Wednesday, 24 November 2010

5 Inspiring Corporate Blogs

by Kathryn Richards

What makes an amazing company blog? Here are some examples of blogs that have caught my eye recently. Get inspired!

PatagoniaThe Cleanest Line
The Cleanest Line has a great mixture of content that is sure to catch the readers eye – not like some blogs with paragraph after paragraph of black text. Here we find an eye-catching mixture of images, video, plenty of cool outbound + inbound links. Not only this, but lots of fresh ideas and opinions, “guest posts”, interactivity and personal accounts. This blog is far from corporate – but at the same time, gives a good, personal impression of the company, and might just make you click through to their site.

innocentDaily Thoughts
Brilliant content, aimed at engaging and interacting with readers. Plenty of photos, thoughts and updates that really give you an insight into the innocent world. As we’ve mentioned before, innocents online presence is surely not only engaging and strengthening its already loyal “family” or fanbase, but also converting passive consumers into active brand ambassadors.

Fiskars Fiskateers
This blog is a great example of engagement. Not only with employees – who are clearly passionate about the products – but also readers. Handling and encouraging comments is key with blogs into turning readers into a community – which is brilliantly illustrated here. The content is also full of added value – full of tutorials, tips and ideas for craft products.

Kodak A Thousand Words
We like this blog as it focuses not on the product (the camera) but the stories created with it by consumers (the photos).
“A Thousand Words is a place for stories from the people of Kodak.”
It is very personal – for each post, the author’s name, position and photo is displayed – you can also click through to their bio. The huge range of bloggers involved suggests high employee engagement – and that they really are empowered in making the blog a success. The range of types of blog posts – updates, how-to guides, personal stories, “photo of the week” is also impressive.

UHandbag- Uhandblog
This is my favourite example, as it is a true small business success story – and I think blogging has been a huge part in this success. The blog is full of how-to guides, advice and updates on making handmade bags and purses, illustrated by plenty of photos, and free PDF instructions. Each post is followed by plenty of comments by happy consumers, or readers asking questions. The sidebars are also very well designed, linking not only to Facebook, Twitter etc, but also to the authors bio, the online shop, and a sign-up for the newsletter.

Which other blogs should be on this list? We’d love to hear from you in the comments !

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Focus on : Search Engines

So. Why do I even need to be at the top of Google?

Some interesting statistics for you (thanks to Search Light Digital!) from a study involving nearly 37 million searches, highlighting the percentage of clicks each natural search result is likely to get.

1st place = 42% of natural search clicks
2nd place = 12%
3rd place = 8%
4th place = 6%
5th place = 5%

Top result on page #2 = 0.7 of total clicks

What does this mean?

It’s important to be at the top.

As seen from the statistics, if you're not in the top 3 results, you’re not going to get many click-thoughs. Do bear in mind though, that the search term can be specific e.g. geographically. For example, Art Division is in the top 3 results for “website design Wimbledon”, and even though we’re not in the top 3 for the key phrase “web design”, we still get lots of search engine traffic!

Search engine optimisation means optimising the content of your website, for the relevant keywords you wish to be found for in the search engines. Here it’s great to get the opinion of a professional – this can make all the difference in your search engine success – they’ll be able to give you individual advice on the appropriate keywords/ phrases you should be optimising your site for. Read more in our post about selecting keywords.

Consider how your result will be displayed.

Shocking statistic: almost 50% of searchers in the study did not click on any result at all! This really highlights not only the need to appear at the top of Google, but also need to consider how your result will be displayed.

Let’s have a quick look at how to optimise the appearance of your result.

1. The Title
- This needs to describe clearly and accurately your page and/or website.
- Keep the length to 70 characters
- Read more about page titles here
2. Text displayed
- Google more normally displays here your Meta Description
- So make sure it is interesting + relevant !
- Learn more in our post about optimising your Meta description

You need to monitor and improve your rankings

Being at the top of Google today doesn’t mean you’ll still be there tomorrow!
The best strategy? Update your site frequently with brilliant content. Not only will visitors want to come back, but they’ll also want to link to your site.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Social Media – the importance of a call to action

by Kathryn Richards

“Social Media” is certainly the buzz phrase in business this year. Everyone has heard about it, is pressured to “be on it” and “have a presence”. But even the biggest names can (and do!) get it wrong…

I recently heard from a colleague about a strategic meeting for an online campaign. The quantifiable target of the proposed new online campaign (with a significant investment involved) was to “get more fans on our Facebook fan page than our industry competitors”.

