Fan-tastic! Targeting Fan-created Blogs

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Here’s a Google experiment for ya: Type a popular brand name along with the word blog next to it, like “Nintendo 3DS blog.” Chances are you’ll find a fan blog for the brand rather than an official blog for the company or product. While this is the type of thing that could be maddening to SEO experts and marketers alike, fan blogs for brands are potentially solid gold. Sure, some of these spots are simply puffed-up posts blathering on about products which coincidentally have ads on the blog. But befriending the fan bloggers can also turn into marketing and publicity gold.

Target, Disneyland and Apple are the kind of brands people feel so passionately about they just have to blog about them. Fans who blog and the fans who read their blogs want to blab about what their favorite brand has been up to. Millions of readers turn to these blogs as a news source. Starbucks Gossip is a great example of a fan blog with brand loyalty and a big following. The site claims it is “monitoring America’s Favorite Drug Dealer” but really it reports everything from new products, Starbucks promotions and all the headlines surrounding the coffee chain. Starbucks reportedly embraces bloggers like Starbucks Gossip by giving them press releases, interviews and exclusives. The coffee company wisely knows the power of Internet buzz and keeping customers happy.

Targeting fan blogs or even product- or genre-specific blogs makes sense because you get to talk directly to your niche. Beauty blogs are a great example of how targeting blog readers pays off. Product Girl features big, glossy photos and reviews of makeup and beauty products. From nail polishes to skin care, the blog dishes about all things beauty while the brands on the much-read site get fashion magazine type of coverage without all of the publishing world red tape. Fabulous.

Sure, not every industry can target fan blogs. I’m pretty sure there isn’t a blog devoted to spatulas. But any business can find a blogger (or create their own blog) to help spread fandamonium about your product. After all, once you’ve become your own fan, others are sure to follow.

Intelligent brand marketing through press releases

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Intelligent brand marketing should get a boost through the introduction of real-time search results in the major search engines. Old marketing tactics such as press releases will gain a new lease on life especially if combined with a carefully planned social media campaign. And don’t think that press releases are only for big businesses either – any size business can gain a boost using a carefully crafted press release rich in relevant keywords.

If you follow these basic press release guides you should see an increase in search rankings.

  • Incorporate SEO fundamentals in the press release. This includes optimized titles, keywords and internal links to your own web pages
  • Publishing your press release on your own site with a prominent link to it on your home page
  • Having your press release distributed through a quality distribution agency or having it appear with a reputable news outlet
  • Tweeting links to your press release. Don’t limit this to the link on your own site. Tweet the links to other areas where the press release has been published. Search engines will follow that link.
  • Talk about your press release on any social pages you engage on

Press releases now have long shelf lives. They appear in search results months after their first publication and not only deliver new visitors to your site, they also provide SEO benefits.

Intelligent brand marketing is all about marketing your brand using multiple resources and platforms. The press release is one more tool that is worth considering especially now that real time search is making such inroads.

Is It Time To Rethink Online Marketing Strategies?

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The introduction of Bing to the search engine field has brought with it a flurry of new search engine features. Google, Yahoo! and Bing are all trying to out-do each other with the ultimate prize being an increase in search share. The question is, are they fighting the right fight? While they are busy trying to outdo each other, other online sites are quietly moving into the search field. YouTube is the second biggest search vehicle for users and Twitter and Facebook are not that far behind. The outcome of this increase in activity by search engines and social media sites may have serious ramifications for future online marketing strategies, particularly search engine marketing.

The recent introduction of ‘real time’ indexing of content will bring about a renewed interest in social media marketing. Search engines love to index fresh content and it has been noticeable that content that gains rapid prominence on bookmarking sites like Digg or StumbleUpon, has been indexed by Google quite quickly.  Twitterers and bloggers have already acted by putting their posts on ‘auto-Tweet’, thus being open to fresh content indexing. Twitter has become the most prominent instant communication tool around and while bloggers have been quick to utilize it, it has has opened up possibilities for many other areas of marketing.

What effect will this have when it comes to  online marketing? This is the gray area at present. Tweets that carry links to content may lead to that content being indexed quite quickly. This may help under-utilized strategies like press releases increase in popularity. It may also lead to content being accessed directly rather than through search engines. If that’s the case, will search engines become redundant when it comes to real time information?

Article marketing is another area that may gain in popularity. It has been the realm of spammers for a long time. However, if high quality articles can be indexed quickly using tools such as Twitter, spam may finally get the boot. Popular article sites like Ezine Articles are already undertaking tough anti-spam campaigns. This is even leading to paid members being removed.

Is it time to rethink online marketing strategies? Perhaps. The online marketing tools that have been successful in the past are still useful. Blogs, traditional social media marketing, article marketing, press releases, SEM, SEO are just some of these tools. What may change in the future is the mix. Up until now,  SEO has been the tool of choice by most web site owners. Many have dabbled with article marketing, even fewer have ventured into press releases – the time may right to revisit these and many of the other online marketing tools that may have been scorned in the past.

While it is hard to envision a time when the main focus wont be on search engines, I think we may in for a period where it’s dominance could be threatened by social media tools like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. What do think – are times changing when it comes to online marketing? Will the focus move from search engines to other media outlets?