32 Free (& Almost Free) Content Marketing Tools

Marketers get by with a little help from their friends – well let us introduce you to 32 new friends! These free and nearly free content marketing tool should help make your job a little easier.Note: The aim was to only list free content marketing tools, but there are a few paid ones in the mix as well (freebies only get you so far).

Unless marked as a paid tool, all content tools listed here have at least some kind of free offering.Content Curation Tools (finding great stuff to share)Content Creation Tools (create your own awesome stuff to share)Tools for Finding Content Creators (find folks to make custom content for you)Content Promotion and Management (sharing and managing your content)Content Analytics & Measuring (analyzing and measuring your content's effectiveness) Other... > Read more

July 28, 2014     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 19

New Dynamic Sitelinks: Google Gives Advertisers Free Sitelink Clicks

Google has given AdWords advertisers a pretty awesome gift: new dynamic sitelinks, free of charge, for the top three ad positions. That means Google will automatically generate sitelinks for certain ads, and clicks on those dynamic sitelinks won’t cost you anything.In their announcement this morning, Google said, "This is another example, like selling ratings, of AdWords tools adding value to your ads while saving time and simplifying campaign management.

" As with Enhanced Campaigns, Google is basically catering to smaller businesses who don’t have the time or expertise to set this stuff up themselves.When Adoption Is Low, Google Forces AdoptionThe big idea behind Enhanced Campaigns was to increase adoption of mobile advertising, since so many AdWords advertisers weren’t doing it on ... > Read more

July 25, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 2

Facebook Ad Revenue Sees Huge Growth Driven by Mobile Success

Forrester flat out says Facebook marketing doesn't work. The Atlantic questions whether any Internet advertising is effective at all.They must be feeling silly right about now. Clearly, someone is clicking those Facebook ads. A whole lot of people, it seems.Facebook just announced over $2.9 billion in revenue for the second quarter of 2014, a whopping 61% percent gain over the same period last year.

Advertising accounted for $2.68 billion of their total income, with mobile advertising responsible for 62% of the total advertising take. Over 1.5 million advertisers are now using their service, said Sheryl Sandberg.The social giant did manage to keep GAAP costs and expenses growth at a lower rate despite their astronomical revenue growth, up just 22% over Q2 2013. Overall, Facebook's GAAP net... > Read more

July 24, 2014     |   Written by: Miranda Miller   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 2

When to Say No to a New Client: 10 Red Flags for Agencies

They say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But when it comes to bad clients, are you in better shape if you avoid the lemons altogether?We consult for a number of small AdWords agencies. One emerging trend that we have noticed among newer agencies is that they jump at the prospect of bringing on new accounts, regardless of whether or not these clients are a good fit for them.

These relationships quickly take a turn for the worse and the agencies find themselves in hot water. In many cases, the time and energy spent obtaining and onboarding these clients’ accounts outweighs the actual price they’ve paid to the agency.Here at WordStream, our agency team does an in-depth account assessment for every prospect who is interested in our paid search services. Not only do we consider ... > Read more

July 24, 2014     |   Written by: Erin Sagin   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 13

The 3 Types of Links that Send Legit Referral Traffic

I know for most of the year I’ve been telling you that links are going to lose value – and I still think it’s true. However, I’ve been careful to point out that for now, links are still pretty powerful stuff in SEO.Further, even if links eventually lost all their (direct) power to move your rankings, they’d still have value for you as a marketer, because links are great for exposure and branding.

But the ultimate link is not just good for SEO and branding, it also sends referral traffic.What’s so great about referral traffic? Do you really have to ask?! Referral traffic is great because it gets your content in front of new audiences, creating new opportunities for audience engagement and conversions.A recent survey of MozCon attendees showed that after organic search, referral t... > Read more

July 23, 2014     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 15

How the ‘Attention Web’ is Changing Content Marketing Metrics

Long gone are the days when clickthroughs and time-on-page were the most important content marketing metrics. Today, many publishers are changing their approach to shifts in audience behavior to focus on attention and engagement as the defining measurements of success.Although pageviews and unique visitors are still relatively valuable metrics to marketers, they don’t paint a complete picture of how people are interacting with your content.

In today’s post, we’re going to examine the trend of analyzing how visitors are engaging with your site, not just how many, and look at some examples of this shift and how you can start measuring audience attention.RELATED: 32 Free Content Marketing ToolsWhat is the Attention Web?Firstly, while the so-called “attention web” is a genuine shift i... > Read more

July 22, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 8

Should Search Marketers Pay Attention to Growth Hacking?

