Tag Archive | "Channel"

What It Takes to Launch the Next Great Blog, Podcast, or Video Channel

This week, we had some resources for any new, ambitious content-based project you want to get off the ground. (Or…

The post What It Takes to Launch the Next Great Blog, Podcast, or Video Channel appeared first on Copyblogger.


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SEO Channel Context: An Analysis of Growth Opportunities

Posted by Branko_Kral

Too often do you see SEO analyses and decisions being made without considering the context of the marketing channel mix. Equally as often do you see large budgets being poured into paid ads in ways that seem to forget there’s a whole lot to gain from catering to popular search demand.

Both instances can lead to leaky conversion funnels and missed opportunity for long term traffic flows. But this article will show you a case of an SEO context analysis we used to determine the importance and role of SEO.

This analysis was one of our deliverables for a marketing agency client who hired us to inform SEO decisions which we then turned into a report template for you to get inspired by and duplicate.

Case description

The included charts show real, live data. You can see the whole SEO channel context analysis in this Data Studio SEO report template.

The traffic analyzed is for of a monetizing blog, whose marketing team also happens to be one of most fun to work for. For the sake of this case study, we’re giving them a spectacular undercover name — “The Broze Fellaz.”

For context, this blog started off with content for the first two years before they launched their flagship product. Now, they sell a catalogue of products highly relevant to their content and, thanks to one of the most entertaining Shark Tank episodes ever aired, they have acquired investments and a highly engaged niche community.

As you’ll see below, organic search is their biggest channel in many ways. Facebook also runs both as organic and paid and the team spends many an hour inside the platform. Email has elaborate automated flows that strive to leverage subscribers that come from the stellar content on the website. We therefore chose the three — organic Search, Facebook, and email — as a combination that would yield a comprehensive analysis with insights we can easily act on.

Ingredients for the SEO analysis

This analysis is a result of a long-term retainer relationship with “The Broze Fellaz” as our ongoing analytics client. A great deal was required in order for data-driven action to happen, but we assure you, it’s all doable.

From the analysis best practice drawer, we used:

  • 2 cups of relevant channels for context and analysis via comparison.
  • 3 cups of different touch points to identify channel roles — bringing in traffic, generating opt-ins, closing sales, etc.
  • 5 heads of open-minded lettuce and readiness to change current status quo, for a team that can execute.
  • 457 oz of focus-on-finding what is going on with organic search, why it is going on, and what we can do about it (otherwise, we’d end up with another scorecard export).
  • Imperial units used in arbitrary numbers that are hard to imagine and thus feel very large.
  • 1 to 2 heads of your analyst brain, baked into the analysis. You’re not making an automated report — even a HubSpot intern can do that. You’re being a human and you’re analyzing. You’re making human analysis. This helps avoid having your job stolen by a robot.
  • Full tray of Data Studio visualizations that appeal to the eye.
  • Sprinkles of benchmarks, for highlighting significance of performance differences.

From the measurement setup and stack toolbox, we used:

  • Google Analytics with tailored channel definitions, enhanced e-commerce and Search Console integration.
  • Event tracking for opt-ins and adjusted bounce rate via MashMetrics GTM setup framework.
  • UTM routine for social and email traffic implemented via Google Sheets & UTM.io.
  • Google Data Studio. This is my favorite visualization tool. Despite its flaws and gaps (as it’s still in beta) I say it is better than its paid counterparts, and it keeps getting better. For data sources, we used the native connectors for Google Analytics and Google Sheets, then Facebook community connectors by Supermetrics.
  • Keyword Hero. Thanks to semantic algorithms and data aggregation, you are indeed able to see 95 percent of your organic search queries (check out Onpage Hero, too, you’ll be amazed).

Inspiration for my approach comes from Lea Pica, Avinash, the Google Data Studio newsletter, and Chris Penn, along with our dear clients and the questions they have us answer for them.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

Analysis of the client’s SEO on the context of their channel mix

1) Insight: Before the visit

What’s going on and why is it happening?

Organic search traffic volume blows the other channels out of the water. This is normal for sites with quality regular content; yet, the difference is stark considering the active effort that goes into Facebook and email campaigns.

The CTR of organic search is up to par with Facebook. That’s a lot to say when comparing an organic channel to a channel with high level of targeting control.

It looks like email flows are the clear winner in terms of CTR to the website, which has a highly engaged community of users who return fairly often and advocate passionately. It also has a product and content that’s incredibly relevant to their users, which few other companies appear to be good at.

There’s a high CTR on search engine results pages often indicates that organic search may support funnel stages beyond just the top.

As well, email flows are sent to a very warm audience — interested users who went through a double opt-in. It is to be expected for this CTR to be high.

What’s been done already?

There’s an active effort and budget allocation being put towards Facebook Ads and email automation. A content plan has been put in place and is being executed diligently.

What we recommend next

  1. Approach SEO in a way as systematic as what you do for Facebook and email flows.
  2. Optimize meta titles and descriptions via testing tools such as Sanity Check. The organic search CTR may become consistently higher than that of Facebook ads.
  3. Assuming you’ve worked on improving CTR for Facebook ads, have the same person work on the meta text and titles. Most likely, there’ll be patterns you can replicate from social to SEO.
  4. Run a technical audit and optimize accordingly. Knowing that you haven’t done that in a long time, and seeing how much traffic you get anyway, there’ll be quick, big wins to enjoy.

Results we expect

You can easily increase the organic CTR by at least 5 percent. You could also clean up the technical state of your site in the eyes of crawlers -— you’ll then see faster indexing by search engines when you publish new content, increased impressions for existing content. As a result, you may enjoy a major spike within a month.

2) Insight: Engagement and opt-ins during the visit

With over 70 percent of traffic coming to this website from organic search, the metrics in this analysis will be heavily skewed towards organic search. So, comparing the rate for organic search to site-wide is sometimes conclusive, other times not conclusive.

Adjusted bounce rate — via GTM events in the measurement framework used, we do not count a visit as a bounce if the visit lasts 45 seconds or longer. We prefer this approach because such an adjusted bounce rate is much more actionable for content sites. Users who find what they were searching for often read the page they land on for several minutes without clicking to another page. However, this is still a memorable visit for the user. Further, staying on the landing page for a while, or keeping the page open in a browser tab, are both good indicators for distinguishing quality, interested traffic, from all traffic.

We included all Facebook traffic here, not just paid. We know from the client’s data that the majority is from paid content, they have a solid UTM routine in place. But due to boosted posts, we’ve experienced big inaccuracies when splitting paid and organic Facebook for the purposes of channel attribution.

What’s going on and why is it happening?

It looks like organic search has a bounce rate worse than the email flows — that’s to be expected and not actionable, considering that the emails are only sent to recent visitors who have gone through a double opt-in. What is meaningful, however, is that organic has a better bounce rate than Facebook. It is safe to say that organic search visitors will be more likely to remember the website than the Facebook visitors.

Opt-in rates for Facebook are right above site average, and those for organic search are right below, while organic is bringing in a majority of email opt-ins despite its lower opt-in rate.

Google’s algorithms and the draw of the content on this website are doing better at winning users’ attention than the detailed targeting applied on Facebook. The organic traffic will have a higher likelihood of remembering the website and coming back. Across all of our clients, we find that organic search can be a great retargeting channel, particularly if you consider that the site will come up higher in search results for its recent visitors.

What’s been done already?

The Facebook ad campaigns of “The Broze Fellaz” have been built and optimized for driving content opt-ins. Site content that ranks in organic search is less intentional than that.

Opt-in placements have been tested on some of the biggest organic traffic magnets.

Thorough, creative and consistent content calendars have been in place as a foundation for all channels.

