Why Short Term Content Marketing Campaigns Are A Horrible Idea

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Short-Term Content Marketing Does Not Exist Header

It’s human nature to relish instant gratification. Our most basic instinctual drives rely on the carnal urge to quickly alleviate displeasure and expedite enjoyment. Moreover, we live in the age of up-to-the-minute newsfeeds, abhorrently fast Internet access, and same-day drone deliveries.

In short, humans face no scarcity of opportunities for immediate satisfaction. As content marketers in this consumer-driven world, we must give the people what they want, right? That means having answers to every question, upon request, at consumers’ fingertips.

Here’s where that process gets remarkably tricky. Even though we fancy ourselves as objective marketers, we’re still under the same influence of human nature as our consumers. One of the ways our instant gratification tendencies manifests itself is a run-and-gun approach to content marketing execution and examination.

I’ll spare you further cliché colloquialisms of good things taking time and running marathons not sprints. I will, however, explain why short-term content marketing campaigns are not only a horrible idea, but really shouldn’t even exist in the industry. To do so, we’ll look at content marketing’s definition and objectives, the definition of “short-term,” as well as real-world examples of the content marketing process.

Content Marketing Definition

The first step in understanding the ineptitude of short-term content marketing campaigns is to look at the definition of content marketing.

“Content marketing is an online marketing strategy that focuses on providing valuable content to current and potential clients and customers.”

The crux of content marketing’s definition is “providing valuable content.” Obvious? Good. Content that your audience finds valuable is mandatory, regardless of your stance on the efficacy of short-term campaigns.

Sometimes to fully understand what something is, it helps to know what it’s not. If there was any uncertainty, a content marketing campaign is NOT an advertising campaign. Simply because both are followed by “campaign” does not make them one in the same. In actuality, no one should understand this better than marketers. We should be the most aware of the many facets of marketing. The folks working in the areas of product, price, and place can attest to that notion.

Content marketing is not advertising

Let’s examine an academic definition for advertising to see why there’s no excuse for homogenizing the two categories.

“Advertising is paid, impersonal, one-way marketing of persuasive information from an identified sponsor disseminated through channels of mass communication to promote the adoption of goods, services or ideas.”

Did you spot the key word of difference from content marketing’s definition? For one, there’s the clear difference that content marketing provides value for current customers as well as to prospects. But, there is a type of advertising which focuses on informing current users, too.

There is a more decisive point of difference. The element of persuasion is by definition absent from content marketing. While by definition, persuasion is at the very core of advertising. Content marketing is about building a network of long-term brand advocates, not an immediate jump in sales or leads.

Content Marketing Objectives

The critical point of difference in the definitions of advertising and content marketing is also the root of the discrepancies in their ultimate objectives. Take a look at some of the most common goals of each type of campaign.

Content Campaign Objectives

Advertising Campaign Objectives

Brand Awareness

Persuade

Brand Loyalty

Remind
Customer Education

Inform

Customer Engagement

Stimulate Immediate Demand

Talent Recruitment

Increase Profit

To speak broadly, the main goal of all content marketing campaigns is to create brand advocates. In turn, these advocates provide your brand with search, referral, social, and word of mouth traffic for years. Which then translates into long-term, sustainable profits.

In advertising, the overarching goal is to instantly impact sales and/or leads. Immediate, measureable, and profitable results are expected here and they should be. Ad campaigns completely satisfy our desire for instant gratification.

Content marketing versus advertising

Both content marketing campaigns and advertising campaigns have a place in all firms. Your mission, objectives, and goals will determine when and where you utilize each campaign type. It’s up to you to decide when it’s necessary to push a product, but providing long-term value to consumers is an ongoing effort.

Everyone running a content marketing campaign must learn to quiet the desire for instant gratification, while simultaneously providing it to each and every consumer.

Defining “Short-Term”

All areas of business utilize short- and long-term projections, goals, and projects. It is often the case that short-term goals are used as means-to-an-end for long-term goals. In investment and accounting, short-term typically indicates a duration of less than a year.

Think back to our discussion on the definitions. In advertising, the core goal was to spark immediate action. Now, that short-term goal is often used in conjunction with a long-term advertising plan or direction. However, advertising is still better measured and assessed in the short-term.

Every single content marketing initiative requires you to take the long-term approach. John Hall, Forbes contributor and CEO of Influence & Co, says the following on content marketing initiatives, “Any solid initiative needs at least six months to yield impact.” Any content marketing campaign that hasn’t been in place for AT LEAST half a year will not give you results, or at least not the results for which you’re hoping.

It all boils down to consistency. A term not included in the definition of content marketing, but probably should be added. Posting a few blog posts here and there does not constitute a content marketing campaign.

Authority and consistency

Consistency equals authority. When consistency is absent or overlooked, the consumer has no reason to look at you as anything more than an occasional commentator. Occasional commentators do not develop a posse of passionate brand advocates. And that’s when content marketing pays dividends.

Proof That It’s A Process

As with the law of gravity and the influence of instincts, no one is excused from the incapability of short-term content marketing campaigns. Take a look at Neil Patel, co-founder of Quick Sprout, Crazy Egg, and KISSmetrics. Everyone from The Wall Street Journal to the POTUS have honored Patel as a top influencer on the Internet and a top entrepreneur.

The online presence that Patel’s blogs enjoy in the business and marketing space was not built overnight, or even in six months. Quick Sprout took five years to see 100,000 monthly visits. Need more proof of the efficacy of consistency? KISSmetrics took two years and five posts a week to hit 500,000 monthly visitors.

Short-Term Content Marketing Does Not Exist

Here and now, let’s declare an end to short-term content marketing campaigns.

When you strip away all of the preconceived notions and marketing jargon, short-term content marketing reveals itself as an oxymoron. “Short-term” and “content marketing” are complete opposites. Put it on the list next to jumbo shrimp and sweet sorrow.

content marketing demands nurturing

Quieting your instincts to desire immediate gratification is no easy feat. But, understanding what content marketing is at its core is a crucial step. It’s not about waiting anxiously for results, it’s about nurturing a relationship. Content marketing is about being a consistent source of value in a persons’ life. Doesn’t everyone deserve that?

How To Structure A Content Marketing Team

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winning content team

Creating and promoting useful, unique content is something everyone is doing, and in this case, your mother would tell you it’s OK to follow the crowd with this one. And so do we.

Approximately 91% of B2B marketers and 86% of B2C marketers implement content marketing, and if you’re not already a part of one of those percentages, you need to be. Why? Well for starters, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and produces nearly 3 times as many leads.

In order for your content marketing efforts to be successful, you need to structure a content marketing team. Your content marketing team provides numerous benefits for your brand, including:

  • Driving awareness
  • Educating prospects
  • Building credibility and earning trust with potential clients
  • Generating leads
  • Nurturing leads
  • Increasing direct sales

Now you know what your content marketing team’s responsibilities are and why this team is needed, it’s time to learn what team members are necessary and how you’re going to structure your team.

Content Marketing Team Players

Most content marketing teams are smaller. Roughly 41% are only made up of 2-5 people. But the size of your team all depends on how big your company is and how big your budget is. You also should sit down and set goals and strategies before you start hiring people. This helps you create a framework for your content marketing team, and once that framework is set, you can move on to compiling your team players together.

Team Lead

Every team needs a captain, a team leader. He or she is the person leading your content marketing strategy. All content and processes should flow through the team lead, who needs to be involved with the steps and every team member. According to Joe Pulizzi, who holds this role at CMI, the responsibilities of the team lead — or chief storyteller as he titles them — involve:

  • Managing content
  • Approving designs
  • Getting web, print and event resources
  • Budgeting projects
  • Negotiating contracts
  • Developing audiences
  • Researching and measuring content results

The team lead should do all he or she can to ensure the content marketing team’s goals are executed.

Managing Editor

Next in line is the managing editor. Your team’s manager is second in command and plays a crucial role within the team. This role oversees the editorial calendar, scheduling, assigning the content creators tasks, making sure content is captivating and consistent and maintaining your brand’s voice. A managing editor needs to know the mechanics of publishing content online, how to manage all the content and sometimes must add images to written content pieces. You should hire someone who has a strong background in journalism or English.

Content Creators

Content creators are exactly what their name says they are. They’re the ones actually creating the content that gets sent to the managing editor for review. A content creator could be a writer, a designer or a videographer. They could even be all three. Depending on size, budget, workload and types of content you wish to create, you may only need one content creator, or you may need three or four or more. Many companies have in-house content creators, but some also outsource to freelancers. There are pros and cons to each, so just make sure you choose whatever option works best with your brand and its goals.

Client Communicator

Buyer personas might already be in place, and the content marketing team thinks they know all there is to know about your brand’s audience. But to really be successful and produce content that hits home with your audience every time, it takes more than reading a description about your buyers. You want someone on the team who interacts almost daily with customers — someone who knows their problems, who knows what their needs and wants. This person will be so in tune with your customers that they can judge whether or not a specific content topic, style or channel is going to align with your customers. The client communicator role doesn’t need to be full time. It can be a consulting role to your team.

Stakeholders

Lastly are stakeholders. They aren’t always seen or remembered as players on your team. But they’re the approvers. They’re people you want on your side because they’re needed to help your content marketing efforts succeed. Not taking their input is a surefire way for your efforts to fail. Don’t look at stakeholders as the bad guys, as people you don’t want to deal with until the end of the process who then can ruin your content projects by disapproving of them after all your hard work. Educate these people on what your content marketing goals and initiatives are from the get-go. Involving stakeholders from the beginning of your content voyage makes them team players, your friends, not your enemies.

Steps To Structure Your Team

Once you know the people you need to hire and after setting your content marketing team’s goals and strategies, it’s time to start building your team. Here are some steps to consider when structuring your team:

Hire the best candidates for each position. You know the positions that need to be filled, so now it’s time to interview and hire the right candidates. You can hire outside your company or select from those already in your company. We suggest starting within your company. People who have the needed skills and already know your brand make the best candidates (usually). Not to mention it’s a lot easier and shorter process to hire from within.

Align internally. Besides the team players we listed above, find individuals and other teams in your company who can become part of your extended content marketing team. These people can be valued assets to your team. Look for writers, content contributors and topic idea contributors.

Train your team. Once you’ve hired your team members, you need to train them. Training methods and how much training is necessary depends on who you’ve hired, the structure of your team and what your goals are for your content team and content marketing efforts. A way to lessen how much time is needed training, hire people of high quality who already have the skills and talents of the roles you hired them for.

