1. Recent Articles

      1. Slowing Your (Content) Role

        Slowing Your (Content) Role

        Content is the backbone of most marketing departments today. Now there are 30 times more blog posts published a day than there were ten years ago, because it yields terrific results. So marketers are eagerly creating content at an unprecedented rate. But in many instances, they’re doing so in a thoughtless way, leaving marketers and consumers alike to suffer from content overload.

        The solution? A minimalist strategy.

        A minimalist content strategy begins with identifying a clear vision for content that is aligned with  overall business and customer goals. This gives purpose to every piece of content attached to your brand. When it comes to pioneering the strategy, Jacob Warwick of Convince & Convert stresses the importance of placing a strategic thinker at the helm:

         They set ground rules, outline distribution channels, understand performance measurement, consider budgetary needs, and build repeatable processes for more tactical producers. A strong strategic foundation is critical for scaling in a cost effective manner.

        Because results may not be furnished in the short-term, having a sound means of performance measurement is a must. If you’re feeling underwhelmed by content quality, performance, or efficiency—don’t panic and double-down on volume. Do the opposite. Sit a few plays out, hedge the cadence of your creation, and evaluate the process that may be driving ineffective content.

        Check out Warwick’s original piece for building a minimalist content strategy below.


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      2. Are You Investing Enough in SEO?

        Are You Investing Enough in SEO?

        Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most important factors in successful digital marketing. According to Search Engine Journal, the first organic search result will get nearly 33 percent of clicks. And 75 percent of users never scroll past the first page of search results.

        Despite these numbers, many marketing teams struggle to get approval for an increase in SEO budget.

        Kevin Cotch at TopRank Marketing blog weighs in:

        There have been multiple times in my career that I needed to create a compelling argument for more budget for an SEO campaign. These types of recommendations are often challenged, yet thousands of dollars for PPC [pay-per-click] can be spent without blinking an eye. Some marketers would say it’s easier to see the ROI on ad spend compared to the SEO campaigns and initiatives that we are also running.

        In addition to struggling to prove ROI with SEO, a common perception of SEO could be impacting your ability to increase your budget. This is because while PPC has the notion of paying to play in the name, SEO is built around the idea of ranking organicallyor for free. 

        Use data and the investments in PPC to your advantage when arguing for an increased SEO budget. Create an SEO strategy around the keywords your company targets for PPC. Show how ranking number one in SEO is more valuable than showing up for PPC, and your long-term plan for getting to that point.

        For further tips for getting more SEO budget, read Cotch's complete article below.

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      3. Things to Do Today to Improve Your Content Marketing Efforts

        Things to Do Today to Improve Your Content Marketing Efforts

        Create a video, start influencer campaigns, publish high-quality long-form content.

        Sound tips that will help optimize your content marketing efforts. But while these are great tactics, most of us only hit two of content marketers’ top two priorities for 2017. That would be creating more engaging content (72 percent), and getting a better understanding of what content is effective and what isn’t (65 percent).

        Alex Jasin at the SEMRush blog explains one strategy for optimizing your efforts:

        One of the biggest mistakes content marketers make is neglecting to clearly connect their content marketing strategy to their sales funnel. They treat content as if it’s a magical pill that will instantly generates mountains of new sales and passionate customers. Effective content marketing requires a clear vision for how new content will move potential customers into and down the sales funnel.

        Here are a few things you can do to start tying your content back to sales. Use technology to start tracking your content directly to revenue, and use that data to inform future creation decisions. You can either purchase marketing software to do this for you, or you can make the calculations on your own.

        Another solution is to set up regular meetings between marketing and sales to determine what content your team needs to create and get feedback on what is and isn't working. 

        For more fast, effective options for improving your content marketing efforts, check Jasin's full article below.

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      4. Your Brand Needs Marketing Automation to Succeed

        Your Brand Needs Marketing Automation to Succeed

        Marketing automation is a $1.65 billion dollar industry. Over 142,000 business use it to optimize their marketing efforts. Though marketing automation is a big part of marketing today, many marketers aren't taking full advantage of what it offers.

