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:

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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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!

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!

What is Brand Strategy? | Some Basic Tips

Here at Track5Media, we’re all about keeping our brands healthy and in tip-top shape. At the moment, we’ve got six separate lead generation websites (not including the one you’re on) that we maintain. The sites are devoted to healthcare staffing, commercial trucking, and senior care placement. And while there are many similarities between each site, their audiences and the types of content vary widely! Still, we do our best to maintain a distinct identity as Track5Media, whether that’s through our content’s voice, what we share on social media, and the overall aesthetic decisions we make. But what is brand strategy and how can you utilize it to your advantage? We’ll discuss that here!

What is Brand Strategy | Basic Starting Points

The main idea of any brand strategy is going to center on encompassing some specific, long-term goals that you can steer your product or business toward. It’s going to be figuring out exactly what aspects of your company’s character will stand out from all other competitors. Really, your brand strategy is a process that needs to connect these main things:

  • Consumer Needs
  • Your Product’s Value
  • The Competitive Environment

So while it may be natural to think that your brand strategy is your logo, your name, your website, or your product itself, this isn’t exactly true. Yes, all of these things are necessary aspects of facilitating a business, but really a brand is more closely related to the experience itself! It’s the intangible qualities of your company which are important to highlight and maintain throughout the implementation of your brand strategy.

But how? Here are some all-purpose takeaways:

Find your Purpose

As explained by Allen Adams, chairman of the North America region of brand consulting and design firm, Landor Associates,

“In a marketplace in which consumer confidence is low and budgetary vigilance is high, it’s not just making a promise that separates one brand from another, but having a defining purpose.”

Yes, it does make sense to define your business strategies in terms of the promises you make to your customers, but brand strategy often relies on that purpose you fulfill in the lives and businesses of others. In terms of how a brand exists in the real world or a digital space, Business Strategy Insider defined purpose in two general ways:

• Functional: Focuses on a business’s success in terms of the immediate or commercial reasons. Basically, the ‘how’ of your method of generating income.

• Intentional: Refers to a business’s ability to make money based on public perception and the impact it seeks to have on customers or the world in general.

what is brand strategy

Hone Your Consistency

As with any of the top brands out there, it’s often the case that there is a sense of cross-platform consistency. Essentially, you’re seeking to magnify your purpose and unify the presence of your brand by finding consistent ways to depict and communicate this.

In terms of online marketing today, bringing a consistent consumer experience from one device to the next is absolutely essential. Before most sales even occur, customers will have made several touch points with your product or service. Your brand strategy needs to account for the fact that a consistent voice, content, message, and service can all be found wherever the consumer journey may go.

It may be that someone doesn’t have a need for your product or service now, but when you can be the solution, then having that brand recognition is what it’s all about!

Stay Flexible

As much as marketers like to believe that a brand strategy is exactly as it should be, maintaining a healthy brand means staying flexible to change. Of course, you’re probably wondering how it’s possible to stay consistent while considering new insights and marketing maneuvers — but it all comes down to balance.

So if you’ve been running targeted ad campaigns that maintain your voice and communicate your message but the results aren’t what they should be, your brand strategy needs to accommodate updates made to itself. This often means finding a good mix of recognition and variation so that your content isn’t confusing to customers while building a stronger presence to reach your goals.

So, what is brand strategy? In the end, developing your brand strategy relies on the key components of recognizing your audience, understanding your purpose in their lives, telling your story as a company, and remaining open to the new opportunities to evolve!

What is brand strategy to you? Let us know in the comments below!

3 Basic Skills for Marketers!

For those who have been at it for a while, marketing can seem like second nature. And even though it’s not always the most natural process out there, there are some distinct skills that the best marketers possess. Maybe you are looking for a way to refresh your approach to marketing or are just getting started, but either way these 3 skills for marketers are not to be ignored!

So you may be thinking, “Connor, you didn’t even study marketing in college — how are you doing this full time?”

Well to put it plainly, I practice a form of dark magic that can convince people to let me get away with anything by reciting cyclical incantations as inscribed inside the Egyptian pyramids.

skills for marketers

Not really.

And then again, marketing is that very process of creating a media experience aimed at influencing real-world decisions, buying decisions, and sentiments… So not entirely different from magic! Truthfully, I learned a lot just by diving into this field and building my knowledge through an internship. With lots of great marketing blogs and resources out there, just about anyone can craft their approach to this field no matter the industry they’re a part of.

Still, these skills for marketers I’ll reveal next are definitely things I consider on a daily basis.

3 Basic Skills for Marketers

1. Pursue Multifaceted Content

While there are negative connotations to the whole idea of being a “jack of all trades, and a master of none,” content that performs well across various types of outlets can be some of your finest marketing assets. At a basic level, it’s going to be about posting new content frequently and consistently, working to build traffic, and find your audience who’s going to keep your momentum going. Sure you can build a site that performs well, but if you aren’t dividing your content up to reach the main social platforms and places where your audience hangs out, you’ll have little to show for it in the end. Truly, this is one of the most important skills for marketers to possess.

skills for marketers

Focus on “evergreen” content, or content that will never lose its relevance or value in the eyes of your audience. While trends change constantly, think about the information you’ll always need to express in order to keep your initiatives alive. This content will always need to provide users with some sort of value, a takeaway point of some kind, or if nothing else, a way to reach your products or services.

2. Learn To Optimize Existing Channels

Whether you’re a business owner yourself or just starting out in an entry-level position, it’s best to get a handle on the current channels through which company information and content is being broadcast. Unfortunately, the previous success of a channel doesn’t always ensure the success of your next initiatives as a marketer, making it important to learn ways you can test these channels for viability.

I won’t go into too much detail here, but there are things you can research further when learning ways to optimize a channel.

• Website Audits — Although sites may look fine on the surface, there are often lots of hidden SEO faux pas lurking below. Reviewing the way a website is structured and its various aspects that are crawled by search engines like Google can help marketers understand how people are interacting with the site and ways to improve its performance.

• Plan Strategies — Reviewing past strategies and their level of success can really help to inform the way that marketers can move forward. Incorporating the objectives and campaigns of other departments or aspects of a business can make for a solid strategy.

• Refine with A/B Testing — Using what’s called A/B testing, marketers can measure how well certain conversion forms are working and whether adjustments can be made.

3. Focus on Customer Relations

We’re truly in the golden age of building customer relationships. Whether it’s through retweets and comments, or direct messages on Facebook it’s easier than ever to interact with your audience. Of course, that means responding to positive and negative feedback in sometimes equal parts. As a general rule, it’s best to respond in a neutral and helpful way, despite what consumers might be expressing.

skills for marketers

Otherwise, people want a connective and better experience each time. Although that’s notoriously hard to deliver for some, it can really help to put yourself in someone’s shoes as they interact with your products or services. How would you want to be reached? What type of things would you appreciate seeing? Become the customer to realize your role as a marketer!

While this is in no way a definitive list you’ll need to know, this should be a good start to breaking into the field of digital marketing. Skill for marketers are constantly evolving and changing with the industry, so do your best to stay up-to-date and forward thinking!