This article is by Lauren Brown, a HubSpot marketing intern for the last six months. She's now leaving to study in Australia. 

About a year ago I had the opportunity to go to Paris for a semester. I had decided to do a study abroad program, and as I've been taking French classes for eight years, France was the logical choice.

But right before the forms were due, I decided not to go. I realized that I had not really chosen Paris; I had just seen it as my only option. I took some time to explore other programs, and in four days I will be leaving for Sydney, Australia, an option I hadn't even considered a year ago.

This week's top five stories of the week from InboundMarketing.com all prove that you shouldn't always take the next logical step. Never do anything by default. Assess what's around you, explore your options and go to Sydney (metaphorically speaking, of course).

1. A Case Study: Using Contests to Build Links

Author: Debra Mastaler of Search Engine Land

In this case study, Mastaler discusses the challenges of working with a client whose industry is highly competitive. The internet was already overflowing with good content about the industry, so she knew her campaign had to be creative; she could not just publish another white paper or article.

Instead, she decided on hosting a no-string-attached contest for which participants were not required, only recommended, to link back to the client's site. Through a series of sales-pitch-free emails to a top industry association the client had joined, Mastaler helped the client to build trust with potential partners and host a successful contest, resulting in over 50 inbound links to the client's site.

Lesson: See what's been done, and do something else

2. If you blog, make it easy for people to comment

Author: David Meerman Scott of WebInkNow

We create blogs to share information and conversation. But as Scott points out in his article, sometimes we are unknowingly squashing the conversation before it has even begun by either not allowing or limiting commenting on our blogs.

Scott suggests opening up your blog to anyone who wants to comment, not just others who use the same blogging platform. If you're worried about spammers, you can always manually approve comments or install spam-blocking tools like a captcha. One commenter on this post also reminds us that it never hurts to end a post by asking readers to share their thoughts.

Lesson: Let the conversation happen

3. How to Manage Twitter

Author: Chris Brogan

People often wonder how Chris Brogan, as busy as he is, has the time and energy to respond to the dozens of people that tweet him daily. In this blog post, he gives us a little insight on his favorite tools and tips for organization, and how he uses Twitter to maximize its benefits.

What's important to remember, and Brogan points this out near the end of the post, is that this is his way of using the site. He needs to manage the onslaught of Tweets he receives, connect at events, keep in touch with friends and followers and learn more about cities he's travelling in, but you may not. Keep this in mind when using Twitter and all social media.

Lesson: Learn from others but do what works best for you

4. SES SJ: SEO Through Blogs And Feeds

Author: Top Rank Blog

Blogging combined with the use of RSS feeds can be a very powerful marketing tool. In a panel at Search Engine Strategies 2009: San Jose, industry leaders discussed how blogging can help search engine optimization efforts, and if you're not already blogging, why you should be.

As you all probably know, link building is extremely valuable. However, the panelists also share some advice about making your company stand out from the crowd, distributing content and finding the time to blog if you are a small business.

Lesson: Blogging is far from dead

5. Generating New Business Online With Local Search

Author: Stephen Logan of Ezine@rticles

An often overlooked and potentially worthwhile aspect of SEO is local search. Particularly for small businesses, local search can be a beneficial addition to a marketing campaign. In this article, Logan gives some suggestions on ways to move your company to the top of the rankings in local search.

A good start for companies looking to improve their local searching rankings is to make sure the company is listed in all relevant online directories, as these directories create links back to the company's site. Companies should also identify important keywords, and use the chosen words naturally throughout the text of the website. Tweaking headings and metadata to reflect keywords can also give you an SEO edge.

Lesson: Look to Local Search

Photo Credit: wilf2

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Originally published Aug 21, 2009 11:00:00 AM, updated October 01 2019