1. Recent Articles

      1. R.I.P. the Shuck 'n' Jive Salesperson

        R.I.P. the Shuck 'n' Jive Salesperson

        At the turn of the millennium a salesman had the world where he wanted it. He was the keeper of all collateral to drive business conversations. In fact, he controlled the majority of the sales process at his cadence.

        With today's Internet speeds and the new consumer path to purchase, we've witnessed the death of the gatekeeper of information, "shuck and jive" salesperson. Now all the information a prospect or customer needs is readily available on your website, and if not, on your competitors website where they will learn—and potentially buy from. 


        (picture via verve-pr.com)

        Marketing is now the majority owner of the new funnel. Prospects enter at various funnel points, and sometimes require droves of decision makers to align before a sale completes. Then a new process begins as brands look to move a newfound customer to become an advocate. Shelley Cernel at Knowledge Tree quotes Crimson Marketing on the process:

        The modern B2B buying process looks less like a linear path from first contact through to sales—it’s more like a spiderweb of social influences and research channels.

        With this shift, prospects absorb content at unprecedented rates (from a variety of outlets) before progressing to the next stage of the funnel, and ultimately to the sale. Content is now the backbone for both marketing and sales.

        Every piece of content attached to your company needs intent, whether for personas, stages of the funnel, or anything else to support the new era of self-service everything.

        More than ever it's critical to create content based off information and insights you know work. As content marketing spend grows, so does management’s interest in how those dollars influence core business goals. Take a look at this infographic for some of the best ways to measure content. And click on the link below for more of Cernel's insights as to what today's B2B buyers want.

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      2. Tools and Tactics to Improve Content Creation

        Tools and Tactics to Improve Content Creation

        As a content marketer, your first step to connecting with an audience is by creating content. There is a vast galaxy of content tools available at your disposal to help with content creation, as a quick look at Curata's ultimate content marketing tools list will attest.

        The next question is, how can you use content marketing tools to help you understand your audience? Tom Whatley talks more about this in "3 Customer Research Tactics to Help Content Creation." In it Whatley highlights various tools such as Google Analytics, Woopra, and Mention—amongst others—to research how customers interact with your content.


        Whatley highlights that,

        Companies that focus on their customers are 60% more profitable than “non-customer-centric” companies according to Deloitte.

        Ultimately, your customers are the ones whose problems you've been able to solve. Creating content around that profile helps you identify who your next potential customer could be.

        If you're looking for more ways to help you create content, Curata partnered up with Uberflip, Scorch, Kapost, and Skyword to create an amazing eBook on content creation. Tom has more on three tactics that help yield information from your customers via the link below.

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      3. Tag, You're it! How Tagging Adds Value to Content Strategy

        Tag, You're it! How Tagging Adds Value to Content Strategy

        Content marketing strategy is often interpreted as, 'create as much good content as possible with some degree of consistency.' While this sentiment isn't wrong, too many marketers lose an edge by not executing this mantra with a commitment to organization. 

        "A stitch in time saves nine," is a phrase generally thought of after the fact. It should be applied immediately to your day-to-day content strategy work.  

        Case in point: tagging content with appropriate data. While it's possible to be creative and add endless tags that can generate some interesting insights for content reporting, focus on a few key fields to start. Not only does tagging make it easier to navigate to specific content, it does wonders for performing a content audit. Gary DeAsi of SmartBear Software understands what it takes to build a content strategy that keeps on giving, and gives two GREAT reasons why tagging and auditing are critical.  

        Conducting a content audit and making this a regular part of your content planning process can not only improve your understanding of where you need to focus future content creation efforts most, but also help you discover ways to get much more value from your existing assets.

        Tagging content becomes second nature. Then when you perform a content audit, identifying gaps in your content strategy or campaigns/pyramids is no longer a guessing game.

        This pivotal step in an organized content strategy can take place in an editorial calendar (check out some free templates here), or in a more advanced technology such as a digital asset management (DAM) tool or content marketing platform. For more of DeAsi's content strategy insights, click on the link below.

        Happy tagging!

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      4. Building Your Brand With Content Marketing

        Building Your Brand With Content Marketing

        A brand is one of the most valuable assets a marketer has. The impression a brand creates goes a long way towards gaining a new audience member or customer.

