The Oxford Comma Debate

oxford comma debateThe Oxford comma is a polarizing piece of punctuation, and its use has even been disputed in the courtroom. The Oxford comma debate raged on in a class-action lawsuit where Oakhurst Dairy drivers were awarded $5 million for not receiving overtime pay from their employer. Maine law states workers must be paid 1.5 times their normal wage if they exceed 40 hours per week. The exceptions to this law included the following activities:

The canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of:

  1. Agricultural produce;
  2. Meat and fish product; and
  3. Perishable foods

The drivers claimed that “packing for shipment” and “distribution” were not two separate exemptions because there wasn’t a comma included before “or”. This meant that distribution on its own was not an exception to the law and merited overtime pay. The ambiguity that resulted by omitting the Oxford comma caused the judge to rule in favor of the drivers.

What Exactly is the Oxford Comma?

If a single comma can cost a company millions of dollars, the Oxford comma debate must be a big deal. Also known as the serial comma, the Oxford comma is a piece of punctuation placed just before a coordinating conjunction in a list of three or more items. There is little consistency to its use and it continues to spark controversy in the world of writing. Many American-style guides such as The Chicago Manual of Style advocate for the use of the comma, but the Associated Press Stylebook is one of the most noteworthy exceptions. Several publications only use it when it’s necessary to avoid confusion, and most foreign languages leave it out of their writing entirely.

Arguments In Favor

Many researchers, academics, and writers insist on using the Oxford comma in their work. Proponents of this comma believe that it improves the clarity of a sentence and should never be left out. Consider this example:

Without the Oxford comma: “After accepting the award, the director thanked his parents, Jeff Goldblum and God.”

With the Oxford comma: “After accepting the award, the director thanked his parents, Jeff Goldblum, and God.”

The absence of the Oxford comma in this example literally changes the meaning of the sentence. Without the comma, it could be wrongly assumed that the director’s parents are Jeff Goldblum and God. Placing the comma before “and” separates the two nouns and helps to avoid any misconception of meaning.

Another argument in favor of the Oxford comma is that it better mimics the cadence of a spoken sentence. Adding an extra comma before a conjunction represents the pause you would take while speaking, and many people would argue that it makes the meaning of a sentence more clear. Like the example above, failing to pause at the end of could make the listener believe that the final two items in the list are combined.

Arguments Against

The Associated Press, along with many journalists, are against the Oxford comma being a grammatical requirement. Opponents of the comma believe that it can make a piece of writing seem cluttered and even pretentious. A lot of these people think that including a conjunction is sufficient enough, and some would even say that including the extra comma belittles readers because the author assumes they have difficulty understanding longer sentences. Publishers also frown upon its use because it has the potential to take up page space, something that is incredibly crucial to conserve.

Some people would consider the Oxford comma in this example to be unnecessary:

Without the Oxford comma: “Mary went to the mall, the library and then to Jenny’s house.”

With the Oxford comma: “Mary went to the mall, the library, and then to Jenny’s house.”

In the example above, some would argue that the sentence is clear enough without the extra comma.      

One Key Takeaway

Whatever your stance is in the Oxford comma debate, remember to remain consistent in your writing. Only using the comma periodically could cause even more ambiguity and make your writing seem unprofessional. The comma is not yet a universal requirement, so pick a side and stick to it! 


Where do you stand in the Oxford comma debate? Share your opinion with us in the comment section below!

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Working at Track5Media | Unexpected Outcomes

I’ve been working as a digital marketing intern at Track5Media for almost a year now. It’s been quite a ride, to say the least. While I knew that I’d walk away from this internship with useful marketing knowledge, there are some results I wasn’t anticipating. I’m sure other employees will agree, there are quite a few unexpected outcomes of working at Track5Media…

Unexpected Outcomes of Working at Track5Media

1. A newfound appreciation for truck drivers

I know some of you may be thinking, “what do truck drivers and Track5Media have in common?” Well, considering that one of our websites is a trucking job board, the two go hand in hand! I’ll admit, before I started working at Track5Media, I hated having to share the road with big rigs. I thought they were inconsiderate drivers who thought they were better than everyone else on the road. However, after working with AllTruckJobs.com and its podcast Big Rig Banter, I have a lot more respect for truck drivers. From writing trucking blogs to listening to interviews we’ve done with truckers, I’ve gained all sorts of exposure to the trucking industry. Working at Track5 definitely disproves the misconceptions and stereotypes you hear about truck drivers!

