Africa’s biggest retirement fund administrator, Alexander Forbes, on Thursday became the 11th company to list on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) this year.The company’s return to the bourse’s main board followed its delisting in 2007, when it was bought by a private equity consortium for R8.2-billion.It listed with a market capitalisation of around R10.9-billion – putting it into the top 25% of companies listed on the JSE – and saw its stock jump by 14 percent to R8.55 a share by 9.15am.The listing was preceded by a R3.7-billion public offering last week – South Africa’s largest flotation in four years, according to news agency Reuters.“Investors were drawn by the regular income from its pension management and insurance businesses, and the potential for growth in sub-Saharan Africa, where financial services are still developing,” Reuters reported.The company is a leading employee benefits consulting, actuarial, investment and administration services provider and retirement fund administrator, with R275-billion in assets under administration as at the end of March this year.Alexander Forbes brings the number of financial services companies listed on the JSE to 28. “We are delighted to welcome Alexander Forbes back to the JSE, where it lists in the financial services sector, one of the most vibrant on the JSE,” JSE CEO Nicky Newton-King said in a statement.Statistics South Africa (SSA) estimates that the country’s financial services sector created 13 000 new jobs in the 2013/14 financial year, and currently employs over 1.8-million people.The JSE is Africa’s biggest bourse, and one of the top 20 exchanges in the world in terms of market capitalisation.SAinfo reporter
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about the update cycle. The last known update to the public Google PageRank number (as shown via the toolbar and tools like WebsiteGrader.com), was around April 30th 2007. So, as I write this article, it has been over 4 months since the last update. In all the time that I’ve been watching the Google PageRank updates, this is the longest lapse I’ve seen. This likely means that we’re going to see an update “any day now”. Measuring SEO 2. Updates happen inconsistently (you never really know when the next one is coming) Most SEO experts are of the opinion that the Google PageRank number that is available to the public (often known as the “toolbar PageRank”) is not very important. The toolbar PR (TBPR) is the number shown via the Google Toolbar and other software applications (like WebsiteGrader.com’s Originally published Sep 10, 2007 11:22:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 If you’re interested in knowing when the next Google PageRank update happens, I have a simple solution for you. Just 3. It’s a coarse number (0-10 — no fractions) in comparison to the “internal” PageRank number Google uses for its ranking algorithm. SEO Report First off, if you don’t know what Google PageRank is, then here’s a quick So, although Google PageRank has its limitations, it continues to be monitored and cited (if you’re in the market for buying a website, one of the things you’ll likely look at is the Google PageRank of the site). All of these are legitimate reasons that do indeed severely limit the utility of the public Google PageRank. However, this number continues to be interesting to many folks primarily because it is the simplest abstraction that can easily be accessed to determine the general “authority” for a given web page. It factors in the two most important things from an SEO perspective: The number of inbound links to a given web page and the power/authority of those links. Topics: What does this mean to you? If you have a relatively new site, or have just started getting meaningful inbound links recently, don’t fret if your Google PageRank is zero. Since there hasn’t been an update in a while, chances are your current PR (or lack thereof) is simply based on the old data. Once the update occurs, you should see yourself move up. WebsiteGrader.com is currently at a PR5 (which is not bad), but I expect the site to jump to a PR6 as it has more powerful links than some of our other sites which already have a PR6. introduction to Google PageRank register for this site and we’ll send you a quick email when the update happens. We monitor hundreds of websites on behalf of our users, so when the change happens, we’ll likely be one of the first ones to know — and so will you. . SEO experts think Google PageRank is not a particularly meaningful number for a variety of reasons: . 1. Updates happen infrequently (every few months) Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
