All posts by Paul Chaney

  • Chaney Marketing Group Helped Client Increase Visits From Search by 1053 Percent

    Bizzuka, a web design and development company based in Lafayette, LA, turned to Chaney Marketing Group for help in crafting a content marketing strategy. The results of our efforts paid off in spades. The company has seen growth in organic search traffic by a phenomenal 1053 percent.

    1. We Started with Strategy

    To achieve these results we created a strategy that involved the following steps:

    1. Identify key marketing messages the company wanted to communicate;
    2. Develop Bizzuka target audience personas;
    3. Determine content themes and topics based on target audience needs and interests;
    4. Align content with the purchase journey and sales cycle;
    5. Determine content types;
    6. Assign measurable objectives and ways to track performance against those objectives.

    We worked with Bizzuka to identify the goals the company wanted to reach in terms of traffic and multiple measures of conversion, choosing aggressive but attainable numbers.

    Blog search visits graph
    Graph represents the daily number of visitors to the Bizzuka blog from search engines only. Visitors increased 1053%  during the period Nov 2012- Nov 2013 (6,783) over previous period Nov 2011- Nov 2012 (588)

    2. We Targeted Specific Keywords 

    We researched highly-trafficked keywords related to Bizzuka’s business and developed a thematic framework for creating content around them.

    An online search implies a need for information. Our research on people’s needs allowed us to craft useful content that answered their questions and provided them value.

    3. We Determined Content Types

    The main channels used to create content were three Bizzuka’s blogs. One focused on practical marketing how-to tips, another shared company news and information, and a third focused on business leadership and innovation. In addition, we created a white paper and ebook, which were distributed through the website and social media.

    4. We Set Up a Content Calendar

    Calendaring provided Bizzuka with the opportunity to serialize posts over a period of several weeks based on a few major themes, which are divided into more specific, keyword-oriented topics.

    5. We Increased Post Volume

    Because blog posting was a key to Bizzuka’s success, increasing post volume from one to 12 times per month resulted in the majority of traffic growth.

    6. We Identified Others Who Could Create Content

    At the outset, 90 percent of the content created was written Chaney Marketing Group. Over time, we were able to incorporate posts from Bizzuka employees, along with guest posts from influential, well-known digital marketing experts. This served to further amplify the level of production.

    Reaping the Rewards of Increased Traffic

    While earning higher traffic as a result of a strategic approach was a win, it was not an end in itself. In order to provide the greatest benefit, an increase in traffic had to result in a higher number of conversions, with the endgame being to generate revenue.

    (In Bizzuka’s case, “conversion” consisted of completing a form, which enabled the company’s salesforce to engage a prospect in person.)

    The good news is that the massive traffic increase lead to a 566 percent increase in leads over the previous year – an all-time company record.

    And once customer lifetime value and recurring revenue were factored in, inbound leads for 2013 contributed nearly $500,000 to Bizzuka’s revenue.

    Creating a strategically-focused content plan combined with an increase in production of high-quality content targeted to the needs of its target audience certainly paid off for Bizzuka.

    Contact us today to learn how we can achieve the similar results for your business.

  • Tribute to Wayne Hurlbert, Business Blogging’s Goodwill Ambassador

    Wayne HurlbertIt was with great sadness that I learned of Wayne Hurlbert’s sudden passing earlier this week.

    In the event you aren’t familiar with Wayne, he was one of the most unassuming men I’ve ever known. He never called attention to himself. In fact, in the 10 years that I’ve known him, I’ve only seen one photo (the one pictured here).

    Yet, to say I “knew” him would be erroneous. My relationship with Wayne revolved completely around business blogging and social media. I knew almost nothing about his personal life.

    My History with Wayne

    I first met Wayne in 2004 via the blogosphere. Like me, he started blogging in 2003, but unlike me, kept a consistent flow of posts coming on his understated Blog Business World site. (A site that never once ever saw a design change in its 10 year run.)

    Not only that, his was the longest-running show among the thousands hosted at Blog Talk Radio. He interviewed dozens of business leaders, entrepreneurs, authors and notables. (His first show aired in 2006 where he interviewed another of my dear friends, Toby Bloomberg.) I was given the opportunity to be interviewed by Wayne on two separate occasions, one of which followed the publication of my book The Digital Handshake.

    Blog Chamber of Commerce

    I often referred to Wayne as business blogging’s “goodwill ambassador,” for that what he was.

    In 2004, he floated the idea of a Blog Chamber of Commerce, which would serve as an association for business and economic bloggers.

    To cite Wayne, “The purpose of the Blog Chamber of Commerce would be to help organize business, marketing, public relations, economics, human resources, employment, and other related blogs into a mutual assistance and promotional organization.”

    His belief was that by working together to help one another the Blog Chamber of Commerce could provide a valuable service through the advocacy of blogging.

