Google Alerts finds timely content backlinks

Google Alerts are an efficient and easy way to keep up to date on articles and other information on the internet and have it sent straight to your email. Use alerts for content curation and early awareness of breaking news topics in your niche.

There is a simple and easy way to set them up.

Google alerts  set up

  1. Go to www.google.com/alerts
  2. Type in your search query eg. “football world cup” (see below on search query tips.)
  3. Using result type you can pick whether you want just news, video, blog posts, discussions or books.
  4. Select language and region to search in – useful if you only want news from your country.
  5. Update frequency – once a week, once a day or as it happens.
  6. Google allows you to choose whether you want to receive only the best results or all the results. We prefer to use all results so that you don’t miss out on anything that might be important.
  7. Finally you enter in your email address and Google will send you the latest updates on whatever you want. It’s as easy as that.

Tips on how to best utilise Google Alerts

Google Alerts shows you the new content that comes up when you enter in a search query. So use a search query that is specific enough to get you the results you want. You don’t want have to waste time reading through a big list of useless articles and not find anything relevant.

Use advanced search techniques

The first tip is to use quote marks to search for phrases. From my earlier search term in step 2 above I wanted to search for the phrase “football world cup” so it is in quote marks. This gives you only the search results that have all three words in that order without any other words. If you didn’t have the quote marks then google would give you pages that contain any of the words in the search term, in any order.

Use OR to find synonyms or similar information. I could use “football world cup” OR “Fifa world cup” OR “soccer world cup”. This will give me the information I am looking for that wouldn’t necessarily come up if I only used the search term “football world cup”.

Use the minus symbol “–” to exclude a search term that you don’t want to hear about. This can be useful when you are searching for something that is quite often associated with a term that you don’t want. So in New Zealand, rugby is sometimes called “football” or “footy” and so I could exclude all mentions of rugby football.

The last tip is one of Google’s lesser known search operators, intext:. This operator forces Google to use the exact word in all the search results and not any synonyms. So I could search for intext:“football world cup” and I wouldn’t get any synonyms of football and I would get the whole search term together in the search results.

 

Google Webmaster Tools

Google XML Sitemaps Increase your SEO – Check Now

SEO is an important part of an online administrator or digital content manager. An effective website is not just appealing to human visitors – they are also be easy for online spiders and bots to understand and “crawl” their content.

That is why XML Sitemaps are important – They tell the machines where each page can be found, how important each page is relative to the rest of the site and how often it is updated/changed.

Through the use of simple plugins (or manually accessing the file if you’re more technically competent) a sitemap can be created and modified. By modifying the file (robots.txt), you can change how often robots should crawl your site for specific URLs, change the priority setting of an individual page or even block the bots from crawling certain pages altogether. A situation I often do this for is if we have historical blog posts that continue to be heavily trafficked. I’ll want to increase the priority of those posts slightly higher than newer ones so as to ensure they continued to be crawled and that any change that’s made is more likely to be picked up by Google and Bing.

Sitemaps can easily be edited to tell crawlers which pages are worth crawling and which are to be ignored – particularly if you use a pre-designed sitemap.

Which WordPress Plugin Is Best For Sitemaps?

If you’re one of the millions of web admins who use WordPress, I highly recommend the Google XML Sitemaps plugin by Arne Brachold. It is easy to setup and best of all, is very easy to manipulate should you wish to feature a particular page or skip another. It also makes a robot-friendly URL (ours is https://creativeagencysecrets.com/sitemap.xml) meaning it is good for your SEO too.

How Optimise Your Sitemap’s Effectiveness

Google Sitemap MenuUltimately there is no point in creating a sitemap if it’s not easily crawlable by robots such as Google. Therefore, testing and uploading your sitemap using Google Webmaster tools is logically the next step.

Go to Google Webmaster Tools and add your site. Usually, the easiest way to verify your site is to use your Google Analytics logins. If this doesn’t work or you wish to set up an account without access to Google Analytics, you may have to upload an html file to the site.

Upon verifying your site, click Sitemaps in the left menu which can be found under the “Crawl” section. Next, Add/Test your sitemap by clicking the “Add/Test Sitemap” red button in the top right of the screen.

Add_Test_Button

In the textbox that appears, assuming you haven’t changed the default URL (I’d recommend you don’t), all you should have to enter is “sitemap.xml”. Google will then check to ensure it’s a valid URL and will alert you if there are any problems it detects (see screenshot below) – fortunately, Google also provides explanations as to what causes these errors which usually helps get to the root cause of the problem quickly. Normally though, a first time, clean installation won’t have any issues. Errors are usually caused if your website has been around for a while – especially if the URL structure of your site has changed or you’ve manually changed URLs of certain pages post-publication.

Sitemap_List

Click To Enlarge

Hopefully though there are no major errors and that you’re able to fix all minor issues. Google will show how many pages you’ve submitted (it naturally skips certain ones like eCommerce pages) and how many it’s actually indexed. Remember, the more pages Google indexes, the better Google knows your site and the more likely it is to send genuinely interested visitors to the pages you want them to visit first time.

Success

Dashboard

Click To Enlarge

How do I get funded startups to buy Content Creation services?

A Question we answered on Clarity.fm.

Startups blackboard [image credit http://www.getcomfortable.co.uk/]

Startups blackboard [image credit http://www.getcomfortable.co.uk/]

We recently launched content creation services. (Article creation, infographic design, etc)
We have 3 funded startups that we currently work with. Acquired through my network.
How can I get more, what would be the best way to do this?

Have a solid new business development process and an action plan. Like any sales activity, you need a strong proposition and a tested process to present your offering to the market.

You are (sadly) no different from any other B2B biz dev client we have.
1 – research and build a database of your prospects (funded startups)
2 – make an offer to them that is compelling and they respond to your approach
3 – have a range of services that are easy to buy, demonstrate added value and encourage re-purchase
4 – rinse, repeat.

Happy to help you with our 8 Step New Business Development methodology
http://www.slideshare.net/rcaroe/cas-methodology-for-new-business-development

10 Year Anniversary

10 Year Anniversary Promotion

In a previous article, we discussed ways in which you can promote a business anniversary. Recently, one of our clients celebrated their 10th year in business. To celebrate, we did three things. We created an eBook to highlight the changes in the industry over 10 years and where the next 10 years may take them, a timeline to show the company’s milestone achievements and a classic anniversary sale.

What must be remembered is that an anniversary is not just a giveaway to thank your customers/fans. It’s also a great opportunity to get closer to your customers, generate more sales and build your future audience.

 

The eBook

The eBook was created to give readers a summary of the major changes in the industry in the past decade as experienced by influential individuals within the industry. The changes were analysed by 10 expert individuals who are heavily involved in the industry but all play a different role. This provided an interesting range of insights, each focussing on a different area of the industry.

The eBook was promoted predominantly on Social Media and on their blog. A large portion of the social media audience and website visitors are not on the mailing list – and ultimately, the purpose of the eBook was to generate newsletter signups.

To download the eBook, customers had to enter their email address whereby they would be both sent the eBook instantly as well as added to the mailing list if they weren’t already on it. This was achieved using an autoresponder. In the email with the eBook, we also mentioned the anniversary sale and gave them the discount code.

 

The Sale

10 years in business, 10% off everything – hence the discount code “10years10%”. In the previous article, we mentioned that there were a variety of sale options to choose from (historical pricing, free shipping, free gift per $10 spent). We chose to utilise a simple 10% off by process of elimination. The products our client now sells are very different to the ones they sold 10 years ago so a historical pricing promotion (where the prices would be what they were 10 years ago) wouldn’t be nearly as effective. As the value of the products is quite high, but the products are generally small, free shipping is not a big incentive as it usually equates to a minimal discount. The free gift per $ spent option was ignored for a similar reason; no one wants 100 caps with every order.

The code was promoted front and centre on the client’s homepage, on their social media accounts, those who downloaded the eBook and to their existing mailing list.

The 10% discount code was enabled for 10 weeks, which not only tied in to the 10-year theme but also allowed enough time for anyone who was going to use it, to use it. We also left the coupon open for unlimited uses – if someone wanted to buy something then use the same code again a couple of weeks later, they could.

 

Timeline

A timeline is a nice, visually attractive way of showing progression. Although they can be complicated and contain too much information, simply picking 10 most important events to highlight is a simple way of avoiding clutter and confusion. We therefore chose to feature just the big product redesigns, new releases, and company milestones (such as the 5000 unit produced) during their 3652 days in business.

