Content Marketing Institute Report Cover Screenshot

We are still early on in 2015, which means it is just as good a time as any to assess your current business practices and make goals for how to enhance your strategy throughout the year.

Thanks to Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and Rainmaker Platform by Copyblogger media, we’re able to provide some insight on what small business marketers, like you, are looking to improve for one of the most essential tactics in a modern marketing strategy: Content Marketing.

The following summary comes from CMI’s annual content marketing research, focusing on how the practices of small business marketers in the business-to-business (B2B) space have changed over the last year.

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Example Site Header

Perhaps the weather is perfectly fine wherever you are, but here in the Washington, DC area, it’s cloudy and in the mid-twenties. Which is why today’s Webs user example site will feature a tourism company in the state of Kerala, India, where it’s in the mid-eighties right now.

In addition to beautiful imagery and a nice-looking layout, the Swapna Kerala Holidays website succeeds at one of the most important things for a business in the travel industry: establishing trust. Whether within their own country or to the other side of the world, most people get a little anxious around travel. Which is why it’s so important for a company that serves travelers to convey through their website that customers are in good hands when choosing their services.

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Web Design Infographic Header

Sometimes it’s fun to take a trip down memory lane. Whether it’s reminiscing about at the early days of the internet, as in BMW’s Super Bowl commercial, or looking back at the history of web design.

If you’re in the mood to do the latter, you’re in luck! Today we’re sharing a fantastic infographic from AmeriCommerce that takes a detailed look at how things have changed – from design to browsers to screens – from 1990 to today.

So put on your biggest baggy jeans, grab your giant mobile phone, and hop in your time machine as we go back…to 1990.

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Number One Trophy Men Vector

Yesterday was one of the most anticipated events of the year in the United States: The Super Bowl.

Not only were sports fans excited to see their favorite teams (or biggest rivals) play, but marketing enthusiasts everywhere were eager to see what commercials had been produced for the game.

With millions of viewers, airing your commercial during the Super Bowl could be the Holy Grail of your marketing career. You want to be memorable, impactful, and positively surprising.

That’s why it was such a thrilling moment when small business GoldieBlox earned a 30 second spot last year (sponsored by Intuit) to empower girls to take interest in subjects like engineering.

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10 Step Business Plan Infographic Screenshot

All entrepreneurs start out with a vision; a vision for a fantastically successful business that makes a difference.

But to make that vision a reality, having a clear business plan to reach your goals is essential.

To help you, Washington State University created an infographic that guides you through creating the perfect plan for your business.

The graphic outlines key questions to ask yourself before searching for investors, applying for business loans, or trying to improve your existing business.

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Puzzle Pieces

Search engine optimization (SEO) and social media go together in the digital world like smartphones and teenagers. You really can’t have one without the other, but a lot of people avoid SEO completely for their websites – not to mention their social media content – because they don’t know where to start.

SEO can certainly be confusing, and it’s changing constantly. However, knowing the basics of SEO and keeping up with trends is a good way to grow your business’ exposure. SEO is a means of boosting your web presence’s rankings in search engine results when people query ‘your’ keywords. Oftentimes the phrase “web presence” is used interchangeably with “website,” but that’s just because it’s most common. You can actually use SEO best practices, such as those detailed by Moz, anywhere you have control of content online. Here are just a few reasons why your social media presence should be part of your overall SEO strategy:

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YouGov BrandIndex BestBrand Logo

Each year, research firm YouGov BrandIndex polls millions of people to track the public perceptions of thousands of brands. They release their findings in annual and mid-year BestBrands reports – and 2014’s is out now.

It’s important to keep in mind when looking at the last below, that these are not the most valuable brands – that kind of metric is likely to stay more stable over time (barring ground-breaking innovations or PR nightmares). To put together the list of Best Brands, YouGov asks respondents, “If you’ve heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?” This not only measures the respondent’s own awareness of the brand, but also gets at their perception of the perceptions of other people toward a brand.

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Example website

It’s Friday afternoon, which can certainly make you feel like dancing. Which is why we thought a great choice for today’s example site would be www.peterlovatt.com – the online home of Doctor Dance.

Peter Lovatt is a Dance Psychologist in England, where he is a Principle Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. Lovatt also runs the university’s Dance Psychology Lab, which sounds like a pretty great place to hang out. Perhaps not surprisingly, his website is also a great place to hang out, because it is well-branded, easy to navigate, and full of rich imagery.

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SEO-Optimized Website

Building a website might be on the 2015 agenda for your business. If you’re like most business owners, you want to give your company as much exposure as possible. That’s why you decided to build a website in the first place, after all. The key to creating a successful web presence is making sure customers can find you. Search is the top way users find sites online.

We want to help you accomplish everything you set out to do this year. With that in mind, let us show you how to build a website that’s easy to discover in search engines.

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Examples of clever 404 Errors

 

Have you ever been browsing the internet and reached a page screaming, “404 Error Page!” and been afraid you had done something terribly wrong to harm your browser and/or computer?

Have no fear! We have all been there.

Good news is that is completely normal for a user to come across a 404 error page, and for your small business website to return one.  Because in the definition of a 404 Error Page (or HTTP 404 for our more technical audience) it describes the error as a web page that simply could not be found when attempting to follow a broken or dead link (or one that you’ve typed in incorrectly).

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