1. Articles in category: Content Marketing

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    1. Overcoming Content Marketing Staff and Knowledge Shortages

      Overcoming Content Marketing Staff and Knowledge Shortages

      Content marketing has arrived, with investment in and adoption of content marketing continuing to increase. According to Zazzle's State of Content Marketing Survey, 79 percent of decision makers feel content marketing is either quite or very effective.

      Despite content marketing's success, companies still face challenges in knowledge and staffing. Debbie Fletcher at Digitalist Magazine had this to say about the knowledge shortage:

      ... we can see that even though study respondents are clear about how effective content marketing is, they’re not as confident about showing how and why that is the case. Indeed, 62 percent of respondents said they were unsure of how to measure the ROI of content-led campaigns.

      In addition, 3 in 5 respondents said staffing is their greatest challenge. Here are two ways marketing teams can help overcome this challenge. 

      First, hire top-notch content marketers to fill in your team's gaps. If your team lacks good writers, hire a journalist as your next content marketer. Post your job on websites like Journalism Jobs or Hold the Front Page so journalists can easily find it.

      Another option is to help your existing team fill in your staffing gaps. Review your KPIs to make sure all team members are working to optimize content marketing goals, and to prevent your team from operating in silos. Having your SEO specialist work closely with your content marketer, for example, will benefit your overarching content strategy.

      For more of Fletcher's advice on overcoming content marketing challenges, read the full article below. 

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    2. Should You Personalize All Your Content?

      Should You Personalize All Your Content?

      The short answer: no. You should not personalize all your content. The effort it takes to personalize content paired with the potential reward isn't always worth it. That said, careful personalization can be very important to marketing success.

      Johanna Rivard of PureB2B explains why: 

      We’ve entered a new era of marketing where customers expect a relevant experience that’s matched to their specific needs. People don’t want to feel like just another number on a list, they want to feel like human beings, and it’s up to businesses to treat them that way.

      In addition, 59 percent of consumers say that personalization influences their shopping decision.

      There are a few easy places to personalise content. Begin with your website and emails. Personalize the home page based on who's visiting. Personalize offers based on your audience's history on your website. 

      At the very least, ensure your emails use the name of the contact you're reaching out to. Then segment email lists based on interests, personas, etc.

      Other ideas for content personalization include custom audiences on Facebook, online advertising, and mobile. Gilt ran a campaign that gave mobile offers to customers based on location. So if you're in Boston for the weekend and Gilt notices, they might serve you a push notification for discounted Red Sox tickets.

      For more information on how to execute personalization on these platforms, read the full article below.

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    3. Getting Started with Contributed Content

      Getting Started with Contributed Content

      Guest posts serve as a valuable way to power your business’s content engine.  They allow guest contributors to reach a broader audience, and ease a publication’s burden of content demand. 

      Here’s how to ensure you satisfy your guest contributors’ interests while also meeting your organization’s goals.

      Meeting Expectations

      Because most editors appreciate the benefits of contributed content, they outline expectations that need to be satisfied for new content to be published. Contributing guests should ensure all the requirements are met. This practice will help avoid frustration for both contributor and editor. 

      Think Beyond Blogs

      People prefer to consume content in different channels and formats. If you’re contributing to external publications and can create alternative content formats that still meet guidelines, pitch those. You’ll get exposure for your own brand, reach a broader audience, and create a lasting impression with fresh content—something editors are always grateful for.

      Understand Metrics and Benefits of Success

      There are plenty of elaborate metrics to measure content performance by. But when it comes to contributed content, editors tend to look at social shares and pageviews. Kelsey Meyer, a Convince and Convert contributor, elaborates further:

      If your content is widely shared, you’re expanding your audience. And when your content performs well, editors are more likely to invite you to publish more often than if your content flopped.

      For more insight on launching a contributed content strategy, check out Meyer’s original post below.

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    4. How to Automate Your Social Without Being Spammy

      How to Automate Your Social Without Being Spammy

      On average, 49 percent of companies currently use marketing automation according to emailmonday.

      Marketing automation has been a buzzword for years. And yet, many people still associate the practice with canned, intrusive messages.

      According to Sprout Social, the two most common behaviors that cause consumers to unfollow brands are those that are perceived as spammy or annoying

      Digital strategist and Sprout blog contributor Jenn Chen offers one example of where social media automation can go wrong:

      Automatic Direct Messages in Twitter are often frowned upon because they make you look like you don’t care about your followers. They sound like generic marketing messages that could be directed at anyone. There’s no personalization and customers are savvy enough today to tell.

      Automated tactics can sabotage your marketing strategy. But they can also streamline your processes, shorten your to-do list, and delight your audience. Follow these tips for using marketing automation the right way.

      • Schedule social media posts for optimum engagement. There are many platforms that allow you to post based on when your audience is most active online. 
      • Set up RSS feeds to automatically share your content, and/or content from a valuable resource, with your audience. 
      • Automate reports to pull stats weekly or monthly. This saves time in assembling a report, allowing you to spend more time analyzing the data.
      • Add a personal touch to your posts. Posting the titles of each article you share with a link and hashtag over and over can get boring.

      For more on how to do social media automation effectively, check out the rest of Chen's thoughts below.

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    5. How Will Artificial Intelligence Impact Content Marketers?

      How Will Artificial Intelligence Impact Content Marketers?

       

      Artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly prevalent in everyday life, from Siri to Google to Netflix. ‘Intelligent agents’ or AI will destroy six percent of all jobs in the US by 2021, according to Forrester Research. So it's easy to see why some wonder what artificial intelligence (AI) can do for marketers, and if the marketing profession is in jeopardy.

      TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden had this to say about how artificial intelligence could impact marketing: 

      Outside of considering all the ways AI and machine learning could help with extracting insight from large amounts of data and the ongoing optimization, my big takeaway from the demo was that as with all industries that change, those that adapt will survive and thrive. Those that don’t, won’t.

      AI could help marketers flourish in many areas where rapidly synthesizing, analyzing, and acting on data is beneficial to results. This includes subject line testing for emails, other forms of A/B testing, PPC and paid ads online, and recommended content on your website and blog.

      While there are many areas where AI can help marketers, it is unlikely to entirely eliminate the marketing profession. Marketers infuse creativity and provide a human aspect to marketing. Much like self-driving cars, human participation in marketing is integral to its success. 

      Odden has more on cognitive thinking and how AI will impact marketers in the full article below.

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    6. Keep Your Audience Interested with a Full Content Calendar

      Keep Your Audience Interested with a Full Content Calendar

      Most marketers recognize it's difficult to build an active and engaged audience without producing enough content to fuel their interest. 87 percent of B2B marketers surveyed by Forrester say they struggle to produce content that truly engages their buyers. 

      Joshua Nite of TopRank Marketing also believes a full editorial calendar is one of the keys to engagement. Here's how he suggests you keep your editorial calendar full:

      A blank content calendar can be daunting. But don’t fill it in with random acts of content. Start with your goals in mind, then match them with the topics your audience most wants to hear about. Plan for a good variety of content types and formats to keep things fresh, and make sure to fill the top of your funnel as well as engage the lower part.

      Producing regular content is important for audience engagement. But there are other factors around content creation that are just as, if not more important to your content's success. 

      In order to create content that truly engages, content marketers need to split their focus. Don't just look at the amount of content created. Examine your promotion strategy, social shares, and measure the results to ensure your content is optimized for engagement.

      Nite has more on how to plan content for a full editorial calendar below.

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    7. Buying MarTech with Today’s Transparency

      Buying MarTech with Today’s Transparency

      Every new challenge marketers are faced with births new technology solutions. These tools require rigorous evaluation to determine vendor and buyer alignment—but few tools deliver on expectations. Buyers continue to invest in software that falls short. Take these steps to avoid buyer's remorse.

      Outline Challenges

      This step involves people outside your immediate team. Share the pain you’re experiencing with stakeholders and tie it back to organizational goals. Marketing Insider Group contributor Jacob Warwick outlines the benefits of this collaboration: 

      By sharing your findings through a transparent and collaborative approach, you can earn internal support to find a solution, receive additional feedback to analyze, and give leadership teams insight to manage company-wide expectations.

      Consider Several Solutions

      Steps two and three are often poorly executed. Look for solutions that are a good fit for your needs and company. Make a list of products that you’ve heard of and solicit peer referrals for these products. Look at competitors, and seek out tools that might fit the bill by using an entirely alternative methodology.

      Use Transparency to Your Advantage

      Thanks to the era of solution sales, buyers now benefit from transparency. Without sacrificing negotiation leverage, share your notes during discovery calls and product demos. Use the availability of authentic peer reviews and third-party product reviews that fit your use-case, and don’t be afraid to reach out to reviewers directly for additional feedback prior to purchasing.

