Digital marketers – what do we really do?


Steve Jobs’ Biggest Contribution (That No One Is Talking About)


Steve Jobs' Biggest Contribution (That No One Is Talking About)

Ask several people to name what they think Steve Jobs‘ biggest contribution has been, and you will get a variety of responses. Sure, he has brought us some amazing innovations, and millions of us own (or want to own) them. There’s the iPod, the iPad, and the i-everything else!

But when you get down to it, it really wasn’t Jobs who did it alone—it was his team. But Steve did do one thing that started a positive trend that will last for decades or longer. And that contribution is so big, so important, that by some divine guidance it was inserted into his name. Steve created jobs. And lots of them.

The foundation

Steve Jobs built amazing teams. It is the fundamental component to entrepreneurial success, and when done perfectly it is the component to grand economic success. Jobs is an entrepreneur through and through and he has built a company that has brought benefits to all consumers. (Shoot, right now I’m listening to music on my iPod, downloading music from iTunes, and I just got a text on my iPhone!)

With the combination of great people making great products, jobs get created. Lots of them. Steve’s own company grew from a startup to having over 7,000 employees by the time he left, the first go-around. Having 7,000 employees seems vast, but it didn’t stop there. When he returned to the company, he increased Apple to over 46,500 full-time employees. And that, my friend, is where the ripple effect in business can be so powerful.

Building buyers

Having nearly 47,000 full-time workers adds up to a lot of work. It also creates a lot of wealth for a lot of people who go on to consume services and products (they need Keurig’s and pool boys too, you know). But it doesn’t stop there. Think about all the people who support Apple products (beyond the Apple stores). Think about all the companies that formed to create programs for Apple devices.

In fact, Apple recently announced that they have topped 15 billion app downloads from the App Store. Their store has over 425,000 apps available, which have been created by a myriad of companies. And it doesn’t stop there, either. For example, Google shows that there are over 40,000 searches per month for the term “iPad sleeve.” Also, earlier this year, Random House made their entire catalog of books (all 17,000 of them) available in the Apple iBookstore. More people working…because of Jobs (double entendre intended).

These examples alone are enough to show how Jobs’ innovations have had a ripple effect, from those who work for him to those who have developed apps for his products—and are growing their own companies and fulfilling their own entrepreneurial dreams. There are countless people and businesses making a profit from his creations, including those selling sleeves, holders, accessories, stickers, you name it! Apple products create a wide variety of markets for those selling add-ons for those products.

From writers who cover stories about Apple’s technology and write books that will be sold to iPad users, to programmers who are busy developing new apps that keep people loving their iPhone, a lot of people are impacted by this company. A lot of people have jobs, that wouldn’t otherwise exist.

Rippling out

Jobs has done something that most entrepreneurs can only dream of achieving. But there is no doubt that others will be able to replicate it, in one form or another. Perhaps you will.

The goal is to create something that will touch a lot of people and put them to work, either directly or indirectly. That’s what he has done, thus giving work to many people and creating an empire.

The result of what he has accomplished is a company’s P&L that is now bigger than the economy of many countries. It is hard to find a lot of people downing Apple, because it is touching so many lives in a positive way. Either people are reaping great rewards by making money from the company or from ancillary products, or they are using the products themselves, or both. Jobs has create a jobs ripple effect. That is nothing short of amazing. Thanks, Steve!

Read more: http://www.webconnection.gr

What SEOs can learn from online journalists


Journalists have been frantically learning SEO and social media techniques over recent years, so they can stay ahead online. But now some of them are so skilled that SEO teams could learn a few things from them too. From writing clickable headlines, to using Twitter to network, here are all the journo skills that I’ve learnt by following (no, not stalking!) some of the best in the business…

Monitoring and Targeting

Like most blogs, news sites tend to cover a number of different subjects. For the main newspapers, these tend to be major topics such as politics, finance, property, jobs and so on. However, within those ‘channels’, similar stories often come up again and again – interest rates, house prices, unemployment figures, that kind of thing.

Journalists and editors use analytics programs to check how many readers are visiting each section and which stories are grabbing their interest. That means that they can give more coverage to the stories that really interest their readers, and move other stories further down the hierarchy. This also allows them to maximise click-throughs from their front pages because they know what stories get readers excited.

 

You can replicate this on your own blog or corporate site. Work out what content works best for pageviews, CTRs and purchases. Then ensure these most successful topic areas are well optimised, often updated and well positioned on your website.

Massively successful news resources like the Mail Online and the Huffington Post only reached where they are by endlessly testing and never being entirely satisfied with their websites’ click-through figures. You should do the same.

Using Twitter and Facebook to Research and Network

Anyone who’s used Twitter to any extent knows its power and reach. You can contact almost any other user, anywhere in the world, with a message of just 140 characters (or fewer) this is genuinely revolutionary. For journalists, it’s a whole new way of researching articles, and the #journorequest hashtag has become a first port of call for many when they’re looking for case studies or quotes from members of the public.

Most online news sites now tweet links to their major stories too. A single headline-worthy article can get a significant number of retweets, helping it to reach readers who might otherwise not have seen it. Add to this the Twitter conversations journalists and press representatives hold with each other on a daily basis. For journalists it’s a quick, easy but powerful way to network with other writers and to engage with their readers.

The lessons to be learnt for other webmasters and SEO teams are simple but worth spelling out – ignore Twitter, and your voice is missing from a global conversation. Make sure your best content is being tweeted, use hashtags to help get the message to people who don’t follow you, and aim to widen that audience still further. And don’t allow your Twitter feed to become mundane and overly-corporate. Stay fun and stay engaged. You’ll learn a lot about your customers and it could even help you generate ideas for blog posts and other content.

Although I hear a lot of negativity from SEOs about Facebook (some of them have already disabled their Facebook accounts), journalists use Facebook to engage with their audience and to reach out to a wider audience beyond the niche they operate within. Mia Aquino, The Huffington Post’s social media editor has set up an ‘interest list’ on Facebook of all their journalists so people could keep up-to-date with what their journalists write. Journalists such as Craig Kanalley, Jahnabi Barooah and Rosa Golijan engage with their Facebook subscribers almost at a personal level on a daily basis, thereby increasing visibility to their posts on user’s Facebook feeds.

Engagement and Relevancy

A good news site will pick out the most headline-worthy articles of the day, and give them pride of place on the front page (or main blog/magazine page). Think about this when updating your site – what belongs on your homepage (or main blog page)? And what can be moved deeper within your site?

It’s a rule of thumb that’s worth applying throughout your content – if a page is irrelevant to what you’ve got to offer, it’d be best to retire it, or update it so that it’s relevant to your audience and your business. By keeping a tight focus on the topics you cover, you can demonstrate expertise and relevancy throughout your site to search engines, helping them better understand what your website is about and the industry you operate within.

Make sure all your authors and bloggers have verified authorship on Google Plus. This will help Google’s algorithm distinguish the quality and relevancy of the content. If the blogger or author already possesses a high reputational score with Google, you will increase your site’s visibility and ranking ability for a greater number of keywords.

Opinion and Controversy

Not everyone can court controversy on their website, but blogs are a good place to express opinion and welcome conflicting comments from your readers. Again, take your inspiration from news sites – while many news outlets have a political agenda to push, they typically don’t do so (well, not too obviously…) in their main articles.

Legitimate news providers distinguish between their journalistic reporting and their editorial columns – and on any website, you can create a similar distinction between static content, opinion-based blogs and self-promotional press releases. It helps your reader to understand where you’re coming from, and why some pages might be more opinionated than others – and a little controversy can help to get some commenting going on your blog posts, too.

There is an important distinction to make between news site comments and those on a less formal blog, however. When somebody comments on your personal blog, it’s common practice to reply to them, to keep the conversation going. In contrast, news sites usually rely on interaction between their readers, rather than with the article’s original author – something worth aiming for on your blog, if you can get your readers’ activity levels high enough.

Catering for Fickle Readers

Online readers are impatient – they won’t wade through lengthy prose, even if they’re happy readingWar and Peace in real life. The internet isn’t the place people settle down to enjoy some timeless literature – in fact, they’re more likely to take ‘timeless’ to the other extreme and spend as little time as possible on your page.

Journalists understand this and are trained to use the ‘inverted pyramid’ model in their articles, with the most important information up top for those who don’t read to the end. For SEO it’s a particularly good approach, as the words and phrases you use up top will be given greater significance in choosing your page’s position in the search results.

The headline is a particularly important part of any page – whether it’s a news article or a static web page – as it highlights the main theme of your content. Make sure you’re picking out the key points in your headline, particularly if it doubles as your page’s HTML title and/or URL, as together these can all contribute towards the words and phrases the search engines associate with your page. Like in a news article, sub-headings also help to signpost readers to the sections of the page that include the information they’re looking for.

Remember, print came first, and while SEO has evolved over time much of it is still inspired by the early, print-like days of the internet. Classic page structures like news articles have left a permanent impression on the things search engines and people value.

Always on the Job

Finally, when you step away from your computer, it doesn’t mean your website ceases to exist. A good journalist will often carry around a notepad and jot down ideas for future articles, or make notes if he or she sees anything that might be worth investigating. You should do the same if you come across a timely and relevant issue that might earn you some extra search traffic if you blog about it or mention it on your website.

Many such ideas ultimately get forgotten by website owners, internet marketers and SEO teams, even if they seem unforgettable when you dream them up. By keeping a notepad – or even a note in your phone – handy, you make sure you remember your ideas. And it’s worth it. If you manage to build your online brand successfully enough, you might one day be making a few headlines of your own.

By Shaad Hamid

Read more: http://www.seoptimise.com

A CEO Speaks Out About…the truth outside the Web


Ronen Shilo is the CEO of Israel’s largest Internet company, Conduit.

“People are more interesting than companies

…so effective leaders are responsible for getting out there and spreading the good word.”

Here’s the paradox: I run a company that’s incredibly visible, but not that well known. Conduit has 260 million users around the world, but our brand isn’t top of mind. It’s not even mid-mind, to be honest. One of those reasons is that I had never made a personal effort to get out in front of the company and act as a public advocate.

That’s changed now. I’m becoming more visible, leaving many people wondering why I’ve decided to emerge from my cave. Have I developed a newfound urge for the spotlight? Am I jealous of Zuckerberg? Why the sudden availability?

They’re all questions worth answering. They’re questions that got me thinking as well.

Into The Spotlight

I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide it was time to become more visible. It was a process. But I can tell you that I always believed that the responsibility of a CEO includes getting out there, and I had been thinking for a long time that I should start representing the company more actively and consistently. Plus, I realized that I wasn’t doing myself any favors by resisting the exposure.

I’m essentially a product guy. People at Conduit are bored of hearing me say that if the product isn’t right, nothing else matters. But I was also telling myself secretly that if the product is right, then nothing else matters either. In other words, a great product will speak for–and sell–itself. Anything else is just frivolous sizzle.

But I learned quickly that my thinking was faulty. There’s a marketing and media side to the success equation that’s really pivotal. And I probably used “it’s all about the product” as an excuse to stay behind the scenes because I don’t really enjoy the media whir.

Some people have asked me if there’s a right time for a CEO to become an active presence in the media.

Like most things in business, there is no one answer. It depends on the personality of the CEO, how competitive the market is, and how mature your product is, among many other variables.

But these are the key questions that can shed light on some answers: What are you trying to accomplish and how do you measure success? Do you want to raise awareness with opinion makers? Are you looking to raise visibility because you are, or will be, raising money? Do you want to attract new customers or consumers? Are you starved for talent and in need of improving your recruiting? Or does your giant ego need some stroking?

While all of these questions can be important, you need to figure out what’s most important to you, and how it all fits in with your objectives. Go deep before you go out. Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, has done just that. He’s been terrific as a visible, sometimes in-your-face, evangelist for his brand. But often, I see a lot of CEOs working the media without a clear point of view about what they want to accomplish.

I realize now that I should have done this earlier, but I enjoyed taking the time to focus on product, on building the company. (And on family.)

As I look back, there wasn’t a burning need for anyone to know who I was in the beginning. We had a rapid uptake of our product by publishers, so I didn’t feel compelled to be visible. Soon after, toolbars–our primary business–began to get beaten up by the media. It was unfair, but so what? Life is unfair. Reporters didn’t really understand what we did.

I couldn’t help but think that if I had been out there more, I would have been able to push back. To strongly argue for our company and our brand. If I couldn’t change their opinions, I would have at least created a dialogue. I think we lost the opportunity to shift the perception of the toolbar. Now it’s too late to do that in any meaningful way. I’m not worried though, because I know there will be other opportunities to redefine our company.

So my advice to others is to be part of the dialogue sooner rather than later. It will benefit your company and your employees to do so. True, your product needs to mature, but it’s easy to hide behind the maturity excuse, particularly if you’re not really a media junkie at heart.

Visibility And Value

If I were hustling for an IPO though, everything would have been different.

There’s no question about that. CEOs and founders contemplating an IPO recognize that visibility translates to asset value. That’s actually why many Israeli companies hire an American CEO; they know that it will help achieve higher levels of awareness, whether for an IPO or an acquisition. But since neither of those is the case for my company, I had more reason to continue to operate Conduit under the radar. It wasn’t a conscious plan. Like many things, it was unplanned yet retrospectively, right.

Now, the more I get out there, the more I’m amused by the differences in global media. The American and the Israeli media are as different as a hot dog and falafel.

Cultural differences are manifested everywhere and they’re only heightened in the journalistic world. The media in Israel are tough. Compared with U.S. reporters, they’re even brutal. American audiences are much more generous. Some Americans may disagree, but having been exposed to both cultures, I can tell it like it is.

I remember being at a conference in the U.S. where a CEO gave a presentation that was not impressive, to say the least. In Israel, he would have been torn apart, whereas Americans are more polite. Your social rules create an atmosphere of friendliness. I guess that’s because we’re in survival mode all the time, and pleasantries are a luxury Israelis don’t get too often. Or at least they’re seen as one.

Last time I was in the U.S., a reporter began an interview by proclaiming, “I hate toolbars.” It was so unusual that I was really taken aback and felt for a second like I was at home in Israel. So forget media training. My advice to any American CEO is to come over here, expose yourself to some reporters, and get toughened up.

I’m also convinced that differing CEO backgrounds play a large role in how they relate to the media.

I once worked for a sales-driven CEO who started every day by asking everyone, “What did you sell yesterday?” He saw the media as one giant sales call. I’m from the product and engineering CEO track, not the sales or marketing side. This gives me the flexibility to speak about the product, the vision of the company, and how what we’re building delivers on that.

If a CEO gets out there too soon, especially when he or she is from the sales or straight marketing side, there’s a risk of overselling. Hype can make a fast difference, but in today’s world of media scrutiny, it has a dangerously short shelf life. It quickly starts to rot and smell.

Personal Brand Takes A Backseat

As far as the ‘Ronen Shilo’ brand, I don’t think about it much. My public brand is no different than my private behavior. Those who know me would agree that I don’t put on a mask when I speak to the media.

But I do want people to start to think of me and Conduit in the same breath. That’s a good thing. Whether it’s Bill Gates (before he started giving his money away) or Larry Ellison, or many others, the company benefits when it’s strongly linked to an individual. People are more interesting than companies. So it’s better for Conduit if I’m out there, and I certainly want to do what’s best for my company.

Except, you won’t see me making any speeches in the future. I like the intimacy of a one-on-one interview. For me, it’s important to look someone in the eye, to read body language, to be in tune with the conversation. If you get thrown a curve ball, you can handle it. And I like an environment where surprises happen.

One thing I really don’t like is a scripted speech. Once, when I was in the army, I had to give a lesson to a reserve group. They allocated an hour. Sixty minutes of air time! I finished what I had to say in five minutes. I was happy and they were happy.

The End Of The Media Hermit

After taking a breath of fresh air, I don’t think I can head back to my cave any time soon.

I have to admit that I can get energized by meeting with the press, particularly with really smart reporters who’ve done their homework. (When it’s the other way, and I have to educate a reporter who doesn’t have a clue about what we do, it’s frustrating. I’d never hire someone who hasn’t spent time studying us, so why should I waste my time with a reporter who didn’t gather any background information?)

At the same time, intelligent reporters can be challenging. They know the category and tend to ask some provocative questions that really get me thinking. They’re out talking to a lot of smart people, so they have a perspective I might not otherwise hear. Learning from a reporter, that’s something I never would have expected when I was in my media hermit period.

Come to think of it, I also never expected that coming out of my shell to answer people’s questions would, in turn, get a lot of my own questions answered.

BY RONEN SHILO|
MARCH 2, 2012

Read more: http://www.fastcompany.com/