What we recommend next

  1. It’s great to keep using organic search as a way to introduce new users to the site. Now, you can try to be more intentional about using it for driving opt-ins. It’s already serving both of the stages of the funnel.
  2. Test and optimize opt-in placements on more traffic magnets.
  3. Test and optimize opt-in copy for top 10 traffic magnets.
  4. Once your opt-in rates have improved, focus on growing the channel. Add to the content work with a 3-month sprint of an extensive SEO project
  5. Assign Google Analytics goal values to non-e-commerce actions on your site. The current opt-ins have different roles and levels of importance and there’s also a handful of other actions people can take that lead to marketing results down the road. Analyzing goal values will help you create better flows toward pre-purchase actions.
  6. Facebook campaigns seem to be at a point where you can pour more budget into them and expect proportionate increase in opt-in count.

Results we expect

Growth in your opt-ins from Facebook should be proportionate to increase in budget, with a near-immediate effect. At the same time, it’s fairly realistic to bring the opt-in rate of organic search closer to site average.

3) Insight: Closing the deal

For channel attribution with money involved, you want to make sure that your Google Analytics channel definitions, view filters, and UTM’s are in top shape.

What’s going on and why is it happening?

Transaction rate, as well as per session value, is higher for organic search than it is for Facebook (paid and organic combined).

Organic search contributes to far more last-click revenue than Facebook and email combined. For its relatively low volume of traffic, email flows are outstanding in the volume of revenue they bring in.

Thanks to the integration of Keyword Hero with Google Analytics for this client, we can see that about 30 percent of organic search visits are from branded keywords, which tends to drive the transaction rate up.

So, why is this happening? Most of the product on the site is highly relevant to the information people search for on Google.

Multi-channel reports in Google Analytics also show that people often discover the site in organic search, then come back by typing in the URL or clicking a bookmark. That makes organic a source of conversions where, very often, no other channels are even needed.

We can conclude that Facebook posts and campaigns of this client are built to drive content opt-ins, not e-commerce transactions. Email flows are built specifically to close sales.

What’s been done already?

There is dedicated staff for Facebook campaigns and posts, as well a thorough system dedicated to automated email flows.

A consistent content routine is in place, with experienced staff at the helm. A piece has been published every week for the last few years, with the content calendar filled with ready-to-publish content for the next few months. The community is highly engaged, reading times are high, comment count soaring, and usefulness of content outstanding. This, along with partnerships with influencers, helps “The Broze Fellaz” take up a half of the first page on the SERP for several lucrative topics. They’ve been achieving this even without a comprehensive SEO project. Content seems to be king indeed.

Google Shopping has been tried. The campaign looked promising but didn’t yield incremental sales. There’s much more search demand for informational queries than there is for product.

What we recommend next

  1. Organic traffic is ready to grow. If there is no budget left, resource allocation should be considered. In paid search, you can often simply increase budgets. Here, with stellar content already performing well, a comprehensive SEO project is begging for your attention. Focus can be put into structure and technical aspects, as well as content that better caters to search demand. Think optimizing the site’s information architecture, interlinking content for cornerstone structure, log analysis, and technical cleanup, meta text testing for CTR gains that would also lead to ranking gains, strategic ranking of long tail topics, intentional growing of the backlink profile.
  2. Three- or six-month intensive sprint of comprehensive SEO work would be appropriate.

Results we expect

Increasing last click revenue from organic search and direct by 25 percent would lead to a gain as high as all of the current revenue from automated email flows. Considering how large the growth has been already, this gain is more than achievable in 3–6 months.

Wrapping it up

Organic search presence of “The Broze Fellaz” should continue to be the number-one role for bringing new people to the site and bringing people back to the site. Doing so supports sales that happen with the contribution of other channels, e.g. email flows. The analysis points out is that organic search is also effective at playing the role of the last-click channel for transactions, often times without the help of other channels.

We’ve worked with this client for a few years, and, based on our knowledge of their marketing focus, this analysis points us to a confident conclusion that a dedicated, comprehensive SEO project will lead to high incremental growth.

Your turn

In drawing analytical conclusions and acting on them, there’s always more than one way to shoe a horse. Let us know what conclusions you would’ve drawn instead. Copy the layout of our SEO Channel Context Comparison analysis template and show us what it helped you do for your SEO efforts — create a similar analysis for a paid or owned channel in your mix. Whether it’s comments below, tweeting our way, or sending a smoke signal, we’ll be all ears. And eyes.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

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My First Time On Live TV: Yaro On The SkyNews Business Channel Hosted By Heidi Armstrong

Back in October of 2014 I was invited by Heidi Armstrong to appear on the 2GB Sydney “Entrepreneur” weekly radio show she co-hosts with Steve Price to talk about making money with blogs. You can listen to the episode by streaming it online here. After the show Heidi said if…

The post My First Time On Live TV: Yaro On The SkyNews Business Channel Hosted By Heidi Armstrong appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Starak

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My First Time On Live TV: Yaro On The SkyNews Business Channel Hosted By Heidi Armstrong

Back in October of 2014 I was invited by Heidi Armstrong to appear on the 2GB Sydney “Entrepreneur” weekly radio show she co-hosts with Steve Price to talk about making money with blogs. You can listen to the episode by streaming it online here. After the show Heidi said if…

The post My First Time On Live TV: Yaro On The SkyNews Business Channel Hosted By Heidi Armstrong appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Starak

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Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi to Star in ‘Tangled’ on the Disney Channel

Mandy Moore and Zacahary Levi are bringing the Disney animated film Tangled to the small screen. Tangled–a box office hit from 2010–will become an animated series on the Disney Channel beginning in 2017, with Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi reprising their roles as Rapunzel and Eugene, respectively.

The Disney Channel issued a press release about the TV series on Thursday.

“The series will premiere in 2017 on Disney Channels around the world,” it reads.

Gary Marsh is the president and chief creative officer of Disney Channels Worldwide. He added, “The genius of the original movie was its seamless blending of cinematic adventure, character-driven comedy and touching emotion. And we are fortunate to have several of the creative talent from that movie on board with this new production.”

The TV series will be set between the 2010 film and the 2012 short film, Tangled Ever After, which also starred Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi.

Mandy Moore shared her excitement about the Disney Channel series via Twitter.

Zachary Levi followed suit.

“The animated series unfolds as Rapunzel acquaints herself with her parents, her kingdom and the people of Corona. Her irrepressible spirit and natural curiosity about the world drives her to the realization that there is so much more she needs to learn before she can truly accept her royal destiny. She boldly puts her crown and impending marriage on hold to seek out epic adventures,” the release continued.

Does someone in your home love Rapunzel? Will he or she be happy to learn that Tangled is coming to the Disney Channel?


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Report shows the most used digital marketing channel is probably not what you think

When Gigaom asked 300 marketers to share their most used digital marketing channel, they probably expected to see search or social at the top of the list.

It seems that most of us are more old school.

While search is the Escalade of digital, social a Tesla, email marketing is like a Volvo. Safe, reliable, and gets the job done.

Most effective digital marketing

It looks like social media marketing continues to be dogged by a reputation for not being measurable and full of noise.

Social media marketing traits

For a deeper breakdown, head to MarketingProfs.

Marketing Pilgrim – Internet News and Opinion

Google seems to think my voice is similar to Michael Fisher’s o_O (spoiler: it’s not) Video on display : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uo5_Zul_vsY.

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YouTube Unveils New Look to Increase Channel Views, Subscriptions

The redesign aims to help users find their favorite channels and “subscribe, subscribe, subscribe.” By encouraging more users to subscribe to the YouTube channels they love, YouTube will be able to share 10 times more ad revenue with its partners.
Search Engine Watch – Latest

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Consumers Warm Up to the Idea of Varied Pricing Per Channel

Want to pick up a new Kindle Fire this weekend? You can get one from Staples for the same price as Amazon, but you’ll get a $ 20 Staples gift card as a bonus. Only thing is, you can only get the deal if you go to the store because they’re not available through Staples.com.

That’s a better scenario than when you research an item online then go to buy it at the store only to find the price is higher. The logic is that it costs more to run a store, so they have to charge more. Even if it’s true, is that good business?

A recent study by RetailWire shows that almost half of consumers surveyed said it was fine for retailers to price things differently online and off. Which means almost an equal number said prices should be the same across all channels.

Those people will probably be even more upset when they hear about personalized pricing, as in, changing prices based on a particular customer’s shopping habits.

My grocery store does this and I love it. Every so often, I get a pack of discounts and freebie grocery coupons that have obviously been printed to align with my normal shopping habits. So while the guy next to me is paying full price for his bag of Peet’s Coffee, I’m getting mine for free. Doesn’t sound fair, but it’s really just a variation on a loyalty program. I get rewarded for sticking with a brand and the store gets my business for at least one more week.

Safeway has taken this model a step further by customizing the prices on items based on a customer’s shopping history. If buying patterns suggest a big family, the store will offer a lower price on a super-size box of detergent. No coupon needed, just hand over the loyalty card and get your savings while the person after you pays full price.

A survey from 2005 shows that most consumers think it’s illegal for stores to offer different prices to different customers but how many of those people would turn down a discount that was offered to them? Probably the same number of people who turn down free breadsticks at Olive Garden.

And even though personalized pricing means giving up your purchase privacy, many people are okay with it if it means lowering their grocery bill.

Going back to online and offline, preferred pricing is an excellent way to drive traffic in either direction. Now we have to include mobile in that equation, too. Offering a discount price when a consumer comes in through a mobile device might increase the number of impulse buys. It’s like the ticking clock on QVS – get it now or risk paying more if you decide to buy tomorrow.

According to eMarketer, price is the number one concern when it comes to deciding where to shop, but ease of use, urgency of need and customer service all factor in to the decision. So a $ 10 discount for buying online, might not be enough to keep customers from paying more at a store where they can touch it, try it and return it easily if it doesn’t work out.

What do you think? Should retailers charge the same price on the same item regardless of the customer or channel? Or is it a case of you gotta do what you gotta do in order to get the sale?


Marketing Pilgrim – Internet News and Opinion

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Watching Concrete: YouTube channel saves time, drives revenue for Mid Atlantic Concrete Equipment

Delivering content that informs and entertains potential prospects can be a challenge for marketers. Learn 4 tips your organization can use to get started.
MarketingSherpa Blog

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Using Social Media Monitoring as an Inbound Marketing Channel – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by Kenny Martin

In this week's special end of the year Whiteboard Friday, Rand shows us how to attract customers and accelerate our marketing efforts by using social media monitoring. Learning how to effectively build up relationships without spamming will be the key to your success in the social realm. We hope you had a wonderful 2011 and don't forget to leave your comments below.

Video Transcription

Howdy, SEOmoz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This is our special end of year edition. I hope all of you had a great holiday season and are about to have a great New Year's. It's been fantastic spending 2011 with you, and I cannot wait for 2012. It's going to be incredible.

Today I want to talk a little bit about using social media monitoring specifically as an inbound marketing channel, as a way to attract customers and to accelerate your marketing efforts in all sorts of ways. Let me talk briefly about some background on this so you understand where I'm coming from.

Let's imagine that you're Minted.com. They make great holiday cards – Geraldine, my wife, and I use them to do our holiday cards recently – and they do some branded stuff. So they have searches, keywords that come to them that are branded – things like minted, and minted cards, and minted notebooks, and custom photo cards from Minted. We think about those as being keywords in their brand wheelhouse, that are about their brand.

But then they also have lots of unbranded terms, things that they want to try and capture, definitely from an SEO perspective, but other perspectives as well. So these are things like people who want holiday photo cards, who want Christmas cards, Xmas cards, Hanukah cards, custom notebook. They sell notebooks and all sorts of other things. So all those product types of searches, those things that would get you into their funnel, maybe not their brand specifically, but all those sorts of keywords, we often think about them, at least in the world of SEO, as being exclusively from a search engine type in perspective. But there's a social perspective on this too, and that's what I want to cover in this Whiteboard Friday.

So you can image there are channels, right? So there are things like SEO and PPC. People search for these words, and we want to try to come up in the organic results and in the paid search results. But then there are also channels like Q&A and forums, and blog posted content where they're talking about these items. There are questions on a Q&A board. There are questions on a forum. There's a discussion happening. There's a blog post with content that's saying, "Here's the best custom notebooks and why I like each of these vendors," those types of things. Those are conversations they might want to be part of.

