22 Oct

Social Tools to Build Your Brand-ividual

In testing out the newer Facebook question feature, I thought it would be interesting to step away from corporate marketing and ask our network about personal brand marketing and the tools that have been the most effective.

With hundreds of millions of people active on social networks world wide, there have been more than a few “brandividuals” spawned through the social web.

Some tools are more appropriate than others based on who you’re trying to engage of course, but my question was directed mostly to Marketing and PR professionals.

About 140 people responded and here’s the breakout of tools from most to least voted:

  • Facebook (I asked the question on FB so I suppose it’s a given that FB would be the most popular)
  • Blogging (This was my choice of course)
  • LinkedIn (Logical choice given LI is FOR business social networking)
  • Twitter (I actually thought this would be higher)
  • Real world events & networking (Tied with “Other”)
  • Writing a column, media coverage, contributed articles, PR (For people who can write well, this rocks)
  • Webinars (No votes)
  • Email (Nada)
  • Commenting on other Blogs (Again, nothing)

“Other” suggestions included Podcasting and personal or business websites.

I can’t imagine anyone that took this poll using just one of these tools to promote themselves and engage on the social web. They work together of course, but some work better than others or are “lead” tactics. Think of the hub and spoke model I’ve written about here in the past where a central tactic is the centerpiece surrounded by channels of networking and information distribution.

What initiated an interesting discussion was this comment: “I don’t believe in personal branding…”

My take on that is that if a person is active in their industry, engaging, sharing opinions and promoting themselves/their ideas, that it results in awareness and growing a network. Whether they believe in it or not, the outcome of becoming known and talked about by others is a personal brand.

The ease of publishing and promotion does amplify the amount of noise, unwarranted self promotion and entitlement behavior, making it hard to distinguish one personal brand from another.

By personal brand, I mean: what you stand for, what you’re expertise is and what you’re known for. I don’t even use the terminology “personal brand” when I plan our own marketing but I think people reading this know what I mean.

In an increasingly social world of business, consumers and buyers want to connect with people vs. corporate voices #cluetrain. That means investing in developing content, relationships and engagement between individuals working for a company (or themselves) and the people they want to do business with.

If that sounds reasonable, I’d like to ask you the same question: For growing your personal brand online, what have been the most productive tools or tactics?

08 Oct

Why need CMS website

Why every business need a CMS website

You are about to get a website built for your business. Having found a good web design house, you are looking forward to seeing the results of their creative efforts. So far so good.

Once the website is setup, and the customers start rolling in, you will want to make ongoing changes. These could be very small, such as changing a phone number, or adding a news item. New products, or shifts in business direction, will necessitate larger updates to the site. Chances are, though, you will still be happy with the design, and it’s just the text that needs to be changed.

While the web design house did a great job, you don’t want to have to go back to them for every change. A hundred small changes in a year will leave you both frustrated, and is not economic for either party.

This is where a content management system (CMS) comes in. Sitting behind the scenes, it gives you the ability to maintain your own site.

No website larger than a few pages should be without a CMS to manage it.

08 Oct

benefit of using CMS system

The benefit of using CMS system for your website

A content management system makes life much easier in many ways:

  • You are no longer dependent on the web designers making changes for you.
  • Changes can be made any time they are needed, day or night. This is increasingly important as your business comes to rely on the website as a communications channel.
  • All the technical details are simply handled by the CMS, allowing anyone to manage and update the site.
  • Multiple staff can keep the site up to date, instead of being restricted to just one person. The CMS will track who is doing what, avoiding potential confusion.
  • You can even ensure that each staff person can only update the sections of the site they are responsible for.
  • The CMS ensures that all the pages are consistent in design, and will build all the menus and other
    navigation for you.
  • The many other powerful features of the CMS allows the site to grow in sync with your business.
08 Oct

CMS Website

Content Management Systems (CMS) are rapidly becoming the standard in website design platforms. While there are many different types of CMS architectures (many of which are free or open source) they all do basically the same thing in their own way. Each has their own strengths and weeknesses, but they share some common attributes as well.

Any CMS is built to help manage content through a web based administration portal for web masters. This is a huge advantage for a web owner that is not proficient in web programming languages like HTML and PHP. Using a CMS you are able to mange all of the content for your website in one user friendly admin panel. This means you will be able to perform many tasks without having any programming ability such as:

 

  • Adding new pages to your website
  • Removing pages from your website
  • changing text and images on your web pages
  • managing users if you allow registration on your site
  • Adding blog posts
  • And much more..
08 Oct

Optimized Web Development

Optimized Web Development for your website

The pressure of competition and desire for business growth pushes marketers towards tactics that promise quick wins. Pundits advocate strategy first (been there) but doing so in a comprehensive way isn’t always practical, especially when it comes to areas like social media and content marketing.

