On Saturday, October 7 and Sunday, October 8, earn a new souvenir by learning about the Earth! All you have to do is go out and find an EarthCache during the weekend of International EarthCache Day 2017!Finding an EarthCache is a great way to learn about the Earth. These geocaches do not have physical containers, but instead bring you to unique locations to teach you a geological science lesson.Feeling inspired to learn something new? Here are six fun facts we’ve learned from EarthCaches found around the world: Imperiosus Visum (GC206DF), Arizona, USAMany know the Grand Canyon was carved out by the Colorado River, but did you know that uplift from tectonic plates aided in the creation of the one mile deep canyon we see today?Photo by geovi. Hot Springs, Bath (GC185X3), South West England, United KingdomOriginating as rain water from 20-80,000 years ago, the water is heated by geothermal action. Rising up to the surface, the springs in Bath [England] are the highest spring water temperature in the UK!Photo by kiki-64. Dry Falls EarthCache (GC154BY), Washington, USADuring the Ice Age, parts of Eastern Washington, Idaho, and Montana were severely flooded as rivers forged new paths around ice dams. This EarthCache is located near a 3.5 miles wide and 400 foot tall cliff, which was, at the time, the largest waterfall in the world.Photo by HockeyHiker19. Laguna Madre (GC1EHC6), Texas, USAThere are only six hypersaline (saltier than the ocean) lagoons in the world. One is the Laguna Madre (Spanish for “Mother Lagoon”) in Texas! Photo by thardt. Geysir – Powerful hot spring (GC1G4XZ), IcelandLocated in Iceland’s Haukadalur valley and discovered in 1294, this is the oldest known geyser on the planet. Photo by bedla tygrovana. Namib Desert, Namibia (GC14W63), Namibia, AfricaAt 43 million years old, the Namib Desert is not only named the oldest desert in the world, but is also home to some of the highest sand dunes in the world: the Sossusvlei.Photo by DivanOli4.What’s the coolest (or hottest, highest, oldest) fact you’ve learned from an EarthCache?Share with your Friends:More SharePrint Related7 Continents, 7 EarthCachesOctober 3, 2017In “Community”Petra Al Khazneh (GC1V4ZY) — Geocache of the WeekOctober 5, 2016In “Community”The Creator of EarthCaching talks about the 10th AnniversaryJanuary 10, 2014In “Community”
There has been a lot of discussion this week in the A-List blogs about the role of a PR firm within the world of inbound marketing and social media. I have been thinking about this for a while, both as a blogger (who is now getting pitched by PR firms), an active social media person, and a client of a PR firm – and part of a company that has a strong presence on LinkedIn (group with 7,000+ members), Facebook (over 600 fans) and Twitter (still growing, but employees like me have 100’s of followers). In fact, I have been asked to speak on this very topic at the upcoming Worldcom conference in Montreal (a conference of hundreds of PR firms).Changes Challenging the Value of a PR FirmDirect Relationships – Does the media expect direct relationships with the company (through social media) rather than having the PR folks as a “go-between”? If so, can the PR Firm play a role at all?Speed of Publishing – The old world had quarterly or annual editorial calendars. Now A-list bloggers decide what to write that morning while having a latte in their robe in front of their laptop. HubSpot has gotten coverage within 50 minutes from ZDNet because I responded to a question on Twitter from a blogger. When the time between idea and article can be 30 minutes, can a PR firm really help a client get coverage?Approachability of Media – The media today are really pretty approachable, unlike the old days where it was hard to get a meeting with a writer for the Wall Street Journal, today you can follow the key media players on Twitter, be friends on Facebook, comment on their blog, etc. So, if the relationships are easier to formulate today, what’s the value of a PR firm?To review some of the discussion going on right now, Steve Rubel at Micro Persuasion thinks that PR firms need to adapt, because bloggers and “new media” people want to “discover news for themselves” and not be pitched by PR folks. Michael Arrington at TechCrunch says that “PR as a profession is broken”. Ouch. Mark ‘Rizzn’ Hopkins from Mashable says those who “position themselves in the mindset that they aren’t gatekeepers for information but connectors for entrepreneurs and resources for journalists” will be a productive resource for their clients. Robert Scoble from Scobleizer thinks that “there’s no reason to go crazy with a PR firm if you build something that people want.” And Todd Defren of PR-Squared posted a response (including a video of me). But probably the best summary and comment on the debate (besides this article of course! 🙂 comes from Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWrite Web who summarizes his article with “Is it worth the expense and loss of direct experience for many startups to hire PR people? It probably is.” How a PR Firm Can Provide Value TodayResearch – You could spend the time finding the best 100 bloggers who write about your specific niche, but having someone else do this for you can save time, especially if they do it for a living and have access to tools to make it easier and faster. Same things goes for researching conferences, events, speaking opportunities, awards, etc. HubSpot has won a ton of marketing awards, and for most of them our PR firm found them and did everything for us.Training – Few people are social media and blogging experts, and if you hire the right PR firm, they can help bring their expertise into your company. Don’t let them do everything for you, make them train and educate your marketing team (not just marcom, product people too!) and executives about social media, blogging, how to comment on blogs, how to use Twitter and Facebook, etc. Inbound Marketing relies on using your entire company for marketing, and teaching people how to do it can be a great way for your PR firm to provide value. Even though we think we know a lot at HubSpot, our PR firm has taught us a thing or two and we’ve tried some new stuff based on their suggestions.Create & Publish Content – PR folks are experts at writing, and increasingly audio and video too. Your PR firm can help you figure out how to take your boring company announcement and craft it into an interesting story, even if it is not for a news release, it can be just for your company blog. Your PR firm can also interview employees, customers and others and post videos on your blog or website, etc. They do this stuff all the time (if they’re good) and might be able to do it better and faster than you can. Our PR firm has written more than press releases for us – they don’t write for this blog – but other stuff has been helpful.Pitching / Relationships – There are some times when a PR firm does have relationships you don’t have, and times when that makes sense. A lot of these relationships might be “old media”, but old media is still important to a lot of companies. For instance, Business Week, Inc Magazine, and others will probably only cover you twice in the next 5 years (if you’re lucky), so does the writer really want a “relationship” with you. Probably not. But a PR firm brings lots of different