Then there are the very specific social mentions. When you think about this, think about doing a search on Twitter, probably the most common way that social mentions are thought about, doing a search on Twitter for either your brand name, for people who are talking about or mentioning the word "minted," and then people who are talking about or mentioning the words "Xmas cards", "Hanukah cards", "Christmas cards", "custom notebooks", "photo cards", "holiday cards." When people do those mentions on social networks, you can see them as a social media manager, as an inbound marketer, as an SEO. You can see where those people are mentioning them, who those people are, and then you have the potential to reach out to them, and that can present some powerful things.

So these social media monitoring tactics are what I want to cover specifically. I've got four here, but there's tons more that you can certainly imagine. It's a powerful and largely untapped channel, but it can be a little bit dangerous. I'll talk about that as well.

So first off, if you're monitoring these types of unbranded terms, this is a great way to identify and connect with influencers. What I mean by identify is also understand them. What I feel like a lot of people do when they get into marketing in a new channel or around a new topic, a new keyword, or a new product is that they don't even understand what the world looks like, what the Web looks like, from that perspective. People who are in this world who are talking about these on blogs and forums, who are tweeting about this stuff, who are experts in this field, who are journalists, who are consumers, you're not in their world yet, but this is a great way to learn who the influencers are and start to build up those relationships.

So a great way to do this, of course, is monitoring these types of things and looking for those actual retweets in the search box inside Twitter or Google+. You can do this with Google+ public mentions as well. But there are tools to do it too. FollowerWonk is one of my favorites. You could also use FindPeople on Plus, which has a database where you can literally search for bios and say, "Hey, who's writing about gifts or Xmas? Who's a blogger? Who's writing about photo cards? Who's writing about customized paper products? Who's writing about holiday gifts? Who is an expert on, for example, kids' stuff or kids' toys?" Or those things that are ancillarilly related. Ancillarilly is not a word, but I'm going to use it anyway.

So there are things around these worlds that might be connections. So this could be, "Oh, I want to find who the writers are for magazines. I want to find who is the media person at the 'Today Show. I want to find who it is that blogs regularly about gifts and lifestyle types of blogs." All those things are things that you can use, services like FollowerWonk or FindPeople on Plus to discover those influencers and learn more about the segment while you're at it. Now this is a very research intensive process, but it means that you will be so much more effective with the content that you produce, with how you market that content and how you target it, and with who you reach out to. If you've built connections, natural connections, I'm talking about Tweeting back and forth, sort of getting them to follow you or earning their trust, sharing good things with them over time, then you can sort of share more promotional stuff, like, "Hey, so and so @Ranfish, I wrote this blog post. I'm emailing you to see if you would maybe want to share it on Twitter. It seems like the kind of thing you usually like to tweet about." And I'll be like, "Oh sure, of course, I actually really like that piece. That was a great piece. I'm going to tweet it." I did that two times this morning from emails. Please don't all email me with things that you need me to tweet. That would get a little overwhelming. But if you have something hyper-relevant, sure.

You can also do things like reaching out directly, but be really careful here. I'm sure you've all seen this on Twitter. So the idea is that you see someone mention the word Xmas cards, and then you reach out to them via Twitter and send them an at reply even though you're not following them and you may not have a pre-existing relationship. Let me show you two ways to do this and why this can be super dangerous.

So here is my sample Twitter friend Mobit, and Mobit has tweeted, "Crap! Forget to get Xmas cards, need to do that tonight." "Hmm, excellent, I'm thinking of my evil ways in which I will market to him." If this is your attitude, you might be going and following this black line and tweeting back to him, at everyone, including Mobit, anyone who says the words "Xmas cards", "Here is a bland spammy marketing message." I see this all the time where I tweet a specific word, and then I'll get a reply and I'll look at it and go, "Oh, they're just trying to sell me something because I mentioned that word." My favorite example of this that's not super spammy, it used to be the case that if you tweeted "honey badger," the honey badger @honeybadger would reply with, "Don't care." Now that was cute and funny. It could get old because you could see thousands of tweets coming from this clearly bot account that was just tweeting, "Don't care."

