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Why Consumer Behavior Is Essential to Marketing Research

Did you know that in most cases, customer loyalty is worth more than the price of a single purchase? That is because marketers are fervent to meet the needs of their customers at a high degree. How do marketers make that happen? Well, one thing to consider is that marketers continuously do research on consumer behavior. Yes, you want to sell a product, but adding value to your customers’ lives hits one out of the park.

Consumer behavior is all around us and it is important to know what drives us to purchase a product.

First, every organization should understand the power behind their research on consumer behavior before launching any product. Knowing your audience is important to tailor your buyer persona. Before making any final decisions on how you would market your products or services, your understanding of your target market should be secure.

In that case, keeping consumer behavior as your main focus on marketing research is essential to understand customers’ buying decisions and how they look at products.

Additionally, conducting research on consumer behavior will provide better ideas on your marketing strategies to move ahead of your competitors. Keeping consumer behavior in mind when studying your marketing analytics reports is vital to meet the expectations of your customers.

Three main factors that influence consumer behavior are cultural, psychological, and personal factors. Incorporating these three points into your consumer behavior research will help you gain valuable information, and understand who your potential customers will be. Here’s how conducting research on consumer behavior helps you with your overall marketing strategy.

1. Helps Refine Marketing Strategy Analytics

When it comes to marketing decisions, analytics is an influential factor when determining if your strategies are helping to push your company forward. Doing research on the performance of your display ads, website content, and search ads can tell you a lot about what your customers are engaged in.

Also, the analytics of your website shows how consumer behavior affects search engine optimization. Research on consumer behavior is crucial to acknowledge if your consumers are responding positively to what you wish to market.

2. Expands Your Awareness on Globalization

The study of consumer behavior is vital if you decide to expand your product or services to non-domestic markets. In addition, conducting marketing research on those who have different cultural backgrounds is essential for your business. This shows if your product or services best serve the cultural norms and values of a particular country. Applying this type of research to your marketing strategy will make you stand out from your competitors.

Learning about consumer behavior in foreign markets will expand your awareness of helping reach non-domestic needs.

3. Gives You a Better Outlook on Customer Preferences to Design Your Marketing Mix

Understanding your consumers’ preferences on a particular product provides a narrower scope to design your marketing mix (the four P’s).

When conducting research, a consumer may be interested in the design of the product yet may shy away from purchasing it due to the product’s high-end price. Or, selling a beach-like product in Southern California may reach more sales than selling the product in Eastern Texas. Acknowledging this type of behavior provides a better outlook on how to better your pricing strategy. Here are some questions to consider when correlating your marketing mix to consumer behavior.

  • Does the price of your product match the income of your target market?
  • Does the design of your product attract the audience whom you wish to target?
  • Is the product marketed in locations where people would wish to buy the product?
  • Is the product useful and/or is it in demand to solve a problem in the market?

When customers decide to buy your product, it is essential to grasp their thought processes when they make their final purchasing decisions. By doing so, you will know the types of strategies that will work to boost sales.

Where should you begin to collect research on consumer behavior?

Create an appropriate survey design that will best gather your consumer insight data. Are you gathering data based on your participants’ responses towards your product and/or service? Use a rating scale question from 1 to 100.

Are you gathering data based on your participants’ feelings or opinions on your product and/or service? Use a Likert scale question such as “strongly agree to strongly disagree”.

Be sure to include demographic questions (age, income, race/ethnicity, gender, occupation, location, etc). This will help you better understand the demographics of your participants, and it gives you sharper information on how it correlates with consumer behavior. Also, you can determine how a product’s usefulness correlates with the needs of a particular demographic.

Conduct an online survey through your website or conduct a face-to-face survey of a focus group.

If you decide to resort to an inexpensive and quicker route to gather more information on customer experience, you can conduct online surveys through your website. In most cases, conducting online surveys will only provide you with anonymous participants which hinders you from gathering specific demographic data. With that said, utilize online surveys for your current customers to uncover what they think about your products and/or services so far.

To gain a thorough analysis of your product/service research, conducting a focus group on your customers or tailored buyer personas is the best way to analyze and gather consumer insights. Focus group research allows you to gather more information from your participants because it takes more time to gather data from their in-depth interviews.

76% of consumers expect businesses to understand their expectations and needs.

Conducting surveys of your current customers or groups that show interest in your product is vital to understand when wanting to meet the needs of your consumers. At the end of the day, your mission is to add value to your customers’ lives. This can only happen by taking time to learn more about your customers. Taking the extra mile to know more about your customers will reap good benefits to maintain your overall business health and gain loyal customers.

Thalia Rodriguez is a Communications major with a double minor in marketing and professional writing at Grand Canyon University. When she’s not practicing writing, she can be spending time with family and friends, going on hikes, or cooking delicious plant-based dishes. Check out her LinkedIn profile here to connect.

COVID-19 Christmas

How To Market for the Holidays During COVID-19

There’s no denying that the holiday season is going to look a little different this year – from Zoom holiday get-togethers to Black Friday being primarily online. We’re all adapting to a new normal, and that includes new holiday marketing strategies.

Marketing strategies during COVID-19 have changed drastically. There’s a much larger push for online shopping and virtual events. Additionally, there is an added urgency to advertise these events on social media and other digital platforms. 

Changing digital strategies and shifts in holiday traditions means that your marketing plan needs to adapt to these changes, too. Here are some tips for how to market during this year’s holiday season. 

1. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge hardships

Although it can be tempting to try and gloss over COVID-19 or try and create a sense of normalcy amidst the chaos, consider a different approach. 

Consumers value authenticity, honesty and vulnerability. With COVID-19 impacting almost everyone’s lives, being real and honest with your customers is more important than ever. 

It’s also important to not overdo it, though. For months, people have been bombarded with the harsh realities of this pandemic, so don’t mention it continuously. Instead, try to work it in naturally without reminding customers of what was lost. 

For more on the effects of COVID-19 on businesses, check out our previous blog post.

2. Embrace holiday traditions

With that being said, be sure to embrace holiday traditions as much as possible. Above all this year, people want normalcy. Most won’t have the traditional experience of big in-person shopping days and fun, crowded outings. Instead, you can give them a sense of normalcy by highlighting how to keep traditions in a safe, socially-distanced way. 

Although there is no reason to pretend like everything is fine this holiday season, try to keep the tone lighthearted but realistic.

Instead of taking a view of pessimism or optimism, try one of realism: COVID-19 is changing the way we do the holidays, but some things can still remain the same.

Holiday marketing tips

3. Keep websites and social media updated and accessible during the holiday marketing season

This holiday season, you should focus on your digital marketing strategy above all else. This could be through target social media ads, interacting with customers or clients through social media, or revamping your website. 

The amount of consumers doing their holiday shopping online this year will be larger than others. This means that the bulk of your marketing efforts should go towards these digital platforms. Recent surveys showed a hike in online shopping for Black Friday; that trend is expected to continue into the end of the year. 

Make sure whatever product or service you provide is easily accessible online. This ensures consumers aren’t deterred from buying your product by needing to go to a store. Services like one-day delivery or curbside pick-up are especially efficient for consumers. 

Although your social media shouldn’t be totally focused towards selling your product, make a push to advertise a bit more than usual during this holiday season. Try to naturally work in links to products, blog articles or other content within your social media platforms. Consumers won’t have the same exposure to sales and advertisements that they do traditionally during the holiday season. Make sure to keep customers aware of any sales or exclusive promotions.

You should also make sure your website is accessible in addition to up-to-date. Run focus groups and analyses on how your website performs to understand where you can improve. 

Pay special attention to when people abandon their carts, conversion rates and bounce rates. Simple changes like a more accessible navigation menu can help boost your website and increase sales.

There is nothing normal about the holidays this year, so marketing strategies will look a little different. If you need help figuring out a holiday marketing strategy, contact us for a free audit.

50 best CTA (Call to Action) buttons

One of the most important elements of your landing page or website is the CTA (Call To Action) buttons.

By clicking on a CTA button, a website visitor becomes a potential client.

This is the first step in to the decision buying process and the beginning of the customer journey. 

To effectively maximize conversions, a landing page or a home page should have these call to action cues in place, making it an integral part of the overall design. Strategic placement, colors, and using the appropriate call to action words are factors that should be considered as these help drive the diverse actions based on the conversion goal. 

So how you you exactly successfully boost conversions with the use of CTA buttons? Here are a few helpful  insights when creating Call to Action buttons:  

Ensure your Call To Action beckons to your target audience. 

Some call to action buttons are so benign that your website visitors just pass right through it. Though there may be a variety of reasons why they do, ensure that the call to action resounds to their purpose of why there are on your landing page in the first place.

Is their goal to learn more?

Or to buy?

Or perhaps to get a free trial? 

How do you ensure you capture their goals in line with yours? One important thing is to make a call to action phrase concise and accurate. Avoid using words that are too general like” next” instead say “Read More”. Using a lengthy content on the CTA can confuse your website visitors so use phrases that immediately lead them to make a decision. 

You can also create pop ups that contain multiple calls to action to further maximize the space and create more user benefit. Creating secondary CTA’s show your visitors that you care about them, and you are not only after them for email sign ups. In fact, you can create CTA’s that make them download and get free content or a free gift, without them consciously knowing that they will be included in the regular mailing list. Talk about strategic. 

Make it visually appealing. 

Nothing ruins a great landing page content than poorly designed CTA’s. First of all, start with color and contrast. If you create CTA’s that just blend into the background, then chances are they are not noticeable at first glance, and might be missed altogether. Ensure that your CTAs complement the landing page theme, and use colors that pop right out of the screen. 

Using adorable word plays certainly make you more lovable to your website visitors. For example, if you have a pet care website, use common pet language or do a wordplay on food names for your bakery / cafe website to make the CTA’s more relatable and hence, more clickable. Also, if ever you use images on your pop ups, ensure that they do relate to the CTA button to send a clear message. Again, to avoid confusion and more importantly to guide them in making fast and solid buyer decisions while they are on your website. 

Placement is key.  

As much as possible, create a call to action button on every page of your website to boost engagement and maximize conversions. Place them in a way that it pops out when they scroll from top to bottom and from left to right- ensuring at the same time they have read just enough of your content to make a decision. 

Another way is to create CTAs that pop out when your user reaches the bottom of the page, or about to click on the X button on the top right of the screen. Phrases like ‘Before you go….” or Want to learn more..” are effective ways to keep your visitors on your website.  Avoid putting too much CTA’s though, or just because you can. You do not want to overcrowd your page and overwhelm your visitors – and most of all confuse them which buttons they need to click.

Having considered these insights, here are some samples of the most effective CTA buttons, or at least the most commonly used. Use these examples to guide you, especially when you are just starting out. Remember, how you select the most appropriate CTA depends on you your conversion goal.

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And so much more.. You can also mix and match these CTA phrases, or you can create your own tweaks to customize them according to your product or service that you offer. One important thing to note as well, make sure your Call to Action buttons appeal to your target audience’s benefit – ensure that they learn from your content just enough to leave them wanting for more – thus they click on THE button. 

It also helps to scope out your competitor’s call to action buttons, as well as top websites to see what CTA’s work best on which product or service type and use them on your landing page or homepage. Remember, these CTAs are not carved in stone, so feel free to tweak these buttons depending on your campaign.  

Measure your goals and see how effective/ ineffective your CTAs are by looking at your conversion rate goal metrics. Once you have started on these metrics, try your hand at A/B Testing your landing pages using different types of CTA’s too see which campaign is more effective in terms of conversion rates. 

Of course, no matter how awesome these page pop ups you have created, there will always be visitors who will not click – so ensure that you give them an option to decline graciously, without creating buyer remorse or guilt. Instead, give them an option to decline temporarily – for example  – “No , not right now” or “No thanks, I’m good for now”, “Maybe later”.  

Call to Action buttons have great impact when it comes to content marketing, so make use of it as much as possible. Take your time and customize them accordingly and effectively to create a seamless and successful marketing  campaign.

SEO Terms You Should Know graphic

SEO Terms You Should Know

If you’re in the realm of marketing, chances are you’ve heard the term SEO before. If you’re not savvy with technology or aren’t as engaged in the digital side of marketing, the concept of SEO and the many facets of it can be overwhelming, to say the least. 

Understanding the terms and basic ideas of SEO is essential to marketing in today’s digital world. Luckily, once you get past all of the industry jargon and complex-sounding terminology, SEO isn’t too hard to understand. 

What is SEO?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is how well a website, brand or page does on search engines. When thinking about SEO, you should consider all search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, to name a few. However, keep in mind that Google has more than an 80% share of the search market, so that should be your main focus. 

SEO involves a lot of analytics, too. The research is just as important as the actual practice of SEO. Use tools like Google Analytics to understand how your website fares on search engines, and if your SEO practices are working.

Why does SEO matter?

In this digital age, search engines are the most popular’ go-to’s when trying to find a product or service. If you use SEO strategically, you can ensure that your company will pop up on someone’s first or second search page. Ranking high in search results will make them more likely to visit your page. 

SEO words to know

Just understanding what SEO is isn’t enough, though. There are plenty of terms and topics that are important to know if you’re interested in using SEO. 

Here, we’ve compiled a list of popular SEO terms that you can use to grasp the basics of SEO.

Google homepage
Understanding SEO can improve your rankings on search engines.

