15 Strategies To Get YouTube Subscribers

In the SaaS industry, the most successful companies prioritize the retention of their existing customers over the acquisition of new customers. Why? Because SaaS companies charge a monthly subscription, so in order to turn a profit, they need their customers paying them for many months in a row. If they can’t retain their customers for X amount of months, they’ll ultimately lose money by acquiring them.

In content marketing, the same principle applies. Retaining your audience’s attention positively impacts your brand a lot more than merely acquiring attention.

When an audience engages with your content for long periods of time on a consistent basis, they can easily turn into a loyal tribe that’s passionate about your work and recommends your brand to all their friends. In other words, staying laser-focused on retaining attention is actually the best strategy for acquiring new attention because your current customers are providing so much word-of-mouth marketing — it’s like a flywheel.

On YouTube, you retain attention by attracting subscribers to your channel. Subscribers are your most loyal fans and made a public commitment to your brand, content, and values. They’re also most likely to be fervent brand evangelists.

In regard to benefiting your YouTube channel, subscribers are crucial because YouTube will send them notifications about your new videos and feature your videos on their homepage. This means they’ll see your videos more frequently, which will help you generate more engagement.

Subscribers also watch twice as much video as non-subscribers, so the more subscribers you have, the more watch time your videos will accumulate, and the more likely YouTube will rank them higher on search and feature them in the related section.

Additionally, YouTube keeps track of the number of viewers who subscribe to your channel right after watching one of your videos. So if one of your videos generates a lot of new subscribers, they’ll reward it with higher rankings and more features in the related section.

To help you grow your YouTube subscription, we’ve fleshed out these strategies that will help you retain attention on the video platform — and not just acquire it.

1. Craft amazing content.

Today, we work in an industry where a lot of people prioritize gaming the system over crafting the best content possible. Fortunately, in regard to their algorithm, YouTube has caught on to this hollow tactic. Their algorithm rewards engagement instead of using only vanity metrics like views and clicks, so creators are incentivized to produce videos that their audience actually enjoys watching.

To craft the most engaging videos for your YouTube channel, consider measuring your videos’ performance against engagement metrics, like watch time, average watch percentage, average view duration, audience retention, and average session duration. Then, analyze this data to figure out which topics and videos generate the most engagement. Once you pinpoint these videos, you can solely focus on creating the content that viewers are most likely to engage with, helping you rake in more subscribers.

2. Use playlists to increase engagement.

Placing your videos in playlists is an extremely effective way to organize your videos in a digestible fashion. They help your viewers easily consume videos about their favorite topics and prompts them to keep watching your content.

One way to get your viewers to watch the majority of your playlists is by starting your playlists with the videos that have the highest audience retention rate and ending them with the videos that have the lowest audience retention rate.

Even better, you could create a binge-able series or show and place entire seasons of it in a playlist. And just like your favorite Netflix show, your playlists can entice your viewers to watch entire seasons of your series, subscribe to your channel, and get excited for your show’s next season.

3. Add a subscription CTA to the end of your videos.

It seems obvious, but adding a subscription CTA to the end of your videos is one of the best ways to generate more YouTube subscribers. After your viewers watch your entire video, they’ll determine if they want to keep watching more of your videos, so to maximize your subscriber growth using CTAs, consider keeping them at the end.

Additionally, if you want more subscribers, just ask. At the end of your video when you include a CTA, ask your viewers to subscribe. This reminds them that you have more exciting content they’ll want to watch.

4. Optimize your videos.

To attract subscribers to your YouTube channel, you first need to be able to get found on YouTube. To start ranking, consider optimizing your videos and channel for popular search queries by placing relevant keywords in your videos’ titles, tags, descriptions, SRT files (which are transcriptions), video files, and thumbnail files.

You should also check out the most popular queries guiding viewers to your videos, which you can find on YouTube’s Search Report. If these queries are slightly different than your video’s topic, consider updating your video to fill these content gaps and adding these keywords to your metadata. If there’s a stark difference between your topics and the queries guiding viewers to your videos, consider making brand new videos about these popular queries.

5. Create beautiful thumbnails.

Another factor that can affect your search ranking on YouTube, and in turn, your subscriber growth are your videos’ thumbnails. Since a video’s click-through rate is one of the most important ranking factors in YouTube’s search algorithm, especially during its first hour on the platform, an eye-catching thumbnail can make a huge difference in ranking number one for a query and not ranking at all.

If your video has an ordinary or sub-par thumbnail, though, it won’t persuade anyone to click through, prompting YouTube to deem the video irrelevant and decide not to rank it in their search results or distribute it through the “Recommended Videos” feed.

To create a striking thumbnail, consider including a talking head. People are naturally drawn to human faces because it’s an ingrained survival mechanism to help us quickly gauge someone’s emotions and determine if they’re a friend or foe. Also, consider contrasting the colors of your thumbnail’s foreground and background to really make it pop.

6. Interact with your audience.

One of the main best practices to retain and acquire new YouTube subscribers is to interact with your audience. You should reply to every comment if you can, even if it’s just liking it. When a viewer watches your videos and scrolls to see your content, they’ll be excited to see that you engage with your audience and have created a community. In fact, it might make them want to join your community and get them to subscribe.

Interacting with your audience will also generate word of mouth and engagement. The more that your audience engages with you, the higher you’ll rank, and the more people will find your content.

7. Promote your videos in your other content.

Whether you have a blog or other social media platforms, it’s important to promote your YouTube videos in your other content. When you post a video, you should also promote it on social media to get your audience to watch it.

Additionally, if you have a blog, you can embed your YouTube videos as complementary content. This will help you increase your views, and tap into the audience you’ve already created. If someone follows you on Instagram, or reads your blog, they’re probably interested in what you have to say. Don’t be afraid to cross-promote on other channels to get more subscribers.

8. Release videos consistently.

One important factor in getting YouTube subscribers that isn’t discussed as much in the influencer industry is trust. When you’re creating content, your audience needs to trust you. They have to trust that you’re going to release quality content, consistently. Otherwise, why would they subscribe?

To build this trust, it’s important that your audience can rely on you. You should release your videos on a consistent basis. This doesn’t mean you need to value quantity over quality. Whatever your publishing schedule is doesn’t matter as much as being consistent with it. Whether you post once a week or twice a month.

9. Be creative.

As we mentioned above, when you’re creating YouTube videos, it’s important to optimize your content and keep in mind what your audience is searching for. However, that doesn’t mean all your videos need to be tied to a keyword.

Sometimes it’s okay to stray and just produce creative content that’s not necessarily supported by keywords. This content can be trendy, or rely on thought leaders. Regardless, don’t be afraid to use content that strays from the organic search strategy. This will help create buzz and hopefully convert viewers into subscribers.

10. Partner with other channels.

When the influencer industry began, brands recognized that they could leverage other people’s audience to market or promote their products. The same principles apply in YouTube. If you partner with other YouTube creators, you can use each other’s audience to promote your channel.

If you do this, make sure you choose channels that align with your audience’s interests, wants, and needs. It might not make sense, for instance, for a B2B company to parter with a B2C company. Your audiences should be similar enough that someone who subscribes to their channel might also be interested in your channel.

11. Make an engaging channel trailer.

After watching an engaging or interesting YouTube video, a viewer might click on your profile to see what your channel is about. In this short time period, you need to close the sale. One of the first things viewers see when they click on a channel is the trailer video. That’s why it’s important to create an engaging, fun channel trailer.

With this trailer, you can get a viewer to go from a casual viewer to a subscriber. In your trailer video, make sure you give your elevator pitch. Why should someone subscribe to your channel? What kind of content will they see?

12. Run YouTube advertising campaigns.

An oldie but a goodie. To promote your YouTube channel, run paid advertising campaigns. You can run banner or display ads promoting your channel across platforms. This will help you get the word out about your channel, get more views, rank higher, and hopefully get a few subscribers as well.

13. Produce subscriber only content.

You know how marketers create lead magnets to entice readers or viewers to download a piece of content? To get more YouTube subscribers, apply the same principle here. You can create specific lead magnetics to get people to subscribe.

For instance, perhaps every subscriber gets a free ebook. Or maybe it’s a template. Whatever it is, think of what will be helpful to your audience and might get them to subscribe to get it.

14. Pick a niche.

As with all content you produce, your YouTube videos should be highly targeted toward your audience. Pick a niche and a theme, and stick with it. While you might have a broad theme, you can create smaller subtopics and create several videos for those topics. Think of it like the pillar/cluster model for blog writing. While your blog will focus on one niche, like marketing, there are several pillar topics that you cover and cluster topics as well.

Using this model will help you create valuable content consistently. It’ll be easier to come up with targeted, personalized video ideas for your audience if you know what they want to see.

15. Know your audience.

Again, this is a classic marketing tip. On any channel you’re creating content on, you need to know your audience. For YouTube, think about whether your audience wants to watch long or short videos. This might vary by industry, so do some research to see what type of YouTube videos and what format your audience is looking for.

How to See Your Subscribers on YouTube

To see your YouTube subscribers, all you need to do is log on to your account, click your profile photo in the top right, and click “Your Channel.” From there, you should be able to see how many subscribers you have underneath your channel name.

It’s important to continue tracking this number as you’re trying to grow your YouTube channel. Now, let’s get into the discussion about buying YouTube subscribers and why you should never do it.

Buying YouTube Subscribers

First and foremost, let’s start with the fact that you should never buy YouTube subscribers. To start, it’s against the Terms of Service with YouTube, so your account will likely be suspended or terminated if you’re caught.

Second, buying YouTube subscribers will ultimately end up hurting your channel regardless of if you’re caught or not. Bought subscribers aren’t going to engage with your content, and after maybe one video, they won’t watch it either. Having a million subscribers doesn’t matter if only 50 people are actually watching the videos and engaging with your content. Those types of numbers are major red flags both for YouTube, but also for your average viewer.

Similar to the best SaaS companies, the top YouTube channels focus on building a subscriber base that can’t get enough of their videos and watches them on a consistent basis. Retaining attention has always been imperative to successful content marketing. Now, it’s time we actually prioritize it over acquiring as many darting eyeballs as possible.

New call-to-action

How to Create a Sensible Social Media Strategy for Your Business

Many businesses find social media overwhelming — there are so many networks available, and they’re always adding new features for you to learn and integrate into your plan.

If you don’t have a full-time team of social media experts at your disposal, your success depends on creating a simple and sensible strategy that fits your resources and goals.

By the end of this guide, you’ll know how to develop a social media strategy that’ll not only drive traffic but will also quell that overwhelming feeling you get anytime you open Instagram or Twitter.

Download Now: Social Media Trends in 2021 [Free Report]

What is a social media strategy?

Your social media strategy is your master plan for how you create, post, and engage with your social media content.

It encompasses your social content guidelines, posting cadence, social media marketing campaigns, creative plans, and engagement strategy.

Why You Need a Social Media Strategy

The top three challenges that social media marketers face include reaching their audience, measuring ROI, and reaching business goals.

Crafting a social media strategy can help tackle these challenges and more. Social media strategies also equip you to set goals and guardrails, track their performance, and tweak your benchmarks over time. Without a starting point, you can’t measure what’s working and how to shift your activity to hit your goals.

A social media strategy also helps you set expectations for broader team involvement and get everyone aligned on what they should (and shouldn’t) do on your social networks.

Let’s unpack how to start building a social media strategy from scratch.

1. Define your target audience.

If you haven’t already identified and documented your buyer personas, start by defining the key demographics of the audience you’re trying to reach — age, gender, occupation, income, hobbies and interests, etc.