      Warwick has more detailed guidance in the original article below.

       

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    8. The Great Creation & Distribution Conundrum

      The Great Creation & Distribution Conundrum

      Marketing teams are eagerly creating content at an unprecedented rate. TrackMaven suggests brands are publishing 800 percent more content than five years ago—and there’s no sign of  slowing down. What’s alarming is the lack of reach and engagement with this content. The reason? Many content creation teams are too focused on content volume rather than content quality and promotion. 

      In addition, teams responsible for content marketing lack  budget for paid promotion campaigns. With gaps in budget for paid media, how can we resolve the over-creation and under-promotion issue?  Influencer Chad Pollitt suggests a solution at Convince & Convert:

      The bottom line for brand executives is this: Move distribution budgets as close to creative as possible for content marketing success, and start thinking like TV ad executives. For native ad tech companies, start catering to the needs of content marketers. They need your help but don’t care about CPMs and clicks. They want engagement.

      Pushing the creative and paid teams to work in closer conjunction with each other creates more opportunity for success for both teams. Another solution: increase the budget of the team that owns top of funnel content to achieve the goals of the distribution team.

      Pollitt provides more on the challenge and solution to this conundrum in his original article below.

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    9. Should Content Marketing Focus on Social or Your Website?

      Should Content Marketing Focus on Social or Your Website?

      The Internet is evolving, with new platforms constantly introduced for marketers to reach their audience. This has led many marketers to shift their strategy away from their website, and toward other mediums such as social media. 

      Now many brands are asking whether the website is still important to their marketing strategy.

      Shawn Ragell, full-stack marketer at Pressboard and contributor to the Outbrain blog, advises how website marketing should fit in with the rest of your content strategy:

      [The] website is still a vital part of the distributed content strategy. Marketers used to imagine content distribution like a wheel, with the website as the main hub, with every other platform being a spoke that pointed back to the site.

      This is a traditional way of thinking about the website in regards to content marketing, but much of the sentiment still holds true. While other platforms such as social media, blogs, and emails are all also integral to most digital marketing campaignsthey all link back to your website. Your site is a hub for its content and product.

      A website also has many other purposes. It gives your brand credibility, acts as a virtual storefront, serves as a lead generation tool, and often hosts your blog (which 45 percent of marketers say is their most important content strategy).

      Ragell describes more ways marketers can think about their websites in a modern technological landscape in the full article below.

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    10. How to Build Backlinks for Your Site

      How to Build Backlinks for Your Site

      Content marketing success is strongly correlated with effective SEO. And inbound links are crucial to improving SEO ranking. .

      If you have been unsuccessfully solicited by a stranger asking for inbound links, you understand what a lousy link-building request looks like. This tactic can take credibility away from both the solicitor and solicited. Here are three approaches that do get favorable results.

      Guest Posting

      This tactic has benefits beyond getting backlinks. Find a website that has a mutual overlap of your niche audience and propose a worthy content idea to the editor. If they are willing to allow backlinks for more than a bio, then you’re killing two birds with one stone. You build brand awareness by publishing to another site and gain links back to your website.

      Podcast Interviews 

      Podcasters are always on the market for external contributors. Marketers transcribe and summarize podcasts that include citable references, aka backlinks. To get on air, shortlist and listen to a few relevant podcasts to understand the mood the host favors. Draft a note outlining your appreciation of the content, your relevant expertise, and how it fits their interests.

      Tribal Content

      Tribal content is created when you identify a tribe of people and produce content for that specific tribe. It creates a natural bond out of a large pool of conforming opinions. Copyblogger contributor Brian Clark shows how this can be helpful: 

      If there is an important worldview within your niche or industry that other online publishers share, it’s likely important that they make the case to their audiences. With tribal content, you’re providing an important message that supports part of their editorial strategy as well as your own.

      A working relationship with these people will create a seam for future collaboration: a backlink goldmine.

      Check out more of Clark’s backlink building advice below.

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    11. How to Generate Leads with Referrals

      How to Generate Leads with Referrals

      Referrals are the unsung heroes of many marketing programs. They help potential customers gain trust in your brand, help you target customers that are the right fit, increase your reach, and accelerate the speed that leads move through the pipeline.

      According to Heinz Marketing, companies with formal referral programs reported nearly two times more leads coming from referrals compared to companies without referral programs. 

      Johanna Rivard at PureB2B blog has this to say about what makes a good referral program:

      A good referral program rewards individuals that bring in referral leads, but what the reward comprises of is completely up to you. Whether it’s a referral fee, a discount on a future purchase, or an account upgrade, these rewards are more cost-effective than reaching prospects on your own.

      These tactics can improve a referral program:

      • Consider all possible sources for referrals. Referrals can come from a wide variety of people other than current customers. Look to other employees, family, friends or influencers in your space.
      • Create a rewards program. As Rivard mentioned above, offering incentives for referrals could help increase your chances of getting them.

      While referrals are important, don't forget the importance of other marketing. Referral programs with monetary incentives could add significant costs to your marketing programs.

      Help your referral program without incurring additional expenses by:

      • Creating templates to make referrals easier
      • Spending time giving referrals
      • Dedicating time each day to asking

      For a complete infographic on improving your referral program clink the link below. 

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      Mentions: Lead Nurturing
    12. Should You Still Create Downloadable Content?

      Should You Still Create Downloadable Content?

      Downloadable content is still a primary driver of lead generation for most content marketers. We churn out eBooks, white papers, checklists, and other downloadable content pieces on a regular basis because they're meant to be an effective method for moving prospects through the funnel.

      But with all the changes in technology and content consumption, is this still the case?

      Yes, downloadable content is still relevantif you do it right. Johanna Rivard, executive vice president of Pure B2B, advises that: 

      There’s so much potential for value in downloadable content both for you and your prospects. It keeps information flowing, and if your content borders on the exceptional, your social media shares will shoot up too.

      However, be aware of these variables when creating downloadable content for your organization:

      • Consider the type of content your audience prefers. For example: white papers are in-depth and created by experts, while checklists are short and actionable. While both are useful, consider which format is a better fit for your audience's needs before creating.
      • Don't be too sales-y. This is the cardinal rule of content marketing. Even if your content is designed to review your product, try not to review it in a way that erodes reader trust.
      • Only gate content your audience would pay for. If they're going to submit a form—in other words, pay you with their name and email—the content should be so excellent that it has monetary value.

      Check out more of Rivard's thoughts about downloadable content below.

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    13. 3 Easily Overlooked Errors Hurting Your Content Strategy

      3 Easily Overlooked Errors Hurting Your Content Strategy

      Marketers agonize over the content creation process along with the promotion, measurement, and optimization that follows. The reporting process reveals insights for improving your content strategy moving forward. But there are many common mistakes to avoid during the creation process prior to reporting. Avoid these mistakes when creating content: 

      1. Overly Promotional Content

      To create content your audience trusts, avoid egocentric marketing. People want objective answers to their questions. Promotional content erodes your credibility by deviating from your audience’s interests. Marketing Insider Group contributor Kelsey Meyer offers her rule of thumb to avoid this pitfall: 

      If your article sounds more like a press release than a piece of educational content, it’s too promotional. 

      1. Sloppy Reader Experience

      Social media & other modern media platforms have popularized abbreviated and informal writing. This writing has no place in your brand’s content. Your content reflects your brand. When writing, consider flow, layout, proper citations, media enrichment, and grammar. An in-house editor is ideal, but tools and on-demand services are reasonable alternatives for marketers with limited resources.

      1. Content Lacking Creativity

      Original content creation is a check-box item for marketers, resulting in an Internet flooded with thoughtless content. We all crave compelling, creative content. This requires more legwork in the planning stage.

      For a creative edge, use a strategy framework to create premium, research-based content that can be  atomized into additional pieces of content.

      Meyer has more on potential content pitfalls in her original post below.

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    14. Data or Intuition: What's Behind Your Content Strategy?

      Data or Intuition: What's Behind Your Content Strategy?

      Data can help determine what content to create, how best to distribute it, how to personalize it to audience segments, and how to streamline your internal processes. 

      On average however, companies only analyze 12 percent of the data available to them. And according to Conductor, 38 percent of content marketers rarely even use data.

      While intuition and creativity are important to content marketing strategy, data is essential. Eighty percent of marketers agree that customer data is critical to their marketing and advertising efforts.

      Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Marketing, gives his opinion on where the disconnect lies:

      When it comes to content, creators are traditionally more art than science and using data to guide editorial planning is still not an advanced skill for many companies. In many other cases, content creators don’t have access to analysts to interpret data in a meaningful way or the tools and training to do it themselves.

      Odden advises utilizing data to enhance content marketing strategy in these three areas.

      • Where your audience is looking for answers and what solutions they're looking for.
      • Your audience's preferences for content format.
      • Deciding which content is driving the actions you want, and the actions each piece of content is driving. Use this data to spot trends in your content.

      We really can't learn from our successesor, arguably more importantly, show the impact on our business goals without data. It's the key to generating more leads and revenue.

      You can read more of Odden's data insights below.

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    15. How to Repurpose Like a Boss

      How to Repurpose Like a Boss

      Marketers will create loads of content this year. They should prioritize content with a long lifetime. With the proper planning, you can create content that delights your audience across formats and channels.

      Focus on What Your Audience Loves

      Look for definitive insights in your historical social and Google Analytics data. Hone in on the top topics of interest, and the audience for them This ensures you’re writing for the correct audience on things they care about.

      Expand the Value to the Types of Content Needed

      Content has the power to pique interest, be educational, prompt a lead to become a customer, spark advocacy, and more. However an individual piece of content will have a tough time doing all of the above. Create channel-specific content that includes a different, yet valuable, angle with each take, formatted it in the way your audience prefers. Pagely contributor Susan Payton explains why:

      “...if you customize the content for the channel, and provide a slightly different twist for each, [they’ll] seek you out on each channel to get maximum value.”

      Unpack the value in each piece of content that makes it out the door. Don’t go all the way back to the ideation stage for each new content item. Instead, use data to create campaigns around proven topics.

      Payton offers more on strategic repurposing in the original article below.

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    16. My Content Isn't Working. Now What?

      My Content Isn't Working. Now What?

      Given the access we now have to performance metrics, it’s much easier to set goals and gauge the success of our content. But what happens when your content doesn’t get traction? Try examining these variables to help refine your messaging.

      Audience

      Part of any content strategy should include a sound understanding of your audience, their challenges, and buyer personas. These insights tend to evolve over time, which creates a challenge for writers. Changes in the market, trends, and new audience problems can lead to misaligned and/or outdated interests.

      Content

      The absolute best content that can be produced is content that helps solve your audience’s biggest problems. After you author an ultimate piece of content, it can be difficult to achieve subsequent success around the same topic. Readers might feel that they’ve absorbed all the knowledge they need from you. Moving forward, you may want to be more careful about the amount of thought-leadership knowledge available in each piece of content.

      Channels

      Instinctively, marketers want to parade fresh content on all channels. This can take away from the reach of your content, hurting its performance. Jeffrey Cohen of Convince and Convert advises that: “You really need to make sure your prospects are on the channels you are using, so you can get engagement on those channels.” If your audience simply isn’t on a promotion channel, results won’t follow, and your efforts are only taking away from other promotional means.

      For more on improving content performance, read Cohen’s original article below.

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    17. Think About These 3 Things to Create Stand Out Videos for Your Brand

      Think About These 3 Things to Create Stand Out Videos for Your Brand

      Visuals improve the reach of your content and engagement with your audience. When done correctly, videos are more effective than a wall of text or a static image. Consider the following points to ensure you’re executing video marketing effectively.

      Is Your Video Telling a Story?

      Telling the story of your brand can be done more effectively and efficiently through video. Video can simultaneously communicate through sound, visuals, and narration to create a distinct mood for your audience. Video avoids forcing the reader to do the imaginative work in their own head that written content does. Rohan Ayyar at Convince and Convert offers this advice:

      “Make them feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves after viewing the video.”

      Capture Your Audience’s Attention

      Audience attention spans are shrinking. To help combat this, videos relay more information in less time than traditional media forms. Videos also cater to mobile-centric consumers.

      Adapt Video to the Platform You’re Creating For

      Currently, marketers are adapting video as a core way to connect with people–especially on social media. For businesses, taking video to social media opens the doors to an unprecedented level of transparency. Live video on social can bring a conference/event experience to non-attendees or expose an organization's inner-workings.

      Check out Ayyar’s original article below to see how video can fit into your business.

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    18. Email Mistakes That Will Cause You Unsubscribes

      Email Mistakes That Will Cause You Unsubscribes

      Seventy two percent of US adults prefer companies communicate with them via email. However, it's easy to watch unsubscribe rates climb if you execute newsletters poorly. Fortunately, there are many things we can do to improve lead generation while preventing unsubscribe rates from increasing.

      Here's how Malinda Wilkinson, CMO of SalesFusion, stays at the top of her email marketing game:

      One of the best things you can do to keep your email marketing strategy relevant and your list of email subscribers high is to regularly educate yourself. Join email communities for email communities for email marketers. 

      Check out these common mistakes that cause email unsubscribes, and what you can do to fix them:

      1. You're sending too many emails. Consider the purpose of the emails you're sending, the relationship your brand has with the recipient, and successful campaigns you've delivered to similar recipients before determining email frequency and type.
      2. You're ignoring them. Make sure you're responding to email responses, questions, etc. No one likes to feel neglected!
      3. You're using overdone, clickbait-style subject lines. These include: secret, shocking, you won't believe, etc.
      4. You're calling contacts by the wrong name. Unfortunately, this isn't entirely avoidable when using merge tags to personalize fields. The number one thing you can do to prevent more problems is ensuring you have a plan for when a field you're inputting isn't populated.
      5. You're ignoring mobile. Forty three percent of people check emails on their smartphones every day. Make sure the images in your email are optimized for mobile and the process to click through to your website is simple.

      For more common email mistakes to avoid, Wilkinson explores the topic in detail below.

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      Mentions: Email Marketing
    19. Top Tips for a Mobile Marketing Strategy

      Top Tips for a Mobile Marketing Strategy

      Google reports more mobile searches than desktop searches. While mobile devices account for 60 percent of online traffic, they contribute to only 16 percent of online purchases. With these figures in mind, it's easy to understand why content marketers need to focus on their mobile content marketing strategy.

      Joshua Nite at the TopRank Marketing blog has this to say about the importance of mobile to your content marketing strategy:

      It’s clear that the future of content consumption will increasingly be on mobile devices. There’s definitely still value in long-form content for users to settle in with on desktops. But your content strategy should include a healthy dose of mobile optimized content.

      Here are some things to consider when creating content with mobile in mind.

      • Your audience is between activities. People check their phones while they're on the subway, cooking dinner, or waiting in line at the store. This means they have limited time and attention span. Combat this by providing value in your content early, keeping it short, and including a CTA near the beginning of your content.
      • Your audience is restless. Include headers and eye-catching images for easy scrolling.
      • Your audience wants to be entertained. Make sure your content is engaging. Some great ways to differentiate include animated video, interactive quizzes, and infographics. 

      For more tips on reaching a mobile audience, read Nite's complete article below.

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    20. Four Keys to Improving Marketing Performance

      Four Keys to Improving Marketing Performance

      Accurately measuring content performance can feel elusive for many content marketers. While all good marketers want to prove the efficacy of their programs, not that many know how and have the time to calculate it.

      James Thomas, CMO of Allocadia, elaborates:

      Marketers often fail to understand the layers and inputs that go into optimizing their team’s performance. Instead, they defer to shortcuts or arbitrary measurements, putting them at risk of hurting performance, losing budget, wasting, resources, and diminishing their internal authority. Poor Marketing Performance Management (MPM) makes it more difficult to meet the demands of your role.

      Here are four things you can do to improve your marketing team's performance:

      1. Create high visibility around your data reporting.
      2. Think strategically about your tech stack and set a clear plan for its future.
      3. Store your data in one cohesive place to make sure all departments have the same information.
      4. In relation to the previous point, try to align marketing goals with the goals of other departments including finance and sales.

      Focusing on these four areas will help improve your marketing team's performance, but what's being measured is also important to consider.  

      To learn more about how these four traits of high-growth B2B companies can help your organization, check the full blog below. 

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    21. Reduce Buyer Stress with Sales Marketing Alignment and Data-Driven Content Marketing

      Reduce Buyer Stress with Sales Marketing Alignment and Data-Driven Content Marketing

      The B2B sales process has become a complex and sprawling experience for not just the seller, but the buyer, as well. Here are some things that keep buyers up at night:

      • Product requirements
      • Pressure from vendors
      • Coordinating with stakeholders
      • Decision paralysis
      • Being on the hook from post-sale success

      By intentionally minimizing and avoiding these common stressors, vendors can create a painless sales experience for potential buyers. One way to do this is by fostering a deeper alliance between sales and marketing, using data from sales to work these pain points into marketing content, and producing a more definitive agenda for your content and buyer's journey.  Not only will this content create a less stressful experience for the buying company’s purchasing team, but will also align more of the right customers to your solution.

      Judith Niederschelp, a contributor of B2BMarketng.net, knows that metrics-oriented alignment can be challenging but also reaps wondrous benefits:

      Smart organizations that find ways to ease the burden of data management will be in a stronger position to ease the burden of buying. What’s more, they’ll be able to micro-optimise sales and marketing tactics and clearly track the effectiveness of different approaches.

      While it’s tricky to entirely understand the exact expectations and interests of the buyer, data makes this more possible. A data-driven, strategic approach to content creation that takes the complications of buying into account will empower the buyer and elevate your organization’s marketing strategy.

      Check out Niederschelp’s take in the original article below.

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    22. Is Interactive Content Right for Your Brand?

      Is Interactive Content Right for Your Brand?

      Today, 65% of content is consumed via mobile. As methods for content consumption evolve, interactive content is increasing in popularity and efficacy. 

      Anna Talerico, cofounder at Ion Interactive, gives her opinion on why interactive content is right for most brands today:

      As our medium for accessing content changes, the content itself must evolve to meet the changing demands of consumers. As mobile replaces desktop, interactive content that gets users tapping, swiping and scrolling is a better fit than static messaging. 

      Here are some other reasons why interactive content could  positively impact your marketing.

      • Social media is interactive: Your audience is becoming increasingly more likely to interact with a quiz than written content.
      • Reality is more interactive: Augmented reality such as Pokemon Go is becoming more popular. This will create more interactive opportunities for brands.
      • Static brands will become obsolete.

      While interactive content seems like the smart choice for most brands. You should make sure you're set to create it effectively before starting. Before developing, make sure you have a content strategy that includes interactive content. Also, consider what type of interactive content would work best for your brand. Here are some ideas:

      • Quiz
      • Poll
      • Calculator
      • Interactive video
      • Interactive eBooks

      For more information on interactive content, read Anna Talerico's entire article on the Marketing Insider Group blog at the link below.

       

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    23. How to Generate More Leads with Your Content

      How to Generate More Leads with Your Content

      A complete content strategy should achieve a variety of marketing team goals. From increasing online awareness to accelerating time-to-close for the sales team, content should touch your audience at all stages of the pipeline. One of the most valuable functions content can have for your organization is lead generation.

      According to the Content Marketing Institute, 85 percent of B2B marketers said lead generation was their most important content marketing goal in 2016.

      Social media expert and speaker, Lilach Bullock, supports this: 

      Content marketing, with a bit of work, can become one of your top sources for lead generation. It will help you show your value to your audience and give them a reason to sign up and to buy from you.

      Content can be good for lead generation in many ways. It can help with SEO, sit behind gated forms, and strengthen your audience's trust in your brand. When creating content for lead generation, the content format is vital.

      Webinars, eBooks and checklists are effective formats for providing value to an audience. 73 percent of marketers rate case studies as extremely important to the success of lead generation according to a survey conducted by Tech Validate.

      When developing content strategy, consider not only what you're going to create, but how it will contribute to the marketing team's overarching goals. Use this consideration to help determine content details such as format, topic, and distribution method.

      Bullock has more on how a variety of content formats aide in lead generation in the full article below. 

      Read Full Article
    24. B2B Marketing Strategies for Companies With Limited Resources

      B2B Marketing Strategies for Companies With Limited Resources

      This year, marketers spent $5 million dollars on single Super Bowl ads. While the Super Bowl has a large viewership (111.3 million people), it's hard to imagine how exactly these ads paid off. This is especially true for some of the B2B brands such as GoDaddy and SquareSpace that chose to advertise there.  

      With 80 percent of B2B decision makers preferring to get information from articles rather than advertising, and 40 percent of millennials not trusting ads, budget-friendly digital marketing options seem much more impactful. Here are some other marketing tactics that won't drain your resources:

      Mark Schmukler, Brand Strategist, Co-Founder, and Managing Partner of Sagefrog Marketing Group, advises how to use video effectively without a huge budget:

      Online video marketing presents a huge opportunity for B2B marketers. Although you may not garner the same viewer volume as commercials aired during the Super Bowl, a helpful video can help attract qualified leads to your business. In the world of B2B marketing, quality over quantity is our motto

      Just because you don't have the budget to run a Super Bowl ad, doesn't mean you can't use the Super Bowl to elevate your marketing. Heinz earned great PR by giving their employees the following Monday off instead of paying for a Super Bowl ad.

      Read Schmukler's complete article on cost effective marketing tactics below.

      Read Full Article
      Mentions: B2B marketing
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