link4704 link4705 link4706 link4707 link4708 link4709 link4710 link4711 link4712 link4713 link4714 link4715 link4716 link4717 link4718 link4719 link4720 link4721 link4722 link4723 link4724 link4725 link4726 link4727 link4728 link4729 link4730 link4731 link4732 link4733 link4734 link4735 link4736 link4737 link4738 link4739 link4740 link4741 link4742 link4743 link4744 link4745 link4746 link4747 link4748 link4749 link4750 link4751 link4752 link4753 link4754 link4755 link4756 link4757 link4758 link4759 link4760 link4761 link4762 link4763 link4764 link4765 link4766 link4767 link4768 link4769 link4770 link4771 link4772 link4773 link4774 link4775 link4776 link4777 link4778 link4779 link4780 link4781 link4782 link4783 link4784 link4785 link4786 link4787 link4788 link4789 link4790 link4791 link4792 link4793 link4794 link4795 link4796 link4797 link4798 link4799 link4800 link4801 link4802 link4803 link4804 link4805 link4806 link4807 link4808 link4809 link4810 link4811 link4812 link4813 link4814 link4815 link4816 link4817 link4818

Category: Uncategorized

Take Your Mobile Marketing To The Next Level With These Great Tips!

mobile marketing

mobile marketing

Take Your Mobile Marketing To The Next Level With These Great Tips!

Taking a step into the wondrous and complex land ofmobile marketing for the very first time might feel a little bit intimidating, but by keeping the helpful tips listed below in mind, you will soon find yourself marketing on par with some of the best marketers in the field.

When it comes to sending mobile marketing messages to your customers, be sure that you keep the size of any media files as small as possible. This is critical to ensuring that the download time for the message is low and that your customers are not charged extra data fees.

Integrate mobile marketing into other types of marketing. Mobile works best when tied together with other things such as print, television, radio, and live performances. Make sure to integrate 2-D bar codes or quick response codes into your print to help drive traffic to your mobile site. You will have endless opportunities.

No matter what type of features you are thinking of adding to your mobile marketing campaign, you need to remember that it is all about the execution here. Mobile users are growing at a faster rate than PC users ever have, so everyone is attempting to go mobile. Stand out by focusing on quality execution rather than just expansion.

If you are thinking about expanding to a different market with a different product, make sure that you start this effort first before you branch out to mobile marketing. It is going to be very difficult to pull people in from the mobile world to your new product, so go with what got you here and just repeat the process.

Take advantage of mobile applications that many mobile consumers already use and are very popular, like Google Maps. Google has a Local Business Center that will list your business on their Google Maps for that region. This way, your business will be targeted to the audience local to your area.

Provide instant rewards. With mobile marketing you can give your customers what they want, with no delays. Having a delay can make things lose their value or demand. People will participate in your marketing campaign hoping to get the promised reward. The quicker they get the reward, the happier they will be.

Remember when mobile marketing that not every mobile device is the same and thus the content you develop needs to cater to the general field and not anything overtly specific. For instance: Some people have slower connections than others, while others have smaller screen sizes. Be encompassing and not specific.

Take advantage of everything a mobile device has to offer. Innovation is happening very quickly in the mobile marketing arena, and much of it is driven by the quick innovation occurring in mobile hardware. Look at what the new devices have to offer and add their new abilities into your mobile marketing strategies. Just in the last two years, new hardware innovations that have affected mobile marketing have included front-facing cameras, location awareness and high definition video recording.

So, after reading and applying the helpful tips listed above, you should feel a bit more at ease in the land of mobile marketing. You have the tools; it's time to use them. You should feel empowered and ready to begin your mobile marketing journey to help better promote your business.

Ida Mae Boyd
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

7 Tips For An Authentic And Productive Writing Process

7 Tips For An Authentic And Productive
Writing Process

 

Richard Tipsword, Contributor

 

Does this sound familiar?

You’re sitting in front of your laptop, staring at a blank screen.

The deadline for the article you need to write is approaching, and you’re struggling to get started when you should be in the final editing stages.

As you sit there trying to put your expertise in writing, a strange insecurity creeps up your spine. You see yourself changing before your own eyes, transforming from a confident expert into a self-conscious amateur.

It’s your own Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde transformation experience.

I’ve been there.

I used to hate writing

Well, actually, it was more like loathing than hating.

Anytime I needed to write anything I’d procrastinate, pretending that avoiding the project would make it go away. Needless to say, the procrastination led to a flurry of rushed writing at the last minute to meet my deadlines, resulting in less than my best work.

But my real problem wasn’t the act of writing. It was fear. Fear of making mistakes, fear that what I wrote would sound stupid, fear that my writing wouldn’t make sense to the reader, etc.

My insecurities were turning me into a monster

So there I was, a guy with more than 15 years of experience, who has won some awards and is even a judge for three international design competitions, worried about sounding stupid.

It sounds ridiculous, but my fear of screwing up made writing a miserable experience for me.

I even used to try to compensate for my fears. I’d use stiff, formal sentences and large, important-sounding words to try to “prove” I knew what I was talking about. Unfortunately, all that did was make me sound like a pretentious jerk.

It was like I was changing from Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde anytime I had to write something.

Then one sentence from my college professor changed everything

I had a job that offered tuition reimbursement benefits, so I decided to take some college classes. One of my classes was a composition class, and the professor gave me the best writing advice I’d ever heard.

“Write the way you talk.”

Wait. What?

It can’t be that easy! Seriously? What a liberating idea! That one piece of advice helped me break free of my fears and relaxed my writing style. No more procrastination. No more using large, unnecessary words to try and impress the reader. I could just relax, be myself, and write.

Now before you get the wrong impression, let me explain something: writing the way you talk does not give you permission to write poorly, or to publish content that sucks.

What it does is help break down the mental barriers of fear and procrastination that keep you from being a more engaging, and more productive writer.

Here’s how to use “write the way you talk” to squash your insecurities and avoid sounding like a pompous idiot:

1. Imagine yourself having a chat with a trusted friend

Good writing is like a conversation between the writer and the reader. So when you’re writing, think about how you would explain your topic to a close friend who was sitting next to you.

If you were having a conversation with that person, what words would you use? What would you talk about first? What examples would you give to help them understand your topic? What questions might they ask?

Approaching your writing this way will help you write copy that’s more informal and conversational in tone, that better engages your audience. As it happens, it’s also the best way to write sales copy.

2. Record yourself talking about your topic.

Not sure what you sound like in a conversation? Try recording yourself talking about your topic.

This is especially helpful for people who have clients they talk to on the phone regularly. The next time you’re explaining something to a client on the phone, record the call and listen to it later (Be sure to check the laws in your state first. Some states require you get the other party’s permission before you record). The easiest way to do this is with one of the many available plugins for Skype that do call recording.

3. Take a deep breath, relax, and just be yourself

By writing the way you talk, you can’t help injecting a little of your personality into what you write. After all, you’ll be writing in your own voice, using plain English everyone can understand, and a tone that makes you seem more human than textbook.

Combine that with a few relevant, well-placed personal stories and you have the makings of some irresistible content.

4. Use the same words that you do in your everyday life.

If you write the way you talk, you’ll be more inclined to use common, everyday words that you would normally use in conversation.

This prevents you from sounding like Captain Jack Sparrow using (in my best Johnny Depp impersonation) obtuse and generally confounding speech that makes your readers wish they were drinking rum.

So keep your writing simple and clear without artificially inflated language. A good rule of thumb is: if the average person would need a dictionary to know what your word means, then you need a different word.

5. Toss out the rule book and just start writing

If all the rules about grammar, writing styles, active versus passive voice, and punctuation are adding to your insecurities about writing, toss out the “rule book” for awhile and just write.

Focus on getting the main points of your idea down in your first draft, and don’t worry about anything else.

Once you’ve done that, you can go back and edit the heck out of what you wrote.

Do you notice any obvious errors? Is there anything that could be rearranged to bring more clarity to what you wrote? If so, now’s the time to fix it along with any grammatical, spelling, or other writing problems.

After you’ve made those corrections, leave the article to sit overnight and look at it again in the morning with fresh eyes. Is there anything you can do to make it even better?

6. Enlist the help of a close friend to keep you honest

Want to make sure that what you write actually sounds like you and not someone else?

Enlist the help of a close friend. Have them read what you write, and tell you if it sounds like someone else wrote it. This will help keep you true to yourself, and will force you to be authentic with your writing.

7. Read what you write out loud

One of the first editing tests I put my writing through is reading it out loud. Doing that makes awkward sentences and bad punctuation become obvious, because as you read, you’ll naturally “stumble” over the parts that need to be fixed.

So as you read your writing aloud, pay attention to those places that tend to trip you up — they may need some additional work.

The moral of the story

Get over the fears of messing up or sounding stupid. Just write the way you talk and you’ll be able to knock out your first draft in no time.

If you’re willing to do that, you’ll find that you’ll dread writing a lot less and be able to get more writing done because you’re working on it instead of fearing it.

I’ve been using these tips to guide my writing for several years now, and today I got the best evidence yet that they work.

I was talking with one of my clients on the phone about blogging, and as we were discussing the content for her blog she told me, “Whenever I read something you wrote, you always sound like such an expert. Like you really know what you’re talking about. ”

Need I say more?

So go ahead. Dive in. Who knows? You may even start to like writing.

Written by: Logan Zanelli

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Who Are You Really Marketing To?

 

"…25-30 year old single women with annual incomes over $75,000, who live in San Diego, who like to shop…So if we are pretending we’re a clothing store, these might be some of the questions we should ask:

Where do they shop?

What magazines do they subscribe to?

What blogs might they read?

What do they struggle with when shopping?

How do they share their shopping experience?"     

      –Derric Haynie, CEO Splash

So, I'm new to the world of marketing.  No, it's not my educational background and I am surely not "fluent."  So, when I took a few minutes to read the above article (http://hive.pe/eG) written by Derric Haynie of Splash, I was amazed that there was so much to learn with regard to marketing!  Apparently, I'd been utilzing some aspects of marketing for quite some time now and hadn't even realized it. 

Have you ever completed a profile on an online dating site?  Whether or not you were providing misleading demographic information for your profile, you were probably marketing toward a certain mate.  So you created a profile in such a way that the hope was that you would attract a certain someone who had all the characteristics that you were looking for.  Am I correct?  Well, even though this example is quite simple, you were using some aspects of marketing.  If you included photos along with your description and traits, then you (in a nutshell), were utilzing the phenomenon known as "buyer persona."

I invite you to check out Derric's blog, especially if you are like me and you are new to this world of marketing.  I thought it gave a great overview of this topic and it has forced me to think more about who my target audiences are in more detail.

I'd love to hear thoughts once you've had a chance to read Derric's article.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

The Disappointing Mixed Blessing of Internet Advertising

 

The Disappointing Mixed Blessing of Internet Advertising

 

A recent article on the internet illustrates the problem with online advertising. The story goes like this:

“Ron” has been in the field of marketing for many years. He has lots of very high quality experience, has been in charge of very sophisticated ad campaigns, and has been responsible for spending hundreds of thousands of ad campaign dollars.

Back in those early days, TV was always at the top of the pyramid for ad-dollar effectiveness. Ron explains it this way:

“A TV campaign was like the Air Force. If you wanted to get your message out, you did carpet bombing with TV ad campaigns.”

But, Ron says that it wasn’t cheap. But the even bigger problem was that you could never be sure which ads were working and which ones weren’t.

Several years ago, shortly after Google went public and Yahoo! was still flying high, technology started changing advertisers’ attitude. These advertisers began to suspect that digital search and display ads could be used to reach TV-size audiences for a fraction of the price. Ron says, “People thought it was going to change everything.”

This euphoria continued to grow until around 2010 came the arrival of programmatic advertising, a term for what is, essentially, automation. The standard programmatic transaction works like this: A user clicks on a website and suddenly his/her internet address and browsing history are packaged and whisked off to an auction site. At that auction site, software, on behalf of advertisers, evaluates his/her profile (or sometimes an anonymized version of it) and decides whether to bid to place an ad next to that article.

Ford Motor, for example, was supposed to be able to put its ads on websites specifically targeted to car buffs, or, with the help of cookies, track them wherever they may be online.

Of course, this was a stunningly attractive proposition to advertisers… just like a surgically precise air strike is supposed to be (emphasize…’supposed to be’) Yes…it wasn’t very reassuring for privacy advocates but it appeared positively inspiring to anybody involved in advertising, i.e. agencies, publishers, and advertisers because finally….they’d know where every last dollar went and whether it did its job.

Ron now works at a major beer brand where he allocates a budget in the in the $150 million range. He was swept up in the optimism about what ‘digital’ would do for them when they introduced a new shape of beer bottle for their product.

Just a few years ago he and a group of managers with similar responsibilities met in New York for a presentation showing the performance of the online ads.

They were stunned at the information they received. Digital’s ROI was around 2 to 1. In other words, a $2 increase in revenue for every $1 of ad spending, compared with at least 6 to 1 for TV.

Even more startling was the revelation that only 20% of their ‘ad impressions’ (on computer or smartphones screens) were even seen by real people.

Ron says, “The room basically stopped. The managers were even worried about their jobs.” Someone even asked if was legal for online advertising companies to cheat like that.

But there was even some outrage at the revelation. Ron said, “It was like we’d been throwing our money to the mob. As an advertiser we were paying for eyeballs and thought that we were buying views. But in the digital world, you’re just paying for the ad to be served, and there’s no guarantee who will see it, or whether a human will see it at all.”

And that’s today’s online advertising reality. Yeah….increasingly, internet ad viewers aren’t human. A study done recently in conjunction with the Association of National Advertisers embedded several billion digital ads with special tracking code designed to determine who or what was seeing them.

To the chagrin of those who read the results of the report, 11% of display ads and almost 25% of video ads were viewed by software and not by real people.

According to the above referenced study, which was conducted by the security firm White Ops and is titled The Bot Baseline: Fraud In Digital Advertising, “…fake traffic will cost advertisers $6.3 billion this year.’

One Chrysler ad tracked in the study was a video spot that ran on Saveur.tv, a site catering to the food and travel lifestyle magazine industry. Only 2 %of the ad views registered as human (according to a person who was briefed on data provided to the study’s participants).

According to a Chrysler spokesperson, Chrysler does not dispute or discuss the data but did cease buying ads on Saveur once it became aware of the apparently fraudulent activity. Nor did the company with did the study comment although they were asked to.  

Executives at the firm of Bonnier, the publishing company behind Saveur.tv, claims that they screen every impression and that the only looked at 5,700 ads, a very small number. The executive also said that there are multiple methods for detecting non human traffic, and that there’s no single standard used by the industry.

“We weren’t aware of any problem or complaint. If it had been brought to our attention we would have fixed it,“ said the executive from Bonnier.

Does this sound like ‘plausible denial,?

Indeed, experts are increasingly recognizing that fake internet ad traffic has become a commodity to be manipulated and profited from by slick arbitration. There’s malware for generating it and brokers who sell it. It seems that some companies pay for it intentionally, others only accidentally, and yet even others simply look the other way and prefer not to ask where their traffic comes from.

The only slight positive about the situation is that it has spawned its own industry of countermeasures (which in turn inspire counter-countermeasures).

A media executive at a major food company said, “It’s like a game of whack-a-mole.” Consumers, meanwhile, are not only suffering the built-in cost of the ads but also don’t like them. That’s one reason why one of the top paid ads on iPhone is an ad blocker.

