Archive for the ‘Content Marketing’ Category
Despite the occasional “death of blogging” pronouncements (often made, ironically, in blog posts), blogs remain the core of a robust social media strategy. The proliferation of themes, tools and plugins have transformed blogs from mere online text collections to powerful interactive, rich-media sites that can attract, engage and educate your potential buyers.
Particularly with Google’s emphasis in its recent Panda and Penguin algorithm updates on content that is fresh, compelling, unique, social, and naturally linked to, blogs have become even more essential to SEO strategies.
For those who still aren’t convinced of the value of business blogging (as well as those who need to convince others), the “why blog” posts below provide compelling evidence. Those getting started or already active in blogging will discover how to:
- • grow blog traffic,
- • make content more valuable to readers,
- • increase blogging productivity,
- • generate more comments and social shares,
- • find royalty-free images,
- • promote your blog, and
more here in 30 of the best business blogging guides and resources of the past year.
Why You Want To Be the Last Blog Standing by Outspoken Media
Reporting that “the number of Inc. 500 companies maintaining corporate blogs has dropped for the first time since 2007. Did you hear that? IT DROPPED! According to Dartmouth’s research, just 37 percent of companies interviewed said they had a corporate blog, down from 50 percent in 2010,” frequent best-of honoree Lisa Barone advises readers to “let your blog be the last blog standing because while sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn may be effective and sexy all in their own right, they don’t hold a candle to the sexiness and superpowers possessed by your blog,” and backs it up with 10 reasons and tactics to beat your competition through blogging.
Kristina Weis provides a baker’s dozen reasons for creating a corporate blog, from demonstrating your expertise (“If [prospective customers] can easily find some articles written by you and/or your staff that show your company’s expertise, they’re going to feel a lot more confident about spending their time or money [or both] with you”) and increasing website traffic to helping with customer support and generating new product ideas.
Past, Present and Future of Blogging: 3 Infographics by jeffbullas.com
Jeff Bullas shares a wealth of fascinating blogging facts and stats here, such as that 27 of the top 100 blogs are built on WordPress, with 16 on TypePad. 43% of U.S. companies now maintain blogs. And more than half of all social media-driven blog traffic comes from Facebook (28%) and Twitter (26%) combined.
7 Tips for Blogging – Maybe Your Most Important Social Media Activity for Business by SocialSteve’s Blog
Contending that “Everyone always jumps onto Facebook and Twitter as one of their first social media activities. I recommend you think about blogging first. No other endeavor can be better to promote you or your brand as a subject matter expert,” Steve Goldner offers seven tips for blogging success, such as utilizing your passion, speaking (writing) naturally, and posting on a consistent basis.
Dozens of reasons why corporate blogs still matter in B2B marketing by Content Marketing Experience
J-P De Clerck makes a comprehensive case for corporate blogging—as long as it isn’t done the “wrong” way: “It’s traditional PR in a new package: corporate blogs as a way to shout how great they are.” Done right, blogs serve as the hub of a company’s social media strategy, a magnet for search traffic, and an opportunity to speak to prospective customers on a more informal, human level. He points out that 57% of companies with blogs have acquired at least one customer through blogging; that blogs make it easy to share multiple types of information; and that they make it easy (and even inviting) for customers and prospects to provide feedback.
Blogging Tips and Guides
Frequent best-of author Heidi Cohen offers nearly three dozen ideas “to help you efficiently leverage resources in seven of the areas where many bloggers typically need support,” such as content block (one idea: “Answer customer questions…Collect the questions prospects and customers ask from sales and customer service; then answer them”), lack of creative resources, and disappointing blog traffic.
20 Ways to Improve Your Blog by TribalCafe
Reporting that “28% of brands that (didn’t previously) publish a blog (planned) to do so in 2012—bringing the percentage of brands that publish a blog to 85%,” Gary Fox lists 20 ways to attract more readers and generate better business results from blogging, among them using strong visuals, varying blog topics, and making your content SEO-friendly (“focus on a keyword [phrase] for each blog post and try to not venture too far” from it).
5 Tips to Becoming a Top Blog in Your Industry by Social Media Examiner
Michael Stelzner shares a handful of techniques he used to make Social Media Examiner a big success, such as surveying the interests of your audience (“When you know precisely what content your readers crave, it’s much easier to create posts that are widely read and shared on social channels”) and spinning a single hot topic into multiple posts from different perspectives (e.g., a beginner’s guide, biggest myths or misconceptions, case studies, etc.).
Five Tips to Make Company Blogs Worth Reading by Marketing Profs
Muhammad Yasin offers a handful of helpful recommendations for making your company blog a success, including focusing on expert tips: “If you are not an expert yourself in a particular field, find experts and learn from them. See what they are writing about, absorb their knowledge, and share their tips. Better yet, invite those experts to share their knowledge on your blog as guest bloggers. Allowing independent experts to write for your blog can provide a much needed fresh perspective and may result in their recommending your products or services.”
Fixing The Social Media Plateau by Soulati Media
The delightful Jayme Soulati identifies 10 signs that “may be an indication it’s time to step up your game, take it to the next level, and grow or remain complacent” in terms of your social media practices, such as “Learning new things becomes more rare; another 20 ways to use Pinterest blog post isn’t providing new insight over what you know now,” and tips to get un-stuck (e.g., “Reduce the time spent on the channels that don’t return much to you. That way, you’re not spread as thin”).
10 Valuable Ideas to Help You Find Time to Blog by MyBeak Social Media
Writing that “Creating content and finding the time to do it are the biggest obstacles entrepreneurs and small business owners face when marketing their business,” Laura-Lee Walker presents helpful ideas for generating more content in less time, among them inviting guest bloggers, repurposing existing material, and using mobile phone apps like Dragon Dictator: “You don’t have time to write down all your ideas or blog posts…simply use an application…that will translate your voice to text. (They are) not perfect but will give you a head start and reduce the time you spend on typing your blog articles.”
21 Business Blogging Tips From the Pros by Social Media Examiner
The impeccably discerning Cindy King curates an outstanding collection of blogging tips from pros like Leo Widrich (“A product is only useful if you know others want it. Validate an idea for a blog post in the same way”), Heidi Cohen (“Understand prospects, customers and the public are on your blog to get answers to their questions and accomplish their goals, not yours”), and Stephanie Sammons (“Work to develop a blogging style that is unique to you. What’s your angle? What’s your view? How can you differentiate yourself from others who are blogging in your niche?”).
Guest Blogging: Seven Tips for Success by Spin Sucks
PR expert and author Gini Dietrich offers several excellent tips for expanding your reach by publishing guest posts on other influential blogs. My favorite tip is her first, on how to gauge authority (and corresponding effort) of a blog: “Go to Open Site Explorer and type in the URL for the blog for which you’d like to submit content. I’ll do it for Wood Street…You’ll see the site authority is 48/100. If the authority is 40-70, it’s worth pursuing. If it’s higher than 70, you’ll have a tougher time getting your content on the site, so you’ll need to be extremely patient, but persistent. If it’s between 90 and 100, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get something placed there without the help of a communications professional.”
Noting that “the majority of blogs starting every year end up failing,” Wendy Marx offers 16 tips in this infographic to beating the odds, such as “Be consistent: Whether you keep an editorial calendar or not, it’s important to continue to publish content on your blog because that consistency brings in more traffic” (amen!) and (perhaps most importantly), “Have fun with it: Don’t take yourself too seriously. Have fun with the process and enjoy every minute as your grow your audience and build your business.”