        Johanna Rivard at PureB2B points out that the modern digital landscape gives marketers an advantage that lends itself to better automation:

        The traditional channels of television, radio, and print media have seen a decline in usage as more users start looking at online platforms as their primary sources of media. This is great for marketers because online channels allow for better targeting, tracking, and analytics. 

        With the ability to target and track potential customers better than ever before, here are some ways to consider automating your efforts. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software such as SalesForce is integral to most marketing teams' success. As is a marketing automation platform (MAP) and email marketing. In addition to traditional marketing automation platforms, a content marketing platform (CMP) will extend your efforts and support your CRM and MAP.

        While these forms of marketing automation are important, they should be baseline for your organization. Other things to consider about marketing automation before implementing include:

        • Find a way to ensure the data you're collecting is clean. Marketing automation databases typically contain up to 25 percent erroneous data.
        • Consider the reporting and insights on top of what can be automated. Many automation platforms allow for A/B testing. Check to see what the resulting report looks like and if the software is capable of automatically serving the most successful option after testing a sample group.
        • Look at templates. If your marketing automation software isn't allowing you to use visually appealing templates that convert, it might be better to choose a different option.

        For more on various types of marketing automation software and how they make your marketing more effective, read Rivard's full article below.

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      5. How to Upgrade Your Interviewing Skills

        How to Upgrade Your Interviewing Skills

        With nearly 50 percent of companies looking to increase content marketing staff, hiring interviews are aplenty. The success of outsourced agency or freelancer work is often predicated on the quality of the interview that sets project expectations. So whether it’s interview-style guest posts, podcasts, hiring freelancers, or growing your content marketing team,it’s worth developing a killer interview skill set. Here are several ways to refine your interviewing acumen.

        Say No to Yes or No 

        Open-ended questions create the chance for your interview to furnish interesting and surprising information. Yes or no questions tend to only fit into your immediate narrative (which may be biased). They also remove the opportunity to collect deeper insights that, as a writer, could be used for additional content later down the line.

        Hedge Your Bias

        Raw interview responses make for the best responses. Asking a leading question can route the mind of an interviewee away from their true disposition. This can damage the credibility of the interviewer, the interview itself, and/or the quality of any related projects.

        Let it Soak

        A seam of silence during an interview is a good thing. Provide a pause after each question and response. This allows the interviewee a moment to make sure they’ve cleared their thoughts, and provides a chance to develop note and thought indexing. Additionally, this tempo helps facilitate the first two tips, as explained by Katie McKenna of Portent:

        Pausing also slows down the rate at which you ask questions. Having this extra time will help you be more mindful of the types of questions you’re asking, which should help you reduce bias and avoid close-ended questions.

        Have some interviews coming up? Check out the rest of McKenna’s tips below.

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      6. Matching Content With Purpose to The Buyer’s Journey

        Matching Content With Purpose to The Buyer’s Journey

        In the past, content marketing success was achieved by creating and sharing valuable knowledge with a brand’s audience.. On the heels of a high-volume content trend, success in today’s content marketing landscape requires something more.

        Content strategist Amy Wright outlines how to drive results:

        Content marketing is about more than blogging. Content marketing is about scrutinizing your entire online presence through the eyes of your customers because every single touchpoint will impact your success. This includes every page of your website, every resource or blog article and every post on social media.

        Instead of looking at goals through the traditional marketing funnel, content executives dictate their strategy based on the buyer’s journey. This framework examines the process a buyer goes through and the challenges they have at each stage. With this methodology, your question answering content will facilitate prospects further down the funnel.

        Matching content to the various stages of the buyer’s journey creates organization and transparency regarding gaps in content. With a strategy dedicated to the buyer’s journey, each content item has a purpose. It caters to lean vision and more thoughtful resource use.

        To better understand content and the customer experience, check out Amy’s original article below.

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      7. Your Content Marketing is Outdated - Here's Why

        Your Content Marketing is Outdated - Here's Why

        Content marketing best practices constantly change with new technology and audience preferences. In the past few years, organic social reach has waned, personalized content and account-based marketing have risen, while video and visual content forms are now the norm.

        Priyanka Desai, founder of iScribblers, describes how self-centered content marketing no longer works:

        Your content should be valuable and customer-centric. As a brand owner, you might be tempted to focus on topics that interest you the most. However, they might not interest your audience or might not be useful to them.

