Author Archives: answer42

Social Media in Pharma

Social media is such an integral part of our everyday lives. It allows us to exchange ideas and opinions and build communities across the globe. Within healthcare, opportunities to engage communities are only rising, and yet it is still not widely used in the pharma communications industry. There is confusion about when and how best to use it – this can be attributed to the restrictions of adhering to compliance codes and the risk of reputational damage.

Red Sky Vision in association with the HCA and PharmaPhorum has produced a film about social media in pharma. The film features key players in healthcare and healthcare communication who provide unique insights, discuss challenges and offer solutions to the industry as a whole.

Read full article: Social Media in Pharma »

9 steps to an effective Online Corporate Newsroom

Have you considered how technology today provides mechanisms for business to communicate directly with constituents? We’ve witnessed a shift from mass communication and broad advertising to targeted communication with specific key audiences.

Companies aren’t really tied to traditional media any longer. They have nearly as many tools as broadcasters and publishers do, and they’re affordable.

A social media equipped newsroom should be considered ground zero for publishing news and information about your organization on the Web. Of all the information shared about you online, your own press room should lead the way in delivering timely, factual updates with supporting resources. Here are the 9 things an effective online newsroom should do for your business:

1. Clearly identify media spokespeople and provide mechanisms through which they can be contacted right away. Help the journalist reach a real person quickly.

2. Provide an online searchable archive of all news and information about your company. If you use Google’s custom site search, you’ll do yourself a favor by making your content that more familiar to Google search.

3. Maximize your online search placement. A newsroom as a subdomain or standalone website will help you maximize the number of search results for your primary keywords.

4. Allow site visitors to subscribe to receive your updates in a way most preferred by them — email, RSS Reader, text message, etc.

5. Introduce the public to your key executives through engaging biographies, photos and links to their online work, like a blog, video channel or social networking profile.

6. Display beautiful press kits in HTML and PDF versions — your own digital brochures, so to speak.

7. Tell your own story using multimedia — documents, images, logos, video and audio files. You could use your resources to host an Internet-based news broadcast on your company or the industry in which you work.

8. Make your news content snackable and sharable — bite-sized content pieces that visitors can pass along to their friends. When they share, you benefit from distributed content, increased awareness and a greater presence online and in the real world.

9. Establish your company as the best source of news and information both for you and the industry. Become the benchmark example for excellence in timely, accurate and helpful news and information.

Read full article: 9 steps to an effective Online Corporate Newsroom »

8 ways SEO should influence your Marketing Copywriting

In the world of inbound marketing, your content is your business and your calling card. Your effectiveness as an inbound marketer relies on the quality of your content, and your content is what helps you get found online, build trust with your readers, educate and inform them, build a pathway to conversions, and sustain ongoing and profitable relationships with loyal customers for years to come.

But for content to truly be successful, marketers must think like SEO professionals to ensure that content gets found online by the proper audience. Old school SEOs believed they could magically sprinkle keywords throughout content with the hope that it would result in solid rankings for as many keywords and keyword variations as possible. For instance, they might use “clickthrough rate” on one page, and “click-through-rate” on another page. But by doing this, you’re not only creating inconsistency in your content and confusing your audience, but you’re also inconsistently alerting search engines of your expertise (as well as creating duplicate content — eek!).

To help ensure you’re ranking for the right words — not just any and all words — it’s important to ensure that your content is consistent. And something like an official Internet Written Style Guide can be a big help in addressing consistency issues. This may seem like a lot of work, but it’s important to develop an in-house guide that goes beyond the general rules of branding and content strategy, and hones in on the nuances and terms particular to your specific industry. To save you the time from starting from scratch, here’s a in-house style guide with tips for customizing it for your own use. Download it for free here.

So as you’re customizing your own in-house written style guide, here are some critical SEO considerations to include so your marketing copywriting is both compelling and search engine-friendly!

8 Critical SEO Considerations for Marketing Copywriting

1) Well-Defined Target Audience and Tone
In SEO — and all of inbound marketing for that matter — content is king. However, your attempt to optimize that content for search engines will be worth nothing if your content serves no purpose. Don’t just create content for the sake of creating content. Start by defining your target audience and the appropriate tone for your different types of content. For example, website pages may be more formal and focused more on product details and services, while blog posts may be less formal, focused more on educational and informative content.

As you define your target audience and your buyer personas, you’ll learn about the needs, interests, and problems your ideal customer(s) face. Remember: You’re writing for them, so your content needs to focus on them. Only then will you be able to optimize that content for the keywords you want to get found by in search. To help define your buyer personas to direct your content creation efforts, read this blog post and check out our free buyer persona creation template.

2) Keyword Research
Clearly identify which specific topics and keywords your writers should focus on. Conduct keyword research to confirm your intuition about their topics of interest. To help you conduct this research, you can use tools like Google’s Keyword Tool or even HubSpot’s Keyword tool. Each tool allows you to type in a word or phrase you think you should target and returns a list of recommended results and suggestions. The keywords that you discover as part of this research will either help you determine your game plan or confirm what you’ve already defined (e.g. “clickthrough rate” vs. “click-through-rate”). Comparing traditional metrics like the search volume and competitiveness of a term should also be part of this equation.

3) Proper Spelling and Grammar
Make sure to always use proper spelling and grammar. A proper written style guide should outline common keyword variations in addition to which version your company has decided to use. It’s easy to publish content with inconsistencies in terms of capitalization, hyphenation, and punctuation. Using proper English and a style guide that establishes the correct version of commonly troublesome words ensures consistency across your assets, and consistency counts when you’re trying to optimize for certain terms.
4) Branding Nuances

You should always be striving to maintain a well-defined and consistent brand — and your SEO efforts should reflect that. Establish how to approach words specific to your particular brand such as your company name, names of product lines, services, and individual products. Is your business name capitalized or in small caps? What about your products? Branded terms are typically quite easy to rank for in most cases, so don’t make it harder by creating brand dysphoria.

5) Content Formatting
Spelling out best practices for content formatting is a smart idea, too. Should your blog posts include images, headers, or subheaders? Should copywriters be mindful of a specific keyword list to use in those headers? All of your links should use strong anchor text, so for which keywords or phrases are you trying to rank? Make sure you provide your copywriters with all the resources they need to succeed with SEO. It’s absolutely worth taking the time to spell all this out.

6) Copy Editors
Every marketing team should designate a copy editor (or a few) to review the content the team creates. Find somebody who is eagle-eyed and supremely detail-oriented, and have them review everything you write before you publish it, no matter how seemingly small or inconsequential. Make sure these copy editors are well schooled in your team’s written style guide and keyword best practices and can spot opportunities for optimization and improvement.

7) Content Calendar
The one thing that is arguably more important than how frequently you publish is how consistently you publish. You already know that consistency of language is important; the same holds true for the timing of when you publish. Studies show that early morning publishing times, Monday through Thursday, work best. Don’t let your readers down. Don’t let Google down.

Did you know that search engine crawlers return to your site on a regular basis? If you have new content, they’ll index it. If there is no new content, you lose out. And the more consistently you publish quality content, the more consistently those crawlers will come back and not only check for new content but also other general updates they might stumble upon. So develop an editorial calendar or some sort of publishing schedule along with your other guidelines to help you focus on publishing regularly and incrementally improving your search engine rankings.

8) Conversions
If you plan on increasing your ROI through your content creation and SEO efforts, then you’ll need to create some calls-to-action (CTAs). How else will you convert that search engine traffic into business leads? CTAs are an important component of overall on-page optimization, and they should be consistent throughout your content and relevant to your audience. CTAs lead your traffic to highly optimized landing pages which offer them something in exchange for their contact information, and presto — you suddenly have a lead! If your end goal isn’t lead conversion, then why even bother with search engine optimization to begin with?

4 Don’ts of SEO Copywriting

  • Creating Content for the Sake of SEO: Content should not be created just for the sake of ranking. Instead, create content that’s useful and serves a purpose for your readers.
  • Don’t Obsess About Keyword Density: Why? Because there’s no magic number. Overtly optimized content is just that — overtly optimized. No one likes it, particularly Google.
  • Don’t Optimize Content for Misspelled Words: If you have an AdWords budget, you’d be better off targeting those types of words and phrases in your PPC campaigns, not your content.
  • Don’t Create a New Page for Every Single Possible Keyword Variation: Furthermore, don’t create additional pages for abbreviations of a word. These types of pages will rapidly disappear from the index because Google will automatically pick the canonical version for you and disregard the rest.

At the end of the day, remember that there should be little difference between traditional online writing and SEO writing. If your content isn’t compelling, it doesn’t matter which keywords you use because it won’t get shared or linked to. First and foremost, focus on writing for your target audience. After all, that’s what Google wants you to aim for as well. Being relentlessly consistent in your writing establishes trustworthiness and stability with your readers. And creating a set of copywriting guidelines will go a long way toward helping you and your marketing team stick with it.

Read full article: 8 ways SEO should influence your Marketing Copywriting »

5 Ways to improve your Facebook Engagement

Having trouble engaging your Facebook audience? If your fans are not interacting with your brand and sharing your content, what value are they?

In this article, you’ll discover how to get more likes, comments and shares. I’ll reveal five strategies for Facebook posts that get your fans buzzing.

#1: Keep Your Updates Short

Research repeatedly shows that the longer a post is, the less engagement it will receive. Blame it on Twitter, but people don’t have the time or patience to read anything over 140 characters anymore.

Results vary, but research shows that 100 characters or fewer seems to be the sweet spot. This will also allow for easy cross-posting on Twitter.

Want even more engagement? Let a photo do the talking.

Posts with fewer than 140 characters combined with bold, beautiful photos get the most response.

Posts with fewer than 140 characters combined with bold, beautiful photos get the most response.

According to Facebook, posts that include a photo album, picture or video generate about 180%, 120% and 100% more engagement, respectively.

Starbucks is a great example of a brand combining short posts with beautiful photos. Their posts generally fall within the 100- to 140-character mark and elicit thousands of likes and comments.

#2: Don’t Use URL Shorteners

A recent study by Buddy Media found that engagement rates were three times higher for Facebook posts that use a full-length URL, rather than a link generated by a URL shortener like

Converse fans may have liked this post, but how many actually clicked on the link? Generic URLs are less likely to drive traffic to your site.

Converse fans may have liked this post, but how many actually clicked on the link? Generic URLs are less likely to drive traffic to your site.

Converse fans may have liked this post, but how many actually clicked on the link? Generic URLs are less likely to drive traffic to your site. Why is this?

The likely explanation is that Facebook users want to know where you’re taking them. This makes even more sense considering the fact that Facebook users are increasingly accessing the social network exclusively from their mobile devices (20%, or 102 million and growing).

A shortened URL does not indicate what type of website you’re taking them to, which is a deterrent to mobile users. But didn’t we just learn that longer posts have lower engagement? Yes, but a URL doesn’t seem to count in this instance. If you’re worried about post length, use a brand-specific URL shortener that lets users know you’re taking them to your website.

For example, Victoria’s Secret uses
instead of this crazy-long link:

Get more clicks by using a brand-specific URL shortener. Fans want to know where you're taking them.

Get more clicks by using a brand-specific URL shortener. Fans want to know where you're taking them.

#3: Post at Times Ideal for Your Fans

Getting your post at the top of fans’ newsfeeds is paramount for engagement. So how do you do this? For one, make sure you post at the right times. Recent data from shows that the optimal time to post on Facebook is between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm, when Facebook traffic peaks.

Links posted between 1 and 4 pm get the highest click-through rates, with Wednesday at 3:00 pm being the best time to post all week. Links posted before 8:00 am and after 8:00 pm are less likely to get shared.

Another thing to consider is the TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday) factor. As office burnout peaks toward the end of the week, more people will be escaping to Facebook.

Engagement rates are 18% higher on Thursday and Friday than other days of the week, according to Buddy Media. Engagement rates fall 3.5% below average for posts Monday through Wednesday, when people are more focused at work.

If your goal is likes, not comments, Dan Zarrella of HubSpot found that Saturday and Sunday posts get the most likes.

Don't forget about the weekend. Saturday and Sunday posts get the most likes.

Don't forget about the weekend. Saturday and Sunday posts get the most likes.

Finally, make sure you post enough content to stay visible in the newsfeed without annoying your fans. The key to walking this fine line is to know your posts’ lifespan. The average Facebook post lifespan is 3 hours, although this varies by page. A post is considered “alive” when it’s occupying the newsfeed or is a Highlighted Story and receiving a continuous stream of engagement. A post is considered “dead” when its engagement stops growing more than 10% per hour. Never post while another post is alive or you risk losing engagement.

How do you find your average post lifespan? EdgeRank Checker Pro analyzes your post engagement on an hourly basis (found in the Post Grading section at the bottom of your page analysis).

EdgeRank Checker Pro lets you know your average post lifespan and the best time to post again.

EdgeRank Checker Pro lets you know your average post lifespan and the best time to post again.

It also tells you the best time to post again. Once engagement has fallen below 10%, your post is considered dead and it’s safe to post new content. If your average post lifespan is 3 hours, then wait at least that long before posting again.

#4: Use the Right Words for Higher Engagement

What you say—or don’t say—on Facebook matters. Certain words elicit more engagement, while others will leave your post dead in the water. Buddy Media found that action keywords like “post,” “comment,” “take,” “submit,” “like” or “tell us” are the most effective. Be direct in your request, and fans will listen.

Want your fans to do something? Tell them! Fans respond well to specific instructions.

Want your fans to do something? Tell them! Fans respond well to specific instructions.

On the other hand, if you’re running a contest, sweepstakes or other promotional offer, fans don’t respond well to direct or aggressive language. Softer-sell keywords such as “winner,” “win,” “winning” and “events” will make fans excited rather than feeling like they’re being sold to. Aggressive promotional keywords like “contest,” “promotion,” “sweepstakes” and “coupon” will turn them off.

#5: Ask Questions

Asking a question is a surefire way to elicit comments, but not all questions are created equal. How and where you ask a question matters.

Place questions at the end of posts to increase engagement.

Place questions at the end of posts to increase engagement.

Questions placed at the end of a post increased engagement by 15% over questions placed at the beginning. “Where,” “when” and “should” drive the highest engagement rates, with “would” generating the most likes. Avoid asking “why” questions, which have the lowest like and comment rates.

Beauty retailer Sephora has mastered the art of when to use action keywords, promotional keywords and questions to get fans engaged.

This Facebook post generated 38,028 likes, 2,188 comments and 4,778 shares.

Combining action keywords like "shop" with soft-sell keywords like "score" will encourage fans to take action. End your post with a question to get 15% more engagement.

Combining action keywords like "shop" with soft-sell keywords like "score" will encourage fans to take action. End your post with a question to get 15% more engagement.

Read Full Article: 5 Ways to improve your Facebook Engagement »

5 Key characteristics every Social Media Community Manager should have

Social media is an effective tool to engage your target audience, drive website traffic and, ultimately, boost sales; so why do so few companies employ a social media community manager? You know, the person that manages the whole thing?

It seems crazy, in the midst of a global financial crisis, to suggest that companies should go to the expense of hiring a community manager to oversee their social media presences. But at our company, Tomorrow People, we’ve been developing our community management team and processes to real effect over the past 16 months. I also know that HubSpot invests in employees dedicated solely to managing their social media presence, as well as many other companies we work with — and they’re all seeing great results from it. So how do you make the leap? This post will tell you everything you need to know about integrating a community manager into your marketing department.

First, what are the benefits of having a community manager?

By employing a team of full-time and part-time community managers, we’ve cut down on the number of sales people we need to employ because the inbound leads we’re producing are highly qualified. We’re doing the same for our clients, such as LinuxIT and Workbooks; by engaging effectively with communities online, their sales teams are more efficient because they’re receiving far more qualified leads.

