6 Tips For Sending Your Email Newsletter At The Right Time

Have you ever noticed that it seems like every single company seems to send their email newsletter at the same time?

Usually they’re sent very late at night or extra early in the morning.

Which is, funny enough, when most of their audience is sleeping, so we wake up with an overstuffed inbox each morning.

I am guessing that you have also run into this somewhat minor annoyance.

But it literally is one of my biggest pet peeves.

If you are like me, the deleting of most of these newsletters has become part of your morning ritual.

It is pretty refreshing to send them all to your trash folder and get back to inbox zero.

I mean I love reading about data driven marketing tips but not at 7 in the morning.

We are constantly plugged into our email accounts with those supercomputers we call phones.

The days when you would check your email once in the morning and once at night is over.

But, alas, some companies still seem to be sticking to that email schedule.

This strategy is as outdated as that jewel colored iMac or Gateway computer sitting in your basement.

And all the effort you put into great content will be wasted if you pick the wrong time to send.

So I set out to find when the best time to send an email newsletter is, in the most scientific way ever, by signing up for 100 different newsletters and recording all of their send times.

1. Send it from 11-12PM, 1-2PM, or 2-3PM

If you were looking for the best time to send an email I would recommend selecting a time where there is little competition.

Like a time when almost no emails are being sent.

I mean why would you want your newsletter competing for your audience’s attention with a bunch of other emails?

That is just a recipe for low open rates and a drop in subscribers.

So to avoid that I would shoot for a period when no other emails are sent.

In fact, from 11-12PM, 1-2PM and 2-3PM not a single email was sent in our study.

Like not a single one:

Now you may be asking what is the best chunk of time out of those three periods?

And I would have to say that 2-3PM has the most potential.

From 11-12PM and 1-2PM are too close to the lunch hour and could get lost in the shuffle.

Unless your newsletter deals with a fun topic that they would want to read about on that break, I would avoid those two.

Instead try from 2-3PM.

Your audience will most likely be back from lunch by then and feeling a bit recharged.

They have already cleared their emails from the morning and are maybe looking for a little procrastination opportunity.

And boom, your email newsletter is there to help them out.

2. Or from 10-11AM

Now if you don’t want to be the only one sending an email during a certain time period, I have a perfect time for you.

This is another period where almost zero email newsletters were sent out in our study. In fact there were only one email sent out in that whole time period.

And I think that your email can handle a little competition.

This period happens to be from 10-11AM.

As you can see in the graph above there were a few other periods when only a few emails were sent.

But I do not think that they will be as fruitful as from 10-11AM.

For example, from 9-10AM is when a lot of people’s workday starts and 4-5PM is when it usually ends.

That means you are going to be fighting a lot more for their attention than just a few emails.

So to avoid these outside distractions I would choose from 10-11AM.

By then your readers will be settled into their desk, the coffee has kicked in and they are probably at inbox zero.

It is almost a perfect time for an interesting newsletter to pop up in their mailbox.

Additionally, I do find it a little odd that from 10-11AM has been pushed by experts and thought leaders.

But exactly one email was sent.

It really does not make sense, but it does present a new opportunity for your email newsletter to shine.

3. Never between 6-7PM

After carefully counting on both of my hands I was able to determine the worst time to send an email.

This time period was so crowded that more than 10% of all the emails in the study were sent during this hour chunk each day.

That is almost triple what an average hour should have received.

If you have read the graphs above you saw that 6-7 PM got the most emails of any period.

As you can see in the graph above if you decide to send your newsletter in this time period you are going to have some competition.

So I would avoid sending your newsletters during this period based on the jump in competition.

When you compare it to the times we already highlighted above there are 50x more emails during this period.

Even some of the times that got 5x more emails are looking pretty good to me right now.

Unless you want your open rates to plummet from that increased competition I would avoid sending from 6-7PM.

It does kind of make sense why brands would decide to send their weekly email at this time.

Their audience has made it home from their jobs and starting to relax. They should be pretty open to receiving a newsletter about their hobby, interest or activity.

But again, you are brawling in their inbox with a ton of other well-crafted emails for their attention.

Or it will be ignored and rolled into the next morning’s inbox clearing.

4. And avoid after 9PM or before 7AM

One of the easiest ways to fall into that morning deleting spree is to send your email late at night.

Like when your audience is sleeping, so they will see it in the morning.

I never really got the idea behind this practice.

Other than that brands think we want to read about the newest social media marketing tip at 6am.

I know that is the last thing on my mind at that time.

Now if it was an email about coffee being delivered to my bed that would be a different story.

But alas, I saw a ton of companies using this somewhat outdated topic.

We can access our emails at literally any time, the novelty of waking up to news or a newsletter no longer exists.

Or it is so far down the list in their inbox, they will never even see it.

Between 9PM and 7PM more than 60% of all emails in the study were sent.

With nearly 40% of them were sent between 9PM and 2AM. Or about double of what should have been sent if all things were equal.

That is a lot of emails your newsletter is going to be fighting.

Plus your audience is most likely not even awake, and the people who are up at that time probably don’t want to read your newsletter at that moment.

That means, you guessed it, that it will be put off until the next morning.

From there it goes right into the morning delete spree or simply forgotten about.

And all your hard work on the newsletter goes ignored.

Do not let your content be wasted because you chose the wrong time to send a great email.

5. Wednesdays & Saturdays Have Potential

Just like in the previous sections you are going to want to pick a day that has the least competition.

By sending your email on a day like this it is going to stand out like a beacon of good content.

The best day to send your email is Wednesday, with Saturday coming in at a close second.

As you can see they were some of the days to receive the least emails overall.

In our own tests we have seen Wednesday perform well, with some newsletters getting double the open rate of previous days.

I think that Wednesday is the perfect day to send your email newsletter.

Especially if your newsletter is related to their job or work.

They will feel a lot less guilty about losing themselves in your content for a few minutes.

Plus if it is really amazing they will want to share it with their coworkers!

And that means that if your topic deals with a fun hobby or interest I would send it on a Saturday.

Your audience will a lot more receptive to reading about something they could do later that day.

Or they will have a lot more time to absorb all of your fantastic content.

Either way both of these days are a great point to start testing to find what your own best day!

Before we go on I think it is important to highlight why I did not select Sunday as the best day.

I really think that it is too much of a wildcard day and the email could be lost in the shuffle of that day.

Then it gets pushed into the Monday morning mass inbox cleaning.

And although you may have loved to read the content you just don’t have time to.

This has happened to me too many times to count and I am guessing many people can relate.

6. Thursdays are the Worst Day to Send

Finding the best day to send an email was a little difficult and not very straightforward.

Thankfully the worst day was a lot easier to find.

And that day was Thursday.

thursday is the worst day to send an email newsletter

It received more than double the amount of emails when compared to Wednesday and Saturday.

Exactly 25% of all the emails were sent on a Thursday, with no other days really coming close.

That put it well above the 70 or so emails I received per day on average.

Some experts proclaiming that Tuesday and Thursday are the best days to send a newsletter probably cause this.

I am guessing that people have been blindly following this advice for the past few years.

And now we are in a situation where the best day to send an email has actually become the worst day.

Conclusion

So there you have it, the best and worst times for you to send an email newsletter!

I now need to go click unsubscribe on about 100 different emails.

Or I may just cut my losses with that email address from now on.

But that sacrifice of an email address was definitely worth it because I was able to get some interesting findings.

Those findings will hopefully keep you from sending an email newsletter at the wrong time or day.

Just remember:

  1. Send newsletters during these time blocks: 11-12 PM, 1-2 PM & 2-3 PM.
  2. Between 9 and 11 AM is another great block of time.
  3. If your newsletter is related to their job, send it during the workday.
  4. Do not send newsletters at peak work movement hours, like 8 AM and 5 PM.
  5. Emails sent during the night or early mornings are a bad idea.
  6. Thursday is the worst day to send an email.
  7. Mondays and Fridays should be avoided as well.
  8. But the best day to send a newsletter is on Wednesday.

And finally, it is important to remember to test all of these findings with your audience first. These tips should always be used a testing points for your new emails, not set in stone facts.

About Kissmetrics

Kissmetrics combines behavioral analytics with email automation. Our software tracks actions of your users across multiple devices allowing you to analyze, segment and engage your customers with automatic, behavior-based emails in one place. We call it Customer Engagement Automation. Get, keep and grow more customers with Kissmetrics.

https://fast.wistia.com/embed/medias/z946e3jlgn.jsonphttps://fast.wistia.com/assets/external/E-v1.js

 

 

About the Author: Ryan McCready went to the University of Arkansas and graduated with a degree in economics and international business. Now instead of studying the economy he writes about everything and enjoys stirring the pot.

from The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog https://blog.kissmetrics.com/sending-newsletter-at-the-right-time/

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7 Tips for Making Your Website Content Interactive

Whether you’re a news publication, a travel blogger, or a digital advertising platform, being aware of what drives or deters readers on your site is a marketing skill essential to any successful business. While we all can intuitively differentiate websites that speak to us from their not-so-pleasing counterparts, it’s not so easy to pinpoint the features that make or break a good site.

Of all the features that clue us into whether a website is good or not, reader engagement is a significant contributing factor. A good website, then, can be roughly defined as one that keeps readers engaged. And, of course, it’s important to remember that the number one reason that customers don’t engage is irrelevant content.

While there are a few different strategies to improve your engagement rates, one of the most important is to ensure your website content is interactive. Interactive content maximizes reader engagement by ensuring that your reader isn’t just visually engaged, but that they’re also physically engaged using their keyboard or mouse.

In this blog, I’ll cover seven of my favorite strategies for making your web content interactive.

Ask for Ratings

Asking your audience for feedback, whether through ratings or comments, is a great first step in driving user interaction. While many sites are already doing this, some methods are more effective than others.

The typical pop-ups that ask for ratings can easily come across as annoying, disrupting what should be a seamless user experience on your website. To make the rating question less intrusive, you can experiment with placing it at the end of your content pieces rather than as a pop-up. You can also use emoticons rather than the typical 5-star ratings; since emoticons have become a standard part of our everyday digital language, users tend to perceive them as entertaining rather than annoying.

Incentivize with Gamification and Rewards

Gamification is the incorporation of gaming elements, such as points or levels, into non-game contexts. Gamifying your articles and blog posts encourages users to interact with your site by giving them an incentive to engage. In addition to generating user comments with calls to action, you can also get users to comment by providing rewards. Once users get points or coupons for commenting on articles, they’re motivated to read and comment even further.

Just as leaderboards have proven effective in games, they’re also a useful tool for your site. Publishing a ranking that highlights top commenters and ranks users with high rewards is an effective way for getting users to interact with your site on a regular basis. Giving users badges for obtaining a certain commenter status is also effective, as it’s the equivalent of incentivizing users to reach a higher level in a game. TripAdvisor is a great example of a site that effectively uses appropriately themed badges, offering users Passport badges for reviewing places in multiple countries and Explorer badges for being one of the first to review an attraction or location.

Incorporate Quizzes, Polls, and Stories

In addition to gamifying your site itself, you can embed interactive forms of entertainment generated by third-party platforms.

Incorporating personality quizzes, which exploded in popularity through BuzzFeed and other sites, is a great way to draw in readers. If you’re using WordPress, there are plenty of plugins available that you can use to build and add thematically relevant quizzes to your web pages. WP Pro Quiz is one of the most popular quiz plugins, with a simple style that boasts lots of customization options.

Apester is another useful platform that lets you incorporate visual storytelling as well as quizzes and polls. Visual storytelling is an effective supplement for your content since it involves telling stories in a way that requires user participation. Embedding visual storytelling into your websites encourages your readers to connect with your articles on a personal level as they scroll and click-through the narrative.

Encourage Reader Feedback

When it comes to encouraging comments from your audience, it often isn’t enough to just open a comments section. Instead, you should use creative calls to action to drive your users to make comments. These can range from telling your readers to respond to a question you pose at the end of your post, to asking your readers to add to your post’s numbered list.

Comments aren’t just good for getting users to respond to your content; users also tend to read the comments of other users, so they’ll tend to linger longer on articles that are full of comments. On top of that, comments add clout to your articles and are great for SEO, as they naturally add additional keyword variations to your articles that help you improve your search rankings.

Post User-Generated Content

Incorporating user-generated content signals to users that their input and engagement is appreciated and valued. This feeling of value and appreciation, in turn, incentivizes users to engage even more.

There are a couple different ways to display user-generated content. One way is to write articles that specifically address top-rated comments in existing blog posts. You can even begin these articles by directly quoting the user who made the comment. This will give users an additional incentive to make top comments on your site while helping you center your articles around the issues most relevant to your audience.

If your site sells products directly to customers, encouraging customers to post images of themselves using the items is another effective way to drive user interaction. You can even create Instagram campaigns and not only re-post customer-generated Instagram photos on your company’s Instagram account but also feature the images directly on the company site. This will get users scrolling through your Instagram feed, navigating to your site, and perhaps even posting images themselves.

Include Social Media Buttons

You should always keep in mind that with every valuable piece of content should come an option to share it with friends and followers. Tools like Sharethis.com and Addthis.com let you install social media for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social channels on your site.

There are a few techniques for incorporating social media buttons in a strategic way. The buttons should be placed in locations that are intuitive on your site, like at the top or bottom of a blog post, or on the sidebar of your site. You can even go a step further and creatively integrate the buttons into the design of your site. Well-designed social media buttons can create a seamless transition between your content and the sharing buttons, making it more natural and intuitive for the reader to click on the sharing buttons as they navigate your site.

Don’t Forget About Internal links

Once a user is reading one of your blog posts, it’s essential that you get them to scroll through your additional pages as well. To facilitate reader interaction with your site, provide relevant links within each of your posts that navigate to other articles on your blog. When readers see a link to an article that promises to provide further information about the same topic, they’re likely to click to learn even more.

The best place to incorporate links within your posts is at the end of each post or within the articles themselves. If you choose to embed the links within your paragraphs, be sure to link to words that adequately describe the content of the post you’re linking to. Another option is to add a question at the end of each post (e.g., “Interested in learning more about social media marketing?”) and provide links to the articles that can provide the users with that information.

Moving Forward

Getting your readers to interact with your site should be an integral part of your website design and content strategies. While it’s essential to continue to generate informative and insightful online content, your web pages should be bolstered with features that make your content easily shareable and enjoyable to read.

What strategies have you used to increase customer engagement with your content? How might you utilize the techniques I’ve suggested in your 2018 content marketing plan? Tell me about your plans in the comment section.

The post 7 Tips for Making Your Website Content Interactive appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog https://blog.marketo.com/2017/11/7-tips-making-website-content-interactive.html

No One Trusts Social Media, but They’ll Keep Using It Anyway [New Data]

I’ll just come right out and say it: The internet has a massive mess to clean up.

You may have heard about it. For instance, earlier this month, you may have followed the testimony from senior leaders at Facebook, Twitter, and Google that outlined, in detail, the quantity and nature of ads purchased and published on their platforms by operatives in Russia and other foreign states.

And yeah, of course — we all have our take on it, and many of us are clamoring to share it.

But my colleague, HubSpot’s own research boss Mimi An, had a better idea: Let’s ask everyone else what they think.Click here to learn about using social media in every stage of the funnel.

And so, in light of these recent events, An’s team ran a consumer study to gather sentiment data from 1,000 U.S. adults to find out just how they feel about this big, steaming internet mess. 

Here are the results.

A Few Notes on the Data

During the week of October 30, 2017,  three major online content-sharing and discovery platforms — Facebook, Twitter, and Google — testified before representatives of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. Because those were the three companies present for the testimony, the questions asked of survey responses focused only on them, despite the possible involvement of other social media networks in ongoing election interference investigation.

When we distribute surveys, we describe in as much detail the exact issue that we want participates to respond to. The language used to phrase the survey questions describes what has taken place so far in a continuously developing situation as factually as possible within such constraints of online surveys as character limits and anonymity — and, therefore, an inability to follow up with respondents.

1. Ads on Facebook, Twitter, and Google are viewed with distrust.

 

On average, close to half of all respondents would describe ads these platforms as “very untrustworthy,” compared to an average of 5.5% who find them to be either somewhat or very trustworthy. Note that this is the sentiment around the ads appearing on these platforms, and not the platforms themselves.

2. Twitter’s response generated the least satisfaction, but the sentiment is low across the board.

While respondents were generally unsatisfied with network responses to political ad purchases on their respective platforms, it seems as though they have the least faith in Twitter. (The score for “somewhat satisfied,” for instance, was three percentage points lower than those for Facebook and Google.)

It’s worth noting that Twitter first testified before U.S. Congress about this same issue prior to the November events were all three companies were present, when it told representatives that it roughly 200 Russian-linked accounts — a figure that many found to be paltry and underestimated, including Senator Mark Warner, who called these initial efforts “frankly inadequate”.

How much influence that initial testimony (and Congressional response) had on survey respondents is uncertain, but it is an important historical point in the context of the particularly low sentiment toward Twitter.

Although the rates of dissatisfaction are fairly equal across the board, this survey was administered prior to a Recode report that Facebook filed comments with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) that indicated its support of rules that would require the network to provide greater visibility and transparency around the political ads used on its site.

However, that support is limited in nature, in that Facebook only indicated that it would agree to these terms around ads pertaining to specific candidates, and not issues — and a significant portion of Russia-bought ads during the 2016 presidential election concerned such highly-contested and somewhat divisive issues as gun control and immigration.

Google, on the other hand, filed comments with the FEC that actively requested more detailed guidelines around issue-based ads, requesting further direction as to how those within its industry can and should better approach organizations attempting to promote propaganda.

Twitter, meanwhile, did file comments, but had little to say other than a request for the FEC to maintain awareness of the network’s character limits when establishing rules.

3. Trust in social media networks has been eroded by the political ads controversy.

In addition to ad content appearing on content-sharing and discovery platforms, it would appear that trust has fallen in the platforms themselves. Facebook was particularly hard hit here, with just shy of half of respondents saying that they find this channel to be less trustworthy.

However, an even higher amount of respondents answered with “none of the above,” signaling the possibility of no less trust in any of these channels. That data is once again reflected with our findings in other areas of the survey, including respondents’ plans to decrease or stop their use of social media — more on that in a bit.

4. 77% of Americans believe platforms need to vet the ads they sell and display.

Across the board, respondents stated a strong belief that it’s the responsibility of the platforms themselves to vet ad content purchased and displayed on their channels. An average of 77% of survey participants agreed with this sentiment, regardless of age, indicating that most social media users expect to see proactive changes in ad policies and best practices.

5. Though Americans are angry about the ads controversy, few plan on using the affected platforms less.

However, despite the general sentiment that these platforms are untrustworthy — as are the ads displayed on them — and need to do better about vetting paid or promoted content, the same respondents have indicated that, for the most part, they don’t plan to reduce their use of Facebook, Twitter, or Google.

In fact, despite being the least satisfied with Twitter’s response to the political ad crisis, less than a quarter of respondents plan to use it less. That number is even lower for Google, and only slightly higher for Facebook.

6. … and, even fewer Americans plan to stop using the platforms altogether.

Even if some intend to momentarily step away from social media, over 75% of survey respondents say they plan to leave these Facebook, Twitter, or Google altogether.

The last of the three is particularly difficult to give up entirely — after all, it’s commonly referred to as a “search giant” for a reason. But even so, a noticeably small number of survey participants would consider ceasing all use of Facebook and Twitter, as well.

But what does all of this information mean? What does it say about our online behavior and habits, and what are the implications for marketers?

The Takeaways

If nothing else, these numbers — and where they almost seem to contradict each other — illustrate a dependence on these contested channels.

Despite the overwhelming distrust in them, as well as the ad content published on them, survey respondents have no plans to curtail or cease using them — perhaps because they need to use them for work (after all, we are marketers), or because they simply enjoy them too much to step away.

That speaks to the power and influence they hold over users day-to-day. We spend a significant amount of time on these channels — about a third of Google’s visitors are based in the U.S., and on average, we spend about 35 minutes each day on Facebook (for context, that’s about 2.4% of the entire day). Thirty-five minutes may not seem like a ton of time, but when you think about how much time you spend on activities that are actually essential to your livelihood — like eating, for example — how does it compare?

The point is, the people behind this political content were likely aware of how much time we spend using the platforms where it was displayed. It’s no wonder that 126 million Americans were exposed to it — there’s a good amount of content to be consumed in a mere 35 minutes.

The main message to marketers, however, is this: These platforms are extremely useful and effective. In fact, that’s why people are highly concerned over the presence of Russian ads — there’s a very good chance that, if the intent behind them was to influence the U.S. presidential election in a certain direction, they worked. That’s why these representatives from these platforms are being summoned before a federal body. This level of effectiveness is a big deal.

By no means is this to say that marketers should cease using these channels to promote content and build brand awareness. As I said: It’s extremely effective and should continue to be used for growth. But with that effectiveness comes great responsibility, and that growth must be built with a commitment to transparency and truth.

That’s how I see it, anyway. 

As always, feel free to chime in. What’s your take on this data? Let me know on Twitter, or weigh in with any questions you have about it.

Social Media at Every Stage of the Funnel

 
How to Use Social Media at Every Stage of the Funnel E

from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/social-media-ads-trust

What is the GDPR? And What Does it Mean for the Marketing Industry?

Disclaimer: This blog post is not legal advice for your company to use in complying with EU data privacy laws like the GDPR. Instead, it provides background information to help you better understand the GDPR. This legal information is not the same as legal advice, where an attorney applies the law to your specific circumstances, so we insist that you consult an attorney if you’d like advice on your interpretation of this information or its accuracy.

In a nutshell, you may not rely on this as legal advice, or as a recommendation of any particular legal understanding.

If you’re a marketer, we expect you’ve heard about the General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) coming into force on 25 May 2018. The legislation will have a big impact on the way marketers approach their work and how organizations obtain, store, manage or process the personal data of EU citizens. This post will give some specific examples of what will change, how we’re thinking about it at HubSpot and the wider industry.

To start, we want to highlight research carried out by the HubSpot team, and unfortunately it’s not good news. Just 36% of marketers have heard of GDPR, while 15% of companies have done nothing, and are at risk of non-compliance. We would go as far to say there’s a worrying lack of action, and most companies are not ready for the GDPR. However, we’re optimistic this blog post will act as a conversation starter and inspire action within the industry.

There are two important parts of the Regulation that we want to highlight. First up, even if you’re based outside of the EU but you control or process the data of EU citizens, the GDPR will apply to you. Secondly, the potential penalties for falling foul of GDPR are going to be severe. Depending on the type of violation, companies will incur fines of up to €20 million or 4% of their global annual revenue (whichever is greater). These big penalties show that the regulators mean business and companies cannot afford to ignore the legislation.

On a more upbeat note, we think the legislation is a positive step. It’s an opportunity for good marketers to continue doing positive work in a way that puts people and their concerns at the forefront. It also means marketers will have to work harder to earn attention and gain the right to communicate with people on an ongoing basis.

But hard work won’t be enough: marketers will be forced to up their game and become more creative if they want to succeed. Again, we don’t see that as a bad outcome at all. Anything that gives more power to consumers and makes marketers get better is to be welcomed.

But those companies which have put their own needs ahead of consumers and indulged in shady or outbound tactics are in for a shock. Their world is going to change dramatically as the GDPR will hasten the demise of marketing tactics like buying lists, cold emailing and spam.

Not only are these tactics outdated, they provide a poor experience for the recipient and they’re becoming less and less effective by the day. Inbound marketing has always been the antithesis to these tactics — it puts the consumer first and attracts them with valuable content. But now, via regulation, others are going to have to adapt their marketing playbook.

Are you GDPR ready? Check out our GDPR checklist.

What impact will the GDPR have on my marketing activities?

You may be asking yourself, “where should I start with GDPR?”. There’s a lot to digest when it comes to the new Regulation so, to help you out, we’ve created a dedicated GDPR web page with a tonne of information about the GDPR, including what it is, why it came about, a glossary of terms and the most important of the changes the GDPR brings to EU data privacy legislation.

With that covered, we’re now going to work our way through the inbound marketing methodology and look at the GDPR principles you should consider at the various stages of the inbound marketing methodology:

 

 

Stage 1 – Data Collection

Transparency

The GDPR was designed to ensure that there will be more transparency between the organizations who collect and control the data (the ‘Data Controllers’) and the individuals whose personal data is being collected (the ‘Data Subjects’). This means that any organization which attracts people to its website and wants to collect data via a form must communicate clearly to that person what the data is going to be used for. The individual will need to give their consent to that use and the consent needs to be clear, in plain English and “informed, specific, unambiguous, and revocable“. Data subjects also need to be told about their right to withdraw consent.

Example: Meet Amy Meyer. She lives in Germany, has a passion for interior design, and we’re going to use her as an example throughout this post. If Amy downloads an ebook from The Paint Company to research what colours she can combine for the decoration of her new house, The Paint Company will need to make sure that they explain to Amy how they’re going to use her data.

For instance, if The Paint Company is planning to track Amy’s usage of its website, wants to send her more information via email, or is planning to share it with their affiliates outside the EU, they need to communicate that clearly and Amy needs to consent to that use. It won’t be sufficient for The Paint Company to pre-tick the box on a form to send information to Amy by email, as ‘opt-out consent’ will no longer be permitted under the GDPR.

Importantly, if The Paint Company decides they want to use Amy’s data for a new purpose at any point during the relationship, they’ll need consent from Amy to use the data for that new purpose. So while it’s clearly important to be transparent at the time of collection, it’s important that organizations remain open and transparent throughout the marketing process, and in terms of how it manages personal data after the relationship has ended.

Data Minimisation

When an organization is collecting data from an individual in order to convert a website visitor into a lead, they must remember that, under the GDPR, they are only permitted to collect data that is adequate, relevant, and limited to what is necessary for the intended purpose of collection. Data collected by the organization which is deemed unnecessary or excessive will constitute a breach of the GDPR.

Example: The Paint Company created a landing page for prospects like Amy to download an ebook on living room colour schemes. Before Amy can download the ebook, she will need to complete the fields created by The Paint Company. It’s reasonable that they might want to collect her name, email address and even details about the project Amy is about to undertake. However, if they were to attempt to collect information about Amy’s family (for example, if she is married or how many children she has) or her health, this would be excessive as that data should not be required by a painting and decorating company.

Stage 2 – Data Storage and Processing

Purpose and Usage Limitation

organizations can only use the data collected and stored by them for specified, explicit, and legitimate purposes. They’re not allowed to use it in any way that would be incompatible with the intended purpose for which it was collected. Also, if they plan to transfer or share the data with another company, they need to ensure they have consent from the person to do so.

Example: After Amy Meyer has downloaded the ebook from The Paint Company, Amy decides that she wants to enroll in an online course to learn more about painting and decorating. If the online course is being run by a third party training company on behalf of The Paint Company, they, The Paint Company will need to ensure that the training company have Amy’s consent to use the data. In addition, the training company will not be able to use the data for any other purpose other than the purposes Amy consented to.

Security

Once data is collected, the organization needs to ensure it is stored in a secure manner and in accordance with the Security provisions of the GDPR. This means they must use “appropriate technical and organizational security measures” to protect personal data against unauthorised processing and accidental loss, disclosure, access, destruction, or alteration. Depending on the type of data collected and the ways it is being used, companies may need to consider encrypting the data, using pseudonymization or anonymization methods to protect it or segregating the data from other data in their systems.

Example: Now that Amy Meyer’s data is stored in The Paint Company’s systems, it is the responsibility of The Paint Company to ensure it is kept safe and secure. Before collecting the data, The Paint Company should have assessed the types of data they planned to collect and work with their security team to ensure that it meets the standards of the GDPR.

These standards will differ depending on the kinds of data collected (for instance, security standards will be higher for sensitive data, biometric data or data about children) and how they’ll use that data. Only employees who need to access that data for the intended purpose have access to it and contracts with any vendors touching that data contain the relevant security protections.

Accuracy

People will now be able to ask organizations at any time to correct or update their data if the information is no longer accurate.

Example: Amy Meyer has bought some paint from The Paint Company and has also signed up to their loyalty program to receive discounts and new design ideas via email. Amy has moved to a new email service provider and wants The Paint Company to update her data so she receives emails to her new email address.

Accountability

The organization is responsible for ensuring they comply with their obligations under the GDPR. Not only will they need to keep records to prove compliance (for instance, records of consent for all of the data collected), they’ll also need to ensure they have policies in place governing the collection and use of that data.

They may need to appoint a data protection officer (DPO) and they’ll also need to ensure they implement a ‘Privacy by Design/Default’ policy, to ensure they’re systematically considering the potential impact that a project or initiative might have on the privacy of individuals. Controllers will have to ensure their vendor contracts are updated so that they include the necessary provisions to protect the data being processed by those vendors on their behalf.

Example: The Paint Company decides to run a marketing campaign targeting people like Amy, offering a place at an interior design webinar run by a third party training company. Before running the campaign, The Paint Company will need to ensure their system has the capability to not only obtain Amy’s and the other participant’s consent to all uses of their data (including sharing it with the third party), but also to record that consent. They will also need policies about how they will use that data, and ensure the contract with the training company includes the necessary provisions required in Processor contracts under Article 28 of the GDPR.

Want to find out more about GDPR? Check out our GDPR guide here.

Stage 3 – End of the Relationship

Retention

organizations may only hold on to personal data for as long as is necessary to fulfill the intended purpose of collection. So if the relationship is terminated for any reason, they need to ensure they have a data retention policy in place which outlines how long they will retain that individual’s data for and the business justification for holding on to the data for that specified period.

In drafting their retention policies, organizations will need to consider whether there is any law or regulation which obliges them to hold on to some of that data for specified periods. For example, they may need to retain some financial data for auditing purposes by law. While this is permitted, it should be outlined clearly in their retention policy and made clear to Amy. Again, the principle of transparency is important, even at this stage in the relationship.

Example: After ordering supplies from The Paint Company and decorating her home, Amy no longer requires the services of The Paint Company and closes her account with them. The Paint Company will need to ensure they comply with their own data retention policy if they want to hold on to any of Amy’s data after her account is closed.

Deletion

If the individual requests at any time that their data should be deleted, the data controller has to comply with that request and confirm the deletion, not only from their own systems but from any downward vendors’ systems who were processing that data on behalf of the organization.

Example: After ordering supplies from The Paint Company, Amy has now found out about a competitor that is offering better products and wants her data to be deleted from The Paint Company’s database. She sends an email to request the deletion and the company follows up quickly with the confirmation of her deletion. The company should ensure that Amy’s data is also removed from it’s vendor’s databases.

Why Marketers Should Welcome the GDPR

There’s lots that organizations must do to ensure they comply with the GDPR, but we welcome it. In fact, we see three big changes coming that will boost the marketing industry:

1) People’s attention will be treated with the respect it deserves.

For marketers to succeed when the GDPR comes into force, they’re going to have to focus on providing even more value to customers. This means the job of a marketer is going to get more difficult. They will have to work hard (really hard) to attract consumers and earn the right to speak with people. But they should — attention is a valuable commodity, and in truth it’s been abused by marketers over the years.

2) Greater transparency between people and the companies that hold their data.

If the GDPR is successful it will provide greater transparency and control to EU citizens over how their data is being used by organizations. Transparency is key. Today, few people see the benefits of sharing data, but they often do because they want to use a service or product. Forcing companies that collect data to become transparent means they will need to communicate and provide value to the person. We expect greater communication and transparency around data collection will lead to better understanding about why people should share data.

3) A higher bar for marketers has been set.

Let’s not fool ourselves — the GDPR is going to (forcibly) raise the bar for marketers. Tactics which don’t have GDPR-compliant consent mechanisms built in will be consigned to the history books. This means marketers will need fresh thinking and have to innovate. The end result is that to succeed in this new reality and comply with the GDPR, we’re going to see better, more creative and thoughtful marketing.

We see the GDPR as a watershed moment for the marketing industry. It’s rightly causing many organizations to rethink how they approach marketing, but it’s also a huge opportunity for businesses to articulate the importance of people sharing their data and how it leads to greater personalization, better products and services, and a more efficient data economy. For too long businesses have remained silent on this issue. A discussion is long overdue and we’re excited to help shape it.

Want to find out more about GDPR? Check out our GDPR website here.

from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/what-is-the-gdpr

The 20 Best Websites for Wasting Time on the Internet in 2018

There’s a lot of content out there about productivity — everything from hacks to shortcuts to tips and tricks for how to get more done in less time. It’s all about the sprint, the checking things off the lists as quickly as possible, and the downloading of software that’ll block out any and all distractions.

But what about those times when you just want to surf the internet aimlessly? Hey, no one can be totally productive all the time. In fact, studies have shown that taking deliberate breaks after periods of work is better for productivity.Download our complete productivity guide here for more tips on improving your  productivity at work.

The question is, how do you spend those breaks? You could check your email, but that still counts as working. You could check Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, but there’s something so mundane about haphazardly scrolling through your peripheral friends’ photos.

We have a few better ideas. Here’s a shortlist of the most wonderfully entertaining places to waste time on the internet outside of email and social media. Get ready to bookmark your favorites.

The 20 Best Websites For Wasting Time on the Internet

1) WaitButWhy

WaitButWhy is one of my favorite places to spend time on the internet. Every week or so, a guy named Tim Urban churns out one, really long, really awesome article. (Seriously, they’re canonical. You can kill a lot of time reading just one of them.)

His articles are always fascinating, in-depth, and really well written. His writing style is the perfect mix of informative and humorous — making topics like the Fermi Paradox (the what?) approachable for someone like me who’d never heard of it before in my entire life. He writes about relationships, religion, outer space … pretty much everything.

My favorite posts of his include “Everything You Don’t Know About Tipping,” “The Great Perils of Social Interaction,”  and “Your Life in Weeks” (which has some awesome graphics in it, by the way). He even wrote a great post on why procrastinators procrastinate, which anyone reading this article might want to check out.

2) Mental Floss

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Mental Floss is a super addicting online magazine with articles covering a really wide range of topics. Their articles are really well written, really well researched, and usually on topics that don’t get a lot of airtime.

For example, in their “Big Questions” section, they tackle weirdly intriguing questions like why shells sound like the ocean and why yawns are contagious. Readers can even submit their own big questions.

3) xkcd

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If you’re into nerdy humor even the littlest, tiniest bit, there’s a lot to love about xkcd. Each post features a short, stick-figure comic strip on humor about technology, science, mathematics, and relationships. The guy behind it is Randall Munroe, who worked on robots at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia before starting this blog.

Below is an example of one of his comic strips. (He always includes a joke in the comic strip image’s alt text, so if you look at the strips on the xkcd website, be sure to hover your mouse over the image to catch those jokes.)

Source: xkcd

4) The Oatmeal

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The Oatmeal is another one of my absolute favorite places to spend time online. It’s a huge library of awesome content — some comprised entirely of graphics. Even if you’ve read everything already, it’s the kind of stuff you can read over and over again.

Some of my favorite posts include “Why Working From Home is Both Awesome and Horrible,” “How the Male Angler Fish Got Completely Screwed” (I think I legitimately cried laughing when I first read that one), and a whole manner of grammar-related posts like “Ten Words You Need to Stop Misspelling” and “You’re Not Going to Believe What I’m About to Tell You.”

5) Supercook

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If you want to surf the internet in a semi-productive way — but not so productive that you actually have to leave the house — then check out Supercook.

Here’s how it works: You tell it which ingredients you have in stock in your home, and it’ll give you a big list of recipes you can make using just those ingredients. It’s a fun way to stay thrifty, clean out the fridge, and make sure food doesn’t go to waste.

6) Imgur

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Imgur collects the most viral images of the week and collects them all in one place for your mindless scrolling and enjoyment. What I like about Imgur is it’s usually more timely than Twitter or Instagram — more popular sharing networks where funny pictures and memes might appear a week or two later. Use Imgur to waste time and introduce your friends to the funniest stuff on the internet first.wx1

7) BuzzFeed “Comments” Sections

You already know BuzzFeed is a great place to waste time on the internet, but we’re looking beyond the actual article here. Scroll down to the “comments” section of pretty much any article for a hilarious showcase of the crazy (I mean crazy) stuff people are saying. I find it especially entertaining to read the comments on benign topics that shouldn’t make people irate, but do anyway.

8) The Toast

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If you’re into great (and hilarious) fiction writing, then you’ll definitely want to bookmark this site. Every day, writers Nicole Cliffe and Mallory Ortberg publish a post on “everything from literary characters that never were to female pickpockets of Gold Rush-era San Francisco,” reads their About page.

To get an idea of whether it’s up your alley, start with their post, “A Day in the Life of Seth MacFarlane, Human Male (Definitely Not a Swarm of Hyper-Alert Bees and a Metal Jaw.)” It’s just so good.

9) Animal Planet Kitten and Puppy Cams

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Puppies and kittens. What could be better? I have this website bookmarked for whenever I need a pick-me-up. You can check out a live stream from animal shelters in the U.S. to see some of the adoptable cuties in action.

10) Zillow

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It’s fun to check out real estate in areas you might want to live — and it’s just as fun to check it out in places you’ll probably never live, but would love to in a dream world. Go ahead and explore what’s out there. You can set up saved searches (some more realistic than others) to relive your discoveries later.

11) Google Maps Street View

In the same vein as Zillow, it’s wildly entertaining to go to Google Maps and zoom in on the street view in random places around the world. It’s so strange and thrilling to see what life was like at a random moment in time, on a random street somewhere you may never visit in your lifetime.

I recommend the Palace of Versailles in France, Mount Everest Base Camp in Nepal, the Swiss Alps, and the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. (Yes, they have underwater cameras.)

12) HowStuffWorks

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This website is dedicated entirely to — you guessed it — how things work. And by “things,” they mean everything: from airbags to regenerative medicine to velocipede carousels. They’ve covered so much on this website, it’ll be hard to run out of things to read about. 

Plus, they have a whole bunch of really cool podcasts that have branched off the main site over the years and are worth checking out. My favorites are “Stuff You Should Know,” “BrainStuff,” and “Stuff Mom Never Told You.”

13) The Onion

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If you haven’t spent some quality time reading the online satirical newspaper The Onion, then you’re seriously missing out on a good laugh. (And you’ve kind of been living under a rock.) But seriously, I sometimes forget how consistently hysterical the articles are.

The publication started in 1988 and they’ve managed to successfully maintain a high standard for humor and writing ever since. Their headlines are laugh-out-loud funny in and of themselves — from “Free-Thinking Cat Sh**s Outside the Box” to “Archaeological Dig Uncovers Ancient Race of Skeleton People” to “Buyer Of $450 Million Da Vinci Painting Sort Of Assumed It Would Come With Frame.”

Of course, their headlines being hilarious makes sense, seeing as the headline is where each story begins. This awesome episode of NPR’s This American Life gives you a really cool peek into The Onion‘s editorial process. 

(Bonus: ClickHole, their sister website that makes fun of Upworthy-style viral content on the internet, is another great place to waste some time.)

14) Wikipedia

You didn’t think I’d write a post on where to waste time on the internet without including Wikipedia, did you? Of course not. You’ve gotta love spiraling into the proverbial Wikipedia black hole: Look up one thing, and then check out something that’s interlinked to it. Before you know it, you’ll have charted the entire Russian Revolution. (Read: This is an actual glimpse into my colleague Corey‘s Sunday morning.)

If you want to get more involved while wasting time online, remember Wikipedia is based on a model of openly editable content — as in, anyone can edit any unprotected page. So if you’re into editing and updating content in your free time, it’s yours to edit. (As long as you follow their guidelines.)

15) OCEARCH Shark Tracker

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Tracking sharks as they swim around the ocean may not be the most conventional way to waste time on the internet … but it might be the coolest.

The Track Sharker tool by Marine Research Group OCEARCH lets you track tagged sharks — who all have names, by the way — as they travel all over the world. You can even zoom in on a specific location to see which sharks are hanging out there and where they’ve been swimming and traveling for the past year. Go, Hilton, go!

16) Giphy

When you need to find the perfect GIF, you can’t just stop at the first result you get for “dancing” or “awkward” or “animals being jerks.” I could spend (… and have spent) hours on Giphy looking for juuust the right GIF. How long do you think it took Ellie here to come up with all ten of the ones in this post? Totally worth it.

17) Wayback Machine

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Feeling nostalgic? Check out what websites have looked like over the years via Internet Archive’s famous Wayback Machine. It lets you pick a date and see exactly what any website looked like at that time. (For a real trip, compare how Facebook looked back in the 2000s to today. Remember the wall-to-wall?)

If you just want to take a quick peek, check out this roundup of what nine famous websites used to look like. All the images in that post were taken from the Wayback Machine.

18) Apartment Therapy

If you’re even a little bit of a fan of home decor or DIY projects, this is a website you might find yourself spending hours and hours on. There’s a ton of awesome visual and written content on here. My favorites include their “before and after” series, their “small spaces” series, and the tours of people’s actual apartments and homes.

Plus, they have a whole lot of helpful articles giving tips on everything from how to redo your stairs to ideas for using that awkward space above your fridge. There’s no shortage of useful and fun information on here, making it prime for endless browsing.

One of our own was recently featured on ApartmentTherapy too — check out INBOUND Elijah‘s adorable spot here.

19) Lifehacker

Lifehacker is a hub of productivity tips, tricks, and downloads. It’s basically an archive of all the information it would be incredibly useful to know, but nobody ever really teaches you. Aside from productivity, they also cover topics such as money-saving tips, clever uses for household items, and so on.

For example, did you know you can buy alcoholic beverages at Costco without a membership? Or that you can peel a mango in under 10 seconds? Or that there are four lengths of naps that’ll benefit you in different, very specific ways? Along with the fun articles, they have some pretty awesome, in-depth articles, like this one on how to plant ideas in someone’s mind, as well as helpful listicles like the top ten obscure Google Search tricks.

There’s so much content on there that it can be hard to find posts on specific topics. Use the Lifehacker Index for an introduction to their top-performing posts and tips on how to find posts on any topic on the website.

20) The Oregon Trail

Here’s a little gift for those of you who made it to the end of this post: Internet Archive — yes, the same one responsible for the Wayback Machine — made it possible for people to PLAY THE COMPUTER GAME “OREGON TRAIL” AGAIN. I can practically hear all the Gen X’ers out there screaming with joy.

If “Oregon Trail” isn’t your cup of tea, the other games made available by Internet Archive include “Duke Nukem,” “Street Fighter,” “Burger Blaster,” “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” “The Lion King,” and “Chuck Yeager’s Advanced Flight Trainer.” Check out the full library here.

Productivity Guide

 
How to Use Social Media at Every Stage of the Funnel

from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/surf-internet-websites

How to Outperform Sites Ranking Above You on Search Engines

That latest post took days to develop.

It’s instructive and inspiring and educational and entertaining.

Easily, one of your best yet.

But you come to check your traffic data only to find that you’re ranking 70th in the SERPs.

In other words, you ain’t gettin no traffic anytime soon. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Unless some crazy person is actually clicking seven pages deep on Google. Which they aren’t.

All of that hard work, research, and effort got you almost nothing in return.

Meanwhile, your competitors are ranking in the top ten results, even though their content isn’t as long or thorough.

Why? Because of Google.

But really, the most likely answer is time and links.

Your post is new, so it’s going to take some time.

Knowing this, that doesn’t mean you can sit around and expect it to be on the first page without doing work.

Thinking that your new post will gain thousands of links on its own is foolish.

Outperforming your competitors on search engines isn’t an easy, one-off task. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

In fact, if you implement a few of these tactics, it’s likely that (in time) you will.

Why? Because your competitors are comfortable. They think the rankings won’t ever change.

You, on the other hand, are grinding to get ahead.

Here’s how you can outperform sites ranking above you on search engines.

The Top Two Ranking Factors, Straight From Google

When Google RankBrain was announced in 2015 on Bloomberg, it was made known that RankBrain was the third most important ranking factor.

But that was all they said.

What about the first and second ranking factors?

We got almost nothing for an entire year.

In 2016, we got some clear information (for once) from Google.

In a Q&A with Andrey Lipattsev, a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, we found out the two most important ranking factors:

Links and content. In no particular order of importance.

But that’s pretty much all we got.

It is something, though. It’s a start. And it was straight from the mouth of a high-level strategist.

It also makes sense when you look at recent studies and data sets.

For example, Backlinko recently analyzed one million search engine results pages and found that the top-ranking content had a significantly larger number of links:

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The disparity between the #1 position and the #10 position is massive.

Meaning if you’re looking to take over the SERPs, you need links. You simply can’t rank high without them.

And according to Google, it’s one of the top two ranking factors. So ignoring it is not an option.

Don’t believe the data?

I don’t blame you. Healthy skepticism makes the world go round.

I didn’t at first either. But do a simple Google search for a desired keyword, and you’ll instantly see that it’s very true.

Searching for “SEO Guide” on Google will return this as the first result:

The next few results are from Kissmetrics and Search Engine Land:

So, let’s put this to the test. Open up Moz’s Open Site Explorer and toss the links in.

Start with the first post by Moz. Here’s what the backlink profile looks like:

Yes, that’s real. This post has over 23 freaking thousand links pointing to it.

That’s more than most people will get on their entire site in their entire career. By far.

Now plug in the second result from Kissmetrics and here’s what you see:

The results are pretty clear.

Both sites have incredibly high domain authorities and page authorities.

They’ve both been around for years and years.

The content is pretty similar. It’s in-depth, informative, and optimized for the user experience.

But one is outranking the other, and the most likely reason (according to Google) is simply that it has more links.

23,000 more. Meaning Google is being told over 23,000 more times how relevant and informative that content is.

So, what about content?

It’s the same thing. It’s about the numbers. Word count matters:

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The longer the content, the higher chance it has to rank.

But not in the way that you think.

You know, the college essays where you inserted block quotes to add 500 words (yes, admit it, you did it too).

Yeah, that doesn’t work.

Word count for the sake of word count isn’t going to get you higher rankings.

That tactic died with keyword stuffing and will never return.

Long-form content wins on search engines because it’s designed to solve the entire user problem in one go.

Meaning that the content is designed to answer all questions, provide solutions, and then show the user how to fix it.

If your content accomplishes this, people won’t bounce back to Google to click on the next result.

To sum it up, links and content quality are the top two ranking factors.

If you want to outperform sites above you, focus on these two factors over anything else.

It’s just like a workout plan.

Want to lose weight? Don’t waste time doing isolation bicep curls.

Take the most effective route and target the top ways to accomplish your goal.

Here’s how to get more links and write better content to outrank your competitors.

Campaign For Better Links

Now that you know how important links are for rankings, you need more of them.

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But not just any backlinks. Directory links won’t do it. Paying for low-level, spammy links from the dude who cold emailed you is a recipe for disaster.

Most people get caught up in the total quantity and forget to focus on quality too.

Quantity isn’t enough. Let me explain:

When a website (like a directory) links over and over to thousands of sites, Google starts to notice that these links are easy to acquire.

So Google puts less importance on them. Why? They’re easy to get!

So stop buying links. Stop spamming forums and Pinterest (what even is Pinterest??).

Backlinko data agrees with this notion, too:

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The graph above essentially says that the top-ranking content has links from diverse websites.

Meaning you need many websites to link to you, not just one spamming your link over and over.

But that’s not all. You need links from high DA sites:

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So the real recipe is:

Total amount of links + large amount of diverse sites + all high DA = rankings boost.

Take that, Gordon Ramsay!

Now that you know, how do you do it?

There are a few proven ways to get more high-quality links on your site.

One of the best is by creating round-up style content. This is content that mentions multiple popular influencers in your niche.

For example, check out this post from Bill Widmer that took the opinions of 30+ experts on their favorite marketing channels:

(That cool dude is me, by the way, in case you were wondering.)

But the point is, these types of posts get links.

I’ll prove it to you.

Here’s the backlink profile for this exact blog post:

Nearly 70 links to a single post that was recently uploaded. Pretty impressive.

And not just any links. Notice the top linking sites? They were all mentioned influencers in his post.

Getting the input of trusted influencers and showcasing them in your post is one of the best ways to get great links.

People are more likely to share it when you mention and show them in an informative light.

Write Better Content More Often

Getting the highest-quality links isn’t enough.

Remember that another top ranking factor is content.

Quality and frequency play a huge role in content that drives rankings.

According to HubSpot, companies that post more blog posts more often get more traffic:

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And that’s not all. The more you blog, the more inbound leads you get:

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Why? Because you’re effectively giving yourself more chances to rank higher on Google.

And when you rank higher on Google, you get more traffic.

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If sites are ranking above you on search engines and you don’t have enough links to overtake them, post more often.

It’s one of the easiest ways to generate more traffic to compensate for a lower ranking.

The more often you post, the more indexed pages you have.

The more indexed pages, the more traffic.

Once you develop content, you can campaign for links to boost that content.

You can outperform sites with multiple approaches. It doesn’t always have to be outranking them for a single post.

Would you rather outrank them for one post or write five new ones that get more total traffic?

The answer is clear: more traffic.

Create Content for the User Experience

Google has one goal in mind when it comes to their search engine (besides profit):

Creating the fastest, best user experience possible.

This is evident by conducting any Google search and seeing how quickly they deliver results:

They even tell you about it.

It’s a subtle brag.

But it tells us some instant data on how much they care about delivering content fast and effectively.

It’s their top priority because if they don’t, people will jump ship to Bing or Yahoo, or Ask Jeeves (wait, does that still exist?).

This has larger implications than just result delivery speed though.

When Google delivers results, they still want users to be satisfied.

If someone searches for “seo” and doesn’t click, but instead modifies their search for “seo guide,” Google takes note.

They understand that “seo” search results weren’t what they were looking for.

Similarly, if someone finds your post on Google but bounces fast and clicks on the next, Google notices.

They notice that your content isn’t solving user problems. And if it’s not, you can kiss those rankings goodbye.

So, what does this mean for SEOs and optimizing content?

It means you’ve gotta stop worrying about how search engines view your content and start caring about the user experience.

That means putting real emotion into your writing to trigger a response.

Or telling a story that people can’t resist reading.

Keywords are great, but stuffing “seo guide best 2017 content” into your title makes you look stupid.

Trust me – I’ve been there.

A searcher and reader are going to take one look at that title and never come back.

A great way to optimize your content for a real user is by taking advantage of Google’s free data mining.

It’s easy.

What’s the next blog post you want to write about?

For example, let’s say it’s about content marketing.

Conduct a simple Google search for that basic term and scroll to the bottom of the page:

You’ve got instant, real keywords that people are searching.

You could easily compile several of these into a single long-form piece of content that is a one-stop-shop when it comes to solving a problem.

For example, write a content marketing strategy guide and include examples and types of content marketing.

Now you’ve effectively hit three real searches with a single post. That’s relevancy.

If you want to outrank the sites above you, you’ve gotta improve your content.

It has to be tailored to fit the user, not the search engine.

Search engines are getting smarter and more realistic. Rankings will follow if you focus on real people.

Conclusion

When you’ve written a new blog post, you can’t risk it slipping into the oblivion of the SERPs.

Anything beyond the first page isn’t going to get you any noticeable traffic.

And you can’t just expect a post to generate traffic and links on its own.

You’ve gotta put in the work to get real results.

If you want to outrank your competition, you need better links, real keywords, and better content.

Plain and simple:

You need to produce better content for the end user than the person above you.

Once you’ve done that, campaign for links.

The more high-quality links you land, the better shot you’ve got at ranking higher.

Outperforming sites ranking above you in the SERPs will drive more traffic to your site fast.

About Kissmetrics

Kissmetrics combines behavioral analytics with email automation. Our software tracks actions of your users across multiple devices allowing you to analyze, segment and engage your customers with automatic, behavior-based emails in one place. We call it Customer Engagement Automation. Get, keep and grow more customers with Kissmetrics.

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About the Author: Brad Smith is the founder of Codeless, a B2B content creation company. Frequent contributor to Kissmetrics, Unbounce, WordStream, AdEspresso, Search Engine Journal, Autopilot, and more.

from The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog https://blog.kissmetrics.com/sites-ranking-above-you/

How to Make Instagram Stories Like a Pro

These days, social media is all about documentation.

Where you go, what you eat and drink, who you see, and what’s most memorable: These are the typical fodder of Instagram Stories — seconds-long glimpses of people’s lives, shared on Instagram for only 24 hours.

You might know the basics of sharing Instagram Stories, but there are hidden tools within the app that can make the photos and videos you share more creative and more engaging. So we’ve created this guide to how to share Instagram Stories, and how to make those Stories are compelling and cool as possible. In this post, we’ll cover:

Why Share Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories can drive a ton of engagement and value — whether you’re sharing a Story from a brand account or your own personal profile.

Since launching back in August 2016, a total of 250 million Instagram users have started sharing disappearing content on Instagram Stories — contributing to the huge jump in time spent in-app every day from 24 minutes to 32.

What’s more, a lot of brands have already seen success publishing content to this platform. Instagram Stories have fueled the growth of brands like Teen Vogue, Insider, and Bustle. Whether publishers are trying to grow brand awareness, grow traffic to videos or newsletter outside of Instagram, or share sponsored content, publishers are flocking to Instagram to publish fun disappearing content that infuses brand voice and personality without taking up too much of the average techie’s dwindling attention span.

What’s more, Instagram Stories are credited with fueling the massive growth of Instagram Direct — private one-to-one messaging between users within the app. Instagram Direct has grown into one of the most popular messaging apps in the world with a staggering 375 million users. Even more impressive, TechCrunch reports that one in five Instagram Stories shared by a brand receives a Direct reply — giving brands a direct line to connect with their audience and learn more about them.

How to Make Stories on Instagram

You can make Instagram Stories this successful too — but it requires a few more hacks and tips to make them look like the Stories big brands and influencers share. (Some of my favorite Instagram Stories are shared by chef Chloe Coscarelli, actress Busy Phillips, mattress brand Casper, and interior design app Hutch — and don’t forget to check out HubSpot‘s Instagram Stories, either.)

But first, let’s review the basics of how to share an Instagram Story:

1) Open Instagram, and tap the camera icon in the upper left-hand corner of your phone.

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2) Share a photo or video you’ve already captured by swiping up on your screen to browse your gallery.

Disclosure: Yes, I did a photoshoot featuring my cats. Can you blame me though?

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3) Or, choose a camera lens to capture a photo or video in-app.

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You have a few different options to choose from:

1) Live

If you toggle your screen to the “Live” option, you’ll start filming and broadcasting live on Instagram. Like Facebook Live, friends can follow along and leave comments, and when you’re done with the broadcast, you’ll have the option to let the video disappear, save it, or share it Instagram Stories for an additional 24 hours.

2) Normal

It means what it says: Tapping once will capture a photo, and holding down will record a video. Instagram Stories can be 15 seconds in length, so if you want to share a video that’s longer, film in 15-second stints, or use CutStory to split your longer clip into 15-second installments.

3) Boomerang

Boomerang mode films looping GIFs up to three seconds in length. 

4) Superzoom

Superzoom is, on the surface, a video recording lens that zooms in closer and closer on your subject. But turn up the volume, and you can use Superzoom to create a dramatic soundtrack to accompany your video.

As my friend Marissa put it, “It’s like it’s BUILT for cats.”

5) Rewind

Use the rewind lens to film a video in reverse.

6) Stop Motion

Use this lens to film cool stop-motion videos: several different still images woven together in one seamless video. Think of it like the video version of a flip book (like this example below):

7) Hands-Free

Use hands-free mode if you want to set up your camera to film a video for you. Make sure you prop it somewhere stable before you call “Action.”

4) Once you’ve edited your photo or video (more on that below), tap “Your Story,” or tap “Next” to share it to your Story and to other friends at the same time.

You can also save your edited photo or video to your gallery by tapping “Save” in the lower left-hand corner.

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Now that you know the basics, let’s run through tips and hacks for producing high-quality, clickable Instagram Stories.

7 Pro Tips and Hacks for Instagram Stories

1) Use stickers.

Once you’ve captured a great photo or video, it’s time to jazz it up with some fun stickers. You can access these by tapping the smiling sticker icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen once you’ve captured a photo or video — or swipe up from the bottom of your screen.

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Change the size of your stickers.

You can pinch the sticker once you’ve added to your story to increase or decrease its size. You can also tap and drag it around the frame to change its position.

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Check stickers every day for new and unique ones.

Instagram releases unique Story stickers often — whether it’s Monday, a holiday, or a season. Check this section every day for new and timely stickers to add to your Story.

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Add location, hashtag, and poll stickers.

Boost the engagement on your Instagram Story by opening it up to other people doing the same things you are. Open up the stickers section, and tap any of these buttons to customize your story:

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Location

Start typing in wherever you are, and you’ll be able to pull in a geographically-specific sticker to show where you are.

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When people view your Story, they’ll be able to tap the location sticker and see other photos and Stories happening around the same place.location.jpg

Hashtag

Same concept here: If you add this sticker and type in a hashtag, your Story will appear in searches for that hashtag, and viewers will be able to click it and see who else is using it. #MotivationMonday, amirite?

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Poll

You can add a two-option poll to your Instagram Story, and you can even customize the possible answers so they’re more unique than “Yes” or “No.” Use a poll sticker to gauge if people are really engaging with your content.

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Turn a face into a sticker.

Open up the Stickers menu, and tap on the camera icon.

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Then, take a selfie — or take a picture of anyone else’s face (that will work too). Then, you can use that face to decorate your Instagram Story. Somewhat creepy, but very memorable and funny, too.

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2) Let viewers share your Stories.

Increase engagement and views of your Instagram Story by letting viewers share them with their friends — as Direct Messages. 

Go to your profile, tap the gear icon, and navigate to “Story Settings.”

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Toggle on “Allow Sharing” so viewers can DM your Story to friends to increase your audience reach. Voila!

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3) Use the pen.

Use the pen to add embellishment, symbols, or more text to your Story. If you tap the pen icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen once you’ve captured a photo or video, you’ll open up your options.

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From there, you can adjust the thickness of your pen stroke or change the color you’re writing with (more on that later).

I like using the highlighter pen (the third option) to add emphasis to words — or even the highlight of my photo or video.

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4) Add a background color.

If you want to share a Story with a background color — like the images I’ve shared above — you can actually select it from the color palette.

Take a picture (it doesn’t have to be a picture of anything in particular), and then tap the pen icon to open up the color palette. (Here’s Leela again — my unwitting cat model.)

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You can choose one of the colors from the three available menus, or if you want a specific shade of one of those colors, you can open up the full color spectrum by pressing and holding one of the colors.

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Then, scribble anywhere on the screen, and hold your finger down until you get the background color you want to appear.

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If you want to get really crazy, you could use the eraser tool (the fourth option) to create new words or shapes from the background, too.

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5) Make your text funkier.

The text on Instagram Stories is pretty basic — jazz it up with these tricks.

Customize your colors.

If you’re unsatisfied with the color palette Instagram offers, create your own from one of the colors in the photo or video you’ve captured.

Open up the text icon, and tap the eyedropper icon in the lower left-hand corner of your screen.

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Use the dropper to sample a color from somewhere in the image you’ve captured, and use it when typing out text or using the pen tool.

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Add shading.

If you want to add some extra drama to your text, add highlighting or shadowing by retyping or rewriting your text in a different color. I recommend choosing black or white to add emphasis to a bright color you’ve picked. Then, move the text above or underneath the brighter text to add some drama to your words.

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Turn your words into a rainbow.

This one’s tricky, but you can actually turn your text into a gradient rainbow.

Tap the text icon, and type out your message to add to your Story. Then, highlight your text.

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This is where it gets tricky: Turn your phone to the side so you can hold one finger down on the right side of your text, and with another finger, tap on a color and hold until the color wheel pops up.

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Then, slowly drag both fingers across both the text and the color wheel from right to left to create rainbow text. Go slowly, letter by letter until you’ve created a rainbow. (This one took me several tries before I nailed it, and I succeeded using both thumbs to highlight the text and the color wheel.)

Gradually add text to a Story.

Sometimes, you might want to add text or stickers to an image to build on it — perhaps to promote a content offer or event, or to encourage viewers to swipe up to read a link you’ve shared (this is only available to verified accounts).

Start editing the photo you want to share, post it, and save it to your camera roll. Then, swipe up on your screen to add the screenshot to the next installment of your Story — adding new text or stickers on top of the first photo. Keep doing this for as long as you want the Story to last — just make sure to keep taking screenshots of your latest photo so you can add to it.

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6) Center your text and stickers.

When you’re moving around text and stickers on your story, you’ll see blue lines appear vertically or horizontally in the frame. These are guiding lines you can use to make sure you’re keeping everything centered.

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Don’t put your text too high or too low on the screen.

That said, make sure you don’t add anything to your Story too high or too low in the frame — or it will be cut off when viewers scroll through your Story, when Instagram adds things like your name and how long ago your story was posted that could block out your carefully-crafted text.

7) Add music to a Story.

This one’s easy: Turn on music using your phone’s native streaming app, and record a video Story. Once you get ready to edit and share, make sure the sound icon isn’t muted so your viewers can jam with you.

Alternatively, if you’d rather your video be muted, tap the sound icon so an “X” appears over it.

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We hope these tips help you post killer Instagram Stories your audience won’t be able to stop following. There are lots of hidden ways to take your Stories to the next level — some we may not even have covered here — so our best advice? Keep clicking around and see what you can do with the latest updates from the app. Happy ‘gramming!

from Marketing https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/instagram-stories