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How To Choose The Right Content Marketing Agency

By | Content Marketing | No Comments

Some of the more common questions we’re asked during the sales process are “how do I know that I’m choosing the right content marketing agency?” or “what makes a good content marketing agency?”. Because the idea of content marketing is so new to businesses large and small, I wanted to create a follow up post to one created by Shannon this summer called 7 Elements of Choosing a Content Marketing Agency.

This post should act as a guide and a resource to develop better questions to ask as you go through the discovery and consideration stages of the decision making process.

Subject Matter Expertise

When looking to engage with a content marketing agency, one thing you need to be sure of is that they can write for your industry. Creating good content is hard enough without adding in a technical element that might be foreign to general writers. Keep in mind that it’s okay if your agency outsources content to subject matter experts who know your vertical; you just need to make sure that someone who knows your industry is producing your content from the very beginning.

Practice What They Preach

One of the biggest signs that you’re engaging with a winning agency is that they practice what they preach! Take a look at their blog. Do they provide consistent resources that actually provide value to their readers? What do they offer their audience in terms of premium content like eBooks, guides, white papers, and videos?

Provide Thought Leadership

Any content marketing agency worth their weight provides thought leadership in several different areas. First, they seek opportunities to provide their expertise to industry publications. Second, they are invited to speak and participate at different events and conferences. You shouldn’t worry too much about agencies getting published in Forbes, Huffington Post, Inc.com or any other national publication. Truth be told, anyone can pay a writer can get their content onto those websites. That’s our one, dirty little secret to share with you in this guide. Welcome to the new age of online PR. 🙂 Instead, look for consistency in publishing content that speaks to their audience.

Provide Case Studies & Client References

Before deciding on an agency to go with, you need to make two specific requests. First, you need to request case studies. Some agencies don’t publish full case studies on their website (like us) due to agreements with current clients not to publicly share their data, but can share them privately.

Second, you need to request 2-3 introductions to clients who would be willing to talk with you on the phone to discuss their experience. It’s best if the clients are somewhat related to your vertical, but they don’t have to be.

Here are some questions you might consider asking:

  • Overall, how has your experience been?
  • Has the agency delivered on promises made during the sales process?
  • How is the quality of the content they are producing?
  • How is the quality of the customers they are generating?
  • How is their communication and reporting?
  • Do they treat you as a client or as a partner?
  • Do they work as though they are part of your internal team?
  • Do they think outside the box?
  • Do you believe they have your best interest in mind?
  • Would you recommend them to a friend, family member, or colleague?

Have Clearly Defined Roadmaps & Success Metrics

One area where agencies tend to really struggle is in identifying success metrics for your unique business needs and mapping a plan that will help you get from point A to point B. The content marketing agency you choose should have a very good idea, before you close the deal, of what your business does and how you generate revenue. They should be able to provide you with some KPIs that are unique to your business. You should also request some sample client roadmaps that they’ve created so you can see how they operate on a weekly and monthly basis.

Provide Thorough Reporting

Along the lines of roadmaps and success metrics, your agency should be providing thorough reporting to you on a regular basis. Reports should include what’s being worked on, what’s scheduled, and any road blocks that they need your help in overcoming. Reports should also include your unique success metrics and how far along they are to meeting/exceeding your goals. At minimum reports should be delivered once per month. A good agency will deliver twice per month and hold in-person meetings or calls on a regular basis.

Have A Strategy For Each Channel

A good content marketing agency knows that content should fuel all other channels and create demand for a product or service. When engaging in content marketing, your agency should know how to leverage their content to improve your SEO, create more effective PPC campaigns, and skyrocket your social media presence and engagement.

A good agency knows that different channels require a different approach; you cannot take the same content and submit it to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram and see success. Your audience is conditioned to use each channel differently and requires a unique strategy to reach and engage with them.

It’s also worthwhile to note that you don’t have to attack all channels at once. In fact, a good agency will pick a few channels and focus on getting them right before moving on to additional ones. 

Use Marketing Automation/Lead Nurturing To Convert More Prospects To Customers

Agencies that really understand content marketing know that not all leads coming through a website or any other channel, online or offline, are created equal. Every prospect is in a different part of the decision making process and require different touch points to move them through the funnel. When choosing a content marketing agency, make sure they understand and deploy a strategy for nurturing leads through a marketing automation platform. The platform used is irrelevant, but they should be able to make recommendations based on the stage your business is in.

 

Understand The Buyer Journey, The Sales Funnel, & How To Move Prospects Through It

If you can find an agency that understands how buyers make decisions, how they move through the sales funnel, and how to encourage prospects to take next steps, grab them and never let go. A lot of content marketing agencies just want to build and market content and don’t take the time to map the buyer journey and individual pieces of content to each step. Doing so will not only help you convert more prospects into customers, but also will help position you as an industry leader.

Build An Audience, Not Borrow One

Good content marketing agencies are interested in building you an audience, not borrowing one. If you think back to the days or MySpace, what happened when they shut down their services? Brands lost all that they invested in borrowing an audience on their platform. What happens if the four hundred thousand followers you have on Facebook disappear tomorrow? Smart marketers work to tap an audience, bring them to your “playground” and work to turn them into an owned audience that can be engaged with on your terms.

Sensitive To Your Brand

Every business is unique and every brand is unique as well. Agencies that understand this and know how to work with brand teams to make their lives easier is a huge win. You should look for an agency that has checklists and a process for creating content that’s in-line with your brand and can easily be reviewed by someone internally without sucking a lot of bandwidth.

Interested In Using/Repurposing Already Existing Content

Money is a sensitive topic, even in the business world. Many content marketing agencies want to get in and start producing content day one. Good agencies take a full inventory of all the content owned by a business and determine what can be reused/repurposed for other uses. This process can save businesses thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours that can be invested in other initiatives.

Make It Easy To Work With Them

Flexibility is huge when it comes to working with an agency. A good content marketing agency should be able to plug into your systems and processes without skipping a beat. Be wary of any agency forcing you to operate in a certain way in order to do business with them.

Ask For Data Up Front

You know the old adage — you don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been? The same applies to any form of marketing. Unless your potential agency understands where you are currently at, they cannot effectively put together a plan of action, scope of work, or accurate pricing to deliver the results you are looking for. You should plan on providing access to, or at the least, providing PDF exports of your analytics data, webmaster tools data, and lead generation data. Be wary if your agency doesn’t ask for this fairly early in the process.

View You As A Partner, Not Just Another Client

Solid marketing agencies view and treat you like you’re a long-term partner, not just another client. Pay attention to the words they use in referring to your potential engagement. Do they refer to you as a client or a partner? Do they send contracts or agreements?

Integrate With In-House Teams

Along the same lines as above, you will want to find an agency that integrates with your in-house team. Some agencies want to come in and run the show. This usually ends poorly. Good agencies understand that there are always going to be strengths and weaknesses inside of organizations and if they can plug the holes and make weaknesses, strengths, they are likely a good agency to do business with.

They’re Not Cheap

Good marketing — online or offline — requires a significant investment. Creating valuable content that drives brand awareness and gets a prospect to take action is expensive. There’s no way around it. One of the first things you should ask agencies is what their minimum retainer is. If it’s under $3,000 – $4,000 per month for a minimum of 6-12 months, they are going to have a really hard time producing results for you.

If you have a smaller budget than that, ask the potential agency where they feel you would be best to invest it. Good agencies will provide answers like, “hire an intern to help with x, y, or z”, “invest in a redesign of the website”, invest in conversion optimization to turn more if your visitors into leads”, or “invest in a marketing automation solution to convert more of your leads into paying customers”. These are the agencies that really have your best interests in mind and don’t just want your money.

I hope this was helpful for you in your quest to find the perfect agency. In the next couple of weeks we will be turning this into a downloadable guide/worksheet, so make sure you check back. We will also send it out via email, so make sure you subscribe to our newsletter.

If you have any follow up questions please fill out the form on our contact us page and either I or a member of our team will be in touch.

 

STRYDE | 7 #Pubcon Tweets Of The Week

7 #Pubcon Tweets Of The Week

By | Industry News | No Comments

TWEETS OF THE WEEK (2)

Our weekly roundup has been overtaken by Pubcon! This week marked the 14th Pubcon, which took place from October 6th through the 9th in fabulous Las Vegas.

For those unfamiliar with the event, Pubcon is “the premier social media and optimization conference, is supported by the industry’s leading businesses, speakers, exhibitors, and sponsors involved in social media, Internet marketing, search engines, and digital advertising, and offers an in-depth look at the future of technology presented by the world’s top speakers in provocative cutting-edge sessions.”

The Pubcon attendees and speakers are a who’s-who of digital marketing, so we figured they should be featured in this installment of Tweets of the Week.

1. Casie Gillette suffered from Pubcon #FOMO:

2. Mat Siltala’s beard now has it’s own Twitter:

3. To no one’s surprise, Jay Baer owned Vegas:

4. Ryan Jones dropped some #Pubcon wisdom:

5. Ann Smarty gave us a peek from the inside:

6. Bill Hartzer told us what Panda was really named after (as Tweeted by Rebecca Murtagh):

7. And finally, Russell Jones let us know how the attendees were really feeling:

Did you attend Pubcon this year? Tell us about what you learned!

STRYDE | 7 Digital Marketing Tweets Of The Week

7 Digital Marketing Tweets Of The Week

By | Digital Marketing | No Comments

TWEETS OF THE WEEK (1)

We’re not sure if you’ve noticed this, but if you follow more than a few hundred people on Twitter it’s nearly impossible to use the Home Feed for it’s intended purpose. Hello unnecessary noise! You’re trying to stay up-to-date with the latest digital marketing news and all of the sudden you’re visually attacked by a Katy Perry retweet. It’s okay, we’ve all been there.

To keep you in-the-know, we’re starting a weekly roundup (aptly named “Tweets Of The Week”). This way, you can catch up on the most important news in the Twitterverse you might have missed. To give you a true Twitter representation, we’ve mixed in some Tweets of our favorite publishers alongside ones from our favorite talking heads.

…And away we go!

1. Heather Lloyd-Martin dropped some serious content marketing wisdom:

2. Ann Handley got a new title:

3. Lee Odden was disappointed:

4. Michele Linn broke it down:

5. Mashable can’t even:

6. Nick Kellet got REAL:

7. Relevance reminded us of the components of true storytelling:

And that’s the week in Tweets! Happy October, everybody. See you next Friday.

Top 50 Social Media Experts

By | Social Media | 6 Comments

Top50SMsAfter digging through the depths of our brains and the Internet, we have successfully compiled 100 total Content Marketing and SEO superstars. Now, we complete the trifecta of digital marketing leaders with the Top 50 Social Media Experts. To create this list, we looked at Twitter followers, frequency and quality of interactions in the social realm, breadth and depth of experience, as well as impact on the industry as a whole. By no means is this list exhaustive and it is listed in alphabetical order. Also, you’ll probably want to find these experts on Twitter. Click on the link names in each experts description, or save the time and subscribe our Top 50 Social Media-ers list on Twitter.

1. Amy Porterfield, Social Media Strategist

Amy Porterfield is an accomplished Social Media Strategist specializing in the ever changing world of Facebook Marketing. Since co-writing Facebook for Dummies, Porterfield has lead numerous webinars and conducts a training program at FBInfluence.com.

2. Andrea Vahl, Social Media Consultant and Speaker

If you’re looking for a true Social Media super hero, look no further than Andrea Vahl. She even has an alter ego by the name of Grandma Mary. Through either persona, Vahl helps small businesses understand and leverage the power of Social Media.

3. Brian Carter, Social Media Strategist, Author, and Speaker

Beyond being a seasoned Social Marketing expert, Brian Carter is the “most entertaining presenter in Internet Marketing.” Carter penned several international bestsellers and has helped Microsoft, Universal Studios, and The U.S. Army develop strategies around search and social.

4. Bryan Kramer, Social Business Strategist and CEO of PureMatter

Bryan Kramer and his agency, PureMatter, have been distinguished as one of Silicon Valley’s fastest growing private companies by the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Recently, he authored the best selling book, Human to Human #H2H.

5. Chris Brogan, Publisher and CEO of Owner Magazine

Chris Brogan’s Owner Magazine helps individuals improve their worth through capabilities and connections. With 7 New York Times Bestsellers and counting, Brogan is a highly souht-after keynote speaker.

6. Cliff RavenscraftPodcast Producer, Consultant, and Coach

The Podcast Answer Man, or Cliff Ravenscraft, helps individuals and businesses launch and increase subscribers to podcasts. Ravenscraft’s site provides solutions, advice, and tutorials needed to succeed.

7. Cynthia Sanchez, Pinterest Blogger, Podcaster, Social Media Creative and Trainer at Oh So Pinteresting 

While a career shift from radiation oncology nurse to professional blogger might not seem like logical progression, Cynthia Sanchez has taken her medical knowledge and applied the same practices in the social media realm. Sanchez’s nursing skills in empathy grant her a unique and effective approach to social media marketing.

8. Dave Kerpen, Author, Founder and CEO of Likeable Local

Dave Kerpan boasts an impressive resume, including founder and CEO of Likeable Local, cofounder and Chariman of Likeable media, author, and keynote speaker. But, perhaps the most memorable portion is him holding the position of #1 LinkedIn Influencer of all time in page views. Which places him ahead of Bill Gates and President Barack Obama.

9. Dennis Yu, Co-Founder and CEO of BlitzMetrics

Dennis Yu is an entrepreneur, speaker, and an expert in social media advertising and marketing. Yu and his team at BlitzMetrics build social media dashboards for major brands, media, and retail companies.

10. Donna Moritz, Social Media and Visual Marketing Strategist

Based in Queensland, Australia, Donna Moritz is passionate about word of mount marketing and content strategy. Moritz’s blog Socially Sorted is a two-time finalist for Social Media Examiner’s Top 10 Social Media Blogs in 2013 and 2014.

11. Doug Karr, Blogger, Author, Speaker, and Founder of DK New Media

Douglas Karr assists marketing tech companies build their online presence and authority. Karr is another unique keynote speaker with a humorous and outspoken style.

12. Ekaterina Walter, Co-Founder and CMO of Branderati

Social Media is all about connections and Ekaterina Walter is a “super-connector.” Walter is a social media trailblazer and author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller “Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg.”

13. Gary Vaynerchuck, Co-Founder of VaynerMedia

Five years ago, Gary Vaynerchuck and his brother launched VaynerMedia. The agency was and remains to be a rare breed, helping Fortune 500 companies find their social voices and build their digital brands through content and story-telling.

14. Gini Dietrich, CEO of Arment Dietrich

Gina Dietrich leads the team at Arment Dietrich, a integrated marketing communications firm located in Chicago. Dietrich is also an author and co-author of several books, and blogger at Spin Sucks.

15. James Wedmore, Video Marketing Advocate

James Wedmore’s skills couldn’t be more in demand with rise in popularity of video marketing. His mission is simple: show business owners how to create and execute effective video marketing campaigns without spending a lot of time or money.

16. Jamie Turner, Author, Speaker, and CEO of The 60 Second Marketer

A true authority of marketing, Jamie Turner has helped organizations including AT&T, CNN, Motorola, Cartoon Network, and The Coca-Cola Company grow revenues with unique marketing strategies.

17. Jason Falls, VP of Digital Strategy at CafePress and Founder of Social Media Explorer

Jason Falls expertise in Social Media knows no bounds. From speaker, educator, strategy, to consultation, Falls does it all. Most notably is Falls work on Jim Beam’s “The Remake” video contest, which won a 2009 SAMMY Award for best cross media campaign.

18. Jason Keath, CEO of Social Fresh

Jason Keith and the team at Social Fresh are some of the smartest voices in online marketing. Keith is a frequent social media speaker, as well as a consultant and analyst.

19. Jason Miller, Senior Content Marketing Manager at LinkedIn

When Jason Miller isn’t busy leading the content marketing and social efforts for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, he moonlights as a rock ‘n roll photographer. Miller seamlessly blends his talents for online content and photography on his site Rocknrollcocktail.com.

20. Jay Baer, Marketing Speaker, Coach, and Author

Attempting to summarize Jay Baer’s experience here would be a futile effort. Legendary speaker, New York Times best selling author, and most of all, a success story.

21. Jeff Bullas, Social Media Marketing Blogger, Strategist, and Speaker

Jeff Bullas’ blog is dedicated to all things Social Media Marketing. He works with companies and executives to optimize their online presence with digital and social media marketing.

22. Jeff Rohrs, Vice President of Marketing at ExactTarget

An attorney turned professional marketer, Jeff Rohrs acts as a steward for ExactTarget’s thought leadership. Rohrs speaks at numerous industry events about the evolution of the digital marketing world.

23. Joel CommEntrepreneur, Speaker, Author, and Consultant

Joel Comm holds over 18 years of experience in Internet business. It is Comm’s knowledge and personable nature that makes him a sought after speaker, and a New York Times best-selling author.

24. John Jantsch, Consultant, Speaker, and Creator of Duct Tape Marketing

John Jantsch is not only a Social Media expert, but has been touted as the “World’s Most Practical Small Business Expert” for consistently driving results through proven small business marketing ideas and strategies. If you are even mildly involved in the online marketing world, you’re probably already following him and Twitter.