        It's fiendishly hard to create a brand from scratch though. There are many ways to do it, but many marketers overlook how you can use content marketing to build your brand.

        Juntae Delane at Digital Branding Institute shows the effects great content marketing can have on a brand. He advises:

        Using content to develop your digital identity requires a deep understanding of your audience, your offering, and your organization. Understanding your audience requires you to know what challenges them. It goes beyond simple demographic information such as their name and location. It’s all about understanding what keeps them up at night or what’s the main obstacle preventing them from accomplishing a particular objective, goal, or task. Then you want to consider this when developing content that conveys the value of your offering. Specifically, how does your offering help to alleviate your audience’s challenges?

        Also a great strategy for content marketing. Connecting with your audience and finding something that resonates with them greatly increases your brand's positive connotations to them. Using a strategy such as Curata's Content Marketing Pyramid is one of the most effective ways to achieve a connection with your audience.

        For more on how you can use content marketing to boost your brand, click on the link below.

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      5. We're Now “Casual Learners.” How Does This Affect Your Marketing Strategy?

        We're Now “Casual Learners.” How Does This Affect Your Marketing Strategy?

        The traditional sales funnel has been fundamentally disrupted by the wealth of information about products and services available to us on the Internet.

        Sirius Decisions famously found that 67 percent of a buyer’s journey is now done digitally. Many took this to mean sales doesn't get involved until more than halfway through the buying cycle, but that's not strictly true.

        47 percent of B2B buyers consume three to five pieces of content prior to engaging with a salesperson according to a DemandGen Report – 2016 Content Preferences Survey.

        David Dodd at Business 2 Community argues this information abundance has led to a dramatic increase in what he terms "casual learning," meaning learning and information gathering activities that occur before an intentional buying process has begun.

        Most B2B marketing tactics and programs are designed to identify business people who are ready to begin a buying process... At any given time, however, most of your potential customers aren’t likely to be “in-market”... Creating relationships with casual learners is important because the impressions they form during casual learning remain influential when they become involved in a buying process.

        The best content marketing is based on developing a positive, constructive relationship with customers—and potential customers—a.k.a. casual learners. Achieving this requires a documented strategy, such as the Content Marketing Pyramid, that lays out exactly how you intend to interact with your audience even before they enter the sales funnel.

        Click on the link below for more on why you can't afford to ignore these "embryonic buyers."

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      6. Stop Selling Fiction!

        Stop Selling Fiction!

        Companies have woken up to the power of storytelling to sell more stuff. 

        Realizing that humans are not robots, and that thanks to the Internet, we have more access to product information than we could ever possibly need, businesses are increasingly using the power of heroes and villains to shift their goods and services.

        That's great. It's better for consumers to be entertained as they're informed, and constructing stories is much more fun for marketers to create—let alone more effective.

        That said, far too many marketers either find it hard to break out of an egocentric, product focused mindset, or they get somewhat... elastic with the truth. As Jay Baer at Convince and Convert argues, many of these “stories” are straight up fiction that bear little resemblance to reality. But that's going to change for two reasons:

        First, Millennials abhor falsehoods (not that any generation craves them, but Millennials are especially angsty about marketing wolves in sheeps’ clothing). And as Millennials become the dominant buying cohort for more and more companies, storytelling will become grounded in unvarnished truth...

        Second, the rise of live video (both a cause and an effect of the shift to non-fiction storytelling) will require brands to get comfortable with documentary style communications, warts and all.

        Authenticity requires a much more 'warts and all' approach than the 'polished' approach businesses are reflexively most comfortable with. But if you want your future customers' trust (and you need it if you want to sell to them), you need to think hard about promoting more realistic stories. For Jay's full barrel of non-fiction insights, click on the link below.

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        Mentions: Storytelling
      7. 5 Top Types of Curated Articles for Social Media

        5 Top Types of Curated Articles for Social Media

        Generating enough relevant and engaging content for your audience can be a real issue if you don't have the man power. If this is something your content marketing team is currently facing, you're not alone. As it turns out, creating content is one of the top 6 challenges content marketers face. 

