Track5 Takes on Philly | Marketing Attends Digital Summit 2018

Sometimes, the most valuable thing you take away from traveling to a business conference isn’t industry related – sometimes it’s the connections you build with your team members, and the shared experience of going into it together. This week our marketing team traveled from Lancaster to Philadelphia for the Digital Summit marketing conference at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

There’s only three of us in the marketing department, and we spend 40 hours a week at work. So basically, we spend more time together than we do with our families, significant others or friends. Yet, were rarely spend that time getting to know each other or doing what some would call “team building.” This week, we were able to do both – grow professionally while learning more about each other. As a result, we have returned with new knowledge and as a stronger team!

With that said, here are four highlights of our trip to Philly and the top three things we learned at the Digital Summit marketing conference!

Four Highlights of Our Trip to Philly

1. We explored the city

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Philadelphia is notorious for its mural art and breathtaking architecture. But it doesn’t have the nickname of Filthadelphia for no reason… there’s lots of trash on the streets, and sadly, many homeless people who are struggling. Luckily, we were able to admire some art and feed a few of the less fortunate while we were in town. It was fun just to stroll through the neighborhoods and check things out together.

2. We got to hang out in a casual setting

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Our team enjoyed a few drinks at BRÜ Craft & Wurst. From left to right: Lenay, Troy, and Margaret

There’s something to be said about a casual happy hour with your coworkers. Want to try my beer? Ew, that one is gross. I like mine better. Seated outside on a busy, Center City street, we people watch. A group of drunk college girls stumbles by, one snacking on her leftover pizza right out of the box. This triggers story time… “I remember when I was in college… ” You learn a lot about your coworkers when you break free from the office walls. And it feels good to laugh and relate on a personal level after a long day of work and travel.

3. We ate some delicious food

We may have many differences, but thankfully, we all like Italian food. Not to rub it in or anything, but we ate pretty well on our work trip…

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Maggiano’s Center City Philadelphia

4. We learned a lot at the Digital Summit marketing conference

Just to be clear, we didn’t only eat, drink and gossip on this trip. We also learned a lot and shared an incredible experience networking with thousands of other people in our industry. I’ll admit it. We nerded out a bit and got excited about trending digital marketing topics.

With that said, here are the top three take-a-ways I learned at the Digital Summit marketing conference:

Top Three Take-a-Ways from the Digital Summit Marketing Conference

1. There are always new tools emerging for marketers

The two most helpful tools I learned about at the conference were related to SEO and page design. The first tool I learned about was an additional plug-in for Yoast that tells you what blogs you already have on WordPress that might be related to the one you’re currently writing. The plug-in lists these blogs on the right side as you’re typing, which is great in helping you create internal links. I can see this tool being especially helpful for people who are new to the marketing team. For example, our interns don’t necessarily know everything we’ve written about in the past.

Another tool I learned about, which would be extremely helpful for all of our brands is tinypng.com. It is a website that compresses your images so that the file size isn’t so big. Large images often slow down page load time, but yet you don’t want to alter the size and distort the image. This tool reduces the image file size without compromising its quality.

2. Talk to your consumers the way you wish businesses would talk to you

Sometimes people say the simplest of things, and yet a reminder of something so basic can change everything. For example – talk to your consumers the way you wish businesses would talk to you. One speaker pointed out that there’s probably a pizza shop in every town that is advertising as “the world’s best pizza.” We don’t believe those signs, right? Then why would we market to our audience that way? Think about how to deliver a message to your fans that is authentic, sincere and still incentivizes them to use your brand. This thought process can also be applied when emailing prospects for link building. Don’t shoot them a basic email with a weak sale. Talk to them like you would your friend, and see how far your authenticity will take you.

3. Don’t forget to work on yourself

The third and most memorable take-a-way from this year was something related to soft skills. Across the board, I think this is the most important thing we could all improve upon – time management and productivity. The final keynote speaker, Daniel Pink, is notorious for compiling and explaining various research on timing. A best-selling author of several books on behavioral science, he raised some really good points. For example, he asked, what point in our workday are we most alert? Then, what type of work are we doing during that time? He broke it down for us. Most people have three stages to their day: a peak, a trough and a recovery. What does that mean? Basically, you’re sharpest in the morning and at night, with a lull midday. Sounds familiar, right? According to Pink, you should do your analytical work in the morning (that means stop checking emails right when you get to work!), do your administrative tasks when you’re in your trough stage and do your insightful or creative projects last.

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Best-selling Author Daniel Pink was the Keynote Speaker at the Digital Summit marketing conference.

Were you at the digital summit? What did you learn? Share with us in the comments below!

Skills Marketers Need to Kill It This Year

When I tell people that I work in marketing, I usually expand on that with a generic explanation like, I write blogs, website content, and manage social media for several brands. Immediately I get a response along the lines of, “so, you get paid to play around on the internet all day?”

Yes. Sort of. But not really.

Marketing isn’t as simple as it sounds, and it’s probably one of the most undervalued but cultivating tech careers out there. Believe it or not, websites don’t just magically show up on the first page of a Google search, and the information you’re reading online isn’t all written by robots. So, with that said, here are the skills marketers need to kill it this year!

Top Six Skills Marketers Need to be Successful

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1. You should be good at reading people

When you’re trying to lead people to your brand, you have to be good at knowing their triggers. In other words, you have to understand who your audience is and what they want. Marketing is often the process of leading someone on a personal journey to where they finally decide on your brand. That’s why reading people and building relationships is one of the most important skills marketers need to kill it this year.

2. You should be even better at communicating with them

Once you understand who your audience is, the next step is knowing exactly how to communicate with them to get them to do what you want them to. Keep in mind that there are many forms of communication – emails, blogs, newsletters – are all written forms. But there are also other ways to communicate with your audience such as videos, podcasts, and infographics.

3. Technology is your best friend

Technology is your best friend if you want to kill it in marketing going forward. Technology is constantly evolving and so should your technical skills! If you don’t know how to make a video or take a stellar photograph, take a class. If you’ve never recorded and edited audio (like in a podcast) try it out! Also keep in mind how technology works, and how your audience might be using it. For example, it’s not enough to think of keywords in the context of a Google search. You now have to consider that your audience is asking Alexa or Siri questions about where to find travel nursing jobs or the highest paying trucking positions.

4. Content creation is key… so you better be creative

Just because technology is taking over doesn’t mean that some good, old-fashioned writing skills can be tossed to the side. Writing and content creating is still one of the key skills marketers need. In fact, blog writing is getting more and more technical and competitive. It’s not enough to write a fluff piece of 500 words and slap it online. Now, research, interviews and in-depth content is killing it. This means that you better be creative if you want to succeed as a marketer. Like I said above, it’s also very important to think of content creation outside of the written medium.

5. It’s your job to make boring data interesting

Data… statistics… zzz.

Let’s face it. Numbers can be extremely boring, especially for creative writers and those artsy types that are typically drawn to marketing careers. However, data is powerful, especially if it’s specific to your brand. It’s your job as a marketer to pay attention to granular details and find a way to use it to your advantage. Yes, this might mean working with numbers. I know, you’re rolling your eyes. However, with the right presentation even the dullest of data can be interesting.

6. If you’re lazy… bye!

If you don’t want to work hard and fast, don’t pursue a career in marketing. This is an industry that is technology driven, constantly changing and requires monitoring, adapting, and commitment. So, basically, if you’re lazy… bye! Laziness, or the ability to half-ass projects, is not one of the skills marketers need to kill it this year.

What do you think are some of the top skills marketers need to be successful? Share with us in the comments below!

How to Write a Press Release that Journalists Won’t Ignore

Full disclosure: Before I accepted my position as a content marketer at Track5Media, I was a reporter. Now that I’ve crossed to the other side, I have to be the pesky marketing person harassing the media. It’s quite an adjustment. After a year into my marketing position, though, I’m realizing how much of a benefit it is to have both a marketing and journalism perspective. From my commitment to fact checking to my awareness of how press releases are received and perceived, I see how my time as a journalist shapes me as a marketer. I’m not special. Lots of journalists are making the transition in their careers from journalism to marketing. I know that the skills I brought with me, I’m also competing with in this industry. With that said, I realize that my experience is still valuable to those who haven’t been frantically looking for a story on a Friday afternoon. Here are some tips (from my perspective as a reporter) on how to write a press release that journalists won’t ignore.

Five Tips on How to Write a Press Release that Journalists Won’t Ignore

how to write a press release

Are you tired of writing press releases and sending them but not getting any news coverage? Here are five tips on how to write a press release that journalists won’t ignore.

Target the right reporters

It’s not enough just to write a press release and blast it out through one of those fancy distribution websites. I mean –  do that –  but also think about how to target the right media. Is there someone locally you know who covers the industry you work in? Is there a specific magazine or industry newsletter that might be interested in your news? It’s always best to target the right audience.  a personal copy of your release.

Get their attention

Make sure you have a catchy subject line when you email them. Look at some recent articles that they wrote, and consider the language or phrases they used. Make your subject line sounds like something they would write.

Make them care

Just because something is exciting to you and your company, doesn’t mean it’s exciting to everyone else. That’s why if you want to know how to write a press release that journalists won’t ignore, you have to think about what makes it to interesting to other people. Construct your press release with that thought in mind. You already care. That’s why you’re making the announcement. Your job, however, is to convince other people that they should care too.

Give it to them straight

Consider the five W’s – who, what, where, when and why. Make sure your press release answers all of those questions and then some. Make sure you give them all of the details and that they’re accurate. For example, if you forgot to write a press release about a new hire and it’s six months later, don’t try to tweak the content so that it seems like it just happened. There’s nothing more frustrating for a journalist than to be fed old news.

Follow up

The most important part of how to write a press release that journalists won’t ignore is to follow up. You can do everything right, but at the end of the day, reporters are busy. They’ve got many others just like you sending them story tips and press releases, and they have an editor yelling at them to make a deadline. Even though they might be interested, your outreach could be lost in their inbox. Send them a follow-up, or even give them a call! Sometimes having a friendly conversation on the phone will help you to stand out above the rest.

Do you have any additional tips on how to write a press release that journalists won’t ignore? Share with us in the comments below!

How to Use LinkedIn for Marketing Your Business

Do you ever feel like you’re wasting your time with a company page on LinkedIn? You’re posting articles weekly and chatting it up in groups relevant to your market. Yet there seems to be very little engagement when you look at analytics. Me too. Track5Media has a LinkedIn page for our company as well as for several of the brands that we own. Some pages perform better than others, but overall, engagement is nothing to brag about. There has to be some secret to success on how to use LinkedIn for marketing your business, right? My frustration moved me to action, and I did a little digging online about LinkedIn and company pages. Here are the four most useful things that I learned!

Four Tips for How to Use LinkedIn for Marketing Your Business

how to use LinkedIn for marketing your business

1. Know your audience. It may seem obvious, but after you create a company page you need to decide who your audience is going to be. For me, this one gets tricky. On our job board websites, our marketing efforts are typically business to consumer. For example, on AllTruckJobs we are marketing to truckers so that they come to our website and apply to the jobs that our clients (trucking companies) have posted. However, on LinkedIn, our goal is to market to our clients. This means switching up the language in copy so that it’s geared toward a business-to-business audience.

2. Use SEO. You also shouldn’t forget about SEO. Make sure that your LinkedIn page is optimized for SEO just like your website would be. This will help people searching for specific keywords or services to find your page.

3. Gather a following. The third item is what I find to be the most challenging. How the heck can you get people to follow your page? It doesn’t matter how engaging your shared content is if you have no one following your page and engaging with that content. I found a few suggestions for how to get more followers:

  • First, make sure your employees are following all of your brands on LinkedIn. This is an easy way to establish a basic following, and hopefully, it will show up on newsfeeds that they are following that page.
  • Secondly, let your clients know that you have a LinkedIn page and encourage them to follow it, either through an email, newsletter or blog post. Tell them they’re missing out on great content there!
  • Third – add a LinkedIn follow button to your website just like you would your other social media pages. Not only should you share that you have a LinkedIn page on your website, but share it on your Facebook and Twitter pages as well. If you have more followers on those pages, try to push that following to LinkedIn too.
  • The fourth and final way I found that you can get more followers on your page is to join LinkedIn groups. Engage with people in those groups, follow their pages, and hopefully, they will start to follow you as well.

4. Be interesting. The last tip I have for how to use LinkedIn for marketing your business is to share content frequently that is interesting and beneficial to your audience. Think about articles that are relevant to your industry, as well as content on your own site that you want them to see. Also, don’t forget that you don’t only have to share text copy. Is there a YouTube video or a Podcast out there that they might be interested in? Better yet, can you create one? Sharing different forms of media can help to make your LinkedIn page more engaging.

Do you have any successful strategies for how to use LinkedIn for marketing your business? Share with us in the comments below!

Basic Guest Blogging Strategies | 5 Essential Tips

Whether you’re a freelance content writer or find yourself as part of a marketing team, guest blogging is one of the most common link building tactics out there. What’s link building you ask? You may want to check out this blog first… Otherwise, we’ll talk about how basic guest blogging strategies can help you generate higher traffic and better SERP rankings for your websites! It’s not always a fool-proof method, but if you know where to start you can only make “helpful” mistakes along the way:

basic-guest-blogging-strategies

As many startups or digital marketers will tell you, good content along with strategically placed links are essential to building domain authority. Along with organic links, directory links, and specifically requested backlinks, guest blogging is one of the strongest strategies for several reasons. First off, most websites (especially those with smaller marketing teams) are always looking for fresh content to keep their audience and Google happy. When new blogs on hot topics get crawled, there’s a greater chance they’ll be seen in SERPs. That ultimately means more traffic or sales.

Since backlinks are (essentially) free, many influential blogs would rather link to your website than compensate you monetarily. Honestly, for many up-and-coming bloggers and companies, hefty backlinks from high ranking websites are worth their weight in gold! So what basic guest blogging strategies should you know?


5 Essential, Yet Basic Guest Blogging Strategies:

1. Ensure Your Own Blog is Loveable

Before you can pitch your content writing skills, you’ve got to have plenty of examples to pull from. Whether it’s a company or personal blog, make sure your posts are worthy of the types of sites you’ll be targeting with your outreach. Whether you’re using common blogging sites like Medium or WordPress, it’s important to design your posts to be both visually appealing and SEO friendly.

One great tool we use to guide our efforts is the Yoast SEO plugin. This free plugin can tell you all sorts of useful information when writing a blog to ensure it’s up to modern SEO standards. Adding elements like heading tags, alt-text in your images, and previewing your meta description are essential to helping your own blog be successful. Then, once you’ve got great examples of your own SEO-friendly work you’ll be able to pitch similar content!

2. Prepare Content to Pitch

Sure, having great ideas for content isn’t a bad thing but most of your guest blogging targets will want something concrete. Before writing anything, be sure to analyze the style and voice of the top outlets in your field to understand how your piece should sound and feel. What makes their content appealing? How do they engage readers? At the same time, get a handle on what keywords they are ranking for and how you can incorporate these metrics into your pitch as well.

Tools like Moz’s Keyword Explorer or Answer the Public are great starting places for understanding the types of terms and phrases to include in your guest blog. In addition to writing great, engaging content including information about how well a piece can rank for certain keywords is an incredible selling point. To really make each pitch worth your time, we recommend having at least three pre-written guest blogs on hand.

basic-guest-blogging-strategies

3. Find Your Guest Blogging Targets

Now that your own blog is looking great and your guest pieces are available, it’s time to choose your targets. An easy way to start is with specific Google searches:

  1. Search ‘guest blogging opportunities + keyword/industry’
  2. Search for ‘inurl:write-for-us + keyword/industry’

This second example uses what’s called a search operator and these provide lots of advantages depending on what you need to turn up in a SERP. 

In addition to making sure a website will accept your content, you must also be acutely aware of things like Page Authority and Domain Authority. One way to judge this is with the Moz’s Open Site Explorer. Pages with high PA and DA are generally better sites to target, as long as they have low span scores. There’s a bit more to this, but this is plenty for those just starting out. For now, just focus on finding blogs or sites with a DA around 20-40 with an estimated traffic of 10K+ per month. As long as you find quality websites to accept your posts, these basic guest blogging strategies will hold true!

4. Pitch Your Blog or Article

Now that you’ve done all of the proper legwork, it’s time to make that leap! Contacting editors can be a bit overwhelming, but it shouldn’t be impossible if you include all of the necessary information in your email:

  • Introduce Yourself and Company
  • Try noting something positive about their blog or company
  • Suggest several blog topics or potential posts
  • Include clean, clickable links to your previous work
  • Include an email signature with your contact info, a photo, and full name

After your initial email, it’s usually standard to check back in a few days. A simple, friendly reminder is usually enough to get the ball rolling. Just be sure to avoid annoying people — you can always try again in the future until you land something great!

5. It’s Time for Publishing!

After someone has agreed to post your blog it’s important to meet all of their specifications. They may request author photos of a certain size, a bio, and that you share the piece a certain way on social media. Nonetheless, this is all part of closing the deal so be sure to follow their considerations closely.

Another huge aspect is ensuring that the links you provided are ‘follow links’ rather than ‘no follow links.’ These links are what will pass authority to your own site in order to help you build your own ranking. Of course, this is something to agree upon beforehand, but it doesn’t hurt to follow up after a blog is live.

Overall, following these basic guest blogging strategies allow you to make great connections and strengthen your blog, content writing skills, and SEO acumen! Have any suggestions for aspiring content writers? Let us know in the comments below!

3 Essential Marketing Skills I Learned at My Internship

Before I landed a position as a digital marketing intern at Track5Media, LLC, I had little to no knowledge of online marketing. I remember freezing up when I was asked, “what do you know about SEO?” during my first interview. I was convinced that I didn’t get the job since I told the manager I had no idea what SEO was. To my surprise, I got the job, and my first day was a month later. Fast forward seven months, and I’m sitting here writing this blog post with tons of useful skills in my marketing toolbox. Looking back, I’ve learned A LOT about digital marketing during my time here. Here are three essential marketing skills that I’ve learned so far!

Essential Marketing Skills I Learned at My Track5Media Internship

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Keyword Research

Who knew that there was so much behind the words you type in a Google search box? Having a good keyword in copy and blog posts can really make or break your website’s ranking. These two tools helped me a lot when it came to choosing a keyword for my content:

  • Moz’s Keyword Explorer. Moz’s Explorer is my number one go-to when it comes to keyword research. If you have a keyword in mind, this tool will tell you all sorts of useful statistics for that keyword. For example, it displays the keyword’s monthly volume, difficulty, and organic CTR. It’s super helpful, but you must be a Moz Pro member to use it.
  • AnswerThePublic.com. I’ll admit that the strange video of the old man on the front page creeped me out at first. Once I got past that, I learned to love this site! It’s given me a bunch of ideas for blog post topics and keywords. After inputting a single term like “marketing,” the site will display dozens of questions and keywords that people are searching for. Better yet, it’s free.

By researching keywords, I’ve been able to learn so much about our market’s keyword demand and which words/phrases to target with SEO.

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Social Media Marketing

I’m a millennial, so of course, I knew a lot about social media before starting this internship. However, in the marketing world, there’s a lot more to social media than making posts and tweets. Here at Track5Media, we focus on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Using these platforms, we’ve been able to generate a lot more traffic to our websites and landing pages. Not only that, but each platform offers analytics and demographics, so we’re able to learn a lot about our audiences. In turn, we can create better-performing content and market it more effectively! Also, including photos, hashtags, and videos in your posts is important! From what I’ve found, people are more likely to look at a social media post with a picture than one that’s just straight text. With social media becoming more and more popular, social media marketing is becoming one of the most essential marketing skills.

essential marketing tips

Writing for Different Audiences

Up until I started this job, I hadn’t written content for many different audiences. I wrote for myself, for professors, and that’s about it. Now, I write content that’s aimed at nurses, truckers, doctors, and the elderly. It’s a pretty broad spectrum, right? So, the casual voice and verbiage I use for a trucker blog post may not work very well on a blog for physicians. From social media posts to blogs, the content that I write differs depending on who I’m writing it for. I think this is a crucial skill when it comes to content marketing. Content that’s written properly for the target audience will perform better than content that’s not! Now that I know how to effectively write for different audiences, I consider myself a stronger writer and marketer.

All in all, my time at Track5Media has been very valuable and rewarding, to say the least. I’ve learned many essential marketing skills, but these three are among my favorites. I have no doubt that these tools will prepare me for my future careers!

Interested in your own internship at Track5Media? Check out our open positions and apply to join the awesome team!

Home Sweet Home: Tips For Local SEO

As your brand grows, so do your ambitions. While it’s great to think about your company becoming the next global brand, it’s also important to remember to think locally. We’ve covered blogs that deal with SEO on a bigger scale. These onsite and offsite tactics will ensure that you’re getting in front of as many eyes as possible. However, there’s another aspect of SEO that produces results much quicker and can leverage a ton of traffic and business for your site. Research shows that 18% of local smartphone searches resulted in a purchase within a day. Local SEO is a great way to build up brands of all shapes and sizes. Below we’ll take a look at some of the best tips for local SEO.

Tips For Local SEO

Identify Local Search Terms

This sounds like one of the easiest tips for local SEO, but it’s often one that’s forgotten by many companies. Leveraging some of your onsite SEO for local SEO will ensure that you’re attracting potential customers from a local standpoint. For example, if your company is a lawn service, while it’s nice to rank for the term “lawn service,” this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get in front of the right audience. If you’re based out of Pennsylvania and you’re showing up in the SERP for someone in Phoenix, Arizona, that probably won’t be a converting customer. But, if you’re ranking for “lawn services in Lancaster, PA” then you’ll have a much better chance of converting that person.

Begin a Local Link Building Campaign

We’ve spoken about the importance of link building in the past, but one of the best tips for local SEO is to engage in a local link building campaign. Links built locally will help to establish credibility in the eyes of Google. Use social media to increase the exposure of your website. Encourage your followers to share out your info. Create great blog content and use that to pitch to other local sites. If it makes sense, create a local directory of businesses and have them link back to your website. Use similar techniques that you would use if you were implementing an entire link building campaign.

tips for local seo

Don’t Forget Internal Linking

Internal linking is an onsite SEO tactic that not only helps with user experience, but it can also give your rankings a boost. Most local businesses have poor website architecture, often with important pages only being linked to from the main navigation or footer. Add internal links that are relevant from within your pages’ content, including blog posts, informational pa, es and key service pages. These “money” pages are the most important URLs on your site, so it’s important that you’re directing potential customers to those pages.

User Reviews

One of the biggest mistakes that a local company can do is to not have a place where customers can offer feedback and reviews. User reviews help to build your business’ visibility in local search results, and so does your engagement in responding to them — whether they are positive or negative. Your brand reputation is important, so one of the best tips for local SEO is to ensure that your reputation is being displayed through social media.

Use a Rankings Trackers

Another one of the best tips for local SEO is to use a tool that will track your local keyword rankings. We’ve covered some of the best SEO tools to use for your campaign, so it’s worth taking a look at the rank tracking features that Moz and SEMrush have to offer. You’ll want to track ranking, search volume, device, result type, and whether your preferred URL is the top-ranked result for searches in each geographic location that’s relevant to your business.

We hope some of these local SEO tips will help take your company to new heights! If you have some other tips you’d like to provide, or have a question for us, feel free to comment below!

Artificial Intelligence and Marketing in 2018

Now that we’re a few months into 2018, it is about time to look back at the projected trends for the year. While some of these predictions may have fallen out of the popular conversation, one certainly has not. Artificial intelligence and marketing in 2018 continue to be something on practically every digital marketer’s mind. But why? Now that we’re three and a half months into the year, what have we learned about artificial intelligence and marketing? Well, in short, quite a bit. Even though we started the conversation about AI years ago, a lot has changed. As digital marketers keeping up with industry trends, there are a few things to keep in mind about AI.

Artificial Intelligence and Marketing

Artificial Intelligence and Marketing

While the list of ways that AI is affecting marketing could go on forever, we’ve highlighted a few of the key things to keep in mind. Is there anything important that we left off the list? We’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!

SEO and AI

Perhaps the two best-known acronyms in digital marketing these days, SEO and AI are now extremely important to one another. For years, search engines have been getting smarter. Google has been developing sophisticated algorithms to determine the user’s search intent for years. However, AI is the next great development in improving the user experience. Since AI is all about machine learning, it can be used to learn about users’ search intent and generate better results. So, the SEO practices that we know today, which are already shaped by AI, are only likely to change further throughout 2018 and beyond.

Need For High-Quality Data

Machine learning requires immense amounts of data to work as effectively as possible. Since computers are able to analyze this data exponentially faster than humans, there is practically no limit to how much data these machines can interpret. However, this means that the outcome of machine learning is highly dependent upon the quality of data available. Therefore, the more precisely that data is measured and made available, artificial intelligence will be more productive.

AI and Smarter Recommendations

Whether you are a digital marketer or not, anyone using the internet has shared the experience of seeing smarter recommendations. Think about it, you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed and you see an ad for a car just days after you read that article about the newest make or model. Or that playlist you’re streaming comes to an end but Spotify continues to play music that perfectly fits your tastes. This is not to mention Amazon’s recommended products. Ultimately, people are being driven to make transactions online in entirely new ways. If the products people want to buy appear to them naturally, that will surely affect the way that people interact with search engines.

The Role of Dynamic Pricing

Over a year ago we wrote a similar blog about artificial intelligence and marketing. Obviously, a lot has changed since then. However, one thing that hasn’t changed is the role of dynamic pricing as it relates to the consumer experience. With more users than ever online and people becoming increasingly comfortable making transactions online, AI has more high-quality data (see above) than ever at its disposal. This means that prices can adjust even more rapidly to account for purchasing patterns worldwide. If consumers can’t count on today’s price being the same tomorrow, how will that influence their purchasing patterns?

As we mentioned above, there are really countless potential intersections of artificial intelligence and marketing in 2018 and beyond. However, the important thing to keep in mind is that AI continues to shape the digital marketing landscape. At this point, we really have no reason to expect anything different looking ahead. This impact online will extend far beyond digital marketers too. As user experience becomes paramount to AI, internet companies will be looking for more UX developers than ever before. In fact, we’ve got a few job openings right here at Track5Media, LLC. Regardless, there is a lot to look forward to with artificial intelligence and marketing.

Sharp Sound and Killer Content: Tips for Recording an Interview

Here at Track5Media, the marketing department is expanding our audio and video marketing. This means getting expert interviews from people in the various industries we work with, recording them, fancying them up, and putting them online. As someone who worked as a print journalist for several years my first thought was, interviews, how easy. Then, my coworkers took me into our tiny podcast room, put these huge headphones over my ears, pushed my chair so that my face was up against a microphone and showed me how to hook up my cell phone to the computer for recording. Needless to say, I was a little overwhelmed. I felt awkward and out of my comfort zone. Interview someone without taking notes? And I have to hear my voice too. Count me out. Recording is very different from a traditional interview. Although it’s been an adjustment, here are five tips for recording an interview that I’ve learned so far.

Five Tips for Recording an Interview

A woman talking into a microphone preparing to give tips for recording an interview

If you’re like me – intimidated by the recording process, have no fear. If I can do it, anyone can. Here are five tips for recording an interview.

1.     Plan ahead so conversation flows

Before doing a recorded interview, you want to think about who the interviewee is. What are the best questions to ask them to get the most interesting conversation flowing? Once you figure that out, send them the questions ahead of time so that they can look them over. Also, be sure to ask them how much time they have free. The last thing you want is for them to start to cut the interview short because they didn’t expect it to take so long. Once you have everything organized with your interviewee, the last piece of your planning process is figuring out the location. You want to make sure that you have a place to record the interview that is quiet with minimal background noise, and that you have the equipment to record the interview.

2.     Don’t be afraid to stray from your plans

In a perfect world, you’ll have 10 or so questions that you plan to ask. Everything will go according to plan. Your interviewee will answer all of the questions exactly like you anticipate and conversation will flow into the next topic. In reality, you can’t predict how someone is going to answer. Your interviewee could say something that steers the entire interview in a different direction. DON’T BE AFRAID TO GO THAT WAY. Sometimes someone will say something you didn’t expect, and it will take the interview on an even more interesting turn than you predicted in your planning. Being able to recognize this in the moment and change or adjust your questions accordingly is a skill that takes time but is one of the most critical tips for recording an interview.

3.     Minimize background noise… that includes you!

For me, the hardest thing to learn about recording an interview is that you can’t respond the way you normally would. Since you’re talking on the phone, your natural inclination is to verbally indicate that you’re listening. Phrases like, “right,” “yes,” or “of course,” slip out. However, when you’re recording an interview, it’s important not to talk over the person who is talking. It’s safe to assume that they know you’re listening and that you understand what they’re saying, so reserve your impulsive polite signals. This also includes laughing, sighing and any other background noise. To ensure that the interview is crisp and clear, try to eliminate any sound other than the person who’s speaking.

4.     Test your equipment ahead of time

Luckily for me, I have some awesome and techy savvy coworkers who help set up the equipment for a recorded interview. Making sure that the equipment works and is recording both interviews is pretty important for getting sharp sound and killer content in a recorded interview.

5.     Try not to be redundant

You’re making sure your equipment is still functioning. At the same time, you’re keeping track of which questions you already asked and which to ask next. You’re also trying to remember not to laugh or comment while the interviewee is speaking. And of course, in the midst of all this, you’re listening to the interviewee’s answers, of course! When it comes time for you to speak again, don’t be redundant. I really struggle with this. I notice I’ll say things like, “that’s awesome,” or “right, that makes sense.” These redundant phrases can sound extremely annoying and insincere when you play back the interview, so make sure you respond with a variety of phrases. You can also simply state the next question without commenting on the previous answer.

Do you have any tips for recording an interview? Share with us in the comments below!

How Effective is SEO? | Digital Marketing 101

Digital marketing is a diverse field with many distinct components to explore. Generally speaking, digital marketing simply refers to all of your online marketing efforts. However, this can include social media, video content, blogging, email campaigns, and much, much more. While these different types of digital marketing may be unique, they all share one common element: the internet. Search engines allow digital marketers to disseminate information about their goods and services like never before. Yet, with so many good and services available and countless digital marketers promoting them, how does your product stand out? The answer is, of course, SEO. Given that you’re reading this blog, you probably have a decent understanding of what SEO is. Just to recap though, SEO is the process of generating traffic from free and organic search results. The video below explains this further. But, how effective is SEO? Well, that depends on who you ask. Here at Track5Media, LLC we have our view. However, before we get to that, let’s explore a few of the other opinions.

How Effective is SEO?

“SEO is Dead!”

If you work in digital marketing, you’re sure to have heard someone claim “SEO is dead”. While this view is certainly inaccurate, there may be some merit to it. SEO as it existed years ago, is dead. Before 2012, many marketers discovered high strategies that we now call “Black Hat SEO”. When search engines first began optimizing results, simple and quick tactics like dropping links to your site in comments or overloading your content with keywords helped boost website rankings rapidly. However, this was problematic. Since people were writing content for search engines rather than for the users themselves, there was a lot of content created that wasn’t helpful. In order to address this, Google began penalizing websites for many of these “Black Hat SEO” tactics. Today, the savvy blogger knows that this approach will only hurt them in the rankings. Since 2012, search engines have only become more sophisticated. Although the SEO of the past may not necessarily be relevant anymore, this does not mean that SEO is ineffective.

“Better to Just Focus on PPC”

A common frustration for digital marketers looking to gain leads quickly is the fact that SEO takes time. Unfortunately, there is no immediate route to the top of the search results. After all, if there were, we’d all be there right? In fact, developing strong SEO results can take months of work to accomplish.  But does this mean that SEO is not worth the effort? Some people suggest that it does. With the speed and availability of PPC (pay per click), many marketers suggest that it is better to focus on this option. However, while PPC certainly does generate quick leads, it should not be used at the exclusion of SEO. SEO and PPC both have certain pros and cons that cannot be ignored. For example, generating organic search through SEO can help develop the trust and credibility of your brand in the mind of consumers. PPC, on the other hand, can make your brand visible to highly relevant users. Given the obvious merits of SEO, it would be a mistake to entirely exclude it from your marketing plan. If you want to see results immediately through PPC, consider using an integrative approach that employs SEO as well.

“SEO is the Way to Go!” (The Track5Media View)

How Effective is SEO

On the other end of the spectrum, you have the view of Track5Media’s marketing team; SEO is the way to go! While we’ve mentioned a few of them already, there are countless more reasons to love SEO. Obviously, search engines change their algorithms frequently. This means that an effective SEO strategy must continuously stay up to date with any industry transitions. If this seems like a daunting task, don’t worry! The SEO community is huge and growing. There are countless resources available to help you learn how to optimize your web content. Here at Track5Media, we use SEO for all of our brands like AllTruckJobs.com and TravelNurseSource.com.

So, how effective is SEO? Obviously, there are competing opinions. Well, it has helped us become one of the fastest growing businesses in the country! That’s just one of the reasons that we’re convinced that SEO is very effective.

How effective is SEO in your opinion? Let us know in the comments below!