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Convince Your Boss to Send You to MozCon 2020 (Plus Bonus Letter Template!)

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Posted by cheryldraper

It’s that time of year again. Professional development budgets are being distributed and you’re daydreaming of Roger hugs and fist bumps. Well, this is a call to arms! It’s time to get down to business and convince your boss that you HAVE to go to MozCon 2020.

You’re already well acquainted with the benefits of MozCon. Maybe you’re a MozCon alumnus. You may have lurked the hashtag once or twice for inside tips and you’ve likely followed the work of some of the speakers for a while. But how are you going to relay that to your boss in a way that sells? Don’t worry, we’ve got a plan.

(And if you want to skip ahead to the letter template, here it is!)

Copy the template

Step #1 – Gather evidence

Alright, so just going in and saying “Rand Fishkin is brilliant and have you seen any of Britney Muller’s Whiteboard Fridays lately?!” probably won’t do the trick — we need some cold hard facts that you can present.

MozCon delivers actionable insights

It’s easy to say that MozCon provides actionable insights, but how do you prove it? A quick scroll through our Facebook Group can prove to anyone that not only is MozCon a gathering of the greatest minds in search, but it also acts as an incubator and facilitator for SEO strategies.

If you can’t get your boss on Facebook, just direct them to the blog post written by Croud: Four things I changed immediately after MozCon. Talk about actionable! A quick Google (or LinkedIn) search will return dozens of similar recaps. Gather a few of these to have in your toolbelt just in case.

Or, if you have the time, pick out some of the event tweets from previous years that relate most to your company. The MozCon hashtag (#MozCon) has plenty of tweets to choose from — things like research findings, workflows, and useful tools are all covered. Some of our favorites from last year are listed below.

Attendees are often given access to exclusive tools and betas by the speakers, and that is something you don’t want to miss!

The networking is unbeatable

The potential knowledge gain doesn’t end with keynote speeches. Many of our speakers stick around for the entire conference and host niche- and vertical-specific Birds of a Feather tables over lunch, in addition to attending the networking events. If you find yourself with questions about their strategies, you’ll often have the ability to ask them directly.

But the speakers aren’t the only folks worth networking with. We hand-select industry vendors to attend the conference and showcase their products. These vendors are also available for training and showcases throughout the entire conference.

Lastly, your peers! There’s no better way to learn than from those who overcome the same obstacles as you. Opportunities for collaboration and peer-to-peer learning are often invaluable (especially those that happen over yummy snacks) and can lead to better workflows, new business, and even exciting partnerships.

Step #2 – Break down the costs

This is where the majority of the conversation will be focused, but fear not, Roger has already done most of the heavy lifting. So let’s cut to the chase. The goal of MozCon isn’t to make money — the goal is to break even and lift up our friends in search.

Top-of-the-line speakers

Every year we work with our speakers to bring cutting-edge content to the stage. You can be sure that the content you’ll be exposed to will set you up for a year of success.

Videos for everyone

While your coworkers won’t be able to enjoy Top Pot doughnuts or KuKuRuZa popcorn, they will be able to see all of the talks via professional video and audio. Your ticket to MozCon includes a professional video package which allows you (and your whole team) to watch every single talk post-conference, for free. (It’s a $350 value for the videos alone!)

Good eats

MozCon doesn’t do anything on-par. We strive to go above and beyond in everything we do, and the food options are no exception. MozCon works with local vendors to ensure there are tasty, sustainable meals for everyone, including those with special diets. From breakfast to lunch and all the snacks in-between, MozCon has you covered (and saves your T&E budget a few bucks, as well).

Swag

Not to brag, but our swag is pretty great. In addition to special MozCon memorabilia, you can look forward to other useful and fun items that vary from year to year. Previous gifts include “conference health” fanny packs (complete with Emergen-C!), moleskin notebooks, reusable water bottles, and phone chargers.

