Posted by JessicaEdmondson
I. Why you should care about blogger outreach
I work at Distilled as part of the Promotions Team where much of what I do is working with bloggers. My job in a nutshell is to make the right demographic aware of my client’s product/services.
When new B2C clients ask me what the benefits are of working with bloggers, I usually say something to the effect of: it’s about marketing to people who will tell others about you (think word-of-mouth marketing).
Outreach let’s you tap into influencers’ reach and communities to get the right niche of people talking about your business, which ultimately impacts product/service trust and consumer purchasing behavior.
But, unless you’re a smooth talker (which, I’m definitely not), then this elevator pitch won’t be enough to convince your client to go with blogger outreach promotion. So instead, I’ve broken down 3 main talking points of why your B2C clients should want to work with bloggers.
Bloggers are mainly influencers
The Word of Mouth Marketing Association’s definition of an influencer: “A person who has a greater than average reach or impact through word of mouth in a relevant marketplace.”
Influencers can be anyone, from celebrities to your next door neighbor. But what’s interesting to note is that Technorati
reports influencers are mostly bloggers, as 86% of influencers have blogs and 88% of influencers say they blog for themselves.
And while not everyone who blogs is considered an influencer by definition, bloggers with smaller communities are proving more influential than their celebrity counterparts, as Technorati also reports 54% of consumers believe that the smaller the community, the greater the influence.
All in all: bloggers, even the smaller community ones, are influential.
When looking more specifically at demographics, Nielsen
reports that most bloggers are women, and 1 in 3 are moms. Overall, 52% of bloggers are parents. This is why you’ve probably heard the term “mommy blogger”. But more importantly, this large demographic is perfect to tap into with family-friendly B2C clients.
Bloggers are trustworthy sources for product/service research
When consumers want to learn more about products they’re thinking of purchasing, IPSOS
says 61% of global Internet users do their product research online.
reports that 31% of online shoppers are influenced by blogs (and only 56% are influenced by the retail sites themselves, so that’s significant).
Image via Technorati
Blog posts are especially valuable for purchasing decisions
BlogHer’s social media survey
concludes that 70% of online consumers learn about companies through articles like blog posts, not ads. More significantly, these blog posts lead to consumer action, where 61% of online consumers are reported to have made a purchase based on recommendations from bloggers.
In the same breath, Burst Media’s survey
finds that 65.5% of blog readers say brand mentions or promotions within blog content influence their purchasing decisions.
Image via Burst Media
II. What do blogger partnerships look like?
Earned vs. paid
Earned media is free coverage gained through promotional efforts other than advertising. When applied to blogger outreach, it is when bloggers promote your client without getting paid sponsorship fees, post fees, etc. Links and/or ranking for certain terms is never a guarantee with earned promotion. Overall, this form of outreach resembles what many PR and outreach teams do.
Paid media is purchased coverage. When applied to blogger outreach, it can take the form of brand ambassadors, paid-for sponsored posts, appearance fees, etc. Links and/or ranking should never be a factor in this form of promotion, since Google and Bing have explicitly said that this will not be a part of their algorithms (unless it looks like you’re trying to trick them into thinking its earned). But if you want a particular demographic to know about your client’s product/service, where they might not see the client’s ads in TV/Newspapers, then this is a completely valid approach to reach them.
Choosing earned or paid blogger promotion really depends on your client’s product/service and the particular demographic you’re trying to reach.
Blogger preferences on campaign opportunities
When pitching bloggers on a campaign, Technorati
reports bloggers most prefer receiving a first look or review opportunity for new products, offering prizes/samples/giveaways to their blog’s audience, as well as the opportunity to create custom content.
Image via Technorati
Condensing these findings into 2 themes for your client:
- Give a first look or unique experience: Think bigger than just giving out product for bloggers to review. Instead, create an experience with your product by including them in your new product/service launch, or even creating an exclusive experience just for them.
- Give them an opportunity that goes beyond benefiting themselves: Consider including their audience when designing campaigns for the blogger. Also, leverage bloggers’ passion and expertise, not just their influence, by creating custom content for their readers, or even by providing prize or giveaway opportunities.
To give you a better look at what these two campaign styles actually look like, I’ve listed a few great examples below.
Give a first look or unique experience.
The Surprise Collection by Ariel
Image via Lala Noleto
This campaign involved getting the online fashion niche talking about Ariel and its stain remover product. Ariel sent fashion bloggers surprise boxes of designer t-shirts that were so blotched with stains, that the clothing designs were completely indistinguishable beneath them. The mystery box also contained stain removal product and instructions on how to wash the material and reveal their free piece of designer clothing.
This campaign engaged its target audience and earning notable online coverage by displaying the Surprise Collection of clothing at the SĂŁo Paulo Fashion Week 2013. Additionally, women could visit stores across Brazil to purchase the stained Surprise Collection with free Ariel samples to mirror the surprise reveal experience the bloggers had.
Overall, the campaign
reported reaching more than 3 million women with the story, and more than 4,200 Facebook shares, 15K Instagram likes, an average of 1 Tweet per minute during the Fashion Week event and 1,500 purchased Surprise Collection kits.
Watch below for more details:
Ariel Surprise Collection from Rodrigo on Vimeo.
Give them an opportunity that goes beyond benefiting themselves
DIY Halloween Makeup Tutorials + Instructographics by eBay Deals
Image via eBay deals blog
This campaign involved a collaboration between eBay deals and
makeup video tutorialist vlogger Goldiestarling to get in front of beauty enthusiasts and to earn topical holiday coverage in the beauty niche.
This campaign featured a series of Youtube makeup tutorials from Goldiestarling, in which eBay provided complimentary makeup that was necessary to create 3 distinct Halloween looks, including 3D Stretched Lips, Steampunk Cinderella and Anatomy of a Pin Up. Alongside her featured video tutorials were step-by-step instructographics, like
this one, featured on the eBay deals blog.
The result was a lot of attention on the professional DIY tutorials, with more than 600,000 video views and over 30 noteworthy posts of organic coverage on niche sites. Overall, this campaign was part of a larger 12-month eBay project where 20 campaigns, including this one, were launched that ultimately
drove 390% growth in sales in one year.
Give BOTH a unique experience and offer an opportunity to readers
Fiesta Movement by Ford
Ford gave away 100 new 2014 Ford Fiestas to bloggers and social media influencers in 2013 for 6 months. Those who received the new Fiestas documented their experience for their followers, bringing greater exposure to the new product launch.
Image via Fiesta Movement
What really set this campaign a part, especially to the original campaign launch in 2009, was that Ford only used the content created by these 100 people for the new subcompact’s ad campaign and launch. These bloggers and social influencers got to be part of the unveiling. And while they gave honest thoughts and feedback about the new Fiesta, Ford helped diversify their experience by assigning them missions around broad themes of the subcompact’s features. The goal for this content was to be more authentic (non-salesy) and in line with what consumers are interested in learning about with the new product.
The result of the
2009 campaign was 4.3 million Youtube views, more than 500,000 Flickr impressions and 3 million Twitter impressions, as well as 50,000 interested potential customers of the Fiesta, 97% of which didn’t own a Ford at the time.
