Thursday, July 27, 2017

Content Curation: The Biggest Benefits [Infographic]

As marketers, we are responsible for producing content at a seemingly ever increasing rate. According to countless studies, including Curata’s 2016 Staffing, Strategy, and Tactics Survey, content marketing is proven to help generate leads, increase traffic, and establish thought leadership, among other benefits. However, many of us lack the time, staff, or budget to publish enough original content to keep up with the demand. This is where content curation comes in.

What is Content Curation?

Curata’s definition of content curation is as follows:

Content curation is when an individual (or team) consistently finds, organizes, annotates, and shares the most relevant and highest quality digital content on a specific topic for their target market.”

At its best, curation is:

  • Performed by a person, not simply a computer algorithm.
  • Being discerning, discriminative, and selective.
  • Added value. You offer perspective, insight, guidance.
  • Not a one-time event or activity.
  • Informed by a laser focus on your audience.

How Can Curation Help Your Business?

According to Curata data, leading marketers use a mixture of 65 percent created content and 25 percent curated content.

Why? The path to purchase used to be a straightforward line from point A (buyer need) to point B (conversion). It was easy for marketers to guide and even control a prospect’s journey along this narrowly defined series of steps.

The world is different now.

Buyers are hyper-connected today. They use multiple devices and channels to access an inexhaustible avalanche of information in real time. This buyer isn’t waiting for you to tell them what to do next. In fact, according to SiriusDecisions, 70 percent of the buyer journey is now completed without any sales involvement.

So, how are buyers making their purchase decisions, and—more importantly—how can you influence those decisions?

Enter Content Marketing

Businesses use content marketing to respond to this consumer environment. It’s a process for developing, executing, and delivering the content and related assets needed to create, nurture, and grow a company’s customer base.

However, as more businesses jump onto the content marketing bandwagon, it becomes more difficult for marketers to maintain the frequency and quality of content required to compete.

Content curation helps you compete effectively and efficiently, and provides unique benefits critical in today’s market.

Take a look at the infographic below. You’ll discover some of the biggest benefits of content curation. And you’ll also see how curation can help marketers overcome some of their greatest challenges.

Benefits of content curation

To develop and maintain an efficient, effective, and ethical curation practice requires five primary activities:

  1. Define your objectives
  2. Find your sources
  3. Curate by organizing and editorializing
  4. Share via a variety of channels and mediums
  5. Analyze and optimize your content curation performance

To learn more about content curation, including the five step process for starting your own curation program, download the eBook, Curate Content Like a Boss: The Hands-on Guide.

The post Content Curation: The Biggest Benefits [Infographic] appeared first on Curata Blog.

6 of the Best Professional Bio Examples We've Ever Seen

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A short, professional bio is one of those things most people don't think about until, all of a sudden, we've been asked to "shoot one over via email" and have approximately one afternoon to come up with it.

That's when we scramble.

And when we scramble, our bio ends up reading like this:

Rodney Erickson is a content marketing professional at HubSpot, an inbound marketing and sales platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. Previously, Rodney worked as a marketing manager for a tech software startup. He graduated with honors from Columbia University with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing."

... Woof, that was dull. Are you still with me? I swear, not even adding a tidbit about his cats would liven that bio up.

New Marketing Job

To be fair, in certain contexts, your professional bio does need to be more formal, like Mr. Erickson's up there. But in many cases, writing a bio that's readable -- even conversational -- is actually a really good thing. That means dropping that traditional format of listing your accomplishments like a robot and cramming as much professional-sounding jargon in there as you can.

Remember: The people reading your bio are suffering from information fatigue. If you don't hook 'em in the first line, you'll lose them quickly.

Alright, I know what you may be thinking ... So what? It's just a bio.

(P.S. Want to give your professional brand a boost? Take one of HubSpot Academy's free certification courses. In just one weekend, you can add a line to your resume and bio that's coveted by over 60,000 marketers.)

Why Does Your Professional Bio Matter?

I mean, how many people actually read those things, anyway?

