How to Write & Use White Papers in Your Content Marketing Strategy

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So what is a white paper? A white paper is a cross between a magazine article and a corporate brochure. As white papers possess both the educative qualities of a magazine article and the persuasive qualities of a corporate brochure, they are considered to be one of the most powerful tools for content marketing, lead generation, branding, and more!

How Can You Use White Papers In Your Content Marketing Strategy?

Below is a list of the different ways in which you can use your white paper as part of your content marketing strategy:

1. Generate leads

White papers can help you generate leads. They are normally used earlier in the sales cycle when the customer is still looking for the perfect solution.

Through its informative nature, a white paper helps to educate the client about the problem they are facing and what they need to do to solve the problem. After the solution to the problem is provided, an option to use a readymade solution is offered.

As all the informative content provided earlier in the white paper shows the reader that the company that produced the white paper knows what they are talking about.

By displaying their expertise, the company’s hope is that the reader will want to work with them – trusting their solution to them rather than trying to accomplish it on his/her own.

2. Improve your brand image

White papers don’t have to be just used for generating leads. They can also help you build a brand image by educating your readers. By exemplifying problems and their solutions, you can explain how your company is run or how you are managing a certain project.

A great example of this is a white paper by Carol Tice, which she wrote for a big software company. The white paper didn’t pitch a product or service to the reader. It simply educated the reader about how the company makes an effort to recycle computers.

This type of white paper not only helps build a good brand image – as in the above example, it showed that the company cares about the environment – but it also helps them generate new clients, as people who are passionate about protecting the environment will likely prefer to work with them.

3. Make your products or services stand out

Using a white paper you can show your clients that your product is better than your competitors. In the white paper you can analyse different types of services and their flaws and let your readers know how these problems could affect them.

After you have made the problems clear you could let your readers know what the best solution would be and write this solution in relation to your product or service. This will show your readers that your product or service is much better than your competitors and it will convince them to hire you.

An example is a white paper I wrote for an electrical services firm that offers its services to offices and homes. The white paper demonstrates to the reader why it’s better to use a proper firm that offers all services than to hire tiny firms or electricians who work on their own. This helps my client show potential customers that their service is the best option.

4. Build a mailing list

Having a mailing list is one of the most important requirements of a blog or a website as it can help increase traffic, build relationships and generate leads. Normally just trying to convince people to sign up to your mailing list can be an extremely hard task, but if you give them a free gift like a helpful white paper in exchange for signing up to your newsletter, you can considerably increase the number of subscribers you get.

How To Get Started With Writing White Papers

Writing white papers can seem like a daunting task, but by following the right tips and techniques, the process can be simplified.

A few tips to help you get started:

1. Read

Before you start writing white papers, you need to read all the information you can find about white papers. This includes books, blogs, and free guides you can find on the internet. This will help you learn a lot about white papers.

Another thing you could do is study well written white papers. This will help you learn more about what white papers are, how they are structured, how they are written, etc. Once you get to know how good white papers are written, you will find it easier to produce a quality one of your own.

2. Write

Once you know what white papers are and how they are written, you can start writing them. You can start writing your first white paper on an imaginary company or on your own company. This will give you some practice and experience to help you write better white papers in the future.

Writing can be divided into three parts:

a) Research

Before you do any actual writing you need to perform some research. Research can be in the form of reading and/or interviews. Read anything you can get hold of: website copy, other white papers, brochures, annual reports, articles, blogs, etc. Also interview the experts who work in your company. These experts can educate you about the product or service.

During this research process, find out more about the target audience and the best subject for your white paper.

During these interview and reading sessions make sure to take down notes of all the important points you come across that you think you could use in the white paper.

b) Structure

After you have gathered enough information for your white paper, you can outline its structure. A basic white paper structure starts with a headline, followed by an introduction. After the introduction the problems faced by the reader are discussed in detail and after that the solutions to the problems are discussed clearly. Finally, after the problems and the solutions comes the “persuasive brochure” section of the paper, which consists of the company information and product/service information.

c) Writing

Once you outline the structure and you know where all the information needs to be placed, you can start writing the white paper. Choosing the structure makes the writing part extremely easy. The writing part just consists of writing the content in the right places in the white paper. These are the places you’ve already decided while developing the structure.

After you finish writing the white paper, placing the appropriate content in the right places, you may find that you need to do some rearranging and rewriting so that all the elements flow logically. This final reworking and editing process will help ensure that your white paper is professional, educational and persuasive. You can then use your white in your content marketing, lead generation, and branding!

About the Author – Mitt Ray

Mitt Ray is the Director of imittcopy. He provides more white paper writing tips on his White Paper Blog, where you can download his free white paper on How to Write a White Paper Mitt is also the Founder of Social Marketing Writing where you can download his free guide, “How to Promote Yourself With Pinterest.” He is also the author of the book White Paper Marketing. You can follow him on Twitter @MittRay.

photo thanks to katerha (Kate Ter Haar)

SEO Content Marketing Roundup, Week Ending July 27th, 2011

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While the buzz around Google+ has quieted down somewhat, social media and search marketers are still humming about its potential and what it does and does not mean to Facebook. Meanwhile content marketers discuss all things content, from curation to chasms to conversions.  Take a moment and catch up with this week’s latest and greatest web writing news.

Content Marketing:

Content Marketing Institute shares its template for creating killer website content (complete with a free download).

Copyblogger posts why split testing is like sex in high school (a tutorial).

Cheryl Burgess questions whether Google+ is a digital disruption for CMOs at Blue Focus Marketing.

The content chasm dilemma is addressed at Content Marketing Institute, as is content marketing as a “force multiplier.”

iMedia Connection posts four “deliberately controversial” ad campaigns, while Copyblogger posts a clever read on mediocre blogging.

Seth Godin addresses defining “quality,” and how there is no such thing as business ethics.

Justin Rachwalksi, Strategy Lead at Google, (guest) posts “Ten Easy Ways to Improve Landing Page Conversions” at HubSpot.

SEO & Search:

Barry Schwartz (Search Engine Land) reports that it’s official: the Google Panda 2.3 is live.

Eric Ward (Search Engine Land) offers a primer on Google+, focusing on links and ranking.

Google’s negative ranking factors are the subject of the latest SEOmoz Whiteboard Friday presentation.

SEO by the Sea discusses how Google might rank pages based upon usage information.

Search Engine Journal posts YouTube video optimization (from a to z).

Level 343 posts why Google+ is not a Facebook killer, and Google’s bigger agenda is (also) discussed at Social Media Today.

Matt McGee (Search Engine Land) reports that Google has overhauled its “Places” page layout to emphasize reviews (by other Google users).

McGee also reports that StumbleUpon is testing a new “explore box” search tool.

So your website has been found…now what? Sid Smith (guest) posts smart marketing suggestions at SEO Copywriting.

Nick Stamoulis (guest) posts seven unbreakable SEO rules at Site Pro News.

Search Engine Land posts key principles to follow when examining keyword difficulty, and Search Engine Watch posts a similar piece on keyword selection.

Establishing clickthrough rates is the ambition tackled at SEOmoz.

B.S. SEO copywriting tips are the subject of the latest video post at SEO Copywriting.

Social Media Marketing:

Seven ways Google+ users are getting more out of their circles are posted at Mashable, and Kristi Hines discusses why she likes Google+ at Kikolani.

Gabriella Sannino discusses lead generation through Facebook at Level 343, and Mashable reports that Facebook has launched a site to help businesses with marketing.

Social Media Examiner posts six daily habits for Facebook marketing success.

Chris Brogan posts a thoughtful piece about influencers, and Kaila Strong asks if your brand would pass a social media background check at Vertical Measures.

A personal branding fail (and lessons to learn from it) is posted at Bruce Clay, Inc., while Mack Collier discusses 10 things to remember when creating a brand ambassador program.

GigaOm warns that if your news site isn’t social, great design won’t matter.

Social Media Examiner shares five tips for building a community management strategy.

The proliferation of self-proclaimed social media experts is the topic of Lee Odden’s post at Top Rank.

Jeff Bullas shares 11 facts and figures on Google+ growth at his blog.

Jay Baer posts how to calculate your blogging ROI in nine steps at Convince and Convert.

Using social media in online market research is discussed at Sexy Social Media.

Finally, Brian Solis posts why social media is not going to save your business.

SEO Content Marketing Roundup, Week Ending July 20th, 2011

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Oh boy, a new toy! Google Plus continues to capture (own?) the spotlight in this week’s latest and greatest Web writing news. Every kind of marketer – content, SEO, search, and social – has been playing with this Google+ gizmo, reporting their impressions, making comparisons, analyzing it, and finding applications. Meanwhile, other tasty marketing news and links beyond the big G(orilla)’s Plus awaits you.  Take a peek at this week’s picks:

Content Marketing:

Three ways to use Google Plus for content marketing is at Content Marketing Institute.

Copyblogger entertains the question of whether Google Plus is the ultimate content marketing platform.

BlogWorld posts a great, segmented summary of 101 brilliant bloggers’ takes on Google Plus.

eMarketer reports that the children of GenX-ers are key brand influencers, and how in-stream online video boosts brand recall.

John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing posts five types of content that every business should (must) employ at Small Business Newz.

HubSpot cites recent worldwide data showing that blogs are the “content type” most supportive of B2B marketing objectives, and how the evolution of pr “mingles” with content marketing.

Marketing Sherpa posts a case study of JetBlue’s re-marketing automated email triggers that’s generated 1,640-percent more revenue-per-email than promotional emails.

Kiss Metrics shares the findings of Google’s survey of over 600 B2B marketers regarding their 2011 marketing strategy, from budgets to ROI analysis.

Ian Lurie advises marketers (yet again) to speak carefully at Conversation Marketing.

SEO & Search:

Lee Odden discusses how SEO can work with content strategy at Top Rank, and why fixed vs. dynamic keywords for content marketing is not an either-or proposition.

Search Engine Journal posts how Google Plus’ +1 button is changing internet marketing with social media, and seven things you can do when your conversion funnel sucks.

Noting that Google Plus has all but monopolized (whoops) marketers’ collective attention, Level 343 levels a sharp review of the latest infatuation as well other significant updates as of July 18.

State of Search reports that Google Plus posts are now showing up in SERPs (“now to rank them.”)

In a similar thread, HubSpot posts five ways that Google Plus will influence search results.

Search Engine Watch posts that searching news has gone social (with Google News badges), and five reasons why Google Plus isn’t a Facebook killer. (Oh, and SEO is more alive than ever).

Citing results from the 2011 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) and e-business report, Search Engine Land posts that while Bing (et. al.) have gained in customer satisfaction, Facebook is near the bottom.

The latest “whiteboard Friday” SEOmoz presentation explores two dramatically different strategies for handling external linking.