2. Wanderlust from working on our travel job boards

Not only does Track5Media operate a trucking job board, but we also run several job boards for traveling healthcare providers, like travel nurses and doctors. Needless to say, working on these websites gives some of us serious wanderlust. Considering the fact that the furthest west I’ve been is Pittsburgh, I’m really itching to travel the country after seeing all the attractions that different states have to offer.

working at track5media

3. Weight gain

I’m half kidding about this one, but it’s hard to resist the temptation to snack all day when our break room is full of yummy treats. Every month or two, Aarin, our executive administrator, goes on a Costco trip and picks up all sorts of snacks for the office: Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches, chips, yogurt, popcorn…the list goes on. I’ll admit, I’m tempted to grab a snack every time I walk through the break room to use the bathroom.

4. An addiction to LaCroix

I’m sure you’ve heard of LaCroix: that fancy, flavored sparkling water that’s all the rage right now. The fridge is usually stocked with it after our Costco run, but we go through a case of it in the blink of an eye. Personally, I’m convinced that there’s some sort of additive in LaCroix that makes it addicting. When I first tried it, I took one sip, nearly gagged, and dumped the rest of it down the drain. Then, I started craving it and began drinking at least one can a day, and I have friends that have had similar experiences. Weird, right?

5. Becoming a bookworm

A lot of the employees at Track5 are readers, and we’re always chatting about our latest reads. Thanks to coworkers, I’ve read books that I never would have chosen to read otherwise, and I loved them! Even better, we recently started a Track5Media Library! We built a few bookshelves, and everyone contributed some of their favorite books for others to read. It’s a “take a book, leave a book” type of thing!

working at track5media

6. Making new friends

The awesome people are one of the best things about working at Track5Media. Everyone is very close-knit, but we have no problem making new employees or visitors feel right at home. Also, we have plenty of chances to get to know each other and hang out outside of the office through fun company events and outings. This year, we’ve gone to happy hours, Hersheypark, The Works in Wyomissing, and more! We also have occasional in-office lunches and parties where we all take a break from working, sit around a big table, eat food, and chat.

There you have it! While there are some unexpected benefits of working at Track5Media, I’m sure most of us wouldn’t have it any other way!

Interested in joining the team? We’re hiring! Check out our open positions.

Top List of Content Formats Track5 Tackled in 2018

The great thing about marketing for your own brands vs. being a marketer at an agency is that there is more leeway for trial and error than agency marketing. When you do marketing in-house and you come up with an idea that flops, you just switch gears and try something else. This year our marketing department spread its wings to try some different content formats. Our goal is to improve the solid content already on our websites. From enhancing our trucking podcast to using our podcast equipment to boost our other brands, we have a list of content formats that we tackled in 2018. Some flopped, some soared, but in all of them, we learned something to improve for next time. Check out what we’ve been working on!

Beyond Blogging: The List of Content Formats Track5 Tackled in 2018

For those of you who don’t know what Track5 does – we build job board websites for niche industries like trucking and healthcare, and then we market our own brands. We currently have four healthcare brands, a trucking brand, and then a trucking podcast. Here’s the list of content formats we used this year so far!

1. Top 10 Destination Video – AlliedTravelCareers

The most recent content we completed was a video for our brand AlliedTravelCareers. This brand really needed some love. It’s one of our newer brands, and social media engagement is a struggle. We had to brainstorm – what information do we have specifically tied to our website can we use to engage people socially? Naturally, we went for the travel aspect of our website and created a video highlighting the top 10 destinations where we have the most jobs available for allied workers. We made a video and did social snippets for a few weeks counting down to the #1 destination. Overall, engagement increased on our website! Our link building campaign surrounding the video was slightly less successful, but at least our brand name is out there and people were talking about it more than before.

2. How to Become a Travel Nurse Resource – TravelNurseSource

About a year ago we sat down and brainstormed how we could create an additional resource on our website that would step by step show people how to become a travel nurse. We looked at what already existed on the internet and in print. From there, we figured out what we could create that would give us a competitive edge. We interviewed people throughout the industry, came up with ways to make it downloadable and engaging, added video, and so much more. This project is currently in the final design stages and will go on our site early next year. The guide is a 10-chapter resource of evergreen content that will hopefully build us links for years to come.

3. Expert interviews in our industries – AllPhysicianJobs

Across all of our brands, we started doing industry interviews. We pick someone who has a prominent voice in the industry and do a recorded phone interview with them. This not only helped to give us a more trustworthy voice in our industry, but it created a new content format on our websites – audio. One interview in particular, on AllPhysicianJobs, highlighted a very emotional topic – physician suicide. This interview was not only relevant, but it’s something that often goes unreported. It is very personal to the audience we are trying to target. Plus, it’s interesting to everyone, not just doctors! Give it a listen!

4. Trade show podcast promotion – Big Rig Banter

We launched our podcast about a year and a half ago, and so far, so good. There have definitely been a few bumps in the road, but overall the podcast has gathered a solid listening audience. We cover all kinds of trucking topics, from how to find love on the road to more serious subjects like sex trafficking in the trucking industry. This year, for the first time, we attended a large event in Dallas, TX called the Great American Trucking Show. We got interviews on-site with all kinds of people, talked to truck drivers, and were really able to promote our podcast through photos, audio, and video. When we got back, we put all of those interviews into an episode that turned out really cool. There were so many voices from the trucking industry in it, which hopefully attracted new audiences.

5. Niche Infographic

Of course, infographics made our list of content formats. We’ve made several infographics over the years for all of our brands. Currently, we are working on one that recognizes veterans in the trucking industry. We’re not talking about people who’ve been in the industry for a long time – we’re talking about soldiers coming home who seek careers in trucking. This project is cool because we got to interview a few of the trucking companies we work with to highlight their veteran-hiring programs. We also did some digging into our own site and found out exactly how many companies we work with that focus on hiring military. Not only does this infographic target a specific audience and use our proprietary information, but it includes some big names in the industry and has a very personal message to it. It will be live around Veteran’s Day, so be sure to check it out!

So, there you have the list of content formats we tackled so far in 2018. Are you interested in learning about content marketing? Check out our available marketing internships!

THIS IS URGENT | Writing a Good CTA

So much of our time spent in digital marketing is preparing the customer journey for that magical moment of conversion. We organize campaigns and initiatives, write pages of copy, and pull the data we need to make informed decisions. Then, when it’s finally time to open our funnel up to the public everything can hinge on that final call-to-action (CTA)! If you’re wondering whether to use “Apply Here” or “Consult our Team of Experts” is the right phrase for your next CTA, you’ve come to the right post. Here we’ll discuss writing a good CTA and what approaches compliment your customer’s journey the best!

Read More Blogs About Digital Marketing Here:

writing a good cta

Spending hours on tweaking the colors or size and shapes of buttons can only really get you so far. While your conversion funnel has many specific elements to inform and persuade your customers, the moment of their decision really comes down to your CTA’s invitation. For paid search advertisements in general, you are dependent on the copy itself rather than imagery or video. In all honesty, writing a good CTA means different things for each and every business.

The best way to break it down is by understanding the intent and goals of your customers, thus crafting your CTA to reflect this!


People Search with Goals in Mind

In the age of digital marketing, we’ve come to think of the customer journey as something much more complex than simply seeing a commercial and entering credit card information. Customers may interact with your brand or product several times and on different platforms before even considering a purchase! Viewing your CTA as a reflection of a search’s urgency is the way to really zero-in on what to say.

Low-Urgency Searches

For potential customers in the low-urgency bracket, they may be just flirting with the idea of your product or service. Generally speaking, using words like “free” or “no-risk” can be turnoffs for paid search marketers, however, it’s about the phrase as a whole.

If you’ve got a hot-new SEO tool, you might approach your CTA like:

“Start Gaining New Insights | Free Trials Available”

At this point, you’re just looking to get people familiarized with your product or service. Offering freebies is the way to go if you’re not quite tailoring your efforts to our next level of urgency…

Medium-Urgency Searches

If customers already have a general idea of what you sell or what they need in the end, it makes sense to start breaking out the bigger guns. These searchers are a little past the “free trials” and are more inclined to specifics. Still, they are mainly in research mode and may not be ready to buy just yet.

Using some keyword research, try to figure out how people are searching to meet their goals. Here you might want to try something along the lines of:

“3D Printers for Prototyping | Cost-Efficient Modeling”

Here you’re thinking like a customer is searching, all while adding a little extra selling point with the second half. With writing a good CTA it often comes down to getting as much information across as possible in as few words as you can.

High-Urgency Searches

At last, we’re writing with immediate solutions in mind. This is for all of the emergency car-rental services and locksmiths of the world! Still, just about any business can incorporate these CTAs into their marketing efforts, it’s just about finding the right moment in the customer journey.

writing a good cta

Writing a good CTA is about capturing the task at hand after a customer graduates from the research phase. Consider something like

“Immediate Consultations | Organize Your Taxes in Less Than 24 Hours!”

These are the types of searches that get people in touch with phone lines or online chat services for immediate service. What would seem way too pushy for a low-urgency search is generally what you’re trying for here.