The answer: A lot of people. More importantly, though, there's no way to tell exactly who is reading it -- and you always want it to be ready for when the right people to come across it. And when they do, you want it to catch their eye. In a good way.

You see, while your resume is only useful for when you're actively applying for specific positions, your professional bio is much more visible. It can live on your LinkedIn profile, your company's website, your guest blog posts, your speaker profiles, your Twitter bio, and many other places.

And, most importantly, it's the tool that you can leverage most when you're networking.

Bottom line? People will read your professional bio. Whether they remember it, and whether it makes them actually care about you, is a matter of how well you present yourself to your intended audience.

So, what does a top-notch professional bio look like?

Let's take a look at some great examples. We've curated some of the best real professional bio examples we've ever seen online. Check 'em out, and use them as inspiration when crafting your own.

6 of the Best Professional Bio Examples We've Ever Seen

1) Phil Gutowski

Phil is a real estate broker for the East Boston neighborhood, and he's mastered the art of adding a warm personality to the professional bio on his website.

First, check out the header of his bio: "Promoting positive community and economic growth in our neighborhood."

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The header isn't all about him, nor is it a hard sell about his business. Instead, he's chosen to start with a value proposition. Why? Because Phil knows that his value proposition is the core of his competitive advantage. In header text that stands out on the page, he clearly articulates why someone would want to hire him instead of a competitor: This guy doesn't just sell houses to make money; he promotes community and economic growth in the area.

The rest of his bio includes personal touches that make him more human. He does talk about his business history and accomplishments, but he does so while including personal details that invite readers to relate to him as a person.

For instance, he talks about where he's from (a relevant detail for a real estate broker), his love of the water, why he started his business, and how he's committed to the local community. His bio indicates he's friendly and probably a pleasure to work with, which is important for a real estate broker someone would be working with one-on-one.

2) Ann Handley

If you're a marketer, you've likely heard of Ann Handley. Her list of credentials is lengthy, and if she really wanted to, she could go on and on and on about her accomplishments.

But when people list out all their accomplishments in their bios, they risk sounding a little egotistical. Sure, you might impress a handful of people with all those laurels, but many people who read your bio will end up feeling either intimidated or annoyed. Think about it: Is that how you want the majority of your readers to feel when they read your bio?

To minimize the egoism that comes with talking about yourself, think about how you can list out your accomplishments without sounding like you're bragging. Ann does this really well, choosing a tone in her bio that's more approachable.

It starts with the excerpt in the footer of her personal website. Give it a quick read, paying close attention to the opening and closing lines:

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"This is Ann Handley's website, and this is a bit of copy about her ... That's not giving you a lot of detail, is it? So read more here." This is the kind of simple, friendly language that invites the reader in rather than shutting them out.

Follow the link and you'll be led to a page dedicated to a fuller bio, which she's divided into two parts: a "short version" (literally a bulleted list of key facts) and a "long version," which includes traditional paragraphs. There's something in there for everyone.

3) Mark Gallion

As a venture capitalist and an executive at several start-ups, Mark Gallion has different versions of his bio all over the internet. You can imagine some are more formal than others. But when it comes to his Twitter bio, he carefully phrased his information in a way that helps him connect with his audience -- specifically, through the use of humor.

Mark Gallion Twitter Bio.png

Why would he choose humor when he runs four start-ups and constantly seeks funding for them? Well, Mark's tactic is totally intentional: it's a lever he pulls to refresh his brand while maintaining his already impressive and established identity as an entrepreneur.

Mark leverages his Twitter bio because it’s place where he can be human. And it helps him relate to his followers and potential investors.

When crafting your own Twitter bio, consider your audience and the personal brand you're trying to create for yourself. Use it as an opportunity to be relatable. (And check out this list of amusing Twitter bios for inspiration.)

4) Lena Axelsson

When it all comes down to it, your professional bio is no different than any other piece of persuasive copy -- no matter where it lives. One of the most common mistakes people make is thinking of it as its own beast, separate from other pieces of writing. If you think about it that way, you're far more likely to write something painfully uninteresting.

