Avoid Content Ennui: 10 Creative Blog Types to Serve Your Audience

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creative-blog-types

When it comes to blog content, a lot of us are serving breakfast when we should be serving dinner.

Let me explain. Odds are you have a go-to breakfast that you eat nearly every day. A bowl of cereal with a banana, some oatmeal with maple syrup, a haunch of beef seasoned with the tears of your enemies—generally there’s not much variety from day to day. On the other hand…

batsaneye

For dinner, we generally require some variety. Maybe it’s that no one is fully awake for breakfast, so it doesn’t matter what you eat. Maybe it’s the realization that eggs and bacon are perfect foods.

Either way, people come to your website expecting dinner. If you keep hitting them with oatmeal and toast, they’re not likely to keep coming back. Serve up a delicious variety of entrees, though, and you can start to build a relationship.

Here are a few different types of blog posts to help keep your content fresh.

#1: List Posts

Studies have found that list posts (or “listicles” if you absolutely must), especially those with numbers in the title, tend to be shared more often than any other type of content.

That makes sense. List posts are already optimized for web reading. They’re skimmable; they have small sections broken up by headers; it’s easy to tell where you are in the piece and how much you have left to go.

In fact, it’s easy to share a list post without even reading it all. If the headline and the first entry are compelling, people will click the share button.

#2: How-To Posts

Posts that explain a process hit several boxes on the “great content” checklist. As long as they’re relevant to your audience, they’re designed to have immediate practical value. They also establish your brand as an authority. And they can be an evergreen resource customers can keep coming back to.

When writing a how-to post, think about your audience beyond just their interaction with your brand. What do they really need to know, versus what you want to tell them?

My favorite example of how-to posts done right comes from hardware store Lowe’s. They have hundreds of guides, like this one about installing a fence.

If your topic is inherently visual, how-to videos can be cheap and easy to produce. This video about making stress balls is compelling with almost zero production value.

#3: Tips Posts

Think of a tips post as something in-between a list and a how-to. Instead of explaining a single process start-to-finish, you’re providing little nuggets of tactical goodness with each entry. They’re highly skimmable like list posts and evergreen like how-tos.

As with a list post, you could go for 50 quick one-sentence entries or go in-depth on just a few. This article on increasing Facebook organic reach is a good example of the latter.

A list of quick, useful tips can take on a life of its own through re-sharing and repurposing. For example, you can pull a few tips from the list and turn them into social media images with Canva or Pixlr. Or turn the whole post into a SlideShare and reach a new audience.

The word “tips” tends to have long-tail keyword value, too. For example, “content marketing” is a more highly-competitive keyword than “content marketing tips,” and “content marketing tips” is a more specific topic that is easier to write best answer content for.

#4: Tools Posts

If your company deals with software or online activity of any kind, odds are you can whip up a relevant tools post that will delight your readers. Wrap up all the free or low-cost useful sites, plugins, and downloads that make your life easier and share them with your readers.

There’s an immense amount of sharing potential in tool posts. My recent content marketing tools post is one of my highest-shared posts already, and it’s only been out a month. Heck, RazorSocial’s Ian Cleary built a career on evaluating and recommending tools for social media.

Just make sure to keep it useful, keep it relevant, and disclose any relationship your company has with the tools you’re promoting. For example, if you get a free LinkedIn Premium account through work, and you recommend customers sign up for the service, you must disclose.

#5: Thought Leadership Posts

These posts help position your company as a knowledgeable authority in your industry—and most importantly, as having a point of view on the issues that affect your potential customers. Thought leadership posts come in three types:

  1. Industry: Demonstrating a point of view on the news and trends affecting your industry now nad in the future
  2. Product: Practical advice for getting the most utility out of your product offering
  3. Organizational: A look into your company culture, your company philosophy, what it’s like to work there

Thought leadership helps make your brand transparent, showcasing the people and ideas that make your company great.

#6: Round-ups

One easy way to fill your editorial calendar is with a weekly roundup (like our Online Marketing News series). You can build a list of go-to resources that regularly publish articles about your industry, and feature a few articles with brief summaries.

Or use a tool like Buzzsumo to round up the most shared or trending articles about your industry. Either way, you can provide the reader with a useful resource and boost your brand’s credibility.

Don’t forget to message the authors when you include them in a roundup for amplification potential, too.

#7: Curated Influencer Posts

Influencer involvement is great for enhancing a post’s credibility and building relationships. For your audience, influencer involvement adds variety in the point of view on your blog, multiplying the utility of your content.

