How to Make Your Website More Engaging with Curated Content

In the online world, content is king. That means social media content, blogs, e-books, white papers, and your company’s website. Good online content is a proven, low-cost way to prompt sharing, repeat visits, increased brand confidence, sales/membership/donations, and the marketing Holy Grail, customer advocacy. So then, why is it that the majority of company websites that you visit are essentially one big “About Us” section? It’s important to present your products, corporate goals and company history, but a website that only says what a company does is a missed opportunity!

There are several ways to incorporate more relevant and engaging content on your website, but here we’ll focus on one of the quickest: curated content using the Meltwater News newsfeed. The newsfeed is a configurable feed of information – articles, social media posts or other content – that can be placed anywhere on your website and is built by Meltwater’s support team to match your company’s brand standards. Curated content can flow automatically from a search agent into a newsfeed, or you can choose to add content manually via the archive.  Each newsfeed supports the following functionality:

  • Static or scrolling motion
  • Horizontal, vertical or news ticker configuration
  • Pagination
  • RSS subscribe

 

The newsfeed can be configured to fit your company’s needs, whether it goes on your homepage, a resource page or even on your company’s intranet. Keep reading for a few use cases that outline how others have used the newsfeed.

Use Case #1: A Member Supported Non-Profit

A non-profit organization that focuses on early childhood education was looking for ways to increase traffic to its new website. The organization also prides itself on keeping members and parents up-to-date with their latest advocacy and lobbying efforts. The newsfeed was a great way to kill two birds with one stone!

They incorporated a scrolling newsfeed with an RSS subscription option on their homepage and promoted the RSS link in member communications via email and social media. With just a few clicks, the organization populated the feed with relevant articles that came through their Meltwater News account. They were also able to insert press releases and links to other PDF content that they produced internally.

As part of a greater shift in SEO and content strategy, the newsfeed on their site helped the non-profit increase web traffic. It also helped them become a resource for members and anybody else interested improving early childhood education.

Use Case #2: A Semiconductor Company

A medium-sized semiconductor company recognized that there was a lack of centralized information regarding new technology in their industry. They wanted to make their website an industry resource for innovation news and position their company as a thought leader in the space. To accomplish this, the company outlined a strategy that included building an industry portal on their website.

In addition to financial information and content from their blog, the industry portal displayed news and social media result picked up in Meltwater News in two newsfeeds. Both feeds populated automatically to display up-to-date content from industry news sources and blogs. Along with an increased PR presence and speaking engagements for their CEO, the newsfeeds and industry portal helped the company start down the path to thought leadership.

 

As part of an integrated strategy, the Meltwater News newsfeed is an easy way to make your website more engaging with curated content. Becoming a thought leader doesn’t happen overnight, but as is the trend with Pinterest and Flipboard magazines, the way you curate and organize content is as important as the content you write first hand. Whether the goal is to increase web traffic, become a thought leader or find a value-add for donors, a newsfeed will definitely help your website transcend being just an “About Us.”

Social Media Blunders: 5 Ways to Sidestep the Misstep

Some of the most common social media blunders can be avoided with 5 simple tips. Banana peels can be avoided by not littering.

There are plenty of articles out there gleefully highlighting social media blunders, and we’re sure to see more as 2013 winds to a close.  One of the main worries that brand and PR people have traditionally had about social media as a channel is that the thing that makes social media so powerful – the viral word-of-mouth marketing – can be a double-edged sword.

As follows are 5 tips to help avoid some of the more common social media blunders.

Treat your social media program the way you treat your PR program. 

Is the person running your social media channels someone you’d trust answering questions for a newspaper reporter?  If your answer is “no,” you might want to rethink your staffing.  Social media is real-time and has a 24/7 army of citizen journalists watching, meaning that the person acting as the voice of your company is effectively giving a public interview.


Know the difference between social media marketing and social media as a distribution channel.

Social media is a dialogue marketing model, not a monologue marketing model.  Broadcasting messages at your audience isn’t effective, and it isn’t the point: engagement is the key with social marketing.  However, there are certain times that social media as a channel is servicing a different goal than social media marketing, and crisis communication is often one of those times.  But while PR may be calling the shots on messaging during a crisis, your social media channel strategy still applies when it comes to delivery.  For example, a static message broadcasted individually at your detractors is a bad idea: by Tweeting at them you’re opening up a conversation that you don’t want to have.  If you want control of the message and you want it to remain static, issue it once and not @[detractors] individually, and be prepared to ignore the replies.

 

If you do something you wish you hadn’t, apologize and move on.

If you’re married, this should sound familiar.  Don’t argue.  Don’t explain.  Don’t blame.  Just apologize, sincerely, and end the conversation.  There’s very little to be gained by continuing to engage detractors once you’ve already addressed the issue: this just fans the flames.


Use a social listening tool to see what people are talking about.

Social listening is incredibly powerful: it gives us marketers a chance to see what our target community is saying.  This is very helpful when we’re trying to be part of a larger social conversation, and it’s also a great way to measure the effectiveness of our messaging throughout any marketing program, including crisis communications.  (For more, download our free social listening guide or register for our upcoming social listening webinar.)

 Think before you tweet.

It sounds simple, but the twitchy nature of social media makes it easy for us to hit a button before we’ve thought it through.  Do a quick gut-check before you post: my Dad has a guideline for communication that anything we say to be (1) true, (2) necessary, and (3) kind (our family leeway is to pick 2 of 3).  For social media, those 3 guidelines aren’t half-bad, but I’ll add (4) engaging, and figure we social media marketers can pick 3 of 4 and be pretty darn safe most the time.

Here’s the good news: the shelf life of a social media “crisis” isn’t much longer than that of an open San Francisco parking spot.  The same thing that makes social media marketing a challenge can help us out in a blunder: with the average attention span of an online customer being 7-9 seconds, these things usually blow over pretty quickly.

 

Owned and Earned Media | How Content Marketing Blurs the Lines Between These Popular Buzzwords

Content marketing has blurred the lines between owned and earned media.

As marketers we love to use industry specific buzzwords such as “owned media” and “earned media” when talking to other marketers. Dropping a good buzzword is like name dropping a famous friend (did I mention I know Tom Skerrit, personally?*). However, there comes a time when our favorite buzzwords fade into obscurity, and the evolution of PR and Content Marketing might be the catalyst that eventually ends two of my favorites: earned media and owned media.

 
It isn’t that earned and owned media as distinct impression sources will go away. They will not. But their clear ownership and relation to specific marketing disciplines will continue to get blurry. The clear line that separates PR as earned and Social Media as owned is continuing to fade. That being said, at some point we will have trouble distinguishing between them. At that point they will cease to be buzzwords.

How We Have Defined Owned and Earned Media to Date

  • Traditional Earned Media and PR: For years we have defined PR’s output as earned media. If you’re in PR you likely spend a lot of time thinking about how people will find the information you want them to find. Traditionally you have focused on media. Your big score is when you place a story in the New York Times or on the Today Show. One of those media hits will score you millions of brand impressions and, if you’re lucky, a few of these folks will grab their computer/tablet/smartphone and Google your brand, driving traffic to your website in a way that isn’t always trackable, but is still real. In this scenario you have succeeded. You successfully placed information in front of your customer and they consumed. This is an earned media success story.
  • Traditional Owned Media and Social: Social media is the primary stakeholder of owned media and focuses on content published to the channels you control, such as your blog, Facebook Page, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, Vine, Pinterest, etc. The good news is you own the channel so you have 100% control of the message. The tricky part is that you lack control of what happens once you push the message. Since social media only becomes social when you engage and start a conversation with your public, there is a certain risk factor inherent in social and therefore in your owned media.  However, that risk is handsomely rewarded if your content becomes viral and, like a PR win, drives people to your website.

What’s Changing?

Content Marketing Blurs the Lines between Owned and Earned Media

To illustrate my point, let’s look at this very article. By posting it on my own blog, I have published it on an owned media channel and it’s a content marketing or social media success. If I were to take the exact same post and give it to my friend Doug Karr to post on Marketing Tech Blog it would become earned media, or a PR success.

Content marketers shake things up: our primary goal is engagement and that’s one of the reasons I am so proud and excited to be a content marketer. If you are a content marketer, you develop a story or message that you believe will resonate with your customer and craft it into a story or piece of online content. Content format can range from blog posts to video, to SlideShare, to podcast, to webinar and so on. The content can be published through many different channels: some are owned channels, some are earned. For instance, a blog post could go on your own blog (owned) or it could be placed on a 3rd party blog as a guest post (you write the content, but the channel and the media is earned).

Regardless of where your content started, once it’s being shared socially you’re getting earned media.  The great thing about social media as a channel is that there are no diminishing returns.

The content you’ve created lives on the Internet and, as customers find it, you the content marketer have driven new traffic to your website. The traffic numbers you draw can be small or large, a slow trickle or a flood. Regardless, you have succeeded when your customer Googles something of interest and finds your content.

In the end, it doesn’t matter much whether a piece of content is PR or social, earned or owned. What matters is that as marketers we understand and, most importantly, take advantage of the blurred lines and crossovers between disciplines. Now is where I sound like a broken record: don’t silo your efforts; integrate your teams for a more powerful marketing ROI.

Even if the lines between earned and owned get so blurry that we stop using the terms “owned” and “earned” all together, we’ll always have this blog post to remind us of the time we witnessed one of many marketing evolutions. To find it, just Google “Meltwater Tom Skerritt” and you’ll surely find this article.

*I do not know Tom Skerritt, that was just a name drop example. But, wouldn’t that be super cool? And there’s a pop culture reference hidden in its inclusion in this blog post, anyone know it? Anyone?

