Using Website Grader for Public Relations (PR)

first_img Topics: Public Relations Blog NameWebsite GradeBlog RankTraffic RankTechCrunch9911,784Read/Write Web991118,933Scobleizer95365,90767,943Chris Brogan991,453190,029HubSpot Blog9830,92352,927Above are a couple key stats that I took from Website Grader Reports for a sample of four popular technology-centric blogs – TechCrunch, Read/Write Web, Scobleizer and Chris Brogan.  I also put in the stats for the HubSpot Blog for comparison.  Clearly TechCrunch and Read/Write Web will get you a lot more exposure than any of the others.Traffic Rank – This stat comes from Alexa, and a lower number is better, since a ranking of 1 means you have the most popular site on the entire Internet.Blog Rank – This stat comes from Technorati, and a lower number is better, since a ranking of 1 means you have the most popular blog on the entire Internet.  One note about this, Technorati relies mostly on links for the ranking, and from my experience they are not very good at finding links, and are also not smart enough to know when you have moved your blog to a new URL even if you use accepted practices and use a redirect.  But, this is the best data we have. I was talking to a couple folks who were asking my opinion of something today.  Let’s pretend that your company had some reasonably interesting news to announce in a few weeks and you were working with your PR firms to see what blog to target for getting coverage of the event.How would you decide?  Clearly you need to look at what blog you think you have the best shot at actually getting them to cover your story.  And then you also need to estimate the amount of exposure each blog would give you.Well, I’ll tell you how I would decide which blog would give me the biggest return for my PR dollar/effort – at least in terms of comparing the possible exposure.  You have to make your own estimate about your probability of actually getting each to cover you.  But, to measure the exposure, I would use the Website Grader free SEO / Marketing tool and run a report for all of the blogs that I was considering, and look at a couple key stats to give me a sense of the relative exposure.center_img Originally published Apr 22, 2008 10:53:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

All Hail The (New) Twitter Elite List

first_img The Twitter Grader algorithm has withstood a fair degree of scrutiny — exacerbated by the fact that the rankings generated don’t always agree with some other “top user” lists that rank purely on the number of followers.  But, one factor in the algorithm that has generated some debate is the reduction in grade that occurs when a given twitter user has a low follower:following ratio.  This is when (on a relative basis) a user has a lower (or equal) number of followers than the number of people they are following.  Stated different, on average, users who are following a bunch of people get a lower grade (all other things being equal).  The common complaint about this is “why would you penalize users that are following other users — doesn’t that go against the spirit of social media sites like twitter?”.  This is a fair question.  And, I have a reasonably fair answer:  One of the surest signals of a low-authority twitter account is that it has a very low follower/following ratio.  Using the follower:following ratio in the algorithm works great — except when it doesn’t.  Like when power users  like Guy Kawasaki ( .  (Oh, and for the record, my Twitter Grade dropped .  Guy’s a highly connected, highly engaged, highly authoritative twitter user (and I’d say that even if I wasn’t a raving fan, which I am). Twitter Grader Originally published Jan 12, 2009 2:32:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Want to learn more about using Twitter for Marketing and PR? Download the free webinar The problem is, it can be a bit difficult to tell the difference between a spammy twitter account that is using automated follows and a high quality, authoritative account.  It took some near-sleepless nights, but, I think I’ve finally figured it out.  Finally, the Webinar: Twitter for Marketing and PR Twitter Marketing ). State of the Twittersphere after this algorithm update — which is also as it should be).  Twitter Grader algorithm has been improved  is a tool that measures the authority and reach of a twitter user.  It has really taken off since it’s introduction a few months ago.  The software has now graded over 900,000 individual twitter accounts and gets used over 20,000 times a day.  The Twitter Grade is a score from 0–100 based on the power and authority of a twitter user.  It is used to build the list — a compilation of the top twitter users.  (We also generate a list of the top  — and a few new surprises.  @guykawasaki .  Significantly.  In addition to the existing factors, Twitter Grader now looks at the degree of Topics: a given twitter user has.  It looks at how well a given user is fostering conversations in the twitter community.  Clearly, Guy is really, really good at fostering conversations.  So, Guy is back on the Twitter Grader elite list of top 100 twitter users, where he belongs.  So are a bunch of other powerful twitter users geographic location Twitter Elite @onstartups ) don’t make it into the Top 100 list.  Twitter is all the rage as illustrated in this report on the Clearly, there was something wrong with the algorithm Happy twittering. report.  The information in this report is based on data from Twitter Grader. a lot Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack twitter users by keyword and by engagement for tips and tricks to drive inbound marketing using Twitter. If you’re a power user on twitter and think your grade and ranking was too low before, please try it again.  And, if you’ve got ideas for how we might improve the software and make it more useful, please leave a comment. And, if you’re looking for me , you can find melast_img read more

How to Leverage LinkedIn to Market Your Business with @LewisHowes [@InboundNow #10]

first_img or If a group already exists in your niche, Lewis recommends creating a new group but geographically focus it in your own area.  On Becoming a Trust Agent with Chris Brogan What are people still getting wrong? , and a professional speaker, who covers a number of social media topics but mostly focuses on how individuals and companies can better leverage LinkedIn. Using LinkedIn for Business Best Practices with Lewis Howes Originally published Mar 3, 2011 12:01:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 A two page document that you mail into a company doesn’t cut it anymore. Linkedin Answers Podcasting for Business & Email Marketing Best Practices with Christopher S. Penn Make sure your LinkedIn profile is filled out 100%.  To Join or Create? LinkedWorking This is a great way to grow your network and potentially gain a future referral or a client. How to Rock Your Facebook Fan Page with John Haydon You need something that houses all of your skills and makes it as easy as possible for the company looking to hire you to do their research. Past work experience Where to start with LinkedIn LinkedIn Doesn’t Work Give the best answer overall and DON’t sell in the answer. To grow a Linkedin Group (much like a Facebook Page) you must continually share out useful information and spark conversation with members. The headline of your profile In this episode of Inbound Now, we are joined by Lewis Howes. Lewis is the author of two books Company Pages on Linkedin The company pages are still in their infancy, but Lewis think they might “be as powerful, if not more powerful than the Facebook Page probably in the next 6 to 12 months” with some of the changes LinkedIn has on deck. This will be an interesting turn of events if this happens. Gauging Online Influence with Jason Keath of Social Fresh How to Market Smarter, Faster, and Cheaper with David Siteman Garland How to build these activites into your daily workflow Recommend one person per week. How to leverage Linkedin Groups , founder of First define your goals. What are you doing on linkedin? Are you building an email list, or you trying to drive leads, traffic? Spend 45-60 minutes a week answer questions Add keywords in five main places in your LinkedIn profile: Bottom line: Provide value.  Develop one question per week and send in to at least 50 qualified people for response. Increase the odds that LinkedIn searchers will find your profile :center_img Linkedin Content Strategy for Groups E-mail and ask a compelling question to three people I want to know better LinkedIn is your Resume on Steroids Topics: In the specialties area . Some of Lewis’s daily/weekly LinkedIn activites include: Video in Your ProfileYou can add in video to your LinkedIn profileby following Lewis’s tutorial. For a preview of what this looks like take a look at Lewis’s profile.  LinkedIn SEO The morale of the story, create a company page on LinkedIn and have it up to date and optimized. How Small Companies are Evolving with New Technologies with Phil Simon LinkedIn Marketing This is because these people set up their profile and let it sit for months and didn’t do anything with it or reach out and connect with other like minded people on the network. and For the full transcript and audio from the show head to:  LinkedIn Master Strategies “When you think about it for a second, when other professionals or businesses are asking questions on LinkedIn, they have a specific pain point at that moment. How do I build a website? How do I do this, how do I do that? My IT’s down, and this and that, right? They have a specific pain point that needs to be solved right now. If you can offer them the best resource, the best answer, the best information and be extremely helpful to them, without trying to sell them but just being helpful, that’s the most targeted buyer or anyone who’s going to hire you at anytime is when they’re asking a pain question. ” “If it’s not filled out 100%, if they’re aren’t recommendations of people vouching for you, showing some social proof or creditability about what you’ve done before, you don’t have a picture, if you just don’t have anything, if you have misspellings, things like that, then it’s just going to look pretty poor. So you want to make sure you have it filled out 100%.” Leverage the Answers section of LinkedIn. In the summary This time around we chat about: Share free webinars, free whitepapers, great links, and other content that will resonant with your audience. Don’t blatantly sell, or your group is destined to suck. Follow up with a brief reply privately with the person who asked the question and let them know you would be happy to help them with anything else pertaining to the issue. On your Company Page right now you can add reviews/recommendations to your products page, add in videos, and link back to your site. Past Episodes The age old question still looms, “Should you create a group on LinkedIn or just join them?” People are raising there hands and asking a ton of questions on LinkedIn.  One of the biggest complaints Lewis sees is people exclaiming “LinkedIn Doesn’t work!” Enter to win a signed copy of Lewis’s Book! Lewis recommends joining every group possible in your niche. This is to get a feel of which groups would be worth investing some time in and which are just full of spammers. When you find groups that are bubbling with thoughtful conversation, jump in and start asking and answering questions. on Twitter A Daily Workflow on Linkedin The same principles of real life networking also apply on LinkedIn. If you were to go to a networking event and not talk with anyone, do you think you would built any relationships or potential business leads?  Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Reach out and connect with 5 influencial people @LewisHowes Stop Marketing and Start Engaging with Scott Stratten Current work experience Connect with Lewis Online Some common mistakes to avoid last_img read more