For marketers in need of practical advice on customer-centric, practical content marketing, a solid framework can be invaluable for an adaptive approach that is thoughtful about overall direction and measurable short term impact at the same time.

An increasing number of Search Engine Marketers are advocating both Content Marketing and Social Media in concert with achieving SEO objectives which is a great sign, but often lacking a customer-centric approach.

Here’s a Content Marketing framework that proves to be customer-centric as well as SEO and Social Media savvy that I think any smart online marketer can follow.  Keep in mind, with a holistic approach, this 4 part framework can be applied to any type of online content that a company produces: HR, Customer Service, Public Relations, etc.

website-design

I talked about this approach at Content Marketing World recently and will be elaborating on it at several future events as well.  But since that book won’t be out until the first part of next year, here is a bit of an elaboration.

Customers – Optimize for keywords or optimize of customers? It may be semantics and it’s certainly not a mutually exclusive situation with customer segments and individual search keywords. Many online marketers focus on keywords that are popular and relevant to products and services without ever considering things like customer pain points, behaviors and position within the buying cycle and how that manifests as a search query.

Content Marketers organize their campaigns according to customer needs and how to influence those customers to buy. Add keyword optimization (SEO) to that mix and you have a very powerful combination.

  • Identify customer segments – What do they care about? What is their context?
  • Document pain points & information needs during buying cycle.
  • Build a path of content including triggers that inspire purchase and social sharing.

Keywords – As you understand the language of your customer, the opportunity to optimize content for search “findability” becomes very important. What better place to connect with customers than at the moment they proactively seek a solution? Build relevant keywords according to customer interests into a content creation plan with key messages and you’ll be one step closer to “relevant ubiquity” .

Besides search keywords, it’s worth considering social topics. The interplay between searching and social referrals is becoming more standard as buyers navigate information resources online.

  • Brainstorm and research keywords with tools like Google AdWords Keyword Tool, Wordtracker and Ubersuggest.
  • Tap into social media monitoring tools to gauge what topics cluster together on social networks, blogs and Twitter, relevant to your search keywords.
  • Organize search keywords and social topics into a keyword glossary shared with anyone in your company that creates online content.

“Content – is King and Creativity is Queen”, according to Pan Didner of Intel. I happen to agree. Content Marketing is growing and soon “everybody will be doing it” but certainly not doing it well. Through a combination of keen customer insight, analytics and smart creativity, online marketers can stand out amongst the 27 million pieces of content shared in the U.S. each day or the 5 Exabytes of information created every 2 days around the world.

Keywords and topics can fuel a Content Plan that provides a calendar of planned content publishing, topics, optimization focus, promotion channels and planned repurposing. Allow for wildcards and spontaneous content creation according to real-time opportunities and current events.

  • Plan content according to customer segments, keyword topics and business services/product offering.
  • Leverage search keywords for content optimization on the website, blog and on social media sites.
  • Create modular content that can serve its purpose individually, as part of a matrix of topics and as repurposed content in the future.

Optimize & Socialize – Armed with customer insight, a keyword glossary and a content plan, it’s time for those Social SEO smarts to see some action.  With content staff and social media teams trained on SEO best practices, new content will be easier for prospects and customers to find – when it matters. They’re looking for it!   Monitoring search analytics for refinement of on-page optimization helps keep your investment in optimized search and social content high impact and current.

In today’s online marketing world, there is no “Optimize” without a smart dose of “Socialize”.  Social network development and content promotion is essential to inspire sharing, traffic and links. Social links and web page links to your content provide a powerful combination for search engines to use when finding and ranking helpful information that leads your customers to buy and share.

  • Train copywriting and social media staff on keyword glossaries and SEO best practices. Keep social topics up to date!
  • Optimize web and social content on and off the corporate websites while engaging and growing social networks.
  • Create, optimize and share useful content that will inspire customers to buy and share with their social friends.

The particular strategy, goals and methods of measurement will vary according to your situation of course, but as I mentioned above, this framework is applicable to any area of online content that a company might be publishing: Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, Human Resources, Public and Media Relations.

Have you seen examples of companies doing a great job of going from basic SEO to more robust content marketing optimization? Have you implemented or observed some great examples of “optimize and socialize”?