1. Recent Articles

      1. Stop Putting off That Content Audit

        Stop Putting off That Content Audit

        When content marketing is brought up, minds tend to immediately think of creating the freshest, most mind-bending content in the market. But before going out and investing into a blank sheet of paper, it pays to recognize your library of owned, readily available content at hand that can drive traffic, leads, and revenue.

        Content audits are a practice that should be carved into your annual calendar, just like regular oil changes. MarketingLand contributor Rachel Lindteigen highlights the first thing a content manager should do before spending money on fresh content:

        A content audit is a critical key to your content marketing success. Until you know what assets you have and how they’re performing, you really can’t determine what you need to add to the site.

        After performing a content audit to identify the gaps in your inventory, you'll inevitably find a considerable amount of content that can be refreshed and repurposed.

        For growing teams that are hiring, having new hires (especially those new to your space) perform a content audit can help bring them up to speed. It tasks them with digging into the substance of your content, familiarizing them with the challenges and (hopefully) solutions for your customers and prospects.

        Content audits also make it easy to perform maintenance on content to improve SEO, reader experience, and to repurpose it.

        Regular content audits are critical for marketers that care about executing an efficient, effective content marketing strategy. To see Lindteigen’s step-by-step guide for performing a content audit, check out the original article below.

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      2. Three Indicators You Need a Content Marketing Platform

        Three Indicators You Need a Content Marketing Platform

        For every challenge content marketers face, there is a relevant tool available. One particular tool addresses the core issues that hinder content production, making efforts more seamless and scalable: the content marketing platform.

        Here are three key indicators your team could be a fit for a content marketing platform:

        1) Existing Content Strategy

        Your organization has some semblance of a content strategy, and considerable existing content. Content marketing platforms make it easy to surface pieces of content you never knew existed. Even better, you can index existing content and identify gaps by performing a content audit to discover whether you are lacking content for personas, buying stages, or keywords.

        2) Measuring Content

        With investment in content growing every year, management needs to understand how content initiatives influence business goals. And while measuring content ROI is critical, this does not scale when done manually. Content Marketing Institute contributor Andrea Fryrear points out:

        “Basic tools tend to suffice for measuring top-of-funnel content because at this stage you’re primarily concerned with building up the size of your audience and encouraging them to move closer toward a purchase.”

        Content marketing platforms however, not only make it easy to measure content ROI by looking at metrics such as leads, pipeline, and revenue, they also make it easy to report over time and discover trending, actionable insights to improve individual and larger content projects.

        3) Moving Parts

        Creating great content typically involves writers, editors, designers, internal subject matter experts, freelancers, and more. It's challenging to work with multiple moving parts using traditional management tools such as spreadsheets, checklists, and basic project management tools. The problems these tools create include missed tasks, miscommunications, and even worse, missed deadlines.

        Almost all content marketing platforms include some variance of an editorial calendar that streamlines ideation, production, and promotion. But the ability to measure content ROI is arguably the most valuable component of these tools. To learn more about getting started on ROI measurement, read Andrea Fryrear's original article below.

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      3. Dear Marketer - It's Actually Not All About You

        Dear Marketer - It's Actually Not All About You

        The ability to empathize with customers is one of the most important skills in a marketer's roster. If you cannot put yourself in their shoes then will never be able to correctly identify their pain points, challenges, or needs. You will never be able to talk to them in a genuine way. You doom yourself to irrelevance no matter how slick your message may be. 

        It seems obvious right? But when executing our daily tasks under deadline pressure, it can be easy to lose sight of this guiding principle because of the operating model of a business—which is invariably oriented to short term thinking.

        As Jake Sorofman at Gartner writes, when we're under the all-enveloping pressure of a quarter's end, it can be easy to focus on ringing the bell for the company.

        This can lead to decisions and behaviors that may help us to win the business, but miss the opportunity earn true customer loyalty and advocacy. It can also lead to a sort of self-involvement that infects and undermines the culture of the organization, causing us to see customers as a reflection of ourselves.

        One way to avoid egocentric content marketing is to consistently complement our own created content with the wealth of knowledge the rest of the market has to offer. Curating other's content forces us to absorb others' viewpoints, while exposing your audience to a wide range of experts in your industry builds your credibility as an objective and fair-minded thought leader.

        Sorofman offers more thoughtful insights about the problems of the inadvertent marketing Narcissus in the original article below.

