Menu

Blogging

  • Does Your Department Need a Content Strategy?

    It’s time to separate “content” and “content marketing.”

    Because, while they often get lumped together, it’s important to realize a fundamental truth: Content is a vital and valuable tool for every single part of your business.

    Traditionally, content marketing is thought of as the cornerstone of all inbound marketing strategies. Essentially, the thinking goes, you create and distribute unique, branded content in order to cultivate a situation where your potential customers come to you. In the end, this helps you generate more traffic and hotter leads – with a fraction of the effort and at a fraction of the cost of more traditional marketing methods.

    We’re not here to tear into content marketing and its role in inbound; in fact, it’s our bread and butter here at Geek. We know full well that content marketing works.

    What we’re here to say today is that it’s important to consider all of the other ways that you can put content to work for your organization, at every level of your company and at every step of the buyer’s journey.

    Because, you see, content isn’t just about marketing. It’s about sales. It’s about retention. It’s about client management. It’s about PR. It’s about recruiting. It’s something that every department can use to their advantage, starting right now.

  • Don't Be Fooled By the Promise of SEO 'Short Cuts'

    Don't Be Fooled By the Promise of SEO 'Short Cuts'

    It’s easy to see why someone may be lured in by the promise of instant search engine success. Being told that you can increase your traffic 600% in a few days or start ranking on the (so-called) "front page of Google" instantly is appealing. We get that! After all, the end goal of most digital marketing is to generate new leads and conversions; who wouldn’t want to jump through all the busywork and get to those valuable conversions as quickly as possible?

    Let’s make one thing clear: We’re certainly not here to knock SEO (search engine optimization); in fact, we believe that creating original content that gets you recognized and ranked by search engines is one of the most important things you can do to drive new customers to your website, as well as retain your existing audience base.

  • Emails Keep Breaking in Outlook? Here's What to Do

    Emails Breaking in Outlook? Here's What To Do

    You’ve spent hours crafting the perfect email newsletter template. You’ve sweated over your text, your margins, and your alignment and you’re finally as happy as a clam. All that’s left is to send it to your client and await their glowing feedback!

    But what happens when their response isn’t as sunny as you’d like? In fact, your client is complaining that the photos are out of alignment or totally missing, the text is too poorly-formatted to read, and the whole thing looks like an unfinished, jumbled-up mess.

    If your boss or clients are using Outlook, you’ve probably been on the receiving end of this before, helplessly watching on as the free mail service changes the look of your entire email thanks to its major rendering differences.

    So what can you do to make sure Outlook doesn’t garble up any of your future email masterpieces? With our thanks to this great article at Hubspot, here are five tips to help ensure your emails are ready for Outlook:

    1.) Make Use of Tables

  • Evergreen Marketing in a Nutshell

    Evergreen Marketing in a Nutshell

    Do you want to make your content more searchable, more shareable, and more appealing to your customers? If you answered “yes” to any of the above – and we hope you did – then it’s time to think about trees.

    Pine and fir trees – like the kind we bring indoors to light up around the holidays – are known as “evergreen trees,” because their vivid green leaves stick around all year long.

    Evergreen content works the same way. We consider a piece evergreen if it’s timeless, with a long, maybe even indefinite, shelf life. It’s the kind of content that your readers will always be seeking out, regardless of the time of year or the hot trend of the moment.

    When done right, evergreen content is foundational: It provides the definitions or helps answer the questions your users are already looking for, and it’s a vital piece of any content marketing strategy.

    Having the right kind of evergreen content marketing in place can help drive sustainable, continuous traffic to your blog or site, allowing you to build your following and, with the right tools, convert visiting users into clients.

    Need some ideas to get started? Here are a five types of evergreen content that never go out of style:

    1.) Curated Content

  • Everything I Ever Needed to Know About SEO I Learned in Kindergarten

    Everything I Ever Needed to Know About SEO I Learned in Kindergarten (Source: pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    Remember nap time? Ugh, what could be better than having a built-in hour of sleep right in the middle of a busy day?

    Looking back at it from an adult’s perspective, kindergarten truly was an amazing time. Not just because of the naps – and the painting and the toys and the recess – but because it was one of the most fertile learning periods that any of us are likely to have. The lessons about civility, integrity, and hard work that we got back as five year olds still serve us today – particularly in our field of content marketing.

    Don’t believe us? Here are five lessons from kindergarten that we use in the realm of SEO every single day:

    Keep It Simple

  • Five Common SEO Pitfalls to Avoid

    Five Common SEO Pitfalls to Avoid

    Though it’s gone through its fair share of changes in recent years, SEO – the art of boosting organic traffic by improving search engine ranking – is here to stay.

    Though blackhat tactics like keyword stuffing are (thankfully) a relic of the past, the art behind SEO is still vital and remains a key part of any business’ successful content marketing strategy. But are you doing enough to maximize your SEO for Google’s most recent updates? Are you making sure every facet of your marketing campaign is engaged and running at full speed?

    Want to get the most out of your SEO? Then it’s time to rethink your strategy. Here are five common SEO mistakes to watch out for:

    1.) Not Producing Content

  • Five Easy Ways to Diversify Your Content Marketing Right Now

    Five Easy Ways to Diversify Your Content Marketing Right Now

    Creating original content is the rigid, indispensable backbone to any successful digital marketing campaign. It’s the must-have element that funnels coal to power the social media furnace, that gives the tenuous elements of SEO something to hang from, that turns your email newsletters into clickable little Christmas presents glowing in an inbox.

    Look, we realize we just mixed a lot of metaphors. But that’s also kind of the point! While your brand should be generating and sharing compelling content, what specifically qualifies as “great content” has never been more free or open to interpretation. And that’s a very, very good thing.

    While blogging will always be number one in our book, it’s not the end-all or be-all anymore. As marketers and designers and engineers – hell, as poets and artists and daredevils and mavericksthere’s never been more opportunity to experiment with fun, engaging new ways of reaching your audience and guiding them through your conversion funnel.

  • Five Handy Resources for Every Email Marketer

    Five Handy Resources for Every Email Marketer (Source: Pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    Email marketing is the workhorse of any solid content marketing campaign – it is a consistent way to share your content, foster brand loyalty and retention, and drive plenty of hot leads to your site.

    But when you’re working on your email campaign, don’t be afraid to expand your focus, to look for new opportunities, tools, and avenues for creation. The landscape is positively bursting with tools that will help you streamline, test, or improve the reach of your email marketing – often at little to no cost!

    With that in mind, here are five online resources that every email marketer should take a look at:

    1.) Test Your Subject Lines with Touchstone

  • Going It Alone on Inbound Marketing? Here's What You're Missing

    Going It Alone on Inbound Marketing? Here's What You're Missing (Source: pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    At this point, inbound marketing isn’t a buzzword or a flashy fad, but a way of life for companies looking to attract new business and retain existing customers online.

    Inbound marketing – a strategy that is driven by the creation of unique and high quality brand-specific content – is one of the single most effective forms of marketing ever devised, and it has done wonders for huge national brands and small local businesses alike.

    You may have heard some remarkable success stories and stats yourself by now - that inbound marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing, yet generates more than three times as many leads; that brands using content marketing generate six times more conversions than brands without; that content marketing users experience 7.8 times more site traffic than non-users.

  • Google Reaffirms the Importance of High Quality Content for SEO

    SEO is an art, a science, a skill, and a mindset. And, at times, it can also feel like a bit of a mystery - even to experts in the industry. 

    SEO 101

    Let’s back up a second. First thing’s first, it’s important to note that SEO is shorthand for “search engine optimization,”the process involved in getting website content to rank highly with search engines like Google or Bing. With an SEO strategy in place, a brand can make sure that its content is high on the list of a search engine results page, or SERP - a powerful way tosecure inbound traffic and warm leads, without having to spend and strategize on paid advertising. 

    SEO is one of the most effective and dependable forms of inbound marketing there is. Every day, millions of eager searchers turn to Google and other search engines to find everything from “new car” to “how to unclog toilet.” This is a massive audience that can be directed from a SERP straightinto your conversion funnel, whether they’re at the very beginning of their buyer’s journey, or almost ready to make a purchase. 

  • Google's Quiet February Updates: What Do They Mean for SEO?

    Google's Quiet February Updates: What Do They Mean for SEO?

    Google may have taken another big swipe at blackhat SEO tactics – and that means big things for content creators all across the net. Anecdotally, we have seen some promising improvements for our Geek Chicago marketing clients, while the competition has fallen down a peg. 

    While Google itself is playing coy on the matter, analytics trackers and industry forums have been going nuts since right around February 7.

    Thanks to the eagle eyes at Business 2 Community and Search Engine Roundtable – who first brought this story to our attention – we know that several platforms that monitor Google “turbulence” and search engine ranking page (SERP) fluctuations saw huge heat in the middle of the month. Industry insiders also freaked out, taking to the forums at WebmasterWorld and BlackHatWorld to marvel at their changing results.

  • Grow Your Company Blog With These 5 Pro Tips

    Image: http://pixabay.com/en/filler-writing-tool-leave-pen-3d-169581/

    Traffic. Leads. Hits. Comments. Shares. Reposts. Bookmarks.

    There are a barrage of words that we associate with internet success - words that we hope become attributed to our blogs. But how?

  • Grow Your Web Presence with Alternatives to Pay-Per-Click

    Grow Your Web Presence with Alternatives to Pay-Per-Click

    When you're looking to build your online traffic and customer base, you're probably going to run into two different concepts: Pay-Per-Click and SEO. These words have become ubiquitous with digital marketing, but they each offer a distinct purpose to your campaign and can result markedly different trajectories. 

    "What's up with Pay-Per-Click, anyway?"

    If you're familiar with Google, you're familiar with Pay-Per-Click. The website listings that come up first on Google - you know, the ones with the little yellow "ad" squares? - those are Pay-Per-Click promotions. With this kind of marketing, your site pops up whenever someone types in a certain keyword or phrase into a search engine. You only pay when users click those ads. So, it takes you to the top of the search results and only costs you when someone has an interest in your site. Sounds like a winning combo, right?

    Well, yes and no. 

    This gray area is why SEO is an important counterpart to Pay-Per-Click promotions.

  • Here's How B2B Can Benefit From Content Marketing

    Here's How to B2B Can Benefit From Content Marketing

    Some in the marketing industry tend to think of content marketing as a tactic solely useful for business-to-consumer (B2C) focused brands. In our experience, though, the tools of content marketing – including content generation, social media, and email marketing – are all vital for business-to-business (B2B) companies, as well.  

    The bottom line? Whether your brand bakes and ships cookies or offers corporate training seminars, you should be emphasizing content marketing to add value and extend your message in 2016 and beyond. 

    Content marketing isn’t just for kids; it’s not always about the flashiest new multimedia format or the buzziest new social platform. Instead, content marketing is all about spreading information and creating genuine value for your brand by introducing your product or service to serious, interested leads.

    The difference between content marketing for B2C and B2B? Audience.

  • Here's How to Write Email Subject Lines People Will Want to Click

    Here's How to Write Email Subject Lines People Will Want to Click

    Email marketing is an effective way to make sure your content reaches a broad range of interested leads – in fact, email remains one of the single most effective forms of content marketing around.

    But how can you ensure that your email marketing campaigns aren’t for nothing? Is there a way to make sure your newsletter actually gets opened? That readers actually engage with your great content? That your call to action really gets an opportunity to convert?

    The answer comes down to the art and science of subject lines. Like the headlines you craft for your blog content, your email subject lines have a unique chance to make a powerful first impression for your brand – and offer an incredible opportunity to turn curious recipients into dedicated customers.

    Want to improve your open rates and conversions? Here are a few inside secrets on how to write email subjects that people actually click:

    1.) Engage Your Audience’s Emotions

  • Here's What Goes Into a Highly Shareable List Post

    Here's What Goes Into a Highly Shareable List Post

    List-based blog posts – also called “listicles” (seriously) – are some of most important pieces of content your blog can produce.

    Listicles aren’t just easy and fun for your audience to read; they get shared more on social media and yield higher organic traffic through search while also triggering more engagement, lower bounce rates, and more conversions than any other type of blog post.

    But how can you tell if you’re making the most of your lists? The good people at Siege Media recently put together an extremely compelling infographic on what works for listicles.

    Here are a few of the most fascinating takeaways you need to know:

    Headlines

  • Here's Why Users Hate Your Website (And What You Can Do About It)

    Here'w Why Users Hate Your Website (And What You Can Do About It) (Source: Pexels.com - used as royalty free image

    Look, it's 2016. Every brand has a website. It's not a value-adding proposition anymore, it's a requirement. 

    But what many businesses and individuals don't realize is that their website is actually turning off users, well before they ever get the chance to become paying customers. The fact is, a lot of websites - especially those made with free "build-it-yourself" templates online - kind of stink, and it's costing companies precious business. 

    Well, we're not going to stand for it anymore. We're here to expose the dirty little secrets of web design - and, hopefully, help make your site better along the way. Here are the reasons your website is doing more harm than good - and what you can do to turn it all around:

    1.) It’s Too Slow to Load

  • Hey Copywriters, Here's the Scientific Trick to Boosting Productivity

    Hey Copywriters, Here's the Scientific Trick to Boosting Productivity (Source: Pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    Every copywriter has their own little secrets to success – maybe they need to have just eaten a spoonful of peanut butter or have their laptop at a perfect distance. Maybe they need to write first thing in the morning or they can’t even think about starting a blog post or sending a perfect Tweet until the dead of night.

    But did you know there’s a scientific way to help boost a writer’s productivity? It’s true, and we learned the secret through this great HubSpot blog post. So, what did we take away? 

    Marketers, here are a few ideas on how to find the ideal time to produce your content:

    Get to Know Your Ultradian Rhythms

  • How Blogging Drives Customers to Your Website

    How Blogging Drives Customers to Your Website (Source: pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)
    Do you want to truly drive traffic to your website?
    Read on...

    You can't read an article, a post, or a tweet from a digital marketing firm or an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) outfit without reading a mention of "blogging". Sure, it's a buzzword.

    We made it up about nine or ten years ago. It's a concatenation of "web logging". In its original form, blogging essentially functioned as an online journal; today, it refers to a variety of multimedia content curated and kept in the same place. 

    Whether you're creating an up-to-date journal for your company, keeping your content fresh with regularly posted information about your offerings, or actively writing creative posts in the form of listicles, quizzes, or infographics, it all effectively works the same way. And it has been recognized as one of the top ways to bring in customers for businesses of all sizes. Why, you ask?

    It comes down to the fundamentals of SEO:

  • How Content Marketing Can Help You Build Your Personal Brand

    How Content Marketing Can Help You Build Your Personal Brand

    Social media has created an amazing opportunity to connect with our friends, our family – and, above all, our professional networks.

    While we all know that LinkedIn is a vital tool for fostering and maintaining business connections, each and every social network you use is creating an extension of, and an outlet for, your unique brand. Why not get as much value out of those social platforms as possible?

    How do you do it? Think like a content marketer. Here are three ways that content marketing can help you build and promote your personal brand online:

    1.) Tell a Story

Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).