Are You Being Creative Enough With Your Content Marketing Strategy? March Content Marketing Round-Up

This month we read through a ton of in-depth, specialized Content Marketing articles from around the web. And lucky for you, as usual, we scoured through the whole lot of them and plucked out our favorites to make up this month’s “best-of-the-web” content marketing roundup.

We chose to highlight these particular articles this month because they demonstrate the most actionable content marketing tips, contain the most inspiring strategy, and cover a wide gamut of current (and super relevant) content marketing tools, platforms and concepts.

Table of Contents:

Content Marketing Roundup:

9 Tools to Discover Influencers in Your Industry

by Lee Odden on Top Rank Blog

For many businesses, especially those in the B2B subset, it simply isn’t enough to just blog about industry-related content and distribute it in the same way most other websites do. Instead, its almost imperative for your business success to actively engage with experts within your own industry (and tangentially related industries) as part of a more focused marketing strategy. This article directs you to some great online platforms to help you find these experts and to create a more authority-based content marketing strategy.

Who Can This Help?
This article is especially relevant for businesses creating content targeted at specific areas of subject matter expertise. Whether your goal is to developing more quality leads, gaining visibility, or establishing thought leadership, this article helps by showing where you can engage with high level influencers in your niche.

From The Post:

Little Bird – Founded by past RWW pioneer, Marshall Kirkpatrick, Little Bird is a paid tool that helps users discover influencers that are validated by their peers on Twitter for a variety of topics as well as emerging topics. It also supports competitive intelligence, content marketing, social sales oriented research across multiple social networks.

followerwonk – With a focus exclusively on Twitter research and analytics, this free tool from the folks at Moz provides a handy search engine for influencer discovery as well as tools for competitive comparisons, tracking and data visualizations. A social authority filter allows sorting of influencers and reports can be saved for future reference.

Before you start with influencer discovery, don’t make the mistake of simply shooting from the hip, so to speak, and search these tools using only your top SEO keywords. Think more from the point of view of who you want to influence. What topics will be important to them? What questions do they have during the sales cycle and what do you know about their preferences for information discovery, consumption and interaction?

Those insights (in combination with SEO keywords) will help guide you towards a more productive search for influencers to engage with.”


OkDork

How to Grow A Blog to 100,000 Visitors in Less than a Year

by Peep Laja on OkDork

While having a high number of regular visitors isn’t necessarily a top priority for some content marketing strategies, it is undoubtedly still a desirable achievement for any website.  This article is a great resource in that regard because, rather than covering general tips on how to create a quality website, this piece walks you step by step through the actual blogging strategy that brought what was initially an obscure blog, to become a successful website that currently brings in 100,000 or more visits per month.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be very helpful for online entrepreneurs and content marketers who are interested in building an authority website from scratch, or who are looking to build traffic to an existing website that is struggling to gain traction.

From The Post:

The secret of success is doing something that others are not willing to do for a long, long time. So when I was analyzing the content of marketing blogs – trying to understand how I can be better – I finally figured it out.

The answer? Evidence based, data-driven marketing advice. That was how I summed up the gap in the market. That was going to be my angle.

And I chose to focus specifically on conversion optimization because there were few dedicated CRO blogs around. Picking a niche is important when getting started – don’t be afraid to go niche at first. You can always expand later.

Take Tim Ferriss. Four Hour Workweek. He was that guy. Now he is much more than that, he expanded his brand after the first thing became a success. You can do the same with your blog.

Using data-backed content made all the difference.”


#Hashtagology 101: How to Use Hashtags in Your Social Media Content

by Jonathan Crossfield on Content Marketing Institute

The hashtag might be small, but the fact of the matter is that the art of hashtagging carries an enormous amount of weight in the social sphere, and in some cases it can make or break your social media marketing strategy. It’s odd then, if you think about it, that there aren’t more articles devoted to hashtag strategy. This article is a useful guide to how to use hashtags in your social media content, and it also contains some history and psychology behind the act of hashtagging, which gives an interesting, humanizing perspective to what is a very pop-culture phenomenon.

Who Can This Help?
This guide would be most helpful to businesses and brands who have yet to tap into all of the marketing opportunities available on Social Media, and who are also actively trying to make meaningful improvements to their Social Media strategy, specifically on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram where the hashtag is most prevalent.

From The Post:

“Hashtags are also the glue that holds many cross-platform competitions and campaigns together, making it easy for followers to submit content to be aggregated and displayed elsewhere. […]

However, always remember that the hashtag belongs to the community, even if you created it yourself. You can’t censor or control how others will use it, so be sensitive to situations that could fuel a hashtag backlash.

Qantas discovered this in 2011 when it launched a social media competition with the hashtag #QantasLuxury in the middle of a controversial union dispute. At its height, 51 tweets per minute were sent containing the hashtag. The vast majority ridiculed or criticized the airline, creating a highly visible and wide-reaching PR disaster.”


To be a great blogger, put on your bitch mittens

by Mark W. Schaefer on {Grow}

It seems that you can say anything you want in the blogging world and that’s part of the beauty of the internet. However, when your blog is affiliated with your own or another company, when is it appropriate to filter your thoughts and opinions for the sake of your brand? To explore this idea, Mark reflects honestly and personally about how one of his viral (and somewhat controversial) blog posts led him to contemplate what should and shouldn’t be discussed on the web as a high profile blogger. Whether or not you agree with him, his conclusions are relevant to any brands who have a stake in their online presence.

Who Can This Help?
This article can help established brands, whether business or personal, navigate the blogging world while striking a balance between diplomacy and authenticity.

From The Post:

“There is probably a camp who will say, “But it’s OK to have a bad day, Mark.”

No, it’s not. Not on the web.

I am a professional denizen of the Internet and how I show up means something. The Internet is forever and one slip-up can create an unintended viral disaster. We all know those stories.

Showing up as truly human and showing up as a person who people want to hire is a delicate dance, isn’t it?

I think that if I am trying to build a brand, I need to keep my daily bitchifications and dysfunctions where they belong … in the privacy of my home. I have issues. You have issues. We all have issues. But don’t be your own worst enemy by flying these as the flag of your personal brand if you are working professionally in this space to attract customers.

That’s right. I’m saying that you should not be authentic (gasp). It’s official. I am now kicked out of the Social Media Guru Club. About time, too. Who wants my secret de-coder ring?”


Link Pruning Best Practices to Help Recover from a Google Penalty

by Brynna Baldauf on Vertical Measures

Link Pruning, or simply cleaning up your site’s “bad” links, is a legitimate and very effective way get yourself back into Google’s good graces after a Google Penalty because it helps you address and “undo” the link behavior on your website that Google is likely punishing you for via decreased rankings. This article helps you implement an organized link pruning strategy and also provides extra helpful notes for maintaining a healthy site architecture before and after pruning.

Who Can This Help?
This guide would be most helpful to those whose websites have been hit by a Google Penalty, or for marketers or agencies whose clients have experienced a Google Penalty.

From The Post:

The First Steps of Backlink Removal: Reviewing Links

Say you have found multiple sites with questionable links pointing back to your site. What you need now is a roadmap to help lead your action plan. Start by pulling a list of all of the backlinks and anchor text pointing to the site(s) in question. There are a lot of options on how to do this, but the most commonly done combo is to pull a list from Open Site Explorer Data and Google Webmaster Tools. Create for yourself a nice Excel sheet with this column formatting:

  • URL of the link
  • Anchor text of the link (if possible)
  • A space for notes
  • A column to mark YES or NO to add to your disavow list (title it simply “Disavow?”)

This spreadsheet is your fast track back to rankings and traffic, so make sure you are saving often as you make your way through the backlinks of your site.”


Spend 10 Minutes Doing This Everyday And You Could Transform Your Blogging

by Darren Rowse on ProBlogger

It’s always refreshing to read content strategy that is equal parts creative, effective and easy to accomplish, and this is what this article is. Darren from ProBlogger has built an empire around his personal and professional blogging projects, so you know that any advice he’s giving about blogging is going to be helpful. In this article, he lays out a simple strategy that involves competitive analysis and takes only 10 minutes a day. Competitive analysis is not a new practice by any means, but this article discusses how you can integrate these short, focused periods of competitive review into your daily routine in order to give you a constant point of reference and inspiration for the betterment of your blog.

Who Can This Help?
This article can help any blogger who is serious about their writing, who is actively looking to improve the quality of writing and content strategy, and who has 10 minutes to spare everyday that they are working on their blog.

From The Post:

Questions to Ask As You Review

There are a variety of areas that you can review when looking at another blog. I tend to break things down into the following areas and find myself asking questions like those that follow.

Note: I don’t ask all of these questions every time I do a review – but I hope by presenting them you’ll get a feel for what directions you can explore.

Content

  • what voice/s are they writing in?
  • what is their posting frequency?
  • how long are the posts that they write?
  • what type of posts are they majoring on (information, inspiration, engagement, news, opinion, etc)?
  • what style and medium of posts are they using (lists, imagery, video, podcasts, etc)?
  • what blend of original vs curated content are they using?
  • what topics/categories are they majoring on?
  • what type of headlines/titles formulas do they use?
  • do they use multiple authors/guest posters or a single writer?

Community

  • how do they engage readers?
  • what calls to action do they use and what is being responded to?
  • what type of posts get the most comments, shares, likes?
  • do they use tools like polls, surveys, quizzes or other engagement triggers?
  • what social media sites are they using and how they using them for engagement/community building?
  • do they have a newsletter – how do they incentivise signups? What type of content do they send?
  • how much do the writers of the blog engage in comments?
  • do they have a dedicated community area? (forum, membership etc)?
  • do they have ‘discussion’ posts or ‘assignments’ or ‘projects/challenges’ that give readers something to DO?”


How to Reverse Engineer Success on Reddit

by Ross Hudgens on Siege Media

Reddit is a community website made of mainly user-generated content, and it is particularly popular among U.S. males between the ages of 25-34 years of age. And as popular as it is, it is not a website that comes to mind when you think of content marketing strategy. However, any website that has such a large readership among different category topics and such a high level of social engagement, is something that the marketing world can’t ignore. This article shows how to navigate the Reddit website in a way that is advantageous from a content marketing standpoint.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be helpful to any established online brand that is niche-specific, and that is willing to experiment with different avenues of content promotion.

From The Post:

“I can’t emphasize enough that you should not manipulate Reddit. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with building amazing content and occasionally submitting it to a subreddit that would like it.

I do think there’s something wrong with submitting every single post you make, and using an upvote ring to push your work up the site.

Given that, the best way to future-proof success on Reddit is to build an audience that comes back to your site naturally that also frequents Reddit.

To do that, you must have a large amount of content on your site that actually appeals to their target demographic – not just one piece. To multiply the effect, you can also occasionally submit to Reddit, and when doing so, you must employ social hooks to get them to follow your work in the future because it’s good. ”


The Complete Guide To Social Media Formatting: How To Make Your Posts Stand Out On Twitter, Facebook & Linkedin

by Courtney Seiter on Buffer

It’s one thing to know what to say on social media, but it’s a whole other thing to know how to say it on social media. And how you say things on social media has everything to do with format. This article lays out some super simple tricks and best practices of social media formatting to help you create unique, stand-out posts on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest. It even includes some additional helpful tools to help you even further in crafting perfectly shareable social media content.

Who Can This Help?
This article can help any person, business, or brand who has a social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, or Pinterest that they’re looking to improve by making posts more shareable. This could also be helpful to businesses who have yet to tap into any one of these platforms, as it will set them up for success when they begin.

From The Post:

Edit headline and summary text

One of the greatest things about posting to Facebook is how many of the fields are totally customizable. Use this flexibility to highlight the most shareable elements of your content.

Facebook formatting

Pro tip: You can do all of this if you’re Buffering a post to Facebook, too (and gets lots more photo thumbnail choices)!

Size photos correctly

Because Facebook will automatically resize images that don’t match its specifications, size and aspect ratio of photos are super important.

The aspect ratio is very specific: image widths need to be 1.91 times the height. This will mean the image scales perfectly in both the desktop News Feed and on mobile.

Images are now larger when shown in the News Feed, so keeping the aspect ratio right will make sure your images look great wherever the user sees them.”

 


Link Building Success 2013


2013 Link Building Success – 50 Experts Share their Stories

by Corey Collins on Linkarati

Contrary to popular belief as of late, link building is still alive and well. Because as much as Google will try to downplay it, the fact remains that links are still one of the absolute most important measures of website authority (within appropriate context, of course, and along with many other factors). So this article comes as a refreshing overview of how link building contributed positively to businesses in the past year. Corey from Linkarati rounded up this massive group of 50 Marketing experts to share their own link building successes, which contains tons of opportunities that many businesses can replicate on their own.

Who Can This Help?
This article can help any business online who is actively doing SEO, and is searching for more positive and proven ways to build links to their website.

From The Post:

What’s more important than link building these days, in my opinion, is brand building. And a great way to build your brand is to align it with already-established and respect ones. In 2013, I was fortunate enough to become a contributor at several major online publishers, such as Forbes and Entrepreneur.com. This exposure has been wonderful for my personal brand as well as that of my business. And it just so happens that being a contributor at places like these builds inbound links. Natural link building at its finest, while not even trying. That’s what I consider to be a true win/win, and what business owners should aim for as their goal.

[…]

A few months ago we got a link by following up on a blogger’s end of post request on our own blog. You know at the end of a post, a blogger usually attempts to get comments with some sort of CTA phrase like “what do you think?”, “have you made a similar project?” or “what would you do differently on this recipe?”

It’s disappointing as a blogger when the comment section remains empty, even on a good post. Yet we still put those comment CTA phrases at the end of most posts.

Bloggers love engagement on their posts, so instead of simply commenting on their post, we wrote our own blog post that answered their question. We didn’t create a short, thin post. We put some time into it, after all, this was living on our client’s blog. We then left a comment and tweeted at the author to make sure they found our post. They were so happy to see our unique form of following-up and the result was us getting a link on their updated post as well as being shared on their social platforms.”


100,000 in One Week Viperchill

$100,000 in One Week, a Viral Nova Follow-Up

by Glen Allsopp on Viperchill

The title of this article is misleading, because it’s not exactly focused on what you think it would, which would be something along the lines of how to get your website to earn $100,000 in One Week. Although related, this article is instead a series of comments and analysis around the author’s wildly popular, and controversial, Viral Nova post, and around Viral Nova-type content aggregating sites in general. This article is a super in-depth look into this type of website, including things like how to optimize it, an audit of a new Viral Nova-type website created by a reader, the author’s take on whether or not the Facebook algorithm update affects these types of websites (using Upworthy and Business Insider as examples), copyright law infringement concerns, and more.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be helpful for online entrepreneurs and content marketers who are interested in the Viral Nova content model, or are perhaps also interested in creating this type of website themselves, since it includes specific strategy suggestions from a person who has personal experience in this endeavor.

From The Post:

“One person happily shared their new site on my Facebook page and, since I could see he was making a lot of mistakes, I asked him if I could publicly critique the website here and he obliged.

Edgar just started a website called Flippin Cool after reading my post. Right from the start, I can see some things he’s doing wrong. He said he would like to learn from a critique so let’s get into it (please note that I wouldn’t have done this without his permission).

edgar

#1 Remove the Right Sidebar Arrow A.S.A.P

There are some clear statements in the Adsense TOS that state you cannot direct people to click on ads on your website. I know that is not what he is attempting to do but I can easily see Google banning him for this if they catch on.

Please note I warned Edgar of this a few days before the blog post went live because I thought it was that important and he removed it as advised.

#2 An Email Opt-in Form Isn’t Relevant Just Yet

I don’t really like the idea of centering the website in-between two columns but if you’re going to do it, at least make the top left portion of the website more enticing. Nobody is going to give you their email without going through a lot of content first.

Again, I prefer the idea of content being on the left rather than packed between navigation, but at least put something there that entices people to click on more articles or simply share your website via social media. Even just moving your category links here (which are really nicely designed by the way) would be an improvement.

It’s prime real estate, especially when your website is new, so don’t use it for an opt-in box for unconverted site visitors.

#3 Make Your Headlines Bigger

They’re your biggest hook when it comes to building sites like this so make sure that people can actually see them clearly.”


75 Copywriting Resources

75 Resources for Writing Incredible Copy That Converts

by Chloe Mason Gray on Kiss Metrics

When reading up on resources to improve your writing, it’s easy to go from feeling like there is way too much advice out there, to feeling like there’s just too much of the same basic tips. Thankfully, we stumbled upon this curated listed of incredibly high quality copywriting resources by Kiss Metrics. From E-books, Articles, Infographics, Guides, Courses, and Articles, this list of resources is meaningfully organized by category of your writing needs, such as writing Headlines, writing CTA’s, SEO copywriting, E-commerce writing, and more.

Who Can This Help?
This list can help any copywriter, blogger, or content developer who is responsible for creating valuable online content that converts, as this list contains a wealth of knowledge based on that criteria.

From The Post:

“Masterful copywriting plays a big part in the difference between a website that converts like crazy and one that simply falls flat, failing to engage potential customers. Case in point: in Conversion Rate Expert’s redesign of the Crazy Egg website, copy had a big role in growing the site’s conversion rate by 363%.

This resource guide provides links that will give you a strong foundation for writing great web copy. In order to write effective web copy, it’s necessary to understand the principles of copywriting as a discipline. So, this guide includes resources that are not specific to online copywriting, but, nonetheless, will help you build a strong arsenal of copywriting skills you can take to the web.

E-books, Articles, Infographics, and Guides to Get You Started with Web Copywriting

1. Copywriting 101 by Copyblogger – This 10-lesson e-book will teach you the fundamentals of how to excel at direct-response copywriting, which is, as Copyblogger tell us, one of the most essential elements of effective online marketing.

2. Copyblogger’s Copywriting Library – Did you like Copyblogger’s Copywriting 101 e-book above? You can find more free material in the copywriting section of their Marketing Library. These e-books will show you how to use great copy in your content marketing, email marketing, landing pages, and more.

3. The Definitive Guide to Copywriting – This 30,000-plus-word guide from Quick Sprout teaches you how to optimize your copy to increase website conversions. It leads you from gathering the information necessary to write great copy all the way to understanding how copy and design complement each other on your webpage.”


How I Would Fix Grantland’s SEO: An In-Depth Audit

by Steve Webb on Web Gnomes

The Grantland website has been a hot topic of discussion as of late in the content marketing industry for various reasons, but here, the focus is on the website as a whole from an SEO perspective. In this article, Steve from Web Gnomes enlists standard SEO Audit practices to do an in-depth analysis of the website, thereby identifying strengths, weakness, and areas of improvement. Since Grantland is a rather large sports publishing website with a variety of content and a complex link history, this makes for a valuable and informative SEO Audit example case study.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be helpful for SEOs and online marketers who have an interest in conducting SEO Audits for their own websites or for their clients because it is a great example of a thorough SEO Audit of a large website. This may also be helpful for content marketers as well, since an Audit sheds light on the various technical SEO elements that impact the way Google views your website’s content.

From The Post:

Click Depth
Another important characteristic of the site architecture is the number of clicks it takes to get from the homepage to every other page on the site (i.e., the click depth of each page).
If pages are too far from the homepage, they are much less likely to be crawled by search engines (or found by users).

41% of the site’s pages have a click depth greater than 5 (i.e., they are more than 5 clicks away from the homepage), and 10% of the site’s pages have a click depth of 10 or more. Shockingly, 12 pages are 80 or more clicks away from the homepage.

To reduce the click depth for many of the site’s pages, I recommend creating new ways to interlink the site’s pages. For example, each article could use a widget that displays topically similar articles, based on a metric other than date (e.g., internal links, social shares, etc.). “


Have great a Content Marketing article you’d like to share? Leave us a note in the comments section.

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