“Don’t Miss Out!” Redbook says bluntly below the happiness blurb, while the 7 Secrets and Superfood teasers intone a more subtle message: if you don’t pick up this magazine you’re going to miss something important. Gotcha! Flipping through the pages (people read from front to back, but they usually flip from back to front), you’ll notice that everything is compartmentalized into bite-sized nuggets. Women’s magazine editors worked in units of single pages and 100-words sound bites. Wherever possible, articles are deconstructed into chunks, which are given their own headlines or dressed up with images. Editors call these “points of entry,” and they’re a valuable tool to snag readers and keep them on the page. The longer a reader stays, the more likely it is she’ll buy the magazine. 2. Create Points of Entry. Originally published Dec 22, 2008 9:50:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 1. Hit readers in the gut. The Superfood You Shouldn’t Skip Download the free webinar Webinar: Blogging for Business Secrets of Social Media Marketing Ronald Reagan demonstrated, to the chagrin of his critics, that a single anecdote can overwhelm mountains of statistics. TV stations know that the video clip of the grieving parent or joyous lottery winner is better than all the economic analysis in the world. When seeking to make a point, find an anecdote that crystallizes the message. Let it set the scene for you. Live Well On Less With the possible exception of the recipe and home sections, nearly every spread in Redbook features at least one face. And these are happy people. The women, along with a few gorgeous men, are all smiling, gazing contentedly into the distance or glancing seductively at the reader. These are people you want to meet. It’s no surprise that humans respond strongly to the faces of other humans. We do this from birth. So when you take a photo for your website, forget about the background and zoom in on the person’s expression. and the newly-published Pick up any women’s magazine and you’ll find the words “I,” “me,” “you,” “our” and “us” spread all over it, particularly in headlines. Should I Ditch This Friend? asks one Redbook Q&A. Find your Power at Work advises another. Even Redbook’s sections — Your Pretty Life, Your Healthy Life, Your Love Life, Your Home Life, Just for You, etc. — reinforce the fact that these articles deliver the content to the reader’s front door. People don’t just want information; they want to know how information affects them. Headlines like these are the publishing equivalent of looking someone in the eye. Speaking to people in personal terms makes the content more conversational, personal and relevant. It works. 5. Tell stories. to learn how to create a thriving inbound marketing blog. How Do Ditch Your Debt For Good , an author, speaker and writer who advises businesses on online marketing. He is the author of This article is a guest post by A Profile Of Cover Girl Tricia Yearwood Now let’s have a look inside. Paul Gillin What Happy Women Know These same tactics can work online. Callouts, sidebars, pull-quotes, Q&As and other visual tools break up rivers of text and give readers more starting points to engage with the content. Note: this isn’t about sprinkling random icons into your copy. It’s about segmenting content and signposting it with relevant words and images that attract attention. The New Influencers: A Marketer’s Guide to Social Media This cover has another subtle incentive to draw in readers: fear. Fear is one of the most potent tools publishers use to sell content: fear of failing, fear of rejection and fear of not knowing. 4. Show faces, not scenes. Publishers of women’s magazines have wrestled for years with the same problems that Web publishers confront today: how to grab the attention of a distracted audience in just a few seconds and convince them to become regular readers. Fall’s Best Love-Your-Body Looks Cover stories are everything to women’s publishers. The choice of what to feature on the cover of each month’s issue is the product of years of reader research, and it’s intended to stop passersby in their tracks. Here are Redbook’s September choices: These selections span the issues that matter to Redbook’s audience: diet, money, relationships, personal happiness and fashion. Three of the cover blurbs are meant to tantalize (Seven Secrets, Superfood and What Happy Women Know) and three others to appeal to the get-my-life-in-order instinct (Live Well, Love Your Body and Ditch Your Debt). The cover practically shouts at you that the September Redbook will make you happier, thinner, richer and better in bed. Is it any surprise that variations of these same topics adorn the covers of nearly every women’s magazine? Want to learn more about publishing a blog on your business website? While the media may be different, a lot of the tactics that the women’s magazines use to entice people in checkout lines also work online. So I stole a recent copy of Redbook from my gym (you don’t think I pay for this material, do you?) and scanned it for ideas. Here are five lessons we can learn from the September, 2008 issue. There’s one other tactic magazine publishers use that you won’t ever have to worry about: those dumb subscription cards that fall out of the middle of the magazine and land on the floor. They’re called blow-in cards, and everybody hates them, even the publishers who use them. Unfortunately, they’re also one of the most effective circulation tools ever invented. Sometimes annoyance sells, too. The Seven Secrets to Lasting Love 3. Speak directly to the reader. Have you ever noticed that nearly every feature article in the lifestyle magazines begins with an anecdote? Half the time, the tales are even fictitious. It doesn’t matter. People respond to stories about other people. Stories are the most powerful way to communicate a message, particularly when combined with the other four secrets I’ve mentioned. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
