25 Posts in One Month: Co-ordinating a ‘Content Blitz’ Campaign on the Cheap – My BrightonSEO Talk

Speaking at BrightonSEOHaving previously been to BrightonSEO 4, 5, maybe 6 times (I’ve genuinely lost count), it was an absolute pleasure and honour to be given the opportunity to speak about my recent CR 25 campaign, as part of the Content Strategy segment.

From the BrightonSEO website (which I’m copying-and-pasting as well, just in case it gets removed from the site at some point):

In January 2015, I helped my parents’ IT recruitment agency to launch a ‘content blitz’ campaign, posting 25 posts in one month to mark the company’s 25th anniversary.

6 months in the making, we created and co-ordinated a plethora of content types beyond the usual bog-standard blog post, including guest posts, crowdsourced posts, a timeline, a list of local events, a list of local co-working spaces… and even a quiz.

Utilising free/cheap resources and WordPress plugins as much as possible to keep the budget nice and low, the campaign was intended to boost their site’s SEO as well as the company’s branding awareness, PR, social media followings and ultimately help them to earn new clients and candidates.

Here are the slides:

Someone let me know that the talk was Periscoped (is that a verb yet?) as well – here’s a screenshot. Really exciting!

As I said towards the end of the talk / on the penultimate slide, I’m hoping to do a full write-up of the campaign – its good, bad and ugly moments – which would cover everything from the talk and more stuff that I would have liked to have covered if I had more time. I’ll most likely submit it as a YouMoz post – keep an eye out for it over the coming weeks/months.

I’d also like to say a big thank you not only to @kelvinnewman (BrightonSEO’s organiser) for allowing me to speak, but also to @MUmar_Khan, @krystianszastok, @ichbinGisele and @Tony_DWM for taking the time to give me feedback on an early draft of my slide deck. Tony especially was incredible, giving thoughts and feedback on every single individual slide. Top bloke.

[Main speaking image credit – @octink (from Twitter)]

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Interview with Max Minzer about Max Impact

It’s been a while since I did an interview on SEOno (you can see previous interviews here) – in fact, I don’t really think to do them anymore, however I really wanted to interview Max Minzer about Max Impact (#maximpact) because he’s such a humble and modest guy and I love his shows (since show #40-odd I’ve attended pretty much weekly… in fact, this was my first appearance), plus with the fact that he ran his 100th show not so long ago, the timing couldn’t be better…


Steve Morgan: Hi Max! First things first, please introduce yourself – tell us a bit about who you are and what you do.

Max Minzer photoMax Minzer: Hey Steve! Thanks for having me!

My name is Max Minzer. I am the owner of ReEngage Consulting – digital marketing consulting service specialising in local search marketing. I view it as business advising and enjoy doing what I do. I also host a weekly digital marketing show called Max Impact, moderate a Local Search community on Google+ and I like meeting and talking to people.

I’m married and have a 3-year-old boy.

Steve: If someone asked you to summarise Max Impact in 30 seconds or less (or a couple of lines!), what would you say?

Max: Max Impact is a digital marketing show where people join video call (and real-time social media discussion) to share ideas to help businesses and marketing consultants grow their business.

Steve: How did you come up with the idea for Max Impact?

Max: I saw Google+ Hangouts On Air (the video broadcast platform) being used effectively in other industries to meet new people and share news, places and ideas. There was nothing like that in the marketing industry at the time. I was using Hangouts for more private conversations already but decided to give it a try as broadcast.

Also, many of us consultants work from home and often miss human-to-human interaction (during work; not that we don’t have lives 😉 ) and the “meet new people” element. It’s incredible that technology allows us to meet people around the world.

Max Impact Hangout screenshot

An example of a Max Impact show on Google+ Hangouts On Air

Steve: Please talk us through the usual format of a show. What happens on your typical Max Impact episode?

Max: I try to invite people 10-15 minutes before I start the broadcast so we can have an off-the-record chat and – often – meet new people for the first time and get comfortable. I then start the broadcast.

I have a featured guest in most cases and start the episode by introducing and interviewing them about a selected topic. I then become a moderator and have everyone else join the discussion. I let people ask questions, comment, discuss and I also read questions we get on social media.

Click to read more!

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Tweet To Win! 3 Lessons From Running My First Twitter Competition

I loved running CR 25 back in January. Beyond SEO, it gave me the chance to properly flex my content marketing muscles. From guest blog posts to crowdsourced content; from Google Calendar embeds to Google Map embeds; from interactive timelines to infographics; we did a little bit of everything.

We even did a bloody quiz.

We finished off CR 25 with an ‘IT Acronym Quiz’ – a 10-question multiple-choice quiz created using SlickQuiz.

CR 25 quiz screenshot
We decided to make the most of the opportunity and also gave away three £25 iTunes vouchers if people posted their results on Twitter.

It was my first attempt at a competition. It went well. Not quite how I’d hoped (as I’ll explain below) but we had a good number of entries and a good, positive response overall.

Here are the three lessons that I learnt.

1) Make sure that your competition’s terms are air-tight

As I said above, I’d never run a competition before – but I knew that you had to have some good set of terms & conditions behind it. I’m sure there are some decent templates out there, but I decided to draw inspiration from real-life examples. I can’t remember all of them, but I do remember that one of them was an iPad giveaway on The Guardian‘s website.

CR 25's competition terms (full screenshot)

(Click to enlarge)

It contained the usual suspects: participants must be UK residents over 18-years-old; it specified the closing date; in order to be eligible, they had to tweet a few particulars, including a link to the quiz and the hashtag; etc. etc. It had a total of 19 clauses.

I even thought that I was being extra-clever: I put in one clause that said that their tweet had to be live by the end of the closing date – just in case they deleted it a couple of days after tweeting it.

…And yet I missed out one (or maybe two) that was hugely important and should’ve been obvious.

A few days into the competition, a friend of mine entered. He asked: “how many times can I enter?”

Aww crap.

We didn’t have a clause that said ‘one entry per Twitter user.’ We also didn’t have a clause that said that a person could only enter once, full-stop. In other words, if someone managed more than one Twitter account, technically they could’ve entered more than once – even if we had that previous clause. It wouldn’t have been too much of a problem if we only had one prize to give away (aside from the fact that they would’ve increased their chances of winning that one prize), but we had three prizes – meaning that one person could’ve won two or all three prizes, and we couldn’t really do anything about it as our terms didn’t cover it. Whoops.

Click to read more!

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Poison Apple – Why It Took 3 Hours to Sort Out an Apple ID for a ‘New’ Account

Apple on fire logoMost of the time, sorting out an Apple ID takes no more than a minute or two. You give your email address, contact details, set up security questions and you’re on the way.

…Sometimes, it takes an entire Saturday afternoon, including 3 calls to Apple speaking to 4 different customer service advisors, and factors in serious data protection and security issues, which cannot be fully resolved. All because once upon a time, some random person screwed up.

I wanted to blog about this, not only in case someone has the same issues as my mother-in-law (who I gave my old iPad to) but also as I think Apple need to sort this out. Hopefully someone senior at Apple reads this (you never know!) and they get their act together, because it really isn’t good…

The short version

Some woman in Mexico once accidentally tried setting up an Apple ID account using my mum-in-law’s email address (maybe it’s a letter/digit different). Apple said it was ok to keep using the account, as it’d never had any activity, however the Mexican lady had also set up security questions, meaning that she could’ve reclaimed access to the account at any time. We accidentally saw her home address and phone number when ‘taking over’ the account, and – if she’d reclaimed access – she could’ve seen my mother-in-law’s personal details, too. We can never fully resolve the issue as Apple cannot or will not delete the account, so we had to set up a fake email account (using Gmail), change its email address and change the personal details to something made-up – and then we could create a new Apple ID associated with my mum-in-law’s email address. Unnecessarily messy and overly-complex.

For the long version, keep reading…

Note: I’ve changed people’s names to protect identities, etc…

Email already in use

I recently replaced my old, beaten-up iPad 2 with an iPad 2 Air. The folks at the Apple Store said that I couldn’t get anything for it by trading/recycling it (not via them, anyway) so they suggested keeping it – maybe giving it to a family member. So I gave it to my mother-in-law. I don’t want to use her real name, so let’s say she’s called Jane Jones.

I wiped the old iPad (once backing up the new iPad), reset it and ran through the setup process with her. When it came to creating an Apple ID, Jane wanted to use her Hotmail address – the only email address that she uses. We tried setting it up, but it was apparently already in use.

“Jane, it looks like you’ve already got an account.”

“But I’ve never done anything with Apple before!”

“Are you sure? Maybe you bought something on iTunes years ago…?”

“No!”

(“Yeah right,” I thought.)

So we tried resetting the password. The password reset email come through (hitting Jane’s Junk inbox) and… it was in Spanish.

“O…k. So you once bought something by Apple, and you accidentally did so in Spanish?!”

“No! Seriously! I’ve never done anything with Apple! I swear!”

(“Sigh,” I thought.)

We managed to walk through the steps – despite the language barrier – and reset the password. When we logged in, we realised something serious…

…The name wasn’t listed as Jane Jones. It was listed as – let’s say – Jane Naranja.

Click to read more!

Uncategorised

Has Crowdsourced Content Jumped The Shark?

“We asked these 8 sharks for their opinion…”

Shark montage (a sharktage...?)
Like infographics and guest blogging before it, there are fears in the industry that crowdsourced content – where you ask multiple people to pass on their favourite tip/tool/etc. – may have jumped the shark, in that it has been done-to-death and fallen in quality, making it a less worthwhile content marketing tactic.

I was going to save blogging my thoughts on this until after I talked about CR 25 at BrightonSEO in April, as two of CR 25‘s posts were crowdsourced content (and one of them became one of the campaign’s most popular posts), but following Peep Laja’s tweet stating that if a “list has more than 5 items, it’s shitty curation,” plus the fact that: a) a lot of the replies he received agreed with him, and b) crowdsourced content in particular often contain tens or dozens of participants (or ‘items’), I wanted to give my thoughts…

Crowdsourced content is popular because it’s pure ego-baiting – people love to be asked their opinion on something. And by doing so, they’re likely to share it via social media. Oh and the more people you ask, the more content you get, resulting in a lengthy blog post in the 1,000s of words that’s likely to hit the long-tail like crazy. So if you ask 50 people to contribute to a post, you have 50 potential tweeters at the ready and a long blog post on your hands.

The ‘SEO echo chamber’ strikes again…

The problem with crowdsourced content is that it has been done-to-death… in the SEO/content marketing industry. I won’t link to any real-life examples as I don’t want to come across as a hater, plus I’m genuinely grateful when I’ve been given the opportunity to contribute to them myself (e.g. I recently shared my biggest link building success story of 2014 – and hell, I even did one myself a couple of years ago!), but things tend to get a little overboard when 15 SEOs are asked for their favourite link building tip, or 43 SEOs are asked for their favourite SEO software tool, or 161 SEOs are asked their favourite colour…

But do you know the trick that we’ve been missing, which I didn’t even realise until recently, which may completely change your view on crowdsourced content? Stop asking your peers and start asking your clients/customers.
Click to read more!

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