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December 2013 archive

Content Marketing: 4 Key Strategies That Shape Viral Content

View the full Nov/Dec ASPE-ROI Newsletter to read this full article and more like it.

Deep down every time a marketer creates a fantastic piece of content,we secretly hope that it will be seen by people across the globe and reach viral status. Whether it’s a blog post, video or any other piece of content, our customers want us marketers to produce content that will catch on like wildfire. As a consumer, finding quality content can be challenging at times, as they are inundated every day with enormous amounts of information be it digital or otherwise.

Typically eight out of 10 people will read headline copy (thus why headlines are imperative in a good content marketing strategy), but only two out of 10 will actually go on to read the entire article. It’s extremely important that when writing for your target audience, you provide worthwhile information. It significantly increases engagement levels and helps drive up social proof. Achieving this, however, is much more than writing good titles and making people click through. Our content has to be emotional. At the end of the day, a fundamental understanding of who will be consuming our content is the foundation of any good content marketing program.

We all have that friend who has been out of work for a long time, retired, or we can’t figure out how they do any work at their office, who surfs the web all day and loves to send email jokes, typically sending multiple links each day. Every once in a while, he/she will say “this is the crème de la crème. If you delete all my other jokes, you must read this one, you will thank me.” So, we take time out of our extremely busy day of checking Facebook status updates, and read the joke. At the end, we find ourselves laughing hysterically and then what happens? We have an innate desire to share this with someone close to us, typically of the same sense of humor. We immediately forward the email, fill in the email address and send it off, usually with a message of “must read.” The reaction that triggered this response is a direct emotion after reading it, followed by a desire to share something.

There are four main elements that significantly increase the likelihood of content going viral.

1. Emotion

As previously stated, emotion causes us to react in either a positive or negative sentiment. The bigger stand you take on a topic, whether you are for or against it, the more engagement you are likely to receive. The more emotion you cause, whether an apex of euphoria or gloom and doom, the better chance you have of inspiring a deep emotional reaction.

2. Triggers

Daily reminders of an idea, product or service can help foster engagement of any piece of content. Triggers have the highest level of impact on everyday human behavior. They affect and test our intrinsic values and shape the way we make choices. In order for some of your own content to succeed, make sure you have some sort of daily reminder to your audience about it. However, be cautious of over-saturating an idea or product. Specific channel distribution and knowing how your customers consume their content are keys when applying the right triggers. (more…)

How to do a Social Media Audit in 5 Simple Steps

It’s been a year or two since you first joined social media. Your business’ Facebook page has a healthy number of followers thanks to that promotion in the spring. You’ve figured out how to properly form tweets and hashtags, and maybe you’ve even hosted your first Twitter chat. You tried your hand at video editing and produced a few YouTube videos, but now your channel sits kind of dormant.

You had a great entrance into social media, but now things are starting to stagnate. All your friends and family have already liked your page and followed you on LinkedIn, so you’ve tapped that resource dry. What now? Mediocrity is the opposite of excellence, and your social channels are heading in that direction. There’s more to be done, but…what exactly is it?

Getting to this point is completely natural. The beginning of any project can be met with a boom of success, provided you work hard enough. But once you push through this phase, how do you get to the next level? One way to do that is through a social media audit.

Usually, PR and marketing companies will do this for businesses (like my company Shelten Media, LLC), but if you don’t have the money and do have the time, anyone can do it. Be forewarned, though, they are very tedious. But the results can be worth it:  a new idea for strategy and content, a fresh third-party look at your social channels, and a better understanding of where you stand in relation to your competitors.

Step 1: Define your competitors

Most of a social media audit revolves around how your channels compare with that of your competitors. Who has the most followers? Whose posts usually get the most interaction? The point isn’t to find the best social media page and copy the owner’s strategy; it’s to get a better idea of what kind of online behavior your target audience is attracted to.

Make a list of at least four competitors, preferably five or six. You can write down as many as you want, but know that the longer the list, the more time this process will take.

Step 2: Find all competitors’ Facebook pages.


Dynamic Remarketing Hits Home for the Holidays

This blog was originally posted on

Online retailers look to dynamic remarketing to amp up holiday sales.

When was the last time you browsed through or picked up a new bath rug over at Crate & Barrel’s website? Maybe not so much the latter, but if you’re like half of the consumers out there then you’ll be buying holiday gifts online this year (according to Google). And this is exactly what online retailers are counting on when they use dynamic remarketing.

So what exactly is dynamic remarketing?

Let’s go back the time when you visited, and we’ll say that you were checking out prices on the Playstation 4. When you decided that you weren’t ready to pull the trigger, you exited the site and went about your other business.


Your SEO Strategy is Completely Wrong

View the full Nov/Dec ASPE-ROI Newsletter to read this full article and more like it.

Seemingly the last 120 days or so have brought numerous changes to Google’s algorithm and has forced marketers to diligently re-examine their overall SEO efforts. The landscape has changed so much that literally your first quarter SEO strategy can currently be rendered null and void.

Amidst the controversial blog posts stating that the multitude of search engine algorithm changes will change SEO marketing forever, there is one rumor that is more prevalent than all others: SEO is dead. SEO, indeed, is NOT dead. It is very much alive and kicking, and kicking more so than ever. In fact, the changes that are being made are much more conducive to a better user experience. These changes also help thwart any attempts to fool the system, otherwise known as black hat SEO practices. The updates have also forced marketers to completely rethink even their white hat practices.

