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Hacking The Power of Viral Content

Good question.

Good question.

What makes some content go viral, while similar content never reaches any audience at all? Is it magic? Well, magic would certainly help, but the short answer is no. Sometimes, content strikes the right chord at the right moment, and in a perfect storm of virality it gets viewed by millions of people.

Normally, however, it takes a lot of careful planning and considerations. You need amazing content that’s optimized to be easily shared, which includes an alluring headline that is going to entice everyone into clicking and sharing. Many people share based on the headline, and don’t even look at the article itself, or they share because they believe that sharing will make them look good…but more on this later. Copyblogger suggests that 8 out of 10 people do not go past the headline, so choose wisely.

It also takes a lot of testing to find the perfect formula for your audience. We’ll take a more in-depth look at exactly how content goes viral, along with some examples, but first let’s discuss why it even matters in the first place. Read More »

#SpinnakrTalks: 5 SEO Experts Weigh in on Hummingbird & Encrypted Search

Click image to see the entire #SpinnakrTalk.

A few days ago I wrote about Google’s recent changes: 100% encrypted search queries and the implementation of their new algorithm, Hummingbird. I also mentioned that Spinnakr would be starting a series of panels – #SpinnakrTalks – to bring together industry professionals, strategists and enthusiasts. Yesterday we held our first panel and discussed Google’s moves with 5 incredible panelists; Jason Crain, Thom Craver, Craig Fifield, Kate Hudson, and Steve Webb. BIG, big thanks to them for offering up their thoughts, tips, and opinions on all things SEM and SEO. While not everyone agreed on everything, at the end of the chat, we had surely gathered a ton of important insights from across the board. I’ll summarize the main takeaways:

Missing Keyword Data Is Not The End of the World

  • A big part of Google Analytics was the ability to see which search terms your site and company is ranking for, and while Google has now revoked this capability, there are still plenty of insights you can gather from GA. For instance, Thom emphasized that conversions are what matter, and you can still track those in GA. Read More »

Google’s Hummingbird & Encrypted Search Changes Provide New Challenges to Digital Marketing

The Basics: All Encrypted Search on Google

(not provided)

And it’s predicted to be at 100% by November 17th, according to notprovidedcount.com

The web is abuzz with news of Google’s recent updates to search security. If you’re not aware, or are having trouble understanding, I’ll explain. In 2011 Google switched to encrypted search for anyone who was logged into a Google account. That meant any organic search queries (searched by someone who was logged in) would show up as (not provided) in Google Analytics. This move was meant to protect users, yet in 2013 Google was accused of lying about not giving the NSA information – the public assumed they had handed over the data. So just last week, Google quietly rolled out encrypted search for all users, regardless if the user is logged into an account or not. 100% (not provided) terms in search queries is puzzling, as it Read More »

Paid Ads: Why Startups Should Only Consider Them A Testing Ground

In your company's infancy, use paid ads as a testing ground so that your marketing budget doesn't become a nuclear disaster.

In your company’s infancy, use paid ads as a testing ground so that your marketing budget doesn’t become a nuclear disaster.

In recent years, social media has exploded into the front of consumers’ minds everywhere, and it has become a way of life for many.  Facebook touts nearly 700 million daily users on their network alone.  Companies and brands have rapidly started to take notice with 60% of companies adopting some type of inbound marketing initiatives this year. There are many strategies for achieving success with social media marketing, but two basic overarching principles remain: organic and paid promotion.

Gaining organic readership takes time and patience but is very effective, thanks to the active participation of users who are genuinely interested in the brand, service, or product. Paid readership can also be effective if it’s done right, but it can be very costly, and may takes a long time to see a return on your investment. While paid strategies can yield impressive results, I feel that almost all small our young companies should spend the largest share of their social media resources in garnering organic growth. Here’s a look at which option may be best for your business. Read More »

Calls to Action are a Competition, and Non-Profits are Winning

Image: hiedicohen.com

Image: hiedicohen.com

Social media isn’t just for keeping in touch with your friends and family anymore, nor is it exclusively for businesses to run advertising campaigns. Charitable organizations have been making quite a splash on social media, too. Non profits actually have an advantage in digital marketing since they’re able to pull on your heart strings. But what about the problem of slactivists? Do calls to action make all the difference? Let’s take an in-depth look into user psychology to understand why charity campaigns have an inherent advantage over typical social media campaigns, then let’s analyze successful social media campaigns from a few charitable organizations.

Users Respond Better to Calls to Action From Nonprofits, But Social Shares ≠ Donations

Read More »

Dear Native Ads, Stop Trying So Hard

Well that's awkward.

Well that’s awkward.

I’ve been hearing statistics lately that report “native advertisements,” (ads that are naturally embedded among a website’s content so that it looks just like content itself) are highly effective. The idea is that the ad won’t disrupt the viewer’s natural reading process, so s/he is more likely to read, engage with, or respond to the ad. And while this logically makes sense, as a human who constantly consumes content on the web, I don’t find myself doing anything differently after viewing a native ad – I’m aware that they’re still just ads.

For example, BuzzFeed has pages and pages filled with “partner” content from the likes of GE, Fiat USA, Virgin Mobile, SunTrust, and many more. “Partner” posts, as they’re called are more often than not still classic, BuzzFeed list-style posts, and yes I still giggle sometimes. I’m sure the trendy publisher doesn’t want to compromise the integrity Read More »

Email Marketing is Changing, Not Dying

Email Spam

This is how your readers feel about emails. Don’t just be part of the noise. Image: socialmediastrategiessummit.com

Email marketing is one of the most (if not the most) important marketing channel for businesses. However, achieving success with email is becoming more and more challenging for marketers. This article will give the statistics that demonstrate why email engagement is so important. I’ll also highlight the different tactics and techniques you can use to break through the noise and make your email campaigns more successful than ever — even with all the challenges email marketers are facing now.

Engagement and Delivery Correlations

Over the past year, the major email ISPs (Internet Service Providers) have changed the rules for email deliverability. The major email providers Read More »

If You Want Your Content to be Shared, Get Emotional

feelings-faces-chart-for-kids-i11Let’s say you’re a content marketer (and I think it’s safe to assume you are). Wouldn’t it be incredible if a post you authored went as viral as one of BuzzFeed’s lists? We know how important it is for our content to be shared, but it seems that we usually hit the publish button with crossed fingers and a deep breath. If we spend so much time writing good content, we shouldn’t have to resort to hoping the content gets shared – there has to be some kind of formula for success here, right?

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of attending TrackMaven’s Competitive Summit in New York City (it was a fantastic day – I highly recommend you go next year!). The first panel of the day was about KPIs, or key performance indicators to measure content’s success. The three panelists, Aswini Anburajan (BuzzFeed), Jon Brod (AOL Ventures, Patch) and Shane Snow (Contently) brought up some excellent points, but didn’t agree on everything. For instance, they debated whether comments are more important than social shares Read More »

Can We All Stop Using the Term “Big Data?”

Data Everywehre

But what does it all mean? Image: www.bruegel.org

By now, it is clear that vendors (any company that monetizes in the “big data” industry) have effectively killed the term “big data.” Sure, industry leaders and the media helped in the process, but the biggest responsibility for the death of one of the most misunderstood and overly-hyped terms falls on the shoulders of the vendors.

Any vendor that offers analytics or storage products for a small or large amount of data falls under the big data umbrella, even if it still supports the exact same technology that it was known for 5 years ago. Besides the already established vendors, the startups also claim to provide ‘big data’ services or apps, with the sole aim to get their share of the money that’s available in VC funds focused on big data. Read More »

How Big Data is Changing Retail Experiences

The social fashion graph. Image: The Next Web

The social fashion graph. Image: The Next Web

For years, companies with online shopping sites have had the luxury of tracking customers to optimize user experience and make profitable business decisions.  However with the huge boom of e-commerce and online shopping, until recently, these techniques were used minimally at the physical store level. This past July, the New York Times published an article detailing a retail-tracking program initiated by Nordstrom to track their customers in two Seattle locations via Wi-Fi.  Due to a negative reaction from customers, the program was rescinded and the article itself was not surprisingly met with outcry from the public about privacy. Still, the negative reaction is not preventing retailers from continuing to collect big data from brick and mortar establishments. Since there is little consumers can do at this point in time, this may be the best time to cooperate with big data and enhance our retail experiences. Read More »

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