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:

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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

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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

 

27 Marketing Experts Share Their Favorite Content Marketing Tools (And How They Use Them)

Tools

Regardless of if you’re a seasoned marketing veteran or relatively new to the Content Marketing world, there are tons of content marketing tools available on the market today (many of which are absolutely free) that are guaranteed to help you reach your marketing goals faster and easier. Whether it’s for content strategy, content creation, content sharing, or content promotion, there is a tool for everything.

What we’re most curious about, however, is which one of the hundreds of content marketing tools out there is most worth your while? Which tool is the most useful, most popular? To find that out, we reached out to a bunch of successful and established content marketing experts to see what content marketing tools they actually use and love. Specifically, we asked this question:

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

We received an incredible range of answers and insight, and for that we heartily thank each and every participant who provided their honest, expert advice. Find out which content marketing tools are our 27 content marketing experts’ favorites:

Meet Our Panel of Experts:

Arnie Kuenn

Arnie Kuenn is the CEO of Vertical Measures, a search, social & content marketing agency helping their clients get more traffic, more leads, and more business. Arnie has held executive positions in the world of new technologies and marketing for more than 20 years. He is a frequent speaker and author of the award winning content marketing book Accelerate! Moving Your Business Forward Through the Convergence of Search, Social & Content Marketing available on Amazon.

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

There are many tools for different aspects of content marketing, so for this article I will focus on one aspect of our content marketing methodology – the research process. We use several different tools to find valuable content opportunities for our clients. Below are a few of them.

1) Your Internal Team. This is not your traditional “tool,” but more of a process. Start by reaching out to your staff and ask them: “What are you asked by customers and prospects all the time?” Ask anyone in your organization that interacts with clients and write down all of these questions. This will be the foundation for the next few tools.

2) Google Is Your Best Friend. Using some of the ideas you just gathered (above), and maybe even some important keyword phrases for your business, enter those phrases right into Google search and look at the “suggestions” Google displays automatically. Often we find great content ideas right there. Upon completion of entering that query, you can scroll down to the bottom of the page for additional ideas in the “related searches” area.

3) Question & Answers Sites. Using some of the ideas you are now starting to accumulate, we then recommend sites like Yahoo Answers, Answers.com and Quora. Simply enter your keyword phrases to look for related questions that are being asked. The concept is: if people are seeking answers to these questions online, why not create content that answers these questions and post it on your website? People will find you via that content and feel you are the authority on that subject.

Using just these tools and the mini-process above, we often discover hundreds of content ideas for our clients. We then use some tools to help us prioritize the opportunities based on competition and search volumes. Since most people use search prior to making a purchase or doing business with a company, that is where we focus our research.


Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute and author of the new book, “Epic Content Marketing”.

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

Build Your Subscriber Database with SlideShare Pro

Having a subscription strategy is critical to any content marketing professional. I’m astounded that more marketers are not actively using SlideShare as part of acquiring subscribers to your content. If you’re not familiar, SlideShare was purchased by LinkedIn and sees about 100 million visitors per month. Simply put, SlideShare is the YouTube for PowerPoint presentations (and so much more).

A SlideShare Pro account starts at $16 per month and gives you the opportunity to collect leads and/or subscribers. We at the Content Marketing Institute have been using SlideShare Pro for two years now, and it is our #2 overall source for new subscribers. That means we have done nothing different with deploying content on SlideShare, but now we are actively driving new leads. Also, SlideShare can be integrated with most marketing automation systems.

Pippity

Pippity is a pop-over form that we use to acquire new subscribers to our content. We’ve been using Pippity for years now and it has quickly become our number one way of gaining new subscribers. Key: be sure you are giving away an amazing piece of content because it won’t work if you don’t.


Dustin Christensen

Dustin ChristensenDustin is the digital marketing manager at JacksonWhite Law, where he focuses on content marketing, SEO and PPC. He also blogs about digital marketing topics at BrandRise.

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

One of the most effective content marketing tools I use is Quora. Though it’s more of a platform, I use Quora to not only find content marketing ideas and topics, but to discover and engage with experts that I might not find otherwise. It’s a great way to generate content ideas, while also demonstrating one’s own insight by answering relevant questions with unique value.

I find that the referral traffic from Quora is usually very high quality, and the content we produce that was based on Quora research is often our most engaging. There’s a reason that sites like the Huffington Post, Forbes, Slate and Newsweek have all begun posting Quora-based content on their sites, and I think content marketers of all levels can do the same type of leveraging, in their own way.

The types of questions and answers that are found on Quora also mesh well with the trend of semantic search – these are all very natural queries that offer value and insight both to those asking and answering questions.


Grant Tilus

Grant TilusGrant Tilus leads a team of inbound marketing specialists at Collegis Education. He helps manage the production, outreach and promotion of content to achieve specific business goals. He will also be presenting about creating content via Hangouts on Air at SMX West this spring.

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

Trello and Ubersuggest are by far my favorite content marketing tools. Trello is great for organizing, assigning and tracking the content ideation, writing and publishing process; especially when you have lots of content coming from many different writers. Ubersuggest is a great place to go for keyword ideas based on Google’s suggested searches; perfect for finding long tail phrases with low competition.


Justin Garrity

JustinGarrityJustin Garrity is the VP of Product and Marketing at Postano. Justin has over 15 years of experience in product design, user experience, data visualization, marketing, and branding. Justin is passionate about social media and leveraging data to create more engaging experiences for brands and their fans.

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

As the quality of user-generated content (UGC) has risen in the past few years, brands should tap into their consumers for authentic, quality content. Using a tool like Postano’s Platform, brands can gain unprecedented visibility of fan activity across all major social networks, and can easily curate and publish the best content into social hubs, event/in-store displays, command centers, making it easier for brands to engage with their consumers/fans.


Gloria Rand

Gloria Rand specializes in developing innovative programs that help people maximize the power of the Internet, and quickly increases their online visibility, profits and success. As a Leading Expert in Copywriting and Social Media Marketing, entrepreneurs and small business owners call upon her to help them overcome their biggest internet marketing challenges and create an online presence that dramatically improves their leads and sales.

Gloria is a Contributing Author to the book, “Mogul Mom – How to Quit Your Job, Start Your Own Business, and Join the Work-at-Home Mom Revolution.” Her innovative blog has been rated as one of the top 11 copywriting blogs for search engine optimization by Wordstream. Find out more about Gloria at www.gloriarand.com.

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

My newest and most favorite content marketing tool is HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator:
http://www.hubspot.com/blog-topic-generator [2].

I’ve been writing blog articles for a landscape lighting contractor for the last year, and now I have a wonderful new resource to come up with subjects for his next article. Not to mention, it’s a wonderful tool for my own blog! All you do is input three different keywords, and HubSpot returns 5 different article titles. I love it!

My next favorite content marketing tool is Pinterest. I’ve been pinning images from my blog articles for several months now, and it is by far the best traffic generating tool to my website. I make sure that when I pin an image it includes the title of my blog article as well as the URL of my website so that people know right away where the image came from.


John Leo Weber

john-leoJohn Leo Weber is a digital marketing specialist and copywriter with Geek Powered Studios in Austin TX. He has a bachelors degree in Communications and New Media from The University of Minnesota, and has a passion for helping entrepreneurs successfully grow their brands. He is also a contributor at Search Engine Journal, and I’ve been featured in publications like MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, and Care.com.

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

I really like to use third party image banner ad networks to distribute visual ads beyond Google partner sites, and to get good placement on social media sites like Facebook. The image ads through networks like Perfect Audience provide great ROI and increased conversions. They give our clients a competitive advantage over their competitors who might only be advertising on one network or channel.


Jessica Levin

Jessica-LevinJessica Levin, MBA, CMP, CAE is the President and Chief Connector for Seven Degrees Communications. Jessica uses social technology to build and strengthen both personal and business relationships and teaches others how to embrace social media as a way to create both corporate and personal brands. Jessica is a frequent presenter on the topic of strategic social media, event engagement and integrating marketing and technology. and is also contributing author to the book “The Tweeting Meeting.”

Jessica is the President of the New Jersey Professional Marketers Association (NJPSMG)  and serves as the Interactive Education Chair for Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM). In addition, she serves on the social media advisory group for the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) and was named New Jersey’s 2009 Top Forty Under 40.

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

Blogs are one of my favorite tools because it is socially acceptable for them to be brief (300 – 500 words). If written well, one can convey a point to the reader in this short format. It’s longer than a tweet or a Facebook post and a bit more formal in nature. I work with a lot of B2B clients and this is an effective tool for demonstrating thought leadership and making the SEO monsters happy.

Also, blogs require commitment and while it seems that there are so many out there, the quality ones are few and far between. For an organization that really wants to make an impact and position themselves to be thinkers, this is a great way to do it. If one represents a more visual product, photos distributed through Pinterest or Instagram can be effective, but I am along a fan of infographics. These are not just a fun buzzword, but by using visuals to breakdown a complicated message or process, you help the reader to understand and remember.

Personally, I am a heavy user of Facebook and Twitter, but I think these are good places to push out content. In order to be a try thought leader, an organization must create and not just curate. It’s blog and info graphics for me.


Christopher Griffith

Christopher GriffithChristopher Griffith is the Director of Content Marketing at WizeHive.

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

1. InboundWriter – I use a program called InboundWriter to help optimize my content for web searches. It allows you to select which keywords you’d like to focus on and really helps you craft a great article that will show in search results for that topic.

2. Google Docs – I’m sure most bloggers do the same, but Google Docs has been a game changer for me. Being able to share articles with the rest of my team before publishing, and let them make edits in real time… I don’t know what I do without it.

3. WizeHive Swarm – Before using Swarm to manage the content I work on (which posts are in the draft stage, which articles need to be reviewed, which articles need approval from a third party client), I used a google spreadsheet and it would take a lot of time each day to look through and see what stage everything was in, but now Swarm’s interface allows me to manipulate this data in many different ways so I can get the information I need very, very quickly.


Collin Jarman

CollinCollin is an SEO at Click Optimize, a web design and internet marketing agency located in Raleigh, NC.

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

My favorite content marketing tool is HARO (helpareporter.com). As an SEO, linkbuilding is a core aspect of my job. Rather than email out and ask companies for links, I find it much more effective to actually offer value. If I help a company or reporter by answering an interview question or contributing to an article in some way, they are much more likely to link back to our site. This creates a true mutually-beneficial relationships between content sources and creators, and has the added perk of boosting the credibility of both.


John Lincoln

John-E-Lincoln-IgniteJohn Lincoln is Co-Owner of Ignite Visibility, an advanced Internet marketing company specializing in SEO, social media, reputation management and pay per click. With over 10 years of demanding industry experience, John has worked on well over 100 Internet marketing campaigns, many of which were with global brands, fortune 100 companies and household names.

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

My own company, Ignite Visibility, has released a significant amount of resources to assist Internet marketers with content marketing, and although I’m biased, these are some of my favorite tools:

Internet Marketing Whitepapers

This collection of 6 advanced whitepapers helps those looking to learn about SEO and top social media websites online. White papers include the Ignite Visibility SEO Starter Guide and white papers provided by Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + and Pinterest. http://ignitevisibility.com/internet-marketing-white-papers/

Social Media Strategy Planner Tool

This is a lightweight application that allows companies to create a social media strategy that is integrated with their SEO strategy. http://ignitevisibility.com/social-media-planner/

Other Internet marketing resources provided by Ignite Visibility include the Google Update History Timeline, which tracks all major Google updates, Ignite Visibility data driven Infographics and Ignite Visibility University, the monthly Ignite Visibility Internet marketing video education segment.


Adam Connell

AdamAdam Connell is the Marketing Manager of UK Linkology, a content marketing agency based in the UK.

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

There are a lot of tools that myself and my team use, but I find that it’s very important to understand the types of content that is working well within your sector before you can put a full strategy together.

You also need to tap into the established audiences of influencers within that sector to help extend the reach of your content.

I use a combination of tools for this:

Buzzsumo – this tool allows me to identify the top content for a specific keyword of on a specific domain and see how they perform in social media.

Inkybee – while Buzzsumo has influencer research built in, I find the entire process can be managed easily within Inkybee. The metrics pulled in here are incredibly useful for identifying a blogs influence. I can also track relationships and the social reach of blog posts alongside integrated Google Analytics data amongst other things

There are a lot of tools that I use in addition to these, but one constant remains true in content marketing – once the research has been done and the content has been published; you need to dedicate the time to market the content effectively. Clicking publish just isn’t enough.


Nicole Beckett

nicole beckettNicole Beckett is the President of Premier Content Source, Inc. Prior her current position, she spent more than a decade in TV news. Today, Nicole uses her journalism skills to give her clients content that’s engaging, compelling, and of course, informative.

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

I don’t think that a bunch of fancy gadgets can help when it comes to content marketing. After all, great content creates a bond with the readers, so I stay away from any tool that promises to automate the writing process.

When it comes time to brainstorm new topic ideas for my blog and my guest posts, I rely mainly on good ol’ fashioned Google. I can always find something in Google News that inspires me — like the results of a new study or a new development that’s generating alot of attention. I also head onto Twitter to see what’s trending.