By Sean Ellis, Founder and CEO of Qualaroo and GrowthHackers.comSearch marketing is the ultimate in mature channels, dominated by best-practice marketers who have honed their programs to the point of near-perfection. In particular, Google AdWords is ultra-competitive and there seem to be little to no low-hanging fruit, making it difficult to find positive ROI without a sizable marketing budget and a lot of SEM expertise.

Taken together, these factors combine to make search engine marketing one of the most crowded, competitive acquisition channels out there—and for good reason, because all that active commercial intent can lead to quick conversions.While it might not be readily apparent on the surface, growth hackers and search marketers share a lot of the same DNA. I should know. I coine... > Read more

July 21, 2014     |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 1

Google Q2 Earnings Show CPC Down 6% Year over Year: Where's the Growth Coming From?

Google’s latest earnings call was a bit mixed – while Google saw a 22% increase in revenue over last year, bringing earnings to $15.96 billion in the second quarter of 2014, and the search giant narrowly beat analyst projections of $15.6 billion in revenue, their ad sales in the US and the UK, their two major markets, have slowed.

Non-US revenue (excluding the UK) of $7.7 billion accounted for 48% of total revenue. Their earnings per share were considered a miss as well, at $6.08.The proliferation of ads in emerging markets worldwide drove profits to $3.42 billion for the period, up from $3.23 billion in Q2 2013. More people are clicking on Google ads – a lot more. Total paid ad clicks were up 25% over last year and up 2% over the first quarter of 2014.However, the average cost per c... > Read more

July 18, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 2

19 Headline Writing Tips for More Clickable, Shareable Blog Posts

It’s easy to let headlines take the back seat in your writing process. Headlines can wind up as a quick afterthought, but really should be treated with much more consideration. In fact, your headline is arguably more important than the article itself. After all, who cares how great your blog post is if no one even reads it?Headline writing rules have changed quite a bit since the great online migrationOut of all the folks who read your headline, only 20% will read the article copy.

Whether it’s for email subject lines, blog posts, ebooks, or webinars, you need a powerful, sexy headline to make readers swoon.Modern online article headlines are tricky – they need to be SEO keyword friendly, but also should be unique and creative. The end result needs to be super clickable, irresistible... > Read more

July 17, 2014     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Blogging   |   Comments: 12

You Can’t Not Click: Weighing the Pros & Cons of Clickbait

Love it or hate it, clickbait has become yet another weapon in the content marketer’s arsenal. These days, it seems as though no site is above resorting to dastardly tricks to get you to click on their content, and these techniques have become so familiar, some experts have questioned whether clickbait has a future.

Image credit: SlateTable of ContentsWhat is Clickbait?The Benefits of ClickbaitThe Dark Side of ClickbaitWhat Is Clickbait?As its name implies, clickbait is content that is written specifically to attract as many clicks as possible. Just about any type of content can be considered clickbait. News stories, blog posts, interviews, infographics, videos – packaged in a certain way, you can make any web content clickbait. However, clickbait typically has several of the following ... > Read more

July 15, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 5

The 15 Best Social Media Marketing Tips from the Inbound.org AMAs

In this latest in our series of the best tips from Inbound.org’s AMAs (Ask Me Anythings), we've rounded up the top social media marketing wisdom shared by expert marketers.Justin Isaf, Dharmesh Shah, Paul May, Oli Gardner and many others have given us all a chance to pick their brains in the Q&A-style threads on Inbound.

Here, you'll find the top social media marketing tips from the AMAs, organized by:Content promotion via social mediaSocial media marketing tools and tacticsSocial media measurement & ROIThe business of social media marketingBe sure to check out our first two posts in this series, 21 Content Marketing Tips from the Best Inbound.org AMAs and Best of the Inbound.org AMAs: SEO Edition.Image via New Old Stock PhotosPromoting Content via Social MediaOn creating content... > Read more

July 14, 2014     |   Written by: Miranda Miller   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 4

What to Do While Matt Cutts Is on Leave

Google's Matt Cutts announced July 3 that he is taking a few months' leave of absence from his position as head of web spam to spend more time with his wife. He assured webmasters and SEOs that there are still a ton of resources people can use to keep up to speed and contact Google while he's away.Even so, some couldn't resist cracking jokes in the comments on his post about the black-hat mice playing while the web spam cat is away.

No, you shouldn't run out and buy some links now. What you can do is take this time as an opportunity to give your online presence and SEO strategy an overhaul. When Matt gets back, he'll be so proud of all the hard work you've done! (And in the meantime, this is really something you should stop and do once in a while – it's good for your business. People get ... > Read more

July 11, 2014     |   Written by: Miranda Miller   |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 7

The Smoking Gun: Deleted Google Author Photos Boost Ad CTR

If you’ve been following developments in the search industry lately, you’ll have undoubtedly have come across discussions about Google’s recent decision to remove authorship photos from search results. We reported on this soon after the change went into effect, and other industry thought leaders like Rand Fishkin wasted no time weighing in, either.

However, despite overwhelming support for the idea that Google’s decision was based on authorship photos’ impact on the CTR of paid search ads, some naysayers insisted that this couldn’t be the case. I wasn’t content to leave things at that, so I set about looking for evidence to support my theory – and I’ve found it.In the figure above, you can see that in a search for the term “negative keywords”, our paid search ad is the... > Read more

July 10, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 26

23 Facts About Women and Advertising

Marketers spend most of their time trying to appeal to their target demographics, but when it comes to women, many of them are missing the mark. Given that women make up half the population and have a disproportionate amount of purchasing power, isn’t it in your best interest to try to understand them?  Here are 23 surprising facts you probably didn’t know about women and advertising.

Facepalm - because actions speak louder than words.Women account for 85% of consumer purchases (She-conomy)Despite this, 91% of women say advertisers don’t understand them (Ibid.)Women control 73% of U.S. household spending (Boston Consulting Group, 2009)Women account for 58% of U.S. ecommerce spend (Women’s Buying Behavior Index 2013)22% of women shop online at least once per day (Ogilvy & Ma... > Read more

July 10, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 5

Social Media Images Guide: Optimizing Images For Facebook, Twitter, & More!

Good visual content is a key component of online marketing. Posting pictures and illustrations on social media networks helps brands boost engagement and get noticed by fans.Our social media images guide seeks to provide you with everything you need to know about using images on social networks. We’ll be covering:Where to get free social media imagesOptimizing images for dimensions and sizing on various social networksTechniques for using images creatively on social mediaWhere to Get Social Media ImagesWhen it comes to using images online, it’s best to play it safe by using social media images that are under a creative commons license.

What is a creative commons license?Creative Commons licenses let creators easily choose a simple license that communicates which rights to their content... > Read more

July 09, 2014     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 4

What’s Ahead for WordStream – Funding, Growth, Innovation

My last blog post was at the end of last summer, when we achieved a “Hat Trick” of key milestones. We had surpassed a thousand clients, made the Inc. 500 for the first time, and our AdWords Performance Grader passed $2.5 billion in unique spend analyzed. In the last few months, we’ve achieved a few more key milestones.

Our team is now 100+ people strong, and we recently surpassed the $10 million in annual recurring revenue mark. Today, I’m excited to tell you about another big milestone on our journey to build the best search marketing software for small and medium-sized businesses. We have just raised $12 million of fresh funding, led by Baird Capital of Chicago. This is the biggest fundraising round WordStream has ever done! As exciting as things have been in the past few ye... > Read more

July 08, 2014     |   Written by: Ralph Folz   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 4

Google Calls Takebacks on Authorship Photos: An Alternate Theory

When Google announced a couple of weeks ago that Google+ authorship markup would be disappearing from the SERPs, Larry and Rand Fishkin were on the same page – both suspected that the reason for the reversal was a loss of clicks on ads.As Larry put it, “Clicks on the search results page are basically a zero sum game.

If there's an increase in CTR for one part of the SERP, some other part is losing that click. There must be a decrease in CTR elsewhere. And that includes the ads.”Do I think this theory is plausible? Sure, for two reasons:You’d expect that Google would test the feature before they told SEO’s to start using it. So it’s suspicious that we are now being told that the author photos have no positive effect.Images have been shown to increase CTR on the paid side (i... > Read more

July 07, 2014     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 22

Native Advertising Examples: 5 of the Best (and Worst)

The chances are pretty good that, even though you may not have realized it, you’ve seen several examples of native advertising. These days, native advertising is everywhere – and it’s getting harder and harder to spot.There’s something not quite right about this cheeseburger…In today’s post, we’re going to look at what native advertising is, why it can be so controversial, and several native advertising examples that are really impressive – as well as a few that are downright terrible.

What is Native Advertising?Simply put, native advertising is paid content. Articles, infographics, videos, you name it – if a content producer can make it, corporations can buy it and publishing platforms can promote it.Now, you might be thinking, “How does a native advertisement differ fr... > Read more

July 07, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 2

3 Reasons to Ditch Your Messy AdWords Account and Start Over

One of the biggest obstacles I face with clients is taking control of a messy and hard to manage account. Often times AdWords accounts change hands over time, have an “old school” strategy for setup, or just have too many cooks in the kitchen for a lack of better terminology. This often leads to an account with more campaigns, ad groups, and keywords than you know what to do with.

I speak with many clients who feel like they are drowning in their accounts and don’t even know where to begin. Upon analyzing these accounts, I often have the same sentiments; it can feel impossible to know what the best first step is because there are so many things that can and need to be fixed.The obvious question is then, “Do we try to fix what currently exists or would it be better to start over?” ... > Read more

July 03, 2014     |   Written by: Katie Lyons   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 15

The Real Reason Google Plus Authorship Photos Are Gone

Googler John Mueller shocked the SEO industry last week with his announcement that Google is removing authorship photos and circle counts from the SERPs.The big question is: WHY? Why would Google kill a feature they had said would instill user trust in quality search results and help valuable content stand out?Why did they want us all to implement it in the first place?Was anything we were told about Google+ authorship markup and profile images in search true to begin with?It didn't take Moz's Rand Fishkin long to tweet his thoughts on the motivation behind the change:And even more pointedly:Since Google+ authorship and the rich snippets with photos in search results were implemented, we've seen eye tracking studies point to additional attention for the enhanced results.

We've seen researc... > Read more

July 02, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 20

Get Happy with WordStream’s Best of the Month

A lot of our most popular posts in June had to do with changes in AdWords – new features, new policies, new dashboards, new data. As always, we did the hard work and analysis for you, so instead of trying to parse the AdWords-ese, get the key takeaways from us right here.We also shared a bunch of great tips for creating marketing that resonates and makes your audience do the happy dance.

If you missed our “Happy Juice” webinar, be sure to check out #6 below!Has Google Gone Too Far? Parental Status Demographic Added to AdWords – We noticed a new demographic feature in AdWords – you can now target users based on their parental status.4 Things You Need to Know About Google's New AdWords Policies – The AdWords Policy Center has been revamped. Here’s the TL;DR for advertisers.No S... > Read more

July 01, 2014     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 1

Call Tracking Metrics: The Top 5 Metrics for Inbound Calls

You may have heard the big news that WordStream has added call tracking software to its arsenal of PPC tools. This means you can now track the campaigns, keywords, match types, ads, and landing pages that drive inbound calls to your business. Not only that, each call gets recorded, so you can refer back to it for marketing and training purposes.

It’s a pretty freaking sweet feature, and, if you use it, it may change your business.Let’s assume you already know it’s freaking sweet, you know that inbound calls are worth 5 to 10 times the value of form fill leads, and you’ve got call tracking set up. Now what?Now you start tracking performance so you know what’s working and what’s not. You already know the traditional AdWords metrics, including which campaigns, keywords, ads, and la... > Read more

July 01, 2014     |   Written by: Brad McMillen   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 1

Commercial Intent: How to Find Your Most Valuable Keywords

High commercial intent keywords are like invitations from prospective customers. They beg you to tempt them with your wares. They tell you, loud and clear, that they have money in their hands (or burning holes in their pockets), and they want what you’re selling right now.The intent of the keyword should affect how you target it.

For example, if someone is clearly in the “early research” phase of shopping, the keywords they use will have less intent – maybe something like “do I need a lawyer?” You can target that keyword with a content piece like a checklist. Content marketing is all about getting in front of the customer early and making a good impression. Maybe later on, he’ll come back when he needs you.However, if someone definitely does need a lawyer, they might use a hi... > Read more

June 30, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Google Releases New Quality Score Info: What's Really New Here?

Google this week has published a new white paper on Quality Score and finally updated their 5-year-old video on how Quality Score works. I asked them “why now” and they said that it’s just time to redo the old stuff, but part of me thinks that they’re trying to quell a Quality Score rebellion that myself and others (including Frederick Vallaeys, etc.

) may have inadvertently started – the wording of some points in the new materials seem to directly reflect points that I’ve articulated in articles I’ve published in the last year.Image via Kirk Williams - @ppckirkAs usual, Google trotted out the same old “happy users,” “happy advertisers” and “happy Google” platitudes. It’s mostly a rehash of the same old Google fairy dust about Quality Score, but there are a ... > Read more

June 26, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 12

5 Ways to Wield More Word of Mouth Marketing Power

Word of mouth marketing (lovingly nicknamed WOMM) can make or break your biz. It can build you up and tear you down faster than an OC socialite. Do word of mouth marketing right and you’ll have (almost) no need of an ad budget; customers will share stories of your sublime service at dinner parties across the country, and that’s better than any billboard.

The popularity of sites like Yelp and Angie’s List, and even Health Grades for the medical industry, show how important the old Word o’ Mouth is. While anonymous online word of mouth is plentiful, savvy users are aware of how reviews can be manipulated and faked, which is why person to person WOM is still the most powerful form.The WOMM wombat shares it’s opinions with friendsWord of mouth marketing is, at its heart, using happy ... > Read more

June 26, 2014     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 2

The Greatest & Most Complete Intro to Mobile PPC EVER

Get this: since last year, mobile paid search advertising has increased by 55%. Even crazier: Mobile PPC now accounts for one-fifth of total advertising spend.We keep hearing that advertisers aren't seeing great ROI from their mobile ad campaigns, though. Even if you’re making the investment, you don't feel like you’re getting your money's worth.

As mobile PPC continues to increase in value and surpasses desktop PPC…how can you tap into the massive opportunity of connecting with highly motivated, on-the-go consumers?Don't keep plugging away, following the old best practices – we've discovered that the conventional wisdom for desktop PPC is dead wrong when it comes to mobile. If you're doing what you've always done, you're sabotaging your own mobile campaigns.That sucks, right?S... > Read more

June 25, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

So You Want a Job in Paid Search? How to Break into PPC

As summer begins, the market is flooded with hordes of recent college graduates eager to join the workforce. Searching for a new job in an increasingly competitive market can be a daunting task, especially for those with limited work experience. I remember back when I was first applying to jobs, this felt like an infuriating Catch 22—how was I supposed to gain experience if no one would give me an opportunity?Welp, the good news for aspiring PPC marketers is, you don’t necessarily need to have a lengthy CV to make an impression on hiring managers.

If you play your cards right, you can get your foot through the door with little to no professional experience.If you’re looking to get your first big break in the PPC industry, here are a few tips:Apply for the right position.Be realistic ... > Read more

June 25, 2014     |   Written by: Erin Sagin   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 8

Track Calls Back to the Keyword: Try WordStream's New Call Tracking Software

WordStream exists for one reason: to help small businesses squeeze as much value out of their paid search campaigns as humanly possible. But so often when we talk about value to our customers, we have conversations about clicks or impressions, when our customers really only care about the end result – leads.

That’s why I’m thrilled to announce the release of WordStream’s new call tracking software offering. With this new tool inside WordStream’s PPC Advisor platform, we’re enabling customers to better track and measure the value of the phone calls they receive from paid search. Further, they will be able to tie those calls back to the campaign, ad group, match type, and keyword, so they know what’s driving call traffic and what isn’t. Clients can even listen to a recording o... > Read more

June 24, 2014     |   Written by: Ben Kasdon   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 2

How Google Hummingbird Changed the Future of Search

In September of last year, when Google Hummingbird was officially announced, Matt Cutts said that it would affect 90% of all searches, albeit in a subtle way. Considering that Google handles more than 3.5 billion searches every day, this means Google Hummingbird affects more than 3.15 billion of them.

Not exactly an inconsequential update.This image has nothing to do with Google Hummingbird. Still, hummingbirds are pretty cool.The Hummingbird update was the most ambitious adjustment of Google’s search algorithm since 2001. In today’s post, we’re going to look at what Google Hummingbird is, what it means for SEO, and what the future of Google’s quest to become the “Star Trek” computer could hold.What is Google Hummingbird?Although it’s technically accurate to call Google Hummin... > Read more

June 23, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 10

Has Google Gone Too Far? Parental Status Demographic Added to AdWords

If you’ve ever read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”, you probably didn’t notice a chapter about Google tracking your parental status in AdWords. Well, this is exactly what Google is doing, as Parental Status is now a demographic subset that advertisers can explicitly target.This feature went live within the past 12 hours or so, and Google has yet to make an official announcement.

However, we’ve already seen it in action, as you can see in the following figure:Our resident data scientist Mark Irvine was the first of us at WordStream to notice the new feature. At this point, parental status targeting hasn’t been rolled out across all advertiser accounts – in fact, even some of our largest Managed Services accounts don’t have access to this functionality yet, suggesti... > Read more

June 20, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 6
 
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