Storytelling: What is the Monomyth?

The monomyth, or the hero’s journey, is the common template of a broad category of tales that involve a hero who goes on an adventure, and in a decisive crisis wins a victory, and then comes home changed or transformed.

The concept was introduced by Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949), who described the basic narrative pattern as follows:

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.

The pattern is closely followed in many of the world’s spiritual narratives, in shamanism, initiation rites, mystery religions (descent to the underworld), and in the mythologies of the world’s major religious or spiritual systems, including the stories of Gautama Buddha, Moses or Jesus.

There are twelve stages of the hero’s journey monomyth, following the summary by Christopher Vogler (originally compiled in 1985 as a Disney studio memo):

1. The Ordinary World,

2. The Call to Adventure,

3. Refusal of the Call,

4. Meeting with the Mentor,

5. Crossing the Threshold to the “special world”,

6. Tests, Allies and Enemies,

7. Approach to the Innermost Cave,

8. The Ordeal,

9. Reward,

10. The Road Back,

11. The Resurrection,

12. Return with the Elixir.


Monomyth: The Heroes Journey

Instagram is About to Change in a Huge Way: An Algorithm Based Timeline is Coming

Instagram is about to change in a massive way. The photo and video sharing app is taking a page from Facebook and testing an algorithm based timeline.

This means that photos and videos shared to Instagram will no longer appear in chronological order and will instead appear based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content and your relationship with the person posting.

The change could mean that if your best friend posted an image while you were away from your phone for a number of hours, Instagram might place that content at the top of your feed the next time you open the app.

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Content Marketers: Your WHAT Doesn’t Matter if Your WHY Is Lacking


After listening to This Old Marketing Episode 116, Professor Marc Resnick from Bentley University responded with the following commentary:

“Which would energize me (or anyone) more as a creative business professional?

  1. Creating content that has the primary purpose of driving the sales pipeline and a secondary purpose of improving the life of my user.
  2. Creating content that has the primary purpose of improving the life of my user and a secondary purpose of driving the sales pipeline.

Clearly #2.

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One Thing Is Killing Content Marketing and Everyone Is Ignoring It


A few weeks before the start of the New Year I led a workshop on content marketing for about 50 small-business CEOs and operations managers. They came from all different industries. Some were consultants. There was a plumber and a representative from an HVAC company present. Pest management? Check. A few small manufacturing companies, a nonprofit, and a jewelry store rounded it out. In other words, it was a diverse group of companies.

What wasn’t diverse were the ways they were marketing their companies. Most had e-newsletters. All of them had Facebook pages. Every one of these senior leaders was concerned about search engine rankings.

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Joe Pulizzi: Google Plus Returns From the Grave. Does It Matter?


In this week’s episode, Robert and I discuss a very funny South Park episode about sponsored content and native advertising that gets a lot of things right. Next, we react to Yahoo’s clumsy attempt to get users of its email service to turn off their ad blockers, and we take issue with a blog post that claims content marketing is about to “fade to black.” Finally, Google Plus gets a makeover, but should marketers invest time there? It depends. Rants and raves include Alibaba’s savvy plan to buy a media company and Seth Godin on the challenges of persuasion. We wrap up the show with a #ThisOldMarketing example of the week from The Chicken Whisperer.”

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Can We Please Stop Using Branded Content?


I’m going to be honest with you. I loathe the term “branded content.”

Branded content gives content marketing a bad name. It’s a word created by the world of paid media … by advertisers, agencies, and media planners.

First off, let’s look at the Wikipedia definition:

Branded content is a form of advertising medium that blurs conventional distinctions between what constitutes advertising and what constitutes editorial content.

Sounds disturbing doesn’t it?

But Madison Avenue loves branded content, especially in our new-found world of native advertising. Branded content gives agencies permission to keep talking about themselves, adding a bit of storytelling to product pitches.

At this year’s Cannes International Festival of Creativity, there were 1,394 total entries in the “branded content and entertainment” category. The judges awarded NO grand prize winner (same as 2014), citing no single piece of category-defining work.

I took a non-scientific stroll through some of the entries. In general, here is what I found…

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Joe Pulizzi: Can Content Save Advertising?

In this week’s episode of #ThisOldMarketing, Robert and I discuss whether content marketing can really save advertising – and whether it actually needs to be saved. Next, we admire Mitch Joel’s take on the state of blogging, but consider the forces affecting it to be evolutionary, rather than the end of blogging as we know it. Finally, we discuss what’s happening in the world of mega-agencies – a senior Pepsi executive contends they are threatened by clients reducing the number of agencies they work with and by the rise of content marketing. Rants and raves include some questionable content marketing stats and a brilliant native advertisement from LexCorp. We wrap up the show with a #ThisOldMarketing example from Westinghouse.

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Joe Pulizzi: The Coming Crisis in #NativeAdvertising


PNR: This Old Marketing with Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose can be found on both iTunes and Stitcher.

In this week’s episode, Robert and I discuss the launch of Apple’s iOS 9 update, which may block more than ads – it may affect publishers’ and brands’ ability to do content tracking and optimization. Next, we discuss new research on reader distrust of native advertising, and share our predictions about its future. After that, we turn our attention to a new data-focused partnership between Twitter and Bloomberg, and ponder why content marketers don’t pay more attention to the value of data. Finally, we give two thumbs down to Facebook’s planned “dislike” button, and we reveal why it’s likely to be problematic. Rants and raves include Doug Kessler’s brilliant analysis of the state of content marketing, plus the problem of measurement myopia. We wrap up the show with this week’s #ThisOldMarketing example: Burger Chef.

Image source: DoYouRemember

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Successful project management through storytelling

Successful project management through storytelling

1. Successful ProjectLeadership through Storytelling Stephen Carver FAPM

2. The most important skill for Project Professionals?

3. Planning “People don’t like to plan – Planning is unnatural – It is much more fun just to do.And the nice thing about just doing is that failure comes as a complete surprise.Whereas if you have planned, the failure is preceded by a long period of despair and worry”

4. Major Threats to Project SuccessKey to graph A 55A Bad communication B 37 between stakeholdersB Lack of planning C 36C Milestones not being met D 31D No quality control E 27E Costs getting out of hand 24 FF Inadequate resource co- G 23 ordination H 17G Poor overall managementH Mis-management of I 16 progress J 10I Supplier skills over- 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 stretchedJ Supplier under-resourced

5. Sticky Stories

6. But stories are just for children!

7. Newspapers Books Magazines Plays TV AdvertsVideo Games Films Business

8. 1st Principleof Journalism FIRST SIMPLIFY THEN EXAGGERATE!

9. 1st Principleof JournalismSEXY SECRETS OF POISON PIE KILLER

10. “Stories are vital for Leaders!”