Keyword

What it is: A keyword is the word or phrase that you are using in your content to gain traffic on search engines.

For example, if you’re a marketing agency based in Georgia, your keyword may be “marketing agency in Georgia.” That way, your content will show up when someone searches “marketing agency in Georgia.” 

Why it matters: Keywords are essential in SEO because they will help potential clients find your site or lead them to your content. To find the right keyword, make sure to research what phrases potential clients in your niche are searching for.

For more on keywords, check out our previous blog post.

Along with keywords, you may also hear the term keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing refers to the use of too many keywords or cramping the same keywords into a few short paragraphs.

This is a common mistake because many assume the more keywords, or the more instances of a keyword, the better. In fact, keyword stuffing will harm your site’s ranking on search engines.

Traffic

What it is: Traffic is the amount of clicks and views your content gets. Organic traffic refers to traffic that comes naturally through search engine queries, social media pages, email newsletters and so on. Paid traffic comes from advertisements, such as sponsorships and pay-per-click ads.

Why it matters: Gaining traffic is a no-brainer because SEO is all about driving traffic to your website. It’s essential to getting more visibility and growing your business. 

Meta Description

What it is: A meta description refers to a part of your content’s HTML (the markup language of online content) that has a small snippet of the content. It is usually 50-160 words and search engines may use it in search results. 

Why it matters: If a search engine displays your meta description, it will influence the number of clicks your content receives. Your meta description should contain your keyword and be compelling, enticing the reader to learn more.

An example of a meta description for SEO use.
This meta description uses the keyword organically while giving a simple summary that engages readers.

Crawling

What it is: Crawling is a search engine process that uses crawlers (sometimes called bots or spiders) to go through the internet and find websites, links and other data. Using a specific algorithm, a search engine will determine which websites will be scanned and how often.

Why it matters: Your website being crawled by a search engine is the first step to getting it listed on a search engine’s database. From there, it will then begin to show up on search engine results pages. You can make sure crawlers find your most important content by making it easily accessible on your website. 

Index

What it is: Indexing is the next step for a search engine after crawling. Much like a physical index, it is the database a search engine uses to store all information and data for websites that come up as search results.

Why it matters: If your website isn’t in a search engine’s index, it won’t show up for users. The index will rank websites based on relevancy, which will then begin to show up on search engine results pages, or SERPs. 

Your SERP position should be a primary focus for SEO. According to this competitive research study, the first five results on a search engine page accounted for nearly 70% of all clicks.

Learning more

If you’re interested in more SEO terms and techniques, websites like Moz and Yoast are great websites to explore. If you’re ready to start or expand your SEO journey, contact us to learn about our copywriting services.

Alison Roller is a recent graduate of West Chester University of Pennsylvania where she earned a B.A. in English with a minor in journalism. When she’s not writing, she can be found wherever her cats are. Check out her LinkedIn profile here to connect.

There are signs you can look out for in a good content marketing agency.

[Infographic] What To Look For in a Content Marketing Agency

If you’re looking for a content marketing agency, the vast amount of companies and services that they provide can seem overwhelming, to say the least. Luckily, there are a few tell-tale signs of a good and reputable agency that you can be on the lookout for when considering which company to work with.

1. A Good Website & Social Media Presence

The first thing you may come across when looking for an agency is their website or social media accounts. If you know what to look for, these can tell you a lot about the agency itself. 

Is their website up-to-date? Are they active on social media, and is their brand recognizable and consistent? A good brand presence can tell you what the company’s all about. Their social media can also serve as a general idea of what the content services they would provide you would look like. 

Although this can be a way to assess any type of company, it’s especially important for content marketing. After all, if a content marketing company doesn’t put out quality content itself, would you trust them to make you good content?

A consistent social media presence can indicate a good content marketing agency.

2. Proven Results

Website testimonials or case studies are a great way to judge a company.

A good content marketing agency should have proven results, shown through past clients’ reviews and testimonials. Past clients can also tell you an agency’s core niches and whether they’ve worked with content similar to yours in the past. The presence of long-term clients can tell you that an agency is trustworthy and reliable.

It’s also important to go past website testimonials, though. To truly know if a company is trustworthy, you can scour the internet for any possible negative feedback or cautions. Use a website like Clutch to get totally honest reviews. 

If you’re seriously considering an agency that has a few bad reviews, don’t be too quick to judge.Try reaching out to the company to discuss any concerns you may have. If it’s a good company, they’ll be open to discuss how they’ve improved.

3. Modern and Effective Techniques

Content marketing in this day and age goes far beyond creating good content. Making sure the content reaches the right audiences is the second half of the battle. 

Marketing strategies and research like Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, should be part of an effective content marketing strategy. 

Ask about your potential agency’s SEO practices and make sure they’re doing the right keyword research, content analysis and optimization of meta descriptions.

4. A Diverse Staff

Diversity goes far beyond physical appearance. A diverse staff should include different niches, expertise, experience level and background. Consider things like age and expertise when looking at a company’s staff.

A diverse staff can bring the best of both worlds to your content. Your content will benefit from the knowledge that only comes with a long history in the industry paired with the innovation and creative ideas of someone newer to the field.

Does the content marketing agency have a staff with different backgrounds and expertise?

5. Solid Communication

One of the most important things when working with any kind of agency is a steady line of communication. Look beyond just basic communication, though. A lot of content agencies will be able to talk you up, but fall short on finished products. Make sure what they’re saying is in plain English instead of industry jargon and that what they’re saying aligns with your vision.

A good content marketing agency should reach out enough that you always know where your budget is going. They should keep you in the loop with where they’re at in the timeline for your project. Also, make sure that the agency puts you in direct contact with the employees that are working on your campaign. If not, you’ll risk your message getting lost in translation. 

Communication goes both ways, too. Do your work with an agency that leaves the line of communication open and encourages you to get in touch with a question or comment.

6. A Mission Statement that Aligns With Yours

Any company – from a content marketing agency to a local boutique – should have a clear and visible mission statement and vision for their company. 

If your values and beliefs line up with what the agency stands for, you can ensure it will be a good fit for your content. The beliefs that a company holds comes out in all they do, and that includes content. If your beliefs do not align with the agency’s you’re working with, it may come through in the content they create for you.

You should also make sure they put their efforts where their heart is – if one of their major values is contributing to the community, see what they are doing to turn that value into real results.

A shared and honest understanding of what their big picture is will help you in the long run.

Find a content marketing agency that is connected to their community.

7. Transparency

Transparency relates to almost everything on this list. If they’re not honest about deadlines, avoiding certain questions or are not responsive to constructive criticism, it can be a huge red flag.

You should also always be in the know, from coming up with due dates to getting the final project. If there’s even a small problem or bump in the road, you should be kept in the loop and know what happened and what they’re doing to get back on track.

