Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Regaining Control of Your Online Identity

This is a guest post by Rebecca Haden, college teacher and founder of Haden Interactive, a content-focused web services firm.  She’s an expert in building a quality web presence for companies and individuals, which starts by understanding the risk of fragmentation.

New clients often come to me with a misconception:  that they have a strong handle on their online identity. They may have a Facebook page, a LinkedIn page, some press releases, a couple videos on YouTube and one on Vimeo, an interview posted on someone’s blog and 2 news article mentions. And my first task is often to help them understand that this is not a strong web presence, but a scattered one--definitely not the best way to leverage their marketing and time investment.  3 Critical Points:
  1. When information is all over the web, it’s hard for customers to find it, and thus not nearly as valuable to you and your business as it could be.
  2. Even when your content ranks with search engines, each item often turns up with keywords that aren't what your customers are looking for, or out of context.
  3. By not aggregating, companies miss opportunities to leverage unique content to create a unique point of view of their brand, and develop multiple story lines about who they truly are from a content and value standpoint.  
What would be really valuable to you, is if people could find every relevant online reference to you and your company in one place, understand who you are by looking at storylines and your breadth of assembled content, and then explore the references that best fit their purpose!  By doing so, you combine all of the value you have created elsewhere onto one page that you can optimize for keywords, ultimately optimizing your chances for success.

That’s where Spoke comes in, to centralize and organize your online presence.


Sure, you could put all your content onto your website, but that’s usually not the best solution. Why?  Because your website is intended to generate more revenue from customers and prospects--who are looking explicitly for answers to specific questions about their needs, and don't want to scroll through dozens of external links.  As a result, all of your external content doesn't have a good place on your website, and usually gets demoted onto a "press page." They’re called press pages for a reason:  they're intended for the press, as a collection of your links and podcasts.  Moreover, press pages, even "about pages" for that matter, are not designed to work with different types of content (videos, articles, etc,) so you can easily end up with a sort of "scrapbook" effect. 

So how do you deal with all those articles, videos, slide presentations, and social profiles?
Easy.  Spoke.com


Spoke has become a great starting place to understand your presence across the web. It is designed to aggregate your social media, company or personal timeline, videos, pictures, news, links, and all the other content you have roaming around the web. You can organize it all onto one Spoke page and keep the integrity and purpose of each part of your web presence (facebook for your community, linkedin for your recruiting, and website for your customers and prospects.)

Now that you have all this information on one Spoke page, you can start tuning it and expanding on it to make it relevant to the story that you want to tell.  That story could contain the history of a company, major milestones, major active projects, etc.  You can even start creating pages (topics, companies, people) within Spoke to further elaborate on  specific elements of your story, such as your competitive positioning, your partners, major market developments, important people--and link them all together inside of Spoke.  And one tidy link from your website to your Spoke page makes it all available to visitors without compromising your design and the core goals of your website.

And all along the way, Spoke will help you with resources, content, and reminders to keep your body of information current for your audience.  And there’s more.  Spoke will also provide you with additional search-engine visibility to complement your website.  So make sure to add the links to your web presence to your Spoke page to send interested traffic to the relevant destinations.

As of today you have a lot of content spread among disconnected places that you're not taking full advantage of to tell interesting stories.  Spoke enables you to take control, and define your identity by letting you tell your own stories.  In doing so, not only will you create very unique experiences for your customers, prospects, and potential employees, but also very rich content for search engines to crawl and show--generating additional traffic for your web presence.

Want More? 

Rebecca Haden is a leader in the reputation management space and can help you understand, and subsequently optimize, your online presence.  Feel free to email her with questions or inquiries at rebecca@hadeninteractive.com; or to see a live example, compare her website with her company Spoke page!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Spoke releases automatically generated profiles

Today is another historic day for Spoke and for the Business Intelligence Community at large. 

After having provided unique capabilities last week to aggregate and navigate through content, we are releasing our first set of automatically created topic pages--about 5,000 of them, bringing the count to over 100 times more topics than we had yesterday; and those 5,000 topics only cover alternative energy and sustainability, a small sliver of the world of business information as a whole. Our goal before the end of 2013 is to create more than 450,000 Business topics on Spoke, two thirds automatically-created and one third user-generated. The initial topics are all created the same: you will find a summary, a cloud of tags and a list of links in the notable links section.  Here are few examples of pages that has been created:

We would not have been able to come up with that many topics without Wikipedia. For this first series of topics, we have automatically identified which pages within Wikipedia are related to the subjects of Energy and Sustainability. We have extracted the summary and provided a link to the Wikipedia page for content attribution. We then matched this content with content coming from VentureBeat, Cleantechnica, TechCrunch,…. and created links on those topic pages to the most relevant content we found on each of those sites. Last but not least, we then created a cloud of tags for each topic by matching the topics together and identifying which ones are more similar to each other. If a topic is similar to a topic source, then the name of the topic is assigned as a tag in the topic source page.

There is still a lot of information to be added to the page to make them complete. As a matter of fact, we estimate those pages to be only 35% complete. So we need your help to make those pages as useful as possible.  Particularly, if you know of any topic experts whether Industry Expert, Customers, Partners, please make sure to add them to the page.

If you contribute, we will recognize you and as one of our community members recently wrote on a blog post about Spoke and the huge benefit users can gain by curating topics within their areas of subject matter expertise, and being recognized for it in Google searches.  And given we are so early, he stated about  Spoke that "it's a land grab right now!" 

So come to the site and start exploring our new topics pages and let us know what you think about them. We will also be building more batches of topics in the coming weeks, and would be very interested to know which business segments you would like to see being developed next.

Philippe Cases