A new year is a time to reflect and take stock. This is no less true for a company than a person. Without knowing where we stand today and where we came from, there’s little chance that we’ll have accurate expectations for our future trajectory.
At Penguin Strategies, we’ve had a banner year – going from 8 to 20 clients. Our staff is growing with our business and we’re pumping out more content than ever before.
With our minds steadfastly fixed on the future, it’s useful to occasionally cast our gaze backwards. In the spirit of looking back, and with some nostalgia, I’ve undertaken a review of all our blog posts from the last year.
In the short span of 12 months, we managed to put a lot of information out there for your consumption. Personally, I’ve learned a tremendous amount along the way. For that I thank you, the reader, who drives all our efforts.
With that said, here are our 11 best marketing posts from the year that was:
11. Creating A Conversation: Why Content Curation Should Be a Part of Your B2B Inbound Marketing Strategy
This post brings some much needed perspective to the often hyper-focused inbound marketer. This offering is essentially an introduction to and explanation of the practice of curating third-party content.
You might think that distributing someone else’s content waters down your own brand and redirects your audience – and potential customers - to more established and authoritative outlets. You’d be wrong.
Curating other people’s content is hugely valuable. Here are some of the reason’s why:
By watering down the self-promoting quality of your messaging, you’re actually strengthening your brand and your perceived trustworthiness.
By casting a wider information net, you’ll attract and hold more interest.
By demonstrating a finger on the pulse of the industry disposition, you cultivate a greater sense of expertise and authority.
Sharing their content is a great foothold for building a mutually beneficial rapport with industry influencers.
Specifically, people are more willing to circulate your content if they think there’s a chance you’ll return the favor.
Think of it as A/B testing. By quickly and easily bouncing diverse content off of your audience, you can develop a keener understanding of what speaks to their needs/interests.
A mostly light-hearted and amusing read, this post highlights some of the most memorable missteps that have haunted social media marketers.
For your educational convenience, each blunder is assigned to one of six categories of common offenses. Considering the high esteem in which we hold our readers, I hope you learn nothing from this post – but just to be sure, you'd better read it through.
Now that you’re familiar with all the blunders that will blow your social capital, it’s probably a good idea to learn how you can rebuild it. Or better yet, don’t compromise your social proof to begin with.
This post includes 12 practical pointers to building social capital with your audience. Some of the guidelines will be easier to implement than others, but if it were easy everybody would do it.
We take the long view at Penguin Strategy and from what we’re seeing, this is a pretty awesome formula for success.
You remember that commercial, Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty? Of course you do. After your friend showed it to you, you watched it twice in a row and then – teary eyed – sent it to your mother in an email extolling her true beauty.
Have you ever asked yourself why that commercial was made? Sure, it’s beautiful and expresses a socially responsible message, but what does that have to do with toiletries and beauty creams?
If anything, with its “anti-aging” and antiperspirant products, the company still perpetuates and profits from unrealistic beauty standards. I shouldn’t have to remind you that Dove is owned by the same Unilever company responsible for branding Axe so objectionably.
Mind you, the commercial says nothing whatsoever about Dove’s product offerings. So how do they benefit from the Campaign for Real Beauty? Turns out, purchase decisions are only 20% influenced by logic, with the rest of the determination being made by emotion.
In other words, if I tell you a great story that makes you think I’m a sweetheart, you’re pretty likely to buy my product – regardless of its bonafides. Dove seized on this psychological bias to great effect.
This post is a primer on how you too can incorporate psychology into your marketing efforts. Do me a favor though – don’t be exploitative or hypocritical in using your newfound knowledge.
Ultimately, blogs are the engine that drives inbound marketing. If you’re not blogging, you’ll be hard-pressed to bring 90% of the theory into practice. So what are those theories and how are they practiced? Glad you asked.
This post covers many of the whys and hows of blogging – from speaking directly to your prospects’ needs to balancing the contradictory values of topicality and timelessness. Recommended reading for anyone wading into the world of inbound marketing.
Speaking about testing the waters of inbound marketing, Idit Lowenstein gives a human face to the journey. In this post, Idit shares some of the details from her first few weeks on the job as an inbound marketer.
Through the read, you’ll encounter some of the core concepts and best practices for inbound, as well as develop an appreciation for Idit’s indefatigable spirit.
I’m not gonna lie, this is a problem we’ve had to contend with at Penguin Strategies on more than one occasion. So how should one go about drumming up interest in an industry that’s dreadfully boring?
Sadly, there’s no magic bullet solution. Mostly what’s needed is some pep and a lot of creativity. Beyond that, here are some tips:
- Know who you’re speaking to and speak their language. Different people find different things interesting. It doesn’t need to be your cup of tea. It could be coffee. But make it a great cup, regardless.
- Know your venue. Broadcasting your restaurant’s rib-eye steak special at the county’s annual vegan festival is a waste of breath. Likewise, you need to know the online spaces populated by your target audience.
- Write like you speak. You know what’ll make a boring industry seem even more boring? Talking about it in a dry and formal manner. When you have little else to work with, you still have your personal flair.
Think Twitter’s only for self-absorbed celebrities and tweens? Think again. Used properly, Twitter is a massive lead generation and nurturing machine for any business, with instance access to 320 million active users.
Like any social network, Twitter is governed by its own, unique social mores and norms. From your first tweet to a largely automated Twitter marketing program, it can be an intimidating space to find your voice and your groove.
Luckily for you, we know a guy. Sit back, relax, and let the wisdom of Twitter guru Evan Kirstel wash over you.
Now we’re really getting into it with the practical stuff. Next up: Emails. What would you say if I told you that there were six easy tricks that you can use to boost your email click-through rates?
Skeptical? Fair enough. But I’ll personally attest to the efficacy of these tips. From designing your email with mobile in mind to keeping the subject line short and fun, these pointers should be adopted as standard procedure.
It’s hard to be goal-driven and even harder to follow through on that drive without being organized. This post is a practical manifesto on organizing your inbound marketing efforts around a clear vision for success.
If you’re new to marketing in general or inbound in particular, this is a must-read. It’s a step-by-step guide to crafting and implementing your strategy. Obviously, it all starts with a deep understanding of your target customers.
Many marketers take this fact for granted and trust that their perceptions of the market are current and complete. Like any other information, market insights decay over time. Make no assumptions. Do your research and then put pen to paper and define your Buyer Personas.
I promise, you’ll be grateful you did. But Buyer Personas are only the start. Read on to learn more.
And so we come to the final post on this list. Unlike the list itself, this post is short and sweet. All of the other blog posts mentioned are rendered moot if you can’t understand or appreciate the role of inbound marketing.
This post offers a brief history and clear explanation of inbound marketing. Reading it should amplify the value of all of the items on this list and hopefully sell you on inbound.
I don’t want to sound dramatic, but ultimately, the advance of inbound is inevitable. Resistance is futile. Of course, you’re still free to make up your own mind. Are you with us or against us?