Posts archived in Blogging

the rise of long-form content
Photo credit: Steve Rhodes (Flickr)

“This blog post is too long.”

“We need to cut this down to 500 words.”

“Make this shorter. Maybe split the blog post into two?”

As a social media manager, I’ve heard these comments numerous times before. Many marketers are biased against long-form content. “Less is more,” they claim. “People have short attention spans.”

It is true that being concise is often a good thing. That’s why Twitter is such a hit: It forces us to distill our thoughts and communicate only what’s truly important.

But having short content for the sake of having short content is not valuable…and it’s not a good content strategy. Brevity shouldn’t come at the price of completeness.

The rise of Big Content

In the past year, several well-respected SEO and marketing folks have been advocating for “big content.” And when people say “big content,” they often mean long-form content. But it’s worth noting that marketers and analysts are using the term “big content” differently:

  • Craig Roth from Gartner says big content is “a term that helps highlight the subset of Big Data related to the less-structured side of it.  Big Content isn’t new or different than Big Data; rather it helps focus on uses of Big Data for unstructured information for the kind of folks that think the Library of Congress is filled with ‘content’, not ‘data.’”
  • Contrast this with this definition from Moz’s Dr. Peter J. Meyers’ definition. He says big content is the type of content that takes time and effort, that breaks the mold and that talks about big concepts. In other words, he’s talking about pieces of content—either a blog post, an interactive infographic, an ebook, etc.—that is well-researched and that is often (but not always) lengthy.

Big content should serve a higher purpose in your company than just to increase pageviews. In this post, my focus is more aligned with Moz’s definition. I’ll cover why long-form content should be part of your content marketing mix. (To be clear, I am not advocating that you stop creating shorter blog posts. The point of this post is to highlight why creating long-form content in addition to shorter pieces is a great idea.)

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upworthy - content creation
Photo: Steve Rhodes (Creative Commons)

Love Upworthy’s headlines? Here’s the secret to their success.

Actually, scratch that. Recently, Upworthy—the left-leaning viral content website and the fastest growing media site of all time—provided some helpful tips on how to create viral content.

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best marketing blog posts of 2013

To celebrate the end of 2013,  here are my top marketing and social media posts published this year:

  1. How is Google’s Panda update different from Penguin?

You don’t have to be an SEO expert to be concerned about the different algorithm changes that Google did this past year. From Panda to Penguin to Hummingbird, Google was busy tinkering with its algorithm. Ultimately, the Panda update is about content, while Penguin addressed spamming.

  1. What are people saying about social media ROI?

Many years after social media marketing became the norm, some people still question the return on investment from this kind of marketing. Respected business leaders, authors, and pundits all have something to say about social media ROI—ultimately though, it’s about using KPIs to measure the success of your efforts as opposed to assigning a dollar amount to each tweet or Facebook update.

  1. How do I turn my private Twitter list into a public list?

It’s probably a bug, but earlier this year, I noticed that turning an existing Twitter private list into a public list isn’t exactly straightforward. This post has step-by-step instructions on how to do it.

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Hummingbird 4

If you read marketing publications on a regular basis, you may have seen the extensive coverage on Google Hummingbird. Unless you’re an SEO pro though, you probably glanced at these articles, wondering what they really mean for you.

Here’s a quick guide on what you need to know.

A new Google search algorithm

Hummingbird is a new search algorithm. So unlike Penguin or Panda (which were updates to an existing algorithm), this one’s more significant. What does it exactly do? Danny Sullivan provides the following helpful explanation:

Hummingbird should better focus on the meaning behind the words. It may better understand the actual location of your home, if you’ve shared that with Google. It might understand that “place” means you want a brick-and-mortar store. It might get that “iPhone 5s” is a particular type of electronic device carried by certain stores. Knowing all these meanings may help Google go beyond just finding pages with matching words.

In particular, Google said that Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query — the whole sentence or conversation or meaning — is taken into account, rather than particular words. The goal is that pages matching the meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few words.

Hummingbird is an expansion of Google’s efforts to move towards semantic search, focusing more on user intent rather than individual search keywords.

5 marketing tips in light of Google Hummingbird

With this new search algorithm now in place, what can marketers do to ensure their pages appear on Google? Here are some basics you should keep in mind:

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Personalizando WordPress 1.5

Marketers today are more savvy in content marketing than ever. In fact,  76% of B2B content marketers indicate that their brand already own a corporate blog. But the content beast is insatiable: “Lack of time” and “producing enough content” are top challenges that content marketers contend with, according to a MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute study.

This predicament is something I’m very familiar with. As part of a small social media team for a B2B software company, one of the many things that really keep me up at night is how to grow our company’s blog. This challenge is partly about engaging and relevant content: How do you consistently produce content that your target audience will love? But on the other hand, it’s also about distribution: How do you increase readership and attract the right people? 

The good news is that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time. Many B2B corporate blogs are already doing well. If you’re looking for some great examples, consider the following:


About Marketo Marketing blog: Marketo, a marketing automation software company, keeps a steady stream of blog posts. In most weeks, they produce 4 to 5 quality blog posts, which is no easy feat.

What you can learn from Marketo:

  1. Make it easy for people to subscribe. If you look at the right hand side of the Marketo blog, you’ll see a persistent form that invites people to sign up.
  2. Invite people to stay longer. Share a list of your blog’s most shared posts to get people to access your hottest content.
  3. Keep it fun! Marketo occasionally publish fun—but still relevant—blog posts. To see an example, check out their post on the 17 Signs You Eat, Sleep, and Breathe Social Media.

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