Link Building 101: What I’ve Learned so Far

Link building is kind of like gambling. You sit and work at it for a long time, there’s very little guidance on how to “win,” but it’s really exciting when you do. The main difference between link building and gambling is that no one comes around serving me free drinks while I build links… although they probably should. I started link building about three months ago, so I’m a newbie. I knew essentially nothing about link building before I got started. However, I used to work as a journalist so I found similarities. I reach out to websites that are relevant in some way to our brands, find a reason why they might want to link to us, and pitch the idea. Sometimes I actually get a response back! That’s winning. In my short time doing link building, here are five things that I learned. Welcome to link building 101!

Link Building 101: Five Things I’ve Learned so Far

link building 101 lessons

1.     You might be getting links and not know it

The first thing I realized, is that not everyone who chooses to add your link is going to tell you they did it. Most of the links I’ve acquired so far, I found by checking our fresh index backlinks on Majestic.com. Each week when I start my link building, I check our newest backlinks and compare them to my list to see if any of the links are from websites I contacted recently. I was pleased to find that they were. I had been feeling very discouraged about my link building progress until I learned from a coworker to check this. Essentially, I was winning and didn’t know it.

2.     Organization is key

Link building 101 lesson number two – organization. In order to be successful at link building, you need to be organized. This is especially important if more than one person is doing link building for the same brands. Make sure you’re keeping track of who you’ve reached out to and when, so you’re not harassing someone or sending them the same request from multiple people. Follow up is important, but you don’t want to overdo it. That’s why keeping track of all lines of communication is key.

3.     Keep your emails short and to the point

I keep my emails short and to the point for a few reasons. The first reason is that I recognize the person I’m reaching out to is probably getting a bunch of similar emails every day. The longer my email is, the less likely they are to read it. Secondly, if their job is anything like mine, email tends to take up a lot of time that they don’t really have free. That’s why when I reach out about a link, I tell them about my brand, suggest a place for my link, and thank them for their time. It’s short, simple and direct.

4.     Broken links are your best friend

I’ve had the most success in getting links by finding broken ones and suggesting one of my brands as a replacement. Many times, people aren’t looking to add more links to their page. However, if they know one of the links already there is broken they are more likely to take time to replace it than they are to add a brand-new link. This is why broken links are your best friend. I personally use a Chrome extension that checks sites for broken links, but I’m sure there are other resources out there.

5.     Don’t get discouraged

The final lesson of link building 101 – don’t get discouraged. It may seem like you’re doing a terrible job and you’re never going to catch on, but that’s probably not true. Like I said in the beginning, link building is like gambling. You’re not going to win every time. It could take a while, and sometimes it simply comes down to luck. However, you will eventually get links! They trickle in over time, and you’ll slowly start to see all those weeks of outreach pay off.

What additional link building 101 tips do you have? Share with us in the comments below!

Traits of a Great Account Manager

Working in an open office at Track5Media gives us the chance to hear a lot of interaction. On the account management side, you get to hear exactly how we interact with our clients. Whether it’s fixing a bug, setting up a new client, or simply checking in to make sure things are running smoothly. The account managers are tasked with not just customer service, but also onboarding, communication, and a variety of other tasks. For those looking to get into an account management position full-time, or looking to join us as an account management intern, there are a few things you should know. Below are just a few of the many traits of a great account manager.

Four Traits of a Great Account Manager

1. Communication

Communication is one of the most important traits of a great account manager. When working with clients, our account managers consistently check-in and always are willing to explain things a second or third time. Top notch account managers constantly and consistently share the important information, whether that’s campaign updates to clients or client insights to team members to use in campaigns. Communication also builds a line of trust within clients. If clients trust that our account managers can handle an issue, they’ll be more likely to stay on if they come across an obstacle.

2. Personable

It’s one thing for me to tell you about the traits of a great account manager, but let’s hear what one of our own account managers have to say!

“I think a great AM needs to be personable. It’s important to not only have strong communication skills in account management but also have the ability to build strong relationships. We’re in constant contact with our clients and we have to be able to gain their trust in our judgment and suggestions – I find being personable plays a big role in making that easier,” Account Manager Kelsey Herbst said.

One of our strongest selling points is that we actually have real people on the other end of the phone. While this might not seem like a huge deal, the fact that our customer service isn’t automated creates a closer bond with clients. This is why being personable is such a key trait to have as an account manager.

3. Reliable

Another way that we earn trust with our clients is through our reliability. When you say you will do something, be sure you follow through and do it. This is another important part of building trust between you and your clients. In this same vein, don’t make promises you can’t keep. Maintain realistic goals for yourself that correspond to the goals of all your accounts. This is also yet another way that you can gain trust with your clients. Our reliability is our strong suit and it’s also one of the best traits of a great account manager.

traits of a great account manager

4. Prioritization

I also spoke with Jillian Armstrong, director of client accounts about some of the traits that she looks for in account managers.

“A great account manager will have the ability to quickly learn prioritization and be able to incorporate that into their daily workflow. Some tasks or client requests are much more time-sensitive than others and it’s important to be able to prioritize and focus on the most important tasks before moving to lower-priority items, regardless of when the requests come through,” she says.

We manage a ton of accounts on multiple brands at Track5Media, so it’s important that our account managers can prioritize tasks to ensure that all our clients are getting the attention they deserve.

As always, if you’re looking to work with our awesome team, check out our “careers” page. We’re also looking for an account management intern, so if you want some great work experience in an awesome environment, now’s your chance!

Responding to Negative Customer Feedback | Five Basic Tips

Running a business online comes with all the trimmings our beloved internet has to offer. An exponential reach, streamlined user experiences, but also the veil of anonymity. When you are confined to a mostly digital space, reviews have the power to make or break what took years to get up and running. This makes responding to negative customer feedback almost as important as getting great feedback in the first place! Today we’ll explore some classic public relations ideas and how they work for companies online:

responding to negative customer feedback

Responding to Negative Customer Feedback

No one is perfect, and maybe a customer had a less than savory experience with your company. If they are like the majority of people today, they probably won’t say it to your face. Rather, they’ll take to forums, social media, and perhaps even your own blog to let as many people know their frustration as possible! As easy as it is to feed into someone’s rage, it’s best to take a neutralizing approach. Here’s how:

1. Locate Each Mention

Whether it’s on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, you’ll want to track down where each mention of your brand occurred. Getting a hold on how many people may have seen the post is the starting point for responding to negative customer feedback. You’ll want to see how many times it was shared, as well as gauging the severity of what was said. This is kind of the “damage control” portion of this process, and it’s important to begin mitigating things.

2. Let Empathy Guide You

While it’s easy to shout back at an unruly commenter or group, the safest approach comes through empathy. Whether the incident was your mistake or not, it’s often recommended to keep a cool, level approach to the situation. Try to imagine just how frustrated a customer is and do your best to relate to their post or review. Responding to negative customer feedback is really about taking responsibility when needed. At the same time, this doesn’t mean you need to bite the bullet if something wasn’t your fault. Each situation will be different, but using empathy in your response remains important.

3. Answer to the Public

When it comes to social media, conversations between angered customers and a company often amounts to a spectator sport. Responding to negative customer feedback is as much about defending your reputation as it is finding a solution. If the backlash reaches a point where the public demands answers, issuing a statement may be needed. For smaller scale, individual customer incidents its best to deal with their issue in a channel where others may not see your response.

responding to negative customer feedback

4. Reply Only Twice

While it’s tempting to blow up someone’s social media notifications or inbox, keep your replies to a minimum. Reply once to the initial concern, offering solutions or acknowledging responsibility. Anything beyond this should be an attempt to direct the conversation to a representative or somewhere more “behind the scenes.” When replying, stick to the facts and answer quickly. Don’t provide more information than is necessary.

5. Maneuver with Your Channels

Obviously, social media wasn’t designed to be a customer service portal, so responding to negative customer feedback requires offline solutions. Whether it’s Twitter’s character limit or Facebook’s ever-changing feed, it’s important to consider how your channels can best resolve an issue. Sometimes, that really means connecting disgruntled customers with real people in your company. Again, reply only twice, ensuring that the second reply takes things out of the public eye. Likewise, if you are able to resolve the issue, posting the solution for the public to praise can have uplifting effects on your social presence and brand.

So just to recap — responding to negative customer feedback means first locating where the feedback exists, showing empathy, responding publicly but concisely, and using your channels to display solutions. Following these basic ideas can help quell a crisis and keep your company or brand’s reputation from degrading too far.

Do you have any experience responding to negative customer feedback? Let us know your techniques in the comments below!

What to Do After an Employee Review

We get great benefits to enjoy here at Track5Media, from Hershey Park trips to a stellar healthcare package to free snacks. With all of these fun perks, it’s easy to overlook one of the most important benefits we have. I’m talking about employee reviews. While many cringe at the thought of having a performance review, I find them extremely helpful. Many employers don’t take the time to help you grow in your career. However, here at Track5Media, reviews happen twice a year. While I can’t speak for everyone, during my most recent review last week, I was praised for my accomplishments as well as critiqued and given suggestions on what to work on to become a better employee. I came away from my review not feeling discouraged, but feeling excited to work on improving myself as an employee. A week later, I’m in an interesting spot. I’m deciding what to do after an employee review. Luckily below are just a few things you can do after your employee review to ensure that you’re growing as a person and an employee.

What to Do After an Employee Review

Don’t Forget the Good Stuff!

One of the biggest issues that an employee will have is failing to acknowledge the good stuff that they heard in his or her review. If you haven’t done anything good during your time working for that company, it’s safe to say that you probably wouldn’t have made it to an employee review. Some employees have selective hearing, and will immediately brush aside any positive aspect of the review. Instead, they will focus on only the negative, which is detrimental in the long run. When you’re deciding what to do after an employee review, know that your remembering your strengths is just as important as fixing your weaknesses. These strengths show exactly why you’re a vital part of the company.

Reflect First

It can be easy to have a knee-jerk reaction after having a performance review, especially if it was bad. If you’re unsure about what to do after an employee review, one of the best things you can do is to sit down and reflect. It’s tempting to get angry or defensive, especially if you’re accustomed to positive reviews. However, this won’t do much good. Instead, take some time to think about where your manager or boss is coming from before you react too harshly.

what to do after an employee review

Have a Plan

It’s one thing to vow that you’ll improve your performance before your next review, but it’s another to actually implement a plan to do it. If you want to know what to do after an employee review, start forming a plan of attack. Having a plan is a critical part of achieving any goal. Think of it this way: If you want to lose weight, you don’t just announce it to the world and expect the pounds to start falling off. The purpose of feedback is to help you improve your job, and that requires a detailed plan of action. That may involve learning new skills, reprioritizing your tasks, or reevaluating how you come across to colleagues. Creating a plan of action will not only help you improve as an employee, but it shows your manager that you’re willing to put in the effort.

Follow Up

After you’ve put your plan into action, it’s important that you follow up with your manager. If you’re wondering what to do after an employee review, taking time to sit with your manager and review goals is a great step to take. Check in with he or she a month after your evaluation. Let them know what you’ve been doing to rectify the situation, and ask if they think your performance is improving. Getting periodic feedback is much better than waiting until your next annual or semi-annual review only to find out that your boss still isn’t pleased. A follow-up meeting is a great way to show your manager that you really are dedicated to improving your performance.

Employee reviews should be the first step towards growing within your company. When you’re wondering what to do after an employee review, consider the suggestions provided above. As always, if you have other suggestions on making the most of employee reviews, feel free to comment below!

Retaining Top Talent in 2018 | Five Strategies

It’s 2018 and business as usual — but that depends if top employees are committed for the long term. Things running smoothly quickly fall apart when a top employee decides to leave, even with a two-weeks notice. If your company is growing, it’s important to be fielding for new employees constantly. This is particularly true for professions allowing remote employmen, such as web development. Here we’ll talk about some ways employers are retaining top talent in 2018 and beyond!

Start Your Career with Track5Media Today!

Retaining top talent in 2018

Five Ways Companies are Retaining Top Talent in 2018

1. Set Expectations

When you finally land that “rockstar” candidate, you need to ensure they are fully content with what they’re getting into. Being able to set clear expectations from the very start means there’s no question of how they can hit the ground running. Working in a tech-heavy company like Track5Media sometimes means wearing many hats, so establishing that wardrobe ahead of time is key. At the same time, lay out ways they can grow and advance. If someone has a clear idea of their role and the things they can accomplish, they’ll hopefully stay on board to see it come to fruition!

2. Maintain Supervision

Once the expectations have been set, it comes down to solid managerial skills. Allowing someone to get right to work without a hitch helps new employees settle into their roles. This also plays heavily into someone’s long-term retention. If workers aren’t keeping the right pace or they are moving along briskly, managers need to respond accordingly. Really, it’s about keeping that ebb-and-flow for departments which helps employees settle into their roles over time.

3. Be Open to Suggestions

New employees bring fresh perspectives, seeing things that others miss. Although they may have joined in recently, staying open to employee suggestions creates a culture of participation. Retaining top talent in 2018 means connecting people beyond the daily activities of the job. It also means listening and responding to what employees think and feel in terms of internal decisions. Sure, not every suggestion is realistic, but sometimes it’s the consideration that really matters.

retaining top talent in 2018

We’re hiring today! Search for our open positions now.

4. Emphasize Skills

Retaining top talent in 2018 also means playing to someone’s skill set. If particularly employees thrive in one part of the business, see what ways their interest can be cultivated. There’s no better way to lose employees than by fitting them into a box they never signed up for. This goes along with setting expectations, although it centers heavily on managerial observations and suggestions as well. Try to bring out the best in someone, no matter what their job description requires. Additionally, consider how an employee can grow and advance their skills for years to come. The return on investment will be worth it! Similarly, if someone is not excelling as much as they could be, ask them what ways the company can better utilize their time. It’s all about having those productive conversations!

5. Maintain Fair Treatment

While someone is coming aboard and settling in, it’s important to help them feel like a part of the team. Seniority certainly has its functions, although treating new employees with the same respect helps them stay aboard. Should they decide to remain on the team, they’ll have the prerogative to treat future hires with decency as well. There’s nothing that breeds contempt and disgruntled employees faster than favoritism and preferential treatment — even if it’s deserved! The same goes for employees who have been with the company for a long time. If someone new comes aboard and starts reaping benefits never before offered, that’s a quick way to degrade relationships.

Overall, retaining top talent in 2018 is about hitting the basics mentioned above. What are some other ways your company keeps rockstar professionals in it to win it? Let us know in the comments below!

Website Upgrade Tips: Show Some Love

Love is in the air and that means that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. This capitalism-created holiday will surely have you scrambling for last minute gift ideas and dinner reservation. While you should always be showing love to your significant other, now’s a perfect time to think about showing love to someone else. I’m talking about your website! Like any significant other, your website needs some TLC and attention. Your website is an extension of your brand, so you want to make sure it represents you as best it can. On average, over 100,000 domains are registered every single day, which means there’s a lot of competition out there. Luckily, there are plenty of website upgrade tips that we can offer so your site remains up to date and taken care of.

Four Website Upgrade Tips

1. Content Is King

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but the content you have on your website is crucial to providing a stellar user experience. If you haven’t yet, make sure to start a blog that is updated frequently. One of the best website upgrade tips we can provide is to create a blog with content that people want to read. Keep it short! It’s pretty well known that web users have very short attention spans and that we don’t read articles thoroughly and in their entirety. A study investigating the changes in our reading habits behaviors in the digital age concluded that we tend to skim web pages to find the information we want. Use bullet points and small paragraphs so readers can easily skim and digest what they need. Various headers are also a great way to break up content as well as enhance your onsite SEO. We’ll get to that in a minute.

2. Add Other Media

A blog is a great place to start but let’s not stop there. When it comes to website upgrade tips, adding a variety of different media is a great way to improve the user experience. It’s no surprise that the majority of content we consume online (especially mobile) is of the video or image variety. If you’re not a writer, it may be easier for you to update your website with images and videos. Just remember to make your images and videos search engine friendly (don’t worry, we’re almost there) so the search engines can see your new content.

website upgrade tips

3. Onsite SEO

Okay, so you’ve heard me mention SEO and making things “search engine friendly,” but what do I mean by that? One of the best website upgrade tips I can give you is to ensure that your website is SEO friendly. SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the practice of making sure your content is able to be crawled by Google. It will then show up during the user’s search process. We have an entire post dedicated to helping you perform an SEO audit, but a few things you should think about are your keywords, your image alternate text, and your user search intent. SEO is and always will be a major factor in your website’s success. Make sure you continuously look into your onsite SEO to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your website.

4. Mobile Friendly

2017 was the year of the mobile experience, so it’s important that you’re keeping up with the times. It’s no surprise that optimizing your site for mobile is extremely important. Almost everyone has a smartphone. Recently, Google started penalizing sites that aren’t mobile optimized, making the need for responsiveness even more crucial. This is probably the single most valuable way in which you can improve your website’s usability.

I hope these tips will give you the chance to show your website some love. I definitely wouldn’t recommend buying it chocolates or flowers, but you can certainly make sure it’s optimized for 2018. If you have any other tips on how to upgrade your website, feel free to comment below!