Category

Nuggets of Knowledge

Arthur reading

Nuggets of Knowledge: September 2014

By | Nuggets of Knowledge | No Comments

nuggets-of-knowledge

Welcome to a Very Special Edition of Mack Web’s monthly Nuggets of Knowledge. This month (September, in case you missed it), we asked everyone to contribute their Nugget in video form.

That’s right, folks, for one month only you get to see Mack Web’s most valued videos.

Oddly enough, despite the differences in how or why the information is presented – a TEDtalk, a music video, a McSweeney’s/Dissolve special – most of the team have chosen to focus on this undeniable truth: in building a community, in building a business, in building a brand, in doing anything that relies on people, the key is authenticity.

And also, the lesser known undeniable truth: typography is awesome.

So, wise, amusing, brief, or musical: enjoy the Mack Web NOKList Video Special.

(And hey, if video’s not your thing, check out our archive of regular programming.)


Rebecca’s Pick

Mission Statement

by Al Yankovic

Rebecca

Rebecca

Client-centric solutions. Brand trajectory. Cross-platform innovation.

These industry phrases (and many others like them) have populated the lingo of our professional lives, supposedly full of promise and intent. But due to overuse, have they lost their meaning and power?

Al Yankovic (a.k.a. “Weird Al” Yankovic, the artist who gave us timeless classics such as “Eat it” and “Another One Rides the Bus”) wages war against this corporate-speak in his recent video “Mission Statement” and challenges us to think about what we’re truly communicating – to the outside world and to each other as industry insiders. Set to the tune of “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” by Crosby, Stills & Nash (which, according to Yankovic, is the “antithesis of corporate America”), we are not only treated to sharply clever wordplay, but also to visually stunning, sped-up illustration for the entirely of this must-see video.

And for those with a life-long search for ironic expression, you’re in luck: these snarky sketches are done on a whiteboard with dry erase markers. Natch.


Olivia’s Pick

This Is a Generic Brand Video

Video by Dissolve, inspired by McSweeney’s, written by Kendra Eash

Rebecca

Olivia

Leave it to the quick-witted McSweeney’s to perfectly (and hilariously) capture the nature of many brand videos: predictable, vapid, and filled with vague, unsubstantial buzzwords. Kendra Eash published a satirical and on-point piece entitled “This Is a Generic Brand Video,” which pokes fun at those videos we’ve all seen (and probably tuned out). The ones where brands attempt to depict their innovation and originality but succeed only in representing themselves as stereotypical and wholly unoriginal.

Now, here’s where things get fun: Dissolve, a stock footage company, took this piece and turned it into…you guessed it…a generic video. Using the McSweeney’s piece as a voiceover, Dissolve matched those words with their own stock footage. The result is gold.

Not only is this video comical, but it’s also an example of brilliant advertising. And as someone who puts a lot of pressure on herself to be creative and come up with fantastic brand-building ideas, I found it pretty amusing that in this case, something clever and unique originated from something generic. Quite the ironic twist, right?

Whether you’re seeking some creative inspiration or simply a good laugh, this is worth a watch.


Nat’s Pick

The History of Typography

By Ben Barrett-Forrest

Nat

Nat

Prepare to be entertained (and educated) as playful and colorful paper cut outs walk you through the history of typography. Created from 291 paper letters, 2,454 photographs and a multitude of man-hours, Ben Barrett-Forrest’s stop motion video is a great example of evergreen content that’s creative, valuable, and possible to produce for those with a limited budget. And yes, there’s even a cut-out of Johannes Gutenberg.

If you’re a designer this video will make you feel nostalgic, likely bringing back memories from your first design class (sniff). For those who are not designers, this video is a great way to familiarize yourself with the world of typography and learn about the origins of typefaces like Roman, Caslon, Baskerville, and sans serif. The bonus? You can impress the graphic designer on your next project when you ask them to include a few slab-serif typefaces in their mock-up.


Mack’s Pick

Like a Girl

By Always, #likeagirl

Mack

Mack

Even though there are many conveniences that come with living in this digital age, being a company in this era brings many challenges. Making an authentic connection with the people who come in contact with your brand is one of them.  People want real. They want real companies who stand for something rather than simply promoting their products. They want to be truly valued by the companies they support. They want companies who inspire them to be part of something meaningful.

Always does an incredible job of all of that in this Like a Girl video. It’s really difficult to scale authenticity, but Always really hits it home. They looked beyond their products to who they were selling them too and then talked about something that mattered to those people.

Their audience is 100% female and they tapped into that, into genuine concerns and social issues that face women. It’s real and it’s memorable and it’s entirely relevant to their brand and their audiences. As a mom who’s raising a girl, this campaign is certainly something that feels very genuine to me, something that I feel strongly about supporting, and that I’d like to be a part of.


Courtney’s Pick

How giant websites design for you (and a billion others, too)

by Margaret Gould Stewart, TED Talks

Courtney

Courtney

Though Margaret Gould Stewart speaks for some pretty ginormous brands and talks about design – or, really, more specifically, user experience – on a pretty ginormous scale, the home truths she delivers are applicable even for much smaller brands on much smaller scales.

While there may not be global outcry when we or one of our clients changes the design or process for our sites, we still always need to be informed by data and driven by human empathy and intuition. We may not need to spend 280 hours redesigning a single button, but we need to be aware of how changes impact our audience.

We may not need to consult with conflict resolution experts or the universal principles of polite language (which is, apparently, a thing), but we should always be thinking about how real live people interact with what we’ve given them.

This talk isn’t revolutionary but a solid reminder that even giants like Google, Facebook, and Youtube not only can’t afford to ignore the people that they serve but that they shouldn’t ignore them. That losing sight of the real people behind the screens doesn’t only mean failing in your user experience, but failing in your mission.

Also…some great tips on how to get those really embarrassing karaoke photos taken down. So…bonus.


Ayelet’s Pick

Building a Community by Letting Go

by Tina Roth Eisenberg

Ayelet

Ayelet

I went to CMX Summit in June 2014 and was treated to a wonderful keynote presentation on the first day by Tina Roth Eisenberg, who I had never heard of before this conference. Tina is a serial entrepreneur in New York City and many of her businesses are directly related to a natural community growth. She talks through her experiences in building Creative Mornings, a breakfast lecture series for the creative community, into a large organization with hosts spread throughout the world, as well as starting a co-working space in Brooklyn.