Transparency within content marketing is especially important. It can help you know what they’re doing to reach your target audience and expand your reach with content creation.

If these traits of an effective content marketing agency resonate with you, consider working with PivotPath. We can help you create Real, Recognizable and Relatable content to connect with clients and expand your businesses. Check out our content services here.

Alison Roller is a recent graduate of West Chester University of Pennsylvania where she earned a B.A. in English with a minor in journalism. When she’s not writing, she can be found wherever her cats are. Check out her LinkedIn profile here to connect.

How To Attract Students To Your Institution With Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool that, if utilized properly, can promote your institution.

Studies show that Generation Z is more connected to social media than any other generation before them. Making sure your institution has a recognizable and relatable social media presence can give students a glimpse into what life is like at your institution and potentially show them that your institution is the right fit for them.

But attracting potential students isn’t as easy as simply having an account; you need to make sure you’re appealing to the right audiences and using social media to your full advantage.  

Why Does Social Media Matter?

Social media can be an added boost to promote attention towards your institution. However, it can also be a direct way to introduce your institution to potential students. The right social media presence can have a huge impact on attracting new students and retaining current students. 

If a student sees an outdated or barely-used social media page for an institution they’re considering, it could deter them from exploring your school further. On the flip side, a savvy, fun social media presence could peak their interest. 

It’s important to be relatable in your posts, and that starts with understanding the wants and needs of your targeted audiences. For attracting students, make sure you are highlighting all the best features of your institution, social events and campus culture. All students know what a typical institution is like, so what makes yours recognizable? What makes it stand out?

Making sure your social media presence is recognizable and engaging can help your institution stand out to potential students. Beyond attracting students, using the stats on social media can help you determine if you’re reaching your target audience. It can also show you how many people are interacting with your posts and if your social media strategies are effective.

What’s the Best Social Media To Use?

The three main social medias that will give you the most traffic are Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. But how can you use them? What’s the best strategy for each one? 

1. Twitter

Twitter is great for written content as well as sharing others’ posts. Use Twitter to livetweet campus games and use hashtags to increase engagement and visibility. Use a LiveTweet App to create a Twitter wall for your events to show potential students what others are saying about your institution.

2. Instagram

Instagram is one of the most creative and customizable apps to attract students. This platform has a ton of features that can help your institution. Features such as Instagram highlights and stories can make information about your institution more accessible. The photo grid on each Instagram account creates the opportunity for you to craft a unique look to attract new students. 

3. Facebook

Facebook should be the most professional presence you have out of all the social media platforms mentioned. Studies show GenZ doesn’t use Facebook as much as older people do, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important.

Even if your content doesn’t reach a potential student on Facebook, it may reach a parent or relative. It’s generally a good idea to share your Instagram posts to Facebook to make sure you’re reaching all your audiences.

Facebook is a good social media for older adults.

4. TikTok

TikTok has the potential to be a great social media platform for institutions because of its “For You” page. The “For You” page uses an algorithm to show the user videos similar to ones they’ve interacted with. It can also show content related to topics they’ve shown interest in. TikTok’s algorithm may help you reach your target audiences quicker. It also means you don’t need to have tons of followers for your video to gain views – giving your institution more visibility.

Not all social media is created equal when it comes to reaching your targeted audiences. It’s worth noting which ones may not be the best platform for your content.

  • Snapchat

Although this is a popular social media platform, your content isn’t accessible to people who aren’t following you, making it harder to reach potential students. Instead, try adding geotags for people to use when they’re in the school’s vicinity. 

  • Pinterest

Research shows that Pinterest is popular with older generations. While some older adults go back to school, it usually isn’t your target audience. Pinterest is also not ideal for content creation.

  • Tumblr

Tumblr isn’t as commonly used as other social media platforms. While it may work to use as a website to promote a service, using a similar photo-sharing app like Instagram will generate more engagement. 

How Can You Promote Engagement on Social Media?

Promoting engagement on social media can help your page gain more traction, and with more followers comes a more recognizable presence..

To promote engagement, make your page as interactive as possible. Instagram stories are a great way to pose questions, create polls or quizzes and interact with your followers. 

Giveaways on social media for school swag are another way to promote engagement. Try making some rules for the giveaway that will increase engagement. Ask followers to tag a friend in the comments or add the post to their story. 

Using hashtags can help get your page on more screens, but be weary of having too many in your captions. Use a few simple hashtags at the end of the post or incorporate them into the caption itself to make it look more aesthetically pleasing.

Gen Z uses social media more than any other generation.

Features To Take Advantage Of

  • Twitter/Instagram Polls

Polls are a great way to promote engagement. You can use the poll feature to ask institution-relevant questions, such as whether your team’s going to win the next game. However, to attract new students, make sure to keep some questions more broad to keep potential students involved.

  • Live Videos

The live video feature is on multiple platforms and is a great way to show prospective students what your school is like in real-time. Whether you want to record a game or other campus event, use this feature to highlight campus culture.

  • Instagram Highlights

Instagram Highlights are a convenient way to organize and archive past Instagram stories. You can use this feature to give a potential student a quick way to access information. Take some time to make well-designed stories that highlight all the best parts of your institution and answer some FAQs. Be sure to keep your Instagram highlights up to date.

There are benefits and drawbacks to any social media you may choose, but each post is a chance to attract a new student to your institution. If you’re looking to create a Real, Recognizable and Relatable social media presence to attract more students, PivotPath can help! Check out our social media management services here.

Alison Roller is a recent graduate of the West Chester University of Pennsylvania where she earned a B.A. in English with a minor in journalism. When she’s not writing, she can be found wherever her cats are. Check out her LinkedIn profile here to connect.

Frustrated with your in-house team? We can help!

Why In-house brand marketing is NOT the way

As a small to medium sized enterprise, you may struggle whether you should create your own in-house marketing team or completely outsource the marketing to an agency. A few considerations come to mind while you are trying to decide. 

Though most big companies have their own in-house brand marketing teams, others prefer to leave it to the experts. According to the Wall Street Journal,  there is a rise in the demand for In-house agencies, due to some budget cutbacks. However, if you are thinking of doing the same for your business- think again. It might not be all coming up roses – as you have a few major disadvantages to consider. Here are a few reasons why:

Lack of industry experience and perspective

Frustrated with your in-house team? We can help!
Frustrated with your in-house team? We can help!

Having a team solely focused on your products and services can go both ways. Of course, there will be a strong and solid foundation of product knowledge, background and brand loyalty. However, compared to an agency, they might fall behind in terms of having flexibility in learning new ways in regards to tailoring marketing tactics and strategy for different companies. 

One of the best advantages of hiring an agency is their fresh perspective to your campaign because the ideas will be coming in from different directions. There is no one size fits all brand marketing strategy, and having a pair of fresh, unbiased eyes from the ‘outside’ always helps pivot your vision.

With PivotPath, we take pride in having worked with a dynamic list of clients, and with those experiences, we bring fresh ideas to the table – that is because we understand that each business has its own unique character and needs. We also know that your business needs to create its own identity and build a niche in your industry so we will always ensure that we will build you campaigns that are custom-fit to your marketing goals.  

Lesser HR responsibilities

In a fast-paced environment, results need to be delivered – fast. Having to onboard an in-house team takes more time (and much more money) than you might think. Not only is your business responsible for recruitment, but you also have to consider the time to do the interviews and the on-boarding. As an SMB, this will be more of a hassle than a benefit as you need to spend more time keeping the business on track rather than conducting interviews all day. Also, what if you succeed and hire an entire team of think-tanks only to find out that same new hire leaves within two weeks post-hire?  Then you have to undergo the process of hiring again. 

Hiring a dedicated firm takes off this heavyweight off your shoulders as you only need to keep track of their deliverables and spend more time implementing marketing plans and campaigns rather than manage the team yourself. PivotPath can relieve you of that worry. You can take the marketing load off and we will take care of your campaigns from start to finish, and do it all over again. We have assembled a team of marketing experts dedicated entirely to run projects, and we run it like a well-oiled machine. All you have to do and step back, relax and let us roll up our sleeves for you. 

Limited Resources

Having an in-house marketing team means you employ a small team, which might limit your business from successfully achieving goals and KPIs. Training and teaching learn new skills also costs time and money. Hiring an agency like PivotPath assures you that there is a pool of industry experts – on whatever brand marketing and copywriting service you need.

Thinking about hiring a Brand Strategy expert? We can provide you one at once and can jump in on your campaign asap- compared to having someone learn and train for the job and may result in a hit or miss. 

If you are a SMBE looking for an innovative, out of the box firm delivering fast results and premium products and services at value pricing, look no further. Our goal is for you to help you achieve your goals. We will focus on your brand with the same passion and dedication as we do with ours. 

Reach out to us today, and let us know how we can help you tell your story.

COVID-19 affecting businesses

What Small Businesses Can Learn From the COVID-19 Outbreak

In the beginning months of 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak has changed the world – and business operations – in ways we never expected. In this uncertain time, everything feels risky. People are losing their jobs, vulnerable businesses are shuttering their doors permanently, and no one has answers. In short, it seems like the worst time possible to take risks. 

However, though COVID-19 is changing the business world, not all of these changes are necessarily bad. In times of uncertainty there are always lessons to be learned. If you are a business-owner, or are considering opening a business, pay close attention to these emerging topics and trends.

1. Safety and Comfort Are Top Customer Priorities 

Most companies mindlessly say that the safety and security of their guests is the first priority in running their business. This makes sense; why would you shop somewhere if you felt uncomfortable or at risk by being there? However, the COVID-19 pandemic is testing businesses in the grimmest way possible. In a time where lives are legitimately at risk, businesses are up against the wall with all eyes on them.

Luckily, these organizations are showing initiative.

Many national big-box store chains, grocery stores, and drug stores are now requiring face coverings to enter and shop. This is a bold, smart move to make. These businesses are proving how important it is that their shoppers feel comfortable upon entering their establishment. The controversy surrounding this topic runs deep, but at the end of the day businesses can’t run the risk of being sued due to endangerment. On top of the mask policies, organizations are placing importance on sanitizing and cleansing every surface

While most establishments are now open, there are a few which are still wary of welcoming guests inside. AMC Theaters have yet to open, despite pushing back their opening date on multiple occasions. This proves that every business must do what’s best for their unique situation.

Small businesses can learn from these more well-known corporations by following their lead in putting safety first – and also learning from their mistakes. We can be sure that these new safety and cleanliness procedures aren’t going away anytime soon.

Businesses everywhere are cracking down on safety procedures.
Businesses everywhere are cracking down on safety procedures.

2. Ecommerce is Here to Stay

We’ve all shopped on Amazon and through ecommerce websites before – they are a common, useful service. This is why events such as Cyber Monday and Amazon’s Prime Day provide such enormous value. Online shopping is not only cost effective, but eliminates the hassle of traveling to a store and searching for a product.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, we have seen an enormous spike in orders from online businesses. This could have been foreseen, but what are the lasting effects of a world in which people are more eager to shop online than in person? We’ve already seen a massive shift in the film industry, where films are released through streaming platforms instead of in movie theaters.

If small businesses want to survive in our current environment, they need to make all attempts at digitizing their products and services. This is a step that will not only benefit them during the pandemic, but long after as well.

3. A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way

One of the heartening side-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is how people are banding together to support vulnerable businesses. This doesn’t just apply to consumers, either. Like the linked article above references, business owners are finding creative ways to support each other through incentive programs and endorsements.

Small businesses need your support now more than ever.
Small businesses need your support now more than ever.

The COVID-19 pandemic is revealing just how vulnerable certain businesses are. We took for granted our local indie record store or vegan cafe, but now they face very real danger. These establishments are losing reliable customers, even considering the stimulus checks distributed to ease the blow.

Hopefully, a trend emerges in the future where businesses in the same community form stronger bonds and find ways to collaborate with each other.

4. Scale Down Your Operation Wherever Possible

One of the most heartbreaking side effects of the pandemic is the staggering amount of job loss. New businesses are extremely vulnerable, especially if they haven’t saved up a substantial amount of capital in the case of an emergency.

While massive layoffs are a huge issue that our country will have to deal with later, there is an upside. Under pressure, most companies are discovering new, efficient, cost-effective ways to operate. For example, Dunkin’ Donuts will close 450 locations by the end of the year. Companies who relied on a handful of employees or who had low product costs find it easier to stay afloat, unlike companies with greater expenses.

Only time will tell what trends businesses may start to follow, but don’t be surprised if they don’t return to their typical operating procedures.

5. Sometimes You Have to Make Hard Decisions

Being a business-owner can bring you to both the highest and lowest places of your life – that’s part of the deal. Because of COVID-19, business-owners are having to make difficult decisions that normally they wouldn’t choose to make. 

For example, businesses are having to shutter their doors because they can’t ensure guest safety. They’ve also had to lay off hard-working employees whom they can no longer afford to pay.

It can be easy to see your employees as more like family than what they are – employees. At the end of the day, you have to run a profitable business. Times like these really test your mettle as an entrepreneur, and force you to make the toughest choices.

As a business-owner, you have to do what's best for the survival of the business.
As a business-owner, you have to do what’s best for the survival of the business.
  • Do you need some help figuring out the best way to market your organization or business? Check out PivotPath’s valuable services here.

Our world is changing, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Flexibility is essential to survive in the competitive world of business. More than ever, we need to support our favorite businesses and think outside of the box. Nothing like the COVID-19 pandemic has happened in recent history, so we would all do well to pay close attention to what’s happening around us.

Cammie Conn is a Theatre & Performance Studies major at Kennesaw State University, and she also studies through the Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business Program. She can often be found practicing creative writing, playing guitar, reading voraciously, or jamming to her vinyl collection. Check out her LinkedIn profile here to connect.

5 Ways on How Podcasts Can Boost Your Brand

This year, about 155 million people listen to podcasts every week. Podcasts are transforming how people gain and retain information. You can listen to podcasts while exercising, driving to work, or simply listening for leisure. Now that you have that in mind, it is important to understand how this form of digital marketing can boost your brand.

What is a Podcast?

A podcast is an audio program that consists of a series of episodes that discuss a particular topic. For instance, that can range from either lifestyle, religion, politics, social sciences, etc. You can subscribe and listen to a podcast on your phone either through headphones, through speakers, or in your car.

Developing connections with host speakers build your credibility when using podcasts.

Many podcasts are quite familiar with how they sound due to their conversation-like style of speaking about a focused topic. Digital marketing continues to rise with the use of social media, videography, and SEO. In fact, podcasts are reshaping the art of storytelling by showing audiences that conversations are powerful. They are designed from an idea or passion to draw attention and inspiration. Essentially, implementing podcasts into your marketing strategy can help gain more prospects for your business and boost your brand awareness.

So, what should you consider when choosing to go on a podcast platform?

Before creating any type of marketing strategy, it is important to identify your buyer persona.

  • What are their personal interests? 
  • What do they need to know about your business’s missions and values? 
  • How will podcasts help serve your customers’ needs when they engage in your content?
  • Why would they want to listen to your content?

Identifying and researching the characteristics of your buyer persona is vital when crafting a podcast to ensure that your content will be engaging and beneficial to your audience and to generate leads.

So how do podcasts boost your brand?

1. Helps Personalize Your Brand

Inevitably, your main pursuit when beginning to create your podcast is to build relationships with your customers – which includes building trust. Uploading an informative series relating to your products and services helps your audience get a better understanding of your brand’s personality. Also, podcasts help represent who you are to the world. Podcasts are highly engaging which breaks the monotony of overloaded information.

  • You can break the monotony of overloaded information by allowing guest speakers onto your platform to discuss topics that represent your brand.

Podcasts are highly interactive because they convey a simpler and direct message to your audience with the means of storytelling altogether.

2.  Grows Thought Leadership

When delivering a message to your audience about your experience as an entrepreneur, it is vital to establish credibility on how you have executed your passions. Podcasts are beneficial to grow you as a thought leader when sharing your insights to your audience. Conveying topical information to your audience that is tied with well-researched evidence of building your business shows that you are able to provide helpful resources for your audience. 

Podcasts create relatability between hosts and the audience.

3. Builds Consistency and Awareness for Your Brand

Implementing podcasts for your brand creates a sense of community and awareness about where you stand to make your community a better place. When presenting your content, your audience connects to the authenticity you display to them. That said, using podcasts helps build a relational connection with your brand. Adding podcasts to your marketing strategy boosts your brand awareness by clearly having your voice heard about your passions for your business and customers.

4. It’s a Growing Media Platform

In light of the COVID-19 circumstances, many companies are resorting to audio and video platforms for their audiences to learn more about who they represent, and to educate their audiences on their missions as a business. Since podcasts are another medium of digital marketing, you can use them as an alternative for storytelling. Hypothetically speaking, say if your business does not have the equipment to shoot a professional video, using podcasts is an inexpensive approach to distribute your storytelling content. This is done by using high-quality audio software to record your “conversation-like” content. You can then promote episodes through a variety of distribution channels such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Google Podcasts.

5. It’s Simple to Setup

Setting up a podcast is not complicated, thank goodness. To set one up, all you need is great WiFi, high-quality earphones/headphones and a microphone, and a good audio editing software.

Second, create cover art and clickable subject lines that appeal to your audience when they are searching for topics to listen to.

Last, outline a decent and organized script that sounds conversational, relaxed, and informative. Not only are these steps simple, but they are also inexpensive when you are branching out a new marketing strategy to promote your brand.

It is important to understand how podcasts have grown through the use of smartphones.

As technology continues to advance, it cannot eliminate the human element of connecting with your audience. Using podcasts boosts your brand to appeal to your audience personally which lets you focus on why conversations matter. Using podcasts effectively helps execute your goals to serve your prospects, customers, and audiences altogether.

  • Discover how PivotPath can boost your brand identity with its brand strategy development here.

Your audience is the heartbeat of building your business success. Reaching them through a portable and mobile-friendly medium boosts your brand and grows your target audience demographic. Inevitably, how you sound to your audience makes a lasting impact on how your brand is perceived. Expand your research on podcasts to see if it can best fit your marketing strategy needs, to become a better storyteller and thought leader for your audience.

Thalia Rodriguez is a Communications major with a double minor in marketing and professional writing at Grand Canyon University. When she’s not practicing writing, she can be spending time with family and friends, going on hikes, or cooking delicious plant-based dishes. Check out her LinkedIn profile here to connect.

Influencer Marketing in Business

How Your Business Can Take Advantage of Influencer Marketing

We’ve all heard (and possibly cringed at) the word “influencer” before. It’s safe to say that the term has become somewhat taboo in most professional settings. 

What comes to your mind when you hear that word? Shiny young adults posting edited photos on Instagram? Celebrities engaging in product placement and sponsored advertising? While these may be the most popular images of influencers portrayed on social media, influencer marketing has grown into a legitimate strategy for marketing small businesses and building a valuable network. 

Influencer Marketing
Influencers are changing the face of marketing forever.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Before we dive into the many facets of influencer marketing, it’s important to understand what is meant by the term “influencer.”

Influencer: One who exerts influence, a person who inspires or guides the actions of others.

Merriam-Webster

The title isn’t confined to any one industry or field.  According to the definition, anyone with a large reach and considerable impact can be considered an influencer. The trick is to align yourself with people who already have a large, loyal following. 

So, how can you start to build this large following if you’re a new business owner with minimal connections, or if you live in a rural area? Here are a couple different ways to start making connections and building relationships with influencers in your field.

Start a Blog

When most people hear about endorsements, they think about teaming up with celebrities or notable public figures to advertise a product. This approach may be helpful for some, but if you own a small local business partnering with a celebrity isn’t a very viable option. Instead, one of the best steps you should take is to start a blog on your website.

You’ve probably heard similar advice before, and maybe you feel like writing isn’t your strong suit. However, every business-owner has a lot of unique knowledge to offer. Like they say, knowledge is power. 

When you take the time to write informed blog posts and optimize them so that they are easily found through search engines, a great deal more traffic will be drawn to your website. One of the best methods of increasing traffic and broadening your reach is to connect with other influencers in your field by creating a guest blogging network.

