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November 2013 archive

9 Things About Writing Headlines Your Teacher Wouldn’t Tell You

You know when you write a great blog post, or have great copy for an ad, but you just can’t seem to find the right way to capture its essence? You rack your brain trying to come up with something creative and funny for the title or headline that will resonate with your target audience, making them want to read more. But it just doesn’t come to you. You fear you’ll be dreaming about what to name that piece of writing all night, and you still won’t have an answer in the morning.

Well, fear those sleepless nights no longer (at least as far as headlines are concerned). Portent’s Content Idea Generator can help even the least creative writer get motivated, and have a whimsical title. For instance, I wanted to give our blog readers an idea of why headlines and titles are the most important part of your blog post, post on Facebook, landing page or any other channel you use to engage your audience with marketing. However, I was having a little writer’s block, or lack of motivation, of my own. So I turned to the Portent generator for help. I typed in “writing headlines” and here is what I got:


How to Handle a Client That Doesn’t Like Your Social Media Strategy

It’s simply unavoidable. If you work at a marketing or public relations agency, you’re going to run into a client that doesn’t like your idea. It has nothing to do with the quality of your work, your personality or the client’s personality. It’s simply a fact that every now and then, someone is going to disagree with you.

So, what do you do when you know you’re right?

In my experience, when a client disagrees with either my strategy or my employer’s strategy, it’s usually about one of two things. The more common problem is that he or she doesn’t think we’re approaching things the right way. The client understands the value of social media but has an issue with the timing of the posting, the content or an entire campaign strategy. The lesser common problem (and the one that’s harder to deal with) is that he or she simply doesn’t see the value in our services at all. Social media seems pointless because the return on investment isn’t abundantly clear.

Luckily, both scenarios have the same proper response.

1. Seek to understand why the client is unhappy. Before you jump into defense mode, take a step back and try to figure out why the client doesn’t like what you’ve come up with. Is it too expensive? Did you not do a good job communicating your idea? No client is going to object to your social media strategy without a reason, so first try and understand what that reason is. You’ll be better able to defend your position, if need be. (more…)

What Did We Learn at Internet Summit 2013?

Another Internet Summit has come and gone in Raleigh, NC. While there were some very entertaining speakers – Kevin Pollak had us all laughing to the point of tears, and surprise guest appearance by North Carolina State University’s Basketball Coach Mark Gottfried was a great touch – I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t overall a bit of a letdown.

Don’t get me wrong. Anytime you are able to share ideas with colleagues that you may not interact with on a regular basis is always a great way to reinvigorate your work life. Phil Buckley emphasized that in his recent post You’re Stretched Too Thin and About to Get Fired. However, many of the breakout speeches were lackluster and rushed.

I realize reaching an epiphany in 20 minutes is not realistic, but it would have been nice if more of the sessions had great takeaways instead of self-promotion and a bit of disconnect between the speakers. Plus, the shock and awe factor of dropping the f-bomb in a professional speech has completely turned me off. Gary Vaynerchuck is quite entertaining and I enjoyed his message two years ago when he was promoting The Thank You Economy. But after about the 10th f-bomb, I lost attention. A great message or speech doesn’t need 30-plus words of profanity.

It’s hard to cater to a large and diverse audience, and this crowd was no different. There were entrepreneurs who have developed applications and are incredibly tech savvy sitting next to marketing managers of banks and manufacturing companies who have never heard of schema tags before. I also believe the age range was broader this year, from professionals in their first job out of college to those on the verge of retirement. Digital marketing was a common theme, but the one thing I think a range of people would agree upon is that they walked away with “nice to know/refresher information” versus the “I have to get back to work and put this into action immediately.”


The 5 Most Important Things You Should Be Doing on Facebook

A great Facebook profile is several things:  It’s informative, it’s well-branded, it’s interesting and it’s visually appealing. Nearly every organization has realized the importance of the largest social network, but not every organization is fully utilizing its potential. Poor captions, a lack of images and infrequent posting are the typical culprits of a Facebook page done too quickly.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that “a loyal fan base” or “a quality product” can suffice as excuses to not treating your Facebook page with care. Similar to a low-quality website or a shoddy store interior, an unattractive Facebook page reflects poorly on your reputation. Considering we shop first with our eyes, images matter, and looking bad usually implies bad service. Do yourself a favor and follow these five tips to keep your Facebook page clean and fresh.

  1. Pick a Great Cover Photo and Profile Picture (more…)

The Good and Bad of Being a Social Media Manager

You mean you just get to sit on the Internet and look for cool stuff to tweet about?

Well, sort of. For anyone who has ever managed a social media page, I think you’ll agree this is only half-true. A lot of my job does revolve around “finding cool stuff to tweet about,” but I wouldn’t describe it as “sitting on the Internet.” Content management is hard work. Proving your business is worth a client’s time and money is hard work. And keeping from getting distracted while on Facebook or Twitter is hard work.

Many people, in my opinion, have a misperception of what it really is like to manage a brand’s social media. I have worked for a social media marketing agency for a year now, and I’ve learned it’s nothing like a personal account. When you have your own account, followers matter, but the end result is ego stroking. With the clients I manage, the end result is continued business. The stakes are a little higher.

Also, no one performs analytics on their own account, has set times of the day in which to post, or performs contests. A brand’s social media account is much more intense than anything else.

In the past year, this has been my experience with social media.

The good: (more…)

How to Retrieve Organic Search Data in a Google ‘Not Provided’ World

This blog was originally posted on

Last month, the encryption of Google’s organic search data left many people scrambling. According to the update, one hundred percent of keyword referral data from organic search would be blocked and the opportunity to glean insight from the data a thing of the past. For online marketers, this meant that a new way to approximate performance data was essential to surviving in a post-encryption world.

Google Webmaster Tools & Google Analytics

Fortunately, there exists a method to view not only organic search queries but also the URLs that appear in search results for those queries. It begins with linking a Google Webmaster Tools account to a Google Analytics account.

By sharing the search optimization data available in a Webmaster Tools account with a Google Analytics account, it is possible to generate reports in Analytics based on the data from Webmaster Tools. (more…)

Internet Marketing Trends in 2014

Is your company interested in becoming an expert in Internet Marketing? Visit ASPE’s Internet Marketing training page for information.

Forbes recently published an article making predictions for Internet Marketing trends in 2014. The overall shift revolves around that fact that marketing techniques are continuing to develop more around producing original and internal content rather than outbound tactics.

Here are some predictions for online marketing trends in the upcoming year.

  • Content Marketing Explosion

This is nothing new, but the importance of content marketing will continue to be a trend. Overcoming skepticism is a challenge all marketers face today. The best way to gain trust and build rapport among your audience is to produce valuable original content through a variety of channels. Content should be relevant to the industry you work in and provide value of some sort to your audience whether it is to inform, provide insights, or entertain.

Content Marketing suggests that content should be more focused rather than marketing to the masses. For this very reason, television and radio ads are become less effective among in B2B business.

  • Need for Businesses to Find the Appropriate Social Media Mix

We all know the big name social media Networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube etc. However, over the past couple years it seems that social media has truly taken off the ground in regards to diversity. Other platforms such as Vine, Instagram, Google+, and a plethora of industry focused social media sites are coming into play now. It is up to businesses to not only figure out creative ways to use various types of social media, but to gain an understanding of which networks best fit their industry and way of doing business. Even more important, businesses need to be aware of what types of social media are most suitable for their customer demographics and interests.

  • Catering to a Visual Audience

What types of things catch your attention? The answer may be different for every person but one thing is certain for practically everyone; Nobody viewing content that is a jungle of long text or has no sense of visual appeal. People’s senses have become very stimulated due to the increasing number of advertisements. With this being said, businesses need to make sure their content is formatted in a way that is “easy for the eyes” and quickly digestible. This includes tastefully adding images or info graphics that serve to explain concepts with as little text as possible.


Social Media Checklist: The Basic Necessities

Two categories exist in the world of social media management tools:  those that are mandatory, and those that are nice to have.

Much of social media is in the latter category. Pinterest is an example of this. Restaurants, most retail outlets or other organizations with visual products will do very well with a Pinterest account. However, a B2B tech company will not. (Only so many people will ever be interested in re-pinning a list of software specs.)

In my mind, there are eight tools or elements every business needs in social media, regardless of the industry. Read below and see how you fare. Are you missing any?

Facebook (more…)

Google Hummingbird: A Reminder About User Intent

This blog was originally posted on

The new Google Hummingbird algorithm learns more on user intent. (Photo Credit: David Martyn Hunt, Creative Commons)

Long before Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, we knew that creating original, high quality content was one of the most important pieces of good SEO. Now, with the recent Hummingbird update, understanding what it is that your customers are searching for, and creating content that meets that search criteria, will be the key to accurately positioning your pages within search engine results pages.

Determining User Intent


We Have a Winner! One More Chance to WIN an Xbox One!

Congratulations to Wendi Stewart of San Antonio, TX for winning the first of two Xbox One consoles!

You still have one more chance to win! Enter NOW to win an Xbox One from ASPE. The final winner will be chosen on December 13th.

Do you want the newest features available in a gaming system? Wouldn’t you like to talk to your TV instead of always trying to keep track of your remote? Have no fear, Xbox One is here. With all-new features like voice recognition commands, an ultra-powerful core processor, the ability to watch live TV, and built in Skype client, this new gaming system would be the perfect present for the holidays. The only catch: they are difficult to find.  I know you are already picturing it in your living room, so how do you make this dream a reality?

Enter at to WIN the final Xbox One.

The final drawing will be made on December 13th. Simply fill out your name and email address. No purchase is necessary to win, and one entry gives you a chance to win on both dates.

Enter to WIN an Xbox One