Author : Kathleen Cheong

Google’s New Planning Tool: Databoard for Research Insights

Google recently launched a new tool to help marketers create meaningful and insightful infographics for clients.  Based on the statistics compiled from completed Google research, marketers can easily build presentations with the information provided. Topics vary from Youtube marketing data to understanding mobile search by consumers.

 At the moment, only 8 studies are available meaning that content is limited however we hope to see more added soon. Also, though you can easily share your nicely designed infographic via social networks and email, Google hasn’t made it easy to save it as a file!

Here’s an example of an infographic regarding the impact of a non-profit organization’s online presence on potential donors. It was pulled together in less than 10 minutes.

Try it out and let us know what you think.

Why is Content Marketing important?

What is content marketing and how can it help your business?

Content marketing is the creation and publication of valuable and notable information to a specific audience. Ideally, this information will in turn make your company a go-to resource in your industry. 

Whole Foods Market logoA really great example of a company that’s done this right is Whole Foods Market. They’ve put together a blog with contributors including their management staff, employees, suppliers and partners. Blog post content ranges from how to buy food in bulk, tips on how to get your kids to eat better and of course, mouth-watering recipes for the groceries you can pick up at your closest Whole Foods Market store. If you succeed at doing something like Whole Foods Market has, you’ll have accomplished one or more objectives including brand awareness, lead generation, client acquisition, customer retention and engagement – just to name a few!

Remember that everything that you put forth on your website, social media channels and even in your traditional marketing communications should convince your audience that you are a valuable source of information that responds to their needs or offers solutions to their problems. Instead of continuously selling to your audience, you’re instead teaching them about what they want to learn about– and by doing this, your company will be regarded as a more trustworthy (and likeable!) source of information.

Lego Logo

For example, how does toy giant LEGO continue to engage their young clientele? They offer a free magazine subscription with sneak peeks of new LEGO sets, games, competitions, comics, secret online content and more. This added value easily keeps their young fans coming back!

How do you create memorable and engaging content?

  1. First of all, this might be obvious, but make it relevant to your brand and what you offer. You want to provide value-added information – for example, if your company is in the travel industry, you want to be able to provide advice on having an easy experience booking trips or offer insider tips about cities to visit.
  2. Next, make sure that your content marketing is inspirational and most importantly, relatable. Your readers need to get excited about what they’re reading and not feel like it’s a sales pitch to get them to make a purchase. Be sure that the voice you’re using matches your audience’s – read everything you can online to catch this– everything from your competitors to key industry players’ blogs to absorbing all feedback from current customers – and adapt accordingly.

A perfect example of how a company has generated buzz-worthy content marketing is McDonald’s Canada’s “Our Food. Your Questions.” website. What they’ve done is created a space for Canadians to ask any questions about their famous menu – everything from why their hamburgers don’t rot to why they don’t carry Halal food. You can imagine the amount of interest consumers have in these answers – some of these are questions that have been asked for years! All of the responses are personalized to the individual who asked the question and is written in a manner that’s easily understood – even if answered by their food scientists! And of course, beneath each reply on the website are conveniently placed icons for Facebook, Twitter and Google+ so you can share the answer.

Once you’ve become this great source of information, it’s natural that potential customers will start referring to you – just like the McDonald’s example above – using your information to share with their counterparts online and through social media, giving you free word of mouth publicity. This is where Google jumps in and starts to pick up on who has started to share your content via social networks or blogs or other qualified websites, helping you move your way up in search engine rankings. Great content marketing is the key to making your business an authority in your industry and needs to be included as part of an essential marketing strategy to your business’ success.

We hope this has been helpful and we invite you to get started on becoming a voice of authority today!


Parallax Web Design Presents a Major Handicap for SEO

Generally speaking, a parallax scrolling website is a visually stimulating, one-page website presenting users with a background moving slower or faster than the foreground. To give you an idea, AWWWards have identified the top 20 parallax websites of 2013 here.

Disadvantages of SEO

What’s tricky about these engaging websites is that the design usually includes only one long page of HTML and one URL that can be linked from search engines. Every time a user searches for a specific item, they land on the main page of the parallax website and not necessarily for what they were looking for. This means that there is only one meta title and meta description to optimize. Further, when choosing the main keywords for the SEO of a website, we focus on up to a few keywords per page. In this case, the site is only one page so this provides a limited number of keywords that you can expect the site to come up for in search results.