clients to the table, and having a relationship with the PR pro might make sense for the writer. Our PR Firm is really completely responsible for our relationships with print media. We just don’t interact with those folks much ourselves.Monitoring – Good PR folks will do a great job of monitoring all the right blogs, social networks and other conversations for relevant information. They then should email you and tell you to respond, comment, or react on your blog as necessary. Even if you have a ton of RSS feeds, alerts and more set up, you might miss some things. Our PR Firm doesn’t send us too much in terms of monitoring because we use lots of tools (including HubSpot software) to monitor things ourselves, but about once a month they send something I missed, and it’s usually good. But, we have about 10 people actively monitoring 100’s of blogs and 100’s of search feeds daily (not kidding, the joke is that we consume 40% of the Internet on a daily basis). I bet that your company has way fewer people in your company doing this stuff, so your PR firm will provide tons more value here.Beyond these points, I also think there is something to be said for the ability for a PR firm to relatively quickly ramp up your capabilities, whereas if you were doing things internally it might take a lot longer to find and train a productive internal person. Don’t take this as a glowing recommendation that everyone should go out and hire a PR firm today. But, I also don’t think they should be swept under the rug as useless – there is a lot of value a PR firm can provide in the right circumstances for the right client. As always, understand what all your possible tools can do, then choose the right tools for the job. A PR firm might be one of those tools.Here is some more of my thoughts on video: Note: HubSpot is a client of Shift Communications, and we’re happy with what we have accomplished working with them over the past year. But we also talk frequently with them about how to make the relationship work best for both of us. I recommend all companies do that with your PR firm. Maybe this article can be a starting point for the conversation with your PR firm.What do you think? What is the role of a PR firm today? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss. Public Relations 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: Originally published Aug 13, 2008 6:44:00 PM, updated March 21 2013
Originally published Apr 28, 2009 8:30:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Photo: Robert Crum on Flickr Inbound Marketing Kit So you’re graduating from college in a month, you’re interested in marketing, but the economy’s stuck in a ditch, you don’t have a marketing job, and you’re worried. What do you do to standout from the thousands of others in exactly the same situation? I interview a lot of people here at HubSpot, and I think there are a few things you can do. Here are my top 10: Start a blog. This is critical. At HubSpot resumes that list a blog immediately move to the front of the line. Here’s why: Online marketing is a complicated ecosystem in which blog posts are the cells — the most basic forms of life. If you’ve started and maintained a blog, you understand that ecosystem. You understand how search engines suck up content and spit back visitors. You understand how web applications work. You understand the concept of linking. You understand widgets and basic html. You understand how important pictures and video can be. You get the point. Start a blog. Take your job search seriously. Sounds basic, but it’s really, really important. Don’t start off your interview joking about drinking with your roommates, as one unsuccessful HubSpot applicant did this year. Show up on time, respond promptly and be prepared. It’s easy, and it makes a huge difference. Be confident. The job market is tough and looking for a job sucks, but don’t let it show. Walk into your interviews with your head high and everything under control. This is critical for marketing roles because it’s how marketers have to present their product. Start a Twitter account. Twitter will teach you a lot about new marketing techniques, but even more importantly, it will connect you with professionals and companies looking for talent. It’s also very useful from the employer’s standpoint. Right now I’m following several people who have applied for jobs at HubSpot. Twitter is a way for me to get to know them better. Think analytically. Inbound marketing is comprised of two main activities: Creating content and measuring its use. Candidates who can do both well get hired. Period. Know the company. If you’re interviewing at HubSpot, you better know what inbound marketing is, and you better know how our approach to marketing is different from that of traditional marketers. Every company has similar “must understand” tests. Figure out what they are before you apply. Demonstrate a content mindset . Go to meetups or events and post to flickr, YouTube or Facebook. Show that you’re not afraid to dive into these tools. Online marketing is about building an online presence through content. The more you can do that, the more valuable you’ll be to a company. Show that you get stuff done. There are people who get stuff done and there are people who talk about getting stuff done. Show that you’re the former. Blogging and creating content is a great way to do that. Get passionate about something. People need to know what makes you tick. You’re going to be a much more productive employee if you’re excited about what you’re doing, so employers want to understand what gets you fired up. Learn to write well. Much of the day-to-day inbound marketing grind is writing — case studies, blog posts, emails, video scripts and lots more. If you can write clearly, your employer will be able to keep you very busy. What tips would you add to this list? Please add them in the comments. I’ll update the post with some of my favorites later in the day. One more thing: If you’re a job seeker in the Boston area, definitely check out today’s MITX Digital Combine being held at the Back Bay Events Center all afternoon. I’ll be speaking on a panel at 3 p.m., “Positions in the Digital Industry: The Opportunities, Skills, and Experience Needed.”UPDATE: HubSpot friend and Boston videoblogger Steve Garfield has an awesome post today that’s right on the money: ” How to Get a Job at HubSpot .”A couple more great ideas from the comments:From Kevin Richard : “Interact with people in the industry/area you want to work in.” From David Spinks : “NEVER pass up an opportunity to reach new people.” Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Learn more about inbound marketing and how to combine blogging, SEO and social media for results. Download our inbound marketing kit .
