The Beginner’s Guide to Expert Roundup Posts & Group Interviews

The Begginer's Guide to Expert Roundups & Group Interviews

If you’re in the online marketing space, you’ve no doubt seen a hundred “expert roundups” or as I like to call them “group interviews.” You might have participated in a few. You may even be extremely sick of them and you may not want to participate in them or create them anymore.

Regardless of your opinion of them, though, the reality is this: if your objective is to get shares and traffic for your content, they tend to work quite well. We use them on this site. Popular blogs in the marketing niche still do as well.

And in other niches outside of online marketing, the tactic is frequently more seldom used and even more effective. The benefits are fairly straight forward: this post style allows you to get a number of smart folks to contribute content for you. They get exposure through your post, and you get a post chock full of different perspectives on a relevant topic to your audience that has built-in distribution.

If you’re not leveraging it, it’s something you may want to consider adding to your content arsenal. There are already a number of great guides to create your own with some excellent tips and tricks:

We execute a number of these kinds of posts for our own publishing properties and on behalf of clients, and have our own methodology we thought was worth sharing. As with “best of lists,” this post type isn’t always a home run. Frequently these assets will drive hundreds of shares for a domain that’s never had more than a handful for their content. They can generate into the thousands of passive unique visitors each month through search traffic.

And they can be time-consuming to create and promote, and fall relatively flat.

This is why we encourage folks to take more of a portfolio approach to content efforts: evaluate your content production and promotion based on your aggregate inputs and aggregate results. Understand that not all content succeeds, analyze results, and iterate over time.

You should do that with group interviews / expert roundups as well, but you can’t start evaluating until you get started testing the tactic. In this post you’ll learn how to walk through the ideation process to come up with a huge list of great group interview topics so that you can produce engaging expert roundups on a regular basis, how to contact possible participants, and how to promote the content once your posts are live.

Let’s dig into the process.

Step 1: Expert Roundup Topic Ideation

For the most part great topics for expert roundups are pretty similar to great topics for any content: I’m looking for ideas that are helpful to potential prospects. Things they’ll search for, problems they have that I can help solve, etc.

And as with general content ideation, there are a lot of different ways I can come up with great group interview topics.

1) Answer My Own Questions

If I have domain expertise, I can come up with some great ideas for group interviews by thinking about the things that I have problems with. For instance let’s say I’m a content marketer launching a product for other content marketers. Any time I encounter a problem and start to:

  • Consider Emailing a colleague to get advice
  • Posting on a forum for those folks’ two cents
  • Dropping a quick query into Google

About something related to my business, that’s probably a great topic to “crowd source” via group interview and get a piece of content around, because if I have the question or problem other content marketers probably do too. Some examples of things I’m always curious about and/or struggling with that I could (and might) turn into group interviews might be:

  • The best ways to get great survey data on a topic when you don’t have a list or existing proprietary data
  • Quick hacks for getting great images and visuals on a specific topic (how to find the perfect blog images)
  • Tips for running contests if you don’t have an established audience or brand (or if you should even bother)

Those could all be awesome topics to get input from a bunch of experts on, and are probably things that other folks would like to get some additional viewpoints on as well.

Similarly, even if I were totally new to content marketing, those questions could be interesting as well if my audience is beginners. In fact, if my audience is mainly beginners, I might be better off polling someone brand new to field and asking them what they struggle with or what they think they would have the hardest time doing if I asked them to go and start work creating and promoting content for a site today (again: it depends on my audience!). Finding folks inside an industry to talk to and ask about the things they struggle with (whether that’s a client, someone you’re connected with on LinkedIn, someone you hire for a consultation – whatever) is always a great way to start to brainstorm content ideas.

Grab someone with very limited or no experience on a topic (your friends, a junior resource in your company, etc.) and explain a fairly complex topic related to your business to them. Encourage them to stop you every time they have any kind of question. Write the questions down – these could all be great expert roundup questions!

2) Look at Tool Lists

Once I’ve recorded a lot of my own questions and the questions and problems that actual prospects and/or or folks who are very similar to my prospects would have, another way I’ll find ideas for great group interview topics is to look at lists of tools within my niche. Looking at categories of tools and software can be a great way to unearth topics for group interviews, because software is (frequently) developed in response to a problem. I can start hunting here with my old pal Google (NOTE: ads in the screenshot below have been removed to make things fit more nicely and because I think G is squeaking by OK without any additional free distribution for their sponsors):

A screenshot of the search results for content marketing tools.

I’ll click on WordStream’s list of tools to start since I used to work there, and as soon as I do I immediately find a few subcategories of tools:

A screenshot of how you can use subcategories from tool posts for topic ideas.

Each of these subcategories could represent an interesting group interview question (or a few) – for instance:

  • What’s your favorite content curation tool?
  • What’s the biggest mistake marketers make when curating content?
  • What’s your favorite content curation hack?

And similar (I’ll walk through some common formulas for questions in a few paragraphs, but many of the formulas I’m listing and would come up with would work with a lot of these topic areas).

Drilling into the specific tools lets me uncover even more interesting topic areas – I want to really look through a lot of the tools listed here and in other lists and look closely at their title tags and benefit statements:

An example of using software messaging to get content topic ideas.

Buzzsumo was on WordStream’s list. I love BuzzSumo and use it a lot, but I don’t often spend much time thinking about how they’d categorize themselves or describe the problem they’re solving. When I look at their home page I see lots of topics that are probably things content marketers find interesting and in some cases struggle with. Their title tag reads:

Find the Most Shared Content & Key Influencers

And the headline highlighted above is similar. So based on Buzzsumo’s popularity (and my own need for it) it’s a pretty good bet that content marketers might want to hear from other content marketers about:

  • How to come up with viral, sharable content topics?
  • How to identify key influencers in a niche quickly?

And others like these. I can drill into lots of other specific tools to find great group interview topics.

Similarly, looking at a list of features for a specific product can also serve as a good means of identifying more topics – for example if they feature a content calendar, content collaboration features, etc. each of those is likely a pain point you can turn into a useful question.

3) Look at Categories on Blogs

Similar to tool categories, you can find some categories that you can spin into lots of great group interview questions by looking at the categorization on popular blogs in a niche:

An image example of using categories to get topic ideas.

Problogger has a great footer that includes a list of categories – again as with the tool categories, lots of these could be interesting interview topics:

  • What’s the Number 1 Mistake Blogger’s Make with Blog Design?
  • What’s Your Number 1 Tip for Conducting Great Podcast Interviews?

4) Look at Most Popular Posts on Popular Blogs

Similarly, looking at the most popular articles on blogs in your niche can give you a great idea of what readers of these blogs (likely your prospects) are most likely to be sharing and reading:

Using popular posts to get content ideas for expert roundups.

Now I know the Problogger audience is interested in topics like making money blogging, growing community, Amazon’s affiliate program (and others, presumably), and starting their first blog. Assuming I know or am at least really confident my audience has a lot of overlap with Problogger’s, that’s another batch of potentially interesting topics to get a variety of expert opinions on.

5) Look at Agendas for Conferences

The people who organize conferences spend a lot of time thinking about what the folks who attend will want to see, and what they’re thinking about. If there’s a lot of overlap between conference goers at a specific event and your prospects, the agenda for that conference is probably chock full of topics that would be great group interview subjects:

A screenshot example of using conference agendas for expert round up ideation and looking for possible interviewees.

Above are some of the breakout sessions from Content Marketing World’s conference agenda (listed on their site). Topics like B2B content marketing strategy, video strategy on a budget, content audits, etc. could all be great group interview topics (again: I’ll really need to know which end of the market and who specifically my prospect is to best understand which of these would be better or worse – the folks who might be interested in a B2B content marketing strategy might be quite different than the folks who were interested in affiliate programs we found in the popular posts method above – I’ll really only know which topic is best for me to create a group interview around by knowing my audience and what their problems are).

6) Use Your Core Keywords to Get Ideas

The keywords I want to target via SEO can also make for great interview topics (and have the added bonus of potentially sending you some really specific, valuable, and continuous SEO traffic once you have the group interview live).

If I’m hoping to rank well for “content marketing software” my salesy product page isn’t likely to rank well, but a strong group interview question with a lot of great responses could rank well for that term, so I’ll consider wrapping up some of my core keywords in a solid group interview question formula (again a bit more on formulas below) – the good news here is that most of the questions I’d ask will probably be really relevant for my prospects (if you’re interested in tips for buying content marketing software, mistakes people make leveraging content marketing software, or similar, you’re probably at least potentially in the market for the stuff).

7) Identify Some Good Group Interview Formulas

As I think about different group interview topics, I’ll want to be aware of some good “formulas” for creating good group interview questions.

I want to make sure to:

  • Avoid any questions that are too easily answered with a yes or no
  • Have something sufficiently broad that there isn’t a single repeatable answer
  • Avoid anything where the range of answers would be really limited (seeing variations on the same basic answer or two isn’t particularly helpful or interesting)

Having worked on a bunch of these, here are a few good basic formulas I can apply to lots of different topics (with the formula, a sample question I could apply to my fictitious content marketing software company, and real example from a post “in the wild”):

Biggest Mistake(s)

Best Tips / Hacks

Favorite Tools

  • General Formula: “What’s your {Favorite / Most Used} tool for {Concept or Process}”
  • Sample Question: What is the single most valuable content curation tool you’ve discovered?
  • Real Example: http://www.clambr.com/link-building-tools/

You can also learn more about how well that link building tools post did in Brian Dean’s post on Richard’s process and results, and as I mentioned earlier you can check out Richard’s great in-depth guide on expert roundups for free on his site as well.

Successful Examples / Success Stories

Most Creative

Top Traits of the Highly Successful

Obviously there are a ton of question permutations that could work well – if you have a favorite formula and/or some examples of group interviews that did great or that you loved drop a note in the comments (we’ll promote any that make sense to the main post here).

Finding the Interview Prospects

Once I have a great question researched and lined up, I need to go out and track down interview prospects. What I’m looking for here are obviously smart folks, and of course I want to identify thought leaders who have distribution and a familiar name so that anyone nice enough to promote their participation in my post will help amplify the content’s reach, and also help lend credibility to the document.

I may think I have a pretty good handle on the top influencers in my niche, but ideally I want to identify something in the range of 100+ group interview targets, because as with everything not everyone I include will respond.

There are a lot of different ways to track down great group interview candidates.

  • Other Group Interviews – With some simple Googling around terms frequentl used in group interviews (like experts {your topic}) in many niches I can find existing group interviews. As soon as I find an existing group interview I immediately have a list of folks who are related to my subject, and I already know are willing to participate in group interviews.
  • Top Blog Lists – Popular blogs are home to popular bloggers, so finding a list of the most popular blogs in my niche (which I can find by simply searching for “best {topic} blogs” or looking someplace like Alltop) gives me another batch of great targets.
  • Power Users on Niche Social Sites – If my niche has a popular social site or Subreddit or similar, power users there are likely interesting targets and obviously have a certain amount of influence (for the group interviews I’m setting up for my hypothetical content marketing software company, looking at the top members on Inbound could be a good start).
  • Contributors on Major Multi-Author Sites – As I look for popular blogs, a great find is always a really popular, relevant, multi-author site. The folks contributing content these places are frequently experts looking for exposure and willing to share their thoughts. For example any of the folks who have contributed to Content Marketing Institute recently would potentially be great candidates to include in a group interview on a content marketing topic.
  • Conference Speakers – Similarly I could revisit Content Marketing World’s site, but this time look at the list of speakers there. Again the fact that they’re presenting at a well-respected conference likely means that they have expertise in my subject area, they’re willing to share ideas with folks, and they’re looking for exposure.
  • Get Some “Inbound” Interest – If my site meets the requirements for the various platforms, an additional way to get expert opinions on my topic is to post an inquiry as a publisher for contributions on sites like HARO, Source Bottle, or ProfNet.

Finally, just an additional note on determining who to include in group interviews: in general unless a respondent really sends something back that’s totally useless and/or inaccurate, my approach is to be really inclusive and assume “the more the merrier” as the more folks who are included, the more likely they are to help me promote – if I run into issues with or am concerned about quality control, I can always be careful and specific with who I invite to participate.

Reaching Out to Possible Contributors

Now I have a nice big list of potential contributors and an awesome question – next I need some responses. I’m going to start to reach out to folks on my list and ask them for a contribution. When I do I’ll generally use a really simple Email template. There’s a couple flavors I can try:

Short & To the Point

Hi X,

My name is Tom Demers, I’m the founder of Awesome Content Marketing Software, a content marketing software company. We’re asking content marketing experts like yourself to offer their take on a quick question:

{Question Here}

If you have a moment I’d love to have you contribute – we’ll be doing a lot of promotion around the post and obviously you’re welcome to link to and promote whatever you like in your bio along with your answer.

Thanks for considering!

Tom

Qualify Some & Ask for All of the Information Up Front

Generally I find shorter notes lead to better responses, but I can also consider or test adding in pieces like:

  • Asking for a headshot and bio up front
  • Linking to a previous interview that did well as a proof of concept
  • Including a date I plan to publish to encourage a quicker turnaround

Once I send a note, I’ll typically follow up once via Email. In the Backlinko post on Clambr’s group interview they also mentioned that Richard pinged people on Twitter as well, which is another great idea – particularly if the question lends itself to a quick answer like his did (again you can get a really detailed description of Richard’s process free on his site).

How to Create the Content

Once I’ve decided on a question and done my outreach, I have all of the content to create a really great asset. Typically I’ll want at least 15-20 folks contributing to really get a nice diversity of opinion and to have enough folks helping distribute the post to have it get good social and traffic traction, and ideally I’d get something north of that (for some niches that’ll be easy, for some it may be impossible to get 40 responses).

Now I need to format the post. There are a number of things I want to be sure to include:

  • A brief intro
  • A table of contents listing the contributors and linking to their answers
  • Everyone’s answers!
  • Headshots for every contributor
  • Contributor bios

And a number of things that can really help the post that I’ll create / include:

  • A custom banner or graphic at the top of the post
  • A nice mash up of all of the contributor photos
  • A badge the experts can share with their audience if they like
  • A specific offer and call to action (this might be a simple but highly relevant content upgrade like a PDF, check-list version of the post, some raw data on how many of the experts answered with what types of answers, etc.)
  • A twitter list with all of the folks who contributed

How to promote the list

Now I just hit publish and wait, right? I did promise you “built in distribution,” after all.

Almost! There’s still a bit more to do once I have all of the answers collected and formatted: I need to actually promote the post!

  • Email Everyone – Obviously I want to reach out to everyone on the list and let them know the post is live – I might also give them a link to my tweet of the post so that’s easy to retweet and if appropriate a link to the post submission on a relevant social media site to vote up if they like (important note here though: I don’t want to give them 8 different things to do – pick the one or two most important actions to highlight and let them decide what to do next).
  • Twitter – I’ll also queue up a number of tweets, and @ some folks who participated in the interview in the tweets so that they see the mention there and can easily retweet that if they want to share that way.
  • Paid Social Promotion – Depending on the topic, I may also consider some paid social promotion via Stumble, Reddit, or Twitter Sponsored Ads to get some additional distribution for my content there.
  • Additional Outreach – Another trick that takes a bit more time but can net some really high quality links: after asking permission in the outreach process, I’ll often reach out to each contributor’s alma matter and hometown newspaper. This requires a good bit of leg work (and on the alma matter front be careful of the season) but can net some great .edu links and awesome links and citations from quality local publications.

The final step here is often the most valuable: as you let people know they’re participating, be sure to note anyone who is interested in participating in future interviews, and (genuinely) offer to help anyone who has helped you here. Look at their Twitter bios. Start following their blogs and share their stuff, as well. Offer to try to be of use to them in future. These folks have contributed to a piece of content for you, and helped you promote it: be grateful, and take the opportunity to be of use and develop a real relationship that will benefit all of your content.

How Getting 7 SEO Visits Can Bring You 40,000: Driving SEO Traffic with Best of Lists

How getting 7 SEO visits can bring you 40,000

In this post, I’m going to show you a tactic that I’m using a lot to get links, shares, great engagement and thousands of visitors a month from organic search that anyone can do.

Anyone can do it, but it takes a bunch of work and will fail sometimes.

I’m an online marketer who does a lot of work in SEO. As an SEO the last couple years have been…interesting. Google has cracked down on a lot of stuff that used to work very well in getting targeted search traffic to sites. “Link building” is still extremely important, but has become less predictable, more expensive, and really just harder and riskier.

Some of those things that used to work can still get results, but the risk is so high that for me (and for many) those tactics really just aren’t worth it.

So if I don’t have a predictable, scalable means of getting links placed on other sites, what can I do to consistently get traffic from organic search?

There are still lots of different tactics that work, but many of them are fairly daunting (particularly for new sites and small businesses) so like I said: I’m going to show you a tactic that I’m using a lot to get links, shares, great engagement and thousands of visitors from organic search that anyone can do.

BUT, and I’ll have more on this in the final “results” section of the post: you will have to do a bunch of work and this won’t work every single time – you’ll need to think of your content marketing efforts as a sort of portfolio where some content will hit and some will flop, and you’re evaluating the aggregate impact of the time you’re spending and the output you’re getting.

And one more time: you’ll have to do a bunch of work.

The good news is I’ll detail the process very specifically and step-by-step for you here and share the results (the good, the bad, and the ugly) of 36 of these types of posts at the end, and you can decide whether to try it or not (feel free to do something else – if you don’t like work but are OK with variance and poor odds there are other options you might like, for instance).

Below is a process for how to create what I call “best of lists,” or really comprehensive list posts that round up a large number of tools, blogs or resources.

Ideation

First I need to do something I should do for any content creation process: figure out who is going to buy my stuff! Through this example I’m going to assume I’m trying to get traffic, leads, and customers for my accounting software (generally a pretty boring subject that a marketer might say “it’s SO HARD to come up with good content ideas for”, right?)

My job now is to create content that people who buy accounting software will love and find useful, while also getting some folks who have those same prospects’ attention to share my content for me.

This is actually a bit easier to do than you might think.

We’ll assume here my accounting software is a low priced SaaS product that I want small to mid-sized accountants to buy. Now I need to figure out what specific problems and questions these folks have that I can help them solve by presenting them with a great curated collection of resources.

Right off the bat there are some obvious best of lists I could probably create that accountants might look for and find useful – like best accounting blogs. But I want to come up with a big list of ideas that I can whittle down and create a series of content pieces around.

As with all things on the Internet, I can start with Google. I want to start by looking for things like:

  • Best blogs for accountants
  • Best software for accountants
  • Best software for small accounting firms

As is often the case, a lot of the initial links I find here aren’t particularly useful for my purposes (I cropped the ads out of the screenshot below or I wouldn’t be able to fit it onto the page – keep gettin’ dem checks Google!):

Best of list ideas for SEO friendly content

A lot of the results here are obviously more oriented around accounting software for small businesses (versus accounting firms specifically) but one result here can start to give me some initial insight, since I’m new to this niche: the CPA accounting software link.

This particular link is mainly a lead gen piece for accounting software (you’ll find a lot of these in best / top / generic software listings – that search traffic is part of the reason we’re going to try to create a more comprehensive / less biased version of these kinds of lists ourselves) but they’ve already given me a better search query to try (CPA accounting software versus best accounting software for accountants), and down the page a bit they’ve done a quick high-level break down of some CPA-specific functionality that’s a nice starting point:

An example of using job information to get keyword and topic ideas

Now I’ve got some nice possible list ideas and additional searches I can run to try to find some other search candidates:

  • Best Multi-Company Accounting Software
  • Best Tax Preparation Software {for accountants}
  • Best Time & Billing Software {for accountants}
  • Financial Reports {for accountants}

An important reminder here: I know that not all of these will be winners. This is the ideation phase so I want to run through these SERPs and try to find other best of lists and category descriptions to find a lot of possible ideas for great tool and resource lists.

From here I want to really try to dig in and look at anything that could get me more information – I’ll run all of these searches and click through to anything that could give me more insight into the different features and categories of tools accountants are using.

Since I’m selling accounting software, a generic list like “best accounting software” is something I want to stay away from since I’d have to list every competitor (if it were my business I’d probably make the list anyway because I can build some good relationships and own the conversation and search results around that term by doing a great job with it and because sometimes you have to recommend other people’s products, and you don’t need to pretend your competitors don’t exist, but if you’re an employee or consultant there’s a strong chance the folks paying you won’t want to tick off competitors in a round-up of the best software options in your niche), but I definitely might be able to identify some areas where point solutions that overlap with a feature or two of my software but aren’t strictly competitive (like time and billing software, for instance) could be a great list that solves a pain point for my audience without turning into a big list of competitors.

As a software company I can also find a lot of great stuff by chasing down search queries that turn up great publishers who focus on creating content for accountants:

  • Best CPA blogs
  • Best blogs for accountants
  • Best accounting publications

I’ll use these searches, I’ll also look at places like Alltop and actually dive into the content to try to understand which publications are the most respected and creating the highest quality content in the niche. I’ll also use BuzzStream’s great free blogroll list builder to see who gets included in blogrolls from major blogs (the places being linked to from influential places will typically be high quality and influential themselves).

Once I find some quality publishers, I can leverage their hard-earned knowledge and data to get more ideas for topics. One example in these SERPs is a site called CPA Practice Advisor (http://www.cpapracticeadvisor.com/):

How to use blog categories to help generate content topics.

I could leverage some of these specific categories like “best payroll tools” or “best CPA firm management resources” for ideas for best of lists.

Who Am I Trying to Reach, Again?

Another good idea for best of lists is to simply use the title of the person I want to sell to – in this case it’s fairly straightforward, so I might just add “Best Tools / Resources for Accountants” and/or “Best Tools / Resources for CPA Firms,” but if there are other positions to target creating a list of helpful tools and resources for those folks could also make strong, simple topic areas (you or a client or your company should obviously have a sense of what this information is already).

There are Ideas in the Real World Too!

A final great source of topics can be to find the Websites and agendas for the leading conferences in the niche. These are put on by folks who have a strong financial interest in having their finger on the pulse of the industry, and they’re attended by your prospects. You can ask someone within a niche if you’re not familiar, or Google around to identify some lists like this. Once you find a conference that seems to be doing a good job serving your market, hone in on their agenda. Each of the highlighted topics below (highlighting is mine) could be re-worked into interesting and useful best of lists:

Using conference agendas to get SEO keyword and content  topic ideas

With just a quick scan at one conference agenda some nice possible topics pop up:

  • Best tools / resources for recruiting and training tax preparers
  • Best tools / resources for automating your CPA firm’s back office processes
  • Best marketing tools for CPA firms

Qualifying & Prioritizing My List of Ideas

Next I need to decide where to spend my time in actually creating some of these lists. I need to think about a few key factors.

First I want to answer the question: is there any demand for this topic? I’m not just creating these for search traffic, but that’s certainly a component, and looking at estimated search traffic using Google’s keyword estimates can give me a (rough and directional) sense of which core terms are more popular.

First I need to take some of my more complicated, multi-part post ideas from my research and brainstorming and distill them down into simple terms to get traffic estimates for. For instance this possible focus area:

Best tools / resources for recruiting and training tax preparers

Is something I’ll break down into the following terms to get search estimates for:

  • Tools for recruiting tax preparers
  • Tax preparer recruiting tools
  • Tools for training tax preparers
  • Tax preparer training tools
  • Recruiting tax preparers
  • Training tax preparers

I want to do this break down and distillation for all of my topic ideas and then drop this list of broader topics into Google’s Keyword Planner (you can use a different keyword tool if you like – to get to the planner you can create an AdWords account and keep everything paused, then navigate to Tools > Keyword Planner and click Get search volume for a list of keywords):

Get search volume for your content topics and keyword ideas

The targeting and date range settings aren’t particularly important here – the numbers I’m getting from Google (or from other keyword tools) are very rough estimations, so I’m really just trying to get a rough sense of the relative volume of the different terms. Once I hit Get Search Volume I can toggle over to keyword ideas and start to see the data I’m looking for here:

Relative search volume for a list of keyword ideas or topic ideas

Based on the quick list of ideas I came up with above, I have some very low volume search topics. Ideally with a larger sample I’d start to hit on some ideas that had higher demand, but I’m not going to throw anything out just based on low search volume. Remember my main objective is to solve a real problem and create a really valuable resource for my prospects while creating something that will get shared and linked to. Search traffic is just a nice way to help me gauge the relative interest in these topics.

Also: I’ve seen core topics that showed 50-100 estimated searches per month drive thousands of unique visitors per month from search using this tactic: the search volume estimates are very rough and don’t account for lots of long tail phrases that the lengthy resource I’m going to create will attract.

For that reason I’ll also layer on a qualitative aspect to this prioritization process. Namely: which of these would be most valuable to small to mid-sized accounting firms? If this is my business, I should know this (or have access to some accountants who could help me answer the question), but if I’m a marketer inside the company I might ask the product and services teams and if I’m an agency I’ll want to get feedback from the client. If I have an audience already (via social media / a blog / an Email list / etc.) I could potentially survey them on which topic they’d most like to see a comprehensive guide created around.

Anything that is a topic that’s both identified as a major pain point by people who are or are exactly like the people I want to sell to moves right to the top of the list – particularly if that topic doesn’t have a lot of quality resources already created around it.

Creating the Actual List

Researching the list of actual tools and resources is obviously a key component here. I’m looking to make the list a few things, whenever possible:

  • Comprehensive – I want to really include a huge list of resources so that my list is a “one-stop-shop” for my prospect looking for information about the topic. For most lists I should be able to find at least 50 resources. I don’t want to cram anything onto the list that is low quality or irrelevant just to pad the numbers, but really the more useful resources / tools the better here – ideally I’ll make sure to go further than any similar resource I find so that I can build a skyscraper.
  • Unbiased – I might be tempted to only include more authoritative sites or to really talk up the resources I’d most like to get a link or a share from, but in general I’ll get the most traction (and provide the most value for my readers) if I stick to a neutral position and just list the facts about each of the tools (more on what facts, specifically, I’ll want to include in the next section). If I have time to really test all of the tools including a brief review is great, but even if I’m just listing specs and linking to more in-depth reviews for each that’s usually
  • Highly Valuable – Again the beauty of this type of list is that it gives me a great opportunity to solve a problem for my prospects and build trust with them, so I want to constantly be thinking about what would make the list more valuable to an accountant / small accounting firm.

In terms of actually finding all of the resources, there are a lot of ways to compile the list, including:

  • Our Old Friend Google – I can run a series of searches for things like best software for accountants, software for accountants, etc. and start to compile all of the individual products I find as well as all of the tools listed in other lists folks have pulled together (if I find a list that’s ranking particularly well and getting particularly good traffic in my travels, I’ll be sure to note that and see if I can piggy back on their success a bit by reaching out to folks who linked to them once my list is complete).
  • A Real Live Person – I’m not an accountant, so I’ll go to actual people and find out what they use. If I have a list I can survey I might start there, or I could just see who is in my network (my accountant and his/her colleagues, friends, relatives, anyone I’m connected with on LinkedIn, etc.) and find out what tools they use. Remember: I’m trying to get actual people to my site, so talking to actual people about content ideas and things that work for them often works really well!
  • Aggregator Sites & Directories – These can be a bit hit or miss, but sites like Alltop or Blog Rank can be a great place to find resources on a topic, and could even lead me to lists of tools. For tools / software drilling down into directories (yes they still make those!) and for software lists places like Capterra, BuyerZone, and Resource Nation have lots of products listed on a variety of different topics.

How to Format the Contents of the Post

Once I have an idea of what I’ll include on my list, I have to determine what information to include for each tool or resource, and how to format all of the information so that my post is extremely valuable, and so that it’s likely the folks I include will share the post.

First on what information I’ll include:

For Resource / Blog Lists

  • A unique image for every single resource or blog listed (screenshots of the site work well here)
  • A link to the resource itself
  • A brief description of the type of content the reader will find
  • Three to five great examples of the types of content they produce (I might dig into the site, look at posts they highlight themselves, or use a tool like BuzzSumo to get a sense of their most popular posts)

For Tools / Software Lists

  • A unique image for every single tool listed (screenshots of the product are ideal here)
  • A link to the tool itself
  • A brief description of what the tool does / purports to do (again if I haven’t actually trialed the tool I’ll work to tone down any hyped up adjectives and stick to what category of product it belongs to and what it claims / aspires to do in terms of the benefits of the product for readers)
  • Pricing Information & Features
  • Links to any more in-depth, unbiased reviews I can find

In terms of formatting the post, a few things I want to do (or at least consider):

  • A Table of Contents with Jump Links – A nice table of contents with jump links to headers for each of the tools mentioned makes things easier to read and navigate for my readers, and for the companies gives me a custom link to send them that jumps them right to their section and lets them see their write up quickly.
  • Great Spacing & Clear Headlines – Here I’m mainly going to going to use basic Web formatting best practices: lots of bullets, headlines, and images to make the post easy to read or scan and as visually attractive as possible.
  • Badges – In most niches having a badge with my branding and logo as well as the title of the post “Best Accounting Software” increases the odds that those included will share with their audience (since I’m providing them with a nice social proof element) which can help net me some nice branding as well as making it more likely that they’ll link. Important note: I’ll stay away from any tricky anchor text here and only link to the actual list or my site’s home page when I create an embed code for my badge, since Google doesn’t like some types of widget links.
  • Twitter List – Creating a twitter list with all of the sites / individuals included in my post is a good way for me to get on the radar of the folks on my list through another channel, and is also really useful to expose within my post for my readers (particularly for a list of blogs / resources).
  • Tweet This Buttons – Building in lots of great ways to share your content is always a win, obviously. Here’s a nice example of this that Hubspot incorporated into their own best of list. Sumo me has a great free and easy way to incorporate sharing into your posts if you’re not sure how to enable this kind of functionality.
  • A Custom Search Engine – Google lets me quickly create free custom search engines (note: they’ll show ads against the search results in the free version) where I can have search results just show results from the sites included on my list. For a best blogs or best resources list this can be a pretty handy feature that gets my readers better search results on topics related to their niche (instead of sifting through search results that include all of the crap Google has in its index, they can search my list of the highest quality accounting resources for an answer when they have a question or want more information). This is another example of how I can “level up” my content and make it a particularly valuable resource.

One important thing I won’t do when I format my post (which I learned the hard way): numerical listings. Unless I have some sort of metric for an actual ranking system, in formatting the post I want to stay away from using numbers in listing the tools – in the past even when I’ve created a numbered list – even when I spelled out that the tools were listed in no particular order – the folks listed 50 out of 50 weren’t particularly excited to share that with their audience (I’ve even gotten angry notes back when I let them know they made the list!). I’ll use bullets, or just break out the headline for each listing.

How to Promote My List

Once I have a nicely formatted, high quality list of resources I need to actually launch and promote it. By creating a list of tools or resources, I’ve created something with built-in distribution. It’s not quote “fail-proof” (more on results from these types of posts in a bit) but it means that more often than not I’ll get help promoting my content from the folks on the list if I help them help me. As a result I need to:

What Kind of Results Can I Expect?

You were promised some results!

The data below includes 36 Best of Posts from 7 different sites in a range of industries – none of the sites are super authoritative, a few are brand new, and the two best traffic results came from two of the newest sites.

  • Total Organic Traffic in the Last 30 Days Across 36 Posts: 39,714
  • Average Organic Traffic Per Post: 1,103
  • Highest Traffic Total for a Single Post From Organic Search in the Last 30 Days: 8,820
  • Lowest Traffic Total for a Single Post From Organic Search in the Last 30 Days: 7

Some additional important facts to keep in mind:

  • Some of these posts don’t get any links at all
  • One post that drives over 5,000 unique visitors a month from search only has 4 links to it
  • The most trafficked 8,820 unique a month post was only shared 15 times

For the most part these are sites where we’re consistently publishing this kind of content (other assets as well – not just best of lists) and are seeing aggressive overall traffic growth as well. This is largely because these posts (and similar assets) have a lot of things going for them that Google is moving towards with Panda and Penguin updates:

  • There’s lots of meaty, unique content
  • Engagement metrics are typically great because the content is exactly the type of thing folks are looking for and provides a large number of resources and lots of detail
  • The content (generally) gets shared
  • Links you’ll get won’t be manipulative, will be relevant (and actually drive traffic!), and you’re not picking the anchor text so you don’t need to worry too much about scary penguins.

So go crank out some great best of lists and measure your results! Or you know: try something else.

Content Marketing Strategy: Marketers Share their Favorite Books, Blog Posts & Resources

“Strategy” can be kind of a dubious term. As someone who has done a lot of acquisition and transaction-oriented marketing work, I’m sometimes a bit skeptical of an over-emphasis on strategy and under-emphasis on execution.

That said: if you don’t have any strategy and direction at all, or if you’re chasing after the wrong goals, all of your tactical execution is going to be wasted. I also know that strategies can vary wildly from business to business and website to website, and there’s really no such thing as a single, one-size-fits-all, be-all-end-all content strategy (not even our own content marketing roadmap).

For that reason, we got the input of a number of marketers on their favorite content marketing strategy resources. Check out the answers folks have given below, and see if there are a few resources you can pick out that give you some inspiration and help guide the direction of your own content strategy.

“What’s the single best resource on content marketing strategy you’ve read?”

Meet Our Panel of Marketers:


Kelsey MurphyKelsey Murphy

Kelsey Murphy is a Professional & Personal Coach, communication specialist, public speaker, advertising director, and business owner. Learn more about Kelsey and her work at www.kelseymurphy.com.

What’s the single best resource on content marketing strategy you’ve read?

Dana Malstaff is brilliant – she helps get to the root of what you REALLY want to say, and lay it out in a digestible, smart, organized way. She is creative, brainstorming savant. I’d be lost without her.

She has a great free resource on her site here – expandyourreach.club – and is an incredible coach.


Sam AnthonySam Anthony

Sam Anthony is the Owner of TheSiteEdge, a Minneapolis-based online marketing and web design agency.

The single best resource on content marketing that I have ever read is…

The “17 Insanely Actionable List Building Strategies That Will Generate More Subscribers Today” article from Brian Dean at Backlinko.com.

You can find it at http://backlinko.com/list-building (pretty much everything on this site is solid gold)

Why was it life changing?

There are millions of articles on content marketing and “how to do it better.” But the simple fact of the matter is that if 1,000,000 people are all saying that is the way to do it better – you are just going to be doing the same thing as everyone else. This piece is about going 5 steps further than the rest of the content marketers out there. It is so easy to just post content that doesn’t take much thought, which is why it doesn’t get shared or utilized and it certainly does not establish you as an authority. You need to utilize the tools available on the internet and [some of] your own brain power to do something better. Lastly, every bit of advice in this article can be learned from and adapted to use on one’s own site – all of it is actionable.


Natalie BidnickNatalie Bidnick

Natalie Bidnick is the digital strategist for Elizabeth Christian Public Relations in Austin, Texas. She has over nine year’s experience working with more than 50 brands on improving their online presence.

What’s the single best resource on content marketing strategy you’ve read?

As a content marketing professional, I recommend reading OpenTopic and the Moz blog for ideas, inspiration and best practices regarding blogging and curation.


Richard HollisRichard Hollis

Richard Hollis is the CEO of Holonis, the next generation online platform. He has
spent the better part of a decade researching best practices for online marketing when developing Holonis and is an expert when it comes to content marketing.

In my years of research I have read a myriad of books and two that I would recommend as my top resources on content marketing strategy are…

“The Age of the Platform” by Phil Simon, and “The New Rules of Marketing & PR” by David Meerman Scott.

I would point out two great resources these books have to offer, one from The Age of the Platform stating, “Platforms comprise individual components, features, products, and services, collectively referred to in this book as planks. Put simply, without planks, there are no platforms.”

And the other resource on content marketing strategy comes from The New Rules of
Marketing& PR stating, “Great content brands an organization as a trusted resource and calls people to action – to buy, subscribe, apply, or donate. And great content means that interested people return again and again. As a result, the organization succeeds, achieving goals such as adding revenue, building traffic, gaining donations, or generating sales leads.


Ben JorgensenBen Jorgensen

Ben Jorgensen is the CEO and Co-founder of Klick Push, Inc. Klick Push connects consumers to brands through digital music. We allow marketers to use music as dynamic content to drive omni-channel marketing initiatives.

What’s the single best resource on content marketing strategy you’ve read?

I would have to say that our CRM, Hubspot, is a great source of content marketing materials. Additionally, reading between the lines, you can simultaneously infer Hubspots marketing strategy. This is a company that not only has good content marketing materials but have a sound strategy.


Robyn TippinsRobyn Tippins

Robyn Tippins is the Co-Founder and leader of community marketing and business operations for Mariposa Interactive, a content marketing agency specializing in inbound and lead generation for Manufacturing OEMs, Startups and High Tech. She has been managing online communities for 17 years. Her book, Community 101″ is a primer on online community management. Over the years she has worked with large and small companies, including Yahoo, Intel, MTV, AT&T, Behr Paints, Fleishman Hillard, ReadWriteWeb, SAY Media , Mozilla, Cisco, Facebook and Current TV. She authored the Community Certification program at GetSatisfaction.

What’s the single best resource on content marketing strategy you’ve read?

Soup to nuts, for both insiders and beginners, it’s “Inbound Marketing: Attract, Engage and Delight Customers Online”, by the founders of Hubspot, Brian Halligan, Dharmesh Shah.

Each of our new employees, from admin staff and sales folks to our account managers and creative staff, get a copy of the book and are required to discuss it with me within their first 30 days. We’re Hubspot Partners, so it’s vital they’re up to speed quickly on both the rationale and vision behind content marketing and the unique way a Hubspot partner agency works. We’ve thrown around the idea of writing a book ourselves, but can’t find a better way to put the overall process and value of content marketing than this one.


Arlissa VaughnArlissa Vaughn

Arlissa Vaughn is the Digital Marketing Specialist for Aegis Power Systems, Inc. – a custom power supply design and manufacture center. She has helped the company develop a video and blog series, as well as implement social media promotion for B2B marketing.

The best publication I’ve read on content marketing is…

The Blueprint of a Modern Marketing Campaign” e-book produced by Kapost and Eloqua (subsidiary of Oracle.)

This e-book goes in depth on digital content strategies, providing marketers with a great year-long plan of how to implement a derivatives pillar-style plan for each campaign.


Chris PilbeamChris Pilbeam

Chris Pilbeam is a content marketer and Senior Manager of Editorial at Alarm.com, the leading connected home platform used by millions of people to make their homes safer, smarter and more efficient.

Pound for pound, the best content marketing strategy resource I’ve ever read isn’t a book. It’s…

A short guide written by Geoff Livingston for Cision, called How to Content Market (Better Than the Competition). It outlines eight steps for executing a content strategy, including nailing down your editorial mission, researching to differentiate yourself, and weaving content types together. It’s a birds-eye view of the process that really does lay it all out without getting lost in case studies.

They’ve ungated it and there’s a copy online here:
http://www.cision.com/us/resources/white-papers/how-to-content-market-better-than-the-competition/


Beth BridgesBeth Bridges

Beth Bridges is the Marketing Manager for J – I.T. Outsource, a full-service technology and digital identity management company. She is a published book author with hundreds of articles, blog posts, and videos published for herself (as The Networking Motivator) and her current and former employers.

The ironic part of content marketing resources is that there is so very much content available. How do you know what’s best? By their reach and how often you see other marketers using, sharing, and referring to those resources. Because if they’re doing content marketing right, you’ll come across them over and over. That said, one of the single best resources I’ve found is something I had to dig for…

Coursera.org offers free online classes called MOOC’s, Massive Online Open Courses. They have a very powerful, systematic, and relevant course called “Content Strategy for Professionals in Organizations.” Best of all, it’s free! https://www.coursera.org/course/contentstrategy


Michael EpsteinMichael Epstein

Michael Epstein is a successful CEO turned Online Marketing, Web Development & Business Strategy Consultant at GetOnlineWithMe.com.

Perhaps the best singular resource I’ve found on content marketing is…

The Definitive Guide to Engaging Content Marketing from Marketo, found here: http://www.marketo.com/definitive-guides/definitive-guide-to-engaging-content-marketing.

It’s 110 pages covering the entire process from developing an understanding of your target audience to defining your tone and style, to writing and distribution/promotion. Very comprehensive and useful for someone who wants to understand the complete process for a good content marketing strategy.


Brooke ElliottBrooke Elliott

Brooke Elliott is the Marketing Director of REDVIKING® Bold Engineering, designers and builders of manufacturing and test solutions: machines, automation, conveyance, software, process design and implementation.

The best ongoing resource of content marketing strategy for me, a B2B marketer, is…

The daily email I receive from MarketingProfs, which quickly describes 5 of their offerings.

Every day it gives me the ability to quickly choose from some of the best content marketing advice I’ve found anywhere, including courses, webinars, seminars and instructional videos. I am a huge fan of MarketingProfs for content marketing (they haven’t asked for an endorsement, I promise!).


Valentin ValovValentin Valov

Valentin Valov is the Digital PR Strategist of Hop-Online, a full service online marketing agency. He helps people and brands better understand the new age of communicative & interactive driven marketing.

The one single factor in content marketing is always story telling. You cannot create content around keywords or agenda and expect revenue. Shaping your outgoing resources around an idea worth sharing to the right audience at the right time is both an art and an engineering. Couple of books to start:

“Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator” by Ryan Holiday and “Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely.

One of the most compelling video sources I recommend is Annielytics on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6Kg6_Mckn_M_ARZL6vdd5w

Tools for researching great topics are available today. These are probably my greatest source for content marketing. Try Buzzsumo to get insights on the most share-ble content on your topic, or the new Content Explorer in Ahrefs. You’ll be surprised how many web resources are in need for improvement.


Brett BastelloBrett Bastello

Brett Bastello is a Content Marketing and Link Building specialist at Inseev Interactive, a digital marketing company located in sunny San Diego.

One of the best resources I have for content marketing is…

BuzzSumo.

Conversely, Ahrefs just released a similar product, however I have been using BuzzSumo much longer. What these products do is highlight the most popular content over a given time set based off the keywords you’ve entered. This is so important to content marketing because it allows me to see exactly what readers are reading and what viewers are watching when I’m working on building out my content strategy.


Nikki WhiteNikki White

Nikki White is the Content Team Lead at Payoff, a next generation financial services company. She is a seasoned content strategist who has created content for fortune 500 companies as well as top 3 E-Commerce companies, worldwide.

My all time favorite content resource I’ve ever read was…

“Contagious” by Jonah Berger. My team and I reference his content on a daily basis. The nuggets in that book are indispensable and the anecdotes really drive the point home.


Dan WadeDan Wade

Dan Wade is the Director of Marketing at Life Floor, a Minnesota-based manufacturing startup that produces a slip-resistant, impact-absorbing tile. Prior to joining Life Floor, Dan was the Director of Activation at LockerDome, where he worked on campaigns for clients ranging from media companies like VICE to professional athletes like Patrick Willis and Brandon Phillips.

The best resource for content marketing I’ve ever found is…

The community at GrowthHackers.com.

They’re particularly good at finding SlideShares from marketing presentations and highlighting the best ones, and while there’s more there than just content advice, that’s my first stop whether I’m looking for something specific or just looking for the top new ideas in marketing.


Jon BinghamJon Bingham

Jon Bingham is Director of Marketing of BKA Content, a provider of high quality content for agencies and enterprise businesses to use in their content marketing efforts.

I find this piece on content marketing to be very helpful, especially for novice content marketers…

What’s the Difference? Content Strategy vs. Content Marketing on Search Engine Journal.

It describes the differences between Content Marketing and Content Strategy and does a good job of explaining what each entails.


Linda PophalLinda Pophal

Linda Pophal is content marketer, business writer, and CEO of Strategic Communications, LLC. Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences.

My top go-to resource for content marketing strategy is…

EContent; it has both hard copy and online editions and provides news and perspectives about a wide range of content marketing/management-related issues. Their regular columnists include a wide range of thought leaders who are up-to-date on the issues and new opportunities in this field.


Matt-AntoninoMatt Antonino

Matt Antonino is the Head of Product for Pay on Performance, a full service digital marketing agency in Melbourne.

With apologies to Copyblogger, the single best source of content marketing strategy for me has to be…

Convince & Convert.

Not only do they have a range of content topics and great ebooks, they also focus on other content-related material such as podcasts, content conversion optimisation, social media & email writing, content calendaring, software and tools and other content-related topics that may not get as much attention on strictly copywriting & editing content blogs. The variety of information and depth of knowledge makes them my first choice for content resources.


Andy HuntAndy Hunt

Andy Hunt is the Founder of Uplift ROI, a pay-on-performance optimization service.

One of the best resources I have read about content marketing was…

This post by Robbie Richards.

One of the reasons I love it so much is that is very easy to follow and relies on tools that are mostly free or offer free trials. Even knowing a bit about content marketing, I was able to learn and implement a few things from this post and have recommended it to more than a few people.


Dave WaringDavid Waring

David Waring is the Co-founder and Editor of FitSmallBusiness.com, a site that helps small business owners choose the right products and services for their business.

We focus our content marketing efforts on search engine optimization and have built our site from 0 to 9000 visitors a day in the last year and a half using this method. The single best resource on content marketing that I have read is…

Moz.com’s Beginners Guide To SEO.

It gives a full overview of everything the reader needs to know to get started in SEO and is required reading for all my staff.


Katie BissonKatie Bisson

Katie Bisson is Marketing and Public Relations Manager for Technology Seed, a managed IT service provider.

What’s the single best resource on content marketing strategy you’ve read?

My first resource is Marketing Profs. They provide great tips on content ideas, writing and creation. Along with providing tips in blog or article format they also host an abundance of webinars all geared toward content creation. This is, by far, my favorite site to turn to.

My second resource is social media. I follow a large number of marketers and marketing agencies that all write great blogs and tips for content marketing. Skimming social media allows me to get a varied insights and also get numerous opinions on new content marketing trends.


Jason BayJason Bay

Jason Bay is a millennial entrepreneur and marketing fundamentalist who specializes in helping young entrepreneurs 10x their marketing efforts. He is also the Founder of the site GenYSuccess.com.

My favorite content marketing resource is…

Fizzle.co.

The guys at Fizzle do a wonderful job with their podcast, blog and membership platform. Their monthly membership gives you unlimited access to video courses on everything related to running an online business. It’s where I learned everything I know about creating a podcast that gets featured in New & Noteworthy on iTunes and writing blog posts that get shared hundreds of times.


Maurice BretzfieldMaurice Bretzfield

Maurice Bretzfield is a Certified Business Mentor and Digital Marketing Solutionist. Learn more about Maurice and his work at MauriceBretzfield.com.

What’s the single best resource on content marketing strategy you’ve read?

Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less” by Joe Pulizzi.


Greg ScottGreg Scott

Greg Scott is an Author, Founder of Infrasupport Corporation and a veteran of the tumultuous IT industry. After working as a consultant at Digital Equipment Corporation, Scott branched out on his own in 1994 and started Scott Consulting. A larger firm bought Scott Consulting in 1999, just as the dot com bust devastated the IT Service industry. Scott went out on his own again in late 1999 and started Infrasupport Corporation, with a laser focus on infrastructure and security.

What’s the single best resource on content marketing strategy you’ve read?

I’ve seen David Meerman Scott‘s presentation on the subject twice now and I have his book, “The New Rules of Marketing and PR.” His presentation made sense and so that’s the way I set up both my company website and new book website.

Starting a Business Blog: Blogging Mistakes Companies Make on Corporate Blogs

Lots of companies are starting blogs. If you’re new to blogging, it’s tough to get traction and easy to make some of the various, common mistakes other blogs and bloggers (myself included) have made. To help new blogs and bloggers avoid some of the common pitfalls that companies make when starting a blog we’ve asked several marketers to share some of the biggest mistakes they see companies make when first launching a blog. Check out their answers below and hopefully you can avoid some of these all-to-common mistakes!

“What’s the biggest mistake companies make when starting a blog?”

Meet Our Panel of Marketers:


Matthew JonasMatthew Jonas

Matthew Jonas is the President of TopFire Media, an integrated digital marketing and public relations agency.

One of the biggest mistakes that companies make when starting their own blog is…

Feeling the need to flood it with large quantities of content, most of which doesn’t fit within their scope of work or align with their business model.

There’s nothing wrong with a multitude of content, but if the blog posts you create aren’t relevant to your company and don’t include keywords that will help to bring traffic and attention to your website or social media profiles, then you aren’t doing yourself any favors.


Valerie JenningsValerie Jennings

Valerie Jennings is CEO of Jennings Social Media Marketing (JSMM) and Viral Bolt Media, located in the Kansas City metro but representing publicly traded to start up companies from all over the world. Jennings has had the honor of working with major brands such as Wyndham Vacation Ownership, Time Equities, Inc., Orient Express Hotels, Experian Market Research Services and Green Plains Renewable Energy, as well as many other established and up-and-coming companies in the U.S., Canada, Ireland and St.. Martin. She started her business, JSMM, at the age of 24 and has been featured on magazine covers, awarded 2014 Most Influential Women in Business by KC Business magazine, and featured as a Woman To Watch by FridayGirl TV.

The biggest mistake companies make when formalizing a blog is that…

They forget about the strategy and search marketing tactics.

Companies forget that the content for the blog topics should be built around targeted keywords and information that is pertinent to their customers/clients and prospects. Not all educational content is ideal for a blog as some of it is too niche and uninteresting to the reader.

The real question brands should be asking before they launch a blog is if they have enough general interest among their target audience to even blog. If not, G+ may be a better fit since it will still generate search engine results and it is not as high maintenance.


Hans van GentHans van Gent

Hans van Gent is a Client Service Manager at DigitasLBi, a global marketing and technology agency that transforms businesses for the digital age. Next to that he teaches early stage startups how to start and grow their company, and he is also the Founder behind Inbound Rocket, a new way of generating traffic and converting them into leads.

The biggest mistake companies make when starting a blog is that…

They don’t have a real set of goals what to achieve with their company blog.

In many cases after some time the blog then turns into a glorified list of company news or ego enriching opinion pieces, ranging from “Welcome Person X to the Team” to product updates to attempts at being brilliant or clever rather than helpful.

And that is where it goes wrong and from that moment on the company blog is not helping the goals of the company and might in the end turn out to be pretty terrible at driving and growing your audience and your customers online. You turn from being the expert on whatever it is your company tries to solve into yet another company doing the same as everyone else.


Nick SantoraNick Santora

Nick Santora is the CEO of Curricula, a cybersecurity training company located in Atlanta, GA.

The biggest mistake I see people make when starting a blog is…

Not truly identifying your audience.

Trying to cater to every single person on the Internet will make your content bland and not unique enough to be read. Identify your key stakeholders and develop content to engage that audience.


Julie M. EdgeJulie M. Edge

Julie M. Edge, Ph.D is a co-founder and Chief Storyteller of Creelio, which harnesses technology to make online content creation (e.g., blogs, social media) easier for top executives who desire a thought leadership position and want to humanize their corporate brands. She’s the mad scientist with an affinity for storytelling and leads VoiceScience(TM) and content development for the business.

The biggest mistake companies make when starting a blog is…

Not leveraging the voices of their executives to tell their company story!

Consumers are tired of hearing the robotic voice of Corporate America; they want the warmth and personality of the leaders. When they speak to customers in their own language and their authentic voice, without pretension or over-formality, they give the customer the chance to connect with them emotionally.

According to research from BrandFog, 82 percent of consumers trust a brand more when the CEO and senior leadership are on social media. When it comes to blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking, and connecting on LinkedIn, leaders have an opportunity to connect externally and internally in ways that weren’t possible at the dawn of this new century. While it may be hard to believe, the more a leader participates on social media on behalf of their company, the more others will trust their company.


Ed MarshEd Marsh

Ed Marsh is Founder and Principal at Consilium Global Business Advisors, LLC, a firm that provides market development strategy and consulting to mid-sized B2B manufacturers.

Without a doubt the biggest mistake companies make when starting a blog is…

To simply start publishing some articles because they should have a blog.

The blog itself does nothing (and often even calling it a blog is counterproductive vs. insight, commentary, articles or something more accessible depending on their target) and the typical tentative approach is often counterproductive – sending a clear message to visitors who stumble into it and find only a couple press releases from months ago.

The value of a blog is to create very targeted optimized organic search material, to demonstrate relevant expertise and provide insight, and to create conversion opportunities to create leads from traffic. For all of those to work the blog must be strategically planned and tactically executed. It must be optimized for the buyers, problems and stage in the buying journey – using their language and speaking authoritatively and naturally on topics of import to them, from their perspective.

In contrast most blogs are started with the idea that we need an article a month. And since most companies are very inwardly focused with their marketing, that results in blog articles that are company announcements.

Nobody cares. And nobody in the company plans on how to measure the impact so it takes some time to realize there’s no value – and then they abandon it because that sort of marketing just doesn’t work in their industry with their type of buyers.


Chris ParenteChristopher Parente

Christopher Parente is the Founder of StoryTech Consulting, a consulting firm that provides content marketing strategy and consulting for business success. His work has appeared in MarketingProfs, E-Commerce News, CommPro.biz and Social Media Today. He also publishes a monthly column for WashingtonExec.com, and serves on the marketing committee of the Association for Corporate Growth, National Chapter.

The biggest mistake some companies make when launching a blog is…

Talking about themselves and their product/service too much.

A blog isn’t a channel to educate prospects and customers about how great the company is. The blog should be a tool through which the company educates prospects and customers about their vertical or niche. Make them smarter, better at their jobs. And then have deeper engagement options available — webinars, whitepapers – when prospects are in the market for the service the company offers.


Taylor AldredgeTaylor Aldredge

Taylor Aldredge is the Ambassador of Buzz at Grasshopper, a Virtual Phone System for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

The biggest mistake a company can make when starting a blog is…

Not having a focus for the blog.

What is the blog going to do for your customers and leads? I think taking the time to learn about your potential audience is crucial and will guide any company in a better direction when they start a company blog.


Paige Arnof-FennPaige Arnof-Fenn

Paige Arnof-Fenn is Founder & CEO of Mavens & Moguls, a global strategic marketing consulting firm.

In my experience the biggest mistake companies make when starting a blog is…

They come out of the blocks strong with a lot of energy and ideas and start blogging regularly then after a few weeks it starts to drop off and a month or so later a few weeks go by and they just can¹t find the time then before you know it it has been months and no new postings.

This is a problem on a few levels, it shows lack of commitment to the process (this is a professional undertaking not some fly by night hobby), naïveté that they did not really understand what they were getting into (wow I did not realize how much work this would be), lack of respect for their audience (don¹t waste my time if you are not serious), etc.

If you are not sure then start by responding on other people¹s blogs first and see if you like it. Build an online following and reputation first. Then after you know this is a good communications tool for you and plays to your strengths then start your own blog. And then stick to a schedule so that you incorporate it into you routine and comment on topics that are of strategic importance to your business.


Andy WalkerAndy Walker

Andy Walker is President and Senior Strategist at Cyberwalker Digital, a digital marketing agency based in Tampa. He is the author of five books including the forthcoming “Super You: How Technology is Revolutionizing What it Means to Be Human” (Que Publishing).

Perhaps the single most biggest mistake that companies make when they start a blog is…

Producing content that is highly self-serving.

That means they are promoting their products in their posts shamelessly. I call these articles the “Why we are great” posts. They don’t think about what their audience wants to hear or needs to hear. The agenda is to sell sell sell.

However the most effective way of connecting with an audience and giving them reason to think about your brand is to produce content that answers questions around problems that they are having. Becoming a topic expert in an area where a buyer has a problem will have them see you as the place to go for a solution. And if you offer a product or service that happens to solve that problem in the mix then they are likely to consider you as a potential source for the solution.

I always ask my clients what does it feel like when somebody is trying to sell you? Nobody likes that. And so if you write copy that makes people wince because you’re selling them too hard and then you’re going to fail. That’s why your post should explain issues, layout the landscape of the problem and provide a range of solutions – one of which could be your product or service.


Chris PostChris Post

Chris Post is the Founder and CEO of Post Modern Marketing, a Sacramento based internet marketing company. Chris and his company focus on helping small business marketing their products and services online through business web design, search engine optimization and content marketing.

The biggest mistakes companies make when starting a blog is…

They simply give up on blogging prematurely because they are not seeing results fast enough. It takes time to gain an audience and see the dividends from blogging start to roll in.


Brett FarmiloeBrett Farmiloe

Brett Farmiloe is the founder of Markitors, an internet marketing company for small businesses looking to outsource their email, SEO and social media marketing efforts.

The biggest mistake companies make when starting a blog is…

Not installing tracking software that gives them insight into key marketing metrics.

How many visitors turn into leads, customers or email subscribers? What’s your most popular blog post? What’s your most popular referral source? Installing Google Analytics is a free and easy way to begin reporting on how a blog is contributing to the company’s marketing goals.


Gregory LeeGregory Lee

Gregory Lee is the SEO Director of BKV, an Atlanta based marketing agency specializing in direct response marketing since 1981. Greg has over 10 years SEO experience and over 15 years marketing experience working with small businesses and well-known brands.

The biggest mistake I’ve seen when launching a blog is…

Not dedicating time to write consistent posts.

Whether it’s a reward plan to get staff to write, a content calendar with pre-written posts, or curated content from a third party, there must be a way to fill the blog with consistent posts, even if it is only a couple per month. We’ve all seen blogs, Facebook pages, and even websites that have not been updated in months or years. It looks like they’ve been abandoned. It leaves the impression that the company is no longer active.

Also, as an SEO consultant, another big mistake I’ve seen when launching a blog is when companies develop their own blog instead of using WordPress.

A client came to us after unknowingly making this mistake. They heard the advice that blogs are good for SEO. When it came to choosing a platform, WordPress was considered. But their website was already on a different platform. They thought it would be easier to only maintain one platform. So their developer did some customizations and created a blog within their existing website platform. The problem is that it takes years of development, testing and input from many people to create a great working blog platform that excels for SEO.

The client’s blog ended up not being SEO friendly. WordPress is made for blogs and has specialized technology for the social communication aspects of blogging that search engines eat up, as well as being SEO friendly to the Nth degree. Social and SEO conventions and technology evolve quickly. A community supported platform such as WordPress will change and update to meet these needs infinitely faster and at no cost. Imagine trying to fund the development for a custom made blog to keep up with changes of social media and SEO.


Jen JamarJen Jamar

Jen Jamar is a content strategist, freelance writer, and social media manager. She co-organizes the Minnesota Blogger Conference, now in its 6th year, as well as Prestige Conference, a business development conference for entrepreneurs, startups, and agencies. She speaks frequently on the topics of content strategy, analytics, and social media.

The biggest mistake companies make when starting a blog is…

Jumping in without a strategy.

Company blogs should serve a purpose for their customers that aligns with their business objectives. That means a business needs to answer several questions to before implementing a new blog initiative, such as:

  • Why do we think we need a blog?
  • What are we hoping to accomplish with it?
  • Which goals should we focus on first?
  • How are we going to measure these goals?
  • What topics will help serve our customers and our business?
  • Who is going to do the writing? Editing? Promotion?
  • What standards or guidelines do we need in place?

Like any new business initiative, a sound strategy is key for carrying the idea through planning, implementation, and feedback.


Alexander RuggieAlexander Ruggie

Alexander Ruggie is the PR Director for 911 Restoration, and he has been in the advertising, marketing and entertainment industries for more than a decade. When Alexander isn’t crafting strategies and campaigns to help homeowners in need, he is trying to save the world, one well-worded idea at a time.

The biggest mistake I find regularly is…

Lack of Direction.

Many of the company blogs that I come across in my research, competitive analysis, and just personal information gathering are poorly constructed, visually unappealing, and occasionally even poorly written. I believe that a lot of this chaos stems from a lack of direction either within the company, or the blog specifically.

Blogs, typically being written by novice wordsmiths, are trying to find their voice as much as their contributing writers are, and this tends to come across on the page. Even a veteran writer trying a blog for the first time will make it read on the page more eloquently than a savvy blogger with diminutive writing talent, and this trait embodies both the charisma and curse of the blogs nature.

Part of me wants a blog to have a few spelling mistakes with writing that dives in between facts and opinion because that’s the nature of the beast, but in the end, if it can’t project ideas clearly that’s a real problem for a company. Tactically it seems a better strategy to create a blog that is consistent rather than one that is voluminous and this takes the talent of a writer rather than the speed of a burgeoning blogger. The best blogs are a combination of both worlds, and companies should keep this in mind when creating them.


Brendan EganBrendan Egan

Brendan Egan is founder and owner of Simple SEO Group, a small business online marketing, search engine optimization, and web design firm. Simple SEO Group’s main goal is to achieve a sustainable ROI for all their clients and help them grow their business by leveraging the internet.

Identifying the biggest mistake companies make when starting a blog is tricky – as most companies make multiple mistakes which lead to their blog never being what they dreamed of it being. But if I had to identify one mistake, I believe that mistake is…

Being overly promotional in nature.

If people want to read about your products/services, they would go to the appropriate pages on your website, not to your blog. A blog should be neutral, sure it’s alright to be promotional from time to time when appropriate, but as a rule of thumb I believe the majority of content on your blog should be informational and exist simply to establish yourself and your company as an authority in your niche, to provide education, and of course to help you drive more traffic to your website.


Henry AdasoHenry Adaso

Henry Adaso is the Content Manager at DMN3, a full-service marketing agency in Houston. He has worked for Consumer Media Network, Apple Inc., Rocawear, The Houston Press, L.A. Weekly and About.com. Henry has taken lead on content strategies, coordinated social media campaigns, created advertising copy and performed analysis on content marketing and social media. He was named one of the Top 20 social media influencers in Texas by the Austin American-Statesman.

I think the biggest mistake companies make when starting a blog is…

Not having a documented content strategy.

That’s like going on a road trip without a map. You might get somewhere but not where you want to go. Without a documented strategy, you don’t have a framework for everyone involved in the content process to follow. By outlining your blogging goals, target audience, distribution channels, budgets and resources in writing, you stand a much better chance of succeeding.


Lori Nash ByronLori Nash Byron

Lori Nash Byron is Founder of Famous in Your Field, a content marketing and PR company for professionals who want to be known as the leaders and experts in their industry.

I’ve worked with dozens of companies on content marketing and I’ve seen the
same two mistakes over and over:

1. No editorial plan.

The companies start a blog without a list of topics they’ll post about and a schedule for posting. They say things like, It’ll be easy – we’ve got tons of material to write about! But then, after an initial flurry of posts, they’re out of ideas and they stop publishing for weeks or months at a time.

2. Believing that if you publish, the readers will come.

Even the best content needs to be promoted, or brought to the attention of potential readers. Most companies start a blog without any plan to get the content in front of readers. They don’t have an email list, they post a Twitter tweet and on their Facebook page and consider it done. Content has to be promoted to be seen! Instead, they should use the right key words in their posts, ask their employees to share the posts, share the posts on social media multiple times, build a list of email subscribers and ask *them* to share the content, reach out to influencers in the industry, etc.

For blogging success, companies need to have an editorial plan and a promotional plan.


Matthew SteffenMatthew Steffen

Matthew Steffen is Founder and President of Imprinsic Marketing Group, a New Jersey based marketing and advertising group.

The biggest mistake companies make when starting a blog is…

Most companies don’t have goals when they blog.

Most feel they can just write about what they want to write about devoid of any long-term strategy that includes increasing market share, strengthening customer retention, driving external links and media attention.

The goal of a blog (for the most part) should be twofold:

  1. Produce content that will rank for keywords that prospects are searching for online with regard to a company’s product or services. For example, if you’re a landscaper in Philadelphia, PA, a great blog to write would be: *How to Select a Landscaper in Philadelphia*. See how we snuck that keyword in there? That’s just the type of posting that Google loves: Informative, not spammy.
  2. Produce content that contributes to your industry. Here you have a real chance to write blogs that will demonstrate your intellectual firepower, all while making valuable contributions to your industry. Most of all, go places with your content that your competitors aren’t. This gives you a better chance of receiving media attention and driving more links to your website that improves your search engine optimization, all while making your company a unique answer to your customers’ needs. Also, it’s a great way to get out of being viewed as just another commodity.


Bob BentzBob Bentz

Bob Bentz is President of ATS Mobile – a Philadelphia mobile marketing agency that provides social media services to businesses and organizations.

There are several mistakes that companies make when starting a blog. Here are some of the most egregious:

  • Nobody is in charge of the blog – The boss might start off with the best intentions of updating the blog, but then other priorities get in the way. Somebody needs to be sure that the content is updated regularly. Nothing sends a worse message about a business website when a prospect sees that the blog hasn’t been updated in a year. That says this company isn’t on its game.
  • SEO Tools – If you are using WordPress, be sure to add a plug-in for SEO. I recommend the Yoast plug-in.
  • Adding pictures from the web – Randomly copying pictures from the web is problematic as companies are actively enforcing their rights to photographs. Be sure that if you grab a picture from the web that it is permissible to use it. Simply giving credit to the source isn’t enough in most cases.


Termeh MazhariTermeh Mazhari

Termeh Mazhari is an Independent PR, SEO and Copywriting Consultant based in NYC. You can connect with her on Linkedin.

There are several big mistakes companies make when starting a blog:

  • Not having a great copywriter. Whether the blog is being created to turn the company CEO into a thought leader in his industry, to engage with customers, or purely for SEO purposes – hiring a professional, experienced copywriter is of utmost importance. Unfortunately, most companies just ask an employee with a light work load (and even lighter writing experience) to handle the blog. There’s no point in having a blog if no one will find it (SEO) or read it (good copy), or pass it along to friends (engaging).
  • Not using good photography. All of the best blogs use great photography – often their own, but even professional, relevant stock photography works! When starting a blog, most companies fail to recognize the importance of spending a little extra time finding a great feature image. Articles with images get 94% more total views – that’s not a negligible number!
  • Not having it written or edited by someone with knowledge of SEO. It’s such a shame that there’s a lot of great content out there but it’s buried on page 3 of Google’s results. By not working closely with an SEO expert (or, ideally, with a copywriter that knows SEO), your blog article will simply not be able to compete with the bigger blogs when it comes to organic search results.


Garrett PerksGarrett Perks

Garrett Perks is the Founder and Creative Director of EvenVision, a Northern California web development & digital marketing firm. He is a gifted communicator who works with a client’s marketing staff to understand the client’s unique identity and goals, and direct the design & development of creative marketing campaigns & web applications.

There are two huge mistakes I see companies make with their blogs every day in this industry:

  1. Nobody likes to hear this one, but one of the biggest mistakes is thinking anybody else will care about what you care about. Just because the client has a glues and adhesives company & loves their industry, it doesn’t mean a blog will have an interested audience. The first thing to do when starting a blog is to think hard and self-critically about the unique value you can offer your audience, because that’s going to be the key to your success. Not thinking that through critically is the biggest mistake I see.
  2. Small businesses often fail to understand the commitment they’re making by starting a blog. Recognized or not, once you start a blog you absolutely must create valuable content. And keep doing it. A blog that’s neglected will be a liability to your brand not an asset.


David J. BradleyDavid J. Bradley

David J. Bradley is Author of “Getting Digital Marketing Right” and Managing Director of Primal Digital Marketing. He works with growing businesses to use digital marketing for increased profits and more customers.

My experience as a digital marketing consultant is that there are several mistakes. Here’s one common mistake:

Consistency.

It’s easy to get excited with your new blogging plan and be eager to build out a large, comprehensive campaign. However, after the first few exciting weeks, it may become difficult to maintain.

We need to start realistic, and a bit pessimistic, when we plan our blogging strategies. It’s best to start with fewer articles consistently released each month and increase later on.

The risk comes when we are too aggressive and don’t realize the time and energy commitment needed to build an effective blog. Sporadic posting makes it more difficult for your audience to follow you and it doesn’t give off a professional view of your company.


Kat HaselkornKat Haselkorn

Kat Haselkorn is the New Media Manager at Go Fish Digital, an SEO and online reputation management company in the Washington, DC area. Declared a “Social Media Guru” by the Washington Post, Kat has significantly increased the online presence of brands through customized social media campaigns and innovative content marketing techniques. Kat is a featured writer for The Huffington Post and her work has appeared in The Examiner, Buzzfeed, Yahoo!, Jezebel, The Washington Post, and many other high-profile publications.

The biggest mistake we see companies make when starting a blog is…

Setting up a blog on a subdomain (blog.companyname.com) instead of off of the root domain (www.companyname.com/blog).

When it comes to adding value to a company’s website and ranking well in search engines, companies set themselves up for success when the blog traffic continually adds visitors to the main URL.


Kieran EdwardsKieran Edwards

Kieran Edwards is the Head of Social at Bring Digital, a UK-based digital marketing agency specializing in SEO, PPC and web design.

One of the biggest mistakes that a company can make when starting a blog is…

Not realizing the ‘curse of knowledge’.

No matter what business you’re in, we’re all experts in our field. We wouldn’t be here, writing blogs, if we didn’t know what we’re talking about, right?. But it’s often the case that we forget who we are writing for and assume that our readers always know what we’re talking about. It’s very likely that you’re writing blog posts in order to educate an audience and position your business as the thought leader. If so, it’s vital that you take into consideration the fact that you readers may not know the backstory, nor will they always understand your jargon. Without running the risk of becoming condescending, be as informative as possible and always explain yourself.


Matt FieldingMatt Fielding

Matt Fielding is SEO Manager at Bring Digital, a UK-based digital marketing agency specializing in SEO, PPC and web design.

The worst mistake a business can make when starting a blog is…

Not understanding why they’re starting a blog.

What does the business stand to gain from blogging? Having a tangible goal in mind (e.g. attracting links, increasing our social following etc.) shapes your blogging strategy by defining your audience and allowing you to create content that those specific people want to see, share and interact with.


Corey BarnettCorey Barnett

Corey Barnett is the Founder of Cleverly Engaged Marketing, a digital agency serving clients in Texas and beyond with content marketing, search optimization and website management. Corey has been featured on websitemagazine.com and actively contributes content to globerunner.com’s blog and his own agency blog.

The biggest mistake companies make when starting a blog is…

Not creating a content calendar, which would help align topics to industry events, holidays and more.

It would also define who is supposed to write the content and help measure goals and results of blogging efforts.

Yes, there still needs to be flexibility, and some events are truly unpredictable and will become great blogging opportunities. But, most content should be planned ahead of time. So many companies are playing catch up, realizing their blogs are several months empty and scrambling to write something, anything.

Content that is planned ahead of time also has a chance of being more unique. A survey to customers with the result of that survey published is an example of content that is unique that requires months of planning beforehand. No longer can companies push out half baked articles that are no different from hundreds of competitor blogs, to get engagement and leads from blogging, requires unique content through a content calendar.


Mark TuchschererMark Tuchscherer

Mark Tuchscherer is the President of Geeks Chicago, a Web Design & Development company.

The biggest mistakes we see when companies start blogs are three things:

First, they never promote their blog posts. Most people think that if they write a blog article people will magically come to the site.

The second mistake we see all the time is the quilaty of what they are posting. Many people think if they repost stuff they find on other blogs or they write some very short articles with no substance people will flock to their site. Most companies don’t understand you need to provide something of value and something people want to read.

Finally, everyone gives up on writing or gets too busy and this is usually the final mistake that kills the blog. You need to post often and it takes time. Most companies are probably competing against 100k other content sources in the same industry and you are not going to bring readers in over night. If you want to run a blog you need to set aside time each week to write, just saying you are to busy is not an option if you want to grow.


Lexie BondLexie Bond

Lexie Bond is the Content Marketing Manager at Blue Corona, an online marketing company headquartered in Gaithersburg, MD.

The biggest mistake I’ve seen other companies make when blogging for their business is…

Starting a blog with no real goal in mind.

A blog is a marketing investment and should be treated as such. You need to define success, as well as measure and track your efforts. When you treat your website like a sales funnel, your blog can act like a hook to get more traffic into that sales funnel. By tracking how much traffic, leads, and sales come from our blogs at Blue Corona, we’re able to put a dollar value on each post and know how many we need to write each week/month/year to meet our leads goal and sales goal.

But keep in mind that blogging is not a get rich quick scheme or a way to get leads as fast as tomorrow. Instead, think of blogging as a way to brand your company as an authority in your industry and to build a reliable, low-cost, long-term lead and sales channel.


John ZupancicJohn Zupancic

John Zupancic is the Founder of Wriber, a company that can supercharge your B2B writing staff by making your content more engaging, targeted, and consistent across all channels.

The single biggest mistake companies make when starting a blog is…

Not maintaining it.

Before you start blogging, you should determine the frequency of your posts. Are you going to post daily, weekly, or every Tuesday? And, do you have the resources to maintain that frequency? We all know blogs that lack consistency and have dropped off. If you can stick to a regular schedule, your audience will be more likely to stay with you.


Andrew HerraultAndrew Herrault

Andrew Herrault is the lead strategist for Connective Insights, a digital marketing agency located in
Boone, NC.

The biggest blog mistake companies make is…

Lacking promotional activities.

The build it and they will come mentality will almost never work. If a great piece of content is written, someone from the company should do email & social outreach to find readers and others who might link to the content.


Ezra RufinoEzra Rufino

Ezra Rufino is the Founder of NYMB.co, a small company based out of New York City and New Jersey that creates handmade & American made bike bags and accessories.

The biggest mistake companies make in starting a blog is:

  1. Not speaking to their audience
  2. Focusing on keywords vs content

Both are very important and easy to overlook. With the first one, many companies don’t consider WHO their consumer is before diving in to write the blog. What should the style of the post be? What type of voice is being used? How casual or formal should you be? Think about how you frame your blog from a higher level before diving in and speak to your audience.

Another big mistake is focusing on a keyword strategy vs having a content strategy. It’s important to have a good keyword strategy while formulating you blog posts, but first approach the blog from a content perspective. What are your users looking for already on the Internet? This can help you get into Google searches by clearly answering questions that are already being asked. Focus on quality writing, that hits your market, for shareable and well received content that helps you convert. A keyword dump in your blog post won’t be inspiring anyone to continue through the funnel on your website.


Jake CainJake Cain

Jake Cain is the Brand Manager for Long Tail Pro, a keyword research software that helps
businesses find keywords/topics to target with their content.

I think the biggest mistake businesses make when starting a blog is…

Having no plan for their content.

They do the classic Ready, fire, aim. A blog should be used to connect with your current audience and pull in new readers that you can turn into customers. So write about the things that customers ask you most often. Turn common questions into blog posts, since many other people are likely asking that same question to Google.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming you know what people want to read on your blog, think about what they are asking on a daily basis and deliver great answers.


Bill FishBill Fish

Bill Fish is the Founder and President of ReputationManagement.com, a robust resource for all things online reputation management on the web. Prior to Reputation Management, he co-founded Text Link Ads (now Matomy SEO) in 2001. Text Link Ads was acquired by a private equity firm at the end of 2006. Bill decided to stay on to run the business, and when he stepped away at the end of 2012, the company was up to $25M in yearly revenues.

In both of my roles, my team dealt with businesses who knew they had to create content with a blog, but didn’t have it as a major priority. The biggest mistake I saw companies make with their blog was…

They framed each post as an advertisement.

Let’s say you are offering 15% off this week, that’s great, but if every single one of your blog posts are about a promotion, that begins to make those promotions seem hollow. The goal should be to create content that is useful for the target audience of your product or services. If you are selling wine racks, research and put together a quality post about the new wines coming out of Napa this fall. Creating content that interests your current and potential customers will keep them coming back, and builds trust. That trust will amount to additional business down the road.

Content Promotion Ideas: 30 Creative Examples of Companies Promoting Content

Like a lot of people, I really love examples of things as a means of learning. In-depth case study content is one of my favorite types to consume. I really enjoyed reading both Jon Cooper’s original post on creative link building and his follow up post.

Along those same lines, we asked 30 marketers to share an example of creative content promotion they’ve either observed or executed recently. Every example may not be a great fit for your business and your content, but hopefully some of the ideas will shake loose a great content promotion idea that hadn’t occurred to you yet.

“What is the most creative means of amplifying or promoting a piece of content you’ve seen companies use (or have used yourself)?”

See answers from the 30 marketers we talked to below:

Meet Our Panel of Marketing Experts:


Tom TreanorTom Treanor

Tom Treanor is the Director of Content Marketing and Social Media at Wrike, a leading SaaS project management and collaboration platform.

Creative content promotion starts with creative content…

At Wrike, we developed the infographic, “10 Reasons the Death Star Project Failed“, in order to trigger social sharing in all the typical sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook – in addition to more niche sites like Pinterest, StumbleUpon and Reddit.

The infographic tied two themes together, project management and Star Wars, and successfully extended our brand’s reach online.


Markelle HardenMarkelle Harden

Markelle Harden is the Director of Content at Get A Copywriter, a copywriting services company for agencies and content marketers.

The most creative means of amplifying or promoting content that I’ve seen lately comes from…

The community at Inbound.org.

They’ve built a community for their audience, and prospects participate in the free forum. Moderators initiate Q&A sessions between industry leaders and other members of the forum, and it generates quite a buzz within the community. The moderators do an excellent job of promoting all of the participants on social media channels. If you’re a marketer and you’re looking for some social love, Inbound.org discussions are the place to be.


David SmithDavid Smith

David Smith is co-founder/co-creative leader of advertising agency, Immortology in Chapel Hill, N.C. Previously, Smith has been executive creative director of Carton Donofrio Partners, Baltimore, co-founder and chief creative officer of The Republik, Durham, N.C., and group creative director/senior partner at J. Walter Thompson’s flagship office in NY. His work has been reported on in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time, LA Times, NewsMax, Adweek and Ad Age and featured on shows including Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, Inside Edition, CMT and CNN/FN.

The key to getting content shared to going contagious is…

To begin with a surprising and hard-to-ignore concept. Given that, the rest will follow. In other words, the medium is not the message; the message is the message.

One example would be Dirt Devil’s Scarily Successful Exorcist Video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGb8pMIeY6w. Dirt Devil wanted to market their vacuums to a new audience – men. To get the word out that Dirt Devil vacuum cleaners are supernaturally powerful, they created a video designed to get men’s attention. In an incredibly well-done spoof of the Exorcist, a screaming woman is sucked up to her ceiling and dragged across it back and forth by an oblivious elderly lady in the apartment above, vacuuming her floor with a Dirt Devil.

The video was seeded on international horror blogs, shown at horror film festivals and run on international TV shows with over 70% male demographics. With over 28 million views, the video has raised awareness of Dirt Devil among men by 39%.

A second example would be Turner Network Television’s (TNT) Dramatic Ambient Ad, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=316AzLYfAzw.

TNT’s ambient extravaganza executed in a small-town square in Belgium is a riot – literally. Instead of creating a traditional ad, TNT’s European agency DGM, created a fully immersive brand experience to cleverly demonstrate their promise of We Know Drama. In a modern twist on a Candid Camera prank, the agency placed a large button and a sign that said ŒPush To Add Drama. An unwitting man does and all hell breaks loose from a biking accident to a fistfight to a gunfight – all to the surprise, fear and delight of bystanders.

A link to the video was first uploaded on the creative director’s Twitter account and the video spread like wildfire around the creative community. Major media outlets picked it up from there and in less than a week it had amassed over 29 million view on YouTube, 3.8 million shares on Facebook and 120,000 tweets.

A third example would be Volkswagen’s Delightful Fun Theory Campaign, http://www.thefuntheory.com

DDB Stockholm created an absolutely brilliant campaign to change people’s perceptions about driving environmentally friendly cars. Turns out that a lot of Europeans are not so excited about driving small hybrid cars with underwhelming, under the hood performance. They’re perceived as boring. So boring in fact that all the gas savings and doing good things for the planet simply aren’t enough to get people to buy them.

Through a website, a contest and quirky but powerful ambient gameifications DDB set out to prove that doing good doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it can be quite fun.

They installed a musical stairs in a metro station to prove more people will take the stairs if taking the stairs is more fun. They proved people will litter less when there are trashcans that have sound effects of crowds cheering when trash is thrown into them. They even got drivers to slow down by rewarding non-speeders with the chance to win big bucks through a lottery funded by speeding fines.

To spread the word, they created videos of the fun theory in action and sponsored a global contest with big prizes for those who submitted the best fun theory ideas.

For its efforts, VW grew its market share in eco friendly cars from 8% to 14.7%, an increase of 87%. Its sales of the Passat EcoFuel rose by a whopping 106%. Overall, Volkswagen Sweden raised their share of the auto market from 10% to 13%.


Matt FieldingMatt Fielding

Matt Fielding is SEO Manager at Bolton-based search marketing agency Bring Digital.

When it comes to the most creative means of amplifying or promoting content…

I’m a massive fan of using egobait to encourage influencers to share your content, thereby extending your own reach by exposing your content to an already-established audience. By including these well-known people in your content, mentioning their articles or quoting them, you increase the likelihood of that person sharing your content with their followers.

I recently updated an older post to mention a well-known marketing tool and tweeted the owner to let him know. He then became aware of the article and tweeted it to his followers, who included the organiser of a popular search marketing conference who contacted me to invite me to present at the event. As well as a huge spike in traffic and social media shares, I gained real-world exposure from appearing at such a prestigious event.


Kate ProykovaKate Proykova

Kate Proykova is Managing Director of Hop Online, an SEO and Content Marketing Agency. Before joining Hop Online in the summer of 2012, Kate was part of the success of SiteGround.com, one of the top Web hosting brands. Long before Google Panda and Penguin Updates we launched, the SiteGround team was investing in a long-term content marketing strategy which paid off huge.

We’ve launched hundreds of Content campaigns and I’d share here some best practices for content promotion:

  • Quote or mention someone — it could be a company or a person and reach out to them when the post is published. They will be happy to share the post.
  • Write something controversial or negative — people tend to comment when disagree with you much more than when they like your post.
  • Use great custom visuals — people love to share great images and if you customize them properly, you’ll get your message spread.


Kevin CullenKevin Cullen

Kevin Cullen is Creative Director at Ulysses Media, a boutique public relations agency with clients in financial services, technology, non-profit, and entertainment. Kevin has spent the majority of his career in senior marketing, communications, and public relations roles for global firms in financial technology.

One of the more clever uses of content marketing promotion that I’ve seen is…

A campaign created by Thompson Reuters a few years back.

TR had just revamped one of their data products and had just hired a Subject Matter Expert to run the business. At a global industry event, they distributed postcards within the conference welcome packet, simply stating something to the extent of “Do you need to know the effect of today’s announced corporate actions on your portfolios? Do you need to know the exposure risks of the underlying securities in your derivative products? No. You just need to know Paul.” The postcard had web site information for the appropriate product sheet pages. In addition, an associated social media campaign ran in parallel, on LinkedIn and Twitter, with links back to TR’s product pages.

It was quite clever in that if you knew Paul – as many of us did – who is a very well respected as well as a very affable guy, you not only immediately felt you were being let in on the inside joke but you also realized that TR was very serious about this product. For those who did not know Paul, I expect that at the very least their interest was peaked. They probably also wondered if their own operations team were looking into these issues. Now they at least had a single name – only a first name, in fact – with whom to follow up.

I obviously do not have access to TR’s specific ROI metrics on this but I can state that sales of the product increased and that they surpassed their targeted annual quota for it.

I thought this was at once a simple and powerful use of content marketing promotion. I just wish I had thought of it.


Sandip SekhonSandip Sekhon

Sandip Sekhon is the CEO & Founder of crowdfunding website GoGetFunding.com – ranked by Forbes as one of the top fundraising sites in the world.

A creative and more importantly, the most successful content marketing strategy we’ve used is…

To look at the most popular content of competitors / industry news sites.

We then create a better or updated version of that post. Next, we move onto promotion and this is where analyzing the competitor post really comes in handy. We see who shared the original post and let them know about ours.

We also use tools such as Majestic SEO to see who has linked to the original post so that we can reach out to them too. This really seems to be an underutilized strategy that works brilliantly.


Megan BozmanMegan Bozman

Megan Bozman is Director of Marketing at Verne Global. Megan is responsible for creating content and messaging as well as market research and analysis. Over the past fifteen years, Megan has held roles in product marketing, content marketing, and sales for various B2B technology companies.

One of the most creative and memorable content promotion pieces for me was…

Verne Global’s “The Green Data Center Problem” animated video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBRStNUyIA4.

The exciting part about this was that it’s an animated video that has humor, but yet it still tells the story of what the problem is and how Verne Global solves it.

The video was developed to highlight the issues surrounding traditional data centers, including the rising cost and unpredictability of the power supply, as well as the increased carbon emissions-and bring awareness to the impact that data centers are having on global climate change and how carbon-free alternatives are becoming available.

The video also brings light to the alternative solution offered by Verne Global, an innovative developer of energy efficient data center campuses, including the industry’s first 100% dual sourced, renewably powered data center in Keflavik, Iceland.


Corey BarnettCorey Barnett

Corey Barnett is the Founder of Cleverly Engaged Marketing, helping local Texas
businesses and agencies connect with their audience online.

The most creative means of amplifying or promoting content that I’ve seen starts with…

Creating Content That Promotes Dialogue.

Yes, you can buy Facebook advertising and pay for content promotion on outbrain, but if you simply create content that connects with your audience and encourages a dialogue, you’ll find success.

I’ve used this technique myself. Case in point, I had a local insurance client in a small city of Lubbock, TX. Instead of talking about insurance (something too many other brands do is talk about themselves and their services by the way), I wrote an article about the city where the client was located.

Here it is: http://hettlerinsurance.com/2015/02/05/top-reasons-lubbock-best-place-live-2015-2/

It was something simple about the top reasons to live in Lubbock, but it earned 500+ shares on Facebook, and lead to several clients. Because it was a long form blog post and the first to connect with an audience it also increased the average time on site from 3 minutes to 7 minutes!

The reason it was effective, is because the audience (those who live in Lubbock) are often sour about living in Lubbock while several are passionate about being here! There’s truly this divide on the topic and it played out on the client’s Facebook post, with over 70 comments, people either defended the city or argued why it wasn’t a great place to live.

Applying this technique can work for many other companies and brands, it’s just that most are afraid to!


Paul SalvaggioPaul Salvaggio

Paul Salvaggio is VP of Marketing and Operations at digital marketing agency, Backbone Media, Inc.

What is the most creative means of amplifying or promoting a piece of content you’ve seen companies use (or have used yourself)?…

We just completed a 6 month marketing campaign that focused on mega-content production and amplification of content. We embarked on this campaign naturally to drive visitors to our site and generate leads. However we also wanted to experiment on different ways to create and amplify content and feel our methodology and amplification strategy was exceptionally creative.

Here is our rationale, methodology and amplification, results, takeaways:

RATIONALE:

For many of us, writing down our professional thoughts for the world to read and judge is painfully time consuming. In fact, I find many of our technology, manufacturing, bioscience and software clients refuse to even write at all. Think about it. Asking a busy engineer to be a part-time journalist is like asking a pig to fly. It just will not happen. The problem, however, is that the most interesting and engaging content lives with these thought leaders-your executives, engineers, partners, brand advocates, and customers. In terms of amplifying content, this is the very content your target audiences want to share most. The question becomes: how do you tap into this goldmine of content?

METHODOLOGY:

Here was our solution: Leverage a thought leader’s most accessible skill-talking-to produce large amounts of cross-media marketing assets (video, blog post, Slideshare, image quotes, tweets, linkedin post, pinterest pin, Facebook post) which we call mega-content.

AMPLIFICATION:

Although we did launch a press release and budgeted for a small amount of paid advertising, our promotion strategy relied heavily on the influencers socializing the content to their own networks. To increase the odds, my team developed a promotion packet for each thought leader with links to their video and transcripts, suggested tweets, a sample blog post, and links to social collateral like a SlideShare and a Pinterest pin. As a result, the majority of thought leaders shared the content on multiple channels. A few thought leaders also blogged about the initiative and Jay Baer actually likened it to “harvesting” which I thought was a great way to describe our efforts. His post “Capture Content First Format Content Late” continues to drive qualified traffic to the site.

RESULTS:

  • Traffic to our website more than doubled throughout the six month period.
  • Subscribers to our email list more than doubled.
  • Quality of subscribers improved and included more corporate emails.
  • Leads generated increased 250% as a result of this initiative including a handful of referrals from the participants themselves.
  • Quality of leads improved and included more corporate emails and phone numbers.
  • A new mega-content production service debuted on the heels of my operation team’s successful execution of this initiative – http://JustTalkB2B.com

TAKEAWAYS:

  • Get the information out of the heads of the people in your organization first via a recorded phone call and then reformat it into cross-media assets like blog posts, podcasts, videos, SlideShares, content apps, and so forth.
  • When creating a content strategy, Align with thought leaders, partners, customers and employees who have a relatively strong network and influence to optimize amplification.


Bojana IlicBojana Ilic

Bojana Ilic is Marketing Coordinator at Humanity, Inc., a business management software company.

What is the most creative means of amplifying or promoting a piece of content you’ve seen companies use (or have used yourself)?…

Many of our clients come from the retail and hospitality verticals, so for Valentine’s Day we created an interesting infographic about how this holiday impacts those industries. In order to promote our content and gather leads, we made a dedicated landing page, where visitors could download the infographic and sign up for a $100 amazon gift card giveaway contest we were running to promote the infographic and get leads.

We also reached out to retail and restaurant associations to let them know that we had created a piece of content highly relevant to their readers.

Submitting the infographic to various infographic-dedicated websites is a great way to promote your piece, as many of them will publish relevant, high-quality content.

All in all, this program gave us more than six times the social media shares of any other article or material we created in the past, while helping us to get more than 300 new leads in the process.


Maciej FitaMaciej Fita

Maciej Fita is the Managing Director of Brandignity, a full service internet marketing company.

I have two examples of really creative content promotion that have really stuck in my mind for years now..

1. Dollar Shave Club Video: This video cost them $4500 dollars and single handily drove in millions in revenue and put them at the top as a premier shave blade provider. The video itself changed the game for them.

2. Grasshopper Phone Service: Back in 2009 (I believe) I received a chocolate covered grasshopper in the mail. It made me instantly check out the company. I’ve been a customer for 5 years now just from that grasshopper.


Justin KerbyJustin Kerby

Justin Kerby is a Co-Founder of Cave Social, a digital marketing agency with offices in Fort Lauderdale and Toronto. He specializes in search engine optimization, content marketing, and media buying.

We’re always looking for new ways to promote content here at Cave Social, and one of the more creative tools we’ve used to promote content is…

Wistia.

Wistia is a video player that gives marketers the ability to customize their video – for our clients, we often will put a call to action at the end of the video to receive a free e-book, article, or blog post. By placing aesthetically pleasing calls to action at the end of our videos, we can promote new content to relevant viewers.


Donna ChildressDonna Childress

Donna Childress is a Writer and Communications Strategist at Yoko.co, a Website Design Firm and Tactical Interactive Agency based near Washington DC, and also the founder of Childress Communications LLC. Previously, she was an editor for highly targeted direct marketing e-mails for 9 million subscribers at LifeMinders, Inc. and a writer and webmaster for Jaffe Associates and its national law firm clients. Her work has served AARP, American Forest Foundation, National Confectioners Association, National Council on Aging, National Association for Area Agencies on Aging, U.S. Department of the Navy, and many others.

What is the most creative means of amplifying or promoting a piece of content you’ve seen companies use (or have used yourself)?…

The Republic of Tea has a Tea 101 email series that sings on execution. It walks through types of teas, how to steep a hot cup, etc., with beautiful photography and delicate artwork that bring to mind the relaxation and taste of tea.


Peter MoellerPeter Moeller

Peter Moeller is the Director of Marketing for Scarinci Hollenbeck, a 5 office 55 attorney law firm in NY/NJ/DC. He is the key driver of firm marketing initiatives including the implementation of a full scale web 2.0 lead generation platform. He leads a marketing team, vendors, and technology to drive business growth and increase brand awareness.

My experience with content marketing always had to be creative, because I am in an industry most people probably don’t want to read about – “Law”. Here is an example of creative content promotion that we worked on…

When I began our content marketing strategy, we implemented a very large scale offensive attack on the internet – We created 8 websites took on 3 columns and started pumping out around 150 pieces of content a month. It was argues. I was lucky enough to be in a department that provided me an adequate budget to complete some of the tasks at hand, but being an entrepreneur and a gorilla marketer at heart, I knew other than paid sponsorships, I had to figure out a way to propel our content out to the masses.

We created a massive “free” social media campaign that spanned every known social platform for both the public and specific to the legal community. I forced our 50+ attorneys to turn over their social “profiles” to me and allow me to run them. We had hundreds of accounts that we would share and promote our content with. All the while we were building relationships, connecting to new people, and driving a social brand awareness to our practice.

The effort changed the perception to our firm, it has solidified our web presence as a leader and it now allows us to shift gears and promote material to thousands of people connected to us with a few processes. It has garnered great feedback from existing clients, adds value to potential clients and has brought in dozens of random clients we would have otherwise never been exposed too.


Kathryn LagdenKathryn Lagden

Kathryn Lagden is a Digital Strategist with 15+ years’ experience managing online operations, digital marketing, and social media for various clients and companies. Kathryn is an active member of her school’s parent council and blogs at Home Room Mom.

One creative means of amplifying or promoting a piece of content that we do is…

We create summary posts that incorporates content from across the web, including our own, to help room parents plan and organize class parties. We always get permission to include images in our summary posts, this starts the relationship with other sites and bloggers.

After we publish the post we follow up with a personal email to each person letting them know the post is up and inviting them to share it with their audience. Being genuine, courteous, and simply asking for the share is often all it takes to amplify our summary posts and get them shared beyond our own community. We also share on social channels with a shout out to folks we included in the summary.


Brad HinesBrad Hines

Brad Hines is a Digital marketing strategist, Writer, and Founder of HungryKids.org, a not for profit grassroots organization dedicated to raising awareness for world hunger and poverty relief.

One of the best tried and true content marketing methods is to…

Offer users a tool, or an infographic even, of quality information, where in order to use it, the viewer is incentivized to share it.

This is where growth hacking meets content marketing. For example, there is a tool I like for unfollowing people on Twitter called Manage Flitter. When you joined, you are automatically following their own Twitter account. Most people are okay with this as they just got use from them back.


Alexander RuggieAlexander Ruggie

Alexander Ruggie is the PR Director for 911 Restoration, a home restoration company that specializes in disaster recovery solutions while providing homeowners with a fresh start.

Normally I would take an opportunity like this to promote something that my company has done, but in truth, my favorite piece of marketing ever is…

The Red Bull Space Jump. It truly exemplifies their “gives you wings” advertising in a way that entertains, inspires, and strikes awe into everyone from the kid who wants to be an astronaut to actual astronauts.

This stunt, broke records at the same time as breaking our traditional concept of what marketing can really be in a way that won’t be forgotten for viewers, Felix Baumgartner, or Red Bull for a very long time.


Mansi GoelMansi Goel

Mansi Goel is the Chief Content strategist for Digital Marketing Firm, WiseCalvin.com.

What is the most creative means of amplifying or promoting a piece of content you’ve seen companies use (or have used yourself)?…

We have a sister company, WorkoutTrends.com, where we all health enthusiasts write on health and fitness. Through trial and errors, we found out that visual content (images, videos, gifs, infographics ) fetched us far more visibility and loyal user base than any quality of text content.

Once, we realized that, we focused our energies on infographics and the result was more than 10k shares on one infographic !!! Here is the link to that infographic (http://workouttrends.com/nurse-night-shift-burnout). We have a traffic of close to a million visitors monthly mainly because of the workout videos we offer on our blog.

How we achieved this?

Any great content marketer knows that the trick to get your content the relevant exposure is to serve it to the right audience, at the right time, in the right format. We did just that.

Format, we kept it more of visual and interactive. Audience, we fished deep on every social network and forum to select those that are passionate about health and are actually info-mongerers. Once we found out the places where our audience hung out, all we did was sync our watches with theirs and schedule the posts accordingly.

All this while, we made sure that the copy of the post was as inquisitive as possible to engage and generate curiosity.


Zach HammerZach Hammer

Zach Hammer is the Marketing Director of The Snyder Group: Team Driven Real Estate, a team of Real Estate professionals specializing in all aspects of the Las Vegas residential market.

The most creative means of amplifying or promoting a piece of content I’ve seen is…

Through content upgrades.

The basic idea is that you’re leveraging the targeted audience of “people who are reading this article” to promote the post in exchange for an upgraded aspect of the article.

The upgrades can be as simple as a checklist based on the post, a swipe file of examples, a pdf version of the post, and infographic, etc… Anything that takes that exact article, one step further.

People can then get access to that bonus by Tweeting the article or sharing on facebook. The Service Paywithatweet.com makes this super simple.

In our industry, https://placester.com is doing a great job with these types of content upgrades on their blog.


Dan ScalcoDan Scalco

Dan Scalco is the owner of Digitalux, a digital marketing company in Hoboken, NJ that specializes in SEO and content marketing.

One of the most creative means of content promotion that I see often but rarely hear people talk about is…

Community engagement on forums, specifically Reddit.

Reddit is a great place to host an “Ask Me Anything” (reddit.com/r/ama) whereby the community can ask you questions on a variety of questions (what you do, your business, etc). I suggest going to sub-reddits (the name for the various communities that make up reddit) that pertain to what you are trying to promote and asking the moderators of that community if they would be open to letting you host an AMA. If you’re a dermatologist, try http://www.reddit.com/r/skincareaddiction. If you’re a social media expert, try http://www.reddit.com/r/socialmedia. There’s a sub-reddit for everything!

When your AMA is live, let the content you are promoting come second to the questions you’re answering. Only “plug” your content when it is natural to the conversation you are having.

My favorite example of this strategy in use is how the CEO of CreditKarma.com hosted his AMA – polite, courteous, and answered every question honestly.


Paula ConwayPaula Conway

Paula Conway is the Founder and President of Astonish Media Group, a strategic media company based in New York City. She is also an author and journalist.

We create content for many partners, including American Airlines Asia and the New York Daily News. We also create content for our own clients on a daily basis, using the media to leverage the content regularly, so we are experts in this area. Here’s my favorite example of creative content promotion…

We recently provided this article, bylined by our client, 5 Critical Tips for Growing Your Social Media Fan Base. Once published here, we sent it out widely to bloggers and editors. It then appeared in 16 separate publications (and still counting) including the Nashville Business Journal, Tennessee State News, Gremln.com, and Social Times.

We then used this entrance with Social Times to get this article published about the client’s new social media website, Sqeeqee.com. The relationship includes providing relevant content, building your client as an expert, building media trust, and knowing which content to move out, and when. To this point, we are still getting placements on the “5 Critical Tips for Growing Your Social Media Fan Base”and consumers are still commenting to the article about Social Networthing. This is amplification.

This equals two pieces of relevant content from one source body that is still working to get more content placements.


Michael EpsteinMichael Epstein

Michael Epstein is a successful CEO turned Online Marketing, Web Development & Business Strategy Consultant at GetOnlineWithMe.com.

One great creative content promotion example I have was with my previous company…

We turned unique content into a press-release format and ended up getting significant coverage. We might put a fun or interesting twist on one of our products and document it in a blog style article, but then promote the post with a press release.

One example was for one of our products we created which was a mouse pad with a Teflon surface for really smooth movement. Around the 4th of July, we created a post showing us using the mouse pad to grill hamburgers on an outdoor grill. It was a fun way to demonstrate how the surface was so slick. We then created a press release for the article talking about how we used a mouse pad to grill hamburgers for a 4th of July BBQ. We ended up some great press in large industry publications which generated backlinks, traffic and direct sales. It was like doing outreach, but in a slightly different format that catered towards news publications.


Kyle ReyesKyle Reyes

Kyle Reyes is the President and Creative Director of The Silent Partner Marketing, a boutique marketing firm focused on helping your business grow in the digital age.

The most creative means of amplifying or promoting content that I’ve seen is the use of…

Facebook targeted ads and dark posts to promote content.

The brands that use this tactic allocate a small budget to a piece that they know will have a high level of engagement once people are exposed to it…then they serve it up to an extremely targeted demographic and encourage engagement.

For example, they launched a video for one of the orthodontists they work with. They were opening a third location so they shot a really quick “construction” piece with the owner, her husband and her kids. They allocated a $50 budget towards a highly targeted demographic. People started engaging with it like crazy, and within two days they reached well over 26,000 people.


Kindra FosterKindra Foster

Kindra Foster is the President and CEO of Foster Executive Writing & Editing, LLC., a multi-industry, multi-medium writing and editing firm.

Surprisingly, the amount of traffic to my blog entries exploded when I began…

Listing a short tantalizing clip from the blog below my email signature.

I tried it on a whim, and it turned out to be one of my most successful promotions. It will only work if you send a lot of email to a lot of people. Companies can require attachment to all employee email. One of the benefits is that you are promoting to people who already know you, so the length of the read tends to be longer. And of course the blogs have to be good. 🙂


David ProchaskaDavid Prochaska

David Prochaska is the Founder of MarketRiser, an online resource for online business, internet marketing, and entrepreneurship, and Digital Marketing Director at Fidelitas Development. He believes in helping others provide value to the internet through content marketing.

One of the most creative examples I’ve seen of content promotion is…

The app that Charmin created called Sit or Squat.

The way Charmin amplifies their brand is genius. Everyone has been on the go and needed to use the restroom. Every time someone opens the app to see where a clean restroom is, they are shown the Charmin brand. It’s the ultimate top of mind awareness campaign.


Edd WilsonEdd Wilson

Edd Wilson is the Digital Account Manager at Impression, a digital marketing agency based in Nottingham that delivers outstanding SEO, PR, PPC, web design and mobile marketing campaigns for clients.

We’ve done a lot of great content marketing projects for some of our clients in the past 6 months. Here are a couple of examples that stand out…

*Movement of Data*
http://www.akita.co.uk/movement-of-data/

We created this content for our IT support client and the concept is to explain how data travels around the world in a visual way. This piece got featured on Hubspot along with many other popular publications, we also managed to get a lot of social for this piece.

*Water Softening Guide*
https://www.harveywatersofteners.co.uk/water-softening-consumers-guide

This long form content piece is based around the explanation of hard/soft water a long with the health benefits. We believe the main feature of this piece is the interactive map which allows the audience to see if they have hard water in their area. We’ve recently been in touch with a lot of beauty publications and authors due the impact that hard water has on skin and hair.

We have also been speaking to companies with hard water related products. This would add a totally different angle for the promotion of the campaign. Overall, we really like the idea of the tool helping people with their research.


Jaime NetzerJaime Netzer

Jaime Netzer is a nationally published journalist and is also Content Editor at The Zebra, where she helms the insurance industry publication Quoted.

What is the most creative means of amplifying or promoting a piece of content you’ve seen companies use (or have used yourself)?…

I think creativity in content promotion often stems from originality of ideas first. We’re a digital car insurance agency—like a Kayak for car insurance—and it’s always a challenge for us to brainstorm exciting content in an area that, frankly, most consumers would rather not think about. But this is where creativity is key for our marketing department.

My coworker recently had the idea to conduct an experiment of sorts: He gave up his car for a month and relied only on ridesharing instead. The goal was exploratory: We wanted to see what it felt like on a day-to-day basis to live without a car. He ended up saving money and learning a lot about what a mess insurance is for rideshare drivers—a perfect tie-in for us.

After the month was up, we wrote a post, “Uber vs. Lyft: 5 Things I Learned About Giving Up My Car“, summarizing what we’d found. Confident in the strength of the post, we used a multi-pronged approach to promote it. We knew that we had, for all intents and purposes,*created* news, and that the idea was relevant from multiple angles to journalists: There was the local angle, the insurance angle, and the human interest angle. We pitched all three, individually, to curated lists of press contacts we spent weeks building.

The results were impressive: We had TV mentions on stations in Houston and Austin, features in the most relevant business publications, including Insurance Business America and Insurance Journal. Because we’d invested time and resources into making a compelling summary of the experiment, had several publications, including Business Insider, simply republish the piece whole. The end result was more than 100k views and counting of the story, and many hundreds of social shares.

To understand how to promote a story, we tried to think hard about what might actually be compelling for a journalist or reader, and to pitch the idea that way.


Yaniv NavotYaniv Navot

Yaniv Navot is the Performance Marketing Director at Dynamic Yield, a leading SaaS-based solutions for real-time website personalization and optimization. Yaniv is an experienced search marketing expert, with a focus on web analytics and conversion optimization.

One of the most creative (and effective) means of amplifying a piece of content is to…

Think global and prepare a content marketing strategy for multilingual distribution.

Getting the content professionally translated is just one strategy to choose from, but here’s another direction to consider: Reach out to relevant blogs and outlets in foreign languages, which are highly aligned to the subject you’re writing about. Offer them to translate your content and republish it on their website. The power of translated content can get you massive traffic spikes, conversions, global brand awareness and let’s not forget the valuable SEO values.

As an example, here is an article that was originally published on the Dynamic Yield’s digital marketing blog: 5 Reasons Why I Stopped Following A/B Testing Case Studies. The article was translated and republished on the Russian website Siliconrus.com. The entire translation was done by the mother tongue Russian journalists at Siliconrus, with zero budget from our side. As a result, we got some nice, targeted traffic and even a few interesting leads.


Neha MittalNeha Mittal

Neha Mittal is the Head of Strategy and Business Development at Arrow Devices, a leading provider of verification IPs, validation solutions and debug tools to SOC and ASIC companies worldwide.

Typically the following steps help any content get maximum leverage for us…

  • Step 1: Look at previous blog posts, and analyse what type of posts have got maximum page visits – from Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc. Also check for which ones got the maximum back links. You will see a trend /theme coming out for sure.
  • Step 2: Plan more content around that theme.
  • Step 3: Post it on Social Media and ask your employees/ friends to share/retweet and like/favourite your content.
  • Step 4: Write to websites that have previously shade your posts, and tell them about your new post.

What’s the #1 Habit of Successful Content Marketing Campaigns?

I find habits really interesting. One of my favorite recent reads was Charles Duhigg’s excellent book on the subject. I love Nir Eyal’s blog on behavior engineering. One of my favorite interview series is Copyblogger’s look at how smart people write.

Because there are so many different ways to “win” and get traction in content marketing (and because “winning” and “traction” means so many different things for different people) we got input from a large number (68, like the headline says) of people with their take on the following question:

“What is the #1 habit of highly successful content marketing campaigns (i.e. what do businesses that have success with content marketing do well consistently)?”

You can see the full answers of every respondent below, but we’ve also categorized each answer to see what common themes emerged from what folks thought was the most important habit of successful content campaigns:

The most important habits of highly successful content marketing campaigns.

 

 

 

Meet Our Panel of Marketers:


Chris ParenteChris Parente

Chris Parente is the Founder StoryTech Consulting, a business consulting firm that helps B2B and B2G companies tell their own story and promote it directly to their target audiences. His work has appeared in MarketingProfs, E-Commerce News, CommPro.biz and Social Media Today. Today, he publishes a monthly column for WashingtonExec.com, and serves on the marketing committee of the Association for Corporate Growth, National Chapter.

In my opinion, the most critical thing, or habit, that leads to marketing campaign success is for a company to…

Embrace the mindset of a publisher, and embrace the fact they need to give something of value away (information, expertise), before asking anything of a prospect.

There’s a lot more of course — high quality content, promotion, effective analytics on the back end — but that’s the cultural starting point.


Debbie WilliamsDebbie Williams

Debbie Williams is Co-Founder and Chief Content Officer of SPROUT Content, a content marketing agency for B2B companies. She is driven to connect people and businesses through engaging, purposeful content and inbound marketing strategies that deliver results and build relationships.

When it comes to habits of successful content marketing campaigns, businesses that succeed with their content marketing plan…

Have just that, a plan.

They have a documented strategy across all channels, mapped to specific goals, which can be measured and improved upon. If you can’t measure it, how do you know it’s working?


Bill HarperBill Harper

Bill Harper is Co-Founder and co-creative leader of advertising agency Immortology in Chapel Hill, N.C. With two decades of experience, Harper’s specialty is launching, developing and revitalizing brands by finding ways to outsmart, not outspend, their competitors. Earlier in his career, Harper honed his art direction and strategic skills on work for Anheuser Busch, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Michelin, Blockbuster Video, Denny’s, Lance Snack Foods, Go RVing and Mitsubishi Electric. His work for these brands has been recognized by almost every industry awards show, and featured in publications like Print and Communication Arts and in numerous newspapers, blogs and trade magazines.

The number one thing that good content marketers consistently do is…

Write well.

Unfortunately, writing well is hard. Fortunately, with practice and over time, it gets easier. And no, writing well doesn’t mean writing fancy.

Here are four good habits good content marketers share with good writers. What they boil down to is: be focused, be useful, be engaging and be brief. Specifically:

  1. Stay on brand. You cannot be all things to all people, and if you try, you will fail. Remember that content marketing is still marketing, which means its purpose is to show leadership within the category. Cover topics you know better than anyone, and, unless you¹re Weather.com, don¹t kid yourself that you¹re having a relationship with your readers by talking about the weather. You¹re wasting your time and theirs.
  2. Know your target audience, and give them content that either makes their lives easier, increases their social capital or‹careful here‹entertains. How? Learn what really bugs your readers and tell them how your product can fix it (and your competition can¹t or won¹t). Don¹t know? Ask. Chances are what  bothers one potential client, bothers many. Help your readers connect the dots. Tell them something new about your topic, something they can ponder and, maybe even, use to impress their bosses, colleagues or friends. They’ll feel good. People like feeling good. As a last resort, entertain. This is YouTube’s turf so unless you’ve got  something directly tied to the brand, stick to points one and two above. That said, if your brand is doing something really amazing, share away.
  3. Put some thought into it. The Internet is full of repackaged content‹much of it unhelpful to begin with. If you¹re forwarding content, do something new with it. Have an opinion, challenge people¹s POV, give them something new to consider.
  4. Be brief. Avoid jargon. Edit. Few things numb the brain faster than wandering phrases like, ŒŠrobust synergies that streamline sustainability. Gag me with a Webster. Get on with it already.


Domenick CileaDomenick Cilea

Domenick Cilea is the President of Springboard, a marketing and public relations firm based in central New Jersey. Founded in 1995, Springboard develops public relations, marketing and social media campaigns that deliver results. The firm has worked with hundreds of start-ups and supported the establishment of technology, Internet, telecom, and software companies.

Brands that have the most success with content marketing campaigns understand one thing, which is…

Consistency.

Successful companies have a strong voice, amplify content regularly using social media channels and keep their brand consistent across all of their marketing materials. The purpose of content marketing is to attract customers by creating meaningful and relevant information and present it within an array of formats.

The pros don’t just push out a good piece of content in one big blast, but instead create evergreen content that solves the problems of their audience members and can be consistently shared over time. When brands deliver consistent, valuable content customers continue to be loyal.


Gina RauGina Rau

Gina Rau is the Founder and Brand Strategista at Mighty Big Impact. In her leadership role, Gina helps companies (big and small) define their authentic brand, get their positioning just right and share it with their ideal audience to see mighty big impact in their business.

This is such a great question because I truly believe (and have witnessed it to be true) that certain habits are what defines consistently successful content programs. Here’s what I mean…

Companies that can develop a culture of story gathering are well-positioned for content success for a number of reasons. Capturing stories is often one of the biggest challenges for the internal content manager. It’s not a one-man task, but is often a one-man gig. They need an army of people, especially on the front line talking to customers, partners and vendors, seeking the stories they’re not event aware of. There’s gold in those stories and they need to be told — but first they need to be revealed.

When the entire organization is contributing story ideas, there is a sense of ownership and pride that carries through. Employees can be hesitant to mix business and pleasure, meaning they don’t always want to promote their company’s marketing efforts with their social network. When they, or co-workers, have contributed, the story suddenly doesn’t feel like marketing and they’re eager to show off the great place they call work.

Developing this culture of story gathering relies on the habit of capturing moments, quotes and anecdotes as they happen, across the entire organization. The content manager must make it super easy for people to simply submit an idea — that’s it. Asking people to create the content is the #1 reason (excuse) why people won’t contribute ideas. For a smart, experienced content creator, tracking down details of the story and bringing it all together is the easy part!


George FischerGeorge Fischer

George Fischer is Vice President of Earned & Emerging Media at Response Mine Interactive, an online marketing agency specializing in customer acquisition strategies, and effective lead generation strategies. In his leadership role, he is responsible for the revenue and profitability growth of RMI’s organic search, content marketing, social media, and native advertising offerings. In an ever-changing digital landscape, George helps clients evolve their earned media strategies to drive incremental revenue and acquire new customers. He brings true industry thought leadership and expertise to RMI clients, having authored some of the industry’s most popular content. George has a proven track record of delivering award winning results for industry leaders such as Carter’s/OshKosh B’Gosh, SPANX, Liberty Medical, Navy Federal, Terminix, Trugreen, and The Home Depot.

The #1 habit of highly successful content marketing campaigns is…

A concrete strategy.

Businesses need to identify one or two key objectives to base all of their efforts on. They need to target a specific group of people and have clear goals. Content marketing fails when there is no set strategy or when the strategy is too loose. The purpose of content marketing is to bridge the gap between the business and the consumer-to make the consumer trust and engage with your brand. And without clearly identifying who your audience is and what you are hoping to achieve, your business will not succeed in content marketing.


Matthew SommerMatthew Sommer

Matthew Sommer is the COO of Brolik, a digital agency focused on web design, digital strategy, branding and video. As COO, Matt handles all of the day to day operations at Brolik, ensuring that the team has the resources and tools needed to grow and streamline internal processes. Matt also leads digital strategy projects, helping to guide research and optimization for ongoing campaigns.

The only way to successfully market your content, and a habit that successful content marketers have in common, is to…

Jump right into the community and get involved.

I see far too many businesses trying to push their content in from the outside, when it’s far easier and more effective to become active in the community and push out from the inside. Not only does this allow you to grow trust and good will with the community that you want to help you amplify your content, but it also provides you a much better perspective on what type of content or topics the community is interested. Don’t stay isolated behind your computer screen! Get your swim trunks on and come on in, the water’s fine!


Frances ReimersFrances Reimers

Frances Reimers is the Director of Corporate Visibility at PCI, an award-winning marketing agency serving national and regional corporate, not-for-profit, and government clients from our Washington, DC area headquarters. PCI specializes in audience engagement, helping clients achieve their goals through powerful communications strategies and solutions.

The most successful content marketers are those who are able to…

Develop an arc amongst all of their outreach material.

It’s not just about propelling your brand, but weaving a narrative throughout all of your work that truly demonstrates your value proposition. That way when someone receives your piece they aren’t just engaging with a one-off, but a small part of a larger body of knowledge.


SImon SladeSimon Slade

Simon Slade is CEO and Co-Founder of Affilorama, an affiliate marketing training portal with 230,000 members and over 100 free video lessons, many of which focus on how to successfully employ content marketing to support your e-commerce business.

The most successful content marketers make their primary goal to…

Inform and help their customers.

Yes, we engage in content marketing to increase sales, but if you allow that to be the focus of your content, potential customers will think you are there solely for your own benefit and won’t trust you as a credible source. On the flip side, if your primary focus is providing quality content that potential customers can use and benefit from, you’ll earn their loyalty and trust, and sales will naturally follow.


Jacob BaldwinJacob Baldwin

Jacob Baldwin is the Global Manager of Digital Marketing at Emerson Climate Technologies. Over the past several years, he has been recognized as an emerging expert in the field of digital marketing, speaking at multiple national industry conferences and contributing to numerous notable industry publications.

The #1 habit of highly successful content marketers is…

A solid, tested, and verified customer theory.

A customer theory represents a collection of thoughts, feelings, understandings, and assumptions about your customers’ rationale and factors that influence decision making processes, however minor or major. Whether it’s a conscious decision to open an email or make a purchase. If content marketers understand what makes their audiences tick – that is – if they know what they care about, what they’re interested in, and what information they want, the marketer will be more likely to craft wildly successful campaigns than someone who simply got lucky.


Alexis GrantAlexis Grant

Alexis Grant is Innovator-in-Chief of Socialexis, a content marketing firm that specializes in managing blogs.

I run a small content marketing firm that specializes in managing blogs. When people ask me what they need to do to be successful with content marketing, I don’t tell them to be consistent about one thing, I tell them…

To be consistent, period.

All the successful brands offer value on a consistent basis, week after week after week, without big lags, so their readers expect to hear from them and want to hear from them.

If they know they’ll get something awesome when they visit your site, they’ll come back. They’ll open your emails. They’ll click through on Facebook. That consistency is essentially following through on your promise to your readers, that you’ll continue to help them over time.


King HillKing Hill

King Hill is a Senior VP and Digital Strategist with Marcus Thomas LLC, a marketing communications agency with offices in Cleveland and Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 2014, Marcus Thomas was recognized in the Content Marketing Awards as one of the world¹s top eight content marketing firms, for its work for Sherwin-Williams Diversified Brands.

The #1 habit of highly successful content marketers is they…

Always align what they have to offer, their content, with the changing needs of the marketplace; for them, it’s a conversation responding to the ebb and flow of the marketplace.


Vladimir GendelmanVladimir Gendelman

Vladimir Gendelman is Founder and CEO of Company Folders, an innovative presentation folder printing company.

We’ve been incredibly successful at marketing our content, particularly on social media. Our blog gets over 125,000 visitors each month. We attribute our success to the following habits:

  • Write an amazing post every single time. Research thoroughly and ensure that each post is comprehensive.
  • Create awesome images to illustrate each point of your post, so awesome that other bloggers want to steal them from you.
  • Create great, eye-catching featured images and engaging, intriguing headlines for your social promotions.
  • When you advertise on social media, make sure you target the people who want to see and share it.


Maire McMahonMaire McMahon

Maire McMahon is a Senior Account Executive at 10 Squared, a full-service marketing communications agency based in Atlanta, GA specializing in fashion, beauty lifestyle and entertainment brands.

Through my experience both first-hand and through constant trend analysis of the marketing industry, the #1 habit of highly successful content marketing campaigns is…

Storytelling. Tell a story that people will actually care about. Thats all.

“Content is anything that adds value to the readers life.” – Avinash Kaushik


George PottsGeorge Potts

George Potts is Vice-President, Director of Social Media at the advertising agency Brunner, and is the leader of the agency’s social media discipline, comprised of cross-functional teams from advertising creative, public relations, media, and digital, all focused on delivering social media ideas and solutions that further client goals. He advocates a “social by design” philosophy, that begins with consumer insights and from there, applies social engagement strategies and tactics that will drive content virality and increase brands’ social currency. Potts’ national brand experience includes: Aquafresh, Bob Evans, College Inn, Cub Cadet, Del Monte, DeVry University, Mattel, Nestle Drumstick, Olympic Paints & Stains, Skinny Cow, Stouffer’s, TUMS and Zippo, among others.

Successful content marketers’ number one habit is…

Not constantly talking about themselves.

If your sole focus has been promotional content, then it’s time you widen your mission, to what is sometimes called brand publishing..

Think about it like a cocktail party. If all you do is talk about how great  you are, you will be seen as a jerk. A business participating in content marketing is no different.

Your business, your brand, needs to credibly tap into your fans’ and followers’ the broader interests. Find content beyond your product or service that will they find compelling… and that they will welcome coming from your business. Operate like a magazine publisher does. Establish a publishing mission and content pillars. What will you help your readers do or achieve? What content will achieve these goals? Are you sincere in offering this content to its readers?

Successful content marketers use this type of approach to drive social awareness of their business. And, by tapping into their market’s broader interests, to raise consideration of their business over others in their category.


Carly FauthCarly Fauth

Carly Fauth is the Director of Marketing & Outreach for MoneyCrashers.com, an online community for people striving to make financially sound decisions.

The number one habit of highly successful content marketing campaigns is…

To focus on high quality content.

There are too many other facets of content marketing such as identifying your target audience and promoting your content that lots of folks think that just throwing content of any sort of quality is OK
as long as you’re taking all the other steps. That is simply incorrect.

You need to invest as much time in creating your content as you do everything else – your articles should have compelling titles with attention-grabbing openings, your content overall should be brief and concise, and you should focus on stuff that is of interest to your audience that they might not be able to find anywhere else. When you make content creation Point #1 and then move on to all the rest, your chance of success do go up.


Jason Parks of The Media CaptainJason Parks

Jason Parks is Owner of The Media Captain, a Columbus digital marketing agency focused on creative and result-driven solutions for companies of all sizes.

The most important habit of a highly successful content marketing campaign is…

A stellar strategy that will drive the content.

A great idea behind a campaign is what will entice people to read and share the content. Regardless of how much time is spent on content marketing, if you don’t create great material, you will not be successful. This is why the strategy is crucial.


Holly RollinsHolly Rollins

Holly Rollins is the Founder and CEO of 10-x Group, a full-service content marketing and PR agency, and has more than 20 years experience in marketing and public relations. As 10-x Group CEO for 12 years, she has created successful content marketing and digital marketing/PR for diverse sectors–from national to regional clients. She and her seasoned team know the foundation for marketing and PR success and the perfect balance for integrating these best practices with content marketing to make companies STAND OUT. Learn more about Holly and her work on her blog www.hollymrollins.com.

The #1 habit of highly successful content marketing campaigns (ie what do businesses that have success with content marketing do well consistently) is…

They feature relevant, compelling (and strategic) content to their target audiences’ prime social channels (or the social media channels of greatest influence for their target markets).


Blaise LuceyBlaise Lucey

Blaise Lucey is the Content Marketing Manager for Movable Ink, a real-time email marketing platform. He’s in charge of creating content that helps customers and prospects better understand how Movable Ink can work for them, as well as keeping tabs on the latest developments in the contextual marketing space.

When creating a content marketing campaign, successful businesses always make sure that…

None of the content is a dead end.

That means creating content that always has a next step and a call-to-action. If you have a blog post, for example, it should have a call-to-action to a gated piece of content like an eBook, a research report, or a webinar. Premium content like eBooks and webinars should invite people to sign up for a demo, an email address, or something else that continues the dialogue.


Swetha VenkataramaniSwetha Venkataramani

Swetha Venkataramani is Content Marketing Associate at 9Lenses, Inc., the first enterprise SaaS platform that has productized the process of capturing insights of employees & customers, accelerating and automating how companies move from human insights to value-creating actions. Swetha started her career as a journalist in the United Kingdom and in India, before moving into a content writer role in the PR industry. Since then her passion for content marketing steadily grew, and she has had the opportunity to work with non-profits both as a writer and marketer, with special focus on social media marketing.

Most people believe that content marketing is mostly about creating content and marketing it. But, truly successful content marketers, content marketing teams, and content marketing campaigns have one habit in common…

They are constantly learning!

The most successful campaigns have the ability to engage the audience, get the audience to interact, and learn from what the audience is saying. Based on the responses from the audience, a campaign can further be fine-tuned for the better and will also have a better chance to grow organically. In my team, we constantly improve our content and content marketing campaigns based of what we learn from our audience’s response (and sometimes the lack of response!)

Contrary to the popular belief, the best content doesn’t just come from good writing, but is also rooted in the amount of listening and learning that happens before the actual content is produced.


Campbell MacdonaldCampbell Macdonald

Campbell Macdonald is CEO and a Founder at Pathful which shows marketers the business impact that content marketing has along the customer journey.

The number #1 habit of highly successful campaigns is just that:

They are a habit.

Too often, content marketing is thought of as a one-off project and not a program that requires a commitment. Content is a long term investment that pays dividends, but not in the short term. So successful campaigns are not normally the result of a stroke of genius. Rather they are normally the result of:

  • cultivating an audience
  • learning from past campaigns what has worked and what doesn’t
  • measuring the results
  • then launching the next campaign based on that acquired knowledge.

Not sexy, but simple and highly repeatable.


Barney CohenBarney Cohen

Barney Cohen is the President and CEO of Business 360 Northwest, a business consulting firm that provides a wide array of business services to help you grow your business. He has more than 40 years of experience in starting and operating businesses. From a single retail record store, Barney built one of the largest wholesalers of prerecorded music in the world. He specializes in helping businesses manage their growth and take their business to the next level.

By far the most important aspect of content marketing and a habit that the most successful campaigns have in common is…

Consistency.

Many businesses focus on the quality of the content, and certainly that’s important. But if you are not consistent in getting content out, it will be impossible to gain a following. Consistency suggests that you are committed to your business and on top of your game. Inconsistency suggests the opposite.

Once you gain a following that is reading your content – such as a blog or newsletter – those followers will expect to see your material. If you are consistent, in all likelihood, they will continue to follow you, and if you’re not consistent, they will stop following you. It’s really as simple as that.

You get to decide what is consistent for you. It doesn’t have to be every day or even every week. For me, I blog twice a week and send out a newsletter once a month. That feels like the right frequency for my followers.


Marci HansenMarci Hansen

Marci Hansen is a Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer at SheerID, the leading eligibility verification servic provider. Marci has over 15 years of marketing experience. Before co-founding SheerID, she served as Vice President of Marketing at Palo Alto Software and Crafts Americana Group where she created content-based marketing strategies. She also created innovative marketing campaigns in her positions at Dotster, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Amazon.com, and Eddie Bauer. Marci was rewarded for her work with the Guerilla Marketer of the Year award from Brandweek magazine in 2006 for her efforts on peta2, the youth marketing campaign of PETA.

Since our clients want to reach very specific markets like college students, military personnel, and teachers with exclusive offers, we had to find a way to receive insight into these target audiences to capture the attention of companies that would be interested in SheerID’s eligibility verification services. We discovered that the key to creating successful content marketing campaigns was through…

Publishing data that nobody else had. In our case, we did this by hosting our own surveys.

Not only do we get inside information for what these audiences want, but the data has inspired press releases, blog posts, videos,landing pages, infographics, and white papers. With our survey results being displayed many different forms of media, we have even found that journalists are citing SheerID as a source when they use our data on students, teachers and military members – helping to cement our reputation as thought leaders.

Overall, surveys have played a vital role in helping us to create popular content and successful content marketing campaigns. Conducting surveys is habit-forming. We now survey college students, military families, and teachers regularly.


Jamie PretzloffJayme Pretzloff

Jayme Pretzloff is the Director of Marketing for Wixon Jewelers in Minneapolis, MN, a luxury retailer of high-end jewelry and watches that is the premier luxury jeweler in the Midwest. Pretzloff has been recognized as one of the nation’s top new media marketers under the age of 30 for his innovative digital marketing methods. He has worked in small business marketing for the past seven years in various capacities, including management and consulting of marketing activities.

In my opinion, the most important thing a marketer should know, and strive to make into a habit, is that…

Being useful to your followers is crucial for engaging an audience.

This genuine approach enables business owners to save time because they’re not generating loads of crap content to engage their audience… one well thought out post will bring more engagement than 10 terrible posts.

Content marketing and social media are perfect for one another and they are powerful when combined. I have found that one of the best uses of social media is to be useful to your followers by giving them content that they enjoy seeing in their social media feeds. Not only will you see engagement levels go up, but conversions as well. You need to be inherently useful to your followers. Not just kind of useful but truly useful and they will keep you close to them. These social platforms are unprecedented because they put businesses and their friends together and their friends aren’t constantly trying to sell to them, so you shouldn’t either.

Give them something that is useful to them, and they’ll be happy to complete a lead capture form, subscribe to your e-mail list or follow you on social networks. These permission based marketing vehicles allow small businesses to continually engage with these potential clients and win business.


Nikolas AllenNikolas Allen

Nikolas Allen, author of “Heavyweight Marketing – Knockout Strategies for Building Champion Brands,” has enjoyed a 20-year love affair with advertising.

I can think of a few good habits of successful content marketers, but if I had to choose one I would say it’s…

Producing Relevant Content.

The content being produced (regardless of media) needs to resonate with the wants, needs and desires of the target audience. Marketers need to understand what is most relevant to their consumers and deliver what’s expected. Is it education? Humor? Discounts and deals? Brand stories? Engaging narrative?

An example: I produce marketing content for a solar company. I’ve shot over 2 dozen solar-education videos for our audience. Many address very specific tech problems (i.e., only relevant to a niche market) and the analytics are decent, with the higher numbers accumulating slowly over time. However, the most recent video addresses a more general Solar 101-type topic and has received over 1,600 views in 10 days and counting. The takeaway for me was to focus more on the topics our audience is hungry for. In short, give ’em what they want!


Katie BissonKatie Bisson

Katie Bisson is the Marketing and Public Relations Manager for Technology Seed, a managed IT service provider in New Hampshire. She has a background in Public Relations with a passion for digital marketing and strategy. When not in the office you can find her at local networking events promoting Technology Seed.

What really makes someone successful in content marketing, and who do I follow? There was one clear answer that came to mind, and those are…

People who share their content are the most successful.

Content creation is not as successful as before. To be well known for content a business cannot just post it one their blog and expect to reap benefits anymore. It is essential to share your content to be successful.

If you think about companies that generate content many of them are sharing the information on social sites including Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. When you create content you need to share it on the variety of platforms to increase its visibility, and you also need to provide avenues for others to share as well, this includes adding social share buttons to the blog. Overall, the more you promote your content and leverage it, the better your content will rank.


Sean SiSean Si

Sean Si is the CEO and Founder of SEO Hacker and Qeryz. A start-up, data analysis and urgency junkie who spends his time inspiring young entrepreneurs through talks and seminars.

I think the #1 habit of highly successful content marketing campaigns is…

Reaching out to influencers in their niche.

By influencers, I mean people who are successful and popular in their field.

Sounds easy at first but this involves a lot of things such as getting theattention of that person through continuous engagement and value provision. Content marketers usually start out with a blog comment then with a tweetand share of the influencer’s article(s), all the way up to finally being able to land a guest post on the influencer’s blog.

Content marketing is all about getting your content out there – to theright audience. The fastest, most sensible way to do that is to get it out in front of an influential person’s tribe.


Kelly HowardKelly Howard

Kelly Howard is the Content Marketing Specialist at Tower Marketing. She is responsible for creating content of all kinds for clients in the financial, education, construction and pest control industries. Kelly readily accepts the challenge of presenting (sometimes) complex information in a way that people can understand, and, hopefully, will want to share!

One of the top habits of highly successful content marketing campaigns is

Planning.

Our search engine marketing team handles content planning in 3 phases: yearly, monthly, and trending. Without this constant cycle of content planning, we’d never be able to support the #1 habit of consistency. Because there is nothing worse in content marketing than having no topic to write or speak about.

Yearly we take a look at the big picture and plot out annual events or topics we want to highlight – Website Audit Month, Social Media Week, or National Donut Day. On a monthly basis we get more granular by scheduling out our content for the following month, assigning a topic and focus keyword and deciding on the appropriate content type. In addition, we keep an eye on trending topics so that we’re able to add a blog post or newsletter as necessary.

Takeaway :: In your yearly planning session, plot out highlights for each month of the year. Is a new product launching? When are the major industry events happening? Focus monthly planning for scheduling your content for the following month. Additionally, hold weekly or daily check-ins with your team to touch on what’s trending in your industry and add these topics into the mix.


Kevin TumlinsonKevin Tumlinson

Kevin Tumlinson is the Wordslinger—Author, Blogger, and Host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Much of his career has been in copywriting and content development, for clients such as ExxonMobil, Sysco Foods, HP, Jiffy Lube, Cameron, and Aggreko. Every week he interviews leading experts and entrepreneurs on his podcast, and coaches hundreds of would-be free-range humans to write their books or start careers they actually own, all while wearing no pants whatsoever.

The key to successful content marketing is…

Understanding that it’s a conversation, not a broadcast.

You hear the analogy of a cocktail party all the time—if you were at a party you wouldn’t constantly interject an offer for your product or services, you’d try to keep an actual, relevant conversation going. That’s what the landscape looks like online. We’re all in one big conversation, and all the attention goes to the one who has the most value to add. And that value comes from focus and consistency. Produce good content—content that actually has meaning and value for your audience—and do it every day.

That sounds daunting. But the truth is, you don’t have to aim for epic with every blog post or viral with every tweet or Facebook post. You only have to aim for adding to the conversation in a meaningful way. Which means you’re actually doing *less work.* All you have to do is listen to the conversation that’s already happening, and start adding more value and meaning to it. Also, think long-term, long-tail, and big picture, not immediate and instant results. The business that keeps the conversation going gets the prize—the attention of their potential customers. They’ll be a lot more receptive to offers if they think of you as a valuable source of information *first*.


Erika GoldwaterErika Goldwater

Erika Goldwater is Vice President, Marketing CIPP/US at ANNUITAS, a Demand Generation strategy firm that specializes in content marketing strategy, and has over 15 years of B2B marketing, public relations and demand generation expertise. At ANNUITAS Erika manages the all aspects of marketing including demand generation, content marketing, social media and public relations helping to build pipeline and drive results for the ANNUITAS team. Prior to ANNUITAS Erika was the strategic and partner accounts manager at Eloqua.

What is the #1 habit of highly successful content marketing campaigns (ie what do businesses that have success with content marketing do well consistently)?

Businesses that succeed in content marketing know their buyers inside and out.

Conducting intense interviews with customers and non-customers, in addition to conducting industry research to understand your buyer’s pain points, where they seek information, how they consume information and what sources they deem valuable helps to build a solid understanding of what your buyer needs and wants. Armed with that information, organizations can build highly effective content. Without knowing everything about your buyer- your content doesn’t stand a chance of connecting with them and your efforts are wasted.


Trent ErwinTrent Erwin

Trent Erwin is the co-owner of Genesis Net Development, a growing online marketing agency in the U.S., and avid blogger of online marketing strategies.

The #1 successful habit of highly successful content marketing campaigns, and the people who execute them, is…

To answer customer/client’s questions, hands down.

When someone searches online for anything they are searching for an answer – an answer to a need, to a question, to questions they didn’t even know they had, to clarify understanding and so on. If a website doesn’t provide an answer of some sort, then it doesn’t provide the value a searcher is looking for (even though the searcher may not know why they clicked away from a website).

A business needs to answer questions related to cost, to product/service features, to potential fears, to drawbacks, to misunderstandings and to specific inquiries. If a business doesn’t know which questions to answer, all they have to do is ask their customer/client audience what their questions are and whether they’re being answered or not. Also, you can search online to see if people are answering questions in your industry and determine how you can answer questions better than your competitors. That’s when a business begins to win.


Samantha JohnsonSamantha Johnson

Samantha Johnson is Media Director at advertising agency TDA_Boulder, and is responsible for accounts including FirstBank, General Mills, Daiya, Deschutes Brewery, Newton Running, French’s (condiments), Noodles & Company and Patagonia. Previously, she was communications director at Saatchi & Saatchi, Los Angeles, where her work included the launches of the Toyota Tundra and Toyota Prius, the car manufacturer’s two most successful launches ever. She was also recently named a “Working Mother of the Year“ by the Advertising Women of New York (AWNY).

The #1 successful habit of highly successful content marketing campaigns is…

Consistent focus on the consumer.

Just because you build the content doesn’t mean ‘they will come.’ Brands need, and for the most part, realize they need, a clear strategy for how to amplify that content. They go astray when they make their own product the center of that strategy.

No. The key is the consumer. There is so much power to be harnessed by knowing your consumer and putting her at the center of your content ecosystem. Because the next step after that, the crucial step, is to customize the journey of how your content will reach its intended audience… at the right time and in the right, relevant environment. Consumers don’t necessarily want to be led to your content; they want to discover it. Successful content promoters need to know how to put their content where their customer will find it, ‘on her own.’

Where is that? Consumers’ engagement patterns are continuously evolving, based on the hundreds and thousands of media platforms and channels available to them. That is why the paid, owned and earned media model has produced very effective content marketing campaigns. It’s flexible. It works no matter how high—or low—your consumer’s level of engagement. It lets you customize the amplification, platform by platform, based on how your consumer uses those platforms (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc.). And then, assuming you’ve made your content shareable, it lets your customers’ own engagement and interaction be the engine that allows that amplification to continue.

Red Bull could be the poster child for effective and successful content promotion…to the right audience and beyond. They know their market, and they consistently deliver relevant content that feeds that maket’s passion for living a life with or without wings.


Marin PerezMarin Perez

Marin Perez is a former tech journalist who is now Content Manager at Bluenose, a Customer Success Platform for SaaS businesses. He believes that great content can connect people in meaningful ways.

When establishing our content strategy, I’ve taken my foundational pillars from Newscred which I believe contain habits of all highly successful campaigns…

1. Make content your audience wants.

Sounds like common sense but to really get this, this involves knowing your key buying personas, doing keyword research, competitive analysis, as well as incorporating the feedback from your go-to-market team.

Once you know who your audience is and what they want, it becomes easier to give your content program scope.

2. Treat content as an asset.

This also includes treating content as an asset with ROI. Be strategic about how often you can slice and dice your content to repackage it for different channels while still delivering value. For example, at the Bluenose Customer Success Blog, every single blog is utilized in email campaigns and social media. Furthermore, the majority of blogs will be repacked for eBooks, whitepapers or physical handouts at events.

Unfortunately, with a high-tough product like ours, it’s not quite as simple as customer reads blogs, then customer buys. Instead, we track these touch points and weight them accordingly in the overall buyer’s journey. We still have a lot of work to do in that regard but we’re focused on being able to prove the immediate and compounding returns of content marketing.

3. Think and act like a publisher.

This is a part that can often be tough. Everybody can put together an editorial calendar but actually executing that well is the tough part. Like any good publisher, you must produce your content at a reliable cadence and you must have your own unique voice. Like a modern publisher, content marketers also have to be aware of SEO, social channels and experiment with new distribution channels.


Jordan Milewski

Jordan Milewski is the Director of Communications for Social Firestarter, LLC, a rapidly growing internet marketing company.

Highly successful content marketing campaigns have one thing in common…

They all use a variety of writing styles that are not only informative, but tug at the hearts of the reader so to speak.

We work with attorneys, and most of their clients have been or feel like they have been wronged in one way or another, so writing to their client’s emotions proves to be extremely successful. Also, when writing content for blog posts, then information needs to have a log shelf life; meaning, the info/statistic used needs to still have worth 10 years from the day it was written, otherwise, readers will see it as worthless.

Lastly, the content needs to be interesting and useful. We tend to write content that deems useful to our clients’ clients in their everyday lives which also grabs the attention of readers.


Benjamin GoldmanBenjamin Goldman

Benjamin Goldman is the Co-Founder of Agency 2625, a content marketing agency focusing on commercial microcontent.

As an owner of a content marketing agency as well as former admin to a Facebook group with 650,000 followers I can say my #1 strategy is split 2 ways:

If your goal is to build your audience, produce lots of graphic (memes, videos, gifs) content that can be easily shared and linked back to you and post them 3-15 times daily. If it is good enough, you will begin seeing growth.

If your goal is to engage, write meaningful articles (3 paragraphs) 2-3 times daily. Either option is fine, but make sure you post consistently, not once every 2-3 weeks.


Donna ChildressDonna Childress

Donna Childress is a Writer and Communications Strategist at Yoko Co and Principal at Childress Communications, LLC which she founded in 2001. Previously, she was an editor for highly targeted direct marketing e-mails for 9 million subscribers at LifeMinders, Inc. and a writer and webmaster for Jaffe Associates and its national law firm clients. In her work, she provides high-level strategy and writing to spark change for people and planet. With a focus on online communications, she primarily serves nonprofits, governments, and mission-based businesses. Her work has served AARP, American Forest Foundation, National Confectioners Association, National Council on Aging, National Association for Area Agencies on Aging, U.S. Department of the Navy, and many others.

The #1 successful habit of highly successful content marketing campaigns is…

Marrying content to emotion, so the reader isn’t getting just information, but a nod to lifestyle or a tug on the heartstrings. Patagonia does this well, with photos of wild landscapes or people adventuring in almost every piece.


Alex BirkettAlex Birkett

Alex Birkett is the Marketing & PR Manager for Do Amore, a jewelry company that provides two people with water for life for every ring sold.

Not all content marketing campaigns have the same goals, so it makes sense that they don’t all have the same tactics. However, the #1 habit of highly successful content marketing campaigns – the one you have to follow if you want results – is…

To provide value. That’s it.

See, we’re an e-commerce site essentially, so we don’t care about page views. We care about conversions. Therefore, our content is centered around answering questions, educating potential customers, and telling our unique story. There are certainly ways we could create sensationalized viral content to bring in pageviews, but that doesn’t help the bottom line, just our egos.


Hope Katz GibbsHope Katz Gibbs

Hope Katz Gibbs is the Author of “PR Rules: The Playbook — The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Supersizing Your Small Business”. A journalist, publicist, author, and entrepreneur, Hope is the Founder of Inkandescent Public Relations, a PR firm for entrepreneurs; and the publisher of Be Inkandescent — a monthly business magazine for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, that gets more than 1 million visits/month. She has been a reporter since graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1986, writing for publications including The Washington Post, USA Today, The Miami Herald, Costco Connection, among others, and has won nearly a dozen awards for feature writing, and newsletter writing.

The most important habit of successful content campaigns is…

To tell a gripping story that educates your audience.

As far as I’m concerned, that’s the only thing that matters when it comes to content campaigns. If you can teach a reader something they need to know about their business, their lives, their kids, their future …. they’ll come for more. And that’s the key to a successful PR and marketing campaign. To be the go-to source for great information. That’s what builds your reputation.


Zach HammerZach Hammer

Zach Hammer is the Marketing Director of The Snyder Group: Team Driven Real Estate, a team of Real Estate professionals specializing in all aspects of the Las Vegas residential market.

The number one habit of highly successful content marketing campaigns is…

Keeping it simple and going back to the basics. Here are a couple important ideas to keep in mind when marketing:

  1. Know your audience, and give them what they want. First and foremost you have to know what your audience needs, and then you provide it to them.
  2. Have a next step in mind. Great content is the foundation – but you have to have a solid funnel to move people from reading your content to becoming a lead or customer.

This is where content upgrades and CTAs talking about your email list or new product come into play.


Neha MittalNeha Mittal

Neha Mittal is the Head of Strategy and Business Development at Arrow Devices, a company that provides Verification, Debug and Validation products and services for ASIC/SOC development to corporations globally.

The #1 habit of highly successful content marketing campaigns, or what businesses that have success with content marketing do well consistently is…

They realize that you need to constantly experiment and measure results.

Keep looking for trends/themes that are consistently over performing and create more content around it. Have a content creation plan and ensure all content writers are submitting their creatives in time. This also ensures a consistent regular posting schedule.


Tim FehraydinovTim Fehraydinov

Tim Fehraydinov is an online marketer at Texterra web agency, a leading agency in Russia specializing in full service online marketing.

Here in our agency we have one most important rule that I believe is a habit of many highly successful campaigns:

Show no remorse to poor content.

What exactly do I mean? Well, content is king, and we don’t want our king to be dressed as a beggar. Our editors review each piece of content we make, and if they find a single little mistake or something confusing, then it should be fixed immediately.

Being a copywriter in our agency is one of the hardest things I know. We hold weekly meetings in our office where we discuss new texts. If it’s not shiny perfect, then it should be rewritten. Such meetings can be very tough – hot argues never stop. Just like we have a show no remorse rule, there is one more rule for meetings – no personal insults. Anything that is not a personal insult is allowed. It’s rude, but it works.


Megan BozmanMegan Bozman

Megan Bozman is Director of Marketing at Verne Global, a provider of smart data center solutions. Megan is responsible for creating content and messaging as well as market research and analysis. Over the past fifteen years, Megan has held roles in product marketing, content marketing, and sales for various B2B technology companies.

When it comes to the top habit of highly successful content marketing campaigns, first thing that comes to mind is…

Trying to leverage content in as many formats and platforms.

Make sure you’re able to present it in a wide variety of ways, of different formats, durations and lengths so people are able to consume it the way they want, and dive deeper if desired.


Dan KaminskyDan Kaminsky

Dan Kaminsky is the CEO and Co-Founder of homeadnet.com. HOMEADNET (home ad•net) is a website and social media marketing hub for Real Estate agents and brokers. Members get a full suite of tools including a website builder, blogger, property listings manager, map search, social media syndication and access to HOMEADNET’s internal Real Estate social network.

I believe the number one habit of highly successful content marketers gets rolled into three parts:

Knowledge, consistency and engagement.

  1. Knowledge: When focusing on a content marketing strategy the key is to create content that readers will find extremely useful. Strong knowledge of your subject matter is key. This will allow you to create or curate content that your readers will find informative and/or entertaining. One mistake I see content marketers make is creating content that is obviously for Sales purposes or too preachy. Sharing good, solid content that aims to educate, enlighten or entertain followers is a great way to endear followers to your brand.
  2. Consistency: Once your content creation strategy is in place it is important to publish it in regular intervals. Creating a schedule helps followers learn your patterns and helps to create some anticipation. For example, you could release a blog or video once a week. Release it on the same day every week. On days inbetween the custom content you can share your curated content through social media. Establishing a consistent schedule ensures it gets done and helps build anticipation with followers. Blending the different content formats throughout the week keeps your social streams active all of the time.
  3. Engagement: A content marketing strategy can only be successful if you engage followers. If it is a faceless blog that rarely follows up on messages or comments people will lose interest. If the whole idea with a content marketing strategy is to create awareness for a product, cause or brand then engaging followers is the most essential piece. No inquiry should be too small. The more you engage with followers the faster your credibility meter increases as well as loyalty to the content and ultimately the brand.

We practised this method and drove our first 1000 subscribers without investing a single dollar into advertising. We worked very hard and continue to work hard on our content marketing through blogs and videos.


Brittany BergerBrittany Berger

Brittany Berger is the Digital Content Supervisor at eZanga.com, a search engine and online advertising company. Learn more about Brittany and her work at www.brittanyberger.com.

Any business finding success from content marketing has the habit of…

Putting their customer at the forefront.

They don’t go into the creation process thinking, What would be a cool post? or What do I want to write about? They start out thinking, How can we help our customers? You can’t think of what kind of content would be great in general terms – you need to think specifically about your buyer personas.

It doesn’t matter how cool and idea is or how well it’s executed, if your target customer can’t find value in it. The content may get decent traffic or social shares, but in the end, it won’t benefit your business if it can’t lead someone through the company’s funnel.


Jason FisherJason Fisher

Jason Fisher is the Owner of BestLifeRates.org, an independent and consumer review site for insurance.

By far the greatest habit any content marketer could develop is…

Focus on a topic.

By this, I mean each work being created with an exact purpose. Bumbling, rambling articles serve no purpose, nor do articles on 10 different topics, no matter their depth. Keep a sharp eye on the reader at all times, being sure to ask yourself all possible questions about that article, and answer them directly in the work. If you can create content which adds immediate value, focuses on the reader, doesn’t stray and answers all his questions, there’s no reason he’ll need to go elsewhere.


Steve MintzSteve Mintz

Steve Mintz is Founder of CLM Prescriptives LLC, a strategic marketing consultancy helping firms to diagnose the ailments impacting their Marketing strategy and prescribing solutions to drive growth in revenue and retention. A marketing executive with over 20 years of CRM, content, customer lifecycle, direct and digital marketing expertise, Steve leverages customer data to derive actionable insights to optimize marketing response and increase revenue, retention and satisfaction.

Highly successful content marketers have the habit of…

Creating content that can be repackaged and/or repurposed.

They are able to get more from their investment by creating content that can be used many different times in many different channels. So while you may have a Research Report on a topic, can you repurpose that into a White Paper? Break the White Paper out into many different blog posts, or provide it in powerpoint for use in sales presentations or webinars? Can you create a script of that same content that you can then use in a podcast? Incorporate the script and the graphics from the prior examples into videos. Of course, you can also work backwards with your smaller content, combining blog posts/podcasts/presentations/webinars into larger format White Papers and research Reports.

And as you create and post content, ensure you are promoting appropriately via social media, website, sales and service, to name a few.


Megan DurhamMegan Durham

Megan Durham is the CTO of Agile Impact, an online brand management agency, and is the company’s Jill-of-all-trades and general problem-solver. She is hard at work at absorbing the internet into her brain in its entirety.

In our experience at Agile Impact, we’ve found that the number one habit of highly successful content marketing campaigns is…

Fostering engagement with a clearly defined audience.

For example, one of our clients wanted to promote their brand of alcoholic beverages. It wasn’t enough for the brand to just talk about how great their product was; they had to find a way to provide value to and entertain their target audience, encouraging engagement—and all the while increasing overall brand recognition.

Their campaign really took off once we’d worked out a content strategy that defined their desired audience and how to engage with them. In this case, the target audience turned out to be young women interested in hosting parties and socializing, and the best opportunity to engage with them was by sharing recipes and party tips.

In particular, our keyword research revealed that focusing on recipes for alcoholic punch in different colors for different events was a big opportunity that the brand could take advantage of. Overall, the campaign was a great success!


Saurav RimalSaurav Rimal

Saurav Rimal is the SEO Director of Silverback Strategies, a high-touch search engine marketing firm located in the Washington, DC Metro Area and serving customers nationwide.

For me the # 1 habit for content marketing success is…

To write to help the audience. However, the content will need support with a strong promotional plan to reach the audience.


Jennifer GarciaJennifer Garcia

Jennifer Garcia is Partner & CEO of Red Bamboo Marketing, a boutique marketing agency. Strategic to the core, Jennifer Garcia knows how to seize opportunity from every angle. Her extensive marketing experience fuels her ability to rouse the best talents from the world’s most brilliant brand thinkers, leaders, and communicators, which is how she catalyzed major transformations for major players-from Nokia to Hilton Hotels.

For me there is not just one thing that leads to success in content marketing – here are few things that stand out for me:

  1. Content thread – this for me is the stand out in good content marketing. Many times, as I mention above, companies just want to get content out. They want to develop a calendar and fill it in with topics, they deem relevant to their target audience. What they forget is to be engaging you need to ‘hook’ the reader. Build an online story with a thread..think about how some of the best content is consumed, like the podcast Serial, people want to look forward to reading something every week that is interesting and follows a story line. If you can do this well with information about your business, than you are miles ahead of your competition.
  2. Target audience – knowing your audience, if you are talking about Big Data with a group of data scientists, you will use very different language, than if you are talking to a CIO about Big Data. Sounds simple, but a lot of businesses miss this especially in their content marketing – they are so pushed to get content out, that the strategy and focus is lost along the way.
  3. Professional writer – I have always been an advocate for professional writers. I started my marketing career many years ago thinking that I can write compelling, interesting content that my target audience would salivate over, but had a wakeup call when I first started working with real professional writers. I was in awe of their magic. The best have the ability to drive emotion from their readers – even if it is a boring topic. Good content marketing, needs a good writer, unfortunately most businesses do not use professional writers and 80% of the content they produce is NOT compelling because of this.


Giancarlo MassaroGiancarlo Massaro

Giancarlo Massaro is Co-Founder of ViralSweep, a service that provides brands with the tools they need to run their own social promotions.

Businesses that have highly successful content marketing campaigns are not successful because they are good at promoting their content; they’re successful because…

Their content is high quality content that people want to consume.

To give you an example, our Advanced Guide To Sweepstakes has been wildly successful for us because of the depth of knowledge and information that it provides our customers with. It’s not a short 1,000 word blog post on how to run a sweepstakes. Instead, it’s an in-depth and interactive guide (over 12,000 words) with great visuals, and easy to understand content that educates people on how to run a promotion from beginning to end (planning, set up, building, marketing).


Brandi StarrBrandi Starr

Brandi Starr is the President and Marketing Strategist of Cassius Blue Consulting, a strategy-first, inbound marketing agency helping personal and professional service businesses transform and automate the way they do marketing. In her work, Brandi helps entrepreneurs who are overwhelmed by marketing and struggling to increase their revenue to devise and implement a magnetic marketing strategy so that they can attract leads, convert them and increase their bottom line.

The most successful content marketing campaigns are those that…

Have a solid follow up plan.

Most content efforts trade a piece of content for an email address, some offer content inexpensively as an introductory offer. Whether offering free or paid content without a well-developed (and automated) follow up plan in place you will generate lots of interest but very little revenue.

I recommend mapping your content development to the different steps in your buyer’s journey and then developing a follow up series of communications to guide your potential customers down the path to purchase (and re-purchase).


Alexander RuggieAlexander Ruggie

Alexander Ruggie is the PR Director for 911 Restoration, a home restoration company that specializes in water damage and disaster recovery solutions.

I would have to say that the most critical part of content marketing is creating the habit of…

Follow-through.

Content creation is only half of the job, the rest is getting that content placed in a publication that benefits the company originating the content in the first place.

The content obviously has to be informative, fun or preferably both, but after that it really amounts to constant follow-up and tracking with these endeavors. It’s highly likely that the sources you are pitching to are very busy people and in this industry the loudest voice usually gets taken care of first.


Mansi GoelMansi Goel

Mansi Goel is Chief Content Strategist for Digital Marketing Firm, WiseCalvin.com.

The one thing which businesses who are successful with content marketing do well consistently is…

Stay consistent with all their efforts.

Now, that could be applicable to the success of any business around the globe. But what sets successful content marketing experts distinct from the crowd is that they are forever on Research and Analytics mode.

They read and go through everything twice, even if it is a single Facebook post, a headline or some random Twitter card – first time as a viewer, and second time, as a researcher. Then they’d breakdown its elements (copy, CTA, design, colors, etc.) to find out what engaged them, and what didn’t.

To them, it hardly matters if the outcome is good or bad, they’ll keep a copy (or screenshot) of it, as a reminder and later, use it to enrich their content or their work process.

A consistent Research and Analysis (R&A) is essential to cover milestones after milestones in the ever-developing field of content marketing.


Liz MazzeiLiz Mazzei

Liz Mazzei is an Independent Marketing Consultant for Small Businesses in NYC. With over 7+ years of marketing experience at tech start-ups, Liz’s expertise lies in digital marketing, SEO, brand strategy, community management, event and partnership marketing, email marketing, content development, and social media. Liz has a background in marketing and product analysis for startups across various industries and is the former Communications & PR Director of the New York State Restaurant Association. A self proclaimed nerd when it comes to marketing and technology, Liz is the co-founder of PlannerTech (now TechsyTalk), the leading technology event for event planners and entrepreneurs, and founder of Honey & Nonno, an online community dedicated to food, family, and traditions. Learn more about Liz and her work at lizmazzei.com.

Business that have success with content marketing consistently have the habit of…

Delivering relevant and actionable information to their target audience.

Identifying who their audience is, what they need, and how they want to use the information is key. Its not just about writing good commentary or telling a good story, successful content marketing campaigns drive actions and engagement to DO not just THINK with the last step in the campaign to convert as a customer.


Joseph Hirschhorn HowardJoseph Hirschhorn Howard

Joseph Hirschhorn Howard is the Senior Marketing Manager at Masslight, a mobile and web app development agency in Washington, DC that has successfully been in business for over 15 years.

The #1 habit of highly successful content marketers is…

They constantly prioritize empathy.

When you have a really engaging conversation with someone, you start to associate feelings like trust with them. The most successful websites do the same thing with their content – when people read the what they’ve written, it really resonates with them and creates a feeling of trust. When that potential customers comes back to invest in the company’s product or service, that feeling of trust they’ve already developed makes it easy for them to make the purchase.


Scott RogersonScott Rogerson

Scott Rogerson is the CEO of Community Elf, a uniquely positioned technology-enabled content marketing company simplifying the efforts of both B2B and B2C clients in implementing their content marketing strategies. Scott became the company’s CEO in November 2014. Previously, he worked with private investment firm Oakhill Equity, where he was co-founder and managing director. Prior to that, he worked in the consulting field for The Hill Group Inc. and Protiviti Inc., advising Fortune 500 companies on strategy development and operations improvement.

While there are many aspects that create a successful content marketing campaign, the one that is the least represented is…

The idea of consistency.

A main challenge we find across many of our clients (especially those with smaller staffs and budgets) is consistency. The organization may be very active for a bit and then fall off the map for a while – leaving the audience they were able to engage thinking you broke up with them. Search engines have also picked up on the value of consistency of content (Google Hummingbird in 2013) and has incorporated this into determining where your content will appear in search result rankings.


Allison MaloneyAllison Maloney

Allison Maloney is the VP of Marketing for Community Elf where she is developing, managing and executing marketing strategies, including content and inbound marketing programs, as well as writing and producing all marketing and sales materials. Prior to Community Elf, she was Manager of Content Marketing for NM Incite, a joint venture between Nielsen and McKinsey & Company.

The absolute #1 habit of a highly successful content marketing campaign is…

Understanding your audience.

It’s of paramount importance to know what makes them tick, what interests them, how much they know about your industry and what their needs are that you can fulfill. If your content does not address the right information, it won’t be interesting to your target audience and you will never fill the lead funnel.


Abbey FinchAbbey Finch

Abbey Finch is the Owner of ScribeSpace, a digital marketing consulting and copywriting agency. She helps businesses devise digital marketing and content marketing strategies that work.

The number one tip/habit that I’ve seen to be effective for marketing campaigns is…

Actually offering content people want.

So many people waste content marketing on self-promotion and uninteresting content, instead of offering materials that are funny, informative, and worthwhile. Many people fail to address the concern: what do people actually want? What does my customer base really need?

I see many entrepreneurs making the mistake of using content market as a platform to brag about themselves or give useless updates about their company. That’s just not what people want. They need to be educated, they want a laugh, or they want something that is inspiring or heart warming.

Your worthwhile content should be a mix of different mediums too- business owners need to get into the habit of varying the types of content they offer: written, visual, and videos.


Luke ReesLuke Rees

Luke Reesis a digital marketing executive at AccuraCast – a London-based search agency – who, as well as producing and promoting content for his clients, writes extensively about technology and trends in the search market industry.

The most successful content marketing campaigns are always…

SEO optimised, especially if the content is targeted towards a highly specialized audience.

The internet is essentially full: content is churned out at a higher rate each day, and so there is always bound to be something already out there which matches, or is at least similar to, the content of your campaign. In order to outrank the general content noise, and to attract the highest quality lead prospects, you need a plan in place which identifies your main keywords, places these within the title, a few times within the content, and of the course within the meta tags. These keywords not only need to be on the main content page, but also in every piece of promotional content that surrounds it, including press releases, social media posts, and blog posts.

In addition, you need to identify a number of synonyms, or similar phrases, for your keywords and to include these in all of the promotional material. If, for example, you produce an accompanying series of blog posts, use these synonyms interchangeably in each post to ensure you get full coverage across the search funnel. If your content is very niche, or is a subject with a very low search volume, adding keyword synonyms ensures you are able to attract and educate those prospects searching for more general content in your field.


Nick MarvikNick Marvik

Nick Marvik is Founder and CEO of Seattle based Northwest Tech (NWT3K), makers of direct-to-consumer customized winter apparel. NWT3K manufactures and distributes customized waterproof jackets, pants and bibs to outdoor enthusiasts around the world. With facilities throughout Seattle, NWT3K keeps production USA-made and strives to contribute to the growth of Seattle’s apparel manufacturing industry.

Businesses that have repeated success with content marketing initiatives understand that…

It’s not directly about the brand, it’s about the aspirational story you’re telling and how you’re connecting with a given persona.


Lisa Arledge PowellLisa Arledge Powell

Lisa Arledge Powell is President of MediaSource, named 2013 and 2014’s Best Health Care PR/Marketing Agency by Ragan Communications and the Top U.S. Content Marketing Firm in 2014 by Clutch. Lisa, a former television news reporter, specializes in brand journalism and works with the nation’s top hospitals and brands to get their message to target audiences. As a journo-turned-PR pro and a member of the PRSA Health Academy, Lisa uses her journalism skills to teach the PR industry the perks of storytelling for a brand.

The #1 habit of highly successful content marketing experts is focusing on…

Storytelling + targeted media outreach to help drive people to your company owned media channels for more outreach.

For one of our client partners, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, content marketing amplified by targeted media outreach drove so many people to the hospital’s owned media, that the traffic actually crashed their website!

The process and backstory of this campaign:

Researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center developed a self-administered test, called the SAGE test, that can help spot early symptoms of cognitive issues such as Alzheimer’s disease. Because the test is self-administered, it could be taken virtually anywhere. Our ultimate goal for this content marketing campaign was to use earned media to drive company-owned media from our multimedia story. We wanted to start the buzz with high-quality and high-volume news media coverage via the video that would drive consumers to the medical center’s website to download the test.

Our first key audience was journalists at all levels. We wanted to reach top national news and medical journalists along with reporters and bloggers at niche health outlets and websites. The end audience was the consumer who would see the video and be driven to download the test on the hospital’s website.

Here is what happened on the medical center’s website on the day that media coverage began for the SAGE Test content marketing campaign:

  • The site had more visits on a single day than any other day over the last five years
  • The SAGE test page saw a 17,000% increase in page views from the prior day


Jeremy BrownJeremy Brown

Jeremy Brown is the resident Content Storyteller at Gild, a San Francisco based tech company that’s using data science to change the way companies find, nurture, and hire amazing people.

Companies that are successful with content marketing do this one thing extremely well:

They tell remarkable stories that answer questions their target audience are asking and thinking of.

That’s it. Sounds simple, but it works. It works because it builds trust. And at the end of the day, people buy from (or refer others to) people they trust.

This Google Chrome video is a perfect example of using content to tell a story that also answers the question, why should I use Google Chrome? The video showcases some of Chrome’s features, but doesn’t do it in a pushy way.

HubSpot is another good example of using content to build trust, but in a different way.

Since HubSpot sells to marketing departments, they focus on creating helpful ebooks, blog posts, and videos for marketers. Every time someone reads or watches something they create, trust increases. It may not always turn into a sale right away, but it makes HubSpot top of mind when it comes to marketing. That’s a powerful position to be in.

Answering questions is an underrated component of content marketing. Just be helpful. And if you can do that in a creative way, you’re putting yourself in a great position to succeed.


Daniel ScalcoDan Scalco

Dan Scalco is the Owner of a digital marketing company Digitalux in Hoboken, NJ that specializes in SEO and content marketing.

The #1 habit of highly successful content marketing campaigns is…

Being able to really understand your audience.

Before creating the content it is vitally important to understand exactly who this content is supposed to impact. By understanding your target audience, you can create more relevant and valuable content that they’ll *want* to read. This helps your conversion rate grow immensely.


Elizabeth Crandall LibbyElizabeth Crandall Libby

Elizabeth Crandall Libby is Managing Director of 2pinz, a Public Relations and Content Development Agency. She is an accomplished editorial writer and content marketing expert and has built an extensive portfolio of thought leadership and marketing assets including executive blog series, contributed articles, keynote presentations, sales enablement materials and messaging frameworks. Elizabeth excels at strategic content planning, authoring and editing, and ongoing management and optimization. Her stand-out ability to not only develop key differentiators and hone powerful positioning but also map editorial and content development to established marketing objectives serves as a solid platform for creating fresh and compelling cross-channel content programs.

The most successful content marketing programs center on…

Creating context for the value proposition.

Content marketers achieve this through communicating the value of products and services in a way that’s tangible to customers and prospects.

For instance, content assets that offer a point of view on a targeted topic important to a specific vertical supply chain management for retailers or fraud detection for financial institutions can provide critical context such that prospects understand a wide variety of potential use cases that address chronic and acute pain points specific to their businesses. Pain points drive urgency, and urgency drives conversion.  At the end of the day, conversion is what it’s all about.


Nick FarrarNick Farrar

Nick Farrar is the Founder and Director of Workbrands, a marketing and graphic design agency. Following his role as director of a recruitment comms agency and MD of an international publishing and events company, Nick founded Workbrands in 2003, along with business partner Steve Goss. Having spent over 20 years in B2B marketing, Nick has an in-depth understanding of what makes brands work, live and breathe and knows exactly how to maximise ROI for clients. A passionate advocate for the use of creativity in strategic business thinking, Nick is a regular contributor in business-to-business marketing media and is well-versed in helping others tell their story through design in a way that engages their audience. He has a unique understanding of the power of design and how to leverage this to deliver measurable business results.

The #1 habit of highly successful content marketing campaigns is…

Use of visual content.

When we think of content, we often think of a compilation of words that tell a story relevant to our prospects and customers and associate with our brand. The problem is that our audience struggles to find the time to read these words, even when the words entertain as well as inform and help them do their jobs. Why? In a world where 27 million pieces of content are shared every day, we have learned to digest information at a glance. We crave content that is efficient, engaging and easy to digest. Words alone are not enough.

The biggest challenge is to make a connection with the target audience and while, in recent years, conventional content marketing has been proven to do this, it’s losing its impact. ‘Good’ content isn’t enough anymore, so to break through, you need to deliver smarter content. And when we say smarter content, we mean visual content.

Communication as a whole is becoming increasingly visual. Articles with images get 94% more views than those without. So while content has become a strategic weapon in the battle for customer attention, brands who incorporate visuals are the ones who stand out.

While the old adage, ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ is true, we’re not advocating that you lose the words from your content marketing altogether. Words create tone, engage, inform and work their magic in many different ways. What we are championing is a sensible use of copy coupled with eye-catching design and illustration. And if copy can be replaced with an effective visual, then that’s all to the better.


Christine RochelleChristine Rochelle

Christine Rochelle is the Director of Digital Marketing & Operations at lotus823, a New Jersey-based PR and Digital Marketing Agency, and a national conference speaker. As a national conference speaker, Rochelle has presented on SEO, social media, and content strategies at numerous marketing events throughout the U.S. and Canada. Prior to lotus823, Rochelle worked for Star Magazine, HRP, MTV.com, LifeStyler, Eatontown Patch and AOL.com. Her numerous projects have been featured in The New York Post, Crushable, Get Busy Media, DrivingSales, Wanderlust & Lipstick, and Daily Single.

The #1 habit of highly successful content marketing campaigns is…

Knowing when to listen.

Listening to your community and truly understanding their needs and how they perceive the brand should be the biggest factor in developing your strategy. While tactical items such as developing a content calendar and publishing content at the right times is important, before you can even begin those items you have to spend time listening to your fans and understand the content they’re looking for from your brand.


Erik MasonErik Mason

Erik Mason is the Founder of RYSE Marketing & Communications, which he started with the sole intent of helping brands understand how to harness the power of marketing “why” rather than marketing “what” to create immersive audience engagement experiences. Previously, he worked in multi-billion dollar industries including enterprise software, oil & gas, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and management consulting across a variety of marketing and communications specialties. Through his front-line roles in PR, Corporate Communications, Brand Development, Social Media, and others he has played a key part in cross-industry success stories such as Cynosure’s global rebrand and IPO launch, to AspenTech’s corporate turnaround and NASDAQ relisting.

The number one habit of successful content marketing campaigns is…

Understanding your target audiences’ key pain points or interests in order to effectively craft your content development strategy.

This manifests into delivering high value material that helps educate and empower target buyers to solve that problem, or fill that interest need. This drives greater brand affinity by positioning the organization publishing the content as a trusted resource, which helps grow the bucket of marketing qualified leads and shorten sales cycle conversions.


Sarah MarchantSarah Marchant

Sarah Marchant is a Content Creator and SEO Specialist for Goedeker’s, an online appliance retailer based in St. Louis, MO.

When it comes to content marketing campaigns, one habit that will ensure success is…

Never letting the campaign stagnate.

After the content has been live for a while, continue to periodically find 10-20 new contacts and reach out to them with your piece. By this time, it should have already built up enough social proof to stand on its own and continue to gain traffic, shares, and backlinks for you.

A specific example to give is my article 101 Steps to a Simpler Life. Though it was posted over a year ago in February 2014, it continues to receive several hundred visits each month thanks to continued promotion. With a handful of pieces like this, your website or blog will always be humming with activity.

Are You Content Marketing Like An Expert?: May Content Marketing Roundup

Last month, we focused on adaptability as a content marketing strategy, because that was particularly relevant for the recent changes we’ve seen in Content Marketing.

For this month’s Content Marketing roundup, we focused on “Expert” level content marketing, because after all, one of the most effective ways to significantly improve any kind of business strategy is to take a close look at established experts who have been highly successful and learn from their knowledge and experiences. We chose the following selection of articles because they provide a mix of valuable expert research and actionable steps for content success, and also because they contain advanced content creation and promotion tips that can bring your company’s content marketing to Expert level.

Table of Contents:

  1. Why Content Goes Viral: What Analyzing 100 Million Articles Taught Us by Henley Wing on OkDork
  2. 17 Advanced Methods for Promoting Your New Piece of Content by Aaron Agius on KISSmetrics
  3. Blog Title Generator on IMPACT
  4. How 12 Successful Founders Get Inside Their Customer’s Head by Chase Reeves on Fizzle
  5. What Every Marketing Department Needs to Know About Google+ by Martin Shervington on Convince and Covert
  6. 3 Tactics & 4 Tools to Lift Your Conversion Rate by Marie Dean on The Daily Egg
  7. Are You Really a Writer … Or Just a Copyist? By Raubi Perilli on Copyblogger
  8. 8 Winning Headline Strategies and the Psychology Behind Them by Courtney Seiter on The Buffer Blog
  9. How to Conduct a Basic (But Effective) SEO Audit in Under 30 Minutes by Art Enke
  10. How To Get Your Content Linked To From Top-Tier Websites by Matthew Barby on Search Engine Land
  11. What Keeps Brilliant Visual Content From Being Shared by Buddy Scalera on Content Marketing Institute
  12. 9 Irresistible Incentives That’ll Grow Your Email List Like Crazy by Stef Gonzaga on Boost Blog Traffic


Why Content Goes Viral: What Analyzing 100 Million Articles Taught Us

by Henley Wing on OkDork

This article is an incredibly in-depth and thoroughly researched piece on exactly what the title suggests and it lays out the key takeaways of that research in such a thoughtful and effective manner that we had to share this with you. From details like ideal length, number of images, time and means of publishing, and many others, this article covers very specific details about what characteristics are ideal for highly successful viral content.

Who Can This Help: This article can help established content publishers and brands who are interested in, or already actively pursuing, ways to create powerful viral content on their blog or website.

From the Post:

The best day overall to publish content for social shares is Tuesday

The day of the week you publish your content on can have a big effect on how much it is shared. Take a look at the chart below, showing the number total shares by day of week for all the content we analysed: Best-Day-to-Publish-Social-Content-is-Tuesday.png


17 Advanced Methods for Promoting Your New Piece of Content

by Aaron Agius on KISSmetrics

For some, promoting a new piece of content usually entails the basics: publish on the blog, tweet followers a couple of times. The problem with this “basic” method of content promotion is that, since it’s so simple, you can only expect limited results. This article gives you an expert look into how to maximize your content promotion so that your new content gets in front of more readers and brings more value to your brand in the long run.

Who Can This Help: This article can help content marketers and publishers who have not yet explored other means of content promotion other than their own blog or immediate social media network. It demonstrates that, without a whole lot of additional effort, you can routinely get your newest content in front of more readers, which in turn builds traffic and brand recognition to your business.

From the Post:

Create 20+ Snippets for Mega Sharing on Social Media Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 2.08.04 PM
SEMrush pulled out a statistic for their snippet in this tweet.

A piece of content should produce 20+ snippets that you can share on social media. A snippet can be any of the following:

  • Variations of the title
  • Short statements from the content
  • Short quotes from the content
  • Statistics from the content
  • And much more

Go into your content and pull out at least 20 snippets. Then share the snippets on social media over the next several weeks or even months. If the content does well, continue using the snippets.”

 


Blog Title Generator

on IMPACT

Ever get stuck on what to call your next blog post? This is a dilemma every copywriter, blogger, and content marketer is bound to run into. This nifty little tool on IMPACT allows you to explore possible blog titles by starting with a general topic, narrowing it down and tweaking it as you go. It even allows you to save topic ideas that you like to your “notebook”.

Who This Can Help:

As mentioned, this tool would be perfect for any copywriter, blogger, and content marketer whose goal is to create and publish valuable content on their blog or website on a consistent basis. It makes the topic ideation process much more interesting than simply using a blank Word doc or spreadsheet, that’s for sure! 

From the Post: (N/A)


How 12 Successful Founders Get Inside Their Customer’s Head

by Chase Reeves on Fizzle

This article caught our eye for being an incredibly candid, informative look at how 12 successful founders answered a few telling questions:

  • What steps do they take to figure out what could be successful?
  • How do they get out of their own heads and into the hearts and minds of their audience?
  • What are the tools, data and analytics they use to make decisions?

The piece includes the actual audio clip of each expert interview, along with notes on what was discussed.

Who Can This Help:

This interview can help both content marketers and budding web entrepreneurs alike, because the range of answers from these established company founders provides real, tangible insight into what has worked for them in a general business sense and also when it comes to running a business online.

From the Post:

John Lee Dumas — “EntrepreneurOnFire: Awarded Best in iTunes 2013 IGNITE!” San Diego, CA.

  • He learned a lot early on from Derek Halpern’s idea to respond to everyone who signs up on your email list with a question: “what are you struggling with right now?”
  • “I get thousands of emails a month but I find value in responding to most of them because I get insights about my audience.”
  • He emailed every person who signed up for his email list asking 1. how did you find us, and 2. what do you struggle with?
  • Based on the responses to those emails he came up with the ideas and content for the products he’s developed. He heard directly what they struggled with.
  • Vocaroo, press a button, record an mp3 and attach it to any email you’re sending. He liked doing this because it showed the recipient it’s actually him responding, not an assistant.”



What Every Marketing Department Needs to Know About Google+

by Martin Shervington on Convince and Covert

There are countless marketing strategy articles out there that are focused on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest Marketing, but what many marketers seem to forget is that Google+ remains to be a force to be reckoned with in the social media space and isn’t going away anytime soon (if Google has any say in the matter). Particularly for those who want their SEO and social media to be able to synergize and support one another, this article makes a great case for including Google+ in your overall content marketing plan.

Who Can This Help:
This article can help any content marketer who is actively promoting content on social media, and who has not yet given Google+ a fair shot. The article cites a handful of cold hard facts about the advantages Google+ has over any other social media platform that, as a marketer, you just can’t ignore.

From the Post:

Social SEO

Do you value your Search results for your web content? Of course you do! If you are not on Google+, don’t you think you could be missing out?

The world of social has collided with the world of SEO, and the result is the ability for the Google+ community you form around your brand to amplify your content into Google Search.

Social Site and Search2 What Every Marketing Department Needs to Know About Google+

This social-search-site mechanism enables your content to live long and prosper in Search. Google is an ecosystem, and whilst other social networks are of great value, you will only see more people join the Google+ party and engage on the content they love.

If you start building your communities now, you will be able to send the signals to Search that your content it loved, appreciated, and valued. The community on Google+ gives you Search results. It is that simple.”


3 Tactics & 4 Tools to Lift Your Conversion Rate

by Marie Dean on The Daily Egg

Depending on your business model, your conversion goal can be any one of a variety of things: a newsletter signup, an eBook download, a completed registration form or RFP, a product(s) purchase, etc. And regardless of which of these is your end goal, it’s likely that you’re constantly looking for ways to get customers closer and more directly on the path to completing your desired conversion. This article is a great, straightforward guide of how to turn visitors into more conversions based on research and relevant technical analysis.

Who Can This Help:
This article can help any business or brand that has a specific conversion goal on their website, as it gives a list of useful tactics and tools to boost your existing goal completion rate.

From the Post:

Tactic: Make Sure Your Social Proof is 100 Proof Potent

Did you know that laugh tracks increase laughter in comedy shows?

Or that adding dishes to a “Most Popular” section has increased sales of those dishes by 15-30%?

It’s because social proof is at work.

One of the most notable social proof experiments was conducted in 1969 by Milgram, Bickman & Berkowitz in the streets of New York.

They proved that when a group of 4 or more people stood on the sidewalk and looked up at the sky, 80% of people passing by will do the same.

[…]

Social proof has a way of tipping those who are somewhat ambivalent over to the other side—the side where other people are partaking in products and services.

As humans we don’t want to make mistakes when making a decision.

And this is how adding social proof to your website will increase conversions. Now for some tools that get it done…”


Are You Really a Writer … Or Just a Copyist?

By Raubi Perilli on Copyblogger

You might already have a good idea of what this article is all about by the title, but to be clear, this article is a candid piece regarding the surge of “copyists” in the online world today, and the dearth of real writers. It’s not to say that any person who writes and is frequently published online doesn’t deserve the title of “writer”, but when it comes to content marketing and content quality, there is a real difference between what the writing industry is willing to call a professional writer and one who is simply a copyist. Copyblogger just tells it like it is.

Who Can This Help:
Regardless of if you are a writer yourself, any content marketer, business owner, or web entrepreneur who comes into contact with online writers on a consistent basis would benefit from reading this article.

From the Post:

Ditching the copyist mentality

It’s pretty easy to tell if you are a copyist.

  • You are not passionate about writing. If you were offered a new job in another industry, you would leave writing behind without a second thought.
  • You accept all types of work-from-home jobs. The work-from-home aspect of writing is what draws you to the industry, and you also work in other kinds of work-from-home jobs.
  • You don’t read for pleasure. You don’t regularly read books, magazines, or newspapers, and you don’t have any favorite blogs.
  • Your finish line is a word count. When you receive a 500-word writing assignment, you write exactly 500 words.
  • You are not proud of your writing. The thought of sharing your writing with loved ones never crosses your mind.
  • You don’t write in your free time. You think writing is work, and if no one is paying for it, there is no reason to do it.
  • You think your writing is good enough. You don’t spend any time working on improving your craft. You don’t seek out constructive feedback and you don’t make revisions.

If you identified with one or more of these statements, it is quite possible that you are chasing the wrong career. Maybe you aren’t a writer after all.

But don’t be discouraged if you identified yourself as a copyist if you truly want to be a writer.

It’s not impossible for copyists to become writers — it just means you need to change your mindset and embrace the role of author or commercial freelance writer.”


8 Winning Headline Strategies and the Psychology Behind Them

by Courtney Seiter on The Buffer Blog

This article is a well-researched, informative guide on how to write captivating headlines, which is something that any marketer could benefit from. Rather than listing off a very general list of headline writing tips, this article actually gives you scientifically proven advice on why a particular type of heading is more successful than others, which in our opinion is the best type of strategy advice you could get.

Who Can This Help:
This article can help any content marketer whose role is to craft attention-getting headlines that not only grabs a reader’s immediate attention, but also leads to more sharing and interactivity.

From the Post:
Negatives

Superlatives – words like best, biggest, greatest – can be effective in headlines. But it turns out that negative superlatives (like worst) can be even more powerful.

In a study of 65,000 titles, Outbrain compared positive superlative headlines, negative superlatives headlines and no superlative headlines. The study found that headlines with positive superlatives performed 29% worse and headlines with negative superlatives performed 30% better. The average click-through rate on headlines with negative superlatives was 63% higher than with positive ones.

Negative vs superlatives

There are a few theories on why this might be.

  • Positive superlatives may have become clichéd through overuse.
  • It may be that negatives are more intriguing because they’re more unexpected and thus activate the element of surprise.
  • Negatives also tap into our insecurities in a powerful way. Using negative words like “stop,” “avoid,” and “don’t” often work because everyone wants to find out if there’s something they’re doing that they should stop.”


How to Conduct a Basic (But Effective) SEO Audit in Under 30 Minutes

by Art Enke on dlvr.it

Let’s face it, not every business online is able to enlist the help of SEO professionals, or to invest in a comprehensive SEO Audit. Whether it is because it simply isn’t in the budget yet, or because they’re not sure if it’s something that they need, there are countless businesses online that can benefit from an SEO Audit that simply haven’t looked into it yet. This article is a refreshing, straightforward DIY guide to SEO Audits for those very companies who could use an SEO Audit, without having to hire professional help.

Who Can This Help:
Again, this article can help any new or established business online who has yet to have a comprehensive SEO Audit done on their website, or have not had one done in a long time. A full SEO Audit will give you tons more minute details about your website performance, but if you just want a quick SEO health check, this 30 minute method is a great start.

From the Post:

Webmaster Tools (5 minutes)

Google Webmaster Tools provides detailed information for site owners and should be used alongside any other tools you use for an SEO site audit. Google Webmaster Tools provides detailed information for site owners and should be used alongside any other tools you use for a SEO site audit. Of course, this won’t be available for competitor sites but you’ll gain some valuable tips for your own.

Webmaster Tools gives visibility into how content is being crawled, provides backlink data, shows which domain is set as the preferred/canonical domain and more. Spend five minutes mostly viewing the sections under “Search Traffic”, “Google Index” and “Crawl”. Under Search Traffic, you’ll see if there are any “Manual Actions” or Google penalties manually applied to your site. If there are penalties present, these will need to be resolved first before the site can perform properly.”


How To Get Your Content Linked To From Top-Tier Websites

by Matthew Barby on Search Engine Journal

Content Marketers are not the same as SEO’s, but in this day in the digital marketing age, it is in any online business’ best interest to combine content marketing with SEO strategy whenever and wherever possible. So naturally, we were drawn to this particular article because it speaks in a language that both content marketers and SEO’s can get behind. It provides advice on how to conceptualize new content for your website, technical tools to help you narrow down those ideas, and meaningful tips on how to create and promote that content so it can capture the attention of top-tier websites.

Who Can This Help:
This article can help content marketers and SEO’s who are actively striving to build connections with top-tier websites because it shows you step by step how to create high quality linkable assets that are designed to gain wide visibility.

From the Post:

Finding Content Gaps

The most important stage of your content campaign is to identify a gap within your industry that needs to be filled. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel here; in fact, I often look at ways to build upon existing popular content first before even coming up with new concepts.

Here are a few questions that you need to ask yourself when conceptualising your new content:

  • What type of content performs well within your niche?
  • Who is producing this content, and where are they publishing it?
  • What is it that your target audiences are looking for?

To get an idea of what content works well within your niche, you can use a very handy free tool called BuzzSumo. BuzzSumo allows you to search through popular content based on a search query that you input. You can filter the content by type (i.e., article, video, infographic, etc.) and also by the number of social shares across each network.

BuzzSumo

Using this tool, you can also drill down into what sites are publishing the popular content so you can do some further analysis around the other content on those sites.”


What Keeps Brilliant Visual Content From Being Shared

by Buddy Scalera on Content Marketing Institute

This article is a very in-depth, fascinating look into an example of visual storytelling by The Washington Post, specifically, an infographic called “The depth of the problem” about the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. Throughout the article, the author analyzes how The Post structured and designed their visual story, and then points out what parts of it was successful, needed improvement, and why. Most marketers know intuitively that just putting together a pretty infographic is not enough, and this article takes you a step further by showing you what parts of a visual story are most important, along with how to present that story in the best way possible.  

Who Can This Help:
This post would be incredibly helpful for content marketers and publishers who are already actively seeking to produce and publish high quality visual content, or would like to begin to do so, because it uses a very current visual example on an authoritative website to convey important lessons in visual storytelling.

From the Post:

Telling a data story with pictures

As of this writing, Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, which dropped off the radar and was lost in the Indian Ocean, is still missing. It’s a tragic, yet intriguing news story that has dominated many headlines over the last few weeks.

Where’s the black box? Why can’t the authorities locate it? Were aliens responsible for the crash? Was the plane shot out of the sky? Did something happen like on that television show,Lost?

The Washington Post shared an infographic titled, “The depth of the problem,” which attempts to show why locating the black box has proven to be so difficult. It’s not just that the ocean is huge; it’s also incredibly deep. Movies like The Abyss and Pacific Rim make the bottom of the ocean seem like some sort of convenient and well-lit place to retrieve this elusive, beeping black box.

[…]

For starters, the infographic is attractive and offers a nice, brief introduction. It’s just enough to get us to understand what will come, but it also offers some basic keywords for search engines. Check.

By explaining the size of the plane, we get an immediate mental picture. It gives us perspective as we scroll down the length of the infographic. At key points, it offers some key details that show where certain sea creatures (all real, no kaiju) live. Numbers along the edge tell us that we’re getting deeper and deeper. The pale blue at the top of the infographic slowly changes to a darker, more ominous hue.

Deeper and deeper still, it’s the data that grabs us. They show that the Titanic sank in a part of the ocean that was significantly more shallow… and then remind us that it took 73 years to locate that ship when it went down! An amazing fact, coupled with crisp, lean storytelling.

[…]

The story was the numbers and they didn’t just tell us why they were interesting. They showed us why.


9 Irresistible Incentives That’ll Grow Your Email List Like Crazy

by Stef Gonzaga on Boost Blog Traffic

An essential part of a comprehensive content marketing for a company or brand is without a doubt email marketing, because despite how “old” the concept of emailing itself is (hello, since the beginning of the internet?), it remains to be one of the most effective and immediate ways to connect with new and old customers in a meaningful and customizable way. This article is a goldmine of information about email marketing content copywriting and the concepts it covers are broadly applicable to any industry.

Who Can This Help:
This article can help any marketer of a brand or company who is actively trying to optimize their email marketing strategy, because it not only provides 9 actual incentives/types of offers to include in your emails to customers, but it also tells you exactly what you need to create them as well as some psychological research-based anecdotes on why something works.

From the Post:
The Time-Saving Cheat Sheet
If your goal is to share inside information about your topic that can easily be overlooked or missed, create a cheat sheet. Think of it as the key to a box of secrets that make your reader instantly more productive or rapidly improve her skills. A cheat sheet is a highly practical reference guide that outlines and shares valuable data and shortcuts, often in a visual format that makes the retrieval of key information as efficient as possible.

This bribe is attractive to the reader because it delivers a lot of information in a very concentrated form and can quickly prove its worth, perhaps saving them hours of effort. Jon’s very own Headline Hacks report and MakeUseOf’s gallery of shortcut cheat sheets are great models you can emulate.
But sometimes, something simple can be just as useful. Take a look at Brown Eyed Baker’s simple cheat sheet on how to measure butter in cups, a technique that has always been a mystery to the average baker.

Minimum requirements: A word processor like Microsoft WordApple Pages or OpenOffice Writer is sufficient for creating a simple cheat sheet, but for a more sophisticated end product, you might require a desktop publishing package such as Adobe InDesignMicrosoft Publisher, or QuarkXPress. Alternatively, you can use a cheat sheet tool like Cheatography to generate cheat sheets based on a default template.”


Have great a Content Marketing article you’d like to share? Leave us a note in the comments section.

FREE GUIDE: Boost the Value of Your Content

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Must-Read Content Marketing Topics This Month: Content Marketing Roundup #2

The amount of advice and specialized content you can find on the Internet is exploding nowadays it seems, in every genre you could imagine. And while a lot of it could be cast off as fluff, every now and then you can find some extremely valuable industry relevant information. This is certainly true in the field of Content Marketing.

To highlight the most valuable content marketing articles we’ve read, every month we pull together a ‘best-of-the-web’ content marketing roundup including our own favorite content marketing articles from around the web.  This month’s roundup of articles come from popular content marketing-focused blogs you might have already heard of, such as ProBlogger, The Moz Blog, and CopyBlogger, as well as from some other emerging blogs we’ve come across who are also publishing some really great content.


Content Marketing Roundup:

Daily Egg

16 Rules to Make Your Email Rock

by Scott Martin on The Daily Egg

For many companies, email marketing takes up a significant segment of their marketing strategy, simply because it is one of the most efficient and direct ways to connect with the consumer in a personal way and at various levels of the buying cycle. And as old as it is, it is one of the most powerful marketing weapons in any marketer’s toolbox. This article provides a long list of super specific and highly useful copywriting guidelines for crafting a great email that elicits a “quality direct response”.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be most helpful to any established business that already has a basic email marketing strategy in place and that wants to revamp their processes for increased conversions. This would also be very useful for businesses that have yet to implement an email marketing plan, as it would set the foundation for success.


From The Post:

“Remind people why you’re there.
In the valuable space right above the fold, Bob Bly reminds his subscribers why they’re receiving the email. “You’re receiving this email because…”

You can also remind people—right up front—that they can opt out at any time. This tells your reader, I’m not spamming you.


Align your copy.
A couple of weeks ago, I received an email promising me a big discount on a product. I clicked through to a page giving me information about the product, but no discount.

It may sound basic, but the emails must be aligned with the landing page and the marketing strategy.”


 

The Content Matrix: 4 Types of Content Every Site Needs

by Hannah Smith on Distilled

Most established businesses today, regardless of the niche, have a firm presence online. From a fully functioning website filled with company and industry information, to an active company blog and multiple social media accounts, these content streams have become the new standard for businesses in today’s digital world. This article gives an intuitive look into the actual specific types of content businesses should be producing in order to maximize their customer engagement, increase conversions, and to stand out among their competitors.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be very helpful for businesses who are actively looking to drive more sales and traffic through their business website and blog, since it assumes that you already have these in place. It essentially demonstrates how to turn average content into focused, goal-driven content.

From The Post:

“Why do you need content to entertain if you want to make money? Well, content to entertain allows you to reach people right at the top of the sales funnel, and indeed those who might not even know that they need your products/services yet.

As ‘entertain’ suggests – this sort of content has an emotional rather than rational appeal. It’s the sort of content that’s very shareable (and deliberately so) – the more it’s shared the further your reach.”


 

Content Marketing Institute

6 Enemies of Clarity in Your Business Storytelling Efforts

by Brad Shorr on Content Marketing Institute

Speaking of website content for businesses, a unique challenge that some businesses face when it comes to creating online content is ensuring that the content is clear, high quality and reader-friendly, when the subject matter in their industry is inherently somewhat detailed and technical.  This article addresses this exact challenge and uses the term “clarity” as the characteristic you should want your business storytelling to embody. Here, the author demonstrates specific ways to make your business storytelling highly effective and engaging for customers of all levels, without sacrificing industry accuracy.

Who Can This Help?
This article can be very helpful for any business where the use of industry terms, buzzwords, and otherwise technical language is commonplace across lots of different forms of content (especially website and blog content). And in fact, since this article contains many specific writing tips that apply in many circumstances, this would be a great read for any business that publishes authoritative blog posts with any level of frequency, because it points out writing mistakes that we all make every now and then. And finally, this would be great to pass down to in-house copywriters, freelance copywriters, and any contractors who contribute content on your blog.

From The Post:

“Clarity’s enemy No. 2: Obscure terms and industry jargon

In an effort to avoid buzzwords, some writers go overboard in the other direction and use words that may be unfamiliar to the intended audience. This will only confuse and irritate your readers.

Here are some examples that came up in content I recently read:

  •          Disseminate instead of distribute
  •          Expeditious instead of fast
  •          Optimize instead of improve
  •          Oscillate instead of go back and forth
  •          Remediate instead of fix
  •          Tangential instead of unimportant, or non-essential

For web writing in particular, simplicity enhances clarity because readers commonly scan content, and are likely to pass over big words without even trying to understand them.”


 

Timing Your Blog Posts: Know When to Post ‘Em & When to Hold ‘Em

by Matthew Kaboomis Loom on Search Engine People

Ever wonder if there is an optimal time to publish blog posts? Some might know this information intuitively and at a general level – for instance, posting industry blog posts during the day at the start of business hours is obviously better than at night, after business hours – but there’s much more to it than that. This article gets really specific about when you should be posting, like what days of the week, what times of the day, and how these times apply to different social media platforms.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be perfect for marketers who already have a presence on social media, and who post content regularly on a blog. And if you apply the tips in this article, you can expect to garner more views, shares, and engagement, which would be great for any established businesses.


From The Post:

“Pretty much everyone is using at least one of these social media platforms; most of you use multiple platforms. With this well-known list, notice how morning hours work well for most of them

Google+: 9 am to 11 am

Twitter: 1 pm to 3 pm

Facebook: 1 pm to 4 pm

Linkedin: 7 am to 9 am & 4 pm to 6 pm

Pinterest: 2 pm to 4 pm & 8 pm to 1 am

As Jay Baer once said, “Content is fire. Social media is gasoline.” But the flammability depends on how well you use social media. When your content is great, many of your subscribers who received your post in the morning will also be sharing your post through social media in the morning, which is fabulous.”


Keywords to Concepts: The Lazy Web Marketer’s Guide to Smart Keyword Research

by Cyrus Shepard on The Moz Blog

Keyword research is crucial for content marketing success because it not only helps to increase the chances that customers can find your content, but it also ensures that your content is focused enough that it will actually give the answers your readers are looking for. And in terms of keyword usage in today’s SEO landscape, just targeting a handful of keywords in your content won’t cut it. Instead, this article is a thoughtful lesson on how to craft your content around concepts and themes, rather than keywords, which makes your content more meaningful to both the reader as well as to Google.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be helpful to all content marketers really, but it would be particularly helpful to SEO’s and content marketers who are familiar with keyword research and are actively adapting their overall content strategy to withstand past and future Google penalties and updates.

From The Post:

“Here’s what we want to avoid:

  1. Choosing keywords that are too broad
  2. Keywords with too much competition
  3. Keywords without enough traffic

  4. Keywords that don’t convert
  5. Trying to rank for one keyword at a time

Instead, let’s take the opposite approach.

The basic idea is that we’re going to focus our content around ideas instead of keywords, and thus give us the potential to rank for 100s or 1000s of keywords at a time.

Truth: The best keyword tools in the world will only show you a fraction of the keywords you can potentially rank for.

Have you ever compared your long tail keyword data with data from Google’s own Keyword Planner?

Most of those keywords will show little potential search traffic or won’t even register, but you know this isn’t true because these are the same keywords that brought you traffic.

Relying on keyword research tools alone wont bring you to your full ranking potential. You need content that fully explores your themed concepts.”


 

30+ Resources and Tools for Google Penalty Recovery

by Mike Huber on Vertical Measures

Content marketers who have been in the game for a while are well aware of the ramifications, real and potential, of Google’s Penguin and Panda updates. And while it’s pretty much common industry knowledge why Google has implemented these changes and penalties (essentially to reward good quality content, and penalize poor quality content), for many website owners, it isn’t always obvious how these updates affected their sites, if at all. This article is an extensive and incredibly useful resource list for Google Penalty Recovery, whether you’re Diagnosing the Problem, Checking Your Backlink Profile, or in the actual Recovery Process.

Who Can This Help?
This guide is particularly helpful for content marketers, SEO’s and website owners who are responding to the effects of a recent Google Update on their own or a client’s website. And, even if this doesn’t apply to your situation now, it is only a matter of time before Google brings the hammer down on another update, so this is a handy guide to have on hand.

From The Post:

A screenshot of the list:

30 Google Penalty


 

Intrinsic Blogging

The Intrinsic Value of Blogging

by Matt Mullenweg on Ma.tt

There are millions of blog posts floating around the Internet on any given day, many of which are things like Top X list-type articles, basic how-to’s, and otherwise very formulaic and generic content that has been produced with a marketing mindset and often strictly for sheer “shareability”. So when you read a truly thought-provoking blog post, about the act of blogging itself, no less, it grabs you by surprise. That’s exactly the sentiment that we,and most readers of this article had upon reading it. This article is about the value of blogging – what it was and what it has become – and it makes you think about content creation in a different way.

Who Can This Help?
This blog post can help anyone who blogs or writes anything online, and it would be especially useful for marketers. It’s a powerful reminder that behind all of the websites and blog posts we read everyday now are real people, and long before Google and SEO came along, the internet was just a place to learn, teach, and share ideas.

From The Post:

“Stats systems, like Jetpack’s, have gotten very good at telling me which post got how many visitors and where they came from, but it’s all anonymous and the numbers don’t really mean anything to me anymore. This is very discouraging, and at its most insidious causes people to deconstruct the elements of what makes something sharable and attempt to artificially construct these information carbohydrates over and over. (Visit that site and try not to click through any headlines — it’s tough.)

The antidote I’ve found for this is to write for only two people.”


How I doubled my unique visitors in six months (and tripled them in a year)

by Stacey Roberts on ProBlogger

For many companies, implementing a complex SEO strategy is not an option, and neither is an extensive social media campaign. This is especially true for websites like single-person run blogs, smaller company websites, and mom and pop operations. But this article demonstrates that you don’t need either of those to make significant, measurable success for your website visibility. The author of this article provides a handful of real tactics that helped her double and triple her unique visitors, which required no technical skills and cost no money to implement.

Who Can This Help?
This post can be helpful to any business that already has an established presence online who is looking for proven and actionable ways to increase blog and website traffic. This is especially great for companies in niches that don’t lend themselves to “viral” posts, such as personal interest-type niches (like the blog in the article, Veggie Mama), but that still have an active online community.  

From The Post:

“Be where others aren’t

You might have no clue about why Google Plus is still around, and you don’t understand why Vine is popular – but don’t let that deter you. New readers are everywhere, including underused social media platforms. I find it much easier to interact with superstar bloggers and influential people who are inundated with Tweets and Facebook comments, but are not so overwhelmed on Google Plus. It’s easier to stand out there, and you’ll certainly be noticed.”


 

Could This Headline Technique Double Your Click-Throughs Too?

by Jerod Morris on CopyBlogger

This article is a clever look into the art of writing the perfect, click-worthy headline – an aspect of copywriting that can make or break even the best piece of long-form content. And more specifically, this article addresses whether question headlines are more effective than non-question headlines, and why that might be. In short, it all depends on how the question is presented, and whether the question elicits empathy from the reader.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be very helpful for all businesses and content marketers whose goal is to produce shareable content.  And since these headline-writing tips apply in any situation where you want to explore an argument or prove a point, it is broadly applicable and valuable for any niche.

From The Post:

“It turns out that phrasing headlines in the form of a question — as contestants must do with their responses on Jeopardy — does indeed increase click-through rates. In fact it more than doubles them, on average.

Dooley cites a study by Norwegian researches Linda Laia and Audun Farbrotb as evidence.

[And] lest you think phrasing every headline as a question is some kind of magic potion, think again. It’s just one headline-writing tactic, and the general tenets of a good headline must still be present no matter which tactic or template you choose.

For example:

  • It’s ultra-specific — How much can clicks improve? By double. Why would this occur? Because of the Jeopardy Effect.
  • It’s unique — I’d never heard of the “Jeopardy Effect” before, but I had an inkling what it may mean, and my curiosity was piqued by the reference.
  • It’s useful — What blogger, content marketer, or even just Joe Blow Twitter user wouldn’t want to double their clicks?

Granted, it’s not urgent (the other U), but it doesn’t need to be.”


 

6 Reasons Univision Got a 13% Engagement Rate on a Facebook Post

by Jay Baer on Convince and Convert

Success stories are one of the most valuable tools for marketing strategy, especially when they are clearly documented, and when they are actually causally linked to a company’s positive marketing plan (rather than simply a stroke of luck).  Because only then can you be sure that the same success can possibly be emulated, given the right set of circumstances and preparation. This article revolves around a great model success story – the story of how Univision was able to capitalize on a single Facebook image post to garner a 13% engagement rate (the average range of Facebook engagement for established brands usually falls between 4-7%).

Who Can This Help?
This article can help brands with both an established presence on Facebook and an established social media team and process within their company. Because, as you’ll learn from reading the article, Univision’s success had as much to do with a smart image post at the right time, as it did with the teamwork and quick thinking of an able marketing team. However, even if you are not yet established on Facebook or in social media, this article is a great lesson on how powerful a single post on social media can be for your brand.

From The Post:

“In this current era of diminished average engagement on Facebook (listen to this podcast with me, Mari Smith, and Mike Stelzner for more on that), a 13% engagement rate is almost stupefyingly brilliant.

Sure, you could say Univision was in the right place at the right time, and caught lightning (or ice) in a bottle. But to believe that is to massively undervalue the cultural, organizational, operational and tactical alignment that must occur in a complex, information-driven organization to make this actually happen.

Social is a River, not a Lake.

Companies with a strong social business climate treat social horizontally, not vertically. Social (and social-focused personnel) run throughout the entire organization, like a river, rather than being a siloed, circular thing that must be visited, like a lake (even a frozen one).”


 

 

21 Web Applications I Use and Can’t Live Without

by Patt Flynn on Smart Passive Income

Patt Flynn is a successful and established online entrepreneur who writes a popular blog called Smart Passive Income. This is a list of web apps that he personally uses for anything from web analytics, writing, email, social media, and organization, which is a great piece of content in and of itself. We liked this list not only because of the applications he listed, many of which are extremely useful, but also because it is great example of a piece of content that is successful without being incredibly technical: it currently has over 1000 social shares and 270+ comments. Aside from Patt’s following, this list likely gains most of its success because it is personal, specific, detailed, and useful for broad range of people.

Who Can This Help?
As mentioned, this article would be helpful to a broad range of people.  There are hundreds of web applications available, so it’s always helpful to find tips on which ones are worthwhile to use as well as why, both of which this article provides.


From The Post:

“WEB ANALYTICS AND OPTIMIZATION

GTmetrix – GTmetrix is a sweet (and free) tool that you can use to check the speed and performance of your website. Just insert your URL and boom – you’ll get a quick analysis and report of how long it took to load, along with a grade and what parts of your site are slowing you down.

WRITING

ByWord – For the longest time, I used the WordPress editor to create pages and publish posts on my blogs. Now, I realize how much better life is when I use a tool that was specifically built for writing.

There are several tools out there to help you write, butByWord, by far, is my favorite. It’s basically a “distraction-free” writing tool that clears everything out of the screen except for the cursor.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Tweriod – Tweriod (Twitter + Period) is a quick and easy (and free) tool you can use to find out exactly when most of your Twitter followers are online. This data is important because it will help you determine when the best times to tweet are.


If you enjoyed this Content Marketing roundup, stay tuned for our next roundup. We post them regularly at the beginning of every month. In the meantime, check out some of the latest posts on our blog:

Despite what a recent article by Matt Cutts (denouncing guest blogging) might lead you to believe, there are still valuable and effective ways to keep guest blogging a part of your content promotion strategy. This article responds to that article, and also includes a handful of useful tips to help your ongoing guest blogging efforts.

You would think that Google+ Authorship would be more widely used among writers online today, especially given Google’s grand influence, and how many bloggers and content writers there are on the web producing content. However, Google+ Authorship isn’t nearly as popular as it should be. These 10 tips make a strong case for Google+ Authorship for those who are still undecided.

Many articles provide a wealth of tips on how to create high quality content, yet exclude one guiding question that can make a big difference on how that content should be written, which is: what will be done with the article after it’s done? Things like where the article will be published, who will see it, how it will be shared, are all details that should inform the writing process. These 13 steps for improving your content promotion helps you respond to these questions, while also making the most of your content promotion strategy.

Even the most prolific writers can use a few helpful tips to improve writing and writing preparation. Whether its writer’s block, a difficult topic, or its been a while since you’ve written, getting started on a new piece is usually the hardest part. This article is a thorough overview of 7 things writers of any level should practice before writing a first draft.

Most skilled marketers are already well aware of this, but in most cases, customer behavior is based on several principals of psychology and human behavior which is predictable to a certain extent. This article provides 4 useful marketing tips based on some of those principals.


Do you have great a Content Marketing article you’d like to share? Leave us a note in the comments section.