1. Articles in category: Content Marketing

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    1. Why a Key Business Goal Isn't a Goal at All

      Why a Key Business Goal Isn't a Goal at All

      Many companies explicitly state they want to be thought leaders in their space. But thought leadership shouldn't be anyone's goal—it should be a byproduct of your goals. Bunny Inc.'s Jun Loayza frames how those formulating content strategy should be setting their sights:

      Thought leadership can never be a marketing strategy in itself, but is merely the intended outcome of any resourceful and creative content strategy. Unsurprisingly, it is specifically high-quality, in-depth, and well-researched written content that can help companies establish themselves as thought leaders.

      Thought leadership is a reward for quality content that provides your audience value. Focusing on delivering against your audiences' needs is what achieves your business goals as people come to love, expect, and embrace the valuable information that makes their lives better.

      When it comes to crafting compelling content that can remain valuable to your audience over time, it pays to write something unique to your business and audience. (Check out great reasons to write for a niche audience here.)

      Jun Loayza talks in greater depth about the primacy of written content below.

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    2. R.I.P. the Shuck 'n' Jive Salesperson

      R.I.P. the Shuck 'n' Jive Salesperson

      At the turn of the millennium a salesman had the world where he wanted it. He was the keeper of all collateral to drive business conversations. In fact, he controlled the majority of the sales process at his cadence.

      With today's Internet speeds and the new consumer path to purchase, we've witnessed the death of the gatekeeper of information, "shuck and jive" salesperson. Now all the information a prospect or customer needs is readily available on your website, and if not, on your competitors website where they will learn—and potentially buy from. 

      Picture

      (picture via verve-pr.com)

      Marketing is now the majority owner of the new funnel. Prospects enter at various funnel points, and sometimes require droves of decision makers to align before a sale completes. Then a new process begins as brands look to move a newfound customer to become an advocate. Shelley Cernel at Knowledge Tree quotes Crimson Marketing on the process:

      The modern B2B buying process looks less like a linear path from first contact through to sales—it’s more like a spiderweb of social influences and research channels.

      With this shift, prospects absorb content at unprecedented rates (from a variety of outlets) before progressing to the next stage of the funnel, and ultimately to the sale. Content is now the backbone for both marketing and sales.

      Every piece of content attached to your company needs intent, whether for personas, stages of the funnel, or anything else to support the new era of self-service everything.

      More than ever it's critical to create content based off information and insights you know work. As content marketing spend grows, so does management’s interest in how those dollars influence core business goals. Take a look at this infographic for some of the best ways to measure content. And click on the link below for more of Cernel's insights as to what today's B2B buyers want.

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    3. Tag, You're it! How Tagging Adds Value to Content Strategy

      Tag, You're it! How Tagging Adds Value to Content Strategy

      Content marketing strategy is often interpreted as, 'create as much good content as possible with some degree of consistency.' While this sentiment isn't wrong, too many marketers lose an edge by not executing this mantra with a commitment to organization. 

      "A stitch in time saves nine," is a phrase generally thought of after the fact. It should be applied immediately to your day-to-day content strategy work.  

      Case in point: tagging content with appropriate data. While it's possible to be creative and add endless tags that can generate some interesting insights for content reporting, focus on a few key fields to start. Not only does tagging make it easier to navigate to specific content, it does wonders for performing a content audit. Gary DeAsi of SmartBear Software understands what it takes to build a content strategy that keeps on giving, and gives two GREAT reasons why tagging and auditing are critical.  

      Conducting a content audit and making this a regular part of your content planning process can not only improve your understanding of where you need to focus future content creation efforts most, but also help you discover ways to get much more value from your existing assets.

      Tagging content becomes second nature. Then when you perform a content audit, identifying gaps in your content strategy or campaigns/pyramids is no longer a guessing game.

      This pivotal step in an organized content strategy can take place in an editorial calendar (check out some free templates here), or in a more advanced technology such as a digital asset management (DAM) tool or content marketing platform. For more of DeAsi's content strategy insights, click on the link below.

      Happy tagging!

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    4. Sales Teams Know Your Audience. Use That Knowledge

      Sales Teams Know Your Audience. Use That Knowledge

      With each passing day the gap between sales and marketing narrows.