Consider their challenges and what problems they’re solving daily. Focus on no more than four types of people that represent the majority of your buyers. Don’t get hung up on the exceptions or outliers, or you’ll never get started!

2. Start blogging.

Fresh content is the linchpin of a successful social strategy, so commit to creating new, quality content on a consistent basis. Compile a list of common questions from prospects and commit to addressing these questions with at least one new blog post per week.

3. Create educational content.

Create downloadable content like ebooks, checklists, videos, and infographics that address your buyer’s pains. If your content is truly helpful, people will likely share it on social media and extend your reach.

4. Focus on a few key social channels.

Most startups and small businesses don’t have the bandwidth to establish and sustain a quality social media presence on every single channel. It’s also overwhelming to learn the rules of engagement on a bunch of different networks at one time.

Here’s a video by HubSpot Academy explaining the social channels on which you can post content for your business.

So, start small. Research key networks to learn where your target audience is spending time and focus your effort on building, nurturing, and sustaining a community there before moving on to another channel.

5. Develop a recipe card to guide you.

Social media isn’t an exact science (and doesn’t work the same for every business or industry). To see results for your business, establish a consistent posting and engagement schedule.

Develop a reasonable recipe card — one you can actually stick to and get your team to follow. Set goals for your posting and engagement frequency and hold yourself accountable to following your recipe.

Manage and plan your social media content with our free handy calendar guide and template.

6. Measure your results.

There are countless things to track on your social media channels. Start by looking at how much traffic your social accounts are driving to your website or blog.

Watch your posts to see what people are responding to, and look for trends related to particular topics or keywords that generate more interest than others. Once you get an idea of your average traffic and post performance, set goals for key metrics and keep a scorecard to measure your progress.

Be sure to choose metrics that are easy to gather – if it’s too time-consuming to track, you’ll fall off the wagon! Examples of simple metrics (to start with) include net new fans and followers, number of interactions, and visits to your website from social.

7. Adjust your tactics.

Social media won’t start working overnight. It takes time to build a following, establish your brand, and start seeing results. Experiment a bit to find the right combination of channels, content, and messaging that works for your audience.

Over time, you’ll be able to adjust your recipe card, content, and personas based on the information you’re gathering — which will help you fine tune your strategy and generate more consistent results.

Social Media Marketing Strategy

Social media is a multipurpose business asset. It connects you with your audience, and it also promotes your products, services, and brand. Both functions are equally important.

Building a social media strategy for marketing is a bit different than the process we discussed above. How so? For example, your benchmarks and goals may be more specific to metrics you track for other marketing efforts.

When using social media to market your business, ensure the experience on your social networks is a positive, consistent one. All imagery and content on your social media accounts should be consistent with those on your website, blog, and other digital real estate.

Pay close attention to any questions or comments your audience posts, and be quick to address those (as that engagement could make or break a conversion or purchase).

Take a look at these social media marketing examples of what to stop, start, and keep doing in 2021.

Lastly, align the content you post and how you post it with marketing campaigns you’re running on other channels (e.g., email or ads). This brings us to our next section …

Social Media Content Strategy

Content is the crux of any social media strategy. Without content, you can’t engage with your audience, promote your products, or measure performance.

The somewhat fleeting (and brief) nature of social media may lead you to believe that you don’t have to plan its content as much as you do for, say, your emails or blogs. That’s untrue. Social media content may not be as static as your landing pages or blog content, but it’s still equally important for engaging your audience and representing your brand as a whole.

For that reason, you should also have a social media content strategy. This should include:

  • Posting guidelines and specs for each network on which you’re active (e.g., share GIFs on Twitter but avoid on Facebook)
  • Target audience nuances per network (e.g., the younger segment of your audience is more active on Instagram than LinkedIn)
  • Repurposing plans for long-form content from your blog, podcast, e-books, etc.
  • Who on your team is allowed to post and who’s responsible for engaging followers
  • The companies, publications, and individuals you’ll repost (and those who you won’t/can’t)

For more on creating a content strategy for social media, here’s a helpful video by HubSpot’s Aja Frost.

Social Media Strategy Templates

Social media is overwhelming; I get it. Starting your strategy from scratch is even more overwhelming, which is why we developed 10 free social media templates to help.

In the free download, you’ll receive:

  • Scheduling templates for every channel, since social media channels aren’t one-size-fits-all
  • Complete calendar of hashtag holidays, so you never forget to participate with new, fun content
  • Social auditing template to track your followers, engagement rates, and more
  • A social media content calendar to organize campaigns across every channel
  • A social reporting template to track your monthly social successes
  • A paid social template to help you manage and optimize your paid budget

Download our free social media template bundle to manage, optimize, and create more social content without sacrificing quality.

Time to Get Social

Still feel like social media is overwhelming? That’s OK; I’m not sure that feeling every fully fades. You can certainly diminish it, though, by leveraging the tips in this guide and the free templates above. Remember: Tackle one social network at a time, prioritize your audience, and focus the content that works. You’ll see results and traffic in no time.

New call-to-action

The 20 Best Video Editing Apps for 2021

Using a video editing app is critical for creating a winning video marketing strategy. 

And if you’re reading this blog post, chances are you already know you should incorporate more video content into your marketing, especially after the rise of remote living. 

But like most new strategies, you’ll need to prove its ROI before you get budget. And that can be tricky, because to make a great video, you need a few things — like a camera and editing software.

You might already have a high-quality camera built into your smartphone, but editing your raw footage and preparing it for publication requires a third-party mobile app. You might even need to hop on the computer for the more extensive post-production projects.
→ Access Now: Video Marketing Starter Pack [Free Kit]

There’s a good chance you already have video editing software installed on your computer. For Windows, that’s Movie Maker, and for Macs, it’s iMovie. But depending on the purpose your video is serving — and the content channel to which you’re distributing it — you may find that these options aren’t packed with enough features.

The good news: There are several free and inexpensive video editing apps you can download that run the gamut from super simple to Hollywood-level powerful.

Editing Apps for Videos: Standard Features

Every editing app will be different, but there are a few features you’ll want to look for. Because most apps will have a free and paid version, it’s important to know what’s essential and what might be worth an upgrade. 

Make sure that you can do the following without paying for a premium version: 

  • Either import videos and photos from your camera, or film them from the app itself. 
  • Scrub through the video as you edit it. 
  • Add music to the video. 
  • Choose an aspect ratio that fits with your target platform (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, and so on). 
  • Export video with at least 480p quality. 
  • Either save the video to your camera roll or to the app’s cloud service. 
  • Add text and common shapes at the minimum. 
  • Speed up or slow down the video by 1-2X. 

Premium features that you might run into include: 

  • Stickers, filters, gifs, and unique fonts 
  • Professional transitions between shots
  • Premium music choices and quality stock footage
  • High-definition exports (720p, 1080p, or 4K)
  • Layering, masks, and green-screen detection technologies
  • Multi-track editing and timelines
  • Extreme speeding up and extreme slowing down of the footage (>4X) 
  • No branded watermark

The following solutions can help you make video magic — whether your video is meant for Instagram, YouTube, or a similar channel where you audience is hungry for content. Click one of the links below to jump to a specific type of app, or keep reading to learn about them all.

Video-Marketing-Starter-Pack-Interactive-Banner.png

Instagram Video Editing Apps

The following apps allow you to edit and quickly upload beautiful videos to Instagram. None of these apps are limited to Instagram, but are known for their support of this social network.

1. Magisto

Price: Starts at free | Platforms: iOS, Android, Online

Magisto video editing app for InstagramImage Source

Video automation is here — in the form of the Magisto video editor.

Owned by Vimeo, Magisto allows you to make incredible videos without ever leaving your smartphone in three easy steps: First, you’ll choose your video editing style (the type of story you’re telling), then you’ll choose the photos and video clips you’d like included, and lastly you’ll pick your music from Magisto’s built-in music library.

Using artificial intelligence (AI), this intuitive app helps organize your footage in a video that best delivers the message you have in mind. Why not stop at the free version? Upgrade to Premium or Professional for a small monthly fee and make longer movies with more of your own content.

Pros 

  • Easy-to-use templates for hassle-free creation
  • Intuitive, beginner-friendly interface
  • Online version available for creating both on Windows and macOS laptops 
  • Professional and Business plans come with a free Vimeo Pro subscription 

Cons 

  • The “Created with Magisto” watermark will be visible unless you upgrade to premium
  • No multi-track editing or 4K exporting
  • Ideal for very short social media videos (< 3 minutes long) 
  • Stock videos are only accessible with a Professional plan

2. Hyperlapse

Price:Free | Platforms: iOS

Hyperlapse is an app created by Instagram itself that condenses videos into brief, hyper-speed videos that you can upload to Instagram or Facebook.

You can choose among a few different speeds, and the app will show you how long the hyperlapsed video will be for every speed in comparison to the length of the video in real time. (So a 40-second video in real time will become roughly a 7-second video in Hyperlapse at 6X speed.) It’s a really cool way to capture something that usually lasts a while — like a sunset or an event setup.

See what happened when I used Hyperlapse to film daybreak at 12X in the video above.

Pros 

  • Easy way to speed up process videos 
  • Minimal layout that’s nearly identical to the iPhone camera  
  • You can capture videos straight from the app 
  • No sign-in required to get started 

Cons 

  • Only has one capability: speeding up videos 
  • You can’t import already-filmed videos into the app
  • The video saves into your camera roll, taking up storage space 
  • No multi-track editing, 4K exporting, or other features typically associated with apps for video editing 

3. Wondershare Filmora

Price: Starts at free on mobile | Platforms: iOS, Android, macOS, Windows

Wondershare Filmora video editing applicationImage Source

Wondershare Filmora (formerly Wondershare Video Editor) is the perfect option if you want to start out with basic video editing functionality with the opportunity to get more advanced as you go. The app is perfect for Instagram, but can create audience-ready videos for numerous platforms.

Filmora is available for Windows and Mac computers, whereas the company’s FilmoraGo mobile app is free to download for both iOS and Android devices.

Filmora’s “Easy Mode” strips away the complexity so you can drag and drop video clips, add some music, and produce a finished video in a matter of minutes. The FilmoraGo app has many of these features, plus an Effect Store where you can incorporate preset intros, themes, and transitions into your video creation.

Sound too good to be true? Well, you’re right: The free version of Wondershare Filmora adds a watermark to your videos that you can only remove through upgrading to their paid service.

Pros 

  • A powerful option for both beginner and advanced video editors 
  • The desktop version offers multi-track editing and more traditional video editing capabilities
  • The mobile version includes easy-to-use effects, stickers, and filters 
  • You can layer music and different sounds in the mobile app 
  • Relatively affordable (starting at less than $50 per year for Filmora X, and free for the mobile app) compared to competitors such as Adobe

Cons 

  • The desktop apps are not free, but a trial is available 
  • Videos are watermarked with the Wondershare branding unless you upgrade to a premium plan 

4. InShot

Price: Starts at free | Platforms: iOS, Android

There are the times when you just want to edit a video — no fancy collages and no splicing. For that, there’s InShot, a handy app that lets you trim, speed up, or add music and filters to video. It’s pretty fundamental, but with that comes a high ease of use. You can also add a background, if you like, though we think it’s pretty cool to have an overlap of images, like we did with the video above.

I took a simple video of a tranquil beach scene, but enhanced it with InShot’s “warm filter” and added a fitting musical track to it — a song called “Pikake Stream,” by Kalani. (I recommend viewing the video in its entirety with headphones, especially if you’re having a stressful day.)

Pros 

  • Great app for beginners and marketers who don’t have a lot of time for intensive video editing

  • Built-in music library with royalty-free options 

  • You have the ability to add voice-overs and your own music 

  • The app has a 4.8-star rating on the Apple Store and over 1M ratings 

Cons 

  • No desktop app available 

  • Filters and stickers are only available with a paid subscription

  • Your video will be watermarked unless you upgrade to the paid version

Top Free Video Editing Software

The following tools are most versatile mobile apps of all the free software listed in this article.

5. WeVideo

Price: Starts at free | Platforms: iOS, Android, Chrome OS

WeVideo editing app for video on Android

Image Source

Cloud-based video editing software (i.e., software that you access via a browser instead of downloading directly to your hard drive) is growing more and more popular. One of the programs leading the charge is WeVideo.

WeVideo definitely offers some advanced features and functionality, including audio editing capabilities, a library of commercially licensed music, and the ability to share videos in 4K resolution. However, the free version of WeVideo isn’t without its limitations.

One major downside is that you’re only given 10GB of cloud storage. If you’re making a one-off video, this is fine. But if you’re planning to edit multiple videos, you’ll definitely need more space. The free version also puts a WeVideo watermark on your videos, which isn’t ideal.

WeVideo is also available as a desktop computer product, and comes with free and paid plans. For a complete breakdown of the differences between these plans, check out WeVideo’s pricing page.

Pros 

  • You can access your videos from any device 
  • Paid versions are relatively cheap (starting at $4.99 for the Power version)
  • 4K exporting available

Cons 

  • Only 10GB of storage and 5 minutes of published video available on the free version
  • The maximum resolution is 480p on the free subscription
  • Your video will be watermarked with WeVideo’s branding unless you upgrade 

6. Splice

Price: Free | Platforms: iOS

Splice allows you — as the name suggests — to splice together different video clips on your phone to create a moving collage.

We had a lot of fun playing with this one, especially since Splice even contains a library of musical tracks that can be used as a background for your finished product. You can also use the app to trim and edit the different pieces of video, and customize transition lengths from one scene to the next.

My colleague, Amanda Zantal-Wiener, experimented with Splice by compiling the above 15-second video of her dog — using only an iPhone 6.

Pros 

  • Easy and intuitive to use

  • Familiar user-friendly interface

  • Multi-track and timeline editing with layers and masks

  • No sign-in required

  • No watermark, even for free subscribers 

Cons 

  • Subscription starts at $2.99/week, or $12.97/month, which is pricier than other alternatives 

  • Effects and music are only available for paid subscribers

7. Adobe Premiere Rush

Price: Free | Platforms: iOS, Android

Adobe Premiere Rush video editing app for Android and iOS

Image Source

Adobe’s popular video editor, Premiere, isn’t just available on your mobile device — it’s free.

Melissa Stoneburner of Examiner.com calls this app a “gateway” into the full Adobe Premiere Pro video editor for desktop, and we can see this for ourselves. Similar to Magisto (the first video editor on our list), Adobe Rush automatically sets your video to the music of your choice (using Premiere Rush’s library or your own), and offers a Freeform editor that allows you to customize your edits further after this initial audio sync.

Premiere Rush’s equally robust video editing features help you trim, drag, and drop multiple video and image clips — right from your mobile device’s photo and video album — in the order you’d like.

Then, just add proper lighting, manipulate the speed of the video, and share your final product directly on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Pros 

  • A natural choice for current Adobe users 

  • Familiar video editing interface for those with experience, and easier learning curve for beginners 

  • Paid version supports 4K exports 

Cons

  • Some users report exporting and crashing issues on the Android version

  • Limited storage capabilities (<100gb) for free users  

8. PicPlayPost

Price: Free | Platforms: iOS, Android

We’ve already covered the coolness of photo collages. But what if you could make a video collage? PicPlayPost is a simple app that lets you do exactly that. Just remember that the sound from both videos will play at the same time, so be sure they won’t clash with one another.

There are many uses for a video collage app, but my colleague, Lindsay Kolowich, particularly likes the way fitness professional Melissa Made uses it on her Instagram account. She posts video collages with her performing a workout on one side, while she explains the workout out loud on the other.

Pros

  • You can create alternative formats such as gifs and live photos 

  • 4K exporting available 

Cons 

  • Most valuable features are available on the paid version only

  • You can’t paste text from another app

  • Video will be watermarked with the PicPlayPost branding unless you upgrade 

Best Video Editing Apps for YouTube

Although the video editing services below do not offer mobile versions, they do offer easy-to-learn functionality at minimal cost. These apps are the best for sitting down at your computer and editing amazing video content for your YouTube channel.

9. Blender

Price: Free | Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux

Blender desktop application for editing videos

Image Source

The open source program Blender is more than just a video editor: It’s a full-blown 3D animation suite, which allows for modeling, rendering, motion tracking, and more.

On the video editing side, there are a ton of features, including transitions, speed control, filters, adjustment layers, and more. There are also 32 slots available for adding video clips, audio clips, images, and effects, which means you can produce some incredibly complex video.

For the amateur video editor, all the functionality that’s available can be a bit overwhelming. But if you’re looking to produce truly professional-quality video — without having to deal with watermarks — Blender is a solid option. The best part: “You are free to use Blender for any purpose, including commercially or for education,” according to its website. For the fine print, check out its licensing info.

Pros

  • Long history of use across multiple platforms 

  • You can also render, model, sculpt, and animate using this app 

Cons 

  • Steep learning curve for beginners 

10. Lightworks

Price: Free | Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

Lightworks video editor on Linux desktop

Image Source

Like Blender, Lightworks is definitely on the more advanced (and powerful) end of the video editing software spectrum. In fact, it’s a program that’s been used to edit some well-known and award-winning films, including Pulp Fiction, The Wolf of Wall Street, and The King’s Speech.

There are two different licenses you can choose from with Lightworks: “Free” and “Pro.” (The latter of which, as you might have guessed, requires that you cough up some cash.) The main difference between the two licenses is that the Pro version offers more features, including stereoscopic output and advanced project sharing. But the free version is still quite powerful, providing 100+ effects and supporting multicam editing.

Pros

  • Like Blender, Lightworks has a long history of use across multiple platforms 

  • You can access royalty-free videos and audio from the desktop app

  • You can export up to 4K 

  • Multi-track editing and timelines, even in the free version 

  • You can buy a lifetime license for $437.99 and never worry about renewing a subscription 

Cons 

  • Extremely steep learning curve for beginners 

  • Not many options for creating titles and subtitles 

  • Users have reported formatting issues when importing video clips 

11. Shotcut

Price: Free | Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux

Shotcut video editor in timeline view

Image Source

Shotcut is another open source video software — and it’s completely free. It’s possible to use Shotcut to create professional-looking videos, but the interface is tricky to use. Perhaps that’s because it was originally developed for the Linux platform, which looks and feels a lot different from the typical Windows or Mac UX.

With dedication — and time spent in the Shotcut frequently asked questions and how-to guide sections — it’s possible to use this software to create and export high-quality videos, completely for free.

Pros

  • Completely free—you never have to upgrade, ever  

  • Diverse list of features that rival those of paid apps 

Cons 

  • Could be difficult to get the hang of at first

  • Some users find the UI difficult to navigate

  • Less intuitive compared to other apps such as Premiere Pro and FinalCut, even for experienced editors 

12. VSDC Free Video Editor

Price: Free | Platforms: Windows Only

VSDC video editor on timeline view on a desktop

Image Source

In experienced hands, the VSDC Free Video Editor can produce some seriously professional-looking video. In addition to supporting nearly every major video format, the program offers advanced video effects, including object transformation and color correction, as well as advanced audio effects like volume correction and sound normalization. And unlike WeVideo, the VSDC Free Video Editor is truly free. You can use the program’s full feature set without having to deal with pesky watermarks.

Unfortunately, there is one catch. If you want technical support, you need to pay. (And because there is a bit of a learning curve, there’s a good chance you’ll need to.) Support for the VSDC Free Video Editor costs $9.99 for one month and $14.99 for one year.

Pros

  • Free version is packed with typically premium features such as masking, blending modes, and 4K exports  

  • You can share your video directly from the app to YouTube, Vimeo, and other platforms 

Cons 

  • You have to pay for support if you’re on the free version 

  • Not as user-friendly as other alternatives 

  • Users have reported a steep learning curve 

13. Machete Video Editor Lite

Price: Free | Platforms: Windows Only

Machete video editing software for Windows OS

Image Source

At the simple end of the spectrum is Machete Video Editor Lite, a free program allowing you to cut, copy, and paste different sections of video. As the Machete website puts it, Video Editor Lite was “designed for quick and simple ‘slicing’ of your video files.”

The program’s intuitive interface means you won’t have to waste time shuffling through technical support documents. And because Video Editor Lite doesn’t re-encode your video files when you slice them, you don’t have to worry about losing video quality.

The main downsides to the program? It only supports the AVI and WMV video formats, and it doesn’t allow for audio editing. Still, if you have zero video editing experience and only need to make simple edits, it’s a great option.

Pros

  • Offers simple but powerful slicing and editing capabilities

  • Incredibly simple and user-friendly interface; simply download and go 

Cons 

  • You can only export AVI and WMV files 

  • You can’t edit or replace the audio 

  • Outdated website with limited support documents

14. Avidemux

Price: Free | Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux

Avidemux video editing software for YouTube and animated videos

Image Source

Like Machete Video Editor Lite, Avidemux allows you to do basic video editing (no audio editing) without having to worry about loss of video quality. But Avidemux also has a few more tricks up its sleeve.

For starters, the program supports multiple video formats, including AVI, DVD, MPEG, QuickTime, and MP4. What’s more, Avidemux comes with several filters that allow you to perform a host of different functions, from flipping and rotating clips, to adding subtitles, to adjusting colors and brightness levels.

And while the learning curve for Avidemux is slightly steeper compared to Machete Video Editor Lite, the upside is that there’s an extensive Avidemux wiki that covers everything you need to know.

Pros

  • Supports multiple file formats such as AVI, MPEG, MP4, and Microsoft’s proprietary ASF 

  • Simple interface that’s best for tasks such as cutting and splicing footage

  • Easy learning curve; simply download and start using

Cons 

  • Limited capabilities compared to other apps (especially mobile apps) 

15. HitFilm

Price: Starts at free | Platforms: Windows, macOS

HitFilm video editing software in timeline view

Image Source

HitFilm Express is a free video editing and visual effects software — which means you can use it to add more than 180 special effects to your videos, including 3D editing.

Possibly the coolest HitFilm feature is its wealth of tutorial videos — users can practice applying special visual effects in movie tutorials based on Star Wars, Westworld, and more.

Of course, upgrading to HitFilm Pro grants access to more visual effects, better high resolution and 3D rendering, and better audio syncing between audio and video files. It costs $300, but if you’re not ready to fully invest, HitFilm Express users can purchase lower-cost expansions to use more tools in their software.

To see the complete list of differences between HitFilm Free and Pro, check out their “Compare Versions” page.

Pros

  • Powerful capabilities such as mask rendering, export queues, and unlimited tracks and transitions 

  • Built-in voice recorder for easy voice-overs 

  • Has been described as a mix between Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro 

Cons 

  • Steep learning curve for beginners 

  • Users have reported some crashing issues

Video Editing Apps for Android

These video editing apps are particularly appealing for Android mobile users, though some of them are compatible with more than just the Android operating system.

