Reader Friendly Content Grows Buyer Trust and Improves Google Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Each of this week’s articles support that theme differently. These experts’ insights show how reader friendly content builds trust and enhances SEO:
Writing naturally benefits the reader and sends a positive signal to Google (versus forcing keywords into our copy).
Gaining a buyer’s trust begins with trusting our instincts. Being ourselves is attainable and healthy. “Being remarkable” can be misleading because it’s a relative standard.
Earning trust in a machine learning age (aka Google’s RankBrain) will continuously redefine what’s “reader friendly content.” Artificial intelligence search applications will line up content marketing and SEO even more closely with personal branding and thought leadership authority.
Trustworthiness and its link to helpfulness is a major signal in Google’s secret sauce.
How the company chooses to measure trust in its search algorithm continues evolving. We better pay close attention because Google wields the monopolistic power to either reward or punish our content.
That’s why I think WHAT we write and HOW we write is a vital SEO tactic. Here’s my take on why reader friendly content is great SEO now (and in the future).
Our Buyers Drive Content Marketing and SEO Decisions
The Theme Pulsing Through This Week’s Article Links. These expert pearls show why the problems keeping our buyers awake at night fuel content marketing and SEO (search engine optimization). Their wisdom touches on:
The devices consumers use to find our businesses and articles online. (Hint: Rhymes with smartphone).
The signals Google looks for and takes into account for ranking our websites and content.
The importance of keyword density. (Hint: Not as much as we thought).
Buyer personas rich with details on the buyer’s pre-buy research behaviors are a strategic advantage.
Check out these article summaries which I know will make us better marketers, writers, and search engine optimization professionals.
Successful Inbound Marketing and Public Relations Requires Content Marketing and SEO Work Together
This past week, I attended webinars, started studying books, and read articles with a common theme: When content marketing and SEO work together, long term, impactful business goals are achieved.
This resounding theme also touches upon another key element: a publishing strategy integrating content marketing and SEO (search engine optimization) is sustainable. These experts share their views on important changes in marketing organization (and individual) skills, mindsets, and organizational structures.
That’s a huge deal for all businesses:
Small and Medium Sized Businesses (SMBs)
Here are links to these great articles on where inbound marketing and public relations are heading to deliver more meaningful business outcomes and results.
HubSpot’s Inbound Certification Video Class 3: “What Does Inbound Look Like?” shares how a real-world company successfully practices inbound marketing. This is a valuable class as a real-world, spot-on buyer persona case study.
This buyer persona case study proves how well-crafted buyer personas can:
Drive inbound marketing strategy and tactics
Link together content marketing and SEO choices
Support a company’s sales and revenue goals
Here’s what to expect from this blog post on these inbound marketing best practices (and future blog posts) as I prepare for the inbound marketing certification exam:
Open Sharing. I’ll publish my study notes on this blog as I review each video in the twelve (12) classes.
Detail. My notes will be very detailed. Many of the slides in the video classes state the learning or take-home-message perfectly. If I think that’s the best way to state the learning, I’ll record the learning in my notes verbatim from the respective slide.
Context. I’ll provide my context whenever it may help us better understand the inbound marketing and sales concept(s).
I love reading books. They’re my secret weapon for accessing critical thinking. Here’s a short listing of my favorite books / authors who inspired me and exhausted my Kindle in 2014 (by the author’s last name in alphabetical order). Note: Some of these titles are pre-2014.
Seth calls out our schadenreude, spectator sport culture, and it’s power in curbing intelligent risk taking (except in Silicon Valley). When It’s Your Turn is an in-your-face, call-to-arms, entrepreneurship manifesto. The battle cry rallies around showing up everyday, to create and ship our art. Now’s the time to revel in that uncomfortable place of “this may or may not work.”
I’m moving into a new career as an entrepreneur in an early stage startup, That’s a scary leap after corporate life. But, those simultaneous feelings and fear are the right place to be:
I’m late in reading this classic marketing book. I hope to meet Seth, shake his hand, and talk marketing strategy. That requires fluency in Ideavirus terminology (i.e., sneezers – both promiscuous and powerful, the hive, persistence — not the one related to effort, vector, vacuum, amplifier, smoothness, etc.).
Technical prowess and technical insight aren’t enough. Creative storytelling and written communication carry equal weight (direct quote from Everybody Writes, page eight):
What’s harder is to find a book that functions for marketers as part writing and story guide, part instructional manual on the ground rules of ethical publishing, and part straight talk on some muscle-building writing processes and habits.
What’s also hard to find is a book that distills some helpful ideas about the craft of content simply and (I hope) memorably, framed for the marketer and businessperson, as opposed to say, the novelist or essayist or journalist.
I wrote this book because I couldn’t find what I wanted—part writing guide, part handbook on the rules of good sportsmanship in content marketing, and all-around reliable desk companion for anyone creating or directing content on behalf of brands.
Everybody Writes teaches disciplined practice to elevate and sustain our writing skills. Ann’s book reads like cozy conversation with her while enjoying a great cup of coffee or a couple of frosty Sam Adams beers (keep in mind, she’s a Bostonian).
Ann poured her heart and soul into this work (or as she says “gave birth to a Volkswagen”). I guarantee you’ll benefit from her knowledge, talent, and heart.
Art takes many forms (e.g., words, pictures, spreadsheets, presentations, sculptures, music, photographs, process diagrams, or anything we create with pride). These remarkable books capture Austin Kleon‘s philosophies and experiences on creating and promoting art. These fun, short reads answer two common questions among artists, writers, entrepreneurs, or marketers:
Question 1: How Do I Create My Art? Answer: Steal Like an Artist
Question 2: How Do I Promote My Art? Answer: Show Your Work
Austin’s writing and storytelling teach “how to get out of your own way.” Yes, creativity and innovation are messy. They’re hard and time-consuming. Manage those frustrations / fears so you focus on creating and shipping. Struggle produces. Struggle inspires. Steal. Show. Repeat.
Traction delivers a clear, how-to method supported by real-world, actionable insights. Gabriel‘s and Justin‘s interviews and case studies describe the successful execution of Traction’s Bulls Eye Methodology. Bulls Eye focuses on the second most important aspect of an early stage startup’s life cycle:
Critical Success Factor Number 1: Create, release, test, iterate, your product or service (hopefully, a good one solving a current problem)
Critical Success Factor Number 2: Get customers by experimenting / testing, measuring, and ultimately focusing on one customer acquisition tactic
Critical Success Factor Number 3: Max out the customer acquisition in CSF Number 2 and repeat Bulls Eye to find another customer acquisition tactic
David Meerman Scott is a marketing strategist, advisor to emerging companies, bestselling author of eight books including three international bestsellers, and a professional speaker on topics including marketing, leadership, and social media.
Why The New Rules of Marketing & PR Matters
The New Rules of Marketing & PR is in its 4th Edition, has sold 300,000+ copies, and is translated in 25 languages.
Marketing and communications students will learn from this book the value of:
Thinking Like a Publisher (e.g. managing and creating content as a valuable asset)
Tactfully and Skillfully Informing the World About Your Expertise
Creating Varieties of Content Demonstrating That Expertise
Building, Understanding, and Targeting Your Audience Via Buyer Persona Profiles
Commenting on Other Blogs to Build Online Credibility and Relationships
Giving Away Your Expertise by Publishing and Distributing Free E-Books
Here's David discussing the latest release of The New Rules of Marketing & PR:
"An e-book is a PDF-formatted document that identifies a market problem and supplies an answer to the problem. E-books have a bit of intrigue to them — like hip younger sibling to the nerdy white paper."
If you click on the image captions, the hyperlinks will take you to the respective, eBook PDF download pages.
Content Rules Video Update with C.C. Chapman and Ann Handley. C.C. and Ann made this September 2010 video before the book's release. It's a great example of practicing what they preach and seeing the human side of great content marketing.
Walk-the Walk and Talk-the-Talk.Inbound Marketing is the second book I studied about digital marketing strategy (The New Rules of Marketing & PR being the first). If you're a serious marketing and communications graduate (or current MAR-COMM undergraduate) and want to "rock it" in your interview, you have to study and learn Inbound Marketing's principles COLD. Published in 2010, Brian and Dharmesh's teachings preceded much of the current and future implications of marketing and digital strategy:
Foundation principles and relevance of inbound links, SEO, Google Authority, Page Rank so potential customers/clients find you (instead of you interrupting them)
The underlying principles behind “closed loop” marketing (CLM)
Inbound Marketing provides clues to what a genuine, 21st century digital-driven organization looks for in employees. Hubspot utilizes its DARC framework when evaluating potential hires:
D = Hire Digital Citizens
A = Hire for Analytical Chops
R = Hire for Web Reach
C = Hire Content Creators
If you can'tanswer the following HubSpot interview questions while simultaneously providing real-time "show-them-the-money" on-screen, digital evidence, YOU'RE HOSED. Here are example interview questions from pages 170-171 and page 173 of Inbound Marketing (within the context of your interviewer verifying your answers on her/his laptop, tablet, or smartphone):
Interview Questions Evalutating Depth of Digital Citizenship:
What RSS reader do you use? Can you show it to me?
What blogs do you read?
Do you rank first for your name in Google?
Do you have a blog? Can you show to me?
Do you use Facebook or LinkedIn? When was the last time you updated your profile?
Do you have a channel on YouTube? Can you show it to me?
Interview Questions Evaluating Web Reach:
How many subscribers to your blog? Do you talk about our industry on your blog or about personal stuff?
How many Facebook followers do you have? Do you talk about our industry at all on your Facebook account?
How many LinkedIn followers do you have?
How many Twitter followers do you have? Do you talk about our industry on you Twitter account?
My apologies for not finishing / publishing this post by the originally stated timeline. My "day job" is crazy/hectic especially as the 2013 4Q ticks away. That's okay (because that's the job).
