Copywriting, content marketing, advertising, marketing – any way you slice it – it still comes down to words and sentences. To have the desired impact and effect, they need to be the right words, phrased well.
Oh now that may seem a tad obvious, so why write a post about it?
The cautionary headline to choose your words wisely is meant to get your attention rather than using phrases like ‘jargon busting for effective copy’ or, how about, ‘writing well for marketing’ – eeek. I know.
Blogging, creating marketing material or writing for your website, you have to make a choice about the words you use.
We become so accustomed to speaking our own special lingo with staff and associates that we forget the rest of the world may not be tuned into our acronyms, or know the meaning of industry specific terms. To make matters more challenging, we are motivated to impress our audiences with our special knowledge and grasp of complex ideas surrounding our products and services in hopes of winning a client. However, what we might be creating in the process of using acronyms and lingo is a barrier that keeps a prospect from becoming a client. Certainly with the new search engine from Google – Hummingbird – by using words and phrases a prospect may never type into the search bar will certainly limit your chances of having your web page delivered in a search result. Read more…
I confess to curling up on the couch and losing myself for hours reading a book – usually a paper bound book as I still relish the feel of a book and the sense of progress that readers and tablets don’t yet provide. On the go, I enjoy reading articles, blogs and exploring websites from my Kindle or smart phone. These are entirely different experiences.
A good writer has always considered their reader. Today, the medium needs to be considered as well. One way I illustrate the difference between writing and writing for the web is the difference between a leisurely walk versus driving to a location you need or want to be.
You can relax and take your time, even linger to soak up the sunshine and scenery while on a walk. However, when you are behind the wheel of your car you must keep a steady pace. Your hands, feet and attention are on alert and your eyes scan mirrors and engage peripheral vision to keep you and your charges safe. You may have a talking navigator but still rely on big road signs and landmarks to help you navigate the way.
The book or magazine are like the leisurely walk and reading on the web, especially from a tablet or mobile device, is more like the drive.
The web page itself should support the digital read and often bad formatting can dissuade a reader just as quickly as bad writing or irrelevant content.
These two lists should help improve your web writing skills. I can’t promise success – only your topics, content and writing can help there. However, these tips should at least give you a fighting chance.
There was no fanfare or big announcement, no party or press release for the roll out of Hummingbird, Google’s biggest change since 2001. At Google’s 15th Birthday celebration last month, Hummingbird was announced.
Unbeknownst to the world, Hummingbird had actually been rolled out a month prior to the announcement, and you probably didn’t notice a thing.
Don’t let the stealthy change lull you into a sense of well being for the safety of your site rankings, and don’t believe for a minute that the effects won’t be felt sooner or later.
You can relax, for now. If you haven’t seen a dip in traffic then you probably won’t for a while. I believe that Penquin and Panda were part of the make-ready for Hummingbird. But, don’t relax for long, Hummingbird might catch up to your site soon. At the very least, your competitors who are better at online social connections and better at writing could walk away with your prospects.
Google had been leading up to this shift in search. The rumblings of dark search – the hidden keywords in analytics reporting – I believe were also early signals for marketing types to prepare to think about search differently. Read more…
You see them everywhere, the pound symbol (#), widely known as the hashtag. You might have even seen the video that went viral of “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” released a video on YouTube featuring Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake titled, “‘#Hashtag’ with Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake.” The video already has over 15 million views.
What makes this skit so funny (at least to me and maybe 15 million other people) is how they spoof on how hashtags are being overused because people think they are cool but really don’t have a clue as to how to use them effectively or with purpose. And what’s worse, is people are using the hand signals (like in the photo here) to hashtag words they want to emphasize in conversations in person – to me this is the equivalent of having a chat with someone who uses ‘like’ in every sentence or says OMG instead of words expressing surprise. O-M-G You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me – Like Really?
When working with clients developing a social media strategy we try to help them understand hashtags and how to best use them. That’s where visuals come into play – it is sometimes hard to explain a concept, so follow my hashtag story.
Imagine a hashtag (#) is a ticket into Paris Fashion Week. Chances are that everyone attending works in the fashion industry or owns a company in the fashion industry, is a fashion designer, writes about the industry, is fashion conscious, or would like to break into the industry. We know there is a large community around #fashion. Next, we want to see what others are saying about #ParisFashionWeek and find out what the insiders know, what they are up to and where they are going. As you follow the conversations around #fashion and #ParisFashionWeek, you join the conversation and make some connections by RT’ing someone’s post, possibly answering a question directly or commenting by addressing the posting party with @theirname. Some of those connections start to follow you on Twitter as they see you are a kindred spirit and in the know. Some of the more curious types might have even checked out your Twitter Bio and clicked through to see your website.
Now, while you are at #ParisFashionWeek you’ve been taking some great photos, maybe a few quick videos, possibly an interview or two that you’ve written about on your blog or submitted to an online new magazine. You start to post links to your content with Read more…
Business owners and website managers should be checking their analytics regularly. After all, an investment of time, resources and money was made in a public facing piece of technology that should be performing to earn its keep. We call that ROI – return on investment.
Whenever I’m doing my workshops, I usually ask the audience how often they check their web analytics. Answers range from obsessive checking to a majority who never look. My suggestion is that when you review your sales numbers and financials, your web analytics should be reviewed.
While some metrics might be more meaningful than others, each metric has a story to tell and should trigger questions to be answered.
One might think traffic is the most important metric; page rank, new visitors, or traffic sources might be priorities. And while it is true that each of these metrics reveal valuable insight, in my experience, rarely are steps taken to dig deeper to understand what the data means or actions taken to improve.
What the data reveals may be open to interpretation, but without tying these metrics to business goals, the data is without meaning. Like any marketing program, the feedback helps to determine next steps or actions needed to meet the company’s goals. The website is a central piece of collateral that collects an enormous amount of data that can set the direction toward achieving those goals. Upon reviewing website analytics two things should occur: The ‘why’ should be researched and the ‘what next’ actions planned and executed.
Bounce Rate is one of those metrics that is often misunderstood and rarely addressed. Read more…