11. “A story expresses how and why life changes and how it can be” “Visioning”

12. Logic/Rhetoric Storytelling “People are not inspired to act by reason alone”

13. Logic/Rhetoric Storytelling Conventional Unconventional Safe Dangerous Reasoned – logical Emotional – complex IQ EQ Engages intellect Engages hearts and mindsEasy to destroy with logic Hard to destroy with logic

14. What’s the Story?

15. What makes for a good story? Has characters A mind journey An emotional journey Embraces complexity Has structureCreates meaning – often multiple Does not tell – it shows Has an impact Catalyses change Is remembered…

16. Has structure

17. Structure 1. Starts with a situation (often balance) 2. Inciting incident unbalances situation 3. Attempts to restore balance4. Trials of risk and challenge force characters to face difficult choices/struggle 5. Discover the truth/deliverance 6. New situation…

18. It’s not what you say…

19. Communication Facts Speak at 150 WPM Process 500-750 WPM Average Attention Span 7.5 min Content 7% Relative Importance: Vocal 35% Body Language 58%

20. You are cleverer than you thinkCna yuo raed this at nroaml seped? 55 plepoe out of100 can.i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd wahtI wasrdanieg.The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuanmnid, aoccdrnig to arscheearch at CmabrigdeUinervtisy, it dsenot mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteresin a wrod are,the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsitand lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be ataotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm.Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deosnot raed erveylteter by istlef,but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig eh?And I awlyas tghuot slpeling was ipmorantt!

21. Words Don’t Matter? Golden Sandwich 3 Rule Cool/Important/Relevant Eight Elections Straight Stories – Dream/Hold/Fear Voice/Eyes/Body Connection/Challenge Change

22. What makes for a good PROJECT? Has characters A mind journey An emotional journey Embraces complexity Has structureCreates meaning – often multiple Does not tell – it shows Has an impact Catalyses change Is remembered

23. To tell your Project Story

24. Successful ProjectLeadership through Storytelling Stephen Carver FAPM

Will You Be A Part of Change Or A Victim Of It? An Interview with @TheYoungTurks

Futurist and “X: The Experience When Business Meets Design” author Brian Solis sits down with The Young Turks’ Cenk Uygur to talk about the past, present and future and how more and faster change is coming, and the only question is whether you’re going to be a part of that change or a victim of it.

Along the way, the two discuss how disruptive technologies and changing cultural standards will affect the news business, city planning, transportation and nearly every other aspect of how we live our lives.

Specifically, Uygur and Solis address:

– Why it’s not so terrible that people engage with their phones more than with one another face-to-face
– Why Apple, a company that never designed a remote control, will soon revolutionize what a remote control can do.
– How legacy-based decision making is killing both the taxi and TV news businesses
– Why Cenk says he’s more afraid of a random kid in Nebraska than all the cable news organizations in the world.

The Embrace: Creating Experiences that Nurture Attention into Engagement | Brian Solis


Attention is a currency. We spend it. We earn it. And, sometimes we waste it.

Experience is something special. It’s all the rage at the moment, yet, we often talk about it as is if it’s a thing. But, as we know, deep down, the best things in life aren’t things, they’re experiences. One of things that makes it so hard to make experience a strategic and actionable part of our work is that the word “experience” means so many things to so many different people across so many aspects of the organization.

We continue to think operationally, which prevents us from feeling empathetically, which stops us from acting experientially.

To CMOs, experience may be something creative, whether it’s a campaign, a viral video, an online journey, an event, a physical escapade, fantastic packaging, etc.

To CX, it could be an optimized and frictionless customer journey, better customer support, more personalized CRM programs, et al.

To those CDOs and CIOs, experiences could be technological, providing a modern foundation for engagement throughout the customer lifecycle.

To product designers, experiences are great products.

The truth is that experience is all of these and more. It’s everything. And, more importantly, it’s measured by the sum of each moment and its moving parts, not individually or departmentally. People don’t see departments, they see one brand.

Your brand promise can no longer be rooted in clever wording or creative design and marketing. It must come alive in the experiences that you design and how they come to life in each moment of truth and measured holistically from a human-centered perspective.

Again, experiences are not things. Experiences are emotional. They’re reactions to important moments and are something that’s felt and in turn, acted or not acted up in a variety of ways…great, bad or indifferently.

Today, experiences are largely left to chance.

I believe that the best relationships moving forward will be guided by experience architecture so that we shape those moments, nurture reactions and This means that experience must be…







Mutually beneficial





Experience takes design. How people feel throughout their lifecycle takes an integrated approach to experience architecture. It takes a shift in perspective, collaboration and innovation to do things differently and experientially.

Start with a vision for what an experience could be…how it engages the senses and the responses and reactions that unfold in each moment and also as one masterpiece. Think about those moments as the embrace…that moment when you my attention and I have yours and together we create unforgettable experiences together.

The experience is yours to design…

Connect with Brian on Social Media

Twitter: @briansolis
Facebook: TheBrianSolis
LinkedIn: BrianSolis
Youtube: BrianSolisTV

Experience is everything…read my new book, X!


The Internet of Things Connects the Future of Business | Brian Solis


The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the most incredible feats of modern technology. With the right vision and architecture, IoT will bring to life new possibilities and experiences. It’s also one of the most confusing and ambiguous. To make sense of it all and specifically understand how IoT applies to business, I assembled a short list of examples of companies successfully employing this new web in interesting applications.

Why is IoT so mystifying? First, it’s the name. The Internet of things doesn’t necessarily roll of the tongue. Second, it’s big. I mean, it’s everything that’s connected to the net, ranging from wearables to appliances to industrial equipment to cars. Yep, it’s more than your Nest thermostat, Apple Watch, FitBit, et al. There’s a reason Cisco refers to it as the Internet of Everything. That’s the thing. Anything and everything can connect to the Internet and share information with other devices, software platforms or direct to people. That information is dependent on the device, what it’s meant to do and also what it’s intended to communicate.

For example, GE manufactures jet engines that send operational information to a cloud-based software platform that aviation engineers can monitor and study to gauge, streamline and improve performance. But that’s just one instance in a vast sea of diverse business applications.

HowTo: Use Powerful Cornerstone Content | CopyBlogger

build your website's content marketing cornerstone

We’ve been talking about cornerstone content a lot lately.

Not sure what cornerstone content is? Here’s a quick explanation:

Website owners use cornerstone content to answer the fundamental questions their newest prospects have. Cornerstone pages are informative, instructive, and they help your prospects understand the foundational information needed to interact with your business.

Cornerstone content pages answer those cocktail party questions. You know the ones I mean, right?

They’re those questions you get asked at a cocktail party right after you tell someone what you do:

  • How does [your business] apply to me?
  • Why did you get into [your business]? What motivates you?
  • How can I get started with [your business]?
  • What do I need to know to be smart about [your business]?
  • How can [your product or service] help me?
  • If I’m just learning about [your field of expertise], what do I need to know first?

In this post, we’re going to cover how to use cornerstone content on your site and invite you to join us for free cornerstone content education we’ll offer next month.

You heard that right: free cornerstone content education! If you can’t wait to sign up for that, scroll to the bottom of this post and get your name on the list.

The post A Practical Approach to Using Powerful Cornerstone Content on Your Site appeared first on Copyblogger.

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Customer Experience is the Sum of Emotional Reactions

As 2015 drew to a close, I flew to Düsseldorf from London to close out NEOCOM, an annual event for multichannel retail and commerce. There I spoke about “retail re-imagined,” redesigning the online and offline shopping experience based on the incredible technology and behavioral trends playing out now and over the next few years.

Following the event, I met with the NEOCOM team to shoot a short three-minute video that I would love for you to see.

Video Topics/Questions:

– Iteration vs. Iteration

– My message to German and retailers everywhere

– The most important homework retailers should do around CX

– The major differences between the German and American startup scenes

Connect with Brian on Social Media

Twitter: @briansolis
Facebook: BrianSolis
Facebook: TheBrianSolis
LinkedIn: BrianSolis
Youtube: BrianSolisTV

What Is Content Marketing? | CopyBlogger

Bookmark This! Your content marketing reference library

Listen. If you are even remotely connected to the business, marketing, and advertising world, then you’ve probably heard the phrase “content marketing.”

You’ve at least been exposed to it through:

  • Blogs
  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • Search engine optimization
  • Email autoresponders
  • White papers
  • Copywriting
  • Social media
  • Landing pages

But what exactly is content marketing? Glad you asked, because I’ve got answers for you. One short answer, and one really long. Here’s our official definition:

Content marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.

Which brings us to another question: how do you actually use content marketing?

Well, even if you consider yourself a seasoned practitioner or you’re a fresh-out-of-the-box beginner, this handy, systematic, and exhaustive guide — loaded with 100 articles that cover content marketing essentials for building a viable money-making platform — is at your finger tips.

How to use this content marketing reference library

Content marketing can be simplified into the convergence of three spheres: your audience’s interests, your brand story, and your unique perspective or content medium. Combine these three to achieve content greatness.


The 100-article list below reaches back to November 2008 and goes all the way up to the present. It contains 10 categories:

  • Content essentials
  • Content strategy
  • Content research
  • Idea creation
  • Content creation
  • Content promotion
  • Traffic generation
  • Content marketing case studies
  • Content auditing
  • Content business building

Yes, I read all 100 articles. It took me 15 hours over six days. I recommend you do the same — but work through it at a pace that’s right for you!

First, bookmark it. That way, it’ll be easy to find when you need to answer a question or reference one of our articles in your own content.

Then, you could:

  • Study one of the 10 categories each week, creating your own 10-week content marketing course
  • Read one-to-three articles each day
  • Identify the categories you need to brush up on the most, and make a note on your calendar to review them when you have free time

Side note: This list makes for perfect Twitter content … drip out just one article each day to your followers over a 100-day period, and you’ll look like a content marketing genius. 😉

This guide will fill in the gaps in your knowledge. It will help you become a content marketing expert in your industry or company.

And with that, I give you Copyblogger’s Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing.

Content marketing essentials

The Future of Content Marketing

New York City should have been destroyed 33 years ago. Because of massive amounts of horse manure. Here’s the lesson you can draw about the future of content marketing from that failed prognosis.

What’s the Difference Between a Professional Writer and a Content Marketer?

Five elements that separate high-quality content marketing from material that’s well-written but might not deliver the same business value.

What’s the Difference Between Content Marketing and Digital Commerce?

We’ve been talking a lot lately about “digital commerce.” This article for is anyone who’s wondered: “I thought content marketing was digital commerce: what’s the difference?”

The 3-Step Journey of a Remarkable Piece of Content

Remarkable content takes a three-step journey. If we keep this journey in mind, we can craft a profound experience for our readers. Pamela Wilson walks you through you each step.

Agile Content Marketing: How to Attract an Audience That Builds Your Business

How do you create a content marketing strategy that actually works? The first step is to get your head right.

The First Rule of Copyblogger

Great content marketing begins here. Those who obey this rule share content that’s worth reading with an audience who is hungry for it. Long-term gains in traffic, leads, and profits follow. Those who break this rule might experience short bursts of traffic, leads, and profits — but not for long.

What’s the Difference between Content Marketing and Copywriting?

When you combine great content with great copywriting, you end up with a powerful marketing platform that can launch you into the realm of the world’s greatest content producers.

The Three Essentials of Breakthrough Content Marketing

The glut of content on the web means that the market is crowded and cluttered. Your content needs to rise above that confusion. Here’s how to do it.

Why Content Marketing Doesn’t Suck

As the saying goes, “Haters will hate.” Don’t let them talk you out of the benefits that content marketing can deliver over a long period of time. This episode of The Lede (when it was still hosted by Robert Bruce) will show you what Procter & Gamble, soap operas, and content marketing have in common. And then some.

The Two Vital Attributes of Quality Content

Ever wondered what makes some blog posts funny, vigorous, and meaningful? You know, the types of blog posts you not only share — but save. Print out. Study. Wonder no more.

Everything You Need to Know About Creating Killer Content in 3 Simple Words

Try this sticky formula — one that basically consolidates what every guru, expert, and pundit has been saying about persuasion, usability, and web marketing — that will make creating compelling copy easy.

Content marketing strategy

Content Marketing: A Truly Winning Difference

A simple lesson about learning how to accentuate the positives in your marketing from a little story about Claude Hopkins and Schlitz beer.

10 Content Marketing Goals worth Pursuing

What do you want your content to accomplish? You do have goals, right? If not, start with these 10.

How to Build an Agile Content Marketing Team

Eric Enge provides nine tips on how to build an agile content marketing team in a way that might just make the size of the task a lot more manageable.

A Content Marketing Innovation Cheat Sheet

Successful content marketers often have deceptively simple cheats for churning out effective online publishing on a regular basis. Let’s take a look.

Digital Sharecropping: The Most Dangerous Threat to Your Content Marketing Strategy

We’re professional content marketers — not subsistence farmers — and our work doesn’t involve 12-hour days in grueling conditions. So, is sharecropping still dangerous? Yes.

A Simple Content Marketing Strategy for Creative Folks

How do you display your work while making it easy for prospective clients to learn about who you are? The conclusion is simple.

A Quick-Start Guide to Measuring Your Content Marketing Efforts

Your job as a content marketer is to show your boss the money — not traffic, not links — mon-naay. Mike King talks about how to get started effectively measuring your content marketing efforts.

5 Steps to Revising Your Content Marketing Strategy to Attract and Retain Future Customers

Whether you already have a product or are just getting started, here are five steps you need to take now to attract and retain future customers of your product or service.

How to Use Customer Experience Maps to Develop a Winning Content Marketing Strategy

Eighty percent of businesses say they are delivering an excellent customer experience. But only eight percent of customers believe these companies were actually delivering. That’s a huge discrepancy. Why such a big gap?

13 Simple Questions to Help You Draft a Winning Content Strategy

Square away an afternoon, ask yourself these questions, and document the answers in a notebook, on a whiteboard, in Evernote, or in the handy PDF we’ve created for you.

How to Create a Visual Brand and Fight the Dark Forces

What can we learn about building a visual brand from Star Wars? Grab these top visual branding tips from Rainmaker Digitals’s Lead Designer Rafal Tomal.

The 5 Keys to Content Marketing Mastery

If you’re happy being an average content marketer, then you can ignore this post. But if you want to be a content marketing master, tap into these five strategies of “deliberate practice.”

The Old-School Content Marketing Strategy that Scores Freelance Writing Clients

While the Internet is more effective and efficient in many ways, you won’t want to throw this approach to getting more freelance clients in the marketing dustbin — it still works. And marvelously.

Content marketing research

Research Ain’t Easy (But it’s Necessary)

What good research does for you and your readers. The first article in a three-part series by Beth Hayden.

A 6-Step Content Marketing Research Process

What should your research process look like? What steps can you take to gather the best possible data on your target audience? Beth Hayden answers those questions.

Become a Content Marketing Secret Agent with Competitive Intelligence

Using slick online snooping techniques and a little sweat equity, we can all find out what our competitors are doing well, what they could be doing better, and how we can adapt their best techniques to improve our own businesses.

A 3-Step Process for Painless Keyword Research

How to stay focused when doing your research and how to avoid getting bogged down in the stuff that doesn’t matter. Because you will.

How to Find the Keywords that Work for Your Content Marketing Goals

Accurate keyword research helps you optimize your website for the search engines, and it also allows you to shape your content strategy. So it’s vitally important that you use smart tactics to help you do your research in a fast, efficient way.

5 Ways Listening to Community Data Can Expand Your Content Marketing Strategy

When talking about content marketing, discussions often focus on decisions about topics, headlines, platforms, and distribution. But how much do you consider the data that supports these decisions?

Why Content Marketing is a Long Game (and How to Play It)

Whether or not you know it, you’re playing a long game with content. Let’s take a look at just a few ways to improve your online strategy.

How to Determine the Potential Size of Your Content Marketing Opportunity

Are readers already displaying a passion for your space? Are they looking for the type of content you’re producing or want to produce? Are they sharing it? Eric Enge explains

Don’t Create Your Content Strategy Until You Research These 6 Things

Here are six areas you should research to avoid a content strategy that’s DOA (Dead on Arrival), so your content marketing gets — and holds — your audience’s attention.

Empathy Maps: A Complete Guide to Crawling Inside Your Customer’s Head

The media you create can attract an audience. As that audience grows, you must learn their needs, wants, hopes, and fears. That information helps you learn about a customer’s worldview.

Tap Into This Psychological Driver to Create the Ultimate Message

Want to overcome content shock? Then you need to understand your audience’s outlook. In other words, you need to tap into their worldviews.

Idea creation

Surviving “Content Shock” and the Impending Content Marketing Collapse

You and I both know that there is a hell of a lot of content out there. Here’s why Sonia Simone is not worried about it.

Conquer Content Shock with Illegitimate Ideas

An illegitimate idea is one that is unnatural — a mongrel. We don’t know its origins. It comes out of left field and is so surprising and disruptive that we halt and pay attention to it.

49 Creative Ways You Can Profit From Content Marketing

Build a membership website. Yellow page ads that look like a blog post. Address popular objections. And 46 more ideas to help stoke your content creativity.

How to Use Content to Find Customers

What do birthday cakes and content marketing have in common? More than you think.

The 10-Step Content Marketing Checklist

Sonia calls this blog post a “checklist” for building a solid content marketing platform. I prefer “law” or “commandment” because if you break one of these rules, you’ll pay.

The Powerful Resource You’ve Always Wanted When Presented with Creative Challenges

Avoid producing copycat content and discover how to create not-to-miss, valuable, unique online content that helps you achieve your business goals

Zen and the Art of Content Marketing

Content marketing in the 21st century might seem like an endless high-speed car chase. But it doesn’t have to be. Not when you apply the simple principles of quality used by this world-renowned Japanese sushi chef.

Why Content Marketing Is the New Branding

Your content defines you. And it becomes the vehicle in which you communicate promises and expectations to your customers. Check out the nifty infographic from PRWeb on different options for sharing your brand online.

How to Brainstorm Brilliant Ideas for Your Blog

You probably know what brainstorming is. But do you know how to do it correctly? Do you know what you need to do before, during, and after the event to make it actually successful? I didn’t. Not until I read this article.

How to Write 16 Knockout Articles When You Only Have One Wimpy Idea

Are you struggling to write articles for your blog? It’s time to get creative. Stefanie Flaxman describes 16 different types of blog posts that you can apply to any niche.

Content creation

Is Content Marketing a Hamster Wheel You Can’t Escape?

Here is a technique that — in exchange for some bursts of intense hard work — will bring you long breaks from the content creation hamster wheel.

The Unstoppable Rise of the Digital Content Creator

Software and digital content creators have become a powerful pair.

3 Components of a Content Marketing Editorial Calendar that Works

Are you strategic about your content creation? Or do you wing it, publishing content with a short-term view? One will help you be successful for the long-term. The other will stunt your growth.

A Simple Plan for Writing One Powerful Piece of Online Content per Week

Want a beautiful four-step procedure for creating a drop-dead gorgeous blog post each week? One that draws out the process leisurely over four days? And lets you do it in your slippers? Read on.

58 Ways to Create Persuasive Content Your Audience Will Love

You want to be a great writer. Seduce readers. Climb above the competition. If that’s you, then start with this step-by-step guide to creating ridiculously good content. Henneke doesn’t disappoint.

The Copyblogger “Secret” to Creating Better Content

Content marketers use content to advertise a product, service, or idea. You want to attract attention. Create desire. Stoke interest. But you also want readers to actually do something. Here’s how.

22 Ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don’t Have a Clue

It happens to the best bloggers and content marketers. Idea dry spells. After dipping into the well every day for months … you come up empty. This infographic is a fast and helpful tool that jump-starts the content creation process.

A Crash Course in Marketing With Stories

Stories are easily the most powerful tool in the content marketer’s arsenal. People love good stories. Stories communicate complex ideas simply. And stories stick in people’s minds. But if you don’t know how to write a good story, then they won’t help you.

How to Constantly Create Compelling Content

Where are you supposed to get all your ideas for content? The answer can be found in a little-known intersection that artists, scientists, and songwriters have been crossing for centuries.

The Simple 5-Step Formula for Effective Online Content

Effective content marketing comes down to two things: education and personality. The right combination of these two elements will lead to leaps in traffic, subscribers and — ultimately — customers.

The 3-Step Cure for Boring, Useless Content

If your business could benefit from content marketing, the worse thing you could do is avoid it. The second worst thing is to create lame content. Geoff Livingston tells you how to make sure that never happens.

The 7 Essential Steps to Creating Your Content Masterpiece

Johann Sebastian Bach — one of the greatest composers who ever lived — had one of the most grueling production schedules one could imagine. And that, my friends, is one of the reasons he cranked out so many masterpieces. Mark McGuinness explains.

How to Craft a Marketing Story that People Embrace and Share

Storytelling isn’t limited to a blog post or a sales page. Storytelling works for your overall position in a market. So, how do you write a story? Use these three steps.

Master This Storytelling Technique to Create an Irresistible Content Series

Since your competitors are likely writing about similar topics, storyboarding is a technique you can use to craft a special experience readers won’t find anywhere else. Check out this storyboarding tutorial.

Content marketing promotion

The 7 Essential Elements of Effective Social Media Marketing

Here are the seven essentials that will turn your social media marketing from an annoying time-waster to an effective bottom-line booster.

Launching a New Product? These 5 Tips Will Get You the Testimonials You Need

If your content, product, or service is new, then you’re likely wondering how to get testimonials. I show you a smart way to gather proof with these five tips.

Content Marketing Is Easier When You (Partially) Delegate These 12 Tasks

These are partial delegation workflows you can assign to someone else that will either give you back the most time or help you with activities you’ve been meaning to do but don’t get to.

How to Create an Agile Content Marketing Strategy (and Stay Sane Doing It)

Pamela Wilson admits: “I spent so much time this past year creating content that I didn’t make enough time to read. And reading is important when you’re a content creator.”

The Proper Way to Automate Your Social Media Activities (and 5 Other Best Practices)

Automating some of your content may be beneficial for both you and your audience. Keep these six automation tips in mind as you set your social media strategy.

Why Content and Social Media are a Powerful Match

It’s not enough to create jaw-dropping content. You need to take that content to your audience members, who are sitting around those digital campfires (think social media). They’re waiting for you.

The Must-Have Social Media Tool Every Content Marketer Needs

Introducing the ultra-powerful, infinitely flexible social media tool that allows you to publish effective content without holding you to any arbitrary rules. It’s not what you think. Promise.

Are You Someone’s User-Generated Content?

The dangers of failing to build a digital asset that you own are real. Casualties abound.

Traffic generation

The Right Way to Think About Google

Google is going to shift. Sometimes abruptly. You don’t need to go along for the ride. Develop a sustainable approach, and leave the panic attacks behind.

5 Ways to Get More Traffic with Content Marketing

We all want it: more traffic. But how do we get it? It’s the most common question new bloggers ask. And it’s the question seasoned bloggers never stop asking. Try these five strategies for solid, proven results.

No Blog Traffic? Here’s a Simple Strategy to Seduce Readers and Win Clients

Do you have the right building blocks in place to seduce readers and win clients? If you want to create a simple blog plan that will help you win more readers, fans, and clients, answer the five critical questions in this post.

How to Make Winning Infographics Without Risk

Research suggests that publishers who use infographics grow in traffic 12 percent more than those who don’t. This is because an infographic, unless it’s completely awful (and they exist), will more than likely go viral. Discover the best ways to create them for your content marketing.

8 Incredibly Simple Ways to Get More People to Read Your Content

Most content marketers are fighting a losing battle with obscurity. They write, publish, and promote — and get nothing out of it. That’s painful. To make matters worse, this goes on day in, day out. Follow Pamela Wilson’s advice and that will change.

Should Your Content Aim for Traffic or Conversion?

Cosmopolitan and The New Yorker approach content marketing in two entirely different ways. Both approaches are super-successful. And anybody can combine and use these approaches to create killer results.

Content marketing case studies

Our monthly Hero’s Journey feature taps the collective wisdom of our community members to bring you reports from the front lines of the content marketing world. Here are five inspiring case studies:

What The New Yorker Magazine Can Teach You About Content Marketing that Works

In a few moments, you’ll know how to not only write content that engages but that also positions you as an authority in your space and dominates in the search engines.

How Chris Brogan Built His Content Platform

Look at Mr. Brogan now and you might think he’s a “master of social media.” He rules over one of the most recognizable independent content publishing empires. But life was not always easy for him. In fact, he struggled for eight years to get 100 subscribers. Here’s his story.

5 Marketing Lessons You Can Learn from a Weird “Real World” Business

Ideas are good. They are even better when they actually work. Here’s a content marketing case study of a business that creates high-end beauty products — for dogs. Weird, but true.

What to Do When You Absolutely, Positively Must Know if Your Content Will Rock

Predicting what content will resonate with readers is tough — if not impossible. You simply cannot know unless you do this one thing. Indie band Wilco did and discovered the truth. So will you.

The Grateful Dead 4-Step Guide to the Magical Influence of Content Marketing

I can hear you now: “Are you serious? An elderly, endlessly touring hippie band can teach me something about effective content marketing?” Yes, they can. Jerry Garcia was a genius. Or should I say “guru?”

Content auditing

5 Powerful Ways to Keep Building Authority Once Your Content Has Matured

In order to keep the early momentum of your blog launch and deepen that influence, you’ve got to adjust your content strategy to reflect the new demands of your audience.

8 Conversion-Boosting Ways to Personalize Your Content

People love to get personalized content. Sadly, that message doesn’t seem to be getting through to marketers fast enough.

4 Ways to Identify Site Visitors (and Why It Matters)

“With adaptive content we are supposed to deliver the right content to the right person at the right time. But how do you even know who is on your site?” I asked. In his exquisite English accent he said, “You could start with cookies.”

A Brief Guide to Fixing Your Old, Neglected, and Broken Content

There are a number of good reasons why you shouldn’t ignore old, broken, and neglected sections of your website. Here are three benefits of attending to expired content.

Is Content Marketing Worth the Effort?

Let me be frank with you: content marketing is work. It is hard work. Hard work like laying bricks or teaching middle school children. But for the practitioner who loves the work? It’s a turn on.

Why Nobody Cares about Your Content (and What to Do About It)

Glen Allsopp of ViperChill explains how to build your personal brand and authority by giving your readers everything they want — and never once talking about yourself.

Are You Creating Meaningful Content?

Ever think to yourself, “What does this content mean? Does it even matter? Is it significant? Do my readers care?” Those are good questions to ask yourself. And here’s the five-step framework to help you answer them.

How to Beat “Invisible Content” Syndrome

I’ve got some bad news for you: every new blog is born with a disease. Professionals call it Invisible Content Syndrome — or ICS. Others call it obscurity. The good news is you can conquer it. Here’s how.

The Foolproof Cure for Weak Content: 4 Ways to Get Some Perspective

You have a sweet idea for a blog post. You pop out of bed and hammer out the first draft. When you are finished, you read what you wrote and think that sucks. Don’t worry. That happens to all of us. And there are four great ways to fix it.

The Force that Powers Persuasive Content (And 3 Ways to Intensify It)

Bet you didn’t know this, but character building and content marketing go hand in hand. There’s a person behind every piece of content. Is that person honest, credible, and an authority? If not, then here are three ways to improve those essential components.

Content business building

How to Build a Business Using Paid and Free Content

Sonia will tell you how to raise your content marketing game by creating a platinum version of your content.

How to Decide Which Content to Sell and What to Give Away for Free

Not sure how much you should give away for free? Chris Garrett helps you find the line between freely available content and content that is locked behind a paywall.

The Key to Innovative Business Ideas: Cross-Pollination

No content marketer is an island. We all know this. But we don’t always take the initiative to strategically collaborate to generate the best content marketing ideas. Pamela Wilson reveals how you can get started.

Why Content is No Longer King (And Who’s Taking His Place)

Why would a novelist claim that content is not king? I mean, come one, this guy makes his living off of huge chunks of content. Check out his surprisingly good argument.

How to Use Ebooks Strategically and Reach Your Content Marketing Goals

Have you written an ebook yet? Some of the most respected content marketers have embraced ebooks for marketing their businesses and as a source of income.

Educate to Dominate Your Competition

Want to spark the buying process in your readers without resorting to a hyped-message? Dream of making your products so irresistible that customers hardly notice your sales offers? Then use the six psychological shortcuts of influence.

How to Succeed at Content Marketing Even if Your Content Skills Suck

Still a little weak in the knees about this whole content marketing thing because, well, you just don’t have any confidence in your skills? No sweat. Half the battle is doing this one thing.

Your ultimate guide to content marketing

Remember to bookmark this post and keep it as a resource to answer all of your content marketing questions!

Editor’s note: This post is a greatly expanded and updated version of the original, which was published on October 12, 2012.

About the author

Demian Farnworth

Demian Farnworth is Chief Content Writer for Rainmaker Digital.

The post What Is Content Marketing? appeared first on Copyblogger.

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Best Times to Post on Social Media 2015 [Infographic]

“What are the best times to post on social media?” It’s a question that every person who manages social media for a company has asked herself at some point. This infographic from Start a Blog 123 does a great job of laying out the best days and times to post on various platforms […]Read more…

A complete social media guide detailing how and when to post on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn


Case Study: How to Increase Your Contest Entries 107% This Holiday Season

The holidays are a vital time for marketers. Consumer spending increases, online activity increases, and acceptance of new brands and products increases. In fact, a recent study revealed that 50% more marketing campaigns are built during the holiday months (September to December) than any other time of year […]Read more…


Case Study: How to Increase Your Contest Entries 107% This Holiday Season

HowTo: Create Powerful Infographics

How to Marry Story, Data and Images to Cut Through the Clutter and Info Overload [Infographic]

Infographics tell a story, almost any story, really well. Whether you want to communicate a few simple ideas in list form, explain some weird acronyms or if you have a new concept you want people to understand just go visual. It’s going to be fun and it will have impact. So just take the plunge, go infographic style, it will pay off in dividends.

Infographic By 

Infographic Ideas

Content Strategy: 5 Ways to Scale Your Marketing Content | Kapost

Too often, in a mad rush to drive traffic, leads and engagement, marketers lean on aggressive attention-seeking tactics without taking the time to dig into what their prospects and customers actually want. The result? They get short-lived bursts of engagement that don’t drive any revenue or new business for their company
Read More…

Liz O’Neill Dennison
Marketing Profs

Liz Dennison of Kapost on how to increase engagement by developing a scalable content strategy. The five ways she discusses are:

  • Forming a Content Board
  • Using a Content Pillar Approach
  • Creating a Collaborative Editorial Calendar
  • Implementing Workflows
  • Building a Campaign Flowchart

A collaborative editorial calendar

Your editorial calendar should include deadlines not only for publishing content,
but also submitting, editing, designing, and promoting content | Kapost



By the Numbers: Top Video SEO Techniques

A 2014 survey – fielded among 318 video production professionals – reveals that the most popular video SEO tactics are tagging videos with keyword terms (73%) and annotating videos (58%), although only 1 in 5 create video sitemaps for videos on their websites. Other results from the survey indicate that respondents are most commonly producing videos for company websites (81%) and social media sites (69%), and about 1 in 5 produce videos for email marketing (23%) and online video ads (17%).  

Marketing Charts
Read More…


Instagram is About to Change in a Huge Way: An Algorithm Based Timeline is Coming

Instagram is about to change in a massive way. The photo and video sharing app is taking a page from Facebook and testing an algorithm based timeline.
This means that photos and videos shared to Instagram will no longer appear in chronological order and will instead appear based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content and your relationship with the person posting.
The change could mean that if your best friend posted an image while you were away from your phone for a number of hours, Instagram might place that content at the top of your feed the next time you open the app.

In a blog post announcing the change on March 15, Instagram says that they’re focusing on optimizing the ordering of posts and that most users miss on average 70% of their feeds. The post goes on to explain:
As Instagram has grown, it’s become harder to keep up with all the photos and videos people share. This means you often don’t see the posts you might care about the most.
To improve your experience, your feed will soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most.
Speaking to the New York Times, Instagram co-founder, Kevin Systrom, also made reference the fact that users miss 70% of their feed, explaining: “What this is about is making sure that the 30 percent you see is the best 30 percent possible.”
Systrom appears to be very mindful of how the change may feel to the Instagram community too, “if it’s one thing we do really well as a company, it’s that we take big change slowly and deliberately and bring the community along with us,” he said. “It’s not like people will wake up tomorrow and have a different Instagram.”
Though the change is in testing with an unspecified single-digit percentage of users as of now, it’s yet to be confirmed when the change could be rolled out to all users. In their blog post, Instagram simply says the new experience will be seen in the coming months.

Using an algorithm could seem like a natural progression for Instagram. The platform currently has more than 400 million regular users. And with 75% of Instagram’s audience coming from outside the United States, Mike Krieger, Instagram’s co-founder, and chief technology officer, believes this change may face less pushback as time isn’t quite as important to Instagram’s content as it is on other platforms.
“Look at my feed now. I follow accounts from all over the world,” Krieger said to the New York Times, “it doesn’t really matter to me what time it is.”
The announcement comes fresh off the back of some research by Quintly, who analyzed 10,000 Instagram 
profiles during the full year of 2015, and found that while the number of times brands are posting to Instagram is up, their engagement is falling.
Quintly’s study found that marketing-led post frequency has increased from 0.84 posts per day to an average of 1.04 posts per day. At same the time interaction rate dropped from 4.96 to 3.10 during the year.

The results of this study could simply be down to Instagram maturing as a product. And the switch to an algorithm-lead timeline could help brands to reach their most loyal followers and improve their interaction rates.
The change could also bolster Instagram’s advertising product in the long run. If the algorithm-based timeline can succeed in showing users the most compelling and relevant content, then time people spend using Instagram could also increase, providing more opportunities to serve targeted ads to users.
Over to you
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this update. Does an algorithm based news feed feel right for Instagram? Should Twitter maybe follow suit?
Share your thoughts in the comments and I’m excited to join the conversation.
➤ Sources: Instagram, New York Times, Quintly
The post Instagram is About to Change in a Huge Way: An Algorithm Based Timeline is Coming appeared first on Social.

Blog Post Freshness: Can it be Faked?