Guest post: 7 powerful headline techniques to skyrocket your blog traffic by Creative Ramblings
Reminding us all that “in the online world, your headline is the single most important part of your content…instead of reading every blog post, people scan for information. They look for headlines that capture their interest, and only click on the ones they feel are worthy of their time,” Lillian Leon details seven techniques for crafting headlines that grab attention, including “Fear: Identify the one thing your readers fear the most, and you’ll have yourself a headline that’s pretty much impossible to ignore.”
10 Additional Ideas to Generate Comments and Shares by Spin Sucks
Following up on an earlier post on the same topic, Gini Dietrich (again) offers 10 more ideas to increase engagement on your blog, from writing book reviews and rants to covering the latest trends and answering questions commonly heard by your sales force or customer service reps.
Content Development and Writing Tips
26 Tips for Writing Great Blog Posts by Social Media Examiner
In her own unique and highly creative style, Debbie Hemley presents “26 tips, from A-Z, to help you create optimal blog posts every time you sit down to write,” beginning with A for Anatomically Correct: every blog post should contain the “six parts of the anatomy of a lead-generating blog post” such as an eye-catching title, calls to action, and social sharing buttons.
Peg Fitzpatrick passes along content curation tips from Guy Kawasaki in this post showcasing the top dozen places to find shareworthy content, starting with your own network and including both popular sharing sites (like StumbleUpon and AllTop) and less obvious choices (e.g., Futurity, TED and NPR).
How to find photos you can legally use anywhere by CBS MoneyWatch
Observing that “No matter what you publish — a blog, updates to the company website, project reports, or even the venerable tri-fold — you no doubt need artwork to complement it,” but just haphazardly reusing artwork found online can lead to legal troubles, Dave Johnson recommends two easy methods for finding photos that are usable under the Creative Commons license.
29 Free Blog Images Sources: Where to Get Royalty Free Photos by Directory Journal
***** 5 STARS
In case Dave’s recommendations above don’t quite meet your needs, Gail Gardner provides a massive list of sites where you can find free or reasonably priced images, as well as resources for comparing prices across different image sites, selling your photos, identifying trademarked images, adding images to blog posts, and more.
5 of the Most Important Content & Social Media Tips For A Successful Business Blog by TopRank Online Marketing Blog
Lee Odden writes that “If I were only to give 5 content marketing tips to a company that wanted to get the most for and from its customers through blogging, here are the tips I’d give.” Among his top five tips? Focus on the problems your audience faces—but don’t forget to tell them how you can solve those problems. Create an editorial plan. And measure results to support continual improvement.
How to Differentiate Your Content by Geoff Livingston’s Blog
Geoff Livingston lays out four steps to becoming an “A-list” blogger in your niche subject area. Given Geoff’s success, I won’t argue with his methodology—though it’s not for everyone. But if you’ve got the time, intestinal fortitude and financial backing or wherewithal to pursue his program, go for it.
The Nine Ingredients That Make Great Content by KISSmetrics
Contending that “In order to boost SEO rankings, gain traffic and/or leads, you need to have great content on your blog or website,” Zach Bulygo shares nine tips for producing stand-out content (such as making your content actionable: “The best content gives the user a sense of how to apply the information…Many times, just writing well about a topic will spark some ideas for readers,”) then follows up with half a dozen examples of sites that consistently provide remarkable content.
Blog Promotion Tips and Tactics
6 Tips For Building a High Quality Blog Following by Fearless Competitor
Shane Snow channels Jeff Ogden and Brian Clark in this post, providing “six tips to attracting readers who stick around longer than the click of a StumbleUpon button,” such as speaking to a specific audience, guest blogging and publishing guest bloggers, and encouraging loyalty through consistency: “taking an editorial stand for what you believe in, rather than watering things down to avoid offending anyone. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to try to be controversial. In this day and age, simply taking a position and standing behind it will bring people who agree, and people who don’t.”
Want Your Blog Noticed? (Hint: It’s Not Just Content!) by Heidi Cohen
Heidi Cohen (again) supplies 23 tips for growing awareness of your blog, such as integrating your blog’s brand into related content and activities (“As a media entity, your blog deserves its own brand. If it’s a corporate brand, it should be adapted for the blog”), referencing and linking to sources, and guest blogging.
Want to Increase Blog Traffic? Some Fab Tips for Success by Positively Peggy
The ebullient Peg Fitzpatrick (again) serves up five tips for growing blog traffic, such as sharing your content at optimal times: “Buffer App helps you not only share at the optimal times based on your followers being online but also evenly distributes your amazing content throughout the day so you don’t annoy your followers with a huge spurt of brilliance and then lose them with silence later.”
How Bloggers Can Grow Each Others Readership by The @Steveology Blog
Steve Farnsworth recommends Triberr as a tool for increasing the reach of your blog posts, and explains in detail how Triberr works and how to get the most out of it (e.g., by starting your own tribe, joining other tribes, and “dating around”). While the tool is a great concept and has potential, its ongoing technical issues are frustrating.
How to Effectively Promote Your Blog Posts by MyBeak Social Media
***** 5 STARS
Beyond the big social networks and Triberr, Laura-Lee Walker (again) presents an infographic illustrating 30 ways to promote your blog content using social media, social bookmarking sites (does anyone still use Digg?), your contacts, other blogs, and 10 top syndication sites.
5 ways to promote your blog by commenting on others by Creative Ramblings
Cendrine Marrouat explains why commenting on blogs is beneficial (chief among the rewards: “You get to connect and build relationships with other bloggers”) and how to do it well (e.g., add value to the conversation, share relevant links, and comment regularly on the same blogs).
30 Ways to Promote Your Blog Posts by Listly
***** 5 STARS
Ted Rubin shares a bookmark-worthy list of tactics for sharing and promoting blog posts, including Facebook (“Add it on your personal & business pages, groups and through ads”), Pinterest (“Create a board specifically for all your blog posts and pin each post to it”) and through AllTop.com (“syndicates content in every category, from autos and food to business and sports”).
HubSpot last week released its 2013 State of Inbound Marketing report, this year weighing in at a massive 175 pages. But as always, the report is crammed with useful facts, interesting stats, and vital tips, tools and techniques for inbound marketing success.
Given the report’s heft, no blog post (of any reasonable length) could it justice as a summary, but here are a sampling of the highlights. To get the full story, download the HubSpot report here.
Inbound marketing (a subset of though not to be confused with web presence optimization) is big, and growing.
- • 60% of companies will execute some form of inbound marketing strategies in 2013 (and that’s likely understated; another 19% of marketers weren’t sure if certain tactics they use qualify as “inbound”).
- • Companies spend, on average, about a third of overall marketing budgets on inbound tactics.
- • For the third straight year, nearly half of marketers plan to increase spending on inbound marketing activities in the coming 12 months.
And it works:
- • According to the report, “inbound delivers 54% more leads into the marketing funnel than traditional outbound leads.”
- • 82% of marketers who blog see positive ROI for their inbound marketing.
- • Inbound marketers double the average site conversion rate of non-inbound marketers, from 6% to 12% total.
Inbound marketing teams tend to be small—but realize the need to grow in order to scale.
- • Even at the enterprise level, 31% of marketing teams contain five or fewer full-time employees.
- • While marketing teams will begin 2013 with an average five or fewer people, most will at least double by the end of the year.
- • Inbound marketers plan to hire an average of 9.3 people this year, which is 125% more growth than teams not executing inbound marketing.
The report is careful in how it defines “inbound marketing,” noting that “Inbound marketing is not a channel or a technology, it’s a strategy” (much like web presence optimization, or WPO) and further stating that:
“While it’s easy to explain why direct mail and PPC banner ads are ‘outbound,’ it is more complicated to define more flexible online strategies as purely inbound versus outbound. At HubSpot, we see the distinguishing factor as how people are using a specific channel more than the definition of the channel itself.”
This further distinguishes WPO from inbound marketing, as tactics like media relations, SEM and banner ads are elements of the WPO framework (because they are key elements of overall online brand visibility) but would not be considered part of inbound marketing.
But the report also notes that despite its widespread and increasing adoption, “Executives and sales functions not quite buying in to inbound marketing…only 17% of sales teams and 11% of company executives lend their full support to inbound marketing efforts.” If inbound marketing truly is a “customer-centric” approach to the market as the report also contends, one would expect these numbers to increase in coming years. To encourage this shift, marketers will need to be able to tie their efforts to strategic business objectives (like market share and brand loyalty) beyond just lead generation.
There more—much more—in the report, covering topics ranging from ROI, metrics, and testing, to inbound marketing tools and tactics. The new HubSpot report is must-reading for anyone who needs to justify market-driven digital strategies, understand what competitors and peers are doing, and gain insights on how to generate more leads, of higher quality, at least cost than with traditional interruptive marketing methods.
Content marketing represents the most fundamental and widespread rethinking of marketing practices in decades. Unlike other modifiers attached to the discipline (consumer marketing, b2b marketing, trade show marketing, digital marketing), the term “content marketing” doesn’t describe an audience, tactic, or channel, but rather a completely different approach to marketing.
Content marketing turns the dominant paradigm of the last half-century—interruption-based mass marketing—on its head. Rather than interrupting prospective customers with content they generally didn’t want (product pitches) while they were consuming content they did (entertainment or news), content marketing entices targeted buyers with entertaining (consumer) or informative (b2b) content that also happens to reflect the company’s brand messages or product/service strengths.
Disruptive as it is, this philosophical shift has spread widely and quickly: according to recent research, “86 percent of companies serving consumers and 92 percent of ‘business to business’ companies now use content marketing.”
Since content marketing itself is no longer a differentiator, practitioners are asking questions like: how can I efficiently create a steady stream of fresh, relevant content? What types of content are most valuable to my sales prospects? How can content be optimized to support search engine optimization (SEO) efforts? What metrics are most helpful in measuring success and support continual improvement?
Discover the answers to these questions and many more here in more than 30 of the best content marketing articles and blog posts of the past year.
Content Marketing Guides, Tips and Tactics
5 Ways to Clone Great Social Media Content by SteamFeed
Helpfully pointing out that “You likely already have strong content on hand (either on-line somewhere or even stuck in a file cabinet in your office.) Instead of developing new stuff from scratch, riff on/reuse this stockpile of awesomesauce and use it more strategically,” Jennifer Kane proposes a handful of techniques to get more mileage out of existing content, such as “Drill down or spiral off on your content themes…if a piece of your preexisting content has resonated with your audience, consider using it as source material for a more in-depth examination of the topic or to jump off on a sub-topic tangent that will enable you to expand the perception your audience has of your brand.”
Digital Natives: How They Are Changing the Content Marketing Game by Content Marketing Institute
Patricia Redsicker presents six strategies content marketers need to embrace in order to address the information needs and wants of digital natives–those born “between the mid-1970s and the late 1990s, (who) have grown up during our current golden age of digital technology. Now in their mid-teens to mid-thirties, people in this generation came of age knowing how to interact with technology and are comfortable using it to their advantage.” Among her recommendations are focusing on content that builds trust, that efficiently answers simple questions quickly, and that makes content consumers feel valued.
Corporate Content Marketing for Best in Class Results by Creative Marketing Channel
Noting that “Best in class companies utilize content marketing for brand awareness, customer acquisition, lead generation, and customer retention” and that most companies plan to increase budgets in this area, Catherine Lockey answers six key questions about content marketing, such as “How do best in class companies create all of their great content?” The answer to that one is outsourcing; roughly half of all small companies and three-quarters of large firms outsource at least a portion of their content creation efforts.
Seeking Marketing Alpha by Propel Growth Blog
Though the panel discussion this post was written to promote is long past, the thoughts about content marketing shared here by Candyce Edelen are still well worth a read. “The Internet and email make it easier and cheaper to make noise, resulting in a virtual cacophony of marketing claims barraging customers every day – with everyone claiming to be ‘the leading, number-one, unique, value-added, trusted provider’ of ‘robust, innovative, cutting-edge, high-performance, ultra low-latency technology….’ Yawn. How can every vendor be the ‘leading provider’ anyway?”
Content Marketing in 6 Steps by Social Media Today
Steven Van Belleghem lays out “the 6 crucial steps to take in order to end up with a good content strategy,” starting with topic selection (determining what’s at the intersection of your company’s unique internal expertise and the information needs/wants of your market) and proceeding through measuring marketing performance (based on the content marketing objectives you’ve established).
Long Live Content Marketing by Rebelations
Rebel Brown offers practical guidance on how to avoid self-promotion and salesy content that “will send your audiences running” and instead focus on providing value: “For example, let’s say your audience is challenged by performance problems with their applications. Don’t send them a piece of content all about your faster processor, database, system or whatever. That’s obnoxious and pretty blatant self-promotion! Instead, share a piece of content about the key aspects of their infrastructure that they might want to check for problems. Share your expertise to guide them through the process to better understand their issues.”
5 CEO-Worthy Metrics for Demonstrating Inbound Marketing Success by Marketo B2B Marketing Blog
Jon Miller outlines five key inbound marketing metrics to measure and continually improve content marketing success, such as lead generation by content and channel: “Beyond core organic traffic and leads, track lead generation by content asset and source. What sources are driving the most traffic? What kinds of content drive the most leads? The most revenue? It can also be insightful to track how these vary by product line or business unit.”
Noting that two of the biggest challenges content marketers face are “producing sufficient content” and “having enough budget to cover the cost of content,” Heidi Cohen has compiled almost two dozen recommendations for developing content cost-effectively, from repurposing speeches delivered by company executives and soliciting employee contributions to reworking content from your distributors and suppliers.
What Tech Buyers Want From Content by Marketing Interactions
Ardath Albee reveals three key attributes that technology buyers value in marketing content, including freshness: “58% (of technology buyers in a UBM TechWeb survey) said they wanted content that was timely and current (while) only 11% said they’d consider content more than 18 moths old.” If you’ve got older content that is still relevant to buyers, refresh it to keep it current with the state of your industry.
Don’t Forget the ‘Marketing’ in Content Marketing by The Content Cocktail
Christina Pappas shares a seven-step checklist for making sure that your content contributes to company goals, without being too pushy or salesy, among them “Make sure there is an offer or connection to your product in every piece of content…every piece of content you publish should have some tie-back to your company and the solutions you provide to the market. This doesn’t have to be obvious and it doesn’t have to be smothered all over the thing, but it should be there somewhere,” such as links to white papers or other related assets at the end of a blog post or report.
Exploring the Five Cs of Content Marketing at Cisco by IT Services Marketing Association
Sherri Liebo identifies the “5 Cs” that Cisco Services looks at to better listen to customers when creating and sharing marketing content, including Customers (“What are customers looking for?”), Competition (“What is the competition doing? How does Cisco Services compare?”) and Collaborators (“What is happening with our channel and strategic partners?”).
Research: B2B Buyers Want Content by Social Marketing Forum
J-P De Clerck summarizes findings from Base One’s Buyersphere Survey regarding the content needs of business buyers. While the study focused on Europe, its findings are more broadly applicable, such as that “87% of…buyers look for advice before buying…The first source when doing so: Web searches. With 71% of respondents who look for information, searches are by far the main source of information.” Among other findings:
- • Business buyers are most active in sharing content on forums, LinkedIn and blogs;
- • Younger members of the buying team are most likely to read white papers and blogs, and attend webinars; and
- • Buyers “who are working in IT were more likely to have downloaded whitepapers (36%) or read blogs (28%)” than those in other industries.
J-P has also launched a blog, Content Marketing Experience, focused exclusively on content marketing issues and guidance. His post Five Reasons No One Shares Your Content is spot on and well worth a read.
Content Marketing: 3 tips for how to get started by MarketingSherpa
Daniel Burstein dispels three myths than hold content marketers back or prevent them from getting the support they need within the organization, such as “‘We don’t want to give away our secrets.’
If you can’t give potential customers enough information about how you do what you do (whether that is fixing plumbing leaks or improving marketing performance), then why should they trust you with their business?” And McDonald’s “secret sauce” is (shhhh)…Thousand Island dressing.
4 secrets to successful content marketing by iMedia Connection
Writing that “the digital world allows us to measure just about anything, including three factors that help marketers gauge the success of their content: click-through rates, time spent on content, and shares via social media,” Jacqueline McDermott Lisk outlines strategies for producing high-quality content that will both improve these statistics and drive business results.
Because not all “leads” are ready to turn immediately into buyers, Shelley Pringle outlines a four-step process for converting those leads into customers over time. The process starts with understanding your prospects’ buying cycle and creating content for the top, middle and bottom of the sales funnel.
Marty Weintraub presents “11 timeless content creation examples that have always worked,” among them demystifying myths (“Nearly every sales process is up against some level of customers’ misconceptions and other informational obstacles. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and address these sales impediments head on”), covering industry events in real time, excerpting white papers (a great content idea), and interviewing industry experts.
Content Marketing and SEO
10 Reasons Why You Need an Optimized Content Strategy Now by iMedia Connection
Krista LaRiviere, CEO of web presence optimization software vendor gShift Labs, explains how recent Google algorithm changes (including more emphasis on social signals, the clampdown on low-value backlinks, the Google +1 button, and freshness updates) now make optimized, user-focused content more important than ever for search rankings.
How to create search friendly content by Bing Blogs
This post explains how to create optimized content more efficiently by creating a template or repeatable process for content development, and presents seven tips for discovering tinely topics to write about, incorporating keywords, using hooks to capture readers’ attention, and more.
Noting that “From an SEO viewpoint, the interest in great content is to attract links, where as a lot of what Google is looking to eliminate are examples of where content is used to build links”—particularly in the wake of its Panda and Penguin updates—Kieran Flanagan steps through an approach that puts business objectives first, with links and shares tracked but not viewed as the primary goal.
Infographics, Images and Video
5 Content Marketing Ideas Worth Stealing by jeffbullas.com
Jeff Bullas recommends five content marketing techniques for obtaining and retaining the attention of your prospective buyers by going beyond text: “Sometimes you need some inspiration and you need to try some new ideas and different media that may provide a nudge to try something different and creative outside your comfort zone…Images and photos are much more likely to be shared than an article or a white paper. Videos or infographics will be shared at high velocity compared the the humble ‘written word’ that have been with us for millenia.”
Infographics can be great for generating re-posts and inbound linke—if done properly. Slavik Volinsky explains what works (e.g., start with a great idea and great distribution plan: “To create a great distribution plan, approach your industry’s ‘big minds’ and ask for their feedback with full intention of listening & improving the infographic”) and what doesn’t.
The History of Content Marketing [Infographic] – Corporate Storytelling is Not New by Content Marketing Institute
Content marketing guru Joe Pulizzi presents a fascinating history of content marketing, from cave paintings and 19th-century “customer magazines” through the emergence of corporate blogs, business video, microsites, and the proliferation of content marketing sites, books and resources.
Content Marketing and SEO: The world doesn’t need another blog post by MarketingSherpa
Advising marketers to “focus on the message, not the medium” Daniel Burstein (again) offers half a dozen suggestions for taking content beyond blog posts and white papers, like creating a mobile app or a useful online tool “Like the ESPinator from ClickMail Marketing, which helps email marketers choose an ESP that helps them best fit their needs.”
The future of content marketing by iMedia Connection
Rebecca Lieb reports on research showing that larger, more sophisticated content marketers are gradually “lessening their dependence on text-based channels” and focusing more on video and images. Interestingly, she also notes that “Search, email, blogging, digital PR, and even (brace yourself) advertising have, and will continue to have a place at the table as content marketing grows in importance,” or in other words, that web presence optimization will get more attention.
7 Rules For Writing Awesome Content by Small Business Trends
Lisa Barone presents seven writing rules to help in crafting content that will inspire customers to act, including telling stories (“If you want to improve your writing, stop lecturing to people and to start telling them stories”); experimenting (“Improve your writing by experimenting with new mediums [videos, infographics, contests, polls, Twitter chats] instead of getting caught in the same pattern of content”); and to avoid generic messages, “write as if you’re writing to one reader.”
Is Content Marketing The New Advertising? by Forbes
***** 5 STARS
Michael Brenner shares a highly bookmark-worthy infographic that positions 16 different content formats along the dimensions of attention required from the audience and ease of implementation. For example, social media generally requires little attention from the audience (being very short form), and also little effort, while something like an app, telecast or interactive game is at the other end of the spectrum on both dimensions.
How You Can Use Infographics to Tell a Story by Social Media Club
Mireille Massue offers six steps for creating a compelling infographic (such as making it sharable by submitting it to Infographic Directories); nine resources to learn more about infographics; and (of course), an infographic outlining eight steps to create an infographic.
The 6 Best Slideshare Decks on Content Marketing by B2B Marketing Insider
Michel Brenner (again) passes along half a dozen noteworthy slide decks about content marketing, from experts like Rand Fishkin, Joe Pulizzi, and Rebecca Lieb and Charlene Li, whose Winning Content Strategies presentation notes that “77% of Internet users do not engage with online advertising. A shift from ‘push’ to ‘pull’ marketing is imperative to brand survival.”
Expert Copywriting Tips
Harvard Lesson: Verbs Beat Adjectives by Neuromarketing
Roger Dooley, commenting on one of the toughest sales jobs of all—”selling” yourself to Harvard Business School, where nine out of 10 applicants are rejected—concludes that verbs sell more powerfully than adjectives. Verbs persuade more effectively because they “require actual examples of the behaviors or characteristics in question…These specifics will increase the credibility of the copy, in addition to providing more information than when the adjective-driven shortcut is taken.”
Using Great Storytelling To Grow Your Business by Fast Company
Former McKinsey consultant Kaihan Krippendorff outlines two approaches for producing more compelling content (or presentations): using LOTS (“language of the senses…When telling a story, share with us what you see, smell, feel, taste, and hear. When you trigger a sense in someone, you bring them into the story with you”) and building on your story spine–a structured approach to use in opening a presentation or throughout a longer document.
25-point Web copy checklist: How to write for Google by Success Works
***** 5 STARS
Heather Lloyd-Martin provides a remarkable checklist for creating content that will appeal to human readers and search engines alike, from starting with a customer persona and keyword/topic research to crafting a compelling title and meta description to effectively “sell the click” to searchers.
Copywriting: How to improve headlines on landing pages and blog posts by MarketingSherpa
Adam T. Sutton, noting that “people are busy. You need to write a headline that convinces them to ignore distractions and pay attention,” outlines four attributes of value to consider when crafting headlines along with five tips for writing attention-grabbing headlines, such as front-loading (start with the most valuable phrase, e.g. “Get Paid to Take Online Surveys” is a much better headline than “We Can Help You Get Paid to Take Online Surveys”).
Write the Best Titles for Content Marketing: A 10-Point Checklist by Content Marketing Institute
Roger C. Parker recommends 10 questions to ask when writing headlines, such as “Does your title clearly promise a desired benefit?,” “Did you emphasize your intended readers in your title?” (for example, “C. J. Hayden’s ‘Get Clients Now: A 28-day Marketing Program for Professionals, Coaches, & Consultants’ targets readers by occupation”), and “Does your title include the keywords readers use searching for information online?.”
With 92% of companies now incorporating social media into their marketing efforts, it’s no longer sufficient to just “be there” on social networks. Today’s most effective marketers are optimizing content across channels, coordinating search and social marketing activities with traditional PR, and measuring their web presence and performance with sophistication.
The first step to improving digital marketing results is to understand the emerging trends and best practices. This post, along with 79 Remarkable Social Media Marketing Facts and Statistics for 2012 and 87 More Vital Social Media Marketing Facts and Stats for 2012 previously published here, provide a solid foundation for that understanding.
What do buyers really want from social media marketers? What’s the key to generating more inbound marketing leads? What is the source of the largest share of social traffic to websites? (It’s not what you almost certainly think.)
Find the answers to these questions and many, many more here in over 100 engaging and intriguing social, search, content, inbound, email, mobile and other marketing stats and facts from the past few months.
25 Social Media Facts and Statistics
1. While 76% of marketers believe “they know what their consumers want” in terms of social media content and interaction, only 34% have actually asked those buyers. (e-Strategy Trends)
2. At least on the B2C side, there is a disconnect between what marketers think consumers think is important and what consumers actually value. Marketers believe the highest consumer priorities on social media are insights for buying decisions (59%) and customer service (58%). Consumers actually place the highest value on deals and promotions (83%) and rewards programs (70%). (e-Strategy Trends)
3. B2B buyers are most likely to share useful vendor content via email (79%), followed by LinkedIn (53%), Twitter (39%) and Facebook (18%). (Earnest Agency)
4. While three-quarters of marketers consider measurement of social media impact important, 70% say that measuring those results is difficult. (Marketing Charts)
5. 79% of marketers measure website traffic from social media, and 68% track engagement metrics on social networks, but just 26% measure the relationship of social media activity to leads and sales. (Marketing Charts)
6. Just 4% of marketers said their companies were “very effective” at measuring social marketing in 2012. While 47% felt somewhat good at social measurement in 2011, just 38% said the same in 2012. “Nearly half of respondents (47%) feel they or their companies are either not very good at social marketing measurement, or do not measure well at all.” (Marketing Charts)
7. Ever feel frustrated and less productive than you’d like to be at work, even though you’re working hard and putting in a ton of hours? There’s a reason for that! Interruptions (like email and social media) are messing us up. Consider:
- • The typical worker is interrupted once every 28 minutes on average.
- • 28% of the average work day is spent on interruptions and recovery time.
- • 45% of workers believe they are expected to work on too many things at once.
- • And tasks done in parallel take on average 30% longer to complete than those performed in a sequence.
8. Everyone knows women vastly outnumber men on Pinterest, but how about on other social networks? Women make up the larger share of users on Facebook (58% to 42%) and are a slightly larger share on Twitter (52% to 48%) while men are the predominate users of LinkedIn (63% to 37%) and Google+ (71% to 29%). Furthermore, half of all Google+ users are under 25 years old. (iMedia Connection)
9. Social CRM is still confusing. Only 16% of companies say they currently have a social CRM system in place. 21% plan to implement such a system in the coming year, but another 17% “don’t know what a social CRM system is and why businesses need it.” (Convince & Convert)
10. Only a quarter of all U.S. small businesses (20-99 employees) and a third of midsized companies say they use social media “to engage with customers and prospects in a strategic and structured way.” Another 20% of both groups say they use social media, but in an ad hoc manner. (eMarketer)
11. Despite growing interest in the concept of social business, less than 20% of U.S. companies have integrated social media with their customer service, sales, or product development processes. (eMarketer)
12. Worldwide, 86% of companies have a presence on Facebook and Twitter, while just over half use YouTube and Linked and only slightly more than a third have a presence on Pinterest and/or Google+. (eMarketer)
13. More than 80% of small to midsized businesses (SMBs) plan to increase their use of social media in 2013. Not suprising, considering that 87% of SMBs say that social media has helped them either somewhat or a great deal in th past year. Of those using this channel, social media accounts for 32% of SMB marketing activities. (Marketing Charts)
14. Okay, so most marketers have now embraced social media. But why? 84% of marketers say they use social media to “reach customers at multiple touchpoints,” while 62% want to reach customers where they spend time and 56% say that “customers expect them to be on social media.” (Marketing Charts)
15. Still, not every small business should be using social media—or at least not using it as they are currently. 79% of small business owners on Twitter post just once per day or even less frequently, yet one out of three want to spend less time on social media. These business owners would be best advised to either spend their time on other tactics or hire someone who knows and enjoys social media to interact on their businesses’ behalf. No deposit, no return. (Leaders West)
16. Social media may be good for 99 things, but lead generation ain’t one of them. According to research from MarketingSherpa, just 12% of marketers rate social media as “very effective” for lead gen while 27% say it is “not effective.” The only tactic that fares worse is print advertising (9% very effective vs. 30% not effective). (B2B Lead Blog)
17. Which social network sends the largest share of website traffic? The answer is…unknown. Literally. The well-known social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit account for, combined, on average, less than half of all social traffic. The majority (as much as 70%) is “dark social”—links shared through email or instant messaging that generally get lumped in with “direct” traffic in analytics programs like Google Analytics. (The Atlantic)
18. The most popular social media sites for distributing B2B content are LinkedIn (used by 83% of B2B marketers), Twitter (80%) and Facebook (also 80%). After that, it falls off sharply; 61% use YouTube, 39% are on Google+, 26% utilize Pinterest (really?) and 23% share content on SlideShare. (MarketingProfs)
19. Using social media boosts website traffic: companies gain a 185% lift in Web traffic after achieving 1,000 Facebook likes, and businesses with 51 to 100 Twitter followers generate 106% more traffic than those with 25 or fewer followers. (MarketingProfs)
20. 92% of U.S. companies now use social media in their marketing efforts. (Heidi Cohen)
21. Different social media channels serve different purposes. Blogging is generally seen as most valuable for SEO, YouTube for content marketing, and social networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn most helpful for branding and engagement. (Heidi Cohen)
22. Globally, eight different social networks have now reached the 100 million user mark. Three of those (Weibo, the fourth-largest social nework, RenRen at #5 and Badoo at #7) are primarily used by non-English speakers. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
23. The average user spends nearly seven hours per month on Facebook, but just 21 minutes on Twitter, 17 on LinkedIn, and only three minutes on Google+. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
24. Social media now accounts for 18% of all time spent online, and the average American spends 6.9 hours per month on social networking. But we are spending less time on the phone, sending/reading email, and watching TV than we did just a few years ago. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
25. One-third of CEOs fail to consider their compananies’ social media reputation when making business decisions. (The Backup List)
12 WPO, Inbound and Content Marketing Stats
26. Leads from inbound marketing cost on average 61% less ($135 vs. $346) than outbound marketing leads. (Earnest Agency)
27. Though it varies across industries, of course, 24% of overall marketing spending last year was on digital/online marketing. Social media and SEO together account for 70% of that spending. (iMedia Connection)
28. Blogging generally gets the largest share of inbound marketing budgets, followed by social media, SEO (if calculated separately from blogging) and PPC advertising. Most outbound marketing spend is on telemarketing, followed by direct mail and trade shows. (iMedia Connection)
29. 57% of companies say they generated sales through their blogs, and an identical share have closed business through LinkedIn. 48% have generated customers through Twitter and 42% through Facebook. (iMedia Connection)
30. Why web presence optimization metrics are vital: half of marketers say tightening integration between social media and traditional marketing is a key goal for 2013, yet nearly a third identify that as one of their top social marketing challenges, and a whopping 57% way measuring social ROI is a challenge. (Convince & Convert)
31. 9 out of 10 marketers say they measure social presence (e.g., number of followers and fans) and social media-driven website traffic, but only about half measure share of voice and sentiment. (Convince & Convert)
32. Need more evidence that measuring social media ROI is hard? While about 90% of all companies do some form of social media marketing, just one out of eight measure the revenue impact directly from social media. (eMarketer)
33. The two biggest challenges faced by B2B content marketers are producing enough content (cited by 29% of marketers) and producing the kind of content that engages (18). Only 2% of marketers say that finding trained content marketing professionals is a big challenge. (MarketingProfs)
34. More content = more leads. On average, companies “with 51-100 web pages generate 48% more traffic than companies with 1-50 pages.” What’s interesting though is the differential is larges for very small companies (those with less than 10 employees), likely because larger companies make greater use of lead gen tactics like tradeshows, webinars and video. (Polaris B)
35. Lots more content = lots more leads. Companies with 101-200 web pages generate 2.5x more leads than those with 50 or fewer pages. More landing pages and more blog posts also mean more leads. On average, companies that have published 200 or more total blog posts generate 5X as much traffic as those with 10 posts or fewer. (Polaris B)
36. Inbound marketing leads cost on average 62% less than outbound-generated leads, and the “big three” inbound channels—blogs, social media and SEO—all cost less on average than any outbound channel. (Polaris B)
37. The financial services (75%), insurance (50%) and software (50%) industries are the most advanced when it comes to having separate content marketing strategies for each channel through which they distribute content. Companies in these industries are also the most likely to have formal content marketing editorial calendars. The automotive (14%) and banking sectors (14%) were the least likely to have separate strategies in place. (MediaPost)
8 SEO Stats and Facts
38. SEO has the biggest impact on lead generation for B2B companies. 59% of B2B marketers say SEO has the biggest impact on their lead gen goals, followed by social media (21%) and pay per click (20%). Not surprisingly, 98% of B2B marketers plan to maintain or increase SEO budgets next year. (Marketing Charts)
39. SEO also has the biggest impact on B2C lead gen. 49% of B2C marketers rank SEO tops for impact on lead generation, followed by pay per click (26%) and social media (25%). (Marketing Charts)
40. Agencies do SEO better. 21% of marketers who work with agencies on SEO report being highly satisfied with their program performance, compared with 11% of those who do SEO in-house. (Marketing Charts)
41. 78% of Internet users say they use the web for product research, and almost half (46%) of all searches on the average day for information on products and services (iMedia Connection)
42. Search is as popular as ever, but the percentage of searches actually done on search engines declined slightly in 2012 (by about 1%). More searches are taking place on websites (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, and on Amazon.com, which is the top destination for product search). Still, organic search on search engines drive 50% of all referring traffic, compared to less than 8% for social media. (MediaPost)
43. SEO is rated as the most effective lead generation tactic, with 34% of marketers calling it “very effective” while just 7% say it is not effective. The next-most-effective lead gen tactics are paid search (32% vs. 9%) and webinars (30% to 6%). (B2B Lead Blog)
44. Demand for SEO skills has never been greater. SEO job postings on job board indeed.com increased 1900% last year and people with ‘SEO’ in their LinkedIn profile have increased by 112%. Still, few SEO jobs pay six figures. (Conductor Blog)
45. The largest number of SEO job openings are in New York and San Francisco, with Boston at #5, Austin at #11 and my own Minneapolis at #12. (Conductor Blog)
3 SEM Facts
46. Think AdWords isn’t important? For “commercial” searches on Google, actual organic links can take up less than 20% of the screen real estate and links. (Founder’s Blog)
47. Agencies do SEM better. 20% of respondents working with agencies for PPC report being highly satisfied with their program’s performance, compared to 15% who manage pay-per-click programs in-house. (Marketing Charts).
48. Search (paid and organic) is a leading driver of new customer sales, while email matters most for repeat business. Social media isn’t a significant driver of either type of sale, though of course it is vital for support SEO, brand image (which leads to higher PPC click-through rates) and customer service. (Marketing Pilgrim)
3 Email Marketing Stats
49. There are 62 billion emails sent every day. The average worker receives 112 emails and spends 28 of his or her time on email each day. (Visual.ly)
50. Email is the most common lead gen tactic, used by 81% of marketers. (MarketingSherpa)
51. SEO drives traffic, but email drives conversions. While 43% of marketers say that organic search drives the greatest volume of traffic to their websites, only 29% say that traffic converts at the highest rate. On the other hand, though just 22% cite email as their largest web traffic generator, 25% say those visits convert at the highest rate. (MarketingSherpa)
7 Business Blogging Stats and Facts
52. Just 139 of the Fortune 500 corporations maintain public-facing blogs, only 29 more than in 2009. (e-Strategy Trends)
53. Only 185 of the Inc. 500 (fastest-growing companies) had a blog in 2011, down from 250 firms in 2010, despite the fact that 92% of all companies with blogs say it has been successful for their business. (e-Strategy Trends)
54. Meanwhile, 55% of small businesses have a blog. (Leaders West)
55. On average, companies that publish 15 or more blog articles per month generate five times more Web traffic than companies that don’t blog at all, and those that blog 9-15 times per month generate three times more traffic than companies that don’t maintain blogs. (MarketingProfs)
56. Companies that publish new blog posts just 1-2 times per month generate 70% more leads than companies that don’t blog at all. (MarketingProfs)
57. 57% of companies that blog have acquired a customer through their blogs. (Polaris B)
58. Blogs are the core of social media marketing. Among companies that use social media in their marketing efforts, 59% rank their company blog as critical or important to their business, higher than any other social sharing site or network. (Heidi Cohen)
8 Facebook Facts and Statistics
59. There are one billion posts per day made on Facebook. The average user spends nearly 7 hours per month on the social networking site, and one out of every five pageviews on the Internet is on…Facebook. (Visual.ly)
60. Three out of four American moms use Facebook. (iMedia Connection)
61. Facebook accounts for one out of every five pageviews on the Internet. It’s used by more than half of all people in North America, more than a third of all citizens in Australia and New Zealand, and more than a quarter of the population in Europe. (iMedia Connection)
62. Of Facebook’s one billion-plus users, 57% access the site at least occasionally from mobile devices. The most popular operating systems for mobile Facebook access are iOS (26%) and Android (21%). (Jeff Bullas)
63. Among Facebook marketers, 64% have used Facebook Events to inform fans about online or offline events, making this a far more widespread tool than display ads and targeted posts. (Marketing Charts)
64. 90% of small businesses are on Facebook, and roughly two-thirds post more than once per week. (Leaders West)
65. All of the Ad Age Top 100 Advertisers have now established Facebook pages for their brands. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
66. Facebook grew 18% in 2012 and accounted for more than half of all social content sharing. (AddThis Blog)
6 Twitter Stats
67. There are 400 million tweets per day on Twitter. A million new Twitter accounts are opened each day. The average user spends nearly and hour and a half on the site each month. (Visual.ly)
68. Twitter now has more than 500 million users worldwide, including more than 100 million in the U.S. Twitter’s second-largest user base is in Brazil. (Jeff Bullas)
69. Almost two-thirds (64%) of Twitter access is via Twitter.com (web access), while 16% of use is mobile and 10% is via Twitter clients like HootSuite and TweetDeck. (Jeff Bullas)
70. What’s the most popular marketing tactic on Twitter? 30% of marketers report using hashtags tied to specific campaigns, while 26% use Promoted Tweets. (Marketing Charts)
71. Twitter grew 55% in 2012 and accounted for 15% of all social content sharing. (AddThis Blog)
72. 42% of companies have acquired at least one customer through Twitter. (Polaris B)
6 LinkedIn Facts
73. LinkedIn has more than 150 million users, but less than 20% have reached the level of having 500 or more first-degree connections, and only 8% are using the paid premium version. (Jeff Bullas)
74. Also, only 51% of LinkedIn users have “complete” profiles, and just 52% spend two hours or more per week on the site. (Jeff Bullas)
75. The most popular use of LinkedIn is for researching people and companies (77%). Other popular uses include building relationships with industry influencers (50%), finding job opportunities (38%) and increasing brand recognition in the marketplace (37%). Just 28% of companies say they have generated identifiable business opportunities on the site. (Jeff Bullas)
76. The most popular marketing tactics on LinkedIn are the use of LinkedIn groups (cited by 33% of marketers) followed distantly by InMail messaging (14%), LinkedIn Events (13%) and LinkedIn ads (10%). (Marketing Charts)
77. LinkedIn is the most powerful social site for driving B2B sales. Pinterest is most valuable for driving B2C business. (Heidi Cohen)
78. Want to connect with top-level executives? 26% of Fortune 500 CEOs are on LinkedIn. Less than 8% are on Facebook. o% use Pinterest. (Heidi Cohen)
3 Google+ Statistics
79. Google+ has more than 400 million users, with 100 million accessing the site each month. The typical user is a male in his late 20s with a technical position or background. (Jeff Bullas)
80. Google+ users tend to be more technical than Facebook users. The top three brands on Google+ are Android, Mashable, and Chrome; on Facebook, the three most popular brands are Coca-Cola, Disney, and Starbucks. (Jeff Bullas)
81. 12 of the top 15 interest categories on Pinterest are related to commerce, including jewelry and accessories (#1), flowers and gifts (#2), food (#4), books (#7), travel (#8), apparel (#11), home furnishings (#14) and toys (#15). (Jeff Bullas)
3 Pinterest Facts
82. Mothers are 61% more likely to use Pinterest than the average American. Pinterest ranks as the #1 “family and lifestyle site” for moms – ahead of Disney Online. (iMedia Connection)
83. Pinterest’s user base is 79% female, and Apple-centric. The iPad is the most device for mobile access (55%), while an additional 17% of mobile access is through the iPhone. (Jeff Bullas)
84. Pinterest grew an astounding 379,599% in 2012. The biggest driver of growth was pins of food photos. (AddThis Blog)
6 B2B Marketing Facts and Stats
85. 9 out of 10 B2B buyers say when they are ready to make a purchase, they will find a vendor. 81% use search, 59% look for peer recommendations, and 41% read content from “thought leaders.” (Earnest Agency)
86. For purchases over $10,000, 70% of buyers review four or more pieces of content before making a decision. (That actually sounds quite low, doesn’t it?) The most popular type of content: white papers, read by 88% of buyers. (Earnest Agency)
87. Traditional marketing tactics are not dead. 74% of B2B marketers rate direct mail as very effective, while 72% say the same about live events and 71% call email marketing critical. (Earnest Agency)
88. 75% of B2B marketers use SEO for lead generation. 72% utilize social media, and 54% have embraced content marketing, while just 15% of marketers say they are using mobile marketing. (MarketingSherpa)
89. B2B marketers are spending more on content marketing. “On average, B2B content marketers are spending 33% of their marketing budgets on content marketing (in 2012), up from 26% (in 2011, and) 54% plan to increase content marketing spending next year.” (MarketingProfs)
90. The most popular B2B content marketing tactics are the use of social media other than blogs (used by 87% of B2B marketers), articles on their own websites (83%), eNewsletters (78%) and blogs (77%), followed by case studies, videos and externally published articles, all at about 70%. On the other end of the scale is gamification, used by just 11% of B2B marketers. (MarketingProfs)
3 Video Marketing Statistics
91. 75% of senior executives watch videos on business sites every week. 65% go on to visit a vendor’s website after watching a video. (Earnest Agency)
92. 71% of American Internet users watch online videos; 28% do so on a daily basis. (iMedia Connection)
93. YouTube is the world’s second largest social media site, with 800 million unique monthly visitors, and the second largest search engine. (Heidi Cohen)
6 Mobile Marketing Stats and Facts
94. Of the four billion mobile phones in use globally, more than a quarter (27%) are smartphones. Half of all local searches are performed on mobile devices. (iMedia Connection)
95. The top online uses of mobile phones are gaming (61% of users do this), checking the weather (55%), maps and search (50%) and social networking (49%). (iMedia Connection)
96. Despite the growing popularity of local mobile search and social activity, only 3% of U.S. small businesses use geolocation services. (eMarketer)
97. Mobile marketing is “becoming mainstream” for small to midsized businesses (SMBs). 18% said they were “very likely” and 31% “somewhat likely” to incorporate mobile elements in their advertising and marketing efforts to reach potential customers in the coming year. Meanwhile, 7 in 10 plan to either maintain or increase spending in this area (Marketing Charts)
98. Is mobile marketing effective for lead generation? The jury is still out. In a recent survey, 15% of marketers rated mobile marketing as “very effective” for lead gen while an identical share said mobile is not effective. (B2B Lead Blog)
99. 30% of all the time spent on mobile device use is on social networks. (MediaPost)
And Finally, 3 Other Miscellaneous Online Marketing Stats
100. While 45% of all B2B businesses have now implemented some type of marketing automation software, less than 20% of SMBs have done so. However, smaller companies that have embraced marketing process automation are nearly 50% more likely to report revenue growth above plan than those that haven’t. (MediaPost)
101. Half of all employed people in the U.S. have been with their current employer for less than five years. The average tenure for all employees is 4.6 years. Professionals in architecture and engineering (7 years) and management (6.3 years) tend to have the longest tenures, while occupations with the shortest tenures include food service (2.3 years) and sales (3.4 years). (westXdesigns)
102. Social media crisis management in crisis? More than 10% of companies report they will not take any action to respond to a damaging article or social media post. Worse, less than two-thirds of B2C executives and just 43% of B2B leaders even believe their companies could respond to a negative post within 24 hours. (The Backup List)
With more than 80% of b2b and high-value consumer purchasing decisions now starting with online research, content marketing is hot. Consider:
Buyers want content. According to J-P De Clerck, “87% of surveyed buyers look for advice before buying a product, service or solution. The first source when doing so: Web searches. With 71% of respondents who look for information, searches are by far the main source of information. Search and content are by definition very integrated.”
Marketers are producing more content. Recent research from MarketingProfs found:
- • On average, B2B content marketers are spending 33% of their marketing budgets on content marketing, up from 26% last year.
- • 54% plan to increase content marketing spending next year.
- • All content tactics are being used more frequently than they were last year, with the use of research reports, videos, and mobile content having increased the most.
Content is replacing advertising. Writing in Forbes, Michael Brenner explains how content (which buyers seek out) is more valuable than advertising (which many buyers ignore or even try to avoid): “Great content and engaging stories help your company’s content get found and get shared. When great content is shared, commented on or liked, it is no longer your content alone. It is their content. And user-generated content is trusted more than advertising or promotion.”