16. VideoShow

Price: Free | Platforms: Android, iOS

VideoShow video editing app for Android and iOS

Image Source

VideoShow allows you to edit video content in a number of creative ways beyond cutting and pasting scenes together. The award-winning app, which has more than 400 million users, allows you to include text overlays, stickers, music, filters, and sound effects to your footage. Because of these features, it lends itself to video producers who want to add a bit more creativity to a vlog series, where the video is primarily of one person speaking directly to the camera.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use yet powerful, with HD exports available for free users 

  • Expansive music library 

Cons 

  • Your video will be watermarked with VideoShow branding if you’re not on the paid version 

  • You can’t export the video without upgrading to the paid version

17. PowerDirector

Price: Free | Platforms: Android, Windows, macOS

PowerDirector app for editing videos on Android, Windows, and macOS

Image Source

This robust video editor has a suite of creative design tools just for Android and desktop users. Developed by CyberLink, the app can help you create 4K-quality videos from footage taken with numerous devices. Special features include motion tracking, which helps you focus on specific subjects in each frame; video collages, which help you piece together numerous photos into a motion video; and video stabilization, allowing you to remove moments of “shaky camera” in your footage. PowerDirector can also help you add voice overs and creative sound effects using chroma key.

Many of PowerDirector’s features are completely free in the Android app. For a more advanced suite of editing tools, you can invest in one of CyberLink’s paid products starting at $99.

Pros

  • Powerful features such as green screen editing, motion graphics, and keyframe controls 

  • Incredibly low price compared to competitors such as Adobe 

  • Multi-track editing and timelines

  • The company constantly adds new graphics and templates for users to choose from 

Cons 

  • Some users have reported that it can be buggy

  • Steep learning curve for beginners 

18. Quik

Price: Free | Platforms: Android, iOS, macOS, Windows

Quik video editing tool inside the Android app

Image Source

Quik is a video editing tool developed by GoPro, making it the software of choice for people who are editing footage from their GoPro camera. But yes, it can edit content from any source. 

The app can manage up to 75 photos and video clips in one project, and can even comb through this content to help you make smart editing decisions based on what the app detects in the footage. From time lapses to panoramic pieces, Quik can manipulate your media in lots of creative ways. The app has more than 20 preset themes to choose from and supports eight common file types.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use and intuitive app

  • Automatically imports photos from your camera 

Cons 

  • This software no longer receives updates from its manufacturer 

  • You only have access to the cloud when you upgrade to GoPro PLUS

19. KineMaster

Price: Free | Platforms: iOS, Android, ChromeOS

KineMaster video editor in timeline view on the Android platform

Image Source

KineMaster is a super-versatile video editing tool that allows you to edit videos on “multiple layers.” What does that mean? Content creators can add an unlimited amount of text overlays, images, audio, and even free handwriting onto their footage for the artistic detail they or their brand needs. You can also blend multiple pieces of footage and use double-exposures to customize the background in a load of creative ways.

For simpler editing tasks, of course, this app offers intuitive trimming and splitting features to make your video progress just the way you want it to.

Pros

  • Powerful features such as multi-track editing, layers, and blending modes  

  • Over 3M reviews on Google Play and an average rating of 4.5 stars 

  • You can share on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook straight from the app

  • 4K exports available 

Cons 

  • Your video will be watermarked with the KineMaster branding if you don’t upgrade to Premium 

  • Limited access to assets on the free version 

20. VivaVideo

Price: Free | Platforms: iOS, Android

VivaVideo app for editing videos on the Android operating system

Image Source

VivaVideo makes professional-level edits easy for content creators. Free for all mobile devices, the app allows you to trim, merge, speed up, slow down, and reverse clips and images in a short amount of time. The app also comes with a simple collage- and slideshow-maker, and offers a variety of camera lenses to capture new, edit-ready footage directly in the app. 

Pros

  • Fun on-trend filters, templates, and effects 
  • Expansive music library with hundreds of clips to choose from 
  • Multi-track editing that allows you to layer voice clips and music 

Cons 

  • Five-minute time limit for videos

With most people working from home, the importance of video can’t be overstated. But unless you get the right app for video editing, you’ll run the risk of publishing videos that look unprofessional and unpolished. 

With these apps, you’ll be sure to create video that attracts, converts, and delights your audience. The sooner you download one, the sooner you can sharpen your audio/video creation skills and attract more people to your brand. 

Create Better Videos for a Higher ROI 

Online video content isn’t just watched more — it’s expected more. Luckily, you have the video editing tools to help you delight your audience and improve conversion rates across your social media accounts. Grab the guide below to make the video learning curve easier and to jumpstart your video marketing efforts. 

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

video marketing starter pack

 
video marketing starter pack

What is Marketing, and What’s Its Purpose?

Dictionary.com defines marketing as, “the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.”

If you work in a marketing role like I do, it’s probably difficult for you to define marketing even though you see and use it every day — the term marketing is a bit all-encompassing and variable for a straightforward definition.

This definition feels unhelpful.

The selling part, for instance, overlaps a little too snuggly with a “what is sales” definition, and the word advertising makes me think of Mad Men brainstorming sessions.

But upon digging deeper, I began seeing that actually, marketing does overlap heavily with advertising and sales. Marketing is present in all stages of the business, beginning to end.

At first, I wondered why marketing was a necessary component during product development, or a sales pitch, or retail distribution. But it makes sense when you think about it — marketers have the firmest finger on the pulse of your consumer persona.

Free Resource: Content Marketing Planning Template

The purpose of marketing is to research and analyze your consumers all the time, conduct focus groups, send out surveys, study online shopping habits, and ask one underlying question: “Where, when, and how does our consumer want to communicate with our business?”

Here, let’s explore the purposes of marketing, along with types of marketing, the 4 P’s of marketing, and the difference between marketing and advertising.

Whether you’re a seasoned marketer looking to refresh your definitions, or a beginner looking to understand what marketing is in the first place, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive in. 

Modern marketing began in the 1950s when people started to use more than just print media to endorse a product. As TV — and soon, the internet — entered households, marketers could conduct entire campaigns across multiple platforms. And as you might expect, over the last 70 years, marketers have become increasingly important to fine-tuning how a business sells a product to consumers to optimize success.

In fact, the fundamental purpose of marketing is to attract consumers to your brand through messaging. Ideally, that messaging will helpful and educational to your target audience so you can convert consumers into leads.

Today, there are literally dozens of places one can carry out a marketing campaign — where does one do it in the 21st century?

Types of Marketing

Where your marketing campaigns live depends entirely on where your customers spend their time. It’s up to you to conduct market research that determines which types of marketing — and which mix of tools within each type — is best for building your brand. Here are several types of marketing that are relevant today, some of which have stood the test of time:

  • Internet marketing: Inspired by an Excedrin product campaign that took place online, the very idea of having a presence on the internet for business reasons is a type of marketing in and of itself.
  • Search engine optimization: Abbreviated “SEO,” this is the process of optimizing content on a website so that it appears in search engine results. It’s used by marketers to attract people who perform searches that imply they’re interested in learning about a particular industry.
  • Blog marketing: Blogs are no longer exclusive to the individual writer. Brands now publish blogs to write about their industry and nurture the interest of potential customers who browse the internet for information.
  • Social media marketing: Businesses can use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and similar social networks to create impressions on their audience over time.
  • Print marketing: As newspapers and magazines get better at understanding who subscribes to their print material, businesses continue to sponsor articles, photography, and similar content in the publications their customers are reading.
  • Search engine marketing: This type of marketing is a bit different than SEO, which is described above. Businesses can now pay a search engine to place links on pages of its index that get high exposure to their audience. (It’s a concept called “pay-per-click” — I’ll show you an example of this in the next section).
  • Video marketing: While there were once just commercials, marketers now put money into creating and publishing all kinds of videos that entertain and educate their core customers.

Marketing and Advertising

If marketing is a wheel, advertising is one spoke of that wheel.

Marketing entails product development, market research, product distribution, sales strategy, public relations, and customer support. Marketing is necessary in all stages of a business’s selling journey, and it can use numerous platforms, social media channels, and teams within their organization to identify their audience, communicate to it, amplify its voice, and build brand loyalty over time.

On the other hand, advertising is just one component of marketing. It’s a strategic effort, usually paid for, to spread awareness of a product or service as a part of the more holistic goals outlined above. Put simply, it’s not the only method used by marketers to sell a product.

Here’s an example (keep reading, there’s a quiz at the end of it):

Let’s say a business is rolling out a brand new product and wants to create a campaign promoting that product to its customer base. This company’s channels of choice are Facebook, Instagram, Google, and its company website. It uses all of these spaces to support its various campaigns every quarter and generate leads through those campaigns.

To broadcast its new product launch, it publishes a downloadable product guide to its website, posts a video to Instagram demonstrating its new product, and invests in a series of sponsored search results on Google directing traffic to a new product page on its website.

Now, which of the above decisions were marketing, and which were advertising?

The advertising took place on Instagram and Google. Instagram generally isn’t an advertising channel, but when used for branding, you can develop a base of followers that’s primed for a gentle product announcement every now and again. Google was definitely used for advertising in this example; the company paid for space on Google — a program known as pay-per-click (PPC) — on which to drive traffic to a specific page focused on its product. A classic online ad.

Where did the marketing take place? This was a bit of a trick question, as the marketing was the entire process. By aligning Instagram, Google, and its own website around a customer-focused initiative, the company ran a three-part marketing campaign that identified its audience, created a message for that audience, and delivered it across the industry to maximize its impact.

The 4 Ps of Marketing

In the 1960’s, E Jerome McCarthy came up with the 4 Ps of marketing: product, price, place, promotion.

Essentially, these 4 Ps explain how marketing interacts with each stage of the business.

Product

Let’s say you come up with an idea for a product you want your business to sell. What’s next? You probably won’t be successful if you just start selling it.

Instead, you need your marketing team to do market research and answer some critical questions: Who’s your target audience? Is there market fit for this product? What messaging will increase product sales, and on which platforms? How should your product developers modify the product to increase likelihood of success? What do focus groups think of the product, and what questions or hesitations do they have?

Marketers use the answers to these questions to help businesses understand the demand for the product and increase product quality by mentioning concerns stemming from focus group or survey participants.

Price

Your marketing team will check out competitors’ product prices, or use focus groups and surveys, to estimate how much your ideal customer is willing to pay. Price it too high, and you’ll lose out on a solid customer base. Price it too low, and you might lose more money than you gain. Fortunately, marketers can use industry research and consumer analysis to gauge a good price range.

Place

It’s critical that your marketing department uses their understanding and analysis of your business’s consumers to offer suggestions for how and where to sell your product. Perhaps they believe an ecommerce site works better than a retail location, or vice versa. Or, maybe they can offer insights into which locations would be most viable to sell your product, either nationally and internationally.

Promotion

This P is likely the one you expected from the get-go: promotion entails any online or print advertisement, event, or discount your marketing team creates to increase awareness and interest in your product, and, ultimately, lead to more sales. During this stage, you’ll likely see methods like public relations campaigns, advertisements, or social media promotions.

Hopefully, our definition and the four Ps help you understand marketing’s purpose and how to define it. Marketing intersects with all areas of a business, so it’s important you understand how to use marketing to increase your business’s efficiency and success.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

New Call-to-action

New Call-to-action

A Comprehensive Guide to Local SEO in 2021

Local search is powerful for small businesses: 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information, which means if your business isn’t optimized for local search, you could be missing out on potential customers who are ready to shop in your area. In short, local SEO is critical if you want your business to stay relevant.

To help you optimize your business for local SEO, we’ve created a comprehensive guide, which will cover local SEO tips and tools.

By the end of the guide, you’ll have a firm understanding on how to optimize your business to reach potential consumers who use local search to choose which products or services they’re going to buy.

Access Now: 21 SEO Myths to Leave Behind in 2021

To gather information for local search, search engines rely on signals such as local content, social profile pages, links, and citations to provide the most relevant local results to the user.

With local SEO, businesses can use this to position their products and services to local prospects and customers who are searching for them.

1. Optimize for Google My Business.

Google My Business has become the creme de la creme of local search — since Google understandably feels most comfortable sharing content it can support and verify, Google My Business is their tool to help your business meet Google’s needs. 

To ensure you’re optimized for Google My Business, you’ll want to:

  1. Create and verify a Google My Business page
  2. Use Google Posts within your account
  3. Encourage your customers to share reviews online
  4. Respond authentically to reviews, specifying location. For example, “We appreciate your feedback on [product/service] in [city, state]. We value your input and look forward to working with you again. Thank you from the [full company name] team.”

If Google can verify your business as authentic, the search engine could potentially reward your business with a coveted sidebar space in Google local search.

Don’t just do this for the SEO, either. By having reviews and keeping your contact information and operating hours up-to-date, you’re improving the experience for potential customers to find you. Finding current information is important to consumers, now more than ever, due to 2020’s disruption in consumer shopping behavior and business operation.

To learn more about using Google My Business, check out our full post here.

2. Engage on social media and add posts to Google My Business.

Google considers content shared on social media more important now than ever before.

Now that you’ve carved out a beautiful Google My Business page, share the page on social media, further aligning social and search.

3. Ensure your name, address, and phone number are consistent online.

You’ve got to make it easy for people and search engines to find you. To do this, set up your NAP, which stands for name, address, and phone number (with area code). This should be included as crawlable HTML text on your site.

Avoid the common mistake of only including the NAP within an image — images can’t be crawled from search engines like HTML text. The most common location for the NAP is in the footer or header of the site.

4. Optimize online directories and citations.

For United States companies, these four map data aggregators provide a large amount of the map data for Apple, Yelp, Bing, Google, Trip Advisor, and more.

Consistency is key: verify that your citations are consistent and complete across these four data aggregators.

Discrepancies like misspellings, abbreviations, lack of suite number or wrong phone number can be problematic.

If Google can’t determine which information about your business is correct, it may not show your business at all in search results.

Additionally, be sure to remove any duplicate listings you find. Bonus points for emphasizing a Chambers of Commerce membership in your community, which will garner you an external inbound link.

5. Perform a local SEO audit.

Once you have the fundamentals down, it may be tempting to put your foot on the brake. However, SEO is an ongoing and intuitive process. Instead of stopping there or simply making changes and seeing what sticks, it helps to perform a comprehensive audit to see where your website stands and what you need to work on to achieve your goals. A local SEO audit may include the following:

  • Google My Business Audit – How does your Google My Business appear in the SERPs? Is the information accurate?
  • Google Search Console Audit – Is your site crawlable? Does it have any errors that would hinder indexing?
  • On-Page SEO Audit – Does your site accommodate all the on-page SEO elements that help ranking?
  • Citation Audit – Are all of your citations correct in the top business directories?
  • Competitor Analysis – How does your site match up with your competition’s? Are there any gaps that you need to close? How do you match up in terms of inbound links, content, design, and positioning?
  • Website Audit – How well is your website performing?

6. Improve your internal linking structure.

Although external links pointing to your site are ideal (which I’ll discuss soon), adjusting your internal linking structure will also boost your SEO rankings.

Why does internal linking matter? It does the following:

  • Supports website navigation
  • Assists with information architecture and website hierarchy
  • Distributes page authority and ranking power among pages

If you want to improve your internal linking structure but aren’t sure where to start, check out Kissmetrics’ The Seven Commandments of Internal Linking for Top-Notch SEO.

7. Optimize URL, title tags, headers, meta description, and content.

When it comes to content, every new blog post is a new indexed page for your site, a new page on which to target a geographic search phrase, and a new opportunity to get found in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Every time you write a piece of content, you need to optimize the content for search engines by using high-volume keywords in the URL, title, header, meta description, and body. If you’re having trouble coming up with geo-targeted content, consider highlighting customer success stories and case studies.

8. Add location pages to your website.

If you have more than one brick and mortar location, create location pages. Location pages provide readers with your name, address, phone number, store hours, unique store descriptions, parking/transit information, promotions, and testimonials from happy customers.

It’s also important you avoid duplicating content across multiple location pages. For single location businesses, create a locally descriptive About Us page. You’ll get big time bonus points if you add a Google Map to your website on your respective location page(s).

9. Create local content.

Google continues to get smarter, which means content creators are now able to truly write for users, not search engines. But while writing about general topics will attract a wide crowd, sometimes it’s more important to hone your focus and write about local or industry news to attract a local audience.

Be the local authority for your industry by promoting local industry gatherings, news, employees, and other educational content on your blog. Think of top-of-the-funnel content that goes beyond what your business sells.

For example, if you’re a local security company and you’re trying to attract businesses that are new to the area, create a helpful resource to get these businesses well-acquainted with your city. A map of local service providers or a calendar of city-wide events could both provide value for your persona and contain highly relevant on-page local signals.

10. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly.

Local search and mobile search go hand in hand (61% of all Google searches are performed on mobile).

Some of the most common ways people will use your site in a mobile environment is to look up reviews, find directions to your location, and search for contact information. In fact, “near me” searches on mobile have increased 250% since 2017 (Think With Google).

Make it easy for your prospects and customers by making your site mobile-friendly.

11. Get inbound links with relevance and authority.

Inbound links are incredibly powerful opportunities to boost your local SEO — every inbound link tells Google you’re a legitimate company, and inbound links can also raise your domain authority. Here are a few ways to get inbound links:

  • Sponsorships or Partnerships
  • Guest Blog Posting
  • Scholarships

Start with your own personal network, which may include the Chamber of Commerce, business improvement districts, licensing bureaus, trade associations, resellers, vendors, and/or manufacturers and other affiliates.

Consider sponsoring a webinar or meet-up, hosting a community event, promoting something local you love, and building relationships with prominent people and influencers. Additionally, learn to feel comfortable reaching out to partners to see if they can feature you on their partner directory.

Also, being a guest blogger can help attract links. Talk to and about (positively, of course!) other people in your industry, and act as a resource provider for the community. If you’re an active participant in community conversations, the buzz around you grows in the form of inbound links, social media growth, and media coverage.

12. Participate in your local community. 

The more you participate in the local community, the more digital PR you’ll receive. Partnering with a nonprofit on a campaign, having a volunteer day in your organization, sponsoring an event (even an online one!), or appearing in the local media as an authority in your industry are all ways to earn press, brand awareness, and inbound links.

For example, given that .edu links are the bee’s knees for domain authority, why not earn some links by featuring a scholarship in your geographic region? It should be relevant to your industry, send the right signals to your domain (given the backlinks from schools) … and make you feel good, too! Moz built up a solid guide on the steps to success for effective scholarship outreach.

Local SEO Tools

Now that we’ve covered how to optimize your business for local SEO, let’s explore some useful tools you can leverage to improve your ranking in the areas where it matters most.

1. Whitespark Local Citation Finder

A local citation is any online mention of the name, address, and phone number for a local business.

Citations matter because they help surface local businesses in online search, and when local businesses actively manage their citations to ensure data accuracy, it promotes trust of these online listings.

Whitespark knows this realm well — really well. Whitespark offers local listing management, recommends where to list your business, examines your competition, and robustly builds and monitors your citation growth for better local search rankings.

2. Screaming Frog

This desktop program crawls websites’ links, images, CSS, script and apps from an SEO perspective. Curious if you have any 404’s? Wondering about missing meta descriptions or H1’s? Screaming Frog will analyze up to 500 URLs for free and offers an unlimited paid version for $200/year.

3. Moz Local

Less expensive than most of its counterparts, Moz Local will ensure your business listing has been verified on Google and Facebook, and distribute your listing across the search ecosystem.

Additionally, Moz Local will collaborate with data aggregators to help push listings, ensuring your business gains visibility.

4. Ahrefs

Ahrefs helps with backlink checking, which is important as these links (which are directed toward your website) serve as an indicator of website authority.

Ahrefs also offers competitor analysis, keyword research, and insight into the anchor text other websites use when backlinking to your site.

5. Buzzstream

BuzzStream facilitates earning local backlinks, which helps you identify and build relationships with local influencers by researching influencers, tracking conversations, and providing reporting insights into your outreach campaigns, team performance, and link placements.

6. BrightLocal

BrightLocal is a comprehensive SEO tool suite specifically built for local business marketing needs.

The tool can help you generate and monitor reviews on local sites, understand your local search performance, and analyze nearby competitors.

BrightLocal also offers client access and white-labeled reporting — making it a solid fit for agencies and brands alike.

Local SEO is an important part of any SEO strategy for local businesses. If you have a storefront or service area, local SEO will help your audience find you when they search online.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

New Call-to-action

How to Create a Facebook Business Page in 5 Simple Steps [Tutorial]

With 2.6 billion people actively using Facebook every day, Facebook has become a go-to component of almost any inbound marketing strategy.

But as more and more Facebook features change, so does the process of setting up a Page.

Don’t waste another day aimlessly poking around on Facebook trying to figure out how to get your Page posted. We built this guide to help you avoid wasting time on a marketing asset that should work for you.

(If you’re looking for tips and resources for how to leverage your Facebook Page once it’s up and running, check out our comprehensive guide to Facebook marketing).

Free Resource: How to Reach & Engage Your Audience on Facebook

What is a Facebook Business Page?

Your Facebook Business Page is essentially your company or organization’s “real estate” on Facebook. It constitutes your main Facebook presence — where you’ll post updates, share content from employees and customers, and link to when referring to your business elsewhere on Facebook.

Consider your Facebook Business Page your Facebook “home.” Moreover, your Facebook Page is not a static site. Sure, there will be static elements like your About information and cover image, but to manage your Page correctly, it should be consistently updated with content.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First, we’ll walk you through how to create a Facebook Business Page. We’ll discuss what to post on it later.

Follow these steps to get your Facebook Page up and running in no time.

1. Create a Page.

To begin, head to Facebook. On the left-hand menu, choose Pages > Create New Page. This should launch the Page creator within your Facebook interface.

facebook create a business page

Enter your Page name and choose up to three categories. Type in a brief description — what your business does, the services you provide, or the purpose of the Page in under 255 characters. You should see this information populate the right side of the Page creator.

Once finished, click Create Page

(Note: I recommend carefully selecting your name. Although Facebook allows you to change your name and URL
once, it’s a difficult and tedious process.

2. Add images.

Clicking Create Page shouldn’t move you off the Page creator. You’ll see two more prompts added to the left-hand menu: to add a profile photo (170 x 170 pixels) and cover photo (1640 x 856 pixels).

Add a logo or widely recognized image for your profile photo. If you have other social media accounts for your business, consider using the same profile photo from those to keep your online presence consistent.

For your cover photo, choose an image that represents the purpose or theme of your Page

You should see these images populate the right side of the Page creator. When finished, click Save.

facebook business page add images

3. Choose a username and assign a CTA.

After the previous step, Facebook should move you to the Facebook Business Page dashboard where you’ll manage all other aspects of your Page.

This interface can feel overwhelming, so bear with me. First things first, choose a username for your Page. A username helps people find your Page in search and allows them to easily tag your Page when posting about your company. Your username also makes up your Facebook Business Page URL.

For the example below, I chose @cloverconsignment. So, my Facebook Page URL would be https://ift.tt/37MFIDM.

facebook business page username

Next, click + Add Action Button to add a CTA to your Page. This should be the action you want your visitors to take when they visit your Facebook Business Page.