When you sit down to write your professional bio and you're watching that cursor blinking on the screen, think about how you would introduce a blog post. You don't just dive right into the meat of the thing, now, do you? No. You start with an introduction.

The best bios are often concise (around 200–300 words), so you don't have a lot of room to play around. But a single sentence that tees your reader up and provides context for the accomplishments that follow could make the rest of your bio that much more persuasive.

Take Lena Axelsson's bio, for instance. She's a marriage and family therapist -- a job where empathy and compassion are a big part of the job description. That's why she chooses to open her bio with a great introductory sentence: "When human beings experience trauma or severe life stressors, it is not uncommon for their lives to unravel."

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Then, she goes into why she's passionate about her job, how she helps her clients, and how she caters her approach to each individual patient. The necessary educational information is left for the end, after the reader has been hooked.

Your bio doesn't have to be super serious, nor does it have to start with a joke. This bio shows how you can capture your reader's attention by being empathetic or telling a brief story.

5) Mark Levy

Mark Levy is a small business owner who's taken a more traditional approach to the professional bio on his website -- but in a way that takes care to speak to his intended audience.

What we love about his bio is the way he's set it up: On his business' "About" page, he's listed two biographies, which he's labeled "Mark Levy's Biography #1" and "Mark Levy's Biography #2."

mark-levy-professional-bio.png

Click here to see the full version.

Like Ann, Mark's given his readers two different options. The first biography is a "short version," which includes a combination of bullet points listing his credentials and a few short paragraphs.

The second is the "long version," which is actually even more interesting than the first one. Why? Because it reads like a story -- a compelling one, at that. In fact, it gets really funny at parts.

The second sentence of the bio reads: "He was frightened of public school, loved playing baseball and football, ran home to watch ape films on the 4:30 Movie, listened to The Jam and The Buzzcocks, and read magic trick books."

Here's another excerpt from the middle:

mark-levy-long-bio-snippet.png

Of course, the fantastic copywriting isn't a surprise, given that this guy wrote several books. But the conversational tone and entertaining copy let his quirky personality (and great writing skills) shine.

6) Corey Wainwright

Finally, we have Corey Wainwright, who's the director of content here at HubSpot. She's written content for HubSpot's Marketing Blog for years, and her blog author bio has caught my eye since before I ever started working for HubSpot. (Back then, it started with, "Corey just took a cool vacation.")

What I love most about Corey's bio is that it's a great example of how to deliver information about yourself without taking things too seriously. And in this context, that's totally appropriate.

Despite having a number of impressive accomplishments under her belt, she simply doesn't like displaying them publicly. So, she prefers making her author bio a little more "light."

Her bio (pictured below) reads, "Corey is a Bruce Springsteen fan who does content marketing, in that order."

corey-wainwright-bio.png

It works in this particular context because, at HubSpot, our blog authors often prefer to make themselves as friendly and approachable as possible -- while letting the content speak for itself.

It helps that authors' social media accounts are located right below our names and above our pictures. For folks who really do want a list of Corey's credentials, they can click the LinkedIn button to go to her LinkedIn page. (You can read this blog post to learn how to create social media buttons and add them to your website.)

What are your favorite professional bio examples? Share with us in the comments.

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Avoid the Summer Slump: 3 Tips from Growth Marketing Experts

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What was the last great idea you had for growth? 

No matter how skilled a marketer you are, sometimes we all get into flat-growth slumps. Even a year that started out strong can devolve into a mediocre one, especially during the summer. It can be tough to keep coming up with new ideas that lead to sustained growth over time.

To help you avoid the dreaded summer slump, we asked three growth marketing experts to share their proven tips on how to jump-start growth and keep up momentum through the rest of 2017. Check them all out below, and start incorporating these strategies into your team's growth marketing approach.

3 Growth Tips to Avoid the Summer Slump

1) Seek Out New Voices for Your Content

If you want to grow your content reach, try using Help a Reporter Out to source expert influencers & partners. You can quote them in your piece, and they'll share it to their own audiences.

