30 Highly Shared Posts from Company Blogs in 2014

Joe Stych
Joe Stych / Published December 30, 2014

We're serious about blogging at Zapier, and we have high admiration for companies that carry the same commitment. In fact, we have a channel in our team messaging app, Slack, dedicated solely to getting updates when a blog we subscribe to in Feedly publishes a new post.

For the most part, those posts come from the blogs of our partners—one of the 350-plus companies whose app is integrated with Zapier. But it's not the partner relationship that has us following their blogs: it's their consistently interesting, insightful, educational and thought-provoking content. These blogs include HubSpot, Buffer, Intercom, Help Scout and Unbounce.

To punctuate 2014, we wanted to pay homage to our partners by highlighting some of their most widely shared, useful, and compelling posts published this year. To identify these posts, we turned to BuzzSumo—a tool that surfaces the most-shared content from a source—and applied our own editorial judgement, too.

Buzzsumo reveals the most-shared content from a designated source
Click to enlarge

The following 30 posts are all well worth your time, but if you only want to read about your field of work, skip ahead to the category.


20 Tips for Dramatically Better Emails

20 Tips for Dramatically Better Emails - Vero

By Jimmy Daly, content editor at Vero | 26 minute read | 3,608 shares

At Zapier, we love in-depth content. And Vero made one of our favorite guides this year: a 20-tip guide laying out best practices and strategies for email marketing, covering everything from tone to button design.

32 Clever Lead Generation Ideas For Your Next Marketing Campaign - Unbounce

By Josh Haynam, guest blogger at Unbounce, co-founder of Interact | 20 minute read | 4,082 shares

Stuck in a rut with your lead generation? Unbounce is here to help: they put together a list of 32 unique strategies that teams can use to attract more leads for every dollar spent. There's definitely some inspiration in there to snap you out of your marketing monotony.

How to Use Email to A/B Test Blog Post Headlines - Campaign Monitor

By Aaron Beashel, head of content and community at Campaign Monitor | 8 minute, 30 second read | 834 shares

It's harder than ever to make your headline stand out in a sea of click-thirsty sites. So Campaign Monitor shared their process for A/B testing blog post headlines by leveraging their newsletter subscribers. Remember: a better headline means more clicks on social links, search results, and emails.

The Path to Transparency - Buffer

By multiple authors | 49 minute read | 13,675 total shares

Buffer believes in transparency in business, and this year they opened up about salaries, email, pricing, and even a funding round. The Buffer team published a blog post about each one:

11 Twitter "Tips" and "Tricks" That Don't Actually Work - HubSpot

By Ginny Soskey, section editor for the HubSpot Marketing Blog | 6 minute, 30 second read | 5,562 shares

There's a lot of junk on Twitter. Sure, plenty of professionals are using the platform to connect with like-minded leaders and share interesting content, but others are borderline obnoxious. If you want to avoid becoming part of the latter contingency, steer clear of these 11 Twitter "hacks" that will actually just annoy your network.

How to Not Sound Like a Robot in Your Email Notifications - Freshdesk

By Aishwarya Hariharan, marketing analyst at Freshdesk | 4 minute read | 1,341 shares

Nobody wants to talk to a robot. So personalizing your autoresponder emails can go a long way. In this post, Aishwarya Hariharan provides some simple ideas for livening up your notification emails, and covers why showing a bit of your human side can make customers feel loved.

Data Marketing 101: Five Ways for Startups to put their Data to Work - Geckoboard

By Shannon Byrne, guest blogger for Geckoboard, content and public relations manager at Mention | 9 minute read | 1,459 shares

When you're sitting around brainstorming blog post ideas, remember: your data is content too. The challenge is distilling that data into something interesting for your readers. In this post on Geckoboard, Shannon Byrne from Mention shows us five strategies for surprising and fascinating an audience with statistics.

Everything You Need to Know About Running a Webinar (And Then Some) - Mention

By Alex Manthei, community manager at Mention | 10 minute read | 1,581 shares

Webinars are a great way to connect with your users and provide some knowledge in your area of expertise. But for first-time webinar hosts, the process can get a bit confusing. This post on the Mention blog walks though how to broadcast your webinar, how to promote it, and how to get people participating.