When it comes time to promote my content, I use many of the same tools that other marketers do — like Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. I also tap into the power of BizSugar, a community that’s chock full of entrepreneurs and marketers (my target audience!). I also think the American Express OPEN Forum is a real goldmine. Not only can I promote things that I’ve written, I can also see what kinds of questions other business owners are asking — which helps me come up with new topics to write about!


Jerry Rackley

JerryRackleyHeadshotJerry Rackley is the Chief Analyst for Demand Metric. With 30 years of experience in Marketing at IBM, Esker Software, and Stillwater National Bank, Jerry is very versatile with his expertise. At Demand Metric he runs their primary research study programs. Jerry also teaches Marketing at Oklahoma State University.

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

The Google keyword tool is one of my favorites, because it allows me to know which keywords are likely to generate the most search results (and hence, clicks) in the content I produce. The basic data this tool provides – monthly search volume and the level of competition for the term(s) – is very helpful when authoring content for marketing purposes.


Bob Bentz

Bob Bentz1Bob Bentz is president of ATS Mobile, a mobile marketing agency in suburban Philadelphia with international offices in London, Prague, and Toronto. Bob helps advertisers, advertising agencies, and media partners sell more with mobile marketing.

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

My favorite content marketing tool is to get quotes from numerous experts about a particular topic. Why? Because, when I publish their information they almost always will link back to my site to promote themselves. Be sure to give them props like “Top 30 Experts in Mobile Marketing” or something similar. You’ll get bonus readers from the link and it will also help your SEO!


Jeromy Ko

Jeromy KoJeromy Ko is the brand strategist and ad buyer for The Social Firm. We are a full-service digital marketing agency in Columbus,OH. You can find more at The Social Firm website: http://www.thesocialfirm.com/.

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

Some content marketing tools that I couldn’t live without are Sprout Social and Hootsuite. Both of these programs are social media tools that provide valuable data. I utilize Sprout Social to track data on my social media profiles. They offer in-depth analytics such as impression

Hootsuite is a tool that allows me to schedule posts on my social media channels. The best part of Hootsuite is that it automatically identifies the best time to post the content based on algorithms.


Derek Merdinyan

Derek Merdinyan is an author and founder of VideoIgniter.com – a web app offering computer animation services on demand to agencies and businesses.

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

At Video Igniter when it comes to content, we eat our own dog food. Every few weeks we work with an expert in the online/marketing/video space to co-produce a short animated video that provides educational value for our target audience (online/digital marketers).

We then syndicate our videos to a collection of blogs using a special embed code that displays an email lead generation capture form over the last frame of the video for viewers who watch the complete video. From there, people can opt in to an email drip campaign and be connected with our sales team.


Eva McKnight

Eva McKnightEva McKnight is the PR, social media, and content specialist at Formstack, an Indianapolis-based form building and data collection platform.

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

My favorite content marketing tool is the email marketing platform. There are so many ESPs that allow you to safely send marketing emails to your list. Email is often discounted as an “ancient” marketing trend, but it’s a great way to put your content right in front of your customers in a place they visit every day – their inboxes. At Formstack, we use email marketing tools to follow up with new trial users, send surveys, and communicate company news to our customer base.


Kendall Bird

KendallKendall Bird is an Online Community Specialist for Collegis Education, a Chicago-based tech company specializing in the education sector. With her Bachelor’s degree in public relations and a passion for social media, she enjoys writing motivating and enthusiastic blog content to encourage prospective and current students.

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

As a content creator for Collegis Education, I enjoy working with BuzzStream. It’s an outreach management tool that makes working with contacts for blog articles ten times easier. Not only does it organize all of your contacts, but it saves you time because you no longer have to keep spreadsheets of contacts saved to your computer.


Brad Hines

Brad HinesBrad Hines is a Digital Marketing & Social Media Strategist at BradfordHines.com and YumDomains.com. He is also a Freelance Writer and Founder of HungryKids.org.

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

One of my favorite tools that I recommend to all of my clients is the Buffer tool. Buffer is a must for connecting multiple social media accounts to post from one button, and also to be able to schedule the posts. There are other tools that do this like Hootsuite but I like Buffer the best as a result of experience with them all.


Tara Adams

Tara AdamsTara Adams is Owner and CEO of Adams Edge Marketing, specializing in Inbound Online Marketing and Content Marketing.

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

Every piece lives or dies by the title.

I really like to start out simple by going to Google search and begin to look through the blog and discussions to see what is trending and relevant. Even if I find great stuff to create a great headline, I will still check in with trendspottr.com or ubersuggest.com to get more ideas. Twitter is a great place to find trending news and the tolls I just listed are free and both check in with twitter.

