Trending March 2024 # Affiliate Marketing Trends, Crazy Pr Stunts & Dropping F # Suggested April 2024 # Top 9 Popular

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“I have a requirement and people that have worked for me can vouch for this. Within the first five minutes of an onboarding call or initial call, we swear twice. One of them has to be an F-bomb. The main reason is pretty much if you’re going to work with me and my team, you’re working with creatives. I like to say people don’t hire us for brain power, they hire us for the crazy.”

He’s done a lot of things to get links – from sponsoring drag queens at a drag race to dressing chihuahuas up in tacos and Wiener dog costumes with URLs on them and sending them to races where the media is going to be.

Some might call these ideas crazy. Yet they work.

That’s part of why companies hire Adam Riemer.

He and his team can come up with those really crazy PR stunts that don’t cost much money but generate a positive media response.

“We like to come up with really cool ideas and keyword expansions and unique things you probably haven’t thought of. Some of them can be a bit outlandish…”

But more than the eccentricity surrounding his marketing ideas, Adam is one of the smartest and most helpful people I know – and we’re lucky to have him in the community.

In today’s edition of The Search Engine Journal Show, get to know long-time online marketing veteran Adam Riemer better.

About Adam Riemer

Adam is a Digital Marketing Strategy and Execution Consultant and is the CEO of Adam Riemer Marketing.

He has been in the industry for more than 15 years with experience in SEO and ethical affiliate management, among others.

He’s a two-time Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Award winner for Affiliate Manager of the Year.

He has spoken at tons of conferences including Pubcon, Big Digital Adelaide, Affiliate Summit, ShiftCon, and many more.

Listen to this episode of the Search Engine Journal Show as Adam and I talk about affiliate marketing, crazy PR stunts, and more (with some F-bombs dropped along the way.)

Show Notes

Adam talks about his specialization as a digital marketing strategy and execution consultant. [2:30]

Becoming an affiliate marketer and doing SEO at the same time. [3:31]

One of the things that people should be paying attention to: Privacy policies that are blocking marketers’ ability to track. [4:54]

Here’s how Adam is working around the privacy regulations that pose issues for his clients.  [5:54]

On strategies or tactics in SEO: “Nothing’s really changed.” [7:08]

“A lot of branding companies are starting to take over and get involved in marketing and blocking SEOs from being able to do their parts… Engineering also has more of a say than marketing on the website, especially how it’s loaded and coded and what can and cannot be done.” [8:18]

Adam’s favorite tools at the moment. [12:29]

What his workday looks like depends on his mood and on the season. [14:57]

The story of how Adam got into SEO and marketing involves deejaying at raves in the ’90s and putting up Angelfire websites, among others. [16:26]

The best learning method that worked for Adam? “Teaching myself, trading information, training consulting, and building a network of peers. ” [20:12]

When he first went out on his own, he encountered difficulties involving clients leaving and other unexpected experiences. [20:50]

How to plan for the unexpected (i.e., losing clients).  [21:53]

Adam’s “unique” requirement for determining whether a client is the right fit. [23:27]

The

thing

being

t

hat keeps Adam motivated when things are a little rocky. [25:27]

He’s found some really cool successes with his organic search clients, as well as in using Pinterest as a way to get into publications and Facebook as a way to get into media. [25:59]

His takeaways from his experience working with an abusive client: “Important to listen to warning signs and trust your instinct… If you know it’s going to be abusive, just say no. No matter what the money is or how good the money is, stay the heck away from it and once it starts to happen, cut your losses.” [27:36]

Speaking at conferences (plus getting in front of people and having to shake hands) is actually a nightmare for Adam. Here’s how he manages to do it – and why. [33:24]

Adam’s top survival tip for people who think they can never do a conference: “Stay just far enough away and just close enough.” [34:37]

On contributing to Search Engine Journal’s Ask an SEO column this year. [36:50]

What winning the Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Award for Affiliate Manager of the Year twice meant to Adam. [41:52]

If he wasn’t doing search or marketing, Adam would probably be a chef or a restaurant owner. [44:35]

Adam shares his personal time management and productivity tips. [45:43]

Insights for newcomers in the industry who want to eventually become successful. [50:37]

What Adam likes about SEO right now. [52:04]

Adam’s pro tips on how an affiliate site could attract backlinks: “Think about the things the brands can’t do and create those. That would be beneficial or helpful to an end-user and by creating that type of content, you’ve created something that’s worth sourcing and worth linking to because it will help other people’s readers.” [55:15]

Coming up with really crazy PR stunts that don’t cost very much money and generate a positive media response is why companies hire Adam and his team. [56:42]

One of the things that Adam is forever grateful for is having multiple families in the industry. “My favorite part of the job is having actual people that I care about. Work is work. I get to have fun. I get to be creative… But it’s my work family that’s what makes it special.” [58:47]

What’s next for Adam Riemer? [1:00:55]

Links from the Episode

How to connect with Adam Riemer:

People Mentioned

This podcast is brought to you by Ahrefs and Opteo.

To listen to this Search Engine Show: Better Know an SEO Pro Podcast with Adam Riemer:

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2024 Marketing Trends: Focusing On Mobile Marketing

Including 4 practical tips on mobile optimisation

With 2024 fast approaching, we within the marketing industry start to ask ourselves, what’s next? When prompted about their thoughts on the digital marketing trends of 2024, a large number of industry experts gave a similar response as shown in our recent survey Digital Trends for 2024. The answers given by many suggested that mobile marketing is now, and will be the pinnacle of brands’ marketing strategy.

There’s a similar pattern in the Smart Insights poll of Digital Marketing Trends in 2024 with mobile marketing in third place behind content marketing and marketing automation.

Rand Fishkin of Moz suggested that:

‘for many consumer-focused tasks, mobile is likely to eat away at desktop share’.

With this is mind, we looked into some of our own analytics to see if this correlation was in fact true. Below are a set of results for total sessions running the full month of September 2014:

As you can see, the total amount of mobile sessions is more than double that of desktop and tablet. So what does this say about our client’s conversion results, and more importantly, will the session data show a correlation with the platform most purchased from?

Below I have evidenced the total percentage of revenue made per device for September 2014:

Looking at the data above, it is clear that even though desktop has less than half of total sessions, it still brings in over 3 times more revenue than that on mobile. Now why is this?

I think the reason for this pattern is a balance of convenience vs. security. Put briefly consumers have two preferences when it comes to purchasing, convenience, and security. Mobiles and tablets alike offer an optimal amount of convenience to the user, given that they can purchase anytime, anywhere. However, how many of you reading this can honestly say you would purchase something of a value over £100 using a mobile phone?

Especially with high-involvement purchases, consumers still tend to put their trust into the well-known and established desktop. Mobile e-commerce is still a fairly new concept to the industry, and thus will take time to build the trust that the desktop has already established.

This doesn’t explain then, why the high rate of mobile sessions? According to Mobify, there are 3 modes of mobile user experience: “Urgent Now – Repetitive Now – Bored Now”.

Each of these suggests a different aspect as to why a user is browsing using a mobile, which could explain such the high volume of mobile usage at present.

Urgent Now suggests the consumer is in desperate need of information related to location or activity

Repetitive Now states that a user are seeking recurring real time information;

Bored Now implies the user is in search of entertainment or distraction.

So how do these definitions help us? By monitoring your pages (tools and methods explained later), you can start to analyse what type of user is browsing your site. After all, Urgent Now users may be looking to your site for information to later purchase them on a desktop.

In fact, a further statistic measured by Mobify suggests that 90% of users move between devices to accomplish a goal. Further, John Rampton has suggested that ‘most transactions nowadays start on a mobile and finish on a desktop’.

This could, and most likely does explain the miscorrelation in our figures, as many users may have researched on mobile, and paid on desktop; think of it as an assisted conversion on desktop.

It is evident that for many mobile should play a large part of your strategy in 2024 if you haven’t already addressed it.  It isn’t just enough, however, to incorporate some shabby mobile site, after all, the majority of users will bounce if it takes any more than 3 seconds to load. So the real question now is, how do we optimise our site for both conversion goals and referral traffic to desktop? Simple; measure-implement-measure.

There are numerous ways you can look into optimising your website for mobile, quite frankly, there are too many to write about in depth, unless you wanted a mobile sequel to the harry potter books, so instead I am going to list the most important aspects to look out for when optimising your mobile strategy.

User experience is the bread and butter of building a strong mobile strategy. UX can be broken down into three key areas, design, intuitive navigation and relevant content. It is important to remember that Google as a search engine wants to please its visitors, thus you must design your UX to do the same.

4 Tips to ensure a good user experience

To ensure a good enough UX, you must first take into account aspects such as speed, responsiveness, retargeting and optimising your CTA’s, after all, if it is a conversion you are wanting, these 4 points need to be met.

1. Optimising page loading times

Page speed can have a devastating effect on UX, and ultimately the success of your mobile strategy. As I mentioned earlier, if your site doesn’t load in 3 seconds or less, users are likely to take their business elsewhere. So how do we look into our page speed and more importantly, how can we make it faster?

2. Google page speed insights

Google’s Page Speed Insights is an extremely convenient tool that measures both the speed of your mobile and desktop site. Within seconds of entering your URL, this tool will have crawled your whole mobile and desktop site and tested it for speed, as well as finding out what could be improved within the backend of your site. Below is a demonstration of searching for my agencies URL:

As you can see, not only does this tool tell you what you should change, it also shows how you can do so. There are also little techniques without using this tool you can use to improve the page speed, such as: optimising your images, using caching plugins, deactivating unused widgets and plugins, using a content delivery network (CDN), as well as choosing the right web host. For more detail around these areas, take a look at 5 tips to make your site load faster.

3. Creating a Responsive and User Friendly Site Tips for website responsiveness

There are a number of points to consider when making your site responsive. I have listed some brief points below:

Keep it simple: use as much standard HTML as possible, veering away from complex JS or CSS3 systems for structure.

Use media queries: set already sized styles dependant on what device the site is shown on. I.e. @image (min-width: 200px) @image (max-width: 640px).

Define the breakpoints: every device has a common breakpoint. For example, first gen smartphones in portrait are <480px.

Make layout flexible: use flexible grids, as these organize content, as well as use relative width to adapt the viewport size. This means you can be ready for any screen size, providing you tie in the Media Queries effectively.

Optimising images: simply adjusting the width and style can make your pictures flexible to smaller screens too. Eg. IMG {max-width: 100%;} instead of IMG {width: 100%}.

Linearize and skip non-essential content: linearizing mobile content (putting into one column) is essential in the low resolution style sheets. This can be simply done by overriding the width of every column bloc in your mobile style sheets. Also remember, not every aspect of your desktop site will be used in a mobile context, therefore refine what will be used, and apply a {.not_mobile} class to your non-essential elements.

Check your meta viewport: one thing you do not want to be doing is squeezing your desktop version onto mobile through emulating the desktop site. This may be a powerful feature, however it does not help responsiveness. To make sure your site isn’t squeezing 1280px onto a 480px screen, set up device width in the head section. For example:

This will allow your site to realise the browser and set the width accordingly.

Of course if you do not have the technical expertise for this phase, you can always use generators such as HTML5 UP, as a way of generating coded templates that will provide you with a fully responsive, customizable and intelligent responsive design template.

4. Track and Measure Your Mobile Site Hot Jar

By following in detail the traffic on your page, you can start to gain an insight into any alterations needed on the sight to improve UX and ultimately, optimise CTA’s and increase conversion rates.

Hot Jar is a brand new tool allowing you to do this. Even though it is still in its Beta phase, Hot Jar allows you to view a swarm of information, including Heatmaps, Feedback and Exit Polls, Online Surveys, Funnel and Form Analysis, Visitor Session Playback, Proactive Chat and you can even recruit possible participants for user research on your site.

Below I have demonstrated a few examples of the tool in use:

This first image evidences the average scrolling habit of 111 visitors to our website. As you can see, the ‘above the fold’ section make ups has 100% visibility, however further down the page gradually starts to decrease, with a large section of the site not even being viewed on a mobile device.

The final image is the playback tool. This presents the mouse movement and website navigation of people that landed on your site. You can see where there mouse has scrolled, as well as monitor their experience. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realise their potential benefit of having this information.

By having all of this information, you can start to put together a portfolio of evidence, regarding changing UX preferences and habits, consequently changing your CTA’s and overall website accordingly.

Optimizely Tool

Measuring with information you have gained is the final and most important step, after all, you need to measure exactly how your website is performing after you have made changes. We are all well equipped with the knowledge of A/B testing as a stand-alone method of reviewing changes and comparing different webpage designs. A/B testing, much like heat mapping, takes the guess-work out of website optimisation. It allows you to show visitors two versions of your site letting them determine the best.

Optimizely is a great tool to use that allows exactly this. They have unlimited resources that allows you to put everything you have learned using previous methods I have mentioned into action, and then test it. If you recall earlier, I said the best way to go about mobile optimisation is measure-implement-measure.

By using Optimizely and Hot Jar, you can measure different aspects of your mobile site, gain strong recommendations, implement them, and then use the tools to measure them again.

Content Management Tools

As Dave Chaffey rightly suggests, customer journey should also be something focused on as opposed to just looking at single page analytics. In his article ‘Digital Marketing Trends 2024’

Dave suggests tools such as Adobe Customer Experience Manager, EpiServer and Sitecore for monitoring customer journeys across your whole website.

These content management tools provide a combination of web content management with customer intelligence, in order to provide you with the knowledge to drive real engagement.

By implementing these tools into your mobile strategy, as well as single on page element analytics, you can really gain huge insights into your audience, and provide the best UX possible.

One last note to take away; consumer behaviour is an ever changing element, so if you think you can measure once and be fine, you are so wrong! If you want to succeed in your mobile marketing strategy, I would strongly recommend abiding by a continuous circle of measure-implement-measure.

Image/Copyright: chúng tôi and My Social Agency

What Is Strategic Pr And How Is It Different From Tactical Pr?

Amir:                Hey, and welcome back to the B2B Brand and Demand podcast with me your host, Amir Bazrafshan. The B2B Brand and Demand podcast is all about the importance of building your brand to generate demand in the world of B2B marketing. And today’s guest is Liz Churchman. She is a B2B PR expert, and we’re going to be covering a ton of useful topics in this episode that’s going to help you to do better PR, build your brand, and generate more demand for your B2B brand. So let’s just jump straight into it. Okay, so Liz, thank you very much for being with us today. Can you tell us who you are and a little bit about what you do?

Liz:                   I am Liz Churchman. Basically, my role is Client Services Director of Emmett & Churchman Limited, EC-PR for short, and we are a boutique B2B agency. Very much our sweet spot is around tech scaleup, startups, and delivering a strategic approach to PR. A bit more about my role, what does client services director mean? It basically means that across the board, across our client roster, I’m looking after those clients, making sure that they are happy with what we’re delivering, and that’s both from a, I suppose, a strategic perspective but also a tactical perspective.

1. What does a strategic approach to PR look like?

Amir:                Okay. That’s really interesting. And something that you said in there sort of stood out to me that you take a strategic approach to PR. Could you talk a little bit about what PR is, some common misconceptions, and then perhaps share a little bit about what a strategic approach to PR might look like?

Liz:                   Yes. So I think you’re absolutely right. There can be some misconceptions of what PR is. It’s very true to say that PR is very much around, for us, it’s about educating, influencing, and persuading your audience, and it’s really important that when people embark on a PR journey that they understand that that’s not something that you can do in seconds, or minutes, or days. And I think for the most part, the people that or the clients that we deal with, they do understand that. And if they don’t, we’re unlikely to be working with them. It’s ensuring that, reinforcing that point that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Brand awareness in its entirety is not something that happens overnight. And we talk about five truisms when we build that case for PR, and we talk about them being: people can’t buy something they haven’t heard of, people don’t trust something that they are not familiar with, people are ambivalent about what you say about yourself because, “Well, you would say that wouldn’t you?” and your brand is whatever the customer perceives it to be, not what your marketing says it is.

2. Third party endorsement and the importance of journalists in niche markets

Liz:                        And the final one there is that, for us, we’re true believers in the fact that the most effective sales tactic always has been and forever will be third-party endorsement. And if you think about that third party endorsement, journalists are your ultimate third party.

Amir:                Right. Absolutely. That’s fantastic though. There’s a lot of gold in there, and I love how you’ve identified that it’s a journalist. I suppose they’ve already got a platform themselves.

Liz:                   Yes.

Amir:                They’re not random people, they’re people that have got a perspective, maybe even got an audience as well, so being endorsed by those people will have a knock-on effect on how you are perceived as well.

Liz:                   Absolutely. And particularly, in some of the niche markets, I mean, we love tech and we work in some very niche markets. And when you think about those niche markets, whether that’s InsurTech, electronics, you have journalists who have been in that industry for quite a while, and they’ve built up their own brand, and they are well respected and credible and have an authoritative voice. And if you can plug into that and nurture a relationship with those people, it’s going to do wonders for your brand awareness.

3. Strategic PR isn’t about press releases

Amir:                Right, that’s a great point. On the topic of PR, can you dispel a myth that PR is easy because all it is putting out a press release?

Amir:                Yeah. So that was a really interesting what you said there. You said that you might do similar tactics to other PR firms, I’m sort of paraphrasing I suppose, but where you’re getting most value, where you derive most value is from the strategic work that then informs the execution of those tactics.

Liz:                   Yeah, absolutely.

Amir:                Okay. So we mentioned kind of senior buy-in. Could you talk about common pushbacks that you might have kind of experienced and how, if there’s a marketing manager listening to this, if they’re keen on doing that impactful strategic PR work, how might they approach team management? What might their arguments comprise of?

5. How strategic PR can help shorten the sales cycle

We need to have a very in depth understanding of who it is we’re targeting. If we don’t, how can we communicate with them? We need to really understand those people, and that’s part of that strategic approach that we take. We’ve been with clients before where they’ve said, “Oh yeah, we know who our target buyer or persona,” sometimes they’re called personas, “we know who that persona is,” but when you actually dig deeper into it, it’s a very loose understanding. They haven’t looked at motivations, they haven’t looked at fears, they’ve not looked at pet peeves or pain points. They’ve just done a little bit of a short exercise to say, “Well, this is their job title, and they work in this kind of company,” and it tends to be very loose. And the point here is that you do have to do that deep dive, otherwise there’s no point in doing it.

So I’ll stop there because I know that I’ve kind of fired quite a lot there. And again, as I said, that communication strategy piece, for us, is our single differentiator from our perspective because without it, you are pretty much flying blind. And that’s not just from a PR perspective, but that’s also from a pure marketing perspective as well. Because as far as we are concerned, any business will have a business plan, and the communication strategy should sit directly under that business plan. It’s informing the business plan. And without it you are basically doing a spray and pray approach to any of your marketing PR activity. That’s how integral it is.

6. Why target personas are so important

Amir:                Yeah, there’s a lot of wisdom in what you just said there. That was amazing. So again, we come back to the importance of strategy and strategic approach and really making sure that there’s an alignment between business strategy and the communications strategy. And something that comes up again when we speak to customers is going in as a third party, I imagine you bring not just your skills and experience and your contacts, but also perspective and distance from things like a persona where you can poke holes in a healthy way so you can get that depth that you need. Because it sounds like what you’re saying is that persona is really key and having a very tightly defined persona so that the messaging can be again aligned with them, their goals, their struggles, to create that relevance at the top of the funnel, which creates that attention that you need I suppose.

Liz:                   Yeah, absolutely. It’s critical, and it really does inform, as you said, everything that we would then do. Because as far as we’re concerned, once you understand and you can articulate what that pain point is, what’s that one thing that your persona, what keeps them up at night? And if you keep rallying back to that, you will instill trust and credibility and authority, which then lends itself so nicely into the brand awareness piece. We talk a lot about being visible, but we want to make sure that our clients are visible, valued, and understood. That’s what we talk about. So visible. If they don’t see you, they can’t become familiar with you. Valued. If they don’t trust you, they won’t choose you. And understood. If they don’t understand you, they can’t prefer you. So a lot of what we’re doing is trying to build that empathy and that trust, and you can only do that by talking your customer’s language. I’m kind of touching upon one of your other questions, but, again, I’ll stop there because you can probably tell I get quite passionate about this subject!

Amir:                No, no, no, don’t stop yourself. If you’ve got something to say, go ahead and do it because I’m learning a lot. I’m sure the audience is learning a lot as well. I love the “visible, valued, and understood”. It almost sounds like a little mantra to me.

Liz:                   Yeah, it really is. I mean, again, when we’re out in the industries, and it really doesn’t matter what industry it is, but tech in particular, you see a lot of B2B businesses being very good at talking about themselves and their products and their services. They can drill out any feature of a product any day of the week, but very rarely will you go onto a website where you can genuinely say that they put the customers at the heart of their comms. For me, you should hit a homepage and it should all be about that customer. It shouldn’t be about the business at all, it should be about your customers. And that itself, you cannot do without being strategic, without going through that strategic piece at the very outset. And yes, okay, there’s been times when we’ve had personas, which actually have been quite detailed, but what happens is it almost stops there. They’ve got the persona, but actually they’ve not then gone on to do the messaging.

7. Develop your AIDA messaging – what to say to your target persona

Liz:                  So, if you think about every the AIDA model, awareness, interest, decision, and action, that’s typically the sales cycle. It doesn’t matter what market or what industry we’re talking about, that is what a buyer will go through. And what you should be doing is identifying your personas and then thinking about the message you want to deliver as that buyer goes through that journey, and I think that’s where B2B businesses sometimes fall down is that messaging piece can be missing because that’s your holy grail. Once you’ve got that messaging and once you understand how your buyer consumes content, bring the two together and you have your marketing and PR plan. You know that, for example, LinkedIn is where they consume a lot of their content. Right, let’s think about LinkedIn as a channel. How can we engage them on LinkedIn?

We know what our message is. Now, let’s do some videos or let’s do some written blogs or… Whatever that tactic ends up being, it becomes a tactic that is strategically targeted and focused on that persona we’ve identified. Incredibly powerful once you pull that all together. It does take time. We run a two-day workshop to deliver or to get a first iteration of that comm strategy, but oh my god, have those hairs on your arms standing up on end once you have that moment of clarity because it just completely makes sense then.

8. The difference between strategic PR and tactical PR when devising PR output

Amir:                Right. So again, we’ve touched on tactics, et cetera. And again, it sounds like you’re saying that the difference between, say two different blog posts, which is the same tactic, the difference between one working and not working, i.e, appealing to the audience and generating engagement and the start of a relationship, is the strategy behind that and, like you say, perhaps the segmentation, positioning, and messaging that forms a foundation of all of that.

It’s still a list of tactics, but they’re strategically focused because what you then do is map each of those pieces of content to each of the stages of that messaging journey. In real terms, and in my mind, you should not be veering off that not that north star because if you do veer off, it’s not having an impact on being able to do that visible, valued, and understood piece with your target personas. It’s okay to go off strategy sometimes, of course it is. There might be a real genuine reason for the business to do that, but it’s important that you consciously have that decision made rather than it just being something that you’ve not actually discussed. You’ve made a conscious decision to go off strategy slightly because there’s a very valid reason, but actually what we need to do is get back onto our strategic focus, which is whatever that might be, whether that’s one persona that you’re targeting or two or three.

But that, again, is all dependent on budget size, which sometimes is quite a challenge, particularly within B2B. Marketers might have few resources and a limited budget, so that’s where the strategy can really play a fundamental role in making sure that every penny you’re spending is working as hard as possible.

Amir:                Right. That makes sense. I love the concept of the ideas bank. It sounds like it’s a really powerful asset to have, like you say, to keep you on track with that north star that a good strategy can be, and, I suppose, help to prevent the overtactification of any marketing and PR work because we all love our tactics, don’t we.

9. Make sure your strategic approach isn’t eroded by one-off tactics

Liz:                   Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And it’s really kind of being brave with that as well because I think more often than not, it’s being brave and pushing back. We’ve all been there. We might have a CEO who decides that he really wants to speak at an event, for example, and he knows that this event is quite high profile, and he or she needs to be on there, but when you challenge and say, “Okay, well what impact is that going to have on our strategy in terms of engaging and persuading our target personas and getting in front of those target personas?” More often than not, they will come back and say, “Well, it’s not,” and it tends to end up being what you found when you drill down, it’s actually more of a vanity thing.

And that’s okay as well, but, again, it goes back to that point of actually discussing that within the business and saying, “Okay, CEO over here, you’re willing to take the time to do that, that’s great, but let’s just be mindful of the fact that it’s not strategically going to impact what we’re trying to do,” and that is okay. But just as long as everything’s weighted almost that 80/20 or 90/10, everything is more weighted towards that strategic focus rather than just going off on tangents.

10. How B2B brands can recognize that they need to make a change and take a strategic PR approach

Amir:                Yeah. Okay. That’s really interesting. Just to push things like forwards a little bit more, and people listening to this maybe can think about the answer to this, but in your experience, what are some of the symptoms that B2B brands experience when they need to do more brand awareness work via PR, et cetera, or another approach? What are some of the ways in which B2B brands are perhaps suffering, even if they’re not fully aware, but they’ll be experiencing some kind of symptoms, I suppose, that there’s a need to take some kind of action in the way that you’re talking about? Can you talk to perhaps the most prominent ones?

11. Inconsistent or dull messaging in the business will betray brand awareness efforts

No business wants to be a me too. They want to differentiate, they want to have compelling messaging. But again, you mentioned it earlier, is sometimes having an external, like us coming in, seeing it with a fresh set of eyes, asking the right questions, challenging the business, all of a sudden you get that golden nugget of uniqueness or differentiation, which you probably wouldn’t have got if you were continuing to have those discussions internally. So that tends to be the things that are happening within the business that prompts them to be thinking, “We need to do something around our brand awareness piece.”

Amir:                Right. And I love that and I love sort of that bringing it back to the mantra. It sounds like if people are experiencing those on a macro level, I suppose or a principle level, the cure is going to be: be more visible, be more valued, and be more understood.

Liz:                   Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

Amir:                And the things like lead quality will no doubt take care of themselves, sales cycles, even perhaps average deal sizes as well, which you’ve sort of built that brand, that familiarity and that relationship at scale with your audience.

12. Inconsistent messaging weakens business fundamentals, not just its brand awareness

Liz:                   Yeah, it’s absolutely that brand awareness, that brand value as well. If we think about, again, knock-on effects, if you have some of those challenges within your business, what you’ll find is that it’s not just the brand piece, but it’s actually you might have high staff turnover, you might have high customer churn as well, or even a lack of customers. So it’s just taking the bigger picture as well, that inconsistency in how you describe yourself as a business and what you believe makes unique, it’s such a fundamental part and it needs to be led from the top. Which is why when we do our strategy piece, we are engaging with the senior members of the team across the business. That should include product or services, it should include operations, it should include HR, it should include the CEO, finance.

You should have representatives from right across the business who will be involved in pooling together or sharing insight and knowledge in order for that strategy piece to be pulled together because it won’t come to life unless those people are bought into it, engaged with it, and then pushing that out within their departments. Otherwise, there’s no point. It’s a strategy for strategy sake.

13. Internal buy-in and validation of a communication strategy

Amir:                Right. It sounds like what you were describing then, it sounds like there almost needs to be an internal alignment before you can put that out to the market externally. Would you say that’s accurate?

Liz:                   Yeah, there’s an internal and an external. And the internal, absolutely, we encourage our clients to make sure that even if it ends up being some kind of town hall session where you present it back to the business the core components of that strategy, what our value proposition is, the target sectors we’re going after, what our commercial imperatives are over the next six to 12 months. And in order to deliver against those commercial imperatives, who do we need to be speaking to, and then that obviously feeds into the target persona work and then subsequent messaging. But externally, before you start thinking about activating or executing that strategy, it is incredibly important that you validate it. So if you’re spending the time pooling together messaging for personas, you have to go out to the market and test that and validate it because… And obviously, you might have to do that on a small scale, which is fine, but you need to have confidence that what you’re saying and the language that you’re using is going to resonate with those target personas.

And when we’ve gone through that validation exercise with clients, they have said how powerful it has been for them just having that clarity. Because often, they’ll do the messaging and then not validate it. It’s like, “Well, again, you need to make sure that you are speaking to those customers and going to a trusted network to ensure that what you’re saying does reasonate.”

Amir:                Yeah, it sounds like a really logical step and a really foundational and fundamental step. But in my experience, I find that it’s not always part… in the vast majority of cases, it’s not part of the plan.

Liz:                   No. You do often get that light bulb moment when you’re talking about the comm strategy. And in some respects, it’s not that you oversimplify it, but it just seems so simple, a simple thing when you talk about it. It’s like, “Well, of course. Yeah, that completely makes sense,” but what you find is that that knock-on effect as to what that then helps you to do is often missed. And again, it’s that buy-in piece, isn’t it? It’s our job to make sure that people understand the power of that comm strategy and what it can then deliver. Because we’re not then doing our job properly if we can’t articulate that. So yeah, it is incredibly important.

14. Next steps to begin a strategic PR journey in B2B – budget, time and resources

Amir:                Okay, so just to round off now, people are listening to this, maybe they’re fired up in wanting to dive into able to see the value and the benefit of it. What might be some decent next steps that somebody could do or some dos and don’ts to help them to enter the world of doing this strategic PR?

Liz:                   I think it’s just we recognise, and particularly within the B2B world, we’re not talking about big consumer brands here who have got multi-squillion pound budgets. We’re recognizing that few marketers will have that ideal world budget, so budget time or even resource, which means that they have to prioritize. What we also, in our experience, recognise is that businesses who may in some pieces not actually have someone… they have got someone in marketing, but they might not necessarily have the credentials. So what often happens is that people who are maybe started off in an admin type role or are recognized for being very organized, they tend to kind of amalgamate themselves into a type of marketing role. And yes, okay, they might not have the credentials, and the knock-on effect of that is that they end up becoming very, very tactical because they have a perceived idea that, “Okay, marketing is about this, and PR is about that,” so that can have a knock-on impact in terms of what they actually are able to deliver.

15. How a PR strategy helps with marketing prioritization

Liz:                    But I think the most important thing here is if we have got marketers in that role, they will be limited on budget, time, and resource, and that’s where it’s like, “I have to prioritise because I can’t do everything.” And having that robust strategy in place helps you to prioritise. It means that you don’t get pulled from pillar to post. I mean, we talk to our marketers all the time, and they say, “Oh, I’m being asked to do this. I’m being asked to do that,” and what we do is we challenge, we go, “Well, how does that fit into our strategy and have that conscious decision and that pushback,” and we’re not afraid to do that because we believe in the cause. We believe in helping to deliver more of a strategic approach because we know the value that it can deliver.

16. How your PR strategy can deliver results in the next six months

Liz:                    So get that robust strategy in place, spend the time to do that, and answer those key questions. So involve the right people that I’ve talked about. I’ve said people from across the business, set that commercial context. That’s incredibly important as well because then it doesn’t become that strategy that’s, “Oh, it’s in five years’ time. I’m not going to worry about it yet.” If you set a commercial context of the next quarter or the next six months, it puts urgency on what you’re doing. You say, “Right, we’ve got to deliver this amount of revenue in the next six months. Okay, well how can marketing and PR support that? Okay, well let’s look at our value proposition. Is it robust enough? Is it differentiating us? How are we going to prioritize our sectors? We can’t go after everything. Let’s think about the budget we’ve got and what we can realistically prioritize.”

And then you get into, “Okay, realistically, how many personas can we actually proactively go after?” And that’s the important bit as well here is that it’s… We’re talking about proactiveness. You might naturally get some reactive buyers coming into your funnel, which is great, but surely that lends itself into the brand awareness piece, doesn’t it? Because if you increase your brand awareness, that might naturally happen anyway. And then again, validate that thinking. So marketing is designed to be the voice of the customer, so marketing is all about understanding the customer’s pain point in terms of whether that’s product, price, place, and promotion. That should be the marketer’s defence against the business when they want to pool activity. This is what we’re doing. This is what marketing is focused on – the customer’s pain point. And if we do that and we create messaging around that pain point and validate thinking, we are going to be on a great road there in terms of being able to increase that brand awareness and have longevity in that message.

17. Strategic PR opens up ideas and creative content – humour, personality and emotion in your messaging

Liz:                    And I would say, last point, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. I think that there is a creative element that sometimes can be stifled in the B2B world. Think about creative ways of bringing that message into life. Written format isn’t enough anymore. Use humour, use your company’s personality, use emotion. We don’t do enough of that in B2B I feel. We tend to end up going down a bit more of a corporate and professional route. And I think COVID, and can see it on LinkedIn even, those stuffy corporate videos that we used to see are less and less now. People are putting emotion into it, they’re putting personality, and they’re often putting humour into some of those video content pieces, which is great to see because it makes you stand out.

Amir:                That’s amazing.

