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Gathering useful articles from top influencers

Awesome marketing articles every entrepreneur should read

Content fatigue, when it comes to finding innovative and creative marketing advice, is becoming a serious time burglar for me. It is getting harder and harder to find the really useful nuggets of info hiding behind mounds of mediocre content and fake influencers.

That's why I've decided to put together a list of the best articles I come across over the course of 2016 - to save you the hassle of monitoring hundreds of sites yourself. I'll continually update this page whenever I see something genuinely useful that I deem worthy.

Topics include everything from SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to email marketing, social media marketing, strategy, tools, services, guides, tutorials and anything else you and I need to know about the state of marketing on the Web.

So, without further ado, here's my list of the latest, greatest articles in the field of small business marketing.

Short or long content? Here's what the data says

Data driven article showing how short and long form content drives traffic
Given the massive glut of online content it's not surprising that smart people are figuring out ways to get their noses in front when it comes to competing for traffic.

To make things more complicated, Google enjoys changing its mind about what it prefers. There's some evidence to show that it likes more in-depth content... but not always. Confused yet?

Here's my favorite quote from the article:

Long content keeps interested readers on your site longer. When done well, it helps communicate that you are an expert on the subject. And long content gives you an opportunity to shape the world and educate. Even if your article doesn’t get a lot of immediate attention, it’s out there ready to educate when readers find it.

What's nice about this article is the data driven approach showing actual Google positions plotted against total word counts, plus graphs on where the optimum article length generates the longest time on page visits. Super interesting.

16 Copywriting Mistakes You’re Probably Making (and How to Fix Them)

Excellent tips for improving content & copywriting
Entrepreneurs and small business owners are in a difficult spot. They aren't publishing experts, yet it is important to leverage the power of content as a way to bring in traffic, generate buzz and drive engagements and relationships. Shanelle Mullin offers some great examples of some of the most common copywriting pitfalls, with intelligent solutions to steer your company clear of them.

Here's my favorite quote from the article:

If you want to achieve results with your website copy, you need to start by defining the goal of the individual piece of copy. After that you need to find out how to write the best possible copy to achieve that specific goal.

Whether you are thinking about how best to produce blog content, or convert leads using emails there is a lot to be said for being smart, focused and professional about the content you put out there on behalf of your business.

We Analyzed 1 Million Google Search Results. Here’s What We Learned About SEO

Brian Dean's excellent analysis of SEO

Brian Dean's article on BackLinko shares the data and analysis they gathered from looking at a million Google SERPs. The results are a big wake up call for anyone who thinks that being able to drive organic search traffic is not that hard.

Here's my favorite quote from the article:

Backlinks remain an extremely important Google ranking factor. We found the number of domains linking to a page correlated with rankings more than any other factor.

A really short summary of their findings would be 'rich, in-depth content with many quality backlinks on high authority domains will dominate'. Doesn't sound too hard, right?

How We Answer Quora Questions to Drive Traffic to Our Website

How to use Quora to drive traffic
Cara Tarbaj offers some excellent practical advice (along with screenshots of their traffic showing proof that it works for her) on how to make the most of Quora in order to generate referral traffic from useful answers.

Here's my favorite quote from the article:

A question that’s at least a week old with 1,000 views or more is a good place to start. 1,000 views ensures that the question is popular enough within the Quora community - the more people that view the question, the more exposure your answer will get .

While Quora's links are nofollowed (meaning you get no backlink benefit in Google), providing great answers that link to your own content will ultimately drive qualified and engaged referrals.

40 Tips for Dramatically Better Emails

Plenty of useful email marketing tips
Jimmy Daly brings an expanded and improved version of the original post, '20 email best practices', that proved extremely popular. Now with 40 tips, illustrated and explained with plenty of examples and screenshots, you are bound to find at least a handful of things to improve your own email campaigns.

Here's my favorite quote from the article:

Don’t be surprised when you ask your email subscribers to upgrade and only 0.001% convert. Instead, think about building momentum. Asking subscribers to read a blog post or follow you on Twitter is a bigger deal than you think. And though it’s a small win, it’s a step in the right direction.

As Jimmy says, much of the content may seem a bit basic, but almost all of the advice form part of the core of emailing best practices.

Monitor competitors' sales & learn their marketing mix

How to monitor competitors sales
If you're in the eCommerce industry then it's likely you would be rubbing your hands in glee if someone could share all your competitors' sales data and marketing strategies, right? That's exactly what SME Pals shows you how to do using RT500 Enterprise - an online tracking service that monitors product sales in real-time (as well as offering a free Amazon best sellers research tool) and notifies you when items experience unusual sales peaks (or dips).

My favorite quote from the article:

Knowing that a certain writer/journalist wrote a story/article/review on your competitor means that they might be a useful contact down the line. Knowing everyone your competitors know is a great opportunity to be a more effective network marketer.

It's probably worth pointing out that since RT500 has over 5000 customers, it's likely that some of your competitors are monitoring your sales and learning from your marketing . So why not learn from them?

10 Tips for Getting Long-Term Traffic to Your Content

Tips for getting long term traffic
Sujan Patel does a great job of demonstrating how content is not simply the act of writing blog posts and hoping for the best. Instead it requires research, planning strategy and that's all before you've even put pen to paper.

My favorite quote from the article:

Beyond social media, search, and Q&A marketing, outreach is your best friend when it comes to making sure your content goes the distance. Best of all, you don’t have to blindly send out requests in hopes that someone will like your content. You can instead plan to reach out to the people you know will like your content.

What's really worthy of closer inspection is the section on outreach and how to use services like BuzzSumo to reach out to the right influencers who can help generate some traffic.

How To Go Viral: Lessons From The Most Shared Content of 2015

Learning how to go viral from the most shared content
Steve Rayson uses data gathered from the most popular articles of 2015 in order to research and analyze what features endowed them with viral(ness). To sum up, surprise people, use trends, be inspirational, and use stunning rich media - images and videos.

Here's my favorite quote from the article:

Going viral is like alchemy, and even the best sites cannot consistently replicate the success of their top posts (if they could, they would). Like most publishers, the top sites have a lot of steady performing content and a few huge hits.

The truth of the matter is that no-one has a foolproof formula for what makes content go viral. But, starting with a huge platform of engaged followers is arguably the best start you can make.

So that's all we have for now. Please bear in mind that I'll add to this list every time I come across a genuinely brilliant article, so bookmark this page (and share it with your followers) and check back in regularly.

Also, if you have any suggestions for articles I should include here, feel free to drop me a line in the comments and tell my why you think that article should be among the best of the best.

Creating viral social media content

For many bloggers, webmasters and entrepreneurs there's nothing quite as exciting as seeing an article or brand mention taking on a life of its own and gener

The Best Digital Marketing Strategy, 2017. Pic by Matt Gibson

Competition in the world of online marketing is fierce - I mean really fierce - making it vital to choose the best possible marketing strategy to deliver sus

Here's the thing about moving traditional customers online; you have to find innovative marketing strategies and ideas to get them to migrate.

Online marketing 101. Pic by See-ming Lee

The first time I started an online business I spent the vast majority of my time actually creating the service.

Customer service is a great marketing opportunity

Any company that outsources their customer service is being silly, and are inviting competitors to swoop in and pilfer their client base.

Customer service is one of the few real opportunities you have to forge a solid relationship with people. Why on earth would you want to hand it over to someone else (who hides you from the people that sustain your business)?

And while handling customer complaints and queries can seem like a chore, it can be converted into one of the most powerful marketing strategies available to you.

Sample press release template. Pic by Matthew Guay

The other day I decided to get some coverage in the news - actually, I wanted to get some exposure for a particularly nice bit of research we'd done - and st

How to work with social media effectively

Social media marketing is one of those things that most entrepreneurs and small business owners wonder if they really need.

In general, my answer is yes, but I need to qualify that by saying that the amount of time, effort and cash you invest must be proportional to the returns you want (and can realistically achieve).

I serve on the board of a wonderful not-for-profit, registered charity, and we have utilized the tools and technologies provided by the Web, and in particular, social media, to drive visibility, engagement, and awareness that would simply be out of reach otherwise.

Drive traffic without SEO

I am an ardent supporter of creating great quality content that ranks well in Google search for marketing purposes.

Recently, however, I have been forced to concede that organic traffic from Google is no longer reliable enough.

Since 2012 Google's search results have been in upheaval, and while the general thrust of the changes are to improve search results and cut out spam, there has been significant collateral damage along the way.

Free email marketing setup guide. Pic by Wayne Stadler

Modern email marketing campaigns, especially from small businesses, need to be able to grow a killer mailing list and deliver awesome emails to the right aud

Online lead generation. Pic by Fe Ilya

For sales and marketing people looking to get more leads for their business, the Internet offers great opportunity wrapped up in some interesting challenges.

Be your own free marketing service using the top digital marketing tools.

Take charge of your business' growth by mastering one or more of the leading digital marketing tools and learn to make better strategic decisions to save mon

7 ways to network effectively

When I started my first company some years ago I placed all my focus on creating a great offering, but almost no effort went into sales and networking. Needless to say that it took an incredibly long time to get off the ground - 6 years in fact.

During that time I learned a lot about how business works, and my focus has shifted almost completely onto sales, marketing and networking.

Nowadays, a good idea with a quality product backed by excellent service is the bare minimum required to succeed. Because there is so much competition (especially online), what sets companies apart these days is how effectively they can network and promote themselves.

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