Trend Report: 8 Marketing Patterns to Watch

Web searches are one of the best indicators of public interest. That fact is a basic underpinning of online marketing and SEO tactics – but what can web searches tell us about these very same industries?

Inspired by the year-end Google Trends campaign, we decided to look at some of the most common keywords from our own profession to see what terms are falling and rising in popularity. By using Google Trends to analyze seven years’ worth of data – from January of 2008 to November of 2014 – on 20 words related to online marketing terminology, design, and strategies, we created a review of the evolution of the industry and some predictions for its future. This new marketing trend report gives us a long-term global analysis as well as more recent regional insights.

Public Relations and Press Releases vs. Content Marketing and Inbound Marketing

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State of the Industry: Influencer Marketing on Twitter

Ever wish you could be a fly on the wall and overhear dozens – maybe even thousands – of conversations at once? We decided to eavesdrop on the discussions surrounding some of the most popular terms in the digital PR industry to find out what top influencers have to say about hot topics. This glimpse of influencer marketing on Twitter gives us an idea of the current state of the industry and where it may be headed.

BuzzStream and Fractl joined forces and utilized Peer Index, Twitonomy, and the Alchemy API to analyze nearly 5,000 tweets and learn more about these hashtags and keywords:

  • Media Relations
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Digital PR
  • Outbound Marketing
  • Brand Recognition
  • Earned Media
  • PR
  • Public Relations
  • Publicity
  • Press Release

From this study we found the tweet types, sentiments, and key influencers in the marketing discussion on Twitter. You can download our raw data to dive deep into the findings or read on for our key takeaways.

Takeaways: Influencer Marketing on Twitter

What are people tweeting about the most?

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10 Publisher Pet Peeves To Avoid

If you know that all caps is like online shouting, excessive exclamation points are unprofessional, and emojis are content marketing mistakes, then you have passed Content Promotion 101. With your grammar basics mastered, the next step in good publisher relations is understanding the more nuanced pet peeves that hurt both your placement rates and your reputation.

If you’re not sure what causes publishers to delete (or worse, autodelete) pitches, then the Media Relations Guide to Etiquette is the eBook for you. BuzzStream and Fractl reviewed media guides and surveyed top-tier publications to learn the worst practices plaguing our industry. Their responses revealed 25 tactics that turn publishers off no matter how good your content is.

Check out eight of the most lamented content promotion fouls here, then download the free eBook to learn what else to nix from your pitches.

#10: Self-promotional pitch

“Many [PR professionals] have a misunderstanding when it comes to the difference between advertorial and guest posts.” The Gigaom guest post policy speaks for the majority of publishers in reminding us that publishers want to be pitched high-quality news and content, not advertisements for your brand.

#9: Generic angle to a common study

Publishers aren’t in the business of regurgitating information everyone already knows, and you shouldn’t be either. Instead, 66% of publishers want you to bring something new to the table with exclusive research or breaking news. This doesn’t mean you have to embark on a PhD-level investigation. Instead, follow trends relevant to your industry and capitalize on your insider knowledge.

#8: Copy of a press release

While a press release can contain valuable information, 95% of publishers told us that this isn’t a content format they’re interested in. Instead:

  • 85% of publishers want the raw data from your study or campaign.
  • 65% want data visualizations such as infographics, mixed-media pieces, images, or videos.
  • 70% would be excited to collaborate with you on a story, rather than receiving a finished asset.

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Targeting Outreach and Influencers for Social Traction

Social shares are what amplify your message beyond a publisher’s landing page. The more shares you earn, the more eyes see your brand and the wider your pool of prospective customers becomes. But which influencers earn traction on which social networks – and in which verticals?

Understanding how verticals, publishers, and platforms work together will help you pitch the right content to the right publishers and amplifiers to earn the most shares possible. Targeting your promotion efforts to maximize your potential for social traction is an important step in creating an effective and efficient viral strategy.

