September 2013 Issue #1
Social Media Monitoring: How to Determine Which Service and Strategy Fits Your Needs
Social Business News / Brandwatch / Fineman PR
Before searching for a social media monitoring tool and strategy, PR and marketing professionals must understand the difference between social media monitoring and social intelligence. While many use the terms interchangeably, each offers a different level of insight, challenges and value, Mark Harrington clarifies in Social Media Monitoring vs. Social Intelligence
. Social monitoring acts as a social "barometer" for brands, using keywords to supply companies with conversations about their brand and customer sentiment. Social intelligence takes it a step further and uses those conversations to deliver insight on a brand and its consumers and influencers, providing deeper analysis and understanding.
A company's goals dictate the level of social monitoring or social intelligence it will practice. Gathering and processing big data for social intelligence can be a daunting task. Media monitoring can be much simpler, especially with a turnkey supplier that does all the work and delivers the results to clients. 7-Step Guide: Choosing the Right Social Media Monitoring Tool for You
advises organizations to first decide on their objectives, establish a budget, and investigate the services and support each media monitoring supplier offers. Be wary of contract lengths, Ruxandra Mindruta warns — some suppliers only allow 12-month contracts, which may not be ideal for small- and mid-sized businesses and non-profit organizations.
The ultimate goal of media monitoring is to protect the brand. Rather than just read your media monitoring results, digest each article and conversation, Lorna Bush and Liz Glazier counsel in Using Social Media Monitoring for Crisis PR, Brand PR and Corporate Communications Strategies
. Ask: What angles have been covered that you should avoid? Which articles are getting the most readership? What do the comments reveal about the issue or consumers' perceptions about the company or product? Answering these questions will uncover metrics to analyze the success of your monitoring efforts — the first step in achieving social intelligence.
Content Marketing Strategy to Identify Your Most Effective Posts
Portent / Problogger
An effective content strategy accomplishes three goals: 1.) Identifies objectives and how to achieve them, 2.) Validates efforts to executives, and 3.) Creates a profile of your most successful types of content. In How to Create a Content Strategy (In Only 652 Steps)
, Ian Lurie composes a "conversation audit" to guide marketers in their content marketing efforts.
Lurie's detailed audit begins with a content inventory. He advises marketers to aggregate and group their existing content into categories. Using a tool like Screaming Frog, marketers can assess the performance metrics of each post. But forget page views, bounce rate, or visitors, which don't measure impact. Instead, Lurie recommends measuring social activity such as Facebook likes and shares, Twitter and LinkedIn Posts, Reddit votes, the number of comments, etc. Then, look at the language and quality data for a snapshot of the post's subject matter and best practices. Data to examine: words per page, title tag, description tag and spelling errors. This data should be benchmarked against competitors, used to draw conclusions and, finally, to build your content strategy. Establish essential topics and key words for content, develop a hierarchy on when and how often to cover those topics, and create a content publication calendar.
For marketers who struggle to write new content, Ali Luke suggests creating "pillar content." In Your Ultimate Guide to Creating Amazing Content that Draws Readers into Your Blog
, Luke explains that pillar content is in-depth, receives high engagement and is evergreen so readers can repeatedly share it. The best types of pillar content are often an A-Z guide, a "Why and How" post, or an expert's view and answers on a subject. Looks are important: be sure to include legible font, subheadings, bold and italic text, bullet points and short paragraphs, Luke states. Note: Luke's post on pillar content is a great example of pillar content to mirror.
The New and Improved Press Release: Write the Facts, Cut the Fluff
The Next Web
Exclude "fluff" from press releases and only write what the media needs to know. (Courtesy of Steve Snodgrass)
Often, press releases bore readers and journalists with their dry, predictable structure and lack of interesting information. In 7 Ways to Kill the Press Release (and What the PR World Can Learn from Tesla)
, Ed Zitron aims to break the press release rules with a tell-it-like-it-is approach. He encourages PR pros to imitate a recent release issued by Tesla Motors. Its key qualities: "It doesn't mess around, it's not fluffy, and anything it says is matter of fact," Zitron notes. PR pros should cut the fluff and quotes, and write only what the media and readers need to know. Imagine you're a journalist on deadline and can only use the information that fits into the story, Zitron instructs. If your entire copy can be summarized into four bullet points, then that's your press release.