A curated influencer post is one that collects influencer quotes from publicly available sources, rather than through direct outreach. For example, this “What Is Content Marketing?” post from (our client) LinkedIn Marketing Solutions collects 25 already-existent quotes from some of the biggest names in content marketing. It remains one of the blog’s most popular posts, and it only took a little research to put it together.

Curated posts are a good way to start a relationship with an influencer as well. Let them know you’re sharing their wisdom with the world, give them proper credit, and you’re set up to ask for a direct participation post.

#8: Influencer Participation Posts

Influencer marketing can create content that benefits everyone involved: Your brand and the influencer get access to new audiences and boosted credibility, and readers get cool co-created content to read.

A post with genuine influencer participation could be a simple Q&A with one influencer, or short responses to a prompt from several influencers.

#9: “Chocolate Cake” Post

As adults, we know that desserts are not a main course, and (as cookie monster tells us), are a “sometimes food.” You wouldn’t want to give your audience cavities with chocolate cake every day, but every once in a while a light, sweet diversion is just what they need.

Think April Fool’s Day posts, collections of funny memes, even a Buzzfeed-style GIF-driven post. It should always have a little bit of value beyond the humor, but the focus is on having fun. Jason Miller’s annual interviews with Dracula are a great example of the form.

#10: Interactive Content

It’s all well and good to have your audience passively reading your content, but even better when they can interact with it in a meaningful way.

If you have the resources, developing a calculator or other useful widget (like CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer) is sure to get your audience’s attention.

Even without an army of developers, though, you can create an engaging bit of interactive content. Make a quiz with a tool like QZZR, a survey with Survey Monkey, or an interactive, clickable word cloud with Wordle.

Serve up a Never-Ending Content Buffet

These ten examples are just a few of the hundreds of content types available. And you can make your own by mixing-and-matching—how about a list post featuring a round-up of how-to posts? Or a tools post created by asking influencers to name their favorite tools? With a little creativity, the possibilities are endless.

What’s your favorite creative type of blog post? Let me know in the comments.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
Avoid Content Ennui: 10 Creative Blog Types to Serve Your Audience | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Avoid Content Ennui: 10 Creative Blog Types to Serve Your Audience appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

September 22nd 2016 blogging, Online Marketing

Your Blog with an Eye on the Needed SEO (Right from the Start)

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We all know that we need to pay attention to SEO (search engine optimization) whether we are experts or not (or whether we want to be experts or not!). So, how do we start a new blog, equipped with the needed SEO foundations, without losing our head or losing our enjoyment of creating the blog?

Let’s discuss that!

A blog is one of the most powerful digital marketing tools you have at your disposal, but only if you know how to reach your target audience. Blogging is one of the quickest ways to increase your following and build your brand.

Even though there are millions of blogs online, it’s easy to make yours stand out even in the midst of the competition. In fact, even if you are like me and already have quite a few blogs online, that doesn’t mean that you cannot venture out and create yet another unique and brilliant blog!

We could probably sit down and list all of the fun aspects of the creation of that new blog, especially if it is one for which we feel passion. However, if no one is listening, it can get a bit lonely, eh? That is why it is so important to ensure that we are getting the word out, or more accurately, that we are drawing traffic to our blog, so that we have that audience.

By having that audience, it can help us to grow our passion even more and that will come out in the quality of the content that we produce on our blog. What is one of the most foundational aspects to growing that audience? It is ensuring that our blog is SEO optimized, right out of the starting gate.

Ok, have I really told you something that you don’t already know? After all, that is likely one of the reasons that you visit seochat.com, eh?

Ok, back to our topic… we can always “get the word out” at intermittent, strategic, and/or consistent intervals (preferably), but if we don’t start with a blog that has the basics, when it comes to SEO, we have a lot more work ahead of us. And, who wants to work when we can be producing content with all that brilliant passion, instead?

So, let’s get it started correctly, eh? In other words, it is easier to work “smart” than to work “hard,” right?

Getting Started… First Steps

Getting your blog up and running is much easier than one may think. In less than 30 minutes, you can have your blog up and running. So, without further adieu, let’s have a look and see how we can set up a blog in a few quick steps. Then, we will come back and talk a bit more about that SEO.

Choosing a Platform or Approach

Deciding where you want to create your blog is step one. If you are looking to save money, WordPress.com is an option. By far, it’s the largest blogging platform in the world, with an endless array of plugins and add-ons. You pretty much have an infinite amount of choices when it comes to designing your blog. There is also an option to host a WordPress installation in a self-hosted environment.

To Host or Not to Host (Also, To Register or Not to Register… a Domain)

Before we go any further, you need to decide whether you want to self-host or go with a free alternative. While there are pros and cons of both options, take note that with a free service, you won’t be able to have your own domain name.

If you are just blogging for fun, that’s okay, but for businesses trying to make a name for themselves, it is much better to go with a paid service where you can “own” your domain. (Technically, you are registering a domain name and leasing it, but many times people confuse that with ownership and it is called “owning” a domain, in slang terms.)

Along with SEO, this (“owning of the domain”) can increase website traffic by leaps and bounds. You see, having your own domain establishes your brand and your credibility. It helps to build trust in your business.

Design Your Blog

Designing the blog is where you get to choose your theme. Before jumping in with both feet, think about your business and what type of vibe you want people to get when visiting your blog. While creativity is key, you want to make sure whichever theme you choose goes hand in hand with your product and/or the service you will provide.

Even if the service is “only” the delivery of content (no shame in that!), it is still a service and the delivery of the product of your digital content. So, keep that in mind when deciding what you want your site to look like.

For an excellent in-depth discussion of these topics, visit this article on setting up your blog: “How to Start a Blog.” Then, come back here and we will continue our discussion on getting those SEO foundational blocks in place.

SEO is King

After you have set up your blog and brainstormed some ideas of what you want to blog about, it’s time to hone in on SEO. Remember, we are still putting together the framework for our search engine optimization foundation even as we build our blog (site), so this is just the right time to do it, remember?

Like we said earlier, SEO is what brings visitors to your blog. It is what keeps the conversation going. It is essential to your success as a blogger, as a publisher of digital content.

Due to the fact that every blog post you write actually becomes a web page, you need to make the most of the SEO opportunity. Write about keyword-rich topics that you would search for online if you were a consumer. SEO is far more than a few strategically placed words throughout your blog.

It is a matter of knowing which words to use, and when. It is also a case of knowing why these keywords and keyword phrases work so well (in drawing traffic). Now, use that knowledge!

The Successful Strategy and Use of Keywords

When used properly, keywords (and keyword phrases) should have the following characteristics:

  • They are only used a handful of times in your post. Overkill of keywords will only have your post flagged as spam by Google.
  • They flow naturally throughout the conversation of the blog post.
  • They are a combination of several words or a single word that directly relates to what you are blogging about in that post (or series of posts).

Continuing Your Success

In the world of online marketing, your focus needs to be on developing a relationship with your visitors. Proper and strategic use of SEO can get the traffic to the site, but you also need to ensure that you keep your audience combing back to the blog/site for more brilliant and entertaining digital content.

This is done through your effective relationship-building process and keeping the conversation going. That is why a well-written blog combined with strategically placed keywords, combined with that personality of YOU, will help build your online reputation and over time, increase traffic to your website. It is like a well-oiled circle. Then again, who oils circles?

The post Your Blog with an Eye on the Needed SEO (Right from the Start) appeared first on SEO Chat.

September 21st 2016 blogging, Keywords, SEO

9 Dos & Don’ts for Writing Compelling, Clickable Headlines to Draw in Your Audience

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how-to-write-more-compelling-headlines

Well, hello there. I’m so glad you’ve stopped by the TopRank Marketing blog today. I’m pretty sure I know why you’re here — you’ve been searching high and low for the most adorable cat video of the day. Well, here it is:

Okay. Okay. Just kidding. But I really do know why you’re here. You’re looking for a little headline help. And regardless of how you found this blog post today, you believed something valuable, educational and actually on the topic of writing headlines (not cat videos) was waiting for you when you clicked—and that’s all thanks to the headline.

Headlines are arguably the most important aspect of any piece of content. It’s the first thing—and often the only thing—users will read. In fact, 8 out of 10 people read headlines, but just 2 out of 10 will actually continue reading the rest of the content, according to Copyblogger.

The bottom line? The better the headline, the better your chances for actually getting interested eyeballs on your content—with the caveat that you have a solid and engaging piece of content to back your headline up.

But what’s the secret to writing a click-compelling headline? In my opinion, there’s no one secret formula. Each brand should build their own formula for creating headlines resonate with their audience, but there are certainly some dos and don’ts that can help guide you. Below we dive into those dos and don’ts, complete with advice and examples.

Dos

#1 – Use numbers.

This is one of our absolute favorites here at TopRank Marketing. Numbers stand out in a sea of letters and they’re also easily understood by people. Here’s one of our recent examples:

Delicious Content 1

It’s a technique that many magazine publications have used for decades to sell issues. Think: “5 Simple Ways to Eat Your Way to Skinny.” It’s simple, easy to understand, and uses a number to intrigue and entice. (OK. While this example might not be all that realistic, you get my point.)

In addition, if you’re not creating a listicle post, use data or statistics for your numbers to grab attention.

#2 – Ask questions.

Asking questions is a way to connect with a problem your audience is having and signals to them that you’re there to provide the answer they need. This idea can guide your content strategy, too. Get started by answering some of the most commonly asked questions your audience has about your product or a topic related to your business.

#3 – Be original.

Your headline is your hook. Even if you’re writing about something that’s well covered, a unique headline can set you apart from your competition.

Here’s a fun example from CPQ software company Axonom (client). Not only is it original, but it also speaks directly to the target audience.

Axonom 1

Read the full Axonom article.

#4 – Use active language.

Your audience is likely looking for something that can make a difference in in their own lives or for their company. Active language helps create a sense of urgency and action — and tells them that they can do it. In my line of work, some of my favorite action verbs to use are: drive, boost, propel, motivate and power.

Here’s an example of one of my recent favorites. Not only does this post use active verbiage, but it also tells my audience the specific benefit this post can offer. This post has garnered more than 1,500 shares, as thousands of pageviews, and even a nice little discussion in the comments section.

Roadtrip 1

#5 – Be helpful.

You know your audience. You wouldn’t be in business right now if you didn’t offer something useful. Take what you know about your audience and your current customers to craft a headline that showcases how your content is valuable.

Hubspot is always a great place to draw inspiration from. For me, this headline tells me that these six steps can help me create a video that will resonate.

Hubspot !

Read the full HubSpot article.

Don’ts

#1 – Be boring.

This one is probably a no-brainer, but needs to be said anyway. Be creative, colorful, inspiring and even entertaining to give your audience something they can’t scroll past. Include a descriptive adjectives such as “powerful” or “engaging” that speaks to the value or benefit the reader can gain by reading your content.

#2 – Promise something that you can’t or won’t deliver.

The worst thing you can do is get people on the page and then fail to deliver what you promised upfront. As mentioned above, make sure to back your headline up with solid and engaging content that is educational or entertaining.

#3 – Get too wordy.

The more words you use, the more work it is for your audience to read. In addition, your headline could also become confusing. Get rid of any word that aren’t necessary. Use a headline analyzing tool to give yourself a nudge in the right direction. Sharethrough and Co-Schedule offer tools for free.

Co-Schedule

Now, with all that said, sometimes going a little longer is necessary and that’s totally fine. Just make sure it’s easy to read and conveys that necessary value to the reader.

#4 – Be afraid to start over.

Creating a great headline is a process, and it often doesn’t come to you on the first try. Take the time to write out a number of contenders and keep tweaking until you get it right. For example, here’s the evolution of the headline for this article:

  1. Here’s Your Cheat Sheet for Writing Killer Headlines That Draw Your Audience In
  2. Cheat Sheet: How to Write Killer Headlines That Draw Your Audience In
  3. How to Write Killer Headlines That’ll Get Your Audience to Click
  4. How to Write Compelling, Clickable Headlines That’ll Draw Your Audience In
  5. The Dos and Don’ts of Writing Compelling, Clickable Headlines That’ll Draw Your Audience In
  6. 9 Dos & Don’ts for Writing Compelling, Clickable Headlines That’ll Draw Your Audience In

What recent headline got you to click? What made it so compelling? Tell us in the comments section below.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |
9 Dos & Don’ts for Writing Compelling, Clickable Headlines to Draw in Your Audience | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post 9 Dos & Don’ts for Writing Compelling, Clickable Headlines to Draw in Your Audience appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

August 9th 2016 blogging

4 Of the Most Destructive (And Common) Blogging Tips You’ve Ever Heard

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Did you know that the majority of blogs become inactive within 100 days after creation?

I believe this is because the owners don’t realize what makes a blog successful. In fact, I had a client who believed it would be easy to make money on the Internet, and all she needed to do, was to quickly whip up a website. After four years of throwing money to freelancers to help her, she finally admitted defeat.

I’m not sure what happened to her, but I know of many people like her. I’ve also analyzed the content of a stack of small business websites, and the following fatal blogging tips are rampant.

Description: b2b-content-marketing-statistics-2015-10.png
Blogging is not easy, contrary to a common misconception.
Here you can see what most bloggers struggle with.
Image Credit: SocialMediaB2B

Don’t be amongst those blogs who close shop 100 days after starting because they didn’t know what blogging entailed. And please never listen to the "experts" who advise you to do these four things to get more blog traffic:

#1: Just add lots of content, often

When I first started dabbling in online marketing several years ago, I was told that in order to get traffic to my website, I would need to add content. Often.

Which is what I did.