The main message of this session was that a community grows best when you let go and stop trying to control it. Let it grow organically from what the community members want and grow it will! Whether you’re looking for validation of your efforts in working on an established community or are just beginning to build your community, this session is well worth a watch.

Watch the video


Ann’s Pick

The Tribes We Lead

by Seth Godin

Ann

Ann

I often struggle to explain what I do to at work to those around me outside of work. Words like search engine optimization, social media, and branding are great, but we really do so much more than that. And “marketing agency” definitely doesn’t do it justice.

Two months ago I shared Derek Sivers’ TED talk about leadership and how to start a movement. I’m circling back to another TED talk, this time around by Seth Godin, titled The Tribes We Lead.

Godin labels this point in time in which we’re living, thanks to the Internet, as the age of tribes. Obviously tribes existed way before the days of the world wide web, but today, you can connect with anyone for the simple reason that you want to be connected to them (regardless of location). Godin says tribe leaders are those who lead and connect ideas and people. They’re the ones who say that something is important and that we need to organize around it. Then the tribe leaders (and their first followers of course) start sharing this idea and getting people connected to it. Those people in turn share the idea and get even more people connected. Tribes are all about connection.

Which I guess is one way to look at the work we do: connection. It’s more than advertising. It’s more than marketing. We work with companies who are committed to a cause. And we help those leaders build their tribe.


Deleted Scenes

Because what self-respecting movie-lover and TV aficionado doesn’t understand the inherent attraction of a little something extra, adding a little more insight into what the creators were thinking or who they are?

What follows are other videos that made the shortlist but not the finals, for various reasons. (They’re still pretty excellent, though.) You get bonus points for guessing who suggested what.

American Empire
A brief, accurate, and snickering explanation of the US, its various territories, and how they all function.

If Google Was a Guy
A…slightly inappropriate and yet awesome dramatization of the search habits of the masses. Don’t forget to check out Part 2 and Part 3.

YouTube Complaints 2014!
An affectionate mockery of both user and platform behavior. No, seriously. Also, Elsa from Frozen shows up.

The Scared is scared
Storytelling done by a master. A six-year-old genius, clearly.

83 Old Slang Phrases We Should Bring Back
Expand your vocabulary. Or, y’know, sound like your Great Aunt Matilda.

First Moon Party
Just…yeah. Excellent audience awareness and appeal. Simultaneously cringeworthy and hilarious.


Nuggets of Knowledge April 2014

Arthur reading

Nuggets of Knowledge: August 2014

By | Nuggets of Knowledge | No Comments

nuggets-of-knowledge

This month’s #NOKlist brings you more of the Mack Web team’s ruminations on other people’s hard work (‘cuz that’s how we learn: standing on the shoulders of giants, etc.). The August Edition of the Nuggets of Knowledge includes actionable tips on email marketing and SEO, some of the Science! behind viral content, a new approach to managing your existing content, and a caution on the negative effects of too much measurement.

Also, Axl Rose. Yeah.

Check it out for yourself and, hey, for kicks, check out our past editions, too. You won’t be sorry.


Rebecca’s Pick

How Axl Rose Ended Up Commenting On Our Creative Piece

by Harriet Cummings

Rebecca

Rebecca

As an avid fan of Guns N’ Roses, I’m not ashamed to admit that when I saw this article title, I dropped everything to read the article in full. And both the 80s girl and the marketer sides of me are so glad that I did.

The creative piece in question is a data-curated interactive infographic – a music lover’s mini-playground, rife with the potential for who’s-the-greatest debates and design discussions. But that’s for another NOKlist. (And to the whole Mack Web team, I call dibs.)

The reason I selected Harriet Cumming’s article is for the transparent glimpse she provides into the creative process that birthed this infographic in the first place. In a relatively short post, she takes us through brainstorming > commitment to an idea > design and UX > finally getting the piece out there for the world to see. And then we get to see how the world responded.

This article is much like a new album that, once you get into it, you excitedly realize has a hidden track at the end. Packed with oodles of articles and resources, and even the mentioned-in-the-title comment by Axl Rose, the musically- and marketing-inclined will find themselves in Paradise City.

Read the post


Nat’s Pick

4 Predictions for the Future of Email Marketing

Post by Jimmy Daly, Vero

Nat

Nat

Often times I find that I have so many ideas I want to try out for our email marketing that I’m not sure where to begin or how to prioritize them. That’s why I found the blog post Vero put together on predictions for email marketing so very helpful. With these 4 predictions, I feel like I have a road map to help prioritize what I should look at, test, and optimize first for email marketing (then I can prioritize all my other email marketing ideas below these ones). What really makes this blog post “NOKlist worthy” is that Vero provides action steps for each prediction that I can put in place now (making everything that much easier for me to implement).

The blog post touches on the following:
1. Data will reign supreme.
2. Personalization will take on a meaning.
3. A/B testing will fade away.
4. Email volume will decline.

Give the predictions a look, try out the recommended action steps, and see what results develop for you. I’m excited to see what develops for us.

Read the post


Mack’s Pick

Number Crunching is Turning Marketers into Tactical Bullies

By Richard Becker

Mack

Mack

When you’re helping companies build their brands, there’s typically some pretty hefty expectations to overcome regarding results. Building a brand takes years, is ongoing, and although clients understand the long-term investment, they still need indicators in the short-term that validate their investment. Marketers have been working to deliver quantitative data that will communicate the value of all the time, effort, and budget spent, but as Rich Becker explains, their metrics may not be revealing the true picture.

“The sheer volume of data being lobbed at modern marketers is commoditizing the entire field while it distracts marketing from where its focus really ought to be, which is delivering a distinct brand promise to people who might care.”

It’s not that we’re communicating (all of) the wrong numbers (using metrics like qualified leads traffic to the website, click-throughs, conversions, and the like) it’s just that “numbers alone don’t tell the story.”

