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Semester Project Overview

For the duration of the semester, we will be creating fictional brands that the class will use to generate original social media, PR and adv...

Instagram Insights

Like other social media platforms, Instagram also has a dedicated analytics dashboard known as Instagram Insights.


Instagram Insights help you learn more about your followers and the people interacting with your business on Instagram. For example, you'll find insights such as gender, age range and location. You can also see which posts and stories your audience sees and engages with the most. Insights and metrics about your account include paid activity as well. Reach, accounts reached, impressions, and impressions by day reflect both paid and organic activity.

To get started, your Instagram profile must be a Business profile as Insights is not available on "personal" Instagram accounts.

Learn more:




WEEKS 9, 10 & 11: SEO Basics, Mobile Optimization and Social Media Marketing Basics

SUMMARY:

Over the next few weeks, we will:
  • Continue to work on our primary campaign website including optimization for mobile devices
  • Continue to optimize content for search engine rankings on 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.
  • Learn about the importance of monitoring your business reputation on Wikipedia
  • Learn about landing pages and how to create them
HOMEWORK:
  • Continue to revise your work-in-progress website. Reminder: Please send me your published link, if you have done so already!
  • Begin to work on your Social Media Marketing Plan (final version due Dec. 4)
  • Continue to work on and revise your campaign website, including modifications to help optimize your content for search engine indexing and rankings.
  • Do an SEO audit on your campaign website
  • Create a landing page with content themed around either a key user persona or non-branded campaign keyword/phrase

Wikis and PR/Advertising Campaigns

Wikis and PR/Advertising Campaigns


Wikipedia.org has become one of the most popular information Web sites – despite the fact that it is a nonprofit, user-edited resource. Many people use the site for research and many companies are monitoring how they are represented on their respective entries on the site. This week, we will take a closer look at the Wikipedia format -- and the role it might play in PR and/or advertising campaigns.

To become familiar with the wiki format, register with the site so that you will have permission to edit and/or create an entry. There is a “Create Account” link at the upper right-hand side of the homepage or you can simply click here.

Once you are registered, you can use the search box to find an existing entry on your selected topic.

On that page, you will find an “edit” link that allows you to add your text or image to the existing page.

To create a new entry, there is a page that will help you establish a new entry topic here

If you want to add an image, click here for information on uploading.

Does your client already have a wiki page? If so, make a contribution to it. If not, find a related theme or topic and make a valuable contribution to the wiki entry.

Here is a great Wikipedia "cheat sheet" for formatting of your text.

CONTENT GUIDELINES:

If you do edit or create any wikipedia entry, it is important to remember that each article is meant to document existing research -- it is not meant as a place for "original research" and/or opinions. The voice and tone should be neutral and all information presented should be verifiable with attribution.

Click here for a downloadable "best practices" guide for PR professionals using wikipedia (.pdf file)

CONTROVERSIES:

There have been many controversies over use of wikipedia for PR and/or political purposes. Here are a few articles that documents some of these issues:

Additional resources:
  • Looking for even more tips on "best practices" for wiki creation and campaigns? Click here.
  • A complete online tutorial to creating your own wiki page is here.
  • There are also some general tips to help you here.  
Related Links:

Setting Up Analytics for your Campaign Site

Once your site is built and ready, you'll want to ensure that it is connected to one of the many analytics options that allow you to better understand the actions and behaviors of your website visitors.

One of the gold standards of website analytics is Google Analytics. We'll be discussing GA in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, you can get started by installing the tracking code on your campaign site.

Note: Depending on which website CMS you are using, the instructions may vary. In some cases, you may need to use an alternative to GA. For the purposes of this class, any analytics platform that you use should be adequate for the completion of the necessary campaign analysis in your final report.

WIX INSTRUCTIONS

Wix only allows accounts with a connected domain to add Google Analytics. Unfortunately, this means you need a paid premium account in order to install GA tracking code.

If you have a connected domain, then use these instructions to get started.

No custom domain? There are also free alternatives to consider, such as StatCounterHere are instructions for installing the tracking code on Wix. There's also Visitor Analytics - just search for "analytics" in the Wix Marketplace to install the free version.

WEEBLY INSTRUCTIONS

Super easy. Follow these instructions.

WORDPRESS INSTRUCTIONS

Unfortunately, Wordpress.com requires an upgraded plan in order to add Google Analytics tracking. There are several plugins that allow you to add GA, but the ability to install plugins is disabled for non-paid plans. For more information on how to install and use GA with paid Wordpress.com options (such as Business, Pro or E-Commerce), see these instructions.

WordPress.com does have built-in stats tracking with reports that offer quick, at-a-glance views of the traffic on your site. New posts, likes and comments are shown alongside visitor activity. These stats are tracked automatically (no install needed) and can be found on your edit dashboard under Stats (or just click here if logged in).

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.

Generation Like



"GENERATION LIKE" DOCUMENTARY
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/generation-like/

In the absence of class on Wed., Oct. 23, please watch the PBS "Frontline" documentary "Generation Like."

The full hour-long video is also available online for free.

Please be prepared to discuss in class on Mon., Oct. 28.

Social Media Marketing Campaigns



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):

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 PLAN RUBRIC

Using elements of a “Research, Writing, and Creativity” rubric – your work will be evaluated using the following criteria:
  • Research and Preparation: Student demonstrates thoughtful preparation and research
  • Content: Meets all the criteria for the assignment. All content is in the students’ own words (or cited appropriately) and is accurate.
  • Complete and Thorough: All aspects and sections of the assignment are completed in full with no holes. Demonstrated the ability to research to complete all tables, templates or outline requirements
  • Creativity: Students demonstrate creativity and innovation in completing the assignment content and any layout or design elements. The final product is unique, powerful, effective, and compelling.
  • Conventions: Document is easy to read and all elements are very clearly written, labeled. The document has no misspellings or grammatical errors. All template elements or outline sections are complete and thorough.
Examples of Previous Semester Social Media Marketing Plans:

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 option is "responsive" design:



Did you know that your existing Wix.com and Weebly website content can be modified slightly so that it displays more correctly on mobile devices?

WIX & MOBILE:

Using Wix? Watch these videos to learn more about mobile-optimization:





WEEBLY & MOBILE:

Using Weebly? To see how your responsive site will look on mobile, you can toggle between mobile and desktop modes using the pull-down option on the PC/mobile icon on the top menu.







RELATED LINKS:

Creating a Landing Page for your Campaign Site

A landing page can be used to target a niche or specific audience or user persona type for your campaign. Here are some examples of landing pages for the same product -- yet each has content themed specifically to a different type of use case or audience:


From an SEO perspective, landing pages are also valuable since they help calibrate your content around a specific phrase or keyword. This can help with achieving higher relevancy on those terms for keyword indexing by the major search engines.

To build a landing page within your existing site, you can simply create a new page for your website using a content strategy that includes editorial and design elements optimized for a specific user persona and/or campaign keyword or phrase.

Special instructions for Wix users: If you are using Wix, see these instructions. As an alternative, you can create a new landing page template as a separate site using one of these templates.

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. These tips offer directions specific to the Wix platform, but the principles are similar for any CMS.

Add Metadata

In Wix.com, you can easily add meta title, keyword and description info. To do so, go to the Pages icon and select the page you wish to optimize. Then select the ellipsis (...) icon and select SEO (Google) before adding your title, description and keyword data for that page.

On the SEO section of the site manager Dashboard. make sure to activate the "Let search engines find my website" slider, as well!

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?

ADDITIONAL OPTIMIZATIONS

Below are some additional steps that website creators can use on Wix, Weebly and Wordpress:

WIX USERS: 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.

WEEBLY USERS: SEO CHECKLIST

For Weebly users, please consult this SEO checklist to ensure that you've done the basics for search engine optimization on your website.

WORDPRESS & SEO

If you are using Wordpress, you can/should also optimize your pages/posts for discovery in search engines.

Here are some additional resources specific to Wordpress:



WEEKS 7 & 8: Website Creation & Optimization - Workshops, SEO & More

SUMMARY:

Over the next couple of weeks, we will:
  • Begin to use a website creation tool, such as Wix, Weebly or Wordpress, to build an original campaign website.
  • Learn ways to improve search engine rankings of content for our media campaigns via Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

HOMEWORK:
  • Continue to get familiar with and use your chosen website builder (e.g. Wordpress, Wix, etc.) to work on your site.
  • Publish your work-in-progress website and send me your link so I can review it no later than midnight on October 13.
  • Optimize your site for search engine optimization 

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 associate 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 is also important as it is the abstract information that shows up below the linked title in your search listings
  • Keywords description fields are less important, but offer an opportunity to associate some words and phrases with your page
    • 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
    • So-So 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: Second Life
    • Notice how most of the top results have "Second Life" in the first few words of the title
  • Would your blog post title make sense if it were displayed "out of context" via an RSS feed or on a third-party Web site, such as reddit?
    • 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 the 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?
    • 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 one example is:
      • 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:

Using SEO Research Tools

As part of your SEO strategy, you'll want to use an online SEO tool that helps you research things like. A great free resource is SmallSEOTools.com, which can help with:

...and much more. Check out the site SmallSEOTools.com to see a full list of tools and research resources. In addition, here is a helpful SEO Worksheet that you can use to keep track of your SEO efforts.