If Clayton Christiansen were running Apple Computer, then…

first_imgAs a follow-up to my last article on the decentralization of the economy from one of a relatively large number of very large businesses and a relatively few number of small businesses to a relatively few number of very large businesses and a very large number of small businesses. As you may recall, I talked about how the advent of networks (railroad->telephone->highway->airline->fax->email->internet) has overall lowered the “transaction costs” between businesses which increases the likelihood of a decision to outsource a task versus hire additional employees leading to an overall economic decentralization. One of the problems with this model is that it’s a bit hard to know where your industry is in it’s development. For example, Apple has been earning huge profits on its itunes/ipod business for several years now — are there many more years to come or are they facing near-term de-centralization as the buying criteria shifts from simplicity to something else (i.e. price, features, other)? It is likely doing its best to keep the interfaces between the pieces of the value chain locked up (trade secrets, patents, exclusivity with parts suppliers, etc.) and keep customers locked in, but how long can they hold on? At some point in time, there may be another disruption in the computer industry that will cause it to consolidate again. For example, the buying criterion moving to a new price point to serve underdeveloped countries might end up creating a new integrated player in the pc space who controls the boundaries of a new device that can be sold for $100 or less. I suspect that we will see a similar decentralization in the online music industry. Just as they did in the PC industry 20 years ago while the category was in the “not good enough” phase, Apple has seized control of the subsections/interfaces between the components within the mp3 player (ipod), the music delivery application (itunes), the music itself, and the distribution (Apple stores). As they did with the pc, they are optimizing around the buying criteria of ease of use because prior to ipod/itunes, “you’d have to be a high school student” [I borrowed that line from Christiansen] to figure out how to make this type of stuff work. By not having to worry about designing the boundaries (api’s), Apple lowers its “transaction costs” and can innovate quickly. We are still in the early phase of this industry and Apple is earning the lion’s share of the profits. It will be interesting to see who the winners are as the industry decentralizes. In particular, it will be interesting to see how Microsoft’s strategy plays out. From my perspective, Microsoft is making a mistake by trying to play the same game as Apple here and controlling the end-to-end experience, rather than sticking to it’s knitting and trying to control a strategic layer that enables this industry to split apart. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Today, I want to talk a bit about centralization/decentralization within industries. I think Clayton Christiansen does a pretty good job of explaining the centralization/decentralization of industries and where the profits flow in the value chain depending on where the cycle is. Basically, his thesis is that vertically integrated firms take the lion’s share of the profit in an industry when the products are not that good (i.e. pre-chasm). They generally have a big advantage because they do not have to worry about defining boundaries (i.e. api’s) between subsections of their products and can just focus on innovating. This is something that Apple has proven they are exceptionally good at. They first proved it with the PC back in the 1980’s where they controlled the subcomponents including the operating system and while the industry was in its infancy, it accrued major profits on Mac’s using that integrated approach. As the industry matured, the buying criteria started changing to price and the “boundaries” between the subsections were detailed sending the profits away from independent architecture providers like Apple to multiple tiers in the value chain, such as Microsoft, Intel, memory companies, disk drive companies, etc. It is probably helpful to think a bit about what’s happening in your industry? Are the profits centralized around integrators of functionality? Are the boundaries between the subsections of your industry starting to break down? Is there reason to believe that a disrupter could be coming along at the low end? The following is Christiansen’s specific take on the how the value chain in the computer industry has changed. It is most interesting to see how much the industry has decentralized over time and how the profits now accrue to the subsections in the value chain versus the integrated suppliers, such as Apple. Originally published Feb 13, 2007 11:50:00 AM, updated July 11 2013last_img read more

I’m Not Ready for Dessert, I Just Want Some Leads!

first_img Inbound Marketing Use a landing page to capture leads Originally published Nov 30, 2010 1:00:00 PM, updated March 21 2013 I hope that the Crazy Baker sees the sanity in these suggestions, and that you can take away some of these tips and adapt them for your business.   . then allows users to create separate lists dependent upon which form a visitor converted on and send them personalized emails.  Of course in order to have a landing page you must have something to offer in return for the visitors information.  In Hitzig’s case perhaps he could offer some recipes for some of the pastries he has created over the years (of course he wouldn’t want to give away all of his secrets ) I think it’s great that the Crazy Baker is utilizing social media with presences on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn, but honestly there’s only so much you can promote if you aren’t constantly creating useful content.  The easiest way to consistently add content to your website is through a blog.  A lot of people worry about not having anything interesting to blog about, and most of the time they just aren’t looking in the right places.  Hitzig, for example, could blog about his experience at Culinary School, his training at hotels and restaurants in the US and abroad, and about the many other baking questions he probably gets asked on a regular basis from friends and through email.  Instead of answering a question for someone in a one on one scenario why not turn that into a great blog post and share that knowledge with the world?   Topics: Use Simple, Action Driven, Calls-To-Action Thanksgiving is over and after the amount of pumpkin pie I ate over the weekend I thought I would never want dessert again.  That was until I , and his premium desserts which are made from 100% pure vanilla, fresh local eggs, imported chocolates, and high quality flours.  Got your taste buds watering doesn’t it?  He’s even attracted the attention of Martha Stewart and Rachael Ray which in turn has driven lots of traffic, but converting that traffic into customers is where this batty brownie baker is struggling.  The problem that Hitzig is facing is one that many online business face, which is that people are often not ready to make a purchase on their first visit to a site.  Most of the time people need a little appetizer to get their stomach growling for the full meal. the Crazy Baker Like I said before, most people are not willing to make a purchase on their first visit to a site.  Many people probably visit Hitzig’s site and think to themselves, “These pastries look delicious.  They would be great for a special occasion.  I’ll come back in a couple months.”  Unfortunately for Hitzig most of these visitors probably forget to come back and he has no way to remind them. If he had a landing page and a form to capture the name and email of these visitors he could easily create a list and email them special promotions or offers during a time they might be more inclined to purchase premium pastries…maybe the week before Christmas? HubSpot, for instance, has a The link that stood out most was the “Click here for Customer Service” link, and I don’t really think that Hitzig’s primary goal is to drive visitors to his customer service page.  I would remove many of the superfluous links contained on the page and replace them with one large call to action to “order some premium pastries today!” Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

71% More Likely to Purchase Based on Social Media Referrals [Infographic]

first_img Originally published Jan 9, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated June 28 2019 Social Media Engagement Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Ecommerce companies that invest in inbound marketing will greatly increase their opportunity to grow online sales, lower COCA (cost of customer acquisition), and increase new customer retention. Consumers connect, rate, discuss, and consume product information and reviews like never before, making a strong online presence paramount for all sizes of ecommerce businesses. Ecommerce inbound marketing makes it possible for online stores to take advantage of the emerging social revolution by gravitating consumers to their own brands and products, driving organic and social media traffic and sales, lowering COCA, and increasing the adoption of customer retention along the way.  Free Download: 45 Customer Referral TemplatesThe below infographic design from Killer Infographics is a great illustration of the importance of ecommerce inbound marketing. Feel free to use the embed code for this infographic below if you’d like to publish it to your website or blog and share your own analysis or discussion. Enjoy! Save Ecommerce Marketing Software – All-In-One Inbound Marketing SoftwareSaveTo learn more about ecommerce inbound marketing and the success businesses can achieve, be sure to check out the HubSpot case study about CoolProducts.com, which increased its social media traffic by 237% in just 4 months with ecommerce inbound marketing!last_img read more

