This Week in Content Marketing: When Will LinkedIn’s Purchase Run End?

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PNR: This Old Marketing with Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose can be found on both iTunes and Stitcher.

In this week’s episode, Robert and I discuss LinkedIn’s latest marketing solutions launch and what’s likely to be on its radar for 2015 acquisitions to further enhance its toolbox. We explore Seth Godin’s take on content marketing and what the world’s most innovative media companies are doing to stand out today. Finally, we ponder the rise of the Content Economy and The New York Times’ decision to launch a training product. Rants and raves include Time Inc.’s myopic view of its business and how Lego stole the Oscars. We wrap up the show with a #ThisOldMarketing example from Cleveland Clinic’s Health Hub.

This week’s show

(Recorded live on February 23, 2015; Length: 56:10)

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1. Content Marketing in the News

  • LinkedIn Launches New Marketing Solutions (4:46): LinkedIn has launched an expanded version of its Marketing Solutions platform to enable advertisers to nurture B2B customers at all points of the sales cycle. The platform now has five main pieces — LinkedIn Lead Accelerator, Sponsored Updates, LinkedIn Onsite Display, LinkedIn Network Display, and Sponsored InMail. These new services are built in part on products LinkedIn acquired from Bizo in 2014. Robert and I identify one missing piece in LinkedIn’s marketing toolkit, and speculate on who it will acquire to fill it.
  • Seth Godin on Content Marketing (14:42): Seth Godin shares his thoughts on the present and future of content marketing in this interview on the Contently blog. One of his most interesting insights, according to Robert, is the idea of moving your content team into a separate building, away from the risk-averse corporate headquarters. I liked Godin’s concept of the ultimate metric brands should use to measure their impact. Unfortunately, it’s not one that would fly in most large companies.
  • Nine Ways The Most Innovative Media Companies Are Succeeding (24:15): Part and Sum, an innovation consultancy, studied the world’s most innovative media companies, looking for data and patterns that point to why they’re so successful. The findings are presented with great clarity and impact. My favorite insights? Partnering is the way to grow an audience today, and a niche approach is much more effective than trying to appeal to everyone. Robert liked the idea of providing an exclusive physical experience for your best customers, such as offline events and print magazines.
  • The Rise of the Content Economy (30:06): This article from VentureBeat explores the sweeping changes taking place in media, advertising, and technology. It digs into the major forces that all stakeholders in the changing ecosystem need to understand and adapt to as they move their businesses into the future. I think it’s a good overview of what’s happening in these fields, but I have a significant issue with the examples they chose to highlight. Continuing with the theme of changes taking place in media, technology, and advertising, check out the post below.
  • The New York Times Creating Products – Education Platform Launched: The New York Times is re-entering the world of education with a new effort called NYT EDUcation, the company announced last week. The Times is collaborating with the CIG Education Group, which helps create branded academic institutions, to develop the program. I predict we’ll see many more joint ventures like this one as publishers seek new revenue streams to replace declining ad revenue. Robert thinks this initiative is doomed to failure, and he explains why.

2. Sponsor (37:31)

  • This Old Marketing is sponsored by Marketo, which sells marketing automation software solutions. To help you accomplish your content marketing goals, Marketo is offering a workbook called the Content Marketing Tactical Plan. Download it, fill it in to develop your strategies, and start creating a content machine that truly maps to your goals. It includes staffing guidelines, content planning charts, editorial calendar templates, promotion objectives and tactics, and key content metrics. You can learn more at bit.ly/pnr-marketo.

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3. Rants and Raves (38:56)

  • Robert’s Rave: On Sunday night, Lego stole the show at the Oscars with a performance of the song Everything is Awesome from The Lego Movie. During the song, dancers distributed Lego Oscar statues to a number of major celebrities. These stars subsequently took selfies holding their brick awards, which were widely shared on social media. Kudos to Lego for a brilliant example of real-time newsjacking.
  • Joe’s Rant/Rave: I have a love/hate relationship with this article from The Wall Street Journal, an interview with Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp. It takes a closer look at what the world’s largest publishing company is doing to stay relevant in today’s digital world. It’s a good overview of the challenges publishers face today. But I can’t believe Ripp appears to be myopically focused on advertising. What about other sources of revenue? As Robert points out, “Every day you fail to take a risk is one more day that risk gets greater.”

4. This Old Marketing Example of the Week (47:25)

  • Cleveland Clinic: This world-renowned hospital launched Health Hub over three years ago to provide patients with high-quality health-related articles and resources. The hospital posts three to five articles per day to the site. The hospital’s marketing team is meticulous about analyzing traffic data to understand what people are searching for and what’s resonating with them, and about responding to readers’ needs. Just how valuable is Health Hub? In 2014, it averaged over 100,000 unique visits per month. Engagement on posts to its Facebook page has been as high as 60%, well above the average for most brands. This is a great example of content marketing done right.

For a full list of PNR archives, go to the main This Old Marketing page.

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The post This Week in Content Marketing: When Will LinkedIn’s Purchase Run End? appeared first on Content Marketing Institute.


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How Guest Blogging Solved My SEO Problem

Gudema-blogging-SEO-coverA year ago, guest blogging was declared dead. No less of a figure than Google’s Matt Cutts wrote: “OK, I’m calling it: If you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company.”

Don’t do guest blogging to get links, they said. And don’t use guest bloggers to create content for your site. Just cut it out.

But, to paraphrase Mark Twain, the death of guest blogging has been greatly exaggerated. Over the past year, in working on building the SEO rank for my new company, I’ve learned:

  • Guest blogging is not dead. Google hates repetitive, spammy content, but as long as your guest post is original with good to great quality on a site known for quality content (like this one), Google is fine with it.
  • Getting links from authoritative sites is a great way to raise a domain’s search ranking. (Unless, of course, if the site, like Medium, only provides a no-follow link, then it’s not going to help.) The traffic from the site probably helps, too.
  • Social sharing, especially from popular accounts, is beneficial, too.

Let’s look in more detail at each of these lessons.

1. Guest blogging is not dead

Not just in the marketing space but in business generally, countless high-quality sites use guest bloggers on a daily basis. These include Harvard Business Review (which publishes several guest posts a day), MarketingProfs, HubSpot, Forbes, and on and on.

One of the most important things to remember about guest blogging is that each site has its own rules and guidelines on the type of material it wants. A couple years ago I approached a major publication about doing some guest interviews for them. They declined, as they limited interviews to their staffers because some guest bloggers had used the interviews to promote clients. (My first interview suggestion was a principal at another agency, so clearly that conflict wasn’t the case for me, but the major publication stuck to its rule.) I then approached a major blog and learned the editor had just been talking about wanting to run more interviews. The result was a series of interviews with prominent sales and marketing leaders that I later collected into an eBook.

2. Getting links from authoritative sites is a great way to raise a domain’s search ranking

Upon starting a new company last April I had a search problem. After considering many names, I settled on “revenue + associates.” The name succinctly communicates my focus on helping companies generate more revenue and using a wide range of experienced marketing and sales partners to achieve that end. It’s a lot more memorable than something like Gudema & Associates. At virtually every event I attended, someone, usually fairly senior, would point to my name tag and say, “Revenue and associates! I like that name!” I knew I had made the right choice.

But Google reads my company name as “revenue” and “associates” and that search delivers over 95 million results. My site wasn’t at or close to the top. People who searched for my company by name were unlikely to find me.

