Information Security and the GDPR

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It has been a year since the enactment of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which has marked a series of events for the big data collectors and processors, such as Google and Facebook. Both of the tech giants have been subject to fines as a result of users’ data privacy misuses – by violating the GDPR, while Facebook is currently settling an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission for data misuse, which will cost the company a staggering 5 billion dollars. 

Confounding the GDPR and Information Security

So, clearly, the implementation of such a privacy regulation has had its impact on the global tech business landscape, and as such, organizations of all types and sizes are constantly working to be compliant with the GDPR. However, being compliant with the GDPR entails securing the data of your users – in other words it is a trait of data privacy protection, and in this matrix it is easy to overlook and confuse this with information security. The latter, entails that the information is secure from unauthorized access from malicious attackers, while the former (data protection) is to say that the user data is and will not be shared with third parties without the knowledge and unambiguous consent of the user. The counterpart of the GDPR (data protection compliance) is the internationally recognized ISO/IEC 27001 – the international standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) which provides requirements on an Information Security Management System.  

While it is easy to confuse the two domains – information security and GDPR compliance – the consequences of this confusion might be perilous to the point of threatening the existence of an organization. In other words, if an organization which is constantly striving to be compliant with the GDPR, all of a sudden is the victim of a cyber-attack which results in a cyber disaster – a massive data breach of some sort, such as Wannacry or the Marriott data breach– and is unprepared for such an event, it might risk its very existence in the market because of lawsuits, reputation damage and legal actions that might be taken by the government which enforces the law of the land that the organization is operating on. So let’s make a distinction: The Cambridge Analytica scandal was a users’ data privacy disaster, while the Marriott data breach was an information security disaster, because it was caused by black hat hackers. 

The GDPR and ISO/IEC 27001 

In today’s business world, online presence is not negotiable, and as such, if you are present online and have customers, you are forced to be at least a data collector, if not a processor. The difference between the two is that the former simply collects and stores the data, while the latter processes this data and produces results such as customer behavior, preferences, and connects them with age, gender, location and more.

Organizations, both for-profit and nonprofit, have been implementing the ISO/IEC 27001 a long time before the existence of the GDPR. So information security is a much older domain than data protection, because hackers have been present for as long as the internet has existed. Data privacy protection, on the other hand, made it to the public discourse only after users’ data became the “gold mine” of big tech players, which offer “free” services to users in exchange for selling their data to third parties, and scandals such as the Cambridge Analytica were events which really caught the public’s attention and made public opinion raise a voice. 

As mentioned, ISO/IEC 27001 is an internationally recognized standard which provides requirements which have to be implemented by an organization in order to have in place an Information Security Management System. The standard has a series of controls that are meant to make sure that the information that the organization possesses, from internal and external sources, is secure from unauthorized access. As such, it is a very technical document, which outlines mechanisms, methods, 114 security controls. These controls make it an internationally applicable standard on information security for every type and size of organization because while these controls are exhaustive, they may or may not apply to every organization, and therefore ISO/IEC 27001, while being particular in what it offers, is universal in its applicability.

Integrating Information Security Management and Data Privacy Protection

However, information security and data protection are indeed complementary disciplines, and therefore an integration of GDPR compliance and ISO/IEC 27001 certification would be ideal for every organization, in that it would not only make the information the organization possesses secure from unauthorized third party access and would protect privacy, but it would also protect and improve the organization’s reputation and trustworthiness in the eyes of customers as well as stakeholders, while minimizing the impact (both technical and financial) of a cyberattack or data breach.  

Currently, there is a standard being developed by ISO, the ISO/IEC 27552 – Security techniques, Requirements and Guidelines, which is an extension to the ISO/IEC 27001 and ISO/IEC 27002, and which provides the requirements to implement and maintain a Privacy Information Management System (PIMS), in addition to the Information Security Management System (ISMS) provided by ISO/IEC 27001. 

Organizations can be certified against both standards upon the implementation, verification and successful auditing from an accredited and independent third party (a certification body), even though in order to obtain ISO/IEC 27552 certification, the organization must have already in place an ISMS according to ISO/IEC 27001 and be certified against it. 

This new standard will make possible for organizations to implement privacy security controls in addition to information security controls, which would guarantee data privacy protection, and makes it an ideal approach to having a comprehensive management system to tackle both information security and data privacy compliance in accordance with the GDPR. Among others, the GDPR states that organizations which collect and/or process data must have an individual – a Certified Data Protection Officer (CDPO) – or team of individuals who are responsible for the management of data privacy within the organization. Most companies which have a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) or a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) have amalgamated the duties by delegating the responsibilities of the CDPO to either the CISO or the CTO and the respective teams, if they have any. This integration of duties seems natural because, as mentioned, the domains of data privacy protection and information security are complementary.

In conclusion, while data protection privacy and information security can be blended together in terms of duties and responsibilities, it is still essential for an organization to not neglect the difference between being GDPR compliant and having an information security management system in place based on the ISO/IEC 27001. The International Organization for Standardization is offering the solution by adding PIMS controls to an already existing ISMS, which will make the job of organizations much easier in being both GDPR compliant and cyber-resilient.


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Julian Kuçi is the Marketing Quality Assurance Manager at the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB). He is an honor graduate of RIT in Economics & Statistics and Public Policy & Governance. Julian holds a diploma in Transitional Justice from the Regional School of Transitional Justice and is certified against ISO 9001 – Quality Management and ISO/IEC 27001- Information Security Management.

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Five things to do on a small digital marketing budget

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When you have a smaller digital marketing budget, every dollar counts, and you often need to get creative to make sure your ads show where you want.

In this post, I’ll walk through a few important tactics to utilize if you are launching a new program or if you have an established program with a smaller budget.