Social Listening for Rob Ford, the Crack-Smoking Mayor of Toronto

Unless you’ve escaped media for the past few weeks, you’ve heard about Rob Ford, or – as he’s now more commonly referred to in the media – “The Crack-Smoking Mayor of Toronto.”  With access to a tool that crunches together gozillions of data sources an hour (yes, of course that’s a real number) to tell us what the world is talking about, I decided to do a little social listening to the Rob Ford chatter.

So if you somehow haven’t heard about Rob Ford yet, just take a look at the results for a simple Boolean search that simply said “Rob Ford” AND “mayor” AND “toronto” and you’ll get a pretty clear picture of what’s been happening up there in Canada:

 

A quick word cloud around the governor’s name tells the story pretty clearly. The “Burgundy,” “Ron Burgundy” and “Conan” results are a win for Will Farrell, who hitched his “Anchorman 2” press junket to the mayor’s falling star with a song on the Conan O’Brien show.

 

“Embattled,” indeed: that’s the only adjective in the word cloud, and Toronto’s inability to remove him from office or convince him to step down is what surfaced that apt adjective, seen there on its own and attached to both the words “Toronto” and “mayor.”

While “The Daily Show” has been doing an excellent job of covering this colorful politician, Conan O’Brien deserves a shout-out for newsjacking the social media world again (he did this really successfully with the Twitter IPO, too).  the word cloud tells us that, from a social media win perspective, the video that people are talking about is the Chris Farley mashup movie trailer for the ficticious “Rob Ford: The Movie”:

 

 

The “topoli” result was also interesting, and clicking in led me to discover that it’s a hashtag for local paper The Star.  Well done, Star: you’ve attached your hashtag to your infamous mayor, and have drastically raised the visibility of your media outlet in continual streams of 140 characters or less.

 

Oh, Canada: the U.S. is dominating the chatter about your crack-smoking mayor.

 

One interesting thing to note is that the United States represents most of the chatter at 64%, due most likely to the fact that (1) our population is a lot larger (almost 10X that of Canada), and (2) we love ourselves a good old-fashioned political scandal, especially one that involves a politician so unable to keep himself from talking in front of the camera.

 

TMFKATCSMOTFKARF: The Man Formerly Known as The Crack-Smoking Mayor of Toronto Formerly Known as Rob Ford

One things is very clear in all the chatter: with Rob Ford being more commonly referred to at this point as “The Crack-Smoking Mayor of Toronto,” I might make a suggestion for a rebrand.  Ford is an unconventional guy, so I’m thinking he go the Prince / TAFKAP route, change his spoken name to “”The Man Formerly Known as The Crack-Smoking Mayor of Toronto Formerly Known as Rob Ford,” or “TMFKATCSMOTFKARF” and adopt a symbol that he can both wear and sell on T-shirts.

This is a merchandising goldmine, Still-Mayor Ford.  Trust me on this one.  And you may be in need of a job after the next election… although, with an approval rating one point higher than Barack Obama’s and a country known for its overall niceness, I may be speaking too soon.

(For more on social listening and how your brand might use it if your mayor admits to smoking crack, check out our social listening guide, or – for bonus points – register for our upcoming social listening webinar.)

 

 

 

 

Media Monitoring Success Tip #7: Weekly Auto Stats

The most common way that Meltwater News users interface with the platform is via regular email alerts. Up to two alerts can be scheduled to go out daily, or you can choose to receive an email every time a new article is written on a topic of interest (to learn more about alert emails, take a look at 3 Quick Start Tips for Meltwater News). Auto stats a highly valuable, yet often forgotten, feature that inserts simple weekly metrics into your email alerts on the day of your choosing.

The metrics cover the last seven days of mentions for news searches and are a fantastic way to quantify the week’s press mentions for you, your competitors and the industry. Keep reading to learn how to turn Auto Stats on in your account in a few simple steps.

 

 

Above is an example of auto stats included in an email alert. On the left is a geographic breakdown of where press has come through for this search agent in the last week. On the right is a word cloud that displays the most prominent themes or topics from this search agent in the last week. With auto stats enabled you’ll receive a quick look at these metrics for each of the news search agents in your account on the selected day and in the selected email alert.

 

 

To enable auto stats, click on “Users” or “Distribution” (depending on user permissions) in the toolbar at the bottom of the Meltwater News platform. First enable auto stats by clicking the checkbox in the menu, then select which email alerts will display which agents by selecting the radio buttons below “Morning,” “Afternoon” or “None.” Lastly, choose the day you’d like to receive auto stats in your emails and save the selection on the bottom of your screen.

That’s it for this Success Tip! If there are any other topics you’d like to see on the Meltwater Success Blog, or if you’d like to write a guest post, send me an email at chris.dotson@www.meltwater.com.

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