One of the best (and easiest) ways to optimize your blog content is to do a content review by using a tool like Google Analytics or your blog’s built-in metrics. Simply enter the date range you’re interested in (we recommend reviewing at least monthly) and take a look at the most trafficked pages. You can analyze it anecdotally or take it to the next level and create a more detailed table to chart historic trends. Once you begin to identify some emerging themes/topic buckets of your top content, you’ll start to get a much better idea about what kind of content is resonating most with your audience. Use this information to help plan your content calendar moving forward and you’ll be well on your way to creating more relevant (and clickable) content!

2011 was a banner year for content marketing and corporate blogging across the board, and we’re wasting no time in making the VR Blog even bigger and better for 2012. I recently did my own content review and discovered a lot of insight as to what gets our readers clicking. I thought you might find this information interesting as well, and also appreciate the chance to re-visit any stories you might’ve missed. So, without further adieu, here are the VerticalResponse Blog’s top eleven posts from 2011:

#11 – 9 Ways to Delight Your Facebook Fans without Giving Away the Farm

When it comes to social media marketing, and Facebook in particular, the name of the game is engagement. Conventional wisdom says that the best way to keep your Facebook fans engaged is to reward them, the most obvious way being with free products, discounts and other types of giveaways. For many small businesses or businesses with limited resources, though, doing this on a regular basis is tough. So, instead of thinking of this as a barrier, think of it as a creative challenge. Here are nine other ways the creative marketer can engage and delight their fans and customers without spending a dime.


#10 – How to Extend the Life of Your Email Campaign


You spend a lot of time creating a great looking, information-filled email marketing campaign. You send it out to your recipients and within 48 hours you see your response rates start to slow down. That’s natural, email response happens so fast that’s why we love it! But there are ways you can extend the life of your email campaign so that work you put into it gets even more views and potentially more response!





#9 –  7 Easy Steps to Get More Action on Twitter

If you’re using Twitter for your business, good for you! You’re probably wondering how to get more Twitter activity such as re-tweets and followers. Well, here’s a fun idea you might want to give a try. The basic concept is to give a promotional code with an amazing discount on your product or service – but only once you reach a predetermined number of re-tweets. The incentive will help you mobilize your current followers and email recipients, and get them tweeting and re-tweeting. Here’s how…





#8 – Top 10 Things to Test to Put Your Email on the Top 10 List!

Here are 10 things you can test in your email to make it better than ever.

  1. From Name: The most effective From Name is what your recipients recognize you by or expect to hear from. Not sure what that is? TEST IT!
  2. Subject Line: Send 10% of your email list one subject line, and another 10% a different subject line. Then, look at which subject line performs better and send the remaining 80% the more successful subject line. Easy as pie!
  3. Pre-Header: Your pre-header should support or complement your subject line. For example, your subject line tells your recipients you’re having a sale (Get 50% Off for a Limited Time Only) and your pre-header explains to the recipient what items are on sale (Save on Designer Jeans & Jackets).





#7 – Yep, Subject Lines are Still Crucial to a Successful Email Marketing Campaign

I started looking at some of the subject lines in my inbox the other day. And although we may all think that we’ve written and read about subject lines ad nauseam, Lord knows I have, they are still VERY important to the success of your email marketing campaigns.

So what do we know about subject lines? Here are the key rules:

  1. Avoid repeating your From Label in your Subject Line, as you can see from examples below, you’ve got limited space, so use it wisely.
  2. Don’t think your readers will remember you. Include something about your content in your subject line.
  3. Include your most valuable information as close to the front of your subject line as possible since email readers whether it’s on a mobile or not will cut it off if it’s too long.

So here are a few subject lines both good and bad…





#6 – Want More Clicks? Tease Your Readers!

Hopefully you’re paying attention to which messages you publish to social networks like Facebook and Twitter get the best response. But it’s important to understand what messages you publish are most interesting to your fans.

No matter which social network you use, it’s crucial to grab your reader’s attention with a compelling hook. And your introductory message can be the difference between your content being shared or completely ignored so you need to get their attention with a “teaser.” I took a look at a recent activity report for the VerticalResponse Twitter account to see what takeaways we might be able to give you about our own teasers…





#5 – 6 Ways to Help Your Press Releases Get Found

How much do you know about press releases? Here’s a little history lesson for you: back in the day, press releases were sent to journalists who would (hopefully!) read them and then decide whether or not to tell the rest of the world.

But today – thanks to the internet – reporters are no longer the gatekeepers. Instead, you can distribute a press release through an online newswire service and it can be re-posted on various news websites. And anyone – whether it’s a partner, competitor or customer – can find and read your great news from different online sources. It’s another way, along with email marketing, to let others know about your product or service.




#4 – Good Password = Good Idea

This time of year, with all the online shopping, shipping, and marketing to be done, you might find yourself signing up for many different web-based products and services (like VerticalResponse maybe?). While it’s tempting to rush through these signup processes to place your order faster or start using the product quicker, you want to use a strong password (or passwords) to keep your information secure.We bring this up because SplashData, a password management application provider, unveiled its 25 Worst Passwords of the Year for 2011. Here’s the list…





#3 – What Small Businesses Can Learn from the Missoni for Target Mayhem

Ok, I admit it. I’m one of the crazy people that got sucked into the Missoni for Target mayhem that ensued last week. I saw the ads and couldn’t resist the temptation to score some high fashion at bargain basement prices. Well, I wasn’t alone. On Tuesday, September 13, an unprecedented frenzy was unleashed as shoppers clamored to get their hands on the Missoni for Target line. Stores sold out in minutes, and the Target website went down.The @TargetStyle twitter feed was out of control with angry fashionistas airing their frustration. In the next few days things went from bad to worse as customers received emails that their orders were delayed and some were flat out canceled.How can we avoid a recipe for disaster like this from occurring in our businesses? I’ve outlined 3 things to consider…





#2 – Rise to the Top with Facebook EdgeRank

Facebook can be a great place to market your small business; many of you have set up fan pages and are actively building a Facebook audience. One thing you may not realize, though, is that not all of the messages you share on Facebook are being seen by your fans. In fact, many of the posts you share on your Facebook page will only be seen by a handful of people, regardless of how many fans you have. If you want to know why this is and what you can do to optimize your posts for maximum reach, you’ve come to the right place.






#1 – 3 Ways Any Employee Can Be Your Best Salesperson

If you’re in business, chances are you’ve got salespeople, whether they’re on the phones or greeting people as they walk through your doors. But not all of your employees have the title “salesperson” do they? You might have an accounts payable employee, a person working in your tasting room at your winery or you might have someone who stocks shelves in your store. So how do you get those people “selling” for you?



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