Winning Top Tier Coverage for Search Engine Impact

Winning top tier media coverage for search engine performance - Martin Calvert, Blueclaw

In today’s guest post, Blueclaw’s Marketing Director Martin Calvert examines the impact of quality media coverage on visibility and search performance. 

Links remain the lynchpin of off-site SEO strategy, but not all links are created equal.

Google’s commitment to rewarding sites that provide the most value to human visitors, means the search engine is looking for indications that your site is organically featured and linked to by high quality sites.

As Google’s Matt Cutts states –

‘…the objective is not to ‘Make your links appear natural’; the objective is that your links are natural.”

Natural links from great website and publications help your site – unnatural links from poor quality site do nothing or actively damage your rankings.

Unlocking that higher tier of coverage and winning over publications, blogs and influencers takes great content, aligned to your SEO strategy.

However, lessons can be drawn from other disciplines – including PR.

Content Marketing, SEO and PR


“What sites can I be featured on? What would their readers find compelling about what we have to say? What topics would capture their interest? Where can I reasonably expect to win coverage?”

….are all questions that professionals in another content-centric industry are very familiar with – PR.

As SEO becomes ever more like PR in terms of these questions, the more marketers can look to the established habits of great PR firms to guide their content strategy, while also incorporating the SEO criteria and metrics they need to drive rankings.

As in PR, the more authoritative and discerning a publication/site you target, the better your content must be. Remember, these publications thrive on maintaining high standards, and have their own SEO and readerships to consider.

SEO is a bit of an arms race in that with so many companies attempting to implement a link-earning strategy, the best sites have become more discerning about who they link to.

Meanwhile, more ‘accessible’ sites lose value quickly – and could even result in a penalty.

Higher Value Links, Greater Results

The gold standard of leading industry publications, mainstream media and .gov and .edu domains remains in force.

The effort to produce this content of a quality that will win coverage (and links) from this type of outlet can be off-putting.

For some companies, they will continue to suffer from the fatal half measure of lacklustre content generation leading to lacklustre results.

Breaking out of that routine and really taking your SEO strategy forward, requires creativity, insight and authentic content of unambiguous value.

The good news is the better your content is, the further it can travel and the greater results you can anticipate.

This is particularly the case if there is an element of virality – content that people cannot resist linking to and sharing on social media and elsewhere.

Manning the Pump

The internet is awash with mediocre content, churned out on a timely schedule.

The written word is vital but engaging, entertaining and insightful visual elements also increase the value of content as the delivery mechanism for the crucial link to your site.

A vanishingly small number of companies can produce content on a consistent basis that retains high standards of quality – and some will choose never to invest that time, effort or money.

We know that Google loves new content, are hungry to index it and will give a boost to fresh material on the assumption that newer = more timely, relevant and interesting.

That’s something to bear in mind when producing content for your own site, but it’s also at the forefront of the minds of savvier website owners. Your great content helps their site – so they’ll be willing to scratch your back in turn with a follow link.

Consistency in Content

Consistency in content creation in terms of timeliness and quality is just as important for the mainstream media.

Though they may be less concerned about their own search rankings, they do demand dependable partners who can be relied upon to help with a quote, a bit of insight or a meaty piece of content that makes their story or their site that much better.

In short, your SEO programme will suffer and winning, retaining and expanding your media relationships will be harder without regularity of great content – that crucial connective tissue – to keep the reciprocal relationships working well.

Differentiating on Content for Next-Level SEO

Content marketing is the delivery mechanism for off-site SEO – and the better your content, the greater leeway you have to engage and negotiate with the sites that fit the ideal profile for your SEO strategy.

What qualifies as great content will vary depending on your industry, and demands of the press, industry publications, sector-specific sites and influencers.

Content marketing is in a hype phase at the moment, meaning that there is a flood of sub-par content.

Differentiating is critical, as is creating a reputation for quality and consistency – looking to PR for inspiration is just one route.

