3 Keys to a Highly-Effective Content Marketing Strategy

Creating compelling, relevant and consistent content is a highly effective way to attract and retain your audience’s attention, gain their trust, and, ultimately, to convert them to customers. To achieve this goal, it’s important to focus on three prongs: business goals, personas, and your sales funnel.  

6 min read

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Covid-19 has significantly changed business-to-business marketing plans. As Forrester noted recently, “It’s more than a combination of discrete trends such as rising bounce rates, declining open rates, or increasing churn; it’s that buyers now expect a fundamentally different relationship with your company.” Consequently, creating compelling, relevant and consistent content is a highly effective way to attract and retain your audience’s attention, gain their trust, and, ultimately, to convert them to customers.

In a world full of false advertising and eroding trust, content marketing should be at the heart of any digital marketing strategy. It’s the foundation of all digital marketing channels, including SEO, public relations, social media and traffic generation. According to Hubspot, 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing in 2020. Rather than trying to directly sell  your products or services, you are offering useful, relevant content to your prospects and customers to help them overcome their challenges. So then, the focus is on content – be it in the form of infographics, YouTube videos, whitepapers, webpages or information in other formats.

Effective content marketing sends a message to potential customers that you are passionate about what you do and that you want to share your expertise with them — for free. To achieve this goal, it’s important to focus on three prongs: business goals, personas, and your sales funnel.

Related: The 17 Best Content Marketing Books You Can Read Right Now

Three Essential Factors to Build Your Content Marketing Strategy

In order for your content marketing efforts to be successful, you need to create a strategy based on these three factors.

1. Business Goals

Step One in beginning an effective content marketing strategy is to be certain it lines up with your business goals. Understanding what business goal you want to achieve or support gives you the needed clarity to set the appropriate marketing objectives. Are you aiming to strengthen customer loyalty and reduce churn? Maybe the goal is to attract new prospects or overcome objections. Once you have defined your marketing goals, you can develop your content marketing campaign.

2. Personas

Developing buyer personas is a necessary part of your strategy, but you have to take it a step further. Find the individuals within your audience that have the influence and enthusiasm that will help grow your company. If your audience is split into several types of buyers, refine your buyer personas to focus on those most likely to convert.

Start by identifying some of your most loyal customers. From there, find the primary decision-makers who championed the decision to purchase from or hire you. There are probably sales or service team members in your company who have close relationships with these people. Find those employees, and use sales data to create a persona – data points like goals/motivations, challenges, background, demographics, common objections, biggest fears and hobbies.

3. Your sales funnel

Vendor research happens online, and what will move the buyer down the pipeline is valuable content being published on your web, email, search and social channels. In order to drive success with B2B content marketing, you need to understand how the content you create fits into the different stages of your sales funnel.

Be aware that your funnel may vary from the norm depending on elements such as your sector, solution, business model, pricing structure and target market. In fact, experts report that “today’s B2B buyer might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through their journey before they reach out to a vendor.” Confer with the sales team about the particulars of your sales funnel, then use that intelligence to create a marketing strategy that addresses leads at the top, middle and bottom of that funnel.

Related: Content and Content Marketing Are Not the Same. Here’s How to Frame the Top 11 Content Formats.

What Can Be Gained from Content Marketing?

There are many benefits of content marketing, including:

  • Addressing pain points leads to sales: When prospects look online for ways to solve their issues, your content is there to help over and over. As an example, marketers who use blogs as a primary communications tactic are 13x more likely to see return on investment.
  • Creating a community: As you establish thought leadership through content marketing, you gain credibility and encourage stronger relationships with existing and future customers.
  • Long-run savings: Good content has legs. It continues to work for you long after you’ve created it, continually bringing in qualified leads. That lessens paid marketing expenses. Demand Metric found that not only does content marketing cost 62% less than traditional marketing efforts, but it generates three times the number of leads.

HubSpot’s content marketing efforts showcase the powerful results that can be produced from a comprehensive strategy. The company is well-known because they produce massive amounts of content. HubSpot sells inbound market, sales and service software, but its claim to fame among marketers is the quantity and quality of its marketing resources, much of which is free. Their repertoire includes case studies, guides, ebooks, blog posts, courses, reports and more. Their content drives free traffic to their site, with the end goal of converting those leads into customers without spending a dime on advertising.

Related: The 5 Cs of Content Marketing Copy

Gaining Leads, Gaining Trust

Compelling and relevant content is the cornerstone of demand generation and lead nurturing strategy. Marketers depend on content to connect with prospects and existing customers in the current communications landscape, but to be successful, it must inform, excite and be worthy of sharing. It should arm audiences to address obstacles and accomplish their goals. If you’re able to accomplish this, prospects will come to trust your brand.  This involves prioritizing original content creation to promote that message so it can add value to the lives of your customers. Use the best practices discussed above to begin or refine your content marketing strategy.


