Police Lance Corporal Jason Kyte testified before the 12 member jury as the retrial of Anthony Morrison, who is accused of murdering his reputed wife, DonnaAccused: Anthony MorrisonThomas, continued at the High Court on Tuesday. The woman was reportedly killed between May 25 and 26, 2012. The Police witness, who was stationed at the Brickdam Police Station at the time, testified to examining the body of the murdered woman, who he found with what appeared to be blood on her head, hands and face.Kyte noted that he also saw blood on the bed where the woman was lying at an apartment where she lived at Lot 65 Cross and D’Urban Streets, Werk-en-Rust, Georgetown. He recalled that on May 27, 2012, at the Brickdam Police Station, he told the accused of the offence after which he reportedly stated whilst in custody:“I was going out; she didn’t want me to leave. I had a knife and I cut she in she neck. Me an know that woulda happen to she,” Kyte recalled.He also noted that he saw a man lying on a make-shift bed in a nearby apartment. Kyte said no one else was charged for the woman’s murder. The case will continue before Justice Sandhill Kissoon at the High Court this morning.According to reports, Thomas’ body was found in a pool of blood with several stab wounds at the home she shared with Morrison. A post-mortem examination revealed Thomas died from asphyxiation due to compression to the neck, compounded by blunt force trauma to the head.Government Pathologist, Dr Nehaul Singh had testified that he observed the woman had 16 incised wounds to one hand, while he found six such wounds on the other hand. Based on his expert knowledge, he said these wounds were defensive. He observed that Thomas died as a result of being deprived of oxygen and that her heart eventually stopped.
As I’ve said before, windows are a silent but very high-tech part of our buildings. The advances in glazing in the last 30 years have been phenomenal. Will windows keep getting better and better with no end in sight?In recent years, an increasing number of window manufacturers have been combining and refining the features that have given us today’s high-performance windows: multiple layers of glazing, multiple low-emissivity (low-e) coatings, and very-low-conductivity gases such as krypton. They’ve been creating super-high-performance windows, or “superwindows,” a term coined by Dariush Arasteh, a staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In the early 1990s, Arasteh predicted that advances in technology could make all windows, even north-facing windows in northern climates, net-energy-gainers. Whether or not that day has arrived is a matter of debate, but there’s no doubt that the advances since the 1990s, when window buyers were dreaming of U-0.05 (R-20) windows (and window makers were making tantalizing demonstrations in that direction), have been astounding.The superwindow race cools off…Today, that race has cooled off to some extent in favor of climate-specific solutions. As Stephen Thwaites of Thermotech Fiberglass in Canada told me, “A window doesn’t have to be R-20 to be as energy-efficient as the wall around it,” due to the ability of a window to gain solar heat and provide ventilation. “A home with no windows will use more energy than a properly designed home with R-5 windows,” Thwaites said.That’s a change from the mid-1990s when the prototype quintuple-glazed window shown above was built by Thermotech as a demonstration of what was possible, with a goal of R-20. Today, ambitions have become more climate-specific.… But it’s still exciting to look for what’s nextToday, R-5 windows are aspirational for many, but not really that special in the windows market. But instead of pushing past that, we are seeing more emphasis on proper design by orientation, shading, and window-to-wall ratios, and on buying the best windows for each application according to the budget.It’s still exciting to dream of what we’ll see in the next 30 years. For example, vacuum glazing, in which most of the air is evacuated from the space between panes, reduces thermal conduction and convection to nearly zero (leaving radiation as the primary means of heat transfer), and can currently offer U-0.08 (R-12) with double-glazing and one advanced low-e coating. Vacuum glazing is still largely in research and development, however. The seal is tough to get right, since the vacuum puts a lot of pressure on it.The biggest limit on energy performance is and may continue to be not what technology can do, but what the buyer can afford. Windows imported from Germany meeting the Passivhaus standard, for example, offer U-factors under 0.14 — at a cost of over $90 per square foot of window area. Triple-glazed Canadian windows typically cost $40–$50 per square foot, in contrast with a price range for more conventional double-glazed windows of $30–$35.The problem with getting great windows is how they’re soldOn the subject of price, I’m going to quote a few paragraphs here from a comment I received by email after last week’s post about reading NRFC labels. This comment with some follow-up discussion is posted on last week’s column.“Your recent columns on windows have struck a raw nerve, and it’s worth sharing why. Construction has just begun on a small sunroom addition to my home. The problem with getting great windows is not product availability, but the awkward way they are sold.