What Bloggers and Marketers Can Learn From the Olympics

It might just seem like fun and games, but there really is a deeper level of meaning and lessons the Olympics can teach us.

In case you weren’t aware, the Olympics have been underway for nearly 2 weeks, and there have been many memorable performances (and losses) that have taken place.  But before any of these athletes are even able to get to this point, they have to spend a lifetime preparing, and dare I say, failing.  But it’s ultimately their tenacity and desire to succeed that fuels them forward.  It’s a form of thinking that many bloggers and marketers could benefit from.

Hence, let us learn from the Olympics and these amazing athletes.

Mental preparation.

As an athlete, a blogger, a marketer, there is a breaking point where the mind becomes fragile and prone to giving up.  It’s a natural occurrence that some sort of failure will have you second-guessing your abilities.

But that’s what sets successful bloggers, marketers, and Olympians apart.  That understanding that if they just keep pushing, if they just keep training, there will be gold at the end of that lane.

Realistically, not every failure you come across will be of your own doing.  Sometimes projects just go awry, or business partnerships don’t play out as expected, regardless of how much effort you put in.  When facing these hurdles, a healthy mindset will keep you from staying down, even after taking a bad dive.

Analyzing your weakness, and developing a plan to improve in these areas, will keep those legs pumping until you reach the finish line.  And it all starts with some mental preparation.

On your mark. Get set. Goals!

Look, we all want to be that blogger that extraordinarily writes 10,000 words in one sitting.  Obviously nobody wants to be “last” in their respective careers, but in order to reach those 10,000 words, you have to start at 1,000 first.

It’s in these realistic and manageable goals that we begin to develop our techniques and improve our style.  Yes, initially we may not perform as well as we would like, but as we reach some of those smaller achievements, our mind state (remember mental preparation) changes from uncertainty to “can do”.

As marketers and bloggers, you’ll hopefully service clients that are a bit outside of your comfort zone.  Look at these challenges as an opportunity to expand your skill set and develop muscle where you may not have known it existed.  These small projects (read steps) can help you to polish your abilities until you become the Usain Bolt of the digital marketing world.

1…2…3…Cobalt Digital Marketing Team!

Marketing and blogging isn’t necessarily an individual sport, instead, look at it more like Olympic basketball.  Sure having a 50-point game might make me look good, but who wants to lose the game if the team isn’t performing well together?  Success in marketing and blogging is ultimately a team effort.  It requires the dedication of every individual involved to have a shot at a medal.

Heck, sometimes it goes even beyond that.  When you consider your readers, your social media followers, the people who have influenced you, and all those potential teammates out there who may not just quite know you – all these individuals are helping you (and your company) get a chance to even get to the Olympics.

The reality is that successful Olympians only make it as far as they can because of a whole team of people helping them and rooting for them every step of the way.  So make sure you have the right people in your corner.  And if you do, be thankful.

Timing is everything.

As a blogger and marketer, you have to be up on current trends, events, and news stories.  If I decide to write about the Olympics in 2 months, will it have the same effect that it would have now, as the Olympics are actually happening?  I’ll let you figure that one out.

The truth of the matter is that Olympians have a sense of urgency because they recognize that their mission is limited by time.  A successful blogger isn’t going to necessarily take weeks to create a 500 word blog about an event that happened months prior.  They are aware that time is of the essence in an ever evolving, constantly updating, digital world.  By focusing your energy on the moment, and trying to get done as much as possible before the buzzer goes off, you might just place first.

Of course this doesn’t mean to rush through every event or even your training.  Rather, recognize that if you’re going to make something happen, now just might be the perfect time.

What are the Olympics without competition?

There’s something about going head to head against your favorite competition that pushes one to strive even more for success.  Whether in marketing, blogging, the sports world, or the general business world, there’s always something that we can learn from our competitors.

It might be approaching a story from a new angle that you might not have previously thought of.  Or perhaps it’s a marketing idea that you can expand upon and make it your own.  Perhaps it’s simply a visceral emotion to be the best damn blogger in the world and destroy the competition.

Regardless if it’s an internal or external motivator, anything that prompts you to improve your content and deliver greater value should always be looked upon as a positive.  Sometimes to be the best you have to beat the best.

And sometimes you just need some Cobalt Digital Marketing Catalysts on your team.  Our expert bloggers, marketers, SEO experts, and web developers have done the training and fought for their chance to be on that podium.  In fact, we’re not only hungry for the gold.  We want silver and bronze as well (and maybe a little pizza).

Don’t forget, Cobalt Digital Marketing.  It’s where we build Olympians.

No Copycats. The Art of Originality

“They” say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  If this is the case, Melania Trump sure seems to have a greater sense of respect for Michelle Obama then she let’s on to.

For those of you who haven’t had an opportunity to read through today’s headlines, skim through Yahoo news, or get a peek at your Twitter feed, the world of mass media is having a field day with last night’s GOP convention.  One of the bigger stories of the night is Melania Trump’s alleged use of Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech.

But Cobalt Digital Marketing isn’t here to argue political rhetoric; instead, our focus for today is on originality, sincerity, and obvious plagiarism.

Inspiration or allusions to older texts/speeches, and some instances of sentence (singular) borrowing are relatively expected in any form of writing.  But outright plagiarism of more than a few sentences, or even an entire paragraph, is an unequivocally loathsome act (especially when denied).  As a writer, as a blogger, as a marketing team, as a creative-type, as an artist, the worst description to have your name attached to is “copycat”.

Anybody worth their creative chops hates to be considered a derivative of somebody that came before them – unless of course it’s meant as a compliment rather than an insult.

So in a world where thousands, if not millions, pieces of digital content get posted online every day, how do you maintain originality?  Well the reality is that it is damn near impossible to be 100% original.  In fact, I’m pretty sure there’s a couple million blogs out there already touching on originality (metacognition anyone?).

But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

Being cliché as possible here…what makes you and your writing unique is you.  Your style of writing, your imagination, your voice, your thoughts and ideas, should all be representative of you.

There are 59.3 million new #blog posts on @Wordpress sites each month. What inspires you?… Click To Tweet

“You May Say I’m a Dreamer – Imagine

 Remember what it was like being a kid?  Creating storylines for your toys to “live out”.  Jumping over lava in the living room.  Heck I made my own turtle soup once (quick recipe: cologne, mouthwash, cream, calamine lotion, toothpaste, water, face wash, and of course Ninja Turtles).  That little person with all the imagination in the world is still in there, ready to bring out their unique perspective and play.

It’s not about absolutely letting go of your adult understanding, but rather about releasing some of those inhibitions, and mending the two to allow for a creative mindset to help you reach those goals of creating original marketing pieces.

We All Have a Voice

Your voice is different than mine; both our literal speaking voices and our writing voices.  Every company, and employee in that company, has their own voice.  It’s about allowing that voice to shine through to help guide the ship towards the shore.  What sort of marketing agency or blogger are you?  Are your topics weighty and require a straightforward sober tone?  Or perhaps there is an opportunity to add some levity to the work.  Whatever it may be, write from your own voice and don’t try to be any other sort of writer.  If you’re just naturally a joking individual then utilize that to your advantage.  If you can wax philosophical then drop knowledge.  Whatever your voice is, use it!

Make Your Own Rules

No, I don’t mean break the law.  But the beauty of working in the creative field is that you don’t have to follow a specific procedure or accept tradition (like not starting a sentence with the word but).

Technology has opened up the Web and made it a Wild Wild West of sorts, where the bravest men and women, willing to dive headfirst into their startups and beliefs, can create their own destinies.  Take those thoughts that make you an individual, try to translate them to a physical form (i.e. writing), and accept the ride for what it’s worth.  Marketing, creativity, blogging, are ultimately about grabbing attention.  And everybody loves a rule breaker.

Click to tweet: #Creativity can break the rules! Be a rule breaker! @Cobalt_digital #inspiration #bedifferent Click To Tweet

Quality Means Originality

If you’re truly offering quality services then you are more than likely being original.  That’s because originality usually takes time to form and come to full fruition.  Why do you think fast-food joints never taste as good as the mom-and-pop restaurants?  It’s because there is an obvious difference between quantity versus quality, and it all stems from the true love of an activity.  If you’re writing, creating, selling like crazy just to get a paycheck, check the quality and originality of your work?  Is it truly where you want it to be?  Sometimes dishes need to stay in the oven just a little longer to reach that perfect flavor.  That desire to make an original dish/writing means you’re offering unique quality no else can.  And people will notice.

Who Are You?

This is probably the first question you should be asking yourself.  Who are you as an individual, and who are you as a company?  What are you strong points? Your weaknesses?  What is the truth of the skills and services you are able to provide?

Be true to your brand. Be an original. @Cobalt_Digital #branding #marketing Click To Tweet

I am a writer.  That’s the truth of who I am, at least right now.  I love art, but can’t draw worth a squat.  I love to sing, but probably sound like William Hung.  I know who I am and what I am capable of at this moment.  Doesn’t mean I won’t continue to grow or seek to develop skills I currently lack.  But in order for me to find out who I am, I need to find the truth of what I am.  It is in that truth that we find our true selves, and thus, originality.

Yes, this might sound like some ancient mystical philosophy, but can you show me where to find originality?  Can you take me to the store to buy some? Perhaps provide me with a magic potion?  These all receive a resounding NO because originality comes from within.  Once you can lock onto who you are, the doors to creative originality will open up.

But…if you’re still not too confident about your own creative abilities, there’s no need to panic, because Cobalt Digital Marketing has more than enough to go around.  If you need some assistance with website content or blogging, Cobalt Digital Marketing is more than happy to be a part of your digital marketing journey.

Oh, and to all you politicians out there, we have some great writers over here at Cobalt Digital, so give us a call if you need some help with your speeches!

A Little Bird Told Me – 5 Reasons to Tweet

little-birdie

There’s a thin red line between social media use and networking. Sometimes the two merge into a perfect harmony of conversation and resolution. Other times (perhaps too often), it’s just cat pictures and quirky quotes.

But it’s important as a brand (especially in this fast pace tech world) to stay relevant, open, and in touch.

Rather than seeing Twitter as a pandemonium of Millennials and socially starving individuals, recognize it for its true worth. A valuable resource that keeps you in touch with the people that matter most…your clients.

#Brands must stay relevant, open, and in touch. Click To Tweet

1. Know Your Customer

It seems like most people are tired of big box companies. Often times it feels like you’re just another account number and a payment. The little guppy swimming in a world of sharks.

But is that necessarily true? Is that true of your company?

Not if you don’t want it to be.

Using Twitter effectively can open the gates to a world of individuals seeking your services and hopefully feeling a tad bit more real in a system built on taking, but not really giving back.

So here’s you chance to converse with the little guy. Or in other words…the people who really make your company run. Plus you can keep them up-to-date on all your new and exciting happenings including product offerings and company news.

In fact, according to twitter.com, 85% of followers feel more connected to businesses they follow.

85% of followers feel more connected to #businesses they follow. #twitter @twitter #socialmedia Click To Tweet

This, of course, requires for you to be a more entrenched in a social media site you may not necessarily see as vital to your success. But remember.

Word of mouth is a force of nature – even in cyber space. So…

Word of mouth is a force of nature. Click To Tweet

2. Listen to Your Customer

We’ve all had bad customer experiences. Sometimes it’s not worth the hassle to make a scene. Sometimes it is.

Except in today’s world, why yell in front of 15 people when you can reach millions?

Twitter is the perfect platform to express this discontentment (or happiness). It’s also the perfect opportunity to learn about your customer experiences and to let your customer know that you are listening to them.

And as we all hopefully know. Relationships are a two-way road. It’s a give and take symbiosis. And you should…

3. Interact With Your Customer

Hopefully you’ve noticed the logical progression of this list.

Our 24-hour society means that customers are looking for answers when they need it. Not when it’s convenient to you. Want to lose a customer? Make it as difficult as you can for them to solve their issues.

Want to improve on your customer’s experience and gain some trust. Make yourself available on a platform like Twitter and prove that you really are there when they need it.

This sort of interaction builds confidence in your ability to provide solutions in real-world time.

Who doesn’t like a trustworthy friend? Build on these relationships by jumping into Twitter chats. Be a part of the conversation.

4. One Good Turn Deserves Another

Twitter will boost your online presence. But why stop at that? Why not use  it to see what’s going on in your industry and how you measure up? Why not use it to see what customers are saying about your competition?

Twitter is a great platform to help keep you in the know and give you a competitive edge. Without spending any money, you can keep a close eye on all the key players, news and interaction. Businesses of all sizes are taking advantage of this potential.

Are you?

5. Learning the Game

The reality is that we live in an ever-changing technological world. Myspace is, dare I say, ancient history at this point.

Yet that doesn’t mean that its creation, pinnacle, and eventual descent are irrelevant. It just means that there is always an opportunity to learn the give and take of this wave.

Sure, keeping to the same routine day in and day out may work for you. But if your customers are changing their habits new opportunities to connect with them will evolve. Shouldn’t that the best reason to continually reevaluate and change your social media strategy?

Evolving customer #socialmedia habits create new opportunities for #businesses to connect. Click To Tweet

Twitter really is a great tool if you’re willing to dig beyond the surface chatter. It’s fast. It’s user friendly. And it’s a powerful business tool when you take the time for it.

It’s all true.…a little birdie told me.

#Twitter is a powerful #business tool. #socialmedia #marketing Click To Tweet

The Revolution Will Now Be Optimized

Search Experience Optimization is the new SEO. Click To Tweet

With the advancement of technology, the Internet, and search engines, companies have sought to provide end-users an optimal experience that meets consumer demand.  Where as marketing companies could previously get away with manipulating search engine systems to their advantage (regardless of their actual performance), Google, Bing, and various other search engines have began to upgrade their algorithms to ensure that results match up with actual quality.

So what does this mean for the user?

Well for starters, search results will provide internet-goers with websites that meet certain “favorable” criteria including: site speed, mobile optimization, site structure, content, and a plethora of other subtle advantages that consumers seek.

As for the marketers and website owners?

It boils down to providing meaningful full site integration, quality content, and appealing visual structure.

Quality Content Answers Questions

Of course website analytics, Google trends and keyword data are valuable to the marketer.  But the reality is that the web is about the consumer.  Meaning that your success lies much more in the satisfaction of the site purveyor over automated systems that analyze data points.  This doesn’t mean that analytics don’t hold the same level of importance as previously considered, but rather that content should validate the data and not the other way around.

As the search process evolves, so must the marketer, search engine, and website.  Long gone are the days of general searches, keyword density, and meta descriptions.

This generation of common web users are much more aware of the importance of specific key words and details.  In fact, search engines are beginning to recognize the value of semantics and are distinguishing a website’s ability to answer a specific question over a general statement.  This variation in website content means that marketers need to stop banking on keyword density and instead need to focus on providing customers with meaningful quality content.

“Mobalization”

A clean mobile user experience has gone from good to have to must have for the search engines. Click To Tweet

Changes in search engine algorithms are improving the visibility of websites optimized for mobile viewing.  These seemingly “catastrophic” changes have essentially upped-the-ante for major corporations who had been lax on improving this aspect of their websites.  This has also allowed small businesses to improve their online presence – assuming of course that they were a head of the curve and already mobile ready.

For a marketer, this means approaching design for a given website with a “less is more” mentality.  As mobile Internet users won’t have the same sort of tech specs on their devices in comparison to a traditional desktop, websites have to be developed with the understanding that an overly visual stimulating site can lead to unnecessarily long loading times.

This is a big no-no for user experience.

Baring in mind that simplicity will go a long way in website mobilization should hopefully ease the transition in providing a quality site for mobile users.

When it comes to #webdesign, less is more. Click To Tweet

Social Butterfly

The interconnectedness of the world is way too large at this point in time to ignore and with the use of social media web sites at an all time high, it’s almost impossible to not recognize the importance of social listening.

The intent shouldn’t be to simply increase your customer count by using these various platforms, but you should instead focus on social media signals that your website and business are creating positive user experiences.  The reality is that people will post about anything and everything, so you want to make sure when your name comes up it’s for a good reason.

And if it’s not?

Well, that’s an opportunity to utilize these various social media platforms to make sure your customers feel like their voice is being heard.  This should hopefully lead to more interaction and a better overall user experience.

A World of Data

So your organization has successfully hit the three previously mentioned markers.  Now work behind the scenes to leverage the data.  There are a variety of platforms that can be utilized to effectively understand your metrics and develop an ever-evolving plan.

Google Analytics is a valuable (and free) tool, but it can be complex and overwhelming. If you’re open to the idea of having this data analyzed by a third party, there a numerous companies like Cobalt Digital Marketing eager to assist you – all you have to do is a little research to make sure their skill sets, experience and track record match your needs.

Metrics such as time on site, bounce rate, pages per visit, return visitor rates, on page analytics and conversions should help guide the evolution of your website to improve user experience.  It’s an ongoing process of evaluation, testing and re-adjusting.

Of course with the frequent (and seemingly limitless) changes in technology, staying up-to-date in the SEO world and news is going to be a major aspect of the game.  But evolution is a good thing and ultimately leads to optimal changes. Subscribe here to get more industry news and commentary from Cobalt Digital Marketing direct to your inbox.