Every great piece has to have a great image to go along with it and if the budget is tight, I will look through creative commons for free images and their license to use. It’s very important you have the license to use the image.

Once you have your title, a great piece written and an image to go along with it – you really need to promote the piece and social media like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are great for reaching others. Google+ is great for SEO reasons. Digg, Reddit and Tumblr are great Social Sharing sites to further promote your content.


Carly Fauth

Carly-Fauth_webCarly Fauth is Director of Marketing and Outreach at Money Crashers, a financial education website. Find out more at http://www.moneycrashers.com/.

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

One content marketing tool to consider is called Buffer. It allows you to schedule your social media updates at set times during the day and to specified social media accounts. It also provides analytics capabilities.

Another tool is called OneSpot. It transforms your content into advertising “spots’ which are then distributed to multiple websites.

There’s also Content Blvd which helps marketers connect with relevant publishers in order to get their content out to a larger audience.

Yoast is another. It’s a plug in for WordPress that helps with website optimization.


Daniel J. Lewis

Daniel J Lewis-squareDaniel J. Lewis is an award-winning podcaster and helps others launch and improve their own podcasts for sharing their passions and succeeding in business. Daniel offers one-on-one consulting; speaks on technology, social media, and theology; and Daniel hosts a network of award-nominated Internet shows. Learn more at TheAudacitytoPodcast.com.

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

Audio podcasting is my greatest form of content-marketing. It allows me to share my content with genuine emotion, which establishes me as an industry expert and markets my knowledge internationally. My audience can take my content on a mobile device and consume it while driving, working, mowing the yard, or anything where they can listen while doing something else. This also means my content is available on my site (audio and written) as well as several podcast apps and directories. I could not be a successful entrepreneur today without my podcasts.


C. Anne Tipton

C Anne TiptonC. Anne Tipton is a business and lifestyle design coach and motivational speaker who helps business owners create the life of their dreams. Her book, “Design and Create Your Best Year Ever,” engages the reader in a series of exercises that help provide clarity and confidence while creating a plan. You can find her at www.dolessearnmore.com.

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

One of the biggest challenges that consistent bloggers face is coming up with new content. It gets boring for your readers, and to write when you are constantly talking about the same things! CurationSoft has really solved that problem for me! It is constantly giving me ideas about topics to blog or post about.


Tom Bukevicius

Tom Bukevicius is the Founder of Supero Media and oversees their client relationships, operations, and marketing. He ensures that the clients are happy, projects are delivered and there is always buzz about Supero. Tom’s extensive experience spans across small businesses and Fortune 500 companies.

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

Basecamp is my favorite tool for content marketing, It helps me manage the content writing workflow: from idea, to research, writing, editing, and publishing.


Robin Samora

Robin SamoraRobin Samora is the Founder of Robin Samora, Inc., a PR, branding and Promotions firm in Boston, MA. A seasoned pro with over 20 years of sales and marketing experience, Robin knows that successful businesses don’t wait for things to happen, they make them happen. Shea also believes in paying it forward and is the Founder of the Let’s Make You Shine Fund, which empowers young women with a gift, to further their education. Proceeds from her business help support this important cause.

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

We use Feedly as our main content curation tool. Anytime we come across a new blog or website with great PR content, we add them to our Feedly account. We find this content on all different platforms; Twitter, Google+, Facebook and we use both Buffer App and Hootsuite to distribute new content. We also do frequent searches on those platforms for PR keywords to find new content. Sites like Social Buzz Club and Triberr also help us find the right articles for our audience and we utilize Twitter lists to curate from trusted sources.


Joshua Mackens

Joshua Mackens is the President of both the Local Business Internet Marketing University and its parent company, Tutelary Marketing. He is extremely passionate about helping local businesses achieve their internet marketing goals. Find out more about Joshua at their website: university.tutelarymarketing.com

“What are some of your favorite content marketing tools to use, and how do you use them?”

Our favorite tool to use for content marketing by far is Google+ Hangouts.

We love Hangouts for a variety of reasons but mostly because we feel like they bring the most value. Google+ Hangouts are normally live (or the good ones are anyway). The participants can ask a question or make a comment and get an answer immediately unlike in a blog post, ebook, or podcast.

Google+ Hangouts also employ the visual component of communication which you can’t find in print or audio mediums obviously. Your fans can see you, which is a big deal. The live component and Q&A functionality Google+ Hangouts boast means there’s a much broader potential for participation with fans. Participation in content marketing is key.