30-Day Blog Challenge Tip #24: Schedule Social Messages

first_img1. List-Based PostExample: 10 Fresh Ways to Get Better Results From Your Blog PostsList-based posts are sometimes called “listicles,” a mix of the words “list” and “article.” These are articles that deliver information in the form of a list. A listicle uses subheaders to break down the blog post into individual pieces, helping readers skim and digest your content more easily. According to ClearVoice, listicles are among the most shared types of content on social media across 14 industries.As you can see in the example from our blog, above, listicles can offer various tips and methods for solving a problem.2. Thought Leadership PostExample: What I Wish I Had Known Before Writing My First BookThought leadership blog posts allow you to indulge in your expertise on a particular subject matter and share firsthand knowledge with your readers. These pieces — which can be written in the first person, like the post by Joanna Penn, shown above — help you build trust with your audience so people take your blog seriously as you continue to write for it.3. Curated Collection PostExample: 8 Examples of Evolution in ActionCurated collections are a special type of listicle blog post (the first blog post example, described above). But rather than sharing tips or methods of doing something, this type of blog post shares a list of real examples that all have something in common, in order to prove a larger point. In the example post above, Listverse shares eight real examples of evolution in action among eight different animals — starting with the peppered moth.4. Slideshare PresentationExample: The HubSpot Culture CodeSlideshare is a presentation tool owned by the social network, LinkedIn, that helps publishers package a lot of information into easily shareable slides. Think of it like a PowerPoint, but for the web. With this in mind, Slideshare blog posts help you promote your Slideshare so that it can generate a steady stream of visitors.Unlike blogs, Slideshare decks don’t often rank well on search engines, so they need a platform for getting their message out there to the people who are looking for it. By embedding and summarizing your Slideshare on a blog post, you can share a great deal of information and give it a chance to rank on Google at the same time.Need some Slideshare ideas? In the example above, we turned our company’s “Culture Code” into a Slideshare presentation that anyone can look through and take lessons from, and promoted it through a blog post.5. Newsjacking PostExample: Ivy Goes Mobile With New App for Designers”Newsjacking” is a nickname for “hijacking” your blog to break important news related to your industry. Therefore, the newsjack post is a type of article whose sole purpose is to garner consumers’ attention and, while offering them timeless professional advice, also prove your blog to be a trusted resource for learning about the big things that happen in your industry.The newsjack example above was published by Houzz, a home decor merchant and interior design resource, about a new mobile app that launched just for interior designers. Houzz didn’t launch the app, but the news of its launching is no less important to Houzz’s audience.6. Infographic PostExample: The Key Benefits of Studying Online [Infographic]The infographic post serves a similar purpose as the Slideshare post — the fourth example, explained above — in that it conveys information for which plain blog copy might not be the best format. For example, when you’re looking to share a lot of statistical information (without boring or confusing your readers), building this data into a well-designed, even fun-looking infographic can help keep your readers engaged with your content. It also helps readers remember the information long after they leave your website.7. How-to PostExample: How to Write a Blog Post: A Step-by-Step GuideFor our last example, you need not look any further than the blog post you’re reading right now! How-to guides like this one help solve a problem for your readers. They’re like a cookbook for your industry, walking your audience through a project step by step to improve their literacy on the subject. The more posts like this you create, the more equipped your readers will be to work with you and invest in the services you offer.Ready to blog? Don’t forget to download your six free blog post templates right here. Originally published May 6, 2019 7:30:00 PM, updated October 25 2019 You’ve probably heard how paramount blogging is to the success of your marketing. But it’s important that you learn how to start a blog and write blog posts for it so that each article supports your business.Without a blog, your SEO can tank, you’ll have nothing to promote in social media, you’ll have no clout with your leads and customers, and you’ll have fewer pages to put those valuable calls-to-action that generate inbound leads.So why, oh why, does almost every marketer I talk to have a laundry list of excuses for why they can’t consistently blog?Maybe because, unless you’re one of the few people who actually like writing, business blogging kind of stinks. You have to find words, string them together into sentences … ugh, where do you even start?Download 6 Free Blog Post Templates NowWell my friend, the time for excuses is over.What Is a Blog?A blog is literally short for “web log.” Blogs began in the early 1990s as an online journal for individuals to publish thoughts and stories on their own website. Bloggers then share their blog posts with other internet users. Blog posts used to be much more personal to the writer or group of writers than they are today.Today, people and organizations of all walks of life manage blogs to share analyses, instruction, criticisms, and other observations of an industry in which they are a rising expert.After you read this post, there will be absolutely no reason you can’t blog every single day — and do it quickly. Not only am I about to provide you with a simple blog post formula to follow, but I’m also going to give you free templates for creating five different types of blog posts:The How-To PostThe List-Based PostThe Curated Collection PostThe SlideShare Presentation PostThe Newsjacking PostWith all this blogging how-to, literally anyone can blog as long as they truly know the subject matter they’re writing about. And since you’re an expert in your industry, there’s no longer any reason you can’t sit down every day and hammer out an excellent blog post.Want to learn how to apply blogging and other forms of content marketing to your business? Check out HubSpot Academy’s free content marketing training resource page. 2. Create your blog domain.Next, you’ll need a place to host this and every other blog post you write. This requires choosing a content management system (CMS) and a website domain hosting service.Sign Up With a Content Management SystemA CMS helps you create a website domain where you’ll actually publish your blog. The CMS platforms available for you to sign up for can manage domains, where you create your own website; and subdomains, where you create a webpage that connects with an existing website.HubSpot customers host their website content through HubSpot’s content management system. Another popular option is a self-hosted WordPress website on WP Engine. Whether they create a domain or a subdomain to start their blog, they’ll need to choose a web domain hosting service after choosing their CMS.This is true for every blogger seeking to start their own blog on their own website.Register a Domain or Subdomain With a Website HostYour own blog domain will look like this: The name between the two periods is up to you, as long as this domain name doesn’t yet exist on the internet.Want to create a subdomain for your blog? If you already own a cooking business at, you might create a blog that looks like this: In other words, your blog’s subdomain will live in its own section of CMSs offer subdomains as a free service, where your blog lives on the CMS, rather than your business’s website. For example, it might look like “” However, in order to create a subdomain that belongs to a company website, you’ll need to register this subdomain with a website host.Most website hosting services charge very little to host an original domain — in fact, website costs can be as inexpensive as $3 per month. Here are five popular web hosting services to choose from:GoDaddyHostGatorDreamHostBluehostiPage3. Customize your blog’s theme.Once you have your blog domain set up, customize the appearance of your blog to reflect the theme of the content you plan on creating.Are you writing about sustainability and the environment? Green might be a color to keep in mind when designing the look and feel of your blog, as green is often associated with sustainability.If you already manage a website, and are writing your first blog post for that website, it’s important that your blog is consistent with this existing website, both in appearance and subject matter. Two things to include right away are:Logo. This can be your name or your business’s logo, either one helping to remind your readers who or what is publishing this content. How heavily you want to brand this blog, in relation to your main brand, is up to you.”About” page. You might already have an “About” blurb describing yourself or your business. Your blog’s “About” section is an extension of this higher-level statement. Think of it as your blog’s mission statement, which serves to support your company’s goals.4. Identify your first blog post’s topic.Before you even write anything, you need to pick a topic for your blog post. The topic can be pretty general to start with. For example, if you’re a plumber, you might start out thinking you want to write about leaky faucets.Then, as you do your research, you can expand the topic to discuss how to fix a leaky faucet based on the various causes of a faucet leak.You might not want to jump right into a “how-to” article for your first blog post, though, and that’s okay. Perhaps you’d like to write about modern types of faucet setups, or tell one particular success story you had rescuing a faucet before it flooded someone’s house.If a plumber’s first how-to article is about how to fix a leaky faucet, for example, here are four other types of sample blog post ideas a plumber might start with, based on the five free blog templates we’ve offered to you:List-based Post: 5 ways to fix a leaky faucetCurated Collection Post: 10 faucet and sink brands you should look into todaySlideShare Presentation: 5 types of faucets that should replace your old one (with pictures)News post: New study shows X% of people don’t replace their faucet on timeFind more examples of blog posts at the end of this step-by-step guide.If you’re having trouble coming up with topic ideas, check out this blog post from my colleague Ginny Soskey. In this post, Soskey walks through a helpful process for turning one idea into many. Similar to the “leaky faucet” examples above, she suggests that you “iterate off old topics to come up with unique and compelling new topics.” This can be done by:Changing the topic scopeAdjusting the time frameChoosing a new audienceTaking a positive/negative approachIntroducing a new format5. Come up with a working title.Then you might come up with a few different working titles — in other words, iterations or different ways of approaching that topic to help you focus your writing. For example, you might decide to narrow your topic to “Tools for Fixing Leaky Faucets” or “Common Causes of Leaky Faucets.” A working title is specific and will guide your post so you can start writing.Let’s take a real post as an example: “How to Choose a Solid Topic for Your Next Blog Post.” Appropriate, right? The topic, in this case, was probably simply “blogging.” Then the working title may have been something like, “The Process for Selecting a Blog Post Topic.” And the final title ended up being “How to Choose a Solid Topic for Your Next Blog Post.”See that evolution from topic, to working title, to final title? Even though the working title may not end up being the final title (more on that in a moment), it still provides enough information so you can focus your blog post on something more specific than a generic, overwhelming topic.6. Write an intro (and make it captivating).We’ve written more specifically about writing captivating introductions in the post, “How to Write an Introduction,” but let’s review, shall we?First, grab the reader’s attention. If you lose the reader in the first few paragraphs — or even sentences — of the introduction, they will stop reading even before they’ve given your post a fair shake. You can do this in a number of ways: tell a story or a joke, be empathetic, or grip the reader with an interesting fact or statistic.Then describe the purpose of the post and explain how it will address a problem the reader may be having. This will give the reader a reason to keep reading and give them a connection to how it will help them improve their work/lives. Here’s an example of a post that we think does a good job of attracting a reader’s attention right away:7. Organize your content in an outline.Sometimes, blog posts can have an overwhelming amount of information — for the reader and the writer. The trick is to organize the info so readers are not intimidated by the length or amount of content. The organization can take multiple forms — sections, lists, tips, whatever’s most appropriate. But it must be organized!Let’s take a look at the post, “How to Use Snapchat: A Detailed Look Into HubSpot’s Snapchat Strategy.” There is a lot of content in this post, so we broke it into a few different sections using the following headers: How to Setup Your Snapchat Account, Snaps vs. Stories: What’s the Difference?, and How to Use Snapchat for Business. These sections are then separated into sub-sections that to go into more detail and also make the content easier to read.To complete this step, all you really need to do is outline your post. That way, before you start writing, you know which points you want to cover, and the best order in which to do it. To make things even easier, you can also download and use our free blog post templates, which are pre-organized for five of the most common blog post types. Just fill in the blanks!8. Write your blog post!The next step — but not the last — is actually writing the content. We couldn’t forget about that, of course.Now that you have your outline/template, you’re ready to fill in the blanks. Use your outline as a guide and be sure to expand on all of your points as needed. Write about what you already know, and if necessary, do additional research to gather more information, examples, and data to back up your points, providing proper attribution when incorporating external sources. Need help finding accurate and compelling data to use in your post? Check out this roundup of sources — from Pew Research to Google Trends.If you find you’re having trouble stringing sentences together, you’re not alone. Finding your “flow” can be really challenging for a lot of folks. Luckily, there are a ton of tools you can lean on to help you improve your writing. Here are a few to get you started:Power Thesaurus: Stuck on a word? Power Thesaurus is a crowdsourced tool that provides users with a ton of alternative word choices from a community of writers.ZenPen: If you’re having trouble staying focused, check out this distraction-free writing tool. ZenPen creates a minimalist “writing zone” that’s designed to help you get words down without having to fuss with formatting right away.Cliché Finder: Feeling like your writing might be coming off a little cheesy? Identify instances where you can be more specific using this handy cliché tool.For a complete list of tools for improving your writing skills, check out this post. And if you’re looking for more direction, the following resources are chock-full of valuable writing advice:The Marketer’s Pocket Guide to Writing Well [Free Ebook]How to Write Compelling Copy: 7 Tips for Writing Content That ConvertsHow to Write With Clarity: 9 Tips for Simplifying Your MessageThe Kurt Vonnegut Guide to Great Copywriting: 8 Rules That Apply to AnyoneYour Blog Posts Are Boring: 9 Tips for Making Your Writing More InterestingThe Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Successful Blog in 20199. Edit/proofread your post, and fix your formatting.You’re not quite done yet, but you’re close! The editing process is an important part of blogging — don’t overlook it. Ask a grammar-conscious co-worker to copy, edit, and proofread your post, and consider enlisting the help of The Ultimate Editing Checklist (or try using a free grammar checker, like the one developed by Grammarly). And if you’re looking to brush up on your own self-editing skills, turn to these helpful posts for some tips and tricks to get you started:Confessions of a HubSpot Editor: 11 Editing Tips From the TrenchesHow to Become a More Efficient Editor: 12 Ways to Speed Up the Editorial Process10 Simple Edits That’ll Instantly Improve Any Piece of WritingWhen you’re ready to check your formatting, keep the following advice in mind …Featured ImageMake sure you choose a visually appealing and relevant image for your post. As social networks treat content with images more prominently, visuals are now more