101 Blog Post Ideas to Refresh Your Content Marketing Strategy

When you have an active website, consistently coming up with blog ideas can be a challenge. So, what do you do when it feels like you’ve written about everything under the sun?

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Even the most seasoned marketers could use an occasional brainstorming boost. If you need inspiration, here are 101 of the best blog post ideas for your content marketing strategy.

Table of Contents

Blog Post Ideas

Multimedia Blog Post Ideas

Multimedia blog posts focus on using a piece of media — whether that’s a video, a podcast, or a graphic — to tell a story or share information.

The key to success with this type of blog post is to make it shareable. Whichever multimedia element you choose to include, make sure it’s original and branded so that when it gets shared, people will connect it back to your company.

1. Write a listicle blog post using GIFs that your readers can relate to.

2. Create an interactive quiz, such as “Which type of marketer are you?” or “How well do you know [insert topic]?”

blog post ideas, startup marketing quizImage Source

3. Recap your latest company event with photos and/or videos.

4. Share a video product demo.

5. Create a branded graphic that demonstrates your process or strategy.

6. Make a video that highlights your industry and write a post about it.

best blog ideas, HubSpot marketing post about SEO featuring a video.

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7. Start a podcast and transcribe each episode into blog posts.

8. Record an interview with a customer and conduct a corresponding write-up.

9. Upload a photo diary of how your company celebrates culture.

10. Create an infographic about industry best practices or trends.

blog ideas, HubSpot sales blog revenue infographic

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Data-Driven Blog Post Ideas

Data-driven blog posts rely on data and industry insights to make a point. While this information can be sourced from other brands or industry reports, using original data to demonstrate your company’s role in the space can result in more unique blog posts.

11. “We Asked X Experts About [insert topic]; Here Are Their Best Tips.”

12. Survey industry professionals to gather data on their challenges/processes/tools/best practices, and share the results in a blog post.

blog ideas, HubSpot’s state of marketing report

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13. Make an infographic about your analytics and break down the pros and cons of each.

14. Research the most important statistics for your industry and compile a comprehensive list.

15. Break down your blog traffic and explain how you generated it for each channel.

16. Share the best apps your team uses to get work done.

17. Make a list of the best tools for your industry.

best blog ideas, HubSpot’s blog post with sales analytics tools

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18. Explain your company’s knowledge base and why it matters.

19. Do an in-depth case study about your customers and examine the results.

20. Research your customers’ favorite products and share the results.

21. “Here Are X Stats Every [Role] Should Know.”

Community Engagement Blog Post Ideas

If you are part of a niche or local community, then these blog ideas are for you. Community engagement topics are a way to spotlight key players doing great things in an effort to boost company culture, brand loyalty, or employee morale.

22. Spotlight local leaders or companies in your field.

23. Interview a local business owner.

24. Create a survey about your area’s business ecosystem and share the key findings.

25. Highlight user-generated content.

26. Spotlight a client and share a story about their business.

27. Share real-life examples of your product use cases.

28. Spotlight employee stories to inspire your audience.

blog ideas, interview with Figma developer Gavin McFarland

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29. Ask for guest posts from community members.

30. Run a product or service giveaway for readers.

31. Throw a community-based event and recap it on the blog.

blog ideas, Pokemon Go community event

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Instructional (Guides and How-to) Blog Post Ideas

A common blog post category for B2B and B2C companies that want to improve their SEO is how-to posts. These types of blog posts explain how to do something or answer a question readers are searching for.

To get more insight into what questions or topics your customers are searching for online, look up a search term relevant to your blog and look at the “People Also Ask” section of the search results. You can then use these questions to help guide your blog strategy.

The “People Also Ask” search results for the term “Instagram Reels” on Google.

32. A list of “musts” for a career in your field.

33. Interview an industry heavy-hitter about their tips for businesses.

34. Post a series on how to land a job in [your industry].

unique blog ideas, TechTarget article on how to get a job in cybersecurity

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35. Write a roundup about “X Things I Wish I Knew When I First Started.”

36. How to gain the right skill set to advance in your career.

37. The hardest part of your job — and how you tackle that.

38. Tips to handle burnout.

39. Write an ultimate guide.

40. Create pillar pages, or topic pages that link to a variety of other articles on the same subject.

41. Bust common myths about your field.

42. Demo how to use a specific social media channel.

unique blog ideas, HubSpot post on how to use Tiktok

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43. Write about how to properly research and collect data for reports.

44. Recommend the best tools for completing daily tasks related to your product or industry.

45. Share the benefits of a current trend your company has mastered.

46. Answer the top questions people have about your industry.

47. Break down how to write a blog post using your own blog as an example.

Multichannel Integration Blog Post Ideas

Your company’s blog is just one channel for your marketing strategy. For blog ideas that focus on multichannel integration, the key is to share the marketing methods you use on your other channels like email and social media.

48. Discuss top social media trends.

blog ideas, HubSpot post on top social media trends

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49. Explain how your most recent Instagram Live session engaged your audience.

50. Rank the top-performing social media channels for your brand.

51. Dive into a social network’s latest update.

52. Explain how you use Instagram Reels to grow your engagement.

53. Spotlight a brand killing it among multiple social channels.

54. Share the best Twitter threads you’ve seen about your industry.

55. Share a breakdown of your best-performing email campaign and why it worked.

56. Discuss how your brand uses LinkedIn to connect with your community.

57. Share your top social media analytics services and explain why they’re great.

58. Break down the most important email marketing metrics using examples from your own email campaigns.

59. Explain how video channels like YouTube or TikTok can be an asset to your business.

blog ideas, Hootsuite post on YouTube tactics

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60. Take a stance on a recent blog post from your favorite news-sharing site.

61. Round up recent news in your industry.

62. Share snippets from your company’s ebook in a roundup.

Thought Leadership Blog Post Ideas

Thought leadership content is used to demonstrate your company’s expertise in a certain topic or industry. These types of blog posts should establish credibility and position your brand as a trusted resource with a unique perspective.

63. Describe what your mission statement means to you.

64. Dive into how a company boosted its blog traffic exponentially.

65. Break down what an ideal company culture would look like.

66. Write about ways your company is focusing on diversity and inclusion.

Blog ideas, diversity and inclusion report form Adobe

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67. Based on trends from the past year, what are your predictions for the industry’s future?

68. Come up with a list of company outings for remote teams/employees.

69. Describe how your team combats burnout and provide helpful tips to avoid it.

70. Create a list of industry trends to keep an eye on.

71. Compare and contrast different topics about marketing, business, or your industry, such as different types of advertising.

72. Post a recap of breaking industry news.

blog ideas, Loadsmart’s bi-weekly news recap

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Content Marketing Blog Post Ideas

While almost everything on your blog is considered content marketing, these specific types of blog posts help market your company by giving readers a glimpse into your product, processes, and team.

73. Develop a blog post series dedicated to your company’s FAQs.

74. Invite an industry leader to contribute their expertise as a guest blogger.

75. Curate an office playlist and share the tracklist.

blog ideas, HubSpot’s motivational song playlist

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76. Profile a team member to showcase the company culture.

77. Interview a customer and share their results.

78. Repurpose a case study into a blog post.

79. Repurpose a white paper or guide into a blog post series.

80. Write about your day-to-day workflow.

81. Have your team share their favorite ways to use your product.

82. Share key takeaways from a recent industry conference you or your team attended.

83. Explain the ways content marketing has helped your company meet its business goals.

84. Post a “Year-in-Review” about lessons learned throughout the year and how to apply them to the year ahead.

85. A roundup of your most popular blog posts.

blog ideas, Common Places most popular blog posts of 2021

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86. A roundup of ways your team conducts successful content marketing.

Miscellaneous/Fun Blog Post Ideas

Who says your blog has to be buttoned up all the time? Show off your brand’s personality with these fun blog post ideas.

87. Share photos or videos from your team’s recent travels.

88. Curate a list of quotes.

89. Give an office tour.

90. List of books that inspire professionals in your industry.

Blog ideas, HubSpot book recommendations for marketers

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91. “What has changed about our workflow habits over the years?”

92. Compile a list of weekly/monthly aspirations.

93. Break down your favorite historic moment in your industry.

94. Embrace popular holidays and make a themed post about them.

95. Explain common acronyms in your workplace or industry.

96. Start a series where remote team members share their daily work routines.

blog ideas, CEO shares her work-from-home routine

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97. Give a short history of your company.

98. A peer-curated list of hobbies outside of work.

99. Share highlights from a recent industry conference you or your team attended.

100. Examine a recent movie trailer and how its marketing should be noted.

101. Come up with a staff bonding event and recap how it went.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day of your industry, which means it’s also easy to run into the same types of blog posts. Blogs are important for SEO and lead generation, so picking the “right” topics is a crucial step in marketing planning.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published prior to 2017 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

The Top Marketing Channels, And How They’ll Change in 2023 [+Data]

The movie Field of Dreams famously claims, “If you build it, they will come.” Unfortunately, this passive approach is just not true for content marketing. The marketing channels you use to distribute content are just as important as the content itself.

Download Now: Free State of Marketing Report [Updated for 2022]

Marketing channels are the different tools or platforms you use to reach your target audience. By understanding the different values of specific marketing channels, you will be able to form a content distribution plan that fits your audience.

The Hubspot Blog surveyed more than 1,000 global marketing professionals in the B2B and B2C space to discover which marketing channels are being used by businesses today.

Read more to see how you can amplify your reach and increase revenue, while also prioritizing your current customers.

marketing channels, websites, blogs, email marketing, video marketing, and social media

Top B2B Marketing Channels

The landscape of B2B marketing is changing. If your team is using old data, you’re already falling behind.

In a 2022 HubSpot survey of over 1,200 marketers, more than 80% said that marketing has changed more in the last three years than in the last 50 years.

marketing channel data, marketing has changed more in the past three years than in the past 50, 78% agree, 17% neither agree nor disagree, 5% disagree

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In 2023, the top channels used by B2B marketers will be social media, websites, blogs, and email marketing.

Short-form videos and influencer marketing are top marketing channels that businesses plan to invest more time and resources into in 2023.

Marketing channels data, which marketing trend to marketers plan to invest the most in for 2023? Short form video, 8%. Influencer marketing, 6%. SEO, 5%.

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Social media is likely a top digital marketing channel because of LinkedIn. In the B2B landscape, LinkedIn offers a great platform for interacting with business-minded people. LinkedIn is also fifth as the most effective platform to use, with a 14% ROI.

Of the B2B marketers surveyed, 41% predict that their budgets will increase in 2023, giving more wiggle room for investing in new channels.

B2B marketers will likely focus significant effort on website and blogging channels because buyers often rely on websites before making purchasing decisions.

Websites also offer vital content sources for prospects, and SEO is how B2B marketers plan to attract their ideal customers.

Keyword strategy can be time-consuming but also relatively low-cost when creating organic content. People make nearly 97,105 searches on Google per second, meaning SEO has significant implications for advertising.

Email or newsletters are a powerful channel for B2B marketers to leverage. Email marketing helps brands share educational information with customers.

This strategy has also proven effective. In 2023, 32% of marketers reported that they will leverage email marketing to engage potential customers.

A targeted email campaign can also be automated, letting marketers focus their energy elsewhere. When sending emails, subscriber segmentation and message personalization are the most effective strategies.

In 2023, you can expect B2B marketers to continue their investments in blogs and email marketing while also increasing investments in social media platforms.

Top B2C Marketing Channels

B2C marketers invest in top channels as B2B marketers, but the order is different: social media and email marketing come first, then websites and blogs.

B2C marketing is usually focused on offering enjoyable content and quick wins, while B2B marketing focuses on long-lasting relationships with customers. 51% of B2C marketers expect their budget to grow in 2023, a jump from 44% last year.

Focusing on social media makes sense. As of 2022, there were roughly 4.74 billion social media users around the world, according to analysis from Kepios. That equates to 59.3% of the total global population.

So, B2C customers are most likely to engage on social media. For 2023, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are among the highest social media investments for B2C brands.

marketing channels data, what social media platforms are marketers leveraging? Facebook, B2C 67% and B2B 58%. Instagram, B2C 60% and B2B 53%. Youtube, B2C 58% and B2B 53%. Twitter, B2C 44% and B2B 40%. TikTok, B2C 44% and B2B 39%. LinkedIn, B2B 30% and B2C 39%.

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Email marketing may just mean newsletters, but it can also be used for B2C content such as personalized communication, time-sensitive notifications (like product launches or sales), and cart abandonment email reminders.

Email is also an owned media channel, meaning nobody is dictating when, how, and why you can contact your prospects. However, keep in mind that customers will unsubscribe from oversaturation.

Blogging and websites can be used together to generate brand awareness, drive traffic, convert leads, and, most importantly, establish your authority.

Of the B2C marketers surveyed, 36% already use websites and blogs to connect with customers, and that is likely to increase in the coming year.

When you create your blogs with SEO tactics in mind, you’re even more likely to meet your marketing needs, as you’ll surface in SERPs when customers make queries related to your business content.

SEO ranked third as the most effective marketing channel to leverage in 2023.

Omni-Channel Marketing

Leveraging a single marketing channel with one strategy no longer works. In fact, HubSpot research shows that 92% of marketers leverage more than one channel. In 2022, 81% leverage more than three.

Marketing channel data. How many marketing channels do marketers leverage on average? Five 10%, four 14%, three 34%, two 11%, one 8%

“100% of the companies we worked with that grew focused on omnichannel marketing and continually expanded,” writes Neil Patel, CMO and co-founder of NP Digital. This diversified approach helps teams stay agile and pivot when certain platforms become oversaturated.

A common omni-channel approach that B2C companies leverage is content repurposing. HubSpot found that 82% of social media marketers repurpose content across various social channels.

This creates continuity with brand messaging while also reducing the amount of work content creators will need to engage on many different marketing channels.

Video Marketing

If you’ve yet to get started in video marketing, now is the time. Video can boost conversions, improve ROI, reach new audiences, and help you build relationships with current customers. Video is the top media format marketers leverage for their strategies.

When creating video, short-form content takes the cake for both B2B and B2C marketers. In the age of TikTok, many social media brands are rewarding content creators who make short-form video content that encourages viewers to stay on the app longer.

Marketers plan to increase investments in the strategy for 2023, with 29% of marketers planning to leverage this strategy for the first time.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is when businesses partner with a relevant, popular creator in their industry to put out advertisements or specific pieces of content.

Influencers can generate brand awareness by providing a familiar face, personality, as well as social proof.

Consumers trust marketers less and less, shying away from lead-generating content.

Influencers can combat this mistrust by being personable and sharing common interests. In the tech age, influencers might even be the closest thing to word-of-mouth marketing.

One study from TopRank Marketing found that 86% of B2B brands are successful with influencer marketing. A nice bonus is a return on investment (ROI) for influencer marketing, with every dollar spent totaling $5.78 ROI in 2021.

Influencer marketing will see significant growth in 2023, HubSpot found, with 17% of marketers planning to invest in it for the first time. Of marketers already using this tactic, 89% of marketers using it will increase or maintain their investment next year.

Search Engine Optimization

Successful optimization can bring in traffic and increase conversions by positioning you as an authority.

All your web content needs search engine optimization. That includes your YouTube channels, Google business profile, and even podcast episodes should be optimized using target keywords.

To build a thriving organic presence online, consider implementing the pillar-cluster model into your blog (35% of B2B and 59% of B2C marketers report it as an effective strategy).

By doing this, you’ll create a single pillar page that provides a high-level overview of a topic and hyperlinks to cluster pages that delve into the topic’s subtopics, signaling to Google that your pillar page is an authority on the topic.

Additional SEO tactics that marketers effectively use include search insights reports, optimizing photos or videos for visual search engines, and optimizing load speed.

Podcast Marketing

As of 2020, 55% of the U.S. population aged 12 and above listens to podcasts, and 37% listened in the last month for an average of six hours per week. Audio content is in demand, so it’s worth considering as a platform to reach your audience.

Podcast Stats: 82% of marketers plan to continue investing in audio content

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Podcast hosts can also serve as your brand-specific influencer, demonstrating the human side of your business.

The passive listening of a podcast makes it an ideal platform for reaching people during their morning commute, while walking their dog, or cleaning the house.

Featured Resource: How To Start a Podcast For Your Business

Storytelling is an excellent way to capture your audience’s attention while also making your brand more personable.

The human brain is programmed to crave, seek out, and respond to a well-crafted narrative — that’ll never change. Check out this blog on how to include more storytelling in your content.

Only 1 in 3 marketers reported leveraging podcasts or other audio content in their strategies, but 53% of those that do say that it is the most effective media format they use.

In 2023, podcasts will see the 2nd highest investment, second only to video. In fact, 10% of marketers said they would invest more in audio content than any other media format.

Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Trusting a brand is more important than ever. As of 2020, 70% of consumers say it influences their purchase decisions. Consequently, paid content is trusted less and less as online content becomes oversaturated.

Marketers need to earn the trust of consumers by relying on customer recommendations and word-of-mouth marketing.

Actual consumers are more effective in earning trust than marketers who obviously have agendas. Customers will typically only rave about a product or service if it actually benefits them.

People trust other consumers over marketers because marketers always have their eyes on the bottom line.

Word-of-mouth marketing is more than just face-to-face conversations. For example, satisfied customers will post about your brand online, tell their roommates they like your service, and leave positive reviews on your product pages.

Only one of those examples involves an actual, in-person conversation, but they all include consumers vouching for your brand’s credibility.

Word-of-mouth marketing, at its core, requires you to create a truly magical and converting customer experience. Focus on offering top-notch customer service and going above and beyond for your customers to leverage this channel.

What Now?

Now that you know the stats behind different marketing channels, consider how you might reach your audience in a new way or perhaps even reach a new audience.

