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How did we do it?

If you found this article because you chose DSMMCM and have a challenge ahead, this was specially made for you… come with us!

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DSMMCM stands for Digital & Social Media Marketing Communications Management and it’s an optional final year unit for the Marketing, Operations and Digital Business department students at Manchester Metropolitan University, aka, MMU.

The unit is run by experienced digital marketing tutors who through a series of workshops and lectures will provide us with a set of essential tools for what the future of employment is going: digital. To achieve that, we are set into teams who will act as digital marketing agencies that will analyse opportunities in the digital marketplace and develop a social media & digital marketing strategy for a specific business.

The goals of the unit are to:

  • Create a digital & social media marketing strategy
  • Develop a digital and social media marketing programme and campaign
  • Evaluate and justify digital marketing levers for use in campaigns
  • Evaluate the success of digital and social media marketing campaigns

However, this is a gamified unit (really check out what  Gamification is after), and to make things more interesting, our tutor David Edmundson-Bird challenged us to participate in the SEO Cup sponsored by Optimisey, an SEO Consultancy based in Cambridge (thank all you for the opportunity!)

This means we would develop our Search Engine Optimisation skills as well as Digital Marketing skills, by trying to rank our website as the first organic search result on Google for the keyword #DSMMCM1819* (from the beginning until the end of the year).

*DSMMCM1819- for the year 2018/2019

Ok, if you came here, you already know we won. But, do you know how did we do it?

‘The secret of getting ahead is getting started’

Tuesday: September 25th, 2018– The first day of DSMMCM and the first day we’ve heard about the SEO Cup. I’ve always been a very competitive person so I knew this was going to be hard and we had to have a lot of persistence. So, the first thing I’ve done when I came home was to create every social network for DigitalKoda as well as its WordPress. I already knew some of my colleagues as we were friends from previous years, so it was easy to persuade them to join this adventure.

Our first tweet?

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And the Tweet on the day after?

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disclaimer: ”by visualising a certain event, situation, or an object, you attract it into your life. It is a process that is similar to daydreaming” (read more here).

The beginning

Because the keyword DSMMCM1819 would be widely used on Twitter, our first investment was to start creating content for Twitter as well as for the WordPress, at the same time we would share our articles on Twitter and get our first link built.

We knew this would increase our ranking through organic research and start to generate some curiosity around it. By the end of the week, we had created our first YouTube video (YouTube is a great optimisation tool) and maintained the schedule of a video per week until the end of the year.

On week 2, we were already on the ranking when our tutor typed DSMMCM1819 in front of the lecture.

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But, that wasn’t enough.

So we made some research and discovered that link-building was really important (I mean, really important) and for this, we had to create a strategic plan.

Besides Twitter (where we would post regular updates of what was happening on classes), we also:

  • Invested in Canva made posts for Instagram as well as curated photos with different related # to get more reach;
  • Created a Pinterest account, and although we didn’t invest in it afterwards, we discovered that it is a great source of traffic;
  • Created a Spotify, Tumblr, Reddit and other social networks with the objective of diversifying our communication channels and generate more awareness;
  • Invested a LOT in our WordPress: we would post at least 2 to 3 times a week about what we would have learned in classes; latest marketing news or any curious marketing related subject. Always adding # to our articles;
  • We also created a Facebook page, however, this was an interesting thing. We didn’t have a lot of ROI so we wouldn’t use it much, but, at the end of the journey, we noticed our competitors were getting higher on ranking by linking to it and when searching for dsmmcm1819 on Facebook, you would see a lot of their posts. In the end, we created an event linked to the award ceremony happening in the Salutation and surpassed the others’ posts.

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  • We asked Optimisey to link with us! And to the last year’s winners’ post! Yeah! (if it’s not written…is it a rule? Hm..)
  • We also built our network through Quora or by posting our blog on Student Forums and connecting to our own personal blogs.
  • And, we even connected it to a game (and game forums)!

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And we even found a digital marketer that gave us some tips!! ‘Everything is connected’

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Note: during the journey don’t forget to connect with people, reply to comments and messages and you can even gain some friends! (also thanks CraftyVintage for supporting us since day 1!).

But how did we know we were getting ahead?

Ok, if you’re competing for the SEO Cup, you will have to be these three things: patient, persistent and consistent. This will be a long journey, you cannot give up (we actually dropped down twice on the ranking from September to May) and you need to keep working and a regular posting schedule (you don’t see Ronaldo only training  before the game, do you?)

We connected our WordPress to Google Search Console and Google Analytics. But we didn’t use it much, had an error on our WordPress and couldn’t see our results. But still, we did it. We would often check our WordPress stats to see where our traffic was coming from and would write some comments on other blogs, asking them to connect with us or just letting our URL there :p

REFERERS

(hey wazzup! don’t forget to keep sharing your project with your friends!)

The cup is not the real award…

DSMMCM allowed us to broaden our knowledge both on digital marketing skills and SEO (something all of us haven’t had the chance to explore before), and enabled us to make an evaluation to our own personal skills by having the need to explore areas from research, social media management, design to content writing.

After 9 months, we would have written 66 posts, had 3,834 views and had reached more than 1,107 visitors and 72 countries. This gave us a bigger perspective on the impact Digital Marketing can have and gave us somehow of a direction of what areas we want to explore more, in order to create the impact we want.

As we are now graduated and all team members are following different paths, DigitalKoda ended as a team, but who knows if future plans are around the corner… Stay tuned ;DK

Thank you for reading this far!

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Hammam Abdalla, Elisha Isherwood, Inês Reis and Aqib Choudhury.

ps: DigitalKoda is a combination of digital+koda (koda meaning friend from Dakota, a native American language).

ps2: don’t be afraid to tag us on social media @digitalkoda and share your strategy! We never stop learning and would really like to know other tricks…

ps3: don’t tell anyone but there’s a 90% chance that you just started dsmmcm1920 and are looking for some incredible tips. tip nr1: create your website NOW! tip nr2: feel free to share it on Twitter or reach out to Inês for more hidden tips. tip nr3: GOOD LUCK!

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