Archive for Elizabeth Hines

4 Things Your Business Should Do in Light of Facebook News Feed Changes

4 Things Your Business Should Do in Light of Facebook News Feed Changes

Users will see less content from businesses, brands, and media, so you need to adjust your strategy to appear on your followers’ Facebook News Feed.

Mark Zuckerberg once again rocked the world on January 11 — at least for businesses — when he announced that Facebook News Feed was evolving to include less public content, meaning content from Pages of businesses, brands, and media. The algorithm will now prioritize posts from friends and family (over public posts) and those that “spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.”

Cue businesses around the world freaking out. They’re about to see their organic reach, video watch time, and referral traffic take a nose dive.

The fact is, this is really not a huge surprise. Facebook has been taking steps in this direction for a while, including the testing of Explore Feed last year. Even though you may have anticipated that some changes to Facebook for businesses were coming, you may be tempted to suddenly stop maintaining your Facebook Page. Is it worth posting content to Facebook if it is not going to reach your followers after these new changes?

Our stance at Fronetics is that Facebook is still worthwhile for businesses. But Zuck’s recent announcement does merit your close attention to — and perhaps a revisiting of — your Facebook strategy. We’ve compiled a list of things you need to know/do in light of the new changes to Facebook News Feed. Here they are.

4 steps to adjust your strategy for Facebook News Feed changes

1) Focus on news-worthy content that drives engagement.

Zuckerberg says, “I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.” That means that engagement will now mean more than ever before for content visibility.

In other words, posting your blog content to Facebook is no longer going to cut it. If your posts don’t garner comments or reactions, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. You’ll need to start thinking of Facebook as a place to post and discuss active news items, hot-button issues, and highly shareable content (content that is educational or entertaining, for example).

Scheduling multiple posts ahead of time, though convenient, will probably land your content further into the depths of oblivion. You’re going to have to pay attention, actively seek to generate conversation between users with your posts, and fight to win space on your followers’  feeds.

2) Tell your community to access the See First feature.

Users who still want to see posts from certain Pages they follow can choose “See First” in News Feed Preferences. So, quite simply, we suggest asking your followers to choose to see your content.

While some proactive followers may do this on their own, we want to encourage you to explicitly remind your community to do this. Remember that people are most likely to do what you want them to when you make it easy, exact, and clear. So send them an email with directions. Or put it in your newsletter or a blog post. Just tell them to do it.

One thing you don’t want to do: goad people into commenting on your posts as a means to increase your content visibility. Facebook has explicitly stated that it will demote “engagement bait,” or posts that ask for comments or reactions. So you’ll actually hurt your content by doing this.

3) Get your executives on social media.

I’ve written before about getting your executives on social media as themselves — they act as brand ambassadors for your business. Facebook’s latest announcement underscores the importance of this directive.

Your company’s executives are the most visible people in your business. For many of your industry peers and customers, they are the face of your brand. Get them active on Facebook to add meaningful thoughts to your company’s posted content, to engage in discussions, and to share newsworthy content of their own.

It’s important to note that I don’t mean that they should do this in a superficial way. They should actively seek to add value to your Facebook content and that which is relevant to happenings within your industry. By being engaging on Facebook, your executives emerge as thought leaders, which boosts your brand’s visibility and reputation.

4) Consider your Ad budget.

In the past, we have recommended adding some social media advertising to a traditional content marketing strategy as a way for clients to add gasoline to a fire, so to speak. It speeds things up. But those companies who are just starting out or who rely heavily on referral traffic might want to consider reallocating budget to sponsored ads.

Final thoughts on the new Facebook News Feed

This is a shift, yes. A challenge, for sure. But not one that’s insurmountable — or even contrary to the basic principles of good, data-driven content marketing.

Remember, Facebook is not eliminating Page content from News Feed altogether — just limiting it. The most relevant, engaging Page content will win that space. So seek to understand your target audience and produce high-quality, original content that engages those people, and you’ll come out on top of the new Facebook News Feed.

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Archive for Elizabeth Hines

Writing for SEO: Topic Clusters and Pillar Content (NOT Keywords)

Writing for SEO: Topic Clusters and Pillar Content (NOT Keywords)

Using topic clusters and pillar content instead of trying to rank for a short list of keywords will boost your search engine rankings and improve user experience.

This week, in our ongoing Writing for SEO series, we’re looking at topic clusters and pillar content. Our previous two posts explored how search engines are changing, and how people are changing the ways they search.

I’ve been hinting — more like, emphasizing — in our recent Writing for SEO series that trying to rank for certain keywords in each blog post you publish is a practice on the way out. You may have been wondering what you’re supposed to do instead. Today’s post on topic clusters and pillar content is your answer.

Before we dive too far in, it’s important to understand the key terms at work here.

