How to Automate Your Client KPI Reporting Process: The 11 Step Guide

Picture this: it’s the end of the month, and some poor soul at your agency needs to put together the monthly marketing report for each client.

He or she embarks on this mind-numbing journey by logging into every digital marketing service you use, copying the key data points, and entering them into your clunky marketing KPI spreadsheet.

For other metrics that are too complicated to duplicate in a spreadsheet, they cut and paste graphs from different software into powerpoint, and try to craft a cohesive story even though each graph’s format is different. Finally, it gets pdf’d and sent over to the account manager who forwards it along to the client or presents it live.

What a pain in the keister.

But your client needs to know what you’re doing with their money. All those grueling hours are necessary … right?

Most agencies see this type of manual reporting as a necessity, but, unforunately, the process is usually a negative experience for everyone involved:

  • The account manager probably spent 4-5 hours creating the client’s presentation.
  • As a result, your agency wasted hundreds of dollars making a report that’s hard to analyze.
  • The client has a hard time understanding how your services contributed to their business.

As you can see, a monthly metrics spreadsheet and powerpoint presentation is more hassle than it’s worth. It’s not a viable solution.

You need to stop the madness!

If you’re still cutting and pasting data and graphs into spreadsheets and presentation decks, there’s a better way. It’s called client KPI reporting automation.

To step up your analytics and reporting game, you need to automate the busy work. Leveraging a process that can gather data for you will allow more time for analysis and less time on data collection.

Fortunately, there are now a number of automated reporting tools in the market. And regardless of the one you choose and the digital services you provide, your rollout strategy will still be similar.

Read on to learn the 11 steps for automating your client’s KPI reporting.

Step 1) Identify your clients’ most important marketing tools.

Make a list of digital marketing services across all client accounts. Then, decide which services and software hold the most crucial data for your agency’s and clients’ success.

For example, if you offer inbound marketing services, you’ll probably need to track data from HubSpot Marketing, HubSpot CRM, Google Analytics, Facebook Ads, and Adwords.

Since most agencies use a wide variety of tools, you probably won’t find an automated reporting software that pulls data from all your services in every single clients’ marketing stack. But you should be able to find one that covers about 80% of their tools.

Marketing Stack.png

Step 2) Choose a client reporting tool that integrates deeply with your key services.

After talking to hundreds of digital agencies about reporting tools, we’ve found there’s no perfect solution. The biggest issues? Being able to report the key metrics your clients need.

With the boom in marketing and sales software, no single dashboard can pull all the data from every known system. But you should look for a tool that allows you to pull a variety of metrics from the services you use.

For example, if you use HubSpot, there’s a big difference between a reporting tool that pulls 145+ metrics from HubSpot versus one that pulls just 11.

You need to be really careful here.

If a business intelligence software vendor doesn’t offer a full-feature trial that showcases its reporting capabilities, stay away.

A free trial can also help you gauge the software’s user experience. Some of these tools can be really hard to setup and use.

There are even tools that require developers, data analysts, and marketing wizards for it to work. That’d be a tall order for anyone to fill, especially if you work at a small agency.

Here’s a list of important criteria to look for in a reporting automation tool:

  • Do they automatically import data from your marketing software or do you have to figure out how to upload your data?
  • Do they offer standard reporting templates for the tools you use?
  • How easily can you build custom reports?
  • How often do they refresh the data? Hourly? Daily?
  • Do they offer special pricing for agencies?
  • Can you brand the reports with your or your clients’ colors and logos? Can you change the domain name where your reports will be hosted?
  • Do you need the tool to spit out a monthly report or offer real-time reporting, or both?
  • Can you add your interpretations and recommendations next to the data?
  • Do you want to view the data on your desktop, a TV in your offices, and your mobile phone? How will your clients prefer to view the data?
  • Can you create separate accounts for each client?
  • How long does it take to fully set up a new client account?

I also recommend using B2B software review sites like AlternativeTo, Capterra, and G2 Crowd to add on to your list of criteria.

Step 3) Make sure you and your client agree upon the most important KPIs.

If you haven’t had an in-depth conversation with your clients on the KPIs that drive their business, now is the time. You do not want to build out a series of reports that get ignored.

We recommend starting with their revenue goals and working backwards.

This conversation should be an interview with the client. Start it by saying, “We’re revamping our reporting processes to be more focused on what’s really important.” This is a good time to show that you’re putting in the extra effort to drive their business forward.

And by pursuing top-line revenue goals first, your clients will always look forward to seeing your reporting results.

Step 4) Make sure your reporting tool pulls the metrics you need.

This can’t be stressed enough.

Imagine you want to increase your client’s leads from organic traffic. Think about all the metrics you need to track to support this goal. That list might include metrics from a Google Analytics segment for organic traffic, combined with contacts generated from search, which is measured by a smart list or a lifecycle stage from HubSpot.

To really show your client progress, you should also report search data from MOZ, SEMRush, or Google Search Console.

Now, think about if your chosen reporting tool can pull all these metrics?

Your client may not be an expert in digital marketing terminology, so it depends on you to determine the metrics you pull.

You should list out all the client’s KPIs, and form a hypothesis around the specific metrics you need from each service. This does not need to be presented to the client, but it will help you create a set of reporting templates that you can reuse with different clients.

AutomateClientReportingIntegrations.png

Step 5) Create standardized reports you can use for multiple clients.

Be careful of creating customized reports for each of your clients. Creating templates that are reusable across a group of clients is a lot more efficient. You only have to build one and then you can reuse it as many times as you want.

Every time you create a new template, ask yourself, “What other clients could benefit from looking at their data this way?”

You can keep this process simple by grouping your clients based on their reporting needs and serving a customized template to each group.

Usually, agencies show their clients top-of-the-funnel results first, then drill down further. If your client just needs reporting, though, stick to a high-level overview. If they need a deeper dive, go more in-depth.

AutomateClientReportingGroups.png

Step 6) Design metric-specific visualizations for each dashboard.

Most reporting tools offer a selection of data visualizations like a number block, a line chart, a gauge chart, or a table. It’s crucial to choose the best way to visualize your data.

For example, marketers should use a funnel or pipeline visualization to analyze a marketing and sales funnel.

You should also think about how to categorize specific data. For example, you might want to group a line chart of keywords Google’s Top 3 from SEMrush, organic search traffic from Google Analytics, and leads from search from HubSpot onto one dashboard.

Or you could display follower and comment counts from different social services like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Youtube in another dashboard.

This is the beauty of reporting tools: you can batch data from multiple services and compare them to each other. However, as an agency it’s your job, to formulate your reports in a clear way. Be careful not to overload your client with complex metrics.

With automated reporting, weekly, monthly, and annual numbers are always available and you’ll be able to introduce all kinds of metrics that might confuse your clients.

Remember, if the client can’t understand your data, you must present it in a simpler way.

Step 7) Roll out your reports internally.

Before you roll out your marketing reports to clients, show them to your account managers and service team. Some agencies make their account managers build reports. However, we’ve found agencies are much more successful when one of their team members builds out reports and then sends them to the account managers for review.

Even though you should standardize your reports as much as possible, each client report requires some customization. Your account managers will most likely know what your client wants to see, so letting them approve the reports is crucial.

Step 8) Position automated reporting as a benefit for your clients.

Automated reporting saves you time, which might be the primary reason why you’re implementing it. Your clients also benefit from your ability to reallocate saved time towards analyzing and improving their numbers.

You shouldn’t position its value proposition this way, though. Position it in a way that will help them understand how automate reporting directly benefits their business, rather than describing how benefiting yourself will benefit them too.

A way you can do this is by positioning to clients as “real time reporting. Why is this effective? Being able to instantly access their campaign’s performance data is a benefit to them. And by transitioning to real-time reporting, they can:

  • Monitor their results more closely.
  • Ensure you’re achieving daily progress towards goals.
  • Adapt your plan more frequently based on what’s working.
  • Catch any issues (like getting zero clicks from a PPC campaign you just set up) before they affect the sales funnel.

For more advanced clients who have larger traffic and lead volume, you can also position your new reporting process as a launching pad for more in-depth analysis of their marketing and sales funnels.

Since you can analyze new data more consistently, you can teach all your employees (and clients) how to identify new opportunities for improvement from the data you already have or by using new tools.

If you’re going to position it this way, make sure you can follow through on your promise. Consider proactively rolling out a new report to every client each month — like a “report of the month” update.

Lastly, you can position your new reporting system as a better way to visualize data. Often times, agencies use a mix of KPI spreadsheets and cut-and-paste graphs from multiple tools, so each graph has its own color scheme, x and y-axis, terminology, and formatting.

Scanning a deck with 30 unique graphs is cognitively draining for your client. Consistent visualization makes it easy for your clients to understand and draw conclusions from your reports.

By using a centralized tool to view all your data, you can also synchronize data from different services to different time periods, as you can see below.

Dashboard-2.png

Step 9) Determine a plan to regularly share results.

Your reporting strategy should aim to update your clients, not overwhelm them with every little thing that happens over the month.

If your client is pretty new to online marketing and doesn’t have a lot of marketing assets, anything more than a monthly review would inundate them. But if your clients have a large amount of traffic, leads, or ad budget, a daily review might be the right call.

Most tools allow you to set up different reporting timeframes:

  • Real-time or Daily: In addition to reviewing your data on your desktop or wall-mounted TVs, if your reporting tool has a mobile app, email or Slack notifications, you can send automated updates more frequently to internal team members and/or clients.
  • Weekly: Weekly updates can also be mobile or email-based. Use this to make sure you’re not falling too far behind any monthly goals you’ve set.
  • Monthly: This is your full monthly report. Use it for analysis, making recommendations, and interpreting your data.
  • Quarterly: Use this report to propose new, big initiatives. Recap the progress from the last 3 months (or longer) and show your client how you can deliver even more value if they invest more in your agency.

Step 10) Figure out which devices each client uses to view their reports.

Some of your clients will be more excited about automated reporting than others. If they’re very data-driven, you can display their reports on an office TV. Or, you can allow clients to view reports on their smartphones. This allows them to constantly monitor their data wherever they go.

We actually know of one agency who purchases a TV for their clients and actually hangs it up on their CEO’s wall.

Other clients might want you to do all the analysis and prefer only monthly updates. In that case, just send them a URL to their report, tell them to bookmark it, and continue your monthly meeting cadence.

Step 11) Set concrete goals with your clients.

We’ve spoken with many agencies that set goals in the sales process but don’t revisit them with the client until contract renewal time.

As a result, month six rolls around and neither the client nor the agency remembers what goal they set or why they set it. Don’t risk losing a client because you either found out you never actually hit the goal or the original goal became unimportant to them.

Set goals inside your visualization tool, so that it plots your current performance against your goals.

By entering your goals into your reporting software, it becomes significantly easier to review your progress during monthly meetings and adapt the goal or monthly plan with clear agreement between you and your client.

Goals superimposed over performance data provides a monthly reference point. If you’re consistently hitting goals, you’re much more likely to upsell clients on new services or more of your current work. But, if your outstanding overachievement isn’t clear and obvious, it’s a lot harder to retain business.

You can also use goals to hold your client’s sales team accountable too. You could be generating a ton of demand for your client, but without concrete goals, a dip in sales will likely get you the axe first and not their sales team.

Closing Thoughts

With the crap-work eliminated, your agency can spend more time combing through your client’s data for growth opportunities, impress them with careful analysis and data-driven recommendations, and become the trusted partners you aim to be.

Ultimately, automated reporting will help your agency retain clients, upsell them, and boost employee satisfaction.

30+ Free Instagram Tools to Help You Grow Your Following

More than 700 million people use Instagram and 400 million of those users check the app daily.

With such a large audience, and some incredibly business friendly updates such as Instagram Ads, Stories, and Business Tools, Instagram is becoming a must-have channel in many social media marketing strategies.

So how can you stand out from the crowd and grow your Instagram following?

We’ve previously shared proven tactics for growing your following and easy ways to increase your organic reach. And this time, we would love to share a big list of free Instagram tools that’ll help you to grow your following.

Going beyond the usual photo editing tools, we’ll also be sharing tools for finding the best hashtags to use, running Instagram contests, displaying your Instagram posts on your website, and more.

Let’s dive right in.

30+ Free Instagram Tools to Help You Grow Your Following

30+ free Instagram tools to help you grow your following

It’s wonderful to think that there are so many free tools available to help you grow your Instagram following.

Here’s a round up of over 30 free Instagram tools that can help you with your Instagram marketing, everything from creating amazing Instagram posts and stories to finding the best hashtags, to planning your Instagram schedule, to analyzing your Instagram performance.

Note: Some of the tools mentioned below have limited features on their free plan and offer more features in their paid plans.

1. Photo Editor by Aviary

Photo Editor by Aviary is one of the most comprehensive and highly recommended photo editing apps. With the app, you can enhance a photo with a single tap, add effects and stickers, draw, add text, and more.

There are over one-thousand free photo effects, stickers, and frames in the app but more are available for purchase if you’d like to expand your library.

Photo Editor by Aviary is available on Android, iOS, and Windows, which means you can most likely use it regardless of which smartphone you’re using.

2. PicFlow

PicFlow

With PicFlow, you can easily create 15-second video slideshows for Instagram in three quick steps:

  1. Select your photos
  2. Select a music
  3. Set the timing of each photo by tapping

If you would like to make longer videos, remove the (tiny) watermark, or unlock more transitions between photos, you can purchase them from within the app for less than $3.

Pic Flow is available on Android and iOS.

3. Canva

Canva

Canva is one of our favorite free design tools for creating images for social media, blog posts, and more.

The team at Canva has created many amazing Instagram stories templates that you can customize. The templates come in the ideal dimensions so you can focus on the design and not worry about getting the aspect ratio and size right.

Just pick a template and change the text, images, and background to your liking.

(Canva has an iOS app for those who like to design on the go. Or you can use it to download your designs to your mobile phone directly.)

4. Adobe Spark

Adobe Spark

Adobe Spark is another free design tool that we love at Buffer.

Here’s a unique feature of Adobe Spark that I like: just by turning a dial in the editor, I can get different design recommendations for my caption.

You can learn more about how to create Instagram stories with Adobe Spark and get 10 free Instagram stories templates here.

5. StoriesAds

StoriesAds

StoriesAds is an online tool for creating Instagram Stories ads (and good-looking vertical videos).

It provides several templates you can work with so that you don’t have to create a video from scratch. The intuitive video editor also prompts you about the things you have to change to customize the video.

As it is stated on the site that it is “Free for a limited time”, you might have to pay to use the tool in the future.

6 – 9. Other content creation tools

  1. InstaSize (Android, iOS, and Windows)
  2. PicPlayPost (AndroidiOS, and Windows)
  3. Quick (Android and iOS)
  4. Studio Design (Android and iOS)

If you are interested in knowing more mobile apps for creating content, you might like our roundup of 26 apps to help you create epic content on your smartphone.

10. Buffer

Buffer for Instagram

Planning your Instagram posts in advance can help you save time and ensure that your profile is well-curated and consistent.

As you might know, Instagram doesn’t allow third-party tools to post directly to Instagram, unlike most other social media platforms. While Buffer can’t help you post on your behalf, we would love to help you plan and schedule posting reminders.

On the free plan, you can plan your Instagram marketing for one account. If you would like to connect multiple Instagram accounts or get the analytics, you could give Buffer for Business a go.

GET STARTED WITH BUFFER FOR INSTAGRAM >>>

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Buffer for Instagram is Here: 8 Ways to Get Your Best Instagram Marketing Results with Buffer

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11. Display Purposes

Display Purposes

Display Purposes is a great tool for finding the best hashtags to use for your Instagram posts.

Simply type in a few hashtags related to your Instagram post and Display Purposes will generate a list of hashtags that are relevant and popular. It also filters out banned and spammy hashtags.

You can then manually select the hashtags you want to use or let Display Purposes pick what it thinks might be the best combination of hashtags.

12. Focalmark

Focalmark

Focalmark is very similar to Display Purposes, except that the suggested hashtags are generated from a list of handpicked hashtags (and it’s a mobile app).

Focalmark is available on Android and iOS.

13. AutoHash

AutoHash

AutoHash uses its computer vision algorithms to recommend the best hashtags to use.

Select a photo in the app and AutoHash will analyze the objects in your photo and suggest relevant hashtags. If you have your GPS turned on, it will also suggest location-based hashtags.

AutoHash is currently available on Android only.

14. UNUM

UNUM wants to help you design your perfect Instagram gallery.

The visual planner in the app allows you to see how your gallery would look like after you post your next few photos. You can also edit your photos and videos, draft your caption and hashtags, and schedule your posts with the app.

In its free plan, you get 18 grids to plan your posts and 500 photo and video uploads per month, which I believe are sufficient for small-to-medium businesses. If you would like to have more planning grids and a higher upload limit, UNUM offers two paid subscription plans at $2.99 and $6.99 per month.

UNUM is available on iOS and Android (in beta currently).

15. Later

Later

Later is a popular marketing platform for Instagram, which allows you to visually plan and schedule your Instagram posts.

Just like Buffer, at your scheduled times, Later will send you a notification via its mobile app, prompting you to post on Instagram.

On the free plan, you can schedule up to 30 photos per month, search and repost user-generated content (UGC), and get basic analytics.

16 – 17. Other planning tools

  1. Hootsuite
  2. Sprout Social

18. Repost for Instagram

Repost for Instagram

Repost for Instagram lets you repost an Instagram post on your Instagram account with just a few taps while also giving credit to the post owner. It is available on Android and iOS.

Before you repost any photos or videos, remember to get permission from the post owner and give her or him credit in your caption. This is required by Instagram’s Term of Use and is doing right by the amazing creators and businesses on Instagram.

To get permission for reposting the post, you can use any one of the following ways:

  • Send the post owner a direct message
  • Comment on the post
  • Connect via email

Some people do ask for a fee for using their photos since it’s part of their livelihood. Be sure to iron out such details before reposting any Instagram post.

If you are using the Buffer mobile app — Android or iOS, you can also easily add a repost into your Buffer queue after you have gotten the permission to repost it.

19. ShortStack

ShortStack

We have found that hosting giveaway contests on Instagram is a great way to drive engagement and reach on Instagram.

ShortStack has a tool for organizing user-generated content (UGC) contests, where participants enter by posting a photo with your hashtag on Instagram. ShortStack will then collect and display the UGC, which can help you increase your brand.

On the free plan, you can host an unlimited number of contests and collect up to 100 entries. ShortStack also has paid plans if you want to collect more entries and get more advanced features.

20. Gleam

Gleam

Gleam takes a slightly different approach to social media contests. It has an Instagram widget which you can add to your website and drive visitors to your Instagram account.

For example, you could require people to follow you on Instagram or view a particular Instagram post to participate in your contest.

On the free plan, you can host an unlimited number of contests, accept an unlimited number of entries, and select up to 10 winners. If you would like to get more features such as adding a feature image and customizing your widget, Gleam has two paid plans: Pro ($39 per month) and Business ($149 per month).

21. Feed Them Social

Feed Them Social

Feed Them Social is a WordPress plugin for displaying your social media feeds on your website. By having your Instagram feed on your website, you could encourage your visitors to check out and follow your Instagram account.

According to reviews of the plugin, it takes only a few clicks to set up the feed and the team provides excellent, timely support.

You can see a demo of our Instagram feed here.

22 – 24. Other WordPress plugins

  1. Instagram Feed
  2. AccessPress Instagram Feed
  3. Instagram Feed WD

25. Instagram Insights

Instagram Insights

Instagram Insights is the Instagram analytics for users with a business profile.

In there, you can see the performance of your Instagram posts and stories and get insights about your followers such as when they are active on Instagram.

If you would like to learn more about Instagram Insights, we went more in-depth into the metrics you can get and the things you could do with your Instagram analytics in our Instagram analytics guide.

26. Squarelovin

Squarelovin

If you don’t have a business profile on Instagram, you could use an Instagram analytics tool like Squarelovin.

Squarelovin has a free Instagram insights tool that provides you with your engagement and growth metrics, shows your posting history, and suggests the best times to post.

27 – 30+. Other analytics tools

  1. Keyhole
  2. Union Metrics Instagram account checkup

For more Instagram analytics tools, check out our Instagram analytics guide where we share seven more free Instagram analytics tools.

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What’s your favorite free Instagram tool?

Growing an Instagram following is challenging. But with the right tools, it can become much easier to create quality content, engage your followers, and analyze your performance — which will help you grow your following.

What’s your favorite free Instagram tool that I’ve missed in this post? It’ll be great if you want to give it a shout out below and share what you like about it!

Thanks!

Image credit: Unsplash and the respective tools

How to Make Your Google AdWords Ads More Impactful Without Spending More

A simple question: would you rather have a bigger AdWords ad or a smaller AdWords ad for the same cost?

Of course the answer is obvious — when it comes to advertising bigger is always better. So how can you go about making your Google AdWords ads bigger for the same (or maybe even a lower) cost?

This is where ad extensions come in. In this article, we’ll review why these extensions are important, and how you can start incorporating them into your Google AdWords strategy.

What is a Google AdWords Ad Extension?

A Google AdWords ad extension is piece of additional content that expands your ads with additional information. There are many different types of extensions and they each offer different relevant information for potential customers to choose your business.

While most extensions require a little bit of setup, the additional work is worth it because in general you will see an improvement in the ads’ performance with respect to clicks, cost per click (CPC), page position, and ad rank.

Why You Should Use Ad Extensions

Ad extensions expand your existing ads by offering the reader more ways to interact with your company. They are appended to your ad and can offer additional pages on your site where the reader can find more or different information. They can highlight additional benefits to working with your company, e.g.: Free Shipping, 90 day return policy, Sale now in process. They can provide a phone number to call or a location site to visit. They can even point directly to a place to download your app.

In addition, using extensions can increase the click-through rate of your ads and even your conversion rate.

And using extensions will usually raise the ad rank of your ad which can result in a higher position on the page and a lower cost per click and higher likelihood of your ad being shown. As Google says “ad extensions typically improve click-through rate and overall campaign performance because they make ads more useful.”

What kinds of ad extensions are available?

There are many types of extensions available to you in Google AdWords:

  • Sitelink extensions
  • Call extensions
  • Location extensions
  • Callout extensions
  • Message extensions
  • Structured snippet extensions
  • Price extensions
  • Review extensions
  • App extensions

To help you find the best type for your company’s ad strategy, we’ll explore a few of the most useful extensions below. 

Callout Extensions

To make your ads larger and provide useful information to your potential customers, consider the simple but powerful callout extension. Callout extensions add an additional line of text to your ad directly beneath the headline:

 

The text in a callout is limited to 25 characters, so you should try to keep the text short, specific, and compelling. You can set up callout extensions at the account, campaign, or ad group level. And you can schedule when you want the specific callouts to appear. You need to create at least two callouts for any of them to show up — so try to create at least four callouts. 

 

Sitelink Extensions

Sitelinks allow you to direct users to additional pages on your site, beyond just the page they would land on by clicking on the ad itself. You can provide up to six additional links that direct people to relevant information about your company — such as details about a new product, your business hours, a video, a webinar, or even an offer.

The links appear under your ad headline, and can be accompanied by an added description — which I would highly recommend. Why is an added description better? Size truly matters! Each description you add makes your ad that much bigger for the same cost.

nike ad w sitelinks.png

Each link you include can be accompanied by an 80 character description, as seen in the above screenshot. In this description you can include keywords and micro-copy to encourage clicks — but more importantly, your ad becomes bigger and more relevant!

 

Call Extensions

Regardless of the size of your business — big or small — you likely want to encourage people to call your business to ask questions, get more info, place orders, and just to make yourself available to solve their problems — after all, that’s why you’re in business!

A call extension will encourage people to call your company by adding a phone number or call button to your ads. The phone number can be assigned by Google and is separately trackable. 

 

Location Extensions

Location extensions are a great move for businesses focusing their targeting efforts in a particular area. If your business is looking to attract local attention, consider using this type of extension in your next campaign to highlight your convenient proximity to potential customers. 


Need additional help with extensions? Schedule a free session with me or one of my colleagues at HubSpot’s Center for Inbound Advertising.

Businesses with multiple locations can even use location extensions to display the location nearest to the user, as seen in the Starbucks ad above.

 

Ad Extension Best Practices

Adding extensions to your ads will make them more targeted, relevant, and clickable — not to mention, much more noticable at the top of the search results page. 

The good news is that these extensions are free to add. Yes, you will pay the same price per click that you would pay if someone just clicked on your ad — but think about it — you are communicating much more information about your business for no increease in price.

Google will only show the extensions if Google believes that they will improve your ads performance, so be sure to keep the information hyper-relevant to potential customers.

Don’t stuff in information just for the sake of making your ads bigger — make sure the information actually improves the search experiece and helps customers pick your business.

Extensions can be created at any level of your AdWords account — they can be shown at the account level, campaign level, or at the ad group level.

Keep Conversions In Mind

Remember to create specific landing pages for each of the site links that you create. That way, instead of just passing customers to an ordinary page on your website, you can send them to a targeted page where they can easily become a lead. 

HubSpot Marketing Free

22 Companies With Really Catchy Slogans & Brand Taglines

Keep it simple, stupid.

We don’t mean to offend you — this is just an example of a great slogan that also bears the truth of the power of succinctness in advertising.

It’s incredibly difficult to be succinct, and it’s especially difficult to express a complex emotional concept in just a couple of words — which is exactly what a slogan does.

That’s why we have a lot of respect for the brands that have done it right. The ones that have figured out how to convey their value proposition to their buyer persona in just one, short sentence — and a quippy one, at that.

So if you’re looking to get a little slogan inspiration of your own, take a look at some of our favorite company slogans from both past and present. But before we get into specific examples, let’s quickly go over what a slogan is and what makes one stand out.

What Is a Slogan?

In business, a slogan or tagline is “a catchphrase or small group of words that are combined in a special way to identify a product or company,” according to Entrepreneur.com’s small business encyclopedia.

In many ways, they’re like mini-mission statements.

Companies have slogans for the same reason they have logos: advertising. While logos are visual representations of a brand, slogans are audible representations of a brand. Both formats grab consumers’ attention more readily than the name a company or product might. Plus, they’re simpler to understand and remember.

The goal? To leave a key brand message in consumers’ minds so that, if they remember nothing else from an advertisement, they’ll remember the slogan.

What Makes a Great Slogan?

According to HowStuffWorks, a great slogan has most or all of the following characteristics:

It’s memorable.

Is the slogan quickly recognizable? Will people only have to spend a second or two thinking about it? A brief, catchy few words can go a long way in advertisements, videos, posters, business cards, swag, and other places. 

It includes a key benefit.

Ever heard the marketing advice, “Sell the sizzle, not the steak”? It means sell the benefits, not the features — which applies perfectly to slogans. A great slogan makes a company or product’s benefits clear to the audience.

It differentiates the brand.

Does your light beer have the fullest flavor? Or maybe the fewest calories? What is it about your product or brand that sets it apart from competitors? (Check out our essential branding guide here.)

It imparts positive feelings about the brand.

The best taglines use words that are positive and upbeat. For example, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups’ slogan, “Two great tastes that taste great together,” gives the audience good feelings about Reese’s, whereas a slogan like Lea & Perrins’, “Steak sauce only a cow could hate,” uses negative words. The former leaves a better impression on the audience.

Now that we’ve covered what a slogan is and what makes one great, here are examples of some of the best brand slogans of all time. (Note: We’ve updated this post with several ideas folks previously shared with us in the comments.)

22 Companies With Really Catchy Slogans & Taglines

1) Nike: “Just Do It”

It didn’t take long for Nike’s message to resonate. The brand became more than just athletic apparel — it began to embody a state of mind. It encourages you to think that you don’t have to be an athlete to be in shape or tackle an obstacle. If you want to do it, just do it. That’s all it takes.

But it’s unlikely Kennedy + Weiden, the agency behind this tagline, knew from the start that Nike would brand itself in this way. In fact, Nike’s product used to cater almost exclusively to marathon runners, which are among the most hardcore athletes out there. The “Just Do It” campaign widened the funnel, and it’s proof positive that some brands need to take their time coming up with a slogan that reflects their message and resonates with their target audience

nike-just-do-it-2.jpg

Source: brandchannel

2) Apple: “Think Different”

This slogan was first released in the Apple commercial called “Here’s to the Crazy Ones, Think Different” — a tribute to all the time-honored visionaries who challenged the status quo and changed the world. The phrase itself is a bold nod to IBM’s campaign “Think IBM,” which was used at the time to advertise its ThinkPad.

Soon after, the slogan “Think Different” accompanied Apple advertisements all over the place, even though Apple hadn’t released any significant new products at the time. All of a sudden, people began to realize that Apple wasn’t just any old computer; it was so powerful and so simple to use that it made the average computer user feel innovative and tech-savvy.

According to Forbes, Apple’s stock price tripled within a year of the commercial’s release. Although the slogan has been since retired, many Apple users still feel a sense of entitlement for being among those who “think different.”

apple-slogan.jpg

Source: Blue Fin Group

3) Dollar Shave Club: “Shave Time. Shave Money.”

The folks at Dollar Shave Club have made their way onto quite a few of our lists here on the blog, and it’s safe to say that when it comes to marketing and advertising, this brand’s team knows what it’s doing. And its slogan — “Shave Time. Shave Money.” — is an excellent reflection of their expertise.

This little quip cleverly incorporates two of the service’s benefits: cost and convenience. It’s punny, to the point, and it perfectly represents the overall tone of the brand.

Dollar-Shave-Club-Slogan.jpg

Source: TheStephenHarvey.com

4) L’Oréal: “Because You’re Worth It”

Who doesn’t want to feel like they’re worth it? The folks at L’Oréal worked with the theory that women wear makeup in order to make themselves appear “beautiful” so they feel desirable, wanted, and worth it. The tagline isn’t about the product — it’s about the image the product can get you. This message allowed L’Oréal to push its brand further than just utility so as to give the entire concept of makeup a much more powerful message.

loreal-slogan.jpg

Source: Farah Khan

5) California Milk Processor Board: “Got Milk?”

While most people are familiar with the “Got Milk?” campaign, not everyone remembers that it was launched by the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB). What’s interesting about this campaign is that it was initially launched to combat the rapid increase in fast food and soft beverages: The CMPB wanted people to revert to milk as their drink of choice in order to sustain a healthier life. The campaign was meant to bring some life to a “boring” product, ad executives told TIME Magazine.

The simple words “Got Milk?” scribbled above celebrities, animals, and children with milk mustaches, which ran from 2003 until 2014 — making this campaign one of the longest-lasting ever. The CMPB wasn’t determined to make its brand known with this one — it was determined to infiltrate the idea of drinking milk across the nation. And these two simple words sure as heck did.

got-milk-slogan.jpg

Source: Broward Palm Beach News Times

6) MasterCard: “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard.”

MasterCard’s two-sentence slogan was created in 1997 as a part of an award-winning advertising campaign that ran in 98 countries and in 46 languages. The very first iteration of the campaign was a TV commercial that aired in 1997: “A dad takes his son to a baseball game and pays for a hot dog and a drink, but the conversation between the two is priceless,” writes Avi Dan for Forbes. “In a sense, ‘Priceless’ became a viral, social campaign years before there was a social media.”

One key to this campaign’s success? Each commercial elicits an emotional response from the audience. That first TV commercial might remind you of sports games you went to with your dad, for example. Each advertisement attempted to trigger a different memory or feeling. “You have to create a cultural phenomenon and then constantly nurture it to keep it fresh,” MasterCard CMO Raja Rajamannar told Dan. And nostalgia marketing like that can be a powerful tool.

7) BMW: “Designed for Driving Pleasure”

BMW sells cars all over the world, but in North America, it was known for a long time by its slogan: “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” This slogan was created in the 1970s by a relatively unknown ad agency named Ammirati & Puris and was, according to BMW’s blog, directed at Baby Boomers who were “out of college, making money and ready to spend their hard earned dollars. What better way to reflect your success than on a premium automobile?”

The newer slogan, “Designed for Driving Pleasure,” is intended to reinforce the message that its cars’ biggest selling point is that they are performance vehicles that are thrilling to drive. That message is an emotional one, and one that consumers can buy into to pay the high price point.

bmw-designed-for-driving-pleasure-2.jpg

Source: Brandingmag

8) Tesco: “Every Little Helps”

“Every little helps” is the kind of catchy tagline that can make sense in many different contexts — and it’s flexible enough to fit in with any one of Tesco’s messages. It can refer to value, quality, service, and even environmental responsibility — which the company practices by addressing the impacts of their operations and supply chain.

It’s also, as Naresh Ramchandani wrote for The Guardian, “perhaps the most ingeniously modest slogan ever written.” Tesco markets itself as a brand for the people, and a flexible, modest far-reaching slogan like this one reflects that beautifully.

tesco-slogan.jpg

Source: The Drum

9) M&M: “Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hands”

Here’s one brand that didn’t need much time before realizing its core value proposition. At the end of the day, chocolate is chocolate. How can one piece of chocolate truly stand out from another? By bringing in the convenience factor, of course. This particular example highlights the importance of finding something that makes your brand different from the others — in this case, the hard shell that keeps chocolate from melting all over you.

10) Bounty: “The Quicker Picker Upper”

Bounty paper towels, made by Procter & Gamble, has used its catchy slogan “The Quicker Picker Upper” for almost 50 years now. If it sounds like one of those sing-songy play on words you learned as a kid, that’s because it is one: The slogan uses what’s called consonance — a poetic device characterized by the repetition of the same consonant two or more times in short succession (think: “pitter patter”).

Over the years, Bounty has moved away from this slogan in full, replacing “Quicker” with other adjectives, depending on the brand’s current marketing campaign — like “The Quilted Picker Upper” and “The Clean Picker Upper.” At the same time, the brand’s main web address went from quickerpickerupper.com to bountytowels.com. But although the brand is branching out into other campaigns, they’ve kept the theme of their original, catchy slogan.

Bounty_Paper_Towels_Slogan.png

Source: Bounty

11) De Beers: “A Diamond is Forever”

Diamonds aren’t worth much inherently. In fact, a diamond is worth at least 50% less than you paid for it the moment you left the jewelry store. So how did they become the symbol of wealth, power, and romance they are in America today? It was all because of a brilliant, multifaceted marketing strategy designed and executed by ad agency N.W. Ayer in the early 1900s for their client, De Beers.

The four, iconic words “A Diamond is Forever” have appeared in every single De Beers advertisement since 1948, and AdAge named it the best slogan of the century in 1999. It perfectly captures the sentiment De Beers was going for: that a diamond, like your relationship, is eternal. It also helped discourage people from ever reselling their diamonds. (Mass re-selling would disrupt the market and reveal the alarmingly low intrinsic value of the stones themselves.) Brilliant.

de-beers-slogan.jpg

de-beers-slogan-old.jpg

Source: Sydney Merritt

12) Lay’s: “Betcha Can’t Eat Just One”

Seriously, who here has ever had just one chip? While this tagline might stand true for other snack companies, Lay’s was clever to pick up on it straight away. The company tapped into our truly human incapability to ignore crispy, salty goodness when it’s staring us in the face. Carbs, what a tangled web you weave.

But seriously, notice how the emphasis isn’t on the taste of the product. There are plenty of other delicious chips out there. But what Lay’s was able to bring forth with its tagline is that totally human, uncontrollable nature of snacking until the cows come home.

lays-slogan.jpg

Source: Amazon

13) Audi: “Vorsprung durch technik” (“Advancement Through Technology”)

“Vorsprung durch technik” has been Audi’s main slogan everywhere in the world since 1971 (except for the United States, where the slogan is “Truth in Engineering”). While the phrase has been translated in several ways, the online dictionary LEO translates “Vorsprung” as “advance” or “lead” as in “distance, amount by which someone is ahead in a competition.” Audi roughly translates it as: “Advancement through technology.”

The first-generation Audio 80 (B1 series) was launched a year after the slogan in 1972, and the new car was a brilliant reflection of that slogan with many impressive new technical features. It was throughout the 1970s that the Audi brand established itself as an innovative car manufacturer, such as with the five-cylinder engine (1976), turbocharging (1979), and the quattro four-wheel drive (1980). This is still reflective of the Audi brand today.

audi-slogan.jpg

Source: Cars and Coffee Chat

14) Dunkin’ Donuts: “America Runs on Dunkin”

In April 2006, Dunkin’ Donuts launched the most significant repositioning effort in the company’s history by unveiling a brand new, multi-million dollar advertising campaign under the slogan “America Runs on Dunkin.” The campaign revolves around Dunkin’ Donuts coffee keeping busy Americans fueled while they are on the go.

“The new campaign is a fun and often quirky celebration of life, showing Americans embracing their work, their play and everything in between — accompanied every step of the way by Dunkin’ Donuts,” read the official press release from the campaign’s official launch.

Ten years later, what the folks at Dunkin Donuts’ realized they were missing was their celebration of and honoring their actual customers. That’s why, in 2016, they launched the “Keep On” campaign, which they call their modern interpretation of the ten-year slogan.

“It’s the idea that we’re your partner in crime, or we’re like your wingman, your buddy in your daily struggle and we give you the positive energy through both food and beverage but also emotionally, we believe in you and we believe in the consumer,” said Chris D’Amico, SVP and Group Creative Director at Hill Holiday.

dunkin-donuts-slogan.gif

Source: Lane Printing & Advertising

(Fun fact: Dunkin’ Donuts is testing out rebranding — and renaming itself. One store in Pasadena, California will be called, simply, Dunkin’.)

15) Meow Mix: “Tastes So Good, Cats Ask for It by Name”

Meow meow meow meow … who remembers this catchy tune sung by cats, for cats, in Meow Mix’s television commercials? The brand released a simple but telling tagline: “Tastes So Good, Cats Ask For It By Name.”

This slogan plays off the fact that every time a cat meows, s/he is actually asking for Meow Mix. It was not only clever, but it also successfully planted Meow Mix as a standout brand in a cluttered market.

meow-mix-slogan.jpg

Source: Walgreens

16) McDonald’s: “I’m Lovin’ It”

The “I’m Lovin’ It” campaign was launched way back in 2003 and still stands strong today. This is a great example of a slogan that resonates with the brand’s target audience. McDonald’s food might not be your healthiest choice, but being healthy isn’t the benefit McDonald’s is promising — it’s that you’ll love the taste and the convenience.

(Fun fact: The jingle’s infamous hook — “ba da ba ba ba” — was originally sung by Justin Timberlake.)

mcdonalds-slogan.gif

Source: McDonald’s

17) The New York Times: “All the News That’s Fit to Print”

This one is my personal favorite. The tagline was created in the late 1890s as a movement of opposition against other news publications printing lurid journalism. The New York Times didn’t stand for sensationalism. Instead, it focused on important facts and stories that would educate its audience. It literally deemed its content all the real “news fit to print.”

This helped the paper become more than just a news outlet, but a company that paved the way for credible news. The company didn’t force a tagline upon people when it first was founded, but rather, it created one in a time where it was needed most.

new-york-times-slogan.jpg

Source: 4th St8 Blog

18) General Electric: “Imagination at Work”

You may remember General Electric’s former slogan, “We Bring Good Things to Life,” which was initiated in 1979. Although this tagline was well-known and well-received, the new slogan — “Imagination at Work” — shows how a company’s internal culture can revolutionize how they see their own brand.

“‘Imagination at Work’ began as an internal theme at GE,” recalled Tim McCleary, GE’s manager of corporate identity. When Jeff Immelt became CEO of GE in 2001, he announced that his goal was to reconnect with GE’s roots as a company defined by innovation.

This culture and theme resulted in a rebranding with the new tagline “Imagination at Work,” which embodies the idea that imagination inspires the human initiative to thrive at what we do.

19) Verizon: “Can You Hear Me Now? Good.”

Here’s another brand that took its time coming up with something that truly resonated with its audience. This tagline was created in 2002 under the umbrella of, “We never stop working for you.”

While Verizon was founded in 1983, it continued to battle against various phone companies like AT&T and T-Mobile, still two of its strongest competitors. But what makes Verizon stand out? No matter where you are, you have service. You may not have the greatest texting options, or the best cellphone options, but you will always have service.

(Fun fact: The actor behind this campaign — Paul Marcarelli — now appears in competing advertisements for Sprint.)

verizon-slogan.jpg

Source: MS Lumia Blog

20) State Farm: “Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is There”

The insurance company State Farm has a number of slogans, including “Get to a better State” and “No one serves you better than State Farm.” But its most famous one is the jingle “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there,” which you’re likely familiar with if you live in the United States and watch television.

These words emphasize State Farm’s “community-first” value proposition — which sets it apart from the huge, bureaucratic feel of most insurance companies. And it quickly establishes a close relationship with the consumer.

Often, customers need insurance when they least expect it — and in those situations, State Farm is responding in friendly, neighborly language.

StateFarm_Logo.png

Source: StateFarm

21) Maybelline: “Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.”

Can you sing this jingle in your head? Maybelline’s former slogan, created in the 1990s, is one of the most famous in the world. It makes you think of glossy magazine pages featuring strong, beautiful women with long lashes staring straight down the lens. It’s that confidence that Maybelline’s makeup brand is all about — specifically, the transformation into a confident woman through makeup.

Maybelline changed its slogan to “Make IT Happen” in February 2016, inspiring women to “express their beauty in their own way.” Despite this change, the former slogan remains powerful and ubiquitous, especially among the many generations that grew up with it.

maybelline-slogan.jpg

Source: FunnyJunk

22) The U.S. Marine Corps: “The Few. The Proud. The Marines.”

The U.S. Marine Corps has had a handful of top-notch recruiting slogans over the decades, from “First to fight” starting in World War I, to “We’re looking for a few good men” from the 1980s. However, we’d argue that “The Few. The Proud. The Marines.” is among the best organization slogans out there.

This slogan “underscores the high caliber of those who join and serve their country as Marines,” said Maj. Gen. Richard T. Tryon, former commanding general of Marine Corps Recruiting Command. In 2007, it even earned a spot on Madison Avenue’s Advertising Walk of Fame.

US_Marine_Corps_Slogan.png

Source: Marines.com

 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Search Has Changed. Here’s How Your Content Needs to Evolve.

When inbound marketing was on the rise in 2006, search engines were the primary way readers discovered new content. In 2017, this still holds true.

Social, video, and messaging apps now occupy a fair share of the content landscape — but with over 3.5 billion searches per day on Google alone, search is a channel marketers still can’t afford to ignore.

Over the last ten years or so, it feels like we’ve figured out a pretty standard content formula: publish a large volume of content to target long-tail keywords, and convert that organic traffic into leads via gated content offers. 

But this way of thinking about content has hit a wall. Search has changed, and it’s time content did too. 

How Search Has Evolved

There are two big ways search has changed in recent years:

  1. Our search behavior has shifted.
  2. The technology search engines use to interpret and serve results has improved.

Let’s dive into each.

How Our Search Behavior Has Changed

Back in 2006, search behavior was relatively simplistic. We typed at search engines with queries like, “Restaurants Boston,” rather than talking to them conversationally.

Today, the average search query goes something like, “Where is the best place to eat near me right now?”.

In fact, in May 2016 Google CEO, Sundar Pichai announced that 20% of queries on mobile and Android are voice searches.

Regardless of whether you type or use voice search, longer, more-conversational queries have become standard.

In a study conducted by Ahrefs of search volume by keyword length, they found 64% of searches are four words or more. And the rise of conversational search is only making this search pattern more prevalent.

keyword-length-distribution.pngSource: Ahrefs long-tail keyword study

This isn’t because we’ve suddenly become comfortable talking to robots. It’s largely because the quality of results that search engines serve has substantially improved, along with the quantity of content.

We’ve learned the playbook and have published so much content, some marketers say we’ve hit “content shock,” and that producing content at this rate is no longer sustainable.


"While the quantity of content has dramatically increased, quality has not."

While the quantity of content has dramatically increased, quality has not. Sure, there are individual publishers and sites that create amazing content you probably consume regularly. But for the most part, a lot of content published today doesn’t contribute much to the conversation.

In addition to our search behavior, the general way we use the internet to interact with sites has changed. We’ve shifted from desktop-based PCs, to mobile laptops, to smartphones as mini-computers in the palm of our hands.

Readers are skimming content and searching for quick answers. The emergence of messaging also means visitors are less likely to fill out a lengthy form. This has natural consequences on how we think about our content to build an audience, brand, and ultimately generate leads.

The Impact of Search Engine Updates

We’re going to focus on Google-specific updates here, since between their core search, image search, and YouTube, they collectively control 90% of the search market.

When Google first popped up on the scene, the way they returned results was to essentially deconstruct queries into their fundamental pieces — meaning individual keywords that appeared — and serve results based on exact matches. At that time, marketers who stuffed matching keywords into content would naturally rank for the query, until Google started adjusting their algorithm.

If we go back just a few years, we can see a rich history that leads us to the search experience we have today, and we can uncover lessons that apply to our own content strategies.

Let’s walk through three of the most important Google search updates and how they impact your strategy.

Penguin Algorithm Update — Rolled out April 24, 2012.

This algorithm update was designed to penalize “webspam” and sites that were over-optimized using black-hat SEO techniques. Webspam –such as keyword stuffing and link schemes — was penalized in this update, with 3.1% of English search queries impacted.

In the official Penguin announcement, Google described a blog post that was written about fitness and had relevant content. But within the post, there were also completely irrelevant links to payday loans and other sites. This form of random keyword stuffing is a perfect example of an SEO tactic that was likely impacted by Penguin.

The takeaway: Include relevant links and keywords in your content, but don’t overdo it. While there’s no magical number that’s right or wrong, look at your content through the lens of a reader and make a judgment call if it’s too much.

Hummingbird Algorithm Update — Announced on August 20, 2013.

Based on what we know, this was a core algorithm update that focused on improving semantic search. As search becomes more conversational, Hummingbird is now the core algorithm interpreting these queries and translating them into meaningful results.

For example, if you search for “what’s the best place to buy an iPhone 7 near my home?” a traditional algorithm before Hummingbird would have taken each individual keyword and looked for matches. With Hummingbird, Google began to look at the meaning behind these words and translate them into a better result. 

Digging into that example query above, “place” means you’re looking for a store you can physically go to, instead of a website you can buy from. Hummingbird looks at the entire query and attempts to understand the meaning behind the words used to return relevant results.

The takeaway: We now search the way we talk. Focusing only on keywords means you’re likely missing out on traffic from conversational search. Start thinking about clustering your content into topics, and adjusting the way you create content with pillar pages.

RankBrain Algorithm Update — Announced on October 26, 2015.

In October 2015, Google announced that machine learning, via RankBrain, had been a part of their algorithm for months and is now the third most influential ranking factor.

It’s important to understand that there are over 200 ranking signals when Google evaluates a page. When RankBrain was announced, it immediately became the third most-important factor Google uses to determine rank. 

So, what does RankBrain do? At a basic level, this algorithm helps interpret searches to find pages that might not have the exact words searched for. For example, if you search for “sneakers,” Google understands that you might have meant “running shoes” and incorporates that factor into results.

Although Google begun to understand synonyms between words prior to this update, RankBrain propelled that understanding forward and truly brought a focus on topic-based content to the forefront.

The takeaway: Searchers are likely discovering your content even though they don’t use exact keywords. When you combine this update with Hummingbird, the evidence is clear that we need to shift how we think about, plan, and create content.

Based on our search behavior, and the search technology updates, the playbook for content needs to change. The same formula we used for the past ten years might still generate moderate results, but it will not help us adjust to the way potential buyers are searching for our content today, or the way search works.

Wait, does this mean keywords are irrelevant?

No — keywords are still very relevant today. Yet many marketers solely rely on keywords to inform their content strategy. With the search behavior and technology changes we’ve discussed, your future playbook must be based on the overall topics that match the intent of a searcher, and the specific keywords they use.

For example, if you want help companies redesign websites, then you would naturally want to appear on a search engine results page for the keyword “website redesign.” In this case, “website redesign” is the overall topic. But some users might be really be searching for “redesign existing website”, which is essentially the same query with different keywords. 

With this shift in search technology, search behavior, and how we interact with content, the way we make content to attract users has to change.

Here are core tenets of the new playbook to help you adjust:

The New Content Playbook

The new content playbook is comprised of three parts: overall topics that you want to be known for organized into clusters, pillar content, and subtopic content. This model can helps you establish areas of influence into overall topics, and a solid information architecture at the same time.

Topic Clusters

As Matt Barby, Global Head of Growth and SEO at HubSpot, explains:

 

“The basic premise behind building a content program in topic clusters is to enable a deeper coverage across a range of core topic areas, whilst creating an efficient information architecture in the process.”

Instead of thinking about every variation of exact keywords, think about the topics you want to be known for, and the content you create will deeply cover that topic. Then, within this topic-based content, include relevant keywords. To explain this further, let’s break down topic vs. keyword in the table below.

Keyword-and-Topics.png

An overall topic cluster is represented with a comprehensive piece of content at the center (called pillar content) and then surrounded by subtopic content. Visually it looks like this:

Cluster model.png

A topic cluster should be specific to the topic you want to be known for and should be short — ideally between two and four words.

For example, at HubSpot “inbound marketing” is a topic cluster, and we have pillar content dedicated to describing the methodology. You can have numerous topic clusters across your site for as many topics as are relevant to your company. 

Pillar Content

Pillar content is central to this new strategy. It is typically comprised of a single page — such as a website or landing page — that offers a comprehensive view of the topic. 

If you have a lot of content, this page might already exist on your site. If not, or you want to expand into a new topic, check-out this decision tree to help decide when to create a new piece of pillar content.

final2-pillar-cluster-flowchart.jpg

There are a three key aspects of pillar content that you should consider:

  • Ungated – Pillar content should be ungated. That is, all of the content should be available for search engines to crawl and visitors to read without having to fill out a form. You can have a form on the page, but just don’t hide content behind the form. 
  • Comprehensive – Pillar content should be comprehensive, which also generally means long-form. Consider all of the questions your sales, services, and support teams regularly receive concerning a specific topic and build in answers within the page content.
  • Related terms – Remember when we talked about the algorithm updates above? Be sure to mention your core topic a number of times on the page, but also include synonyms as well. That way, no matter how someone searches for that topic, they’ll hopefully land on your page.

Subtopic Content

Subtopic content should be related to your pillar content. It centers around the same overall topic, but should answer longer, more niche questions. These can take the form of blog posts or site pages, and should contain a text link that points back to the pillar content. 

This hyperlink helps signal to search engines that all of this content is related. With all of your subtopic content pointing towards the pillar, it builds authority within your site.

Here’s an example of what this could look like for your website:

New structure.png

This new approach helps you attract more traffic from broad topics, and still captures long-tail keyword based traffic as well. It’s a solution that is better for your visitors, and allows you to provide answers they expect to find without encountering technology hurdles. 

The best content will be remarkable, comprehensive, and organized in this structure to not only help search crawlers discover their content, but naturally provide answers to topic-based queries. Content creation has evolved over the past few years, and is now hitting an inflection point where another major evolution is happening right before our eyes. 

As marketers, it’s up to us to create valuable content people actually want. Content that is helpful, human, and easily found.

Ultimately you want to achieve your goals — whether that’s increasing traffic, leads, or MQLs — but it all begins with content that matches the way people search, and the way search engines work today.

Intro to Lead Gen

The Ideal Image Sizes for Your Social Media Posts: Guidelines for All 6 Major Social Networks

This post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated with the latest ideal image sizes for the various social media platforms, as of July 2017.

You’ve got all the great tools to create engaging images for social media. You know what the brain loves about visuals and how to build something beautiful to drive engagement. You’re all set to make something great!

One last thing: How exactly should your image look so it fits in the News Feed, timeline, or stream?

There’s so much to consider in creating great images for social media—for me, the size and shape tend to get locked in before I even realize what’s happened. Yet the size and shape — the height, width, and orientation — are the elements that most influence how an image will appear in a social media stream.

Fortunately, there are some answers out there on how to create ideal images that show up consistently great in your audience’s timelines. We’ve collected all the answers here, along with our favorite two templates to fit any network. 

ideal-image-sizes

Ideal image sizes for social media

Image sizes are a huge topic to cover.

There are ideal image sizes for cover photos and profile pictures, Facebook ads, and Twitter cards. Several in-depth blog posts have tackled an overview of what’s best in all these many different spots. Here is one of my favorites:

Most of the major social media channels like Facebook and Twitter now give you added control over how your profile picture and cover photo look. You get some really neat tools to resize and scale these pictures until they’re pixel perfect.

Here’s the process for a Facebook cover photo, for example.

fb-cover

For ideal sizes on cover photos and profile pictures, I’d highly recommend the site mentioned above. It has got it all covered.

I’d love for this post to focus specifically on the social media images you share with your updates, either as image attachments or as links.

Looking for a particular social platform? Try clicking one of these categories below to jump to the relevant section:

The best sizes for sharing images on social media

We’ve long been interested in the impact of social media images for engagement, retweets, clicks, and more. We found that tweets with images receive 150 percent more retweets than those without.

One of the big questions for me is how you get an engaging image to look its best when it’s in a stream, timeline, or News Feed?

What’s the best — and maybe even the easiest — way to go about it?

In general, here are the best sizes for sharing images on social media. (Click on any link here to jump to the details for a specific network.)

Facebook – 1,200 x 628

Twitter – 1,024 x 576

Instagram – 1,080 x 1,080

LinkedIn – 552 x 368

Pinterest – 600 x 900

Google+ – 800 x 320

Our two favorite image size templates that cover most networks

In experimenting with the fastest, easiest way to create images we know will work well in social media feeds, we came across a couple of image sizes that became our go-tos: one size for horizontal (landscape) images and one for vertical (portrait) images.

  • Horizontal (landscape) – 1,024 x 512
  • Vertical (portrait) – 800 x 1,200

One of the simplest ways we’ve found for creating the 1,024 x 512-pixel images is to use Pablo. You can create an image in under 30 seconds and share directly to Twitter, Facebook, and Buffer.

We use the horizontal size for sharing to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

We use the vertical size for sharing to Pinterest.

(We have also recently been experimenting with square images — 1024 pixels wide by 1024 pixels tall.)

The horizontal size isn’t quite spot on. But that’s alright because, as you’ll read below, most platforms now adjust the height of the images accordingly without cropping the images. Even when they do crop, we’ve found that it’s close enough where no important bits get cropped.

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Ideal image sizes for Facebook posts

Sharing images to Facebook

The orientation of your image—whether it’s horizontal (landscape), vertical (portrait), or square—will determine which dimensions Facebook uses to show your image.

If you upload a square image to share, it will be 476 pixels square. This’ll be the case no matter what size square you upload, be it an 800 x 800 image or a 400 x 400 image (the smaller images might appear a bit blurry when they are sized up to 476 pixels square).

Facebook Image Size - Square

If you upload a horizontal (landscape) image, it will be scaled to 476 pixels wide and the height will be adjusted accordingly.

Facebook Image Size - Horizontal (Landscape)

If you upload a vertical (portrait) image, it will be scaled to 476 pixels wide and the height will be adjusted accordingly but to a maximum of 714 pixels tall. Facebook will crop away the bottom of the image beyond the 714 pixels.

Facebook Image Size - Vertical (Portrait)

If you plan on sharing multiple images in the same Facebook post, there are some great insights at Have Camera Will Travel that cover all the various options that ensue here.

Sharing links to Facebook (and the images that come with them)

If you share a link to Facebook, the image associated with the link can be displayed in a number of ways. Again, all depends on the image size (pixel width and height) and shape (orientation).

Images previews for shared links are scaled to fill a box of 476 pixels wide by 249 pixels tall.

Facebook Image Size - Link

When choosing an image to go along with a link, Facebook looks at the Open Graph tags for a page, specifically the og:image tag, which specifies the image that Facebook should use when sharing in the News Feed.

You can add the og:image tag manually into the <head> section on every page of your website, or you can try out a plugin like Yoast SEO for WordPress, which handles the code and implementation for you. (We’re big fans of the Yoast plugin for the Buffer blog.)

If you are creating an image to be used in the og:image tag for your link, keep in mind that anything outside of 476 x 249 pixels will be cropped from the top and bottom in order to fit.

Facebook Image Size - Link (Cropped)

Additionally, if the link you share does not have the proper og:image tags installed or the image in the tag is not large enough, Facebook will not display it full-width or might not display an image preview at all. If it does, a thumbnail image will be placed in a small box to the left of the link text.

For most all image orientations — square, horizontal (landscape), and vertical (portrait) — the thumbnail will be scaled and cropped to fit a 158 x 158-pixel square.

Facebook Image Size - Link (Small)

If you add multiple images to a link post, Facebook will automatically convert it into a carousel post. Each image is cropped to fit a 300 x 300-pixel square.

Facebook Image Size - Link (Multiple Images)

What we’ve found to be a great solution for creating and sharing images to Facebook is to build an image that is 1024 x 512. While this doesn’t quite fit the dimensions above perfectly, it is large enough to look great on retina displays (where the pixel density is greater) and large enough so as to fit with the full-width areas in the News Feed.

(And as you’ll see below, this image size is ideal for Twitter as well.)

If you want to make sure that your photos display in the highest possible quality, Facebook has some advice for you.

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Ideal image sizes for tweets

Twitter images used to appear on the timeline at 506 pixels wide by 253 pixels tall. Now, Twitter images appear bigger and less cropped when viewed on a desktop.

Sharing a single image to Twitter

On the desktop, regardless of the orientation of your image — horizontal (landscape), vertical (portrait), or square —it will be scaled to 506 pixels wide and the height will be adjusted accordingly but to a maximum of 747 pixels tall. The top and bottom of the image will be cropped away.

So a square image will nicely take up all the space available.

Twitter Image Size - Square

But if you upload an image that is smaller than 506 pixels wide by 253 pixels tall, there will be a whitespace to the right of the image.

Note: On mobile, images will be cropped into a horizontal rectangle. From my tests, it seems that 1024 pixels wide by 576 pixels tall is the ideal Twitter image size for displaying your image fully on mobile. (This dimension also works great on the desktop.)

Twitter Image Size - Mobile

Sharing multiple images to Twitter

Twitter also allows you to upload up to four images to each tweet. The images used to be displayed as four equal horizontal rectangles but now, they are cropped into squares and the first image you upload will appear bigger.

Twitter Image Size - Multiple Images

The featured image will be scaled to various sizes depending on the number of photos you upload and cropped into a square:

  • Two images: Scaled to 252 pixels tall and cropped to 252 pixels wide
  • Three images: Scaled to 337 pixels tall and cropped to 337 pixels wide
  • Four images: Scaled to 379 pixels tall and cropped to 379 pixels wide

The remaining images will also be scaled and cropped into squares.

Note: On mobile, images will be cropped differently. Here’s an overview of the aspect ratios, from Twitter:

Twitter Image Size - Multiple Images (Mobile)

Image sizes for Twitter cards

Images are also present in each of the nine different Twitter Cards. If you’re interested in trying out something like a lead generation card or a product card, Twitter did a great job of breaking down the images sizes for each type of card. I’d like to get a bit deeper into a couple of specific ones that seem key for content sharing.

  • Summary card
  • Summary card with large image

Summary cards show a headline, description, link, and photo when you share a URL from a site that contains the appropriate Twitter Cards code. All this information is pulled via HTML tags, often the same ones that are being used by Facebook to display links.

(The Yoast SEO WordPress plugin mentioned above also includes support for Twitter Cards.)

Each type of summary card contains a thumbnail or featured image.

For summary cards:

The image must be a minimum size of 144 pixels wide by 144 pixels tall and must be less than 5MB in file size.

The image will also be cropped into a 125×125-pixel square.

Twitter Image Size - Summary Card

For summary cards with large images:

The image should be at least 300 pixels wide by 157 pixels tall. Image must be less than 5MB in size.

The image will be cropped into a rectangle with a 2:1 aspect ratio.

Twitter Image Size - Summary Card with Large Image

If you’re curious how your images might look with Twitter Cards, you can enter your link into Twitter’s free card validator to get a quick preview.

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Ideal image sizes for Instagram photos

Sharing photos to Instagram

Instagram used to be all about the square image. However, you can now upload landscape (horizontal) or portrait (vertical) photos as well. Here are the best sizes for Instagram’s three image types:

  • Square image: 1080 pixels wide by 1080 pixels tall
  • Vertical image: 1080 pixels wide by 1350 pixels tall
  • Horizontal image: 1080 pixels wide by 566 pixels tall

Square

Instagram Image Size - Square

Vertical (Portrait)

Instagram Image Size - Vertical (Portrait)

Horizontal (Landscape)

Instagram Image Size - Horizontal (Landscape)

The thumbnail photos that appear on one’s profile page are 293 pixels wide by 293 pixels tall.

Sharing Instagram stories

Instagram stories are displayed at an aspect ratio of 9:16.  So the ideal size for Instagram stories is 1080 pixels wide by 1920 pixels tall.

So the ideal size for Instagram stories is 1080 pixels wide by 1920 pixels tall.

Instagram Image Size - Stories

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Ideal image sizes for LinkedIn posts

Sharing to your LinkedIn personal profile

According to a moderator of LinkedIn’s help forum, the ideal image size is 522 pixels wide by 368 pixels tall.

If you upload an image directly, the image will appear at a maximum width of 552 pixels and a maximum height of 368 pixels. The image will be cropped to fit this box.

It seems that if you upload a landscape image, LinkedIn will scale it to a height of 368 pixels and crop the sides. If you upload a portrait or square image, LinkedIn will scale it to a width of 552 pixels and crop the bottom of the image.

(LinkedIn only crops the image preview. People can still see the full image by clicking on it.)

LinkedIn Image Size

When you share links and articles to LinkedIn, the image preview will be scaled and cropped to fit a box of 520 pixels wide by 272 pixels tall.

LinkedIn Image Size - Link

Sharing to your LinkedIn Company Page

Images shared to your LinkedIn Company Page will look slightly different than images shared to your personal profile. Images will be scaled to fit into a 436-pixels-wide-by-228-pixels tall rectangle.

LinkedIn Company Page Image Size

LinkedIn doesn’t seem to crop images when they don’t fit that box. It scales the images and adds gray spaces accordingly.

If an image is too wide (e.g. landscape), LinkedIn will scale it to 436 pixels wide, adjust the height accordingly, and add gray spaces to the top and bottom of the image. If an image is too tall (e.g. square or portrait), LinkedIn will scale it to 228 pixels tall, adjust the width accordingly, and add gray spaces to the left and right of the image.

LinkedIn Company Page Image Size with Gray Spaces

When links are shared to your Company Page, the image preview will be scaled and cropped to fit a box of 436 pixels wide by 228 pixels tall.

LinkedIn Company Page Image Size - Link

This is a different size from when links are shared to your personal profile.

The good news? It’s almost the same aspect ratio as the image preview of links shared on your personal profile. So the same image should scale nicely for both image previews of links on your personal profile and Company Page.

Sharing to your LinkedIn Showcase Pages

LinkedIn’s Showcase Pages, a feature that allows companies to create pages based on offshoots of their brand (for instance, Adobe created pages for Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe Marketing Cloud, etc.), display images in a slightly different size but resizes them in the same ways:

  • On these pages, images and image preview for links will appear in a box of 366 pixels wide by 191 pixels tall (roughly the same aspect ratio as those above).
  • Images will be scaled and gray spaces will be added accordingly.
  • Image preview for links will be scaled and cropped to fit the box.

LinkedIn Showcase Page Image Size

According to eDigital, the ideal image size for your LinkedIn Company Page is 1200 pixels wide by 628 pixels tall. This size seems to work great for all the various image types — images on your personal profile, Company Page, and Showcase Pages.

LinkedIn uses the same Open Graph tags as Facebook and other social networks. If you’ve got your site well-optimized for Facebook links, then you should be good to go for LinkedIn as well.

Images in LinkedIn articles

One additional way to share content on LinkedIn is by publishing articles that appear on people’s home pages. LinkedIn built a substantial publishing platform for this content, which includes the ability to add featured images to the articles.

In the home page feed, the featured image on a LinkedIn article has the same size as that of a link shared on LinkedIn — 520 pixels wide by 272 pixels tall.

LinkedIn Image Size - Article

The recommended size for the cover image at the top of the article is 744 pixels wide by 400 pixels tall.

LinkedIn Image Size - Article Cover

(Cropping for these images occurs from the outside in, so the very middle of the picture will be what’s displayed in the smaller thumbnails.)

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Ideal image sizes for Pinterest Pins

There are a couple of different places where a Pinned image can appear on Pinterest.

In the feed, Pinterest images have a width of 236 pixels. The height scales accordingly, to a maximum of 800 pixels. If a user clicks to expand, the cropped portion of the image will appear.

Pinterest Image Size - Feed

If you click to expand a Pinned image, the image will have a width of 564 pixels. The height, again, scales accordingly.

Pinterest Image Size - Expanded

Beyond these two places, the other spots that you might find a pin include the cover for Pinterest boards and in side ads for recommended and related Pins.

According to Pinterestthe best aspect ratio for Pinterest images is 2:3, with a minimum width of 600 pixels. 

So this might raise the question (one that I’ve asked a lot before): What is aspect ratio?

It’s how the width and the height of an image relate to one another.

For instance, a 2:3 aspect ratio could be

  • 600 pixels wide by 900 pixels tall
  • 800 pixels wide by 1,200 pixels tall

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Ideal image sizes for Google+ posts

Sharing images to Google+

If you upload an image directly to Google+, the image will appear on the feed at a maximum width of 431 pixels. The height of the image will scale according to the new width.

Google+ Image Size - Feed

Clicking through to the update URL, the image will be 530 pixels wide, maximum, with a height that scales accordingly.

Sharing links to Google+

When you share links and articles to Google+, the featured photos appear at a maximum width of 426 pixels also (same as above). The height scales accordingly.

Google+ Image Size - Link

According to Google, the image must be sized as follows:

  • must be at least 400px wide.
  • must have an aspect ratio no wider than 5:2.

From that, I think it’s safe to say that 800 pixels wide by 320 pixels tall will be an ideal image size for Google+.

Similarly to the other social channels mentioned here, Google+ pulls in images from URLs using Open Graph tags. If the image used in the Open Graph is not at least 400 pixels wide or if Open Graph tags do not exist for a URL, Google+ may instead place a thumbnail image to the left of the update. This thumbnail is 110 x 110 square.

Summary

I hope these image size overviews might be useful for you. We continue to learn lots about what’s best for all the different social networks, and I’ll be happy to continue updating this post with all our latest findings.

(I’m also eager to experiment with mobile sizes as well!)

Is there anything we can add to this resource to make it more useful for you? What has your experience been with sharing different image sizes to social media?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Image sources: IconFinder, Pablo, Startup Stock Photos, Blurgrounds

How to Write a Blog Post: A Bookmarkable Formula + 5 Free Blog Post Templates

You’ve probably heard how paramount blogging is to the success of your marketing. Without it, your SEO will tank, you’ll have nothing to promote in social media, you’ll have no clout with your leads and customers, and you’ll have fewer pages to put those valuable calls-to-action that generate inbound leads. Need I say more?

So why, oh why, does almost every marketer I talk to have a laundry list of excuses for why they can’t consistently blog? Maybe because, unless you’re one of the few people who actually like writing, business blogging kind of stinks. You have to find words, string them together into sentences, and ughhh where do you even start?

Click here to download our free guide on how to double your blog traffic and leads.

Well my friend, the time for excuses is over.

After you read this post, there will be absolutely no reason you can’t blog every single day — and do it quickly. Not only am I about to provide you with a simple blogging formula to follow, but I’m also going to give you free templates for creating five different types of blog posts:

  • The How-To Post
  • The List-Based Post
  • The Curated Collection Post
  • The SlideShare Presentation Post
  • The Newsjacking Post

With all this blogging how-to, literally anyone can blog as long as they truly know the subject matter they’re writing about. And since you’re an expert in your industry, there’s no longer any reason you can’t sit down every day and hammer out an excellent blog post.

How to Write a Blog Post: A Simple Formula to Follow

Step 1: Understand your audience.

Before you start to write, have a clear understanding of your target audience. What do they want to know about? What will resonate with them? This is where creating your buyer personas comes in handy. Consider what you know about your buyer personas and their interests while you’re coming up with a topic for your blog post.

For instance, if your readers are millennials looking to start their own business, you probably don’t need to provide them with information about getting started in social media — most of them already have that down. You might, however, want to give them information about how to adjust their approach to social media from a more casual, personal one to a more business-savvy, networking-focused approach. That kind of tweak is what separates you from blogging about generic stuff to the stuff your audience really wants (and needs) to hear.

Don’t have buyer personas in place for your business? Here are a few resources to help you get started:

MakeMyPersona_Tool.png

Step 2: Start with a topic and working title.

Before you even write anything, you need to pick a topic for your blog post. The topic can be pretty general to start with. For example, if you’re a plumber, you might start out thinking you want to write about leaky faucets. Then you might come up with a few different working titles — in other words, iterations or different ways of approaching that topic to help you focus your writing. For example, you might decide to narrow your topic to “Tools for Fixing Leaky Faucets” or “Common Causes of Leaky Faucets.” A working title is specific and will guide your post so you can start writing.

Let’s take a real post as an example: “How to Choose a Solid Topic for Your Next Blog Post.” Appropriate, right? The topic, in this case, was probably simply “blogging.” Then the working title may have been something like, “The Process for Selecting a Blog Post Topic.” And the final title ended up being “How to Choose a Solid Topic for Your Next Blog Post.”

See that evolution from topic, to working title, to final title? Even though the working title may not end up being the final title (more on that in a moment), it still provides enough information so you can focus your blog post on something more specific than a generic, overwhelming topic.

If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, check out this blog post from my colleague Ginny Soskey. In this post, Soskey walks through a helpful process for turning one idea into many. Similar to the “leaky faucet” example above, she suggests that you “iterate off old topics to come up with unique and compelling new topics.” This can be done by:

  • Changing the topic scope
  • Adjusting the time frame
  • Choosing a new audience
  • Taking a positive/negative approach
  • Introducing a new format

Step 3: Write an intro (and make it captivating).

We’ve written more specifically about writing captivating introductions in the post, “How to Write an Introduction,” but let’s review, shall we?

First, grab the reader’s attention. If you lose the reader in the first few paragraphs — or even sentences — of the introduction, they will stop reading even before they’ve given your post a fair shake. You can do this in a number of ways: tell a story or a joke, be empathetic, or grip the reader with an interesting fact or statistic.

Then describe the purpose of the post and explain how it will address a problem the reader may be having. This will give the reader a reason to keep reading and give them a connection to how it will help them improve their work/lives. Here’s an example of a post that we think does a good job of attracting a reader’s attention right away:

Step 4: Organize your content.

Sometimes, blog posts can have an overwhelming amount of information — for the reader and the writer. The trick is to organize the info so readers are not intimidated by the length or amount of content. The organization can take multiple forms — sections, lists, tips, whatever’s most appropriate. But it must be organized!

Let’s take a look at the post, “How to Use Snapchat: A Detailed Look Into HubSpot’s Snapchat Strategy.“There is a lot of content in this post, so we broke it into a few different sections using the following headers: How to Setup Your Snapchat Account, Snaps vs. Stories: What’s the Difference?, and How to Use Snapchat for Business. These sections are then separated into sub-sections that to go into more detail and also make the content easier to read.

To complete this step, all you really need to do is outline your post. That way, before you start writing, you know which points you want to cover, and the best order in which to do it. To make things even easier, you can also download and use our free blog post templates, which are pre-organized for five of the most common blog post types. Just fill in the blanks!

Step 5: Write!

The next step — but not the last — is actually writing the content. We couldn’t forget about that, of course.

Now that you have your outline/template, you’re ready to fill in the blanks. Use your outline as a guide and be sure to expand on all of your points as needed. Write about what you already know, and if necessary, do additional research to gather more information, examples, and data to back up your points, providing proper attribution when incorporating external sources. Need help finding accurate and compelling data to use in your post? Check out this roundup of sources — from Pew Research to Google Trends.

If you find you’re having trouble stringing sentences together, you’re not alone. Finding your “flow” can be really challenging for a lot of folks. Luckily, there are a ton of tools you can lean on to help you improve your writing. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Power Thesaurus: Stuck on a word? Power Thesaurus is a crowdsourced tool that provides users with a ton of alternative word choices from a community of writers.
  • ZenPen: If you’re having trouble staying focused, check out this distraction-free writing tool. ZenPen creates a minimalist “writing zone” that’s designed to help you get words down without having to fuss with formatting right away.
  • Cliché Finder: Feeling like your writing might be coming off a little cheesy? Identify instances where you can be more specific using this handy cliché tool.

For a complete list of tools for improving your writing skills, check out this post. And if you’re looking for more direction, the following resources are chock-full of valuable writing advice:

Step 6: Edit/proofread your post, and fix your formatting.

You’re not quite done yet, but you’re close! The editing process is an important part of blogging — don’t overlook it. Ask a grammar-conscious co-worker to copy, edit, and proofread your post, and consider enlisting the help of The Ultimate Editing Checklist. And if you’re looking to brush up on your own self-editing skills, turn to these helpful posts for some tips and tricks to get you started:

When you’re ready to check your formatting, keep the following advice in mind …

Featured Image

Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 4.51.41 PM.png

Make sure you choose a visually appealing and relevant image for your post. As social networks treat content with images more prominently, visuals are now more responsible than ever for the success of your blog content in social media. In fact, it’s been shown that content with relevant images receives 94% more views than content without relevant images.

For help selecting an image for your post, read “How to Select the Perfect Image for Your Next Blog Post” — and pay close attention to the section about copyright law.

Visual Appearance

No one likes an ugly blog post. And it’s not just pictures that make a post visually appealing — it’s the formatting and organization of the post, too.

In a properly formatted and visually appealing blog post, you’ll notice that header and sub-headers are used to break up large blocks of text — and those headers are styled consistently. Here’s an example of what that looks like:

header-and-sub-headers-blog-posts.png

Also, screenshots should always have a similar, defined border (see screenshot above for example) so they don’t appear as if they’re floating in space. And that style should stay consistent from post to post.

Maintaining this consistency makes your content (and your brand) look more professional, and makes it easier on the eyes.

Topics/Tags

Tags are specific, public-facing keywords that describe a post. They also allow readers to browse for more content in the same category on your blog. Refrain from adding a laundry list of tags to each post. Instead, put some thought into a tagging strategy. Think of tags as “topics” or “categories,” and choose 10-20 tags that represent all the main topics you want to cover on your blog. Then stick to those.

Step 7: Insert a call-to-action (CTA) at the end.

At the end of every blog post, you should have a CTA that indicates what you want the reader to do next — subscribe to your blog, download an ebook, register for a webinar or event, read a related article, etc. Typically, you think about the CTA being beneficial for the marketer. Your visitors read your blog post, they click on the CTA, and eventually you generate a lead. But the CTA is also a valuable resource for the person reading your content — use your CTAs to offer more content similar to the subject of the post they just finished reading.

In the blog post, “What to Post on Instagram: 18 Photo & Video Ideas to Spark Inspiration,” for instance, readers are given actionable ideas for creating valuable Instagram content. At the end of the post is a CTA referring readers to download a comprehensive guide on how to use Instagram for business:

Instagram_for_Business_CTA

See how that’s a win-win for everyone? Readers who want to learn more have the opportunity to do so, and the business receives a lead they can nurture … who may even become a customer! Learn more about how to choose the right CTA for every blog post in this article. And check out this collection of clever CTAs to inspire your own efforts.

Step 8: Optimize for on-page SEO.

After you finish writing, go back and optimize your post for search.

Don’t obsess over how many keywords to include. If there are opportunities to incorporate keywords you’re targeting, and it won’t impact reader experience, do it. If you can make your URL shorter and more keyword-friendly, go for it. But don’t cram keywords or shoot for some arbitrary keyword density — Google’s smarter than that!

Here’s a little reminder of what you can and should look for:

Meta Description

Meta descriptions are the descriptions below the post’s page title on Google’s search results pages. They provide searchers with a short summary of the post before clicking into it. They are ideally between 150-160 characters and start with a verb, such as “Learn,” “Read,” or “Discover.” While meta descriptions no longer factor into Google’s keyword ranking algorithm, they do give searchers a snapshot of what they will get by reading the post and can help improve your clickthrough rate from search.

Page Title and Headers

Most blogging software uses your post title as your page title, which is the most important on-page SEO element at your disposal. But if you’ve followed our formula so far, you should already have a working title that will naturally include keywords/phrases your target audience is interested in. Don’t over-complicate your title by trying to fit keywords where they don’t naturally belong. That said, if there are clear opportunities to add keywords you’re targeting to your post title and headers, feel free to take them. Also, try to keep your headlines short — ideally, under 65 characters — so they don’t get truncated in search engine results.

Anchor Text

Anchor text is the word or words that link to another page — either on your website or on another website. Carefully select which keywords you want to link to other pages on your site, because search engines take that into consideration when ranking your page for certain keywords.

It’s also important to consider which pages you link to. Consider linking to pages that you want to rank well for that keyword. You could end up getting it to rank on Google’s first page of results instead of its second page, and that ain’t small potatoes.

Mobile Optimization

With mobile devices now accounting for nearly 2 out of every 3 minutes spent online, having a website that is responsive or designed for mobile has become more and more critical. In addition to making sure your website’s visitors (including your blog’s visitors) have the best experience possible, optimizing for mobile will score your website some SEO points.

Back in 2015, Google made a change to its algorithm that now penalizes sites that aren’t mobile optimized. This month (May 2016), Google rolled out their second version of the mobile-friendly algorithm update — creating a sense of urgency for the folks that have yet to update their websites. To make sure your site is getting the maximum SEO benefit possible, check out this free guide: How to Make a Mobile-Friendly Website: SEO Tips for a Post-“Mobilegeddon” World.

Step 9: Pick a catchy title.

Last but not least, it’s time to spruce up that working title of yours. Luckily, we have a simple formula for writing catchy titles that will grab the attention of your reader. Here’s what to consider:

  1. Start with your working title.
  2. As you start to edit your title, keep in mind that it’s important to keep the title accurate and clear.
  3. Then, work on making your title sexy — whether it’s through strong language, alliteration, or another literary tactic.
  4. If you can, optimize for SEO by sneaking some keywords in there (only if it’s natural, though!).
  5. Finally, see if you can shorten it at all. No one likes a long, overwhelming title — and remember, Google prefers 65 characters or fewer before it truncates it on its search engine results pages.

If you’ve mastered the steps above, learn about some way to take your blog posts to the next level in this post. What other steps do you take to refine your blog posts? Don’t forget to download your five free blog post templates right here.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Free Download Historical Blog SEO Optimization

How to Build a Chatbot from Pitch to Promotion

In April 2016, something happened at Facebook that would quickly result in a revolutionary paradigm shift on the horizon of online communication — from mobile to desktop, marketing to services, personal to corporate — everything, really.

Messenger opened its doors to developers with an invitation to create chatbots — something of which roughly 78% of online adults were unaware. 

Within six months, developers had created about 30,000 active Messenger bots. Today, less than a year later, that number is up 233%, with 100,000 active bots on the platform. 

But it’s not just a popular, funky thing to do. Businesses using chatbots are seeing results, like Sephora, which reportedly earns “an average spend of over $50 from clients who have booked an in-store service via its Messenger assistant,” according to VentureBeat.

In case you’re wondering what the heck a chatbot actually is, though, here’s the condensed definition: A bot is nothing more than a computer program that automates certain tasks, typically by chatting with a user through a conversational interface.

There’s a vast range of chatbots. They can be rule-based, or powered by artificial intelligence (AI), both of which will drastically change the process of developing one. And if you’re looking to formulate your own chatbot strategy — from building the bot from scratch to promoting it and getting customers to use it — we’ve developed a basic framework for just that.

Read on, and let’s start building.

How to Build a Chatbot from Pitch to Promotion

1) Decide your bot’s purpose.

Ultimately, the purpose of a bot is to provide a service people actually want to use — time and time again. No bot is meant to do everything, so when you set out to create your own, think of an existing problem that it can fix in a more efficient way.

While there are many types of chatbots, if you’re building one for the first time, you’ll likely want to choose from the following two options:

Informational bots

As the name suggests, these bots provide users with a new format of information consumption. For example, breaking news bots send developing stories as the information becomes available. TechCrunch has a bot of that nature — check it out below:

Utility bots

These bots are automated to complete tasks and answer questions. In other words, they solve a user’s problem or inquiry via a chat transaction. Customer service bots might immediately come to mind here, but a growing number of utility bots are being built for purposes like booking appointments or shopping online. One of our personal favorites is TacoBot: Taco Bell’s still-in-development bot that allows people to order food via Slack. Join the waitlist here, and check out the preview:

tacobot_preview.gif

Source: Taco Bell

2) Decide what messaging app your bot will live on.

Earlier, we provided examples of bots that live on Messenger and Slack, respectively. And while those are two very popular options, there are many more available — for example, Kik and Viber.

Your chatbot’s “home” will largely depend on who’s using what. You’ll want to aim for the apps with an audience that matches the one you’re trying to reach. Slack, for example, tends to be more business-focused, so productivity bots are particularly helpful there.

Sephora is a great example. While the brand has bots on both Messenger and Kik, each one functions differently. The Messenger version is used for customer service, feedback, and booking makeovers:

The Kik version, on the other hand, is designed to help users find products and makeup tips:

3) Decide which platform you’ll use to build the chatbot.

Most messenger apps have tools and documents to help developers build bots — for example, Messenger has an entire library of resources here.

However, there are numerous platforms that can also help you build your bot — in some cases, without a lot of coding required. Here are a few that we recommend:

  1. Motion AI
  2. Chatfuel
  3. Botsify
  4. Beep Boop
  5. Bot Kit
  6. Octane.ai

4) Create your bot’s personality.

Remember when we mentioned the importance of matching your bot’s home with the audience you’re trying to reach? Well, we have a similar guiding principle for your bot’s personality: It should match your brand.

One of our favorite examples here is Pegg, a financial assistant designed for startups and small businesses — but speaking as someone who recently returned from vacation, it’s helpful for anyone trying to track their spending. And while finance isn’t something that’s usually associated with a fun, playful voice, Pegg’s bot, HelloPegg, flips that connotation on its head with a cute logo and friendly voice.

5) Build your bot’s flow.

When you begin creating your chatbot, the platform you’re using should provide options on how to build out conversations. Usually, this is by way of providing the user with drag-and-drop or multiple choice responses, or frontloading the bot with if/then statements. For example, with the HelloPegg app above, the if/then flow might look like this:

If the user begins the sentence with, “Spent” — then respond with, “Who did you pay?”

It’s a way of building a series of questions that are dependent on certain input criteria from the user to reach a given response or solution. Remember, a bot is supposed to be able to understand intent and deliver a solution in the most efficient way possible — that’s the main point of building a conversational strategy. Unlike a type form, for example, not every user can receive the same questions, and each answer the user gives should alter the following question to make the conversation as productive as possible.

Chatbots don’t necessarily need to be loquacious — they serve the purpose solving real problems from real people with the same (or better) ability as a human.

Things like buttons, cards, or other UI elements can be helpful here. For example, when chatting with a friend on Messenger, you might notice that the app prompts you to do certain things, depending on what you’ve typed in — like when I used it to wish my colleague, Eric Peters, a happy birthday.

EPMessenger.png

To help you build out these various pieces, we created the conversational framework below.

Finally, you’ll need to set up your chatbot’s ability to process the natural language that most users will input — meaning, the conversational vernacular that we use day-to-day. For example, “People don’t typically chat using words like ‘affirmative’ and ‘negative’,” explains HubSpot Senior Manager of Web Development Dmitry Shamis. “They say things like ‘yup’ and ‘nah, playa’ so natural language processing allows your bot to understand the underlying message and sentiment of those words.”

The way to do this varies with each platform, so depending on what you’re using to create the bot, going about this step will vary.

6) Connect the bot to the messaging app.

Once you’ve reached this step, you’ve likely finished building your bot. Now, it’s time to connect it to the app where you want it to live.

Many of the resources we listed in section 3 will allow you to do this within the same platform you used to build the bot. Both Motion AI and Chatfuel, for instance, have buttons in the interface that allow you to simply attach your bot directly to your Messenger page. But before you commit to those options, make sure you do thorough research to make sure you won’t be expected to pay any fees to the platform in the case that your bot sees a high level of success.

There are a few tools available to help you do this, one of which is the Recast.ai Bot Connector. It’s integrated with a number of apps, including Kik, Messenger, and Slack. It’s open source and free — check out the instructions for getting started here.

7) Test and train with a beta group.

I don’t know about you, but when I’ve finished a project of which I’m particularly proud, I’m impatient to share it with the world. But as much as we want to get our work out into the hands of the adoring masses, it’s imperative to make sure it works — especially with something as highly customer-facing and interacting as a chatbot.

That’s why we recommend forming a beta group to test the bot before it’s launched for public consumption. That can be internal or external — here at HubSpot, for example, we often test new products and features by sharing them with our colleagues and asking them to check for functionality, quality, and bugs.

But whoever you choose to test your chatbot, make sure they’re not afraid to give you their honest feedback. In order to fix a mistake, it needs to be unabashedly pointed out to you first.

8) Promote your chatbot.

Once your chatbot has been thoroughly QA’d and de-bugged, it’s time to release it to the public — and, of course, promote it.

There are several ways to go about the latter, but for the sake of keeping your strategy focused, we recommend the following steps to get started.

Add it to chatbot directories and catalogs.

Not every app will have a listing like this, but if you’re using one that does, make sure your app is included. (For example, here’s Slack’s.) Otherwise, look to third-party directories like BotList or Bot Finder for such listings.

Create a dedicated, SEO-friendly landing page.

For us, there’s often nothing more frustrating than catching wind of a great chatbot and being unable to find a dedicated website for it. That’s why we encourage you to create a dedicated, central page to explain the purpose, features, and where to find/install your chatbot to avoid any difficulty finding it, or other confusion.

TOPBOTS marketing and strategy specialist Adelyn Zhou emphasizes the importance of such a page. “A dedicated landing page for your bot gives users the option to first read and understand your distinct value add,” she writes on Medium. “Without the introduction, you’re leaving them to deduce your functionality by themselves.”

Include a messaging option in your emails.

Many emails include CTAs and icons for the reader to follow the sender on social media. Now, you can also add an option for your audience to engage with you via chatbot, by including icons for Messenger and Slack, for example.

Continuing the Conversation

Before you begin, remember: The hardest part of this process is not building your chatbot.

It may sound counter-intuitive, but if you re-read the steps above, you’ll see that while the actual bot buildout isn’t without its challenges, it doesn’t present the most difficulty. Rather, the hardest part is improving your conversational strategy over time — based on how actual humans are interacting with it.

Even after you’ve completed the steps we’ve outlined, your work won’t be completely done. You’ll want to see how users are engaging with your chatbot, and if they’re not, what might be the cause of it. Is it truly addressing the problem it was built to solve? Has it turned out that your audience has other issues it wishes to resolve with a bot?

Think about these different factors once your chatbot goes live, and the various ways you can continue to make it even better.

HubSpot Marketing Free

Content Marketing Moneyball—The Secret Strategy to Data-Driven Content Success

There’s an epidemic failure within marketing to understand what defines quality content. Without a sound definition for quality content, it’s impossible to develop an effective content marketing strategy. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions on what defines quality content. For example:

  • A piece of content’s quality is determined by the creator, or
  • Quality content is content with a great headline, several images, easy-to-read, actionable, and other other specific attributes.

Once upon a time, we tried to define what makes content great at WordStream, my former company. We fell into the same trap as above, trying to define quality content based on attributes. We said great content is:

  • Findable
  • Shareable
  • Usable
  • Readable
  • Memorable
  • Quotable
  • Actionable
  • Reportable

All of these are important. But even if your content has all eight of those attributes, it still is most likely to go nowhere.

I know why your content marketing strategy isn't working

The definition of quality content should be based on outcomes, not biased views of your own work. Here’s one way to think about quality content that might put things in perspective.

What is “Quality Content”?

In the based-on-a-true-story movie Moneyball, baseball team manager Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt, finds himself in a frustrating meeting where his scouts are talking about potential free agents to add to the team lineup. The scouts evaluate players based on their athleticism, size, and speed. They also speak glowingly about one player because he’s clean cut, has a good face, and a good jaw. Beane asks his scouts an important question: “Can he hit?“

Many marketers look at content the same way the scouts were looking at the players. We’ve been trying to define content quality as a series of technical and aesthetic attributes: how our content is structured and formatted. How many times have you heard that long form is better than short form or vice versa?

Individuals, businesses, and brands are producing a ridiculously enormous amount of content every minute. But few are actually successful. If your content doesn’t succeed, does it matter if it included lots of pretty images, had perfect spelling and grammar, or used x number of words?

No.

Great baseball players come in all shapes and sizes. The same is true of quality content.
Quality content is successful content. Quality content achieves a goal. I.e., it drives traffic, Google search rankings, engagement, and/or conversions.

Performance is what matters for any content marketing strategy. Here’s how to create home run content for your marketing team.

Increase Your Chances of Picking the Right Topic

Anyone with a creative bone in their body will argue that content marketing strategy isn’t just about numbers. Creativity is art, after all.

The argument goes something along the lines of: “If content creation were just a science, then anybody could simply create quality content. Experience matters! Intuition matters! There are just certain intangibles that only creative content people can understand.”

Time to drop a truth bomb: No content marketer has a crystal ball. Nobody can look at a piece of content and predict its future any more accurately than I can.

You can’t say with 100 percent certainty, even if it is based on past experience, that a piece of content will succeed in the future. I’m always surprised when an article I worked really hard on goes nowhere and an article I didn’t spend much time on becomes a huge success.

You Can’t Find Unicorns Without Producing Lots of Donkeys

You can’t predict success. Another common misconception is that you can somehow convert increased effort or time on one piece of content into increased units of quality.

You have to produce and audition lots of ideas to find your next quality idea. Then you have to fully explore that topic once it has revealed itself. Here’s how to do that. Consider these factors when determining what content topics to invest your time in:

  • Past unicorn content: What topics have performed well in the past?
  • Topics your audience cares about: What’s your audience talking about on social?
  • Topics you want to rank for: What keywords are you currently targeting?

Once you decide on a topic, create the content. Measure the results to determine if your content was a quality piece and react accordingly. Take the following steps to get closer to creating more unicorn content.

  1. Produce and Audition Lots of Content: Content is a lot about throwing things at a wall and seeing what sticks. Consider past performance of similar topics in conjunction with the goals you have for this piece of content.
  2. Measure User Engagement Rates: After publishing, measure engagement rates for your content. Use time and rate benchmarks to determine if it’s working.
  3. Kill the Donkeys: If a piece of content isn’t performing, abandon ship. No use in continuing to promote something no one cares about.
  4. Find the Unicorns and Sound the Unicorn Alert! If content is performing well, start promoting and maximizing your return—more on that later.

How do You Know if It’s Quality Content?

Everyone wants to create successful content. But what actually makes content successful?

User engagement rates.

Think about the systems that drive exposure and clicks to your content. Social media news feeds, search and social ads, and organic search listings. These systems all increasingly employ new machine learning based algorithms that reward higher engagement rates (such as click through rates and dwell time) with far greater exposure.

Perform an audit of your existing content based on engagement rates such as dwell time, conversion rates, click through rates, or traffic. (Read Curata’s comprehensive content audit guide for how to do this.) Look for the outliers—the content that does not just a little bit better, but three to five times better. Those are your unicorn content campaigns with unusually high user engagement. They are the types of content most likely to earn the approval of our algorithmic overlords.

Your Unicorn content (content with unusually high user engagement rates) tends to:

  1. Rank well in Google Search
  2. Convert significantly better than donkey content
  3. Drives tons of organic social media engagement
  4. Does fantastically well in paid search
  5. Does fantastically well in paid social media ads

Again, the relationship here isn’t coincidental. It’s because the Facebook Newsfeed algorithm, Relevancy Score in Facebook Ads, Quality Score in Google AdWords, and RankBrain for Organic Search, all use machine learning algorithms. They dramatically reward content boasting high user engagement with tremendous visibility and clicks within their platform.

You Found Quality Content: Now What?

Promoting a donkey won’t turn it into a unicorn. You’ll only waste time and money. Instead, focus all your efforts on promoting your powerful and valuable unicorns. When you find your unicorns, promote them on every channel to amplify their impact by 100 times or even 1,000 times and drive even more traffic, engagement, and leads.

Once you’ve found content that fits into all these categories, it’s time to start implementing a promotion strategy. The following tactics will help you leverage maximum value from your unicorn content:

  • Repurpose it into other types of content: webinar, infographic, etc.
  • Schedule it for a refresh
  • Pitch similar content with backlinks to other websites
  • Put some paid social behind it
  • Ask for influencer quotes to add in
  • Make it into an eBook

Content Marketing is About Output, not Input!

Content marketing strategy is an unfair game. If you want to win you need to stop relying on your gut. Your gut is really just your opinion and, by nature, biased. To really succeed, you need to look at unbiased statistics.

Stop looking at content attributes. Start looking at data to find your truly high-quality content. Start optimizing for engagement and you’ll find huge content wins.

When you find that super rare unicorn content, capitalize on it! Leverage the heck out of it on every channel to maximize your marketing ROI. And to create your own documented content marketing strategy, download Curata’s Content Marketing Pyramid: A Framework to Develop & Execute Your Content Marketing Strategy eBook.

The post Content Marketing Moneyball—The Secret Strategy to Data-Driven Content Success appeared first on Curata Blog.

How to Create the Best Powerpoint Presentations, With Examples

Some presentations are better than others. Some have gorgeous designs. Some have insanely actionable takeaways. Some just give down-to-earth advice. But the best presentations represent all three.

And if you’re looking to get started making your own presentation, why not learn from the best of the best?

To help you kick your own presentations up a notch, we’ve curated 24 awesome PowerPoint and SlideShare decks below. 

Since you're already interested in PowerPoints – click here for our free guide on delivering a great presentation.

When you’re clicking through the presentations below, notice how they weave an interesting story through the format, design their slides, and make their presentations interactive with features exclusive to the platform on which they were created. These are all crucial elements to making an awesome presentation — ones that you can certainly adapt and apply them to your own, with the right approach.

Even better … you may just learn a thing or two about marketing while you’re at it.

How to Create the Best PowerPoint Presentations

1) Less is more.

Here’s the thing — SlideShare exists for a reason. It allows users to view information in a presentation format without having to go somewhere else to see it presented. When you, a human being, deliver a presentation, chances are that that’s part of the reason why people are tuning in. They care about the topic, but they also are curious about the person speaking on it.

That’s why it can be valuable to keep your slides simple when delivering a presentation to an audience in-person. You want the focus to be on the message, rather than just the slides themselves. Keep the slides on-topic, but simple enough that people can still pay attention to what you’re saying, using the visual presentation to support your message.

2) Keep text to a minimum.

One way to accomplish the aforementioned simplicity is to reduce the amount of text in your presentation. People recall information better when images are paired with it (as opposed to text), so to help your message resonate with the audience, focus on visual content when you create your slides — we’ll cover more on that in a bit.

You certainly won’t be alone — even Google CEO Sundar Pichai practices the reduction of text in his presentations. “Since stories are best told with pictures,” he reportedly remarked at Google I/O 2017, “bullet points and text-heavy slides are increasingly avoided at Google.”

3) Rethink visuals.

When you reduce the amount of text in your slides, you’ll need compelling visuals to support the message you’re delivering to your audience. But that doesn’t mean you can just throw some nice-looking photos onto your deck and move on. Like any other content strategy, the visual elements of your presentation need to be strategic and relevant.

Templates

While PowerPoint templates have come a long way since the program was first unveiled to the world, chances are, they’re still commonly used. To help make your presentation unique, choose a theme that your audience hasn’t seen dozens of times before — one that matches your brand and complements the topic you’re speaking about.

Sometimes, it pays to look beyond to other presentation platforms other than PowerPoint to find unique templates, like Prezi. There are also many visual content design sites that offer customizable templates that you can adapt for your own brand and topic, like Canva. In fact, in addition to templates, Canva also offers its very own platform for building presentations from scratch, which you can check out here.

Charts and Graphs

One of the best ways to support the message you’re delivering in your presentation is by including data and statistics — and the good news is that they, too, can be represented visually, rather than bulleted out in text.

That’s where charts and graphs come in: They provide a colorful and engaging way to present the details that support your point. That said, make sure they fit in with the rest of your presentation’s visual theme — otherwise, it’ll distract the audience from what you’re talking about, rather than enhancing it. 

Color Themes

There’s been some research around the way color can influence our emotions, especially when used in marketing — in some cases, changing the color of a CTA button boosted conversions by 21%.

And while the goal of your presentation may not necessarily be to make a sale, you might be trying to invoke certain feelings or impressions, which a strategic use of color can help you do. Check out Coschedule’s guide on the psychology of color in marketing, which highlights the ways different tones, shades, and combinations can influence purchasing decisions.

Fonts

When you do include text, you want it to be readable enough for your audience to fully consume and interpret it easily enough to avoid becoming distracted from your message. If you include text that’s too small or dense to easily read, they’ll become too focused on trying to decipher it to pay attention to what you’re saying.

That’s why the designers at Visage recommend choosing Sans Serif fonts that opt for “legibility over fun,” noting that text should not only be big enough for people in the back of the room to read it, but also, presented in the right color to maintain visibility over your background.

Image quality

Incorporating this fabulous visual content into your presentation will go to waste if the images are low-quality. Make sure your photos and other visual assets are high-resolution enough to be crisp and clear when displayed on a huge presentation screen.

4) Incorporate multimedia.

There’s a reason why we love examples. You can give out the best advice available, but sometimes, in order to believe it, people need to see it in practice.

Multimedia is one way to achieve that — in a manner that can also capture and maintain your audience’s attention. A simple Google search for “music in presentations” yields enough soundtrack results to suggests that it’s a unique way of engaging your audience, or at least create a welcoming atmosphere before and after you speak.

Within the presentation itself, video — as it is in so many other applications — serves as valuable visual content to keep your audience engaged. After all, 43% of people want to see more video content from marketers, often because it helps to illustrate and explain theories in practice in a way that the spoken word or photographs can’t do alone.

24 Great SlideShare & PowerPoint Presentation Examples for Marketers

1) “How to Produce Better Content Ideas,” Mark Johnstone

We all get writer’s block sometimes. You’ll stare at a screen, hoping for inspiration to strike — and for that idea to be amazing.

But that’s not actually the best way to think of ideas. In the presentation below, Mark Johnstone outlines a better way to brainstorm ideas that will help build your business.

2) “How Google Works,” Eric Schmidt

Ever wonder what it’s actually like to work at Google? The presentation below from Eric Schmidt (Alphabet, Inc.’s Executive Chairman and ex-CEO of Google) could clue you in — it outlines some of the top lessons he and his team have learned from running and hiring for one of the top companies in the world. Besides giving you a peek behind the scenes of a top company, it could inspire you to make changes to the way your business runs.

3) “Fix Your Really Bad PowerPoint,” Slide Comet

Okay, maybe your PowerPoint isn’t that bad, but this presentation has some awesome takeaways we all could learn from. Even if you’re following all the tips in this presentation, you can sure be inspired by its expert copy and design.

4) “KPCB 2017 Internet Trends,” Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Mary Meeker’s report on the latest internet trends is one of the most hotly anticipated data reports of the year. Even if you gave this presentation a gander when it first came out, it’s worth revisiting — the data’s fascinating, current, and relevant to marketers in any industry.

 

5) “Why Content Marketing Fails,” Rand Fishkin

Sometimes, the most helpful pieces of content tell you what not to do. Rand Fishkin’s presentation does just that. He takes an in-depth look at the most common reasons people fail at content marketing — and offers practical, original advice on fixing it.

6) “The What If Technique,” Motivate Design

Most marketers are looking to grow … but sometimes they can get stuck making incremental improvements. While these improvements are growth, larger, bigger growth jumps are what most people want. To help you get unstuck from incrementalism, Motivate Design outlined a process in the presentation below.

7) “Digital Strategy 101,” Bud Caddell

Even though this presentation is almost 100 slides long, its content is pure gold. Caddell answers some of the biggest FAQs about digital strategy in a very accessible way. The reason his slides are so straightforward is because of the way he’s laid them out. He’s really adept at making “animated” slides explain his story — something we all should learn how to do.

8) “10 Ways to Win the Internets,” Upworthy

Even though Upworthy’s got a bad rap for creating clickbait headlines, their lessons on going viral are incredibly interesting. Besides having great advice about going viral, Upworthy does a great job of making its presentation interactive using clickable links.

9) “Crap: The Content Marketing Deluge,” Velocity Partners

Even though this SlideShare is a few years old, it’s one every content marketer should flip through. The reason we love it so much is because the message — and delivery of that message — is pretty much flawless. Definitely take a second to flip through the presentation, as you’ll learn a great lesson while also soaking up a great piece of SlideShare content.

10) “What Would Steve Do? 10 Lessons from the World’s Most Captivating Presenters,” HubSpot

Not to toot our own horn, but this presentation has been one of our most successful ones, so we wanted to share it with you. I personally love how actionable tips are provided in a visual way. For example, in slides 47 through 49, the author explains the difference between “showing” and “telling” by putting the word “circle” next to a picture of a circle. Although showing, not telling, is a key storytelling technique in writing, it’s especially effective in presentations.

11) “How I Got 2.5 Million Views on SlideShare,” Nick Demey

Feeling inspired to create a SlideShare of your own? Make sure you flip through Nick Demey’s presentation first. He shares some tried-and-true tips for creating awesome presentations that rack up tons of views.

12) “10 Powerful Body Language Tips for Your Next Presentation,” Soap Presentations

This presentation is inspirational from a design perspective — we especially love the color scheme. Using complementary colors (colors opposite each other on the color wheel) can be overwhelming at times, but because Soap Presentations uses them with lots of white space in the background, the colors draw your attention to the content of the slides.

13) “What 33 Successful Entrepreneurs Learned From Failure,” ReferralCandy

Learning from mistakes is a crucial part of growing in your professional and personal lives. But sometimes, it’s better to learn from others’ mistakes instead of making them yourself. This presentation outlines some core lessons successful entrepreneurs have learned by making mistakes. Read on so you don’t have to make the same ones.

14) “Displaying Data,” Bipul Deb Nath

We admire presentation for its exceptional display of data — now this post will explain how to do the same in your own presentations. I also love how this presentation is very concise and minimal, as it helps communicate a fairly advanced topic in an easy-to-understand way.

15) “Design Your Career 2017,” Slides That Rock

This presentation’s advice is applicable and its design admirable. The whole black-and-white color scheme really makes the salmon accent color pop — and the SlideShare creatively combines these elements for different slide layouts. Definitely bookmark this presentation as an example of a great SlideShare design.

16) “A-Z Culture Glossary 2017,” sparks & honey

The first time I heard the phrase “on fleek,” I had no idea what it meant. (Apparently, it’s a term that means “on point,” in case you were wondering.)

If you’re like me and feel like it’s nearly impossible to keep up with the latest cultural trends, spend time with the presentation below. It’ll outline the most popular trends you should know this year — most definitely worth a read.

 

17) “The History of SEO,” HubSpot

SEO’s changed a lot in the past two decades. Most of us are concerned with keeping up with the latest and greatest changes … but have you ever taken a minute to step back in time? The presentation below will walk you through SEO history from the very beginning — it’s been a fascinating ride.

18) “5 Killer Ways to Design the Same Slide,” Crispy Presentations

Once you start designing presentations, it’s easy to fall back on tried-and-true layouts, photos, fonts, and colors. While keeping everything consistent can be good for branding or for shipping a deck quickly, it can also prevent people from noticing the awesome new content you’ve put together. The quick presentation below shows you a few different ways you can design the same slide — all depending on what you want it to accomplish.

19) “The Seven Deadly Social Media Sins,” XPLAIN

Besides having some great takeaways for any inbound marketer, I love how this presentation successfully uses Creative Commons images in almost every slide. It’s pretty inspirational — even if you don’t have budget for stock photos, you can have an engaging presentation.

20) “The Minimum Lovable Product,” Spook Studio

When they’re first getting started, many startups and agile teams talk about creating a minimal viable product — using the smallest amount of resources to produce something that’s good enough to begin testing. After all, why pour tons of resources into something that you don’t know will work?

This presentation challenges the MVP concept in favor for creating something that people love. Check it out — it has lessons even for those of us who aren’t building technology every day.

21) “How to Teach Yourself HTML and CSS This Month,” Ryan Bonhardt

Lots of people have “learn to code” on their to-do list … but they never get to it. In marketing, knowing how to navigate code is becoming even more important to being successful. If you’ve been waiting to get started with coding, check out the presentation below.

22) “How People Really Hold and Touch (Their Phones),” Steven Hoober

When you hear the phrase “design for mobile” what do you think? Probably that you need to create a responsive website, and that’s about it.

But that’s not all you need to worry about. When you’re creating mobile-optimized content, you need to know how people actually use their phones — and the presentation below will you a great overview of consumer behavior.

23) “How to Really Get Into Marketing,” Inbound.org

If you’re graduating from school or making a career change and looking to get into marketing, it can feel tough to actually get started. It’s one of those “you need experience to get the job, but you have no experience” conundrums.

Well, that’s where this presentation comes in. Hull growth marketer Ed Fry — once employee #1 at Inbound.org — gives real, actionable tips to help you get your foot in the door at your next marketing gig.

24) “Search for Meaning in B2B Marketing,” Velocity Partners

Sometimes, it’s easy to get bogged down and think you’re doing “just marketing.” You’re not operating on people and saving lives, right?

From the creators of “Crap: The Content Marketing Deluge” comes the following presentation. If you’re ever feeling down-in-the-dumps about marketing, I’d highly recommend reading it. It’s thoughtful, funny, and a great presentation to keep in your back pocket for a rainy day.

 
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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