New Media PR Blog

The Power of Integrated Communications & Marketing

Posted by Cynthia Baker on Thu, Feb 05, 2015 @ 10:45 AM

From years of working with a wide array of experts in public relations, digital and mobile, I have seen firsthand how crucial it is to work holistically.  

The strategic blue print has to be there first.  You must know your brand, positioning, corporate messaging, differentiators and client’s growth goals before you can set a realistic plan for moving forward. This fundamental work routinely undertaken in public relations can be shared with the digital and mobile teams, saving time and effort for everyone.

With the amazing team I work with currently, each of them understands this strategic work and builds it into their decision-making.  This inherent advantage allows us to quickly hone in on a client’s needs and their opportunities.  Many times we find hidden gems of marketing opportunities, whether it’s within a product launch or a thought leadership campaign, by having a collaborative team that can brainstorm from a strategic framework on how to move that brand forward across multiple communication fronts like public relations, digital and mobile.  It is very powerful. 

Understanding how all the communication channels can work together within the strategic planning and how each will bring special marketing advantages is somewhat like composing a branding song.  A high-note might be provided by the video story telling that will drive views and traffic.  And, it will be more “noteworthy” in contrast to the basic, factual tones of public relations that establish credibility.

Thanks for indulging my analogy here.  It’s a fun way to think about our work.  We enjoy consulting with companies to see if we can be of value.   Reach out … we’re here working!

Tags: Accolades PR, Altimeter

How to generate more leads with Pinterest

Posted by Cynthia Baker on Tue, Oct 15, 2013 @ 09:00 PM

 With almost 70 million users across the world, Pinterest is without a doubt one of the biggest up-and-coming sites in the social media world today. In fact, the (relatively) new social darling saw an exponential increase in unique visitors last year, and ranked as the fourth largest traffic driver on an international scale, surpassing Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube. This rapid growth has been catching the attention of marketers in a surprisingly wide variety of industries – And with good reason, as both B2B and B2C businesses are increasingly leveraging the site's unique platform and newfound popularity to generate leads and ultimately benefit their bottom lines.

With the right strategy in place, your business can ride Pinterest's wave of success as well. Here are a few tips to help kickstart your lead generation process now:

Have a vision … and visuals

According to Hubspot, 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and the brain processes this type of information approximately 60,0000 times faster than text. Companies can capitalize on this neurological hardwiring by placing visual, branded information for their audience in the form of pins and boards. 

Create a board

The first step in the Pinterest set-up process is to create a board. Statistically, the Pinterest audience enjoys food, fashion, and DIY project boards. However, your company doesn't have to fit in any of these industries to successfully generate leads on Pinterest. Using the DIY concept as a springboard, create a board that offers a good or service, provides useful information in the form of a visually-appealing infographic, or teaches users how to do something relevant to your industry. 

Also, with the collaborative economy on the rise, it's a good idea to reposition your brand as a “company as a service” anyway. Consider Wealthfront, a startup financial advisor team, which aims to give users “the same kind of high-quality financial advice offered by the best financial institutions and private wealth managers, without the high account minimums or costs.” Essentially, they've repositioned themselves as a “company as a service,” and their Pinterest page is following suite by offering users how-to boards such as “How to invest with ETFs.” Given the fact that they've grown 150 percent in 2013 alone, this strategy is working. 

Create pins

Next, after you've successfully created a board, you'll need to fill it with visually-appealing pins. But how can you objectively discern what's visually appealing? … Here are a few data-backed pointers to get you started:

• Tall images with a 2:3 aspect ratio get repinned more (think infographics)

• Warm colors (red and orange) get twice as many repins as cold (blue and gray) colors

• Images with faces get 23 percent fewer repins

• Medium-light photos are repinned 20x more than dark photos 

If your company does not have visually-appealing content and focuses more on text-heavy lead generation materials like ebooks and whitepapers, don't worry – you can stll post these as pins and offer them as a free service to Pinterest users. Tools such as Quozio, shareasimage, and url2pin.it can help you turn these text-heavy offers into pin-worthy images. Always link back to your website to drive more traffic and boost brand awareness.

Choose your words wisely

Although Pinterest is mainly a visual game, captions and descriptions do help increase engagement. Studies show that a pin's description is most appealing from 100 to 200 characters – About the length of a tweet. And like Twitter, less equals more, so make sure to keep your words short and sweet.

