Business:

Why Local Content Matters

No matter what type of online presence you have, from a blog to managing a website, are you focusing on local? Search engine optimization (SEO) has a subset of localized SEO (LSEO) for a reason: Geo-targeting your audience can help improve the quality of your content, loyal followers/customers and also with where you appear in search engine rankings. It’s not for everyone (such as huge corporations like Amazon with zero local focus) but for many smaller websites, it’s crucial.

For example, let’s say you provide contracting services in a metro area and want to reach as many of your neighbors as possible. The content on your landing pages, blogs, social media and anywhere else you manage needs to be geo-specific but still organic. You don’t want to stuff “Kansas City” or “Phoenix” into awkward places, but a reputable content creator can do so seamlessly to ensure more locals find you online.

The local approach

There are some websites that shy away from local content because they might serve a certain region but want to appeal to a national or international audience. A good example is a florist in Houston that also ships domestically. They may or may not have a brick and mortar location (but if they do, going local is even more important). Focusing on national customers is a good idea, but ignoring the appeal of “supporting local” means they’re bypassing what is probably a very lucrative and loyal market.

More and more consumers are looking for local businesses to get their business. You can see it in the thriving farmer’s markets, and you can even ask a premium price when reaching out to your local customers. Retailers and service providers can maximize on this trend by highlighting their family owned, local, Main Street style of business. You should have two focuses if this suits you: A local content marketing strategy and a generic one.

Pitfalls of content creation newbies

Now that you see the benefits of local content, can’t you just freshen up existing content yourself by peppering in some local language? Not necessarily, and it won’t be done as well as a professional. By utilizing keyword search technology that’s constantly changing, a professional can pinpoint the right “keyword density” to maximize your exposure while also using the most popular and trending words. You might know a nickname for different neighborhoods that are searchable, but you don’t know which are most searched.

Local content can make a huge difference in your visibility and ultimately success. Stop ignoring it.

Social:

How Twitter Ruined Communication

twitter_logo_withbird_black

There’s a time and place for nearly every social media platform, but as one of the Top 5 most popular SM sites, Twitter’s influence has spread far beyond what anyone imagined. What can you do in just a few characters? It became a challenge that social media users were committed to mastering. Unfortunately, practice really does make perfect and that kind of brevity has become common in everyday speech and other written communication platforms.

Then there’s the hashtag, which has spread not just to written communication but speech as well. Hashtag annoying. What started as a way to promote trends has become a noun in itself, and some younger generations don’t see the pound sign as anything beyond a Twitter-related device. Even though Twitter’s earnings are holding stable (and it’s in no danger of being overthrown right now), maybe there’s a reason why it’s not as solid as it used to be.

Lazy communicators

People, particularly in younger generations, have seemed to develop a fear of talking in person and talking on the phone. It’s why when a crush actually calls you it’s a huge deal or why it’s so common to see people hunched over their phones at restaurants. The recent experiment of one restaurant revealed that while service has remained the same in recent years, people are taking longer at restaurants because they’re wrapped up in their phones and apps.

Everyone needs to check in on numerous SM platforms, food photos need to be snapped, and hashtags need to be used so they can show their on trend. While Twitter certainly isn’t the only SM platform making communication in general subpar, the requirement to shorten words and keep them brief is destroying the quality of written communication. Using “u” instead of “you” might be necessary on Twitter, but it’s not being used just about everywhere.

The demise of the English language

While there are still many people who understand brevities like “u” aren’t actually proper English words, there are some people who consider it valid. If you grew up in the era of Twitter and have been using “u” and hashtags ever since you can remember, why wouldn’t it seem appropriate? English teachers everywhere are #smh, but it’s a very real and sad phenomenon.

If there’s an avenue to doing things easier and with less time, humans will take it. Twitter, of course, can’t be blamed for the general falling apart of communication and the English language. It’s a symptom, not the cause.

Around The Web

last update: September 2, 2014

Social:

Why Certifications Matter

A piece of paper really is just a piece of paper…until it’s more. Such is the case with degrees, certifications and licensing. No matter what industry you’re in, there are probably a smattering of certifications you can collect, but this doesn’t work like Pokemon. There are options that can truly advance your career, and there are ones that do nothing but waste your hard-earned cash. As a consumer, knowing which certifications are a “must” before choosing a service or product is important, but you also need to know which ones are just fluff.

Unfortunately, this is going to take some research on your part. Just because a company ticks off a seemingly endless list of certifications doesn’t mean anything. The good news is that they do the triaging for you, so start by considering which certification they list first. Is it renowned in the industry, is it required, and/or is it exclusive? If so, then that’s the sign of a company that care.

Vetting out the white noise

Whether you’re thinking about getting a certification yourself, stocking a product that may or may not be certified, or you’re shopping around for the most reliable product/service, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all that white noise. A reputable company won’t just list the certifications, but also provide background information on them including why they’re important. Otherwise, it’s just tacking on a bunch of useless letters after a moniker (what use is “John Smith, MD” is no one knew what MD stood for?).

However, just like when you hire a new worker, you shouldn’t trust any company blindly. Go to the certification official site for yourself, check it out and see just what kind of things are required in order to get certified. In some instances, it’s as meaningless as attending a webinar. In others (like with Microsoft) it can be nearly as daunting as getting a new degree.

From a products standpoint

If it’s products you’re considering, certification is even more important. Whether you’re shopping for a product that’s been certified as green by a certain organization or you’re looking for UL certification for compliancy, this added information is just as crucial as the safety ratings and product reviews. It’s a cheat sheet to ensure you’re getting the best product for the best price.

A certification can tell you a lot about a person or product, or virtually nothing at all. Cross-check, and you won’t just educate yourself but pinpoint the prime choice for you.

Web:

Build Your Business with a Strong Web Presence

Do you want more customers and sales? Are you trying to gain exposure online? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of companies are competing against each other on the Internet. The World Wide Web offers great opportunities for those who want to make money and reach new clients. The key to success is to build a strong online presence. This involves creating a website and blog, staying active on social networks, and sharing quality content.

If you want to expand your business, go online and make a name for yourself. Promote your brand to the target market, interact with your prospects, and post unique content on your company’s blog. Here are some tips to build a solid online presence for your business:

Set Up a Website

It is estimated that more than 47 percent of small businesses don’t have a site or blog. A professional website can enhance your reputation and give you a competitive edge. About 97 percent of U.S. customers use the Internet to find products and services. Over 61 percent have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog.

Invest in a quality website and promote it on social networks. Business owners who blog generate up to 88 percent more leads than those who don’t. Your website is a valuable marketing tool that can increase sales and put your brand in a positive light.

Optimize Your Site or Blog

Simply building a website is not enough. You also have to choose an eye-catching design and optimize your content for search engines. If you can’t afford to hire a Web designer, use WordPress. This blogging platform includes thousands of free and paid themes that will make your website look amazing. The best part is that it can be installed with one click and then customized according to your needs.

Once you choose a theme and a domain name, search for relevant keywords. Ask an SEO expert to help you pick the most relevant terms. Many freelancers offer keyword research services at competitive rates. When this step is complete, start posting content on your blog. Add your targeted keywords, upload pictures and videos, post infographics, and share your work online. A well-optimized website with quality content will rank high on Google and attract traffic.

Stay Active on Social Networks

Social networking is an important tool for every business seeking to build a strong online presence. Start by adding social sharing buttons on your blog. Create a Facebook page for your company, post pictures and text, and encourage your prospects to become fans. Reward them with free eBooks, bonuses, and special discounts.

Share all types of media, including photos, slide shows, infographics, statistics, and blog posts. The content should be relevant to your fans and help them solve a problem. Be consistent and interact with them as often as you can. Social media gives businesses a chance to show their human face and learn about their target audience. Take advantage of this opportunity and connect with your clients on a deeper level!

Web:

SEO+Product Descriptions. Mission Impossible?

If you’re charged with search engine optimization (SEO) for a company, you know it’s crucial to organically place key words and phrases on every landing page. However, that can be tricky when you’re dealing with product descriptions for a mega e-tailer, especially when many of the descriptions are inherently nearly identical. This can also pose a problem for keyword stuffing and duplicate content even when that isn’t really the case.

How can you get around such a conundrum? It’s going to take serious skills that only an SEO writer has. This is why it’s important to hire the write SEO agency that tackles SEO from all angles, including the requirement for high quality content at all times. Not all writers are SEO professionals, which is why who you hire can make all the difference. Luckily, there are some SEO gurus who can handle this problem.

Variant skills

Every key phrase has variants, but you need to look beyond the variant tools and suggestions from Google AdWords. A good SEO writer will know how to pinpoint these variables and use them in correct balance. Plus, “duplicate content” is somewhat subjective and Google algorithms are smart enough to differential genuine duplicate content from “duplicate content” that isn’t black hat trickery but rather a common phrase (such as, for example “garden hose”).

If you’re staring down a site that offers a variety of different tapes, writing unique product descriptions that abide by SEO best practices can seem maddening and it is. That’s why the best SEO pros get paid well for what they do. Trying to do this yourself solely to save money is going to drive you crazy and lead to poor results. SEO writing requires a type of patience that most people don’t have.

Digging out the unique

The good news is that even very similar products have big differences (otherwise they wouldn’t be a separate product). Your mission is to find out what that is, highlight it and still work in those keywords like a boss. While it might not seem like it, a job like thousands of product descriptions is actually more challenging for an SEO writer than drumming up creative content from scratch.

Most SEO writers are also naturally talented writers to begin with, so the creative side of things come easily. It’s the daunting and repetitive tasks that can be a struggle (just like with non-writers). However, practice makes perfect, and that’s what product pages need.

 

  • Follow TechVert

Web:

Technology for the Creative Voice is Expanding

technology2

New technological advances in creative writing and expressing one’s ideas into images and words have provided many platforms for people to organize their thoughts into collaborative collages and other various artistic projects. During the Internet age, most people are dealing with information overload and the ability to easily retrieve data about any topic in a matter of seconds. Most people absorb 34 gigabytes of information every day with conventional forms of media. With all the accessible information that is available, it’s easy for someone to have hundreds of cluttered thoughts daily.

Keeping Track of Thoughts and Ideas in the Digital World

Various images and ideas can come and go in your thoughts. You can think about an idea that relates to a goal you’re trying to accomplish or a project that you’re creating, and without having the ability to clearly jot the idea down or save it for future use, it may become difficult to remember at a later time. Most artists are aware of the importance to keeping track of their collective thoughts from day to day, and organizing these thoughts to help them with their work is essential. This method of practice can work well for just about anyone.

In the digital age, different apps, social media sites, podcasts and online video libraries are helping people with the right technology devices, an Internet connection and basic navigation skills log their ideas and thoughts. These innovative technologies also provide easy mechanisms for people to share their thoughts for others to see. New methods to support creative writing are being invented every year. There are even various online publication mediums that allow people to share and provide inspiration to other people around the world.

The Best Ways to Express Thoughts

Not everyone can access online media quickly and straightforwardly to take note of their thoughts. If you’ve ever experienced a time when you thought of the perfect idea or answer to a question and you failed to write it on paper, you know it can be frustrating trying to remember the thoughts later in time. Being unprepared and unable to place your thoughts in written form can be infuriating. By simply having a journal and a pen near you at all times, you can always use the traditional method of expression and write your thoughts on paper.

There are also convenient, hi-tech methods to express your thoughts in a room full of written and illustrative expressions. Like a toddler who enjoys drawing and painting on walls, you can also experience the fun and child-like ventures of expressing your creativity. With innovative, state-of-the-art equipment, you can write your ideas wherever you find available space on walls, ceilings and whiteboards using dry erase paint or chalkboard paint. This lets you create an entire room of art and written words without permanently damaging any fixtures or furniture in rooms, and when you’re ready to erase all traces of the work, simply wipe away and start all over again. The possibilities are unlimited, even if your wall space is.

Mobile:

Managing Portfolios in a Mobile World

You’ve spent weeks slaving over that portfolio and it’s perfect. When your display it on the big screen from your laptop, you know everyone will appreciate the clear graphs, the beauty in the simplicity and all the work you put into making every shade and font choice just right. What you don’t expect is that your portfolio will be skimmed over on a tiny screen in a crowded train.

The reality is that there are now more people on mobile devices than on desktops and you have to seriously compete for their attention. Even if the recipient is the COO and this is a huge project, she might be glancing over your finished product while on her iPhone while waiting in the dentist’s chair. Don’t assume your project will be seen on a screen similar to the one you worked on.

Stacking the odds

You can ensure that your portfolio is seen in the best light possible, but there will be factors you have no control over. For example, start by using the right software and programs for your analytics and research. This helps keep responsive design in check so you know your file will showcase correctly and adapt to different screen sizes. This is project management 101.

However, it’s also beneficial to do a few test runs yourself. Get your hands on as many different types of mobile devices as possible and check out the portfolio “in miniature.” Even when displayed correctly, this might show you a different, better way to display your portfolio and help you see it with fresh eyes. It’s kind of like writers who put a piece to bed before sending it to their publisher.

Respect the recipient’s time

Even if you’re asked to dissect something that nearly demands 100 slides, still try to keep it as simple as possible. Your job is to make information as easy and fast to digest as possible, and sometimes this means skipping the pomp and circumstance. Yes, your work should speak for itself, but it should also be talking in a fast, clipped voice.

Finally, when it comes to flash such as images and videos, stick with the basics (which will be the default in proper portfolio software). Getting too fancy can slow down page loads and infuriate the recipient. Simple is better, in both text and images, so keep the extreme creativity for another time.

Social:

Can Social Media and Project Management Go Hand in Hand?

scmedia

If you’re in charge of a work project or oversee a portfolio, at some point you’ll have to share your findings and that’s where it can get tricky. Many companies are leaning on cloud technology, but what if you want a more social aspect than making a few more people viewers in Google Drive? While the cloud is an excellent source for data sharing, when it comes to management and presentation, you need a little more.

Start by choosing a system that prioritizes project and portfolio management so you can get the structure down. However, don’t forget about social media when it comes to sharing and encouraging discussion. There’s a time and place for boring meetings, but there’s also a time for injecting some fun into the mix and social media can help. Here are a few easy ways to use social media in project/portfolio management starting now:

1. Practice good thread management

People naturally want to comment on social media so use this to your advantage. If you’ve been struggling when it comes to getting everyone in the group involved in the conversation, social media can level the playing field. Some people are simply more comfortable contributing in a familiar online forum while others can dominate real life conversations in meetings. It’s your job to practice good thread management techniques so everyone’s voice is heard.

2. Keep it private

There are many ways to keep things private on social media whether it’s with a special group or an event invitation. Check out the privacy options for the platform you’re using and make sure only key people are invited to participate. This also offers a sense of exclusivity which can promote more participation.

3. Choose the right platform

Don’t assume that Facebook is your only option because it all depends on what the project is. Maybe Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ or a lesser known SM platform is a better fit for your company or project. Do your research and choose wisely.

4. Don’t let SM replace all communication

Except in some instances such as if participants are peppered around the world, don’t forget about regular “Real life” check-ins, too. Social media is one of many tools for managing projects and helping with work, but face to face (without a screen) is important, too.

If you’re getting ready to take your project to the next level, putting it in a realm that people are familiar with and enjoy can help greatly.

More on TechVert