Posts Tagged ‘Ann Smarty’

10 Top Marketing Thought Leaders in Social Media

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

If you were asked to name the top thought leaders in marketing today–the 10 marketers you’d definitely advise others to follow on social media–how would you proceed?

You’d probably start by looking at those you’re connected with on the major social networks, then do some additional research. Perhaps you’d look at existing “top” lists from other sites. You’d develop a “long list” of worthy experts, then gradually narrow it down based on followers, level of engagement, quality of posts, and other factors. You’d carefully develop your final list, possibly using a method like pairwise ranking.

Top 10 Social Marketing ProsBut—what if you had to answer on the spot? What if you had to respond immediately, or within just a few minutes? You’d forget some important names, of course, but your answers would reveal those you keep top of mind.

If you’re up for it, try this now; spend no more than five minutes listing your top 10—then come back to this post.

This recently happened to me. Below is my list in response to the question:

“Tell me the top ten marketing people you would follow on social media, those people that you think are the top ‘thought leaders’ in the marketing space today?”

Cheryl Burgess would unquestionably be on the list. In addition to being an expert on enterprise b2b marketing, she’s the co-author (with Mark Burgess) of The Social Employee, and the authority on how to inspire employee social media advocacy inside large organizations.

Ann Smarty knows SEO inside and out, and is the guru-ess of online tools. She also hosts the highly popular weekly Viral Content Buzz Twitter chat.

Meghan M. Biro is an acknowledged thought leader at the intersection of HR, social media and marketing.

Carla Johnson is one of the top experts on enterprise content marketing. Plus, she went to grade school in a one-room schoolhouse, making her ascent all the more impressive (or perhaps that just explains it?).

Robert Rose is another top resource on enterprise content marketing, co-author with Carla Johnson of Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing, and an original member of the Lebron team.

Jeff Bullas — does anyone know more about blogging than Jeff? He’s one of those guys who seems to defy the laws of time and space by being able to consistently churn out bookmark-worthy blog posts, speak at events all over the planet, write ebooks, and still engage actively and prolifically on social media.

Glen Gilmore has long been known as an author and expert on the intersection of social media and the law. But not content with that, he’s more recently emerged as a top authority on the Internet of Things (IoT) as well.

J-P De Clerck is a “digital business and marketing strategist” whose expertise stands in the crossroads of content, search, and social media. Plus he’s from Belgium, so along with Jeff Bullas (Australia) he keeps this list from being too U.S.-centric.

Gini Dietrich is a top PR pro, author of Spin Sucks and co-author of Marketing in the Round (incidentally a great primer on building a team to execute a web presence optimization strategy), and tweeter of consistently good stuff.

Wendy Marx is a brilliant b2b PR strategist whose B2B PR Sense blog is a must-read for any marketing or PR pro seeking wisdom and insights into b2b content marketing and social media.

In the moments after rattling off this list, my first thought was: not bad, for a group quickly compiled off the top of my head.

But my second thought was: wow, I missed a lot of important and worthy names!

How could I have left off some of the most engaging social media marketing and PR pros like Harry Hoover, Judy Bellem and Jayme Soulati?

Or within just the PR realm, thought leaders and key influencers like Deb Weinstein, Lisa Buyer, Jeff Domansky and Arik Hanson?

In the realm of content marketing, Michael Brenner, Neal Schaffer, Rebecca Lieb, Heidi Cohen and Ann Handley are certainly worthy additions. As are, getting more granular, experts in developing b2b buyer personas, like Ardath Albee and Tony Zambito.

Closer to home, I could have highlighted the fact that some of the smartest people in social media marketing are fellow Minnesotans, including Lee Odden, Marty Weintraub and Angie Schottmuller.

How about CMOs and others focused on leadership, like Patrick Strother, Tony Karrer, Chris Schenk, Kent Huffman, Eric Fletcher, and Margaret Molloy?

Or leaders in academics on social media, such as Gary Schirr, Mike Johansson and Dorie Clark?

Even at that, there are deserving names left off the list.

If I’m ever again asked to name a list of the top 10 social media marketers, I think I’ll answer—I can’t name 10. But I can give you 75 or so.

Who’s on your “top of mind” top 10 list?

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How to be Twitterific – 39 Expert Twitter Guides and Tips

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

From humble beginnings, Twitter has grown to become an indispensable source for online news alerts as well as a vital marketing tool. The microblogging site now boasts more than 255 million monthly active users, and 53% of Twitter users recommend products in their tweets at some time.

Twitter priority matrix

Image credit: Buffer

As its popularity and user base grows, techniques for getting the most out of Twitter, third-party tools that add special-purpose value, and the platform itself continue to evolve.

Given the increasing level of social media noise, which advanced practices are most helpful for Twitter marketers today? How can brands and individuals make their tweets stand out? What are the most effective techniques and tools for increasing engagement and growing one’s Twitter following? How can marketers best utilize Twitter’s expanded features and the latest tools?

Find the answers to those questions and others here in more than three dozen expert Twitter marketing guides from top social media pros.

