The modern consumer wants to get to know you before they commit to your brand, making blogs important places for you to woo them with your content. And where best to look for inspiration and to stay up to date with trends than other content marketing blogs?
Showing just how much the content you write online says about your brand, a study by Dragon Search cited 61% of consumers’ purchasing decisions as being influenced by custom content. Even a seasoned content marketer may be surprised by what they don’t know in today’s incredible online marketplace. We suggest following a few key blogs that cover everything you need to know:
WooContent is for the wordsmith in you, with a specific focus on how to write compelling content. Covering all aspects of content writing and content marketing, it’s particularly good for copywriters or those looking for tips on how to write their own content.
One of the best things about the WooContent blog is that there’s something to interest everyone, from beginners just starting out, to more experienced writers. The information is concise, easily digestible and gives helpful links to further reading. It’s clear that the advice comes from an agency of seasoned writers and content marketers.
Convince and Convert is a great all-round blog, covering a broad range of topics. For us however, it’s their social media content that particularly stands out. Luckily, they have a handy little filter to help refine your search.
C&C covers every element of social media you could possibly need, and specifically discusses individual platforms. This gives readers great insight into how to differentiate their content marketing strategy across different social media channels.
They undertake their own research and have social media experts on hand to write about important developments and key events as they happen, as well as give you advice on how to respond.
Marketing Interactions is the blog to follow for those with a B2B content marketing focus. It instructs readers about the dos and don’ts of planning, creating and implementing B2B content marketing. What’s particularly useful about this blog, however, is that it provides you with a background for each topic it discusses. Marketing Interactions places B2B content marketing problems in a real life context, making potentially dry and complicated subjects more interesting and understandable.
Its blog posts also provide helpful suggested improvements for the topic at hand by year. This allows you to see how trends are developing and may even help you formulate your next move.
If you’re looking to truly understand the market you’re writing content for, Smart Insights is there you and is relevant for both B2B and B2C readers. The blog covers digital marketing topics such as predicted ’Digital trends', Mobile marketing statistics and ‘how to’ guides, from ’3 easy steps to optimise your website for mobile’ to ’How to score SEO points'. They also often have insider interviews with industry experts.
One of the many things that makes Smart Insights stand out are the infographics. This visual element of the Smart Insights blog not only breaks up blocks of text but makes large amounts of data easily digestible. Their visual representation of numerical information means that Smart Insights can communicate complex messages and trends to their readers, with little effort on the reader’s part.
Following these blogs is sure to help keep your finger on the content marketing pulse. By doing so, you can ensure that you’re making brilliant content that your users will find value in.
Of course, as you’re reading this, then the Ad-Rank blog is hopefully one you follow too. If you like what we say then get in touch to find out how we can help with your content marketing and SEO strategies.
There are a whole host of SEO factors at play when it comes to how well your website ranks in Google, and depending on which industry you're in, some will have more impact on your search rankings than others. Google analyses each search query to establish which ranking factors are most appropriate, but research has shown that there are certain things which should be considered a priority, regardless of your sector.
Here are the key SEO ranking factors to think about when optimising your site for search engines in 2018.
Content and links are the two most important factors for ranking in Google. But simply throwing a load of content onto your website is not enough to make it rank well. For content to be beneficial, it must:
- Be relevant
- Be well-written
- Be comprehensive
- Contain optimised images
The quality of your content also directly influences a variety of other, smaller ranking factors, from click-through rate to bounce rate. The better the content, the more likely people are to visit your pages and stick around once they arrive.
Long-form content tends to do better in search results, because it contains more information about the subject at hand than shorter pages and articles do. That said, there's no point adding unnecessary words to a page just to try and bulk it out. Look for opportunities to explore fewer topics in greater detail, and find and fix any thin content issues that already exist on your site.
Whatever content there is on each page, it needs to be well-written and it needs to serve a purpose. Search Engine Land says quality content "is based on an understanding of your audience, as well as keyword and user research. (It) helps the reader complete one specific task,(and) features an enticing call to action or clear next step."
Find out more about how to produce quality SE-optimised content with Search Engine Land's checklist.
Much in the way that high-quality content actually ticks a number of ranking signal boxes, so do high-quality links. Having a tonne of backlinks alone was once enough to give site pages a boost, but now the impact counts on link authority and link diversity as well as the actual volume.
One good thing about great content is that it naturally attracts backlinks. To do well in search, you want to be getting as many links as possible from a range of authoritative domains. Produce content that people want and need – that is naturally worth sharing and referencing – and you're off to a good start.
Keeping on top of disavowing spammy links, as links from low-quality websites could do more harm than good and put you at risk of penalties.
For more information on Google-friendly link building techniques, take a look at Backlinko's Link Building Fundamentals.
As Google edge closer to making their index mobile-first, details like mobile UX and page load speed are factors all marketers should be paying attention to. A one-second delay in page response time can result in conversion reductions of up to 7%, and if people do make it onto your site, poor mobile UX can be caused by everything from buttons that are too close together to images that don't resize.
Help avoid slow mobile load times by minifying code, compressing images and reducing redirects. It's also worth avoiding Flash, which isn't available on iPhones. It's up to you whether you use a responsive site design or a separate mobile configuration, but not optimising for mobile is simply not an option.
Find out how mobile-friendly your site pages are using the Google Mobile-Friendly Test, and if you're in need of some pointers in where to start optimising, take a look at Moz's Mobile Optimisation Guide.
Google announced right back in 2014 that HTTPS was going to become a ranking signal, and many browsers will now serve up a 'not secure' or 'unsafe' warning when a user tries to open an unsecured page. If anything is likely to scare people away from your site, it's a big bold warning telling them their browsing data isn't secure and that they're 'unsafe', so switching to HTTPS ought to be a no-brainer.
HTTPS stops people's usernames and passwords, among other things, being sent over an unencrypted connection. It's crucial for internet user safety and an important switch to make not just to help your search rankings, but to show that your site is trustworthy. Ahrefs's HTTPS basics has more information on the topic.
Keep up to date with Google. It seems obvious, but holding a finger to the pulse can prevent any nasty surprises – whether that's a sudden drop in rankings or a full-on Google penalty. Google's algorithms are updated on a small scale pretty regularly, but when major changes (like Panda and Hummingbird) are brought in, you can expect to see an announcement.
Regularly running SEO audits of your site will help you to stay on top of any technical issues that could be affecting performance, such as 404 and 500 code errors, duplicate content and orphaned pages. The healthier your site is overall, the better it's going to do in search.
To recap, the most important ranking factors to keep in mind throughout 2018 are:
- Quality content
- Powerful links
- Mobile UX
- HTTPS set up
Team these up with regular technical checks and fixes, and you're setting up building blocks for boosting your site's SEO.
If you'd like a free SEO audit of your site or would like to discuss intelligent content strategies, don't hesitate to get in touch.
As the industry becomes more and more performance-based, there is an ever-increasing pressure on marketing departments to demonstrate their return on investment (ROI). Yet 40% of marketing departments still rate proving ROI as their biggest challenge.
With content marketing becoming a greater part of the overall mix, showing the value of these assets - whether they're web pages, blogs, brochures or whitepapers – is crucial. This article discusses the different approaches you can use to evaluate the overall effectiveness of your content, and help you decide on the ones that fit best with your business.
Businesses that report ROI from their content marketing have demonstrated that the return is higher than the average, costing 62% less than traditional marketing. But, how do we measure these figures?
As we know, content plays a vital role across different touchpoints of the customer journey. It also ultimately influences later purchase decisions. For example, research by Nielsen showed that people engage with 11.4 pieces of content before making a purchase. This number will, of course, vary from business to business.
Reporting on your website visitors’ behaviours as they engage with content on your site is now easier than ever using packages like Google Analytics and similar tools.
When attempting to determine your true ROI though, it's important to go beyond these simple reports, such as ROI Analysis or Cost Analysis. These look at marketing spend versus conversion values but will neglect some important figures. For example, it’s important to consider all of the potential costs that were involved in producing and promoting your content, such as the cost of editing and advertising it and writers’ salaries.
Other metrics that Analytics provides, such as social likes and shares, can be too simplistic for true ROI reporting if generating sales and revenue is your goal. While they can make a campaign look successful, they won’t tell you much about whether people are buying from you.