Measure what’s working and what isn’t. Monitoring and tracking metrics may be more of maintaining your team instead of structuring it, but nonetheless it’s important, needs to be done and should be put in place from the beginning. All marketing strategies are measured, and content marketing is no different. You made goals, so you want to monitor and track them to see how they’re doing. Digital marketing strategist Jay Baer believes there are 4 categories of metrics worth tracking — consumption, sharing, lead generation and sales.

Well there you have it. You now know who and what it takes to structure a successful content marketing team. So what’re you waiting for? Start recruiting the right players and organize yourself a winning team right now!

10 Must Have Tools For Content Marketers

By | Content Marketing | One Comment

10

Do you consider yourself a content marketer? If you answered yes, then you better live and breathe content every day.

The marketing mindset continues to develop and change over time, and one of those more recent changes is its focus being on content. Content marketing is all the rage, and I’m not just saying that because it’s what we do. Several other marketers agree with us, with 90% of marketers using content marketing and 72% creating more content than they were a year ago.

While the stats prove marketers find content marketing an extremely important part of their overall marketing strategy, only 34% of marketers think they’re effective with their content marketing efforts. That number is way too low.

So what can we as marketers do to get that percentage up? First, we need to have confidence in our abilities and ourselves. Next, we need to have a plan in place. And lastly, we need to be using the right content marketing tools to create and get our voices and our brand’s content and storytelling out there!

This isn’t a comprehensive list (or a list ordered by importance), but it’s a list of must-have content marketing tools to help you start becoming and feeling more effective with your content marketing efforts.

  1. WordPress

WordPress is great web software used to create blogs and websites. It first started as just a blogging system but has since grown into a content management system. It allows you to create your own custom theme, add plugins, publish your content (words, images, videos), control comments made on your blog and so much more. WordPress must be an awesome tool since more than 60 million people use it, including us.

  1. Curata

With Curata, you get a tool that does a number of useful things for you. The most common way it’s used is as a content curation tool, where you can easily discover, arrange and share content that’s relevant to your brand and audience to better position yourself as a thought leader within your industry, among other things. Curata is also a good content collaboration and organization tool.

  1. Steptap

Steptap is a relatively new platform for businesses and marketers to leverage for their content initiatives. A Steptap is created to teach your prospects and your customers how to create something, build something, do something, or fix something. With a premium account (which we highly recommend) you can even get some pretty decent SEO value out of your efforts and drive traffic and sales.

  1. Visual.ly

We all know visual content grabs and keeps a reader’s attention, and with visual.ly you can create all kinds of captivating visuals for your audience. Aesthetically pleasing infographics, videos, presentations, engaging web experiences and micro-content are what you can expect from this content marketing tool. 

  1. Qzzr

Virtual quizzes are on the rise. Why? To put it simply — because quizzes are all about the person taking them. Plus they’re fun and engaging. Qzzr, another tool we use, lets you create these types of quizzes for your site or blog, and its design includes social sharing buttons so quiz takers can immediately share their results with their friends and followers, which usually leads to more people taking your quiz.

  1. SlideShare

Keeping with the visual theme we have going here, SlideShare is a tool used for uploading and sharing interesting, informative slide presentations. It also provides insight into who sees your presentations.

  1. Hootsuite 

Hootsuite is going to be a lifesaver for anyone involved with social media accounts for your brand and/or your clients (just ask our social girl). Through Hootsuite you’re able to manage several social media accounts, schedule messages and tweets to be sent out through each account, track any brand mentions and examine social media traffic.

  1. Buzzstream

Buzzstream is a content promotion tool, under the earned media category. It gives you a multitude of services to assist you with link building. Through this platform you can find influencers within your niche that might be willing to share your content, while also organizing and monitoring your outreach efforts.

  1. Outbrain

Another tool worthy of having is Outbrain. This tool falls under paid media. It’s a content discovery tool that exposes and recommends your content to people reading other quality publishers. Outbrain also offers readers a more personalized reader experience.

  1. Google Analytics

Last but not least on this list is a way to track your site analytics. We’ve found that Google Analytics is a useful monitoring tool because with it we can measure conversion rates, evaluate the impact social media and mobile have on our site’s traffic and customize reports for our company and our clients.

What content marketing tools do you currently use that you couldn’t live without? Tell us what works for you in the comments below!

What Social Commerce Trends Can We Expect To See In 2015?

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Image Source: Jason Howie

Image Source: Jason Howie

It’s rare to see a consumer purchase a product or service directly from a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., post, today. It’s also hard to track the impact social channels have on the path to purchase due to the fact that social media is seen as the marketing channel that builds awareness, consideration, and intent early in the customer journey.  Social media is rarely a channel that helps consumers during the final purchase.

But that could drastically change in the near future. In 2015, social commerce in the U.S. is expected to garner $14 billion in sales and represent 5% of all online retail revenue for the year. Social networking sites understand this trend and are making changes to make it even easier to purchase directly from within their platform.

Social Commerce Today

Social commerce is when a commercial transaction happens due to social interaction, i.e. a friend of yours posts how much they like these new running shoes they recently bought. They provide a link on Facebook, which you then click on and proceed to buy the same pair of shoes. Look familiar?

social commerce

Other examples of social commerce include:

Social Sharing of Content:

An individual likes a product or service so they share it with their friends on social networking sites. This content leads traffic back to the site that results in sales or transactions.

Advocate Marketing:

Also called incentive social sharing, this is where consumers are rewarded (typically with an affiliate commission) for sharing a link to a product or service. Obviously, this can come across as less authentic than sharing things because they are excited about their recent purchase. However, this still has an impact similar to the running shoes example above.

Customer Reviews:

Consumers trust their friends’ opinions and recommendations more than a brand’s recommendation, so brands that encourage and get customers to share reviews of their products or services socially have the potential to generate sales.

Social Commerce Possibilities For 2015

In 2015 social media will become a bigger marketing channel for a lot of industries since customers will have the option to do more than simply share content or recommend products to their friends.

While social commerce is not news for some social platforms, 2015 will be the year social commerce sees a big impact in direct sales from social channels. Part of the reason for this growth is the increasing use of mobile devices.

Twitter Commerce

Twitter is one platform that’s been rolling out its social commerce plans. In the early part of 2014, Twitter partnered with Stripe, a company providing all the back-end payment processing for Twitter. Twitter, and other social networks, haven’t wanted to store users’ credit card details, so Stripe is taking on the challenge. You can view and buy a product directly within your Twitter feed by simply clicking a “Buy” button that will appear alongside an image of the item that’s for sale. Twitter’s head of commerce Nathan Hubbard told The Verge in an interview, “Anything with a perishable component, temporal nature, or limited supply, is going to thrive on Twitter. Given the speed at which word can spread across our network, it feels like an opportunity to create a new kind of sales.”

Image Source: The Verge

Image Source: The Verge

Snapchat Commerce

Another platform making strides with social commerce is Snapchat. Snapchat partnered with Square to deliver a transfer system it’s calling SquareCash. With this system, users can register their debit cards and then transfer and receive money — which is being called Snapchash — to and from their friends on Snapchat. While it’s currently a free service, Snapchat plans are to allow its users to buy products from its platform.

Facebook Commerce

This summer, Facebook shared a mobile screen of what its “Buy” button is going to look like. A suggested post will show up in your newsfeed with a product or service and an image of that product or service, which you can buy right then and there by simply clicking the “Buy” button in the post. I imagine Facebook will be rolling this out in 2015 after they figure out the payment and privacy details.

Image Source: Facebook

Image Source: Facebook

Ubokia Commerce

A lesser known site, Ubokia, currently works with Pinterest. This site provides a “Want It” button, which you can add as a bookmark in your web browser bar. It keeps track of all the items you really “want” that you see on Pinterest. Maybe in 2015 this will change to a “Buy It Now” button?

Fancy Commerce

This site has already beat Pinterest and Ubokia to the punch. Fancy, which you can get on your computer, phone, or tablet, lets you find, collect, and buy all the things you “fancy” that have been curated by its global community. It makes it easier for users because they can do everything they need to in one place.

Image source: Fancy Blog

Image source: Fancy Blog

Image source: Fancy Blog

Image source: Fancy Blog

Social media may not be the biggest marketing channel when it comes to getting consumers to purchase a product or service right from the site — for now. But you can guarantee that starting this year, social commerce is going to be bigger and more profitable than ever before.

Information Overload & How Brands Can Cut Through The Clutter

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content curation

A new year is upon us, yet many of the same challenges we all faced in 2014 are still in our paths. The days of too little data and too few competitive insights are long gone, and now we continue to be inundated with thousands of pieces of information every day.

Your brand and your company must learn how to sift through the abundance of information in order to be successful. As of now, you simply have far too much information and cannot take actionable steps towards actually utilizing it in a proactive manner.

What’s even more frightening is that many brands seem to blissfully unaware of this issue. The 2014 CMO Survey indicated a 3.8% spending increase on marketing research and intelligence. Yet, only 33% of marketing initiatives utilize this data to make decisions.

Effective Curation & Intelligence Is The Answer

It’s no secret that content curation creates thought leadership, but that’s not all it provides you and your brand. In order to manage the outpouring of information and once and for all cut through the content clutter, your firm must become experts in curation.

There are four steps to prevent this information overload from occurring in your business. The steps are clearly identifying your brand objectives, narrowing your focus on information that supports those objectives, fostering a collaborative environment, and communicating your own insights.

Clearly Identify Brand Objectives

Determining clear and measurable objectives is the first and arguably most critical step in cutting through the information clutter. What do you want your brand to achieve? Will you focus on traits of your company’s personality or more on specific core competencies?

After you and your team have done some introspection, it’s time to determine what success in those objectives looks like. These successes should be quantifiable, like number of leads, new clients, or overall market share, just to name a few.

Always remember to stay realistic and honest with your brand and its current position in the market place. Are your objectives realistically obtainable? Make sure you aren’t setting yourself up against insurmountable odds before you get too far into the process.

Narrow Your Scope

Once you have clearly identified your brand objectives, it’s time to get laser-focused. Content that does not support your business objectives should be quickly dismissed. This is the only way to sift through thousands of possible pieces in a manner that is timely, while still ensuring you’re not overlooking anything.

Be protective of your brand. If you doubt the efficacy of a piece of content in supporting your brand objectives, listen to those doubts! If you or your team cannot see relevant intelligence that supports your brand objectives, curating these pieces only proves to damage what you’re trying to accomplish.

Foster Collaboration

As with most things in business, collaboration among your team is crucial. Your team should not just have to participate in your curation efforts, they should want to. The best way to accomplish this is with an easy-to-use, intuitive tool.

Team members should be able to survey information from a variety of platforms and sources that they deem relevant. Then, they should be able to communicate why specific content is important, and begin a conversation about it with other team members. Carrying out this collaboration should be highly intuitive and work seamlessly.

At the end of the day, the team that collaborates will provide the best insights and highest value to the brand objectives that they have set to achieve.

Communicate Your Insights

Not only should the collaboration within your team be streamlined, communication of your insights with your audience should also be seamless. Your audience needs to know exactly why you deemed this piece of content worthy, and be able to see that value with their own eyes.

The platform in which you communicate your curated content is entirely dictated by your audience. How do they prefer to be reached? Typically, methods of distribution include your brands social profiles, email communications, and blog posts. But, you don’t need to limit your communications to those avenues. Exploring new methods may give you a competitive advantage on a new channel.

The ability of your firm to transform the information you collect into relevant intelligence is no easy feat. Always remember that good insight includes why a piece of content is relevant, the next steps to take from the relevant information, and how the relevant information impacts the business.

Cutting through the clutter in curation really boils down to a matter of storytelling. The content you curate should be used as supportive evidence across your social channels, newsletters, and even reports and presentations. Is there cohesion among curated information and your brand, which is then communicated in an effective manner to the intended audience?

20 of My Very Most Favorite Content Marketing Blog Posts of 2014

By | Content Marketing | One Comment

thumbs upI absolutely hate to read. All of my childhood friends knew me as the guy who never read a book for english class and somehow got amazing grades. I really don’t hate to read… I just hate to read books. I love to read web content. Ebooks, whitepapers, blog posts… you name it! You can ask any of our team members here at Stryde how many late night emails they get from me telling them they have to check out this post I just read or that post I’ve had open in my browser for weeks.

Because the web is littered with absolute garbage from companies who don’t quite get online marketing and awful SEO firms trying to manipulate search engine rankings, I’ve gone back through my 2014 team emails and tweets this last week and pulled a list of my favorite posts from 2014.

I hope you enjoy reading each of them as much as I have! Here’s to 2015, more companies adopting the content marketing mindset, and crazy awesome business growth!

How Content Strategy & Content Marketing Are Separate But Connected – Robert Rose @ CMI

This post reminds us (or maybe is telling you something you didn’t realize before) that content strategy and content marketing are related, but are two very different practices. We learn how they are different and that we need a solid content strategy within our company’s approach of content marketing.

Prove Your Commitment To Achieving Content Marketing ROI – Arnie Kuenn @ CMI

You know as a content marketer that content marketing is a valuable asset to your marketing plan, but your executives might not always feel the same. Tracking the right KPIs, like consumption metrics and lead-generation metrics, provide the evidence you need to prove the ROI from your content marketing efforts to your executives.

Make Your Demand Generation More Effective With These 3 Processes – Jay Hidalgo @ CMI

Most companies know they need to better focus on their buyers to achieve better results, but they don’t know how to do it. Jay tells us how to make our demand generation more effective through three specific sub-processes: develop a buyer persona, define the buying process, and develop a content framework.

SEO For Content Marketing: How Do Links Impact Google Website Rankings? – Andy Crestodina @ Curata

When you create a page on your site, you always have to think about search engine optimization because search is a great supplier of traffic for your site and its content. This article tells you how links impact Google’s search engine rankings, and offers four ways you can generate those links into your content marketing efforts.

Content Marketing Best Practices Report: Creating A Culture of Content – Lee Odden @ Top Rank

Lee gives his synopsis and opinion on the report, The Culture of Content. He says businesses need to create a culture of content, tells why it’s important and how to do so, and claims that taking your content beyond marketing is what’s going to drive success across all your business functions in the next year.

Content Marketing 101: A Huge Collection of Tips & Tricks – Nicole Miller @ Buffer

In this post, you’re given content marketing tips from a team at Atomic Reach, i.e. what content marketing is, how to write for your target audience, etc. They also provide a list of 34 must-read content marketing blogs that every content marketer or aspiring content marketer should follow.

25 Ways To Create Shareable Content – Gini Dietrich @ Convince & Convert

You need a sturdy content development process in place to create fresh, useful, and interesting content your audience wants to read and share. This post provides a list of 25 things that will help you better create more shareable content.

The Paid Social Distribution Playbook – Amanda Walgrove @ Contently

Paid content distribution gets your content in front of more eyes and the right eyes. Inside this blog post are four social platforms your company should test to discover which one or ones work best with increasing your distribution and growing your audience.

Should You Repost Your Blog Content On Other Websites? A Data-Driven Answer – Neil Patel @ QuickSprout

Neil from KISSmetrics learned from experience the dangers of wrongly reposting content on other sites. He says reposting your content to more authoritative sites isn’t going to create more traffic for you site, but he does offer tips on how to correctly repost and not get penalized for doing so.

Everything You Need To Know About Middle-of-Funnel Content In Under 500 Words – Anne Murphy @ Kapost

Reading this blog post doesn’t just define middle-of-funnel content for you. It also gives you marketers’ goals and objectives with this type of content, the key elements of this content, and four examples of companies that create great middle-of-funnel content.

How Can The Value of Top-of-Funnel Channels Be Measured – Rand Fishkin @ Moz

In this Whiteboard Friday post, Rand discusses the value of top-of-funnel demand creation, and how you can measure and prove the value behind top-of-funnel channels and tactics used.

10 Content Marketing Trends Every Leader Need To Know For 2015 – John Hall @ Inc

After talking with experts about what they think the content marketing landscape is going to be like for the upcoming year, John compiled a list of the top 10 content marketing trends those experts expect to see in 2015. Knowing these will help you gear up for this next year in the content marketing world.