Over the years, you've certainly read something about how Google loves fresh content. Perhaps you've read that sometimes it takes its love of freshness too far.Now it's the middle of 2015. Does freshness still play a significant role in how Google ranks search results?To find out, I decided to conduct a small experiment on a blog. Specifically, I wanted to see if my test could answer the following questions:If you update a blog post's date, will it receive a boost in the search engine results pages (SERPs)? Can you fake freshness? Do you have to make changes to the content?If there is a boost present, how long does it last?Details of the testThis test was performed on 16 blog posts on the same siteAll posts were originally published between September 2010 and March 2014. Each post was at least one year old at the time of this experiment.Each post (except No. 16) received organic traffic throughout 2014, showing an ability to consistently rank in the SERPsURLs for these posts did not changeThe content was not edited at allThe content of focused on evergreen topics (not the type of queries that would be obvious for Query Deserves Freshness (QDF)Only the publishing date was changed. On April 17th, the dates of these posts were set to either April 16th or April 15th, making them all look like they were one to two days old.Each blog post shows the publishing date on-pagePosts were not intentionally shared on social media. A few of the more trafficked posts likely received a couple of tweets/likes/pins, but nothing out of the ordinary.Google Search Console, Ahrefs and Open Site Explorer (OSE) did not show any new external links pointed at the posts during the time of testingBaseline organic trafficBefore starting the test, I took a look at how the test posts were performing in organic search.The graph below shows the organic traffic received by each of the 16 test posts for the four full weeks (March 15 – April 11) prior to the test beginning.The important thing to note here is the organic traffic received by each page was relatively static. These posts were not bouncing around, going from 200 visits to 800 visits each week. There is little variation.The blue line and corresponding number highlights the weekly average for each post, which we will compare to the graph below.Turning the test onThis one was pretty easy to implement. It took me about 15 minutes to update all of the publishing dates for the blog posts.All posts were updated on April 17th. I began collecting traffic data again on April 26th, giving Google a week to crawl and process the changes.Organic traffic after republishingAll 16 posts received a boost in organic traffic.This graph shows the average organic traffic that each post received for the first four full weeks (April 26 through May 23) after republishing.I expected a lift, but I was surprised at how significant it was.Look at some of those posts, doubling in average traffic over a one month period. Crazy.Faking the date on a blog post had a major impact on my traffic levels.Post No. 16 received a lift as well, but was too small to register on the graph. The traffic numbers for that post were too low to be statistically significant in any way. It was thrown into the test to see if a post with almost no organic traffic could become relevant entirely from freshness alone.Percentage liftThe graph below shows the percentage lift each post received in organic traffic.Post No. 14 above actually received a 663% lift, but it skewed the visibility of the chart data so much that I intentionally cut it off.The 16 posts received 3,601 organic visits in four weeks, beginning March 15 and ending April 11. (That's an average of 225 organic visits per post, per week.) In the four weeks following republishing, these 16 posts received 6,003 organic visits (an average of 375 organic visits per post, per week).Overall, there was a 66% lift.Search impressions (individual post view)Below you will find a few screenshots from Google Search Console showing the search impressions for a couple of these posts.Note: Sixteen screenshots seemed like overkill, so here are a few that show a dramatic change. The rest look very similar.What surprised me the most was how quickly their visibility in the SERPs jumped up.Keyword rankingsIt's safe to assume the lift in search impressions was caused by improved keyword rankings.I wasn't tracking rankings for all of the queries these posts were targeting, but I was tracking a few.The first two graphs above show a dramatic improvement in rankings, both going from the middle of the second page to the middle of the first page. The third graph appears to show a smaller boost, but moving a post that is stuck around No. 6 up to the No. 2 spot in Google can lead to a large traffic increase.Organic traffic (individual posts view)Here is the weekly organic traffic data for four of the posts in this test.You can see an annotation in each screenshot below on the week each post was republished. You will notice how relatively flat the traffic is prior to the test, followed by an immediate jump in organic traffic.These only contain one annotation for the sake of this test, but I recommend that you heavily annotate your analytics accounts when you make website changes.Why does this work?Did these posts all receive a major traffic boost just from faking the publishing date alone?Better internal linking? Updating a post date brings a post from deep in the archive closer to your blog's home page. Link equity should flow through to it more easily. While that is certainly true, six of the 16 posts above were linked sitewide from the blog sidebar or top navigation. I wouldn't expect those posts to see a dramatic lift from moving up in the feed because they were already well linked from the blog's navigation.Mobilegeddon update? In the Search Console screenshots above, you will see the Mobilegeddon update highlighted just a couple of days after the test began. It is clear that each post jumped dramatically before this update hit. The blog that it was tested on had been responsive for over a year, and no other posts saw a dramatic lift during this time period.Google loves freshness? I certainly think this is still the case. Old posts that rank well appear to see an immediate boost when their publishing date is updated.ConclusionsLet's take a second look at the questions I originally hoped this small test would answer:If you update a blog post's date, will it receive a boost in the SERPs? Maybe.Can you fake freshness? Yes.Do you have to make changes to the content? No.If there is a boost present, how long does it last? In this case, approximately two months, but you should test!Should you go update all your post dates?Go ahead and update a few blog post dates of your own. It's possible you'll see a similar lift in the SERPs. Then report back in a few weeks with the results in the comments on this post. First, though, remember that the posts used in my test were solid posts that already brought in organic traffic. If your post never ranked to begin with, changing the date isn't going to do much, if anything. Don't mistake this as a trick for sustained growth or as a significant finding. This is just a small test I ran to satisfy my curiosity. There are a lot of variables that can influence SEO tests, so be sure to run your own tests. Instead of blinding trusting that what you read about working for others on SEO blogs will work for you, draw your own conclusions from your own data. For now, though, "fresh" content still wins. Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don't have time to hunt down but want to read!
The post Case Study: Can You Fake Blog Post Freshness? appeared first on IMcyclopedia: Thinkers and Doers.

3 Ways to Incorporate Mobile And Social Analytics In Your Ad Campaigns

In today's competitive business environment, most advertising agencies are using data analytics to hone their clients' campaign strategies and to improve their job of targeting, tracking, and engaging customers.

With mobile commerce growing at an annual rate of 42 percent, and with one-third of online shoppers making at least one purchase via smartphone over the last 12 months (and 20 percent via tablet), marketers that ignore mobile analytics are doing themselves a major disservice. The same goes for social, where tracking, measuring, and engaging consumers via sites like Facebook and Twitter is absolutely crucial.
As an agency that was in on the ground floor of both the mobile and social advertising movements, and that has been employing analytics to create accountable advertising for decades, we can clearly see that everything digital is moving in a mobile direction. In fact, with some campaigns, we're seeing as much as 70 percent of orders coming through digital platforms – and the majority of those are being made via mobile devices, even for large, international brands.

To get a better idea of how mobile and social campaigns are performing, consider using one or all three of these ways to leverage analytics:

1) To track consumer activity via their mobile devices. While mobile devices may appear to be "untethered" and therefore more difficult to track and measure, the reality is that it's quite easy to get a grasp on "m-commerce" activity. Not only can you track the direct sales that are coming in – and what devices are being used (phones, tablets, etc.) – but you can also tie that information back to specific consumers.

This will help you create more accountable and profitable advertising in the future, and it will allow you to harness those 70+ percent of orders that will soon be coming in via mobile devices (if they aren't already). One of the simplest tools available to you is Google Mobile App Analytics, which allows you to track and measure activity taking place on your app, establish and measure goals, determine conversion rates, keep track of campaign consistency, and apply the resultant data for actionable insights.

Having this information in hand, and then analyzing it for key points and patterns, will help you develop even more effective mobile campaigns in the future.

2) To parlay social activity into key campaign goals. What started out as a fun way for friends to keep in touch and share photos with one another has transformed into a powerful advertising and sales tools for organizations of all sizes.

Today, platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are being folded into the campaigns of even the largest, most well known brands. And while tracking the performance of such efforts was elusive until recently, today's companies are keeping closer tabs on their social activity and using the information garnered to hone their campaigns.

"In 2015, there are now companies whose sole job is to sift through social data and find emerging clues and patterns. Facebook has a billion users, Twitter has hundreds of millions, and LinkedIn is the de facto professional networking site," writes Jonathan Hassell in CIO.

Remember that social allows you to track more than just "who is Tweeting about you" or "who is posting information about your firm on Facebook." It also helps you measure brand awareness, hone campaign goals, and determine the best possible approach for a specific marketer (brand awareness vs. direct sales vs. consumer engagement, and so forth).

3) To "listen" to your customers in new and innovative ways. There was a time when companies had to rely on "live" focus groups, written surveys, and customer feedback forms to find out exactly what their target customer groups were thinking. Today, most of that information is available online and a lot of it is at the marketer's fingertips (as in, the company doesn't have to ask for it).

"If your customers are talking about you, you want to hear what they're saying. If you're spending good money to talk at them, why not devote some percentage to listening to what they have to say?" writes Mikal E. Belicove in Entrepreneur. "Research shows that the conversations your customers have among themselves drive about 13 percent of business decisions and can amplify your advertising by 15 percent."

Becoming that "fly on the wall" is fairly simple. If you're running an engagement campaign, for example, look at whether customers are tweeting and/or re-tweeting information about their experiences with the product. If it's a direct sales campaign, then pay close attention to how those social interactions parlay into mobile and/or online sales.

In the end, the only way to determine the effectiveness of a campaign's mobile or social efforts is by taking a hard look at the data and then using that information to take action. While this step was easy to ignore just 5-10 years ago, agencies that don't take the time to effectively measure their mobile and social efforts are doing their clients a disservice and overlooking a large chunk of potential business.

This guest article was written by Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, CEO of Hawthorne Direct.

8 ways to use data to tell a compelling story

This article is part of SWOT Team, a series on Mashable that features insights from leaders in marketing, brand-building and public relations.
The increased use of data in journalism has paralleled the overall rise of big data. Today's strongest stories use real data that can enhance, corroborate or even challenge facts. In Newhouse’s [email protected] program, we are exploring this very topic.
Based on some of the key takeaways from our data-driven journalism course, we’ve compiled best practices for making the most of your data.
See also: 3 ways small businesses can use video marketing Read more…More about Storytelling, Big Data, Business, Marketing, and Media

Your Connected Product Could Be Your Best Customer Engagement Tool

Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, futurist and author of X, What’s the Future of Business (WTF), Engage! and The End of Business As Usual.In a time when connectedness is part of everyday life and people have become online media platforms, customer experiences either work for a company or against it. Those experiences, now widely spread and shared so easily, have become the new brand. Brands are, as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos once put it, "what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” See also: The Biggest Digital Marketing Mistakes Entrepreneurs MakeThink about all the ways businesses have to engage customers before, during and after the transaction: social, mobile, digital (i.e. web), wearable devices, email, POS, signage, packaging, word of mouth, and so on. There’s also an entirely new channel arising that's flying under the radar of marketers today.While not new to engineers, developers and savvy tech execs, the Internet of things (IoT) is set to become the next big trend for marketers and anyone leading service and support, product management and e-commerce initiatives. Connecting The DotsMy colleague at Altimeter (now part of Prophet) Jessica Groopman learned in her latest research on IoT that consumers are expected to own over 20 simultaneous connected devices by the year 2020. Some of us are already close. For those unfamiliar with IoT and its relationship to customer experience, think of it this way: Imagine that everything is connected to the Internet via a private network—your camera, watch, car, printer, oven, thermostat, lights, and more. Now imagine that each device learns how you use it. Not only does the user experience improve through technology, but the information is managed through an intelligent customer relationship management (CRM) system of sorts. The manufacturer can learn about the customer's usage, behavior and preferences, and also anticipate needs—all in the name of personalizing and improving the user experience. Doc Searls, author of the groundbreaking book The Cluetrain Manifesto (1999), introduced the concept of "Products-as-Platforms” a couple of years ago. He asked businesses to look at possibilities beyond marketing gimmicks. He envisioned a scenario in which customers were in control of relationships before, during and after transactions. He called this VRM, or vendor relationship management. His point was that people should be in control of relationships and products, acting as conduits, not dumb terminals. Products, As Customer Engagement ToolsImagine that your printer is running out of ink. Instead of merely displaying an alert, the same screen could connect you to Amazon or your favorite retailer to order replacements. See also: How Your Need For Detergent And Coffee Will Fuel Amazon's Smart HomeAmazon’s Dash button offers a similar premise, but requires manual input. However, this could happen even before you’ve run out, because the printer already knows your usage behavior and has anticipated the need. This idea of “in product communication” is what companies like Aviata are working on. If they succeed, VRM not only becomes a viable option, it may even change the game for customer experience and ultimately the mathematics of the lifetime value of a customer. Within the context of IoT, products can continue to work for your company, even after they’ve been purchased. These items could open new channels of proactive engagement, allowing you to redefine customer engagement beyond all of the channels you lean on today.In other words, the product itself becomes a tool for engagement and personalized "experience architecture.” This is basis for the future of customer experience, a foundation based on personalization, meaningful engagement and additive value. This new type of product communication is incredibly promising. It could change the dynamic for how companies build relationships with their customers, beyond warranty registrations and product support. This is the future of customer relationships. What it takes is to get there is vision, purpose, a sharp eye for what your users need, and the drive to give it to them. Lead photo by William Murphy

HowTo: Use Schema Markup to Boost Your Rankings Overnight

The new advice for content writers is: write for your visitors, and let Google worry about the rest.

It’s not bad advice. In fact, that’s what the writer should do. However, SEOs can, and often should, optimize that content further.

Even if you write all your content yourself, you need to play the parts of both the writer and the SEO.

How can you optimize your content further?

One main way, that is heavily underutilized, is through Schema Markup.

seo traffic

Schema Markup Gives You an Edge

Every little edge you can get when it comes to SEO can be the difference between a bit of search traffic and a ton of traffic.

That’s why it’s so important to take advantage of opportunities such as schema markup once you find out they exist.

Schema markup can lead to rich snippets, which will give you an instant boost to your organic search traffic.

If you read every word in this post, then you know what schema is and how to implement it on your site(s).

I encourage you to apply it on a small scale first and then adapt it on a larger scale if you’re happy with the results.

Neil Patel


A Visual Guide: Keyword Targeting and On-Page SEO

This article by Rand Fishkin (MOZ) gives his perspective on creating the  perfectly optimized page. Noting the evolution of search engines as well as other sources of traffic — (social networks, referring links, email, blogs), he says:

My perspective is certainly not gospel, but it’s informed by years of experience, testing, failure, and learning alongside a lot of metrics from Moz’s phenomenal data science team. I don’t think there’s one absolute right way to optimize a page, but I do think I can share a lot about the architecture of how to target content and increase the likelihood that it will:

A) Have the best opportunity to rank highly in Google and Bing

B) Earn traffic from social networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, etc.

C) Be worthy of links and shares from across the web

D) Build your brand’s perception, trust, and potential to convert visitors

Read More on On-Page SEO…


Uniquely Valuable Content

An optimized page doesn’t just provide unique content, but  unique value. What’s the difference?

  • Unique content simply means that those words, in that order, don’t appear anywhere else on the web.
  • Unique value refers to the usefulness and takeaways derived by visitors to the page. Many pages can be “valuable,” but few provide a truly unique kind of value — one that can’t be discovered on other pages targeting that keyword phrase.

























About Me

Hi, I'm Dianna. This is my personal site, where I curate content on social, mobile and other emerging media: why it matters, how it influences the way we live, work and play, as well as the resulting disruptive and strategic implications for our industry. You can learn more about the professional me on on my other site:

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Content Delivery Network: Does Your Blog Need One?

Having a Content Delivery Network can make a huge impact on your website. Below are some of the advantages that we have seen on our site by using a CDN:

  • Speed – Once we started using a CDN on our site, the site got faster.
  • Crash Resistance – Thanks to you guys for sharing our articles, we have received huge spells of traffic from social media on some of our articles. If it wasn’t for the proper CDN and caching setup, then our site would crash so many times. CDN allows us to distribute the load to multiple servers instead of having 100% traffic to our main server thus making it less likely to crash.
  • Improved User Experience – Since we started using a CDN, we have noticed a decline in bounce rate on our site. Furthermore, we have also seen increased in pageviews and numbers of pages viewed by each user. So clearly a fast site means improved user experience.
  • Improvement in SEO – Google has clearly stated that faster sites tend to rank higher in Search Engines. We have noticed our site ranking higher once we did the optimization on our site.

Read More…


What is a CDN and Why you need a CDN

Blog Post Freshness: Can it be Faked?

Over the years, you’ve certainly read something about how Google loves fresh content. Perhaps you’ve read that sometimes it takes its love of freshness too far.

Now it’s the middle of 2015. Does freshness still play a significant role in how Google ranks search results? To find out, I decided to conduct a small experiment on a blog. Specifically, I wanted to see if my test could answer the following questions: If you update a blog post’s date, will it receive a boost in the search engine results pages (SERPs)? Can you fake blog post freshness? Do you have to make changes to the content?If there is a boost present, how long does it last?

Read more…

Rand Fishkin

Content Delivery Network

A Content Delivery Network or Content Distribution Network (CDN) is a large network of servers, which delivers content from website to end-user based on the user’s geographic location

The goal of a CDN is to serve content to end-users with high availability and high performance. As such, it uses geographical proximity as a criterion for delivering Web content.

This diagram shows the difference in set-up between a single-server distribution versus a CDN


MOZ Stream

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