125 Blog Posts and I’m Done

On April 6, 2012, I wrote my first blog for Target Marketing, and on Aug. 10, 2017, I’m writing my last one; from my math, that’s about 125 posts considering I wrote two a month. These past five years have been a wild ride to say the least, but I’ve learned a lot along the way.

On April 6, 2012, I wrote my first blog for Target Marketing, and on Aug. 10, 2017, I’m writing my last one; from my math, that’s about 125 posts considering I wrote two a month.

After a long-standing career on the agency-side of the business, I’ve been given the opportunity to expand the CRM program for a luxury brand while working on the inside of this prestigious organization, and I couldn’t be more excited! It’s a demanding position that will require 150 percent of my attention, and thus, I’ve decided to hang up my blog.

These past five years have been a wild ride to say the least, but I’ve learned a lot along the way.

  • Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously: My blog was written as a marketer for marketers, so I was able to have a little fun with my perspective — and I had a great editor at Target Marketing supporting my ideas.
  • Topical Issues Are Most Engaging: Two of my most popular posts (if you’re using the number of comments as a metric) were about current marketing news: the addition of LinkedIn endorsements and The Most Interesting Man in the World. Both garnered great feedback and discussion on timely topics.
  • The Haters Gonna Hate: My posts weren’t always controversial, but when I touched on a nerve, boy, did readers let me know — and fast. Sometimes it was a headline that folks found offensive (my favorite one, “Here’s a Recommendation, You Cheap Bastard,” attracted a lovely supportive note from direct marketing guru Drayton Bird, so I felt redeemed). But my Feb. 23, 2017 post on “The KellyAnne Conway School of Customer Service” got some very nasty responses — including ugly emails in my personal inbox. That post taught me that people don’t read an entire post before they jump to conclusions and start name-calling. Luckily I have thick skin!
  • It’s Easy to Be Negative When Using a Fake Name: Many comments to my posts came from anonymous users — marketers who hid behind a user name so it was difficult to know exactly who they were. Personally, I think that’s a cowardly way to engage in a discussion on a topic — especially when you have something unsavory to say — but over the years, I learned who was a consistent supporter and who was looking to put me in my place. So be it.
  • If Blogging Was Easy, Everyone Would Do It: Some weeks I would stare at a blank screen and think “what can I write about that everyone doesn’t already know?” It took a while to find my blogging “voice” but once I did, I wasn’t afraid to share my experiences and interactions with brands — both good and bad — and try to offer ideas on how things could work better or how to steal that idea and make it work for another brand. While there are thousands of nuances in marketing strategies and tactics, I’m always thrilled when I learn about something new, or how someone else found success, so I’ll continue to be a consumer of smart marketing tips.

I hope all my followers will continue to read, engage and share their POV’s on the sites of other Target Marketing bloggers. I’ve always been a fan of this publication and know that, at the end of the day, we all believe in the power of targeted marketing.

Measuring Custom Campaigns With UTM Codes

Custom Campaigns give you the ability to add campaign parameters to the destination URLs of your blog posts, online marketing ads, social media content, etc. That way, you’re able to collect data about those campaigns and understand where the campaigns are performing the best.

Google Analytics logoWhat are Custom Campaigns?

Custom Campaigns give you the ability to add campaign parameters to the destination URLs of your blog posts, online marketing ads, social media content, etc. That way, you’re able to collect data about those campaigns and understand where the campaigns are performing the best.

In this post, I’ll walk through how to build URL parameters to measure the effectiveness of Custom Campaigns in Google Analytics.

Kia blog post main image

Best Practices for Building URLs

What are URL Parameters?

Parameters are snippets that you can add to the end of your URLs. There are five main parameters that must be paired with a value that you assign. Each parameter-value pair is what contains the information you want to track that’s related to your campaign.

The table below outlines the name and definition of each parameter you’ll find within common URL builder tools such as the Campaign URL Builder by Google.

Kia's blog post chart

How to Identify URL Parameters

For example, let’s take a recent blog post of mine, “Hacking the New Google Drive Features,” and add URL parameters to it. In order to measure the traffic to the post that comes from our branded Twitter account, we identify the following parameters:

  • utm_source: twitter
  • utm_medium: social
  • utm_campaign: branded
  • utm_term: n/a
  • utm_content: n/a

Our destination URL is now https://st-tech.blog/new-google-drive-features-2017/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=branded. You’ll notice we didn’t include utm_term or utm_content. That’s because we reserve utilizing those snippets for PPC campaigns.

