Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Burstein’

14 of the Best Content Marketing Tips, Tactics and Techniques of 2013

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Content marketing success starts with developing a strategy and roadmap, but the rubber hits the road with the execution of tactics (and measurement of marketing results to support continual improvement). So it is with Content Marketing Week.

Where do you find ideas and inspiration for content marketing topics? What are the best practices for repurposing to get more mileage out of existing content assets? What pitfalls should content marketers avoid? Where does visual content fit into the mix?

Get those answers and more here in more than a dozen guides to content marketing tactics, the final post of Content Marketing Week.

How I.T. Is Changing: A Story About Beer by Ann Handley

Ann HandleyIt’s one thing to provide a laundry list of things-to-do to create great content, but quite another to show (and then break down) an exceptional example, as the delightful Ann Handley does here, with a nicely done video involving Cisco networking gear, and beer.

What Can Disney Teach Manufacturers About Marketing? by Industry Market Trends

Interviewing Steve Miller (the marketing consultant, not the 80s rock star), Gary Kane presents and explains the 10x10x10 model for content marketing, starting with: “Write down the 10 most frequently asked questions from your customers.”

17 Essential Content Templates and Checklists by Content Marketing Institute

Michele LinnMichele Linn shares a collection of popular and useful content marketing templates and checklists for tasks like creating buyer personas, developing an editorial calendar, writing killer headlines, choosing keywords, and promoting blog posts.

Matching video content to technology buying committees by 2-Minute Explainer Blog
***** 5 STARS

This post highlights research from LinkedIn regarding the value of video for B2B content marketing, then recommends five approaches for producing video content, such as “dressing up” invitations: “a cool video snippet (can) work nicely in an email invite to a conference or a trade show (‘Here’s a sneak preview of the new thing we’ll be demonstrating’).”

5 Reasons to Consider Flipboard for Your Content Strategy by iMediaConnection

Tom EdwardsTom Edwards recommends ways to use Flipboard, an application that “visualizes your social feeds such as Facebook & Twitter as well as providing access to curated topical magazines all while allowing the user flexibility in how they consume their content of choice.” Probably more useful in consumer than B2B marketing, but worth considering regardless.

5 Ideas To Extend Your Existing Content By Repurposing by NewRise Digital

Here are a handful of practical tips for how to repurpose existing content, such as transcribing videos: “If you have videos, screencasts or webinars produced for your content marketing campaign then getting these transcribed into an eBook can offer a valuable way to create a new opt in offer.”

Content Marketing: Five Ways To Keep Feeding The Beast by MediaPost

Santi-SubotovskySanti Subotovsky identifies “five key elements of an effective content marketing strategy, along with a list of applications to help marketers execute on each element,” from content curation and creation through workflow management (where “platforms such as Kapost and Zerys can help”) and analytics.

3 Surefire Ways To Kill Your Content Marketing by Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenThe brilliant Heidi Cohen exposes the three “leading causes of content marketing death,” along with fixes for each. For example, among the fixes for content that contains too much marketing hype and buzzwords are to stop selling; take a red pen to every buzzword phrase; and “Take the Hemingway approach. Use simple words. Substitute short words and everyday language for the flowery prose you’ve created.”

Prolific as well as adept, Heidi frequently writes highly bookmark-worthy posts filled with the latest research and trends along with actionable guidance. Other noteworthy content marketing tips and guides from her blog include:

13 Reasons Why Your Content Marketing Might Fail by Content Marketing Institute

Joe PulizziContent marketing guru Joe Pulizzi advises readers about how to avoid more than a dozen potential content marketing pitfalls, such as operating in silos (PR, communications, email marketing, social media—which is why a coordinated approach to optimizing web presence is essential), being too focused on one specific channel, and not being “niche enough.”

Content Marketing: An 8-point analysis for your blog by MarketingSherpa

Daniel BursteinYou bring your car in for regular maintenance checkups (hopefully), so why not do the same for your company blog? Daniel Burstein outlines an 8-point blog checkup starting with post frequency (“An element of effective content is consistency”) and proceeding through author bios, which are “a way for your audience to connect both literally by including Twitter and LinkedIn info, and figuratively by understanding how that author’s experience can help the reader better understand a topic.”

8 Content Marketing Ideas You Haven’t Tried by It’s All About Revenue

Amanda F. BatistaAmanda F. Batista presents “8 fresh content marketing ideas to recharge your engagement and demand generation strategy,” among them aligning your SEO keywords with calls to action: “translate (keyword) insights into a more results-driven content campaign. Integrate these words into your blog and social media posts, your market proposition plan and anything going out on the web, really.”

This was post #6, the final post, of Content Marketing Week 2013 on Webbiquity.

#1: Content Marketing Week Starts Tomorrow!

#2: 30 Remarkable Content Marketing Facts and Statistics for 2013 (and 2014)

#3: 18 of the Best Content Marketing Strategy Guides of 2013

#4: 7 Helpful Copywriting Guides and Tips for Content Marketers

#5: 12 (of the) Best Content Marketing Infographics of 2013

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103 Compelling Social Media and Marketing Statistics for 2013 (and 2014)

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

As the use of social media in marketing has become ubiquitous, marketers have turned their attention to making the use of business social media more sophisticated and strategic. They are refining tactics, integrating social with other marketing channels, taking a hard look at new networks, and continuing to refine their measurements of success.

Most Effective Content Marketing Tactics per MarketingSherpaHow can marketers help their organizations move from “social media marketing” to “social business”? Which emerging platforms are essential (or even worth investigating)? What role does social play in a brand’s overall online visibility?  How does social media use differ in B2B vs. B2C companies? Between large and small businesses? Which content marketing tactics and formats are gaining or losing favor? How do marketers separate hype from reality in mobile?

Find the answers to these questions and many, many more in this compilation of more than 100 compelling social media,  content marketing and SEO stats, facts and observations.

General Social Media Marketing Facts and Statistics

1. 97% of all consumers search for local businesses online. (An amazing statistic, given that nearly 20% of the adult U.S. population still lacks internet access). (Relevanza)

2. 20- to 30-year-olds (Gen Y), act like no other previous generations. 20-something business buyers are roughly twice as likely to seek information or advice from social media as the generation before them (31- to 40-year-olds) and almost four times more likely to than the baby boomers (51- to 60-year-olds). (MediaPost)

3. 68% of Google+ users are male, while 80% of Pinterest users are women. (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)

4. Looking at the importance of social media by business function, 80% of business executives said social is “important” or “somewhat important” in marketing and branding; 74% said the same for customer service; 70% for innovation and new product/service development; and 63% for employee recruiting. Less than half view social media as important for supplier/partner engagement. (e-Strategy Trends)

5. Social media isn’t quite as ubiquitous as it sometimes seems. 7% of the American population has never heard of Facebook, and 41% say they haven’t heard of LinkedIn. And these people can vote. Which explains a lot. (iMedia Connection)

6. 72% of adult internet users in the U.S. are now active on at least one social network, up from 67% in 2012 and just 8% in 2005. (MediaPost)

7. As many companies have learned the hard way, unanswered complaints on social networks can go viral, causing real damage to a company’s brand. But the opposite is also true: 71% of consumers receiving a quick brand response on social media say they would likely recommend that brand to others. (Forbes)

8. 65% of respondents of global business executives say their organizations use social business tools to understand market shifts; 45% to improve visibility into operations; and 45% to identify internal talent. (Deloitte University Press)

9. There are, on average, 700 YouTube video links shared on Twitter every minute, and 500 years worth of YouTube videos watched on Facebook every day. (Social Media Today)