      More than any other department, sales personnel have raw exposure to your target audience. The marketing team on the other hand, positions your organization to solve your customers' challenges, making this merge a natural one.

      Two of the most valuable things these departments can work on together are developing personas and sourcing ideas for content. Ann Smarty at the Content Marketing Institute explains why the two teams should work together:

      By knowing the wants, needs, and even demographic information of a customer base, content marketers can better personalize their efforts. And with your sales team being on the frontline of the customer interaction, there’s no better department from which to start your persona development.

      Collecting data through surveys and the like is necessary, but your sales team provides the thinnest membrane between you and your target audience. (To avoid flimsy marketing/sales meetings, use these steps to achieve goal-oriented content marketing success.)

      The reason why sales are great at persona development is the same reason they're great for sourcing content ideas—they know the customer and their challenges. If you're in the same boat as the 90% of business bloggers Curata surveyed that post a fresh blog at least once a week, you can use as much help as you can get.

      For more of Smarty's take on how sales and marketing teams can work together, click on the link below.

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    5. We're Now “Casual Learners.” How Does This Affect Your Marketing Strategy?

      We're Now “Casual Learners.” How Does This Affect Your Marketing Strategy?

      The traditional sales funnel has been fundamentally disrupted by the wealth of information about products and services available to us on the Internet.

      Sirius Decisions famously found that 67 percent of a buyer’s journey is now done digitally. Many took this to mean sales doesn't get involved until more than halfway through the buying cycle, but that's not strictly true.

      47 percent of B2B buyers consume three to five pieces of content prior to engaging with a salesperson according to a DemandGen Report – 2016 Content Preferences Survey.

      David Dodd at Business 2 Community argues this information abundance has led to a dramatic increase in what he terms "casual learning," meaning learning and information gathering activities that occur before an intentional buying process has begun.

      Most B2B marketing tactics and programs are designed to identify business people who are ready to begin a buying process... At any given time, however, most of your potential customers aren’t likely to be “in-market”... Creating relationships with casual learners is important because the impressions they form during casual learning remain influential when they become involved in a buying process.

      The best content marketing is based on developing a positive, constructive relationship with customers—and potential customers—a.k.a. casual learners. Achieving this requires a documented strategy, such as the Content Marketing Pyramid, that lays out exactly how you intend to interact with your audience even before they enter the sales funnel.

      Click on the link below for more on why you can't afford to ignore these "embryonic buyers."

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    6. Stop Selling Fiction!

      Stop Selling Fiction!

      Companies have woken up to the power of storytelling to sell more stuff. 

      Realizing that humans are not robots, and that thanks to the Internet, we have more access to product information than we could ever possibly need, businesses are increasingly using the power of heroes and villains to shift their goods and services.

      That's great. It's better for consumers to be entertained as they're informed, and constructing stories is much more fun for marketers to create—let alone more effective.

      That said, far too many marketers either find it hard to break out of an egocentric, product focused mindset, or they get somewhat... elastic with the truth. As Jay Baer at Convince and Convert argues, many of these “stories” are straight up fiction that bear little resemblance to reality. But that's going to change for two reasons:

      First, Millennials abhor falsehoods (not that any generation craves them, but Millennials are especially angsty about marketing wolves in sheeps’ clothing). And as Millennials become the dominant buying cohort for more and more companies, storytelling will become grounded in unvarnished truth...

      Second, the rise of live video (both a cause and an effect of the shift to non-fiction storytelling) will require brands to get comfortable with documentary style communications, warts and all.

      Authenticity requires a much more 'warts and all' approach than the 'polished' approach businesses are reflexively most comfortable with. But if you want your future customers' trust (and you need it if you want to sell to them), you need to think hard about promoting more realistic stories. For Jay's full barrel of non-fiction insights, click on the link below.

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      Mentions: Storytelling
    7. Use Interactive Content to Generate More Qualified Leads

      Use Interactive Content to Generate More Qualified Leads

      The traditional approach to marketing campaigns and generating new names typically involves sending out an something like an eBook, leads come in, 30-40 days later they're qualified, then finally once they’re considered Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) sales has a conversation.

