We Don’t Want to Fit In. We Want to Belong

There has been a big shift in how people interact with brands. In the old days, a product or service would show up on the scene, and we’d evaluate whether the product was something we could use. Sure, there were some products and brands where we felt like we wanted to belong (you are either a Coke or Pepsi person, for instance). But most times, when something new came out, the question was whether you could fit yourself into the right category to make that product useful.

This has all reversed. People are tired of fitting in. They want to go where they belong.

The Business of Belonging

A lot of purchases in our day don’t matter much. At least in a B2C setting. We’ll buy from whoever is convenient, or cheap, or without a lot of thought.

UNTIL

Until we discover something that changes our perspective. Maybe we decide that we want to support more local businesses. Perhaps we decide that any company that wants to clean the world’s oceans are worth your business. Or maybe you are part of a group that demands to be recognized and wants the world to see your value, as well. Maybe you served in the Armed Forces or you grew up in a large extended family home.

We used to buy from necessity. Or price. Or locale. But that’s not a given. And as people become more and more distracted by their phones, by non-traditional media sources, and by the sheer volume of information flashing in front of our eyes, how will companies explain to the people they most want to serve that those people belong with them?

We Buy From People We Feel Share Our Values

Seven out of ten Millennials consider a company’s values before making a purchase. By comparison, 52% of US adults (blended generations) do. But that still means that one out of every two people wants to know that your company’s values align with theirs. (source)

This means that for us to help customers figure out where they belong, companies will have to create information that expresses their values either directly or otherwise.

Most of what marketers and people in general “believe” is true about buyers comes from years ago. Who plays video games? Men or women? The answer: women. By a much larger number. We believe that markets don’t exist for something “weird” and then superhero movies like Black Panther make over a billion dollars. Or that a free-to-play video game would earn a company $2.4 billion in a single year. (Fortnite.)

Companies Must Reach Out and Connect With Smaller Buyer Makrets

By selling to everyone, you’re talking to no one. (tweetable)

It’s the equivalent of going up to someone at the bar and saying, “You have the most beautiful eyes” and then saying it to each person there over and over again and hoping for a good result.

We all want people to love what we sell, but it is only when people feel seen and understood that they feel ready to buy.

Same-sex marriage supporters want to know where your company stands, says this infographic. NASCAR fans can now race into esports, even if they may never be a “real world” driver. And companies are finding ways to connect with the interests of groups of potential customers.

This Requires Bravery

Your company could guess wrong. You might stumble when trying to reach out to people you want to support. There might be backlash from people who don’t support those that you choose to help. And there are plenty of ways to mess this up.

  • If the message doesn’t match the brand, your efforts won’t make sense.
  • If you tiptoe into this with a single campaign or baby step, people might say you’re wishy washy or non-committed.
  • If you use cliches and stereotypes because you don’t actually have any first hand knowledge of a group, it will show and it won’t go well.
  • Just because you reach out to smaller groups that matter to you doesn’t mean they’ll see you if you don’t create interesting, small, portable content for them to consume.
  • Marketing this way doesn’t replace your “big” and “general” marketing, but it requires you to pay a lot more attention to feedback, and it’ll be upon you to create more than a few small groups for each product or brand. You can (and should) definitely reach out to more than one type of people at a time, if you stay focused within those groups.

But This is Where We’re Going

We’ve gone far past Henry Ford’s “any color as as long as it’s black.” We have pushed past simple customization. The world is built for mass personalization. Humans organize tribally by nature. The marketplace has never really supported this in any significant way, or for too long. Marketing to the masses was always too attractive a prospect. But it’s fading. Your numbers show that. And this? This crazy idea of reaching to specific groups? That’s what’s next. It will be bumpy. It won’t be easy. But it’s where a lot of this is headed.

And as you know, I’m here to help. (Feel free to drop me an email: chris@chrisbrogan.com )

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10 Memorable Marketer Moods, Memed

10 Marketer Moods in Memes

10 Marketer Moods in Memes

As a content marketer, I’m always looking for more effective and efficient ways to communicate. I love the way communication is evolving online (with the exception of, say, YouTube comments).

Think about it: A hundred years ago, it was much harder to convey a mood in text.

  • You could trail off (…)
  • You could ask questions (?)
  • You could shout (!!)

And that’s about it.