Guest blogging
Form a solid guest blogging network; two heads are better than one!

How to Form a Guest Blogging Network

Guest blogging is a manageable first step to expand your industry contacts and start gaining some notoriety in your field. Here are a few quick steps on how to get started:

  1. Reach out to someone you respect and want to be a guest blogger on your site. Is there another blogger you enjoy who has more followers than you? Do you see a space where you could share your expertise on their website? Do your homework first and make sure that the guest blogger can benefit from the collaboration just as much as you can.
  2. Assuming that they agree to write a piece for you, allow them to self-promote by adding links back to their own website. This not only allows the guest blogger to feel as though they have important information to share, but it connects both of your blogs through the internet.
  3. Follow through. Ask your guest blogger if you could also write a piece on their blog. Assuming they say yes, a whole new door of opportunity will be open to you. You will have full exposure to their followers, and you can (tastefully) promote your own business and website. Essentially, it’s a win-win!

It’s important that you find influencers naturally.

Don’t try to force relationships, because it will start to seem obvious that you’re only seeking some kind of personal gain. Instead, comment on people’s blogs, communicate on social media, and be open to helping others. Over time, you will start to stand out and become an approachable, recognizable name.

Get to know your guest bloggers personally by showing genuine interest in their work before reaching out. If you build a rapport through social media first, it will feel much more natural to suggest a collaboration. Cold emails aren’t always the best way to go when it comes to forming an effective support system.

Engage With the Community

The business world is all about relationships. Apart from guest blogging, another way to use influencer marketing to your advantage is to go out into your community. Serving other small businesses is a great way to prove you’re engagement. You may not gain any monetary value from it at first, but forming valuable relationships can pay off ten-fold in the long-run. 

For example, let’s say you own a sign-making business downtown and you see that a new ice cream shop is opening next door. You could introduce yourself to the new owner and offer to create a sign for them at a steep discount. This interaction not only promotes the service you provide, but benefits another business owner who will most likely recommend your product to others. 

Community engagement
Make a difference locally and the world will follow.

You don’t have to be a celebrity to be an influencer – it’s all about surrounding yourself with positive relationships and making those initial connections. Here are a few other ways to meet business-owners in the community who might be interested in your product:

  • Attend charity events or volunteer
  • Consider setting up a booth at a local fair, market, or festival
  • Visit other small businesses, introduce yourself, and hand out business cards or coupons
  • Sponsor a local school’s sports team

What Are the Benefits of Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing strategies such as guest blogging increase your reach as well as the impact of your brand. In search engines, the index is the complete archive of all existing web pages. To find your page, a search engine sends out crawlers (or bots), which jump from page to page using links. Simply, the more links you have traveling to your website, the more chances search engines have to index your site. 

If links constantly point to your site, search engines will recognize it as a valuable resource and rank you higher than the competition. Guest blogging is a win-win situation because it will provide you with a larger network of bloggers and business-owners, increase your website traffic, and also benefit the guest blogger.

Much of the same can be said for other forms of influencer marketing. Reaching out to forge beneficial relationships solidifies your passion for your business and opens the door to new opportunities. It’s not just a clever way to gain more Instagram followers, but the future of marketing itself.

  • Do you want to start building a brand that influencers would love to promote? PivotPath is here to help!

Cammie Conn is a Theatre & Performance Studies major at Kennesaw State University, and she also studies through the Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business Program. When she’s not practicing creative writing, she can be found playing guitar, reading voraciously, or jamming to her vinyl collection. Check out her LinkedIn profile here to connect.

Why Branding Should Be the Focus of Your Social Media

In the world that we live in today, almost all businesses use social media channels to promote their brand. What are some social media channels you utilize that build your brand awareness? Are you using them effectively? Using social media to grow your business helps consumers remember you and your brand based on what you present to them. This is why understanding the tools of different social media platforms help you to focus on letting your audience know who you are and what your business stands for.

Watch the video for tips!

Social media is a vital tool to get the word out about your business.

Inevitably, social media is the heartbeat of our digital marketing world. Thus, marketers use social media to increase brand awareness and grow their consumer base at an accelerated rate. Your business thrives on what your customers perceive about you. That said, how you design and present yourself through social media is a key factor in how customers will remember your brand.

How can you use social media to know who’s interested in your brand?

First, it is important to establish your marketing goals before thinking too ahead of your social media presence. It is important to understand the “why” behind your social media platforms because this will impact your overall brand. Here are some useful benefits of using social media.

  • Measures your key performance indicators (KPI).
  • Gives you a platform to connect to your growing audience.
  • Provides user-generated content.

These are a few tips on how social media can measure your consumer base as you execute your marketing goals. In addition, they help serve you to bring awareness of what is trending on the market.

How can you use social media to promote your brand?

Be active on social media.

When using social media, it is imperative that you are consistent with the content that you post. Posting on a daily basis tells your customers and audience that you are active and it makes you stand out from your competition. No one wants to follow a business that rarely posts content let alone interact with its consumers. Also, being active daily gives the opportunity for consumers to reach out through direct messaging. They can reach out on anything regarding their consumer needs/wants and questions about your products or services. Choosing to be attentive to your customers’ needs will help set you apart from your competitors.

Grow your consumer base by answering their questions on social media.

Focus on how your design attracts consumers.

What attracts a consumer, when scrolling through a business’s social media page is its design. Your design should ultimately represent what you are selling to your audience. It has been proclaimed by interior designers, artists, and color psychologists that color absolutely affects moods.

  • Does your color scheme match your brand’s values? 
  • What type of mood or emotions do you want to demonstrate to your brand? 
  • Does the design complement the mood of your social media page?

In short, these are a few questions to consider when forming the layout of your social media pages. Consider how your business’s values can influence your graphic designs on social media.

So, why should you focus your branding on social media platforms?

We live in a world where we are constantly connected to many different networks. In the business world, social media networks are a valuable asset to build on your communications with prospective buyers. In this case, using multiple social media platforms helps build your brand identity so that other networks notice your business.

Having a strong social media presence establishes credibility.

When a consumer is looking into buying anything of good quality, it is important that factors of trust are established between the business and consumer to influence the purchase of that product or service. That said, having a professional presence on social media establishes credibility on your end as a business.

Standing to your missions and values and actively participating in those factors are noticed by whom you are trying to reach. When posting content for your audience, remember that you are also representing your company’s values. So, everything that you demonstrate through your social media platforms represents your organization’s efforts and overall brand.

Having a strong social media presence makes your brand recognizable.