    But Wayne had no intention of starting such an organization himself. That wasn’t his style, nor was it his calling. It was left for someone else to do, so I picked up the mantle and formed the Professional Bloggers Association.

    (The PBA was a good idea – or so I thought then – but it never went to market. Still, the credit for what good may have come of it belongs to Wayne, not to me.)

    What Made Wayne Great

    Wayne’s passing has caused me to assess what made the man the truly great person he was. It wasn’t bravado or his ability to self-promote. Instead, it was Wayne’s impeccable character, gracious manner, gentle spirit, professional demeanor and, most of all, his genuine humility – all characteristics I hope I can learn to emulate.

    The world is a poorer place today because Wayne Hurlbert is no longer in it. We are all benefactors of his impressive legacy and members of his tribe. I hope you will take some time to avail yourself of the rich resources he left us in his blog and radio show.

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  • Marketers Ruin Everything and What We Can Do to Change

    The always effervescent, often irreverent Internet marketing personality Gary Vaynerchuk recently made a statement that resonated with many people: “Marketers ruin everything.” He even had a t-shirt made using the statement as a slogan.

    I agree with Gary’s terse surmise 100%. As a marketer I can speak from experience; we ruin everything we get our hands on, and that’s especially true where social media is concerned.

    Years ago, we took blogging, which was, at that time, an unadulterated, shoot-from-the-hip-speak-from-the-heart form of communication (“The last form of honest advertising,” someone said.) and made it a medium untrusted by consumers more than any other marketing channel. More recently, we turned Facebook from a purely social network into a platform for pushing ads and hawking our wares.

    Well, that day is over! (At least, I hope it’s over.) Hopefully, that day is quickly coming to an end.

    Seth Godin, a well-known marketing guru and best-selling author of numerous books (one of which was entitled “All Marketers Are Liars”), recently made the following remarks during a speech at Hubspot’s inbound marketing conference.

    “Marketing isn’t just about spamming people with calls and emails until they relent and buy your product. In fact, that strategy rarely if ever works. A healthier way to look at inbound marketing is this – at its core, it’s a matter of sharing ideas. Anyone can share ideas, whether they’re a bestselling author or just another face in the crowd.”

    In that same speech, Seth also said, “I don’t think what humans are good at is following instructions. I think what we’re good at is connecting. We’re leaving the industrial economy and entering the connection economy.”

    With that in mind, allow me to posit two “what if” scenarios.

    What if, instead of hitting people over the head with marketing messages, we simply connected with them as human beings.

    That would demand of us that we approach communication in a whole new way. It would require that we be honest with consumers, admit when we make mistakes, and make every attempt to maintain a high level of integrity, authenticity and transparency in every communication.

    And what if, instead of spending lots of money on advertising, we created content that was really helpful to our customers and prospects; content that focused on meeting their needs, addressing their concerns and solving their problems.

    I know that, for many, that’s a huge paradigm shift. But it’s a necessary one in an age when every person with a smartphone is a member of the media; where, thanks to social media, everyone has a voice; and where anyone can “out” a company for false advertising or for products that don’t live up to the hype.

    The Federal Trade Commission has made valiant attempts to keep our feet to the fire, but we have to hold ourselves accountable. (Our customers certainly will.)

    And if we do, I’d be very interested to hear what Gary would say to that. There could even be another t-shirt in the offing.

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  • Social Media Isn’t About Marketing and Other Things I Believe

    I’ve reached some conclusions about marketing in the digital age, especially as it applies to social media, and I’d like to share those with you.

    1. Social Media Isn’t About Marketing.

    That may sound really disingenuous coming from someone who has made his living writing books and articles about social media marketing, as well as helping clients and workshop attendees learn to use it for that purpose. But I’ve come to believe something that, in all honesty, I’ve long believed, yet failed to voice – social media isn’t about marketing; it’s about communicating.

    Listen First

    Listening is as important as talking.

    Effective communications involves more than talking. A big part of it is listening. People are talking and what they have to say is important. They will tell you what their concerns, interests and needs are. That information forms the topical structure around which your content should be built.

    Real conversations with real human beings has always been social media’s hallmark. Brands that are willing to listen their customer’s concerns and respond with answers and relevant content are the one’s who will win the minds and hearts of customers and others.

    Make the Entire Organization Social

    The fact that social media isn’t about marketing means that marketing and PR shouldn’t own it. Everyone within an organization (the key players anyway) should be social. Sure, there should be a point person orchestrating social strategy, tactics and guidelines (Scott Monty at Ford Motor Company is a great example), but there should be many touch points, not just one. But you first have to get beyond the notion that social media is simply a marketing tactic before you’ll embrace that methodology philosophy.

    2. Brands Should Be Purpose-Driven and People-Centered.

    Brands should be purpose driven and people centered.Purpose-Driven

    In his book, The Purpose Driven Life, pastor and author Rick Warren asks the question, “What on earth am I here for?” Brands should ask a similar question.

    In chapter 12 of the The Social Commerce Handbook, which I co-authored along with Dr. Paul Marsden, I assert that brands should be purpose-driven and that they should “lead with purpose, not a pitch.”

    And I quote…

    [R]ather than coming out of the gate with a sales message, determine a genuine, authentic purpose that is consistent with your brand, that contributes to the greater good, and promotes the welfare of others.  It’s a clearly stated, compelling unique value proposition that will set your brand apart from everyone else; and everything you do in terms of customer engagement stems from it.

    In his book, The Art of the Start, well-known author and entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki said that companies should “make meaning” by letting the motivator be something other than money.  Instead, he suggests that we should seek to “make the world a better place.”

    That’s not to suggest brands shouldn’t be in business to make money (of course they should), only that the bottom-line be about contributing to the greater good in a way that is commensurate with their products and services.


    Not only should brands be purpose-driven, they must also be people-centered in their communication.

    Social CRM platform provider Hubspot asked this question in a recent blog post: Can a People-Centric Social Media Strategy Scale?

    My response is that, for me, social media has always been and will always be about people, not technology. That’s harder to scale and certainly more difficult to measure, but that’s the way it has to be, at least in my estimation.

    A song written in the 80s called Matters of the Heart says this: “You can show me your sales curve, plot my life on your flowchart; but there’s just some things that numbers can’t measure – matters of the heart.”

    I believe there is a very “matter of the heart” aspect to social media marketing communications. It’s that element – not measuring ROI – that keeps me in the game.

    It may be a “virtual” medium, but it’s “visceral,” as well because it puts me face-to-face with people in a place where I get to know their names and learn about their lives. As a result, they matter to me, and I’d like to think I matter to them. The same can (and should) be said of brands.

    There is a power to social media that cannot easily be measured. It is the power of personal connection. Social media matters because people matter. If it ever ceases to be that way, then I’ll find another way to make a living.

    I believe that social media, at its heart, is not only people-centered, but servant-oriented. There is a real “do unto others” aspect to social media that should be prevalent in all our communications. That’s why customer service has become such a hot topic. (In fact, I suggest that customer service is the new marketing.) It’s a role that social media can play very well. (Paul Marsden refers to this mentality as “social utility.”)

    And marketers, if that’s a hard pill for you to swallow, I’m sorry. Stick to sending emails or making TV commercials instead.

    Wrap Up

    These are more than just opinions – they are convictions, and make up the “manifesto” that I hope to take into all future business dealings with clients or workshop participants:

    • Social media is a form of communication that supersedes marketing and PR and extends to all departments and business units.
    • Brands should be driven by purpose with a focus on serving people.

    I know it sounds good in principle, but I believe it can work in practice. At least I hope so. What do you think?

  • Rebranding from the Social Media Handyman to Chaney Marketing Group

    Rebranding from Social Media Handyman to Chaney Marketing Group

    “Parting is such sweet sorrow,” said William Shakespeare. In a sense, parting is what I’ve decided to do with my business.

    For years, I’ve been known as the “Social Media Handyman,” a moniker given to me by a friend who said she needed a “handyman” to help her set up a blog. I volunteered, the title was conferred, and because I’m somewhat blue collar, it felt like a good fit, so I adopted it.

    However, both social media and I have taken a turn. Social media is now more or less an accepted part of an integrated marketing approach. It has found its place among SEO, PPC, email, demand generation and other forms of online marketing.

    I’ve tried to evolve along with it and am now to a point similar to where I was back in 2005, when I formed a boutique agency known as Radiant Marketing Group. In those days I referred to myself as an “Internet marketing consultant” and darned if I’m not doing so again, yet with a slight twist.

    Much is being made these days of content marketing. Clearly, content is what drives the Internet and my approach over the past few years, though focused primarily around social media, was very content-centric. That’s the direction I want to take what I’m now calling Chaney Marketing Group.

    From a business development standpoint, it’s a step beyond seeing myself as a subject matter expert and individual resource. That got me this far, but in 2013, I feel compelled to grow my business into something that’s bigger than just me as an individual.

    At the same time I didn’t want to take my name completely off the shingle; hence the new brand, which builds on my personal brand reputation combined with a description of what it is I do – marketing. (The “group” will evolve over time, or so I hope.)

    Needless to say, this decision was not easy in coming. I wrestled for a long period over whether to retain my current standing or strive to build something bigger. The latter won out and I’m glad the struggle is over. I know what I want to do, who I want to target, and some idea of how to get there. I succor your support and encouragement.

    It will take a few days (dare I say “weeks”) to make the necessary changes to this site in terms of design and content (mainly it’s my services that will change), so please be patient.

    In the meantime, consider this a “soft launch” of the new Chaney Marketing Group!