It’s that time of year again! As 2016 draws to an end, we traditionally take some time to step back and look at the HiP Blog as a whole. In a year where we expanded our team, revamped many of our behind-the-scenes processes, and still found time to create a record 146 posts, there is certainly a lot to reflect on.
As we did at the end of 2014 and 2015, we’ll highlight some of the top posts of the year, talk about why they worked, and what we can learn from them moving forward. As we’ve done in the past, we’ll select posts based on their total number of reads (unique visits with reasonable time on page), as well as the associated level of engagement on the website and social media.
Those who have been keeping up with these posts might notice we made one notable change to our Reader’s Choice posts this year. In an effort to bring some new posts into the mix, we’ve chosen to limit this year’s list to posts that have never appeared on any of our previous lists.
Without further ado, here are the HiP Blog’s Top 5 Most Popular Posts of 2016.
5. “How Should You Capitalize Your Email Subject Lines?” (August 11, 2016)
How should you capitalize email subject lines? Even email marketers can’t agree on the answer. It’s a great question. It’s also a common one. At some point, most of us have probably wondered what was the “right” way to go. This post explores the various alternatives and indicates what industry sources recommend.
To start, this post benefits from a great topic. Obviously, it’s a post designed for email marketers, but also has appeal for anyone curious about inconsistency in their inbox. As you’ll see later in the countdown, the format of common question in the title and definitive answer through the post has been successful for us.
The other thing that makes this post work is the methodology. It’s well-researched. It pulls opinions from respected industry sources and presents all the key findings in one clear and concise chart.
4. “The Top 5 Free Tools to Replace Topsy for Content Marketers” (December 15, 2015)
This post is a little different than many other posts on the HiP Blog. It’s essentially announcing and reaction to an important industry event. However, in keeping with the nature of the blog, the post still approaches the topic from an educational standpoint.
Obviously, this post benefits from the timeliness of the subject matter. It was a surprise for a lot of marketers when Topsy went dark. Given that Topsy had a fairly large user base, there was no shortage of marketers looking for solutions. As you might expect, this lead to a large amount of attention for the first couple of months and a gradual decline to a baseline.
As you saw with the previous post and many others in the countdown, this post does a great job of being scannable and user-friendly. There’s a screenshot and a link for every tool, as well as a quick set of pros and cons.
3. “6 Essential Metrics for Measuring Outbound Lead Generation” (March 19, 2015)
This post has an interesting story. It’s another that got its start in 2015. It was a solid overall post. It explored a valuable topic, had some useful advice, and was reasonably well optimized. For a little less than a year, the post was fairly average.
However, around February of 2016, things changed. We made some SEO improvements to base site (site speed improvements, fixing broken links, etc.). These improvements helped the post to secure several high rankings in Google, giving it a second life and propelling it to one of the most popular post of the year.
SEO is definitely the important piece here. This post goes to show that it’s worth putting your time into optimizing for search. All the effort that goes into researching keywords, putting alt tags on your images, and filling out meta information is worthwhile, even if the payoff isn’t immediate.
2. “9 Painfully Bad Subject Lines From My Actual Inbox” (March 16, 2016)
Ever look in your inbox and see a subject line that just makes you shake your head and wonder what they were thinking? That’s the premise for this post, which is a personal favorite. It’s fun, it’s snarky, and, as it turns out, there is a lot we can learn from these bad subject lines.
Like post number five, this post benefits from a concept that’s very relatable. Everybody gets bad, spam emails and most people enjoy poking a little fun at them. At the same time, the post delivers enough email marketing wisdom to be beneficial to those more deeply involved in the topic.
The other notable element of the post is the humor. On the HiP Blog, we can have a tendency to be a little on the dry side. Lighter posts like this help to break things up and remind everyone that there are humans on the other end of the keyboard.
The humor in this post is mostly quick quips, nothing overbearing, but it does just enough to highlight the real stars: the bizarre subject lines. (For those wondering, those are real subject lines. I even sent over a couple from my inbox as Acadia was researching for the post.)
1. “Is It White Paper or Whitepaper? The Final Word (or Two)” (May 12, 2016)
The idea for this post came about after I noticed several partners and coworkers using differing terms to describe the informative PDFs that are common throughout B2B marketing. I found notable people/organizations on both sides of the debate – to the point where I was questioning my own choices. So, I decided to settle it once and for all.
Setting out to solve a problem turned out to be a good approach. I had a clear research question and, as it turned out, it wasn’t something that was readily answered. Though it made research a little more difficult, being the primary post to take on this topic turned out to be an asset later on.
This post succeeded because it added to the discussion. Rather than just providing a single opinion or covering the history of white papers, this posts looks at the question from several different angles. It provides cases for both white paper and whitepaper, allowing the reader to draw their own conclusion.
The final thing that makes the post work is its scannability. It’s easy to breeze through the headlines and conclusions for each section to get the key information. Likewise, charts and graphics help to illustrate key points.
Well, there you have it, the HiP Blog’s Top 5 Most Popular Posts of 2016. This year’s themes included in-depth answers to frequently asked questions, scannable post, the importance of SEO, and the power of a little humor.
Let us know what you think:
- What were your favorite HiP Blog posts of 2016?
- Did your favorites make our list?
- Do you agree with our selections?