Liz:                   I’m not quite sure I managed to articulate what those key takeaways were, but hopefully…

Amir:                You did. No, there’s a lot of gold there. So basically, if people want to do this, get into PR, really don’t rush the tactics, don’t start creating blog posts and press releases. They need to be clear on the priorities because people tend to be pressed for time and resources and those priorities are informed by the strategy, so perhaps that would be a good place for people to begin. And really understanding that marketing is, like you say, the voice of the customer, so what we need are validated messages to make sure that when we’re publishing content in whatever form it might take, it’s going to resonate and be relevant and therefore get attention. And the last point you made, which I love, is don’t be boring. Create messaging and content that really stands out against the typical landscape of B2B content with promotion and humor. So I think there were some fantastic points in there, Liz. Thank you so much for spending this time with us. I’ve learned a lot, I’m sure the audience has learned a lot, so thank you very much.

Liz:                   No problem. Thank you for having me.

Amir:                And there we go. Thank you for listening to this episode of the B2B Brand and Demand podcast. Be sure to check back next time. We’re going to have another guest that’s going to give lots and lots of useful information about how you can build your B2B brand to generate demand. You can find me on LinkedIn if you search Amir Bazrafshan, and we are also at chúng tôi for more information there. Thank you.

15 Social Media & Search Engine Marketing Trends In 2024

How considering the latest trends can help you stay ahead of the competition

2024 was an exciting year in the world of search engine optimization and social media marketing. These two fields are constantly evolving, with plenty of changes that prompt shifts in consumer and marketer behavior. In order to succeed, you should adapt to these changes and employ the latest and most effective strategies. The following are 15 social media and search engine marketing trends in 2024 and what you should do to stay ahead of the curve:

1. Mobile optimization is a must.

2. Voice search introduces huge changes in keyword research.

Digital assistants have become more popular among mobile users over the past couple of years, thanks to their much improved functionality. Siri, Now and Cortana are making the lives of users so much more convenient. But this presents a new challenge to marketers as they must now optimize for voice search. People use different search terms when speaking and typing. Voice searches lean toward long-tail keywords, so be sure to include these terms to increase your chances of ranking.

3. Local SEO will be even more important.

With the launch of My Business, Google places even more importance to local SEO. There have been significant changes in how Google presents search results for local terms. Different search elements are used to provide immediate information regarding local businesses. It is imperative to have your business listed on Google to improve search visibility. Google My Business is a great place to get started, allowing you to control multiple accounts from one central location.

4. Social posts get ranked higher.

It’s a good move to try to rank your blog posts and universal assets (videos, images, news, etc) on the results pages, but this year you shouldn’t forget to rank your social posts as well. Many marketers are already utilizing social media to gain more visibility in search engines. When customers enter your company name, you must make sure that your social media profiles are seen on the first page. This should be further leveraged for your reputation management and monitoring.Various social media sites also now encourage long form content, most notably Facebook with their revamped Notes feature.

5. App store optimization is crucial. 6. Learn the new on-page SEO. 7. Sell on social. 8. Enhancements in in-app functionality.

Mobile apps have come so far. It’s amazing how much you can do without ever leaving the app. Developers continue to make innovations and add new functionalities to their apps. Facebook, for instance, have introduced a lot of new features last year such as Instant Articles and automatic video playing when scrolling. They are now making their own digital assistant. chúng tôi is by unique invitations only, but is coming onto the market, full-force.Twitter, Instagram and other platforms refuse to fall behind, promising to have plenty of things in store for their users. By making improvements in in-app functionality, conversion rates skyrocket, so it’s essential to make enhancements in your app to experience a boost in ROI.

11. In-the-moment content will surge in popularity. 13. Link building continues to be effective (think SEO).

Many say that link building should be avoided altogether, especially after the Penguin update that demolished millions of websites last year. But links are arguably the most important ranking factor. As long as links are used by search engines for ranking web pages, they will remain effective. Just keep in mind that when it comes to links, quality trumps quantity. Be sure your links are contextual and relevant. Also, don’t forget to optimize your anchor text ratio. Avoid using the same keywords as your anchor text to avoid any spam detector.

14. Long form social content will become huge.

Short messages are often published on social media, with brands preferring to post a concise description or summary of their post and then placing a link to the target URL. But social media sites are encouraging users to publish posts directly on their platforms. LinkedIn has recently ramped up their long form content publishing. Facebook has also revamped Notes, one feature which had not received a lot of love from the social giant for many years. Blogging on social media will become a huge trend in 2024. This is a significant change in content marketing which makes it easier for readers to find the information they need.

15. Advertising costs will rise. Conclusion

These trends will permeate the social media and search engine marketing landscape over the course of the year. Some of the biggest names in the industry including Google, Facebook and Twitter are already releasing new feature after new feature, improving the overall experience of their users while simultaneously keeping marketers at their toes as they try to adapt to all the changes. By preparing for these trends, you can beat your competition and be rewarded with increased visibility and better brand awareness.

Want to learn more? Register your FREE seat for my next online marketing (SEO) webinar.

Msi Gt80 Titan Review: A Crazy

MSI’s GT80 Titan SLI features an actual mechanical keyboard and a pair of GeForce GTX 980M GPUs in SLI. That makes this laptop actually faster than the majority of gaming desktops out there.

Ah, the eternal Internet argument: Can a gaming laptop really be faster than a gaming desktop? As admitted hardware snobs with a bias for gaming desktops, the easy answer has always been no. Never. Not in our lifetime.

Even crazier, it’s not the gaming performance of the GT80 Titan that grabs your attention—it’s the inclusion of a mechanical keyboard that’s the first the world has probably seen in a laptop since, well, the 1980s.

Gordon Mah Ung

The MSI GT80 Titan SLI features a SteelSeries-designed keyboard with Cherry MX switches.

Many will say the keyboard is a gimmick, but I have to say that after an afternoon with it I was hooked and it made me realize that I have been wrongly settling for the horrible, mushy laptop experience for too long. Will it spark a trend? Probably not.