How to Optimize Your Google+ Content for Lead Gen, From the Experts at Google

first_img Social Media Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Pause for a moment to think. Are you really making the most of your Google+ presence? As in, are you leveraging Google+ for all its lead gen potential? The most organic way to use Google+ to generate leads is by posting compelling content updates that include links back to your website.And in order for this to work, you need marketing content that will interest your audience and capture their attention. This includes content such as blog posts, videos, webinars, ebooks and whitepapers, reports, and interviews. When you share compelling content on your Google+ business page, you’ll not only engage your audience and generate discussions, but you’ll also drive your followers back to your website where they can read/view the entire resource. And from there, you can convert them into leads!In this article, which is an excerpt from our new, free ebook, 6 Ways to Generate Leads From Google+, featuring insights and best practices from Google+’s team itself, we’ll walk you through the steps you should be taking to optimize your content updates and improve your organic lead generation from Google+.Share Compelling ContentFirst and foremost, give your followers a reason to visit your page! Share content that grabs their attention and fulfills a need/want, whether it be in their family, personal, or professional lives. A data-driven approach to identifying the types of content you should share is to look at your marketing analytics and identify the most popular pages on your website. For instance, in HubSpot’s software, we look at the Landing Page Analytics tool to figure out which marketing offers (e.g. ebooks, webinars, kits, presentations) are most popular. We sort these pages by views and check their conversion rates so we can easily pinpoint the type of content that our audience gravitates toward.If you haven’t created many marketing offers or you don’t have access to such comprehensive landing page analytics, you can also check out the analytics for your blog. That should give you a good idea of which topics are most popular to your audience. Once you have identified the content that drives the most traffic, use them as fodder to share on Google+. Through this data-driven approach for selecting content, you’ll increase the probability of grabbing the attention of your Google+ followers.Optimize the Timing & Frequency of Your UpdatesPosting all your updates at the same time isn’t going to do anyone any good. You need to space them out; otherwise, your followers’ Google+ feed will get overwhelmed with a sudden flow of content. If you intend to publish 3-4 posts per day, Google explains, make sure you stagger them throughout. This approach is very similar to a marketer’s behavior on other social channels, like Twitter and Facebook.While there are general industry suggestions for optimal time and frequency of posting, it’s important to test your timing and frequency with your particular audience. You might find that your followers are a bit different in the way they access and engage with information. Look at your target persona(s), and take into consideration their locations, lifestyle habits, and activities. This context will point you in the right direction for discovering when and how often you should be posting content to your Google+ business page.Google+ Tip: Create a posting schedule, and post an update at least once a day. (HubSpot has even created a customizable, free social media scheduling template to make this process very easy!) The best times to post are between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Remember to +mention (more on this later) others who you may add valuable commentary to your post so they feel the love and share your post with more people.Learn From Other Successful Companies on Google+Many companies, like the following two, are making a good use of Google+, using best practices like mentioning specific people in their updates and using hashtags.CadburyThe UK chocolate manufacturer Cadbury, which is liked by and in the Circles of close to 2 million people, presents a great case study for using Google+ effectively. Specifically, Cadbury is a good example of how to effectively incorporate hashtags in Google+ updates. You can easily create a hashtag — just start your keyword phrase with the # symbol and don’t use any spaces. While the post below is not designed to directly generate leads for the company, it certainly helps Cadbury increase its following on Google+. Just a few hours after going live, the update had generated more than 140 likes and 60 comments.SEOmozWith its nearly 18,000 +1s and more than 15,000 followers, SEOmoz is another company that shows us a great example of using Google+ updates the right way. SEOmoz is consistent with its use of Google+ mentions. In the example below, SEOmoz has tagged the author of a blog post featured on its website. This adds a layer of personalization, as Google+ followers can learn more about the authority and experts behind SEOmoz’s writing.Personalize Your PostsIt turns out that making your posts more personal is a best practice that Google strongly recommends. As we saw with SEOmoz, tagging other Google+ users in your updates is one way to achieve personalization. Let’s look at some other ways:Mention Other Google+ Users by Adding the + SignSimply add a + sign in front of the name of the person who you want to tag, and select the right user profile. By mentioning other Google+ users and pages in your posts, your update will appear in search results when people look for them on Google+. This gives your content even greater reach.Add Personal SignaturesAt HubSpot’s we’ve found that personalized signatures work great in our email marketing. So why don’t you try incorporating them in your Google+ updates? Signing your posts with your name gives your page more personality and enables the user to identify with the people behind your content.Use Your Own VoiceBe consistent in the language and tone you use across the various different social networks you participate in, as well as on your blog and other marketing assets. Make sure that your voice represents the identity of your company, and also engages your audience so it sparks discussions.Optimize Visual Content for Lead GenerationVisual content on Google+ can open up a lot of lead generation possibilities. Similar to Facebook’s new timeline design, on Google+, you have the ability to add a cover photo and a profile image to your business page. You can also create albums with visuals, and leverage the ‘Videos’ tab to add clips. The trick — for lead generation — is to always accompany your visual content with a link back to a landing page on your site.The important thing to remember with visual content and video, is that there are two pieces of real estate to which you can add your landing page link:Add a landing page link to the actual image/video.Add a landing page link to the description of the image/video.By adding links to both of these locations, you’ll increase the chances of Google+ users clicking on the link and visiting your landing page. In other words, you’ll drive more traffic to your website that you can then focus on converting into leads. To make this work, of course, you need to share compelling visual and video content. Google+ recommends sharing exclusive photos and videos with your fans and followers. Don’t forget that you can edit your photos directly in Google+ and can even share animated GIF images — a great way to draw attention to your page.Now let’s look at a few great examples of companies using the above mentioned lead generation tactics in their visual and video content. We will also cover a few companies that have compelling cover and profile photos to instantly capture the attention of their Google+ visitors.Adding Links to Image DescriptionsIn its public album ‘Trend Update, 2012,’ H&M took advantage of the best practice to include links in the descriptions of its featured photos. The fashion brand not only showcases some of its trendy recommendations, but also tells people where they can learn more about these items and potentially purchase them. “See our latest trend collection at http://bit.ly/OsL5bT,” reads one call-to-action in H&M’s photo album.Adding Links to Actual ImagesDon’t forget that your visuals themselves can feature links! If you think that the message you’re trying to convey can benefit from a reference to a specific page, then go ahead and feature a URL. This is especially easy to do if you’re using an image of your logo for brandingpurposes. Below, check out how The New York Times managed to incorporate a link right beneath its logo.Adding Links to Your VideosIn this example, General Electric is featuring a video on its Google+ page. The company is following best practices by including a hashtag in its update and even mentioning specific Google+ users in the comments section. If you play the video, you will see that it features a link to get further engaged with G E— this is their call-to-action. One recommendationwe have for GE is to also include its desired link in the description of the video as they post it on Google+. This would increase the chances of people clicking through and learning more about the stories behind GE.Etsy is another company that has shown us great use of video calls-to-action on Google+. In the example below, Etsy showcases its most recent product feature and also links to the page on its business’ website where users can get access to the feature.Surprise Users With Unique VisualsYou can also capture people’s attention with some creative and unorthodox visuals. Verizon, for instance, features five individual animated GIFs on its Google+ Page that come together to convey one message. Since this is something new and unexpected in this virtual environment, it grabs the attention of the user and directs them to take a specific action, which in this case would be to check out Verizon Wireless for faster movies, music, and apps.Forever 21 is another company that used animated GIFs to make its cover picture stand out.Are you effectively optimizing and leveraging your best content for maximum Google+ lead generation? center_img Lead Generation Originally published Jul 31, 2012 8:09:00 AM, updated March 21 2013last_img read more

