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COMSTRAT 310 Syllabus - Spring 2017

COMSTRAT 310 - DIGITAL CONTENT PROMOTION (3 CREDITS) Instructor:  Brett Atwood                                Office:  GWH 234        ...

Good Night, and Good Luck

To the students of COMSTRAT 310:

Thank you!!!

I had a fantastic time working with you this past semester. It was a pleasure to work with all of you on your semester-long campaign and projects.

Please have a safe and fun summer! :)

WEEKS 15 & 16: Learning Google Analytics, StatCounter & Web Analytics Tools/Learning Google AdWords/Final Projects & Social Media Marketing Plans

SUMMARY:

For the final weeks of the semester, we will:
  • Learn about website analytics tools (such as Google Analytics and StatCounter) that enable better understanding of site/campaign traffic, referral and behavior patterns.
  • Learn about best practices in building an official Facebook and Google AdSense campaign.
  • Finish our semester-long campaign website and related social media channels.
HOMEWORK:
  • Work on your final exam, due no later than the end of the day on Tuesday, May 2.
  • Continue to work on your Social Media Marketing Plan, due Thursday, April 27.
  • Continue to Facebook and Twitter updates frequently (several times this week) and attempt to build a larger follower/fan count by outreach to friends and family, as well as activity on like-minded social media pages.

Take-Home Exam - Due May 2

The following is your one and only exam for the semester!! Please complete and email me your responses by the end of the day on Tuesday, May 2.

There are only two written response questions on this exam (both valued equally in scoring).

1. For this question, you will first need to identify and select any current web-based advertising or PR promotion for a national brand or organization that uses multiple social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Then, once you've made your selection, give a brief (minimum 3-5 paragraphs) analysis and critique (good or bad) of this campaign. Be sure to cite specific examples, if appropriate, of how the campaign aligns to some of the guidelines and "best practices" cited in class and/or in our lectures.

Please do NOT use an existing example cited on this blog, in class, lecture notes or in the blog.

Things to consider:
  • How effective do you think it is at reaching its intended target audience?
  • Are they engaging in a one-way or two-way conversation? How?
  • How would you characterize the general voice/tone in their messaging?
  • What data might they use to quantitatively or qualitatively determine if the campaign was a success? Are there any publicly-available resources that might tell you how well the campaign is doing? If so, what did you find?
  • Is the campaign optimized for search engine and social media discovery? How?
  • Does the campaign have the potential to go viral? Why or why not?

2. We've talked quite a bit about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and even Social Media Optimization (SMO). Thinking about your semester-long project and website campaign,  please share your thoughts on specific strategies that you used (or should have used) to improve its organic search rankings in Google and other search engines -- as well as your social media presence on Facebook and/or other outlets.
  • How is your campaign site or social media presence doing in organic search on Google? (Does it show up at all?)
  • What, if any, specific techniques and tactics did you use?
  • What other things might you do to help with your search engine optimization and presence?
  • Please provide specific examples that are applicable to your project.
That's it! Please email your responses to your instructor (Brett Atwood at batwood@wsu.edu) no later than the end of the day on Tuesday, May 2.

Landing your First PR or Advertising Job

Looking for a job in PR or Advertising? Getting that first gig can be tough. Here are some resources that may help in your search:
Socially network in the following LinkedIn Groups:
How is your online reputation? Enter your name into CVGadget.com and make sure that there are no "compromising" or negative results!

Research the company before you apply!

Social Media Marketing Plan - Semester Assignment

ASSIGNMENT:

Each team will collaborate to create a social media marketing plan for your brand. See info below for more criteria on what should be included. Your completed plan (due Thursday, April 27) should be approximately 5-10 pages (can be longer -- but MINIMUM of five pages).

Examples of Previous Semester Social Media Marketing Plans:

About Social Media Marketing Plans

What should be in your social media marketing plan? The presentation below gives an overview of the key elements, including the following sections and elements:
  • Executive Summary/Overview
  • Social Media Presence
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Goals
  • Strategies
  • Target Market
  • Tools & Implementation
  • Monitoring & Tuning
  • Budget & ROI
In addition, your Social Media Marketing Plan should include documentation of the research and planning of your campaign, including:
  • Branding research (logo/name survey results)
  • User Personas
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Wireframe(s)

Twitter Brand Pages, Advertising & Real-Time Web Monitoring Tools

Twitter
Twitter Brand Pages & Advertising Options

Twitter has a new and robust advertising platform that allows organizations to pay for placement in the "trending topics" list as "Promoted Trends" or for prime positioning via "Promoted Tweets." You can also promote your general Twitter account via "Promoted Accounts" ad buys.



In 2014, Twitter rolled out new "enhanced profile pages" that allow for better branding on your page!

Are you ready to set up your own Twitter page for your brand? It's easy! Register your brand username (or any name that is as close to your brand name as possible) and then look for the following options to help customize your Twitter account:
  • Change your Design via Settings > Design
  • Recommended dimensions for the small Profile Photo are 400 x 400
  • Bio should be no more than 160 characters
  • Recommended dimensions for the larger Profile Cover Photo are 1500 x 500  
Learn more about using Twitter for business >>

As part of the new design, Twitter has also introduced some new functionality that might be of interest to marketers.

Best Tweets - The most popular posts (with high engagement) will appear in larger font than other posts. This means that they are more likely to get the attention of your audience.

Pinned Tweets - Similar to the function offered by Facebook, you can now "pin" one of your favorite or more important tweets to the top of your profile. This ensures that your audience will see this tweet in the most prominent spot -- even if there are newer tweets posted.

Filtered Tweets - Now your audience can view a filtered view of your timeline including just photos, videos or tweets with replies.

Some examples of new enhanced profile pages for brands:

Twitter and "Real Time" Brand Sentiment Monitoring

Twitter has quickly emerged as a popular PR tool for the monitoring of "real-time Web" attitudes and behavior among consumers. Twitter limits users to 140 characters for each "tweet," but each entry is indexable and searchable. This means that journalists can quickly get a pulse on news trends and developments across the entire Twitter ecosystem.

 For example, visit search.twitter.com and enter in a popular topic. The results give you valuable insight into what people are saying about that topic! In addition, many companies are using Twitter to communicate and gather feedback directly from their customers.

Here are a few examples of companies amassing large followers on Twitter:

About Hashtags

Chances are pretty good that you are already familiar with the hash tag in social media. In case you aren't, a hash tag (#) is a keyword with the # symbol. It is used to "tag" an event or topic so that Twitter users can "follow" all activity more accurately. For example, #wsu is the hashtag that I would use in search.twitter.com to instantly pull up results for all-things-WSU. If there is a live event, organizers will often assign an official hash tag so that the Internet followers can get accurate "tweet" updates pertaining to that event. There is a centralized list of "official" hash tags at hashtags.org


Other Useful Links:

Understanding Google Analytics

Would you like to know more about the Web traffic click-through patterns and keyword referrals on your site? Google Analytics is a free Web-based tool that will give you rich data on how people interact with your Web site content.

Visit Google Analytics to learn more.



With Google Analytics, you can even get "real time" reports of what is happening on your website:

REAL TIME REPORTING




In addition, you can track the following type of website activities:

AUDIENCE
 


ACQUISITION



BEHAVIOR



NOTE: For Wix.com accounts, you must upgrade to a paid account with a unique vanity domain name in order to connect Google Analytics tracking to your webpage. A free alternative that does work with Wix.com is StatCounter.

Additional Resources:

There are several online resources that you can help you better understand and analyze the data that you get from the various Web analytics services.


Adding Google Analytics to your Wix site -- and a free alternative option: StatCounter

ADDING GOOGLE ANALYTICS TO WIX

If you have connected a unique domain to your Wix account (which requires an additional fee or subscription), then you have the option of using Google Analytics to measure website activity.

Here is information on how to connect Google Analytics to your Wix site:
https://support.wix.com/en/article/adding-your-google-analytics-code-to-your-site

Please note that you will need to generate a unique tracking code associated with your Google Analytics account. Here is more info:
https://support.wix.com/en/article/retrieving-your-google-analytics-code


STATCOUNTER

StatCounter allows you to track who is visiting your campaign site. By installing StatCounter code into your Wix.com site, you'll be able to see detailed information on your visitors.

To get started, visit http://statcounter.com. Sign up for a free account and then follow the instructions to generate and install tracking code.
NOTE: Upon installation of your tracking code, StatCounter may ask you to verify that the code has been installed correctly. In many cases, it will inform you with this message "Code Not Detected" -- However, if you do continue to the next step, you will typically see that your tracking code is indeed working and that data is being tracked correctly.

Please note that two features of StatCounter are not available with Wix.com. You may not see accurate tracking for page titles and referring information. 



Introduction to Google AdWords

OVERVIEW: WHAT IS GOOGLE ADWORDS VS. GOOGLE ADSENSE?

Many people confuse Google AdWords with a related program called Google AdSense. They are actually not the same thing!


Google AdWords is an advertising service that enables you to create your own ads to appear on relevant Google search results pages, as well as on other AdWords-enabled websites. Thus, companies that want to promote their services would use AdWords to advertise for acquisition of new customers.

Google AdSense is a different program that enables content creators to monetize their sites via displayed ads. So, if you are a content creator or publisher, you would likely want to participate in the AdSense program to make some money!

For this class, we will focus primarily on Google AdWords -- since that is the program most likely to be of use to aspiring professional PR and advertising students.

WHY ADWORDS?

With Google AdWords, you can create ads that are eligible to appear on Google within the search results. Your ads are also eligible to appear on some AdWords partner sites.

Unlike some traditional forms of advertising, you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad! Thus, your ad will generate lots of impressions - but your ad costs are linked to the "click-through rate" (CTR), which is what ultimately matters in driving traffic to your site.

How do you determine what each ad will cost?

In many cases, you will bid on "keywords" that are matched to the types of search engine queries that people make. There are branded and non-branded searches.

What is the difference between branded and non-branded searches?

BRANDED SEARCHES: If the customer already knows your brand name, they will likely type that into the search engine or they may already know the website address and go directly to your site. If they type your brand name into the search engine, this is known as a "branded search."

A good starting point is to do a general search for your brand on Google. Does your brand show up? If so, how high does it rank? Be aware that people might misspell your brand name -- do typos and variations of your brand also show up prominently?

Branded searches include any searches that originate with an attempt to search for your brand -- including typos and variations.

For example, branded searches for the 3D virtual world Second Life would include "Second Life," "2nd Life," "Second Life game" and even typos (e.g. "Secund Life").

