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    1. One Simple Tactic For Making Relevant Content

      One Simple Tactic For Making Relevant Content

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    2. Boost Your Content Marketing With Company Engagement Tactics

      Boost Your Content Marketing With Company Engagement Tactics

      Employee engagement and content sharing boosts the reach of your content. In fact, according to MSLGroup, brand messages extend 561% further when shared by employees versus official brand social channels.

      Dan Steiner, technology entrepreneur, author, marketing consultant, and CEO of security firm Online Virus Repair Inc., shares the example of a company that successfully used employee engagement to optimize their marketing efforts:

      One of the most inspiring examples of a company using the creative power of employees outside of the content team is Johnsonville, the Wisconsin-based sausage maker. The company asked its employees to help tell the brand story, and more than 100 employees responded to an open call. One of the results: Several awesome commercials were created, such as “Regular Speed Chase” by Brett and “Jeff and His Forest Friends” by Jeff.

      Some things you can do at your company to start increasing employee involvement with your content include:

      1. Talk to leadership: Schedule a meeting with leadership to get them on board with the benefits of employee involvement in marketing.
      2. Email, meet with, or message other employees: Set up regular communications with your company's employees to encourage submitting ideas, sharing on social and creating new content. 
      3. Curate employee content: Check out employees' Instagram accounts as well as other social platforms. There might be a picture or post that's worth sharing on your company's social channels.

      Read Steiner's full article on how to use employee engagement below.

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    3. 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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    4. Three Indicators You Need a Content Marketing Platform

      Three Indicators You Need a Content Marketing Platform

      For every challenge content marketers face, there is a relevant tool available. One particular tool addresses the core issues that hinder content production, making efforts more seamless and scalable: the content marketing platform.

      Here are three key indicators your team could be a fit for a content marketing platform:

      1) Existing Content Strategy

      Your organization has some semblance of a content strategy, and considerable existing content. Content marketing platforms make it easy to surface pieces of content you never knew existed. Even better, you can index existing content and identify gaps by performing a content audit to discover whether you are lacking content for personas, buying stages, or keywords.

      2) Measuring Content

      With investment in content growing every year, management needs to understand how content initiatives influence business goals. And while measuring content ROI is critical, this does not scale when done manually. Content Marketing Institute contributor Andrea Fryrear points out:

      “Basic tools tend to suffice for measuring top-of-funnel content because at this stage you’re primarily concerned with building up the size of your audience and encouraging them to move closer toward a purchase.”

      Content marketing platforms however, not only make it easy to measure content ROI by looking at metrics such as leads, pipeline, and revenue, they also make it easy to report over time and discover trending, actionable insights to improve individual and larger content projects.

      3) Moving Parts

      Creating great content typically involves writers, editors, designers, internal subject matter experts, freelancers, and more. It's challenging to work with multiple moving parts using traditional management tools such as spreadsheets, checklists, and basic project management tools. The problems these tools create include missed tasks, miscommunications, and even worse, missed deadlines.

      Almost all content marketing platforms include some variance of an editorial calendar that streamlines ideation, production, and promotion. But the ability to measure content ROI is arguably the most valuable component of these tools. To learn more about getting started on ROI measurement, read Andrea Fryrear's original article below.

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    5. Drive Customer Delight With Content Marketing

      Drive Customer Delight With Content Marketing

      Content marketing is necessarily becoming more sophisticated as customers become more exposed to it. "Good enough" content that fills a hole in your editorial calendar—is increasingly less so in this environment.

      More and more it's not enough to just answer your audience’s questions and help solve their problems; there's just too much competition for this to resonate any more. For content to stand out it needs to go further, to delight readers enough to have a measurable impact.

      Aaron Agius at the Content Marketing Institute has a handy primer on the principles of customer delight, which he argues should factor into every action, interaction, and piece of content you create:

      • Does this content solve a problem for someone?
      • Does this content teach someone how to solve problems in the future?
      • Is this content engaging and at least a little fun? 

      For Agius, delighting your customers is all about exceeding their expectations: 

      When I look for an answer to a problem, I’m happy when I finally find it. My problem is solved. If that same source provides additional information to help me deal with similar challenges down the road, then I’m blown away. When that source does it with a smile and enthusiasm, it might as well give me a fanboy shirt.

      When you create a better user experience, through better researched, more entertaining, better written, more relevant content—you create a happier audience. Which makes them much more likely to be interested in your products, and to become brand advocates for you after they've bought. 

      The key to creating such a user experience is to have a documented content strategy, so that you're consciously creating content with specific, measurable goals. Find out more about driving customer delight via Aaron's full article below.

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    6. Tools and Tactics to Improve Content Creation

      Tools and Tactics to Improve Content Creation

      As a content marketer, your first step to connecting with an audience is by creating content. There is a vast galaxy of content tools available at your disposal to help with content creation, as a quick look at Curata's ultimate content marketing tools list will attest.

      The next question is, how can you use content marketing tools to help you understand your audience? Tom Whatley talks more about this in "3 Customer Research Tactics to Help Content Creation." In it Whatley highlights various tools such as Google Analytics, Woopra, and Mention—amongst others—to research how customers interact with your content.


      Whatley highlights that,

      Companies that focus on their customers are 60% more profitable than “non-customer-centric” companies according to Deloitte.

      Ultimately, your customers are the ones whose problems you've been able to solve. Creating content around that profile helps you identify who your next potential customer could be.

      If you're looking for more ways to help you create content, Curata partnered up with Uberflip, Scorch, Kapost, and Skyword to create an amazing eBook on content creation. Tom has more on three tactics that help yield information from your customers via the link below.

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    7. 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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    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. 7 Essential Content Marketing Lessons from Rand Fishkin’s Whiteboard Fridays

      7 Essential Content Marketing Lessons from Rand Fishkin’s Whiteboard Fridays

      As a marketer, SEO can seem overwhelming, but you know it’s critical for your content marketing. A lot of changes are taking place in that industry, and it can be challenging to stay up to date.

      Lucky for us, we have Rand Fishkin and his popular Whiteboard Friday on Moz. If you aren’t familiar with the Whiteboard Friday series, I highly suggest you check out these gems. Not only will you learn a lot, but these are a fantastic example of how consistent, exceptional content can build an audience.

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    10. How to Prioritize Your 2016 Content Marketing Goals

      How to Prioritize Your 2016 Content Marketing Goals

      It's far too easy to spend time doing something that doesn’t really help you achieve a goal, instead of doing something that truly needs to be done. That can be because it's simply hard to figure out where to spend your time—and it can also be because we know exactly what we should be doing, but it's just too damn hard!

      Michelle Linn at the Content Marketing Institute has assembled ten typically important content marketing goals for 2016, and systematically walks through through how to prioritize them, or even better, remove some of them from the list.

      • Better understanding your audience
      • Creating more-engaging content
      • Better understanding what is and isn’t effective
      • Finding more/better ways to repurpose content
      • Content optimization
      • Creating visual content
      • Becoming better storytellers
      • Becoming a stronger writer
      • Content curation
      • Content personalization

      Crucially, Michelle writes:

      While priorities will vary depending on your content marketing program’s maturity and needs, review your documented content marketing strategy (the first and most important priority) to evaluate and rank your other priorities.

      The importance of having a documented content marketing strategy cannot be emphasized enough when it comes to making most efficient and effective use of our time—particularly when it comes to prioritizing sometimes competing goals. Linn's full explanations for when to prioritize each of the above goals, and when to put them on the backlog pile, are in the full article below.

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    11. The 3 Most Effective Content Curation Strategies

      The 3 Most Effective Content Curation Strategies

      When I was working for other companies, figuring out my place in the marketing world, it became clear that I also needed to work on my personal brand (regardless of how much I disliked that term at the time). Every night, I would find the best “underground” content to share on Twitter. I continued at it consistently and the persistence paid off. After a couple of months, I saw steady and healthy growth.

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    12. 6 Content Ideas Every Marketer Should Steal From IBM

      6 Content Ideas Every Marketer Should Steal From IBM

      Last year, I interviewed IBM’s Andrea Ames, whose job title alone makes me tired: enterprise content experience strategist, architect, and designer. In this article, I share some steal-worthy ideas from that interview – ideas that can help you, as a marketer, scale your content processes and provide your customers with more remarkable experiences.

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      Mentions: IBM CMI
    13. How to Get Executives Aboard The Content Marketing Train

      How to Get Executives Aboard The Content Marketing Train

      Content marketing has proven to be a powerful method to educate consumers and earn quality leads. However, research shows that B2B marketers are struggling to obtain executive buy-in. In order for the content marketing train to take off successfully, all company executives should be on board. In fact, 49% of companies have an executive in place for content marketing, according to our 2015 Content Marketing Tactics & Technology Study. Otherwise, the operation would lack the necessary resources and guidance. This is why Elizabeth Clor assembled this four-step guide to achieve executive buy-in towards content marketing. First step? Understand and articulate the 'why'.

      To lead a successful content marketing program, you need stakeholders and executives to understand exactly why you’re doing what you’re doing. This “why” needs to tie directly to business objectives and you need to present it in a language that resonates with your executives.

      Take a look at the rest of this short guide to make sure you are ready to share the benefits of content marketing. Already have executive buy-in? Build a powerful strategy by downloading our eBook, The Content Marketing Pyramid.

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    14. Why and How to Measure Your Blog's Impact

      Why and How to Measure Your Blog's Impact

      When it comes to the best ways to employ content marketing, business blogging is on the top of the list. Studies show that over 80% of marketers use blogging as part of their content marketing mix. This communication method allows companies to share their opinion and important knowledge such as best practices or industry trends. Ultimately, blogging helps to humanize your content and drive growth. One of the keys to successfully running a business blog is measuring its impact. This piece provides readers with a comprehensive and quick guide to do just that. An area to keep your eye on? Pipeline impact.

      To push beyond these so-called "vanity" metrics and better the impact of content on the business, marketers are determining how their blogs affect the marketing and sales pipelines." 

      If you are looking for ways to improve your content marketing strategy and drive growth, consider this business blogging guide. To learn how to implement and sustain a successful blog, check out our eBook, Business Blogging Secrets Revealed

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    15. Hook Your Audience with Curated Data

      Hook Your Audience with Curated Data

      Content that is based on data can be some of the most useful and relevant for your audience. However, many companies lack the budget to conduct research on their own. In this article, Britt Klontz of Distilled, suggests curating data from other companies to create new content that displays this data in a new or innovative way. She says that there are many ethical ways to do this and provides a few examples. One example? An infographic about Money from Liberty Marketing:

      UK-based agency Liberty Marketing did just this with its TrolliesOfMoney interactive infographic. When supermarket giant Tesco revealed it overestimated 2014 profits by a staggering £263 million, the online marketing agency jumped straight to Tesco’s data and interpreted it in real terms.

      Leveraging third-party data is a great way to create content with few resources and establish your company as an industry thought leader. Read the rest of the article for more examples and be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Content Curation.

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    16. 8 Unique Ways to Use Content Curation

      8 Unique Ways to Use Content Curation

      Content curation serves as an excellent compliment to created content. In fact, our recent research says that best-in-class marketers employ a mix of 65% created content, 25% curated content and 10% syndicated content. Heidi Cohen points out several reasons why content curation can be beneficial to your marketing strategy. One reason? Lack of overall resources. After establishing the value of curation, Cohen presents several stellar examples. One of my favorites (that many people may not think of) is to spotlight the best images in your niche. 

      Example: World’s Coolest Offices from Inc. curated via Huffington Post

      Selected by: Jennifer Ristic of Point To Point. 

      World’s Coolest Offices is a great example of how to curate images and make them your own. Use vibrant and engaging photos to draw in readers. In this case, the images are put together so that readers must keep clicking. Of further value from a curation point of view is that this article was curated on Huffington Post where it gave full credit for the piece and linked to the original.

      This article is a must-read for anyone considering curation, but is unsure which form they should use. Read on for seven more examples, or check out Content Curation Look Book for some more curation case studies. 

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    17. Increase Social Shares in Four Simple Steps

      Increase Social Shares in Four Simple Steps

      Many marketers invest a lot of time and resources into the promotion of content, whether that is through social media, native advertising or influencer marketer. But, they may be forgetting to optimize for sharing — a quick and easy way to amplify content. Rebecca Watson offers up four quick tips for proper optimization, such as using share counters.

      Websites with counters see an average boost of 8 to 20 percent in sharing volume within one month, according to our data. Visual indicators of sharing volume add credibility and affirm the popularity of the content. Digital consumers, like it or not, follow the herd, paying more attention to content with higher shares."

      This is a great checklist to consult and ensure your content is ready for sharing. 

      Check out our Content Marketing Tactics Planner for more tips to boost your content strategy.

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    18. Here's Why 2014 is the Year of Content Curation

      Here's Why 2014 is the Year of Content Curation

      As marketers begin to ramp up their content marketing efforts, many are finding it hard to publish on a consistent basis. Enter curation — a great method of sharing relevant, high quality content while simultaneously filling in your upcoming editorial calendar. Heidi Cohen highlights why marketers need curation more this year than ever before:

      2014 is the year of content curation — the most “rad” format of content marketing right now. While 93 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing, they’re encountering significant challenges when it comes to creating the quality content needed to satisfy prospects and customers, according to Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs 2014 market research. Specifically, they suffer from a lack of adequate time, have trouble producing sufficient amounts of content, and struggle to get budget.

      As Heidi mentions, our research recommends that about a quarter of all content should be curated. Read her full article for 9 different ways to incorporate curation into your existing content strategy.

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    19. Hitting Your Content Marketing Target

      Hitting Your Content Marketing Target

      Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, asks us a basic question that can sometimes generate a convoluted answer: “Who is your audience?” If the answer is multiple audiences, it’s time to reevaluate your content marketing strategy. Pulizzi says it’s essential that you focus on your core audience, and to do this you need to ask your content marketing team four key questions: Who? Why? Outcome? Replacement factor?

      Many times, branded content initiatives start with a singular audience focus but expand over time to multiple audiences. If that is the case, start with your poor-performing initiatives first. This fix may be that you focus on your core audience, and use another platform or initiative to communicate with your secondary audience.” 

      Asking yourself this question can help make a significant difference in achieving your marketing goals and avoiding the creation of a content marketing death potion.

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    20. Is Your Content Truly Original?

      Is Your Content Truly Original?

      Coming up with unique created content can be difficult for marketers - and the need to constantly publish original thought leadership pieces can be paralyzing. If you're looking to step up your game in the originality department, Michele Linn at Content Marketing Institute has some tips.

      Think about your passions: 

      While your audience should certainly be front and center, there is a lot to be said for keeping some focus on your passions, as well. We can all discern which authors are truly interested in what they are writing about and which ones are just creating content to “check a box” in their marketing strategy.

      Although you should create content with readers in mind, if you only focus on your audience, what's differentiating you from your competitors? When you imbue your own interests and thoughts into content, it adds a unique perspective and creates additional value for readers. 

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    21. Contributed Content Means Value

      Contributed Content Means Value

      It can be incredibly difficult to publish a consistent flow of relevant content, especially with a small content team and limited resources. For this reason, many brands and publishers are turning to contributed content. For example:

      Forbes relies on hundreds of guest columnists for its online magazine site, spread across a variety of verticals and disciplines. Once selected and vetted, these columnists have broad leeway to publish on a wide range of topics.

      Contributed content not only helps brands publish consistently and at a fraction of the cost it would be to hire in-house writers, but having guest publishers allows them to publish on diverse topics to keep readers engaged. In addition, having reader contributions ensures that the content reflects your audience's needs and interests. 

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      Mentions: Blog Curata CMI
    22. Content Marketing for an International Audience

      Content Marketing for an International Audience

      We need to be more mindful of our content when it comes to publishing for a global audience, according to author Sarah Mitchell in this article originally published on Content Marketing Institute. Mitchell states that many marketers are unprepared to tap into the potential of these international readers. So, how can we prepare when tools like Google Translator don't make the cut?

      A professional translator can ensure the trust you’ve built for your brand is not damaged by awkward missteps.

      Using local translators in each country you're optimizing content for can ensure that not only your translation is correct, but also your localization. Localization of content means taking colors, holidays and cultural ideals into consideration for an audience. Have in-country professional translators approve created and curated content before publishing to an international audience. 

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    23. To Date or Not to Date (your content)

      To Date or Not to Date (your content)

      Jonathan Crossfield of Content Marketing Institute offers some interesting perspectives on the question about date-stamping blog content. On one hand providing a date on blog content can be valuable to a reader to help them identify if the information is recent or several years old.  After all, it could be quite embarrassing to use data that is several years old or Tweet a blog post that was from 2009.  On the other hand, as Jonathan puts it:

      . . . . digital content has the ability to adapt and change, unlike the printed page. Why should our content be locked in amber, a fossilized record of some other time, unable to grow and evolve ? If our content dates, or even becomes extinct, it’s only because we allow it to ."

      In my opinion it is a disservice to the reader to leave out the date for a piece of content.  Let them make the decision as to whether they still wish to read the post, regardless of the impact on the content marketer's SEO strategy.  A nice alternative suggested in this article is to provide a "posted" date and "revised" date.

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    24. Get More Bang for your Content Marketing Buck

      Get More Bang for your Content Marketing Buck

      71% of marketers will increase their investment in content marketing in the coming year according to Curata's recent Content Marketing Tactics Planner.  However, many companies, especially the larger ones, struggle with how to scale their content marketing efforts beyond the digital marketing or blogging team.  Heidi Cohen does a nice job in this CMI post of providing three tips for marketers to get started content marketing:

      • Rethink content across your organization.
      • Create a few pieces of really 'break-through' content.
      • Distribute your existing content more effectively."

      The first tip is most important for larger organizations who may have 100s or even 1000s of product, solution and industry marketers across their company creating content that rarely makes it into the new channels managed by their digital marketing teams.  Learn more through the below link to Heidi's post, or check out Curata's Content Marketing Pyramid for a good framework to best leverage your own content.

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