Our Blog

Check out our insights into the world of media and marketing, along with project spotlights, featured blogs from our client pages and other musings on how to optimize brand recognition in today’s technologically-driven environment.

Using SWOT Analysis to Make Smart Business Decisions

A bright idea is the first step to making your business dreams a reality; however, don’t let that bright light blind you. Going into business without a solid plan in place only serves to hurt you in the long run. Plan, strategy—whatever you call it—it’s important to have one to ensure that your company is running smoothly. At McNutt & Partners, we use what is called SWOT analysis to not only assess our own company’s status, but to help our clients do the same. Follow along as we discuss using SWOT analysis to make smart business decisions.

What is SWOT?

No, we didn’t misspell “SWAT” (no flak jackets here). SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. The point of SWOT analysis is to guide business leaders in considering all of the factors involved in making a business decision. The decision could be to implement a new internal company initiative, to attempt a new strategy for obtaining leads, or even to edit an existing plan that has already been set in motion.

Using SWOT Analysis to Make Smart Business Decisions

In addition to implementing a specific action, SWOT can also be used as a means of making an overall assessment of a business itself—whether that business is still in the idea stage or has a longstanding reputation in the industry. Here, we’ll talk about how we use SWOT to help our clients assess what is and is not working in regard to their business models—and how that affects their business decisions.

Strengths

“S” in SWOT stands for strengths—meaning what strengths does your business decision (or your business model as a whole) possess? Ask yourself—what problem am I trying to solve? What niche am I trying to fill? The strengths portion of the analysis is an internal factor, meaning that you already have access to the resources that affect those strengths (finances, experts/staff, location, etc.) Make a list of the strengths associated with your business, product or service.

Weaknesses

Where there are strengths, there are weaknesses. Second in the acronym, weaknesses are also internal factors; however, these are the negative ones that threaten to detract from your strengths. Let’s say you have a new product you are trying to market. What are the barriers to doing so? What does your business need to do to be competitive? For example, do you need a patent? Say you are lacking in some of the areas mentioned in the strengths description above. If your weaknesses are lack of resources, for instance, note them here.

Opportunities

Switching gears from internal factors, SWOT’s “O” represents an external factor—opportunities. Here, you should identify variables in the business climate around you that can positively affect your initiatives. Is your product or service meeting a need that is currently in-demand in your respective market? Are industry regulations in a state of change that could give you a push in the right direction? This could even come down to answering the simple question—do your customers give you good feedback (considering you are already in business)? The economy, outside funding sources, and even environmental standards can all be factors that play into your opportunities. Outline your opportunities as part of your SWOT analysis.

Threats

Capping off our SWOT analysis is the “T,” which stands for threats. As the aggressor to your opportunities, you should consider threats in the same categories as we delineated above. Threats are also an external factor—so think about things you have no control over. Are competitors threatening to unseat you? Are your supply resources readily available? Does technology portend to make your product or service irrelevant? People other than you making decisions—from consumers to politicians—are the source of these potential threats. Take a minute and think about what factors are a threat to your success.

So, what now?

Now that you’ve collected the information, it’s time to turn it into action. Interpreting SWOT analysis has everything to do with determining how each of the categories relates to another. For example, use your internal strengths to figure out how to take advantage of your external opportunities. You can also employ your strengths to combat your external threats.

Don’t forget about your internal weaknesses. External opportunities may be able to address them. Also, ask yourself what actions you can take to keep your weaknesses from growing in the face of the threats you identified.

The overall goal 

In using SWOT analysis to make smart business decisions, keep in mind that the overarching purpose is to form a business strategy that will ultimately set you up for success. At McNutt & Partners, we can  help you consider that strategy from the marketing perspective. Read more about the components of an effective marketing strategy.

Need help? McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

 

What is Remarketing? The Benefits of Remarketing for Businesses

Even if you don’t know what remarketing is as a technical term, you’ve more than likely already encountered it—and continue to encounter it every time you turn on your computer or unlock your smartphone. Sure, we’ve all been annoyed by online ads; however, isn’t it more annoying when the ads are completely irrelevant to your tastes and preferences? That’s where remarketing comes in. Here, we’ll define remarketing and talk about some of the benefits of remarketing for businesses.

