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  • Kari DePhillips 2:59 pm on June 13, 2017 Permalink
    Tags: seo content   

    How to Write a Successful Blog Post & Measure Blog ROI 

    Knowing how to write a successful blog post is core to running a business — without one, you’re missing out on the chance to look like a thought leader in your industry (not to mention the extra clients that’ll find you through your writing). Most entrepreneurs understand that, and so they dump a ton of money into their online presence: they’ll load up on fancy graphics, they’ll write some copy, and then they’ll set it into the wild.

    Yet, few business owners actually bother to ask what the return on investment (ROI) of their blog actually is.

    ROI is something that entrepreneurs are constantly concerned with for every other area of their business, but their website content? Often, despite how important it is, they just don’t know what analytics they should be watching (or what they should do about them if they aren’t up to par).

    Worse, many see running a blog as a “fire and forget” sort of process, which is, quite frankly, terrible — and a waste of what could be a powerful tool for generating new business. So, how do you measure ROI — and what can you do to increase your blog’s ROI?

    How to Write a Successful Blog Post: 1st, Learn What Doesn’t Work

     

    Here’s a common scenario: a business owner tosses up a few blog posts, continues posting sporadically for a few months, doesn’t generate any new business from the blog and ultimately gives up. The blog sits dormant on the website. It’s a failed experiment.

    What’s happening here is likely a combination of two problems: the business owner isn’t tracking any key performance indicators (KPIs), and the business doesn’t have a decent blog content writing strategy — or any strategy, period.

    In essence, it isn’t enough to just write any old blog post and expect it to well. You need to learn how to write a successful blog post.

    Let’s tackle KPIs first.

    How to Measure ROI by Tracking Key Performance Indicators

     

    There good news is there are a lot of tools (many of them free) you can use to track how your blog is performing. On the downside, there are so many of them, it’s easy to get overwhelmed — especially when you’re just starting out.

    Fortunately, some of the best KPI tools pack a powerful punch when it comes to giving you a variety of information. Here are some tried and true ways to see how your blog is performing:

    Google Analytics

     

    Google Analytics is a free tool that offers a wealth of data you can use to calculate your blog’s ROI. With it, you can see where your blog’s traffic is coming from, how many overall visits you receive, your top viewed posts and even how long visitors stay on your site.

    With one tool, you’ve already measured four KPIs for your blog. And Google Analytics is capable of tracking much, much more. If you’re learning how to write a successful blog post, you should also be learning how to use Google Analytics.

    SEMRush

     

    If you want to know how to write a successful blog, we suggest starting with SEMrush. SEMrush is a paid tool (it’ll cost you around $99/month but it’s worth every penny – and you’ll get a free month to check it out if you click the affiliate link).

    SEMRush is well worth the investment, as it allows you to see which keywords you’re currently ranking for, and to identify new keywords you’d like to target. You want to watch these numbers on a VERY regular basis.

    If you’re already ranking for keywords, SEMRush will also show you their total ad value (what you’d have to pay to achieve the same results in AdWords). You can also see how your competitors are doing, and compare your domain side by side with others.

    As you can see from the above screenshot, SEMRush puts a ton of data at your fingertips in a format that’s well-organized and easy to understand. And once you have the data you need, you can easily analyze it by exporting it to an Excel spreadsheet directly from the tool — you can even use our template.

    BuzzSumo

     

    BuzzSumo offers both free and paid versions, with the paid version giving you the ability to see how your blog content is performing across all social channels in a single, easy to understand report. You can also view how many backlinks your posts receive, so you can identify which types of content perform better than others.

     

    You can also analyze content by topic or domain, and you can filter your results to see what’s being shared by date and content type.

    How to Create a Solid Blog Content Writing Strategy

     

    Of course, tracking the KPIs of your blog posts won’t do your business much good if you’re not producing blog content designed to convert. As we wrote in our post explaining how to write blog content that brings in business, blog posts and content marketing can often net you much higher ROI than social media or digital PR.

    Writing effective blog content isn’t easy, which is why many businesses outsource their blog content writing to professionals (like us!). If that’s not in your budget, or you just prefer a more hands-on approach, there are several things you can do to boost the quality of your posts and, in turn, improve your blog’s ROI.

    1) Write Useful, Well-Written Blog Posts. 

    The “build it and they will come” mentality worked great for Kevin Costner’s character in “Field of Dreams,” but it turns out it’s not so hot when it comes to blog content writing.

    In other words, simply throwing a blog on your company’s website doesn’t mean people will find it — or stay long if they do. Likewise, pumping out posts with no strategy behind them won’t drive traffic to your site.

    Not only should your blog’s content be properly punctuated and free of grammatical errors, it should be optimized for SEO. Before you write, you should have already researched keywords and identified which ones you want to target.

    These keywords should appear throughout your post without straying into keyword-stuffing territory. As Neil Patel points out over at his Quick Sprout blog, bad SEO techniques like writing spammy content and loading a post with too many keywords will hurt you.

    It’s also important to pay attention to the overall structure of your posts. Break up the text into smaller chunks, and use headers (which should include your keywords whenever possible). You can also make your posts more interesting and visually appealing by including charts, graphs and images where appropriate.

    See what we did there?

    2) Include Evergreen Content. 

    When you’re writing blogs for SEO, you can’t go wrong with evergreen content, which is designed to be relevant over the long haul. By contrast, posts that discuss current events can quickly disappear. Something might be popular in the news today, but will people still be searching for it a year from now? What about five?

    For example, a personal injury law firm will see much better SERP rankings by posting blogs that provide answers to common questions people will always ask, such as “what should I do after a car accident?” or “how long will my case take?”

    When you give your posts staying power, they can continue working for you long after you’ve published them.

    With that said, if you’re trying to write a successful blog for a specific industry, you can gain a bit of credibility (and momentum) by touching on heavy-hitting events in your industry. Things like conferences, big software rollouts, and other newsworthy events are worth talking about (though you probably shouldn’t spend too much energy on these kinds of posts if you don’t think they’ll have much of a life after a month or two).

    3) Revise, Update and Revamp Existing Blog Posts. 

    When you remodel a home, it’s much cheaper and more practical to update the carpet and apply a fresh coat of paint than it is to tear the whole thing down and start from scratch.

    Similarly, updating and refreshing your existing blog posts is easier and faster than writing entirely new content.

    Look over the posts that have been on your site for a while. Chances are, they could use some updating and refreshing. To do this, follow the steps in our guide to revamping existing blog content, which shows you how to use Google Analytics to find the top landing pages on your site.

    Don’t just focus on posts that are doing poorly: monitor your posts and see if you have any that are almost on the front page. If you do, go back and add more content to them. This is how you write a successful blog post: not just by tossing it up and hoping for the best, but going back and updating your work continuously.

    And it’s not just blog posts that can benefit from a little extra lovin’. You can use the same strategy for other pages on your site, such as product pages or your about us page.

    4) Promote Your Content on Social Channels. 

    You’ve targeted good keywords, you’ve written and posted great content and now … crickets. Learning how to write a successful blog post and improving your blog’s ROI will always be a work in progress, because algorithms and tools are always changing. Also, it’ll probably take a few months to start seeing your efforts pay off (in fact, we tell our clients that it takes at least 3 months for SEO efforts to start to really kick in).

    One way to help things along is to share your content on social media. By using social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you can connect with your intended audience and build a following.

    Just like learning how to write a successful blog post, however, social media management (SMM) is not easy. The posts and tweets and shares you see on companies’ social channels may sound breezy and fun, but they’re the result of in-depth research and hours of work.

    Businesses of all sizes use digital PR and marketing pros to research and develop social media trends, stats and strategies. As the annals of internet history show, social media blunders can cost companies big, and savvy social instincts can pay off even bigger.

    If your budget doesn’t allow for professional SMM, you can still learn from the pros by reading up on social media dos and don’ts, Facebook marketing fails to avoid and tips for speeding up your social media marketing.

    And your SMM doesn’t have to start and stop with heavy hitters like Facebook. If you think different social media channels might be a better fit for your type of business, check out our tips for Instagram marketing, hosting your own Twitter chats and marketing your business on Reddit.

    Ready to Improve Your Blog’s ROI?

     

    The reality is that most blogs fail — something that’s true for both personal and company blogs. On the business side, many business owners give up on blogging shortly after they begin. In some cases, they don’t have the skill (or desire) to create effective blog content. Others simply don’t have time to blog consistently.

    Just because blog content writing isn’t in your skillset, however, doesn’t mean your business can’t use blogging as a powerful marketing tool. The good news is, you don’t actually have to learn how to write a successful blog post to have a successful blog – you can offload the work to an SEO agency.

    When you outsource your blog content writing to a professional SEO and content marketing agency, you can reap the benefits of blogging while focusing your efforts on the things you do best. Contact us to learn more.

    The post How to Write a Successful Blog Post & Measure Blog ROI appeared first on The Content Factory.

    Source: Contentfac.com

     
  • Kari DePhillips 2:11 pm on April 26, 2017 Permalink
    Tags: seo content   

    How to Develop a Blog Content Calendar [Free Template Download!] 

    At any given time, the writers at TCF are juggling a dozen or more clients with content ranging from healthcare to internet security to personal lubricant (our jobs are the best, really). Our content gets funneled from about nine writers to a single editor that is charged with pumping through that content and pushing it to our clients on time. Pulling this off requires some serious organization, which is why we’re obsessed with our blog content calendar.

    In fact, we love it so much, we’re sharing our template with our readers because treasures this valuable shouldn’t be hoarded.

    A blog content calendar is, without a doubt, the best way to manage your business’ online blog content. Without a guide stuffed full of goals, SEO keywords and deadlines, you’re flying blind through the complicated web of online content strategy. It suddenly becomes easy to not write that post you were supposed to get to this week (stuff came up!) and before you know it, you haven’t posted a new blog in two months.

    We have totally never been guilty of that. Ever. Okay, maybe a couple of times.

    It happens to everyone. You’re busy running your business. Customers come first, right? It’s not as if small business owners have a ton of free time — in fact, we’re not even sure “free time” is a real thing. But neglecting your content strategy can have devastating effects on your website traffic, which, in turn, has a negative effect on your business’ reach.

    Why You Need a Blog Content Calendar — Pronto

    Based on our name, it may not come as a surprise to you that we’re pretty fanatic about content — and not just any content. We’re into search engine and keyword optimized evergreen content because that’s where your lasting SEO value truly comes from.

    The TCF website generates over $60,000 per month in organic search value alone. This means that we’d have to invest more than $60,000 in Google ads every month to pull that kind of traffic into our website. Our 18,000 ranking keywords (183 of which are in the number 1 spot and 1,200 are in the top 10) bring all that traffic into our site for the price of having staff members take turns writing some content.

    Why is this important? Organic SEO is one of the most effective (albeit time consuming) ways to generate sustainable, ongoing leads for your business. You can post as many ads as you want, but if you want potential clients to find you, no matter where they (or you) are, content strategy is the way to do it.

    For example, one of the services we offer at TCF is content writing, so we want to reach audiences that are interested in outsourcing this aspect of their business. Content may be king, but like we said: it’s time consuming. We love taking this on for businesses that would rather focus on something else or perhaps don’t have strong writers on staff, so we wrote content for our own blog that discusses this very topic. If you Google “content writing rates,” we’re the first ones that come up.  

    Sure, our post didn’t just rank that high in a day (or even a week), but ranking high in the search engine results pages (SERPs) isn’t something that happens overnight — it took some tweaking, some social promoting, and a bit of crosslinking to get that post where we wanted it. Likewise, this is just one post on our blog — all those keywords we rank #1 for? We went through the exact same process to nab them, and we don’t plan on stopping that process either. We want more traffic, more business, and more recognition — all of which means we have to keep this train rolling. This is where a blog content calendar comes in.

    Blog content calendars keep you organized by laying out a content plan over a period of time (be it a few months or a full year). They hold you and your staff accountable to pre-determined deadlines and assigned posts. Best of all, they keep everyone on the same page regarding the status of each piece, so you can track each contributor’s progress.

    Perhaps one of the best ways to use your blog content calendar is in conjunction with your business’ goals and marketing pushes. Are you planning to run a Black Friday promotion? Plug a post into your blog content calendar to promote it couple days before and then use social media to get the word out, both beforehand and the day of the sale. The same goes for other major events you have planned, such as eBooks, whitepapers, new product releases, and updates.

    What Exactly Makes an Effective Business Blog Content Calendar?

    Like we said — an effective blog content calendar will keep you and your staff organized, which is half the battle when you’re managing a small business. An effective calendar is all about who can do what, and what can be done when: after all, the goal here is to produce a steady stream of relevant content. To do that, you need to streamline the entire process of producing content so that your writers can write (without having to worry about juggling pitches back and forth internally).

    Our blog content calendar template has seven major (but simple) elements that we feel are the most crucial for keeping everyone on the same page and your content strategy moving forward.

    1.) Due Dates — This is relatively self-explanatory. This should be the date that the finished blog post is due to the person who will edit it, because yes — all online content needs to go through editing first.
    While this doesn’t necessarily mean you must hire an experienced editor, you do need someone on staff with grammar knowledge and an eye for detail. This person should also make sure the tone of all blog posts is consistent with your branding guidelines. Because the editor will need some lead time, you should consider making the due date 2 – 3 days prior to your publish date.

    2.) Publish Dates — This is the date on which the blog post will actually go live on your website. In our template, this cell is also a good place to copy and paste a link to the published post so you can easily reference the URL when needed (like when promoting the post on social media).

    3.) Titles/Topics — Keeping all your titles and topics listed not only helps you stay on top of content under construction, but it shows you recently posted material so you can be sure to include variety in your postings. No one wants to read an article about the same topic four weeks in a row. Or even 4 months in a row. Varying your content is key to attracting new readers, as well as retaining current ones.

    4.) Target Keywords — Having the keywords associated with each post right in front of you is helpful for organization, but again, for variety. If you use the same keyword in every single post, you and your faithful readers will grow tired quickly. Hitting similar keywords is not a bad thing at all (especially when targeting potential clients), but doing so for multiple posts in a row will get boring. (Also, from an SEO perspective, you should try to cast a wide net by hitting on a bunch of keyword variations — not just the same handful.)

    5.) Word Count — Knowing how long each post will be can help you mix up your content in terms of scheduling. Some companies switch between posting 1500 and 2000 words each week, with maybe a short post here or there. For maximum SEO value, we recommend long posts — at least 1500 words (preferably over 2000, if you can handle it).

    6.) Status of Each Post — We use a five marker system here:

     

    In Progress — the assigned writer is working on this post

    Written — the writer is finished and has handed it off to the editor

    Edited — the editor is finished and hands it back to the writer for revisions

    Approved — images are placed and the post is scheduled for publishing

    Published — the post is live on the website

    Each writer updates this cell accordingly as the post moves through the process. This way, every member of the team knows the status of all the content currently in the pipeline. This also lets us see how ahead on content we are, or how busy we can expect to be on specific days. For entrepreneurs, a system like this is useful to keep an eye on your content (without having to constantly ping whoever is supposed to be writing it).

    7.) Links to Assets — If your blog post contains any downloadable assets (like how we’ve included a link to our blog content calendar template), put the link in this cell for easy access. If you link to the same asset in a different blog post, you’ll be able to quickly find it here instead of scouring your website for it.

    How to Develop Your Own Blog Content Calendar in 6 Simple Steps

     

    develop your own blog calendar

    • Download our blog content calendar template. Open it up and get to know it. Go ahead and plug in some upcoming blog posts if you’ve already developed some ideas — or even previously published blog posts so your staff sees what it should look like and how they should use it.

     

    • Do your keyword research. If you need help figuring that stuff out, we have a handy guide on keyword research. And a template! Spending all that time writing online content will be fruitless if it isn’t keyword-based.

      You don’t need to rank for “best coffee maker” if you sell internet security tools. Not that IT pros don’t need coffee, but people looking for a new coffee maker are probably not looking to purchase identity theft protection. Your keywords should be centered around what is most likely to convert readers into customers.