Facebook offers 10+ different CTA options, from Shop Now to Learn More to Contact Us, and some allow you to input your website to help drive traffic.

facebook business page cta

4. Edit your Page info.

After setting a username and choosing a CTA, click More > About in the main menu. This will navigate you to your Page info, where visitors will go to learn more about your organization.

Click Edit Page Info in the top right corner to update this information. 

facebook business page edit page info

There are many fields to update here. Here’s what to focus on:

  • Location: If you’re a local business, input your business address so visitors can find you.
  • Hours: Brick and mortar businesses should input their store hours as some shoppers may reference their Page to see when they can visit.
  • Price range: You don’t have to fill out this designation, but it may help to specify the price range of your products and services to target the right shoppers.
  • Additional contact info: Input your website, phone number, and email so visitors can contact you outside Facebook. This information will also help drive Facebook traffic to your website and products.
  • More info: The description you added in step one should be under “About.” You can add more information under “Additional information,” and you can write in a mission or vision statement under “Impressum.”

5. Understand your Page settings.

In the left-hand navigation, click Settings at the bottom. The left-hand menu will change to more detailed categories, and the right side interface will list (seemingly) countless options.

I encourage you to skim through these settings and get familiar with what each may change or update on your Page. In the meantime, however, I’m going to unpack a few core settings to know.

  • General > Others Tagging this Page: Make sure this is checked as it will allow others to post about and share your Page.
  • General > Similar Page Suggestions: Make sure this is checked so Facebook recommends your Page to new followers and fans.
  • Messaging > Show a greeting: Turn this on so your Facebook Page will automatically send your followers a greeting when open Messenger.
  • Templates and Tabs: If you need to rearrange the menu on your Page or the information offered to visitors, you can do this here.
  • Notifications: This section allows you to customize when and how you’d like to receive Page alerts. Set a frequency that fits your social media marketing schedule.
  • Page Roles: Whether or not you’ll be the main manager of the Page, there may be others at your organization who need access to your Facebook Page. Here, you can invite other colleagues to make changes to your Pages. Some common use cases here include:
    • A public relations manager who needs to respond to any delicate questions.
    • A support representative who can assist those asking technical questions.
    • A designer tasked with uploading new photo creative to the Page.

What to Post On Your Facebook Business Page

Congratulations! Your Facebook Business Page is up and running (just like I promised). Now it’s time to work … and by work, I mean post on your Page, consistently.

As I said in the introduction, your Facebook Page should not be a static site. To manage your Page correctly, it should be updated with content on a regular basis.

Moreover, you should have a good amount of content published before you invite users to be a part of your growing community. Who wants to follow a blank Page, anyway?

When posting on your Page, use a variety of content — images, video, GIFs, memes, shared customer content, or graphs.

What images would your audience like to see? What stats would they like to read? What links would they like to click? Ask these questions to jumpstart a Facebook brainstorm.

If you post a particularly impressive or exciting post, you can pin it to the top of your feed. Do this by clicking the little grey arrow in the top-right corner of the post and tapping Pin to Top to move it to the top for seven days.

You can also use this feature for product announcements, business anniversaries, and other major events pertinent to your brand.

When you have enough content on your Page, start strategically inviting users to Like it. I recommend inviting users in the following cadence:

  1. Invite colleagues to Like your page and its content to build some initial activity.
  2. Invite supporters in your network. Encourage them to engage.
  3. Invite customers. With some activity now on the Page, they’ll be more interested.

Promote your Page by sharing its content on your other social networks and including a link to your Page on your website and your email signatures.

How to Measure Your Facebook Business Page

The work you put into your Facebook Page should ease over time. How? By keeping an eye on what kind of content your audience prefers and likes to engage with.

To measure your Business Page activity and growth, click Insights on the left-hand menu. From here, you can monitor how people are engaging with your Page and content, thus showing you what content to focus on sharing in the future (and what content you can do away with).

You should also measure your efforts to ensure you’re making valuable marketing decisions on Facebook. Under Insights, you should see the following:

  • Overview: This tab shows a seven-day snapshot of your metrics such as Page Likes, post reach, and overall engagement.
  • Followers: This tab gives you information about your followers and how that number has changed over time.
  • Likes: This tab shows your overall fan growth and losses. If you’re employing paid efforts, you’ll be able to see the breakdown of paid versus organic growth.
  • Reach: This tab highlights the raw number of people your Page is reaching every day. If you notice spikes on a specific day, try cross-checking what you posted that day to see if you can replicate that reach.
  • Visits: This tab indicates where on Facebook your viewers are coming from. You can see the difference in visits on Facebook Timelines, your information tab, reviews, and others.

Other tabs like Posts, Events, and Stories show you specific activity around those types of Page content.

Over to You

Facebook is no longer a “nice to have;” it’s a necessity for any business developing a strong inbound marketing strategy. Use this guide to build a successful Facebook Business Page to engage your audience and drive traffic to your website.

Want to see how HubSpot uses Facebook? Like our Facebook Page here.

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

Facebook Strategy Guide

The 13 Best Smart Home Devices & Systems of 2021

In 2021, smart home systems and devices are more impressive and all-encompassing than ever.

Using a smart system isn’t limited to asking Alexa to tell you the weather or play that new Drake song — now, you can use smart devices to grill chicken at your next family barbecue, turn the lights off in the living room while you’re watching a movie, or vacuum your floors.

Your home devices provide a sense of convenience, but they can also tackle more serious tasks, like acting as your home security system when you’re out of town. In other words, they aren’t just for fun anymore — they also fulfill some substantial needs.Unlock tips, systems & recommended resources to stay ahead of the tech curve.

The Difference Between Smart Devices vs. Smart Systems

Before we get into our list, it’s important to define our terms. A smart system is the overarching command center that controls your individual products — think Alexa or Google Assistant. Essentially, a smart system is what you speak to when you want something to happen. A device, on the other hand, is an individual product that reports back to that system — think, Amazon Echo or Philips Hue lightbulbs.

Now, let’s delve into our list of the best smart home devices and systems of 2021, so you can decide for yourself which systems and products will best enhance your life.

Best Smart Home Systems

When looking to purchase a smart-home system, you want to look into reviews and its integrations.

While the reviews will show you how good or bad the technology is, the integration information will show you how many products you can actually connect your system to. 

As you’re researching integrations, you should also consider any smart devices you already have that might be compatible or incompatible with the system. Today, most good smart home systems are powered by state-of-the art technology and offer a long list of third-party integration possibilities. For example, Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant connect to smart thermostats like Nest or Ecobee — not just thermostats made by their own companies.

If your devices all connect well together, work well, and are easy to use, your smart home experiences will run much more smoothly.

Here are four major smart home systems that we recommend.

1. Amazon Alexa

With more than hundreds of millions of compatible devices, Alexa is undoubtedly one of the most comprehensive smart home ecosystems available today. While you have likely heard of using Alexa in Eco-speaker form (“Alexa, what’s the weather today?”), you might not know that Alexa is now built into plenty of other smart products, including thermostats and TVs.

Alexa makes every aspect of your smart home easy to access and control. You can use Alexa to speak to apps like Spotify just as easily as you can ask her to turn off the lights. Since Amazon’s ecosystem is one of the most prevalent in the industry, most smart products integrate seamlessly with Alexa, including products made by Philips, Samsung, Nest, and Schlage — Alexa can now close your garage, lock your doors, and adjust your home’s temperature. To know if Alexa will work with a certain device, just look for the ‘Works with Amazon Alexa’ tag.

Ultimately, Alexa’s ability to integrate and speak to most other smart devices and apps makes her one of the best choices for your smart home.

2. Google Assistant

If there’s any true runner-up to Alexa, it’s Google Assistant. Even though Google Assistant has less third-party integrations, it can often answer questions and complete commands Alexa can’t, thanks to Google’s major ownership of the search engine space. Google Assistant has an accuracy score of 92.9% while Amazon Alexa scores at 79.8% (ZDNet). Ultimately, Assistant wins when it comes to understanding how people naturally speak.

For instance, if you the Assistant “I don’t like this song” on Spotify, it will skip to the next one, while Alexa will simply tell you, “Thumbs up and down are not supported on Spotify.” Small differences like this could sway you towards Google, since it’s often more helpful (and less literal) than Alexa.

Assistant can also integrate with products from most major brands, including Philips, Belkin, August, Nest, and popular apps such as Spotify and Uber.

3. Wink Hub

Wink Hub is touted as the “first smart home hub designed for the mainstream consumer.” Unlike Alexa or Assistant, Wink doesn’t have any brand loyalty, allowing you to pick and choose different smart product brands and merge them seamlessly with one another.

Wink Hub 2 supports smart home protocols including Bluetooth LE, Kidde, Lutron ClearConnect, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, and more. If you’re looking to create a fully integrated smart home with kitchen and wall appliances in-sync, this might be your best option. You can also download the Wink Hub app and control commands, like light switches or garage door, from your phone on-the-go.

4. Samsung SmartThings Hub

This Samsung system unites a wide variety of smart devices from different brands including smart thermostats, Wi-Fi router, lightbulbs, and security devices. Users with the smart system get a SmartThings Hub wall mount and can get full access to the smart devices connected to the hub through the SmartThings IOS or Android app.

Samsung’s SmartThings Hub has been growing its own smart-device offerings for the past few years. In fact, the Hub’s product lineup includes the addition of the SmartThing Wi-Fi plug, SmartThings Lightbulb, and SmartThings Cam.

Through the SmartThings Hub, you can also set compatible smart devices to do various actions like turning on or off when you walk in or out of a room. While you can give voice commands to the SmartThings wall hub or app, you can also integrate and Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to the system. 

1. Best Speaker: Amazon Echo (4th Generation)

Price: $99.99

If you’re looking for a relatively affordable device to cater to your everyday needs, you probably don’t need to look further than Amazon Echo. The speaker connects to Alexa to play your favorite music, make phone calls or send messages, answer questions, and set alarms for you: “It’s 6 p.m., time to head to your tennis lesson.” It also connects to other smart products in your home, so you can use it as your liaison between you and your smart TV.

The speakers are capable of being synced for multi-room sound, and the Echo has advanced voice control. With the Echo, you can turn the TV on, order a pizza, and create a shopping to-do list — without ever leaving your couch.

amazon echo fourth generation as best smart home speaker

Image Source

2. Best Lights: Philips Hue

Price: $49.99/bulb

The Philips Hue bulbs enable you to control both intensity of light — dimming or brightening on-command — and the color of your lights. You can create special color-coordinated moods (i.e. choose the “energize” theme on your app for a specific room you’re in, or sync it with your music). You can also set color-coordinated alarms, ensuring you wake up every morning to a bright pink bedroom.

These bulbs work with most smart home systems, making them arguably the most flexible option. If you don’t want color, you can also purchase Philips Hue White.

Philips Hue lightbulbs as the best smart home light bulb

Image Source

3. Best Light Switch: TP-Link HS220

Price: $18.99

Philips Hue bulbs and similar smart lights are fantastic and effortless — until someone flips a light switch, in which case, your bulbs won’t work until you flip it back.

For true ease-of-use, consider buying smart light switches, which you can control from your phone or smart home whether or not your physical light switch is up or down. Using the app Kasa, you can create scenes and smart actions — for instance, you might tell the app you’re “watching TV downstairs,” and the switches will automatically turn off all upstairs lights.

TP-Link HS220 works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, but you might need to consider other options if you primarily use Apple HomeKit, Wink, or another smart system.

tp-link hs220 as the best smart home light switch

Image Source

4. Best Thermostat: Ecobee SmartThermostat

Price: $249.99

Ecobee allows you to control air temperature with voice commands, but unlike other smart thermostats, it also works as its own Amazon speaker (rather than simply working with an Amazon speaker), so it can do many of the same things your Alexa or Assistant can do, including play music, shop, and control other devices. Of course, if you already own a smart speaker, you might want to consider a cheaper thermostat option.

