There’s a tag I’ve kept on this blog over the years called “dynamic web.” It’s a personal interest in just how much the web shifts and changes – and the impact that has on marketing and PR.
For example, social media, once lauded for democratizing publishing, is largely a paid game today. Social media has become, in many senses, the very thing it once disintermediated.
Anchor text links in press releases too are another example. At one time passed authority – today they can get a site penalized if they are not coded as “no follow.” Most of the major press release services do this for you.
More importantly, the dynamic web is fluid: What was true in digital marketing yesterday, is not necessarily true today. Marketing, in so far as the web is concerned, is as much a career as it is a continuing education. And that’s the theme for this week’s Unscripted Marketing links [UML].
As it is each week, below are three articles that drew my interest – and suspect will draw yours. While I’ve highlighted points that stood out for me, I recommend spending some time reading each in their entirety to see what stands out for you.
1) Best Practices for Pop-Up Forms
Pop-up forms work. There’s ample research to prove it.
Yet the usage still remains fairly controversial – right alongside gated content, because marketers tend to abuse it. Even Google weighed in recently – threatening penalties for pop-ups that ruin the user experience – especially on mobile (after January 10, 2017).
Yet if the industry is going to relook at pop-ups, it’s worth considering what’s at stake. Ben Ratner examines the history, styles, behavioral triggers and best practices in a piece titled, Should Marketers Use Pop-Up Forms? A Comprehensive Analysis.
Among the advice he offers is this:
“Another common mistake marketers make with pop-ups is having them appear at the wrong time, which adds to the annoyance factor. Be strategic about the timing and trigger of your pop-ups. Think about the way that visitors interact with certain types of pages on your site.
For instance, when someone engages with a blog post, they do so by scrolling down the page as they read the content. If you want to catch your visitors while they’re most engaged, then you should customize your pop-up to appear when someone has scrolled halfway down the page.”
Speaking of pop-ups, you’ll notice a few pop-ups on this blog. The first is a top banner that slides in unobtrusively, with an offer to subscribe to my Weekly Scripts newsletter. The second, and most important from my perspective, is an overlay model, with an invitation subscribe to this blog by email. Even knowing pop-ups work, I’ve been taken aback by just how many new subscriptions I’ve gained merely by providing a subtle nudge.
2) How Persistence Pays off in PR
When a staffer for a mayoral candidate running for election in Mobile, Alabama, spotted an unfortunate article about his beloved city in the Business Insider, he invited the reporter to visit the city. In fact, it took several invitations.
In a piece titled (Case Study) This Newsjacking Strategy = 2,000,000 Visitors, writer Bryan Harris credits persistence with much of the credit:
“Nothing ever happens easily. I’m cool with that because I know that if I work harder and smarter, it will pay off in the end. Don’t. Freaking. Quit. Show persistence and people will eventually listen.”
I don’t really see a newsjacking theme here. What I do is a creative PR idea – borrowed from Letterman and Oprah – taking a drawback and transforming it into an opportunity. It’s an idea that wasn’t possible before the dynamic web.
3) Universal Search Reshapes the New Front Page
The top spot in an organic search is many ways what page 1 above the fold in a printed version of a newspaper used to be many years ago. Google is constantly tweaking what drives these results – and even how these results are displayed.
According to a MarketingProfs piece titled, How Google Search Has Changed in 2016 [Infographic] by Ayaz Nanji the number of results on page one has dropped:
“Whereas Google used to almost always display 10 standard, text-based organic results on its first page, the search engine now usually presents fewer results: 8.59 results are presented to desktop users, on average, and 8.5 are presented to smartphone users, on average.”
The article cites data from Searchmetrics noting supplementary data such as the Knowledge Graph is an illustrative example of the reasons why there are fewer results in Page 1 SERP.
The company published report – Google Universal & Extended Search 2016 – which also noted the trend toward “universal” search means multimedia like images and videos increasingly important. Each asset, if properly optimized, is another potential object to be indexed and add to a brand’s digital footprint.
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