Archive for the ‘Social Media Marketing’ Category
While content certainly doesn’t always end up as written words on a screen or page, it almost always starts with writing. Not just articles and blog posts, but video storyboards, podcast scripts, and infographic creative briefs rely on effective writing.
There’s no question that attention-grabbing headlines are vital to standing out in a sea of content, but what are the best techniques for crafting them? What are the secrets to getting and holding a reader’s attention? With all of the recent changes to search engine algorithms, what are today’s best practices for writing content that appeals to both human readers and search engines?
Find the answers to those questions and more here in seven noteworthy copywriting guides from seven content experts.
Tips for Headlines and Copywriting
How to Create Viral Worthy Content Every Time by Assist Social Media
Pauline Magnusson outlines three key principles for writing compelling, share-worthy copy, including “Be bold. While I’m getting tired of the saying, ‘go big or go home,’ there’s something to be said for the willingness to make an audacious claim online, if you have research, experience, or a well reasoned opinion to back it up.”
Jayson DeMers explains how to use the principals of journalism to write compelling brand content, such as writing a “show-stopping headline” and a great lead-in to the story: “Your piece’s introduction needs to grab your reader by the brain or by the heart strings and not let go until the last word.”
5 Back-to-Basics Principles for B2B Storytelling by velocidi
Christopher Stella shares five principles for crafting B2B stories, among them making your customer the hero (“Showcase your customer’s success, and how your services empowered them to make an impact”) and knowing your role (“You’re not the hero of the story, but your brand and services are the critical tools that set your customer on the path to heroism”).
Aliens Converge on Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in Quest of Killer Headline by Business2Community
***** 5 STARS
Lou Hoffman’s must-read guide to writing headlines combines humor with solid fundamentals in a concise package. His advice on far to take a headline: “as far as possible without losing sight of the actual story.”
Tips for Writing Search-Optimized Content
How the Google Zoo Has Forever Changed SEO Copywriting by Just Ask Kim
Copywriting for SEO has changed from the old days of “writing for keyword density ratios, including key phrases in every file name, every page name and every tag,” and Karon Thackston here supplies a concise but excellent summary of which old practices to throw by the wayside, and the new practices copywriters should embrace.
The Ultimate Content Marketing Myth by FindandConvert
Josh Smith identifies what he terms the biggest myth in content marketing—”if you post it, they will come”—and explains how to promote yourself and build an audience to draw traffic from a well diversified collection of sources.
Send the right search signals with social content optimization by Success Works
Dana Lookadoo shares five tips for generating more social sharing and search traffic for your content, such as making your posts look good (“Once you hit the Enter key to share your post on Google+ or Facebook, you want it to look attractive with an eye-catching image and descriptive text”), and identifies “the most important aspect that applies to both social and SEO.”
This was post #4 of Content Marketing Week on Webbiquity.
Content marketing is a hot topic, primarily in the B2B world but increasingly in consumer marketing as well. The number of Google searches for the phrase have increased 400% since January 2011. And as noted here yesterday, 93% of B2B marketers are now using content marketing, with more than half calling it their biggest priority this year.
The first step toward content marketing success begins with (or at least should begin with) creation of a content marketing strategy. But where does one begin? What are the best practices and frameworks for creating such a strategy? What are the critical elements to include, and pitfalls to avoid, in developing a strategy?
Discover the answers to those questions are more here in 18 of the best guides to crafting a content marketing strategy of the past year.
Content Marketing Strategy Guides
Why you need repetition in your content strategy by iMedia Connection
According to the brilliant Rebecca Lieb, “One of content marketing’s biggest challenges is coming up with new material. One of content marketing’s other biggest challenges is overcoming something you’ve been told not to do since you were small: repeating yourself.” She then explains how to “repeat yourself” creatively in order to drive home a message, without seeming repetitive or redundant.
How to Build Your First Content Marketing Strategy by Search Engine Watch
As the title implies, Jayson DeMers here outlines a solid content strategy-building process based on five questions (starting with “Who Are You Writing For?”) and five guidelines (among them, “Review Your Data to Develop Great Content”).
Content marketing: What is more important than strategy? by GO Marketing
Writing that “A sound strategic planning process is based on consistently applied business objectives that flow through functional areas and support each other,” John Gregory Olson presents a helpful model for planning, and makes a case for the one element that’s more important than strategy.
Let’s Move Beyond The Content Marketing Hype by WCG CommonSense
Michael Brito contends marketers “must move beyond the content marketing buzzword and commit to building a content strategy that will allow you to execute your tactical content marketing initiatives flawlessly and at scale,” and promotes a four-pillars framework for content strategy development.
8 Steps To Become A Brand Publisher by B2B Marketing Insider
Stating that “Brands need to become better storytellers and think and act like publishers,” Michael Brenner showcases his presentation detailing the impact the Web and email have had on traditional print media, and why this means brands need to tell their own stories by creating “content hubs” to earn traffic instead of buying it through advertising.
Experts outline key content marketing trends for 2014 by The Guardian
A half dozen “content marketing gurus” offer their predictions for impactful trends in 2014, among them the importance of taking an “integrated omni-channel approach” not just in terms of devices and formats but also measurable multi-channel online marketing; an increased focus on user experience; and putting the story first (“Brands need to tell a story and it has to be a story that people can care about. The format, channels, platforms, devices and timing of how that story is told will be dictated by what you want your audience to feel”).
The Top 10 Content Marketing Strategy Lessons from the Last 15 Years by Content Marketing Institute
***** 5 STARS
Joe Pulizzi, the godfather of content marketing, shares 10 key lessons including “Content marketing is the great equalizer…Large budgets don’t always win; actually, the smaller players usually come out on top because they are equipped to move more agilely and quickly than their larger competition”; it’s more productive to focus on using a few channels well than being on all platforms; and being distinctive is a must.
Noting that “The old adage — build it and they will come — doesn’t work for content marketing,” Laurie Sullivan reports on Forrester Research guidance on building a content distribution strategy to overcome the glut on content online.
How to Create a Content Strategy (In Only 652 Steps) by Portent, Inc.
***** 5 STARS
Few writers can match Ian Lurie’s blend of sardonic humor and useful marketing wisdom. While there are not actually 652 steps here, there is a remarkable guide to auditing your current content marketing, setting goals, and then crafting a strategy to meet and exceed those objectives.
How To Develop A Content Marketing Strategy Framework by BloggerBeat
Matthew Anton presents three dozen questions to ask when creating a content marketing strategy, from questions about the company’s business model (e.g., “Which products make up most of the revenue?”) to analyzing competitors, to determining the driving factors behind customer purchase and loyalty.
4 Reasons Why Content Marketing Should Care About Audience Development by Tony Zambito
***** 5 STARS
Reporting that “60 to 70 percent of content churned out by b-to-b marketing departments today sits unused,” Tony Zambito explains why the biggest problem for b2b marketers isn’t a lack of content, but rather a lack of the right content—and how to fix it by strategically using buyer personas.
A Bigger Megaphone Doesn’t Mean Better Marketing by MediaPost
Laura Patterson addresses the same topic as Tony does above, explaining how mapping content to the buying journey and customer lifecycle enables marketers to more strategically build out their content marketing editorial calendars.
The Content Marketing Pyramid: Are You Hungry for Content? by Business2Community
***** 5 STARS
Pawan Deshpande presents a remarkably useful model for content planning, the “Content Marketing Pyramid.” At the base of the pyramid is curated content, “which is relatively low effort and lends itself to high frequencies,” with each higher level representing formats which require greater effort and should be used with correspondingly lower frequency.
4 secrets of a successful digital content strategy by iMediaConnection
Miranda Anderson suggests four principles to underpin a content strategy, including the idea that all content should have an objective: “We create content because we want our audience to do something — to buy, learn more, or love our brand. Your content should always point back to that core objective.”
5 Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Content Marketers by SteamFeed
Ross Simmonds helpfully exposes a handful of beliefs held by the best content marketers, among them knowing “when you have an ugly baby” (“This is one of the reason you see so many TV ads about people who work in marketing – Tunnel vision”) and my favorite, “Accepting Best Practice is Accepting Status Quo.” Don’t copy your competitors—be the source they try to copy.
The Top 6 Reasons You’re Failing at Content Marketing by BuzzStream Blog
Dan Tynski expertly provides “a guide to common errors and pitfalls that beginner content marketers should make themselves aware of,” starting with “problems of scope”—is your goal in content marketing to find new customers, improve search rankings, or up-sell/cross-sell existing customers? “If your goal is to create content that can drive leads or sales, it doesn’t make sense to create content that is too broad or targets large audiences with only cursory interest in what you are selling. Whereas if your goal is brand awareness, or perhaps link-building for SEO, going broad with your content can be an excellent strategy.”
How to avoid creating worthless content by iMedia Connection
Stacy Thompson highlights three key elements to take into account in order to avoid wasting your (and your prospective audience’s) time, including relevance: “content that neglects to factor in the preferences of the reader is nothing more than what CMI (the Content Marketing Institute) defines as ‘informational garbage.’”
Building Content Marketing Strategy – 10 Steps by B2B Marketing Insider
Michael Brenner (again) lists and expands upon 10 key steps for developing a content marketing strategy, such as stepping into your customer’s shoes to understand their point of view on what constitutes valuable content, and going mulit-format—maximizing the value of your content by repurposing a white paper as a series of blog posts, a YouTube video, and a SlideShare presentation.
This was post #3 of Content Marketing Week on Webbiquity.
Content marketing has become ubiquitous, with 93% of B2B marketers now using it. And it continues to expand: 82% of marketers plan to increase their budgets for content marketing in 2014.
Nevertheless, challenges remain; many marketers struggle to produce engaging content, and though buyers have embraced content generally as a influence on vendor selection, they remain frustrated with content they see as blatantly promotional, too self-serving, and not well informed. In addition, nearly half of marketers say they are unable to measure the value of their content marketing efforts.
Which content marketing tactics are most popular? Which are under-used? How can marketers make their content marketing efforts more effective?
Find these answers and many more in this compilation of 30 compelling content marketing statistics and facts.
How Popular is Content Marketing?
1. 93% of B2B marketers are using content marketing—but only 44% have a documented content strategy. (B2B Marketing Insider)
2. 57% of marketers say content marketing is their top external social priority this year. (Michael Brenner)
3. In another study, 35% of marketing professionals worldwide cited content marketing as their leading focus in 2013, followed by social media (25%) and SEO (15%). (eMarketer)
4. 87% of B2B buyers say content has an impact on vendor selection; more than a quarter (27%) say it has a “major impact.” (Social Media Today)
5. 82% of businesses plan to increase spending on content marketing in the coming year. (Heidi Cohen)
6. B2B firms spend, on average, more than 25% of their marketing budgets on the development, delivery and promotion of content to drive business leads. (DeSantis Breindel)
What’s the ROI of Content Marketing?
7. Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads. (B2B Marketing Insider)
8. When it comes to content marketing, the “80/20 rule” actually understates the case. Only 10-20% of a company’s website content drives 90% of its Web traffic, and only 0.5% of a website’s content drives more than 50% of its traffic. (B2B Marketing Insider)
9. Almost half of U.S. business enterprises said creating “metrics that demonstrate the value of social media” was their top internal social media objective for 2013. (Michael Brenner)
11. The three content marketing tactics that deliver the highest ROI are featured articles (cited by 62% of marketers), video (52%) and white papers (46%). (eMarketer)
What are the Top Challenges in Content Marketing?
12. The three biggest challenges to creating content are lack of time (30%), inability to create enough content (11%), and inability to create engaging content (11%). (Robert Rose)
13. Another study found the three biggest challenges for content marketing to be limited budgets (27%), limited staff (25%), and generating new content (21%). (iMedia Connection)
14. Only a quarter of companies take a holistic approach to social media where efforts are integrated across functional areas, and at only half are top executives engaged and aligned with the company’s social strategy. (Michael Brenner)
How Blogging Used in Content Marketing?
15. 76% of B2B vendors in North America maintain company blogs; 70% of large B2B enterprises, and 77% of small-to-midsize (SMB) firms. (Cox Business)
16. 80% of Australian companies and 86% of UK businesses blog. (Cox Business)
17. How important are headlines? Only 1 out of 5 readers gets beyond your headline. And traffic can vary as much as 500% based on the headline. (Heidi Cohen)
18. What are the most important elements to include in a headline? 36% of readers prefer headlines containing numbers (like this post). 21% of readers prefer headlines that literally talk to them by including the word “you.” And 17% prefer headlines that show them “how to” do something. (Heidi Cohen)
What Other Tactics are Important in Content Marketing?
19. 80% of North American B2B vendors use enewsletters in their marketing, as do 82% of firms in both the UK and Australia. (Cox Business)
20. Globally, about three-quarters of all B2B vendors use case studies in their marketing efforts. The best examples use photos or video along with text.(Cox Business)
21. More than 70% of businesses use video in marketing, though (likely due to cost) video use is more common in enterprises (88%) than SMB forms (76%). (Cox Business)
22. Nearly two-thirds of North American B2B vendors use white papers to generate leads; 79% of enterprises and 62% of SMB firms.(Cox Business)
23. 62% of B2B vendors in North America use webinars and webcasts in marketing, though usage is considerably higher at the enterprise level (79%) than in SMB firms (61%).(Cox Business)
24. The roads less traveled: less than half of North American B2B firms use microsites (40%), mobile content (38%), ebooks (34%), mobile apps (28%), podcasts (26%), print newsletters (22%) or gamification (10%) for marketing.(Cox Business)
25. 57% of B2B marketers use content curation as part of their content marketing strategies. (iMedia Connection)
26. But only 42% say they are able to measure positive results from content curation efforts.(iMedia Connection)
How is Content Produced and Consumed?
27. Corporate social media efforts are led by marketing, PR or advertising functions in 68% of enterprises; another 28% center efforts in a dedicated social media or digital group. (Michael Brenner)
28. 71% of B2B marketers use content primarily to generate leads. (Heidi Cohen)
29. The three biggest complaints B2B buyers have about vendor content are too many requirements for downloading; blatantly promotional, self-serving content; and non-substantive, uninformed content.
(Social Media Today)
30. The most trusted types of content are reports and white papers produced by professional associations (cited by 67% of B2B buyers) and reports or white papers from industry research groups (50%). (DeSantis Breindel)
This was post #2 of Content Marketing Week on Webbiquity.
Is there any question content marketing has taken off? As noted in the last post here, nearly two-thirds of marketing executives plan to increase budget allocations for content marketing in 2014, while just 2% plan to cut spending in this area.
And in other marketing research recently covered here:
- • On average, 25% of marketing budgets are now spent on content development, delivery and promotion;
- • 92% of marketers believe that content creation is either “very” or “somewhat” effective for SEO; and
- • 87% of buyers say online content has a major or moderate impact on vendor preference and selection.
With that in mind, we at the Webbiquity blog propose Content Marketing Week—a week dedicated to promulgating best practices, research, guidance and wisdom in general starting tomorrow. From December 10 through December 17 (yeah, that’s actually eight days—a “baker’s week”?), this blog will highlight some of the best articles and blog posts from the past year on the topic of content marketing, from leading experts like Joe Pulizzi, Heidi Cohen, Michael Brenner, Pam Dyer, and Jim Dougherty.
This isn’t a proprietary idea though—anyone who likes can participate! Want to be part of Content Marketing Week? Here’s all you need to do:
- • Write a post focused on some aspect of content marketing: strategy, tips, stats, infographics, videos, anything that may be helpful to content marketers.
- • Tweet out a link to the post using hashtag #cmweek.
- • Visit this blog for the latest best-of content marketing compilations.
We WILL retweet all posts with this hashtag (subject to human limitations) and MAY include tweeted posts in future round-ups of best-of content marketing curation posts.
And comments, social shares, etc. are of course always welcome.
Content marketing is of course about creation and sharing. Spread the word(s)!
B2B marketing has traditionally been viewed (correctly) as much different from the promotion of consumer products. Buyers were different, sales cycles were different, messaging was different, and media was different. While there were some small areas of overlap, the disciplines were, for the most part, treated as distinct.
That may be changing. Driven by shifting customer expectations and demands, “B2B vendors clearly feel that they need to evolve to more closely resemble their B2C counterparts,” according to recent research reported on by MarketingCharts.
Much of the study focused on online commerce, where changes in b2b offerings indeed make sense. There’s no reason corporate purchasing professionals shouldn’t be able to buy office supplies, chairs, filing cabinets, commodity technology items and other frequently purchased, generally low value items online as easily as they’d buy a book, a pair of shoes or music in their personal lives.
The study suggested however that the emulation of B2C marketing practices by their B2B counterparts may go beyond ecommerce, however. So, are B2B marketers really adopting B2C practices? Yes and no. While creative B2B marketing professionals have always adopted certain consumer marketing practices to their needs, significant differences remain—and likely will for a long time.
4 Areas Where the Consumerization of B2B Marketing Applies…
Entertaining content. B2B content doesn’t have to be boring (at least not all of it). While certain types of information, such as technical product specifications, need to be delivered as straightforwardly and succinctly as possible, many types of B2B content could use a bit more life. Show off your brand’s personality. Don’t be afraid to use (appropriate) humor. Tell stories; inspire prospective buyers with tales of what your current customers have achieved.
Multimedia content, including video. While text (such as blog posts and white papers) will continue to play a significant role in B2B marketing, messages and concepts can often be delivered in a more compelling manner through infographics, online slide presentations, and video. B2B C-level executives are watching an increasing amount of online video, with 75% of executives telling Forbes they watch work-related videos on business websites at least once per week, according to statistics provided by b2b video expert Bob Leonard.
A focus on personal benefits. B2B buyers are people too. While it’s essential to provide information about product capabilities, benefits, and financial justification—traditional B2B content—it can also help to talk about the personal benefits of a B2B purchasing choice to a buyer, such as job security (being the safe choice), career enhancement (helping the buyer be a hero, get a raise or promotion), and work-life balance (make the buyer’s job easier, get home earlier in the evening).
Capitalizing on trade shows. Despite the growth in digital marketing channels, physical tradeshows and conferences remain one of the most effective lead generation tactics for B2B marketers. Of course, B2C marketers use such events as well, with car shows, boat shows, and home-and-garden shows being among the most popular. B2B marketers can increase the impact of tradeshow attendance by borrowing B2C event promotion tactics, such as selective use of outdoor and local radio advertising.
…And Four Areas Where B2B Marketing Remains Distinct
Roles trump demographics. While other factors have gained in importance over the years, demographic metrics remain a key focus in B2C marketing; consider the differences, not just in the products promoted, but in the style and tone of messages between the TV advertisements shown on, for example, 60 Minutes, and the NFL game that precedes it throughout autumn.
In B2B marketing, work roles play a far larger role than demographics. Information targeted to the CFO is different from technical product specifications designed for engineering, but each of those messages remain essentially the same regardless of the age, gender or ethnicity of the financial executive or technical decision maker.
Information trumps image. In many if not most cases, B2B products and services are more complex (and expensive) than consumer goods. B2B messaging is therefore of necessity more detailed and information based; buyers need larger quantities of information to determine how a purchase may impact current business practices, how it will integrate with existing systems, what impact it will have on staffing, and other considerations absent in consumer purchases.
Committees make decisions. The vast majority of consumer purchases are individual decisions. In complex B2B sales, group decisions are the norm. Rather than targeting an individual buyer, therefore, B2B marketers need to develop content for all of the people likely to be involved in the vendor selection process, frequently encompassing at a minimum a business buyer (how will this increase sales or reduce costs?), a financial buyer (cost, financing, ROI), and a technical buyer (specifications, compatibility with existing systems or platforms, integration points and requirements).
Services are a major component of sales. B2B sales often combine services with products, one factor increasing the cost and complexity noted above. Unlike consumer purchases, B2B product acquisitions often include services not just to implement but also optimize the use of those items. When buying applications like marketing automation, multi-channel marketing metrics, or customer relationship management (CRM), for example, the quality of the consulting services is every bit as important as the functionality of the software itself.
While the consumerization of B2B marketing is an interesting concept, it clearly has its limits. Or does it? What do you think?