responsible than ever for the success of your blog content in social media. In fact, it’s been shown that content with relevant images receives 94% more views than content without relevant images.For help selecting an image for your post, read “How to Select the Perfect Image for Your Next Blog Post” — and pay close attention to the section about copyright law.Visual AppearanceNo one likes an ugly blog post. And it’s not just pictures that make a post visually appealing — it’s the formatting and organization of the post, too.In a properly formatted and visually appealing blog post, you’ll notice that header and sub-headers are used to break up large blocks of text — and those headers are styled consistently. Here’s an example of what that looks like:Also, screenshots should always have a similar, defined border (see screenshot above for example) so they don’t appear as if they’re floating in space. And that style should stay consistent from post to post.Maintaining this consistency makes your content (and your brand) look more professional, and makes it easier on the eyes.Topics/TagsTags are specific, public-facing keywords that describe a post. They also allow readers to browse for more content in the same category on your blog. Refrain from adding a laundry list of tags to each post. Instead, put some thought into a tagging strategy. Think of tags as “topics” or “categories,” and choose 10-20 tags that represent all the main topics you want to cover on your blog. Then stick to those.10. Insert a call-to-action (CTA) at the end.At the end of every blog post, you should have a CTA that indicates what you want the reader to do next — subscribe to your blog, download an ebook, register for a webinar or event, read a related article, etc. Typically, you think about the CTA being beneficial for the marketer. Your visitors read your blog post, they click on the CTA, and eventually you generate a lead. But the CTA is also a valuable resource for the person reading your content — use your CTAs to offer more content similar to the subject of the post they just finished reading.In the blog post, “What to Post on Instagram: 18 Photo & Video Ideas to Spark Inspiration,” for instance, readers are given actionable ideas for creating valuable Instagram content. At the end of the post is a CTA referring readers to download a comprehensive guide on how to use Instagram for business:See how that’s a win-win for everyone? Readers who want to learn more have the opportunity to do so, and the business receives a lead they can nurture … who may even become a customer! Learn more about how to choose the right CTA for every blog post in this article. And check out this collection of clever CTAs to inspire your own efforts.11. Optimize for on-page SEO.After you finish writing, go back and optimize your post for search.Don’t obsess over how many keywords to include. If there are opportunities to incorporate keywords you’re targeting, and it won’t impact reader experience, do it. If you can make your URL shorter and more keyword-friendly, go for it. But don’t cram keywords or shoot for some arbitrary keyword density — Google’s smarter than that!Here’s a little reminder of what you can and should look for:Meta DescriptionMeta descriptions are the descriptions below the post’s page title on Google’s search results pages. They provide searchers with a short summary of the post before clicking into it. They are ideally between 150-160 characters and start with a verb, such as “Learn,” “Read,” or “Discover.” While meta descriptions no longer factor into Google’s keyword ranking algorithm, they do give searchers a snapshot of what they will get by reading the post and can help improve your clickthrough rate from search.Page Title and HeadersMost blogging software uses your post title as your page title, which is the most important on-page SEO element at your disposal. But if you’ve followed our formula so far, you should already have a working title that will naturally include keywords/phrases your target audience is interested in. Don’t over-complicate your title by trying to fit keywords where they don’t naturally belong. That said, if there are clear opportunities to add keywords you’re targeting to your post title and headers, feel free to take them. Also, try to keep your headlines short — ideally, under 65 characters — so they don’t get truncated in search engine results.Anchor TextAnchor text is the word or words that link to another page — either on your website or on another website. Carefully select which keywords you want to link to other pages on your site, because search engines take that into consideration when ranking your page for certain keywords.It’s also important to consider which pages you link to. Consider linking to pages that you want to rank well for that keyword. You could end up getting it to rank on Google’s first page of results instead of its second page, and that ain’t small potatoes.Mobile OptimizationWith mobile devices now accounting for nearly 2 out of every 3 minutes spent online, having a website that is responsive or designed for mobile has become more and more critical. In addition to making sure your website’s visitors (including your blog’s visitors) have the best experience possible, optimizing for mobile will score your website some SEO points.Back in 2015, Google made a change to its algorithm that now penalizes sites that aren’t mobile optimized. This month (May 2016), Google rolled out their second version of the mobile-friendly algorithm update — creating a sense of urgency for the folks that have yet to update their websites. To make sure your site is getting the maximum SEO benefit possible, check out this free guide: How to Make a Mobile-Friendly Website: SEO Tips for a Post-“Mobilegeddon” World.12. Pick a catchy title.Last but not least, it’s time to spruce up that working title of yours. Luckily, we have a simple formula for writing catchy titles that will grab the attention of your reader. Here’s what to consider:Start with your working title.As you start to edit your title, keep in mind that it’s important to keep the title accurate and clear.Then, work on making your title sexy — whether it’s through strong language, alliteration, or another literary tactic.If you can, optimize for SEO by sneaking some keywords in there (only if it’s natural, though!).Finally, see if you can shorten it at all. No one likes a long, overwhelming title — and remember, Google prefers 65 characters or fewer before it truncates it on its search engine results pages.If you’ve mastered the steps above, learn about some way to take your blog posts to the next level in this post. Want some real examples of blog posts? See what your first blog post can look like, below, based on the topic you choose and the audience you’re targeting.Blog Post ExamplesList-Based PostThought Leadership PostCurated Collection PostSlideshare PresentationNewsjacking PostInfographic PostHow-to Post Hi 👋 What’s your name?First NameLast NameHi null, what’s your email address?Email AddressAnd your phone number?Phone NumberWhat is your company’s name and website?CompanyWebsiteHow many employees work there?1Does your company provide any of the following services?Web DesignOnline MarketingSEO/SEMAdvertising Agency ServicesYesNoGet Your Free Templates Topics: How to Write a Blog Post1. Understand your audience.Before you start to write your first blog post, have a clear understanding of your target audience. What do they want to know about? What will resonate with them? This is where creating your buyer personas comes in handy. Consider what you know about your buyer personas and their interests while you’re coming up with a topic for your blog post.For instance, if your readers are millennials looking to start their own business, you probably don’t need to provide them with information about getting started in social media — most of them already have that down. You might, however, want to give them information about how to adjust their approach to social media from a more casual, personal one to a more business-savvy, networking-focused approach. That kind of tweak is what separates you from blogging about generic stuff to the stuff your audience really wants (and needs) to hear.Don’t have buyer personas in place for your business? Here are a few resources to help you get started:Create Buyer Personas for Your Business [Free Template]Blog Post: How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your [Free Tool]center_img How to Write a Blog Post Free Templates: Tell us a little about yourself below to gain access today: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Free Blog Post Templateslast_img read more