At the end of the day, writing a good CTA is about getting a grip on your customers’ motivations. Addressing the various portions of your conversion funnel through different levels of urgency helps to inform your overall copy and the text used.

Got any particular examples of writing a good CTA? Share your thoughts 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!

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!

The Best Marketing Traits You Should Look For

Here at Track5Media, we have a pretty tight knit group of marketers. While we may all have different backgrounds (none of us even majored in marketing) and areas of expertise, we’ve still managed to launch successful marketing campaigns as well as provide stellar marketing content for our audience. One of the things I often think about is actually why I was hired. After all, I initially came from a journalism background and picked up a minor in marketing late into my college career. However, the more I worked here and interacted with my team, I began to pick out the various traits that we all shared, and with the help of my marketing team, I think I can give you a few traits you should have as a marketer looking for a job, or a few traits to look for as someone looking to grow your marketing team. Below are just a few of the best marketing traits that a good marketer should have.

The Best Marketing Traits

Persistence

As a marketer, I’ve learned one of the best traits to have is persistence. Not every piece of marketing content is going to go viral. In fact, it’s very rare that your article or video you create will break the Internet. However, staying persistent and creating solid content continuously will steadily grow your following. It might take a few shots before you can hit your target audience, so make sure that you’re looking for someone who won’t get discouraged and is willing to change up tactics if one marketing outlet isn’t working.

Outgoing

I never fancied myself as an outgoing person, but as a marketing professional, I quickly learned how crucial it is to be able to approach someone and make them want to hear what you have to say. Whether it’s through email, phone, or face to face, having a positive and approachable demeanor is one of the best marketing traits to have. The good news is I don’t believe an outgoing personality is innate. People who were originally shy or introverted can learn to be outgoing or extroverted. I’m living proof of that. Even if a candidate seems like she or he is a little timid during the interview process, keep in mind that the potential may still be there, so don’t count out a shy interviewee just yet.

Writing Prowess

I think one of the biggest reasons I was hired despite having little marketing experience was my ability to write. As a marketer, a good portion of your duties will be to produce stellar content. Luckily through my journalism background, I was able to produce content that was both engaging and well written. Over at Track5Media, the majority of our new hires for marketing will be asked to provide writing samples as well as submit a sample blog so we can assess his or her writing skills. Those looking to hire new marketers should greatly consider writing as one the best market traits you should look for. You can often teach someone more about marketing, but it’s a lot more difficult to teach someone how to write well this late into their career.

They “Get” Social Media

You can’t be a marketer without knowing a thing or two about social media marketing, so it’s no surprise that one of the best marketing traits you should look for in a new hire is whether or not they are adept at social media. Marketing via social media is different than your traditional online marketing, so make sure when you’re interviewing candidates, that you ask them about whether or not they are able to market using social media. Have them write sample tweets or Facebook posts to see if they understand how to reach an audience via social media.

Initiative

Finally, one of the best marketing traits is initiative. In an industry that is constantly changing, successful marketing professionals have an initiative that drives them forward. They are constantly one step ahead of Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapshot. It does neither a company nor a marketer any good to sit on their haunches and wait for the big guys to make their moves in this industry. And in most cases, waiting for the big guys to make their moves will not only hurt your brand but probably penalize it in ways that are sometimes hard to correct. No one wants to have their website hit with a huge algorithm and disappear from the search engines, so finding marketers that have this desired trait is exactly what companies should be doing. But, initiative isn’t always easy to come by. It takes research, planning, and a lot of guts (and sometimes failures) to truly be a forward thinker. However, those marketers that manage to have this trait are those that are the most successful.

4 Digital Marketing Misconceptions

Now that the weather is beginning to warm up, it’s time to do some Spring cleaning. No, I’m not talking about tossing out that old letterman jacket from high school, or those Nirvana records you acquired during your “grunge” phase – I’m talking about clearing out those pesky digital marketing misconceptions. You know, the ones that have been stuck in the back of your mind, shaping how you market your brand and company. With a rapidly changing digital marketing landscape, it’s time to finally bust some of these myths that may be holding you and your company back. Here are just a few digital marketing misconceptions to get rid of for good.

4 Digital Marketing Misconceptions

1. Digital Marketing Only Works for Big Companies

Actually, this is not the case at all. In fact, smaller companies can often see improvement over time a lot quicker than bigger brands can. Using Google analytics, you can monitor your marketing efforts and see real-time how your campaign is doing. It’s time to throw out the old way of thinking. It’s time to think big! No matter how big or small your company is, digital marketing can take your brand to the next level. This digital marketing misconception often will hold smaller companies back, but putting the time, money, and effort into a stellar digital marketing campaign can go a long way.

2. SEO Isn’t Important Anymore

Well…that couldn’t be any further from the truth. SEO is one of the biggest, if not the biggest aspect that drives a good digital marketing campaign. If people aren’t seeing your brand on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) then you’re not gaining viewers, and if you’re not gaining viewers, you’re not making money. Just because SEO might be a lot different than it was 10 years ago does not mean that it’s no longer important. In fact, learning how to apply proper SEO tactics are more important than ever before. With more and more domains entering the marketing game, it’s important to know how to set yourself apart from your competitors.

3. Negative Social Media Comments Can Sink My Ship

While it’s generally not a good idea to ignore negative contents, this isn’t necessarily something that will close the doors of your company. Nobody wants negative comments about their business let alone posted on social media where everyone can see them. Such comments could drive away some of your loyal fans and customers. Obviously, you should disable comments or delete any negative comments you get on social media, right? No! Social media is a great way to show transparency and show others that you’re willing to acknowledge and fix any issues. Remaining open and honest when interacting with your audience can create a sense of trust and loyalty with your viewers.

4. Digital Marketing is Expensive

Probably one of the biggest digital marketing misconceptions is that you need a big budget to create a successful digital marketing campaign. Other than some SEO and marketing tools you may want to purchase, creating a successful digital marketing campaign is relatively cheap. Perhaps the only most “expensive” cost you may spend for this is for the hiring of a marketing staff and a website. With the many smart millennials looking for employment today, you can hire a young employee that doesn’t cost too much – yet. Instead, what you really need to invest in is time. It might take a good amount of time before you see results, and many companies will give up simply because they do not see results right away.

Duplicate Content VS Copied Content

Just this past week, Google introduced the new 2017 Google Search Quality Raters Guidelines. Big deal right? We already know about SEO and organic search and using keywords, so what else is there to know? I thought the same thing. However, I discovered a key piece of info in these guidelines to pay attention to. We finally can see the difference in what Google considers duplicate content vs copied content. The new guidelines actually fail to even mention the term “duplicate content” and with a little research, we can finally bust the myth that duplicate content will hurt your site ranking.

What is Duplicate Content?

Prior to these recent guidelines, many SEOs believed that duplicate content was a major red flag when Google was crawling your site.  The belief was that pages with similar or identical paragraphs were grounds for penalization. Because of this, many SEO experts urged users to stay away from duplicate content. However, this put many websites in a strange situation. In some cases, it makes sense to have multiple pages of similar or exact content. For example, many of the websites that Track5Media operates, such as TravelNurseSource or AllPhysicianJobs, have multiple pages with similar content. The difference is that each page is targeting a different healthcare specialty or geographical location. Tweaking a few words just for the sake of avoiding a penalty is a very time-consuming task. To add more confusion, Google released a variety of buzzwords like “thin content” and “boilerplate content” that made it even more difficult to pin down a clear definition and guideline.

But Then There’s Copied Content…

duplicate content

Similar to duplicate content, Google sees copied content as a reason to penalize sites. Copied content is any content that someone copied from another domain. The guidelines consider the following points as copied content:

  • Content copied exactly from an identifiable source. Sometimes an entire page is copied, and sometimes just parts of the page are copied. Sometimes multiple pages are copied and then pasted together into a single page. Copied text that exactly matches another website is usually the easiest type of copied content to identify.
  • Content which is copied, but changed slightly from the original. This type of copying makes it difficult to find the exact matching original source. Some people change a few words. Other times, people will change whole sentences. For example, someone makes a “find and replace” modification, where they replace one word with another throughout the text. People deliberately make these types of changes so that it is more difficult to find the original source of the content. We call this kind of content “copied with minimal alteration.”
  • Content copied from a changing source, such as a search results page or news feed. You often will not be able to find an exact matching original source if it is a copy of “dynamic” content (content which changes frequently). However, we will still consider this to be copied content. Important: The Lowest rating is appropriate if all or almost all of the MC on the page is copied with little or no time, effort, expertise, manual curation, or added value for users. Google rates such pages as Lowest, even if the page assigns credit for the content to another source. (Search Guidelines)

What Do the New Guidelines Say?

Under the new guidelines, as long as your site is the original source of the content, you can have the same content on multiple pages without being penalized. While you still don’t want to have the same content across your entire site, this busts the myths that duplicate content can lead to heavy penalties. For SEO experts, this might finally settle a long-time debate and provide more clarity for all who are engaging in online marketing.

What do you think about duplicate vs copied content? Share with us in the comments below!