-- Blaise Lucey, Director of Product & Content Marketing at Bitly

2) Make Your Content Extremely Easy to Share

Create content with sharing in mind, and give your audience a way to easily share it. People share content that they want to represent them, so make sure the piece will make them look smart when they share it. Then, build in sharing mechanisms like social media share links, and mailto links directly into the content.

-- Eric Peters, Growth Marketer at HubSpot Academy

3) Engage With Key Influencers

Be the first to comment on an influencer/journalist's content, and make sure the content adds value to the discussion. That's a better way to start a relationship (and drive more interaction with your own brand) than following them on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.

-- David Ly Khim, Growth Marketing Manager, Sales Products at HubSpot

Get more tips on how to drive sustained growth at in our upcoming live session, 10 Growth Hacks To Help You Crush The Rest of 2017.

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July Social Media News: Snapchat Links, Instagram Photo Replies & More

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In the age of the 24-hour news cycle, it's tough -- scratch that -- it's impossible to keep up with every single story that comes out.

And that's especially true of social media, where new features and apps are launched at a speed that leaves social media marketers wondering, "So ... where should I post today?"

That's why we've written this monthly news roundup -- to help you keep up and start testing out new features, new products, and stay up on trends. New Call-to-action

From Facebook to Snapchat, from new product launches to small tweaks, here's a list of what's new in social media this month. The list isn’t exhaustive, but you can expect to learn the major highlights -- what was launched, what changed, and what these stories could mean for marketers.

9 of the Biggest Social Media News Stories This Month

1) Snapchat adds links to posts.

One of Instagram's biggest competitive advantages over Snapchat was the ability to drive traffic: Brands and verified users could add links to Instagram Stories to drive followers to landing pages, blog posts, and purchase pages. This feature made Instagram a more formidable traffic and lead generation tool -- and social media marketers could tie social media efforts directly to traffic generated.

But now, Snapchat offers the same capability -- and it's available to all users, not just a select few.

Users can add links by filming a Snap and tapping the paper clip to add a link, like so:

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(HubSpot customers: We recommend creating a tracking URL when adding links to Instagram and Snapchat Stories so you can calculate direct traffic numbers from the post. Learn how to set one up here.)

2) Snapchat users can add voice filters, change colors, and film multiple Snaps at once.

Another big rollout from Snapchat this month came in the form of expanded filming and editing capabilities.

Now, users can record up to six 10-second Snaps at the same time by holding down the recording button (so as not to interrupt filming) and can quickly and easily post the Snaps all at once. Try this feature out by holding down the record button for as long as you'd like and you'll see the recording turn over after each 10-second video. Then, the snaps you've filmed will show up on the side of your screen that you can pick and choose from when it comes time to post. If you don't like a Snap, you can click and drag it into the trashcan:

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Other new features include the Tint Brush, which lets users change the color of elements of a Snap, and backdrops, which let users choose a fun background, and then highlight a part of their Snap they want to be in the foreground. To access these fun editing tools, tap the scissors icon once you've recorded a Snap:

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Finally, you can now change the way you sound in Snaps with voice filters, too. Once you record a video, tap the volume icon to choose a squeaky animal voice, a robotic monotone, or an alien accent:

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3) Instagram users can now reply to Stories with photos and videos.

In an effort to keep up with Snapchat, on the other hand, Instagram launched the capability to reply to Instagram Stories and direct messages with photos or videos.

This feature has been in place for a while on Snapchat, so it's a smart (and competitive) move to roll out a comparable camera feature. This will allow users to connect with friends and brands in the way they please -- whether that's with text, photos, or videos. Neater still -- users can add a sticker of the story they're replying to in order to make it extra meta:

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Source: Instagram

4) Facebook is rolling out custom audiences based on interaction with Instagram Business pages.

Facebook has started the rollout of targeting audiences on Facebook based on their prior interactions with Instagram Business profiles. Advertising on Facebook and Instagram was already advantageous, because advertisers could analyze user interactions with different topics and types of content -- but soon, Facebook advertisers will be able to see which business pages specifically convert well. Then, advertisers can target users -- and curate ad content -- accordingly.

