Archive for the ‘Content Marketing’ Category

How to Build Content That Attracts the C-Suite

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Guest post by Tom Whatley.

Getting in front of senior decision makers is a common struggle among marketers. When it comes to C-Suite marketing, cutting through the noise and creating content that senior executives will find valuable is hard.

How to reach the c-suite with content marketingThere is a methodology that can make this process easier. It’s a methodology that’s helped companies such as NetSuite, SAS and Ixonos to build trust with the senior decision makers in their target market and, eventually, secure seven figures in sales pipeline.

Before we dive in, there are some foundational elements you should be aware of. There are some things you need to understand about the C-Suite when marketing and selling to them.

C-Suite marketing foundations

A recent Harvard study discovered that the C-Suite spends only 2% of their time with vendors like you and I. That’s around an hour a week, so no wonder it’s so difficult to get their attention.

There are two elements to C-Suite marketing that make up this entire methodology: value and trust. By value we don’t mean how-to articles and other traditional forms of content, though they do have their place in the process.

To the C-Suite, valuable content means insight, statistics and hard facts that provide a logical argument for change. It’s okay to compliment this form of content with how-to guides, but you need to give them a reason to get involved in a discussion with you.

To do this, find out what your market is saying about a topic closely related to your value proposition. Leave all assumptions at the door and really listen to what’s already being discussed. Find a unique angle that aligns this message with your own value proposition.

Once you have their attention, you need to build trust. It gets pretty lonely at the top, and the C-Suite rarely get challenged on their decisions. Everyone reports to them, so it’s not often that their opinions are tested.

This is a huge frustration for senior decision makers, but a great advantage for the C-Suite marketer. By challenging their views, you cut through the noise and put yourself into a trusted space.

You can do this by bringing the opinions of several executives together and seeking out differences of opinion. Turn your content into a discussion and have them leaving feeling like their opinion has been challenged or confirmed with confidence.

Turning content into independence

These two principles of value and trust need to be communicated in a way that positions you away from the stance of a “seller.” Even if your content ticks the boxes above and provides incredible value, when you come from the position of the vendor the C-Suite will still have their guard up.

To get through this, and build trust quickly, try creating an independent brand to position you a trustworthy entity.

One way to do this is by creating a club platform. The club brings together C-Suite executives and decision makers from our clients’ target market and focuses on the elements above.

How NetSuite used a club platform to secure a seven-figure sales pipeline

NetSuite is a cloud business management suite. Their most challenging sales & marketing goal is targeting and getting in front of senior decision makers in their target markets.

In order to do this, The Ortus Club was created. The club platform was built in order to explore and debate upon how to increase visibility and growth within the organisations of the senior decision makers who engaged with it.

The club took on a digital format, utilising content and LinkedIn as platforms to nurture their target audience, as well as a face-to-face element – which was crucial in developing solid relationships based on trust and value – in the form of a dinner.

One of the most recent dinner and discussion events had attendees from fast growing software and online companies. These were executives that they would not have had access to previously.

Conclusion

It’s easy to dismiss this form of C-Suite and content marketing due to its face-to-face element, but when marketing to senior decision makers it’s an important piece of the system to include.

If you’re only creating content online, then you’re ending the journey there. Marketing to (and securing sales from) the C-Suite means getting out there and bringing them together.

This methodology I’ve just shared with you should speed that process up, as long as you remember to separate the message from your core brand and create an independent entity. This is the key to cutting through the clutter and getting their attention.

Tom Whatley is a Digital Marketer at Seraph Science. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

 

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22 Noteworthy Content Marketing Guides and Tips

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Content marketing is a hot topic. According to Google Trends, searches for “content marketing” have increased 150% in the past two years. 90% of companies now use content marketing, and collectively they will spent $135 million on digital marketing content this year.

7 steps to an optimized content marketing strategy

Image credit: Intergage

Yet marketers still have many questions about content marketing strategy and tactics. How do you create a content marketing strategy? What role does visual content play? How should success be measured? Is there too much content being produced?

Find the answers to those questions and more here in 22 noteworthy content marketing guides. While some of these posts date back the beginning of 2014, all remain relevant and useful.

10 Things You Must Know About Your Audience! by The Marketing Nut
***** 5 STARS

Pam MooreWriting that “You must know who your audience is, who you are and how you can help them solve problems. It’s only after you have this foundational knowledge that you can determine your social strategy and approach for building your social media plan,” frequent best-of honoree Pam Moore offers a free audience analysis worksheet and suggests 10 key questions to ask when developing content plans, starting with questions to identify your audience and key pain points and concluding with the emotional reasons customers buy from you.

