Marketing Through Podcasting

It’s no secret that podcasts have exploded onto the media scene within the last few decades. Whether you’re listening to an intense criminal investigation on Serial or learning how some of the biggest businesses got off the ground on Start-Up, podcasts have quickly invaded the mainstream and have become another great platform for many. Marketing through podcasting is an emerging tactic that certainly should be considered.

So how exactly does this help marketers again? Well, many companies are using podcasts as another marketing tool to reach their audience. Take, for example, our website AllTruckJobs.com. Our research showed that many truckers would listen to podcasts on the road, so we decided to create our very own trucking podcast called BigRigBanter. Not only are we providing stellar information for our listeners, but we’re also subtly marketing our services as well. Below, I’ll explain exactly how much podcasting is growing, as well as how marketers can take advantage of the emerging medium.

Why Marketing Through Podcasting?

The Emerging Market

Although podcasting has been around for about 30 or so years, it’s only really begun to explode onto the scene in the last decade. With a smartphone in every hand and Internet accessibility almost everywhere, podcasts can be enjoyed anywhere, anytime. Just in the last year, a number of podcast listeners have grown to 51 million, which are 26% more listeners than the previous year. This is exactly why it might be a good idea to put some skin in the podcasting game.

podcasting and marketing

This infographic shows just how popular podcasts have become.

Mobile-Friendly

Marketing through podcasting is also a great way to reach those who are constantly on the go. Other than radio, podcasting is a great way to reach those who might be at their desk at work AND those who might be traveling the road. With 64% percent of listeners preferring to enjoy podcasts on their mobile devices, this can be a great way to reach an audience that you may have forgotten about.

Brand Exposure

A podcast is also a great way to subtly let your audience know exactly why they should be taking advantage of your brand. It allows you to start a conversation with the listener and to let them know about your services and/or products. Using interviews, it will also allow you to network and interact with those who are in the same industry.

Affordability

Another great reason you’ll want to look into podcasting is that it’s a relatively cheap marketing strategy. Podcasts tend to be more affordable than other marketing strategies because they’re easy to create. Computer, microphone, speaker, and interesting topic and you have yourself a great podcast and marketing tool. It’s also possible to get sponsors for your podcasts so make sure to explore all possible funding options.

Easy Distribution

Marketing through podcasting is also very convenient because it’s one of the easiest mediums to distribute. In a matter of minutes, you can post your podcast online and have it reach listeners across the globe. Whether it’s in the car, on a plane, or relaxing at home, your podcast can be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere. You can place it directly on your business’ website, or have listeners download it.

podcasting

Podcasting is so easy even a dog could do it!

It’s What’s “Hip”

Many businesses will struggle to keep up with the times, and we’ve all heard horror stories of companies who have tried way too hard to seem young and hip. Luckily, marketing through podcasting will allow you to join in on a growing medium while still carving out your own niche that will attract the audience you desire. If done correctly, marketing through podcasting can take your company to the next level.

Emoji Marketing | How You Can Join In

What may have seemed like a passing fad could actually be making the leap to a full-fledged marketing tool. What witchcraft is this you may ask? I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but we’re talking about emojis, emoticons, and those ubiquitous smileys permeating just about every inch of social media and online content. And while the library of emojis continues to grow and reflect our desire to communicate abstract concepts using…eggplants and disembodied hand gestures? It can all be very ambiguous at times, although most people probably feel that way while looking at Egyptian Hieroglyphics — the ‘original emoji.’ Here we’ll explore just how emoji marketing can work and things to consider.

emoji marketing

From Adweek.

As it turns out, emojis are not only here to stay, but they may actually represent a new tool for marketers to start taking advantage of. Certain reports have shown that including emojis in tweets can increase engagement by 25.4 percent versus their emoji-less counterparts. Not only that, but adding emojis to your Facebook posts can encourage a higher volume of ‘likes’ — 57% more in some instances! So with numbers like that, it’s no surprise that these micro-cartoons are getting the attention of digital marketers and similarly minded entrepreneurs. But how can emojis be implemented in your marketing efforts to produce greater social media success? Get your alternative keyboards ready, folks.

emoji marketing

Dominos at one point allowed people to actually order pizzas with emojis! Talk about real-time engagement!

First thing is first, what are these little pictures trying to communicate? I mean the emoticons (emojis depicting emotions) are relatively obvious, but then there are the more cryptic characters, things like spirals, raised hands, or goblins. But like any form of communication, the context that emojis are used in constitute most if not the entirety of their meaning. Knowing this becomes particularly important for companies using them in their branded tweets, posts, or any other place where emojis can be found.

Conceiving Your Emoji Marketing

Nothing says brand authority like using the wrong emoji at the wrong time — and believe me, it’s not THAT difficult to know when the situation warrants emojis or not. Still, what can start as a distasteful joke or a simple lack of attention to detail can blow up as a PR disaster for online presences.  For all intents and purposes, I present to you the Emojipedia — your guide to avoiding unsavory tweets and posts featuring the common emoji.

Real-Time Engagement with Emojis

Even while a thoroughly planned emoji-laden post can sometimes come up short, finding the right timing to take a more colorful and visual route can be just the kickstart your brand needs for the day. Some might even go so far as to design an entire emoji based post, save for a contextual hashtag:

emoji marketing

A mix of creativity and the proper messaging can make for a very effective post that will engage users here and now. Increasing your engagement with emojis means finding what people are responding to and coding fun messages without being too cryptic. Beyond tracking which posts contain emojis and which don’t throughout your marketing campaigns, you can see just how often people are using certain emojis via the Emoji Tracker.

Branded Emojis

That said, Twitter has been designing custom emojis that accompany specific hashtags as means of monetizing the platform. First to try such an emoji marketing feat was no other than Coca-cola — arguably more of a marketing company than a soft-drink company. Using #shareacoke will actually generate a pair of classic coke bottles to accompany your remaining characters in the tweet. Pretty nifty! Since then gigantic brands like Star Wars, Ikea, and others have taken advantage of the phenomenon.

emoji marketing

So it’s clear that emojis are becoming more useful in marketing and while attempting to engage your audiences. Just make sure you’re fully aware of what all of these wacky little characters mean and don’t over do it — emojis do only go so far!

The Future of SEO: Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is going to completely change search engine optimization in the near future. What SEOs need to understand about AI is that it is not a formula; it’s a system that is constantly learning and evolving. AI will totally change the future of SEO. It analyzes data like content, links, user behavior, citation, trust, and patterns to list the result a user most likely needs.

Today let’s take a look at the history and current state of SEO, then look at how artificial intelligence will shape the future of SEO.

History of SEO

In the past, it was incredibly easy to rank high on a search engine. Search engines based results on keywords, so all you had to do was put the phrase you wanted to rank for in the title and body of your content and VOILA! You were almost guaranteed a top spot.

The idea was that the more time the keyword was on your page, the higher you ranked. This led to some incredibly unethical SEO practices. You saw companies hiding text in the background of their sites or placing keywords off-screen. All sort of sketchy methods and tactics were developed, which led to Google making algorithm changes.

After battling black hat SEOs for years, in April 2012, Google finally introduced Penguin 1.0. Penguin was developed to battle web spam tactics like keyword stuffing, link schemes, cloaking and sneaky redirects, and duplicate content. Penguin decreased the rankings of sites that they felt were violating Google’s quality guidelines.

Current Landscape of SEO

Google’s various algorithms have helped to kill off spam-filled websites for the most part. The changes also made it essential for marketers to produce high-quality content. Where older search engine optimization techniques were centered around a keyword, current SEO practices focus on technical SEO, content development, and link building.

Technical SEO has grown from making sure you put a particular keyword on a page to focusing on creating the greatest experience for the user. Technical SEO now includes user behavior and web page performance metrics like time on site, page speed, and mobile responsiveness.

Keyword strategy no longer plays a major role in organic rankings. Google is looking for quality content that will provide value to the user. Engaging high-quality content will always outrank lower quality content with a solid keyword strategy.

The Future of SEO

Rather than rely on a formula to produce an organic search result listing for a user, the future of SEO will rely on artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence will rely on big data, user experience, and machine learning. Search engines will be able to learn from user behaviors and be able to list the content users are most likely looking for.

Let’s take a look at some the trends that will shape the future of SEO:

RIP to Keyword Phrases

Google introduced RankBrain to its search algorithm in 2015. RankBrain is a machine-learning AI system that will likely make keyword phrases irrelevant. Google has said that it is the third most important ranking factor in their algorithm.

Marketers should continue to write naturally for readers using related terms and concepts.

Search Intent

Understanding user intent will become a much more critical part of ranking as artificial intelligence becomes a larger part of search. When marketers are creating content for their sites, they need to think about more than keyword. Marketers need to think about what visitors are hoping to find on your site when they click from the search engine result page.

Marketers will need to look for clues in user intent from their query. There are four types of queries in regards to user search intent:

  • Navigational: a user trying to find specific content on a specific site
  • Informational: a user is trying to obtain information to read
  • Commercial: a user has an intent to purchase, or seeking information for a later purchase
  • Transactional: a user subscribing to a newsletter, paying a bill, or creating a new account

Schema Markups

At the end of 2016, I made some predictions about the top SEO trends for 2017. One of the trends I talked about was schema markups, which help search engines better understand the content on your web page. It seems Google is already making changes and we could be seeing new schema support for job listings, carousels, data feeds, and more.

The Goal of Artificial Intelligence

The future of SEO is bright with the emergence of artificial intelligence. There are some definite concerns that AI systems will learn too much, turn on humans, and kill us, but that’s a blog post for another day.

The goal of artificial intelligence as it relates to the future of SEO is to deliver a piece of content to a user that most likely fits their needs. Instead of sending users to a particular page just because it is on an authoritative site, AI will seek to send users to a page that will not only answer their initial query but will also answer potential follow-up queries.

In the long run, artificial intelligence is going to revolutionize the search engine optimization to deliver a positive user experience. Will we see a future where Google no longer controls its own search engine? We aren’t sure, but in the meantime, keep making high-quality content for your readers.

Track5Takes: Our Marketing Love

It’s been a little while since we’ve done a Track5Takes, so I’ll refresh you on the concept. Throughout the week, we come across a variety of interesting subjects dealing with marketing, social media, and technology among other things. Our staff often discusses these articles or videos, with each of us forming our own opinions. We’d like to not only inform you about what’s going on in the web-marketing and technological world, but we want to show a little personality by giving our own “takes” on various issues.

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and love is in the air here at Track5Media headquarters. No, I’m not talking about a steamy office romance, I’m talking about our love of marketing and all things SEO! We’d much prefer a juicy link over a box of chocolates anyway, so we decided to let everyone know why we love marketing and/or SEO so much.

LOVE MARKETING

 

Abbie Erickson, Marketing Intern

Before starting work as a marketing intern, I have to confess – I had next to no marketing experience. I come from a communications concentration that doesn’t focus heavily on the subject, and my love stands with making graphics and editing video. (But don’t worry I didn’t lie to my boss.)

Since working at Track 5 Media, I’ve learned so much about the world of marketing and I have to say the one thing I’ve really grown is that idea that I get to become a mini-expert on everything I write or post. I didn’t think I’d have fun researching and writing about truck drivers or travel nurses since I am not one of those people nor can I relate to their fields of work.

But researching them to be able to market information to them has been really refreshing for me. I’ve always loved writing, and now I get to do it for other people who actually read my work (sorry college newspaper managers). Being creative “behind the scenes” of what gets posted for viewers only makes me appreciate the work I see when I’m scrolling through Facebook.

Connor Smith, Digital Marketing Specialist

Marketing is something I love because it combines so many aspects of technology, communications, and creativity in one field. We’re lucky here at Track5 because we get to work on some pretty wide-ranging brands and interesting projects, so it takes a lot of shifting from one thing to the next. As a marketer you also get to tell stories, whether it’s through a blog or portraying your products as something unique and valuable — I feel that’s something ingrained in human nature so it’s fun to bring that to a job setting. The concept is also constantly evolving so there’s no time to waste!

Sarah Yoder, Marketing Intern

I’ll start by saying I get bored super easily and can sometimes have the attention span of a goldfish. So, I’d have to say that the one thing I love about marketing is the always-changing nature. While some might find change to be stressful, I thrive on it. I love the challenge of keeping up with the industry and figuring out the new advancements. There are no two days that are the same, so working in marketing never fails to keep my interest.

With change can come uncertainty, but I’ve become rather comfortable with the feeling. The creativeness and problem-solving talents that change and uncertainty can trigger is something I truly value in in life and in this career. As the industry changes, campaigns evolve with it, and we grow as marketers.

There’s always room for improvement and opportunities to progress. A campaign could be going well, but what can you change to make it even better? It can take significant time and effort but make it through the changes to see success can be one of the most rewarding feelings.

Troy Diffenderfer, Digital Marketing Specialist

I think my favorite thing about marketing is the amount of information you can consume. I’m an avid reader, so I’m constantly trying to digest as much info as possible. Luckily, there are numerous blogs that are devoted to covering what’s doing on in the digital marketing and SEO world. From Moz to Backlinko, there are always fellow marketers that are willing to provide tips and trips for marketers.

It’s also interesting that most information is consumed in the form of blogs or web articles. With a landscape that’s ever changing, a published book could become obsolete in a matter of months. Instead, I can kick back and learn about marketing while simultaneously putting those tips and tricks to use. I’ve got a love fever, and the only cure is…..more marketing.

Ekom Enyong, Digital Marketing Specialist

One thing that I absolutely love about marketing is the balance between an analytical and creative mindset. Though I am analytically driven, I am incredibly creative and think outside of the box most of the time.

I think marketing is the perfect activity to find a balance between the left and right brain. It allows me to think big and be creative, while the analytical component allows me to quantify the creative practices.

Spreading the Love: 5 Link Building Tactics

It’s almost that time of year again. Cupid’s little baby body will be slinging arrows left and right as the romantic side in many of us begins to emerge. I personally enjoy Valentine’s Day, and maybe I sound too optimistic, or too much like a hippie, but there’s nothing I enjoy more than seeing people display their love for one another. As a marketer, there’s a great way that you can spread some love this Valentine’s Day (and no I don’t mean sending a creepy bouquet of flowers to your office crush). I’m talking about link building.

link building

This SEO tactic is a great way to drive traffic to your site, build relationships with peers, and generate a higher ranking for specific keywords on the SERP. There are a variety of ways to not only build links, but to build relationships as well, so here are just a few ways you can spread the link love this Valentine’s Day.

5 Important Link Building Tactics

link building techniques

These are just a few of the many link building techniques.

1.     Guest Posting

Guest posting is a great way to share your knowledge with peers, while still garnering traffic back to your own site. However, it’s important to know the site you’re writing for, the audience, as well as how to pitch a guest post idea. Make sure that before you start pitching, you have a list of websites that already welcome guest posting. Then, you can either write a piece, and then pitch that to possible websites, or, you can suggest a guest blog topic to see if that’s something they would like covered.

Once accepted, make sure to write an awesome blog post that’s informative and entertaining, and use infographics and other images when necessary. The most important thing to include is links within the text that will direct readers back to your site. Hopefully, the owner of the website will also to include a photo of yourself along with a short bio that will also direct them back towards your site. Not only are you getting a link, but you’re spreading the love by giving free, informative content that will be beneficial for everyone.

2.    Expert Roundups

This link building technique will allow you to put together content with contributions from a variety of different experts in your field. This expert roundup will begin with a topic question, and below the different experts will weigh in on the topic. There are a variety of benefits from this type of link building including the fact that others will be writing the content for you. Your experts can insert links back to their site, and hopefully, they will post a link to your expert roundup. This is a great way to spread the love so you’re both gaining link juice, as well as more viewers on your site.

3.     Broken Links

Another easy way to spread some digital marketing love this Valentine’s Day is to discover broken links. Many websites aren’t aware that they may have links that do not work. An easy way to help them out is to crawl the website using a program that will detect these broken links. Then, you can reach out via email to inform the Webmaster of the broken links and possibly suggest one of your own. This is a great way to help others while hopefully gaining a link in the process.

4.     Resource Pages

Depending on the topic of your website, resource pages can be a great way to build links while providing information to those that need it. For example, if your site primarily focuses on providing information for models, it might be a good idea to look at the resource pages of modeling directories to see if your website would fit. Many schools or other companies will have a review process to go through possible websites to post, and once reviewed, you’ll have a shiny new link to help boost your traffic and page rank. Not only that, you’ll also be providing important information for those who need it.

5.     Infographics

Infographics are another great link building technique that allows other sites to post valuable information while still giving credit and a link back to your site. A quality infographic can do wonders for your link building initiative. The more the graphic is shared, the more traffic you will see driven to your site. Make sure you’re pitching this to the right websites so you can provide the best information possible to your audience.

Super Bowl 51 | Marketing Takeaways

Now that the big game has finally concluded as one of the most drama-filled championship games in NFL history, it’s time to jump right back into the work week. Regardless of which team had your heart during the heat of battle, there are plenty of marketing takeaways that we can learn from Super Bowl 51.

Of course, we can’t talk about Super Bowl 51 without mentioning those fabled commercials and advertisements elevated to what are in some cases sublime cinematic experiences. Though an average American football game lasts around 3 hours and 12 minutes, the actual time that the ball is in play is around 11 minutes. That means filling the spaces in between is a big business and something advertisers routinely drool over. Games usually have about 20 commercial breaks containing over 100 ads, ultimately adding up to one-third of the game overall!

Super Bowl 51 – A Marketing Circus

This year was no different, although we’ve come a long way from the “wazzup” days in all their late 90’s glory. If you’re not into football and just into seeing what over the top commercials emerge each year, then this is the blog for you. I won’t claim to know relatively anything about football besides the fact that we seem to measure things like how many pizzas Americans eat a year or the distance from the Earth to the Sun in terms of “the length of a football field.” Like we’re going to be playing sports in space anytime soon! Well… maybe, but realistically speaking, we can measure our efforts as marketers and gain valuable insights from the approach gigantic brands take during one of the most viewed annual events in the United States.

Be Timely

When it comes to deeply patriotic advertising and making toasts to the “American story,” Budweiser is the heavy-weight champion. Considering that the company temporarily renamed its signature beer “America” for the summer of 2016 they’re as red, white, and blue as it gets! Whether they’re showing fans from sea to shining sea or having their iconic Clydesdales kneel at ground zero, Budweiser basically owns this narrative. Their Super Bowl 51 rendition took their traditional route, all while incorporating a timely approach in light of President Trump’s resident executive order on immigration.

The commercial spot tells the story of the immigrant roots of the Anheuser-Busch brewing company, depicting the (fictionalized) story of co-founder Adolphus Busch leaving Germany in 1857. After a difficult sea journey, discrimination for being foreign, and difficulty finding a new life in America, he eventually meets his counterpart to create one of the biggest breweries in the country. Regardless of its historical accuracy, this is something that many immigrants, past, present, and future will come up against and how the country handles this is of paramount importance. The take away here? Know the right time to tell your story, even if it’s a difficult one.

Be Memorable

As a brand, you’re going to need to be as memorable as possible and many times that means getting someone’s attention in the first place. What better way to do that than with the use of miniature football legends in the form of adorable babies? Of the three spots the NFL aired, “Baby Legends” was the most well received.

This really goes to show that when you’re trying to make a memorable impression, you’ll need to present your message in the most universally enjoyable formats known to humanity – babies dressed in adult clothing, sometimes complete with facial hair.

Be Progressive

Now, there are a lot of things to say at any given moment and finding the right progressive chords to strike during an event like Super Bowl 51 can leave your company resonating in harmony. With Audi’s “#DriveProgress” ad the reception was less than perfect, although the official airing left a lot of pre-game negativity repurposed into praise.

The ad makes a big statement on gender pay equality, depicting a father watching his daughter take part in a kart race as he ponders over whether she’ll cross the same proverbial finish line as her male counterparts. While the automaker whipped up a heap of criticism from social media users lamenting over the fact that the company has an all-male board and its senior management team includes only two women, their message endures. “Progress is for everyone” is hard to argue against, and turning that into a slogan for positivity (and ultimately sales) seems to be a relatively solid tactic.

Be a Living Brand

In a sort of meta-commercial, surreal Super Bowl 51 experience, this advertisement has got to be the most brilliant display of what I’d call “being a living brand.” Here’s the setup:

During the actual Super Bowl Analysis show, Fox TV football pundit Terry Bradshaw wore a shirt with a very obvious, very sloppy barbecue sauce stain just moments before the commercial break featuring his ad. As the Twitter gods would have it, Bradshaw’s stain actually began “trending,” prompting incoming tweets teasing the commentator if real-life… then cue the commercial!

Bradshaw is then shown embarking on a humorous quest to find a clean shirt, only to opt for a good old fashion machine wash featuring Tide. As time warps and folds beneath the weight of this commercial, the effect for Tide’s organic reach was absolutely stellar. With so many people wondering about the stain before and after the commercial spot, new sites were actually prompted into debunking speculation surrounding the situation. A great use of real-time marketing and simplicity, all wrapped into a fun and unique take on the traditional commercial format.

Be Social

And while Bradshaw’s stain had a lot of social media movement, there was another bald white man who had a bit more reach than previously thought possible. That’s right, I’m talking about that saucy Mr. Clean commercial featuring Procter & Gamble’s muscular cleaning genie himself. Just see for yourself:

As if cleaning coordinated to soulful R&B wasn’t enough to arouse your passion for scrubbing household filth, Mr. Clean took to Twitter to interact with his hoards of swooning groupies, as well as his commercial adversaries. Sure, viewers were almost equal parts disturbed and turned on, but this brand really drove their persona home on social media. The cheeky white-clad animated brand ambassador actually started trolling other brands, prompting an amazing volume of likes, retweets, and overall engagement for @RealMrClean.

Like I said, I am the last person you can have a conversation about American football with (unless it’s the band) but marketing is a different story – if you had a favorite commercial or think there’s another lesson we can learn from Super Bowl 51 and its advertising, let us know in the comments below!

Resist Fake News | Facebook Cracks Down

If you’ve been anywhere near media, it’s hard not to know about all of the recent fake news stories circulating throughout the internet. Apparently, we’re living in a world where erroneous news stories, things like “alternative facts,” and intentionally deceptive clickbait are the latest formats used to rebrand what otherwise would be known as propaganda. With over 1.7 billion users each month, Facebook is a site where enormous swathes of the population are exposed to both imaginary or ground-breaking stories at any given time. Now, the social media giant is rolling out new signals to identify authentic content in the feeds of users. This inauthentic content is dangerous to citizens, but it’s also dangerous to your business and we’ll explore why, as well as what the social media site is doing to resist fake news.

How Facebook is Helping Resist Fake News

Realistically, fake news has been around since people and the power structures of their societies became intertwined with written language, so it almost comes as no surprise that propaganda would find its way onto our social media sites. When accusations that Facebook may have actually helped Donald Trump seize the U.S. presidential election began surfacing, CEO Mark Zuckerberg originally called the idea “crazy.” The sway Facebook had in this election is still understudied from a variety of perspectives, yet on January 31st it was announced that the site would be doubling down on weeding out fake news stories and related content. In a Facebook Newsroom post, researchers wrote:

“With this update, we’re adding new universal signals to determine whether a post might be authentic. To do this, we categorized Pages to identify whether or not they were posting spam or trying to game feed by doing things like asking for likes, comments or shares. We then used posts from these Pages to train a model that continuously identifies whether posts from other Pages are likely to be authentic. For example, if Page posts are often being hidden by people reading them, that’s a signal that it might not be authentic.”

These signals will be adjusted in real-time in order to tell how actual people are responding to the content, rather than bots and other forms of manipulation. This improvement comes after Facebook added the name of a publisher beneath the headlines Trending topics, as well as the December announcement that the improved ability to flag hoaxes will make it easier to resist fake news alongside the work of human fact checkers.

The blog assures users that “most Pages won’t see any significant changes to their distribution in News Feed,” so long as your business doesn’t profit off of the promulgation of fake news. Otherwise, it really just comes down to understanding the context of any information you share, where it came from, and what facts can be verified, along with the potential motives behind creating such content in the first place.

It’s important to understand that “fake news” is not merely something you disagree with – it’s information that is intentionally deceptive and fraught with malign statements. Don’t let your blog or business share propaganda and do what you can to resist fake news – no one has a budget for lies unless it’s the core of your enterprise. You know who you are.