November 2014 Archives

At Ripley PR, we encourage our audience to enhance their B2B public relations and marketing strategies by producing relevant content through blogging.

But creating great content is simply one piece of the puzzle.

Waiting for someone to stumble across your webpage?

To maximize audience reach, try repurposing your blog posts in new informational forms.

Neil Patel's blog Quicksprout recently featured a series of posts dedicated to building your blog's audience. Here are our takeaways from his discussion on different ways to repurpose text content:

1. Create a white paper. Creating a compelling white paper can be a powerful tool for establishing yourself as an industry expert. Remember to keep your white paper informational rather than promotional, and provide educational insight that will prove valuable for your audience. Hire a designer to create a PDF format for your text, and use what once was a blog post to reach a new audience with a more formal feel.

2. Design an infographic. Turn the text from your blog and the statistics from your white paper into an easy-to-read infographic. For those of your audience who value more visual representations of data, highlighting your expertise through an infographic can take your content to the next level. Develop a rough sketch, partner with a designer to create the document, and be sure to take the necessary steps to promote your infographic.

3. Turn your infographic into a video. Online videos are growing in popularity and turning your infographic into an interactive sequence can create an all new experience for your audience. Repurposing flat, visual content into a moving narrative is a more effective tool for telling your brand's story, and your audience will appreciate the dynamic medium.

4. Give that video a voice and host a webinar. Many businesses encourage and often require their employees to listen to webinars. To begin the process of hosting, you will first need to turn your blog post into a slideshow with a script you can follow. Next, set up the webinar with your provider, such as GoToWebinar. To ensure maximized attendance, promote the event across all channels including social media and newsletters.

How do you make sure your content gets the exposure it deserves? Traditional text content is great, but sometimes it takes branching out to reach all of your desired audience, no matter their preferred medium. If you want to learn more about how cross-promotion, repurposing, and distribution can maximize your content, contact us today.

Each social media platform has different users that are engaged, and those users want to see and interact with different types of content.

This makes social content marketing all that more complex because company's must tailor the content they distribute in order to benefit audiences in different places and in different ways.

The only way to know for sure what content resonates with your audiences on different platforms is to test it and adapt your content strategy based on results.

However, this is a brief overview of what users on each platform are looking for:

Facebook Facebook Users like to interact, to be engaged. They want to participate in a conversation. They want to feel part of something and be related to on a more personal level. In a nutshell, this means you do not simply regurgitate news by posting articles and information. Use interactive media. Ask questions. Post conversations that inspire and motivate. Get them involved.

Twitter Twitter Users like things to be quick (which, of course they have to be when limited to 140 characters). They like links and short tips. They also like photos and videos they can click on quickly, and short quotes seem to appeal to the Twitter audience. With your Twitter posts, aim to inform, entertain, network and inspire. Then share links to sites that do the same. Make sure you use hashtags with keyword phrases, too.

LinkedIn LinkedIn Users are professionals seeking professional information. Link to relevant and informative articles. Use only highly professional and well-respected resources. This doesn't mean that posts should be stuffy or overly academic. Not at all. Just know that LinkedIn users trust what they read on LinkedIn as being accurate, so you want to provide them with beneficial information that is also bang-on. Using keyword phrases in your posts is also of benefit.

Pinterest Pinterest users like images. Go figure. Pin images that will inspire users to take action or will solve a problem they have. Use humour, entertain, make them think and above all...have fun.

Google Plus Google Plus Users are largely tech-savvy and interested in information related to technology and strategy. This may not be a fantastic resource for social engagement for many of you, however for Google rankings it is GOLD. Use keyword phrases in your posts and link back to your site often.

On all platforms, sharing your original company content (ex: blog posts) is very important. This increases your credibility, benefits your audience, and helps you build a stronger relationship with them, as well.

Dear Family,

I'm not dead yet. Thanksgiving is still important to me. If being in my Last Will and Testament is important to you, then you might consider being with me for my favorite holiday. Dinner is at 2:00. Not 2:15. Not 2:05. Two. Arrive late and you get what's left over. 

Last year, that moron Marshall fried a turkey in one of those contraptions and practically burned the deck off the house. This year, the only peanut oil used to make the meal will be from the secret scoop of peanut butter I add to the carrot soup. 

Jonathan, your last new wife was an idiot. You don't arrive at someone's house on Thanksgiving needing to use the oven and the stove. Honest to God, I thought you might have learned after two wives - date them longer and save us all the agony of another divorce. 

Now, the house rules are slightly different This year because I have decided that 47% of you don't know how to take care of nice things. Paper plates and red Solo cups might be bad for the environment, but I'll be gone soon and that will be your problem to deal with. 

House Rules:

1. The University of Texas no longer plays Texas A&M. The television stays off during the meal.

2. The "no cans for kids" rule still exists. We are using 2 liter Bottles because your children still open a third can before finishing the first two. Parents can fill a child's cup when it is empty. All of the cups have names on them and I'll be paying close attention to refills. 

3. Cloe, last year we were at Trudy's house and I looked the other way when your Jell-O salad showed up. This year, if Jell-O salad comes in the front door it will go right back out the back door with the garbage. Save yourself some time, honey. You've never been a good cook and you shouldn't bring something that wiggles more than you. Buy something from the bakery. 

4. Grandmothers give grandchildren cookies and candy. That is a fact of life. Your children can eat healthy at your home. At my home, they can eat whatever they like as long as they finish it. 

5. I cook with bacon and bacon grease. That's nothing new. Your being a vegetarian doesn't change the fact that stuffing without bacon is like egg salad without eggs. Even the green bean casserole has a little bacon grease in it. That's why it tastes so good. Not eating bacon is just not natural. And as far as being healthy... Look at me. I've outlived almost everyone I know. 

6. Salad at Thanksgiving is a waste of space. 

7. I do not like cell phones. Leave them in the car. 

8. I do not like video cameras. There will be 32 people here. I am sure you can capture lots of memories without the camera pointed at me. 

9. Being a mother means you have to actually pay attention to the Kids. I have nice things and I don't put them away just because company is coming over. Mary, watch your kids and I'll watch my things. 

10. Rhonda, a cat that requires a shot twice a day is a cat that has lived too many lives. I think staying home to care for the cat is your way of letting me know that I have lived too many lives too. I can live with that. Can you? 

11. Words mean things. I say what I mean. Let me repeat: You don't need to bring anything means you don't need to bring anything. And if I did tell you to bring something, bring it in the quantity I said. Really, this doesn't have to be difficult. 

12. Domino's and cards are better than anything that requires a battery or an on/off switch. That was true when you were kids and it's true now that you have kids. 

13. Showing up for Thanksgiving guarantees presents at Christmas. Not showing up guarantees a card that may or may not be signed. 

If we all stick to that, we'll have a good time. If not, I'll still have a good time but it will be at your expense. In memory of your Grandfather, the back fridge will be filled with beer. Drink until it is gone. I prefer wine anyway. But one from each family needs to be the designated driver. 

I really mean all of the above. 

Love You, 

Grandma 

In B2B public relations and marketing efforts, creating valuable and compelling content is a key driver of success. You may know how to produce relevant content for your business, but are you producing it with an overall strategy in mind?  A recent study by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs found that most B2B marketers have a content marketing strategy, but only 35% have it documented.

Following a well-defined strategy allows everyone contributing content to be on the same page. When you don't have a documented content marketing strategy for your company, the room for errors grows exponentially.

An article published by PR Daily discussed common mistakes that businesses make when developing content marketing strategies, and we've outlined a few here. Are these mistakes haunting your strategy and halting effective results?

  1. Undefined goals. The content you produced needs to have purpose. Writing out specific goals you wish to achieve by developing content will boost results and drive strategy advancement. Know why you are creating content and exactly how you want it to impact your business.
  1. Not revealing enough. Don't be afraid to share more than just on-the-surface, corporate information with your readers. Humanizing your brand will establish a brand personality, and your audience will appreciate the transparency.
  1. Creating content in silos. Creating content that is supported across departments within your organization increases engagement. Not only does it bring together professionals from all areas of your company, it also allows readers to view your brand as an expert in multiple business functions within your industry.
  1. Inconsistency. We can't stress enough how important consistency is in content creation. To establish yourself as an industry expert, posting and publishing content needs to be a priority and clearly defined within your strategy. Your audience should know when to expect content and where they can access it on a regular basis.

A well-defined and documented strategy will ensure your content marketing efforts are producing solid results for your business. If your strategy is documented, don't allow these mistakes to hold it back. At Ripley PR, we understand what it takes to develop a content marketing strategy that will establish your brand as an industry expert and, in turn, generate leads. If you need help revamping your strategy and creating consistent content for your audience, contact our team today.

