Women Shave Because of Marketers: How the Industry Created Demand for Women's Razors

womens-razors-marketing-compressed.jpg

If you’ve spent time in front of a television lately, you’re probably familiar with the formula for many women’s razor ads: A woman shaves and gets glowing legs that attract positive attention from her male counterpart. You can see the formula at work here, here, and here.

If you roll your eyes when you watch these ads, you’re not alone. But this formula has been highly lucrative for more than a century.

Effective advertising taps into the viewer’s emotions to compel them to take an action with a product. And in the case of the women’s razor and shaving industry, product messaging and ad campaigns tapped into emotions like shame, fear, and love to create an entirely new market and demand for a product previously restricted only to men.

Today, women in the United States spend roughly $1 billion dollars on razors per year — and it’s estimated that women spend between $10,000 and $23,000 on hair removal over the course of their lifetimes. Personal care trends come and go, but this one’s been growing for the last 100 years. Let’s dive into how marketers used effective advertising to get women to change their grooming routines — and budgets — forever.

The History of Women’s Razor Marketing

1910s: Armpit Hair Is Embarrassing

With the 1901 invention of the safety razor and the U.S. Army contract to supply every soldier with a razor, Gillette was a household name at the beginning of the 20th century — but it was only being used by men. Women’s fashion was starting to transition from 19th century-era buttoned-up, conservative gowns to more relaxed sleeveless dresses for dancing and going outside.

Then, when Gillette created the first women’s razor in 1915, it took advantage of the advertising opportunity presented by more exposed skin. Below is the first ad for Gillette’s Milady Décolleté that specifically targeted underarm hair shaving in 1917:

gillette-womens-razor-1.jpg

The ad copy effectively makes women feel embarrassed and left out of the trend if they aren’t already shaving their underarms. The razor “solves an embarrassing personal problem” and is “welcomed by women everywhere. Gillette used its product to create a problem and provide the solution — a genius marketing strategy, if you ask us.

In another ad, Gillette posits its razor as serving “the modern woman” to further convince women to start using its product or be left behind. The tagline drives home the importance of buying a razor and shaving: “A Refinement which has become a Modern Necessity.” It acknowledges the novelty but emphasizes the urgent need for women to start shaving.

gillette-razor-ad-2.png

1920s: Shorter Hemlines Mean Shorter Hair

During the 1920s, flapper dresses got shorter, and women even started swimming in more revealing bathing costumes that started to show off other body parts that could be shaved. In 1922, Harper’s Bazaar ran one of the first magazine ads specifically targeting underarm hair:

1922harpersad.png

Magazines were consumed during this era for fashion advice, household tips, and women’s advice, so a spread like this signaled to readers the continued importance of underarm hair removal.

During this period, magazines also started targeting leg hair removal. In Christine Hope’s paper, “Caucasian Female Body Hair and American Culture,” Hope surveyed older editions of Harper’s Bazaar and found that 66% of ads mentioned leg hair removal and that most ads ran seasonally during summer months when women exposed more skin.

1940s: No Nylons, No Problem

By the time the 1940s rolled around, leg hair removal had become more ubiquitous. All hair removal ads in Harper’s Bazaar mentioned leg hair, and 56% of ads were specifically about leg hair removal.

Then, during World War II, there was a shortage of nylon used to make stockings, which drove more women to shave their legs and use depilatories so they could go bare-legged. Remington started selling the first electric women’s razor, which was presented as a faster alternative to manual shaving and keeping legs bare.

1950s: Hairlessness Is Classy and Feminine

Once leg and underarm shaving was more widely accepted, advertisers started using language and imagery to conflate shaving and hairlessness with femininity and classiness. In the ad below, the “Debutante” makes the razor an aspirational, ladylike product women feel like they have to buy.

debutante-razor-ad.jpg

1960s: Shaving Is Normal

By 1964, 98% of American women between the ages of 15 and 44 reported they removed some body hair, and advertisers were determined to make sure that number inched up to 100%. Ads featured shaming and scare tactics to get all women on board with the shaving trend.

scaredy-kit-ad.png

The ad is designed to make women feel more comfortable with shaving by advertising a starter kit, but some of the copy is a little more intimidating: “Stop shaking. Sharp blades give you the best shave.” It’s meant to challenge readers to woman up and use Gillette to shave their legs — and it worked.

1980s: Shaving Is Sexy

1980s razor advertising seemed to be focused on women shaving to make themselves hairless to be more appealing to men — just check out Gillette’s “Just Whistle” ad below.

just-whistle-ad.jpg

Subtle, huh?

1990s-2000s: Shaving Everywhere Is Normal

In the 1990s and 2000s, ads and commercials shifted to tell women about the importance of shaving to keep their entire bodies hairless — still to the appeal of men — for all of the occasions when they’re in short skirt, swimsuits, or wearing nothing at all. Razors bore new features to shave legs and bikini lines, adding to the list of body parts ads encouraged women to shave.

2010s: Shaving Needs to be Disrupted

Nowadays, razors are an expensive industry — especially for women. Women’s razors are subject to the “pink tax,” wherein women’s products are more expensive than the male versions despite identical functionalities. The disposable razor market is worth $34 billion and isn’t environmentally ideal, so other companies are trying to compete with the giants like Gillette and Schick. On-demand services, such as Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s, are advertising razors primarily to men, but the products are unisex, and the ads appeal to different motives — like price, convenience, and a better solution to traditional razor shopping.

If You Build it, They Will Shave

Razor companies used fear, shame, loneliness, and sex appeal to create a massive women’s shaving industry from scratch. And however frustrating that is for the modern buyer, women’s razors are a fascinating case of effective emotional advertising. It will be interesting to see if newer, on-demand razor companies can disrupt such an entrenched industry, and we’ll keep you posted on more fun ads from disruptors like DSC.

Can you think of other industries that were created with the help of marketing and advertising? Share with us in the comments below.

Image Credit: Razor Archive, Farmer’s Wife, Vox, Bustle

marketing-campaigns

Source: Women Shave Because of Marketers: How the Industry Created Demand for Women's Razors
blog.hubspot.com/marketing

Women Shave Because of Marketers: How the Industry Created Demand for Women's Razors

womens-razors-marketing-compressed.jpg

If you’ve spent time in front of a television lately, you’re probably familiar with the formula for many women’s razor ads: A woman shaves and gets glowing legs that attract positive attention from her male counterpart. You can see the formula at work here, here, and here.