25. John Lee Dumas, Founder of EntrepreneurOnFire

Even though John Lee Dumas claims to have only recently become an entrepreneur, his entrepreneurial spirit was in him for many years. To say that Dumas’ experience is varied is an understatement with time spent as an Officer in the US Army to real estate. However, his venture into podcasting has shown him his true passion.

26. Jolina Pettice, Director of Client Accounts at TopRank

Jolina Pettice has years of experience in managing search, content, and social media marketing for Fortune 500 companies. Pettice continues to contribute to TopRank, where she has been for over 7 years.

27. Kim Garst, Co-Founder and CEO of Boom! Social

Kim Garst’s tenacity took her from barely being able to cut and paste, to becoming a true online authority. Garst says that social media really choose her, and not the other way around. A true testament to her passion for the industry.

28. Larry Benet, Chief Connector of Sang Events

Yet another super-connector, Larry Benet built his great success by harnessing the power of connectivity for businesses, professional speakers, authors, and thought leaders. Larry Benet Consulting, his firm, provides training and personal introductions to high-value contacts around the globe. Benet has essentially created a private social network for the elite minds of the business world.

29. Laura Fitton, Inbound Marketing Evangelist for Hubspot

Laura Fitton is a trail blazer in the world of Twitter. After co-authoring Twitter for Dummies, Fitton convinced Guy Kawasaki and thousands of executives that Twitter would have real business value. What foresight! Beyond being an inbound marketing evangelist, Fitton is a sought-after keynote speaker with unique insights.

30. Lewis HowesLifestyle Entrepreneur

Lewis Howes is no stranger to dreaming big, encountering setbacks, and blowing them away. After getting injured playing professional football, Howes began to feed his hunger for business, marketing, and adding value to influential people. Howes has transformed himself into an internet marketing guru, and helps his clients become the same.

31. Lou Mongello, Host of WDW Radio Show Disney Podcast

It all started when Lou Mongello first experienced Walt Disney World during its grand opening in October of 1971. In the decades since, Mongello has attended the park hundreds of times and makes his career as a Disney author, publisher, historian, and trusted source. Why is he on the social media list? Mongello’s Podcast has been awarded Best Travel Podcast 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

32. Mari Smith, Top Social Media Influencer, Author, and Speaker

Mari Smith has been deeply immersed in social media since 2007. Smith is one of the world’s leading social media strategists and widely recognized as the top Facebook marketing expert in the WORLD!

33. Melanie Duncan, Founder of Entrepreneuress Academy

A serious serial entrepreneur, Melanie Duncan has been starting successful online business since graduating college. However, her true passion lies in teaching others how to create success and freedom in their lives through the power of internet marketing and social media.

34. Michael Brito, Group Director of Media & Engagement at W2O Group

Michael Brito is the author of “Your Brand: The Next Media Company,” which details how a social business strategy enables better content, smarter marketing, and deeper customer relationships. As Group Director at W2O Group, Brito helps clients with content, brand, and social business initiatives.

35. Michael HyattAuthor and Online Marketing Expert

Two of the eight books authored by Michael Hyatt have landed on the New York Times best-seller list, reinforcing his stance as a respected author and online marketing expert. Hyatt’s personal blog focuses on “intentional leadership,” which helps leaders leverage their influence.

36. Michael Stelzner, Founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner

Michael Stelzer is the man behind the curtain at some of the most popular social media events, including Social Media Marketing World and Social Media Success Summit. In addition, Stelzer is the author of several books and a valued voice in the social media industry.

37. Nichole Kelly, CEO of Social Media Explorer

We often speak of Social Media pioneers, and Nichole Kelly deserves this title. Kelly innovated the marketing industry by measuring social media results to core business objectives: sales, revenue, and costs. She is clearly a sought after speaker and accomplished author.

38. Pam Moore, Founder and CEO of Marketing Nutz

Pam Moore is a woman of many hats, she actively participates in speaking, training, custom workshops, in addition to her agency work. Moore is constantly recognized for her achievements and is included on Forbe’s Top 5 Women Influencers in Social Media as well as the Top 10 Influencers in Social Media.

39. Pat Flynn, Owner of Flynndustries LCC

Pat Flynn’s honesty and transparency is palpable throughout the entirety of his blog, Smart Passive Income. Flynn doesn’t consider himself an online “marketing guru” and never offers any paid consultations. This makes him an even more trusted source for real-world and tested information about online marketing as a whole.

40. Reg Saddler, Managing Partner at Difference Theory LLC

Reg Saddler keeps a low profile. Across all of his social outlets his description reads the following: “Just a guy who loves Social Media, Tech, Business and News. Want to know what our company does: The 1st Rule of Fightclub: you don’t talk about Fightclub.” All you need to know about Saddler is that he is consistently among the top most influential on Twitter and is owning Google+ like nobody’s business.

41. Robert Scoble, Blogger, Evangelist, and Start-up Liaison Officer for Rackspace

You’ve most likely read, and are reading, Robert Scoble’s blog Scobleizer. His blog came to peak popularity while Scoble was acting as a technology evangelist for Microsoft.

42. Scott Monty, Global Digital Communications Lead at Ford Motor Company

Ranked by Forbes as one of the top 10 influencers in social media, Scott Monty has been called “an unstoppable force of nature.” The Boston native has a not-so-secret love for Sherlock Holmes, documented on the site ihearofsherlock.

43. Scott Stratten, President of UnMarketing

Scott Stratten’s term “Un-Markeing” is all about positioning yourself as a trusted expert in front of your target market, so when they have the need, they choose you. That’s the ultimate goal of social media, isn’t it?

44. Simon Mainwaring, CEO of We First Inc

We First began as a book authored by Simon Mainwaring. In it, he addresses fears of the world and fears of technology and business. The silver lining that Mainwaring provides is Social Media, which connects us in ways that can build a better business and a better world.

45. Stephanie Sammons, CEO at Wired Advisor

Stephanie Sammons recognizes that we are in the midst of a personal digital media revolution. Sammons goal is to guide people to achieve exactly what she did, building your own brand, business, career, and life on your own terms.

46. Steve Farber, Author and President of Extreme Leadership Inc

With a personality that’s part strategist, part social commentator, and full of energy, Steve Farber inspires leadership on all organizational levels. Farber is devoted to the cultivation of Extreme Leaders in not only the business industry, but also in non-profits and education.

47. Steven Farnsworth, Chief Digital Strategist at Jolt Digital Marketing

Steve Farnsworth, or @Steveology as you more likely know him, aides companies in building customer communities that foster brand loyalty. His blog, @Steveology, shares Farnsworth’s unique and valuable insight on B2B content marketing, inbound marketing, and social media.

48. Ted Rubin, CMO of Brand Innovators

Ted Rubin’s success can most likely be attributed to his belief that the key to continued success for ANY brand is identifying with the customer. Rubin acknowledges that the most powerful portion of social media is the ability to listen to your customers and adjust your message.

49. Todd Wheatland, Head of Strategy at King Content

Todd Wheatland is an author and sought-after speaker in marketing, social media, and HR. In 2014 alone, Wheatland plans of speaking at events in over 10 countries across the globe. Talk about being social!

50. Viveka von Rosen, LinkedIn Expert, Speaker, and Trainer

Viveka von Rosen is known internationally as THE LinkedIn Expert. When Rosen isn’t authoring books on LinkedIn Marketing, she’s speaking to business owners, corporations, legal firms, and associations on the benefits of social media marketing.

We really hope you’ve enjoyed our Top 50 posts. Our aim is to spread the reach of these great minds, and to have you show us more. So please, share in the comments or Tweet at us with who should be added to the list!

Top 50 Content Marketing Experts

By | Content Marketing | 2 Comments

Top50CMsAt Stryde, we strive to connect with all facets of our digital marketing community. Accordingly, we’ve compiled a list of who we consider to be the Top 50 Content Marketing experts. To compile this list, we used things like Twitter followers, frequency and quality of interactions in the social realm, breadth and depth of experience, as well as impact on the industry as a whole. By no means is this list exhaustive and it is listed in alphabetical order. Also, you’ll probably want to find these experts on Twitter. Click on the link names in each experts description, or save the time and subscribe our Top 50 Content Marketers list on Twitter. In the coming weeks we’ll also have posts of the Top 50 Social Media and SEO Experts, so stay tuned!

1. Adele Revela, President at The Buyer Persona Institute

For over 25 years, Adele Revella has helped marketers become trusted sources of competitive strategies. As the president of The Buyer Persona Institute, Revella leads practical workshops that dig into real-world business issues. She also spreads the word of using buyer personas to influence all marketing decisions.

2. Ahava Leibtag, President at Aha Media Group

Ahava Leitbag has more than 15 years of experience in writing, messaging, and marketing. In addition, she authored the popular blog Online it ALL Matters, which focused on the healthcare and higher education industries.

3. Amanda Maksymiw, Content Marketing Manager at Lattice Engines

As content marketing manager, Amanda Maksymiw is responsible for setting and managing Lattice Engine’s content marketing strategy including creating, producing, and publishing engaging content. Maksymiw has also been crowned “Content Marketing Tactician of the Year” in 2012.

4. Andy Crestodina, Co-Founder and Strategic Director at Orbit Media Solutions

Andy Crestodina has authored almost 200 articles on content marketing topics ranging from SEO to social media. With 12 years of experience, Crestodina says the reason he loves web design and web marketing is that it’s both an art and a science.

5. Angie Schottmuller; Inbound Marketing Advisor and Speaker at Three Deep Marketing

Angie Schottmuller has more than 13 years’ experience in multi-channel B2B and B2C in both agency and corporation settings. Recently, she defined the Online Marketing university curriculum for The Art Institutes. Schottmuller is also is an active contributor on Search Engine Watch.

6.  Ann Handley, CCO at MarketingProfs

Ann Handley has been recognized by ForbesWoman as one of the top 20 women bloggers, as well as one of the most influential women in social media. Her impressive resume does not end there, Handley also co-founded ClickZ.com and is a best selling author of the book Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage and Ignite Your Business.

7. Arnie Kuenn, CEO at Vertical Measures

Not only is Arnie Kuenn the CEO of Vertical Measures, he is also the author of Accelerate! Moving your Business Forward Through the Convergence of Search, Social, and Content Marketing. For more than 20 years, Kueenn has held executive positions in the world of new technologies and marketing.

8. Barry Feldman, CEO at Feldman Creative

Barry Feldman’s firm Feldman Creative provides its clients with content marketing strategies that are unique and results driven. Barry has been named a Top 40 Digital Strategist by the Online Marketing Institute and as one of the 25 Social Media Marketing Experts You Need to Know by Linkedin.

9. Barry Graubart, Vice President of Product Strategy at Connotate

In addition to his work at Connotate, Barry Graubart operates Content Matters, which specializes in Digital Content Strategies. Graubart has over two decades of experience in content marketing and technology, and has led the development and marketing of countless subscription services.

10. Bernie Borges, Founder and CEO at Find and Convert

Bernie Borges leads Find and Convert strategy and provides inspiration to not only teammates, but also clients. Not satisfied with one job to do, Borges is an author, speaker, digital TV show and podcast host.

11. Brian Clark, Founder and CEO at Copyblogger Media

A self described serial entrepreneur, Brian Clark had built three successful service businesses utilizing online marketing skills before he moved to a completely online business model. Thus, Copyblogger Media was born. It is an innovative company that provides the tools needed to successfully grow businesses through social media and online marketing.

12. Chanse Arrington, Head of Developer and Content Marketing at Nokia

Chanse Arrington specializes in strategy and marketing of mobile technologies, web services, consumer experiences, app development and new products. He also is the creator of DVLUP, a service that helps developers become more successful by participating in various “app challenges.”

13. Dayna Rothman, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Marketo

Danya Rothman runs Marketo’s content initiatives and also acts as the managing editor of Marketo’s blog. Not only does she have extensive experience in content marketing, but also in social media, marketing automation, and inbound marketing.

14. Doug Kessler, Co-Founder and Creative Director at Velocity

Velocity touts itself as the “B2B marketing agency to the stars” and with content marketing junkie Doug Kessler as creative director, it is sitting comfortably in this position. Kessler is a copywriter as his core, but also enjoys analytics.

15. Francine Hardaway, Co-Founder at Stealthmode Partners

A true pioneer in email and internet use, Francene Hardaway is also a serial entrepreneur who counsels and invests in start-up entrepreneurs at Stealthmode Partners.

16. Guillaume Decugis, Co-Founder and CEO at Scoop.it!

Guillaume Decugis is a Stanford educated entrepreneur with an action side. Scoop.it! keeps him busy, but in his free time he’s an avid video gamer and skier. Decugis also grew Musiwave, a pioneer in mobile music, to worldwide operations before it was acquired by Microsoft.

17. Heidi Cohen, Chief Content Officer at Heidi Cohen’s Actionable Marketing Guide

At the young age of 8, Heidi Cohen knew she wanted to be an author. Fast forward to today, Cohen has built incredibly deep knowledge of cutting edge marketing across very diverse product categories. She also sends out a daily actionable marketing post email newsletter 5 days a week for free.

18. Jesse Noyes, Senior Director of Content Marketing at Kapost

Jesse Noyes is no newbie to the content marketing game. Before joining the Kapost team, he was Director of Content Marketing for Offerpop. A Boston native, he began at the Boston Herald and then began reporting for the Boston Business Journal.

19. Joe Chernov, Vice President of Content at HubSpot

Joe Chernov has been graced with the title of “Content Marketer of the Year” and if you’re aware at all of content marketing, he’s probably not a new name to you. He runs the content marketing team at HubSpot and writes for Mashable and the Content Marketing Institute.

20. Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute

You can argue that we use the word “content marketing” because of Joe Pulizzi. He started using the term in 2001 and founded the leading content marketing education resource for enterprise brands, the Content Marketing Institute (CMI). CMI was recognized by Inc. Magazine as the fastest growing business media company in 2013.

21. John Miller, Founder of ScribewisePro

John Miller has worked in the marketing and media realm for more than two decades. In 2012, he saw the need of content creation and Scribewise was born. Essentially, he has built an outsourced newsroom for numerous organizations.

22. Jonah Peretti, Founder and CEO at Buzzfeed

After co-founding the Huffington Post, Jonah Peretti launched Buzzfeed in 2006 and subsequently showed how meaningful share-able content can be. Buzzfeed blazed the trail of social content marketing to build share-able campaigns for the world’s leading brands.

23. Kane Jamison, Founder of Content Harmony

Kane Jamison learned HTML a whopping 18 years ago and began managing websites and content creation in 9 years ago. When Content Harmony was founded in 2012, Jamison and his team have sinced focused on SEO through better content and data-based content strategy.

24. Kevin Baldacci, Product Marketing Manager at Desk.com

As the Product Marketing Manager of Desk.com, Kevin Baldacci is responsible for content creation of the firms products. He can also be found tweeting for Baldacci Family Vineyards and writing content for Desk.com’s blog.

25. Kim Yuhl, Founder of Kimberly Yuhl Media Works

Take a look at Kim Yuhl’s “About Me” on her website, and you’ll find that she has unique and widespread insight on marketing for small business. Kim strives to create a place where “mom and pop kind” of small business owners can get real, practical advice.

26. Lauri Baker, Vice President of Brand Strategy and Sales at The Huffington Post

Lauri Baker has over 15 years of experience in marketing and advertising. Her innovative approach helps brands define, redefine, and market their brands. Before becoming VP, Baker was the Sales Director of Branded Content and acknowledged by Newscred as one of the 50 Most Influential Content Marketers.

27. Lisa Buyer, President and CEO at The Buyer Group

Lisa Buyer has over 20 years of experience in social PR, SEO, social media, branding and digital marketing. Her book, Social PR Secrets, empowers marketing and public relations professionals to successfully utilize the social and digital tools to promote their brands.

28. Marcus Sheridan, Writer, Consultant, and Speaker at The Sales Lion

To say that Marcus Sheridan has a variety of experience would be an understatement. You’ve most likely heard of the incredible inbound marketing success of his swimming pool company, River Pools and Spas. Sheridan’s entertaining yet educational style has lead him to become a highly sought after speaker.

29. Maria Pergolino, Vice President of Marketing at Apttus

Before joining Apttus, Maria Pergolino was a key leader and early member of the Marketo Marketing Team. She has extensive expertise in marketing automation, campaign optimization, inbound and social media marketing.

30. Michael Aagaard, Founder and Owner of Content Verve

Michael Aagaard takes Online Marketing and Conversion Rate Optimization very seriously. Over the past five years, he logged over 15,600 hours testing and optimizing sites. Aagaard has worked with B2B and B2C firms in industries ranging from travel insurance to charities.

31. Michael Brenner, Vice President of Global Marketing at SAP

Not only does Michael Brenner have nearly 20 years of experience serving a multitude of industries, he strongly believes in the power of a customer-centric culture and creating highly engaged employees. Michael also serves as the managing editor of SAP’s Business Innovation blog and contributes to Forbes AdVoice and the Economist.

32. Michael Stoner, Co-Founder and President of mStoner Inc.

Michael Stoner has some of the most extensive experience of any content expert on our list, at nearly 30 years. This does not mean he’s stuck in the past, he works tirelessly to stay ahead of marketing, social media, mobile, and online trends. His firm, mStoner, focuses on serving education institutions with effective strategies and tactics to get real results.

33. Michele Linn, Director of Content at Content Marketing Institue

Michele Linn spends her time as the Director of Content for CMI as well as heading her own content strategy firm, Linn Communications. Linn’s overarching goal with Linn Communications is to help B2B companies develop content strategies to connect with the ideal business customer through websites and content.

34. Murray Newlands, Author, Entrepreneur, and Speaker

An Internet marketing expert, blogger, adviser, teacher, and author, Murray Newlands wears many hats. This former lawyer has worked with the internet marketing industries leading agencies, advertisers, and networks.

35. Neal Schaffer, Author, Social Media Strategy & Social Business Coach, Consultant, Trainer & Speaker

Neal Schaffer has the honor of being listed on the Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer for two years in a row. He has also created the leading social media business blog, Maximize social business. When he’s not authoring acclaimed social media books, he’s traveling the world as a social media speaker.

36. Neil Ferree, Founder and President of FerreeMoney

While others on this list wear many hats, Neil Ferree has one focused mission: Monetizing Social Media Marketing. He uses tested and proven social media tools, apps, sites, and processes to maximize and monetize his clients social campaigns.

37. Nick Kellet, Co-Founder of List.ly

Nick Kellet describes himself as an ideas guy and innovator. Judging by the success of List.ly, he is clearly blazing trails. Constantly putting his entrepreneurial skills to use, Kellet has also created GiftTRAP and AnswerSets.

38. Pam Didner, Global Integrated Marketing Strategist at Intel

When she’s not acting as the Global Integrated Marketing Manager for Intel, Pam Didner is a professional business speaker and guest blogger for BtoB Magazine, CMI, and the Huffington Post. She was selected as one of BtoB’s Top Digital Marketers in 2011 and 2012 and was named one of the “Top 50 Content Marketers” in 2011.

39. Paul Roetzer, Founder and CEO at PR 20/20

Paul Roetzer began PR 20/20 in 2005 with the desire to shake things up after spending 7 years at a traditional PR firm. Roetzer also authored the book The Marketing Agency Blueprint.

40. Pawan Deshpande, Founder and CEO at Curata

Pawan Deshpande is responsible for Curata’s vision, management, and advanced development initiatives. This would keep an average person in over their heads, but Deshpande finds time to blog for Content Curation Marketing, CMI, CMO.com, Forbes, Marketingprofs, and numerous other publications.

41. Phil Buckley, Owner of 1918 Internet Services

Since the late 1990’s, Phil Buckley has been working on everything from early web development to system administration. A decade ago, he discovered his passion for online marketing and since then has worked for multi-million dollar e-commerce websites, advertising agencies, and small SEO agencies.

42. Phil Paranicas, Director of New Product Development at ThomasNet

ThomasNet is a free platform designed for sourcing components, equipment, MRO products, raw materials, and custom manufacturing services. While that may sound like the furthest thing from content marketing, Phil Paranicas was named the Top Digital Marketing Strategist by the Online Marketing Institute in February 2014.

43. Rafat Ali, Founder and CEO at Skift

What started as a travel news and information site, Skift raised over $1 million in funding before it began. Rafat Ali plans on turning the site into a hub for content and commerce.

44. Rich Schwerin, Director of Social Content Strategy at Oracle

As a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, Rich Schwerin spends his work time focused on brand communications and digital content strategies. Schwerin also moonlights as a writer, editor, and broadcaster.

45. Robert Rose, Chief Strategist at Content Marketing Institute

Robert Rose leads the client advisory, education, and technology practices for the Content Marketing Institute. A world renowned expert in content marketing strategy, Rose has helped large companies like AT&T, KPMG, PTC, Petco, and Nissan tell their stories.

46. Ross Hudgens, Founder of Siege Media

Siege Media specializes in developing, promoting, and maintaining content. Ross Hudgens has worked with the smallest and biggest business in the world implementing and executing effective SEO strategies that produce real results.

47. Russell Sparkman, CEO Content Strategy at FusionSpark Media

Russell Sparkman describes himself as a “content craftsman” and has over a decade of experience in Content Marketing Strategy and Content Development.

48. Scott Abel, Founder of The Content Wrangler

Scott Abel not only a content management strategist, but also a social media choreographer. Abel helps organizations improve all aspects of their content, from authoring all the way to archiving.

49. Simon Penson, Founder of Zazzle Media

Online marketing is not Simon Penson’s first love, he spent ten years in print media as a journalist and national magazine editor. Now he heads Zazzle Media, a content-led digital marketing agency based in the UK.

50. Toby Murdock, Co-Founder and CEO, Kapost

Toby Murdock is no stranger to the start-up world. Before co-founding Kapost he co-founded a social music service Qloud, which was eventually sold. You can find Murdock blogging at Communitas.

Who did we miss? Leave a comment and we can grow the list!

Social Media and Being Genuine

By | Social Media | No Comments

Hands are making indecision signalsIf you scrape the surface of Twitter, you’ll find countless articles with the with headlines proclaiming “7 Social Tips You Need!” and “If You’re Not Doing *This* You’re Failing At Social!” Overwhelming right? Even worse, after reading these articles rarely does anyone come away away with any sense of relief, or, “Wow, that was so helpful and enlightening!”

Content, consistency, relevance, interest- all of these things are spoken of ad nauseum. And for good reason, as you do need be aware of these elements when carrying out your social strategy. But too often people do not seek to convey a sense of being genuine: speaking in simple and transparent terms. People are smart and if you’re a phony, customers will let you know by tuning out your message. Really, the best social media advice one can receive is the same advice my mom has been giving me for years: just be yourself, honey!

Okay, “be genuine.” It is easier said than done. Furthermore, it’s certainly a concept you need to FEEL out (important because so much of marketing is inspiring feelings in your audience). However, there are a few things that almost always come across as disingenuous:

  • Not interacting with followers through comments, questions, mentions, etc.
  • Relying solely on scheduled posts
  • Posting the same exact content over and over again
  • “Always Be Closing” mentality

Being genuine is a tactic that all firms, of any size, can accomplish. And oftentimes it is even unintentional. Harper Perennial, the New York publishing company, executes its social with a hilarious level of “genuinity”. It has over 40k Twitter followers, yet still interacts on a real and personal level.

On a smaller scale, the Pittsburgh hot dog shop Franktuary is another stellar example of authentic interaction. The good people at Franktuary engage consistently on Facebook and Twitter. All of which is done with a friendly and somewhat irreverent tone.

Essentially, social media is a 24/7 networking event with the typical cast of characters. One person works the room effortlessly, begins conversations with everyone and never once seems like they’re selling themselves. Another feels terribly awkward and stands up against the wall. While another particularly abrasive individual is pushing into conversations and relentlessly pitching themselves. Clearly you don’t want to be the wallflower, so avoiding those disingenuous actions will help you from becoming the infomercial pitch man on the other end of the spectrum.

The Ultimate List of Social Media Marketing Tools

By | Social Media | One Comment

social media

Today’s post, the second in our series of “lists of tools” posts, is going to talk about the best of the best social media marketing tools. Social media marketing is heating up, especially when combined with SEO and content marketing strategies, therefore, we thought it would be good to put together this killer list. In this post we are going to address tools specific to marketing on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Google+. Let’s start with Facebook.

Facebook Marketing Tools

Canva – Canva allows everyone (not just the graphic designers) to create beautiful graphics to share through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and more. Users have access to a large library of professionally designed templates to use in their designs or to use as inspiration.

Facebook for Business – Facebook for Business is their page and ad platform that allows small and large business to build an audience and engage with them on a regular basis.

AdParlor – AdParlor is a full service managed Facebook advertising solution for buying Facebook Ads.

Marin Software – Marin Software is a Facebook Ad management and optimization tool for companies with larger ad spends.

Qwaya – Owaya is also a Facebook Ad management tool that helps you optimize your ads and lower your spend while improving your ROI.

Post Planner – Post Planner is a tool to help you keep content running through your feed at all times of the day which results in more reach, more likes, more leads, and more customers for your business.

OfferPop – Offer Pop is an third party platform that helps you build and launch Facebook apps in a matter of minutes.

WP4FB – WP4FB is similar to Offer Pop, except it is run on the WordPress platform. In a nutshell, WP4FB allows you to create highly professional, extremely viral, custom Facebook Fan Page Tabs and build an audience.

LinkedIn Marketing Tools

LinkedIn Ads – LinkedIn Ads are just what they sound like… LinkedIn’s ad platform and are a great way for businesses to connected with individuals meeting the exact criteria of their buyer personas.

LinkedIn Partner Messages – LinkedIn Partner Messages allow advertisers to deliver targeted messages to potential partners and clients through the InMail messaging platform.

Twitter Marketing Tools

Twitter Ads – Twitter Ads is Twitter’s ad platform that allows you to promote your Twitter account to gain more followers or promote a specific tweet to gain more retweets.

TwitterFeed – TwitterFeed is a fun little tool to help keep your update stream full of great content. You can set up TwitterFeed to pull the RSS feed of specific blogs and serve that content through your stream.

Sponsored Tweets – Sponsored Tweets is a similar platform like Twitter Ads, however, they only allow you to promote tweets to gain more visibility.

YouTube Marketing Tools

YouTube Video Targeting – From the name, I’m sure you’ve already guessed that this is YouTube’s ad platform. This is one of my favorite social media marketing tools as it allows you to target your ads to views of specific videos. You can also target your ads to geographic location, demographics, languages, categories and others.

One Load – One Load is more of a video marketing tool in general, but it’s super cool. One load lets you upload and distribute your videos to several video platforms, including YouTube, to help you get more visibility for your video and business.

Pinterest Marketing Tools

PinLeauge – PinLeauge is a marketing platform for Pinterest marketers that help you attract more followers and grow faster on Pinterst. They also offer a pretty awesome analytics platform for Pinterest as well.

Piqora – Piquora allows you to easily customize, deploy, and track Pinterest contests and sweepstakes. It also allows you to engage with your followers, uncover their favorite content, while driving continued impressions.

Pinstamatic – Pinstamatic helps you create great Pinterest boards in just a few minutes without much effort or any editing tools.

Google+ Marketing Tools

dlvr.it – Deliver It allows you to push your blog content to Google+ and other social platforms without having to login and update your page every time you post.

Circle Count – Circle Count helps you better understand Google+ and how certain people engage with content on their platform.

Find People On Plus – Find People On Plus helps you locate people with similar interests as you or your business and connect with them.

Wow! That’s quite the list. Am I missing any? If so, please feel free to share your favorite social media marketing tools in the comments section below.

Image courtesy of iCrossing

10 Stupid Simple Ways To Get More Twitter Followers

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twitter-followersWhile many people use Twitter for personal reasons, like staying in contact with close friends and family members, there are more and more people writing quality content on Twitter to assist in marketing their products and services.

Although the quality of the content in your conversations on Twitter are very important, if nobody hears it you’re out of luck! Because of this, it’s important to have both high-quality content and a high quantity of followers to get your message across on Twitter.

Here are 10 Stupid Simple Ways to help start to build your audience on Twitter.

  1. Use the Twitter follow button throughout your online properties.
  2. Explain the importance of retweeting and encourage your followers to retweet your links.
  3. Follow others and they may follow you back.
  4. Follow users that know what they are doing and learn from them.
  5. Jump into the hot topic conversations and get involved by replying and adding comments.
  6. Use your Twitter profile name on your email signature.
  7. Use your Twitter profile name on your social media networks.
  8. Make sure your Twitter bio is complete. If it is interesting to others they may want to follow you.
  9. Use #hashtags around the content you are passionate about. Hash tagging makes it easier for others to find and enjoy your content.
  10. Publish interesting content on Twitter and post interesting pictures.

Regardless if you choose to use one of the ways above or all of the, you should pay close attention to your Twitter analytics (I like to use Twitter Counter and Qwitter) to see what works for you.