        Content curation can help fix this problem. In her blog post "The 5 Most Sought-After Types of Content to Curate on Your Social Media Pages," Jessica Davis explains which types of content are always good to curate. These involve curating:

        1. The Latest Content
        2. Content With Actionable Items
        3. Expert Opinions
        4. Content Resources
        5. Case Studies

        Whether you are new to curating or have plenty of experience disseminating high quality third party content, Jessica's article will help you learn (or reinforce) which content people like to digest the most.

        For more on best practices for curating, check out Curata's Ultimate Guide to Content Curation. Jessica's full post explains in detail why the aforementioned content types resonate on social media, available via the link below.

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      8. Why Content Curation Requires Humanity, Not Algorithms

        Why Content Curation Requires Humanity, Not Algorithms

        Content curation will likely always be more art than science. For all the strides algorithms have made in AI and machine learning, they still don't come close to a human when it comes to curating engaging, relevant, entertaining and useful content. 

        For example, Facebook famously fired its entire Trending News human curator team in the last week of August, in a bid to remove the risk of alleged political bias in its coverage. Within a week the company had inadvertently featured a fake news story about popular Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly in its Trending News section. 

        Jeff Rum at Ignite details three reasons why we should show our human side rather than just let machines crunch the numbers when curating:

        1. Context is King: "Context... shows your audience why they should care about your story, and how they can provide support."
        2. Personal Connection: “Are you more likely to relate to a logo or a face?”
        3. Empathy: "... your organization needs to appeal to a person’s capacity for empathy, which some studies suggest can motivate engagement and action."

        Content curation without humans is just aggregating the results of a popularity contest. Real curation at its best is discerning, discriminative, and selective. It adds value through perspective, insight, and guidance. For more, The Definitive Guide to Content Curation details best practices for how to curate like a champ.

        For the rest of Rum's argument for why curation requires more humanity than algorithms, click on the link below.

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      9. The Ever Blurring Line Between Sales and Marketing

        The Ever Blurring Line Between Sales and Marketing

        Sales and marketing have a symbiotic relationship. As marketing delivers leads into the funnel, sales has to close deals from those leads. Over the last few years however, sales and marketing have become much closer in their relationship because generating leads for sales is increasingly useless if there is no prior relationship associated with these leads.

        Deana Goldasich elaborates on this concept in her post, "Why the Line Between Marketing & Sales Gets Blurrier Every Year". In it, Deana writes:

        For marketers, it’s easy to obsess about lead generation, especially when it’s the primary KPI by which they’re judged. But, obsessing about having buckets and buckets of leads can cost you long-term conversion. Today, marketers must join sales in obsessing over what conversation needs to be had over time (a.k.a. Lead Nurturing) and how to expand that dialogue to the entire group of decision makers.

        Lead nurturing is crucial to the sales cycle; educating leads about the problems your product helps them solve is a huge boost to closing sales. And content is integral to nurturing leads:

        According to Forrester, customers only contact an actual human after they’re 70 to 90 percent “sold” by the information-rich content they find on their own. It drives home how important it is to provide mission-critical content as buyers research—rather than create content because it’s “on the list.”

        To ensure your content has the greatest impact on the sales cycle requires an effective content strategy, such as Curata's Content Marketing Pyramid. Read more about the relationship between sales and marketing via the link below.  

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      10. 11 Common Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

        11 Common Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

        Despite the industry rapidly maturing, there's still no shortage of bad content marketing out there. We're only human, and as a professional discipline, content marketing is still relatively young. But the way to get better is to learn from your mistakes.

        Learning from other people's mistakes is the even smarter way to get better. Joshua Nite at Top Rank Marketing has helpfully compiled a zinger-worthy collection of common clangers, entertainingly explained with memes. They include:

        1. The Random Act of Content

        2. The Lightweight

        3. The Island
        4. The Enstuffening
        5. The Sloppy Joe
        6. The Great Wall of Text
        7. The Eye Exam
        8. The Post and Pray
        9. The Authority Gap
        10. The One and Done
        11. The Maze of Gates

        Some of the mistakes Nite identifies will be obvious to any experienced practitioner, others of them not so much. But the single most helpful way to avoid the majority of them is to take the time to invest in a documented content marketing strategy such as the Content Marketing Pyramid. Doing so helps you pre-empt many potential blunders before they arise, and react quickly and flexibly if something is going wrong. 