3 Social Media Hacks to Help Your Content Go Viral

Use these 3 social media hacks to help your content go viral and get more exposure than any of your previous social media efforts.

Hint: Targeting emotions is key.

Whether you own a nonprofit or a social impact company, your cause deserves mass exposure. At times, it can feel challenging to utilize social media to unlock this. With so many competing causes and companies, much of it can feel like white noise. Fortunately, thanks to today’s social media accessibility, it’s easier than ever to get shares and more eyes on your cause’s content. A recent report by Statistica found that 95 percent of young adults follow a brand online. Social media isn’t just for friends and social engagements anymore.

Achieving virality is quite random, but there are a few social media hacks that can get you closer. Used consistently over time, these hacks can — at the very least — garner your cause more exposure than any of your previous social media efforts.

Related: Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Marketing

1. Capture attention right off the bat

Especially if you don’t yet have a big name or a significant following, it can be hard to fight for viewers’ attention. Because the average person has the attention span of a goldfish, they have to instantly be interested in your content in order to engage further. Garrett Adkins, the co-founder of Impact Media, says it’s “all about the first three seconds.”

“It is not the consumer’s job to give us their time. It is our goal and effort to receive it,” Adkins says. “We want to hook someone through a bold statement or intriguing question that both catches the eye and still aligns with the context of our message. It’s an art.”

How can you grab viewers from the start? Perhaps a surprising headline, a cliffhanger or a catchy first line. Your goal should be to make the viewer — who potentially has never even heard of your cause before — to read the next line of your caption or watch the next 20 seconds of your video.

2. Incorporate emotions or ownership into the content

Because many causes are rooted in human emotion, impact-oriented startups have a real opportunity in creating content that targets emotions. One powerful example of this was UNICEF’s fifth birthday campaign. Using the headline, “Every Child Deserves a 5th Birthday,” the campaign asked for viewers to submit a photo of themselves on their own fifth birthday. This did two things: It elicited emotion (especially seeing photos of very young children), and it also incorporated ownership, allowing viewers to contribute their own photos.

It will differ widely for every cause, but consider how you can put viewers in the shoes of who you’re impacting through your organization. How can you give them ownership and make the content interesting and emotional?

Related: A Breakdown of Every Major Social Media Platform for Business Owners

3. Aim to make people laugh

On the other side of the same coin, laughter is a human emotion that’s shareable. If you’ve ever stumbled across a meme or video that made you burst out laughing, you likely shared it with at least one other person. Because social impact companies typically have more serious causes, it can initially seem challenging to create humorous content around the mission.

A marketing campaign that did this well was from Movember, or No Shave November, which encourages men to talk about their mental health struggles through the month of November. Because “it gets better” is a common line in a mental health sense, Movember created a campaign featuring actors from The Office called It gets fuller,” poking fun at growing a mustache and how hard it can be for some. This relatable, funny message still raised awareness for the cause and gained virality.

Get creative with your own ideas using these three guidelines. As long as you target human emotion and aim to capture the viewer right off the bat, you’re in business. It may take a few iterations, but eventually, you’ll create a piece of content or a marketing campaign that gains some serious exposure for your cause.

6 Actionable Content Marketing Tips and Tactics to Skyrocket Organic Traffic in 2020

Blogging for business has become a mainstream essential. All online businesses, irrespective of the size and industry, are using blogging to increase their brand visibility and leads. Here are six actionable content marketing tips to skyrocket your organic traffic.

Blogging for business has become a mainstream essential. All online businesses, irrespective of the size and industry, are using blogging to increase their brand visibility and leads. Here are six actionable content marketing tips to skyrocket your organic traffic.

In marketing, we popularly call blogging strategy “content marketing.”

Even though it’s a great channel to acquire leads, most organizations are doing it wrong. While they are able to publish content regularly, the “marketing” is where most of them get stuck.

According to a SEMRush survey, 52% of content teams struggle in creating content that attracts more traffic.  ngf4e w  So what is going wrong?

While there might be multiple reasons for failure, the inability to get organic traffic to articles is the major roadblock. Getting traffic from search engines ensures you get consistent traffic to your blog, unlike social media traffic that lasts for a couple of days.

In the past, I’ve helped multiple companies with their content marketing efforts, and it has been a steep learning curve.

Here is my best content marketing tactics to help you solve this problem.

In this post, I’ve majorly focused on B2B content marketing (blog posts), but most of the tactics work equally well for the B2C industry too. Let’s dive into my favorite content marketing tips for 2020 –

1. Picking the right topic

While choosing the right topic might not directly impact your chances of ranking on Google, it’s the most crucial part. The last thing you want is to bring irrelevant visitors through your blog.

Remember, it’s not only about getting more organic visitors but attracting the right people to your blog too.

Ideally, you can divide the topics according to the different stages in the sales funnel.

1. Top of the Funnel

2. Middle of the Funnel

3. Bottom of the Funnel

Source – SingleGrain

If there’s a topic that doesn’t fit in these three stages, chances are it’s irrelevant for your company. So avoid writing about those topics.

To help you explain better, I’ve taken the example of Automate.io, a SaaS company that lets you integrate apps and automate workflows. I picked three posts from their blog from each stage to make my point clearer.

TOFU or Top of the Funnel Content

Any content that can help build awareness for your brand can be considered top of the funnel. The aim should be to attract as many relevant people as possible.

Example – 10 of the Best Email Marketing Strategies for E-Commerce Sites

Summary – If you see the above topic, it doesn’t cover automation in general but still gives an introduction to automation in one of the points.

TOFU works best for brand visibility and might not necessarily get you quality leads when compared to other stages.

MOFU or Middle of the Funnel

With this type of content, your aim should be to influence visitors in the consideration stage to sign up for a trial or a demo.

Example – The E-commerce Business Automation Guide for 2020

Summary – The above topic targets Ecommerce businesses looking for automation solutions.

Remember to show the different advantages and features of your product when writing MOFU content. This will help convert more visitors into leads.

BOFU or Bottom of the Funnel

This type of content helps users to validate their purchase decision. Content types like a comparison post, buyer’s guide, case studies (might not help get you organic traffic) are great examples.

Example – Mailchimp & Shopify Integration: How You Can Still Connect Them & Do More

Summary – The above post directly shows how Automate.io can help set up the integration.

2. Keyword Research is key

I can’t emphasize the importance of keyword research enough when it comes to SEO. If you’re looking to drive organic traffic you need to rank for terms people are searching on Google. Avoid selecting a keyword on the basis of your gut feeling.

The best way is you can do this is by using a keyword research tool like Google Keyword Planner or UberSuggest. Once you enter your keyword you’ll see related keywords and search volumes associated with it.

For example, to optimise this post, I entered content marketing tips and I found the search volume to be 420 per month globally. In my search, I also found similar keywords like content marketing tactics, content marketing tactics 2020 and other related keywords that I could include in my content. Don’t skip long-tail keywords.

Source- Ahrefs

But your final keywords choices shouldn’t be purely on the basis of volume. There are a lot of other factors like –

1. The difficulty of the keyword. Just do a quick google search and analyse the top ranking websites. I personally like to compare the DA of the top website with mine to see if I have a shot at ranking on the first page. If there’s a huge gap, I usually skip that topic altogether.

2. If you’re targeting a specific country or region, make sure to check region-specific volumes. Sometimes there can be a big difference between the global and country-specific search volumes.

3. If you’re writing a blog, ensure that the keyword’s intent is informational. In case you see a lot of product pages ranking for a keyword, it might not be the right keyword to target.

4. Apart from the volumes, check the keyword traffic estimation also. Read this article to know how you can calculate it.

3. Make it better than your competitors

You can only outrank a post by doing a better job than your competitors. Including more words is not enough. If you’re planning to create content that generates a ton of inbound traffic, then you need to spend a lot of time in research and crafting it.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind when writing content – 

  1. Focus on making it in-depth whilst keeping the intent of the audience
  2. Cover all the necessary information that the user might need
  3. Make it easier to skim by structuring the article well. Use a page builder like Elementor to add content boxes, tables and more.
  4. Add infographics, statistics, and videos to make it enjoyable and actionable
  5. Try to be as original and authentic as possible

4. Promote, Promote and Promote

Let me ask you a question: how much of your efforts are spent on writing content vs content promotion? 

For most teams, it’s 80% in writing content and 20% on promoting it. This is a huge problem. Remember, promoting content on social media and to your newsletter subscribers is not enough. You need to find other creative ways of promoting your content to reach your target audience. 

Here are some promotion techniques you should try – 

  1. Community promotion – Try to promote your content in relevant communities and groups on Facebook, Slack, and other places. You can also look at online communities (like GrowthHackers) and other promotion platforms (example – Zest.is). Just ensure to engage first before posting your article.
  2. Reddit and Quora – These are clearly one of the most underrated channels when it comes to promotion. But if you use them strategically, you can see great results. For example, Reddit can drive a ton of traffic and links to your post. You just need to be smart with your messaging.
  3. Influencer promotion – Find relevant influencers using a tool like Buzzsumo and outreach them over email or twitter with your content.
  4. Content repurposing – Even if your content is just text, it shouldn’t stop you from converting it into a video and publishing it on YouTube. You can take a similar approach to repurpose into other content formats like audio, slides, infographic, a downloadable etc.