3 Key Components To Building Social Media Campaigns That Drive Results – Greg Shuey @ Social Media Today

If you want to be able to handle the teenager that social media now is and achieve your desired social media campaign results, you must follow the three necessary components provided in this guide. It’s also pointed out that unless you continually create great content, you can’t have a successful social media campaign.

The 6 Steps To Perfectly Optimizing Any Content – Neil Patel @ Marketing Land

When you’re optimizing content, don’t think of it as a technical task that necessitates a certain number of keywords or other SEO practices. Instead, Neil states that other factors, like building trust and creating quality, are more important and influential when optimizing your content. He lists the six steps you need to achieve the optimized content you want in this post.

How To Promote Your Blog Without Letting The Rest of Your Blogging Slide – Darren Rowse @ ProBlogger

Growing traffic to your blog isn’t going to happen overnight. It takes time and effort on your part trying to grow your site’s traffic, and that time and effort, according to Darren, involves networking, guest posting, and crafting high-quality content for your blog. It’s going to take some patience and juggling, but it can be done.

Five Ways SEO Still Dictates Content Marketing Success – Christine Warner @ Relevance

This author nailed it on the head when she said, “Quality and SEO should be equal players in developing content strategy.” She provides 5 SEO tactics that will ensure you create content that resounds with your audience and with the search engines.

You’ve Heard of Big Data But What Is Big Content? – Michael Brenner @ Relevance

Ever heard of Big Content? If you haven’t, this is a great read for you. You learn what Big Content is, and are given the author’s thoughts and opinions on the subject.

Establishing Your Blog As A Learning Center For Content Marketing Success – Arnie Kuenn @ Relevance

In this blog post, you’re reminded that your company’s blog isn’t a place to self-promote and sell your products or services. Your blog should help your audience find the answers to their questions; it should be a learning center they want to visit often.

The Step-by-Step Guide To Facebook Content Promotion – Zach Etten @ Vertical Measures

Facebook is a valuable marketing channel your business should be using if you don’t already. This article provides the required steps to help you get started using Facebook to better promote your content.

The Difference Between Curation & Simply Collecting – Bryant Wood @ Right Intel

Several of today’s brands believe they’re curating content when actually they’re just collecting content. Read this insightful article to find out the difference between the two, and to learn how you can start creating content and why it’s what you should be doing.

Stryde’s Top 15 Blog Posts of 2014

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top+15

These last 12 months have proven to be a successful and productive year for Stryde. We’ve taken our knowledge and meshed it together with other industry experts, information and resources to create several useful and insightful marketing posts throughout this past year. Just in case you missed one, below is a list of Stryde’s top performing posts of 2014.

  1. Top 50 Social Media Experts

In this post we provide you with 50 digital marketing leaders we think have earned the status of social media expert. Learn who they are, what they do and why they’re considered experts.

  1. Top 50 SEO Experts

This top 50 list is like the abovementioned post, except we highlight who we think are the industry’s top SEO experts. We even listed these experts in alphabetical order for your convenience.

  1. Top 50 Content Marketing Experts

This was the first blog post of our top 50 posts for this year. It’s loaded with big names and really smart content marketers you’ll want to learn about and follow on Twitter.

  1. Understanding The Different Types Of Anchor Text & How To Use Them

Readers loved this post so much it made last year’s list and this year’s list — and it’s from 2012! That must mean it’s a good one. This informative post tells you what anchor text is and how to use 4 types of anchor text.

  1. Dear Facebook, You’re Gross

In this post, one of our writers gives her take on Facebook’s mood manipulation study from 2012.

  1. The Ultimate List Of SEO Tools

This was another popular post of ours, appearing on this year’s list and last year’s list. Learn what SEO tools digital marketers should use in terms of keyword research, SEO analysis and link building.

  1. How To Use Google Keyword Tool & Google Trends For Keyword Research

Another reader favorite from 2013 and 2014, this blog post reviews 2 useful tools that help you find keyword opportunities and how you can use them for your business.

  1. Bullet Proof Link Building Strategies For 2013 — The Experts Weight In (Part 1) 

In this post, you hear what some of the digital marketing’s brightest marketers thought top link building strategies would be.

  1. Ten Books Every Digital Marketer MUST Read

This may have been written last year, but it was good then and is still good now — so good it climbed its way into last year’s and this year’s top Stryde posts. Discover what books you should read to help you become the best digital marketer and asset to your company.

  1. How To Structure Writing To Evoke Emotion

Besides showing 2 great GIFs, this post reminds writers that great stories make people feel something, and tells you how to evoke that kind of writing when constructing your blog posts.

  1. Five Things You MUST Do To Have A Successful, Thriving Online Business

Another 2013 and 2014 list topper, you learn what the 5 components are to run a successful, thriving online business from this post.

  1. How To Effectively Perform Link Prospecting & Outreach via Buzzstream

When you read this Stryde blog post, you find out resources that help you learn what BuzzStream is and how to correctly use this fantastic platform.

  1. Crucial Questions You Should Ask Your SEO Clients Before Doing Business With Them

This blog post was written 2 years ago, but it’s still very much relevant for you today. We provide you with 10 essential questions you must ask your SEO clients before committing to work with them.

  1. 15 Tips To Tweet: Insights From Digital Marketing Thought Leaders 

We reached out to some digital marketing experts and have provided you with their favorite industry advice inside this post.