If you roll your eyes when you watch these ads, you’re not alone. But this formula has been highly lucrative for more than a century.

Effective advertising taps into the viewer’s emotions to compel them to take an action with a product. And in the case of the women’s razor and shaving industry, product messaging and ad campaigns tapped into emotions like shame, fear, and love to create an entirely new market and demand for a product previously restricted only to men.

Today, women in the United States spend roughly $1 billion dollars on razors per year — and it’s estimated that women spend between $10,000 and $23,000 on hair removal over the course of their lifetimes. Personal care trends come and go, but this one’s been growing for the last 100 years. Let’s dive into how marketers used effective advertising to get women to change their grooming routines — and budgets — forever.

The History of Women’s Razor Marketing

1910s: Armpit Hair Is Embarrassing

With the 1901 invention of the safety razor and the U.S. Army contract to supply every soldier with a razor, Gillette was a household name at the beginning of the 20th century — but it was only being used by men. Women’s fashion was starting to transition from 19th century-era buttoned-up, conservative gowns to more relaxed sleeveless dresses for dancing and going outside.

Then, when Gillette created the first women’s razor in 1915, it took advantage of the advertising opportunity presented by more exposed skin. Below is the first ad for Gillette’s Milady Décolleté that specifically targeted underarm hair shaving in 1917:

gillette-womens-razor-1.jpg

The ad copy effectively makes women feel embarrassed and left out of the trend if they aren’t already shaving their underarms. The razor “solves an embarrassing personal problem” and is “welcomed by women everywhere. Gillette used its product to create a problem and provide the solution — a genius marketing strategy, if you ask us.

In another ad, Gillette posits its razor as serving “the modern woman” to further convince women to start using its product or be left behind. The tagline drives home the importance of buying a razor and shaving: “A Refinement which has become a Modern Necessity.” It acknowledges the novelty but emphasizes the urgent need for women to start shaving.

gillette-razor-ad-2.png

1920s: Shorter Hemlines Mean Shorter Hair

During the 1920s, flapper dresses got shorter, and women even started swimming in more revealing bathing costumes that started to show off other body parts that could be shaved. In 1922, Harper’s Bazaar ran one of the first magazine ads specifically targeting underarm hair:

1922harpersad.png

Magazines were consumed during this era for fashion advice, household tips, and women’s advice, so a spread like this signaled to readers the continued importance of underarm hair removal.

During this period, magazines also started targeting leg hair removal. In Christine Hope’s paper, “Caucasian Female Body Hair and American Culture,” Hope surveyed older editions of Harper’s Bazaar and found that 66% of ads mentioned leg hair removal and that most ads ran seasonally during summer months when women exposed more skin.

1940s: No Nylons, No Problem

By the time the 1940s rolled around, leg hair removal had become more ubiquitous. All hair removal ads in Harper’s Bazaar mentioned leg hair, and 56% of ads were specifically about leg hair removal.

Then, during World War II, there was a shortage of nylon used to make stockings, which drove more women to shave their legs and use depilatories so they could go bare-legged. Remington started selling the first electric women’s razor, which was presented as a faster alternative to manual shaving and keeping legs bare.

1950s: Hairlessness Is Classy and Feminine

Once leg and underarm shaving was more widely accepted, advertisers started using language and imagery to conflate shaving and hairlessness with femininity and classiness. In the ad below, the “Debutante” makes the razor an aspirational, ladylike product women feel like they have to buy.

debutante-razor-ad.jpg

1960s: Shaving Is Normal

By 1964, 98% of American women between the ages of 15 and 44 reported they removed some body hair, and advertisers were determined to make sure that number inched up to 100%. Ads featured shaming and scare tactics to get all women on board with the shaving trend.

scaredy-kit-ad.png

The ad is designed to make women feel more comfortable with shaving by advertising a starter kit, but some of the copy is a little more intimidating: “Stop shaking. Sharp blades give you the best shave.” It’s meant to challenge readers to woman up and use Gillette to shave their legs — and it worked.

1980s: Shaving Is Sexy

1980s razor advertising seemed to be focused on women shaving to make themselves hairless to be more appealing to men — just check out Gillette’s “Just Whistle” ad below.

just-whistle-ad.jpg

Subtle, huh?

1990s-2000s: Shaving Everywhere Is Normal

In the 1990s and 2000s, ads and commercials shifted to tell women about the importance of shaving to keep their entire bodies hairless — still to the appeal of men — for all of the occasions when they’re in short skirt, swimsuits, or wearing nothing at all. Razors bore new features to shave legs and bikini lines, adding to the list of body parts ads encouraged women to shave.

2010s: Shaving Needs to be Disrupted

Nowadays, razors are an expensive industry — especially for women. Women’s razors are subject to the “pink tax,” wherein women’s products are more expensive than the male versions despite identical functionalities. The disposable razor market is worth $34 billion and isn’t environmentally ideal, so other companies are trying to compete with the giants like Gillette and Schick. On-demand services, such as Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s, are advertising razors primarily to men, but the products are unisex, and the ads appeal to different motives — like price, convenience, and a better solution to traditional razor shopping.

If You Build it, They Will Shave

Razor companies used fear, shame, loneliness, and sex appeal to create a massive women’s shaving industry from scratch. And however frustrating that is for the modern buyer, women’s razors are a fascinating case of effective emotional advertising. It will be interesting to see if newer, on-demand razor companies can disrupt such an entrenched industry, and we’ll keep you posted on more fun ads from disruptors like DSC.

Can you think of other industries that were created with the help of marketing and advertising? Share with us in the comments below.

Image Credit: Razor Archive, Farmer’s Wife, Vox, Bustle

marketing-campaigns

Source: Women Shave Because of Marketers: How the Industry Created Demand for Women's Razors
blog.hubspot.com/marketing

10 Content Curation Tools Every Marketer Needs

Content_Curation_Sources-compressor.jpg

“Curation” is one of those words that’s always conveyed coolness to me. Take, for example, the job of curating art for a gallery, or curating music for a soundtrack. Cool, right? Content curation is just as much fun — and just as important.

For the uninitiated, content curation consists of finding material relevant to your audience from a variety of sources, and sharing it strategically through your communication channels. For example, writing a roundup blog post of great marketing examples would require you to curate strong samples of content relevant to what you’re writing about. And while very cool, it can be tricky. There are many, many social networks, news feeds, emails, and infographics full of such content that can demand your time and attention.

Click here to download our full collection of free templates for designing  stunning visual content including infographics and more.

That’s why the responsibility of content curation is important. Think of it as being a successful wedding DJ: Your selections can’t all be ad hoc and safe. After all, people can only hear Kool & The Gang’s “Celebration” so many times before the floor clears, and that sort of playlist isn’t personalized for your audience. But if you know your audience, you can accurately gauge the temperature of the room and have the confidence to give the people what they want.

Download our free guide here for more content marketing tips and hacks.

The same goes for content curation. Instead of just rounding up the most generally popular things on the web, pick the ones that are going to be the most relevant and interesting to your audience, and provide the context around them that makes your site a destination. Of course, we never said that was easy. Where do you find this content, anyway, especially given the information overload we opened with? Good news: We’re here to help you prioritize the resources by outlining some of our favorites below.

But First, What Makes A Successful Content Curator?

1) Content curation should be personal.

NextDraft

The beauty of news roundup NextDraft is the personal touch and context that its chief curator, Dave Pell, gives to each story. I don’t just want a bunch of browsable links — I want to know why I should read this stuff, and how it pertains to me. That personalized context creates a type of bond between curator and reader that something like simple link aggregators don’t humanize quite as much.

2) Content curation should build value.

Here’s a little secret: No matter which industry your customers are in, all of them want to stay informed, but also save time. Just like you, they have demands and can’t possibly keep up with all the latest news in their industry — but they want to. Helping to solve this problem through personalized content curation presents a huge opportunity for brands to build a relationship with their audience.

If you can deliver a curated experience that saves your customers time in getting the information they need, you’ve taken a major step on the path of building trust and loyalty.

3) Content curation should offset promotional content.

Customers can grow tired of brands ceaselessly promoting their own wares, which is why progressive brands think beyond products or features. The relationship customers have with brands today transcends the product itself — after all, that’s part of the foundation of inbound marketing. So while a product may initially attract you to a specific brand, it’s what the brand holistically offers after the purchase — like great content or remarkable service — that keeps you around.

For example, I own only one jacket from the brand Arc’teryx, and yet, I follow it on YouTube and Twitter, and receive its emails. Why? Because the company is doing more than pushing products on me. Rather, it’s also pushing content and an experience that brightens my day. Check out this film series, A Skier’s Journey, that the brand played a role in producing:

4) Content Curation Shouldn’t Take All Day

At last: We’ve arrived at our favorite tools for content curation. Thanks to a slew of websites and technologies, it’s never been easier to find the external information that will serve as a resource for your customers. But they need to be prioritized — so here’s our list, to help streamline your content curation efforts.

10 Content Curation Tools Every Marketer Needs

For Beginners

If you’re thinking, “Yeah, I occasionally share a relevant post with my customers when I find one,” congratulations — you’re curating content. Unfortunately, you’re not doing so on a sustainable scale that makes you a trusted source.

But don’t worry — there are better ways to curate content for beginners that are completely free. Here are three simple sources of information to help you start getting in the habit of curating content, without being overwhelmed by complex tools, subscription fees or convoluted dashboards.

1) Pocket

Pocket

Pocket is a great place to get into the habit of accruing content to save and share later. Instead of a laundry list of bookmarks or countless emails you’ve sent to yourself with links, it keeps all your interesting images, articles, and videos in one place for reference. You can group articles with tags, and the site’s built-in search functionality makes finding those articles easy. Plus, it integrates with over 500 other apps, like Evernote, for seamless integration.

And as a bonus, Pocket tweets out their @PocketHits for the most-saved articles on their platform — a must-follow if you’re active on Twitter. For other “read-it-later” apps like Pocket, check out Instapaper.

2) Twitter Lists

TwitterLists

Twitter can be a streaming mess if you don’t organize the accounts you follow. That’s where Twitter lists come in handy — curated groups of Twitter users that you can categorize and follow separately from the rest of your feed. Here’s one that I created, which I continually manage and update. Even better, if you create a Pocket account, you can easily save articles from Twitter directly into your account.

Click here to learn how to start your first Twitter list.

3) Newsletters

Newsletters serve as a fantastic daily reminder to get your content curation done. For example, I follow HubSpot on Twitter, but don’t always get a chance to see its tweets when I’m busy. Fortunately, HubSpot also offers an email subscription. That way, if I don’t catch something notable on social media, I’m likely to catch it on email.

Whatever industry you’re in, stay on the lookout for newsletter subscriptions. And if a good one doesn’t exist in your industry, that’s the perfect opportunity to create one. But before you start your own newsletter, learn from what other outlets are doing. Here are a few that are doing a great job in original content curation:

  • Redef: Jason Hirschhorn, one of the pioneers in social media and formerly the co-president of MySpace, has launched a site curating the best in media, sports, fashion, music and technology. Subscribe to one of Reder’s newsletters for a taste of one of the best in content curation.
  • Quartz Daily Brief: Quartz has figured out how to make a text-heavy newsletter a stalwart in the news business with its Daily Brief. The beauty of the newsletter, because it’s text-based, is the cross-platform functionality. Without heavy images, the Daily Brief loads quickly on phones, tablets, and desktops, making it easy to read on any device.
  • Internet Brunch: Digital agency Big Spaceship created Internet Brunch to help folks “find the best news, GIFs, and trends from across the Internet.” From holidays, to current events, to celebrity birthdays, this roundup is sure to cover the important stuff that helps readers stay in the loop.

For Intermediates

Here are some great sources for when you’ve got the basics covered — resources like newsletters, social media, and read-it-later apps. But you’re looking for something a little more comprehensive, and if you’re willing to pay for a subscription, these are the comprehensive, algorithmically generated digests of news, feeds, and content to check out.

4) Scoop.it

Pricing: Free – $67/month

Scoopit

I like to think of Scoop.it as a nexus of content curation and social media, with a Pinterest-like user interface. Start with a topic of interest, and Scoop.it will not only generate the most relevant articles to view and share, but also, will suggest complementary topics and other Scoop.it users to follow. The site sends a daily update of the topics you follow, too, to help you keep pace with the most relevant articles to share.

The free version allows you to monitor one topic for posting, on two social media accounts. For a more robust platform that follows multiple topics for sharing across all your social channels, you might want to look into the paid options.

5) Feedly

Pricing: Free – $18 per user, per month

Feedly

Feedly is a supercharged RSS Feed. Here, content curation takes two routes: There’s web browsing 1.0 which is essentially visiting one site at a time, copying a URL, and pasting it accordingly. Then, there’s the news aggregation route that’s powered by Feedly. By simply adding a few of your favorite sources to Feedly, you can aggregate and browse these feeds in one place from your desktop and mobile devices. You can find a visual tutorial here.

6) Storify

Free options available | Demo of paid products by request

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 11.19.52 AM.png

Storify helps makes sense of an increasingly overwhelming and noisy social web. The concept is simple: Users can search, browse or create stories from social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. From there, they can use that content to — as the name suggests — tell or follow a story.

At first glance, Storify’s comprehensive features and uses might be a bit confusing, so since it’s free to sign up for one version, it might be worthwhile to create an account and tinker around with it, to learn how it works.

7) Sniply

Pricing: $29 – $299/month

Sniply

Sniply is a conversion platform — by way of content curation. In a nutshell, it allows users to add a call-to-action to everything they share. “For example,” the site reads, “you can attach a button to the page that links to your own website, so that people can discover you while they read.”

It’s also a custom link shortener, so you can create branded links that are short enough to share on Twitter and the like. Here’s a quick video to show how it works:

For Advanced Users

Now we’re getting into some serious, enterprise-level curation software. These solutions work best for companies looking for a proven platform that’s capable of working with a team of users, editors, and content curators.

Enterprise-level curation provides users with advanced algorithms to find quantitatively relevant content for their audiences, a centralized publishing platform, and the ability to customize content, teams, and publishing channels.

8) Curata

Pricing information not available | Demos upon request here

Curata

The power of Curata lies in its ability to recommend and help users discover content relevant to their respective audiences, without a ton of human labor. Users can fine-tune, customize, and categorize content sources for review, and then distribute them, all from one central platform. The publishing and promotion allows you to repurpose curated content across your blog, social, newsletter, and automated marketing platforms.

9) PublishThis

Pricing information not available | Demo available by request

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 11.45.45 AM.png

Like Curata, PublishThis promotes the reliability of its algorithm to source relevant content for your audience–saving the time and headache that go with daily curation. It’s largely powered by what it calls Big Content, which is illustrated in this image below:  

big-content.png

In addition to customizing curated content to specific audiences, PublishThis also helps users manage and distribute original content, as well as adding conversions. As noted above, pricing information isn’t made publicly available, but a demo can be requested here.

10) TrapIt

Pricing information not available | Demo available by request

Trapit

Trapit may have once been designed purely for content creation, but now, its capabilities have expanded into employee advocacy — tools that help employees “follow best practices” on social media, as well as helping internal leaders become established thought leaders — and social selling.

Of course, the content element still remains. Some of the major pillars of Trapit’s platform include the ability to discover, organize, personalize, and distribute content. That’s where the social selling comes in — it helps users prospect, network, and build relationships by sharing the information that’s going to be most relevant to their targeted audiences.

Which Tool Is Right For You?

Before you select the best tools for your business, it’s important to understand the role content curation will play in your marketing operations and the size of your team. If you’re a one-person marketing department, for example, the beginner and intermediate options should suffice for your needs. As your business and team grow, content curation may play a larger role and require more powerful software.

At that point, some of the advanced tools will help save time curating and getting everyone on the same page. Regardless of your team or business size, content curation should become a part of your content marketing strategy. Great curators build trust with their audiences and become an indispensable resource as they help to sift through online information to distribute what’s worth reading.

What curation tools have you found most helpful? Let us know in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Free Download Content Creation Templates

Source: 10 Content Curation Tools Every Marketer Needs
blog.hubspot.com/marketing

A Brief History of Content Marketing, Back to the Future Edition [Infographic]

BackToTheFutureContentHistory-compressor.jpg

If you ask us, there are three things that we marketing nerds might love more than anything else: History, visual content, and the 1985 film Back to the Future.

So when it came to our attention that our friends at Uberflip combined all three of them, we were thrilled, to say the least. An infographic that uses our most beloved 1980s movie characters to explain the history of content? Be still, our beating hearts.

In all seriousness, have you ever thought about where this whole idea of content marketing really began? Perhaps you’ve wondered what its earliest forms looked like, before there was social media, blogs, or even — gasp! — the internet. After all, it’s the very thing that, for many of us, can make or break an online presence. So who do we have to thank for it?

This fun infographic has the answer, pointing out some of the most important landmarks and developments in content marketing’s history along the way. Let’s hop back in time, and figure how we got to the present — something that was once a rather futuristic vision.



history-content-marketing-2017.jpg


free do-it-yourself-design guide and resources

Source: A Brief History of Content Marketing, Back to the Future Edition [Infographic]
blog.hubspot.com/marketing

5 Examples of Creative Shoppable Content from Brands

Remember the good old days of catalog shopping? A simpler time when you could flip through pages of a glossy magazine, ogling at advertisements that captured your attention, drew you in, and immediately transformed you into an interested customer.

A lot has changed for brands since those nostalgic times. Thanks to social media and content inundation, brands are having difficulty bridging the gap between browsing and buying. How can you turn engagement into actual conversions?

Have you ever browsed a blog, social media feed, or other digital publication and instantly discovered a product you love? Did you spend the time scanning the website or search engines trying to find it? Probably not.

Retailers have often relied on visual content to capture the attention of consumers. However, the abundance of branded content has made it increasingly difficult to encourage actual purchasing — making the pathway to conversion more crucial than ever.  

What Is Shoppable Content?

