Improve On-Page SEO

Using YouTube video captions you can boost your blog SEO.

YouTube added automatic captions this year and it’s an important feature for several reasons.  If you’re not familiar with video captions, it is basically the transcript of the video dialog or narration shown at the bottom of the screen.  In the past you would have to supply the caption copy or pay someone to do it. Now YouTube automatically creates captions when you upload videos.

Why Video Captions are Important

Video captions were created for hearing impared but have a huge amount of digital utility.  By capturing the transcript as text you can append blog posts and webpages that have video embedded on the page.  The transcript copy provides additional on page SEO value.  By placing that trascript copy on the page and optimizing for links and search you’ve enhanced the page with what Google likes to see:  authentic, original content with rich media and a scannable text of the video content.

Using YouTube video captions you can boost your blog SEO.
Video captions now appear in the video manager on the Captions tab.

The first step is to review and clean up your transcript.  YouTube will attempt to understand your narration or spoken word but it’s not 100% accurate.  In fact depending on your sound quality, background music or any noise that is happening on the footage you may find it to be total gibberish.

Now come the time intensive part of the process, cleaning up the gobbly-gook speak.  Depending on the length of your video and how much of it is narrative versus music or other non-spoken noise this can range from 15 minutes to a few hours.  Short 1-2 minute videos have taken me about 30-45 minutes to clean up and review.  The process is basic in that you have to review the captions while listening to the audio.  Where there are errors you can edit the copy in the captions window.

Once you’ve updated all the captions, review it once again.  After the copy is clean here comes the easy part.  YouTube offers you the ability to download the captions as with timecodes formatted.  I download the file and then open it in a simple text editor and clean out the timecodes and extra spaces and line breaks. See the video below for an overview of the process.

Video Captions SEO Benefit

Simply copy and paste this text into your blog post or page.  Where you put it depends on the page.  For blog posts I typically put it below the video with a heading of Video Transcript.  Sometimes I use blockquotes and you can even add names and titles if you want. Here is the blog post about Managing Multiple Twitter Accounts that I used in the video demo above.

Final touches include links within the transcript copy to other pages, partner sites, social profiles, blogs, etc.  Now your page had not only the rich media of video but the underlying message is more SEO friendly to attract organic search visitors.

But the benefits of the captions don’t end there.  Some organizations, public institutions and others are now requiring captions on any content they approve.  So if your video is a user story for a public sector company or government agency, you may be required to show captions or have them turned on automatically during playback.

There are probably other great uses for the captions once  you’ve cleaned them up.  If you’ve found any other uses please share in the comments.

How AT&T Could Have Used Social Media During Crisis

AT&T U-verse outage demonstrates lack of social media marketing and public relations

AT&T U-verse outage demonstrates lack of social media marketing and public relationsThis week AT&T had a massive outage of its U-verse network that offers voice, digital cable and high speed Internet to consumers and businesses. This most recent fiasco has further tarnished the AT&T brand that it appears the company has either given up on PR and customer service or does not have a strong and savvy management team in place to deal with the challenges of being a major communications company.

In the most recent chapter of the ongoing AT&T saga, a total lack of understanding of the ability to communicate to customers, media and the public was evident. With social media there is a clear channel beyond calling customer service to easily facilitate broadcast messages to an engaged audience.

I was actually affected by the outage and followed AT&T’s actions and lack off during the most crucial times. Customers began experiencing service disruptions on Monday. My service died sometime Monday nigght aferr I went to bed. Noticing the error we contacted the company on Monday and were informed that there was a widespread outage for Uverse and that North Carolina was not being affected according to the representative.

My wife then went to Twitter and saw that other customers in NC were affected. I immediately look at the Twitter chatter and noticed that despite a flood of customers asking for information the company just issued a standard, we’re having problems tweet. If you look at the stream below captured on Jan 24, 2013 AT&T U-verse social media and PR team did not utilize Twitter as frequently or early on during the crisis.

AT&T U-verse Twitter stream during network outage was poor to weak at best
AT&T U-verse Twitter stream during network outage was poor to weak at best.

