Must-Read Content Marketing Topics This Month: Content Marketing Roundup #2

Tom Demers
by Tom Demers | Last Updated Mar. 22nd, 2015 2 COMMENTS

The amount of advice and specialized content you can find on the Internet is exploding nowadays it seems, in every genre you could imagine. And while a lot of it could be cast off as fluff, every now and then you can find some extremely valuable industry relevant information. This is certainly true in the field of Content Marketing.

To highlight the most valuable content marketing articles we’ve read, every month we pull together a ‘best-of-the-web’ content marketing roundup including our own favorite content marketing articles from around the web.  This month’s roundup of articles come from popular content marketing-focused blogs you might have already heard of, such as ProBlogger, The Moz Blog, and CopyBlogger, as well as from some other emerging blogs we’ve come across who are also publishing some really great content.


Content Marketing Roundup:

Daily Egg

16 Rules to Make Your Email Rock

by Scott Martin on The Daily Egg

For many companies, email marketing takes up a significant segment of their marketing strategy, simply because it is one of the most efficient and direct ways to connect with the consumer in a personal way and at various levels of the buying cycle. And as old as it is, it is one of the most powerful marketing weapons in any marketer’s toolbox. This article provides a long list of super specific and highly useful copywriting guidelines for crafting a great email that elicits a “quality direct response”.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be most helpful to any established business that already has a basic email marketing strategy in place and that wants to revamp their processes for increased conversions. This would also be very useful for businesses that have yet to implement an email marketing plan, as it would set the foundation for success.


From The Post:

“Remind people why you’re there.
In the valuable space right above the fold, Bob Bly reminds his subscribers why they’re receiving the email. “You’re receiving this email because…”

You can also remind people—right up front—that they can opt out at any time. This tells your reader, I’m not spamming you.


Align your copy.
A couple of weeks ago, I received an email promising me a big discount on a product. I clicked through to a page giving me information about the product, but no discount.

It may sound basic, but the emails must be aligned with the landing page and the marketing strategy.”


 

The Content Matrix: 4 Types of Content Every Site Needs

by Hannah Smith on Distilled

Most established businesses today, regardless of the niche, have a firm presence online. From a fully functioning website filled with company and industry information, to an active company blog and multiple social media accounts, these content streams have become the new standard for businesses in today’s digital world. This article gives an intuitive look into the actual specific types of content businesses should be producing in order to maximize their customer engagement, increase conversions, and to stand out among their competitors.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be very helpful for businesses who are actively looking to drive more sales and traffic through their business website and blog, since it assumes that you already have these in place. It essentially demonstrates how to turn average content into focused, goal-driven content.

From The Post:

“Why do you need content to entertain if you want to make money? Well, content to entertain allows you to reach people right at the top of the sales funnel, and indeed those who might not even know that they need your products/services yet.

As ‘entertain’ suggests – this sort of content has an emotional rather than rational appeal. It’s the sort of content that’s very shareable (and deliberately so) – the more it’s shared the further your reach.”


 

Content Marketing Institute

6 Enemies of Clarity in Your Business Storytelling Efforts

by Brad Shorr on Content Marketing Institute

Speaking of website content for businesses, a unique challenge that some businesses face when it comes to creating online content is ensuring that the content is clear, high quality and reader-friendly, when the subject matter in their industry is inherently somewhat detailed and technical.  This article addresses this exact challenge and uses the term “clarity” as the characteristic you should want your business storytelling to embody. Here, the author demonstrates specific ways to make your business storytelling highly effective and engaging for customers of all levels, without sacrificing industry accuracy.

Who Can This Help?
This article can be very helpful for any business where the use of industry terms, buzzwords, and otherwise technical language is commonplace across lots of different forms of content (especially website and blog content). And in fact, since this article contains many specific writing tips that apply in many circumstances, this would be a great read for any business that publishes authoritative blog posts with any level of frequency, because it points out writing mistakes that we all make every now and then. And finally, this would be great to pass down to in-house copywriters, freelance copywriters, and any contractors who contribute content on your blog.

From The Post:

“Clarity’s enemy No. 2: Obscure terms and industry jargon

In an effort to avoid buzzwords, some writers go overboard in the other direction and use words that may be unfamiliar to the intended audience. This will only confuse and irritate your readers.

Here are some examples that came up in content I recently read:

  •          Disseminate instead of distribute
  •          Expeditious instead of fast
  •          Optimize instead of improve
  •          Oscillate instead of go back and forth
  •          Remediate instead of fix
  •          Tangential instead of unimportant, or non-essential

For web writing in particular, simplicity enhances clarity because readers commonly scan content, and are likely to pass over big words without even trying to understand them.”


 

Timing Your Blog Posts: Know When to Post ‘Em & When to Hold ‘Em

by Matthew Kaboomis Loom on Search Engine People

Ever wonder if there is an optimal time to publish blog posts? Some might know this information intuitively and at a general level – for instance, posting industry blog posts during the day at the start of business hours is obviously better than at night, after business hours – but there’s much more to it than that. This article gets really specific about when you should be posting, like what days of the week, what times of the day, and how these times apply to different social media platforms.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be perfect for marketers who already have a presence on social media, and who post content regularly on a blog. And if you apply the tips in this article, you can expect to garner more views, shares, and engagement, which would be great for any established businesses.


From The Post:

“Pretty much everyone is using at least one of these social media platforms; most of you use multiple platforms. With this well-known list, notice how morning hours work well for most of them

Google+: 9 am to 11 am

Twitter: 1 pm to 3 pm

Facebook: 1 pm to 4 pm

Linkedin: 7 am to 9 am & 4 pm to 6 pm

Pinterest: 2 pm to 4 pm & 8 pm to 1 am

As Jay Baer once said, “Content is fire. Social media is gasoline.” But the flammability depends on how well you use social media. When your content is great, many of your subscribers who received your post in the morning will also be sharing your post through social media in the morning, which is fabulous.”


Keywords to Concepts: The Lazy Web Marketer’s Guide to Smart Keyword Research

by Cyrus Shepard on The Moz Blog

Keyword research is crucial for content marketing success because it not only helps to increase the chances that customers can find your content, but it also ensures that your content is focused enough that it will actually give the answers your readers are looking for. And in terms of keyword usage in today’s SEO landscape, just targeting a handful of keywords in your content won’t cut it. Instead, this article is a thoughtful lesson on how to craft your content around concepts and themes, rather than keywords, which makes your content more meaningful to both the reader as well as to Google.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be helpful to all content marketers really, but it would be particularly helpful to SEO’s and content marketers who are familiar with keyword research and are actively adapting their overall content strategy to withstand past and future Google penalties and updates.

From The Post:

“Here’s what we want to avoid:

  1. Choosing keywords that are too broad
  2. Keywords with too much competition
  3. Keywords without enough traffic

  4. Keywords that don’t convert
  5. Trying to rank for one keyword at a time

Instead, let’s take the opposite approach.

The basic idea is that we’re going to focus our content around ideas instead of keywords, and thus give us the potential to rank for 100s or 1000s of keywords at a time.

Truth: The best keyword tools in the world will only show you a fraction of the keywords you can potentially rank for.

Have you ever compared your long tail keyword data with data from Google’s own Keyword Planner?

Most of those keywords will show little potential search traffic or won’t even register, but you know this isn’t true because these are the same keywords that brought you traffic.

Relying on keyword research tools alone wont bring you to your full ranking potential. You need content that fully explores your themed concepts.”


 

30+ Resources and Tools for Google Penalty Recovery

by Mike Huber on Vertical Measures

Content marketers who have been in the game for a while are well aware of the ramifications, real and potential, of Google’s Penguin and Panda updates. And while it’s pretty much common industry knowledge why Google has implemented these changes and penalties (essentially to reward good quality content, and penalize poor quality content), for many website owners, it isn’t always obvious how these updates affected their sites, if at all. This article is an extensive and incredibly useful resource list for Google Penalty Recovery, whether you’re Diagnosing the Problem, Checking Your Backlink Profile, or in the actual Recovery Process.

Who Can This Help?
This guide is particularly helpful for content marketers, SEO’s and website owners who are responding to the effects of a recent Google Update on their own or a client’s website. And, even if this doesn’t apply to your situation now, it is only a matter of time before Google brings the hammer down on another update, so this is a handy guide to have on hand.