What is remarketing—generally?

As a basic definition, remarketing is the practice of placing online ads that are targeted to users who have already completed a specific action online, like visiting a website. These past website users will see the ads located at various points throughout their daily web browsing, such as YouTube, Facebook or non-ecommerce sites like news platforms.

In addition to targeting people who visit specific websites, remarketing can also apply to users who have searched for particular terms. Or, it can work based off of the people on your email list, or those who have previously watched your YouTube channel, for example.

What is remarketing—specifically?

Let’s get technical. Remarketing uses JavaScript tags (pixels) to place cookies in users’ web browsers. The browser cookies then inform the remarketing platform as to which websites users have visited. Based on that information, it adds the users to various remarketing audiences, which determine which types of ads the remarketing platform will then serve up.

The reason for remarketing

As a general consensus, you may think that everyone hates online ads. The truth is, people are more so bothered by the online ads that are not relevant to them. In fact, a HubSpot study found that 77 percent of people would prefer an ad filtering program rather than blocking ads altogether.

That being the case, it’s safe to say that this majority of users does not mind ads so long as the ads reflect their personal interests. You could even go so far as to say that some people welcome remarketing ads because they often serve as reminders of brands or products a consumer has been interested in but not yet pursued or purchased.

The benefits of remarketing for businesses

There are a handful of benefits of remarketing for businesses, including:

(Automated) personalization of ads

A remarketing program takes the guesswork out of ad placement and personalization from your end. This creates improved ad experiences on behalf of consumers.

The ability to achieve various objectives

There are several things you can achieve through remarketing. Promote a specific product or offer, garner email list subscribers, or even recover abandoned online shopping carts. Any call to action can be turned into a remarketing ad.

Guiding consumers to a sale

Because remarketing knows which products or pages a person has already been browsing, it’s useful for reminding people about items they may still want to purchase (or actions they may still want to take). For example, a shopper may have been looking at a particular pair of shoes on your website but opted to think about it some more before making the purchase. Remarketing can bring the product back to the consumer’s attention in hopes of guiding him or her to a sale.

Brand exposure

As with all marketing efforts, the benefits of remarketing for businesses includes heightened brand exposure. Even if it does not lead to a conversion, remarketing places your brand in front of those consumers that are most likely to refer to you in the future.

High click-through and conversion rates

The numbers show that remarketing ads have higher click-through and conversion rates than regular display ads. In fact, WordStream reported that remarketing targets clicked on Google remarketing ads at a rate 2-3 times higher than new site visitors.

Cost effectiveness

Remarketing costs vary; however, remarketing ads have generally been shown to be fairly cost effective for online advertisers. Again we’ll use Google remarketing ads (called the Google Display Network) as an example—courtesy of WordStream. Google’s Display Network ads cost, on average, $0.66 per click, compared to the $1.23 per click of typical Google Search ads.

Summary

If web users have to see ads, they would rather see ads that are tailored to their specific interests. Therefore, the benefits of remarketing for businesses make it a tool that can be useful to have at your disposal.

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

Influencer Marketing: What Is It, and How Can It Benefit My Brand?

In digital marketing, the purpose of using social media is to convey your messages to a large audience of online consumers—who already spend a considerable amount of their time online and specifically in the social media space. Algorithms limiting the amount of social media users who see business’ content pose a barrier to this goal, thus why content engagement becomes so critical. But what if you had help from someone who is in a better position than you are to encourage engagement? Such is the idea behind influencer marketing.

What is influencer marketing?

As an umbrella term, influencer marketing refers to the practice of using content creators with strong followings to improve your brand/product awareness and drive customer leads in the process. Brand influencers typically exist in a certain niche, which ideally should be one that applies to your product or services.

This “content creation” can be in the form of social media posts, blogs, podcasts, TV and even print ads and can range from celebrities to stay-at-home parents. However, for our purposes, we are going to focus on influencer marketing as it pertains to social media.

Social media influencers have an already-established significant social presence. That being the case, they have the ability to expose your brand to numbers of potential followers—more than you could do from your page alone.

