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    1. Improve Your Promotion To All Three Audience Segments

      Improve Your Promotion To All Three Audience Segments

      Marketers understand that creating and publishing content is not enough—even if the content is spectacular. The diminishing returns of organic reach require us to find clever alternatives to extend the reach of our content. To give your content the exposure it deserves, these tips will help optimize for all three basic media audiences.

      Owned Audiences

      This segment has already approved you to deliver them content. This opens up several opportunities to maximize promotion. Sending out a ‘new blog’ alert to subscribers is low-hanging fruit for driving blog views and serves as a friendly nudge for readers that may not have your content top-of-mind.

      Paid Audiences

      Best practice dictates addressing your paid efforts after completing your owned-audience efforts. Paid social and PPC ads require well-controlled testing for success. One powerful yet simple tip: bid low. Advertising platforms typically advise to run with their auto-bidding. Start your bids at a rate well below the recommended rate and then test up until you see satisfactory results.

      Earned Audiences

      Earned media has many benefits. Your brand gets fresh exposure to audiences who may not be familiar with you. Earned audiences also help boost your search ranking through backlinks to your owned content. Shannen Laur of PR 20/20 advises the following approach:

      “Pitch relevant media about featuring the assets. Or, offer to submit a guest post to take the effort off their plate, while including CTAs to the content’s landing page.”

      There’s plenty more to learn about maximizing results across these audiences. Check out Laur’s original post below for more on the subject.

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    2. One Simple Tactic For Making Relevant Content

      One Simple Tactic For Making Relevant Content

      Creating content relevant to your audience is crucial to achieving your marketing goals. To do this, many marketers take a leaf out of Oreo's book and focus on current events

      Frank Thomas, head of Adidas's content strategy and content marketing, used a different method. When he launched Adidas's Game Plan A, a content hub, he had this to say about it: 

      The goal of this venture is to engage employees and attract the right talent and build relationships with like-minded people (be they internal or external) who have a cultural background compatible to our own. While all of this will help create advocacy in the long term, driving revenue isn’t a primary goal of GamePlan A.

      This strategy has more longevity than Oreo's, because current events' relevance doesn't last. A better way to achieve relevancy is developing durable branding that resonates with your audience. Then filter all aspects of your company's communications through your brand definition. 

      Strong branding strategy works. According to Bop Design, 64 percent of people cite shared values as the main reason they have a relationship with a brand. 

      Thomas suggests that after filtering all communications through your brand definition, you should "Dare to disregard the numbers." This is an interesting concept and can be good for testing and ideation. But it's important to use analytics to ensure your content works. Yes, try alternatives to what's worked in the past, but if your test fails, it's time to abort and start anew.

      For more information on how Adidas created relevant content for their brand, check out Thomas's full article below.

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    3. You Have a Marketing Qualified Lead: What Do You Do Next?

      You Have a Marketing Qualified Lead: What Do You Do Next?

      You've worked to increase traffic to your website. Your target audience has interacted with and enjoyed your content. Now you have marketing qualified leads. Once leads are in this stage, it's crucial that you engage them to help them through the sales funnel.

      Caitlin Burgess at TopRank Marketing blog weighs in on why lead nurturing is so important:

      Simply put, MQLs are warm prospects who are not ready to make a purchasing decision yet—and lead nurturing can help you turn up the heat. And most of you are probably doing some form of lead nurturing already. According to DemandGen Report’s 2016 Lead Nurturing Benchmark Study, 89 percent of marketers use lead nurturing programs as part of their demand generation strategy.

      Here's how to maximize your lead nurturing activities:

      • All Marketing Qualified Leads Are Not Created Equal: Understand where your MQLs are in the sales funnel and if they're part of your target audience. Develop a plan for each type of lead.
      • Start Small: Don't get caught up in giving each lead and persona a custom experience. Start by testing small lead nurture campaigns and fine tune from there.

      For more on improving your lead nurturing activities, read Burgess's complete article below.

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    4. Content Distribution Tactics Beyond Social and Email

      Content Distribution Tactics Beyond Social and Email

      It's no secret that a content promotion and distribution strategy is integral to content's success. For many, it's also the greatest challenge.

      Beyond obvious solutions like sharing on social media and sending emails to your lists, there are other actions you can take to amplify the reach of your content and improve your site's traffic. 

      Some useful options include:

      • Syndicate your content to other high traffic websites to increase the amount of people reading it.
      • Experiment with new formats. Videos, infographics, and slide decks are visually engaging ways to share your content. Try a variety of formats to determine what resonates with your audience most.
      • Offer rewards for referrals. This isn't always the best option, as it can encourage people to share your content with an audience that isn't necessarily your target, but in certain circumstances it can prove very beneficial.

      Brian Lang at Web Developers Etc offers examples of companies that have been successful using giveaways to increase distribution and engagement:

      Joshua Earl grew his email list to over 60k in just two weeks using giveaways. Bryan Harris from Video Fruit tried this strategy too and was able to generate 2,239 subscribers in just 10 days. You can even use giveaways to sell products. Greenbelly generated a list of 4,100 subscribers on a budget of just $75 by partnering with other known brands in their market to do a large giveaway.

      For more ways to improve your content's reach, check out Lang's full article below.

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    5. Expect More with an Integrated Content Strategy

      Expect More with an Integrated Content Strategy

       Marketers who use an integrated content marketing strategy see significantly better results than those who create content alone.  Here are four key steps to form a successful integrated strategy:

      1. Vision and Roadmap

        Marketers often debate the most important element to a successful content strategy. Paul Buckley of D Custom captures why a documented strategy has a strong claim for this title:
        It informs everything, from the content types you create to the channels you promote them on. And like a road map, charting the most effective path starts with answering two questions: Where are you now, and where do you want to end up?
      2. Creation

        Your written strategy will help you determine what content you should create. Your next step is marrying the ideas and needs of your content funnel to your in-house creators or freelancers.

      3. Promotion

        The final draft of a content masterpiece has no value if your audience doesn’t see it. This is why content promotion needs to be done right. Your documented strategy research from step one should reveal where your audience is and how they like to consume content. Share your  content across your promotional channels, including email, social, SEO, paid media, and more.

      4. Meticulous Measurement and Optimization

        Performance measurement is a must in any marketing role. This includes content and related content activities. Not only are you determining which decisions are successful, you’re building a better business case to present to stakeholders for continuing and expanding your content marketing.

       

      Want to build or refine your integrated content strategy? Check out Buckley’s original piece below.



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    6. Improve Your SEO Strategy: Link Building for 2017

      Improve Your SEO Strategy: Link Building for 2017

      Gaining backlinks is one of the most effective ways to improve your site's SEO. Though the name of the game is still link building, content marketing hasin some waysmade gaining links from trustworthy websites more difficult.

      Olga Smirnova at SEMrush outlines how content marketing creates a unique problem:

      Authors, businesses and publications are given attribution in the form of quotes and maybe links to one's social media, but they are not always given actual in-content links. As great as a shout-out is, without an actual link, you won’t get any SEO or traffic benefits.

      The quality of your backlinks are more important than the quantity, so creating high-quality content and getting it in front of the right people is crucial. While many content marketers already understand that creating high-quality content increases the likelihood of gaining backlinks, there are a few other factors to consider.

      Authoritative content with original research is a great content type to increase backlinks. Also, consider your content's distribution method. Building relationships with influencers is extremely important. Having them promote your content builds your credibility and increases the likelihood of backlinks.

      Another tactic is to track website mentions and reach out if someone hasn't provided a link. This tactic could be considered a bit pushy. However, it can be hugely beneficial to increasing backlinks with minimal extra effort, and can lead to building longer lasting brand partnerships.

      For more information on how to increase backlinks to your website, check out the rest of Smirnova's article below.

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    7. Building Long Term Influence on Influencers

      Building Long Term Influence on Influencers

      Influencer marketing is a staple practice for marketing teams of all shapes and sizes. Marketing teams that achieve the best results from these programs have an ongoing process to keep their influencers involved. Ask yourself, “How can I regularly leverage the benefits of borrowed influencer stardom?” Consider these best practices when launching or fortifying an influencer marketing program.

      Look Beyond the Most Prolific Social Media Mavens

      Writing for a niche audience is an effective strategy for growing a loyal audience. To that end, influencers with large social followings typically appeal to a more general audience. Working with them may yield quality, short-term traffic results, but may not help significantly increase your targeted following.

      Mo’ Money, Same Problems

      As with most paid efforts, when the cash flow stops, so do the returns. A pay-to-play influencer strategy can be circumvented in a few ways. Ultimately, the key is to avoid ad-hoc “Can you help me?” interactions with influencers. (More on this in the next tip.)

      Think of an Influencer as a High-Value Sales Prospect

      Working with influencers should never be a “flash in the pan experience.” To build a more fluid relationship, consider this advice from Emily Hinderaker of Top Rank Marketing:

      “Keep the communication channel open and use an ongoing approach to your influencer marketing program. Share the co-created content and send pre-written messages to your influencer so they can share it with their networks on various platforms including social media. Thank your influencer for their contribution and continue to nurture the relationship, even after the campaign is over.”

      To learn more best practices for an ongoing influencer marketing strategy, check out Hinderaker’s original piece below.

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    8. For the People, By the People: User-Generated Content

      For the People, By the People: User-Generated Content

      As an audience member, you understand the interests of your peers. This is what makes user-generated content (UGC) so effective. Beyond the innate understanding of you audience, UGC is a preferred-content type for businesses for other reasons. B2C contributor, William Comcowich, explains:

      User-generated content can be an enormously effective – yet affordable – marketing strategy. Some leading brands post almost nothing but user-generated content. Since people place little trust in brand advertising or marketing, amplifying photos, videos or recommendations of other consumers offers a superior strategy. The key is to solicit positive brand mentions or uncover them through social media listening.

      You're probably not stockpiling audience-created content today, so here are some tips to help establish a flow of UGC.

      Incentivize: Budget might not be available to encourage your brand advocates to create content- but you don’t necessarily need it. People are motivated by different things, so find a group that cares about individual recognition and compensate them with praise. 

      Keep it Simple: As with anything, asking people to jump through hoops to complete things is going to result in a lower engagement rate. Iterate down to the most frictionless process possible and stick with that.

      Don’t Go Blind: While big brands can benefit most from listening for mentions, all companies can and should use Talkwalker, Google Alerts, or a similar tool to find where you’re company is mentioned. Surfacing positive brand mentions is the ultimate low-hanging fruit for UGC.

      Want to dial in a better user-generated content program? Check out Comcowich’s original post below.

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    9. Is There a Formula for Viral Content?

      Is There a Formula for Viral Content?

      Creating viral content is the ultimate and often, most difficult achievement for a content marketer. Content that's expected to perform wonderfully can flop, while content created as an afterthought can perform beautifully.

      Determining what's causing a piece of content to perform a certain way is confusing. Despite this, there are a few things you can do to significantly increase your content's chances of success. Joshua Nite, contributor to TopRank Marketing blog, shares his opinion:

      Instead of counting on going viral, take lessons from widely-shared content and use them to build content that will succeed with your target audience, whether or not it hits the zeitgeist and ends up on Ellen. Telling stories with data, taking a stand, and adding humor and human interest are all fundamental building blocks of great content marketing.

      One way you can succeed with visual data is going beyond the idea of an infographic. Making data visual is important for your content marketing's success. Think beyond the typical infographic to create something more interesting and creative.

      Another strategy is to create content that has a strong opinion. Like REI's #OptOutside campaign or Always's #LikeAGirl, content with a strong stance is interesting and inspirational to its advocates.

      For more ways you can improve your content's chances of going viral, check out the complete article in the link below.