From The Post:

A screenshot of the list:

30 Google Penalty


 

Intrinsic Blogging

The Intrinsic Value of Blogging

by Matt Mullenweg on Ma.tt

There are millions of blog posts floating around the Internet on any given day, many of which are things like Top X list-type articles, basic how-to’s, and otherwise very formulaic and generic content that has been produced with a marketing mindset and often strictly for sheer “shareability”. So when you read a truly thought-provoking blog post, about the act of blogging itself, no less, it grabs you by surprise. That’s exactly the sentiment that we,and most readers of this article had upon reading it. This article is about the value of blogging – what it was and what it has become – and it makes you think about content creation in a different way.

Who Can This Help?
This blog post can help anyone who blogs or writes anything online, and it would be especially useful for marketers. It’s a powerful reminder that behind all of the websites and blog posts we read everyday now are real people, and long before Google and SEO came along, the internet was just a place to learn, teach, and share ideas.

From The Post:

“Stats systems, like Jetpack’s, have gotten very good at telling me which post got how many visitors and where they came from, but it’s all anonymous and the numbers don’t really mean anything to me anymore. This is very discouraging, and at its most insidious causes people to deconstruct the elements of what makes something sharable and attempt to artificially construct these information carbohydrates over and over. (Visit that site and try not to click through any headlines — it’s tough.)

The antidote I’ve found for this is to write for only two people.”


How I doubled my unique visitors in six months (and tripled them in a year)

by Stacey Roberts on ProBlogger

For many companies, implementing a complex SEO strategy is not an option, and neither is an extensive social media campaign. This is especially true for websites like single-person run blogs, smaller company websites, and mom and pop operations. But this article demonstrates that you don’t need either of those to make significant, measurable success for your website visibility. The author of this article provides a handful of real tactics that helped her double and triple her unique visitors, which required no technical skills and cost no money to implement.

Who Can This Help?
This post can be helpful to any business that already has an established presence online who is looking for proven and actionable ways to increase blog and website traffic. This is especially great for companies in niches that don’t lend themselves to “viral” posts, such as personal interest-type niches (like the blog in the article, Veggie Mama), but that still have an active online community.  

From The Post:

“Be where others aren’t

You might have no clue about why Google Plus is still around, and you don’t understand why Vine is popular – but don’t let that deter you. New readers are everywhere, including underused social media platforms. I find it much easier to interact with superstar bloggers and influential people who are inundated with Tweets and Facebook comments, but are not so overwhelmed on Google Plus. It’s easier to stand out there, and you’ll certainly be noticed.”


 

Could This Headline Technique Double Your Click-Throughs Too?

by Jerod Morris on CopyBlogger

This article is a clever look into the art of writing the perfect, click-worthy headline – an aspect of copywriting that can make or break even the best piece of long-form content. And more specifically, this article addresses whether question headlines are more effective than non-question headlines, and why that might be. In short, it all depends on how the question is presented, and whether the question elicits empathy from the reader.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be very helpful for all businesses and content marketers whose goal is to produce shareable content.  And since these headline-writing tips apply in any situation where you want to explore an argument or prove a point, it is broadly applicable and valuable for any niche.

From The Post:

“It turns out that phrasing headlines in the form of a question — as contestants must do with their responses on Jeopardy — does indeed increase click-through rates. In fact it more than doubles them, on average.

Dooley cites a study by Norwegian researches Linda Laia and Audun Farbrotb as evidence.

[And] lest you think phrasing every headline as a question is some kind of magic potion, think again. It’s just one headline-writing tactic, and the general tenets of a good headline must still be present no matter which tactic or template you choose.

For example:

  • It’s ultra-specific — How much can clicks improve? By double. Why would this occur? Because of the Jeopardy Effect.
  • It’s unique — I’d never heard of the “Jeopardy Effect” before, but I had an inkling what it may mean, and my curiosity was piqued by the reference.
  • It’s useful — What blogger, content marketer, or even just Joe Blow Twitter user wouldn’t want to double their clicks?

Granted, it’s not urgent (the other U), but it doesn’t need to be.”


 

6 Reasons Univision Got a 13% Engagement Rate on a Facebook Post

by Jay Baer on Convince and Convert

Success stories are one of the most valuable tools for marketing strategy, especially when they are clearly documented, and when they are actually causally linked to a company’s positive marketing plan (rather than simply a stroke of luck).  Because only then can you be sure that the same success can possibly be emulated, given the right set of circumstances and preparation. This article revolves around a great model success story – the story of how Univision was able to capitalize on a single Facebook image post to garner a 13% engagement rate (the average range of Facebook engagement for established brands usually falls between 4-7%).

Who Can This Help?
This article can help brands with both an established presence on Facebook and an established social media team and process within their company. Because, as you’ll learn from reading the article, Univision’s success had as much to do with a smart image post at the right time, as it did with the teamwork and quick thinking of an able marketing team. However, even if you are not yet established on Facebook or in social media, this article is a great lesson on how powerful a single post on social media can be for your brand.

From The Post:

“In this current era of diminished average engagement on Facebook (listen to this podcast with me, Mari Smith, and Mike Stelzner for more on that), a 13% engagement rate is almost stupefyingly brilliant.

Sure, you could say Univision was in the right place at the right time, and caught lightning (or ice) in a bottle. But to believe that is to massively undervalue the cultural, organizational, operational and tactical alignment that must occur in a complex, information-driven organization to make this actually happen.

Social is a River, not a Lake.

Companies with a strong social business climate treat social horizontally, not vertically. Social (and social-focused personnel) run throughout the entire organization, like a river, rather than being a siloed, circular thing that must be visited, like a lake (even a frozen one).”


 

 

21 Web Applications I Use and Can’t Live Without

by Patt Flynn on Smart Passive Income

Patt Flynn is a successful and established online entrepreneur who writes a popular blog called Smart Passive Income. This is a list of web apps that he personally uses for anything from web analytics, writing, email, social media, and organization, which is a great piece of content in and of itself. We liked this list not only because of the applications he listed, many of which are extremely useful, but also because it is great example of a piece of content that is successful without being incredibly technical: it currently has over 1000 social shares and 270+ comments. Aside from Patt’s following, this list likely gains most of its success because it is personal, specific, detailed, and useful for broad range of people.

Who Can This Help?
As mentioned, this article would be helpful to a broad range of people.  There are hundreds of web applications available, so it’s always helpful to find tips on which ones are worthwhile to use as well as why, both of which this article provides.


From The Post:

“WEB ANALYTICS AND OPTIMIZATION

GTmetrix – GTmetrix is a sweet (and free) tool that you can use to check the speed and performance of your website. Just insert your URL and boom – you’ll get a quick analysis and report of how long it took to load, along with a grade and what parts of your site are slowing you down.

WRITING

ByWord – For the longest time, I used the WordPress editor to create pages and publish posts on my blogs. Now, I realize how much better life is when I use a tool that was specifically built for writing.

There are several tools out there to help you write, butByWord, by far, is my favorite. It’s basically a “distraction-free” writing tool that clears everything out of the screen except for the cursor.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Tweriod – Tweriod (Twitter + Period) is a quick and easy (and free) tool you can use to find out exactly when most of your Twitter followers are online. This data is important because it will help you determine when the best times to tweet are.


If you enjoyed this Content Marketing roundup, stay tuned for our next roundup. We post them regularly at the beginning of every month. In the meantime, check out some of the latest posts on our blog:

Despite what a recent article by Matt Cutts (denouncing guest blogging) might lead you to believe, there are still valuable and effective ways to keep guest blogging a part of your content promotion strategy. This article responds to that article, and also includes a handful of useful tips to help your ongoing guest blogging efforts.

You would think that Google+ Authorship would be more widely used among writers online today, especially given Google’s grand influence, and how many bloggers and content writers there are on the web producing content. However, Google+ Authorship isn’t nearly as popular as it should be. These 10 tips make a strong case for Google+ Authorship for those who are still undecided.

Many articles provide a wealth of tips on how to create high quality content, yet exclude one guiding question that can make a big difference on how that content should be written, which is: what will be done with the article after it’s done? Things like where the article will be published, who will see it, how it will be shared, are all details that should inform the writing process. These 13 steps for improving your content promotion helps you respond to these questions, while also making the most of your content promotion strategy.

Even the most prolific writers can use a few helpful tips to improve writing and writing preparation. Whether its writer’s block, a difficult topic, or its been a while since you’ve written, getting started on a new piece is usually the hardest part. This article is a thorough overview of 7 things writers of any level should practice before writing a first draft.

Most skilled marketers are already well aware of this, but in most cases, customer behavior is based on several principals of psychology and human behavior which is predictable to a certain extent. This article provides 4 useful marketing tips based on some of those principals.


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