Want to Boost Enrollment? Segmenting Prospective Students Can Help

first_img Education Marketing Segmentation has many benefits, especially when attracting prospective students to your school’s programs. The more personalized and tailored your email messaging is, the higher success your email campaigns will have.Let’s talk specifics, though. Segmentation helps you impact critical email metrics, seeing improvements like:Increased open ratesHigher email relevanceLower opt-out/unsubscribe ratesBetter deliverabilityIncrease applicants and enrollmentEven HubSpot’s own research of sending personalized email messaging has resulted in nearly 3X clickthrough rate improvement over general email sends.Get the Right DataSegmentation is only successful if you have accurate data from which to segment your lists. This requires you to find or ask for this information via your website’s landing page forms, or via a survey of your current contacts. When you offer a downloadable content asset and require a form to be filled out, make sure you consider including questions around data you want to segment on, such as:City or country of originIntended area of studyEstimated enrollment yearIf they are currently enrolled in a schoolIf they intend to play a sportThese are just examples of form fields you might consider to get your brain going — customize your form fields based on what you need — and what information your readers are willing to offer.Create Prospective Student SegmentsThen you need to figure out how you are going to segment your contacts. If you’re concentrating your marketing efforts on increasing your prospective students and enrollment, whether your school is serving K-12 or higher education, these are some suggested segments you should consider targeting.Local StudentsLocal students can be those in the surrounding towns of your school, or those in the same state. This segmentation is important because the concerns and questions for local students and parents will be much different than those that are out of state. If you’re a higher-ed institution, tuition will also be different for in-state students.If you’re a K-12 school, commuting and upcoming events will be useful information for those looking to enroll their children in your school. Tailoring this content to those that know the area or the state will make them feel special and connected to the school close to them. You can tailor both your email marketing and your blog content to attract locals, if that is one of your target personas.Saint Leo University offers a great example of this kind of customization, example of which I’ll weave throughout this post. Check out the campus tour call-to-action they offer on their homepage:Domestic, Non-Local StudentsThese are students that are in your same country, but not in the same state as your school. These students and parents will be less familiar with the area around your school, as well as the nearby cities. Providing content to familiarize them with the area, as well as information that those nearby can easily access with a campus trip — like a virtual tour or pictures of the campus — will be important. They will also be more likely to be looking at other schools around the country, so identifying comparable schools that they may look at as well as yours (and comparing the benefits of yours to those schools) is great content to share with that particular segment.InternationalIf your school enrolls international students often, tailor your content to the concerns and questions of those students and parents. If you have exchange programs or special tuition information, for instance, make sure to include that information in your communications. You could even create a guide to your school for students that speak different languages.Segmenting your site and your email communications in this way will make it easier for international students to find the information they need. For instance, Saint Leos offers a virtual tour of their campus, something anyone can take advantage of, but makes an international student’s decision-marketing process far easier:You can also invite current international students to tell their stories of attending your school. Connecting prospective students and parents and current students is a great way for them to get real insight into attending your school.Transfer StudentsIf your offer a transfer program for students currently enrolled in other schools, they will be looking for information on how the process works and what similar programs you offer to those that they are currently studying in. Asking for more information on contact request forms is appropriate since these students will be looking for specific information in return, including what programs they’re looking to enroll in, what courses they’ve already taken, and when they are looking to transfer.AthletesStudent athletes will want as much information about your athletic programs as they can get. Simply asking your contacts if they are looking to play sport and if so, which one, can give you the information you need to create and deliver appropriately targeted content. You can then tailor your email content to updates about your current team’s performances, your training programs, and schedules for upcoming tryouts.If they are also in studying in the area of sports and fitness, provide information around courses you offer around sports medicine, physical therapy, etc. Again, Saint Leo has a ton of information on all their atheltic teams on their website, targeting those prospective student athletes:Graduate StudentsIf your school offers graduate-level degrees, this is another area to focus on for segmentation. Including information on your website and writing articles for them on your blog is important. But when you beginning to share information via email, you want to make sure you are nurturing them with content tailored to the area of study they are considering, including business, law, nursing, medical, and so on. This content will most likely be tailored to just students looking to apply, so you don’t need to think of the concerns of parents.How has your school seen suggest with segmentation — via email, via smart content on your website, or elsewhere? Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Originally published May 6, 2014 4:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017last_img read more

What Great Stories Smell Like: Inside Microsoft Stories’ Editorial Process

first_img Originally published Nov 7, 2014 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Since their team is so small, they’ve continued to be nimble. Though they’ve now gotten more internal buy-in and developed partnerships with external shops to get pieces ready to publish, the whole team gets their hands dirty in every stage of the production process. Now, let’s get into what that process actually looks like.What Goes Into a Microsoft Story?The Microsoft Stories team doesn’t think of themselves as creating content for a typical corporate blog. Instead, they compare Stories to digital magazines like Wired — and in the magazine world, editorial processes are much different than those for your typical corporate blog.Unlike a company blog, Microsoft Stories has long lead times on posts — typically four to eight weeks from the concepting stage to the time they hit “publish.” For the in-depth, interactive pieces, it can go even longer than that. For example, “The Keys to the Kingdom,” a story inspired by the Microsoft app Project Spark, was supposed to take three or four months — but it ended up taking a full six because the Project Spark product launch got delayed.Warnick tells us this pace plays a significant role in their ability to produce the high quality content they want to publish. “I’ve been a blogger before, too, where something gets a quick, second glance before going into the universe,” she says. “Microsoft’s editorial process is definitely more hand-crafted than that because we are trying to create something that is different, excellent, and has lasting value.”Because of longer lead times on stories, the team can focus on finding that perfect person to interview at Microsoft. Yep, that’s right: The software company doesn’t want to spend time talking about their shiny new products.”Product makes a pretty crappy story,” says Tamblyn. “By leading with the story behind the product, you get a far more interesting narrative that people can wrap their arms around.”Often, these stories involve the people who created the product. That’s what happened with the Project Spark piece. Warnick and Wiens spent an hour with the team who created the product way back in March to discuss their vision for the game. “That meeting sent me spinning,” said Warnick. “I thought about it the whole way home and for the next few weeks.” The meeting immediately reminded her of a choose-your-own-adventure books she read as a kid — so she set out to tell the story through that format. Six months later, “The Keys to the Kingdom” became a reality.The team also features stories of people who are using Microsoft products in amazing ways. Wiens tells me about one of his favorite stories that falls in this camp: a piece about former Saints player, Steve Gleason. Steve has ALS and uses Microsoft technology to guide his wheelchair using his eyes. “It’s incredible, inspiring, and humbling to see someone using our technology in a way like that,” says Wiens. “For us, it’s about what the technology enables someone to do, much more than why it’s a marvel in its own right.”When they’re building these stories about interesting people inside and outside Microsoft, they have two rules about length:1) There is no set length; just make the story great. “This means that we can write a 300-word piece or something that is 7,000 words,” says Tamblyn. “It all starts with great content. If the content isn’t great, no one is going to read it.”2) Use the “Two Minute Rule” to make longer stories accessible. Tamblyn describes this rule as, “For every two minutes of reading time, you need to have something in that story that helps immerse the reader in that story, rather than distract. It’s not a trick. I think anyone can read text for about two minutes before your mind starts to wander. If there’s a way to get you further immersed in the story, that’s a good thing.”You’ll notice that there isn’t a third rule: Drive sales for new products and releases. Tamblyn describes “The Keys to the Kingdom” as the first piece with a direct product tie-in — the story entirely about the game and also featured a call-to-action at the end that links to the game’s download page. “That’s probably one of the first long-form stories where there’s been a very, very clear call-to-action at the end of the story to go and download something,” he says. “To a certain extent, it’s an approach we typically don’t do, because we want to make sure that first and foremost we’re telling a good story. It’s not like we’re trying to deceive or anything like that, but we want to make sure the story can stand on its own.”What made Project Spark different? Tamblyn describes the CTA as a logical progression of the story. “It almost felt logical that you’d say, ‘Hey, I want to go get a look at this thing,’ after reading that story,” he says. “It was much more authentic to take this approach with this story, but we haven’t done it a lot in the past. Our primary goal with this piece was to make sure people had a very clear understand of what Project Spark was. A fringe benefit is if someone goes and downloads — that’s fantastic, but it’s absolutely not our primary goal.”For many businesses, not having leads and revenue in mind when creating content seems outlandish — Microsoft judges success a little differently.What Makes a Microsoft Story Successful?While most business bloggers would look to views, leads, customers, and generated revenue to assess whether they’ve created an awesome piece of content, Microsoft doesn’t care so much for those metrics. Yes — they do track lots of metrics like views and engagement, but that’s not the only thing they use to define a piece as “good.”So what do they use then? Well, it’s all about their readers — and their readers’ readers. Wiens says, “We’re very passionate about telling great stories. I think we have a great sense of whether we’re telling a great story, divorced of any of the usual metrics that the web runs on (for better or for worse). So we ask ourselves: Did we tell a great story? Did we get across the heart of this? Did we give people something interesting to experience? Because that’s what we’re trying to do: Take people inside and let people experience these stories they wouldn’t otherwise get to experience.”Harkening back to the original reason they started writing Stories, Tamblyn also uses press pick-ups as a supplementary guide to tell if stories are great. “Seeing your story is that kind of a success metric,” he says to me. “It’s the people who ultimately write about the stories we’ve created, it feels like a much better measure than ‘How many people read this story?’ or ‘What was your Twitter amplification?’ It’s far more important that people read it and enjoy it.”Besides focusing on traditional metrics, most other corporate content teams would be obsessed with scaling their efforts. For Microsoft Stories, that’s not the case.Because they are just one part of the Microsoft content team, they can fall back on their other teammates to help them scale. The Microsoft News center and social media channels put out shorter-form content to address more traditional metrics, leaving Stories to focus on developing new, interactive, in-depth pieces of content.”Slowly but surely, we’re starting to build a number of different mediums through which we can tell stories,” says Tamblyn. “It’s very very similar to a digital magazine — I think that’s ultimately our goal. We’re not going to be the BuzzFeed. That’s not the business we’re in. That has it’s place as well — it’s very very valuable content, but it’s not for us.”What the Future Looks LikeJust because they’re not focused on scaling doesn’t mean they don’t care about experimenting and evolving their content. When asked what things they would love to do differently, Warnick says that her team would love to develop new tools for storytelling.”We’ve had a lot of success with long-form narrative and that’s been really fun,” she says. “I think in our tinkering, we’d love to find other new and creative ways of storytelling, whether that’s with video, social media, or very short written stories. I have an endless wonder for finding new ways to tell stories and capture people’s imaginations. That’s what I would do: venture out into the unknown.”And they’ve certainly tried to think on what the unknown is, and how they can get there. When asked a similar question on what they’d like to do next, Tamblyn has a (in his words) “batshit crazy” dream: appealing to all of the human senses to tell more compelling, interactive pieces. “When I think about the stories I read when I was a child, not only do I remember the feeling of the paper I was reading the stories on, but I also remember the smell of the room that my grandparents used to tell me the story in,” he says. “Any really great story — they’re experiences that you remember. This is why I say it’s really crazy: The more we can really use every single sense — not just sight, not just hearing, but smell and taste, too — I think we get to a place where we’re doing something that’s quite amazing.”Tamblyn says that he’s seen this happen already in Warnick’s piece on Project Spark. Warnick made an allusion to the song “Waterfall” by hip hop and R&B group TLC. Since then, hearing that song has made him remember the piece. “You have that mental model that takes you back to a particular place or time with everything you do,” he says. “The more we can work out if there’s a way to recreate those types of experiences so that what people remember from our stories isn’t ‘hey this is how it looked on a webpage,’ but ‘this is how this story made me feel,’ the better.”To create a story like that, one idea Warnick and Tamblyn have is to do a musical. Yes, you read that correctly. While the idea may not ever come to fruition, the process to come up with the idea opens doors to other content opportunities.”I want to make sure we take the time and the space to think of wild ass crazy stuff like that,” Tamblyn says. “Now, it’s not likely we’re going to produce the next Cats tomorrow, but at least if we start thinking in those terms, it allows us to get to a place where we can be as creative as we possibly can.”And it seems like the team is excited to use that creative freedom to tackle new and exciting stories. “If there’s any format people think can’t be used to tell a story about Microsoft, I want to find a way to do it,” says Warnick. “People think that cake decoration or interpretive dance or a musical can’t be used to tell a Microsoft Story — I want to find a way to prove them wrong.”  Content Creation Crushes are weird sometimes. Even though lots of people tend to have a “type,” sometimes a crush just doesn’t fit that mold. It’s hard to explain: You’re just drawn to that other person, regardless of all the times you’ve spent fixating on your “type.”Content crushes are no different. Last month, we published a post on the top company blogs HubSpot’s content was crushin’ on, and one addition to the list completely surprised me: Microsoft Stories.Somehow, this relatively geeky, old-school company was creating beautiful, interactive, and inspiring branded content. Most recently, they published an interactive, create-your-own-adventure story to announce the release of a new Xbox video game — and it completely blew away my team.Luckily, with content crushes, it’s a little easier to get to the bottom of things. We had the pleasure of sitting down with the folks who run Microsoft Stories to learn about how their team was formed, what their days are like, what they think about when developing and measuring quality content, and what they’re hoping to do in the future for Microsoft.How Microsoft Stories BeganMicrosoft Stories is only one part of Microsoft’s editorial team. The team of five spends their days writing long-form, interactive, and beautiful pieces of content. Each story is hand-crafted with custom photography, video, and code to build the entire story format.A little over a year ago, the team didn’t even exist — they were all part of the larger Microsoft News team. But then one man did something amazing at Microsoft, and the first Stories piece was born.That first story was “88 Acres” published in 2013. The story’s protagonist, a man named Darrell Smith who runs Microsoft’s facilities, wasn’t your typical feature piece subject — but what he was doing was fascinating: using software and existing sensors to control and monitor the entire Microsoft campus, which spans over 8 million square feet, without spending a fortune retrofitting buildings with new equipment. Normally, Microsoft would pitch this story to journalists to cover — which is what they did. But they weren’t getting any bites.According to Steve Wiens, Managing Editor for Microsoft Stories, Microsoft decide to take matters into their own hands. “We were really taken by this story of a mild-mannered guy who was quietly revolutionizing his field.” he said. “After pitching it unsuccessfully to a number of outlets, we decided the story was good enough that we should just tell it ourselves.”Inspired by The New York Times piece “Snowfall,” the Microsoft team decided to use a long-form feature format to tell Darrell’s story — and it was a huge hit, not only with the press who had ignored them before, but with the rest of the team.”It sparked an awareness in us that we have a way to tell stories about Microsoft from the inside that is, in some ways, more compelling than the folks on the outside,” Wiens says. “We have day-to-day access to really incredible folks like Darrell who have amazing stories to tell. We have the ability to work with them to show sides of Microsoft that folks don’t always get to see.”Since that first story, they’ve stopped “begging, borrowing, and stealing” from internal resources to publish content about the people inside Microsoft, and built out their team to include:Steve Clayton, Chief StorytellerBen Tamblyn, Manager of StorytellingSteve Wiens, Managing EditorJennifer Warnick, Feature WriterThomas Kohnstamm, Writer & Multimedia Producercenter_img Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