We’ve also noticed that employing a community manager drives approximately 30% more traffic to our website every month. Additionally, our average visitor-to-lead conversion rate for our B2B clients is 8%. Some of our clients even have no sales people, as they sell online: so the community managers are driving their sales directly!

For us, it has made sense to hire a community management team, but it may make sense for other companies to retain these skills — it’s all about finding people with the right skills and enabling them to develop a community for you in the long-term.

Where does the community manager role fit?

Building efficiency into our process to generate more leads, we apply the lean manufacturing continuous improvement methodology Six Sigma to our internal processes, assuming the leads are the final output. We use HubSpot to measure our traffic and social media engagement.

We have packaged the model into a 5-step methodology we call Zoober: listen, create, engage, transform, grow. This is a process of continuous improvement, where we constantly measure and amend our approach. Our community management team delivers the ‘Engage’ stage of this model — telling people what we’re doing and bringing them to our website.

What are a community manager’s roles and responsibilities?

1) Sets Up and Manages Profiles – Nothing makes your company look like it doesn’t care like half-filled in, out of date employee and company pages on LinkedIn or Facebook. Our community management team sets up and manages our company and employee social media profiles and groups. This involves setting up the content within our social media publishing tool — we use HubSpot, but just transfer this step to whatever tool you use — and ensuring profiles are standardized and present the company in a professional light.

2) Listens to the Buzz – A good community manager should listen to the buzz already online — finding out what groups your target audience is joining on LinkedIn, for example, and who they’re following on Twitter. What are they talking about? Who are your rivals? What are they interested in? When are they most likely to read a tweet, or an update? Are they aware of your brand? Who are the key influencers within your industry who you should develop a long lasting relationship with?

Community managers should also investigate the various social media automation tools available, and stay up to date with technology, marketing, and industry news.

3) Grows the Network – A good community manager should then grow your networks by engaging every day online (via forums and owned communities) and offline (via events, conferences, and meet ups). They should also, of course, craft status updates, posts, and tweets — because like most of your other marketing channels, social media also depends on sharing excellent content.

They should also increase your Facebook fans and quality Twitter and LinkedIn contacts. Quantity is important to establish reach, but your community manager should also focus on creating a larger base of high quality social media fans and followers. A thousand Facebook friends from the wrong industry may not be as valuable as 20 very influential friends with the right connections.

4) Distributes Content – Your community manager should promote your blog and website content to your network. They should help your company foster meaningful business discussions that will allow you to reach your target audience and gain more clients. It’s about dialogues, not monologues.

This should include blogger outreach, too — finding the right person to get to know and ask for guest blogging opportunities. You could also consider reaching out to the publications, forums, and Q&A sites your target audience uses.

5) Joins the Conversation – This involves replying to online questions and comments immediately, giving your brand a face, and creating a relationship with prospects. The community manager should represent the client’s voice, but should also be able to get their individual personality across. Especially in blogger outreach, conversation should come naturally to them — they shouldn’t be struggling to find a voice when contacting strangers.
What does the community manager not do?

A community manager isn’t responsible for:
– Marketing strategy
– Content creation
– Email marketing
– Lead nurturing

These tasks detract from the central role, but are all too often lumbered on community managers.

Is it worth it?

It’s definitely worth the effort for us — and we’re sure it could be worth it for you, too! Too many companies don’t bother with social media engagement, or engage with it in an ad hoc fashion. Simply asking your copywriter to tweet every now and again, or getting the intern to update your company LinkedIn profile, won’t cut it; you need people who can focus on this role strategically and consistently to engage your online audience effectively. The benefits are clear — but the process requires a professional.

You should also remember that while hiring a community manager is certainly an expense, you could save money hiring sales people or in other marketing hires. Develop a process or methodology to ensure you continually improve your social media results each month, and document & review those processes every month. Give your community management team great tools & remarkable content to get the best results. Managing social media communities is a highly skilled, challenging role — which is why we’re amazed how many companies think they can get their intern to do it in their spare time.

Read the full article: 5 Key characteristics every Social Media Community Manager should have »

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