This month’s NOKlist brings you our usual mishmash of design, measurement, content creating, and community building wisdom.
By now, you know the drill, so we’ll leave you to it.
Unless you don’t know the drill. In which case, check out our Nuggets of Knowledge archive to see more stuff we found that other people know (and now we know, too). Also…last month there were baby pictures. Just sayin’…
by Rand Fishkin
The best part about my role at Mack Web as Team Support is that I get to do a little of everything. Recently, I’ve been training on SEO with Mack, and to be completely honest, I didn’t even know what those letters stood for in 2012. Fast forward two years and not a day passes that I’m not reading, doing, or thinking about it.
Mack sent me this article that Rand Fishkin (the mustache marker man talkin’ at a whiteboard) contributed to Theme Week on ProBlogger. He explains how fast your content (like a blog post) can die if it’s not optimized for search. With a half-life of less than 7 hours across social networks (crikey!), you’ve gotta do something that works for the long haul. Rand walks you through 3 simple steps to prep your post before you hit the publish button. From keyword research, to title and body content, and finally outreach, he gives you a plan to follow. Whether you’re writing your first blog post, training on SEO, or live every moment in this industry (and are looking for a good post to show your friends who ask you what you do or how it works), give this one read, and then put it into practice.Button Text
This may be old news to some of you, but compound metrics suck. And yet, people still use them without thinking about what they mean. (A compound metric, in case you were wondering, is a measurement that combines multiple criteria to yield a single number, like PageRank.) The blindness to the nuance of what these numbers are really saying makes it harder for people to take action on analytics. Avinash walks his readers through his thought process on exactly why no one should use compound metrics (and gives an alternative, less-crappy compound metric for search performance).
This post really validates a couple of aims that we’ve been working towards with our monthly analytics reports. First, there isn’t one simple, easy metric that you can give your “Dear Leader” (in Avinash’s words). Translating analytics to others requires hard work, understanding, and communication. If you’re just using one compound metric to do that, you’re doing it wrong. Second, metrics need context. A number is just a number unless you give the context of what has affected that number. I’ll let Avinash’s words speak for themselves.Button Text
Anybody breaking into content strategy pretty quickly grasps the fact that we deal in outdated metrics. We can make the best of it, cleverly reading meaning into pageviews and bounce rates. There is still information to be gleaned there.
But it’s not the very best information. We’re all searching for that elusive measure of how people are really responding to the content we so painstakingly create.
Contently, not surprisingly, suggests their own tool, which has found a way to track relationships, through what they’re calling ‘engaged time’, readers and returning readers, and average finish.
Does it work? I don’t know yet, having not tested the tool. But the spotlight this 14-page ebook shines on the problem is excellent and the history of content metrics provides really good context for just how and why we got to the point we’re at. The incisive analysis of the current popular metrics neatly articulates all the things reduce content strategists to gibbering frustration, so that’s worth a look. Even without the tool itself, there’s a lot of good food for thought (and some pretty good resources, too).
Plus, it starts with this simple battle cry: Death to the pageview. Can’t miss that.Button Text
by Jay Baer
Content marketing is so. much. work. Content can be an incredibly powerful and extremely effective tool, but it takes a whole lot more than a blog post (or three) for it to make a difference in your business.
Jay shares all kinds of wisdom in this short post, highlighting 6 very simple steps he uses when approaching content marketing. In a nutshell, Jay’s process emphasizes that if you want your content to serve your customers, add value to your business, and drive growth, you can’t just create content to create content. Your content must be meaningful, you’ve got to start with goals (and have a strategy), you’ve got to actually tell people it exists, and measure its effectiveness. His simple process addresses all of this and more.
In addition to learning more about Jay’s process (oh, do I love processes), my very favorite part of this post is an important concept (that I’m obsessed with these days) called Atomization (see Step 4). Essentially, Atomization is “taking one big idea and making many smaller content executions from it.” This concept has really challenged us to think differently and simplify the content strategies that we develop for our clients (which has resulted in much more effective and powerful content).
Instead of always trying to start from scratch or reinvent the wheel each time we’re developing content strategy, we’ve been working on determining all the “products” we can get out of just one idea (that aligns with goals) and then execute that over a series of months. These products may be small like blog posts or checklists (and serve as stepping stones) or bigger content things like video, e-books, Hangouts on Air, or maybe even an offline event.
This concept of Atomization has really helped us to get more out of the efforts we’re already making which is a breath of fresh air for this small (but mighty) team. Give it a read and let me know how you’re applying it in your world.Button Text
Started by Daniel Nelson
Back in December, I wrote a blog post on 3 Awesome Resources to Kickstart Your Creativity. Sometime after that, I stumbled on a website called From Up North and thought it would be a nice addendum. The site has a multitude of high quality design work with 19 inspiration galleries ranging from Advertising to Web Design.
This is quickly becoming one of my favorite resources for staying up-to-date on design trends and in general, getting inspired (heck, I even signed up for their daily email full of inspiration).
Whether you need a creativity boost, want ideas for your next design project or just desire a little more art in your life, pay this website a visit because it’s going to give you all that and more (and while you’re there, visit two of my favorite categories: Logotypes and Typography).
Six-word memoirs. Six-word stories. Flash fiction.
This storytelling exercise not only challenges the most zealous of logophiles, but it’s also the foundation of a luxury hotel’s latest marketing effort: telling, not selling.
Yet it’s not the marketing agency or the hotel aristocrats who are driving this limousine down memory lane. These #RCMemories are being written by Ritz-Carlton employees.
As a word sleuth myself and an attempter of crossword puzzles, I’m inspired by this novel definition of concise storytelling. (Get it? “Novel?” Ahem.) But my wheels are also turning as I consider how we could do more to place the opportunity to tell, not sell, into the hands of our brand advocates: the average joe or josephine.
Join Stuart Elliott as he takes you through a brief history of this famous storytelling exercise (Ernest Hemingway lore included), all the while sharing some six-word backstories that read like a Chicken Soup for the Soul for the weary content marketer.