Lately, everyone seems to be concerned with only content and social media marketing, but there's a basic marketing tactic that should be done before anything else when it comes to online marketing: local listings.

It may seem flippant in the digital marketing age to be listed in a directory, but online local listings bring a whole new dimension to marketing plans.

The purpose of local listings, or citations, is to make local businesses more visible on the internet. Each new listing is a new webpage where that business can be found, as well as a place their website is linked to. Meaning more places a business can be found and linked to.

A high priority for small businesses is to be easily found in searches where over 59% of consumers use Google every month to locate a local business. Google's goal, in particular, has been to provide the most relevant results to searchers. They reward local businesses who provide consistent and accurate information on directories, which aids Google in their goal, by increasing search ranking.

But making local listings the first part of any local businesses digital marketing plan isn't just for search engine visibility. It helps ROI for multiple aspects of a business, simply starting with visibility.

Local Listings Compete

Local businesses have a lot of competition, between the big companies and the other small businesses around them their audience is being pawed at from all angles. Claiming a business online lets the owner control the address, content and products and services provided. The more consistent and complete a listing, the greater the visibility and more competitive it is.

Listings aren't just for search engines, they provide information for people searching those directories or Chambers for services.

70% of Internet searches are for local business services, each directory a business has its listing on is another place it can be found.

By having a complete and up-to-date listing, prospective clients can easily reach you, while 60% of local businesses don't even have a phone number on their website, your business will be easily reachable.

Local Listings Boost SEO

You don't have to be a genius at SEO (search engine optimization) to reap the SEO benefits of local listings. If a business is listed on 100+ directories online, they will have valuable links back to their website and local listings are critical to your rankings on Google Maps. And if each listing has consistent information, that authority and credibility will help the business rank better in search engine results.

Optimize each listing to get the most value from each backlink with SearchCast which optimizes your Google My Business (Google+Local, Google Place) page. And because SearchCast is an add-on to LocalCast, you can also see where you business ranks on both Google and Google Maps for each of the keywords that matter to you, how they are changing over time and your overall local SEO improvement.

 

Local Listings Level the Playing Field

Did I mention local businesses have a lot of competition?

Because beyond the other local businesses there are some huge companies that can seem really intimidating. It's an actual David and Goliath story when a local coffee shop competes against Starbucks, and local listings make the competition a bit more fair.

A local business can take more time to optimize the listing for the local area, appeal to local customers and drive more reviews (although we think multi-location businesses and franchises should do more here).  Most directories are free to be listed on and, as previously mentioned, provide the benefit of visibility, as well as links back to that local business' website.

Those directories and backlinks mean that when someone searches "coffee shop" on any search engine, not only will the nearest Starbucks appear, but the local coffee shop will, too. That local shop could even be the first result on that page.

Reviews Play into Local Listings too

Google My Business isn't the only directory that will link your listing to online reviews, many of the most biggest and most visited directories, such as Yelp, include reviews as well. 88% of people trust trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends meaning that they may be able to find a business through directories but if they reviews are bad, they may not go to your business. Supplement local listings with  responding to reviews for a powerhouse beginning marketing strategy.

A small change in a business' rating can mean a big change. On Yelp a business with 3.5 stars versus 3 stars is 63% more likely to be full. 33% of negative reviews turn positive, making it possible for a business who may be a half star off to turn things around, all through responding to reviews!

Get started by claiming the local business listing beginning with Google, Bing and Yelp.  While those aren't the only directories to be listed in its a good start in the over 130 main directories that should be targeted.

Start converting 2-3x as many new web searchers all through local listings alone and then take things to the next level by responding to online reviews, enhancing each listing to show how great people think your business is! With prospects like that, why wouldn't local listings be the first step in a local business digital marketing plan?

 The post Why Local Listings Matter appeared first on LocalVox.

(Oaks, Pennsylvania) - When one typically hears of military-to-civilian career stories, the focus is predominately on the challenges they face when obtaining employment. According to the United States Department of Labor, of the 722,000 unemployed veterans in 2013, 60 percent of them were over the age of 45. Rather than starting from the bottom, many veterans are finding small business ownership as a more efficient route to meet their employment and financial needs. CertaPro Painters, based in Oaks, Pennsylvania, is North America's largest residential and commercial painting company and they have taken the stress out of the process of opening one's own business for former military personnel.