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      4. Drive Customer Delight With Content Marketing

        Drive Customer Delight With Content Marketing

        Content marketing is necessarily becoming more sophisticated as customers become more exposed to it. "Good enough" content that fills a hole in your editorial calendar—is increasingly less so in this environment.

        More and more it's not enough to just answer your audience’s questions and help solve their problems; there's just too much competition for this to resonate any more. For content to stand out it needs to go further, to delight readers enough to have a measurable impact.

        Aaron Agius at the Content Marketing Institute has a handy primer on the principles of customer delight, which he argues should factor into every action, interaction, and piece of content you create:

        • Does this content solve a problem for someone?
        • Does this content teach someone how to solve problems in the future?
        • Is this content engaging and at least a little fun? 

        For Agius, delighting your customers is all about exceeding their expectations: 

        When I look for an answer to a problem, I’m happy when I finally find it. My problem is solved. If that same source provides additional information to help me deal with similar challenges down the road, then I’m blown away. When that source does it with a smile and enthusiasm, it might as well give me a fanboy shirt.

        When you create a better user experience, through better researched, more entertaining, better written, more relevant content—you create a happier audience. Which makes them much more likely to be interested in your products, and to become brand advocates for you after they've bought. 

        The key to creating such a user experience is to have a documented content strategy, so that you're consciously creating content with specific, measurable goals. Find out more about driving customer delight via Aaron's full article below.

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      5. Should Curated Content Have a Larger Role in Your Content Strategy?

        Should Curated Content Have a Larger Role in Your Content Strategy?

        Content curation is a powerful marketing practice that is sometimes overlooked by some marketers. Original content is important, obviously, but should it make up the totality of your content strategy?

        A content strategy has essentially two goals: 1) to provide value for your audience, 2) to do so in such a way as to achieve measurable marketing goals, such as improved traffic, leads, and SEO, etc. 

        Curation provides your audience with relevant, valuable information from different perspectives. When done right it delivers against all your traditional marketing goals—and saves you time and money. Curata research shows top marketers use roughly 25 percent of curated content in their overall strategy. 

        Matt Curtis, of Business2Community, thinks the split should favor curated content even more heavily :

         ...firstly, you content should be relevant to your audience no matter where it’s coming from. Secondly, you should be posting more curated content to interest your audience than original content.

        Curation is a great means to power content channels and deliver against other sales/marketing goals. If you're not relying heavily on curation as a component to your strategy—such as the way Verne Global does—you should be.

        Read more about curated content versus original content below.

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      6. This Just In: Journalists Great Anchors for a Content Marketing Team

        This Just In: Journalists Great Anchors for a Content Marketing Team

        When you're growing a content team, you might think the maestro of content strategy should be a veteran wordsmith with strategic experience in an equivalent business environment. While these are positive attributes, Colleen Jones of the Content Science Review believes two characteristics in particular are arguably even more important:

        Successful content teams rely on leaders with a strong content vision and the ability to collaborate with others—the top two characteristics of content leaders identified both in our survey of 101 respondents and in-depth interviews with seven content team leaders.

        The right content leader unites people with a clear vision, acting as a content ambassador to stakeholders and as a content coach to the team.

        These characteristics are prolific in journalists. They bring with them a determination developed by following a story through to completion, useful for outlining a goal and meeting it. They're also experienced at working with teams involving many moving parts, including editors, designers, web producers, interviewees, and more.

        With a journalist at the helm of your content strategy, it's easy to leverage other resources to round out the team. Freelancers, agencies, and consultants are great for filling in gaps, such as subject matter experts for example.

        For more of Colleen’s perspective on choosing an anchor for your content team, read the original article below. (Hint: they’re traits found in a journalist.)

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      7. Engage Influencers on Social with Content Curation

        Engage Influencers on Social with Content Curation

        TopRank's Caitlin Burgess shares best practices for identifying, managing, engaging, and activating your social media community. Of the seven tips, one is particularly meaningful:

        Do some research and create a list of 10-20 people to start with. Connect with them on all of their social channels and subscribe to their blog feeds. From there, spend a few minutes each day interacting with them through sharing your own thoughts on their posts or sharing their posts with your audience. The caveat here is to make sure your interaction makes sense. Don’t force it. Look for an opportunity to add some value.

        This hack includes a few core steps in the process of content curation excellence. 

