Copywriting and marketing snippets for January 2014

It’s time for the first random sampling of  copywriting and marketing related snippets in 2014.

Bum bags and fanny packs

Britain and the USA, two nations divided by a common language. Most Americanisms are easy to handle and translate pretty well. A few fail. One product guaranteed to cause amusement on both sides of the Atlantic is the humble bum bag, the ‘fanny pack’ in the US. Both names cause hysteria when used in the wrong country. It would have been much better if the inventor had researched potential names first, picking alternatives that didn’t make half the western world guffaw when used out of geographical context.

UK social media insight for 2014

Well done Social Media Today for rooting around online for predictions about social media in Britain during 2014. Here’s what they think. You can read the fully story here

Facebook in 2104

  • Comscore reports an end-of-year 2013 user base of just over 31 million, 1.5 million or so fewer than the same time in 2012. If you’re targeting a niche market of early adopters and very young trend-setters, you might find they’re moving elsewhere in search of the next cool thing. Otherwise, Facebook is still home to the biggest concentration of consumers on any social media platform on the planet. New and shiny is all very well, but drop Facebook at your peril. 

Twitter in 2014

  • Twitter is home to 15m British users (at Sept 2013) and growth remains steady. Twitter has revealed that about 50% of users prefer to read tweets and don’t tweet themselves. They also say 40% of users use Twitter as a “curated news feed of updates that reflect their passions”. But just because people don’t tweet, it doesn’t mean they’re not listening. Twitter is part of everyday life these days, used by corporates, the BBC News and other mainstream organisations to interact with customers and react to daily events. When a medium becomes this entwined with the establishment, it has real staying power.   

LinkedIn in for 2014

  • LinkedIn achieved 10 million British users early in 2013. It gets just over 60 million page views a month. Econsultancy research suggests that LinkedIn is responsible for 64% of visits to corporate websites from social media sites, way more than Twitter but not really surprising since it has developed into a business-to-business, career-based network. In 2013 LinkedIn cut the minimum age limit to 13 and added extra functionality including Alumni search. It looks like they’re trying to make it the first stop business and career network for young professionals.

Google Plus in 2014

  • Google hasn’t made G+ user stats public. A bit of a cheek since they expend so much effort collecting users’ data.  And disappointing stuff, especially since the Big G’s UK Head of Agency declared the latest stats “would blow your mind” back in October 2013. Come on guys, play fair. While we don’t really know how many of us are using G+ there’s still no doubt it’s a wise place to have a presence. As long as Google remains the UK’s number one search engine, you can’t afford not to join in. 

What else is on the cards?

  • Pinterest is still massive and growing
  • Instagram continues to show good growth
  • Snapchat and WhatsApp are popular with people aged 13-20

I love spam… not

I honestly didn’t think digital marketers used spinning software any more. I found this remarkable piece of non-communication in my blog’s spam comments folder. Some silly bugger has obviously spent time and effort loading up a spinning tool then set it loose creating comment spam. The result is abysmal nonsense. What a waste of time and effort. Here it is. If you can make head or tail of it, you’re a better man than I.

Several rounds exchange blows 2 people to get hurt and decide on the spot to take to harm a member to withdraw than the benefit, the leaf sings breeze Teng the body make track for to go, on all sides the shield clap to impede his step down, originally the shield of the Dou absolute being brigade top all Anne has iron chain, the key time can consider as a meteor hammer to jilt, the leaf sings breeze Ke fly on all sides the shield is about to make track for go to but drive Ao snow it call:”The little leaf doesn’t make track for, also having more than two days time sooner or later will meet.”The leaf sang breeze to stop a step to walk to return to Ao snow nearby to stretch out more thumb more to fierce heaven and money that shows a body form.

Why do they bother? Because a lot of people don’t secure their WordPress blog comments settings, anyone can make a comment. Some people approve comments without looking at them, some haven’t downloaded a spam filter plugin, some don’t sort the spam from the genuine comments. When a published spam comment  includes a link, there’s an SEO benefit for the spammer. It must happen often enough to be worth doing.

How to do smart keyword research

Some say there’s no need to take key terms into account any more when writing digital content. Don’t listen to them. For copywriting and marketing, words are still absolutely fundamental if you want  to create content that search engines can put in front of users in response to queries. Search engines still use words to explore, classify, rank and rate websites. And they will rely on words for the foreseeable future, using the key terms on your pages to figure out what concepts the pages contain.
There’s an awful lot of talk about keyword research, but this is the best I’ve come across. You can rely on Moz to provide up-to-date, intelligent, genuine information about online marketing and search engine optimisation. Here’s their take on Keywords to Concepts: The Lazy Web Marketer’s Guide to Smart Keyword Research. Highly recommended.

Is Google still the Great Panjandrum of search?

There are alternative search engines. But looking ahead for 2014, Google is predicted to hang on to pole position: According to data from Statcounter, Google is used for at least 80% of searches in the US, and 90% plus around the world.
What, exactly, is a Great Panjandrum?
Pictured above, the Great Panjandrum was one of the strangest secret weapons devised by British boffins during World War Two. Allied bosses hoped the original device, a ten foot drum packed with 400lb of high explosives, would blast holes in the Nazis’ Atlantic Wall defence. Sadly it was scrapped after almost killing a VIP audience during testing.

Scary Google search results

It’s getting tougher to rank high in Google. If Rand Fishkin is right, things are going to get even rougher. Here’s his prediction for the kind of search results we might start seeing in 2014:

As Google continues to get more and more aggressive with things like knowledge graph, visual ads, and instant answers, I suspect we’ll see some of the first result sets that have no traditional, external-pointing, organic links whatsoever. Google may keep some links as references to the source they’re bringing in, but they won’t be in the classic organic results format we’ve seen from them over the last 15 years.
Side note: This will scare the poop out of many marketers, but it probably (hopefully?) won’t expand much beyond the experimental/limited release phase.

A side note of my own: That’s probably wishful thinking.
It might be changeable. But at least digital marketing is never boring.

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