We work very hard to communicate the value of our efforts (and are continually investigating which metrics assist us in doing just that). This post is an important reminder that we need to continue seeking qualitative data that defends the value of marketing efforts. For us, it’s a matter of making sure we’re in a relationship with the right clients and that we’re continually exploring and experimenting which metrics (quantitative and qualitative) that prove our hard work is in fact making a difference.

Read the post


Courtney’s Pick

6 Big Takeaways from ‘The Science of Viral Content’

by Jillian Richardson, Contently

Courtney

Courtney

The blissfully oblivious put a lot of pressure on anyone who works with content or is considered creative or works with content and is considered creative to deliver something ‘viral.’ As if we’re all mad scientists following a closely-guarded recipe to cook up something brilliant and heart-stopping in our top secret labs.

And wouldn’t that be cool.

But of course, content virality depends on that most unpredictable of forces: mankind. Content goes viral because it tickles the fancy of the millions and billions of weirdly similar and diverse people in the world and they make it so. The reception a piece of content receives is just as difficult to predict as the general seethe of humanity.

Which is to say, difficult to gauge in the precursor but possible to understand in the aftermath.

And so, in the way of all mad scientists, Fractl did a study on what makes a marketing campaign go viral. And, in their usual way, Contently digested the study, providing key takeaways and showcasing some of the most compelling examples.

Surprise, surprise: the emotional experience is what causes content to explode. Different emotions inspire different responses in different demographics, but the most vivid similarity in the examples Contently embeds is that they all tell a story. (Except for the Harlem Shake phenomenon, which remains something of a mystery.)

The points are compelling, the videos are excellent. Worth a read and some contemplation before you plan out your next campaign/retreat to your mad scientist lair to brew up something particularly potent.

Read the post


Ayelet’s Pick

Why We Are Hiring for a New Content Role (and You Should Too)

by Joe Pulizzi, Content Marketing Institute

Ayelet

Ayelet

When I saw the title of this article, I thought for sure it was just another article about curating external content for social media channels. But Joe Pulizzi talks about content curation in a very different way. He goes into how internal content curation (including categorizing content already created, organizing it into some sort of data management system, developing a clear marketing plan for that content, and executing that plan) can be most effectively used. In the example he used, the company had hired a content curator to handle their own content better, repurposing and getting the best use out of existing content. As Mack Web is starting to develop more and more content on the blog and on our site, this article hit home to me as we will need to have a better system in place for managing it.

By making internal content curation more of a priority, you are better able to spot themes and test your theories. Although we don’t have one specific content curator at Mack Web (and you may not either), the ideas in this article can be implemented by your current team and over the course of time. Extra plus: this article is a short, but inspiring read.

Read the post


Ann’s Pick

10 Questions to Supercharge a New SEO Process

by Aleyda Solis

Ann

Ann

Two days from today I will be marrying that guy in the photo next to me. As you can imagine, my to-do list is quite long and has been for the past few months. The thing about planning a wedding is that slowly but surely as the months of your engagement pass, you eventually get to the big day.

The lesson that I’ve learned through this whole process is this: Whether a wedding planning list or a list of work tasks, if you’re faithful to your to-do list and take the tasks one at a time you’ll end up closer to your end goal…so long as you have the right things on your list.

When I read Aleyda Solis’s list of 10 Questions to Supercharger a New SEO Process, I instantly added 10 things to my to-do list – 10 new things to dig into and explore what possibilities might exist. What I like most about this article is how she pairs questions with tools, helping you put your SEO practices on steroids. Focus on finding answers to her questions, and you’ll find new places to add value and make a big difference in your business. Take each item one at a time (just like the tasks for planning a wedding) and by the time you get to the end of the list you’ll be able to enjoy all of the new opportunities you’ve discovered to improve your SEO efforts.

Read the post


Nuggets of Knowledge April 2014

Arthur reading

Nuggets of Knowledge: July 2014

By | Nuggets of Knowledge | No Comments

nuggets-of-knowledge

Yay! It’s #NOKlist time. (Not to be confused with Hammer Time or Tool Time or Miller Time or Adventure Time or Outta Time.)

We’ve once again gathered – for your entertainment and edification – our favorite posts from the last month(ish). We’ve got reflections and instructions, creativity and content and career advice, processes and platforms. Y’know, the good stuff.

So check out July’s Nuggets of Knowledge and – if you’ve missed a few – our Nuggets of Knowledge archive is there to help you out.

Bon appetit.


Rebecca’s Pick

How Seth Meyers and TV Showrunners Are Using Twitter to Find New Writers

by Michael Schneider

Rebecca

Rebecca

I’m not even 40 yet and I already feel like an old fart in the job hunting game.

When I started considering my next career move less than a year ago, I did what every go-getter does: updated my LinkedIn profile, worked my connections, did some last-minute volunteer work (don’t judge me). I even spent quite a bit of time on Pinterest researching design upgrades for my soul-defining résumé.

But if I had been applying for writing jobs? Hoo boy, I would have been missing a vital step. Little did I know that Twitter was becoming a legitimate forum for showing off one’s writing prowess.

Michael Schneider lays out exactly why Twitter has become a writer’s new way to get his or her foot in the showbiz door. It’s not just another place for writing samples. It’s become an additional opportunity to discover the true voice and tone of a writer over a longer period of time.

Don’t believe him? Then just ask Seth Meyers and Andy Samberg (although Mindy Kaling isn’t quite sold yet).

Button Text

Nat’s Pick

Creativity isn’t about the end product, but the process of making it.

Post by Birdsong Gregory, video by Liberatum

Nat

Nat

There’s a lot of content out there about creativity and inspiration. Do a few searches online and you’ll probably get back articles like four steps to getting inspired, rules to finding inspiration, 9 ways to increase creativity, and so on. As a creative myself, I know that often times finding inspiration is much more random and cannot be contained (or nourished) within a 4 step plan. Don’t get me wrong, this type of content can be extremely useful for coming up with ideas or thinking in new ways. However, at the end of the day, inspiration doesn’t come from a mechanized method; it comes from a desire within to create.

That’s why I found the short film by Liberatum, Inspiring Creativity, so refreshing. The film presents 21 perspectives on creativity and inspiration from some of the top creatives in the fields of art, fashion, film, design, technology and music. As you watch the film, not only do you start to understand just how nebulous the sources of creativity can be, you start to see a pattern: that highly creative people find the process more important than the final product.

Give it a watch and see what you think.

Button Text

Mack’s Pick

The Future of Content with Lisa Gerber

Interview of Lisa Gerber by Danny Brown

Mack

Mack

It has become very apparent that there is no scarcity of content on the internet. It’s also no secret that businesses all over the world are using content to build their brands.

Which means there’s a lot of noise about content right now.

‘Here’s what you need to write about.’ ‘Here’s how often you need to write it.’ ‘Here’s how much you should write.’ ‘Here’s how long to make your titles.’ ‘And here’s how to get people to click on your tweets about the stuff you just wrote.’

There’s a whole lot of talk about writing content and not a whole lot of talk about the meaning behind it.

What I love about this brief interview with Lisa Gerber is this:

“What I hope for the future is brands who forge their own paths, and do marketing on their own terms. They take smart risks by standing for something and using that perspective to drive their content plan.”

Content is an incredibly valuable asset if it starts from a place of purpose. If it comes from a place of meaning that goes beyond acquiring a link or achieving a conversion. If you’re not intentional with your content, if you’re not creating “helpful and relevant content,” you’re just adding to the noise.

It’s a great (and short) post that will challenge you to think about the content you’re making.

Side note: I noticed Lisa is speaking at SearchLove San Diego this September. That would be a great opportunity to get more of this good stuff from her in the flesh.

Button Text

Courtney’s Pick

She’s Still Dying on Facebook

by Julie Buntin, The Atlantic

Courtney

Courtney

I was all ready to go with a lovely post on not forgetting the small wins in our rush to lay down the foundation for long-term content success when I saw this article. It talks about a lot of things: the nature of friendship and grief and growing up. Really, Facebook is just the catalyst, the framework for Julie Buntin’s reflection on the final, tragic days of a friendship.

But beyond the sad truths she fearlessly reveals, what struck me about this article was this:

As digital marketers, we talk a lot (like, a lot) about how the internet and the advent of social media have changed the face of the world. We bandy about terms like ‘audience engagement’ and ‘target demographics’ and ‘applause’ and ‘amplification’ and ‘conversation’.

We warn our clients to be careful what they (and their employees) put out there on social media because the record is permanent and you don’t want the images from your 10-year reunion to color how you’re seen in board meetings. Those things are all real and true.

What we (or at least I) tend to forget is that the internet and the advent of social media have changed the face of the world. Not just for businesses, not just for marketing, not just for the professional sphere. Every layer of our lives, from superficial conversations to the deepest ruminations of our hearts, have been touched by the simultaneous immediacy and permanence of the digital realm.

Julie’s story is the perfect example. We talk about the stages of grief and the process of mourning. Of sharp pangs and harsh self-recriminations fading, with much time, to watercolored memory and soft, regretful melancholy. With evergreen records of all our days, there is no fading. There is no forgetting.

What other effects have crept into our daily lives without our noticing? What follow-on effects will emerge?

Button Text

Ayelet’s Pick

Why Your Unique Value Proposition is Killing Your Landing Page Conversions and How to Fix It

by Rich Page, Unbounce

Ayelet

Ayelet

We deal with unique value propositions (or as we call them USPs, unique selling propositions) weekly, if not daily. The UVP/USP is the biggest thing you’ve got going for you, like speed to a cheetah or the shell to a turtle. They are the core of our clients’ businesses and are the reason a customer chooses them.

And yet, USPs are one of the hardest things for a business to pin down. Why? Because you’ve got to set aside your agenda, your wants, needs, and desires. You’ve got to focus 100% on why the customer is coming to you and how you can help them satisfy their wants, needs, and desires. This article is a great resource to walk you through the process of finding your USP and, specifically, showcasing it on a landing page. Read it now or read it later – at some point, it’s going to be useful for you.

Button Text

Ann’s Pick

First Follower: Leadership lessons from a dancing guy

by Derek Sivers

Ann

Ann

We Mack Webbers have been known to have an opinion about followers. This video, however, is about a different type of follower.

Derek Sivers gave this TED talk in 2010 in front of Bill Gates, Al Gore, and 200 other “geniuses.” In three minutes, he walks you through the growth dynamics of a movement, any movement. From start to finish, crazy idea to mass appeal, he highlights the role of not only the leader but the first follower, too. Because a leader, without a first follower, is just a lone nut.

Button Text

Nuggets of Knowledge April 2014

Arthur reading

Nuggets of Knowledge: June 2014

By | Nuggets of Knowledge | One Comment

nuggets-of-knowledge

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’…


Ann’s Pick

Publish Your Blog Post Without SEO, and 1000s of Visits Will Be Forever Lost

by Rand Fishkin

Ann

Ann

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

Ayelet’s Pick

Excellent Analytics Tip #25: Decrapify Search, Social Compound Metrics

by Avinash Kaushik

Ayelet

Ayelet

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

Courtney’s Pick

Why Content Marketers Are Using All the Wrong Metrics (And What They Should Be Measuring Instead)

by Contently

Courtney

Courtney

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

Mack’s Pick

These Are The Six Steps I Use For Great Content Marketing

by Jay Baer

Mack

Mack

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

Nat’s Pick

From Up North (Website)

Started by Daniel Nelson

Nat

Nat

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).

Button Text


Rebecca’s Pick

Putting On the Ritz, Six Words at a Time

by Stuart Elliott

Rebecca

Rebecca

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.

Button Text


Nuggets of Knowledge April 2014

Arthur reading

Nuggets of Knowledge: May 2014

By | Nuggets of Knowledge | No Comments

Mack Web's Nuggets of Knowledge

Kick back, put on your thinking caps and your learning shoes and your brainy specs, and prepare for another installation of Mack Web’s Nuggets of Knowledge.

(As ever, for the newbies, an explanation: Nuggets of Knowledge, also known as the #NOKlist, is a gleaning of the wisdom the Mack Web team gathers every month. We each pick a piece we found particularly inspiring and bring it to the attention of the people we adore. Which is you. And our moms. Check out the Nuggets of Knowledge archive.)

This month’s #NOKlist will take you from creativity to Tumblr, from community building to the evolution of marketing, from ultimate guides to funny little essays. (Also, the requisite mourning of the cancellation of Firefly. Browncoats, much like elephants, never forget.)

We’d give you more, but, well, then why would you need to keep reading? Plus…it’s all right here. Just waiting for you.

Go, explore.


Ann’s Pick

Six Keys to Being Excellent at Anything

by Tony Schwartz

Ann

Ann

I came across this article through 99u’s Workbook of curated content. It was titled Your Creativity is Like Any Other Muscle. Needless to say, it caught my attention and won over a click from my mouse. Here at Mack Web, creativity is a part of everyone’s job description. We’re all required to not only think outside of the box, but lead with initiative when it comes to the-right-side-of-the-brain-things.

Sometimes with a packed schedule it’s difficult to find time to think creatively, let alone push your creativity to a new level. We’ve all heard “practice makes perfect,” but in this article Tony Schwartz really dug into that aphorism, looking at the science and history of high performance. We all have areas of our lives in which we’d like to excel and improve. For him, it was tennis. For me? Creativity.

He concludes that, like a good run at the gym, you’ve got to push yourself past your comfort zone. But then after that, just like when your feet take their final steps off the track… you rest. He’s got six tips all in all, but the biggest takeaway in my opinion is that you’ve got to work hard to see the results that you desire. Thankfully though, Tony breaks down it down bit by bit, with his keys to achieving excellence. He also has a little background about our habits as humans and how we build up our capacities. So whether you’re hitting a hitting a bouncy yellow ball back and forth or creating a campaign strategy for a client, push yourself… then rest.

Button Text

Ayelet’s Pick

Marketing Can No Longer Rely on the Funnel

by Mark Bonchek & Cara France

Ayelet

Ayelet

Well, this is a red-letter month for you all: I finally picked a non-analytics article! Instead it’s about how the traditional funnel must evolve as marketing and customer experiences change. This idea of changing the funnel makes total sense because how business works today is very different from how it worked even, say 30 years ago. Yet many businesses still focus on the same funnel model that’s been around forever. (Seriously. The first funnel model was created in 1898, though it’s evolved from there).

Here are a few things from the post that are still bumping around in my mind:

  • The product and its marketing should no longer be considered separate entities. They can fuse together and work towards the same end goal.
  • A brand advocate doesn’t necessarily have to be a customer anymore. There are so many ways (especially through social media and content) that advocates can find and love on a brand nowadays.
  • The end result for whatever form the new funnel will take must be the experience for the customer, not the purchase. For customers, the journey doesn’t end with the purchase or the decision. So why does the journey end that way for companies? Major disconnect there.

Even if you’re a non-MBA (like me), this article is a fascinating, good read.

Button Text

Courtney’s Pick

Your Mother’s and My Divorce Explained Through This Awesome Infographic

by Aboubacar Ndiaye

Courtney

Courtney

This isn’t really our normal #NOKlist fare, but I couldn’t resist sharing it. Not only because I giggled until I cried (okay, snorted, but my weird laugh is between me and the hand I hide it behind), but because it’s a fantastic reminder to anyone who has anything to do with dreaming up and creating content:

Be a person.

Because it’s so easy to let our ideas and our creativity and our desire to dream bigger and be cooler and shinier and prettier run away with us. This funny little tale is a cynical and sobering reminder that sometimes, apologies to Marshall McLuhan, you absolutely must forbid the medium from becoming the message. Remember your audience, remember the heart of what you’re trying to convey, and never sacrifice your sincerity on the altar of even your most staggering special effects.

That said, it’s still okay to find the essay funny. I hope. Because I certainly did.

Button Text

Mack’s Pick

The Holy Grail of Building Communities: Developing a Strong Sense of Community

by Richard Millington

Mack

Mack

Community is such an elusive thing. So many businesses want to build one, yet understanding the intricacies of how they work and what makes them successful is still so difficult to define. It’s different for every single one.

Rich Millington’s post about Developing a Strong Sense of Community on Moz provides a wealth of knowledge and guidance describing how sense of community is fostered (as well as how it isn’t). It’s full of examples, tactics, ideas, and additional community resources that will support you as you’re doing the work to build your own.

So much guidance and wisdom in this post. Enjoy.

Button Text

Nat’s Pick

The Ultimate Guide to Successful Email Marketing

by Vero

Nat

Nat

Are you looking for ways to get your email marketing off the ground or to give existing email campaigns a boost? Then I’ve got the guide for you. Vero recently released The Ultimate Guide to Successful Email Marketing, and it’s amazing.

Often times I’ve found that email marketing is covered in pieces rather than presented in its entirety. Not so with Vero’s guide (which is why I think it’s so awesome). They cover it all, from setup, subscribers, and campaign strategy, to content creation, tracking results, and optimizing campaigns. Did I mention it’s in one beautiful, easy to read guide?

This guide is for you whether you’re an email marketing newbie who needs to learn the ropes or an email marketing pro looking for ways to boost your campaigns. Packed with expert advice, best practices and examples, this truly is a well-rounded guide that lives up to it’s name.

Button Text


Rebecca’s Pick

Tumblr Study Says It Has More Social TV Activity Than Twitter

by Cotton Delo

Rebecca

Rebecca

With all the social media channels out there, there’s no doubt we can find at least a few that we <3 the most.

I’ve latched onto Pinterest with the iron-clad grip of a fangirl who can’t let go. Twitter is ideal for quick access to trending news. And Google+ is where I’ve found a solid community for lamenting over the too-soon cancellation of Firefly.

But there’s a part of me that remains unsatisfied: the TV addict looking for extended chatter beyond a show’s live airing. Turns out, I should be on Tumblr.

Cotton Delo’s article reveals the unexpected results of a Twitter vs. Tumblr study on social TV activity, which is worth the read based on the data shown in the bar graph alone. But the findings underscore something even more fundamental: hard-core fans are looking for longer-term engagement and sustainable momentum of the things we love to talk about. And that’s definitely worth a “mention.”

Button Text


Nuggets of Knowledge April 2014

Arthur reading

Nuggets of Knowledge: April 2014

By | Nuggets of Knowledge | No Comments

Mack Web's Nuggets of Knowledge

Yes, fortunate audience, we bestow upon you, once again, our borrowed wisdom and our native sass.

You’re welcome.

This month’s #NOKlist (because ‘Nuggets of Knowledge’ is just a little too bulky for everyday; we’ve banished it to Sundays and minor national holidays) covers a range of topics from productivity hacks to social analytics to graham crackers (and more).

For those not in the know, Nuggets of Knowledge is the monthly event in which we, the brilliant Mack Web team, share the articles that have most influenced our thinking in the last month. It’s a win-win-win: the authors get a little well-deserved recognition, you get some info you may not have had and some insight into us, and we get to be the unashamed fangirls that we are. Good stuff.

If you’ve missed any of the previous installments, we feel pretty bad for you. Which is why we’ve got a Nuggets of Knowledge archive. You should check it out.

You should also tell us what you’ve been reading. We just know that great minds like yours have things to share. Let out your inner fangirl, too.

But without further ado: April’s #NOKlist. Happy reading.


Ann’s Pick

70% of Time Could Be Used Better – How the Best CEOs Get the Most Out of Every Day

by Bill Trenchard

Ann

Ann

Being a CEO is tough stuff. If I’ve learned anything over the past three months as Mack’s assistant it’s that Mack Web is what it is because of the ridiculously hard work and dedication of Mack and her minions, er, employees. The hacks in this article are applicable whether you’re the CEO or the assistant to the CEO.

The outcome of putting them into practice is an efficient work day as well as peace of mind. For example, I’m a big fan of being an email ninja. A friend recently introduced me to Active Inbox, and I can’t imagine getting to inbox zero without it. I can sleep well at night, knowing that I’m organized and prepared for tomorrow.

Whether it’s helping Mack keep her boundaries in place or going to yoga, it’s crucial for every person on our team to put the 8 ideas on this list into practice. In the end, we have the security of knowing we’re getting everything done while maximizing our time for the really important things, like quanlitative quests. Or, y’know, hunting down our favorite color gummy bear.

Button Text

Ayelet’s Pick

The Definitive Guide To Campaign Tagging in Google Analytics

by Annie Cushing

Ayelet

Ayelet

For one of these Nuggets of Knowledge posts, I’ll choose a non-analytics post. While you wait patiently for that day, check out this thorough guide to campaign tagging.

Campaign tagging helps you track how effective your marketing efforts (especially on social media) have been. It helps to have used campaign tagging before, but Annie gives a great intro into what campaign tagging is. She even gives info on what to do if you’ve been doing campaign tagging wrong (which is not hard to do). Even though I’ve been doing campaign tagging for many months, I learned a lot from this post and will be making changes to how we tag campaigns for ourselves and our clients based off this post.

This is a post that I will be coming back to again and again. There’s just so much knowledge and useful how-to’s packed into it. Don’t get turned away by the length and depth of it. You could easily make this an online course in campaign tagging.

Button Text

Courtney’s Pick

10 Charts That Are Changing the Way We Measure Content

by Sam Petulla, Contently

Courtney

Courtney

These days my life is all about content. Well, and llamas. Llamas and gummy bears. And Captain Hook (don’t judge me). Llamas and gummy bears and Captain Hook. But, mostly, content. I write content, I edit content, I brainstorm content with my team, I review content, I glare in frustration at content. This is how I spend my days.

In Mack Web’s recent sally forth into the world of quanlitative measurement, my major mission will be figuring out a concise, accurate way to convey the value of the content we produce. Which means that when it comes to this measurement debate, I’m like a cat watching a ping-pong game: intensely focused, desperate to pounce on something I don’t quite understand, and in serious danger of neck strain.

This article was a good find in that it visually summed up some great science-y stuff I couldn’t have figured out on my own (did you know that sharing content is a different neurological process than reading it?), interesting facts about reader response (surprise and anticipation garner more attention than trust), and a confirmation of a general conclusion (time spent on the content is more revealing than pageviews or clicks or shares…mostly).

I’m all about doing the ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ thing, so I have no compunctions about shamelessly stealing and referencing these factoids. With the links in the article, I can check out the original research (which eases my suspicious mind) and all the pretty and thought provoking charts not only provide information, they prove that they author knows whereof he speaks. They’re good charts but some of them take deliberation to decipher, meaning that this particular article will have a drastically higher read time. Well played, Sam Petulla, well played.

Button Text

Mack’s Pick

Honey Maid is Okay with People Hating Its Ad Showing “Wholesome” Gay Parents

by Chris Morran, Consumerist

Mack

Mack

Many companies are afraid of consumers saying negative things about their brand on social media. When you have a community–especially when you’re a large brand–unfavorable behavior is bound to happen. It’s your job as the brand to maintain composure, dignity, and exhibit integrity when you’re addressing ugly situations. This is exactly how Honey Maid handled the discriminating voices in response to their “This is Wholesome” ad campaign.

You cannot control the behavior of the people in your community or what they say about you on social media, but you can stand up for the core values and culture of your company (and the people in your community who also share those same beliefs). Even when people are being hateful, you can respectfully make it clear that discrimination will not be tolerated.

Watch this beautiful and moving video; it is a shining example of how to address prejudice and negativity about your brand and turn it into something that exhibits the true and honorable character of your company.

Button Text

Nat’s Pick

Can this Crazy Design Hack Help Make Your Landing Page Convert?

by Tommy Walker, Unbounce

Nat

Nat

As Mack Web’s designer, I know how difficult it can be to design landing pages that speak to a specific audience. It’s a challenge to remove all of my design preferences and create specifically for the intended audience at hand, which is why the design hack Tommy Walker covers on the Unbounce blog is so, well, wonderful. It’s a smart and easy way to collect data about the stylistic preferences of your target audience, which in turn, helps you to create a design that appeals to them (beauty is subjective, after all).

Walker started with the idea that the type of media and entertainment we consume can provide insight into our online design preferences as consumers. This means you need to find out some key things about the types of media your target audience consumes: What music and movies do they like? What stories do they like to read? What TV shows do they like to watch?

Why is this research important? Because the answers will provide you with the visual language your target audience prefers (and relates to). Don’t get discouraged. I know this sounds like a task that requires tons of surveying and research, but you’re gonna skip all that work because this is where that amazing design hack comes in. Enter Facebook’s Graph Search.

Button Text


Rebecca’s Pick

Walk Cycle Demonstration (Stop Motion Animation)

by Adam Pierce, Charged Studios

Rebecca

Rebecca

Anyone with an artistic bent who has dared to pour herself into the time-intensive and heart-wrenching process of creating understands: it’s totally worth it.

Yet those experiencing the creation after the fact cannot fully understand what went into giving birth to that painting, landing page, or short story. And that’s why Adam Pierce’s “Walk Cycle Demonstration” video is worth the watch.

By breaking down what it takes to believably walk a doll from one end of the table to the other, Adam offers us a glimpse into this four-hour, stop motion animation process (but sped up to a mere two minutes).

This short video not only provides a quick education in the actual filmmaking process, but it’s also a reminder of the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into making some of our favorite stop motion animated films.

Button Text


Nuggets of Knowledge April 2014

Arthur reading

Nuggets of Knowledge: March 2014

By | Nuggets of Knowledge | No Comments

It’s that time again: time for the Mack Web team to share with you (via other people’s words) what’s on our minds.

Which makes it like a weird mashup of interpretive poetry readings and newspaper-clipping ransom notes.

Huh.

Peculiar similes aside, the team has hand-selected these fabulous articles for your edification and our self-expression. Some of them, you’ll notice, focus on our Quest for Quanlitative Measurement. Get used to that because it’s going to be a topic at the forefront of our minds for the foreseeable future.

Some of them don’t. That’s ‘cuz we like to keep you guessing.

Never let it be said that the Mack Web Team is boring or predictable. Also never it let be said that we don’t value your thoughts. So tell us, what have you been reading? What’s been on your mind?


Ayelet’s Pick

Focusing on Useful Analytics:
Vanity Metrics vs. Actionable Metrics

by Jesse Littlewood

Ayelet

Ayelet

As you know we’re on this quest for quanlitative measurement. That means we’re not going to be taking the metrics that everyone else is using just because everyone else is using them. We’re going to be thoughtful about which are the most important metrics to show ourselves and our clients and what those metrics mean.

This article frames the measurement discussion in a way that helps narrow down what you need to look at and why. Instead of reporting on certain metrics, Jesse suggests looking for metrics that correspond with the 3 A’s. You want the metrics that are actionable, accessible, and auditable. You can bet that I’ll be thinking about those 3 A’s and this article in the coming weeks and months.

Button Text

Courtney’s Pick

Avoid the Museum of Dead Content

by Dominic Smith

Courtney

Courtney

This post was a glimpse into the future for me. (Sadly it was a future without flying cars). Most of our clients are really just getting started with their content strategies which means that our content audits have been about seeing what’s there and what’s missing. I’ve never actually looked ahead to the day when there is too much content, when it’s grown stale.

Part of that lack of foresight has been the way I fell into the content strategist role in our company: trying to create it and be it at the same time. Part of that is a natural tendency to see the days of plentiful content as a day of joyous bounty without pondering the attendant problems. Either way, it was, initially, a slightly panic-inducing thought: one more thing to worry about, one more thing to be on guard against, one more responsibility to eventually add to my plate.

But finding this post was not only a reminder that the day will come and I’ll be around to see it, but also a reassurance that this is something people do. It’s a concern that people have seen and surmounted and left a trail for those who would come after. Being able to rely on the knowledge of our peers and mentors is…well, one of the big reasons behind all this community building stuff.

So I chose it not just because it was a valuable tool and a validation of our, y’know, general mission, but because it was a steadying influence at a tenuous moment. And I felt like acknowledging that. ‘Cuz that’s how I roll.

Button Text

Mack’s Pick

What You Think You Know About the Web is Wrong

by Tony Haile

Mack

Mack

Our team is continually working to effectively communicate the qualitative work that we do. Because there is an overabundance of quantitative metrics available at any business’s fingertips (like clicks to advertisements), the value of qualitative efforts are easily undervalued simply because you can’t exactly put a number to it. In our experience, those qualitative efforts are the ones that often make the biggest impact.

Tony’s post paints a picture of the Attention Web (not unlike the post from AJ Kohn I shared last month). A web where we … “are creating real stories and building an audience that comes back.” What I love about Tony’s post is that he’s emphasizing the importance of understanding why a certain piece of content actually caught a reader’s attention and held them to engagement (qualitative) vs. simply measuring the fact that they clicked on it in the first place (quantitative).

It’s not always about the numbers. And it’s certainly not about getting the click. It’s what happens after that. And if that’s the case, the emphasis needs to be on writing and creating more meaningful stuff that people actually care about so that they want to come back for more.

Button Text

Nat’s Pick

Allison Johnson: We Have Enough Companies Like Apple

by 99u

Nat

Nat

At Mack Web, we’re fans of building a brand by providing value. So, you can imagine how excited I was when I heard Allison Johnson share her thoughts on providing value vs. selling:

“The most important thing is people’s relationship to the product…If you’re not providing value, if you’re not educating them about the product, if you’re not helping them get the most out of the product, you’re selling. And you shouldn’t be in that mode…marketing is not selling”.

Originally, I had a whole bunch of quotes I wanted to share from the interview, but then decided you’re better off just watching the whole thing. During the interview, Johnson touches on numerous topics including:

  • the importance of integrating departments into the marketing process,
  • launching a polished product (Apple) vs. shipping it quickly for feedback (Google),
  • the importance of being authentic,
  • the importance of marrying your marketing to your product for a successful campaign, and
  • a very informative Q&A session at the end.

Keeping this video interview to myself just seemed selfish because it’s so awesome (23 minutes of awesome, to be exact). Hope you enjoy.

Button Text

Rebecca’s Pick

Why I Sketch Every Day (And why you should too)

by Troy Church

Rebecca

Rebecca

This title might lead you to think that I indeed sketch every day. And as much as I want to exude the aura of the redheaded, comics-t-shirt-wearing, devil-may-care fine artist, only 50 percent of that is true.

Day-in and day-out, I deal in dates and timelines and details (oh my!). And one might think that this article isn’t for someone like me (or you). But we’d both be wrong.

As interaction designer Troy Church explains, “sketching helps me see, think, and communicate more clearly” – and who can say they have enough of this in their lives? He seems to be writing with the designer community in mind, but as I read through his rationale for daily sketching, I became convinced that this discipline could benefit everyone.

It’s hard to shut down the sense of the immediate and focus on the big picture of whatever you’re working on (no pun intended). But if slowing down and putting hand-to-pencil-to-paper can pull ideas “out of the mess,” then let the chicken scratches begin.

Button Text


 

Arthur reading

Nuggets of Knowledge, From Our Team to Yours

By | Building Community, Nuggets of Knowledge, Web Marketing | 2 Comments

If you hadn’t picked up on it already, the Mack Web Team is pretty crazy about the book-learnin’.

(Please refrain from any jokes on other ways in which we are crazy or about how, yes, we can read, thank you. Not because we’re easily offended but…frankly, we’ve already made them all and we can’t spare the time for redundancy).

Each member of the team spends a pretty big portion of the week reading and absorbing knowledge and trying things out. We’ve decided to let you in on just a few of the things that we’ve learned this month (‘cuz we’re all about the edumacating, too).

So, here. Read some stuff. Learn some stuff. Get smarter.

And hey, let us know: what was your favorite article this month?


Ayelet’s Pick

Social Engagement Metrics That Matter – Measuring, Tracking, and Reporting FTW

by Jennifer Sable Lopez

Ayelet-Golz

Ayelet’s pick of the month

In the daily list of things I think about, social media engagement metrics appears easily at least once, frequently more. Lately, I’ve been sorting through the tangle that is qualitative metrics in the quantitative-heavy world of social media metrics. Reading this post gave me relief in knowing others are fighting this same mental battle and that I have much to learn from them.

Jennifer Sable Lopez offers a real-life view into how Moz uses social media metrics to show engagement, without making it seem like they have everything all figured out. She doesn’t leave anything out, talking about everything from the Moz’s important engagement metrics to how they track and report them to how they communicate the progress to their stakeholders (aka the rest of the team).

The inside peek into how Moz is measuring and tracking social engagement metrics alone makes this post well worth the read.

Button Text

Courtney’s Pick

The Complete Guide to Working with Copywriters

by Joel Klettke

courtney-brown

Courtney’s pick of the month

This is by no means a new addition to the vasty deeps of Web Marketing Know-How (check out that dateline: September 2013, an excellent vintage). That said, it has been a huge influence and resource in my life this month as I work on figuring out the needs and processes and gaps and other necessary paraphernalia for expanding, scaling, and – honestly? – kinda creating (not quite from whole cloth, but maybe…half cloth?) the Mack Web Content Department.

This fella is chock-full not only of the tips and tricks and resources suggested by the title (though those are there) but really for building a content department. (See why I like it?). I’m particularly fond of the Style Guide idea which not only makes introducing your writers to the clients they’ll be serving but also gives you a great mechanism for distilling and articulating some pretty important stuff about them clients themselves.

Multi-tasking. It is the poor man’s personal assistant.

So, yes. It’s a long(ish) sucker but not needlessly so and well-worth the time in any case. A great read for the exhausted content strategist, the bemused client (why is it so hard for them to find a writer?), and the eager copywriter (but hey, use it as a guideline not a cheatsheet. Nobody likes a cheater).

Button Text

Mack’s Pick

Are You Winning the Attention Auction

by AJ Kohn

mackenzie-fogelson

Mack’s pick of the month

Content marketing has hit the mainstream which means many companies are using content to build their businesses, their communities, and their brands. Many of these companies are approaching content marketing without a higher purpose, goals, or even a strategy. This leads to poor content creation which is essentially causing a saturation problem. Which will, eventually, make it a whole lot harder to earn the attention and trust from the readers and brand advocates you’re seeking.

Now more than ever, it’s imperative that your content comes with intention. How will it stand above the growing noise? How can it be relevant today and also serve as a resource tomorrow? Who is it helping? Is it uniquely you? How will it foster relationships or even tell the story of your company’s personality and prowess?

Your content must pave a path in your reader’s brain, making a meaningful impact so that it is not only remembered but shared. I highly recommend this long read from the brilliant AJ Kohn.

Button Text

Nat’s Pick

GoodUI

by Jakub Linowski

natalie-touchberry

Nat’s pick of the month

Good UI is a key ingredient to conversion rates and branding. Get this right and you’re gonna have people staying on your site and enjoying the experience.

That’s why I’ve chosen to highlight goodui.org. (Seriously, this website is going to get you excited about user interface, of all things). The website is chock full of tips and ideas like: trying a one column layout instead of multicolumn, using social proof instead of talking about yourself, using benefit buttons instead of task based ones, etc. If you have a UI conundrum or simply want to test some new things out, I highly recommend taking a look at this ever growing list of ideas. Plus, if you’re a visual learner (like me) you’ll really appreciate the wireframe examples that come with each tip.

Button Text

Rebecca’s Pick

82% of Women Think Social Media Drives the Definition of Beauty 

by Samantha Murphy Kelly

rebecca_frame2

Rebecca’s pick of the month

As a pre-teen in the pre-social media days, my sense of beauty was mainly defined by images in Seventeen magazine and 80s romantic comedies (cue Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away”). Now that I’m 30-uh-something, I’d like to think that I’m no longer shackled to those unrealistic standards.

But let’s face it: there’s a reason why I can still remember every word to Return of the Jedi. It’s because at that age, you’re a human sponge. And at that age, I was also absorbing what it meant to be (unrealistically) beautiful.

Enter social media.

For those who say social media is the next television (you know, that thing that will eat away at the brains of our youth), listen up. Thanks in part to various social platforms, we may be witnessing a turning of the tide, in which women are starting to define beauty for themselves. Dove’s beauty study also suggests more good news: the effects may be retroactive, impacting daughter and then mother.

This article, while not purely academic, is a great reminder that social media offers us all (especially teens) access to multiple points of view not easily available to us in recent history – and it can be used as a medium for positive social change. I’d give that a +1.

Button Text