The Cannes Lions celebrated the creative communications industry’s achievements and creators this past week. This experience got me thinking about why we as marketers seek recognition in the form of awards. Unlike the Academy Awards that translate to better and higher paying contracts, most awards are an endorsement that indirectly attract business. For example being chosen as a Top Social Media Blog by Social Media Examiner increases your blog’s visibility and traffic.
If winning a marketing award fulfills one of these goals, then enter all relevant contests.
For example at one university marketing competition, a public university supported its students with a course that helped its student qualify for the finals year after year.
I just finished judging pieces where over half of the entries were inappropriately submitted.
Similarly money spent on your campaign doesn’t always trump strong, well-executed creative. As marketers we often spend too much time talking to each other and assume that others understand us.
At a minimum, get a friend or spouse to review your entry to see any gaps that you may have. Whether you win or not, consider how you can use your participation for an award to improve your business. It’s tempting to view social media and SEO as two separate entities, but in our experience these two elements of digital marketing are interwoven. Using appropriate search terms in your social media posts helps users find your most relevant content and clearly spells out what’s being offered. Subscribe to receive notice of each new actionable marketing post delivered free, directly to your inbox.
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If you want to check out some of the social media facts and statistics from last year then you may enjoy this article!
This is a super list of the 10 top social media posts from some very savvy social media bloggers that showed us the way in 2014. Pinterest, productivity, Apps and software (Plus, how to get 1000 shares on your blog) from a very reliable source I follow.
ONE CAVEAT: No matter how great your social media presence is your strategy won’t work unless your website does.
Guest Author: Susan Harrow is a media coach to everyone from CEOs to celebrity chefs and is the bestselling author of Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul. Here are the top 10 social media blogs you should add to your regular reading list in 2016. Buffer Social regularly addresses questions many marketers have, answering them with authoritative, in-depth articles on cutting-edge topics. Jenn’s Trends is laser-focused on Instagram, but occasionally offers tips on social media marketing strategy and tactics. Peg Fitzpatrick combines resourceful content on a variety of social media platforms with practical advice for marketers.
Rebekah Radice uses plenty of examples to support content that teaches social media marketers about topics that are important to them.
Simply Measured uses a data-driven, example-rich approach to help marketers understand best practices for using social media.
Socially Sorted helps marketers learn to use all things related to visual content in social media.
The Social Media Hat features authoritative content that takes no shortcuts with explanations of what to do and how to do it. Unmetric uses an analytical approach to uncover and share surprising insights into social media marketing.
Buffer Social, which has one of the best curated blogs in the social media space, provides well-researched, comprehensive content that’s useful for all levels of social media marketers.
Convince & Convert takes your social media and content marketing from good to outstanding. Socially Sorted‘s Donna Moritz shares solid content with thought-provoking and curiosity-driven headlines, along with great visuals. Socially Sorted shows how to get more reach, referrals and results with visual social media and content strategy.
RazorSocial’s useful content is delivered with no-nonsense, practical, actionable, step-by-step instructions. Simply Measured has well-written content, which includes outstanding data and hands-on reporting of actual case studies. SocialBro’s blog shares the latest social media product news, insights, tips and features. Welcome to the Marketo Blog!Be sure to sign up to receive updates on the latest trends, best practices, and strategies to turn your marketing into revenue.
There are a lot of blogs about marketing out there, and many of them are worth reading — well-written, original, full of valuable information and fresh perspectives.
To help our friends in marketing sort through the blogosphere in record time, we’re compiling a list of our most bookmark-worthy marketing blogs, narrowing down the list to 10 in each category. Why We Like It: With tons of fresh new content every day, Mashable is the place for hot-off-the-press news about the latest memes, viral videos, social platform developments, and Silicon Valley gossip. The Rundown: Not to be confused with Social Media Examiner, Social Media Explorer is a strategic services agency focused on digital marketing and social media, founded by marketing A-lister Jason Falls. The Rundown: A slightly edgier take on your typical marketing blog, Social Mouths covers blogging, social media, web traffic, content marketing, conversion and email marketing.

The Rundown: The mouthpiece of Australian social media strategist Donna Moritz, this blog focuses on gaining reach, engagement, and traffic through social marketing.
Why We Like It: A holistic view of marketing in general, and super-smart delivery, with a focus on actionable advice. Maggie Jones is a Content Marketing Specialist at Marketo, a casual reader of the Chicago Manual of Style, and a lover of Oxford commas. Each of these successful blog examples has incorporated unique features that have attracted thousands of readers. Notice in the image below the casual fonts, the old-world feeling of their images and the informal language they use to spotlight the features on the site.
Stonyfield does a great job of staying true to their brand by creating a targeted theme within their blog.
Staying true to your theme, as Stonyfield has done with their videos, allows your audience to know, like and trust you. Another thing they do very well is their use of soft sales messages contextualized in value-added content. The Stonyfield Farm blog is a great example of a big brand using their blog to build community and educate their readers about their market. In addition, her blog layout is easy to navigate, which is extremely important considering the short attention span of most readers today.
In addition, to set their blog apart from the rest, they use distinct visual branding with their logo and images. Danny Brown’s blog is a terrific case study for consultants or anyone with a personal brand. A brilliant feature on this blog is the way Danny presents his consulting services without being too pushy or arrogant.
In the image above, you’ll also see that Danny uses the cliffhanger concept by posting a snippet of a blog post and then adding a “read more” button to get the reader to dive deeper into his blog site. Ecoki is a blog site that offers a wide range of articles, tips and ideas on everything related to living a green lifestyle. Tip: If the content for your blog site includes multiple topics, consider the grid layout design. While this was happening, I finished judging a set of marketing awards in much more mundane surroundings at my computer. Are we just after the attention or is it something more important that helps build our businesses? Organizers use the same hook: “You’re an expert in your field and understand what goes into the process. The judges for Social Media Examiner’s Top 10 Social Media Blogs (Note: We were shortlisted in 2015!) get spotlighted throughout the process. For example, Content Marketing Institute has its employees publicize their standing in the Inc 500. Each time you enter a contest, you continue to hone your skills and develop a process that contributes to winning. It’s a matter of making it easy for the judge to put you into the winning category and then choose you. I've just returned from San Diego where I presented a workshop session on Blogging at Social Media Marketing World 2016.
We will see paid social media advertising becoming a must, social mobile continue to transform the web and the content creation challenge pushing the old boundaries. You’re directing people back to your blog or your website so people who are intrigued by your social media updates can have more than a taste of your great content.
Some are long-term and some are just beginning, but they are what make us connect as human beings. A panel of experts carefully reviewed the 20 finalists based on their content quality, post frequency and reader involvement.
Each of the social media blogs was analyzed based on a number of factors, including content quality, post frequency and reader involvement. He shares fantastic, in-depth articles focused on Facebook that include experiments, real-life examples and supportive graphics. Plus, Ian’s stellar software tool reviews include his favorite features, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to use them. But the sad, sad truth is that there are a limited number of hours in the day (only 24, last time we checked). They also bring an international perspective to the table, with offices everywhere from London and Paris to Singapore and Sao Paulo.
The posts are carefully curated, high-quality, and written by a well-known roster of impressive thought leaders.
Garst blogs on a range of topics, from blocking someone on Facebook to choosing the right LinkedIn profile keywords. Each contributor owns a monthly column in the subject of his or her expertise, such as traffic generation, video, influence, or even real estate.
The recipient of an MFA in nonfiction writing, Maggie loves information that tells stories, from long-form journalism to the tiniest tweets.
When you subscribe to our email updates, you understand and agree that Marketo will send you email invites and updates, ranging from events, webinars, new content, and more, based on your settings. It’s more “people-speak” than “marketing-speak” and this strategy instantly draws in their target audience. They show photos of their teammates (they call them “Tea Mates”) and give us a behind-the-scenes glimpse of their fun work environment by posting the Tea Mates’ nicknames and interests.
Highlighting your team is a great way to bring your readers behind the scenes and let them see the team camaraderie. As you can see from the image below, they use a barnyard as their home page backdrop, and include pictures of healthy families and articles about healthy living. Just like their blog’s theme of family and farming, their videos are not professionally done, but with real people living the lifestyle they personify.

For example, they may write an article about the importance of eating organic fruit, but weave in the idea of mixing Stonyfield yogurt in with your fruit for an extra dose of nutrients.
The blog’s creator, Ree Drummond, has used her blog as a platform for a variety of projects, including promoting her cookbook and showcasing her photography. Ree has added icons that allow you to view her blog in multiple ways, including multiple blog thumbnails to a page or just a few at a time.
This is a smart strategy to diversify the content of your blog and attract new readers via those who already follow your contributors. You can do this by collaborating with contributors who are experts in your market and who will resonate with your ideal audience.
This site positions Brown as an expert in his field and showcases his expertise, knowledge and services. This is a powerful way to get people’s attention and entice them to stay a little longer and explore your site. If they have to look around for the share features, they’ll likely skip sharing altogether. The top navigation bar calls out the main topics they cover, including food, technology and design, and the navigation directly under it showcases their media delivery, including articles, video and info on contributors. Are there other ways to accomplish these objectives where you have more control over the results? In the recent award judging, one agency spent so much time making their case I wondered why they didn’t spend their effort on improving the campaign. While the news may be disappointing, you may learn something you can use to improve your business. Don’t disappointment them by having a website doesn’t look and feel like you, your tweets, pics, and posts.
Her expertise in social media comes from years of serving destination organizations and businesses in the travel and tourism industry.
His superb content consists of thoughtful experiences, which are devoid of ego and designed to help other businesses find success. Take a look at these thriving blogs and apply the same success strategies to your own blog. Sweet Leaf Tea uses their blog design to bring a less formal, more human touch to their brand. Many of their videos come from the farm of an organic dairy farmer in Vermont, who supplies milk for their products. There’s nothing wrong with promoting your products on your blog; just remember that the most successful blogs place added value before selling. Another great tip is to go deeper by allowing your audience to see what’s behind the curtain.
Her “secret sauce” lies in her ability to connect personally with her readers while creating a welcoming, friendly and warm experience one blog post at a time. Because so much of country life is about holiday and seasons, this small touch is directly aligned with the overall vision of the blog.
By increasing your blog aesthetics, you can easily create a more personable and relatable experience for your readers. What’s interesting is that you have to really look hard to know which company is behind the blog because Citrix downplays their involvement.
In addition to their branding, notice below how the content and topics are all about the target audience’s needs.
Offer as much free value as possible and keep your sales messages as low-key as possible to keep the focus on the content. Instead of saying “Hire Me” on his site, he instead uses the phrase “Work with Me.” It’s a subtle shift in language, but conjures up an entirely different experience.
Also, this concept helps you save space on your home site by just giving a teaser of your article content. In addition, they make it simple to navigate the site by adding easily visible headers, such as featured article, latest news, popular items and resources. These two different navigation bars give more power to the readers by allowing them to choose how they want to consume the content.
Also, one smart strategy is to add in photos to break up the text in your grid layout and make the site more inviting and less static. Plus, notice how they say “Let’s Be Friends,” a much friendlier, warmer way to encourage people to connect with you on your social sites.
Behind-the-scenes stories and footage invite the reader in even more and will help you create content that stays true to your theme. Instead, they’ve put their audience’s needs first and have created a space that resonates with their audience’s needs and interests.
This strategy will build trust with your target audience and keep your readers coming back for more. Sometimes just calling out the specific areas on your site is all you need to do to get people more engaged with your content.
You can choose the layout that best suits your personality and goals—so your website and social media messages are aligned. It’s important to be professional, but remember your readers are human and everyone enjoys a little fun too.
Photos on a blog are essential when you want to create a feeling or experience for your readers.

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