The Boolean Touch

In order to surface the coverage you’re looking for about your brand, your competitors, and your industry as a whole, start off by running basic searches using keywords. Check out the upper left for related keywords that you might have overlooked.

Keyword search for the Golden State Warriors using Meltwater.

 Type keywords in the search fields or drag and drop from the suggestions above.

Precision Searching with Booleans

As you review the results from your keyword searches, you’ll start noticing that the more information you have to go through, the more junk you come across. For example, it might not be enough to say “Find me mentions of Subway but no mentions of stations,” because there might happen to be a Subway at College Station and that article might be exactly what you’re looking for. It’s these cases that demand the precision of booleans, so you can zero in on relevant results and exclude the ones you don’t need.

NOT > AND > OR

These are the three most common Boolean operators, in order of precedence. Remember when your math teacher taught you Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally? Boolean operators work the same way.

Group your term variations inside a set of parentheses and separate the terms with the OR operator. Anchor them against a common term with the AND operator. Be sure to use a set of quotes around an entire phrase to search for it exactly as is:

(”Golden State Warriors” OR “GSW”) AND basketball

Is the same as searching for:

(“Golden State Warriors” AND basketball)

OR

(GSW AND basketball)

Notice “basketball” is the common term to both searches. We used parentheses so the operators will be applied first.

A search for brands whose names are common nouns, like Subway sandwiches, might yield irrelevant articles. Here’s an example of searches looking for mentions of the Subway restaurant chain:

Basic search (keyword): Subway
Boolean: Subway

Boolean search for Subway using Meltwater.

We’ll have to be more specific: do we mean subway stations or the restaurant chain?

These results lead us to refine our search even more. We’ll look for common phrases containing “subway” that might appear in an article not about the restaurant chain. We’ll want to use the NOT operator to exclude phrases we know would show up in irrelevant results. Examples:

“subway station”
“subway line”
“subway track”
“underground subway”

Since none of these phrases are desirable for our purposes, we’ll group them together inside parentheses and separate them with OR. Here’s a more refined boolean search looking for the sandwich chain. The terms in parentheses have been broken line-by-line for legibility, but the entire boolean can be a single line:

Subway NOT
(“subway station” OR
“subway route” OR
“subway ride” OR
“subway stop” OR
“subway platform” OR
“subway train” OR
“subway line*” OR
“subway track” OR
“underground subway” OR
“subway construction” OR
“subway operator” OR
“Subway series”)

Notice that the exclusion list begins with NOT and comes after the main boolean search (keyword: Subway). This boolean means we’re confident that if “subway” appears as part of these excluded phrases, the article isn’t covering the food chain.

Boolean search (with exclusions) for Subway using Meltwater
Results of searching for Subway and ignoring any to transit.

Don’t Forget Tpyos and Alternate Spellings

Think about where people are when they make a quick post on social media: on-the-go, standing in line, in between meetings, on the phone, etc. Most people don’t bother to correct typos and autocorrect is notorious for misreading proper nouns, especially uncommon names. Consider names like Gabrielle Douglas, one of our star gymnasts on Team USA (go Gabby!) is referenced by either Gabby or Gabrielle. Here’s how to catch those variations using boolean:

“Gabrielle Douglas” OR “Gabby Douglas”

The same goes for a misspelling:

“Lilly King” OR “Lily King”

Notice we have the proper, formal spelling and then the nickname or misspelling. If there are other common variations, add them with more OR operators.

But social media, that wonderfully lawless landscape of funny autocorrect, GIFs, and emojis, throws us another curveball: the hashtag. While people make posts about “Gabrielle Douglas” or “Gabby Douglas,” they may also use the entire name as its own hashtag: #GabrielleDouglas OR #GabbyDouglas. Make sure to account for this when you search for full names. Write out the full name and its variations, then write them as hashtags (no spaces in hashtags!):

“Gabrielle Douglas” OR “Gabby Douglas” OR “#GabrielleDouglas” OR “#GabbyDouglas”

A Case for Sensitivity

Brands whose names happen to also be nouns—Subway, Square, Uber, Apple—can bring up unwanted results. Instead of researching a laundry list of phrases to exclude (and you can see we had so many for Subway), you can make your search case-sensitive.

Use this feature to find references to the Subway restaurant chain in the body of articles or posts.

Case-sensitive boolean search for Subway using Meltwater.
Turn on “Only match capital letters” …

Results of case-sensitive boolean search using Meltwater.
…to pull up Subway as a proper noun.

The Title Bout

You can even skip searching the body and only look at titles:

title:Subway

Boolean search for Subway using the title: parameter in Meltwater.

Some good news for the sandwich chain.

You can use the exact headline and the title: parameter to see what media outlets picked up your press release. This is a great way to benchmark the performance of your PR.

Benchmark your brand's press release using the title: parameter and boolean search in Meltwater.

Look up your press release title…

Benchmarking your press release with title: parameter in Meltwater. Chorizo, anyone?
…and use the title: parameter to measure syndication.

The Ingress

Use ingress: to find articles about a keyword most likely mentioned in the lede. A keyword is typically lower priority—and thus less likely the subject of the article—if mentioned toward the end of the piece.

ingress:warriors

Find keywords in the first paragraph by using booleans with the ingress: parameter in Meltwater.
Using ingress:warriors pulled up this article. 

The Wildcard

Sometimes, you’ll want to capture different variations of a term:

depreciation
depreciate
depreciating

We can use a wildcard after the last common character to reduce the amoung of typing and capture any additional variations you may not have thought of:

depreciat*

Go wild with booleans and wildcard (*) searches in Meltwater.
More variations might give you some diverse results. Don’t forget to use the standard operators to narrow them down.

The Near Switch

The idea behind this operator is simple: the closer two words are in proximity, the greater the relationship. If “Golden State” and “Warriors” appear close together, there’s a high chance the text is about the basketball team and not some actual warriors showing up in the Golden State.

Boolean searching with the near/ switch in Meltwater reminds us that LeBron dominated the Warriors.
Caution: some booleans bring back painful memories: “Golden State” near/6 Warrior

 We use quotes to ensure the phrase appears exactly as written, and a number to specify within how many words the two terms should appear. For example, the above boolean would also capture:

“The Warriors will be returning to the Golden State for Game 3 […]”

If you’re looking for terms that appear further apart than 16 words, we suggest using AND instead of the near/ switch:

“Golden State” AND Warriors

This sounds complicated! Help!

The tl;dr:

  • Keyword searches are easy to run. Take advantage of suggested keywords.
  • Advanced searching allows better targeting with booleans. Experiment with these operators:
    • NOT terms after this will not be included; try using this at the end of the boolean followed by a list of exclusions.
    • AND specifies all words that must appear in each result.
    • OR results will match either the first word/phrase or another word/phrase
      • Use OR to look for all variations and misspellings of a word or proper noun: “Gabrielle Douglas” OR “Gabby Douglas”
      • For social searches, consider writing full names as single words after hashtags: “#GabbyDouglas” and remember there might be an equivalent hashtag of every phrase or full name you’re searching for.
    • Use quotes to search for an “exact phrase”
      • “Golden State” will surface the exact phrase, but (Golden AND State) doesn’t require the words to appear consecutively.
  • If you have multiple terms, group them in parentheses:
    • ((Warriors OR Basketball) AND “Golden State”) NOT NBA
    • Always count to make sure the number of opening parentheses matches the number of closing. You should always have an even number.
    • Note: since NOT has the highest precedence of all operators, put it at the end and separate your desired terms inside parentheses.
  • When looking for a name that’s also a regular noun, select the radio button “Only match capital letters” to isolate the name as a proper noun (Subway, Apple, Uber).
  • To look for a keyword in headlines only, use title:keyword or title:”exact phrase”
  • To search the first paragraph only, use ingress:keyword
  • A wildcard character (*) says “I don’t know how many more characters come after this part of the word, so find me everything variation of the single word”
  • near/n : results will have the first term or phrase within n words of the second term or phrase. If two words appear greater than 16 words apart, try using AND instead of near/17.

We used all these techniques to create our newly released industry report on the fast food sector. Read on for our approach to analyzing the top 20 U.S. brands.

Your PR SEO Super Powers

While search engine optimisation (SEO) and PR have been buddies for a while now, never have they been so reliant on each other. We’re now moving into an era of PR SEO.

Why is this the case? Search seems to be a moving target. However, we know that Google rewards quality links. Well-written content and proactive outreach are a crucial part of SEO success. No one is better versed in these areas than PR pros.

Andy Crestodina, co-founder and strategic director of Orbit Media, points out that a lot of SEO companies now have positions with the title of “outreach manager.” The reason for this position is because links and mentions from other sites are now even more important for search.

An essential component of the outreach manager’s role is researching publications that may be a fit and then pitching content—or story—ideas. This relationship building is, of course, very similar to what PR pros do every day. The difference is that those doing SEO, which was once known as link building, are more concerned with the “authority” level of the website and getting a link, versus a PR practitioner, who’s more focused on sharing messages with an intended audience.

trackback-presshit_orbit.png

“If the media mentions links to a page on your website, you just had a great day for SEO. Links to your website are an authority,” says Crestodina. “And authority increases the likelihood that anything on your domain will rank. This is why PR professionals have such a huge ability to affect search rankings. The key is to understand the value of links and capture the opportunities of press mentions.”

So, what are the most effective SEO practices for PR pros right now?

1)      Stop thinking press releases are helpful to your rankings: Press releases aren’t directly relevant to SEO. They used to be—but no longer. Google now ignores them. A press release only helps your ranking if it’s picked up by a reporter who writes a story linking back to the client’s site. Or if you repurpose the content as a blog post and that spurs engagement.

2)      Not everything you work on is relevant to SEO: Search is only helpful if someone is looking for your content. So, try changing the way you think about PR by answering this question: “What phrase would someone who’s looking for this story use to search?” You may realize that what you’re currently working on isn’t search-worthy—and that’s okay.

For example, if you need to issue a press release on an award your client won, do it. There are still benefits to letting audiences hear about this news. Just drop the expectation that the public will find it via SEO. No one is searching for that announcement. People google for answers to questions and solutions to problems. For search, you need to think in those terms.

3)      Remember that while the value of earned media is temporary, SEO is forever: While the benefit of a press mention boosts a brand, it may be short-lived. The spike in referral traffic may be brief.

But, when you’re able to get a journalist or blogger to link to a piece of content on your site, that link is likely to last. It’s rare that sites delete pages and links. And, this will increase your SEO.

4)      Be original—provocative even—with your content: Some ways to rank higher in search include publishing posts featuring original research. Conducting original research may be costly or time-consuming, but can reap greater results than using someone else’s.

You can also conduct a survey and publish the findings. For example, Orbit Media conducts an annual survey of bloggers that they then turn into a post that garners many links. Or, aggregate research on a particular topic. What do people in your industry say but rarely support? Answer that using data you uncover.

5)      Another tactic to try is to develop content based on strong opinions. Perhaps take a position on an issue that may not be shared by everyone in your industry.

Crestodina suggests reading Spin Sucks to read up on challenges faced by modern PR pros. “It’s filled with practical posts that include specific tips that fill in the skill gaps for PR pros,” he says.

How Does Your Brand Affect Your Customers’ Personal Experiences?

Have you ever wondered how Coke became so synonymous with cola, Hoover with vacuuming, or Google with searching the internet?

“Emotional connectivity,” says former Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide CEO Kevin Roberts. “You want loyalty beyond reason and loyalty beyond recession.”

Emotional connectivity that becomes brand loyalty is what a true customer brand experience is all about. For every business seeking to thrive and create a lasting impact, emotional connectivity needs to be a mission-critical constant in their branding equation. Nowadays, customers no longer spend their money as a result of what they see and hear about brands; rather, they value brand and customer experience. Advertisers and brand managers are shifting their focus from creating simple brand messages towards building a lasting brand-customer relationship. Customers now equate brands with experiences, and they are willing to pay premium prices for excellent customer service and an outstanding retail experience. A single negative experience or unresolved issue is enough to make a client give up on a brand. Worse: a negative experience can easily become a negative review, and this can spread quicker than a wink online, thanks to social media and online review sites.

It’s vital for companies to connect with their customers on a deeper and more satisfying level – through positive customer experience. Here are five ways brands can create worthwhile and memorable customer experiences:

Make the Brand Stand out – in a Good Way

To customers, the uniqueness of a brand is what makes it stand out. The easiest way to do this is to create a memorable brand name. For instance, affixing the lowercase ‘i’ to its product offerings – like the iPhone, iMac, and iPad – has made each item a very recognisable Apple product.

Of course, Apple did not stop at brand recollection value; that alone would hardly make a customer use and keep using a new product or service. What makes the brand experience a meaningful one is when people use a product or service – and enjoy every minute of it.

In a fast-changing digital environment where each subsequent product tends to get more and more complicated, Apple went back to basics; the company decided to simplify everything. Apple built its brand by focusing not only on the features of each product but also on sleek and simple aesthetics – attributes that seemed like an afterthought to competitors. The strategy clearly worked; Apple has created a satisfactory customer experience that has morphed into a huge loyal brand following.

Adapt to the Changing Times

Staying current is a must for every brand that wants to endure over time. In the fast-paced Internet Age, doing so can be challenging, as evidenced by the many brands that have crashed and burned over the last few decades, like social media platform Friendster and mega-bookstore Borders. It seems like any brand that fails to stay relevant is signing its own death warrant.

Many businesses are finding ways to adapt to the changing times through social media, which has become an avenue for consistent, direct, and meaningful customer interaction. It provides tremendous insight into customer needs, wants, behaviour, and engagement.

These days, having a website and a mobile app is pretty much non-negotiable, too. They provide information to consumers and help them not only to make informed purchasing decisions but also to resolve issues that could have a significant impact on how they perceive a brand.

Connect with Customers on a Personal Level

A personal touch can go a long way in strengthening a business’s branding. Gone are the days when one size fits all; customers now favour brands that offer and provide them with tailored experiences. ‘Tailoring’ can be as easy as having the customer’s name in an email newsletter. A ‘Dear Joe’, as opposed to a ‘Dear valued customer’, can be interpreted as solid customer engagement. Personalised email messages, in fact, increase their click-through rates by an average of 14%, according to a 2015 report by the Aberdeen Group. Conversion rates also increase by 10%. Furthermore, research by Experian has revealed that personalised emails increase transaction rate by up to six times.

Brands’ efforts to personalise their connection with their customers clear demonstrate gratitude and appreciation for their clients’ continuing patronage – and the gratitude and appreciation are reciprocal.

Be Transparent

Brand transparency has become a way of humanising the business and showcasing a company’s positive corporate values. According to a study by Label Insight, brand transparency is the best way to build consumer trust, with more than half of the respondents saying that they would be loyal to a company if it showed itself to be fully transparent. An excellent example of such a marketing campaign is McDonald’s Canada’s ‘Our Food, Your Questions’ campaign. Trying to dispel misinformation and urban myths surrounding its food and ingredients, the fast food giant saw an opportunity to educate its consumers and still stand behind its products. The campaign has garnered over 42,000 questions since its launch in 2014. Even though it is widely known that McDonald’s is not the best choice when it comes to healthy eating, the campaign has satisfied its customers’ need to know everything about a product – no skeletons in the closet.

Consistency Is Key

Finally, the key to creating a brand that resonates with customers is consistency. This means keeping the brand in sync with its strategies so that every product and/or service always points back to the brand—distinctly and directly. Coca-Cola is considered to be one of the most widely recognised brands in the world. Although it continues to evolve, its classic script and font can be identified anywhere in the world, even when displayed in different languages. Consistent branding eliminates confusion and shapes how people perceive the business.

Consistency is also important when it comes to messaging; it should always be in keeping with a brand’s mission and values.

For instance, clothing company Patagonia has always been clear about its mission to inspire social change and protect the environment by advocating sustainability. It launched a Fair Trade campaign that led people to be more mindful of how their clothes were being manufactured, thereby leading to a stronger demand for products coming from Fair Trade Certified factories that pay higher wages to workers.

Ultimately, bridging the gap between brand and customers boils down to creating memorable customer experiences. Sure, the brand message is still important, but customers become more invested in a company when it walks its talk and prioritises customer wellbeing and satisfaction above all else. An outstanding customer experience is by far the best way to encourage the type of brand loyalty that transcends both reason and recession.

If you’re a brand that wants to move towards cultural ubiquity with your intended audience, nailing down personal experiences as you brand build will be essential. To come prepared for other steps your customers are experiencing, download our ebook to meet and support your audience at whatever point they are on their customer journey.

Screen Shot 2016-10-24 at 11.42.54 AM.png

 

This article was written by Matt Goldman from Business2Community, originally appeared in Tenfold, and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

How Does Your Brand Affect Your Customers’ Personal Experiences?

Have you ever wondered how Coke became so synonymous with cola, Hoover with vacuuming, or Google with searching the internet?

“Emotional connectivity,” says former Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide CEO Kevin Roberts. “You want loyalty beyond reason and loyalty beyond recession.”

Emotional connectivity that becomes brand loyalty is what a true customer brand experience is all about. For every business seeking to thrive and create a lasting impact, emotional connectivity needs to be a mission-critical constant in their branding equation. Nowadays, customers no longer spend their money as a result of what they see and hear about brands; rather, they value brand and customer experience. Advertisers and brand managers are shifting their focus from creating simple brand messages towards building a lasting brand-customer relationship. Customers now equate brands with experiences, and they are willing to pay premium prices for excellent customer service and an outstanding retail experience. A single negative experience or unresolved issue is enough to make a client give up on a brand. Worse: a negative experience can easily become a negative review, and this can spread quicker than a wink online, thanks to social media and online review sites.

It’s vital for companies to connect with their customers on a deeper and more satisfying level – through positive customer experience. Here are five ways brands can create worthwhile and memorable customer experiences:

Make the Brand Stand out – in a Good Way

To customers, the uniqueness of a brand is what makes it stand out. The easiest way to do this is to create a memorable brand name. For instance, affixing the lowercase ‘i’ to its product offerings – like the iPhone, iMac, and iPad – has made each item a very recognisable Apple product.

Of course, Apple did not stop at brand recollection value; that alone would hardly make a customer use and keep using a new product or service. What makes the brand experience a meaningful one is when people use a product or service – and enjoy every minute of it.

In a fast-changing digital environment where each subsequent product tends to get more and more complicated, Apple went back to basics; the company decided to simplify everything. Apple built its brand by focusing not only on the features of each product but also on sleek and simple aesthetics – attributes that seemed like an afterthought to competitors. The strategy clearly worked; Apple has created a satisfactory customer experience that has morphed into a huge loyal brand following.

Adapt to the Changing Times

Staying current is a must for every brand that wants to endure over time. In the fast-paced Internet Age, doing so can be challenging, as evidenced by the many brands that have crashed and burned over the last few decades, like social media platform Friendster and mega-bookstore Borders. It seems like any brand that fails to stay relevant is signing its own death warrant.

Many businesses are finding ways to adapt to the changing times through social media, which has become an avenue for consistent, direct, and meaningful customer interaction. It provides tremendous insight into customer needs, wants, behaviour, and engagement.

These days, having a website and a mobile app is pretty much non-negotiable, too. They provide information to consumers and help them not only to make informed purchasing decisions but also to resolve issues that could have a significant impact on how they perceive a brand.

Connect with Customers on a Personal Level

A personal touch can go a long way in strengthening a business’s branding. Gone are the days when one size fits all; customers now favour brands that offer and provide them with tailored experiences. ‘Tailoring’ can be as easy as having the customer’s name in an email newsletter. A ‘Dear Joe’, as opposed to a ‘Dear valued customer’, can be interpreted as solid customer engagement. Personalised email messages, in fact, increase their click-through rates by an average of 14%, according to a 2015 report by the Aberdeen Group. Conversion rates also increase by 10%. Furthermore, research by Experian has revealed that personalised emails increase transaction rate by up to six times.

Brands’ efforts to personalise their connection with their customers clear demonstrate gratitude and appreciation for their clients’ continuing patronage – and the gratitude and appreciation are reciprocal.

Be Transparent

Brand transparency has become a way of humanising the business and showcasing a company’s positive corporate values. According to a study by Label Insight, brand transparency is the best way to build consumer trust, with more than half of the respondents saying that they would be loyal to a company if it showed itself to be fully transparent. An excellent example of such a marketing campaign is McDonald’s Canada’s ‘Our Food, Your Questions’ campaign. Trying to dispel misinformation and urban myths surrounding its food and ingredients, the fast food giant saw an opportunity to educate its consumers and still stand behind its products. The campaign has garnered over 42,000 questions since its launch in 2014. Even though it is widely known that McDonald’s is not the best choice when it comes to healthy eating, the campaign has satisfied its customers’ need to know everything about a product – no skeletons in the closet.

Consistency Is Key

Finally, the key to creating a brand that resonates with customers is consistency. This means keeping the brand in sync with its strategies so that every product and/or service always points back to the brand—distinctly and directly. Coca-Cola is considered to be one of the most widely recognised brands in the world. Although it continues to evolve, its classic script and font can be identified anywhere in the world, even when displayed in different languages. Consistent branding eliminates confusion and shapes how people perceive the business.

Consistency is also important when it comes to messaging; it should always be in keeping with a brand’s mission and values.

For instance, clothing company Patagonia has always been clear about its mission to inspire social change and protect the environment by advocating sustainability. It launched a Fair Trade campaign that led people to be more mindful of how their clothes were being manufactured, thereby leading to a stronger demand for products coming from Fair Trade Certified factories that pay higher wages to workers.

Ultimately, bridging the gap between brand and customers boils down to creating memorable customer experiences. Sure, the brand message is still important, but customers become more invested in a company when it walks its talk and prioritises customer wellbeing and satisfaction above all else. An outstanding customer experience is by far the best way to encourage the type of brand loyalty that transcends both reason and recession.

If you’re a brand that wants to move towards cultural ubiquity with your intended audience, nailing down personal experiences as you brand build will be essential. To come prepared for other steps your customers are experiencing, download our ebook to meet and support your audience at whatever point they are on their customer journey.

Screen Shot 2016-10-24 at 11.42.54 AM.png

 

This article was written by Matt Goldman from Business2Community, originally appeared in Tenfold, and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.