But those types of messages, that's not going to work very well. Twitter is going to catch you out on it. Remember there is a little flag thing over here that people will click, and they'll flag your message for spam. They'll flag your account for spam. Twitter reviews those pretty quickly. They don't want their service filled up with this, which means that you need to do something that is creative, insightful, personalized, and authentic.

So for example, at Mobit, "If you need help, give me a shout. Also, here's a 20% off coupon." This is going to be an extremely different tweet than what I send to maybe somebody else who does that. If we're talking about Xmas cards and there are 50 mentions an hour of these and I'm sending tweets to all 50 of them, that's still going to look spammy and manipulative. But if there are two or three of them that are very specific and say, "I specifically forgot about Christmas cards. I need my Xmas cards. I need my Hanukah cards," whatever it is, then great. That is something where a customized, personalized message, and especially if you do something like follow them or check out their other tweets and say something relevant to them, recognize what part of the country they're in, "Oh, you're in Alaska. By the way, we still do free shipping to Alaska." "Wow, cool! You know who I am. You care about me. Your message is authentic. It's personalized. It's insightful. I'll receive it graciously and happily." But you have to be careful about this type of outreach. It can be a great way to attract customers, particularly in certain segments. It can be a great way even to share content or share links if you trying to get sort of mentioned or retweeted by someone, or if you're trying to get additional awareness or attention, not even necessarily someone directly, but it can be dangerous.

Number three, this one's a little less dangerous, but you still have to maintain all of those same attributes in mind for the messaging you do, which is reaching out privately. So I'll do this actually on occasion where I'll see a Twitter user or I'll see someone at Google+ and they'll mention something specific and I'll say, "You know what? I look at their bio and I see that they work at . . ." I saw this recently for someone who worked at a social media marketing agency here in Seattle, and I thought, "You know what? I would love to have someone from that agency look at some of the new products that we're building, and therefore maybe I can get them into the office and do a product review with the team. So I'm going to tweet back at them." Then I saw them out at an event, actually, and I got their business card and I emailed them.

So those types of relationship building are a great way to go, particularly if you're doing more of a one-to-one type of business development. This private thing, using DM, going out and digging up their email address from their website, from their LinkedIn profile, connecting on there, getting an introduction to someone, those are all perfectly legitimate ways, and they're a little less exposing you to the sort of dangers of being flagged as a spammer. But you can do this authentically, and you have to do this one authentically as well.

The fourth and final one that I'm going to talk about, which I like a tremendous amount, is finding content that's being referenced, right? So people are tweeting. Let me give you another example. Here's our friend Mobit again, and he says, "Oh, you know there were some great Xmas cards suggestions on LifeHacker today." "Hmm, LifeHacker, you say." I know what to do. I'm going to go over and I'm going to check out the site where these folks are mentioning, and I'm going to see what is that content? Does it mention me? If not, does it mention my competitors? Is it talking about the right stuff? Does it seem like it's in a field where I might potentially be able to contribute guest content, make a direct suggestion, "Hey, by the way, editors at LifeHacker, did you know Minted also offers this? We loved to be mentioned next time you guys do a roundup of customizable photo holiday cards." Cool, right? Maybe they'll pick it up, maybe they won't. If you do a few of those and you build those connections the right way, you can link in to those editors and journalists, those writers.

You can connect via comment marketing. By comment marketing I mean, again, leaving good comments on a consistent basis, finding the blogs you want to follow, doing it in an authentic way. Otherwise you can get into serious trouble. But getting familiar with those channels is a great way to discover opportunities for your content to reach additional audiences. It's also a fantastic way to see which content performs well, which is a question that a lot of people who do any kind of inbound marketing, SEO, social, blogging, whatever you're doing, you're trying to figure out what content's going to perform well. This is a great way to figure that out through social media monitoring. Of course, then you can go back and earn the links, the mentions, the press that you're seeking.

All right, everyone, I hope you've enjoyed this edition of Whiteboard Friday. I hope you had a fantastic 2011 and that your 2012 is just as good or better. I hope we'll see you again next week. Take care.

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