Posts Tagged ‘Joe Pulizzi’
“Big data” is one of the trendiest buzzwordy terms in marketing/technology/business today.
So before it gets replaced by the next trendy buzzwordy term, here’s some marketing-related big data for you: 83 valuable facts, stats, and research findings covering strategy, social media, SEO, online advertising, email marketing, content, blogging, social networking, video and more.
What do 40% of B2B buyers say about LinkedIn, that only 19% say about Twitter? Which “social” brands aren’t really social at all? What do only 48% of searches result in? What do 91% of B2B marketers do, but only 36% do well? (No, not that.) What do 73% of reporters say press releases should contain?
Find the answers to those questions and many, many more here in more than 80 social, content, search, and email marketing facts and statistics from the past few months.
4 Marketing Management and Measurement Stats
1. Just 35% of B2B marketing executives say they can calculate the ROI of their marketing spend most or all of the time. 42% say they can calculate ROI only some of the time, rarely or not at all. (B2B Marketing)
2. While two out of three U.S. CMOs say they feel pressure from the top to prove the value of marketing, just 51% of CEOs agree “that marketing’s financial value is clear to the business.” (MarketingCharts)
3. That’s likely because only 45% of CMOs are confident “that they know which metrics or business outcomes their key stakeholders care about.” (MarketingCharts)
4. “Data analytics are currently most commonly used by B2B marketing leaders to measure and report marketing’s performance (64%), as well as to justify (55%) and allocate (52%) the marketing budget. Analytics are least commonly used to fine-tune the marketing mix (14%).” (MarketingCharts)
4 B2B Marketing Stats
5. Consumerization of B2B marketing? 57% of B2B vendors say they are shifting their B2B commerce transactions from offline to online and self-service, and 44% agree “that B2B commerce is adopting B2C best practices in order to optimize the purchasing experience.” (MarketingCharts)
6. Online sales currently account for about 35% of total revenue for B2B vendors, though that’s higher (41%) among US companies. (MarketingCharts)
7. 40% of B2B buyers say LinkedIn is important when researching technologies and services to purchase; 19% say the same for Twitter. (Social Media Today)
8. B2B buyers today are 70%-90% of the way through their “buying journey” before they reach out to a vendor. (B2B Marketing)
6 Social Media Marketing Stats
9. Social media marketing budgets are projected to double in the next five years. (SocialTimes)
10. The top three social networks used by B2B marketers are LinkedIn (91%); Twitter (85%); and Facebook (81%). However, just 62% of marketers say that LinkedIn is effective, while 50% say the same for Twitter and only 30% of B2B marketers view Facebook as effective. (FlipCreator)
11. This one may surprise you: Google+ actually averages more visits per month than Facebook. Google+ receives 1.2 billion visits per month compared to Facebook’s 809 million. (iMedia Connection)
12. 83% of B2B marketers invest in social media to increase brand exposure; 69% to increase web traffic; and 65% to gain market insights. (Social Media Today)
13. Some brands perceived as social aren’t—at all. As of 2013, Apple had yet to claim a Twitter account, Facebook page, or any other type of social media presence. Ditto for Trader Joe’s. (iMedia Connection)
14. People spend, on average, 4X more time on Tumblr and Pinterest than they do on Twitter. (iMedia Connection)
7 SEO and Search Stats
15. Every month there are more than 10.3 billion Google searches, with 78% of U.S. internet users researching products and services online. (B2B Marketing)
16. 54% of B2B buyers begin their buying process with informal research about business problems; nearly 80% of the time spent researching is done line. (B2B Marketing)
17. 33% of organic search clicks go to the first result. (SocialTimes)
18. The top 4 positions, generally those considered to be “above the fold”, receive 83% of first page organic clicks. (Brent Carnduff)
(However, as noted here previously, “a lower position isn’t always bad. If the searcher clicks the ‘back’ button because the top result didn’t meet expectations, then he or she is 5-8 times more likely to click on a lower result than on the initial search.”)
19. It’s also important to consider that only 48% of searches result in an organic click. The remaining 52% result in either a click on a paid ad, leaving the search engine results page without clicking on any listing, or starting a new search. (Brent Carnduff)
20. In addition, as search intent becomes more detailed or specific (long-tail search phrases), the click distribution across the first page organic listings begins to even out, as searchers look for the best match or answer to their query. (Brent Carnduff)
21. And furthermore, long-tail searches have higher overall organic click-through rates. 56% of searches for phrases of four words or more result in a click on an organic result, compared to just 30% for single-word search queries. (Brent Carnduff)
7 Online Advertising Stats
22. Of the three major types of online advertising (search, display, and social), search is viewed as the best channel for driving direct sales, cited by 40% of marketers (vs. 26% who use display to drive sales and 18% using social). However, just over a third of marketers view each channel as valuable for lead generation. (eMarketer)
23. Landing page optimization is viewed as the most important tactic for optimizing the performance of paid search advertising, while targeting by segment is most important in optimizing display ad performance. (eMarketer)
24. 8% of Internet users account for 85% of online display ad clicks. (iMedia Connection)
25. In 2013, Internet advertising expenditures surpassed newspaper ad spending for the first time. Internet ads now account for 21% of all advertising dollars, second only to television at 40%. (Ad Age)
26. Of the 100 largest global advertisers, 41 are headquartered in the U.S., 36 in Europe, and 23 in Asia. Consumer electronics and technology is the fastest-growing ad category among the Global 100. (Ad Age)
27. The average click-through rate (CTR) for online display ads is 0.11% (roughly one click per one thousand views). CTRs aer highest in Malasia (0.30%) and Singapore (0.19%), and lowest in Australia and the U.K. (both at 0.07%). (Smart Insights)
28. Among different display ad formats, large rectangle ads (336 x 280 pixels) generate the highest CTRs on average at 0.21-0.33%, while full banners (468 x 6) generate the lowest at 0.04%. (Smart Insights)
3 Email Marketing Stats
29. Mobile matters. A lot. In 2013, 62% of emails were opened on a mobile device (48% on smartphones and 14% on tablets). (Heidi Cohen)
30. Adding social sharing buttons to email messages an increase click-through rates by more than 150%. (SocialTimes)
31. 48% of consumers say email is their preferred form of communication with brands. (iMedia Connection)
14 Content Marketing Facts and Stats
32. Though more than 90% of marketers now use content marketing, just 42% of B2B marketers and 34% of B2C marketers believe they are effective at this. (e-Strategy Trends)
33. Still, more than 70% of both B2B and B2C marketers plan to produce more content in 2014 than they did in 2013, and six out of ten plan to increase their content marketing budgets. (e-Strategy Trends)
34. 78% of CMOs believe custom content is the future of marketing. It’s not clear what the other 22% are thinking. (SocialTimes)
35. Customer testimonials are the most effective form of content marketing. (SocialTimes)
36. The top challenge for content marketers is “lack of time,’ according to 57% of B2C and 69% of B2B marketers (multiple responses permitted). (e-Strategy Trends)
37. When forced to choose only one “top challenge” in content marketing, 30% of marketers said “not enough time”; 11% said “producing enough content”; and another 11% said it was “producing engaging content.” (@Robert_Rose on SlideShare)
38. Content creation is taking an increasing share of marketing budgets. Nearly half of marketers devote at least 10% of their total budgets to content development. One in five spend 25% or more. (eMarketer)
39. The two most popular formats for marketing content are articles (including internal and guest blog posts), used by 76% of marketers, and video, used by 60%. (eMarketer)
40. 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing. But just 36% say they are effective at it. (FlipCreator)
41. The most effective B2B content marketers 1) have a documented strategy; 2) use more than a dozen different tactics; 3) use an average of seven different social media platforms; and 4) devote nearly 40% of their budgets to content marketing, as shown below. (FlipCreator)
42. The top three content marketing tactics used by B2B marketers are social media other than blogs (87%); articles on their own websites (83%); and e-newsletters (80%). (FlipCreator)
43. B2B marketers rate in-person events and case studies as the most effective content marketing tactics (see full list below). (FlipCreator)
44. The top three organizational goals for B2B content marketing are brand awareness (82% of companies); lead generation (74%); and customer acquisition (73%). The top three metrics used to measure success are website traffic (63%); sales lead quality (54%); and social media sharing (50%). (FlipCreator)
45. 60% of consumers feel more positive about a brand after consuming content from it. (iMedia Connection)
9 Social Networking Demographics Figures and Statistics
46. Pinterest is from Venus, Google+ is from Mars. Two-thirds of Google+ users are male. 69% of Pinterest users are female. (Digital Buzz Blog)
47. Women are more social than men. (Shocking, I know.) One-half (49.0%) of U.S. adult women visit social media sites at least a few times per day, versus one-third (34.0%) of men. (New Media and Marketing)
48. About three-quarters of all Internet users are members of at least one social network. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
49. Grandma and grandpa are crashing teenagers’ social media party. The fastest-growing age cohort on Twitter is 55-to-64 year-olds, up 79% since 2012. And the 45-54 age bracket is the fastest-growing group on both Facebook and Google+. (Fast Company)
50. But social media use is still much more common among the young. 89% of Internet users aged 18-29 are active on social networks, versus 43% of those 65 and older. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
51. Millennials, aka Gen Y, will account for 27% of the total U.S. population in 2014 (vs. 26% Baby Boomers), and 25% of the labor force (vs. 38% Boomers). (AllTwitter)
52. 56% of millennials won’t accept jobs from firms that prohibit the use of social media in the office, and more than eight in ten say that user generated content on company websites at least somewhat influences what they buy. (AllTwitter)
53. The collective spending power of millennials will surpass that of Baby Boomers by 2018, and millennials will comprise 75% of the global labor force by 2025. (AllTwitter)
54. Millennials are, in general, not loyal to employers (91% expect to stay in a job for less than three years) but are loyal to brands (95% want brands to court them actively).(AllTwitter)
7 Business Blogging Stats and Facts
55. 76% of B2B companies maintain blogs. (FlipCreator)
56. 52% of marketers say their company blog is an important channel for content marketing. (eMarketer)
57. B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads than those that don’t. (SocialTimes)
58. 62% of B2B marketers rate blogging as an effective content marketing tactic. However, 79% of best-in-class marketers rank blogs as the most effective tactic, while just 29% of their least effective peers concur. (FlipCreator)
59. 57% of U.S. online adults read blogs. And of that group, two-thirds “say a brand mention or promotion within context of the blog influences their purchasing decisions.” (New Media and Marketing)
60. Among U.S. adults aged 18-34, four-fiths say bloggers “can be very or somewhat influential in shaping product or service purchasing decisions. (New Media and Marketing)
61. Though 62% of marketers blog or plan to blog in 2013, only 9% of US marketing companies employ a full-time blogger. (Fast Company)
3 Facebook Marketing Stats
62. Facebook now has nearly 1.2 billion total users. (Digital Buzz Blog)
63. 23% of Facebook users check their account more than five times per day. (Digital Buzz Blog)
64. 47% of marketers say Facebook is overrated as a marketing platform. (iMedia Connection)
3 LinkedIn Marketing Stats
65. 45% of B2B marketers have gained a customer through LinkedIn. (Social Media Today)
66. LinkedIn is adding, on average, two members per second. However – LinkedIn has a lower percentage of active users than Pinterest, Google+ (?), Twitter or Facebook, which means “you’re probably not going to have as good a response with participatory content on LinkedIn, like contests or polls, as you might on Facebook or Twitter…(though) passive content like blog posts or slide decks might be just right for your LinkedIn audience.” (Fast Company)
67. Only 20% of LinkedIn users are under the age of 30. (iMedia Connection)
3 Twitter Marketing Stats
68. B2B marketers who use Twitter generate, on average, twice as many leads as those who don’t. (Social Media Today)
69. 71% of tweets are ignored. Only 23% generate a reply. (iMedia Connection)
70. Advertising on Twitter costs nearly six times as much as Facebook ads on a CPM basis; however, the CTR for Twitter ads is 8-24 times higher. (Smart Insights)
3 Google+ Marketing Stats
71. Google+ has more than one billion total users, though only about a third (359 million) are active. (eConsultancy)
72. Users spend an average of three minutes per month on Google+. (iMedia Connection)
73. 70% of brands have a presence on Google+. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
6 Visual Content (Image and Video) Marketing Stats
74. Nearly two-thirds of people are visual learners, and visual data is processed much faster by the brain than is text. (SocialTimes)
75. Adding videos to landing pages can increase conversions by nearly 90%. (SocialTimes)
76. YouTube reaches more U.S. adults aged 18-34 than any cable network. (Fast Company)
77. More than three-quarters (77%) of brand posts shared on Facebook are photos. (iMedia Connection)
78. 73% of reporters say that press releases should contain images. (SocialTimes)
79. There are five million new businesses started each year. One out of 500 get funded and achieve a successful exit. (@Robert_Rose on SlideShare)
3 Marketing Career-Related Stats
80. 79% of B2B marketing executives report noticable skills gaps in the teams they manage. The top areas for skills gaps are in data analysis, customer insight, and digital marketing techniques. (B2B Marketing)
81. Social media experts are in demand. Job postings on LinkedIn for social media positions have grown 1,300% since 2010. (The Strategy Web)
82. Looking for a job in social media? The top five cities for job openings with “social media” in the title are:
- • New York
- • Los Angeles
- • San Francisco
- • London
- • Chicago
And One Final Statistic that Simply Cannot be Categorized
83. Food is the top category on Pinterest; 57% of users discuss food-related content. Garlic Cheesy Bread is the most repinned Pinterest Pin. (Digital Buzz Blog)
Content marketing success starts with developing a strategy and roadmap, but the rubber hits the road with the execution of tactics (and measurement of marketing results to support continual improvement). So it is with Content Marketing Week.
Where do you find ideas and inspiration for content marketing topics? What are the best practices for repurposing to get more mileage out of existing content assets? What pitfalls should content marketers avoid? Where does visual content fit into the mix?
Get those answers and more here in more than a dozen guides to content marketing tactics, the final post of Content Marketing Week.
How I.T. Is Changing: A Story About Beer by Ann Handley
It’s one thing to provide a laundry list of things-to-do to create great content, but quite another to show (and then break down) an exceptional example, as the delightful Ann Handley does here, with a nicely done video involving Cisco networking gear, and beer.
What Can Disney Teach Manufacturers About Marketing? by Industry Market Trends
Interviewing Steve Miller (the marketing consultant, not the 80s rock star), Gary Kane presents and explains the 10x10x10 model for content marketing, starting with: “Write down the 10 most frequently asked questions from your customers.”
17 Essential Content Templates and Checklists by Content Marketing Institute
Michele Linn shares a collection of popular and useful content marketing templates and checklists for tasks like creating buyer personas, developing an editorial calendar, writing killer headlines, choosing keywords, and promoting blog posts.
Matching video content to technology buying committees by 2-Minute Explainer Blog
***** 5 STARS
This post highlights research from LinkedIn regarding the value of video for B2B content marketing, then recommends five approaches for producing video content, such as “dressing up” invitations: “a cool video snippet (can) work nicely in an email invite to a conference or a trade show (‘Here’s a sneak preview of the new thing we’ll be demonstrating’).”
5 Reasons to Consider Flipboard for Your Content Strategy by iMediaConnection
Tom Edwards recommends ways to use Flipboard, an application that “visualizes your social feeds such as Facebook & Twitter as well as providing access to curated topical magazines all while allowing the user flexibility in how they consume their content of choice.” Probably more useful in consumer than B2B marketing, but worth considering regardless.
5 Ideas To Extend Your Existing Content By Repurposing by NewRise Digital
Here are a handful of practical tips for how to repurpose existing content, such as transcribing videos: “If you have videos, screencasts or webinars produced for your content marketing campaign then getting these transcribed into an eBook can offer a valuable way to create a new opt in offer.”
Santi Subotovsky identifies “five key elements of an effective content marketing strategy, along with a list of applications to help marketers execute on each element,” from content curation and creation through workflow management (where “platforms such as Kapost and Zerys can help”) and analytics.
3 Surefire Ways To Kill Your Content Marketing by Heidi Cohen
The brilliant Heidi Cohen exposes the three “leading causes of content marketing death,” along with fixes for each. For example, among the fixes for content that contains too much marketing hype and buzzwords are to stop selling; take a red pen to every buzzword phrase; and “Take the Hemingway approach. Use simple words. Substitute short words and everyday language for the flowery prose you’ve created.”
Prolific as well as adept, Heidi frequently writes highly bookmark-worthy posts filled with the latest research and trends along with actionable guidance. Other noteworthy content marketing tips and guides from her blog include:
- • 3 Steps to Maximize Content Marketing Resources
- • Visual Content: How to Re-imagine Your Brand
- • 21 Social Media & Content Marketing Tips Tailored For Small Businesses
13 Reasons Why Your Content Marketing Might Fail by Content Marketing Institute
Content marketing guru Joe Pulizzi advises readers about how to avoid more than a dozen potential content marketing pitfalls, such as operating in silos (PR, communications, email marketing, social media—which is why a coordinated approach to optimizing web presence is essential), being too focused on one specific channel, and not being “niche enough.”
Content Marketing: An 8-point analysis for your blog by MarketingSherpa
You bring your car in for regular maintenance checkups (hopefully), so why not do the same for your company blog? Daniel Burstein outlines an 8-point blog checkup starting with post frequency (“An element of effective content is consistency”) and proceeding through author bios, which are “a way for your audience to connect both literally by including Twitter and LinkedIn info, and figuratively by understanding how that author’s experience can help the reader better understand a topic.”
8 Content Marketing Ideas You Haven’t Tried by It’s All About Revenue
Amanda F. Batista presents “8 fresh content marketing ideas to recharge your engagement and demand generation strategy,” among them aligning your SEO keywords with calls to action: “translate (keyword) insights into a more results-driven content campaign. Integrate these words into your blog and social media posts, your market proposition plan and anything going out on the web, really.”
This was post #6, the final post, of Content Marketing Week 2013 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 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?.”
I was reminded of that famous quote from Mark Twain recently in a Twitter exchange about the web presence optimization framework. Although the framework has been for the most part enthusiastically embraced (and dozens of people have downloaded the framework white paper), a few people on Twitter questioned the need for a “new” marketing concept.
While “search plus social plus content” is inarguably inelegant, it was suggested that other terms such as “online marketing” or “inbound marketing” already covered the concept of web presence optimization (WPO). Although those are clearly important concepts, they don’t cover the spectrum of an organization’s web presence and related activities, which is why the WPO model was introduced nearly three years ago.
Since its introduction, the concept has been embraced by tools vendors and covered in publications like iMedia Connection, Search Engine Watch, Business2Community and Social Media Today, and Website Magazine.
Nevertheless, the point raised on Twitter is valid: a number of overlapping terms in use address at least parts of the digital marketing and PR mix. Perhaps the definitions below will help to clarify the role of WPO as an overarching management framework.
Web Presence Optimization (WPO)
Web presence is essentially web visibility; it’s about being as ubiquitous and easy-to-find as possible when buyers are searching for information about what you and your competitors sell. Anything about your company or products that appears somewhere online—whether owned, earned or paid content—contributes to your web presence.
Tracking over time and against competitors as well as managing and continually improving this for relevant, maximum exposure is optimization. By using unified metrics, you can manage and coordinate the efforts of specialists in various disciplines, including content development, social media, SEO, PR, online advertising, and reputation management, resulting in efficient and effective optimization of an organization’s total web presence in order to drive business results.
According to content management guru Joe Pulizzi, “Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. A content marketing strategy can leverage all story channels (print, online, in-person, mobile, social, etc.).”
Content marketing is arguably one component of WPO even though it includes offline venues such as print which don’t contribute to web presence. It’s also focused on owned (internally produced) media and does not include metrics or competitive benchmarking.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Per BusinessDictionary.com, SEO is “the process of improving traffic to a given website by increasing the site’s visibility in search engine results. Websites improve search engine optimization by improving content, making sure that the pages are able to be indexed correctly, and ensuring that the content is unique.”
SEO includes technical factors (making sure sites load quickly and are easy to crawl), content factors (keyword research, content optimization, meta tags) and linking factors (building internal and external links).
While SEO is affected by PR and social media activities, metrics, and competitive actions, it’s internally focused (owned media), cannot be used to manage PR or social media marketing activities (except as they relate specifically to website optimization) and is separate from paid search or other online advertising activities.
In the words of HubSpot co-founder and CEO Brian Halligan, inbound marketing is “where you help yourself ‘get found’ by people already learning about and shopping in your industry. In order to do this, you need to set your website up like a ‘hub’ for your industry that attracts visitors naturally through search engines, the blogosphere, and social media.”
Like WPO, inbound marketing incorporates metrics, content creation and optimization, social media, and (in some cases) search engine marketing. Valuable as it is, however, it doesn’t provide the overall online visibility management framework that WPO does because the latter also includes PR, online advertising, competitive benchmarking and earned content.
One element that none of the above concepts address, but is addressed in WPO, is that third-party content (from customers, journalists, bloggers or other influencers) has value in influencing the buyer’s decision-making process, even when it doesn’t lead directly to a lead or sale. Third-party content is often viewed as more objective and credible than company-produced content, making it critical to track, measure and share.
According to About.com, “Online Marketing is the art and science of selling products and/or services over digital networks, such as the Internet and cellular phone networks. The art of online marketing involves finding the right online marketing mix of strategies that appeals to your target market and will actually translate into sales.”
Though it incorporates SEM, online advertising, search optimization, and content marketing, online marketing is transaction-oriented: it’s focused on activities that lead directly to sales for generally low-consideration items including frequently-purchased or impulse-buy consumer goods and low-value business supplies.
WPO, in contrast, has a broader focus on earned content (e.g. social and press) and overall online visibility, which is important for high-value, considered-purchase consumer goods and b2b sales where web research may lead to an online or offline sale.
While this was originally an umbrella term for various types of activities similar to online marketing, Marketing Land notes that the term has since become to large extent co-opted by get-rich quick hoaxes, pyramid schemes and other scams.
As WPO is all about building online credibility, it’s the farthest thing from Internet marketing.
All of which means…
In the end, the Twitterers’ concern about buzzword proliferation isn’t misplaced. Buzzwords are often used to obscure, confuse, or spin. But WPO genuinely illuminates the actionable key metrics of online visibility, enabling marketing executives to make smart decisions about coordinating PR, SEO, SEM, social, and content marketing efforts.