Add hashtags

Adding hashtags to your pins makes them more search-friendly and increases visibility. You can also synch your social media efforts by using the same hashtag on Google+ and Twitter. However, in line with the short and sweet philosophy, don't get hashtag happy – Studies show that on Twitter, tweets with three or more hashtags receive 21 percent less engagement than those with just one or two. Again, the same principle applies to Pinterest.

Track your success

To gain valuable insight on what does and doesn't work for your company, measure lead generation performance and web performance with an analytics tool. You can use your existing marketing analytics software, especially the Pinterest referral traffic and UTM parameters metrics. Your Pinterest dashboard is another great resource. Also, if you want to gain insight on a particular page or link, simply shorten the link using bit.ly or another link compressor, then paste that shortened link into your browser followed by a + sign. This simple tool will give you instant access to a page's success rate. 

The bottom line

Although many people consider Pinterest to be a niche social media site for food bloggers, retailers, designers, and fashionistas, there's no reason other industries and companies can't develop a strong visual presence on the site. In fact, attaching a visual story to your brand can help generate leads, build brand awareness, curate content, and drive traffic to your site … Also, once you've started pinning, you may even find it's fun!

… Does your company use Pinterest? If so, what are your best practices on the site? Tweet your thoughts to @AccoladesPR or share your comments below.  

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Tags: Social Media, content marketing, Pinterest, visual content, leads, generate leads, company as a service

Productivity tools and techniques for the modern day marketer

Posted by Cynthia Baker on Tue, Oct 08, 2013 @ 08:53 PM

 Henry David Thoreau once said that “success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” While that statement still rings true, in today's performance-driven marketing world “busy” is also the new normal, and one of the most common responses to “how are you?” Every day, advertisers and marketers rush to compete with one another in a sea of content, and vie for the attention of information-overloaded, equally-busy consumers. This culture of constant busy-ness means that marketers need take full advantage of available resources and tools that can sharpen their time-management skills and better enable them to keep on competing as a content-production warrior destined for success, rather than a struggling, sleep-deprived zombie with a too-long to-do list.

That said, here are just a few common productivity pitfalls, and the resources (besides caffeine) needed to combat them:

Web distractions – Despite all of its benefits, the Internet can seriously disrupt focus and concentration. Below are a few ways to get around the constant temptation of wasting time on Google.

StayFocusd – StayFocusd is a highly-rated website blocker for Chrome. This browser add-on blocks access to distracting websites when it's time to focus, not have fun. Users choose which websites are distracting, and have an allotted amount of time to spend on these every day. Once that time is up, it's time to get to work. Other popular blockers include WasteNoTime for Safari, and LeechBlock for Firefox.

White noise lite – Cars honking, people chatting, and music playing can all create a highly distracting environment. White noise lite, an iPhone app that provides nondescript background noise, promotes productivity by shutting out distracting sounds. And it's free!

AdBlock – There's a reason 15 million people people use AdBlock, a Chrome extension that blocks ads on websites. Ads can be incredibly distracting and time-wasting when searching for content online. Marketers can maximize their attention spans with AdBlock or a de-cluttering service like feedly.

Meetings and brainstorming sessions gone wrong – Meetings are never intentionally designed to hamper creativity or productivity, but we've all experienced those marathon sessions that leave everyone wondering what happened to the last three hours. New technology can help employees engage in a meeting, organize data, and summarize action plans – Ultimately making that time more useful and productive.

Meeting Mapper – Objectively gauge the productivity of a meeting with Meeting Mapper, an app that consolidates data discussed in a meeting and presents it in a visual, well-organized report. Additionally, participants' opinions on agenda items can be tracked in the meeting. When it's over, simply save the meeting, export it as an HTML of PDF file, and email it to employees to summarize information or create an action plan and move projects to completion. This app is invaluable for professionals who attend frequent meetings and need a way to catalogue the information.

Dropbox – Dropbox revolutionized storing options for organizations, making it easier than ever to share documents, store massive amounts of company data, and work from anywhere. Dropbox for teams has a few newly added features, namely enhanced sharing options and increased visibility on file revision history – Meaning it's easy to track changes made to an important document or project.

Evernote Business – Evernote's tagline is “Remember everything.” But in our busy workplace culture, that's easier said than done. With features such as organizing and synchronizing personal and work-related documents (but still keeping them separate from one another), and making them highly searchable, retrievable and shareable, Evernote Business acts like a much-needed second memory and storage space. 

Content sourcing – Between navigating legal rights to photos, sifting through web pages full of new data and studies, and avoiding time-wasting ads, content searching can take a lot of time and energy. Fortunately these technologies can help speed up the process:

Zemanta – Zemanta is a plugin for Wordpress that allows users to find related posts and interests based on their current blog posts. Best of all, the tool also allows users to add images – with attribution credentials included – based on suggestions it offers in the sidebar, saving users ample time that would have been spent on researching the legalities of each photo.

Scoop.it – Scoop.it, the largest curation publishing platform for professionals, gathers content from niche magazines around the web. This platform enables marketers, consultants, and entrepreneurs to increase their online visibility and share valuable ideas. Here's how it works: Users select a topic to follow and then begin streamlining content surrounding the topic to their account. Scoop.it also allows users to view collections on the same topic created by other people.

… How do you maximize your productivity? Do you have any other tools or techniques we didn't include? Let us know at @AccoladesPR!  



Tags: Marketing, content production, Productivity, tools, success, busy

How to drive more leads using social media

Posted by Cynthia Baker on Wed, Oct 02, 2013 @ 11:25 AM

Social media is without a doubt one of the most effective tools marketers have at their disposal. In fact, the right social media strategy will produce almost double the inbound leads that trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail, or PPC will, according to Hubspot's inbound marketing annual report. But producing such successful results takes practice and expertise, and it's easy to get stuck in a rut of lackluster strategies. That said, here are a just a few tips on how marketers can use social media to generate inbound leads for their business.


Unsurprisingly, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest rank as the primary places to generate leads via social media, according to research by Wishpond. Of these social media giants, Facebook is the number one site to garner leads for B2C marketers, as 77 percent report that they've successfully acquired a customer through the popular social media site. The number of marketers who say Facebook is “critical” or “important” has also grown 83 percent in two years. 

Facebook advertising

Advertising via Facebook is a great way to generate leads from an audience. Promoted posts highlight content in the audience's newsfeed, allowing companies to engage in direct, one-on-one communication with customers. Marketers should use this high-visibility opportunity to not only promote their company, but also to share high-quality, useful content such as ebooks, whitepapers, instructional videos, or blog posts. By providing content with value, marketers have a better chance of not only gaining leads, but also converting those leads to customers. As part of the offer, marketers should include a requisite sign-up form to gain more demographic information about users, and to better enable future personalization. 

Contests and promotions

Also, marketers should take full advantage of Facebook's newly-loosened rules on contests and promotions. These relaxed rules make it easier than ever to launch a new promotion – Now marketers simply need to post a status update. Also, fans are now able to 'like' a company's status update without 'liking' the entire page or company, giving marketers greater visibility and more access to potential leads.


In comparison to Facebook, 34 percent of marketers have generated leads – and 20 percent have closed deals – using Twitter. Although that number may pale in comparison to Facebook, keep in mind that Twitter is the fastest-growing social media site in the world. In fact, the number of active users grew approximately 40 percent in 2012. 

Twitter chats

A Twitter chat is a public conversation built around a unique hashtag on Twitter. These discussions can center on specific topics or special events. Marketers can engage their followers, grow their community, and generate leads by hosting a Twitter chat. Joining in on already-existing Twitter chats within an industry can also help gain visibility with the right people. Here are a few examples of particularly successful – and useful – Twitter chats.

Lead generation cards

In addition to Twitter chats, marketers should also take full advantage of Twitter's lead generation cards. This newly-available feature will allow companies to generate leads directly from a promoted tweet, enabling a simpler and easier way for customers and advertisers to connect.

So far, these cards have proved highly useful in generating leads for companies. Experts are attributing these early signs of success to the fact that consumers don't have to open a new window or leave Twitter to engage with brands. In fact, users don't even have to fill out a form – When a user hits “submit” on a brand's call-to-action, their full name and email address are automatically imported.

Use Hubspot's highly useful, step-by-step guide to get started with Twitter's lead generation cards. 


