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The Holmes Report In2 SABRE Awards Recognize The Hoffman Agency for Corporate Blogging and LinkedIn Campaigns

The Holmes Report called out two of The Hoffman Agency’s campaigns during its 2016 Insight + Innovation SABRE Awards this year.

Our work for the Endicia corporate blog garnered two SABRE awards, one for blogging and the second for SEO. Our LinkedIn campaign for Zix Corporation also ended up in the winner’s circle.

Collectively, these efforts reflect our continued push into campaigns that go far beyond the traditional definition of PR.

Let’s take a look behind the curtain.

 

Endicia Blog Proves If You Tell the “Right” Stories, Readers Will Come

Online shipping software isn’t exactly a glamorous topic.

Yet, Endicia’s blog, The Savvy Shipper, proves that the right content — useful, educational and insightful, packaged with fun language — will attract a sizable audience.

Our campaign began when we helped Endicia relaunch its blog in July 2014. It has since generated a total of 472,140 page views and 336,933 visits.

The first year established the foundation.

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2015 saw the blog take off topping 55,000 visits in December during the all-important holiday season.

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Think Like a Journalist

Journalists have one singular agenda — to serve the reader.

That’s the approach we took with The Savvy Shipper, serving small businesses and those responsible for shipping logistics in their companies.

That’s why more than 90 percent of our posts addressed broad industry topics not related to Endicia or its products.

Eight different types of posts constitute the bulk of the blog’s content.

  • Industry Information
  • Customer Interviews
  • Insider’s Look
  • BuzzFeed-like Stories
  • Educational
  • Third-party Contributors
  • Upfront Engagement
  • A Touch of Levity

We steered away from product-heavy marketing jargon and focused on trending news, customer tips and topics that matter to ecommerce SMBs. Our content has an editorial feel that resembled a media property, not the typical corporate blog.

 

Visual Storytelling

Knowing that more than 30 percent of readers consume The Savvy Shipper on a mobile device, we emphasized visual storytelling, ranging from illustrations to creative infographics.

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Readers Asked; We Delivered

Readers asked for more information on how to sell on eBay, Etsy and Amazon.

As a result, we established a new category for the blog, “Selling on Online Marketplaces,” writing 24 posts under this umbrella last year.

 

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The SEO Push

Our link-building effort underpinned the organic search numbers. Implementing a tool called SEOlytics enabled us to bring more science to our backlinking strategy with weekly rigor. According to SEOlytics, we secured a total of 7,422 backlinks to the blog.

Backlinks

Our link building strategy was built on syndicating content, placing executive bylines in publications such as Entrepreneur and VentureBeat, engaging with guest contributors and creating infographics that were worthy of being picked up by other media properties.

A second strategic move on the SEO front involved understanding how the target audience searches on the category and creating content that served these searches. For example, research showed the highest volume category search involve comparing the online shipping prices of FedEx, UPS and the United States Postal Service. With this in mind, we created comparison charts that called out the pricing from each vendor and then optimized content to surround the visuals. Virtually any search derivative with the intent of comparing online shipping costs is greeted by Endicia content on Page 1.

This combination of science and critical thinking increased readership with over 80 percent of total traffic coming from organic search.

 

Closing Comments

The blog has evolved into a branding asset by:

  • Increasing readership
  • Serving as an industry resource for small online businesses
  • Putting a “face” on Endicia

Now that the Savvy Shipper’s traffic has surpassed that of the reputable trade publication Multichannel Merchant, it’s safe to say that the blog has legitimately established itself as a trusted industry resource.

 

From Scratching the Surface to Setting the Standard with Zix

When we were first approached by ZixCorp, the company was seeking what all PR clients want: coverage.

The problem?

In the world of enterprise cybersecurity, the atmosphere (read: media landscape) is thin thanks to “the big guys” sucking up all the oxygen and press coverage, leaving smaller, niche providers (like ZixCorp), fighting over what is left.

Instead of relying solely on media relations, we wanted to deliver a holistic campaign that would blend traditional PR with owned media, social media, organic search, thought leadership and content marketing.

Enter LinkedIn.

Instead of using LinkedIn as an afterthought, we recommended it serve as a main pillar for the overall PR campaign, supported by another main pillar, the “content engine,” that would feed into it.

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But first, we needed to give the company page a makeover. We said good-bye to marketing jargon and incorporated elements of storytelling.

 

Before:

Zix-Before

 

After:

Zix-After

 

With the proper foundation in place, ZixCorp’s LinkedIn page was ready for its refreshed content debut. Prior to the start of Hoffman’s campaign, postings were sporadic, self-promotional and (admittedly) a little dry.

 

Zix-LinkedIn

 

We needed posts to capture everything from upcoming announcements and press releases, industry events, current social campaigns, blog posts and more.

We wanted to give each post visual flair and provide followers with a variety of content infused with storytelling.

 

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In addition to sharing company-centric content, LinkedIn is also a great platform for featuring the latest in breaking news and industry trends. With that, we opted for a 60:40 ratio of industry vs. company-centric content.

 

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To expand the reach of the ZixCorp brand, targeted paid campaigns were set up through LinkedIn’s Sponsored Updates tool — these campaigns targeted relevant audiences to ZixCorp.

The goal: take the content that’s performing best (e.g., the most compelling) according to ZixCorp’s current audience and put it in front of those who aren’t following ZixCorp, but should be.

As you can see below, the paid campaigns served as a supplement to the organic traffic of existing followers.

 

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The results?

The proof is in the pudding (or the numbers) — from January 2014 to August 2015, we grew ZixCorp’s LinkedIn following from slightly more than 600 people to 2,570, a 330 percent increase.

As we examine our click-through (CTR) and engagement rates, it’s evident that our audiences are interested in what we have to say. The total CTR is 1.01 percent, while the LinkedIn benchmark is typically 0.3 percent. The engagement rate is 2.13 percent, while the benchmark is 0.35 percent.

 

CTR-EngRate

 

The LinkedIn campaign is a core driver of traffic to the Zix blog as well. Examining the Google Analytics, you can see that LinkedIn delivered 83.8 percent of all social traffic to the blog from January 2014 to August 2015.

 

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