Different marketing channels bring various benefits, but most businesses can find a way to use different channels in their marketing strategies to meet business goals.

Using different channels creates multiple points of contact, nurturing your leads and increasing conversions. Remember that a customer likely came into contact with your brand at least seven times before taking action.

By contacting them on different channels, you can expedite this process and reach your 2023 marketing goals.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in Dec. 2021 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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5 Things Gen Z Will Spend Money On & Why Marketers Need to Care

With a purchasing power of more than $340 billion, Gen Z is expected to shake up the retail industry.

Although many in Gen Z are earning their first paychecks, entering college, or just joining the workforce, studies show that the generation shops and spends money much differently than its millennial predecessor.

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While millennials and past generations were more loyal to brands, Gen Z is more interested in buying products that will give them the best value based on their price. Gen Zers also admit to being more impulsive in their shopping habits than older generations.

A Breakdown of Generation Z’s Spending Habits

When it comes to the total share of spending, Gen Z accounts for an estimated five percent in the U.S., according to Afterpay’s 2021 Next Gen Index. However, that number is expected to grow by 10% by 2030, as most will enter the workforce.

With every age group, generation Z’s spending habits declined at the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak. However, the Afterpay report reveals that Gen Z recovered faster than older generations.

So what are they doing right now? Well, they’re shopping more online — and we’ve got the data to prove it.

2022 U.S. Consumer Trends Report Hubspot data

To learn more about the latest purchasing habits between generations, download our free 2022 U.S. Consumer Trends Report

Online shopping allows Gen Z to discover products from new or small companies they wouldn’t find in person.

Gen Z is leading the trend, with 74% of those 18-24 choosing mobile first for shopping. The number one place Gen Z lives online is YouTube. It’s where they spend their time but also where nearly half (47%) research products they’re interested in purchasing, according to the report. Instagram comes next, followed by Snapchat, then TikTok.

Additionally, this generation is most passionate about buying products from brands that align with their values. We found that 45% of Gen Z have boycotted a business, and 36% enjoy buying products that display their social and political beliefs. Gen Z has the most affirmative opinion on the matter: 51% agree with companies taking a stance. A recent Forbes interview by Jeff Fromm and Arizona University students perfectly captured this sentiment.

Forbes interview reflecting younger generations and their values when choosing between competitors

Another thing we can expect from Gen Z is their reliance on influencers to recommend products.

According to our data, influencer recommendations win out for Gen Z, with 55% of that generation surveyed saying recommendations from influencers are one of the most important factors in their purchase decision. Across generations, only 30% consider influencer recommendations as one of the most critical factors in their purchase decisions.

To help brands market to Gen Z when they reach full purchasing power, here’s what we expect them to invest in over the next year.

5 Things Gen Z Will Spend Money On

generation z spending habits what gen z is willing to spend money on

According to a 2021 Consumer Culture Report by 5WPR, Gen Z is prioritizing electronics, technology, health, and wellness.

Conversely, Millennials and those from older generations prioritize travel and experiences, home goods, and furniture.

Based on additional research, we also found that Gen Z pays special attention to small businesses. They are also willing to wait for a good discount before purchasing and take advantage of buy-now-pay-later purchasing options.

Let’s dive into each category below.

1. Electronics and Technology

Gen Z occasionally splurges on technological experiences, such as video games, that help them have fun. In fact, Newzoo reports there will be 2.95 billion gamers worldwide by the end of 2022 — with a steady growth average of 5.6% year-on-year (YoY) increase.

While you might worry that Gen Z isn’t worth marketing to because they won’t splurge on your products, this age group certainly can be persuaded to make larger purchases that offer fun experiences or improve their daily lives.

But, even though they will invest in higher-priced products, Gen Z will still need thorough convincing before pulling out their wallets. It’s vital for brands targeting Gen Z to create content demonstrating why the age group needs their product, how the product could solve daily boredom or woes, and why it’s better than a competitor’s.

For example, although some consumers might consider Fitbit fitness trackers frivolous, this brand does a great job explaining why its product can be a necessary tool to use within a fitness routine.

what things gen z will spend money on: fitbit fitness tracker

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On social media, Fitbit gives facts about why walking and cardio – two activities the bracelet can track – are important to health. And in a November blog post, Fitbit more deeply connected its product to health needs by discussing how its reporting software could help people communicate better with their doctors.

While Fitbit doesn’t claim its product is necessary for health, the brand shows audiences how the product can help them track their fitness needs and progress.

When a pessimistic or budget-conscious Gen-Z member researches Fitbit, they might find its content informative and helpful. From there, if they’re interested in a healthier lifestyle, they might realize that Fitbit is a credible brand that could help them with their fitness needs.

2. Discounted Goods

Eighty percent of Gen Z surveyed in 5WPR’s report say they will wait for an item to go on sale before buying it.

Why is Gen Z so conscientious about their spending habits? Mounting research suggests that the age groups’ thoughts on money link directly to the economic era they were raised in.

While millennials grew up in more stable financial times, most of Gen Z’s earliest memories took place during the U.S. recession. Much of this generation grew up in highly budgeted households or saw how economic troubles impacted their families.

Meanwhile, a large percentage of millennials and those in other age groups can recollect times when their economy was booming.

Organizations, including the Pew Research Center, say these eras have psychologically molded how each generation thinks differently about money. While researchers believe millennials and Gen Z are money conscious, with the goal of avoiding financial instability, millennials are considered to be “more optimistic” about future finances.

As Gen Z ages, studies and purchasing behaviors hint that they haven’t been able to shake their financial instability concerns. Research shows that the offering needs to be so valuable to them that they can justify purchasing and investing in a product or service.

A recent Business Insider report revealed that a logo regarding clothing doesn’t easily persuade Gen Z. In fact, unlike other generations, brand loyalty is one of the last things they think about when making a purchasing decision. What the generation does focus on is price and value.

In the report, a 20-year-old named Amanda Chermin explained, “I can’t afford nicer brands of clothes – I like to save and would rather have money in the bank than be broke.”

Instead of splurging on the hottest brand from New York Fashion Week, the age group is more likely to purchase cheaper clothing that’s either not from a name brand, on clearance, or re-sold.

Or they’ll buy now and pay later (BNPL).

Millennials are the leaders of the BNPL model but Gen Z is growing the fastest, accounting for 14% of users on Afterpay in the U.S.

80% of Gen Zers who use the software spend it on fashion. However, wellness, beauty, and recreation are other top categories.

80% of gen z use buy now pay later model: afterpay index

Although they aren’t loyal to the same stores and brands millennials zoned in on, Gen Z still feels pressure to buy and wear clothing that’s considered good quality or fashionable. Aside from purchasing affordable clothing, the need to look their best has also led to many in Gen Z to invest in clothing rental services or try-before-you-buy shopping experiences.

Although Gen Z is expected to spend less money on clothing than other generations, researchers believe they still feel pressure to look good in front of their peers. These pressures, which might stem from social media, school, work, or social environments, will still drive the age group to clothing stores or ecommerce sites. While retail marketers should expect shifts in spending behaviors from this generation, Gen Z will still buy clothing that looks good on them, is good quality, and is affordable.

The themes related to clothing purchases are important to remember — even if you aren’t marketing clothing products. As we’ve established, Gen Zers are always looking for a good bargain and won’t use just a brand name to justify a purchase.

Regardless of how popular or well-known your brand is, you’ll still need to highlight why your products are better than cheaper versions from competitors.

Although your logo might not persuade Gen Z to buy your product, you can still use authentic brand trust and popularity to your advantage. Although Gen Z is budget-conscious, they also care about what their peers think of them. This means they might still need to splurge on a product, such as a clothing item if they know that people in their age group have it.

If you’re marketing to Gen Z, consider asking popular influencers or happy young adult customers to discuss your product on social media. An authentic product review will not only build a sense of brand trust, but will also show Gen Z audiences that the product is popular and used by people they follow.

From there, a Gen Z member might research or purchase a product simply because it’s more popular or has better reviews than a cheaper alternative.

3. Health and Wellness

Gen Z mental health is an increasingly popular topic because the mental wellness of younger populations will inform healthcare trends, workforce needs, and future generations’ well-being.

Health and wellness is the second-highest category Gen Z spends on, according to 5WPR’s 2021 consumer report mentioned earlier.

This group seems to be the leader in the wellness movement building over the past few years, which promotes awareness surrounding mental health, ethical food sourcing, and other related wellness issues.

For instance, WSL reported that Gen Zers are more likely to use natural remedies than traditional medications, seven points higher than Millennials. They’re also less likely to eat fast food.

The article also highlights how Gen Z invests more (5% to be exact) in wellness than Millennials, a data point reflected in 5WPR’s 2021 Consumer Culture Report.

4. Small Businesses

According to the 2021 Afterpay Next Gen Index, small business spending has increased more than 260% for Gen Z on Afterpay, 80% higher than Millennials.

small business spending has increased more than 260 percent for gen z: afterpay index

This conscious effort likely stems partly from the recent pandemic, as many small businesses struggled to survive. Just look at the growth of Small Business Saturday as an example.

According to our State of Consumer Report, 60% of Gen Zers chose a product based on it being made by a small business in the past three months.

Most were driven by the ability to build a strong bond between consumers and contribute to the local economy.

Another interesting reveal is that consumers are more willing to share their data with small businesses in exchange for discounts and deals. Another caveat is that brands must share how the information will be used.

This is great news for small businesses figuring out how to reach Gen Z consumers. It’s an invitation to be more transparent about your business and not be afraid to show what’s happening behind the scenes.

5. Education

Another key component of generation Z’s spending habits is education.

While millennials are among the most highly educated age groups, Gen Z is on track to have the highest level of education.

In 2020, the Pew Research Center reported that college enrollment is more likely in Gen Zers than Millennials and Gen Xers at a comparable age. They’re also more likely to have a college-educated parent.

At this point, Gen Z’s shown themselves to start saving for college at a much younger age than millennials.

As members of the generation enroll in college or begin to spend their own money, news outlets have predicted and reported bursts in school-related purchases fueled by Gen Z shoppers.

Aside from purchasing supplies, Gen Z is also likely to invest in courses or educational programs to advance their future earnings.

From 2019 to 2020, Gen Z learners watched 50% more hours of educational content on LinkedIn. They spend 12% more time honing hard skills on LinkedIn Learning than the average learner on the platform.

Many researchers believe that Gen Z’s interest in academia is rooted in their need for financial stability. Many in the age group believe that a good education will lead to a great job with high pay.

As a marketer, it’s important to keep Gen Z’s budgeting and educational goals in mind. This generation wants to learn new things, is saving for college, and prioritizes investments that better their future. You’ll need to convince them that your product is worth buying – even when they’re putting most of their money into a college fund.

As you create your product promotions or campaigns, consider how your product could help or benefit the experiences of someone planning for college, college students, or young professionals.

If your product isn’t specifically geared toward education, your campaigns could zone in on how it could improve a college or work-life experience.

For example, if you’re marketing furniture, you could create a promotion highlighting products that fit in an apartment or dorm room. Or, if you market a clothing company, you could highlight clothing items that could be worn in a job interview in a blog post on your website.

Aside from creating content that links your product to career interests or academics, you can also lean into Gen Z’s need to learn new things by developing educational content that teaches audiences about your industry.

After viewing your educational content, audiences might want to learn more about your product and develop a stronger trust in your brand. Later, if they’re interested in buying a product related to your brand’s industry, they might consider your brand first.

If you want to leverage educational content, keep the age range of your audience in mind. While younger members of Gen Z might be primarily interested in B2C brand content due to their college or high-school age, Gen Zers entering internships or the workforce might value educational B2B content that can show them how to get ahead in their industry.

How to Market to Gen Z Based on their Spending Habits

Based on the research noted above, Gen Z is less likely to splurge on frivolous products or brand names. As a marketer, hearing about these mounting studies might make you nervous.

But, in the long run, the consumer trend of putting value first shouldn’t scare or shock you. It should motivate you to ask, “How can I provide better value to my customers?

Although Gen Z might seem more budget-conscious, this doesn’t mean they won’t buy anything from you. Many of your most frugal prospects will still buy, invest in, or splurge on your brand’s offerings if they seem valuable, help them solve pain points, or provide a positive, memorable experience.

Ultimately, bettering your brand, focusing on the customer experience, and promoting positive company reviews will go a long way with Gen Z and all other audiences.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Product Marketing Kit

Blog SEO: How to Search Engine Optimize Your Blog Content

56% of surveyed consumers have made a purchase from a company after reading their blog and 10% of marketers who use blogging say it generates the biggest return on investment. If you’re writing a blog for a business, those stats make blog SEO a pretty big deal.

Even if you’re blogging just for fun, SEO can help you boost your message and connect with more engaged readers.

Download Now: How to Start a Successful Blog [Free Guide]

But what is blog SEO? And how can you optimize your blog for search engines? Get ready for an in-depth exploration into the world of keywords, backlinks, and content optimization.

Start reading, or click a topic below to jump to the section you’re looking for:

What is blog SEO?

Blog SEO is the practice of creating and updating a blog to improve search engine rankings. This approach usually includes keyword research, link building, image optimization, and content writing.

When you optimize your web pages — including your blog posts — you’re making your website more visible to people who are using search engines (like Google) to find your product or service. But does your blog content really help your business organically rank on search engines?

Why does blogging improve search engine optimization?

Google and other search engines use ranking factors to figure out what results come up for each search query. It also decides how to rank those results. Blogging can help you optimize your site for important Google ranking factors like:

Organic Click-Through Rate

Blogging helps you create relevant content for more keywords than other kinds of pages do, which can improve your organic clicks.

For example, a person who clicks on a landing page usually has transactional intent. This means that person is clicking because they’re ready to convert.

But people search online for many different reasons. And a blog has the potential to answer navigational, informational, and transactional search queries. Creating content for more types of search can increase clicks to your pages, which can improve your SEO.

Index Coverage

Google can’t rank a page that it hasn’t indexed. Indexing means a search engine finds content and adds it to its index. Later, the page can be retrieved and displayed in the SERP when a user searches for keywords related to the indexed page.

So, it’s important to create relevant and link-worthy content to encourage Google to crawl your site pages. One way to do this is to constantly add fresh content to your site. A blog gives you a reason to post new content to your site on a regular basis, which encourages more frequent indexing.

Backlinks

When other websites link to pages on your website it shows search engines that your content is useful and authoritative. Backlinks are a sort of peer review system online. If your blog gets backlinks from respected sites, it’s more likely that your website will rank in search results.

Because blog posts are likely to educate or inform users, they tend to attract more quality backlinks.

Internal Links

When you link from one page on your site to another, you’re creating a clear path for users to follow. Internal links can also make it easier for people to find the content on your site they’re looking for. These links also help search engine crawlers figure out the organization of your site.

A blog creates more site pages that you can link to internally. It also gives you a chance to direct site traffic to other pages that can help your users.

For example, say you run a lawn maintenance company and offer lawn mowing services. Someone searching for a lawn mower wouldn’t find your services online because that’s not what they’re looking for (yet).

But say you write blogs about the best lawnmowers, lawn mowing challenges, or pest control for lawns. Those posts make your website easier to find. And if someone looking for lawn mowers decides they want an easier option, they could be a good candidate for your services. You can help them visit other pages on your site through internal links.

These are just a few of the many reasons that blogging is good for SEO. Blogging lets you share useful information with your audience. It can draw new customers and engage current customers. Creating a blog can help you build trust, boost sales and leads, and improve your search engine optimization.

What is blog SEO strategy?

Blog SEO strategy is a comprehensive plan to improve organic search results. This plan might include competitive research, keyword lists, or an optimization proposal.

Search engines make frequent updates. Business goals can change quickly too. But it can take an average of three to six months for a post to rank on Google. Without a strategy, you might find yourself investing in your blog but not seeing a boost in SEO.

A strategy can help you measure whether your ideas and efforts are effective. It can also help you make the most of your team’s time and resources. This post can help you develop your SEO strategy if you’re not sure where to start.

Blog SEO Best Practices

1. Identify the target audience for your blog.

No matter what industry your blog targets, you’ll want to find and speak to the primary audience that will be reading your content. Understanding who your audience is and what you want them to do when they click on your article will help guide your blog strategy.

Blog SEO best practices example: Buyer persona template

Download this Template

Buyer personas are an effective way to target readers using their buying behaviors, demographics, and psychographics. Without this insight, you could be producing grammatically correct and accurate content that few people will click on because it doesn’t speak to them on a personal level.

2. Conduct keyword research.

Now that you’ve selected your target audience and prepared a buyer persona, it’s time to find out what content your readers want to consume. Keyword research can be a heavy task to take on if you don’t begin with a strategy. Therefore, I recommend starting with the topics your blog will cover, then expand or contract your scope from there. For an in-depth tutorial, check out our how-to guide on keyword research.

3. Add visuals.

Search engines like Google value visuals for certain keywords. Images and videos are among the most common visual elements that appear on the search engine results page.

Blog SEO best practices example: Visual example from HubSpot Customer Journey blog

In order to achieve a coveted spot in an image pack or a video snippet, you’ll want to design creative graphics, use original photos and videos, and add descriptive alt text to every visual element within your blog post.

Alt text is a major factor that determines whether or not your image or video appears in the SERP and how highly it appears. Alt text is also important for screen readers so that visually impaired individuals have a positive experience consuming content on your blog site.

4. Write a catchy title.

The title of your blog post is the first element a reader will see when they come across your article, and it heavily influences whether they’ll click or keep scrolling. A catchy title uses data, asks a question, or leads with curiosity to pique the reader’s interest.

According to Coscheduler’s Headline Analyzer, the elements of a catchy title include power, emotional, uncommon, and common words. In the right proportions, these types of words in a blog title will grab your readers’ attention and keep them on the page.