AT&T’s communication and reaction on Facebook was just as poor.  For the whole first day of the outage the company only had a simple post about MLK holiday.  All day Tuesday as customers were asking what was happening the company did not up a single post.  Then on Wednesday 2 posts. One that said the problem was related to hardware issues, the next saying that it was software issue.  To add insult to injury they tried to downplay the size of the problem stating that the outage was only affecting 1% of customers.  This clearly did not seem to be the problem as outages were reporting across several states.

AT&T U-verse Facebook Page was poorly utilized during crisis. What little information shared appeared inaccurate and unclear to customers.
AT&T U-verse Facebook Page was poorly utilized during crisis. What little information shared appeared inaccurate and unclear to customers.

By Wednesday evening several customers were asking AT&T why there were not communicating using social media and other digital communication channels like email and text to keep customers informed.  Between the trickle of information on social media and what appeared to be radio silence on text and email AT&T just feed the customer frustration fire that gets flamed with viral reposts, likes and sharing on social networks.  I think most customers including myself would understand that shit happens and sometimes, major network fails can occur.

Affected ATT U-Verse customers were pleading for information and receiving nothing substantial.
Affected ATT U-Verse customers were pleading for information and receiving nothing substantial.

What customers don’t want is to be ignored during a crisis.  They want transparency and clear communication as to what the status is and anticipated recovery time.  The majority of your customers will be satisfied with confident and timely communications.  What amazes me is that we are at a point in time where using social media and digital communication should be primary part of crisis communication plan.  You would think that someone at AT&T had to either be asleep at the wheel or choosing not to participate in the discussion.  Either way it’s another PR black eye for the communications company.

8 Daily Digital Marketing Challenges

Not as hard os POTUS but Digital Marketing is hard work

Not as hard os POTUS but Digital Marketing is hard workIt’s not as difficult as being President of the United States, but digital marketing is hard work. Most people think we just play on social media all day and create a few web pages. I wish that was true. Digital marketing is a fun career choice but can be very challenging due to several factors.

  1. Digital marketing is in a state of constant change. Search engine result pages (SERPs) change more than 75% on a daily basis.  New social networks and tools pop up every few days.  Just when you think you’ve figured it out Facebook announces privacy changes or Instagram changes its terms of service.  Whatever the state of flux what works today, may not work tomorrow.
  2. Educating others as to what’s important. For those that don’t live, eat and breath digital, there’s a large knowledge gap. A big part of my day can be spent educating others as to why certain aspects of digital marketing are unique and important.
  3. You have to play the long and short game. Even B2C ecommerce sites that can show quick conversions from email, paid search and social. But they still have to consider where there brand will be positioned a year from now, 5 years from now, etc. B2B with longer sales cycles know this well enough but again you have to educate your co-workers that
  4. It’s hard to find quality relevant data. Yes there are tons of stats on Mashable, Techcrunch and other news blogs on conversion rates, open rates, etc. But many times they are aggregated across millions and billions of sessions, users stats, log files, etc. Finding relative comparative benchmarking data is challenging and can be expensive.
  5. You have to be a part time geek.  Not just someone that loves technology but you have to understand how the web and other digital platforms work at certain levels.  Digital marketing works when the underlying infrastructure and technology support the goals and objectives of the campaign.  Without a robust framework and platform the best campaigns can quickly fail.  Understanding how the pieces work together is critical for success.
  6. You have to test on many browsers, operating systems and mobile devices. Sure your website, app, email looks great on your computer but what about the person in the cube next to you on an older browser. Or your CEO that is on his iPad. Or your customer that still uses a Blackberry.  At some point you have to cut bait and fish but the testing and revisions are important and time consuming.
  7. Traditional marketing is still important. The old rules may not always apply but lessons learned from past campaigns can provide insight into how people may respond to your campaign.  Marketing is not about selling, it’s about creating interest, awareness and demand for your product. The selling comes afterwards.
  8. There are many digital channels and associated strategies. Do I create a mobile website or mobile app? Are microsites the best strategy for a campaign. How much organic and paid search do I need to reach my goals?  Add in video, social, email, content marketing, and whatever is around the corner. Not every digital channel is applicable for each campaign, but each must be considered and reviewed.
So what do you think? Is digital marketing hard work in your opinion?Enhanced by Zemanta

