Monthly Archives: September 2010
Do you want a song that will kick you down the stairs? And then, at the bottom of the stairs (you still can’t believe you went down like a ton of bricks — like a rag doll — like a bag of donuts), when you finally get yourself together and stagger to your feet, it walks up to y … Continue reading
During an interview at the Newseum in Washington D.C. on Thursday, White House senior advisor David Axelrod speaks with NBC’s Brian Williams about chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who is expected to get a formal send-off from the White House on Friday.
It can be very tricky to come up with ideas for new blog posts, especially if you’re just getting started and need inspiration. I have a brainstorming method that I love to use when helping teach new bloggers how to get started thinking about their keywords while creating good content. For some inspiration, follow along with me here as we write an optimized blog outline together.
1. Make a list of your most important keyword phrases.
This isn’t a tough step – Think about your dream long-tail keywords that you salivate at getting found on, perhaps “outsourced recruiting service” or “dire straits cover band”. Make sure it’s something searchable – Imagine if someone searched for that phrase and found your blog post.
2. Re-read this phrase, but ask yourself a question using it.
“When someone needs help with an outsourced recruiting service, what questions should they be asking me?”
“If I was at a cocktail party and someone said they were having trouble finding a 70’s rock cover band for a party, what would I advise them on?”
You probably get these kinds of questions all the time, anytime that you talk about what you do. Close your eyes and think about the last time you had this conversation. The great thing about these questions is that they play to what you already know best – The questions your peers have about your business.
3. Write down these questions.
Keep going until you have at least five questions. You’ll end up with something like this:
Outsourced recruiting services, questions they should have:
They hit a situation where they are about to experience major growth, and need to hire 100 new staff by the end of the year in order to meet their goals. “Do you handle this type of job?” “Can you handle a volume of 100 people in 3 months?” “What industry experience do you have?” “Do you have any references of clients who you did something similar for?” “How can you help my other departments, like HR, absorb the change?” “What do you offer that is similar or different to the other RPO vendors?”
This leads into your blog post pretty quickly. Keeping the above example: “What do you need to consider when onboarding large numbers of staff?”
This speaks directly to the actual problem that your blog reader is facing, and establishes your expertise on the area. Reading this, no one can doubt that you know all of the important issues to consider when hiring 100 employees in a short period of time, and would be a great resource to have at your side. By expanding on each of your questions and points more fully, you have a rich outline with your important keyword for that blog post scattered thoughtfully through the content, and ready to take expand into a full post.
4. Review your outline.
At the end, your outline should look something like the below:
Blog post: “What do you need to consider when onboarding large numbers of staff?”
Issue 1: Do you have the training staff?
Issue 2: How would HR handle that influx of new staff?
Issue 3: Are you prepared to interview 300 people in three months to fulfill 100 positions?
Offers: If these are the kinds of questions you’re asking yourself, you should contact us because we can help / download our case study of how we did this with Company X?
How do you generate new blog article ideas for your business blog?
Photo Credit: andyp uk
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What we’re following:
– Heavy rain and tornado warnings for the East Coast
– Pakistan shuts a vital supply route for troops in Afghanistan
– Actor Tony Curtis dies at 85
And did you see…
– Life could be possible on this newly discovered planet Continue reading
One of our HubSpot customers was in the process of updating their home page. And they were at an impasse between two different home pages. One stressed the type of product and the other stressed the value proposition. That’s not to say the value proposition was left out of the “product” page; it was just minimized.
What to do?
I told them there’s only one thing to do – test. They replied, “Test what?” and I responded, “Good question.”
When testing landing or home pages perhaps the most important thing to do is determine your goals. What do you most want people to do when they land on your web page? Do you just want their email address or do you want them to sign up for a free trial? Are you looking for quantity of leads or leads that end up buying? These are important criteria that need to be agreed upon before you begin the testing phase.
Our friend Anne Holland from WhichTestWon? talks about Primary Conversion Goals. She says that most sites have multiple conversion goals. You can download a whitepaper, opt-in for a newsletter, or try a free trial – all on the same page. I’m sure you’ve seen many home pages that offer at least this much. Anne says that before you begin any tests, you need to reach agreement about what the primary goal is, as well as the secondary or tertiary goals. Without this agreement, your tests will fail because you won’t know what you’re optimizing for.
So what is your primary conversion goal for your home page? Look carefully at all of the opt-in boxes and follow their trail to see if they lead to what you really want or need. Then if you come to a consensus, take the next step and figure out what web pages are worth testing. We can help you with that with our live webinar and special report “What’s Worth A/B Testing.” Be sure to join Anne Holland and HubSpots’s Mike Volpe on September 30 as they discuss (using real-life tests) which pages are worth testing, what copy and design gets you high impact test results and how much traffic you need for conclusive test results.
Live Webinar & Special Report: What’s Worth A/B Testing?
Learn how to determine what’s worth testing and how to put those quality tests into action.
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Data crunching back to age 18. Three years of organizing self-experiments around the world. Thousands of blood tests and hundreds of case studies. My new book is finally here: The 4-Hour Body. I could not be happier with the end product. Truly, I am ecstatic. If you want a minimalist guide to hacking the human [...] Continue reading
By NBC Chief Environmental Affairs Correspondent Anne Thompson: After five months away in Louisiana, I returned to my desk in New York yesterday and found it buried in piles of mail—a spring and summer’s worth of press releases, pitches, magazines, FedEx packages, and boxe … Continue reading
Earlier this week, when I linked to a great package on the New York Times website about the Empire State Building (my favorite of all on the New York skyline), I had no idea there was family history that I could trace to it. Continue reading
This article is a companion to the free webinar on Website Redesign Tips (register now), we will be covering these tips below during the webinar.
1. Goal: More visitors and leads.
The reason you are redesigning your website is to impact your business, not because you are bored with the design or because your CEO wants it to be blue not red. So, focus on the results you want. More visitors, leads and customers. Every decision you make should be focused on improving those goals. Keeping that in mind, you might spend a bit less time worrying about the exact shade of reddish-orange on the callout background, and more time worrying about things that will improve your marketing results.
2. Avoid pitfalls. Inventory your assets, then protect them.
There are countless ways a website redesign can actually negatively impact your results. In fact, I would say that more often than not, website redesigns do have a negative impact on marketing results. Your existing website has a lot of assets that you have built up. These assets help your prospects find your website and help you turn them into leads and customers. You need to find out what those assets are (great content, keywords you rank for, inbound links to individual pages, conversion tools) and protect them carefully during the redesign. Watch the webinar to learn more. PS – Many “web design experts” get this stuff wrong. They are design experts not marketing experts.
3. Spend resources on remarkable content that attracts and converts. Not unique design.
There is a great article from Seth Godin about this. He says “I’m going to go out on a limb and beg you not to create an original design. There are more than a billion pages on the web. Surely there’s one that you can start with? …Your car isn’t unique, and your house might not be either.” I agree. Most people care about the content more than the design. The design should be good, but that does not mean unique and expensive. Focus on functional.
4. Create an ongoing content building strategy.
If you have more content, on average you will have more website visitors and grow your business faster. A 100 page website will beat a 10 page website 99% of the time. And a 500 page website is even better. And if some of those web pages were written recently, that’s even better. So, build a strategy to continue to add more and more content to your website over time. Hint: Blogging makes creating content easy, but read this before you screw up your blog.
5. Enable conversion experiments.
The key to driving your conversion rate and the number of leads you get from your website over time is to constantly improve the effectiveness of your conversion tools – this usually means your landing pages. If you build a completely static website and have to go to a consultant or IT person each and every time you want to set up a new landing page or to change an existing page, you might be limiting your ability to quickly experiment and improve. I am a believer that some sort of system that lets you edit content and build landing pages without having to know coding is a good idea.
6. Include a blog, RSS, landing pages, SEO.
Any website built today should include these basics. They are not expensive, and they work. A blog is a great way to create content on an ongoing basis, and to start to converse with your customers and prospects. RSS allows some content from your website to be automatically pushed out to other websites and people, increasing the reach of your content. Landing pages are critical to actually get value out of your traffic. And SEO is not hard, and it really works.
7. Metrics: Visitors and leads.
We have come full circle. If the goal was to increase visitors and conversions, then that is the metric we should track. What does this mean? It means if the CEO hates the new design, tell her to go pound sand and show her your improved lead conversion metrics. If our creative director says he loves the new design, ask him to explain why you are getting fewer leads and why you should not change the website back to the old one.
A business website is a business tool and should deliver business results. Leave the works of art to the galleries and museums. Your career and your company will thank you for it.
Have questions about the webinar or this article? Have something to add? Leave a comment below.
|Learn how to redesign your website with an internet marketing strategy in mind with Mike Volpe, HubSpot’s VP of Marketing.
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Twitter is a fantastic network for businesses. You can monitor your brand to garner valuable feedback, keep tabs on the competition, engage your customers in conversation, or even choose to use Twitter as a customer service channel. But there are several common mistakes that companies make on Twitter.
Here are 9 Twitter for business strategies to avoid, as well as how to remedy them.
1. Be Overly Self-Promotional
Would you want to have lunch with someone who only talked about themselves, and didn’t even ask you how your day was going? Of course not. So why should you act that way on your Twitter profile? Instead of having a Twitter profile full of self-promotional news or links to your own website, share other interesting, educational, or even funny industry news from websites other than your own. You’ll build a following more quickly, and you’ll likely be retweeted more often. And it’s not unprofessional to ask your followers how their day is going.
2. Only Include Links to Your Own Blog
Business blogging is a great marketing tactic, and so is sharing your blog posts on Twitter. However, these shouldn’t be the only blog posts you share. It only takes 10 minutes a day to contribute valuable content on Twitter. Check your RSS reader daily and share interesting articles you see there. Also, find other relevant bloggers in your industry on Twitter and retweet their articles. Give to get; these bloggers may reciprocate and share your content as well.
3. Follow Anyone and Everyone
Ever see a Twitter profile of someone with 10 followers who’s following 10,000 people and think “oh, they must be interesting!” Me neither. If you follow a ton of just anyone, not only will your Twitter stream be filled with irrelevant content you don’t care about, but you’ll look spammy to people who see your skewed follow numbers. Be picky about who you follow, especially in the beginning. You can use Twitter Search or Twitter directories such as Twellow or WeFollow to find people interested in your industry and what you’re talking about.
4. Don’t Establish a Personality
Your company Twitter page shouldn’t just be a corporate Twitter page; this exudes a stuffy tone that nobody wants to follow. Some of the top brands on Twitter actually put a face to the person behind the tweets, such as Comcast and Zappos. You can even just link to the profiles of people behind the tweets in the bio section, which is what Ford does. These personal touches will attract more followers than hiding behind a corporate logo.
5. Don’t Interact With Other Twitter Users
People on Twitter want to follow people who might actually interact with them. So if you’re only putting content out there, even if it’s interesting content, you might turn away people who want to know you’ll reply. Twitter isn’t only about sharing one-sided content. It’s about sharing other Twitter people’s content and engaging in conversations about that content. Make sure to retweet and reply to at least a few people each day so that you’re making Twitter a two-way conversation.
6. Don’t Share Your Twitter Profile on Your Website
Keeping your Twitter profile hidden from your website visitors, the people most likely to actually follow you, is never a good idea. Add a Twitter badge to your website, and even add a feed of your tweets to your blog. Make it as easy for your visitors to find out how to connect with you in social media.
7. Don’t Monitor Your Own Brand Chatter
If you think that monitoring your brand on Twitter is too time consuming, you’ll be glad to hear that monitoring all of your business’s social chatter takes only ten minutes a day. Use free tools like Twitter Search or TweetDeck to monitor conversations taking place about your company on Twitter in real-time. After you complete a Twitter search, you can even click “Feed for this query” and add it to your RSS reader for monitoring.
8. Don’t Customize Your Twitter Profile
Not customizing your Twitter profile is like blending into an anonymous crowd. Did you know that Twitter accounts with a profile picture have 10 times more followers than accounts without pictures? And that having a Twitter bio gets you 8 times as many followers? If not, there’s your reason for doing so. Also, brand your business on Twitter by having a unique Twitter background.
9. Only Tweet Once Per Week
If you tweet only once per week, it will be hard to get noticed in the Twitter streams of people who follow thousands of even hundreds of users. But if you follow some of the advice above, by taking a few minutes each day to retweet interesting tweets and share relevant content, you shouldn’t have a problem here.
What would be your #10? Let me know in the comments below!
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