FacebookCustomAudiencesInstagramBusinessProfile-1.jpgSource: Adweek

5) Users can broadcast on Facebook Live in Spaces, Facebook's VR communities.

Remember when we announced the launch of Spaces earlier this year? Facebook launched a new capability with Oculus that lets friends connect 1:1 or in groups of friends -- in full virtual reality (VR).

Depending on your opinion of social media eroding in-person relationships, Spaces is a unique way to connect and engage in a high-tech way. And now, users can broadcast from Facebook Spaces using Facebook Live, so their entire Facebook audiences can see what they're up to.

For brands and individuals who've seen success and engagement using Facebook Live, this could be a cool way to stand out in the busy News Feed. Check it out in action below:

6) Facebook may begin testing a subscription service with publishers this fall.

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The Street reported this month that Facebook would be launching a subscription service with publishers later this year.

Tests will begin in October, and the service will involve Facebook's Instant Articles -- the already successful and popular publishing platform on the social network. Facebook and publishers will create a paywall after users read 10 articles per month, at which point they'll be directed to a landing page encouraging them to subscribe.

This announcement is part of Facebook's ongoing partnership with publishers as part of the Facebook Journalism Project, a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch. This move will be sure to make publishers happy -- especially considering 66% of Facebook users get their news from the site.

7) Twitter users can mute new accounts and people they don't know.

In another step toward improving user safety and preventing harassment, Twitter added a capability that lets users mute newly registered accounts, or accounts that don't follow you. If an abusive user is blocked or suspended from tweeting, they might simply open a new account to continue harassing other Twitter users, and this measure lessens their visibility and prevents targeted users from seeing abusive content.

8) LinkedIn launches native video.

LinkedIn started rolling out a native video feature in a nod to the growing popularity of this content format across platforms. My colleague, Ryan Bonnici, noticed this on his LinkedIn feed recently, and once it rolls out to all users (it's currently being tested among a few users and brands), we'll give you a full rundown of how to use it.

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9) Amazon launches Spark, the shoppable social network for Prime users.

In a nod to the popularity of shoppable Instagram posts and lifestyle content on Pinterest, Amazon launched a social sharing platform for Amazon Prime subscribers. It's available within the Amazon mobile app, where users can share visual content and tag different products available for purchase -- where else? -- on Amazon.

Download the Amazon mobile app and check it out:

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Did we miss any news this month? Start a discussion in the comments below.

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How We Increased the Readership of Buffer’s Blog to Over 1.5 Million Visits

Every company is a media company these days, and Buffer is no different.

We started the Buffer Social blog in January 2011 and since then it has been a key component in the success of the company. We have published more than 1,000 posts—and we’re honored to receive more than 1.5 million visits every month.

It’s been a long, challenging journey, though.

We first hit one million sessions in a calendar month during March 2015—a full 4 years after launching—and after months of floating around 1.1 to 1.2 million sessions, and struggling to break out, we hit 1.5m sessions in May 2017.

You can check out our growth below:

During our journey from zero to more than 1.5 million monthly visits, we’ve learned a ton and would love to share some of our lessons with you today.

Ready to jump in?

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The 3-step system behind our blog growth

In this post, we’ll draw back the curtains and share the three step process we use to grow this blog:

  1. Audience
  2. Cadence
  3. Promotion

Feel free to click on the bullet point that interests you the most to skip to that step.

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1. Audience

Understanding what content our audience craves

The content you read here is as likely to be about the evolution of social media, how to create amazing social media content, or little-known tips and tricks as it is about the latest Buffer developments and features (we also share all our culture related content on our Open blog, too).

Our hope is that these posts reflect the needs of our customers as well as the perspectives and views of the writers, editors, and strategists that make up Buffer’s marketing team. And in turn, we hope a few readers would become Buffer customers, eventually.

Before thinking of blog post ideas, it’s helpful to understand what your readers want from you. Otherwise, you’re shooting in the dark and hoping everything works out.

After several iterations of our content and through studying our blog posts data, we uncovered that our audience enjoys our long-form, educational blog posts.

Knowing that has helped us to decide what types of blog posts to write. And no matter what type of post we’re creating, the aim is to help marketers and small businesses to become more successful on social media.

Try this

To find out what your readers want, you could study the performance of your existing blog posts or ask your readers directly through on-page surveys like Hotjar Polls.

How we come up with blog post ideas

It can be challenging to continually create high-quality, valuable pieces of content on a weekly basis.

As an established blog, you can run the risk of dropping your standards or hoping that creativity can be scheduled in order to hit a certain number of posts in any given month.

At Buffer, we do our best to avoid that way of thinking.

Although we aim to publish twice per week (more on how we decided on that cadence a little later), we always strive for the utmost quality and the sweet spot between content we know will get traffic and content that delivers value to our readers (and Buffer).

For example, we might write about the latest social media trends or platform features, but you won’t see us commenting on a potential Mark Zuckerburg presidential run just for some quick traffic.

Here are the various ways we come up with blog post ideas:

Keywords: Ranking for keywords around social media marketing, such as “social media analytics”, has gradually become a top focus for us. We tend to research keyword opportunities and then come up with ideas around them.

Inspiration: We keep an eye out for popular discussions in the industry such as falling organic reach on Facebook and brainstorm ideas around each topic.

News: Whenever a social media platform launches a new feature such as Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories, we like to help our readers understand what the update means for their business.

Past experience: We come up with ideas based on posts that have performed well. For instance, when our post on headline formulas performed well, we thought of ideas like copywriting formulas and storytelling formulas.

Intuition: Sometimes you just have to trust your gut. Occasionaly we’ll come up with post ideas based on the intuition we’ve built up over years of running the blog.

blog post ideas

How we decide which posts to write

We come up with many ideas but they don’t all get published on our blog.

When assessing an idea, we think about the following questions:

  • Is this relevant to marketers or small business owners working on their social media?
  • Does this help them solve a challenge they face at work?
  • Has this been written before? If yes, can we add more value to the topic?
  • Is there interest in this topic? (Sometimes, that means looking at the search volume for the keyword or Google Trends data)

When we can answer “yes” to these questions, we would pick that idea and move it to the “Pipeline” column on our Trello board.

Try this

Come up with a set of criteria relevant to your blog goals. Writing only blog posts that meet your criteria can help to keep the quality of your content high.

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2. Cadence

Finding the right cadence to meet our goals

Over the years we’ve realized the importance of editorial cadence and heading into 2017, we decided it was something we wanted to focus on heavily.

After some experimentation, we realized we needed to do the following:

  • Publish consistently: We had tried publishing four or five times per week, but found that our standards were dropping and we were on the losing side of the quantity vs quality battle. We’ve found that two new blog posts plus our podcast show notes per week feels like the perfect amount of content.
  • Plan ahead: By planning our content up to four-six weeks ahead of publishing, we have plenty of time to research and plan how each new piece of content will be promoted.

To aid us with this, we use a handy Trello calendar power-up that displays cards with due dates in a weekly or monthly format. We use the monthly calendar to help us organize our editorial schedule and give us a quick overview of the following few weeks.

Planning ahead and giving ourselves more time to edit our content has been one of the key factors in unlocking our growth and reaching the 1.5-million milestone. This has enabled us to take the utmost care with every post to ensure the quality is right when we want it to be when we hit ‘publish’.

Try this

I would recommend experimenting and finding a suitable editorial cadence based on your content goals and the amount of time you have. There is no one right editorial cadence. HubSpot publishes several articles a day while Backlinko publishes less than once a month.

2 ways we streamline our editorial communication

1. Keeping everything in one place 

Slack, email, Discourse…

Communication can get a little overwhelming at times. To counter this we have all the key discussions in the respective blog post Trello cards. Even if we discuss something related to a blog post in Slack or on video calls, we’ll make a note in the Trello card.

This serves two purposes:

  1. Single reference point: Instead of having to look through Slack or trying to remember what we discussed five days ago on the video call, we know we can find all the key information about an idea on its Trello card.
  2. Information transparency: By having the information on Trello, we can keep the relevant team members in the loop even if they missed the Slack or Zoom conversation.

key information in one place

Try this

Find a tool that suits your content system. For us, it’s Trello.

If you are already using a tool for your content system, lean into it and use it to store all the key information about your content.

2. Making time to chat face-to-face

Ash, our blog editor, and I have a weekly meeting every Tuesday where we talk about all things related to our blog.

This is a practice that content crafters at Buffer have been doing since the start of the blog. These recurring meetings encourage us to reflect on our recent work and think how we can improve.

Here’s what Ash and I usually do during our content syncs nowadays:

  • Review recent blog post performance
  • Discuss blog post ideas that are being worked on now or that are planned for the next few weeks
  • Discuss interesting social media or marketing news
  • Share well-written blog posts we read recently
  • Brainstorm new blog post ideas

You don’t have to keep to the same agenda but I would recommend at least reviewing the results your recent blog posts and refining your content strategy.

Try this

Have a content sync with your editors and writers at least once a week. If you are the only writer, you could meet with your team lead or a teammate who is keen.

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3. Promotion

Focusing on content promotion, not just creation

Derek Halpern of Social Triggers likes to spend 80 percent of his time promoting his content:

“It’s smarter to find another 10,000 people to consume what you’ve already created as opposed to creating more.

“Or, in other words, create content 20% of the time. Spend the other 80% of the time promoting what you created.

We are far from spending 80 percent of our time promoting our blog posts but here are two things we do to share our content with more people.

4 ways we promote our content

1. Repurposing blog posts for social media

We repurpose our blog posts into content suitable for each social media platform. For instance, here’re some things we do:

  • Brian Peters, our Digital Marketing Strategist, creates Instagram stories with the key points of the blog post and invites our Instagram followers to check out the full post on our blog.
  • He also creates short videos using the content in the blog posts to share on Twitter and Facebook. We found that videos have been receiving more engagement and, consequently, more reach on social media than links.
  • I republish our blog posts on Medium, often with a different headline and shorter content.

Instead of simply sharing a link to each social media platform, we found that customizing the post for each platform such as adding videos for Facebook has generated more engagement from our fans.

While doing this might not always drive traffic to our blog, I believe it helps our followers gain trust in the content that we create. And next time, when they are looking for help on social media marketing, maybe they will think of the Buffer blog first.

2. Building a loyal newsletter following

Despite the rumors, email is not dead (and I can’t see it dying anytime soon).

Our email list is often the #1 driver of traffic to our content on the day it’s published and provides us with a way to get our content in front of our most avid readers.

We are grateful that many people have signed up to receive our blog newsletter over the years, even after we stopped growing our email list actively. We send them an email whenever we publish a new blog post or once every week.

With about 100,000 subscribers, each of our new blog posts gets about 1,000 to 2,000 visits from these subscribers on the first day alone. (The conversion rate is definitely something we can work on.)

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Having a newsletter following has allowed us to share our content with a group of readers who would read our new blog posts whenever they are published. If you wish to build a loyal readership and grow your blog, consider growing an email list for your blog.

3. Paying attention to long-term traffic (SEO)

Often, our content ideas come from an amalgamation of the methods listed above. And in most cases, we aim to generate long-term search traffic for each of the posts we publish.

Our blog post on Instagram algorithm is a great example. We knew it’s a popular topic among social media marketers, and people are searching for “instagram algorithm” on Google (about 4,000 searches per month).

By understanding the term people are searching for on Google for this topic and writing a well-researched, high-quality piece, the blog post was able to rank on the first page of Google and has been bringing in 600 to 800 views per day since we published it.

Long-Term Traffic Example

We believe this focus on bringing in long-term search traffic to new posts has helped unlock growth for the blog in the recent months.