Ecobee integrates seamlessly with apps and other home ecosystems like Alexa or Apple HomeKit. Plus, it’s able to control the room you’re in, rather than the room it’s installed.

ecobee smartthermostat as the best smart home thermostat

Image Source

5. Best Security: NetGear Arlo Q

Price: $84.99

While some of these smart devices are more for convenience and entertainment, the NetGear Arlo Q is a truly useful tool for home security. The NetGear Arlo Q records high-quality video and audio, and even produces exceptional quality images of people in pitch-blackness.

You can customize whether your camera automatically records when you’re not home or set it to a time-based schedule for when you’re at work. While it’s on the pricier side, it offers seven days of video and audio backup for free, making it a worthwhile investment compared to some of the other smart security systems.

NetGear Arlo Q home security system for smart homes

Image Source

6. Best Grill: Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker, Deluxe

Price: $299

Anyone who grills regularly knows the inconvenience of it — walking in and out of the house to check the meat, hoping the temperature is hot enough but won’t burn your steak, and adding coals or lighter fluid when necessary. This tool handles all that, alerting you on your smart device when your grill is preheated, what the internal meat temperature is, and when your meat or fish is fully cooked. The 725 square-inch cooking space and four internal chrome racks allow you to grill for both large and small occasions.

char-broil digital electric smoker for smart homes

Image Source

7. Best Outlet: ConnectSense Smart Outlet

Price: $59.95

A smart outlet can help you control even your most basic appliances. During the initial install, you specify the device that will be plugged in so that you can control its functionality from the app. A small change like this can make a big difference in your home.

connectsense smart outlet for smart homes

Image Source

8. Best Vacuum: Ecovacs Deebot N79S

Price: $164.99

I’m personally willing to pay triple this price for any device that can vacuum my floor for me, but at this price, the Ecovacs Deebot N79S is a pretty impressive deal. It integrates with smart home systems and other apps, offers a manual steering option, and cleans surfaces surprisingly well. It also has a long battery life.

deebot as best smart vacuum

Image Source

9. Best Television: LG Smart TV

Price: Varies based on screen size and features.

LG was the company to offer Alexa and Google Assistant connectivity in its smart TVs.

With a smart TV, you can connect your streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, your cable box, and other video devices all in one place. Many smart TVs, like LG’s products, also offer voice control capabilities that allow you to ask the TV to search for a movie or show. 

If you’re just starting to develop your smart home and only want a basic smart TV with integrations to major streaming services, you can purchase an LG TV with 4K, Google Assistant, and Alexa capabilities starting at $479.99.

LG UHD Smart TV with AIThinQ

Image Source

Smart devices can enhance your productivity and make life more convenient. Plus, the technology is getting less expensive. A few purchases can make your home a smart home. 

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Stay Current on Emerging Tech

11 Webinar Etiquette Tips for Presenters & Attendees

Now that we’re spending more time than ever at home on our computers, it’s a great time to brush up on webinar etiquette.

Webinars give brands the chance to connect directly with their audiences. On the flip side, consumers get to increase their knowledge on a topic. It’s a win-win when done correctly, but not all webinars go smoothly. I once attended a webinar on email automation tips that was actually a full product demo. Yikes.

Download Now: Free Webinar Planning Kit

Then, you have situations where the presenter is late, or the attendees are having a little too much fun in the chatroom.It doesn’t exactly make for the best experience for either side.

So let’s find out how presenters and attendees can contribute to more productive webinars.

1. Set the tone.

Every webinar format is different. For example, some are education-based, with the presenter only engaging with the audience for questions. In other cases, the setting is more interactive.

That said, let your audience know what you expect of them early on.

Send a reminder email to your attendees a few days before the webinar and include a section on guidelines. Be sure to answers the following questions:

  • Are attendees expected to have their cameras and microphones on or off?
  • Is participation encouraged? If so, how?
  • Is there any prep work?

You can also remind your attendees of these instructions at the beginning of the webinar, as people are logging on.

2. Present what’s expected.

Imagine you order a medium-well steak at a restaurant and instead, you get a piece of chicken. That piece of chicken might be delicious, but it won’t matter because that’s not what you ordered.

Meeting expectations is very important when attempting to gain trust from your audience. For webinars, there are few things more frustrating than anticipating a presentation on one thing and getting something completely different. Switching gears can cause confusion, and lead to high drop off rates and low engagement.

In addition, each webinar type serves a purpose and caters to a unique audience. For instance, workshop attendees likely don’t have the same intentions as the ones attending product demos.

With this in mind, resist the temptation of turning your webinar into a promotional opportunity (or anything else) if it’s not on the agenda.

3. Do a practice round.

Technical difficulties are a bummer. They interrupt the flow of the presentation and can be hard to recover from. One way to prevent them is by practicing beforehand.

First, get familiar with the hosting platform you’ll be using. Learn where the key features are, such as how to:

  • Share your screen.
  • Play audio and/or video clips.
  • Spotlight attendees and adjust their audio/video settings.

You may consider having a moderator who will assist you during your presentation to monitor the chatroom and help move things along.

Once you feel confident navigating the platform, do a trial run for the presentation from start to finish. Doing so will let you know how much time to dedicate to each section to stay on schedule.

4. Read Q&As out loud.

When you attend a presentation in person, there’s typically no guessing game involved when someone asks a question because you can hear it being asked. Online, things work differently.

Depending on the hosting platform you use, you will likely have a Q&A feature that allows attendees to ask questions directly to the host. This means that other attendees won’t know who asked a question and what the question was.

As such, presenters should always repeat questions out loud before answering them, so that the audience understands the context of the answer. However, keep the attendee’s name anonymous unless the attendee has requested otherwise.

5. Make the webinar accessible.

Webinars can be great sources of information but can lack the accessibility features needed to reach all audiences, including those who are deaf, hard of hearing (HoH), and visually impaired.

Start by reviewing your hosting platforms. Applications like Zoom and Google Hangouts have built-in live captioning and transcription features. You can also send your attendees the presentation slides ahead of time, which makes it easier for non-native speakers to familiarize themselves with the content.

Depending on your budget, you can hire an interpreter to sign your presentation for your deaf and/or HoH audience. If that’s not possible, look into video relay service providers that will connect your audience to interpreters during your presentation.

For the presentation itself, use high-contrast colors to make it easier for visually impaired attendees to see your slides.

6. Record the session.

When hosting a webinar, you may only have a percentage of your registrants attend the live session. Due to scheduling conflicts, many people rely on video recordings to review the sessions they missed.

While it’s not absolutely necessary, it’s a great way to provide value to users who are interested in your brand but are unable to attend live sessions. You can limit access to the recording for a week or two following the live session and add a password to access the footage for added security.

1. Be on time.

Webinars typically follow strict agendas, which means there’s very little room to catch up if you’ve missed a part of the presentation.

To take full advantage of the webinar, be sure to be on time. There is usually a one- to three-minute grace period for attendees to log onto the hosting platform.

To play it safe, join the webinar a few minutes early in case you have trouble logging in. This will give enough time to reach out to the webinar organizer for help. You can also set reminders in the days leading up to the webinar to ensure you’re ready when the event starts.

2. Chat to amplify, not distract.

Think of the “Chat” box in a webinar like a classroom. Except, in this case, you can’t whisper to the person right next to you. Everything you say is loud enough for everyone in the room to hear and engage with.

With that in mind, your input should only be to amplify what the presenter is saying.

For instance, let’s say you’re attending a webinar on email marketing automation. The presenter is explaining the benefits of setting up email sequences once a lead takes a specific action. You could chime in the chat to add how effective that practice has been for your brand.

However, it wouldn’t be so helpful to introduce a conversation about email click-through rates or dive into your experience using a particular automation platform.

As a rule of thumb, if it’s not in line with the presentation, leave it out of the chatroom.

3. Don’t interrupt.

As a presenter, interruptions can really throw you off your game. It disrupts your thought process and it can take you a second to get back on track, no matter how seasoned you are.

Un-muting yourself to add your input should only be done if the presenter has opened the floor to it. As a professional courtesy, do not interrupt the presenter unless they explicitly state it is welcome.

Instead, wait for a call-to-action. The presenter might have a dedicated slide for questions and comments, or they might ask out loud if anyone has anything to add.

4. Avoid self-promotion.

Self-promoting during someone else’s webinar is like blowing out someone else’s birthday candles, it’s in poor taste.

If prompted, it’s appropriate to mention your brand as it relates to the content of the presentation. What you should avoid is attempting to direct other attendees to your brand through your website and social links or other strategies.

By following a few simple steps, you can help create a more positive webinar experience that everyone enjoys.

New Call-to-action

How To Download & Repurpose Your Facebook Live Content

Your brand’s team went on Facebook Live and now the live has ended. Instead of leaving that footage to collect dust in your video library, you can repurpose it.

Think of live content like an item of clothing in your closet. You wouldn’t wear a shirt once and throw it out, right? That’s because you know you can style it in many different ways depending on the look and feel you’re going for.

Free Resource: How to Reach & Engage Your Audience on Facebook

Live content follows the same idea. You may think that once your live Facebook video has ended, it’s no longer usable. But in fact, you can use that same video to produce 10 more pieces of content. It’s all about reframing it to fit your goals.

With that in mind, let’s dive into how to download your live videos on Facebook and extend their shelf life.

Can you download Facebook Live videos?

Yes, you can download Facebook Live videos but only on a computer. Facebook does not currently allow users to download their live videos to their phones or other mobile devices.

The first thing you can do after downloading your video is share it on your timeline for followers who may have missed the live session. You can then use a transcription app, like Descript, to get a written version of the content, adding to your audio and visual formats. From there, you can brainstorm ways to extend the video’s shelf life.

The main benefit of repurposing live content is saving time and money.

“Live can be a great way for businesses who are light on resources to make video content. While lives can be complicated, they can also be as simple as a person in front of a camera,” says Kelly Hendrickson, social media marketing manager at HubSpot. “The biggest benefit of a live is the low cost and low production needs.”

You can save a lot on production costs by re-using past footage and building from it instead of starting from scratch.

Tips On Repurposing Your Facebook Live Content

1. Don’t force it.

Repurposing content only works if it’s valuable to your audience.

Hendrickson highlights that the question to ask when repurposing any content is, “Is this valuable to my audience?” With live content, there’s a second layer to it. You now have to ask if live content is the most effective way for your audience to get this value.

“There is a balance between providing value in the most digestible way and creating content in a sustainable way for your business,” she says. “If your audience could take the value easier in a still image or a quick text post, that will be a better option.”

She also adds that before you decide to use the live content to create another video, dig into your data.

“If the answer isn’t video, don’t force it because the algorithms won’t give you brownie points for putting your best effort forward,” Hendrickson says. “They are going to serve your audience what performs best for them.”

While you may know where your audience consumes media, they may have different expectations and behaviors on each platform. So, before scheduling that post on social, make sure it aligns with what your audience is looking for.

2. Get usage rights from talent.

Before you start repurposing, make sure your team has gotten prior approval from the talent featured in the live video.

“You often cannot repurpose live content without a contract from the talent who agrees to this, either going into the live record or after the fact,” says Jamee Sheehy, director of video at HubSpot. “If someone has agreed to one live piece of content and then there’s 20 different cut downs of it from Instagram to YouTube, that’s not a good thing, you need to agree on usage.”

The contract should include the following details:

  • The timeframe of the usage – Usage rights can range anywhere from one to 12 months.
  • Where the content will be repurposed – Brands will need to specify if the content will be used for organic social media posts, paid social campaigns or on digital marketing channels.

