How to create a ‘Halo Of Activity’ around your brand

Jun 11, 2015 by
How to create a ‘Halo Of Activity’ around your brand

Digital web marketing includes a whole raft of activities that contribute to the overall success of a brand and its rank and exposure. A successful campaign is focussed around people and how they interact with information, rather than machines and how they collect and present data!

It’s all about creating a ‘Halo Of Activity’ around your brand. So here’s how to do it.


Let’s start with the basics

If you’re going to put a site out there for a brand or a business, you really need to make sure you cover the basics before you begin the creation of the halo. The most effective way to manage this is to create a list in a spreadsheet app such as Excel or Google Sheets, and identify each item that needs to be checked and verified. Once you’ve checked an item – date it and colour it green (or tick it). This works for new and existing sites, and is a great way to ensure your site is future-proofed for your ongoing marketing efforts.

Items to check include: spelling, grammar, formatting, responsiveness, unique titles, meta descriptions, redirects, site security and so forth. This is the very least that you need to do to ensure that all of your subsequent marketing work has a solid foundation. Although this work will not have a direct affect on your search rankings in itself, it does give you an entry ticket to the party!


Leverage your brand and domain name

HTTPS Protocol ImageYour site (and domain) is the most important aspect of your online presence – you need to make sure it is the hub of your digital marketing campaign. When you create a new piece of content or an article, add it to your site and then share it out to your wider network – encourage people to come to your site to see what you have to say. If you want to start selling, add a shop platform to your site, if you want to start blogging, add a blog platform to your site, all under your business domain name.

And here’s a tip – sections of your site should be structured as sub folders, rather than sub domains. Google sees subdomains as separate sites, whereas a sub folder is seen as a sub-section of your domain.


So, for example, always do this:

www.cambridgewebmarketing.co/blog

rather than this:

blog.cambridgewebmarketing.co


Maximise your results page footprint with Google

Love it or hate it, Google is the digital resource that people are using to find you. Google accounts for around 97% of the search market here in the UK. With this in mind, make sure you maximise your footprint on Google with ‘My Business’ and ‘Google+’ profiles.

When a person searches for your company by brand keyword or one of your other core keywords, it’s desirable to take up as much space on the results page (or SERP, to use the jargon) as possible. You want your site listed in the results, with sub links to your reviews and your Google+ page. You also want a place marker to appear with your address, and a map entry to the right, showing your office location within Google Maps. You can also show other information such as contact details, opening times and the latest post on your Google+ page. All of this information is about your brand and your business, and it’s vital that you take advantage of this opportunity to create a huge brand footprint in Google’s SERPs.


Create great content, and then create more…

No doubt you’ve heard the mantra that ‘Content is King’ (actually coined by Bill Gates back in the 90s). Well, it’s still true, and with Google’s algorithm changes over the past couple of years, it’s even more relevant now (circa 2015) than it has been in the past. The creation of content that is unique, well written and shareable is at the very heart of any digital marketing campaign. It’s one of the most important things to get right – your content is where you’re able to express your expertise and knowledge – it’s what gets people hooked and keeps them wanting more.


Get social and share 😉

Social ShareSocial media has become one of the more important aspects of a successful digital marketing campaign. Although messages from Google are mixed, it’s clear that being active across social media channels has a positive effect on your brand and its ranking signals – our own experience has shown that this is the case.

There are two sides to the social coin – the first is that your brand needs to be active on the main social channels such as Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn. You should also consider Pinterest and Instagram if your business sells flowers or wedding dresses! The other side of the coin is that you need to create content that people will share within their own network of friends and contacts. Make it easy for people to share by adding share buttons to your posts and content pages – the harder it is for someone to share the less likely they will. Make it a low-friction experience!

There are plenty of apps out there that will help you schedule your social communications and manage your social channels. Some of our favourites include Sprout Social, Buffer and Hootsuite, but there are others too.


Stay in touch…

An email newsletter is a great way to stay in touch with your audience. The key thing with a newsletter is to make sure it is sent at exactly the same time, every time.

So, if you send a newsletter each month, it has to go on the same day and at the same time each month. If you send one weekly, it has to go on the same day and at the same time each week. This builds an expectation in the mind of the person receiving your newsletter. There are plenty of great platforms out there too, such as MailChimp and AWeber. There are also great plugins for WordPress and other CMS platforms that allow you to integrate newsletters right into your site.


Consider advertising: will AdWords work for you?

An AdWords campaign can deliver a significant amount of targeted traffic very swiftly. AdWords (or any other pay-per-click) campaigns can be extremely effective for a wide range of businesses, services and products.

The secret to AdWords is this: while it’s really easy to set up an account and begin displaying ads, it’s a lot more difficult to optimise your account so that it doesn’t burn your budget. Remember, Google wants your money, so it will make every new account incredibly efficient at getting it – pretty much all of Google’s default settings in AdWords are designed to prioritise their revenue, not yours! Think about that for a second. We would always recommend discussing any AdWords campaign with a trusted third party, who should be able to optimise your account and get the most out of your monthly spend.


Give something away for free (or in return for something other than money)

Free downloads and linkable content are ideal ways to get information from people visiting your site. A word of advice: move away from the ‘Tweet to Buy’ or ‘Tweet to get access to the latest big thing etc’ and just be authentic – perhaps ask for an email address and then start the download. There’s nothing worse than going through a convoluted process to get a download, even if it is through your Twitter or Facebook channels. For example, if you sell icons, consider a free icon set that has thirty icons in the set, then offer the complete set of three hundred icons at a price. Or give the complete set away and ask for a link or a credit back to your site.

Do you have access to industry data and statistics that would be useful to other people, businesses and organisations? Why not create a document and give it away, in return for some business details and the agreement that you may contact that business at some point in the future? Show your expertise and knowledge, share it!


Reaching out

Link building is no longer about getting as many links into your site as you possibly can, regardless of their origin. That mindset does not work anymore, and hasn’t for a good, long while. To get quality links you need to invest in building relationships with those you want to attract.

A great way to develop and build trusted relationships is to write guest articles for other people and businesses in your network. An even better way is to have them write articles for you too, which you can publish on your own blog. This will take some time and trust, but you must nurture a network that will allow you to develop these kinds of trusted relationships – you will naturally know the people you need to approach when the time is right.

Marketing specialist Suraj Sodha suggests you should demonstrate how your guest blog will add value when contacting blog owners:

“When making your ‘pitch’, it is important to emphasise how you will add value to their website or blog. If you offer to write about a topic that has been exhausted on their website, I doubt they’ll want another article on the same subject. However, offering a fresh point of view or perspective that hasn’t been discussed before will add value. To sum it up, you need to ask yourself how the blog owner will benefit and how their readers will benefit from your guest post.”

In conclusion

Get the basics right with the optimisation of your site (effectively your brand) and then start working on each brand extension within the halo. Set clear goals and objectives and date them. Begin with the most important brand extensions first, then work your way through. Remember, this process never comes to an end, it simply cycles through refinement and iteration.

The aim is not about perfection, it’s about effectiveness!

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