      Why are we waiting so long to qualify these leads? If it's taking too long and we're also sending too many unqualified leads to sales, what could we do differently?

      We can qualify leads earlier in the funnel, writes Kara Widdison at the SnapApp blog, by having a conversation with our audience. One of the best ways to do this is to use interactive content and encourage them to actively engage with you. For example, if you add interactive content to your eBook you can ask the exact questions sales would, collecting valuable data—just earlier in the funnel.

      Widdison argues:

      If you’re ready to shake up the way you market to the middle of the funnel—or to your entire funnel, for that matter—interactive content can help support your campaigns and find you better, more qualified leads.

      For a documented, comprehensive content marketing strategy that allows you to build in initiatives such as this for every stage in the funnel, The Content Marketing Pyramid allows you to utilize (and reuse) core pieces of content such as eBooks in such a way that you can plan content that turns into qualified leads, which turn into predictable revenue streams. 

      For more about how to utilize interactive content in this process, click the link below. 

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      Mentions: Lead Nurturing
    8. Use Content Marketing Technology to Be Smarter, Not Just Faster

      Use Content Marketing Technology to Be Smarter, Not Just Faster

      It's easy to love what technology can do for us: when used correctly it can bring many helpful efficiencies. However, it's when technology is used strategically that it really helps content marketers work smarter—i.e. to develop and implement a more successful content marketing strategy.

      Guillaume Decugis writes about this imperative at the Content Marketing Institute in "7 Ways Technology Can Make You a Smarter Content Marketer." He quotes CMI founder Joe Pulizzi:

      I look at technology for content marketing being used right now as putting out fires, solving very small issues. Before buying technology for content marketing, you need a strategic vision that makes sense for the organization.

      Strategy is crucial to not wasting time and resources! Decugis's seven tips include:

      • Audit your content library

      • Maximize your keyword research to identify your content sweet spot

      • Use editorial calendars to improve collaboration and project management

      • Curate content to supplement your own and add credibility to your editorial

      • Optimize your content systematically

      • Automate social distribution based on audience profile

      • Focus paid social promotion on top-performing content

      A documented content strategy is vital to keeping all this together according to the 2015 CMI/MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Benchmark report. It shows marketers with a documented strategy are much more effective than those who do not document their strategy. For a look at Curata's industry leading content marketing software click here. For an in depth guide to content marketing strategy, download The Content Marketing Pyramid eBook. And for the rest of Guillaume's tips, click on the link below. 

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    9. Don't Overlook These Foundational Tools When Developing Your Content Strategy

      Don't Overlook These Foundational Tools When Developing Your Content Strategy

      Yes, the majority of companies are increasing content marketing investment (75% to be exact based upon a recent survey of 1,030 marketers); however, many of these same companies struggle with the right team to hire, which topics and content types to create and how to get the greatest ROI out of this content. What's a great start to resolving these challenges? --- A Content Strategy. 

      Megan Pacella of Creek Content does a nice job of providing the foundational elements of a content strategy in a post aptly entitled: Content Strategy 101. As Megan indicates, a well developed content strategy helps with a lot more than simply content marketing:

      What You Can Do With Content Strategy

      • Product development
      • Content marketing
      • Experience design
      • Knowledge Management

      Megan mentions the importance of content audits, inventories, editorial calendars and style guides as tools to help develop and execute your content strategy. I'd add that editorial calendars will also help marketers be more data-driven in their content strategy. For example, a well designed calendar in Excel (such as this template) or use of a calendar as part of a content marketing platform will include the ability to tag each piece of content. These tags (e.g., content type, persona target, media entity) will enable subsequent measurement of the impact of your content, identifying what works and doesn't work, and why. 

      Check out this 40+ page guide for how to create a content strategy with The Content Marketing Pyramid, and certainly refer to the below link to read more advice in Megan's post on Content Strategy 101.

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    10. Apply Cognitive Neuroscience For Better Content Marketing

      Apply Cognitive Neuroscience For Better Content Marketing

      Given the massive energy and oxygen demands of human brains (consuming 25% of our oxygen and 20% of our energy), they're built to optimize for efficiency: to get the most done with the least amount of effort. Or at least yours is—mine's built for laziness.

