Finishing Strong: Digital Marketing for the Fourth Quarter



It’s official: summer is coming to an end. It doesn’t exactly feel like it from my house in Texas, but the calendar doesn’t lie. My Facebook feed has switched from being filled with skinny girls in bikinis frolicking on beaches to little ones posing on their porches for the first day of school. Stores are stocked up with school supplies instead of sunscreen. Yes, summer is ending.

Summer can be rough on digital marketing efforts. Online stuff slumps during the summer: traffic declines as exciting outdoor activities take priority, content marketing drags, and there are fewer networking events to mix with other marketers.

Why does this happen? Well, many people’s schedules are irregular because of vacations. As kids are home from school, parents are focused on entertaining and spending time with their little ones. The weather is hot and not conducive to lots of events.

Everyone else is ready for fall to start. But the real question: is your business ready?

Content marketing has stepped up its game.

As a content strategist, I might be a little biased, but we’ve all heard it repeated ad infinitum: content is king in the web market. It’s the Drake to everything else’s Meek Mill—content could be dethroned, but at this point, nothing is coming close (no matter how hard it tries).

To level up in the content game, create an editorial content calendar and agree to publish at least once a week. This will move the dial in your favor for SEO and keep you relevant in your fan’s social feeds. Another new thing is that longer is better. No more does a short, shallow post help you check the box of content. Now, you need to hit 800-1,200 words to be considered a worthy player.

It’s time to update your website’s design.

Are you stuck in 2014? There are a few things that are so passé. Do you have autoplaying videos or audio on your site? Out. Are you using Flash? Out. How about a mobile-exclusive site? So, so out.

Okay, so what’s trending in the design world? I have it on good authority from the Zen Media development team that HTML 5 and CSS 3 are hot, hot, hot. You should also design with plenty of white space, custom images, infographics, and main menus hidden behind hamburgers.

To get to the first page of results, you can’t neglect a responsive approach. Optimizing your website for all kinds of traffic (whether mobile, tablet, or desktop) leads to a better overall experience and lower bounce rates by ensuring the text is the right size and the full site fits on the screen without having to side-scroll. To check if you’re utilizing mobile the right way, check out Google’s own mobile-friendly test tool.

Cinemagraphs are loved by our entire office. If you aren’t familiar with these images, think Harry Potter-esque moving pictures. With smooth loops and only slight movement, cinemagraphs are the sophisticated, whimsical big sister to GIFs that we’ve been waiting for.

image via Reddit user BigMurph26 on the r/cinemagraphs subreddit

SEO cannot be overlooked.

While content is still the biggest driver in search traffic, SEO is getting more sophisticated than ever. Thanks to Google’s new algorithms, keyword stuffing will get a ding against your results. You can’t simply throw out keywords in unnatural, stilted ways in hopes of ranking or you’ll be penalized.

That means that if I were writing this post about fluffy Pembroke corgis, I wouldn’t want to write like this: “Adopting a fluffy Pembroke corgi can be an arduous task, because there aren’t very many fluffy Pembroke corgis. Fluffy Pembroke corgis are technically against breed standards and considered undesirable. But fluffy Pembroke corgis are so cute. If you want to see pictures of fluffy Pembroke corgis, check out my fluffy Pembroke corgi gallery below.”

When linking, it’s no longer enough to link to authoritative sites—although you still should! Citations lend you credibility. The next big thing in authority is implied linking: mentions of your brand and other leaders in the industry without explicit links.

As we gear up for the fourth quarter, businesses need to step up their digital marketing efforts to get prepared for the busy holiday season. Are you ready? If you need help prepping your marketing department for fall, contact us for some help. After all, there are only 107 days until Christmas…


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