NON-BRANDED SEARCHES: What about searches that happen when people don't already know your brand name? Maybe your potential customers are looking for a type of product or service, but are completely unaware that you even exist! A "non-branded search" encompasses searches for general descriptors and phrases that relate to your brand without actually including your brand name.

For example, popular non-branded searches for Second Life might include "virtual world," "3D virtual game," "avatar game" and "virtual life."

How does Google AdWords work?

Non-branded searches present a huge opportunity to acquire new customers and/or website visitors! You can use Google AdWords to place "bids" on ad placement on searches for both branded and non-branded searches. However, chances are pretty good that other companies are also targeting non-branded searches - so the prices may vary dramatically for your ads based on how in demand your keywords and phrases are. You have lots of options on how to bid and spend your money. You can use AdWords to pay a higher amount for prioritized placement among ads -- or distribute your costs more evenly so that your campaign budget lasts longer.

Here is a video that further summarizes how Google AdWords works:



One thing to note is that Google rewards you for relevancy over the long-term. To deter companies from bidding on popular phrases that have nothing to do with their brand or service, Google will actually factor in the accuracy of your ad copy and keyword bids into its algorithm that determines where your ad is placed. Thus, you don't want to "spam" or "bait and switch" potential customers with ads that are irrelevant to their searches.

Will my ads only be displayed on the search results pages on Google?

Not necessarily. You have the option to place an ad only on Google's search pages and/or the Display Network of partner sites. If you choose to include the Display Network, your ad can appear across the Internet on numerous sites that match the theme or topic of your campaign. These ads can include images, interactivity and even video.



For Display Ads, you can either import in your compliant ad or build a new Display Ad right inside the Google AdWords Display Ads tool. Click the image below to see a screenshot of what the Display Ad builder looks like.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/8xuvg1bmloaexwx/Display-Ad-Builder.jpg
























How do I get started with AdWords?

Looking to get started using Google AdWords?

Sign up for your free account. Although you don't necessarily need this for class, here is a link for a free $75 (when you spend $25) in starter advertising for first-time Google AdWords users.

Once you are logged in, you can start to write your ad copy and then use the ad creation tool to identify the keywords that you want to bid on. You can also target your ad for placement in particular geographic regions and other variables.


How Do You Measure Success in Google AdWords?



Here are some additional links and resources:
Other Useful Tools:
  • Go to these various AdWords tools to see several free utilities that can help you shape your ad
    • Use the Display Planner to help research your competition and to shape your online ad buying strategy
    • Use the Keyword Planner to find new keyword and ad group ideas, get performance estimates for them to find the bid and budget that are right for you, and then add them to your campaign.
    • To preview what ads are already displaying for a particular keyword, use the Ad Preview Tool

WEEKS 13 & 14: Building Twitter Pages/Learning Google AdWords & Facebook Ads/Design & Campaign Considerations for Mobile & Tablet Platforms

SUMMARY:

For these weeks, we will:
  • Create official Facebook and Twitter campaign accounts for your brand (if you have not done so already)
  • Learn about best practices in building an official Facebook and Google AdWords campaign.
  • Learn about "responsive" design and how to optimize your campaign website for mobile smartphones.
HOMEWORK:
  • Continue to work on your Social Media Marketing Plan, due Thursday, April 27.
  • Start posting Facebook and Twitter updates frequently (several times a week) and attempt to build a larger follower/fan count by outreach to friends and family, as well as activity on like-minded social media pages. 
    • You should try to have at least 30 Facebook followers by the end of the semester.
    • You should try to have at least 10 Facebook and Twitter posts by the end of the semester.
  • Optimize your Wix-created website for mobile devices using the mobile editor built into the Wix.com edit tool. Your final campaign site will be evaluated for how it appears on both desktop and mobile devices beginning Thursday, April 27. 
  • Begin the take-home final exam, due no later than the end of the day on Tuesday, May 2.

Facebook Insights

Facebook Insights allow any admin of an official Facebook page to learn more about fans and followers including demographics and engagement patterns.

The social media giant recently overhauled and expanded this important metrics platform to include richer and enhanced data streams that provide better insight to your Facebook followers.



Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads is an influential Web ad service that enables you to target specific audiences inside the popular social network. The video below shows the power of targeted messaging through the Facebook Ads platform.



CASE STUDIES FOR FACEBOOK ADS

Facebook has a page filled with case studies that you can explore to see how both small and large companies are using the Facebook Ads platform to expand their reach and build their business.
Here are some video tutorials that walk you through the basics of creating a Facebook ad and then identifying your target audience and budget in the Facebook Ads creation tool.

Creating your ad 

 

Defining your target audience and budget 



Facebook Advertising can be displayed as a traditional ad on the right hand side of the news feed or in the news feed itself.
  • News Feed
    • These ads will appear in the center of the news feed along posts from friends and followed pages. This "native ad" blends in seamlessly with the general news feed content. You can even pay for placement of a recent Facebook post so that it appears in the news feed for targeted recipients -- even if they don't yet "like" your page.
  • Right Side Column
    • These ads appear on the righthand column adjacent to your news feed. The size of these ads is considerably smaller than a News Feed ad.
Read the full FAQ for more info on these and other options. (Note: An alternate FAQ is also available for some Facebook users that may have a different Facebook Ads interface).

Related Links:
THE DOWNSIDE OF FACEBOOK ADVERTISING?