Discounts

This is probably the detail that’ll make your boss’s ears perk up. There are indeed discounts available for MozCon tickets! If you’re buying now through January 31st 2020, Early Bird pricing is in effect, which saves you a cool $200 off regular ticket costs. If you’ve got a team interested in attending, we offer group discounts for parties of 5+ as well. And my final top-secret tip: if your company already subscribes to a Moz product, you can save even more —up to $700 off per regular-priced ticket if you snag Early Bird pricing, or $500 off after January 31st. That’s a real chunk of change!

Step #3 – Be prepared to prove value

It’s important to go into the conference with a plan to bring back value. It’s easy to come to any conference and just enjoy the food and company (especially this one), but it’s harder to take the information gained and implement change.

Make a plan

Before approaching your boss, make sure you have a plan on how you’re going to show off all of the insights you gather at MozCon! Obviously, you’ll be taking notes — whether it’s to the tune of live tweets, bullet journals, or doodles, those notes are most valuable when they’re backed up by action.

Putting it into action

Set expectations with your boss. “After each day, I’ll select three takeaways and create a plan on how to execute them.” Who could turn down nine potential business-changing strategies?!

And it really isn’t that hard! Especially not with the content that you’ll have access to. At the close of each day, we recommend you look back over your notes and do a brain-dump. 

  • How did today’s content relate to your business? 
  • Which sessions resonated and would bring the most value to your team? 
  • Which strategies can easily be executed? 
  • Which would make the biggest impact?

After you identify those strategies, create a plan of action that will get you on track for implementing change.

(Fun fact — if you’re traveling, this can actually be done on the plane ride home!)

Client briefs

If you have clients on retainer, ongoing training for employees is something those clients should appreciate — it ensures you’re staying ahead of the game. Offer to not only debrief your in-house SEO team, but to also present to your clients. This sort of presentation is a value add that many clients don’t get and can set your business apart.

These presentations can be short blurbs at the beginning of a regular meeting or a chance to gather up all of your clients and enjoy a bit of networking and education.

Still not enough?

Give the boss a taste of MozCon by having them check out some videos from years past to get a taste for the caliber of our speakers. And if you’re wanting to break into the speaking circuit, you can also take your shot at securing a community speaker spot onstage. Most years, the call for community speakers opens up in early springtime — keep an eye on the Moz Blog for your chance to pitch!

Lastly, the reviews speak for themselves. MozCon is perfect for SEOs of any level and we even factor in time for you to get a little work done in-between sessions — Vaneese can tell you!

Our fingers are crossed!

Alright friend, now is your time to shine. We’ve equipped you with some super-persuasive tools and we’ll be crossing our fingers that the boss gives you the “okay!” Be sure to grab the letter template and make your case the easy way:

Copy the template

If you can make it, we promise to spoil you to the tune of endless Starbucks coffee, tons of new friends, and an experience that will change your perspective on search. We hope to see your smiling face at MozCon 2020!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!





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Marketing Strategies

Now Is The Time To Find And Correct Your Digital Strategy Pitfalls

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/

/Every brand or enterprise is crafting and refining their digital strategy on a daily basis. However, especially in the world of B2B, companies fall into many of the same mistakes. 

According to a 2019 Forrester report, “44% of B2B buyers expect to do more than half of their work-related purchasing online in the next three years.” In the wake of COVID-19, that figure is probably even higher. It is crucial that marketers create engaging digital content, leveraging every digital touchpoint as an opportunity to build trust and strengthen relationships.

Marketers have access to more target audience research and data than ever before, but that doesn’t mean it is easy to avoid pitfalls. Let’s consider the consequential B2B marketing mistakes that companies are making, and demonstrate why a digital strategy audit is the solution.

Your Content Shouldn’t Reflect Your Organization Chart

 Too often, companies — particularly B2B enterprises — build their websites and digital assets around their internal organization structure rather than a customer’s needs. As an example, imagine you are a customer looking for a mop. You surf to a company’s website to buy a complete cleaning solution, but they have separate pages for mop handles and mop heads because they operate as separate divisions. Now you have to research the parts separately, figure out what you need and ensure they are compatible with one another. That’s not a huge ask for a mop, but imagine you are purchasing a complicated business system with hardware, software and a consultative service component.

Your Messaging Should Focus On The Customer, Not The Product

Companies often lead with the news of the capability or product they just launched, but prospects don’t come to your website for product announcements. They visit because they have a question or a problem. Your messaging should show people you understand that problem. This is a best practice for all marketers, but it is especially true for those marketing to developers, engineers and the C-suite. These audiences are highly skeptical of “marketing speak” and an overly product-forward content strategy will turn them off. Plus, leading with product makes your company seem uninterested in building strong audience bonds.

Don’t Overload One Area Of The Buyer Journey With Content But Neglect Others

Another mistake that is easy to overlook when you are inside the organization is creating content around some areas of the buyer journey, but not others. If your organization doesn’t have a healthy mix of content formats, you may be making this error. For example, you might have multiple white papers and blog articles that are relevant to a prospect comparing competitive solutions, but no video to share on social media to create brand awareness.

It is also common to create content for one audience segment but forget about other personas, or simply run out of time and resources. B2B purchasing decisions involve multiple decision-makers with different priorities and needs. A complete digital strategy needs to encompass all of them, which is part of what makes B2B marketing so challenging.

Don’t Overuse Jargon

Your existing customers know your lingo, but new ones may not. It is important that your messaging and content use natural language, rather than jargon, so it resonates with your audience. This may sound like a simple one, but it can be hard to catch yourself because you are accustomed to the company’s lexicon.

Why Now Is The Time For A Digital Assessment

The first step in fixing mistakes is finding them. Your company may have slowed or even stopped marketing initiatives in response to COVID-19, so use this time to audit your digital strategy.

There isn’t an industry on the planet that hasn’t been upended by the pandemic. Buying processes have changed overnight, so even if your company has managed to avoid these marketing traps, you still need to audit your strategy and update it to reflect the new normal.

A comprehensive review should include:

  • A content audit and effectiveness assessment;
  • A website CX health assessment;
  • A channel audit and effectiveness assessment;
  • A brand message assessment; and
  • An event strategy assessment.

The good news is an audit will likely uncover low-hanging fruit — low-effort/high-impact actions you can take to drive fast results for your company. Next, you can devise a plan for tackling the bigger initiatives.

Remember, as a B2B marketer, your goal is to build relationships with prospects and to lead them through their consideration journey, fostering trust every step of the way. The missteps above compromise your ability to do so. An audit kicks off the process of doing this right.


Greg Harbinson is the Senior Strategy Director at Centerline Digital, where he focuses his time on helping companies create messaging and experiences to better communicate with their customers. His work includes building messaging frameworks, defining the information architecture for websites, designing customer experience programs and helping companies understand the best ways to solve communication problems.



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Marketing Strategies

What gets lost when in-person events go on hold, and how can we salvage it?

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30-second summary:

  • This year, we’ve seen the events industry get flipped on its head.
  • Now more than ever is the time to consider how event marketers and planners can ensure they’re keeping people entertained, connected and, most importantly, engaged virtually.
  • As event marketers and planners navigate their options for providing digital event opportunities, there are three main considerations they face: replicating energy and momentum in a virtual setting, understanding the power of face-to-face human connection, and maintaining authenticity in business relationships.

This year, we’ve seen the events industry get flipped on its head. Whether cancelled, postponed or converted to digital, in-person events as a whole have understandably been put on hold in light of COVID-19.

Most recently, Cannes announced it will completely cancel its in-person 2020 event after organizers had originally decided to postpone it to October, while the SXSW Film Festival teamed up with Amazon Prime to stream movies for free instead of showcase them in person this year.

While we’ve seen great examples like these of businesses getting creative with their conference strategies in the midst of COVID-19, we can’t help but think about what gets lost when in-person events are postponed.

As we’ve seen industry experts and media put it, the events industry isn’t “doomed, but it will change. Now more than ever is the time to consider how event marketers and planners can ensure they’re keeping people entertained, connected and, most importantly, engaged virtually.

By employing the right strategies, businesses can come back better than ever to still create the sense of community people crave from events, while continuing to collect valuable intent data that strengthens their customer and prospect relationships in this new reality.

In the immediate future, as event marketers and planners ponder this and navigate their options for providing digital event opportunities, there are three main considerations they face: replicating energy and momentum in a virtual setting, understanding the power of face-to-face human connection, and maintaining authenticity in business relationships.

Replicating live events energy through the screen

With events, having good content and presentations is one thing, but a powerful speaker standing in front of an audience delivering their message is what truly seals the deal and captures attention.

Beyond the stage, the energy that people get from being in a room with other professionals, reconnecting with colleagues old and new – likely with a favorite classic song playing in the background – is incomparable.

While scenarios like this aren’t possible right now with events pivoting to digital, event marketers and planners should consider how their businesses can match this momentum in a virtual setting.

Focusing on highly-engaging speakers and understanding how to prep them for the screen as opposed to a live audience will be helpful. Other tactics like virtual “networking hours” and gamification via live competitions or surveys can also help keep an audience excited for what’s next.

To amplify audience engagement further, event marketers can consider a mobile app as a means to add to intent data and be able to more accurately personalize content and follow up.

Recognizing the power of human connection at events

We’re taught from a young age that handshakes are the bread and butter of first impressions. While a small gesture, the act of shaking someone’s hand upon meeting them is one of the many ways in which networking and human interaction has changed with in-person events getting canceled.

At the end of the day, all humans crave connection – and small acts like this, to larger interactions that make up networking as we know it including face-to-face conversations and one-to-one meetings, play a big role in relationship building.

We’ve seen this supported by the fact that the use of video conferencing tools and apps has sharply increased since stay-at-home initiatives have been put in place in light of COVID-19.

If considering a digital event, create frequent moments for live interaction – whether it be inviting participants to provide input on a session or topic via chat rooms, quick quiz rounds to keep people on their feet, or simply giving access to an easy-to-use networking tool such as an event mobile app, where attendees can “meet-up” or chat in-between sessions.

It’s easy to forget in virtual settings that attendees don’t just want to watch content, but they want to be able to interact with it, talk to speakers and other attendees, and provide feedback.

Maintaining authenticity in business relationships

Whenever you’re marketing or selling something, the hardest thing to do is demonstrate authenticity in your approach – and this is made even more difficult when you have to reach people via email and other virtual alternatives, as opposed to in-person events.

Prepare your sales team for networking in a virtual setting – how should their approach change, and how will your digital alternative support it?

Consider the basics like allowing for one-on-one networking opportunities during the virtual gathering, and encouraging your team to always take meetings with video on to offer a more personable conversation.

Also, just like with an in-person event, gathering the right information about your target audience and leads to offer personalized and interactive content is just as, if not more important in a virtual setting.

Understand what data you want to collect before your virtual event kicks off, and use those insights for customized follow-ups to keep people engaged with your content afterwards.

Virtual alternatives can’t replace some of the best moments in-person events offer, but we do have to adjust to this new reality and humanize the digital experience to keep our audiences engaged.

Finding ways to replicate the energy in-person events provide, creating moments for face-to-face engagement and interaction, and sustaining authentic communication with customers and prospects are all top considerations for event marketers and planners as they make the pivot to digital events.

At the end of the day, people are now more than ever looking for reasons to gather (virtually), learn from each other and build meaningful connections.

The post What gets lost when in-person events go on hold, and how can we salvage it? appeared first on ClickZ.



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Marketing Strategies

Tips and tools to combine content marketing and PPC

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30-second summary:

  • Many businesses opt for content marketing because organic traffic is free. But, this strategy makes them miss a great opportunity to grow fast because combining SEO-optimized content with PPC speeds up the lead generation process.
  • Online businesses need to know specific use cases for content marketing and PPC to assess the value of the strategy.
  • Less than half of small businesses (45%) invest in PPC.
  • PPC and SEO content marketing can bring in more leads by capturing more quality traffic with more effective keyword optimization of blog content, lead magnets, and landing pages.
  • To get the most value from content marketing and PPC, businesses need to master keyword research, searcher intent, and the consistency between the landing page and ad optimization.

As someone who primarily engaged in SEO and content writing for small businesses, I didn’t really care about PPC advertising.  

Maybe because of people like me, only 45% of small businesses invest in PPC 

I thought that the best way to bring high-quality leads was with super optimized content, so paid advertising was the realm of bigger companies. That’s the mindset of many small business owners. With teeny tiny marketing budgets, they have to choose between SEO/content and PPC. 

SEO/content often becomes their choice, especially of those with interest in content creation and a lack of real marketing experience.  

SEO was my preferred choice, too, and I saw PPC as something secondary. 

Boy, was I wrong about this!

After a couple of projects involving PPC promotion, my view of the strategy completely changed. No, they didn’t change how I thought about SEO, but they showed how amazing the results could be if you combine the power of both strategies. 

To all SEO specialists still not using PPC and the other way around, here’s what you’re missing.  

1. More effective content thanks to PPC-tested keywords

Developing a content strategy is one of the most complex and important tasks for any SEO specialist. They use keyword research tools, PPC tools, Google Search Console results, and other methods to find those precious keywords used by customers.  

When they find the keywords they think are good for targeting SEO/content marketing, they begin a slow process of creating content. I wrote oh-so-many blog articles, eBooks, checklists, reports, and other content to find out the keywords that attracted the most conversions.  

All of this takes a lot of time.  

In fact, to write a super effective blog post, you need more than six hours 

Source: OrbitMedia 

When you’re done with writing the draft, there’s also proofreading, editing, making visuals, and keyword optimization. To cut a long story short, you might need a few days to complete a good article that can bring quality organic traffic.  

But that’s not the end of that road.  

Google, too, needs some time to index the article and rank it. In fact, it might take between two and six months to rank in the top 10.  

That’s a bit much, agree? 

To top it all off, the keywords you’ve chosen for your content might not the best ones to target. If you make this mistake, you’ll have to learn your mistakes and start all over again (welcome to the world of SEO content writing, folks). 

Is there a way to speed this time-consuming process up? Yes. It’s PPC.  

It can get you in front of the audience and allow you to test your keyword ideas much faster. If you have content to test, use PPC ads, and equip them with the keywords.  

Get them out there and see what people respond to best. You can have some great results as early as a few days, which is pretty much impossible with SEO/content marketing.  

Another great news is that you can run A/B testing. This means running ads featuring different keywords for the same content piece. If one performs much better than the other, update the content with the more popular keywords.  

So, the takeaway here is that running PPC campaigns for content is a much faster way to test keywords. Start by finding keywords with research tools and make some ads, and you’ll be more likely to discover how your customers look for businesses like yours.  

Related:  

2. More leads from lead magnets

In content SEO, we often create lead magnets 

They are content pieces like reports, white papers, eBooks, webinars, videos, and other valuable content that people need to sign up to access.  

You’ve seen tons of them before. A common example is a banner promoting an industry report with an irresistible CTA on a blog. It says that you need to provide your email address and name to access it instantly.  

Click on that CTA, and you’ll go to a landing page with the lead capture form.  

Like this “The Ultimate Agency Guide to Video Marketing” landing page, where everyone can download a guide with helpful tips on video marketing.

Example of lead magnets landing pages

As you can see, the content is offered in exchange for some data. Not a bad deal of a guide packed with useful instructions for businesses.  

Unsurprisingly, many content producers often turn to lead magnets for quick lead generation.  

Ozan Gobert, a senior content writer at Best Writers Online said, 

“Lead magnets work well for both B2B and B2C businesses aslong as they have some value for customers. You can generate some high-quality leads with them, as they typically attract those interested in insights and tips inside.” 

If a blog has thousands of visitors every week, then there might not be a need for PPC promoting lead magnets. But is that true for your blog? 

Many people think they can manage without the ads (I was one of them). Basically, it’s because they think that great content will “sell” itself. 

Despite what they might think, not so many blogs are that successful in attracting visitors. In fact, more than 90% of web pages don’t get any organic search traffic from Google.

Ahrefs stats on PPC and content marketing

As you can see, only about 1.3 percent of web pages out there get decent traffic. Just for that tiny share, promoting a lead magnet with PPC advertising might not be necessary every time. 

Obviously, the situation is very different for the rest.  

If your website doesn’t have a lot of visitors, too, then creating lead magnets might be pointless. They’ll just sit there only to be discovered by a few people per week.

Not good because you need more leads.  

If you wish that there was a way to get more people to pay attention to, there is actually a way.

And it’s PPC, of course. To get some emails, you need a well-crafted PPC campaign that leads people to the landing page where they can sign up to receive the content.  

You can try to bring people with keyword-based ads promoting the lead magnet. If you choose the right keywords, the ads have a much greater chance to attract leads than SEO alone.  

This is how it works: PPC does the job bringing in visitors, the content converts them into leads by having them complete the capture form.  

To increase the chance of people signing up, the value of content is critical. But, the visual appeal is also a major consideration. You need tools for creating visual content like images, graphics, and infographics to add to your lead magnets.  

3. Better marketing campaign performance thanks to a smart keyword use

Many businesses out there don’t realize they can bring much more quality traffic to their websites if they focus on best-performing keywords in both SEO, content marketing and PPC.  

Much more traffic.  

When an SEO/content marketing specialist and a PPC marketer share a list of relevant keywords, they can decide how to divide them to: 

  • Target the most promising keywords together to bring the most traffic 
  • Identify the keywords that are the most difficult for SEO and target them with PPC and the other way around
  • Define which search queries to focus on with each lead acquisition strategy

Ultimately, the cooperation between the PPC and SEO teams can result in a much more effective keyword strategy. In turn, this strategy could attract more traffic to your websites. 

Important note

To make content keyword optimization work, you need to master searcher intent or purchase intentPut simply, searcher intent is the reason behind a search query.  

For example, the query “Samsung a10 review” implies that the searcher is looking to do some research but has not made the decision yet. If they search Google for “buy Samsung a10 cheap”, then they might be ready to buy.  

Each intent defines how you should create content. It matters a lot for SEO because Google’s goal is to provide its users with the most relevant results.  

Dive Deeper: Tapping into Google’s Algorithm for Searcher Intent. 

4. Create landing pages that convert more visitors

A landing page is the heart of any PPC marketing.  

But, in many cases, PPC specialists aren’t the best persons to write the copy for it. By engaging content and SEO specialists and having them work with PPC folks, you can create a keyword optimized copy that also appeals to the readers.  

For example, PPC specialists can provide keywords and ideas for optimized headings and subheadings for attracting traffic. In turn, content writers contribute by creating a copy that’s easy to read and entices the visitors to act.  

So, the collaboration of PPC and SEO/content teams can result in campaign landing pages that generate clicks and converts.  

A good way to start doing PPC campaign landing pages is to create a checklist to cover all bases. This checklist can include images, copy, sign up options, etc. 

Know more: Studying the anatomy of a successful high-conversion landing page

SEO and PPC: Two are better than one

I’m not exaggerating when I say that SEO and PPC are a marriage made in heaven. I am positive that these points described in this article prove that.

Don’t make a mistake I made by neglecting the power of PPC advertising. Combined with SEO and quality content, you can greatly increase the quality of your traffic.

If you’d like to try them together, feel free to start by doing PPC ads for your best-performing blog articles. The results you’ll see will definitely impress and inspire you to try more. Thanks to this article, you’ll know your next steps.

Ana Mayer is a project manager with 3+ years of experience. She likes to read and create expert academic materials for the Online Writers Rating writing review website.

The post Tips and tools to combine content marketing and PPC appeared first on Search Engine Watch.



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