Canright staff comments on effective and ineffective marketing pieces such as emails, newsletters, websites, and other marketing/advertising communications.
March 21st, 2013 by Collin Canright
July 9th, 2012 by James Richter
I noticed yesterday that I had done 999 tweets, right on the precipice of my third major Twitter milestone. Coincidentally, I read that today is Twitter’s seventh birthday, and I think it’s awesomely appropriate for me to send my 1,000 tweet on this day.
I’m sure it was my friend and social media expert extraordinaire Barbara Rozgonyi, who once told me that any 1,000 milestone is significant: 1,000 followed (pretty easy), 1,000 followers (harder especially if you’re seeking quality and fit), and 1,000 tweets.
That one should be the easiest, though in my case I would not be surprised if I took longer to reach that milestone than most others. People who do not tweet at all and who monitor and read tweets may never make it, nor will the people who simply lose interest in the medium, as I have on more than one occasion since I started my account on () 2007.
I joined when I gave a presentation in August 2007 on the wonders of Web 2.0. I had been reading about the next version of the web with high interest and put together an online survey of our email list during June 2007. Most respondents found web 2.0 relevant to their business but felt they lacked knowledge while nearly 80% were (extremely or very) interested in learning more about web 2.0 technologies.
In looking at the results now, it’s interesting to see that the term “social media” did not appear, though we wrote and asked about “social networks.” Twitter was not mentioned; I demonstrated the service when I presented the results in August 2007.
Some results were prescient as well. This respondent comment in some way predicted the rise of content marketing: “Being constantly user-focused and developing new ways to deliver content to users will have a big impact on our strategy; we will most likely continue to shy away from user contributed content.”
I called myself a “Twitter skeptic” in a November 2008 blog post on Twitter and social media best practices. But I kept at it on and off, and by August of 2009 I had developed a Twitter list of B2B payments companies that led to a client and the development of www.epaydb.com, a directory of payments companies and content that we maintained until last year. Visit the site to view the Twitter news feeds and read how it grew out of a Twitter list.
As a final note, I listened intently last Tuesday evening to WBEZ as it broadcast an interview with Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, on The Commonwealth Club of California. It’s well worth the time to learn about his management style, as well as the past, present, and future one Twitter.
Skeptic no more. I remain more of a content curator and sharer in by tweets than conversationalist, yet I do, and on this day of tweet 1,000, look forward to 10,000.
May 24th, 2012 by Canright Communications
One surefire way to improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) is to consistently blog. However, blogging for the sole purpose of SEO is a bit like starting a band just to get rich and famous. The motivation will be too shallow to power you through the early stages of consistent work, microscopic progress, and a lack of recognition. There must be some passion, and you should be having fun. Otherwise, you’ll quit.
That’s why we encourage our clients, friends, and colleagues to write what they care about and then go back and optimize it for search. And SEO doesn’t just mean making it easy for Google to find; it means making it easy for people to find, understand, and read as well.
Intro to SEO Blogging
SEObook.com offers a terrific introduction to the world of blogging from an SEO standpoint. It covers how Google sees your blog, the unique social and SEO characteristics of blogs, keyword research and optimization, and much more. There’s even a video featuring an interview with Cory Doctorow, science fiction author, blogger, and technology activist.
In the video, Doctorow gives his No. 1 piece of advice to bloggers: “Write headlines like you’re a wire service writer.” In other words, don’t get too clever. This is good news, because being clever can be a lot of work. Just stick to the facts and let the reader (and Google) decide if it’s relevant.
Doctorow makes all of his work available for free under Creative Commons licenses, including Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright and the Future of the Future.
It’s tempting for most business owners and marketers to search for SEO secrets, quick fixes, and insider tips as they begin to blog. Michael Gray, who writes about SEO, social media, and blog management on his Graywolf’s SEO Blog, writes “It’s the combination of all the pieces working together–content, information architecture, and good marketing & promotion–that leads to true success, not the elusive secret you are looking for to avoid one or more of those steps.” That means no shortcuts.
And readers aren’t the only ones who are learning to spot SEO tricks: Google is learning too.
Be My Guest Blogger
Once you’ve gotten the hang of writing your blog—or working with a writer who knows blogging—consider sharing your insights on someone else’s. Guest blogging is a practice emphatically supported by SEO professionals and content marketers alike. That’s because when you publish on another site, both interests are served.
At the end of your guest post, you can say a little about yourself and your company while also linking back to your site. The higher the quality of the site you’re guest blogging on, the more that link back to your own site will help your search rankings.
Content marketers love guest posts too, because it spreads your message to a larger audience, allowing them to engage with your brand. Thankfully, James Agate contributed a guest post of his own to SEO Book.com titled “How to Evaluate Guest Post Opportunities,” a checklist of considerations that everyone should keep in mind before submitting their valuable content to another site.
Give it a Shot
If you still haven’t gotten around to starting a blog—whether a personal or business one—why not start today? We’ll be following up with more information in the weeks to come that will help you develop effective content of your own.