Product Development

Inside Intercom Blog

The End of Apps as We Know Them - Intercom

By Paul Adams VP of product at Intercom | 14 minute read | 14,582 shares

When Paul Adams declared the death of apps as destinations, he definitely spurred some debate (see the massive comment thread below the article). His post is a conceptual read of where the market is going, but here's the point he was trying to get across: The industry is trending towards designing systems and content within platforms, not platforms within platforms.

The Making of MailChimp Snap - MailChimp

By Stephen Martin mobile lab lead at MailChimp | 3 minute read | 6,694 shares

MailChimp made a big move into mobile this year with MailChimp Snap, an app that helps email marketers create sophisticated campaigns straight from a smartphone. In this post, Stephen Martin pulled back the curtain and explained what went into building MailChimp Snap—it's an intriguing look at how a mobile product makes it from inception to the App Store.

We Don’t Sell Saddles Here - Slack via Medium

By Stewart Butterfield, founder of Slack | 12 minute read | 1,227 shares

Team chat app Slack launched this year to praise from both their users and the media. Why were they so successful? Stewart Butterfield says that it's because they built something that's useful and easy to use; something that solves problems and helps customers. In his words, Slack went big. It's a great rallying cry for building a company around more than just grabbing market share.

On Software Quality and Building a Better Evernote in 2014 - Evernote

By Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote | 6 minute read | 2,279 shares

It's uncommon for a CEO to talk openly about failures. But that's exactly what Evernote CEO Phil Libin did in this heartfelt post from early this year. This is a rare, candid look at the struggles of growing a company while maintaining quality products, planning for the future, and making your customers happy.

What Makes a Great Product Manager? 10 Product Experts Weigh In - Product Hunt

By Erik Torenberg, founding member at Product Hunt | 3 minute read | 1,019 shares

This post on Product Hunt is a brief-but-excellent overview of what separates good product managers from great ones. Erik Torenberg includes advice from leaders at Facebook, Postmates, Path, and Google.

Customer Experience

Helpscount Blog

How Disney Creates Magical Experiences (and a 70% Return Rate) - Help Scout

By Gregory Ciotti, customer champion at HelpScout | 10 minute, 30 second read | 1,499 shares

Confession time: I still watch Disney movies. I just love that the experience still feels magical, like when I was a kid. And as Gregory Ciotti writes, creating Disney's legendary customer experience—the "magic"—takes hard work, dedication, and extreme attention to detail. In this post he extracts lessons from Walt Disney's brilliance, and suggests how you can put them into practice with your team.

The Metric Most Brand Marketers Can’t Measure - SurveyMonkey

From the SurveyMonkey team | 3 minute read | 2,648 shares

Brand awareness is one of the most valuable things to a company, but it's extremely difficult to measure. Using brand awareness surveys, you can quiz people in your target market to see how good their brand recall or recognition is of your company—an especially helpful for gleaning information from people outside your loyal userbase.

A closed deal is just the beginning: how Falcon Social uses Pipedrive for managing customer success - Pipedrive

By Andrus Purde, head of marketing at Pipedrive | 4 minute read | 132 shares

Even though you build the product, your customers will define how it's used. In September Andrus Purde of Pipedrive told the story of Falcon Social, an up-and-coming company that uses Pipedrive (traditionally a sales management platform) as a CRM. In fact, everyone on the team uses Pipedrive: sales, marketing, and customer success. It's a great example of celebrating triumphs with your customers and exploring how people are innovating with your service.

What this CEO Learned from a Day on the Help Desk - FullContact

By Bart Lorang, CEO of FullContact | 9 minute read | 286 shares

Everyone should work on the support queue (at least that's what we believe at Zapier). Apparently Bart Lorang, CEO at FullContact, agrees: he spent a day knocking out help desk tickets, and during the process he learned the power of an apology and a quick response.

