Outsourcing Your Content Creation, Who Does That?

When it comes to outsourcing content creation, many of the reports, statistics, and the resulting data that we hear about come from much larger companies. I want to point out some data today that pertains to smaller companies as well. As a bonus, much of the really interesting data has been assembled into the excellent infographic below. Have a look at it first and then we’ll touch on a few points before we go.

Outsourced Content Marketing

Wow, 60% of small companies outsourced their content marketing  in 2011, up from 42% in 2010. We find this trend particularly exciting. Only a small part of this excitement comes from the fact that we at TrustWorkz, Inc. provide marketing services that include content creation for small businesses. What really excites us is that these forward thinking and pro-active companies are securing continued growth and success into the future as opposed to those that refuse to embrace these tactics.

“Content marketing is an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation and sharing of content in order to engage current and potential consumer bases. Content marketing subscribes to the notion that delivering high-quality, relevant and valuable information to prospects and customers drives profitable consumer action. Content marketing has benefits in terms of retaining reader attention and improving brand loyalty.” - Wikipedia

It is important to understand is that we’re not creating content just for the sake of having it. While it is true that to have a considerable body of work can help to establish yourself and your business as an authority in your niche, loftier motivations do exist. Namely, search engine optimization (SEO) and being found online.

*Search engines dictate more and more each day that our web presence must be populated with fresh and relevant content for it to be considered in search results.

*We need inbound links to send a signal to the search engines that our content is valuable to others. Populating our websites with great content and pushing this content out to our audience through social media channels generates interest and awareness…and inbound links!

*SEO is no longer something that is “event based”…a set it and forget it mentality. SEO requires great content and effective sharing to yield a positive result.

“The three most important things for SEO are content, content, and content.” - Joe Brockmeier

Actually, and this is rare, I want to include a second infographic today. I think that the information contained in this one dovetails nicely with our topic and I think it will help to establish a better understanding of how content creation and SEO are actually the likeliest of bedfellows anymore. Click on the graphic to enlarge.

Content for SEO

We are all participants and witnesses to the largest revolutionary shift of an era. Search, social, local, mobile, privacy, relevance…all  of it converging to serve up a real-time and semantic web that will have a depth and relevance that few have even dared to imagine. Failure to acknowledge and understand this shift and where we all need to fit in will not make it any less true and it won’t spare us the impact. Don’t make the mistake of believing that this will all pass and/or blow over somehow. Your complacency and ignorance about what’s going on in the digital realm will only seal a most undesirable fate for your business.

Right now, today…take some time and investigate what is happening around you. Identify and follow along with what your progressive peers and competitors are doing in this space. There’s no time like the present to set a course that will ultimately ensure the survival of your business.

Today’s first infographic certainly establishes that we’re not the only ones who think that something this important should definitely be left to the professionals. If you are ready to take a pro-active step in the right direction and want to explore the possibilities that exist by partnering with TrustWorkz, Inc., please contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you.

You Heard It Right: We INSIST on WordPress

Wordpress logoSome consider it bold and presumptuous that we insist on websites built exclusively on the WordPress platform for all of our clients. We take this authoritative stance on WordPress for our clients because it is absolutely appropriate, and therefore not as presumptuous as the word “insist” might imply. As for bold…we’ll accept that.

Today I wanted explain a little bit about some of the factors that have brought us to our conclusions about the WordPress platform. My hope is that you will quickly realize the many benefits of utilizing the WordPress platform as the hub of your businesses web presence.

WHAT IS WORDPRESS? – WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that we use exclusively to build websites for our clients. The websites of yesteryear…the ones that many of us are most familiar with, were not content management systems. This means that we could not access or edit the information on our site. We needed the services and help from our web designer/developer/architect/whatever.

Click the image below to view the full size “What Is WordPress” Infographic. Please do click through all of the links in today’s post; they will lead you to a wealth of additional WordPress information.

Wordpress Infographic Thumbnail

WORDPRESS IS VERSATILE and MALLEABLE – WordPress allows us free access to the information on our websites as well as control over the aesthetics through the WordPress dashboard. The dashboard interface is widely considered to be user- friendly and intuitive. WordPress is often referred to as a “blogging platform” because it allows us to quickly and easily launch new blog posts that will then become archived.  With this ability we can constantly create fresh new content for our clients that can be optimized to gain increased and relevant traffic to their sites.

The aesthetics of WordPress blogs and sites are largely controlled by a Theme. Think of themes as a “skin” that lies over the functioning framework of a website. By customizing and modifying themes, site owners can modify and enhance their website’s appearance at will. This is desirable over older static websites.

Plugins are yet another huge benefit to building on a WordPress platform. Plugins are to WordPress as apps are to your smartphone. There are literally thousands of plugins that have been developed to serve a multitude of purposes and solve a wide array of problems. If we need a site to perform specific tasks or if we need more functionality, we simply find and install an appropriate plugin.

WORDPRESS DOMINATES - “WordPress is used by over 14.7% of Alexa Internet’s “top 1 million” websites and as of August 2011 powers 22% of all new websites. WordPress is currently the most popular CMS in use on the Internet.”Wikipedia

“According to W3Techs, almost 55% of the 1 million most visited websites that are run on a content management system (CMS) are run on WordPress.”  – Smashing Magazine

Wordpress Market ShareFor us, the quotes above go a long way toward predicting what the future of the internet looks like. All of the apparent trends and statistics point to WordPress dominating well into the future. This is supremely important to us because we strive to establish a strong and stable web presence that will stand the test of time for all of our clients. While we’re certainly not psychics or fortune-tellers…we do look into what trends can tell us about what the future might hold. Many of the decisions that we make today are tempered by how we feel that these decisions might ultimately weather the onslaught of both time and the advance of technology.

It is also our professional stance that Google loves WordPress.  What we mean by this is that we have noticed and documented that our optimizations and tweaks are picked up by the search engines more quickly on sites that are running on the WordPress platform. Creating and optimizing content are the foundational elements of search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). These are paramount to success in a businesses digital marketing efforts.

In summary: We know of no other platform, framework, or content management system that is as

  • Stable
  • Versatile
  • Malleable
  • Customizable
  • User-friendly
  • Well supported

that allow us to as effectively

  • Customize site appearance
  • Create content
  • Optimize content
  • Enhance functionality
  • Solve problems
  • Dominate in search engine results

We certainly hope that this gives you a better understanding about what WordPress is and what it can do for your business. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comment section. Please let us know if we can help you out in any way. We’d love the opportunity to speak with you about how TrustWorkz, Inc. can help you grow your business.

Pie Chart Photo Credit – Smashing Magazine

The Rising Water That Floats Your Little Boat: Google+

Thank goodness we are not forced to paddle upstream against the current. As a small business (any size business actually) we are being swept along with the ebb and flow as technology advances and best practices dictate. Friends, we are all subject to greater forces than ourselves. No matter your feelings for the likes of Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc., their choices and course affect how we are able to make use of these platforms. Take it as a consolation that the unpredictable ride is an exciting one and that it pushes us all toward a place where we all must ultimately go if we hope to survive.

Firstly, you know all about Google+, right?

Due to the forces mentioned above and as prudence would have it, we have implemented a company-wide change worth mentioning. Last week we began building and launching Google+ business pages for all of our clients. We, like most in this industry have been participating in Google’s new darling social network. We have watched and we’ve waited for something that would indicate that NOW is the right time to jump in. Of special interest to us was the day that Google finally allowed businesses to create profile pages on Google+. Still, we didn’t feel the need to implement mass adoption; there was not enough evidence that any business value could be derived…yet.

And then it happened. Everything changed last week when Google flipped a magical internal switch that had far-reaching implications for us all. In a nutshell, this change has caused Google+ profiles to show up in common search inquiries on the search giant’s own engine. Make no mistake, Google Search plus Your World is a game changer. With this one move, Google has seen to it that the Google+ social network DIRECTLY influences search results. Google produced this video to let us know more about Google Search plus Your World:

Without boring you to tears by going into too much detail, I will explain our decision to build Google+ pages for all of our clients thusly: Our mission is to make our clients THE source for what they do in THEIR market. Google search results drive 80+% of traffic to our client’s websites. Therefore, in order to optimize all of our client’s web presences we MUST be active within Google+ on their behalf.

If you are interested in a deeper look at what Google and Google+ are doing, here are some of our favorite articles on the topic:

What Google Personalized Search plus Your World Means for Marketing  – Lee Odden

Why Every Marketer Now Needs a Google+ Strategy  – Rand Fishkin

Why Google+ is an Inevitable Part of Your Content Marketing Strategy  – Brian Clark

What does Google’s social search mean for SEO? We ask the experts. – Nancy Messieh

Google+ Brings Out the Big Guns  - Francisco Rosales

 

It is a well-known fact that ALL social media participation influences search results. No longer can we ignore these communication networks and pretend that we can get by without investing in them pro-actively. If search results have an impact on your bottom line and your business needs to be found locally…social media participation is a must for your business.

We fully understand that many small businesses are quite confused by all of this. We also empathize with those who do understand but can’t find the time to be as pro-active as they should be with their digital marketing efforts. All of this is in fact the reason that we exist. Let us know if we can help you out in any way. We’d love the opportunity to speak with you about how TrustWorkz, Inc. can help you grow your business.

Photo Credit: MadeByMark

Let’s Just Drop “Social Media”

I saw a tweet a few days ago from our very own Kevin Ekmark that bowled me over with its boldness and simplicity. I should leave it be, just let it lay there in all of its succinct beauty…but I really do feel like a deeper look could be useful.

Kevin Ekmark Tweet

See what I mean? Bold, a tad presumptuous, and entirely accurate. Could it be that simple, really? I say that yes, it can be.

There was a time when “social media” needed to be broken off as a strange and foreign object from the rest of what we understood about the Internet. We all needed some time and distance in order to make sense of this “new media” revolution. Unfortunately, and still, many of us have made neither heads nor tails from any of it. We’re bombarded with more-and-more information every day and all we’re getting is lost. You are certainly not alone if confusion and frustration have been your only return for all of your efforts in “social media”.

As small business owners though, you and I must try to make sense of the ever-changing (and often very esoteric) world of digital marketing.  We stay as plugged in as we are able to in order to stay competitive, right? “Social media” has become nothing more than a burden and a challenge lately to many of us who are tasked with making decisions for our businesses and as we focus our marketing strategy. All of it has also become more than just a little time-suck. Many still don’t understand the first thing about how we’re supposed to align these new communications channels with good old-fashioned business objectives.

The problem with “social media” is that it has no consistent and coherent definition. I know that for me it’s next to impossible to leverage something if I’m not altogether sure how to define it in the first place. Asking a hundred different small business owners how their social media marketing efforts are going would yield a hundred different answers and explanations. It is a fact that not all of those asked would consider their efforts on Facebook, or some of the other “popular” channels…because many have yet to even venture there. There are no standards, no one-size-fits-all solution, and that’s a problem. This is especially true for small business owners.

It hasn’t been all that long ago that social media participation was still optional…one could decide to engage or experiment with different channels and tools at will and as time allowed. Today, not so much; optional has evolved into a necessary opt-in for those who understand just how important participation is for small businesses. Google’s algorithm now dictates that we must have an engaging presence on social networks in order to be considered “relevant”. It is also a fact that social media provides us with the greatest potential to reach our hyper-local audience…our own communities.

The silver-lining in all of this is that boundaries have begun to blur and everything that we do online has become interconnected. All that we consider to be our web presence will continue to unify as time passes. This is actually very good news.  Our websites, the social web, search engine optimization, mobile technology, content creation…it has all become but a single pill to swallow.

The Internet

My point here, the one thing I want you to take away from this post is that it really is that simple.  Your choices are to either embrace the Internet as a tool for your business or to ignore it. Be found online or do not. How’s that for whittling it down to size?

 

TrustWorkz, Inc. exists as a company to assist you with and manage your web presence. We handle all of the details…we do everything that you would do for yourself if you knew how and could. Contact TrustWorkz, Inc. today; we’d love to discuss how your business could benefit from participating in our Web Operative Program.

How Much Dough For The SEO?

I don’t get asked often about the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) pricing and offerings from other companies and agencies, but there are 2 things worth noting here:

 

  • I imagine that YOU do care about such things.
  • I absolutely keep a very close eye on what others in the industry are doing.

With that said, I’m excited about the opportunity to share this excellent infographic with you today. The graphic does a pretty good job with the data and is very telling indeed. The information itself comes from a survey conducted in December 2011 by the fine folks at SEOmoz. The data was then skillfully assembled into the infographic by AYTM Market Research.

**Click Image To View Full Size**

Cost of SEO - December 2011

Since you are here reading this on our TrustWorkz blog today, I assume that you are in the market for social media management, search engine optimization, or some other aspect of digital marketing. If this is in fact the case, please don’t miss out on the original article from SEOmoz that contained the infographic above. The additional information and their “Top 9 Takeaways” on the topic are well worth a look.

It’s great to see you doing your homework. If you have questions about how we might be able to help you grow your business, please feel free to contact us.