There’s also a much broader array of communication tools available through Google+ Hangouts as well. With podcasts I can tell you how to do something. On a blog post, I can tell you and try to walk you through it with pictures. In a Google+ Hangout I can SHOW you through sharing my screen. Not to mention how fun Google+ Hangouts are, not only for the participants but also for the hosts as well.


Do you have a favorite content marketing tool that isn’t on here that you think should be? Leave us a note!

Best of The Web: Content Marketing Round-up Issue #1

This month we discovered that Content Marketing is appearing increasingly more often in mainstream Marketing news as well as on the Business front, and for good reasons. One of those reasons is that most companies today are more likely to adopt a Marketing plan that focuses on Content Marketing than say, on mostly SEO, because Content Marketing at its core directly translates into a business goal that leaders are already constantly striving for; creating great valuable content that attracts (and keeps) customers.

This month’s latest and best news in the content marketing space answer some crucial questions such as:

  • What are the big, successful companies doing that I’m not doing?
  • What are some real, actionable steps I can take to improve my company’s Content Marketing?
  • What new areas can my company expect to integrate with Content Marketing?

Check out the top stories this month:

Content Marketing Roundup:

Big Publishers Want Big Content — How We Got Coverage on 15+ Top Sites

by Daniel Tynski on Medium

This article walks you through the actual tips and principles that helped Medium land features and links for their clients on 15 of the most well known publishing sites today, including Women’s Health Magazine, MTV, The Daily Mirror, Discovery.com, CNET, Daily Mail, Huffington Post, Yahoo News, among others.

Who Can This Help?

This would help any marketer, whether in SEO, Content, or any other discipline, who knows what they’re doing, but would like to land placement on a more highly authoritative publishing sites like these.

From The Post:

“Betting on big content means you’ll spend more money focusing on bigger initiatives, and you’ll spread your risk among a smaller number of projects — but you’ll also be taking advantage of a simple fact that will only become less true as time goes on:

With the right idea and presentation, even the little guy can compete with the giants. Any single business’ potential for visibility is not constrained by the size of their pocketbooks, but the creativity of their ideas and the focus of their execution.”

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Creating Viral Content: 2.5K Shares For 1 Blog Post

by Loz James on Content Champion

This podcast features a list of incredibly informative modules from Richard Marriott of Clambr.com, a successful SEO and Content blog, including how he was able to get his unknown blog to reach over 2000 shares through one viral blog post. He also talks about how to write a successful expert roundup post and how to get those experts to share your content, how to use Twitter and social media to promote your content, how to use images and videos for outreach, and a bunch more from his own personal experiences on his blog.

Who Can This Help?
This podcast would be especially useful for marketers who are brainstorming new and innovative ways to get their content to go viral, and who want to learn from other successful marketers in the online space.

From The Post:

“I thought, I have like no Twitter followers whatsoever, I only had 200 at the time. And I thought, well if I could get experts involved and make something viral, and they’ll help share and their followers will come, and you know, I’ll be able to reach out to so many people I wouldn’t be able to reach out to before. So I decided to do a roundup. And then it was a matter of getting the right question.

Because I’m an SEO newbie, I’ve been so frustrated with trying to find answers about what tools I should use, so this idea was actually in my head for that. And I thought, wait a minute, I could ask a question to find out what tools the experts were using and other people would relate to this, because they’re in the same position as me … I basically also realized this question could be answered in one tweet, which could be really powerful stuff. I found that everyone replied on Twitter.”

The most actionable SEO Tips

The Most Actionable SEO Tips Ever

by Steve Webb on Web Gnomes

This is a standout article gives you some real, actionable items to apply to both your Content Marketing and SEO strategy. It has proven itself to be a valuable reference, having already garnered over 1000 shares on social media Some of these tips mentioned here will help you optimize your existing content, and some will give you ideas of new ways to create shareable content from resources already available to you.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be great for SEO’s and marketers who have some familiarity with SEO, and who want some actionable SEO tips rather than advice that is either outdated, broad, or purely theoretical.

From The Post:

The most actionable SEO tip I know, and one I use every week is this…

Write more completely.

It’s the easiest, no brainier activity you can use to rank higher and deeper for more long-tail keywords. You can explain it to anyone, and they don’t even have to be an SEO. Aside from creating better content, there are some very real SEO benefits to be gained:

1. The richer you can make your page contextually, the more material you provide to search engines to understand what the page is about. This also gives you more long-tail opportunities.