It’s important to note that for an influencer to be effective, he or she must portray similar interests and values to what you are promoting. In other words, it should be a fit that makes sense. You probably wouldn’t want a teenage fashion blogger advocating for your potty training book, for example.

Why is influencer marketing effective?

Think of influencer marketing as a mutually beneficial relationship.

When working with an influencer as a brand, you are having someone advocate on your behalf. This someone has already established credibility within his or her niche market and therefore has followers seeking those word-of-mouth opinions about products and services.

In today’s review-driven digital landscape, consumers trust these opinions more than ever. In fact, 92 percent of consumers say they trust word-of-mouth recommendations above all else.

How do the influencers benefit? You’re providing them inspiration for fresh content to share with their followers. Depending on the way the relationship is structured, the influencer may also be receiving monetary or material compensation in return (more on that below).

Working with a brand influencer also gives you the opportunity to have your message broadcast from a fresh perspective. Sometimes your own ideas about how to frame your messaging can get stale, so it helps to have an outsider’s point of view. An influencer can put a new, creative spin on things. In addition, because influencers work on your behalf, it takes some of the burden off of your own marketing efforts.

Circling back—the number one reason to work with an influencer is: exposure! You may have a couple hundred followers on your business’ social page, but a credible influencer likely has thousands (if not more). This equates to more eyeballs on your content.

What does the influencer relationship look like?

There are several ways a brand influencer relationship can be structured, and it comes down to determining which best aligns with the goals you have for working with an influencer in the first place. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Gift your product or service. Offer to send influencers samples of what you are selling in exchange for them promoting it on their page (and tagging you as well). This is one of the most common (and easiest) ways of working with an influencer.
  • Give discounts in exchange for shout outs. If you do not want to give it away completely for free, you can offer discounts in exchange for shout outs.
  • Set up a giveaway featuring your product. Instead of giving the product/service to the influencers, ask them to set up a contest on their pages for which the winners will receive your product/service. The influencer will benefit from engagement, while you’ll benefit from brand exposure.
  • Organize a product demo. Work with your influencer to set up a demo of him or her trying your product. The most effective way to do this is with video; however, a blog post in which the influencer describes his or her experience could work as well.
  • Pay cash for product posts. This may not be the most budget friendly of the ways to cultivate an influencer relationship, but depending on who you work with, it may be worth it.
  • Offer commission. This is a more formal type of influencer relationship, which could be described as a “brand ambassador” or “brand affiliate.” In this structure, the influencer would receive commission based on sales that he or she reigned in.

So how do you find an influencer?

Finding an influencer who will work well for your brand can be as simple as logging onto Instagram and searching for a specific hashtag. For instance, #pottytraining, #pottytrainingadvice or even #momblogger could work for our previous example. There are also websites designed to match up brands with influencers, such as buzzsumo.com, zoomph.com and izea.com.

As it turns out, sometimes influencers will find you! Check your inbox for collaboration requests. However, beware of spam requests as you do this.

Summary

Influencer marketing can be a win-win situation for both your brand and your collaborator. Heightened exposure, fresh perspectives and extended credibility are all benefits that working with an influencer can afford you.

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

We’re a Full-Service Ad Agency, but What Does That Mean?

If you’ve read any of our blogs over the years, you’ve seen our signature call-to-action at the bottom: McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page. So we’re a full-service ad agency, but what exactly does that mean? Here’s some insight!

The big picture

The overarching theme of “full service” means that we’re a one-stop shop for all of your branding and marketing needs. Need a logo? We’ve got you. How about a website? Yup. Email campaign? Billboard? Custom-branded app? Check, check and check.

The benefits

The obvious benefit of working with a full-service ad agency is convenience. With all of your marketing needs taken care of under one roof, it makes your life a whole lot easier. In addition to sheer convenience, working with one agency on all aspects of marketing creates the opportunity to build a sense of trust with that entity. In having influence over various facets of your marketing, the agency gets to know your brand and marketing history better than if your efforts were spread across multiple resource channels.

FAQ

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Here are a few frequently-asked questions when it comes to understanding a full-service ad agency.

Q: Does full-service mean I can’t work with anyone else for marketing?

A: No! When you work with us, you are free to also work with whoever else you choose. We do our best to coordinate with other marketing-based services you may be interacting with. However, due to the benefits outlined above, we do think full-service is the way to go.

Q: How can a full-service ad agency help my brand?

A: A full-service agency like McNutt & Partners works to extend your brand presence across various mediums. Our goal is to give you a presence where you didn’t have one before and enhance that presence where you already have one.

Q: I’ve never worked with an agency before. What can I expect?

A: Upon signing on as our client, we’ll first assess your marketing strengths and weaknesses to see how we can help. We will take inventory of your current brand assets and establish ones that we believe could be beneficial. And don’t worry—you’ll be clued in every step of the way! Full service also means we’re at your service—for anything and everything. Think about it as having a full-time support staff!

What makes McNutt & Partners full service?

We call ourselves a “full-service advertising and digital marketing agency,” but really that can all be placed under the same umbrella. In today’s digital landscape, much of our focus is on digital marketing as consumers’ preferences are intertwined with technology. However, the term “full-service” implies that our specialties for brand marketing extend off of the digital screen. Do we do social media and websites? Yes. But is that all? Certainly not.

Our abilities that make us “full service” include:

  • Digital marketing
  • Search engine optimization
  • Graphic design
  • Social media
  • Copywriting
  • Blogging
  • Email marketing
  • Pay-per-click advertising
  • Video editing and production
  • Audio editing and production
  • Pre-roll ads
  • Digital ads
  • Website development and design
  • App development and design
  • Augmented reality
  • Print ads
  • Promotional materials
  • Publications
  • Billboards, banners and signage
  • Brand strategy
  • And more!

And you know, just for the sake of consistency:

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

We’ve Moved! Meet Us at McNutt & Partners’ New Location

They say that change is inevitable, but growth is optional. At McNutt & Partners, we like to think the two go hand-in-hand. In addition to wishing everyone a happy Labor Day today, we want to share some news—that we’ve moved offices! McNutt & Partners’ new location not only gives us room to grow, but space to better serve our clients both local and beyond.

Wait, why did you move?

Sometimes it’s just nice to have a change! Which in this case is true, but we also needed more SPACE. Our staff has continued to grow over the years, and though we have several remote employees, we did not even have room for some of our local ones in our previous space (which means they got to work from home, so win-win for them maybe?)

We’ll miss being a part of the Auburn Research Park, but now we have room for all of our people—and all of our stuff. Again, this will help keep our employees happy and allow us to better serve our clients as well.

Wait, where did you move?

We’re still in Auburn—not far from our previous location in the Auburn Research Park. Our new office address is:

1661 Shug Jordan Pkwy, Suite 501

Auburn, AL 36832

If you want to come visit—that’s where to go. BUT, keep in mind that our mailing address is still the same. It is:

PO Box 3468

Auburn, AL 36831

If you’re not savvy on addresses, let’s use landmarks. McNutt & Partners’ new location is on Shug Jordan Parkway near the intersection of N. Donahue Drive (across the street from Walmart Neighborhood Market and right down from 323 Cigar Bar, Marco’s and Guthrie’s).

What else do I need to know?

That’s pretty much it. We’ll be working over the next month or so to get furniture placed, artwork hung and adjusted to having more space than we’ve ever had to work with (so much room for activities!). We’ll post more pictures once those tasks are checked off the list.

The McNutt & Partners team is excited about our new location and the opportunities we will have to better serve our clients here. Come by and see us!

And keep in mind— if at any time you have a question—whether it is about the services we are providing, billing, or even the nature of the client/agency relationship—we encourage you to please reach out to us. Our goal is to foster open lines of communication between ourselves and our clientele in an effort to cultivate a successful working environment in which we can all thrive.

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

Sound Off: Exploring the Idea of Sonic Branding

You’re walking down the sidewalk on your lunch hour and a familiar tune pops into your head. Did you hear it on the radio this morning? Was your co-worker singing it? Where did it come from? The fact is, you may not have even heard it that day at all. Thus is the idea of sonic branding. A term that sounds more complex than it is, sonic branding is something that we (consciously or not) encounter practically every day.

What is sonic branding?

You know that branding involves curating a specific “look” for your business or product. Sonic branding, on the other hand, has to do with the way your brand sounds. In other words, sonic branding refers to creating auditory associations with your brand for consumers. It employs the power of sound and music to help consumers make connections with your brand.

Sonic branding can exist in multiple formats, from fully-produced jingles and theme songs to signature sounds that involve little more than a few notes on a keyboard.

The idea is that when people hear your sonic brand, it will stay top of mind. There’s a good case for it to do so, as 45 percent of the population are reportedly auditory vs. visual learners.

A few familiar examples of sonic branding

The best way to illustrate sonic branding is to look at a few examples that you are likely already familiar with.

Visa

Visa uses a recognizable two-note signature that is not only used in the brand’s advertisements, but in a million points of sale across 25 countries when people use Visa’s “Tap to Pay” function.

MasterCard

Another major credit card company, MasterCard, recently debuted its new “sonic brand,” explaining the phenomenon in a YouTube video that describes how the sound will be used. In the video, MasterCard states:

“It’s the sound equivalent of our iconic red and yellow circles. From the music you’ll hear in our commercials, to the acceptance sound while shopping, our unique melody will reinforce our brand every time a consumer interacts with MasterCard.”

MasterCard goes on to say that its sonic brand will be adapted for use across several platforms, as well as geographically to appeal to various consumers.

NBC

Some examples of sonic branding existed before the term was even coined. The National Broadcasting Network (NBC) boasts a familiar three-note chime that dates back to the 1920s. It originally consisted of seven notes when it was developed in 1927. By the early 1930s, it was shortened to the three notes that we know today.

McDonald’s

Beyond just sounds, jingles fall under the umbrella of sonic branding. Think about “Da, da, da, da, da! I’m lovin’ it.” Even without the words, McDonald’s widely-known jingle is one that most of us could pick out of a lineup. It’s become so familiar, in fact, that it’s gone through several iterations that vary by musical genre.

Why is sonic branding effective?

Music is a universal language that can be spoken and comprehended across all cultures in spite of idiomatic differences. Thus, it’s a powerful way to connect with various audiences while reinforcing brand identity.

It’s something we can all attest to—just think about sonic branding the next time a jingle or theme song gets stuck in your head! Just like visual associations with brand insignia can be strong, so can these auditory connections.

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

 

 

Why We Use Cloudflare for Website Security

The internet can be a scary place. Among a web of unregulated content, you want your site to be as secure as possible. That’s where we come in—with the help of Cloudflare! Here’s a little more about why we use Cloudflare for website security—and what it means for your digital assets when you work with us.

What exactly is Cloudflare?

Cloudflare is a cloud service providing (among other things) CDN, web application firewall, DDoS protection, and managed DNS services. In other words, their services make websites that use its platform faster, more secure, and more reliable.

Cloudflare is one of the leaders in the web security space. According to their website, they are “one of the world’s largest cloud network platforms.” Their users include some of the largest companies, institutions, and web brands today. These include Discord, IBM, the Library of Congress, Reuters, OkCupid, and many more.

Let’s break it down further

There are four overarching categories that Cloudflare serves to enhance. These include performance, security, reliability and insight, as outlined on Cloudflare’s website. Under the umbrella of those categories, it seeks to:

  • Accelerate internet applications
  • Enhance mobile experiences
  • Ensure application availability
  • Protect against the risk of DDoS attacks
  • Prevent customer data breaches
  • Block against abusive bots
  • Provide a reliable, innovative infrastructure
  • Integrate with and augment popular analytics services

Why do we use Cloudflare for website security?

Here at McNutt & Partners, we use various parts of Cloudflare’s services (from security to domain registration) for virtually every website, app, and other service we manage.

We use Cloudflare for web security for a variety of reasons. Chief among them is its world-leading DDoS protection. A DDoS, or distributed denial of service, is a type of attack in which computers and other devices from around the world (often malware-infected “zombies”) flood a server with garbage traffic. They do this in an attempt to render it inaccessible to legitimate users. Cloudflare has enormous network capacity and sophisticated mitigation techniques. This allows them to absorb and discard most DDoS attacks without the performance of the website being affected.

In addition to its DDoS protection, Cloudflare’s web application firewall provides a layer of protection against a wide variety of attacks. These attacks would attempt to inject malicious code into or steal sensitive user data from websites.

The service’s different plan levels allow us to tailor the level of protection to the needs of each site we manage. For many of our websites, Cloudflare’s excellent free plan is exactly what we need. This includes their performance-boosting CDN (content delivery network). Cloudflare’s global CDN caches copies of static files like images, stylesheets, and JavaScript files. It then serves them to end users from locations worldwide, instead of the single source location of the website itself.

Why is website security important?

Security is a critical consideration in all websites and apps in 2019. Not all aspects of security can be shored up with a service like Cloudflare (for example, strong passwords and two-factor authentication for administrative user accounts). However, Cloudflare does form an important part of our defense-in-depth strategy.

Armies of bots and humans with tools are constantly scanning the internet, looking for opportunities to deface websites or inject malicious code to steal user data like credit card information and more. Cloudflare helps protect against those bad actors, sometimes preventing them from even being able to reach the site they’re trying to attack. We value the security and privacy of our clients and every one of their customers, so we use Cloudflare to help protect them.

Summary

The fact that we use Cloudflare for website security means that our clients’ sites remain protected to the best of our ability against the threats of the internet. In what can sometimes seem like the Wild West, we seek to help keep order.

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

 

 

 

 

The Actual Influence of Online Reviews on SEO

Nothing beats word-of-mouth when it comes to generating business leads. In the digital climate, word-of-mouth translates to online reviews. Statistics reveal that people are more likely to make a purchase when their fellow consumers have recommended a product or service. In fact, 93 percent of consumers say online reviews have affected their purchasing decisions, according to Podium. Positive online reviews not only help in terms of influencing consumer decisions, but also in terms of SEO. The influence of online reviews on SEO is one that you’ll want to pay attention to—and here’s why.

The main point

Search engines like Google rely on online reviews to help manage search rankings. That means that the influence of online reviews on SEO is a direct one. According to MOZ’s Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, online reviews make up 10.3 percent of overall SEO ranking factors. In other words, search engines want to show you results that other consumers have ranked highly.

Here are a few more specifics regarding the influence of online reviews on SEO.

Prioritizing consumer opinions

Search engines trust consumer opinions in making their ranking determinations—and why shouldn’t they? It’s validly a more neutral opinion than what a business says about itself. Good reviews signal to Google and other search engines that your business is legitimate—and that people are responding positively to their interactions with your business and/or products. That being said, it makes sense that Google would want to rank these businesses higher than ones with poor reviews—or with no reviews at all.

Voice assistants are also getting in on the action. When searching for the “best” type of business in a given location, Google equates “best” with those businesses with high ratings. For example, “Best coffee shops in midtown Atlanta” would yield results from highly-ranked coffee shops in that area.

More reviews, more traffic

It’s simple—the more reviews a business or product has, the more traffic is going to pages associated with your brand. Traffic is another driving factor in SEO. Search engine algorithms see active pages as ones that they should prioritize higher in the ranking. Again, this goes back to trusting consumers. If consumers think a page is viable enough to frequent, then Google will think it more viable as well. And what attracts people to your pages? Positive reviews that will help them make buying decisions.

Reviews educate search engines

Search engines are regularly crawling the internet to reassess their rankings. When people create content about your business and/or product(s), they are helping to educate search engines on what your business and/or products(s) are all about. The explanations, descriptions and keywords contained in review copy help point search engines in the right direction in terms of knowing how to categorize (and rank) your digital assets.

Search results and review sites   

When we talk about online reviews, where are we looking? Some of the giants of the online review world include Google My Business (leaving a review on a Google listing), Yelp and Facebook. On Amazon, product reviews are also obviously king. With an abundance of reviews, your listings on these actual sites could come up in search results for your brand (or keywords related to it).

Summary

The influence of online reviews on SEO is apparent. After all, it’s the word-of-mouth of the internet! The more you have people positively talking about you online, the better chance that search engines will follow suit.

Learn more about collecting local reviews for your business. Or, read more about responding to existing business reviews.

