Nixon Ticker Tape Parade NYC 1960

Nixon Ticker Tape Parade NYC 1960 courtesy of WikiMedia commons

I thought I’d wrap up the year with a retrospective look back at the top posts from this blog. If you’re a newcomer, then this is your chance to see what you’ve missed and if not, then it’s an opportunity to see which posts resonated most with your fellow Inquirers.

#5 – My Top Ten Must-Read Inbound Marketing Blogs

When Google Reader shut down earlier this year, I had to move my RSS feeds to another tool. In doing so, I had a chance to clear out the deadwood and also create a list of “must read” inbound marketing blogs. In this post, I shared which ones made the cut.

#4 – A Three-Step Inbound Marketing Plan

This one pains me a little bit. Why? Because it’s unfinished business. This post was intended to be the beginning of a series that would go into detail on creating a comprehensive inbound marketing plan. Eventually, it would lead to an ebook that I’d publish on the site. Alas, I’ve left it pinned to the top of my blog as a reminder to me that I need to finish this project. Sounds like a good 2014 resolution, no?

In any case, it still provides a good overview and solid framework for developing an inbound marketing plan. It provides the necessary building blocks and if nothing else, you can use it as a check list to see if your marketing plan has any holes that need to be filled.

#3 – Social Media Marketing Just Took a Body Blow

On 21-March, a U.S. District Court (Southern District of New York) sided with the Associated Press and the New York Times in a closely-watched case involving a company (Meltwater) that scraped news content from the internet without paying for it. They then emailed their clients with excerpts and links to the original content. A ruling came down in favor of the Associated Press, who wanted Meltwater to pay a licensing fee for the content. I commented on both the erosion of the idea of “fair use” and the implications for content marketing.

#2 – 360 Content Marketing Ideas in 30 Minutes

This article had the most social media shares of any on the list. It describes how I encountered a bit of writer’s block and then generated 359 blog ideas in 30 minutes. The basic problem I addressed in this post was the balancing act between optimization and creativity. So many blogs are obviously force-fit into an optimization strategy that creativity suffers, which means so does readership. In an attempt to balance the two, I took my foundation keywords and entered them into a tool called Übersuggest. They describe themselves as “Suggest on steroids. Get keyword ideas with Übersuggest the free keyword suggestion tool that makes good use of Google Suggest and other suggest services.” And it works really, really well.

#1 – Why I Left Hubspot

It’s no big surprise that this took the top spot for 2013. It generated a lot of buzz and attracted the attention of Hubspot CMO Mike Volpe, who added his thoughts to the conversation. This post was not an attack job on Hubspot, because I think that they have a tremendous product in many ways. It described the reasons why it didn’t fit for me any more. Whether or not it’s a fit for your company depends on two things:

  1. The Pareto Principle:  I think that the reason Hubspot is so successful is that the Pareto Principle is in effect here: 80% of the gains come from the first 20% of the effort. Using Hubspot almost forces a company into some inbound marketing best practices, immediately boosting their marketing effectiveness.
  2. A Mile Wide And An Inch Deep: But then some of the problems show up in that last 80%. Some areas of the software are still a little thin (search engine optimization, blogging capabilities, WordPress integration). It can become very restrictive.

Bonus: All-Time Top 3

The top five list above were the articles that received the most visits in 2013 that were also written in 2013. There are a number of posts that ranked higher than these but were written years ago. I’m including this as an example of the power of content marketing: It’s the gift that keeps on giving. I’ve provided the original publish dates for reference.