Category Archives: ZMOT

A Quick Look Back on C3NY

By My Web Writers

Conductor Hosts a Search Conference in New York

I wistfully look back on Conductor’s C3NY 2012 conference last week.   Even if you know how to tweet, post, and adjust to Pandas and Penguins you still would have found new insights at this conference.  Put September 17, 18, and 19 on your C3 2013 calendar.

Meet Other SEO Professionals

If you read Search Engine Watch (Jonathan Allen), or are versed in The Art of SEO by Stephan Spencer, you would have enjoyed discussing strategies with them or asking questions with catered responses.

Meet Representatives from Google and Bing

If you work with Google’s and Bing’s webmaster tools, then Duane Forrester‘s suggestion that Google ought to call its next update “the loon” would have given you a chuckle, too.

Putting a face on a name and personality breathes life into those quiet days behind the computer.  Our favorite quote of the conference came from Forrester, “Compelling and unique content still wins the day.”  He suggests that we find our audience’s “hooks” – the ego hook, the humor hook.  Whatever our audience responds to, “amplify it.”

~Jean


Other Posts:

How do I write content based on buyer personas?

Ten Tips for Starting a Social Media Conversation

Prioritize Your Social Media Channels

10 Content Tips for ZMOT Experts

Twenty-five Effective, Call-to-Action Phrases for E-commerce Content

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Filed under Business Strategy, Conferences, Content Job Boards, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media, Women Writers, Writing Careers, ZMOT

Five Considerations When Marketing to Women

by My Web Writers

Women represent one of the largest buying forces in America’s economy both as individual buyers and as the chief purchasers in their households. Women also tend to be more vocal about products they like, and they often buy for others. This means that even products that are not specifically for women are often purchased by them. On average, women exchange gifts with other women more frequently than men exchange gifts with other men, and beyond this, many women serve as professional buyers for companies and organizations. With this kind of consumer on the loose, the savvy marketer will want to consider and address their specific needs and preferences. But a successful campaign will require more than pretty pink packaging and will need to take into account the fact that this demographic encompasses a variety of ages and lifestyles. There is certainly no one-size-fits-all marketing plan. However, here are a few tips on how to appeal to and respect female consumers.

1.      Create a Narrative for Women

Narrative is one of the many tools that successful brands like Starbucks, Nike and Dove use to connect with consumers on a level that goes beyond utility. Traditionally, these companies have paired quality products with carefully crafted consumer narratives. Where Starbucks represents an affordable luxury and an escape from the grind, Nike represents athletic prowess and maximum effort. In commercials and ad campaigns, consumers are invited to envision the best possible outcome of their interaction with the advertised product. This method can appeal to male and female consumers. Remember, part of advertising is helping the potential buyer to foresee the utility of the product, and a narrative is a packaged way of accomplishing this.

If you are new to the advertising world and need more examples, commercials are an easy place to identify a storyline. Once you have a better sense of the kinds of stories commercials tell, you can look more closely at online and print advertisements to see how well-placed graphics create a similar effect.

2.  Educate Both Female and Male Consumers

While women value emotional connections and often respond to products showcased using a narrative element, marketing cannot be successful without a quality product. Typically, women want well-made, practical items. So marketers will do well to educate consumers as to all the practical uses for their services or retail items. Don’t assume that everything about your product is intuitive; make the connections easy for your consumers. Furthermore, if you are marketing related products or products that can be purchased in a bundle, highlighting that information can result in additional sales. In this economy, women and men alike are looking to make their money go further.

3.      Market to Women Via Word Of Mouth

Women love to share bargains, brand names and favorite buys so it behooves the retailer to make the buying and return process as simple as possible, especially if the purchasing is done online. Women who have a positive buying, exchange and even return experience, and who find the product useful, will share this information with their friends. Allow your consumers to market for you by making it possible to “Like” your product on social media sites and by enabling on-site product reviews. Also, avoid tactics that take advantage of consumers such as hidden pricing that appears only at the time of sale and misrepresented bargains and ensure timely deliver. Negative information will get out via word-of-mouth and can reduce sales potential.

4.  Get Women Involved in Marketing and Purchasing Processes

Women often prefer to buy on recommendations from other women, and some companies have found that a woman sales force can increase revenue from the female demographic. Depending on your product, this may mean hiring additional female content writers or sales reps, seeking out women endorsements or simply involving women team members in product design and marketing if this is not already being done.

5.  Avoid Gender Marketing Stereotypes

While depictions of women in marketing ads have made great strides from the strict gender roles of the 1950’s, there are still plenty of opportunities to expand towards more realistic depictions. Remember, women do not whip into a frenzy at the mere sight of pink or the promise of easy weight loss solutions. They want more information to validate the claims made about a product before they buy. And at this point they’ve heard a lot of the bogus claims, seen the cheesy color schemes and the cliché-phrasing and it all has become one big turn-off. Remember, if your product is sold predominately online, women can easily compare it with your competitors.

Now, more than ever, women want efficient products that cater to their busy lives and that recognize and celebrate them as career-oriented, family-focused, and in general, people with a lot on their plates. Some are tired of browsing the bookstore in the “Men’s Interest” sections. Others want to be recognized and valued as caregivers, mentors, parents, or professionals. They want to see their diversity represented in age, race and body type. Within these categories and many others are opportunities for marketers to better reach this distinct group of consumers.

~Lindsey

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Filed under Business Strategy, Content, Content Marketing, Customer Profile, Email Campaigns, Marketing, Narrative Writing, Women Writers, ZMOT

The CEO’s Guide to Marketing Content Solutions

by My Web Writers

How many times in the past year did you hear, “You have to be on (insert the latest, greatest online platform) today before you get left behind?” I’m willing to bet a tweet and an angry bird the answer is, “Too many.”

The problem with most marketing content discussions: They are about the instrument and not about the content. Before we decide how we are going communicate, we need to know why & what we’re communicating. I know it’s a blinding flash of the obvious, but it’s missed by many who want your time. Let’s explore the key questions to ask when creating a marketing content solutions strategy.

1) Who’s In Charge?

Your marketing content is a key asset and your marketing team’s most important responsibility.  As the CEO, make clear to everyone who’s in charge of the messaging. Then reinforce it. Otherwise, you’ll have too many cooks and the message will end up diluted, confusing and ineffective.

2) Why Are We Communicating?

CEO’s rely on marketing content solutions for getting, growing or keeping customers. It’s that simple, and yet that complete.

3) What Are We Communicating?

Define the message(s) for each reason. Each one must have a primary focus to connect with your intended audience.

4) How Are We Communicating?

This isn’t just online marketing exercise. To be effective, your marketing content strategy must be consistent across all your media. For example: broadcast, print, websites, social media, email, in-store, direct mail, customer care, billing statements and training material are just some of the choices to be considered. Not every message will be used in all media, but it must be complimentary across the channels.

5) Who’s Creating Your Marketing Content?

When it’s time to create, ensure your writers are skilled at writing effective copy for the particular medium and message. It’s key for online marketing content because of the search engines’ emphasis on fresh, relevant information. A freelance writing team that’s proven at writing engaging, custom marketing content for multiple media can be a cost-effective member of your team.

Your answers to these five questions provide the beginning foundation of a strong marketing content solution for your company.

~Don

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Filed under Business Strategy, Content, Content Marketing, Customer Profile, Descriptive Writing, Email Campaigns, Marketing, Reputation Management, Social Media, The Writing Process, ZMOT

My Web Writers’ Most Popular 2011 Content Topics and Articles

by My Web Writers

When we, at My Web Writers, hunch over our keyboards smithing words – wistfully pausing now and then to glance out windows, we’re envisioning you. We imagine that you’re very dapper, intelligent, and curious.  You’re on the prowl to learn more about the world of content, SEO, social media, and marketing.  We’re on target, aren’t we?  (Ah, a sucker for compliments, too!)

But, which of our articles did analytics say you were most attracted to in 2011?  Which pieces are most useful?  Read on to uncover our most popular 2011 articles and topics from My Web Writers’ blog.

Content with the Most Views and/ or Shares:

1.  Brief Conclusions from the 2011 Google Quality Raters Handbook

Everyone wants the inside track on the Big G!  Pot Pie Girl originally broke this story about an accidental link that appeared on Google’s website.  This link led to a PDF of a training manual for Google rankers with insights into the world of ranking review.  Try not to panic if you missed it.  The manual reinforces white hat, SEO practices and compelling, useful content.

2.  How to Handle Negative Facebook Posts On Your Company’s Facebook Page

In the center of the universal heart is a soft spot.  What do you do when the unkind want to air their complaints publicly?  Inspired by a talk given by Anthony Juliano, from Asher Agency, Pam suggests an overall customer service approach that’s positive and effective when handling negativity.

3.   Create a Table of Contents

Perfectionists tasked with writing manuals found this post helpful. This popular topic navigates Word 2007 and various options for creating tables of contents.

5.  Ten Content Tips for ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth) Experts

Google’s Jim Lecinski created a fantastic marketing model that identifies current shopping trends.  Content writers and marketers aware of ZMOT found our writing tips helpful for increasing revenue opportunities at the Zero Moment of Truth.

6.  Social Media Brings Others Together

Lauren attended a local TEDx event and wrote about how social media played a part in the event.  This popular article was widely shared and we’d venture to guess by other attendees or TEDx fans.  Google knows the value of your local community.  Consider your own local, story topics in 2012.

7.  Time Wasting Technology- Streamline 2012

For as much as we love technology, it can stifle us.  This topic hit a nerve with many of you.  “What is really important in life?”

8.  Use Your Writing Gifts to Better the World

We love the altruistic.  You shared this article about a missions trip to Nicaragua and then you considered writing for a higher purpose.  Some experiences go beyond words, so I’m delighted we have pictures to share with the article.

9.  Literacy and Your Content Marketing Campaign

Keep it simple.  Search engines want you to consider the general audience when it comes to website content readability now and in 2012.

10.  Google’s Panda 2.5 Update; Deliver the Content Promised in the Meta

This analysis of the Panda 2.5 update suggested that three losing websites had a uniting theme- they under-delivered in the content what they promised to deliver in their meta titles.  Since the posting of this article, Google made additional Panda adjustments.

Thanks for Reading My Web Writers’ 2011 Most Popular Articles!

Your content providers at My Web Writers wish you a very happy holiday season.  What were some of your favorite topics and articles this year?  What did your readers enjoy on your blog or website? Drop a note to us with a link to your post!

~Jean

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Filed under Content, Favorite Websites, Holiday Blog, Marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media, TED Talks, Web Writers, ZMOT

Five Quick Tips for Optimizing Mobile Content

by My Web Writers

Mobile continues the fast track in growth, as US virtual goods revenue pushes toward $2.5 billion in 2012.  What can you do as a content marketer to write more effectively for mobile?

1.  Narrow Your Mobile Keyword Research

Use your keyword analytics to present the single strongest term per mobile screen page.  Bryson Meunier suggests,

“As search marketers, we should already understand the power of keyword research in letting your users tell you what they want and how they want it said on your website, and keyword research can help prioritize what content goes on a mobile site as well.”

Indeed a carefully planned keyword strategy for mobile site navigation is important to your overall mobile site success.

2.  Mobile Content is Not Duplicate Content- At Least Not Yet

Your mobile sites can share the same desktop content without penalty.  Matt Cutts addressed duplicate mobile content back in January and then again recently.  No worries- just yet.

However, would your customer like to see a unique page?  Could having complementing desktop and mobile content increase sales?  Sure and not necessarily.  These are questions to discuss with your marketing team.

3.  Write Like A Mobile Content Journalist

Just like a reporter, offer the most important information within the first few sentences or bullet points.  Answer the consumer’s most basic questions:

 Who?  What?  Where?  When?  How?  How much? 

Hold off on answering “why?” until you effectively answer those first six.

4.  With Mobile- Action Before Beauty

Your mobile content might be the last few words consumers ponder before making purchases- your final opportunity to make sales.  Which words will make the difference?  Call the consumer to action with action verbs.

Then, offer lovely descriptions and additional information by linking to your desktop content.

5.  Embrace Mobile Fun & Originality

You are still writing a bronco in the Wild West.  Be the originator- the curator of unique on your mobile gold rush journey and users will come back to visit your brand through mobile just because it’s cool or offers something valuable.  Securing user experiences through a variety of channels- mobile, desktop, social media, etc will give your brand more face time and revenues.

Looking for additional help to write or edit your mobile content?  Professional content providers can turn hair-raising copy into work horse pages.

~Jean

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Filed under Algorithms, Content, Content Marketing, Keywords, Mobile, Panda, Research Tips, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Website Linking, ZMOT

ZMOT – Where Consumers Are and Where Businesses Should Be

by My Web Writers

Earlier, I wrote a blog discussing change and SEO. What does this have to do with ZMOT? Plenty. I argued the tactical error of companies, aiming for a position of strength in SERP, relying solely on the identification of popular keywords at the expense of identifying rising search terms. Paying attention to search terms experiencing significant growth puts forward-thinking companies in a position of strength. ZMOT, much like keyword trends, is an emerging marketing tool that businesses interested in a position of strength need to take seriously.

ZMOT, unlike the convention of keywords, focuses on the psychology of shopping in the information age. The reigning description of shopper behavior focused on three key stages: stimulus (advertising that peaks the consumer’s interest), shelf (first moment of truth when standing before the product), and experience (second moment of truth when the product is used at home). Enter ZMOT. Concurrent with the expansion and accessibility of digital information emerges what Jim Lecinski coins the zero moment of truth. This is that moment where the potential customer turns to the internet in search of reviews, descriptions, ratings, comparison sites, social media talk, etc. ZMOT takes place after the stimulus awakens the consumer to the possibility of this service or product adding value to that individual’s life and that moment where the consumer is ready to convert stimulus into a sale. This period of research becomes the make or break time for businesses to win over the confidence of the consumer.

More and more, consumers are engaging in the zero moment process. Jim Lecinski, in his book entitled “ZMOT – Winning the Zero Moment of Truth,” puts forth these noteworthy statistics:
• 70% of Americans look at product reviews before making a purchase.
• 79% of consumers now say they use a smart¬phone to help with shopping.
• 83% of moms say they do online research after seeing TV commercials for products that interest them.

I would describe these people as discriminating shoppers. I would know – I am one. At a recent stop at Best Buy, where my son wanted to buy a video game, I asked the salesman if he could show me reviews on a the games that my son was considering purchasing. At an in-store computer, my son and I read reviews and chose the one that had the best reviews. That was our zero moment of truth.

The makers of the game had no control over that information that played a role in our ultimate choice. We relied on the feedback given by those who had no stake in whether we purchased the game or not. Consumers like me are turning to consumers to make these decisions.

Does this mean that businesses lose their customers to a black hole where their marketing efforts have no influence? No. Businesses need to get into the black hole and see what is going on, hear what is being said, and join the dialogue.

Some businesses may fear that their inability to control the world of ZMOT means that they should just ignore it. That would be akin to someone refusing to open bills because if they pretend like they aren’t there then it won’t affect them. Understandably, businesses fear the potential for negative feedback damaging their efforts to succeed. However, ZMOT actually helps businesses accurately position, improve, and shape their products or services to the satisfaction of consumers. If consumers have found an additional use for product, promote it. If consumers have a common complaint about an aspect of your service, fix it. If consumers don’t like the name of your product, rename it.

Rather than ignore the reality of ZMOT, dive in and let people know that you listen and want to respond. After all, success is built on customer satisfaction and effective incorporation of the zero of moment truth principles puts you in a position to satisfy.

If your marketing team has yet to build ZMOT into its marketing strategy then read up on it and get in front of this psychology of shopping movement. If you don’t have the time or workforce to both learn about and incorporate ZMOT, look for content providers who can help you. When vetting those candidates seeking to become your ZMOT expert, use Jean Bansemer’s Ten Content Tips for ZMOT Zero Moment of Truth Experts to determine their qualifications. Your ZMOT experts should not only know where the consumers are but how to get you where you need to be.

~Marni

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Ten Content Tips for ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth) Experts

by My Web Writers

What is ZMOT or Zero Moment of Truth?

Zero Moment of Truth- The latest marketing strategy from Jim Lecinski and Google

No longer are consumers limited by the first moments of truth- the presentation and packaging on stores’ shelves- to shape buying choices. Jim Lecinski, author of ZMOT Winning the Zero Moment of Truth, coins Zero Moment of Truth or ZMOT to describe the sometimes quick and sometimes lengthy consumer research that occurs prior to purchase decisions.
Engaging, searchable content is part of the ZMOT formula. Lecinski suggests that

“the sales funnel is turning into something less linear- more like a neuron with impulses going in all directions. The impulses are firing faster and faster.”

Consider a recent hotel, cell phone, or home purchase. While you might spend hours and hours on your home computer researching these products, you also might quickly look up details via your mobile device.

Consumers gather impressions about products and services with their mobile devices while in the car, standing at the store, or sitting in front of a home. These impressions are Zero Moments of Truth. ZMOT’s sometimes occur seconds prior to the first and second moments of truth before purchases are made.

Who’s Your ZMOT expert?
Lecenski, who’s also the Managing Director for Google’s US Sales and Service, asks

“Who’s in charge of ZMOT for you? Because if it’s nobody’s job, it’s not going to get done…That person should be ready and empowered to work with your various agencies- creative, strategy, media, and digital- rather than being hidden in a lonely cubicle down the hall. They should be in meetings when you plan strategy. And they should have a say in the overall experience for your costumers…While you’re at it, ask yourself: Do I have a budget for the Zero Moment of Truth? Or do I just have a website budget? Because your new ZMOT leader can’t do it all with smoke and keywords. To put ZMOT to work for you, put someone in charge.”

Whether you hire an internal ZMOT expert or you outsource your efforts, the person in charge of branding at the ZMOT should have a firm grasp on marketing and the power of words.

A Content Checklist for ZMOT Experts
Your content providers should partner with you to provide quick, information-gathering reads, as well as in-depth analysis pieces. Consider the following content tips when providing ZMOT content:

1. Provide a keyword-rich summary of all uploaded videos, PSA’s, and commercials.
2. Utilize Google Trends to answer questions that people are asking.
3. Include semantically relevant keywords and phrases that complement your focus keywords within your copy.
4. Connect copy and blog ideas to the general chatter about your brand or its related products. Staying current is key. Information moves at a fast pace. Today’s trends are tomorrow’s archives.
5. Provide summaries and bullets up front, while following with more details further down each ecommerce page.
6. Write comparative pieces. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your products?
7. Take risks with your copy. Don’t forget to find your human spirit – the driver behind what you’re writing. Your authentic passion is contagious.
8. Take your laptop with you to the center of the action. Get out of the cubicle and into your customers’ lives. Sometimes this may require face-to-face meetings with subject matter experts, brand loyalists, and naysayers.
9. Pause conventional thinking. Writers by nature cross t’s and dot i’s. In some cases, rethink customary conventions. Revise and proofread for the customer, not for your reputation.
10. Make connections. Provide content links to other great pieces to help customers and readers learn more. Write several pieces of content that support each other. Consider for example, What is Quality Content part 1.

Your ZMOT expert and web writers should work together to create helpful, brand impressions. Who is your ZMOT expert and what content strategies do they employ?

~Jean

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Filed under Content Marketing, Marketing, Revising & Proofreading, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media, ZMOT