Author Biog

Martin Calvert - Blueclaw

Martin has an 11-year career as an international researcher, speaker and client and agency-side practitioner in the field of online communication and influence. Drawing on his diverse experience, Martin provides a practical, personable and data-driven view of digital marketing and SEO.

Having recently joined Blueclaw as Marketing Director, Martin is responsible for enthusing major brands and challengers alike about the new art of the possible in digital marketing.

Martin’s session at next week’s Search Leaders Masterclass at Etihad Stadium, Manchester: Earning media coverage, social shares & engagement for next-gen SEO


#PRSL16 Spotlight: Future game changers in PR & Social

Unconventional Search Engines - Think Outside the Box

As part of our build-up to next week’s PR & Social Leaders Masterclass in Manchester, Paul Mallett, Joint Managing Partner at Brass, sets the scene for his session which looks at ‘Future Game Changers in PR & Social’.

Times are changing fast…

Every brand is becoming a publisher.

We’ve never had more powerful tools for targeting audiences.

Digital channels allow us to reach more people, more often and for much less money.

We’re entering an era where you won’t search for content – it will find you.


Technical novelty has passed its peak…smartphones are the new flat-screen TVs.

People are getting very good at ignoring content…Facebook’s most used function is the scroll bar.

People have to ignore content because there is so much of it.

Successful digital services continue to disrupt old models and are embedded in our lives.

People are getting wise to the value of their digital footprints.

…and People are starting to switch off from the always-on world.

Challenging times…

It’s difficult to predict the future, but we’ll certainly help you to explore how to navigate the choppy waters ahead, and maybe even change your game to thrive in the new world.

Author Biog

Paul Mallett - BrassPaul has worked at the forefront of online marketing since its inception. With extensive experience spanning over 20 years, Paul has led the creative and strategic activity on a host of innovative and award-winning campaigns for some of the world’s best known organisations and brands.

After a successful period of creative stewardship at agency Brand New Media, Paul created digital FMCG specialists swamp in 2002, where he was responsible for an impressive client list which included Heinz, Umbro GlaxoSmithKline, Umbro, Tesco and MBNA. Paul then managed the acquisition of swamp by Brass (then Brahm), joining forces with the existing digital team to create one of the UK’s leading digital agencies.

Paul now acts as lead digital strategist for Brass Alt, developing and executing global digital strategy in a multi-channel, multi-screen environment.

*Featured image via

Is the print vs. digital debate dead?

Ella Woodward features in new Amanda Wakeley campaign

In today’s guest post, Search Laboratory’s Chris Woolford takes a closer look at the need for brands to maximise both digital and print channels when developing an effective communications strategy.

The Power of Print
Coming from a Public Relations background, a focus on obtaining quality print coverage for clients had always been a consideration, if not a priority.

It seems online coverage, as opposed to print, rarely has the same impact for a PR client. For them, the story hasn’t registered with their CEO audience, unless it’s in glossy print in their hands, despite declining print circulations proving otherwise.

Yet most PR professionals firmly recognise that obtaining traditional print PR coverage, although still important, should take a firm second place to gaining coverage in digital publications which now have greater global readership, are more socially shareable and carry significant SEO value for brands.

If in-house PRs (and their CEOs) haven’t already caught up with this, then they need to do, and soon.

The Watershed
In March 2016, The Independent became the first newspaper to fully embrace the digital revolution and shift its publication to an online-only platform.

The digital version of the Independent had seen a rapid growth in readership, with online figures up 33.3% in the 12 months prior to the move, and an audience of 70 million unique global users.

The Independent is now only online

The Independent is now only available online

Recognising its strong digital audience, the Indy took the courageous step to fully embrace the opportunity of the digital age. Although this may have surprised some of its readers, and industry analysts and commentators, it is no longer the only publication to cease print in the face of an online evolution.

Men’s magazines, FHM and Zoo, closed their doors last year, and at the time publisher Bauer Media said it felt that young men’s media habits had “continually moved towards mobile and social”.

There has since been a rapid growth in online lifestyle brands such as Lad Bible, Mr Hyde, Buzzfeed, Sheerluxe and The Debrief, which have all embraced social media and significantly grown online audience.

Other publishers are now considering placing their digital sites behind a paywall, in a possibly misguided attempt to prepare for the probable death of print media.

The Guardian is considering such a move with Group Chief Executive, David Pemsel, describing this content distribution approach as ‘meeting readers where they are in the digital space’. But are those readers truly ready to buy into the pay wall model for their news and content? It remains to be seen.

The shift to digital has been accelerated with readers choosing mobile devices to access and read their favourite titles. Facebook has become increasingly popular as the consumers go to source to find news and today over half its users access the service only on mobile.

Shopping habits are also evolving, with online fashion retailer, ASOS, recently reporting that mobile now accounts for 50% of sales, with 62% of website traffic coming through those devices.

This shows exactly why organisations must remain open and adaptable to changing reader habits, and why they must continue to keep up to speed with the best ways to reach and connect with their target consumers.

Print coverage and print ads, once a priority for PRs and marketers, are now just a small part of any effective communications strategy.

So much has changed in just a short space of time…

But Doesn’t Print Still Have Value?
My PR work with many fashion and beauty brands highlights that coverage in fashion and lifestyle glossies is still a vital part of rubber stamping the success of a PR campaign.

In this space it seems that aligning with ‘the norm” and seeing your brand mentioned alongside other high calibre brands is considered a success and a positive marker for the goals of their brands. These brands often want to be seen as “elite” and being seen alongside other “elite” fashion brands often makes them so.

But is there really a value here? The amazing success of digital brands such as ASOS should show, at least to me, that this obsession with glossy print coverage is an outdated and outmoded way of recognising PR success.

PRs on this track have an uphill battle to fight when there are few, if any metrics to measure their beliefs.

In fact, one of the many benefits of digital coverage is that companies can track and analyse it. Once all PRs had was circulation, readership and AVEs to (poorly) show their value, now they have access to domain authority (an indicator of the strength of a website), search rankings, click-through rates, time spent on-site, referrals and conversions.

Essentially, PRs have much more accurate idea of how powerful and effective coverage is for their client’s brands.

Consumers Trust Bloggers

Ella Woodward features in new Amanda Wakeley campaign

Ella Woodward features in new Amanda Wakeley campaign

Engaging with, and working alongside, key influencers is a great way to achieve effective online communications. Coverage on influential, ‘high authority’ blogs will improve rankings and raise brand awareness.

And bloggers are clearly now more trusted than celebrity endorsements for brands (I’ve seen first-hand that working with huge celebrity names with incomprehensible social followings is far from a guarantee of marketing success).

Esteemed fashion label, Amanda Wakeley, recently unveiled health and food blogger Ella Woodward, from Deliciously Ella, as the face of its spring and summer campaign.

“Renowned for her healthy and balanced lifestyle, Ella perfectly embodies the ‘Wakeley Woman,’” the brand said. Amanda Wakeley created a 360-degree approach to the campaign, incorporating print advertisements, online promotion, and a hashtag (#WAKELEYWOMEN), which was used across all social channels.

As a result, the campaign received a huge online buzz and got coverage on some highly authoritative sites. There was also a landing page, where fans could shop ‘as worn by Ella’, view behind the scenes videos, and read more about the blogger. The page encouraged people to link back to the Amanda Wakeley website, in order to learn more about the collection and the campaign.

In addition, a survey, conducted by Fashion and Beauty Monitor, reports that 60% of fashion and beauty brands have an influencer marketing strategy in place, while a further 21% plan to invest in one over the next 12 months; with 59% saying their influencer marketing budgets will increase.

What Does This All Mean?
For the time being at least, print publications remain a part of an effective communications strategy. This is echoed by The Guardian’s Pemsel, who has previously said the paper’s,  printing presses should only be turned off “when the economics don’t make sense, or when it is getting in the way of developing your digital product. The Guardian will remain in print while our readers demand it.”

While there is still a little value in having your brand featured in top-tier print publications, it’s only a communication strategy that incorporates print with digital that will unlock the full power of brand marketing.

Author Biog

Chris Woolford - Search Laboratory

Chris  Woolford, Digital Communications Director at Search Laboratory, converted to search engine marketing following 14 years in the PR industry. He has developed content campaigns for the likes of Sony, O2, Office Depot, PayPal and Interflora using whatever it takes – be it flaming firework flower petals or giant Darth Vader Post-It murals – to get effective results.

You can catch-up with Chris at the PR & Social Leaders Masterclass in Manchester on Tuesday 24th May 2016, where he’ll be Chairing a session that takes a closer look at developing an SEO approach to PR Strategy.

Registration is open for #PRSL16 in Manchester

Register to attend the PR & Social Leaders Masterclass

After the successful launch of the Content Leaders Masterclass in Manchester in January, I’m delighted to announce that the 5th installment in the Marketing Masterclass Series – PR & Social Leaders Masterclass #PRSL16 will also be taking place in Manchester.

The event kicks-off with registration between 9.00am-9.30am on Tuesday 24th May 2016 – finishing at 1.00pm. Details of the venue and official keynote speaker will be updated later this week.

The masterclass in association with Greenlight, Brass, Search Laboratory and Blueclaw will bring together a selection of industry leaders and delegates from some of the UK’s biggest and best brands to share their expertise and discuss the big issues that are shaping the brand comms landscape.

Latest New Delegates #PRSL16


If you’d like to attend the masterclass, please register here

Speaker Spotlight: Tim Sinclair (Wolfstar)

In today’s #BEMLeeds Speaker Spotlight, I wanted to try something a little different to the previous editions by introducing our official chair for the Brand & Audience Engagement Masterclass – Wolfstar’s Managing Director, Tim Sinclair.

In this short video, Tim shares his thoughts on the importance of storytelling and measuring campaign effectiveness, when it comes to ‘Brand Engagement’.

Tim will be delivering his session with Sam Oakley, Co-Founder of Stashmetrics, at the masterclass on Tuesday 14th July, and will take a closer look at ‘The art of brand engagement and social listening.’


Strong Line-Up Confirmed for Brand & Audience Engagement Masterclass

I’m delighted to announce that the speaker line-up for the Brand & Audience Engagement Masterclass has now been confirmed with leading experts from Elmwood, Jaywing, WRG, Wolfstar and Igniyte  – presenting a series of engaging sessions on Tuesday 14th July 2015.

The masterclass in association with Network Marketing and the University of Liverpool will provide delegates with a powerful series of insights, strategies and tactics from five industry leaders who will share their latest thinking on brand and audience engagement.


  • Developing the right brand engagement strategy
  • Creating and promoting powerful content through owned, earned and paid media channels
  • Tactics for driving customer acquisition and retention through better online brand engagement
  • Measuring the effectiveness of brand and social engagement
  • How to deliver an engaging online user experience

Who’s attending?

  • Head of Marketing Operations, O2
  • Global Vice President – Brand Strategy, Arla Foods
  • Professor of Marketing, University of Liverpool
  • Marketing Director, Joe Browns
  • Marketing Director, Taylors of Harrogate
  • Global Marketing Manager, Mamas & Papas
  • Head of Community & Social Media Marketing, Premier Farnell
  • Head of Marketing, WageDayAdvance
  • Digital Marketing Manager, Irwin Mitchell
  • Regional Marketing Manager, DLA Piper
  • Marketing Manager, Yorkshire Water
  • Senior Manager – Brand Operations, Lloyds Banking Group
  • Customer Strategy & Planning Manager, Yorkshire Building Society
  • Customer Insight Manager, Asda
  • Marketing & Communications Director, Capita
  • Brand Activation Manager, Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate
  • Digital Marketing Manager, The Co-operative Group
  • Senior Manager – Online Content, Brand & Communications, TD Direct
  • Head of Customer Knowledge & Insight, TD Direct
  • US Marketing Coordinator, Pure Collection
  • Digital Content Coordinator, Pure Collection
  • Retail Development Manager, Warburtons
  • Brand & Social Media Manager, Superbreak
  • Customer Retention Manager, WageDayAdvance
  • Customer Retention & Engagement Manager, Satsuma Loans
  • Communications Manager, Xerox
  • UK Marketing Manager, Smoothwall
  • Marketing Manager, University of Leeds
  • Head of Marketing, Pets Choice
  • Social and PR Manager, Pets Choice

If you’d like to attend, please complete the contact form or call me on +44 (0)7796322894.

#MLleeds Round-up

The Marketing Leaders Masterclass officially kicked-off in style yesterday at Elmwood’s Leeds office with a fantastic show of support from some of the North’s biggest brands and marketing agencies.

The event in association with Network Marketing (Headline Sponsor) brought together a group of leading experts from the world of digital, social, creative, PR and consumer insight  – who delivered a series of insightful and thought-provoking sessions.

The senior delegation included representatives from brands such as Asda, Co-operative Group, Ernst & Young, Irwin Mitchell, Sky Bet, JD Williams, Provident, TD Direct, Wilko, JCT600 and Victoria Plumb to name but a few, as well as the CIM’s chair of Mid-Yorkshire Branch and Professor of Marketing Anthony Patterson from University of Liverpool.

I would like to personally thank all the speakers and delegates for taking part; Elmwood for allowing the event to be hosted at their beautiful office, Duncan McCallum from McCallum Layton for doing a brilliant job as the official chair, and finally Network Marketing for supporting #MLleeds as the official Headline Sponsor.

All speaker presentations can be viewed below via Slideshare

Please click here to view the extended commentary on the talk by Duncan McCallum, Founding Partner, McCallum Layton.

If you’d like to take part in the next scheduled masterclass which will focus on ‘Brand Engagement & User Experience’, please drop me a message.

The Benefits Of Blogging

A Guide To Social Media Marketing For SMEs (Part 3)

In parts 1 and 2, we have already looked at some practical applications of using tools such as Twitter and LinkedIn as part of an integrated social media marketing approach for your business and in this latest installment – we will take a look at why you should be using a blog as an additional tool to compliment your social media strategy.

What is blogging?
Quite simply for the purpose of this basic guide, a blog is a way in which you can communicate and share your personal thoughts and views on the web using a personalised blogging website to host all your content.

Blogging has become a very popular marketing and thought leadership tool over the last 5 years and is used quite heavily by leading industry experts to share their views on topical issues.

The Power Of Blogging…

Thought Leadership
Everyday, we are trying to demonstrate to our customers/prospects that we are experts, market leaders and the best at what we do, whether we are providing a product or service. Blogging is a fantastic vehicle which can allow you to cement this position as it can provide you with enormous online reach.

To become a thought leader, you can use your blog to share your expertise and experience by publishing your thoughts and commentary on a number of topics i.e. key industry issues, market trends, customer insight, product/service developments, topical news stories, best practice, industry events – the list goes on (you get the idea).

It is important however that you keep your blog up-to-date, interesting and relevant. If you have a great idea for a blog, make sure to get in contact with your industry media partners to share your thoughts as it common practice for some of these to be published on their own website or published as copy within their magazine (if it is a great blog/thought leadership article). This means that you get great copy for your website, your client newsletter to endorse your position as an expert in your industry and also gives you additional credibility for your blog which you can share with millions online.

Boost Your Web Traffic / Online Presence
A blog is another great way of bringing more traffic to your company website as it provides enormous online reach. Creating a topical or interesting blog post that is supported with relevant tags (keywords associated with your post) means that more people will be able to find your contribution quicker. To help bring more visitors to your company website, make sure to add lots of links within your blog post (adding your preferred landing page url) as this deliver more traffic and potential new clients to your website.

If you develop and effectively maintain your blog – delivering great content, adding relevant url links and ensuring your blog is supported with the correct tagging – you will make it easier for people to find you, your company and your content online and within the blogosphere.

To support your web traffic further, you can directly post your blog to your LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media sites. This is good practice in general and compliments your social media profile, whilst creating content that should be of interest for your customers and prospects.

Powerful Copy
Your website is a shop window not only for your existing clients, but also for potentially new ones. A blog is a great prop for your website and will give you an opportunity to generate more traffic as long as your content is thought-provoking, interesting and relevant. Giving people a reason to return to your website is always a good marketing tactic and sometimes a compelling blog which is updated each day/week can support this activity, as your visitors might be keen to read your latest entry.

Real Time Insights

The beauty about having a blog is that you do not need to be a website developer or designer and you certainly do not need to wait days to have your content published online. A blog provides real-time insight and commentary in an engaging way that allows people to get involved in the subject/topic.

You visited an industry seminar and were not able to contribute to the discussions that were taking place in which a number of interesting prospects were in attendance. A blog will give you the means to comment on anything that you agreed/disagreed with and also provide you with an opportunity to share your own views on a burning issue that you feel passionate about. Once you have created your blog post and added your tags and relevant url links to support the entry – you can share your post instantly using your various social media accounts (LinkedIn, Twitter etc) which will in addition to making your blog visible within the blogosphere, will also allow you to reach a further audience within the social media networks that you are registered with. Remember, sound out your local media partner as the post may be something they can use in their own magazine or online features section.

Get Started
There are quite a number of blogging sites available to get started and the below are just a few to point you in the right direction. Once you have decided which one you want to use, simply register and get started! At first, it will take some time to experiment, but once you become familiar with the blogging process – you will soon become an expert.

Moveable Type

In the next installment (Part 4) of my blog – A Guide To Social Media Marketing For SMEs I will be focusing on the benefits and applications of social bookmarking.

If you have found my blog interesting and helpful, please feel free to share this post with others via the below social bookmarks.

Continue reading

Get Connected, Get LinkedIn

A Guide To Social Media Marketing (Part 2)

Launched in 2003 and with over 100m registered users worldwide, LinkedIn has become the fastest growing and most popular professional networking website around. LinkedIn is a tool that most professional marketers are aware of and using to great effect – and as a free resource (is a must for SMEs)!

In this blog, I will share with you some of the best practical applications of LinkedIn for SMEs and the key benefits it can deliver, however the first thing you need to do (right now) is to create an account on Linkedin.

Getting Started: The Basics
To get the most from LinkedIn, I recommend that you put time and effort into creating a strong profile. This will be the first thing that potential contacts will look at in deciding whether they wish to become a connection. I have seen a number of examples of very poor profiles on LinkedIn, where people have not filled in the most basic detail about their expertise/background or in taking the time needed to build a profile which looks credible. In my opinion, you will have little success with LinkedIn if you do not bother to work on developing a strong profile. The profile is your online CV – therefore, make it stand out!

Now you have an account, created a great profile – start using LinkedIn to find contacts for existing and former clients, colleagues, media partners, suppliers and off-course for identifying potential new contacts as part of developing your business development pipeline. Like anything, once you start using this site, it is important that your build it into your daily to-do-list as to really utilise the benefits it offers, you need to use it as a business support tool everyday.

Brand Communications: Maximising Your PR
What makes LinkedIn such a fantastic business tool for brand communications is its sheer ability to provide real-time communications with a market reach of over 100m. One of the most practical tools available on LinkedIn is the status bar on your profile – the status function should be used by all your employees (who have an account) to share company news/updates. As soon as you update your status, your connections will see it on their updates page and this is a great way of providing additional reach for your brand communications. The beauty about the status function is that you can add links to published articles, presentations, video clips and press releases that are either hosted on your own website or a media partner’s website. To get the most from LinkedIn as a PR tool – use the Groups available to also add your latest PR and thought leadership content. Doing this simple activity will ensure that your message reaches a targeted audience and in return help drive traffic to your website. Over the last 3 years, LinkedIn generated up-to 20% of all unique web visitors for my previous agency – and helped raise brand profile along the way.

Thought Leadership: Sharing Knowledge
If you have a presentation that was recently delivered at an industry conference, make sure to upload it on LinkedIn using the Google presentation application – this will provide another great way of enhancing your profile whilst offering a targeted/extended route for sharing your knowledge which will support your company’s brand position as an industry expert.

Get Prospecting: Lead Generation Development
As a social site that has over 100m registered accounts, LinkedIn provides marketers and business development professionals with a fantastic prospecting resource – you can use the people and company search functions to easily identify possible prospects. Now you have found a possible prospect/contact – you have a few options available i.e.invite them to become a connection or use the information that you now have at your disposal to create a foundation for the next stage of your prospecting/lead generation strategy. Another great benefit of LinkedIn is that you are able to view most of the contacts who view your profile, and again this is a powerful lead generation tool which should be acted upon!

The Power of Groups: Enhancing Your Industry Expertise
Using the groups directory and search function, make sure you are a member of all relevant groups for your business. This will allow you to follow key industry/group issues, track contact level activity, whilst providing you with a golden opportunity to get involved in on-going group discussions. It also provides another avenue for brand positioning and developing your company profile at group level – as most of your existing clients and key targets will already be members. There are many examples of clients finding suppliers using groups as handy industry resource. Don’t forget – you can also set-up your own group and this option will support your lead generation strategy as you will be able to monitor all leads who register to your group.

Better SEO: Letting Clients Find You
Creating a company profile on LinkedIn will ensure that potential clients and prospects will find you easily and this is becoming a popular search tool. Make sure you keep the company profile up-to-date and get all your employees to set-up their own accounts on LinkedIn – but make sure they develop their profile pages, so that they are as impactful as possible. The company page is something that a lot of people now browse to get a feel for your organisation and also to get an overview of your team and latest activity/updates. LinkedIn is similar in nature to Twitter and provides a follow option – therefore make sure to follow all companies that are relevant to your business as this will keep you up-to-date with their activity on LinkedIn i.e. new hires, employees, latest news etc.

Remember, the more content you add to your profile, the more groups you join, the more discussions you get involved in, the more connections you make – the better your SEO will be on LinkedIn (meaning more people will be able to find you).

Talent Management: Find Your Next Employee
If you are spending a lot of money on recruitment agencies to support your talent management strategy, then look no further than LinkedIn as your perfect HR partner. LinkedIn offers you the perfect free solution to filling that next vacancy. Simply using the advanced people/company search options – you can identify potential employees and make direct contact with them (cutting out the middle man).

Working Smarter: Handy Apps
There are a number of handy apps on LinkedIn which will help you work smarter and also provide yet more benefits for lead generation and marketing activities. Take the time to explore all the applications available and define the most appropriate for your business. To give you a head start on apps, here are a few which you should be using: Google Presentation, SlideShare, WordPress, Blog Link, Events and Company Buzz.

This blog has covered some of the most basic applications of how LinkedIn can help your business and if used effectively – it will deliver a cost-effective route to market. The benefits it will yield will depend on the time and effort you put into the resource (so make sure you use it on a daily basis and embed it into your marketing and business development strategy).

In part 3 of my “Guide To Social Media Marketing For SMEs”, I will be looking at Blogging, so keep an eye out for my next installment.