With 2015 drawing to a close, we wanted to take some time to reflect on the past year’s best marketing blog posts. There were hundreds of high quality, thoughtful, informative posts published this year, and we had a tough time narrowing it down.
Here are our top seven best marketing posts of 2015, in no particular order:
Post #1: The Proper Way to Automate Your Social Media Activities (and 5 Other Best Practices) By Demian Farnworth at Copyblogger
Why it’s the best: “Automation” doesn’t mean leaving a robot behind the wheel of your social media profiles – but that’s what some brands end up doing. There are right ways (and wrong ways) to automate, and this article from the content gurus at Coppyblogger will show you all the right ways.
What you can learn: You’ll learn best practices for taking advantage of the great automation tools out there, while maintaining that human touch that is so essential to social media. This article will help you save time when scheduling your content using social media, without alienating your audience.
Post #2: How to design websites that mirror how our eyes work by Jerry Cao at TheNextWeb
Why it’s the best: Not every marketer works on website development, but a firm understanding of how your visitors engage with your content – and how design plays a big part of that – is useful. This is the first in a two-part series, the second of which is worth reading as well.
What you can learn: Have you heard about the F-pattern? No? Would you be surprised to learn that it is one of the most common website layouts for text-heavy sites? This article is packed with insights about how your visitors scan, engage with, and pass over content on your website. You’ll learn how to position your content visually, so it’s getting maximum impact.
Post #3: Comparing the ROI of Content Marketing and Native Advertising by Kelsey Libert at Harvard Business Review
Why it’s the best: This article comes from content marketing agency Fractl in partnership with search specialists Moz – the perfect pairing of creativity and data. And it doesn’t disappoint. This article presents a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the marketing industry, via data-driven results from a survey of various agencies and how they develop content marketing and/or native advertising for their clients.
What you can learn: First, you’ll learn the difference between content and native advertising, if you’re not already familiar with the distinction. Then, you’ll get extremely valuable insight into which costs more, what type of results each strategy can produce, and where the entire industry is headed.
Post #4: 61 Key Social Media Metrics, Defined by Courtney Seiter at Buffer
Why it’s the best: Quick, name 10 social media metrics. OK, maybe you can get past 10 without resorting to Google. But 61? That’s saying something. You may think you don’t need a refresher on metrics, but chances are there are things you’re not measuring, simply because you don’t have a name for them. And, after reading this article, that will all change.
What you can learn: This resource from Buffer is extremely useful for marketers who want to measure the success of their efforts. It’s great for end-of-the-year reports, or just tweaking a campaign a day or two after launch. Bookmark this, and refer back to it next time you are trying to figure out what to measure.
Post #5: Confessions of a Google Spammer by Jeff Deutsch at Inbound.org
Why it’s the best: It’s not often that you get a true account of the trials and tribulations of life as a spammer. Black hat SEO techniques have been around for years, and this very personal article catalogues the journey one spammer took from thinking that his spamming was “helping Google” create a better algorithm, to earning upwards of $150,000 a month from his spammy SaaS software, to being publicly shamed at an industry conference and nearly losing it all.
What you can learn: This first-hand account gives some fantastic insight into why “ranking first on Google” is so valuable, and so difficult to do. The transition that this once-black-hat marketer went through to become a firm inbound (or content) marketing believer today is fascinating, and serves as a lesson to anyone thinking of trying to scam the system. There are over 200 comments below the article as well, which are worth reading to learn more about what the industry thinks about these types of techniques.
Post #6: 44 Social Media Tools Recommended by the Pros by Cindy King at Social Media Examiner
Why it’s the best: A list of 44 amazing social media tools is one thing. But a list of 44 amazing social media tools vetted by experts? That’s priceless.
What you can learn: We guarantee there will be tools on this list you’ve never heard of – even if you pride yourself on being up-to-date. From tools that let you view the social sites of your email connections to tools that serve up interesting holidays and special events for you to tweet daily, there is something in this list for everyone.
Post #7: How To Create An Easy Content Marketing Strategy You’ll Actually Use by Brian Sutter at Forbes
Why it’s the best: Content marketing was huge in 2015, and it’s only going to be more important to brands looking for an edge in 2016. This article outlines the specific steps any marketer can take to create a content marketing strategy – perfect for a template for 2016’s marketing plan.
What you can learn: From setting objectives to determining the actions needed to achieve them, this post covers everything you need to know about content marketing strategy. While it doesn’t go into too much detail in any single step, it does offer a fantastic overview and acts as a good jump-off point to dive deeper.
Those are our favorite seven marketing articles of 2015. What are yours? Let us know in the comments below.