Articles Tagged with Content Marketing

The Launch of TechEvents.Wales

TEW logoBack in 2015, I created a side-project website for my parents’ IT recruitment agency (Computer Recruiter) called CR 25, where we published 25 blog posts in one month to coincide with their 25th anniversary in business. It was a ton of fun, and I was chuffed that it earned me a couple of UK Search Awards shortlistings.

Since then (given that the main CR site doesn’t have its own blog – I know, I know…), I’ve been wondering what else we can do on the content front, beyond CR 25 and our occasional guest blogging efforts. On Twitter (@ComputerRecruit) we follow a lot of meetup/event organisers (check out our Twitter list!) and also RT a lot of their tweets about upcoming events, which got me thinking: what about a calendar of all the tech events in South Wales, all in one place…?

And voilà – TechEvents.Wales is born.

TEW homepage screenshot
Its homepage features a list of upcoming events from a ton of different meetups covering a ton of different topics: AWS South Wales User Group, South Wales Agile Group, Swansea Software Development Meetup, Digital Tuesday, PyDiff, South Wales Cyber Security Cluster and Cardiff Blogs, to name a few… even the horrendously run, joke-of-a-meetup that is Cardiff SEO Meet is on there. 😉

Its blog is going to include:

  • Interviews with local meetup organisers,
  • An analysis of 2017’s meetups in the area,
  • Writeups and reviews of local meetups, etc. etc.

Find out more in our intro post.

Got any ideas? Want to get involved? Feel free to drop me a comment below or tweet me. I live off feedback (so long as it’s constructive, obvs!) and would welcome people’s opinions on the direction of the site and its blog.

Also, a quick thank you to Peter of Xanthe Studios for helping with a few frustrating WordPress issues when setting up the site.

It’s 2017 & I’m Still Seeing “SEO is Crap” Discussions…

Angry face art“The world is on fire,” the mighty Ed Harcourt recently sung.

2017 has begun, swirling from 2016’s turbulent aftermath of Trumps and Brexits – and yet here I am, publishing my first post of the year nitpicking about what someone said about SEO.

“In the name of SEO”

I regularly check and contribute to the Cardiff Start Facebook group, and got a little excited when I saw someone asking for advice on content marketing. While I didn’t contribute myself, SEO got mentioned – although in a way that got my back up a bit:

Cardiff Start FB group comment screenshot
Mike offers some great advice – the only problem is that very first line. The pertinent text (with emphasis added):

“First. Prioritise quality over quantity – pumping out volumes of crap in the name of SEO helps nobody – times have changed.”

Aside from one other teeny-tiny mention, this was the only mention of SEO in the whole thread. A whole thread about content marketing and SEO is seen as the bad bit. “Don’t do it” is essentially what’s being recommended.

I’d usually roll my eyes at comments like this – like I’ve done so many times in the past – but my concern here was that people who are new to content marketing may be new to SEO, too. And now their whole experience of something that could be so crucially beneficial to their website/their business/their livelihood has been tainted. Also, a few people Liked it, suggesting agreement.

So what’s the alternative? Later on, Mike goes on to say that content should provide three things:

a. build trust with existing and potential customers
b. develop your own unique, tailored, audience
c. create demand for your service or product with that audience

Here’s a question for you: why can’t content fulfil that criteria and have an SEO focus?

SEO doesn’t have to be a dirty word

One of my clients has done insanely well creating content with a bit of an SEO focus. With my help, he’s grown his blog from 30 organic search visits a month to 10,000+. That’s an increase of over 300x – in other words, 300 times more people are visiting his website through search engines (through SEO) than they were previously.

So, is he “pumping out volumes of crap” in order to do this? Is that the secret? No. He’s writing good quality content, which helps to build trust with existing and potential customers, that’s unique and tailored to the audience, and that helps to create demand for his service with that audience. Hey, does that sentence seem familiar? Look up a couple of paragraphs.

Click to read more!

Using Prisma App to ‘Spice Up’ your Blog’s Images

A few days ago I caught a tweet by @tombeardshaw showing a painting-style image of his usual avatar head-shot:

I was really impressed, so I asked him who painted it for him, because I was convinced that he’d commissioned someone to do it for him especially.

But I was wrong – it was made via an iPhone app.

Introducing Prisma

Simply put, Prisma is a modern art filter app, overlaying your photos with different artistic styles. In addition to making photos look like paintings (like the example above), you can make them look like sketches, mosaics and even cubist. There’s about two dozen different filters that you can apply.

Here’s what the interface looks like:

Prisma interface - before & after screenshots
Before on the left / After on the right

I’ve slowly become obsessed with it since discovering it, as have many of the people I’ve seen using it. @cardiffisyours is now using Prisma’ed images for its Twitter profile pic and cover pic:

Prisma on @cardiffisyours screenshot
The Guardian recently published an article showing loads of great examples of recent famous photos that have had the Prisma treatment.

The other day, I realised that it had another really good application: photos for blog posts.

Alternative images for your blog posts

I spend a lot of time finding good accompanying images for blog posts, usually hitting up Flickr’s Creative Commons search. I hate stock photos (as I feel that they’re often very generic and ‘forced’-looking), but finding a good, natural, free-to-use image can really take some time. Ironically I often feel that it takes me longer to find a good image for a post than it does to write the damn thing in the first place…!

For a recent post on SEOno – 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Operate a ‘Minimum DA’ Rule When Building Links – I really struggled to find a good image. I tried Flickr’s CC search for keywords around “authority”, “minimum”, etc. but couldn’t find anything appropriate at all. I realised that all I really wanted was a screenshot of Moz’s Open Site Explorer, the tool that displays the metric that was the primary focus of the post. I tried a screenshot at first, but it looked… boring.

Then I had an idea…

Click to read more!

3 Reasons Why I Might Not Share Your Roundup (Even If I’m Included in It)

Over the years I’ve participated in a few roundups (a.k.a. crowdsourced content) – sometimes via HARO, sometimes by being approached directly by email. Whenever the latter happens, I’m always chuffed that someone’s asked me and wants me to get involved with what they’re putting together. However, a few recent roundup experiences have left me a little… unhappy. I know that sounds harsh, perhaps even ungrateful, but there’s been a few bugbears with them that I’d like to share, so that other roundup rounder-uppers can avoid them if they can. I don’t know about you, but if I’m included in a roundup that fits one of these three criteria, it’s unlikely that I’ll promote it on your behalf (sorry)…

1) There’s too many people in it

Crowd imageI get the appeal of roundups, on both sides. The contributor gets a link to their site. The ‘host’ (for lack of a better word) not only gets content written for them, but the contributors are likely to share it and promote it on their behalf. If 5 people are included, that’s 5 potential tweets/RTs. If 50 people are included… well, you get it.

I was recently part of a roundup that included over 100 contributors – so many, in fact, that while there’s a pic of a bunch of the contributors, I’m not even one of them, hah! I’m sorry but that’s just too big a number to even be readable – either people will glance through it and/or read the first few, or they’ll simply look for people that they know and only take their contributions on board.

2) There’s no women in it

Graffiti imageAs a young, white, middle-class male, I feel like a complete jerk for even bringing it up – but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t. Rand Fishkin (@randfish) shares this way of thinking and is a good person to follow on the subject in our industry.

A recent roundup that I was involved in contained about 12 people – a nice, decent number. The only problem? There were 12 men (including me) and 0 women. I didn’t share/tweet/RT it – I was too ashamed to.

The same also applies to ethnic minorities. No one likes an all-white, all-male list. Not even white males.

Click to read more!

CR 25 Revisited – My SEMrush Webinar

In late May I was approached by the team at SEMrush about hosting a webinar, going into more detail about the CR 25 campaign that I ran in January. I’d already given a talk about it at BrightonSEO, but with only 20 minutes available, I left out a lot of useful information surrounding the ‘content blitz’ campaign, where we published 25 blog posts in one month (pretty much one each day during the month). I had toyed with the idea of creating a YouMoz post (and had in fact started to draft one), but when SEMrush approached me about the webinar, I thought that it would be a better way to get across all the info.

The webinar took place in early June. In addition to relying on PowerPoint slides, I jumped out of the slides, jumped into my browser (all while the audience were still watching) and quickly ran through all 25 posts as live examples. I thought that this was a good way to demonstrate the many different types of content – especially those with an interactive or particularly visual element to them (such as the custom Google Map, the 25-year timeline, the multiple-choice quiz and one post that featured an embedded tweet containing an autoplaying Vine video).

The video of the webinar is below, with a transcript below that.

Video Transcript (including slide stills)

Slide1-560
Hi, thank you very much for the introduction. I’m Steve Morgan, @steviephil on Twitter, and today I’ll be talking you through a big campaign I ran back in January earlier this year. I actually talked about this campaign at BrightonSEO in April, but I was only given about 20 minutes to talk on-stage and I was only able to talk about a couple of examples of content we did – we had 25 blog posts in one month – and just talk about how much it all cost, so it’s great to have the opportunity… a big thank you to SEMrush for having me. And it’s great to be able to talk about the campaign in more detail and run through more examples than I did when I presented at the conference.

Slide2-560
The webinar is split into three sections. I’m going to jump out of the slides a third of the way through and show you real examples of content, because I thought: “why bother showing you slides of examples when I can actually show you the examples on Firefox?” But before that, I’ll talk you through a bit of an introduction to the campaign and how we prepared for it. And then after I’ve shown you examples, I’ll give you some insights into what performed well, what didn’t, what worked well on certain social media networks, and talk you through how much everything cost, which – even though we had 25 posts created and we tried to avoid just having bog-standard, 400-word advice articles – we did lots of varying types of content and we tried to have interactive content as well. We managed to keep the budget very low by sourcing guest blog posts, by using free or cheap WordPress plugins – things like that really. I’ll tell you more as we go along.

Slide3-560
First, some background for Computer Recruiter.

Click to read more!