Source – Zest.is

5. Creating high-quality links

Honestly, writing and promoting your content is not enough to rank it on the first page of Google. In most cases, you need to create manual backlinks to improve the SERP rankings.

While there are many techniques to generate backlinks, here are few that has worked for well for me – 

Guest Posting – Even with all the rumor saying “Guest Posts are dead,” it still works like a charm. Just ensure you’re reaching out to the right site and pitching them relevant content ideas.

Focus on providing value, and you’ll see great results with your efforts.

Here are some search queries that will help you to find sites that accept a guest post in your niche.

keyword intitle:”write for us”

keyword intitle:”write for me”

keyword  intitle:”contribute to”

keyword intitle:”submit” + inurl:blog

keyword “submit a guest post”

Reaching out to resource pages – Search for relevant resource pages on Google and outreach blog owners with your post. Make sure to give them a compelling reason as to why they should consider your post. A lot of times you just need to fill up a form to submit your resource. A blogger outreach strategy can be incredibly effective when done right.

Here are some search queries you can try –

Keyword +  intitle:resources

Keyword +  inurl:links

Keyword +  intitle:resources inurl:links

6. Keep updating the old articles

I know updating old posts can be a huge challenge, especially when you’re working on an article that hasn’t been written by you. But with so many changes happening in the world, at some point in time — your article will inevitably get outdated and lose rankings.

To prevent being outdated, you should make it a practice to update old posts. You can do this by adding relevant content, additional information, and internal linking it with the new pages. This work will directly help boost the authority of the article.

To identify such posts, I usually create a report every six months. You can change the timeline depending on the number of posts you publish every month. Regardless, if you see traffic for a post drop, it’s a good signal for you to work on updating it.

I understand for most of us when it comes to increasing organic traffic, our focus is on adding new posts to the blog. But one shouldn’t overlook the power of updating your existing posts to increase traffic.

Over to you

I hope the above content marketing tactics inspire you to ramp up your content efforts.  I feel it’s all about changing the mindset and following a framework. Forget about your competitors. Remember, to equally distribute your efforts between writing and promotion. 

I understand implementing these changes might seem difficult at the start. But trust me, once you start focusing on driving organic traffic to your blog you’ll see amazing results. Just align your activities with the goal of ranking on Google. 

Image Credit: austin distel; unsplash

Himanshu Gupta

I’m a blogger and I handle content marketing at Exotel. I love marketing, growth hacking & reading growth stories.

7 Content Marketing Trends to Watch Out for in 2020

It is critical that you learn about what type of content you must create and what channel or what medium you must target to increase exposure and drive more clicks.

Your success in marketing is contingent on leveraging current trends to push content to more users. Here are seven content marketing trends you must watch out for in 2020.

There is no doubting the effectiveness of quality content in driving more clicks — regardless of what your niche is. Nonetheless, since 90% (demandmetrics dot com) of all organizations leverage content in their marketing efforts, producing engaging, just informative content is no longer sufficient to cut through the noise.

It is critical that you learn about what type of content you must create and what channel or what medium you must target to increase exposure and drive more clicks.

In 2020, as older trends taper off, and older marketing techniques are rendered ineffective (especially after COVID, the economy, and the riots) your success in marketing is contingent on leveraging current trends to push content to more users.

Here are seven content marketing trends you must watch out for in 2020.

#1. Podcasting

Image: Podcasting-Example.png

Image Source: https://www.smartpassiveincome.com/listen/

Podcasts have exploded in popularity in the past decade. As reported by Statista, the number of podcast listeners has almost tripled over the decade, and it is anticipated that the number of podcast listeners in the United States alone will rise to 132 million by 2022!

With more and more listeners tuning into podcasts across niches every day, it is crucial that you begin to leverage podcasts to expand your reach exponentially. Digital marketing podcasts are gaining momentum and a lot of experts are sharing their practical tactics to help online companies.

Creating a podcast is of prime importance if your industry demands it. Even if there are already big players in your niche or no podcasts are covering your niche at all—you must put up an informational podcast episode regularly.

Similar to blogging, consistency is key to thriving in the podcasting space.

It is also crucial that you create a podcast intentionally. Creating a podcast only for the sake of marketing isn’t going to be effective. You’ll lose traction and plateau at times, and only being passionate about your niche will keep you going.

Lastly, sticking to a particular facet of your niche is essential—since switching subjects will confuse your listeners regarding your area of expertise.

Opined Brendan Hufford of 100 Days of SEO.

#2. User-Generated Content 

Image: User-Generated-content-example.png

Image Source: https://www.canva.com/

User-generated content is content created and published by unpaid contributors.