To make a timeline easily which can be featured on your website, I’d recommend TimelineJS. TimelineJS is a free, opensource tool, which enables you to build interactive timelines from a Google Spreadsheet. The great thing about TimelineJS is it can be embedded into any website.

 

The results

Our client’s mailing list increased (ironically) by 10%. The number of downloads for the eBook however was considerably more than those that were newly signed up. This is because those already signed up to the mailing list were sent links to the eBook directly for download – they didn’t have to re-fill in their details unnecessarily.

The client received a number of sales utilising the 10% off discount. Surprisingly though, even though the code featured largely on the homepage, social media and in the text to those who received the eBook, there were still a handful of people who paid full price.

Google = advertising around intent; Facebook = demand generation

I was at a networking event yesterday and the Sales Lady from Facebook New Zealand was presenting.  She made this statement

Google is advertising around intent; Facebook is about demand generation

And it started me thinking.

Google – yes I get it – the intent is shown by your search string.

Facebook’s claim is harder to back up.

Why Facebook’s demand gen claim is slack

The sales lady says that because on Facebook brands advertise to drive likes, then it’s demand generation.

I think because it’s hard to get visitors off Facebook and onto your website where you can actually make prospects take actions that lead them into the sales funnel, the effectiveness of this strategy is low.

But there are work-arounds – read this technique which we developed for our clients How Facebook boosted my newsletter subscribers.

Is Facebook still good for brands?

The answer today is yes… but.  We have great client brands who are successfully recruiting new readers through their Facebook promotion, advertising and status updates.  But without a clear set of tactics to drive those readers off Facebook and onto their website, all this work would be hard to monetise.

For many brands, especially B2B, their audience isn’t on Facebook.  So it’s irrelevant to their marketing plans.

Take a look at this FB post and the comments below.  We are seeing readers adding in their friends’ names to their comments in order to draw their attention to this bit of content, and that’s bringing in new visitors.

Facebook Comments promotion

How to Set up and Host Live Webinars

We run a monthly podcast for one of our clients which has become fairly popular in it’s respective industry. This is a relatively new ability we’ve learned and as with everything we do, we’re happy to help others learn to do it as well.

To be clear, when we say webinars or podcasts we mean live audio and video feeds (much like radio if it had view-able PowerPoint slides!) which are broadcast over the internet for everyone to view. We record these broadcasts as we do them and give that recording to viewers afterwards and post them on YouTube or SoundCloud.

Create you own webinar

Very recently we got a tweet from a sports coach wanting to start holding webinars and we answered. We arranged a Skype chat, walked them through the programs and techniques we used and introduced them to other possible solutions we found along our journey of developing a quality podcast.  Here’s a summary of our advice.

Our process

We use a combination of the program xSplit and the website UStream:

  • xSplit – recording a webcam or a computer screen is a simple process today, but controlling that recording is an entirely different thing. The FREE program xSplit provides users with multiple “scenes” which operate like a powerpoint presentation. Each “scene” is like a slide in powerpoint and can be customised with images, live screenshots, webcams and more. It also takes audio directly from your computer and microphone, if one is attached. The program can broadcast to multiple sources and can directly record to your computer as a separate option for making videos. While it is only Windows OS compatible (so no support for Mac computers) it provides a lot of flexibility and control to the user.

  • UStream – when you are broadcasting you need a destination and a place for that broadcast to be viewed by others. We use our paid account on UStream with ads removed to broadcast our live viewing. UStream gives us a way to communicate with our viewers as well via a text based chat beside the video as it plays.

This set up makes it easy for viewers to watch as we just need to send them the link to our UStream account while we take care of the broadcasting and content. With other solutions you may need to download programs, make accounts or have to send attendees passwords. We have tested some of those solutions and for a wide audience and age range they proved too hard and presented barriers to attendance.

Other solutions you could use

Many of these solutions add a level of difficulty for either us or our viewers to join a webinar that we broadcast. However they may suit your needs better than they suit ours:

  • Google Hangouts – the Hangouts system created by Google is amazing. It allows you to broadcast your computer screen or your web camera to a live stream (then instant recording) on YouTube. For others to view directly they can watch from YouTube. If you’d like to chat to viewers however they would have to join your Hangout and thus disrupts many of your functions. You would have to mute each attendee if you want to talk and then you could communicate with them via text chat. It works but is cumbersome in it’s design. On the other hand it is a free solution without ads and  is simple for basic internet users to learn.

  • Downloadable webinar technologies – there are meeting simulators that can be used effectively to run webinars such as GoToWebinar or Anymeeting. These solutions are often paid, require you and your attendees to download a program and are designed primarily for corporate use. They will take some training to use (especially for your viewers) but the technology is great. If you’re a businessman looking to run online meetings or training sessions this solution is a great way to go. [only problem with Citrix GoToWebinar solution is the meeting invite does not adjust timezone to the recipient’s calendar]

Now that you’ve got access to the tools, you can start exploring the world of broadcasting and build yourself a webinar! If you’re less technical, or would like to put all of your effort into the quality of the webinar, we’d be happy to take the broadcasting task off your hands. Contact us for more details on these technologies or for a quote on what it would take for us to set up and run your webinar.

How to be a successful Twitter manager

twitterWhat is a Twitter manager?

A Twitter manager is an individual who monitors one or more Twitter accounts and engages with Twitter users for those accounts. They are more than an automatic tweeting machine. They think of ways to engage their followers, how to gain new ones and spend much of their time interacting with the Twittersphere (the space of Twitter).

A Twitter manager must keep in mind that they are an entity and represent the values and voice of the account that entity belongs to. This is particularly difficult when they manage multiple accounts as they have to reflect multiple personas in their tweets.

What does a Twitter manager do?

These attributes are exactly what a regular Twitter user will do. However we’re talking about it and looking at it from a Twitter manager’s point of view. Here are the activities a Twitter manager undergoes and how they do them differently…

  • Creates original tweets: when a tweet first comes into existence it is said to be original, rather than taken from someone else’s tweet.
  • Shares tweets: this is where a tweet is tweeted again and the original sender is notified and credited. These types of tweets can help smaller pages generate hype and develops relationships with the original tweeter.
  • Sends and replies to direct messages: known as DMs, direct messages allow twitter users to message each other privately. This opens up the Twittersphere to the sharing of personal details and private conversations.
  • Uses #hashtags and copies @people in tweets: by using a hashtag or at symbol in a tweet you notify users of that tweet. It comes up in their feeds and is a more reliable way of getting your tweets seen by the Twittersphere.
  • Follows #hashtags and conversations: a hashtag records all tweets with it attached and you can search via hashtags to follow a topic or conversation. This is crucial to success for Twitter managers as they can follow the best conversations from specific topics related to the account(s) they manage. They show you who tweets the most in that topic, who is important in that topic, what trends are rising and even helps you keep up with big news and events.
  • Balances their number of followers with the number of people they are following: this is another way of getting noticed. By following a Twitter account (a user) you encourage them to see what tweets you make and they will often reciprocate the follow. So this subsequently grows your followers and provides you with more original tweets to retweet from that user you followed. This also allows you to get more in touch with your followers by direct messaging who you follow as long as they also follow you.
TweetDeck

TweetDeck

Tools of a Twitter manager

  • www.tweetdeck.com = this is a powerful tool that grants you the power to post using multiple Twitter accounts, schedule posts and see every corner of each Twitter account in an instant. Being able to view messages and posts all on one screen improves productivity by a lot, even for just a single account.
  • www.tweriod.com = if you’d like to know when your followers are online the most, use Tweriod. They’ll send you a report showing you when your followers are most active. From here you can schedule your best tweets using Tweetdeck so they get the most impact and following.
  • Find many more on the Twitter Tools Listly. There are many tools to follow metrics and statistics for Twitter accounts and show you exactly how to use your account to it’s fullest potential.

Pitfalls of a Twitter manager

Be careful when replying – as a Twitter manager, your voice is that of the accounts you are managing. You have to maintain a constant persona for each account and be careful not to stir up negativity in your followers. For example, I’ve created conversations by simply asking people about what they do in their daily lives. They then get interested enough in me to look at the company web page and learn more about the brand I’m managing.

Share for your audience, but avoid profanity – as you re-tweet content you’ll see great tweets that are inappropriate in language, but perfect in context. Tweak these tweets to be appropriate and make sure you read tweets over a few times. It is easy to quickly retweet something that makes you laugh in the context of the account you manage.