May 26th, 2010 by Collin Canright
March 29th, 2010 by Collin Canright
Content must move to work as a marketing tool, and companies are increasingly using social media to move content, according to “BtoB study shows surge in social media marketing,” a cover story in the May 14, 2012 issue of BtoB magazine.
Social media is “an increasingly important avenue for marketing interaction between marketers’ brands and their customers and prospects,” the BtoB study shows. Some 32% of marketers are “very” or “fully” engaged in social channels, compared with 21% last year. LinkedIn tops the list of most important social media channels for b-to-b marketing, followed by blogging, Facebook, and Twitter.
From a content marketing perspective, social media moves content to your networks, and it has the power to transport it into other networks as well. This works for both content you create yourself, such as a blog post, or articles you find and want to pass along.
A post this week on the Conversionation blog asks what content people share and why they share it. In addition to what the studies show, author J-P De Clerck suggests it’s a matter of context as well as content.
To get into the specifics of sharing, see “How to Promote Your Blog with Social Media,” from the Social Media Examiner. This post by Marc Pitman gives step-by-step instructions for sharing content in Tumblr, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+. Pitman advocates taking the time to tailor content for each particular social medium.
Finally, Copyblogger reminds us that content marketing has two customers: those who buy your product, and those who pass along the content to an audience of potential customers. That second type of customer is especially reliant on social media. Keep in mind that the likelihood of someone passing along your content increases the more trustworthy your company is as a source.
For an in-depth look into creating content that will make serious waves in the ocean of social media, read A Practical Guide to Killer Marketing Content, published by HubSpot.
February 24th, 2010 by Collin Canright
Nothing—I mean nothing—beats a good headline to ensure an article or blog post gets read. A case in point:
“Sumo wrestling bank robbers … and Tesco”
A good description helps, too:
“I guess these desperate times cause desperate actions, as the last few weeks must have created the funniest spate of bank robberies ever seen. First, there was the Russian Sumo wrestler who wrestled an ATM out of the wall. . . ”
Needless to say, I clicked immediately on the link to see Chris Skinner’s whole story, “Credit crunch bank robberies.”
January 18th, 2010 by Collin Canright
Take a look at the four pictures below and answer the question. Both “Windy City Summit: A Wealth of Information worth talking about” and “TAWPI: Summit 2010″ are financial conferences, the first for high-level treasury executives and the second targeted at department heads and managers that head transaction-related financial functions.
Those first two pictures show program covers. The Windy City Summit is two colors and focuses on the city, which isn’t necessarily bad given that the sponsor is the Treasury Management Association of Chicago. The second cover, though somewhat busy, focuses on the conference’s content. Done more in magazine style, the readers know exactly what they will learn at the Summit 2010.
The inside pages, below, also show a marked contrast. A lot of type advertises the main speaker at the Windy City Summit. Now look at the featured speaker for the TAWPI show. Wow. The first page looks like a speech from a dull financial executive—I’ve heard him speak before and he isn’t dull. The second picture shows a financial star. He’s a CFO from a major wholesale outfit, and that’s about all I’m going to read or need to know.
I want to go to TAWPI. Each page of the program is compelling and exciting. Now to be fair, TAWPI is a national organization, far larger, and as a result much better funded than the TMAC. They can afford color printing inside the catalog and more space for the text. But the brightness of the copy, the emphasis on benefits, the use of photos and type are not all budget related.
It’s about perception, not the quality of the shows. It’s how quality is portrayed, and these days, it’s also about generating excitement, showing value, and communicating both quickly and visually.
I’ve been to both conferences in years past, and they are both good. The year I went, I’d say that the TMAC show had higher quality speakers and more educational vendor presentations. But in tumultuous times, when finance can be anything but dull, make it so I can’t wait to go, not stay home.
January 16th, 2010 by Christina Canright
It used to be called direct marketing, but if it’s an online world, then it must be offline marketing. Print. This piece caught my eye because it was heavy, the envelope had the flap glued down in front, and it was from Yahoo!
I noticed the flap on the
front because I don’t typically see it, and it gave
a good clear space on the back for the message, “A Special Invitation from Yahoo!”
The invitation is a folder, about 5×7 that opens
bottom to top. It’s on heavy paper, probably 120# cover stock, with a curve on the bottom flap and four inserts. The message appears on the inside cover.
I like it, and plan to steal the format the next chance I get. Beyond that, however, it’s great to see good solid print design as part of the online mix—or as a tool to sell the online part of the marketing mix.
Nothing engages the senses like ink on paper. . .