this week urges you to take a step back, do your homework and form an actual social media marketing do and its ability to filter and organize clutter. InboundMarketing.com 2. Mashable Is Twitter hinting at a cure for information overload, Pete wonders? He discusses the possible opportunity for a new job position based on content organization – the real-time Web curator. Should journalists assume this new role and capitalize on this trend? In any event, Pete’s sure a “curation” economy is starting to take shape. Optimize This Lesson: Author: Keep your message simple Developing a Social Media Marketing Strategy Lesson: Stop Building Microsites? let your content go on of Learn how to use social media for lead generation. ProBlogger of Todd Defren 3. Describe your idea in a concrete, tangible way CNN.com Author: Think PR Squared Does your company have a Among Bernie’s recommendations are to listen first and define your objectives, whether they be geared toward competitive differentiation, market share growth or the expansion of your brand. His final words of wisdom are to ” Appeal to and evoke readers’ emotions Look at how others are using social media, but evaluate what works best in your particular industry and for your own company before trying the same things. Lesson: Lesson:Attract readers to your business blogby creating content with “sticky” properties. for social media marketing. What are your objectives? What are the opportunities? What are your competitors doing? After all, there’s more to social media marketing than tweeting and Facebooking… Marelisa Fábrega Originally published Nov 6, 2009 7:11:00 AM, updated July 18 2013 Want to learn the best social media marketing advice from expert in-house marketers? Read Lee’s post, which includes tips on social media strategy (oh how we’ve come full circle!), how to decide on tactics, and measuring success. . strategy? If you’re inclined to answer “yes” because you have a Twitter handle and a Facebook page, you may want to re-think your answer. to leverage Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites to generate leads and customers. Lately, I’ve been noticing that content overload on the Web is becoming quite a popular topic. To this point, Pete’s article discusses Photo by Anil Jadhav Tell a story Author: of on Create Twitter lists using your company Twitter account to organize leaders/content in your industry. Our top article on Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die How to Write a Blog Post That’s Stickier than Velcro While he doubts the majority of microsites has an ROI worth your time/investment, he does however share his thoughts on when one might make sense – when your company is part of a highly regulated industry that needs to be cautious with content, disclosures and consumer engagement. 4. before you ,” sharing it with and promoting it to your community. .” Bernie’s main message is that, for a business, a social media strategy serves one simple purpose: “enabling your company to engage in authentic conversations with your community so you can improve your ability to attract, retain and serve your customers.” Still, he encourages readers to stop to do some research first — inside the company and out — to gain valuable insight that will drive their strategies. Video: How to Use Social Media for Lead Generation Author: Illustrate that your message is credible by quoting statistics, studies, etc. Author: Lesson: Find inspiration to get started in the social media-sphere from experienced marketers. 5. “Sticky” ideas are those that are spread, remembered, and that people act upon. Marisela’s guest post explains the six common traits of sticky ideas, a concept originated by the bestseller, ” Use an unexpected approach to capture readers’ attention Lee Odden Twitter’s new list function Twitter Lists: Journalism Becomes a Real-Time Job strategy One thing’s for sure – the benefit of social media involvement is hard to ignore. of Online Marketing Blog 1. Wondering if creating a microsite might be a good idea for that new campaign you’re promoting? Exploring the topic of campaign microsites, Todd questions their worth and whether they generate any real traction. Bernie Borges Download the free video Pete Cashmore 25 Must Read Social Media Marketing Tips Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Baby, It’s Cold Without Inbound MarketingRebecca: I really can’t stayUnicorn: But baby, it’s cold outside Rebecca: I’ve got to go awayUnicorn: But baby, it’s cold outside Rebecca: This evening has been …Unicorn: You need inbound marketing Rebecca: … So very niceUnicorn: I’ll make your website optimized Rebecca: My mother will start to worryUnicorn: Beautiful, what’s your hurryRebecca: My father will be pacing the floorUnicorn: Let’s go write one blog post more Rebecca: So really I’d better scurryUnicorn: But my mane is soft and furry Rebecca: Well maybe just a half a drink more Unicorn: Let’s check our lead gen while I pour Rebecca: The neighbors might thinkUnicorn: Baby, it’s bad out there Rebecca: Say, what’s in this drinkUnicorn: Cold calls and ads out there Rebecca: I wish I knew howUnicorn: To check your analytics now Rebecca: To break this spellUnicorn: Your conversion rates, they sure look swell Rebecca: I ought to say no, no, no, sirUnicorn: But our bounce rate is getting much lower.Rebecca: At least I’m gonna say that I tried Unicorn: Our marketing is giving me pride Rebecca: I really can’t stayUnicorn: Baby, don’t hold out Together: Baby, it’s cold outside Holiday 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 Topics: Hu, the HubSpot Unicorn, is known for many things. First and foremost, he is known for his constant need to get his mouth washed out with a bar of soap. But more importantly, he is known for his ‘coming to light’ moment this holiday season, finally stopping the spread of those awful marketing myths and embracing inbound marketing.What most people don’t know is that Hu is also an amazing singer. How else do you think he gets all the ladies? So to celebrate the season, Hu and HubSpot’s very own Rebecca Corliss decided to duet an updated holiday classic in order to spread marketing and holiday cheer. The lyrics are listed below the video so don’t hesitate to sing along! Happy Holidays from HubSpot and the HubSpot Unicorn! Originally published Dec 12, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Oh wait, no, it’s just a marketer.Despite all my hard work, I probably won’t be able to fly without spending a couple hundred bucks and 2 hours waiting for airport security. (Also, I hear laser vision doesn’t work as well when you’re wearing glasses.) But just because my super hero dreams have been shattered, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate your super hero abilities … your super hero marketing abilities.That’s right. Even if we can’t fly faster than a speeding bullet, we all still have certain marketing super powers that we should be proud to celebrate. Some of us know our strengths already, and some of us may still be trying to find them. Either way, if you’ve ever wondered what makes you and your colleagues such effective marketers — the Bruce Wayne of blogging, the Incredible Hulk of Analytics — this fun little decision tree is for you.So, are you ready to find your marketing super power? Figure it out now so you can keep flexing those marketing muscles of yours. Alright, have you found your marketing super power? Great! Now, like true marketers, let’s analyze it so we can learn what it means ;-)What Your Marketing Super Power MeansThe Blogger: You are the master of written content! As a super hero blogger, you are truly in tune with and knowledgeable about your particular industry. Not only are you driven by your passion for marketing, your industry, and the written word, but you’re also mind-blowingly organized. Most likely trained by blog writing ninjas in the mountains of Tibet (kind of like Bruce Wayne), you’re pretty much Batman (or Batwoman), but better because, well, you blog.With this great power, comes tons of research! It’s no secret that a blogger’s best friend is timely and accurate information. So, be sure to stay on top of industry news, statistics, and new studies to provide your readers with the highest quality, most relevant content possible.The Social Butterfly:As a social media mastermind, you’ve got to stay focused on how to maintain meaningful relationships between your brand and its many fans, tweeps, and connections. Remember, your greatest tool is your ability to relate, connect, and use thoughtful content to keep people engaged. Make them love your brand as much as they love you! Each social network has its own nuances, and it’s up to you to discover them to best reach your audience.The Analyst:We’ll call you the Professor X of your marketing team, always keeping a cool head and logically finding solutions and better practices for improving your company’s marketing strategies. Remember to keep your eyes on market conditions and changes in your industry that may affect your company’s performance, and make suggestions to help battle these changes.The Optimizer: As the optimization expert, you must understand how your work affects both Sales and Marketing. You should make recommendations to your team on how to best optimize their landings pages and content by changing URLs, replacing graphics, adding keywords, changing layout, and editing forms. And don’t forget to try new, innovative ideas when optimizing anything for your company!This decision tree didn’t cover all areas of marketing — was your marketing super power left out? Share your super power, and what qualities make for excellent marketers in the comments. Originally published Jan 16, 2013 4:15:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Marketing Advice 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:
For marketers, Reddit has a lot of things going for it: most notably, an audience that’s both young and huge. Last month, Reddit drew 71 million unique visitors who viewed 4.8 billion pages. Their big challenge, however, is to find a way to make money from that audience without driving it away. Lately Reddit has been experimenting with a new sponsored content campaign in which Reddit creates original video content based on ideas generated by Reddit users. The program has won praise from Edelman content chief Steve Rubel, who writes in AdAge, “The internet isn’t TV, and Reddit knows that and has an approach to original content that might just work if it can stick to what made it a success. Reddit knows that the best way for marketers to get involved is not just through content, but conversation.”The first attempt in content creation is “Explain Like I’m Five,” a series of videos inspired by a subreddit of the same name. (A subreddit is what Reddit calls a topic-specific domain. There are about 5,000 active user-generated subreddits on Reddit.) The videos are sponsored by DonorsChoose, a charity that helps teachers get supplies for their classrooms.The video series, which takes complex topics and explains them to 5-year-olds, is hosted on Reddit’s YouTube channel, aggregated on the DonorsChoose website, and promoted on the ‘Explain Like I’m Five’ subreddit — in an effort to motivate Reddit users to donate to the charity. Reddit even asks its community to contribute ideas for scripts for new videos. Here’s one video:Reddit is trying to identify other subreddits that could lend themselves to being turned into original programming. Next up for a video treatment is a subreddit called “Crazy Ideas,” says Reddit General Manager Erik Martin. Martin says that, for now, Reddit sees the idea as experimental and isn’t selling it in a big way. “There are maybe a few brands we would work with. But it needs to be the right idea and the right sponsor,” he says.As Rubel points out, Reddit’s challenge will be to add mainstream advertisers to its mix without losing its edge and turning off its audience.To be sure, this is the same challenge most user-generated sites confront as they try to attract advertisers (e.g. concerns about porn on Tumblr, or the recent scandal where advertisers suspended Facebook campaigns because of offensive content). But even in the anything-goes world of user-generated content, Reddit pushes the limits. The site contains a huge amount of stuff that could be called “not safe for work.”The trick — for Reddit and for marketers — will be to reach the attractive parts of the Reddit universe and steer clear of the less savory elements. Whether it can be done remains to be seen. Martin points out that “the vast majority of content on Reddit is [safe for work],” and that advertisers can target content that’s safe and be sure that their ads will not run next to racy content.Also, keep in mind that getting in early will have an extra benefit — your brand could get pulled along in all the coverage about the Reddit program. DonorsChoose got mentioned in the Steve Rubel article in AdAge, and this one here on the HubSpot blog, as well as here on a teaching blog, here on Entertainment Weekly, and here on Mediabistro.Thoughts on Reddit’s new sponsored content program? 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 Originally published Jun 4, 2013 4:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Native Advertising
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 Originally published Dec 2, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated August 29 2017 Writing great copy for your business blog is obviously a big priority, given all of the traffic it can drive to your website and the leads it can generate. But what about copy on the other pages of your website? Your homepage? Landing pages? Even your “about” page? These also need to be optimized with top-notch content.Download 195+ visual marketing design templates to use for social media posts, infographics, and more. For those marketers who aren’t quite sure how to produce high-quality content for these pages — and even those who are experts at updating their copy but want to freshen it up — here are the things you ought to know to better the three most important pages on your website: your homepage, your landing pages, and your “about” page.1) Homepage: The Lobby of Your BusinessYour homepage is the virtual lobby of your business. Before I lay a series of copywriting tips on you for improving your homepage, let’s look at the homepage experience from your visitor’s point of view.They are new guests in your virtual home. Nothing’s all that familiar. They will take in every little thing — consciously or subconsciously, subtle or not — and make judgments. To get a vibe. To make a decision. What exactly is this decision?I can’t help but quote a favorite rock band of mine, The Clash: “Should I stay or should I go?” You need to remind yourself of this when making decisions about the composition of your homepage — in particular, the copy presented there.This decision, stay or go, boils down to comfort. When the visitor feels it, they invest their time — just like you do. When something doesn’t feel right, when a tinge of discomfort emerges, they flee — just like you do.So what do you do to address this newcomer situation (which hopefully happens very often) to achieve the desired result: getting visitors to stick around and click around?As a veteran website copywriter, here’s my advice:Provide a big, bold assurance.Your homepage is going to have a big, dominant element — probably a main graphic — which you might refer to as a header. It might even be what website creators now refer to as a slider — a series of headers that rotate. More often than not, your headline will be placed in this space, above or below it. In any case, we’re talking about the first passage the visitor will read.This passage has the all-important job of assuring the visitor they have arrived at the right place. You can do this in a number of ways, one of the best of which is to have clear headlines expressly created to communicate you understand the challenge they face.In other words, it’s a good idea to reiterate the product category and a bad idea to say something dreadfully generic, such as the popular favorite, “Welcome to our website.” One way or another, the copy you present first should quickly suggest “you will be rewarded for coming here.”Set up a clear, concise introduction.An introduction of some sort should follow. It might be a sentence or two or a paragraph or two. This is not the place to boast, recite a boring company mission, or cram in the elevator pitch you labored over for your press release’s boilerplate.In fact, to the extent you can avoid it, this isn’t even the place to talk about your company. Your company is secondary. First, by a long shot, is your prospect — their pains and pleasures. Avoid “we,” your company name, and “us” (read: “The Most Effective Online Marketers Focus on One Thing”).I suggest counting the uses of “you” and “we” (or variations thereof) and making the ratio largely favor “you.” “You” is the subject. “You” is how you greet someone. “You” is how the persuasion process begins.Think search.Don’t think SEO — think search. What I mean here is however much you’ve studied your optimization tactics, your application of them should be invisible to the reader.Yes, you’ll want to do meticulous keyword research and deliberation. And yes, you’ll want to use the keywords in your homepage copy. Still, do not overuse or overemphasize keywords. Doing so makes for clunky copy. Even if you’ve abided by the current day’s best practices for SEO, you are now addressing a human being.Snuff the fluff.Effective homepage copy gets to the point. It does so with flair, but not fluff. Throw-away lines, such as “In today’s highly competitive marketplace blah, blah, blah,” are to be, well, thrown away. Never lose sight of the notion that your visitor has a short attention span. To increase your chances of engaging the reader, edit your copy ruthlessly to make every word count.Talk in a conversational, relatable tone.Your homepage copy needs to be personal and conversational. (Dare I say, casual?) Don’t go techno. Don’t take chances with industry buzzword babble. Don’t show off your vocabulary or insider speak. Imagine you’re out to make a new friend (because you are).Make the page navigation a cinch.Easy navigation is all-important. Never make visitors hunt for what they need or begin to suspect the content’s not available. Make your navigation bar simple and easy to understand.Feature prominent pods, windows, or sections with subheads that showcase the parts of the website you deem to be the most practical next steps for the visitor. Communicate the content you’re offering with dummy-proof directions or calls-to-action.Plan for scanning.Every key point and subsection you mean to showcase should work with or without lengthy explanations. Remind yourself of how quickly you scan a homepage in search of something worth fixing on or looking into. Though it may feel counterintuitive, your prose should be sparse and your white space should be ample.Make your blog easy to find.Your blog is the section of the site where you flex your know-how. It’s also where you engage readers and build relationships. Don’t hide it in the footer. If you’re emphasizing your blog the way you should, you should emphatically invite visitors to read it, share the posts, and subscribe. Featuring recent or popular stories on the homepage is a highly effective tactic.Feature some freebies.Understand most visitors are “just looking” or doing research during this first visit. Lead nurturing is likely to be a critical part of the sales cycle going forward, so your collection of free resources such as your blog, newsletter, ebooks, reports, archived webinars, and other content should be featured.Be specific with these types of offers, making sure to provide compelling reasons for the visitor to submit their email address. For instance, don’t use generic pleas such as “free ebook” or “subscribe to our newsletter.” Provide practical reasons why doing so is a must.Be a crowd-pleaser.This final homepage tip traces to the well-known principle of persuasion called social proof. Your visitors crave evidence your company is legit. Give it to them on your homepage in the form of testimonials, client logos, reviews, accreditations, accolades, and the like.If you’re active on social media or have a large subscriber base for your blog or newsletter, mention this. Something like “Join our 10,000+ subscribers” helps establish the credibility visitors value.2) Landing Pages: The Key to ConversionTo be an effective online marketer, every page of your website needs to be well-written, elegantly designed, purposeful, and part of the big-picture plan. However, after your homepage, nothing is more critical to your success than your landing pages.It’s all about conversion.I want to be clear about what I’m calling a landing page because it’s entirely true a visitor could “land” on just about any page you publish.The landing page I’m offering tips about here are the pages expressly created to solicit an opt-in or a desired action from a prospect. (Pages such as these are sometimes also called “squeeze pages,” though the term isn’t common today.)This page is meant to collect basic information, which usually includes an email address. It acts as a gate in front of an offer of some sort.Landing pages have special requirements.While many of the smart, but general, copywriting tactics will apply, a landing page is a different beast. Unlike many of your website’s pages, a landing page is not about helping readers find what they want — it’s about delivering it.An important thing to keep in mind when writing a landing page is the dynamic at play and, of course, the mindset of the visitor. Your visitor has arrived for a treat — some instant gratification. Visits could come from pay-per-click ads, a search result listing, an internal link on your website, a link from another website, an email, or even a printed piece, ad, or commercial.Make the headline succinct and stand out.The headline needs to make a keyword connection. This is not an SEO lesson, but rather a plea to connect the visitor’s expectation to the first line they read on your landing page. The link the prospect just clicked was about something specific, so your headline should deliberately reiterate those words.Landing pages are not the place to show off your creative writing chops. If your link promised a lesson on cloud computing, your headline needs to say as much. Your first objective is to assure the visitor he landed on the page he needs. Focus solely on the offer.An effective landing page must be singularly focused on one subject: your offer. Do not give in to the temptation to cross-sell, upsell, or wander into related territory of any kind. Deliver information on point with exactly what your visitor came for.Landing pages should not include links to other sections of your websites. This means the navigation bar, sidebars, and footers are stripped away. A logo linking to your homepage is acceptable (but does offer an “out”).Use plenty of action words.The question on the user’s mind is “What do I get and how?” So, hammer on the verbs. Include phrases such as “Learn how to,” “Get insights,” “Save time,” and “Download the” to catch the reader’s attention and make him want to click through.Showcase the landing page’s value.A visit to your landing page is not a victory. Your visitor’s interested. They’ve clicked. But they’re not a lead until they’ve completed your form. Highlight the value of your offer multiple times on your landing page. Use subheads and captions to state the value of your offer in a variety of places on the page so they can’t be missed.Also, consider making big, bold, and even dreamy value statements. You might write, “Imagine how,” “Conquer your,” or “You’ll never have to (blank) again because” to drive home the value.If you can be specific, be specific. Value statements are more credible when you can promise specific benefits — such as the amount of time or money that will be saved.Use clear, second-person narrative.Simply stated, use the word “you.” Don’t refer to your visitor as a job title or generic seeker of a resolution to a problem. Don’t refer to your company by its name if you can help it. Write “our.”Moreover, let nothing confuse the reader. Get to the point. Guide the reader with clear directions. Keep the page brief (unless you have a very strong reason to do otherwise.) Those letter-stuffer type landing pages that drone on turn off most readers.Add some bullet points.Bulleted lists work great on landing pages. You can list the benefits of what you’re delivering. If it’s an information asset, it’s useful to preview the contents in short and sweet passages. You might use icons or small images to steer the eye to the main points, a la a 1-2-3 list of most important points.Show and tell.Plan to show the “prize” and write a caption that summarizes the entire landing page in one sentence. Many readers go straight to the image and caption, so this will certainly catch their attention.Deliver a little proof.You don’t want to veer off into a detailed case study, but a helpful conversion tactic is to include a brief testimonial. If you can quote a notable authority or high profile client, all the better. If your offer has helped a large number of customers or garnered recognition, go with these types of proof statements.Streamline the form.The fewer required fields your form has, the more leads you’ll capture. Unless you have a compelling reason to qualify the leads at this stage, make your form easy to find and fill out. If you’re going to send email (and you should), a singular email address field might suffice.Include a smart button.It may sound odd, but the words you choose for your call-to-action play a huge role. Studies prove generic words such as “submit” and “subscribe” perform poorly compared to short, directive value statements such as “Send me my free tips.” KISSmetrics offers some useful variations in this informative post.Copyblogger gives a good lesson for “sealing the deal” with your landing page here. And I picked up some ideas for my article from this post by Vertster.Landing page leader Unbounce is a great resource for more information about creating effective landing pages and testing tactics to improve conversion. Ion Interactive is another authority in the field. 3) “About” Page: The Awkward First DateYour “about” page is sure to be one of the most visited pages on your website. But commonly, it’s a serious snoozer. If your analytics show your “about” page is a leading exit page, you’re going to want to heed the advice I have for you here.The page poses a challenge.”About” pages scare even veteran website copywriters. The thing that makes this page the trickiest of them all is the confusing — contradictory, actually — subject of the page itself. You’re tempted to write about yourself or your company. And that’s fair. But if that’s all you do, you’ll risk losing your reader.Remember the purpose of the visit. What the reader really cares about is themself. Your “about” page needs to be about how you can help him or her. Sonia Simone of Copyblogger offers these suggestions:Talk about why they should bother reading your site.Talk about the problems you solve.Talk about what they’re interested in.A good first step is to strike the use of “us” or “me.” That is, don’t call your page “about us” or “about me,” or at least don’t think of the page this way. It shouldn’t be a biography, resume, or company backgrounder. Yes, you can include biographical and background information, but your story needs to be presented in the context of how you can serve the customer.Be interesting.Write a tight, well-paced page without droning on with needless detail. While a storytelling style can be very appropriate for your “about” page, you don’t want to test your reader’s patience. Every line on the page should add something significant and heighten the reader’s interest. You want the reader to want to know more about you, not less.Careful with the video.Sure, many will welcome a chance to see and hear you speak, so go ahead and make a short and sweet video to demonstrate your mastery of your field. But don’t rely only a video, and please don’t have it begin playing automatically. That’s not a convenient play. It’s annoying.Write conversationally.The nature of an “about” page invites writers to adapt a stiff and stilted voice, which is poison for any web page. Be you. Be warm and approachable. Go ahead and use your sense of humor. Avoid jargon. Writing in a conversational voice is far more appealing that stilted, generic copy.Proof plays well.While no one wants to find an egomaniac lurking in your “about” page, some of the credentials hanging on your office wall might help enhance the reader’s experience and comfort level.Badges indicating your professional memberships, accolades, publications, speaking experience, and so forth make nice additions to the page. A small dose of testimonials could be useful, too.Lose the BS.”About” pages tend to be home to overblown BS. Be wary of superlatives and hyperbole. Face it: Words like “visionary,” “outstanding,” “world-class,” and “cutting-edge” don’t do anything other than feed your ego.Don’t write fiction.Your aspirations and accomplishments are not the same thing. Nothing but the truth will do. If you’ve accomplished great things, simply tell your readers about them and why they should care. Let the reader be the judge of your awesome sauce.Take some chances.A lot of company “about” pages sound the same as all the rest. Don’t let that happen to yours. Make it your top goal to write a page no one else could write and that sets you apart from the competition.Think different.Apple didn’t just preach it — it embodied it. Of course, the company’s landmark campaign highlighted MLK, John Lennon, Jim Hanson, and Albert Einstein — world-changers.What did these big thinkers who thought so differently have in common? They took risks. So, take risks with your “about” page. Don’t just recite the company mantra. Make the reader feel they have to do business with you because yours is a company of real people who will change its customers’ lives.Bring bios to life.I always discourage biographies of any length to be 100% academic and professional. Why? It’s boring. I expect to learn you’re educated, qualified, and bring relevant experience to the company. Tell me something I don’t expect. You tap dance? Breed dogs? Make beer? You love Springsteen? Me too. Give your reader something conversation-worthy.Suggest social.Think of the “about” page as an opportunity to begin building relationships. The page is a logical place to publish links to social media profiles and encourage online networking.If you’re featuring profiles of the directors and staff, you might showcase social accounts with anyone who’s representing the company on your social networks or active on your blog.Consider publishing email addresses there too (but you’ll probably want to spell out “at” or “dot com” so as to not allow bots to capture, then spam, employees).Make it a quick read.Michelle Slater offered some interesting ideas in her post, “Spice Up Your About Us Page and Intrigue Prospects.” Her suggestions included making your page skimmer-friendly by bulleting company facts, presenting information in an interview format, and using a video Q&A.Update the page when needed.Things change. People may join or leave the company. Don’t allow your “about us” page to present outdated information. Whether it’s personnel, new services, locations, or any item that changes the company story, make sure your page reflects the company you are today.Remember who the page is really about.If you’re stuck for getting started with your “about” page, there’s no harm in tackling the five W’s to get the facts down, but remind yourself — a “who, what, when, where, why” is likely to be a press release-like snore. Pepper it up by really focusing on the “why.” The salesy and overly self-congratulatory page won’t establish the credibility and trust you seek. Put the reader first, use plain language, and communicate what customers really want to know (and what you need them to leave with) — a reason to believe you put them first.Got some copywriting tips for these pages you think marketers would be wise to hear about? Give us your advice in the comments below! Landing Page Copy
As marketers, we all know that great writing can help our content stand out from the crowd. But in addition to crossing our t’s and dotting our i’s, we need to make sure that we’re balancing our equations and refining our formulas. Yes, my friends: Marketing requires a scientific approach. And the language of science? That’d be “mathematics” (Remember? From high school? It was the class with the numbers and stuff.)This past week on Inbound Hub, we had a statistically significant* number of posts that dealt with the scientific side of inbound. From understanding Facebook’s new algorithm, to putting together pivot tables in Excel, we’ve got the nerdiest of the nerdiest for you to learn about.So, bust out those protractors, adjust your bifocals, and dive into this past week’s worth of wonderful content from the blog.(*Author clearly doesn’t understand what that means)A Scientific Approach to Hitting Your Lead Gen Goals With ContentWhile creating amazing content that resonates with your visitors, leads, and customers alike certainly requires an artistic touch, a scientific approach is also needed to plan and execute that content effectively. In this new post, HubSpot Senior Blog Editor Corey Eridon walks you through the entire process and shows you how reviewing analytics — and measuring performance — can help you hit your lead generation goals.New Facebook Algorithm Update Dings Text Updates From BusinessesUsually, when we read the word “algorithm” in a headline, we brace ourselves for some earth-shattering SEO news from Google. But remember: Facebook has an algorithm too — one that controls what shows up in our News Feeds. The latest change to this algorithm means you’ll be seeing fewer text status updates from companies, as Facebook is putting a heavier emphasis on its “link-share” updates. Learn all about it here.Not Just for Data Geeks? Why Marketers Need to Know ExcelWe inbound marketers loooove our Google Docs … and our Microsoft Word … and our PowerPoint. But, there’s another tool in our inbound arsenal that many of us are guilty of neglecting: Excel. I’m here to tell you that it’s easier than you think! Mastering Excel will give you a whole new skill set and help you unlock insights that are crucial for your business’s success. 10 Stats About Inbound Marketing That Will Make Your Jaw DropDid you know that 75% of searchers never scroll past the first page of search results? Or that visitors only spend 10 seconds on a homepage before leaving if they don’t like what they see? Dive deeper into these intriguing stats and learn several more in this new post from our Insiders section.Should Your SEO Strategy Include Yahoo and Bing?Google has become so ubiquitous in the world of search that we regularly use it as a verb. And while many marketers focus solely on Google when crafting an SEO strategy, they shouldn’t forget that other search engines are out there, like Bing and Yahoo (heard of ’em?). So, should you be optimizing for other search engines in addition to Google? We explore all the angles in this new post.Who Needs Google? Mark Cuban Says He’s Using It Less and LessSpeaking of search engines, do we even need them? In a new post in our Opinion section, Dan Lyons dissects a recent comment from billionaire investor and entrepreneur Mark Cuban. According to Cuban, Google (and other search engines) are failing to index the most important information: the information that’s being created and shared on social sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Snapchat. A Proven Framework for Prospecting Emails [+20 Free Email Examples]In a recent post in our Sales section, HubSpot Director of Marketing for Inbound Sales Brian Whalley lays out a three-part process for successful email prospecting. In the post, you’ll not only get to read a HubSpot-tested sales email, but also the opportunity to download 20 more.What was the most interesting thing you learned this week on Inbound Hub? What do you want to see more of? Leave your feedback in the comments! 