I previously suffered this dilemma. In 1998, just a few months after I started a company called Magic Hour Communications, former NBA great Earvin “Magic” Johnson launched a talk show called The Magic Hour. My search rankings sank under a ton of coverage for his show. Fortunately for me, the show was cancelled after only three months, but it still took another 12 to 18 months for that coverage to wither away and Magic Hour Communications to rise high on page one again.

So I had to do something about my new company, revenue + associates. Search engine optimization is important in search rankings, of course. Using appropriate keywords in the page’s title tag, having a search-friendly (rather than merely clever) headline, adding H1 tags, etc., can make a significant difference in a page’s ranking. The more cues to Google the better.

But as the Moz survey of search engine ranking factors shows, far more important than the on-site factors are links to the site and page.

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So I figured that guest blogging would be the fastest way to get links from other authoritative sites, even if Matt Cutts said it was dead. I already had been guest blogging for authoritative sites such as Econsultancy and IDG Connect. Getting links from them to my new revenue + associates site was fairly easy because I just updated the bio information that appears at the end of each post.

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Around the same time I conducted original research on mid-market companies’ adoption rate of marketing technology. What I discovered in my research was fairly sobering: Outside of the software industry, few companies are using marketing technology. That research created more opportunities for guest blogging on authoritative sites such as TechTarget and VentureBeat.

In the summer I published an eBook that compiled interviews with 10 sales and marketing leaders that I had done over the previous year for IDG Connect and other sites. This gave me the opportunity (and introductions) to not just write guest posts for HubSpot and MarketingProfs, and do a point/counterpoint on chiefmartech.com, but to gain additional tweets, links, and shares to the eBook from my interview subjects who had tens of thousands of followers.

I found that about 2% of the people who read a particular post (based on the numbers the host sites gave me) clicked on the link on my profile and came to my site (based on my site’s Google Analytics). Google was no doubt aware of this increase in traffic to my site and that must have figured into its rankings for revenue + associates.

3. Social sharing, especially from popular accounts, is helpful, too

The sites for which I was guest blogging usually tweeted about my posts, too. They often used my Twitter handle. (Interestingly, some sites, such as TechTarget, are much better about socially sharing the work of their guest bloggers than others.) And, of course, those social shares led to additional tweets and shares with mentions of me. Some of those people came to my site, too, etc. With Google Analytics on my and virtually all sites, Google is well aware of factors such as social links, traffic to site, etc. It’s all good.

By November, when I wrote a blog post for the Harvard Business Review website, it was icing on the cake: My revenue + associates site was already ranked No. 1 by Google when searching on my company name.

Guest blogging lives. Problem solved.

Want to connect with authoritative content marketing outlets and learn more about great content creation and distribution.  Check out the CMWorld 2014 sessions available through our Video on Demand portal and make plans today to attend Content Marketing World 2015.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

The post How Guest Blogging Solved My SEO Problem appeared first on Content Marketing Institute.


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Unprecedented Google Announcement of a Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Change

Unprecedented Google Announcement of a Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Change was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

This is a huge announcement, guys. Circle your calendars – April 21, 2015.

Google made an announcement today regarding their mobile search algorithm. In an unprecedented move, they have announced the exact date that they intend to change their mobile organic SERP algorithm to more heavily weigh “mobile friendliness” as a ranking signal. That date is April 21.

Here’s an excerpt from the announcement on the Google Webmaster Central Blog, with emphasis in red (mine):

Google blog about mobile friendly search

In Google’s history, I can NEVER remember them naming a DAY that they WILL be making an algorithm change. Unprecedented. Their language is also telling: “have a significant impact in our search results.”

This is a game-changing announcement. We need to treat it as such.

What Is Changing?

Prior to this, the mobile rankings for a website were usually tied to the ranking strength of the desktop site. If you ranked well on the desktop SERP, you usually ranked well on the mobile SERP as well. Google has always alluded to the fact, however, that the mobile-friendliness of your website could (would?) impact your organic rankings. This is Google definitively following through with that promise.

Starting on April 21, we can assume that mobile-friendly sites will see a dramatic boost in rankings, especially in spaces where their competition has not taken the time to get their “mobile houses” in order and do not enjoy the mobile-friendly distinction. To be clear, this blog article specifically talks about mobile search rankings — NOT desktop rankings.

What We Don’t Know (Yet)

Although the language of this announcement indicates that this is a change to mobile search results, there has been speculation that mobile friendliness will also impact desktop rankings in the future. (Some believe it already does to a small degree.) While this announcement stops short of indicating that this will occur on April 21, if mobile usability doesn’t begin to effect desktop rankings on that date, one day soon, I expect it definitely will.

What Google doesn’t indicate in their announcement is if the mobile-friendly ranking shift will apply on a site-wide or page-by-page basis. This distinction is especially important for websites using dynamic serving or separate mobile sites that contain mobile versions of some (but not all) content. We do know that the “mobile-friendly” label in SERPs is awarded to individual pages on a domain. It is not an all-or-nothing annotation. So the question is this: can we assume (always dangerous with Google) that the mobile search algorithm will judge website pages on their individual merits as well? Or, if the percentage of mobile-friendly pages on a domain is too low, will the entire domain see a demotion after April 21?

What This Means for YOU

We’ve expanded on the advantages of responsive design in the past. Responsively designed websites have a one-to-one relationship between desktop and mobile pages because they are one in the same. As Google’s preferred method of serving content to mobile users, we can assume that responsive sites will be favored by Google in search results going forward, and this is the first real step in that process.

If going responsive before April 21 is not an option for you, it is of vital importance that you consider the mobile solution you have in place and address its deficiencies as soon as possible. Google has gone to great lengths to help webmasters identify mobile site pitfalls and issues by adding things like the Mobile Usability Report to Google Webmaster Tools. That report details mobile usability errors that are specific to your domain. Google has also released the Mobile Friendly Testing Tool, which will analyze a URL and report if the specific page has a mobile-friendly design. Use the tools and resources available to earn the mobile-friendly badge across your website.

Here are more articles to help you along the way:


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Carlos Abler Talks Journey of Mummies, Mimes, and Content Marketing

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This episode of The Pivot involves a marketing backstory that entails museums, anthropology, puppeteering, and mimes, before a landing in digital content strategy for Fortune 500 companies. Host Todd Wheatland sits down with Carlos Abler, Leader, Content Marketing Strategy: Global eTransformation for 3M. Carlos’ abstract and unconventional journey is exactly why it works so well.

Listen to Todd’s full interview with Carlos here:

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What may surprise you

  • Carlos’ mother, who was an anthropologist of crafts, worked at the Science Museum of Minnesota.
  • At age 10, he became a volunteer at the museum, explaining mummification to visitors.
  • In his early 20s, Carlos co-founded a shadow puppet theater called Maggotry.
  • Carlos studied mime in France with a woman who studied with Étienne Decroux, a pioneer of the modern form of mime.
  • In the 1990s, Carlos started in digital marketing, working with museums.
  • In 2004, he led an award-winning project for the Smithsonian Institution – an exhibit of Native American artifacts that was a history-keeping technology of the tribes.
  • His first corporate project was with Johnson & Johnson to help create a suite of personal management tools to help people with diabetes manage their health.
  • Carlos joined 3M as Leader of Online Content Strategy in 2012.

Carlos’ pivot

Carlos’ transition into digital marketing would not be considered a typical path. He had been focused on the arts, anthropology, and sociology. However, after working on a project for the Smithsonian Institution, he began to realize that technology can truly help to make the world a better place and develop human capacity.

That same year he worked on his first corporate project for Johnson & Johnson, helping create a suite of personal management tools for people with diabetes. His epiphany of content marketing vs. traditional advertising took hold. Johnson & Johnson wasn’t trying to just sell blood-glucose meters and strips. It was looking at customers as human beings trying to live happier, more healthful lives.

Using content to connect internal teams

For many enterprise organizations, communicating across all departments is a challenge. Carlos’ role at 3M entails a lot of tasks, but one important element is ensuring all key players understand their part in the process of content ideation, creation, and implementation. Carlos blends his skills from all areas of his life to create internal content that allows stakeholders to be engaged in a unified process and understand their role in the process to ensure a more efficient workflow for all involved. For Carlos, visual storytelling also has been a key content component in developing a cultural transformation.

there’s a big difference between the selling models and the doing models. The selling models or the kind of the classical executive summary things where we come in with … these three bullets are going to describe the universe of the marketing of the future stuff. That’s all selling and it’s a very important thing and it’s a good initial part of the mental model creation that’s the part of transforming people’s perception and world view. Once you start getting beyond that into the doing models, then things get more complicated. That’s where people start freaking out, but that’s a necessary freak-out because if you’re going to transition, you have to go through those growing pains …

For a full list of The Pivot archives, go to the main The Pivot: Marketing Backstories page.

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Cover image courtesy of Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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9 Lessons Content Marketers Can Learn from Traditional Journalism

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The internet has radically changed the state of journalism, but content marketing is a relatively new field that can still benefit a lot from the practices of traditional reporters. In the interest of improving the field of content marketing overall, here are nine lessons from traditional journalism that every content marketer should know to better engage and build trust with readers.

1. Create multi-purpose headlines

A 2013 contrastive study from Sage Media shows that most newspaper editors prefer headlines that serve two purposes – capturing attention and conveying information. Many content marketers, on the other hand, create headlines for SEO purposes rather than to engage with their readers, ultimately failing to inspire people to read the articles.

This isn’t to say that you should ignore the importance of including keywords in your content titles, as they remain strong SEO signals. However, if your headlines read awkwardly – as if you’ve struggled to work in clunky keyword mentions – you’ll want to rework them to appeal to both readers and search-engine spiders.

Consider the following article headlines clearly scripted for SEO purposes in 2008 as shared on an archived version of a Suite 101 page:

  • Second and Third Grade Math Fractions Lesson
  • Goals for Teacher Improvement
  • Negligence And Canadian Tort Law

Though those articles performed well seven years ago, they would do a poor job of engaging with today’s reader. When the keywords from the 2008 headlines are entered into Google now, the following headlines appear:

  • Introduction to Fractions Lesson Plan, Worksheet Activity, Teaching Elementary Math
  • 5 Goals Teachers Should Shoot For This School Year
  • Torts – Best Sources in Canadian Law by Topic

Clearly, these headlines weren’t as heavily optimized for SEO, but they still rank well and more importantly, they’re far more engaging and informative for potential readers.

2. Avoid using click-bait headlines

A few months ago, Facebook conducted a survey that showed 80% of readers wanted headlines to communicate the purpose of the article, inspiring the social media site to create a policy against click-bait headlines.

Traditional journalists always have understood that while headlines need to be interesting enough to lure readers, they also need to genuinely communicate the content’s message to earn the reader’s trust.

In fact, in some ways, content marketers must put even more of a premium on headline construction than print journalists. The sales of print publications depend largely on above-the-fold, front-page headlines – either the issue is intriguing enough to make the sale and generate revenue for the publisher or it’s not.

For content marketers, headlines represent only the first step in the sales process. If a headline reads too “spammy,” the reader won’t likely engage further with the brand, significantly diminishing the ability of the marketer to close the sale.

Use this understanding to create digital headlines that both capture readers’ attention and inform them on the content’s subject. It’s a difficult balance, but one that can be achieved with practice. Let’s take a look at one of the examples to see this process in action:

Example: “Goals for Teacher Improvement” is a headline that doesn’t really tell readers what to expect from the content. How many goals will be covered? What’s the time frame for achievement? Why is it important for readers to take a look at the article anyway?

Now look at the improved version: “5 Goals Teachers Should Shoot for This Year.” This headline does a much better job of managing the readers’ expectation of the content. It:

  • Conveys that five specific goals will be laid out, making the scope of the article much less nebulous and giving readers a better idea of what to expect.
  • Uses “this year” to indicate that the content is timely and can be implemented in a way that will lead to immediately attainable improvements.
  • Creates a sense of urgency, giving readers a reason to click right away in order to avoid falling behind other teachers.

3. Know your audience

Understanding your readers is the key to creating content that will resonate with them, a reality that conventional journalists have understood for decades. In his book, The Marketplace of Attention: How Audiences Take Shape in a Digital Age, James G. Webster writes: “Very few readers get the total package anymore. And so even on an editorial level, our understanding of audiences, and what motivates them to give us their time and attention, has never been more important.”

This concept is even more important for content marketers who typically target a more niche audience than those targeted by conventional media publications. Take, for example, Cosmopolitan magazine, which targets a broad audience of self-identified trendy women in any geographic location, or The Wall Street Journal, which tailors its content to business readers in a huge variety of industries.

Now, compare those media outlets with a Los Angeles law firm that focuses on intellectual property. Because the firm’s target audience has much more specific needs, it is vital that this type of business – and any other content marketer targeting a niche following – learns as much as possible about its potential readers.

Traditional publications routinely test their headlines and content to see what connects with readers. The digital nature of content marketers’ work provides them with a much greater number of tools and techniques that can be used for this content-testing purpose:

  • Use your comment sections to pose questions to readers to understand their positions and interests. Respond to all comments left and ask follow-up questions that further enhance your knowledge.
  • Make good use of tools such as Google Analytics, Alexa, Compete.com, and the analytics tools provided by social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to learn more about the demographics of your audience.
  • Analyze previous content to see what worked — such as which blog posts received the most social shares — to determine what content formats readers find most appealing and which subjects resonate best.

Understanding your readers takes work, but it’s worth the extra effort to deliver more engaging content.

4. Verify authenticity of every claim

Journalists have long known that readers aren’t forgiving of reporters who don’t check their facts, and content marketers should strive for similar due diligence. If you aren’t 100% confident that the information you gather is accurate, dig deeper to develop a more thorough understanding. There are a number of different ways you can do this:

  • Review source material independently. If you see a statistic quoted or a study referenced, don’t just take it at face value. Instead, find the original report and confirm that the citations or conclusions are accurate.
  • Contact sources directly. It’s common for content marketers to reprint source quotes found on other websites, but a reprint doesn’t fly in the world of traditional journalism. Instead, reach out to the quoted experts (or other professionals with expertise on the subject) and gather your own, unique quoted content.
  • Hire fact checkers. If you’re pressed for time, it may make more sense to pay someone to verify the sources. A good fact checker should be familiar with your subject material and can be hired on a freelance basis.

As a content marketer, you should consider doing firsthand research on the topics about which you write. For example, if you’re creating content about a software program that a client just launched, ask if you can try using it yourself to get the full experience of the product. You also may find it helpful to interview software users to gather their firsthand accounts about what the product can and can’t do.

5. Balance current news with evergreen content

Traditional journalists make it a point to create timeless content that can be used when another article is shelved at the last minute or an unexpected boost in page count creates additional space. Your editorial calendar should function the same way. Covering current events in your industry is certainly important, but you’ll want to balance this with evergreen content to meet your audience’s needs.

Finding this balance can be tricky, but the following guidelines can help:

  • Brainstorm and produce evergreen content ideas for at least three months at a time. One of the easiest ways to do this is to think about the questions your customers ask most frequently. Building content pieces around the answers to these questions results in materials that can be deployed successfully at any point.
  • Use your analytics to determine the appropriate publishing ratio. Different audiences will respond differently to editorial calendars that feature more news than evergreen content and vice versa. The only way to know what will work best for your audience is to test publishing ratios and measure the data generated by your experiments.
  • Conduct regular editorial meetings to determine how and when front-page topics should change. Take a lesson from traditional newspaper staffs and bring every member of your content team together periodically to assess how well published topics are performing and when changes should be made.

Of course, you always need to be flexible when it comes to publishing newsworthy content. If a major news story breaks out in your industry, it may be important to run with it – even if you’ve already met the number of news-related blog posts your weekly publishing ratio dictates.

6. Minimize distractions

A recent study from the University of Houston found that readers are about 26% more likely to remember stories they read in the newspaper as compared to those they read on the internet. Assistant Professor Arthur D. Santana, the study’s lead author, cited a number of possible reasons, but the efforts traditional journalists undertake to minimize distractions seem to be the most plausible explanation. Newspaper formats allow traditional journalists to minimize distractions because they can present only one or two pages at a time. Content marketers, on the other hand, must contend with multiple points of entry in a single view – banner ads, related post links, calls to action, etc., that all prompt viewers to leave the page they’re reading.

While it’s true that content marketers need to include calls to action to meet conversion goals and links to external sources to support their points, you also must be careful about introducing unnecessary distractions that could steal readers’ attention such as:

  • Web sign-up forms
  • Numerous flashy banner advertisements
  • Email subscription boxes
  • Multiple images
  • Unnecessary links to internal or external content pieces

Certainly, all of these potential distractions have their place on websites, but marketers should evaluate how much each one is worth when compared to the potential sacrifice of some readers.

7. Practice brutal honesty

As a content marketer, your voice may be biased toward promoting a given product or service, but you can still take a lesson from traditional journalists’ need to be brutally honest.

Reporters take great efforts to disclose possible biases influencing their work to provide an honest depiction of the article’s context and facts. Doing so helps them to earn readers’ trust – something that content marketers should make a priority as well. Here are some ways to build trust:

  • Describe the nature of your relationship with third-party reporting or external contributors, noting if any financial arrangement exists.
  • Clarify the context on which you recommend external articles, products, or resources. Are you a satisfied user yourself? Are you being compensated in some way? Are you merely repeating a recommendation you’ve heard from others?

While it may feel strange to offer these types of disclosures to your readers, doing so can lead to increased brand trust and the perception of your brand as an ethical authority.

8. Look for the bigger picture

Historically, the most effective journalists write stories that play into larger trends. Following trade media to gauge the direction of your industry will give you the insight to see the big picture.

As you might expect, you’ll have an easier time building a loyal reader base if you demonstrate such a thorough understanding of your industry that you’re able to offer solutions to your audience’s toughest issues and provide reasonable speculation about the future.

One way to do this would be to recap all the new stories published over the past year that pertain to a relevant topic in your industry by highlighting the commonalities among them. You also could write about a recent event in the context of previous events. Consider the following examples (one hypothetical and one real):

  • Suppose your industry is affected by the recent economic stimulus policy in Europe. Rather than simply recap the event, discuss the outcomes of similar practices in the United States or Iceland to help readers understand what to expect.
  • When Google penalized two content-publishing platforms last year, Search Engine Watch’s Jennifer Slegg wrote about how the penalties reflected Google’s clear commitment to penalizing spam content marketing strategies and issued recommendations that all publishers should follow.

Keep in mind that, while readers may find particular stories interesting, they’re generally more interested in learning about the broader implications of the articles they consume.

9. Create fresh material

Some journalists often use recent stories as a source for their own content. Old-school journalists have always strived to stand out by conducting their own analyses and interviewing experts, instead of using other articles as sources. Content creators would be wise to take this lesson to heart in order to maintain the interest of their readers and stand out from industry copycats.

Now, I want to hear from you. How do you think traditional journalism contributes to the process of content creation? Or does it represent a dated approach to sharing news? Sound off in the comments.

Want more instruction on how to manage today’s biggest content marketing challenges? Sign up for the Content Marketing Institute Online Training and Certification program. Access over 35 courses, taught by experts from Google, Mashable, SAP, and more.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

The post 9 Lessons Content Marketers Can Learn from Traditional Journalism appeared first on Content Marketing Institute.


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Fired Up for Links? So is Rae Hoffman #SMX Speaker Series

Fired Up for Links? So is Rae Hoffman #SMX Speaker Series was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

In less than one week, digital marketers from around the world for Search Marketing Expo (SMX). Today, we’re excited to talk with one of SEO’s most fiery females and SMX speaker: Rae Hoffman, CEO of Pushfire and master of affiliate marketing and link acquisition. If you’re headed to SMX, you can catch her in “Penguin Penalty Prevention: Link Acquisition & Audit Techniques You Need To Know” on March 4.

Here Hoffman shares the tools she’s using for link audits and analysis today, and describes her firm belief that the most effective Internet marketers stay “in the trenches.” No doubt you’ll find her insights on link acquisition strategies that work thought-provoking, and may relate to her opinion of Google’s most unfair update. Some actionable recommendations for dealing with duplicate manufacturer content on affiliate sites are in here, too.

Rae Hoffman


Kristi Kellogg: You’ve been an online marketer since 1998. That’s many Internet moons of experience on SEO, Google, link building and what ranks. Are there any tactics you’d categorize as “SEO classic” ━ things that work today that worked in 2000?

Rae Hoffman: Now I feel old. Ha. I think several of the SEO basics still work – like title tags and making your site technically sound from a crawling perspective. And spam still works, though the punishments have gotten more severe. And creating good content still works. Though what “good content” is has changed. (Tweet this!) You know, I heard a discussion the other day that wasn’t about search, but it applied to marketing websites. It was a podcast by Adam Carolla, and he was discussing how several classic TV shows weren’t great TV shows, but rather simply made it because the programming options were so limited.

When I was a kid, we didn’t have more than 20 channels. There weren’t a lot of options once you removed niche channels like news and weather – so the most decent option on whatever number of channels were left won. But, with 200+ cable channels now and the Internet, what constitutes “good television” has changed – big time. Being on ABC during prime time isn’t enough to make a hit show anymore. It helps, but it’s no longer a guarantee. Likewise, being able to rank in Google isn’t enough to build an online business anymore. As I’ve said before, Google doesn’t want to make websites popular; they want to rank popular websites (Tweet this!).

KK: You recently tweeted: “The minute you think you’re ‘above writing title tags,’ feel free to slap yourself in the face … #StayInTheTrenches #NotSittingOnBenches.” Why is it so important to stay hands-on when it comes to digital marketing?

RH: Because otherwise, you have no idea what works. If you work with big brands and only big brands, then you have no idea what’s going on in the “real world” of search – where other 95 percent of businesses live. When you aren’t hands on, then you have to take the word of others. If you’re lucky, those “others” know what they’re doing. More often lately it feels like one person says what sounds good and sounds like it should work. But they’re so busy blogging eight times per week and promoting their company that they haven’t tried it. But, it sounds good. And it’s in line with what Google says. So, let’s roll with it.