  1. Retargeting site visitors and purchasers
  2. Mid-funnel remarketing
  3. Bid adjustments: Geo-targeting and ad scheduling
  4. Search terms reports: Exact keywords and negative keywords
  5. InMarket and Similar Audiences for competitive terms

1. Retargeting site visitors and purchasers

We all know that it takes more money to acquire a brand-new customer than it does a customer who has already purchased or otherwise engaged with the brand. Paid search and paid social can be a very competitive space, so it’s crucial to use audience targeting to the best of your abilities. One easy way to get the biggest bang for your buck, with lower CPAs (Cost per acquisitions) and higher ROAS (return on advertising spend), is to retarget site visitors and purchasers. These users have already shown intent and interest in your brand, making it easier for them to engage.

It is important within your search campaigns to either segment these users into their own campaign or bid-up on them within your current campaigns. For GDN (Google Display Network) and paid social, try to get in front of these users with a special message to bring them back to the site, and keep these campaigns separate from your acquisition campaigns. For both paid search and paid social, consider special messaging or discounts for these users to help them convert.

2. Mid-funnel remarketing

Many B2B or lead gen businesses will focus their paid search and paid social campaigns on just getting that upper-funnel lead and will then let their sales team and email convert that lead down-funnel. Another way to ramp up the success of your paid social campaigns is to create mid-funnel remarketing campaigns to target upper-funnel leads who have not converted down the funnel. Paid social can also help push users to convert and helps complement the efforts of your sales team and email. One tactic is to stay in front of leads with a case study or white paper that talks about some of your brand’s biggest value propositions and how they help the current problems of your target audience.

3. Bid adjustments: Geo-targeting and ad scheduling

When you have limited advertising funds, it is important to allocate those funds to the areas that are performing the most efficiently, just as you would for keywords. I recommend analyzing these segments and adjusting bids accordingly:

  • Geographical
  • Device
  • Time of day and day of the week
  • Audience
  • HHI (Household Income)
  • Demographics (Age and gender)

For example: If you are a B2B company, you might see that CPA rises during the weekend. To take advantage of this observation, pull back on Saturday and Sunday to save more money for more efficient days of the week. Our AdWords history has shown that clients lower CPA by up to 30% by smarter bidding according to performance in these segments.

4. Search query reports: Exact keywords and negative keywords

Search query reports should be your best friend. Review the search query reports specifically for your broad terms to monitor poor matches and new top performers. Long tail keywords can add value to the account and provide reductions in CPA, so it is important to build them out if they are performing well in matching to your broad keywords. These broad keywords can also lead to poor matching, though, so it is important to review the search queries and add irrelevant or poor matching search queries as negative keywords.  For example, let’s say you are a skincare company that sells facial oil and are bidding on the keyword “facial oil.” You begin seeing your click-through rate start to decrease. You look into search queries and start to see that you are matching to “olive oil,” which is not a relevant search. You would add that as a negative to the account to cut back on wasted spend for irrelevant queries.

5. InMarket and Similar Audiences for competitive terms

Broad keywords can lead to high competition, high CPAs, and lower impression share, especially if bigger brands are part of the mix. That doesn’t mean you should ignore them; bid on potentially valuable broad terms, but restrict bidding to InMarket and Similar Audiences so your ads only serve to audiences you’re confident are interested in your product or service.

Small budgets might seem to lead to initial challenges, especially if the market is highly competitive or efficiency targets are not currently being met. Make sure to incorporate these steps into your marketing to drive greater efficiency.

If you have other tactics or strategies that have worked for your SMB, leave a comment.

Lauren Crain is a Client Services Lead in 3Q Digital’s SMB division, 3Q Incubate.

The post Five things to do on a small digital marketing budget appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

7 Most Effective WordPress Website Design Tips

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Building a website using WordPress is one way to maintain complete control over new content and updates, even if you do not have prior programming or WordPress experience. By using WordPress, present any design you envision to your visitors and prospective customers with less hassle. With a few WordPress website design tips, ensure your website appears exactly as it should whether you are showing off your personal professional portfolio or if you are promoting your business and brand with an eCommerce storefront. 

Pay Attention to the Details

Whenever you are designing a new WordPress layout, it is essential to pay attention to all of the details involved in the process. Pay attention to the type of graphics and photography that are used in your website’s layout and whether or not they blend well with the aesthetic and overall message you want to convey to your visitors and prospective customers. 

Consider how your target audience will likely visit your website and whether or not they are doing so with a traditional web browser or a mobile smartphone. Paying attention to details while building your WordPress layout and design is a way to ensure you are maximizing your ability to appeal to those you want to reach.

Look at the detail put into this estate planning attorney’s website. This is a great example of representing how much much detail you put into your clients through your web design.

Sticky Navigation

When a user accesses a website for the first time, they will immediately search for the navigation section of the site itself. Use a sticky navigation solution in the top half section of your website to prevent users from feeling confused or disoriented once they begin looking for your site’s content or latest blog updates.

Implement White Space into Your Design

White space is one of the most important elements in good design, whether you work in print or digital design. White space provides users, readers, and prospective customers with breathing room as they discover new information and content from a business, brand, or individual. Using white space is a great way to show off other aspects of a product or website design. White space is ideal to prevent overwhelming or confusing visitors, especially if they are new to your website or unfamiliar with your business, brand, or purpose.

The Importance of Typography

Implementing professional typography is a key element of effective WordPress website design. Even if you choose a traditional WordPress layout for your website, it is still advisable to select a popular, yet easy to read font that blends well with the overall theme and aesthetic of your website’s design. Typography is used in large headers, links, and even within the navigation sections of your website. When a user is attempting to browse through your website, a proper font is essential to avoid causing confusion among your visitors.

