Content Marketing News Roundup — Friday, Feb. 3, 2012

Managers Skeptical of Social ROIhtml5

Some of the commentary in the tech industry suggests that the “golden era” of blogging is coming to a close, and that other modes of social media will become the preference. Keith Paul points out three factors that might challenge the role of corporate blogging:

  1. Managers continue to question the financial benefits of any kind of social media marketing. Quantifying the effects a social media campaign has on a company has always been a challenge, and continues to be difficult as search elements continue to change on what feels like a weekly basis.
  2. Blogging is time-consuming. Generating relatively in-depth content on a regular basis takes a huge amount of time and work compared to other forms of social media. If you are looking for quality, daily updates, this can make for a near full-time job.
  3. Options — blogging is no longer one of the only respectable options for getting your content onto the Internet. Paul says, “Spiceworks, Quora, Focus, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and scores more offer limitless means for social media self-publishing.” Social media is no longer just for the tech-savvy.

Write Newsletters for People, Not Machines

When we are composing our direct marketing campaigns, we can become so focused on getting our emails into the target inboxes that we might forget the actual readers themselves. Regina Gray reminds us that we are targeting humans, and need to remember what they are looking for:

  • A sense of belonging: Using a welcome program to introduce your company and explain future emails can help readers feel involved. Gray says that while one welcome email is great, a welcome series could be even more effective. “Strategically crafted creative elements, calls to action, and messaging in each treatment of the series can enable continuous subscriber engagement and optimize results with double the open and click rates and three times the transaction rates of promotional mailings,” Gray says.
  • Feeling known: People don’t like to feel anonymous, like a number in a system. Help them feel a connection to your company by treating them like individuals. For example, using a reader’s first or last name in the subject line can mean 58% greater “open” rates.
  • Feeling special: As time passes, customers want to be rewarded for their loyalty to your brand. Gray says that sending “Friends or Family” emails after a length of time can help to build that extra level of connection. Using language like “exclusive” or “special” can also create these feelings.

South Korea Talked Out of Blocking Googlebot

Matt Cutts, known as “Google’s chief spam cop,” single-handedly convinced 80 South Korean government representatives to let Googlebot crawl their websites. Matt McGee said that this conversation did not come at an easy time, either. “Earlier this month, the Korean Fair Trade Commission accused Google of interfering with its Android antitrust investigation,” he said. “The commission alleges that Google deleted documents pertinent to its investigation into whether Google is limiting access to local search engines on Android smartphones.” On top of that, Google is not even the dominant search engine in South Korea.

Cutts has had difficult conversations on behalf of Google before this successful venture. Last year, he was the representative Google has dispatched to Washington, D.C., to explain to government officials why it would be unnecessary to regulate Google’s search results.

Twitter CEO Says 2012 to Be “Twitter Election”

Since the birth of the 24-hour TV news station, political news coverage has been brutally fast and relentless. According to Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, Twitter is going to speed things up even more. Pointing to the State of the Union address (SOTU), Costolo said that Twitter provided real-time reactions to President Obama’s speech. In particular, tweets hashtagged #SOTU exploded when Obama made his “spilled milk remark,” seconds after the words were out of his mouth. Ina Fried said that even “Republicans took to the service to live-tweet their rebuttals, rather than waiting for the speech to end.” Waiting for the following morning, or even for the speech’s conclusion, to comment or issue a statement is becoming too late.

Pinterest Becoming Huge Boost for Retailers

Pinterest, a social bookmarking site in which users collect and share images on the Internet, has been exploding in popularity. Traffic on the site multiplied four times between September 2011 and December 2011, and has become a top-five referrer for several retail sites. The site is more popular among women (58% of users), and the retailers benefitting tend to be apparel and home design companies.

Despite the popularity of the sharing site, we have yet to see it impact sales, and search engines remain the biggest driver of referral traffic. Says Lauren Indvik, “Although Pinterest is becoming a significant source of traffic for retailers, search still dominates, and the site has yet to prove itself as a potential sales channel. At present, scant data is available about the social network’s conversion rates.”

Pintrest is an abstract, image-based site that is used less for direct promotion and more for collections of ideas and concepts as a whole. Still, a site becoming explosively popular so quickly should not be overlooked for its potential.

HTML5 Will Bring Changes

Slowly the Internet is making the shift from HTML to HTML5, and what does this mean for your search optimization management campaigns? There are four big changes that will make a difference:

  • More descriptive markup tags, no including things like aside, footer, article, etc.
  • The new Canvas element will help render graphs and images without first having to use a browser plugin.
  • A new video element that allows for directly embedding a video without using a plugin, like Flash.
  • Sites will be able to locate viewers geographically without having to use IP address detection.

These seem like some appealing changes, especially being able to run graphs, images, and video without the use of a plugin. But jumping on the HTML5 wagon right away is not going to rocket you to SEO splendor. Google, still considering it a new technology, has not yet worked it into its algorithms.

However, making the leap early is not without benefit. For one, HTML5 sites that are using the new technology well should naturally accumulate links as people are beginning to look into HTML5 for themselves. Secondly, HTML5 is designed to cut down on the code necessary to render a page, so crawlers should be able to skim through the pages of your website more quickly, and your viewers should experience a faster loading time.

Image by DavidMartynHunt, used under its Creative Commons license.

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