III. How to start working with bloggers for your client
reports that the two top pain points for influencers with unsuccessful brand partnerships are of expectations of their time and irrelevant pitches. Also, what’s believed to be lacking the most with branded partnerships is overall relevancy to their blog and audience.
Image via Technorati
In order to break this down for you to see what unsuccessful opportunities really look like, I’ve defined these pain points below.
Expectations by brands that my time is free
Solution: Offer a win-win
This top pain point stems from offering a one-sided relationship to bloggers, one in which you ask them to promote your client without offering adequate compensation.
Their time is valuable and the amount of time to promote brands is often overlooked. According to Jennifer Lifford, who blogs over at
Clean and Scentsible, a blog post takes about 5 hours to write and promote.
In order to make it worth their time, offer a win-win situation–one in which bloggers are adequately compensated for their time and effort.
According to Amy Latta, who blogs over at
One Artsy Mama, a means of doing that is either offering great product to review or actual payment.
I enjoy reviews and giveaways if the product is valuable enough to be of interest to my readers as a giveaway and if I am adequately compensated… but the truth is, product doesn’t pay our bills. I love spray paint, but it doesn’t send my kid to school and goodness knows I can’t eat it.
Number of irrelevant incoming pitches
Solution: Write tailored pitches
Irrelevant (crappy) pitches is also a huge pain point for bloggers and one that is easily solvable. Just write tailored pitches.
For instance, Malia Karlinsky, who blogs over at
Yesterday on Tuesday, notes that she gets this same pitch every month from a magazine.
The September issue of X is available on newsstands today! Check out the attached highlights sheet for more info on the issue, and let me know if you’re interested in sharing any of the features with your readers.
[Excerpt of magazine interview]
Looking forward to your thoughts!
She’d answer the email if it clearly provided a value to her and her readers (could she give a free issue out?).
In order to better your chance that your pitch email will be opened, read and answered, clearly identify the what (project), why (benefits to participate), and how (to get started) for the blogger.
Overall, make sure what you’re pitching is a good fit
As seen in the above chart, Technorati reported that what’s lacking most with pitched partnerships is the relevancy to their blog and audience.
Lisa Wong, who blogs over at
Solo Lisa, evaluates the relevance of pitches to her and her audience by a brief Q/A.
Do I believe in this company’s products?
Would I purchase something from this brand?
Does the brand have a good reputation?
Are they a good fit for my blog’s beauty, fashion, and lifestyle focus?
And last but not least, will this be fun?
In order to make sure bloggers answer this Q/A positively about your client’s product/service, I’ve outlined 3 main ways in vetting bloggers.
Check out bloggers’ About Me pages
About Me page shows at the top what her passions are, including reviewing beauty products. Below that, she also notes her influence via Press and Blog Features where you can get a better understanding that she enjoys fashion and beauty topics.
Like with Lisa’s, let blogger About Me pages guide you in vetting what bloggers you want to work with and also in helping you understanding if what you’re pitching is actually a good fit.
Check out their current and previous posts
One of Lisa’s recent posts on her blog is about reviewing makeup products she uses on a regular basis.
Browsing through bloggers’ recent posts like this one is an easy way to discover if the blogger covers similar products and in what way.
Check out their social channels
Instagram also gives good insight into what type of content she likes to share and engage with.
You can browse social channels of bloggers, like with Lisa, to see who they engage with (brands) and what they find value in sharing (posts, pins, tweets, RTs, etc.) to better ensure you’re a good fit.
IV. In short
Blogger outreach is a great way to get the right demographic talking about your client’s product/services. Bloggers will not only expand your client’s brand exposure to their community, but they’ll also affect consumer purchasing decisions.
In order to work successfully with bloggers, though, consider offering them campaigns that give a first look or review opportunity for your client’s product/services. And when pitching them, make sure what you’re offering is genuinely mutually beneficial as well as relevant to their blog and audience.
Overall, this post serves to gives you a why, what and how glimpse inside blogger outreach. For more resources on specific blogger outreach tactics, look
here and here. For more information on how to measure success of these campaigns, look here.
Have you worked on successful blogger outreach campaigns before? Tell me in the comments below!
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Today, it seems impossible to imagine a world without the Internet and the everyday conveniences it provides. Ecommerce, for example, is one of those things that has changed the way we think about purchasing everything from personal electronics and fashions to major additions to a personâ€™s home. Simply put, it has revolutionized the shopping industry ever since it started, but despite its long history, not everyone understands the intricacies of marketing this kind of website.
When most people think of ecommerce, they have Amazon.com in mind. Amazon is one of the largest online stores in the world, but it is closely rivaled by Wal-Martâ€™s. The sheer volume of product that moves out of these stores is amazing, and you may wonder what makes these sites so successful, especially when you start to compare it to the success of your own.
There are many different factors that play into the rise of an ecommerce site, but it all has to revolve around consistently selling your product. Itâ€™s one thing to get traffic flowing to your website, but if they donâ€™t convert â€“ if they donâ€™t produce actual sales â€“ youâ€™ll never get off the ground. This means that you need to find a way to not only get people to your store, but also to get them to make a purchase.
SEO is an essential part of creating a successful ecommerce site. However, your SEO strategy should be specifically tailored to address the challenges of a site where a consistent flow of customers making constant online purchases is the central role.
Many of the SEO strategies for ecommerce are, of course, similar to what you would use on other types of websites, but you might have to think of them in different ways to generate the kind of leads you need.
Keywords have an evolving relationship with SEO. When a person does an online search, they use pretty specific keywords to find what theyâ€™re looking for, so itâ€™s critical to know which ones they are using, and which ones are the most lucrative. However, with the recent changes to Analytics, this has become something of a challenge. On top of that, if you use keywords improperly â€“ exact match anchor text, keyword stuffing, etc. â€“ they can actually do more harm than good.
On an ecommerce site, there are even more things to consider. For example, it may seem like a great idea to target those huge, generic keywords that get such a high search volume, but if you tie those generic terms to a very specific page, you probably arenâ€™t providing the kind of information on that page that a visitor actually wants.
Instead, you need to consider both branded keywords and long-tail keywords. This is the first step to drill down to the core of the issues and attract users who will, in fact, be interested in the products on a specific page.
You also need to avoid using the same keyword for different pages. It seems obvious, but itâ€™s a mistake that a lot of ecommerce websites make. This can be a costly mistake for a site where multiple products are found on separate pages. This is something that can happen as product offerings change over time and the website has to evolve to keep up. You donâ€™t want a potential customer trying to find something specific only to have them end up on an older page that no longer has what they were looking for. This will make your site feel irrelevant and unprofessional. At that point, your potential customer will probably leave with a bad taste in the mouth.
Another universal strategy in the SEO world is creating unique content. Search engines will rank your page higher if it contains unique, valuable content that effectively addresses customer needs. This principle rings true for an ecommerce site, as well. However, the application for your web store needs to be different than other types of websites.
Many ecommerce sites are content to simply post the manufacturerâ€™s product description of a given product. Sure, this does, in fact, count as content, but itâ€™s probably the exact same content used by every other ecommerce site that sells the same product.