10. 60% of LinkedIn users have clicked on an ad on the site, and 43% of U.S. marketers have obtained at least one new customer through LinkedIn. (Social Media Today)

11. 70% of brands now have a presence on Google+, up from just 4% in the last quarter of 2012. (Social Media Today)

12. 69% of brands now have a presence on Pinterest, up from 10% in the fourth quarter of 2012. (Social Media Today)

General Marketing Facts and Statistics

13. Webinars, virtual events and other digital communications channels are driving trade shows and other live events to extinction, right? Wrong. Nearly three-quarters of brand marketers still view live trade shows and conferences as either “very valuable” or “essential to doing business.” Just 9% say their importance is diminishing. (e-Strategy Trends)

14. 93% of online research starts with a search engine, and 68% of consumers check out companies on social networking sites before buying. Visibility is vital, so every brand needs a comprehensive strategy for optimizing their overall web presence. (Brandpoint)

15. To optimize not just online visibility but also trust with buyers, vendors need to focus on their industry presence. Just 9% of B2B decision makers consider vendor content trustworthy vs. 67% who trust research from professional associations, 50% from industry organizations, 44% from analyst reports, and 40% from independent product reviews. (B2B Marketing Insider)

16. The average CTR for banners is 0.01 percent. According to Get Elastic, 31 percent of consumers are worried that they will be tracked if they click them, and 55 percent fear a virus. And yet—there were 5.3 trillion display ads served up last year. (iMedia Connection)

17. Big contradictions on big data: 71% of marketers say they plan to have Big Data solutions in place in the next two years. But 75% of marketers can’t calculate their ROI of their marketing spending and and 50% of them say that IT is not a strategic partner. (ZDNet)

18. Another contradiction: while 86% of companies are comfortable marketing with social tools, only 41% use social tools for communicating with customers. (Forbes)

B2B Social Media Marketing Stats and Facts

19. Nearly half of B2B marketers planned to increase their overall marketing budgets this year despite continuing economic challenges. Two-thirds planned to increase digital marketing spending. (Social Media Today)

20. Another source found that almost half of B2B marketers (the same “almost half”?) anticipate an increased budget for 2014, while just 3% foresee spending reductions. (eMarketer)

21. Just 38% of b2b marketers say they have a defined social media strategy. (Marketing Pilgrim)

22. Twitter is the most popular platform in b2b, with 85% of marketers saying they use this. LinkedIn is a close second at 82%. (Marketing Pilgrim)

23. Nearly three-quarters of b2b marketers say they can’t measure the ROI of social media at, or can measure it only some of the time. The primary measurement of social media success is increased website traffic. (Marketing Pilgrim)

24. Is social media displacing PR? In a recent survey of B2B PR professionals, 94% said they use social media to promote announcements vs. 71% who use press releases. 45% said they would use social media if they could use just one promotional vehicle vs. 24% who said they would issue a press release. (B2B PR Sense Blog)

25. 60% of B2B marketers identify lead generation as their top online marketing challenge. And more than a third (36%) say they can’t accurately attribute online conversions to the correct marketing channels. (eMarketer)

26. Which lead gen tactics work best? B2B marketers put email marketing at the top (with 51% saying this is a highly effective tactic) followed by SEO and content marketing (38% each), offline events like trade shows (31%) and paid search/online ads (29%). Just 11% say social media is highly effective for lead gen, and 1% identify mobile marketing. (eMarketer)

27. In terms of difficulty of execution, nearly half (49%) of B2B marketers put social media marketing at the top, followed by content marketing (39%), SEO (26%) and mobile (25%). (eMarketer)

28. Opportunity being squandered: B2B buyers under 35 years old (a growing group) are 131% more likely to make corporate purchases online than their older counterparts. 90% of B2B buyers age 18-35 now make company purchases online, compared with 45% of those age 45-60 and 29% of those age 60+. Yet nearly half have purchased from Amazon Supply in the past year because their current suppliers aren’t offering an online purchase channel. (BizReport)

29. Another opportunity being squandered: More than 90% of B2B marketers consider webinars/webcasts, e-books, white papers, and published articles to be either “very” or “somewhat” effective in achieving SEO and marketing objectives. Yet less half utilize webcasts and just 20% create e-books. (MarketingSherpa)

30. While B2B B2B buyers age 60+ conduct online research before purchasing less than 10% of the time, younger buyers (age 26-45) do research before purchasing 50% of the time or more. Another reason it’s vital to have a framework for maximizing a brand’s online visibility. (BizReport)

31. More than 80% of B2B decision makers say they visit vendor-independent communities or forums, vendor-sponsored communities or forums, and LinkedIn at least monthly for business purposes. (Marketing Charts)

32. 32% of B2B decision makers use Pinterest at least monthly, but only 2% do so primarily for business reasons. (Marketing Charts)

33. 87% of B2B companies view social media (other than blogs) as a highly successful element of their marketing mix. 83% say the same for articles on websites, 78% eNewsletters, and 77% blogs. (MyCustomer.com)

34. The top four metrics used to measure B2B social media success are web traffic (60%), sales lead quality (51%), social sharing (45%) and sales lead quantity (43%). (MyCustomer.com)

35. Almost 60% of all social media-referred traffic to B2B websites comes from just three networks: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. (It’s All About Revenue)

36. In 2012, less than a third of B2B marketers said their social media activities were either “fully integrated” or “very involved” with company-wide operations. Today that figure is close to half. (eMarketer)

37. The top marketing tactics used by B2B marketers this year were social networks (84%), email marketing (72%), SEO (56%) and press releases (51%). The least popular tactics, each used by less a quarter of marketers, were online ads, seminars and ebooks. (eMarketer)

Statistics About Social Media Use in the Enterprise

38. 77 of the Fortune Global 100 companies have at least one official corporate Twitter account. (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)

39. 48% of the Fortune Global 100 are on Google+. (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)

40. More than one-third of Fortune 500 companies have active Google+ accounts. However, 19% of the companies with Google+ corporate accounts have not yet activated them. Google+ remains the only major social platform with a significant number of open—but inactive—accounts. (MediaPost)

41. 70% of the Fortune 500 companies have Facebook pages, including nine of the top 10 companies. (MediaPost)

42. The top five social networks used by B2B marketers to distribute content are LinkedIn (83%), Twitter (80%), Facebook (80%), YouTube (61%) and Google+ (39%). (Social Media Today)

43. Another study pegs the top three social networks in use buy Fortune 500 companies are Twitter (77%), Facebook (70%) and YouTube (69%). (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)

44. The leaders of these companies lag in their own social media use, however. Of the 500 leaders of the biggest companies in the US, only 28 have a Twitter account, and only 19 of them actually use it. (Quartz)

45. 68% of Fortune 500 CEOs have no social media presence whatsoever. Among the rest, 26% are on LinkedIn, but less than 10% are on Facebook and just 1% – five CEOs – are on Google+. (Quartz)

46. And yet, 90% of global business executives say that social media is important today or will be within a year. (Deloitte University Press)

47. Maybe they just aren’t doing it right? When asked to rank their company’s social business maturity on a scale of 1 to 10, more than half of global business executives gave their company a score of 3 or below. Only 31% gave a rating of 4 to 6. Just 17% ranked their company at 7 or above. (Deloitte University Press)

48. By department, the largest users of social media in enterprises are marketing (with 78% using social media to a moderate to great extent), IT (64%), sales (63%), and customer service (62%). The functions using social media least are operations (46%), supply chain operations (36%), risk management (35%) and finance (28%). (Deloitte University Press)

49. More than 40% of enterprises measure the success of their externally facing social media initiatives based on social reach (e.g., number of fans/followers) or brand reputation enhancement. Just 14% measure it based on sales. 19% don’t measure it at all. (Deloitte University Press)

50. Among the Interbrands Top 100 brands (B2C), nearly all have a presence on Facebook and Twitter. 76% are also on Google+, 74% are on Pinterest, almost a third (31) are on Tumblr. (MediaPost)

51. Why Tumblr? Because “posts tend to have a longer shelf life on Tumblr than Facebook and Twitter through ‘reblogs,’ or reposts of updates. Almost a third of reblogs (29%) took place more than 30 days after the initial post.” (MediaPost)

52. Does that mean B2B marketers should jump on Tumblr to promote their thought leadership content as well? Not necessarily; MTV claimed the second-highest number of reblogs in a recent period. Sprite claimed the most reblogs over that timeframe, with more than 85,000 for a single post with an animated GIF of a game of spin the bottle. (MediaPost)

Small Business Social Media Statistics and Facts

53. 78% of small businesses attract new customers through social media. (Relevanza)

54. This despite the fact that 80% of SMB websites don’t display links to the company’s social networks. (iMedia Connection)

55. The top three challenges faced by SMB B2B marketers are lead quantity (69%), lead quality (60%), increasing brand awareness (56%) and reaching decision makers (52%). It seems like those figures haven’t budged much in 20 years. (MarketingProfs)

56. The three tactics viewed as most effective for generating SMB B2B sales leads are company websites, email newsletters, and tradeshows. LinkedIn and Facebook were also cited as effective by more than half of marketers, coming in just ahead of direct mail. (MarketingProfs)

57. At the other end of the scale, Pinterest, outdoor media and virtual events were cited as the lead effective tactics for SMB B2B lead generation. (MarketingProfs)

58. SMB marketers identify the top three benefits of social media marketing as increased exposure (89%), increased website traffic (75%), and access to marketplace insights (69%). However, less than half said that it either reduced marketing expenses or increased sales. (eMarketer)

59. Small business marketers are most likely to outsource TV/radio advertising (40%) and SEO (35%); they are least likely to outsource email newsletter and social media marketing management (less than 5% each). (Constant Contact)

60. However, those decisions are often budget-driven. Half or more of SMB marketers would prefer to outsource both TV/radio ads and SEO, and nearly 20% would outsource social media marketing if they could. (Constant Contact)

Content Marketing Facts and Stats

61. The content marketing challenges faced by enterprises and small businesses must be very different, right? Well…yes and no. Marketers in companies large and small rank are challenged by producing engaging content, producing enough content, producing a variety of content, and measuring content marketing effectiveness in broadly similar proportions. But surprisingly, they part ways on the challenge of lack of executive buy-in (38% of enterprise marketers vs. 25% of SMB marketers say they are challenged by this), lack of budget (48% enterprise, 38% SMB) and most dramatically, lack of integration across marketing channels (58% enterprise, 23% SMB). (Content Marketing Institute)

62. 92% of marketers believe that content creation is either “very” or “somewhat” effective for SEO. (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)

63. More than half of B2B and business-to-government (B2G) marketers focus on white papers and case studies as key components of their content marketing, compared to less than 10% of B2C marketers. However, those on the consumer side focus much more on customer reviews (44% vs. 27% for B2B). (MarketingSherpa)

64. Different types of content address different levels of the purchase funnel. At the top of the funnel, blog posts, news articles, press releases and social media content drive awareness. In the consideration stage, “category level” web page content, “long tail” blogs and news articles, newsletters, FAQs and white papers are most effective. (Brandpoint)

65. On average, 25% of marketing budgets are now spent on content development, delivery and promotion. (B2B Marketing Insider)

66. 87%  of buyers say online content has a major or moderate impact on vendor preference and selection; but 43% say “blatantly self-promotional” content is a major turn off. (B2B Marketing Insider)

67. 54% of B2B marketers plan to increase spending on content marketing in 2014. (MyCustomer.com)

68. 77% of B2B marketers use a blog as part of their content marketing mix, and 70% use online video. (Social Media Today)

Business Blogging Statistics and Facts

69. Blogs convert readers into buyers. 42% of consumers look to blogs for information about potential purchases; 52% say blogs have impacted their purchase decisions; and 57% of marketers have acquired new customers with their blogs. (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)

70. Despite that, just 34% of Fortune 500 enterprises maintain corporate blogs – up from 28% in 2012. (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)

71. Within the Fortune 500, telecommunications (53%) and specialty retailers (48%) are most likely to have blogs. (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)

72. 77% of B2B firms maintain blogs. (MyCustomer.com)

73. Or do they? Another source puts the share of B2B marketers using blogs at 39% in 2013, down from 48% in 2012. Hmm, confusing. (eMarketer)

SEO and Search Marketing Stats and Facts

74. 50% of searchers on Bing click the first organic result. Only about 6% click the third result, 3% on the fourth result, and 1% on results near the bottom of page one. (Search Engine Land)

75. However—a lower position isn’t always bad. If the searcher clicks the “back” button because the top result didn’t meet expectations, then he or she is 5-8 times more likely to click on a lower result than on the initial search. That is, the CTR for a result near the bottom of page one can be as high as 8% after a “back” button click. (Search Engine Land)

76. 50% of marketers cite web pages as “very effective” for SEO. Really, only 50%? (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)

77. Another study puts the figure above at 95%; that sounds more like it. (MarketingSherpa)

78. 50% of consumers say they are more like to click on a search result if the brand appears multiple times on the results page. This is why web presence optimization is vital! (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)

79. Marketers produce a wide variety of content to support SEO, with web pages (79%), social media (74%) and blogs (68%) topping the list. The least-used tactics? Mobile apps (14%), digital magazines (11%) and podcasts (8%). (MarketingSherpa)

80. Search AND social rule. Among marketers who rate their companies’ SEO strategies as “highly effective” in achieving marketing objectives, 38% have extensive integration between their social media and SEO tactics, and only5% have no such integration. Among those who call their SEO “not successful,” just 2% have extensive search and social integration,  while 50% have no connection between these activities. (Marketing Charts)

81. Again comparing “superior” to “inferior” SEO strategists, those in the superior group are 67% more likely to say that creating original content is their most effective SEO tactic, and three-and-a-half times more likely to cite changing search engine algorithms as a critical obstacle to achieving their objectives, while being far less likely (6% vs. 58%) to point to the lack of a clear and concise strategy as a main challenge. (Marketing Charts)

82. Organic or paid? No, both! Paid search supports organic SEO efforts: paid-search ads alongside organic listings in position two through five receive two out of every three clicks from the search engine results page (SERP). When organic results are well below the fold in positions six through 10, paid search is responsible for nine out of 10 clicks to the Web site. (MediaPost)

83. Even when organic results fall in the first position, consumers still click on the paid-search ad. When a paid listing appears on a SERP with the top organic listing for the same keyword, the organic result gets 60% of the clicks on average and the paid link 40% of clicks. (MediaPost)

84. Just 23% of marketers generate more than half of all leads through organic search. 22% of companies generate between a quarter and half of all leads via search, and 24% obtain less than one out of every 10 leads via SEO. (MarketingSherpa)

Mobile Marketing Statistics

85. 50% of clicks on mobile banner ads are accidental. (iMedia Connection)