        For the full list of Nite's amusing memes (and their helpful explanations), click on the link below.

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    1. Content Curation Insights

      1. Rand Paul: Accusations of Plagiarism

        Rand Paul: Accusations of Plagiarism

        The recent plagiarism accusations against Kentucky Senator Rand Paul highlight an important aspect of content curation: attributing sources. Buzzfeed reported that a piece Paul wrote for The Washington Times about mandatory minimum sentences contain three paragraphs that were allegedly copied almost verbatim from an op-ed written by a senior editor at The Week. Paul’s other works including speeches, book, and congressional testimony may also contain sections that may have been copied from other sources.

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      2. Content Curation: Copyright, Ethics & Fair Use

        Content Curation: Copyright, Ethics & Fair Use

        Fair-use and curation of other people’s content becomes an issue when it’s not handled properly because the interest of the curator and the publisher overlap significantly.  They both want a piece of the same pie: site traffic, increased SEO and visitor retention.  When the curation is done wrong, the curator’s interests are served but the publisher sees no benefit.  But if it’s done properly, in a symbiotic manner that makes it a win-win, curation can serve the interest of the publisher, and curator, and ultimately the audience.

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      3. Content Marketing: Make it Work - Your content marketing questions answered.

        Content Marketing: Make it Work - Your content marketing questions answered.

        Last Wednesday, we held a joint webinar with Percussion Software called Content Marketing: Make it Work. Pawan Deshpande of Curata and Aaron Dun of Percussion walked through real-world examples of organizations that have tackled their content "problem." A recording of the webinar can be found here. During the webinar, our attendees posted questions to us. We did not get a chance to answer them in the webinar, so we thought we take the opportunity to do it now.

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      4. Do iFrames and Share Bars Help Retain Curation Traffic?

        Do iFrames and Share Bars Help Retain Curation Traffic?

        Many content marketers contemplating curation fear that linking to third-party content will drive visitors away from their branded properties to be never seen again.  One tactic employed by some marketers is to use a share bar or iFrame which hovers over the third-party article displaying branding and a link back to the site which curated the content. Share bars must be used with caution. Here's why.

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      5. Real-World Examples of Successful Content Curation

        Real-World Examples of Successful Content Curation

        "This group of examples will not only inspire you to think about how you might use curation in your own marketing, but also shows just how powerful curated content can be to illustrate your expertise without the ongoing burden of creating your own content." - Rohit Bhargava

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      6. Content Curation & Analytics: What to watch and what to ignore

        Content Curation & Analytics: What to watch and what to ignore

        Content curation is unique among content marketing strategies because it relies on third-party off-site content.  As a result, audience behavior is very different from traditional online marketing campaigns where all content is consumed within a brand’s online properties. Let’s take a look at metrics to pay attention to specifically for content curation initiatives, and just as importantly, misleading metrics that you should ignore as well. We will provide a walk through of metrics by channels for your curated content namely sites, email newsletters, social media outlets, and feeds.

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      7. 10 Tweetable Facts from 2nd Annual B2B Marketing Trends 2012 Report

        10 Tweetable Facts from 2nd Annual B2B Marketing Trends 2012 Report

        The results are in from Curata's 2nd Annual B2B Marketing Trends 2012 Report and content marketing is on the rise! We surveyed more than 450 marketing professionals  to better understand the B2B marketing landscape. Here are 10 tweetable facts we’ve prepped to share the knowledge!

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      1. Mobile is becoming increasingly important to B2B marketers because they recognize the captivating nature of that experience. We've seen this phenomenon on our own platform with 47 percent of our traffic now coming through mobile.
        By Russell Glass
      2. We created the piece because we think our entire industry is moving more towards long form, in-depth looks at interesting subjects and content that's visually appealing.
        By Darren Kingman
      3. Designers should already have an understanding of what works and what doesn't based on research and/or professional experience.
        By Jamie Dihiansan
      4. It's important to value the local point of view.
        By Rohit Bhargava
      5. The big question is how do you apply your global mindset to create content that works across cultures without building a huge team or relying on just translations.
        By Paolo Nagari
    4. Curators in the News

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