1. Recent Articles

      1. 3 Ways Interactive Content Converts New Visitors Into New Leads

        3 Ways Interactive Content Converts New Visitors Into New Leads

        We all want better lead conversion rates. Even if you’re not directly involved with demand generation efforts on your particular team, it’s quite a feat to be able to report high conversions on any campaign.

        But with all the content bombarding our visitors on a daily basis, how can we catch their attention and hold it long enough for a conversion? Can marketers do this at scale as part of their core strategy?

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      2. Getting Your Employees From Here to There With Social Advocacy

        Getting Your Employees From Here to There With Social Advocacy

        Marketers have made sharing content easier than ever. On blogs, newsletters, and elsewhere, there is inevitably a sharebar allowing readers to redistribute content to multiple mediums.

        For employees that have joined your company in a non-marketing role, it’s not always an easy choice to figure what, how, or when to share content however. These teammates often want to be involved in social marketing and advocacy, because it helps them gain the affection and respect of their peers—and identify even more as a “team player.” Which is great, because audiences are more inclined to engage with humanized social media accounts versus corporate branded accounts.

        One hiccup hindering social advocacy at scale amongst employees is a lack of confidence and fear of doing wrong. And it’s not wrong to worry about sharing from competitors, being misaligned, being spam-esque, or otherwise being potentially damaging. Bernie Borges of Find and Convert argues this can be resolved and provide huge value that goes beyond brand advocacy:

        “Employees generally want to build their reputation for career advancement. Employees are often envious of others who actively engage in social media in a professional manner. However, without the know-how, many employees sit on the sidelines in frustration.”

        The fix is easy: make it simple for team members to share content. Without creating a burden of requirement, provide either a tool or a forum where people can elect to share relevant content. For a DIY solution, develop an internal content hub that consistently provides pre-contextualized content they can publish as is. This removes the margin of doubt for employees.

        Borges outlines further challenges and solutions regarding employee advocacy below.

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      3. Here’s What the Data Says About Gating Your Content

        Here’s What the Data Says About Gating Your Content

        To gate, or not to gate content is a point of contention amongst many content marketers. Some argue gated content ensures people who want your content will opt-in and improve the quality and value of leads generated. Others argue that leaving content ungated helps you build trust with potential customers, optimizes the reach and shareability of your content, and improves your website’s ranking. 

        Assaf Dudai, head of content at BrightInfo, analyzed the data to try and settle the gating debate. BrightInfo analyzed the website conversion performance of 33 SaaS companies, and tracked 325,000 unique monthly visitors across 1.5 million content interactions. 

        Here’s what he found:

        Companies that gate 60% or more of their content convert 132% better than companies that gate 40% of their content; and 650% better than companies that gate 10% or less of their content… you should know that the boost to conversion peaks at around 70%. Companies that gate more than that don’t necessarily convert better than companies that gate 60-70% of their content.

        Gated content can also serve as a segmentation tool and lead to direct sales. While leaving some content ungated is undeniably good for brand awareness and SEO, the conversion benefits of gating can’t be ignored.

        Read Dudai’s full article on the BrightInfo Blog below.

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      4. 4 Data-Driven Tactics to Maximize Your Efficiency

        4 Data-Driven Tactics to Maximize Your Efficiency

        The hours invested in content creation are often ignored or miscalculated when determining the ROI of content marketing. If you use data and track the hours spent on each piece of content, you can better plan and execute a content strategy. 

        Marcus Varner, senior content marketing manager at WorkFront emphasizes the importance of measuring content production.

        While content marketers have taken huge strides in measuring the efficacy of their content, they haven’t invested enough in measuring the time and resources it takes to produce that content. That lack of data leaves content marketers helpless in justifying new resources, proving the ROI of their time, and pushing back against unrealistic requests. 

        Four steps to take to optimize your content production include:

        • Stop Guesstimating Create a strategy to start knowing the time content creation is taking. By documenting all aspects of the content creation process, you’re not only able to calculate a true average for the amount of hours used to create each content type, but you’re also able to identify bottlenecks in your process and ultimately improve you and your team’s efficiency.  
        • Track Time There are apps for this (like RescueTime or ATracker) that you can install directly onto your computer. They do everything from tracking the time spent on each activity to blocking distracting websites when you’ve spent too much time on them.   
        • Archive Communication This enables a qualitative analysis of the process for creation, and helps identify any issues in the production workflow or timeline.
        • Collect and Keep Your Data in One Place House data in a shared location so all productivity information can be continually updated and improved upon.

        Read Varner’s original article at Content Marketing Institute below!

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      5. Elevate Your Content With Structure and Intrigue

        Elevate Your Content With Structure and Intrigue

        For content marketers in B2B especially, content should achieve one or both of the following:

        • Resonate by adding value
        • Provoke a strong enough reaction for your audience to share it

        It is difficult to meet either of these objectives without two core elements, regardless of format: structure and intrigue.

        Structuring quality content requires flow to give a quality reader experience. Creators need a compelling storyline that outlines a problem, introduces a protagonist, features a resulting solution, and then a conclusion that ties everything together. Readers should walk away with no questions about the substance of your content.

        By the end of your read, your audience should see the narrative fit together and make it easy for them to understand and explain. This in turn, makes it shareable.

        With a good story framework in place, separate yourself from all the other content providers in your space by applying intrigue. Without deviating from your corporate voice, add some “je ne sais quoi” to your content so that your blog or resource center is subscribed to, stickied, or bookmarked. Stephanie Flaxman, of Copyblogger, describes intrigue as:

        “The fascinating details that make your content unique. These are the characteristics that make people say, “I love that website” or “I hate that website,” rather than “I don’t remember that website.””

        Determining a topic to write about is a challenge of it’s own, but for substantive, non-feel good content, these variables make all the difference. Learn more about how to apply structure and intrigue to content in Flaxman’s original story below.

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      6. How to Implement A Disruptive Growth Strategy at Your Organization

        How to Implement A Disruptive Growth Strategy at Your Organization

        According to Accenture Strategy’s latest research: The C-level Disruptive Growth Opportunity, only 37% of surveyed CMOs view disruptive growth as very important to their marketing plan, but three in four say they control the levers that drive disruptive growth at their organizations. CMOs are missing the opportunity to generate new value for their business through disruptive initiatives. 

        Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group and former VP of Global Content Marketing at SAP shares an example:

        Think Nike for leveraging its existing business model and market share to create a new business model with its launch of Nike+, which has offered more sales and profit potential. By mounting a chip under the sole of Nike shoes, personal workout statistics can be transmitted to a consumer’s digital devices for reviewing and tracking.

        Consumers can also access the Nike+ platform for personalized coaching and training tips and even participate in friendly challenges with other online users who have connected their digital devices to the Nike+ platform.

        Nike+ isn’t just about promoting and selling a new shoe, but launching a new digital platform that delivers new benefits to customers, which in turn creates new value and revenue for the business.

        There are several things CMOs need to start doing to make their marketing strategy disruptive: 

        • Focus on an outcome over product or service
        • Improve customer experience
        • Tap into unmet needs and create new needs of the customer

        Read Brenner’s original article and related infographic on Marketing Insider Group below.

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      7. Quick Hits for Starting a Content Marketing Career

        Quick Hits for Starting a Content Marketing Career

        Consumer and B2B marketing departments have increased their content budgets this year Trends suggest that spending will continue to grow in 2017. Investment isn’t going exclusively to technology; half of the companies surveyed are spending on staffing their content marketing teams. The people who land these roles have reason to be excited as they emerge into a career that is all about telling a story. Here is what a rookie should know about preparing, getting hired, and what to expect out of a career in content marketing.

        Preparation

        Regardless of which content format you specialize in, it’s important to get your stuff out there. Practice makes perfect! You wrote an article? Post it to Medium. You made an infographic? Share it on Reddit. You made a video? Publish it on YouTube. Get public exposure and seek constructive criticism.

        Getting Hired

        Pimp yourself. Use all the content you’ve created and improved through previous publishing by making your own portfolio. There is no better place to showcase your professional aptitude than LinkedIn. This is a place to showcase your skills, but also your growth and the evolution of your voice.

        Challenges

        Not all companies understand how to culture a great content marketing team, or how creating awesome content requires time, planning, research—and creativity. Executing content marketing without strategy will produce unfortunate results, such as getting a heaping workload with unbalanced deadlines, or creating content to produce short term results. Lionel Valdellon advises a remedy for this:

        “...you have to demonstrate your ability to provide value and insight even in the planning stages of a campaign. If you’re forever silent, no one will realize you have strategies or best practices to share with the larger team.”

        Lionel is battle tested. Check out his wisdom in the original article below.

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      8. Lead Validation Is Important. Here’s Why

        Lead Validation Is Important. Here’s Why

        Lead validation is a procedure that segments sales leads generated by marketing campaigns from other types of conversions such as customer service inquiries, sales solicitations, and more. Lead quality and the source of inquiry is then reviewed after they’re separated.

        Marketing teams are continually asked to generate more leads with less resources, so lead validation is a critical step when trying to understand which marketing campaigns are delivering actual, non-inflated results. Aaron Wittersheim of The Marketing Scope explains what happens when you don’t leverage lead validation:

        “Marketers and company leaders develop an overly optimistic impression of the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns and tend to overspend on campaigns.”

        Including validation in your lead management strategy brings a clarity that helps improve campaign performance based on real sales leads instead of overall conversions. Another benefit is a better understanding of cost per lead, rather than cost per conversion.

        Google Analytics is a sound tracking tool for many metrics. However, it leaves gaps when used as the sole tracker for campaign performance, because it counts only form submissions rather than offering a more granular view of quality.

        This means it’s a good idea to incorporate lead validation in order to avoid making misinformed decisions about where to invest in campaigns.

        Wittersheim shares more findings about lead validation in the original article below.

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      9. Don’t Make Content Marketing Your New Year’s Resolution

        Don’t Make Content Marketing Your New Year’s Resolution

        Much like the gym, content marketing rewards sustained effort. Organizations need to go all in and measure results with optimization in mind, rather than flipping the switch and expecting 100% lead growth. You wouldn't go to the gym for a week and expect to lose thirty pounds! Secure key cornerstones to your strategy, execute consistently, and the results will accrue like compound interest.

        Inc. columnist John Hall shares the repercussions of a haphazard effort:

        “By taking a piecemeal approach and avoiding commitment, you leave yourself exposed to inconsistencies and inefficiencies that can cost you more than committing in the first place.”

        Prior to even testing t content marketing waters you need buy in from management. Look for support by providing a compelling business case that includes a written strategy, an executable pilot program, an outline of how content marketing will support reaching business goals, and some solutions/examples that can counter objections. This will make it easier on yourself when asking for budget—another critical component of a meaningful content strategy.

        The other required staple is a veteran whose skills align with content marketing. It may not need to be a content marketing legend, but consider a teammate with experience in writing, editing, or journalism.

        With these pieces in place, your content strategy will begin to furnish results in many areas, some of which will be unexpected:

        • Better long-term ROI: months and years into your journey you can anticipate vastly improved metrics for significantly less money than more traditional marketing practices.
        • More than just marketing benefits: your new library of marketing content will support sales enablement, customer success relations, employee advocacy, and more.
        • Audience influence and advocacy: greater reach and exposure to an external crowd that’s more likely to share your content, and your story.

        Want to learn more about building a content strategy that sticks? Check out Hall's original piece below

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      10. Keywords or Quality for SEO: Where to Focus

        Keywords or Quality for SEO: Where to Focus

        Should you focus on increasing content quality (“white hat" SEO) or on keyword-centric, search-engine focused tactics (“black hat" SEO)? It's a question marketers have been deliberating over since the advent of search engines.

        For Marketing Insider Group contributor Tyler Tafelsky, as Google has continued to refine its ranking mechanism, the answer has become clear:

        The underlying difference between black hat and white hat SEO is that the latter focuses on producing meaningful, valuable, and audience-oriented content (as opposed to slapping-up a bunch of keyword-optimized doorway pages in effort to get them ranking in Google.)

        That’s not to say keyword data can’t instruct purposeful content marketing strategies. I’m just saying that black hat, keyword-obsessed tactics are marginally effective and they dilute user experience while disrespecting Google.”

        While taking a content-first approach is undoubtedly the better technique, using SEO tactics as one of many content amplifications strategies can help increase the number of eyes on your content. Here are some SEO-focused tactics to supplement your content marketing:

        • Use tools like the Google Keyword Planner
        • Find out the times of the year when keywords are most often searched for
        • Search Google for keywords that reflect your content
        • Use social media marketing and advertising to expand the reach of your content
        • Get your content published on other related websites. 

        Click on the link below for Tafelsky's full article arguing why beautiful content marketing (that ranks!) is primarily end-user focused, with SEO a supplemental focus.

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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. Join the Content Curators Group on LinkedIn

    2. Topics in the News

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    3. Quotes

      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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