Content Marketing Automation and Integration

Content marketing automation and integration

With all the digital media channels out there you can spend a huge amount of time curating and sharing content across multiple social networks and channels.  Integrating content across networks and channels via an automation strategy can save time and money spent doing repetitive tasks.  But I want to note that this is not an all or none strategy and should not be adopted for all your communication.  Instead I approach content automation as a strategy to integrate original content with curated content in order to develop a stream of content.

Some of the basic tactics necessary to deploy this strategy include establishing a digital diet of content.  Content aggregators and curation tools are a great way to do this.  Creating great content day in, day out is a challenge.  There’s no reason why you should not view curation as a way to keep your social media streams active and healthy.  Every social media expert will tell you share great content in addition to creating your own.
Think of your content marketing automation as a daisy chain, whereby each event links to another.  There are several ways to do this.

Search to Syndicate

Search queries on Google and Twitter allow you to create an RSS feed.  These RSS feeds can be displayed on your blog or can feed a social media account like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+.  You can also use email to syndicate content via email to add articles to a queue.  So here is how I do it.
I use content curation tools on my iPhone and iPad like Zite, Flipboard, Pulse and other sources.  Articles that I read and think my friends and followers are interested I share by sending via email to Buffer.  Buffer allows you to schedule and share content on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and set up a schedule according to what day and times you want to share for each network.  My buffer feeds my personal Twitter, LinkedIn and the Square Jaw Media Facebook page.
Remember the daisy chain I mentioned earlier?  Here’s where that comes in.  Buffer only hits 3 sites but I want to also share to my Square Jaw Media Twitter as well as save to my bookmarking account on Pocket.  Here’s where my trigger tool comes in.  If This Then That (ifttt.com) is a trigger based tool that allows you to daisy chain your content automation to several networks.  So I have one trigger that is activated when my Facebook page shares a link and post it to Twitter and a second that bookmarks the article on Pocket for archiving.
Here’s where the daisy chain effect comes in.  I don’t want my personal and brand page to push out the same link at the same time.  So I use IFTTT to push out my Square Jaw Media tweet at a later time by staggering my Facebook fan page Buffer queue.  That way there’s some time distance between the two tweets.
At a less complex level Facebook, YouTube and other tools allow you to port links to other networks when you add or bookmark content.  For example when you you add a video to YouTube you can have it post a tweet and status update on Facebook.  At the same time you can also do this for content that you save as a favorite.  This is a great opportunity to share content that is relevant to stakeholders.
Another great syndication tool is NetworkedBlogs. If you are reading this post on Facebook, NetworkedBlogs did that!  NetworkedBlogs allows you to syndicated your blog to your Facebook page and profile when you publish.

Repurpose Content

The concept of repurposing content on social media should not be overlooked.  One way to accomplish this is to use the Tweet Old Post WordPress plugin to share older posts along with more current content.  As long a your content is relevant and timely this works well to drive traffic to your site.
RSS feeds have so many uses in content automation it’s hard to list them so I’ll mention a few.  If you host events or blog about them many times you want to include links to other blogs and sites that reference your event.  In the past this meant going back to articles and adding links.  But you can use In Post RSS Plugin to update a post without having to login to your blog.  By adding a link to a bookmarking site like Delicious or Pocket it will add the link to the post dynamically.  Remember to use tags to separate and segment content so you don’t spam our post or feed with unrelated links.

Don’t Forget the Sidebar

Sidebars are a great place to display content on our website or blog.  Videos, slides, photos, links and other curated content can be shared on every page of your site or segment the content and share only the specific relevant links for specific vertical markets like health care, technology or manufacturing if necessary.
In conclusion, these tactics are not a replacement for interacting and responding with users on social networks. If you try that you will soon find out that your readers will call you out and you will lose some level of trust with your audience. Instead employ a content automation strategy to augment your content marketing efforts.