January 4th, 2010 by Collin Canright
We always get a number of lovely holiday cards—some are pop-ups, some have some really beautiful illustrations on the front. But, from a marketing perspective, the ones that stood out this year for us were the ones that were unusual and highly creative. Innotech Benefit Solutions sent us a card with the word JOY on the cover, with the O being the image of their logo. Our staff was delighted, since it got our attention, yet wasn’t commercial-feeling. It felt joyful and gave us the impression of a company that loves what they do. The other card that got our attention was from a friend at JP Morgan Compensation and Benefit Strategies. They took a humorous take on the iphone and its many apps. Each app on the card identified a person at the firm: our friend Tom had the “Caroling Buddy” app, while other colleagues were identified with apps such as “Toast Giver,” “Snowball Pitcher,” and “Festive Tie Wearer,” among others. The message on the front: “Holiday apps you may find useful…(and inside) “in addition to all the special gifts we bring you the rest of the year.” Acknowledging the business aspect, yet creative, warm and tasteful. Who ever said financial and benefits people weren’t creative? —Christina
December 3rd, 2009 by Canright Communications
In her blog post, “American Consumption and the New Normal,” Nancy Koehn discusses how Americans are going through the greatest changes in how they spend since the Great Depression. It’s one of the many references I’ve seen in the last year to how today’s economic situation is like the Great Depression.
Koehn, who teaches business history at Harvard, sees that as we head into a new year and new decade, we’re starting to see what our “new normal” would be like. Consumers’ recent flight to Wal-Mart and other deep discounters is over in favor of value brands. Then this sentence stopped me:
“Going forward, consumers today are looking to brands — new and established — that are worthy of their trust (think Apple or Hyundai or McDonalds).”
I read it twice and then again. Hyundai. That should be a major celebration in Korea, I thought.
That triumvirate of value brands would have been unthinkable in the 1980s. When the American auto industry was punch-drunk from the quality blows dealt by the Japanese manufacturers in the mid ’80s, the Korean auto industry wasn’t even on our radar. Apple was making a splash with the Mac and its 1984 commercial, to be sure. And McDonald’s was then, as now, the golden brand. But a Korean car manufacturer. Hyundai?
I thought of Blake, the supercilious sales manager in the movie version of David Mamet’s play Glengarry Glen Ross, with Alec Baldwin delivering the classic motivational sales rant.
In lording his status and skills over the “loser” salespeople he’s lecturing, Blake points out, “’Cause you drove a Hyundai to get here tonight, I drove a eighty thousand dollar BMW. That’s my name!!”
That’s who Hyundai was then. Now it’s a trusted value brand.
I love it.
Times change. The movie version of Glengarry Glen Ross came out in 1992. In 18 years, the Korean manufacturer is trusted, and the American auto manufacturers are, well. . . not exactly trusted brands.
Brands rise and fall—and not with the times, but through diligence and focus and the ability to change.
Koehn in her article writes that “the online medieval village has the power to revolutionize key aspects of getting and spending (and marketing!) in ways no one could have predicted even as recently as 18 months ago. So despite the immediacy of the internet, the ‘new normal’ actually means that consumers are abandoning the ‘next new thing’ mentality that powered so much spending for the past 20 years, in favor of more enduring priorities.”
What we’ve also seen over the last 18 months is that today’s enduring priorities are tomorrow’s failed companies. And yesterday’s chumps can become champions.
By the way, the “new normal” is also a phrase I saw a lot of in the last year. We wrote about the idea as “Normal Redefined” in our May 2009 newsletter. Just for the fun of it, here’s how the phrase grew in popularity over the last year, according to Google Trends:
Google Trends report on searches for the phrase "new normal"
Finally, Blake’s speech in Glengarry Glen Ross is totally classic, even though the language is offensive, and it isn’t exactly the way you’d want your salespeople to act in serving customers. Watch it anyway.
Google AdWords expert Perry Marshall is a down-to-earth speaker who gives real-world examples to support his points. At the ITA Marketing Roundtable yesterday morning, Marshall covered everything from impressions to conversions. He prefaced his talk by mentioning Claude C. Hopkins, author of Scientific Advertising (1923). Hopkins is relevant to AdWords in the way he used multiple coded coupons to see which ads were most effective. For example, a grocery store would collect all coupons used and could then determine which coupon was most successful in getting the customer to purchase the product. Likewise,you can track your ads on Google to see which is the best at getting clicks.
Marshall went on to explain that the most successful ads are the ones that sell with stories and romance, and how something as simple as changing the URL in an ad can improve click-throughs. To properly utilize AdWords, you need to do keyword research and, more importantly, you need to have something that’s unique to the internet. Something that’s unique in your local mall is not anything like what’s unique on Google. Some people will scour the Google zeitgeist trending topics to find popular keywords, and buy relevant ads for affiliates, hoping to make money off of referrals.
Another important thing to note when creating an ad is that it should be directly relevant to the page you’re linking to or it’s less likely you’ll be able to convert the click to a sale. If you’re going to advertise a specific product, let’s say a green silk tie, you should link to a special landing page for that product, not an overall product page. The problem with linking to an overall product page happens when the tie is buried at the bottom of the page and the frustrated user doesn’t have the time to scroll through all the trousers.
While I’m not necessarily interested in becoming an AdWords ninja, I found Perry Marshall’s speech both informative and insightful. For more AdWord goodness, check out Perry’s website at www.perrymarshall.com.