I was pretty shocked for several reasons. Firstly, the Facebook fan page in question was not even an official page managed by the company (a large multinational) –and surprisingly this didn’t seem to be a concern. Secondly, the strategy of the campaign was based entirely on having a presence “because our competitors do”. But what’s more, there was no benchmark of community management, or plan of how these fans would be engaged/ called to action.

This is completely missing the point of Social Media --> interaction and engagement!

Social Media campaigns (whether they be on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube etc…), just like any other online marketing strategy, need to have a clear goal. This could be to engage users, to inform them about your brand, to encourage them to buy your product, to get click-throughs to your website or to create a “buzz” around a specific product.

Social Media Case Study - Green & Blacks

The campaign “a piece of Green & Blacks” was launched in October, with the supposed aim of recruiting an “assistant taster” for their Head Chocolate Tester. Promotions include a short video advert (shown in cinemas + online), while the campaign is based on their website, strongly linked with their Facebook page and twitter stream.

The campaign offers the job of your dreams - to test chocolate on a daily basis, trying out new flavours and sourcing new ingredients. Whether it is an extreme PR stunt or a genuine HR need is debatable –but this campaign is a brilliant, simple example of consumer engagement.

1. A clear call to action – click through to the website
The video and online advertising have a clear call to action – to click through to their website and apply for the job/ for free chocolate.

2. Obvious incentives to become Facebook fan
We are constantly exposed to brands demanding us to become fans on Facebook. But often lacking is the incentive. What’s in it for us if we become a fan? Here, the incentive is clear – free product samples.

3. Converting passive consumers into active ambassadors of the product
To date, almost 3000 engaged readers have answered the “question of the week”, in the hope to win a box of G&B chocolate. The viral factor (and indeed the automated Facebook status update as below) means that G&B are surely on to a winner here.
However, I was disappointed to find that their youtube channel does not seem to be linked to the campaign. After a little more investigation, I discovered also that there is no “careers” section to their regular website – which suggests that this campaign is indeed a clever PR stunt.

This campaign appeals to us on an emotional level – many of us must have had childhood dreams to become chocolate tasters – and it is successful in creating a buzz around the brand. A long-term, engaged Facebook community? I’m not so sure.

Nevertheless, a call to action remains highly important – just like everywhere else on the net. Next time you see an online campaign based around Social Media, have a think – what are you, the viewer, meant to do? Become a fan on Facebook (if so what is your incentive?), visit a website, buy the product?

Any thoughts? All comments welcome…

Monday, 1 November 2010

Google Indexing : Let the search engine spiders come and play!

by Kathryn Richards

So. You’ve got a shiny new website.

I know, I don’t need to convince you of the importance of being found at the top of Google.

You’re already aware that 50% of users click on the first organic link to appear, and that just 23% of users will click-through to the 2nd page of results.

You’ve had the help of an SEO expert, and your site is full of interesting, relevant, search-engine friendly text, nicely littered with carefully selected keywords and broken up into titles and paragraphs. You’ve done all your Meta Data, given your images alt tags, and, naturally, have designed your site to be user-friendly.

You’ve submitted your site for indexing by Google, uploaded your site map through Google webmaster tools and added your business to Google Places.

The spiders should be racing here, no?

Not so fast.

Google indexes sites by sending out spiders - robots which crawl through the internet, grabbing content from sites and adding it to the search engine indexes. Most sites take at least 2 - 4 weeks to get indexed by Google (want to check? Type in “site:myURLname” to Google to find out how many and which pages of your site Google has indexed).

So, how can you speed up this process, and get the spiders to your site faster?

The answer = link to your website. Where? Wherever you like that’s online. This could be your blog, an online directory, another website.

Spiders can only follow links from one page or site to another. This means that the amount of links to your site (inbound links) is super important. This will give the spiders a path to your site – meaning there’s much more chance they’ll come across it on their travels.

3 top tips for linking to your website:

1. Google places almost all importance on the 1st link in a page
2. Choose keywords specific to your website
3. Make sure the links point to nice fresh content

Want to check how many inbound links you have to your site? Find out by typing in "links:mysiteurl" to Google.

Good luck – happy linking!

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