Always give recognition of the source – if you know where it came from, recognise the creator because Twitter is all about following conversations and tweets from the source. If you re-tweet without saying who the tweet is from a lot of the time users will feel you’ve cheated the impact of the original tweet. It discredits your account and makes it seem like you put less effort into it.

Have personality, but don’t be personal – avoid getting too comfortable in your role. Have strict rules in place with how relaxed you can be on interacting with your followers.

Balance your followers and followings – try to keep these levels the same or have your followings higher than the number of followers you have. This promotes constant growth and makes sure you’re friendly with everyone in the industry you’re following for whichever account you are managing.

Final notes on Twitter

Twitter is all about getting shared and found, getting the most notice from your tweets and connecting with your followers and industry more closely. That level maintains a professional feel but again being able to become personal with your customers and industry is incredibly powerful for a company’s public relations.

Have all your activities reflect these points and connect with your audience and your industry on a level like no other!

Warm email introduction – copy this campaign

Ever got an introduction to a new business prospect and wondered why they didn’t reply to your email enquiry?

Let us show you how to guarantee they read your message

Burning_Email_Symbol

Scenario:  Rebecca (that’s me) introduces you to Jonathan Lewis.  Hey, you should meet Jonathan, I’m sure you guys could work together.

What happens next is one of three possibilities

  1. Rebecca emails Jonathan and cc you into the message – this is the best possible next step because Rebecca is known and trusted by Jonathan so he’ll open the message and see the introduction.  PLUS you are cc so he gets your email and you see his and can reply direct keeping Rebecca cc if appropriate.
  2. Rebecca says she’ll email Jonathan and ask him to get in touch – this is the worst possible next step because you have no control over whether she does it, what she says, you don’t get Jonathan’s email address and you don’t see the message.  AVOID
  3. Rebecca gives you Jonathan’s email so you can get in touch – this is the median situation.  Your message will arrive in his in-box but he doesn’t know you, your email address won’t be white-listed and you risk being ignored

How to overcome scenario 3 above.

Your email subject line is critical

Writing this email is important – it’s your one big chance for Jonathan to notice you and make direct contact.

Ready for the perfect subject line?

Subject: Rebecca Caroe

Yes – that’s it.  Make the introducer’s name the subject of the message – this will grab their attention and they will surely notice your message.  Why is he writing to me about Rebecca?  Hey, I know Rebecca maybe that’s news about her?

Dear [First Name]

Rebecca Caroe and I met this week and we were talking about [name the project / expertise] and she has recommended you and I connect.  Her reason is that we are [state your business] and we need [state their business].

Can we fix a time to speak.  I am available on [name 2 dates and times here – at least 3 days ahead of today].

Very much looking forward to learning more about [name their business].

[your name]

Why this email works

It sets the context quickly – it does all the ‘thinking’ for the recipient.

You should be trusted with one phone chat or meeting because of the mutual connection (Rebecca) and you’ve given them an easy route for the reply message by suggesting the dates.

Go on, try it and tell me whether it worked for you!

New business development copywriting: Stalled prospects

September is the time business gets down to work after the summer break.  Blair Enns at the Win Without Pitching team say this is the perfect time to clean out your list of prospects and new business opportunities.

Find out which ones are going to buy and which aren’t worth your time chasing further.  Blair writes

Below is a simple email template that you can use to raise deals from the dead. It works throughout the year but this week, more than any other period in the calendar, is when it works best.

THE EMAIL

It was taught to me as The Takeaway but I refer to it by the subject line that I prefer: Closing The Loop. Draft it, modify it if you dare, but send it to all those prospects you were talking to over the summer about real projects only for them to disappear on you. That’s the intended purpose of this email – to raise deals from the dead and solicit a response from someone who has been avoiding you over the summer.

Your natural inclination is probably to do the opposite of what I’m about to suggest. Resist. Do not send an overly polite email. Do not make excuses for your prospect’s behaviour over the last few weeks. Do not email in pursuit of a yes or even an answer. No, your mission is to strip away all emotions and matter-of-factly just let your prospect go. Below is how to do this and then what to expect afterwards.

Ready?

Read the detailed email Blair recommends