  1. Top 10 Social Media Experts You Should Be Following On Twitter

In this post we tell you about 10 social media experts you should be following and engaging with on Twitter. Give them a follow and subscribe to each of their blogs — you can learn a lot from each of these thought leaders.

We had such a fun time — and learned a great deal ourselves — creating and providing these and many other online marketing posts for you this past year. Here’s to a bigger, and even better, 2015 filled with tons of valuable blog content!

What the 2014 B2B Demand Generation Benchmark Report Tells Us

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Last year I wrote a post recapping the findings from Software Advice’s 2013 Online B2B Buyer Behavior Report. This year marketing technology advisor Software Advice is at it again, but this time around they put together a 2014 B2B Demand Generation Benchmark Report.

Demand generation, which I’m sure most of you already know, is using targeted marketing programs to help drive more awareness of and interest in your company’s products or services. In this report, Software Advice surveyed 200 B2B marketing professionals, mostly senior-level marketers, and discovered what channels, offers, content types and technologies they used to power their demand gen programs, as well as which ones worked the most effectively for them. Three key takeaways stood out from this report:

  1. The best channels that brought in large numbers of high-quality leads were trade shows, referral marketing and in-house email marketing.
  2. Videos were the most used content type, used by 92% of those surveyed, and videos produced a large quantity of leads.
  3. 79% of the B2B marketers use at least 11 marketing software applications, and 97% use email marketing software.

Best Channels for Generating Leads

The B2B marketers surveyed were asked to rate channels based on the relative quantity and quality of leads generated by said channels. Trade shows and events were picked as generating the most leads and the best leads, which Michele Linn, content development director at CMI, credited to in-person events being meaningful and powerful today when basically everything we do is online.

SA graph

Other channels that did well were search engine advertising, in-house email marketing and TV, radio and print advertisements. If you want to run programs that focus on quantity, these are options you should look into if you aren’t already doing them. But steer clear of direct mail and display advertising, as these 2 finished last.

While trade shows and events brought in large amounts of promising leads, they were also picked as being the channels that had a high cost-per-lead. Low-cost channels included in-house email marketing, organic search and social media. Social media marketing, the campaigns and programs excluding ads, made the top of the list at being the lowest cost-per-lead.

Content Types and Number of Leads They Produce

Next, the marketers were asked to rank content types by their effectiveness with demand generation and lead generation. Of all surveyed, 92% said video was the most commonly used content type for demand gen programs. Videos ranked just ahead of surveys, white papers and case studies.

SA graph 2

Videos and surveys also ranked as the top-2 ways for generating the most quantity of leads. Videos have been most thought of as content that helps brands build trust with their consumers and is used to simply entertain them. But as this report shows, companies must be producing more actionable videos that are generating more and more quality leads.

Rounding out the list of content types given, e-books and case studies finished at the bottom.

Software Applications Used for Demand Generation Efforts

SA graph 3

Software Advice then provided 11 software systems and asked the marketers to select which ones they used to assist with their demand gen efforts. Almost all surveyed, 97%, use email marketing software. Following closing behind were CRM and marketing automation systems. But what should be noted is that 79% of those surveyed use all of the 11 software solutions they were shown, and more than 70% said all 11 were reasonably important with their demand gen efforts. This proves that B2B marketing departments rely heavily on information technology.

Demand Generation Expectations and Spending

The last two questions Software Advice asked were how the marketers’ demand gen programs were performing compared to their expectations and what their plans for demand gen spending were for 2015. Forty-four percent of small businesses, those with less than 100 employees, said their efforts performed below what they anticipated, while 27% of midsized companies and 29% of large companies said the same.

Matt Heinz, president of Heinz Marketing, believes these results are because many marketers set foolish expectations. Marketers want things right now, but they forget their prospects don’t function exactly how they want.

“Across the board, we too often expect marketing programs to work immediately,” he said. “We want qualified leads, now! But our prospects don’t work that way.”

As for spending with demand gen efforts, 41% of the marketers surveyed said they were going to increase their yearly spending, 43% said they were going to spend the same amount and 17% said they were going to decrease spending for the upcoming year.

SA graph 4

Linn said it’s no surprise at all that more marketers are planning to spend more for 2015.

“People realize now that having a demand generation strategy is so critical,” she said. “They need to plan content along the entire customer lifecycle. And it can be very time-intensive and resource-intensive. So, from that perspective, it’s not surprising that people are increasing spend at all. It’s an engine that constantly needs to be fed.”

Why Aren’t You Repromoting Your Content?

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You’ve hopped aboard the content marketing train, and that’s a smart move! However, some challenges still await you.

For starters, only 32% of marketers say they’re effectively executing enough content.  Furthermore, content creation itself along with its management claim the 2nd largest portion of digital marketing budgets.

That’s a recipe for disaster: a big ol’ budget and still not enough content.

Saving Yourself From Disaster

What will save you from this content marketing disaster? The answer is really three-fold.

Content Curation

The first component is content curation. Curation fills in the gaps between when you aren’t creating content with high-quality 3rd party content.

The second piece is repackaging and repurposing your premium content. By using R&R, you’ll get much more mileage out of the content you’re already creating.

The final piece of this puzzle is something we haven’t touched on yet here on the Stryde Blog. Typically, the most fundamental practices are the ones that are most often overlooked. And few things are more fundamental than the practice of repromoting your content.

What To Repromote

Not every piece of content you create is going to be heavily repromoted, or even repromoted at all. Certain types of content lend themselves to an expiration date. These types can be anything from contests to event recaps. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense to repromote a contest that has ended or an event that happened 8 months ago.

Industry updates are another piece of content that you probably won’t want to spend much time repromoting. Once news has broken, revisiting it weeks later doesn’t give the appearance that you’re on the cutting edge of your industry.

So, what content does that leave you with to promote? Plenty!

The best content for repromotion is typically called “evergreen” content. Evergreen means just as it sounds: it will, for the foreseeable future, remain of high value to your target market.

Where To Repromote

Repromoting can occur on any channel you occupy, but the most popular method of repromotion is through social media platforms.

Twitter is one of the easiest platforms to repromote upon, as you can select different quotes or angles from you piece of content, and Tweet it out again and again. Tweets on Twitter are buried very quickly, which is why repromoting here frequently is essential.

Along with social channels, repromotion can also occur through your company’s newsletter or email marketing. Including a snippet and a link to evergreen content within an email sent out to customers is a great way to reach an already interested audience. It can also allow them to catch up on any content you’ve created that they might have missed.

When To Repromote

While repromoting is crucial to content marketing success, the last thing you want is to shove the same piece of content in front of your audience over and over again. People don’t want to see that, I know I don’t want to see that! It just doesn’t create value for your company or your customers.

This makes your approach to timing of repromotion very critical.

If you’ve already promoted a piece of content via a social channel, try sharing the repromotion at a different time. Repromotion really gives you a chance to A/B test what times work best for reaching your target audience on social media.

Sharing at different times is a great way to mitigate the risk of consumer content exhaustion. Another way to mitigate the risk is to use a different image, quote, or angle in the copy of your share. The new verbiage could attract a new set of eyes that would have otherwise scrolled right past your content. Once again, it’s a great method to A/B test titles, too.

As you can see, content repromotion is an essential facet of every content marketing initiative. How are you planning and organizing your repromotion efforts?

Event Recap: Content Marketing Bootcamp 2014

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phpThumb_generated_thumbnailjpgYesterday, half of the Stryde team traveled to the beautiful Adobe complex in Lehi, UT. What brought us and hundreds of other Utah marketers together here was an in-depth, hands-on, education Content Marketing Bootcamp event. Utah Business Magazine, Adobe, and Avalaunch were the main sponsors who put on this intense and information-packed day-long session.

From 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, we were treated to golden pieces of wisdom from eight of the best minds in content marketing. We learned so much, that we wanted to pass along the highlights to those who couldn’t attend.

Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion

“How To Create a Culture of Content Marketing that Gets Incredible Results”

Hearing Marcus Sheridan speak is like getting a B12 shot. He has so much energy, it leaves you wanting to take on the world and answer all the questions. But in all seriousness, Marcus is not afraid to confront marketers with the questions they don’t want to answer.

Our Favorite Twitter Moment:

Chad Warren, Adobe

“Social Analytics”

Chad Warren was clearly feeling at home in the beautiful surroundings of the Adobe building. He was a gracious host who even divulged a “dirty secret” of social media: “No one wants to be friends with your business.”

Our Favorite Twitter Moment:

David Malmborg, Right Intel

“Turning Content Curation into Thought Leadership – The Hierarchy of Content Marketing Needs”

We’re huge fans of Right Intel already, and we’re pretty sure the rest of the marketers in attendance would agree with us after David Malmborg took the stage yesterday. Malmborg encouraged all of us to become the curators in the museum that is our business.

Our Favorite Twitter Moment:

Josh Parkinson, Post Planner

“The Top Heresies of Content Marketing — and Why Committing Them is Crucial”

Josh Parkinson didn’t disappoint with his energy, either. Parkinson’s passion and “break all the rules” attitude towards social media kept the audience totally enthralled.

Our Favorite Twitter Moment:

Rachael Herrscher, Today’s Mama Blog

“Social Content Creation: Working With Social Platforms and Bloggers For Impact”

Rachael Herrscher’s authenticity and no-nonsense approach to business are qualities left the whole room hanging on her every word. Whether it was her lesson on what is and is not a “mommy blog” or her insights on how to get the most out of posting on social media platforms, Herrscher certainly left us with actionable content marketing items.

Our Favorite Twitter Moment:

Owen Fuller, Qzzr

“How to make one of those insanely viral quizzes that you’re seeing everywhere”

After hearing one of the Qwizwards speak, you are guaranteed to catch the quizzing bug. Owen Fuller gave us all amazing insight into why quizzes are so viral, and how to bottle some of that magic.

Our Favorite Twitter Moment:

Dan Bischoff, Content Hook

“Lessons From the AP: How To Build a Winning Content Team”

Dan Bischoff taught all of us the importance of a well-balanced content marketing team. The underlying theme of his presentation is something that we’re still thinking about today: creating a human connection through a brand.

Our Favorite Twitter Moment:

Devin Knighton, Instructure/Canvas

“Thinking Big: How Instructure Canvas Partnered with AMC TV on “The Walking Dead”

When a great marketing mind Devin Knighton took the stage, we knew we were in for a treat. Knighton’s recanting of the events that lead up to Instructure/Canvas’ partnership with “The Walking Dead” made us all believe that we’re capable of greatness, too.

Our Favorite Twitter Moment:

As you can see, we were inundated with content marketing goodies yesterday! If you attended, what was your favorite part of the day?