whose product is their content ‘s did for their Digital Marketing Mixer in Chicago. By allowing people who did not attend the conference to view some of the talks, it increased awareness for their conference and perhaps will even help registration for 2010. For authors, your offering might be an eBook. For HubSpot’s 1) Consider your blog articles “free samples.” Here are a few ideas: . Many folks will download the Kindle version, spread the word about your product, and write reviews. Meanwhile, others will buy the physical book, too! If an individual actually learns something from a blog post that you’ve created, you’ve already earned their respect and potentially their curiosity about your other offerings. They’ll get to know your writing style and start seeing you as a resource they can trust. This is what the folks at Webinar: Advanced Business Blogging Learn how to build your business blog into an inbound marketing machine. kalandrakas This is an easy one, but often forgotten. Make sure you build something on your website or blog to aggregate what people are saying about your paid content. For example, we created a ” . This gave people a flavor for what they could learn from the book, but also provided them with something fun that they could share with their entire network. 3) Livestream conferences in real-time to widen your net for your next show. By making your book available as a free Kindle download, people will link and promote your Amazon page. David Meerman Scott did this with his book MarketingProfs How on earth can a person or business make money selling their content if they’re giving it away for free? 4) Feature the content that to learn how to create a thriving blog. Inbound Marketing World Wide Rave Originally published Nov 18, 2009 8:30:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 ” for Inbound Marketing University that features the blog posts of IMU students. other — use free content to sell more books, get butts in conference seats, and earn speaking engagements? Student Bulletin Board people are producing about your content. Flickr Credit: 5) Give away your book for free on Kindle for a few days. book, we made an Inbound marketing is a no-brainer for folks selling a product online, but how can authors, speakers and event producers — Download the free webinar eBook of inbound marketing cartoons 2) Repackage your content in a different way. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Topics: Holiday Marketing Fa la la la la! La la la la! Fa la la la la! La la la la! Search Engine Optimization Kit ‘Tis the season for happy marketing. We hope this special carol will bring a smile to you and the marketers in your life. This is the first of a series of four HubSpot Holiday videos. Enjoy! Download our Keyword rich with inbound linking Tweet this marketing carol! . and @ Fa la la la la! La la la la! Learn moreabout how you can optimize your site to rank higher in search enginesso you get found by more qualified prospects. Common Sound HubSpot Singers: repcor search engine optimization kit shaxxon Search Engine Optimization! Fa la la la la la! La la la! Begins with content creation! Lyrics Video Credits Originally published Dec 17, 2009 8:30:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Gets you traffic. That’s smart thinking! Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Producers: @
This guest post is written by David Siteman Garland, the founder/host of Download the free kit Learn how to generate more inbound leads using SEO, blogging, and social media. SEO strategy Let’s assume you are taking advantage of all the great Justin See Inbound Lead Generation Kit for tips and tricks to drive more leads and business to your site. . You are making connections and bringing in visitors from Facebook and Twitter. Your There is often only a slight difference between someone entering their email address to subscribe and someone clicking away from your site, never to come back. In this video, you’ll learn 5 keys to boost your subscriber base and create a killer list to boost your business. Originally published Feb 26, 2010 11:30:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 is top notch. Your blog is booming (or sizzling…or waiting to sizzle). That is all fantastic, but how do you turn traffic into subscribers that you have permission to stay in contact with? Photo Credit: hub of amazing content Ah, your email list: precious gold for inbound marketers, especially if you are looking to continually bring current clients (and hopefully future clients), customers and fans to your website. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack (If not, what are you waiting for?!). Your website is a The Rise To The Top inbound marketing tactics Topics: Keyword Optimization . The Rise To The Top is the #1 non-boring resource for building your business smarter, faster, cheaper, which features a daily Web show for entrepreneurs.