"We are proud to support our veterans however we possibly can," says Peter Barkman, VP of franchise development, "their honest and disciplined work ethic falls directly in line with the goals and overall mission of our company."

CertaPro is one of the many companies that provide all honorably discharged veterans with a 10 percent discount off its franchise fee through VetFran, a program which provides training, financial assistance, and support for service members returning home from duty. For New Orleans residents John and Kathy Durbin, and Tom Thoma in Fairfax, Virginia, the transition from the military to business ownership has been challenging, yet rewarding.

John Durbin served in the U.S. Coast Guard for 25 years. His wife, Kathy, worked with a Department of Defense contractor for 13. Feeling as though they had both reached the pinnacle of their military careers the couple decided to move onto their next venture and in August of 2014, opened a CertaPro franchise in New Orleans.

Over the course of 11 years, Tom Thoma built an impressive resume serving in the U.S. Navy as a surface warfare officer. However, everything changed in 2007 was Thoma was diagnosed with melanoma. Now, he has a clean bill of health, but the battle with cancer gave Thoma a different perspective on life. "There were just too many other things I wanted to pursue," Thoma said. "Even though I really enjoyed the opportunities I was given in the Navy, I realized it was time to settle down."

Both the Durbin's and Thoma have found that CertaPro Painters offers a unique model that fits the wants, needs, and desires of military personnel seeking new careers and opportunities. Through proven business methodologies, industry best practices, low overhead and inventory costs, and a support network of likeminded franchise owners committed to helping one another succeed through sharing their experiences and advice, both the Durbin's and  Tom Thoma feel as though they will be able to thrive in their new endeavors.

Another example is Kevin Messer and his wife Laurie of Madison, Alabama.

After over 20 years as a Lt. Colonel in the Army and program and project manager on an aviation platform, Kevin Messer leveraged his experience in team building and customer service to open CertaPro Painters of Madison, Alabama with wife Laurie in May of this year.  The couple, the parents of eight children, decided it was time to settle down with an alternative retirement plan and start a business of their own.

"My experiences in the military have taught me how to use my strengths well, delegate tasks, and perform to the best of my ability," said Messer. "After much research, I realized that CertaPro had a business model that would support and coach me on being a first-time business owner, so I decided this would be a great next step for me and my family."

"Our family has moved around all over the country due to my position in the military, and I decided that as my children got older I wanted to create a more stable home environment for them," said Messer. "I'm excited to open a business where I can continue to serve my community and feel fulfilled about the work that I am doing."

Currently, CertaPro has over 20 franchises owned and operated by veterans, allowing the Durbin's and Thoma access to a network of business owners who share their backgrounds. CertaPro is also a national partner with Homes For Our Troops - a non-profit organization that builds specifically adapted homes for veterans who have been severely injured in combat operations. 

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About CertaPro Painters

Founded in 1991, CertaPro is the largest residential and commercial painting company in North America with over 350 locations. By consistently providing customers with an extraordinary experience, CertaPro has become the most referred painting company in the US and Canada. CertaPro franchisees establish large-scale, regional painting companies backed by CertaPro's proven business system making it a great fit for seasoned business professionals looking for a franchise opportunity. In addition, CertaPro is proud to participate in the VetFran program by offering Veteran Franchise Opportunities to military veterans (US Only). CertaPro also offers financing at a preferred rate for qualified veterans. For more information, visit www.certapro.com. Or for franchising information, visit http://certapro-franchise.com/

 

 

 

Jonathan Perelman, VP of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, once stated, "Content is king, but distribution is queen and she wears the pants."

Telling your brand's story thrives on distributing content to your audience through multiple channels.

When sharing content on social media, keep in mind that each platform has a unique way of communicating.

To maximize your B2B public relations and marketing strategies, knowing how to use each platform to share your company's story is key.

Twitter offers you a quick, fun, and laidback way to share updates with your audience. The social media platform centers around posting short, to the point updates and using "hashtags" for engagement.

But with only 140 characters available in each tweet, is it possible to tell your brand's story? Absolutely.

