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How to Overcome Failure in Six Powerful Steps

The post How to Overcome Failure in Six Powerful Steps appeared first on ProBlogger.

How to overcome failure in six powerful steps

This post is based on episode 190 of the ProBlogger podcast.

Most of us don’t want to learn about failure because we don’t want to fail.

But we all do.

And that’s okay, because failure is an essential part of any business. If you’ve never failed then you’ve probably stayed in your comfort zone. And the fact you’re holding back means you’ll never know just how successful you can be.

So learning how to overcome failure is critical. And in today’s post I’ll take you through six things I try to do when I’m facing failure or I’ve made a mistake – no matter how big or small it was.

A lot of these tips will apply to areas of your life outside of blogging. Unfortunately, blogging mistakes can sometimes become very public failures. The things we do may not work out, and there can be consequences.

Your Emotional Response to Failure

So what’s the first thing I do when I fail?

I freak out.

Yep, just like everyone else I panic and get upset, which is a perfectly natural way to react. It’s important to get those feelings out, rather than denying them or bottling them up.

Just make sure you’re not doing anything that could have long-lasting consequences – for you, those around you, or your business – while you’re getting those feelings out. (You may want to step away from your computer and avoid saying anything online while you’re going through this.)

Six Steps to Overcoming Failure

Once you’re past that initial emotional response, here are six steps you can follow to help overcome it.

Step #1: Separate Your Failure from Your Identity

Equating your self-worth with your achievements (or lack thereof) and what other people think of you is a huge trap.

The message we hear all the time – in conversations, the media and marketing messages – is that our self-worth equals what we achieve plus what others think of us.

So to be worthwhile we think we need to achieve a lot and have other people think well of us. We might not consciously think about this, but we constantly look for success and want to look good in front of other people.

But that’s not realistic.

All of us will fail in our personal and business life at some point or other. And there will always be times when other people don’t think much of us. If we base our self-worth on our success and other people’s perceptions, there will be times when we don’t have much at all.

Instead, look for something deeper to root your self-worth in. For me, it’s my faith. For you, it might be something different.

Just because something you tried in your business failed doesn’t make you a failure.

Step #2: Don’t Face it Alone

I often see friends fall into the trap of internalising their failure and facing it alone.

One of the best things you can do is to admit your failure and share it with at least one other person. It could be your partner, or perhaps a close friend. Even if they don’t understand your business, you can still talk to them about it.

Internalising your failure and not talking to anyone about it can make it seem far bigger than it really is, to the point where it can completely overwhelm you.

When you talk to someone about your failure, or even a concern you have about your business, it helps you put it into perspective. It can also help you to find solutions and ways forward.

Next, look for a second person to talk to – someone who does understand your business. That might be a fellow blogger, or perhaps a business coach or mentor.

Alternatively, you could look for a support group (such as the ProBlogger Community Facebook group) to share your failure or mistake and look for advice.

Finally, there might be times when you need a therapist or counselor. If your failure has really shaken your confidence or affected your mental health in some way, there’s no shame in asking for help from a professional.

Step #3: Be Transparent

When you talk to a friend, colleague or therapist about your failure, be transparent about it.

As you start processing your failure, you may realise it affects other people: a business partner or team member, or maybe even your readers.

When other people can be hurt by our mistakes, it’s tempting to hide our failures and pretend they didn’t happen, or even lie about them. But in most cases this just makes things worse.

It’s better to come clean.

Admit the failure to those affected by it, and own your part in it. Deal with the consequences, and try to right any wrongs that have been done.

Owning your mistakes and failures, and taking responsibility for them, is often well received by other people. Most people are generous and gracious, and may even be able to help you find a solution.

Step #4: Learn From It

I say to my kids all the time that making mistakes isn’t a bad thing. It’s making the same mistake repeatedly and not learning from it that’s an issue.

What can you learn from your failure? Why did it happen? What could you do differently next time to get a different result?

Don’t run away from your failure. Instead, embrace it. See it as a learning opportunity, and a chance to do things differently next time.

If you think back to previous failures you’ve had, you may realise that some of them made you who you are today. It’s easy to see in hindsight, but try to see it in the moment as well. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this? How can I turn it around?”

Step #5: Keep Moving

There are definitely times in business when we need to stop and take a break. After a failure, you may need to rest for a while so you can focus on looking after yourself. But then you need to move on and keep the momentum of your business going.

When I taught my youngest son to ride a bike, he had his fair share of crashes. He got scrapes and bruises on his elbows and knees. Understandably, there were moments after each crash when he said, “I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to ride a bike.”

That’s a natural reaction. But to learn how to ride a bike he needed to get back on and try again.

The same applies to your mistakes. Once you’re past the initial emotional reaction, and you’ve given yourself a bit of time to rest if necessary, you need to get back on that bike.

Identify your next best step. It might be to pick up the pieces and start again, or to evolve what you do. It may even be time for you to start something new.

Step #6: Look for the Positive Side

I know it annoys the people around me sometimes, but I always look for the positive side of things.

Even in the midst of incredible failure, there’s almost always a glimmer of something positive.

It may take a while for those glimmers to emerge. But when you see them, focus on them. The little sparks from a failure could well turn into your next big thing.

I can think of a lot of people who have experienced failure only to discover a new passion, including helping other people going through what they’ve been through.

Has something gone badly for you in your blogging or business life recently?

As you face failure, try to:

  1. Separate the failure from your identity and self-worth
  2. Turn to family, friends, fellow bloggers and professionals to help you get through it
  3. Be transparent and honest about the failure and its effect on those around you
  4. Learn from what happened so you can avoid making the same mistake again
  5. Keep moving and keep up your momentum: get back on that bike
  6. Look for any sparks of opportunity or anything good that can come out of your failure

While failure can be difficult to overcome at times, these six steps should help. Feel free to share how you get on with them in the comments.

Image credit:Jake Hills

The post How to Overcome Failure in Six Powerful Steps appeared first on ProBlogger.


Reblogged 36 minutes ago from

SVG Circle Decomposition To Paths

SVG Circle Decomposition To Paths

SVG Circle Decomposition To Paths

Bryan Rasmussen


This article starts with a confession: I like to hand-code SVG. It’s not always the case but often enough it could seem peculiar to people who do not share my predilection. There are a good number of benefits in being able to write SVG by hand, such as optimizing SVGs in ways a tool can’t (turning a path into a simpler path or shape), or by simply understanding how libraries like D3 or Greensock work.

With that said, I’d like to look more closely at circular shapes in SVG and things we can do with them when we move past a basic circle. Why circles? Well, I love circles. They’re my favorite shape.

First off (hopefully you’ve seen a basic circle in SVG before), here’s a pen that shows one:

See the Pen circle by Bryan Rasmussen.

A lot of things can be done with a circle: it can be animated and it can have different colors applied to it. Still, there are two very nice things that you cannot have a circle do in SVG 1.1: You cannot make another graphical element move along the circle’s path (using the animateMotion element) and you cannot have shape a text along a circle’s path (this will only be allowed after SVG 2.0 is released).

Turning Our Circle Into A Path

There is a little online tool that can help you create paths out of circles (you can try it out here), but we’re going to do be creating everything from scratch so we can find out what’s really going on behind the scenes.

To make a circular path, we’re going to actually make two arcs, i.e. semicircles that complete the circle in one path. As you’ve probably noticed in the SVG above, the attributes CX, CY, and R respectively define where the circle is drawn along the X and Y axis, while R defines the radius of the circle. The CX and CY create the center of the circle, so the circle is drawn around that point.

Replicating that circle could look like this:

      M (CX - R), CY
      a R,R 0 1,0 (R * 2),0
      a R,R 0 1,0 -(R * 2),0

Note that CX is the same as the cx attribute of the circle; the same goes for CY and the cy attribute of the circle, as well as R and the r attribute of the circle. The small a character is used to define a segment of an elliptical arc. You can use an optional Z (or z) to close the path.

The lowercase letter a denotes the beginning of an elliptical arc drawn relatively to the current position — or in our specific case:

    M 25, 50
    a 25,25 0 1,1 50,0
    a 25,25 0 1,1 -50,0

You can see the magic happening in this pen:

See the Pen circle from path by Bryan Rasmussen.

Hidden underneath the path is a circle with a red fill. As you play around with values of the path, you’ll see that circle as long as the path totally covers the circle (the path itself is a circle of the same size), and we’ll know that we’re doing things right.

One thing you should also know is that as long as you are drawing relative arcs, you don’t need to repeat the a command for each arc you draw. When your first 7 inputs are done for your arc, the second 7 inputs will be taken for the next arc.

You can try this out with the pen above by removing the second a in the path:

a 25,25 0 1,1 50,0

25,25 0 1,1 -50,0

This may look the same, but I prefer to leave it in until I am ready to finish a drawing, and this also helps me to keep track of where I am.

How This Path Works

First, we move to an absolutely positioned X,Y coordinate in the image. It does not draw anything there — it just moves there. Remember that for a circle element CX, CY denotes the center of the circle; but as it happens in the elliptical arc, the true CX and CY of the arc will be calculated from the other properties of that arc.

In other words, if we want our CX to be at 50 and our radius is 25, then we need to move to 50 - 25 (if we are drawing from left to right, of course). This means that our first arc is drawn from 25 X, 50 Y which results to our first arc being 25,25 0 1,0 50,0.

Let’s break down what the value 25,25 0 1,0 50,0 of our arc actually means:

  • 25: The relative X radius of the arc;
  • 25: The relative Y radius of the arc;
  • 0 1,0: I’m not going to talk about the three middle values (rotation, large-arc-flag, and the sweep-flag properties) because they are not very important in the context of the current example as long as they are the same for both arcs;
  • 50: The ending X coordinate (relative) of the arc;
  • 0: The ending Y coordinate (relative) of the arc.

The second arc is a 25,25 0 1,0 -50,0. Keep in mind that this arc will start drawing from wherever the last arc stopped drawing. Of course, the X and Y radius are the same (25), but the ending X coordinate is -50 of where the current one is.

Obviously this circle could have been drawn in many different ways. This process of turning a circle into a path is known as decomposition. In the SVG 2 spec decomposition of a circle will be done with 4 arcs, however, the method it recommends is not possible to use yet, as it currently depends on a feature named segment-completing close path which has not yet been specified.

In order to show you that we can draw the circle in a lot of ways, I have prepared a little pen with various examples:

See the Pen all circles by Bryan Rasmussen.

If you take a closer look, you’ll see our original circle along with five different examples of how to draw paths on top of that circle. Each path has a child desc element describing the use of CX, CY and R values to build the circle. The first example is the one we discussed here while three others use variations that should be comprehensible from reading the code; the last examples uses four semicircular arcs instead of two, replicating somewhat the process described in the SVG 2 spec linked above.

The circles are layered on top of each other using SVG’s natural z-indexing of placing elements that come later in the markup on top of the ones that come earlier.

If you click on the circular paths in the pen, the first click will print out how the path is structured to the console and add a class to the element so that you will see the stroke color of how the circle is drawn (you can see that the first circle is drawn with a starting wedge from the stroke). The second click will remove the circle so you have the ability to interact with the circle below.

Each circle has a different fill color; the actual circle element is yellow and will say “You clicked on the circle” to the console whenever it is clicked on. You can also, of course, simply read the code as the desc elements are quite straightforward.

Going From A Path To A Circle

I suppose you’ve noticed that while there are many different ways to draw the circle, the paths used still look pretty similar. Often — especially in SVGs output from a drawing program — circles will be represented by paths. This is probably due to optimization of the graphics program code; once you have the code to draw a path you can draw anything, so just use that. This can lead to somewhat bloated SVGs that are hard to reason about.

Recommended reading: “Tips For Creating And Exporting Better SVGs For The Web” by Sara Soueidan

Let’s take the following SVG from Wikipedia as an example. When you look at the code for that file, you will see that it has a lot of editor cruft once you’ve run it through Jake Archibald’s SVGOMG! (which you can read more about here). You’ll end up with something like the following file which has been pretty optimized, but the circles in the document are still rendered as paths:

See the Pen Wikipedia Screw Head Clutch Type A by Bryan Rasmussen.

So, let’s see if we can figure out what those circles should be if they were actual circle elements given what we know about how paths work. The first path in the document is obviously not a circle while the next two are (showing just the d attribute):

M39 20a19 19 0 1 1-38 0 19 19 0 1 1 38 0z
M25 20a5 5 0 1 1-10 0 5 5 0 1 1 10 0z

So remembering that the second a can be left out, let’s rewrite these to make a little more sense. (The first path is the big circle.)

M39 20
a19 19 0 1 1-38 0
a19 19 0 1 1 38 0z

Those arcs are then obviously the following:

aR R 0 1 1 - (R * 2) 0
aR R 0 1 1 (R * 2) 0

This means that our circle radius is 19, but what are our CX and CY values? I think our M39 is actually CX + R, which means that CX is 20 and CY is 20 too.

Let’s say you add in a circle after all the paths like this:


You will see that is correct, and that the red stroked circle covers exactly the large circle. The second circle path reformulated looks like this:

M25 20
a5 5 0 1 1-10 0 
5 5 0 1 1 10 0z

Obviously, the radius is 5, and I bet our CX and CY values are the same as before: - 20.

Note: If CX = 20, then CX + R = 25. The circle is sitting inside the bigger one at the center, so obviously it should have the same CX and CY values.

Add the following circle at the end of the paths:


You can now see that this is correct by taking a look at the following pen:

See the Pen Wikipedia Screw Head Clutch Type A_ with example circles by Bryan Rasmussen.

Now that we know what the circles should be, we can remove those unneeded paths and actually create the circles — as you can see here:

See the Pen Wikipedia Screw Head Clutch Type A optimized by Bryan Rasmussen.

Using Our Circular Path For Wrapping Text

So now that we have our circles in paths, we can wrap text on those paths. Below is a pen with the same paths as our previous “All Circles” pen, but with text wrapped on the path. Whenever you click on a path, that path will be deleted and the text will be wrapped on the next available path, like so:

See the Pen all circles wrapped Text by Bryan Rasmussen.

Looking at the different paths, you’ll see tiny differences between each one (more on that in a bit), but first there is a little cross-browser incompatibility to be seen — especially noticeable in the first path:

Firefox Developer
Microsoft Edge

The reason why the starting “S” of “Smashing” is sitting at that funny angle in the Firefox solution is that it is where we actually started drawing our path at (due to the v-R command we used). This is more obvious in the Chrome version where you can clearly see the first pie-shaped wedge of our circle that we drew:

Chrome does not follow all the wedges, so this is the result when you change the text to be “Smashing Magazine”.

The reason is that Chrome has a bug regarding inheritance of the textLength attribute declared on the parent text element. If you want them both to look the same, put the textLength attribute on the textPath element as well as the text. Why? Because it turns out that Firefox Developer has the same bug if the textLength attribute is not specified on the text element (this has been the case for some years now).

Microsoft Edge has a totally different bug; it can’t handle whitespace in between the Text and the child TextPath element. Once you have removed whitespace, and put the textLength attribute on both the text and textPath elements, they will all look relatively the same (with small variations due to differences in default fonts and so forth). So, three different bugs on three different browsers — this is why people often prefer to work with libraries!

The following pen shows how the problems can be fixed:

See the Pen all circles wrapped Text fixed TextLength by Bryan Rasmussen.

I’ve also removed the various fill colors because it makes it easier to see the text wrapping. Removing the fill colors means that my little function to allow you to cycle through the paths and see how they look won’t work unless I add a pointer-events="all" attribute, so I’ve added those as well.

Note: You can read more about the reasons for that in “Managing SVG Interaction With The Pointer Events Property” explained by Tiffany B. Brown.

We’ve already discussed the wrapping of the multiarc path, so let’s now look at the others. Since we have one path we are wrapping on, the text will always move in the same direction.

Image Path Explanation
a R, R 0 1,0 -(R * 2), 0
a R, R 0 1,0 R * 2, 0
and uses the translate function to move +R on the X axis.
The starting position for our textPath (since we have not specified it in any way) is determined by our first ending arc -(R * 2), given the radius that the arc itself has.
M (CX + R), CY
a R,R 0 1,0 -(R * 2),0
a R,R 0 1,0 (R * 2),0
Same applies as the previous path.
m -R, 0
a R,R 0 1,0 (R * 2),0
a R,R 0 1,0 -(R * 2),0
Since we are ending at (R * 2 ) in our first arc, we will obviously be starting at the opposite position. In other words, this one starts where our previous two paths ended.
M (CX - R), CY
a R,R 0 1,1 (R * 2),0
a R,R 0 1,1 -(R * 2),0
This starts in the same position as the last one due to (R * 2), but it is running clockwise because we have set the sweep-flag property (marked in yellow) to 1.

We‘ve seen how to wrap text on a single path in a circle. Let’s now take a look at how we can break up that path into two paths and the benefits you can get from that.

Breaking Our Paths Into Parts

There are a lot of things you can do with the text in your path, i.e. achieving stylistic effects with tspan elements, setting the offset of the text, or animating the text. Basically, whatever you do will be constrained by the path itself. But by breaking up our multiarc paths into single arc paths, we can play around with the direction of our text, the z-indexing of different parts of our text, and achieving more complex animations.

First, we are going to want to use another SVG image to show some of the effects. I will be using the diamond from the article on pointer events which I mentioned earlier. First, let’s show what it will look like with a single path circular text laid on top of it.

Let’s assume that our circle is CX 295, CY 200, R 175. Now, following the Circular path method, we now see the following:

M (CX - R), CY
a R,R 0 1,1 (R * 2),0
a R,R 0 1,1 -(R * 2),0

See the Pen SVG Amethyst by Bryan Rasmussen.

I’m not going to talk about the path or the text size, fill or stroke color. We should all understand that by now, and be able to make it be whatever we want it to be. But by looking at the text, we can see some downsides or limitations right away:

  • The text all runs in one direction;
  • It might be nice to have some of the text go behind the amethyst, especially where it says MAGAZINE. In order to make the ‘M’ and ‘E’ line up on the circle, the ‘A’ has to be on the side lower point of the amethyst, which feels sort of unbalanced in another way. (I feel like the ‘A’ should be precisely positioned and pointing down at that point.)

If we want to fix these issues, we need to split our single path into two. In the following pen, I have separated the path into two paths, (and placed them into the defs area of the SVG for our textPaths to reference):

See the Pen SVG Amethyst two paths by Bryan Rasmussen.

Again, assuming our CX is 295, CY 200, R 175, then the two paths are in the format of the following (for the top semicircular path):

M (CX - R), CY
a R,R 0 1,1 (R * 2),0

And the following for the bottom:

M (CX + R), CY
a R,R 0 1,1 -(R * 2),0

However, we still have circular text that moves all in the same direction. To fix that for everything but Edge, all you have to do is to add the side="right" attribute to the text element that holds the ‘MAGAZINE’ textPath.

Making The Text Go Another Direction

If we want to support as many browsers as we can, we have to alter the path and not rely on the side attribute which is not fully supported. What we can do is to copy our top semicircle path, but change the sweep from 1 to 0:


M 120, 200
a 175,175 0 1,1 350,0


M 120, 200
a 175,175 0 1,0 350,0

But our text is now drawn on the inner circle defined by the sweep and it won’t look so nice in different browsers. This means that we’re going to have to move the position of our path to align with the ‘S’ of ‘Smashing’, make the ending X of the path greater, and set some offset to the text. As you can see, there is also a little text difference between Firefox and the others which we can improve by increasing the textLength attribute on the text element, as well as removing whitespace from the textPath (since Firefox evidently thinks whitespace is meaningful).

The solution:

See the Pen SVG Amethyst two paths fixed by Bryan Rasmussen.

Change The Z-Index Of Part Of Our Circular Text

Finally, we want to make our text goes both in front and behind the amethyst. Well, that’s easy. Remember that SVG’s z-indexing of element is based by where they are in the markup? So if we have two elements, element 1 will be drawn behind element 2. Next, all we have to do is to move a text element up in our SVG markup so it is drawn before the amethyst.

You can see the result below in which parts of the word ‘MAGAZINE’ are hidden by the lower point of the amethyst.

See the Pen SVG Amethyst two paths z-index by Bryan Rasmussen.

If you take a look at the markup, you can see that the lower semicircle of text has been moved to be before the path that draws the amethyst.

Animating The Parts Of Our Circle

So now we have the ability to make circular text by completely controlling the directionality of the parts of our text by putting the text into two semicircles. This can, of course, also be exploited to make animations of the text. Making cross-browser SVG animations is really the subject of another article (or a lot more articles). These examples will only work in Chrome and Firefox because of using the SMIL-animations syntax instead of CSS keyframes or tools like Greensock. But it gives a good indicator of the effects you can achieve by animating the decomposed circle.

Take the following pen:

See the Pen SVG Amethyst two paths animated by Bryan Rasmussen.

Please press the ‘Rerun’ button on the codepen to see the animation in action. The two parts of our circular text begin animating at the same time, but have a different duration so they end at different times. Because we are animating the textLength attribute, we have put two animate directives under each text — one for the text element (so Firefox will work) and one for the textpath element (so Chrome will work).


In this article, we’ve seen how to turn a circle into a path and back again, in order to better understand when we need to optimize a path and when not. We’ve seen how turning the circle into a path frees us up to placing the text on the circular path, but also how to further split the circular path into semicircles and gain fuller control over directionality and animation of the component parts of our circular text.

Further Reading on SmashingMag:

Smashing Editorial
(dm, ra, yk, il)
Reblogged 2 hours ago from

Win That Pitch: How SEO Agencies Can Land New Business

Posted by TheMozTeam

If you’re a digital agency, chances are you have your sights set on a huge variety of clients — from entertainment and automotive, to travel and finance — all with their own unique SEO needs.

So how do you attract these companies and provide them with next-level SEO? By using a flexible tracking solution that delivers a veritable smorgasbord of SERP data every single day. Here are just four ways you can leverage STAT to lock down new business. 

1. Arm yourself with intel before you pitch 

The best way to win over a potential client is to walk into a pitch already aware of the challenges and opportunities in their online space. In other words: come armed with intel.

To get a lay of their search landscape, research which keywords are applicable to your prospect, load those puppies into STAT, and let them run for a few days (you can turn tracking on and off for however many keywords you like, whenever you like).

This way, when it comes time to make your case, you can hit them with hard data on their search visibility and tailored strategies to help them improve.

Walking into a pitch with deep insights in just a few days will make you look like an SEO wizard — and soon-to-be-new clients will know that you can handle any dark magic unleashed on the SERPs by a Google update or new competitors jumping into the mix. 

2. Look at your data from every possible angle

As an SEO for an agency, you’re vying to manage the visibility of several clients at any given time, and all of them have multiple websites, operate in different industries and verticals worldwide, and target an ever-growing list of topics and products.

So, when prospective clients expect individualized SEO recommendations, how can you possibly deliver without developing a permanent eye twitch? The answer lies in the ability to track and segment tons of keywords.

Get your mittens on more SERPs

To start, you’ll need to research and compile a complete list of keywords for every prospective client. When one keyword only returns one SERP, and people’s searches are as unique as they are, the longer the list, the greater the scope of insight. It’s the difference between a peek and peruse — getting a snapshot or the whole picture.

For example, let’s say your would-be client is a clothing chain with an online store and a brick-and-mortar in every major Canadian city. You’ll want to know how each of their products appears to the majority of searchers — does [men’s jeans] (and every iteration thereof) return a different SERP than [jeans for men]?

Next, it’s time to play international SEO spy and factor in the languages, locations, and devices of target audiences. By tracking pin-point locations in influential global markets, you can keep apprised of how businesses in your industry are performing in different cities all over the world.

For our example client, this is where the two keywords above are joined by [jeans pour hommes], [jeans for men in Montreal], and [jeans pour hommes dans Montreal], and are tracked in the Montreal postal code where their bricks-and-mortar sit, on desktop and mobile devices — giving you with 10 SERPs-worth of insight. Swap in “in Quebec City,” track in a postal code there, and gain another 10 SERPs lickety-split.

Unlock multiple layers of insights

While a passel of keywords is essential, it’s impossible to make sense of what they’re telling you when they’re all lumped together. This is why segmentation is a must. By slicing and dicing your keywords into different segments, called “tags” in STAT, you produce manageable data views with deep, targeted insight.

You can divvy up and tag your keywords however you like: by device, search intent, location, and more. Still running with our earlier example, by comparing a tag that tracks jeans keywords in Montreal against jeans keywords in Vancouver, you can inform your prospect of which city is bringing up the rear on the SERPs, and how they can better target that location.

STAT also lets you to segment any SERP feature you’re interested in — like snippets, videos, and knowledge graphs — allowing you to identify exactly where opportunities (and threats) lie on the SERP.

So, if your tag is tracking the all-important local places pack and your prospect’s brick-and-mortar store isn’t appearing in them, you can avoid the general “we’ll improve your rankings” approach, and focus your pitch around ways to get them listed. And once you’ve been hired to do the job, you’ll be able to prove your local pack success.

For more tag ideas, we created a post with some of the keyword segments that we recommend our clients set up in STAT.

3. Put a tail on the competition

Monitoring a client’s site is one thing, but keeping an eagle-eye on their competition at the same time will give you a serious leg up on other agencies.

With an automated site syncing option, STAT lets you track every known competitor site your prospect has, without any additional keyword management on your part.

All you need to do is plunk in competitor URLs and watch them track against your prospect’s keywords. And because you’ve already segmented the bejesus out of those keywords, you can tell exactly how they stack up in each segment.

To make sure that you’re tracking true search competitors, as well as emerging and dwindling threats, you should be all over STAT’s organic share of voice. By taking the rank and search volume of a given keyword, STAT calculates the percentage of eyeballs that players on the SERPs actually earn.

When you know the ins and outs of everyone in the industry — like who consistently ranks in the top 10 of your SERPs — you can give clients a more comprehensive understanding of where they fit into the big picture and uncover new market opportunities for them to break into. They’ll be thanking their lucky stars they chose you over the other guys.

4. Think big while respecting client budgets

As an enterprise SEO, having economies of scale is a critical factor in beating out other agencies for new business. In order to achieve this, you’ll want to collect and crunch data at an affordable rate.

STAT’s highly competitive per-keyword pricing is designed for scale, which is precisely why STAT and agencies are a match made in heaven. Thinking big won’t break anyone’s bank.

Plus, STAT’s billing is as flexible as the tracking. So, if you only need a few days’ worth of data, whether for a pitch or a project, you can jump into STAT and toggle tracking on or off for any number of keywords, and your billing will follow suit. In simpler terms: you’re only billed for the days you track.

And with no limits on users and no per-seat charges, you’re welcome to invite anyone on your team — even clients or vendors — to see your projects, allowing you to deliver transparency in conjunction with your SEO awesomeness.

If you’d like to do any or all of these things and are looking for the perfect SERP data tool to get the job done, say hello and request a demo!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

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The One-Hour Guide to SEO, Part 2: Keyword Research – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

Before doing any SEO work, it’s important to get a handle on your keyword research. Aside from helping to inform your strategy and structure your content, you’ll get to know the needs of your searchers, the search demand landscape of the SERPs, and what kind of competition you’re up against.

In the second part of the One-Hour Guide to SEO, the inimitable Rand Fishkin covers what you need to know about the keyword research process, from understanding its goals to building your own keyword universe map. Enjoy!

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans. Welcome to another portion of our special edition of Whiteboard Friday, the One-Hour Guide to SEO. This is Part II – Keyword Research. Hopefully you’ve already seen our SEO strategy session from last week. What we want to do in keyword research is talk about why keyword research is required. Why do I have to do this task prior to doing any SEO work?

The answer is fairly simple. If you don’t know which words and phrases people type into Google or YouTube or Amazon or Bing, whatever search engine you’re optimizing for, you’re not going to be able to know how to structure your content. You won’t be able to get into the searcher’s brain, into their head to imagine and empathize with them what they actually want from your content. You probably won’t do correct targeting, which will mean your competitors, who are doing keyword research, are choosing wise search phrases, wise words and terms and phrases that searchers are actually looking for, and you might be unfortunately optimizing for words and phrases that no one is actually looking for or not as many people are looking for or that are much more difficult than what you can actually rank for.

The goals of keyword research

So let’s talk about some of the big-picture goals of keyword research. 

Understand the search demand landscape so you can craft more optimal SEO strategies

First off, we are trying to understand the search demand landscape so we can craft better SEO strategies. Let me just paint a picture for you.

I was helping a startup here in Seattle, Washington, a number of years ago — this was probably a couple of years ago — called Crowd Cow. Crowd Cow is an awesome company. They basically will deliver beef from small ranchers and small farms straight to your doorstep. I personally am a big fan of steak, and I don’t really love the quality of the stuff that I can get from the store. I don’t love the mass-produced sort of industry around beef. I think there are a lot of Americans who feel that way. So working with small ranchers directly, where they’re sending it straight from their farms, is kind of an awesome thing.

But when we looked at the SEO picture for Crowd Cow, for this company, what we saw was that there was more search demand for competitors of theirs, people like Omaha Steaks, which you might have heard of. There was more search demand for them than there was for “buy steak online,” “buy beef online,” and “buy rib eye online.” Even things like just “shop for steak” or “steak online,” these broad keyword phrases, the branded terms of their competition had more search demand than all of the specific keywords, the unbranded generic keywords put together.

That is a very different picture from a world like “soccer jerseys,” where I spent a little bit of keyword research time today looking, and basically the brand names in that field do not have nearly as much search volume as the generic terms for soccer jerseys and custom soccer jerseys and football clubs’ particular jerseys. Those generic terms have much more volume, which is a totally different kind of SEO that you’re doing. One is very, “Oh, we need to build our brand. We need to go out into this marketplace and create demand.” The other one is, “Hey, we need to serve existing demand already.”

So you’ve got to understand your search demand landscape so that you can present to your executive team and your marketing team or your client or whoever it is, hey, this is what the search demand landscape looks like, and here’s what we can actually do for you. Here’s how much demand there is. Here’s what we can serve today versus we need to grow our brand.

Create a list of terms and phrases that match your marketing goals and are achievable in rankings

The next goal of keyword research, we want to create a list of terms and phrases that we can then use to match our marketing goals and achieve rankings. We want to make sure that the rankings that we promise, the keywords that we say we’re going to try and rank for actually have real demand and we can actually optimize for them and potentially rank for them. Or in the case where that’s not true, they’re too difficult or they’re too hard to rank for. Or organic results don’t really show up in those types of searches, and we should go after paid or maps or images or videos or some other type of search result.

Prioritize keyword investments so you do the most important, high-ROI work first

We also want to prioritize those keyword investments so we’re doing the most important work, the highest ROI work in our SEO universe first. There’s no point spending hours and months going after a bunch of keywords that if we had just chosen these other ones, we could have achieved much better results in a shorter period of time.

Match keywords to pages on your site to find the gaps

Finally, we want to take all the keywords that matter to us and match them to the pages on our site. If we don’t have matches, we need to create that content. If we do have matches but they are suboptimal, not doing a great job of answering that searcher’s query, well, we need to do that work as well. If we have a page that matches but we haven’t done our keyword optimization, which we’ll talk a little bit more about in a future video, we’ve got to do that too.

Understand the different varieties of search results

So an important part of understanding how search engines work — we’re going to start down here and then we’ll come back up — is to have this understanding that when you perform a query on a mobile device or a desktop device, Google shows you a vast variety of results. Ten or fifteen years ago this was not the case. We searched 15 years ago for “soccer jerseys,” what did we get? Ten blue links. I think, unfortunately, in the minds of many search marketers and many people who are unfamiliar with SEO, they still think of it that way. How do I rank number one? The answer is, well, there are a lot of things “number one” can mean today, and we need to be careful about what we’re optimizing for.

So if I search for “soccer jersey,” I get these shopping results from Macy’s and and all these other places. Google sort has this sliding box of sponsored shopping results. Then they’ve got advertisements below that, notated with this tiny green ad box. Then below that, there are couple of organic results, what we would call classic SEO, 10 blue links-style organic results. There are two of those. Then there’s a box of maps results that show me local soccer stores in my region, which is a totally different kind of optimization, local SEO. So you need to make sure that you understand and that you can convey that understanding to everyone on your team that these different kinds of results mean different types of SEO.

Now I’ve done some work recently over the last few years with a company called Jumpshot. They collect clickstream data from millions of browsers around the world and millions of browsers here in the United States. So they are able to provide some broad overview numbers collectively across the billions of searches that are performed on Google every day in the United States.

Click-through rates differ between mobile and desktop

The click-through rates look something like this. For mobile devices, on average, paid results get 8.7% of all clicks, organic results get about 40%, a little under 40% of all clicks, and zero-click searches, where a searcher performs a query but doesn’t click anything, Google essentially either answers the results in there or the searcher is so unhappy with the potential results that they don’t bother taking anything, that is 62%. So the vast majority of searches on mobile are no-click searches.

On desktop, it’s a very different story. It’s sort of inverted. So paid is 5.6%. I think people are a little savvier about which result they should be clicking on desktop. Organic is 65%, so much, much higher than mobile. Zero-click searches is 34%, so considerably lower.

There are a lot more clicks happening on a desktop device. That being said, right now we think it’s around 60–40, meaning 60% of queries on Google, at least, happen on mobile and 40% happen on desktop, somewhere in those ranges. It might be a little higher or a little lower.

The search demand curve

Another important and critical thing to understand about the keyword research universe and how we do keyword research is that there’s a sort of search demand curve. So for any given universe of keywords, there is essentially a small number, maybe a few to a few dozen keywords that have millions or hundreds of thousands of searches every month. Something like “soccer” or “Seattle Sounders,” those have tens or hundreds of thousands, even millions of searches every month in the United States.

But people searching for “Sounders FC away jersey customizable,” there are very, very few searches per month, but there are millions, even billions of keywords like this. 

The long-tail: millions of keyword terms and phrases, low number of monthly searches

When Sundar Pichai, Google’s current CEO, was testifying before Congress just a few months ago, he told Congress that around 20% of all searches that Google receives each day they have never seen before. No one has ever performed them in the history of the search engines. I think maybe that number is closer to 18%. But that is just a remarkable sum, and it tells you about what we call the long tail of search demand, essentially tons and tons of keywords, millions or billions of keywords that are only searched for 1 time per month, 5 times per month, 10 times per month.

The chunky middle: thousands or tens of thousands of keywords with ~50–100 searches per month

If you want to get into this next layer, what we call the chunky middle in the SEO world, this is where there are thousands or tens of thousands of keywords potentially in your universe, but they only have between say 50 and a few hundred searches per month.

The fat head: a very few keywords with hundreds of thousands or millions of searches

Then this fat head has only a few keywords. There’s only one keyword like “soccer” or “soccer jersey,” which is actually probably more like the chunky middle, but it has hundreds of thousands or millions of searches. The fat head is higher competition and broader intent.

Searcher intent and keyword competition

What do I mean by broader intent? That means when someone performs a search for “soccer,” you don’t know what they’re looking for. The likelihood that they want a customizable soccer jersey right that moment is very, very small. They’re probably looking for something much broader, and it’s hard to know exactly their intent.

However, as you drift down into the chunky middle and into the long tail, where there are more keywords but fewer searches for each keyword, your competition gets much lower. There are fewer people trying to compete and rank for those, because they don’t know to optimize for them, and there’s more specific intent. “Customizable Sounders FC away jersey” is very clear. I know exactly what I want. I want to order a customizable jersey from the Seattle Sounders away, the particular colors that the away jersey has, and I want to be able to put my logo on there or my name on the back of it, what have you. So super specific intent.

Build a map of your own keyword universe

As a result, you need to figure out what the map of your universe looks like so that you can present that, and you need to be able to build a list that looks something like this. You should at the end of the keyword research process — we featured a screenshot from Moz’s Keyword Explorer, which is a tool that I really like to use and I find super helpful whenever I’m helping companies, even now that I have left Moz and been gone for a year, I still sort of use Keyword Explorer because the volume data is so good and it puts all the stuff together. However, there are two or three other tools that a lot of people like, one from Ahrefs, which I think also has the name Keyword Explorer, and one from SEMrush, which I like although some of the volume numbers, at least in the United States, are not as good as what I might hope for. There are a number of other tools that you could check out as well. A lot of people like Google Trends, which is totally free and interesting for some of that broad volume data.

So I might have terms like “soccer jersey,” “Sounders FC jersey”, and “custom soccer jersey Seattle Sounders.” Then I’ll have these columns: 

  • Volume, because I want to know how many people search for it; 
  • Difficulty, how hard will it be to rank. If it’s super difficult to rank and I have a brand-new website and I don’t have a lot of authority, well, maybe I should target some of these other ones first that are lower difficulty. 
  • Organic Click-through Rate, just like we talked about back here, there are different levels of click-through rate, and the tools, at least Moz’s Keyword Explorer tool uses Jumpshot data on a per keyword basis to estimate what percent of people are going to click the organic results. Should you optimize for it? Well, if the click-through rate is only 60%, pretend that instead of 100 searches, this only has 60 or 60 available searches for your organic clicks. Ninety-five percent, though, great, awesome. All four of those monthly searches are available to you.
  • Business Value, how useful is this to your business? 
  • Then set some type of priority to determine. So I might look at this list and say, “Hey, for my new soccer jersey website, this is the most important keyword. I want to go after “custom soccer jersey” for each team in the U.S., and then I’ll go after team jersey, and then I’ll go after “customizable away jerseys.” Then maybe I’ll go after “soccer jerseys,” because it’s just so competitive and so difficult to rank for. There’s a lot of volume, but the search intent is not as great. The business value to me is not as good, all those kinds of things.
  • Last, but not least, I want to know the types of searches that appear — organic, paid. Do images show up? Does shopping show up? Does video show up? Do maps results show up? If those other types of search results, like we talked about here, show up in there, I can do SEO to appear in those places too. That could yield, in certain keyword universes, a strategy that is very image centric or very video centric, which means I’ve got to do a lot of work on YouTube, or very map centric, which means I’ve got to do a lot of local SEO, or other kinds like this.

Once you build a keyword research list like this, you can begin the prioritization process and the true work of creating pages, mapping the pages you already have to the keywords that you’ve got, and optimizing in order to rank. We’ll talk about that in Part III next week. Take care.

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Mobile app ad fraud scheme stuffed banner ads with multiple video players

Sold as premium inventory, the scheme resulted in two million fraudulent ad calls per day, said DoubleVerify.

The post Mobile app ad fraud scheme stuffed banner ads with multiple video players appeared first on Marketing Land.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

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What do the symbols mean in Google’s Map Pack and Local Finder?

Over the past couple of years, Google has been consistently expanding upon its functionality for extracting information and displaying in local search results. Here are four features and how they operate.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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Bing upgrades text-to-speech, expands intelligent answers, improves visual search

Check out the latest upgrades made to Bing around voice, image and answer search.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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6 Twitter analytics tools to amplify your Twitter strategy

Twitter is an excellent platform to engage with friends and follow your favorite industry experts. But if you want to use it to promote your business or your personal brand, you have to do more than just broadcast tweets every once in a while. It’s not enough to blindly share your new blog posts and product updates either.

A great Twitter strategy requires proper analytics to understand what’s working and what isn’t. Are your Twitter posts generating any clicks? Is there any content format that’s performing better than others? Which topics do your followers love the most? At what time of day are your followers most active?

Analyzing all these aspects of your Twitter performance is essential to measure your social ROI, so you know you’re not just wasting your time on tweets that don’t deliver. It also helps you identify what kind of improvements to make and where you’re falling behind. That’s why it’s worth investing in the best Twitter analytics tools to keep track of how your posts are performing.

In this post, we’ve put together six of the best tools to analyze your Twitter efforts. Some of these tools will also help you identify trends and keep track of how your competitors are performing. All of this gives you a better idea of how to improve your Twitter strategy for sustainable growth.

1. Sprout Social

Guess you saw this coming—we made our own list! But there’s a good reason for it.

Among its comprehensive suite of social media management tools, Sprout Social also offers a powerful analytics solution for Twitter. Pull up custom analytics reports for any date range to understand how your posts are performing.

Get a clear overview of your overall impressions through these reports. Identify your top-performing content based on how many impressions, engagements and link clicks it generated. Or use the Sent Messages Report to dig deeper into the individual performance of each tweet.

If you want more than a one-dimensional look at your performance, generate a Twitter Comparison Report to see how you stack up against the competition.

Use the Twitter Trends Report to discover trending topics and hashtags across the platform. Shape your content strategy based on these trends to increase visibility and engagement. This report even helps you narrow down on influencers and brand advocates who are talking about you.

Combined with other management and publishing features, Sprout’s Twitter analytics will give you an all-in-one solution to manage all your Twitter activities in one place.

Price: Starts at $99 per user per month, sign up for a 30-day free trial or request a demo

Best for: Anyone who needs an all-in-one solution to manage their social media

2. Union Metrics

Union Metrics helps you visualize your social data through colorful graphics that are easy to understand even for novice marketers. It’s an analytics-only service that offers a comprehensive social analytics solution with Twitter analytics being one of the networks covered.

You get to monitor your Twitter performance in real time and receive the latest performance reports to stay up to date. Its Twitter analytics offerings also include keyword listening, campaign reporting and competitor analysis. These features let you audit your overall performance on the platform and optimize it if necessary.

Besides its paid analytics tool, the company also offers a few free Twitter analytics tools including the Twitter Snapshot Report. This gives you an overview of your brand performance on Twitter—perfect if you ever need a quick report for audits and presentations.

There’s also the Twitter Assistant tool, which provides you with recommendations customized according to your account for free. You’ll be able to discover the best time to tweet, the best types of content to post and which hashtags drive the most impressions.

This tool is an excellent addition to your social media marketing toolset if you’re using a free publishing service that doesn’t offer much in terms of analytics.

Price: Starts at $49 per month

Best for: Businesses that need a basic analytics solution to use alongside their publishing software

3. Tweepsmap

The better you know your audience, the better you’ll get at engaging them. Tweepsmap is one of the best Twitter analytics tools to gain a deeper understanding of your Twitter community and how to better engage them.

This tool lets you map your followers and identify key demographics including gender, language and profession. Use these insights to segment your community into relevant categories. This gives you leverage in creating content and campaigns that will appeal to different segments of your audience.

Understand your Twitter performance in terms of how many followers you’re gaining (or losing). Identify your most influential followers if you ever need to launch an influencer marketing or brand advocacy campaign.

While the free plan is solely focused on analytics, Tweepsmap also offers basic publishing features like the Tweet Scheduler for Premium users.

Price: Get basic access for free; Premium Plans start at $14

Best for: Companies and individuals who need a more comprehensive community analytics solution to go with their basic social media analytics software

4. Keyhole

Another analytics-only service, Keyhole lets you track conversations and understand audience sentiments around them. Get a better idea of how people on Twitter feel about your brand or your competitors by tracking keywords and hashtags.

Keyhole is one of the best Twitter analytics tools to discover actionable insights that will help you optimize your performance. It helps you learn how to craft more engaging tweets and when you should share them to get the most engagement.

You won’t even have to manually track your top-performing content and what time you posted them. This tool automatically recommends an Optimal Post Time for your account using visuals that are easy to process and understand.

Keyhole also simplifies the process of deciphering your competitors’ Twitter strategies. It helps you keep track of their account growth rate and activity, as well as their engagement data. You’ll then be able to use these insights to identify which tactics are most effective in your niche and which ones you should avoid.

Price: Starts at $199 per month

Best for: Businesses that want to conduct competitive analysis to optimize their Twitter strategies

5. Bluenod

Bluenod is another tool to conduct community analysis on Twitter. It helps you visualize the data behind communities that are relevant to specific hashtags or Twitter users. This makes it easier to understand these communities and their conversations. Find out the trending conversations they’re engaged in and which pieces of content are popular with them.

The most outstanding feature of this tool is its influencer analytics. It is one of the best Twitter analytics tools that also provide an in-depth look at what influencers are talking about and where there are opportunities for your brand.

In addition to identifying the most relevant influencers in your niche, it helps you understand them better. Bluenod analyzes each influencer’s most used hashtags to help you narrow down on their interests and motivations. So you’ll know exactly how to reach out to them and engage them for your campaigns.

This tool would be an excellent addition to your social media toolset if you ever want to run effective influencer marketing campaigns and amplify your social strategy.

Pricing: Starts at $99 per month (or $79 per month if you pay yearly), free trial available

Best for: Companies and agencies that want to conduct influencer analytics and run influencer marketing campaigns on Twitter

6. Native Twitter Analytics

Most social media marketers would already be familiar with the native analytics dashboard on Twitter. It’s one of the best free Twitter analytics tools available, making it an excellent option for those who aren’t yet ready to invest in a premium solution.

It gives you all the basic analytics data to understand how your tweets are performing. This includes an overview of how many impressions you garnered within a certain timeframe. So you’ll be able to keep track of when there were any spikes or drops in performance and what could have led to those changes.

This dashboard also lets you keep track of other performance metrics like number of mentions and profile visits from this dashboard.

Make the most of the audience demographics data to understand your community on a deeper level. Here, you will see the breakdown of your audience based on several factors such as interests, household income, occupation, buying behavior and interests.

These insights will come in handy when you’re brainstorming content ideas that would appeal to your audience. You’ll also be able to use them for developing effective Twitter marketing campaigns that target specific demographics.

Price: Free

Best for: Businesses that need data but aren’t ready to invest in premium Twitter analytics tools

What comes next?

There are tons of Twitter analytics tools to choose from—whether you’re willing to invest in a premium service or you need a free solution. But with too many options, it can be confusing to begin your search. Hopefully, this list helped you identify the best tools to focus on based on your needs.

Sign up for a free trial to give Sprout’s Twitter analytics a test run.

This post 6 Twitter analytics tools to amplify your Twitter strategy originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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How to conduct smarter social listening for consumer brands

If you want to know exactly what your customers want in 2019, you don’t have to look very hard.

Well, sort of.

Consider that product-related posts are among the most popular across social media. Whether it’s a shout-out or call-out, consumers can’t stop talking about products.

And on a related note, a staggering 60% of consumers actively seek out new products and services via social. Rather than dig through Google results, users can seek out authentic answers from actual people.

The takeaway here? Social media is an absolute goldmine of B2C intelligence. That’s exactly why social media for consumer brands is so important.

Want to know how to position yourself against your competitors? Wondering what products and services your customers want to see in the future?

Through B2C social listening, these answers and so much more are out in the open.

How to use B2C social listening to make better marketing decisions

Chances are you’re already monitoring your mentions and going back-and-forth with your customers. You’re probably keeping a close eye on your follower count, too.

And hey, that’s good!

There’s a massive difference between monitoring and listening, though. While monitoring certainly matters, social listening for consumer brands is about translating your customer interactions into, well, action.

In this guide, we’ll break down exactly how social listening for B2C can help attract new customers and ultimately make more informed marketing decisions.

With that, let’s dive right in!

Fine-tune your customer personas

The benefits of creating social media personas are well-documented.

Most B2C industries are crowded with competition. As a result, brands need to dig deep and define exactly what their target audiences look like as “one-size-fits-all” customer profiles just don’t cut it.

Maybe you’re a clothing company targeting environmentally-conscious females in their thirties. Perhaps you’re a grooming brand and your audience is millennial men with beards.

Either way, you’re going to want to be tuned into the pain points and desire of that audience, right?

Social listening for consumer brands means spotting trends and keywords related to the conversations that those customers are having.

For example, let’s say our female audience seems to be buzzing about “vegan” or “hemp” products. Meanwhile, our bearded audience seems to be discussing “hair loss” a lot more lately.  Listening to what your followers and customers are talking about allows you to adjust your personas accordingly and tap into niches that you otherwise might have missed.

Provide more comprehensive customer service

In a world where half of all consumers sound off on businesses via social, the need to provide speedy and thoughtful customer service is universal for B2C brands.

And although Twitter is often seen as the go-to customer service channel for many companies, you can’t afford to ignore the likes of Instagram and Facebook for customer care.

Social listening means not only listening to the variety of concerns among your customers but also what they’re concerned about. This allows you to properly allocate your customer support team and come up with solutions for your customers’ most common questions.

Overcome common sales objections (and uncover opportunities)

Just as you want to know why customers like your products, you need to pay attention to folks who aren’t buying from you.

This series of interactions from Yeti is a good example of how social listening for consumer brands can help businesses overcome objections and uncover opportunities. While Yeti’s posts get tons of love from their followers, they also receive meaningful feedback and questions from their followers.

Each of these comments is totally legitimate and could serve as a sort of “lightbulb moment” for a new product. Part of social listening for B2C is collecting these moments and spotting trends from them. If you see overwhelming demand for a specific product, perhaps it’s time to make it a reality.

Also, remember that your business is just a single voice in your industry’s conversation. Listening to your competitors’ activity is an absolute must-do. For example, B2C brands should have a pulse of customer mentions including product comparisons that pit your products against someone else’s. These sorts of reviews are all the rage on YouTube and social media at large.

These sorts of conversations can clue you in on what your current customers love and likewise what sets you apart from the competition.

Figure out where you stand in your industry

On a related note, understanding how exactly you stack up against your competitors can be tricky.

Metrics alone often don’t tell the whole story. For example, comparing follower counts between two brands is often apples and oranges when engagement rate is what’s more relevant.

This again speaks to why social listening for consumer brands matters so much. Rather than stare at a laundry list of metrics wondering what they mean, listening can provide some much-needed context including:

  • The positive and negative sentiment surrounding your brand mentions online
  • Whether or not your followers are digging your content and products
  • What specific terms people are using to discuss your brand

For example, do you know how your potential audiences feel about your industry at large? Sprout’s social listening and analytics features such as sentiment analysis can help brands understand where the love is coming from and what’s cause for complaint.

Meanwhile, reporting via Sprout also highlights the most popular keywords and hashtags related to your business. Combined with sentiment analysis, you can understand what people are saying about your business and why.

Highlight your unique selling proposition

Hidden within the data points above is your brand’s unique selling proposition.

Again, B2C brands need to have their positioning on point if they want to stand out in a sea of competition.

Specialized features, price points and speedy service are just a few concerns that your prospects and customers have about whatever you might be selling. B2C social listening encourages brands to dive deep into what their target audience is looking for.

Beyond your own mentions, consider how conversations on platforms like Reddit can highlight the specific needs of customers that you or your competition might not be aware of.

Capitalize on your customer interactions

Customer mentions are invaluable for B2C. Whether it’s a shout-out or customer photo, such mentions serve as valuable social proof and marketing firepower that show off your satisfied customers.

Of course, such moments are time-sensitive. Through social listening, you can track your mentions in real-time to craft meaningful responses that capitalize on your most important customer interactions.

Looking at your biggest brand advocates and most-shared products, brands have an even better idea of what drives engagement from their followers.

Note that not all of your mentions are necessarily going to be positive. This again circles back for the need to provide stellar customer service. Especially in the case of a question or call-out, sleeping on comments is a bad look. Social listening ensures that you respond in a timely manner.

Measure the success of your marketing campaigns

This is a big one.

B2C brands are expected to consistently roll out new campaigns, both for the sake of keeping up with social media trends and producing fresh content for your followers.

Of course, those campaigns come with some sort of price tag. Social listening empowers brands to put your most important campaigns into context to see if they’re actually paying off. For example, consider how social listening can help brand assess the following:

Sprout features such as engagement tracking can assess spikes in activity as a result of such campaigns. Businesses should rightfully be held accountable for the success (or lack thereof) from social campaigns to ensure that they can get the most bang for their buck.

How to streamline social listening for consumer brands

Now that we’ve broken down the benefits of social media listening for B2C, the question remains: how do you start tracking all of this stuff?

Fair question!

There is a decent amount of data you can gather “by hand” to get your social listening strategy off the ground. For starters, you’re going to want to conduct some competitive analysis to determine what other companies are targeting your customers. Similarly, businesses should understand how to spot hashtags and keywords relevant to the products they’re selling.

Of course, nothing beats an advanced listening tool such as Sprout to give you a comprehensive overview of your B2C social presence. For example, Sprout’s reporting can pull hashtags and phrases associated to your business including competing brand names to watch.

The process is tracking these terms is a cinch, especially with the help of Sprout’s query builder. Instead of just monitoring your brand’s mentions, you can spot conversations that could lead to new customers which otherwise would have gone totally unnoticed.

The beauty of Sprout is that our listening tool gives you a bird’s eye view of social media as well as the web at large. In other words, you can track the networks that matter the most to your business and have detailed reports delivered directly to your inbox at a moment’s notice.

How’s that for listening?

What does your B2C social listening strategy look like?

People are inevitably talking about your business online or at the very least your industry.

So ask yourself: are you listening?

From new products to better positioning, B2C brands have so much to gain when they’re able to tap into the conversations of prospects and customers alike. That’s exactly why social listening for consumer brands is such a worthwhile investment.

We want to hear from you, though. How well are you listening to your customers? How do you keep your ear to the ground on industry conversations? Let us know in the comments below!

This post How to conduct smarter social listening for consumer brands originally appeared on Sprout Social.

Reblogged 9 hours ago from

5 social listening services you can offer your clients

Social listening services have been a huge selling point for us lately. More of our clients (and brands in general) see the value and importance of customer service through social media. Because of this, we’ve found unique ways to use social listening services for these clients.

Not that customer care is the only way to service your clients with social listening. There are actually five different services we’ve been able to offer to our clients, which we’ll unpack below.

The benefit of social listening services for your clients

A little background: At B Squared Media, we’ve been selling done-for-you social media management and advertising services for nearly seven years.

Our clients range from small to enterprise. For the most part, we’ve seen the medium to enterprise clients take an interest in social listening services.

We’ve offered these services through our partnership with Sprout Social, using Sprout Advanced Listening.

As with all of our services, we provide “done-for-you” support, meaning that our team manages the software and social listening services, while reporting on the key performance indicators (KPIs) or goals we determine with each client.

Social listening can be used in a myriad of ways for your clients. We like to break our listening services into three major groups, (which we stole from Sprout Social, who taught us these three use cases):

  1. Industry intelligence
  2. Competitive intelligence
  3. Brand intelligence

I’ll outline these three use cases, plus give examples and some KPIs and goals below as we go through each of the five services we sell, which we have examples for.

Two social listening services for industry intelligence

Let’s start by looking at services for industry intelligence.

There are three opportunities to sell social listening services for Industry Intelligence.

  1. Audience & trend analysis
  2. Product & content research
  3. Influencer marketing research

Let’s take a deeper dive into two of these services below.

Product & content research

At B Squared, our marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign.” So, as we use social listening to measure conversations around the brands we monitor, we automatically start collecting data on what content our audience engages with most.

For example, we tag all of our client conversations with special tags that allow us to see when products, services or even hashtags are used, more or less.

You can use social listening to look at your competitors’ content, too.

Here’s a cool example of how we use social listening to help us with content and product research.

This client, a luxury appliance brand, has us using social listening to find instances of when clients are using “how do I …” or “how to …” type content around their products.

In the example graphs above, you can see that 83% of people using these types of questions were referring to widget A and 17% (or one person) had a pain point around cleaning product 2.

What we can do to solve these pain points is to take this information back to the client and have them produce “how to” videos that directly address the issues consumers are having with their products.

In the future, when these how-to scenarios come up, we can send the customer straight to a video that speaks directly to the issue they’re having. And over time, we can see that this content shows up in search. Our hope is that the customer doesn’t even have to ask on social how to solve for X once the how-to product video ranks.

Influencer marketing research

As it stands, our clients can’t afford to hire a Kardashian for their influencer strategies (nor do any of them have the desire).

However, they are extremely interested in working with micro influencers in their industry. We use social listening capabilities to do find them.

It’s a more-than-simple process, too. We just look for individuals trending around certain topics that align with our clients’ brands.

Our KPI here is to find suitable micro influencers and pass them to the client to start a conversation and possible relationship.

Two social listening services for competitive intelligence

When we look at the competitive landscape, there are three opportunities where social listening services can help:

  1. Competitor comparison
  2. Sentiment research
  3. Tactical differentiation

Here, we’re going to focus on another two examples.


Sentiment is a great way to take the temperature of your brand as a whole or to dive deeper into specific campaigns, products or topics associated with your brand.

Using the same luxury appliance client, we can see from the below graphs that there is a lot of negative sentiment around customer service. And 10% of that relates to “no call back” from the customer service department.


Once again, we take this information to the internal team for a fix. In this particular instance, a new customer service training, system, or software is implemented in hopes of seeing the negative sentiment around customer service go down or turn neutral/positive.

On the positive side, you can see there’s 41% positive messaging around “brand love.” This is the type of content we’d look for to create UGC or user-generated content.

Tactical differentiation

Another fun way to use social listening services for competitive intelligence is via tactical differentiation. We actually sell this as “competitor warfare,” which plays to both #1 and #3 in the competitive intelligence group.

For one, you can easily use listening to pinpoint your biggest competitors on social media and compare their messaging to yours.

Once you’ve identified your closest competitors, you can then use listening tools to help understand how your similar campaigns measure up. In other words, what types of campaigns and content strategies do your competitors use and how can you differentiate yourself?

Let me tell you, clients love “competitor warfare.” Add in some paid research from a tool like SEMrush and the sky is the limit with research and reporting offerings.

One social listening example for brand intelligence

Lastly, brand intelligence is another place to consider selling social listening services.

And again, there are three opportunities to leverage when coming up with your menu of listening services:

  1. Brand health
  2. Customer experience
  3. Campaign analysis

Brand health

For clients who just want to dip their toe into the vast pool of social listening, may we offer you–or may you offer them–an audit?

Sure, you can call it a “brand health overview” or something fancy, but we just like to go with a “social listening audit.” Use your gut and play to the tone and voice of the client and what would resonate best with them.

By running a “basic” social listening audit for your client’s brand, you can identify things like:

  • Frequently-asked customer questions
  • Feedback or conversation topics
  • Complaints
  • Audience demographics
  • Overall brand sentiment

Share those insights with the client in your custom audit deck, and ta-dah, you’ve got yourself a pre-contract, value-add tool that should whet your clients’ whistle to go down the other rabbit holes we explored in this post.

Social listening as a service

At the end of the day, there are a variety of ways to utilize the three listening groups to create different listening services for your clients…and even more ways to pitch them.

Maybe you want to offer everything in one, comprehensive done-for-you service. Or maybe, like us, you want to offer different service tiers for different clients.

No matter how you slice and dice the capabilities of social listening, there are many options available to you to nurture your client relationships and rake in the revenue while doing so.

B Squared Media is a Founding Member of the Sprout Social Agency Partner Program.

This post 5 social listening services you can offer your clients originally appeared on Sprout Social.

Reblogged 9 hours ago from