Expert Twitter Marketing Tips and Tactics

Social PR Tweets: 8 Ways to Use Visuals in Twitter Chats and More by Social PR Chat

Lisa BuyerThe simply awesome Lisa Buyer demonstrates eight ways to boost the visibility of your tweets, from pinning “your Tweet to the top of your profile before your event or to highlight your news for the week” and changing your logo or profile image to highlight a holiday or cause to using “Canva to create a variety of visuals to promote your most recent blog post and rotate them out using a platform like Buffer. Same story, different visual.”

25 Effective Ways to Use Twitter Search for Marketing, Sales and Support by the Zapier Blog

Danny SchreiberDanny Schreiber provides instruction on “some of the best ways you can put Twitter search to use for your business, along with some tools that’ll help you learn more from Tweets, identify trends, (and) see how your Tweets are impacting your business,” among them: using Twitter advanced search to monitor brand mentions; monitoring sentiment about a competitor (“only search for those Tweets with one condition: individuals unhappy with the company”); and building a Twitter list of potential customers.

A to Z of Bite-Size Twitter Tips For Business Startups by Social Success
***** 5 STARS

Ruby RusineRuby Rusine serves up a creative and useful list of Twitter tips, literally from A to Z, beginning with tips for automating posts, being consistent, and clear expectation-setting and progressing through the letter Z: “Zero in on  strategies that will help you attain your marketing goal/s. It is one thing to engage; but it is another to get people do what you want them to do.”

6 Ways to Get Your Tweets Noticed by Social Media Examiner

Aaron LeeAsking “Do people pay attention to your tweets?,” frequent best-of honoree Aaron Lee offers six techniques to increase the impact of your tweets, from setting “yourself apart by adding your own opinion, question or other commentary to” your retweets in order to give your followers context, to simply talking to people (“While everyone else is busy shouting his or her own message, you’ll be the one listening so you can make a better connection”).

Why Should You Use Twitter: Confessions of a Dedicated Tweeter by SumAll

Jacob PastrovichJacob Pastrovich reveals the three major ways he uses Twitter to engage with audiences, along with tips and ideas for each, for example: “I schedule posts to go out over the next week or so, usually around five tweets for each piece of original content. You can…do this using tools like HootSuite, Buffer, TweetDeck, or something else…The reason I schedule tweets with the same link is to make sure each post reaches multiple time zones and as much of our audience as possible, because some people might check their feed at 8am, others at 6pm, and we just want to make sure that each post has the chance to get in front of all of our followers’ eyeballs. Just make sure your tweets don’t all have the same copy. Make it fun, and switch it up as much as possible.”

The Twitter Strategy Guide: 14 Twitter Tips to Take Your Tweeting to the Next Level by Buffer Social

Kevan LeeKevan Lee briefly lists a half-dozen tips helpful to Twitter users of any experience level, then goes deeper into a larger set of recommendations for advanced Twitter users, starting with understanding how Twitter fits into your priorities and customizing the email notifications you get from Twitter and progressing through cleaning up the list of those you follow, using tools like ManageFlitter.

Advanced Twitter Marketing Techniques by Flying Man Productions

Here are sixteen tips for Twitter marketing success, such as following competitors, using the list function to “target different groups with a specific message or angle,” and finding the best times to tweet based on when your followers are online: “Use tools (like Tweriod) to determine the best times of day to tweet.”

Infographic: Dr. Seuss’ Guide to Twitter for Busy Executives by The Sword and the Script

Frank StrongFrank Strong presents a whimsical yet useful infographic guide to Twitter in Dr. Seuss style rhyme and illustrations, produced by HootSuite. Among the five tips for growing one’s Twitter following and influence: “First, let Tweets breathe. Give your message some time. Clogging up feeds has no reason or rhyme. If you send Tweets too much, you’ll risk looking like spam. But not the good kind you fry, with green eggs and ham.”

5 Twitter marketing tactics that generate the most engagement by Brafton

Lauren KayeLauren Kaye shares a handful of helpful Twitter engagement tips in this short but smart post, among them engaging like eBay (“As the company with the highest engagement score, eBay’s Twitter feed should be the glowing example for social strategies. And a first glance at the brand’s content reveals the key to eBay’s success is giving followers what they’d expect”) and catching eyes with visuals like Nokia (“posts containing pictures and links receive 150 percent more engagement than average posts”).

Focus on Twitter: What Comes After Setup? by Digital Marketing Musings

Sue BradyThe delightful Sue Brady takes a deep “dive into using Twitter and increasing your presence there.” Though aimed primarily at those relatively new to Twitter, it’s worth perusing even for experience Twitterers. She walks through choosing your subject matter, using hashtags, finding industry experts, and growing a following (for example, by attending relevant tweet chats).

How to Increase Twitter Engagement by 324% by DR4WARD

Dr. William J. WardDr. William J. Ward showcases an infographic illustrating some basic facts about Twitter (e.g., a third of all Twitter users follow at least one brand, and 67% of them are more likely to buy from brands they follow), when to tweet, what to tweet (“engagement is 200% for tweets with image links”), and “unsaid Tweeting rules.”

How to Build a Twitter Following

Get More Followers and Increase Engagement With These 7 Counterintuitive Twitter Tips by Buffer Social

Roy PovarchikRoy Povarchik shares “advanced tips and tricks to more followers and increased engagement on Twitter,” such as using tools like Tweepi to “get tons of followers but also make sure you have a qualified and engaged following,” following back only accounts that interest you, and—to keep your timeline clean—setting up the “five lists every marketer should create.”

Get More Followers On Twitter With These 12 Tips by Social Media Rush

Reginald ChanReginald Chan shares a dozen practical and actionable tips for growing your Twitter following, from using a smiling face in your profile (“A smiling face picture can increase followers rate by over 10%”) and creating a custom “About Me” page as your primary account link through focusing more on quality than quantity in your Tweets and practicing “strategic following” (as he demonstrates in an eight-minute video here).

How to Get More Twitter Followers by leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal

Jim DoughertyJim Dougherty promises and delivers not just “another article about how to get more Twitter followers…(but) pragmatism. No touchy-feely gobbly-gook – just some straightforward tools (bookended with some cynicism) to help you grow your Twitter followers.” He walks through how to use tools like justunfollow, manageflitter, and socialbro (as well as Twitter advertising) to help quickly build a targeted Twitter following ( with some work).

How to Build a HUGE, Targeted Twitter Following In 20 Minutes a Day by Boom Social

Kim GarstKim Garst presents “20 quick and easy steps to help you build a huge, targeted Twitter following” in less than a half-hour per day, from scheduling some of your tweets to maintain an active flow when you can’t be at your computer and using Twitter directories like Wefollow and Twellow to recommending others and using Twitter search to find and follow “people who are talking about your brand, your products, or about something around your niche.”

Expert Guides to Twitter Stats and Analytics

Twitter Experiencing Massive Growth: New Research by Social Media Examiner

Suzanne DelzioSuzanne Delzio passes along results from four recent research studies indicating a bright future for Twitter. Among the findings: according to Pew Research, “from 2013 to 2014, Twitter’s audience rose by 27.7% (from 18% to 23% of all Internet users),” and “in a 2014 study by eMarketer, researchers estimate Twitter will grow by 5% to 10% year over year until 2018 when 24.2% of Internet users will be on the platform.”

15 Simple-to-Find Stats to Help You Tweet Better: How to Use Twitter Analytics by Buffer Social

Kevan Lee (again) presents his list of the “15 most useful Twitter stats used by the pros…as well as how you can find these stats for your Twitter profile.” His list ranges from how to discover the top interests of your followers and who your followers are following to level of engagement (retweets and favorites) and tweet reach percentage (how many of your followers you actually reach).

How Do You Know if Your Twitter Strategy is Effective? by Razor Social

Ian ClearyIan Cleary outlines four questions to ask to help determine if (and how well) your Twitter marketing strategy is working, and how to gather the supporting metrics to answer each one. For example: to answer the question “Is Twitter driving relevant traffic back to your website?”, he shows how to use Google Analytics custom segments and goals to analyze the engagement and conversions of Twitter-driven site traffic and compare it to other sources.

How to Use Twitter Analytics to Find Important Data by Social Media Examiner

Alex BossengerAlex Bossenger shows how to use Twitter analytics to “find the data you need to track your campaign success” in this richly illustrated post. He explains the importance of and how to use the Twitter dashboard, followers dashboard, how to manage user profiles, and even how to switch between managed accounts if you use your Twitter handle to manage multiple Twitter accounts.

15 Twitter Statistics You Probably Don’t Know, But Should [Infographic] by Social Marketing Writing

Mitt RayMitt Ray shares an infographic featuring 15 Twitter stats to help you “get better results on Twitter…(including) statistics that can be used to get more retweets, clicks on the links you share and followers.” Among the stats: tweets with open and close quotes are 30% more likely to be retweeted than those without (who knew?); tweets including numbers get 17% more retweets; and tweets that contain links shortended using Bit.ly are about 9% more likely to be retweeted.

Guides to Using Twitter Features

15 Twitter Hacks That Will Turn You into a Twitter Ninja by Buffer Social

Neil PatelNeil Patel offers instructions for 15 Twitter “hacks” to become a power user, from creating follow lists and discovering which lists you are on (“From your lists page, click on ‘Member of.’ Knowing what lists you’re on gives you an idea of how you’re perceived on Twitter”) to managing the apps that have access to your Twitter account and a full list of Twitter keyboard shortcuts.

5 Twitter hacks that will blow your mind by iMedia Connection

Greg KihlstromThough much of what’s covered here (using Twitter advanced search operators, keyboard shortcuts, timing tweets) is detailed in other posts in this collection, Greg Kihlstrom adds his own unique spin, and includes one “hack’ not explained elsewhere: “If you’re ready to move to the next level, get ready to use Twitter to perform real-world tasks. Whether you want it to make a pot of coffee or operate a remote dog feeder, working with Twitter’s API opens up a whole new world of possibilities.”

5 Tips for Brands to Get the Most Out of Twitter’s Latest Update by Social Media Today

Mike LewisThough these features are no longer “new,” the detail provided here by Mike Lewis is helpful. He details the “what” and “how to” of Twitter capabilities like “best tweets,” “pinned tweets” (“the ability to ‘Pin’ or feature one of your tweets at the top of your profile stream so visitors to your profile see it immediately”), filtered tweets, and the new look of follower / following lists.

How to Schedule Photo Tweets That Expand in the Twitter Feed by Search Engine Watch

Travis BernardPointing out that “Although photo tweets do a great job captivating our audiences, it can be a challenge for social media marketers to schedule visual content ahead of time. Platforms like Hootsuite let you schedule photo tweets, but they don’t appear expanded in the feed like a direct upload would,” Travis Bernard explains, step by step, how to “schedule a photo tweet from the native Twitter client.”

Twitter News and the Setting You May Want to Change Right Now by The Wonder of Tech

Carolyn Nicander MohrCarolyn Nicander Mohr explains how Twitter’s photo tagging capability works, noting that you no longer “have to waste any of your precious 140 characters with @TwitterID’s. Instead you can tag someone in the photo and free up space for more words, hashtags and links.” She also explains how this potentially impacts privacy, and how to change your settings if you’d rather not be tagged in just any photo on Twitter.

How to Use Twitter Lists to Follow Thousands (and Appear Superhuman) by Post Planner

Aaron Lee (again) talks about “10 brilliant ways to use Twitter Lists to always be engaging,” from the basics of creating lists and who you should add to them (influencers, retweeters, co-workers, etc.) to how to follow tweets based on conversations and interests using Flipboard.

Five Ways To Use Twitter’s Favorite Button by SocialTimes

Lauren DuganWhile acknowledging that “The favorite button is not Twitter’s most popular feature, and it doesn’t get as much press as retweeting,” Lauren Dugan nevertheless makes her case for its growing popularity, explaining a handful of different uses for favorites, such as to save links, pay it forward, or to network (“Using favorites, you can mark the tweets from the people you want to network with, and make sure you follow up with them about their tweet shortly”).

The 20 different ways of using the Twitter favourite button by Econsultancy

Chris LakeGoing beyond Lauren’s post above, Chris Lake explores 20 ways of using the “favorites” button, including liking something (obviously), disliking a tweet (using the favorites button sarcastically), to bookmark a tweet, to trigger some further action using IFTTT, to attract more followers, build a personal brand, and other purposes that may never have occurred to you.

Best Guides to Twitter Tools

5 Tools for Downloading and Analyzing Twitter Data by Entepreneur

Ann SmartyGuru-ess of online tools and frequent best-of honoree Ann Smarty reports on five data mining tools “you can take advantage of to archive your own Twitter data,” among them BirdSong Analytics (“an absolutely unique tool that lets you download all the followers of any Twitter accounts. It’s a paid tool but I don’t think such feature has any alternatives”) and NodeXL (which enables you to take “archived data from Twitter, input it into NodeXL, and create a breathtaking visual representation of your tweets from any period you like”).

How to Find the Best Twitter Hashtags by Sprout Social

Michael PattersonMichael Patterson showcases nine helpful tools for finding hashtags that are relevant to your brand, including Hashtags.org, #tagdef (“essentially a combined dictionary/thesaurus for trending hashtags”), and Tagboard (“one of the most aesthetically pleasing of all of the hashtag research sites. For each ‘Tagboard’ you create, you specify a specific hashtag for it to track. Tagboard then displays popular posts containing that hashtag on a board”) and others.

Easily Manage Twitter #Hashtag Contest with Zapier by Brad S. Knutson

Brad KnutsonBrad Knutson offers a detailed, six-step guide to creating a Twitter content using Zapier, from getting set up and modifying your settings through connecting your Twitter and Google Docs accounts, selecting your content hashtag, and testing the “zap” (“After I created this Zap, I essentially just let the contest go in the background, and after it was all said and done, I used the spreadsheet to randomly select the winner. It took me longer to set up the Zap than it did to actually monitor and maintain the contest”).

10 Awesome Twitter Analytics and Visualization Tools by Twitter Tools & Tips Blog

Garin KilpatrickGarin Kilpatrick reviews 10 tools “designed to add value by presenting a different way to visualize or analyze your tweets, the people in your network, and the tweets from the people in your network,” including Tweet Archivist, Twitonomy, Twitter Counter (“a way to visualize and track the growth of your own followers, and even compare your growth to the growth of other users”), and Tweetstats.

5 Tools to Simplify Twitter by Social Media Today

Eva GantzEva Gantz writes about her handful of “absolute favorite Twitter tools to save you time and energy, and let you get back to running your business,” including UnTweeps (“UnTweeps lets you improve your following-to-followers ratio (i.e., I’m following 1500 people, and 2000 people are following me) with minimal effort. It simply auto-unfollows any account that hasn’t tweeted in x amount of days”) and Twubs for tracking hashtags.

5 Twitter Tools to Increase Your Blog Retweets by Social Media Examiner

Aaron Lee (once more) helps readers of this post “discover five easy-to-use Twitter tools that make it simple and fast for readers to spread the word about your newest blog content.” Four of the five are WordPress plugins; the other is ClickToTweet.com, a website that lets you “install a prepopulated tweet and use your own call to action in your blog post…you can use it on blogging platforms besides WordPress, in PDFs and in your newsletters.”

5 Tools to Research the Demographics of Your Twitter Followers by Small Business Trends

Ann Smarty (again) highlights five “great apps that will let you get the proper stats to start engaging your followers in a real and dynamic way,” among them BirdSong Analytics: “Do a quick analytics search of any social media profile and find out exactly what conversations your brand is generating. That includes through followers, who you can target more efficiently while still improving your visibility for reaching out to new demographics.”

5 Free and Awesome Tools To Use #Hashtags Wisely by Search Engine Journal

Ann Smarty (once more) writes, “hashtags are everywhere…you can use them for any number of things, but you always want to do so smartly. These tools will help you out,” such as TwChat, a tool for managing tweetchats “which turns a collection of hashtags into a chatroom.” Furthermore, she notes, TwChat is “very simple, free, and no downloads are required.”

44 Twitter Tools That Will Cover All Your Marketing Needs by BloggerJet

Ericson-Ay-MiresEricson Ay Mires serves up brief reviews of nearly four dozen tools for tweet scheduling, social media management / monitoring, content sharing, follower management, Twitter profile design, Twitter research, WordPress plugins, creating “rich tweets,” and bonus Twitter tools such “Group Tweet – Group tweet enables you and several other people to tweet from the same twitter account while maintaining your individual user name. If you run a business that requires lots of people to tweet, don’t miss this one.”

What Twitter Tools Do Social Media Managers Use? By More in Media

Dorien Morin-van DamDorien Morin-van Dam lists more than two dozen of her favorite Twitter productivity tools in nine categories, including brand monitoring (Hootsuite, SproutSocial, Socialmention); tweet scheduling (BufferApp, Social Oomph); finding great content (Triberr, Feedly, Scoop.it); and audience-building (Nearbytweets, List.ly).

And Finally…Twitter Skepticism

The Unbearable Lightness of Tweeting by The Atlantic

Derek ThompsonJournalist Derek Thompson details his experiment in using Twitter Analytics to determine the value of his tweets in driving web traffic to the publication that employs him. His conclusion? “In the last month, I’ve created nearly 2 million impressions for Twitter. Whether that is good for my Twitter persona and my pride is a qualitative question whose answer resides outside the bounds of an analytics dashboard. But it is quantitatively…” (see the article for the actual metrics).

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22 Noteworthy Content Marketing Guides and Tips

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Content marketing is a hot topic. According to Google Trends, searches for “content marketing” have increased 150% in the past two years. 90% of companies now use content marketing, and collectively they will spent $135 million on digital marketing content this year.

7 steps to an optimized content marketing strategy

Image credit: Intergage

Yet marketers still have many questions about content marketing strategy and tactics. How do you create a content marketing strategy? What role does visual content play? How should success be measured? Is there too much content being produced?

Find the answers to those questions and more here in 22 noteworthy content marketing guides. While some of these posts date back the beginning of 2014, all remain relevant and useful.

10 Things You Must Know About Your Audience! by The Marketing Nut
***** 5 STARS

Pam MooreWriting that “You must know who your audience is, who you are and how you can help them solve problems. It’s only after you have this foundational knowledge that you can determine your social strategy and approach for building your social media plan,” frequent best-of honoree Pam Moore offers a free audience analysis worksheet and suggests 10 key questions to ask when developing content plans, starting with questions to identify your audience and key pain points and concluding with the emotional reasons customers buy from you.

How to measure content marketing success by iMedia Connection

Michael EstrinMichael Estrin shares half a dozen insights on effectively measuring content marketing success, such as “business goals still matter” (views and engagement are nice, but is your audience following through by taking a targeted action?) and while numbers matter, so does quality (content “will fail if it doesn’t align with a larger strategy”).

Optimize Content Marketing Strategy in 7 Steps by Business2Community

Angela HausmanAngela Hausman expounds on an infographic which illustrates “how to optimize content marketing strategy” in seven steps, starting with setting goals and conducting research, and progressing through promoting your content and analyzing results (“Use the KPI’s created earlier to monitor your performance. Keep doing things that work and tweak things that DON’T work or get rid of them”).

what is awesome content and why do you need it? by bowden2bowden blog

Randy BowdenRandy Bowden outlines a four-step process for creating awesome client, from identifying and getting to know your audience (“In order to capture the attention of your readers, you need to know how to capture their attention. In order to know how to capture their attention, you need to get to know them“) to including a call to action in the conclusion of your content.

The 5 biggest myths about content marketing by iMedia Connection

Tom ForanTom Foran debunks “five of the most common myths and (tries) to set the record straight for marketers.” For example, “Myth No. 2: Creating content is the hard part.” Actually, according to Foran, most of the work is in promotion. “Creating the content first and figuring out where it should go later sounds like a surefire way to waste time and resources. Marketers should instead consider starting with a distribution strategy that answers…key questions.”

12 Most Innovative Ways to Create Content That Gets Shared by 12 Most

Rebekah RadiceRebekah Radice offers a dozen tips for “creating compelling content that engages your audience and inspires them to share that content,” from analyzing competitors and knowing your ideal reader (starting with a customer persona) through sharing success stories, sharing newsworthy content, and building an email list.

Surviving “Content Shock” and the Impending Content Marketing Collapse by Copyblogger

Sonia SimoneWhile acknowledging that “there is too much of some types of content,” the brilliant and prolific Sonia Simone makes the case that despite the deluge of online content today, content marketing is far from dead, as “There is no glut of quality content…we are a long way from the day when too much high-quality, Rainmaker-style content is being created…there is not a glut of content that is useful, passionate, individual, and interesting.”

What You Absolutely Need To Know About Content Marketing by The B Squared Media Blog

Brooke BallardBrooke Ballard explains three “must-knows” about content marketing, starting with “Content Marketing Always Starts With A Strategy…everything starts with a ‘why.’ Why are we creating this blog post / eBook / status update? What do we want people to do with this piece of content; what’s the purpose?” Each point also includes several “things to consider,” such as “Can you repurpose old content for use in the future?”

Content Marketing Editorial Calendar Template by The Marketing Nut

Pam Moore (again) offers practical, actionable guidance on how to organize and create a content marketing editorial calendar, complete with a downloadable template and all of the elements that should be part of the calendar (from weekly and monthly themes through primary keywords and categories to supporting media and syndication.

Will The Content Marketing Trends Continue? It Depends On Proving Your ROI by Forbes

Benjy BoxerAfter sharing some compelling statistics–“the content marketing industry (has) grown to a $44 billion industry…93% of B2B brands and 90% of B2C brands are now using content marketing to educate consumers about their brands. (Yet) despite the overwhelming interest in content marketing, 55% of B2B content marketers think their campaigns are ineffective”—Benjy Boxer contends that content marketing efforts need to show ROI, and provides an example worksheet.

The 3 C’s of Successful Content Marketing by iMedia Connection

Nate HolmesNate Holmes outlines the “3C’s” of content marketing execution, starting with create [italix]: “Creating quality content is the heart of content marketing. Relevant, valuable content is what will make your audience stop to think and behave differently…There must be a purpose to content creation; a goal…Understand who your audience is and what they want to know…Offer what no one else can.”

5 Content Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2014 by Web Content Blog

Gazalla GayaFor the most part, these predictions from Gazalla Gaya will hold true for 2015 as well. For each trend here, she also lists several helpful related ideas for content marketing success, among them “Create a definite social media strategy in place to promote your blog posts, whitepapers, case studies and seminars” and “Outline a strategy that works for different devices.”

10 Reasons Visual Content will Dominate 2014 by Advanced Lead Generation Marketing Blog

James SchererJames Scherer outlines 10 reasons to incorporate videos and images into content marketing efforts, including both stats you’ve likely seen before (e.g., “videos on landing pages increase average page conversion rates by 86%) and a few you may not have (“67% of consumers consider clear, detailed images to carry more weight than product information or customer ratings”).

Peak Content: When Does Content Marketing Hit Its Breaking Point? by HubSpot

Drew WilliamsDrew Williams presents the concept of the “engagement ladder,” which helps map marketing content to all phases of the buying decision process, from solution education (such as analyst reports or industry studies) through vendor education and vendor consideration to decision support (e.g., an offer of an assessment or ROI calculator).

31 Content Marketing Ideas that Will Revolutionize Your Business by Marketo Content Marketing Blog

Joe PulizziJoe Pulizzi (who knows just a bit about content marketing) shares a “list of 31 ideas and thoughts, which I believe will make an immediate impact on your content marketing, even if you only execute a few,” such as launching content marketing projects together with partners; keeping your social media influencer list up to date; and setting up editorial calendars for each of your key markets or products.

Content Marketing in 2014: Are You Prepared? by HubSpot

Kieran FlanaganKieran Flanagan writes that content marketing has largely replaced link building as a primary SEO tactic, then explores processes for proving the value of content, scaling content, and promoting content: “When it comes to distribution, marketers need to focus on increasing the size of their available audience (by increasing their blog readership, email lists, and number of social followers), but also increasing the number of distribution channels they have,” coordinating promotion efforts across all of the channels in the web presence optimization (WPO) model.

The 3 Goals For Your Content Marketing by B2B Marketing Insider

Michael BrennerGiven that buyers now complete 60-70% of their purchase process before contacting a vendor sales rep, Michael Brenner believes it’s critical to reach buyers through content marketing, and that all content marketing programs should be based on the same three fundamental goals, starting with reach: “reach measures can be criticized as vanity metrics. But it’s important to be building a healthy audience of the right people and to track those measures over time.”

3 Types of Schema Markup Content Marketers Should Know by Small Business Trends

Ann SmartyObserving that “It’s harder and harder to get above-the-fold Google rankings, especially for the competitive queries,” frequent best-of honoree Ann Smarty delves into how Schema markup works, and three types that content marketers should be aware of: VideoObject schema, Review schema, and Article schema.

7 Ways to Boost SEO Results for Your Video Content Marketing by B2B PR Sense Blog

Oren SmithNoting that “71% of businesses across a variety of industries have increased company funding for online video marketing budgets,” Oren Smith looks at more than half a dozen ways to improve video SEO, such as targeting the right keywords and using supporting images and text: “images, links, and accompanying text all assist search engines with determining page quality. In a ranking sense, a page with nothing but video content on it isn’t attractive.”

5 Ways to Create A Better Content Strategy in 2014 by unbounce

Tommy WalkerWritten a year ago but still timely, Tommy Walker shares his five-step process to make “content more strategic, efficient and powerful,” starting with creating “content for a small group of real people” and progressing through fleshing out a content calendar, complete with examples.

The Future of Content: Upcoming Trends in 2014 by Moz

Stephanie ChangIn another older but still relevant post, Stephanie Chang delves into four key content marketing trends, including “Determining the key metrics to measure content’s success will be more important,” an exploration of the varied metrics available for determining success and which are most valuable.

Want to be a Better Content Marketer? Think Like a Journalist by Blue Kite Marketing

Laura ClickAfter showcasing an example from her alma mater’s journalism school, Laura Click writes “companies that are doing brand journalism well aren’t just throwing a blog on their website. They are creating an entirely new destination for readers that looks less like a corporate website and more like a news magazine. This gives companies the opportunity to be the go-to resource in their industry.” She then serves up six practical tips for thinking like a journalist.

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17 Helpful SEO Tools and Tool Reviews

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

For nearly as long as there have been people working on search engine optimization, there have been SEO tools. The first tools handled only the most rudimentary tasks, like rank checking or keyword density analysis.

As search engine algorithms, and SEO professionals, have become more sophisticated over time, so have the tools. Today, there are (in many cases free, or low-cost) tools covering nearly every aspect of content design, on-page, off-page, and technical SEO.

Expert SEO tools and SEO tool reviewsWhich SEO tools are most helpful in conducting a site audit? Which tools are best for local SEO? For reporting and metrics? Competitive analysis? Social analytics?

Find out in this compilation of web tools and expert tool reviews from the past year and a half.

Helpful SEO Tools

PageSpeed Insights

This outstanding tool from Google evaluates the speed of both mobile and desktop access for any specified website, returns an overall score, and provides technical recommendations on for decreasing load time and improving site speed.

Site Explorer

A slick free tool that reports, for any full URL: linking domains, inbound links, most linked countries, most linked keywords, page rank of linking domains, and new links within the past 30 days. This one deserves consideration for every SEO’s toolbox.

Online Website Link Checker

One of the best free broken-link checking tools available, the Online Website Link Checker will crawl for and report broken links on up to 500 pages and three levels down on any specified website, optionally across a whole domain or only a specified subdomain.

Expert SEO Tools Reviews and Guides

Free and Useful On-Page Optimization Tools by Internet Marketing Ninjas

Ann SmartyOnline tools expert Ann Smarty presents five useful tools for on-page optimization from the SEO Chat free tools beta are, among them the On-Page Optimization Analysis Tool , which analyzes “everything from meta data to keyword use iysis/n content and link accounting. It then breaks this all down for you, so you can get a more thorough look at how well your page has been optimized, and how you can optimize it even more.”

SEO Report: How to Track Blog Performance on Google by Razor Social

Ian Cleary“To find out how likely it is that the blog posts you write will have an ongoing impact, you need to find out how well your blog content is currently doing. You can do this with an SEO report,” writes Ian Cleary; he then steps through the process of creating such a report using a series of tools, like SEMRush to discover what keywords your site ranks for, and Monitor Backlinks, which will “will email you every week with a summary of new and old links that changed in status.”

Free Local SEO Tools that Belong in Your Kit by The Moz Blog

Miriam Ellis provides detailed descriptions of more than a dozen helpful and free tools for local SEO, including the Generate local AdWords and keywords lists tool (much more helpful than Google Keyword Planner when trying to identify keywords with value in a specific geographic area) and the Free Local Analysis Google Places Tool, which, she writes, “Provides more rich data for local SEOs than almost any other free tool I’ve found!…I can also compare them to other local businesses using the tool.”

10 SEO Tools and Plugins You Need in 2014 by Web Content Blog

Gazella GayaThe English isn’t perfect, but the reviews are spot on. Most of the tools Gazalla Gaya reviews here are familiar (such as the outstanding WordPress SEO by Yoast, but a few are off the beaten path, among them HitTail (a fee-based long-tail keyword research tool) and the Virante AuthorRank tool for analyzing the influence of online authors according to Google ranking factors.

How Rich Snippets Work (And Tools to Generate Them) by SEO Chat

Ann Smarty (again) explains what rich snippets are, why they are important (“These little details are what causes your listing to ‘pop’ in a search, catching the eye of the user no matter what place on the first page you occupy”), and how to use specialized tools from SEO Chat to create specific types of snippets, such as the Event Rich Snippet Schema Generator to “show (event dates and times for quick reference.”

30 Awesome Free SEO Tools for Small Businesses by Search Decoder Blog

Matthew CapalaMatthew Capala offers links to and brief descriptions of two-and-a-half dozen free tools, from the the AdWords keyword traffic estimator and Übersuggest for keyword research to WidgetBox (a dynamic web widgets generator), Yext] for monitoring local SEO listings, and Visual.ly for creating infographics.

21 Best FREE SEO Tools for On-Page Optimization by Search Engine Watch
***** 5 STARS

Chuck PriceNoting the importance of providing the best user experience to achieve and maintain top search results, Chuck Price reviews more than 20 free tools for onsite optimization, for functions like keyword research, content analysis, technical SEO, schema creation, and image optimization.

Google SEO Tools: 7 Tools to Drive more traffic to your blog by Razor Social

Ian Cleary (again) explains how to use Google’s free tools to help out with SEO efforts; not just the obvious ones (e.g., Webmaster Tools, Keyword Planner) but Google Trends, advanced search commands, and desktop and mobile speed search: “When Google makes available a tool to test out the speed of your website and provides suggestion for improvements you know you should be paying attention to this.  When they provide similar for mobile you know you should pay attention to this also.”

15 Free SEO Tools For Evaluating Your Clients by Brad S. Knutson

Brad KnutsonThe obnoxious full-screen pop-up unfortunately prevents this from getting a five-star rating, but once your past that, you’ll find here an outstanding list from Brad Knutson of free tools for evaluating key aspects of SEO: technical SEO, content and keyword research, local search, inbound links, traffic estimates, and social analytics.

The 100 Best Free SEO Tools & Resources for Every Challenge – Interactive by The Moz Blog

Cyrus ShepardCyrus Shepard presents a huge, categorized list of completely free, free with paid option, and paid with free trial tools covering pretty much every aspect of SEO, from link research, rank checking and site speed testing to keyword research, link building and technical SEO.

A closer look at Google’s Webmaster Tools revamp by Econsultancy

Zoe-Lee SkeltonZoe-Lee Skelton provides a detailed look into GWT’s mid-2013 redesign, explaining the new navigation setup, what’s included under each heading, and new features, such as the ability to block pages: “You’re also able to request the ‘removal of URLs’ from Google’s Index if not already blocked in the robots.txt file. Use this feature if you have pages that you don’t want Google to find.”

3 Free SEO Tools for Auditing and Troubleshooting Onsite Issues by Search Engine Journal

Marc PurtellWriting that ” It’s not uncommon in today’s SEO landscape to wake up and find a sudden drop of organic search traffic and/or keyword rankings…By taking advantage of the intelligence that is available for free, brands with low budgets can recover from SEO issues,” Marc Purtell recommends using Google Webmaster Tools, Screaming Frog, and the BrowSEO Spider Simulator to investigate and help correct ranking loss issues.

3 Must-Have SEO Tools: 17 SEO Experts Weigh In by Powered by Search

Troy FawkesTroy Boileau reports on the results of asking several well-known SEO experts about their favorite tools: among the group, Aaron Wall (who’s produced some pretty awesome tools himself) likes different tools for different purposes, for example, “surface level metrics from Majestic SEO, Ahrefs & Open Site Explorer”; Brian Massey cites Google Analytics and AdWords, plus Visual Website Opimizer; and Heidi Cohen notes the value of WordPress and Flickr.

SEO On A Budget: 10 Free Tools by MediaPost
***** 5 STARS

Marc Purtell (again) lists 10 helpful free or low-cost tools to help with site analysis and optimization efforts, including Rank Checker, several Google tools, and Screaming Frog: “Screaming Frog is a free spider that…can help identify server errors, redirects, URI issues, duplicate meta data and much more.”

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Six Stellar Twitter Tools and Reviews

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Thanks to its brevity and informality, Twitter has become a phenomenally successful social network, particularly for sharing news and updates, with more than 560 million active users collectively posting 5,700 tweets every second.

Top Twitter Tools ReviewsWhile powerful on its own, the 140-character social chatter site is even more useful when extended with tools to accomplish all sorts of tasks, from analyzing current followers and finding new ones to identifying influencers and trends, creating custom Twitter feeds, monitoring brand conversations and more.

Check out the posts below to find reviews of more than two dozen helpful Twitter tools, from a handful of top social media experts.

Expert Reviews of Top Twitter Tools

8 Twitter Tools Every Content Marketer Should Have by Streetwise Media

Caroline LyleCaroline Lyle reviews her favorite Twitter tools, among them FollowerWonk which “offers valuable analysis of your followers, and more importantly, helps you find new ones,” and TweetBeep, a simple tool that “sends you an email every time your brand is mentioned” on Twitter.

3 Very Useful Twitter Hashtag Analytics Tools by Razor Social

Ian ClearyWriting that “Analyzing the activity around a hashtag on twitter can help you identify the influencers, find useful links, analyze trends and much more,” Ian Cleary reviews three hashtag analytics tools including Tweetbinder, which lets you “analyze a twitter chat to see who is engaged in the conversation, who is most influential, what tweets were shared, what links are shared” and more.

7 Free Tools to Find Twitter Influencers Who Interact with You by Small Business Trends

Ann SmartyFrequent best-of contributor Ann Smarty reviews more than half a dozen tools for identifying and engaging with influential Twitters who follow you, such as Who Tweeted Me, “a new tool from Hubspot that finds all people who tweeted your pages and sorts them by number of followers. You can thank them with one click as well.”

Find the RSS feed for any Twitter user with Twitter RSS (Update) by Social Media Slant

Cendrine MarrouatTwitter has killed off its RSS feeds, but Cendrine Marrouat recommends using the RSS 4 Twitter tool as an alternative. At last check, the site worked well for capturing individual Twitter feeds, but hashtag support was temporarily out of order.

5 Tools to Research the Demographics of Your Twitter Followers by Small Business Trends

Ann Smarty (again) reviews a handful of “great apps that will let you get the proper stats to start engaging your followers in a real and dynamic way,” such as Birdsong (“Do a quick analytics search of any social media profile and find out exactly what conversations your brand is generating”).

Twools: Social Media Unleashed by iag.me

Ian Anderson GrayA more powerful alternative to the issue of Twitter RSS feeds is Twools, a tools from Ian Anderson Gray. It allows you to create a number of Twitter feeds including your home timeline, any user timeline, mentions, favorites and more, and filter these by keyword, hashtag or screen name.

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