There is some debate about the effectiveness of Facebook Advertising. This video shows one ex-advertiser's experience with "Facebook fraud" and fake Like followers after a recent campaign:


Best Practices in Facebook Page Management

Facebook has an official guide to Best Practices with some great tips. However, here are even more best practices in communicating with your followers on Facebook:
  1. Be conversational in your voice/tone with your followers. In many cases, it is best to use a casual tone that people can relate to. While it is important to stay "on message" and not offer personal and polarizing opinions, many social media managers infuse humor and personality into their posts to capture the attention of their followers.
  2. Ask questions to inspire conversations. When you ask a question of your followers, you are likely to inspire engagement with you on Facebook. Be sure to answer back and/or respond to any conversation that unfolds!
  3. Respond to Facebook comments, when appropriate. Many companies make the mistake of using Facebook as a one-way channel to deliver company news and updates. However, these organizations are missing the point of Facebook -- it is a media outlet that is best suited for social conversations that are not one-sided! Don't be afraid to respond to your followers. Most will appreciate that you acknowledge their opinions. 
  4. Don't feed the trolls! Some conversations can lead into a never-ending cycle of negativity. If the exchange is less about intelligent conversation and more like a rant, it might be best to be reserved in how (and if) you respond. In extreme cases, companies will block or ban followers that are not willing to engage in reasonable conversation.
  5. Share photos and videos. Visual media is more likely to grab the attention of your followers than simple text. This also means that you should consider changing out your Timeline cover photo often, as well. It also means that you should pay closer attention to the thumbnails that are generated when you link to other content.
  6. Consider exclusive content. Is there any insider information that you can reward your loyal followers with? Inspire more loyalty among your fans and followers with exclusive extras, insider tips and tricks and/or behind-the-scenes photos.
  7. Use post targeting. Some updates are only likely to appeal to a portion of your followers. For example, a particular post might only be aimed at customers in a particular geographic region. If so, you can use the "Add Targeting" option to limit who sees your latest post.
  8. Post useful info - not spam! Don't "hard sell" your followers -- they will likely view any blatant commercial posts as "spam" (which can lead to a decline in "likes" of your page). Consider your readers and what they will find interesting and/or useful. Many organizations use Facebook to establish credibility and authenticity with their fans. For example, a restaurant might post interesting recipes or food preparation tips. These posts might occasionally be accompanied with a gentle nudge to readers about your services -- but it is never a blatant commercial plug.
  9. Don't post more than two times a day. For commercial products, less is more. If you post too often, you run the risk of being perceived as spam. However, media and news properties are different. If your brand is centered around the idea of delivering news and/or information, then these non-commercial updates are more likely to be welcomed and perceived as useful to your audience. For example, CNN posts breaking news several times a day -- all of which is expected by those followers. 
  10. Use the "pin" and "star" features. You can now "pin" a post to the top of your Timeline for up to 7 days Use the "star" feature on any post to expand its width to two columns
  11. BONUS TIP: Use the call-to-action button, if appropriate. Facebook recently introduced a new call-to-action button that you can add to the top of your page. This enables visitors to click through to complete an action. Options include "Book Now," "Contact Us," "Use App," "Play Game," "Shop Now," "Sign Up," and "Watch Video."
There are numerous other tips to consider, too. Take a look at these articles from various social media experts about best practices in Facebook engagement:

Optimizing your Campaign Site for Mobile Smartphones

How does your campaign site look on a mobile device or smartphone?

One should always think about how their site appears on multiple types of screens. A mobile device has smaller screen real estate than a full-sized computer monitor associated with a desktop computer. Given the rise of smartphones, some people even have a "mobile first" strategy where mobile is prioritized over desktop access in the design choices. One new option is a "responsive" design:



Related Link:
Did you know that your existing Wix.com website content can be modified slightly so that it displays more correctly on mobile devices? Watch this video to learn how:



Related Links:

WEEKS 10, 11 & 12: SEO Basics and Social Media Marketing Plans

SUMMARY:

Over the next three weeks, we will:
  • Continue to work on our primary Wix-based campaign website
  • Learn ways to improve search engine rankings of content for our media campaigns via Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
  • Learn about social media marketing plans and begin work on the creation of one with the goal of driving traffic and awareness to our campaign website.
HOMEWORK:
  • Begin to work on your Social Media Marketing Plan (final version due near the end of the semester)
  • Continue to work on and revise your campaign website, including modifications to help optimize your content for search engine indexing and rankings.
  • Each team should run an audit on their site, when it is ready using the Wix SEO Wiz tool.

What should be in your social media marketing plan?

Your final social media marketing plan should include the following sections and elements:
  • Executive Summary/Overview
  • Social Media Presence
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Goals
  • Strategies
  • Target Market
  • Tools & Implementation
  • Monitoring & Tuning
  • Budget & ROI
In addition, your Social Media Marketing Plan should include documentation of the research and planning of your campaign, including:
  • Branding research (logo/name survey results)
  • User Personas
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Wireframe(s)

Social Media Marketing Goals and Strategies



Related Links:
Below is an example of one of the many videos posted to YouTube showing how easy it was to unlock an old version of a Kryptonite bike lock.

Social Media Marketing Plan Cycle

Listening to what people are saying about a company enables the organization to determine its current social media presence which in turn guides the setting of social media goals and strategies to achieve them.

Setting Goals is done by pinpointing the location, behavior, tastes and needs of the target audience and conducting a competitive analysis to determine an organization’s strengths and weaknesses and the opportunities and threats in the environment.