Once you have these details ironed out, it’s important to share them with your marketing team to ensure compliance across all channels.

3. Create a blog post.

One of the best ways to repurpose live Facebook videos is by creating blog posts from the key points discussed during the live.

For instance, let’s say Bike World sells bicycles and hosts a live with an influencer known for their outdoor adventures. Let’s say you mainly discussed bikepacking tips, biking communities and the best biking trails in the world during the live. You can take each topic and turn it into a blog post for your audience, including quotes from that influencer.

You could also include a video and/or audio snippets in the article to add more depth to your posts.

4. Get snippets for social media.

Just because your live video was originally on Facebook doesn’t mean it has to stay there.

You can reformat your content to fit on other platforms where your audience lives, like Instagram or TikTok. Instead of reposting the full video, take snippets of the best moments from the video.

“During a live, you’re there for the live feel, the random trailing off topics, the moments. Find the substance of the talk and edit to those,” said Sheehy. “Once you make an edit out of that, add graphics to fill out the story if something got lost in translation, or to add something that wasn’t talked about in the live.”

One thing to keep in mind when repurposing content on other platforms is formatting. You want to make sure you adapt the video frame to the platform so it fits the screen accordingly. For instance, the dimensions for Facebook Live videos are different from those on Instagram Reels. As such, you’ll need to create a platform-specific version.

You may also need to adapt the content for the platform. While a video snippet with cool graphics may work well for a short TikTok video, that approach may not work so well on Twitter. For that platform, it may be better to write out a stand-out quote from the video instead, as it’s a text-heavy app.

To generate the best results, you’ll have to adapt the content to the platform.

5. Use the audio for a podcast.

What better way to use audio than incorporate it into a podcast? It’s one of the most popular ways people are consuming information these days.

While your video may not work well as a full podcast episode, you can use snippets from the video to include in your podcast series. For instance, if you interviewed someone in your live video and your podcast series has an interview segment, it could be a great way to integrate that audio.

However, if the audio from your live isn’t so great or the conversation relies heavily on visual elements, a podcast may not be appropriate.

6. Upload to YouTube.

If you want your live video to be easily accessible to your audience for a long time, upload the video to YouTube.

Similar to social media, it allows those who are newly introduced to your YouTube channel to freely explore your past content. They’ll also get to enjoy the off-the-cuff feel that you only get through live videos.

Keep in mind that YouTube has strict copyright rules. If your live video features music or other content not permitted under fair use laws, you may have to edit that out of your video before uploading it.

In most cases, it’s best to plan out what content you will repurpose before you start your live video. That will give you direction on what to cover during your live to maximize the material you’ll get to use on other platforms.

Facebook Strategy Guide

Are Blogs Dead in 2021? We Asked 10 Marketing Experts

It seems we all have an obsession with killing things off.

Every couple of years, we revisit something and place it on the chopping block. In the new millennium, we had the Y2K computer scare. In 2012, we feared the world would end and we would all just poof. When technology took a more important role in our lives, we assumed all print publications would go bankrupt. Now, with the rise of video and podcasts, it’s blogging’s turn to feel the heat.

→ Download Now: 6 Free Blog Post Templates

I reached out to marketers with backgrounds in product marketing, SEO, YouTube, podcasting, and more and asked them, “Are Blogs dead? ” Here’s what they said.

In all fairness, this question surrounding blogs is not without reason. Google Trends shows that in the last five years, the interest in blogs has steadily declined worldwide.

Google Trends blog report

Image Source

In the U.S. within the same five-year span, podcasts have risen in popularity and surpassed blogs in searches.

Google Trends podcast vs blog reportImage Source

However, marketers still consider blogging a top marketing channel. Ross Simmonds, a B2B marketer and the founder of the content marketing agency Foundation, says blogging has helped his clients triple their traffic and accelerate their sales close rates.

“At Foundation, blogging with intent has helped us generate millions of dollars in the pipeline for both us and our clients,” says Simmonds. “It’s also armed us with the ability to elevate our brand’s position in the market and, most importantly, truly help others in our industry learn and unlock new opportunities.”

With that said, the blogging landscape has changed over the years. Lisa Toner, director of content at HubSpot, says it’s not enough to just have a blog nowadays.

“You need to consistently create content that is more valuable than your competition’s content. You need to be an SEO expert to get your articles ranking on page one of Google, and you need a distribution strategy to promote your content across all the channels your audience likes to consume content on,” says Toner. “It’s a lot more complex to win at blogging now, but if you can master it, it’s worth the investment.”

Transparency is a bigger responsibility, especially as social justice becomes more important to consumers.

“You need to think about how people see your brand compared to your competition. Everyone has their own unique selling position (USP) and what they want to put forward, but what users do is compare,” says Sandra Mpouma, head of digital marketing at RationalFX. “So, in terms of business strategy, create loyalty, trust, [and] be transparent and competitive, which is very important nowadays.”

Blogs vs. Other Marketing Channels

Now that other content marketing channels – namely video and podcasting – have surpassed blogs, will blogs soon become redundant? Well, it all depends on the user personas you’re targeting. But even as other platforms grow, blogs still offer many advantages.

“Podcasting is not without its own set of limitations. There are plenty of discoverability and audience growth challenges. At this point, blogs have a pretty well-dusted playbook for scaling. That’s not true for podcasts,” says Matthew Brown, senior podcast producer at HubSpot. “A company can use its likely limited resources to invest in a blog that will basically give consistent, easily measurable, and reliable performance. Blogs also have a direct line to the company’s bottom dollar, podcasts do not.”

Nelson Chacon, principal marketing manager for YouTube at HubSpot, highlights that there’s no reason to choose between two platforms if your team has the bandwidth to tackle both. If it aligns with your user personas, you can engage your audience from several angles.

“Creating a blog constructed of articles around the benefits of your product will be helpful. Having a video showcasing its use or how to install it would be beneficial for your audience,” says Chacon. “Home Depot has done a fantastic job of doing this. While they inform and educate their customers on their products, they also add a quick ‘how-to’ for the more knowledgeable person who just needs a short answer explained in a video.”

As for social media, Annabelle Nyst, a senior content strategist who focuses on social media initiatives at HubSpot, says it’s hard to compare it to blogs as each platform serves different purposes.

“Social content doesn’t always have the shelf life or the discoverability of blog posts,” says Nyst. “It’s more about consistently meeting your audience where they are, in the right moments, engaging with them one-on-one, and establishing trust via community building.”

She adds that social media can be a great way to amplify your blog posts. And vice versa, blog posts can serve as inspiration for social content. If using both, Nyst recommends pulling the most compelling points from your blog posts, creating social-first content, and using it to drive traffic back to your blog.

With all that said, blogs don’t come without their disadvantages. AJ Beltis, a content and acquisition manager at HubSpot, mentions the high drop-off rates often seen in blog posts.

“Blogs lack the interactivity that many crave due to its nature as written content,” says Beltis. “This challenges blog writers to hook their readers in a few short sentences without having the benefit of special effects or audio engineers available to their video and podcast creating counterparts.”

What it often comes down to is your brand goals and which channels will help you meet them. Podcasts, for example, are better for branding while blogs serve better for top-of-the-funnel engagement.

“Blog posts are an acquisition juggernaut. There’s a clear path that any seasoned marketer can follow. Podcasts, however, best serve as a brand opportunity,” says Brown. “You wouldn’t measure a series of blog posts on their brand uplift ability, just like you wouldn’t measure a podcast show’s lead generation. That is unless you like gray hairs and a serious lack of sleep.”

Why Blogs are Still Impactful

From an investment perspective, blogs may be a better long-term investment for lead generation.

“I could spend $200K to hire a full-time writer, SEO expert, and conversion rate optimization (CRO) specialist to work on my blog. By combining those skill sets, I’m going to be able to create a blog that drives organic traffic to my website and converts it into leads for my business all year long,” says Toner. “Or, I could put the same $200K into an advertising campaign and maybe get a couple thousand leads over the course of the ad campaign. But once the campaign ends, so does my lead flow.”

Toner adds that the majority of HubSpot’s blog-generated leads come from older blog posts. This means that blogging can be a great lead source long after posts are published. Aja Frost, who leads the English SEO team at HubSpot, echoes this sentiment.

“Organic traffic is more important than ever. Unlike paid traffic, which stops coming in the second your budget runs out, organic traffic is mostly self-sustaining after you’ve put in the time and effort to create a blog post,” she says.

She adds that most content management systems (CMS) have SEO tools integrated into their platforms, which makes it easier to optimize your posts.

Blogging can also be valuable in shaping a brand’s product positioning.

“Blogs are still one of the best channels we have to create narratives around our product,” says HubSpot Product Marketing Manager Alex Girard. “They offer us the opportunity to address trends we see in the market, how those trends impact the reader, and how our product might be able to help them meet that trend successfully. They’re also great for telling customer success stories.”

He adds that when using your blog to market your product, the content doesn’t have to be promotional. When you establish yourself as a thought leader and gain trust from your audience, they will organically look into your products and services.

With that said, it’s going to take more than good content to have a successful blog.

“Growth without a goal isn’t going to help your business – if 10,000 people are reading your blog, but none of them fit your persona, that’s not going to do anything for your company,” says HubSpot’s Senior Blog Manager Karla Cook. “Focus on something attainable, like generating new contacts, and make sure every post you’re putting out has that goal in mind.”

She adds that one of the biggest mistakes brands make is creating content only for people at the decision-making stage. With so many stages between reading a blog and making a purchase, marketers should have posts geared at users in every stage with corresponding offers. Learn more about that through HubSpot’s business blogging course.

From an SEO perspective, brands may also struggle with generating traffic because they’re thinking blog first, link building second.

“What I often notice is that marketers see ‘blogging’ and ‘link building’ as two different disciplines. First, they write the blog posts, then they think about how to earn backlinks to them,” says Irina Nica, a senior marketing manager at HubSpot who works on product awareness through outreach initiatives. “Instead, they should include linkable assets into their regular content calendar, alongside other types of articles that are maybe designed for generating organic or social media traffic.”

Despite the many benefits we’ve gone over, blogging isn’t always the best strategy for every brand. Why? Well, what if your ideal user persona doesn’t read blogs? What if they prefer emails instead?

“Some brands have great email communication and workflows where they provide people with downloadable offers where they don’t have to go somewhere else to get the information, it’s just in their inbox straight away,” says Mpouma. “You don’t necessarily need a blog as long as you’re offering something in exchange. I think the blog has always been that: Offer something for free in exchange for that user interaction.”

So, in that case, blogs wouldn’t exactly be dead, more so irrelevant.

Why Marketing Isn’t Dead

Looking at things from a broader perspective, blogs are just an extension of marketing. Some have suggested that marketing is dead, which makes marketers like me wonder if there’s something we don’t know.

Based on recent data, marketing is still influential. And that applies to both traditional strategies and digital initiatives. Statista reported that in 2019, content marketing generated over $42 billion in revenue worldwide.

“There’s a reason why Nike and McDonalds continue to invest millions every month in marketing even though they’re already household names. There’s a reason why the top musicians and artists still do promotion prior to their latest album release,” says Simmonds. “Marketing isn’t to be seen as just an expense. It’s an investment. And if you make an investment that is rooted in a strategic plan — that investment should return dividends for years (maybe decades) to come.”

The key takeaway is that while not all marketing tactics work for every brand, it’s unlikely that blogs will stop being valuable to brands in the foreseeable future. So for now, blogs, you can rest and step off the chopping block.

SMS Templates for Marketing Sales and Service