Category Archives: SEO

Creating a Digital Marketing Command Center

At the 29014 Digital Marketing for Business conference I presented on how to create a digital marketing command center.

When starting a digital marketing program or position, it’s often important to quickly set up essential social listening, curating and sharing platforms. You will need a command center where you can quickly scan relevant and timely content as well as distribute original and curated content to your networks.

  • Develop a monitoring station using search query results (Google, Bing, Twitter), blogs, and RSS feeds
  • Organize a content monitoring station into channels that can be shared with organization, team members, stakeholders
  • Create triggers to track outbound email, social and other digital communications into a Google calendar
  • Integrate a tracking calendar with an editorial content calendar

Speaker Notes

Digital marketing has created explosion of content. Alongside with all the content is the need to manage the monitoring, tracking and other tasks associated with digital marketing. In managing digital marketing for various companies I’ve found myself repeating the same process to streamline and organize digital content.

I recently had the opportunity to present about this topic at the Digital Marketing for Business event in Raleigh. The session, Creating a Digital Media Command Center outlined the steps described in this post and the presentation below.

Digital landscape has created a whole new level of media. Time to market with content can be immediate, real time.

So we can only keep track of so much stuff. Two monitors are great and I’m sure 4 are awesome but you can only look at one and do one thing at a time.

Mapping Your Digital Property

So this is your digital property. You don’t own all of it but you own most of it. Between your owned and earned media there is a gap. We want to drive everyone to our landing pages and convert them but how do we attract them if we’re managing this?

Data Types

Different types of data that you can put into Digital Command Center. Infrastructure/performance is specific to your site speed up time, etc.

Content is both the content you push out as well as what you have available like photo libraries. KPIs are Key Performance Indicators. These are what everyone has in their goals and you should have a way to measure it. Typically conversions are the top KPI in digital marketing. Conversions can mean different things to different companies.

Create a Monitoring Station

Google search offers definitive search agent to gather relevant content on the web. Determine top 10 terms to track. Also determine if you can narrow down search using parameters such as location, negative search, by domain. So best advice is to create your top 10 searches to track. You don’t want too many as the results can become overwhelming.

Now that you’ve cast your net you need to pull the feeds together into a single user experience. There are many tools that can do this but I’ve been using one tool the past several years that works very well and has a great free platform.

In preparing this presentation and grabbing screen captures I discovered Netvibes promo video and thought it did a great job of demonstrating the concepts that I’m going to present. Now I must state that I’m not a customer or affiliated with Netvibes in anyway, I’m a simple freeloader of their software! They do have an analytics platform but I have not used it yet but it is a paid option.

So here’s a sample of a monitoring station I built in Netvibes. This is based on a profile of me and all my digital presence. I can build this for my competitors as well to monitor what they are doing. I can put each competitor and or subject stream in a tab to organize the content.

With all this content coming out we are bombarded with too much content. 5 tips to do this and that but what do you need to get your job done today?

One thing I really like about Netvibes is the ability to scan by groups and then review the subset later.

Use Triggers to Automate and Track Content

Curation is key part of digital marketing. But in reviewing this content we find stuff we want to share with our employees, customers and prospects. A really nice feature to have is a sharing option in any Digital Command Center. Once I’ve reviewed my articles I can share them straight from here.

I use Hootsuite as a social media management platform and find that its publisher feature is a great way to manage my planned outbound social messaging. After curating I tend to go to the schedule and review content again and when it’s timed to hit each platform. This will be important in a few slides and I’ll show you why.

Hootsuite does have a RSS syndicator but to be honest with you I don’t like it. It’s not as easy to use as Netvibes and hard to group and share with the team.

Robots and triggers are simple automation programs that perform an action in reaction to an event. That event can be an email, tweet, post, campaign, or an event like reaching a milestone like lowering your bounce rate or hitting a sales goal.

The tool I use is called If This Then That ifttt.com. It’s free and you can base your triggers or “recipes” on your social accounts and other actions like email. you can also base it on activity within a community using a hashtag or other keyword.

Now here is the result of these triggers in my editorial calendar. I use Google Calendar to plan and track my content and events. The solid bars represent the planned activities while the timestamped text entries show actual activities. This way I can match my activity against my plan and share with the team.

Share Your Results with Dashboards

So you’ve created your monitoring station, activated your triggers, now it’s time to share the results. The best way to do this is to create a simple link you can share with the team and have them review on their leisure. Also email weekly updates of the top KPIs to remind everyone of the fantastic dashboards you have created!

What are you going to be measured on for performance? Those KPIs need to be front and center. But at the same time you can create other reports on infrastructure status, content performance, SEO analysis, PR, you name it.

Once you get questions from the team, create new dashboards to answer the questions.

Right now I’m testing a basic dashboard tool called Cyfe. I like it because it allows me to create simple dashboards from the majority of my data sources. Each dashboard is comprised of widgets. You can create multiple dashboards with several widgets. The widgets are the individual blocks you see on this dashboard. Each one represents a KPI, metric, RSS content feed or custom data.

Custom data can be as easy as an excel table with some basis syntax formatting.

TV mode is a great feature for dashboards and Cyfe and several others offer this. Have a blank HD monitor in your office? Stream and rotate your awesome Digital Command Center Dashboard and update the entire company!

Smart YouTube Video Captions Improve On-Page 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.

8 Daily Digital Marketing Challenges

It’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

Blog Talk Radio Interview | Digital Marketing

Last week I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Damond Nollan (@damondnollan) and the Room 3026 crew on Blog Talk Radio about Digital Marketing.  I’ve known Damond for a few years now and was excited to be a guest on his show.  My interview starts around the 24 minute mark.  Thanks again for Damond Nollan for inviting me to be a guest.

Click here to listen to the episode.