According to the research, LinkedIn is more effective than either Facebook or Twitter when it comes to B2B transactions. In fact, 77 percent of B2B marketers using LinkedIn say they've acquired a customer or client through the site, matching Facebook's effectiveness among B2C professionals.

LinkedIn groups

LinkedIn groups bring together professionals interested in a specific topic or industry. Marketers can find leads by creating their own LinkedIn group or joining an existing one. Next, marketers should begin or participate in a conversation with the group's members. Answering questions from members looking for help, posting relevant content to generate more conversation, and providing useful resources for members will all build credibility, relationships, and – eventually – leads. 

The bottom line

Interestingly, the number of B2B marketers actually utilizing LinkedIn doesn't correlate to its level of effectiveness – In fact, only 47 percent of B2B marketers report using LinkedIn, while 90 percent report using Facebook.

This discrepancy underscores the fact that social media research should not be approached from a one-size-fits-all perspective. Rather, different sites are effective for different business niches. When developing a comprehensive social media strategy, a company's consumer demographic and their preferences should be taken into account above all else. Also, once a strategy is underway, marketers should always track the results and learn from their mistakes.

“Marketing is a science. You have to know which social media sites are overperforming and which ones are underperforming. Facebook might not have been your first choice, but it might surprise you. With more than 1 billion users, Facebook advertising is excellent at making personal connections with prospects. On the other hand, Pinterest, Twitter or YouTube might be better for connecting with your target prospects,” says Michael Lieberman, co-founder and president of Square 2 Marketing. “If you don’t track it, you will never know. Once you find out which sites work the best, double down on those and leave the underperforming sites behind.”

… How does your company get leads via social media? Which site(s) do you find to be the most effective? Let us know at @AccoladesPR! 

Also, to find even more ways to make social media work for your company, check out these highly useful cheat sheets for social marketing success from Marketo.

Using Social Media For Lead Generation Infographic



Tags: Social Media, twitter, facebook, content marketing, strategy, B2B, B2C, inbound marketing, linkedin, leads

How marketers can better engage Generation Y

Posted by Cynthia Baker on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 @ 02:39 PM

They're the first people to grow up with the Internet, and comprise the biggest generation – and most educated – in history. They're millennials, born from the early 1980's to 2000, and are without a doubt one of the most influential generations in the marketing world today. This unique demographic also holds tremendous purchasing power around the world, and is expected to spend a record $10 trillion in their lifetimes.

However, they're also notoriously enigmatic and difficult for marketers to engage, and possess vastly different digital behaviors from their predecessors. Marketers navigating this relatively uncharted territory therefore inevitably raise the question, “How can we break through and create content that's appealing to these digital natives?” 

This highly relevant question has been perplexing marketers since millennials first became independent consumers. In fact, Jeff Fromm, EVP at the ad agency Barkley, addressed it at a millennial panel at a marketing conference several years ago. He wrote of the challenge: 

“The audience was ANA members gathered to discuss 'Innovations in Marketing.' The panel was impressive, brand managers from Mercedes, Unilever and Lincoln Financial. But their answers to questions about their media use sent a collective chill through the room. They don’t watch TV other than NCAA Finals. They don’t see online advertising thanks to blocking software. They don’t want ads on their mobile devices, Facebook pages or IM. They don’t even like ads. This should not be news to anyone. However, it was shocking coming from Millennial Marketers. They seemed as stumped as the moderator as to how marketers could reach them most effectively.” 

Go beyond traditional advertising

Fromm's post highlights a key insight – That is, marketers must meet millennials on their own turf, or in other words, the digital platform they use the most. While millennials may still consume media via television, radio, and print, they're typically not receptive to traditional marketing methods on these platforms. Indeed, oftentimes they find them downright annoying, particularly more obtrusive methods such as direct mail, emails lacking relevant context, and cold calls. 

Moreover, according to recent research from brand advocacy expert SocialChorus, only six percent of millennials consider online advertising to be credible, and a full 67 percent of them will not click on sponsored stories on Facebook. Instead, this generation places their trust in word of mouth, especially from family and friends – Ninety-five percent say that friends are their most credible source of product information.

Think mobile personalization

So if traditional advertising methods have been rendered obsolete, just where can marketers engage generation Y? In a word, mobile. Given that 72 percent of millennials own a smartphone, these personal devices are a great place to start connecting.

“In general, mobile is important because it gives millennials a voice in a two-way conversation with brands, whether it is to tweet a complaint, vote for their favorite music show contestant or participate in an SMS campaign,” states Rimma Kats, associate editor of Mobile Marketing.

However, considering that only six percent of millennials think online advertising is credible, marketers must also be sure to craft messages with care – Because this generation is accustomed to instant information, they generally don't want to sift through large amounts of data, and instead expect targeted, relevant information. Marketers need to adapt to these expectations by creating personalized mobile experiences.

Create lovable content

Arguably even more important than the platform used to advertise is the type of content created. Hubspot's slogan, “create lovable content,” says it best – Millennials want a company's content to not only be funny, interesting, and unique, but also purpose-driven. In other words, in order to feel invested in a company, they need to believe in its message and mission. 

“[They're] far more motivated by their mission than by the money they make. They want to transform a broken industry, save the planet, feed the starving, etc.,” says Hubspot's CEO and co-founder Brian Halligan. “...If your mission this year is to improve earnings by 5% by either gouging your customers or gouging the planet, that’s just not going to get it done with the millennials. Think again.”

… How does your company engage and connect with millennials? How has your marketing strategy been informed by this generation? Let us know at @AccoladesPR!

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Tags: Marketing, Social Media, advertising, generation Y, millennials, marketers, mobile personalization, Internet, digital behavior

Facebook loosens rules on contests and promotions

Posted by Cynthia Baker on Wed, Sep 18, 2013 @ 10:08 PM

In the past, Facebook mandated that promotions and contests needed to be run through a third party application, meaning businesses could not legally ask anyone to like or comment on a post. But all of that changed on August 27, when the social media company stated on their Pages Terms that they wanted to “make it easier for businesses of all sizes to create and administer promotions on Facebook.” Essentially, that means companies will now be able to run contests and promotions on their page timelines, and 'likes' will be used as a voting mechanism or as entries to win prizes.

What the new rules can do for your business

These more relaxed standards carry a host of benefits. Here are just a few:

• Ease of use

First and foremost, since companies no longer need to use app providers, the new rules provide a new ease of use. For instance, to launch a new promotion, marketers simply need to post a status update. Also, fans are now able to 'like' a company's status update without 'liking' the entire page or company, which may increase public participation in promotions and contests.

• Money

Cost – or lack thereof – is yet another major benefit to the new rules. Many app providers charged up to $5.99 per day to use a suite of apps, a payment that many smaller companies with limited budgets struggled to justify. Now, that constraint has been lifted, and the only investment needed to run promotions and contests is a little time and planning.

• Engagement

Since it's easier than ever to participate in promotions and contests, companies may see an increase in overall engagement and activity. As an added bonus, because of a recent algorithm change, these high-trafficked posts may also receive greater visibility. 

Best practices

To take full advantage of these new benefits, companies should keep a few guidelines, or best practices, in mind. For instance:

• Don't oversell

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should – In other words, too many promotions may turn fans away and cause them to view your content as spam. 

• Include photos

According to a recent study from Hubspot, photos on Facebook pages receive 53 percent more 'likes' than an average, text-heavy post. 

“This percentage difference is substantial, and it emphasizes a huge opportunity for businesses to use photos and images as a means to increase Likes and comments, and thus EdgeRank,” explains Hubspot's Rebecca Corliss. “EdgeRank is Facebook's visibility algorithm based on users' interaction with your Facebook Page content. Boosts in Likes helps increase EdgeRank, which can then cause a page's content to appear in News Feeds more often, increasing visibility.” 

• Use hashtags

Hashtags just may help users find your post and therefore, gain greater visibility. 

What's happening to third party apps?

While Facebook has made it easier and simpler to launch promotions and contests, that doesn't mean companies should assume third party apps are becoming extinct. In fact, third party apps still have significant services to offer.

For instance, if a company's Facebook promotions are successful, then employees would need to sift through hundreds or even thousands of profiles to gather data about the participating audience. This labor would require an overwhelming investment of time, and indirectly, money. Third parties can remedy this situation by collecting and compiling that data, providing insights companies can use for future promotions and contests. 

The bottom line

In many ways, Facebook's newly relaxed rules on promotions and contests offer unprecedented convenience and simplicity. Marketers should remember to keep a few basic guidelines top of mind to optimize their results. Also, companies shouldn't completely rule out third party apps as a way to further simplify results, consolidate data, and gain insights from their promotional campaigns.

… What do you think of Facebook's newly relaxed guidelines on contests and promotions? How will it impact your marketing campaigns? Let us know at @AccoladesPR!  

Tags: Marketing, facebook, business, contests, promotions, third party apps, best practices

Dynamic content: Making marketing smarter

Posted by Cynthia Baker on Tue, Sep 10, 2013 @ 10:49 AM

Today's marketers understand that quality content marketing is an essential key to a company's success. However, with advertising proliferating all over the web, and information overloading consumers' inboxes, how can marketers ensure that their content continues to inspire, engage, educate, entertain, and generally stand out of the crowd? 

Dynamic content, also known as smart content, is increasingly part of the solution to this common conundrum. Defined as marketing content that adapts to the person consuming it, dynamic marketing provides a highly relevant experience for specific individuals rather than broad audiences. Types of content that are especially effective when tailored to the individual include forms, calls-to-action, and product or service recommendations.

So why are more and more marketers turning to this new method? In a nutshell, because it provides results that could dramatically impact ROI. 

“…relevant emails drive 18X more revenue than broadcast emails (Jupiter Research). Eighteen flippin’ times more revenue! And leads who are nurtured with targeted content produce a 20 percent increase in sales opportunities (Annuitas Group),” wrote Hubspot's Meaghan Keaney Anderson.

Furthermore, the alternative – static marketing – is beginning to turn away consumers who are increasingly accustomed to personalization. Anderson cited a 2013 study from Harris Interactive and Janrain, which stated that “nearly three-fourths (74 percent) of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content they see has nothing to do with their interests.” 

Entertainment websites such as Pandora, Spotify, and Netflix provide excellent real-world example of dynamic marketing. Each of these sites learns a user's interests over time based on feedback provided or online behavior that's exhibited, and then adapts and personalizes the site's content to those preferences by providing recommendations. Consequently, users are more likely to listen to music or watch movies they enjoy, which in turn leads to more satisfied customers who frequent the site more often.

Dynamic content marketing: A brief overview

Dynamic content marketing begins in the CRM or marketing database, where a consumer's engagement with the company is first recorded. This database contains information on the content the consumer has viewed, the goods or services purchased, as well as demographic and contact details.

Marketers then need to choose how to segment dynamic content to meet the individual needs of these consumers. According to this list from Marketo, a few segmentation options include:

Demographics: Characteristics about the individual, including name, company name, job title, phone, and email address.

Firmographics: Characteristics about an organization, including location, annual revenues, number of employees, and industry. 

Past behavior: Responses to emails or actions taken on your website can help inform a person’s interests and/or place in the buying cycle.

Products or services already purchased: Using information about past purchases can help you up-sell or cross-sell relevant products or services. 

Psychographics and preferences: This takes into consideration a prospect’s interests, attitudes, and opinions. 

Lastly, marketers need to set smart rules, i.e. “if someone in the database is between 20-30 years old, show them this piece of content.” The smart content generator will then provide the tailored content to this particular demographic. Of course, ensuring that the company has all of its marketing tools integrated into one platform makes for more consistent dynamic marketing – And more consistent results.

… Does your company utilize dynamic content? How do you think this new technology will contribute to the growth of your business? Let us know at @AccoladesPR! 



dynamic content

Tags: CRM, ROI, content marketing, Personalization, customers, Dynamic content, smart content, marketing database

Twitter rolls out new lead generation cards

Posted by Cynthia Baker on Thu, Sep 05, 2013 @ 10:51 AM

In the marketing world, few activities are as important to a company's growth as lead generation. Ultimately, this acquisition process drives purchases and helps build a brand's database of quality customers. That's why Twitter's recent rollout of new lead generation cards is big news for marketers and advertisers – Essentially, this newly-available feature will allow companies to generate leads directly from a promoted tweet, enabling a simpler and easier way for customers and advertisers to connect. 

So far, participating companies report that the results from lead generation card usage have been positive. As Mashable noted from a case study published on Twitter's blog, “...outdoor gear and apparel company Rock/Creek saw a 4.6 percent engagement rate and generated more than 1,700 new email contacts in one week by using a Card within a Promoted Tweet. The company had offered a drawing to win a free pair of Chaco sandals to consumers who shared their email addresses.”