How to measure content marketing success by iMedia Connection

Michael EstrinMichael Estrin shares half a dozen insights on effectively measuring content marketing success, such as “business goals still matter” (views and engagement are nice, but is your audience following through by taking a targeted action?) and while numbers matter, so does quality (content “will fail if it doesn’t align with a larger strategy”).

Optimize Content Marketing Strategy in 7 Steps by Business2Community

Angela HausmanAngela Hausman expounds on an infographic which illustrates “how to optimize content marketing strategy” in seven steps, starting with setting goals and conducting research, and progressing through promoting your content and analyzing results (“Use the KPI’s created earlier to monitor your performance. Keep doing things that work and tweak things that DON’T work or get rid of them”).

what is awesome content and why do you need it? by bowden2bowden blog

Randy BowdenRandy Bowden outlines a four-step process for creating awesome client, from identifying and getting to know your audience (“In order to capture the attention of your readers, you need to know how to capture their attention. In order to know how to capture their attention, you need to get to know them“) to including a call to action in the conclusion of your content.

The 5 biggest myths about content marketing by iMedia Connection

Tom ForanTom Foran debunks “five of the most common myths and (tries) to set the record straight for marketers.” For example, “Myth No. 2: Creating content is the hard part.” Actually, according to Foran, most of the work is in promotion. “Creating the content first and figuring out where it should go later sounds like a surefire way to waste time and resources. Marketers should instead consider starting with a distribution strategy that answers…key questions.”

12 Most Innovative Ways to Create Content That Gets Shared by 12 Most

Rebekah RadiceRebekah Radice offers a dozen tips for “creating compelling content that engages your audience and inspires them to share that content,” from analyzing competitors and knowing your ideal reader (starting with a customer persona) through sharing success stories, sharing newsworthy content, and building an email list.

Surviving “Content Shock” and the Impending Content Marketing Collapse by Copyblogger

Sonia SimoneWhile acknowledging that “there is too much of some types of content,” the brilliant and prolific Sonia Simone makes the case that despite the deluge of online content today, content marketing is far from dead, as “There is no glut of quality content…we are a long way from the day when too much high-quality, Rainmaker-style content is being created…there is not a glut of content that is useful, passionate, individual, and interesting.”

What You Absolutely Need To Know About Content Marketing by The B Squared Media Blog

Brooke BallardBrooke Ballard explains three “must-knows” about content marketing, starting with “Content Marketing Always Starts With A Strategy…everything starts with a ‘why.’ Why are we creating this blog post / eBook / status update? What do we want people to do with this piece of content; what’s the purpose?” Each point also includes several “things to consider,” such as “Can you repurpose old content for use in the future?”

Content Marketing Editorial Calendar Template by The Marketing Nut

Pam Moore (again) offers practical, actionable guidance on how to organize and create a content marketing editorial calendar, complete with a downloadable template and all of the elements that should be part of the calendar (from weekly and monthly themes through primary keywords and categories to supporting media and syndication.

Will The Content Marketing Trends Continue? It Depends On Proving Your ROI by Forbes

Benjy BoxerAfter sharing some compelling statistics–“the content marketing industry (has) grown to a $44 billion industry…93% of B2B brands and 90% of B2C brands are now using content marketing to educate consumers about their brands. (Yet) despite the overwhelming interest in content marketing, 55% of B2B content marketers think their campaigns are ineffective”—Benjy Boxer contends that content marketing efforts need to show ROI, and provides an example worksheet.

The 3 C’s of Successful Content Marketing by iMedia Connection

Nate HolmesNate Holmes outlines the “3C’s” of content marketing execution, starting with create [italix]: “Creating quality content is the heart of content marketing. Relevant, valuable content is what will make your audience stop to think and behave differently…There must be a purpose to content creation; a goal…Understand who your audience is and what they want to know…Offer what no one else can.”

5 Content Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2014 by Web Content Blog

Gazalla GayaFor the most part, these predictions from Gazalla Gaya will hold true for 2015 as well. For each trend here, she also lists several helpful related ideas for content marketing success, among them “Create a definite social media strategy in place to promote your blog posts, whitepapers, case studies and seminars” and “Outline a strategy that works for different devices.”

10 Reasons Visual Content will Dominate 2014 by Advanced Lead Generation Marketing Blog

James SchererJames Scherer outlines 10 reasons to incorporate videos and images into content marketing efforts, including both stats you’ve likely seen before (e.g., “videos on landing pages increase average page conversion rates by 86%) and a few you may not have (“67% of consumers consider clear, detailed images to carry more weight than product information or customer ratings”).

Peak Content: When Does Content Marketing Hit Its Breaking Point? by HubSpot

Drew WilliamsDrew Williams presents the concept of the “engagement ladder,” which helps map marketing content to all phases of the buying decision process, from solution education (such as analyst reports or industry studies) through vendor education and vendor consideration to decision support (e.g., an offer of an assessment or ROI calculator).

31 Content Marketing Ideas that Will Revolutionize Your Business by Marketo Content Marketing Blog

Joe PulizziJoe Pulizzi (who knows just a bit about content marketing) shares a “list of 31 ideas and thoughts, which I believe will make an immediate impact on your content marketing, even if you only execute a few,” such as launching content marketing projects together with partners; keeping your social media influencer list up to date; and setting up editorial calendars for each of your key markets or products.

Content Marketing in 2014: Are You Prepared? by HubSpot

Kieran FlanaganKieran Flanagan writes that content marketing has largely replaced link building as a primary SEO tactic, then explores processes for proving the value of content, scaling content, and promoting content: “When it comes to distribution, marketers need to focus on increasing the size of their available audience (by increasing their blog readership, email lists, and number of social followers), but also increasing the number of distribution channels they have,” coordinating promotion efforts across all of the channels in the web presence optimization (WPO) model.

The 3 Goals For Your Content Marketing by B2B Marketing Insider

Michael BrennerGiven that buyers now complete 60-70% of their purchase process before contacting a vendor sales rep, Michael Brenner believes it’s critical to reach buyers through content marketing, and that all content marketing programs should be based on the same three fundamental goals, starting with reach: “reach measures can be criticized as vanity metrics. But it’s important to be building a healthy audience of the right people and to track those measures over time.”

3 Types of Schema Markup Content Marketers Should Know by Small Business Trends

Ann SmartyObserving that “It’s harder and harder to get above-the-fold Google rankings, especially for the competitive queries,” frequent best-of honoree Ann Smarty delves into how Schema markup works, and three types that content marketers should be aware of: VideoObject schema, Review schema, and Article schema.

7 Ways to Boost SEO Results for Your Video Content Marketing by B2B PR Sense Blog

Oren SmithNoting that “71% of businesses across a variety of industries have increased company funding for online video marketing budgets,” Oren Smith looks at more than half a dozen ways to improve video SEO, such as targeting the right keywords and using supporting images and text: “images, links, and accompanying text all assist search engines with determining page quality. In a ranking sense, a page with nothing but video content on it isn’t attractive.”

5 Ways to Create A Better Content Strategy in 2014 by unbounce

Tommy WalkerWritten a year ago but still timely, Tommy Walker shares his five-step process to make “content more strategic, efficient and powerful,” starting with creating “content for a small group of real people” and progressing through fleshing out a content calendar, complete with examples.

The Future of Content: Upcoming Trends in 2014 by Moz

Stephanie ChangIn another older but still relevant post, Stephanie Chang delves into four key content marketing trends, including “Determining the key metrics to measure content’s success will be more important,” an exploration of the varied metrics available for determining success and which are most valuable.

Want to be a Better Content Marketer? Think Like a Journalist by Blue Kite Marketing

Laura ClickAfter showcasing an example from her alma mater’s journalism school, Laura Click writes “companies that are doing brand journalism well aren’t just throwing a blog on their website. They are creating an entirely new destination for readers that looks less like a corporate website and more like a news magazine. This gives companies the opportunity to be the go-to resource in their industry.” She then serves up six practical tips for thinking like a journalist.

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104 Fascinating Social Media and Marketing Statistics for 2014 (and 2015)

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Looking at marketing surveys and studies from the past year, a few trends are clear, among them that buyers are firmly (and increasingly) in control of the purchase cycle. They prefer searching to being found, and will often be close to their final decision point before talking to a salesperson.

Marketing Trends 2014 - 2015In response, marketers are producing an increasing amount and variety of content to support all stages of the decision process. They’re distributing and promoting this content through all channels in the web presence optimization (WPO) model, to maximize their opportunities to be “found” online when buyers are looking.

And although digital is taking an increasing share of marketing budgets, the move to online is paradoxically making some old-school tactics even more valuable.

What do buyers say is the most important signal of vendor credibility? What type of content is most effective? What do marketers rate as the single most valuable SEO tactic? What are the top barriers to adopting social business practices?

Find the answers to these questions and many others in more than 100 social and online marketing stats from 20+ different sources.

9 General Marketing Stats

1. People want to be in control of the content they receive:

  • • 86% of people skip TV commercials.
  • • 44% of direct mail is never opened.
  • • 91% of people have unsubscribed from company emails they previously opted into.

(NewsCred)

2. 72% of marketers think branded content is more effective than advertising in a magazine; 69% say it is superior to direct mail and PR. (NewsCred)

3. Nearly half (46%) of people say a website’s design is their number one criterion for determining the credibility of a company. (NewsCred)

4. 71% of companies planned to increase their digital marketing budgets this year, by an average of 27%. (Econsultancy)

5. 67 percent of marketers say increasing sales directly attributable to digital marketing campaigns is a top priority this year. (Forbes)

6. Internet advertising will make up 25% of the entire ad market in 2015. (Social Fresh)

7. Despite all the hype about online, 67% of B2B content marketers consider event marketing to be their most effective strategy. (Social Fresh)

8. Videos on landing pages increase conversions by 86%. (Social Fresh)

9. As one would suspect, Facebook is the most popular method for sharing interesting content. Surprisingly though, the fifth-most popular sharing method is offline (print) shares. (Heidi Cohen)

5 Online Demographics Stats

10. The Google+ platform has 67 percent male users. (Rocket Post)

11. There are 76 million millennials (born between 1981 and 2000) in the U.S. — 27% of the total population. (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)

12. 63% of millennials have at least a bachelors degree. (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)

13. 63% of millennials say they stay updated on brands through social networks; 51% say social opinions influence their purchase decisions; and 46% “count on social media” when buying online.  (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)

14. 89% of 18-29 year-olds are active on social media, as are 43% of adults 65 and older. (Jeff Bullas)

13 Content Marketing Stats

15. B2B content matters. 57% of a typical purchase decision is made before a customer even talks to a supplier. (Corporate Executive Board)

16. By 2020, customers will manage 85 percent of their relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human. (Target Marketing)

17. Not all content has to be original. 48% of marketers curate noteworthy content from third-party sources weekly (this post is an example). (Design & Promote)

18. 62% of companies outsource their content marketing. (Iconsive)

19. $118 billion was spend on content marketing last year. (NewsCred)

20. 70% of consumers say they prefer getting to know a company via articles rather than ads. (NewsCred)

21. 90% of organizations market with content. 86% of B2C marketers and 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing. (NewsCred)

22. Or maybe 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing. (Iconsive)

23. And yet…54% of brands don’t have an onsite, dedicated content director. (NewsCred)

24. There are 27 million pieces of content shared each day. (NewsCred)

25. Companies will spend $135 billion on digital marketing collateral this year. (Social Fresh)

26. Customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating for content marketing at 89%. (Social Fresh)

27. 17% of marketers plan to increase efforts on SlideShare this year. (Forbes)

7 Blogging Stats

28. 34% of Fortune 500 companies now maintain active blogs – the largest share since 2008. (Forbes)

29. Each month, 329 million people read blogs. (NewsCred)

30. 37% of marketers say blogs are the most valuable content type for marketing. (NewsCred)

31. Companies that publish new blog posts 15+ times per month (3-4 posts per week) generate five times more traffic than companies that don’t blog at all. (NewsCred)

32. 17% of marketers plan to increase blogging efforts this year. (Forbes)

33. Blogging increases web traffic by 55% for brands. (Rocket Post)

34. B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads than those without blogs. (Social Fresh)

7 Visual and Video Marketing Stats

35. Pinterest grabs 41% of the ecommerce traffic compared to Facebook’s 37%. Food is the top category of content on Pinterest with 57% of its user base sharing food-related content. (Rocket Post)

36. 16% of marketers plan to increase efforts on Pinterest this year. (Forbes)

37. The use of video content for marketing increased 73% this year; use of infographics grew 51%. (Digital Marketing Philippines)

38. Articles with images get 94% more views than those without. (NewsCred)

39. Posts with videos attract three times as many inbound links as plain text posts. (NewsCred)

40. 62% of marketers use video in their content marketing. (NewsCred)

41. Two-thirds of firms plan to increase spending on video marketing in the coming year. (Heidi Cohen)

5 SEO Stats

42. 81% of B2B purchase cycles start with web search, and 90% of buyers say when they are ready to buy, “they’ll find you.” (Earnest Agency)

43. More than half (53%) of marketers rank content creation as the single most effective SEO tactic. (NewsCred)

44. 57% of B2B marketers say SEO has the biggest impact on lead generation. (NewsCred)

45. Organic search leads have a 14.6% close rate, compared to 1.7% for outbound marketing leads. (NewsCred)

46. 33% of clicks from organic search results go to the top listing on Google. (Social Fresh)

15 Social Media Marketing Stats

47. 85% of B2B buyers believe companies should present information via social networks. (Iconsive)

48. And yet – only 20% of CMOs leverage social networks to engage with customers. (Marketing Land)

49. Marketers will spend $8.3 billion on social media advertising in 2015. (NewsCred)

50. “Interesting content” is one of the top three reasons people follow brands on social media. (NewsCred)

51. 87% of B2B marketers use social media to distribute content. (NewsCred)

52. 17% of marketers plan to increase podcasting efforts this year. (Forbes)

53. As consumer use of social media for brand comments and complaints continues to increase, brands are having a hard time keeping up. Only about 20% of consumer comments generate brand responses, and the average response time is over 11 hours. (eMarketer)

54. Nearly three-quarters of US marketers believe customer response management on digital channels is important (so…25% think it’s okay to ignore consumers?); however, just one-third say their company does a good job at this. (eMarketer)

55. Social media marketing budgets are projected to double over the next five years (Social Fresh)

56. 66% of marketers claim that social indirectly impacts their business performance but only 9%t claim that it can be directly linked to revenue. (Forbes)

57. Over 70% of US online adults use some form of social media networking. (Heidi Cohen)

58. 72% of all internet users are now active on social media. (Jeff Bullas)

59. The top two barriers impeding adoption of social business within organizations are lack of overall strategy and competing priorities. Just 11% of marketers cite legal or regulatory concerns. (i-SCOOP)

60. 78% of companies now say they have dedicated social media teams, up from 67% in 2012. (i-SCOOP)

61. By department, companies most often have dedicated social media staff (not surprisingly) in marketing (73%), communications/PR (66%) and customer support (40%). At the other end of the scale are legal (9%) and market research (8%). (i-SCOOP)

7 Facebook Marketing stats

62. Facebook accounts for 15.8% of total time spent on the Internet. (Rocket Post)

63. 71% of online adults use Facebook. 63% of Facebook users visit daily and 40% visit multiple times per day. (Heidi Cohen)

64. More than a third (36%) of online adults use only one social networking site. Of these, 83% use Facebook. 8% use LinkedIn. (Heidi Cohen)

65. One million web pages are accessed using the “Login with Facebook” feature. (Jeff Bullas)

66. Nearly a quarter (232%) of Facebook users login at least five times per day. (Jeff Bullas)

67. 47% of Americans say Facebook is their #1 influencer of purchases. (Jeff Bullas)

68. 70% of marketers used Facebook to gain new customers. (Jeff Bullas)

3 LinkedIn Marketing Stats

69. LinkedIn is the top social network for B2B marketing (not a shock). 83% of marketers say they prefer to use LinkedIn for distributing B2B content, and more than half of vendors say they have generated sales through LinkedIn. (Real Business Rescue)

70. The average time spent on LinkedIn per month is 17 minutes. (Rocket Post)

71. 91 of the Fortune 100 companies use LinkedIn for candidate searches. (Rocket Post)

7 Twitter Marketing Stats

72. The average time per month spent by users on Twitter is 170 minutes. (Rocket Post)

73. Only about half of the people who log in to Twitter once a month are actually taking the time to tweet. The rest are lurkers. (Rocket Post)

74. Ironically, the most-followed brand on Twitter is…Facebook, with more than 13 million followers. Google is #3. (AllTwitter)

75. eBay is the most engaging brand on Twitter. Starbucks is the fourth-most-engaging, and also has the fourth highest number of followers of any major brand. (AllTwitter)

76. Not a shock: retailers and restaurants are the most engaging industries on Twtitter. Surprising: apparel brands are the least engaging. (AllTwitter)

77. Twitter now has over 550 million registered users, and 215 million active monthly users. (Jeff Bullas)

78. 34% of marketers use Twitter to successfully generate leads. (Jeff Bullas)

3 Google+ Stats

79. 18% of marketers plan to increase efforts on Google+ this year. (Forbes)

80. There are now over 1 billion Google+ accounts, and that figure is growing 33% per year. (Jeff Bullas)

81. Google+ has 359 million monthly active users.  (Jeff Bullas)

13 Email Marketing Stats

82. There are nine times as many marketing emails sent each year as direct mail pieces delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. (Mark the Marketer)

83. Email marketing delivers the highest ROI (about $44 per dollar spent, on average) of any digital marketing tactic. SEO is #2. Banner ads have the lowest ROI. (Mark the Marketer)

84. 66% of consumers have made a purchase online as a result of an e-mail marketing message. (Mark the Marketer)

85. Email subject lines matter. Really. 64% of people say they open an e-mail because of the subject line. (Mark the Marketer)

86. Personalized subject lines are 22.2% more likely to be opened. For B2C emails, the words “Alert,” “New,” “News,” “Bulletin,” “Sale,” “Video,” “Daily,” or “Weekly” (though not “Monthly”) all increase open and click-through rates. (Mark the Marketer)

87. For B2B companies, subject lines that contained “money,” “revenue,” and “profit” performed the best. (Mark the Marketer)

88. Timing is important too. 76% of e-mail opens occur in the first two days after an e-mail is sent. E-mail open rates are noticeably lower on weekends than on weekdays. (Mark the Marketer)

89. Only 8% of companies and agencies have an e-mail marketing team.  E-mail marketing responsibilities usually fall on one person as a part of her wider range of marketing responsibilities. (Mark the Marketer)

90. 72% of B2B buyers are most likely to share useful content via e-mail. (Mark the Marketer)

91. Still, the average click-through rate for B2B marketing e-mails is just 1.7%. (Mark the Marketer)

92. Emails with social sharing buttons increase click-through rates by 158%. (Social Fresh)

93. 64 percent of marketers say increasing email click-throughs and open rates is among their top priorities this year. (Forbes)

94. 67 percent of marketers say that email is ke3y for attracting and engaging prospects, and the best path to increase marketing ROI. (Forbes)

10 Mobile Marketing Stats

95. 94% of CMOs plan to use mobile applications within the next 3-5 years. (Marketing Land)

96. 75% of smartphone owners watch videos on their phones; 26% at least once per day. (NewsCred)

97. Over half of all mobile searches lead to a purchase. (Rocket Post)

98. 78% of Facebook users are mobile-only. (Rocket Post)

99. E-mail is the most popular activity on smartphones among users ages 18-44. (Mark the Marketer)

100. 64% of decision-makers read their e-mail via mobile devices. (Mark the Marketer)

101. Almost half–48%–of all emails are opened on mobile devices. Yet 39% of marketers say they have no strategy for mobile email, and only 11% of e-mails are optimized for mobile.  (Mark the Marketer)

102. Mobile is the channel of choice for keep relationships with existing customers alive because it cuts through the clutter of email and social. (Forbes)

103. 71% of users access social media from a mobile device. (Jeff Bullas)

104. 50% of millennials use their smartphones to research products or services while shopping, and 41% have made purchases using their phones. (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)

 

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14 Key Takeaways from the B2B Content Marketing Report

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

The 2014 B2B Content Marketing Report is out, and no doubt will spur a number of blog posts. As usual, this year’s findings are a mix of the obvious (lead generation is the top goal of content marketing – as it has been for the last 10,000 years or so) and the somewhat surprising. For example, having a documented strategy makes companies much more successful–but only 30% of firms have a formally documented content strategy. And content marketing ROI remains difficult to measure.

2014 B2B Content Marketing ReportHere are more than a dozen noteworthy findings from the report.

1. Current customers may be under-valued. As noted above, lead generation is the top goal (59%) of content marketers; no surprise there. However, just 17% of survey respondents identified “Customer loyalty/retention” as a goal. Yet existing customers can be a company’s most effective and valuable advocates.

2. Content marketing is not about revenue. Just 16% of respondents said revenue generation was a top goal. Not surprising, as it’s never been easy to tie most marketing activities directly to dollars in. There are simply too many variables in the equation: price, product features, sales processes and skills, and the fact it takes multiple brand exposures (you’ve likely heard of the advertising rule of seven) before a prospect will buy.

Those seven (or eight, or 12) brand exposures can come through a variety of channels—industry news sites, social networks, blogs, online ads, analyst reports, search—which is why content development forms the base of a web presence optimization strategy.

3. Having a documented content marketing strategy is vital. Companies with a documented strategy are three times as likely as those without to describe their content marketing as “very” or “extremely” effective–and only one-third as likely to say they are “not sure” of its effectiveness.

4. Strategy means money… Nearly two-thirds (64%) of companies that have a documented content marketing strategy also have a dedicated content marketing budget. But just 14% of companies without a documented strategy have a dedicated budget for content creation and distribution.

5. …though often not enough money… Despite the importance of content marketing, 43% of companies devote less than 20% of their total marketing budget to content creation and distribution. More than a quarter spend 10% or less. Just 10% spend in the ideal range of 25-30%. On the other hand, more than three-quarters (77%) of marketers plan to increase spending on content production in the next 12 months.

6. …and strategy (often) includes automation. More than two-thirds (69%) of companies that have a documented content marketing strategy also use marketing automation. But just 42% of firms without a written strategy use such tools.

7. Content marketing starts with blogging. Blogging is the most commonly used content marketing format, with nearly two-thirds of survey respondents maintaining blogs. Rounding out the top five tactics are:

  • • Social media (64%)
  • • Case studies (64%)
  • • White papers (55%)
  • • Press releases (51%)

On the other hand, webinars/webcasts are used by less than half of b2b marketers. And less than 10% report using tactics like branded apps, podcasts, printed books, or games.

8. The C-suite is asking for metrics… Consistent with recent years, the top two content marketing challenges remain a lack of time/resources to create content, and the inability to create enough content variety and volume. However, this year’s report notes, “Measuring the effectiveness of content marketing has risen from the number six spot last year (28%) to number four (38%) reflecting increasing pressure to demonstrate results and justify investment in content marketing.”

Responding to those demands will require CMOs and marketing leaders to investigate a new class of tools designed to measure multi-channel web and competitive metrics, rather that relying on point solutions (social media monitoring, web metrics) that provide limited, siloed views.

9. …but ROI measurement remains elusive. Just 39% of marketers believe they are “at least somewhat successful at tracking content marketing ROI.” Yet as noted above, there is increasing pressure to provide such measurement. Closing this gap will require marketers to embrace a new breed of metrics to support improved marketing decision making.

10. The connections aren’t always clear. Not surprisingly, the top metrics used to measure content marketing success are website traffic (63%) and downloads / conversions (59%). More surprisingly though, just a third of marketers identify “social media sharing” or “SEO / search engine ranking” as key metrics—even though these are vital in supporting those top two metrics.

And just 19% cited “inbound links” as key metric, despite the fact that link earning through content marketing is essential to maintaining strong organic search presence in the post-Penguin world.

11. Outside talent can help. As noted above, most marketers say they are resource-constrained in producing enough volume or variety of content. Yet more than half (53%) rely on corporate marketing for content production. 36% depend on internal subject matter experts (SMEs, who have content knowledge, but not format knowledge) and just 30% on external agencies or consultants (the flipside of internal SMEs, with expertise in format but not product or service knowledge).

Connecting external resources with internal SMEs enables companies to produce more high-value content with less corporate or product marketing effort. And yet—25% of marketers don’t outsource any content creation, and less than 1-in-5 (19%) outsource half or more of all content development.

In terms of what types of content creation are outsourced, it’s not surprising that the majority of companies keeping blogging (76%) and case study writing (78%) in-house. But it is surprising that less than a quarter of marketers outsource the production of content formats requiring specialized skills, such as white papers, videos, and infographics.

12. Outside sources can help, too. 92% of companies create content internally (no surprise). But just 38% report that they “curate or syndicate third-party content.” An ideal content marketing strategy should contain a mix of internally and externally produced content, both to maximize the value of content to the company’s target audience and make the most efficient use of content development resources.

13. LinkedIn rules, Facebook…not so much. Per the report, “LinkedIn tops the list of the most effective social media platforms to deliver content and engage audiences (82%).” Just 41% of B2B marketers, however, say that Facebook is effective for content delivery. That’s nearly a mirror image of the B2C content marketing world, where 90% of marketers rely on Facebook but just 51% use LinkedIn.

14. Weekly content updates are the norm. 40% of marketers say they publish new content either “weekly” or “multiple times per month” (i.e., roughly weekly). 30% publish just once per month or less,  and 30% publish more than weekly (multiple times per week or daily).

There’s much more, so check out the complete 2014 B2B Content Marketing Report to review all of the findings.

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Nine Practical Guides to Public Speaking and Presentations

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Whether you’re the type of person who eagerly dashes off a proposal for every speaking opportunity that comes your way, or the type who avoids the spotlight as much as possible, public speaking—delivering presentations to our peers, customers, prospects, or other audiences—is a part of virtually every marketing and PR professional’s life. And something most of us could improve at.

Practical Guides to Better PresentationsHow can you get and keep a roomful of people engaged with your presentation? Visually optimize the content you deliver? Effectively use humor? Tell a story that keeps listeners focused on you—instead of checking email on their phones?

Find the answers to those questions and more in these helpful guides from professional speakers. Some date back nearly two years, but all are still relevant and useful.

How To Stand In Front Of A Room Full Of People And Tell A Stellar Story by Fast Company

Jane PorterJane Porter passes along five valuable tips from master storyteller Kevin Allison. Among them: realize you’re never up there alone (think of it as a conversation, not a monologue); decide where you want to end up and work backwards; and vary your pace (“the juicier moments in your story should take up proportionately more room”).

The Science Behind Storytelling — and Why It Matters by The Official SlideShare Blog

Gavin McMahonNoting that Pixar continually tells great stories in its movies, Gavin McMahon shares 22 rules for storytelling from Emma Coats, former story artist at Pixar. He highlights two rules in particular that are essential to telling a great story: tailor your content to the audience, and structure your story (think hook, meat, payoff).

Event Marketing – The One Secret To Killer Events by B2B Marketing Insider

Michael BrennerMichael Brenner writes that the teams behind the best events think in terms of “multi-format, multi-channel and a steady and continuous promotion of great content. The event is seen more like a conversation that continues well before and long after the physical part.” He also shares specific tips from three professional event planners.

15 Presentation & Public Speaking Tips that Rock by Content Marketing Institute

Joe PulizziBased on his extensive experience both delivering and listening to presentations at social media and marketing events, Joe Pulizzi lists 15 helpful tips for better presentations, such as putting your Twitter handle on every slide; walking around; smiling a lot (it’s contagious); and “switching the flow and telling a story every eight minutes.”

7 Tips to Transform Your SlideShares From Good to Great by HubSpot

Erik DevaneyErik Devaney provides advice for content creators on how to avoid getting stuck in the “mediocrity loop” and instead embrace the improvement loop when creating new content. His seven practical recommendations for continually creating better Slideshare decks include choosing the perfect fonts (“a bold, stylized font for headers, and…a simple, easy-to-read font for body text”); using contrasting colors; and placing text legibly on top of images using a semi-transparent overlay.

What You Don’t Know About Speaking by Communication Rebel

Michelle MazurPublic speaking rock star Michelle Mazur shares a video outlining a handful of tips from Darren LaCroix, a past winner of the Toastmasters Superbowl. Among Darren’s recommendations for being a more successful public speaker: let go of the ME mentality – “On that stage when you are focused on the me, you are not focused on the ‘you’ in the audience. It dampens your connection with the audience.”

How To Be Funny: Stand-Up Comic Takes Public Speakers to School by DIY Blogger NET

Dino DoganDino Dogan presents a video interview with speaker, writer and standup comic Brendan Fitzgibbons about how to be funny (rather than intense) when presenting. It’s not easy (at least not for many us), but it is powerful. Brendan recommends starting off by showing vulnerability with some self-deprecating humor.

A 47-Point Guide for First-Time Webinar Success by MarketingProfs

In this timeless piece, Agnieszka Wilinska presents four dozen helpful tips covering all the bases for delivering a successful webinar, from focusing on providing value and setting goals (“If the webinar is designed to produce sales, set your expectations in units and in dollars and cents”) to polling participants, managing and concluding the meeting.

13 Ways to be an Awesome Guest Speaker by SlideShare

Barbara NixonBarbara Nixon shares a baker’s dozen recommendations for delivering as a guest speaker. She recommends starting by learning about the audience and tailoring your presentation for them, as well as creating a presentation with the flexibility to expand or contract the content. She also suggests being prepared for the technology (including the Internet connection) to fail, with a backup plan to keep the show going on.

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