  • Core topics are the several ideas/phrases/value propositions that most closely align with your brand. These are the categories that define your business and the knowledge you have to share with internet users. You want users searching the for these phrases to find your business. For Fronetics, content marketing and social media marketing for the supply chain are two obvious examples.
  • Pillar content is your evergreen content that covers those topics at a high level. For Fronetics, an example would be: Why Supply Chain and Logistics Businesses Need Content Marketing. Pages with pillar content are typically longer, offering a broad overview of the subject and linking to other webpages (cluster pages) that offer more in-depth information about related subtopics.
  • Topic clusters are the subtopics that cover a particular aspect of a core topic. For example, writing for SEO, blogging, and content strategy would all a topic cluster that falls under the core topic of content marketing.
  • Cluster pages are webpages that contain content covering topics from your cluster. Each topic cluster page focuses on providing more detail for a specific keyword relating to the core topic. For example, Instagram Stories: How the Supply Chain Can Use Them to Engage Prospects and Customers (core topic: social media marketing) was one of our most popular topic cluster pages last year.

How to structure your pages

Your pillar content page should contain links to each related topic cluster page, and each cluster page should link back to the pillar content, with the same hyperlinked keyword. This allows visitors to move seamlessly between the pages to find information that is most relevant to them. It also helps search engines better understand the content of your website so it can drive appropriate traffic to your content.

Topic cluster pages should focus on driving traffic from specific queries (e.g., “How do I use Instagram Stories?”). Pillar content pages should include broad information about the core topics, as well as opportunities for website visitors to convert to leads. This sets up your website so that traffic comes in through your cluster pages and converts on your pillar content pages.

As HubSpot puts it, “The beauty of this model is that you can spend a lot more time optimizing your pillar content for conversions and your cluster content for traffic. This saves a lot of time compared to the traditional model of optimizing each individual post.”

Why topic clusters and pillar content

Using topic clusters and pillar content lets you organize your internal linking more efficiently, boost your search ranking, and provide a better user experience.

Because search engines are getting better at understanding semantically related concepts, this structure allows them to recognize your authority on a certain topic — rather than assigning you a ranking based on an exact word or phrase. It shows you have real depth and breadth on a topic, which is important to users searching for information about it.

As I say all the time, search engines are constantly evolving to bring the most relevant content to people who are searching. So if you can show search engines that you have breadth and depth on a topic, they will assign more authority and higher search placement to your website pages.

What’s more, one high performing cluster page can elevate search rankings for all the other pages linked to the same pillar. That means more users will find your content. That means more effective content marketing for you.

So, rather than writing around a short list of keywords for which you’d like to rank, you should focus on developing topic clusters and pillar content that align with your brand to drive organic traffic.

Check back in the final part of our Writing for SEO series. And make sure to read part 1 of our series, Writing for SEO: Search Engines are Changing and part 2, Writing for SEO: People Are Changing How They Search.

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Archive for Elizabeth Hines

Increase Leads by 451% through Marketing Automation

Increase Leads by 451% through Marketing Automation

Marketing automation can help supply chain marketers become more efficient and more successful in earning and converting leads.

Automation is changing today’s supply chain, and not just because robots and autonomous vehicles are scooting around warehouse floors. Supply chain marketers can use automation to drive efficiency and improve our success rates.

HubSpot recently reported that businesses using marketing automation to nurture leads received a whopping 451% increase in qualified leads. So how can you reap these benefits? Let’s take a quick look at automated marketing applications in supply chain marketing.

What is marketing automation?

B2B buyers are increasingly demanding vendors provide personalized experiences throughout the buyer’s journey. That makes marketers’ jobs 1 million times more difficult in having to provide custom lead-nurturing content to all prospects in the database. Enter, marketing automation — a way to automate the process of personalizing leads’ interactions with your business.

HubSpot describes marketing automation as “software and tactics that allow companies to buy and sell like Amazon — that is, to nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted customers.”

Examples of ways supply chain marketers might use marketing automation include:

  • Chatbots
  • Social media scheduling tools
  • Thank-you, welcome, and other triggered-by-an-event emails
  • Event reminders
  • Email workflows

Example: Automated email workflows

Automation is particularly useful in email. I’ve written before about how marketers spend way too much time creating marketing emails. How much of your day could you gain back if you didn’t have to create, send, and follow up with prospects via email?

One easy and effective way to utilize marketing automation in your emails is to set up an automated email workflow. That is a series of emails that a user will receive from you based on actions they take.

First, create an email list from your database based on certain criteria — like leads who have been inactive for 6 months or longer. Send them an email inviting them to download a new industry report you have published (using personalization tokens to show them its relevancy to their business). Then set a second email to send to only those who downloaded the report a day or two later thanking them for downloading. A third email could follow several days later offering a case study related to the topic. When someone downloads that case study, the workflow could trigger the designated sales rep to receive a notification to follow up with the prospect.

Instead of having to watch your database to see when a prospect takes each of these actions, then completing the necessary follow-up, automation software (we like HubSpot) can do this for you right when it happens. What’s more, those leads that have gone through the workflow will be more qualified (meaning more likely to buy), so your sales reps’ time will be better spent as well.

Marketing automation won’t make you irrelevant

Fear not, supply chain marketer. Marketing automation will not make you redundant. I have clients that express this fear to me on a regular basis. Instead, I have seen automation make marketers more efficient, more successful, and more valuable.

Marketing automation will help you provide more personalized experiences to your leads. That will increase the chances that they’ll buy. But it won’t take up more of your time. In fact, it will free you up to provide value in other areas that can’t be automated (like content creation). It’s really a win-win.

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Archive for Elizabeth Hines

Writing for SEO: People Are Changing How They Search

Writing for SEO: People Are Changing How They Search

Those writing for SEO need to be conscious of how users are being more conversational in their search queries and how search engines are analyzing phrases over keywords.

This is part two of a four-part series about writing for SEO for supply chain marketers.

Last week, we kicked off our Writing for SEO series by taking a look at how search engines are changing. As we delve further into updated strategies for effective SEO writing for supply chain marketers, today we’ll explore the ways in which people are changing their search behaviors, and what that means for your content.

Search queries are turning conversational

Before we start quoting studies and scholarly research, think for a minute about how you search the web, and how that’s changed over the past several years. Chances are, you do lots of searching on your phone, sometimes using voice search. (“Siri, what’s the fastest pizza delivery in my neighborhood?”) And you’re probably “talking” to the internet more like a friend than an encyclopedia.

The studies back us up. According to HubSpot’s blog, “Amplified by the rise of mobile and voice search, queries have become more and more conversational.” While a few years ago, people tended to enter a single term into a search engine, they’re increasingly asking questions and using full, complex sentences.

Search engines are responding. In order to understand this new type of query better, much of Google’s product development in the past 3-4 years has been about natural language processing. The 2013 introduction of Hummingbird, Google’s search algorithm, is a prime example.

Writing for SEO with topics over keywords

Search algorithms like Hummingbird have begun analyzing phrases rather than relying solely on keywords. This is big news for writing for SEO. As Google and other search engines move from keyword to topic-focused SEO, you need to be adjusting your content strategy to maximize your visibility.

We pointed out last week that keyword rankings aren’t as reliable as they used to be. In summary, search engines have evolved beyond the point that everyone gets the same results from a query (depending on location, search history, etc.). Therefore rank can change drastically depending on context. Now we’re looking at the same issue from the user end.

“The traditional view of ‘keywords’ in search has changed,” according to HubSpot. Traditional writing for SEO technique tells us that there were about 10-20 “big keywords” that were sought after for ranking within a topic. Now, there are hundreds or thousands of “long-tale variations” that people regularly search for within a topic — and change based on location.

To boil it all down, it’s no longer enough to dominate a few words. What’s important is broad visibility across a topic.

Make sure to read the other posts in our series, part 1: Writing for SEO: Search Engines are Changing and part 3: Writing for SEO: Topic Clusters and Pillar Content (NOT Keywords).

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Archive for Elizabeth Hines

Writing for SEO: Search Engines Are Changing

Writing for SEO: Search Engines Are Changing

In part one of a four-part series on writing for SEO, we address how search engines and the search landscape have changed recently.

Content marketing has seen a lot of changes in the past few years. These changes are largely results of the rapidly evolving search landscape, as well as a seismic shift in the way people are actually discovering content. New, more sophisticated search algorithms, changes in the way people use search engines, and new ways that marketers develop their content are just a few of the contributing factors and outcomes.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be writing a series of posts examining how marketers should approach writing for SEO in this new landscape. Today, we’re exploring specifically how search engines have evolved — something they are always doing, as they improve to helps searchers find the content that best answers their queries.

Are keyword rankings still important?

It’s important to recognize that as search engines change the way they process and evaluate content, older metrics of SEO success aren’t as reliable as they used to be. Take keyword rankings for example. While conventional wisdom tells us that it’s absolutely necessary for content marketers to check their Google keyword rankings for target keywords, debate has swirled recently about the actual reliability of this metric.

Why is this once-standard metric being called into question? The answer is largely about context: Search engines have evolved beyond the point where everyone gets the same results of a query, and therefore rank can change drastically depending on context.

Location-based searches are one of the most obvious and important contextual variables. Simply put, depending on where you’re searching from, you’ll see different search results. This makes it difficult and unreliable to evaluate success based on keyword rankings alone.

Featured snippets

In addition to keyword-ranking problems, search engines are starting to dictate how content should be structured — particularly with the increased appearance of featured snippets. These snippets typically display content from within one of the pages ranking on page one of a question-based query, directly answering the question searched for without the user every having to visit the actual page.

writing for SEO

Fronetics has the featured snippet for Supply Chain Management MBA Programs.

A recent study found that of 1.4 million queries, 30% showed a featured snippet — that’s big growth. This means that content that ranks within the featured snippet section often gets a much greater share of the traffic for the given query. For content creators, this points to a need to restructure content to try to appear within these featured snippets.

Changes to the way search engines work do present a challenge for content creators writing for SEO. But keeping pace with the ever-changing technology is key to keeping your content relevant.

Make sure to check out part 2 in our series, Writing for SEO: People Are Changing How They Search, and part 3, Writing for SEO: Topic Clusters and Pillar Content (NOT Keywords).

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