Although a 4.6 percent engagement rate may not sound overly impressive, when framed in the context of most online marketing campaigns, it is. For instance, promoted tweets on desktop devices typically only have a 1 to 3 percent clickthrough rate. Experts are attributing these early signs of success to the fact that consumers don't have to open a new window or leave Twitter to engage with brands. In fact, users don't even have to fill out a form – When the user hits submit on a brand's call-to-action, their full name and email address are automatically imported. For a more detailed example of how the lead generation feature will appear on Twitter, check out this promoted tweet:

LeadGenCard 520 1

In turn, brands are reaping the benefits of this simple way to engage. An analytics tool also allows companies to track their success rate and ROI, so they stay continually apprised of their progress. 

“I was thrilled with the cost per new email we saw,” Mark McKnight from Rock Creek told Twitter. “Because we’re able to precisely target interests and @usernames, we also know that these people are highly likely to be interested in our products.”

So just how do brands register for lead generation cards? Here's a list, generated from HubSpot, on how to get started on finding more leads with this useful new feature:

(For a more in-depth tutorial, you can also view HubSpot's useful how-to guide here

  1. If you haven't already done so, register your business with a Twitter ad account.

  2. Choose from a list of CRM's that Twitter integrates with so you can keep track of – and nurture – the leads you generate.

  3. Log in to Twitter. Access the lead generation cards feature by clicking on the “Twitter ads” tab, located in the right corner of the homepage screen under the wheel icon.

  4. Locate the advertising tab on the top left corner and then select the “cards” tab from the drop down menu.

  5. Hit “create a new card,” and then fill out the subsequent information, including the card image, your offer, and a call-to-action.

  6. Lastly, include URLs to your website and relevant landing pages so those that engage with you online can find more information.

And now you're ready to start a campaign using Twitter's lead generation cards!

… Has your company signed up for Twitter's new lead generation cards yet? How do you think this new feature will contribute to the growth of your business? Let us know at @AccoladesPR!

Tags: Marketing, twitter, advertising, brands, lead generation cards, HubSpot

What Google's new “in-depth articles” algorithm means for marketers

Posted by Cynthia Baker on Wed, Aug 28, 2013 @ 08:30 AM

As the craze over content still blazes on in the marketing world, the rush to create new whitepapers, articles, videos, and blogs that will impact company ROI is seemingly incessant. And as any blogger can testify, sometimes a simple grab-and-go piece of knowledge just isn't enough to fill the needs of content-hungry readers. That's why Google's new in-depth articles algorithm change is tweaking the content production game – The new feature will provide a new block of search results consisting of relevant, thoughtful articles, thereby making search more contextual … and of course, in-depth.

Undoubtedly, Google's new change will make mining for data around broad topics easier. But how exactly do marketers make the in-depth articles search results list?

So far, Google is favoring big brands, equating quality with reputation and highlighting well-known publications like the New York Times or the Guardian. But that doesn't mean smaller brands don't have a chance.

“I'm happy to see people continue to invest in thoughtful in-depth content that will remain relevant for months or even years after publication. This is exactly what you'll find in the new feature. In addition to well-known publishers, you'll also find some great articles from lesser-known publications and blogs,” Pandu Nayak, a member of Google's technical staff, commented in a recent statement. 

Here are a few suggested ways to make the cut:

Avoid the sales pitch and shoot for longevity

One of Google's main objectives is to highlight thoughtful and well-written pieces of writing that help people learn about a given subject, and that stay relevant for years to come. Essentially, that means some of your content – about 10 percent – should be non-commercial in nature, meaning it's more about explaining a topic than selling a product. Also, brevity is not the aim. In fact, ideally the content should be about 2000-5000 words in length, according to the content experts at HubSpot

Pay attention to markup

Google recommends that content writers include all markup elements to help the search engine understand your content. According to Search Engine Roundtable, designers of the new algorithm specifically recommend that companies include the following elements on their websites:

• Use schema.org “article” markup

• Provide authorship markup

• Use rel=next and rel=prev for paginated articles (also watch out for common rel=canonical mistakes),

• Provide information about your organization’s logo

For the non-tech savvy marketers out there, these elements basically boil down to a headline, SEO title tag, crawlable and indexable image, meta description, date published, and the article body. Check out this blog post from copyblogger for a more in-depth look at these requirements. 