Here’s an example of a catchy title with a Coschedule Headline Analyzer Score of 87:

The Perfect Dress Has 3 Elements According to This Popular Fashion Expert

Coschedule headline analyzer tool analyzing a headline with a score of 87

  • Highlighted in yellow are common words. They’re familiar to the reader and don’t stray too far from other titles that may appear in the SERP.
  • “Expert” is an emotional word, according to Coschedule. In this example, the word expert builds trust with the reader and tells them that this article has an authoritative point of view.
  • Purple words are power words — this means they capture the readers’ attention and get them curious about the topic.
  • Another element in this title is the number three. This signals to the reader that they’ll learn a specific amount of facts about the perfect dress.

5. Include an enticing CTA.

What’s a blog post without a call to action? The purpose of a CTA is to lead your reader to the next step in their journey through your blog. The key to a great CTA is that it’s relevant to the topic of your existing blog post and flows naturally with the rest of the content. Whether you’re selling a product, offering a newsletter subscription, or wanting the reader to consume more of your content, you’ll need an enticing CTA on every blog post you publish.

CTAs come in all types of formats, so get creative and experiment with them. Buttons, hyperlinks, and widgets are some of the most common CTAs, and they all have different purposes. For instance, you should add a bold, visible CTA like a button if you want the reader to make a purchase. On the other hand, you can easily get a reader to check out another blog post by providing a hyperlink to it at the conclusion of the current article.

6. Focus on the reader’s experience.

Any great writer or SEO will tell you that the reader experience is the most important part of a blog post. The reader experience includes several factors like readability, formatting, and page speed. That means you’ll want to write content that’s clear, comprehensive of your topic, and accurate according to the latest data and trends.

Organizing the content using headings and subheadings is important as well because it helps the reader scan the content quickly to find the information they need. Finally, on-page elements like images and videos have an impact on page speed. Keep image file sizes low (250 KB is a good starting point) and limit the number of videos you embed on a single page.

By focusing on what the reader wants to know and organizing the post to achieve that goal, you’ll be on your way to publishing an article optimized for the search engine.

Factors That Affect Blog SEO

Although it’s clear blog content does contribute to your SEO, Google’s many algorithm updates can make publishing the right kind of blog content tricky if you don’t know where to start. Some blog ranking factors have stood the test of time while others are considered “old-school.” Here are a few of the top-ranking factors that can, directly and indirectly, affect blog SEO.

1. Dwell Time

Although dwell time is an indirect ranking factor for Google, it’s a critical factor in the user experience — and we know that user experience is king when it comes to SEO.

Dwell time is the length of time a reader spends on a page on your blog site. From the moment a visitor clicks on your site in the SERP, to the moment they exit the page is considered dwell time.

This metric indirectly tells search engines like Google how valuable your content is to the reader. It makes sense that the longer they spend on the page, the more relevant it is to them.

However, there’s a reason this metric is an indirect indicator for SEO — it’s completely subjective. The search engine algorithms don’t know your content strategy.

Your blog could be focused on short-form content that takes just a minute or two to read. You might also include pertinent information at the beginning of your blog posts to give the best reader experience, which means less time spent on the page.

So yes, dwell time can affect SEO, but don’t manipulate your content to change this metric if it doesn’t make sense for your content strategy. HubSpot allows you to publish quality content with a free blog maker that widens your brand’s reach and grows your audience.

2. Page Speed

We mentioned earlier that visual elements on your blog can affect page speed, but that isn’t the only thing that can move this needle. Unnecessary code and overuse of plugins can also contribute to a sluggish blog site.

Removing junk code can help your pages load faster, thus improving page speed. If you’re not sure how to find and remove junk code, check out HTML-Cleaner. It’s an easy-to-use tool that doesn’t require coding knowledge. It simply shows you the unnecessary code and lets you remove it with the click of a button.

I also recommend taking an inventory of your blog site plugins. Decide which ones you need to keep your blog running day-to-day and which ones were installed as a fix for a temporary issue. Plugins that affect the front end of your site are a threat to page speed, and odds are, you can uninstall more of these plugins than you think to increase your overall site speed.

3. Mobile Responsiveness

More than half of Google’s search traffic in the United States comes from mobile devices. On an individual level, your blog site might follow that same trend. There’s no way around it — optimizing your blog site for mobile is a factor that will affect your SEO metrics.

But what exactly does it mean to optimize a website for mobile? The industry rule of thumb is to keep things simple. Most pre-made site themes these days are already mobile-friendly, so all you’ll need to do is tweak a CTA button here and enlarge a font size there.

Then, keep an eye on how your site is performing on mobile by taking a look at your Google Analytics dashboard and running a mobile site speed test regularly.

4. Index Date

Search engines aim to provide the most relevant and accurate information available. A factor search engines use when determining what’s relevant and accurate is the date a search engine indexes the content.

You might be wondering: Is the date the content was indexed the same as the date it was published?

The answer: yes and no. If a blog post is published for the first time, it’s likely that a Google crawler will index that post the same day you publish it. But content can be backdated for several legitimate reasons, too, like archiving information or updating a sentence or two.

One way to positively affect this SEO factor is to implement a historical optimization strategy. This strategy works well on blogs that have been established for a few years and have a fair amount of content already.

By updating these older posts with new perspectives and data, you’ll be able to significantly impact your blog SEO without creating a lot of net new content. Site crawlers will reindex the page — taking into account the updated content — and give it another opportunity to compete in the SERP. It’s truly a win-win.

5. Recent Data

Recent data, another indirect ranking factor of SEO, should be included in blog posts. Recent data gives visitors relevant and accurate information which makes for a positive reader experience.

When you include a link to a credible site that has original, up-to-date data, you’re telling the search engine that this site is helpful and relevant to your readers (which is a plus for that other site). You’re also telling the search engine that this type of data is in some way related to the content you publish. Over time, your readers will come to appreciate the content which can be confirmed using other metrics like increased time on page or lower bounce rate.

Sign up here to take our free Content Marketing Certification course and learn about content creation, strategy, and promotion.

Pro tip: As a rule of thumb, take time to understand what each of these factors does, but don’t try to implement them all at once. They each serve a specific purpose and should be used to meet a specific SEO goal for your blog. Listen to HubSpot’s Matt Barby and Victor Pan take on this topic in this podcast episode.

HubSpot Podcast episode about SEO featuring Victor Pan and Matt Barby

1. Choose blog topics with keyword research.

Your blog topics should start with your customers’ most important questions and concerns. But if you want those customers to find your content, you need to use the same keywords that they use to find answers. You can find these words with keyword research.

Keyword research can also help you find new topics to write about and grab the interest of new audiences.

As you search for the right keywords for your blog, think about search intent. While some people are searching for your products to use right away, others may be at a different point in the buyer journey. So, it’s a good idea to have a mix of focus keywords.

Keyword tools can help you find and narrow down your list of keywords so that you’re writing the right blogs for your target audience.

2. Write a compelling blog post title.

Writing titles is tough. Many blog writers spend time writing a blog post then quickly add a title when they’re done and hope for the best. But blog titles have a bigger impact than you might think.

First, titles tell your audience what to expect from your post. If your blog title is a smart and catchy question that your post doesn’t answer, you’ll have a lot of unhappy readers.

Next, your blog title is what makes searchers want to read your post. It doesn’t matter how well-written and researched a blog post is if the title doesn’t spark interest.

Title Tag

Finally, titles are essential for blog SEO. This is a place to feature your keywords in an authentic way. Google calls this the “title tag” in a search result.

Be sure to include your keyword within the first 60 characters of your title, which is just about where Google cuts titles off on the SERP. Technically, Google measures by pixel width, not character count. It recently increased the pixel width for organic search results from approximately 500 pixels to 600 pixels, which translates to around 60 characters.

Long title tag? When you have a lengthy headline, it’s a good idea to get your keyword in the beginning since it might get cut off in SERPs toward the end, which can take a toll on your post’s perceived relevance.

In the example below, we had a long title that went over 65 characters, so we placed the keyword near the front.

Search engine result link with a keyword-optimized title

It’s also important to look at the SERP results for your keyword when you’re writing your post titles. This research will help you understand the most popular results for your keywords. It will also give you a better sense of what searchers are hoping to find when they click on your post.

As you write your blog titles, use words that have emotional appeal. You might want to add numbers or statistics to emphasize a point. Avoid salesy language or your post might seem like spam. These title tips offer more advice for creating great blog titles.

3. Outline your blog post with SEO in mind.

If you’re used to writing blog posts from your imagination with a free flow of ideas, blog SEO might sound like a challenge. But anyone can create great SEO writing with a strong outline.

An outline can help you organize your ideas around your target keywords. It can also give you a space to figure out the best spot to include the features that make a blog post great like:

  • Videos
  • Statistics
  • Quotes
  • Internal and external links

The outline is an important creative step where you decide the angle and goal of your blog post. You already have a great post title, so your next step is to outline how your post will cover the topic. You can create a detailed outline or a quick overview, whichever is best for you.

That said, an outline is a great space to write each of your headers. Writing these during your outline can make the process of drafting your blog go more smoothly.

4. Use keywords strategically throughout the blog post.

Now it’s time to incorporate your keywords into your blog post. But where is the best place to include these terms so you rank high in search results?

There are two more essential places where you should try to include your keywords: headers & body and URL.

Headers & Body

Mention your keyword at a normal cadence throughout the body of your post and in the headers. That means including your keywords in your copy, but only in a natural, reader-friendly way. Don’t go overboard at the risk of being penalized for keyword stuffing.

Before you start writing a new blog post, you’ll think about how to incorporate your keywords into your headers and post. That’s a smart idea, but it shouldn’t be your only focus, nor even your primary focus.

Whenever you create content, your primary focus should be on what matters to your audience, not how many times you can include a keyword or keyword phrase in that content.

Focus on being helpful and answering whatever question your customer might’ve asked to arrive on your post. Do that, and you’ll naturally optimize for important keywords, anyway.

URL

Search engines also look at your URL to figure out what your post is about, and it’s one of the first things it’ll crawl on a page.

You have a huge opportunity to optimize your URLs on every post you publish, as every post lives on its unique URL — so make sure you include your one to two keywords in it.

In the example below, we created the URL using the keyword “positioning-statement” because we want to rank for it.

Search engine result link with a keyword-optimized URL

As you write, keep in mind that your copy matters a great deal for click-through rates. This is because it should satisfy your readers’ intent — the more engaging, the better.

5. Make sure your blog post covers your topic completely.

Blog SEO is more than including focus and supporting keywords in your post. You’ll want to make each post as comprehensive as possible to make sure it answers your readers’ questions.

But what does comprehensive mean? For some, it’s a matter of word count. According to HubSpot research, a blog post should be about 2,100-2,400 words long for SEO.

It’s easier for longer content to rank, but not every post needs to be 2000+ words. What’s most important is meeting your users’ needs and expectations with your post.

A few ways to create the best blogs for your audience include:

  • Checking out your buyer personas
  • Research your topic on and offline
  • Talk to customers and experts about your topic
  • Stick to your topic as you write
  • Write in a consistent voice
  • Double-check facts and statistics

This article is a great place to start if you want more tips on how to write a great blog post.

6. Add SEO-optimized images and videos.

Blog posts shouldn’t only contain text — they should also include images and other media that help explain and support your content.

Images make your blog posts more exciting and easy to understand. They help your readers engage, improve recall of important facts, and make your site more accessible. Videos and GIFs are other interesting and useful additions to your blog posts. They make your content more visual, interactive, and memorable.

To use images and other media with SEO in mind, there are a few important things to remember.

File size matters. Too-large images and GIFs can slow down your page speed, which can impact ranking. It’s also important that your image dimensions are consistent for a professional look.

Choose the right kind of content for your brand voice. Funny GIFs are a great choice for some blogs, but if they don’t feel right to your audience they can have a negative impact.

Ideally, your images should make it easier to understand difficult topics or new information. This will boost your SEO and create a better on-page experience. Check out this post for more image SEO tips.

7. Include image alt text.

Search engines don’t simply look for images. Rather, they look for images with image alt text.

You may be wondering why this is. Since search engines can’t “see” images the same way humans can, an image’s alt text tells the search engine what an image is about. This ultimately helps those images rank on the search engine’s images results page.

Image alt text also makes for a better user experience (UX). It displays inside the image container when an image can’t be found or displayed. Technically, alt text is an attribute that can be added to an image tag in HTML.

Here’s what a complete image tag might look like:

<img class="wt-blog__normal-image" src="image.jpg" alt="image-description" title="image tooltip">

When you incorporate image alt text, an image’s name in your blog may go from something like, “IMG23940” to something accurate and descriptive such as “puppies playing in a basket.”

how to optimize your images with image alt text

Image alt text should be descriptive in a helpful way — meaning, it should provide the search engine with context to index the image if it’s in a blog article related to a similar topic.

To provide more context, here’s a list of things to be sure you keep in mind when creating alt text for your blog’s images:

  • Describe the image
  • Leave out “image of… “— start with the image description instead
  • Be specific in your description
  • Keep it under 125 characters
  • Use your keywords (but avoid keyword stuffing)

Pro tip: Think about adding a Chrome extension like Arel=”noopener” target=”_blank” hrefs that allows you to quickly review alt text data for existing images. HubSpot customers can use the SEO Panel. It will recognize whether or not you have optimized your images.

the seo panel for images in hubspot

8. Link to related blog posts.

You may have heard that backlinks influence how high your blog site can rank in the SERP, and that’s true — backlinks show how trustworthy your site is based on how many other relevant sites link back to yours. But backlinks aren’t the end-all-be-all to link building. Linking to and from your own blog posts can have a positive impact on how well your blog site ranks, too.

Inbound links to your content help show search engines the validity or relevancy of your content. The same goes for linking internally to other pages on your website. If you’ve written about a topic that’s mentioned in your blog post on another blog post, ebook, or web page, it’s a best practice to link to that page.

(You might’ve noticed that I’ve been doing that from time to time throughout this blog post when I think it’s helpful for our readers.) Not only will internal linking help keep visitors on your website, but it also surfaces your other relevant and authoritative pages to search engines.

For example, if your blog is about fashion, you might cover fabrics as a topic. Adding a hyperlink from a blog post about cotton to a post about the proper way to mix fabrics can help both of those posts become more visible to readers who search these keywords.

The search engines will also have one more entry point to the post about cotton when you hyperlink it in the post about mixing fabrics. This means the post about cotton fabric, and any updates you make to it will be recognized by site crawlers faster. It could even see a boost in the SERP as a result.

HubSpot customers: The SEO Panel automatically suggests linking to other internal resources on your website.

You can think of this as solving for your SEO while also helping your visitors get more information from your content.

9. Optimize the meta description.

A meta description is additional text that appears in SERPs that lets readers know what the link is about. The meta description gives searchers the information they need to determine whether or not your content is what they’re looking for and ultimately helps them decide if they’ll click or not.

The maximum length of this meta description is greater than it once was — now around 300 characters — suggesting it wants to give readers more insight into what each result will give them.

So, in addition to being reader-friendly (compelling and relevant), your meta description should include the long-tail keyword for which you are trying to rank.

In the following example, I searched for “email newsletter examples.”

Google result link with extended meta description

The term is bolded in the meta description, helping readers make the connection between the intent of their search term and this result.

In this example I searched for the term “HTML space.”

Blog SEO example: Meta description optimization

You see the terms “space” and “HTML” bolded, indicating that Google knows there’s a semantic connection between “HTML space” and the words “space” and “HTML” in the meta description.

Note: Nowadays, it’s not guaranteed that your meta description is always pulled into SERPs as it once was. As you can see in the above image, Google pulls in other parts of your blog post that includes the keywords searched, presumably to give searchers optimal context around how the result matches their specific query.

Let me show you another example. Below are two different search queries delivering two different snippets of text on Google SERPs. The first is a result of the query “no index no follow,” and it pulls in an explanation of the term “noindex.”:

example of a meta description on Google

The second is a result of the query “noindex nofollow,” and pulls in the first instance of these specific keywords coming up in the body of the blog post:

example of a meta description on Google

While there’s not much you can do to influence what text gets pulled in, you should continue to optimize this metadata, as well as your post, so search engines display the best content from the article. By creating reader-friendly content with natural keyword inclusion, you’ll make it easier for Google to prove your post’s relevancy in SERPs for you.

10. Review metrics regularly.

Google’s free Search Console contains reports that help you understand how users search for and discover your content. These reports help you analyze clicks from Google Search — it’s useful to determine which keywords people are using to find your blog content.

You can learn how to use Google Search Console by checking out Google’s performance reports page.

If you’re interested in optimizing your best-performing older blog posts for traffic and leads like we’ve been doing since 2015, this tool can help you find low-hanging fruit.

Line graph showing keyword performance on Google Search Console

Remember, many content marketers struggle with optimizing their blog posts for search. The truth is, your blog posts won’t start ranking immediately. It takes time to build up search authority.

But, when you publish blog posts frequently and consistently optimize them for search while maintaining an intent-based reader experience, you’ll reap the rewards in the form of traffic and leads long-term.

Now, let’s take a look at these blog SEO tips that you can take advantage of to enhance your content’s searchability.

Note: This list doesn’t cover every SEO rule under the sun. Rather, the following tips are the on-page factors to get you started with an SEO strategy for your blog.

1. Use 1–2 long-tail keywords.

Optimizing your blog posts for keywords isn’t about incorporating as many keywords into your posts as possible. Nowadays, this actually hurts your SEO because search engines consider this keyword stuffing (as in, including keywords as much as possible with the sole purpose of ranking highly in organic search).

It also doesn’t make for a good reader experience — a ranking factor that search engines now prioritize to ensure you’re answering the intent of your visitors. Therefore, you should use keywords in your content in a way that doesn’t feel unnatural or forced.