But to my shame, the content was of no real value. I don’t know what I was thinking! Somehow, whoever it was who dispensed the "just add content" recipe to me, neglected to mention that it needed to add some kind of value for my readers.

It’s no wonder it never got shared or commented on, and my website’s bounce rate was high.

I see the same trend today, specifically with small businesses who go online. They add content – any content – to try get more traffic, not realizing that not only is their brand at stake, but so are their search rankings, because search engines look for quality, value-add content to match to user’s searches.

And trust me, search engines have algorithms in place to determine whether content is crap or not.

Brian Dean from Backlinko, expert blogger, says that, "Blogging today is 110% about quality…not quantity."

Just adding content – any content – will not get your blog more traffic, or result in more business.

#2: Stuff in keywords wherever you can

In days gone by, when search engines were still collecting themselves, website owners cottoned on to stuffing keywords in wherever they could. And then search engines got clever and wiped those websites far into the abyss of no return.

Yes, your blog needs keywords to rank higher in search engines and therefore get more traffic, but keywords need to be included in content in a natural way, making it easy for people to read.

My suggestion would be to use SEOChat’s free related keywords tool and then go on over to Google Keyword Planner to find the best keywords that have low competition, but high search volume.

Add a keyword naturally into:

  • The title of your post
  • The URL of the post
  • H1 header tags
  • In the first 100 words of your content
  • Sprinkled throughout your content, every 150 or so words
  • In the category of the post
  • In links to other authority sites
  • In image descriptions

When you stuff keywords in content, search engines will not promote your blog. And visitors will click away pronto.

#3: Hire cheap writers to churn out more content, fast

There is great demand on freelance writing websites like Upwork, but you get what you pay for, and since getting more blog traffic is not about churning out content just for the sake of content, when you hire cheap writers for your blog, you’re going to get not only badly written content, but it won’t be SEO optimized, or provide value to your readers.

All the top websites understand this, and pay about $266 or more for one blog post. When you consider that writers on sites like Upwork, charge from about $10 for a blog post, you can start to understand why the quality would be so poor.

So. Perhaps you pay $10 for someone to write you a blog post. But that post can actually damage your search engine ranking because of bounce rate (people come to your site, see crap content, and immediately leave). It will also damage your reputation, and most users will not convert. And so I ask you: why are you wasting money on bad writing? What is it benefiting you?

If you’re not a good writer, for goodness sake, hire a decent one who understands your target audience and optimizes the content, or just stop blogging.

And read Neil Patel’s step by step guide to creating a money-making blog. His advice is sound, and since he is the master of online marketing, he knows a thing or two on this subject.

By the way, while we’re on the subject of Neil Patel, when you check out his post, have a look at the quality of it, and how it’s all laid out. It’s popular because he only writes content that is helpful to his audience. Do your best to emulate the style he uses, but adapt it for your niche.

#4: Add stock photos to attract attention

Somewhere, you heard that images in blog posts attract attention. That would be right.

But. And it’s a very big "but": stock photos just don’t cut it anymore. They’re boring, fake and your readers can’t relate to them. It’s a psychological thing.

Description: lame-corporate-people.png
A cheesy, fake and ineffective stock image…what business people do you know who do this?!
Image Credit: WebMeUp

To do justice to your blog by attracting attention and leading to higher conversions, images need to:

  • Be of high quality.
  • If your blog centers around an online store, make sure your product images are clear and show enough detail and offer as many views as possible.
  • Images must be relevant to the content. They should support the text and not simply be added for the sake of adding an image.
  • Add image descriptions that titillate, because people’s eyes draw to images first. If the description creates curiosity, they are more likely to keep reading, and this is good for SEO, and conversions.
  • Be sure to compress images so that they don’t slow down your site.

Fatal advice summed up

If you’re going to blog, you may as well do it right. Unfortunately, doing it right means it’s going to take time.

But if you don’t do it right, you’ll lose business and opportunities.

To sum up, let’s reverse the four most common and destructive blogging tips:

  1. Add blogging content that rocks. Help people want to share it because it resonates with them.
  2. Use keywords naturally, and strategically.
  3. Hire writers who may charge more, but will get your blog better results.
  4. Add images that are relevant and support the point you’re trying to get across in your content.

The post 4 Of the Most Destructive (And Common) Blogging Tips You’ve Ever Heard appeared first on SEO Chat.

July 19th 2016 blogging, Keywords

A Comparison of the 3 Most Popular All-In-One Online Marketing Tools

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The three most popular online marketing tools generate a whopping 433, 500 searches every month.

There’s a reason for that.

These three particular tools also generate confusion as to what they are used for, the differences between them, and pricing. The three tools we’ll compare are MailChimp, which is mainly for email marketing, and all-in-one online marketing tools like GetResponse and HubSpot, which are used for many other functions, email marketing only being one of them.

What are all-in-one online marketing tools?

Let’s think about all the elements involved in online marketing. I like the way Curata depicts the areas:

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Now, you could use tools for each element, or you could use one tool to do everything from one dashboard.

Perhaps you’re even nodding your head as you think of the stack of Excel spreadsheets you’ve been using to try and keep tabs on all your initiatives. Tracking is a nightmare, and trying to keep up with your email plan is just about hopeless.

And then…how do you get a collective picture of how it all ties together, and whether it’s working or not? And the bigger your business gets, the harder it becomes to manage all your online marketing workflows…

Online marketing tools streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows so that businesses can increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster.

The most common functions of all-in-one marketing solutions include:

  • Email marketing
  • Lead management
  • Web forms
  • Website management
  • Drag and drop landing page builder
  • Content management and marketing
  • A/B Testing
  • Search engine optimization guidance
  • Workflow automation
  • Analytics

 

Marketing automation, which is what all-in-one online marketing software does, connects all the touchpoints of various activities.

With marketing automation, you can personalize the customer’s journey and segment behaviors, interests, and demographic details.

It ties all workflows together, to give you one complete picture.

The difference between Mailchimp, GetResponse and HubSpot

Now, all three platforms – GetResponse, HubSpot and MailChimp – offer a complete email marketing and autoresponder platform, but only GetResponse and HubSpot offer not only email marketing, but also other marketing automation for small businesses.

MailChimp can by no means be called an “all-in-one” online marketing tool, but I’ve included the service in this post for the sake of clarity; mainly to show the difference between an email marketing software platform and an all-in-one online marketing tool which includes email marketing as one element in the overall bundle.

This post details the differences between all three platforms, and you’ll be able to see how they compare in terms of pricing and offering.

Why online marketing tools?

Why is there so much interest in these tools, and what makes them so powerful for small businesses?

Well, there are four aspects to this:

  1. Marketing may not be your core service or product offering, so you wouldn’t want to spend enormous amounts of time on it. These tools help streamline your processes to give you more time.
  2. The tools act as somewhat of an online marketing guide, which makes learning about this business area a lot easier.
  3. They help make you more productive and effective because you can manage all, or most of your activities from the same platform.
  4. They help you target prospects better and improve your customer’s journey.
  5. Paying for one tool instead of many to do different tasks, can end up saving you a substantial amount of money.

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Image Credit: EmailMonday

#1: GetResponse

GetResponse first started out as an email marketing software provider, and today, they offer an all-in-one online marketing tool that features just about everything a small business needs for marketing in the virtual sphere. It can no longer be viewed as just email marketing software, because it offers a complete solution.

GetResponse offers a comprehensive email marketing campaign platform that you can use to plan workflow automation and email campaigns. On top of that, you can create landing pages and call-to-action forms with ease. The new features include tracking visitors in real-time to maximize profit and traffic, as well as cart abandonment recovery features.

GetResponse is the only all-in-one online marketing tool that includes webinars in their offerings, and it’s also known as the world’s easiest email marketing platform.

With a starting price of $49 per month for the marketing automation service, which also includes an email marketing platform, it’s the ideal place for small businesses who plan to grow. If you want all the features, the most popular plan is only $49 per month, compared to HubSpot’s which starts at $200 per month.

Getresponse

Automation packages offered by GetResponse

#2: HubSpot

Hubspot

HubSpot is a sophisticated all-in-one online marketing tool that features inbound marketing benefits.

HubSpot allows you to create your own landing pages and call-to-action forms, and it guides you with on-page SEO. HubSpot is also a content management system so it’s easy to update your website content and optimize it for search engines.

At an extra cost, you can even add the CRM and Sales functions.

HubSpot is mostly used by small to medium businesses.

HubSpot’s plans start at $200 per month, and their most expensive option will set you back $2400 per month.

#3: Mailchimp

Mailchimp

MailChimp is only an email marketing platform, not an all-in-one tool. Depending on the package you choose, it allows you to create, automate, manage and measure email campaigns.

It doesn’t boast the features that GetResponse or HubSpot has of course, but it is an excellent option for entrepreneurs just venturing out into online marketing, or who have a very tight budget.

MailChimp is one of the biggest players in the realm of email marketing with a huge database of active users. While it incorporates some automation elements, these are mostly for email marketing campaigns that do not extend beyond or apply to other verticals.

Functions comparison

Hubspot

GetResponse

Mailchimp

Email marketing

Yes

Yes

Yes

Email templates

Yes

Yes

Yes

Email workflows

Yes

Yes

Yes

Marketing campaign workflows

Yes

Yes

No

Website management

Yes

No

No

Build landing pages

Yes

Yes

No

Build webpages

Yes

No

No

On-page SEO

Yes

No

No

Automation

Yes

Yes

Yes

Landing pages

Yes

Yes

No

Analytics

Yes

Yes

Yes

Social media management

Yes

No

No

Blogging blueprints

Yes

No

No

Blogging SEO

Yes

No

No

Content management

Yes

No

No

Call to action forms

Yes

Yes

Yes

Webinars

No

Yes

No

Shopping carts integration

No

Yes

Yes

Website tracking

Yes

Yes

No

Email marketing & automation

All three online marketing tools have the same email marketing and automation capabilities. Mailchimp only offers this service, whereas GetResponse and HubSpot offer additional features.

Landing pages

Both HubSpot and GetResponse offer landing page builders. MailChimp does not have this feature.

Analytics & website tracking

All three platforms offer analytics according to their service offerings, but only HubSpot and GetResponse offer website tracking.

Shopping cart integration

Only GetResponse and MailChimp offer shopping cart integration.

Webinars

Webinars are offered exclusively on the GetResponse platform.

Conclusion

When you first either take your business online, or you’re venturing into online marketing, Mailchimp is the most affordable entry-level email marketing tool. GetResponse’s email marketing plans are cheaper than MailChimp if you have decent amount of subscribers. Also, MailChimp only centers around email marketing and is not an all-in-one online marketing tool like GetResponse and HubSpot.

If your business is at a place where you can afford it, it’s obvious that Hubspot offers more all-in-one online marketing tools and automation, but also comes at a hefty price that not all smaller business can afford.

For almost all the same functionality as HubSpot offers, GetResponse gives you at a fraction of the cost, which makes GetResponse my choice of all-in-one online marketing tools for small businesses.

The post A Comparison of the 3 Most Popular All-In-One Online Marketing Tools appeared first on SEO Chat.

July 15th 2016 blogging, Online Marketing

27 Detailed Ways to Generate New Blog Post Ideas

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Coming up with good topics for your blog posts can be a struggle, especially after you have been blogging for a while. When I get inspired, blogging is easy for me. When I have to sit down and write like it’s homework because I need to publish two posts one week, I often sit there… Read More

The post 27 Detailed Ways to Generate New Blog Post Ideas appeared first on Sugarrae.

July 7th 2016 blogging

Blogging Equipment I Use in My RV Office

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Blogging equipment needs to be kept to a minimum if you’re an RV lifestyle or travel blogger, or someone who works in a VERY small office. :-)

I’ve been blogging from our RV for the past year, and I thought it would be fun to show you the office I’ve been working in, as well as provide you with a list of my blogging equipment, both necessary and nice-to-have.

blogging equipment

Must-Have Blogging Equipment

Computer

I bought a Sony Vaio All-in-One specifically to use while blogging on the road as I wanted a large screen and a full-sized keyboard, but didn’t want to deal with having to pack up a large computer every time we moved the RV to a different campground. As it is, I unplug all the components and throw the computer under the blankets on the bed when we travel.

When I have to fly somewhere and will be away long enough to need more functionality than provided by an iPad, I take my Surface PRO, which I carry in a neoprene carrying sleeve.

Internet Connection

I usually connect to the Internet through a Galaxy Broadband account using our satellite dish (see picture at the bottom of the post). I tend not to trust unsecured public connections (free Wifi) available at RV parks.

Keyboard, Mouse and Mouse Pad

To keep my hands, wrists and forearms healthy and pain-free, I use a Microsoft Ergonomic keyboard, just as I do in my home office. Both the keyboard and mouse are wired and plug into the USB hub (see below). The mousepad is by Marvelous Printing and personalized with a picture of Jasper the Chocolate Labrador as a puppy. Yes, Jasper has his own Facebook Page. :-)

Camera

I took the picture above with my Sony DX-HS60V. Taking your own pictures to use as featured images saves money on stock photo images.

Phone

Samsung Galaxy S6 in a case with a tempered glass screen protector. I’ll be upgrading to the Galaxy S7 in the near future, for improved camera quality and water resistance.

Chair

After 3.5 months of using the dining chair at the table in the RV; my neck, back and arms were protesting in pain, so I ordered the Better Posture Saddle Chair by Jobri from Amazon. It’s similar to the saddle chair that I use in my home office… when the house is finally ready. :-)

Ergonomic Chair

USB Hub

I use a powered USB hub in the RV.

Nice-to-Have Blogging Equipment

Printer

I have an HP Envy 5530. Normally I wouldn’t bother with having a full-sized printer in the RV, but because we anticipated having to print numerous documents related to the house-building project, I just took the home printer and stuck it on the dining room chair.

Water Bottle

After years of using what seems like SCORES of different water bottles, I finally found one that I LOVE — the metered Thermos Nissan Intak hydration system. Easy to drink from, no leaks and easy to clean. YAY!

GPS Enabled Watch

Shown in the picture above is my Garmin Forerunner, which when not in use is plugged into the USB hub to keep it powered up and to sync it with Garmin’s online activity tracker. Of course, you don’t NEED one of these, but it is a good reminder to get outside and play to keep your body fit and healthy so that you can blog another day.

That short list of equipment to run my affiliate marketing business from my RV should be proof positive that you don’t need a lot of either space or equipment to work as an online entrepreneur or an affiliate marketer.

Open Range RV

The picture above was taken at White Tank Mountain Regional Park just west of Phoenix in March 2016. To learn more about the places we camp, visit my personal blog.

Did you find this post informative and useful? If so, please share it with others! If you have a comment, question or suggestion, please leave a comment below!

Cheers,
sig-ros


The post Blogging Equipment I Use in My RV Office appeared first on RosalindGardner.com.

May 20th 2016 blogging

Welcome to the Future Home of Serial Marketer

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Davidberkowitz01 (2)-001

In November 2005, ten and a half years ago, I launched the MarketersStudio.com blog.

The name was inspired by Inside the Actors Studio. The original idea was to build on the interviews I published at eMarketer from 2001-2004. I probably should have done a lot more of that.

Now, some change is coming. I will still keep up writing and blogging, but as I’ve started to do some consulting during this break from my agency tenure, I needed a new title. And with the new title, I needed a new brand. 

That brand is Serial Marketer. Since every good brand needs a good origin story to go with it, its birthday is today, May 16. Serial Marketer shares the same birthday as William Seward, Liberace, Henry Fonda, Tori Spelling, and Meg DeAngelis (the last one is a YouTube star; I have to throw a bone to Gen Z’ers who might not be so up to speed on Civil War cabinet members or 90210 cast members). 

As I mulled over what it means to have a brand I can own, I realized that the blog should be part and parcel of it. So, in the weeks (months?) ahead, you will see lots of cosmetic changes. I am hoping there aren’t any technical changes that surface on your end, but I will keep you posted here. In the meantime, www.serialmarketer.net redirects to this blog’s homepage. I’m still working on securing the .com (pointers are welcome for this parked domain).

I will be out and about during Internet Week New York this week, including at M1 Summit, OMMA Marketing Tech, and Flashtalking’s Art & Science Sessions. The latter two events mark the first time I am formally using the Serial Marketer name (Flashtalking gets the distinction by a few hours). Let me know if you’ll be there, as it’ll be fun to catch up. [One update: The Beancast podcast by Bob Knorpp, whose latest episode debuted as I wrote this, is actually the first time I'm officially using the name. Thanks, Bob.]

There’s someone I need to thank for the name. Aaron Strout, president of WCG, was kind enough to write about me in the series for HubSpot’s Inbound 2015 where speakers introduced fellow speakers. His headline was, “David Berkowitz: Serial Marketer (Not Killer).” It stuck with me. I used it in my Twitter bio for awhile. I wasn’t going to use it for anything more than that, but as I pondered a lot of other names, this one resonated. It felt ownable. It felt, in short, like a brand.

As for why it’s so ownable, well, it may have hit you over the head as soon as you saw it. It may have come to you a minute later. Or maybe you won’t get it without Googling it (which is refreshing, as far as I’m concerned). My online dating handle when I met my wife was “GoogleThis.” So Google this, and all shall be revealed.

Thanks for joining me on this journey.

David Berkowitz
Principal
Serial Marketer

May 17th 2016 blogging, personal

Automattic to offer .blog domain names, WordPress not required

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New top-level domain will open for registrations later this year. Pricing not announced yet.



Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

May 13th 2016 blogging

How Bloggers Can Fix a Manual Penalty Caused by Compensated Content & Reviews

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This past weekend Google sent out a round of manual penalty notices citing “unnatural outbound links” – later confirmed to be targeting sites publishing compensated content and reviews where the blogger is linking out to the brand or site that compensated them. If your site received the notice, you’ll find some advice for fixing your… Read More

The post How Bloggers Can Fix a Manual Penalty Caused by Compensated Content & Reviews appeared first on Sugarrae.

April 14th 2016 blogging, SEO