As content proliferates, standing out becomes more difficult. It requires originality, deep understanding of customer needs and motivations, and the cultivation of a network to share and amplify it. But most fundamentally, it has to flow well, to follow the basic rules of spelling, punctuation and grammar.
Faced with an overwhelming array of choices, buyers first prune their lists of any obvious “no” options. Vendors can be excluded out of hand for many possible reasons: their prices are too high, they lack expertise in the buyer’s industry, their products are missing critical features, or…their content is sloppy. It’s similar to a human resources manager reviewing a hundred resumes for a single open position: those with spelling, punctuation or grammatical errors get tossed in the first review cycle.
Though marketing content can come in a wide variety of forms—text, video, podcasts, infographics, animation—virtually all content starts with writing. Poor writing leads to ineffective content; content that doesn’t get shared, doesn’t get ranked, doesn’t get (widely) read, and doesn’t compel action.
So, the basis of producing interesting, shareable, actionable content is solid writing. To help make your content “must read” rather than “just toss,” avoid these xx unfortunate, grating and all-too-common writing mistakes.
1. “A lot of.” Granted, there are times when it’s okay to use this phrase (and a lot of people would agree with that), but in general, it’s abused. Avoid unless it’s really the best fit in context. It’s informal and imprecise, e.g., “a lot of marketers are embracing content marketing.” That’s true, but not helpful. Is 100 “a lot” of marketers? Is 72%? Or better yet, 72% of b2b marketers in small to midsized companies?
2. “Things.” Ugh. This is bad—rarely do we write about “things.” Features, attributes, concepts, attitudes, perspectives, capabilities, options, topics, specifications, qualities, and benefits yes, but “things” no. This is particularly awful when combined with #1 above. Which is better? “A lot of things make XYZ software stand out” or “Several unique features make XYZ software stand out.”
3. “Good.” Double ugh. This is one of the most overused words in the English language, despite a wealth of superior and more precise synonyms. A “good” meal may be delicious, tasty, scrumptious, satisfying, delightful, lip-smacking, or even extraordinary. A “good” writer may be brilliant, skilled, creative, original, capable, expert, talented, accomplished, prodigious, adroit, adept, widely published, often-quoted…you get the idea.
4. Misuse of “over” vs. “more than.” This one is somewhat subjective and tricky, but one general rule of thumb is to use “more than” before numbers and “over” before units, e.g., “We got more than 12 inches of snow” but “we got over a foot of snow.” Grammar Girl does an excellent job of describing the subtleties in this word choice:
“The AP Stylebook encourages you to look at your particular sentence and then pick whichever phrase sounds best…You always want to evaluate your phrasing for each specific sentence you’re writing…The AP guide suggests that ‘She is over 30′ sounds better than ‘She is more than 30.’ The AP’s second example is ‘Their salaries went up more than $20 a week.’ I do think it would sound odd to say ‘Their salaries went up over $20 a week.’ I would definitely pick ‘more than’ in that sentence. If you choose to agree with the majority of the style pros and use more than and over interchangeably, always read over your work and make sure the phrase you’ve chosen sounds right in your particular sentence…There’s ‘more than one opinion’ about this. I do think it would have sounded odd if I’d said, ‘There’s over one opinion.’ Don’t you agree?”
5. Misuse of hard / difficult / challenging. As the Oxford English Dictionary makes clear, as with “over” and “more than” above, the use of “hard,” “difficult” and “challenging” is subjective and depends to a degree upon author preference and which word sounds best in a given context. There are no hard and fast rules (though one would never speak of “difficult and fast” or “challenging and fast” rules).
Generally, “hard” is used with physical actions (e.g., “it’s hard to move a pile of rocks by hand”), “difficult” implies trickiness (“maneuvering a large boat through a narrow waterway is difficult”) and “challenging” is used in intellectual and sporting situations (“it’s challenging to out-coach Bill Belichick”). Ultimately though, this word choice requires judgment; it can be hard, difficult or challenging to select the right word at times.
6. Misuse or non-use of adjectives. Too often, writers skip needed adjectives or use fluffy, pointless descriptors in place of meaningful words. “XYZ provides the best service in the industry” is an example of both sins. First, “best” in this case is worthless puffery. Now, if XYZ won a Best Customer Service award from a recognized organization, then by all means, let people know! Otherwise, skip the self aggrandizement.
Second, the sentence above begs the question: the best what service? Dental service? Excavation service? Software implementation service? Prospective customers actually search for phrases like those, so including the most specific adjective is essential for search optimization. But no visitor worth attracting ever searches for “the best service.”
7. Incorrect subject/verb agreement. Skilled writers knows what this means. See the problem?
8. Improper use of single vs. double quotation marks. “Quotes are always set within double quotation marks.” Single quotation marks are used only for quotes within quotes, e.g., as Chris Smith wrote, “in my interview with Pat Jones, Pat insisted ‘Capable writers understand the proper use of quotation marks.’ I think that’s true.”
9. Mistaking your vs. you’re. This is elementary English, yet it’s disturbing how often the wrong term is used in place of the other. “Your” is possessive, “you’re” is a contraction for “you are.” You’re going to look like an idiot if your writing includes this mistake.
10. Improper hyphenation. Hyphenation is another practice that’s not that difficult but nevertheless often done wrong. Hyphenate terms when using them as adjectives (“she’s attending a high-level meeting”) but not when using them at nouns (“he is performing at a high level”).
11. Mixing first-, second-, and third-person voice. No writer should mix voices, writing from different perspectives within one piece. We don’t often use first-person voice on this blog. You should be consistent in your writing.
12. Using passive vs active voice. Is it improper for one to employ the passive voice, needlessly adding words to a sentence? Yes, so use the active voice.
13. Incorrectly spelling out (or not spelling out) numbers. Spell out numbers less than 10 (one, two, three) but use numerals for larger numbers (39, 139, 1,339, etc.).
14. Getting “you and me” vs. “you and I” wrong. This is another area of common confusion that should be easy. When in doubt, leave out the “you” and then see whether “I” or “me” fits the sentence. “You and I should go to the park” is correct because “I should go to the park” is correct. “She sent it to you and me” is right because otherwise she would have sent it to me, not sent it to I.
15. Improper use of “who” vs. “whom.” So many people find this situation so confusing that the use of “whom” is rapidly disappearing. Shame though, as it’s a perfectly fine word, and the rules for using “whom” vs. “who” are in general no more complex than those for the proper use of “you and me” versus “you and I” above.
In this case, determine whether the sentence in question would make more sense using he/she versus him/her. For example, “To whom should I mail this?” (I should mail it to him.) “Who will sign for the package?” (She will sign for it.)
16. The unnecessary use of “that.” Unnecessary “that”—let me assure you that we don’t make this mistake. Necessary “that”—we don’t use this word improperly because that would be annoying.
17. Repetitive word usage. Consider the following two examples:
Facebook is on a roll. Facebook now has more than one billion users. It’s hard to imagine any competitor overtaking Facebook.
Facebook is on a roll. The world’s largest social network now has more than one billion users. It’s hard to imagine any competitor overtaking Mark Zuckerberg’s creation.
Synonyms are a writer’s (and reader’s) friend. Use them. Sometimes it requires a bit of creativity, other times it’s as simple as checking thesaurus.com, which should be a prominent bookmark in every writer’s browser.
Proper writing alone won’t win every battle for business or search engine rank, but shoddy, sloppily produced clients will often guarantee a loss. Avoiding the sometimes simple but too-common mistakes above is a baseline for content marketing success.
For an expanded and far more amusing list of common writing mistakes to avoid, check out How to Write Good. Among their words of wisdom:
- • Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
- • If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be by rereading and editing.
- • And always be sure to finish what