Emoticons opened up the possibilities a bit, with “slight smile :),” “big smile :D,” and “guy wearing sunglasses sticking his tongue out 8P.” Emojis added even more nuance.

Now, though, we have the ability to embed images and GIFs in our blog posts, emails, and messages. We can convey extremely specific moods, thoughts, and insights with a single image. Like, for example, the feeling when you’re wearing socks and step in something wet:

These images are emotional shorthand: They connect on a primal level without having to filter through words.

As every marketer knows, there are some work-related feelings that words just can’t quite describe. Every day in this challenging and rewarding profession has its ups and downs—and diagonals, too. Here are a few very specific moods I’ve encountered, and perhaps you have too, on this wild ride.

10 Marketing Moods We Can All Relate To

Mood #1: When “SEO content” and “good content” are referred to as different things.

Whether you’re pitching a new idea to an internal group of brand stakeholders or you’re agency side like me, the assumption that “SEO content” can’t possibly be “good content” has been made by internal and external contacts.

These poor souls were scarred by the shallow, redundant “SEO content” of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Of course, we artfully explain that SEO today means making stuff that actual human beings want to read. Our keyword research is in the service of making great content.

Mood #2: When you get the go-ahead on an out-there, creative idea… and then you have to actually do it.

For example, let’s say you pitch an interactive eBook with a computer-generated voice to tie together audio recordings of influencers. That means coming up with a process to record influencers, finding a computer voice that fits just right, the design team learning new tools… but once it’s done, it’s worth the initial panic.

Mood #3: When the third round of edits brings you back to your original copy.

Enterprise-level companies have a lot of stakeholders, which means a lot of scrutiny on every piece of content—from blog post to tweet. And you know what? It totally makes sense. At the end of the day, they just want to protect the brand and ensure that messaging is on point. But, for any marketer fielding editing requests, it’s so deeply satisfying when the back-and-forth comes full-circle.

Mood #4: When a “content outsider” critiques your content…and they’re right.

You have to believe in what you’re doing as a content writer. There’s a minimum level of self-confidence required to keep from just staring at a blank screen, paralyzed in terror. I tend to operate right at that minimum level.

But I’ll admit it—it’s easy to get defensive when someone suggests changes, and it’s hard to admit that they’re right. Everyone needs reminding every now and then that we’re all on the same team, and it’s not about winning.

Mood #5: When someone’s in a noisy place on a conference call.

Angry Cat Meme

At the best of times, 40% of a conference call is saying, “Who joined?” and “Can you see my screen NOW?” and “I think you’re still on mute.” At the worst, there’s that one person who is dialing in from a convertible doing 85 miles an hour past a series of marching bands. Everyone can hear it. No one can talk. The culprit doesn’t realize it’s them. Ugh.

Mood #6: When you’re having technical difficulties.

The client can’t open their Zoom link. A bad phone connection has you missing every other word. You can’t get your slideshow to show up on the screenshare. Your cool video demo that worked great for the internal presentation is playing backwards with no audio. And all you can do is keep smiling and fill the time until it gets fixed.

Mood #7: When your co-worker microwaves broccoli (or fish, or spinach).

Even if your colleagues are brilliant, accomplished marketers, eventually someone’s going to wage war on your olfactory senses. And they’ll do it at least once a week.

You may never catch the culprit, and eventually the pursuit will simply drive you mad. So, best to just keep some Vick’s VapoRub handy to rub under your nostrils. It works for sanitation workers!

Mood #8: When your mentor retweets you.

Marketers are such a generous bunch! I’ve learned so much from the thought leaders in the industry (and in my office). It’s amazing to have one of them share something they learned from me. It makes me even more determined to keep learning, and to share what I know.

Mood #9: When a marketing thought leader shreds conventional wisdom.

It’s equal parts delightful and scandalizing to watch someone take aim at the sacred cows in our profession. Especially when they’re absolutely, 100% right. Think Jay Acunzo sounding off on best practices, or Doug Kessler’s profane and hilarious rant about swearing in marketing (which is too spicy to link here, but it’s on his blog).

Not only are these hot takes hilarious, they’re a crucial part of pushing the industry forward.

Mood #10: When that huge, complex content asset finally launches.

After influencer interviews, outlining, content creation, design, internal and/or client edits, it’s finally time to show the world what you’ve been working on. For a few minutes, all is well. You take a moment, pat yourself on the back, and imagine relaxing in the shade with a frosty beverage.

Stay in the Mood for Marketing

Working in marketing is an emotional roller coaster. It can be fun; it can be scary; it can even make you sick to your stomach. But working with brilliant colleagues, learning from amazing peers, and helping fascinating clients makes it worth the ride. That much is constant, regardless of how the mood swings.

For more alliterative content marketing advice, check out 5 B2B Content Marketing Lessons from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

The post 10 Memorable Marketer Moods, Memed appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

10 Memorable Marketer Moods, Memed

10 Marketer Moods in Memes

As a content marketer, I’m always looking for more effective and efficient ways to communicate. I love the way communication is evolving online (with the exception of, say, YouTube comments).

Think about it: A hundred years ago, it was much harder to convey a mood in text.

  • You could trail off (…)
  • You could ask questions (?)
  • You could shout (!!)

And that’s about it.

Emoticons opened up the possibilities a bit, with “slight smile :),” “big smile :D,” and “guy wearing sunglasses sticking his tongue out 8P.” Emojis added even more nuance.

Now, though, we have the ability to embed images and GIFs in our blog posts, emails, and messages. We can convey extremely specific moods, thoughts, and insights with a single image. Like, for example, the feeling when you’re wearing socks and step in something wet:

These images are emotional shorthand: They connect on a primal level without having to filter through words.

As every marketer knows, there are some work-related feelings that words just can’t quite describe. Every day in this challenging and rewarding profession has its ups and downs—and diagonals, too. Here are a few very specific moods I’ve encountered, and perhaps you have too, on this wild ride.

10 Marketing Moods We Can All Relate To

Mood #1: When “SEO content” and “good content” are referred to as different things.

Whether you’re pitching a new idea to an internal group of brand stakeholders or you’re agency side like me, the assumption that “SEO content” can’t possibly be “good content” has been made by internal and external contacts.

These poor souls were scarred by the shallow, redundant “SEO content” of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Of course, we artfully explain that SEO today means making stuff that actual human beings want to read. Our keyword research is in the service of making great content.

Mood #2: When you get the go-ahead on an out-there, creative idea… and then you have to actually do it.

For example, let’s say you pitch an interactive eBook with a computer-generated voice to tie together audio recordings of influencers. That means coming up with a process to record influencers, finding a computer voice that fits just right, the design team learning new tools… but once it’s done, it’s worth the initial panic.

Mood #3: When the third round of edits brings you back to your original copy.

Enterprise-level companies have a lot of stakeholders, which means a lot of scrutiny on every piece of content—from blog post to tweet. And you know what? It totally makes sense. At the end of the day, they just want to protect the brand and ensure that messaging is on point. But, for any marketer fielding editing requests, it’s so deeply satisfying when the back-and-forth comes full-circle.

Mood #4: When a “content outsider” critiques your content…and they’re right.

You have to believe in what you’re doing as a content writer. There’s a minimum level of self-confidence required to keep from just staring at a blank screen, paralyzed in terror. I tend to operate right at that minimum level.

But I’ll admit it—it’s easy to get defensive when someone suggests changes, and it’s hard to admit that they’re right. Everyone needs reminding every now and then that we’re all on the same team, and it’s not about winning.

Mood #5: When someone’s in a noisy place on a conference call.

Angry Cat Meme

At the best of times, 40% of a conference call is saying, “Who joined?” and “Can you see my screen NOW?” and “I think you’re still on mute.” At the worst, there’s that one person who is dialing in from a convertible doing 85 miles an hour past a series of marching bands. Everyone can hear it. No one can talk. The culprit doesn’t realize it’s them. Ugh.

Mood #6: When you’re having technical difficulties.

The client can’t open their Zoom link. A bad phone connection has you missing every other word. You can’t get your slideshow to show up on the screenshare. Your cool video demo that worked great for the internal presentation is playing backwards with no audio. And all you can do is keep smiling and fill the time until it gets fixed.

Mood #7: When your co-worker microwaves broccoli (or fish, or spinach).

Even if your colleagues are brilliant, accomplished marketers, eventually someone’s going to wage war on your olfactory senses. And they’ll do it at least once a week.

You may never catch the culprit, and eventually the pursuit will simply drive you mad. So, best to just keep some Vick’s VapoRub handy to rub under your nostrils. It works for sanitation workers!

Mood #8: When your mentor retweets you.

Marketers are such a generous bunch! I’ve learned so much from the thought leaders in the industry (and in my office). It’s amazing to have one of them share something they learned from me. It makes me even more determined to keep learning, and to share what I know.

Mood #9: When a marketing thought leader shreds conventional wisdom.

It’s equal parts delightful and scandalizing to watch someone take aim at the sacred cows in our profession. Especially when they’re absolutely, 100% right. Think Jay Acunzo sounding off on best practices, or Doug Kessler’s profane and hilarious rant about swearing in marketing (which is too spicy to link here, but it’s on his blog).

Not only are these hot takes hilarious, they’re a crucial part of pushing the industry forward.

Mood #10: When that huge, complex content asset finally launches.

After influencer interviews, outlining, content creation, design, internal and/or client edits, it’s finally time to show the world what you’ve been working on. For a few minutes, all is well. You take a moment, pat yourself on the back, and imagine relaxing in the shade with a frosty beverage.

Stay in the Mood for Marketing

Working in marketing is an emotional roller coaster. It can be fun; it can be scary; it can even make you sick to your stomach. But working with brilliant colleagues, learning from amazing peers, and helping fascinating clients makes it worth the ride. That much is constant, regardless of how the mood swings.

For more alliterative content marketing advice, check out 5 B2B Content Marketing Lessons from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

A Guide to Setting Up Your Very Own Search Intent Projects

This post was originally published on the STAT blog.


Whether you’re tracking thousands or millions of keywords, if you expect to extract deep insights and trends just by looking at your keywords from a high-level, you’re not getting the full story.

Smart segmentation is key to making sense of your data. And you’re probably already applying this outside of STAT. So now, we’re going to show you how to do it in STAT to uncover boatloads of insights that will help you make super data-driven decisions.

To show you what we mean, let’s take a look at a few ways we can set up a search intent project to uncover the kinds of insights we shared in our whitepaper, Using search intent to connect with consumers.

Before we jump in, there are a few things you should have down pat:

1. Picking a search intent that works for you

Search intent is the motivating force behind search and it can be:

  • Informational: The searcher has identified a need and is looking for information on the best solution, ie. [blender], [food processor]
  • Commercial: The searcher has zeroed in on a solution and wants to compare options, ie. [blender reviews], [best blenders]
  • Transactional: The searcher has narrowed their hunt down to a few best options, and is on the precipice of purchase, ie. [affordable blenders], [blender cost]
    • Local (sub-category of transactional): The searcher plans to do or buy something locally, ie. [blenders in dallas]
    • Navigational (sub-category of transactional): The searcher wants to locate a specific website, ie. [Blendtec]

We left navigational intent out of our study because it’s brand specific and didn’t want to bias our data.

Our keyword set was a big list of retail products — from kitty pooper-scoopers to pricey speakers. We needed a straightforward way to imply search intent, so we added keyword modifiers to characterize each type of intent.

As always, different strokes for different folks: The modifiers you choose and the intent categories you look at may differ, but it’s important to map that all out before you get started.

2. Identifying the SERP features you really want

For our whitepaper research, we pretty much tracked every feature under the sun, but you certainly don’t have to.

You might already know which features you want to target, the ones you want to keep an eye on, or questions you want to answer. For example, are shopping boxes taking up enough space to warrant a PPC strategy?

In this blog post, we’re going to really focus-in on our most beloved SERP feature: featured snippets (called “answers” in STAT). And we’ll be using a sample project where we’re tracking 25,692 keywords against Amazon.com.

3. Using STAT’s segmentation tools

Setting up projects in STAT means making use of the segmentation tools. Here’s a quick rundown of what we used:

  • Standard tag: Best used to group your keywords into static themes — search intent, brand, product type, or modifier.
  • Dynamic tag: Like a smart playlist, automatically returns keywords that match certain criteria, like a given search volume, rank, or SERP feature appearance.
  • Data view: House any number of tags and show how those tags perform as a group.

Learn more about tags and data views in the STAT Knowledge Base.

Now, on to the main event…

1. Use top-level search intent to find SERP feature opportunities

To kick things off, we’ll identify the SERP features that appear at each level of search intent by creating tags.

Our first step is to filter our keywords and create standard tags for our search intent keywords (read more abou tfiltering keywords). Second, we create dynamic tags to track the appearance of specific SERP features within each search intent group. And our final step, to keep everything organized, is to place our tags in tidy little data views, according to search intent.

Here’s a peek at what that looks like in STAT:

What can we uncover?

Our standard tags (the blue tags) show how many keywords are in each search intent bucket: 2,940 commercial keywords. And our dynamic tags (the sunny yellow stars) show how many of those keywords return a SERP feature: 547 commercial keywords with a snippet.

This means we can quickly spot how much opportunity exists for each SERP feature by simply glancing at the tags. Boom!

By quickly crunching some numbers, we can see that snippets appear on 5 percent of our informational SERPs (27 out of 521), 19 percent of our commercial SERPs (547 out of 2,940), and 12 percent of our transactional SERPs (253 out of 2,058).

From this, we might conclude that optimizing our commercial intent keywords for featured snippets is the way to go since they appear to present the biggest opportunity. To confirm, let’s click on the commercial intent featured snippet tag to view the tag dashboard…

Voilà! There are loads of opportunities to gain a featured snippet.

Though, we should note that most of our keywords rank below where Google typically pulls the answer from. So, what we can see right away is that we need to make some serious ranking gains in order to stand a chance at grabbing those snippets.

2. Find SERP feature opportunities with intent modifiers

Now, let’s take a look at which SERP features appear most often for our different keyword modifiers.

To do this, we group our keywords by modifier and create a standard tag for each group. Then, we set up dynamic tags for our desired SERP features. Again, to keep track of all the things, we contained the tags in handy data views, grouped by search intent.

What can we uncover?

Because we saw that featured snippets appear most often for our commercial intent keywords, it’s time to drill on down and figure out precisely which modifiers within our commercial bucket are driving this trend.

Glancing quickly at the numbers in the tag titles in the image above, we can see that “best,” “reviews,” and “top” are responsible for the majority of the keywords that return a featured snippet:

  • 212 out of 294 of our “best” keywords (72%)
  • 109 out of 294 of our “reviews” keywords (37%)
  • 170 out of 294 of our “top” keywords (59%)

This shows us where our efforts are best spent optimizing.

By clicking on the “best — featured snippets” tag, we’re magically transported into the dashboard. Here, we see that our average ranking could use some TLC.

There is a lot of opportunity to snag a snippet here, but we (actually, Amazon, who we’re tracking these keywords against) don’t seem to be capitalizing on that potential as much as we could. Let’s drill down further to see which snippets we already own.

We know we’ve got content that has won snippets, so we can use that as a guideline for the other keywords that we want to target.

3. See which pages are ranking best by search intent

In our blog post How Google dishes out content by search intent, we looked at what type of pages — category pages, product pages, reviews — appear most frequently at each stage of a searcher’s intent.

What we found was that Google loves category pages, which are the engine’s top choice for retail keywords across all levels of search intent. Product pages weren’t far behind.

By creating dynamic tags for URL markers, or portions of your URL that identify product pages versus category pages, and segmenting those by intent, you too can get all this glorious data. That’s exactly what we did for our retail keywords

What can we uncover?

Looking at the tags in the transactional page types data view, we can see that product pages are appearing far more frequently (526) than category pages (151).

When we glanced at the dashboard, we found that slightly more than half of the product pages were ranking on the first page (sah-weet!). That said, more than thirty percent appeared on page three and beyond. So despite the initial visual of “doing well”, there’s a lot of opportunity that Amazon could be capitalizing on.

We can also see this in the Daily Snapshot. In the image above, we compare category pages (left) to product pages (right), and we see that while there are less category pages ranking, the rank is significantly better. Amazon could take some of the lessons they’ve applied to their category pages to help their product pages out.

Wrapping it up

So what did we learn today?

  1. Smart segmentation starts with a well-crafted list of keywords, grouped into tags, and housed in data views.
  2. The more you segment, the more insights you’re gonna uncover.
  3. Rely on the dashboards in STAT to flag opportunities and tell you what’s good, yo!

Want to see it all in action? Get a tailored walkthrough of STAT, here.

Or get your mitts on even more intent-based insights in our full whitepaper: Using search intent to connect with consumers.

Read on, readers!

More in our search intent series: