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.

7 Ways to Boost Your Social Media Following This Fall

Social media is one of the most significant—and inexpensive—ways to cultivate a brand following. As a marketer, you should consistently be looking for ways to boost your social media following, but the turn of the season—in this case, the transition from summer to fall—is a good benchmark to make some extra effort.

While success on social media isn’t always about the number of people following your page, having a high number of qualified leads certainly does help. Take these ideas into consideration if you feel the need to give your pages a push in the right direction this fall.

  • Get creative with Halloween on the horizon. Halloween will be here before you know it, which offers a plethora of opportunities to have some fun with your social media followers in an effort to attract a larger audience. For example, ask your followers to post their favorite scary movies, and then compile a list of the “top 10” later in the month. Or, when it’s closer to the holiday, ask your social media audience to post a picture of their Halloween costumes to be entered to win a prize.
  • Host giveaways for seasonal items. Along the lines of winning, social media giveaways are always a powerful way to boost your social media following. Think seasonal items like grills, football tickets, cool weather attire, home decorations, or fall yard equipment, etc. for prizes. With your followers happy for the chance to win free stuff, and your social media account happy for exposure due to said free stuff, it’s a win-win situation.
  • Don’t forget football. While we’re talking about football, remember that it’s a huge part of fall culture. Stay in tune with your local football schedules, and play off of big games in your social media posts. Celebrate the big game that week with a giveaway or special offer solely for social media followers. You can also ask social users to correctly predict the score of that week’s game in exchange for a prize.
  • Use gift-giving holidays to your advantage. Fall into winter is typically the most lucrative time of the year for retail and service-based businesses as consumers snag holiday gifts for friends and loved ones. Plan strategically in anticipation of holidays like Hanukah and Christmas to better your social media content. Create holiday-themed social media specials—offers that can only be redeemed if you show the social media post in person. This gives social media users incentive to continue to follow your page. You can also use spins like “A Gift for Me, A Gift for You,”—a buy one get one free deal for consumers to get a little something for themselves as they do their holiday shopping.
  • Change your decorations for the fall season. In terms of your social media page, by “decorations” we mean your cover photos and profile pictures. Regularly changing at least your cover imagery will benefit your social pages by maintaining followers’ interest with new and fresh content. Have a new product or store display? Post it as your cover photo. Want to incorporate some fall colors? Make the appearance of your social media pages reflect the season.
  • Double check your links. This is one tip that isn’t necessarily unique to fall, but is something you should do on a consistent basis. Regularly checking to make sure that all links to your social media accounts are going to the right places is important to ensuring that you never interrupt traffic to your social pages. Check your website, email signature and any other places that you link to your social pages to make sure they are working correctly.
  • Give your posts a literal boost. Despite your best abilities to push out appealing content, sometimes your social posts need a little financial backing. Boost your social media following by paying to sponsor posts, which will in turn show them to a higher number of social followers than if you let the post grow organically.

Take advantage of the change in seasons to incite positive change among your brand’s social efforts. Use these tips to boost your social media following to put more eyes on the shareworthy things your business is doing.

Need help pushing your social media pages in the right direction? The McNutt & Partners team can help. Give us a call at 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

 

Why the Structure of Your Copy Matters When Writing for the Web

Anyone can slap some words on a page and call it a day, but depending on the platform where your writing will appear—and the audience you are writing for—structure makes a difference when producing effective copy. The case is no different when writing copy that will appear online. Whether it’s a blog post or an “About” page, the structure of your copy matters when writing for the web.

Making your point clear up front

People are busy (even if “busy” means scrolling through Facebook). With all of the content available to them online, it’s likely that people will not in fact spend exorbitant amounts of time reading one article or blog post. In fact, According to Buffer, 55 percent of blog readers will read the blog post for 15 seconds or less.

What does this mean in terms of the structure of your copy? You need to get to the point. Sure, clever and flowery intros have their place, but not in the world of web writing. People want to know what your post is about and what they will glean from it immediately upon opening the link. It’s similar to the way journalists write news articles, using a format called the inverted pyramid (more on that later). Some publications even pull out three or more top “takeaways” from the longer article and place them at the top of the post, just in case that’s all that readers have time to consume.

Along the same lines, if you’ve scrolled through any article-sharing social platform lately, you’ve probably also seen time flags noted next to the links, indicating “2 minute read” or “3 minute read.” This shows readers that, “Hey, maybe I do have time to take a couple of minutes out of my busy schedule to read this article that looks interesting.”

Using the inverted pyramid

To understand the inverted pyramid, think about a pyramid literally turned upside down. The broad base is now at the top, and it all funnels down to the pyramid’s narrow tip. As a metaphor for the structure of your copy, you should start out with the overarching, broad point of the article. Using the inverted pyramid, readers should be able to grasp the who, what, when, where, why and how of the article right there in the first paragraph.

From there, you include supporting details, getting more and more specific as the pyramid narrows.

The inverted pyramid offers several advantages—including “getting to the point” as we mentioned above. This appeals to readers who do not have the time to read your entire article but still want to know what it’s about. If used regularly, it also ensures that the structure of your copy stays consistent across all of your posts, which is important to making your blog or publication appear professional.

You might be thinking, “Wait, don’t I want people to read my entire post, rather than them just stopping at the first paragraph?” Ideally, yes. Used correctly, the inverted pyramid’s broad first paragraph will draw readers in to want to continue reading to find out more details, while still appealing to those who only have time to skim.

Here’s an example of an intro paragraph that employs the inverted pyramid for our blog “6 Components of a Successful Content Marketing Campaign.”

Planning a campaign to communicate a message to your brand’s audience involves just that—planning—in order for it to be cohesive and effective. You want your campaign to be distinctive, but a successful content marketing campaign employs the same staple characteristics across the board. Here are six components to focus on when planning your next campaign.

Writing effectively for the web

In addition to making your point clear up front using the inverted pyramid, here are a few other tips regarding the structure of your copy when writing for the web.

  • Decide which parts of your copy are the most important, and organize accordingly.
  • Make a hierarchy of details—which details should appear higher up in the article?
  • Make every paragraph strong. Think of each paragraph as a “mini” inverted pyramid, where you start out with the first sentence introducing a broad topic, followed by supporting details.
  • Break up content where you can. Use subheads, bulleted lists or pull quotes to break up long blocks of copy that can intimidate readers.
  • Consider additional features, like adding bulleted key points at the top of the copy or read times (mentioned above).

The goal in digital marketing is to not only attract visitors to your site, but to keep them there—and to keep them coming back for more. Paying attention to the structure of your copy when writing for the web can help you achieve those goals while producing a result your brand can be proud to stand behind.

Need help writing for your blog or business publication? The McNutt & Partners team can help. Call us at 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

Not All Social Media Platforms Are Right for Your Business, and That’s OK

If you’re operating a business, you know how critical it is that you maintain a substantial digital identity—and if you don’t know that, then here’s your reminder. From grocery shopping to banking and everything in between, consumers are increasingly carrying out their lives primarily in the digital realm. Thus, if you want your brand to be noticed, you better make sure it’s visible from multiple views—both online and off. Social media plays a huge role in cultivating that strong digital presence—and it offers the opportunity for organic growth that benefits your budget.  That being said, you may have pondered which social media platforms are right for your business.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Vine, Reddit, Tumblr…the list goes on and on. You want to make your brand’s digital identity prominent, but where do you draw the line with your social media efforts?

You may have been told by friends and colleagues that you NEED to be on Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram, or YouTube. But one important thing to realize when assessing your social media presence is, not all social media platforms are right for your business, and that’s OK (cue title).

The fact is, depending on the type of business you are marketing, certain social platforms simply may not make sense for your brand. Different social media platforms serve different niches and purposes, and if your customer base doesn’t fall into that niche, then why waste your time maintaining a presence there?

You might be thinking, “Even Facebook?” Yes, even Facebook might not make sense for some businesses. Recently, at a marketing seminar, another marketing group was talking about its client in the ship building business. With Facebook being a standard for most businesses, the group created a Facebook account for the client. However, for this client, Facebook just didn’t make sense. The clientele the ship builder geared itself toward were mainly other industrial-type businesses—not individuals on Facebook. For that reason, the group said, LinkedIn actually made more sense for this client.

The bottom line is, if you’re not seeing much of a response on a particular social media platform despite your best efforts to garner followers, it may be time to make the call that the platform just doesn’t appeal to the clients you are targeting—or the customers already patronizing your business.

Going back to the idea that each social platform has its own niche in the overall social media world, here’s a breakdown of who some of the most-used types of social media accounts will and will not benefit.

  • Facebook: At the time this blog is being written, Facebook is the most widely-used social media platform on the planet, as more than 2.2 billion people are active on Facebook. That being said, this social media platform makes sense for the overwhelming majority of businesses. Unless you serve a very specific niche (like the ship builder) that is NOT active on Facebook either, then you want your business to have one to appeal to the maximum number of followers. Read more about Facebook for marketing here.
  • YouTube: Video is taking over the internet—literally. It is estimated that by 2019, video will account for 80 percent of all consumer internet traffic. YouTube itself has almost 2 billion active users, which is almost one-third of total internet users. What are we saying? We’re saying that being present on YouTube is also up there with Facebook among the social media platforms that your business should pay attention to. No matter what you’re selling, almost any brand can have a representative of the business stand in front of the camera and talk about your products and/or services. Even better—give a demonstration, or a quick “how-to.”
  • Twitter: Twitter can be a tricky one. With more than 336 million monthly active users, your initial thought may be, “Yes, I want to be there.” However, keep in mind the makeup of those 336 million Twitter users. For one, it’s a younger, more urban demographic. If that fits your target client base, then great! However, if your clientele is older and/or more rural, they may not be on Twitter now, or ever. Twitter thrives off of communication. Rather than broadcasting your information and leaving it, being successful on Twitter as a marketer requires you to interact with other users consistently. Read more about Twitter for marketing here.
  • Instagram: Instagram, which boasts about 1 billion active users, is all about what is visually appealing. Restaurants, clothing boutiques, real estate agents—all of these types of brands have visually-appealing products, meaning they thrive in the Instagram setting. That’s not to say that you can’t thrive if your product or service is less-than-photo-worthy. You just have to get creative. Post places that you’re traveling to. Post about office events and celebrations. Post the view out your office window. When does Instagram not make sense for your business? Similar to Facebook, if your clients are other businesses who are not on Instagram, then it may not be worth the effort. Read more about Instagram for marketing here.
  • Pinterest: Pinterest has around 200 million monthly users that comprise a pretty specific—and useful—set of demographics. For example, half of all U.S. millennials use Pinterest, and 68 percent of U.S. women between 25 and 54 use the social platform. Pinterest is a place that people go for inspiration—for cooking, weddings, holiday decorations and more. Not only can you share your own creations on Pinterest, but you can cultivate boards that showcase pins that you believe are relevant or interesting, instilling consumer confidence in your brand for its good taste. If your client base consists of women, younger social media users or a combination, then you might consider adding Pinterest to your brand’s social media arsenal.
  • Google+: It was supposed to be Google’s “answer” to Facebook, but that admittedly didn’t happen. Being Google’s social media platform, Google+ has its place in helping you rank in search, but as a viable social media platform to connect with current and future clientele, it can be iffy. After all, it only has about 111 million “active” accounts, the percentage of which are actually used on some type of regular basis is likely far lower. So why would you use it for marketing? Like we said, it is Google’s social media network, so being active on it can give you slight, but positive points in the bucket for SEO. Read more about Google+ for marketing here.
  • LinkedIn: If you’re a B2B (business to business) company, then LinkedIn could be your social media savior. LinkedIn is a social media network for professionals—both as individuals and as business entities. Statistics suggest that LinkedIn is even more important than Facebook for B2B marketers. Lead generations, product launches and talent recruitment are all activities that LinkedIn fosters for its users. Read more about LinkedIn for marketing here.

In deciding which social media platforms are right for your business, keep in mind the audience you are trying to target and the content you are pushing out. There’s certainly no need to waste your efforts trying to maintain a presence on every type of social media if it doesn’t make sense for your business’ intentions and goals.

Need help setting up and maintaining your social media accounts? The McNutt & Partners team can help. Call us at 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

 

15 Quotes to Take Your Mind Off Work This Labor Day

Inspired by a desire to protect the rights of the working class more than a century after the founding of the United States, Labor Day gives the majority of Americans a much-needed respite from the eight/nine-to-five grind. Sure, it’s just a day, but it’s a day with the sole purpose of paying tribute to the contributions of workers who bolster our country’s prosperity. In other words—a day dedicated to you, as a hard-working American! Alright, enough talk about work. It’s your day off, so let’s embrace it. Time to take your mind off work this Labor Day with some inspiring words to live by.

  • “If you do what you love, it is the best way to relax.” –Christian Louboutin
  • “The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.” –Sydney J. Harris
  • “You can be childlike without being childish. A child always wants to have fun. Ask yourself, ‘Am I having fun’”? –Christopher Meloni
  • “Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.”—Mark Black
  • “Fun is one of the most important—and underrated—ingredients in any successful venture. If you’re not having fun, then it’s probably time to call it quits and try something else.”—Richard Branson
  • “How beautiful is it to do nothing, and then to rest afterward.”—Spanish Proverb
  • “We will be more successful in all our endeavors if we can let go of the habit of running all the time and take little pauses to relax and re-center ourselves. And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living.” –Thich Nhat Hanh
  • “Together with a culture of work, there must be a culture of leisure as gratification. To put it another way: people who work must take the time to relax, to be with their families, to enjoy themselves, read, listen to music, play a sport.” –Pope Francis
  • “Even though you’re growing up, you should never stop having fun.” –Nina Dobrev
  • “I’ve decided to be happy because it is good for my health.” –Voltaire
  • “Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.” –Etty Hillesum
  • “It’s not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.” –Charles Spurgeon
  • “Don’t underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”—A. A. Milne
  • “We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.” –Bill Watterson
  • “Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” –Omar Khayyam

Relaxation, happiness, being at peace—sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? At least maybe we helped to take your mind off work this Labor Day for a few minutes!

Another way to take your mind off work is to let us do the work for you! If you’re stressing about your marketing strategy, the McNutt & Partners team can help. McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Call us at 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

 

How to Combat Decreasing Blog Traffic

Your brand’s blog serves a dual purpose—both to attract, inform and entertain your followers, and to drop points in your SEO bucket. But what happens when you notice a decline in your blog readership? Decreasing blog traffic can certainly pose a problem when it comes to your digital marketing goals. After all, what’s the point of putting time and effort into a blog that no one is reading? If you feel that your blog readership is undergoing a downward trend, there actions you can take to turn it around.

  • Push it on social media. Especially if you’re launching a new blog, if you never promote it on social media, people may never know it’s there. Social media is one of today’s most powerful platforms for sharing your digital content with existing and potential followers. Every time you make a blog post, you should share it via your social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But don’t just share it on your company’s page—take it a step further and share it to your personal social media accounts as well.
  • Boost your posts. Organic reach can only take you so far when it comes to social media posting—especially with Facebook’s recently-amended algorithm that promises to show users more content from family and friends and less from commercial entities. That’s why it’s important to carve out a portion of your marketing budget for sponsored, or “boosted” social media posts. Boosting is essentially paying to have more people exposed to your content (in this case, your blog posts), which in theory is a way to fight against decreasing blog traffic. Consult our quick guide to Facebook boosting
  • Interact with other blogs. Commenting on other blog posts and blog post shares on social media will bring attention to your brand and in turn, to digital assets like your blog. Offer your input on a similar topic that you have blogged about, for example, but be sure to avoid sounding abrasive. Or, if you simply find that a post is interesting or well-written, leave a comment indicating so with the hope that you may receive similar feedback in return.
  • Write more of what people like. Check the back end analytics of your blog to see which posts people responded particularly well to. Then, write more posts about that topic, or that are similar in format. For example, if people tend to like Q-and-A-formatted posts, then make it a point to include more of that style in your blogging rotation. Or, if people respond better to posts with pictures, then start including photos in most, if not all, of your blogs.
  • Get personal. People like reading about real people, places and things. Some of our clients’ most popular blog posts are employee spotlights, featuring familiar faces from the businesses, or highlights on local culture and events. Even if your blog serves a very specific purpose, such as giving people advice about buying or selling a home, for example, you might consider mixing up your topics every now and then to include blogs with a more people-centric spin to them.
  • Promote it via email. If you already have an email list to which you send out regular email blasts about special offers and events, use it to your advantage when facing decreasing blog traffic. (Or if you don’t have a list, now may be a good excuse to start.) Think about sending a preview for your upcoming blog, and include in the preview a snippet of information that will be featured. Or, you can send an ICYMI (In Case You Missed It) email that reviews the blogs you published over the past week or month. This will give followers yet another chance to click on your blog, in the event that it did not appear in their social media feeds recently.
  • Encourage sharing. Enlist the help of your loyal followers to get the word out and increase your blog readership. Ask existing blog readers to share with their family and/or friends who they believe could benefit from the contents of your blog. Word-of-mouth can travel far!
  • Check your page’s Google ranking. If you come across decreasing blog traffic, it could be a result of a declining Google search ranking. (Which does beg a sort of chicken-or-the-egg-type question.) If some other factor besides your blog caused your Google ranking to go down, then it could certainly be affecting your blog’s traffic. In that scenario, it’s time to take steps to enhance your website’s SEO.

If you need help boosting your SEO in an effort toward combatting decreasing blog traffic, or help with any of the tasks outlined above, the McNutt & Partners team can 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.

10 Ways to Improve Your Email Subject Lines

Despite that it is sometimes considered a “dinosaur” of the digital world, email still plays a significant role in your brand’s ability to reach mass numbers of current and potential patrons. While you can send emails to as many people as you would like, the important statistic is how many people are opening them. There’s one thing that weighs more heavily than anything else when it comes to whether or not people are opening your email—and that’s your email subject line. Email subject lines are ultimately your first line of offense when it comes to enticing people to click “open” rather than “delete.”

Anyone who’s ever had an inbox knows that judging messages by email subject lines is common. For many email marketers, this short phrase is unfortunately more of an afterthought—a secondary factor to the contents of the email itself. However, though small in size, email subject lines should be weighed with equal importance as the main body of the email.

Looking to improve your email subject lines? Here are a few tried and true rules that can help you get more eyes on your emails.

  • Keep them short. Not only do people not want to take the time to read a long email subject line, but longer subject lines may also get cut off if they are too lengthy—especially on mobile, which is where the majority of people are opening their emails. If you’re having trouble tailoring your email subject lines, think carefully about what each word is contributing to the message. Get rid of words that do not add any value.
  • Choose action verbs. Related to the above, careful word selection is critical when writing effective email subject lines. You can think of a subject line essentially as a call to action, which benefit with the use of action verbs at the beginning. For example, “Dress to impress with these hot deals,” sounds more enticing than “These hot deals will have you dressing to impress.”
  • Express urgency. In some creative form or fashion, you should convince your email recipients that it would benefit them to open your email sooner rather than later. If the deal you are offering ends soon, let them know. If a person’s subscription is about to expire, express that in the subject line. Urgency equals a higher chance that your email will not only be opened right away, but at all.
  • Don’t be too aggressive. We’ve all seen those subject lines in our emails—the ones in all caps, with multiple exclamation points—maybe even a few question marks thrown in. Stop right there. These types of email subject lines come across as trashy, spammy and overbearing. If there was an equivalent of yelling via type, this would be it, and no one wants to be yelled at.
  • Provide incentive. This may be one of the most obvious starting points for writing an email subject line: tell recipients why they should open it! Are you offering a discount or deal? Better yet—are you giving something away for free? Is there information in this email that they can’t get anywhere else? Your email subject lines should express how exactly opening them will benefit your recipients.
  • Make them curious. While you should incentivize people to open your emails with the promise of something good inside, you should not let the entire cat out of the bag right off the bat. You want people to have to open your emails for them to see what exactly the big deal is all about. If they can tell everything from the subject line, then they may or may not take the next step in opening the email itself. Think of your email subject lines as “teaser” content to the core message inside. For example, a subject line like “We’ve Been Planning Something Special Just for You” piques curiosity, while a subject line like “Sales Event This Saturday at 2 p.m.” is a little less engaging, since it gives away all of the information up front.
  • Personalize the message. Phrases like “just for you” (mentioned in our previous point), “our gift to you,” and “you’re invited” bolster a personal connection between the email recipient and your brand. If you can make people feel special and make them think that the message or offer really was designed just for them, then they’ll be more apt to pursue your email further. Taking things a step further, marketers now have multiple ways to determine personalized information about their leads, such as locations, jobs, consumer preferences, etc. You can use this information to tailor your email subject lines to your audiences.
  • Send from a recognizable name. Name recognition in all aspects of marketing is part of instilling trust in and recollection of your brand. In email marketing, people will respond better to you if the email address you are sending from is one that they know and recognize. Even if your email is coming “from” the entire company, sometimes it can help open rates to show that it came from an individual within your company. People would often prefer to deal with an individual rather than a faceless entity.
  • Be honest. You want to showcase some sort of appealing information in your email subject lines, but it should be revealing of the actual contents of the email. Don’t make false promises to your email recipients—if you do and your followers find that you have been misleading, it will diminish their trust in your brand.
  • Think about timing. The time that you choose to send your emails can make a difference in optimizing your open rates. Obviously if you are advertising an event, you’ll want to do it in a timely manner. Time can also be a factor when reminding people that a subscription is about to expire, when a sale ends, or when you are launching a new product. Even time of day—rather than dates—should be something to consider. If you are a restaurant, for example, time your messaging around breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner—the times when people are most hungry.

Putting time and consideration into your email subject lines can pay off in the long run. If all else fails, think about what type of subject would get YOU to open an email.

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.

10 Tips for Choosing an Effective Domain Name

If you own a business, you may have struggled through the process of deciding what to call it. There’s a significant amount of pressure in coming up with a business name that people will not only remember, but that they will gravitate toward. With maintaining a substantial digital presence being a must among today’s tech-obsessed consumers, selecting a strong domain name is equally as important. Your domain is essentially your brand’s web identity; thus, it should be both relevant to your business and easy for your followers to recall. Besides creating a first and lasting impression for consumers, there are other reasons why choosing an effective domain name is so critical.

As with most components of the digital realm, your domain name affects SEO. In the past it had a larger impact on it than it does today—when companies would buy domains that were literally just exact-matches to keywords. Google has done away with allowing these Exact Match Domains to rank. Now, choosing an effective domain name promotes SEO in terms of higher click-through rates, brand identity and simply consumer confidence in your brand.

Choosing an effective domain name may not happen overnight, but here are a few general practices to keep in mind when navigating the process.

  • Make it relevant to your brand. This one’s pretty obvious, but the domain that you choose to represent your business should certainly connect to your brand. Whether it uses the exact name of your business, an abbreviated version, or it signifies the type of products or services that you offer, relevance is key to coming up with a domain name that your followers will make a connection with.
  • Keep it simple. A simple domain name is one that will be easy for people to remember and recite back when it comes time for sharing with friends or typing it into a browser. Also, if your domain is too long or complex, there is more room for people to make a typo when spelling it out. In general, the shorter the domain name, the better. Another part of keeping your domain simple is avoiding the use of hyphens and numbers, which make spelling and pronouncing it all the more difficult.
  • Be memorable. Not only should your domain be simple, but it should also stand out from the crowd. There are literally millions of registered domain names out there, so how are you going to make sure yours gets noticed? Make it a point to establish a domain name that is catchy, clear and appealing to the audience that you’re trying to attract.
  • Let users know what you’re offering. Like us, you may choose to have your straightforward name as your domain (mcnuttpartners.com). However, there is something to say about including information about what your company does in your domain if your business name doesn’t necessarily reveal it. (If we were to use our name as an example, it might be mcnuttpartnersdigital.com, for example). It is beneficial for people to be able to look at a domain and infer what it is that the website conveys.
  • Try for location specificity. If you own a local business, it could bode well for you to include your location in your domain. Let’s say you own a flower shop in Auburn, Alabama, and the name of your shop is simply your name—we’ll call it “Ruth’s.” Since the name of your shop is not telling of the nature of your business, you might select a URL like “auburnflowers.com” or “ruthsauburn.com.” Both of these versions give the web user just a little more information that can be helpful in their search for whatever it is they are looking for (in this case, flowers in Auburn).
  • Consider keywords. Like we said above, gone are the days of keywords in your domain equaling an automatic high ranking by Google. In fact, if Google sees that you are purposely keyword stuffing, it could have an opposite effect. However, if a keyword naturally fits into your domain without feeling forced, then go for it. Hyperlink text from people linking to your domain can help, especially if it includes a keyword. Be sure to leave out words such as “the” and “and” in most cases when choosing an effective domain name. Also avoid business titles like “inc.” and “llc.”
  • Check to ensure it’s unique. You want your domain to be unique for obvious reasons—such as making your brand stand out among the rest, but there are also legal implications of making sure your domain is distinct. If the domain you choose turns out to be trademarked or copyrighted by another company, it could equal legal trouble for you that would ultimately be best to avoid.
  • Opt for common extensions. These days, there are literally hundreds of domain extensions beyond the traditional “.com” that you can purchase to accompany your domain. However, while extensions like “.pizza” and “.cool” may sound fun, generally people do not recognize them and will likely type in “.com” out of habit. We recommend sticking with traditional ones like “.com,” “.org,” and “.net.”
  • Be competitive. When choosing an effective domain name, you should be defensive in securing all of the surrounding real estate similar to that name, so to speak. This means purchasing various domain extensions—specifically ones that are variations of the domain you use, including misspelled versions of your domain name. Doing this prevents a competitor from coming in and taking over a domain that is all too similar to yours. It also allows you to redirect the varied domains to your actual site in the event that a web user makes a mistake when trying to reach your page.
  • Think about the long-term. The domain you choose to represent your business now should be one that will still represent your business well 10 years from now. Of course, you can always change your domain, but doing so can be costly, can disrupt your branding and can confuse your followers. If you can, you want to avoid the stress of changing your domain name by choosing one that will work for you in the long-term on the front end.

Choosing an effective domain name can seem daunting, but following these guidelines can help you select one that will be a successful representation of your business’s web identity.

Need help picking a domain? The McNutt & Partners team can help. Call us today at 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

The Case for Categorizing Your Blog Posts in WordPress

It never hurt anyone to be organized. In WordPress, the content management system that McNutt & Partners uses to manage the content on our clients’ websites, organization comes in the form of categories. Categorizing your blog posts in WordPress is akin to a taxonomy system—essentially giving your posts a roof to live under with similar posts of their kind. Not only can this help tremendously in terms of SEO, but it can help your website users better find the content they are looking for.

What are categories in WordPress?

Category pages in WordPress are used to group similar posts together. You can categorize any type of web page in WordPress, but here we’ll talk specifically about categorizing blog posts. For example, if you are a travel agency, and you write a blog titled, “What to Pack for Your Summer Vacation,” then your categories might be “Summer Travel,” “Summer Vacation,” “Travel Tips,” and so on. The idea is to think of broad categories that other future posts may fit into.

Ideally, a post’s categories will appear as clickable links either below the blog post or in the sidebar. That way, a user can easily access other posts within that category.

How do categories help SEO?

Categorizing your blog posts in WordPress is yet another tool in your arsenal for search engine optimization (SEO). In essence, category pages (the ones that contain all of the blog posts in that category) serve as landing pages that appear when a user searches for a corresponding search term. Using the example above, if a person searched “travel tips,” in Google, then theoretically your category page for “travel tips” could come up in the search results. The more posts you have under that category, the better, because it can help keep visitors on your site longer.

The category “landing page” also serves to prevent individual posts from competing with one another. Since the posts are grouped together under the larger category, Google will rank that above the individual posts, so they are not cannibalizing one another.

How do categories benefit my site visitors?

Just like a customer does not want to walk into a retail store to find it disorganized and cluttered, a visitor to your website does not want to visit it to find it in disarray. A clean, organized website bodes well for the people who visit it, as it enhances the overall user experience. Perhaps a person was initially incentivized to come to your page by one particular post, but having your other posts categorized can help keep them on your site longer. Show your site visitors that there is more on that topic to be seen, and it can benefit your web traffic.

How do I categorize my posts?

Categorizing your blog posts in WordPress is easy. When you’re on the “New Post” tab in WordPress, you’ll see the categories section on the right side of the screen. If you are doing this for the first time, go ahead and create 10-12 categories that you frequently cover in your blog. That way, the next time you create a post, you’ll simply have to select the relevant categories. To do that, all you have to do is check the box next to the appropriate category. You can also add new categories at any time.

Wait, what about tags?

Under the categories box in WordPress, you’ll see a section for tags. If categories are the broad umbrella, tags are just a more specific way to organize information. Ideally a tag should be a word or short phrase that relates to the blog post. Going back to our example above, tags that relate to “Travel Tips,” could include “packing your suitcase,” “planning your summer trip,” and so on. Since your blog post itself is a subset of the category, and so are tags, then your tags very well may relate closely to the title and content of your blog.

Making sure your blog posts are categorized and tagged should be part of your regular routine when scheduling and publishing posts in WordPress. It will benefit your site visitors to be able to easily and quickly find information they are interested in, as well as give you more drops in the bucket in terms of SEO.

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 Basics Behind Facebook Boosting

Though other social media giants like Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube have commanded the attention of the world in the past decade-plus, Facebook remains at the top of the social media social strata. Having a Facebook account to represent your brand is basically a must in today’s social media-obsessed society. Posting quality content on a regular basis to Facebook is one thing, but there’s a way to push that content a step farther in terms of who sees it, and that’s through a concept called boosting. Here, we’ll provide an overview of the basics of Facebook boosting to help you get started.

What is Facebook boosting?

In essence, Facebook boosting is paying to have more people exposed to your content. Boosted posts are normal page posts that you select to boost in order to expand the audience who will see the posts. Anyone with a Facebook business page has the option to boost a post.

What are the benefits of Facebook boosting?

Boosting a post that you have created for your Facebook page serves to show your content to an audience beyond just those who follow your page. As Facebook has announced recently that organic reach for business posts will be declining in order to show users more content from family and friends, taking a proactive role in pushing your brand’s content is all the more critical.

In addition to the purpose of extending your content to more followers, Facebook boosting is also easy to use and gives you control over several aspects of the boost, such as your audience (geographically and demographically), budget, duration and more. Facebook also provides analytics related to boosted posts, so you can see exactly how your paid posts performed.

How much does it cost to boost a post on Facebook?

The beauty of boosting posts on Facebook is that you decide how much you want to spend. Instead of paying per click or per ad placement, you set a budget for the post to be boosted for a specified length of time. The minimum budget you can do is $1 per day. The higher your budget, obviously, the more people your post will be poised to reach.

Based on the audience and budget you specify, Facebook will give you an estimated reach. For example, spending $20 on a seven-day boost for persons aged 18-65 in Mississippi estimates your post will reach between 590 and 2,300 people per day. The more specific you get regarding your parameters, the more defined your reach estimate will be.

So, how exactly do you boost a post?

Boosting a post on Facebook is easier than you might think. Here’s what to do:

  • Choose which post to boost. Click the “Boost Post” button in the bottom right corner of either a post you are creating or that has already been posted.
  • Define your audience. You can choose to boost to people who already like your page, people who already like your page AND their friends, or people you choose through targeting (recommended). If you choose the latter, you will then be directed to specify an audience based on age, location, sex and/or interests.
  • Set your budget. You can choose a budget starting from the minimum of $1 a day on up. With your audience set, Facebook will show you an estimated reach for various budget levels.
  • Choose the duration of your boost. You can set your boost to run one day, seven days or 14 days by default, or until a specified date in the future.
  • Review your post. There will be a preview window that shows you what your post will look like once it’s published. Look it over to check for errors.
  • Pay for your boost. Select the payment option you want to use. You can store frequently-used cards here.
  • Click “Boost Now.” You’re good to go!

What happens next?

After you go through the process outlined above, your post will be in “review” status by Facebook. The turnaround for this is typically pretty quick. Facebook will check your post against its advertising policies. Depending on the results, you will receive an email that your post(s) were approved, or that they were denied.

One factor to watch out for is having too much text overlaid on a graphic. Facebook prefers images with little to no text because images with too much text “may create a lower-quality experience for people on Facebook,” the company states. Here’s a tool you can use to check that your image complies with Facebook’s text-to-image ratio.

Now sit back, and watch your Facebook content soar to new engagement heights!

Facebook boosting is a surefire way to put more eyes on your brand’s content, which is the fundamental goal of digital marketing. If you need help creating, scheduling and boosting your Facebook content, the McNutt & Partners team can help. Call us today at 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

What Does Your Instagram Bio Say About You?

If your brand is currently cultivating an Instagram account—great! Along with Facebook and YouTube, Instagram is among the top-used social media platforms in the world. Social media users respond better to images than text, and after all, Instagram is an image-based platform. As part of your business’ Instagram presence, there is a small, but powerful, section of your profile called your Instagram bio.

Your Instagram bio appears at the top of your profile—prime location for people giving a cursory glance to your page. It’s a space where you have a limit of 150 characters to give visitors to your page a quick summary of what you are all about—and why they should continue to follow you. Since Instagram does not allow for clickable links in the copy of its posts, it is also the only place on your Instagram page where you CAN include a clickable link—to your website, your blog, etc.

Your Instagram bio is part of your larger Instagram profile, which includes:

  • Name (appears in bold at the top of your bio)
  • Username (the Instagram name you give yourself with the “@” symbol)
  • Website (the only place on Instagram that allows for clickable links; this is key for driving traffic to your site)
  • Bio (more on this in a second)

Here’s what you’ll see when you’re editing your Instagram profile:

 

As you can see, the first three fields are pretty straightforward. It’s when you get to the bio that you get to be a little more creative—and strategic. Your Instagram bio should not only explain who you are and what you do, but it should also show a bit of your personality—and give users a reason to want to pursue you further. It can admittedly be challenging to convey all of that in just 150 characters.

Here are a few ways you can make your brand’s personality shine in your Instagram bio.

 

  • Pay attention to spacing. Instead of a standard few sentences, consider breaking up the copy in your Instagram bio into bulleted points or phrases. Users respond well to smaller chunks of information that they can easily consume. Be aware that line breaks may appear differently on mobile vs. web view. Instagram is primarily a mobile app, so prioritize its layout on mobile first. Here’s an example:

  • Use hashtags to your advantage. Hashtags will also appear as clickable links in your bio, so use them to encourage users to share their content for you—then you can re-share it on your own feed. Users can also click the hashtag in your Instagram bio to see other posts that have used that hashtag—keeping them engaged in similar content. Have a brand hashtag?Include it in your bio.
  • Explain yourself. In addition to the format of your Instagram bio, you should also pay close attention to what exactly it is saying about you. You need to show your audience what make your brand unique—why you stand out among the competition. Do you serve a particular niche? Have you been family owned and operated for generations? Do you offer a service that is rare? Is there something distinguishable about how or where you make your products? You should also feel free to inject your own humor and personality into your bio.

 

  • Include a call to action. A good call to action is the backbone of any marketing effort. Your call to action will depend on what it is that you are showcasing in your Instagram posts. If you are a Realtor showing homes for sale, you might want to prompt users to call you. If you are a boutique showcasing clothing for sale, you likely want to ask people to “See more” on your website (linked in your profile). You could also simply ask your followers to use your brand’s hashtag in their posts.
  • Add your hours of operation. This will only apply for certain types of businesses, but it can be useful for places like restaurants, spas, retail stores, etc. When people have quick access to this type of information, they will feel more confident in your brand and its ability to steer them in the right direction.

If you’ve never previously put this much thought into your Instagram bio, now is the time to start! It’s a small space in the digital realm, but one that can speak volumes about your business if you let it.

The McNutt & Partners team 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.