A good rule of thumb is to focus on one or two long-tail keywords per blog post. While you can use more than one keyword in a single post, keep the focus of the post narrow enough to allow you to spend time optimizing for just one or two keywords.

You may be wondering: Why long-tail keywords?

These longer, often question-based keywords keep your post focused on the specific goals of your audience. For example, the long-tail keyword “how to write a blog post” is much more impactful in terms of SEO than the short keyword “blog post”.

Website visitors searching long-tail keywords are more likely to read the whole post and then seek more information from you. In other words, they’ll help you generate the right type of traffic — visitors who convert.

2. Create SEO personas.

Most businesses have buyer personas, but you can make your blog even more searchable and relevant with SEO personas.

This strategy isn’t just for boosting SEO visibility. It can help you focus your time and resources on the traffic that can boost your business. This is a data-driven strategy that can help you understand the keyword themes and search habits of your target audience.

Once you understand these details, it will be easier to choose which topics to prioritize in your blog SEO strategy. As you create your SEO personas, you’ll want to answer questions like:

  • How does your target audience use social media?
  • How do your ideal users respond to paid advertising?
  • Do they take part in groups, forums, or message boards online?

These details can help you understand how your users search and what types of content they’ll respond to online. This can help you boost traffic, leads, and conversions while also optimizing for SEO.

This presentation from Rory Hope at INBOUND 22 shares how you can use your social media data to create SEO personas for your blog.

3. Consider mobile devices.

We learned earlier that more people use search engines from their mobile phones than from a computer. According to HubSpot Research, 64% of SEO marketers say that mobile optimization is an effective investment.

And for all those valuable queries on mobile devices, Google displays the mobile-friendly results first. This is yet another example of Google heavily favoring mobile-friendly websites — which has been true ever since the company updated its algorithm in April 2015.

(HubSpot customers: Breathe easy. All content created on HubSpot’s platform is automatically responsive to mobile devices.)

So, how do you keep your blog mobile-friendly? By using responsive design. Websites that are responsive to mobile allow blog pages to have just one URL instead of two — one for desktop and one for mobile, respectively. This helps your post’s SEO because any inbound links that come back to your site won’t be divided between the separate URLs.

As a result, you’ll centralize the SEO power you gain from these links, helping Google more easily recognize your post’s value and rank it accordingly.

Pro tip: What search engines value is constantly changing. Be sure you’re keeping on top of these changes by subscribing to Google’s official blog.

4. Make the most of the SEO tools and features in your CMS.

The right CMS can help you improve blog SEO. Whether you’re building a new blog post or updating site pages, the more built-in features you have the easier it will be to optimize for SEO.

SEO is complex, so the features you’ll need will depend on your level of expertise and how often you post to your blog.

For example, the HubSpot CMS has robust SEO features that can help you build or optimize your blog. If your site already has a lot of blog posts, a tool that can scan live pages for recommendations is a must-have. If you’re just starting to blog, alt text popup prompts could be more useful for you.

Blog SEO tips, examples: HubSpot CMS SEO tool

Another challenge bloggers struggle with is finding post topics. The HubSpot SEO tool can give you suggestions with competition, popularity, and relevance in mind. It also gives you access to monthly search keyword data. This can help you understand how specific topics can increase your organic traffic. This tool offers detailed reports so you can track your results and update your SEO strategy quickly.

CMS integrations are also important. For example, HubSpot’s page publishing tools connect to Google Search Console. This makes it easy for you to see your top search queries, impressions, click-through rate, and more for every page on your site.

5. Focus on readability.

One of the most common beginner blog mistakes is assuming that the people who land on your blog will read it thoroughly. Instead, most readers are looking for a quick answer to a question. When they find your post, their goal is to find what they’re looking for.

Readable content is easy to consume and quick to skim. It’s also a delight to read — offering clear answers and a logical path from question to answer. Readability improves the chances that your readers will engage with your content. It helps you make sure that they’ll look to your blog as an authority in your industry.

Besides improving the user experience on your blog, readability impacts SEO by making it easier for Google to crawl your posts. It also increases the potential that users will find your blog with voice searches.

There are many ways that you can improve readability. Vocabulary choices, sentence and paragraph length, and the structure of your blog posts can all make your posts more readable. A few strategies to improve readability include:

  • Use short and simple words
  • Write short sentences
  • Limit jargon, adjectives, and adverbs

Tools like Hemingway Editor offer a score that can help you understand how easy your copy is to read and how to improve it.

Blog SEO tips, examples: Readability tool

You can also make your blogs easier to consume by adding useful images and videos or choosing colors and fonts that are easy on the eyes.

6. Limit topic tags.

Topic tags can help organize your blog content, but if you overuse them, they can actually be harmful. If you have too many similar tags, you may get penalized by search engines for having duplicate content.

Think of it this way, when you create a topic tag (which is simple if you’re a HubSpot user, as seen here), you also create a new site page where the content from those topic tags will appear.

If you use too many similar tags for the same content, it appears to search engines as if you’re showing the content multiple times throughout your website. For example, topic tags like “blogging,” “blog,” and “blog posts” are too similar to one another to be used on the same post.

If you’re worried that your current blog posts have too many similar tags, take some time to clean them up. Choose about 15–25 topic tags that you think are important to your blog and that aren’t too similar to one another. Then only tag your posts with those keywords. That way, you won’t have to worry about duplicate content.

Here at HubSpot, we use a Search Insights Report to map specific MSV-driven keyword ideas to a content topic each quarter. The process helps us target a handful of posts in a set number of topics throughout the year for a systematic approach to SEO and content creation.

7. Create user-friendly URLs.

Before you publish your blog post, take a careful look at its URL structure. Is it long, filled with stop-words, or unrelated to the post’s topic? If so, you might want to rewrite it before it goes live.

The URL structure of your web pages (which are different from the specific URLs of your posts) should make it easy for your visitors to understand the structure of your website and the content they’re about to see. Search engines favor web page URLs that make it easier for them and website visitors to understand the content on the page.

This differentiation is baked into the HubSpot blogs’ respective URL structures. If I decided to go to the Marketing section from this main page, I would be taken to the URL http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing.

If we want to read the Sales section, all we have to do is change where it says “marketing” in the URL to “sales”:

http://blog.hubspot.com/sales.

This URL structure helps me understand that “/marketing” and “/sales” are smaller sections — called subdirectories — within the larger blog.

What if there’s a specific article we want to read, such as “How to Do Keyword Research: A Beginner’s Guide”?

Its URL structure — http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-do-keyword-research-ht — denotes that it’s an article from the Marketing section of the blog.

In this way, URL structure acts as a categorization system for readers, letting them know where they are on the website and how to access new site pages. Search engines appreciate this, as it makes it easier for them to identify exactly what information searchers will access on different parts of your blog or website.

Pro tip: Don’t change your blog post URL after it’s been published — that’s the easiest way to press the metaphorical “reset” button on your SEO efforts for that post. If your URL is less descriptive than you’d like or it no longer follows your brand or style guidelines, your best bet is to leave it as is. Instead, change the title of the post using the guidelines we covered earlier.

8. Organize by topic cluster.

The way most blogs are currently structured (including our own blogs, until very recently), bloggers and SEOs have worked to create individual blog posts that rank for specific keywords.

This makes things unorganized and difficult for blog visitors to find the exact information they need. It also results in your URLs competing against one another in search engine rankings when you produce multiple blog posts about similar topics.

Here’s what our blog architecture used to look like using this old playbook:

Flowchart of HubSpot's topic cluster SEO model

Now, to rank in search and best answer the new types of queries searchers are submitting, the solution is the topic cluster model.

For this model to work, choose the broad topics for which you want to rank. Then, create content based on specific keywords related to that topic that all link to each other to establish broader search engine authority.

This is what our blog infrastructure looks like now, with the topic cluster model. Specific topics are surrounded by blog posts related to the greater topic, connected to other URLs in the cluster with hyperlinks:

A set of topic clusters for SEO

This model uses a more deliberate site architecture to organize and link URLs together to help more pages on your site rank in Google — and to help searchers find information on your site more easily. This architecture consists of three components — pillar content, cluster content, and hyperlinks:

SEO model using icons for pillar content, cluster content, and hyperlinks

We know this is a fairly new concept, so for more details, check out our research on the topic or take our SEO training.

9. Optimize for SERP features.

There are more than just organic page results on Google. Instead, each search engine results page (SERP) includes a range of different features to help users find what they’re looking for. For example, the People also ask feature highlights questions that relate to the users’ initial search request, like in the example below:

Blog SEO tip examples: SERP feature optimization

There are many different types of SERP features. Other popular SERP features include:

  • Featured snippets: These often appear at the top of search results pages. They usually highlight a section from within a blog post to answer a specific search request.
  • Image packs: This is a group of images from blog posts or websites that match a search request.
  • Local pack: These highlight local answers to search requests.
  • Things to know: This feature usually appears on broad searches. It highlights other information that could help the user refine their search.
  • Review snippets: This rich snippet is an excerpt of a specific review, and may include information from a range of reviewers.
  • Recipe snippets: This is a group of recipes from blog posts or websites that match a search request.

There are a few ways that you can improve your chances of getting SERP features to improve SEO for your blog.

First, write clear, well-structured, and useful content that responds to keywords in your niche. Be sure to answer specific questions within each post that relate to your blog topic.

Next, take a look at competitor examples for tips and ideas. It’s also a good idea to optimize your images and videos with alt text to improve their chances of appearing for relevant searches.

Finally, learn about structured data and apply it to the formatting of your blog posts. For example, these instructions from Google outline how to format a recipe with structured data.

This HubSpot Academy lesson can help you with rich SERP results. Or listen to this podcast to learn how to win featured snippets:

10. Publish evergreen content.

When planning and writing your blog articles, make sure it’s evergreen content. Meaning, the content is about topics that will remain relevant and valuable over a long period of time (with only minor changes or updates). Let’s look at a few reasons why evergreen content is so important:

  • It’ll help you rank over time, not just in the near future.
  • It contributes to steady amounts of traffic coming to your blog (and website) long after it’s been published.
  • It’ll help you generate leads over time as a result of the traffic it continually generates.

All blog content — whether it’s a long-form article, how-to guide, FAQ, tutorial, and so on — should be evergreen. Even the images you use in these posts should be evergreen. Check out this blog post for some examples of and ideas for evergreen content on your blog.

11. Update existing content.

To improve your SEO, you may assume you need to create new blog content. Although that’s partially true, you should also focus a great deal of your time and energy on your existing blog content. Specifically, repurposing and updating your current content, as well as removing your outdated content.

This is because it takes a lot longer for a completely new piece of content to settle on the search engine results page (SERP) and gain authority, whereas you could update a piece of content and reap the benefits fairly immediately in comparison.

Not only will your updated content rank on the SERP faster, improving your number of visitors and leads, it also takes a lot less time and fewer resources to update an existing piece of content rather than create a brand new article.

Additionally, updating and repurposing some of your most successful pieces of content extends its lifespan so you can achieve the best results over a longer period of time (especially if it’s evergreen content).

The final step entails removing outdated content that’s no longer relevant to your audience. Although your goal is to ensure your content is evergreen, some of it is bound to become outdated over time. This includes statistics, product information (if you have any listed in your blogs — as your products and business evolve), or information that changes across your industry over time.

If you want even more SEO tips, check out these resources:

Create Blog Content Your Readers (and Search Engines) Will Love

We don’t expect you to incorporate each of these SEO best practices into your content strategy right away. But, as your website grows, so should your goals on search engines. Once you figure out the goals and intent of your ideal readers, you’ll be on track to deliver relevant content that will climb the ranks of the SERP.

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

New Call to action

The Ultimate List: 49 Online Local Business Directories

Promoting a local business isn’t easy these days. Whether it’s because of oversaturation or complicated search engine algorithms, it’s all too easy to feel like no one will find your business in the local search results.

Luckily, using business directory websites is an easy way to improve your local SEO. All you have to do is list your business in online business directories such as Yellow Pages, Manta, and more. This is called building citations, and it’s a critical piece of a local marketing strategy.

→ Download Now: SEO Starter Pack [Free Kit]

Today, Google is inserting itself between consumer and local business websites much more often. For proof, you need to look no further than Google My Business, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), featured snippets, and most importantly, local packs.

By building citations, you can make sure that you appear in these local packs when people look for businesses like yours in their area. Business directories may seem like a thing of the past, but they’re a great way to grow your presence online.

You can improve visibility by listing your local business’ NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) on directories, online business listing sites, and citation sites. Aside from improving your local SEO, these can also improve your rankings on search engines because the listings usually link back to your site.

Make sure your company listing has the following information once you add it to a directory:

  • Consistent NAP. If you add or update your business on multiple business listing sites, make sure you’re providing the same company information across each directory.
  • A link to your website. Backlinks — also known as inbound links — are crucial to your company website’s Domain Rating. Consider adding a tracking link at the end of this URL as well, so you can see how much traffic your website specifically gets from the business directories that are linking to it.
  • A company description. Make sure you have a detailed description of your business that reflects your organization’s mission, culture, and values.
  • Multimedia. Give company searchers a visual taste of your business with a picture or video of your office, your employees, or your daily business operations.

There are plenty of location-specific and industry-specific business listing sites where you can submit your data. To start promoting your local business, however, you should start with the big sites and work your way toward the more niche directories.

First, let’s go over the top free business directories.

Online Directories for Local Businesses

When it comes to listing your business online, you aren’t limited to just using the free sites above. We’ve compiled the best directories on the web to list your business. 

  1. Google My Business (Domain Rating = 98)

    Business Directory Websites: Facebook

  2. Facebook Pages (Domain Rating = 100)
  3. Instagram for Business (Domain Rating = 99)
  4. LinkedIn Company Directory (Domain Rating = 98)
  5. Apple Maps (Domain Rating = 97)
  6. Yelp (Domain Rating = 95)
  7. Bing (Domain Rating = 93)
  8. HubSpot’s Solutions Directory (Domain Rating = 93)
  9. Better Business Bureau (Domain Rating = 93)
  10. MapQuest (Domain Rating = 91)
  11. Foursquare (Domain Rating = 91)
  12. Angi, FKA Angie’s List ( Domain Rating = 91)
  13. Thumbtack (Domain Rating = 90)
  14. Yellow Pages (Domain Rating = 90)
  15. Nextdoor (Domain Rating = 89)
  16. Manta (Domain Rating = 87)
  17. Merchant Circle (Domain Rating = 85)
  18. YellowBook.com (Domain Rating = 81)
  19. ChamberofCommerce.com (Domain Rating = 81)
  20. Dun & Bradstreet Business Directory (Domain Rating = 79)
  21. Brownbook.net (Domain Rating = 79)
  22. Local.com (Domain Rating = 78)
  23. Turbify (Domain Rating = 78)
  24. EZlocal (Domain Rating = 77)
  25. eLocal.com (Domain Rating = 77)
  26. EBusinessPages (Domain Rating = 76)
  27. City Squares (Domain Rating = 75)
  28. BOTW (Domain Rating = 74)
  29. iBegin (Domain Rating = 73)
  30. Neustar Localeze (Domain Rating = 73)
  31. Spoke (Domain Rating = 73)
  32. GoLocal247 (Domain Rating = 73)
  33. Call Up Contact (Domain Rating = 73)
  34. n49.com (Domain Rating = 73)
  35. Cybo (Domain Rating = 73)
  36. Just Landed (Domain Rating = 72)
  37. Tuugo.us (Domain Rating = 72)
  38. Lacartes (Domain Rating = 72)
  39. City Local Pro (Domain Rating = 72)
  40. Yellow.Place (Domain Rating – 72)
  41. Hub.biz (Domain Rating = 72)
  42. Cylex US (Domain Rating = 72)
  43. Fyple.com (Domain Rating = 68)
  44. Opendi.us (Domain Rating = 67)
  45. ExpressBusinessDirectory.com (Domain Rating = 66)
  46. My Huckleberry (Domain Rating = 65)
  47. Bizhwy.com (Domain Rating = 65)
  48. USdirectory.com (Domain Rating = 58)
  49. Finduslocal.com (Domain Rating = 56)

Methodology

We used a few parameters to decide which directories would make it onto the list.

Domain Rating

Domain rating is a score that’s given to websites to reflect how well they rank on Google based on their backlink profile. The minimum score is 0 and the maximum score is 100. Domain rating is similar, but not the same as, domain authority.

Our minimum required domain rating for the directories on this list was 50. We gathered the data from Ahrefs in November 2022.

Category

We compiled this list for use by any business. Regardless of your industry or target market, you can submit your business to all of the above directories.

To make it onto this list, the directory had to be categorized as General. The only exception is HubSpot’s solution directory, which is categorized as Marketing/Advertising.

Add Your Local Business to Online Directories

Making sure that you have a presence where your potential customers might find you is critical to any local marketing plan. It’s critical to build citations not only for the added visibility but for the SEO benefits, too. Add your local business to some of these business listings and directories today — and watch your business and customer base grow.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2013 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

marketing

Product Launch Checklist: How to Launch a Product, According to HubSpot’s Experts

Like a tree falling in the woods, if you plan a product launch without spreading the word — will anyone use it? Will anyone even want it?

Probably not. Whether you’re launching something huge, something small, or you’re updating a current offering, you’ll want to start your preparation well in advance of the launch date with a product launch checklist.

→ Download Now: Free Product Marketing Kit [Free Templates]

Because there are so many moving parts in this process, bringing your product to market can be intimidating and tricky. To help you, we’ve come up with a step-by-step checklist for a successful product launch and gathered the best product launch tips from a HubSpot Product Marketer.