The Science of Persuasion [Infographic]

first_imgThis post originally appeared on the Sales section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.To sell something, you have to convince a buyer that they not only want your offering, they need it. To be clear, I’m not talking about fooling them into buying a piece of junk. Oftentimes, prospects stand to benefit considerably from purchasing a new product or service. But that doesn’t mean they’re any more eager to fork over their money — and this is where the fine art of persuasion comes in.Most salespeople swear by personal persuasion tactics that “just work.” But what does science have to say about it? After researching scientific studies on tactics that prompt people to act in a certain way, the folks at Everreach put together the infographic shown below. Instead of deciding which method of persuasion to use based on gut feel, salespeople can now consult the science before proceeding. So before your next meeting or call, think: Which of these six tactics would hold the most sway over this particular buyer? Adjust your approach accordingly and you’ll have them signing on the dotted line in no time. It’s not magic; it’s science.3K+Save 3K+SaveEnjoy this post? To read more content like it, subscribe to Sales. Topics: Originally published Jan 18, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated January 22 2015center_img Persuasion Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

How to Ask for a Raise (And Actually Get One)

first_img Marketing Jobs Originally published Feb 10, 2015 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Looking for a raise? Most people think they have to ask for a raise from their boss, but for millions of Americans, you’re not asking your boss, but more than likely, the owner of the company. Based on U.S. Census Bureau data from 2011, 99.7% of businesses have fewer than 500 workers, and 89.8% have fewer than 20 employees. If you think this is the same as working for a large company, you’re wrong. When you work for a large company, your boss is interested in getting promoted. They are looking for employees that are helping them reach that goal.When you work for the owner, he/she is looking for an employee that is going to grow the firm. As with any negotiation, you have to understand how the ‘other side’ thinks and feels. In this case, it’s the owner of the company. Consider these items: Why did they hire you in the first place? Has that need changed or evolved?Who have they hired since you joined? Are those people in similar roles as you? Is your role still relevant?What are their biggest obstacles to growth? Are you involved with solving any of those obstacles?Do you speak to any of your customers? Do you have a solid understanding of why customers do business with your firm? With that understanding in mind, here’s some easy talking points when asking for a raise: 1) Your value to the firmIf you’re asking for a raise, this should be simple. How do you contribute to the bottom line? Do you perform tasks that no one else can do? Do you help others do their job better?2) You can manage yourselfGive your boss what s/he really wants-more time! Cash is king in any business but time is a close second. A small business owner never has enough time. Giving your boss more time (because you need less management) is the greatest gift you can give. How do you prove you need less management? Explain that you don’t have to be told twice to do something. You’re a note-taker and list-writer. You also anticipate your next tasks.3) Your new responsibilitiesHopefully you’re gotten real good at doing whatever you were hired for, and since then, you’ve taken on a few more responsibilities. The owner is busy, and may have forgotten all that you do, so it’s OK to remind her. 4) Your understanding of the company, its products, services, and customersThe number one complaint I hear from small business owners is that they have no one to talk too. You’d be amazed at how many employees really don’t know why their company is in business. When there is a disconnect, the owner often feels isolated and alone.Explain that you’re the person they can go to when discussing a new service, or how to handle a difficult client. The owner will love you for it. What Not to DoAs with anything, there are some tried and true methods employees use for a raise that simply do not work. Here’s some of the top ones: 1) It’s time for a raise! (It’s been a year since my last one!)Owners generally tend to think like their customers. They can only increase the rate they charge when there is more value to be had. If you’re the same you were last year and doing the exact same thing, there is no perceived new value.2) Someone with my number of years of experience should be making moreWe are a mobile work force. There’s a good chance that if you have 15 years’ experience it wasn’t with your current employer. So many times though people count all of the accomplishments at their previous job and expect to be reimbursed for those accomplishments at their current job. It doesn’t work that way. Employers want to reward you for what you did for them, not someone else.3) Someone else in the company is making more, and you’ve been there longerYour pay is not based on longevity, but the value you bring to the company. If you want to make more, figure out what the higher paid employees are doing and start doing that.The Bottom LineIn all cases, remember that asking for a raise can be nerve racking for all involved. Don’t stomp into your boss’ office Friday afternoon at 4:30 and demand a raise. Let them know you want to discuss compensation, set a date with them when they have time to dedicate to the conversation. Don’t expect an answer right away. Give your boss a couple of days to think it over after you meet.Don’t forget, if you really are worth more, and your current employer doesn’t agree, sometimes the easiest way to a raise is to find a new job!Good luck! Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

