Online Travels of Link Building

Every marketer who keeps themselves up-to-date with the marketing trends will agree that content is the most important asset these days, regardless of the kind of website you own. Whether it is a magazine or an online casino, your content can make the difference. However, that does not mean that the days of link building are gone. Links play just as big a role as they always have. Only the methods have changed a little. According to some marketers, content marketing is the final step on the ladder of link building. 

Link building at the beginnings of search engines

Links did not always have the status they do today. Initially, when search engines first appeared, their only role was to provide results to the searches conducted by users. This made link exchanges, link pages and link directories were the most popular marketing strategies. Therefore, if you had an online casino or a website where users could play slots, for instance, the best way to draw customers to it was to insert keywords related to them in various articles and submit them to other related websites or to article directories. However, these methods soon became old-fashioned, being replaced by content marketing.

The use of links to provide search results for users made sense up to a point, but the results needed to be differentiated. This is where content marketing came in, a marketing method which proved to be very effective. You did not need to have too much content on your online casino or whatever website you had. Some content and a few links were enough. So it was much like link building versus content marketing. Over time, the latter has developed up to a point where content alone can be enough. However, it must meet a few conditions.

Link building today

The evolution of the Internet has brought along not only new marketing strategies, but also fierce competition. Therefore, inserting a few links into an article is no longer enough to bring traffic to a website. Firstly, the content of your online casino or whatever website it may be must be consistent and relevant in order for it to be seen with good eyes by search engines. Secondly, the links must be inserted naturally in order for Google penalties to be avoided. In other words, if you want to place a link to one of the slots pages of your website, you have to make sure the keywords related to them that you choose fit perfectly within the article rather than stand out as advertising tools. 

Link building tomorrow

But if the power of content and content marketing is so big today, is there room for new tips and rules? Savvy marketers predict there is. They believe search engines will collect even more information about the Internet navigation history of users, most probably not only from computers, but from other devices too. In other words, link building could advance to a point where you can learn exactly how your customers ended up on your online casino, for instance, where they might go from there, but also what exactly they are interested in. They may be looking for a review of the casino, they may want to play a game of slots or they might just want to check out the bonuses. You may be looking for the exact same things when visiting other online casinos too. If these are all things of interest to you too and you are looking for more info, click here. All this information can help create a story which can be promoted through social media and convince visitors to repeat their visit to one website or another. In the end, every business has a story behind it that needs to be told. 

Community Management is Not Digital Cold Calling

This is an excerpt from my guest post for The Community Manager. The Community Manager is a hot new resource for CMs founded by Jenn Pedde, Brett Petersel and David Spinks. They’re aiming to provide helpful tips for CMs via their blog, connect CMs to each other through local meetups and help companies find the right community talent through their job board. When I started as a community manager, this is the type of stuff that helped me scale up my knowledge quickly, and I’m happy there’s this all-in-one resources now to consolidate it. Check them out!

Contributing to marketing, PR and customer service fronts of their organizations, community managers often where multiple hats as they are on the front-lines of communicating with both current and potential customers online. Based on some questionable tactics I’ve seen on the Twitters recently, it’s the communication with potential customers that I feel could be improved.

Under the guise of “community manager” or “evangelist” by job title in their Twitter bios, people follow hashtags related to their product or their competitors. Then, they see people Tweeting on that hashtag or Tweeting about that topic, and they @reply them from something like a @john_company Twitter account, offering a sales pitch: “You should use my company instead!”

Well, no duh you would say that…You’re wearing the proverbial digital t-shirt!

Without building a relationship with a potential customer on Twitter first by having some other interaction other than a one-off sales pitch, this outbound approach doesn’t feel genuine to me. Also, I don’t think it is the most effective use of a community manager’s talents for the benefits of an organization.

Companies who approach community management and social media this way are actually off to a great start. They’re on social media, and they’re monitoring terms about their industry. They’re clearly listening, which is huge. I just think the way they are choosing to do outbound outreach to approach their potential community members is awkward. I’d rather see people draw the community to them with valuable content, thought leadership and helpful advice.

DJ Waldow, Blue Sky Factory’s awesome Director of Community offers helpful tips about email marketing along with the rest of the BSF team on the Blue Sky Factory blog. On Twitter, DJ will actually personally answer people’s individual questions about email marketing. It’s not about the product, it’s about thought leadership and being helpful.

See the rest of the post over at The Community Manager.

How I Got My First Job in Boston

This is a re-post of a guest post I did for Greenhorn Connect. You can find the original post here. Greenhorn Connect is a great resource if you’re looking to learn about the startup ecosystem in Boston. There’s things like a job board and events calendar to connect you to like-minded startupers in the area. Check it out!

I’m awful at math. In 1st grade we learned things like odd and even numbers. When other munchkins were ready for things like addition and subtraction, a perplexed 6-year-old Janet thought, “What the hell?” and scripted surprisingly well-articulated  essays about why I hated math during writer’s workshop.

Battling my “clinical inability to deal with numbers,” I always had to ask for extra help after class or do corrections on math tests in high school. I was pretty cool. My amazing mother reassured me on nights I actually cried over algebra homework that learning to work hard was preparing me for something later in life. It did.

This taught me to turn anxiety into action, that achieving goals boils down practical execution and that believing in yourself means trusting you that you’ll do what it takes to make things happen.

I’m from Buffalo, NY and I graduated from St. John Fisher, which is nearby in Rochester, NY. I moved to Boston right after graduation in June 2009 for a PR internship at SHIFT Communications. In August 2009 I got my first big kid job as an account coordinator for Kel & Partners. Every single day I feel lucky that I got to move to Boston.

Unless you’re a computer science major with a $10,000 dowry, finding your first job out of college is generally tricky. You have to get someone to give you your big break because you haven’t proven yourself professionally yet. That’s tough in any economy.

These are the specific things I did that worked for my job search to move to Boston.

1. Networking on Social Media

I joined Twitter in the fall of 2008 for Introduction to Digital Media class. I knew I wanted to be in Boston and do PR. I followed PR agencies and PR people working in Boston to learn about the job market. I read blogs and wrote about my job search and what I was learning about social media on my own blog. This helped me connect with the Boston PR scene even though I was still in Upstate, NY.

My passion for social media stems directly from the humbling generosity I experienced during this time. People I met through Twitter, who didn’t know me and who had absolutely no reason to invest time in me, answered my questions and offered candid advice. People commented on my blog posts and shared them and that built my confidence. I quickly realized that the connections you can make in social media are very real.

These people know who they are and all I can say is thank you. You really helped me. And I’m doing what I can to pay it forward.

2. Informational Interviews

Everyone told me the same thing: “No one is hiring.” I couldn’t get real interviews, so I did a ton of informational ones instead. I figured that way, they’d know who I was if they were hiring in the future. (It worked! That’s how I got my job at Kel & Partners.)

In February I went on spring break with friends from BC. I turned that into an opportunity to (skip a midterm and…) line up an intense day of 5 or 6 informational interviews. That day was great. I experienced that exhilarating hustle of Boston that people can take for granted after a while and that you don’t feel when you’re here for vacation. Boston swept me off my feet that day and I knew I would make my job search a success because I wanted to be here so badly.

3. Ignored the News

I was relentlessly bombarded with articles about the bleak job outlook for 2009 graduates. The media loves a good sob story. Early on in my job hunt, I made a deliberate choice to have a Pollyanna attitude about it all and focus on things I could control – my actions.

I couldn’t control the economy or what the government was or wasn’t going to do to help. I could have perspective: I could feel compassion for the thousands of people whose names I didn’t know who got laid off at companies across the country that were on the evening news. But I couldn’t let negative news get to me and slow down my momentum in my job hunt. So for the most part, I just ignored that news.

I recommend this to all job-hunting 2011 graduates. It’s fine to be aware of the challenge ahead of you, but leave it at that and keep moving forward.

4. Kept it Real and Took a Chance

Of course I wanted a “real job,” but I was acutely aware of situation with the economy. I took a leap of faith and moved to Boston for a paid internship. I trusted myself that I would do what it took to get a full-time job for after the internship once I got here. This prepared me for startupland, where many times you’re faced with uncertainty and you have to trust yourself that you’ll just do what it takes to make a situation work.

Who Ya Calling Entitled?

People love calling Gen Y entitled, like we think the world owes us a job because we went to college. I’ve read news stories about people suing their alma maters because they couldn’t find jobs after graduation. Now that’s crazy talk, son.

I never felt like anyone owed me a job. Sometimes I felt scared because I was in Boston alone doing this internship, my student loans were coming and I didn’t really know where my life was going. (I’m only human; it’s called being 22.) Then I thought about hypothetical people with real responsibilities like babies and mortgages who maybe had just gotten laid off, and I clearly stopped feeling sorry for myself.

Most importantly: My story is not unique by any stretch of the imagination.

I am one of millions of motivated young people who want to work hard. We’ll stay late. We’ll rise to the occasion. We aren’t afraid of an uphill battle.

When you think about the future of Boston, don’t think of the entitled Gen Y-ers. Sure, there are people like that – from every generation. But those are the minority, the particularly odd and special cases, and that’s why they get coverage in the NY Times.

There are many young people in Boston who are not acting like people owe them jobs. They’re creating jobs by building companies and enhancing our startup community. HerCampus, Greenhorn Connect, Bostinnovation, Gemvara and Dart Boston are all led by Gen Y-ers and are all here in Boston doing incredible things.

A blurry sense of opportunity in Boston drew me here, but the very tangible innovation and optimism in our startup community is what makes me want to stay. I couldn’t be more thankful to those whose advice helped me move here, and I couldn’t be more thankful to that anxious, mathematically-challenged college graduate who took a chance on an internship and moved to Boston on a whim. You did the right thing.

How to: Get Started in Social Media for Small Business

I was so excited that SCVNGR invited oneforty to be a part of its small business social media summer school series. On June 27, I stopped over to SCVNGR’s (very cool) offices to talk about tips for getting started in social.

Here are my slides, as well as a little cheat sheet of tactics and resources that I handed out. Feel free to pass along to clients, your aunt with a coffee shop, etc etc. Whoever you think would find social media 101 tips to be helpful.

Something I said toward the beginning of my talk was that even though there are so many platforms to participate in and tools to choose from, there are universal things you’ll need to do on each platform no matter what. So, my message was to just understand these ideas, and that way no matter what platform you’re thinking of participating in, you’ll know how to approach them.

These ideas include:

1. Claim your page on that platform – Complete all the information, and represent your brand. (I used the analogy of, you wouldn’t walk into high school first day without your shoes on. You shouldn’t step out into social media that way either.)

2. Listen & Respond – Chances are, people are already talking about you on social media. First and foremost, set up searches so you can find these mentions and respond to these people, whether they are saying positive or negative things. This applies whether you’re monitoring FourSquare checkins or Twitter mentions.

3. Be Genuine - A first-person, human voice works best. Some brands’ styles are more casual and others are more formal, but either way people like to know that it’s a real human behind the logo-avatar. That’s how you build relationships and make the most of social media.

Here’s the information: