This article for me is part sharing what I know about digital marketing tools and part love letter to three companies that really deserve your business. Each of these businesses are, in equal parts, inspirational and invaluable to me. Each of them I’ve used for years and am proud to write about and evangelize to all of my friends, colleagues and clients.
They provide great services with superior technology, but what makes them really stand out to me is that they share what they know.
Its no secret that my favorite web company right now is Wistia. Part of the reason for this is obviously their product. For business hosting, I strongly feel that Wistia has no equal. Their technology is great, from their super embed builder that converts your video content to the right format for multiple devices to their killer video analytics. Need video embeds that work for responsive web sites? They’ve got you’re covered. How about one-click video transcription? No problem.
Can Wistia integrate social media into their player and let you follow a person on Twitter direct from the video? Remarkably, yes, and I don’t think any other video technology out there has even dreamed up that use case except for Wistia.
Beyond all of these technical reasons to choose Wistia, perhaps the biggest one is their customer service and the community they have built around video for the web.
They are not only providing content about the tool itself, but the Wistia team goes to great lengths to show you how to use those tools and others related to video production. I could be wrong, but it seems like they spend as much time teaching and sharing what they know about making great video content as they do building their platform.
Here are just a few examples of Wistia sharing what they know:
- A down and dirty lighting kit
- The fundamentals of concepting your video
- Producing better video testimonials using analytics
All of these videos (plus a ton of other great content) can be found in the Wistia Learning Center, which has the super clever tagline videos about video to help you market with video.
If you care about your web site rankings and learning more about SEO, then you need to become a member of SEOMoz. They have plans at every level of your budget, from a $99/month plan all the way up to agency level support at $2000/month. SEOMoz, like Wistia, is both a software company and an online community.
From the software side, SEOMoz provides a web site rank tracker and auditor which helps you identify potential problems with your web site. Their software will crawl your site and offer you suggestions on how you can improve it, from very basic things like the titles of your pages to technical things like the number of redirects, server errors, and duplicate content across your entire site. SEOMoz also will look at your competitors and show you where they are outranking you, be it in the number of links they have, total pages, or the overall strength of their domain.
You may be reading this and thinking, “That is pretty technical. I don’t even understand what all of that means, I just want to have a web site where I advertise my services!” The truth of the matter is that while we’d all love to live in a world where links and on-page optimization don’t matter, that isn’t realistic — at least not yet.
And this realization is where I think SEOMoz really shines, because as a company they take the time to share what they know.
- SEOMoz runs weekly “mozinars” which are free (even to non-members)
- Whiteboard Fridays explain SEO related topics
I also really like how their software will examine your site, find problems and then show you how to fix them. This in particular has been invaluable to me as an internal marketing resource in my company, mentoring others on how to optimize sites for our clients.
Another great web company, Buffer, provides a service (both with a free version and a paid one) to share content on the web. The sad truth about sites like Twitter and Facebook is that much of what you post to your timeline or followers goes unseen. Facebook uses an algorithm called Edge Rank to determine what is interesting based on the number of likes, comments and shares. In order to break through and get your content in front of as many as people, you need to make it interesting (not a bad thing, of course). Meanwhile back on Twitter, the content you share can easily be pushed off the timeline of your followers simply due to the sheer volume of links and tweets going out at any given time.
Buffer offers an impressive solution to the problem of effectively sharing content on social networking sites.
First, Buffer lets you share with a simple browser button. Find something online that you think may be of interest to your friends or followers? When you click the Buffer button you have the option to share that content right then, or to schedule it be shared later. One of the philosophies that the Buffer team has is that sharing consistently is more effective than sharing sporadically. Seems obvious enough, but until now there hasn’t been a simple, elegant way to do that. Buffer lets you batch up your shared content and then push it out on a consistent, scheduled basis. They partner with a site called Tweriod to analyze your followers and when they most often tweet to give you the ideal schedule to push your own content out.
Second, Buffer offers really easy to interpret analytics on the number of clicks, retweets, likes, favorites, and potential audience your shareable content has. I like to use these analytics to figure out not only the best times to share content, but also the best way to present that content. Do certain headlines work better than others? Do my friends or followers prefer video to images, or articles on my own blog to those that come from other sites? You can figure all of this out using just Buffer’s built-in analytics.
Third and probably most importantly, like SEOMoz and Wistia, Buffer spends a lot of time teaching you how to use their tools more effectively. They do this through sharing valuable articles and blogs (from their own team and others) on a daily basis. I’ve learned an insane amount about digital marketing and found new people to follow and read that I never would have had exposure to had it not been from Buffer’s social outreach.
Sharing What You Know is Smart
These three examples show the best of companies who are sharing what they know. They are not creating content to simply have the best service, or the best technology in their respective areas, they spend as much (or more time) in helping their customers become better users of their services and just better in general.
Do you want to produce better videos? You’ll learn how to do that in the Wistia Learning Center.
Do you want to improve your web site’s search rankings? Watch a Mozinar or a White Board Friday.
Do you want to share smarter online and get your content seen? Follow Buffer and register for a free account.
Of course, once you are ready to actually host your video online you’ll find Wistia is the best option for businesses who are looking for a complete package for serving multiple devices, customization, analytics, transcription and social sharing. Likewise, SEOMoz is the gold standard for rank tracking and SEO education. Buffer is the best tool for building consistency in your sharing across multiple social networks and provides actionable analytics to help you improve.
Make sure to check out and support these three great web companies that are investing in us as digital marketing professionals by sharing what they know.