When you sell a product online, its description plays a huge role. It may seem easier for you to just copy and paste the manufacturerâ€™s description onto your page, but that is the last thing you should do. It might be okay to assume that the search engines understand that these are simply product descriptions and not worth penalizing you over them, but they definitely wonâ€™t give you any bonuses for it either. So why take the chance?
(Now, if you had the exact same description on multiple pages on your own website, then weâ€™d be getting into duplicate content/penalty area.)
A product description is still considered content, and it still needs to be unique and it needs to provide value. Of course, if you have thousands of products for sale on your site, creating your own description for each one can be a bit difficult. If this is the case, you may want to consider leaving the actual product pages out of the search engine by adding a NO INDEX meta tag to the page.
Search-engine- and customer-friendly URLs are a very important part of this process. A lot of potential customers can be hesitant clicking a link that has a suspicious-looking URL. The site address may not actually be suspicious at all, but the average user wonâ€™t know what really is or isnâ€™t. This is why â€śspeaking URLsâ€ť are so important for ecommerce sites.
The best way to explain speaking URLs is by listing an example. This example comes from a book sold on Amazon.com:
See how the name of the book is listed directly in the URL? With a speaking URL, your customer knows exactly what theyâ€™re clicking on because it literally spells it out for them.
Putting keywords in the URL doesnâ€™t have as much pull with Google as it used to, but it still helps in the long run. Besides, there is always a chance that another site will pick up your link and repost it. If they use the URL as the link, instead of embedding it in anchor text, youâ€™ll still be able to reassure customers of their eventual location if they choose to click it.
Using SEO to Your Advantage
SEO strategies come in all shapes and sizes for any kind of website, but most of these are universal. While you can apply these universal strategies to you ecommerce website, you will need to tailor them specifically to the types of customers you deal with. Good use of SEO in your site will drive more traffic, but an effective use will create conversion and generate the kind of ROI you need.
Posted by PhilNottingham
This post can be considered a sequel to
this post from 2012.
Back in July, Google rolled out a bunch of changes in the way they treat rich snippets in the search results (check out
this fantastic post from AJ Kohn for the details).
One of these shifts was to dramatically scale back the prevalence of video snippets in universal search results, restricting them exclusively to domains where video is the core offering of the site.
A list of domains receiving rich snippets as of August 2014,
courtesy of Casey Henry.
For me, this sparked three questions. Why has Google done this? Will it stay like this? Does this affect my video marketing strategy?
Why did Google do this? Some theories…
- Making YouTube the source of the overwhelming majority of video results in Google search will send more traffic to YouTube, get more companies to put all their videos on YouTube and thereby sell more and more ads. (I’d like to believe this isn’t a primary motivator, but frankly it’s absurd that this query receives a video result.)
- Video snippets were far too easy to spam, and you could get video results for almost any page just by implementing the correct mark-up. This was having a negative impact on user experience and therefore it made sense to strip the videos back to just pages and domains where video was clearly the core offering. (This is almost certainly part of the reason). You could even get video snippets without having a video on the page.
- Video results were rendering awkwardly on mobile devices, and with mobile search becoming more and more important, it made sense to strip them back
- Google is keen to get people using the tabbed search features more, and removing a lot of videos from universal search forces users to be more explicit when they want a video (note that any domains can still rank in the videos tab with full rich snippets).
Will it stay like this?
We don’t know, but we should behave as if this is the new paradigm for video SEO. My expectation is that video snippets should come back in for more and more domains over time, as Google get better at working out when video is the explicit focus of a page and domain; but even as this expands, the majority of sites doing video will not be able to secure video snippets for their own domain (this mirrors trends in
other types of snippets too).
Does this affect my video marketing strategy?
Yes it does.
Rich snippets have always been a huge part of video SEO. Whitelisting all YouTube videos while removing snippets from most other sites has a profound impact. Practically speaking, it means that hosting through YouTube is now the only way the majority of businesses will get a video snippet ranking in universal search, albeit always pointing to the youtube.com instance of a video, rather than their own site.
This means that YouTube’s importance and value as a marketing channel, particularly where SEO is concerned, has expanded considerably. Google’s favouritism towards their own platform, alongside the continued focus on domain diversity within SERPs means YouTube can now be considered a scalable and easy way to get content ranking for some competitive terms, securing an eye-catching snippet in the process.
In terms of owning Google SERP real estate, YouTube has just become one of the most powerful tools in any SEOs arsenal.
For any popular search topic where you’re trying to cement your brand as a key player, you should be using YouTube as part of your marketing mix. Additionally, for competitive queries, you should be considering YouTube as a way to optimise secondary pages which can take up additional spots alongside pages from your own website, thereby expanding your own presence in the search results and lessening the exposure your competitors get.
A word of warning though: This tactic should be carefully tested on a site-by-site basis before rolling out at scale, as sometimes having a YouTube video ranking as well as a page on your own site can cannibalise your organic traffic. YouTube usually won’t refer a huge amount of traffic to your site (rarely more than 1% of views), so the approach can prove counter-productive on occasion.
As of now, If you have an SEO strategy that doesn’t include YouTube, you’re doing it wrong.
- Phil Nottingham, July 2014
(Tweet this quote)
However, while YouTube’s importance and value has increased, the nature of the platform hasn’t fundamentally changed. In order to get a video ranking highly in Google and YouTube search, you need to generate engagement. Shares, subscriptions and engaged views are still the metrics which will ultimately result in better rankings and to do this organically, you need to create content which appeals to audiences who find your content via YouTube search, YouTube recommended links and Google search; rather than just the audience who watch videos via embeds on your site.
This means you have to create content with the “YouTube context” in mind (i.e. ensuring the videos you make are relevant and valuable for audiences when viewed in isolation), and not assuming that because a video gets good engagement when embedded on a page on your site, this will necessarily translate to engagement on YouTube. It’s not true that all of your videos should live on YouTube by default. For content where retaining engagement on-site is more important than just getting more eyeballs (i.e. when you’re trying to build a community, build links, generate email sign-ups etc.) securely hosting your videos and driving traffic exclusively to the canonical version on your site is usually still the best option.
So, what sort of content should you be creating for YouTube? I have put together a “non-whiteboard Monday” to explain…
[Editor's note: "Non-whiteboard Monday" isn't actually a new series... at least not yet. Phil is just remarkably (and often hilariously) creative. =) ]
I’m confused… where should I host my videos?
These changes to Google’s algorithm shouldn’t fundamentally change your decisions about hosting, and the core reasons for using YouTube vs securely hosting remain. If you want as many people to see your video as possible, you should be using YouTube. If you want to retain control of the traffic on your own site, you should be self hosting, or using a third-party platform like Wistia (I explicitly mention Wistia throughout this section as it’s the best platform on the market right now, but there are other good options).
For most businesses, you should be doing some mixture of the two, with content created specifically to take advantage of the benefits of each platform.
Core advantages of different hosting options:
Secure Third-Party Solution (e.g. Wistia)
Ostensibly, you need to start with what type of content you’re creating and what you’re trying to achieve with it.
I think there are broadly three different marketing goal buckets which you might create video to support: Brand awareness, consideration and advocacy and conversion.