     

    • Brainstorm some ideas for your blog content calendar. For our clients, we do this monthly or quarterly and we recommend you adhere to a similar schedule so time doesn’t slip away from you. In order to form a schedule, you need content ideas and they need to be written down — not just floating around in your head. Not doing so will eventually lead to simply not writing the content. We keep a shared document of TCF blog post ideas so our writers can choose from the topic list when it’s their turn. As we think of ideas, we write them in the document.

     

    • Schedule your topics for the month in your blog content calendar (and make sure each post has an assigned author). Open up your ideas document and select the month’s blog posts (remembering to be timely with holidays or pertinent “national days,” like International Women’s Day). Remember to choose a realistic goal. It’s easy to say you’ll post weekly, but we all know that isn’t possible for everyone. If you have the (wo)manpower, you should definitely post once or twice a week, but if you don’t, twice a month is better than nothing (as long as it’s rich in keywords and more than 2000 words).

     

    • Stick to the schedule you set for yourself. Remember those deadlines we talked about? Put those into your blog content calendar so you have goals. If you publish on Fridays, but one Friday in a particular month is a holiday, schedule that post for Thursday. Do not miss a week because you “got busy” or “the office was closed.” All content publishing platforms allow you to schedule when posts go live, so use that to your advantage. Being consistent in your posting helps develop domain authority and shows Google that your website is active with new information on a frequent basis.

     

    • Keep on top of it. Keep writing down topics as they enter your brain. Keep choosing topics every month. Keep updating your blog content calendar. Keep up on your content. And don’t forget to promote it on social media.

    Download our Blog Content Calendar Template to Get Started!

    Even if you’re outsourcing your content writing, having a blog content calendar is a good plan. It will help you keep track of when content will be posted, who is writing it (especially if you’re splitting the work with an agency), and whether or not it’s scheduled in your publishing platform. Again, it comes back to accountability.

    You’ve read all about why we love our blog content calendar and how you can develop your own, so the only thing left to do is download the template and get started. Follow the easy steps we’ve outlined here and again — make sure you stick to your schedule. We’re confident this template will help you kickstart your online blog, as well as give you some motivation to keep up with it.

    Do you like our blog content calendar template and want to share it with fellow business owners? Let us know on twitter — and make sure to tag us @ContentFac!
    Still have questions about blog content calendars? Leave us a comment below or send us a message. We’ll see what we can do to help!

    The post How to Develop a Blog Content Calendar [Free Template Download!] appeared first on The Content Factory.

    Source: Contentfac.com

     
  • Kari DePhillips 7:26 pm on February 1, 2017 Permalink
    Tags: seo content   

    14 Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Content Writer 

    If you’re running a business today, you don’t need a website.

    What’s that, you ask? I don’t need a website? No, what you need is a website with great content on it – just having a website isn’t enough these days. And with this need often comes the need to outsource content writing. 

    While a lot of your company’s online content will include traditional website copy — things like your “about us” and “services pages — it should also include original blog content. Blogging is a highly effective way to promote your brand, establish your business as an expert in your industry and drive traffic to your site.

    It’s also great for SEO (search engine optimization) and page rankings in the SERPs (search engine results pages). The higher you rank in search engines, the more likely it is that people will click on your link and find your business.

    How do you get this great content? You could write it yourself, and there are people who manage to do this effectively. However, for every one business owner who successfully produces professional quality content, there are thousands more who don’t.

    In fact, 95% of blogs fail. Why? There are various reasons, but most of them stem from one overarching truth: writing great content is hard work, and writing content that converts to revenue is really hard work (check out that link to see why).

    This is why a growing number of businesses outsource blog content writing. If you think you need a writer for your business, but you’re unsure where to start, we’ve put together a guide to help you create a roadmap for finding the best content creators – and questions you should ask before you hire a copywriter for your business.

    Why Hiring a Great Blog Content Writer Is So Important

    Whether your business is large, medium or small, not being on the web will hurt you. Content marketing (based on content that delivers value to your customers) has never been more important for businesses, because consumers increasingly rely on the web to research products and services, and then find companies that sell them.

    To get an idea of how critical it is for your business to be online, you need only look at the numbers. According to Adweek, 81% of consumers research online before making a purchase.

    The stats are just as compelling for consumers who buy local. Here are some highlights from BrightLocal’s 2016 Consumer Review Survey:  

    • 95% of consumers read online reviews to gauge if a local business is good. (This means that just 5% of people don’t go online to search for local businesses.)
    • 84% of people trust online reviews just as much as the opinion of someone they talk to in person.

    So we know that consumers — an overwhelming 95% of them — are searching for businesses online. It’s only logical, then, to assume that most businesses not only have a website, but also update their sites regularly with solid, useful content. Right?

    Well, actually, they don’t. A survey conducted by the business-to-business research firm Clutch reveals that about half of small businesses don’t have a website. Of those that do, nearly 40% say they need to focus on improving their site’s content.

    There are several reasons why business owners tend to drop the ball when it comes to content marketing and blogging. When you’re already juggling various tasks, from sales and IT to inventory and accounting, drafting effective web copy is just one more item on a growing to-do list.

    When you need to keep the lights on, it’s hard to carve out time for blogging — especially if writing doesn’t come easily to you.

    If this sounds like you, it’s probably time to hire a writer for your business.

    5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Hire a Content Writer

    Before you post an ad, you need to lay some groundwork. If you hire a writer without setting clear expectations internally, you could end up paying too much, getting poor quality work or — worst case scenario — paying too much for poor quality work.

    If you’re going to hire a web content writer for your business, first ask yourself the following five questions:

    1.What are the goals for this project?

    What type of writing do you need? There is a big difference between website copy and blog copy, and it’s critical to find a writer who can deliver the type of content you need.

    Furthermore, decide if this is an ongoing project or a one-time gig. If your website or blog content needs to be refreshed, you can probably hire a content writer to revamp it in a short-term project.

    However, if you plan to ramp up your business’s blogging production, you should look for a blog content writer who can write engaging blog copy on a regular schedule, as well as give your blog a consistent style and tone.

    Plus, you can often negotiate a rate discount for signing a 6+ month contract for consistent content writing work. This also gives you the added benefit of consistently creating valuable content for your audience, which will draw in more customers/clients and help you step up your SEO game.

    2.Can I do it myself?

    You can, but should you? This is where it’s important to know thyself — not to mention thine writing abilities. There are definitely business owners out there who craft compelling, kick ass web copy — or have an internal staff member who deftly handles their company’s content needs.

    But there are many more businesses who can’t pull this off — we know because we talked to them when we wrote about the eight signs you should outsource blog content writing.

    As you question whether “blog writer” is a hat you want to wear, be realistic about your time, your resources and your abilities. Can you commit to writing three times a week? Twice? Just once on Tuesdays? Consistency means fresh content, which is key for increasing your site’s traffic.  

    Also consider whether you should hire a freelancer vs. a full-time writer (or a content writing agency).

    There are benefits to hiring a freelance writer, but there are also some drawbacks. You may pay a little less (although not always), but you also have to be content with playing second, third or fourth fiddle to the other projects on their plate.

    Are you prepared to play an active role in overseeing the quality of your writer’s work? Or do you prefer a “set it and forget it” approach to getting writing for your business?

    More importantly, are you interested in developing a robust content marketing strategy that includes web content, SEO, PR and/or social media? This is where you get more bang for your buck — not to mention results — by going with a full-time pro or a content agency.

    The graph above shows how a content agency can deliver more traffic to your website. At a glance, you can see that TCF ranks for over 18,000 keywords and generates $67.9k worth of search traffic every month. We rank for these keywords on the strength of our SEO — not paid ads (meaning this traffic is free, we just have to take the time to create the content and market it). To get the same results with paid ads through Google AdWords, we’d have to pay $814,000 per year.

    3. What’s the total budget?

    Setting a budget is a must. How much do you have to spend? Will you pay in advance or make payments as the work rolls in? Will you offer 50% up front and 50% upon completion? However you plan to pay, payment terms should be clearly defined and agreed upon before work begins.

    You should also decide if you want to offer a kill fee, which allows you to pull the plug on a project if it starts to go off the rails. This is usually a good idea for longer types of copy, such as an ebook or content for a full website. A kill fee gives you an out before you sink more time and money into a project you know that you won’t be happy with.

    As with most things in life, you get what you pay for — and content is no exception. However, this doesn’t mean you should dump buckets of money on hiring a content writer and expect great results.

    Just as cheaper is not always better, the most expensive writing isn’t necessarily going to check all the boxes on your list of must-haves. Set your budget, then compare it against the going rates for blog and content writing. Our breakdown of professional web content writing costs is a good resource for getting a range of prices for various types of online content – including what we charge.  

    Whatever you decide to pay, compensation terms should be clearly defined before you even begin your search for a business copywriter or content agency.

    It’s also important to budget for all aspects of your content marketing. For example, you might be paying a flat fee for someone to write your website content, but how much does your content optimization cost? Do you even have someone to handle that? How about images for your website? And what about PR? Should you pay for it? (If you ask us, you probably don’t need press release distribution.)

    4. Who’s in charge of the writing project?

    Does someone on your staff have the time and skill to oversee the project? You don’t necessarily need an in-house content specialist to manage your content writer, but you do need someone who can give the work a thumbs up or thumbs down.

    This person should know what “good” looks like, and have a clear vision of the goals for the content project. This ensures that everyone’s on the same page and that the content that’s delivered will achieve the outlined objectives. At the very least, you should assign a single point of contact for the writer, which will cut down on miscommunication and hopefully eliminate confusion on both sides.

    Ideally, your business should always have an individual who is tasked with managing and monitoring your content — even if he or she doesn’t actually write it. Take it from us, if your business is going to live on the internet, you need to make sure you check and double check your content management strategy. Otherwise, you might will inevitably make costly mistakes.

    5. What keywords will we use?

    Content writing and SEO are not the same thing, but they are definitely intertwined — don’t take it for granted that the content writer you hire will know that. While SEO is a cornerstone of any professional content strategy, there are plenty of writers out there who will tell you it doesn’t matter.

    Although they’re half right (there are no “tricks,” and “keyword stuffing” will only get your page sent right back to the early naughties where it belongs), the reality is that keywords form the foundation of any solid piece of content.

    Of course, the first step then is finding keywords that matter to your business.

    The good news is there are plenty of tools and resource guides that will help you find keywords. Even better, many of them are free! In fact, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite ways to find keywords for SEO.

    Once you’ve identified potential keywords, you need to decide which ones you want to target. You don’t need fancy tools to do this — you can do it with a simple spreadsheet. Here’s how we do it, along with a downloadable spreadsheet template you can use to organize your own keyword research data.

    Keywords aren’t difficult to find, but ranking #1 in the SERPs for them is an entirely different story. Selecting keywords to focus on is driven partly by data analysis and partly by experience and a willingness to engage in trial and error. This is why your site’s content always needs to be a work in progress, even if it’s just giving it the occasional polish and update.

    9 Questions to Ask Interviewees Before You Hire a Content Writer

    You’ve set a budget, you know who’s overseeing your writing project and you’ve selected keywords that will send customers to your digital doorstep.

    Now it’s time to hire a content writer for your business. Here are 10 questions to put on your list as you evaluate candidates and content agencies:

    1. What do your portfolio and references look like?

    This is a no brainer and probably something you will do before you even speak to candidates. Read through the writing samples they provide and try to put yourself in a reader’s shoes. Does the title grab your attention? Do the headlines make you want to keep reading?

    Does the piece even have headlines? (Most content should.) Are there subheads, preferably using H2 and keywords/variations? Are the images optimized for SEO?

    As you review a writer’s past work, ask them to explain the KPIs (key performance indicators) attached to each piece. How did they measure how well a particular blog post or webpage performed? Are they especially proud of an article that went viral? Did one of their clients experience a significant jump in website traffic after a certain blog post was published? Did the writer help improve the client’s SEO rankings?

    If a writer has been instrumental in growing another business’s online reach, there’s a good chance they’ll be able to do the same for yours.

    2. What kind of content does the writer like to create?

    The writer you hire doesn’t have to be an expert in your industry. For example, our writers at TCF cover subjects ranging from health insurance to personal lubricants. You don’t need a subject matter expert, but you do need someone who’s an expert at research (and following notes that experts from your company give them).

    You also need a web content writer who can produce the type of copy you’re looking for. When you look through the writer’s portfolio, keep an eye out for variety, both in topics and form.

    You might find a blog writer who excels at producing 300-word articles, but quickly runs out of steam when asked to create a 2,000-word piece. Conversely, someone might be an ebook ninja but not that hot at writing landing page content.

    Also consider if the writer has the chutzpah to make your topics sing. The reality is that not every business has a sexy or exciting product. Most people don’t jump online and get pumped to read about vacuum cleaners or hot water heaters. No, they research and read about these things when they need them — and they look for authoritative websites with appealing content that holds their interest.

    It’s not easy, but there are writers who can make even vacuum cleaners interesting to read about. And if you sell vacuums, that’s the person you want to hire — because when you introduce your business/product/service to people while they’re in the research phase, you’re much more likely to land the sale if you demonstrate your expertise, provide value in the form of educating the reader and position what you’re selling as the solution to their problem.

    Don’t believe us? Consider Marcus Sheridan, a small business owner who was on the cusp of losing his swimming pool installation business when the housing bubble burst in 2008.

    When it came down to sink or swim (bad pun intended) Sheridan was determined to keep his head well above water (sorry, we had to). Instead of dumping more marketing dollars into radio ads, he began blogging — answering common questions about swimming pools online.

    Within one year, Sheridan had not only saved his business — he had increased his organic site traffic by 120%. His company, River Pools and Spas, now gets more traffic than any other swimming pool installation company on the planet. Since then, Sheridan has gone on to write marketing books about how website content revolutionized his business.

    Seems like swimming pool installation is pretty sexy, after all.  

    3. What are your ideas for content?

    As a business owner, you may already have a good idea of the topics you’d like the writer to cover. In some cases, however, you may want the writer to pitch ideas.

    If you’re hiring a blog content writer, you’re probably going to want ongoing posts, which means you’ll need a stream of fresh ideas to write about. If pitching is going to be part of your writer’s responsibilities, make sure both sides agree on how much you will pay for pitches and how you’ll handle rejected ideas for posts. Ideally, you can roll all of that into one package, which is what we do at TCF.

    4. How do you conduct research?

    Great content almost always requires in-depth research. The internet is a goldmine of information, but finding relevant, reliable sources to support your content is a skill — and one the writer you hire should definitely have.

    That’s not to say you won’t get lucky and stumble upon a legitimate industry expert who can pump out top quality web content on the regular. Nevertheless, everything you post should cite (and link to) credible sources using the right anchor text.  

    5. What kind of SEO and keyword research do you conduct?

    Does the writer you’re considering have any SEO experience? How can you tell?

    Here’s a suggestion: ask them, what is a keyword? If you’re met with a blank stare or, if you’re interviewing over the phone, a prolonged silence, you should look for writing talent elsewhere.

    This may sound harsh, but you can’t afford to hire a content writer who lacks a basic understanding of keywords and why they’re important for online content.

    The writing you’re commissioning will be published online, which means it needs to check a lot of boxes:

    • Is it well-written? Quality counts, and it always will.
    • Does it answer the reader’s question and provide value?
    • Is it properly formatted, with the right headlines, heading tags and paragraph structure?
    • Does it contain good keywords and the right frequency of keywords?
    • If SEO is the objective, is there enough content on the page, and is it properly formatted?
    • Does it include internal links?
    • Does it deliver value to your customers by answering a question, solving a problem or convincing people that you’re a trusted authority?
    • Does it include a meta description designed to rank well?
    • Is it content others will want to share?

    It’s a tall order, but that’s why you’re hiring a professional, right?

    At the end of the day, the content you pay for needs to appeal to humans and perform well in search engine crawlers. The very best content does both of these things incredibly well.