Shoppable content is a form of visual commerce in which marketers use compelling imagery (often formulated in a storytelling format) with actionable purchase points or product recommendations, streamlining the conversion path from browsing to purchase.

Interactive and shoppable content are now necessary assets for digital retailers. Convenience and a subpar return policy are no longer enough to capture new audiences and encourage customer loyalty. In fact, according to a recent shoppable content report, 33 percent of retailers stated that the improvement of customer’s digital experience was a top three priority in 2017.

ECommerce brands championing this new form of social and content marketing are breaking down the traditional constructs of digital shopping. Their websites and marketing channels have transformed into experiences that are an inventive step beyond the dull and dated eCommerce environment.

If you’re one of the 33% looking to improve customer experiences this year, take a look at the brands doing it best.

5 Examples of Creative Shoppable Content 

1) Visual Storytelling with Scotch & Soda

Traditionally, lookbooks were an industry insider tool. They were used to attract coverage from press and to showcase new products to potential retail buyers.

Over the years, lookbooks have transformed into public-facing marketing assets used to convey the inspiration of a collection, and to breathe life into the products being sold.

Dutch clothing retailer Scotch & Soda fully captures the creative inspiration behind the Spring/Summer 2017 collection in their latest shoppable lookbook experience. The exotic scenery conveys the story behind the product. A story of creative discovery found in nature — specifically the rainforest.

Someone who browses a lookbook will spend around twice as much as the average app shopper, and also browse twice as long. The interactive design elements provide an engaging experience that drives sales and increases time on site — while the content communicates authenticity and the brand’s identity.

2) All Saints User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) is arguably the content marketing trend of 2017. It infuses personality into products by transforming them from objects into relatable lifestyles. The use of UGC on a website or in a campaign increases conversion by 29%, making it an essential asset for sales and customer engagement.

Social media has inspired us to be fascinated with the lives of others, and UGC capitalizes on this trend. By incorporating visual content from actual customers, All Saints successfully alleviates the pressure of purchasing with an experience similar to that of scrolling through a social media feed.

The images act as a product endorsement from other satisfied customers, and the shoppable elements make it easier to discover the product information necessary to make a purchasing decision.

3) Net-a-Porter Shoppable Editorials

Fashion lovers and lifestyle brand enthusiasts have always had an immense love for magazines. Nobody knows this better than Net-a-Porter, which was established on the foundation of exceptional content.

The digital publication and luxury eCommerce retailer has continued to attract customers with insider interviews, seasonal trend reports, and style edits — similar to the content traditionally produced by lifestyle magazines.

The company’s success was built on the largest flaw of lifestyle publications: shoppability and product discovery. Print publications left readers on a wild goose chase when they discovered products in editorials. Net-a-Porter capitalized on this frustration by adding the ability to shop directly within online content.

4) Shoppable Videos from Kate Spade

Shoppable video has become a hot topic in recent years. With video marketing undeniably on the rise, allowing users to shop products directly from videos is an obvious progression to bridge the gap from viewer to customer.

However, the popularity of inserting shoppable product tags in videos highlighted a critical issue: viewers of shoppable videos weren’t completing as many purchases because checking out would interrupt the viewing experience.

Clothing and accessories label Kate Spade realized this early on. For their 2016 holiday video campaign — featuring Anna Kendrick — the label tried something new. They eliminated the friction of exiting a video when shoppable elements were clicked, trading it for a feature that compiled the list of products into a cart viewed at the end of the video.

Instead of ruining the viewing experience for interested consumers, the brand tailored their marketing efforts and technologies to their needs.

5) Shoppable Images on Crate & Barrel’s Blog

Crate & Barrel’s blog is a haven for DIY lovers and food enthusiasts. The brand regularly partners with social media influencers across many beats to amplify their reach. This strategy ensures that they consistently provide quality and authentic content their target audience will love.

Everyone knows that content is king. However, many retailers have struggled with converting blog readers into buyers. Crate & Barrel makes it easier for website visitors to purchase the items featured in posts by adding shoppable product tags into images that feature the brand’s products. Pairing shoppable content with how-to guides allows the brand to leverage moments when readers have the highest intent to purchase.

Closing the Gap Between Engagement and Purchase

Traditional content marketing efforts no longer suffice when attracting and engaging customers. Brands and retailers must lessen the friction between content and their products.

These brands have perfected the art of using shoppable content to engage new audiences, convert more customers, and increase discovery. Use these examples to guide you on your journey for the ultimate customer engagement strategy.

Would you ever consider using shoppable content on your website? Share your take in the comments.

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing

How to Use Infographics to Get Leads From Your Website

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I’m a sucker for a good infographic. Sometimes, it seems like it’s hard to come across a truly remarkable one — one that’s achieved the perfect trifecta of good design, readability, and reliable data. But when they’re well-executed, infographics work wonders, transforming complex topics and dry statistics into visually enticing content. They’re liked and shared on social media 3X more than any other type of content. And, as a result, they can be an excellent tool for driving more traffic to your website.

But here’s a fun fact: Infographics can also be a helpful device to generate more leads.

Generally, the same rules apply here as for creating any effective visual content — it serves as a conversion path as a result of shareability and informative nature. Save countless hours using these free, pre-made templates to design your  infographics.

But what are the specifics there? What are the different ways to create the infographics that are going to generate leads? We identified five of our favorite ways to go about doing that, and outlined them below.

5 Ways to Use Infographics to Get Leads From Your Website

1) Represent an offer with an infographic.

How are you generating leads today? You might be creating downloadable content that’s gated by forms, or offering a free trial. Whatever those offers might be, pick one and break down the different ways it can be promoted.

To start, make a list of the 10 most interesting things about your offer, like the problems it will solve and the most important information it contains. Think: helpful bits of trivia, the most outstanding statistics it contains, and the best solutions it offers.

For example, let’s have a look at this infographic that was created by HubSpot Marketing Blog Editor Carly Stec:



Infographic example

This particular infographic could be an excellent lead generation tool for, say, a comprehensive guide to blogging. While writer’s block is just one pain point in blogging, it’s one that many people experience. Isolating that particular challenge and fleshing it out in a well-designed, shareable image is an excellent way to tease and promote the larger piece of content.

2) Know the design resources available to you.

If you don’t have a designer at your disposal, fear not — there are plenty of design resources available, many of them free.

One of them is this package of five free infographic templates. They’re in PowerPoint, and are very easy to customize. Just input the 10 pieces of information you selected in the previous step, and tweak the graphics to fit the data. At risk of sounding like a complete nerd — this part is really fun.

Otherwise, sites like Canva and Venngage are both free and easy to use a variety of visual content, including infographics — both also offer paid upgrades if you’re looking for something a little more advanced. Here’s a silly one that HubSpot Marketing Blog Senior Staff Writer Amanda Zantal-Wiener created — about her dog, not to be used for lead generation — for free using the former:



Lead gen infographic

3) Write a blog post to showcase the infographic.

Now that you’ve created your beautiful infographic, you’ll need a place to host it — ideally, somewhere on your site where people will find it.

Your blog is one such venue, and a post is a good way to exhibit your infographic. Even better, you don’t have to write a ton of copy. The visual content should “speak for itself,” if you will, so a small paragraph above the image with introductory text should suffice.

That said, the title of this blog post should still be interesting and optimized, primarily for two reasons:

  1. You want people to find your content organically with the right search criteria.
  2. Remember, one of the best things about infographics is how much they’re shared on social media. Having a strong title to go with a shared social post can encourage people to click on it.

4) Add a call-to-action to your blog post linked to your offer.

Next, you’ll want to create a landing page for your offer — you can click here to do that in your HubSpot marketing software. That way, visitors can fill out a form in exchange for the content you’ve created, and each completed form is a new lead.

Next, create a call-to-action (CTA) to insert into the blog post that’s hosting your infographic. That should be hyperlinked to your landing page — here’s an example of what that might look like:

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Not sure how to start creating a CTA? Check out this article with steps for doing so in your HubSpot software.

5) Make it easy to share your infographic via social media.

With certain blogging platforms, like HubSpot’s Content Optimization System, social sharing buttons will be added to each of your blog posts by default. But if your blogging platform doesn’t include that feature, AddThis is a great alternative. Simply sign up for an account, configure your social sharing bar, and add a bit of code to your blog.

AddThis

You can also add “Pin It” buttons like we did above, using Pinterest’s widget builder.

Also, consider turning sections of your infographic into ready-made tweetable images, like BookBub did for their infographic, “Using Back Matter to Sell More Books“:

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But remember — shareability isn’t just about including the buttons that make it easy to post content with one click. And while that convenience is important, the content itself has to be worth sharing.

So, just to reemphasize, make sure your infographic also meets a high standard of design and helpful information. After all, 42% of B2B marketing professionals state that a lack of quality data is their biggest barrier to lead generation, so make sure the information you include is both reliable and beneficial.

Let’s Get Visual

Lead generation accounts for a big portion of many marketing budgets — in fact, 58% of marketers plan to increase theirs in the coming year.

Using infographics for this purpose is one of the most frugal ways to boost your lead generation efforts. And while creating quality visual content can take time, it can also pay off — so make sure what you’re producing is worth the investment.

How have you used infographics to generate leads? Let us know in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing

20 Creative Writing Prompts That'll Help You Beat Writer's Block [Infographic]

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I’ve written a lot of blog posts over the past few years. (Read: I’ve stared at a lot of blinking cursors on blank screens over the past few years.) And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about business blogging, it’s that getting started is often the hardest part.

When you’re tasked with writing regularly and writing well, it’s natural to feel some pressure. My advice? Rather than letting that stress overcome you, consider what you can do to regain control of your time and output.

One technique I’ve found to be incredibly helpful in these situations is the act of freewriting, or writing continuously for a set period of time without worrying about accuracy, punctuation, or usability.

Trouble is, sometimes coming up with a topic to freewrite about can also leave you feeling stuck or stumped. That’s why we put together a handy list of creative writing prompts below to help you get started.

Creative-Writing-Prompts-Infographic



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Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing

45 Engaging Examples of Interactive Storytelling in Content Marketing

As inbound marketers, content plays an important role in attracting attention to our company and building trust with our prospects. Our content can come in many different formats, and the format we choose can speak volumes about the research and ideas within.

Interactive content has become increasingly more popular as brands try to cut through the noise and keep prospects’ attention long enough to deliver a message.

So how exactly do you harness audience’s ever-decreasing attention span? By giving them an active role in their content consumption process by publishing stories with interactive elements. Such tools can increase engagement, on-site dwell time, and social share rates.

Free Download: 45 Interactive Content Examples to Inspire Your Next Content Project

HubSpot and Playbuzz joined forces to scour the web for amazing examples of interactive storytelling. Each industry poses its own obstacles and unique characteristics, but share one common denominator: Interactive content works for all topics and audiences.

Let’s take a look at a few examples from the ebook:

Interactive Content Examples from Real Brands

1) The Wall Street Journal

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Delivering a large amount of information is a challenge for content creators. This example from the Wall Street Journal does so using searchable, visual stats. The facts are arranged in a number of ways, including a recorded timeline for readers to hit “play” and simply watch.

How can you incorporate this into your content marketing? Search is an interactive action on its own and can be easily incorporated into your content. Using search provides readers with a task to keep them engaged while presenting a healthy amount of information in a positive manner. Adding search options very much depends on the content you create, but tools like FlippingBook and Viostream make even PDF and video content searchable.

2) National Geographic

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Some of the most inspiring forms of interactive content match the topics they address. This example allows readers to follow the ancient cave paintings as if they are touring a prehistoric cave, with color-coded topics to provide insights.

How can you incorporate this into your content marketing? Making history come to life can be a hard task. Don’t shy away from numbers and important facts, but don’t skimp on the imagery and engagement, either. Leave the canvas clear for creative imagery and video, while the text wraps the visuals but does not interfere.

3) Orbitz

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Whether or not your travel partner will make or break your trip is one question all backpackers ask themselves before embarking on a new adventure. Orbitz knew what was on their audience’s mind and created an online quiz that addresses this burning question — specifically for business travelers.

How can you incorporate this into your content marketing? Everyone loves interactive quizzes, but when creating one for your business, always think of what your audience would spend time in investigating. This is particularly true when you wish to exchange results for readers’ contact information.

How to Get Started with Interactive Storytelling

If you’re new to creating digital content, start small with a simple quiz or flashcards embedded in a blog post with Playbuzz. These assets perform well at the top of the funnel because they motivate the user to share and see how their peers stack up against their own experience. Experiment with new formats, topics, and which stage in the buyer’s journey your content serves.

When it’s time to build something more sophisticated, consider working with a developer to determine how to build the user experience and interactive elements you’re looking for. And remember to experiment. That means release early and often so you’re consistently collecting feedback and iterating on your interactive content.

Download the full guide here to learn from over 40 more examples of interactive storytelling, ranging in complexity and industry vertical.

What types of interactive content have you encountered around the internet? Share with us in the comments below.

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing

The Character Count Guide for Blog Posts, Videos, Tweets & More

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When it comes to writing text for your blog and social media posts, many marketers wonder, “But what’s the character limit?” It’s never a simple question — sometimes, it’s answered by parameters established by certain channels. And on other occasions, it’s more a question of what’s ideal.

For example, you probably know the character limit for a tweet is 140, but did you know that the ideal length is actually less than that? (Hold tight — we’ll explain why.) While we’ve written before about optimizing your actual content, we thought it would be helpful to gather the numbers of character limits — both enforced and ideal — for different online channels, all in one place. New Call-to-action

Below, you’ll find a more detailed guide to character limits and ideal character counts for posts on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, SnapChat, and YouTube.

The Length & Character Count for Everything on the Internet

1) Blog Posts

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Source: Medium

Quick reference:

  • Post length: 2100 words
  • Title: Under 60 characters
  • Meta Description: Under 155 characters

Post Body

When it comes to the length of blog posts, there are a few different items to consider. For example:

  • According to Medium, posts with an average read time of seven minutes captured the most attention.
  • The average reading speed of native English-speaking adults remains commonly cited as 300 words per minute, according to research conducted in 1990.
  • At that reading rate, the ideal post length is 2100 words.
  • That aligns with research previously conducted by serpIQ, which indicated that, on average, the top 10 results for most Google searches are between 2,032 and 2,416 words.

That means that this ideal word count can address goals around both readability and SEO. But that’s just the actual body of the post. Plus, when we looked at our own blog on organic traffic, we found that the sweet spot was 2,250–2,500 words.

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But that’s just the post body — let’s have a look at the other areas of text that comprise a full blog post.

Title

The length of your title depends on your goals, and where it will appear.

Let’s start with SEO. Do you want this post to rank really well in search? It turns out, that often has to do with the dimensions of each entry on a search engine results page (SERP). For Google, titles of search results are usually contained at a length of 600 pixels — which Moz measures as being able to display the first 50-60 characters of a title tag. So, if you don’t want your title to get cut off in the search results, it might be best to keep it under 60 characters. But when in doubt, you can double-check the length of your meta description and title tags with this handy tool from SEOmofo, or you can use Moz’s title tag preview tool.

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Then, there’s optimizing your title for social sharing. On Twitter, for example, consider that each tweet has a limit of 140 characters — however, if you include an image, that doesn’t count toward the limit. But consider that even the average shortened URL takes up about 23 characters — that leaves you with about 116 characters left for the title and any accompanying text.

In our own analysis at HubSpot, we found that headlines between 8–12 words in length got the most Twitter shares on average, while headlines with either 12 or 14 words got the most Facebook Likes.

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Meta Description

A meta description refers to the HTML attribute that explains the contents of a given webpage. It’s the short description you see on a SERP to “preview” what the page is about.

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Moz notes that Google seems to cut off most meta descriptions — which are sometimes called snippets — after roughly two lines of text — though there’s some conjecture that, like title tags, it’s actually based on pixel count. In any case, it amounts to about 160 characters, though this particular outlet recommends keeping it at 155.

Again, you can double-check the length of your meta description and title tags with this handy tool from SEOmofo.

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2) Facebook

Quick reference:

  • Status updates: 63,206-character maximum | Ideal length is 40 characters
  • Video: 120-minute maximum | Ideal length is two minutes

Status Updates

Facebook’s character limit on status updates is 63,206. However, that’s far from ideal, says HubSpot Social Media Marketing Manager Chelsea Hunersen. “The social gurus will throw around the number 40 characters. That data seems to be backed up by BuzzSumo’s ranking of HubSpot’s own Facebook Page.

But why 40, specifically? “Ideally,” Hunersen says, “you’ll want to use the copy in a status update to provide context for whatever you’re linking to.” That said, she notes, the copy of the status update itself isn’t as important as the copy in the meta title or meta description that gets pulled in when you insert a link into your post. That’s right — social media posts have their own meta data too.

“Often, people look at the image of the article and then directly down at the meta title and meta description for context clues,” she explains. “A lot of people don’t realize you can change those.”

Even on Facebook, it’s still best to keep your meta title to fewer than 60 characters, and to 155 for meta descriptions. There are some resources available to those familiar with coding that let you play around with social media metadata character counts, like these templates. But unless you’re a developer, we recommend keeping it short and sweet.

Video

While Facebook allows a maximum of 120 minutes for videos, we wouldn’t advise posting anything that long, unless you’re doing a special, social-media-only screening of a full-length film.

According to research conducted by Wistia, two minutes is the “sweet spot” — even a minute longer than that shows a significant drop in viewership. “Engagement is steady up to [two] minutes, meaning that a 90-second video will hold a viewer’s attention as much as a 30-second video, the research reads,” so “if you’re making short videos, you don’t need to stress about the difference of a few seconds. Just keep it under [two] minutes.”

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Source: Wistia

However, optimal length can vary depending on the topic. “If you produce something as catchy as BuzzFeed and Refinery29 are putting out there, it can be up to five minutes long,” says Hunersen.

Regardless of the length of your video, Hunersen reminds us that all Facebook videos start without sound, meaning users have to make a conscious decision to stop scrolling through their feeds and unmute the video. Facebook videos should be visually compelling from the get-to, make sense without sound, and be engaging enough to encourage the user to stop and watch.