Under this framework, your video hosting plan should be as follows:
Conversion (towards the end of the funnel)
Here, I am talking about video to support a context towards the latter part of the purchasing funnel. While, in some sense, all content is designed to improve conversion, I explicitly mean “a video designed to improve the conversion rates on a specific page”. Examples might be videos for product pages, a home-page explainer video or a video encouraging subscriptions to a mailing list.
Inherently, video created to support a specific page will only really make full sense when watched while on that pageâ€”meaning the content should be secured to retain control of the user experience. Additionally, for this kind of content, gaining a clear picture of how users are behaving after watching the video becomes incredibly valuableâ€”which is why a secure, paid platform such as Wistia is the right way to go.
Brand Awareness (at the start of the funnel)
Much like with conversion video, this one is relatively clear cut. If you’re goal is exposure and getting your name out there, you want to host with the platform that will maximise visibility across search and social, which is YouTube.
Video to improve brand awareness typically takes the form of creative storiesâ€”videos designed to be sharable and to promote a core message that reinforces positive association.
Consideration and Advocacy (the middle of the funnel)
Here I refer to videos created to move your target audience from initial awareness of your business to point of considering becoming a customer or brand advocate. Videos for consideration might take the form of tutorials, how-to’s or bits of thought leadershipâ€”often informational content designed to acquire links, shares and stimulate conversation. Some more promotional pieces also fit into this model, such as trailers.
For this kind of video, the choice is much more complex. Often the style of video will work well for an audience on YouTube, but it can be much more valuable for you if users engage with the content on your site rather than on YouTube.com. Fundamentally here, you need to make a choice regarding what’s more important to your business — If it’s more critical to retarget users and bring them into an owned ecosystem (your website), using Wistia (or similar) will be a better option for you. Similarly, if your domain isn’t as strong as it could be, securing content and ensuring all views on your site will mean you can retain the equity from links and shares. However, if you have a strong site but lack core awareness of your brandâ€”then you may decide hosting exclusively with YouTube and embedding the YouTube versions of your video is a better betâ€”so that you’re fully optimising for your presence on YouTube. In many senses, it’s the same kind of choice as guest authoring an article on a popular blog vs publishing the article on your own site. Each option has its benefits, and the nuances of the content and your target audience will determine the most sensible approach.
You can also choose to embed content using Wistia (or similar), but then put the content on YouTube as well. While such an approach may have some strategic value (e.g. allow integration with Google plus, while allowing you to ensure the version on your site gets most of the shares), it does have some drawbacksâ€¦ Fundamentally, it’ll mean that you’re poorly optimised for YouTube. In order to maximise the benefit YouTube will give you as a platform for seeding content, you want to ensure you get as many views, shares and embed as possible of the YouTube version of your video; which won’t happen if you choose to embed securely and then add the video to YouTube after the fact. Additionally, if you have a reasonably weak or young domain, you can find instances where YouTube.com will end up out-ranking your site and the YouTube version of your video becoming the de facto canonicalâ€”acquiring the majority of links, shares and traffic from search.
As previously mentioned, to make strategic decision about video hosting, you ultimately have to start with the goal. If you’ve created video without really knowing what you want to achieve with it, then your best bet is to experiment liberally to work out whether your audience find the content valuable and determine in what context it’s of most use to them.
Nevertheless, if you have an existing library of content and can’t work out where to host it, the following flow diagram may be of use to you.
Note: this is designed to be relevant for businesses doing video marketing to promote a product or service. If you are a publisher or content creator looking to monetize your content, you should likely use Brightcove to host all on-site video, while syndicating some relevant content to YouTube.)
Can I not just use YouTube across the board and mark my videos as unlisted when I don’t want them to appear in organic search?
You can, but then you’re missing out on the better analytics and marketing tools you can get from a secure third-party platform.
Should I use Vimeo to host any of my videos?
No. Vimeo is a great platform and community for creatives, but holds little value for businesses. Vimeo Plus and Pro can be considered cheap secure hosting solutions, but the toolset and analytics features are subpar. Wistia’s free plan is both better… and free.
Should I allow advertising on my YouTube channel?
No. If you’re a business trying to sell a product or service (and not just monetize your content), doing this just means that your customers will be distracted by ads from other organisations – and it also means your competitors can advertise on your videos if they wish.
Side note: if your competitors are allowing advertising on their own YouTube channels, don’t waste that opportunityâ€¦.
My competitor is ranking above me with a YouTube video, what should I do?
Make a better one. If you’re dealing with a search query that only returns one YouTube video, the likelihood is, you can either get a second one ranking or switch out the existing result for a video which is more authoritative and better targeted. Source some user feedback on your competitor’s video to determine how it could be improved, build a better version and then get as many quality views, shares and embeds as you can.
I hope you found this post useful! Please hit me up in the comments with any questions and I’ll answer them to the best of my ability.
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But I Have to Buy Links, Ads, and Exposure, Because My Customers Won’t Amplify My Content – Whiteboard Friday
Posted by randfish
We hear frequently from marketers who are frustrated that their audiences aren’t sharing their content, making them think the only way to promote their brands is to pay for exposure. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand shows you a new way to think about your marketing that may be just the solution.
For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard!
Howdy Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. So last week I was in Minneapolis for the MnSearch Summit, and it was a very impressive event. But I had a number of conversations with folks there. I talked about some content marketing and SEO stuff in one of my keynotes, and what I heard was something that I’ve heard many, many times over the years. That was nearly this exact phrase: “But I have to have to buy links or ads or exposure because my customers won’t amplify or share my content.”
You’ve probably heard this too if you work in marketing, or maybe you’re in this world. Maybe you watch Whiteboard Friday sometimes, and you think to yourself, yeah, that’s great when you talk about how your customers are going to go out and share this content you created, but my customers don’t do that. So how am I supposed to get all the social shares that lead to links, all the mentions from blogs, all the press? I’m shouting into a graveyard. Nobody’s listening.
Okay, I hear you. This is you, and you’re trying to amplify your own content, and you’re saying, “Hey, we have this great stuff. I made this great content for you guys. I’ve produced whatever this great product.”
Your customers, your current or potential customers are essentially doing nothing. They’re shutting it down. They’re keeping quiet.
This can happen for a number of reasons. The two most common that I hear are, number one, they’re in a demographic group that doesn’t use social media or the Web to share things, and that can often be older, more traditional folks in B2B types of companies. It can sometimes also be because they don’t want their peers or their friends finding out that they use you.
So in one of the examples where I had this conversation in Minneapolis, the person I was talking to was working at a B2B supplier, and he said, “All of the companies that you said that use us,” I think in this case it was print shops, none of them wanted to tell anyone else in the print world that they used this supplier because the prices were so good and the product was so good. They wanted to keep it as a competitive advantage for their own shop, which makes total sense. It happens a lot in B2B types of supplying worlds.
If there’s no one to amplify from your customer base, you run into this problem over and over. People say to me, “Well then, how am I going to solve this issue of no one amplifying the work that I’m putting out?” My answer, time and time again — and that’s why I figured we should codify it into a Whiteboard Friday — is that these people might not be influenced and might not be influencing their peers or their cohorts or potential new customers for you. But they are influenced by something. That something is how they discovered you and everything else that they use, and that something often falls under press and classic media, which is a completely different channel than your customer set.
It might be that they’re finding content on blogs, but they’re just not sharing it. Or they’re finding stuff in trade publications and magazines, at events and conferences, on social accounts that they follow but don’t amplify or re-share. They might be in listen only mode, which many users of social networks like Twitter and Google+ and LinkedIn are. They might listen to industry experts and get their viewpoint from those few influencers in the industry. Or, and this is the most pernicious one because it happens a lot in the SEO world, they get all their recommendations by using search engines. Since they use search engines, and in order to rank in search engines you have to be amplified, people say,
“It’s a Catch-22, man. I’m screwed forever. There’s nothing I can do. SEO is just not going to work for me. Or white hat SEO is not for me. I’m going to have to buy my links if I want to rank or buy ads because I can’t rank in the organic section.”
Here’s the trick. If it’s the case that search engines are how people are influenced, then what you have to do is think a little differently. You have to think of these people, these other ones — press, classic media, blogs, trade publications, events and conferences, social accounts, industry experts, whatever it is. The list may go on and on. You probably know what those few are.
Those are what you need to use to nudge the search engines into ranking you. By influencing these folks, you also influence the search engines and ranking, because when they talk about you and link to you and mention your brand and cite your work, you rank higher in search engines, and that reaches your customers.
This is the trick. The challenge here is what influences these people is not the same thing that you’re broadcasting and amplifying to your customers. So you need to think of yourself as a whole different kind of marketer, marketing an entirely different product. The product you are marketing to these people is most of the time not your product. It is a kind of content, an expertise, an informational value, a piece of research, work that these people care about, that will make them look good, that they know their audience will care about, that’s going to be interesting and useful and unique to them. This becomes your new customer set, and your new product becomes whatever they will care about and amplify and cite from you.
Now you have closed the gap between how to figure out how to reach these people by indirectly targeting another group. This is a challenging process. I’m not going to lie. It is hard. But you can do this. When you do, when you figure out the kind of content marketing and production and amplification, whether that’s through social or through blogs or through conferences or whatever it might be, when you figure out how that system works, you can get a flywheel going that gets you more and more exposure to these folks and higher and higher rankings in the search engines. As you build up your domain authority, as you start to produce content directly for your customers that will influence them, it ranks in the engines.
Now it’s convoluted. It’s challenging, but it’s possible. It is possible. You don’t have to buy links or only ads or only buy exposure. You can reach people organically through this system.
All right, everyone, hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Whiteboard Friday. We’ll see you again next week. Take care.
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Local Event Marketing: Earn Links, Build Citations, Get Reviews, Increase Foot Traffic, and Win at Local SEO
Posted by Casey_Meraz
The recent Google Pigeon update that affected local search was just another example of why marketer’s should never put all of their eggs in one basket.
Online marketing has been rapidly evolving over the years and a major paradigm shift has happened which has caused marketers to stop building links and start thinking of how to earn them. In this blog post I am going to cover an actionable strategy that any business can use to build citations, earn links, get positive reviews, and increase foot traffic to your brick and mortar location via event marketing.
One of my favorite hobbies is actually hosting and running events. Over the years I have run, marketed, or participated in everything from March of Dimes Volunteer Events, Adventure Sporting Events, all the way to marketing promotions for specialty retail stores.
Hosting events is a great way to increase your offline visibility as well as earn a ton of links, possible news mentions, and build citations. The citations will help your local SEO campaigns by getting listed on locally relevant websites., the links will help your organic rankings increase through earning high quality links, and foot traffic and exposure to your place of business will be great for your business.
Typically when people think of event marketing they get the false impression that only brick and mortar stores can participate in events. While it’s true that this post is geared towards the local SEO benefits of hosting an event at your physical location , there are plenty of other benefits even if you don’t have a Google My Business listing.
Many people make the mistake of coming up with a good event idea in their head, posting it on their blog, and then sit back and hope the entire community will come and support it. That is a mistake. This takes a lot of thoughtful good work, but it can pay off tremendously. At the same time you need to decide up front how crazy you want get you’re your event and it’s marketing reach. If it’s going to be a small event with just a few participants you won’t need to do everything in this guide. Pick and choose what’s right for your marketing goals and expectations. Remember that you’re going to get as much out of this as you put into it. So don’t take shortcuts and do this the right way.
I think Kane Jamison said it best in
his post about Link Building with Local Events:
“The overwhelming majority of the value from hosting events comes from the event itself, so don’t get lost in the link building aspects of the strategy. You should be hosting events because that’s the type of sh*t real businesses do.”
- Kane Jamison
What are the tangible benefits of event marketing for local SEO?
Benefit #1: You can easily build citations
Getting your business Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) on a high quality locally relevant site can be a big deal as it shows the search engines your business is locally relevant. Many cities have town websites and community websites where they post local events. All you have to do is find these and submit to them. If the event is hosted at your location your NAP will be posted on a bunch of locally relevant sites. I will talk more about this later in the post.
Benefit #2: You can easily build links
Everyone is always talking about link earning which events will help you with. However this is also a legitimate way to build some links where appropriate. If you list your event on a website that posts information about local events you can link back to your event detail page.
Benefit #3: News mentions and brand exposure
OK now I can talk about link earning. If you follow my rule and are actually creating an event that
people will want to go to or helps the community in some way, you can reach out to the local news and see if they’re interested in covering the event. They may post it or in some cases they may send down a news crew to cover the event. When I see events that support causes I’m passionate about, I always promote them on my own channels and link to the web page where potential visitors can learn more.
Benefit #4: Get foot traffic and sales
If you’re a brick and mortar location the foot traffic for you and the surrounding businesses can be a huge opportunity to increase your exposure and sales. Make sure you have a plan in place to deal with this accordingly.
Benefit #5: Get Reviews
If people are happy with you’re your event they might just give you a positive review. We have personally found this to work really well after hosting a free Meetup training class. Remember though, some services like Yelp don’t want you to ask for reviews so make sure to honor that as well.
Benefit #6: Get Social
The social benefits of events with any amount of users can be huge. Event attendees might take photos, use your event hashtag, check in, or just plain promote your event just because they like it.
Selecting your type of event
First we need to start off with an idea or a group of ideas for an event. While it’s cool to get excited and pumped up with the idea you need to make sure that the event is put together with proper planning and execution. It must serve a purpose that will actually attract potential customers to your location or the area where you’re presenting at.
- Grand openings: This is self explanatory. Hosting a grand opening for your business is always a great way to increase your visibility. You can do this even after you have been open for a couple of months.
- Themed seasonal parties: One of my clients has a Summer Kick Off Party outside of their brick and mortar store every year at the start of summer. They offer games, events, food, raffles, as well as offer a big sale to attract new customers.
- Classes: Educational Classes and Meetup’s are a great way to get people to come to your location. By providing free education about your niche or craft you can attract plenty of attendees. We use meetup.com for our training classes.
- Special sale: Many companies have sales. Make it a bit more special by adding to it. You can provide raffles, free food, or something else to attract your customers. Think about major holidays for sales as well including Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
- Fundraiser: Partner with a cause you’re passionate about and do a fundraiser on that day. More on this later
- New product promotion: If you have a new product to release you can schedule a promotional event around this.
- Fairs and other similar events: Even if you have a booth at another larger event like a county fair or business expo, you can appeal to your clients directly by hosting a sub event within the event. Typically having a freebie, special discount at a certain time, or other really attractive benefit you can make this work pretty easily.
- Event theme parties: If you work in the hospitality industry it gets a bit easier to host events. You can have themed parties for traditional events like a major sporting event or smaller events such as an Oscars viewing party at your establishment. Segment these event types to your customer base and what might work best.
- Raffles and giveaways: Sometimes I use this as a sub event within a bigger event to keep people more engaged and sticking around all day. Whether its one big prize or smaller prizes every hour, it’s easy to get some people to stick around with the right raffle.
- Host a guest lecture: Having a prominent speaker cover a specific topic is a good way to get noticed for your event.
- Networking events: Don’t have an idea yet? Networking can be key to any small businesses success. You can start a business networking or referral event at your office. Meet weekly, monthly, or whenever is feasible to you but built it up over time and host it at your location.
- Promote a community cause: Maybe your community has a lot of trash on the road that needs to be cleaned. If you believe in that cause you can sponsor and run the cause. It’s easy to coordinate these types of events and promote it within the community. The meeting place can be at your establishment.
- Host a 5K: Work with your town and community and have the start/ ending of a 5K race or fundraiser start or end at your location. Major sporting events require a lot more preparation though so I suggest only doing this if you partner with an expert. Safety needs to be your top priority. You wouldn’t want a news mention for something bad that was due to an oversight on your side of the event.
- Toy drives / food drives: If you don’t have the time to plan and host a large event you can start with a food or toy drive. Just find an idea you’r passionate about and how you can serve the community. Making your establishment a promoted drop off point for your cause is a great way to give back.
- Host a Google hangout: Sure this is not an event that will help you with getting citations. However if your goal is getting more exposure, increasing your reputation, and getting links you can still use a lot of the information in this guide.
Now that you have the idea, let’s get ready to promote the event
Preparation is essential to the success of your event. To have a successful event you will need adequate time to market your event to your audience. Schedule the event at least 30 days out if possible. Major events are typically scheduled a year in advance, for example I can already buy tickets for the
After you have done the basics such as decided on your event type, secured the venue, and scheduled the dates, it’s time to start thinking about marketing the event and spreading the word. Here are a few tips to remember before we get started:
- Remember the local SEO benefits
Remember if you want to take advantage of the Local SEO benefit of building citations, it’s important to host the event at your business location. You will promote your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number as the event venue on many outside websites.
- Consider creating an event #hashtag
While most major events have figured this out most smaller events forget this crucial step. If your event is social in anyway and people will be sharing photos, checking in, or inviting friends creating a proper Hashtag can help your event succeed further. Pro Tip: Add this #hashtag to all event marketing promotions online and offline (with signage and banners). People may use Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook and tag your event.
- Think about ticketing in advance
Most of the event ideas above don’t require ticket purchases or registrations. However if you want to do that I always suggest using a service like
Eventbrite, Ticketbud, or Brown Paper Tickets. Ticketing can help keep the numbers in check for your event. Eventbrite for example will allow you to create free tickets or paid tickets. It’s also a place you can put your NAP and get a link. Services like this also allow easy website integration for ticket purchases. Research what’s easiest for YOU to use and provides the best customer experience for your need.
- Should you allow event sponsors?
This is a question you should address up front. Sponsors can have a lot of benefits, especially if you sell tangible goods. If you’re having a raffle for example they may send you free product to raffle off. Maybe they will just send you small branded widgets. People love free stuff. All you have to do is ask. Additionally they can help be powerhouse partners when it comes to marketing. Be sure to inform them anytime you run a promotion so they can help push it out to their audiences.
On-page optimization for the event
One decision you need to make is where the users can find all of the information about your event. Typically you will always want to do this on your website. Even if you use a third party ticketing service like Eventbrite, you can still embed that code onto your website to make the registrations happen there. Having a central point of information where users can find every detail is essential. Plus keeping it on our website will ensure all of the links and signals you build will linked back to your website.
When we explore on-page optimization the main optimization I’m talking about is user experience. We want to make this easy for the user to find every detail they need in an easy to use format.
Essential Details on your page
Here are some of the most important basic details that you must include on your event page:
- Event name: Come up with a unique name for your event. This will help you stand out from everyone else out there. It should also be descriptive of the event. If you’re hosting a Beer Festival it would be wise to mention that in the event name.
- Date and time: This needs to have prominent placement on your event page. Without these essential details it’s going to be difficult to get people to show up on-time.
- Location (NAP!): This is where the Local SEO Benefit starts. Ensure that your company name, address, and phone number are listed as the location site. This information should match your Google Local My Business Listing. Add photos of the venue as well for easy identification.
- About the event: Include a short write up in a prominent location about what the event is about and it’s purpose. You can go into more detail later but be concise on the first blurb of text.
- Schedule: Having a schedule of events is helpful for some events and their attendees.
- Photos and video: If you have hosted the event before be sure to include photos and videos if possible of the past events.
- Ticket status: If the tickets are limited include the ticket purchase cut off date, whether they can be purchased at the event, and how many are remaining.
- Contact information: Nothing is more frustrating for event attendees than not being able to find an answer and also not knowing who to contact to get the answer.
When thinking about the user experience design and UI must also be a factor. You want to provide as much information as possible about the event so all questions are answered, however you will likely need to split these up into separate pages if your event is a bigger event. The more information you can provide in an easy to view manner, the more successful your event will be and the less questions you’ll have to respond to.
Successful event pages typically contain much more information, including:
- Driving directions: Having driving directions with an embedded Google Map is a great way to go. Also provide several other directions from major intersections to make it easy for people visiting from major metropolitan areas.
- Lodging and transportation information: If it’s a multi-day event it’s a good idea to list local hotels and airport transfer options. you can partner with hotels or transportation companies.
Pro Tip: Partner with Hotels and transportation companies and you can get links and NAP listed on their website too!
- FAQ page(s): If you’ve hosted an event before you already have the perfect resource. Go back to every email you responded to answering a question from the last event and turn it into content for your FAQ page. In addition to this you can interview past event attendees and try to get their real feedback via a survey. Ask questions pertaining to the registration experience (if required) or how easy it was to find the proper information.
- Press pages: If the event is big enough, add a press page where the media can easily reach you with questions. Include benefits like free entry details on this page.
- Sponsors: If you have event sponsors such as manufacturers with bigger names be sure to include them prominently.
- Special requirements: Do you have to be above a certain age to attend this event? If so make sure to display this and any other essential details prominently.
Technical on-page optimization
Technical optimization for event marketing is easy because it’s
All About The User Experience. What do I mean by this? Let’s consider the ways your visitor will find this event. They will either click on one of your links through your direct marketing campaigns or find your through search.
I’m a big fan of Beer. In fact if you’re in Denver and don’t have a beer with me I will be very sad. But I digress. I did a quick search on Google for “Beer Festival” my intent is to find a beer festival to attend in the near future. If I want to increase my click through rates in search I should cater to these people.
In the below example we see two examples. The first one is the Great American Beer Festival. Notice their concise yet very effective title tag that contains the event Name, Location, and Date. Now look at the bad example that hurts my eyes to look at. The Meta Description comes up in all Caps and the page title does not contain enough details. If your search behavior is like mine you might not even want to click on that result.
So as far as on-site technical optimization goes I would limit it to this:
- Meta title: Include the event name, Location, and Dates
- Meta description: Think about your audience and include enough information that will cater to them and entice them to click through. Of course Google decides what to show here but doing this can help you get some clicks.
- URL: Consider whether or not this even is going to be a yearly event or not. Many events that repeat the event annually just create a single page on their website without the year in the URL. An example would be http://www.MyWebsite.com/my-event-name
Since you will be promoting this event and page details across the web you may want to retain the link juice for next years event. You can do this through a 301 redirect or just keep your annual event page an evergreen page that just updates with the new information yearly.
Good event pages vs. bad event pages
Now, let’s take a quick look at some examples of good and bad event pages.
Example 1: Great American Beer Festival
This is the about page on their site. Since there whole business model is event hosting and not a supplement to another business we will just be looking at the layout of their information. Assume for example that this was the event landing page for your event. Although it’s a bit busy you will see that the Location, Date, Travel Information, Ticket Information, and FAQ are all readily visible above the fold.
I think it’s an effective way of presenting the information.
Example 2: The Schlitt Law Firm
Although I work with a lot of attorneys, this is not one of my clients; I found this doing a Google Search. This law firm was offering a Toy Drop Off at their law firm. They released this page in 2012. In my opinion this is not an effective page. This was written as more of a press release and doesn’t really contain a lot of information above the fold. Plus it’s kind of hard to read with so much text and not a lot of pictures.
I think this would be more effective with the drop off location, a map, and other pertinent event details listed above the fold.
Example 3: Steel City Ruby (simple yet effective)
Don’t get discouraged with the examples above. You can easily present the information in a simple way on your website. I found this example online and although I don’t care for the colors I found it very simple and effective. This page has the business name at the top, the date information, ticket information, ages, venue details, and a blurb about who is going all above the fold. While it could use some visual improvements like a picture it’s easy to get the basic details about the event from this page.
How to market your event and get the word out
(and get foot traffic, links, likes, citations, and mentions)
Now that you have put in the important but necessary leg work it’s essential that your market your event right. Like any marketing efforts outreach targeted to your segmented customers will be the most effective. If you have a CRM where you have been tracking customer information you can use this to help promote your event.
Realistically each of these topics deserves their own article too but for simplicity I have broken it down to the main tactical subjects you can tackle. If you want to track these results more granular through Google Analytics be sure to implement UTM Tracking Codes everywhere you submit a URL. If you’re using ticketing you can setup goals as well and track which sources contributed to the most ticket sales. Alternatively you can always see which sources are referring the most traffic.
The goal using any of these methods below is to get them to your event page and convert if necessary
Method #1: Start by posting your event everywhere you can
Top Benefit: Foot Traffic to your event, Citations, and a Links
One of the most effective things you can do is post your event in front of people searching for events. Plus you get the potential foot traffic, exposure, link and citation benefits as well.
Below are 10 sites US based events can submit to right away regardless of your geographic location. Make sure to add your NAP and Link back to your event page.
- Craigslist Events: Craigslist has an events section where you can post details about your event.
- Eventbrite.com: As I mentioned above Eventbrite is good for ticketing, but it’s also good to promote your event. It also feeds to a lot of different news sites so it acts as a strong distribution point as well.
- Facebook Events: You will want to promote your event socially as well. There are a lot of ways to do this but let’s start by getting it added. Post this under the company’s Facebook page and not your personal event page.
- Meetup.com: Meetup requires an annual subscription fee but it’s a great way to get your event in front of a lot of people. You can also partner with an existing Meetup group for your event and have them promote it on their page. Seek out partners with similar interests in non competing niches and get in front of their audiences. You can also sponsor them
- Eventful.com: Eventful is another event posting website. You can add your venue to the Eventful database for all future events as well.
- Spingo.com: I have never used this site before but I found it doing a quick search so it’s another option to post your site.
- EventsNearHere.com: Like Spingo, I have never used this, but it appears it has easy-to-use free event submission.
- Events.org: Another good site to submit your event to.
- Zvents.com: Another national directory for events that you can submit to.
Find region and niche specific places to post your event
When finding locations to post your event two I suggest breaking them into two categories. The first category will be websites that serve to residents in your community like local newspaper websites, event websites, etc. The second category is niche related sites that would post your event based on the topic. These can be easily found using Google. Simply try some search strings like these:
- Submit your event
- Add your event
- List Your Event
If you’re looking for locally relevant directories make sure to add the city and state name in the search. If you want more niche related sites add a keyword to the front of the search as well.
Check out this example below where I found a site I can submit my Beer event too. This will help get your event in front of an audience that is
ALREADY INTERESTED in what you’re offering. Think of the foot traffic and social benefits you can get from this.
To get a full list and more relevant event marketing details check out
Kane Jamisons post here. He did an excellent job covering a lot of the different search strings you can try out to find these sites. You should spent a lot of time here curating your list of sites and saving them for future use. This is a goldmine that is typically untapped.
Method #2: Talk to local news outlets
Top Benefit: Foot Traffic to your event, Citations, and a Links
You never know unless you ask right? If the event is big enough you can offer a VIP perk for journalists willing to cover the event. Pitch the idea to the local news outlets. Forbes has this article
13 Do’s And Don’ts When Pitching To The Media. Although it’s geared more towards non event pitches there are some good takeaways.
Personally I have had success in the past reaching out to my local news stations to get video coverage and local newspapers to get written coverage. Don’t limit yourself to just the major newspaper and consider the local community papers. In many cases you can get pre-event exposure and post event exposure.
Maybe you could serve ads targeted to Journalists on LinkedIn on Facebook promoting the VIP area of your event as well that’s open to journalists.
Method #3: Send an email newsletter
Top Benefit: Reach a wider audience and increase the number of attendees
If you already have an email subscriber list you need to make sure that you invite them to your event. If your lists are already segmented by customer type I suggest drafting an email geared towards each of these segments to promote the event. Appeal to that target audience. If you don’t have this list you could create an initial customer segment of “Top Customers” and send a special message to them with a coupon, etc.
Make people feel special and ensure there is a reason for them to want to come to your event. Don’t spam people that aren’t signed up on your list already.
Method #4: Create a marketing video
Top Benefit: Citations, Free Links to your Event Page
Create a short video to promote your event. Include pictures of your events and all of the pertinent event details that you included on your event page.
You can then submit this to YouTube, Vimeo, Etc. where you can include your NAP and link to your event website in your description. If you mention it in audibly in the video then you can also use it in your transcription. While you’re at it, Geo Tag the video in YouTube to your business location.
Here are some of the benefits of this method:
- Add your NAP to your video description
- Add a link to your video description to your event page where people can learn more details
- Promote your video to your subscribers
- Segment an audience and serve them YouTube video ads with a small budget
Method #5: Take advantage of your Yext featured message (if applicable)
Top Benefit: More Attendees and Links to your Event Page
If you use Yext and have an active Powerlistings subscription you can update your featured message in your account. This will allow you to promote the event on these local directories and include a URL to your event page. It can be a quick win especially if you already focus on barnacle SEO and have your directory listings ranking for your top keywords.
Since this will display on your local citation profiles you might get some additional visibility.
Method #6: Serve ads to similar event attendees and after the event
Top Benefit: Get More Attendees, Get Reviews after the Event, Increase Social Exposure
I owe credit for this one to my buddy Ben Wynkoop for figuring this one out. Remember how I mentioned that your event should have a Hashtag? Well, Ben wrote a blog post that featured 10 takeaways from Wil Reynolds’ presentation at the SEM San Diego May event, where he spoke on the growing role of PR in SEO. That particular event used the hashtag #SEMSD. After the event was over he spent .42 serving ad’s to everyone who tweeted (AKA Attended the event) showing a picture, the blog post title and link to the actual post.
You can use this same method to your benefit. This is how.
- Find a list of similar events in your area that use an official hashtag
- Develop an Ad on a topic of interest to attendees.
- Use Twitter Ad’s and target it to everyone who tagged the event by targeting the official event hashtag as an exact match keyword
- Spend little $$$$ and get a possible huge ROI
Method #7: Consider SMS push notifications
Top Benefit: Foot Traffic to your event
Depending on your customer base and whether or not it’s OK you can consider sending out SMS push notifications. Proceed with caution on this and make sure that your clients are OK with it. If so you can send out a blast to tell them about the event and then one more on the day of the event to remind them to stop by.
Method #8: Partner with local organizations like your chamber of commerce
Top Benefit: Foot Traffic to your event, Citation, and a Link
Inform your local chamber of commerce about the event and other potential supporting organizations. They, like the event websites may be willing to post your information on their website and possibly send out an email newsletter to their member base as well. The more exposure the better.
Method #9: Have your sponsors promote your event
Top Benefit: Foot Traffic to your event, Citations, and a Links
If you are allowing event sponsors for your event to offset costs or get raffle prizes, they will likely want to promote the event too. Ask for a blog post on their website, a banner ad, or social media mentions on their channels to get in front of their audiences. We will talk more about this in the social examples below.
Now lets step up the social game
Ideally you’re already active on Social Media groups and forums that are relevant to your industry or niche. However if you’re not, now is a good time to start. But first let’s look at some
Do’s and Dont’s.
Things you should do
- Use Followerwonk to identify and follow the influencers. Reach out to them and build relationships.
- Only participate in groups that you are already active in. Somewhere where you are not just being self serving.
- Share it with your audiences on all of your platforms
- Answer questions that people ask.
- Respond to other question and comments. Be productive and pro-active. Offer to help people.
- Ask others to share it if they find it useful. Don’t sound desperate though.
Things you should not do
- Don’t go join a bunch of relevant social groups and post the same message trying to shamelessly promote your event. This is spam.
- Don’t Spam forums
- Don’t just promote self serving messages selling your product or promoting your brand.
Think long and hard about defining and segmenting your audience
Many people make the mistake of taking the shotgun approach to marketing where they just try to get their message to everybody possible. They try to serve everyone instead of focusing on their niche (I call this the Walmart approach). Let’s setup a hypothetical situation. Let’s say you’re a niche airsoft retail store and you’re hosting a training event for people who want join an airsoft team. Would it make more sense to share this message about your event with a Cross Fit group or a smaller local airsoft group? Even though the airsoft group might have less members the message will be really targeted. It’s likely that would get more interaction from this group of target customers.
If you haven’t already identified these types of groups it’s important that you take the time to do the research. Once you have identified these groups you need to start participating them in a non self serving way. Think about the community and long term results. This will allow you to put together a plan that you can eventually also use to help promote your event. Once you’re in, you will likely have brand advocates that will promote your events for you for free.
Where can you find these groups?
Google Plus Communities
According to Google with communities you can “Talk about the stuff you’re into with people who love it too”. So how do you go about this?
- Visit Google Communities while logged into your Google account
- Search for communities using keywords relevant to your industry or where fans might hang out
- Review the number of members in the group, see how active they are, and decide whether or not to join. Some groups require admin approval before joining.
- Once you’re a member introduce yourself and try to participate. Be helpful and don’t troll. Answer peoples questions and provide your feedback to others. Be proactive and develop a strong reputation.
- Don’t be afraid to post non self serving messages.
If your customers are on Facebook then it’s going to be a good place for you to be. Since Facebook allows Hashtags it’s important to tag all event related posts with your hashtag. By now you should have already created your Facebook Event Page through the company’s Facebook page. Once this is done here are some things you can do to promote it.
- If you have a budget you can use the Boost Post option and target the Facebook Ad’s to your direct target audience. If you’re not familiar with Facebook Ad’s read this. The targeting options are down right creepy but super useful when your audience is well defined.
- Include this link in any event submissions as well if your event is more social. Consider adding a widget on your website where people can see which of their friends are attending and easily share and join this.
If you already have an active Twitter presence you can use it promote your event. Make sure that any event related tweets contain your event hashtag in them. When your event comes people may tweet using the hashtag about your event if it’s posted publicly. To get more publicity always ask others to share it. Event tweets can range from a variety of topics and you should mix it up. You can use it for small announcements to introduce new event details, new speakers, new sponsors, or answer questions that you’re getting a lot of.
If you’re not active on Instagram you may want to consider it. Simply posting a picture of something cool with your event Hashtag along with other relevant Hashtags is just another way to get in front of your audience. If you have the time and resources, don’t miss out and invest some resources into this.
During and after the event
During the event you probably have enough to worry about. However don’t be shy and during any public announcements make sure to remind people to Check In, Take Photos, Use the Hashtag and get the word out. Some review websites allow you to solicit them but others like Yelp are very clear on this policy. They say “Don’t Ask For Reviews”. If you’re trying to get Yelp Reviews of your business from your event the best thing you can do is post public signs with Yelp’s logo at your event.
There are also some offline things you can do at the event that can help you increase your reach for future events. Make sure to sign people up for a mailing list if they’re willing. If you can get there permission to email them you can create a list of event attendees and market directly to them. This will come in handy after the event as you can email them and ask them how they liked the event.
At my company we host monthly Meetup events. Below is a real world example of how we can actively get reviews just by hosting an event.
How can you get these reviews?
It’s simple, really. Do you remember the email addresses you collected? We are going to use these emails to find out how attendees liked the event. Many customers like giving feedback and they’re just looking for an outlet to share their opinion. There is a way to allow everyone to give their feedback and guide them where you want them. For this I suggest you sign up for Get Five Stars from Mike Blumenthal. This service makes it easy to contact customers and attendees and guide them where you want them. For example, people that have a complaint can be guided to send their feedback directly to you (instead of venting online) and if they’re happy it provides a place where they can leave a positive review on your Yelp, G+, etc.. You can also learn what you need to improve from the feedback you get from customers.
Obviously there were many specific topics I tried to cover in this post that I can elaborate greatly on. I hope to publish supplemental updates on more of the complex ideas here soon. In the mean time I hope this gets you started and provided enough creative energy for you to come up with a plan to market your ultimate event. If you found this useful please
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