    6. What does your editing process like?

    Writing is both a service and a product. Whether you’re hiring a blog writer or a website writer, you’re entrusting your business — even if just a small part of it — to your writer. Before you place your business in someone else’s hands, make sure their quality control process is as rigorous as yours.

    Editing can take various forms, whether it’s handing a piece off to an editor or simply putting it aside for a few hours and then rereading it. Here at TCF, everything we write goes through not one, but two editors. More eyes on a piece of content means that many more opportunities to catch an error.  

    7. What do you know about us?

    How did the writer find you? What about your business made them reach out? Or, if you reached out to them first, what research have they already done on your company and website?

    Interviewing and hiring a blogger for your business is a bit like online dating: everything might look great on paper, but you should dig a little deeper before committing.

    And much like dating, you want to know what attracted the person to you in the first place, as it will give you a good indication of whether you’re ultimately a good fit for each other. The best writer in the world might be a terrible communicator who leaves you hanging for days with no response. Or maybe the person does great work, but they’re tone deaf when it comes to writing in the style you’re aiming for.

    Whether you’re hiring a freelancer for a single project or a content agency for ongoing work, your writer should be able to produce great work, understand your goals and work well with the rest of your team.

    8. What is your work schedule like?

    If you’re hiring an independent contractor, your project is likely to be one among several on their calendar. This is one of the downsides of working with a freelance writer, where you have little or no control over when or how the writer completes your project.

    However, you can avoid missed deadlines and substandard work by setting clear expectations from the start. Create benchmarks that allow you to assess their progress along the way. This can take various forms, from a simple list of blog topics and keywords to a one-page outline (we did one for this blog) that covers the points they’re going to write about.

    9. Now that you’ve seen our style guide, can you produce content within these guidelines?

    What’s that? You don’t have a style guide? No worries. There are free style guides on the web, which are an excellent starting point for creating your own.

    Eventually, however, you’ll want to tailor these guidelines to your business and your website. For example, there are certain web content writing tips you should incorporate, from basic things like whether you prefer “internet” or “Internet” to the proper use of em dashes — which is more important than you might think.

    Basically, you want to give your writer clear instructions for what your content should look like. If you’re still stuck, you can borrow a (literal) page from our book by taking a glance at some of the web punctuation rules from our writing guide.

    Getting the Job Done

    Writing web content isn’t rocket science, but it’s also no walk in the park. Ultimately, it’s about connecting with people — both loyal customers and potential newcomers to your business or brand. As a business owner, you can make the most of your content marketing dollars by asking the right questions when you search for a writer who can deliver value to your business.

    Good web content writing that effectively positions your company as a trustworthy provider of value can drastically improve your business and sales. TCF’s clients find us, not the other way around. This is because we rank so well for keywords that are relevant to what we do as a digital PR and content agency — we practice what we preach, and have the results to show for it. You can take the same approach with your business, but only if you hire talent that is capable of delivering these kinds of results.
    Want to talk about how TCF can help you create website or blog content for your business? Interested in digital PR or social media marketing? Contact us to learn more.

    The post 14 Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Content Writer appeared first on The Content Factory.

    Source: Contentfac.com

     
  • Kari DePhillips 5:22 pm on January 12, 2017 Permalink
    Tags: seo content   

    Copywriter Position Available: The Content Factory is Hiring! 

    The Content Factory is a growing content, PR and social media marketing firm in need of talented writers to help us meet the needs of our expanding list of clients. We’re a virtual agency with no physical offices, and this position requires that you work from home (or the coffee shop, or a beach, or anywhere else that has wifi). This position will start out as freelance, and can move to a full-time employment opportunity. 

    If hired, you’ll join a team of 12 people spread out over 7 states – all working together to create killer case studies for some pretty cool companies. Our clients range from Astroglide to Zane Benefits, with Fairtrade America and a ton of tech companies in between. You will not be bored here.

    What You’ll Do

    Our writers have a lot of flexibility and can often choose from different projects and decide how much work they take on. To give you an idea of what you’re getting into, here are some of the most common responsibilities we give writers:

    • Pitching article ideas for a wide variety of clients, ranging from tech startups to national brands.
    • Writing and posting blogs, articles, reports, press releases, product descriptions and other online content.
    • All things SEO, at least as it pertains to copy.
    • Incorporating feedback and making edits when needed.
    • Attending conference calls with clients and other members of the team (we have regular client, team and department meetings).
    • Keep track of and regularly report on the results of your efforts.

    Depending on your skill/commitment/interests, your responsibilities can grow to include:

    • Managing social media accounts for our clients
    • Interacting with journalists and editors to get placement on reputable websites
    • Marketing your content online
    • Compiling and sharing analytical data on your efforts with clients
    • Hosting webinars and training sessions

    Compensation and Perks

    You’ll start out as a paid contractor as you go through a series of writing tests by completing real-life client work. If we like you and the feeling is mutual, you’ll become a part-time or full-time employee, depending on your preference, within a month or so. After you’ve been an employee for 90 days, the company pays for your cell phone service and Internet (see also: cable, if you end up in the PR department).

    Payment varies based on the difficulty and length of projects, but you can expect to earn anywhere from 10 to 15 cents per word, and bonuses are awarded for exceptional work. Payment is made to contractors via check or PayPal on the 1st and 15th of the month, and employees get direct deposit on the 1st and 15th.

    As a copywriter you’ll get to enjoy these perks:

    • The 500+ hour advantage.
    • Experience writing for a wide variety of clients, including national brands that you can pad your resume with.
    • Expanding your professional network, collecting bylines and building your portfolio.
    • Spending quality time with your cat/couch/both as you work from home.
    • Getting to see your work all over the web.
    • Around 2-4 times per year, when the planets align and a leprechaun catches an Uber ride from a pink unicorn, something we’re responsible for legitimately goes “viral” – that’s always cool to be a part of.
    • Setting your own schedule.
    • We all share a research assistant (official title: Gal Friday), so you don’t need to spend hours doing your own background work.
    • Working with a fun, creative and intelligent group of people who will inspire you more than they’ll frustrate you.
    • Laughing in the face of anyone who told you you’d never make a living writing.
    • Employees get paid vacation and holidays, which include Halloween and your birthday.

    To Apply

    Email chris@contentfac.com. If you’ve been referred by somebody, please mention so in the subject line of your email.

    To be clear, this is not a quick process – the typical journey from applicant to full-time employee usually takes 3-6 weeks. We have high standards for our writing team, and invest quite a bit of time and resources in training our employees.

    For this reason, we’ve developed a thorough application process that allows us to find the absolute best applicants for the job. Here’s how it goes:

    1. Respond to this ad with your résumé and a cover letter you’ve written specifically for this position. Additionally, attach two pieces of copy that you’ve written for a past client. In your cover letter, briefly discuss these samples. What sort of ROI did your client experience from these pieces of copy? What KPIs were used to measure its performance?

      Impress us. Your cover letter (and your samples) will determine your fate way more than a jam-packed résumé will. With that said, we receive upwards of 500 applications with every job posting, so ideal candidates will likely have a BA in marketing, communications, journalism or English as well as 2-5 years of experience along with a kickass cover letter. That said, the owner of the company is a college dropout so lack of a degree or experience can be made up for with hustle and talent.
    1. If we like what we see, we’ll email you back and ask you to write 12 sample blog pitches for four fictional companies: a SAAS/cloud company, a professional financial planner, a personal lubricant company and a high-end realtor (three pitches for each). Even if we hate your pitches, we’ll pay you $50 for your work.
    1. If your pitches are solid, you’ll be sent a sample post to write. Just like the pitches, you will be paid to write this post.
    1. If we’re impressed by your post, we will ask you to write one more for a different client. Assuming it continues to go well, from there we’ll send you as much writing work as you want for 30 days or until one of us taps out. During this time you’ll get a feel for our clients, expectations and company culture. If it’s a good fit, we’ll extend you a job offer.

    Like this ad, our process is long – and involved – but it has helped us find some wonderful employees over the years. And if you can’t get through this, there’s no way you’ll make it through live tweeting #TheBachelorette for a whole season. We’re a tight-knit, extremely talented team, and we’d like to make sure that it stays that way.

    Good luck!

    The post Copywriter Position Available: The Content Factory is Hiring! appeared first on The Content Factory.

    Source: Contentfac.com

     
  • Kari DePhillips 5:07 pm on November 14, 2016 Permalink
    Tags: seo content   

    The 500+ Hour Advantage: Why I Let Employees Work From Home (or Anywhere) 

    Kari DePhillipsHere’s what my day looked like when I worked in advertising:

    I’d wake up somewhere around 6 AM, do the whole shower/outfit/hair/makeup thing, be out the door no later than 7:15, fight my way through traffic so that I could pay $220/mo for the privilege of leasing a parking space downtown, walk through rain/crowds/etc. and get to my desk by 8 AM.

    Then I would work until lunch, eat, return for the rest of the work day, and when 5 PM mercifully came I would again fight my way through traffic so that I could get home by 6 PM (or 7:30, if I needed groceries and gas).

    All told, I was working 12-hour days and only being paid for 8. Plus, I was wasting all kinds of resources on the commute itself.

    In reality, I rarely NEEDED to be in the office. But it was part of the job, so I did it. Five days a week, 50 weeks a year. Everyone else did, too – and most of the people there were miserable.

    When I left advertising to become a freelance writer, I got a taste of what working from home (or wherever there’s WIFI) is like. Let me tell you, the only way I’ll ever give up this lifestyle is when it’s pried from my cold, dead hands. I’m ruined for office work forever, and I’d like to ruin my employees too.

    The Time Advantage of Working From Home

    You know what takes way too much time and energy? Getting “ready for work” in the morning – especially if you’re a woman. And extra super especially if you’re a woman with unruly hair.

    A photo posted by Kari D. (@karidephillips) on Jun 7, 2016 at 11:12am PDT

    Not pictured: yoga pants

    Daily commutes to and from downtown are hell on the environment and the soul. But if you work in the right industry, you can circumvent that entirely and become much more efficient as a result.

    Getting ready for work and commuting to/from the office takes time – let’s say an average of two hours per day, five days per week. Figure two weeks for vacation, and that’s 50 workweeks at 10 hours of wasted time per.

    YOU DON’T NEED TO RUN THAT MATH, BECAUSE I HAVE. IT WORKS OUT TO 500 HOURS OF WASTED TIME EACH YEAR AND THE ALL CAPS ARE TOTALLY WARRANTED RIGHT NOW.

    For some people it’s more and for others it’s less, but women tend to take longer than men for cultural reasons that I’ll save for a different blog post. As a woman, I take offense to this on such a level that I created a company largely to give myself that time back. In the process, I’ve given my employees that time back, too.

    500 hours of wasted time works out to 20.83 days of lost productivity – what could you do if you had that kind of extra time every year? What could your employees do, with almost a month of extra “vacation” time per year?

    Is it acceptable to waste 104.16 days every five years, just on commuting and “getting ready” for a job that you’re already ready to do? For me, the answer is no.

    The Content Factory is a weird place, mostly because it doesn’t really exist – and I set things up that way on purpose. I have a dozen employees spread out over seven states, but we all work from home (or wherever).

    We genuinely like each other, because we’re never around one another enough to become annoying in the “who put fish in the microwave, AGAIN?!” kind of way. Which brings me to…

    The Cultural Advantage of Working From Home

    Here’s the where the + in “500+” from the title of this post comes into play: at TCF, nobody steals lunches from the refrigerator. When somebody wears too much perfume or a politically incorrect t-shirt, it’s like a tree falling in the woods with nobody around to hear it. Does it make a sound to annoy coworkers? I can’t tell you, because I don’t know unless I see it on Instagram.

    TCF has a truly phenomenal company culture, largely because the only issues that arise between coworkers are 100% work-related. Did somebody fail to meet clearly outlined expectations? If so, we’ve got a problem. Until then, though, we don’t.

    There’s a level of management that I don’t have to deal with, which I’m grateful for. I have yet to have a conversation about workplace romances, bad smells or inappropriate attire. This is difficult to achieve in a “traditional” office environment, given a long enough time frame.

    It’s easier to have a meritocracy when all you have to go off of is the quality of the person’s work, as translated by Google Analytics and other KPIs. Are the arrows green and pointing up? Cool. No? Then we’ve got a problem, but it’s usually easy to trace that problem back to the source.

    When you work from home, the paper trail is stronger as long as you’ve got the right systems and processes in place. We do at TCF, but it took a few years to fully develop them and it’s always a work in progress.

    All conference calls are recorded. Our checklists would make flight crews jealous. Meetings are recapped in notes that are emailed to all participants. Directions are mapped out ahead of time, and approved by the client. Every step in the process gets approved, and in writing.

    When properly developed, the processes make it impossible to take wrong turns. In a traditional office environment, it’s easier to never develop these types of procedural systems. Or, at least, that’s been my experience as a manager and somebody who has been managed.

    In TCF’s world, we’re slaves to the analytics that tell the unbiased truth about our performance as a team and as individuals. This promotes meritocracy, because it’s literally the only thing that exists.

    #Photoshoot fun for TCF’s new website! #bts #glam #bluesteel

    A video posted by Kari D. (@karidephillips) on Jun 1, 2016 at 3:47pm PDT

    Employee morale is pretty high around here, and I’m not sure if it’s one of these areas or all of them combined that keep people happy. I can tell you that TCF’s turnover rate is extraordinarily low, both on the employee and client fronts.

    The Talent (and Cost!) Advantage of Working From Home

    Driving to and from the office, plus consistently parking your car somewhere legal, is expensive. But so is the office you drive to, and all of the utilities and furniture that go along with it. If you can get rid of those costs, you can save yourself A TON of money as an employer (and pass that savings onto your clients, too – this makes you more competitive and enables faster growth).

    If you take this a step further, you’ll also realize the savings that you can find in labor. Hiring a marketing professional in New York City tends to cost more than hiring their counterpart in Omaha, and all things being the same why wouldn’t you hire the Midwesterner?

    Even if the two employees have the same salaries, for tax purposes it’s probably cheaper to hire the candidate in Omaha. Side note: my accountant has threatened to quit if I ever hire somebody who lives in New York, because the state and city taxes/regulations/reporting is apparently a nightmare.

    Last year, I had to change my company’s vacation policy because one of our employees lives in Portland, Oregon. That city requires a certain amount of unused vacation time to roll over each year, and my “use it or lose it” policy suddenly became illegal and had to be changed. Things like this pop up all the time when you have staff spread out over several states, and although it’s annoying to stay on top of all of the rules it still feels like a small price to pay for what I get in return.

    All of TCF’s employees are based in the US, except when we travel abroad, but you can save even more on labor if you’re willing to hire people living in other countries. I haven’t outsourced to India, but I do outsource to Indiana – and from what I’ve seen those people know a thing or two about work ethic.

    Aside from the cost advantage of being able to hire anyone anywhere, the talent pool becomes exponentially greater as well. If I were limited to hiring people who could commute to and from an office in, say, Pittsburgh, I wouldn’t be able to hire somebody in Colorado who has more experience and better ideas. In this fictitious scenario, I want the person in Colorado on my team – so do my employees and clients.

    I don’t care where the talent lives, only that when I find it I can hire it. This flexibility improves the quality of TCF as an agency and our work as individuals.

    Workation

    The Lifestyle Advantage of Working From Home

    Beyond all of that, if you can work from home you can probably work from anywhere – and I do. In the last year, I’ve worked from 10 different countries and dozens of states…just because I want to and I can. TCF’s employees can too (and they do, which I love).

    Team workations are a thing, which helps us bond and then un-bond back to our individual spaces. You know those cool people you see on social media, who’re really funny and take killer pics of the amazing places they go? Those people work at TCF, and are getting paid along the way.

    Prepping for the pitch #workation #venicebeach #workfromanywhere

    A photo posted by Kelly Chase (@kell_of_the_brawl) on Nov 9, 2016 at 3:56pm PST

    When I think of what I’m most proud of, it’s enabling that kind of lifestyle – not just for myself, but also for my employees. If you’re an employer and you’re reading this, ask yourself whether this kind of flexibility could benefit your company, too. I think it probably can.

