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Picks of the Week: Aug. 1-7

In this week's collection of PR and marketing articles, we take a deep dive into the importance of active brand marketing, share thoughts from a leading SEO expert on what he thinks may be a new Google search ranking signal, offer tips for managing a corporate blog, and get some news from Wikipedia and LinkedIn. 

Brand Marketing

Let’s Make “Brand” a Verb Again

Mike Monello (@mikemonello) makes the case for refocusing on branding as an essential element of the marketing mix. Canned advertisements, carefully crafted telemarketing call scripts and other one-way communications are below today’s savvy consumers. With information and choice at prospect and customer fingertips, organizations need to clearly understand and actively deliver on their brand promise in all interactions, beyond copy and creative.

As Monello says, in many cases today, “the only truly differentiating element… is the customer's experience with the product. 

So how can you use branding to provide value, create experiences and grow a business? Here are some tips—a blend of advice from Monello, some industry thought leaders and our own:

  • Understand your brand’s unique story. If you don’t know what it is, talk with company leaders, employees, customers, vendors and other stakeholders to learn how the brand is perceived.
  • Deliver on the brand’s promise across all departments, activities and experiences.
  • Forget about jargon and corporate speak, and let what makes the company unique shine through in your website, collateral, advertisements, speaking engagements, customer interactions and more.
  • Showcase the brand personality through genuine social media activity, both on corporate accounts and those of employees.
  • Hire good people, and empower employees. Encourage them to embrace and embody the brand.
  • Ensure positive brand experiences through exceptional customer service, and ask your best customers to share their experiences in reviews, recommendations and more.
  • Don’t forget about internal stakeholders. The perceptions of employees, vendors and other "insiders" can be just as impactful as those of external audiences.

SEO 

A Theory About Google: Authenticity and Passion as Ranking Signals

Rand Fishkin (@randfish) shares what he believes may be a new ranking signal Google uses to provide the most relevant search results for queries: passion and authenticity of the content creator.

Though Fishkin doesn’t have the data to back up his hypothesis (yet), he’s a pretty smart dude in the world of SEO, and this concept is certainly an intriguing one. Since we know that Google is trying to do more to understand web content authors, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to think that one’s motivation for writing, and level of knowledge on a particular topic, could be (or become) a ranking consideration.

See more on Fishkin’s thought process, and a potential example authenticity/passion-driven ranking in action.

Blogging

Corporate Blogging 101: An Introduction to Planning Your Blog’s Content

Keeping a company blog regularly updated with quality content is tough. In this post, Jeremy Victor (@jeremyvictor) offers some solid tips for developing and managing a company blog—and ensuring that it remains well kept—by treating it like an industry trade publication. He advises readers to develop an editorial calendar that plans posts out six months in advance, and adhere to a set publishing schedule. 

If this task sounds daunting, or you’re not sure where to start, see Victor’s complete article for a step-by-step guide.

One thing to keep in mind: Editorial calendars are often necessary to keep a corporate blog on track. However, don’t forget to plan for timely posts that provide insight on big news and current events as they occur. This means making room in the calendar for them, shifting planned posts if needed, and ensuring that bloggers have the time and motivation to develop this type of article when warranted. 

In the News… 

Ten years after its launch, Wikipedia is losing contributors. The community-created encyclopedia cites a difficult user interface, a lessened need for new entries, and new priorities taking contributors’ time away from the site, as the main drivers behind the exodus. The company is attempting to draw in new contributors, and better engage existing ones, by simplifying the editing process and adding social features.

In its first earnings announcement since going public in May, LinkedIn reported a 120% rise in sales between April and June, with revenues of $121 million. LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner (@jeffweiner), also shared that the social network has reached 120 million members as of last Thursday.

What were your top stories of the week? Comments are open for your opinions.

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