Posts Tagged ‘Eric Anderson’
How many times have you heard the expression “content is king?” That’s the case because, in an increasingly competitive and noisy market, buyers care not so much about what you sell as about what you know, and what you are passionate about. Great content accomplishes at least two of the following objectives:
- • It helps get you “found” online.
- • It enhances your organization’s image (e.g., by demonstrating how smart and helpful you are).
- • It sets you apart (it’s not just a rehash of common knowledge).
- • It helps move a prospect along the buying cycle.
Great content fills a need for both the consumer and the producer. It helps the consumer solve a problem or improve their life in some way, and it helps the producer sell goods or services that accomplish that task. So how do you produce great content? How do you maximize your return on valuable content? How much content is “enough?” How can you optimize your content for search? What different types of content should you develop for different types of buyers and the various stages of the buying process? Where can you spread your content to maximize exposure?
Get the answers to these questions and more here in some of the best guides to content marketing of the past year.
Content Marketing Strategy and Tactics
10 Tips For Content Marketing Success by TopRank Online Marketing Blog
Adam Singer notes that with 6 in 10 marketers spending more on content marketing in the coming year, it’s getting more difficult to stand out; shares some statistics on the results that can be achieved with quality content, e.g. “56% (of corporate bloggers) say that their blog has helped their company establish a positioning as a thought leader within the industry”; and offers 10 tips to maximize the impact of content marketing, from “personality is essential” to tone is more important than perfection.
11 steps toward a content strategy by Econsultancy
Reporting that “80 percent of those who begin a corporate blog never post more than five entries…In the rush to adopt social media as a tactic, too many marketers leave strategy in the dust,” delightful author Rebecca Lieb presents 11 steps to help marketers think more like editors and develop an effective, consistent content strategy, among them defining key themes and messages, creating an editorial calendar, and utilizing multiple forms of media.
Social Media Leads Content Marketing: New Survey Reveals by Jeff Bullas
Jeff Bullas shares several interesting content marketing stats from recent research, such as: content now accounts for 33% of marketing budgets on average, up from 11% just a couple of years ago. 59% of marketers increased spending on content last year, while just 7% cut that area. E-newsletters, blogs and white papers are among the most popular types of content. While social media, mobile and online video are increasing in importance, traditional email newsletters remain among the most popular delivery vehicles.
7 “Rs” for B2B Marketing Content Planning by Customer Think
Lead nurturing content expert Ardath Albee writes that “Designing content for 1X use is wasteful. Marketers need to create a process for content planning that helps them maximize the return from their investments in developing content resources,” then provides seven tips (such as re-purposing content for different audiences) to help accomplish that goal.
How Much B2B Content is Enough? by Savvy B2B Marketing
Stephanie Tilton says a company has developed enough content “when it has created content that answers prospects’ questions at each stage of the buying cycle,” then outlines a process for determining exactly what that means in any given organization.
The 10 commandments of content marketing by iMedia Connection
10 Steps to Optimize Your Content Marketing Strategy by TopRank Online Marketing Blog
Lee Odden explains the digital asset optimization (DAO) model (“what can be searched on can be optimized”), outlines a 10-step process for optimizing content for ever-changing search results pages, and concludes with “The good news is that by following these 10 steps, a significant impact can be achieved in overall authority for the topics and keyword concepts focused on as well as the ability to attract new business, media coverage and employees. The bad news is that it’s not easy.”
Lead Nurturing by Find New Customers
Pointing out that lead nurturing is a critical process because “9 out of 10 visitors to your website are not ready to buy now,” this post presents seven keys to creating and maintaining a successful lead nurturing program, beginning with research and content mapping and progressing through continuous measurement and refinement.
Ramping Up For a Bigger Content Publishing Strategy by MediaPost Search Insider
Rob Garner recommends eight tactics for optimizing content marketing results, starting with in-depth keyword and market research and working through strategic planning, metrics and resource allocation.
Most Valuable Content and Offers for IT Buyers by High-Tech Communicator
Cheryl Goldberg reports and comments on recent research identifying the types of content that IT buyers most useful as news and articles (84%) and competitive comparisons / buying guides (73%), while b2b technology marketers often sub-optimally focus on other types of content.
How to Take Advantage of the New B2B Buying Behavior by Fast Company
Wendy Marx contends that b2b “buying decisions ultimately aren’t completely rational, much as we would like them to be…you may have the best product or service in the world but if people don’t understand its value or find you credible you might as well post your ‘going out of business’ sign,” and therefore it’s critical to build relationships, nuture leads, and write content that captures the needs of your prospects.
How Tech Buyers Consume Content: New Findings from TechTarget by Savvy B2B Marketing
In another noteworthy post, Stephanie Tilton shares results from TechTarget research which details the behaviors of “hyper-active IT researchers,” the most engaged 30% of technology buyers. Among the findings: these hyper-active researchers are constantly hunting for and gathering information, often conduct research on behalf of others, and “are most receptive to completing a registration form in exchange for content during the consideration and decision stages.”
White Paper Marketing: 5 White Paper Types and When to Use Them by SmartBug Media
Brittany Brouse defines the characteristics and key purposes of five types of white papers, including the business benefits white paper, the technology benefits white paper, and the product comparison white paper.
6 Ways to Cast a Wider Net Using a Whitepaper by Zmags Blog
***** 5 Stars
White papers are a popular b2b marketing tool, but good ones are expensive to produce. Companies can better capitalize on these investments by reworking, repackaging and re-using white paper content in different formats. Christina Pappas presents six ideas for extending the life and value of white paper content such as turning a white paper into a podcast, video, or webinar.
Measuring ROI on Content Marketing and Creation by Social Marketing Forum
Though acknowledging that “Measuring ROI on content marketing is not straightforward; that is why most firms put measurement on the back burner,” Ambal Balakrishnan presents two sets of recommendations for and examples of content marketing ROI measurement from Ardath Albee and Maria Pergolino.
2011 Trends: Content Marketing Is Critical by eMarketer
Geoff Ramsey shares research revealing that “nearly three-quarters of US companies with a social media strategy use (branded) content—also referred to as ‘earned media’—in their campaigns, making it the most common type of content used.” He then lists five questions marketers should ask themselves to determine whether or not their content is truly “magnetic” and likely to attract targeted buyers.
Developing A B2B Content Promotional Strategy In 7 Steps by Social Marketing Forum
Michele Linn recommends seven questions to ask when developing strategy for promoting your content, starting with “What is your objective?” (e.g., lead generation content is often promoted differently than thought-leadership content).
Article Submission Sites
A list of the best sites to submit articles to by Internet Marketing for Business Owners
The site is a tad spammy, but this list of seven of the most popular article submission sites is helpful.
Huge list of nearly 300 article submission sites sorted by page rank and Alexa ranking.
The 10 Websites To Get Your Articles Discovered! by Ink Rebels
Misty Belardo recommends promoting your online content using these 10 (mostly) popular social networking and bookmarking sites.
Top 21: The Best Article Directory List by Friday Traffic Report
Another slightly spammy site with a nevertheless useful list of 21 article directories with page rank.
Can the financial return on expenditures for social media business activities– in marketing, PR, customer support, HR, product development or other areas — be accurately measured? Can social media costs be justified on the P&L, so that as belts get ever tighter in this stagnant economy, these projects and tasks can be spared the budget axe?
Among social media pundits, the debate rages on. The “yes” crowd argues that of course social media can be measured, and must be in order to demonstrate value to the business. You wouldn’t buy a new machine tool or enterprise software application without an ROI analysis, so why should social media be any different? Executives don’t care about shiny sparkly things or the latest fads or buzzwords; you’d better know what you want to accomplish, be able to quantify both expenses and revenue, and have the analytics in place to track results before even murmuring the words “social media” in the presence of C-level types.
The “no” group will counter that the metrics and tools haven’t yet matured, or that social media is too amorphous to even be measurable, or that it is rapidly becoming simply part of the plumbing or wiring of a modern organization, making ROI immaterial.
My own thoughts (for what they’re worth) on the matter are that:
- • It’s challenging to measure the true ROI of social media activities with any precision because social media is as much (if not more) about influence than direct action. For example, if John Doe clicks through to your website from a tweet and buys something, that’s easy to measure. But if John Doe is influenced to buy from you based a tweet—but completes the purchase through another unrelated channel—there’s no way to assign the value of that sale to Twitter.
- • That said, there are many aspects of social media that can and should be measured, both to show results and to help guide future activities (e.g. determining which topics generate the highest traffic and comment activity on a company blog, what time of day is most productive for tweeting, etc.). In other words, the statement “ROI is challenging to measure accurately” shouldn’t be confused with “don’t bother trying measure anything.”
- • Metrics can be useful to help determine what to do more of, less of, or differently, but should not as the basis for whether or not to engage in social media. At this point, the adoption of social media tools is so widespread as to constitute just another communication channel. It makes no more sense for a business to shun social media until ROI can be demonstrated than it does to demand an ROI analysis for installing phone lines or email.
So much for my thoughts. What do other pundits have to say? Below are summaries of a variety of posts on the topic of social media ROI measurement from luminaries such as Danny Brown, Brian Solis, Erik Qualman, Michelle Golden and Sharlyn Lauby divided into their respective camps: yes, no, and maybe.
Is social media ROI measurable? Yes.
The Real Cost of Social Media by Danny Brown
This isn’t strictly speaking an ROI article, but Danny does dive into the “I” part of that measure, detailing the true costs (investment) of social media participation.
20 Metrics To Effectively Track Social Media Campaigns by Search Engine Land
Chris Bennett lays out the list of metrics he uses to analyze, track and “prove ROI’ from social media marketing. Compelling piece except for his use of the phrase social media campaign (argh).
Kim Cornwall Malseed summarizes the social media wisdom and ROI results gleaned from a panel of b2b marketing pros including Holger Schulze of SafeNet, Frank Strong of Vocus and Susan Cato of CompTIA. She reports on the revenue achieved, social media strategies used and measurement systems employed for tracking.
ROI: How to Measure Return on Investment in Social Media by Social Media Today
In this long but worthwhile post, Brian Solis reviews the evolution of social media measurement forms (e.g. “return on engagement”), the disconnect between social media marketers (most of whom can’t measure ROI) and CMOs (most of whom expect it), then offers his recommendations for improving the measurement of business objectives from social media.
While acknowledging that tight precision is impossible because the same measures from different tools rarely match exactly (and multiple tools are still needed to end-to-end social media tracking), Angel Djambazov nevertheless makes a strong case for developing ROI metrics for social media campaigns. Quoting Brian Solis and others, Angel points out that particularly in this economy, even great ideas without a hard-number rationale are likely to get slashed; ROI measurements are needed because CMOs demand them. The post also includes some strategies, tactics and tools to assist in social media measurement.
Social Media Monitoring Techniques by WebFadds
Scott Frangos presents a concise but clear outline of basic social media ROI measurement objectives, tools and analytics.
Counterpoint: Why you can calculate an ROI in social media – and why you should do it by iMedia Connection
Uwe Hook responds to the post from Ben Cathers (in the “No” section below) on why social media ROI can’t be measured, laying out a roadmap using metrics such as frequency, yield, sentiment analysis, NetPromoter score and customer lifetime value.
Socialnomics: What Social Media Success Looks Like by Fuel Lines
Michael Gass shares a social media ROI argument in video format. “Socialnomics: Social Media ROI showcases what social media success looks like. Social Media ROI: Socialnomics is by Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business author Erik Qualman. This video highlights several Social Media ROI examples along with other effective Social Media Strategies.” Though a few of the examples are vague or misleading, most are compelling. However, after showcasing companies that have achieved remarkable, quantifiable results through social media, Qualman provocatively asks, “Why are we trying to measure social media like a traditional channel anyway? Social media touches every facet of business and more an extension of good business ethics…When I’m asked about the ROI of Social Media sometimes the appropriate response is…What’s the ROI of your phone?” He seems to suggest that while ROI is measurable, it’s immaterial. Hmm. You can find more of Eric’s insights on his Socialnomics blog.
Making sense of social-media ROI with Olivier Blanchard by SmartBlog on Social Media
Rob Birgfeld talks with Olivier Blanchard, introduced as “perhaps the most sought-after expert for those looking to connect the dots between social media and return-on-investment.” Perhaps. Blanchard contends that most self-proclaimed social media “experts” have difficulty articulating ROI because they have no business management background (agreed, I’ve seen these types — which is why our agency has an MBA who helps clients with social media). With that background, he argues that “the question can be answered in about three minutes. All it takes is someone on the social-media side of the table who understands how to plug new communications into a business from the C-suite’s perspective.” He also makes the case that being able to prove social media ROI is essential. The post just doesn’t specify how to do this.
Social Media ROI — No.
Social media (finally) returns value by The Communicator
Peter Schram doesn’t come right out and say that social media ROI can’t be measured, but rather that organizations should “focus on five key areas where social media will create actual value” that aren’t strictly about sales ROI, including corporate reputation, employee engagement and customer service.
“What’s the ROI of Social Media?” Is the Wrong Question by Golden Practices Blog
Michelle Golden makes a compelling argument that ROI calculations apply only to discrete projects with a beginning, middle and end, such as a direct mail campaign. Social media is a tool, not an event, so such calculations don’t apply.
5 Problems With Measuring Social Marketing by Web Worker Daily
Aliza Sherman articulates some of the frustrations with any social media measurement, much less something as precise as ROI, including the fact that the term “social media” is nebulous and that many traditional marketing concepts (e.g., “reach,” “promotions” and “campaigns”) simply don’t apply to social media –and the industry hasn’t yet developed widely accepted new measures (though Daniel Flamberg attempted to answer this last challenge in 4 Social Media Mining Metrics).
Why you can’t calculate an ROI in social media – and that’s okay by iMedia Connection
Ben Cathers argues that, because the advanced analytics tools that would be required for such measurement have not yet been developed, “In many forms of digital media, you can spend 1 dollar knowing you will earn 1.30…Unfortunately, you cannot do the same in social media, just yet.” He suggests instead that marketers estimate the payback on social media by assigning a value to metrics they can track, such as each follower, each retweet, each “like” of an item, etc.
CEOs Love Pie: The B2B Social Media Case Study, Part 2 by iMedia Connection
In this follow-up post to Conversations that Aren’t about Mel Gibson: the B2B Social Media Case Study, Part 1, Eric Anderson writes that “today you can’t throw a virtual rock without hitting five blog posts about how we all need to simmer down about ROI,” and places himself firmly in the “simmer down” camp. He recommends instead serving them pie, as in pie charts showing measures like “the proportion of their paid impressions that can be replaced or augmented with free impressions. PR agencies have long been selling the value of this pie as earned media or ‘ad equivalency value,’ so CEOs are used to seeing it. They get it. Once you’ve done your social media market analysis, it’s relatively easy to project how big that social media pie wedge will be.”
Social Media ROI…Maybe.
Quantifying Social Results by eMarketer
eMarketer reports that while marketing pros generally agree that quantifying the benefit of social media marketing is important, they are split on whether it is possible. Measuring certain types of activity or behavior is easy; translating those measures into ROI, not so much. As this article notes, “There is a leap, however, between finding appropriate metrics and monitoring them on the one hand, and quantifying results on the other. Marketers must tie the social metrics they settle on directly to business goals, such as increased sales and leads, before social media return on investment can be quantified.”
A call for more accountable social media marketing by iMedia Connection
After acknowledging that “ROI is difficult, if not impossible, to measure with social media. An astounding majority of professionals do not even try to take it into account. According to a survey late last year from Bazaarvoice and the CMO Club, 72 percent of CMOs did not attach revenue assumptions to social media in 2009,” Jerry McLaughlin goes on to say that marketers must do it anyway. For example, one of his recommendations is to “reach specific social media goals with a tangible ROI, such as tracked discounts or coupons.” While that’s certainly not a bad suggestion, it covers only one very limited aspect of what social media marketing can do.
5 Ways To Set Goals & Measure Social Media Marketing Success by Smart Insights
Danyl Bosomworth summarizes a Jason Falls presentation on various ways to measure social media outcomes. While the post seems to suggest that measuring ROI is easy (measurement #5 casually includes “generation of sales and leads from blog visitors and from social interactions”), it also points out several other benefits that unquestionably have value (e.g., product innovation, branding and awareness, links for SEO benefit), though that value may be difficult to quantify. The message seems to be that if you can directly measure sales and leads then by all means do so, but recognize that social media can provide many other important though less quantifiable rewards.
Marketers Use Varying ROI for Social Media by Marketing Charts
According to a new study from King Fish Media, Hubspot and Junta 42 summarized in this post, most marketers perform some type of social media measurement (e.g., website visits from social media referral sites, new fans/followers, number of links shared, etc.). However, nearly half (43%) admit that they aren’t even trying to measure ROI. And only 29% say “they will have to show positive ROI to continue their social media programs.”
How CEOs are Using Social Media for Real Results by Mashable
Though Sharlyn Lauby shares numbers here from two CEOs able to correlate hard sales data with their social media efforts, she also points out that “even when there might not be data supporting a direct relationship between social media activity and sales, sometimes other metrics point to the connection” such as exposure, branding, customer satisfaction, recommendations, even employee recruiting. The conclusion seems to be that ROI may or may not be measurable, depending on a company’s specific circumstances — or at least that not all of the benefits of social media can be captured in precise sales and ROI figures.