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

 

 

Online Linguistics: Exploring the Origins of Internet Slang

Since humans first started communicating with one another, the nature of language has always been determined by both ability and situational need. Ability, meaning the means through which people are able to communicate. Situational need, meaning the way humans communicate depends on what they need to communicate in a given situation. Since the internet became a dominant form of communication, it has exposed humans to a whole new world of online lingo. From abbreviated expressions of emotion to new words entirely, internet slang shines in today’s linguistic spotlight. The origins of internet slang, however, may have more to do with past forms of media than we may realize.

Internet slang’s predecessors

When looking at the origins of internet slang, we have to consider its communicatory predecessors: TV, phone and radio. In 1937, the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials developed the “ten codes,” for radio for the sake of brevity. For example, “10-4” means “message received.” Among other places, the ten codes are used by both law enforcement and truck drivers on CB radios, where CB slang is a language all its own.

Another example from radio is “FYI,” which was in use long before its presence on the internet. FYI, standing for “For Your Information,” was the name of a breaking news radio program in the 1940s.

In regard to telephones, think about 4-1-1, the number that pre-Google was used to dial for information about listings in a local directory. That evolved into the phrase, “Give me the 4-1-1,” which translates to, “Fill me in on the latest info.”

Then, on TV, some words created and popularized by various shows have become official dictionary entries. For example, the word “cowabunga” first appeared on “Howdy Doody” (1947-1960) and was further popularized via “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (1987-1996). Another, the official word “d’oh,” an interjection used to express dismay when something has gone amiss, comes from everyone’s favorite cartoon dad, Homer Simpson. It was added to the dictionary in 2001.

LOL and beyond

The internet’s barrier to expressing physical emotion (especially before the era of FaceTime and Skype) has much to do with the origins of internet slang. In the 1980s, people used constructions like *smiles* or *shrugs* to indicate emotive action.

By 1989, “LOL” had surfaced. The phrase signifies “laughing out loud” and is still used today. It has even translated to speech to express that something is funny, as people say “LOL,” well, out loud. “LOL” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2011.

And things evolved from there. This Mental Floss article outlines “16 Old School Internet Acronyms” that came from a Web usage manual from the 1990s—many of which might be foreign to the majority of us. Other favorites from the MSN and AOL messenger days include “G2G” (Got to Go), “BRB” (Be Right Back) and “TTYL” (Talk to You Later).

Like we said, many of these have since been given the boot by the internet, as new generations of internet users have devised their own ways of talking online. In fact, to present some of today’s commonly-used internet slang words here would likely only serve to date this article, as internet speech seems to evolve as quickly as people are able to trade messages online.

Categorizing internet slang

Though specific lingo gets dated quickly, the categories into which we can place internet slang are more constant. As the internet became more widely used in more diverse capacities over the past two decades, the language of the internet expanded to match. When considering types of internet slang words, most fall under one of these categories.

Acronyms

Perhaps the oldest form of internet slang, this evolved out of a need to type fewer words while conveying the same message.

Ex: “OMG” for “Oh my god!” “NSFW” for “Not safe for work,” “TL;DR” for “Too long; didn’t read,” “TIL” for “Today I learned”  

Acronyms to express action  

A subset of the first category, these acronyms express an action indicative of emotion.

Ex:  “LOL” and “ROFL” for “Rolling on the floor laughing”

New words inspired by tech

New technology yields the need for new words.

Ex: Social network, Tweet, trending, selfie, meme

Combinations of existing words

Along the lines of new words comes combinations of two existing words.

Ex: Cyberbullying, clickbait, photobomb

Short phrases

Sometimes less is more. Such is the mantra of this category of internet slang.

Ex: “I can’t even,” and “All the feels”  

The future of internet speak

From the origins of internet slang to the future, the rules will remain the same that language will be dictated by technological ability and necessity. If we’ve come this far in the past couple decades of mainstream web use, time will only tell what’s to come as trendy lingo fizzles out and new slang takes its place. Though some argue that internet speak is “dulling down” the English language, the other side of the coin suggests that it is in fact enriching it—not taking away what was there, but only adding to our communicative fodder.

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