Product Launch Checklist

1. Learn about your customer.

Whether you call it “market research,” or “customer development” it’s key to learn about what drives your customer. Identifying their goals, motivations, and pain points could lead you to developing and marketing a valuable solution.

You don’t need to perform years of intense research to learn about your customer. In fact, we suggest just talking to 12 to 15 current or prospective customers.

When speaking to them, pay extra attention when they start sentences with “I wish a product did this function…” or “Why can’t products do this?” When they give these statements, respond with questions that go deeper, like “Can you get more specific about that?” If they don’t bring up any pain points, ask them a few specific questions that will encourage them to give deeper answers.

These conversations will give you a solid idea of what their biggest pain points are and how you can market a solution to them. Once you learn these key details about your customers, you can develop a buyer persona that your team can focus on serving.

2. Write a positioning statement.

Write out a statement that can clearly and concisely answer these three questions:

  • Who is the product for?
  • What does the product do?
  • Why is it different from other products out there?

If you’d like to go even deeper, create a statement that answers the following questions:

  • What is your target audience?
  • What segment of the target audience is most likely to buy the product?
  • What brand name will you give your product or service?
  • What product or service category does your product lie in?
  • How is it different from competitors in the same category?
  • What evidence or proof do you have to prove that your product is different?

Still need more guidance on how to write a positioning statement? Check out this template.

3. Pitch your positioning to stakeholders.

Once you’ve established your position statement, present it to stakeholders in your company so they are all on the same page.

If your employees have a hard time buying into the product, your customers might as well. If your team loves it, that might be a great sign that the product launch will go well.

4. Plan your go-to-market strategy.

This is the strategy that you will use to launch and promote your product. While some businesses prefer to build a funnel strategy, others prefer the flywheel approach.

Regardless of which method you choose, this process contains many moving parts. To create an organized strategy for launching your product, it can be helpful to use a template, like this one.

As you create the strategy, also start considering which type of content you’ll use to attract a prospective customer’s attention during the awareness, consideration, and purchase decision stage. You’ll need to produce this content in the next step.

5. Set a goal for the launch.

Before you get started on implementing your strategy, make sure you write down your goals for the launch.

Alex Girard, a Product Marketing Manager at HubSpot, says, “Create specific goals for the launch’s success. Keeping these goals in mind will help you focus your efforts on launch tactics that will help you achieve those goals.”

For example, the goals of your product launch could be to effectively establish a new product name, build awareness, or create sales opportunities.

One of the best ways to set goals for your launch team is to write them out like SMART goals. A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

6. Create promotional content.

After planning out your go-to-market strategy and writing your SMART goals, start producing content that will support and align with those promotional efforts. This can include blog posts related to your product or industry, demos and tutorials, and landing pages.

Our go-to-market template will also help you determine which content you should create for each phase of your prospective customer’s buyer’s journey.

7. Prepare your team.

Be sure that your company and key stakeholders are ready for you to launch and begin marketing the product. Communicate with the company through internal presentations, Slack, or email to keep your company updated on your launch plan.

8. Launch the product

Once you’ve completed all the above steps, you can launch the product.

9. See how well you did in achieving your goals.

After you launch your product, track how the go-to-market strategy is performing. Be prepared to pivot or adjust aspects of your plan if they aren’t going smoothly.

Additionally, don’t forget about the goals you set before the launch. See how well you did in achieving those goals. If the launch didn’t meet expectations, you can rethink your go-to-market strategy and adjust from there.

The cost of launching a new product varies significantly. For instance, an entrepreneur will see vastly different costs for launching a product on Amazon than an enterprise company might see for launching a product in a million-dollar market. 

Let’s consider two examples to explore this more closely. 

In the first example, let’s say you’re an entrepreneur who has invented a design app you’re hoping to sell online. You might conduct market research to determine which marketing strategies work best for your goals, which messaging resonates best with your audience, and which design elements appeal to your desired prospects. If you use a few focus groups to determine these answers, you might expect to spend roughly $5,000. 

When you’re bringing a new app to the market, you’ll need to choose the best go-to marketing strategy for your needs. Regardless of the strategy you choose, they all cost money. For instance, product branding could cost roughly $1,000 if you’re paying a designer to help you out, and website design could cost anywhere from $500-$3,000 if you’re paying a web designer a one-off fee. 

These fees don’t include the cost you need to pay yourself and any employees if this is a full-time job. It also doesn’t include the costs of hiring an engineer to update the app’s features and ensure the app is running smoothly. 

With this simplified example, you’re looking at roughly $8,000. Of course, you can cut some costs if you choose to do any of these tasks yourself, but you might risk creating a subpar customer experience.

On the other end of the spectrum, let’s consider a large enterprise company that is launching a new product. Here, you’ll likely pay upwards of $30,000 – $50,000 for market research.

Perhaps you’ll spend $15,000 on brand positioning and the marketing materials necessary to differentiate yourself against competitors, and you might pay upwards of $30,000 for all the product design and brand packaging. Finally, your marketing team could need a budget of roughly $20,000 for SEO, paid advertising, social, content creation, etc. 

All said and done, launching a product against other enterprise competitors’ could cost roughly $125,000. Again, that doesn’t include the costs you’ll pay your marketing, product development, and engineering teams. 

How to Launch a Product Online

To launch your product online, you’ll want to ensure you’ve followed the steps above. However, there are a few additional steps you’ll want to follow to gain traction primarily online. 

1. Figure out the story you want to tell regarding your product’s bigger purpose. 

What story do you want to tell across social platforms, landing pages, and email? This is similar to your positioning statement but needs to be geared entirely toward your target audience. Ask questions like, Why should they purchase your product? And How will your product or service make their lives better? 

Communicating cross-functionally ensures the communication materials you use across various online channels align — which is key when it comes to establishing a new product in the marketplace. 

Consider, for instance, how Living Proof announced its new product, Advanced Clean Dry Shampoo, on its Instagram page. The story revolves around a simple nuisance common with most other dry shampoos — How consumers still want that just-washed feeling, even when using a dry shampoo. 

Living Proof's new Instagram post, highlighting its new product launch

Image Source

By focusing on how the product will benefit consumers through storytelling, and using a new hashtag #NoWastedWashes, Living Proof builds excitement and demand for its new product. 

2. Display customer testimonials, case studies, and other social evidence to positively frame your new product. 

Consumers want to see that other consumers have already taken the risk and purchased your new product before doing it themselves. This is where social proof comes into play. 

In the weeks leading up to a product launch, or shortly after it’s launch, begin posting customer testimonials, reviews, and case studies to showcase how your new product has already helped other people. Take this a step further and employ influencers to share the word about your product as well, if it’s a good fit for your brand. 

Consumers are smart enough to know they shouldn’t trust every advertisement they see — but they can trust fellow consumers. So leverage that trust through social proof methods. 

3. Create a social and email campaign. 

Create a full, comprehensive social media campaign to increase interest and awareness of your new product.

Use paid advertising to reach new audiences, create full product explainer videos to use across your social channels, and use email to reach existing customers and provide an exclusive, first look at your new product’s features.

Additionally, you might consider hosting a live stream to connect directly with prospects and existing customers and invite experts from your product development team to explain the new features of your product. 

It’s important to note — in this stage, you’ll want to pay attention to how consumers are interacting with the communication materials regarding your new product. Share concerns and feedback with the product development team — it’s important to trust your consumers and use their feedback to strengthen your product. 

4. Have a pre-order option. 

If a consumer is excited to purchase your new product, don’t make them wait — provide an option to pre-order the product or service before it’s even available. This helps spread out demand while enabling consumers to purchase the product whenever they’re feeling most inclined to do so.

Product Launch Best Practices by Industry

1. How to Launch a Digital Product

When launching a digital product, you’ll want to begin building anticipation with a strong content marketing strategy. Use blog posts, email marketing, social media, and other channels of distribution to increase interest and demand for your digital product. 

You’ll also want to ensure you’re leveraging lead generation strategies to reach existing customers and prospects. 

For instance, let’s say you’re launching an online course on SEO. In the weeks leading up to the launch, you might create SEO-related blog content to send to your email subscribers with an option to join the SEO course’s waitlist. This helps you gauge the effectiveness of your marketing materials while reaching an audience that has already demonstrated interest in your brand. 

How to Launch a Product on Amazon

Anyone who’s ever shopped on Amazon knows the importance of a good product listing. In the weeks leading up to launch, take the time to create a strong, high-converting product listing — including taking high-resolution photos of your product, writing a description that outlines your product’s differentiating features, and using keywords to help your product rank on Amazon

Additionally, product reviews are incredibly important on Amazon, so you’ll want to ensure you have reviews ready to go before you even launch your product on Amazon. To do this, ensure you’ve either launched your product on your own website first (which gives you time to earn reviews before launching on Amazon), or send your product to a select group of interested buyers ahead of the full launch, and collect reviews from them. 

Finally, ensure you’re ready for an Amazon product launch by checking inventory. You never know how quickly your product might gain traction on the eCommerce superstore, so make sure you have enough products to fulfill Amazon orders quickly. 

Take a look at HubSpot’s The Ultimate Guide to Selling on Amazon for more information related to Amazon. 

How to Launch a SaaS Product

To launch a SaaS product, you’ll want to start by researching competitors and understanding the marketplace at large.  There’s plenty of demand for SaaS products, as the industry is expected to grow by more than 16% by 2026. However, the SaaS industry is also well-saturated, so before launching a SaaS product, you’ll want to determine how your product differs from all the others in the industry. 

To create a successful product launch, you’ll want to conduct market research and focus groups to determine the true benefits and differentiators of your product. 

Next, you’ll want to employ a strong content marketing strategy to increase your website’s visibility on search engines and to ensure your business is appearing in search results for topics related to your product. 

Since you aren’t launching a physical product, your marketing efforts need to convince businesses that your product can solve their needs. For instance, take a look at how HubSpot positioned the new Operations Hub product.

Additionally, you might want to offer free trials or a freemium option for smaller businesses on lower budgets to test out your offerings before committing. 

For a full SaaS rundown, take a look at HubSpot’s Ultimate Guide to Software as a Service (SaaS)

How to Launch a Food Product

To launch a food product, you’ll first need to ensure you’re prepared for the costs required to do so — including how much it costs to package and store the product (including packaging, warehousing, and distribution), and how much it costs to sell the product (including branding and digital marketing). 

Next, you’ll want to follow federal and state food regulations. For instance, you need to ensure you’re following health department rules for food preparation surfaces, refrigeration, and sanitation.

You’ll also need to make sure the labeling you use on your product’s packaging is accurate, which requires you to send your food product to a lab for analysis and check with your state commerce to see what it requires when it comes to nutrition labels. 

When launching a food product, you’ll likely want to hire a food broker. A food broker can foster relationships with national or local grocery stores and will create a promotional plan to help increase sales as soon as your food hits the shelves. 

Typically, a supermarket will test out your product for a few months before determining if there’s enough consumer interest to keep it stocked — which is why a food broker can be incredibly useful for using business intelligence and industry knowledge to ensure a successful food product launch. 

Product Launch Tips

To learn the best practices for a successful product launch, I talked to Alex Girard again.

The HubSpot Product Marketing Manager said he had three main tips for a successful product launch:

  • Your product positioning should reflect a shift you’re seeing in the world, and how your product helps your customers take advantage of that shift.
  • Create a recurring schedule for you and the core stakeholders for the launch to check in and ensure you’re all on the same page.
  • Make sure you keep the product team in the loop on your marketing plans. The product team could have insights that inform your overall marketing campaign.

However, sometimes, external factors might impact your ability to launch a product. When that happens, you might need to delay your launch.

How to Know When to Delay a Product Launch

To understand when, and why, you might hold off on a product launch, Girard told me there are three key reasons why you might want to delay a product launch, including:

  • When your product itself isn’t ready and you need to change your timeline to create the best customer experience possible.
  • If a situation occurs where your current customers are having a less-than-optimal experience with one of your current products. Before launching and promoting a new product, you should make sure your current customers are satisfied with your existing product offering.
  • If something occurs on an international, national, state, or local level that requires your audience to readjust their priorities and shift focus away from your company and its product launch. Make sure that when the time comes to launch, your target audience is ready to learn about your new product.

If you’re looking for templates to coordinate your team efforts and align your company around your new product’s messaging, download our free product marketing kit below.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Product Marketing Kit

 

15 Productivity Hacks for a Successful 2023

One of my biggest challenges with working from home is staying focused and completing every task on time. After all, home is where my TV, phone, kitchen, and cats are — it’s not exactly set up with productivity in mind. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get things done. Fortunately, there are many practical, productive tips to help anyone reach their goals, whether they work from home or in an office.

Here are 15 productivity hacks to keep you focused so you can achieve your goals.

  1. Eat breakfast every day.
  2. Exercise in the morning.
  3. Take time to free-write.
  4. Plan the day ahead of time.
  5. Take regular breaks.
  6. Set a single goal for the day.
  7. Don’t be afraid to say ‘No.’
  8. Wake up early.
  9. Schedule some self-care.
  10. Create deadlines.
  11. Work in short bursts.
  12. Have a dedicated workspace.
  13. Avoid multitasking.
  14. Work near natural light.

Forget about perfectionism.

Download our complete productivity guide here for more tips on improving your  productivity at work.

Best Productivity Hacks for a Successful Day

Here are some great productivity hacks that will set your day up for success.

1. Eat breakfast every day.

Breakfast gives your body the energy it needs to stay alert and focused. Skipping breakfast can result in feeling sluggish in the morning, and you will likely have difficulty concentrating. According to the Harvard Business Review, food (or lack thereof) affects our cognitive performance and decision-making.

“Just about everything we eat is converted by our body into glucose, which provides the energy our brains need to stay alert,” psychologist Ron Friedman said. “When we’re running low on glucose, we have a tough time staying focused, and our attention drifts. This explains why it’s hard to concentrate on an empty stomach.”

Pro-Tip: Try meal-prepping your breakfast the night before. Overnight oats and yogurt parfaits are easy to make ahead and grab when you’re on the go.

2. Exercise in the morning.

Thirty minutes of regular exercise can boost one’s overall energy, so it makes sense you’ll be more productive during the day after a morning workout. According to Healthline, exercise helps oxygen and nutrients travel to your heart and lungs, which improves your cardiovascular system, stamina, and endurance.

Pro-Tip: Don’t overwork yourself. Too much exercise can result in injury, fatigue, depression, and anxiety, according to Everyday Health. Stick to 30 minutes of exercise a day, five days a week, to be safe.

3. Take time to free-write.

You don’t have to be a skilled writer to reap the benefits of free writing. Free writing in the morning or before bed can help organize your thoughts, boost creativity, and relieve stress. Writing can also improve your communication skills, making you a more effective leader.

Pro-Tip: Dedicate about 30 minutes to an hour of free writing every morning or every evening. And remember, no one needs to see what you write. So, don’t stress about the quality.

4. Plan the day ahead of time.

Write down a detailed plan of your day either the night before or in the morning. Include all your tasks for the day, the order in which you’ll complete them, and the time you’ll need on each assignment. Having a schedule will keep you on track and lessen the chance of drifting away from your duties or wasting time — because you’ll know what you need to do and when you’ll need to do it.

Pro-Tip: Get in the habit of keeping and updating a daily planner or calendar. Or make a daily to-do list in the notes app of your phone.

5. Take regular breaks.

It’s easy to get so invested in work that you skip lunch or focus to the point of exhaustion. Make sure to schedule moments to step away from your tasks and unwind. Permitting yourself to relax will help clear your mind and return to work with a more precise focus.

Pro-Tip: During those breaks, you can eat lunch, walk, stretch, read a book, meditate, or chat with friends. Make sure your activities leave you feeling refreshed and ready to work when the break is over.

6. Set a single goal for the day.

Think of one goal you want or need to accomplish for the day, and break that goal down into multiple tasks. Allot a certain amount of time to each task. Doing so will help you stay focused and ensure your tasks align with your vision.

Pro-Tip: Always ensure your goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. In other words — establish SMART goals.

7. Don’t be afraid to say ‘No.’

Setting boundaries is a major key to productivity. Understandably, you may want to be helpful whenever you can, but you won’t be able to get things done if you’re constantly taking on requests from others. So learn to say ‘no’ to last-minute requests, impromptu phone calls, and inconvenient plans so you can stay on track.

Pro-Tip: If you have a shareable digital calendar, like Google Calendar, mark off specific days and times you’re unavailable for meetings or requests and share it with your colleagues.

8. Wake up early.

You can achieve a lot by simply waking up early in the morning. An early start will give you time to eat a good breakfast, work out, shower, and gear up for the day ahead. You may even complete your tasks earlier, allowing more free time in the evening.

Pro-Tip: If you’re not used to waking up early, try easing yourself into the habit. Try going to bed and waking up 20 minutes earlier each day until you’ve reached your goal time. For example, if you usually wake up at 8:30 a.m. but want to start waking up at 6:30 a.m.— set your alarm for 8:10 a.m. on the first day, then 7:50 a.m. the next morning. Keep setting your alarm earlier and earlier each day until you reach 6:30 a.m.

9. Schedule some self-care.

One of the biggest enemies of productivity is burnout, and the best way to avoid burnout is to make time for self-care. Examples of self-care include:

  • Reading your favorite book
  • Creating a relaxing nighttime routine before bed
  • Journaling
  • Exercising
  • Going for a walk
  • Meditating

Pro-Tip: Try to fit self-care activities into your daily routine so that you’ll always have something to look forward to.

10. Create deadlines.

You never want to spend too much time on a task, so it’s essential to give yourself a specific amount of time to complete something and a day and time it needs to be done. Doing so will provide a healthy sense of urgency and help you properly manage your time.

Pro-Tip: Audit your time to see how long specific tasks take to complete so that you can create realistic and manageable deadlines.

Productivity Hacks at Work

These hacks will help you stay focused at work.