2. Since Panda, thin pages tend to not rank very well. Consider the questions posed about high quality sites on Google’s Webmaster Central Blog:

  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?”

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Content Marketing Checklist

by Siege Media

This is an actual interactive checklist available at the Siege Media website, designed to help streamline and organize your Content Marketing processes. It is broken into the three stages of production: Idea Generation, Pre-Launch, and Post-Launch, which makes it both user-friendly and intuitive.

Who Can This Help?
This checklist is a really convenient tool to help virtually any kind of online marketer improve their Content Marketing process.

From The Post:

Things to check off during the Concept portion of the Idea Generation Phase:

1. Simple – The idea is easy enough to understand for the target demographic and the industry’s related news publications.

2. Unexpected – The idea concept or idea reveals new information. Or the study can be tweaked/pivoted to reveal new data.

3. Concreteness – Is it something the reader can quickly make a connection with. It is something real, measurable and not abstract.

4. Credibility – The content is trustworthy: the idea/concept, website design, layout, formatting, images, trust symbols, and history of good content all convey the trust required to be effective.

5. Emotions – The content triggers emotion within the reader, whether subtle or extreme.

6. Tells Stories – There is a story or idea behind the concept that engages the reader deeper than just being shown data without explanation.

7. The idea, when communicated, won’t be received as overly promotional/directly selling the products of the business it represents.

The Kind of Video You Should Create for Your Business

by Phil Nottingham on the Moz Blog

This post is a thorough and informative look into video content marketing, and it not only gives some great ideas for using video in various content marketing plans, but also explains things like how you could create product videos or creative stories, what makes the most sense with video content for each business, and what to do with video on a limited budget.

Who Can This Help?
This article on video content would be perfect for businesses that are actively looking broaden their marketing reach and are open to stepping into video content marketing, as it takes you right into the brainstorming and content ideation process.

From The Post:

“[One kind of video] you can do is tutorials and how-tos. The value of these videos is that they can be incredibly useful to build up your brand with an audience on YouTube. So I’m going to explain exactly the kind of style that you should be creating, that’s not too heavily branded, very informational, and not focused on selling.

You can also do a lot of thought-leadership content. Thought-leadership content can get you links, it can get you great presence on YouTube, help you build your brand as well, and demonstrate that you’re really an expert in whatever field it is you work in.”

How I Increased Facebook Reach and Engagement by 200-300% This Week

by Darren Rowse on ProBlogger

This article is an engaging and informative walk-through of how Darren was personally able to nearly triple the activity on his Facebook posts by testing out a few different image, link updates, and status post techniques and then monitoring their success. Most of these techniques really aren’t exactly new tactics most marketers haven’t heard before, however, it is rare that you come across such a personal and firsthand look into a successful marketer’s own Facebook marketing strategy and research data, so this article is a particularly useful tool in that regard.

Who Can This Help?

This article would be really helpful for an online marketer who is already active on Facebook and who would like to improve their engagement and reach, because this article does a great job in presenting a case study that is both inspiring and useful for Facebook marketing strategy.

From The Post:

“I’ve never done ‘collage’ based image updates on Facebook before so this was a very new experiment for me. I’m glad I did it. I used a free web based app called Pic Monkey to create these collages which were a collection of images from blog posts. Here are some examples:

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This status update was our most popular this week. It was a collage of 16 images that came from this blog post from our archives. This was a popular post that I knew had done well on Facebook last year so I thought it might be a good one to experiment with. You can see it received over 850 likes, 502 shares and had quite a few comments. It ‘reached’ over 80,000 people.”

 

 


Timeless Content Marketing Lessons from the World’s Fastest Growing Online Publication

by KISS Metrics

This article explains how UpWorthy, one of the newest and fasted growing online publications today, has been able to surpass the early record numbers of some of the web’s most trafficked online publications, and how to apply their success model to your own business’ content.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be truly helpful to any online marketer wanting to learn from today’s models of success, whether you’re a traditional marketer, or in Content or SEO.

From The Post:

“How does content like this make waves in a place like the web, where viewers are drowning in eye-catching alternatives? The answer is headlines.

While I’m certainly not the first person to tell you that memorable headlines are one of the most important parts of any widely read article, I think you’ll be surprised to see just what an impact small headline changes can have.

The UpWorthy team is so fanatical about headlines, that editors must assemble at least 25 headlines for every new article that is published. According to CEO Eli Pariser:

The ethos behind the 25 headlines is you can have the best piece of content and make the best point ever. But if no one looks at it, the article is a waste. A good headline can be the difference between 1,000 people and 1,000,000 people reading something.”