Unsurprisingly, they also recommend that companies have a Google+ account.

Include an indexable image

Images don't just help provide visual appeal for an otherwise lackluster article or blog post – As aforementioned, indexed images also make it easier for search engines to find the content. Companies should provide a text description of each image that accompanies an in-depth article. These indexed images will then appear alongside the article in search results.

Be original

Google's objective is to index articles that are original, add depth to a topic, and have lasting value. And since the best way to be remembered is to not be like everyone else, company content strategists may have to do some out-of-the-box thinking. Of course, writing 2000-5000 word articles or blog posts and staying creative may present a new challenge for many short-form content creators. For a few tips on how to create more original pieces, check out these great writing tips from copyblogger.

… What do you think of Google's new algorithm change? How will it impact your content marketing strategy? Let us know at @AccoladesPR!

Also, check out how Google's new “in-depth articles” feature appears in search results:

Google&squot;s "in-depth articles"

Tags: SEO, content production, brands, Google, in-depth articles, algorithm, markup

Dayparting: An important part of mobile strategy

Posted by Cynthia Baker on Wed, Aug 21, 2013 @ 09:51 AM

Broadcast programmers have long been aware of the benefits of dayparting, the practice of dividing the day into segments of unique programming in order to target content toward a specific audience. Dayparting primarily ensures that marketers and advertisers reach the right people at the right time. Although television advertising may be increasingly ineffective in the modern marketing world, this principle still applies to many other mediums. Given the exponential growth of worldwide smartphone use, it's particularly applicable to mobile strategies. 

Essentially, dayparting requires both a deep understanding of a company's demographic, as well as a broad understanding of consumer behavior. Armed with this knowledge, marketers are able to deliver less obtrusive, more relevant advertising for their goods and services. And after all, developing a more personalized experience is key to a company's mobile success. 

For example, restaurants would send promotional messages around meal time, coffee shops would market in the morning and mid-afternoon when consumers are looking for a caffeine kick, and clothes retailers targeting young working adults would advertise after 5 p.m. Companies should also consider when cell phone use is highest and schedule targeted messages during those times. According to one UK study, over half of consumers check their phones first thing in the morning. Mobile usage also peaks during the evening between 6 – 10 p.m. Another key consideration is a target audience's typical internet connection – Wi-Fi versus 3G or 4G.

Of course, creating a truly personalized mobile experience through dayparting depends on a company's accurate use of consumer metrics, not just generalizations based on mobile usage data. And because no two companies or brands are the same, mobile strategies can't be simply copied and pasted – Consequently, many companies fail to adequately leverage dayparting as part of their unique marketing strategy. 

“Mobile marketers are beginning to understand how to take advantage of dayparting, but they’re not fully there yet,” said Doug Stovall, chief operating officer of the leading mobile marketing company Hipcricket. “Some of that stems from the fact that a deeper analysis of the data is needed to present the correct message at the correct time … If you don’t know who is interacting or what message is resonating at what time, you can’t fine-tune your marketing around dayparts.”

Costs (or lack thereof) to consider

One concern marketers commonly express regarding mobile strategy is financial investment. However, dayparting does not have to cost more than any other marketing campaign, particularly if companies understand their audience and meaningfully engage individual consumers. 

"You get a greater return on your investment, so your cost per customer is lower," Rob Landry, founder of Plein Air Interactive, noted in Mashable

Tools of the trade

Certain social media tools can also assist in fine-tuning a dayparting strategy. For instance, Tweriod, Buffer, SocialFlow and HootSuite all have capabilities to post social media messages when a company's audience is most engaged online. Also, platforms such as Appboy and CaptureCode can help marketers gain valuable insight into their target audience's online behavior.

When not to schedule messages

Companies are encouraged to limit sending targeted messages between the hours of 7 – 9 a.m. and 5 – 7 p.m., as these are hours many consumers in high-traffic cities spend commuting – And no one wants to encourage texting and driving! 

… Does your company use dayparting as part of its mobile strategy? What are the challenges and benefits you've experienced? Let us know at @AccoladesPR!

Also be sure to check out this graph on device preferences throughout the day from ComScore:  

UK Mobile Device Preferences Statistics

Tags: marketing strategy, target audience, Dayparting, mobile strategy, smartphones, consumer behavior