      This is why we use heuristics, discount future rewards over immediate gratification, and slip into counterproductive habits; because it's easier than consciously thinking things through.

      George Stenitzer at the Content Marketing Institute discusses cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Carmen Simon's new book, Impossible to Ignore–Creating Memorable Content to Influence Decisions, and how it unlocks secrets of our lazy brains for marketers. Stenitzer writes:

      Recognizing that your audiences (like all of us) have “lazy brains” is an important revelation to understand as you create and implement your content marketing strategy. You have to appreciate the trip from prospect to buyer, going from Point A to Point B is not a direct line. And to ensure that you are part of the prospects’ trip through Point B, you must focus on their future intentions.

      To effectively plan for a prospect's journey through the funnel requires a documented content strategy—such as The Content Marketing Pyramid, which explains in detail how to do more with less. To understand more of  Simon's insights about how to market to the lazy brain, read the rest of Stenitzer's article via the link below.

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    11. The Fundamentals of Persuasive Storytelling

      The Fundamentals of Persuasive Storytelling
      Storytelling is the beating heart of content marketing. Without a good story, you cannot engage anyone—let alone persuade or inspire them. Whether communicating by text, audio, or video, a compelling, satisfying narrative is key to our communication efforts.
      But just what makes a good narrative? These five old world storytelling tips for today's new world, for a start. Diana Beyer at Marketing Insider Group also talks about the fundamentals of good storytelling for marketing, highlighting the importance of story structure, continuity across ads, making a story relatable, being emotionally evocative, featuring your product, leaving them wanting more, and being authentic. Beyer argues:

      Storytelling can be used in every form of media. Social media, radio ads, blog posts and of course television. When you put storytelling to use for your business, it will help you persuade consumers to make a purchase or sign up for an email list.

      Structure comes first of course, just as it does when creating a content marketing strategy. Without a solid structure, everything else you do is wasted. Beyer expands upon her seven fundamentals in detail in the full article below.
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      Mentions: Storytelling
    12. Cracking The Code to Successful Content Marketing

      Cracking The Code to Successful Content Marketing

      You publish one piece—nada. Publish a second piece—still zilch. Go on and publish a third piece, which you feel should be the one, and you're hit with the realization these pieces aren't driving the results you expected. Turns out, 75% of companies are trying to drive better results by increasing their content marketing investment to capitalize on the benefits of content marketing.

      Before whipping out the checkbook, try focusing on the content you pick. Juntae DeLane writes on three great ways you can crack the code to awesome content. From choosing content that both entertains and educates, to simply adjusting your CTA to make a bolder statement, these tips go a long way to driving results. My favorite takeaway is about providing content for the readers, not search engines. Juntae says:

      It’s important to note content marketing aims to create content humans want to read and share, whereas SEO aims to create content that works well with search engine algorithms. If you are still writing for search engines, I hate to be the bearer of bad news. Well, writing for search engines instead of people has gone out of style like some old-school dance moves.

      Marketing in general has moved past those days where everyone was seen as a "sucker." If you're struggling to nail your content marketing strategy, check out Curata's content marketing pyramid, a great eBook for beginners and pros alike. Juntae's three great content tips are available in full via the link below.

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    13. Top 4 Tools in a Content Marketer's Toolkit

      Top 4 Tools in a Content Marketer's Toolkit

      Building the right content strategy requires the right tools for the job. The first tool any content marketer should start with is The Content Marketing Pyramid: a documented way to implement highly effective content strategy. You then need tools to create the right content at the right stage for buyers to hear your message—when otherwise they'd ignore it.

      The key is to align your messaging to your target audience's respective buyer’s journey. To help plan and produce the right pieces, Meghan Brockmeyer at LinkedIn identifies three other major tools for streamlining efforts and planning for success.  

      1. An Editorial Calendar is a centralized way to keep project stakeholders in alignment over which content should be produced when, and helps unify efforts across departments for streamlined, non-repetitive content messaging.
      2. Marketing Automation helps you meticulously execute the content marketing plans in your editorial calendar. 
      3. SEO ensures your high quality content is found by the right people. Google has cracked down on sub-par content filled only with keywords and buzzwords to ensure quality content gets more eyeballs.

      "All the planning and execution in the world can’t make non-relevant content a success," Brockmeyer points out, and content marketers must balance "the need for the right key words with the need for well-written content that doesn’t sound forced or jargon-y."

      Curata's software platform ensures a scalable, predictable content supply chain, she notes, and expands on other specific sites, software platforms, and assets in each of the three areas mentioned in the full article below. 

       

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    14. How to Know if Your Content is Good Enough

      How to Know if Your Content is Good Enough

      It's easy to think of our own content as far superior to our competitors. And yet, all our competitors undoubtedly think the same thing—that most content in our niche is poor—and that theirs is the exception.

      How can you set aside your biases to objectively determine whether or not your content really is as good as you think? Neil Patel at QuickSprout writes,

      Being your own toughest critic will help you create great content that will win over your readers.

      To that end he has developed an excellent checklist of the essentials of good content, with six questions to ask yourself before publishing any piece of content.

      Writing well is hard. There are times when the zeal fades, and your creative energy feels all but gone. Reason to keep posts short and sweet, right? Wrong. Writing just for the sake of writing doesn't do you or your audience any good—and the answer may be, counterintuitively, to increase your post length. Discover The Secret to Writing Long Form Content, and click on the link below for Neil's six tips for ensuring your writing is cutting the mustard.

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    15. Moving Beyond Social to an "Omni-Social" Community

      Moving Beyond Social to an "Omni-Social" Community

      Social media giants like Facebook, Twitter and the rest have aggregated digital consumer attention to such an unprecedented degree they've forced companies to take an “if you can’t beat em, join em” approach to online community. 

      Given we spend more than 25% of our time online on social media, it's crucial to know how to effectively promote content on social media

      With the substantial decline in “free” organic reach in favor of pay-to-play however, social communities are now much more expensive and less efficient. But given the audiences, companies can't exactly turn their backs on these platforms.

      Jay Baer advises adopting an "Omni-Social" strategy that changes the fundamental role of leased social communities. A sound Omni-Social strategy includes these elements:

      1. A commitment to moving beyond the hegemony of rented social community
      2. Admitting that rented social communities offer user experience functionality customers crave
      3. Adding some of that functionality (or a reasonable facsimile) to a website or community your brand owns or controls
      4. Selecting and maintaining a relationship between your rented community (on Facebook, for example) and your owned assets (such as robust community functionality on your website)
      5. Communicating the relationship between your rented and owned community functions to all consumers, to avoid confusion and duplication of purpose
      6. Giving community members at least partial control of the narrative and dialog inside the owned community. Enable the community to be “theirs” in a way the Facebook page never could be.

      Baer describes a framework outlining four ways Omni-Social can work in the link below.

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    16. Ethical Dilemmas in Marketing: Finding the Strength to Say No

      Ethical Dilemmas in Marketing: Finding the Strength to Say No

      "If you very honestly, in your heart of hearts, don’t want a digital marketing initiative to succeed, should you take on the project?" This election year is bringing the ethical dilemmas inherent in digital marketing assignments into sharp relief, argues Rebecca Lieb at Marketing Land.

      Lieb recounts how a friend recently walked away from crazy money offered by the Koch brothers for a digital marketing project. “I could have remodeled my mother’s house for only one day of work,” Lieb's friend confided.

      Companies are increasingly taking stands for things they believe in: North Carolina’s HB2 “bathroom bill” prompted many companies to register their disapproval, with most enacting or threatening sanctions. Microsoft is not donating money to the Republican convention this year, unlike past years.

      Lieb notes:

      This election cycle is the first in years in which I don’t personally know any agencies or marketers who have taken on clients despite the fact that they espouse agendas diametrically in opposition to their own personal ethics and values. The strength to say “no” and stand up for your convictions—whatever it is you believe—is a sign of maturity.

      Ultimately, it can't just be about the money if you’re a marketer. You have to ask yourself, “what if the marketing actually works?” Click here for a definitive guide to content marketing done right, and read Rebecca's post in full below.

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    17. Overcoming Content Industry Staffing Challenges

      Overcoming Content Industry Staffing Challenges

      We live in a world of chronically understaffed content teams, where highly skilled co-workers bolt for bigger bucks elsewhere, undercooked rookies quickly rise to their level of incompetence, and marketing technology changes faster than the weather in New England.

      According to the Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) 2016 B2B Content Marketing report, 25% of North American B2B marketers reported gaps in knowledge and skills of their internal team as one of their top five challenges, while 21% said finding or training skilled content marketing professionals and/or content creators was one of their top five challenges. 

      Erik Martin at The Content Wrangler notes much of this boils down to attracting and keeping top talent in any nascent field is harder than in more established fields. Content marketing has suffered the worst shortage, since marketing is the most recent to adopt content strategy principles.

      Consider a tech company creating a content marketing group and trying to fill a new position. Absent qualified applicants, the company settles for a marketer well versed in traditional methods but ignorant of content marketing. This new hire doesn’t understand the need to build an audience through targeted, entertaining, insightful content, and instead pumps out boring, product-focused content. They don't know how to set up an efficient, repeatable process, don't know how to formulate an effective social distribution plan, or understand analytics to know what is and isn’t working.

      For a thorough guide to understanding analytics, read The Comprehensive Guide to Content Marketing & Analytics. For tips on attracting and retaining higher-skilled and talented content creators, marketers and strategists, click on Erik's full article below.

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    18. Four Silver Bullets For Creating More Content With Less Budget

      Four Silver Bullets For Creating More Content With Less Budget

      The top concerns of B2B marketers right now are: creating enough content, and lack of budget, according to the latest data from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs. As Nick Westergaard relates, "the struggle is real for marketers everywhere!"

      Instead of getting frustrated, Westergaard advises content marketers to get scrappy and embrace having to do more with less.

      He's come up with four tips and tricks that epitomize the scrappy mindset required for effective content marketing. Rather than burn out trying desperately to always come up with fresh original content, these hacks can comfortably ensure a steady stream of high quality, relevant content. 

      1. Relentlessly repurpose content to get more use out of each piece of content
      2. Use historical content, such as photos of old products, or old marketing collateral and advertisements
      3. Curate the best content you can find from outside your organization
      4. Adopt user-generated content, which demonstrates in a very public way that your audience likes you and is engaged

      A great tool that integrates these scrappy hacks into a comprehensive, documented strategy is The Content Marketing Pyramid. It increases production capacity by making more efficient use of valuable resources for optimal content consumption, reuse and reach, creating a predictable stream of successful content to engage buyers and drive pipeline activity for marketing and sales. 

      Westergaard goes into more detail about just how to use his hacks with practical examples below.

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    19. Don't be a Marketing Monologuist

      Don't be a Marketing Monologuist

      In today's world, if marketing is too egocentric—when it's all about your company and what you're trying to sell—customers tune out, fast. So for those who feel they're constantly reaching out with content and aren't getting a response, maybe it’s because they’re monologuing, rather than trying to create a dialog.

      Joshua Nite has a few suggestions for putting the conversation back into content marketing:

      If you really want to start a dialog with your content, snap shut your flip phone and shut down the brand-centric talk. Find out what your consumers want to talk about, craft content that invites conversation through a strong point of view, then share it in a way that encourages discussion.

      Try to avoid writing in the first person and using lots of 'we' and 'our' pronouns. It doesn’t include or draw the reader in, and can be a real turn-off. Consider your customers' pain points and speak directly to them, using plenty of 'you' and 'yours' to engage and show empathy for your customers' needs. Ditch the hard sell.

      Best-in-class marketers understand that egocentric content marketing is a relic of a bygone era. They seek to create a genuine dialog with their audience, strategies for which can be found in the eBook Stop Egocentric Marketing. Or for a quicker take, Joshua outlines five useful steps for putting the conversation back into marketing below.

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    20. Can Brands Mourn? Not Without Trust

      Can Brands Mourn? Not Without Trust

      It feels natural to say 'a family mourns,' but to say 'a company mourns'—not so much. Many argue this is business's fault. As Carlos Abler notes, every day business communities ignore individual and commonwealth best interests, putting shareholders or personal careers above all else.

      So when brands try to actually act with humanity it shouldn't be surprising how often it backfires and people respond with cynicism. Prince’s passing on Thursday April 21st 2016 was one such occasion where Abler's employer, 3M wanted to respond with humanity to a fellow Minnesotan and much loved member of their community. Says Abler:

      My mind was blown when I saw this image pass through my Twitter feed.

      But media and the public alike questioned the business motives behind the tribute. Perhaps justifiably, people often assume the intent behind such statements is a self-promotional act of ‘newsjacking’.  

      It will take businesses learning to act with more integrity as corporate citizens to recover their humanity in the eyes of the people, and recover the right to mourn with them.

      Customers control your brand. If a customer has a bad experience, all it takes is one tweet or Facebook post for hundreds or thousands of people to see that story. No amount of communications management can fix that person’s bad experience. Build relationships with your customers through honest, ethical, useful content, and you will earn the trust of, and the right to mourn with your customers.

      Carlos goes into compelling depth about the issue of trust for brands below.

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    21. Overcoming The Three Biggest Writing Challenges

      Overcoming The Three Biggest Writing Challenges

      For content marketers, sometimes sitting down to write content can be a major stumbling block. Brian Clark asked his colleagues at Copyblogger about theirs, and found the three biggest writing challenges are often: 1) how to get started, 2) how to cut the fluff, and 3) how to finish.

      These three issues are really symptoms of the same painful problem, which boils down to not clearly understanding what you’re trying to accomplish with your writing. 

      Clark has developed a five-step process that helps clarify your objectives, which helps clarify your writing. It also also helps you begin—and finish—any writing project, because you know what you’re after and how to make it happen.

      Of course, having an overarching strategy that informs exactly why you're writing any given piece of content helps, as The Content Marketing Pyramid makes clear. This way you know what you're trying to achieve with any piece of content long before you sit down to write it.

      But for help on a more granular level, click on the link below to read the five step process for overcoming writing chokepoints Clark wrote, using the process itself as a demonstration.

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    22. Agile Marketing: Just Another Buzzword?

      Agile Marketing: Just Another Buzzword?

      Is agile marketing just another marketing buzzword, or do those adopting the philosophy know something the rest of us don't?

      Agile marketing is merely a measure of how efficient your organization is at achieving your marketing goals, says Sajeel Qureshi. It derives from ‘Agile Development;’ a term used by software developers to describe the process of fixing or ‘enhancing’ apps quickly after their real-world users complain about something.

      Agile marketing teams provide a lot of strategy and (theoretically) results to their stakeholders. They are really good at coming up with big ideas and then explaining the opportunity behind those ideas to the people that need to hear them. An agile marketer may corner the CEO of a chain of steakhouses and explain to them, using real data, the opportunity behind adding more vegan-friendly items to the menu or why a marketing campaign aimed at soccer moms may be a good thing. 

      Being agile means being able to change big ideas on the fly by using back-end support teams rather than hiring in house, staying nimble so you can make adjustments quickly. Central to the concept is having the right strategy from the start, as the Content Marketing Pyramid demonstrates.

      Qureshi goes into more detail about just how agile marketing works—and why it's effective, in the full article below.

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    23. Think Past Immediate Sales for Content Marketing Goals

      Think Past Immediate Sales for Content Marketing Goals

      Investments in content marketing are not always the fastest to bear fruit—it may take months or sometimes years before your efforts show results.

      C-suite executives aren't always ready to wait around that long to see results. So how do you shift mindsets to realizing not all marketing is about immediate sales? Rezwana Manjur at Marketing Magazine showcases the example of Anna Bory, GM of Audi, who says that for luxury brands, content marketing cannot always be about sales—sometimes it is about brand awareness. And not all campaigns and content initiatives need to always go viral, so it's important to come up with right metrics and KPIs when creating innovative ideas.

      How do you find the right metrics and KPIs? With a clear strategy. Julie Fleischer, director of media and consumer engagement at Kraft Foods, made the graph below explaining the various kinds of content you should bear in mind:

      Nurturing leads takes time. On average it can take 7-13 touch points to convert a lead into a sale, which is why you need a comprehensive, documented, methodical content marketing strategy—as explained in The Content Marketing Pyramid—in order to generate a consistent, predictable revenue stream. Manjur goes into further detail about the rewards of taking the long view using Audi as a case study, along with the four types of content shown in the graph, if you click on the link below. 

       

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