        While this is good advice for content marketers, selfish content marketing isn't something that's outdated. It's never been a best practice. According to a LinkedIn Marketing Technology report from 2014, the top three things that make content effective are:

        • Audience relevance (58 percent)
        • Engaging and compelling storytelling (57 percent)
        • Triggers a response or action (54 percent)

        Another changing best practice is the idea that more content is better. Organizations should publish consistently enough to remain front of mind, but content quality and usefulness are more important to your audienceand Google—than volume. 

        Check out Desai's complete article on outdated content marketing practices below.

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      8. Artificial Intelligence Now as Important as Mobile for Marketing

        Artificial Intelligence Now as Important as Mobile for Marketing

        Artificial intelligence (AI) is the next big thing in the eyes of many marketers. AI is permeating everyday life from car navigation to Google search to Netflix and Pandora, and it's starting to become a fixture in the marketing landscape.

        Ipseity co-founder and Search Engine Journal contributor Cynthia Johnson equates the importance of implementing artificial intelligence to that of mobile several years ago:

        Luckily, we’re used to adjusting, pivoting, and expecting a change of any kindand quickly. The use of AI in our digital marketing strategies is no different. We have to think of AI as we thought of mobile years ago. If we don’t learn about it and apply it, then we are destined to be out of a job.

        There are several options for you to start including AI in your marketing strategies. These include:

        • Content creation and curationTechnology that helps you find and create content relevant to your audience
        • Chatbots: Helps you answer customer questions without a full-time human behind the computer
        • AI for image and video tagging: Tools that automatically tag your images and videos
        • Content intelligence: Technology that helps content understand itself, automates some functions, and transforms data into actionable insights for content strategy and tactics

        For more ways to add AI to your marketing systems, check out Johnson's complete article below.

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      9. 3 Ways to Make Your White Paper Stand Out

        3 Ways to Make Your White Paper Stand Out

        Ninety six percent of B2B buyers want more information from industry thought leaders, and 78 percent of buyers used white papers in the last 12 months to research B2B purchasing decisions.

        PureB2B contributor Johanna Rivard believes white papers can help differentiate brands from their competitors:

        Whitepapers hold enormous potential for B2B marketers. First, a well thought out whitepaper can pave the way for blog posts, discussions, and other accompanying content pieces. Second, a well-written whitepaper also differentiates you from competitors in the eyes of your reader.

        When creating a white paper, keep in mind some of the primary elements that differentiate it from an eBook. Take care to make sure the design and tone are more formal, and that your statements are backed up by facts and statistics. 

        While the tone of voice and research in the white paper are important, it's also important to create an aesthetic that is polished and professional. This approach will help establish your brand as a thought leader.

        For a graphic on the ideal white paper as well as more helpful tips, check out the full article at PureB2B below. 

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      10. Use Storytelling to Inject Emotion into Your Branding

        Use Storytelling to Inject Emotion into Your Branding

        Great storytelling can do wonders for a brand. It helps establish what your brand is about, creates an experience for your audience, and motivates your reader to become a part of that experience. 

        According to Griot Digital, storytelling can increase lead generation by over 16 times.

        Marketing Insider Group CEO Michael Brenner believes it's not just choosing a story, but choosing the right story that matters to the success of your branding.

        Why does the story matter? It is what makes your brand significant. It’s the inspiring copy, the well-thought-out Instagram posts and website design, and the compelling video that turns mashed peanuts into Peter Pan peanut butter.

        Marketers can learn a lot about storytelling by learning from successful marketing campaigns. Here are some top lessons:

        • Use a Medium That Speaks to Your Audience: When Marriott started a hotel chain catering to millennials, they chose visual mediums like Instagram and video over written articles.
        • Create Meaning Behind Your Brand: Tell a story that puts purpose behind your products. Example: rather than selling soda, Coke sells happiness.
        • Be Different: Whether this means using humor, leveraging influencers, or trying a format that's outside the norm for your audience, it's important to take risks and try things that will differentiate you from your competitors.

        For examples on how other brands are excelling at storytelling, check out Brenner's complete article 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
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