Small Business Saturday: What Shoppers and Businesses Should Know #ShopSmall

first_img Originally published Nov 29, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Entrepreneurship Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Ah, the holiday season. Spending time with friends, family, and 10,000 of your closest friends at big box stores racing to win one coveted item at an unparalleled discount. Nothing like that warm, fuzzy Black Friday feeling to start the season off right. For context, up to 140 million people plan to shop over Thanksgiving weekend. 69.1% of these shoppers plan to leverage Black Friday, which is essentially a holiday unto itself for avid deal hunters.  Download 195+ visual marketing design templates to use for social media posts, infographics, and more. With all of that money on the table, it’s tempting for any business to want to get in on the action. The question is how? Consider the following: In the fourth quarter of 2012, Toys “R” Us spent $88.3 million to rent the attention of consumers vying for deals and toys for their kids. Unless you have 90 million smackeroos hanging out in your back pocket, chances are you won’t be able to outspend big box retailers to get customers’ attention this holiday season. Enter Small Business Saturday, a vision conceived by American Express in 2010 to help consumers locate and shop from vendors in their neighborhood. In essence, Small Business Saturday is the ultimate example of an inbound marketing campaign. American Express started with a remarkable concept: Take a weekend owned by massive big box retailers and create a window of attention and engagement for small business owners without the budget to compete on spend. They marketed the event leveraging a combination of content, social promotion, and paid advertising efforts. The results speak for themselves: Last year, 213,000 tweets included the hashtags #smallbizsat and #shopsmall, and the movement’s Facebook page garnered 3.2 million likes. Most importantly, the 2012 campaign generated 5.5 billion in revenue for independent retailers nationwide.Not convinced yet? Here are ten compelling reasons you should consider shopping small on Small Business Saturday:1) Small businesses provide 55% of all jobs and 66% of all net new jobs since the 1970s.2) While overall sales growth is up for all retailers, sales for companies with less than $5 million in revenue is down in recent years, so Small Business Saturday can provide smaller businesses with a much-needed boost.3) 77% of shoppers who are aware of Small Business Saturday plan to shop this weekend. You’re already out. Why not visit a small business?4) There are 23 million small businesses in the United States, so you have a wide range of options to choose from, whether you live in Beaufort, South Carolina, Brooklyn, New York, or Bellevue, Washington.5) Half of all new establishments survive five years or more and only one-third survive ten years or more — so don’t wait to support your local bookstore, bakery, or guitar store.6) The average cost of filling a 500 foot, mid-sized retail store nets out to $20,000, so the day-to-day costs to keep the items you care about is significant above and beyond startup costs. Want your corner book store to keep stocking your favorites? Support them this weekend to encourage them to do so.7) The fastest growing sectors for freelance businesses in 2011 included beauty salons, dry cleaners, and auto repair shops. Consider a local vendor for a treat or a tune-up: Small Business Saturday goes beyond Christmas giving.8) Although the initiative was started by American Express, Small Business Saturday is payment-agnostic, so whether you choose cash, check, or credit to purchase your merchandise, your neighborhood will benefit.9) Some of America’s best-loved toys still come from small businesses that care deeply about their employees. Need proof? Radio Flyer gives new employees a wagon full of fresh flowers when they start, and their CEO calls himself the “Chief Wagon Officer.” Small businesses are exceptional places to work, and often pave the way with trends adopted at larger institutions, as well.10) On the first Small Business Saturday, revenues for SMBs grew 28%, so what may seem like a small expense to you has a huge impact on a business owner.Now that we’ve made the case for why people should shop local, here are three keys for businesses to succeed and thrive with Small Business Saturday:1) Plan Beyond PriceChances are, big box retailers near you can afford to discount items more heavily than you can, so compete on more than cost. Instead, focus on creating memorable experiences. Can you cater to children with a storytime series at your bookstore, or host a hot chocolate tasting contest at your coffee shop? If you’re a home furnishing store, can you host a seminar on first-time home decorating or a free Pinterest inspiration board to customers who support you on Small Business Saturday? Experiences don’t have to be expensive to be worthwhile, so consider what you can do to win customers’ attention beyond just the price tag.2) Co-marketThere is no better time to co-market than Small Business Saturday because you’re automatically part of a group of organizations with a similar goal. Identify a business you admire, either based on their proximity to your business, the crossover between your customer base, or the complimentary nature of your products (you sell floral arrangements, they sell wedding supplies, so there’s heavy overlap). Whether you choose to co-market on social media, through a joint event, or a collaborative email, spread the co-marketing love to increase your reach.3) Don’t Forget Your Thank You NotesLet’s face it: Attracting customers to shop at your small business can sometimes be a challenge, particularly in the wake of Black Friday. Far too many businesses overlook an important component of the day, which is thanking people who take the time and energy to participate in Small Business Saturday. Consider practicing random acts of gratitude, sending an email with a gift card to a loyal customer, tweeting to thank visitors for their patronage, or delivering a coffee or personalized thank you note to the first person who ever supported your store. Personal touches are yet another way small businesses differ from mass retailers, so delight your customers with gratitude; they’ll return the favor by coming back.At HubSpot, we are proud to be huge supporters of small businesses. We are proud to call companies like Boston Appliance (here in Massachusetts) and Holden Luntz Gallery (in Palm Beach, Florida) customers, and to encourage employees, customers, and followers alike to shop small this Saturday. We’re also taking our efforts a step further by creating a live tweet stream to make it easy for businesses to post what they are doing for Small Business Saturday, as well as for shoppers to post what they are most excited to buy or receive from their holiday wish lists. Whether you’re shopping or selling this Small Business Saturday, we hope Santa is good to you and look forward to seeing your photos, successes, and gifts on Twitter!Tweets about “#shopsmall” Topics:last_img read more

How to Promote Your Content Using Paid, Earned & Owned Media

first_imgThis post originally appeared on the Insiders section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Insiders.Some people think content promotion isn’t complicated. It’s just making sure content is optimized for the search engines, sent to an appropriate email list, and then broadcast it socially, right? If only it were that simple.Search algorithms aren’t as reliant on on-page factors for determining relevance anymore, organic social reach is declining, and not every brand has a huge opt-in email database at their disposal. As a result, brands that wish to rely on these tactics must have patience — or double down on promotional efforts.The amount of patience required is dependent on the level of inbound adoption within any given industry. For example, a bee keeper just getting started with inbound marketing might see results faster than a new marketing agency, since marketing as an industry is highly saturated with content. Unfortunately, most enterprises aren’t patient enough to wait 6, 8, or 12 months for the return they need to justify their budgets — they generally get one quarter to prove a program’s worth. So if you’re a late inbound adopter in a competitive industry and you want to grow fast, you need to get creative with how you promote your content. The graphic and explanations below detail some of the best paid and earned media tactics for promoting content. These tactics can empower newer inbound adopters to see results quicker, help agencies reduce churn by driving client results faster, and allow enterprise marketers to show a return within a quarter.The Tactics of Content PromotionContent CoverageThis is perhaps the most powerful of the three content promotion channels. Earning attention for a brand’s content can drive brand awareness, traffic, and conversions. Here are a few ways you can get more content coverage.Media RelationsThis is a tried-and-true stalwart of public relations (PR), but it doesn’t have to be all about pitching brand, product, and service stories to journalists and editors. Marketers and PR professionals alike can pitch a brand’s ebook, guide, study, etc. if it’s prudent to the audience of the publication. Below shows the growth in leads (in purple) from one link to an ebook featured in a story on Inc.com.In total, this one link drove over 800 incremental leads in 30 days. The day after it was published, 20% of the total website visitors downloaded the ebook.Influencer OutreachAlso known as influencer marketing or influencer advocacy, influencer outreach is quite similar to media relations, though, typically, the people targeted are influential in their industry and aren’t necessarily journalists or editors. Influencers can be bloggers or people that amass large social followings around their industry expertise.The result of outreach can lead to something as simple as a social share, a direct or indirect endorsement on a blog, or full-on collaboration with a project or campaign. The example below helped drive nearly 5,000 unique website visitors to the article and over 500 Google +1s in just two weeks.Bylined ArticlesThese result when media outlets invite company executives with a very specific expertise to write for them. Some are one-and-done, and others are a series of articles or even a weekly column. Bylines cost nothing, but it takes time to research the media and pitch them why a brand’s executive should write for them. Once a byline is earned, citing ebooks, guides, studies, and blog posts can drive copious amounts of traffic and conversions.SyndicationThis tactic was a cornerstone of the newspaper business for many years and turned some journalists into cult celebrities. While not a cornerstone of the internet, having content syndicated to other websites serves the same purpose — getting content in front of many more eyeballs. Any calls to action or citations leading back to landing pages in the original content can drive massive amounts of conversions over time. Just be sure that you’re covering all of your SEO-bases when having your content syndicated.Below is an example of one of several syndication relationships Relevance.com has. Each one credits the original source of the content, as seen below. If you’re ever getting your content syndicated, make sure that the syndicated post links back to the original.Content DistributionIn Ryan Skinner’s Forrester report, “Put Distribution at the Heart of Content Marketing,” he talks about traditional online ad networks and the quickly growing ecosystem of paid content distribution channels. Native distribution is more conducive to content marketers than banner ads and lacks the pervasiveness of banner blindness. Below are a few ways you can use this type of promotion for your content.Native Advertising (Content Discovery Networks)Networks like Taboola, AdBlade, and Outbrain are quickly growing. With more than 90% of companies admitting to content marketing adoption, it’s not surprising — with so much content out there, people are looking for any edge to get noticed. Outbrain reports a 6% clickthrough rate across its network of 100,000 publishers.These networks allow marketers to get their content in front of very large audiences while simultaneously helping traditional media outlets grow revenue — something many of them haven’t been able to do for more than a decade. You can see an example of what native advertising typically looks like below.Advertorials (Sponsored Content)This is another way for brands to tap into another website’s audience. Brands using this tactic pay to publish articles on other websites or media outlets. The pieces usually look and feel much like the unsponsored content on the media site, but is denoted with a “sponsored” tag or sticker. Popularized by Forbes, online advertorials are beginning to crop up all over the Internet. However, media buying for sponsored content is still in its infancy. Pricing varies widely across the media — from six figures to a couple hundred dollars.Here is an example of how one website features advertorial content.:Native SocialAdvertising helped both Facebook and LinkedIn experience stock price spikes when these programs were announced. Both networks have successfully given brands the option to move advertisements from the doldrums of banner ad space into users’ newsfeeds where these sponsored posts look very similar to typical updates.Marketers who choose to use social networks for native advertising should experiment. Some are more conducive to blog content and visuals while others are best suited for landing pages. Cost per click can vary between $0.25 to over $20 on networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.Native NewslettersThese have been around for quite some time. Most marketers can likely find several examples in their inboxes now. Some companies that have amassed large email databases will allow marketers to pay to include their branded content or offers in their newsletter.If you pay for native newsletter distribution, your rate can be a part of a broader sponsorship package, cost per click, cost per action, or cost per lead. Paying for placement in a newsletter is another way for marketers to distribute their content in a native manner.Content BroadcastingUnfortunately, broadcasting is exclusively what most marketers use for content promotion today. For some it can be highly effective, but for others it can feel like no one is listening. It’s exceptionally difficult to get needle-moving results for companies just getting started with inbound marketing in an industry that’s embraced it already. For content broadcasting to have a big impact, a brand needs an existing audience.Social MediaThis is a tried-and-true broadcasting channel for brands. Unfortunately, Facebook is slowly, but surely, limiting the organic reach of brands — and it’s possible that other social networks might follow suit. So if you’re going to beef up your social media distribution, know that you’re at the mercy of the social networks and that algorithm changes could affect your future successes. I’m not saying don’t be on social media, just be aware that you have to play by the social networks’ rules to be successful. EmailEmail is highly effective channel for content distribution, too. Valuable content can be delivered to subscribers, leads, customers, and partners. Whether it’s a one-off campaign, a regular subscription, triggered automation, or nurturing, email works. Unfortunately though, without a significant email database to tap into, brands don’t have anyone to broadcast to. Over time, though, you can build this large, opt-in database and then regularly distribute your content to them.As marketers, we’re used to telling our customers to be patient with inbound marketing — that it takes time. But it only takes time if broadcasting is the only content promotion channel used. By leveraging the content promotion landscape and the tools of the content promotion ecosystem, marketers can get faster and better results.This post was a sneak peek at Chad Pollitt’s INBOUND 2014 presentation entitled, “How Content Promotion Changed Our Inbound Marketing Forever.” Don’t forget to register and stop by his session on Wednesday, September 17th. Originally published Aug 13, 2014 12:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Content Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

6 Handy Resources to Help Solve Your Biggest Content Creation Problems

first_img Content Creation Resources Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Content creation is one of the key pillars of inbound marketing — but that doesn’t always mean it’s the easiest pillar to master. As with any new project, you’re bound to run into an obstacle or two. To help you overcome those obstacles, here’s a quick round-up of recent blog posts by HubSpot Partners about solving the most common content creation challenges that inbound marketers face. Each post features killer tips and tricks you can start implementing today.1) Running out of ideas? Learn how to brainstorm 100 ideas in under an hour.Sometimes, the hardest part of any project is getting started. How many times have you stared at a blank white screen, just hoping your next brilliant idea would appear? This blog post walks you through five tactical steps for brainstorming content ideas. It explains everything from the best way to collect content ideas from sales teams and customer service associates to prioritizing content topics to drafting enticing titles.2) Want to create more engaging content? Get to know your audience.We can’t say enough about how critical it is to know your audience. The trouble is, sometimes actually doing that isn’t so clear. Creating buyer personas can solve for this. Fictional representations of your ideal customers can help you nail down key details about your company’s perfect customer. When you know your audience, content creation becomes that much easier. This quick read explains the essential questions to ask yourself about your audience so you can create content tailored specifically for their wants and needs.3) Don’t miss that deadline! Here’s how to avoid common content planning mistakes.As an inbound marketer, you know that content is king. It’s essential for attracting strangers to your website, converting those visitors into leads, closing customers, and continuing to delight these people to make them promoters of your brand. It’s oh-so-easy to get swept up in a hyper-creative idea and forget about the practical side of creating content that’s inherently helpful. You’ll learn how to avoid a few pesky pitfalls to make your content creation process as smooth as possible.4) Content isn’t converting? Try this.For many marketers, the ultimate goal of content creation is lead generation. This post explains four small tweaks you can make to your content to inspire potential customers visiting your website to take action, such as providing their email address for a download or chatting with your seals team.5) Congrats on the sale! Your content’s job isn’t over yet.Content creation shouldn’t stop once you’ve sealed the deal. After your company has closes a new customer, the next step is delighting them so they become promoters of your brand. It’s a fine line of providing helpful content but also pushing your customer to act as a cheerleader for your company. In this blog post, you’ll learn five quick tips for charming your customers so they tell everyone they know how awesome your really are.6) If all else fails, learn a thing or two from these pups.The writer of this blog post works from home and spends a lot of time with her five (count ‘em, five) dogs. This post tackles everything from goal setting, user experience, brainstorming ideas, and delighting customers with content. She explains how crushing the fundamentals of content marketing can lead to big results. And, to be honest, this one’s worth reading because the analogies are clutch. Topics: Originally published Sep 12, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017last_img read more

Instagram Photography Tips for Beginners

first_img Topics: Instagram Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Are you new to Instagram and perhaps a little intimidated by where and how to start sharing your photos? You probably started on Instagram by looking around at some of the big brands that are really active (Nike, GoPro, Starbucks), and developed a little case of “social media analysis paralysis”. “SMAP” is what happens when you want to post something that is noteworthy, sharable and will possibly “go viral”. You spend so much time analyzing and trying to get “just the right shot”, that you end up doing nothing at all. It’s not rocket science. Besides, Instagram makes it even easier by giving you some great tools right at your fingertips to make you look like a pro.  Here are a few basic tips to keep in mind when you’re framing your shot for sharing on Instagram.For demonstration purposes, I’m using a photo of Helo, who happens to be one of my favorite subjects. The example below is the unedited photo directly from my photo library uploaded into Instagram. Though it’s centered within the grid, it’s pretty uninteresting.Basic CompositionRemember the “rule of thirds”. Think of your photo as a grid with nine squares (See photo below). If you’re shooting your photo directly in Instagram, it takes care of this for you so you don’t have to imagine it. Position your subject matter along these lines and you’ll get a much more dramatic shot. If you’re loading a photo into Instagram (as I did) that wasn’t taken within the app itself, never fear. When you select the photo you want to use, the grid is overlaid automatically.Use the grid to position, scale and crop your subject along the lines and create the drama that way. For example, when I enlarged and repositioned Helo’s face I used the upper, right two thirds of the grid.LightingPay attention to where the light source is in your image. If you’re shooting outdoors, having the sun behind you is great unless your subjects are people. They may be squinting to keep the sun out of their eyes if they are facing you directly.By the same token, you don’t want the sun behind them either. Shooting directly into the sun makes it difficult to properly light the faces of your subjects.  Early morning and late afternoon sun can create interesting impact with a lot of contrast.If you’re shooting indoors, you may or may not want to use your flash. You have the option to play around with it if you’re using the camera app on your phone instead of using Instagram. In other words, to select and post only your best photos on your IG profile, try taking the same shot with and without a flash with just your phone’s camera.   Using the same example, the lighting was good and I loved the angle. It just needed a little tweaking.Fun with FiltersPossibly the coolest thing about Instagram is the filter feature. Here is where you will want to experiment and find your favorites – there are over 20 to choose from.When you’re using this feature, once you have selected the filter you want to apply, tap it twice and you can change the degree to which the filter is applied if you want something a little more subtle. This is also the area to select a frame for your image by clicking on the box.Here are a few of my personal favorites that you may want to try (left to right):Lo-Fi – Creates a really dramatic image without any other adjustments.Earlybird – Great for a TBT (Throw Back Thursday) image; looks like an old Polaroid.Inkwell – Nothing quite like a classic black and white image.  You may want to play with the contrast a bit to get just the right look.Nashville – If you use this one, definitely apply the frame. It will give your image the look of an old piece of film. center_img Originally published Feb 6, 2015 11:30:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Try the ToolsIf you prefer to “do it yourself” when creating images for your followers, then skip the filters and try out the tools. IG has quite an array of editing tools. For example, if you have items in the background that you can’t remove by cropping, use the “tilt shift” tool to blur everything except what you want to be in focus. For this tool, choose either “radial” or “linear” and use your fingers to change the area that you want in focus. You can also use “vignette” in the same manner; to direct focus to the part of the image that you want to be noticed.Mind your SettingsOne rather important thing to remember about Instagram: if you are taking photos within the app itself (not just uploading them there), filtered photos are only saved to your camera roll or gallery AFTER you have shared them. To make certain that the original photo is saved, go to Options under your Instagram profile and turn on “Save Original Photos”. Leverage your ContentWhen you’re ready to post your posts, you have the option to cross post in other social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Foursquare. If you have a larger audience on any of these, it’s a great way to let them know to find you on Instagram.Important note: In order to post Instagram photos to Twitter and have them show up in your feed, you’ll need to use a tool called “If This Then That” (IFTTT.com). This handy little tool will bypass Instagram turning off Twitter cards when you post a photo. (Without this tool, your Instagram photos will simply show up in your tweet as a link to the Instagram site.)Scheduling your PostsIf you’re using Instagram to build engagement as you are with other social media channels, there may be times when you need to schedule a few posts ahead of time. Here are a few schedulers out there specifically for Instagram that you may want to check out:ScheduGramLatergrammeInstapultTakeOffNow you have all the basics. Grab your phone and get started. I can’t wait to see what you come up with. If you want to see more pictures of my crew, you can follow me on Instagram.last_img read more