The News Chair
  1. Leverage the Power of Localization

    March 25, 2015 by Tiffany Whisner

    Local search

    Tiffany Whisner

    Tiffany Whisner

    Local SEO continues to change — almost on a monthly basis it seems. But is your business changing with it?

     

    It’s about monitoring how your organization is doing online and always making it a priority to take the next step into SEO evolution — particularly investing in localization efforts.

     

    Optimizing for local search

    Launched in July 2014, Google’s Pigeon Update is the latest algorithm providing more useful and accurate local search results tied more closely to traditional Web search ranking.

     

    Brian Coles

    Brian Coles

    “User location is now a ranking factor in Google search,” said Coles VP Marketing Brian Coles. “Local search results are included on SERPs (search engine results page) based on a keyword query.”

     

    The changes affect the search results shown in Google Maps as well as the regular Google search results. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is sign up or claim your listing on Google My Business and confirm that listing is accurate and complete.

     

    “Then sign up or claim other local business listings like Yelp, Manta and Yellow Pages, making sure all the information is consistent,” Coles said.

     

    Directories that dominate

    “There may be twenty to forty important listing sites depending on the industry,” Coles said.

     

    Some of primary local directories are as follows:

    • Yelp – one of the most-used websites for consumers to find a quality review
    • Google Business – Google outperforms every other search engine by a huge margin
    • Facebook – the second-largest local business directory in the U.S., behind Google Places
    • Yellow Pages – an organized directory receiving millions of searches a day

     

    Coles referenced an article by Chris Marentis on “Search Engine Land” that said cleaning up directory listings is “tedious and time-consuming work. But it is work that pays off big time when done right.”

     

    Capture customer reviews

    Once you have your business listings set, it’s time to generate reviews from your customers.

     

    “User reviews are one of the many factors that help your local visibility online,” Coles said. “Google tries to emulate the human offline experience as much as possible and is constantly updating their algorithm to better the search experience. A deciding factor in whether a consumer purchases a good or service, both online and offline, is the experience had with that company.”

     

    Gathering those customer reviews can be a bit of a slippery slope. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

    1. Promote reviews by asking customers or clients to leave a review on sites like Google Business, Yelp or Facebook.
    2. Be cautious how you ask. Many review sites don’t like solicitation.
    3. Leave a laptop at the front desk to capture customers as they leave to ensure the review gets done.
    4. Respond to reviews, positive or negative, as soon as possible.

     

    Sharing helps searching

    “A best practice for all search is to generate relevant, consistent and timely content and to engage with your users through blogs, social media and sharing,” Coles said.

     

    Local SEO is about your website as well as your active social media profiles. The more activity and content on your company’s social media pages the better. Especially if that activity comes from your customers. It increases the visibility of your local listings as well.

     

    Want to get started on your digital media strategy? Coles Marketing has the insight and digital tools to help you with your local SEO campaign and help you reach the right audience in the right way.

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  2. Assistive Technology Gets an Upgrade

    March 5, 2015 by Tiffany Whisner

    March is Disability Awareness Month — increasing awareness and promoting independence, integration and inclusion of all people with disabilities.

    INDATA4

    According to the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities, adults and children with disabilities represent slightly more than 19 percent of Indiana’s population. This is the 25th year for Disability Awareness Month, and Hoosiers who want to make a difference can get involved in activities and events throughout the month.

     

    I have the privilege of working with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads as one of our clients. And they just recently opened a new technology lab for people with disabilities. From home automation devices and wearable gadgets to robotics, the INDATA Project is making assistive technology accessible and user-friendly for everyone, particularly to those people with disabilities.

    INDATA2

     

    “The big challenge is getting people to realize every device someone without a disability can use for convenience can also be used by someone with a disability to enhance that person’s quality of life and independence,” said Brian Norton, the manager of clinical assistive technology at Easter Seals Crossroads. “Assistive technology can have a profound impact on how a person with a disability interacts with people and their environment, excels in school, and performs in the workplace.”

     

    INDATA1It was amazing to watch the robots and high-tech devices capture the attention of people who came to the open house as well as the media, who highlighted the new lab on air and through social media. And this technology is available to all — the INDATA Project offers loan-interest loans, funding options and an equipment lending library to Hoosiers with disabilities.

     

    “We want people to understand assistive technology doesn’t have to be super expensive,” said INDATA Director Wade Wingler. “This technology lab is a great way to show off the best AT in the most approachable and user-friendly way possible.”

     

    For more information about INDATA, visit www.eastersealstech.com.

     

     

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  3. Thirty Years of Bringing the Relationship Home

    February 25, 2015 by Christopher Lloyd

    homeshow2015LG

    Earlier this month, Coles Marketing wrapped up work on the 2015 Indianapolis Home Show. It was another year of runaway success, marked by massive attendance and remarkable media coverage. And believe it or not, it was the 31st year Coles has been the public relations agency for the Home Show. It was one of the first clients landed by President Barbara Coles after she started the business.

    Christopher Lloyd

    Christopher Lloyd

     

    So how does Coles maintain such an impressively long relationship with the Home Show? And how do we keep getting the media to show up in impressive numbers and give the same annual event big play, year in and year out?

     

    The answer is simple: relationships, prodigious planning and pure hustle.

     

    Start early

    “The work begins many months before the actual 10-day show,” says Coles Account Manager/Social Media Strategist Tiffany Whisner, one of the firm’s primary point persons on the Indy Home

    Tiffany Whisner

    Tiffany Whisner

    Show. “We keep track of the trending celebrities, both nationally and locally, and begin to brainstorm ideas for certain features and celebrities. We are always trying to think outside the box.”

     

    Stay in touch

    Coles touches base with local media throughout the calendar year with important news, such as high-profile celebrities who have been booked to appear at the show or the revelation of the builder and plans for next year’s Centerpiece Home.

     

    Do your homework

    As the event date approaches, the Coles team starts pitching a variety of interviewees, features and highlights to the media outlets to provide them the opportunity to cover many different aspects of the show. That way, each newspaper, TV station or other media feels like they can get their own distinct bite on coverage without treading the same ground.

     

    Chris Mercier

    Chris Mercier

    “Many members of our staff have worked in the media themselves, so we all have extensive contacts. But most of all, we do our homework, and we treat our media relations colleagues with respect,” said Chris Mercier, Vice President, Public Relations.

     

    Be prepared

    Right before the show opens, Coles sends out an exhaustive media briefing kit filled with information and interviews on dozens of notable vendors and individuals. This is always accompanied by complimentary tickets for key journalists – plus creative gifts that keep the Home Show top of mind for on-air coverage. (You can never go wrong with flowers or food!)

     

    Create attention

    “We attempt to grab the media’s attention from the start of the show with the opening day ribbon cutting ceremony and then continue that momentum throughout the 10-day event, with live and taped TV and radio coverage and stories in the local newspapers,” Whisner said. “We tie that into a strong social media presence on several different platforms — making sure media, show vendors and attendees all know the daily happenings at the Home Show.”

     

    Capture and capitalize the buzz

    In dealing with big celebrities, such as Kathy Ireland or Ty Pennington, it’s important to make them feel comfortable and protected, make sure their transportation arrangements are seamless and they have enough downtime to enjoy the city while they’re here.

     

    And then, once the Home Show has closed in early February – do it all over again!

     

    “With a long-term client partnership, a success for them is a success for us,” Whisner said. “We want our clients to be successful as a result of all our efforts, and this is especially true for the Home Show.”

     

    “It’s incredibly rewarding to see a company grow as a result of our collaboration and efforts,” Mercier said. “These clients trust us to make the best decisions to help them stand out and succeed.”

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