To get you started, BuzzStream and Fractl analyzed 220 websites from 11 major verticals that actively produce content:

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BuzzStream’s Top 10 Posts of 2014

I originally planned to separate this year’s top posts into three categories: PR, SEO, and Content Marketing. However, after checking Google Analytics, I realized that all of our top posts are about the places where PR, SEO, and Content Marketing intersect. In case you missed any of them, or because a re-read is always nice, here they are for your reading pleasure:

1. How to Create a Winning Content Promotion Plan

Many content marketers view “promotion” as a phase that begins once content goes live. The truth is, promotion should begin much earlier than that, running parallel to production, and most of the promotion work should be completed before launch. This posts includes a framework you can use for your next content campaign.

2. How to Pitch: Outreach Tips from Journalists

For this post, Kevin Raposo interviewed journalists from publishers like The Verge, TIME, and TechCrunch to find out what makes a great pitch.

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How to Use Twitter for Guest Blogging Outreach

Guest blogging opportunities are everywhere. Some of them are easily searchable on Google, while others require you to be a bit more resourceful. You can fish out the latter using one of the world’s most popular social networking sites: Twitter.

Why Twitter? Well, for one thing, connecting with anyone on that site is as simple as clicking the “Follow” button. Also, you have the real-time updates, the trending hashtags, the mentions and other metrics that quantify a person’s/company’s/brand’s influence on Twitter. It’s an outreach machine, basically.

In order to make the most of Twitter, try some of the following outreach strategies on for size.

Conduct a (Strategic) Social Search

The first thing to try is just searching for people looking for guest bloggers. Don’t underestimate the power of a simple search for any of the following terms:

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11 Influencer Marketing Personas You’re Likely to Meet

Should you pitch an editor for a tech publication the same way you’d pitch a publisher in the food vertical? Absolutely not. Pitches for education columns ought to look different than those for automotive features, too. You see where we’re going with this: your outreach strategy and pitching approach should vary based on your vertical.

 But how should you begin to understand the nuances between the verticals? BuzzStream and Fractl have helped you get started with the new Guide to Publisher Personas. Using recent articles, LinkedIn and Google+ profiles, and bios from personal and publication pages, we outlined the personas you’re likely to meet in 11 different verticals: automotive, business, education, entertainment, finance, food, health, lifestyle, news, tech, and travel.

 Five Traits to Learn

 Based on our research, we found that five traits factor heavily in determining the type of editor you’ll most often find yourself working with.

publisher personas

64% of publishers agree that you should learn about them via their social media or published posts and reach out to establish a personal connection before you pitch. Your background research should yield more than a shared love of cats or support of a sports team, however. You can use social media (especially LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+) and publication bio pages to discover how much they may already know about your topic, the audience they want to connect with, the assets they typically prefer, and – most importantly – the tone and scope of their beat.

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Content Promotion Case Study: liGo

Today’s post is a case study on content promotion from our friends at Hit Reach

Building content assets that attract links can be an expensive business when you factor in all the costs from research to design, development and, finally, outreach.

Fortunately, we live in a world where there’s tons of great information already out there, and we don’t need to reinvent the wheel with every campaign. Curating useful content into a practical resource, putting everything people need into one place, is a great way to build cost effective content assets.

 

Case Study: liGo Electronics

For a recent liGo Electronics content asset, we decided to “chunk-up” to give the asset a broad reach and wide appeal whilst remaining relevant to the product ranges being sold.

The customer demographic of liGo is generally older adults aged 45-70 who are quite tech-savvy, so we decided to build a a guide which would provide details on how to save your smartphone battery across a range of makes and models. The guide provides support for almost 150 different handsets.

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Content Promotion Strategy

I have written several times about the way in which I leverage Paid, Owned and Earned media promote content to give my content the best chances of earning links and if you are new to promoting your content then there are some great articles here on the Buzzsteam blog such as the Advanced guide to content Promotion.

Owned Media

The client promoted the content via their owned media assets including their blog, email lists and social profiles. We also ensured that the content asset had the Twitter cards validated and the Facebook OGP metadata was implemented.

Paid Media

When we carry out a content promotion campaign we often utilise different paid channels to help us increase the reach of our content and give us the best chance of reaching our target audience as well as getting our content in front of power users and bloggers. For this campaign the best results came from Twitter and StumbleUpon.

StumbleUpon Paid Discovery

When I carry out StumbleUpon campaigns I like to build up custom audiences based on our outreach personas. Not surprisingly the content was well received by people in our target customer demographic (UK users aged 45+) and also with people aged 25-35 who like mobile phones, life hacks and gadgets. If you are new to StumbleUpon marketing then this guide is invaluable.

Laser Targeted Twitter Ads

For this campaign in order to keep the costs of promoting the content down we targeted a number of journalists and bloggers using the Twitter custom audience’s tool. If you haven’t used it yet there is a great tutorial by Patrick Hathaway.

We also created a second Twitter custom audience with a custom Topsy scraper which allowed us to find influential Twitter users who had shared similar content and target Twitter advertisements at them.

Earned Media

At Hit Reach we are huge fans of Buzzstream as it makes managing our outreach campaigns super easy by letting us tag and segment our link prospects as well as assign different team members to different sections of the project.

For this campaign we started out with over 300 link prospects who we wanted to get our content in front of. As we specialise in helping clients in the technology sector, we had a number of existing relationships which made getting this piece in front of them a little easier.

However, there were a few prospects especially in the mobile technology space who we had never spoken to before, so for this particular high level prospect I used the Information Gap technique. By asking for permission to send across a link you know that they will be more likely to actually click the link and see your content.

Here is the “cold outreach” template I used for this campaign:

Hi [First Name],

[Personalised section….]

I just wanted to let you know I have built an online tool which has over 100 different phones and you can select your phone to see which settings to change to improve battery life for that particular device.

Would it be ok to send across a link?

The Results

The asset was well received and was featured on the homepage of the Daily Mail online, the homepage of Digg, and was covered by Inc., Lifehacker and many more technology sites.

BBC Radio 2 picked up on the piece and invited liGo to chat live on air during their Drivetime show. Radio 2 currently has the highest number of total listeners in the UK at over 15.5 million, as well as being mentioned on BBC Radio 5 and London’s LBC radio station.

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Future opportunities

As a big of fan of utilising content for link earning I am often frustrated by content assets that are short lived and act solely for a one-off event. If these assets fail to attract any attention, they fail hardest of all as once the event has passed it can be hard to repurpose or reuse the asset.

New Phone Releases

As we have committed to keeping this tool up to date it will be a piece of evergreen content that can be pushed out again and again as new phones or mobile operating systems come on to the market. This means that the client has a valuable content asset on their site which will continue to earn them links for many years to come.

We have made it so that people can link directly to a handset of their choice which will mean that people will be able to point other people to the information they are looking for whether that’s a blog post, forum post, email or social media.

International Outreach

As liGo carries out a significant amount of business in Europe we have had the content asset translated into German and Spanish (thanks to Altura Interactive) so that we can utilise the content for outreach on their other properties.

Content Upgrades

As the asset can be embedded, there will be opportunities for contacting people who have written about smartphone battery tips which we can offer to help them improve upon their content.

We’re now working on the next campaign for liGo which will hopefully eclipse this one by a long way.

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5 Tactics and Tools for Successful List Building

Contrary to popular belief, crafting the perfect pitch doesn’t begin with writing a pitch at all. Before you ever type a word to describe your content, you should begin by learning about the people you’re describing your content to – your list of prospective publishing contacts.

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The most effective, efficient list building process begins with knowing which publishers will be most receptive to your content. It’s not enough to blast a mass email to everyone in a specific vertical; to earn the largest reach for your content, you’ll need to laser-target your pitches and know exactly what your contacts are looking for.

Employ these five tips and tools in your content promotion strategy and your lists will be pitch-perfect, every time.

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10 Pitches That Landed Top-Tier Placements and Why They Worked

There are innumerable articles out there giving tips on how to pitch journalists, but most don’t contain specific pitch examples outlining why they were successful. In outreach, imitation can be very effective, so we’ve compiled 10 pitches with commentary that elaborates on why they resulted in exclusive placements with top-tier publishers.

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