        Once you have a list of core people you want to get involved with, start engaging with them as Burgess suggests. But don't be afraid to go above and beyond with curation. Take some of their original ideas and go further: agree with them, disagree with themor maybe just elaborate on their ideas.

        By curating your influencers' content, it can take less time to achieve your goals; such as developing a working relationship with them and borrowing their audience. You can also promote this curated content to other channels to reap even further benefits from content curation.

        Read Caitlin's original article below for more ways to boost your social media community management.

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      8. Get Support From Management For Your Content Marketing

        Get Support From Management For Your Content Marketing

        Content marketing is not a trend. It’s often a more effective and less expensive alternative to more traditional marketing tactics (which are obviously still valuable in their own right). Given the effectiveness of content marketing, 76 percent of marketers are increasing their investment in content initiatives. Set yourself up for content marketing success by preparing with these few steps:

        1. Use an existing content marketing framework.

        2. Set goals and be prepared to tie them to business objectives with attached KPI’s.

        3. Figure out which resources and content are available to you.

        4. Find gaps between steps 1 and 3.

        5. Have a means to measure the results.

        With all the above in place, resources can start being applied. That’s the easy part.

        To get continual buy-in from management, you have to measure the performance of your efforts. Sandie Young of PR20/20 argues why management needs to see a well measured strategy:

        If your team isn’t tying content production to bottom-line outcomes, then leadership likely isn’t making the connection either. The best content programs are performance-driven; they connect tactics to organizational end goals.

        Strategies for measuring content strategies will vary between organizations, given the tools available to them. For those companies that can streamline measurement with a content marketing platform, great! For those without, there are many ways to track content performance without using paid technology.

        Regardless of your measurement tool, measuring is the most important thing marketers can bring to the table to get more buy-in, and budget, from management.

        To learn more about getting executive buy-in, read Sandie’s original article below.

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      9. 3 Ways to Build Trust With Content

        3 Ways to Build Trust With Content

        Building trust is challengingespecially with the broad audiences content marketers address. This post outlines three simple ways to build trust with your audience.

        1) Be Reliable

        It’s important to keep a regular publishing schedule: 91 percent of the best business bloggers publish at least once a week. You want your audience to be excited when they see freshly promoted content. Better yet, you want them to anticipate when you promote new content. With consistency comes credibility. 

        2) Create Ungated Content

        The goal of a B2B marketer is to drive leads and revenue, but one comes before the other. Gated content may be a pillar in lead generation, but Alex Sobal of the Weidert Group touts the value of providing form-free content:

        When you give your content away for absolutely nothing, you take away the feeling that you’re trying to take advantage of your prospects. Because of this, prospects will be happy to seek out content specifically from your brand when looking for related information in the future.

        If your content marketing efforts are hitting these first two points, users are more likely to want your content delivered to them. So add a subscribe form to all your gated content.

        3) Curate

        Original content should have a prominent role in every content strategy, so long as it’s not in an egocentric voice. Incorporating relevant third-party content into your strategy presents value for your audience from additional perspectives, boosting your credibility as an objective observer and positioning you as a one-stop-shop for all things related to your topic area.

        For further information on building trust and boosting executive buy-in, see Alex's original post below.

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      10. Likes Do Not Equal Leads: Go Deeper With Measurement

        Likes Do Not Equal Leads: Go Deeper With Measurement

        The state of MarTech in content marketing today leaves little to guess about. Be it with technology, or the metrics and analytics schema available, nearly every pixel of your content strategy can be measured. Jonny Rose at the UK's Guardian however, discusses potential concerns for practitioners creating and measuring content:

        "The idea of measuring the efficacy of content marketing by its commercial success remains quite alien to content marketers who are much more confident talking in terms of 'engagement'."

        While engagement is undoubtedly one critical metric to be gauging, for a business, likes do not equal leads generated.

        As of this year, 75% of B2B marketers are increasing investment in content marketing. The top goal for these marketers is Lead Generation (59%). With those numbers in mind, it makes sense that marketers are putting their money towards the middle and lower half of the funnel. So, marketers are investing in an area they are either not confident in measuring, or simply do not know how to measure.

        That said, content, much like SEO, is not an overnight success; it's a long term play. Content is not a big part of tactical marketing. So measuring deeper content marketing metrics is most valuable when focusing resources on things that positively influence your business goals, with the intention of embedding the most positive elements into your overall strategy. For more of Rose's insights about measuring ROI, 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
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