The Social Media Revolution Is Changing Sales, Too


It’s accepted wisdom that the social media revolution has dramatically changed the world of marketing. But it’s also having a profound effect on sales, says Natalie Nathanson, the founder and president of Magnetude Consulting. Social selling tactics allow for a tighter alignment between sales and marketing, she says—and salespeople who adopted these tactics early on have generally enjoyed strong results.
For a complete listing of MindEdge’s course offerings on digital marketing, click here.


Copyright © 2018 MindEdge, Inc.

To Optimize Your Website, Think Mobile!


If you want to optimize your website for digital marketing, you need to think about SEO, and you need to create compelling content. But most of all, says Jackie LaVana, founder of 126 North Digital Marketing, you need to make sure your site is mobile-friendly. The majority of traffic to sites such as Facebook, she notes, now comes from mobile devices. So optimizing for mobile isn’t just a good idea—it’s absolutely essential.
For a complete listing of MindEdge’s course offerings on digital marketing, click here.


Copyright © 2018 MindEdge, Inc.

Advice to Nonprofit Marketers: Don’t Forget the Human Touch


In the nonprofit universe, there’s two kinds of marketing: reaching out to potential clients, and establishing relationships with potential donors. Julia Campbell, founder and principal of J Campbell Social Marketing, reminds us that in either case, there’s no substitute for the human touch. Most important of all: Don’t ever forget to say, "Thank you!"
For a complete listing of MindEdge’s nonprofit management courses, click here.


Copyright © 2018 MindEdge, Inc.

Digital Marketing: What’s the Plan?


In the world of digital marketing, it’s easy to get distracted by jaw-dropping new apps and exotic metrics. But a successful digital campaign needs to be grounded in a comprehensive and carefully thought-out strategic plan. This MindEdge video explains the five key steps in developing your digital marketing strategy.
For a complete listing of MindEdge’s course offerings on digital marketing, click here.


Copyright © 2018 MindEdge, Inc.

In Defense of Blogs

Content marketers love video, but words still matter

By Frank Connolly
Senior Editor, MindEdge Learning
Video content vs written content.
Content marketers, as a group, tend to fixate on trends. As well they should: you can’t give people what they want unless—well, unless you know what they want. And trends are one way to measure what the market is looking for.
But content marketers also fixate on trends within their own industry. A recent Google search for “content marketing trends 2018” returned 51.4 million results, many of them only a few days old. In the Land of Content, it seems, trend-spotting is a year-round thing.
What’s interesting is that, even as they churn out a seemingly endless stream of trend-defining literature, industry analysts focus on the same handul of trends, day after day. And what’s the most clearly defined content-marketing trend of all? That’s easy: Video rules!
Don’t take my word for it. Digital marketing guru Neil Patel insisted late last year that ”Live video is taking over.” Forbes contributor Brian Sutter argued last April that ”Video—live video in particular—is expected to be the darling of 2018.” Dreamgrow’s Martin Laird observed on June 12 that ”Video content marketing is on the rise”, only to be seconded a day later by Coredna’s Edward Dennis: ”Video will continue its rise in the years to come.”
Okay, okay, we get it—video is hot, and everything else is not. But in the face of this monolithic consensus, is it possible to offer even a brief defense of the written word? To be even more specific: Isn’t there anything good to be said for blogging?
I’ll admit that I’m biased: I’m left-brain verbal, not right-brain visual. As a professional writer and editor, I’ve been pushing nouns against verbs for a living ever since Jimmy Carter was President. Words matter to me, so I blog.
But the case for blogging relies on statistics, not sentiment. According to HubSpot, 53 percent of marketers identified blog content creation as their top inbound marketing priority in 2017. And a 2017 study by BuzzSumo found that long-form content, like blog posts, receives more social shares than short-form content. In fact, the BuzzSumo research suggests that, at least when it comes to blogs, longer is better: content in the 3,000- to 10,000-word range receives, on average, the most shares.
None of that would matter, from a content marketing perspective, if blogs didn’t deliver the goods. But they clearly do. Again according to HubSpot, B2B companies that blog generate 67 percent more leads per month than those that do not blog—and brands that create 15 blog posts per month average 1,200 new leads per month. Overall, companies that blog get 97 percent more inbound links than companies that do not.
Blogs work well because they can establish a brand as a trusted source of information and advice. Through blog posts, a business can address and solve customer problems, teach valuable skills, and elaborate on industry-related topics to establish an “expert” standing. Businesses can take advantage of the long-form format to create in-depth tutorials, how-to guides, product reviews, and interviews that inform and educate a target audience. And, when optimized for SEO, blogs are a surefire way to boost website traffic.
None of this is to say that video is unimportant; far from it. Video is becoming the dominant form of online content, and for good reason: it is both emotionally compelling and highly shareable. And there’s a wealth of research that shows blogs are even more effective when used in conjunction with visual images, including video. For instance, the BuzzSumo study cited above shows that blog posts that incorporate an image every 75 to 100 words are shared twice as often as content with fewer images.
The point is not that blogs are “better” content than video. It’s simply that they remain a highly effective way to build customer relationships, establish trust and expertise, and boost traffic to your website. Smart content marketers know that—even in an online world dominated by video—words still matter.
For a complete listing of MindEdge’s marketing courses, including “Content Marketing,”click here.