Facebook ad campaign How to Get LinkedIn Recommendations , here are 12 video tutorials to help you properly set up many important basic functions. This post focuses on Duct Tape Marketing LinkedIn tip . Even if you don’t yet have a twitter account, do a quick The Facebook interface has changed a bit since How to Send Twitter Updates Through LinkedIn Duct Tape Marketing Thanks Donny for the link to the newer version of this video! The good people at Common Craft Twitter Search in Plain English for an industry related topic or interest and you’ll be supprised at what you find. Learn how to automatically updated your LinkedIn status from Twitter in less than a minute. Thanks to profile to 100% complete. For those who have only used Twitter’s online interface, adding a Twitter client like Topics: explaining how to give and get recommendations on LinkedIn. posted this video about a year ago, but it’s still an accurate outline on how to create a , How to Import a Blog or RSS Feed into Facebook will help you get stared. LinkedIn . . TwinkedIn , and As the title suggests, this does fall somewhat into the “sneaky trick” category, but it works. Thanks to video does a great job at explaining the basics of getting started. David Kirk of vividinsight How to Setup a Facebook Fan Page The Marketing Twins Donny Vaughn at put together some awesome videos. In this example, they explain Twitter search in “plain english.” The key point of this video is that Twitter search is a Twitter search developers.facebook.com TweetDeck also known as a Facebook business page. John Jantsch at Howcast . LinkedIn Answers How to get your How to Use TweetDeck . If you haven’t tried using LinkedIn Answers, I highly recommended it. It’s a great place to make connections, find prospects and help brand yourself as a thought leader on a particular topic or industry. Facebook One Sneaky Trick to get more Twitter Followers to the mix will change your life. This video from John Jantsch at Tech-Recipes created this video outlining how to add a blog or RSS feed to into Facebook. How to Create a Facebook Ad LinkedIn How to Add a Facebook “Like” Button to Your Site Twitter Originally published Jun 3, 2010 10:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 social media marketing Facebook fan page MrInternetTips How to Use Twitter for Business does a great job of outlining the ins and outs of How to Use LinkedIn Answers does a great job at explaining how to create a basic Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack , which are the three networks I reccommend everyone set up for themselves and/or their business. Leave a comment below and let me know if there are other social media outlets you would like to learn more about. SmartPassiveIncome . If you’re still wondering how to best use for Twitter for your businesses, this Another How to Create a 100% Complete LinkedIn Profile put together this awesome explaination of differt types of Facebook “like” buttons, and boxes that you can add to your website. For more information on the Facebook Like Button, visit These were some of the best videos I could find. Please let me know if you have other’s that you have found useful. Update 6/6/2010: powerful Social Media Marketing For those of you who are getting started with
Originally published Sep 8, 2011 11:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Marketing Campaigns Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Enter to win a copy of Aaron’s Book!The Evolution of Location Based Marketing”At that point [in 2007], it was really just one of these cool things. It was fun. There were some legs to it, but you couldn’t quite see the business use.”Using location based tools started out as just a cool thing to do. But in 2009, Foursquare launched with an eye toward utilizing location based tools for marketing and business. People started to realize that you can check into businesses. Businesses started setting their locations and offering incentives for check-ins.Now more companies are getting into the location based marketing game. According to Aaron, there will be more development in this area, and then more consolidation and acquisitions, but we’re really just at the beginning. Businesses are still trying to figure out how to use these tools in a beneficial way.Adopting Location Based Marketing Services”I think with the location based things, it’s not to say that if you make a mistake it won’t get some notice, but I think both customers and the press and social media in general are willing to cut you more slack if you’re going in and playing around with them.”If you’re a business, now is the perfect time to be trying out location based services because they’re still relatively small communities. If you make an error, you won’t get as much backlash as if you were just starting out with Twitter or Facebook.Building a Successful Location Based Marketing Campaign”We like to have what we call the Five Golden Rules.” Here are Aaron’s Five Golden Rules for creating a successful location based marketing campaign: 1. Go out and explore the services. Get yourself set up on Yelp, Foursquare, Gowalla, SCVNGR, and Local Response. Claim your location in those places. 