Defining Strategies must be done on a case-by-case basis, using all available pertinent information.

Identifying the Target Audience (market) enables a company to organize its marketing strategies to efficiently reach those most receptive and likely to become customers and even brand advocates.

Selecting tools is accomplished by finding the social media sites where the target audience resides and then focusing the company’s social media efforts on those platforms.

Implementing is the process whereby the goals, strategies, target market and tools are taken into consideration in creating actionable social media platform-specific marketing tactics.

Monitoring is measuring, tracking and evaluating an organization’s social media marketing initiatives.

Tuning is the constant and continuous process of adjusting and improving the elements of the plan.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - Best Practices


Today in class we will look at ways to improve the search engine rankings of content in our press releases and original websites.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to the practice of refining your Web site content so that it has better visibility in search engines, such as Google.

Search engines are the primary way that people discover Web content. In the U.S., Google accounts for a vast majority of search engine referrals. Thus, it is hugely important that your content be properly indexed so that new users can discover and explore your creations.

This three-minute video gives a great overview of what SEO is all about:



But, what about specifics? Here is a great "cheat sheet" on SEO from my colleague Rebecca Cooney, an assistant professor at WSU:
Wix also has some great tips that can be reviewed at:

It's All About Algorithm

A key aspect of search engine optimization is the algorithm that drives the decisions of how search engines "rank" and determine "relevancy" for each website. Here are some resources that help explain more about the ever-changing (and somewhat secretive!) algorithms... 

Ways to Increase Referrals


The following information addresses some of the "best practices" in SEO for websites. It is essentially divided into two areas: On-page elements and Off-page elements. The on-page elements are things that you can control on your site...they are located on the pages of your site. This includes the text/copy, images, URL paths and even the design choices you make for your site. The off-page elements are located elsewhere on the web. This includes third-party websites, such as news sites, blogs and link aggregation services.

On-Page Elements:
The following on-page elements should be reviewed for possible tweaking so that your content is better surfaced in search engines for referral.

Page Title
  • The page title appears in the top bar of your browser
  • For critical areas of your Web site, does the page title in your browser contain the proper wording?
URL
  • Does the Web site URL for key areas include text that would contribute to that page being indexed on critical keywords?
"Invisible" Page Content
  • Description Field text doesn't help rankings, but it does ultimately show up in the search listings
  • Keywords description fields
    • Less is more
      • No more than 5-10 keywords in your metatag
Off-Page Elements

Inbound links

  • Increase number of Web pages that link to you
    • Seen as "vote of confidence" for relevance of your site
    • Text in link is also important ("link anchor text")
  • Increase Google's "Page Rank"
    • More links on prominent sites will also increase your page ranking
Best Practices
  • Does your blog post title contain keywords that concisely capture the blog topic and are known to be relevant to your site?
  • The very first words should be the most relevant, if possible
    • Good Example: Second Life Tutorial: Customize your Avatar
    • Bad Example: Want a New Look for your Avatar?
      • In the above example, the words "Second Life Tutorial" will match to keyword searches for people looking for second life tutorials. Further, the inclusion of "customize" and "avatar" will likely help this post show up higher in search results for people looking for help in avatar customization.
       
  • To see an example of this in action, do a Google Search on the words: Project Sansar
    • Notice how most of the top results have "Project Sansar" in the first few words of the title
  • Would your blog post title make sense if it were displayed "out of context" via a RSS feed or on a third-party Web site, such as Digg or Facebook?
    • Each post has the potential to be surfaced on third-party sites. Your headline should be constructed so that it compels someone to click on it.
  • Are there opportunities to mix in blog posts that are not time-sensitive?
    • Many blog posts will clearly be connected to a new and timely announcement or development. However, when appropriate, you might want to strategically develop topics that speak to "evergreen" topics that have a longer shelf life.
  • Consider organizing your narrative with sub-headers and integrating occasional use of bold text and lists.
    • These are believed to be minor factors in the algorithm that Google uses in determining relevance.
  • If appropriate, include links to previous related blog posts within the text of your new post.
    • Interlinking increases the odds that your posts will be indexed at a higher level, according to many SEO experts.

Share Links and Network Badges

According to many SEO experts, blogs can play a key role in helping one's overall search rankings. In the case of Google's algorithm, the "newness" and frequency of posts contribute to the perceived "relevance" of a site. However, the key is to get other blogs and sites to link directly to your blog. An increase in third party referral links results in an increased "relevance" for your site.

As expected, a new blog post typically gets a burst of traffic immediately after it is published. In most cases, the traffic declines dramatically after a day or two. However, in some cases, a blog post that is not timely might continue to drive traffic to your site long after its initial publication. This is particularly true if the post is not time-sensitive and becomes indexed and related to key terms by search engines.
  • Are you pro-actively encouraging other sites to link to your post? What third-party sites should you strategically target as significant potential recipients of your blog post?
    • Digg, Reddit and Facebook are among those social networking/aggregation sites that may help generate links to our site.
    • If you feel that the theme of your post has significance outside of our own site, then submit it! Common sense rules here, but some examples include:
      • Digg.com (submit URL here - requires registration)
      • Reddit.com (Submit URL here - requires registration)
  • Do you have a Facebook Like button on your post?
    • Make it easy for people to link to and share your info.
      • Facebook has code that allows you to add a "Like"button here

Research Links

HubSpot has some great tips on getting the most of paid search listings:
Other useful links:

Action Items for Optimizing your Campaign for Search Engine Discovery

Ready to Optimize?

Is your campaign site optimized for search engine discovery and indexing?

There are a few things you can do to increase the likelihood that your site will show up prominently in organic search engine results.

Add Metadata

In Wix.com, you can easily add meta title, keyword and description info. Simply go to the Settings gear icon and then select SEO (Google). Make sure to activate the "Let search engines find my website" slider, as well!

In addition, you can optimize individual pages within Wix. To do so, go to the Pages icon  and select the page you wish to optimize. Then select the gear icon and fill out the SEO title, description and keyword data for that page.

Double-Check Your Site Address

In the Settings > Site Address section, take a closer look at the URL path you have created for your brand. Is your brand name part of the URL name?

Use the SEO Wizard

Wix.com has a great SEO monitoring tool that you can find under the Site Manager (select SEO from the left-hand vertical navigation then refer to the "Get Found on Google" section to begin your audit).



Link to Social Networks

Soon, we will be creating Facebook and Twitter pages. Once those are ready, you should connect your Facebook and Twitter sites to your campaign site. Remember to also include a link back to your campaign site in your "About" fields on those social media sites, too.

Add Text Descriptors to Your Images

Do your images have tool tip text descriptors? Many images get "crawled" by search engines that rely on your text tagging and descriptions for proper indexing. In Wix.com, you can add a text tag to any image. Simply highlight the photo and select Settings and update the Title and alt text fields.

SEO Rapper - Rapping Videos on Search Engine Optimization

The SEO Rapper has posted several YouTube clips that feature search engine optimization tips via rap lyrics!








Social Media Marketing Campaigns


Social Media Marketing Campaigns from Brett Atwood

Here is a handy "Creating Valuable Content" checklist that you can use in consideration of your content development strategy (courtesy of the Content Marketing Institute):

WEEKS 7, 8 & 9: Website Creation Training and Workshops

SUMMARY:

Over the next weeks, we will:
  • Review our various homepage wireframes to identify and review key features that are necessary for our campaign website.
  • Learn to use a website creation tool, such as Wix or Wordpress, to build an original campaign website.
  • Be introduced to the project management service and app Trello

HOMEWORK:
  • Use your selected website creation tool to build an original website for your campaign. For this week, you will get started with the site – but the actual completion of it won’t be due for several weeks. 
  • Use this week to get familiar with the website builder and to begin your site. You may use your wireframe as a starting point to create from your site from scratch and/or identify a template that contains similar design choices and elements.

ASWSUE event at Traxx

Join the fun at Traxx Racing for an exclusive ASWSUE event!

Where: 
Traxx Racing
4329 Chennault Beach Road
Mukilteo, WA 98275

When: 
Saturday March 25th from 5PM-8PM

Who: 
Students and family

Food provided.
FREE!

Managing your Social Media Channels: TweetDeck and HootSuite

Managing multiple social media channels can be a pain. That's why there are services that you can use to help you monitor and maintain your social media channels in one centralized spot.

HOOTSUITE
HootSuite is a social media management service that helps you stay on top of multiple social networks -- all from one centralized "dashboard." You can use HootSuite to schedule messages and tweets, as well as to track mentions of your brand/organization. You can also gain a richer understanding of social media traffic trends and developments that help you follow newsworthy developments related to your organization.

HootSuite offers a free version that you can use to get started -- but professional organizations will likely want to investigate upgrading to the premium paid versions (to unlock useful extras and features).

Check out HootSuite to get started.

TWEETDECK

Another great social media management tool is TweetDeck, which is an app that allows you to better organize and monitor your Twitter feeds. Use TweetDeck to arrange your feeds with customizable columns with useful filters, including hashtags and relevant keywords. You can also use TweetDeck to advance schedule your Tweets.

Check out TweetDeck to get started.

Creating your Own Twitter Brand Page

Are you ready to set up your own Twitter page for your brand? It's easy! Register your brand username (or any name that is as close to your brand name as possible) and then look for the following options to help customize your Twitter account:
  • Change your Design via Settings > Design
  • Recommended dimensions for the small Profile Photo are 400 x 400
  • Bio should be no more than 160 characters
  • Recommended dimensions for the larger Profile Cover Photo are 1500 x 500 

Creating a Facebook Fan Page

Now that you have your new Web destination site, you'll also want to begin to nurture a strong community of followers and fans via social networking platforms, such as Facebook. Each team may want to designate a social media stakeholder for this responsibility or you might want to share those responsibilities.

CREATING A FACEBOOK FAN PAGE

1. Your designated social media editor should log in to Facebook and then visit this link to set up your fan page.

2. You'll want to classify your page by Category. Although the choice is yours, you might look at the options under Brand, Product, or Organizations. There are several choices that might be appropriate for your project there.

3. You will also get a chance to "name" your page. Make sure it matches your branded Web property!

4. When ready, check the confirmation box and digitally "sign" the form and select "Create Page."

5. Now you can customize your page. You might want to populate the page with your custom logo, profile information and even any of the many Facebook Apps.

Key Image Specifications for Facebook Timeline:
  • Profile Photo: 180 x 180
  • Cover Photo: 851 x 315
    • Should not include price/purchase info or "calls to action"
    • Need a cover photo? Find a free cover photo for your Timeline at one of these sites:
6. Once your page is ready, you can choose to take it public.

7. Ready to add a Like button to your new Facebook fan site on your Wix page? Use these instructions.

8. Use the Facebook Fan site to send alerts and updates about additions to your site. You might also promote it to friends and interested, related communities via Facebook and other social network sites.

9. After you are done inserting the Facebook Like button, you might want to explore some of the other easy-to-use apps on the Wix App Market that you can add to your Wix.com site, including embedding of a Google Calendar, Polldaddy surveys, live chat and more. Check out a list of them all here.

Ten Tweets Project

What will your ten first "Tweets" be on Twitter?

Using Google Documents, collaborate with your team to identify a strategy for the timing and content of your first 10 "Tweets."

Things to consider:
  • How will you use Twitter?
  • Will you use a "hard sell" vs. "soft sell"?
  • How often should you Tweet?
  • Are there other brands or influencers you should follow?
  • How is your brand messaging represented in the Tweets that you use?
  • What is the voice/tone that you should use?
A WORD ABOUT LINK SHORTENING

Since every character on your Tweet is precious, many people turn to "link shorteners" (such as bit.ly) to help them truncate a longer website link into a shorter URL.

Note that Twitter automatically includes link shortening via its own t.co service -- but external link shorteners are also frequently used as they may offer enhanced services, such as website link tracking to provide useful data on "who clicked" your link.

Creating a Website for your Brand Using a Content Management System (CMS)

Typically, you would have a professional web design team or resource to help you design, build and launch your website campaign. However, we lack these resources for our class campaign. Thus, we will use one of the many simplified website creation tools/content management systems (CMS) that bring slick, professional-looking websites to those who are not design experts. Many of these sites include pre-made templates that you can even use to jumpstart your designs.
With the help of these user-friendly website services, creating a new website for your brand is now easier than ever. Examples of free website/blog creation services include:
For the purpose of  this class, we will experiment with Wix.com. Use Wix.com to create an original website for your campaign. For this week, you will get started with the site – but the actual completion of it won't be due for several weeks. Use this week to get familiar with Wix.com and to begin your site. You may use your wireframe as a starting point to create from your site from scratch and/or identify a template that contains similar design choices and elements.

GETTING STARTED WITH WIX:


Learn how to get started with Wix.com with these video tutorials.

After logging in, you'll be asked to choose a template to launch the website editor -- it will appear in your browser!

Watch this overview video to learn more.

There are tons more Wix.com tutorials on the official YouTube channel.

IMPORTANT NOTE: When you register for Wix, you will be asked to create a username. Please try to create a username that includes your chosen brand name. If you can’t get an exact match, then please try to get a name that incorporates your brand name in some way. This username will actually be used to help generate the URL path for your published campaign site – so you will want to make sure that it is consistent with the branding of your campaign.

Examples of Previous Semester Campaign Sites:


WEEK 6: Wireframing & Design Explorations

SUMMARY:
This week, we will:
  • Learn the basics of web design and wireframing
  • Create a wireframe of a proposed website for our campaign
  • Review our various homepage wireframes to identify and review key features that are necessary for our campaign website.
  • Begin to learn content management systems and website creation tools, such as Wix or Wordpress, that can be used to build an original campaign website.
HOMEWORK:
  • Create a wireframe for the homepage of your website using Gliffy.
  • Use your selected website creation tool to build an original website for your campaign. For this week, you will get started with the site – but the actual completion of it won’t be due for several weeks.

Creative Commons & Finding Royalty-Free and Low-Lost Images

Creative Commons Overview

One popular option for inexpensive content is Creative Commons , where you can get free or low-cost copyright licenses for music, audio, video, clip art and photos.
Essentially, a Creative Commons license allows the creator to protect his or her creation while simultaneously allowing them to share their work without the usual restrictions of traditional copyright law. Watch the video below to get an overview of how it works.



Video not showing up? You can also access it  directly at this link.



Video not showing up? You can also access it directly at this link.

How to Give Attribution/Credit for Creative Commons Content
If you do decide to use any Creative Commons content, then you will need to pay close attention to the licensing guidelines provided for that content. In most cases, there will be a required "credit line" that you will need to provide with each image, audio or video piece of Creative Commons-licensed content that you use. For information on how to properly attribute your content, please see the following:

Royalty-free and Low-cost Image Licensing Services

Looking  for royalty-free, low-cost and/or free images to add to your campaign site?
Wix.com has built-in access to hundreds of free stock photos in over 20 categories. Learn more about the Wix.com free image directory:
Here are some other stock photo sites worth checking out: iStockphoto logo

Wireframing Basics and Learning Gliffy


A wireframe represents a visual sketch that can be used in planning your website design and functionality. It typically happens prior to the actual building of the website - so that you can review and refine key decisions prior to any actual coding or creation.






Gliffy.com enables you to build a "wireframe" and site maps for your website. This easy-to-use service can be used to sketch and create your wireframe on the web -- and then share your creation with other stakeholders. 

An example of the Gliffy.com interface and a wireframe.















You can use Gliffy.com for website wireframing, flow charts, org charts, site maps -- and even a SWOT Analysis!

Here are some example wireframes that you can print out and review:

WEEKS 4 & 5: Focusing our online identity: Logo creations and Research

SUMMARY:

For these weeks, we will:
  • Explore and create various branded logo treatments for our campaign
  • Conduct a survey to identify key messaging and branding attributes for our campaign
HOMEWORK:
  • Make sure you have completed the SWOT analysis, competitive analysis and user personas
  • Use Photoshop or a free web logo creation service to create a logo for your brand.
  • Use an online survey tool to create a seven-question survey that aims to test the value propositions and sentiments associated with each brand name. (Optional):You can also use this tool to "test" what attributes and qualities people associate with multiple logo designs.
    • Once the survey is created, you should share it with your friends via Facebook or email. Each student should attempt to gather at least 20 responses from friends and family to your survey. (NOTE: Due to the limitations of this course, this is NOT meant to be a scientific survey. In the "real world," you would identify and/or even purchase a targeted survey response list to get a larger and more accurate response rate).

Choosing a Brand Name & Creating a Logo

Igor International has created a great Naming Guide with information that can help you demystify the process of creating a great brand name.

Per Igor's Naming Guide, some things to consider as you review possible brand names include:
  • Appearance
  • Distinctive
  • Depth
  • Energy
  • Humanity
  • Positioning (How well does it support your core positioning for the brand?)
  • Sound
  • "33" (As per Igor's guide, "The force of brand magic and the word-of-mouth buzz that a name is likely to generate. Refers to the mysterious "33" printed on the back of Rolling Rock beer bottles...")
To get started, we'll be using a few web-based resources that will help us to:
  • Identify a Brand Name
  • Create a Logo

Brand Name Creation
Trademarkia.com is the largest visual search engine for more than 6 million trademarked logos, names, and slogans on the Internet. Use Trademarkia to identify whether or not your proposed brand name is already registered.

Logo Creation
There are several options to creating your logos. If you are comfortable using Adobe Photoshop, you can use it to craft suggested logos.

However, many people lack the graphic design skills in Photoshop. If this is the case, then you can use one of several web-based "logo generator" services. Wix.com has a great blog post with suggestions on how to cheaply (if not free) create a logo:
Here are a few more suggestions:

CoolText.com
It doesn't get any simpler. Simply type in your brand name and select the design style and a logo is immediately generated. Visit cooltext.com to get started.

Flamingtext.com
As with cooltext.com, this is very basic and easy to use. Select your text and preferred design and you are given a logo! There are some intermediate design options to explore, too. Visit Flamingtext.com to begin.

Logomaker.com

LogoMaker.com is a simple-to-use, web-based logo creation tool. Use LogoMaker to experiment with different branded logos for your fictional product, organization or company.  (Note: A small fee may be required for exporting your creations in LogoMaker).




Creating a Survey using PollDaddy

LEARNING POLLDADDY

A great survey tool is Polldaddy.com. Use Polldaddy for surveys or polls that include images. For example, you can use it to test logos for your brand.


Learn more about how to use Polldaddy at the following link:
Note: If you are an existing Wordpress user, you can use your Wordpress username/login info to "link" your account to Polldaddy. If not, you will be asked to create a new Wordpress login in order to sign up for the free Polldaddy service (which is owned by the same company).

HOMEWORK
  • Use an online survey tool to create a seven-question survey that aims to test the value propositions and sentiments associated with each brand name. You can also use this tool to "test" what attributes and qualities people associate with each of your proposed logo designs.
  • Once the survey is created, you should share it with your friends via Facebook or email. Each student should attempt to gather at least 20 responses from friends and family to your survey. (NOTE: Due to the limitations of this course, this is NOT meant to be a scientific survey. In the "real world," you would identify and/or even purchase a targeted survey response list to get a larger and more accurate response rate).

Open Lab Hours for Spring Semester

For your project, production teams might want to take advantage of Murrow College's "open lab" hours.

For this semester, our computer lab (Gray Wolf Hall 162) is open during these hours:

  • Tuesdays: 11 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • Wednesdays: Noon - 7 p.m.
  • Thursdays: 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Fridays: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

WEEK 3: Content Strategy Basics - Creating User Persona Research to Craft our Online Campaigns

SUMMARY:

This week, we will:
  • Review the fundamentals of content strategy for our campaigns
  • Review examples of user persona research and then apply these techniques to our campaign
  • Brainstorm and conduct trademark research on our campaign brand names
HOMEWORK:
  • Continue to tweak/revise your competitive analysis and SWOT analysis. This will be used to help shape and inform future branding and messaging elements, including social media outreach strategies. (NOTE: Branding and naming exercises will occur in the next couple of weeks).
  • This week, each team will also create at least three user persona research profiles for the audience that they anticipate targeting.
  • Identify at least three potential brand names for your product or service. It is critical that you conduct a quick background check on your proposed names on Trademarkia.com to ensure that your suggestions do not violate any existing active trademarks.

Social Media Campaigns: An Introduction



(If the above embedded PowerPoint lecture does not load, you can access it directly via this link: Social Media Campaigns: An Introduction
The above lecture contains a related audio file! You can download the audio track at this link. Please play the audio track while  advancing through these slides.
Related Links:

User Personas

Who is your target audience? Are there multiple target audiences for your brand or product?

Rather than think about these in broad, abstract terms, you can develop "user personas" to better visualize who your potential audience is.
Xtension is a free web-based user persona tool that you can use for this assignment

Orangebus, a U.K.-based digital agency, has created a great template that you can use to create your various user personas. Check it out (.pdf format) at:
More examples and templates to explore: