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The Ultimate Guide to Digital Asset Management

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11 B2B Content Ideas to Fuel your Marketing (with Examples)

Oh, the wonderful and mystifying world of content and file management. 

Long before they were relegated to a ubiquitous “save” symbol, floppy disks were our only source of digital media storage. 

Then came CD-ROM, followed by physical hard drives.

USB storage devices and external hard drives? What are those?

Now, teams are tasked with producing, managing, and maintaining thousands of pieces of digital media (every year), and they need modern-day solutions to help them get the job done.

That’s where digital asset management comes in.

Digital asset management (DAM) is a new solution that helps teams store, share, and organize content in a centralized location.

You no longer need to Slack your designer for creative files or send your writer an email to let them know when their draft is due—with DAM, you can get it all done from a single integrated system.

It’s the 21st century. If your marketing teams are operating without a digital asset management system, please read this page from top to bottom—it’s going to change the way you and your teams work (for the better).

What Is Digital Asset Management?

Digital asset management refers to software that makes it easy for businesses to compile, organize, filter, find, and use digital media and content.

DAM also applies to any solution an individual or company uses to store its content, even if it’s purpose-built for that intent or not.

These file types could be creative assets, planning documents, articles, marketing materials, SEO-targeted pieces, email campaigns, onboarding information—really any digital asset. 

However, not all DAM software performs equally. Basic systems allow you to organize your content in folders, while others enable search and tagging to help you locate the right piece of content. Yet, this is just the beginning when it comes to DAM functionality.

Advanced digital asset management systems empower collaboration with workflows, automation, templates, APIS, version control, real-time edits, and support for various file formats. They make it simple to maintain a single source of truth while pushing marketing campaigns out the door at lightning speed and scale.

Beyond just creating a place to store your media files, these top-of-the-line DAM solutions promote project management efficiency and brand consistency from concept to completion. Modern-day marketers need DAM software to stay on top of their brand assets, content creation pipeline, and aggressive business expectations. 

Why Digital Asset Management Matters

Not having a DAM system means your staffers are wasting time, and therefore, not being as productive. That cuts directly into the bottom line.

Creative teams know the pain of getting bombarded with requests from martech, marketing, sales, product, and other teams every time they need a company logo or a tweak to an existing image. Just think of how much time can be saved without the incessant back and forth?

DAM software creates efficiencies and puts an end to the grunt work that weighs down busy teams. And, when your digital assets are easily accessible within other content management systems, marketing teams can have a much improved user experience.

Many companies are making major investments in DAM systems for that very reason. In fact, according to a study by Markets and Markets, the global digital asset management market is expected to be worth $6 billion by 2025.

Digital asset management systems not only help with the functionality of your asset library, but they can also allow you to automate processes to accommodate each project’s specific approval and publishing steps.

Advantages of Digital Asset Management Software

Save Time

Time is money. Every minute you save is valuable to your bottom line.

Digital asset management provides your teams with automation and workflows to help you get projects across the line faster while still maintaining top-notch quality. 

Replace your back-and-forth Slack conversations and email threads with a single source of truth where you can collaborate in real-time. Create, publish, and distribute content and marketing assets at scale with a centralized hub.

Stretch Your Budget

Stop wasting time and money re-creating media assets and duplicating work. A digital asset management system helps you do more with less.

It’ll give you a platform to consolidate your budget and content marketing plans. See exactly where you’re allocating your dollars and what you need to adjust to ensure projects get completed in full and on time.

Notice an important project falling behind? Borrow from a low-priority campaign to ensure it stays on track.

Protect Your Brand

Brand management is not a one-and-done part of your business. 

You have to work hard to ensure the messaging, voice, colors, logos, icons, taglines, and assets stay consistent with your brand guidelines.

Welcome’s digital asset management system gives you complete control of your brand with version control, compliance workflows, and usage history. Ensure the right content gets shipped and old branding stays locked away for historical and inspirational purposes. 

Make Digital Content Accessible

Content’s value comes in large part from its accessibility. Unlike a physical book or a piece of paper, your digital content can (and should) be shared and used by anyone who needs access (anytime, anywhere).

A DAM platform lets you organize content, tag relevant users, and share assets to get the right content in front of the right people. Don’t worry, you can still enable permissions to help you control how content gets used. However, now your designers and project managers can get out of the file-sharing weeds and back to work.

Explore New Possibilities

With more time and budget, you’ll be empowered to test new use cases and see what works. You won’t be fighting a weekly or monthly battle of getting items across the finish line—you’ll be completing projects with a newfound efficiency that breathes life into your teams and business processes.

How Do DAM Systems Work?

Digital asset management systems like the one offered by Welcome work like a digital age Dewey Decimal system on steroids.

It not only helps users locate the digital assets they need, but it aids in the entire media asset creation process.

From start to finish, teams can collaborate and publish assets in various file formats, share marketing materials with key stakeholders, and stay within brand guidelines.

Using a workflow integration with campaigns and tasks, teams have the ability to access assets more quickly as well as repurpose existing files as needed.

Welcome’s Integrated DAM System

A content marketing team is tasked to create an article for its website. The brand editor sets up the task in Welcome’s content marketing platform, assigning steps to a writer, editors, designers, reviewers, and others.

During the article creation process, writers, editors and/or designers may be responsible for choosing images and other digital media to enhance the content, and they can do so without leaving the Welcome platform. They just have to enter the DAM system.

They can browse through pre-loaded and pre-approved images and marketing assets, or search by keyword and apply filters to find ones that fit the article. If it’s not quite right, they can open up the DAM image editor and make adjustments, without having to leave the platform to use Adobe Photoshop. They can crop, resize, change the resolution, add text or stickers, and more. Designers can also create new images and upload them to the DAM library.

The DAM system will keep a log of each asset’s lifecycle including who used it, when/where it was used or shared, and if it was edited. Users who have the proper permissions and version controls can also leave notes and annotations for other team members, and link back to the specific tasks that the asset is associated with.

Welcome’s digital asset management system also lets you create folders so you can bundle and package up digital content in ways that improve the user experience for your brand management and creative teams. For instance, you can keep the company leaders’ headshots all in one place, or you can store a collection of social media headers or e-commerce product photos.

Choosing a DAM System

After reading through the benefits of a DAM platform, the next step is to select one that can help improve team workflows. When choosing a digital asset management partner, there are some important attributes to look for:

Reputation and marketing expertise. Going with a company that has a strong track record of marketing industry leadership is important because that means they have a keen understanding of marketer’s needs and pain points. When considering a DAM platform, ask about other clients that are using it and read reviews.

Strong customer service. When considering digital asset management platforms, you should feel comfortable with the level of support that’s offered. In addition to a transparent customer experience, a platform should offer onboarding training and support as needed. There should also be robust online resources to help with troubleshooting. For instance, Welcome has a comprehensive KnowledgeBase that walks users through the most common features of its software, including the DAM system.

Intuitive functionality. You don’t want to choose a DAM platform that has a very steep learning curve because poor user experience can limit adoption. The whole point is to simplify and streamline your workflows, while gaining full visibility into the lifecycle of your marketing assets. Be sure to request a demo to see exactly how the DAM software works, and feel comfortable that your team members will be able to get up to speed quickly.

Easy integration. Marketing automation and content creation platforms should not be separated from digital asset management. Ideally, you want all of your tools to work together and speak the same language.

Features to Look for in a Digital Asset Management Platform

Before you invest in DAM software, you need to decide on the features that your marketing team wants and needs.

That’s easy! All the features! Your team wants all of them! Like children on Christmas morning, they’re looking for all the best toys!

Welcome offers all the best features that every marketing team needs to excel and create marketing campaigns that get noticed.

Below are a few of the goodies we offer that your team must have:

Marketing Calendar

Life is hectic and managing a marketing team makes it even more so.

A marketing calendar helps you see the bigger picture of when campaigns launch as well as the steps you need to take to be ready. Of course, you want all the goodies, so our calendars do more than just show you a weekly or monthly view. Here’s a look at the calendars you can utilize. 

Annual Campaign Calendar

Updating in real-time, this calendar allows you to see all the planned and in-progress marketing campaigns in a single location. You enjoy timeline and Gantt views along with filtering options for weekly, quarterly, as well as yearly. 

Team Calendars

To encourage collaboration, team calendars allow all marketers to view content projects in progress. It’s easy to drag-and-drop projects to make adjustments to the timeline as well as encourage agile planning. 

Task and Campaign Drilldowns

Don’t want to interrupt your marketing geniuses at work? This feature allows you to look at a detailed view of each campaign and task, to find out who is working on what and their progress. It provides you the functionality you need in a DAM system.

Advanced Filtering and Visualization

You want to focus on what matters most and filtering is essential as is visualizing the project. The filter options include:

  • Target audience

  • Geography

  • Customizable metadata 

  • Channel

Digital Asset Management

Your team needs access to all available photographs, videos, audio files, as well as any other media assets at a moment’s notice to pull off their marketing campaigns. Your team shouldn’t be playing scavenger hunt to find digital content of various file types that already exist. You need DAM solutions. This includes:

Global Asset Governance

All digital assets need to align with your branding. With this digital asset management system, you approve all assets to ensure brand consistency across the campaigns. It also helps to streamline the process of choosing brand assets for e-commerce and other applications. 

Library

Store all your approved brand assets in one location for your team to utilize with this content management system. The software allows for intuitive searching as well as the creation of folders. Using brand folders, you can also create your own digital asset management solution. 

Asset Management

This software makes it a snap to monitor when and where the brand assets are being used while exercising version control. You want to get the most out of your marketing content without saturating the campaigns with only one or two Adobe images or videos when you have so much available. 

Planning and Budgeting

Marketing campaigns are a profit booster for your company, but you need to stay within budget to maximize the pricing structure. It requires planning. This software can lend a hand. Here’s how:

  • Shared calendars: A unified calendar helps you visualize all the marketing campaigns both current and future. 

  • Campaign workspaces: When multiple creative teams work on a single project, this space helps to drive the workflow as well as keep everyone on task and on schedule. 

  • Budget management: See how much of your budget each campaign consumes and determine how much you can allocate to new endeavors. 

  • Capacity planning: Do you have one employee covered up in work while another struggles to fill their time? Capacity planning can help you balance your resources and ensure everyone is reaching their potential.

Planning and budgeting are necessary parts of managing a marketing team. 

Performance and Efficiency Analytics

You know that your marketing team is filled with superstars, and your large organization wouldn’t be the same without your campaigns. However, sometimes, you need to see it with your own eyes. You can also use the feature as a tool to make better decisions for future marketing activities based on the customer experience. This feature can help you do that. 

ROI Analytics

You need to show sales growth across the entire sales funnel, and this feature allows you to do that. Display the lead generation as well as the pipeline growth attributed to each marketing campaign. The templates make it easy to understand.

Content Performance

Do your marketing campaigns appeal to the target audience? Visualize each step of a customer’s user experience to ensure marketing campaigns and product information remain effective. Use this measure to make adjustments as well as improve the buying process for clients. 

Campaign Analytics

Make sure each campaign reaches the benchmarks you set while remaining within the budget. Easily identify your high-performing activities, so you can help to drive sales across your customer base as well as improve customer experience. This DAM platform configurable feature can help you judge client engagement and develop future plans. 

Project Management

Some days, you feel like you work in the circus, and you’re the head juggler. With so many balls in the air, you struggle to ensure that each team and team member is on track to complete work or ready to pivot as the expectations change. Project management is one of our features that can help you feel confident about your workflow and ability to meet deadlines. Options include:

  • Campaign dashboard: Quickly and easily see all the components of a large marketing event. From this menu, you can drill down to see individual tasks, budgets, as well as planned events. 

  • Shared campaign workspace: Most projects require input from several teams, each bringing their own flair to the project. This space encourages collaboration to create the best final product available. 

  • Workload management: Do you feel like you’re herding cats? This feature makes it easier to follow the workflow to ensure each member of the team is on task and on time. You can assign work and pivot as needed. 

  • SLA reporting: Service Level Agreements almost always arrive with incoming work. You need SLA reporting to check responses as well as resolutions along with defining ways to improve in the future. 

Project management can help ensure your circus is functioning with all clowns and tigers jumping through hoops. 

Workflow and Intakes

You need a way to make sure that new work assignments don’t end up buried in an inbox. With the workflow and intake features, your team can standardize the workflow into an intuitive process. 

Marketing Request and Intake Forms

With standard request and intake forms, your projects are better defined, and you receive clear expectations. You can also set the software up to automate assignments based on the forms and to use existing marketing materials as well as marketing assets. This ensures that there aren’t projects lost in the workflow. 

Enterprise Marketing Workflows

Your team doesn’t do just one thing well. They’re superstars who can handle any task. The workflow feature allows for automation to monitor as well as maximize your efforts from day one to launch day and the entire lifecycle. 

Integrations

You need your digital media assets in one location whether it’s a Microsoft file or something from your Google Drive or Dropbox. Your creative files also need to be able to easily integrate with your other software. You can view this DAM software as a media valet. 

You want your stakeholders to experience rich media files that meet your brand guidelines. This integration helps you with brand management, repurpose existing creative media, as well as keep your essential files on-premise. You can explore use cases and a variety of file formats.

By integrating with this DAM software, you can maximize your IT investment and time to value ratio. This digital platform also offers many benefits to marketers. 

Editing and Final Approval

You need to control the digital content that your team uses to ensure its brand marketing material. With this digital asset management platform, you can easily control the edits and approvals. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Multiple-format content editors: Whether you’re using Adobe or Microsoft, this feature allows you to create the best brand assets and product content. You can handle all of your digital creation and editing on-premises. 

  • Enterprise user management: Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, which means you need to carefully guard access to permissions on your DAM software. With the user management feature, you control who can delete, alter, as well as publish brand content. 

When you’re ready to treat your team of marketers to all the goodies they want and need, Welcome has the digital asset management software to give them.

Get Started With Digital Asset Management

Ready to change the way you manage your digital assets? Get started with DAM software.

Create an account with Welcome and see what digital asset management is supposed to look like. Your account is free forever—no credit card required. And it’ll take you less than a minute to get up and running.

Sign up today to see first-hand how simple and downright powerful your digital asset management system can be.


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MARKETING

How To Build a Communication and Implementation Plan

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How To Build a Communication and Implementation Plan

You learn about a C-suite decision that will have a transformative impact on your content marketing team. Perhaps, the announcement included one or more of these directives:

  • “We must produce more content and manage multi-platform distribution with greater agility. We plan to add ChatGPT to our editorial capabilities and implement a headless CMS.”
  • “We’re updating our three-year business strategy and need all teams to align their operations around achieving a new set of goals.”
  • “We’ve been acquired. We will be merging many of our business units and will need to relaunch our website so we can tell a more unified story.”

Or maybe it’s another substantive shift in strategy or operations. As a content team leader, whether excited or terrified, you must get your team on board and ensure the initiative succeeds.

Transformational changes are nearly impossible to implement without a clear plan that communicates the desired destination, the motivation to pursue it, and the path to reach it.

Jenny Magic, marketing strategist and professional coach, shares how to do that in a Content Marketing World presentation she co-developed with Melissa Breker.

You can watch the conversation (beginning at 2:30-minute mark) or scroll down to read her recommendations to gather support, clear obstacles, and keep efforts moving in the right direction.

5 sabotages that disrupt transformational changes

Every organization has unique conditions and challenges, but Jenny points out five common barriers that prevent the successful adoption of new priorities and practices:

  • Forced change. When workers don’t understand or agree with the change, they won’t invest in the process, especially if it requires a lot of effort or a long-term investment.
  • Misaligned goals. You can’t sell a change that benefits the company if employees don’t see how it helps them reach their personal or professional goals.
  • Group-speak. Your team may nod in agreement when the CEO says, “We’re all going to do this together, right?” But that enthusiasm might not hold when the boss’ eyes are no longer on them.
  • Rushed process. Team members already overwhelmed with responsibilities don’t give new tasks top priority. Jenny says if you can’t take something off their plate, communicate they won’t be pressured to rush it through.
  • Lack of team alignment. Everyone must be on the same page regarding the direction, intention, and actions required. Without this alignment, tasks fall through the cracks, and all the hard work may not lead to achieving the goal.

Forced change, group-speak, rushed processes can all disrupt transformational changes, says @JennyLMagic via @joderama @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

For your change mission to succeed, your communications plan should account for how you’ll address (or avoid) these obstacles. These details will minimize the friction, lack of participation, and flagging enthusiasm you could have experienced during implementation.


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Plan for the transformation journey

Jenny shares a three-part approach she uses to help her consultancy clients get big ideas off the drawing board, onto team members’ priority lists, and into the marketplace.

1. Establish the destination: What’s changing, why, and what’s involved

To get your team to join the journey of change, they need to know where they’re going. Create a change summary to help with that. The simple map summarizes the relevant details about the change, the phases of implementation, and the benefits gained when the goal is reached.

First, identify the most critical details to communicate. Answer these questions:

  • What’s the nature of the change? What is being done differently, and what does that mean for the business and team? What isn’t changing that might be the stability anchor?
  • Why is it happening? Why does the organization think this change is critical? Why is now the right time to do this?
  • Who’s involved? Who will the change affect? What will they be expected to do? What about their roles, processes, and priorities? Why would they want to participate, and why might they be reluctant?
  • When will it happen? Will the change occur all at once or gradually? What happens at each stage, and which ones will require the content marketing team’s involvement?
  • What are the expected results? What is the organization looking to achieve? What benefits or advantages will it bring? What will the company and team see when the goal is reached?

With these answers, you can build a change summary to share in stakeholder and team member conversations. Any spreadsheet or presentation tool will do, though you can create a template based on the document Jenny uses for her client engagements (below).

The summary of what’s changing appears at the top of the page and details of the most critical elements appear below it. Bulleted notes detail what to expect with each element and the benefits for the business and your team. Lastly, a general timeline outlines each project phase.

2. Load up the crew: Gather support and communicate benefits

To achieve the change goal, all players must agree to travel together and move in the same direction. “If our team is not aligned on where the heck we’re going, there’s literally no chance we’re going to get there,” Jenny says.

Team members who immediately see the value in the initiative might follow your lead without question. But some key players may need a little more convincing. Jenny offers a few ideas to get them on board.

Enlist the support of an active, visible sponsor: Social media shows putting the right influencer behind your pitch can move minds. The same goes for pushing through a big change within an organization. Research from Prosci finds projects with an extremely effective sponsor met or exceeded objectives more than twice as often as those with a very ineffective sponsor.

If you have the support of senior team leaders and high-profile company personnel, ask for their help socializing the change to others. They might seed relevant information in their newsletters and other content they share internally or help shape your change activities and messaging to improve their appeal.

Translate organizational goals into personal motivations: Some team members may reluctantly participate because they perceive an impact on their role. For example, workers may think the added work will strain their already demanding schedules. Others may be skeptical because of negative experiences with similar changes in the past or disbelief that the change might benefit them.

A series of stakeholder conversations can help identify the significant concerns and disconnects that might prevent them from engaging. They also can reveal specific challenges and motivations that you can address with more resonant and appealing messaging.

Translate organizational goals into personal motivations so team members can see how they’ll benefit, says @JennyLMagic via @joderama @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Some marketing tools you use to influence an audience can help you facilitate those conversations. For example, Jenny says, personas can surface critical insights about who may be impacted by the change and what it might take to nurture them onto the path.

Her personas checklist includes these questions:

  • Who’s leading the change? Do any key sponsors directly relate to the persona’s role?
  • Will this persona be impacted more or less than others?
  • Will they need information more frequently or in greater detail?
  • What reactions will they have?
  • How will you approach training for this persona? What support will be provided?
  • At what phase of the change will they be most affected?

Jenny also recommends using your marketing communication and engagement tools. For example, the simple tracking sheet she developed (below) can help visualize the audience, delivery formats and channels, optimal messages, and approval and final sign-off requirements to mention in your stakeholder discussions.

Choose the right messenger – and a customized message: Sometimes, a disconnect occurs not because of the message but because of the message’s deliverer. For example, employees expect to hear about significant corporate initiatives from executives and senior leaders. But for changes impacting their day-to-day responsibilities, they may prefer to hear from a manager or supervisor who understands their role.

Other times, preventing a disconnect could require tailoring the message to the team’s needs. Jenny suggests focusing on the direct benefits once the initiative is activated. “Consider how it might help them further their career, address something they’re struggling with, or offer an opportunity to explore an area they’re passionate about,” Jenny says.  

Surface hidden issues with confidential interviews: Valid concerns can remain hidden, especially for team members who are reluctant to voice their objections in team meetings. Working one-on-one with a neutral or external moderator – someone with no stake in the decision for change – might help them open up.

Ensure they know the confidential interview results will be aggregated so no individual responses will be identified. “It’s really helpful to get that confessional energy,” Jenny says. “It can help you surface individual reservations, causes of their reluctance, and personal motivations. “

A confidential one-on-one interview with an external moderator can help surface concerns from reluctant team members, says @JennyLMagic via @joderama @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Jenny shares in her checklist (below) some preliminary questions for a moderator to assess during a confidential interview:

  • How does the individual feel about the change?
  • Is it the right change?
  • Is it the right time?
  • Is it supported enough to succeed?
  • What risks do they predict?
  • Do they have ideas about how we could reduce obstacles and challenges?
  • What lessons from past change efforts can they share with us?
  • Could they become a change champion?

The process can fuel opportunities to shift messaging, positioning, or delivery approach to help the outliers see how the change can benefit them and get them more excited about participating. Jenny says it can also reveal valid concerns that need to be solved so they don’t hinder progress.

3. Hit the road: Position and prepare your team for success

Big changes are always risky. They disrupt the status quo, and if they involve multiple teams and business functions, some changes may feel like a win for some at the expense of others.

Taking a few extra steps before executing your plans can keep those issues from diverting the goal or leaving any team members stranded along the way. “This is where we establish commitment and accountability and think about what could go wrong and how we’re going to deal with it,” Jenny says.

Own up to what you do and don’t know: Ultimately, you can’t plan for every contingency. “You’ll lose trust rapidly if you pretend you do,” Jenny says. She offers a few communication tips to set the right expectations from the start:

  • Be clear and candid: Directly address what you do know, don’t know, and what is and isn’t possible with this change. Outline how you will communicate status updates and new information as they arise.
  • Be receptive: Don’t take resistance personally. Listen to your team’s questions and respond to their feedback with an open mind.
  • Be visible: Socialize progress across your team’s preferred communication channels, and make sure everyone knows how to reach you if they encounter a problem. You can regularly host town hall meetings, road-show presentations, or open forums to ensure everyone stays informed and has a chance to share their thoughts.

Position project requirements as opportunities and advantages: Jenny suggests exercising creative thinking to help concerned team members see the new responsibilities as a chance to benefit personally.

For example, if they need to learn additional skills to accomplish their tasks, provide in-house training or access to third-party educational tools. Position the opportunity as a chance to expand their capabilities to help them be more prepared for this change and to advance their careers in the long run.

You can also use the big change to rethink your org chart and rebalance team member responsibilities. “Every single person has work that they hate on their to-do list. I’ve found folks become more open if they’re offered an opportunity to do a task trade-off,” Jenny says.

Incentivize the journey – not just the destination: A lengthy and gradual implementation process should include incentives at regular intervals to motivate team members to stay the course.

Rewards can be specific and tangible, such as bonuses or loyalty program points. Or they can be intangible, such as shoutouts during monthly meetings or in internal newsletters. Arrange team happy hours or give comp time for extra hours worked. These appreciation efforts can make the added burden feel worthwhile.

Overcome obstacles in predictive planning: An element of science exists in the journey of change. You can’t reach your destination if the forces of resistance are stronger than the forces propelling you forward.

Jenny shares an innovation tool from a company called Gamestorming that can help quantify the balance of those forces at each phase. By working through this force-field analysis, you can take steps to ensure the winds of change will be in your favor.

An example of how it works is shown below. In the center, an illustration represents the change you want to implement – transitioning from hierarchical to more transparent hubs.

On one side, the forces of change – all the elements of the vision that characterize the importance of the change and how it works in your favor – are listed. In this example, those forces are:

  • Improve long-term revenue
  • Help meet market demand
  • Satisfies customer expectations
  • Addresses current unsustainable costs
  • Give a competitive advantage in the marketplace

On the other side, the forces of resistance – conditions and constraints that may prevent realizing the vision – are listed. In the example, these forces include:

  • Company culture
  • Time constraints
  • Viability of new tech
  • Client adoption
  • Current costs

Rank each element’s impact on the project’s success on a scale of one to five.  Then add the rankings on each side and compare the scores to see whether you have a stronger chance of success than failure and identify where efforts should be made to overcome obstacles.

Plan the journey for a smoother arrival

Convincing your team to jump aboard the organizational-change train is rarely easy. But with a clear operational plan, aligned support, and open communication, you’ll help them see the benefits of participating and get them excited to reach their destination.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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Alternative Search Engines: Why They Matter and How to Rank on Them

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Alternative Search Engines: Why They Matter and How to Rank on Them

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

12 billion, 3 billion, 1 billion. That’s the number of searches made in some of the top alternative search engines monthly.

While Google still holds more than 80% of the market share, ignoring search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo can make you lose out on relevant traffic. So don’t limit yourself to Google’s algorithm as you plan the next year’s SEO strategy.

In order to grow in the digital economy, we have to diversify our efforts. What better way to do that than by making sure that you rank on all the top search engines relevant for your audience?

Generally, there’s two reasons why your audience would choose an alternative search engine over Google: geopolitical reasons and/or privacy concerns.

As such, I’ve categorized the search engines below by global market share and by data privacy.

Top alternative search engines by global market share

When analyzing the global desktop market share of search engines throughout the last decade, there are a few small but mighty search engines that stand out. These are:

1) Bing

2) Yahoo

3) Yandex

4) DuckDuckGo

5) Baidu

These are the engines you want to give extra consideration if you intend to expand internationally. They all have their own unique search algorithms that are in many ways as complex and developed as Google’s.

Why they matter and how to rank on them

If you’re like me a few years ago, a die-hard Apple fan remarkably repulsed by Microsoft’s products (I’ve now converted to the seamless team of PC), you might think prioritizing resources to optimize content for Bing or other engines is a waste of time. What I failed to consider then, and what you might be overlooking, is geographic segmentation.

Do you want to reach the American audience using voice search? Consider Bing.

Are you expanding into China? Check out Baidu.

Each search engine matters because of its unique user types. Regardless of how small that market share might look on a global scale, if there’s regional search volume from your target audience, it’s worth the optimization.

Let’s go through them one by one.

Bing and Yahoo

Screenshot of bing.com, November 2022

Since 2018, Yahoo is exclusively powered by Bing Search. So as long as you rank in Bing, you’ll rank in Yahoo.

Bing Search, in combination with Yahoo, is without a doubt the strongest player after Google. Together, they have more than 10% of the global market share for desktop.

Now, some say that Bing’s market share will increase due to mergers and acquisitions, while others argue for its decline due to the death of Internet Explorer.

Still, all Microsoft browsers, such as Microsoft Edge Legacy and Chromium-based Microsoft Edge, have Bing as the default search engine, making Bing Search the natural choice for Microsoft product users. Yahoo, which is powered by Bing Search, is the default search engine for Mozilla’s browser Firefox, adding billions of impressions to Bing’s search results each year.

If we look at the United States alone, Microsoft sites own over 18% of the market share.

This is much due to their partnership with Amazon, where all voice-activated searches on Amazon Echo and Alexa are made with Bing Search.

Microsoft also pushes Bing further by offering easy rewards for searches and more advanced image search capabilities than Google.

Although the algorithms differ, optimizing for Bing search results is not much different than optimizing for Google. With a bit of fine tuning, it’s more than possible to come up with a strategy that allows for high rankings on both.

To rank on Bing, and thus Yahoo, make sure to do the following:

Infographic by AS Marketing, December 2022


1. List your business on Bing Places

Bing Places is the equivalent of Google My Business and is the fastest way to get your business ranking for local seo. Many even consider Bing Places to favor small business owners as Bing puts their information more prominently on display.

2. Upload an XML Sitemap using Bing’s Webmaster Tools

While the debate on how much sitemaps really do matter for Google SEO continues, uploading one with Bing’s Webmaster Tool for XML Sitemaps allows the algorithm to better categorize and manage your content, making it more visible and relevant to the search audience.

3. Match keywords in your content

Check that the exact keyword match can be found in your page titles, meta descriptions and overall content. It’s known that the impact of on-page tactics as a ranking factor is much greater in Bing than Google.

4. Keep your social media profiles up to date

Go social! Bing considers your social media presence more than any other search engine. The Webmaster Guidelines specifically states that Bing considers social signals from third-party platforms to rank your content. Bing might even extract certain information directly from your Facebook company page to your Bing Places display.

5. Use high-quality images to enhance your content

Bing’s image search is much more advanced than Google’s. If you want your landing page to rank, add high-quality design assets to showcase your offerings. If you want your blog to rank, attach too-long-to-read infographics to highlight your points. Like the one above.

Yandex

Screenshot of yandex.com, November 2022

Second to Bing is Yandex, having a total of 1.5% of the market share in global desktop search.

While it looks a lot like Google, its algorithm is different in many ways. Most prominent is the way Yandex indexes pages. Unlike Google’s almost continuous indexation, Yandex indexes pages sporadically. That means that you might have to wait around for a while before your site shows up on Yandex.

Despite this, it is still possible to rank on Yandex. You just need to have a bit more patience.

While waiting for your site to be indexed, take a look at the following:

1. Focus on tags over internal site structure

According to The Ultimate Guide to Yandex SEO, your header tag, title tag and slug are way more important than your internal site structure. In fact, it was only recently that Yandex started to support hreflang tags. Before that, Yandex only allowed the <head> hreflang implementation.

2. Consider search intent to rank

Some argue that Yandex meets search intent better than Google. The modern ICS score, which replaced the Thematic Index Citation, is determined by how relevant a site is to the query. Yandex uses its own version of expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (E-A-T) test to determine relevance.

3. Eliminate toxic links

Many do not know this, but Yandex was actually the first search engine to roll out a link-based algorithm. Already in 2005, 7 years before Google’s Penguin algorithm, Yandex introduced the Nepot filter, which specifically looked at the impact of toxic link exchanges and spam links.

Baidu

Screenshot of baidu.com, November 2022

With over 3 billion searches daily, Baidu is the Google of China. If you want to do business in China, it’s the place to be.

While the site is available worldwide, the site predominantly favors simplified Chinese. So before taking any other steps, hire a native speaker to help you along the way. To win at global, you have to ditch translations.

Here’s a few steps to get your content ranking.