Check out the unique typography used by this creative entertainment technology company to really make them stand out from the crowd.

Using Color Psychology to Your Advantage 

Color psychology is often the foundation of any successful marketing campaigns, digital or not. With color psychology, gain the trust of your visitors or motivate them to complete their purchase with your online eCommerce store. Understanding the basics of color psychology can help with choosing a layout, design, and color scheme that is optimal for your website based on its purpose and the audience you want to reach. When choosing a WordPress layout and design for your website, keep these basic color meanings in mind:

  • Red: Showstopping. Urgent. Sexy. Luxurious. Enticing.
  • Blue: Friendly. Corporate. Trustworthy. Welcoming. Optimistic.
  • Green: Money. Shopping. Envy. Success. Health. Nutrition. Savings. Spending.
  • Purple: Royalty. Elegant. Lush. Luxury. Enticing.
  • Yellow/Orange: Friendly. Welcoming. Creative. Optimistic. Unique. Original.
  • Black: Royal. Elegant. Fancy. Chic. Modern. Classic. 
  • White: Minimalist. Peaceful. Elegant. Free. Modern. Chic. 

Use Social Media Plugins to Maximize Your Online Reach

One of the advantages of using a solution such as WordPress is the ability to download and install thousands of plugins and themes free of charge. Plugins are used to implement additional features into WordPress websites. Some plugins are designed to showcase portfolios and eCommerce items, while others allow users to make friends and communicate with one another on a specified WordPress website. 

Use social media plugins to promote your social media pages and their links on each piece of content or new blog post you create. Each time your website is updated, visitors have the opportunity to share the post directly on their social media while also being presented with the option of following your specific brand or business on their preferred social platforms. 

Notice how this CBD site offers social discounts for social shares as a way to drive viral interest.

CTA Placement

Are you selling products or services on your website? Do you provide visitors with the opportunity to register as a member of your site or online community? Implementing your CTA, or call-to-action in the right location and with the proper wording is imperative. With the right CTA, drastically increase the traffic you drive to your sales, promotions, or user sign up pages. 

Creating an appealing, relevant, and simplistic website design for your WordPress site is essential when entering a highly competitive or saturated market. When you know how to present your products, services, or information to the audience and demographics you want to reach, you boost your chances of generating sales, revenue, and loyal followers and fans.


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Rodney Warner heads the team at Connective Web Design and is also a musician, outdoor enthusiast, and ice cream connoisseur.

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Projection Mapping for Business: Everything You Need to Know

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Projection mapping utilizes conventional video projectors but does not project light on a flat screen in order to present, say, a powerpoint presentation. Instead, the light that is generated is formed onto any surface of the person’s choosing, transforming conventional three-dimensional objects, such as an automobile, into an interactive display. In essence, then, projection mapping consists of displaying imagery onto a surface that is non-white and not-flat as well. Originally known as video mapping or spatial augmented reality, projection mapping is a truly revolutionary form of technology that has taken the business world by storm. 

That is, with projection mapping the sky is literally the limit, as businesses can use it for gaming, computing, film, decorations, theatre, live concerts, and persuasive and engaging advertising campaigns and events. As such, physical objects and the virtual content that the company wishes to present can be aligned perfectly with some elbow grease or proprietary software. Here, we will discuss projection mapping for businesses and everything you need to know about this versatile and state of the art technology.

The Benefits of Using Projection Mapping in Events

One of the chief benefits of using projection mapping for events is that it can allow a business to mesmerize its clients or prospective clients or attendees via top of the line technology. By doing so, an enterprise can help foster better client or attendee engagement with the branding and messaging that the company wishes to market or convey. In fact, the return on investment that is associated with this revolutionary form of technology is quite remarkable and has allowed companies to enjoy greater customer engagement, social shares, and publicity as well.

Furthermore, projection mapping is essentially an interactive advertising medium, allowing users and attendees to engage and interact with the technology in profound and engaging ways. The content marketing experiences that can be created are nearly endless and are only limited by the creativity of the marketing team involved.

Moreover, businesses can create truly timeless and memorable moments with their clients by properly using the nearly infinite potential of the blossoming medium, and it is a very shareable advertising medium, in the sense that it really lends itself to being shared on social media platforms, with particularly creative projection mapping presentations going viral in record time.

In sum, when projection mapping technology is used as intended, it will allow businesses to enjoy a remarkable return on their investment in the form of publicity, social shares, and client engagement.

Things You Need to Consider

There are a few things you need to consider before implementing the projection mapping technology at your disposal. For instance, you will need to consider your budget, as you will want to work within it. You will also need to consider what you will be projecting, as you want to maximize the space that you will be using to showcase your presentation. 

That is, you will need to find out how large the venue space that you will be using will be as well as determine what you will be presenting in your presentation. Finally, you will also need to determine how far along you are in planning the event, as you don’t want to be too ambitious or stretch your resources too thin.

Some Creative Projection Mapping Ideas

In Japan, an art collective known as TeamLab used cutting edge projection mapping technology to fabricate a magical fantasy world at the Digital Art Museum, situated in Tokyo. The goal was to create a virtual realm that was without borders, and the team created different scenes and concepts and allowed them to flow together in a seamless manner. In other words, the artwork was allowed to move freely from one room to the next, in order to form meaningful and memorable interactions with the people who attended the event. 

Even other works of art were influenced by the team’s artwork, as the artwork on display at the exhibit would interact, influence, and even intermingle with each other in fascinating ways. Interestingly, TeamLab had 10,000 square meters of space to work with, and brought their ambitious vision to life using 470 projectors and 520 state of the art computers.

Argentina celebrated its bicentenary in grand fashion by using projection mapping technology to promote national pride. To do so, massive projections were displayed on one of the country’s biggest and most famous buildings. Known as the Palacio Barolo, the building was said to be inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy, and the projection mapping involved the silhouettes of beautiful figures that danced in an animated and festive fashion. 

The Future of Projection Mapping

Projection mapping is considered by many technology analysts to be the future of advertising and is primed to take the marketing industry by storm in the next few years. A revolutionary and innovative form of tech, projection mapping allows users to be in full control of the content that they wish to produce and present. Clients will also be able to experience something that is novel, unique, and far beyond the depths of their imagination.


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Rebecca Hill, worked as the community coordinator for many small businesses across Canada. Writes about technology trends and business ideas. Currently Working as the Community Manager at Freeman Audio Visual.

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7 Ideas How to Market on Instagram

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Instagram has become one of the most influential channels of social media marketing in the last few years. Today, thousands of marketers, photographers, bloggers, writers, and brands are experimenting and marketing their brands on this social platform – and for good reason.

Instagram is the fastest-growing social media that currently attracts over a billion monthly active users. They are not just passive observers but very active participants: 60% of users seek out and discover new products on Instagram. Besides that, Instagram offers you a wide range of other benefits:

  • Helps you to raise awareness
  • Nurtures relationships and boosts customer loyalty
  • Generates qualified leads
  • Drives conversions

In such circumstances, the only dilemma is how to prepare a top-notch promotional strategy for this network. We want to help you out with this, so keep reading to learn seven ideas on how to market your brand or business on Instagram.

1. Optimize Your Account

The first step is crucial because you have to create a digital fortress that perfectly represents your business, professional orientation, and style. Account optimization consists of three segments:

  • A profile picture: Add a high-quality photo that shows the name of your brand or logo. If you are creating a personal account, then post your own image. 
  • A bio: Tell something about yourself or your business. Jake Gardner, from the https://my-assignment.help/, says you should answer a couple of basic questions: What makes my business so special? What can my audience expect from me on Instagram? 
  • A link: Instagram is not really a URL-friendly platform, which means you have to seize the opportunity to add a link to your website in the bio. 

2. Use the Best Hashtags

As you probably know already, a hashtag is what sets your content apart from the crowd of other Instagram posts. You must find the best hashtag options for your business because it’s the only way to reach the right audience. At the same time, it would be great to come up with a unique branded hashtag that could make your account easily searchable and recognizable among users.

3. Mix Content Types

Instagram is amazing because it allows you to play with different media types, so you should definitely make use of this feature. Years of experience have taught us to publish 70% of images and 30% of videos, but this doesn’t have to work in all situations. Therefore, you should try to find the best ratio for your account and mix the content accordingly. 

4. Organize Contests

Instagram contests may well be the most productive generators of user engagement. After all, everybody loves competing and winning free stuff – it’s just the way humans think and behave. Most marketers launch branded Instagram hashtag contests to raise awareness and create additional buzz around their products or services. 

Each post with your hashtag automatically displays in the contest gallery, which is where your fans can vote and choose the finest videos or images. Such a tactic is highly efficient and doesn’t require big investments.

5. Share User-Generated Content

UGC is yet another tool to market your brand on Instagram. According to the research, UGC has a 4.5% higher conversion rate than branded posts. Instead of creating your own content, you can share posts made by your followers. This mechanism has two advantages:

  • It saves time because you don’t need to invest too much effort into content creation. 
  • It builds relationships with your audience. When users notice that you share their posts, they are going to feel acknowledged and appreciated. They become legit members of a brand community and you can expect them to stay loyal to your business for a long time.

6. Work with Influencers

Social influencers are a powerful Instagram feature that you must use to market your business. They build a wide base of loyal fans that are willing to act upon their recommendations. For instance, if you are looking to best paper writing services, who would you trust: a well-known influencer with years of experience in this field or a random Instagram user? The answer is obvious, so do your best to exploit influencer marketing on Instagram.

7. Mind the Schedule and Timing

Consistency is crucial if you want to build long-term relationships with your audience. Instagram users publish millions of posts on a daily basis, so you have to be persistent, publish new content frequently, and do it when it matters the most. 

Create a schedule of activities and follow it without exceptions. Besides that, try to figure out periods of the day when your fans are very active on Instagram. That way, you can publish content at the right moment and increase the odds of inspiring user engagement.

Conclusion

Instagram marketing is an extremely effective tactic to promote your business online, particularly if you are running a product-focused company. The image and video-sharing platform can help you to raise awareness and generate leads, but only if you think strategically and make a good plan of activities.

In this post, we explained to you how to market on Instagram using seven highly practical mechanisms. Remember our tips and make sure to use them – they could earn you tons of new customers!


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Sharon is marketing specialist and blogger from Manchester, UK. When she has a minute, she loves to share a few of her thoughts about marketing, writing and blogging with you. Currently, she is working as a marketer at Paper Writing Pro Coursework Service. You could follow Sharon on Facebook.

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It’s time we rethink how we measure influencers for SEO

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Whether you’re an SEO, PR or a website owner, it’s highly likely you’ve come across DA (Domain Authority). The metric, created by industry-leading platform Moz, was designed to help search marketers understand the value of a domain, at a glance and compare it with others in the same industry or niche.

This was important for SEO, third party links have long been used to understand how “trustworthy” a website is and form part of Google’s “ranking criteria” (although their importance and how this works is a hot talking point in SEO).

Moz uses their index (or understanding of the web), to map out these links between sites and, alongside other factors, try to assign a “competition” score to each website they encounter. This can then be used as a proxy to determine the value of a said site.

Note: I have nothing against Moz. This piece isn’t in any way designed to be a slight on them or their work, but further insight and context into how to use the data they provide.

The eye-opener to follower deception

Last year, Social Chain opened marketers’ eyes to the murky world of follower deception. Many brands understand the importance of influencers to the digital ecosystem, but measuring the value that someone can bring prior to working with them is difficult and time-consuming. As such, often companies rely on metrics that symbolizes “reputation”, followers, engagement, and other similar indicators. However, as Social Chain asserted, the typical signposts do not always depict a true picture and if not completely understood or manipulated, can lead to large amounts of spend being wasted.

This is a common theme with SEO. Although it’s less a question of manipulation and more a question of understanding. In 2012, Penguin, Google’s “webspam” filter was rolled-out and assigned a positive or negative value to third party links. Prior to this, “trust” was judged on an arguably simpler set of volume-based criteria, but as the flaws in the system were exploited. It soon became clear that a more complex solution was required, to ensure the integrity of search results was maintained. Trust continued to be an important factor in success, but SEO’s had to start thinking more carefully about how they generated these. Here the connection between SEO and PR became more important as links could not be artificially built they had to be earned, naturally.

The two teams started to collaborate more closely, with SEOs providing PRs extra resource to contact a “lower”, but still valuable tier of influencer and PRs helping SEOs reach the higher, more widely trusted publications that they could not access before. Over time, the lines between SEO and other channels have started to blur – and as teams were pushed to operate across remits, PRs started to use SEO metrics, with DA taking precedence (as it was arguably the simplest to use), to understand more about the people they were contacting. With investment from brands increasing, more influencers started to appear, and from this grew an industry in its own right.

Fast forward to the present day

An influencer marketer will likely sit across content, Social, PR, and SEO, with the goal of engaging personalities to improve performance across all the channels they are connected to (based on the goals of the organization/campaign). For social and PR, engagement and reach can be more easily measured. But SEO has always been complicated. This is because “good SEO” has never been about links alone and the idea of a “link value” is entirely subjective, based on factors that change between industries, counties, and even search results. As such, the idea of using a single, links-based metric to determine the value a domain can provide for SEO is inherently floored – and yet, many marketers, influencers and PR teams still continue to use DA for this purpose.

To make matters more complex, the whole link-building ecosystem has been flooded with misinformation. I discussed this in a recent webinar with SEMRush, but it’s often been the case that the wider industry’s understanding of the link building practice has come through commentators on the practice and not the experts conducting the work themselves. This means, the influencers and PR teams, and not the SEO community themselves.

Why is this the case?

There’s really no simple answer, although, for a long time before the collaboration was mainstream, it would be a frequent occurrence for SEOs and PRs to clash over remit cross-over. In the agency world, this could have led to reduced budgets – why pay two agencies to do the work of one, although (from my experience), clients were very much open to creating a joined-up approach between both teams.

While conflict happened behind the scenes, uncertainty, and misinformation filtered out to the influencer market, with PRs and SEOs trying to show that they “knew enough” about the other to make a wider judgment on influencer selection for projects. This led to followers and domain authority becoming key metrics in this process which, although not unhelpful, rarely offered the truest picture of a website’s worth. In turn, this led to transactional relationships with websites, where links and shares were bought for a price that, once this became a commodity only ever increased. Instead of paying for the time and expertise of the people that were being engaged, their value became intrinsically tied to their reach or their link-equity (perceived through domain authority), two metrics that could be easily manipulated.

Now, the growing rumble of discontent within the influencer landscape has finally hit the headlines with a theatrical flourish. Unfortunately for many, this has come too late, with brands realizing the cost of investing in reach over expertise, most famously with the Fyre festival scandal. But, this doesn’t mean that influencer marketing isn’t valuable, as I wrote at the time, but that how and most importantly – the reasons as to why marketers engage with content creators need to change. We’ve seen publicly how using followers to measure reach can be folly. But there’s still time to take these learnings and apply them to domain authority too before something as equally damaging to the industry happens.

Latest developments

Recent legislation in the UK has started to pave the way for change in this field. It’s certainly made working with influencers harder, in large part to the ambiguity around the specifics of how the changes should be interpreted, I personally apply the principle of “better safe than sorry”, even from a search perspective. Every brand interaction should now be declared as an advert, including event invites and even in cases where the only “payment” has been a reimbursing of travel costs. With Google’s hardline view on manipulative link building, the practice of engaging “high authority” SEO influencers is slowly ending or at least, becoming incredibly risky.

Instead, we should look to engage influencers for their subject matter expertise and credibility they can lend to a story or campaign. In practice, this means killing the transactional “I give you X and you give me Y” type of relationships and seeing content creators as partners in getting your message out to the world. For SEO, this may mean using “no-follow” links (which, in basic terms, tell crawlers that they should not consider them for search benefit), but this shouldn’t be an issue. Sure, their direct value on search may be limited, but to think that the search algorithm considers the web in as simple terms as this would be myopic. There are some brilliant studies around the power of brand on search, which are worth noting in this context. Moreover, at its heart, a link is there to carry users from A to B. Adding a “no-follow” tag doesn’t stop this from happening and in this case, using domain authority as a metric often would lead to discounting a valuable traffic driving part of this ecosystem.

With this shift in the industry and better collaboration than ever between search and the wider marketing mix, the opportunity for content, search and marketing communication teams to unite is stronger than ever. So too, is the need for it, as achieving cut-through in the wall of digital noise is harder than it’s ever been. Campaigns, to be successful on all fronts, must genuinely inspire, engage or provide value to users and older-school tactics, such as product reviews and content seeding, have all but lost their ability to drive results. On this point, we simply must move away from using domain authority and followers as a metric in isolation, as neither is an effective gauge of how useful a site might be to its users.

Closing notes

I’d like to speak directly to influencers because without a universal change in mindset, we’ll continue to see the same practices continue and the channel will continue to be under-utilized. I’d impress upon them the need to keep an open mind and focus on becoming the best subject matter experts that they can. I’d encourage the end of any agonizing over “vanity metrics”, which are often taken out of context, and in place look to whether their users are genuinely engaging with their content, and how this impacts their value as creators. Importantly, I’d implore everyone, PRs and SEOs included, to have a little more fun, harness the incredible creativity that brand communications teams, content creators, and influencer marketers can yield and build something great together.

Ric Rodriguez is an SEO Director and winner of the 2018 Drum Search Award. He can be found on Twitter @RicRodriguez_UK.

The post It’s time we rethink how we measure influencers for SEO appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

It’s time we rethink how we measure influencers for SEO

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in test

Whether you’re an SEO, PR or a website owner, it’s highly likely you’ve come across DA (Domain Authority). The metric, created by industry-leading platform Moz, was designed to help search marketers understand the value of a domain, at a glance and compare it with others in the same industry or niche.

This was important for SEO, third party links have long been used to understand how “trustworthy” a website is and form part of Google’s “ranking criteria” (although their importance and how this works is a hot talking point in SEO).

Moz uses their index (or understanding of the web), to map out these links between sites and, alongside other factors, try to assign a “competition” score to each website they encounter. This can then be used as a proxy to determine the value of a said site.

Note: I have nothing against Moz. This piece isn’t in any way designed to be a slight on them or their work, but further insight and context into how to use the data they provide.

The eye-opener to follower deception

Last year, Social Chain opened marketers’ eyes to the murky world of follower deception. Many brands understand the importance of influencers to the digital ecosystem, but measuring the value that someone can bring prior to working with them is difficult and time-consuming. As such, often companies rely on metrics that symbolizes “reputation”, followers, engagement, and other similar indicators. However, as Social Chain asserted, the typical signposts do not always depict a true picture and if not completely understood or manipulated, can lead to large amounts of spend being wasted.

This is a common theme with SEO. Although it’s less a question of manipulation and more a question of understanding. In 2012, Penguin, Google’s “webspam” filter was rolled-out and assigned a positive or negative value to third party links. Prior to this, “trust” was judged on an arguably simpler set of volume-based criteria, but as the flaws in the system were exploited. It soon became clear that a more complex solution was required, to ensure the integrity of search results was maintained. Trust continued to be an important factor in success, but SEO’s had to start thinking more carefully about how they generated these. Here the connection between SEO and PR became more important as links could not be artificially built they had to be earned, naturally.

The two teams started to collaborate more closely, with SEOs providing PRs extra resource to contact a “lower”, but still valuable tier of influencer and PRs helping SEOs reach the higher, more widely trusted publications that they could not access before. Over time, the lines between SEO and other channels have started to blur – and as teams were pushed to operate across remits, PRs started to use SEO metrics, with DA taking precedence (as it was arguably the simplest to use), to understand more about the people they were contacting. With investment from brands increasing, more influencers started to appear, and from this grew an industry in its own right.

Fast forward to the present day

An influencer marketer will likely sit across content, Social, PR, and SEO, with the goal of engaging personalities to improve performance across all the channels they are connected to (based on the goals of the organization/campaign). For social and PR, engagement and reach can be more easily measured. But SEO has always been complicated. This is because “good SEO” has never been about links alone and the idea of a “link value” is entirely subjective, based on factors that change between industries, counties, and even search results. As such, the idea of using a single, links-based metric to determine the value a domain can provide for SEO is inherently floored – and yet, many marketers, influencers and PR teams still continue to use DA for this purpose.

To make matters more complex, the whole link-building ecosystem has been flooded with misinformation. I discussed this in a recent webinar with SEMRush, but it’s often been the case that the wider industry’s understanding of the link building practice has come through commentators on the practice and not the experts conducting the work themselves. This means, the influencers and PR teams, and not the SEO community themselves.

Why is this the case?

There’s really no simple answer, although, for a long time before the collaboration was mainstream, it would be a frequent occurrence for SEOs and PRs to clash over remit cross-over. In the agency world, this could have led to reduced budgets – why pay two agencies to do the work of one, although (from my experience), clients were very much open to creating a joined-up approach between both teams.

While conflict happened behind the scenes, uncertainty, and misinformation filtered out to the influencer market, with PRs and SEOs trying to show that they “knew enough” about the other to make a wider judgment on influencer selection for projects. This led to followers and domain authority becoming key metrics in this process which, although not unhelpful, rarely offered the truest picture of a website’s worth. In turn, this led to transactional relationships with websites, where links and shares were bought for a price that, once this became a commodity only ever increased. Instead of paying for the time and expertise of the people that were being engaged, their value became intrinsically tied to their reach or their link-equity (perceived through domain authority), two metrics that could be easily manipulated.

Now, the growing rumble of discontent within the influencer landscape has finally hit the headlines with a theatrical flourish. Unfortunately for many, this has come too late, with brands realizing the cost of investing in reach over expertise, most famously with the Fyre festival scandal. But, this doesn’t mean that influencer marketing isn’t valuable, as I wrote at the time, but that how and most importantly – the reasons as to why marketers engage with content creators need to change. We’ve seen publicly how using followers to measure reach can be folly. But there’s still time to take these learnings and apply them to domain authority too before something as equally damaging to the industry happens.

Latest developments

Recent legislation in the UK has started to pave the way for change in this field. It’s certainly made working with influencers harder, in large part to the ambiguity around the specifics of how the changes should be interpreted, I personally apply the principle of “better safe than sorry”, even from a search perspective. Every brand interaction should now be declared as an advert, including event invites and even in cases where the only “payment” has been a reimbursing of travel costs. With Google’s hardline view on manipulative link building, the practice of engaging “high authority” SEO influencers is slowly ending or at least, becoming incredibly risky.

Instead, we should look to engage influencers for their subject matter expertise and credibility they can lend to a story or campaign. In practice, this means killing the transactional “I give you X and you give me Y” type of relationships and seeing content creators as partners in getting your message out to the world. For SEO, this may mean using “no-follow” links (which, in basic terms, tell crawlers that they should not consider them for search benefit), but this shouldn’t be an issue. Sure, their direct value on search may be limited, but to think that the search algorithm considers the web in as simple terms as this would be myopic. There are some brilliant studies around the power of brand on search, which are worth noting in this context. Moreover, at its heart, a link is there to carry users from A to B. Adding a “no-follow” tag doesn’t stop this from happening and in this case, using domain authority as a metric often would lead to discounting a valuable traffic driving part of this ecosystem.

With this shift in the industry and better collaboration than ever between search and the wider marketing mix, the opportunity for content, search and marketing communication teams to unite is stronger than ever. So too, is the need for it, as achieving cut-through in the wall of digital noise is harder than it’s ever been. Campaigns, to be successful on all fronts, must genuinely inspire, engage or provide value to users and older-school tactics, such as product reviews and content seeding, have all but lost their ability to drive results. On this point, we simply must move away from using domain authority and followers as a metric in isolation, as neither is an effective gauge of how useful a site might be to its users.

Closing notes

I’d like to speak directly to influencers because without a universal change in mindset, we’ll continue to see the same practices continue and the channel will continue to be under-utilized. I’d impress upon them the need to keep an open mind and focus on becoming the best subject matter experts that they can. I’d encourage the end of any agonizing over “vanity metrics”, which are often taken out of context, and in place look to whether their users are genuinely engaging with their content, and how this impacts their value as creators. Importantly, I’d implore everyone, PRs and SEOs included, to have a little more fun, harness the incredible creativity that brand communications teams, content creators, and influencer marketers can yield and build something great together.

Ric Rodriguez is an SEO Director and winner of the 2018 Drum Search Award. He can be found on Twitter @RicRodriguez_UK.

The post It’s time we rethink how we measure influencers for SEO appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Grabbing Attention in a Full Inbox: 10 New Ideas for Follow Up Emails

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in test

Research shows that editors prefer to receive follow up emails 1 week after a pitch is sent…. But with the majority of editors receiving up to 10 pitches per day (and therefore 10 follow ups per day!), how can you make sure that YOUR follow up email is one that editors will want to open and respond to?

The answer: Be different.

One of the worst things you can do is Google ‘follow up email template’. Why? Because all you’re doing is filling your prospect’s inbox with a generic, standardized email that they will have seen a million times. 

Yawn.

Boring.

What’s for dinner?

The mundane is practical, sure, but it isn’t interesting; it isn’t attention grabbing. It’s time to turn heads.

Stand Out From the Crowd

Learning how to stand out in a noisy world isn’t always easy. There are so many methods and techniques that we’ve used so frequently that they’ve practically become ingrained into our day-to-day processes.

Making a change can be daunting, but by putting new formats, new ideas, and new ways of forming relationships out there, you could significantly increase response rates to your follow up emails. 

So just what are some new ideas for follow up emails? Let’s take a look at 10 possibilities:

1. The Honest Follow Up 

We want editors to like us. We want to suck up. We want to spew compliments. We want to go all 1980’s Sally Field on them and scream ‘you like me, you really like me!’. But guess what. No one likes a kiss ass. 

We have found that nearly two thirds of editors hate cheesy pickup lines. It’s not a date. Editors don’t want admirers. They want people bold enough to share their own ideas.

Take the ‘honesty is the best policy’ approach in your follow up email. Don’t agree with something you’ve seen posted? Think a post is badly written? Call them out on it, and show them how you can help. 

Examples:

  • I’m such a big fan of your blog! I’ve been following it religiously for years and I think it’s absolutely perfect. I’d really love it if you could give me a chance to contribute. (Barf!)
  • I’ve noticed that one of your recent guest posts, titled X, has a few mistakes in it. I just wanted to point this out as fact checking is important to me; I believe it really adds credibility to content.

2. The Visual Follow Up

Do you know what editors don’t want to see at the end of a long day? A massive wall of text. Do you know what they DO want? A little visual stimulation that brings a smile to their face (even on a Monday!)

Believe it or not, most editors don’t mind if you use gifs or memes in your follow up email… as long as they’re relevant and not too crude of course. It maybe best to step away from the poop emojis….

There’s a New York Times Bestseller called Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive (well worth a read) which shows that a funny, inoffensive cartoon in communications can really boost levels of trust.

Example:

  • I sent you my pitch because I believe content marketing is more important than ever before. 

3. The Thoughtful Follow Up 

If you don’t have a reason to get back in touch with an editor other than to remind them of your pitch and do the tail-between-the-legs ‘just checking in’ thing, then make a reason. Pull one out of thin air.

Have you seen a news item that’s relevant to their readership? A picture? Travelled somewhere that made you think of the website, the editor, or their audience? Anything at all? Then use it!

Remember that personalization is one thing, but thoughtfulness is quite another. Make the editor know that, even though they haven’t yet been in touch, you are still thinking about how you can help them.

Examples:

  • Just checking in to see if you’ve read my pitch about pizzas yet for your recipe site?
  • I saw this video today about pizzas and it made me think of you. I know your audience love your pizza recipes (which is why I pitched you some ideas recently!). It’s a great watch; Enjoy!

4. The Understanding Follow Up 

Let’s not beat around the bush here; receiving cold emails is annoying. More annoying than forgetting to switch on the crock pot before work and coming home to a bowl of cold, pretty off-smelling chicken.

Sure, if you’re trying to expand your online reach and target new demographics then you gotta do what you gotta do. But it doesn’t hurt to resonate and acknowledge the editor’s potential frustration.

This can actually be hugely beneficial. It shows that you understand things from the editor’s point of view; that you can recognize other perspectives and put yourself in other people’s (audience’s) shoes.

Examples: 

  • Do you like my pitch? I think it’s really great and you’ll definitely want to learn more.
  • Look, I know it sucks receiving these emails (believe me, it pains me to press the send button) but I really think my ideas would engage your readers and I don’t think we should give up easily!

5. The Well-Researched Follow Up

It’s not like you need to go full-on stalker mode here, but a little bit of (perfectly legal) snooping doesn’t hurt when it comes to follow up emails. So what is your editor up to that you could use to help you?

Try to keep up-to-date with what your editor is doing — Is he/she attending an event? Going travelling? Beginning a new partnership with an influencer? Working on a book? Use this to your advantage.

This information can add an even deeper level of personalization to your follow up email, showing the editor that you’ve really put the effort into creating the foundations of a long lasting relationship.

Examples:

  • I know you’re busy, but I’m just checking if you’ve had chance to read my pitch yet?
  • I know you’ve been busy attending the X exhibition in California, so I’m just re-sending my information so you can find it more easily when you have a little more time on your hands.

6. The Informative Follow Up

Rather than simply asking if an editor has had time to sit down and check out your pitch, give them an actual valuable reason to open your follow up email. If they’re clicking, it should be worth their time.

While a pitch email should be simple and direct, a follow up email can be a bit more flexible and you can get a bit more creative. Use this as another opportunity to sell yourself. Don’t waste a communication.

Adding additional information to your follow up email is a fine art. All vital information should have been included with your pitch, so think about other relevant aspects you could throw in to engage editors.

Examples:

  •  Just checking in to see if you’ve read my pitch. That’s all!
  • I thought that learning a little more about me could help you to see if I’m the right fit for your readership. My first ever guest post was for X, and since then I’ve gone on to write for…

7. The Questioning Follow Up

Editors are busy people, sure. But in general they’re not rude people (unless you’re unlucky!). If you follow up with a question, any decent editor should take the time to respond. It’s basic politeness.

If an editor is taking the time to answer your question, then they may also take a moment to address your pitch. And if they don’t address your pitch, then you have your answer and you can proudly walk away.

The type of question you ask can be practically anything, as long as it’s relevant. You could be asking about a specific post that’s been published, about the website, or even checking contact details.

Examples: 

  • Just checking if you saw the pitch I sent to you last week? 
  • I sent some ideas across last week and realized I might be barking up the wrong tree here! Could you please confirm if you are the right contact to be sending pitches across to? Thanks!

8. The FOMO Follow Up

FOMO — fear of missing out — is very, very real. So show editors just what they’re missing. If things are going well, you should be having work published (even on your own website) pretty regularly by now.

If you’ve not had a response to your pitch, show the editor what could have been by sending a link to a recent article; one that is performing really well with audiences and is relevant to the editor’s readers.

We all want what we can’t have. By sending a FOMO follow up, you may just encourage the editor to get in touch to ensure that they’re given first refusal on your ideas and stop you taking them elsewhere.

Examples:

  • I’ve written many articles on topics that I think would be relevant to your audience.
  •  I recently had an article published about pizza on X blog, which I think your readers would have loved. You can check it out here:

9. The Alternative Follow Up

No one agrees on who said it — Einstein, Franklin, Twain, or Rita next door — but we do know it was said: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. 

If you’ve tried to get a response from an editor by email and it hasn’t worked, try something else. If email doesn’t work, go social (but stay away from the phone, no one wants to be put on the spot).

A quick Tweet or Facebook message can be great. Editors love this. It gives them a chance to sneakily check out your social voice and verify who you say you are before sending a response to your pitch.

Examples: 

  •  (Via Email): I’m just dropping another email to see if you liked my pitch.
  • (Via Twitter): Just a quick note to say I sent you some ideas by email last week, hope you enjoy.

10. The Non-Follow Up Follow Up

Whaaaat? Don’t follow up? Has everyone gone crazy? Maybe. Maybe not. Have you considered following up, but not with the same person? It sounds a little strange, but bear with us for a moment here….

Think about it. Life gets in the way. We all know that. Maybe an editor has had one hell of a week. Maybe they’re having computer problems. Maybe they don’t have the energy to respond to pitches right now. 

Why not try someone else? Do some digging around to see if you can find another contact and reach out to someone else at the same blog or organisation. There’s no need to re-pitch, just say hello.

Examples:

  • (To Original Contact): I’m just following up to see if you had a chance to read my pitch?
  • (To New Contact): I sent across some ideas to John last week but I haven’t heard back yet. I know that life can get in the way sometimes, but I just want to make sure my pitch isn’t overlooked.

Same Strategy, Different Approach

All of these 10 new ideas for follow up emails are very distinct, yet they all have one thing in common. Each idea follows the classic cold calling strategy: ABCDE.

  • Attract
  • Bond
  • Convert
  • Deliver
  • Endear

As long as your follow up email follows the ABCDE pattern, the world is your oyster. Be creative, dare to do something different, and stand out from the crowd.

It doesn’t matter how you ABCDE… as long as you do it!


avatar

Anita Sambol is a young content marketing specialist and blogger, writing about all things online marketing on several websites. She’s currently occupied with UnGagged Conference project. She loves everything about SEO, online marketing and social media, both at work and in her free time.

The post Grabbing Attention in a Full Inbox: 10 New Ideas for Follow Up Emails appeared first on SiteProNews.