       

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    10. 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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    11. 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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    12. 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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    13. 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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    14. 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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    15. Your Social Media Strategy For Today

      Your Social Media Strategy For Today

      Despite the high number of users, social behemoth Facebook is officially not the best platform for consumer engagement. Instagram blows its competitors out of the water. This is somewhat concerning considering 55 percent of marketers say Facebook is their most important platform.

      Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group, shares his opinion:

      Appealing to all demographics, including older adults, Facebook is ideal for health awareness campaigns and posting announcements about health classes, services, and general health tips. Also, this is an industry that tends to be very community-driven, just like your local pizzeria and coffee shop, which meshes with Facebook’s local business appeal.

      So, even though Instagram has the highest engagement of all social platforms, it's not necessarily the best option for your company. When developing a social media strategy, it's important to note that engagement isn't the only factory that should play into your decisions on spend and priority. 

      To optimize your social media strategy, pick platforms that resonate with your audience and optimize for those platforms. Make sure the content you're sharing is visual, has an interesting headline, and customized for the platform. Also, take into account when you're sharing, how frequently, and whether or not you're paying for engagement.

      For more on which social media platforms should be a part of your marketing strategy, check out the full article in the link below.

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    16. 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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    17. 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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    18. 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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    19. 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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    20. 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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    21. How to Help Your Sales Team Close

      How to Help Your Sales Team Close

      In the world of B2B marketing, lead generation, nurturing, and qualification are key to helping your sales team and company succeed. Unfortunately, these efforts sometimes fall short.

      Johanna Rivard at PureB2B shares this advice:

      Don’t let your marketing efforts go to waste! Identifying and anticipating potential warning signs will help your sales teams counter potential sales objections and focus their efforts on accounts with the highest likelihood of following through.

      While identifying potential warning signs is important, it's just as important that you come up with solutions for those warning signs. Here are some common issues for sales professionals, and what you can do to help:

      • Leads are Avoiding or Postponing Sales Calls: While there's no way to avoid this entirely, this is probably a good sign that the leads you're passing over aren't ready or interested enough in your product to talk to sales. Come up with some suggestions to help your sales team manage these scenarios, or create a nurturing campaign to move these leads back into if they're not responding. 
      • Prospects are Objecting to Price: This is very common in the world of B2B sales. It doesn't necessarily mean the leads you're passing over are unqualified. Just in case, consider reevaluating industry and company size constraints to make sure the leads you're passing over have the budget to make the purchase. Create a battle card for your sales team to help them make a case for your pricing.

      For more on how to help your sales team, check out the rest of Rivard's article below.

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    22. Which Is More Important - Design or Content?

      Which Is More Important - Design or Content?

      Design and content are two cornerstones in building trust and growing an audience. While both are obviously important, smaller brands are often forced to allocate more of their resources to one over the other. 

      Mallee Blue Media founder David Trounce argues that design is the more important category:

      We all agree that content marketing is vital to online businesses. However, content marketing doesn’t occur in a vacuum. It occurs within a framework of design and technology. Beauty may only be skin-deep, but oh boy, what influence it exerts on the onlooker.

      He argues that most consumers distrusted websites primarily due to their design. In one study, 94 percent of respondents cited design elements when questioned about why they didn't trust a website.

      While this is a compelling statistic, this study was specific to online health sites. It's definitely important to have quality website navigation, professional design, and fast page loading. But ultimately, your content marketing efforts should be the focus of the lion's share of your resources. 

      Seventy eight percent of consumers will trust your brand more if you create more customized content. Ninety five percent of B2B buyers are willing to consider vendor-related content as trustworthy, and 47 percent of B2B buyers consume 3-5 pieces of content prior to engaging with a salesperson. 

      While design creates a frame and exterior for your content marketing efforts, content marketing is the rest of the house. Sure you need a solid frame and foundation, but you invest more in floors, walls, electricity, plumbing, appliances, and furniture.

      For more of Trounce's argument about why design should be considered the more important element, click on the full article below.

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    Download this great resource to learn some new tips and tricks on optimizing your content, curated or original. Foreword by Ann Handley of MarketingProfs.

     

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