1. Localize your keywords and content appropriately

As with all multilingual SEO, you need to work with a native language expert to ensure proper keyword localization and content optimization. If your site experiences high bounce rates, Baidu will tank your rankings immediately. As with any search experience, localization matters.

2. Position relevant content and keywords to the top of the page

Baidu favors a completely opposite layout than the Westernized one. The sooner you get to the point the better. Therefore, it is important to position your keywords as early as possible in the text and introduce all relevant content already in the top of the page to rank.

3. Obtain a verification level and get certified

By registering and paying a small fee you can obtain a verification level to improve your domain authority and rankings on Baidu. If you want to secure top ratings, you can get certified and obtain an ICP license, which is much more difficult than getting verified.

Top alternative search engines by data privacy

While most of the search engines mentioned above are tied to big corporations or political forces, global initiatives are setting the stage for more privacy-focused search engines. Among these is DuckDuckGo, the forefront runner with over 130 billion searches processed since launch.

Why they matter and how to rank on them

In many ways, the movement is a response to Google’s invasiveness on privacy. Many are fed up with how they are capitalizing on personal data and controlling the narrative with targeted search.

On a macro scale, the European Union continues to protect data privacy with strict GDPR regulations and the California Consumer Privacy Act indicates similar trends for Americans.

From a micro perspective, documentaries such as The Great Hack shine a light on how global companies monetize on personal data. As a result, privacy-safe search engines continue to rise.

If you’re working for an innovative SaaS startup, there’s a high chance your ideal customer persona is using one of these search engines.

Let’s go through how you rank on DuckDuckGo and two alternative equivalents.

DuckDuckGo

Screenshot of duckduckgo.com, November 2022

Screenshot of duckduckgo.com, November 2022

DuckDuckGo aims to make your search experience as simple and true to its cause as possible, i.e. no tracking for personalized search results and filter bubbles. Instead it uses semantic search to determine search intent for your queries from over 400 sources.

Consequently, this attracts tech-savvy experts with a lower bounce rate. Once they commit to a search, they stay.

Here’s how to optimize for it:

1. Sharpen Your User Experience

UX continues to make an impact on SEO, not to mention for DuckDuckGo. Make your content easily scannable and stay away from intrusive pop ups that harm your users’ experience and ease of navigation.

2. Focus on High-Quality Backlinks

As with any SEO, high-quality backlinks play a huge role for ranking. If you already have a solid backlink profile from your Google strategy, you should be good to go. If your backlink profile has a high level of toxicity, do some cleansing.

3. Rethink Local SEO

Since there’s no location tracking available for searches, location-specific searches such as “services near me” don’t work. If you like to rank for these types of searches, include a specific location in your keyword strategy. Otherwise, you won’t be able to optimize for local seo.

Startpage

Screenshot of startpage.com, November 2022

Startpage could be my personal favorite among the alternative search engines. It basically is Google without the tracking.

And while many consider DuckDuckGo to be the forefront runner of the privacy-focused search movement, many forget how Startpage ‘blazed the trail in 2006’. Offering a search experience without IP recording or tracking back when it was more or less unheard of. Now, it is the common denominator among all privacy-safe search engines.

So, how do you rank in Startpage? Simple. You rank in Google.

SwissCows

Screenshot of swisscows.com, November 2022

There are many more privacy-safe alternatives to search engines than the two mentioned above. Perhaps one without equal is SwissCows – a search engine that prides itself on being the only family-friendly, privacy-safe semantic search engine available on the web.

This means that any intrusive search results, like adult entertainment or offensive content, is naturally censored from the search results. At the same time, they never store any data nor track user specific information.

SwissCows SERPs bring up organic results and paid ads directly from Bing so in order to rank in SwissCows, you need to rank in Bing. Just make sure to omit any content that’s not PG-13.

What do they all have in common?

In the end, none of these alternative search engines can replace Google. As an SEO, I’ll never advise starting out with anything other than a Google strategy.

But when you are ready to branch out and extend your reach, give these alternatives a try. Analyze where your target audience hangs out and optimize thereafter.

Many of the privacy-focused search engines require little optimization as they pull their search results directly from other sources anyways. Simply do a quick check to see how you rank on each one.

And who knows, perhaps Microsoft will continue to steal more of the global search landscape. If that happens, you’ll be there — ranking in first position, ready to reap the rewards of your diversified efforts in an ever-changing search landscape.

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14 Best Screen Recorders to Use for Collaboration

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14 Best Screen Recorders to Use for Collaboration

For your team, screen recorders can be used for several reasons — from creating tutorials for your website to recording a recurring tech issue to sending your marketing team a quick note instead of an email.

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