    There’s a lot to be said for untethering yourself and others from an artificial box that steals 500+ hours per year. When my grandfather got sick, I was able to move in with him and my grandmother to help out. When he died, I was there with my family and holding his hand. There isn’t a price tag I can put on that, and I’m grateful that my work enables me to live my life in a way that I find significant, fulfilling and gratifying.

    Here’s what my day looks like now: I still wake up around 6 AM, and I’m at my desk and working – with coffee! – no more than 15 minutes later. When I put in a 12-hour day, it’s a full 12 hours of work. There’s no outfit choice (yoga pants 24/7 until I have to put on “real clothes” for a conference or client meeting), and bad hair days aren’t something I even consider any more.

    I don’t have blisters on my feet from uncomfortable shoes that look great with an outfit that pinches me in places I didn’t know existed. In most cases I wear some version of sweatpants and a tee shirt, and I get A LOT of stuff done without ever wondering what I look like as I’m making things happen.

    Sure, I still have to put on dresses for conferences and I don’t mind “suiting up” when I need to – but the point is, I only do so when I actually need to. And I only ask my employees to suit up when the situation requires it.

    When I have to drive somewhere, I get to strategically time things around rush hour traffic. I imagine this is what Steve Jobs lived like – I know for certain he spent exactly zero time each morning working the mascara wand just right to avoid spidery eyelashes.

    I’ve become more efficient, and I fill up my gas take less often. There’s more time for the gym and catching up with friends. My headspace is rarely occupied by things that aren’t work or life related. I’ve cut out a lot of BS, and I don’t miss it.

    When important stuff happens I get to show up and be present, because I have 500+ hours. I’ve given my employees those 500+ hours as well.

    I recognize that creating a work-from-home-or-anywhere kind of environment is not possible for all entrepreneurs and employees. However, if it is possible, it’s entirely worth considering. Personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Do you let your employees work from home? Why or why not? Spark off some discussion in the comments section, and let me know if you think I’m making a mistake with this whole “work from home” thing.

    The post The 500+ Hour Advantage: Why I Let Employees Work From Home (or Anywhere) appeared first on The Content Factory.

    Source: Contentfac.com

     
  • Kari DePhillips 10:22 pm on July 5, 2016 Permalink
    Tags: seo content   

    Why You (Probably Don’t) Need Press Release Distribution Services – A PR Pro’s Perspective 

    Kari DePhillips

    Kari DePhillips, TCF’s Owner

    This may sound surprising coming from the owner of a digital PR agency, but I’ve got a love/hate relationship with press releases. If I’m being honest, sometimes it’s mostly hate (and primarily directed toward press release distribution services that make big promises and rarely, if ever, deliver). And I’m not alone: many pros in the PR industry are ready to dance on the grave of traditional press release distribution.

    Here’s what most people don’t realize about distributing press releases:

    1. The inherent SEO value of press release distribution via wire services is exactly zero, and has been for years.
    2. Press release distribution services are expensive and rarely produce ROI.
    3. Most ideas for press releases don’t need to be transformed into a traditional press release – a blog post will be sufficient.
    4. You get better results by developing relationships with reporters and pitching them directly – or even cold-pitching reporters directly via email.
    5. Unless you’ve strategically created something targeted to your audience and worth talking about, the news you have to share probably isn’t news at all.
    6. Mass pitching is a terrible idea, and you (or your PR rep) should never do it.

    Let’s tackle these one at a time, and then review when it is a good idea to send out a press release.

    The (Nonexistent) SEO Value of Press Release Distribution

    As mentioned and linked to above, if you’re expecting the hundreds of backlinks that press release distribution services provide to rocket your site to the top of SERPs, you might as well be waiting for Godot. Here’s what happens when you upload and distribute a press release via a traditional wire service:

    1. Your release gets posted on PRWeb, PRNewswire or whatever press release distribution service(s) you choose. One-off, DIY national press release distribution via these services costs around $400. PRNewswire has a nifty option that puts your press release headline and photo on a giant screen in Times Square for just long enough for them to capture the image, which you can use in future marketing materials. This costs substantially more.

    Your press release is then posted online and added to an email digest that gets sent to reporters…along with all the other press releases in your industry that were distributed that day. I asked Dan Tynan, former editor of Yahoo! Tech and current reporter for The Guardian, if he ever scrolled through these press release digests.

    “God, no. Do people actually do that? Wow,” Tynan said. “I have a sudden vision of some pathetic freelancer desperate for stories to cover. That just makes me want to hug a puppy.”

    Beyond the money you’ll spend, there is a pretty significant time cost to using press release distribution services as well. Plan to put in at least an hour uploading the release, image assets, videos, hyperlinking to resources, etc. Here’s what the finished product will look like once it’s live on the site:

    press release distribution services

    2. The PRWeb version of the release will likely get “picked up” by 200+ media outlets, ranging from Digital Journal to The Boston Globe. This is automatically syndicated and not editorially reviews, and, to be frank, isn’t worth much of anything. Here’s what this looks like in action:

    Press release pickups by other outlets

    3. You’ll get a pretty report. The release distribution service(s) you choose will send you graphs and charts that detail how far and wide your news has spread. This will include the websites that picked up your news (there will be hundreds, but like a tree falling in the woods with no one to hear it, does content really exist if nobody sees it?), headline impressions (they don’t really matter), page reads (a significantly lower number, that may or may not matter), and interactions/clicks (see previous parenthetical). These reports look impressive, but when you dive into the actual KPIs and ROI, the results of the distribution will probably leave something to be desired.

    4. It’s very, very likely that none of the 200+ pickups will do anything for you at all. In all of the years that we’ve been writing, distributing and pitching press releases, only a couple of unique pieces of earned media coverage (from smaller bloggers) ever came from the “higher visibility” that press release distribution services offer.

    However, depending on the news you’re distributing, you will get weirdos who will call the number listed on the press release and A) try to sell you something, or B) try to convince you of a conspiracy theory – this actually happened to me a few years ago, and if you’re curious the conspiracy theory involved chemtrails.

    If this is painting a bleak picture of what you can expect out of standard press release distribution via wire services, good. It’s meant to. I’ve got nothing against the distribution services, and we still use them at TCF (old habits die hard, plus press release distribution is included as part of our large and very expensive PR software package).

    But I want to make it clear that you shouldn’t waste your time or resources, or rely on, press release distribution services as an exclusive method of getting your news “out there.” Even if you do everything right, they probably won’t get the job done.

    I’m not saying that press releases are useless – far from it. In fact, we regularly use press releases as a way to generate earned media coverage for our clients, across all kinds of industries.

    Press releases are still a legitimate way to help tell company stories, educate potential clients and customers, and secure earned media coverage. We have great success with writing and pitching press releases – we’ve sent a couple this year that have generated earned media coverage with an ad value equivalent worth $1 million or more.

    If You Want Earned Media Coverage, You Need More Than a Press Release – You Need Actual NewsTarget your press release audience

    Now that we’ve established that press release distribution services tend to provide garbage ROI, let’s talk about what does work: telling interesting stories in a way that’s easy to understand and ties in with company messaging, while providing value to your target audience. This is difficult to say and even harder to do — which is where a PR agency or in-house resource can come in handy.

    Let’s start with the release itself. What kind of news are you sharing? Here are several good starting points:

    Launch of a new product or service – you’ll have the most success with this if the product or service is unique (like the press release about the first Bitcoin ATM in the US we used as an example above, which was covered everywhere from Mashable and CNET to The New Yorker, all as a result of directly pitching reporters). If you’re not launching something new or that provides a unique value to buyers, you’re going to struggle to get covered.

    Unique statistics – if you’ve got enough customers or a big enough user base to poll and get statistically significant numbers, you can use the data to generate earned media coverage for your company. Reporters love fresh, compelling, unique stats for their articles, and if you can give it to them you’ll find those numbers being cited and re-cited all over the internet (often with links back to your website).

    Major milestones – Are you the first to do something substantial? Did you just hit your 100,000th user? Have you sold 1 million gallons/dollars/units of your widgets? These can all be pitchable moments.

    Company stories – Do your company executives spend their vacation time saving endangered species? Do you have a killer company culture and a 0% turnover rate, and you have secrets to success you can share with others?

    Events – Are you hosting an event that provides value to your target audience? Are interesting/successful people attending/speaking? If so, reporters will likely want to be there as well.

    Newsjacking – Is there a something going on in the news that you have a unique angle or an educated perspective on? A potential solution to a problem? Newsjacking could be your best bet. This requires you to act fast, but can pay off big time.

    Stories that are difficult to pitch and get media coverage out of include:

    • New promotions/hires (unless the person is well known in your industry)

    • New versions of your product (unless your product is very widely known/used)

    • Website redesign (unless you summoned the ghost of van Gogh to design it, or something equally impressive)

    If you’ve done your job and the news you’ve created is interesting, the next step is to tell that story. This is where the press release comes into play. In my opinion, it’s still the best and easiest way to share your news and spread your message.

    how to write a press release

    I tapped Dan Tynan for some advice on writing a press release that gets noticed by journalists, and here’s what he said:

    A press release catches my attention when:

    A) It is really bad, in which case I mock it mercilessly, sharing it with PR friends
    B) Pisses me off – I will sometimes shoot off a curt reply
    C) Is really good (almost never, like 0.00001%)
    D) It’s about something I happen to be writing/researching at the moment (also pretty rare)
    E) Is about something I was not aware of and I think my editors might be interested. Again, pretty rare.

    Two recent examples of that: some company sent me a release about WIFI in prisons. Did you know that prisons are now, finally, getting WIFI? I didn’t. So I pitched that to my editor at The Guardian, and she came back with an idea for a larger story about prisons and whether the internet should be considered a “right” for inmates to have.

    Another, slightly off topic: this wasn’t a press release, but someone responding to a HARO query about AI, who pitched me on an idea called “augmented eternity” from her client. That turned into this story.

    Some stories don’t need to be made into full-fledged press releases to become pitchable – the news is just as easily shared as a blog post that gets sent to journalists. In fact, all press releases should be posted on the company’s site (as either a blog post or as a page in the news section of the website) before it gets sent out via press release distribution services anyway. In most cases, a blog post version of a press release is completely adequate.

    If you’re writing your press release correctly, it should read as though it’s a news article itself. There should be quotes that can be pulled out of context and still convey the right message, from both the company and a customer/user/other person getting benefit from the news you’re announcing. Often, reporters will copy/paste these quotes into their coverage – or even copy/paste entire sections of your release (you’d be surprised how many major media outlets do this).

    This is why the easiest, most organic way to thoroughly cover the who/what/when/where/why (+why anyone should care) is still a press release, even if that press release takes the form of a blog post. Anything else is a just an inconvenient patchwork of email strings, phone calls and DropBox links.

    If you send a well-written press release with links to all relevant assets to reporters, they’ll have everything they need to write a story. Occasionally – less than half of the time, in our experience – you’ll get contacted for more information or an additional quote.

    Direct Pitching vs. Using Press Release Distribution Services

    A few years ago, I decided to keep track of how many pieces of earned media coverage came from direct pitching vs. the press release distribution services. That experiment ended after six months, when I realized I had literally hundreds of links to articles that featured clients…and all of them came from directly pitching reporters.

    Sure, I had thousands of links to pickups of various press releases – and some of the headlines have tens of thousands of impressions. But again, when you track that down to ROI…I have yet to find anything significant.

    Aly Walansky writes for the Today show website, Food and Wine magazine, AskMen and many other media outlets you’ve heard of. When I asked her when the last time she went through the releases that get sent to her via the press release distribution services, and then actually covered one of them, her response was telling:

    “It’s probably the most discouraging answer ever – it was months ago, and even then it was because it was something I was already looking for. I didn’t become interested in the topic BECAUSE of the press release.”

    If you want reporters to cover your news, you’ve got to know what it is that they’re covering at the moment and reach out to them directly to let them know what you’ve got going on. Acceptable methods of outreach include:

    Twitter (e.g.: we sent a tweet during CES that resulted in a client getting profiled in Wired magazine)
    Email pitching (a quick Google search usually turns up most email addresses)
    Submitting tips to websites (when you can’t find a direct reporter to pitch, but the outlet is relevant)
    Phone calls (only if you know the reporter already – nobody likes getting sales calls from strangers, especially busy journalists on deadline)
    Snail mail (if you’re launching a physical product and want to ask for reviews – physical addresses for all major outlets are easy to find)

    Again, this is where a PR agency can be a huge benefit. The media monitoring and outreach databases that PR agencies use are incredibly expensive, and can be cost prohibitive for many companies to take on internally. The tools and services we use at TCF cost over $40,000 per year, which gives us a lot of capabilities and contacts that the average business owner or marketing department doesn’t have.

    These fancy PR tools give us access to every reporter, producer and editor at every media outlet you can imagine, as well as thousands that you can’t. They also allow us to track the ad value of each piece of media coverage, and let us know when media coverage goes live, including client mentions on TV. In short, if you can afford to hire a PR agency to manage your press release (or ongoing PR needs), you’ll find immense and immediate value in the tools they have at their disposal. That said, it’s still possible to DIY and get results.

    Although targeting is important and you should research every reporter you pitch, at the end of the day pitching is largely a numbers game. If your list of journalists to pitch your release to is only 3 lines long and you haven’t built a relationship with any of them yet, you’re unlikely to get any traction unless your news is truly spectacular. Typically, we pitch 20-100 journalists that we research in advance and reach out to individually (NOT in a mass email pitch to everyone at once).

    This brings me to my final point…

    Mass Pitching Your Way to Press Release Distribution is for Amateurs (at least, it’ll make you look like one)

    Whether you’re pitching your press release yourself or hiring somebody else to do it, make sure those pitches go out individually and not as a mass pitch to everyone at once. If you’re hiring a PR pro to manage the writing and/or pitching of your press release, ask if they plan to mass pitch or individually pitch to their list, and insist on the latter up front.

    Those same fancy PR tools I mentioned earlier enable PR pros to mass-email your release to as many journalists as they want. This is a terrible feature and PR reps as a whole will get a much better reputation if it ever goes away. There are even “coverage wizard” options that will auto-pull lists of journalists, editors and producers for you based on a specific beat. While this can be a good starting point, it’s important to A) research each person before you reach out to them, and B) never mass pitch everyone at once (in case I haven’t made that clear enough yet).

    There are a couple of reasons why mass pitching is a horrible idea. For one, it’s likely to land your message in Gmail’s Promotions tab instead of in the actual inbox of the person you’re reaching out to. This drastically decreases the likelihood that your pitch will actually be read by the person you sent it to.

    Google Promotions Tab

    Seriously, if you ever want to hide a dead body, stash it on the 3rd page of Google search results, or in the promotions folder of somebody’s Gmail account.

    Second, when you use PR software to mass pitch emails the same rules apply as when you’re sending email newsletters – there’s going to be a big ugly “unsubscribe” option for journalists to remove themselves from your list (which they never subscribed to in the first place). That’s weird, impersonal, and indicative of a lazy or incompetent PR rep.

    Finally, when you mass pitch reporters…the reporters know. You’re not fooling anyone by customizing the name in the greeting line for each recipient. And reporters like to feel special, like they’re the only one you’re pitching your news to.

    I asked Aly Walansky what would make her NOT want to cover a press release. Her response: “If it’s being sent to EVERYONE. What’s the news value in that?”

    The Bottom Line: Press Releases Work, But Only When You Work Them Right

    Press releases are a valuable, time-tested tool that can be used to generate earned media coverage, increase sales and spread your company’s message – but only if you’re strategic about everything from story identification and development to messaging and pitching. For the best results, avoid relying too much on shiny press release distribution services that are unlikely to deliver the ROI and media coverage that you’re looking for.

    Paying attention to detail is absolutely critical, especially when you’re attempting to get national media outlets to cover your news. If you’re sloppy during any part of the process, your efforts can have a negative impact on your brand (and your ability to get media coverage in the future). Or worse, Dan Tynan will mercilessly mock you to his PR friends.

    If you’re tired of going the DIY route with your PR and you’re interested in finding out more about the costs of bring in the professionals, click here to download a free copy of our generic proposal and pricing list. If you have any other questions, let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ContentFac.

    The post Why You (Probably Don’t) Need Press Release Distribution Services – A PR Pro’s Perspective appeared first on The Content Factory.

    Source: Contentfac.com

     
  • Kari DePhillips 2:42 pm on June 21, 2016 Permalink
    Tags: seo content   

    Image Optimization 101: How to Optimize Images for Google Image Search 

    Image Optimization SEO Tips and Tricks

     

    It’s no secret that if you want to drive organic search traffic to your website, your SEO game needs to be on point. However, many people overlook one very critical resource for raking in all of that sweet, sweet organic traffic: Google image search. And in order to get that traffic, you need to know about image optimization.

    Users who are searching for images on Google image search will often click on those images, which takes them to the website on which the image is hosted, which translates into organic traffic. So how much potential does Google image search have to drive traffic to your website? Data suggests that on websites with well optimized images the resulting traffic from Google image search can translate into 20% to 60% of all Google traffic. That’s huge!

    So how can you optimize images to rank well in Google image search and drive traffic to your website? Here’s everything you need to know:

    Image Optimization Step One: Choose The Right Image

    Choose Compelling, Relevant Images

    Just like when you’re writing content to bring in SEO traffic, the best way to optimize images in a blog post is to make sure that the images that you choose are relevant and compelling. Your images should let the reader know that they’re in the right place and should be appealing enough to make them want to stick around for a while and check out the rest of your content.

    When visitors spend more time on your page and click on links and images, all of that sends signals to Google that lets the search engine know that people enjoy your content — which will help to improve your rankings in Google search and in Google image search, as well.

    One important thing to note about the images you choose is that, though there are several guides to image optimization floating around the Internet that say that unique images rank better in Google image search than, say, stock images, there is actually no evidence that this is actually the case. While duplicate content can cause your rankings to suffer, Google doesn’t penalize duplicate images the way it penalizes duplicate text.

    However, this doesn’t mean that you are totally off the hook when it comes to duplicate images. Google might not directly penalize your duplicate images, but if your images are too generic or are overused, your readers are unlikely to stick around as long. Your best bet for optimizing images on your posts is to choose images that will appeal to your readers — and in many cases, unique images do the best job of this.

    Google Image Search tips and tricks

    Make Sure Your Images Are Properly Sourced

    Believe it or not, where you get your image is ultimately even more important than the image that you end up choosing. You need to be sure that the images that you are using have been legally sourced or you could be slapped with an $8,000 lawsuit for copyright infringement. Inadvertently using an image that you don’t have permission to use might seem like an innocent mistake, but the repercussions can be huge — and chances are good that you are going to get caught eventually.

    Google image search has a reverse search feature that makes it easy for people to enter a particular image and find the other places that image appears on the web. This isn’t just a great tool for catching catfish, it also provides a way for people to check and see if images that they own are being used elsewhere on the Internet. So if you don’t catch your mistake before you post the image on your website, someone else probably will — and that person has grounds for a lawsuit. Yikes.

    So where are the best places to source images? Here are some of our favorites:

    Bigstock: This is a great go-to option for stock photos. Their collection is enormous, so you’re likely to find an image that will work for you. The prices are also pretty reasonable, with each image cost somewhere between a few cents and a few dollars, depending on what plan you’re signed up for.

    Twenty20: If you’re using stock photos all the time like we are, you’ll quickly run into two problems. First of all, stock photos can sometimes be way too “stock photo-y”, which makes them less engaging to your readers. And secondly, there is a very real problem with diversity in the stock photo world — in that there is not nearly enough of it. Twenty20 addresses both of these issues with gorgeous, high-quality images that represent people of all backgrounds, body types, ethnicities, and orientations in ways that feel genuine and human.

    However, there are a couple of drawbacks. Twenty20 doesn’t have nearly the number of images that some of the bigger stock photo sites have, so you might not always find what you’re looking for. Also, while photos on sites like Bigstock will run you a couple of bucks at most, Twenty20 costs about five times that for an image. If you use photos from Twenty20, you’ll want to use them strategically.

    Unsplash: Unsplash has some of the most gorgeous stock photos that we’ve ever seen — and the best part is that they are all 100% free to anyone, even for commercial use. However, their limited library and the fact that the artistic nature of their images doesn’t make them a great fit for every project keeps this from being a resource that you can rely on as your one and only.

    In reality, if you’re using stock images a lot, you’ll probably settle on some combination of stock photo sites for sourcing your images — that’s certainly been our strategy. Just make sure that before you make a final decision that you check the “terms and services” for the image service that you use so that you can be absolutely certain you’ve got permission to use the images on the website you are sourcing them for. Not all licenses are the same, and some stock photo sites have restrictions about what kinds of businesses and products you can represent with their images — so be sure to double check.

    Image Optimization Step Two: Uploading Your Image

    Use Keywords in Your Image Name

    A+ image optimization starts with the name that you give to your images. The keywords that you identify in the keyword research stage of creating your content should be included in the image names. Whenever possible, these keywords should be worked into your images names from the start.

    If you need help getting started with keyword research for SEO, or even if you just want to polish up your skills, click the button below to get your free copy of our Keyword Research Starter Kit with three complete guides to keyword research and a keyword research template.

     

    Use Hyphens Instead of Underscores to Name Images

    Many people aren’t aware of this fact, but there is a difference in how Google treats hyphens as opposed to underscores when reading text, alt-text, file names, and even URLs — and if you choose the wrong one it could negatively impact your image SEO. This is because when Google sees words that are separated by hyphens, it assumes the words are separate words. However, when Google comes across words separated by underscores, it assumes that the words are all one word.

    For examples, Google would read “image-optimization” as “image optimization”, however, it would read “image_optimization” as “imageoptimization.” Obviously, using underscores in this situation could negatively affect your image SEO, especially if “image optimization” is the keyword that you’re hoping to rank for. Though many people love a good underscore, when it comes to optimizing your images for google image search, it’s best to play it safe and stick to hyphens.

    optimize images with these tips

    Pay Attention to the Image Size

    One of the ranking factors that Google uses in its ranking algorithm is page speed, which is basically how long it takes for any particular page on your website to load. Google’s algorithm is all about providing the best experience for Google users, so pages with longer load times are penalized. This applies to images as well. The larger an image is, the longer it will take to load which could negatively impact your image SEO.

    Now, this is where image optimization becomes a little bit of a balancing act. For the reason listed above, you want your images to be high-resolution, eye-catching, and well integrated into your copy — which means that in most situations a small image just isn’t going to cut it. However, if your images are too large, all of your other image optimization could be thwarted by a longer load time.

    Your best option when it comes to image optimization is to use images that are exactly the size that you need, but not any bigger than that. Many platforms will allow you to upload images of almost any size and will then squeeze larger images down to fit in the space provided.

    So before you upload a picture, make sure it’s the right size. For most page layouts, images that are somewhere between 600 and 800 pixels wide should be about right. If you find that the image that you want to use is too large, you can use image editing software like Photoshop — or if you’d like something a little easier to use try Canva.

    Use Keywords in Your Alt Text

    Your image alt text is basically an accessibility tag. Its function is to provide information about the photo in cases where the image isn’t actually being displayed. This can happen when the image fails to load, and also is the case with screen reading tools that blind people use to surf the web. When you’re thinking about using alt text for image optimization, you want to think of it as a way to give information to people about the image that you’ve posted — because that’s its primary purpose.

    However, alt text is also a great place to include keywords to optimize images for Google image search, as well. If you’ve followed the above advice and you’ve chosen images that are relevant to your topic, then working those keywords into the alt text in a way that still accurately describes the pictures shouldn’t be too much of a stretch.

    Also, make sure that your alt text is concise. This is not the place to write a novel, so save all of that extra copy for the text of your post. When you’re optimizing images for Google image search, most SEO experts recommend sticking to 5 or 6 words and under 120 characters in your alt text for the best results.

    Image Optimization Step 3: Integrating Your Image Into Your Copy

    Write Great Content Using SEO Best Practices

    Nothing in the world of SEO happens in a vacuum, and that includes image optimization. Google is constantly getting signals back from users who visit your site that tells the search engine about the quality and relevance of your page. That means that no matter how good of a job you do in optimizing images for Google image search, if your content and site specs aren’t on point all of your hard work will be for nothing. (If you need to brush up, you can check out our comprehensive guide How to Write Blogs Posts That Convert — And Bring in SEO Traffic for some pointers.)

    Place Your Images Strategically

    Images can do more for your post than just convey information and make your content more visually compelling — images can also make your post more readable as well. Think about it: when you’re surfing the web and you come across a giant wall of unbroken text, how likely are you to stick around? If you’re like most people, you’ll bounce out of there without even skimming the content.

    Images can help improve your page’s appeal as well as decrease your bounce rate by breaking up text to make it more readable — so make sure that you are placing them accordingly. A good rule of thumb is that as someone is scrolling through your post, they should never reach a point where there is only text and no pictures on the page. You can usually accomplish this by posting at least one image per 500 words.

    Things That Might Improve Your Image Optimization

    The true inner workings of the Google algorithm are largely a mystery, even to the most advanced SEO experts. Sometimes Google will make a staGoogle Image Search SEO Tipstement and confirm that certain ranking factors are indeed part of the algorithm, but for the most part we’re left to figure it out through trial and error and data analysis.

    Everything that we’ve listed above we can say with confidence will help you better optimize your images for Google image search — either because Google has explicitly said so, or because the empirical evidence proving its impact is overwhelming. However, there are some other things that have been speculated to help image optimization, but there just isn’t enough evidence to say for certain whether they do or not.

    Keyword Optimized Title Tags

    We’ve already discussed the enormous importance of alt text when it comes to optimizing your image for Google image search. However, what about title tags? Don’t know what we’re talking about? Let’s look at an html image tag:
    <img src=”image.jpg” alt=”image description goes here” title=”image tooltip goes here”/>

    The title tag comes after the alt text in an image tag, and instead of describing the image as is the case with the alt text, this is where the text for the tooltip goes should you choose to use one. The tooltip is basically extra set of text that will appear when you hover over the image. This can be used to add additional information or even a call to action — or it can be left blank entirely.

    Using keywords here might help you with your image optimization, or it might not. There really isn’t any great evidence for that pointing one way or another. That’s why the best move is probably to use title tags when they make sense and will help improve the experience for the reader, but otherwise you’re probably fine skipping them.

    Using Keywords in Image Metadata

    Unlike alt text, which is added to an image after it’s been uploaded for use, metadata is information about the image that is carried with the image itself. The metadata can contain information about things like who created the image, a description of the image, and even copyright information. This seems like a pretty good place to include some keywords, however, does Google include metadata in its ranking factors?

    The short and frustrating answer is that the best answer that anyone at Google has given on this topic is that Google “can read” and “reserves the right” to use metadata as a ranking factor. That’s not exactly satisfying, however, at this point it’s all that we have to go on. Which is why, as with title tags, if it makes sense to use metadata then go ahead, but it’s probably not necessary — at least for now.

    We hope this guide has given you a better sense of how to optimize images for Google image search. If you’re looking for more resources to help you get the most out of your SEO Strategy, click here to get your copy of our Keyword Research Starter Kit including three comprehensive guides to keyword research and a keyword research template.

    If you have any other tips you’d like to add, please let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ContentFac.

    The post Image Optimization 101: How to Optimize Images for Google Image Search appeared first on The Content Factory.

    Source: Contentfac.com

     
  • Kari DePhillips 11:31 am on May 3, 2016 Permalink
    Tags: seo content   

    How To Create and Use Twitter Lists to Market Your Business [The ULTIMATE Guide] 

    How to Create and Use Twitter Lists

    One of the things that we preach (and practice) at The Content Factory is how important managing Twitter lists is to your social media marketing strategy. Ask any of our social media managers – or SMMs, as the tweeps call them these days – and they’ll tell you that being a savvy Twitter list manager is one of the cornerstones of our intensive Twitter marketing training. 

    While TCF is far more than just a Twitter marketing agency, we do consider Twitter to be the most effective channel [overall] for social media marketing and PR purposes. There are several reasons why we place so much emphasis on properly setting up and managing Twitter lists. We’ll highlight a few of the most important reasons before teaching you how to become a killer Twitter list manager yourself in this step-by-step guide. 

    But first, let’s start with the Twitter list basics. 

    What is a Twitter List?

    When we’re training new social media managers (either on our team or as part of a client training package), one of the most frequently asked questions we get about using Twitter for business is, “What is a Twitter list?” Twitter’s Help Center defines Twitter lists as curated groups of Twitter users. In other words, it’s a simple way to organize multiple Twitter accounts into separate groups that make sense for you. This enables you to read and interact with tweets from users based on criteria that you choose, which cuts out the irrelevant tweets and greatly improves the signal to noise ratio.

    For example, you might have a list for friends, a [hidden] list of competitors, a list for networking with thought leaders in your space, or a list for journalists that cover your industry. The Twitter list categories are up to you, but we’ll cover some more suggestions in this post. 

    Why Are Twitter Lists Important?

    The main reason that we insist our social media managers create and use Twitter lists is because they save marketers and PR pros a ton of time and searching. This helps you to more effectively target and engage with the journalists, influencers and customers who matter most. In the competitive world of publicity, generating warm leads and building meaningful relationships with the reporters who cover your field is crucial to getting placement for your product or service. 

    Twitter list management strategies

    How do Twitter Lists Work?

    Twitter can be a fast, chaotic environment. Working from aggregated Twitter lists reduces the signal-to-noise ratio of your busy Timeline and helps you to see only what the people who are important to you at that moment are tweeting about. This allows you to focus on increasing engagement with targeted high-profile users and filter out the ramblings of friends and followers who aren’t relevant to the task at hand – marketing your business on Twitter.

    Think of Twitter lists as a way to separate your disparate circles into logical streams of tweets so that you can follow and jump into conversations with the people who are important to your goals – in this case, marketing your business on Twitter. 

    If you’re serious about using Twitter to market your business but can’t afford to spend hours every day on social media, these lists will help you target your strategy to focus on things like:

    1. Live tweeting events (check out TCF's guide on using Twitter for event marketing)
    2. Pitching a specific topic to journalists
    3. Promoting events (like a sale or a Twitter chat) to followers who’ve previously shown interest 

    Do you really need to use Twitter lists? If you’re a social media novice or wondering if using Twitter lists for marketing is really necessary, the short answer is no. But since they’re free, easy, effective and save you time in the long run, the smarter question to ask is why would you not want to learn how to use Twitter lists effectively? 

    If you don’t learn how to use Twitter lists for business, chances are you’re wasting your valuable time searching for influencers to engage with or relevant content to retweet every time you log in to your company’s Twitter account. We’re not judging, Twitter can be a fun place to kill a few hours, but it can also be a dangerous wormhole when you’ve got important things to do – like running your business! 

    How To Create Twitter Lists

    The actual creation of a Twitter list is as easy as 1, 2, 3. There are several ways to do this, but we’ll show you one of the simplest – how to create a Twitter list from your computer:

    How to manage Twitter lists for social media

    1. While you’re logged into your Twitter account, click on the little “Profile & Settings” icon in the upper right corner of your screen. This brings up a drop-down menu where you’ll click on “Lists.” 

    optimize Twitter management with Twitter lists

    2. A new screen will pop up with a button that prompts you to “Create new list” – Click that.

    effective use of Twitter lists


    3. This will bring up a small box in the center of your screen where you’ll be prompted to name your list. Here’s where you’ll want to keep it short, sweet and complimentary. Imagine yourself on the receiving end of the notification that you’ve just been added to the ___ list. (Yes, Twitter automatically notifies people when they’ve been added to a public list. For private lists, only you and your fellow Twitter account admins will be able to view).

    The description of these Twitter lists is your chance to briefly explain what the list is about, again keeping in mind that you should describe it as something your new list guests will be proud to be on, like being invited to sit at the table with the cool kids in the cafeteria or having the velvet rope lifted allowing you access to the V.I.P. section. Once you choose whether to make your list public for the world to see or private, for your eyes only, click the “Save list” button. While naming your Twitter list is important, don’t let perfect get in the way of done. 

    Pro tip: you can always go back later and edit your Twitter lists (including names, descriptions and privacy settings). 

    7 Twitter List Targets:

    1. Journos who cover your field
    2. Experts and thought leaders in your industry
    3. Competitors (make sure to keep that one private!)
    4. Complementary, non-competing businesses
    5. Potential customers/clients that you really want to work with or sell to
    6. People at a specific event/trade show/Twitter chat 
    7. Anyone whose radar you want to be on 

    Why does this work? Namely, the psychology of human ego – that little rush of validation your targeted account gets when they see the notification that they’ve been added to your list will leave them feeling good about your brand.

    Two quick case studies that show the power of Twitter lists: 

    • TCF moderates a monthly Twitter party for our client, Fairtrade America and uses a public Twitter list named #FairtradeChat Friends to keep track of the hundreds of participants that we like to send reminders and sometimes rewards to. 

     

    • When we live tweet #TheBachelor for Astroglide, we use Twitter lists to keep track of who engages with us (so we can make sure to interact with them throughout the season). 

    Should you subscribe to Twitter lists? 

    Jacking other people’s curated Twitter lists is practically an art form unto itself. Hey, somebody else did the work, so you don’t have to, right? Well, yes and no. You’ve still got to create your own lists for all of the reasons outlined in this post, but clicking that little “Subscribe” button on a list that someone else created is a smart social media strategy when marketing with Twitter. Here’s why: 

    A) It might let the creator of said list know that you appreciate their work in the field. Who knows, if you’re a fit they may even add you to the list for additional networking juice.


    B) It automatically adds their list to your list of Twitter lists so that you can easily monitor the tweets in their list when you’re managing your own lists. Did you follow that? 


    C) By scanning the tweets of accounts in someone else’s Twitter list you can more quickly decide which accounts you’d like to add to your own lists and which accounts you don’t care to follow.

    importance of marketing with Twitter

    Have YOU Been Listed?

    If all of this talk of Twitter listing has got you wondering whose list you might be on, there are two simple ways to find out. First, as we mentioned in the section on how to create a Twitter list above, when you add someone to a list it sends them a notification. 

    If, however, you may have missed such a notification (hey, it happens to the best of us) there’s a quick 2-step way to find out whose list(s) you are on. 

    STEP 1 – Click on your Lists link

    how to manage Twitter lists

    You’re now looking at your own Twitter lists and those you’ve subscribed to. 

    boost your Twitter marketing agency

    Step 2 – To See what Twitter lists others added you to, click on the “Member of” link.

    how to improve your Twitter marketing

    What Are the Best Twitter Management Tools?

    Here’s one of the less frequently asked (though no less important) questions in regards to marketing on Twitter – Is it possible to have too many Twitter lists? The answer to that is nuanced and different for each person but, in general, when you have more lists that you don’t use than those you do use, it’s probably time to do some house cleaning. 

    Those older lists aren’t necessarily hurting anything, but they could present enough clutter to deter you from digging in and using them. So this one’s up to you, if you feel a list has outlived its usefulness, don’t be afraid to delete it (or at least make it private so it doesn’t show up when other users are checking out your lists).
     
    Aside from engaging in real time with accounts from within the Twitter.com environment itself, there are a host of third-party Twitter managers (also referred to as Twitter management tools) to help you stay organized. A quick online search for something like “What is the best Twitter management tool?” will bring up a wide variety of [sometimes conflicting] opinions. From helpful, concise articles like Ronda Bowen’s Rock The Deadline piece “6 Twitter List Tools to Help You Maximize Engagement” to Kevan Lee from Buffer’s comprehensive “91 Free Twitter Tools and Apps to Fit Any Need” – there is no shortage of impressive online tools to help you step up your Twitter list management game. 

    Here are two tools that The Content Factory’s social media managers use and recommend: 

    1) Hootsuite – Hootsuite has been the foundation of TCF’s Twitter list management for years. While it does many things besides managing your Twitter lists, its intuitive interface allows you to simultaneously look at multiple lists as “streams” so that you don’t have to continually go back and forth between lists to engage. When you see a tweet from any of your Twitter lists that you’d like to engage with, you can do so from within the Hootsuite environment, either instantly or by scheduling out your response. 

    Hootsuite also lets you add accounts to your Twitter lists as you go so, for example, you see a tweet in one of your streams from an account you’d like to follow – you can follow and add them to one of your Twitter lists without even logging into or looking at your account on Twitter.com. It’s worth noting that you do not have to follow an account to add them to your list.

    2) Buzzsumo – Buzzsumo offers a very slick way for you to build effective Twitter lists. In the “Content Research” section of the Pro version of Buzzsumo, you can pull up a list of the “Most Shared” stories from around the web pertaining to a keyword or phrase of your choosing. Then you can sort these top stories by network (in this case Twitter) to see which posts that include your keyword have been shared the most on Twitter. 

    Here’s the coolest part – as long as a piece of content has been shared at least 40 times on Twitter, you can click a button called “View Sharers” that will pull up a page showing specific stats on everyone who shared that link on Twitter. Then you can pick and choose which of these people you’d like to add to your various Twitter lists and add them to any of your lists directly from that page! Because science.

    To see everything we use and recommend for Twitter marketing (plus how much it all costs), check out our post outlining all of the professional social media marketing tools that we use here at TCF.


    When To Start a New Twitter List

    Now that we’ve covered the basics of why Twitter list management is important and how to create Twitter lists, let’s address when it might be time to put a cap on one Twitter list and move on. The answer to this dilemma, though more of a “feel” call, should be quite logical when you remember the whole reason you created your Twitter lists to begin with. Since the purpose of making Twitter lists was to filter the tweets you view into systematic mini-timelines based around specific topics or criteria, if the number of members on any given list becomes excessive, you’re back to experiencing the same problem that you set out to solve. 

    The more you experiment with creating and actually using Twitter lists the closer you’ll come to finding your perfect balance of how many lists you can effectively manage and how many members make a list worthwhile but not too busy. Remember, the ultimate goal of this entire exercise is to more efficiently target and find the audiences you want to engage with most (so you can spend more time interacting, and less time on finding people to interact with).

    How To Measure the Success of Your Twitter Marketing Strategy

    While the purpose of creating and using these lists is to focus your Twitter marketing strategy we know you may be asking yourself, “Seriously, what’s the ROI of all of this Twitter list creation business?” Unlike reviewing ads on Twitter or analyzing traffic from your Google Analytics, there’s no metric that immediately says “Because of your Twitter list, this result happened.” 

    Where you will see direct results of your list outreach in the short term is with things like RTs or mentions from the journalists and influencers who you remembered to engage with because you saw their tweet in a targeted list. The longer reaching upside to this comes when you’ve built a rapport with people way ahead of hitting them up for any sort of pitch or favor. 

    If the purpose of your list is to stay in contact with people who’ve participated in your Twitter chats, then you can analyze the reports of your hashtag through services like Hashtracking to see if there’s a steady growth in chat participants, likely due in part to your Twitter list management. If you’re ever stuck for ideas on content to tweet about but you’ve carefully curated a list of Tweeps who share tips and news relevant to your followership, then your Twitter list will provide you with a quick source of RT-worthy content.

    Case Studies: Using Lists for Twitter Marketing

    One of the most successful recent case studies in this Twitter marketing agency’s fun and flexible use of Twitter lists is how they facilitate other tasks, like live tweeting events. One day someone tweeted @Astroglide about the show Supernatural, and TCF's SMM on the account responded in a joking manner. 

    People noticed and said that Astroglide "ships" a certain fandom within the show, and it all went a little crazy for awhile. TCF created an impromptu Twitter list to capitalize on the huge spike in engagement and by calling it a "team" – we made membership to the #TeamDestiel Twitter list seem somehow coveted. We also tweeted saying that anyone who sent us a Destiel .gif would be added to this list and given an official title – people LOVED that!

    Not only did this campaign result in Astroglide’s top Twitter engagement and site traffic of the year… 

    …but the branding got a huge bump when actors from the show got in on the fun:

    As did the show’s producer: 


    But the real value of this activity (which resulted from a quickly curated and monitored Twitter list) was when tweets started coming in from people thanking the company for having a sense of humor and saying they’d be purchasing Astroglide from now on. 

    You can’t buy brand enthusiasm like that – you’ve got to earn their respect and Twitter lists make these rapid, organized communications possible. Being in on the joke is currency in the social media trade.

    While we’re on the subject of Twitter lists and Astroglide, let’s wrap this post with a similar case study. Our client enjoyed another surge in social activity when TCF created a Twitter list for Best Bachelorette Tweets. We filled this list with accounts that got a ton of retweets while the show was airing, accounts that had high follower counts, and even current and past contestants from the show.

    We then kept a close eye on the list while live-tweeting episodes keeping interaction largely within that group. This helped us rack up mentions, retweets, and other engagement  from high-profile Tweeps including the official Twitter account for The Bachelorette as well as NYT bestseller Jennifer Weiner.

    In the fast-moving, transparent world of marketing with Twitter, you can’t fake it – but you can organize it. Twitter lists allow you to reign in the chaos that is the Twittersphere, filter out the irrelevant noise and hone in like a laser on the accounts and tweets that will help you meet your social media objectives. 

    Whether you’re the Social Media Manager of a Twitter marketing agency or an individual looking to step up your Twitter marketing game, we hope you learned some valuable tips from this article on how to create and use Twitter lists. If so, please share this post with your followers. 

    Does this all sound like a lot of work? That's because it IS a lot of work. If you'd like to outsource social media marketing or even get social media training to bring you up to speed, TCF has you covered. Contact us to find out more!

    The post How To Create and Use Twitter Lists to Market Your Business [The ULTIMATE Guide] appeared first on The Content Factory.

    Source: Contentfac.com

     
  • Kari DePhillips 8:53 pm on April 29, 2016 Permalink
    Tags: seo content   

    How to Get $100k in Media Coverage for Your Brand in 30 Days, FREE! [Webinar Replay] 

    Do you want to get media coverage for your brand? Would you like to be quoted as an expert in your industry? Have you always wanted to be a “thought leader”? If so, this webinar is for you. The best part: it’s co-hosted by Aly Walansky (lifestyle writer extraordinaire, who writes articles for Cosmopolitan, Men’s Health, Food and Wine, the Today show website…the list goes on!).

    get media coverage webinar

    We get into the details of what you need to know in order to send irresistable pitches to reporters that will result in more media coverage of you and your business. We let you in on all of the secrets, including the one tool you NEED in order to get your message in front of journalists who cover your industry. This tool is the perfect example of the 80/20 rule: it’s the 20% of effort that delivers 80% of the results. And it’s FREE.

    This all sounds too good to be true, but it’s not. This webinar is an hour long, but it’s packed with information and you’re not going to want to miss any of Aly’s expert advice. Who better to help teach you how to pitch reporters, than an actual reporter? And she gives all kinds of great details, including:

    • What makes a great pitch to reporters
    • What makes a horrible pitch
    • How to follow up (and how not to – like via FB message!)
    • 4 pitching mistakes to avoid
    • Much more

    get media coverage

    If you follow this advice, you WILL get media coverage!

    When you get media coverage, you also generate a trail of juicy backlinks that are great for your website’s SEO. All of those links from news and industry outlets will send positive signals to search crawlers, which will help increase the amount of organic traffic your website generates over time. We show you how to best your media coverage for SEO, and you’re going to want to start implementing these strategies right away.

    If you follow the advice in this webinar, you WILL get media coverage for your brand. These are the exact same strategies that TCF’s account executives use to get clients like Astroglide and Fairtrade America featured in major media outlets – including Forbes, Business Insider, Fox Business and the New York Times, to name a few. These strategies work for national brands, startups, and small businesses of all kinds and sizes. If you’ve got expertise, you’ve got what it takes to get quoted – and we show you how.

    In fact, a few months ago I followed the tips outlined in this webinar. For 30 days I ran an experiment in taking my own advice. The results? I ended up getting quoted in six different media outlets (including Success magazine!). Those six outlets worked out to 11 backlinks from websites with killer domain authority, which is part of the secret sauce to SEO.

    Have you successfully implemented these tactics? Let us know in the comments section, or tweet us @ContentFac.

    Read a transcription of the webinar here:

    Kari: If you are somebody who has an amazing product or service that the world needs to know about, but you’re not quite sure how to get the media talking about your product or service, you are in the right place with this webinar. If you want to become a thought leader in your industry so that you’re tapped for more speaking engagements or to build up your personal profile so that it’s easy for you to get clients but you don’t have the time to dedicate to handling your own PR, or you don’t have the expertise to do that effectively, you’re wrong! In this webinar we will show you how to act as your own PR person and generate a ridiculous amount of media coverage for your company.

     

    If you believe that to be successful you need the credibility that comes with press coverage, we can help you out with that. So let’s define what the value of PR is, and there’s sort of an industry standard that is outlined in this PR daily pullout. What the industry standard is is that the value of media coverage is worth three times the ad rate, so if the inches that your story composes is worth $500 in ad rate, then that media placement is worth $1500.  Richard Branson is quoted here saying, “Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad,” and I think that’s definitely true.

     

    It’s also great for SEO! Focusing on the digital PR aspect, all of these backlinks that naturally occur in the articles as you’re being quoted as an expert or as your company or product is being featured in these news stories, those create backlinks on your website and to pages on your website that is amazing for SEO. Obviously content is king. You need to have a lot of content on your website if you want your pages to rank well, but there are other aspects that are just as critical to making sure that your website ranks really well in the search engine results pages, and that is sending social signals to the search crawlers, making sure that you get a lot of Facebook shares and people tweeting out your links. Also, links from media coverage and just backlinks in general.

     

    If you follow the advice in this webinar, you will get some of the best backlinks that you can possibly get from well-respected websites that are going to do really great things for your SEO and help drive more organic traffic to your website.

     

    Just a brief note about The Content Factory: TCF has been in business since 2010. We started as an SEO content agency and grew to include social media and digital PR because you really need all three if you want your content to do really well. My name is Kari DePhillips, I’m the owner of the agency. Jason Myers who is a senior account executive with TCF is also on the webinar, and he will be sharing his expertise. Our co-host today is Aly Walansky, who is a journalist that we have worked with for years at TCF. We feel very fortunate to have her co-hosting the webinar with us today. Aly writes for the Today Show website, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Cosmopolitan, HuffPo, she writes for everything. Aly is a prolific writer and we will hear from her very shortly.

     

    So here’s what you’ll learn today: The secret to getting over 100 reporter queries emailed to you every day and it’s FREE.

     

    What are reporter queries? They are questions from reporters that they need to have experts answer so that they can finish out their stories and have actual expert opinions in their articles. We will show you how to get these queries send directly into your inbox every single day, or at least five times a week, Monday through Friday. We will also give you Aly Walansky’s tips on the three most common mistakes most people make when pitching reporters. You do not want to make these mistakes! It will cost you media coverage, it will waste your time, burn out reporters, and so we’re very excited to hear what those mistakes are. She’ll also tell you what to do instead so your pitch has the best shot at success possible. We’ll get into how to write quick and professional pitches that reporters will respond well to.
    Ways to Get Press Coverage
    *Press Release

     

    *Press Conference

     

    *Build Relationships With Writers and Journalists

    *Start Building Relationships Months Before You Need a Favor

    “Favors don’t come for free — if you want someone to help you out, you need to build up your social capital first.” –Nicole Fallon, Business News Daily

     

    *Spend a lot of money on PR tools.

    One of the biggest expenses we have as an agency is our suite of really sweet PR tools, but they are very expensive.

     

    So you can do all of these things and you can hire a staff of PR gurus….or…

     

    You can follow the 80/20 rule. In my experience, the one service that really embodies the 80/20 rule is HARO: HelpAReporter.com

    20% of your overall time delivers 80% of your results, and HARO will deliver that 80% for you, and it won’t take a lot of time.

     

    Take a moment to go to HARO if you haven’t already and sign up. You want to sign up as a source and fill out that information. You’ll be signed up to receive these reporter queries and you’ll receive hundreds of them three times a day. If you go through the HARO queries you will find something that is relevant to you and you can pitch that reporter directly, you can cut out the middle man and act as your own PR rep to generate your own media coverage for your brand and represent your brand directly.

     

    HARO is a great tool and something that we recommend all business owners sign up for. So definitely sign up for Help A Reporter emails. You’ll be so glad you did and we have gotten clients everywhere from the NY Times and the Today Show to Business News Daily and Brides Magazine. It goes from super mainstream to super niche and HARO puts you in touch directly with reporters who are looking for experts for their stories and YOU can be that expert source. If you continue to be an expert source enough times, you will become someone with quite the Google profile that is sending all kind of good search signals to the crawlers and increasing your organic traffic, introducing more people to your brand and just doing good things all around.

     

    We’ve had some big placements for our clients, and the one thing that all of these placements have in common? Aly Walansky wrote them all. Aly, thank you for joining us today and for using HARO. Actually, HARO is how we met years ago.

     

    Aly: I couldn’t live without HARO…or you guys. I use HARO at least once a day.

     

    Kari: So, how many articles do you write per month, and how many do you use HARO for to source experts, ballpark?

     

    Aly: I’d say I write about 10 per week, so about 40 per month. I use HARO for almost all of them. Sometimes I’ll have an article with a quick turn-around and I’ll email an expert I already know, but other than that, if I’m writing gift guides or a vacation destination roundup, it’s a great way to get a ton of sources right away.

     

    K: So let’s get into the negatives of HARO from your perspective which is that you must be inundated with bad pitches all the time.

     

    Aly: Oh yeah. If I’m writing a holiday gift guide….if I post a query for it, I”ll get like 1000 responses. And that’s great because there will be products and services that I’ve never heard of and I get introduced to it. But there are a couple of things about HARO that people need to know, like you can’t attach an image or a file. So people will write, “Please see the PDF attached with everything you need to know,” and there’s nothing there.

     

    K: You also can’t hyperlink.

     

    A: You can. You can hyperlink but you can’t attach, so if you wanted to be like, “Hey, check out my website,” that’s one thing…so it just adds another step. And also sometimes there are off-pitches so if I’m writing about coffee cocktails, don’t pitch me about hot chocolate.

     

    K: So, stay on topic!

     

    A: Yeah. As much as you can, yeah. Like, you can veer a slight bit but if it’s a whole other bowl of tomatoes, I can’t use it. I’m just wasting time.

     

    K: And are there any other pitching mistakes that you can think of?

     

    A: If you’re going to be long-winded, like, if you’re going to write me a Bible when it really you just need to respond and be like, “Here’s my three points for how you can cover up under eye circles,” I’m going to choose the one that’s more succinct because that’s going to be easier for me to read and see if I can use it, versus one where I have to spend 10 minutes reading and then be like, “Ehhh….I can’t really use it.”

     

    K: That makes sense. So get to the point!

     

    A: Get to the point, yeah.

     

    K: Now how do feel about people who respond to these queries and say, “Oh, I have a really great response for this. Email me back and I’ll send it to you,” or would you rather have them answer it in the first email?

     

    A: That’s happened to me a few times where I’ll receive a HARO response and it’ll be like, “I know exactly the answer for this, here’s my number. Call me.” And it’s unnecessary because if I have a tight deadline or a hundred responses, I’m not going to call this person when I don’t even know what they have to say to me. I’m going to go to the next email where I don’t have to do all of those things.

     

    K: Right. That makes a lot of sense.

     

    A: It makes it easier for everybody the whole way around if it’s more straightforward and simple.

     

    K: So How to Pitch the Right Way? What makes a pitch good, would you say?

     

    A: I think it would be exactly the opposite of things that were annoying. It gets to the point, it shows that they’ve read my query and are answering it in a way that I can actually use it. Like if I start looking for a sex expert, I don’t necessarily need someone who is a yoga teacher that really likes sex. [laughs] I mean, be the kind of expert I need, otherwise you’re just wasting your time writing the response when there might be a query that’s better fitted for your needs.

     

    K: So what do you look for in a source that is somebody worth quoting?

     

    A: First of all, you have to be well-written, because obviously I’ll take your quote and I’ll put it into the content of my article but if you’re writing three-word snippets, that’s not quotable and I have to go back to you and have you flesh it out, or go to someone else. Start out with complete sentences, be as close to grammatical as you can be, that’s really, really useful. If you’re going to reference a study, give me a link to that study so I know it’s real, because that happens a lot also.

     

    K: Oh, I’m sure it does. So with the amount of competition that there is for these queries, you basically don’t have the time from what I understand to go back and ask for more information because there’s probably someone further down in your inbox who answered it the right way, right?

     

    [16:18]A: absolutely. I mean, it depends on the assignment. I do every day for Food and Wine these news briefs and I have about three hours to turn them around. And there’s no time for me to wait for someone to get back to me when I have a deadline. It’s just not possible. So I have to have someone that’s fast and efficient.

     

    K: That makes sense. So how should people follow up with you?

     

    A: Depending on the speed of the turnaround, like, if it is a three-hour article you could follow-up quickly but if you wrote to me about Father’s Day today and I don’t respond today, please don’t write me again and say, “Hey, I wrote to you this morning and I didn’t hear back from you so I just wanted to circle back and see if this is still happening,” which is annoying. And email only! [17:15]No phone call follow-ups, no Facebook follow-ups. I’ve had people send me direct messages on Facebook saying, “I sent you an email like three hours ago and I haven’t heard from you so I wanted to make sure you saw it.”

     

    K: I just saw that we have a couple questions coming in so here’s a question (There will also be a Q&A portion at the end of this webinar).

    So, Question 1: When using HARO, how am I supposed so know what outlet the journalist is with? Many times they are anonymous and we like to ask before we pitch to see if the outlet is pitchable.

    So, thats a good question. And Aly, this is a great question for you. Do you ever send out queries anonymously? Maybe your name might be attached but not the outlet?

     

    A: Oh I always say the outlet, only because I write for so many outlets I don’t want people to see my name and assume it’s going to one outlet when it’s for another. I’ve gotten some feedback where people say “Oh, I was really hoping to get into this outlet and it turned out to be this other outlet and it was a bummer.” I’m like, this is the outlet it is, if you want to pitch it that’s great.

     

    K: In my experience, and Jason, I’m curious to know your experience with this as well, when you’re pitching anonymous outlets on HARO, in my experience sometimes they’re really great outlets. Super high-profile. If I remember correctly, when I was quoted in the NY Times it initially came through as anonymous outlet and it was only after I sent them the pitch that I realized what outlet it was for. In other cases I think that smaller blogs like to hide under the cloak of the anonymous tag so that they get more responses and people aren’t scared off by their low Alexa ranking. Jason, what do you think?

     

    J: Yeah, I agree. I think your instinct is right on that. We have secured some pretty large placements by rolling the dice and responding to an anonymous query so that’s up to how much time you have and there’s just a big a chance you might be placing with a really small outlet but it’s been our experience that if it’s on topic for yourself or your client that it is worth responding to the anonymous ones. I think we actually flipped our perspective on it. I think early on we felt well, if we can’t verify it, the Alexa rating or if it’s “worth our time,” then let’s just stick to the bigger ones but we started taking some chances and found that yeah, maybe it’s worth it to respond to an anonymous query if it matches with your client’s needs.

     

    K: We have a decorative Baby and Wedding Time Capsules Company where you preserve your nostalgic mementos and then open them 20 years later. What subject line would you use to get someone to open the email about this?

     

    A: I think that would be amazing for a holiday gift guide, personally. I’m not even a mom and I think that is so cool! I would just be like, “Attention Mother’s Day Gift Guide — Really Cool Idea!” or something like that. Just so I would know that it’s for my Mother’s Day Gift Guide article and not for my article on, you know, dating tips. That alone helps out a lot. Sometimes I put multiple HARO queries the same day and I’m receiving all these responses at the same time. And sometimes people don’t say what they’re responding to so I have to guess.

     

    K: We have another question and Aly, this is is for you. Q: Hi Aly, I’m curious if you use HARO and ProfNet equally?

    K: So for those of you who don’t know, ProfNet is very similar to HARO, fewer queries come through, and it is not free which is why we are focusing on HARO. We subscribe to both and I’m sure a lot of other agency representatives on this webinar are familiar with both. So Aly, do you use them equally? I know we’ve seen you send both.

     

    A: Yes, I use both. There’s some that I will do ProfNet first, only because ProfNet sends out your query as soon as you send it and sometimes I have an hour turn-around for an article and I don’t have time for the next HARO mailing, so I’ll put it on ProfNet. But most of the time, I put it on both of them at the same time just because there are people who belong to one and not the other and vice versa and that way I get more responses [22:36]

     

    K: That sounds good! In pitching via e-mail, if the query is for a product or new business would it help to have an image or link imbedded into the query or website along with the pitch? I think that it would be good but correct me if I’m wrong, Aly, I don’t think you can embed anything into a HARO query, can you?

     

    A: You can’t embed. You could include a link if you want or include a dropbox link to an image, but you can’t include the image in an email.

     

    K: ContentFac Tweetable Moment: “What you need to do in a pitch is K.I.S.S. – Keep it SHORT and SIMPLE.” – @AlyWalansky Everyone take a minute and go follow Aly Walansky!

     

    A: Yes, please!

     

    K: She’s definitely worth the follow!

     

    A: I’m sometimes entertaining, especially when drunk!

     

    K: Sometimes? Always! Okay, so what to do when you get quoted. Not all reporters are as nice as Aly because Aly you do a pretty good job and I think every time you email the people that you quote to let them know that you’ve included them in your story, right?

     

    A; Absolutely! As soon as I get an email from my editor or see on Google that my article is live, I send a letter to anyone that I included in it because I feel like it’s the polite thing to do. I know a lot of people don’t do that but I try to always do that.

     

    K: A lot of people don’t do that. In fact you would be so blown away by how many journalists never let us know that our clients actually made it into an article. So every morning, the PR team wakes up and has some Google searches with their coffee. Google alerts are garbage! They do not pull all of the placements you get. People could be talking about you for weeks before you get a google alert about it. It’s something that—if you think you’re being covered by Google alerts, you are sorely mistaken and do not think that just because a reporter did not email you back, or that you didn’t get a Google alert with your name, that you weren’t included in a story. Once you start replying to these HARO emails it’s really important that you regularly Google yourself and your company name. I think you’d be surprised at how often journalists won’t let you know—they’re busy, I understand—but that just means you need to get your Google on and maybe look into some tools that will help you do that more effectively.

     

    Action Item #2 is to make sure when you get quoted that it is accurate and email the reporter with the correction, if necessary. This very rarely happens but sometimes they will spell your name wrong or sometimes they’ll link to the wrong website. Maybe instead of your website, they’ll link to a website that is similar but definitely not yours, so always verify the accuracy before you take step #3 which is…

     

    Action Item #3 Promote it via social. Promote all of the placements that you get, tag the reporter and the outlet. Make sure that you’re smart about your social promoting with complimentary and not competing businesses that are featured in the article. Give them a tag in your tweet and your Facebook status too, so that the more people who get those pings that they’ve been included in a tweet, the more people that are likely to retweet, send tweets to interact with your tweets. It’s just really great for engagement to be liberal with your tagging. So once you’ve tagged everyone and promoted it via social media and maybe even scheduled a few more tweets in Hootsuite to go out in the next week continually promoting that placement.

     

    Action Item #4 Make sure that you thank the reporter. Even if you didn’t get a nice email from someone like Aly Walansky, who is letting you know that they covered you or  your client in a story that they wrote, take the step to just thank the reporter anyway and say, “Hey I saw that this went live, and I promoted it via social and I just wanted to send you a quick thank you.” Because what you really want to do with this process is build a rapport with these journalists and eventually create real relationships with people who cover your industry. And that’s going to result in—instead of having to fight it out in all of these HARO responses where there’s just a ton of competition and Aly has to sift through a thousand different responses to find the ones that she can use, the reporters will come to you directly once they’ve worked with you and have established that you are a source worth working with. So Aly, how often would you say you go right to the source?

     

    A: Oh very often. Like, I email you guys for Dr. Jess quotes at least once a week because I know that you are going to deliver exactly what I need, when I need it.

     

    K: Right. And how many of the relationships that you have—where you can just call somebody and ask them for a quote and know that you’re going to get a good one that you can use for your store—how many of those people would you say, ballpark, that you’ve met via HARO?

     

    A: Almost all of them. I mean, sometimes it was other places like ProfNet or an event or whatever, but the gross majority are from HARO originally.

     

    K:That’s awesome. HARO is so worth the investment of no dollars, isn’t it?

     

    A: I love that! Free things are great!

     

    K: Yes! Guys, I’m not kidding. Make sure you sign up for HARO emails and those of you who already are subscribing to HARO emails and maybe not going through them as frequently as you should, go through them every single day. HARO will teach you things. Sometimes things you don’t want to know…but you will definitely get media coverage and you will find relevant queries for sure if you just make a habit of just regularly going through all the HARO queries.

     

    So that’s what you do when you get quoted. Four steps and again make sure that you share across all of your social media channels. So here is a placement we got for The Alternative Board, one of our clients, in Ink Magazine and here is how Jason promoted it across the different social channels. And it’s a little bit different for each one.

     

    And then just to circl to TCF’s own case study, I know that we’re fangirling out, or in Jason’s case fan-guying, about HARO. SO LEGIT

     

    J: Let me just say that we are not paid for any of this because sometimes we come off as advocates but it’s only because, Like Aly said, it’s so rare when something free works so well.

     

    K: [laughing] It’s true!

     

    J: We have no interest other than being good PR people and I’m sure Aly has no vested interest other than to get good expert’s.

     

    A: It makes my life easier and anything that makes my life easier, I love.

     

    K: So for TCF I wrote a 30-day HARO experiment where for 30 days I went hard at HARO and usually I’ll get to it when I get to and if I’m super busy, I’ll let it slide, but for a month I made sure [31:15]that as soon as those opportunities were coming through, I was responding to them as quickly as possible because it’s also very important that you respond quickly to queries. Aly, is it true that you will go with one of the first relevant sources that you go, especially if you’re in a time crunch, or will you wait for the query to expire?

     

    A: I mean, I will read them until the end and use them until the end if I need to but if I’m on a time crunch, as soon as I find one that I need, I’m done.

     

    K: So there’s a definite first-mover advantage to jumping in early on these HARO queries.

     

    A: Yeah, absolutely. If I don’t get a great response early on then the ones that come later will have a fighting chance but really when you have time crunch, that’s what it is. First good one in is the one you go with.

     

    J: Yeah, I can attest to that as well. Sometimes you’ll have a tendency to, you know, “I’m too busy, I’ll get back to it right before the deadline.” And there were times where I had the perfect source and they were like, “Oh, sorry. We’re full.” So it’s worth moving to the front of your to-do list if those placements are important to your daily routine.

     

    A: I’ve also noticed that when you put a deadline, people will see that deadline and send something at the deadline. Like they’re going to wait until the last moment because they assume you’re working on it then and that’s not true. At least not for me.

     

    K: That’s very good to know. The early bird gets the worm and you’re doing yourself a disservice by waiting until the last minute with your queries. Also, I’ve noticed that a lot of times, especially for the higher outlets, the turnaround times—the deadlines—will be super short. Like HARO will send it to you and you have an hour and half and you’d better start your horse and get pitching  because you don’t have much time to get that in. So if you’re putting off your HAROs until the end of the day you’re definitely missing some opportunities that you otherwise have it in for.

     

    A: Yeah, I wouldn’t necessarily advise doing the digest version for that reason because with the digest, you’ll definitely miss opportunities that have a small window.

     

    K: I have everyone on my team get those emails three times a day. I think it’s worth getting the three emails a day.

     

    A: Yes. That way you won’t find out something was great for you but it was five hours ago.

     

    K: There is nothing more heartbreaking than that. When you see the perfect query then you go to respond and just so everyone knows, if you respond to a HARO query and it’s past the deadline your email will bounce back to you in the saddest fashion possible. It is SO depressing!

     

    J: Sucks to be you.

     

    K: Oh, sucks to be you sooo bad!

     

    A: What I try to do and I’m not sure if it’s entirely kosher is I put my email address in my HARO query so that you can reach me after it expires and you want to follow up.

     

    K: You are a HARO rockstar and I wish everyone would do that.

     

    A: I break all the rules, I’m a rebel but I don’t care because I want to see what you send me even if it’s after the deadline because I might have an article on a similar topic next week and I might need you.

     

    K: So do you recycle queries? So if you see a good pitch and you think, “Hmm, not for this article.” How often do you reach out to the person later on? Is that something that you do on a regular basis?

     

    A: Oh my god, all the time. Like if I get an assignment today, I’ll go through my inbox and search the word ‘food scientist’ and I’ll email previous food scientists that have been pitched to me.

     

    K: That’s a really great point.

     

    A: Yeah absolutely, so if I don’t get back to you on something today, I probably will in the future.

     

    K: Good to know, and I have to imagine you’re not the only one like that. Do you have a lot of reporter friends? Do you guys have conventions where you talk about what you do and do not like in HARO pitches?

     

    A: We call our conventions “happy hour” and yes. [laughing] We totally do.

     

    K: SO, TCF’s 30-day HARO experiment where I went hard at HARO. I sent 21 pitches and I got 6 placements for a 28.5% success rate which was pretty solid. And some of the placements included Success Magazine and Grandma was very excited to see that. Media Shower: 10,000 Hours in 10 minutes, I talked about quality content. So there were some really good pieces of media coverage that I was able to get and all of these outlets linked back to TCF’s site and in some cases linked to specific blogs which is great, because when you get those direct backlinks not just to your homepage, but to inside pages on your website, like a services page or a blog post that’s ranking really well, that’s going to send extra link juice and rainbows and unicorn sunshine to your website in a way that is going to impact SEO over time. So if you continually go hard at HARO imagine what your backlink profile would look like in three years. It would be really impressive and help make all of your content initiatives more effective. So the backlink aspect of going hard at HARO can not be understated in my opinion and it’s really difficult to be able to put a dollar value on the backlinks that impact SEO. Nobody’s going to be able to tell you that but you can kind of feel it and you can kind of see it in the amount of organic traffic that’s coming to your site and if you link heavily towards that, others will start to see the pages that do get the link love rank better for keywords than those that do not.

     

    So here’s a fun tool that a guy named Jim at clickseed.com told me about a while ago caled BuzzSumo. And it’s super awesome. It does just about everything except make you coffee in the morning. But it outperforms Google alerts. One of the things it does really well is that it offers an affordable brand monitoring tool that will outperform Google analytics when it comes to people mentioning your brand and your name online. Also, you can set up an alert that anybody links back to your website it will send you an email and so that has been a very useful tool. BuzzSUmo does so many incredible things that no other tools I have found online can do. So check it out. It’s affordable. The pro version is like $99/mo but there’s a free version too, that is quite robust.

     

    J: Kari, since you’re geeking out over there, we have a comment from Meghan that TalkWalker alerts are free and better than Google alerts. She said it sends her about 90% of placements. So thanks, Meghan for that tip. I’m not familiar with TalkWalker, myself, but I’ll have to check it out.

     

    K: I’m not familiar with it either. I’ll have to check that out. Oh, somebody else is chiming in and saying that nobody tells them when their HARO placements go live. “We were on a Best Of The Year roundup once and nobody told us” so that’s pretty brutal.

     

    A: Oh my god! I don’t understand! I mean, that’s the first thing I think of! As soon as I get an article, I want to share it with the people who contributed to it.

     

    J: Not to mention, when you’re sending these alerts to people that they’ve been quoted, the chances that they’ll return the traffic back to you seems like it would just sort of keep that karma going.

     

    A: Absolutely. Most of the time when I send people a link and I’m like “Hey, that’s so much for your input, here’s the link,” they almost always tweet it after. It’s in your best interest to be a good person.

     

    J: Hopefully there are some reporters listening!

     

    K: Somebody else says they really like mention.com, because it picks up more than Google alerts. We also use Mention. I do think that BuzzSumo outperforms Mention.

     

    So Aly, somebody wants to know how you would prefer an introductory email as discussed early. The one-month-before-pitching-a-product email and how often do you respond to that initial email. So when somebody has an introductory email and they want to hit you up about something later but that’s down the road a few weeks, what’s the best way for them to go about making that introduction?

     

    A: Just that. Just send me an email and say “Hey, I noticed you wrote about this-or-that and I have a product/service/destination that I feel like would be right in like with what you write about and I would like to keep in touch.” And I will respond. If I’m on a deadline, I may not respond that day or that week, but I will respond.

     

    K: That’s good to know. And does it help when they follow you on Twitter and show you a little social love?

     

    A: Absolutely. There’s definitely been times where I’ve even done crowdsourcing on Twitter and I’m like “Hey I need this” and people have discovered it and contacted me via email because I mentioned it on Twitter. I always share all my articles there too, so that helps.

     

    K: So now we’re on to some case studies and I know a guy who got three clients placed in one article and that guy is on the webinar right now, so Jason do you want to talk to us a little bit about that?

     

    J: So this was a recent case study for when I was doing PR for Fairtrade America, and I guess the moral of this pitching tale is that I was very thorough in the pitch and gave, like Aly was saying before, gave the writer everything I thought they would need. I always try to make the writer’s job easier so that hopefully all they have to do is cut and paste and I find that you have a better chance of being quoted the way you want to if you have a well-written quote. So with this pitch which was for a writer with Forbes it was an article for Halloween candy. Fairtrade happens to have a number of licensees that fall under that category, so not only were we able to get a mention for our primary client, which is Fairtrade America, but we also got some of their commercial partners like Glee Gum and Endangered Species chocolate mentioned and linked back to just by being thorough and giving them the information and they ended up using all of it. It doesn’t always work out that way but it’s definitely good to give as much information as you can without going overboard.

     

    K: And to be clear, this Forbes opportunity came in through HARO, correct.

     

    J: You got it.

     

    K: Great. So we have another case study from HARO because we love it. This is Lynn and she works for TCF and she got quoted in Inc. 10 (More) Leadership Experts Share Their Best Leadership Tip. And she helped get TAB in that article.

     

    J: Yeah, and I wanted to also tie this together. Now, I’ve been working with TCF for quite a while now but prior to that I did have a background in publicity but it was with the music industry only and all my contacts were in one spot. When I started working with Kari and all these different clients, I was sort of dumbfounded. Like how am I going to be an expert on candy or alcohol or whatever the topic was at the time and that’s where HARO is great because it sort of eliminates the need for all of those contacts initially. It just puts you directly in touch with those people who need those specific quotes, and once I figured out that that system worked, I was able to teach Lynn, so it sort of went from Kari figuring it out and getting her ah-ha moment, to teaching me the HARO  system, Lynn was a protege of mine, and now she outperforms me! She does even better than I did when I was doing the PR for The Alternative Board so the moral of that story is just that it works regardless of what your background is. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think Lynn had a ton of PR experience before she started working with HARO.

     

    K: No, we moved her up from the writing department so that was her first experience with figuring out PR, under our supervision. But in the last year she got 171 media placements through HARO for TAB. There are just a ton of different business queries that go out every day so if you’re a business expert or by virtue of the fact that you’re a business owner, you have expertise in certain areas through your own experiences with your company, check out the Business and Finance section of HARO because there are all kinds of opportunities that you can take advantage of.

     

    And I have done that myself. That’s how I got on CNN, that’s how I got quoted in Success Magazine…but HARO is where it’s at and it’s something that you can utilize right away and you can start responding to reporter queries and acting as your own PR agency and getting yourself out there and creating real relationships with reporters who cover your industry, so  one of those might even be Aly Walansky!

     

    Aly: Maybe! Probably, actually. I post a lot so…

     

    K: We’ve got another comment from Emma who says, “I love interacting with Aly on Facebook. She cracks me up daily!”

     

    Aly: Oh my god, thank you!

     

    K: So sign up and we will send you an invite to our exclusive Facebook group for DIY PR and if you’ve had good experiences with HARO let us know and we will post your review on our website. Hopefully this is the first of many webinars we will be hosting on a variety of topics and if you have feedback, we look forward to hearing it so you can send that to me directly at karilee@contentfac.com.  So our Facebook group is a place where business owners and agency representatives and everyone can kind of figure out the pitching process and share stories of what has worked well for them and share the pitches that have landed them big placement and maybe we can have workshops where people put in their pitches and we dissect them as a team. So we will send you a link to that Facebook group and if you are so inclined, we will send you a 25% discount on the first month of services. We offer training packages, white label with other agencies, so we are happy to play with others and we play nice and that brings us to the FINAL STEP! And that is the Q&A with K&A!

     

    This is from Jim: What tips do you have for monitoring highly competitive queries? In my industry every query gets a s*load of responses and I don’t stand a chance.

     

    K: I don’t know that you don’t stand a chance, Jim. I think it’s all about getting in there early and getting in with a relevant response. I like to approach HARO queries from the side sometimes. What I mean by that is if a reporter is looking for three SEO tips, I will include one that I think a lot of other people are going to include, but I’ll throw two others in there that I don’t think anyone else is going to think of because they’re going to be going for the first three that come to mind. So if you can come up with unique tips that the reporter isn’t getting in two dozen other responses that say the same thing, you’ve got a better shot at standing out from the crowd. Aly, do you think that that’s an accurate statement?

     

    A: I think that even if there are a ton of responses to a query, a lot of those responses aren’t going to be any good. So yours is going to be on top even if there’s 200 or 300 or 1,000.

     

    J: Aly, maybe you can answer a hunch that I had. Since you sent them out to ProfNet as well, do you get far less responses through ProfNet because it’s a paid service than you would with HARO?

     

    A: Oh, absolutely. With the exception of gift guides, everyone seems to have their pants on fire during gift guide time. But in general, if I put the same query on ProfNet and HARO, on ProfNet I may get a couple dozen responses but on HARO I’ll get a couple hundred.

     

    J: That’s what I thought. So that may be a tip too. Because not every writer is putting the out on both services, that might be something in the favor of one of the paid services. You might get some opportunities that aren’t getting bombarded by the masses. Something to think about.

     

    K: There are some smaller ones, too. SourceBottle.com … I subscribe to them too, but I subscribe to everything. They’re not as great. They don’t have as many opportunities and they’re not for the high-profile outlets. Whereas HARO really gives you a wide variety. I’m constantly surprised by the different types of outlets. And now bloggers are getting into it as well. I know we use HARO for Astroglide when we’re looking to source experts.

     

    A: I think it’s almost like when you belong to dating apps. When you only belong to one app, you’re going to miss out on the people that are on the other app. So you can belong to lots of apps and then you’ll meet lots of people.

     

    J: There was a question earlier in the chat. When someone is cold pitching what headline email catches your attention? I don’t recall you asking that But I wanted to circle back to that anyway. Now does HARO auto-populate the subject line or is there a way people can capture your attention when they’re responding to a query?

     

    A: Definitely I’ve gotten varied subject headers from a single query. I would say the best thing to do—unless we’re like best friends and we hang out every week—is not to email me with a, “Hi, quick question!” or “Just wondering” because it doesn’t tell me anything. Have the title of your email be in some way related to what the email is about. Whether it’s a query or a cold pitch or anything just so I know because that really annoys me and it’s like “Quick question” and then it’s a pitch that has nothing to do with any questions.

     

    J: Plus that would make it easier for you to just scan through the email headlines, too.

     

    A: Right, like if I’m working on something and I think “Oh, that looks like something I could use!” it makes it a lot easier for me to find you.

     

    J: There ya go!

     

    K: Aly, I’ve got another one for you: what’s the best advice for pitching an individual as an expert? My current client is CEO of a media company and getting other media to cover him has been tough. What advice do you have?

     

    A: I say just be exactly that. Email them and be like “My client is an expert. He’s been featured in this, this, and this. He could speak on…” and then maybe four talking points related to his points of expertise. Which aren’t necessarily what I’m working on, but they will put the thought into my head and if I’m working on something that is kind of in that school I might think “Oh, wait! This expert media dude might be the one for me!” and maybe not, but at least I’ll know to try,.

     

    K: And Kim wants to know: If you click the Master Box in HARO do you get all the queries?  

    K: I think so, but you’ll know because when the queries come to you, they’ll be organized by Medical & Legal, and then there’s Business & Finance and Science & Tech. There’s Food & Travel, and if you’re not getting three times a day an email with 50-75 queries in it organized by subject, then click a different box because the Master Box wasn’t it, but I think the Master Box should get you what you need.

     

    We have a few more questions: My experience with HARO is that they seem to prefer someone in the NYC area. Aly, you’re based in NYC, does it matter where somebody lives?

     

    A: Not at all. I want someone who can answer the question that I have so if you’re writing to me from Germany I don’t care, as long as you have an answer.

     

    K: I think maybe that might be more relevant for TV opportunities.

     

    A: Right, if it’s a TV opportunity then that makes sense because they’re not going to want to fly you in but if it’s for writing an article, then it’s fine. As long as you’re available to answer my questions then you could be anywhere.

     

    K: What do you do when a journalist doesn’t respond to your initial pitch? Do you follow up with it or do you let it drop? Aly, if you haven’t responded to somebody, does a follow up help at all? Or if you want to get back to them would you have done it already? Do you find follow ups to be helpful?

     

    A: Follow ups really are not helpful. Yes it’s possible that maybe you’re on the bottom of the stack and I haven’t seen you yet then it’ll move you up. I understand that’s why people follow up, but for me it just means that instead of 1200 emails in my inbox, there are 1205, ya know? So I’ll get to it but following up kind of just makes everything seem bigger.

     

    K: And Stacy wants to know if you’ve tried the UPitch app?

     

    A: Someone emailed me about it today actually, I haven’t opened it up yet. But I literally today got an email about it so I guess it’s a thing now.

     

    K: Hmm. Maybe somebody from the UPitch team is on this webinar.

     

    A: Maybe.

     

    K: Okay so I think that about wraps the time that we have. Aly, it has been GREAT having you on the webinar and again, everyone please make sure to follow Aly on Twitter at @AlyWalansky as other webinar attendees have attested to, she is fun and friendly on social media. And I agree.

     

    A: Thank you so much! It was really fun!

     

    J: Thanks to everybody that attended as well. We learned a lot too!

     

     

    The post How to Get $100k in Media Coverage for Your Brand in 30 Days, FREE! [Webinar Replay] appeared first on The Content Factory.

    Source: Contentfac.com

     
  • Ramiro Rodriguez 6:14 pm on March 7, 2016 Permalink
    Tags: , seo content   

    Video Logo Concept for Original Press Releases 

    The video below builds on an idea of creating a video logo for the Original Press Releases company.  I haven’t seen this idea anywhere, but I’m sure it’s out there with the big boys  in marketing land.

    I created the video to capture the viewer’s attention to my unique selling proposition which is… I don’t ask my clients to fill out a form as part of the content ordering process.

    The only information I need to create an SEO press release are 3 keywords and 3 links.  The links a client provides may each point to a different website.

    Our goal at OPR is to provide eXtreme SEO value for each piece of content we produce for our clients.  When we make delivery, the content is ready to be uploaded to a website or an article directory.

    To learn more about our services please post a message below or visit our contact page here.

     
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