“Building supply dealers seldom post prices of anything. Items which are ordered, like windows that have lots of options and sizes, are much worse — requiring the entry of data into a computer to get a quote. The quote of course is for the whole window, making it really tedious to test out individual options. The retail staff, though both knowledgeable and helpful, cannot possibly keep prices for all those options in their heads, and nothing good can come from a customer mistaking a ballpark guess for a quote.“Net result: it is ridiculously difficult to get a cost comparison of option A vs. option B, on anything. In my case of a south-facing sunroom where I knew I’d be starting a lot of veggie seedlings in spring, I depended on my own reading and research in preferring clear glass (full-spectrum, high solar gain), and triple pane (reduced heat loss). It took several days to get a price.“Going through that process for the dozens of decisions in a given project is simply not going to happen. Even a highly motivated customer has little choice but to just give up and trust the contractor to do something reasonable. And still miss here and there. You recently noted that using argon gas was a no-brainer; that column came too late, and I didn’t expend the effort to price argon vs. air.”It may not help to say this, but if you’ve faced this window-pricing issue, you’re not the only one. Martin Holladay had some great comments on this two weeks ago which I’ll paraphrase here. There is little transparency on pricing in the window industry, and someone who wants to really shop around and price out different options easily faces dozens of hours of research on a new home. Hopefully they can get good cooperation from dealers, but that’s not always a given. It would be great to see just one window manufacturer post accurate and complete prices online. I suspect it would make their business stronger, not weaker.Tristan Roberts is Editorial Director at BuildingGreen, Inc., in Brattleboro, Vermont.
SunEdison makes it officialAs expected, wind and solar developer SunEdison has officially filed for bankruptcy protection.The clean energy conglomerate started as semiconductor maker MEMC Electronic Materials and entered the solar market only ten years ago. It bought SunEdison in 2009 for $200 million, later changed its name to SunEdison and pioneered the business model of providing solar panels to both business and homeowners with little or no money upfront, according to a post at Fortune. In 2014, the company spent $2.4 billion to buy wind developer First Wind, which allowed SunEdison to call itself the world’s largest clean energy company.It was SunEdison’s aggressive acquisition strategy, including the use of spinoffs called “yieldcos,” rather than any weakness in the renewable energy market that ultimately brought financial chaos to the company. Last year, SunEdison announced its plans to gobble up Vivint Solar in a $2.2 billion deal, and financial backers finally said they’d had enough. Shares began to lose value, prompting the company to back out of many of its deals, Fortune said.“The company’s tale of woe stems from overreaching ambition and core business decisions that led it to try to grow too big, too fast, and in too many directions,” Fortune‘s Katie Fehrenbacher wrote.She wasn’t alone in pointing the finger at misguided business policies. In a statement posted online, Solar Energy Industries Association Vice President Dan Whitten said, “This is a highly competitive industry with a massive upside. As with other rapidly growing and successful industries, not every company in the solar market is going to stand the test of time. SunEdison is just one company and today’s development does not reflect a trend of the broader industry. The solar industry is growing at warp speed. It took us 40 years to get to 1 million installations (which we have just done) and it will take us just two more years to hit 2 millio,n and that, I think, illustrates the direction of the solar industry.”The Wall Street Journal reported that SunEdison spent more than $18 billion on acquisitions and raised $24 billion in debt and equity between 2013 and 2016. Shares have lost 99% of their value in the last year, but the company has raised $300 million in loans to get it through the bankruptcy process. Maine Tries to Revise Solar PoliciesAn attempt to rewrite state policy on solar energy and dramatically increase statewide solar capacity appears headed for a gubernatorial veto.According to an article posted by The Portland Press Herald, the bill, now on the governor’s desk, would increase solar capacity from its current level of about 20 megawatts to 196 MW, while adding as many as 650 new solar jobs. The proposal is intended to replace Maine’s current net-metering rules with a new system, and it had the support of solar installers, the Maine Office of the Public Advocate, and both investor-owned utilities in the state.Governor Paul LePage, a frequent critic of renewable energy, was expected to veto the bill and it appears there aren’t enough votes in the legislature for an override.Instead of paying solar customers at the retail rate for excess electricity, which is currently the case, the bill would establish a market-based system in which the Public Utility Commission sets long-term contracts for buying electricity from solar producers, and then aggregates the power and sells it on the open market. Profits from sales would be distributed evenly among all ratepayers, UtilityDive reported. Existing net-metering customers would be allowed to keep their current arrangements for a number of years if they wished.Amendments intended to win over more support in the legislature included price caps and other restrictions. That got a few more votes, but not enough to give the bill a veto-proof margin.Opponents of the bill complain that net metering amounts to a subsidy for solar customers. The chairman of the PUC testified last month the plan would cost ratepayers $22 million on their electric bills in the fifth year of the plan, The Press Herald said. The public advocate’s office, however, said that consumers would actually see a benefit of more than $122 million over the period of the 20-year contracts that the plan originally envisioned.The proposal was developed over a six-month period in talks involving just about everyone in the state with an interest in solar energy, and the latest version had bipartisan support. Backers of the legislation worry that if the bill is rejected, it will fall to the Public Utilities Commission to decide new net-metering rules. All three members of the panel were appointed by LePage. Net-metering caps raisedAs Maine struggled to rewrite its rules on net metering, two other New England states have approved changes in their solar energy policies.In Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill earlier this month raising net-metering caps for both privately owned and municipal photovoltaic systems while lowering reimbursement rates for commercial projects by 40%, according to an article posted by the National Law Review.The cap for privately owned PV systems went from 4% to 7% of peak load and from 5% to 8% for municipally owned systems. Small residential systems continue to remain exempt from caps.The law lowers the reimbursement rate for commercial arrays by 40% but makes no changes to rates for small residential systems. Rates for existing installations will stay in effect for the next 25 years. The bill also gives electric utilities the right to seek a “monthly minimum reliability contribution” to help pay for providing grid services to solar customers.In New Hampshire, the Law Review said, legislators have voted to double the state’s net-metering cap, to 100 megawatts, just as the state was rapidly approaching the old cap.The bill also directs the Public Utilities Commission to come up with a new net-metering system that does a better job of accounting for the costs and benefits of net metering than a simple reimbursement at the retail rate. The bill gives the PUC 10 months to come up with a replacement plan.
and learn how to turn your website into an internet marketing machine. Metropolis Creative Identify yourself! Call your visitors to action. videos blog posts , 3. Include photos and bios. Heck, even include testimonials. Your site can act like a social community where visitors can share knowledge and get to know each other. , 1. Make your site distinctive. . and Business Blogging social networks Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack You’ve worked hard to get visitors to your site! Now, make the most of it. The more prominent and the more frequent you can place your call-to-action(s), the more likely they will do it. Congratulations! They’ve come to your party — now what do you serve them? RSS feeds opt-in emails Spell out your business goals keyword searches Be sure you have a recognizable logo, a simple descriptive tagline, and an appropriate color scheme with matching graphics. Are your visitors expecting a high tech theme, a friendly place to hang out, or a lot of technical content and conversation/information? This is a guest post by Michael Flint, the president of Extreme Website Makeover party You have a flock of prospects coming to your site to learn more about you through But what’s their visual experience when they do get to your site? Does your site deliver the message of your brand? Are you capturing leads? , The theme, the brand experience, the message. Wow your visitors with a memorable experience using engaging text and imagery. , Free Webinar: Website Redesign for 2010 Learn how to redesign your website with an internet marketing strategy in mind with Mike Volpe, HubSpot’s VP of Marketing. 4. Once those are clear, there are few basic rules for any stylish and smart inbound marketer’s website: . Fitting all this content onto your home page can be a challenge. A good graphic designer can help you prioritize and organize your information visually. As you know, the key to inbound marketing is content. Well designed content will attract and retain an audience and become contagious — viral per say. . 2. Topics: podcasts , To answer these questions, you need to start simple: Convey your brand’s position. Download the webinar Originally published Apr 6, 2009 8:43:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 PS. We really did have a party: , a Boston-based web design and brand strategy agency.
They understand that . Originally published Sep 10, 2009 8:07:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Download the free webinar Webinar: Blogging for Business . a community around their business There’s usually just one thing they’re unsure of: Whether blogging is right for their industry. The blogs on this list received the highest percentile score for blogs we track in the technology industry. Grader One final note: Do you think there’s a blog that should be included on this list? Do you know of blogs that we should consider for lists of top blogs in other industries? service from HubSpot. Blog Grader measures the marketing effectiveness of blogs by considering inbound links, Technorati rank, Google Page rank, social media mentions and other factors, then calculating a percentile score for each blog. Blog Optimization This list was generated by build traction on social networks impact blogging can have on businesses Today we’re starting with this list of top technology-company blogs: Blog Grader By now, most marketers and small business owners understand the kind of Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack , a free If you’re in the technology industry, check out these blogs. See what they write about, how they structure their posts, and how often they publish. They’re all great models. . They understand that it helps blogging helps with SEO Want to learn more about publishing a blog on your business website? Over the next few weeks we’re going to address some of these concerns with a series of posts highlighting top business blogs in different industries. to learn how to create a thriving inbound marketing blog. . And they understand that it’s a way to build Topics: . Please add them here
Today, I received further proof that social media is becoming even more sticky among businesses. The Wall Street Journal reports that major brands like IBM and Harrah’s are “sifting web chat for marketing inspiration” and channeling it back into their advertisements and website content. According to the Wall Street Journal article, IBM used web searches and social media tools like YouTube and Twitter to unearth what their customers were saying about their brands. In the article, Jean-Philippe Maheu, chief digital officer at Ogilvy attributes real-time technology as a major factor to why big brands are monitoring social media conversations more frequently.Harrah’s Entertainment has also been monitoring conversations happening about their casinos on review sites such as TripAdvisor; the feedback, provided by real travelers, has already been utilized to adjust Harrah’s site images and site copy. Even though most of the Las Vegas Strip has fallen under economic hardship, Harrah’s has reported an increase in bookings online. The Wall Street Journal reports that after they updated their website with content and iconic images responding to what they heard on social networks, their profits jumped “by a double-digit percent.”This should be very exciting news for any company currently watching (and maybe even interacting with) customers having conversations about their industry and brands online. However, it should also be a call-to-action if you have yet to implement a daily social media regimen for your business. My advice is this: Don’t just focus on the negative things people are saying about you online. Companies tend to implement a social media strategy primarily for PR and crisis management. Focus on the positive conversations and questions, too, and use them to make your product and website better. Harrah’s was able to really tune into the things that differentiated their brand from every other on the strip. Their listening skills won them more business and leads because they found a way to feed the conversations back into their pages and attract Las Vegas visitors to them.Customers of HubSpot can use our social media tool to monitor conversations important to their brand and industry in real-time. We filter out the noise and point customers to conversations people are having based on keywords, competitors, and brand names that they’ve identified. Even if you’re not a customer of HubSpot, you can still start listening and feeding what you hear back into your content online.Start Listening Today: Examine Your Social Media Strategy Using the Following QuestionsDo I know what words and phrases customers are using to describe my brand online?Do I know what my users are saying about my competitor’s brands? Am I using this information to differentiate myself from my competitors?Do my customers and prospects know where I’m at online? Do they know I’m watching and listening?Do I have a 10-minute a day social media plan in place that helps me monitor my conversations and find out what people are saying about my brands across the web?Do I have a way to compile and save all of the relevant information I’m reading and feed it back into my website? Video: How to Use Social Media to Attract More Customers Brand Management Topics: Originally published Nov 23, 2009 5:29:00 PM, updated March 21 2013 Learn how to use social media to attract more customers and monitor the conversation.Download the free video and learn how to generate more business using social media. photo by sarajea Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
We see this happen time and time again: In the midst of managing a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, marketers get bogged down in the details of the campaign without paying attention to what actually matters. What actually matters? PPC return on investment (ROI), of course. If you’re managing a PPC campaign, you need to understand how all the little bits of data can play together and help you achieve a better ROI. To do this, you should consider a few things: Overall, you have to keep your eye on the prize when it comes to PPC. Make sure you’re not getting lost in the budget, impressions, and clicks weeds–what do these little things matter in the big picture of generating quality leads? PPC involves so many little details and tweaks, that it’s incredibly ea. Keep your goal in mind and keep working at it and you’ll be sure to improve your lead quality. Are you paying attention to your ads? to see how paid search fits into your inbound marketing strategy. sanderovski & linda Learn how to get the most out of your pay per click marketing campaigns. impressions One of the biggest PPC mistakes we see is when folks go after expensive, popular words rather than long-tail, more relevant ones. Should you really go after “running shoes” when your product is only peripherally related to them? Probably not. What words are you going after? each, pause the one with fewer click-throughs and write a new one. Lather, rinse, repeat. You should also always remember that effective ads include offers–in essence, they’re calls to action. It’s easy to get caught up in the words you’re targeting and let your ads languish. Are you aggressively A/B testing your ads? If you’re not, you can do this easily in AdWords by running two ads per campaign in balanced views (don’t let Google manage Topics: What are your priorities? Download the free video We have seen people add random lingo in order to increase their relevance score without thinking about what phrases would generate quality traffic for them. Perhaps you are obsessing about When you tweak, what are you tweaking for? One of the most common PPC errors is to dump all the traffic onto your main homepage. A better idea is to send them straight to landing pages so that you can get that click (that you paid for) to convert to a lead much sooner! Originally published Jul 30, 2010 8:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 . Video: Get the Most out of Your PPC Campaigns Photo courtesy of , but never getting any click-throughs. Make sure you aren’t optimizing for clicks without making sure the visitors would be quality leads. It’s very easy to fall into the “I must do better at one metric” trap without keeping your high-level goals in mind. impressions impressions for you), and when you have a good number of PPC Where are you sending your traffic? Your priorities tend to reflect on what you’re being measured, and we hope you’re being measured primarily on generating high quality leads. If you’re not, perhaps you need to examine why. Do you have a long enough sales cycle that you can get a more immediate measure from number of leads generated or click-throughs? Whatever your priority is, keep that in mind throughout measuring your campaign. You should be asking yourself the question, “Am I getting closer to my goal?” Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Where Is Your Target Audience? “What is really important is to figure out where the people that you are trying to reach are,” says David Meerman Scott. If you are trying to reach executives, for instance, LinkedIn is probably a good starting place. If you are trying to reach teenagers, however, you might need to look elsewhere. In this case, Facebook would probably be the preferred platform for communication. Don’t Be Everywhere You don’t need to be on every social network in order to be a social media-savvy business. David Meerman Scott, for instance, is not on LinkedIn because he invests most of his efforts on channels like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. The idea behind this practice is to not spread yourself thin, but to perform well on a few selected sites. Eventually, as David pointed out, it comes down to choosing the right social media networks and giving yourself permission to not stress about being present on some other channels.Photo Credit: Asthma Helper Social Media Originally published May 2, 2011 8:44:00 AM, updated July 08 2013 Topics: Maybe being on all possible channels isn’t quite as effective as focusing on a few of them. In this episode of the Weekly Marketing Cast we discuss how you can approach this question. Inbound Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Originally published Dec 21, 2011 11:15:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Inbound Marketing A lot of wonderful things happened in the world of marketing in 2011, but in the fast-paced world of inbound marketing, it doesn’t behoove us to dwell on the past. So to get everyone excited for 2012, we reached out to industry influencers (deep breath) Anita Campbell, Valeria Maltoni, David Meerman Scott, Michael Brito, Jason Falls, Stephanie Agresta, Todd Defren, Aaron Strout, Rachel Happe, and Chris Brogan (phew! did I get everyone?) and asked them what they think is in store for inbound marketing and its ‘Get Found,’ ‘Convert,’ ‘Analyze’ methodology.Read what they have to say, and leave your own predictions for the future of inbound marketing in 2012 in the comments!In 2012, companies will get found online by…”…learning to be fluent in their conversation strategies.” Valeria Maltoni, Conversation Agent (Follow Her on Twitter)”…finally realizing that real-time content creation is a great way to get found. Rather than rely on long-term campaigns, smart marketers will follow what’s happening in the media with an eye to newsjacking their way to getting found.” David Meerman Scott, Web Ink Now (Follow Him on Twitter)”…being socially omnipresent and providing the right content, in the right channel, at the right time, to the right customer.” Michael Brito, Social Business News (Follow Him on Twitter)”…focusing on more compelling content. We’re all going to have to get better to separate the signal from the noise for our customers. The days of top 10 lists and how-to’s are coming to a close. We’ve all got to get better at becoming awesome at content.” Jason Falls, Social Media Explorer (Follow Him on Twitter)”…the investment they make in social. Not only will +1 impact search results, but social influencers will take on an enhanced role in driving consumers to FIND new products, services, and campaigns. It’s a whole new world for acquisition. Social media will drive how companies get found and fuel all other marketing channels. If you think the tail has been wagging the dog, just wait until 2012. The tail becomes the dog.” Stephanie Agresta, Weber Shandwick (Follow Her on Twitter)”…producing ever greater volumes of content that will be increasingly relevant to their customers and prospects (instead of their bosses).” Todd Defren, PR-Squared (Learn More on About.me)”…paying more attention to more non-traditional social channels like SlideShare, Flickr/Picasa/Instagram, discussion forums, questions and answer sites like Yahoo Q&A, podcasts, and new social networks like Google+. Obviously, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention thinking about how getting discovered ‘offline’ using location-based marketing will lead to more discovery ‘online,’ so make sure you think through what role location and proximity play in your overall mix.” Aaron Strout, WCG (Follow Him on Twitter)In 2012, marketers will convert more visitors into leads if they…”…ask their audiences to do so. The social media pursuits have scared people into believing you can’t ask for the sale online anymore. That’s bullshit. If you’re providing value and pleasing your audience, they expect you to ask them to buy from time to time. Marketers will move past the social media hippie syndrome in 2012 and start converting.” Jason Falls, Social Media Explorer (Follow Him on Twitter)”…have a community. Good content will help you get found. People will come to your site to learn more about you and what you do, but it’s community that keeps them coming back. Building collaboration and interactivity into your web presence will convert lurkers into friends and friends into customers.” Rachel Happe, The Community Roundtable (Follow Her on Twitter)”…focus on building trust with the community first, then figuring out how to monetize (or get a lead). Asking permission, in a way.” Michael Brito, Social Business News (Follow Him on Twitter)”…provide increasing levels of social proof of their products’ excellence. Conversions increase when you can motivate positive customer buzz that’s consistent, authentic, and easy to find.” Todd Defren, PR-Squared (Learn More on About.me)”…use more short form video intended to equip your prospective buyers for success.” Chris Brogan, Human Business Works (Follow Him on Google+)”…build their tribes.” Valeria Maltoni, Conversation Agent (Follow Her on Twitter)In 2012, marketers will analyze the effectiveness of their marketing by measuring…”…the cost of acquiring social media followers and the cost of ongoing engagement with them. Understanding the costs will force companies to be more focused on which social media channels they use and cause them to tie their social media efforts more closely with business goals. After all, seeing what something is costing you has a tendency to clarify your goals, strategies, and tactics pretty quickly.” Anita Campbell, Small Business Trends (Follow Her on Twitter)”…the disconnect between online and offline campaigns.” Todd Defren, PR-Squared (Learn More on About.me)”…their own stuff. We’ve got to stop listening to the thought leaders and the bloggers about all this and start owning our own metrics. Why worry about ‘likes’ and followers — or even click-through rates and downloads — if they don’t underscore a business metric that matters to you? Instead of following the social media lemmings off the blogocliff, marketers will start paying attention to their goals, their objectives, their bottom lines, and what their executives want reported up the chain, and start measuring what matters to them, not what some blog — that knows nothing of their business — said they should worry about.” Jason Falls, Social Media Explorer (Follow Him on Twitter)”…relevant social gestures.” Valeria Maltoni, Conversation Agent (Follow Her on Twitter)”…’in real time,’ using robust social CRM technologies.” Michael Brito, Social Business News (Follow Him on Twitter)What are your inbound marketing predictions for 2012?Image credit: Cillian Storm
Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Content Marketing Strategy Originally published Mar 1, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated August 25 2017 When you ask marketers who their competitors are, they can rattle off a list quite quickly, and perhaps a few anecdotes about notable differentiators like product features, sales techniques, and site structure. Maybe they’d like to know more information about them (say, their marketing techniques?) but that information is all kept pretty hush hush. Right?If you’re looking to compete on inbound marketing techniques, you can actually find out quite a lot about your competitors by performing competitive content analysis. And if you’re setting up or revamping your content strategy, doing a deep dive of this nature is important to not only orient yourself in your market, but to also determine what opportunities you have to easily outperform your competitors with content — and where you need to put in more effort and resources.Yes, performing competitive content analysis takes significant upfront time, but doing so will help you set a realistic content strategy that will allow you to compete, and eventually overtake, your competitors online. So grab your list of competitors, read this guide, put your spy goggles on, and get going with your competitive content analysis!Click here to get started with our free market research kit.Step 1: Find Where Content LivesBegin by performing a website audit of your competitors with the aim of determining where content is housed on their site. This is the quickest part of the content analysis and sets you up to perform the next steps more easily, but requires the most “poking around” to find what you’re looking for. Here’s the most structured way I’ve found to approach this poking around exercise.Start by visiting the site’s navigation. Where on there might content be housed? In HubSpot’s case, for example, the ‘Case Studies’ section of the navigation is a clear indication of content. None of these other items, however, look content-focused.But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t double check! Click through each item in the navigation to see if there is a sub-navigation that leads to content assets you would want to note. For example, when clicking through the ‘About Us’ section of HubSpot’s navigation, you reach this page that contains ‘News,’ and the ‘Press Room,’ both of which house content you would want to index in your analysis.Continue to click through the navigation and sub-navigations, noting where on the site content is housed. When you’ve completed this step — the length of time this takes depends on the breadth of the site — return to the site’s homepage and continue to scroll to see if there are any other places content would be housed that weren’t in the main navigation or linked in the sub-navigation. On HubSpot’s homepage, for example, one can find ‘Marketing Resources’ further down the homepage. It’s more and more common for websites to have resource centers that house long-form content like whitepapers and ebooks, so be vigilant about looking for these content repositories on competitive sites.Finally, visit the bottom navigation of the homepage for good measure. Often, there are links to pages that aren’t easily accessible, even several clicks in to a site. The bigger the site, the more likely it is you’ll encounter important content repositories in this section of the navigation.For good measure, you can also check out your competitor’s sitemap, often but not always found in the bottom navigation. These are created for search engines to more easily crawl and index a website’s content, but some companies choose to publish an HTML version, as well. This will help you fill in any blanks you may have missed during these exercises.To help guide you during this and the next step in your competitive content analysis, here is a list of content asset types you may encounter. Simply note the URLs on which you find these, but keep in mind that during Step 2, you may come across more places on the site where content is housed.Blog postsWhitepapersEbooksVideosWebinarsPodcastsSlide decksStatic visual content (i.e. infographics, cartoons)FAQsFeature articlesPress releasesKitsCase studiesBuyer guidesUse casesData sheetsTip: Be sure to research whether your competitor has more than one blog, and if so, note for what those blogs are used. For example, HubSpot has multiple blogs, not all of which are linked to from the homepage — this blog you’re reading now discusses inbound marketing concepts, but we also publish a separate blog that discusses company and product news. All of our blogs have different objectives, and you should consider the unique purpose of the blogs you encounter among your competitors, too.Step 2: Perform a Content AuditNow that you know where content is published on your competitor’s site, it’s time to begin the content audit. This is the most time-consuming part of your competitive content analysis, but it will give you the best indication of how you stack up to their content creation efforts.There are three things you’ll want to tally in your audit; the first two in this list should be based on content asset type, while the third can stand alone.Quantity of each content asset type published – How many blog posts has this competitor published? What about case studies, whitepapers, ebooks, etc.? This will help you gauge whether you’re up against a formidable content arsenal that will require a giant content creation team to surpass, or whether you’re at an equal stage (or further along!) than your competitor.Frequency each content asset type is published – Do your competitors publish blog posts twice a week? Twice a day? What about how frequently they come out with a new ebook? Not everything will have a publish date on it, but do your best to gauge their publishing frequency for each content asset type so you know how active their current content creation efforts are.Distribution of topics discussed – This is the item that does not need to be broken down by content asset type, but you certainly may if you find it helpful. Your aim here is to determine which topics are discussed in their content so you can find opportunities they aren’t capitalizing on, and determine which topics they are trying to establish a strong thought leadership (and search engine) position for.For example, if you’re a unicorn breeder performing a competitive content analysis on another unicorn breeder’s site, you may find your competitor has 225 blog posts (publishing once every business day), 12 case studies (publishing about once a month), 40 podcasts (publishing weekly), and 10 videos (publishing about every other month) about unicorn breeding. You also note that this competitor discusses three topics in their content: unicorn hygiene, training unicorns, and unicorn diets. But it turns out, they’re heavy on the unicorn diet and hygiene content, but pretty low on unicorn training content — after filtering their blog content based on how they’ve tagged the topics, you notice only 15% of it is about unicorn training! This is a weak spot in their content in which you could easily overtake their market share.Tip: Content audits are an extremely manual process. If you find this approach of navigating through URLs difficult, there are free site crawling tools out there that will index all the URLs on a given website and export them into a spreadsheet for you — I’ve used Xenu Link Sleuth for this purpose successfully. With the spreadsheet of site URLs, you can categorize the content based on either the URL architecture, or if the content asset type is not apparent from the URL architecture, clicking through to the site to make that determination. For example, you would know this URL houses a case study without having to click through.www.hubspot.com/customer-case-studies/bid/31264/Education-Success-Story-Davidson-AcademySimilarly, you can often gauge the topic of the content from the URL architecture. You know the topic of this post, for example, is Facebook because of the slug at the end of the URL.blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/31633/The-Complete-Guide-to-Setting-Up-the-New-Facebook-Page-Design.aspxStep 3: Evaluate Content QualityNow comes the subjective component of your competitive content analysis. Select a sample of content assets from each content asset type your competitor publishes. Evaluate how good that content is. Here are some questions to ask yourself when evaluating their content quality:How accurate is their content?Are there rampant spelling and grammatical errors?How in-depth does the content go — does it just scratch the surface at an introductory level, or does it go into advanced concepts?What tone do they adopt in their content?Is their content long or short? Keep in mind that both are acceptable, as long as the content is helpful.Is their content structured in a readable way? Are they making use of bullets, bold headings, and numbered lists?Who is writing their content? Do they have multiple contributors? Are they all internal, or are some of them guest contributors? What are their areas of expertise (do some social media sleuthing)?Is their content largely gated, form-free, or a mix? Which content assets do they put behind forms?You can also gauge the quality of the content based on how readers share and interact with it. Which topics resonate most? How engaged are readers with the content? Are people tweeting more about some topics than others? Sharing long form content on LinkedIn? Are they responding heavily to your competitor’s Facebook posts about certain content? Are people commenting on any particular blog posts? What’s the sentiment around their responses — is it positive, negative, or a mix?Finally, pay attention to the way their blog is structured. A site’s blog is one of the most important inbound marketing assets, so determining how well it is structured will give you keen insight into how much effort they are putting into it — and how successful their efforts are. Look for the following when evaluating a competitor’s blog:Social media follow and share buttons – Are they giving readers the opportunity to share their content for greater reach, and follow them on their social media networks to consume more content?Content categorization – Do they categorize the content on their blog with tags that denote topics? This helps readers identify content most applicable to their interests.Bylines or bios – Can readers learn who the writer of the blog content is to establish greater trust and authority?Preview panes – When a reader comes to the blog, is there one long post, or previews of a handful of their most recent content to promote greater viewership?After asking yourself these questions across the content asset types your competitors publish, generate a grade that you think exemplifies how good their content is. It is subjective, yes, but you’ll likely find a wide range on the quality scale as you research more competitors.Step 4: Establish Their SEO Focus The effectiveness of your competitor’s content hinges not only on quality and frequency of publishing, but also how well optimized it is for search. You can perform a more qualitative assessment of your competitor’s SEO by evaluating how keywords are used in the content samples from Step 3 in the following areas:Page titleURL architectureTitleH1 tagsCopy’s keyword densityImage alt textUse of internal linkingYou can also, however, make use of several free and paid tools out there that help you more comprehensively evaluate your competitors’ search engine optimization. If you’re a HubSpot customer, for example, you can input competitor sites into our Competitor Tracking Tool for a more quantitative approach.With this tool, you’ll have a much better indication of your competitor’s SEO savvy with metrics like mozRank, their traffic rank, how many indexed pages are on their site, and how many domains link to theirs — a key indicator of not only their search engine optimization, but the quality of their content. You’ll also notice you get a little help with Step 5 with this tool, which calculates their Facebook and Twitter followers for you.Step 5: Research the Integration of Social Media Into Their Content StrategySocial media is inextricable from content strategy, so it’s crucial to get a gauge of how your competitors are using social media. But hey, you get to play around on Facebook during this quick and final step in the competitive content analysis process — so rejoice!Visit the following social media sites to determine if your competitors have a presence:FacebookTwitterLinkedInYouTubeGoogle+PinterestPerhaps not all of these are relevant to your brand — but it’s better that you double check, right? If a competitor is using a social network creatively and effectively that you thought was not applicable to your brand or industry, you would certainly want to get in on the game.For each social network, note how many fans/followers they have, how frequently they post, what kind of content they publish, and how frequently fans interact with that content. Social media is an excellent tool for expanding the reach of content, but too many businesses ignore it. You may find that some (or all!) of your competitors are also missing out on this opportunity — another area in which you can quickly outpace your competitors in your content strategy. You should also browse their homepage and other main pages of their website for social media follow and share buttons to determine how seriously they take social media marketing.Applying Your Competitive FindingsNow that you’ve gathered all this competitive intelligence, what exactly should you do with it? How do you use your diligent detective work to inform your content strategy?By knowing where you stand alongside your competitors’ content creation efforts, you can decide what you need to do just to keep pace, and then to surpass them. But it is crucial to look at all of your findings as a whole, not just one aspect — because they all impact one another.Are you already lagging behind some of your competitors — or all of them? If so, look at those particular competitors, and see what they are doing better than you. Are they beating you by brute force with publishing volume? Is that a game you have the resources to compete in? Or is it simply that they are investing more time sharing their content socially, something you can easily remedy by putting more time and effort into your social media programs. When you know not only who is beating you in the content game, but why they are beating you, you can take steps to address the specific issue instead of wasting precious resources trying to fix something in your content strategy that, well, just may not be broken.You should come back and monitor all of these metrics on a quarterly basis, or if your competitors are very active, even more frequently. Also remember that it’s important to orient yourself with your competitors to develop an appropriate content strategy, but not to harp on every action they take. You’re in the market because you have a competitive differentiator — don’t let what others do dictate your entire marketing strategy!What other competitive intelligence do you gather that helps guide your business blogging and content creation strategy?Image credit: pasukaru76