5 tips for writing readable blog posts

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Reading from a screen can be difficult, so if you want people to read your whole blog post, it must be easy to read. This will get you more returning visitors and a higher conversion rate. Luckily, improving the readability of your content is something you can do relatively easily, to give your site a quick boost during these difficult times. This post gives you five top tips for writing readable articles. To make improving readability even easier, Yoast SEO offers a readability check! It’s available in several languages and we add new languages regularly, check out which features are available in your language.

Focus on your audience

Remember the most important advice I can give you: Make sure your text is pitched at the right level for your audience. If you write about LEGO and your content is aimed at kids, then it should be really easy to read. But, if your audience is scientists with a Ph.D., your text can be much more challenging and still be appropriate. The five tips below should, therefore, be seen as guidelines. For some audiences, text could be made even simpler, while for other audiences the rules will be a little too strict. If you’d like to dive a little deeper into the art of copywriting for both people and SEO, consider taking our SEO copywriting course, part of our Yoast Academy training subscription.

Read more: Readability: Dumbing down or opening up? »

Tip 1: Write clear paragraphs

Make sure you write clear paragraphs. For a blog post, we advise you always start a paragraph with the most important sentence, then explain or elaborate on that sentence. This helps a reader to grasp the concept of your article, just by reading the first sentence of each paragraph. Make sure your paragraphs aren’t too long either (7 or 8 sentences is quite long enough).

Tip 2: Write short sentences

Try to write short sentences. Shorter sentences are easier to read and understand than longer ones. Also, you’re likely to make fewer grammatical errors as your sentences are nice and short. We consider sentences containing more than 20 words to be too long. If you’re writing in English, make sure you only have a few sentences of 20 words or more in a blog post, but each language has its own limits. Also, make sure paragraphs don’t have more than one long sentence each.

Tip 3: Limit difficult words

Limit the use of words that are difficult to read. Remember that reading from a screen is harder for everyone. Words with four or more syllables are considered difficult to read, so avoid them where possible.

Of course, sometimes your blog post is about something that’s hard to explain or requires a more advanced vocabulary. For example, I wrote a post about illustrations. The word ‘illustrations’ has four syllables and can be seen as a difficult word, but I still had to use it (and quite often too). In cases like this, make sure your sentences and paragraphs aren’t too long, and your readers will still be fine!

On a side note, unless you’re focusing on a niche market, difficult words usually make less useful focus keywords for a page. In the example above, ‘images’ or ‘visuals’ might have been a better choice. Remember the most important thing is that your focus keyword fits the subject of the post. Proper keyword research will give you better alternatives for difficult keywords.

Tip 4: Use transition words

You can make your writing much more readable by using proper transition words (or signal words – the same thing). Transition words are words like ‘most important’, ‘because’, ‘therefore’, or ‘besides that’. They give direction to your readers. These words give a signal that something is coming up: if you’re summarizing, you’ll use ‘first’, ‘second’, ‘third’, etc. If you want to compare, you’ll write ‘same’, ‘less’, ‘rather’, ‘while’ or ‘either’. If you want to conclude, you’ll use ‘hence’, ‘consequently’ or ‘therefore’.

Using transition words is a bit like putting cement between your sentences. The relationship between two sentences becomes apparent through the use of transition words. Readers will understand your content much better if you use these kinds of words properly.

Tip 5: Use variation!

For a piece to be attractive to a reader, it should be varied – you should try to avoid repetition and shake things up a little! Alternate longer paragraphs and sentences with shorter ones and try using synonyms if you tend to use a particular word too often. Some people use the words ‘and’ or ‘too’ a lot. Mixing these with words like ‘also’ or ‘moreover’ could make your writing more attractive – and much more readable too.

Use Yoast SEO

To help you write readable copy we offer a readability check in Yoast SEO. It checks the length of your sentences and paragraphs, and whether you use transition words or subheadings. What’s more, it assesses your use of passive voice. It also calculates the Flesch Reading Ease score of the piece, a formula that indicates how easy to understand your text is. Check out the readability score of this text

The Yoast readability analysis will help you quickly find things to improve.

Conclusion

If you want your readers to get to the end of your blog post, make sure that your text is easy to read. Don’t make your text more difficult than you have to. Avoid long sentences and write clear paragraphs. Tools like Grammarly and Hemingway can help you to write more readable text. And, if you use our Yoast SEO plugin you get a readability check on your content as well, so you’ll be able to check whether your writing is SEO-friendly and readable at the same time!

Keep reading: Blogging: the ultimate guide »

The post 5 tips for writing readable blog posts appeared first on Yoast.

April 30th 2020 blogging

The Key to Long-Term Traffic and Profit for Your Blog

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The post The Key to Long-Term Traffic and Profit for Your Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.

The key to long-term traffic and profit for your blog

This post is based on episode 201 of the ProBlogger podcast.

“How do you create content that goes viral?”

I remember getting this question from a new blogger. They wanted a post to go viral on their blog, thinking it would suddenly shoot their blog’s traffic and profit into the stratosphere.

And who knows? It may have done just that. Unfortunately, without having plenty of content in their archive there’s a good chance those numbers would have come crashing down pretty quickly.

So I told this particular blogger what they needed to hear rather than what they wanted to hear. And I thought it would be worth sharing what I said with you all this week.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with writing content that might be shared hundreds or even thousands of times. I often talk about how important it is to write sharable content. But ‘going viral’ won’t necessarily give you the sustained traffic you need to make it as a full-time blogger.

While some bloggers may have achieved overnight success on the back of a single post, in most cases it took months (if not years) for them to become full-time bloggers. I’ve met thousands of bloggers over the years, and the fastest any of them have reached the full-time level is four months. And that was certainly the exception to the rule.

Most people take a longer to reach full-time status. And they achieve it by taking one step at a time.

The thrill

In the early days of Digital Photography School, I was obsessed with having my posts go viral.

And in January 2007 it finally happened.

The blog was about seven months old at the time, and I was averaging around 4,000 visitors a day. I certainly wasn’t complaining about the traffic I had, which came from a combination of:

  • readers from my previous photography blog
  • lots of evergreen content
  • ranking relatively well in search.

But I’d been sitting on that number for a while, and I was no longer satisfied. I wanted more traffic, and I began to look at what other sites were doing.

I was particularly drawn to social bookmarking sites such as dig.com, which were huge at the time. I started analyzing the content being shared a lot on these sites. And I discovered certain characteristics they all shared.

I started writing similar content to those posts being shared over and over. It was quite different to the content I’d written so far. My posts became quite ‘fluffy’ – not very deep, and not very helpful either to be honest. They were written more to create controversy than to help anyone. And they all had titles that were practically clickbait.

And then I’d pitch them to sites by saying, “Here’s a post that might interest you and your readers”.

One of the sites I pitched my posts to was Lifehacker. And when they took the bait and linked to one of those posts, my traffic doubled overnight.

But that was just the beginning. The next day it was picked by digg.com, and I ended up with more than 100,000 visitors in a single day. I can still remember sitting at my computer, watching my stats climb every time I refreshed the page.

It was an incredible rush. And with it came the feeling that I’d finally be able to blog full-time.

The aftermath

But those incredible numbers didn’t last long, and the next day I had 4,100 visitors.

I was so disappointed.

I understand why so many people want their content to go viral. Getting that rush of traffic was amazing, and I doubt I’ll ever forget how I felt that morning. But despite trying to get all those new readers to read another post, sign up for my RSS feed and follow me on Twitter, I never got that traffic again.

For the next month my traffic was back to around 4,000 visitors a day. It started getting me down – I really wanted another rush of traffic. I wrote more posts like the first one, trying to recreate the scenario. But none of them took off. I pitched almost every post I wrote to Lifehacker, but they didn’t link to any of them. I even tried to game Digg and get my post voted up there, without success.

I was obsessed with going viral again. I desperately wanted a repeat of my earlier ‘success’. But all it did was encourage me to write more fluffy content designed to trigger shares rather than serve my readers. And while I did manage to get a few more posts to go viral, the spike in traffic lasted just as long.

The reality

My obsession with going viral continued for months. And then one day I realized what my 4,000-visitors-a-day figure really meant.

I had 4,000 people coming to my site every day. Out of all the web sites on the internet, they were making a conscious decision to spend some of their time on mine. And while I wasn’t getting 100,000 visitors a day, those numbers meant I was getting around 120,000 visitors a month.

Which was definitely worth celebrating.

But I also realized they were now getting short-changed. Because each time they visited they were getting formulaic headlines and fluffy content written specifically to be shared rather than to solve their problems.

And that had to change.

I changed not only what I wrote, but how I wrote. My new goal was to serve the readers I already had, and to grow my traffic slowly over time rather than in one big hit.

Of course, to serve my readers I had to know what they wanted. So I asked them by sending out surveys with questions such as:

  • “Who are you?”
  • “What problems are you having?”
  • “What questions do you need answered?”

From those surveys I learned a lot about my readers, the problems they faced and what they wanted to know about. And I wrote content specifically to answer their question and try to solve their problems rather than to get clicks. And because I wasn’t continually refreshing my stats to see whether I’d managed to go viral again, I had a lot more time to write it.

Not only was I writing more useful content, I was also writing more of it. I quickly went from four posts a week to five, seven and eventually ten.

The human touch

Another bonus was I also had more time to interact with my readers. I started responding to comments more often, and we started a forum to try and build a community there.

I also started taking advantage of the traffic I was getting by encouraging those visitors to become subscribers. I focused more on building my email list and creating email content that would engage those readers and bring them back to the site again and again.

I still tried to write the occasional piece of shareable content. But rather than try to hit the ball out of the park with every post, I’d try it once in a dozen or so posts.

And as it turned out, whenever I did write sharable content my writers happily shared it for me because I was serving them better.

Again, they were just spikes rather than a massive growth for my blog. But they certainly helped in terms of social proof.

A month after deciding to focus on my readers rather than my traffic, I was getting 4,500 visitors a day. Three months later that figure had grown to 6,000 visitors a day. And a year later my blog was getting 9,000 visitors a day.

It still gets the occasional spike in traffic. But those spikes are just a bonus. My goal is to grow my traffic from day to day and have people stick around for the long term.

And now, getting 100,000 visitors a day is normal for us. But only because I stopped chasing viral traffic and started creating content to help my readers.

The lesson

I honestly hope you get to experience that moment when one of your posts goes viral and your traffic goes through the roof. But don’t let it distract you from your long-term goals. Remember why you started blogging in the first place. And never take the fact people are choosing to visit your blog again and again for granted.

Look after them. And in the years to come, they will look after you.

Image credit: George Pagan III

The post The Key to Long-Term Traffic and Profit for Your Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

April 30th 2020 Uncategorized

5 Examples of Effective B2B Content Marketing in Times of Crisis

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Woman wearing facemark image.

Woman wearing facemark image.

There has been no greater disruption to business in the modern era than the COVID-19 pandemic. For many, it seems as though the world has stopped turning. For marketers, it seems as though now is the worst time to try to promote anything.

But as our CEO, Lee Odden, said, “While there will be a period of adjustment, these changes do not mean the work stops. It doesn’t mean companies don’t need information, solutions, support, products and services.”

And he couldn’t be more right. Your audience may even have a greater need now for your solutions or expertise. They’re trying to navigate through this uncertain time, too. And they’re looking for help now more than ever before.

To help you answer those calls for help and know what types of content are successful in times of crisis, I’ve gathered five examples of effective B2B content marketing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

#1 – HealthcareSource

Healthcare workers have always been essential. And with a pandemic afoot, they’ve become the most essential. As a result, hospitals and healthcare providers need to ensure they’re fully staffed, but that’s easier said than done. Declining revenues have led to job cuts. Doctors catching the virus has led to job growth. Hiring for healthcare is undergoing constant fluctuations.

As a proven talent management software for healthcare providers, HealthcareSource saw that they were in a unique position to help. Through a long, thoughtful blog post, loaded with examples from healthcare systems around the world, HealthcareSource created a great resource to help healthcare organizations manage their hiring, onboarding, and talent acquisition strategies. They also created an on-demand webinar with in-depth tactics on how to manage these constant fluctuations in job demand and supply.

Healthcare Source Screenshot

#2 – Zoom

Zoom, a favorite video conferencing tool for any organization, has seen their number of daily active users jump from only 10 million to over 200 million in just three months. They’ve grown from hosting business meetings to hosting virtual classes, happy hours among friends, family game nights, and more for hundreds of millions of people. COVID-19 and social distancing have invariably helped grow their user base. However, that comes with its own set of challenges.

They now have to train hundreds of millions of people on how to use Zoom, how to adjust their mic settings, how to ensure their Zoom is secure and private. They’re users needed support, fast. So they created an in-depth COVID-19 resource with every relevant training users could need. But what makes this resource even more helpful is that they segmented it based on use-cases. Need help while working remotely? You have your own section. Need help teaching your class? You have your own section, too. It’s a great example of how tailoring content for each audience segment creates a better experience; help is easier to find and the experience feels more personalized.

 

Zoom Screenshot

[bctt tweet=”“Tailoring content for each audience segment creates a better experience.” — Anne Leuman @annieleuman” username=”toprank”]

#3 – monday.com*

Lockdown. Quarantine. Social distancing. Between those three mandates, it’s clear to see why the number of people working remotely is reaching unprecedented heights. For monday.com, a work operating system provider, this presented an interesting opportunity. They saw that teams needed help transitioning to a remote work environment with the least amount of friction. They needed help ensuring they had the right technology, process, and structures to make remote work successful. They needed help knowing how to best use monday.com remotely instead of in a physical office.

To ease the remote work transition, monday.com created a new page on their website educating others on how to use their software for remote work. This new page helps existing clients and potential prospects on how monday.com can help ease the challenges of working remotely. They also made the smart decision of adding this page to their main site navigation, making it extremely easy for visitors to access. In addition to this new product page, the team at monday.com also created a custom video and content hub to ensure their users can get answers to all of their questions.

monday.com Screenshot

*monday.com is a TopRank Marketing client.

#4 – Slack

Slack was already a popular piece of software for any business, helping streamline team communications and collaboration. With more workers at home, I’m sure businesses — including our own — have become even more reliant on Slack to carry the burden of all text communication between teams. And while they could have taken a page from Zoom or monday.com and created dedicated resources to help train new users or customers who may be relying on Slack a bit more during this time, they didn’t. They saw a different opportunity to help their audience.

During a crisis, the value of information skyrockets. Business leaders want to know; what’s happening to the economy? Will their market be impacted? How is this affecting their workforce? Slack created a report to help answer those questions, especially as it relates to remote workers and the challenges they face. They recognized that key decision makers in their target audience desired more information to help them solve top challenges like transitioning to remote work, improving their employee experience, and more. With this report, they were able to provide those insights, helping their audience optimize how they work together during a pandemic.

Slack Screenshot

#5 – Dropbox

Do you know what distributed work is? I didn’t know what it was, either. And this is where Dropbox’s latest content marketing really shines.

Dropbox saw that while most of the world was focusing on transitioning to remote work, they really needed to focus on distributed work. Organizations sorely needed to be educated on the difference between the two and how they require different strategies. As Dropbox points out, “remote work is a discipline for the individual worker, but distributed work is a discipline for the entire organization.” That’s a very important distinction to make as organizations attempt to navigate social distancing and still get the work done.

Their thought leadership content around distributed work is truly eye-opening. Positioned high up on their blog and given its own content hub, their distributed work content is a must-read for any organization operating remotely during this time. And it all happened because they recognized a key, relevant term that not many were focusing on.

Dropbox Screenshot

Be Helpful. Be Successful.

The true key to success in B2B content marketing is to always come from a place of empathy. The more you’re able to understand and empathize with your target audience, the more likely you are to surface content opportunities that help them overcome their pain points and challenges. And helping them = success.

That doesn’t change even in times of crisis. In fact, it becomes all the more important. Use the B2B content marketing examples above as a guide when creating your own content and remember to be empathetic to their needs.

If you want to help your audience during this time, learn how to build trust with your audience through authentic content.

April 30th 2020 Uncategorized

Stopping bad ads to protect users

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People trust Google when they’re looking for information, and we’re committed to ensuring they can trust the ads they see on our platforms, too. This commitment is especially important in times of uncertainty, such as the past few months as the world has confronted COVID-19. 

Responding to COVID-19

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve closely monitored advertiser behavior to protect users from ads looking to take advantage of the crisis. These often come from sophisticated actors attempting to evade our enforcement systems with advanced tactics. For example, as the situation evolved, we saw a sharp spike in fraudulent ads for in-demand products like face masks. These ads promoted products listed significantly above market price, misrepresented the product quality to trick people into making a purchase or were placed by merchants who never fulfilled the orders. 

We have a dedicated COVID-19 task force that’s been working around the clock. They have built new detection technology and have also improved our existing enforcement systems to stop bad actors. These concerted efforts are working. We’ve blocked and removed tens of millions of coronavirus-related ads over the past few months for policy violations including price-gouging, capitalizing on global medical supply shortages, making misleading claims about cures and promoting illegitimate unemployment benefits.

Simultaneously, the coronavirus has become an important and enduring topic in everyday conversation and we’re working on ways to allow advertisers across industries to share relevant updates with their audiences. Over the past several weeks, for example, we’ve specifically helped NGOs, governments, hospitals and healthcare providers run PSAs. We continue to take a measured approach to adjusting our enforcement to ensure that we are protecting users while prioritizing critical information from trusted advertisers.

Preserving the integrity of the ecosystem

Preserving the integrity of the ads on our platforms, as we’re doing during the COVID-19 outbreak, is a continuation of the work we do every day to minimize content that violates our policies and stop malicious actors. We have thousands of people working across our teams to make sure we’re protecting our users and enabling a safe ecosystem for advertisers and publishers, and each year we share a summary of the work we’ve done.

In 2019, we blocked and removed 2.7 billion bad ads—that’s more than 5,000 bad ads per minute. We also suspended nearly 1 million advertiser accounts for policy violations. On the publisher side, we terminated over 1.2 million accounts and removed ads from over 21 million web pages that are part of our publisher network for violating our policies. Terminating accounts—not just removing an individual ad or page—is an especially effective enforcement tool that we use if advertisers or publishers engage in egregious policy violations or have a history of violating policy.

2.7 billion taken down.gif

Improving enforcement against phishing and “trick-to-click” ads 

If we find specific categories of ads are more prone to abuse, we prioritize our resources to prevent bad actors from taking advantage of users. One of the areas that we’ve become familiar with is phishing, a common practice used by deceptive players to collect personal information from users under false pretenses. For example, in 2019 we saw more bad actors targeting people seeking to renew their passport. These ads mimicked real ads for renewal sites but their actual intent was to get users to provide sensitive information such as their social security or credit card number. Another common area of abuse is “trick-to-click” ads—which are designed to trick people into interacting with them by using prominent links (for example, “click here”) often designed to look like computer or mobile phone system warnings.

Because we’ve come to expect certain recurring categories like phishing and “trick-to-click,” we’re able to more effectively fight them. In 2019, we assembled an internal team to track the patterns and signals of these types of fraudulent advertisers so we could identify and remove their ads faster. As a result, we saw nearly a 50 percent decrease of bad ads served in both categories from the previous year. In total, we blocked more than 35 million phishing ads and 19 million “trick-to-click” ads in 2019.

Top Offenders.png

Adapting our policies and technology in real time

Certain industries are particularly susceptible to malicious behavior. For example, as more consumers turn to online financial services over brick and mortar locations, we identified an increase in personal loan ads with misleading information on lending terms. To combat this, we broadened our policy to only allow loan-related ads to run if the advertiser clearly states all fees, risks and benefits on their website or app so that users can make informed decisions. This updated policy enabled us to take down 9.6 million of these types of bad ads in 2019, doubling our number from 2018. 

At the end of last year, we also introduced a certification program for debt management advertisers in select countries that offer to negotiate with creditors to remedy debt or credit problems. We know users looking for help with this are often at their most vulnerable and we want to create a safe experience for them. This new program ensures we’re only allowing advertisers who are registered by the local regulatory agencies to serve ads for this type of service. We’re continuing to explore ways to scale this program to more countries to match local finance regulations. 

Looking forward

Maintaining trust in the digital advertising ecosystem is a top priority for Google. And with global health concerns now top of mind for everyone, preparing for and responding to attempts to take advantage of our users is as important as it has ever been. We know abuse tactics will continue evolving and new societal issues will arise. We’ll continue to make sure we’re protecting our users, advertisers and publishers from bad actors across our advertising platforms. 

April 30th 2020 Uncategorized

Low-budget branding for small businesses

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Over the years, we’ve written quite a few articles about branding. Branding is about getting people to relate to your company and products. It’s also about trying to make your brand synonymous with a certain product or service. This can be a lengthy and hard project. It can potentially cost you all of your revenue. It’s no wonder that branding is often associated with investing lots of money in marketing and promotion. However, for a lot of small business owners, the investment in branding will have to be made with a relatively small budget — especially during a crisis. 

You might be a local bakery with 10 employees, or a local industrial company employing up to 500 people. These all can be qualified as ‘small business’. All have the same main goal when they start: the need to establish a name in their field of expertise. There are multiple ways to do this, without a huge budget. In this post, I’ll share my thoughts on how to go about your own low-budget branding.

Define and communicate brand values

Branding with a limited budget starts with defining your company’s and your brand’s values. You need to think about what you, as a brand, want to communicate to the world. Doing this yourself won’t cost you, provided you are capable of doing this yourself. In fact, it’s a pretty hard task, when you think of it. It’s about your mission, the things that make your brand into your brand. Brand values relate to Cialdini’s seventh principle, Unity.

My favorite example illustrating unity: outdoor brands like Patagonia and The North Face, which make you feel included in their business ‘family’. “We are all alike, share the same values.” By being able to relate to these brands and their values, we are more enticed to buy their products. It’s a brand for us, outdoor people.

Take some time to define your brand values. That way, you’re able to communicate your main message in a clear and consistent way. It makes your marketing all the easier. You’ll be able to create brand ambassadors, even on a budget.

Come up with a proper tagline

Once you have defined your brand values, it’s time to summarize them all into one single tagline. For example, WordPress’ mission is to “democratize publishing“. In your tagline, you formulate your values and make sure your added value for the customer, user or visitor is also reflected. Again, be consistent. If you set a tagline, your actions and products should relate to that tagline, actually, even be based upon it. It summarizes your business.

Rethink your logo

Having a great logo is essential. When designing that logo, you’ll have to keep in mind that it’s probably something you’ll have for years. It’s the main thing – besides yourself – that will trigger (brand) recognition. It’s not that you can never change your logo, but don’t ‘just’ add a logo. Think about how it stands out from other logos, for instance on a local sponsor board.

Design that logo, print it, stick it on your fridge for a week or so, and see if there’s anything about it that starts to annoy you. If so, it’s back to the drawing board. Feel like you don’t relate to it in terms of business values or even personality? Back to the drawing board. When talking about low-budget branding, designing a great logo is probably your most expensive task.

Online low-budget branding

The online world is a great place to work on your low-budget branding. You need to establish a name in your field of expertise, and the surplus of social media can facilitate that by giving you a free platform.

Social media

I do a lot of local networking, because I really like the city we live in, and the huge variety of entrepreneurs that work in our hometown Wijchen. During network meetings, one of the phrases I often hear is: “Social media just takes me too much time”. To be honest, it might be wise to change your mindset about the costs and start seeing the revenue social media can bring you. It really is the easiest and probably one of the cheapest ways to promote your brand. Basically, the only cost is time investment (depending on how aggressively you want to use the medium). It may take a while before you find a strategy and/or platform that works, so give it some time and don’t just throw in the towel!

Read more: Social media for small business owners »

Share your expertise

You can use Twitter to stay in touch with like-minded business owners. Discover the huge number of Facebook groups in your area, and/or in your field of expertise. Bond with people that share the same values. Feel free to answer questions in your field of business and do this with confidence. Position yourself as the go-to company for these questions. Help people that way and create brand ambassadors. You really have to put some effort into establishing your position. It won’t happen overnight.

A bit of an extreme example: before Yoast became a business, Joost was already sharing content/expertise and our open source software. He engaged actively in forum and social media discussions about WordPress and SEO. Commenting on other people’s blogs. Time before revenue: 8 years. I’m not saying you need to wait eight years before making money with your passion. But I do think that you should be able to write, comment and take a stand in topics that matter to you from the start.

Make yourself visible

Eventually, it all comes back to business values. Everything you communicate should reflect these values. It’ll give you guidelines and will make sure your message is delivered in the same way, always. Low-budget branding is about just that: making yourself visible, in a consistent way.

Keep reading: The ultimate guide to small business SEO »

The post Low-budget branding for small businesses appeared first on Yoast.

April 29th 2020 Uncategorized

Why B2B Marketers Should Give a DAM: Top Tips on Digital Asset Management

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Businesswoman at wall of digital assets image.

Businesswoman at wall of digital assets image.

Why should B2B marketers give a DAM?

When that DAM is digital asset management, you’re looking at a system that will improve all forms of online marketing, whether it’s B2B influencers, social, search, content, video or always-on marketing.

It’s also one of the top investments an organization can make for successfully leveraging a digital environment that will only expand with more data in the coming years.

It’s no wonder the global DAM market was valued at $3.4 billion in 2019, and is expected to reach $8.5 billion by 2025, according to report data from IMARC.

Just What Are Digital Assets?

Robot with magnifying glass looking at file folders image.

As we explored in our introduction to DAM technology, “Why Digital Asset Management Matters in B2B Marketing,” digital assets are simply any computer files, stored anywhere — whether on your phone, tablet, desktop, network, or in the cloud.

DAM software runs either on a local computer network or in the cloud, and is built to pull in and make it easy to organize an unlimited number of files — all those digital assets that organizations create and use daily.

The more complex your marketing strategies and organization are, the greater the benefits of DAM will be, especially when accumulated over time.

The pandemic has also brought to light weaknesses for some organizations, as remote workers place additional strains on systems not necessarily designed for unified online access to digital asset libraries.

Let’s look at how adding a DAM system to your mix can help improve six major forms of digital marketing.

[bctt tweet=”“The more complex your marketing strategies and organization are, the greater the benefits of digital asset management (DAM) will be, especially over time.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

1 — Use DAM to Augment Your Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing campaigns, especially in the B2B realm, can involve many people and projects, often with a variety of images, document files, videos, and other digital assets.

Tracking multiple versions of files — with varieties specifically created for each social media platform involved in a campaign — can get complicated, and many firms either use a cobbled together make-shift approach that may be known only to one or a few people in the organization, or end up bouncing around from one software solution to another.

A good DAM database, however, can be used company-wide and is expandable enough to accommodate any change in file types, for as long as the DAM is supported by its developers.

The best DAM solutions also offer transparent and robust import and especially export routines, so that organizations aren’t locked-in to one DAM environment with their digital assets held hostage, unable to easily migrate to other solutions if needed.

Influencer marketing benefits from DAM through increased efficiency and time savings, which ultimately make influencers happy and better able to share co-created content.

2 — Expand Your Content Marketing With DAM

The type of savvy content management offered by DAM systems could save marketing teams 13 days annually per staff member, according to report data from Canto.

The same research found that 41 percent of marketers said that digital filing inefficiencies had caused delayed project releases, and 54 percent noted that they experienced frustration with inefficient filing systems.

By its very nature content marketing involves vast quantities of content in all its various digital forms, and a powerful DAM system enhances content marketing by making it easy to find all the digital assets a business has ever created, both for current campaigns and when gathering past performance and return on investment (ROI) data.

Brands such as Under Armour use DAM systems to manage over 12 terabytes of content including more than half a millions digital assets for some 7,000 products that change seasonally, a task that while possible without using a DAM, really shows off the benefits of a solid organizational and archival solution.

3 — Make a Move to DAM to Improve Your Video Marketing

As with static digital assets, a good DAM system easily ingests and organizes video content, putting it at the fingertips of each person in an organization who needs it, from video editor to social media manager to corporate executives.

Digital video has remained a leading performer for marketers, with 92 percent saying it’s an important part of their marketing strategy (HubSpot), and with the arrival of the global health crisis initial reports have shown that more video than ever is being viewed, including 5.5 percent higher video view rates on Twitter.

One of the many benefits a top-notch DAM solution offers is the ability to find otherwise hidden static content in your organization’s archives that can work well in creating video marketing, oftentimes also avoiding time-consuming efforts to re-do work that has already been completed but can’t easily be found.

4 — DAM Shines in Always-On Marketing Environments

Always-on marketing replaces on-again off-again campaigns with a fluid ongoing effort, continually cultivating and carefully building efforts that allow businesses to seamlessly adapt their marketing efforts, rather than playing catch-up, stopping a campaign, and waiting to build a new one.

For B2B marketers, the shift to always-on is swiftly advancing, and in always-on marketing DAM shines brightly, as it removes many of the bottlenecks slowing down traditional marketing by offering easy and swift access to a firm’s digital asset archive.

We recently launched a new ongoing series for B2B brands looking to explore the many benefits of always-on influence, as our CEO Lee Odden took a close at in “Always On Influence: Definition and Why B2B Brands Need it to Succeed.”

Marketing technology also thrives when DAM is involved, and MarTech Advisor recently took a look at 10 of the major players in the DAM market.

[bctt tweet=”“Always On Influencer Marketing is a strategic approach to creating communities of trusted experts that is relationship and content focused.” @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

5 — Search Marketers Find Success with DAM

Search marketers also benefit from a powerful DAM system, being able to systematically find search campaign assets, analytics data contained in spreadsheets or other formats, in ways that help make more data-informed search marketing efforts a snap.

In a way the so-called findability of search marketing goes hand-in-hand with a smart DAM solution, as both are centered around finding things — whether in the form of search engine query answers or finding a file you know you have but haven’t been able to successfully locate until the arrival of a DAM system.

6 — B2B Marketers Get Social with DAM

Social media marketers too can gain advantages by using a DAM workflow, easily accessing digital assets destined for a variety of social platforms, whether they involve static or video content, advertising copy in text documents, or social analytics data in any number of file formats.

Social media marketing is also enhanced by DAM through time savings, but also by the extra insight it can bring helping to open up an organization’s digital asset library. Re-purposing content on social platforms can take on an entirely new and all-encompassing level when every digital asset can easily come in to play and be combined in relevant new ways, thanks to a powerful DAM system.

Invest in Your Firm’s Long-Term Success Using DAM

Whether you specialize in B2B influencer marketing, social, search, content, video or always-on efforts — or a combination of these primary digital marketing practices — finding and implementing the right digital asset management system is an investment in the long-term success of your organization.

Finally, to help you learn more about DAM solutions for marketers, including a list of many of the top providers, have a look at our article exploring the subject.

April 29th 2020 Uncategorized

Break Free B2B Marketing: Oracle’s Kelvin Gee on Winning with Enterprise ABM

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Kelvin Gee Break Free B2B Image

Kelvin Gee Break Free B2B Image

Everyone in B2B is talking about account-based marketing. And almost everyone is practicing it in some form — around 93% of organizations, according to SiriusDecisions.

“Not many are killing it though,” says Kelvin Gee. “That’s the problem. They start pilots … then they re-launch and learn from the mistakes. That’s just a natural maturation.”

This is a fundamental process in digital marketing, of course: test, assess, optimize. But in the Break Free B2B series, our goal is to help you fast-forward it by learning from the mistakes, successes, and revelations of your innovating peers in the field. And as the Senior Director of Modern Marketing Business Transformation at Oracle*, Kelvin draws from a deep well of experience at one of the powerhouse brands in enterprise technology.

Walking the walk is different from talking to talk, but it’s easy to see why companies across the spectrum are seeking to do both.

“Companies do need to be more customer-centric, deliver a better customer experience, personalize the content, align with sales, and measure themselves differently,” he observes. “I call account-based a strategic glue that pulls all that stuff together.”

In his conversation with TopRank Marketing’s Josh Nite, filmed in Arizona during B2B Marketing Exchange in February, Kelvin shares his perspectives on what it takes to actually make ABM work, and how Oracle empowers its people to thrive within this framework.

It comes down to a fairly simple and repeatable model: standardize, evangelize, train, enable.

[bctt tweet=”“Standardize, Evangelize, Train, Enable,” @kgee’s model for implementing #ABM at scale in large organizations like @oracle. #BreakFreeB2B. — Kelvin Gee” username=”toprank”]

During an expansive 25-minute interview, Kelvin unpacks the inner workings of enterprise ABM, from getting buy-in to rethinking attribution to developing meaningful metrics and beyond.

Break Free B2B Interview with Kelvin Gee

If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of the discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.

  • 1:00 – Kelvin’s definition of modern marketing
  • 1:45 – Scaling account-based marketing
  • 2:15 – Strategic adaptations in the evolution of ABM
  • 3:30 – How does an organization adopt a new marketing philosophy?
  • 5:00 – Who should lead the charge for transformation?
  • 7:15 – Metrics Oracle looks at to measure ABM success
  • 8:45 – Overcoming traditional friction between sales and marketing
  • 10:30 – Is there a need to redefine success and “credit” in order to achieve alignment?
  • 12:15 – Operational structure: should sales and marketing converge?
  • 13:30 – Challenges and opportunities in the industry
  • 15:45 – Oracle’s tech stack
  • 17:45 – How to filter out data that matters and makes a difference
  • 18:45 – What will marketing look like in five years?
  • 21:15 – Humans versus robots, and their roles in marketing going forward
  • 23:00 – What can marketers do to break free?

Josh: What kind of metrics does Oracle look at when measuring ABM?

Kelvin: We actually look at account engagement as an early indicator on whether your program is performing or not, because if you’re not seeing an increase in engagement from a snapshot that you might have taken before the campaign started, that probably means it’s not working. Either the personalization isn’t there, the tactics aren’t working, you’re not at the right watering holes, or the orchestration might not be right.

[bctt tweet=”“If you’re not seeing an increase in engagement from a snapshot of before the campaign started, that probably means it’s not working.” — @kgee of @oracle on measuring #ABM success. #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

So that’s the early indicator whether it’s working or not. Once you’re past engagement, what truly matters to sales, of course, is conversations. They want conversations with these target accounts, so that’s what we really looked at and that’s really measured by a target account pipeline, or “TAP,” as we call it. But when you look at growth in that pipeline, regardless of crediting who sources that pipeline, whether it’s marketing or sales, we don’t care because it’s a team sport. And you can see that growth. Again, you compare this with a snapshot you’ve taken of those target accounts before the campaign begins, you will see success, and that’s how you measure some of those programs.

Josh: I know that Oracle is a data corporation, and you live and die by data. Can you give me a little peek into what your tech stack looks like?

Kelvin: Yeah, I’ll give you some broad strokes but obviously we drink our own champagne, right? So Eloqua is our marketing automation platform and our analytics engine is all on Oracle analytics, but the important thing to understand is: We believe that data is the future of B2B marketing. Because we’re not gonna have less data, we’ll probably have more data in the future, so if you believe that and you also believe that most organizations — especially enterprise organizations — have data silos, and if the goal is to deliver a better customer experience, you’ve got to break down those data silos.

[bctt tweet=”“We believe that data is the future of B2B marketing. If the goal is to deliver a better customer experience, you’ve got to break down those data silos.” — @kgee of @oracle on #BreakFreeB2B” username=”toprank”]

So I always used the Marie Kondo analogy, right? Where she goes into your house and then she tells you to, you know, pile all your clothes from all your different closets onto your bed. And she tells you that for a reason, because only when you see all the piles of clothes on your bed does the light bulb go off and you say, “Oh my God I’ve got a lot of clothes.” It’s the same thing with your data. Once you consolidate all your data silos onto one bed, so to speak, in this case a customer intelligence platform or customer data platform or whatever you want to use, once you combine all that data, that’s when you start to see all the insights of your customers. And for us, we think the future of B2B resides in a data lake of some sort. And that data lake is your single source of truth and when an account surges or rises, it’ll rise simultaneously in your marketing automation platform and/or your CRM, and so that’s really the important construct that we think is going to be more representative of a better customer experience in the future.

Josh: What can marketers do to break free?

Kelvin: I’ve always believed that all marketers should have empathy. I think empathy is a super important value that we all need to possess, because we all talk about customer-centricity, how we need to be more customer-centric blah, blah, blah. But what drives customer-centricity is empathy so, I always try to train all of my marketers, especially the young ones who are just coming out of college and learning that they have to develop the empathy muscle. And actually, I do this little “E” test in my workshops, and that is, I ask them to draw a capital-E on their forehead and then I watch them, and they struggle for a few seconds, because they realize there are two ways to control that “E” — they could draw it where it’s facing the right way for them, but backward to the person facing them, or it’s the other way, where it’s backward for them but rightward-facing for the partner. And I asked how many people in the room draw one way or the other and it’s usually a 50/50 mix, sometimes I’m surprised by 80/20 drawing it the right way, the right way being that it’s rightward-facing for your partner. So I call this “E” test for a reason, because the E stands for ’empathy’ because you’ve taken the time to think about the other person and make sure they see it the right way. So that’s just a quick little parlor trick to show the importance of empathy in the world of marketing.

Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Here are a few interviews to whet your appetite:

* Disclosure: Oracle is a TopRank Marketing client.

April 28th 2020 Uncategorized

Yoast SEO 14.0: Much faster thanks to ‘indexables’

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Today is a special day. Today, a project we’ve been working on for a year sees the light of day. Yoast SEO 14.0 rewrites the playbook on how a WordPress SEO plugin can work. Thanks to an approach we call indexables, we bring you a much faster experience and a new foundation that helps us get ready for an exciting future!

We’re sorry!

Despite weeks and weeks of testing, the 14.0 release didn’t work as flawlessly for everybody as we’d hoped. Some users had problems upgrading, or with indexing their content.

We’ve already released three patches to address those problems, and will continue to patch for any other edge-cases which we discover. These patches are already part of the updated plugin, which can be downloaded as normal (from the WordPress admin, from WordPress.org if you’re running Free or from MyYoast if you’re running Premium).

We’ve also found that not all plugins that rely on Yoast SEO have updated to our 14.0 code yet. If you use, for instance, a multilingual plugin, please check that they’re ready for the update.

Think like a search engine

SEO has always been about thinking like a search engine. Search engines want to retrieve as much information as possible, and use it to provide searchers with the best possible answers to their questions. This means we constantly have to ask ourselves; how does a search engine treat information? 

Meet The Indexables

Have you met our new superheroes The Indexables? Check out the Indexables comic!

Information on the web is addressable via URLs. Anything that has a URL is something that could be discovered, scraped, indexed, and shown in the search results. WordPress has posts, pages, custom post types, categories, tags, custom taxonomies, different types of archives, special pages, and maybe even more types of content. Do you think a search engine like Google cares about that? It doesn’t really. It just looks for things with a URL, that it can scrape and index.

A better information architecture for WordPress

From an SEO perspective, any type of page in WordPress is simply an indexable object. This is the basic intuition that has led to indexables. In its core, indexables is just a database table that contains metadata and URLs for all indexables on a site. The abstraction normalizes the information architecture for any type of page in WordPress and makes its metadata directly queryable. On top of that, we can now easily and economically relate different indexable objects to each other and to other things, such as links, redirects, attachments, and perhaps even schema markup.

Looking for more background on indexables and the future it holds? Read Omar’s post The exciting technology that is indexables

A direct benefit of indexables: a speed boost

While all the magic happens behind the scenes, the first notable ‘feature’ of indexables is a speed boost. With all the testing we’ve done, Yoast SEO 14.0 can provide a speed boost of 5-10%. Your entire site will load faster. Of course, this depends on various elements, like the type of site, the number of plugins installed, the hosting provider et cetera. This kind of speed boost is not only good for you, your visitors and your site in general, but also for search engines. Search engines have been advocating faster sites for a while now and with Yoast SEO 14.0 we can help you speed up your site as well.

After updating to Yoast SEO 14, we ask you to run the indexing process

A new architecture ready for new features

One of the main benefits of indexables is what we can build on top of it. Rethinking Yoast SEO with indexables in mind, helped us build a new information architecture that will allow us to add and expand sitewide SEO features. The architecture makes our code easier to maintain and improve, while also helping us build new and complex features more quickly. 

One of the first features built on top of indexables is our new headless WordPress API. Developers using headless WordPress installs can now generate metadata from a frontend request. Thanks to a simple metadata endpoint, developers can use the REST API to grab the data and output it wherever they want.

Improved API’s 

One of the indirect benefits of this release is new outside access to data. Thanks to the new architecture, we built a set of APIs that make it easier for third-party developers to hook into Yoast SEO. For this, we introduce surfaces. A surface is an object which we explicitly expose for third party use and which we promise to keep backward compatible. Find out more about surfaces in our developer documentation.

Technical background

As we’ve rebuilt a large part of the plugin, we have ample documentation for developers to come to grips with the changes. If you hook into Yoast SEO, it’s a good idea to go over our documentation and developer blog posts to see what changed and how you can use this to your advantage. This release makes it a lot easier for developers to hook into. Of course, this also applies to our Schema.org framework. Find more information in our developer documentation for Yoast SEO 14.0.

Try it out before updating

It’s important to test plugins before you update, but since this is a really big one it might be a good idea to try it out before adding it to your site. Of course, Yoast SEO 14.0 is thoroughly tested, but since we can’t test every set up out there, there’s always a chance that some rare combination of factors raises an issue. In that case, use a staging environment to test your plugins on a copy of your site. 

For developers and testers, we made our internal Yoast SEO Test Helper available as a plugin. This can help you test our plugins on your staging environment.

Yoast SEO 14.0: The Indexables release

Yoast SEO 14.0 is out of this world. We’ve rebuilt a large part of how the plugin gets its data, which helped us to make it faster and to help your site load faster. This innovative way of handling data inside WordPress helps us — and you — get ready for a very exciting future!

The post Yoast SEO 14.0: Much faster thanks to ‘indexables’ appeared first on Yoast.

April 28th 2020 Uncategorized

Newsroom: eMarketer: Americans’ TV Time Will Grow for First Time Since 2012

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Pandemic gives TV viewership boost, but will be short-lived   April 28, 2020 (New York, NY) – As stay-at-home orders remain in effect due to COVID-19, TV viewership and time […]

April 28th 2020 Uncategorized

Always On Influence: Definition and Why B2B Brands Need it to Succeed

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The post Always On Influence: Definition and Why B2B Brands Need it to Succeed appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

April 27th 2020 Uncategorized