Social Media Marketing:

Mark Burgess of Blue Focus Marketing posts getting your small business ready for Google Plus.

Google Plus’ quantum growth headlines Social Media Examiner’s weekly news. SME also posts four free tools to help you socially monitor your brand.

Social Media Today posts eight ways to make your corporate website more social.

Brian Solis writes that while Google+ will not run circles around Facebook, it gets a +1.

A 33-step guide on applying social media optimization to your blog is at Search Engine Watch.  Yep. 33.

Social Media Examiner posts a how-to on using Google Analytics to track tweets, Facebook likes, and more (i.e., Google+), as well as a video interview with Steve Rubel on hot trends in social media (globalization and real time).

Mashable shares a link to a directory of public G+ hangouts, and cites’s report that the number of G+ users is approaching 18 million as of July 20th , while its growth rate has diminished by 50-percent.

Ragan’s PR Daily reports a new Facebook study that reveals which posts tend to spark the most engagement.

GigaOm’s Mathew Ingram entertains the question of what Twitter users will do when ads hit their stream.

Speaking of invasive, eMarketer reports that consumers are split when it comes to social sign-on to retail sites.

SEO Content Marketing Roundup, Week Ending June 29th, 2011

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So have you managed to achieve page rank and social influence while keeping your integrity? Much talk about this (and much more) in this week’s latest and greatest web writing news. Content and search marketers, SEO and social media leaders alike address ethical marketing, as well as the inevitability of mobile marketing, Google’s plus initiatives, and social Klout. Here are this week’s picks…

Content Marketing:

Boost CTR posts its definitive list of the best blogs for marketing copywriters and content marketers, and Content Marketing Institute posts the key to content marketing.

HubSpot posts data supporting the primary reasons for mobile marketing, and eMarketer reports that mobile activities rival those of the pc for smartphone owners.

The alignment of beliefs and product as a marketing nirvana is posted at Conversation Marketing (Ian Lurie), while Seth Godin addresses marketing and consumer ethics via sunscreen.

So are you outstanding or just standing out? Great read by Gabriella Sannino at Level 343.

Much about content at HubSpot: how to easily create remarkable content with marketing personas, ways to instantly improve your content, and ways to extend the reach of existing content.

Vertical Measures discusses reputation management with steps to restore a positive web presence, while Heidi Cohen asks if your corporate communications miss the mark.

Michele Linn introduces a CMI contributor series on content marketing at Content Marketing Institute, first addressing what to outsource.

Marketing Sherpa’s research chart of the week features top email marketing metrics, and Sherpa also reports a case study on an email-triggered alert program with impressive open and click-thru results.

A smart five-step guide to becoming an “enchanting authority” is posted at Copyblogger, while Vertical Measures discusses why guest blogging is great for content marketing and brand awareness.

A case study on blogging tactics that increased traffic by 300-percent for a business is at HubSpot, while Heidi Cohen posts how to turn a professional blog into a “lead-generating machine.”

SEO & Search:

Keeping ‘em honest: Kristi Hines posts “Paying for Search Rankings – Is Everyone Doing It?” at Search Engine Watch.

SEOmoz’s latest “Whiteboard Friday” presentation is on how Google’s Panda update has changed SEO best practices forever.

Website Magazine posts that Google’s newest PageRank update (Panda 2.2) could be the most important ever, noting that it falls on the heels of its new toolbar. Hmmm.

Citing the recent antitrust investigation(s) into Google, Forbes’ columnist Daniel Fisher posts that the big G faces the big question of whether success is illegal.

Based on data from comScore, HubSpot reports that Google is the first company to reach 1 billion online views per month. (Yes. One. Billion.)

Lee Odden offers social SEO tips for large organizations at Top Rank, as well as social SEO for public relations pro’s (based on his recent #pr20 chat).

SEO Book posts a smart read on conversions (“turning traffic into customers”) while Level 343 asks if you’re practicing “converting conversation” in your online marketing.

More Google: Barry Schwartz (Search Engine Land) reports that Google is now showing “plus one” counts in local results, and discussing the same, Bas van den Beld warns to get ready for spam at State of Search.

Several notable posts from Search Engine Watch, among them a piece on performance-based SEO and SEO recommendations for more effective B2B website industry (markets) sections.

Six Revisions explores the potential impact of HTML5 on SEO, and Ian Lurie discusses ten cool features of Google Analytics (version 5) at Conversation Marketing.

Social Media Marketing:

Social influence headlines Social Media Examiner’s weekly wrap-up, including Klout coming to Facebook.

Mack Collier posts impressive #blogchat stats, while HubSpot posts five “amazing” Foursquare stats via infographic.

Search Engine Watch also reports on Foursquare’s quantum (1,000-percent annual) growth as it hits 10 million users.

Mashable posts an infographic showing the global use of social networks.

Heidi Cohen guest posts “forget social media ROI” at ClickZ, while Marketing Sherpa posts eight tactics to measure and improve Facebook results.

Facebook how-to’s: Mashable posts how to claim your business on Facebook Places, Search Engine Land posts how to read/use Facebook analytics, and HubSpot posts seven steps to increase your Facebook fans.

Michael Stelzner interviews Jason Falls (Social Media Explorer) on how mobile is changing social media at Social Media Examiner.

iMedia Connection posts five market-moving trends in social couponing (beyond Groupon).

David Meerman Scott discusses how to tie in social media with email marketing in his weekly HubSpot video post.

