Content Strategy

7 Content Marketing Tips for Twitter

Twitter_logo_blue
I guess it’s true, Twitter is confusing.

Originally conceived as a simple way to post quick updates to your friends, the social networking site developed into a powerful marketing tool. But not everyone caught on the transition. Many brands and individual users still think that Twitter is just a tool for merely posting quick messages and responding to customer queries.

Or worse, automatically reposting random content found online.

reposting

(A generic Twitter feed with posting set on auto-pilot. Note lack of any engagement.)

That’s not a way to show personality and build authority, two main precepts of content marketing.

If used correctly however, Twitter offers enormous possibilities to take content marketing to a completely new level.

Here’s how.

Run Twitter Chats

Twitter chat is a live event you can hold on the social network. It is moderated and focused on a specific topic.

All you need to do to run it is pick a hashtag your audience will use to filter out any other conversations. To participate, they need to be on Twitter at a time of the event and follow conversation marked with your hashtag.

It’s that simple.

Twitter chat tips (an example Twitter chat using #contentchat hashtag)

How to Run a Twitter Chat. 

Here is a short guide on setting up your first Twitter chat:

  1. Pick the time. Just like with any other live event, you need to set the time for everyone to join in. Pick the time and let everyone know when the doors will open. Just remember that unlike a physical event, on Twitter you are no longer restricted by location. Your audience may be scattered across different timezones. Therefore schedule your chat for when the majority of them can participate.
  2. Come up with a hashtag. You also need to pick a hashtag you will use for the chat and communicate it to your audience before the event will begin. Your hashtag shouldn’t be too long. With each tweet allowing for 140 characters only, you don’t want a big chunk of it being taken up by the hashtag.
  3. Pick a topic that will engage your audience. It has to be something that will get them to participate. Find the angle that engages your community and focus your chat on it.
  4. Specify the type of your chats. There are different types of chats you could run. You could organise a Q&A session for instance and invite a known figure in your industry to answer questions from the audience. You could also hold a discussion around a specific topic in which everyone can make comments and add to the debate.
  5. Promote the chat ahead of time. Let your audience know about an upcoming chat ahead of the event. This will give them time to make up their mind about participating. Of course the most effective way to promote it is to announce your chat on Twitter. Apart from that, consider emailing your newsletter subscribers about it as well. And mention it to audiences on other social networks you use, chances are they might be on Twitter too.
  6. Capture the Conversation. Lastly, make sure that you capture the whole event. It could become a resource of some invaluable content. You could write a summary post about ideas shared during the chat, present the entire event or turn some of the ideas into posts, Slideshow presentations or even eBooks.

Share Images

Images can engage audience more than words. And, for a reason. Our brains process visual information 60000 times quicker than text. 40% of people will respond better to graphics than text (Hubspot).

It comes no surprise then that tweets with images perform better that those without.

sharing images on Twitter

According to data by Buffer, such tweets on average receive 18% more clicks. Moreover, tweets which contain images receive 89% more favourites. And lastly, they receive 150% more retweets.

Sharing or including visual content in your tweets can result in a much greater audience engagement and reach.

Tweet Your Content More than Once

The same data from Buffer reveals that tweeting your own content more than once offers some benefits too:

  • It gets you more traffic. By sharing your content more than once you increase the chances of more people seeing your posts and clicking back to your site.
  • Allows to target users in different time zones. Similarly, not all of your audience members are in the same timezone. Posting your content a number of times helps you to reach out to users across the globe.
  • Helps to reach new followers. Using hashtags for instance and experimenting with different headlines can help to increase your content’s reach to new audiences.

In his guide to content promotion, Neil Patel suggests to tweet the content three to four times on the day of publication and then slowly reduce the frequency over the next few days until you reach  one a day.

Use Different Headings for Tweets

Your audience might get bored seeing the same message posted over and over again. Similarly, a single headline will attract only one type of your audience members. Using different headlines helps you vary your content a little while experimenting with new ways to gain your audiences attention.

Neil Patel in the aforementioned guide suggests few ideas for headlines:

  • A quote from your content
  • Your thoughts about the content
  • Big benefit of reading your content
  • A comment on your content

Twitter headlines strategy

Ask Questions

According to QuickSprout, people are 21% more likely to respond to question. Therefore, tweet questions relating to issues your audience feels close at heart with.

If you are looking for a guide to asking questions on Twitter, Twitip has some tips.

Ask for Retweets

Whenever you post new content, you want your audience to retweet it. After all, that’s how content spreads. And the more your community members retweets your post, the greater its reach.

Twitter retweets strategy

But most of the time you simply hope they will retweet the content without asking them to it. However, if you do ask, your chances of having people retweeting your content will grow 4 times.

Conclusion

Twitter can be confusing. After all, it was conceived as a personal social network. Today however it is more of a powerful marketing tool than anything else. And for a reason. Twitters offers some invaluable ways to engage your audience with content while showing your personality and building authority, the two key goals of any content strategy.

 

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.

Why Paid Content is Better than Paid Links

*

Many business people do not have the patience to optimize their sites holistically. They just want to pay and get results like in the good old days when you could trick Google easily and get loads of traffic and sales from your “organic rankings” there.

Website owners would love to buy so called “paid links” and that’s it.

Because…

  • Changing their site
  • crafting content
  • developing a strategy

would be too much. There is another almost as easy route where you can pay and forget. It’s paying for content. You just have to do it the right way. It’s better than risky paid links for sure.

Paid Links

Until 2007 so called “paid links” weren’t officially banned by Google. You could simply buy text link ads as they were referred to and improve your Google rankings while in some cases getting direct traffic too.

Text link ads competed directly with Google Adsense and were affecting Google algorithm too much so that the search giant cracked down on them. It took many years though until the practice of buying links lost its appeal due to the risks involved. Some people still pay for links.

Google penalized many link buyers and sellers in their search results whenever they got spotted.

How Much Do Paid Links Cost?

pagerank-5-links

I have been helping webmasters buy links until 2007, as long as it wasn’t officially outside of the Google Webmaster Guidelines. So I still know how it worked (or didn’t) without getting busted by Google:

Paid links were rather a workaround than really search engine optimization.

You basically fooled yourself and Google into believing that your site was more popular by artificially inflating it’s link popularity. Once the artificial authority was gone the site tanked on Google significantly. Nonetheless many business owners were attracted to that easy to grasp model.

A link would be rented on a monthly basis usually but you needed to pay several months (often in advance) at least in order to make SEO sense. So you ended up paying a monthly retainer and forgetting. Services buying and selling links sprung up everywhere so that you could just select several links from a list and then just pay your monthly rates.

A common price would be $50 a month for a mediocre but not bad link.

It wouldn’t be too obvious for Google to spot and you would of course get several or even dozens of them. So let’s say you would just invest in 10 PageRank 5 links for $50 each. That would be a monthly cost of $500 and yearly cost of $6000. Depending on your business size that already a lot or it doesn’t sound like much. Now let’s consider what you could buy with that money instead and how many links you could earn from it.

 

Paid Content On Your Site

book**

Does your site have a place where you can publish content actually? This might sound like silly question but believe me, most sites don’t have it. E-commerce sites just display products and some additional info on the company, shipping or contact information.

Business sites often just proclaim how great they are by using a high number of sleek sounding buzzwords.

They may add landing pages with “funnel vision” solely geared towards making someone subscribe or buy. Some sites have a content reservation, that is the blog where they cramp all content whether it matters to a blog audience or not. So there is no proper place to provide high quality paid content onsite.

When you publish content to a sales focused site it actually disappears as nobody will notice it.

When you do it right by building an audience either on social media or even better subscribers via mail you can really achieve a high impact with onsite content.

For $6000 you could let a whole team of content creators provide a:

  • white paper
  • study, and
  • infographic

for you. In case you have someone to disseminate the exceptional content piece to you might get more than the 10 paid link quickly and effortlessly.

When you split the budget 50/50 so that the content creation takes half of the effort and the other one is about content promotion you can get even better results

despite having a less sophisticated content piece. Then your content promoters would reach out to blogger already known for their interest in that topic. Influencers who mentioned your brand in the past would be contacted as well. They could spawn a network effect of many shares that ultimately lead to links on plenty websites.