And then ten more guys with high profiles who like that guy and also aren’t in the trenches themselves say, “that sounds plausible,” and they begin to state it as fact. Before you know it, half the search community is spouting this theory as fact and people in the trenches feel stupid because they can’t make it work. Because it doesn’t work and if you tried it before you gave a presentation on it at a conference, you’d know that. That’s not going to be a popular answer, but it is what it is.

KK: At SMX West you’re speaking on avoiding questionable link acquisition techniques. What tools do you use in a link audit?

RH: The primary tool I use is LinkResearchTools.com, but I have some caveats vs. a blanket recommendation. First, I use it primarily for gathering and segmenting link data and attributes. I don’t use LRT’s recommendations or values or recommendations. I solely use them as my nurse so to speak to gather the basic information. I don’t believe in letting tools think for me. A tool is a tool, and I use it as such. Second, LRT is expensive. They don’t offer the title rank feature (which I use in audits) for less $399 per month. That’s hella steep for a lot of consultants and small businesses. That said, you can do what you need to for clean up and occasionally monitoring by using it a few months per year. To me, the $99 plan is missing too many features. However, I wish LRT would make a consultant option that was in between the $99 and $399 per month. We do enough recovery work that we can justify the higher tiers, but on principal, I always feel bad recommending such a pricey tool. That said I’ve yet to find anything that sorts the links into all the nice and neat segments LRT does. (If you know a tool I need to try, please tell me!)

KK: What are good link acquisition tactics today? Can you maybe share two money ideas for attracting or inviting quality links?

RH: “Good link” acquisition – to me – centers around exposure strategies that get you publicity and exposure to your target market (Tweet this!). Google has done their best to kill linking tactics. What still works as far as “tactics” you won’t find being “shared,” because then it stops working. If you hear about a “tactic” that is easy to replicate, it either no longer works or soon won’t work. Solve problems. That’s my number one piece of link acquisition. What “solving problems” will mean will vary by industry. But you need to solve problems for your target user base. Just like your product or service needs to solve a problem, so does your content. Of course controversy, creativity and being “first” with any idea goes a long way. But the typical commercial website can’t do those kinds of initiatives every day. So, for the long haul, solving problems is a defensible strategy – both for your business as a whole and your link acquisition strategy.

KK: While your session is on avoiding Google Penguin, I read that your least favorite Google update is Panda. Affiliate websites are a big target of Panda. What do you recommend if a site has thin or duplicate manufacturer content?

RH: I hate Panda – because it’s arbitrary and often inaccurate. It’s one thing to not reward a site for stuff that you believe is an attempt at deception (thin content simply to rank). It’s quite another to make it impossible for them to rank well because you believe you’ve found an attempt at deception. I see more innocent victims with Panda – especially e-commerce websites (which are similar to affiliate sites in the data feed aspect) – than I do deserving ones. There are only so many words I can write about a pair of black socks. Google always tells us to build site content for users and to ignore search spiders – and then it comes out with an algorithm that has manufacturers writing product descriptions for search spiders. It’s hypocritical at best and reckless at worst. These are people’s livelihoods.

As far as recommendations – creating a hefty amount of value add and truly awesome content goes a long way to lowering the percentage of thin product pages your site has. Condensing product pages into one page that don’t need sixteen separate pages (meaning not having a page for pink [product] in small, pink [product in medium], blue [product in small], etc.) is another common recommendation I have to make. I’d also stress the importance of not using the same data feed to populate your site as you give to your affiliates and external shopping portals like Amazon or Shopping.com. If you’re an affiliate, keep in mind that the merchant provides that same data feed to 10,000 other affiliates. Affiliates should also keep in mind that they can have a “store” without opening the entire thing up. Sometimes disallowing access to product pages, while allowing access to categories and non-shopping site content can allow you to have your cake and eat it, too.

KK: You’ve built many affiliate sites from the ground – key to their success is a strong following. Can you share a few tips on building a brand new brand’s following?

RH: Focus on finding people, and you’ll naturally put out the signals to please the engines. If you launch a site and you think “I need to start getting this links” instead of “I need to start getting this traffic” then you’re doing it wrong for the long-term. Again, Google wants to rank popular websites. Find your point of difference and then attack it with a vengeance. You know, it’s funny. In 2007 I wrote a post about surviving the affiliate evolution and every year I go to update it and realize I’d still give the same advice. You become a brand when people decide you’re one. There’s a great book on this topic called “Brand is a Four Letter Word.” I highly recommend it.

KK: What advice would you give to someone looking to build an affiliate marketing business? Are there characteristics that make someone a better affiliate marketer?

RH: Be willing to learn. Be willing to work. Be willing to do whatever work needs doing. Be willing to fail. Never stop learning. Never stop failing. And remember that “passive income” comes after “years of hard work.” If you’re looking for easy money, you’re going to be very disappointed. I think busy minds with a talent for multitasking make the best affiliate marketers.

KK: What does an average day in your life look like?

RH: It depends on the day, aside from being up early and going to bed early, lol. Some days I’ll pull a 15-hour day, head down at my computer. Other days, I’ll go shoot pool at noon. I don’t think I have a standard day haha. I am a mom of four. We have football, baseball, guitar, basketball, horseback riding … Somewhere in there I have to fit in getting to the gym (if at all humanly possible) a few times a week. I also enjoy gardening, decorating and hosting parties, so I find ways to make time for those. I also almost never go a single day without educating myself in some way about something. I avoid phone calls like the plague.

But I don’t want to create this false vision of the freedom I have as if it didn’t have a decade of hard work before it. I’ve never worked for money wealth. I have a much bigger interest in time wealth. And I’ve worked very hard to obtain it.

KK: What are you top three most visited websites, besides the ones you own?

RH: They’re all social, LOL. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. If you’re asking for non-social sites, I’d have a hard time giving any that I visit on the regular. I’m a drifter.

KK: What’s your current smartphone OS and device? What are your five most-used apps?

RH: I have an iPhone. This list is going to be so embarrassing, but my five most used apps are:

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. Pinterest
  4. Sonic the Hedgehog
  5. Wild Dice

KK: If the Internet shut down tomorrow, what new career would you choose?

RH: If I still needed or wanted to make bank, I’d probably be a real estate broker. I love the potential of not only earning money off what I sell, but also in having a ton of “sub-affiliates” (realtors) underneath me giving me a cut of their sales, too.

Otherwise? I’d probably be a farmer.

Dead serious.


Huge thanks to Rae Hoffman for sharing her insights on link acquisition – her “in the trenches” approach is an inspiration! For more lessons from SMX speakers, check out the other interviews in our SMX West 2015 Speaker Series? Over the past month, we’ve interviewed Experian’s Bill Tancer, Bing’s Duane Forrester, Google’s Gary Illyes, SEO by the Sea’s Bill Slawski, Bruce Clay, Inc.’s Mindy Weinstein, HubSpot’s Luke Summerfield, aimClear’s Marty Weintraub, Alliance-Link’s Debra Mastaler and Moz’s Pete Meyers. Our final interview with Stone Temple Consulting’s Eric Enge comes out tomorrow!


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How a Quilter Turned a Hobby Problem Into an Empire

doan-missouri-star-quilt-co-cover

Can one person create an experience that will motivate tourists to put his small town back on the map? Can one family business save a small town’s economy? How did marketing the moon help NASA and its space programs? These questions and so much more are answered in this week’s Claim Your Fame.

Host Andrew Davis takes us first to Alexandria, Indiana, to meet Mike Carmichael and the world’s largest ball of paint. Then he’s off to Hamilton, Missouri, to meet Jenny Doan and her family, owners of the Missouri Star Quilt Co. Finally, marketing expert and author David Meerman Scott joins Andrew to talk about his book Marketing The Moon: The Selling of the Apollo Lunar Program. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

Listen to Andrew’s full episode here:

Download this week’s Claim Your Fame episode.

If you enjoy the Claim Your Fame podcasts, we would love if you would rate it, or post a review, on iTunes. 

The world’s largest ball of paint

Getting into Guinness World Records is an achievement that can bring fame and celebrity. For Mike Carmichael, his motivation to break a world record wasn’t for his own 15 minutes of fame. He wanted to save his small town.

Like so many small towns across the United States, Alexandria, Indiana, had fallen on hard economic times, had seen its younger generation moving away to bigger cities, and had experienced the downfall of Main Street as big-box stores took away consumers. Mike wanted to do something to bring visitors back to his beloved town.

It was an achievement three decades in the making. Mike thought if he could build an attraction big enough to gain attention, he could draw visitors to Main Street to shop, eat, and stay. He created the world’s largest ball of paint.

carmichael-largest-ball-paint-image

Image source: Roadsideamerica.com

For 30 years, Mike kept painting what started off as a baseball. Today, after more than 24,000 coats, the ball weighs 3,000 pounds and has a 10-foot circumference. It made it into the record books in 2004. Did the ball of paint save the 5,000-population town? Not necessarily. However, Mike did bring back a feeling of community and small-town spirit as residents came together to create something quite special.

Mike’s story sets the stage nicely for another small-town business success that has changed the entire economy for a Missouri town and many of its residents.

Quick-quilting capital of the world

If you’re not a quilter, this may be the first time you’ve heard of the town Hamilton, Missouri — the quick-quilting capital of the world. The moniker was earned thanks to a down-to-earth, engaging quilt shop owner and her custom-made, YouTube video quilting tutorials. Jenny Doan is the co-founder of the Missouri Star Quilting Co., a quilt shop in Hamilton that boasts the largest selection of pre-cut fabrics in the world.

In 2008, Hamilton was hit hard with the turn of the economy. Residents Jenny and Ron Doan had raised their seven children on Ron’s income as a machinist for the Kansas City Star. Many residents were getting laid off from their jobs, and Jenny and Ron’s kids were becoming concerned about their parents’ financial future. To stay busy, Jenny would sew quilts for family and friends. Though she sewed together the fabric pieces to make a beautiful quilt herself, Jenny needed someone who had a long-arm sewing machine to add the batting — the insulation within the quilt fabric. Demand was so great that it could take nine months to a year to secure the batting-filled fabric. That gave Jenny’s son, Al, an idea.

Al and his sister Sarah invested $24,000 into a long-arm sewing machine, a dozen bolts of fabric, and a building in Hamilton for the operation. The family worked two years on the business without ever bringing home a paycheck. It was challenging to grow the business in a town of just 1,800 people. Al decided they needed a website. But, as we all know, just because you build it, does not mean they will come.

missouri-star-quilt-company-image

The Doans knew they had to do something different to attract web visitors and drive more online sales. Al suggested Jenny create quilting video tutorials to post on YouTube. With Jenny’s natural and engaging camera personality and Al’s amateur behind-the-scenes abilities, the Missouri Star Quilt Co.’s YouTube channel was created.

The channel received 1,000 subscribers in its first year, 10,000 in year two, and today has close to 233,000 subscribers. Jenny’s videos have reached as many as a half-million views. The videos have driven new traffic to their website, gaining an average of 2,000 online sales per day and making them the world’s largest supplier of pre-cut fabrics. Jenny receives emails from individuals all over the world who love watching her videos. From war-torn Iran to South Africa to across the United States, Jenny’s fans love her.

Though this in itself is an amazing story of claiming your fame, the success does not stop here. As Missouri Star Quilt Co. grew, so did the need for more staff. To date, Jenny and her family now have 120 employees working in Hamilton. They also invested in three other businesses, two local restaurants, and a bakery. Their retail warehouse displays 20,000 bolts of fabric and they operate five fabric shops on Hamilton’s main street. They also created a “sew-and-stay” retreat center. By year’s end, they will add another eight fabric shops to their quilting empire.

The Doans don’t necessarily know where the company will go from there. Their focus is on making the best quilts and providing the best products for their customers. In the meantime, they are changing lives and rebuilding a town, one quilt at a time.

Marketing the moon

David Meerman Scott is a marketing strategist, keynote speaker, and author of nine books published in over 30 languages. One of his recent books co-authored with Richard Jurek is Marketing The Moon: The Selling of the Apollo Lunar Program. It illustrates the massive marketing and public relations campaign executed by NASA to sell the Apollo space program to the American public.

apollo-lunar-program-marketing-moon-Image

NASA looked at marketing Apollo as a quest story. Overcoming great odds and difficulty to make it to this far-off location was a big hook for the success of this story, defying all obstacles to achieve this mission.

A lesson to be learned from the marketing of the moon campaign can be seen in the transparency NASA provided the American audience. Everything was done in an open and real-time delivery model with no real secrets. Air-to-ground correspondence could be heard at any time by anyone. When the mission was aired on television, it was live from the surface of the moon. This is exactly what we need as marketers today – to get our content out by making it live and communicating with people.

Brands such as GE, Omega, and Boeing helped sell the lunar-mission concept to the nation. Contractors wanted to get their products noticed by the public and tied themselves to this Apollo program. These companies banded together to make a bigger impact on the same audience.

Claim Your Fame wants to show you a new way to think about your business. From the world’s largest ball of paint, to the quick-quilting capital of the world, and even to the moon, Andrew encourages you to do as all of these examples have done: Stake your claim.

For a full list of archives, go to the main Claim Your Fame podcast page.

How do I subscribe?

To listen to the full interview, we invite you to check out Claim Your Fame with Andrew Davis. Subscribe to the show on iTunes or on Stitcher to ensure you get each episode. If you are willing to leave a review while you are there, Andrew would appreciate that, too.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

The post How a Quilter Turned a Hobby Problem Into an Empire appeared first on Content Marketing Institute.


Source: content marketing institute

Infographic: How Often Should You Post on Social Media? See the Most Popular Research and Tips

It seems like a great portion of the social media research we do at Buffer often comes back to a few big questions for social media sharing.

How do I get more followers?

What should I share?

When should I share it? 

And how often should I be sharing?

Social media frequency is one that we’ve enjoyed experimenting with a lot at Buffer. How many times per day should we posting? Is it different for individuals versus companies? I personally share to Twitter four times per day, and we share to Buffer’s Twitter account 14 times per day. Do these frequencies make sense?

Fortunately, we’re able to check in with a bunch of great research on frequency to get a baseline for what might be best practice for a social media schedule.

We’re incredibly grateful for our friends at SumAll for placing all this awesome research into a beautiful infographic that makes the question of “how often to post” a breeze to answer.

Infographic: How Often Should You Post on Social Media?

Click to enlarge. And check out the instructions at the bottom if you’d like to embed this graphic on your website.

infographic how often to post on social media

Share this image on your site!

If you’re interested in the second half of the infographic—with details on LinkedIn, Instagram, and blog posts—visit the SumAll blog to see Part 2 of the How Often to Post graphic.

SumAll is one of our favorite social media tools. They do social media tracking better than anyone we’ve found—all your data, all in one place, for free. It’s been awesome to collaborate with them on this project as well as others.

Best practices for when to post on social media

To recap what you see in the infographic here at Buffer and over at SumAll, I’ve placed each of the best practices for social media posting frequency below.

Twitter – 3 times per day, or more

Engagement decreases slightly after the third tweet.

Facebook – 2 times per day, at most

2x per day is the level before likes & comments begin to drop off dramatically.

LinkedIn – 1 time per day

20 posts per month (1x per weekday) allows you to reach 60 percent of your audience

Google+ – 2 times per day, at most

The more often you post, the more activity you’ll get. Users have found a positive correlation between frequency and engagement. When posting frequency wanes, some have experienced drops in traffic up to 50%.

Pinterest – 5x per day, or more

The top brands on Pinterest have experienced steady growth – and in some cases rapid or sensational growth! – by adopting a multiple-times-per-day posting strategy.

Instagram – 1.5 times per day, or more

Major brands post an average of 1.5 times per day to Instagram. There’s no drop-off in engagement for posting more, provided you can keep up the rate of posting.

Blog – 2x per week

Companies that increase blogging from 3-5X/month to 6-8X/month almost double their leads.

Key research for how often to post to social media

The above best practices are super clear and simple if you’re interested in getting started with a frequency framework for your social sharing. As with all research-backed best practices, I’d encourage you to use these as a starting point for your own tests to see what’s best. Your individual scenario may call for more or less than what’s recommended.

Also, I know many are interested in where these recommendations come from (we dig this type of stuff, too!). Here’s a bit more about the research and resources that have helped to establish the baselines for how often to share to social media.

Twitter – 3 times per day, or more

“Engagement decreases slightly after the third tweet”

During the summer of 2013, Social Bakers took a random sample of 11,000 tweets from top brands and found that a frequency of three tweets per day was the point where brands saw their highest engagement.

In the chart below, Total ER (total engagement rate, in blue) and Average Tweet ER (average engagement rate per tweet, in purple) meet in the sweet spot right around the third tweet.

A 2012 Track Social study found that the per-tweet engagement peaks at around five tweets per day.

Does three to five tweets per day seem a bit … low?

Perhaps.

Interestingly, in the same Track Social study mentioned above, per-day engagement—the total number of interactions that occur throughout the day, regardless of how many times you post—showed a steady rise all the way to 30 tweets per day. In other words, you could post up to 30 times and still continue to see positive effects on engagement—effects that might not top the maximum per-tweet levels at five tweets per day, but still worth exploring.

Tweet engagement frequency

Facebook – 2 times per day, at most

2x per day is the level before likes & comments begin to drop off dramatically.

A lot has changed for the Facebook News Feed in the past couple years, so it’s worth noting that the best research on Facebook frequency comes from a Track Social study from 2012 and a Social Bakers study from 2011.

These studies conclude that it’s best to post to Facebook 5 to 10 times per week, or 1 to 2 times per weekday.

From the Track Social findings:

When a brand posts twice a day, those posts only receive 57% of the likes and 78% of the comments per post. The drop-off continues as more posts are made in the day.

LinkedIn – 1 time per day

20 posts per month (1x per weekday) allows you to reach 60 percent of your audience

As part of the LinkedIn small business guide, the network shared an interesting stat that relates to how often you should be sharing to LinkedIn. Share 20 times per month to reach 60 percent of your audience.

Twenty times per month divided by four weeks per month equals five times per week. Five times per week fits perfectly with a once-per-weekday posting schedule, ideally suited to reach the audience on LinkedIn, which is full of professionals who figure to spend their most time on LinkedIn during business days.

Google+ – 2 times per day, at most

Stone Temple Consulting’s Mark Traphagen and Socialmouths’ Daniel Sharkov each shared graphs from their own sharing on Google+. Their takeaway:

The more often you post, the more activity you’ll get. Users have found a positive correlation between frequency and engagement. When posting frequency wanes, some have experienced drops in traffic up to 50%.

The 50 percent drop in particular was mentioned by Sharkov. He noticed a large portion of traffic coming from Google+ when he was sharing more to the network; when the sharing stopped, so did the traffic.

google plus traffic frequency

Pinterest – 5x per day, or more

The top brands on Pinterest have experienced steady growth – and in some cases rapid or sensational growth! – by adopting a multiple-times-per-day posting strategy.

In 2013, visual marketing service Piqora interviewed big-time brands like Whole Foods, Lowes, LL Bean, and more to see what they had experienced on Pinterest. The brands shared the correlation they’d noticed between frequency of pinning and traffic growth, with spikes in growth occurring most between “a few pins a week” and “3 to 10 pins per day.”

pinterest frequency

Instagram – 1.5 times per day, or more

Major brands post an average of 1.5 times per day to Instagram. There’s no drop-off in engagement for posting more, provided you can keep up the rate of posting.

Social media analytics site Union Metrics spent time analyzing 55 of the most popular, active Instagram brands to learn the best practices for timing, frequency, and more.

They found that most brands share once or twice per day to Instagram. 

Some shared as much as 10 times per day and did not notice an appreciable loss in per-post engagement. This hints that it may be possible to post more often—waaay more often—to Instagram than it seems, provided the quality of the post is still present.

Blog – 2x per week

Some of the best research into the effect of frequency on blogging comes from a 2012 HubSpot study of over 7,000 businesses. Among the many interesting benchmarks and takeaways from the study, there was this fascinating note:

Companies that increase blogging from 3-5X/month to 6-8X/month almost double their leads.

Six to eight times per month would equate to 1 to 2 times per week.

Summary

How often should you post to social media?

We’re grateful for all the amazing research out there that gives us some answers to the question of frequency. These answers are great opportunities to start discovering what’s  ideal for your unique situation.

Use these guidelines as a jumping off point for your own tests. And feel free to share the results! We’d love to know what works and what doesn’t. :)

Image sources: SumAll, Placeit, Track Social, Social Bakers, SlideShare, Socialmouths, Placeit

The post Infographic: How Often Should You Post on Social Media? See the Most Popular Research and Tips appeared first on Social.


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Venture-capital Backing of Content Companies Matters for Brand Publishers

brad-young-venture-capital-backing-coverAt the risk of sounding blasphemous, I’m not sure if LUMAscape is useful or a waste of time. If you’re not familiar with LUMAscape, it maps the entire sector-based ecosystem of companies in categories like mobile and search, to name just two. While it may make us look smart when we print and post them on the office walls, the abyss of logos and boxes just make me cross-eyed.

The “content marketing/native” LUMAscape is typical in its overwhelming comprehensiveness: Hundreds and hundreds of logos from companies as large, medium, and small dots across 16 categories like content creation, content curation, content, and content planning and amplification. If I look at it long enough I start to feel content intoxication.

But clearly the content marketing/native-sector LUMAscape has value. It has been viewed more than 2.1 million times at Lumapartners.com. And you can bet that venture capital firms represent a large chunk of those clicks as they seek opportunity in what has been a booming market for content investment.

Venture capital firms have dumped more than $300 million into content companies across 50 or so deals in 2013 and 2014. Much of that has been seed-level investment, so apparently VCs feel there is “Luma rooma” for more logos (or more boxes). But there have also been significant later-stage bets on growing content companies such as Percolate, which raised $34.5 million in 2014, NewsCred ($25 million), Contently ($12.3 million), Visual.ly ($8.1 million), Skyword ($11 million), and SimpleReach ($9 million).

Investors take it as a foregone conclusion that content is going to be this massive opportunity,” says Edward Kim, CEO of SimpleReach, which works with brands and publishers on content measurement and distribution. “The question becomes, ‘Which companies need to exist for this opportunity to be fully realized’?

As we brand publishers look ahead this year and beyond, it’s not about whether the market will remain so frothy. (That’s the concern for the investor and investee.) What we want to know is, “Why does it matter to us?” Let’s take a crack at answering that.

Addressing needs

For all the investor enthusiasm for content-related plays now, it is still in the very early days. “There’s a long way to go if you think about new geographies, new targets, new markets, new channels,” Kiva Kolstein, Percolate’s Vice President of Sales and Account Management, said at a panel discussion on VC investments as part of Content Marketing World last year. “On TV, 10% of a project’s budget is spent to create the content and 90% is spent to promote it. It’s flipped on digital. Companies are spending more money creating content than promoting it. If there’s an investment thesis to be had there, it’s that this is a market that you want to be part of.”

Omar El-Ayat, Vice President at Crosslink Capital and an investor in Visual.ly, Scripted, and other content marketing service providers, points to the fact that content investments are still a fraction of what has gone into email marketing, social media marketing, and marketing automation. And he notes that heavyweight software providers like SAP and Oracle are only beginning to activate in the space. (Many believe the market will consolidate around these companies’ efforts to offer an integrated, end-to-end marketing stack.)

If we are indeed only at the beginning, content chiefs can delight in the fact that investments will gravitate to the areas where we still need the most help. For brands, this is the primary upside of the VC interest in content. As Kolstein points out, VC dollars can help us more effectively unlock new channels – specifically mobile – and new global markets. Companies with the best solutions for these needs will have strong pitch decks for their VC meetings – and their sales calls with us. That’s a win-win-win.

The other major opportunity is in analytics. Figuring out the metrics that matter most – in collaboration with brands – remains an enormous focus for companies of all sizes and stages. For instance, it’s what drew MK Capital to be the lead investor on SimpleReach’s July Series A. “The key to unlocking this native-advertising market will be that analytics bridge that connects deep engagement with compelling brand-sponsored content with conversion into new customers,” says Kirk Wolfe, a partner at MK.

Managing costs

Apparently, I’m not the only one a bit overwhelmed by the content LUMAscape. The explosion in the market has “made it very difficult for CMOs to understand who does what,” Shafqat Islam, Co-Founder and CEO of NewsCred, said at Content Marketing World. “They’re thoroughly confused. We need to help the marketers understand the landscape in a way that is totally unbiased and helpful.”

The upside of the fast-rising number of companies, though, is the pressure competition creates. In NewsCred’s content marketing software space alone, you have NewsCred, Percolate, Kapost, Contently, Oracle, and others fighting fiercely for brand dollars. It puts negotiating power almost completely in the hands of the brands. When a competitive set isn’t as obvious, Islam advises we ask vendors to put themselves in a LUMAscape box: “Who else does anything similar to what you do?” Demand that they offer an answer. (i.e., Don’t settle for “nobody.”)

Sparking innovation

Kim, SimpleReach CEO, says he isn’t building a company for today’s market needs. He is getting ready for tomorrow, as the conversation on content distribution has only recently begun to heat up. And NewsCred has deployed its investment funds to beef up R&D. Islam is quick to point to its 70-plus engineers on staff.

Islam sees this as the primary reason why brand publishers should care about companies like his raking in the dough. Don’t we all want to know we are working with viable, dynamic partners? And aren’t these dedicated players the best ones to address opportunities such as content curation and personalization?

“Marketing is evolving so, so quickly,” Islam says. “You want to make sure you have a partner who can innovate as fast as this market is changing.” Maybe they can read the LUMAscape for you, too.

This article originally appeared in the February 2015 issue of Chief Content Officer. Sign up to receive your free subscription to our bi-monthly magazine.

Image courtesy of CCO magazine

The post Venture-capital Backing of Content Companies Matters for Brand Publishers appeared first on Content Marketing Institute.


Source: content marketing institute

​Getting Things Done the Enterprise Way #SEJSummit Liveblog

​Getting Things Done the Enterprise Way #SEJSummit Liveblog was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Jeff Preston is the senior SEO manager at Disney Interactive. Disney Interactive includes the company’s websites, video games, mobile apps and more in the “Getting Things Done the Enterprise Way” session at Search Engine Summit in Santa Monica.

Jeff Preston at Search Engine Journal Summit

Disney’s Senior SEO Manager Jeff Preston asks himself which Disney character exemplifies the kind of leader he wants to emulate.

First, he shares the challenges of the enterprise SEO job:

  • Lots of content
  • Lots of sites
  • Lots of links
  • Different publishing platforms
  • Stakeholders varied

3 Takeaways for Enterprise SEO at Disney

  1. Technical Excellence
  2. Team Culture
  3. Win Influence

Technical Excellence

Make sure site is crawled right

Internal crawl: CMS list of published URLs

  • Set a goal to get these numbers (Google indexed pages and published URLs) as close as possible

Watch out for conflicts:

  • rel=”canonical”
  • http canonical
  • OG URL

Use structured data

Deploy:

  • Open Graph
  • Schema.org
  • Twitter Cards
  • Validate and re-validate all code; things can break easily
  • Keep up with latest changes and opportunities

Check for redirect hops

Scan site for redirect links.

Add it to the monthly checklist.

Check code updates in dev cycles

  • Take time to write clear instructions and requirements
  • Explain benefits to the changes
  • Check work as soon as possible
  • Recheck throughout development cycles
  • Let quality assurance know a change request is coming down the pipe so they can act as an advocate

Team Culture

Should the SEO team be structured like a NASCAR team? Football team? He thinks they should be like a Navy SEAL team ━ experts at everything. Every individual can do first aid, fight, communicate.

Team structure

  • SEO team members are accountable for their own sites
  • Seo team members manage relationship with site stakeholders
  • Help each other as needed

Recruiting

  • Hire someone that runs their own sites
  • Use conferences to spot talent
  • Remember: tech skills are easier to teach than people skills. Charisma and persuasion go far in getting things done and can’t be taught.

International

Have international goals? Hire a native speaker from the target market.

Remember: use conferences to hire talent.

Get trained

Keep up on the latest in search engine algorithm changes.

Learn to be a better manager.

Win Influence

To get buy in, you build your influence in the organization.

If you’re a manager and you’re leading an SEO team and you’re responsible for SEO and it falls on your shoulders, you need help. You don’t build the site yourself. It’s great to have the support of senior leadership, but you can’t run to the top (“mommy and daddy”) every time. You may need to convince other directors and managers for assistance. Have regular meetings with these key people.

Have a big internal network

  • If there’s anything non-SEO you can do to help out, you should do it
  • Build an internal network of friends and connections
  • Celebrate other internal team wins
  • Be sincere and dependable
  • Volunteer for non-SEO projects that will build your network
  • Soft answer turns away wrath

Invite to act

  • People respond better to invitations
  • Be convincing rather than commanding
  • Remember: meet one-on-one with key players as needed

Attitude

  • Have a positive mental attitude toward your site
  • Take personal responsibility for results
  • Be calm, be patient and learn as you go

We’re reporting live from the SEJ Summit in Santa Monica! Read more liveblog coverage here.


Source: bruce clay rss