An SEO Solution

One way to counteract this problem would be to identify what content is important by deciding what would and wouldn’t be searched for by a user. For example, if a website specializes in baked goods, we would have to identify the major keywords that should rank well for the business online. Let’s say that the website focuses on selling cupcakes, birthday cakes and wedding cakes. In addition to the main page of the website that has all of the information including contact information, photos etc., on a long parallax page, some secondary pages with details on cupcakes, birthday cakes and wedding cakes can be created that could then be optimized for its own keywords, title tags, descriptions and other customized content. What’s important to remember here is that content should not be duplicated from the main page. The baked goods will only be identified on the main page, with details such as cupcake flavours and pricing included on its respective page.

By doing this, one main page with parallax design along with additional pages for the actual products will be created. This is a great way to integrate the trendy parallax scrolling web design with a conventional multi-page website without causing an issue for SEO.

Facebook for Enterprises

I recently attended a Facebook for Enterprises seminar by the Montreal Girl Geeks, a non-profit organization in the city. The presentation addressed several concerns and assumptions that I encounter everyday – including the infamous question, “Isn’t your job just being on Facebook all day?” And with that question launching the presentation, I knew we were in good hands.

Mandy Poon, the topic presenter, walked us through the differences between social media for brands vs. people and explained why it’s necessary for companies to invest time (and gasp, money!) into social media. Let’s face it, it’s not going away anytime soon and to find a company without one single social media account nowadays is a rarity. Why a company should invest in social media is pretty straightforward – the platforms put you in direct contact with your target market! You can speak directly to your customers who can help spread the word about your brand and get them involved in your brand too.

Here are some key takeaways from Mandy’s presentation:

– If a company is just getting started in social media, you should ask yourselves what your main goal is. It’s not the place to advertise your company’s products and services 100% of the time – doing this will turn off your audience. What you should do is start conversations that your potential customers will be interested in that will add some kind of value to their lives.

– Establish a voice. Will you be funny? Serious? Informational? Mandy spoke about how difficult it is for brands to have a dialogue with customers – why? Because they are so used to traditional media being a one-way street where they are just talking about themselves!

– Be prepared. Companies have to be ready to respond to both positive and negative feedback because the biggest mistake a company can make is to ignore – or worse – delete a user comment. Another no-no is to post infrequently or disappear altogether after a few good posts.

I also strongly recommend investigating what your competitors are doing, as well as reading up on each social media platform’s policy (tip: no advertising on your Facebook cover photo!).

Other issues that came up:

–       The recent changes to the Facebook algorithm and how companies are struggling to show up in the newsfeed.

–       Should a company build a global, regional or local strategy? Mandy informed us that it usually depends on internal structure and the resources a company has available. Example: if the corporate office manages everything worldwide, there just might not be enough manpower to have an account specifically for Spain.

Check out the slides from Mandy Poon’s presentation here.

For more information, please visit the Montreal Girl Geeks Facebook page here.

Hootsuite – Social Media Management Tool Review

I use Hootsuite as my social media management tool and though I’m pretty satisfied with it, there are of course a few things that I think they can improve on. To get right to the point, here goes:

What I really like about Hootsuite:

  • I can easily import my networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and have access to a bevy of apps such as Wordpress, Instagram and Constant Contact for email marketing.
  • I have the ability to schedule my messages whatever day or time I want in my timezone (instead of using Facebook’s old school scheduling tool) and I can see my scheduled content organized in Hootsuite’s Publisher.
  • I can create streams to scan my client’s competition and see what they are posting about and can also add hashtags to search keywords related to my client’s industry.
  • Hootsuite provides easier management amongst teams so that anyone can use their own account to log in and be accountable for any interaction they instigate.
  • I also think their support team is on the ball with answering requests (it would be pretty terrible if they weren’t, considering…)
  • At a reasonable monthly add-on fee of $29, I subscribe to Hootsuite University, have become officially certified and all with a nice badge to use for our company website.
  • I have unlimited access to training videos and industry experts providing tips on various industries and how they handle social media.

The nitty gritty of what I don’t like?

  • I can’t tag people or pages in any posts or comments I make, which means that I have to go to if I want to make my post more engaging, or in other words, be more social! However, to defend Hootsuite, this is apparently an issue of Facebook’s API not allowing them to provide this option.
  • I’m not able to create a stream of my Newsfeed, which is unfortunate because I can’t share or interact with any pages my client has liked.

These (seemingly) small issues are actually quite important on the grand scheme of things because the whole point of social media is to be able to interact with your peers on a regular basis and the goal of using Hootsuite is to be able to use all of your social networks in one place. Hopefully, by the time that someone from Hootsuite reads this, they’ll have moved my recommendations up the ladder in their Feedback Forum.

There are many other major aspects of Hootsuite I didn’t discuss such as reporting and pricing but let’s keep that for a subsequent post.

What about you? What are your initial impressions and experiences with Hootsuite?