Here are a few ways to capitalize on Twitter's unique features and tell an engaging brand story:

1. Use hashtags. Twitter is known for its use of hashtags, a trend that changed social media sharing. One way your business can tell its story is by creating a unique hashtag to boost engagement. When developing company hashtags, make sure they are cohesive to an overall message and marketing strategy. Coca-Cola, for example, used #ShareACoke during its marketing campaign to encourage interaction on social media. The hashtag aligns with the company's mission to "inspire moments of optimism and happiness."

2. Get to know your customers. Engaging with your audience is Twitter 101. Replying to a customer's tweet is an easy way to exceed customer expectations while finding out more about them. Essentially, it's an opportunity to do market research. Pizza Hut uses every opportunity on Twitter to connect with their audience. If you look through the company's Twitter page, you will see endless replies to customer tweets. These tweets range from welcoming a follower to assisting with a complaint. Of course you can't help but also notice their numerous witty replies. An audience of one million followers is smaller than other megabrands, but the personal attention Pizza Hut offers customers via Twitter is huge.

3. Share content. Tweets can be used as quick, real-time updates, but that doesn't mean you can't share content with your followers. Promote your blogs and press releases in your tweets by including a link to your content. Shrink the link and use what is left of the 140 characters to include a hashtag and ask your audience a question to draw them in.

If you have content to share and a story to tell, then get it out there. Twitter is a great platform to offer real-time updates and cross-promote content you wish to share. Don't be afraid to reply to your followers and connect in ways you can't on other platforms.

At Ripley PR, we have experts on hand who can develop social media and content strategies for your business. We know how best to use all social media platforms as well as how to develop relatable content your audience wants to read.

As time moves forward so must the technology we use, right? If you are a local business with a Flash website, you are among the walking dead.  It's time to get a modern, responsive website.

Adobe Flash is a software that, on a basic level, allows users to create animated works. With its introduction it caught on quickly for websites because it enabled stunning visuals.  Local agencies wowed customers with "flashy" websites but they were expensive to make and maintain.

Flash has already been left behind for all mainstream website purposes and here's why.

Google No Longer Shows Flash Websites

Let's start with the final nail in the coffin.  Flash was never a good option for SEO or search engine optimization. Flash content cannot be read the same way as content created using HTML. Search engines can only see your website title, meta tags and nothing else. It doesn't matter how flashy or fluid your site is if no one can find it organically.

Recently, Google announced it won't be showing Flash websites at all in search results.  So where as it hurt you before in search, now you can't be found at all.  So if you think Google is an important driver of your business, it's time to act now.

Flash Isn't Viewable on Mobile Devices

Smartphones have become a huge part of online activity, with 25% of all search queries coming from mobile devices and about half of local searches. Most mobile web browsers do not support Flash (Puffin being one of few, and not a lot of people use it). On top of not being able to be found in many searches, if someone does they most likely will not being able to view your website on their mobile phone or tablet.

24HoursofHappy is a Flash site with a 24 hour music video that cannot present on a mobile device, but does inform viewer's of the limitation.

Disneyworld's new Flash site promoting Fantasyland does not inform viewers of the mobile limitation and doesn't present the page at all.

But it's not that Flash simply isn't supported, it often takes more bandwidth and puts a higher demand on the smartphone or tablet, draining the battery faster.  That's why most devices don't support it.

Limited Page Navigation

Flash websites have one URL connected to all of their subsequent pages. Any visitor to a Flash website may navigate away from the homepage, but cannot bookmark or share that specific page with someone else because its URL is the same as the homepage.

If all your information is on one page then this wouldn't concern you, but if you have a specific product on another page then your visitor is limited to what they can share to just your homepage. This takes out simple word of mouth sharing over email, social or blogs.

And bookmarking a page would be impossible, meaning more work for your site visitors.

Flash is Dead for Local Businesses.  Now What?

Flash alienates web viewers who are trying to visit your website and see your service or find out more about your business - why make it so hard for them?  If you still have a Flash website, we recommend building a website that can be displayed on the web and mobile devices, that is highly SEOed and that is marketing-enabled to create conversion of visitors into customers.

There are many inexpensive solutions. 1and1 offers a website for $10 per month, although you get what you pay for. Our websites including professional design, SEO and updates are just $99 per month. If you have a Flash website, you certainly are losing more money than that.

Need help or a free consultation, we are happy to help!  Call us or email us and we will let you know more about your options.

The post Goodbye Google. Flash is Officially Dead for Local Businesses appeared first on LocalVox.

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This page is an archive of entries from November 2014 listed from newest to oldest.

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