Please tune in for the this series's next post: a comprehensive list of online resources (i.e., websites, blogs, blog articles, etc) to help recent college graduates and current college students land full-time jobs or internships. The HUGE list will easily comprise "20+ Resources."
Please give me a couple weeks to consolidate this list, provide context, and hit "publish."
Your Turn: What is your opinion of the books listed here? Have you read any of them? If so, how did the book(s) content create an opportunity for differentiating yourself either before, during, or after the interview? What books did I leave off? What additional books would recommend?
Please let me know. It would be great to hear from you!
Note: This is post four in a series sharing resources to help new college graduates and current students land full-time jobs or internships. If interested, here are links to other posts in this series:
"It's no longer enough to simply have a resume. Students now need a professional online presence." – Holly Paul, former US Recruiting Leader, PriceWaterHouse Coopers (now Chief Human Resources Officer, Vocus).
Do You have a Professional Online Presence? Is Your Professional Online Presence Differentiating? If you said no to either of these questions, I hope you'll continue reading a little longer. Developing a professional brand / presence requires work, time, patience, and discipline. If you make the commitment, this investment increases the probability a company recruiter (or your first boss) will:
Find you online
Select you for that crucial first interview
Seeking a Job in Marketing, Public Relations, or Communications? Majoring in these Fields)? If you nodded "yes," the authors / books described in this two-part post are MUST READ content. These gurus are driving the future landscape of digital marketing, public relations, and communications.
Note: I am not an Amazon Affiliate Program Member. I tremendously respect the following authors because of their invaluable guidance in developing a professional online presence.
Turn Your Non-Working Time Into a Competitive Advantage
Read. Read. Read. The following suggested authors / books are not "cookie cutter" or "10 easy steps on how-to land your first job out of college / summer internship in a lousy economy" resources.
"For the last sixty or so years, the job market for educated workers worked like an escalator. So long as you played nice and well, you moved steadily up the escalator, and each step brought with it more power, income, and job security."
"But now the escalator is jammed at every level. Many young people even the most highly educated, are stuck at the bottom, underemployed, or jobless."
The Start-Up of YOU's principles describe the entrepreneurial strategies and career tactics traditional liberal arts undergraduate classes overlook. Understanding and applying these entrepreneurial strategies and career tactics can guide you in the current job market.
Dan Schawbel wrote Me 2.0 and Promote Yourself. The New York Post selected Me 2.0 as 2009's Number 1 career book. Promote Yourself (his latest book) is a current New York Times bestseller. Dan's also the Managing Partner of Millenial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. He is the personal branding authority for millenials.
Great Insights Relevant to All Professional Ages. In my opinion, Dan's professional branding teachings apply to ALL professionals and job seekers. I studied the 2009 first edition in my early-forties.
Why Me 2.0 Matters
Me 2.0 provides easy-to-understand suggestions for creating a professional brand online by:
Evaluating blog hosting options (if I could go back, I would select WordPress)
Starting, writing, and marketing a personal blog
Participating wisely in social networks
Developing relationships with influential bloggers in your targeted industries
Understanding search engine optimization's (SEO) impact on your professional career
Key content generously shared in these chapters include:
A Personal Brand Questionnaire (for evaluating your personal brand and how well you are digitally communicating it)
The Essential Components in Building a 3D Personal Brand: Giving Abundantly, Helping Others, and Building Relationships
A Personal Brand Audit of Online Tools (such as a personal blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Search, and Google Alerts)
Building and Targeting a Niche for Your Professional Online Presence
A Bonafide Visionary. Here's a direct quote from Mitch Joel in Six Pixels of Separation "predicting" why a professional online presence matters more than ever for new college graduates (this was in 2009).
"The most compelling statistic of all? Half of all new college graduates now believe that self-employment is more secure than a full-time job. Today, 80% of the colleges and universities in the U.S. now offer courses on entrepreneurship; 60% of Gen Y business owners consider themselves to be serial entrepreneurs, according to Inc. magazine. Tellingly, 18 to 24-year-olds are starting companies at a faster rate than 35 to 44-year-olds. And 70% of today's high schoolers intend to start their own company, according to a Gallup poll."
(from Mitch a few paragraphs later):
"Here's what he's really saying (e.g., Mr. Malone): Without noticing it, we have once again discovered, and then raced off to settle, a new frontier. Not land, not innovation, but ourselves and a growing control over our own lives and careers.
Mitch Joel's Latest Book is Ctrl Alt Delete. My biggest personal mistakes/regrets in understanding and building a professional online presence are:
Not publishing this personal blog at least 10 years earlier.
This concludes post three on helping recent college graduates and current undergraduates build a professonal online presence. I hope you'll return for post four (e.g., Part 2) sharing six (6) more authors and their respective books. Post 4 should be published in two weeks.
Your Turn: Have you read any of these books? If so, how useful do you think they are to recent college graduates and current undergraduates. Are there other books you think would be helpful? Please let me know in the comments.
Note: This is post three in a series sharing resources to help new college graduates and current students land full-time jobs or internships. If interested, here are links to other posts in this series: