1. Articles in category: Content Marketing

    97-120 of 143 « 1 2 3 4 5 6 »
    1. Give the People What They Want: Personalized Content Experiences

      Give the People What They Want: Personalized Content Experiences

      Increasing personalization has brought powerful results to advertisers and marketers seeking to improve conversions. Look no further than Amazon as an example of how personalized experiences can work wonders. Initially an online bookstore, Amazon now dominates the e-commerce landscape in part because they provide visitors with specific personalized recommendations to drive new and return customers.

      Marketers are currently dealing with two challenges regarding a target audience that e-commerce dealt with: audience members are interacting with several content items, and they are free to determine their level of engagement. 75% of the audience surveyed by OneSpot/Marketing Insider Group agrees that content targeted to the individual is critical for getting them to interact, and to even consider brand selection with vendors.

      Content marketers now recognize the importance of providing an audience with relevant content, at the right time, on their preferred medium; as opposed to sharing untargeted content to an unspecified, broad audience, on limited channels.

      Marketing Insider Group CEO Michael Brenner affirms that:

      “As our research demonstrates, marketers need to move beyond just creating quality content. They need to build personalized content experiences across the customer journey.”

      Although much easier said than done, we’re seeing formalized ABM practices as a means that fit Brenner’s solution.

      Hear more about the research, problem, and solution for content personalization in Brenner’s original article below.

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      Mentions: Amazon ABM Blog
    2. The Hottest Content Trends for 2017

      The Hottest Content Trends for 2017

      42.5% of companies planned to increase their content marketing staff levels in 2016. With an increased focus on and production of content in 2016, 2017's content marketing programs will be all about finding a more nuanced, fine-tuned methodology for creating and executing content.

      Content will become more "on the fly," more personalized, and virtual reality-centered content will become more commonplace. As technology and media evolve, content marketing will evolve with them.

      Jay Baer, president of Convince & Convert, and a keynote speaker, podcaster, and the author of five books including Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers, argues:

      All brands must map all places and ways customers can interact and engage with them, and then provide optimal content – in multiple formats, ideally. This gives prospects and customers the information needed to take the next step, even in 2017’s crazy, non-linear “funnel” (which really isn’t a funnel at all but more like a bowl of behavioral spaghetti).

      In addition, as the amount of content marketing continues to grow, marketers will increasingly target quality over quantity. This means less focus on mapping to a funnel or creating a large amount of content, and more focus on testing and creating powerful content that resonates with current and potential customers alike.

      For more of Baer's thoughts on the top content trends of 2017, click the link below.

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    3. Fix Indecision on Your Website and Get Visitors to Convert

      Fix Indecision on Your Website and Get Visitors to Convert

      74% of potential customers abandon their online shopping cart before checking out. One reason for this is the overwhelming amount of options shoppers have to choose from online. Shoppers are often inundated with a variety of brands, variations, features, prices, and more.

      Michael Sandstrom, strategic planner at KHWS and a contributor to Econsultancy, explains the psychology behind and potential solution to choice paralysis. 

      This is because when we fear making a bad decision, we would often rather remove ourselves from the situation and make no decision at all. 

      The answer to this is simple, albeit for many brands an impractical one; reduce choice paralysis by limiting the number of visible alternatives available to your consumers.

      Sandstrom is referring to brands that are currently doing this as a centerpiece for their eCommerce strategy, but we can apply the same tactic to content marketing strategy. 

      Just as Ikea reorganized their navigation to reduce site bounce rates, this tactic can ameliorate content findability. 

      Other strategies to apply to your content strategy include:

      • Eliminate procrastination with timed offers
      • Eliminate extra “costs” by asking for everything you need and telling them what they’ll get up front.

      For more insights from ecommerce that can apply to content marketing, Read Sandstrom’s full article below. 

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    4. Marketing Automation: Why You Need It

      Marketing Automation: Why You Need It

      Marketing automation software improves lead generation, optimizes process efficiencies and helps analyze the results of your content. More often than not, readers consume your content unsystematically, making it difficult to push a potential buyer down the funnel. Automation helps solve this by using potential buyers' actions to serve up personalized, impactful content to each consumer.

      Automation is grossly underutilized by marketers today however. 

      Marketing Insider Group contributor Johanna Rivard gives her opinion on the usage of marketing automation.

      At present, businesses have the tools needed to gain insight into client preferences and pain points... marketing automation still has a long way to go as far as full adoption goes. According to Sirius Decisions, up to 85% of B2B companies have yet to use these tools to their optimum potential. The reasons cited for this scenario include too much complexity, a prolonged implementation period, difficulty when learning how to use it, and a steep price tag.

      Despite these difficulties, the benefits of marketing automation far outweigh the drawbacks. These include improved lead management and nurturing, measurable results, and enhanced targeting and personalization. It’s easier to track campaigns and execution, improve productivity, align sales and marketing, and more. Customer relationships and experiences are also improved through marketing automation. 

      Nucleus Research states, “Marketing automation drives a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead.”

      Read Rivard’s entire article below for more insights on marketing automation.

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    5. 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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    6. 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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    7. 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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    8. 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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    9. 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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    10. 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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    11. 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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    12. 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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    13. 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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    14. How to Build a Written Content Marketing Strategy

      How to Build a Written Content Marketing Strategy

      Nearly 40% of successful B2B marketers use a documented framework to develop their content strategy. A written strategy provides a concrete vision for all stakeholders that ultimately ensures more efficient and effective execution of corporate goals. Joshua Nite of TopRank Marketing advises that:

      “...it starts your content initiative with measurable goals and a plan to achieve them. It just makes every aspect of creating content and distributing it easier and more effective.”

      Use the following steps to develop a structured content strategy.

      1) Why: Use the knowledge you have of your audience to develop the business case for your content strategy, and a mission statement to support it.

      2) Establish Goals: Create objectives that your content efforts can meet. Without overwhelming yourself, establish business goals for relevant departments such net new leads, or revenue influenced by content.

      3) Document Your Audience: Using the research from step 1, develop personas—but only as many as your resources can support. Keep it simple.

      4) Plan Content for Each Stage of the Buyer Journey: For most businesses you need content for each stage of the funnel: Awareness, Consideration, Decision. Be cognizant of the priority marketing challenges.

      5) Define Goals for Content at Each Stage: This will support the broader goals from step 2. Attach KPI’s to each goal to quantify success.

      6) Content Promotion Strategy: Buyers like to consume content differently. Use the research from step 3 to know where your audience is, and which channel(s) to leverage to reach them.

      7) Create an Editorial Calendar: This step keeps you on-pace for achieving your micro and overall goals. Mapping content projects to goals ensures you are not creating more (or less) content than you need, helps manage resources, and keeps management in the loop. These are the key fields to have in your content calendar.

      Have a look at Nite’s take on building a content marketing strategy in the link below.

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    15. Want B2B Content Marketing Success? Have the Best Answer

      Want B2B Content Marketing Success? Have the Best Answer

      Marketers currently spend 29% of their total marketing budgets on contentbut many feel their investments are falling flat. Pressure to create enough content that stands out can lead to underwhelming results.

      Lee Odden, digital marketing strategist, author, speaker, and CEO of TopRank Marketing explains one of the reasons why creating content that strikes a chord with potential buyers has become more difficult.

      The way business customers find and interact with information when researching solutions has evolved significantly, with changes that include the ubiquity of Internet access, growth of social media, and mobile.

      Self-directed business buyers pull themselves through most of the B2B sales cycle with whatever content they can find. At the same time, B2B brands are challenged to stand out among a deluge of competitive content and growing distrust of ads.

      Due to the over-saturation of content and ever-evolving digital landscape, marketers are prone to over-complicating their solutions. Odden argues that the key to marketing effectiveness is empathizing with your buyers and taking a “best answer” approach to content creation. Supplement this larger strategy by using data-informed content to speed results. Some questions to inform your content marketing strategy include:

      • Where does your specific audience discover solution content?
      • How does your buyer prefer to consumer content?
      • What triggers will motivate your buyer to take the next step?

      Click on the link below for Odden’s full article on how to achieve B2B success using a best answer approach. 

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    16. Topical vs Evergreen Content: When, Where, and Why

      Topical vs Evergreen Content: When, Where, and Why

      Managing a content marketing strategy is a balancing act in many ways, whether you’re balancing time, the moving parts of a content engine, or a consistent content tempo. Curata advocates for a content strategy that balances curated content alongside your original content, but what should the nature of your original content look like? Let’s examine evergreen versus topical content.

      Topical content addresses developing news, events, or trends, and is often advanced to readers unfamiliar with your subject matter. Such content may deliver strong short term results, but declines in relevance over time, and therefore does not deliver sustainable results.
      Evergreen content is unreliant on breaking news or fads. It often provides actionable tips that can be applied immediately; it is not time sensitive, and/or it can be easily updated to extend its life. Examples of this content are walkthroughs and "how to” guides.
      Ultimately, evergreen content stretches your dollar further than topical content. It is more challenging to repurpose a Valentine's Day themed blog post than an “Ultimate Guide: Content Marketing Tools List.” However, that’s not to say there’s no place for topical content in your strategy. Amanda Chiu of Atomic Blog offers the following advice:
      “As a content marketer, you need to decide on the right balance between seasonal and evergreen content for your audience. However, you should always focus on making your seasonal content pieces useful. Don’t forget to create contextual links from your evergreen content pieces to your seasonal content in order to help search engines better index them.”
      A terrific time to leverage topical content is heading into an event. It creates buzz heading into a high-traffic time where you want your name to stick out. Current examples could include the 2016 Election, the revival of Pokemon, or Google shutting down Google Compare.
      For a great example of evergreen content that discusses evergreen vs. topical content, check out Amanda’s original article below.
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    17. Use Humor to Avoid Marketing Banana Skins

      Use Humor to Avoid Marketing Banana Skins

      Most people are inherently skeptical of content from a brand, because they’re expecting a “gotcha” from a product or service being pushed on them. One way to lower those defenses is by incorporating humor in your writing.

      If you can provide a few laughs for your readers, you pull positive emotional strings for them, helping them make a connection to the human behind your marketing. With a humanized business voice, your message resonates more.
      Levity in marketing and advertising is also highly shareable. Word of mouth is invariably stronger than marketing efforts on the brand side, so if there is potential to have your branded content go viral, you want to give yourself the best chances of making that happen.
      There are many examples of smaller companies using humor, such as Dollar Shave Club, that are able to compete with Gillette, whose leading brand has a much more corporate and clinical feel. QuickSprout CEO Neil Patel explains:

      “Although they didn’t have the massive budget of their huge corporate competitors, they understood how to capture the attention of their audience with humor.”

      Here are a few tips for applying laughs to your content:
      1. Understand your demographic: you should already have an idea of who your audience is. Do some homework on the type of things that appeal to them and make them chuckle.

      2. Align with brand identity: you know what your brand is all about, so make sure the laughs you provide can be identified with your company. Example: A healthcare company should not necessarily be joking about mortality.

      3. Keep it simple: don’t force laughs. Find a seam where a funny can be slipped in and don’t make it a comedy routine.

      Being light hearted in your writing can be enough to leave your readers walking away with a smile on their face, and ready to come back soon. Read more of Neil’s insights on humor in marketing below.
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    18. How to Add Personality to Your Content to Boost Engagement

      How to Add Personality to Your Content to Boost Engagement

      The majority of content being produced by marketers today is simply not getting the job done. For B2B marketers, only 13% can say they produce content that actually engages their buyers. Boost that number by trying the following tactics to boost your engagement levels:

      1. Create a story, real or fake: By delivering your content with a storytelling narrative, you keep your readers following all the way until the end of your tale. It’s fine if you don’t have your own story—try using a story from a customer, or even develop a fictional anecdote.

      2. Use data to draw people in: Let your audience know they are not alone. Use statistics to show others are struggling with the same issue, and you’re here to help them be better.

      3. Write like your customers talk: While avoiding a stream of consciousness narrative, develop a tone that gels with your audience. Take your existing audience knowledge, and experiment to see what sort personality traits in your writing appeal best.

      4. Build suspense: Unlike news writing, you don’t always want to give away everything at the start—the best stories incorporate a degree of the unknown. Use a spell of mystery to keep people wanting more out of your next paragraph.

      5. Use a behind the curtain approach: When you preface a statement with “full disclosure,” people brace for juicy bits of information. Showing what’s under the hood shows confidence from the author and provokes curiosity from the reader. Nicki Howell, a contributor to the Act-On blog, remarks:

      “When customers feel like they’’re getting an inside view of the company, they will naturally feel more engaged with your brand. And you just might attract new employees who are a great fit with your company culture.”

      Regardless of your marketing objective, if your team is creating content, it needs to be engaging in order to have an impact. Rather than preaching, use personality to retain your readers’ attention. Howell shares some great examples of these practices in the original article below.
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    19. How to Optimize Content for Your Audience, Not a Search Engine

      How to Optimize Content for Your Audience, Not a Search Engine

      Having quality SEO is a benefit of quality content—not the cause. Great content marketing is created with the audience in mind, providing a great reader experience by adding value. In contrast, too much keyword optimization creates an insufferable, clunky reader experience. Therefore optimization should be mainly focused on reader experience. Here are some ways to improve that area.

      The Title

      The title of your content creates the first impression, and is the reason someone reads your content. Your goal should be to run right up to the point of being clickbait, without going over. Tip: develop a list of potential titles then select the most popular by committee, or by testing on social media.

      Social Share Buttons

      As with many things, less is more. Make it easy for your readers to share your great content. The less actions they need to take, the better. Tip: make your social share bar a persistent sidebar, following the reader’s eyes as they scroll down the page. Also, serve canned verbiage to go along with any share. Susanna Gebauer of The Social Ms explains why:

      “Your audience is lazy: If I can share a post with two clicks, I might do it—if I need to copy and paste the title, the link and your Twitter handle… do you really I think I need to share your content that bad?”

      Pictures

      Pics make everything better. By using relevant images in the body of your content, you can evoke emotion in your audience. Visual appeal helps keep a reader engaged. Tip: take the visuals a step further and include a timely GIF.

      Layout

      Have you ever hear the term “wall of text” used positively? Probably not. Use best practices to make the layout something that draws readers in rather than pushing them away. Tip: use a myriad of sentences, paragraph sizes, images, and sub-headers.

      Check out Gebauers’ full insights in the original article below.

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    20. Graduate to Dedicated Editorial Calendar Software

      Graduate to Dedicated Editorial Calendar Software

      90% of marketers are using an editorial calendar; and for good reason. These organizers make it easier to develop a defined written strategy, provide transparency for relevant stakeholders, and are vital for consistently hitting deadlines.

      Spreadsheets are the entry-level option, and with an abundance of free Excel calendar templates available, there is no excuse not to have one. For organizations requiring greater functionality, a plethora of dedicated editorial calendar software is available. Here is what you can expect from these tools:

      Transparency

      Offering external stakeholders a look at your pipeline of upcoming content provides several benefits:

      • Makes it easier for the marketing department to balance responsibilities and tasks.

      • Empowers the sales team to develop a more informed, richer narrative for their prospects.

      • Provides management with the confidence you and your team are working hard to produce content that will achieve goals, and can hold you accountable for this.

      Process

      Every piece of content has a deadline. Prior to that are a slew of tasks that need to be completed. Premium editorial calendars feature workflow capabilities that allow for strong content cadence. Forbes contributor Joel York outlines the benefit of these:

      “... a simple breakdown of projects by week by stage allows you to visualize and balance your marketing project pipeline, so you can identify bottlenecks and ensure a steady stream of marketing output.”

      Organizations that are growing, optimizing, or mastering a content strategy will benefit from paid content calendars that integrate other pieces of owned technology under one roof, such as promotion and analytics tools for example.

      To learn more about how editorial calendar softwares provide value, read York’s original article below.

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

      Dear Marketer - It's Actually Not All About You

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Read Full Article
    22. Get Support From Management For Your Content Marketing

      Get Support From Management For Your Content Marketing

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

      1. Use an existing content marketing framework.

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

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

      4. Find gaps between steps 1 and 3.

      5. Have a means to measure the results.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    23. 3 Ways to Build Trust With Content

      3 Ways to Build Trust With Content

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

      1) Be Reliable

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

      2) Create Ungated Content

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

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

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

      3) Curate

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

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

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

      Likes Do Not Equal Leads: Go Deeper With Measurement

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

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

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

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

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

      Read Full Article
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