My Top Blog Posts of 2014

Tired with coffee

As the year winds down, let’s rewind the clock and look back at what you really liked in 2014. These are the top 10 pages of 2014 on my blog by page views. A reminder, if you’d like to construct your own top 10 lists, there’s a quick tutorial here.

#10: Benchmarking your site in Google Analytics. A quick tutorial on ho to know where you’re leading and lagging versus your peer competitors.

#9: What does marketing strategy look like? A post about understanding strategy vs. tactics with a very simple analogy.

#8: Improve On-Site SEO with Webmaster Tools Data Highlighter. This is a video I shot that walks you through how Data Highlighter works. It did wonders for improving my site’s search ability.

#7: Review of the Inaugural MarTech Conference. There’s nothing like the first conference in a series. Here’s what I learned at MarTech.

#6: The Cognitive Importance of Storytelling. I ventured into academia to understand working memory and why storytelling is important to marketers who want people to remember them.

#5: How to get started with Google Tag Manager. One of Google’s most useful tools, Tag Manager is still somewhat arcane.

#4: How to analyze all your 2014 tweets. When Twitter changed its data export algorithm, everyone benefitted. Here’s how to get your top tweets.

#3: Klout Perk: The Keurig 2.0. I wrote up a review of this device as part of a Klout Perk I received. I’ve actually gone back and amended it a couple of times.

#2: Figure out what to change with Google Analytics Benchmarking. This is a follow up post to #10, in which we look at year over year benchmarking trends to see what’s changed and how things are moving.

#1: How to read the room as a speaker. The most popular post of the year, this shows my method of reading a room so as to better get a feel for the crowd when you’re onstage.

For everyone who’s stopped by my blog this year, thank you for being here. Thank you for sharing the content I create. Let’s keep making interesting things together in the year ahead!


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Klout Perk Review: Keurig 2.0

I received the Keurig 2.0 brewing system via Klout as part of a Klout perk. While the instructions from Klout say that I’m under no obligation to review it, I will anyway. So, here goes.

The system itself has a larger footprint than equivalent current models. It’s probably 25% larger than the equivalent previous model.

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The simple buttons have been replaced by a somewhat intuitive touchscreen, though the navigation gets confusing when you try to brew a carafe rather than a cup. I intentionally did not read the manual, because not reading the manual best simulates my state of wakefulness prior to coffee.

The newest feature is the ability to brew a carafe with a significantly larger K-Cup than the single service K-Cup.

So, is the system any good? For the positives, it’s much quieter than the older table-top models. Instead of the loud buzzing sound it makes when drawing water from the reservoir, it now makes a quieter pulsing sound. If you’ve ever tried to brew a K-Cup early in the morning while not waking anyone up, the new machine is definitely quieter.

For the negatives, a couple of big sticking points. First, the new system incorporates what is effectively DRM. The system scans the top of K-Cups for the Keurig logo and if it doesn’t see it, it won’t work. I predict a cottage industry in taking used K-Cup foil seals and cutting out the logos to stick onto third-party cups to keep them working.

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Second, the new carafe feature is nice in concept but the results are poor. K-Cups already tend to be a little on the weak side – in order for me to get a cup of coffee that matches my tastes, I typically have to brew two 6-ounce cups of one of their bold roasts. The carafe setting has no ability to control how much water goes into the carafe vs. coffee, so you get a weak, watery pot of coffee. If you like weaker, watery coffee, then the carafe is going to make you deliriously happy. I, however, am unimpressed, which is a doubly bad state for me prior to coffee:

IMG_9921

The verdict? If you own a Keurig system already and it’s not broken, there’s no compelling reason to upgrade. Don’t spend the money for DRM that doesn’t benefit you, and a carafe of weak, watery coffee. Stick with the Keurig you already own. If you don’t own a Keurig, the Keurig 2.0 is a capable machine with tradeoffs. If you want to use your own coffee with a reusable filter, you’re out of luck unless you glue a used Keurig label on your K-Cup holder (and I’d recommend an Aeropress for that anyway).

Update: After several months, something has gone wrong with this machine. It now makes a cup of coffee in slightly less than 3 minutes, significantly up from the 30 seconds or so it used to make a cup of coffee. Even after repeated cleaning and such, it’s still working badly, but not badly enough for me to send it back.

As always, thanks to Klout for the Perk and to Keurig for the machine. It’s now available for purchase everywhere. (Amazon affiliate link) I don’t know how much use I’ll get out of it, but at least it’s pleasant looking.

Disclosure: I received this Klout Perk for free. No other compensation was given.


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Do content marketing reruns work?

I’m glad to be back from vacation after a week completely off the grid. Talk about a drastic change in lifestyle, going to a place where devices don’t even work (thus removing the temptation to “just check in”). I recommend it heartily.

Before I left for vacation, I thought I’d run an experiment using reruns on social media to power my social media postings for the week. Instead of my normal routine of a new blog post each day plus a welcome message (2 links back to my website per day), I went to five reruns plus a welcome message (6 links back to my website per day). Each rerun was a link back to a past popular post of mine from the past two years.

Now, going into this, the logical hypothesis would be a 300% increase in website traffic, right? I literally tripled the number of direct links back to my website. In fact, it should be even more, because my audience has changed and grown in a year. Last year on Twitter alone, I had 7,000 fewer followers:

Followers_-_Twitter_Ads

So with an audience that’s bigger and triple the number of links, let’s see what the results were:

All_Traffic_-_Google_Analytics

Cue the womp womp trumpet, please. Yes, folks, you read that correctly. I had 43% LESS traffic this year compared to the same calendar week the previous year. The traffic source that drove the loss? Organic search traffic, where I had half the visitors from last year.

It’s been shouted far and wide that Google loves relevance, freshness, and diversity of content. Re-runs with no new content paint a bulls-eye on your butt for freshness and diversity, and in the world of the content shock, someone will always be creating more relevant content today than content you made a year or two ago.

The bottom line? Re-runs didn’t work for me in this particular test case. My site took a beating on organic search traffic by my taking my foot off the gas for a week. Does this mean re-runs won’t work for you? Of course not – as always, you need to test for yourself. However, go into that test with a modified hypothesis, now that you’ve seen at least one test case where the result fell far short of the hypothesis.


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