11. Work in short bursts.

It’s hard to stay focused on the same thing for a long time, so make things easier on yourself by working in short bursts. For example, the Pomodoro method is a popular technique for boosting productivity. The Pomodoro method consists of working in 25-minute increments with 5-minute breaks in between each session.

Pro-Tip: If the Pomodoro method doesn’t seem to work for you, try adjusting the time increments and breaks to something you’re comfortable with.

12. Have a dedicated workspace.

This hack is especially useful if you’re working from home or remotely. Create a space that has all the tools you need to be productive and is only used for work. So, avoid having your dedicated workspace in your bedroom or an area used for recreation. You’ll need a space that you can leave once you’re done with work for the day.

Pro-Tip: Some homes are filled with too many distractions for workspace, so don’t be afraid to find areas outside the house to work, such as your local library, shared office space, or coffee shop.

13. Avoid multitasking.

There’s a misconception that multitasking is a great way to finish multiple tasks quickly because you’re working on various things at once. But in reality, only 2.5% of people can multitask effectively. That’s because the human brain can most focus on one task at a time, according to most recent studies.

When we try to multitask, our brains are just bouncing back and forth between different tasks, which can slow performance and result in more mistakes.

Pro-Tip: Group similar tasks together and complete them one-by-one, instead of simultaneously. By grouping similar duties, your mind can quickly shift its focus to the next job on your list.

14. Work near natural light.

Most recent studies show that natural light is key to boosting productivity. One study found that workers in office environments with optimized natural lights reported an 84% drop in symptoms like eyestrain, headaches, and blurred vision. These symptoms are common with prolonged usage of a computer or devices at work — which can hinder productivity.

In other words, natural sunlight contributes to a more comfortable environment. And when you feel better, you’ll likely work better, too.

Pro-Tip: Try setting up your workspace near a window or sunny area.

15. Forget about perfectionism.

Focus on getting the job done right rather than perfectly because nothing is ever truly perfect. I’ll never forget when I was a journalist and spent too much time writing an article for work. I spent so much time trying to make it “perfect” that I missed my deadline. You should always take pride in your work, but you should also know when to move on to the next thing.

Pro-Tip: Create a short list of things a task must have to be considered complete. Once you check off everything on the list, move on to the next task — even if the first one isn’t perfect but still checks every box.

When all else fails, the most significant hack to productivity is patience. There will be days when things don’t go as planned, and you don’t achieve everything on your to-do list. On those days, be patient with yourself and remember that tomorrow is another opportunity to do better.

Take me to Projects

Color Theory 101: A Complete Guide to Color Wheels & Color Schemes

While text-based content is always important when seeking answers to a question, creating visuals such as infographics, charts, graphs, animated GIFs, and other shareable images can do wonders for catching your readers’ attention and enhancing your article or report. Knowing color theory and design can help you make content stand out.

I know what you might be thinking: “I don’t know how to design awesome visuals. I’m not creative.” Neither am I, yet I found a strength in data visualization at HubSpot, where I’ve spent most of my days creating infographics and other visuals for blog posts.

Download Now: 150+ Content Creation Templates [Free Kit]

Consider this your introductory course to color theory, types of color schemes, and the use of palettes. We’ll be covering the following topics:

What is color theory?

Color theory is the basis for the primary rules and guidelines that surround color and its use in creating aesthetically pleasing visuals. By understanding color theory basics, you can begin to parse the logical structure of color for yourself to create and use color palettes more strategically. The result means evoking a particular emotion, vibe, or aesthetic.

While there are many tools out there to help even the most inartistic of us to create compelling visuals, graphic design tasks require a little more background knowledge on design principles.

Take selecting the right color combination, for instance. It’s something that might seem easy at first but when you’re staring down a color wheel, you’re going to wish you had some information on what you’re looking at. In fact, brands of all sizes use color psychology to learn how color influences decision-making and affects design.

Understanding how colors work together, the impact they can have on mood and emotion, and how they change the look and feel of your website is critical to help you stand out from the crowd — for the right reasons.

From effective CTAs to sales conversions and marketing efforts, the right color choice can highlight specific sections of your website, make it easier for users to navigate, or give them a sense of familiarity from the first moment they click through.

But it’s not enough to simply select colors and hope for the best — from color theory to moods and schemes, finding the right HTML color codes, and identifying web-accessible colors for products and websites, the more you know about using color, the better your chances are for success.

Read on for our designer’s guide to color theory, color wheels, and color schemes for your site.

Color Theory 101

Let’s first go back to high school art class to discuss the basics of color.

Remember hearing about primary, secondary, and tertiary colors? They’re pretty important if you want to understand, well, everything else about color.

Circular color theory model with labels for primary colors, secondary colors, and tertiary colors

Primary Colors

Primary colors are those you can’t create by combining two or more other colors together. They’re a lot like prime numbers, which can’t be created by multiplying two other numbers together.

There are three primary colors:

  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Blue

Think of primary colors as your parent colors, anchoring your design in a general color scheme. Any one or combination of these colors can give your brand guardrails when you move to explore other shades, tones, and tints (we’ll talk about those in just a minute).

When designing or even painting with primary colors, don’t feel restricted to just the three primary colors listed above. Orange isn’t a primary color, for example, but brands can certainly use orange as their dominant color (as we at HubSpot know this quite well).

Knowing which primary colors create orange is your ticket to identifying colors that might go well with orange — given the right shade, tone, or tint. This brings us to our next type of color …

Secondary Colors

Secondary colors are the colors that are formed by combining any two of the three primary colors listed above. Check out the color theory model above — see how each secondary color is supported by two of the three primary colors?

There are three secondary colors: orange, purple, and green. You can create each one using two of the three primary colors. Here are the general rules of secondary color creation:

  • Red + Yellow = Orange
  • Blue + Red = Purple
  • Yellow + Blue = Green

Keep in mind that the color mixtures above only work if you use the purest form of each primary color. This pure form is known as a color’s hue, and you’ll see how these hues compare to the variants underneath each color in the color wheel below.

Tertiary Colors

Tertiary colors are created when you mix a primary color with a secondary color.

From here, color gets a little more complicated, and if you want to learn how the experts choose color in their design, you’ve got to first understand all the other components of color.

The most important component of tertiary colors is that not every primary color can match with a secondary color to create a tertiary color. For example, red can’t mix in harmony with green, and blue can’t mix in harmony with orange — both mixtures would result in a slightly brown color (unless of course, that’s what you’re looking for).

Instead, tertiary colors are created when a primary color mixes with a secondary color that comes next to it on the color wheel below. There are six tertiary colors that fit this requirement:

  • Red + Purple = Red-Purple (magenta)
  • Red + Orange = Red-Orange (vermillion)
  • Blue + Purple = Blue-Purple (violet)
  • Blue + Green = Blue-Green (teal)
  • Yellow + Orange = Yellow-Orange (amber)
  • Yellow + Green = Yellow-Green (chartreuse)

The Color Theory Wheel

Okay, great. So now you know what the “main” colors are, but you and I both know that choosing color combinations, especially on a computer, involves a much wider range than 12 basic colors.

This is the impetus behind the color wheel, a circle graph that charts each primary, secondary, and tertiary color — as well as their respective hues, tints, tones, and shades. Visualizing colors in this way helps you choose color schemes by showing you how each color relates to the color that comes next to it on a rainbow color scale. (As you probably know, the colors of a rainbow, in order, are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.)

Color theory wheel with labels for each color's hue, tint, tone, and shade

When choosing colors for a color scheme, the color wheel gives you opportunities to create brighter, lighter, softer, and darker colors by mixing white, black, and gray with the original colors. These mixes create the color variants described below:

Hue

Hue is pretty much synonymous with what we actually mean when we said the word “color.” All of the primary and secondary colors, for instance, are “hues.”

Hues are important to remember when combining two primary colors to create a secondary color. If you don’t use the hues of the two primary colors you’re mixing together, you won’t generate the hue of the secondary color. This is because a hue has the fewest other colors inside it. By mixing two primary colors that carry other tints, tones, and shades inside them, you’re technically adding more than two colors to the mixture — making your final color dependent on the compatibility of more than two colors.

If you were to mix the hues of red and blue together, for instance, you’d get purple, right? But mix a tint of red with the hue of blue, and you’ll get a slightly tinted purple in return.

Shade

You may recognize the term “shade” because it’s used quite often to refer to light and dark versions of the same hue. But actually, a shade is technically the color that you get when you add black to any given hue. The various “shades” just refer to how much black you’re adding.

Tint

A tint is the opposite of a shade, but people don’t often distinguish between a color’s shade and a color’s tint. You get a different tint when you add white to a color. So, a color can have a range of both shades and tints.

Tone (or Saturation)

You can also add both white and black to a color to create a tone. Tone and saturation essentially mean the same thing, but most people will use saturation if they’re talking about colors being created for digital images. Tone will be used more often for painting.

With the basics covered, let’s dive into something a little more complicated — like additive and subtractive color theory.

Additive & Subtractive Color Theory

If you’ve ever played around with color on any computer program, you’ve probably seen a module that listed RGB or CMYK colors with some numbers next to the letters.

Ever wondered what those letters mean?

CMYK

CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key (Black). Those also happen to be the colors listed on your ink cartridges for your printer. That’s no coincidence.

CMYK is the subtractive color model. It’s called that because you have to subtract colors to get to white. That means the opposite is true — the more colors you add, the closer you get to black. Confusing, right?

Subtractive color diagram with CMYK in the center

Think about printing on a piece of paper. When you first put a sheet in the printer, you’re typically printing on a white piece of paper. By adding color, you’re blocking the white wavelengths from getting through.

Then, let’s say you were to put that printed piece of paper back into the printer, and print something on it again. You’ll notice the areas that have been printed on twice will have colors closer to black.

I find it easier to think about CMYK in terms of its corresponding numbers. CMYK works on a scale of 0 to 100. If C=100, M=100, Y=100, and K=100, you end up with black. But, if all four colors equal 0, you end up with true white.

RGB

RGB color models, on the other hand, are designed for electronic displays, including computers.

RGB stands for Red, Green, Blue, and is based on the additive color model of light waves. This means, the more color you add, the closer you get to white. For computers, RGB is created using scales from 0 to 255. So, black would be R=0, G=0, and B=0. White would be R=255, G=255, and B=255.

Additive color model with RGB in the center

When you’re creating color on a computer, your color module will usually list both RGB and CMYK numbers. In practice, you can use either one to find colors, and the other color model will adjust accordingly.

However, many web programs will only give you the RGB values or a HEX code (the code assigned to color for CSS and HTML). So, if you’re designing digital images or for web design, RGB is probably your best bet for choosing colors.

You can always convert the design to CMYK and make adjustments should you ever need it for printed materials.

The Meaning of Color

Along with varying visual impact, different colors also carry different emotional symbolism.

  • Red — typically associated with power, passion, or energy, and can help encourage action on your site
  • Orange — joy and enthusiasm, making it a good choice for positive messaging
  • Yellow — happiness and intellect, but be wary of overuse
  • Green — often connected to growth or ambition, green can help give the sense that your brand is on the rise
  • Blue — tranquility and confidence, depending on the shade — lighter shades provide a sense of peace, darker colors are more confident
  • Purple — luxury or creativity, especially when used deliberately and sparingly on your site
  • Black — power and mystery, and using this color can help create necessary negative space
  • White — safety and innocence, making it a great choice to help streamline your site

Worth noting? Different audiences may perceive colors differently. The meanings listed above are common for North American audiences, but if your brand moves into other parts of the world, it’s a good idea to research how users will perceive particular colors. For example, while red typically symbolizes passion or power in the United States, it’s considered a color of mourning in South Africa.

While it’s possible to create your website using a combination of every color under the rainbow, chances are the final product won’t look great. Thankfully, color experts and designers have identified seven common color schemes to help jumpstart your creative process.

Let’s examine each type of color scheme in more detail.

1. Monochromatic

Monochromatic color schemes use a single color with varying shades and tints to produce a consistent look and feel. Although it lacks color contrast, it often ends up looking very clean and polished. It also allows you to easily change the darkness and lightness of your colors.

Color wheel with two monochromatic colors plotted along the red hue

Monochromatic color schemes are often used for charts and graphs when creating high contrast isn’t necessary.

Check out all the monochromatic colors that fall under the red hue, a primary color.

Red color scheme example with red hue, tint, tone, and shade

2. Analogous

Analogous color schemes are formed by pairing one main color with the two colors directly next to it on the color wheel. You can also add two additional colors (which are found next to the two outside colors) if you want to use a five-color scheme instead of just three colors.

Color wheel with five analogous colors plotted between blue and yellow

Analogous structures do not create themes with high contrasting colors, so they’re typically used to create a softer, less contrasting design. For example, you could use an analogous structure to create a color scheme with autumn or spring colors.

This color scheme is great for creating warmer (red, oranges, and yellows) or cooler (purples, blues, and greens) color palettes like the one below.

Types of color schemes: Analogous color scheme pallette

Analogous schemes are often used to design images rather than infographics or bar charts as all of the elements blend together nicely.

3. Complementary

You may have guessed it, but a complementary color scheme is based on the use of two colors directly across from each other on the color wheel and relevant tints of those colors.

color wheel showing complementary colors on opposite sides of the wheel

The complementary color scheme provides the greatest amount of color contrast. Because of this, you should be careful about how you use the complementary colors in a scheme.

It’s best to use one color predominantly and use the second color as accents in your design. The complementary color scheme is also great for charts and graphs. High contrast helps you highlight important points and takeaways.

complementary color sceme example with oranges and blues

4. Split Complementary

A split complementary scheme includes one dominant color and the two colors directly adjacent to the dominant color’s complement. This creates a more nuanced color palette than a complementary color scheme while still retaining the benefits of contrasting colors.

color wheel with split complementary color scheme values plotted

The split complementary color scheme can be difficult to balance because unlike analogous or monochromatic color schemes, the colors used all provide contrast (similar to the complementary scheme).

The positive and negative aspect of the split complementary color model is that you can use any two colors in the scheme and get great contrast … but that also means it can also be tricky to find the right balance between the colors. As a result, you may end up playing around with this one a bit more to find the right combination of contrast.

split complementary color scheme example with pale blue, peach, blue, and red

5. Triadic

Triadic color schemes offer high contrasting color schemes while retaining the same tone. Triadic color schemes are created by choosing three colors that are equally placed in lines around the color wheel.

Color wheel with three triadic colors plotted between purple, green, and orange

Triad color schemes are useful for creating high contrast between each color in a design, but they can also seem overpowering if all of your colors are chosen on the same point in a line around the color wheel.

To subdue some of your colors in a triadic scheme, you can choose one dominant color and use the others sparingly, or simply subdue the other two colors by choosing a softer tint.

The triadic color scheme looks great in graphics like bar or pie charts because it offers the contrast you need to create comparisons.

Color scheme example with purple, green, and orange triadic colors

6. Square

The square color scheme uses four colors equidistant from each other on the color wheel to create a square or diamond shape. While this evenly-spaced color scheme provides substantial contrast to your design, it’s a good idea to select one dominant color rather than trying to balance all four.

Square color scheme

Image Source

Square color schemes are great for creating interest across your web designs. Not sure where to start? Pick your favorite color and work from there to see if this scheme suits your brand or website. It’s also a good idea to try square schemes against both black and white backgrounds to find the best fit.

Types of color schemes: Capital Square Color PaletteImage Source

7. Rectangle

Also called the tetradic color scheme, the rectangle approach is similar to its square counterpart but offers a more subtle approach to color selection.

Rectangle color Schme

Image Source

As you can see in the diagram above, while the blue and red shades are quite bold, the green and orange on the other side of the rectangle are more muted, in turn helping the bolder shades stand out.

tetradic Color Palette

Image Source

No matter which color scheme you choose, keep in mind what your graphic needs. If you need to create contrast, then choose a color scheme that gives you that. On the other hand, if you just need to find the best “versions” of certain colors, then play around with the monochromatic color scheme to find the perfect shades and tints.

Remember, if you build a color scheme with five colors, that doesn’t mean you have to use all five. Sometimes just choosing two colors from a color scheme looks much better than cramming all five colors together in one graphic.

Examples of Color Schemes

Now that you are familiar with color scheme types, let’s take a look at some in the wild.

1. Canva

Type: Monochromatic

example of color scheme: MonochromeImage Source

The use of blues and purples really make this monochromatic blueberry-inspired template stand out. Each shade builds on the next and provides ample contrast despite remaining within the same color family.

2. Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

Type: Triadic

example of color scheme: TriadicImage Source

As we mentioned earlier, nature is a great way to get inspiration for your color palette. Why? Because mother nature already has it figured out. Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism took advantage of these triadic shades to showcase the region’s natural beauty.

3. Daye

Type: Analogous

example of color scheme: Analogous

Image Source

Eco-friendly Women’s health company Your Daye uses a blend of pastels and earthy tones for its analogous color scheme. The effect is soothing and pleasing to the eye.

1. Leverage natural inspiration.

Once your site operations are solid, it’s time to start selecting colors.

Not sure what looks good? Take a look outside. Nature is the best example of colors that complement each other — from the green stems and bright blooms of flowering plants to azure skies and white clouds, you can’t go wrong pulling context from natural colors and combinations.

2. Set a mood for your color scheme.

With a few color choices in mind, consider the mood you want your color scheme to set. If passion and energy are your priorities, lean more toward red or brighter yellows. If you’re looking to create a feeling of peace or tranquility, trend toward lighter blues and greens.

It’s also worth thinking negatively. This is because negative space — in either black or white — can help keep your design from feeling too cluttered with color.

3. Consider color context.

It’s also worth considering how colors are perceived in contrast.

In the image below, the middle of each of the circles is the same size, shape, and color. The only thing that changes is the background color.

Yet, the middle circles appear softer or brighter depending on the contrasting color behind it. You may even notice movement or depth changes just based on one color change.

Color Context with backgrounds

This is because the way in which we use two colors together changes how we perceive it. So, when you’re choosing colors for your graphic designs, think about how much contrast you want throughout the design.

For instance, if you were creating a simple bar chart, would you want a dark background with dark bars? Probably not. You’d most likely want to create a contrast between your bars and the background itself since you want your viewers to focus on the bars, not the background.

4. Refer to your color wheel.

Next, consider your color wheel and the schemes mentioned above. Select a few different color combinations using schemes such as monochrome, complementary, and triad to see what stands out.

Here, the goal isn’t to find exactly the right colors on the first try and create the perfect design, but rather to get a sense of which scheme naturally resonates with your personal perception and the look of your site.

You may also find that schemes you select that look good in theory don’t work with your site design. This is part of the process — trial and error will help you find the color palette that both highlights your content and improves the user experience.

5. Draft multiple designs.

Draft and apply multiple color designs to your website and see which one(s) stand out. Then, take a step back, wait a few days and check again to see if your favorites have changed.

Here’s why: While many designers go in with a vision of what they want to see and what looks good, the finished product often differs on digital screens that physical color wheels — what seemed like a perfect complement or an ideal color pop may end up looking drab or dated.

Don’t be afraid to draft, review, draft again and throw out what doesn’t work — color, like website creation, is a constantly-evolving art form.

How to Use Color Palettes

While color schemes provide a framework for working with different colors, you’ll still need to use a color palette — the colors you will select to use for your project. If you’re stumped about what colors to use, consider using a palette generator to get your creativity flowing.

Here are some best practices to make the most out of your color palette:

1. Work in grayscale.

This may sound counter-intuitive but starting with black and white can help you see exactly how much contrast exists in your design. Before getting started with color, it’s important to lay out all the elements like text, CTAs, illustrations, photos, and any other design features. The way your design looks in grayscale will determine how well it looks in color. Without enough light and dark contrast, your design will be hard to view, leaving your audience with a less than satisfactory user experience. Low contrast designs also make them inaccessible for those with a vision impairment.

2. Use the 60-30-10 rule.

Often used in home design, the 60-30-10 rule is also useful for website or app design.<

  • 60%: primary or main color
  • 30%: secondary colors
  • 10%: accent colors

While you’re certainly not limited to using just three colors, this framework will provide balance and ensure your colors work together seamlessly.

3. Experiment with your palette.

Once you’ve made your color selection, experiment to discover which work better together. Consider how copy or type looks on top of your designated main color (60% is typically used as the background color).

Try not to use your main colors for buttons since you’re already using it everywhere else. Consider one of your accent colors instead.

4. Get feedback or conduct A/B testing.

So you’ve finished your draft. Now it’s time to test it. Before sending your design to market, you’ll want to test how users interact with it. What may look good to you, may be difficult to read for others. Some things to consider when asking for feedback:

  • Are the CTAs generating attention?
  • Are the colors you chose distracting?
  • Is there enough color contrast?
  • Is the copy legible?

Getting another set of eyes on your design will help you spot errors or inconsistencies you may have missed in the creation process. Take their feedback in stride and make adjustments where needed.

Put simply? Practice makes perfect. The more you play with color and practice design, the better you get. No one creates their masterpiece the first time around.

Color Tools

There’s been a lot of theory and practical information for actually understanding which colors go best together and why. But when it comes down to the actual task of choosing colors while you’re designing, it’s always a great idea to have tools to help you actually do the work quickly and easily.

Luckily, there are a number of tools to help you find and choose colors for your designs.

Adobe Color

One of my favorite color tools to use while I’m designing anything — whether it’s an infographic or just a pie chart — is Adobe Color (previously Adobe Kuler).

This free online tool allows you to quickly build color schemes based on the color structures that were explained earlier in this post. Once you’ve chosen the colors in the scheme you’d like, you can copy and paste the HEX or RGB codes into whatever program you’re using.

It also features hundreds of premade color schemes for you to explore and use in your own designs. If you’re an Adobe user, you can easily save your themes to your account.

Color wheel on dashboard of Adobe Color

Illustrator Color Guide

I spend a lot of time in Adobe Illustrator, and one of my most-used features is the color guide. The color guide allows you to choose one color, and it will automatically generate a five-color scheme for you. It will also give you a range of tints and shades for each color in the scheme.

If you switch your main color, the color guide will switch the corresponding colors in that scheme. So if you’ve chosen a complementary color scheme with the main color of blue, once you switch your main color to red, the complementary color will also switch from orange to green.

Like Adobe Color, the color guide has a number of preset modes to choose the kind of color scheme you want. This helps you pick the right color scheme style within the program you’re already using.

After you’ve created the color scheme that you want, you can save that scheme in the “Color Themes” module for you to use throughout your project or in the future.

Color options on Illustrator Color Guide tool

Preset Color Guides

If you’re not an Adobe user, you’ve probably used Microsoft Office products at least once. All of the Office products have preset colors that you can use and play around with to create color schemes. PowerPoint also has a number of color scheme presets that you can use to draw inspiration for your designs.

Where the color schemes are located in PowerPoint will depend on which version you use, but once you find the color “themes” of your document, you can open up the preferences and locate the RGB and HEX codes for the colors used.

You can then copy and paste those codes to be used in whatever program you’re using to do your design work.

Color swatches and meters in PowerPoint

Finding the Right Color Scheme

There’s a lot of theory in this post, I know. But when it comes to choosing colors, understanding the theory behind color can do wonders for how you actually use color. This can make creating branded visuals easy, especially when using design templates where you can customize colors.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in June 2021 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

 
content templates
 

12 Free Personality Tests You Can Take Online Today

Personality tests are a great way to explore different aspects of who you are and uncover layers you perhaps hadn’t recognized about yourself before.

Keep reading to learn more about the purpose of taking personality tests. Then, take a look at the best free personality tests we’ve compiled and discover aspects of who you are, why you make certain decisions, and more.

Download Now: Free Company Culture Code Template

The Purpose of Personality Tests

Being truly self-aware is hard. While personality tests might not always be 100% accurate, they work well as a starting point for self-discovery by providing results you might not have concluded on your own. These insights are invaluable for one’s personal and professional growth.

Pros of Personality Tests

Personality tests can be used for self-reflection and help you gain better insight on how to play to your strengths and combat your weaknesses.

Personality tests are also widely used in the workplace because they can be a great way for you and your coworkers to better understand each other’s communication and collaboration styles.

These tests are great conversation starters, especially among groups of people who don’t know each other very well. They can help create connections and establish common ground at work.

Learning about your colleagues’ personality traits can reveal how each team member prefers to receive feedback and criticism. This can help your team avoid unnecessary miscommunication down the road, as well as lead to more productive projects and meetings.

Cons of Personality Tests

While there are many pros to taking personality tests, there are also some cons.

Test results can be vague, depending on which test you are taking. Shorter personality tests, though convenient, are often not as comprehensive and accurate as the longer tests. Plus, some tests require a higher level of self-awareness and understanding of how others perceive you – not having this understanding may skew your test results.

Now, let’s learn more about the different types of personality tests, so you can determine which one is right for you.

Types of Personality Tests

With so many personality tests to choose from, it can be difficult to narrow down which one is right for you. Some focus on assessing your communication style, while others may look at your emotional intelligence, behavior, and more. Here, we’ve compiled a list of common types of personality tests you can take for free online.

1. Myers-Briggs Personality Tests

Myers-Briggs is a widely respected and popular personality assessment tool — first used in the 1940s, the test was developed by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers. Initially inspired by Carl Jung’s personality theory, the Myers-Briggs test conveniently separates people into 16 categories of personalities, providing each person with a four-letter acronym.

The following four tests are broad-stroke indicators of who you are, using inspiration from Myers-Briggs. Among other things, the tests cover your communication styles, your strengths and weaknesses, your desires and ambitions, how you see the world, and how people perceive you.

If you’ve never taken a test based on Jung’s psychological traits, or Myers-Briggs’ 16 categories of personalities, you may be surprised by the accuracy of some of the statements. More importantly, you could gain insight into how your behavior is perceived by others, helping you improve both professional and personal relationships.

2. DISC Personality Tests

The DISC assessment determines where you lie on four DISC factors: dominance, influence, steadiness, and compliance. DISC is one of the most popular and authoritative career assessments out there, and many companies encourage their employees to take it.

Undoubtedly, personality affects our career ambitions, as well as how we perform in different workplace environments. If you’re particularly extraverted, maybe you’ve chosen a career path that enables you to work daily with large groups of people. If you have certain communication styles that rely on passivity and emotion, perhaps your boss’s direct statements sometimes offend you.

Arming yourself with a sense of self-awareness could help you find your optimal career path, foster better work relationships, and mitigate work conflict more effectively.

3. Emotional Intelligence Tests

Psychology Today defines emotional intelligence as, “the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.” Arguably, having emotional intelligence is the most important factor in dealing with conflict and communicating with others.

It’s undeniable that emotional intelligence is important — in fact, research has shown success is 80-90% attributable to emotional intelligence (EI), and only 10-20% to your IQ.

In the workplace, whether you’re around coworkers in the midst of a stressful project, or dealing with a tough performance review from your boss, it’s critical you know how to both identify and handle your own emotions; it’s equally important you know how to read other people’s emotions, and manage them appropriately.

What is the most accurate type of personality test?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a personality test that is completely accurate. The validity of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the DISC assessment have been called into question by behavioral scientists over the years due to their oversimplification of behavior and personality traits.

Emotional intelligence tests are also divisive among scientists due to the potential for bias against groups outside the norm since one’s emotional recognition and regulation often depends on their cultural background.

That said, personality tests can be valuable tools for understanding personality similarities and differences among members of the same organization.

Free Personality Tests

1. 16 Personalities

16 personalities free test you can take online

Best for: Learning how your personality type influences many different areas of your life, as well as how it impacts your relationships.

16 Personalities covers five broad personality aspects: mind, energy, nature, tactics and identity. The test is based on Carl Jung’s study of psychological traits (e.g. extroversion vs. introversion) and the Myers-Briggs test, two popular personality theories meant to determine an extensive overview of who you are.

Among other things, the test will cover how you communicate and relate to others — both professionally and personally — what you value and strive for, and how you make decisions. 16 Personalities has been taken over 126 million times, and is available in 30 languages.

Pros: Once you’ve gotten your results, you’ll find extensive information on your personality type including strengths and weaknesses, relationships, friendships, parenthood, and workplace habits. The test is incredibly accurate and can tell you how your personality type plays out in specific situations.

Cons: With seven bubbles varying from “Agree” to “Disagree”, it can be difficult and time-consuming to figure out where exactly you fall on each question. A “Strongly agree,” “Agree”, “Neutral”,”Disagree”, and “Strongly disagree” chart might’ve been easier to answer.

2. Personality Perfect

personality perfect free test you can take online

Best for: Learning how others perceive you or how they might misinterpret your behaviors, and finding out what you value most.

Similar to 16 Personalities, Personality Perfect is also based on Jung’s and Myers-Briggs’ personality theories, and uses four broad categories — extraversion vs. introversion, sensing and intuition, thinking and feeling, and judging and perceiving — to compile a four-letter abbreviation of your personality type (e.g. “INFP”).

The test provides a broad overview of how you connect with others, how you behave, and, perhaps most surprising, how you’re likely seen by others.

Pros: Once you know your four-letter personality abbreviation, you can apply that label to various situations, like work and love, and determine how others’ perceive your behaviors in those settings.

Cons: Tests that are based on Jung’s personality theories are typically considered rough tendencies, and not strict classifications — and many researchers say Myers-Briggs tests are unscientific due to the different results you might get if you take the test twice.

3. Human Metrics

human metrics free personality test you can take online

Best for: Determining a career path that is most well-suited for your personality.

If you’ve ever wondered which famous personalities share your personality type, you’re in luck — Human Metrics shows you that information, along with your four-letter personality type (again, based on Jung and Myers-Briggs theories).

With this test, you’ll get information about which career paths are most suitable for your personality type. If you’re having trouble choosing a career path or doubting the one you’ve chosen, maybe this test can help you figure it out.

Pros: This specific test allows you to see all 64 questions on one screen, which makes it easier to scroll back and change an answer if you’d like to.

Cons: Many of these responses can feel situation-dependent. “You feel involved when watching TV soaps”, for instance, could depend on the show you’re watching, how you’re feeling that day (relaxed? overwhelmed?) and simply might not be a strong predictor of who you are as a person.

4. TestColor

test color free personality test you can take online

Best for: Finding out the ratio of extroverted to introverted you are, plus getting short descriptions of the qualities that most characterize your personality.

Test Color, a test validated by a team of clinical psychologists, psychoanalysts and mathematicians, asks you just two questions: “Click on the colors you like most,” and “Click on the colors you like least.”

Test Color tells you about your emotional intelligence, your creativity and imagination, your social skills, and your work style, including organization and management styles. I found it to be surprisingly accurate: in two questions, it nailed how I communicate with others and how I act in group settings.

Pros: It’s incredibly quick and easy — taking roughly 5 minutes to complete.

Cons: The results are relatively vague and general, and the test doesn’t divide your personality into categories depending on the situation. (For instance, it doesn’t tell you the difference between your personality in work settings and romantic situations.)

5. Crystal

crystal free personality test you can take online

Best for: Learning how your personality biases you towards colleagues’ behavior, and gaining a deeper understanding of your coworkers’ personalities.

Crystal provides a free DISC assessment, which tells you (among other things) how your personality fits into your work environment, who you work well with, who you might have conflict with, how you perceive others behaviors, and how others perceive yours.

The test helps you understand how your own personality biases you towards certain colleagues (i.e. your personality might take another coworker’s comments offensively, while the coworker just believes in being direct), which could strengthen your work relationships.

Best of all, Crystal also offers an accurate personality test, enabling you to build an extensive personality profile on one website. Plus, when you input your company, Crystal lets you see your colleague’s personality profiles — undeniably critical information when you’re looking to empathize with a coworker.

Pros: Can be a useful tool for identifying areas to focus on for professional development and coaching.

Cons: There has been no correlational study to show that test results match real-world job performance.

6. 123Test

123test free personality test you can take online

Best for: Analyzing and improving your relationships with coworkers.

123Test offers a DISC personality test you can take in five minutes, so there’s really no excuses. You’ll get a score to find out which DISC factors predict your behaviors towards other people.

The test offers critical information for understanding why you might get along better with one employee, and have more conflict with another. It identifies how you perceive other people’s actions (i.e. “You’re sensitive to her blunt nature, even though she believes she’s just being straightforward”), which can help you improve work relationships.

Pros: It’s incredibly quick and straightforward, and will give you a general sense for how you could misinterpret colleagues’ behaviors.

Cons: With a few simple images (like the example, below), this test is less advanced than others in the list, and could provide different results every time you take it depending on your mood.

7. Truity Career Personality Profiler

truity career test free personality test you can take online

Best for: Figuring out an ideal career path, and learning which skills are required to excel in that career.

This test, based on the Holland Code and Big Five theories, will analyze your interests and personality traits and tell you careers (and college majors) that are a good match for you. It also lets you know about specific tasks and projects you’d love, what motivates you, and provides advice to help you maximize your strengths.

Even if you’re happy with your current career track, the test provides suggestions for specific skills you could learn to get ahead in your career.

Pros: If you’re early in your career (or a college student), this is a good test for uncovering your interests and discovering potential career paths. Best of all, it lets you know which projects or tasks you’d enjoy — allowing you to mix-and-match and determine the ideal career based on your personal interests.

Cons: It can be difficult to know what you’d enjoy doing if you’ve never done it. For instance, as a college student, I might not know how to answer whether or not I’d enjoy designing a magazine cover, if I’ve never experienced design work.

8. Interpersonal Skills assessment

interpersonal skills free personality test you can take online

Best for: Improving your communication and listening skills.

Having well-developed interpersonal skills is critical to forming deep and meaningful personal and professional relationships. Interpersonal Skills assesses your listening skills, verbal communication skills, ability to work in teams, and emotional intelligence.

Better yet, the test identifies areas of weakness and provides tactical advice on how to improve those skills.

Pros: After you’ve completed the test, Interpersonal Skills provides you with helpful resources to level-up your communication or listening skills. Resources include “An Introduction to Communication Skills” and “Advanced Communication Skills” ($13 each). And even without the resources, this is a quick and easy test for evaluating areas for improvement in your own communication style.

Cons: To evaluate your listening skills, you might need to ask other people how they perceive you. Maybe you think you’re a good listener, but others disagree — if that’s the case, it can be difficult to accurately self-analyze your own skills for this test (or any others).

9. Sokanu

Sokanu free personality test you can take online

Best for: Determining a few different career paths that could make you happy — and then having the opportunity to pick-and-choose from there.

Major companies including General Assembly, NYU, and Redfin use Sokanu, a career assessment tool that tests you on your personality, background, interests, and goals to determine an ideal career path.

After you take the test, it provides you with multiple matches, which you can sort through to explore different careers and workplaces before choosing an ideal match.

Pros: The test provides you with multiple options for careers that could fulfill you — which I appreciate, since it can be stressful to get to the end of a test and find out there’s only one job that would make you happy. Plus, Sokanu offers a library filled with over 1,000 careers, and explains what type of people thrive in them — and why.

Cons: If you don’t know much about what interests you professionally, it can be a difficult test to take. Question one, for instance, is “Would you like to… Advise organizations on how to meet their business goals?” As a high school student, I wouldn’t have any idea how to answer that question.

10. Berkeley Emotional Intelligence

berkeley emotional intelligence free personality test you can take online

Best for: Figuring out how well you analyze and interpret other people’s emotions — a vital component of strong emotional intelligence.

This test, designed by Berkeley, shows you 20 pictures and asks you to recognize the facial expression on each person’s face. It’s easy, quick, and fun, and an informative way to learn how well you read other people’s emotions — which is a critical skill for assessing and mitigating conflict.

Pros: It’s fun and easy, and correctly identifying people’s facial expressions is a scientifically-proven way to evaluate someone’s emotional intelligence (EI).

Cons: 20 questions is a relatively short test to determine emotional intelligence, so the test is a good starting point, but might not offer a comprehensive view of your EI.

11. VeryWellMind

verywellmind free personality test you can take online

Best for: A speedy gut-check on how emotionally intelligent you are, with resources to further your understanding.

If you don’t have the time for anything more in-depth, this test only asks you 10 quick questions before delivering your results.

It’s admittedly not medical or scientific by any means, but does offer other articles depending on your score. If you score low, for example, VeryWellMind.com includes a link to another one of their articles, “Emotions and Types of Emotional Responses.”

Pros: Takes only a few minutes to complete, and the questions are straightforward and easy to answer.

Cons: It’s easy and fun, but isn’t necessarily as accurate or scientific as the others in this list.

12. Empathy Quotient

Empathy Quotient free personality test you can take online

Best for: A more in-depth test to accurately analyze how emotionally intelligent you are.

Unlike the tests above, this one is designed to clinically assess you — the test was developed by Simon Baron-Cohen at the Autism Research Center at the University of Cambridge, and uses the same emotional measurements mental health professionals use to diagnose social impairment.

It’s a 60-item questionnaire and is suitable to measure “temperamental empathy” in adults.

Pros: It uses the same measurements that mental health professionals use to diagnose social impairments — meaning it’s accurate and scientifically-backed, and should provide you with a deeper understanding of your own empathy (and areas for improvement).

Cons: The test requires you to have a certain level of self-awareness and understand how others’ perceive you. For instance, one statement is, “I am very blunt, which some people take to be rudeness, even though this is unintentional” — it might be difficult for someone to know whether their bluntness comes across as rudeness.

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

company culture template

How to Develop a Content Strategy in 7 Steps: A Start-to-Finish Guide

Whether you’re just starting out with content marketing or you’ve been using the same approach for a while, it never hurts to revisit your content strategy plan and make sure it’s up-to-date, innovative, and engaging for your prospects and customers — no matter when or how they intend to buy.

If you’re having trouble planning for the upcoming year or need some fresh ideas to include in your plan, read on.

In this post, we’ll dive into what content strategy is, why your business needs a content marketing plan, and what steps you need to teake to create your strategy. Plus, we’ll explore some examples of effective content marketing strategies for inspiration.

Say your business goals include increasing brand awareness. To achieve this, you might implement a content strategy that focuses on SEO to increase your website’s visibility on the search engine results pages (SERPs) and drive traffic to your products or services.

New business owners might assume a content strategy is a nice-to-have, but not necessary early on. However, producing high-quality content can be invaluable in building trust with new audiences and succeeding in the long haul.

In essence, a good content strategy is the foundation of your Attract and Delight stages in a buyer’s journey that follows the inbound marketing framework. Along with attracting prospects to your brand, you can leverage a content strategy for sales enablement and customer satisfaction.

Plus, with 70% of marketers actively investing in content marketing, it’s critical to develop a good content strategy to compete in your industry.

When you develop a content strategy, there are a few questions to answer. Let’s dive into those, now.

1. Who will be reading your content?

Who’s the target audience for your content? For how many audiences are you creating content?

Just as your business might have more than one type of customer, your content strategy can cater to more than one type of user.

Using a variety of content types and channels will help you deliver content that’s tailored to each persona.

2. What problem will you be solving for your audience(s)?

Ideally, your product or service solves a problem you know your audience has. By the same token, your content coaches and educates your audience through this problem as they begin to identify and address it.

A sound content strategy supports people on both sides of your product: those who are still figuring out what their main challenges are, and those who are already using your product to overcome these challenges.

Your content reinforces the solution(s) you’re offering and helps you build credibility with your target audience.

3. What makes you unique?

Your competitors likely have a similar product as yours, which means your potential customers need to know what makes yours better — or, at least, different.

Maybe your main asset is that your company has been established for many years. Or perhaps you have a unique brand voice that makes you stand out from your competitors.

To prove why you’re worth buying from, you need to prove why you’re worth listening to. Once you figure that out, permeate that message in your content.

4. What content formats will you focus on?

To figure out what formats to focus on, you need to meet your audience where they are.

While you may to tempted to launch a podcast since it’s grown so much in the last few years, or launch a YouTube channel, find out first where your audience lives.

Otherwise, you may waste time creating content that either won’t reach your audience or capture their attention.

Once you identify the best formats, start creating a budget to assess what resources you can allocate to execute this strategy.

5. What channels will you publish on?

Just as you can create content in different formats, you’ll also have various channels you can publish to, from your website to social media.

This, again, will reflect where your audience lives. If your audience prefers long-form video content, you may opt to publish your content on YouTube. If you have a younger audience that likes quick content, you may opt for TikTok and Instagram.

We’ll talk more about social media content strategy in the step-by-step guide later in this article.

6. How will you manage content creation and publication?

Figuring out how you’ll create and publish all your content can be a daunting task.

Before you execute, it’s important to establish:

  • Who’s creating what.
  • Where it’s being published.
  • When it’s going live.

In a small team, this may be easy enough as you may be the sole decision-maker. As your company grows, you may need to collaborate with several content teams to figure out an effective process.

Today’s content strategies prevent clutter by managing content from a topic standpoint. When planning a content editorial calendar around topics, you can easily visualize your company’s message and assert yourself as an authority in your market over time.

Why Marketers Need to Create a Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing helps businesses prepare and plan for reliable and cost-effective sources of website traffic and new leads.

If you can create just one blog post that gets a steady amount of organic traffic, an embedded link to an e-book or free tool will continue generating leads for you as time goes on — long after you click “Publish.”

HubSpot‘s blog team found this to be key to increasing traffic to the Sales Blog over time — read about our blog strategy here.

The reliable source of traffic and leads from your evergreen content will give you the flexibility to experiment with other marketing tactics to generate revenue, such as sponsored content, social media advertising, and distributed content.

Plus, your content won’t just help attract leads, it will also educate your prospects and generate awareness for your brand.

Now, let’s dive in to learn the specifics of how to create a content marketing plan. Curious how former HubSpot Head of Content SEO Aja Frost put together our content strategy? Here it is.

content strategy template

1. Define your goal.

What’s your aim for developing a content marketing plan? Why do you want to produce content and create a content marketing plan?

Know your goals before you begin planning, and you’ll have an easier time determining what’s best for your strategy.

Download this goal planning template for help figuring out the right content goals.

2. Conduct persona research.

To develop a successful plan, you need to clearly define your content’s target audience — also known as your buyer persona.

This is especially important for those who are starting out or are new to marketing. By knowing your target audience, you can produce more relevant and valuable content that they’ll want to read and convert on.

If you’re an experienced marketer, your target may have changed. Do you want to target a new group of people or expand your current target market? Do you want to keep the same target audience? Revisiting your audience parameters by conducting market research each year is crucial to growing your audience.

Featured Tool: Buyer Persona Generator

3. Run a content audit.

Early on, most brands start with blog posts. If you want to venture out into different formats, you can run a content audit to assess your top-performing and lowest-performing content. Then, use that information to inform which direction you take next.

If you’ve been in business for a while, you should review your content marketing efforts and last year’s results.

Figure out what you can do differently in the upcoming year and set new goals. Now is a great time to align your team’s goals with the rest of your organization’s goals.

Whatever stage you’re in, a content audit will help you determine what resonates best with your audience, identify gaps in your topic clusters, and brainstorm fresh content ideas.

4. Choose a content management system.

A few vital parts of content management include content creation, content publication, and content analytics.

You want to invest in a CMS to create, manage, and track your content in an easy and sustainable way.

With the HubSpot CMS, you can plan, produce, publish, and measure your results all in one place.

Another popular CMS is WordPress, to which you can add the HubSpot WordPress plugin for free web forms, live chat, CRM access, email marketing, and analytics.

5. Determine which type of content you want to create.

There are a variety of options out there for content you can create, from written content like ebooks and blog posts to audio content like podcasts.

In the next section, we’ll discuss some of the most popular content formats marketers are creating, including some tools and templates to get you started.

6. Brainstorm content ideas.

Now, it’s time to start coming up with ideas for your next content project.

Here are some tools to get the juices flowing.

1. Feedly

The Feedly RSS feed is a wonderful way to track trendy topics in your industry and find content ideas at the same time.

You start by telling the software what topics you’re most interested in and its AI tool will do the rest.

You won’t need to scour the internet to find new content ideas anymore. Instead, you can go through your curated list, compiled from news sites, newsletters, and social media.

2. BuzzSumo

Want to discover popular content and content ideas? This company offers several market research tools, one of which uses social media shares to determine if a piece of content is popular and well-liked.

This information helps you see which content ideas would do well if you were to create content about them.

3. BlogAbout

Get your mind gears going with IMPACT’s blog title generator. This tool works a bit like Mad Libs, but instead of joke sentences, it shows you common headline formats with blanks where you can fill in the subject you have in mind.

This brainstorming technique helps you put general ideas in contexts that would be appealing to your target audience. Once you have a headline you like, BlogAbout lets you add it to your “Notebook” so you can save your best ideas.

4. CoSchedule Headline Analyzer

You can get blog post ideas for an entire year with HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator. All you need to do is enter general topics or terms you’d like to write about, and this content idea generator does all the work for you.

This tool analyzes headlines and titles and provides feedback on length, word choice, grammar, and keyword search volume.

If you have an idea in mind, run a few title options through the Headline Analyzer to see how you could make it stronger, and to move your idea further along in the brainstorming process.

5. HubSpot’s Website Grader

This is a great tool to use when you want to see where you’re at with your website and SEO efforts. The Website Grader grades you on vital areas of your website performance and sends you a detailed report to help you optimize.

With this tool, you can figure out how to make your website more SEO-friendly and discover areas of improvement.

7. Publish and manage your content.

Your marketing plan should go beyond the types of content you’ll create — it should also cover how you’ll organize your content.

With the help of an editorial calendar, you’ll be on the right track to publishing a well-balanced and diverse content library on your website. Then, create a social media content calendar to promote and manage your content on other sites.

Featured Tool: Free Editorial Calendar Templates

editorial calendar templates, content marketing templates

Download for Free

Many of the ideas you think of will be evergreen (i.e.: just as relevant months or years from now as they are today). That being said, you shouldn’t ignore timely topics either. While they may not be the bulk of your editorial calendar, they can help you generate spikes of traffic.

Most people count on incorporating popular holidays, like New Year’s, in their marketing efforts, but you don’t have to limit yourself to these important marketing dates.

If there are niche holidays that might appeal to your audience, it could be worth publishing content on your blog or social media. Check out this ultimate list of social media holidays — keep an eye on it when you’re planning your calendar.

Content Strategy Template

Ready to get started with your own content marketing strategy? Download this helpful workbook.

Content strategy template, marketing workbook

It includes key readings and activities to help you fine-tune your plan and develop a robust strategy. You’ll learn how to:

  • Generate content ideas.
  • Create topic clusters and pillar pages.
  • Promote your content.
  • Repurpose your content based on your needs.

Content Marketing Strategy Examples

To understand what a content strategy is, let’s explore some examples of real-life content strategies based on a few business goals.

Let’s start with Evernote, a note-taking app, that developed an SEO-driven content strategy to attract new prospects to their website.

I’m a huge fan of Evernote’s blog, which offers a wealth of knowledge on the topic of productivity. The blog post, How To Stay Disciplined When Times Are Tough, made me laugh out loud — and incentivized me to grab a pen and write down some of the tips I liked best.

But why is a company that sells a note-taking app writing about discipline?

Because it’s how I found their website when I searched “How to stay disciplined” on Google.

People interested in reading content related to productivity are likely the same people interested in downloading Evernote’s note-taking product.

On the contrary, if Evernote’s marketing team simply created content for the sake of increasing traffic — like publishing “Our 10 Favorite Beyonce Songs” — it wouldn’t be considered a content strategy at all, it would just be content.

A strategy needs to align content with business goals. In Evernote’s case, the strategy aligns content (blog posts on productivity) with the business goal of attracting leads (people interested in note-taking) to their site.

Let’s take a look at another example to see how a good content strategy can help businesses with sales enablement.

Consider the following scenario: A prospect calls a sales representative at Wistia and asks questions related to Wistia’s video hosting service. As the Wistia sales rep speaks with her, he learns her business is using a few other tools to convert leads into sales, including Intercom.

Bingo.

Once the call ends, the sales rep sends the prospect a follow-up email with a blog post about Wistia’s integration with Intercom, which enables Intercom users to further personalize messages to prospects based on video-watching data they collect through Wistia.

This is a prime example of how you might use a content strategy as a sales enablement tool.

On the surface, it might seem odd that Wistia has dedicated content regarding another business tool. However, this content is a great resource for Wistia’s sales team, particularly when prospects have concerns regarding how Wistia’s product can integrate with their existing software or processes.

Now that we’ve explored a few examples of content strategies, let’s dive into the types of content marketing assets you can develop.

These are the eight most popular types of content marketing you can create for your readers and customers.

1. Blog Posts

If you haven’t already noticed, you’re currently reading a blog post. Blog posts live on a website and should be published regularly to attract new visitors.

Posts should provide valuable content for your audience that makes them inclined to share posts on social media and across other websites.

We recommend that blog posts be between 1,000 and 2,000 words in length, but you should experiment to see if your audience prefers longer or shorter reads.

Featured Tool: 6 Free Blog Post Templates

blog post templates, content marketing templates

Check out our free blog post templates for writing great how-to, listicle, curation, SlideShare presentation, and newsjacking posts on your own blog.

2. Ebooks

Ebooks are lead-generation tools that website visitors download after submitting a lead form with their contact information. They’re typically longer, more in-depth, and published less frequently than blog posts, which are written to attract visitors to a website.

But ebooks aren’t only effective for the top of the funnel.

As Nora Leary, Growth Director at Ironpaper, Inc., notes, “Ebooks serve different purposes at varying stages in the buyer’s journey.”

She told me, “Awareness-level ebooks help educate the prospect about a certain pain point and are an excellent lead capture tool. The content should remain introductory and informational.”

Leary adds, “Ebooks can convert leads in the funnel by offering them useful tools as prospects consider their needs more in-depth. An ebook here might dive deeper into a particular problem and solution options and include templates or calculators.

[Lastly,] ebooks further down the funnel should become more personalized and offer more sales content. Comparison guides or an ebook of case studies are beneficial for prospects at this stage.”

Ebooks are the next step in the inbound marketing process. After reading a blog post, such as this one, visitors might want more information.

This is where calls-to-action (CTAs) come into play, directing people to a landing page where they can submit their contact information and download an ebook to learn more valuable information for their business. In turn, the business producing the ebook has a new lead for the sales team to contact.

Featured Tool: 18 Free Ebook Templates

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3. Case Studies

A case study allows you to tell a customer story and build credibility in the process.

A case study is perhaps your most versatile type of content marketing because it can take many different forms — some of which are on this list. That’s right, case studies can take the form of a blog post, ebook, podcast, or even an infographic.

The goal is to demonstrate how your product helped real-life companies succeed. Before choosing a customer for a case study, you should determine to which business area you’re trying to drive value.

Featured Tool: 3 Free Case Study Templates

3 free business case study templates

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4. Templates

Templates are effective content marketing examples to try because they generate leads while offering tremendous value to your audience.

When you provide your audience with content strategy template tools to save them time and help them succeed, they’re more likely to engage with your content in the future.

5. Infographics

Infographics can organize and visualize data in a more compelling way than words alone.

These are great content formats to use if you’re trying to share a lot of data in a way that is clear and easy to understand.

Featured Tool: 15 Free Infographic Templates

15 free infographic templates, content strategy templates

If you’re ready to get started, get our templates for creating beautiful infographics in less than an hour.

6. Videos

Videos are a highly engaging content medium and are shareable across social media platforms and websites alike.

Videos require a bigger investment of time and resources than written content, but as visual content continues to offer big ROI, it’s a medium worth exploring.

Featured Tool: Free Video Marketing Starter Pack + Templates

The ultimate video marketing starter pack

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7. Podcasts

Starting a podcast will help audiences find your brand if they don’t have time or interest in reading content every day.

The number of podcast listeners is growing — in 2021, there was a 10% year-over-year increase in U.S. podcast listeners.

If you have interesting people to interview or conversations to host, consider podcasting as another content format to experiment with.

Featured Tool: How to Start a Podcast [Guide + Templates]

content marketing templates, podcasts

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8. Social Media

Once you’ve been regularly publishing content on your own site for a while, start thinking about a social media strategy to distribute your content on social media.

In addition to sharing your content, you can also repurpose it into new formats and create original content specifically for each platform.

Posting on social media is pivotal to amplifying your brand’s reach and delivering your content to your customers where you know they spend their time. Popular social networks include:

When launching a business account on any of the social networks above, adjust your content to the platform.

On Instagram, for example, users want aesthetically pleasing visuals. With feeds, IGTV, Stories, you have a lot of room to play with. TikTok, on the other hand, appeals to a younger demographic that wants trendy, funny, and creative short-form videos.

Do some market research to discover which platforms your buyers are on, and mold your content to their expectations.

It takes time, organization, and creativity to grow a successful content marketing strategy. From building the foundation of your content marketing plan to adding tools to better manage your content, setting up your strategy for the new year won’t be a hassle if you follow the steps and explore the resources here.

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

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