2. Start embracing the influencers that are checking in. Pick one or two services that are right for you (probably Foursquare, and maybe Yelp), and do that. 3. Create your offer. Make sure your offer syncs up with what your business goals are (loyalty, engagement, increase foot traffic, increase sales, etc). 4. Test, learn, optimize, and measure. Keep tabs on what’s working and what’s not working, and make changes.5. Operationalize. Train everyone involved (from the top to the bottom) on what the offer is, how it works, and what the purpose is.Using Location Based Services to Build a Loyalty Program”I think that goes into perpetuity. Every fifth time you go, you’re getting this extra benefit, and smart companies will start to think about how do I do that.”Here are a few examples of companies who are using location based services to build up loyalty programs:Tasti D-Lite has a loyalty program where, through the swipe of a card, you can check into Foursquare, Twitter, and Facebook. Checking in earns you additional points towards free menu items.Starwood Hotels has a similar program where, when you attach your Starwood account with Foursquare, you get additional points for checking in.Hideout Theatre has it so you don’t just benefit the first time you check in or if you’re the mayor, but also during your 5th and 10th visits as well.Point-of-Purchase and Location Based Services”So I think the more you can tightly tie in some of these elements to the point of sale, the bigger retail stores will embrace this. But I don’t know if it’s going to be the end-all, be-all. It will definitely add scale. It will add comfort, I think, to a lot of these customers.”A new element that is emerging is a way for businesses to track when people have actually purchased and been inside their business. This builds on loyalty programs, but it can also be used to further relationship building and engagement.Offering Incentives for Sharing With Your Networks”The more reasons you give for someone sharing their check-in with their Facebook account or other social networks, the better.”It’s best to give the user the control on how/what they share with their networks, but the more reasons you give them to share, the better (e.g., “Get more points for sharing your check-in on Facebook.”).What Happens After Check-In”We need to think about the benefit that geo-awareness adds to any kind of transaction business data, etc.”Businesses need to figure out how they can use this information going forward. Can you build check-in information in your loyalty program? Can you add that into your communication with your customers?Digby (a mobile ecommerce company) is looking into this issue. If they can get you to check-in on an app that they’ve built, they can passively know whether you’ve been in a store or not. So then you have that data that you can work with.What Kinds of Businesses Should Use Location Based Services?”I think if you look at companies like Bravo TV, companies that are either publications or they’re consumer package goods, there are things that you can do — whether they’re educational, they can be partnerships with the actual retail locations.”Location based services aren’t just for brick-and-mortar businesses with lots of locations. Other types of businesses can partner with retail locations.For example, you can check in at the Statue of Liberty. When you do, you can pull up a particular show episode on the History Channel and historical facts. The History Channel has partnered with historical locations so that when someone checks in, they’re shown History Channel content.Measuring the Effectiveness of Location Based Marketing”This is a space that will continue to evolve. One of the things that we do have is we have a website. It’s LocationBasedMarketingForDummies.com, and that’s going to be the book site, and we’re going to keep a regular blog there. You’ll be able to find out about some of these services as they evolve, because Mike and I will keep wiki pages that will let users contribute as well — talk about all these different services that can help measure and monitor.”A lot of the platforms offer their own dashboards for tracking who’s checked in, demographics, etc.But there are also a lot of other tools that can help you measure and monitor these campaigns. Some of them are:MomentFeed: for tracking across multiple locations and multiple servicesGeotoko: for managing multiple offersValuevine: for all kinds of tracking of location based campaignsLocal Response: for mining Twitter and finding specific check-ins and making offers to themResources for Location Based Marketing Information”I have a list that I’ve actually built if someone checks out my Twitter handle, @AaronStrout. You can see my LBS Twitter stream that I’ve got.”Check out @Mr_LBS on Twitter, the Location Based Marketing Association, @JBruin on Twitter, and all of the individual services’ Twitter handles and blogs.Where to Start Your Location Based Marketing Efforts”Try it out as a consumer and check in to some places and get some ideas, and then get your company set up. Claim your location. Think about maybe a light offer that you could do.”If you’re just starting out, get set up on Foursquare. Try it as a consumer. Get some ideas. Then claim your location, and work on a light offer.Connect With Aaron OnlineYou can follow Aaron on Twitter @AaronStrout and his personal blog. Don’t forget to also check out his company blog, his book, and the Quick-n-Dirty podcast.Enter to Win a Copy of Aaron’s Book, Location Based Marketing for Dummies Topics: Aaron Strout joins us for another exciting episode of Inbound Now, HubSpot’s social media and inbound marketing podcast! Aaron is the head of location based marketing at WCG in Austin. He is the author of an upcoming book, Location Based Marketing for Dummies, he runs his own podcast called The Quick-n-Dirty Social Media Podcast on BlogTalk Radio, and he blogs over at his own site.In this episode, we chat about:The evolution of location based marketingTips on adopting location based marketing in your businessBuilding a successful location based marketing campaignUsing location based services to build a loyalty programPoint-of-purchase and location based servicesOffering incentives for sharing with your networksWhat kinds of businesses should use location based servicesMeasuring the effectiveness of location based marketingResources for location based marketing informationWhere to start your location based marketing efforts
Originally published Jun 5, 2012 12:59:00 PM, updated October 02 2019 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Include Examples Sometimes the most effective way to explain a concept or a point is to do it through examples. While real-life examples are ideal, don’t be afraid to make up hypothetical ones to help you get your point across. In fact, we’ve done it a couple times already in this very post (or did you think there were actual unicorn breeders out there?).Just be sure that you’re choosing or constructing an example that your particular audience can relate to. If you’re a B2B company selling to businesses in one particular industry, for example, offering up an example from an entirely different, unrelated industry wouldn’t exactly be as relatable as an example specific to your readers’ industry, now would it? Consider Visual Components While visual components are not a requirement, there are definitely many how-to topics that lend themselves to — and are made better by — visual explanations. I don’t know about you, but if I were reading an article about how to change a flat tire, I’d definitely appreciate some kind of visual aid. These visuals can be in the form of images like charts, graphs, or content/ concept visualizations , or they can even include video content. Use your judgment about whether your particular how-to post would be made more helpful with some kind of visual component, and if so, create it! For example, we created the visual below to help explain the concept of content mapping in our how-to post on selecting the right call-to-action for every page on your website .As a best practice, always accompany visuals with supportive text. When incorporating video content, include a text-based explanation or transcript of the video. Not everyone likes video, and even when they do enjoy video how-to’s, it’s often helpful to have the text to follow along with or refer back to. Check out our how-to post on how to analyze Facebook Insights to improve your content strategy for an example of how to effectively marry video how-to’s with text. Finesse the Title Remember that working title you generated in the first step? That won’t do. The working title of this very post was, “How to Write a How-To Post,” but that wouldn’t have been as catchy as the title I decided on. Don’t gloss over the title, as it’s usually a potential reader’s first impression of your content. If they’re not captivated by your title, why would they choose to read your post? A great title should be actionable, concise, keyword-conscious, clear, definitive, and intriguing — all characteristics we elaborate on in our post about how to master the art of exceptional blog titles . See what I did there? ;-)So, should all how-to posts start out with “How to…”? To be honest, it’s probably your best bet. It indicates to readers exactly the type of post they’re about to read (and like we already said, people love a good, solid how-to post), it’s actionable, and it clearly demonstrates the value. But hey, don’t take my word for it. Test it for yourself! Wrap it Up As with any blog post, you’ll want to include the other key components of a great business blog post. Wrap it up in some way. You don’t need to write a long, drawn-out conclusion; a sentence or two, or a question to spark discussion should do the trick. And don’t forget to add a relevant call-to-action so you can generate some leads from that awesome, likely evergreen how-to post you just wrote. As always, have a grammar-conscious colleague review and edit your post. Finally, get a second opinion, ideally from someone who doesn’t know how to do what your post is instructing. After reading your post, does this person feel like they have everything they need to know to complete the task? They should! Have you mastered the powerful how-to post for your business blog? What other helpful tips would you add to this guide? Image Credit: Lee Nachtigal There is no shortage of different types of content you can create to feed your business blog. Thought leadership-based content, commentary on industry news, data-driven analyses, list-style posts … the options are numerous. But one type stands out from the rest. It’s a business blogging classic. It’s … the how-to post.How-to posts are favorited by bloggers and readers alike. They’re valuable and helpful, they make great pieces of evergreen content that stand the test of time, and they’re an inbound marketing staple to reap the benefits of educating your prospects . As a matter of fact, analysis of content published on this very blog reveals that how-to style posts generate an average of 55% more views than all other types of posts on our blog . For all of these reasons, it behooves you to become really great at writing them. And what’s a more fitting way to learn how to write a stellar how-to post than a how-to post itself? Oh man, this post is about to get really meta …So put on your teacher hat , and read on to learn how to write a how-to post like a blogging pro.Download 6 Free Blog Post Templates Now Choose Your How-To Topic Actually, why don’t you spend some time brainstorming a list of how-to topics? Like I said, how-to posts are an inbound marketer’s business blogging staple, so why not take the opportunity to come up with a backlog of ideas? Step into the shoes of your marketing personas, and think about what they’d like to learn how to do. Talk to your customer team — you know, the people who talk to your customers day-in and day-out and understand their needs as they pertain to your business and industry. What do they want — or need — to learn? Chances are, the questions your customer team gets asked the most will make great how-to post fodder.At HubSpot, we sell marketing software , and our ideal customers are constantly trying to learn how to be better marketers; so here are a few examples of how-to posts we’ve written that teach them how to be just that: How to Set the Right Lead-Gen Goals for Your Marketing Team How to Use Hashtags on Twitter: A Simple Guide for Marketers How to Stalk Your Competitors in 10 Minutes [Marketing Hack] When you settle on your topic, choose a simple working title to keep you on track. Make it specific to exactly what you’re going to be instructing your readers to do. Don’t worry about the length — you’ll finesse it later, and it’s really just meant to help guide your writing. Brainstorm the Steps From Start to Finish Okay, so you’ve got your topic and a working title to get you started. Your next task to tackle is a bare-bones outline. In this, you’ll list the individual steps your readers will take to do what it is you’re teaching them how to do, from start to finish. You can even do this directly within your blogging tool , making each step a header so you just have to go back and fill in the blanks later when you start writing. You can even add sub-headings to certain steps if it’s helpful to break it out in that way, or just jot down some specific tips pertaining to that section.Make sure your steps are in the proper order and that they’re comprehensive. In other words, if the reader follows the steps you’ve outlined, will he or she be able to successfully accomplish what you’re instructing them to do — or are you missing some critical steps? Remember, you’re teaching someone how to do something they don’t know how to do (or how to do well ), so it’s important to include every critical step. Introduce It Once you have your how-to post skeleton, write an introduction that sets the stage for your how-to content. In your intro, provide some context about why it’s important or helpful for your audience to learn what you’re about to instruct them to do so they understand the value of reading on. Your introduction can also be made stronger by including data and statistics to that demonstrate and prove exactly why your how-to topic is so critical. While it might not always be possible to find, conducting some quick research and pinpointing a great supportive stat can make your introduction even more compelling. Check out the example below, which shows the beginning of a recent how-to post we published on using LinkedIn emails for lead generation. That’s a pretty compelling stat, right? Furthermore, in your introduction, be very specific about what you’re going to teach your audience how to do to properly set reader expectations. If you’re a unicorn breeder and the point of your post is to teach unicorn owners how to train their unicorns to do one specific trick, yet your introduction promises to teach readers how to implement a full-fledged unicorn juggling act, then you wouldn’t be properly setting expectations, would you? Instruct by Filling in the Steps Once you’ve nailed down your intro, it’s time for the meat of the post — the actual how-to instructions. You’ve already got the headings for your steps down, so think of it as just filling in the blanks. When filling in this content, be sure to write in the second person (use pronouns “you,” “your,” and “yours”), as if you’re actually teaching your individual readers one on one. You should also use transitions between sections so each of your steps flow smoothly into the next. Here are a few other meatier tips to keep in mind as you’re writing the content for your how-to steps. Be Specific, Descriptive, and Detailed To write a truly valuable how-to post, don’t assume your readers already know how to do anything you discuss in the post. After all, you know what happens when you assume, don’t you? In other words, don’t just tell your readers to do something; tell them exactly how to do it. Be very specific in your instructions. Link to Other Resources To piggyback off my last point, sometimes you might mention something that needs a much more detailed explanation for some readers than that post has the space to explain; in fact, explaining the concept in detail might totally derail the post, which is common in more intermediate- or advanced-level how-to posts. In these instances, simply mention your point and link to another resource that explains it in more detail. Bonus points if it’s an article you’ve already written — and if you haven’t, then you might just have another blog post idea to add to your backlog! Here is an example from our how-to post on designing a persona-centric website experience , which links to our more in-depth ebook on creating effective calls-to-action . Mention Tools Depending on the topic of your how-to post, your readers may or may not need certain tools to carry out the instructions you provide in your article. Don’t gloss over that. If your audience is going to need to use tools, recommend and suggest some options for them. For example, if you’re a plumber writing, “How to Unclog a Sink Drain in 5 Simple Steps,” and one of those steps includes pouring a liquid plumber down the drain, recommend a few liquid plumbing products that work well. And hey, it’s okay if one of those product options is the proprietary liquid plumber your plumbing business sells. You’re ultimately blogging to make money, right? Product mentions when appropriate and tactful are fine as long as you don’t overdo it. See what we did in the example below, mentioning HubSpot’s marketing analytics tools in our how-to post about improving your email marketing with an integrated approach ?
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Request information. Visit us. Apply now. Go to any education institution’s admissions page, and you’re likely to see these calls-to-action. Click one, and chances are you’ll be taken to a lengthy inquiry form where you’ll be asked to provide a litany of personal information.A Brief History of Secret Shoppers and Stealth ApplicantsAt some point in the history of online marketing in education, these conversion opportunities became industry standard. While there is nothing inherently wrong with them – if a prospective student or parent is willing to provide their information for any of these, let them! – they appeal only to the “lowest hanging fruit” in the marketing and admissions funnel. For many prospects, and especially ones who are just beginning their research process, these offers are mistimed, and not compelling enough to drive an inquiry submission. As a result, these prospects don’t click the call-to-action to fill out a form, and instead become “secret shoppers” or “stealth consumers.”When it comes to secret shoppers, the best case scenario is that they become stealth applicants – prospects who enter the funnel at the point of application. Unfortunately, these applicants have not been properly nurtured, may not have received what they need to make an informed decision about a program or institution, and often yield at lower rates than students who have had the opportunity to be properly engaged and educated. As any enrollment management professional can tell you, they also make projecting enrollment much more difficult.The worst case scenario, and often the most common one, is that these prospects will poke around for information on an institution’s website, not find what they are looking for, and leave without ever engaging with a member of an institution’s staff.Reach Prospects That Are Not Yet “Admissions Ready”Developing new content, or repurposing existing content, into appealing and appropriately timed conversion opportunities aimed at prospects who are not yet “admissions ready” can be a solution. To target students who are at the beginning of their search, this content should be informational and have broad appeal. The subjects should be aligned to an offering of the institution or program (it would not make sense for a culinary school to have content around the benefits of a career in nursing), but they should not be promotional materials either.Some examples of this type of content include:Readiness checklists“How-to” guidesSubject matter ebooksCareer guidesIndustry information…And Give Them Opportunities to ConvertWhile creating these compelling content offers is great, it is only the first step in the inquiry conversion process. Making this type of compelling content easily available to prospects, and properly gating it with informative landing pages and forms requiring an appropriate amount of personal information allows schools to grow their inquiry base by drawing would-be secret shoppers into the funnel.When delivering the content, it is important that it is not available only on lightly travelled pages, or hidden among a series of pages that can only be found through extensive site navigation. Content that appeals to prospects who are just “dipping their toe in the water” as it relates to their search should be easy to find on the pages of the site prospects frequent. This will make useful information front and center for them, and drive more inquiry conversions for admissions, allowing for appropriate nurturing activities to take place. Originally published Dec 4, 2014 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Education Marketing