86. Still, mobile video is the fastest growth area in marketing. (iMedia Connection)

87. And 35% of B2B marketers plan to increase their spending on mobile marketing this year. (Social Media Today)

88. Facebook will account for 13% of worldwide mobile ad revenue in 2013. (Social Media Today)

Facebook Statistics and Facts

89. 77% of B2C companies and 43% of B2B vendors have acquired customers from Facebook. (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)

90. 81% of B2B decision makers say they visit Facebook at least monthly–but only 2% do so primarily for business purposes, as opposed to 42% who do so primarily for personal purposes. (Marketing Charts)

91. 20% of all internet page views come from Facebook.  (iMedia Connection)

92. 95% of all social media-referred traffic to B2C websites is generated from just five social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, StumbleUpon, and YouTube. 74% comes from Facebook alone. (It’s All About Revenue)

93. On Facebook, brevity matters. Keeping your posts below 250 characters can get you 60% more engagement than you might otherwise see. You can get up to 66% more engagement if you cut it down to less than 80 characters. (Buffer)

Twitter Statistics and Facts

94. 34% of marketers say they have generated leads from Twitter. (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)

95. To maximize click-throughs from your tweets, keep them to 100 characters or less and tweet in the afternoon (between 1:00 and 4:00 EST). (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)

96. Twitter accounts for 32% of social media-generated traffic to B2B websites, but 82% of social media leads. Hmm, that doesn’t jive with other research on B2B social media. (MyCustomer.com)

97. 18% of U.S. adult internet users are now on Twitter, double the percentage from 2010. (MediaPost)

98. Using Twitter for social media? Great idea, but you’d better be listening. 81% of Twitter users expect a same-day response to questions and complaints aimed at brands. (Forbes)

99. There are 400 million tweets sent each day. (Social Media Today)

(And incidentally, the only organizations that have indexed all tweets back to the beginning of the service are Twitter itself, the Library of Congress, and Topsy. And presumably the NSA.)

100. 50% of technology companies have acquired a customer through Twitter. (Social Media Today)

101. While posting the same headline and link, over and over, is obnoxious, strategically repeating a tweet several hours apart–when different groups of your followers are likely online–can substantially increase click-throughs, without being annoying. (Buffer)

102. For tweets with links, 120-130 characters is the ideal range to maximize retweets. (Buffer)

103. Use hashtags—but sparingly. Tweets with one or two hashtags get 21% higher engagement on average, but those with three or more actually get 17% less engagement. (Buffer)

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Nine More Expert Guides to Local SEO

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Local search rankings are vital to businesses that rely on drawing customers from within a radius of a few miles. Although there is some dispute over the exact figures, at least a quarter and possibly closer to half of all searches have local intent.

But even if your business is b2b-oriented or global, optimizing for local search makes sense. It’s low-hanging fruit, and even if many of your customers aren’t local, prospective partners, journalists and bloggers (who may write about your company),  prospective employees, investors and others are. And expanding your overall online presence through local press or blog coverage, social media, or listings in reputable business directories is never a bad idea.

Of course, the best tactics for ranking in local search, as with search in general, continue to evolve. Which local search tactics are most effective today? How can you use events to drive local search? What are the best ways to build local links?

Find the answers to those questions and more here in nine expert guides to local search optimization.

Marketing Research Chart: Which local SEO tactics are organizations using? by MarketingSherpa

Daniel BursteinDaniel Burstein reports on research revealing which tactics marketers view as most effective for local search optimization. At the top of the list: including local keywords in content, blog posts, meta tags, and internal links; and including a local business address on website pages. On the other hand, customer reviews and local citations were viewed as least important.

Local SEO in 5 Easy Steps by Search Engine Journal

Zain Shah lays out a five-step process for optimizing your site in local search, beginning with checking to see if your target keywords trigger Google’s “local algorithm” and ending with assuring that your company name, address and phone number are consistent across all local directories.

Why You Must Merge Your Google+ Local And Google+ Page Now by SteamFeed

Ray HiltzNoting that “43% of Google search queries are local (and) 74% of these local searches are conducted on mobile devices,” Ray Hiltz explains how Google’s treatment of local search has evolved, why businesses that rely on local traffic need to be take advantage of Google+ Local, and how to capitalize on these capabilities.

How to Optimize Your Business For Local Search and Social Marketing by Quick Sprout
***** 5 STARS

Neil PatelOnce you get past the annoying pop-ups here, Neil Patel provides an outstanding guide to local search marketing. He steps through the process for local keyword research, on-site optimization, taking advantage of local business directories, obtaining local reviews, local marketing through Facebook and Twitter, and more.

The Complete Guide to Link Building with Local Events by SEOmoz

Kane JamisonKane Jamison cites five reasons why local events are valuable for link building (e.g., “Links On Otherwise Difficult Domains: It can be pretty hard to get a link from a major newspaper, TV station, or other prominent local website. Getting an event into their events section is like the secret entrance into getting a link from that domain’), then offers seven practical steps for capitalizing on this strategy.

The Local Search Ecosystem by Mihnorandum

David MihmLocal search guru David Mihm illustrates which local influences are increasing in importance, which are declining, which are emerging, and more in this helpful local search infographic. Though U.S.-centric, he also links to a similar local search influence post and infographic focused on Canada.

Link Building for Local Search by Search Engine Watch

Julie JoyceAfter explaining why local links are important even for companies that don’t primarily sell locally, Julie Joyce lists a dozen different types of local links, then provides ideas on how to get started with local link building, and how to maintain and expand the effort over time.

5 Link Building Tactics to Improve Your Local Rankings by SEOmoz

Matt GreenWriting that four of the eight most important factors for local search ranking (see below) relate to the quantity and quality of local backlinks to a site, Matt Green outlines five tactics for building from local links, from the relatively simple (commenting on local blogs) to the considerably more involved (sponsoring student clubs at local universities).

Local Search Ranking Factors by David Mihm

Based on an extensive survey of local SEO experts, David Mihm (again) presents his annual summary of the most important ranking factors in local search, from on-site and social/mobile to (a large number of) Google-specific factors,  such as number of +1′s on a website. Interestingly, of the top 10 overall ranking factors, just two (the domain authority of the site and name-address-phone number) are on-site factors.

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37 Fantastic SEO Guides, Tips and Tactics

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Considering that the average b2b website gets about 40% of traffic from organic search, with some sites getting as much as two-thirds of all visits via search engines, effective search engine optimization (SEO) remains a vital strategy.

But precisely what constitutes “best practices” in SEO is a continually (and lately, rapidly) moving target. Yesterday’s on-page optimization and link building tactics—even those used with the best, non-manipulative intentions—may get a site penalized in search rankings today for being “over-optimized.” (You can’t be too rich or too thin, but apparently you can be too optimized.)

So what’s a marketing manager, PR professional or SEO specialist to do? Keep up with SEO trends and changes. Optimize off-site content (for example, on YouTube and other social platforms). Use effective SEO tools and marketing metrics. Create link-worthy content. Use social signals to boost rankings. Learn how to do all of that and then some here in more than three dozen of the best SEO guides and tips from the past year.

General SEO Tips and Guides

When Search Becomes Invisible by MediaPost Search Blog

Laurie SullivanLaurie Sullivan explores how online advertisers and search engine optimizers will adjust to a not-too-distant future “when the act of typing keywords into a search box to create a query becomes invisible? The act of searching for information will blend into voice-assisted programs, with geolocation targeting supported by data.” She reports on how Google, Ask, online ad platform vendors and others are simultaneously creating and adjusting to these changes in technology.

4 questions to ask when hiring an SEO consultant by iMedia Connection

Louis RixLouis Rix recommends four questions that marketers ask before hiring an outside SEO consultant or firm, such as what kinds of reports they provide and how they build links (great question). His fourth suggested question is a bit tricky however, as even the author notes that “Nobody can promise you a No. 1 ranking.”

10 Elements of a Perfectly Optimized Page by Search Engine Watch

Gareth OwenGareth Owen presents 10 important elements for on-page SEO, though he acknowledges that “perfect” may be stretching things a bit (“It’s worth noting that the ‘perfectly optimized page’ above won’t be perfect for all verticals, or for all brands – not everyone has the ability to add customer reviews to their product pages”).

4 Enterprise SEO Trends to Watch in 2012 by ClickZ

Adam AudetteAdam Audette outlines four trends he sees in SEO, among them “Further Corporatization of SEO in the Enterprise: The trend over the last several years has increasingly shown SEO teams ‘go within’ at large companies. This is a trend I’ve long supported and recommended, for example in my piece on in-house SEO teams. In fact, for enterprise companies to realize exceptional results in SEO, they almost always require a dedicated internal SEO team. That’s the case today primarily because incremental gains are harder to achieve.” True perhaps, but this is not necessarily a trend in small to midsized firms yet.

5 big SEO changes you might have missed by iMedia Connection

Lisa WehrGoing beyond the usual SEO guidance, Lisa Wehr explains how to capitalize on mobile and local search, Google encrypted search results, and even Google+ and Facebook: “Where on a social site can you insert keywords? From Google+ profiles to Facebook info sections, you can display keywords and all of your business web properties (website, Twitter, YouTube, corporate blog, etc).”

SEO Strategy for New Domains by Search Engine Journal

Sujan PatelWriting that “When you first launch a new website, it’s a blank slate in the eyes of Google and the other search engines,” Sujan Patel serves up a five-step plan for gaining search ranking, from “make sure that your site is set up as effectively as possible from an internal SEO standpoint” to planning for ongoing optimization.

5 Best Practices for Global SEO by ClickZ

Crispin SheridanFor websites that are truly global in terms of their market targeting, Crispin Sheridan offers a handful of helpful tips for optimization, among them engaging in local link building: “Link building, whether through traditional efforts such as outreach programs or guest blogging, social media, and leveraging partnerships, will always be one of the strongest ways to obtain more favorable rankings. In addition to helping with rankings, the search engines will look at the origin of the links to help determine local relevance. For example, a Chinese site that has a large number of links coming from other China-based sites will have a stronger authority within the local China search engines.”

7 Signs That You’re Overvaluing Search Engine Optimization by MarketingSherpa

Daniel BursteinReporting that nearly a third of b2b marketers “consider search engine optimization to be very effective — more than email marketing, content marketing, and most noticeably, paid search,” Daniel Burstein outlines warning signs that a company may be overvaluing SEO, to the detriment of considerations like providing valuable content and optimizing for conversions.

Create A YouTube Traffic Jam With These 4 Simple Optimization Tips by KISSmetrics
***** 5 STARS

Brian HonigmanWhile it’s not SEO strictly speaking, optimizing your YouTube videos for search is a great way to increase brand exposure, and to (indirectly) drive website traffic. Brian Honigman provides an outstanding, comprehensive guide to optimizing videos from tags and titles to playlists, annotations and channel branding.

Confirmed: Google+ Is Critical To Your Search Rankings by Sean Clark

Sean ClarkSean Clark contends that “Keywords (are) a thing of the past,” and that social media signals (particularly from Google+) are the future of search engine ranking signals. True? Perhaps. Carefully consider Sean’s arguments and those of his commenters.

DuckDuckGo Search Engine Crowdsources Plugins by Wired

Scott Gilbertson reports on DuckDuckHack, “a developer platform that allows anyone to add new features to the search engine.” The platform enables anyone to write plugins (to go along with current “goodies” like time-based queries and unit conversions) for the search engine and share them. Is this article really one of the best SEO guides of the past year? Maybe not, but it’s hard not to love DuckDuckGo.

9 Lessons from 1,000 SEO Questions by SEOmoz

Dr. Peter J. MeyersDr. Peter J. Meyers distills the answers to 1,000 private questions asked of SEOmoz into this compact summary of SEO  wisdom, such as “One-trick Ponies Make Good Glue…People naturally get comfortable with one aspect of search marketing (link-building, on-page, social, etc.) and then want to ‘perfect’ it, but at best they hit diminishing returns fast.”

Google Webmaster Tools: An Overview by Search Engine Watch

Simon HeseltineSimon Heseltine offers a helpful guide to the features in Google Webmaster Tools, from getting started through navigating the dashboard, messages, configuration, assessing a website’s health (e.g. through crawl errors), search queries,  internal links, sitemaps and more.

10 Myths That Scare SEOs But Shouldn’t – Whiteboard Friday by SEOmoz

Rand FishkinRand Fishkin dispels myths that shouldn’t be keeping SEO practitioners awake at night, such as having a large number of backlinks from a single domain (unless the linking site is really spammy or the links were built manipulatively) or keyword density that’s “too high.”

10 SEO measurements every marketer should know by Biznology

Rob PetersenNoting that “80% of people who visit a website get there from typing a keyword in the query box of a search engine” (seems a bit high, your mileage will vary) and “90% click on websites on the first page” (of search results), Rob Petersen defines 10 imperative SEO metrics for marketers, from the number of keywords driving traffic to the number of pages indexed by search engines.

7 Small Business SEO Tips by Search Engine Watch

Adam StetzerAdam Stetzer suggests “seven small business SEO tips to help earn more business through traditional organic search rankings,” among them understanding that onsite SEO is necessary but not sufficient; that creating engaging content is critical; and that content marketing should be used to earn backlinks (“Quality content containing humor, information, controversy, politics or training usually brings backlinks – and is definitely considered acceptable SEO”).

SEO Tips for Panda and Penguin

Interview of Jonah Stein by SEO Book

Aaron WallAaron Wall has a long, detailed conversion with SEO expert Jonah Stein about the impact of Google’s series of Panda algorithm updates, and how to respond to penalties. One key line from Jonah: “It is short sighted to believe that any of the SEO niche strategies are going to survive if they are not supported with PR, social, PPC and display.” Which is pretty much what the web presence optimization (WPO) framework is designed to address.

What is your SEO Social Signals Strategy? by iMedia Connection

Krista LaRiviereKrista LaRiviere reveals, in her words, “how Google’s algorithm changes impact both backlinking and social signaling; how to build an SEO social signals strategy; how your SEO backlinking and social signals strategies come together in your content strategy; (and) how to measure it all.”

Google Plans SEO Over-Optimization Penalty by Practical eCommerce

Jill KocherJill Kocher provides some details about Google’s throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater approach to penalizing “over-optimization.” For example, one sign of over-optimization to Google is reportedly “Linking repeatedly from body copy to a handful of key pages with optimized anchor text. If 33 of my 100 pages link to www.jillsfakesite.com from the body copy with the anchor text “Jills Fake Site,” that should count as over-optimization.” Never mind that there may be perfectly legitimate reasons for doing this, and it may improve the user experience.

6 Changes Every SEO Should Make BEFORE the Over-Optimization Penalty Hits – Whiteboard Friday by SEOmoz

Speaking of over-optimization, Rand Fishkin (again) here reviews half a dozen ways to avoid Google’s “over-optimization” penalties, including this on in-content text links: “go with logical, useful, change it up when you’re linking to pages, maybe a couple of times, in some spaces. You have a blog post and it mentions a page on your site that you want people to actually go to and that you think is useful in context. Great, link over there. Fine, use the anchor text. Maybe use a modified version of the anchor text, a little longer, a little shorter, a little more natural sounding, and you’re going to get these same results, but you’re going to do it in a much more effective way. You’re not going to be at risk of whatever is happening with this over-optimization penalty.”

The Rise of Content Strategy–What to do about Google killing SEO by Biznology

James MathewsonJames Mathewson outlines four ways Google is killing SEO, including semantic search: “How do SEOs traditionally optimize pages? By advising their clients to put keywords in strategic places on a page. When Google goes to semantic search, it won’t be as much about keywords at all, but on the meaning of the words you use. This might be the biggest SEO killer of all. If tuning our content for keywords our users care about is no longer an effective strategy, what is left for SEOs?” He believes content strategy is the new SEO.

SEO & Content Marketing: Getting The Most Visibility For Your Valuable Content by MediaPost Search Insider

Janet Driscoll MillerObserving that “with recent algorithm updates, Google has noticeably placed renewed emphasis on unique, relevant, and timely content. Clearly there’s a marriage between SEO and content marketing,” frequent best-of honoree Janet Driscoll Miller explains how to capitalize in search on difficult-to-optimize content such as information that’s behind a registration wall, infographics and PDFs.

How to Identify Search Engine Penalties by Search Engine Journal

Reassuring that “Not all search engine penalties are permanent, and with a little detective work and remedial action, you should be able to restore your previous rankings and rebuild the flow of organic traffic to your site,” Sujan Patel (again) outlines a five-step process to determine if your site has been penalized, and it so, recover from it.

17 Ways SMBs Can Survive the Google Penguin Update Effect by ClickZ

Lisa BuyerFor those concerned about Google’s Panda update (which is to say, anyone involved in SEO), Lisa Buyer highlights a number of resources for help including guidance on optimizing beyond Google, including advertising, socializing, pinning, profiling, twittering, and more.

Backlinks Strongest Factor For Positive Search Rankings by MediaPost

Laurie Sullivan (again) reports that “Content shared from Facebook and the amount of backlinks appear to influence organic search engine results most, but Google +1s have the strongest impact on rankings,” and that recent analysis of Google ranking factors in the post-Panda-and-Penguin era suggests that social signals will play an increasing role in site ranking.

6 Months with Panda: A Story of Complacency, Hard Decisions, and Recovery by Search Engine Journal
***** 5 STARS

Glenn GabeIn this must-read case study for any site hit by Panda, Glenn Gabe explains how even a large, mature, well-respected website with a stellar link profile can get hit with Panda penalties, what caused this to happen, and the single most important thing that needed to be done to regain ranking and traffic.

7 Achievable Steps For Great SEO After The Penguin Update by SEOmoz
***** 5 STARS

Chris WarrenThis post from Chris Warren would be a must-read for anyone struggling with search traffic issues in the post-Penguin era even if it only contained steps one (“Understand your link profile…The biggest risk factors are a combination of lots of low quality links with targeted anchor text”), two (“Learn what makes a good link…there is a lot of evidence that these high value links are really the main drivers of a domain’s link authority”) and five (“almost never change your URLs”).

Understanding Penguin 1.1: Be Safe from Updates in 3 Easy Steps by Search Engine Journal

Muzzammil BambotMuzzammil Bambot steps through some of the biggest negative factors in post-Penguin search ranking and how to correct those, from getting rid of paid links and excessive links from a single domain to having too many exact-match text links (solved by increasing the diversity of text link variations).

3 Ways to Use Social Media to Improve Your Search Rankings by Social Media Examiner

AJ KumarAJ Kumar suggests strategies for using social media to improve search rank, but just as importantly to “future-proof” your site from still more Google algorithm changes by using social media to reduce your reliance on organic search traffic, for example by including “prominent social sharing buttons at both the top and bottom of each blog post on your website (or use a scrolling option that moves down the page alongside your readers).”

10 Ways Coding Can Help Your SEO by Search Engine Journal

Sujan Patel (once again) provides an excellent collection of SEO tips, here focused on technical factors that can affect rankings. Among his recommendations: use a search engine spider simulator to validate your code for spider-friendliness; create search-optimized page URLs; and combine script files to speed up page load times.

How Google’s Panda and Penguin are affecting your site’s rankings by iMedia Connection

Kent LewisKent Lewis does a commendable job of explaining how Google’s Panda and Penguin updates affected search rankings, and practical steps for avoiding penalties and regaining rankings (e.g., “Cancel or remove unnecessary footer links. Take it easy on the internal ‘SEO’ linking”), though his contention that “A minority of those sites (negatively affected by these algorithm changes) may be legitimate, but a majority of those impacted were consciously in violation” is questionable, particularly given the experiences of other experts noted above.

10 Old SEO Methods You Need to Stop by Search Engine Watch

Greg HabermannGreg Habermann warns against 10 SEO “techniques” that no longer work (or never really did), including Ezine Articles submissions, “news” release without any real news (produced just for links), link exchanges, thin content, and spider-unfriendly web design.

Top 1 SEO Tips for 2013 by SEOmoz

Pete Myers (again) shares his single most valuable SEO tip for 2013, writing that: “While I can’t tell you Google’s next move, I can tell you one thing with absolute certainty – there’s more to come. So, how can you protect what you’ve built in 2013? I was going to write a long list of suggestions, but I realized that they almost all boiled down to just one idea. I’m not going to toy with you – my top tip for 2013 SEO is…”

Best SEO Infographics

On page content SEO Puzzle #infographic by WordPress Hosting SEO
***** 5 STARS

Berrie PelserWriting that “SEO is a large and dynamic puzzle…to have a successful SEO strategy, you will need to all of the pieces of the puzzle together,” Berrie Pelser presents an easy-to-grasp infographic covering the basics of on-page optimization, coding, site architecture, social factors, reputation, links and more.

The History of Search Engine Marketing by Erik Holladay

Erik HolladayErik Holladay shares an infographic from Markus Allen that details the major ranking factors used by the leading search engines and the significant changes and upgrades made to ranking algorithms from Lycos and WebCrawler in 1994 through Google’s Panda algorithm update.

A Simple SEO Audit For Your Website by Soulati Media
***** 5 STARS

Jayme SoulatiJayme Soulati share a helpful infographic outlining the process for a basic website SEO audit, from content (fresh? Keyword-stuffed? Easy to read?) through technical considerations (navigation, crawl issues, broken links) to backlinks (spammy or paid vs. relevant and high-quality).

Infographic: The New Face of Search Engine Optimization by Marketing Technology Blog

Douglas KarrDouglas Karr presents an excellent SEO infographic contrasting what used to work in terms of keyword targeting, user experience, on-site content (e.g., “stuff title tags with keywords”), anchor text, directory submissions, news releases, and more, to what works today (e.g., “social traction correlates with links…Google+, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest are the most important SM platforms to SEO”).

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33 Phenomenal Content Marketing and Copywriting Guides and Tips

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Content marketing represents the most fundamental and widespread rethinking of marketing practices in decades. Unlike other modifiers attached to the discipline (consumer marketing, b2b marketing, trade show marketing, digital marketing), the term “content marketing” doesn’t describe an audience, tactic, or channel, but rather a completely different approach to marketing.

Content and Branding InfographicContent marketing turns the dominant paradigm of the last half-century—interruption-based mass marketing—on its head. Rather than interrupting prospective customers with content they generally didn’t want (product pitches) while they were consuming content they did (entertainment or news), content marketing entices targeted buyers with entertaining (consumer) or informative (b2b) content that also happens to reflect the company’s brand messages or product/service strengths.

Disruptive as it is, this philosophical shift has spread widely and quickly: according to recent research, “86 percent of companies serving consumers and 92 percent of ‘business to business’ companies now use content marketing.”

Since content marketing itself is no longer a differentiator, practitioners are asking questions like: how can I efficiently create a steady stream of fresh, relevant content? What types of content are most valuable to my sales prospects? How can content be optimized to support search engine optimization (SEO) efforts? What metrics are most helpful in measuring success and support continual improvement?

Discover the answers to these questions and many more here in more than 30 of the best content marketing articles and blog posts of the past year.

Content Marketing Guides, Tips and Tactics

5 Ways to Clone Great Social Media Content by SteamFeed

Jennifer KaneHelpfully pointing out that “You likely already have strong content on hand (either on-line somewhere or even stuck in a file cabinet in your office.) Instead of developing new stuff from scratch, riff on/reuse this stockpile of awesomesauce and use it more strategically,” Jennifer Kane proposes a handful of techniques to get more mileage out of existing content, such as “Drill down or spiral off on your content themes…if a piece of your preexisting content has resonated with your audience, consider using it as source material for a more in-depth examination of the topic or to jump off on a sub-topic tangent that will enable you to expand the perception your audience has of your brand.”

Digital Natives: How They Are Changing the Content Marketing Game by Content Marketing Institute

Patricia RedsickerPatricia Redsicker presents six strategies content marketers need to embrace in order to address the information needs and wants of digital natives–those born “between the mid-1970s and the late 1990s, (who) have grown up during our current golden age of digital technology. Now in their mid-teens to mid-thirties, people in this generation came of age knowing how to interact with technology and are comfortable using it to their advantage.” Among her recommendations are focusing on content that builds trust, that efficiently answers simple questions quickly, and that makes content consumers feel valued.

Corporate Content Marketing for Best in Class Results by Creative Marketing Channel

Catherine LockeyNoting that “Best in class companies utilize content marketing for brand awareness, customer acquisition, lead generation, and customer retention” and that most companies plan to increase budgets in this area, Catherine Lockey answers six key questions about content marketing, such as “How do best in class companies create all of their great content?” The answer to that one is outsourcing; roughly half of all small companies and three-quarters of large firms outsource at least a portion of their content creation efforts.

Seeking Marketing Alpha by Propel Growth Blog

Candyce EdelenThough the panel discussion this post was written to promote is long past, the thoughts about content marketing shared here by  Candyce Edelen are still well worth a read. “The Internet and email make it easier and cheaper to make noise, resulting in a virtual cacophony of marketing claims barraging customers every day – with everyone claiming to be ‘the leading, number-one, unique, value-added, trusted provider’ of ‘robust, innovative, cutting-edge, high-performance, ultra low-latency technology….’ Yawn. How can every vendor be the ‘leading provider’ anyway?”

Content Marketing in 6 Steps by Social Media Today

Steven Van BelleghemSteven Van Belleghem lays out “the 6 crucial steps to take in order to end up with a good content strategy,” starting with topic selection (determining what’s at the intersection of your company’s unique internal expertise and the information needs/wants of your market) and proceeding through measuring marketing performance (based on the content marketing objectives you’ve established).

Long Live Content Marketing by Rebelations

Rebel BrownRebel Brown offers practical guidance on how to avoid self-promotion and salesy content that “will send your audiences running” and instead focus on providing value: “For example, let’s say your audience is challenged by performance problems with their applications. Don’t send them a piece of content all about your faster processor, database, system or whatever. That’s obnoxious and pretty blatant self-promotion!  Instead,  share a piece of content about the key aspects of their infrastructure that they might want to check for problems. Share your expertise to guide them through the process to better understand their issues.”

5 CEO-Worthy Metrics for Demonstrating Inbound Marketing Success by Marketo B2B Marketing Blog

Jon MillerJon Miller outlines five key inbound marketing metrics to measure and continually improve content marketing success, such as lead generation by content and channel: “Beyond core organic traffic and leads, track lead generation by content asset and source.  What sources are driving the most traffic? What kinds of content drive the most leads? The most revenue?  It can also be insightful to track how these vary by product line or business unit.”

Feeding The Content Marketing Beast – 7 Places to Find Cheap Content by Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenNoting that two of the biggest challenges content marketers face are “producing sufficient content” and “having enough budget to cover the cost of content,” Heidi Cohen has compiled almost two dozen recommendations for developing content cost-effectively, from repurposing speeches delivered by company executives and soliciting employee contributions to reworking content from your distributors and suppliers.

What Tech Buyers Want From Content by Marketing Interactions

Ardath AlbeeArdath Albee reveals three key attributes that technology buyers value in marketing content, including freshness: “58% (of technology buyers in a UBM TechWeb survey) said they wanted content that was timely and current (while) only 11% said they’d consider content more than 18 moths old.” If you’ve got older content that is still relevant to buyers, refresh it to keep it current with the state of your industry.

Don’t Forget the ‘Marketing’ in Content Marketing by The Content Cocktail

Christina PappasChristina Pappas shares a seven-step checklist for making sure that your content contributes to company goals, without being too pushy or salesy, among them “Make sure there is an offer or connection to your product in every piece of content…every piece of content you publish should have some tie-back to your company and the solutions you provide to the market. This doesn’t have to be obvious and it doesn’t have to be smothered all over the thing, but it should be there somewhere,” such as links to white papers or other related assets at the end of a blog post or report.

Exploring the Five Cs of Content Marketing at Cisco by IT Services Marketing Association

Sherri LieboSherri Liebo identifies the “5 Cs” that Cisco Services looks at to better listen to customers when creating and sharing marketing content, including Customers (“What are customers looking for?”),  Competition (“What is the competition doing? How does Cisco Services compare?”) and Collaborators (“What is happening with our channel and strategic partners?”).

Research: B2B Buyers Want Content by Social Marketing Forum

J-P DeClerckJ-P De Clerck summarizes findings from Base One’s Buyersphere Survey regarding the content needs of business buyers. While the study focused on Europe, its findings are more broadly applicable, such as that “87% of…buyers look for advice before buying…The first source when doing so: Web searches. With 71% of respondents who look for information, searches are by far the main source of information.” Among other findings:

  • • Business buyers are most active in sharing content on forums, LinkedIn and blogs;
  • • Younger members of the buying team are most likely to read white papers and blogs, and attend webinars; and
  • • Buyers “who are working in IT were more likely to have downloaded whitepapers (36%) or read blogs (28%)” than those in other industries.

J-P has also launched a blog, Content Marketing Experience, focused exclusively on content marketing issues and guidance. His post Five Reasons No One Shares Your Content is spot on and well worth a read.

Content Marketing: 3 tips for how to get started by MarketingSherpa

Daniel BursteinDaniel Burstein dispels three myths than hold content marketers back or prevent them from getting the support they need within the organization, such as “‘We don’t want to give away our secrets.’
If you can’t give potential customers enough information about how you do what you do (whether that is fixing plumbing leaks or improving marketing performance), then why should they trust you with their business?” And McDonald’s “secret sauce” is (shhhh)…Thousand Island dressing.

4 secrets to successful content marketing by iMedia Connection

Jacqueline McDermott LiskWriting that “the digital world allows us to measure just about anything, including three factors that help marketers gauge the success of their content: click-through rates, time spent on content, and shares via social media,” Jacqueline McDermott Lisk outlines strategies for producing high-quality content that will both improve these statistics and drive business results.

Sweet talk your leads and move them through the sales funnel by Polaris B

Shelley PringleBecause not all “leads” are ready to turn immediately into buyers, Shelley Pringle outlines a four-step process for converting those leads into customers over time. The process starts with understanding your prospects’ buying cycle and creating content for the top, middle and bottom of the sales funnel.

Sourcing B2B Content For Marketing Strategy! 11 Timeless Examples #FTW by aimClear Blog

Marty WeintraubMarty Weintraub presents “11 timeless content creation examples that have always worked,” among them demystifying myths (“Nearly every sales process is up against some level of customers’ misconceptions and other informational obstacles. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and address these sales impediments head on”), covering industry events in real time, excerpting white papers (a great content idea), and interviewing industry experts.

Content Marketing and SEO

10 Reasons Why You Need an Optimized Content Strategy Now by iMedia Connection

Krista LaRiviereKrista LaRiviere, CEO of web presence optimization software vendor gShift Labs, explains how recent Google algorithm changes (including more emphasis on social signals, the clampdown on low-value backlinks, the Google +1 button, and freshness updates) now make optimized, user-focused content more important than ever for search rankings.

How to create search friendly content by Bing Blogs

This post explains how to create optimized content more efficiently by creating a template or repeatable process for content development, and presents seven tips for discovering tinely topics to write about, incorporating keywords, using hooks to capture readers’ attention, and more.

Content Marketing – Think Campaigns Not Just Links, Your Guide to TOFU by SEOmoz

Kieran FlanaganNoting that “From an SEO viewpoint, the interest in great content is to attract links, where as a lot of what Google is looking to eliminate are examples of where content is used to build links”—particularly in the wake of its Panda and Penguin updates—Kieran Flanagan steps through an approach that puts business objectives first, with links and shares tracked but not viewed as the primary goal.

Infographics, Images and Video

5 Content Marketing Ideas Worth Stealing by jeffbullas.com

Jeff BullasJeff Bullas recommends five content marketing techniques for obtaining and retaining the attention of your prospective buyers by going beyond text: “Sometimes you need some inspiration and you need to try some new ideas and different media that may provide a nudge to try something different and creative outside your comfort zone…Images and photos are much more likely to be shared than an article or a white paper. Videos or infographics will be shared at high velocity compared the the humble ‘written word’ that have been with us for millenia.”

7 Steps to Make Your Infographic a Success by SEOmoz

Slavik VolinskyInfographics can be great for generating re-posts and inbound linke—if done properly. Slavik Volinsky explains what works (e.g., start with a great idea and great distribution plan: “To create a great distribution plan, approach your industry’s ‘big minds’ and ask for their feedback with full intention of listening & improving the infographic”) and what doesn’t.

The History of Content Marketing [Infographic] – Corporate Storytelling is Not New by Content Marketing Institute

Joe PulizziContent marketing guru Joe Pulizzi presents a fascinating history of content marketing, from cave paintings and 19th-century “customer magazines” through the emergence of corporate blogs, business video, microsites, and the proliferation of content marketing sites, books and resources.

Content Marketing and SEO: The world doesn’t need another blog post by MarketingSherpa

Advising marketers to “focus on the message, not the medium” Daniel Burstein (again) offers half a dozen suggestions for taking content beyond blog posts and white papers, like creating a mobile app or a useful online tool “Like the ESPinator from ClickMail Marketing, which helps email marketers choose an ESP that helps them best fit their needs.”

The future of content marketing by iMedia Connection

Rebecca LiebRebecca Lieb reports on research showing that larger, more sophisticated content marketers are gradually “lessening their dependence on text-based channels” and focusing more on video and images. Interestingly, she also notes that “Search, email, blogging, digital PR, and  even (brace yourself) advertising have, and will continue to have a place at the table as content marketing grows in importance,” or in other words, that web presence optimization will get more attention.

7 Rules For Writing Awesome Content by Small Business Trends

Lisa BaroneLisa Barone presents seven writing rules to help in crafting content that will inspire customers to act, including telling stories (“If you want to improve your writing, stop lecturing to people and to start telling them stories”); experimenting (“Improve your writing by experimenting with new mediums [videos, infographics, contests, polls, Twitter chats] instead of getting caught in the same pattern of content”); and to avoid generic messages, “write as if you’re writing to one reader.”

Is Content Marketing The New Advertising? by Forbes
***** 5 STARS

Michael BrennerMichael Brenner shares a highly bookmark-worthy infographic that positions 16 different content formats along the dimensions of attention required from the audience and ease of implementation. For example, social media generally requires little attention from the audience (being very short form), and also little effort, while something like an app, telecast or interactive game is at the other end of the spectrum on both dimensions.

How You Can Use Infographics to Tell a Story by Social Media Club

Mireille MassueMireille Massue offers six steps for creating a compelling infographic (such as making it sharable by submitting it to Infographic Directories); nine resources to learn more about infographics; and (of course), an infographic outlining eight steps to create an infographic.

The 6 Best Slideshare Decks on Content Marketing by B2B Marketing Insider

Michel Brenner (again) passes along half a dozen noteworthy slide decks about content marketing, from experts like Rand Fishkin, Joe Pulizzi, and Rebecca Lieb and Charlene Li, whose Winning Content Strategies presentation notes that “77% of Internet users do not engage with online advertising. A shift from ‘push’ to ‘pull’ marketing is imperative to brand survival.”

Expert Copywriting Tips

Harvard Lesson: Verbs Beat Adjectives by Neuromarketing

Roger DooleyRoger Dooley, commenting on one of the toughest sales jobs of all—”selling” yourself to Harvard Business School, where nine out of 10 applicants are rejected—concludes that verbs sell more powerfully than adjectives. Verbs persuade more effectively because they “require actual examples of the behaviors or characteristics in question…These specifics will increase the credibility of the copy, in addition to providing more information than when the adjective-driven shortcut is taken.”

Using Great Storytelling To Grow Your Business by Fast Company

Kaihan KrippendorffFormer McKinsey consultant Kaihan Krippendorff outlines two approaches for producing more compelling content (or presentations): using LOTS (“language of the senses…When telling a story, share with us what you see, smell, feel, taste, and hear. When you trigger a sense in someone, you bring them into the story with you”) and building on your story spine–a structured approach to use in opening a presentation or throughout a longer document.

25-point Web copy checklist: How to write for Google by Success Works
***** 5 STARS

Heather Lloyd-MartinHeather Lloyd-Martin provides a remarkable checklist for creating content that will appeal to human readers and search engines alike, from starting with a customer persona and keyword/topic research to crafting a compelling title and meta description to effectively “sell the click” to searchers.

Copywriting: How to improve headlines on landing pages and blog posts by MarketingSherpa

Adam T. SuttonAdam T. Sutton, noting that “people are busy. You need to write a headline that convinces them to ignore distractions and pay attention,” outlines four attributes of value to consider when crafting headlines along with five tips for writing attention-grabbing headlines, such as front-loading (start with the most valuable phrase, e.g. “Get Paid to Take Online Surveys” is a much better headline than “We Can Help You Get Paid to Take Online Surveys”).

Write the Best Titles for Content Marketing: A 10-Point Checklist by Content Marketing Institute

Roger C. ParkerRoger C. Parker recommends 10 questions to ask when writing headlines, such as “Does your title clearly promise a desired benefit?,” “Did you emphasize your intended readers in your title?” (for example, “C. J. Hayden’s ‘Get Clients Now: A 28-day Marketing Program for Professionals, Coaches, & Consultants’ targets readers by occupation”), and “Does your title include the keywords readers use searching for information online?.”

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