Today, some brands that are recognizable in social media are GoPro, Nike, and Spotify. They implement effective strategies on each of their social media platforms that influence their consumers’ future spending habits. Here are a few tips on how to make your brand more recognizable to various audiences:

  • Use multiple accounts for different audiences.
  • Do research on which platform is geared towards different age groups.
  • Choose one platform that can build on customer service.
  • Again, stay consistent with your social media accounts.
  • Tailor your tone and voice that fit different social media platforms.
Did you know that 81% of small and medium businesses use social media platforms?

Knowing the similarities and differences of each social media platform gives you strong awareness of whom you should reach that fits your buyer personas. In the world that we live in today, social media networks are one of the fastest-growing industries. It’s important that your business uses social media to gain the following network. We access information at our fingertips which revolutionizes how we perceive our networks. Posting sharable and valuable content helps your audience understand what you stand for. By doing so, it helps create lasting connections with your consumers that increase creative and effective strategies based on what your customers want out of your social media pages.

  • Check PivotPath’s services on how we can boost your social media branding.

Always strive to learn different effective marketing strategies that increase your brand awareness in an influential and impactful way. 

Thalia Rodriguez is a Communications major with a double minor in marketing and professional writing at Grand Canyon University. When she’s not practicing writing, she can be spending time with family and friends, going on hikes, or cooking delicious plant-based dishes. Check out her LinkedIn profile here to connect.

Keyword Blogging Strategy SEO

How to Find the Right Keywords for Your Blogging Strategy in 6 Steps

Starting a blog is one of the most beneficial steps your company can take to grow its digital presence. Not only does blogging allow your team to share their expertise with the rest of the world via the internet, but it can also drive traffic to your website. Higher website traffic leads to more potential leads, which eventually turn into future customers. But this process doesn’t happen overnight. If you want your blogs to reach the highest number of digital consumers, it’s imperative to understand basic keyword strategy and search engine optimization.

Keyword strategy is imperative to writing blogs that people will find and read
Blogging isn’t always as easy as it looks!

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search engine optimization (referred to as SEO) is the process of enhancing the content on your website so that you rank high in search engines organically. The most popular search engines in the United States include Google, Bing, and Yahoo – among others.

  • Organic Search Results: Where your company ranks naturally in the results page of a search engine, excluding pay-per-click (PPC) ads and other forms of paid advertising.

The most important and widely-practiced SEO strategy is to come up with target keywords for every blog post that you post online. Carefully wording your blog pieces and incorporating keywords will narrow the intent of the piece, make it easier for search engine bots to crawl your site, and ensure that anyone who searches for your content will find it.

Simple as it sounds, keyword research takes a lot of time and dedication. Don’t expect to see results overnight, but remember that every company has to start somewhere to create a habit. Here are a few easy steps to get you started on your blog optimization journey

1. Choose a Topic

This might sound like a no-brainer, but the first step to writing an engaging blog is to research popular topics and conversations happening in the industry related to your product. What are people most confused about? Is that something you could easily explain? Blog readers are looking for answers and new perspectives.

There are millions of blogs on the internet, so either think of a unique topic or create your own spin on subject matter that already exists. You don’t always have to break new ground, but clearly and concisely sharing relevant information will delight your readers and build your company’s credibility.

Some popular marketing topics include, but are not limited to: SEO, branding, graphic design, and finding your niche. There are plenty of other topics to research as well – just know what expertise your company offers!

Brainstorm topics for your blog post
Have a brainstorming session with others if you need inspiration.

2. Compile a List of Long-Tail Keywords

Once you come up with the right topic, it’s time to brainstorm different keywords. There are two types of keywords when it comes to optimizing online content: long-tail and short-tail. 

  • Long-Tail Keywords:  A keyword which encompasses several words or an entire phrase

If you need help figuring out what your long-tail keyword should be, think about what your customer would type into Google when they search for your blog. Write down a list of possible search phrases. 

A common practice is to make one of the long-tail keywords the title of the blog post, or something close to it. Overall, the long-tail keyword should be specific and encompass the entire message of the blog post.

3. Pick a Few Short-Tail Keywords

Now that you’ve chosen a few long-tail keywords, it’s time to focus on short-tail keywords. 

  • Short-Tail Keywords: A general keyword or keyphrase that doesn’t exceed one or two words

The short-tail keyword encompasses the general idea of your blog post. Sometimes customers browse the internet without a clear idea of what they’re looking for and only type a few words into the search engine. If your company can pop up on the first results page after someone types in a short-tail keyword, you’ve successfully optimized your posts and established yourself as an authority on the topic.

For example, let’s say the title of your blog post is “Why You Should Craft a Brand Strategy Before You Start Your Business.” The long-tail keyword would be something like “crafting a brand strategy.” However, the short-tail keyword would simply be “brand strategy.” There’s a slight difference, but one is specific and the other is very broad.

4. Use Analytic Tools to Narrow Down Your Keywords

Once you’ve compiled two lists of keywords, it’s time to do a little research. Use platforms like Google Analytics or Moz.com to compare your different keywords and better understand what your customer base is looking for.

Figure out which keywords are the most popular, and which ones may be too specific. It’s important to find a happy medium: make sure that the phrase you choose isn’t so popular that your content will get lost in the mix. On the other hand, try to aim for an element of specificity if possible, so that people searching for your topic can find it quickly and easily.

Analyzing the competition improves keyword strategy
Analysis helps you learn and grow.

5. Select Your Keywords and Write the Blog

After your research, you should have narrowed down the long-tail and short-tail keywords you want to focus on. Now that you have a broad and specific umbrella under which you can start to craft your content, it’s time to begin writing your blog post. As you write, keep your keyphrases in mind, but don’t pepper them in the body copy too much. Just finish the post to the best of your ability so you have something to optimize.

6. Make Sure That the Keywords Show Up in the Appropriate Places 

It’s not enough to simply choose your keywords and integrate them into the title and overall topic. For search engines to recognize your site as a top resource, you must be purposeful by placing the short-tail keyword in a few strategic places. Here are the places where you should make sure to include your keyword:

  • At least one header 
  • The blog title
  • Somewhere in the first paragraph
  • Throughout the blog, where appropriate
  • In the meta description
  • In the alt text of relevant images

If you struggle with figuring out how to properly optimize your posts, we recommend using the Yoast SEO plug-in through WordPress. There are many other plug-ins and resources on the internet to help you as well.

  • Do you want a seasoned team of content creators on your side? If so, check out our services at PivotPath

It won’t happen immediately, but the more you make a habit out of following these steps, creating optimized posts will become second nature. Being strategic about choosing the right keywords could be the difference between your blog post being read fifty times or five thousand times. With that in mind, happy writing!

Cammie Conn is a Theatre & Performance Studies major at Kennesaw State University, and she also studies through the Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business Program. When she’s not practicing creative writing, she can be found playing her guitar, reading voraciously, or jamming to her vinyl collection. Check out her LinkedIn profile here to connect.