How to Use Instagram For Content Marketing

by Shanna Mallon on Online Marketing Institute

This article gives some great insight and useful tips for online marketers on how to harness the audience reach of Instagram as a unique social platform, and use it for your business’ own content marketing.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be great for marketers who already have a presence in other social media platforms and are ready to expand their social reach in a meaningful way.

From The Post:

“As is true of all social channels, you’ll gain more from Instagram when you look at it less like an advertising opportunity and more like a community. People don’t connect with brands; they connect with people. So to make the most of Instagram, make the most of connections.

According to blogger Mary Beth at Annapolis & Company,  “The bottom line is to build a following of genuine people who care about your contribution to the online world, and for you to follow people with whom you resonate. You’ll go way further than just commenting on feeds who have a large following but have no real interest in, or stalking people saying, ‘please follow me,’ or ‘give me a shout-out.’”

21 Tips Guaranteed To Rock Your Content Marketing

by Heidi Cohen on Heidi Cohen Blog

This article contains 21 effective Content Marketing tips and tricks, each of which are supported with appropriate references and research. While some of the steps mentioned might already appear in your current strategy, there are certainly more than a few gems in here that even the most experienced content marketers can take note of.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be helpful to both Content Marketers who are fine-tuning their content marketing approach, as well as any online marketer wanting to take their content marketing efforts more seriously.

From The Post:

“Don’t wing content creation! Two-thirds of marketers develop their content marketing without a plan according to IMN.  Provide structure to your information creation. Use an editorial calendar to create large, medium and small content. If a month’s too difficult for you to manage, the two week, Cliff Notes Approach to editorial calendars may help.

Plan content reuse in advance. Since marketing resources are scarce, create multiple pieces of content from the same effort. Don’t forget to get your human resources and legal teams involved to ensure that it’s part of your employees’ jobs and talent and agency contracts.

Avoid THDR (aka: Too Hard Didn’t Read). If your content looks like it’s too much effort to read, then potential readers will skip it. To this end, format your content marketing to be effective and easy-to-consume.”


5 Things Winning Content & Link Marketers Do Differently

by Matt Gratt on Buzzstream

This article is a great lesson for marketers of all levels. Here, the guys from Buzzstream aggregate their experiences with their most successful clients and offer up five big differences between the companies that are absolutely dominating their content promotion and link development, versus the ones that aren’t.

Who Can This Help?
This article contains advice that would be useful for any online marketer who is looking to re-evaluate their current Content Marketing and Link Strategy, and who want to learn from the ones who are doing it right.

From The Post:

“Content marketing requires a different mindset then traditional ad campaigns – Content Marketing is Accumulative. It compounds. In many ways, it looks more like building a brand over the long term rather than short-term, largely independent campaigns.

While each ‘push’ may look like a campaign, the results are not independent – over time, they grow and make everything you do effective.

As content marketing programs grow, they become ‘flywheels‘ – self-reinforcing marketing programs.   Every piece gets incrementally easier as your organization both learns to do great marketing and your brand and audience grow.”

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How to Create a Content Strategy (In Only 652 Steps)

by Ian Lurie on Portent, Inc.

This in-depth article is pretty much a full course in Content Strategy, and it covers essential Content Strategy subtopics such as goal-setting, auditing, competition analysis, strategy execution, and best practices, which would be especially interesting for marketers who are trying to hone in on their content marketing skills.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be ideal for any online marketer who currently does not have a thorough Content Marketing Strategy, or maybe does have one that isn’t quite working well, since it takes you step by step through every stage of Content Strategy development.

From The Post:

“To be honest, I rarely do a deep competitive analysis. We’re not going to imitate the competition, because that probably won’t work. And being a copycat is really, really bad for your brand, as Adecco found out. And we’re not going to learn much from them, because we have no information about their process/challenges/resources.

However, there are times when competitive research and comparisons make sense:

  1. Prompt a response. Nothing gets a team motivated faster than “our biggest competitor is using this strategy, and they’re kicking our butt.” This works well when you’re justifying everything from fully descriptive title tags to content that’s not marketing-focused.
  2. Give you a goal. If you have no idea what to set as a goal, you might check share data for competitor content. That assumes the competitor is doing well, of course.”


Have great a Content Marketing article you’d like to share? Leave us a note in the comments section.

FREE GUIDE: Boost the Value of Your Content

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