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: Facebook Marketing Originally published Jan 26, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Feb 3, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated August 27 2017 Topics: Pinterest Marketing Did you know that Pinterest is turning four in March? I mean, where does the time go? It seems like just yesterday marketers were beginning to explore how Pinterest could fit into their marketing strategies. Now, the site has over 70 million active users, and marketers around the world have embraced it as a legitimate social media marketing channel.Though Pinterest is much more mainstream now, we’ve got to be careful. As my mother tells me every so often, sometimes you think you know it all — but you probably don’t.Free Resource: 12 Pinterest Templates for Business Not because there isn’t an answer to your question, but perhaps because you haven’t even asked the question yet. Maybe you think it’s a silly question. Embarrassing to ask, even.But we’ve got you covered. Below, we’ve listed the answers to some of your most burning Pinterest questions in the best judgment-free zone to find answers: a blog post.11 Questions About Pinterest You’ve Wanted to Ask1) Okay, I’m on Pinterest. Now, how do I get followers?It’s intimidating to join Pinterest and see a big fat zero next to your number of followers, but don’t worry — they’re out there. Building your reach on social networks takes work and time, but can really turn the dial up on traffic and leads for your business.Because there are two options for people to engage with you on Pinterest — either follow an individual board or your account as a whole — there are quite a few ways you can get more people to follow you. A couple small things you can try include adding a Pinterest follow button to your website, pinning content throughout the day, letting your email subscribers and leads know that you’re on Pinterest, and even following a few other people on Pinterest in the hope they’ll return the favor.2) Um … what am I supposed to be pinning on Pinterest?There are many, many things you can pin on Pinterest. But, before you start pinning, you should to be thinking about your strategy for visual content.Marketers should invest in visual content as part of their overall marketing strategy, but when it comes to Pinterest, there are a few things that can help guide your decisions on what to pin.Beyond regular photos, marketers can post articles, experiment with infographics, and even pin videos. You’ve just got to make sure, though, you’ve got your Pinterest board strategy down first.3) So what’s the difference between a pin, a repin, and a favorite?Just like other social networks (especially Twitter), Pinterest has some lingo of its own you’ll want to understand as you navigate the site.A pin is essentially a bookmark, so when you find something on the web you want to keep or look at later, you can “pin” it to one of your boards.Meanwhile, a repin is when you take an image that’s already on someone else’s board and post it to one of your own. When you do this, notifications are sent to let the other person know you’ve repinned something of theirs.Same thing with anything you like: Pressing that “heart” button on a pin will send a notification to that person that you liked their pin.4) Will people actually use Pinterest in the long run or is it just a fad?Heck yeah they will. As mentioned, the site has millions of devoted followers. It’s also popular no matter what time of day it is. For example, 4.8% of American users check out Pinterest at the office during work hours.And just what are people doing on Pinterest? Well, they’re pinning pins, repinning pins (80% of pins are repins), creating boards, and following other boards of interest.Very Pinteresting, if you ask us. Evidence hints that the site isn’t dwindling in popularity anytime soon.5) Isn’t Pinterest just for women?Nope. While women account for 80% of registered Pinterest users, plenty of men use it as well. While it’s up to you to post content to the site and, in turn, find your core audience — men, women, Millennials, older generations, students, professionals, etc. — using Pinterest for business can help you drive traffic to your site, bring in leads, and even boost sales.I could go on, but instead, I’ll point you to more resources you can check out after this reading this post. Here’s our ultimate guide on mastering Pinterest for marketing.6) I’m scared to ask my manager: How do I decide if Pinterest is good for my business?Good for you for not jumping in with both feet on a popular social network just for the sake of having an account. Smart marketers know they need to evaluate if that new social network they’re considering is worth their company’s time.Here’s a good place to start: Are your buyer personas likely to frequent the site? What are your competitors doing on Pinterest? Once you’ve gathered that information, you’re better equipped to decide if Pinterest is a good social network for your company to have a presence on and if it’ll help with your overall marketing strategy.7) Are businesses actually successful with their Pinterest marketing? Which ones?Yes, and let’s get on the same page about one thing: You can do successful marketing on Pinterest whether you’re a B2C company selling cars or a B2B company selling software.For instance, Staples learned a lot by using Pinterest as a marketing channel. So has Chobani: Yes, the company sells yogurt, but it’s using Pinterest to teach people more about the Chobani brand and lifestyle through the use of different boards and relatable photos.8) Analytics. Data. Metrics. Do those even exist on Pinterest?Yes, there are ways to measure your success with Pinterest. When thinking about the success of your marketing on the site, there are two things to consider.One is how your account is performing on Pinterest itself. The second is the return on investment you’re getting by using Pinterest as a marketing channel.With those two concepts in mind, read our blog post on measuring success on Pinterest. And if you have a Pinterest business account, the platform offers free analytics for measuring this stuff.9) I assume there are some rules for Pinterest, right? What are they?There are definitely “rules,” but they’re not as hard and fast as you might think. Where Pinterest is concerned — and, actually, where social media at large is concerned — is that there’s proper social media marketing etiquette that you should always follow.For instance, it’s best not be too self-promotional, which can be tempting as a business that’s trying to bring traffic to their site. Pinterest actually has a webpage that discusses Pinterest etiquette in which they say, “We think authenticity — expressing who you really are and what you’re really like — is more important than getting lots of followers.” So be sure to take this to heart — otherwise, you’re at risk for being banned from the social site.10) What’s another way to show my pins to my audience without always linking to Pinterest?There’s a couple. Just like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and a slew of other social networks, you can showcase your account on other marketing collateral you have.For example, a quick win is embedding one of your boards right onto your website — and we’ve got instructions on how to do that. But that’s only one of the four ways to cross-pollinate your pins with the rest of your marketing.Pinterest also has a “Pin it” button, a “Follow” button, a “Profile” widget, and a “Board” widget that are all easy to integrate with your website. And the best part? We’ve got a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to use all of these social sharing buttons.11) My website is the cat’s meow. How can I get people to share it on Pinterest?It’s pretty easy to make it … well … easy for people to pin things from your website to their own Pinterest boards.Pinterest has a great Goodies page that shows you how to make a “Pin it” button to put on your website. This button helps your website visitors quickly share your work on their own Pinterest boards.