Copyright © 2018 MindEdge, Inc.

Content Marketing: Plans and Strategies


Content marketing requires both a big-picture strategy and a nuts-and-bolts plan, says Meaghan Corson, a video marketing speaker and consultant and a former television journalist. Most, important, she insists: both plan and strategy need to relate clearly and directly to your business goals.
For a complete listing of MindEdge’s course offerings on digital marketing, click here.


Copyright © 2018 MindEdge, Inc.

Paid Search: Think of It as Your Digital Sales Team


Paid search is an integral part of any digital marketing strategy, says CL Tian, the founder and CEO of PINKOA, a digital strategy and marketing firm. It’s kind of like the digital-world equivalent of a corporate sales team, with electrons and algorithms taking the place of—well, people like us.
For a complete listing of MindEdge’s course offerings on marketing—soon to include a new course on Paid Search—click here.


Copyright © 2018 MindEdge, Inc.

Dude, Where’s My Keyword?

Is SEO as optimal as we think it is?

By Joe Peters
Editor, MindEdge Learning
In December 2000, 20th Century Fox released the inexplicably successful Dude, Where’s My Car?, a motion picture so puerile that the Chicago Tribune suggested audiences would leave the theater exclaiming, “Dude, I can’t believe I sat through that movie!” During that same week, a tech startup named Google released its toolbar extension, integrating its cutting-edge “page rank” search engine into browsers.
A graphic of a web browser with the letters SEO above the search bar.
Google’s subsequent meteoric rise gave us the industry of search engine optimization, whose practitioners soon discovered a principle long embraced by Hollywood: You’ll never go broke giving people what they want.
But now, after almost two decades of instantaneously available information, we’re beginning to see signs that both SEO and the search engines behind it are becoming as dated as stoner buddy comedies.
In the early days of the web, writing and coding for search engines was a straightforward but crude business. Search engine ranking was based mainly on how often a word appeared on a web page. Where it appeared (in a heading, title, etc.) may have had some influence, but search ranking was primarily a quantity-driven metric.
Google, however, took a broader view of things. It recognized that web sites aren’t independent silos—they are linked to each other. Logically, it reasoned that if a lot of sites link to one particular page, that page is probably a good source of information. This insight was borrowed from academia, where the credibility of research is typically measured by how often it is cited in other research.
Of course, the credibility of academic research has come under attack in recent years: in a 2005 paper, Stanford professor John Ioannidis famously claimed that most research findings (but not his, of course) are in fact false. Similarly, netizens are coming to realize that the frequency with which certain information is shared or linked has no bearing on its accuracy.
Burned by the rise of “fake news,” exaggerated memes, and paid advertising, search-engine users don’t seem to trust search results as much as they once did. While the top-ranked results still get the most clicks, recent research shows that the gap between the top and middle results is closing—indicating that users are often clicking multiple links, trying to triangulate good information.
But if SEO really is in decline, the reason may lie not in the technology, but rather in the premise of optimization. It’s possible, even likely, that there is not a single authoritative answer to every query—and even if there is, can you really trust the authority behind it?
Whether you are searching for the function of the intermediate vector boson (that’s a real thing, by the way) or seeking an assessment of the best Ashton Kutcher movies, the truth can depend not only on perspective, but also on time. Which is to say: if you want to find the truth, you need to spend some time looking for it.
To those digital natives young enough to have never heard the tones of a dial-up modem, such an assertion may run contrary to their always-connected sensibilities. However, for those raised on the Dewey Decimal library catalog, the idea of retrieving multiple sources and taking the time to read them with a discerning eye is not so foreign.
In March 2018, a roar of vindication went up from the Internet’s retirement communities when the US Federal Trade Commission released a report showing that users between the ages of 20 and 29 are twice as likely as users over age 70 to lose money in online scams. The blue-hairs of the information superhighway may not be fast, but at least they don’t have to be furious at their own gullibility.
As technology becomes more integrated into the fabric of our lives (in some cases literally), the challenges of optimization will continue to grow. But even as Google et al. seek the Mother of All Algorithms to connect people with information and products, the rest of us should remember that Silicon Valley is under constant pressure to turn a profit.
While the naysayers can post objections on their MySpace accounts, the reality is that technology giants function much like Hollywood studios: their currency is popularity, not necessarily quality. In October 2000, Warner Brothers released Pay It Forward, a critically acclaimed drama about a teacher challenging young students to improve the world. It grossed roughly two-thirds of what Dude, Where’s My Car? made. As much as we have accelerated our information resources today, there remains an axiom perhaps first coined in the days of Gutenberg: what is right not always popular, and what is popular is not always right.
For a complete listing of MindEdge’s courses on SEO and related topics in digital marketing, click here.


Copyright © 2018 MindEdge, Inc.

How Much Content Is Enough?


Content marketing is based on the idea of using digital content—blogs, videos, whitepapers, infographics, and the like—to create and sustain positive relationships between a company and its potential customers. But just how much content does your company need to create? And how often do you need to distribute it? Dave Charest, director of content marketing for the Endurance International Group, says there’s no hard-and-fast answer to those questions. You have to take into account your company’s resources and its business goals, he advises: “What it all boils down to is, what the business can handle.”
For a complete listing of MindEdge’s digital marketing courses, click here.


Copyright © 2018 MindEdge, Inc.