Sales and Ecommerce

How To Build a $120K per Month Ecommerce Brand in Less Than A Year

How To Build a $120K per Month Ecommerce Brand in Less Than A Year - Shopify

By Dan Wang, former Shopify Content Specialist | 12 minute read | 1,838 shares

$120k in monthly sales is nothing to balk at, especially when you hit that mark after just a year of building your brand. So Shopify told us the story of Eric Bandholz, the bearded gentleman behind grooming company Beardbrand. Bandholz built Beardbrand using ecommerce strategies (they're currently pushing hard to expand in the retail space) and in this piece he imparts some wisdom about building a company image, the power of design, and putting your best foot forward in customer interactions.

Nathan Barry’s Lessons Learned Selling $355,759 on Gumroad - Gumroad

By Travis Nichols, content lead at Gumroad | 12 minute read| 292 shares

A "how I did it" story is always more powerful than a list of tips and tricks—there's something about putting a face to the numbers that can make lessons stick. One of the best ones this year came from Gumroad: they talked to Nathan Barry, founder of ConvertKit,
about what he learned while using Gumroad to sell his books. He touches on sales techniques, email marketing, and building a relationship with your customers.

7 Habits of Highly Successful Salespeople - Nimble

By Kelley Robertson, guest blogger for Nimble, principal of Robertson Training Group | 4 minute, 30 second read | 404 shares

One of the easiest ways to get better is to emulate the best. So Kelley Robertson summarized some of the habits that top salespeople adhere to, like following up, asking the right questions, and and earning enthusiastic referrals.

9 Ways To Write a Better Sales Email - Base

By Geoffrey James, guest blogger for Base, writer for Inc | 4 minute read | 350 shares

50 years ago, most business relationships started with a handshake; today—for better or worse—they start with an email. Unfortunately, most sales emails are wordy, jargon-filled affairs, and that's no way to get customers. This post from Geoffrey James covers the do's and don'ts of selling via email, so you can present your best self to prospective customers.

How to Sell Without Being a Salesperson - Podio

Kasper Hulthin, co-founder of Podio | 4 minute read | 1,088 shares

Trust is the basis of any relationship, including that of the salesman with his clients. Admitting that your product or service isn’t perfect, or saying “no” to a client can go a long way to building the relationship. It takes honesty and trust to make that sale, and if you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you aren’t selling at all.


Signal v Noise blog

Stuck again - Signal v. Noise

By Nathan Kontny, CEO of Highrise | 6 minute, 30 second read | 188 shares

Productivity is all about getting into a rhythm. In this post, CEO of Highrise Nathan Kontny discusses how he uses that rhythm—and a strict "train schedule"—to motivate his team to ship major improvements on a regular basis. The results? A 39% increase in their rate of customer growth in 3 months. That's what a great habit can do for you.

How Multitasking Slows Your Brain and Kills Your Productivity - Todoist

By Brenna Loury, communications specialist at Todoist | 5 minute read | 609 shares

The results are in: multitasking is awful. Yeah, it seems great in theory to be able to work on a bunch of different projects at once, but really you're just dividing your attention and wasting your time. This post from Todoist explores the research-based evidence quitting your multitasking habit cold-turkey, and offers some strategies for getting into a productivity groove.

How to Form a Habit, A Scientific Approach - Sqwiggle

By Joe Stych, guest blogger for Sqwiggle, marketer at Zapier | 6 minute, 30 second read | 1,453 shares

Ok, full disclosure: I wrote this post. And I also learned a ton while writing it. Habits are a powerful tool for making the most of your limited time, but forming a new one is always an uphill battle. This piece explores some of the psychology behind what makes a habit stick, and how you can put that knowledge to work to start your own effective habits.

How to Scale Yourself and Get More Done Than You Thought Possible - Zapier

By Danny Schreiber, marketer at Zapier | 16 minute read | 5,316 shares

One of our most-shared posts this year was Danny Schreiber's writeup of a talk about scaling yourself by Scott Hanselman—an author, blogger, and program manager at Microsoft. The post highlights Hanselman's discussion points on working effectively, managing email, and reflecting on your accomplishments.

What were your favorite marketing, sales, product development, and productivity reads of the year? Let us know in the comments.

Zapier community champion Alison Groves contributed to this post.

Credits: Post images from respective blog posts. "Fiesta" image from Ainsley Wagoner at The Noun Project.

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