There is a design cost to be paid for that keyboard. Mechanical keys suck up a huge amount of space—so much so that components that usually live underneath have to moved back, while the keyboard is pushed all the way to the edge. This means there’s no palm rest to speak of, so MSI includes an old-style gel palm rest with the laptop. MSI also tosses in a lightly padded backpack, which is a nice touch because it’s pretty hard to find bags that’ll fit these monsters.

Gordon Mah Ung

The trackpad gets pushed over to the side and pulls double duty as a soft ten-key when you need it or can be toggled back to a standard trackpad.

There’s also no room for a trackpad, so MSI moves it off to the right side. Similar to what Razer did with its Razer Blade Pro 2014, it lets you use the trackpad as an ad-hoc mouse for gaming. It kinda works in a pinch, but it’s no replacement for a real mouse. I see no point to building in a beautiful keyboard and then trying to live with a trackpad as a mouse for gaming. One interesting move that is definitely in the gimmick column: The trackpad converts into a virtual ten-key, with the numbers keys outlined in light at the push of a button.

What this means, according to Nvidia, is a mobile GPU that gives up about 80 percent of the performance of its desktop counterpart. To find just where the GT80 Titan falls, I first ran it against the HP Omen and Razer Blade Pro 2014. Yeah, I know, it’s not exactly fair to put five-pound gaming notebooks against one that weighs 10 lbs. but it’s worth seeing just what you’re getting for the weight you’re putting on your shoulders. 

PCWorld

It’s not fair to put the GT80 Titan against a pair of lighter weight laptops but it’s good to see what you’re getting for the extra weight.

PCWorld

We saw decent performance and scaling from the MSI GT80 Titan even against an overclocked gaming box with two GeForce GTX 980 cards. 

Because 1920×1080 is a fairly low resolution for two GeForce GTX 980Ms, I ran the laptop on an 30-inch external panel at 2560×1600. For comparison, I also threw in the AVADirect X99 rig. That machine packs two GeForce GTX 980 cards in SLI and an overclocked 8-core Intel Core i7 5960X aboard.

As to Nvidia’s claims that the GeForce GTX 980M offers “80 percent” the performance of the GeForce GTX 980? We can confirm that, as the GT80 Titan gave us about 80 percent of the gaming performance of the AVADirect X99 rig with its pair of 980 cards. In the parlance of our times, the appropriate phrase is: Dayum.

4K gaming, too

There are a couple of weak points of the GT80 Titan, though some may disagree. The first is the panel. It’s an 18.4-inch panel at a pedestrian resolution of 1920×1080. With this much graphics grunt, gaming at 1920×1080 practically handcuffs the pair of 980 cards. The good news is, the laptop is set up to support three monitors in surround mode using a pair of miniDP ports and an HDMI port.

PCWorld

Despite its size, the GT80 Titan SLI isn’t much faster than gaming laptops far smaller than it.

Gordon Mah Ung

Underneath the top lid you’ll find slots for four M.2 devices, two more pieces of RAM                    and a laptop hard drive too.

Gordon Mah Ung

MSI’s GT80 Titan SLI is the first laptop to feature a mechnical keyboard that we know of since the 1980s.

Content Marketing Institute Releases B2B Technology #Contentmarketing Trends For 2024 Report

Content marketing matters, that much is clear. What is less clear is how effective it is and how we, as marketers, can use our resources in a way that makes the most sense.

Which is why reports like Content Marketing Institute’s comprehensive B2B Technology Content Marketing 2024: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America matter.

This type of in-depth research is what marketers should be taking to their clients and the brands they work for to lobby for a bigger content marketing budget.

If you are a content marketer in the B2B technology field, this benchmark report is required reading.

From Content Marketing Institute: 

Sponsored by International Data Group (IDG), this report features findings gathered from a marketing survey conducted by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs. This report presents findings from the 392 who said they were B2B technology marketers in North America from a range of company sizes. They responded to the survey in July and August 2024.

Why Does This Report Matter?

Content marketing is maturing, but that maturation process does include bumps in the road. Reports like this show where content marketing is in a small niche market, which makes the research even more useful for marketers in this area. It can also serve as an inspiration for marketers in other areas.

From Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute.

technology marketers rated nearly all of the tactics and paid methods they use as more effective this year. This tells me they’re making progress with identifying what works.

Discovering what really works is half the fun of working in digital marketing. Let’s look at what CMI uncovered.

Top Challenges for Technology Content Marketers

What’s holding back content marketing in the technology field? There are many challenges, but engagement seems to be the biggest hurdle. This offers an opportunity for brands with strong, dedicated audiences to rise above the competition.

The Most Effective Platforms for Social Media

Where should you be sharing? There were some obvious winners — and some obvious losers. Not surprisingly, LinkedIn rated the highest. Also, 40% of marketers stated that SlideShare was “very effective” for the B2B technology space. Which is good news in the stat-heavy industry of tech.

More Highlights from the Report

There is tons more to learn here. A few more interesting highlights:

Creating more engaging content is the top priority for technology content creators over the next 12 months (70%).

Technology marketers say LinkedIn is the most effective social media platform they use (72%).

51% of technology marketers plan to increase their content marketing spending over the next 12 months.

36% of technology marketers have a documented content marketing strategy (up from 33% last year).

Effectiveness ratings for most content marketing tactics, social media platforms, and paid methods of content promotion/distribution are higher than they were last year. 

Technology marketers allocate 29% of their total budget, on average, to content marketing (vs. 25% last year).

Want to read more? You can check out the full report here.

Image Attribution: 

Featured Image: Shutterstock: Aysezgicmeli

Inpost Images: Used with permission from Content Marketing Institute

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