Mack Collier discusses the importance of finding your unique blogging style, and Convince and Convert features a guest post on the secrets of social media that you likely learned in high school.

Finally, eMarketer posts data showing how social media marketing  continues to prove its worth as a marketing channel by bringing in new revenues and customers.

SEO Content Marketing Roundup, Week Ending June 22nd, 2011

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Happy Solstice!  The breadth and depth of this week’s latest and greatest Web writing news has all the makings of a long summer’s day.  Welcome insights into content and social media marketing, as well as new perspectives into SEO and search, await you with these choice picks…

Content Marketing:

Garrett French posts a great read sharing 17 tips for tip-based content, from research to scaling to promotion, at Search Engine Watch.

Lee Odden discusses the effective use of keywords (“keyword intelligence”) in content marketing at Top Rank.

Five steps to building a solid (B2B) content marketing foundation are posted at B2Bbloggers.

From SES Toronto is a discussion about smart mobile marketing at TopRank, while iMediaConnection presents five “awesome” website redesigns.

George Passwater details five ways to use your analytics to find content marketing opportunities at SEO Copywriting (and cited by Open View Partners).

Michael Stelzner is featured on the latest (HubSpot) Inbound Now with how content can launch your business to new heights.

eMarketer reports on the continued consolidation of the online advertising market, citing relative shares among the top five players.

Content Marketing Institute posts a clever bento-box piece of inspiration on improving content design.

SEO & Search:

With the official arrival of Google’s Panda 2.2 update, Danny Sullivan discusses why it is more of a ranking factor than an algorithm update at Search Engine Land.

On a related note, Search Engine Watch posts the top five SEO survival tips come the big G’s Panda 2.2 update, while three SEO ranking factors to watch in 2011 are posted at HubSpot (citing the SEOmoz Survey).

Heather Lloyd-Martin (guest) posts on the options for SEO content creation at Bruce Clay, Inc., while aligning SEO with marketing is posted at Search Engine Watch.

Level 343 posts a smart read on website conversion (“forget about the obvious.”)

Search Engine Journal posts why you can’t ignore

Search Engine Land compares/contrasts Facebook’s “like” with Google’s +1, and Danny Sullivan (Search Engine Land) posts how Google is pushing its Google profiles via “Me on the Web” (as in, take that, Facebook).

SEOmoz posts a new perspective on link building, and Tom Crtichlow of Distilled invites Ross Hudgens on board for the SEOmoz Whiteboard Friday presentation on scaling link building.

Debra Mastaler posts three common link building questions (answered by four experts) at Search Engine Land, and SEO Book posts how to make links more valuable with “The True Value of Links.”

Google’s “secret plan to kill Groupon” with “Google Offers” in New York and San Francisco is posted at Business Insider.

Search Engine Watch posts “mining the right keyword mix” for effective SEM campaigns.

Social Media Marketing:

From SES Toronto, Top Rank posts Marty Weintraub’s (aimClear) presentation on “killer Facebook (behavioral) targeting tactics.”

eMarketer reports that Facebook (U.S.) display ad revenues are projected to nearly double this year, pushing it past Yahoo as the #1 display ad selling company.

Social Media Examiner posts 12 social media tools recommended by the pros, and whether Klout is a good judge of your social media influence.

Marketing Sherpa posts its weekly research chart, showing the top tactics for effective social media marketing.

Search Engine Watch posts four steps to measuring social media ROI with Google Analytics.

Ann Smarty discusses how to use WPBook to integrate your blog with your Facebook page and group at Search Engine Journal.

Mashable acknowledges the upcoming Social Media Day by asking readers how social media has changed their lives.

35 Brian Solis “truisms” about social business smarts and consumer insights are captured by Lee Odden at Top Rank.

Brian Solis pens “The Hashtag Economy” at his site.

Finally, Jay Baer posts four keys to turning negative commenters into brand advocates at Convince and Convert.

SEO Content Marketing Roundup, Week Ending June 15th, 2011

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Looking for answers? Need some expert advice? Well you’re at the right place, because this week’s latest and greatest web writing news is positively crammed with counsel.  From improving the quality of your content to making search sociable and social searchable, it’s all here, dear reader, whatever your preferred venue: social media, content, SEO, and/or search.  Go on now and get some answers, hand-selected just for you.

Content Marketing:

Need a cure for the boring, useless content blues?  Check out this post from Copyblogger. It might help.

Speaking of useless, what (if any and under what conditions) is the role of content farms for content marketers?  Read more at Content Marketing Institute.

Lee Odden presents a five-step model for a killer B2B content marketing strategy by combining search and social at ClickZ.

HubSpot posts five ways inbound marketing drives B2B e-commerce.

Five tips for improving your headline click-through rates are at Content Marketing Institute.

The top five reasons why mobile sites fail are at iMedia Connection, and avoiding mobile site “suckage” is posted at ClickZ.

Six Revisions addresses the significance of smart design and strong content for website conversions, and HubSpot discusses the “science” behind website redesign and shares a handy “cheat sheet.”

eMarketer reports the relative stat’s of search and video advertising spending, saying that U.S. online ad spending is poised to grow by 20-percent this year.

Mashable reports that online display (banner) ad spending jumped 14.6-percent in the first quarter of 2011.

On the subject of online ads, Content Marketing Institute posts a step-by-step guide to using Facebook ads for content marketing.

Do you consider yourself a content strategist? Or is that just a new term for an SEO copywriter?  Join the discussion at SEO Copywriting.

Seth Godin pens a smart read about the inevitable trend towards free content at his blog. (It defies a brief description. You’ll just have to read it).

And by the way, a most favorable review of Sherpa’s 2011 B2B Marketing Advanced Practices Handbook is posted at Top Rank.

SEO & Search:

Vertical Measures discusses the whole concept behind (itself covered in some detail in last week’s roundup), explaining that it is a way to tell search engines what your content means.

SEOmoz addresses whether Google uses Facebook shares to influence search rankings, while Bernie Borges posts why shareable content is the new SEO king at Find and Convert’s (Optimize This) blog.

Search Engine Land posts an interesting read about using personas and scenarios in SEO, while Search Engine Watch notes the significance of social SEO with “Getting Creative with SEO.”

Heather Lloyd-Martin (guest) posts the delightful and educational “Ten SEO Myths, Mistakes and Conversion-Sucking Monsters” at WordStream.

Gabriella Sannino (Level 343) draws a tasty allegory between fast food and clients’ SEO expectations with “SEO Fast Food: I’ll take #1 ranking with that, but hold the long tail.”

A truly exceptional read on whether SEO is “irreducibly complex” is at SEO Book

A few notable reports from last week’s SMX Advanced Seattle: Matt McGee of Search Engine Land reports that Google’s Panda Update 2.2 is coming soon (scrapers beware) and gives a liveblog account of social data search with Bing Director Stefan Weitz.

Also from SMX Advanced, Lauren Litwinka reports on actionable local SEO tactics at aimClear.

More recently, from SES Toronto, is this intriguing piece on keyword forensics at Top Rank.

Ian Lurie discusses website quality as a ranking factor at Conversation Marketing, and Search Engine Watch posts SEO for small businesses.

Website Magazine features an article on inbound link prospecting, while SEOmoz discusses link building management.

Finally, Mack Collier ponders the relative impact of blog post frequency vs. keywords in posts on search traffic.

Social Media Marketing:

Mashable reports that Facebook growth actually slowed in the U.S. and Canada over April and May, but the up side is that its IPO (coming in 2012) could be worth $100 billion, says Search Engine Land.

Mashable reports that Facebook turned on facial recognition for tagging by default, and Sexy Social Media discusses the resultant pr fallout for the social media behemoth.

Facebook’s default facial recognition initiative is also covered in Social Media Examiner’s weekly news, as is Twitter now automatically shortening links for users.

Social Media Examiner also posts the “ultimate” bloggers guide to SEO, as well as new research supporting why your company should use brand advocates.

In a related post, Mack Collier uses Delta Airline’s latest pr episode to illustrate the need to engage your brand advocates.

How Southwest Airlines is connecting with consumers via social media is posted via interview at Social Media Examiner, and {grow} examines the anatomy of a truly social business.

Are you on LinkedIn?  Then according to Mashable, you’ve got klout.

Website Magazine reports a survey in which 60-percent of respondents indicate that LinkedIn is the “most important” social network.

Citing the sad case of Congressman Anthony Weiner, Heidi Cohen posts social media guidelines in the age of exposure.

Twitter’s been handed the keys to the Apple iOS kingdom, as discussed at TechCrunch.

Copyblogger posts steps to client prospecting on Twitter, while eMarketer reports that Twitter users want businesses to “answer them” on that platform.

Finally, Mack Collier posts why social media is not a contingency plan for having a shitty product.

5 ways to use analytics to find content marketing opportunities

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Guest Author, George Passwater



Socially challenged.

These are the stereotypes that come to mind when mentioning statistics or those who love digging through analytics. I may get the strange look from the occasional stranger, (maybe it’s my rugged good looks?), but I’m far from being the poster child for the Revenge of the Nerds movies.

With so many ways to find ideas for effective content marketing, we often forget to check the hard data. Sure, we look at it to see how many visitors we get or how many widgets we sell, but many overlook the goldmine of content ideas laying in analytics.

With such a limitless source of information, it’s hard to condense it all in one space, but I am going to give you 5 of the top areas to consider when looking for content marketing ideas through your analytics.

5 Ways Analytics Gives You Content Marketing Opportunities

1. Keywords

If you’re looking to generate more visibility and top ranking searchable content, the keywords section of your analytics is one of the first places to look. Here, you analyze what’s working and what isn’t, while finding other opportunities you may not see in your current SEO efforts.

For instance, finding out your site ranks high for the term “writing for tribbles” may excite or confuse you. I personally like a good tribble post, but to each their own.

To find out what keyword phrases people use to get to your site and how they can help you with creating content, consider:

  • What keyword phrases attract the most traffic to your site? Does content surrounding those keywords bring in more traffic to your site? I smell a topic to focus on here.
  • Do you have high conversion rates of pages with high-ranking keyword phrases? There’s opportunity for products, services or more content in them search results.
  • Do a search on keyword phrases that show consistent traffic in your analytics, but add “how to” or “how do I” in front of them. Do you see even more opportunities here?

2. Top Content

Now, not everyone will hit a home run on every piece of content they produce, but it’s better to have a winning percentage than the alternative.  To key in on the winning content from your site, look at the top content area in your analytics and ask yourself these questions:

  • How long does a reader stay on a page in this category?
  • Does a reader bounce from this page or click-through to additional content in the site?
  • What elements are common with the top content? Headline? Subheads? Formatting? Keyword phrase rich titles? Photos or video? Links from or to other sites?

3. Bounce Rate

In web analytics, bounce rate is the percentage of site readers who enter your site on a particular page and leave without clicking through to other site pages. In other words, it’s a very important statistic to look at when you’re analyzing your site for content marketing opportunities.

When you look at which pages have lower or higher bounce rates, consider some factors to pull out for creating new content:

  • Where did they come from? (No, not on a intergalactic sense, but what site did they come from?) Was it a search engine? What did they search for?
  • How long did they stay on your page before they bounced out?
  • Is the bounce rate higher or lower for new vs. returning site visitors?
  • What pages have lower or higher bounce rate? What type of content or keyword phrases did you optimize those pages for?

Just remember this: higher bounce rates are usually considered bad. This isn’t always the case; it just depends on the type of content or purpose of that page. If you have a high rate on a squeeze page with no conversions, then, yes, you need to go back and see what’s causing that behavior.

4. Referrers

Now, if you’re doing a good job at promoting your content, not only will you get high positioning in search and social, but others will link and talk about you on their own sites.

No, I’m not talking about your cousin’s extreme shopping cart demolition video extravaganza site or your Dad’s bass fishing blog – I’m talking about those sites who are relevant to your content.

For optimal results and if you were in, say the content marketing arena, you would want top sites referring traffic to you like highly respected sites, like

So, when you’re looking at your analytics, look at what referrers send you traffic and how you can use those stats to create your own content.

  • What’s the focus of that site? Is it relevant to your site?
  • What specific information did the referring URL cover? Was it optimized for specific keyword phrases? What was its ranking on that keyword phrase?
  • Was the referrer a blog? Did that page have lots of comments? Did they answer the comments? Look at some ideas in the comments.
  • Did the referrer have a hook to it? Great headline, video or some sort of interactive element?

5. Email

Do you have an email newsletter? Do you create email content to a targeted list? If you do, there are valuable statistics in your email marketing.

Now, I have my own email marketing campaigns and I find loads of valuable information in how my readers interact with those messages. Although my Sponge Bob for president fan club email list (it’s really for my kids, not me!) may have different behaviors, look closely at:

  • Look at open rates – how many people opened your email? What was the topic? How about the subject line? Did you link to your site or keep them just in email?
  • Who opened your email? Are they consistently opening every message you send? What elements get them to open your emails? This is an opportunity for possible list for different content for different members of your lists.
  • What’s your click-through rate from email messages? Do they bounce from that click-through page or go deeper into your site? What was the common element?

Content Through Analytics

When you’re looking for ideas to create some kick butt content, statistics and combing through data isn’t boring – it helps you create opportunities

If you identify each opportunity to create new or enhance existing content, you will have a limitless amount of inspiration for your content marketing efforts.

George Passwater enjoys helping businesses succeed with online marketing strategies.

SEO Content Marketing Roundup, Week Ending June 8th, 2011

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Intriguing… Google, Bing and Yahoo are harmoniously collaborating on structured data via, Google’s +1 button has arrived, and Facebook now recognizes faces…these and other interesting new developments run throughout this week’s latest and greatest Web writing news, from content and social media marketing, SEO and search. Catch the newest twists and turns:

Content Marketing:

Lee Odden of Top Rank is introducing a new weekly series of posts on tactics for marketers to use, starting with the definition of content marketing.

Speaking of definitions, HubSpot posts what “blogging” actually means (via David Meerman Scott’s weekly video), as well as seven reasons why your blog isn’t growing.

Content Marketing Institute shares what’s working for their corporate blogging with five keys to motivate your employee bloggers, and posts three reasons your white paper is failing.

Outstanding brand blogs to check out are posted at iMedia Connection, while Copyblogger features a guest post by Michael Stelzner on growing your blog with the power of experts.

No matter your market, Ian Lurie (guest) posts why you need to create content with his trademark humor at SEO Copywriting, while six reasons why your content isn’t spreading as far as it should are at Search Engine Journal.

Marketing Sherpa posts its weekly research chart, the best metrics for delivering marketing value to the C-Suite, and a case study of a website redesign with truly impressive results.

And speaking of websites, the word to webmasters from Google Retail (“your app is not mobile strategy”) is to build a mobile version of their websites already, via Search Engine Journal.

Creating more targeted conversion opportunities for lead generation is posted at HubSpot, as are three secrets to optimizing landing page copy.

Finally, five quotes for analytics success are posted at ClickZ.

SEO & Search:

Google, Bing and Yahoo each report that they have united in making search listings richer through structured data, or html tags, with the introduction of

Deciphering what all this means are posts at Search Engine Land, SEOmoz, and TechCrunch.

Apple’s launch of the iCloud is another newsy development: GigaOm post an interesting read on what powers the iCloud and HubSpot posts a marketer’s guide to the cloud.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ authorized biography (iSteve: The Book of Jobs) is not due to be released until March of next year, but it’s available for pre-order from Amazon and Apple’s iBookstore.

From Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land: Google has announced via its blogs and at SMX Advanced (Seattle) that it will be incorporating search query data from its Webmaster tools with Google Analytics (now in a pilot program stage).

SEOmoz has released its 2011 SEO ranking factors survey, further discussed by Matt McGee at Search Engine Land.

From the Panda perspective, Adam Audette posts an overview of major SEO factors at Search Engine Watch

Danny Sullivan has developed a remarkable, demystifying “periodic table of SEO ranking factors,” posted as a series at Search Engine Land.

Top Rank’s Lee Odden posts the three phases of Social Media SEO, and Search Engine Watch features a success story of connected search and social marketing (social being YouTube) by Greg Jarboe.

Meanwhile, Brian Massey pens “How Mark Zuckerberg Stole Your Search Traffic and What to Do About It” at Search Engine Land, and Ben Elowitz (guest) posts how Facebook can put Google out of business at TechCrunch.

Eric Ward (Search Engine Land) notes key problems with current social link graph signals.

Of those current social link graph signals is Google’s +1 button for virtually all web content, discussed by Matt McGee at Search Engine Land, and by Ian Lurie at Conversation Marketing.

Finally, Level 343 posts a great read: “What kind of SEO are YOU?”

Social Media Marketing:

“Groupon and the online deal revolution” is posted at eMarketer.

A list of the world’s 24 largest social networks is also at HubSpot.

The ultimate guide to Facebook marketing is posted at Copyblogger, and Entrepreneur posts a how-to on promoting your business blog with social media.

Search Engine Land posts five “truly creative” uses of social media, and SEOmoz shares eight tips for blogger outreach.

eMarketer reports that the benefits of social media marketing for small businesses rivals those of email marketing.

SEO Content Marketing Roundup, Week Ending June 1st, 2011

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Herding cats: this aptly describes the challenge faced by online marketers in this week’s latest and greatest web writing news. Marketers from the once seemingly disparate fields of content, SEO, social, and search convene in discussions on how to optimize social content for SEO, how to socialize SEO copy, how search is becoming ever more social, etc. More often than not, the strategies offered seem to involve “holistic marketing” and “integrated approaches.” An ambition nearly as daunting as herding cats, and all the more interesting for that very reason…Here’s this week’s picks:

Content Marketing:

Lee Odden discusses blog marketing strategy with seven steps to social SEO success at Top Rank.

Shelly Bowen demonstrates four ways a content strategy saves you money at her pybop site.

How to start a corporate blog is at Vertical Measures.

ClickZ features a post by Heidi Cohen on 10 ways to improve your blog’s effectiveness.

Heidi Cohen also discusses making your content mobile-friendly at Content Marketing Institute.

Brand Dignity shares tips for increasing your online influence, while online reputation no-no’s (five ways you’re offending online customers) are at Search Engine Watch.

Brian Massey follows up his post on landing page basics with how to find the right copywriter for your landing pages at Content Marketing Institute.

eMarketer posts how the internet radio audience gives marketers more targeting opportunities, and iMedia Connection posts why everything you know about demographics is wrong.

Intriguing posts from Neuromarketing, including critical thinking about neuromarketing, and getting closer to the “buy button” of the brain.

The three levels of blended content are discussed via guest post at Convince and Convert, while four reasons why your content marketing strategy sucks are discussed via guest post at Level 343.

Seth Godin posts “all economics is local,” and Ian Lurie discusses what “freakish and frumpy aircraft” can teach the internet marketer at Conversation Marketing.

SEO & Search:

It’s now official: the Google +1 button for websites arrives today (June 1st), reports Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land.

Danny Sullivan also posts a great “Matt Cutts debunking” decision-tree’ish flowchart.  Fun read!

Meanwhile, Search Engine Land’s Matt McGee posts a live Google webchat in which Matt Cutts “riffs” on JC Penney, the Panda update, and confirms that Google will use +1 activity to influence its search results.

Mashable posts a live blog that recaps Google’s unveiling of its new mobile payment system, Google Wallet, as well as Google Offers details.

Lisa Wehr of Oneupweb posts that Bing has enhanced its social search even further at iMedia Connection.

What search engine marketers can learn from Google Adwords tests and  changes is posted at Search Engine Watch, as are 13 websites for search engine and browser market share statistics.

SEObook posts free SEO competitive domain research tools for top ranking Google websites, and iMedia Connection raves about the “supercharged Google utility” (Google Commerce Search 3.0) for ecommerce sites.

On the subject of ecommerce, Search Engine Watch posts “Winning Multinational ecommerce SEO Strategies,” and “Inhouse SEO Roles Grow Among Internet Retailer’s Top 500.”

WordStream posts the difference between keywords and search queries, and SEOmoz posts actionable link-building strategies.

And speaking of SEOmoz and linking, Rand Fishkin posts headsmacking tip #20:  “Don’t ask sites for links. Find people and connect.”

Great read at Search Engine Land by Julie Joyce on paid links (“What the Link Value Economy Hath Wrought”) as well as a candid post on how to get free unique content with customer product reviews.

Finally, HubSpot reports data showing that 68-percent of marketers did a website redesign in the last 12 months, largely driven by their marketing team.

Social Media Marketing:

Twitter’s launch of a new follow button for websites is discussed at HubSpot, as is YouTube’s 6th birthday, celebrated with 3 billion views per day and other monster stats.

Wicked smart read by Lee Odden of Top Rank, on social media (non-)strategy with “consultants, experts, and gurus (oh my)!”

Marketing Sherpa posts its latest weekly research chart showing that firms continue to substantially increase their social media marketing budgets.

Copyblogger posts 16 smart(er) ways to use LinkedIn as a B2B marketing tool for building your business, and Webbiquity (B2B Marketing Blog) posts why trust is crucial for business success and how to build it.

Jay Baer (slide)shares his Social Media Summit 2011 presentation on the 6-step process for measuring social media at Convince and Convert.

Content Marketing Institute post three keys to creating social media content that converts, and three key metrics to measure social media success are posted at Search Engine Watch.

eMarketer posts how social shoppers share local deals.

The top five Twitter tools for social media community managers are posted Social Media Examiner, and eight “must-know” tips on how to run a quality Facebook page are shared at The Next Web.

More data from Dan Zarrella at HubSpot, indicating that asking for the retweet with “please retweet” works, generating four times more retweets.  (It also works better than “please RT.” Go figure).

Mashable posts an infographic on the (brief) history of advertising on Twitter.

Finally, Brian Solis discusses how new media is changing the world of event marketing with “Power to the People: A New Mantra of Business.”

SEO Content Marketing Roundup, Week Ending May 25th, 2011

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Are you doing the right thing? This seems to be the big question punctuating this week’s latest and greatest Web writing news, as Google’s house-cleaning continues to color discussion among SEO and search professionals, and content and social media marketers weigh in on the right way to pursue (and measure) success in their respective spheres. Do the right thing now, and catch up with this week’s righteous selections…

Content Marketing:

It’s back to landing page conversion basics with this Content Marketing Institute guest post by Brian Massey, while Copyblogger’s radio podcast addresses marketing the old-fashioned way (earning it).

Lee Odden delineates 11 ways to effectively promote infographic content at TopRank, while Kristi Hines posts simple Twitter searches to spark content ideas at Vertical Measures.

Gary Vaynerchuk posts tip #3 (in his ongoing video blog series) on succeeding in the thank you economy at Open Forum.

Great post (and pdf download) by Shelly Bowen on “content strategy deliverables” at pybop.

What do Chris Brogan and Madonna have in common?  The answer’s at HubSpot (via video interview with Chris Brogan).

Five strategies for maximizing your site’s conversion rate are posted at Mashable, while six “mobile-important” marketing questions are answered at HubSpot.

Seven ways to rescue your business blog from the blahs are offered at ProBlogger.

A streamlined approach to completely rebranding a company is posted at iMedia Connection, and Copyblogger posts how your own worst enemy can become the key to your blogging authority.

eMarketer ponders whether fewer online marketing channels may be better for smaller businesses (with interesting supporting stats), and reports that tablets beat smartphones for online shopping and purchases.

Meanwhile, Jakob Nielsen posts “iPad Usability Year One” at’s Alertbox.

Speaking of interesting stats, HubSpot offers a free download of its 100 “awesome” marketing stats, charts, graphs, and data, divided into six chapters.  (You know, when you have that free moment…)

Citing eMarketer data, HubSpot also reports that a respectable 60-percent of social media messages are links to published content.

Kinda wild: Neuromarketing reports a study showing that an Apple evangelist’s brain reacts to Apple images the same way a religious fanatic’s brain might react to “god.”  (Then follows up with rational discussion).

Finally, Kiss Metrics posts why you should build a sitemap before turning your site over to the designers.

SEO & Search:

On the theme of doing the right thing:  Dr. Pete discusses marketing ethics beyond black/white hat SEO (“persuasion vs. manipulation”) at SEOmoz.

And by the way, Matt McGee of Search Engine Land reports that 90 days after being penalized by Google, JC Penney has regained its rankings.

And speaking of Matt McGee, his interview by Elise Redlin-Cook is posted at Vertical Measures.

Gabriella Sannino guest posts on how the New York Times has become the self-appointed Google SEO bulldog at grow map, and discusses SEO as focused marketing (as opposed to a gaming of Google) at Level 343.

SEOmoz posts “21 content types to share with Google,” as well as a great how-to on site audits.

Lee Odden posts two great reads at Top Rank:  one on dominating your niche with social SEO and blogging, and the second on core content SEO tools.

Marketing Sherpa posts how to serve two markets with one page through landing page optimization.

Ian Lurie posts how to do keyword research (that doesn’t suck) at Conversation Marketing, and Heather Lloyd-Martin explains why the persistent question of keyword density is moot at SEO Copywriting

Mobile SEO tips are shared at SEOmoz (whiteboard Friday presentation), while State of Search posts an infographic of the 10 commandments of linkbuilding (complete with the stone tablets).

More on “Google doesn’t laugh” (originally posted at The Atlantic) is at, and Matt McGee reports that the big G’s search team finally got its own blog (“Inside Search”) at Search Engine Land.

Takeaway’s from “SEO for the Connected Consumer” are posted at Top Rank, and HubSpot posts seven ways to integrate search engine and social media marketing.

More takeaway’s, these from Distilled’s Pro SEO seminar in Boston, are posted at Vertical Measures.

Social Media Marketing:

How to use social media for SEO is posted by Nick Stamoulis at Site Pro News.

eMarketer ponders what’s next for LinkedIn (post IPO) and discusses Facebook success beyond the “like.”

iMedia Connection shares five tips for building a “super sticky” Facebook page, and Marty Weintraub of aimClear posts the best kept secret of Facebook ads at Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Land reports that YouTube’s “first watch” program is creating a “massive reach” for video ads.

Eight brands that have found success on Facebook are at Mashable, and Marketing Sherpa posts a webinar replay of how CMO’s are monetizing social media and measuring ROI.

Chris Brogan posts a brief how-to on powering up your LinkedIn profile, and Jay Baer presents a new way to calculate what Facebook is worth to your business at Convince and Convert.

The four key elements for measuring social media via Hootsuite analytics are posted at Level 343, while Webbiquity wonders what B2B social media success looks like.

The Next Web reports that Facebook is testing a new page recommendation tool, and Mashable reports on Twitter’s new retweet email notification service.

And finally, Sexy Social Media ponders Twitter’s impact on news coverage.