Another year may be barreling to an end. Although there is much to look forward to in 2016 (ready yet for the Google Panda 4.0 update?), there was some awesome and insightful content in 2015 that should be on any marketer’s holiday reading list. Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or making your first inroads into the digital content space, the following 20 pieces of content provide some New Year’s resolutions that’ll actually pay off.

Of course, I would like to say the best piece of content of 2015 is my article on Huffington Post “Elon Musk has a marketing plan. Do You?” But as you know (or you’ll find out), humility is sometimes an illusion among marketers. The article does give some good insight on implementing a marketing plan based on Elon Musk’s strategies, showing ways in which you or your clients can sell more, become brand evangelists, and market like the entrepreneur titan and business magnate himself.

So forget New Year’s party regrets and those underwhelming blog posts you wrote in 2015, for 2016 is prompted and packed with new opportunities, and you have this blank sheet to create the next batch of awesome content.

SEO

1. 14 Content Marketing Tools That Will Double Your Search Traffic by Neil Patel

 

Digital marketing without SEO is like a bullet without a gun. To arm yourself with the right gear for higher search traffic, from Google Analytics to keyword and headline creation tools, Neil Patel showcases 14 essential content marketing tools designed to optimise both individual pieces of content and entire websites.

2. How to Get Traffic and Links from Blog Roundups by Ana Hoffman

 

Relationships form the core of great SEO, but if you’re alone in the digital wasteland, don’t fret. Ana Hoffman from Traffic Generation Cafe is a pro at forming professional relationships, and in her article, she details some straightforward strategies on how you can use Blog Link Roundups to promote your content and boost traffic.

3. SEO Strategy Case Study: 963% More Organic Traffic by Brian Dean

The Guestographic Method, ever heard of it? If not, and if you want to see how one man boosted organic traffic by an insane 963 percent, then Brian Dean’s SEO strategy case study is an insider look into the simple, yet highly effective mechanics of Guestographics and content sharing strategies.

4. 8 SEO Copywriting Myths To Avoid by Mandy McEwen

 

Throughout the digital landscape, you’ll uncover competent SEO worker bees, the SEO savants, and, of course, the SEO hacks. Mandy McEwen is the competent, hardworking savant, and in this article, she’ll show you exactly which SEO myths to avoid and why.

5. The Periodic Table Of SEO Success Factors: 2015 Edition Now Released by Danny Sullivan

Search Engine Land is the go-to resource for both established and newbie SEOers, and every year, the company releases its highly anticipated Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors. If you’re keeping with up with the evolution of SEO, Sullivan’s article on what’s new and what’s changed is the TL;DR you need to know.

Content

1. Facebook content strategy is a time bomb for inbound marketing by Mark Schaefer

Inbound marketing is what draws those indispensable high-potential visitors to your content, but if you’re posting, linking, and sharing your content on Facebook or LinkedIn, for example, you may be driving your best traffic elsewhere. Mark Shaefer of Businessesgrow.com provides some insights into why this may be, and what you can do about it.

2. How Our Assumptions Might Be Driving AWAY Our Blog Readers by Lynn Serafinn

Oh assumptions, the great equalisers. Those unconscious beliefs you may have about blogging, readers, and content are probably hurting your content. Lynn Serafinn takes you through the most common assumptions content marketers may have about their creations, and if applicable (remember humility), helps you overcome them.

3. How To Make Your Content More Interesting by Adrienne Smith

There’s one general trait applicable to most bloggers: they don’t think, and especially don’t want to hear, that their content is boring. Adrienne Smith describes the importance of content marketing in her article, while exploring ways in which you can infuse a little zing and fun into your content.

4. How to Turn 1 Idea Into 2 Months of Content Marketing (and More) by Roger C. Parker

If there’s one overarching thing I learned from reading Roger C. Parker, it’s that blog posts don’t have to be movies. They often function better as a series. In this article, you’ll learn to take a high-potential idea and transform it into an epic of content marketing.

5. A Writing GPS: The Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your Next Piece of Content by Ann Handley

Finally, an infographic! When I’m stuck on a topic idea, Ann Handley’s baby-step-by-step guide to content brainstorming is like a beacon leading me out of the dark. Goal, frame, reframe, organize, and so on, it’s not an easy process, but Handley’s infographic does what the title says and helps you bring the best out of yourself.

Social Media

1. 7 Reasons Why LinkedIn Should Become Your New CRM by Neal Schaffer


Relationships require hard work, just as much in our professional lives as in our personal lives. As such, CRM tools keep me sane, and I’m okay with paying a hefty penny for these services. That was until I listened to Neal Schaffer’s podcast, as the best CRM tool out there, LinkedIn, is free.

2. Using Pinterest To Quickly Promote Your Blog by Sue Anne Dunlevie

Pinterest is growing and will continue to grow in the foreseeable future as a way to attract leads and traffic. To learn the ropes of Pinterest, Sue Anne Dunlevie reached out to several bloggers and marketers, and uncovered an array of tips and advice to make Pinterest work for your blog.

3. Forget the Sales Pitch: How to Use Social Media to Drive Sales by Deborah Lee

The buying cycle is comprised of a series of events leading to a sale. It’s like a psychological Rube Goldberg machine of consumerism. Thus, if you’re basing your social media promotion on the impulsive, got-my-credit-card-in-hand buyers, then there’s a chance you’re not doing so well. Deborah Lee explains this cycle in great detail in her article, while showing the influence of social media in this process.

4. 11 Little Facebook Tips That Bring BIG Engagement Results by Rebekah Radice

On Facebook, you most likely have less than a second to capture a user’s attention. And when you catch the user’s attention, will your content engage the user? Rebekah Radice probes the Facebook scene and brings you 11 practical tips to grab attention, engage, and boost traffic at enormous levels.

5. The 30-Minute Social Media Workout for Every Marketer by Olga Andrienko

The content marketing muscle rests somewhere between the fingertips and the brain, and a regular exercise routine is needed to keep it sharp, focused, and creative. To engage your marketing sense over a longer period of time, Olga Andrienko provides a fascinating and fun read for marketers looking to stay at the top of their game.

PPC

1. 68 Reasons Why Your Facebook Ad Got Rejected or Account Got Banned by Jon Loomer


You probably didn’t mean any harm, but your Facebook ad got rejected or banned anyway. Bummer. Fortunately, Jon Loomer knows 68 reasons as to why this occurred. Discover the ins and outs to Facebook ads, and keep your ads in pristine condition.

2. 9 Ways to Advertise on LinkedIn by Ted Prodromou

Face it, LinkedIn is the content marketer’s best friend, and it’s where extensive growth and outreach among professionals in your field occurs. Check out Ted’s article on Entrepreneur to see how you can better advertise on this colossal professional network.

3. The Top 10 Paid Social Media Hacks of All Time by Larry Kim

Paid social media is the mainstay of a successful campaign, but unfortunately, the word “paid” turns off the hoards of grassroots and organic marketers out there. If that sounds familiar, Larry Kim has a few insider hacks to better ensure the success of a paid social media campaign.

4. Don’t Fall for this Bad Advice! The Worst Quality Score Advice We’ve Heard by Brad Geddes

Every marketer is entitled to his/her opinion, but do yourself a favor and scrutinize every opinion you read about marketing (except my opinion). Quality score is one of the elements you need to know about, but, according to Brad Geddes, there’s some big misconceptions about quality advice out there. I agree.

5. Get More Bang For Your Buck – 6 Ways To Use Google Analytics for Ecommerce by Rachael Law

I’ll never forget my first time with Google Analytics; it was terrible. But after some time, I think we finally began to understand one another, and now I just couldn’t do my job without it. Improve your PPC accounts and make 2016 the best year for ecommerce by learning about Google Analytics with Rachael Law.

 

So, that’s it. Read these 20 articles, read them again, and you’ll be ahead of the game. This upcoming year is going to be huge for digital marketing, and as we move into 2016, I’ll be wishing you all the best, most fruitful, and loveliest year yet.

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