 

Paid Content on Third Party Sites

Did you know? Guest blogging is not the only way to place your content on third party sites. Guest blogging for SEO has been flagged by Google as low quality and suspicious. It has been overused as a one time drop in and never return tactic to get as many links as possible from numerous sites.

What happens when you consider the content to be more important than just a vehicle to get a self-inserted link in it? You could become a regular columnist at an authoritative publication.

With a budget of $6000 a year you could make a writer contribute bi-weekly on your behalf to a publication for a year or maybe two publications monthly.

Of course it depends on how influential the writer is but you get the point. By writing 12 articles in a year you can expect to get at least the 10 links and more. You get direct traffic through such links in contrast to paid links nobody will see in most cases.

After all the paid links are hidden in the archives somewhere because when you buy them the content or page you add them has already been published often long ago. The editorial links you get as a regular contributor stay forever. So you only pay once for each piece of content.

 

Paid Content for Free

creative-commons***

You don’t actually have to pay for paid content. In many cases, it suffices when a person gets “paid”, or compensated, to craft a paid content piece by having other people use this high quality content piece for free on their site. Yes, infographics also an example of such free paid content.

One win to win situation happens when a business pays a professional to craft high quality content and then offers it for free using a non-restrictive Creative Commons license.

This way the content not only spreads around faster, just think CC images from Flickr. I use them myself too for years and I often find images that have been used multiple times not only on blogs but also on major publications.

With Creative Commons you retain legal ownership and get credits from publishers while “making the content travel”.

Images given away using a CC license can spread forever. Of course ideally you don’t let people credit Flickr but your won site.

Imagine how many images you can buy for $6000. Now estimate how many links per image you would get. Let’s say you hire a professional photographer who makes 10 images for you for 6000$. Now assuming that the photographer creates high quality photos you can rest assured that you get at least one link per image. Most likely the photographer will link to them from a portfolio site already so you need just another nine.

 

*Creative Commons image by Rocky Lubbers

** Creative Commons image by Dave Heuts

*** Creative Commons image by Kristina Alexanderson

FREE GUIDE: Boost the Value of Your Content

  • More than 6,000 words, 47 pro content marketing tips
  • Improve profitability for your best(and worst) content
  • Actionable steps for more traffic, links and leads from your content

 

The Quick Guide to Looking Like a Brand

Sometimes you have to fake your brand a little.

Brands are not built in a day. It can take months of thorough research and testing to develop just a compelling brand promise. And that’s only a start of the whole process.

On the other hand, you don’t launch a business in a vacuum. There are already other companies trying to attract a similar audience. And, you may have no time to wait for the branding process to conclude.

Faking your brand might sometimes seem like the only option.

Perhaps your audience won’t accept anything short of a brand. Your competitors had got them used to it and that’s what they expect.  Or you just lack confidence in an incomplete brand and fear it might reduce your chances on the market, regardless of your audience. You may want to present yourself the same way your competitors do.

But, a common mistake many new companies  make is just trying to mimic big brands. Getting your website to look like a brand however takes more than having a logo on the page. It takes an in-depth understanding of what a brand is and which of its elements customers expect to find on your website.

So to begin at the beginning,

What is a Brand?

Even though the official definition by the American Marketing Association states otherwise, there is more to brand than a logo and few other graphic elements.

MJ Lanning, defines brans as a “whole set of experiences, including value for money that an organisation brings to customers”. Stephen Brown, a renowned professor of marketing described a brand as “a collection of all mental states we associate with it.” Whereas another academic, Lisa Woods defined brand as “a primary point of differentiation between competitive offerings”.

It is clear from the definitions above that a brand is more than just graphics but also includes various experience a customer has with your company or a product. This might involve your brand promise, USP, customer service, manuals, the tone of voice, the way you handle customer queries, your marketing message, words you use and many more.

Brand Elements on a Website

Brands are complex. They includes a multitude of elements, many of which which are hard to define. When your only aim however is to make your website look like a brand, these are the elements you should consider including in your design:

1. Logo 

First of all, you should include a logo or a symbol that represents your brand as this is what most customers will expect to see. You don’t need a complex symbol but you should at least have some graphic representation of the brand you are building.

Cornerstone Content

Cornerstone content use a very simple, typography based logo that quickly communicates the name of the brand.

2. Unique Selling Proposition

No business, website or any other corporate entity can exist without a differentiating factor. We are living in times of vast access to information. Today’s customers, regardless of whether they are just news readers or people looking to purchase very specific products, will research many vendors before they settle on one. This works the same for people trying to find their new favourite blog or news site and online shoppers. Therefore, you need to inform your visitors what makes your brand unique on the market.

There is a plethora of information about developing a USP for a business online. Check out this and this article to get started.

Everlane

Everlane state their USP on their home page, clearly revealing the values they stand for and their differentiating factors.

3. Tagline / Slogan

Not every business has a tagline and it may seem that not every one has to have it. But lacking it is missing on a huge branding opportunity. A tagline or a slogan offer a great way for a business that’s not yet well known to communicate their unique selling proposition. You don’t have to use a slogan all the time if you’re not comfortable with it. Consider adding it beside your logo at least until your brand will become more known. Until then, it might be the only way for visitors to know what your brand stands for.

Make it bloom

Make It Bloom are very bold with their tagline (“Expect Awesome”) and, it works!

4. Tone of Voice

Lastly, what you communicate with your readers is as equally important in building your brand as how you do it. When writing copy for your website, from general, static pages to your most up to date content – blog posts, you should at minimum consider what’s the average reading level of your readers. Unless you write for a highly specialised audience, you should aim for an average reading level (grade 6-7).

You should also try to convey the emotional state you want your readers to achieve. If you want them to be excited, happy, sad, anxious, make sure that this feeling comes across through your copy. Lastly, use jargon only if you are sure they will understand it. If you use too much of it, you’ll run into a risk ofturning your readers off as they won’t understand your meaning. However, if you’re building a technical website, using jargon may be one of the required elements that your more advanced readers will expect.

Coloud

Coloud use a vibrant tone of voice that clearly shows what audience they speak to.

Conclusion

It takes a lot of time and work to build a solid brand. Sometimes though you need your website to start communicating brand values straight away. Your audience might expect nothing short of that or you lack confidence to launch a website without a proper brand behind it. Regardless of the reasons, the way out is to fake your brand a little by including some common elements every visitor will expect to see there.

FREE GUIDE: Boost the Value of Your Content

  • More than 6,000 words, 47 pro content marketing tips
  • Improve profitability for your best(and worst) content
  • Actionable steps for more traffic, links and leads from your content

 

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

  • More than 6,000 words, 47 pro content marketing tips
  • Improve profitability for your best(and worst) content
  • Actionable steps for more traffic, links and leads from your content

How To Choose The Right Content Type To Turn Visitors Into Customers

contentforcustomers

An abundance of content types allows you to connect with prospective customers. But how do you choose which content types are more suited for achieving certain goals?

Content offers you an opportunity to be a part of a buyers journey. Regardless whether they seek specific answers or to compare alternatives, being where your customers will turn for information gives you a chance to increase brand awareness and likelihood of a purchase.

But is just creating content enough? Does it matter what content type you use? Is a blog, the most popular content type after all, enough to attract new buyers and increase sales?

The answer lies in understanding how people buy online and what motifs drive them to specific content. And then, in mapping different content types to different stages of the buying process.

Understanding Buyer Behavior Online

To plan which content types will work best and you first must understand how customers behave when they shop online. There are 5 distinct stages of a typical buying process:

  1. Need Recognition – this is a stage in which a person realizes a problem or a need.
  2. Information/Solution Search – knowing about a problem, a person starts to gather initial information about its causes as well as available solutions.
  3. Evaluation – next, a person begins to evaluate them to establish which one is the most suitable solution to their problem.
  4. Purchase Decision – this is a stage when the person selects a particular solution and makes a decision to buy it.
  5. Post-Purchase Evaluation (Buyer’s Remorse) – at this stage customers begin to question their purchase decision. This is when they might decide to return an item. It is therefore important to develop systems to reassure customers of their decision.

Those 5 stages of the buying cycle relate to what’s known as buyer intents – objectives every customer has in mind when deciding to search for a specific information.

We distinguish 3 separate buyer intents online.

The Intent to Learn 

Customer with this intent haven’t fully realised the problem they have. They do know there is something wrong but can’t define it yet.

When you create content for this group of customers, your role is to help them to understand their problem, not offer solutions. You need to focus on educating them about their problem, rather suggesting any solutions you may have on offer.

The Intent to Compare

Customers at this level understand their problem and are ready to start evaluating their options. Their buying mood is higher, although they are not ready to make the final decision yet. Therefore content aimed at this group should focus on highlighting benefits of your solution and providing all the information a customer might need to make an informed decision to buy.

The Intent to Order

Lastly, customers with this intent are ready to buy a solution they selected. They already know what they want and are ready to place the order. A content aimed for this group should move them swiftly through the buying process.

What Content Types Work With Each Buyer Intent?


Intent to Learn

Those customers haven’t realized their problem fully, yet. Your job is to educate them about it.

The most effective content types for this include:

  • Blog posts
  • Guides
  • How-to guides
  • Short videos

Intent to Compare

When creating content for this group, you need to focus more on showcasing the benefits of your solution. Ideal content types for this group would include:

  • Videos
  • Presentations
  • Demos
  • Slideshare presentations
  • Testimonials
  • Images of product in use

Intent to Buy

The aim for content targeting this group is to offer the quickest path to purchase. You must use content types that offer almost instantaneous option to buy, before the customer has an opportunity to change their mind. Content types to create for this group:

  • Product pages
  • Sales pages
  • Landing pages

How To Apply This Knowledge To Real Life

Turning this theory into practice, let’s pretend that you run an online store selling smartphones. Your task is to develop content that will engage your audience and will turn them into buying customers. Let’s also pretend that you want to specifically target freelancers and business people who are often on the road and potentially need a solid computer replacement to perform certain tasks while out of the office.

Here is one way to do it:

Content aimed at customers with the Intent to Learn:

  1. Blog post – 10 Ways Smartphones Have Already Replaced Your Laptop at Work
  2. Blog post – Benefits of using smartphones thank computers when on the road
  3. Blog Post – Smartphone Office, Yay or Nay?
  4. Cheat sheet – Things To Pay Attention To When Buying A Smartphone For Work
  5. Cheat sheet – A Typical Smartphone Terminology
  6. Blog post or video – How To Evaluate If A Particular Smartphone Is Good For Me

Customers with the Intent to compare:

  1. Video – A Review Of Two Phones From The Same Range
  2. eBook – What’s Inside My Phone (And Why Knowing This Matters)
  3. Case study – How A Phone Helped This Freelancer Grow Her Business (On Holidays!)
  4. Webinar – Setting Up A Mobile Office In Your Smartphone

Customers with the Intent to buy:

  1. A smartphones product page
  2. Landing Page for a particular line of smartphones
  3. Regular newsletter with new phones, business app reviews as well as tips & tricks and customer stories
  4. In Depth blog post on Samsung Galaxy S4 as a mobile office machine

Conclusion

There is an abundance of content types you can create to be a part of your customers buying journey. Not all of them work on the same stages of the buying cycle. It is imperative though that you educate your customers through appropriate content types mapped to where they are in their journey.

Developing Content Strategy: Where to Begin

“Scary.”

I guess that might be the first word that pops into your head when you think of developing a content strategy, right? After all, seeing so many companies successfully producing vast amounts of content every day can intimidate anyone. And certainly make you think twice about competing with them.

There is just no chance you could write so many articles. Not to mention record videos, run webinars, create podcasts and who knows what else.

And that’s leaving aside the fact that you are not a writer, video producer or a designer. It’s simply unachievable with all your other responsibilities. You have a business to run after all, you need to oversee it, deliver the work and look after your clients.

These things alone can take up most of the day.

At the same time though, these days it’s hard to market a business in any other way than through content. Whether you like it or not, content is something you need to consider for your new website.

So how do you come up with a plan that will make you competitive on the market while being achievable at the same time?

Well, I hope these 7 steps will set you on a right course.

Content Strategy for a New Site: Where to Begin

Let me tell you what is your real challenge – creating a strategy without having any historic data on your site. Let’s face it, you haven’t had any visitors to the site, you don’t know who they could be and thus, have no idea where to start.

Luckily, you can make up for that pretty quickly. Here’s how.

1. Define and Research Your Audience

If you did your business research right, this step should be easy. Your content audience are your customers, people with the very problem you have a solution to. There are however some additional information you need to find out about them.

What topics they are mostly interested in. This is actually quite easy to do. List all problems you are solving for your customers and build your topics around those. Also, find what other websites they are reading and what are the most popular topics there.

Their literacy level. Every audience has a different literacy levels. You need to learn this to know how to write and structure content for them. Again, the most effective way to do this is by visiting sites they commonly frequent.

Tone of voice that will suit them best. You also need to decide what tone of voice they will respond the best to. Should you sound casually, perhaps even like their friend, or will a more formal, business tone be in place?

2. Develop Content Personas

Next you need to build an actual image of a person you will be talking to. For a long time marketers have been creating a perfect image or representation of a typical target audience member to have a better understanding who exactly they are speaking to.

Having content personas will make it easier to pick topics and create a more engaging copy. I wrote a very detailed article on developing content personas here.

3. Choose Your Topics

Once you gained a good understanding of your audience, it is time to pick topics for your content. You need to discover what problems you can help your audience with but also, how you could entertain them.

But remember, you are only picking topics, not listing actual content ideas. A topic is a general area you will create content on and each topics can have an unlimited content ideas.

Here is a simple system to get you started:

  • If you deliver a service, map out all your services to customer problems they solve and see how many topics you could create from that.
  • If you sell a product, do the same with its features. Map them out against problems they solve and you will definitely find plenty of potential topics.

4. Select Content Types

Content marketing is not just about blogging. Naturally, writing blog posts is a major part of it, there are however other content types you could create:

  • videos
  • graphics
  • comic strips
  • infographics
  • memes
  • ebooks
  • white papers
  • reports
  • quizzes

and many others.

When picking your topics, think of:

  • which ones your audience will find attractive
  • which ones you are able to create (or have resources to do so)
  • and which ones will most effectively present your topics

5. Set Goals for Your Content

The next step in developing your strategy is to define what goals you have for your content. You may want your content to:

  • bring more traffic to the site
  • generate leads
  • raise awareness of your business
  • help to build your social media tribe

Those goals will determine the types of content you produce, how you are going to create them, how you will set your content on the site (or other sites), where and when you will post and how you are going to measure your progress.

6. Define Actions You Want Your Readers to Take

Together with your goals you need to specify actions you want your readers to make. Do you want them to share your content, inquire online, view your product page, download a report? These decisions will affect how your content is structured and presented.

For instance, if you want your audience to find out more about your product, you might decide to leave only one link in the main navigation of your blog, pointing to your product page for instance (f.i compare the menu on serps.com and on their blog). If however, you want readers to download a specific report, you might want to create an appropriate call to action button at the end of a post sending them to a dedicated landing page.

7. Set Your Schedule

And lastly, you need to realistically decide how much content you are able to produce. This is by far the most difficult aspect of the strategy, mainly because we tend to be over ambitious. You may think you can churn out those blog posts in an instant. In reality though, it takes time to create (and promote) every single piece of content. To do it well you have to spend time on research, production, networking and much more. Therefore, be realistic. Focus on creating one great piece of content a week and don’t burn yourself out. Content marketing is a long term strategy and no matter what you do, it will take time before it yields any results anyway.

Conclusion

Developing content strategy for a new website can be scary. There are a lot of variables to consider, many affecting one another and it can be easy to get lost in all this. However, the most important things to consider are your audience, topics they are interested in and what content formats you can create.

image via handsonwp.com

Can Your Content Strategy Adapt To Future Marketing Trends? – April Content Marketing Roundup

In last month’s Content Marketing Roundup, we focused on utilizing creative content strategies to help you develop and effectively promote your content across different mediums, whether on your own company blog or via popular social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and even Reddit. Those strategies are still viable as ever, and so this month we wanted to capitalize on those creative ideas by introducing a strategy angle that we all could practice more of: adaptability.

Adaptability is the ability to adjust oneself readily to different conditions: to change or be changed in order to fit or work better. Adaptability in content marketing is crucial if you want to remain competitive in the changing marketing landscape, especially if, for instance:

  • you have up until recently relied heavily on guest posting as a means of content promotion, since it is now being termed dead (although that is up for debate); or
  • you have many competitors in your content niche, since the current tools available online today are not only enabling but encouraging them to (legally) steal your content; or
  • you haven’t given any thought to producing viral content, since the use of a “viral” content strategy is giving some brands, big and small, huge marketing ROI.

These are just a few examples of current trends in Content Marketing that could impact your content strategy, and that make a strong case for making sure your strategy can adapt to these and to future trends.

But why else would we want to focus on adaptability in your content marketing strategy? Because that’s one of the top qualities of any healthy business or leader. The articles we chose to feature this month’s roundup all provide valuable advice based on that idea.

Table of Contents:

Content Marketing Roundup:

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 1.16.43 PM

12 Ways to Increase Traffic From Google Without Building Links

Cyrus Shephard on The MOZ blog

This post comes in perfect timing now that many marketers are turning away from guest posting and, instead, investing more time and marketing resources in alternative tactics to increase traffic. The MOZ blog is known to be consistently on the cutting edge of SEO, so as expected, this article is packed with a handful of solid, actionable steps you can put to use immediately to build your audience without any manual link building.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be very helpful for content marketers and SEO’s who are refocusing their marketing efforts away from link building. It could also be helpful to business owners and bloggers who have new websites that need a boost in traffic.

From the Post:

6. Improving site speed

Improving site speed not only improves visitor satisfaction (see point #1) but it may also have a direct influence on your search rankings. In fact, site speed is one of the few ranking factors Google has confirmed.

One of the interesting things we learned this year, with help from the folks at Zoompf, is that actual page load speed may be far less important than Time to First Byte (TTFB). TTFB is the amount of time it takes a server to first respond to a request.

As important as page speed is for desktop search Google considers it even more important for mobile devices. Think about the last time you waited for a page to load on your cell phone with a weak signal.”


Most People Won’t Actually Read Your Landing Page – How to Get Your Message Across Anyway

By Shane Jones on KISS Metrics

One of the most important steps on the path to conversion that any reader on your website will take is the landing page. No matter how stellar your content is or how valuable your product offerings may be, the fact of the matter is that if your landing page isn’t formatted intuitively for them, your reader will leave without ever performing the desired goal and you both lose. This article is a great, well-researched overview of how to optimize your landing page so that your reader gets the message you want them to get every time.

Who Can This Help?
This post can help established businesses and brands with a website or blog, and where their goal is to capture conversions through one or more landing pages. This applies to those looking for organic traffic goals as well as paid search conversions.

From the Post:

The Importance of Relevance

One thing that all viewers have in common: they decide whether to even glimpse at your landing page in the first place, or not, based on its relevance. Time is of the essence, and people aren’t going to take time out of their day to read or even scan content that doesn’t have any significance for them. That’s why you need to really get to know your target audience and write content that will specifically appeal to them.

According to e-commerce professional Angie Schottmuller, viewers are looking for content that matches three criteria for them in “the triangle of relevance.”

  1. The content is important based on the current season. That is, the content is relevant because it is timely.
  2. The content is associated with the viewer’s area of expertise or business. People are interested in content that will help them with their professional development.
  3. The content is significant because it coincides with the viewer’s personal interests. Content that appeals to a person’s hobbies, interests, curiosities, goals, or dreams is relevant because people like to read about things they enjoy.

While you may not be able to incorporate all three criteria into your landing page, you always should try to target at least two. Find out what’s relevant to your users, and then create the corresponding content to encourage them to stay.”


Micro Content, Maxi Effect — How Shifts Toward Visual Content Will Impact Marketers

By Rebecca Lieb on Marketing Land

“Quality vs. quantity” has long been the mantra of any content marketer or online publisher when it comes to publishing valuable content online. However, given the incredible upsurge of mobile and social media usage (i.e.,140 characters or less) in recent years, long form content is not necessarily better in every case of online publishing. This article explores this dilemma in a meaningful way, showing you how mobile-friendly visual and audio-visual content assets will continue to rise in value and popularity, and also why you should start investing in these types of content sooner than later.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be helpful to any business or brand with an established presence online and social media, and who already consistently produces and publishes high-quality content in their niche. This serves as a sign of things to come in the area of online content, and would help these businesses solidify an adaptable content marketing strategy that leverages more visual content.

From the Post:

“Ease of use is key here as well. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter don’t create content, rather they enable its dissemination — and if no one updates their status, then these platforms don’t stand a chance. Clearly, it’s a lot easier to upload that shot of your Hawaiian vacation (or delicious lunch, or mischievous puppy) than to narrate in detail why such things are interesting — especially while using your thumbs and combating auto-correct.

Content Strategy Implications

That content is becoming shorter, less verbose and more visual obviously has tremendous ramifications for content strategy.”


The Growing Cost of “Viral” Videos Shows Shift in Marketing Landscape

By Tom Doton on The Information

This article evolves around the story of a well-known and highly successful Dollar Shave Club marketing campaign in 2012, which was actually its first marketing video, featuring its founder Michael Dubin talking to the camera. Today, the 93-second spot announcing Dollar Shave is hailed as a prime example of viral startup marketing and if you’ve watched it, you could probably see how it might have inspired your favorite video campaigns from other brands in the past couple of years. But what’s especially interesting to note about this particular viral campaign is that, while the Dollar Shave Club’s introductory video campaign was naturally shareable, the company was also actually pushing the “virality” of the video with up to $10,000 a day in paid advertising. This goes to show how leveraging multiple marketing channels on one piece of content can really maximize your ROI.

Who Can This Help?
This article can help virtually any business or brand online today that is open to using and integrating different marketing channels such as television, video, blogging, and paid advertising, to promote their most popular content.

From the Post:
N/A (*requires payment to read in full)


The Six Things That Make Stories Go Viral Will Amaze And Maybe Infuriate You

By Maria Konnikova on The New Yorker

Are you sick of the word “viral” yet? Well too bad, because it’s here to stay. Thankfully, among the many marketing strategy articles floating around the web about “how to write a viral post”, The New Yorker published this really hearty post that provides a bit more substance about the psychology behind viral posts that is worth a read. While this article was actually published a bit further back than the past month, we just couldn’t help but include this in our roundup.

Who Can This Help?
This article can help content marketers who are trying to use viral posts as part of their content strategy, and it could also be of general interest to any marketer who wants to know a bit more about their reader’s user experience when it comes to digesting viral content on the web. Because, whether or not you’re trying to get your content to go viral, it’s always helpful to learn more about your reader.

From the Post:

“The presence of a memory-inducing trigger is also important. We share what we’re thinking about—and we think about the things we can remember. This facet of sharing helps explain the appeal of list-type stories (which I wrote about in detail last month), as well as stories that stick in your mind because they are bizarre. Lists also get shared because of another feature that Berger often finds successful: the promise of practical value. “We see top-ten lists on Buzzfeed and the like all the time,” he notes. “It allows people to feel like there’s a nice packet of useful information that they can share with others.” We want to feel smart and for others to perceive us as smart and helpful, so we craft our online image accordingly.”


Emotion in Marketing: How Our Brains Decide Which Content Is Shareable

By Courtney Seiter on The Buffer Blog

This article is a decidedly very scientific look into content creation and how certain types of content affect your brain, leading to certain actions such as sharing and trusting. It also covers a full gamut of possible emotions that can be triggered by reading content, such as happiness, fear, amusement, interest, surprise, hope, affection, anger, excitement, and more, and makes sense of how these resulting emotions can lead to reader behavior through graphs and comparisons.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be helpful to any content marketer or blogger whose goal is to create compelling content that is likely to be shared and trusted, since this article helps you to literally draw connections between types of content that will make your readers want to share, trust, or reject your content. It is also a generally fascinating read for anyone who is interested in content and on human psychology.

From the Post:

Anger/disgust make us more stubborn

The hypothalamus is responsible for anger, along with a lot of other base level needs like hunger, thirst, response to pain and sexual satisfaction.

And while anger can lead to other emotions like aggression, it can also create a curious form of stubbornness online, as a recent University of Wisconsin study discovered.

In it, participants were asked to read a blog post containing a balanced discussion of the risks and benefits of nanotechnology. The body of the post was the same for everyone, but one group got civil comments below the article while another got rude comments that involved name-calling and more anger-inducing language.

The rude comments made participants dig in on their stance: Those who thought nanotechnology risks were low became more sure of themselves when exposed to the rude comments, while those who believed otherwise moved further in that direction.

Even more interesting is what happened to those who previously didn’t feel one way or another about nanotechnology. The civil group had no change of opinion.

Those exposed to rude comments, however, ended up with a much more polarized understanding of the risks connected with the technology.

Simply including an ad hominem attack in a reader comment was enough to make study participants think the downside of the reported technology was greater than they’d previously thought.

So negativity has a real and lasting effect – and it’s evident in how content gets shared, too. In the previously mentioned New York Times viral content study, some negative emotions are positively associated with virality – most specifically, anger.”

 


 

How to Steal Your Competitor’s Best Content & Use It Against Them

By Dave Schneider on Matthew Woodward

Who Can This Help?

From the Post:

 


3 Vital Marketing Lessons From the World’s Most Offensive Doughnut Shop

By Sonia Simone on CopyBlogger

Real world examples of great marketing are some of the best learning tools, in our opinion, so it’s only appropriate that we highlight this article about a little donut shop that utilizes some simple, yet core marketing principles to build an incredible popular and memorable brand. While this donut shop isn’t an online business trying to create and promote content, the lessons would apply to any business online today who are trying to establish a memorable brand as well.

Who Can This Help?
As mentioned, this article contains lessons that would help any business online today that is looking to establish a memorable brand around their business. These lessons would be especially helpful for such businesses who are in the early stages of development or who are willing to take risks, since many of the actionable steps mentioned in the article apply to things like your brand imaging and isolating certain audiences (for the betterment of your brand).

From the Post:

1. Be memorable

Voodoo’s signature doughnut is shaped like a voodoo doll with a little pretzel-stick stake through its heart. They have a number of doughnuts on the menu that you can’t order without cursing.

[…]

Do they taste better than other doughnuts? If you’ve been pining for bacon or breakfast cereal on your doughnuts, I guess so. Otherwise, they’re a lot like everyone else’s doughnuts: delicious for two bites, and then you start to hate yourself.

But if you go to Voodoo once, you want to talk about it. It makes for a great story that their customers love to tell.”


Why You Shouldn’t Worry About SEO Costs But Focus On What It Earns

By Trond Lyngbo on Search Engine Land

Many companies online today understand the need to enlist the help of an SEO professional in order to make sure their business stays competitive online. But unless you’re an SEO professional yourself, or have strong knowledge about SEO concepts and the changing marketing landscape when it comes to Google and search engine marketing, it’s hard to make sense about what SEO is supposed to accomplish for your business and how much it “should cost”. This article answers these questions while also putting things into perspective when you’re trying to figure out where SEO fits into your overall content marketing strategy.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be most helpful to businesses who are looking to hire SEO help, or who are evaluating where SEO belongs in their current content marketing strategy.

From the Post:

SEO Is More Than Link Building Or Even Content Marketing

Business owners sometimes view SEO as pure link building and little else. They ask for a quote to build x number of links every month and then evaluate bids based on the cost per link — without really understanding how these links are created or how link quality differs based on location.

All links are not created equal.

  • Site-wide footer links differ from low-quality blogs with high outbound link counts
  • Forum signatures, blog comments, press releases and social media back links have varying weight and impact on search ranking
  • Links from authoritative sites are worth their weight in gold
  • Great content marketing can attract links of high value and long-term benefits
  • There’s no single magic tool that will by itself dramatically improve your site’s ranking.
  • Even if there once was, those days are long gone. SEO just doesn’t work that way anymore.”

 

Blogger Outreach: How to Get Influencers to Promote Your Content For Free

by Brian Dean

Although the state of SEO is going through a time a change nowadays, with Google cracking down more frequently it seems on various tactics that it used to promote, one content promotion tactic that will never go out of style is blogger outreach. Reaching out one-on-one to fellow bloggers and website owners to discuss and share content is what the internet was meant for, so its high time that you start honing your blogger outreach processes if you haven’t yet done so. This article is a great, step-by-step resource to help you get started and ultimately maximize the effectiveness of all of your blogger outreach.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be helpful to bloggers and website owners who actively reach out to other bloggers to network and/or to promote and share content, since it gives you some solid tips on how to organize your outreach in a meaningful way.

From the Post:

Step #2: Separate Your Target Bloggers Into Tiers

Let’s face facts: not all blogs are created equal. Some blogs are big, well respected and get tons of traffic and engagement. Others, well, not so much.

One of the most common mistakes that people make with blogger outreach is using the same approach for every blog on their list.

That makes ZERO sense.

To get the most from your outreach, you need to divide your target bloggers into two or three different tiers. That way, you can give industry leaders the TLC they need … while taking a more direct approach with everyone else.”


Why 55% of Potential B2B Buyers Might Not Trust Your Website Content

By Dianna Huff on Content Marketing Institute

A large portion of businesses publishing content online today are B2B companies and, for these companies, since the stakes are higher, there are unique challenges when it comes to website content optimization. One of those challenges is how to appear trustworthy to potential buyers. This article is a great resource for B2B companies in that regard because it explains precisely how potential B2B buyers distinguish trustworthiness online, starting with the most important destination – your website.

Who Can This Help?
This article is obviously most helpful to B2B companies who do a significant amount of business online and who obtain a decent portion of their leads from their website. However, the tactics covered within the article could be appropriate for other types of companies as well who are concerned with projecting a trustworthy presence online.

From the Post:

“One reason companies may leave off contact information — and instead force people to contact them through a one-size-fits-all form — is because it’s harder to track people when they call or email. By tying a web form to a marketing automation or CRM system, it’s easier to get names into a database and then track subsequent conversations with them.

But here’s the thing: Our findings say that the vast majority of buyers prefer to contact vendors through email (81 percent) or phone (58 percent).

chart-how buyers contact vendors

More importantly, forcing potential buyers to go through a form reduces leads. When asked, “How important are the following items with regard to moving forward with a Request for Proposal/Quote?: Company Address/Contact Information, Product Pricing, Lead or Ship Times, and Product Name,” 68 percent of survey respondents indicated that they consider “Company Address and Contact Information” to be “Critically Important” with regard to moving forward with a vendor.

The reality is that buyers source vendors online. Once buyers have a short list of suppliers, they’ll send these names to a purchasing agent or will send out RFQs. If a buyer can’t find the information needed to send out an RFQ, the vendor gets scratched and the buyer moves on — with the vendor never knowing the buyer was on the website or that it was in the running. In short, buyers pre-qualify vendors and suppliers, and they do this using the website content they find.”


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

  • More than 6,000 words, 47 pro content marketing tips
  • Improve profitability for your best(and worst) content
  • Actionable steps for more traffic, links and leads from your content

 

How To Write A Great Roundup Post

How To Write a Roundup Post

It may sound counterintuitive, but when done correctly, sending readers away from your site is one of the best ways to keep them coming back. That’s the idea behind content curation.

Before we dive into the details of roundup posts, let’s define the term curation. As Neicole Crepeau writes on Convince & Convert, curation “is the art and science of finding and sharing quality content on a specific topic.” It’s the dirty work that helps readers understand an industry, event, person or product.

Robin Good breaks down the traits of a successful curator in his excellent post, Content Curation Is Not Content Marketing.

The content curator characterizing traits:

1. Is not after quantity. Quality is his key measure.

2. Does not ever curate something without having thoroughly looked at it, multiple times.

3. Always provides insight as to why something is relevant and where the item fits in its larger collection (stream, catalog, list, etc.)

4. Adds personal evaluation, judgment, critique or praise.

5. Integrates a personal touch, in the way it presents the curated object.

6. Provides useful information about other related, connected or similar objects of interest.

7. Credits and thanks anyone who has helped in the discovery, identification and analysis of any curated item and links relevant names of people present in the content.

8. Does not ever republish content “as is” without adding extra value to it.

9. Does not curate, select, personalize or republish his own content in an automated way.

10. Discloses bias, affiliation and other otherwise non self-evident contextual clues.

One of the most straightforward ways to curate content is write roundup posts. Even though the meat of the content is written by someone else, these posts can be extremely valuable for audience development, reader engagement, SEO and lead conversion. Let’s take a look at how it’s done.

Step 1: Identify sources.

A strong roundup is only as good as its sources. You need to find the most interesting and insightful content possible, meaning you need to unearth new and interesting articles. The first step is automating the collection of good information. Using tools like an RSS reader (Feedly is our favorite), Google Alerts, IFTTT and Twitter lists, you will be able to manage huge amounts of information. Here are a few other interesting content discovery tools:

This is a great start, but it’s not enough to monitor the same feeds all the time. You need variety. There are many places to find new bloggers in your industry but social media and message boards are great places to start. Identify the most-used hashtags in your vertical and monitor them on Twitter and Google+. Get involved in subreddits and forums to meet new people and share ideas. These are great ways to uncover new and interesting content written by up-and-comers in your vertical.

As you find content to highlight, use tools like Evernote, Honey and Pocket to save, tag and organize it. When it comes time to write, everything you need will be in one place.

Step 2: Cite, cite, cite.

The quickest way to upset influential bloggers and lost your readers’ trust is to “lift” content. Roundup posts are, by nature, collections of content written by someone else. The goal is to spread ideas, not take credit for someone else’s work. Done right, a roundup makes it abundantly clear who wrote the posts, tweeted the tweets or published the videos you are curating. Always link to their site, blog or Twitter handle. In fact, it’s wise to let them know in advance so they can tell you where to link. Use do-follow links so the sources can get credit from Google also.

Step 3. Look at what influencers are publishing.

Here’s are some examples of how some of the best curators approach roundups:

Here are examples of roundups that I post on a weekly basis:

Roundups are a great opportunity to embed media like YouTube videos, tweets and Facebook posts into your articles Visual, engaging and interactive content goes a long way towards bringing readers back to your site for the next roundup.

Step 4. Be consistent.

In general, content marketing is a long term strategy. The most successful sites publish great content on a regular basis for years. Roundups rely even more on consistency to work. They depend heavily on subscription-based tools like email marketing and social media as opposed to SEO.

One of the keys to curation is providing analysis and value. This will not and can never happen in a single blog post. Earning the trust of readers takes months and possibly years.

Blogger Peter Larson, also known as the Blogologist, recently provided insight into the growth of his popular site RunBlogger. He writes that it took a year to get his blog up and running.

I want to emphasize this point: unless you have an existing online following from another site, or some other existing platform/audience that will help draw traffic to your site immediately (e.g, you’re a famous book author, public figure, etc.), you really need to take a long-term view when starting a blog. Don’t get discouraged by low traffic numbers initially, if you put in the necessary effort they will rise over time.

Curation works but it’s hard work. Give the strategy at least six months and, as always, pay attention Google Analytics and other data to tweak your work as you progress.

Step 5. Promote it.

As we mentioned above, roundups rely on relationships, meaning that curated posts might not bring in the organic traffic that your other articles do. They can, however, establish meaningful relationships with your target readers.

Perhaps the best way to build an audience around a weekly roundup post is an email newsletter. In 2009, Instapaper creator Mark Armstrong started a blog called Longreads which highlights great longform journalism. Using an email newsletter and Twitter, Armstrong built the site in the destination for discoing longform content. The site has since been partnered with Atlantic Media and attracted 125,000 Twitter followers.

If you are just getting started, make sure you are collecting email addresses from day one. Get in the habit of creating and sending an email newsletter each week. Even if you only have a handful of subscribers, these people could be the foundation of something truly great.

Do you have questions about curation or examples of great roundup posts? Let us know in the comments.

Are You Being Creative Enough With Your Content Marketing Strategy? March Content Marketing Round-Up

This month we read through a ton of in-depth, specialized Content Marketing articles from around the web. And lucky for you, as usual, we scoured through the whole lot of them and plucked out our favorites to make up this month’s “best-of-the-web” content marketing roundup.

We chose to highlight these particular articles this month because they demonstrate the most actionable content marketing tips, contain the most inspiring strategy, and cover a wide gamut of current (and super relevant) content marketing tools, platforms and concepts.

Table of Contents:

Content Marketing Roundup:

9 Tools to Discover Influencers in Your Industry

by Lee Odden on Top Rank Blog

For many businesses, especially those in the B2B subset, it simply isn’t enough to just blog about industry-related content and distribute it in the same way most other websites do. Instead, its almost imperative for your business success to actively engage with experts within your own industry (and tangentially related industries) as part of a more focused marketing strategy. This article directs you to some great online platforms to help you find these experts and to create a more authority-based content marketing strategy.

Who Can This Help?
This article is especially relevant for businesses creating content targeted at specific areas of subject matter expertise. Whether your goal is to developing more quality leads, gaining visibility, or establishing thought leadership, this article helps by showing where you can engage with high level influencers in your niche.

From The Post:

Little Bird – Founded by past RWW pioneer, Marshall Kirkpatrick, Little Bird is a paid tool that helps users discover influencers that are validated by their peers on Twitter for a variety of topics as well as emerging topics. It also supports competitive intelligence, content marketing, social sales oriented research across multiple social networks.

followerwonk – With a focus exclusively on Twitter research and analytics, this free tool from the folks at Moz provides a handy search engine for influencer discovery as well as tools for competitive comparisons, tracking and data visualizations. A social authority filter allows sorting of influencers and reports can be saved for future reference.

Before you start with influencer discovery, don’t make the mistake of simply shooting from the hip, so to speak, and search these tools using only your top SEO keywords. Think more from the point of view of who you want to influence. What topics will be important to them? What questions do they have during the sales cycle and what do you know about their preferences for information discovery, consumption and interaction?

Those insights (in combination with SEO keywords) will help guide you towards a more productive search for influencers to engage with.”


OkDork

How to Grow A Blog to 100,000 Visitors in Less than a Year

by Peep Laja on OkDork

While having a high number of regular visitors isn’t necessarily a top priority for some content marketing strategies, it is undoubtedly still a desirable achievement for any website.  This article is a great resource in that regard because, rather than covering general tips on how to create a quality website, this piece walks you step by step through the actual blogging strategy that brought what was initially an obscure blog, to become a successful website that currently brings in 100,000 or more visits per month.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be very helpful for online entrepreneurs and content marketers who are interested in building an authority website from scratch, or who are looking to build traffic to an existing website that is struggling to gain traction.

From The Post:

The secret of success is doing something that others are not willing to do for a long, long time. So when I was analyzing the content of marketing blogs – trying to understand how I can be better – I finally figured it out.

The answer? Evidence based, data-driven marketing advice. That was how I summed up the gap in the market. That was going to be my angle.

And I chose to focus specifically on conversion optimization because there were few dedicated CRO blogs around. Picking a niche is important when getting started – don’t be afraid to go niche at first. You can always expand later.

Take Tim Ferriss. Four Hour Workweek. He was that guy. Now he is much more than that, he expanded his brand after the first thing became a success. You can do the same with your blog.

Using data-backed content made all the difference.”


#Hashtagology 101: How to Use Hashtags in Your Social Media Content

by Jonathan Crossfield on Content Marketing Institute

The hashtag might be small, but the fact of the matter is that the art of hashtagging carries an enormous amount of weight in the social sphere, and in some cases it can make or break your social media marketing strategy. It’s odd then, if you think about it, that there aren’t more articles devoted to hashtag strategy. This article is a useful guide to how to use hashtags in your social media content, and it also contains some history and psychology behind the act of hashtagging, which gives an interesting, humanizing perspective to what is a very pop-culture phenomenon.

Who Can This Help?
This guide would be most helpful to businesses and brands who have yet to tap into all of the marketing opportunities available on Social Media, and who are also actively trying to make meaningful improvements to their Social Media strategy, specifically on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram where the hashtag is most prevalent.

From The Post:

“Hashtags are also the glue that holds many cross-platform competitions and campaigns together, making it easy for followers to submit content to be aggregated and displayed elsewhere. […]

However, always remember that the hashtag belongs to the community, even if you created it yourself. You can’t censor or control how others will use it, so be sensitive to situations that could fuel a hashtag backlash.

Qantas discovered this in 2011 when it launched a social media competition with the hashtag #QantasLuxury in the middle of a controversial union dispute. At its height, 51 tweets per minute were sent containing the hashtag. The vast majority ridiculed or criticized the airline, creating a highly visible and wide-reaching PR disaster.”


To be a great blogger, put on your bitch mittens

by Mark W. Schaefer on {Grow}

It seems that you can say anything you want in the blogging world and that’s part of the beauty of the internet. However, when your blog is affiliated with your own or another company, when is it appropriate to filter your thoughts and opinions for the sake of your brand? To explore this idea, Mark reflects honestly and personally about how one of his viral (and somewhat controversial) blog posts led him to contemplate what should and shouldn’t be discussed on the web as a high profile blogger. Whether or not you agree with him, his conclusions are relevant to any brands who have a stake in their online presence.

Who Can This Help?
This article can help established brands, whether business or personal, navigate the blogging world while striking a balance between diplomacy and authenticity.

From The Post:

“There is probably a camp who will say, “But it’s OK to have a bad day, Mark.”

No, it’s not. Not on the web.

I am a professional denizen of the Internet and how I show up means something. The Internet is forever and one slip-up can create an unintended viral disaster. We all know those stories.

Showing up as truly human and showing up as a person who people want to hire is a delicate dance, isn’t it?

I think that if I am trying to build a brand, I need to keep my daily bitchifications and dysfunctions where they belong … in the privacy of my home. I have issues. You have issues. We all have issues. But don’t be your own worst enemy by flying these as the flag of your personal brand if you are working professionally in this space to attract customers.

That’s right. I’m saying that you should not be authentic (gasp). It’s official. I am now kicked out of the Social Media Guru Club. About time, too. Who wants my secret de-coder ring?”


Link Pruning Best Practices to Help Recover from a Google Penalty

by Brynna Baldauf on Vertical Measures

Link Pruning, or simply cleaning up your site’s “bad” links, is a legitimate and very effective way get yourself back into Google’s good graces after a Google Penalty because it helps you address and “undo” the link behavior on your website that Google is likely punishing you for via decreased rankings. This article helps you implement an organized link pruning strategy and also provides extra helpful notes for maintaining a healthy site architecture before and after pruning.

Who Can This Help?
This guide would be most helpful to those whose websites have been hit by a Google Penalty, or for marketers or agencies whose clients have experienced a Google Penalty.

From The Post:

The First Steps of Backlink Removal: Reviewing Links

Say you have found multiple sites with questionable links pointing back to your site. What you need now is a roadmap to help lead your action plan. Start by pulling a list of all of the backlinks and anchor text pointing to the site(s) in question. There are a lot of options on how to do this, but the most commonly done combo is to pull a list from Open Site Explorer Data and Google Webmaster Tools. Create for yourself a nice Excel sheet with this column formatting:

  • URL of the link
  • Anchor text of the link (if possible)
  • A space for notes
  • A column to mark YES or NO to add to your disavow list (title it simply “Disavow?”)

This spreadsheet is your fast track back to rankings and traffic, so make sure you are saving often as you make your way through the backlinks of your site.”


Spend 10 Minutes Doing This Everyday And You Could Transform Your Blogging

by Darren Rowse on ProBlogger

It’s always refreshing to read content strategy that is equal parts creative, effective and easy to accomplish, and this is what this article is. Darren from ProBlogger has built an empire around his personal and professional blogging projects, so you know that any advice he’s giving about blogging is going to be helpful. In this article, he lays out a simple strategy that involves competitive analysis and takes only 10 minutes a day. Competitive analysis is not a new practice by any means, but this article discusses how you can integrate these short, focused periods of competitive review into your daily routine in order to give you a constant point of reference and inspiration for the betterment of your blog.

Who Can This Help?
This article can help any blogger who is serious about their writing, who is actively looking to improve the quality of writing and content strategy, and who has 10 minutes to spare everyday that they are working on their blog.

From The Post:

Questions to Ask As You Review

There are a variety of areas that you can review when looking at another blog. I tend to break things down into the following areas and find myself asking questions like those that follow.

Note: I don’t ask all of these questions every time I do a review – but I hope by presenting them you’ll get a feel for what directions you can explore.

Content

  • what voice/s are they writing in?
  • what is their posting frequency?
  • how long are the posts that they write?
  • what type of posts are they majoring on (information, inspiration, engagement, news, opinion, etc)?
  • what style and medium of posts are they using (lists, imagery, video, podcasts, etc)?
  • what blend of original vs curated content are they using?
  • what topics/categories are they majoring on?
  • what type of headlines/titles formulas do they use?
  • do they use multiple authors/guest posters or a single writer?

Community

  • how do they engage readers?
  • what calls to action do they use and what is being responded to?
  • what type of posts get the most comments, shares, likes?
  • do they use tools like polls, surveys, quizzes or other engagement triggers?
  • what social media sites are they using and how they using them for engagement/community building?
  • do they have a newsletter – how do they incentivise signups? What type of content do they send?
  • how much do the writers of the blog engage in comments?
  • do they have a dedicated community area? (forum, membership etc)?
  • do they have ‘discussion’ posts or ‘assignments’ or ‘projects/challenges’ that give readers something to DO?”


How to Reverse Engineer Success on Reddit

by Ross Hudgens on Siege Media

Reddit is a community website made of mainly user-generated content, and it is particularly popular among U.S. males between the ages of 25-34 years of age. And as popular as it is, it is not a website that comes to mind when you think of content marketing strategy. However, any website that has such a large readership among different category topics and such a high level of social engagement, is something that the marketing world can’t ignore. This article shows how to navigate the Reddit website in a way that is advantageous from a content marketing standpoint.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be helpful to any established online brand that is niche-specific, and that is willing to experiment with different avenues of content promotion.

From The Post:

“I can’t emphasize enough that you should not manipulate Reddit. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with building amazing content and occasionally submitting it to a subreddit that would like it.

I do think there’s something wrong with submitting every single post you make, and using an upvote ring to push your work up the site.

Given that, the best way to future-proof success on Reddit is to build an audience that comes back to your site naturally that also frequents Reddit.

To do that, you must have a large amount of content on your site that actually appeals to their target demographic – not just one piece. To multiply the effect, you can also occasionally submit to Reddit, and when doing so, you must employ social hooks to get them to follow your work in the future because it’s good. ”


The Complete Guide To Social Media Formatting: How To Make Your Posts Stand Out On Twitter, Facebook & Linkedin

by Courtney Seiter on Buffer

It’s one thing to know what to say on social media, but it’s a whole other thing to know how to say it on social media. And how you say things on social media has everything to do with format. This article lays out some super simple tricks and best practices of social media formatting to help you create unique, stand-out posts on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest. It even includes some additional helpful tools to help you even further in crafting perfectly shareable social media content.

Who Can This Help?
This article can help any person, business, or brand who has a social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, or Pinterest that they’re looking to improve by making posts more shareable. This could also be helpful to businesses who have yet to tap into any one of these platforms, as it will set them up for success when they begin.

From The Post:

Edit headline and summary text

One of the greatest things about posting to Facebook is how many of the fields are totally customizable. Use this flexibility to highlight the most shareable elements of your content.

Facebook formatting

Pro tip: You can do all of this if you’re Buffering a post to Facebook, too (and gets lots more photo thumbnail choices)!

Size photos correctly

Because Facebook will automatically resize images that don’t match its specifications, size and aspect ratio of photos are super important.

The aspect ratio is very specific: image widths need to be 1.91 times the height. This will mean the image scales perfectly in both the desktop News Feed and on mobile.

Images are now larger when shown in the News Feed, so keeping the aspect ratio right will make sure your images look great wherever the user sees them.”

 


Link Building Success 2013


2013 Link Building Success – 50 Experts Share their Stories

by Corey Collins on Linkarati

Contrary to popular belief as of late, link building is still alive and well. Because as much as Google will try to downplay it, the fact remains that links are still one of the absolute most important measures of website authority (within appropriate context, of course, and along with many other factors). So this article comes as a refreshing overview of how link building contributed positively to businesses in the past year. Corey from Linkarati rounded up this massive group of 50 Marketing experts to share their own link building successes, which contains tons of opportunities that many businesses can replicate on their own.

Who Can This Help?
This article can help any business online who is actively doing SEO, and is searching for more positive and proven ways to build links to their website.

From The Post:

What’s more important than link building these days, in my opinion, is brand building. And a great way to build your brand is to align it with already-established and respect ones. In 2013, I was fortunate enough to become a contributor at several major online publishers, such as Forbes and Entrepreneur.com. This exposure has been wonderful for my personal brand as well as that of my business. And it just so happens that being a contributor at places like these builds inbound links. Natural link building at its finest, while not even trying. That’s what I consider to be a true win/win, and what business owners should aim for as their goal.

[…]

A few months ago we got a link by following up on a blogger’s end of post request on our own blog. You know at the end of a post, a blogger usually attempts to get comments with some sort of CTA phrase like “what do you think?”, “have you made a similar project?” or “what would you do differently on this recipe?”

It’s disappointing as a blogger when the comment section remains empty, even on a good post. Yet we still put those comment CTA phrases at the end of most posts.

Bloggers love engagement on their posts, so instead of simply commenting on their post, we wrote our own blog post that answered their question. We didn’t create a short, thin post. We put some time into it, after all, this was living on our client’s blog. We then left a comment and tweeted at the author to make sure they found our post. They were so happy to see our unique form of following-up and the result was us getting a link on their updated post as well as being shared on their social platforms.”


100,000 in One Week Viperchill

$100,000 in One Week, a Viral Nova Follow-Up

by Glen Allsopp on Viperchill

The title of this article is misleading, because it’s not exactly focused on what you think it would, which would be something along the lines of how to get your website to earn $100,000 in One Week. Although related, this article is instead a series of comments and analysis around the author’s wildly popular, and controversial, Viral Nova post, and around Viral Nova-type content aggregating sites in general. This article is a super in-depth look into this type of website, including things like how to optimize it, an audit of a new Viral Nova-type website created by a reader, the author’s take on whether or not the Facebook algorithm update affects these types of websites (using Upworthy and Business Insider as examples), copyright law infringement concerns, and more.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be helpful for online entrepreneurs and content marketers who are interested in the Viral Nova content model, or are perhaps also interested in creating this type of website themselves, since it includes specific strategy suggestions from a person who has personal experience in this endeavor.

From The Post:

“One person happily shared their new site on my Facebook page and, since I could see he was making a lot of mistakes, I asked him if I could publicly critique the website here and he obliged.

Edgar just started a website called Flippin Cool after reading my post. Right from the start, I can see some things he’s doing wrong. He said he would like to learn from a critique so let’s get into it (please note that I wouldn’t have done this without his permission).

edgar

#1 Remove the Right Sidebar Arrow A.S.A.P

There are some clear statements in the Adsense TOS that state you cannot direct people to click on ads on your website. I know that is not what he is attempting to do but I can easily see Google banning him for this if they catch on.

Please note I warned Edgar of this a few days before the blog post went live because I thought it was that important and he removed it as advised.

#2 An Email Opt-in Form Isn’t Relevant Just Yet

I don’t really like the idea of centering the website in-between two columns but if you’re going to do it, at least make the top left portion of the website more enticing. Nobody is going to give you their email without going through a lot of content first.

Again, I prefer the idea of content being on the left rather than packed between navigation, but at least put something there that entices people to click on more articles or simply share your website via social media. Even just moving your category links here (which are really nicely designed by the way) would be an improvement.

It’s prime real estate, especially when your website is new, so don’t use it for an opt-in box for unconverted site visitors.

#3 Make Your Headlines Bigger

They’re your biggest hook when it comes to building sites like this so make sure that people can actually see them clearly.”


75 Copywriting Resources

75 Resources for Writing Incredible Copy That Converts

by Chloe Mason Gray on Kiss Metrics

When reading up on resources to improve your writing, it’s easy to go from feeling like there is way too much advice out there, to feeling like there’s just too much of the same basic tips. Thankfully, we stumbled upon this curated listed of incredibly high quality copywriting resources by Kiss Metrics. From E-books, Articles, Infographics, Guides, Courses, and Articles, this list of resources is meaningfully organized by category of your writing needs, such as writing Headlines, writing CTA’s, SEO copywriting, E-commerce writing, and more.

Who Can This Help?
This list can help any copywriter, blogger, or content developer who is responsible for creating valuable online content that converts, as this list contains a wealth of knowledge based on that criteria.

From The Post:

“Masterful copywriting plays a big part in the difference between a website that converts like crazy and one that simply falls flat, failing to engage potential customers. Case in point: in Conversion Rate Expert’s redesign of the Crazy Egg website, copy had a big role in growing the site’s conversion rate by 363%.

This resource guide provides links that will give you a strong foundation for writing great web copy. In order to write effective web copy, it’s necessary to understand the principles of copywriting as a discipline. So, this guide includes resources that are not specific to online copywriting, but, nonetheless, will help you build a strong arsenal of copywriting skills you can take to the web.

E-books, Articles, Infographics, and Guides to Get You Started with Web Copywriting

1. Copywriting 101 by Copyblogger – This 10-lesson e-book will teach you the fundamentals of how to excel at direct-response copywriting, which is, as Copyblogger tell us, one of the most essential elements of effective online marketing.

2. Copyblogger’s Copywriting Library – Did you like Copyblogger’s Copywriting 101 e-book above? You can find more free material in the copywriting section of their Marketing Library. These e-books will show you how to use great copy in your content marketing, email marketing, landing pages, and more.

3. The Definitive Guide to Copywriting – This 30,000-plus-word guide from Quick Sprout teaches you how to optimize your copy to increase website conversions. It leads you from gathering the information necessary to write great copy all the way to understanding how copy and design complement each other on your webpage.”


How I Would Fix Grantland’s SEO: An In-Depth Audit

by Steve Webb on Web Gnomes

The Grantland website has been a hot topic of discussion as of late in the content marketing industry for various reasons, but here, the focus is on the website as a whole from an SEO perspective. In this article, Steve from Web Gnomes enlists standard SEO Audit practices to do an in-depth analysis of the website, thereby identifying strengths, weakness, and areas of improvement. Since Grantland is a rather large sports publishing website with a variety of content and a complex link history, this makes for a valuable and informative SEO Audit example case study.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be helpful for SEOs and online marketers who have an interest in conducting SEO Audits for their own websites or for their clients because it is a great example of a thorough SEO Audit of a large website. This may also be helpful for content marketers as well, since an Audit sheds light on the various technical SEO elements that impact the way Google views your website’s content.

From The Post:

Click Depth
Another important characteristic of the site architecture is the number of clicks it takes to get from the homepage to every other page on the site (i.e., the click depth of each page).
If pages are too far from the homepage, they are much less likely to be crawled by search engines (or found by users).

41% of the site’s pages have a click depth greater than 5 (i.e., they are more than 5 clicks away from the homepage), and 10% of the site’s pages have a click depth of 10 or more. Shockingly, 12 pages are 80 or more clicks away from the homepage.

To reduce the click depth for many of the site’s pages, I recommend creating new ways to interlink the site’s pages. For example, each article could use a widget that displays topically similar articles, based on a metric other than date (e.g., internal links, social shares, etc.). “


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

  • More than 6,000 words, 47 pro content marketing tips
  • Improve profitability for your best(and worst) content
  • Actionable steps for more traffic, links and leads from your content