Leveraging PR Practices for Better Rankings and Reputation
Search Engine Watch
In 5 Clever Ways to Leverage PR for SEO Success
, Purna Virji explores techniques outside the press release that can benefit your search engine ranking and company reputation. Virji recommends that companies make charitable contributions for a human interest angle to generate media attention (and to assist those in need). It helps to create an abnormal charity event like Miles Technologies', which enticed employees to work in giant inflatable snow globes in December for its coat drive. Contests, giveaways, conferences and corporate events all serve as positive ways to place your company's name online. PR pros might also search for a business- or industry-related TV show, radio show or podcast that will host your company's authority figure to share advice or answer questions. Bottom line: substantive placements = SEO success.
YouTube: The New "Go-To" Place for Customer Reviews
If your media monitoring program excludes YouTube, you're likely missing out on a multitude of customer reviews and feedback. Forget Amazon. YouTube is Where Shoppers Do Research
by Zach James reveals that YouTube is the go-to review site for customers' pre- and post-purchase decisions. YouTube provides an outlet for products that Amazon doesn't, causing more users to flock to the video sharing site and spark discussion and product buzz for brands. As James indicates, the most rewarding aspect of YouTube is its human element — video showcases authenticity and exceeds a written review by far. Bottom line: For an accurate representation of product reviews and customer sentiment, companies and brands should include online video in their monitoring strategy.
Writing Tactics that Sell: Learn from Offbeat Craigslist Ads
As Erika Napoletano proves using Craigslist ads, writers have the power to make any subject interesting. In 7 Writing Lessons from the Best of Craigslist Ads
, Napoletano establishes that personality and storytelling turn boring copy into interesting content, sharing an ad for a bedroom dresser that is "possessed" by the seller's ex-girlfriend. Another copywriting lesson learned from Craigslist ads: there's great allure in the odd, offbeat and strange stories, like the ad about a man trying to sell 1,500 ladybugs.
Strong Content Says More with Less
In a culture with endless available information and short attention spans, good content requires a simple, direct message. Writing in short form does not mean sacrificing its value, Roy Peter Clark insists in his Introduction to 'How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times'
. Why is short-form writing so powerful? Clark reveals the answer in three words: focus, wit and polish. Clark's book explains how writers can learn essential elements of good writing from headlines, advertisements, prayers and poems. Bottom line: learning to write concise will improve your word choice, verbs, sentences and overall message.
Rules to Follow for Better Email Etiquette
The Daily Muse
For those who haven't quite grasped or overtly flout email etiquette, Alex Cavoulacos shares Finally! The 23 Unwritten Rules of Email
. To summarize several rules: be explicit. Put ask/action items at the top, include deadlines, and clarify if you need a response or if the email is FYI. If you can't respond to something right away, Cavoulacos recommends quickly replying that you'll get to it. This will save you check-in emails and help the other person plan. A good reminder for PR pros pitching to journalists: if they're busy, it's acceptable to send a follow-up message attached to the initial email a week later. It is not
acceptable to follow up within 48 hours.
Global Brands, Banks Embrace Social Media Monitoring
Forbes / The New York Times / CIO.com
Toyota and other big name brands have announced their focus on social media monitoring for customer service. (Courtesy of David Villarreal Fernández)
More big brands and government organizations now monitor social media for customer conversations because, as PwC partner Dave Hoffman explains, "Everybody wins if you do it right." The Consumer Finance Protection Board plans to use social media to identify problems with financial service firms — pushing banks and brokers to keep up with what is being said about them. By monitoring these conversations, financial institutions can understand where to take action to improve customer experience and achieve business improvements, Tom Groenfeldt writes in Feds Will Monitor Banking Customer Experience
. After a high-profile pricing investigation in China, international companies like Nestle and Fonterra learned to keep track of their online brand reputations, The New York Times
reports in Milk Powder Companies Tune In to Chinese Social Media Reports
. The companies now monitor Weibo, a Chinese social media network, for food safety scares and price fixing.
Toyota also recently announced it correlates social media results with its internal data to measure consumer insights, including comparisons of what car-buying prospects think of the Camry vs. what new Camry owners think. In Toyota Goes All-In with Social Media Monitoring
, Toyota CIO Zack Hicks explains that a deeper understanding of customer interests allows Toyota to be more effective in ad placements and brand tie-ins. It also provides direct "point of decision" promotion during a conversation. Key piece of advice: be careful in your approach to social conversations. If a user declares he's deciding between a Lexus and a BMW, Toyota won't rudely butt in — instead, it sends discount coupons to keep its brand at the top of the consumer's mind.
Brand-Customer Relationship: Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Brands prosper when they slow down and focus on customer satisfaction. (Courtesy of Herkie)
For a lasting brand, companies must slow down and build deep relationships with their customers, Drew Bedard contends in Slow is the New Fast
. Brands prosper when they focus on customer satisfaction rather than rush their services to the market. Bedard uses Google and Nike as evidence: both brands profit from their dedication to customer service. Google continuously simplifies its interface and publishes several webinars per week to educate its users, and Nike uses social media to respond personally to its customers. Bottom line: customer service remains a top priority, and social media provides an outlet for brands to take care of their customers. [Note: Many who have tried to contact Google directly for customer support dispute the accessibility and responsiveness of Google to its customers. Google exhibits a philosophy of customer support by documents, not humans.]
Simple and Valuable Social Media Metrics
Social Media Today / Business2Community
The number of followers alone doesn't measure the worth of a marketer's time and efforts on social media. 5 Metrics You Should Be Tracking on Twitter, But Probably Aren't
consists of common but often overlooked metrics including mentions, link shares and lists that reveal the success of Twitter activities. By tracking mentions, marketers can view who talks about their brand and how they perceive their company. Positive mentions indicate your efforts have paid off, while negative mentions indicate a need for improvement. Positions on Twitter lists also denote your brand's influence on its audience. For a resource on the best Pinterest metrics, an infographic of the 17 Pinterest Metrics Every Brand Should Track
shares measurement data to effectively fulfill marketing objectives. Some metrics include follower engagement, average comments per pin, and average repins per pin.
Social Media Management Model: Start with Morning News Brief
The Community Manager's Checklist
prepares a list to help social media specialists manage and grow their online communities. First on the list: a morning read-through. Jameson Brown recommends creating a news brief that highlights the day's most important news in your industry. Some companies, including CyberAlert, supply executive news briefs that provide clients with articles relevant to their industry and business. The brief also provides data for steps 5 and 8 — content gathering and brand industry research. These steps instruct community managers to gather and create content for their audience, and to continuously research their industry to establish themselves as thought leaders. Brown also shares checklist items for the more advanced community manager, including strategic brainstorming, strategy writing and editing, and influencer responsibilities.
Google Search Ranking Tips and Answers from Matt Cutts
Search Engine Watch / Viper Chill
With Google's guidelines constantly changing, SEO tips written a year ago might not produce the same results today. Ten Tips to the Top of Google
delivers updated SEO rules and advice for marketers and webmasters. Grant Simmons reveals your site's structure should be well-organized and easy to navigate. Structure your site around intent-based topics, ensuring content is distinct and links to relevant topics only. This gives search engines an easy way to identify your expertise and relevant topics by which to rank the site. Google's Matt Cutts addresses nofollow links, disavow, domain names and other technical SEO issues in 2 Million Backlinks and 15 SEO Answers
from Google's Matt Cutts. He answers questions like, "If my site goes down for a day, does it affect my rankings?" (The answer is no). According to Cutts, the most common mistake SEOs make is spending too much energy on link building, often causing them to forget about the importance of social media and social media marketing.
Alternative Comment Box Solutions to Avoid Spam and Trolls
Comment sections demand constant moderation to block spam and trolls. (Courtesy of Cali4beach)
With spam and trolls crowding most comment sections, should companies remove the comment function from their blogs? Comment boxes require near-constant moderation, and can sometimes be too much for the social media team to maintain properly. In Comment Sections are Wastelands Ruled by Trolls. Here are Alternatives
, Mat Honan shares solutions to end spam and uphold a comment section with insightful, intelligent conversations. One popular new tool is Branch, which supplies a separate outlet for comments, allows users to invite others and can be embedded directly under your post. Kinja goes one step forward and treats articles as a starting point for thought-provoking discussions, forcing commenters to actually read the article and its comments and offer worthy input.
The Most Important Content Marketing Metrics
Social Media Today
Pam Dyer points out that you can measure just about anything these days, but that doesn't mean you should. By applying the right metrics, marketers can identify what's working well and what needs improvement — and eventually grow the bottom line. In Content Marketing: How to Measure Effectiveness
, Dyer lists the most important metrics based on the areas marketers need to measure: awareness, consideration and conversion. Consideration tactics inspire potential customers to engage, read, download, comment and share, all of which boost SEO. To improve this area, measure total page views, longer visit durations, lower bounce rates and social metrics. To drive conversion, marketers should measure which content sources contribute to the conversion funnel, subscriber vs. non-subscriber behavior, and increased conversion rates by sales or leads.
Coping with Difficult People
Communications professionals frequently deal with people who are hard to get along with. Sometimes we react with indifference, other times we opt to get them to change. In How to Handle Difficult People
, Deepak Chopra explains that these mixed signals just exacerbate these frustrating experiences. Instead, approach the issue with three questions: Can I change the situation? Do I put up with it instead? Should I walk away? When you ask these questions in a rational frame of mind, you can formulate a workable approach to solve or end the conversation. For the "Do I put up with it?" approach, Chopra also lists healthy methods to cope (don't dwell on their behavior, avoid gossiping and complaining) and unhealthy methods (keep quiet and let them have their way).
Success Traits of Women (that Work for Men, Too)
12 Things Successful Women Do Differently
are not necessarily traits unique to successful women; rather, they're traits women (and men) should develop to achieve success. Emma Gray lists examples like J.K. Rowling, whose first Harry Potter book was turned down by 12 publishers. The lesson: know that failure goes hand-in-hand with success. Other desirable tips for success: take care of yourself physically, know how to build and maintain relationships with others, and don't expect perfection of yourself or those around you.
Factoids of the Week:
75% of searchers never scroll past the first page of results. (Net Market Share)
Inbound marketing costs 61% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing. (HubSpot)
Morning is the most popular time to read blogs: 79% report reading blogs in the morning, while 64% read blogs in the afternoon. (HubSpot)
Quotes of the Week:
"Don't expect life to be fair. Just be better." — Eddie Robinson, legendary college football coach
"Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better." — Martin Luther King Jr.
Upcoming Conferences and Webinars
Content Marketing World 2013
, hosted by Content Marketing Institute, will be held Sept. 9 in Cleveland, OH. The cost to attend is $1,295 for the full conference and $2,235 for an all-access pass.
SES San Francisco
, hosted by ClickZ, will be held Sept. 10 in San Francisco, Ca. The cost to attend is $2,000.
Digital PR Summit
, hosted by PR News, will be held Oct. 16 in New York, NY. The cost to attend is $895.
PRSA 2013 International Conference
, hosted by the Public Relations Society of America, will be held Oct. 26 in Philadelphia, Pa. The cost to attend is $1,375 for non-members and $1,075 for members.
Recent White Papers and eBooks
Social Marketing Optimization Playbook
. It takes the right discipline, technology and expertise to extract meaning from social data to measurably improve the effectiveness of social campaigns — and it can be done.
PR & Marketing Job Openings
The listing for this issue includes PR job openings and marketing positions — with detailed job descriptions for each. Readers are invited to submit job postings to firstname.lastname@example.org
Best of Previous Issues
Determining Your Media Monitoring Needs
Print News Monitoring Vs. Online News Monitoring
Broadcast Monitoring for TV & Radio News
Selecting a Social Media Monitoring Service
F.r.e.e & Low-Cost News Release Distribution Services
|CyberAlert 5.0 - local, national, and worldwide news monitoring and press clipping service monitors 55,000+ online news sources in 250+ languages each day.
||CyberAlert TV - broadcast news tracking service monitors closed caption text of news broadcasts on all national news networks & channels plus all local TV stations in Top 100 U.S. markets.
ONLINE SOCIAL MEDIA MONITORING
|BlogSquirrel - blog monitoring service monitors 7+ million new postings each day in 75+ million blogs worldwide.
||CyberAlert VDO - monitoring of consumer-generated video clips in 200+ online video sharing and news sites.
|Netpinions - consumer discussion / word-of-mouth / buzz monitoring service monitors 100,000+ online message boards, forums, and Usenet news groups.
||Twitter & Facebook - Monitor your key words in all Twitter tweets and all Facebook public posts.
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