An ad industry veteran and prominent blogger was quoted as saying, “I can think of nothing that has done more harm to the Internet than ad tech. It interferes with everything we try to do on the Web. It has cheapened and debased advertising and spawned criminal empires.”

This same expert said, “Most ridiculous of all is that is that advertisers are further away than ever from solving the old which-part-of-my-budget-is-working problem. Nobody knows the exact number but probably about 50 percent of what you’re spending online is being stolen from you.”

Bonnier, the firm referred to above, is a 211-year-old Swedish media conglomerate but, like many traditional publishing companies, has struggled in its transition to the Internet era. It’s conundrum is how to generate digital revenue to offset declines in the print business is paramount.

For Bonnier and similar companies, video ads are particularly lucrative. For the last few years Bonnier has began to build videocentric sites for Saveur and several of its other titles, including Outdoor Life,Working Mother, and Popular Science.

About 50% of Saveur.tv’s home page is taken up by a player that automatically plays videos with simple kitchen tips with titles such as How to Stir a Cocktail: Step One: “Hold the spoon between pointer and middle finger …”). These videos were preceded by ads from Snapple and Mrs. Meyer’s household cleaning products.

The challenge for Bonnier has been how to build an audience. One way is to do it organically—by coming up with lots of content, promoting it until people start watching, persuading advertisers to buy in.

Or there’s the current, in-vogue, modern shortcut of simply ‘buying traffic’. And that’s where problems really start to compound for the consumer and the companies which are willing to pay for legitimate views by humans. 

One factor which makes this situation complicated is that ‘Buying traffic’ doesn’t necessarily mean it’s fake traffic. Publishers often pay to redirect human users from somewhere else on the Internet to their own sites, In fact, companies such as Taboola and Outbrain specialize in managing this kind of traffic.

Here’s how it works:

Website A hires Taboola, which pays Website B to put ‘content boxes’ at the bottom of its pages. Viewers, enticed by headlines on the content such as, “37 Things You Didn’t Know About Scarlett Johansson,” click on a box and are redirected to Website A.

But these redirects are expensive and studies show that typically only 2% of people on a site click on these boxes even though Website A still has to compensate Website B handsomely for giving up precious visitors.

The temptation for middle-men in the internet advertising industry is that less ethical methods are cheaper. Pop-ups, i.e. tiny browser windows that many people ignore, click to close, or perhaps even never see, are one way to inflate visitor count. Still, as soon as that window appears on your computer, you’re counted as someone who’s seen the ads.

An even more cost-effective technique for view purveyors is an ad bot…. Which also happens to be a lot cheaper for the view-seller too. The ad bot is malware that surreptitiously takes over the viewer’s computer and creates a virtual browser. This virtual browser is invisible to the computer surfer/owner but, unseen by them, it visits websites, scrolls through pages, and clicks links.

This is what ad purchasers don’t like. Even though they’re paying for the views, no one is actually viewing those pages. The views are strictly bot-generated. It’s just a software trick. Nevertheless, unless the bot is detected, it’s counted as a view by traffic-measuring services and bots working with thousands of hijacked computers working in concert can create a massive “audience”, and wasted ad expenditures, very quickly.

If you were spending a company’s ad budget, would you want to spend it on a program like this?

All a budding media mogul, whether a website operator or a traffic supplier, has to do to make money is understand arbitrage: Buy low, sell high. Their industry-specific art is making the fake traffic look real. To do this, they often spruce-up their websites with just enough content to make them appear authentic.

The problem for ad-buying entities and decision makers is that they frequently can’t differentiate between real views and bot bot views. Nor can the tell the difference between websites with fresh, original work, and sites camouflaged with stock photos and cut-and-paste articles.

Bonnier wasn’t that audacious (i.e. to use the bots). But even its own executives say the content on their video sites did not likely create and sustain much of an audience on its own. That’s why they often used several different traffic brokers, AKA ‘audience networks’, to generate views for their clients. 

Bonnier’s chief digital revenue officer, Sean Holzman, described the practice as ‘normal’ for big-time publishers, especially those rolling out new products. He said it’s considered normal because advertisers can’t be expected to bother with sites that don’t already have an audience.

He said further, “It was a test, a way to prime the pump and see if we could build these sites at this price point. You usually have to keep buying some traffic, because the audience you’re getting isn’t as sticky.”

It’s also common in the industry for publishers not to tell their advertisers when they’re buying traffic, and in most cases. Truth be told….Bonnier didn’t.

When advertisers asked (Bonnier), said their spokesman, the company was open about its buying traffic. The spokesman said there was no intent to deceive anyone and that, in fact, they even hired security firms to vet the sites for bots and were assured they were buying real human visitors.

But, the spokesman did admit that they weren’t paying top dollar for their traffic. He said that, among audience networks, there are some that are equatable to Toyota quality while others could be considered ‘Mercedes quality’. He said that their traffic was priced at the ‘Toyota level’.

One can only wonder whether a Mercedes quality advertiser would knowingly buy Toyota-quality advertising. Or…whether any have unwittingly done so.

The essence of the problem is that the traffic market is unregulated. Sellers range from unimpeachable to adequate to downright sleazy and price is part of the market’s code. The cheap stuff is very easy to find.

Even on supposedly ‘professional’ LinkedIn, there’s a forum called “Buying & Selling TRAFFIC.” On this forum, 1,000 “visitors” can be had for $1. Legit traffic is a lot more expensive.

Taboola, mentioned above, charges publishers from 20¢ to 90¢ per visitor for video content targeted to U.S. audiences on desktops only. A publisher like Bonnier can sell a video ad for 1¢ to 1.2¢ per view in a programmatic auction, which is how they sold most ads on their video sites. If Bonnier had gone with Taboola, it would likely have lost 19¢ per view or more.

Shortly after it started buying traffic, Bonnier’s numbers began to rise. In the summer of 2014, several of their video sites had almost zero visitors (according to ComScore). By December, Bonnier’s Saveur.tv had 6 million monthly visitors and WorkingMotherTV.com had 4 million… according to data provided by Bonnier. In May, Saveur’s traffic surged again with 9 million views claimed for Saveur.tv and 5 million for WorkingMotherTV.com.

Those numbers didn’t pass muster with at least one big ad firm: SiteScout. SiteScout aggregates and lists ad space for sale from more than 68,000 websites and says it blocks several of these new Bonnier sites for “excessive nonhuman traffic.”

Bonnier said it doesn’t work directly with SiteScout and was also unaware its video properties had been blocked.

Just recently, Bloomberg.com, a site related to Bloomberg Businessweek and also owned by Bloomberg LP, reported 24.2 million unique visitors in the U.S. in August. They say they purchased between 1-2% of their traffic from Taboola and Outbrain.

“In the past, we have engaged with a few other vendors,” says a Bloomberg global ad-spend executive, “but we weren’t confident in the quality of the audience, despite assurances from the vendor, and canceled those deals.”

Bonnier declined to specify its traffic suppliers but an analysis by SimilarWeb, a traffic-analysis firm, showed that most of their traffic arrived from a handful of identical-looking sites with names like Omnaling.com and Connect5364. com, each of which described itself as “an advertising network technology domain.”

Essentially these domains work like fire hoses, pumping traffic anywhere on the Internet. The domains are registered anonymously but have shared computer addresses with other sites, including one called Daniel-Yomtobian.com. It turns out that Daniel Yomtobian is the chief executive officer of a traffic supplier in Sherman Oaks, Calif., called Advertise.com.

When reached by phone, Mr. Yomtobian is gregarious and friendly and describes Advertise.com as an ad network that sells more than 300 million page visits each month to companies that want to boost their traffic. He said that among his customers is Bonnier, which, he says, mainly purchased his cheapest-possible traffic, including “tab-unders.”

Here’s how ‘tab-unders’ work:

Let’s say you’re watching a movie on Netflix. A tab-under opens up another window beneath the one playing your movie. Even though you may never see that new window, it still displays an Advertise.com customer’s website, thereby generating still another page view. Repeat a few thousand times, and you’ve got some big numbers and big dollars spent by advertisers.

Benjamin Edelman, a Harvard Business School professor  who specializes in the digital economy, said, “I’ve found Advertise.com selling every type of worthless traffic I am able to detect. And doing so persistently, for months and indeed, years.”

Yomtobian admits that tab-unders are “low-quality traffic” and that Bonnier, his customer, complained about that. But he says his firm checks the traffic of its supplying partners for bots and sends only real humans to the Bonnier websites. “We would never deliver traffic that we don’t think is real,” he says.

Yomtobian similarly disputes Edelman’s claims that Advertise.com’s traffic is worthless. After all, he says, people sometimes do see tab-unders and click on them. “There is a huge distinction,” he says, “between worthless traffic and low-quality traffic.”

You’ve probably never visited MyTopFace.com. It’s a cosmetics advice website that sells ad slots for anywhere from 73¢ to $10 per 1,000 views, and whose video ads fetch far more money than display ads according to SiteScout.

As of early September, the top story on MyTopFace was an article with an accompanying video called “Smokey Eye Makeup—Kim Kardashian Look  The only problem is that the video was at least 5 months old.

In the industry, this is called, ‘stale content’. It is regarded as one of the worst ways to attract readers. But… if the readers are bots, it doesn’t matter. So MyTopFace could have made as much as $9 for every 1,000 visitors, assuming it kept costs close to zero and was able to acquire traffic at a rate of $1 per 1,000.

In its investigation into this situation, after more than a dozen e-mails and phone calls, the operator of MyTopFace agreed to meet with Bloomberg Businessweek.

The operator introduced himself as Boris Boris and said he’s 28, and also admiteed that a number of his network’s sites are registered under other names which he declined to reveal. On a warm September afternoon, he shows up at a trendy Flatbush Avenue cafe, wearing a pair of brown, tortoiseshell glasses and sports a goatee with a waxed, handlebar mustache, along with his wife and one month old son.

Boris has a very interesting story about he found opportunity in the digital advertising industry in America:

Boris say he was born in eastern Ukraine and made it to the U.S. where a Russian-owned business in New York heard about his Internet marketing skills through the émigré grapevine, hired him, and got him a visa.

After a few months of fine-tuning, he helped a Brooklyn meat processor’s website reach the top of Google searches for certain competitive keywords. After this, Boris says, “They were happy, and I knew I could stay. And I knew that I could find success in the USA, too.”

But Boris soon realized that the real opportunities in Web advertising lay elsewhere. He struck out on his own and in less than five years, hehad built a mini publishing empire, Boris Media Group, a feat accomplished largely through the acquisition of cheap—and, often, fake—traffic.

Wow…what a country! Right?

In addition to MyTopFace, his portfolio includes several low-maintenance properties, such as MaryBoo.com, which offers health and beauty tips to pregnant women. His LinkedIn profile says his sites combine to reach more than 10 million viewers daily, which would get him in four days what the Los Angeles Times gets in a month.

Boris’s traffic numbers are difficult to verify and, as stated above, he declined to provide a full list of his websites. But for much of the summer, MyTopFace offered from 30,000 to 100,000 ad impressions for sale each day, according to SiteScout.

During his interview, he freely admited that he buys many of the visitors to his websites. He said that he spends about $50,000 per year buying high-quality traffic for MyTopFace from Facebook (nothing wrong there—you create an account for your business and then pay Facebook to advertise in people’s news feeds).

And says he then spends another $50,000 or so on cheap traffic whose origin he isn’t so sure about. Facebook traffic is real people, and costs about 100 times more per visitor than the mysterious cheap traffic.

Bloomberg Businessweek asked two traffic-fraud-detection firms to assess recent traffic to MyTopFace and they agreed to do so on the condition that their names not be used.

One firm found that 94% of MyTopFace’s 30,000 visitors were bots. The other firm estimated the bot traffic at 74% but when asked to explain this finding, Boris didn’t dispute the findings or appear at all concerned. He said, “If I can buy some traffic and it gets accepted, why not?”

He also said that if advertisers don’t like his product, “they should go buy somewhere else. They want to pay only a little and get a lot of traffic and results. If they want all human traffic, they should go direct to the publisher and pay more.”

In a later e-mail, Boris explained his business differently. “Our network doesn’t buy traffic, we buy advertising that brings us traffic,” he wrote. His operation uses antibot filters, he said, and any advertiser that does find bot traffic can refuse to pay for it. Furthermore, (according to him) fraud would be impossible.

One prominent source of Boris’s advertising revenue is Myspace, the once-dominant social network. Myspace’s recent new owner, the ad-tech firm Viant, relaunched it in 2013 with a focus on video and has invested in many  Myspace exclusives which include custom-made video players that other sites can embed, much like YouTube’s.

When visitors went to MyTopFace.com, a Myspace player would pop up in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen upon which first an ad would show, followed by the editorial content… a 15-second video of a guy driving a car at night.

The guy-driving-at-night video, named Hitboy, was one of several videos put together by a Myspace employee to serve as placeholders, according to Viant.

These videos appear whenever Myspace blocks a site from showing its actual video content, which according to Myspace might happen if the site violates Myspace’s terms or conditions or if Myspace loses the rights to show a video that had been featured.

But the Myspace placeholders are still preceded by ads from such brands as Kozy Shack pudding, Chevrolet,Unilever, and various Procter & Gamble brands such as Tampax and Always, all of which have all paid for the privilege.

Boris says the checks he cashed came through an affiliate program where Viant splits ad revenue with publishers who showed its players.

Viant’s executives say they have an affiliate program, but that they’ve never heard of Boris or MyTopFace.com. They also declined to name a single company that participates in the program.

Boris says he put the Myspace players on his sites after being contacted by a middleman, whom he won’t name. “My balls will be cut off,” he says.

Ad slots on MyTopFace.com run anywhere from 73¢ to $10 per 1,000 views.

Chris Vanderhook, Viant’s chief operating officer, says his company (Myspace) company has technology that checks for non human traffic.

“If a website has 80 or 90 percent bot traffic, then yes, we will try to remove this site from any ad rotation,” he says. Yet Boris’s MyTopFace, which, again, according to the estimates provided to Bloomberg Businessweek, had between 74 percent and 94 percent nonhuman traffic, hasn’t been cut off.

Vanderhook says that must mean Viant’s software sees some value to it. If a website has a Myspace player showing ads, he says, “we deemed that it was still quality enough to auction off.”

Research showed that Myspace’s placeholder videos appeared on about 100 websites the researched month, according to Telemetry, a fraud-detection firm. If anything, some of the sites are even more creative than MyTopFace.

One of these other sites is RealMovieTrailers.com which lists a nonexistent address in New York for its headquarters. The listed phone number also doesn’t work. Further distressing is that image searches of its designers’ headshots reveal they’re stock photos, reused hundreds of times around the Internet.

The identity of RealMovieTrailers’ actual operators isn’t clear either as the site’s address is registered anonymously and no one responded to an e-mail sent to an address listed on the site.

In September, after Bloomberg Businessweek asked Mr. Viant about its content, Myspace players began showing non-placeholder videos. What is amazing is that, if the counters embedded in the players are accurate, those placeholders are some of the most watched clips in Internet history.

For example: Hitboy has registered 690 million views. Showing even bigger numbers even though it is a terrible video, is Surfing. This video shows terrible quality and only has about five seconds of black screen with some muffled background noise. Yet, according to the Myspace counter, Surfing has been viewed 1.5 billion times. That view count would make it bigger than any YouTube video in history with the exception of Gangnam Style.

So, the situation today is one where programmatic advertising has become such a tangle of data firms, marketing firms, strategy firms, and ad tech companies that it is virtually impossible for the biggest brands to keep track of it all.

Some companies are just bailing-out on online advertising. Three years ago ad-watching executives at Kellogg started to notice that spots for Cheez-It, Pop-Tarts, and Special K were running on sketchy websites, hidden in pop-under windows, or compressed into screens as tiny as a single pixel.

They also noticed that other ads were displayed on sites where much of the “audience” was bots. In the expected reaction to such a discover, the company’s manager of digital strategy said, “It turns out I’m buying from this guy down the street who opens up his coat and says, ‘Hey, you want to buy some ads?’ ”

The situation became even more infuriating when Kellogg tried to get a simple breakdown. They wanted to know how much was each part of the labyrinthine digital-ad process costing?

Answers were impossible to come by.

Kellogg asked for itemized bills from the various ad agencies and data companies it hired, but their requests were all refused. “It wasn’t a smoking gun,” the Kellog executive said. “It was more like a detective story where you had to piece together the evidence. And it was clear that in a system with that little transparency, there was bound to be problems.”

Thus, Kellogg’s in-house ad department took control of its contracts with publishers and ad platforms such as Google and Yahoo, and terminated all outside agencies from the process. The company also started using software that alerted it when ads ran on suspect sites and they refused to do business with any sites that wouldn’t allow third-party validators to screen for bad traffic.

Because of these and other measures, Kellogg has seen a 50% 75% drop in bot traffic and a significant jump in its ROI for Raisin Bran and Kellogg's Corn Flakes.

It seems that ad fraud, as described here, may eventually turn into an acceptable nuisance like shoplifting. It may turn out that it’s something that companies learn to control without ever fully eradicating.

Advertisers generally see lower levels of fraudulent traffic by dealing directly with publishers rather than using programmatic exchanges. Of course, this also means missing out on the massive scalability that the web and automation was originally hoped to provide.  

In comparison, sites such as Facebook, with its billion-plus users, are relatively bot-free, if expensive, places to run ads. Facebook expects that advertisers only pay only when their ads are actually seen by humans.

There’s also the possibility that the multitudes of smaller ad tech players will become really serious about sanitizing their traffic and regulating themselves. Walter Knapp, CEO of Sovrn Holdings, a programmatic exchange, says he was as alarmed as anyone at the rise of ad fraud. He says that he decided it was a matter of survival. He said, “There are 2,000 ad tech companies, and there is maybe room for 20,” he says. “I looked around and said, ‘This is bulls—.’ ”

About 18 months ago, Mr. Knapp set to figuring out how much of his inventory—ad spaces for sale—was fake. The answer shocked him: “Two-thirds was either fraud or suspicious,” he says. So, he decided to remove all of it. “That’s $30 million in revenue, which is not insignificant.”

Sovrn’s business eventually returned to, and eventually surpassed, where it was with the bad inventory. Knapp says his company had a scary few months though and he keeps part of a molar on his desk as a memento. “I was clenching it so hard, I cracked it in half,” he says.

He discredits the idea that it’s hard to tell genuine traffic from fake. “The whole thing about throwing your hands in the air and saying, ‘I don’t know, maybe it’s real, maybe it’s not real,’ ” he says. “You can absolutely find out.” He sees it the way Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart saw smut. “How can you tell it’s porn? You know it when you see it,” Knapp says. “Like, go to the website, man.”

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Many tips for finding customers in the Digital Marketing Field.

Many tips for finding customers in the Digital Marketing Field.

Ready to tap into the power of digital marketing to help your business succeed?

Check out this list of the top 10 digital marketing ideas from our FedEx Small Business Grant winners, including ideas for social media marketing, content marketing and more!  

Even better, not only are these digital marketing ideas easy to implement, they’re even easier for your business to afford.   

1: Run contests through social media
Nicole Snow is the owner of Darn Good Yarn, an online retailer of specialty yarns. She has achieved incredible success with social media marketing by allowing her social fans to pick the names of new yarn colors. The winner gets a free ball of yarn — and even better, bragging rights. Nicole claims that she’s able to track sales back to participants in the contest, sometimes even up to a year later.

Susan Buchanan, the owner of Humdinger Kettle Corn, a business that sells flavored popcorns, also asks users to provide feedback via social media and help her pick new flavors to develop. The advantages to her business go beyond fan participation — she’s also essentially getting free insight into what her customers are looking to buy. With that knowledge, she is better able to successfully roll out new product lines.

#2: Create a YouTube channel
YouTube allows just about anyone to set up an account, brand it with their business identity and post videos, all for free.

For a business like Catullo Prime Meats, a YouTube channel was a pretty logical fit.  Danny Catullo, the owner and operator of this specialty butcher shop, uses the channel to offer his customers recipes, how-to-guides and other fun and useful stuff. He’s even created family videos and had the good fortune of having a turduken video turn into a viral video marketing star — resulting in a five-fold increase in sales one year.

#3: Tap into star power
When Patrick Whaley, the owner and founder of TITIN LLC, a creator and retailer of high-tech workout gear, wanted to grow his social media audience, he filmed videos featuring well-known athletes.

Because those stars had already built up their own social followings, TITIN essentially leveraged the popularity of their social media marketing and realized a massive spike in views on their YouTube page.

With some smart cross-promotional messaging, TITIN was able to turn YouTube views into visitors to their website and a corresponding increase in sales, making the digital marketing campaign an easy expense to justify.    

#4: Treat content like king
If you’re setting up a website for the first time, you obviously want it to look nice, perform well and be easy for customers to use. But don’t forget about your content marketing!

Content marketing essentially means creating content in order to acquire customers. In order to do that, Danny Catullo advises making sure that your website is built so that it’s easy for you, or someone on your staff, to add, delete and update content. Most modern websites are built on a content management system (CMS), which is essentially a publishing platform for your site.

If you’re paying a vendor to set up your site, make sure right from the start that you’ll have access to your CMS and discuss whether or not training is included in the project quote. If you’re setting it up yourself, consider open-source alternatives, like WordPress, which also has the advantage of being free. 

#5: Make your content useful 
While we’re on the subject of content marketing, here’s one of the best ways you can make content resonate with customers: make it helpful!

Think about who your customers are, what problem your business could potentially help them solve, and then create content that does that (being careful not to give away your goods or service for free, of course).

Examples of this type of content include blog posts, videos, a Pinterest page, Facebook posts and more. Catullo Prime Meats hosts a YouTube channel of how-to-guides, cooking tutorials and more. Darn Good Yarn posts recipes on their Facebook wall, gives remodeling advice through their Pinterest page, and connects with younger customers on Instagram.Remember, content doesn’t just refer to writing — it can be almost anything your customers might find useful!

#6: Use website analytics
One of the best things about digital marketing is that it’s so measurable. Not only can you track traffic to your website, but you can also learn where the traffic is coming from, what they do while on your site, how long they stay — and much more.

You can also use website analytics tracking tools to measure ad campaigns, efficiently buy ad placements and more. The advantage to you as a business owner is that you can measure the return on investment (ROI) of your site and marketing, use what you learn to enhance performance and make smart decisions about what to continue and what to drop.

Ari Hoffman, the owner and founder of GOBIE H20, a retailer of environmentally friendly water bottles, uses Google Analytics, which is widely considered to be the industry standard. He’s such a big believer, in fact, that he advises other business owners to use it “like it’s part of your life!”

#7: Tap into online local search 
If your business relies on local customers, online local search could be a game changer — and compared to targeted media like TV, radio or billboards, it can be relatively cost-effective.  

Online local search marketing basically means ensuring your business is included in search engine results for your geographic area. For example, if you own a carpet cleaning business in Phoenix, you ideally want your business to come up when someone types “Carpet cleaners in Phoenix” into Google. Anyone performing that kind of search could be likely to be a potential customer, so it makes sense to have your business represented.

There are 2 basic ways to do that: 

  • Local search engine optimization (SEO), which involves creating content on your site so that it targets those keywords.
  • Local search engine marketing (SEM), which means buying keywords from search engines like Google or Bing.

Both ideas have been used successfully by the 2013 FedEx Small Business Grant winners. Danny Catullo attributes about 60% of his local business to a combination of SEO & SEM, while Ari Hoffman has used SEM to great success.

#8: Don’t take "No" for an answer
When Patrick Whaley of TITIN started his digital marketing efforts, his first strategy was to target a broad audience. Using what he learned, he was able to gain invaluable marketing intelligence, identify consumer trends, learn buying patterns and discover what it took to convert a variety of different demographics into customers.

“If you limit your sales at the start, you will never know how large your market potential really is,” Patrick said. “ I would encourage every company to try to sell to everyone they meet.  Don't be afraid to fail and don’t tolerate someone telling you ‘No.’ You will be shocked at how many new markets can be realized if you don't allow fear to hold you back.”

#9: Digital is bigger than your website
If you’ve just started your digital marketing, or even if you’re getting ready to revamp your existing efforts, there’s a natural tendency to want to go for broke with your business’s website.

But you should be careful about putting all your digital eggs in one online basket, according to Danny Catullo. Instead of spending a fortune on a flashy site, he used Shopify, a turnkey e-commerce solution, to get up and running. By paying small monthly fees, he was able to launch quickly, without a huge initial investment, and he even gets ongoing support.  

Plus, small businesses need to plan for the long term, says Ari Hoffman. Even the slickest website in the world won’t do your business much good if it can’t adapt and evolve. He advises setting aside 15% of your initial investment for future modifications.

#10: Star in your own show!
Last but definitely not least, Nicole Snow was able to turn a little bit of technological savvy into a huge marketing asset with a show on Google+.

‘Darn Good Yarn Live airs Thursday nights on Google+, and attracts an audience of die-hard fans who often become some of Nicole’s best customers. Plus, Nicole feels that the connections she creates with the public helps build a unique differentiation point from the competition — it literally helps her stand out in a “sea of yarn stores.”

With tools like Google+ and Vine from Twitter, your business can essentially host your own TV channel for free. So if you’ve got some creative ideas to share, fame (and fortune) could be just a few clicks away!

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

What Businesses can Gain from Mobile Marketing

mobile marketing

mobile marketing

What Businesses can Gain from Mobile Marketing

Marketing and advertising have truly evolved over the years. We have embraced ads on the television, radio and even in print media for more than a decade. The advent of the Internet has paved the way to new marketing campaigns, one of them being a mobile marketing. Because mobile gadgets are the hype today, there is no denying that mobile marketing is here to stay as more cost-effective way of advertising one's business.

Almost all of us have a mobile gadget or two. We often have our phones and other wireless mobile devices with us on a daily basis. This is a good opportunity for businesses to take advantage of mobile marketing. There are key benefits business owners can reap and enjoy.

The following are some examples that would get you motivated to pay attention to mobile marketing.

Immediacy. As a business owner or marketer, one thing you will love about mobile marketing is its immediate reach to your prospective consumers and clients. There is a guarantee that they will be able to receive the ads or the message within seconds in their mobile devices. For instance, sending an SMS message to your recipient is fast. This equates to your consumers getting your message faster than a blink of an eye, not to mention creating a mobile campaign is easy.

Cost effective. Marketing has never been this cheap. Traditional modes of marketing require a business owner to invest thousands of dollars just to create a few seconds of radio or TV commercials. The amount of money that goes with the printing of brochures, tarps and the like is probably within the thousands. With mobile marketing, there is no need to shell out this much. Mobile marketing requires you to invest a fraction of what you would spend in traditional marketing campaigns. You'd end up saving money while making the most of a possible global marketing scheme.

Higher reach. Billions of people around the globe have a mobile gadget or two. This also means that you could be able to reach out to those people within a single mobile marketing campaign. A successful mobile marketing campaign will allow businesses to be able to reach out to millions of customers in a blink of an eye at a fraction of what they would spend for advertising. Why limit your marketing campaign to just around the neighborhood when you can reach out to potential customers from all over the world?

There are still other key benefits you can enjoy if you shift your marketing efforts to mobile marketing. With the right campaign and technology applied, your success is guaranteed.

Ida Mae Boyd
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Degrees Of Separation In between You And The entire World

Degrees Of Separation In between You And The entire World

Social networking has actually been specified as the interaction between thoes or companies within a social structure. Within an online social network, people or organizations which can either be casual acquaintances or closely related by blood can quickly interact through messaging, blogs, picture sharing, chain mails, videos, music and a great deal of other communication tools offered in social media network websites in the web.

In the late 1960's, a social experiment called small world hypothesis was done to prove that any 2 individuals can be connected through a social media network by 6 degrees of separation. This was done by effectively passing a message from one person to a target individual through associates of individuals in the link. Although most of the links in the experiment failed to finish, the electronic variation of this experiment as well as the online social networks today has proven that we can certainly connect to almost any individual worldwide through our contacts.

 

Social Networking Websites

Social networking websites have actually just recently become popular in connecting individuals sharing the same pastimes or interests. These social networking websites can be, in a way, considered online communities where different individuals from all over the world can share their viewpoints, views, thoughts and normally everything that can cause the advancement of relationships or relationships. Making it easier for individuals to incorporate themselves into these social network companies, groups or websites can often be found in social networking websites where you can satisfy people with the very same interests, religious beliefs, region, view in politics, and so on.

Upon completing the registration for these social networks, you can then start to familiarize yourself with exactly what the social media network needs to provide. This can be done easily through browsing the member's profiles, reading the blog sites or bulletin board system and chatting with the other individuals online. In this manner, you can make good friends with other individuals you would not have the opportunity to be friends with in the real life due to the fact that of geographical, political, social and other constraints. Communicating with the people online will likewise make you knowledgeable about the various cultures, religions and people present in the social network which will be really advantageous in broadening your understanding about the world around you.

Threats of Online Social Networks

Because of this, many of the social networking sites have actually placed restrictions and constraints as to who could sign up with the network and what the minimum age ought to be. Some social networking websites have actually also put obstacles for the registration of individuals having a criminal record and some schools have even gone as far as prohibiting the use of the social sites to their students.

Understanding these dangers though, will help you take pleasure in and take full advantage of the benefits you will get from these online social media networks. So if you're ready to test your own small world hypothesis, search for these social networks online now.

Charles R Juarez Jr
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Blogging for SEO: How to Write a Blog for Google!

Blogging for SEO

Source:  Rob Neu

Get Your Blog Noticed

It seems like a lot of bloggers, and people in general really, have a bit of a negative view when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and how to utilize it to be one of the top entries of a search results page . It seems that lately opinions are moving in a more positive direction. I think this is awesome because SEO can really help bloggers get their content noticed. Ranking well in organic search is one of the best ways to share your voice with a larger audience and increase your authority on a given topic.

The goal of this article is to help bloggers understand that SEO is simply a tool, not the mystical black art that many have sold it to be. When you do SEO right, it really doesn’t need to impact your writing much at all. Once you learn the basics, it just sort of becomes something you do naturally without having to think about it very much. The places where most bloggers struggle are keyword targeting, strategic link-building, and technical SEO. Technical SEO is indexation problems, meta issues, and most of the other things that our SEO audits address.

None of these things should change the way you write significantly. Keyword targeting can be as simple as doing a bit of research to make sure you mention the right words a few times throughout your posts. Technical SEO sounds complicated, and can be sometimes, but if you’re a blogger using WordPress, chances are it’s actually a lot simpler than you think. Strategic link-building can be a bit tricky, but as a blogger you have a distinct advantage over other website owners in this area. Bloggers can update their site and display new content very quickly. Search engines love this kind of activity.

Harness Your Blog to WordPress

Facts don’t lie. As of this writing, WordPress powers over 38% of the Web. It is by far the most widely-used content management system and it continues to grow in popularity every year. It should be noted that this is the self-hosted version of WordPress, which is WordPress.org not WordPress.com. WordPress.com is a great place to get started, but if you’re serious about blogging and SEO you should consider self-hosting.

In addition to being popular, WordPress is also a very SEO-friendly CMS. Without doing anything extra, simply using WordPress will improve your chances of ranking. This is because it has a lot of basic SEO functionality, such as pretty permalinks and contextual page titles, built right in.

Moving to WordPress is (Usually) Easy

There are a lot of importers for WordPress that let you move your content from other systems like Blogger and Tumblr built right in. There’s also a bunch of great plug-ins and an entire guide to help make the transition to WordPress easier. One area that might be a bit of a challenge is choosing a new design for your site once you’re up and running. Lucky, there are tons of great free and premium WordPress themes for you to choose from.

Integrate Basic SEO Into Your Blogging

Once you’ve got your blog running on WordPress, you need to start thinking about integrating some basic SEO best practices into your blogging work-flow. A good place to start making some changes is in your keyword targeting.

Over time, you’ll start naturally writing your posts in a more search-friendly format, but when you’re getting started it’s best to do these things AFTER you’ve finished writing. When SEO isn’t familiar to you, focusing on it right out of the gate will just slow down your writing and frustrate you. Try to put it out of your mind until you’re done writing and think of it more as part of your editing work-flow.

You should also keep in mind that your SEO title and your meta description are going to be the way people see your post in the Google search results. Because of this, they need to be attention-grabbing. Getting this right is critical for convincing people to click on your post. A great title can even outdo a higher ranking in some cases, so definitely spend some time thinking about improving your headlines.

How Do You Know Which Keyword to Choose?

Choosing the right keywords for your posts is another area where most people struggle. Many times the title of your posts might not be exactly what people are looking for on Google. As you do this more, you’ll start to develop a bit of a 6th sense for choosing keywords, but starting out it can be a little tricky.

Don’t let this section intimidate you or stop you from optimizing your posts. Google is pretty smart and they’re getting smarter all the time. If your content is good enough, they’ll frequently rank you for the keyword you should have targeted if it isn’t something that’s super competitive.

That said, in a perfect world you’d always be optimizing your content for the ideal keywords. In order to get a little closer to that, you can use a few tools to get an idea of what people are searching for on Google.

Keyword Research is Hard, but Worth the Effort

In order to pick the best keywords, you need to do a little research. There’s a tool from Google called the Keyword Planner that will let you see how many people are searching for a particular group of keywords. The problem is it’s difficult to come up with variations on your original idea to see what might work best. Luckily, there’s a simple tool called Ubersuggest that can give you a ton of ideas to test in the Keyword Planner. Here’s a guide on how to use Ubersuggest.

Spending 5 or 10 minutes doing this can mean the difference between targeting a high competition, low volume keyword or targeting a low competition, high volume keyword. It’s hard to get into the habit of doing this, but if you take the time to learn it, you’ll understand the benefits pretty quickly.

Google also has another useful tool called Google Trends which lets you see the overall interest in a keyword or a topic over a period of time. This can be a good indicator for whether a keyword or a topic is worth focusing on. Keyword research is a pretty vast topic and it’s also one of the cornerstones of SEO. Don’t feel bad if you have trouble with it, you are far from being alone. Just chip away at understanding it a little at a time.

Participate in Your Community

Being an active blogger gives you a number of distinct advantages over other website owners. As a blogger, you probably already have a group of people you interact with and talk to online on a regular basis. This is a huge advantage! Keep track of where these people are hanging out on the web.

Stay active on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn in particular, among the Social Networks. All of these things mean that whenever you publish something related to WordPress, it’s pretty much guaranteed to get a lot of eyeballs and pull in a decent amount of links.

You need to do the same thing in your industry. Start searching for things related to your industry and follow the top results to find where everyone is hanging out. Find the popular blogs, see which social networks everyone is most active on, and pay particular attention to any forums your community is using.

Start leaving comments, talking on social channels, sharing your own content as well as the content of others, and posting in forums. Don’t spam anyone, but don’t be afraid to jump into the conversation either. Once you’ve established yourself in the community a little bit, don’t hesitate to start asking people for links when appropriate. If you’re a genuine person and you’re not just trying to leech off the community, you’ll be surprised how responsive and helpful everyone is.

Keep Track of Your Progress

If you’re not already using Google Analytics, you really need to start. Analytics can get pretty complicated and probably deserves an entire post of its own. That said, there’s a number of simple things you can look for in your analytics to help you keep track of and improve your blog’s content and SEO efforts. First of all, you’ll need to set up and install Analytics if you haven’t already. This guide does a good job explaining how to set up analytics and you can use this plugin to add analytics to your blog.

Rinse and Repeat

One of the biggest mistakes people make is they give up too early. The things outlined in this post take time! You can’t just target a few keywords, send a couple emails, and check analytics a few times if you want to succeed. You need to keep at it.

Don’t stop after you optimize a post or two. Do as many as you can! Go back into your old content and optimize it. Keep doing keyword research and learn how to anticipate what people will be searching for in your field. Keep your finger on the pulse of your community so you can be one step ahead of everyone and create content that people are thirsting for. You can do it! It’s not has hard as it seems, just keep working all the time and eventually you’ll get there.

Dennis Roeder

Contributor #markethive

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Become The Best Blogger

Become The Best Blogger.

Is it necessary to have a goal to become the best blogger in your niche? Is content marketing something that the public on the web is seeking? Many have asked that questions about the value of content marketing and wondered if it is limited to a few types of businesses. This article was printed in Hubspot in August 2014 titled, How To Become The Best Blogger In Your Niche. 

Back in 2012, Max Nisen wrote, “Content marketing is one of the biggest new trends.” He reported NewsCred’s CEO Shafqat Islam as saying, “Every Fortune 2000 company today is a candidate for content marketing. If they're not doing it, they will be.”

Two years later, Nisen and Islam’s prophecies have come to pass. We are in the age of content marketing — and it's showing no signs of going away. The content marketing arena is now so vast and so complex that people are starting to get lost. Don't believe me? Just take a look at this hodgepodge of an infographic from LUMA:

luma-content-marketing

In spite of the scary complexity, blogging is still the one of the most powerful weapons in the content marketer’s arsenal. And the better the blog, the better the content marketing efforts.

So here’s my thesis: If you are the best blogger in your niche, you can be the most successful in your niche. It’s only logical. If blogging is the core of content marketing, and content marketing is the path to success, then we must conclude that being a kickass blogger is the path to marketing success.

And here’s the really good news: You can become the best blogger in your niche. In the post that follows, I will provide three points that explain exactly how to gain that edge.

1) Know your audience.

Answer the most important question:  “Who is my audience?”

Too often, bloggers start with the wrong question. They ask things like:

  • How can I be interesting?
  • What can I write about?
  • What will make this post more engaging?

Those are great questions, but they are totally meaningless unless you first understand your audience.

I came across a line recently that stuck with me:

 

pngbase64c3c9af76173e7e56

When you blog for someone, you will have plenty of things to write about. What’s more, you’ll communicate in the right way — you'll be more "human" and familiar if you treat your audience like real people.

As you ask the big question, “who is my audience,” keep in mind these additional questions that will help you develop a deeper knowledge (From University of Maryland's Writing Resources):

 

  • What is the relationship between the writer and the reader?
  • How much does the reader know
  • Is the audience likely to agree or disagree with you?
  • What will the reader do with the information?

The clearer your view of your audience, the better your writing will be.

Your audience is smaller than you think.

Keep in mind that your audience is probably smaller than you think. Traffic metrics do not reflect an accurate count of your engaged audience. A better way to understand your audience is through engagement metrics.

In a study conducted by Chartbeat on Slate readership, they discovered that the most engaged readers were those who scrolled below the fold. A full 86% of engagement took place when readers scrolled to read an article.

 

chartbeat

Also, share metrics tend to skew the perception of an engaged audience. The people who share your articles don’t always read the whole thing, as an Upworthy study showed. This chart below indicates how long users stayed on a page compared to the point at which they shared the article.

attention_minutes

Your true readership is made of those who are engaged — the users who read your entire article and absorb the material.

You can build your audience.

Even though it is smaller than you think, you can also build your audience. Great bloggers grow in size and reputation. That’s what this article will tell you how to do.

The more you blog, the better knowledge you’ll have of your audience. You discover what they love, what they don’t love, what makes them click, and what makes them convert. In my Complete Guide to Building Your Blog Audience, I wrote this:

"A great blog begins with the content you create, but to be successful, a blog also needs a strong community or audience."

So you should not only learn who your audience is, but also shape that audience, too. To a certain extent, you get to decide who your audience is, and what they want to hear.

Everything starts with audience. If you know your audience and speak directly to them, they’re going to love you.

2) Be consistent.

You’re not going to be a wildly successful blogger unless you’re consistent.

An article on NewIncite had this to say about consistency:

"Quality of content and consistency are the most important factors in setting up your schedule … Consistency will keep them engaged, build brand awareness, and — if done right — help convert them to buyers."

It’s easy to talk about consistency, but it’s hard to do consistency. Bruce Springsteen wasn’t exactly a content marketing professional, but he had a great line about consistency:

"Getting an audience is hard. Sustaining an audience is hard. It demands a consistency of thought, of purpose and of action over a long period of time."

What worked for The Boss works for content marketers, too. You want to be a blogging rockstar? Take it from a real rockstar: Consistency matters.

Being a rockstar blogger feels good. But waking up early every day, hitting the keyboard every day, and maxing out your mental resources every day doesn't always feel good. But that gritty pain is what consistency is made of.

How often should you blog?

So, what does consistency mean in real numbers? How often do you need to publish a blog post? To answer this question, I’m going to be all evasive and tell you to refer to point one — know your audience.

Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute wrote this on the topic of blogging frequency:

"As long as the blog post serves these two goals it’s worth doing a post: 1) Is a compelling and interesting story to your target audience (the reader), and 2) Serves the objective for your blog. If that means five posts per week, great.  If it’s one per week, that’s fine to. [sic] Focus on whether or not you have a story worth telling."

I can’t give you a hard and fast number. I can, however, recommend a minimum threshold — you should aim for at least one post a week.

Why? Frequent output — i.e. consistency — is positively correlated with greater traffic, as indicated by HubSpot’s research.

blog-slide-7-resized-600

In addition, HubSpot discovered that bloggers with higher output had better lead generation results:

blog-slide-10-resized-600

So consistency leads to accumulation of content, and the more content you have, the more results you’ll get.

3) Be totally transparent.

If you’re more transparent than anyone else in your niche, you’ll get more readers. People crave transparency.

Kevan Lee, Buffer’s blogger par excellence, writes this in his article, "The Anatomy of a Perfect Blog Post:"

"We aim for an element of storytelling in each of the posts we write, often starting a blog post with a personal anecdote or moment of transparency."

Transparency is a tricky thing. On the one hand, relationships are built on trust and transparency. But it’s hard to be transparent. Nan Russell, in Psychology Today, had some cogent insights about transparency:

"People want other people, not necessarily themselves, to be transparent … Some people find transparency threatening, especially at work, while others find it exhilarating. Some confuse transparency with authenticity, or think transparency means communicating everything or knowing everything they want to know."

Transparency is important in blogging, because you are building trust, developing relationships, and growing an audience. At the same time you must exercise your transparency in a thoughtful and intentional way. You’re not going to spill business secrets, gossip about others, or divulge information that puts you in a dangerous personal situation.

The best advice that I’ve read comes from the article I cited above, regarding the role of transparency in the workplace. These principles, as I’ve restated them and applied to blogging, will make you appropriately transparent:

 

  • Tell stories that demonstrate your openness and vulnerability.
  • Make sure you are respecting your boundaries of confidentiality and the confidentiality of others.
  • Use your transparency to help others, not simply for the sake of being transparent.

When we try to become transparent, we’re usually not as transparent as we think we are. But if we work hard to share personal stories — appropriate details included — we’ll get better at it.

Transparency engages readers and turns your blog into something that readers love. As I’ve studied many blogging niches, I’ve discovered that the bloggers with the greatest degree of personal disclosure are the most successful. So if you want to be a successful blogger, you’ve got to get personal and transparent.

Conclusion

Being the best blogger in your niche has very little to do with writing technique and flawless grammar. Those technical skills kowtow to some way more important things:

 

  1. Knowing your audience.
  2. Being consistent.
  3. Being totally transparent.

If you put these techniques into play, you’re on the path to blogging domination and content marketing success.

*How to Become the Best Blogger in Your NicheWritten by Neil Patel | @neilpatel

DR. Raymond Jewell, is a leading economist and Home Based Business Consultant. He is a Alpha Legacy member of Markethive and manages several blogs on the hive. Dr. Jewell is offering, for a limited time, FREE Markethive Systems just click and sign up and witness the power of the Hive first hand. 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall — What is the Most Powerful Socal Network for Entrepreneurs of them all?

Well before I reveal the answer to that question, what is the real benefit of social networking anyway?

Why should any online marketer spend time on social networks?  Wouldn't time be better spent just blogging and communicating with prospects and customers using email and other more productive methods, instead of wasting time on social media?

I can understand that social media can sometimes seem like unproductive time, especially repeated posts on Facebook that few people will ever see.  

The answer, I think, boils down to one word, REACH!.  If only one hundred people read a post of mine on Pulse, the blogging platform on LinkedIn, (for example), then that is one hundred more people that have read something I have written, and might decide to reach out back to me. If they had never read my blog post they probably never would have had that chance to read something that I wrote, and possibly connect with me.

Admittedly, that is only 100 viewers out of a total of 8,000 of my first level connections, so the percentage is not particularly high.  Supposing instead of a hundred or so views, I could get a thousand views for the same post that I submitted to LinkedIn?  That would 10X better than posting on Pulse, right? And if I could get 10,000 views of the same post, now that would be something substantial, at that point, right?

Social Media has the possibility of magnifying the reach of my outreach efforts.  Posting is one, and sharing content on social media is another.  Where on social media can you get the greatest bang for your buck, or the greatest reach for time spent?  The answer is Markethive.  It is a new social network for entrepreneurs that is available by invitation.  Just click on this link —-> Markethive, to find out more.

I have a number of posts on Markethive with thousands of views already, despite the fact that it is a relatively new social network. I have no doubt that with the new tools Markethive has recently implemented, I will soon get over 10k views on a single post. 

So why do posts get so many views on Markethive?

1) You can share your blog posts on Markethive with your other social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn, Stumblupon, and others.

2) With your permission, other bloggers on Markethive can share your content on their blogs, as well as on their own social networks.  You can also reciprocate to do the same with their content on your own blogs, and social networks.

3) As an owner of a group, you can share your content as often as you want with your group members.  LinkedIn limits your ability to post to your group to one message per week.  There is no limit to group messaging on Markethive. If you have valuable and interesting content to share with your group members, you can message your group members every day.

I give LinkedIn Workshops two times each week using one of the Markethive webinar rooms.  I have great respect for LinkedIn, and use it extensively to prospect and find marketing automation customers for my local marketing business.  There are so many great things that I like about LinkedIn, not the least of which is it's enormous size.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, and other social networks all have their strengths and weaknesses.

When it comes to blogging and my attempts to reach as many people as possible, however, I have to say, I prefer Markethive, and not only for it's blogging and sharing capabilities.  So, when I ask the mirror on the wall what is the most powerful social marketing network for entrepreneurs of all, it tells me that Markethive is best one of all.  

I suggest you give it a try, and you may find the same answer to your question that i did.  See you on Markethive!

John Lombaerde – Goldfinch Digital Publishing LLC

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member