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Shortlisted for the digitals 2013

Some good news! Although a little late in highlighting, the digital team at VisitScotland were shortlisted for an E-Consultancy #TheDigitals Travel and Tourism award, back in May 2013.

Our campaign was focused around Shetland ponies in cardigans, one which saw solid work from our PR team and some great content production to make it a success. Results were quality search positions for related terms, TV features in the US and on-going engagement on social media. We are still seeing a continued flow of traffic to our blog post on the ponies. The post continues to be the most successful single page we have ever put live on our .com.

The ponies were fresh, creative and an excellent example of cross-team collaboration.

The US TV spot on CNN is included below.

Unfortunately we didn’t win on the night, but a good result none the less for the organisation!

Check out the original Shetland ponies blog post over @ the VisitScotland blog.

Google Databoard custom infographic creation

Whilst mulling over the available Google Webinar events that are available in the next few months - something stood out. A session devoted to Google Databoard is available, titled “Creating custom infographics with the new Google Databoard.

##What is Google Databoard? Based upon the description it becomes clear early on - a new tool that offers people the ability to build infographics, making use of Google data. The benefits for advertisers and marketers is easy clear; robust, trustworthy statistics in a digestible format. Google on the other hand gets good brand awareness and more justification as to the importance of Search and Display. They will no doubt let the statistics speak for themselves in this regard.

##What does it look like?

Our analyst Paul spotted that it is already live, however we are not sure if it is meant to be accessible. You can;

Find the main landing page and try it out here. Or, you can check out some example studies here for you to try here.

I would recommend you signup for the Google Webinar however.

Give it a look and let me know what you think.


This has now been announced in the most recent Google Webinar! Joy Hawkins posted a couple of shots from the demo, viewable on the Catalystemarketing forum.

Project management and digital marketers

Digital Project Management is common place in large organisations and businesses throughout the UK. Loosely speaking roles can encompass the web development, infrastructure management or wider digital marketing campaigns. There is massive potential for the fundamentals of project management to be harnessed and applied to our wider digital marketing roles, improving efficiency and the ability for people to correctly measure success.

##What about creativity?

Working in the digital industry at the moment, especially in SEO, will see you bombarded with information on the importance of content led creative. “How to get creative”, “how to make the most out of content marketing”, “tips on the value marketing proposition” - the list is endless. All are well and good and creativity should indeed take centre stage - don’t get me wrong. It is essential modern digital marketers are creative, however organisation and good planning is right up there as well, no question!

##Why being organised matters

It’s simple, the more organised you are the better you can manage your own work, the work of your team and your ability to convey results (success!). As a granular example, the concept of backing up is lost recently in a lot of peoples minds. With always on cloud services and web apps giving the impression that their data will always be available, its no surprise. In many instances it will, in others it won’t. Take Google Webmaster Tools, if your not exporting it then after 3 months your search query data disappears. This can create awkward moments whereby you don’t have the data you need to measure success / performance - thus poor planning and documenting leads to an inability to measure success.

In addition, version control for documentation is also important. Although a strange concept for many outside projects and development, it can play an essential part of having people contribute to working documents on the fly - without loosing anything in the process. Thus, if you need to roll back due to one of the team being on a different level, then you can!

##Some quick tips

  • Familiarise; Read up on both Prince2 and Agile methodologies, as learning the fundamentals will change your mindset before starting up
  • Big Picture; Think about the bigger picture; what are you aiming to achieve, what is the ideal end result and how will you measure success
  • Planning; Communication; Plan properly and communicate it and your progress clearly, it’s better to initially include to many people than to little. Make sure you establish who the stakeholders are!
  • Scope; If you feel that something is spiraling or is suffering from scope creep; take a step back, identify whether or not you can accommodate, reject / accept the additional ideas. You can also speak to a PM in your organisation for a second opinion
  • Risks; Issues; Document any on-going risks or issues as they occur, its better to see these early and justify them once they have taken place ##TLDR; Remember the fundamentals of Prince2 project management and BE MORE PRODUCTIVE! You’ll have well documented benefits and kudos from those around you for doing so. You don’t need to enter documentation hell (although many do) - you can use all the above and still be nimble.

You can check out the Prince2 Pocketbook if you want to find out more, a worthwhile read and its short enough to actually be practical and useful.

The definition of SEO in 2013

Digital moves quickly. This time of year frequently sees a wealth of blog and industry news focused on one aspect of this, SEO. Camps tend to joust for attention and kudos, producing link bait focused articles which aim to foretell the future. Posts are either plain misguided, or quite notable pieces that are worthy of the coverage they receive. Unfortunately on many occasions its the first of the two that is true, with said articles being poorly promoted with overly optimised headings and content.

Some commentary on the subject and pieces in question;

  • The definition of SEO depends upon the individual, with algorithm changes and thought leaders driving definitions
  • SEO has evolved< from a “one man know it all show” to something which requires delegation of key aspects to multiple teams - both technical and business oriented
  • The SEO industry has grown its marketing legs, with a lot of traditional gurus from technical backgrounds now competing for roles with traditional marketers who have adapted to digital (alongside digital fresh faces)
  • The organisation defines the role in many instances. A small company can see an SEO manager take on multiple roles including content production. In a large organisation coordination becomes far more important, with the role being one of synergy across teams
  • The breadth of modern, sustainable SEO has seen a lot of people come and go from the industry - of whom the vast majority will all end up working in a role that they encompassed to some extent during their time in SEO (Project Management, UX, Content Marketing etc)
  • Many SEOs attempt to redefine their role. The truth is, no matter how you describe your current position - true SEO now encompasses a lot of the unpaid digital spectrum - thus is something to be extremely proud of

The industry has changed, the definition has changed and the people have changed - its a form of natural evolution. No matter whether your strengths are routed in technical understanding or marketing prowess, you can still excel as both are still vastly important.

“If SEO is dead, then so is TV. Definitions change and much like TV isn’t just about Mad Men era adverts anymore (just look at product placement), SEO isn’t just about its traditional roots. The only difference is adverts didn’t die, meta keywords did”

What doesn’t die is an evolving strategy, it adapts and innovations - that’s pretty much what SEO should be defined as. A modern digital strategy which encompasses many digital marketing elements. It is an exciting time.

Yelp Edinburgh’s Winterfall Wonderland @ Ghillie Dhu

I recently had the pleasure of attending a Yelp! Edinburgh event in an official capacity as part of my role at VisitScotland. The aim was to learn about the community, what the events are all about and how we can potentially work with each other moving forward.

The event was titled Winterfall Wonderland and was hosted at Ghillie Dhu Edinburgh. The evening was truly fantastic, with some excellent businesses and Yelpers turning up. The way these events showcase some of the fantastic produce on offer, whilst getting people excited about visiting local business is truly commendable.

Attendees seemed engaged throughout, whilst the ever apparent social updates were in full flow. An excellent example of how physical events are so lovingly communicated and promoted online whilst the event is in full swing.

You can read all about it via my write up on the @VisitScotland blog.

Yelp Edinburgh’s Winterfall Wonderland @ Ghillie Dhu