The Art of the Business

A blog dedicated to artists who are serious about their business.

3 Tips to Find the Best Keywords for Your Blog Posts Using Google Keyword Tool October 15, 2010

Filed under: Arts Marketing,Business of Arts,SEO — Rebecca Coleman @ 6:44 am
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This week’s last post on Google and SEO is a second guest-post by Alex Papa. His follow-up to Monday’s post outlines how to find your best keywords for Search Engine Optimization.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be frustrating, particularly for bloggers who are only interested in providing great content to readers. The internet is filled with systems, tools and the supposed ‘secrets’, all promising to help move your site to the top of search results. Distinguishing between proper and nonsense advice is complicated for the beginner and intermediate webmaster equally.

At this point, the Google Keyword Tool takes the stage. It does not optimize your site for you; however, it will allow you to find the keywords that are most suitable for what you want to achieve with your blog post. This free tool is provided by Google. It is designed to show you the number of Global Monthly searches and the Competition for an individual keyword. Your aim should be to find the keywords that are higher in the volume of searches and low in competition.

Google Keywords is not meant for people who blog for fun. Instead, it is meant for blog owners who are focused on marketing their business or their products and services through their blog. This may sound like a little distinction and leads to the first tip of taking advantage of Google Keywords for SEO.

Tip 1: Always Work With Exact, Not Broad and Not Phrase, Keywords

Within the context of Google Keyword Tool;
•    Broad is defined as searches that come close to an individual keyword. For example New York Photos can be New York City Pictures or even Photographs of New York Buildings.
•    “Phrase” denotes searches that include the words in any order within a phrase.
•    [Exact] refers to user searches that are the exact word or phrase.

Taking New York Photos as an example, you want to know the search volume for New York Photos and you type it into Google Keyword Tool. If you select broad as your filter (default setting), what Google Keyword will return is a search volume number for New York Photos that consists of the traffic for that term plus various related terms. The number you get is not the real number of people who are looking for New York Photos. If you select Exact as your filter you will get a different number which is usually more realistic.

Be certain that your searches are filtered by Exact match, as seen in the example and the number of the Global Monthly searches you get will be precise.

Tip 2: Check the Competition Bar – But Do Not Rely On It

That bar that shows an estimation of competition for a keyword is another Google Keyword oddity. The problem is that the bar displays competition amongst advertisers to buy the relevant keyword for Google Adword campaigns and it does not indicate the number of websites that rank organically for a keyword.

Obviously, the exact keyword [New York photos] attracts more competitors than the phrase or broad keyword, but this should not mean anything to you, because these figures usually are related to competition in pay per click (PPC) advertising and not to competition in organic ranking.

Fortunately, finding your SEO competition for a keyword is not a daunting task. To start with, search Google for the relevant keyword.

To do this just click the little search icon next to the term and Google will initiate the search for you. Scroll through the first page or two of the displayed results. Assess the quality of the pages displayed, especially how focused they are on the relevant keyword.  If the pages are messed up; and if the apparent focus is low, then the more conquerable the keyword.

Tip 3: Choose Keywords that Drive Qualified Traffic to Your Site

Imagine you were promoting your New York Photos on a page you have in your blog, and while conducting  research on Google Keyword Tool you notice numerous keywords that were neglected in this genre. They seem to have high volume of searches and low competition. Without delay you write them down and set off a plan of content optimisation in your blog post.

No more than a month later after numerous hours of work you become aware that there have been many visitors in your New York Photos page but no buyers. An explanation for this is simply that the keywords you chose did not drive qualified traffic. In your case, the keywords possibly attracted enquirers instead of the buyers. Unfortunately, keywords like “New York Photos” or similar might bring people whose intentions are to view or copy your photos. If you want to sell photos then you need to find and analyze ‘buying’ keywords, such as [buy New York Photos] or [low cost New York Photos]. ‘Buying’ keywords attract buyers instead of enquirers to your product page.

Once you identify these keywords your next task is to use them in your website content (on-page optimisation) and your backlinks (off-page optimisation).

In choosing keywords, the question you should be asking yourself is: What kind of traffic will this keyword draw? What kind of conversions percentage is possible for that traffic to generate? And what would the value of those conversions possibly be.

Alex Papa is an internet entrepreneur who writes blogs about Internet Security solutions. In his blog you can find the latest Norton discount coupons codes. He is also a contributor to businessopportunitiesexpo.com

 

Google AdWords Grants: NFPs in the US October 13, 2010

Filed under: Arts Marketing,Business of Arts,SEO — Rebecca Coleman @ 6:33 am
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Another example of a really great program that is not available to us here in the Great White North.

From the Google Grants website:

Google Grants is a unique in-kind donation program awarding free AdWords advertising to select charitable organizations. We support organizations sharing our philosophy of community service to help the world in areas such as science and technology, education, global public health, the environment, youth advocacy, and the arts.

Selected companies will recieve up to $329 per day or $10,000 per month in Google AdWords advertising.

If you are a not-for-profit arts agency in the US, this is an amazing opportunity. Hopefully it becomes available in Canada, soon.

 

Fundamental Keys to Expand Your Readership October 11, 2010

Filed under: Arts Marketing,Business of Arts,Marketing Ideas,marketing with blogs,SEO — Rebecca Coleman @ 7:39 am
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This week is all about SEO and Keywords. First up, a guest post from Alex Papa on how to get eyeballs to your blog or website.

Enter the ‘Blogosphere’: a world where corporate minds and marketers of all kinds congregate with a common goal. A goal to have their distinctive voices heard, to build a level of trust, and to present their services. Businesses have scanned the blogging scene, and recognized that the blogging platform presents a potentially lucrative revenue stream. Marketing strategies and blogging are now intertwined as a form of brand building and promotion.  Irrespective of prior knowledge, geographical positioning, or intellect, the blogging realm offers significant potential for reward.

Blogs and Business: Where is the Benefit?

Unlike a commercial website, a blog presents a lax setting. Viewers are not barraged with “Buy Now” buttons and other conspicuous sales pitches. This lowers the guard of the reader, and opens the door for a relationship to be built. A relationship initiates a level of trust, which correlates to a potential client and friend. The key determinants to solidify a level of trust is to offer your reader unique value-adding content. The content you provide illuminates your voice, exposes your character, and establishes your credibility. Contributing value-adding content on a consistent basis will ensure your readers return to your blog.

An expansive reader-base equates to a sizable market for your service. But with millions of blogs in existence, obtaining significant traffic can become an arduous assignment.

Social Media Traffic

Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook can yield significant traffic for your blog. Facebook is the second most traffic intensive platform on the web, with Google firmly on top. Creating targeted “groups and pages” on Facebook can drive a substantial amount of traffic directly to your blog. Joining and participating in communities such as forums have proven to be another free source of direct traffic.

Organic Traffic

Another supply of sizeable traffic will be derived from the search engines like Google or Yahoo. This form of traffic which is commonly known as “organic” traffic will be the prominent source of traffic your blog receives. Traffic generated from search engines will always be laser targeted because users key in search terms that are specific to their needs.

Quality blog authors commit a fatal error by producing blog posts that are eloquent and of superior class, but lack search engine friendliness. Search engines are not professors evaluating the quality of your writing. They are programmed to decipher the relevance of your content according to the search term utilized by the user. If for instance a user keys in the term “Increase Blog Traffic” and this term is not incorporated in your content, then the search engine will deem your content irrelevant. Search engines don’t care if you are a best selling author.

There should be a dual focus when writing a blog post. Firstly, one should write for one’s user, and secondly, one should write content that is optimized for the search engines.

Keys to Writing Search Engine Optimized Content

When a search engine evaluates the content on your blog, it links the content of a post to “keywords” that are commonly used by everyday search engine users. If your blog post does not contain any of these keywords, your post is of no value to the search engine. The elements required for you to optimize your content for the search engines are:

•    Engage in keyword research. Know what people are searching for in relation to your service offering.
•    Structure advertorial posts by integrating a primary product keyword into your content.
•    Ensure your keyword appears in the title, introduction, body, and conclusion of each post.

Traffic is the lifeblood of your blog, and your readers will sustain your blog and business, if you offer them long-term value through your content. Subtlety is essential when promoting your service to your readers. Assaulting you readers with consistent sales pitches will destroy your relationship and reduce business profits. Approach each post that promotes your service with tact, and use persuasive language rather than heavy-handed sales pitches.

Alex Papa is the editor of Norton Antivirus Codes blog. He also manages several online marketing companies such as Business Opportunities Expo.

 

“Crowdsourcing” Your Next Production October 8, 2010

Crowdsourcing is not a new concept.

According to Wikipedia, Crowd Sourcing is

the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to a large group of people or community (a crowd), through an open call.

The term has become popular with businesses, authors, and journalists as shorthand for the trend of leveraging the mass collaboration enabled by Web 2.0 technologies to achieve business goals.

Basically, artists, in these days of dwindling funding, are turning to crowdsourcing as an option to fund their projects. Crowdsourcing engines like Kickstarter are based on the concept that many small donations can add up to a lot of money. People pledge what they can, and ONLY if the project meets its entire goal within a specified time frame, does the company get all the money. If they don’t make their goal, no one donates.

I’ve been interested in exploring this idea as a funding concept, but crowdsourcing engines like Kickstarter in the States or Fundbreak in Australia have not been available in Canada until recently. A new crowdsourcing engine called IdeaVibes has just come online.

I recently interviewed Kathryn Jones, a #2amt colleague from NYC. They have recently hit their goal with Kickstarter, and are moving on to produce their project.

RC: Can you tell me a bit about your project?

KJ: Better Left Unsaid is the first of its kind, interactive live streamed play.  A cross between a play, an online video and a live streamed event, Better Left Unsaid will be shot with multiple cameras, mixed in real time, and streamed live to the internet so that anyone, anywhere in the world with a computer can watch the show and interact with it.

The play itself is  a complex roadmap of a play that begins in Central Park on a strangely warm, foggy day in November. We follow eight characters as their paths twist and turn in unexpected ways. Better Left Unsaid is a story about how our lives are affected by the pieces of information that we choose to withhold from the people we love. Sometimes the same secret that protects one person damages another.

Better Left Unsaid.  8 LIves.  8 Secrets.  How well do you know the people that you love?

RC: Why did you decide to go the Kickstarter route to get it produced?

KJ: I have been working in online video and social media for more than four years so I have been aware of Kickstarter since the time that it launched although initially projects seemed to be raising a few thousand dollars.  I thought the idea was wonderful, but the projects I was developing required more money than it seemed feasible to raise on Kickstarter.  This  past spring, however, I noticed that people were  beginning to raise significant amounts of money on Kickstarter.  When Joey and I began discussing live streaming her play Better Left Unsaid- using Kickstarter seemed like a great way to initiate our fundraising campaign.

RC: How does using a crowdsourcing engine like Kickstarter affect the amount of work you have to do to fundraise? Does it make it easier, or harder?

KJ: Fundraising is a ton of work and crowd sourcing didn’t lighten the load, but it did provide a platform from which to launch our campaign and stay in touch with our backers.  In addition, Kickstarter’s all or nothing policy added a level of urgency to our campaign and ignited our audience with a certain level of suspense as to whether or not we would make it or not. There were a lot of people checking our Kickstarter page the last few days to see how we were doing, and a few even upped their donations as the campaign neared it’s deadline.  While I don’t think we could have possibly have raised so much money in such a short period of time without Kickstarter, as the deadline to our campaign approached fundraising is basically all we did, day and night!

RC: What kind of “marketing” materials did you create for your Kickstarter campaign?

KJ: The first thing we did was build a web site so that people who visited us on Kickstarter could get more information if they wanted it.  Then we built our facebook fan page to which we add content on a pretty regular basis.  Then we created a video for our kickstarter campaign.  We also created a press release and a one sheet- and used all of these materials in various ways as our campaign progressed.

Our video is also on youtube, and can be found here…

RC: To what do you attribute your successful campaign?

KJ: I can’t point to any one thing that made our campaign successful, except for our determination!  We used every tool (except for snail mail) at our disposal, from  twitter, to personal facebook profiles, to our facebook fan page, to facebook notes, to facebook events, to phone calls, to personal emails, to mass emails, to a fund raising event at my partners house (we consolidated the donations and had one person contribute the money to our kickstarter campaign) to networking and one on one drinks.  No one method was a silver bullet.

Even when it started to feel impossible, we would go back to our kickstarter page and see that 40, then 70 then 100 then 120 people had backed us and we were determined not to let all those people down, until finally we closed with 161 backers.

RC: Thanks, Kathryn! Very exciting project–keep us in the loop of when the project airs, and we’ll be watching!

I have an interview request into IdeaVibes, but at the time of publiciation, they hadn’t yet responded to my questions. Perhaps for a future blog post.

H/T to Kate Foy.

 

Blogging to Drive Business October 4, 2010

I first met Rebecca Bolwitt in November of 2008. We sat on a panel at the GVPTA’s Making a Scene Conference with Simon called Marketing Using Web 2.0.

I guess one of the things that really struck me about her was how business-like she was for someone so young. You certainly don’t get to be the Vancouver’s #1 blogger by accident, but she has also taken that fame, and spun it out into a successful business: she live-blogs events, and is a WordPress expert.

Now, she’s written a book. Blogging is one of the more challenging social mediums. First of all, it’s likely the one that you’re going to spend the most time on, if you are really dedicated to it. Secondly, getting your blog set up correctly (I’m going through this process right now!) can be quite technically challenging, and third, finding your voice as a blogger can take some time.

Creating a blog for your business adds another layer: now you have to think about what message it is that you want your readers to get about your blog, and therefore, your company.

For me, the most compelling argument for getting a blog for your company is to allow them to see behind the corporation, and get to know the real people that run the organization. It is also and amazing tool for educating your clientele.

There are 9 chapters in this book:

  1. Why are Blogs so Important?
  2. Leveraging your Blog with Marketing tools
  3. Creating a Blogging Strategy
  4. Blogging Responsibly
  5. Finding Topics to Write About
  6. Who Will Write the Blog?
  7. Getting Eyeballs To Your Blog
  8. Getting Interactive with Multimedia Blogging
  9. Taking Advantage of Web 3.0 Blogs

If you are just starting out on your blogging journey, I highly recommend this book. It’s accessibly written, contains lots of case studies, examples and screenshots, and the resource URLs are very helpful.

I’ve been blogging for two years, and I found some stuff in here that was really helpful, and which I can’t wait to implement into the redesign of my blog.

Blogging to Drive Business: Create and Maintain Valuable Customer Connections by Eric Butow and Rebecca Bolwitt is available at London Drugs and through Amazon.ca for $25.99.

 

Mobile Tagging: Posters? September 29, 2010

In March, I got this cool package in the mail. It was called Stickybits, and here’s what was in it:

Stickybits are like little post-it notes that have barcodes on them. You scan the barcode and “attach” it to something: a website, a file, a video. Then, out in the world, someone sees your Stickybit, is intrigued, downloads the reader to their smart phone, scans your barcode, and is taken to whatever you attached to it.

My inner nerd was pretty excited about this, but the wind got let out of my sails, because the app was only available for Android and IPhone, and I have a BlackBerry.

Flash forward…

Recently, I was reading WIRED Magazine (yes, I’m a nerd), and came across this advertisement:

Interesting, right? These things are popping up more and more, so I did some more research. Microsoft has their own Tagging Software.

So, I got to thinking: you all know how I feel about posters. In a nutshell, I think they are a marketing tool that has a very low ROI, and the main reason is because there is nothing about a poster that you can take away. Will you remember the URL? Probably not. You might take a photo of it with your camera phone, or have your poster linked to a phone number you can text for more information.

What if we could attach or print a bar code on posters? People could download the software, scan the code, and be taken instantly to a website where they can find out more about the play, watch a trailer, and, most importantly, buy tickets.

It’s a great idea in theory, but this technology has a long way to go:

  • You have to have a smartphone to access the applications (although more and more people are getting them)
  • The technology only works on some smartphones (see my example above), while others are still in development, because it’s so new.
  • Does the technology actually work? I downloaded the reader app for the Microsoft tag and scanned it a dozen times, and it kept coming up with an error message. It never took me to wherever it was meant to. Meaning: it was a fail.
  • There is no across-the-board reader: for each of these tagging systems, you would have to download a separate reader app.

I really love this idea from a marketing perspective, but it feels to me like it still needs a lot of work before it works in the real world.

Has anyone used one of these tagging systems? I’d love to hear of your successes or failures. Or if anyone is planning on putting such a system into place, I’d also love to hear about that.

Linkage:

http://www.beqrious.com/

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/the_scannable_world_mobile_phones_as_barcode_scanners.php

 

Arts Organization Website Essentials: The Main Three Questions September 27, 2010

Filed under: Arts Marketing,Business of Arts,Guest post,Marketing with websites — Rebecca Coleman @ 6:38 am
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A guest post by Brian Seitel.

Recently Rebecca Coleman posted on her blog a link to an article describing the most essential elements of a website for an artist.  Individual artists often have different goals than arts organizations, and as a theatre artist that moonlights as a web developer, I thought I would offer my insights as to what makes a good arts organization website.  It really boils down to three questions that each visitor will have and absolutely must be answered as soon as possible.  I call these the Main Three Questions (how original, right?).

Studies have shown that visitors allow any given website about 5 seconds before they make up their minds about whether they want to stay or not.  That means you have 5 seconds to grab their attention and keep them on the site to hopefully at some point make what’s called a “conversion” — selling a ticket or reservation.  The easiest way to grab a user’s attention is to provide relevant content immediately.  The less clicking they have to do, the better!

They’re rather simple, and when you read them, you’ll probably think to yourself “Of course. Why is he stating the obvious?”  The truth of the matter is that a great many arts organizations focus too much on the blog and getting donations, and not enough on the Main Three Questions.  What are these questions?  I’m glad you asked.  They are:

  1. What piece of art is being produced?
  2. When (and if not an organization with a permanent venue, where) is the production?
  3. How do I get tickets or make reservations?

The absolute number one reason a visitor comes to your website is to see what is currently going on with your organization.  Once they’ve figured out what the event is, they want to know the event location and dates.  If they don’t know when and where it is, then they can’t schedule time to see the show, right?  And finally, once they’ve checked their schedule and realized that they are indeed free that weekend, they’ll want to know where to buy tickets or make reservations.

Here is an example of what I’m talking about:

The Goodman Theatre (Chicago, IL, USA) – http://www.goodmantheatre.org/

As you can see, the biggest, most prominent element on the page is a guy’s face next to the name of the play Candide.  Underneath are the dates and times.  Below and to the left you can see a smaller section dedicated to upcoming plays, and each play has a “Buy Tickets” link. See? Easy peasy.

Some more examples:

The Philadelphia Orchestra (Philadelphia, PA, USA)- http://www.philorch.org/
The Lincoln Center (NYC, New York, USA) – http://new.lincolncenter.org/live/
Vancouver Art Gallery (Vancouver, Canada) – http://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/
The Fox Theatre (Atlanta, GA) – http://www.foxtheatre.org/

The blog, donate buttons, photo galleries and other things that you put on your site are completely and totally irrelevant until the audience has decided that they want to learn more about your organization.  After all, if I don’t know what you’re producing or if I’m not interested in any of your upcoming events, why would I want to read your bio or blog?

Keep it simple:  what, when, and how?  Your audience will thank you, and your organization will benefit.

Read a longer, more detailed version of this post here.

Brian Seitel: Born nude, helpless and unable to care for himself, Brian overcame these handicaps and became a juggler for a passing circus. After saving a poodle from a burning building by jumping from the fourth floor, Brian gave up the traveling lifestyle and turned to more daredevil routines by spending all his time talking about social media, web development, and the arts. You can follow him on Twitter as @briandseitel.