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If you want to generate long-term search traffic for your blog posts, learning how to do keyword research is a great place to start. Here are a few resources to get you started:

How To Do Keyword Research – The Beginners Guide to SEO by Moz
Keyword Research for SEO: The Definitive Guide by Backlinko
How To Do Keyword Research in 2017 by Ahrefs

4. Craft headlines that attract readers

A great headline can bring people to a blog post from RSS feeds, social media, and search engines.

David Ogilvy, once wrote, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy”. In fact, we found that as many as 78 times more people read the headline on Twitter than read the blog post.

Inspired by Upworthy’s editorial process of writing 25 headlines per article, I would come up with at least 20 headline ideas for each blog post. Not all of them are great but each of them helps me come up with a better headline.

I often refer to this blog post on headline formulas to help me brainstorm. We also use YoRocket, a WordPress plugin that analyzes and suggests improvements for our blog post headline.

The 20 headlines also come in handy when we want to share the blog post on social media more than once. I would share those headlines in the Trello card with Brian Peters, our Digital Marketing Strategist, who would promote the blog post on social.

headline ideas

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For each of your blog post, brainstorm at least 20 headlines before settling on one. Here are some of our go-to headline formulas:

Headline + Headline (E.g. Understanding the Instagram Algorithm: 7 Key Factors and Why the Algorithm is Great for Marketers)
Item and Item: Listicle (E.g. Optimal Timing, Videos, and More: 10 Easy Ways to Boost Your Instagram Reach)
The Complete / Ultimate / Beginner’s Guide to ____ (E.g. A Complete Guide to Instagram Marketing: Get the Playbook That Drives Results for Instagram’s Top Profiles)

Bonus: Relaunch older posts to boost traffic

Many topics we cover on the blog such as social media tools or social media marketing budget are evergreen topics.

But as things change quickly in the social media landscape, the information in a blog post can become outdated quickly.

So instead of just writing new blog posts, we also update existing blog posts on evergreen topics that have outdated information or even more potential for traffic through search. This keeps our blog posts relevant and useful for our readers.

For example, when we updated our social media analytics tools post in March 2017, the daily traffic more than doubled from about 300 to 700:

content relaunch

(The two spikes of traffic came from our RSS feed and email digest).

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Briefly, here’re the 3 steps of a content relaunch:

1. Identify underperforming content: Brian recommends looking for posts that rank 7th to 15th on Google, posts where organic traffic has fallen, posts that underperformed, and posts that are good but could be better.

2. Improve and update that content: Some of Brian’s suggestions are updating the images and screenshots, improving the post’s structure, and adding a new case study.

3. Republish your post: The last step is to update the “Published” date in WordPress to today (the day of the relaunch). That will bring the blog post to the top of your blog.

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If you’d like to get traffic from social media by sharing your blog posts there, we’d love to help you. Try our 14-day free trial and experience the difference today. 

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Thinking about vanity metrics and 1.5 million thank you’s

Having over a 1.5 million visits per month is great but you could also argue it’s a vanity metric. And you’d probably be right.

As content crafters at Buffer, we’re in the business of selling software. We don’t take a direct, hardline approach to this, but our content is essentially here to increase our reach, build our brand, and in-turn drive Buffer’s sign ups and revenue figures in the right direction.

Alongside traffic, we also pay close attention to the number of Buffer customers referred by the blog, and the monthly recurring revenue figures generated by those customers.  These metrics give us a better sense, in quantitative terms, of how the blog is providing business value.

In our case, increased traffic seems to correlate pretty well with some of our more meaningful metrics like sign ups—as our traffic grows, so does the number of signups and revenue generated. That said, we’re keen to do a bunch more to optimize these flows and see how we can maximize the value of every visit we receive to the blog, without compromising reader experience.

Overall, we’re happy with the progress of the blog, and we hope you found this blog post useful. If you have any questions about our editorial process, feel free to ask them in the comments section below.

And, finally, thanks a million for being one of our readers. We truly appreciate it 🎉