The customer decision-making process is not strictly linear. A prospective buyer might interact with a blog post, posts on your social media page, or download a guide from the FAQs area of your website. It may not have been the first touchpoint or the last touchpoint in their journey that was the ultimate deciding factor for them in choosing whether or not to buy something.
This is where attribution modelling can be incredibly powerful when used in the right way for your business. For more on attribution modelling, here’s a good overview. And to see whether your blog content is contributing to sales, look at this great guide to creating a custom channel.
Whether you use an in-house CRM, Analytics software, or a combination of several data sources, tools like these are indispensable when it comes to making your job of reporting simpler. And they’re always improving as technology advances. So will too, your understanding of your customers.
Great results though in the end rely on quality content. Squeeze all of the value that you can out of your tools and focus on your customers to create better content that they find useful.
If you're looking for a content marketing agency that can provide measurable results, get in touch.
We’re passionate about interactive magazines and believe that they have the potential to be the next big thing in content marketing.
We’ve already discussed their benefits in comparison to page-turning PDF’s, with interactive magazines offering brands the chance to make use of full screen images, pop up copy and a great range of digital elements including video and clickable links.
Interactive magazines are a great way to connect content with commerce, too. With that in mind, we’ve scoured the web to find 11 examples of interactive magazines that combine stunning visuals with a truly rewarding user experience.
Time Out have brilliantly harnessed the power of interactive magazines over the years. Their Eating and Drinking in Edinburgh issue is perhaps one of the most visually striking, with a table of contents that links users to pages on everything from the best breakfasts to a list of post-work bars and boozers.
With the option to include pop-up copy and additional text boxes, interactive magazines are a great way to host a large amount of content without bombarding users with information that isn’t relevant to them. Time Out gives each reader the option to read more about the topics that strike their interest, with the handy text boxes also including the address and contact details of each bar and restaurant.
We’ve already discussed how fashion brands can benefit from using interactive magazines. Perhaps the most important role that they play is by seamlessly connecting content with e-commerce - a trick that retail giant Net-A-Porter were quick to capitalise on. The Edit contains a wide range of features that include items sold on site. Click on products that interest you, and you’ll be instantly transported to Net-A-Porter’s shoppable product page.
By giving readers the chance to click straight from magazines to retail sites, fashion brands are able to drive a high amount of clicks without the need for a middleman. E.commerce is the fastest growing retail market in Europe, and for an aspirational brand such as Net-A-Porter, making glossy magazine pages instantly shoppable has the potential to make a real impact on sales.
The Watch Magazine is as luxurious feeling as you’d expect, offering a wholly interactive experience. Users can find out where items are from by clicking on the + signs, discover more about product specification through maximising pop ups, or instantly share articles with friends by using the handy social icons.
Unlike traditional, page-turning PDF magazines, interactive editorials allow for the seamless stimulation of social engagement, in turn introducing your brand to a wider audience without the need for paid advertising. What’s more, by hosting the magazine on your existing domain, you can make sure that every click via social media is a click that counts towards your website tracking metrics. The Watch Magazine makes the best use of both functions, by ensuring that links and share buttons are easily accessible on each and every page.
The business sector can also benefit from the use of interactive magazines, as showcased by leadership events organiser Top Banana. Each page focuses on a different area of Top Banana’s business strategy, while the videos hosted within the magazine help to clearly demonstrate their company ethos.
Unlike PDFs, interactive magazines are fully functioning web pages with the potential to be fully indexed by search engines. This style of keyword driven content boosts SEO and has the power to move your company up in the search rankings, driving a higher level of engagement from those interested in your services. The more visible your business is to potential clients, the more likely you are to close deals that are the right fit for you.
Topman prove that going with a theme can work in their Denim Issue. The strong use of blue is not only representative of the topic, but also brings the whole edition together in a way that builds a strong visual identity. Users are able to click through to relevant product pages, as well as watch pop-up YouTube videos without being directed off site.
For many brands, one of the most appealing aspects of interactive magazines is the ability to be free and creative with the design. Without the layout constraints commonly associated with traditional CMS platforms, interactive magazines make it possible to fully utilise content in a way that promotes a strong and consistent brand identity. For a fashion brand like Topman, appearance can mean everything, and sticking to branding that makes them instantly recognisable to consumers is one way that they can aim to drive more interest.
The Slovenian Tourist Board are proof that the travel industry can also benefit from this style of digital content. Not only do interactive magazines allow for the use of spectacular imagery on the full screen, they also give users the opportunity to engage actively with content and find out more about the destinations that meet their interests. This all adds up to a user experience that feels more personalised and dynamic, something that 75% of consumers deem to be highly important.
A Slovenian Love Story is packed with interactive image galleries, making the most of Slovenia’s whimsical setting to drive clicks directly to specific destination guides. For travel brands that are keen to promote the aspirational lifestyle that their destinations offer, being able to fully utilise the use of high resolution images has the potential to hugely benefit sales.
UK travel retailer CruiseDeals.co.uk launched the first edition of their Sea Life Magazine earlier this year. Compiled of the latest cruise news, celebrity interviews and exclusive offers, the magazine aims to be a portable, visual extension of the brand. It gives users an insight into the deals and service that CruiseDeals.co.uk offer, while still managing to be an entertaining and engaging read.
While interactive magazines offer a wide range of benefits to brands and businesses, it’s important to remember that many readers will open the issue in the hope of being both informed and entertained. Content is of the highest importance within an interactive magazine - it needs to be concise and to the point, while still managing to give readers all the information they need. In Sea Life, CruiseDeals.co.uk strike a balance that offers users high quality, informative content that is still engaging for readers that may not have an extensive knowledge of the industry.
You wouldn’t expect an interactive magazine that showcases the work of one of history’s finest artists to be anything less than striking. The Van Gogh Museum’s online publication is vibrant and rich in colour, featuring plenty of details on events, tours and workshops. The copy also includes a high amount of internal links to other pages of the magazine, making it an engaging reader experience and encouraging users to remain on site for longer.
Interactive magazines have the potential to offer users a complete package, hosting everything from lengthy articles to bitesize snippets all in one place. In fact, users recently gave scrollable content a 68% rating of importance in relation to digital magazine content. Building a rich network of internal links is a great way to reduce bounce rates, as the attention of the reader is consistently drawn from one page to the next. By including such a diverse range of content within their magazine, The Van Gogh Museum can afford to be creative when linking pages together.
High street retailer Boots releases an interactive version of its Health and Beauty magazine every month, packed with articles that encourage readers to actively engage with its content. Interactive quizzes are a common feature, alongside image sliders and fillable content forms. This level of interactivity is a great way to keep readers on site for longer, which could in turn appeal to advertisers and sponsors that are willing to pay big money for a share in your engagement levels.
What’s more, the brand have gone one step further with the placement of ‘add to basket’ buttons next to key products. Once you’ve finished reading, click the basket icon in the top right hand corner and head straight to the checkout without ever clicking off site. From a retail perspective, Boots have harnessed the power to turn initial consumer interest into sales.
The Unlimited Mag provides users with an eclectic mix of art, music and lifestyle content in a digital magazine that is shrouded with interactive features. Make your way through the endless pages of visual content and click through to shop directly for featured items. There’s also the option of sharing particularly interesting articles across your social networking profiles, all at the click of a button.
Like many interactive magazines, issues have a tendency to look best when viewed on iPads and tablets. One of the benefits of this type of media is their responsiveness and ability to seamlessly adapt to being shown across a range of devices. Readers of Unlimited Magazine are able to access the magazine on any mobile device, ensuring that content is readily available dependant on the individual preferences of the user.
Shuffle is a local magazine for residents in the city of Alkmaar, Holland. There are handy icons dotted around each image that open to reveal pop-up text boxes. These are packed full of relevant information, such as snippets from interviews with local creatives.
Interactive magazines are a great way to share your audience with key influencers. Interviews, reviews and guest articles from relevant sources can ensure that your content is visible to as large an audience as possible, giving content the potential to be distributed amongst their fanbase as well as yours.
To discover how an interactive magazine could be of benefit to your business or for more information on how we can help you create one, contact us today.