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    1. Agile Marketing: Be Lazier, More Productive

      Agile Marketing: Be Lazier, More Productive

      It's natural to always want to work more and faster, especially in America. Among some masochists, it's an actual badge of pride to take as little vacation time as possible.

      This behavior is driven by the belief that results inevitably follow hours logged. According to Workfront, 89% of marketers log into work outside normal working hours.

      But the vast majority of humans aren't built to work that way. Productivity takes a sharp nosedive when there's a relentless more-more-faster-faster approach. The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) reports the number of B2B content marketers rating their efforts as effective fell 8% between 2015 and 2016.

      CMI's Andrea Fryrear believes those content marketers are missing the Agile marketing boat. Fryear defines Agile marketing as when:

      your marketing team agrees on a list of priorities. Based on those priorities, you decide which tasks–including content marketing tasks–are most important. The team agrees to focus on those tasks that it can expect to accomplish during the next “sprint” (typically somewhere between one week and one month)–and it puts all other tasks on hold (on the “backlog”).

      Teams reassess priorities every time they complete a sprint, and only address new requests during a sprint if they're more important than what's already been committed to. If they're not, they're put into the backlog for a future sprint. 

      An Agile approach makes you more effective without working more, because you're getting the right things done. It works best as part of a documented content marketing strategy, such as can be found in Curata's Content Marketing Pyramid. Fryrear goes into much greater depth about Agile marketing in her post via the link below; it's well worth investigating.  

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    2. How Will This Content Drive Revenue?

      How Will This Content Drive Revenue?

      It's a perennial question for marketers trying to justify their existence to management, let alone trying to argue for more resources. We need to know how to measure the impact of every piece of content created and program executed. But lining up the right metrics to prove the value of content is challenging at best—around three quarters of marketers struggle to quantify the return on their content marketing.

      That's because it's difficult to focus specifically on sales, let alone to attribute a specific asset—or even a program—to a sale. However, there are now definite content marketing metrics to answer the ROI question, along with technologies that help quantify the return on your content marketing investment. 

      Erica Lindberg at the Content Marketing Institute notes that:

      There is no “easy” button. There are no shortcuts to managing and leveraging data analytics and insights. Because a single content asset can be used by different teams at different points in the sales cycle, it’s important to have a solid cross-functional and integrated tech stack to ensure that you’re getting good data.

      Ultimately, understanding your content marketing ROI requires knowing your content costs, content usage, and content performance in order to determine your average marketing ROI and how you can achieve a higher return. Lindberg details several useful steps for figuring these out in the link below. 

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    3. 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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    4. Smart Ways to Snag Earned Media

      Smart Ways to Snag Earned Media

      A sound content marketing strategy requires owned, earned and paid media coverage, but earned media too often gets overlooked. Probably because it's harder to control: paid and owned media involve your own dollars being spent on your own website, blog(s) social media accounts, and PPC campaigns, while earned media is free.

      But earned media gives you the credibility of a tacit, if not explicit endorsement from someone not on your payroll who believes enough in your products, services or insights to mention, quote, or promote your brand’s content. As Brian Kolb at the Content Marketing Institute points out, it also helps you reach a wider audience of people who may not know about you, but could benefit from your content, products, or services.

      In a blog post you can read in full via the link below this article, Kolb details three methods for generating earned media: cultivating influencer marketing, participating in industry trade shows, and engaging your fans and advocates. He argues:

      Earned media should have an important place in your content marketing strategy. That way you’re not just hoping others will find and talk about your brand. You are deliberately and strategically taking the steps to make this happen. As your efforts begin to bear fruit, you’ll start seeing measurable results that will boost your web traffic, search rankings, leads, sales, and brand equity.

      With a documented content marketing strategy it's easier to incorporate earned media into the mix; this infographic provides a strategy starting point.

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    5. Documentary Storytelling: 6 Examples From Brands That Nail It

      Documentary Storytelling: 6 Examples From Brands That Nail It

      You would be hard pressed to find a marketer in 2016 who doesn’t believe that publishing content is as important or more important than paying for advertising. Yet somewhere in the race to publish more, hit more channels, and optimize reach, we’ve lost sight of the art of great content creation and the returns from more ambitious projects. In my mind there is not a more powerful – and more underused – medium than the documentary film.

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    6. Excel at SEO With This 15-Point Plan

      Excel at SEO With This 15-Point Plan

      Search engine optimization (SEO) should be a linchpin in any successful content marketing plan. But with search engines updating algorithms and ranking factors on a frequent basis, how is a mortal content marketer supposed to keep up? Tracy Gold wrote an invaluable Ultimate SEO Checklist in 2014, which did a fantastic job of covering SEO fundamentals from a content marketing perspective.

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    7. A Step-by-Step Guide to Get More Eyes on Your Research

      A Step-by-Step Guide to Get More Eyes on Your Research

      When I was a local TV news producer, I – systematically and with relish – pretty much deleted every single PR-pitch email that I ever received. Why? For one, I was pretty young and arrogant, believing I didn’t need any help from PR pros (insert my eye roll here) to come up with a story. But secondly, and I think more telling, is that PR people just have a bad reputation.

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    8. 4 Secrets to Building Social Momentum

      4 Secrets to Building Social Momentum

      There’s a sickness in social media content marketing, and Andrew Davis is committed to finding a cure. In his keynote presentation at Content Marketing World, Andrew – a best-selling author and the founder of Monumental Shift, the world’s first talent agency for marketing thought leaders – asserted that social media content success has little to do with where you distribute content, and everything to do with when you distribute content on each channel.

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    9. A Nutshell Guide to Proper Keyword Research

      A Nutshell Guide to Proper Keyword Research

      Keywords aren’t the end-all, be-all strategy (so to speak) in creating online content. If there’s one thing I’ve learned writing a myriad of content all over the web, it’s that you should think about your reader first and foremost. Otherwise, you won’t be creating the content necessary to stand out to your audience. If you use keywords correctly, though, you use the voice of your customers and target audience. And keyword research allows you to target your message and stand out in your industry.

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