A little known fact is Google has always rewarded marketers who have created useful and relevant content with less focus on keyword tactics and more focus on helping users find meaningful content. Over the years, Google has slowly created what is known as a Knowledge Graph. There are four major updates that are going to directly affect how marketers move forward with their search engine marketing campaigns:

1. Google is now encrypting 100 percent of keywords


How Do You Define Brand Management?

I once attended an hour-long panel on brand management for small businesses, and at the end of the panel, no one had been able to clearly define a brand. People had great advice for how to apply a brand to your business, or how to ensure no one corrupted your brand. There were in-depth discussions about whether or not you should tie your brand to a single person or to the business in general. But no one was able to articulate just what the heck a brand actually was.

This is not to vent any pent-up frustrations about my time at the panel; it’s simply to say that the word “brand” is a little vague. Google it and you’ll get several different definitions. Instead of trying to give you a definition of my own, I prefer to think of a brand as a sum of either/or scenarios. For example, your brand could be funny or serious. You could be professional or laid-back. It could be streamlined or creative, fact-based or story-driven. Sometimes it’s just easier to describe what your brand is not instead of the translucent “it’s the feeling people get when they think about your business.”

Two aspects of brand management that are especially relevant to social media, however, are content and design. In order to look professional, you need to have consistent content and design branding on all social media channels. Again, this topic can get a little vague, but hopefully, I’ll be able to provide some tips on the how-to side of things.


Design is easy to homogenize on your social channels, because as a marketer, it makes sense to use the same picture for your Twitter photo as your Facebook photo. It’s more efficient than recreating a new logo.


What Does Link Juice Mean for Your SEO Strategy?

Link Juice is an important factor for ranking your website within Google search results, but what exactly is it, and how can you effectively manage it to improve your page authority?

Link juice is known in the SEO world as the authority passed to a site via internal and external links.

In order to better understand what link juice is, picture a bucket of water. The bucket represents your web page and hoses filling them represent the inbound links. Consider the following scenarios for ranking based on inbound links:

  • Scenario 1: The more inbound links a site has the more link juice it receives. If you increase the amount of hoses filling a bucket, the fuller the bucket is. The same goes for link juice. A site with more strong inbound links will rank higher than another site with fewer equally strong inbound links.
  • Scenario 2: The page with stronger inbound links will rank higher if the pages have the same amount of links. Both buckets have a hose filling them. The difference is that one hose is turned up higher and filling the bucket more. In this scenario, the page with the stronger source of link juice will end up with a higher rank in the search engine.
  • Scenario 3: The page with stronger inbound links can rank higher than those with more links.


Google Product Listing Ads: What’s Local Got to Do with It

This blog was originally posted on

If you’ve ever forgotten an important holiday in your past, then you can thank your friends over at Google for saving you from any future gift-giving fumbles. The new local availability feature in Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) helps consumers find the products they want – right away – at retailers that are, literally, just around the corner.

What is local availability?

Local availability means that Google will display product listing ads for brick-and-mortar stores nearest the user.

For example, let’s say you do a search for Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue (now that you’ll need a gift idea for the holidays). You will see PLAs for local retailers that carry D & G Light Blue Perfume along with how far the stores are from your current location. When you click on an ad, it shows you the address and hours of the store as well as the product price and availability.

Google Product Listing Ads with Local Availability Feature

Google PLAs even let you get directions to the store or call the retailer directly from the ad.

For advertisers, this provides an advantage over other forms of online advertising as it empowers eager consumers to make an in-store purchase rather than wait on lengthy order processing and fulfillment.

Both mobile users and desktop purists will be able to see local product listing ads.

A Highlight for the Holidays

This new feature will bode well during the holidays, too. According to Deloitte’s annual survey, 68 percent of those who responded plan to use their smartphone during holiday shopping.

And for those that thrive on the last-minute dash to the department store, Google’s local availability could be just the answer for driving extra sales this season.

Now let’s hear from you: Do you plan to use the new local availability feature on Google’s product listing ads?

How to Create a Google Analytics Account


I’ve been doing a lot of blogging lately about the ins and outs of Google Analytics.  Specifically, why it’s important, how it works, how to create a measurement plan and then how to measure conversions. But I realized I hadn’t even covered the most important part – how to create a Google Analytics account. So, let’s circle back around to the beginning and go over, step-by-step, how to create a Google Analytics account, and then once that’s done, how to understand your account structure.

Setting Up Your Google Analytics Account


How Much Klout Do You Have?

No, that is not a misspelling. Klout is an actual term and if you haven’t heard of it yet, you may be missing out. Social media has become part of our everyday vocabulary:

“Did you see that update on Facebook?”

“Wasn’t my last post great?”

“Oh yeah I saw that on Twitter and I retweeted it!”

With more than 1 billion Facebook users and growing, social is ingrained in our lives every day. In fact, so much that 23% of users are checking their Facebook accounts more than 5 times per day, according to the Digital Buzz Blog. Social distraction at its best!

But what do our social media efforts really say about us and our ability to influence? Is my recommendation to check out a local business weighted heavier than my friend’s recommendation? This is why Klout matters, and here is your introduction.

Klout is described as an influence marketing platform intended to “empower marketers to identify and engage with millions of top influencers increasing earned media and improving brand lift.” But how is it done?


Congratulations to our Final Xbox One Winner!

Congratulations to Linda Butler of Newark, NJ for winning the final Xbox One giveaway drawing of 2013!

With all new features like an ultra–powerful processor core, the ability to watch live TV, a built–in Skype client, and voice recognition commands, the XBox One is this season’s most in–demand entertainment console.

Didn’t win this time? Don’t let it get you down. We like giving gadgets away so much, we might just be giving away something new in the coming weeks.

Keep an eye on or follow@ASPE_Inc on Twitter for updates!