3) Twitter

Quick reference:

  • Tweets: 140-character maximum
    • Does not include images, videos, polls, or quotes tweets
    • Ideal length is 120-130 characters
  • Hashtags: No more than two
  • Videos: Maximum length is two minutes and 20 seconds

Length of Tweets

Marketers everywhere rejoiced when Twitter finally eased up on its character count parameters, and such media as images, videos, and polls, as well as quoted tweets, ceased counting toward its 140-character limit.

Still, the “Quote Tweet” feature remains available, providing even greater character-saving measures. That happens when you press the rotating arrow icon to retweet a post, and then add a comment in the text box provided. You’ve still got 140 characters all to yourself to comment.

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Ideal Length Overall

Like so much of what we’ve covered, it seems that when it comes to the overall length of a tweet, aim for short and sweet. (See what we did there?) That’s resonated in research conducted by social media scientist Dan Zarrella, who found that tweets with 120-130 characters showed the highest click-through rate (CTR):

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Source: Buffer

The same goes for hashtags. While they can technically be any length up to 140 characters, remember that people will want to accompany the hashtag with other copy. Short hashtags are always better. Ideally, your hashtags should be under 11 characters — shorter if you can.

Also, in a single tweet, stick to one or two hashtags, and definitely don’t go over three. Buddy Media found that all tweets with hashtags get double the engagement metrics than tweets without any. But tweets that kept the hashtags to a minimum — one or two — have a 21% higher engagement than tweets with three or more.

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Source: Buffer

Videos

You can post a video on Twitter by importing a video or recording it using the Twitter app. In any case, the maximum video length is two minutes and 20 seconds.

4) LinkedIn

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Profiles

Here’s a handy list of some of LinkedIn’s most important profile character maximums, according to Andy Foote:

  • Professional headline: 120
  • Summary: 2,000
  • Position title: 100
  • Position description: 2,000 (200 character minimum)
  • Status Update: 600 characters — however, Foote also notes that, “if you select to also post on Twitter from LinkedIn, only the first 140 characters will show on your Twitter post.”

Original Content

With LinkedIn’s publishing platform, users can now compose and share original written content with their networks, or publicly. Of course, that comes with its own character counts, according to Foote:

  • Post headline: 100
  • Post body: 40,000

5) Instagram

Quick reference:

  • Bio: 150-character maximum
  • Hashtags: Maximum of 30
  • Captions: Ideal length is under 125 characters

Since Instagram is, first and foremost, a platform for sharing photos and videos, the primary focus is typically your visual content. However, it’s always helpful to provide some context, and let users know what they’re looking at.

Given that, here are some helpful character counts for the text you include with your visual content:

Captions

While Instagram doesn’t seem to specify a maximum total number of caption characters, it does note that, within users’ feeds, the caption is cut off after the first three lines. For that reason, it’s advised to limit captions to 125 characters. However, don’t leave out important information just for the sake of keeping your entire caption visible. Instead, frontload it with crucial details and calls-to-action, leaving any hashtags, @mentions, or extraneous information for the end.

As for Instagram Stories, there doesn’t seem to be a ton of detail on character limits there, either. However, because the text overlays the visual content — which is the focus — don’t obscure too much of the photo or video with a caption.

6) Snapchat

Quick reference:

  • Character limit: 80 per post

Speaking of not obscuring visual content — that brings us to Snapchat.

Instagram Stories was, many believe, an effort to emulate the features of Snapchat, to create an opportunity for users to share quickly-disappearing photos and videos. And again, because the focus here is on the visual, you’ll want to prevent distracting viewers from it with too much text.

According to Teen Vogue, Snapchat’s character limit is 80 per post, which is more than double its previous 31-character limit. And, if you’re looking for more guidance, just look to this particular app’s name, and remember the “snap” element of it — a word that implies brevity — and try not to ramble. Here’s a great example of how SXSW uses its captions efficiently:

7) YouTube

Here we have yet another network that’s focused on visual content, leading some to incorrectly assume that accompanying text — like titles and descriptions — don’t matter as much.

That’s not entirely false — as a video-hosting platform, YouTube should primarily be used to showcase a brand’s quality videos. However, like any other visual content, it needs context. People need to know what they’re watching, who it’s from, and why it matters.

Unfortunately, YouTube doesn’t appear to provide any specific parameters over its character counts — except for your channel description, which according to the official help site is limited to 1,000 characters. But other than that, it seems that the only guideline available is the alert display that lets you know, “Your [title or description] is too long,” if you’ve entered too much text in either of those fields.

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In this case, we would advise taking the same approach as adding text to support your visuals on Instagram and Snapchat. Like the former, a video’s description is cut off after the first line or two, so frontload the most important descriptors and CTAs, leaving extra details for the end.

Show Your Character

As you set out to determine the length of your text, regardless of the platform, remember to do so with the user in mind. Many of these channel-mandated character limits are established for that reason — to keep audiences from getting bored or overwhelmed.

Like anything else in marketing, however, it’s never an exact science, despite the best data. We encourage you to follow these guidelines, but don’t be afraid to experiment if they don’t always work. Test different amounts of text within your various channels, and keep track of how each post performs. From there, you can make decisions about which types of content, as well as its accompanying titles and descriptions, are the most well-received from your audience.

How do you approach text with different online channels? Let us know in the comments.

This post was originally published in January 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing

Where We Are: The 2017 State of Content Marketing [Infographic]

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“Less than 10% of those surveyed were definitely sure how to implement content marketing.”

Sound familiar?

If it does, you’re clearly not alone. Content marketing — and keeping up with it — can be confusing, even to those who understand its importance. Many of us have heard the phrase “content is king.” But what, exactly, does that look like here and now, in such a rapidly changing landscape? Download our full collection of free content marketing templates here. 

We grabbed that opening statistic from the helpful, intriguing infographic below, compiled by Zazzle, based on the results of its 2017 State of Content Marketing Survey of marketers in the UK. But instead of simply looking at the latest trends, it sought to examine the pain points and decision-making process of today’s content marketer. And if you’re in the business of making life easier for that audience — well, we suggest having a look.

Do you think the same trends hold true in your neck of the woods? Read on, and see where your current strategy and priorities align with the data illustrated here.



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Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing