Tag Archive | "assets"

Email Marketing: Stop building lists and start building assets

According to Jeff Rohrs, Vice President of Marketing Insights, ExactTarget, email marketers don’t communicate their value to organizations effectively.

Watch this video from the MarketingSherpa Email Summit Media Center to learn more from Jeff on how email marketers can move toward greater appreciation by changing the conversation.

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Simplify Your Inbound Marketing Process: Focus on Content Assets

Posted by kaiserthesage

Content ties everything in the digital marketing realm together—that’s why it is king.

Content creation has been the core part of my blog/business’ inbound marketing strategy this year, which was around 70% of my entire marketing effort. The other 30% was allocated to content promotion/distribution, relationship building, site optimization, and analytics.

So this post is basically a case study of how I simplified a very complex process by only focusing on one integral part of inbound marketing (content), and how that led to hundreds of service leads for our company this year.

On content strategy

Content assets help brands communicate their messages to their target audiences. These may come in the form of visual guides, web-based tools, extensive resources and many more (as also listed by Cyrus Shepard on his recent Moz post).

In my case, I aim for every blog post I publish to be an asset that I can continuously optimize and improve.

So in order for my overall campaign to be really scalable (and for me to be able to easily integrate other inbound marketing practices), I based my content development efforts on these core principles:

  • Create content that contains ideas/information that isn’t found anywhere else.
  • Make the content very comprehensive and evergreen if possible.

And as for the content formats, I mostly focused on creating:

  • Case studies
  • Extensive and evergreen blog posts (how-to’s)
  • Reusable content (newsletters, slide presentations, PDFs, etc.)

If in case you’re wondering about the content assets I’ve repurposed, here are few samples:

2 months ago, I released a 4 part newsletter series that talks about 12 different scalable link building tactics.

After a couple of weeks, I decided to publish the entire series as a long-form blog post here on Moz.

Another sample is with one of my most popular guides this year (that was also featured on Moz’s top-10 monthly newsletter) entitled 22 link building tips from @xightph, which I just recently turned into a SlideShare presentation:

Perhaps this approach of allocating the majority of my efforts into content development is easier for me to accomplish because I established my blog’s readership 2 years before I tried it, and also given that I’ve already built relationships with other online marketers who habitually share my new blog posts.

I still believe that this exact process is replicable for those who haven’t yet established themselves. Since it always comes down to what you can provide to your industry and finding ways to let others know you have it.

Content = links

Content assets are able to attract and build links over time, knowing that it is in the nature of content to be genuinely linkable.

Link building becomes automatic when you focus on creating useful and actionable content on a regular basis (and, of course, letting other people who’re interested in your content’s topic know that your content exists).

Your content won’t stand on its own and be linkable by itself, so it’s also important to make an effort for it to be more visible to your target audience. Here are a few things you can do to ensure it’ll get to your audience:

  • Outreach: Connect with other content publishers, industry influencers, and enthusiasts, and see if they’re interested in checking out your content.
  • Social ads: Use content placement services from Facebook or StumbleUpon to get more eyeballs to your content.
  • Conversations: Participate and share your content on relevant discussions from online communities in your space (forums, groups, blogs, Q&A sites, etc.).
  • Distribution: Promote your content assets through other content distribution channels such as guest blogging, regular columns, newsletters, slide presentations, videos, or podcasts.

Further reading:

Content = relationships

Providing high-value content assets on a regular basis will also help you easily connect and engage other content publishers in your industry.

This can somehow impact how other people perceive your brand as a publisher, especially when other thought leaders are sharing your content, interacting with your brand, and inviting you to contribute to their websites (which is quite similar to what Moz has done in past years).

Relationships, partnerships, and alliances are vital in this age of marketing, as they can help increase your readership and follower base, and can particularly help improve the shareability of your site’s content.

Here are a few pointers on how to engage and build relationships with industry influencers:

  • Mention or use their works as a reference for your content. You can also ask them to review and validate the information within your content to build a rapport (which is also a great way to get them to see the quality of your work).
  • Make sure that your content appeals to their audience/followers; this increases the likelihood of getting your content shared.
  • Don’t worry. You don’t have any reason to be afraid to reach out to influencers when you’re really confident with the caliber of your content.

Content = social activity

With the right push, a well-thought-out piece of content will almost always do well in terms of social sharing. Most content assets are designed to be share-worthy, and the common factors that make most content assets shareable are:

  • Their design and if they’re visually appealing.
  • If they’ve been shared by popular/influential entities in their industries.
  • If the content is emotionally compelling, educational, useful, and/or just simply adds unique value to the industry.

Making your linkable assets timeless or evergreen can also amplify its social activity, given that every time it gets a new visitor the content remains relevant, which can continuously increase the amount of social shares it is getting.

And the more you create content assets on your website, the more you can grow your following base and network. Which is why content plays a big role in social media – because it’s what people are sharing.

For more actionable tips on increasing your content assets’ social activity, you might want to also check the post I wrote a few weeks ago at Hit Reach on how to get more social shares for your site.

Content = search rankings

The ways in which search engines determine web pages’ importance (and whether they really deserve to be prominently visible in search results) have evolved over the years.

Major factors such as relevance (which can be measured through usage/page activity) and authority (measured through social, links, domain authority, brand signals, etc.), though, still play a huge role in terms of search rankings. These metrics are also elements that most successful content assets embody.

Great content generates rankings.

A couple of pointers on making the most out of your site’s content pool to boost your SEO:

  • Turn the pages on your website that target key industry terms into evergreen content assets.
  • Optimize your important pages/content assets for interaction, conversions, and user-experience. For example, test your pages’ CTAs, encourag people to share the content, etc. These are the key areas that will make your pages rank better in search results.

Further reading:

Content = email subscribers

Email marketing is an essential part of inbound marketing, because it’s a marketing platform that many businesses have full control of (owned media).

Growing your email list is a whole lot easier when you’re consistently putting new content up on your site (and especially when you consider every piece of content you launch as an asset).

The more content you publish, the more people get to discover your brand, which can ultimately increase your chances of getting them to subscribe or sign up for your email newsletter.

Tips on how to increase email sign-ups:

  • Make your opt-in form(s) very visible on the site’s key landing pages.
  • Incentivize sign-ups by offering free content such as ebooks, whitepapers, newsletter series, and/or access to free web-based tools.

Content = conversions

Content assets can definitely lift conversions, mainly because they can strongly demonstrate the brand’s domain expertise and authority.

If you’ve planted a lot of useful and actionable content on your site, then these things are influencing your site’s ability to convert visitors.

More on improving your content assets’ conversions:

  • Identify which landing pages/assets are constantly driving sales/new customers/service inquiries to your business. Make them more visible by building more internal/incoming links to them, improving or updating the content itself to earn better search rankings, sharing them on social networks, or basically anything that can improve their traffic.
  • Continually test and improve the content’s calls to action.

Becoming a better inbound marketer

Before I became an SEO in 2010, I was a freelance writer. It never occurred to me that I’d be doing both in the future—and actually more.

But I guess knowing how to get the right traffic and having a better grasp of the kinds of content that my audience needs and wants to read made me a better inbound marketer.

I would love to hear your ideas about this approach to inbound marketing, or if you have questions, I’d also love to see them in the comments section. You can also follow me on Twitter @jasonacidre.

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Why Bad Linkbait Needs to Die: How Linkable Assets Deliver 10x More Value

Posted by Cyrus-Shepard

I hate bad linkbait, and it floods my inbox. Bad linkbait wastes our time, money, and our audience’s attention.

On the other hand, I love creating linkable assets. I also love searching the web for linkable assets and sharing them with others. Before we go any further, let’s define what we mean by linkbait, bad linkbait and linkable assets.

Linkbait: Website feature, usually content, meant to attract links for the purposes of SEO.

Bad Linkbait: Content that attracts links without adding additional value. One of the hallmark characteristics of bad linkbait is that it often rehashes the work of others, without creating anything new.

Linkable Assets: Content or features characterized by a high degree of practical utility or emotional engagement. Linkable assets often attract links over time due the high value they offer.

The SEO problem with bad linkbait

Bad linkbait is not only less effective, but it often has very real SEO consequences down the line in terms of types of links earned and the relevance of the content. In extreme examples, we’ve seen instances of poorly executed linkbait leading to Penguin-style Google penalties.

While there is no single type of bad linkbait, the following characteristics are often defining hallmarks:

  1. Temporary spike in linking followed by a quick drop-off
  2. Meant to be scalable and easy
  3. Off-topic or marginally relevant content
  4. Visitors not likely to return
  5. Rehashed “Top 10″ Lists
  6. Infographics without the “info”
  7. Controversy for the sake of controversy
  8. Commercial anchor text controlled by creator

The reason bad linkbait sucks so much energy is that you get almost no return on investment for the effort you put into it.

An example seen all the time is an infographic that is only marginally related to the subject matter of the website, such as those that Rand discussed in last week’s Whiteboard Friday. Imagine a plumbing company that makes an infographic called “10 Most Horrific Water Deaths Ever.”

  • The SEO company convinced them that the keyword “water” is related to plumbing, and this will help them to rank if they can get the infographic distributed widely enough. Maybe it will, but not nearly as much as if they created something truly new that was actually related to their core business.
  • The links they earn spike when they are actively pouring money and effort into sharing, but stop almost immediately after that.
  • The plumbing website has no other content about “horrific water deaths,” so the topic is only marginally related.
  • The links all have the same anchor text due to the widget used to embed the infographic. Google’s Penguin algorithm picks this up and penalizes them for “water” related keywords.
  • After 2 weeks, traffic trickles to almost nothing. The SEO company moves onto the next infographic.

Is there an easy solution? Take the same amount of time and money spent to create 2-3 pieces of mediocre linkbait, and spend that energy creating a truly remarkable linkable asset.

How linkable assets deliver 10x the value

The great thing about linkable assets is that, when successful, they take on a life of their own and the SEO benefit can grow to 10 or even 100 times what was originally anticipated.

Good linkable assets earn repeat visits and traffic over time. Links aren’t pushed but earned in unexpected places with natural and topically relevant anchor text. Plus, when you publish valuable content actually related to your core subject matter, you help establish yourself as an authority on that topic, and more likely to appear in search results for topically relevant queries.

Because good linkable assets often earn a greater variety of links spread over time through value instead of aggressive link promotion, they are less likely to ever earn a Google penalty.

Examples of linkable assets include this worldwide guide to etiquette, this online salary calculator or even Moz’s Google Algorithm Change History.

Questions used to help identify linkable assets:

  1. Does it create something new?
  2. Does it make something easier?
  3. Is it likely to be used again and again?
  4. Does it reveal new insight or knowledge?
  5. Does it create something beautiful?
  6. Does it evoke a strong emotional response?
  7. Does it provide practical value?

Can linkable assets also be linkbait?

The most successful linkable assets possess the better qualities of fine linkbait. In fact, for SEO benefit, it’s essential that your linkable asset invoke a strong emotional response or be perceived as having high practical value.

This is the “sweet spot” in the middle that combines the best marketing value of linkbait with the added value of linkable assets.

Linkable assets: exemplary examples

Visual assets

Rand mentioned a good number in his recent Whiteboard Friday Why Visual Assets > Infographics, so I wanted to list a few more that offer high practical value and succeed in earning natural, highly-topical links.

Can an infographic act as a linkable asset? Yes, when it meets the requirements defined above.

This excellent Radiation Dose Chart infographic created by xkcd not only inspires awe but has been linked to thousands of times due to people wanting to share its practical utility.

Which Local Review Sites Should You Try to Get Review On? by LocalVisibilitySystem.org displays a ton of knowledge in a succinct and successful format.

Moz’s Web Developers SEO Cheat Sheet provides a visual asset we’re quite proud of.

For pure visual appeal, this Cheetah infographic by Jacob Neal is one of my all-time favorites. It stretches the boundaries of visual design and I found myself reading every word as a result.


ShareTally – Similar in function to SharedCount, ShareTally gives you a free and quick overview of important social metrics for any URL. This is one you bookmark.

Creative assets

Robby Leonardi’s Interactive Game Resume feels like playing a game and has led Robby to win multiple design awards.

Data sharing

Everyone has data if you look hard enough. Done at scale, the results can be truly outstanding.

The (not provided) Global Report aggregates data from over 5000 websites to display near real-time reporting of Google’s (not provided) keywords worldwide.


One of our favorite email providers, MailChimp, recently studied email subject line open rates. This graphic explores the effect of including a subject’s first and last name across various industries.

Moz’s own Search Engine Ranking Factors is consistently one of the most popular studies we publish.


Look no further than Wistia’s learning center for best practices on producing videos for your business. Check out this one they made on advanced video SEO with they guys from Distilled.

Endless possibilities for linkable assets

You can turn any unique knowledge into a linkable asset without shooting a video or adding fancy graphics. Think of folks like Seth Godin or Patrick McKenzie who regularly share their valuable thoughts with the world.

The key is to deliver the content in both a valuable and emotionally engaging way. If you are a talented writer, this is probably your best avenue. If not, then thinking outside the blog post box may be required.

What are your favorite examples of examplary linkable assets? Let us know in the comments below.

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Why Visual Assets > Infographics – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

The marketing industry seems to have a love-hate relationship with infographics. When they’re really done well, they can be effective ways of conveying a lot of complex information in a way that’s easier to digest. The problem is that relatively few of today’s infographics are really done well, and many are simply created for shallow SEO benefit.

In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand talks about the differences between infographics and visual assets, and why the latter are far more effective in our efforts.

For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard:

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition to of Whiteboard Friday. This week I’m going to take a stance. It’s a little bit of a strong and contrarian stance. I’m going to say that I really, really dislike most infographics. In fact, not even most. The vast majority of infographics I strongly dislike. And that said, I really like visual assets. Today I’m going to try and explain the difference to you and show you why I’m a huge believer in one and such a disrespecter of the other.

So the typical infographic and the thing that frustrates me about it so much is that it’s really designed primarily to get embeds, to get links, potentially to get some traffic and build some branding. But it’s actually not optimized for a lot of these things. In fact, because the medium has both become so overused and because the execution on many of them is such poor quality, I find that they often hurt more than they help. Because of that, I’m not a fan.

So here is your typical infographic. How obsessed are Facebook users with celebrities? Oh my gosh, look, 35% have liked a celebrity’s page, and look, more and more people have liked more and more celebrity pages over time. Here’s a picture of some people, and here are words in some graphic format that’s really hard to read and unnecessary illustrations on the side just to ornament this thing up.

Then they hope that someone is going to pick it up and embed it on their news site, and occasionally this stuff does work. In fact, for a few years now it has worked. The challenge is it keeps going down and down and down. It’s reaching a point of diminishing returns, and I think that’s because audiences are really tired of the infographic format or are getting very tired, especially more sophisticated and savvy audiences, which for a lot of B2B and even many B2C marketers, let’s face it, we are reaching those areas.

Also, these things can be tremendously burdensome to try and put on a web page. They’re hard to read a lot of the time. So it makes it challenging even when someone does embed it. Google has said specifically that they’re looking at algorithmic ways that they can work around infographics that get embedded that people didn’t really mean to or intend to link back, and they are merely doing a link to the infographic because of the embed itself.

This kind of stuff, eh, I’m just not about that. I don’t think that most of us in the inbound marketing field should be about that, despite the potentially positive impact that something very similar can have.

So these are visual assets. There are many different kinds of visual assets. In fact, I would say infographics, traditional infographics are just one type of visual asset and possibly not the best one. In fact, probably not the best one in my opinion.

Photos, just a collection of pictures from relevant and interesting people, events, places, even concepts that are illustrated, these get picked up. They get shared around the web. They’re useful for social media networks. But they’re also useful to have in a photo library that people might take and use for all kinds of different reasons.

Charts and graphs that illustrate or explain the numbers behind a story or a phenomenon, these can be incredibly useful, and they get picked up and used all the time by sources that want to quote the numbers and even by sources that originated the numbers that are looking for visual ways to represent them. This is a phenomenal way to build value through visual assets.

Visual representations, I do stuff like this all the time. Think of the SEO Pyramid. It starts at the base with accessibility, and then we talk about keywords and links, social, user and usage signals, and all that kind of stuff. I’ve done some visuals like that on Whiteboard Friday, things like the ranking factors by distribution through the pie chart explaining those different things.

I’ve done stuff like the T-shaped web marketer, talking about going deep in a particular niche, but having a lot of cross domain expertise. These are not high-quality graphics. They’re made by me. I use Flash 6 to make these things, because I learned Flash way back in my days as a web designer. I’m lazy and have not learned to get good at Illustrator or Photoshop in particular. Yet, they get picked up and sent all over the place, and you can see visual assets doing the same thing in all sorts of niches.

Comics, illustrations, or storyboards that tell a narrative visually, incredibly popular and get picked up all the time. Screen shots; even just a simple screen shot with some annotation and explanation, examples of what to do, how to use it, how to interpret that information, layering on top some data, these types of visual assets have huge caché and value.

You get a lot more opportunity from these kinds of visual assets, in my opinion and experience, for links, for referencing, being referenced by media outlets, by industry resources, by third parties, by people in your professional or personal sphere. You have more of an opportunity for embeds because they’re much simpler to embed, and they can be useful in so many more places than an infographic, which really needs to take up an entire post about it if it’s going to get referenced at all.

They give a lot more value to people. They’re simple to consume, to understand, and they’re useful and usable in ways that infographics often are not. And, a lot of the time they’re far simpler to execute. It doesn’t take a graphic designer to produce a ton of these different types of resources. It often doesn’t cost very much, if anything at all, to make them, and that means you can produce a far greater quantity of visual assets than you could of infographics and have potential there to get links, to get references, to build your brand in really authentic ways.

So I’m sure there will be some vigorous debate and discussion in the comments, and I look forward to it. We’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Introduction to Get Links! Week 3 – Create linkable assets that are irresistible

Author (displayed on the page): 

Master Profitable Link Building in 7 Weeks

Sign up for Wordtracker’s “Get Links!” video course (with a year’s subscription to the Link Builder tool thrown in) and in the third week you’ll learn:

1) What are linkable assets and how to make them irresistible?
2) Focus on the customers
3) How to build links with evergreen ‘Info Gaps’
4) How to create ‘Passion Pieces’ that will inspire others to link
5) How to build a portfolio of linkable assets

For more details on how to sign up for this seven week course, go to Get Links!

Tell me more button


Week 1
Week 2

If you’ve questions about the course, please let us know at maria@wordtracker.com

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