Why Use URL Parameters?

These parameters will allow us to effectively measure the traffic received from the specified criteria. When a user clicks on a custom URL, the parameters are sent to Google Analytics, and the data made available in the Campaigns report under the Acquisition tab.

Kia's blog post example

This gives us tons of more freedom in terms of our analysis. We’ll be able to drill down in Google Analytics and pivot this data to tell our user’s journey to the post. This type of data is actionable and can have a significant impact on the bottom line: ROI.

When NOT to Tag URLs …

Remember, though, as tempting as it may be to try and measure everything about where your traffic comes from, remember to tag only what you need for effective analysis.

Why? Because the more parameters you add to URLs, the more complicated you can make it in the end. Google Analytics automatically tracks the majority of these parameters and spending time on tagging for the sake of tagging isn’t the point.

The goal of tagging destination URLs is to differentiate traffic with more specificity than Google Analytics already does.

Do you use Custom Campaigns in Google Analytics? How has tagging helped you measure your campaigns more effectively? If not, give the Campaign URL Builder a try and follow my tips for more detailed analysis of traffic sources to your site or blog.

A Pile of Content Is Not the Answer

“Can you just create some compelling content that everyone will love?” Ever hear that? Well, that’s not how a content marketing strategy works: There is no magic fairy dust to sprinkle over the content creators to make them generate more, fabulous content. (Trust me, I wish it was that simple.)

Raise your hand if you’ve heard this, or some approximation of this:

Compelling Content MemeAnd how many times did you cringe and make this face/gesture before quietly retreating?

Firefly Mal gifThat’s not how a content marketing strategy works: There is no magic fairy dust to sprinkle over the content creators to make them generate more, fabulous content. (Trust me, that would come in really handy during busy weeks).

And to piggyback off of that, no one should be patting themselves on the back for producing a bucket full of content assets … “Hey CMO, look at me … in six months my team has created 48 blog posts, 25 whitepapers, 12 webinars and a partridge in a pear tree!” The question in response to that should be, “And how do they all work together to deliver a customer experience?” Usually the answer is the faint thrum of crickets.

But Wait, There’s Hope!

If Joe Pulizzi is the Godfather of Content Marketing, then Robert Rose is The Consigliere … or if we want to take a step away from organized crime references, he’s the REALLY smart uncle who knows just as much as the Godfather, and honestly, why isn’t he … okay, getting off track.

So. Robert Rose. Super cool guy, super smart guy, and I got to meet him last year at Content Marketing World. When the editorial team got together in the spring to pitch session ideas for our Integrated Marketing Virtual Conference this year, I suggested the topic of repurposing content (very hot), and then said, “Hey, what if we ask Robert?”

Flash forward to now, a handful of days after the virtual show, and yes, Robert was able to join us, yes he delivered a fantastic session titled “The Content Show That Never Ends: Repurposing Like a Media Company,” and yes I created the following meme about 10 minutes after the session wrapped (priorities, folks):

Hey Frank memeSo in those 30 dazzling minutes what did we learn?

  • In every great content-driven experience you hear people raving about, it’s the collection of assets, not any one, that provides value.
  • A reusable content plan that can be measured in multiple ways over time can only help your marketing strategy.
  • More common than not, marketers have a disconnected pile of assets, and they’re unable to measure the efficacy of a program because it’s not program. Instead, it’s tactical support of a campaign. Or as Robert quipped, “You have assets coming out of assets.”
  • You can build a better content marketing strategy if you start at the end.

RRIMV_slideNow, this is just a mere taste of what Robert shared with IMV attendees, and I don’t want to share any more than this because you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t listen to the man himself.

Good news for you: If you missed the show on Thursday, it’s on-demand until Sept. 27! Register, if you haven’t already, and check out Robert’s presentation (and then stick around for a few of the others to get other aspects of your marketing in order).

It’ll get you thinking about how you can smartly repurpose content, but better yet, it’ll help you reframe how you look at content and the customer experience.