862 Hours of Inbound Marketing: A Statistical Analysis

first_img Inbound Marketing Data Originally published Jun 16, 2015 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack If you’re a sports fan (well, more like a sports geek), you know about a trend toward advanced analytics (the book Moneyball presents this concept about baseball). Sports founders set a few statistics as the end-all, be-all numbers for the games they created over a hundred years ago—but, for example, do we actually know if batting average is the best measurement of a hitter?Or, if a basketball team scores the most points per game on average, does it mean they have the best offense? Sometimes we try to measure success in a certain way simply because that’s how we’ve always done it.This concept absolutely applies to inbound marketing. You see a lot of inbound and content marketing case studies that measure growth through visits by month. But do we actually know if that’s the correct way to analyze results? What if Company A devotes 20 hours and $200 to inbound each month, but Company B devotes 200 hours and $20,000? It could be that Company B has better growth, but maybe Company A gets a better return on its time and money. With this in mind, I wanted to figure out how much of a return you’d receive if you put one hour of work into inbound marketing. That way, you could apply the results to your company and scale them no matter what size team or budget you have. And I came up with some pretty interesting stuff.Here’s what you’ll learn if you keep readingHow we divided up 862 hours of inbound marketing over 18 months.How to look at your marketing in a new way—results by how much time you’ve invested.How specific marketing events and campaigns led to boosts in results.Whether or not you need to invest your time and money differently.This is where the data came from (and what it looks like)Back in November of 2013 (which was 18 months ago), Lance (the founder of Nectafy) signed up for HubSpot to see how it would work out. Luckily, he also signed up for Harvest in the same month. With HubSpot’s inbound marketing software, Nectafy was able to start carrying out its online marketing, and tracked all of the results in one place. With Harvest’s online timing software, Lance could track every task into organized categories and subcategories.The HubSpot-Harvest-Nectafy combination made for a ton of great data. It also made for a lot of orange:Today, though, we’ll focus on the data rather than the colors.What I Gathered From HubSpotTime Frame: 18 MonthsTotal Visits: 112,330Total Leads: 2,790 (This is defined as an individual who filled out a form on our site.)I’ll also note that 100% of our traffic and leads come from inbound marketing. As an inbound marketing agency, we solely focus on that channel as a way to grow our business. We haven’t done trade shows, PPC, paid ads, or anything else to grow leads.What I Gathered From Harvest862 hours spent specifically on inbound marketing for Nectafy (equaling 9.4% of the total hours recorded at Nectafy).Eight subcategories that fell under inbound marketing.Data ranging from two employees in Month One to eight employees by Month 18.One note—Some data (back in 2013 and early 2014) was adjusted slightly because our Harvest timing categories were not as complete as they are now. Specifically, the “design” and “editing” categories were adjusted based on current percentages. This was done to reflect more accurate data.18 Months and 862 Hours Of Inbound Marketing Takeaways1) 9.71% of our total hours worked were used on inbound marketing for NectafyOut of 8,876 hours of tracked time, a little less than 10% of that was used to do inbound marketing for Nectafy. The rest of the time was used on clients and administrative tasks like training and meetings.2) 58% of the 862 hours of inbound marketing were used for “content creation”Content creation is defined as researching and writing blog posts and offers.Here’s where all of the 862 hours were used:3) We generated 130 visits for every hour spent on inbound marketing4) We generated 3.24 leads for every hour spent on inbound marketingI decided to look at results on an hourly basis rather than the typical monthly basis, since our time devoted to inbound varied over time. Visits: 112,330 / 862 = 130 Visits Per Hour SpentLeads: 2,790 / 862 = 3.24 Leads Per Hour SpentThese numbers give a more accurate sense of expectations because each company devotes a different amount of time to inbound marketing on a monthly basis. By looking at results per hour, you can have a better idea of how much time you need to dedicate in order to hit your goals for leads, sales, and profitability. 5) Our average visit-to-lead conversion rate was 2.48%Over the first 18 months, 2.5 visitors out of 100 would fill out a form on our site in order to become a lead. As you can see, our conversion rate peaked at 3.68% in Month 10 (August 2014). That’s really high! We’ve come back down to normal lately, though.My theory is that, as our site has gotten more authoritative, we’ve started to pick up broader search terms that don’t bring targeted visitors. Our lead volume is higher than before, but our conversion rate is lower.6) A non-stat alert: Results trail effortIf you look at the chart above, you’ll find our hours devoted to inbound marketing in blue and visits in orange. You’ll notice that in the first three months, we were working hard, but results weren’t growing. The bump came in Month 3 and beyond.In Months 5-7, we had to cut back on our own marketing significantly in order to serve new clients. As a result, visits flatlined.You can see that the extra work in Months 8 and 11 contributed to visitor growth in Month 9 and Months 11-13, respectively.And finally, additional work in Months 15-17 contributed to visitor growth in Months 16-18 (and beyond).It’s simple. Inbound takes both work and patience, but the results do come.Which inbound campaigns and ideas made the biggest impact?1) November 18/19, 2013: “Written Style Guide” (Offer) & “How To Quickly Create A Written Style Guide” (Blog Post)In Month One, Emily created a blog post and an offer about creating a style guide for your company. Over time, this has become an organic powerhouse.The blog post has received 5,500 visits (and counting).The offer has generated nearly 1,000 leads.2) December 6, 2013: “My First Month Of HubSpot: The Good, The Bad, The Data” (Blog Post)Lance wrote this blog post in our second month of inbound and HubSpot. You can see the immediate uptick in visits and the long-term growth of leads after this period. Not only did the blog receive a lot of shares in the short-term, it also increased our authority around the term “HubSpot.”Currently, this post has 6,200 visits and seven high-impact links (and counting).3) February 14, 2014: “After 3 Months Of HubSpot, I’ve Had Enough” (Blog Post)Lance continued his HubSpot series with this blog post. Currently, this post has 13,000 visits and 40 links (including one from April 19, 2014: “Sample Inbound Marketing Proposal” (Offer)We decided to take a real inbound marketing proposal, sterilize it a bit, and offer it as a downloadable resource on the site.Since then, this offer has generated 500 middle-of-funnel leads.5) September 24, 2014: “Inbound Marketing In A Nutshell” (Offer)Heading into Quarter 4 was a good time to run a campaign around hiring an inbound marketing agency. As part of that, we released this offer for busy executives to skim as they decided how to spend their budgets in 2015.This offer has generated 150 leads.6) November 2014: We started hiring through HubSpotAs we grew, we started to post jobs for an inbound marketing manager and a writer. For November, we ran our application process through HubSpot before moving to what we use now—Workable. During November, our applicants were counted as leads, so this number looks inflated by about 50-70.How can you use these numbers for your marketing?Most importantly, we need to make sure you can apply these numbers to your business. Every single business out there needs to generate leads and sales. It’s that simple. And there are a number of ways to get those results—outbound sales, referrals, traditional advertising, online paid advertising, SEO, social media, content or inbound marketing (and I’m probably missing more than a few). No matter what you’re doing to generate results, the ultimate measure is how your investment returns increase revenue and profit for the company. If you want to compare these numbers to your marketing and sales plan, here are a few questions to answer:How much time per month do our employees dedicate to marketing, and how do the results stack up?If we give our outbound sales team one hour, how many contacts/leads do they generate?If we apply our average marketing salary to these hours, how much is the investment?How much time do we need to dedicate to inbound marketing each month in order to see results?Now what?Now we’re done. If you remember one thing from this post, I hope it’s that you can track the results of inbound marketing down to the hour or minute of time invested. You don’t need to be stuck at per-month or per-quarter results. But most importantly, make sure you have a lot of hours stacked up if you truly want to see results. Topics:last_img read more

How to Create a Monthly Social Media Report [Free Ebook]

first_img Social Media Analytics As a marketer, you’re probably familiar with the number crunching and data analysis that goes along with presenting a monthly report to your team. And while it’s not always the most exciting task, it’s crucial to ensure your brand continues to grow.Utilizing social media in all stages of the funnel is an essential element of your marketing strategy, and the need to evaluate these efforts is more really important. However, chances are the people you’re presenting to aren’t interested in hearing about every little bit of data you can give them. (Because let’s face it, there’s a lot).That’s why we teamed up with our friends at Simply Measured to bring you How to Create a Monthly Social Media Report. In this ebook, you’ll learn everything you need to know to present and prove yourROI from your social media efforts.More specifically, you will receive:The basic principles of structuring meaningful and concise social media reports to help you stay organized and report efficiently each month.Key features your reports should include to prove your social media efforts in an effective and engaging way to your boss and your team.Two sample frameworks to try out for monthly reports: one to impress your boss and one to impress your team.What common mistakes to avoid when creating a monthly report, like sugarcoating the facts or presenting too much data.Much more about presenting your social media results!Click here to download How to Create a Monthly Social Media Report. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Feb 15, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Topics:last_img read more