Typically, these contributors are fans that promote a brand based on their own experience with it. The brand does not promote itself. You can find user-generated content on social media, blogs, and forums as comments, images, or testimonials.

One good example of marketing using user-generated content is Coca Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign. Users would find a Coke with their name on it and share a picture of it on social media.

Although it may not seem like a huge deal, you must realize that with this campaign, the company managed to create a source of free viral content for the brand—since people were essentially showing off images with their drink.

You can leverage user-generated content from the ratings, reviews, and comments from e-commerce sites, blog posts, and social media depending on what suits your business model and niche best.

Over 90% of consumers trust the recommendation of another person, even someone they don’t know, over branded content—which is why you must find ways to leverage user-generated content.

Opined Brent Trotter of Clique Studios.

#3. Voice-Activated Content

With the adoption of smart devices proliferating, there is an upsurge in demand for content optimized for voice-activated devices. Voice-activated content opens up a wealth of opportunities for you to intervene and leverage the newly popular platform.

Many marketers are only now starting to realize the potential for profits of this trend, it is vital that you begin curating voice-optimized content right away, while you still have the upper hand. There is only one thing you must discern to make the most out of the opportunity you have now.

You must understand the nuances between how users search for content when they type and when they speak. 

Gaining mastery over these subtle differences will enable you to craft better headlines and focus on including specific long-tail keywords in your content.

Although voice-optimized content must be informative and engaging (just like blog content), the style of writing must be much simpler.

Analyzing patterns and trends in voice searches—similar to what you practice when looking for keywords and content in demand—can potentially amplify your exposure.

#4. Chatbots 

Image: Chatbots-example.png

Image Source: https://www.intercom.com/customizable-bots

Introducing a chatbot to your site has a range of benefits—which is why you will notice a surge in its adoption.

By setting up a chatbot on your site, you can engage your visitors in conversation. Hooking in your visitors in this way enables you to

  • learn more about their persona,
  • understand their intents and goals when they visit your site, and
  • analyze their specific needs.

Asking visitors to fill in a form is now a dated marketing tactic and is largely considered tedious. A chatbot is a sophisticated tool that enables you to accomplish all the same objectives faster, all while keeping your visitor engaged in stimulating conversation.

Conversational marketing, in the form of a chatbot, also minimizes the downtime throughout your relationship with the visitor. This increase in efficiency, in turn, allows you to achieve the following:

  • Minimize the time needed to learn about your target audience
  • Minimize gaps between engagements
  • Minimize the time and effort needed on the visitor’s end
  • Minimize costs (since you don’t need to hire anybody)

Chatbots minimize costs, time, and effort required to understand the goals and intentions of your visitors.

They are so effective because, unlike when using forms, a chatbot makes the user feel as if they’re being treated as an individual.

Opined Daniel Cooper of Lolly.co.

#5. Augmented Reality

While AR content is an entirely new form of content, it opens up scores of opportunities for you to use it to revivify your content marketing campaign.

Companies like Starbucks, Facebook, Google, Sephora, Ikea, Apple, and Microsoft are already putting the new technology to good use.

Ikea launched Ikea Place—an AR application that improves the customer’s shopping experience by showing them exactly how a product will look and fit in their room.

Image: Augmented-Reality-Ikea-Place.png

Image Source: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/

On the other hand, Sephora has an AR-supported app that enables customers to try on eyelashes, lipsticks, eye shadows, and all kinds of other beauty products without needing to purchase them first.

AR still remains to be a largely untapped avenue for marketing, with only mainstream companies diving in headfirst.

Regardless if you blog, run an e-commerce store, or market products for others, you must remember that the only lapse in AR marketing is currently on the marketers’ end.

Almost all devices on the market are AR-ready, and adaptation to it is only increasing. With only a few companies leveraging it to market products, altering your content marketing strategy to involve AR can help drive more traffic and sales.

Opined Isaac Hammelburger of SearchPros.co.

#6. Video and Live-Stream Content

Image: Live-stream-content.png

The modern customer increasingly expects to receive video content from their favorite brand. Video content also tends to keep users engaged for a longer time than written content.

Posting videos on YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, LinkedIn, and your own website is a great way of engaging customers for longer periods. While you do have their attention, marketing products and services shouldn’t be too difficult anymore.

On the other hand, you can upload short videos on platforms like Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram and supply snack-sized content with high potential to go viral.

You can also leverage these platforms to create user-generated content. Sending your products to reviewers and having them create a video is an excellent tactic that almost always brings in more customers.

You can also leverage live-streaming platforms in your content marketing campaign. Now, more consumers prefer to watch long-form video streams than read a blog post.

Holding Q&A sessions, webinars, product demos, or interviews are some of the best ways to create engaging long-form content.

Regardless of what platform or video style you decide to leverage, remember that more exposure translates to more sales. 

Opined James Norquay – Content Marketing Director Prosperity Media.

#7. Google Snippets

About 62.5% of Google searches on mobile now end without a click.

Ever since Google (and other search engines) introduced the SERP snippet that has featured content, users tend not to click on links since they’ve already found what they were searching for.

If you want your web page to stand out from the competition and be featured in the snippet, you must create content that stands out.

Image: Google-Snippets.png

Users now know that using long-tail keywords will almost always cause Google to answer their questions in the form of the snippet. Therefore, you must focus on creating solution-focused, long-form content that can answer the audience’s questions.

Targeting “How do I…” questions in your niche is one of the easiest ways to get your content featured on the snippet. Also, you must make sure that your content is straightforward and that you’re not rambling. If you must choose between straightforwardness and cleverness, always go the straightforward route.

Another important characteristic of quality content is that it attracts both “no-click” and “click-happy” users. If you write engaging content, there’s a good chance that you will drive more clicks.

Regardless of which trend you decide to hop on and take advantage of, you must remember that analytics is just as important as the content in content marketing.

You must aim to deliver content on the basis of your analysis of search intent. Furnishing quality content that’s already in demand will help you drive more clicks to your site, which will translate to more sales.

Charu Mitra Dubey

Charu Mitra Dubey is a freelance writer specializing in marketing, startups, and entrepreneurship. She writes for several publications and at the same time work with startups on their content marketing strategies. She is the founder of CharuDubey.com, where she blogs about marketing and freelancing.

How To Level Up Marketing Content From B2B Influencers

So you’ve identified the true influencers to your target audience, Here is how to unleash your Influencer content you start,

Why do you even need a content person for influencer marketing?

After all, the influencers are providing the content. You just have to collect their pearls of wisdom, make them look pretty in a PDF, and you’re good to go, right?

I’ll confess, on my first influencer marketing project, I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing there. Over the last few years, however, I’ve come to understand the role that content marketers can play in shaping influencer content.

It’s the content lead’s job to shape the conversation with the influencer. We have to ask the right questions, and provide a structure and framework to elicit thoughtful, detailed responses.

There are a few extraordinary thought leaders who will dash off a thousand-word, amazingly insightful response to the vaguest prompt. But most folks — even those who write for a living — need more to go on than “What is the biggest problem facing our industry?”

The influencers you’re talking to have spent hours of time and effort learning about their subject matter, building an audience with powerful, useful content that provokes action. When you email that list of questions, or sit down for an interview, make sure you don’t leave any insight untapped.

Here’s how we at TopRank are evolving our influencer approach to get at that next-level content.

How to Unleash Your Influencer Content

So you’ve identified the true influencers to your target audience, you’ve developed relationships, and now you’re ready to co-create content together. Before you start, make sure you lay the groundwork for a productive Q&A.

Ask More Specific Questions

Influencers will take their cue on how to answer based on how you ask the question.  If you start with a mile-high question like, “What challenges should leaders be aware of right now?”, you’re likely to get a high-level response, something vague and oracular. That’s not because the interviewee can’t get into specifics — it’s because you didn’t invite them to.

A better approach is to find out the biggest challenges that your industry is facing, pick one, and ask what we should be doing about it: “The latest Gartner report says that 75% of managers don’t have enough donuts in the breakroom. What are the options for HR leaders to fix this problem? What do you recommend?”

Limit the scope of your question, and you invite the influencer to give a more detailed response.

Limit the scope of your question, and you invite the influencer to give a more detailed response. @NiteWrites on #InfluencerMarketing interviews. Click To Tweet

Don’t Ask Questions Everyone Knows the Answer To

It’s easy to fall into this particular trap. You offer the influencer softball questions that have a broad consensus for the answer, they agree with the consensus, everyone goes home happy.

I’m talking about questions like, “Do you think automation is, on the whole, a good thing or bad thing?”  And they answer, “Well, it’s a different thing. It will cost some people their jobs, but for others it will make their jobs less repetitive and more meaningful, and that will open up new opportunities to innovate.”

The above is perfectly acceptable, content-wise, but it’s a waste of your influencer’s time and talent. You don’t hire LeBron James to dunk on a 4-foot rim. Ask questions you don’t know the answer to, questions that your industry is struggling with, questions that cry out for guidance!

You don’t hire LeBron James to dunk on a 4-foot rim. Ask questions you don’t know the answer to, questions that your industry is struggling with, questions that cry out for guidance! @NiteWrites on #InfluencerMarketing Click To Tweet

And, of course, give your influencer plenty of time to think about these questions and formulate thoughtful responses.

Let Your Audience Ask the Questions

One of the best ways to get at these more detailed, more challenging questions is to see what questions your audience is actually asking. There are two ways to go about soliciting audience questions for an influencer.

The first is the direct one: Ask on your social media channels and your email newsletter. For example, a Twitter post could say, “If you could ask Lee Odden one question about influencer marketing, what would it be? Answer with #AskLeeO.” Collect the most pertinent questions and let them guide the interview.

The second way to let your audience ask the questions is to do some keyword research. The topics your audience is searching for are the ones they need answers on. If they had the answers, they wouldn’t be searching! But don’t stop at the highest-volume keywords; those are likely to be too general. Dig into the long-tails on a tool like SEMrush to get at the burning questions.

Ask for Stories

Many of the influencers we work with are consultants, keynote speakers, or have been executives at multiple companies. These folks have a ton of practical experience — we just have to ask them to draw on it.

Instead of asking, “What do you think are the three biggest challenges,” ask, “What problems are your clients coming to you with?” Or, even better, “Have you had clients with a similar problem? Tell me about how you advised them, what they did to solve it, and what success looks like.”

Asking for stories like this gives your influencer a chance to demonstrate their expertise in action, and offers your audience a more grounded, relatable look at your topic.

Power Up Your B2B Influencer Content

Content planning is a crucial part of influencer marketing. It’s the content team’s job to ask questions that meet audience demand, inspire thoughtful contemplation, and make full use of the influencer’s experience and insight. Asking the right questions is the difference between good and great influencer content.

If you want to level up your B2B influencer marketing content, make your questions specific, skip telling the audience what they already know, and ask for unique stories that only your influencer could tell.

Want to power up your influencer marketing even more? Check out The B2B Marketing Force Multiplier: Integrated SEO and Influencer Marketing.

The 17 Best Content Marketing Books You Can Read Right Now

May 15, 2020 8 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Are you looking to up your content marketing game right now? Are you tired of seeing the same books on everyone’s “best of” list? Me too.Don’t get me wrong, those books are good, and some are even classics, but content marketing…

8 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Are you looking to up your content marketing game right now? Are you tired of seeing the same books on everyone’s “best of” list? Me too.

Don’t get me wrong, those books are good, and some are even classics, but content marketing is always evolving. You must keep up with what’s new and exciting in the field so you can apply it to your business, no matter how big or small you are. 

So, I decided to take a deep dive into the newer content marketing books that have been released in the last couple of years. I’ve gathered the best 17 books on content marketing that’ll help you be a better marketer, strategies, and business owner. 

1. Content Marketing by Gavin Turner

Turner’s book is a step-by-step guide on how to set up your business with proven strategies that’ll help grow your brand and business. It’s filled with useful tactics you can use in both the short-and long-term to ramp up your marketing, boost content recognition and production and how to tie it all together. 

2. Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style by Benjamin Dreyer

A fresh alternative to the dull grammar and writing books out there, Dreyer’s English was written by a long-time copy chief at Random House Publishing. It’s an engaging and fun look at words and grammar that anyone will appreciate, no matter if you’re new or a veteran marketer. Use it to answer your questions about when to use a semicolon or em dash and why it’s okay to start a sentence with “And” or “But.” 

3. F#ck Content Marketing: Focus on Content Experience to Drive Demand, Revenue & Relationships by Randy Frisch

Once you get past the title, this book is an excellent resource for content marketers. Frisch, the CMO and co-founder of Uberflip, wrote it to help marketers focus more on the way content is experienced, rather than simply pumping it out. His main idea is that marketers have worried too much about content production and not enough about content scalability. It’s an interesting read and one that can help marketers surface their content in the never-ending chronological scroll that is our online world today. 

4. Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins by Mark Schaefer

Schaefer wrote this book because he knows that the marketing landscape has changed dramatically. Consumers have so many ways of avoiding ads on TV, their browsers, and social media streams that marketers have no choice but to change their tactics. In the book, Schaefer advocates that marketers take a more effective and human approach to their messages. He explains it all clearly and outlines actionable steps that all marketers can take to move forward. 

5. Mean People Suck: How Empathy Leads to Bigger Profits and a Better Life by Michael Brenner

This book was published at a time when interest in the customer experience is more critical than ever, and job dissatisfaction is at an all-time high. Negativity can seep into any business from anywhere, so Brenner explains the benefits of empathy at work, and how it can help people be better outside the office too. Brenner’s filled the book with stories of companies that were able to replace toxic cultures and dissatisfied customers with helpful, positive employees that delivered high-quality customer experiences. 

6. Superfans: The Easy Way to Stand Out, Grow Your Tribe, and Build a Successful Business by Pat Flynn

Flynn wrote this book to help entrepreneurs build a more engaged, loyal audience, and explains why a smaller, more loyal audience is better. Superfans makes the case that we should be thinking more about connecting with our audiences on a deeper level through extra-special moments that “create novelty, defy expectations, and break the mold.” 

7. Talk Triggers by Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin

Baer and Lemin do an excellent job of writing about an often overlooked aspect of content marketing in this book — word of mouth marketing. Most marketers don’t have a strategy for this particular marketing channel, so they created one. Their “4-5-6” learning system will help you uncover and activate talk triggers in your business. They’re such good writers that this well-organized book explains a complex topic without being overwhelming.

8. They Ask, You Answer by Marcus Sheridan

Sheridan’s popular book got an update last year, with new sections on closing deals with video marketing and the essential elements every good business website should have. He also included new stories of businesses who’ve used these tactics to great success, lending even more proof to the fact that this strategy works for everyone. 

9. Conversational Marketing by Dave Gerhardt and David Cancel

Drift co-founders Cancel and Gerhardt wrote this book as the definitive book on how to generate better leads and close more sales with chatbots. Conversational Marketing explains how chatbots are transforming the way brands market themselves and interact with customers. It’s a well-written and digestible primer on how to convert a business from traditional communication channels to the modern messaging apps we all use today. 

10. Killing Marketing: How Innovative Businesses Are Turning Marketing Cost Into Profit by Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose

In this follow-up book to an earlier classic, Pulizzi and Rose explain how today’s innovative companies are achieving remarkable results by fundamentally changing their approach. They’ve dramatically increased customer loyalty and revenue by creating more value for customers by using owned media and changing to a customer-centric way of thinking about content. Pulizzi and Rose write in an engaging, easy-to-read manner that makes it enjoyable to learn more about this new take on content marketing. 

11. Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World by Melissa Agnes

Information moves fast today, and many marketers aren’t ready for when things go wrong. Since marketers are often involved in PR and crisis management for today’s modern brands, it makes sense that they learn a bit more about how to handle bad situations. Agnes focuses more on being proactive rather than reactive in her book, helping brands anticipate threats so they can handle them with resiliency and poise. 

12. The Lead Machine: The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing by Rich Brooks

While not about content marketing specifically, this book can help entrepreneurs and small business owners develop strategies to manage the digital marketing channels they’ll use to distribute their marketing. It walks you through the steps to create a social media strategy, explains how to increase SEO, add subscribers to your email list and convert loyal fans into customers. 

13. This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See by Seth Godin

Seth Godin has written several wonderful books on marketing, and his latest is another great entry. In it, he breaks down how to tap into conversations with your audience and engage them with marketing that matters to them. He teaches you how to craft content that speaks directly to your audience, builds trust with them, builds a product or brand they’ll care about, and how to use storytelling as a powerful marketing strategy. Another great read from Godin.

14. Marketing Made Simple: A Step-by-Step StoryBrand Guide for Any Business by Donald Miller

In keeping with the storytelling theme, next is Donald Miller’s latest book about using his StoryBrand framework for any business. Here, he offers a five-part checklist to help marketers and business owners apply his StoryBrand messaging framework to key customer touchpoints to develop, strengthen, and communicate their brand’s story. Companies that use his methods see double-digit increases in engagement and sales numbers, so if you’re interested in the nuts-and-bolts of it all, this book’s for you. 

15. Traffic Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Filling Your Websites and Funnels with Your Dream Customers by Russell Brunson

As more people jump into entrepreneurship, they must learn how to generate traffic and fill their sales funnels; otherwise, no one will hear about your amazing products that could make a difference in their lives. Traffic Secrets will help you discover and understand precisely who your dream customers are, find where they are online and create the hooks that’ll grab their attention and bring them to your business. 

16. SEO 2020 by Adam Clarke

SEO is always a moving target as the search engines change their algorithms. In this updated version of the book, Clarke explains how to do SEO today, dives into the details of what Google’s changed in their algorithms and explains how to use them to your advantage.  

17. Top of Mind by John Hall

Staying top-of-mind is the ultimate goal for a brand. You want to be the one consumers remember when they’re ready to buy. In this book, Hall reveals how consumer expectations have changed and what that means to brand owners and how to build a helpful, authentic brand that serves others more than it serves you. He explains the proven methods you can use to reach out to consumers and create a deeper relationship through digital channels, so you’ll maintain that prominent spot in your audience’s mind. 


How to Measure and Analyze Content Marketing Success

In this article, we’re going to explore precise ways you can measure your content marketing efforts to get a clearer picture of what’s happening both at a micro and macro level. By the end, you should have some clear action steps on how you can proceed in the coming days and weeks.

By now, virtually every brand across any industry or niche is doing some form of content marketing. Many of these businesses have formal content marketing strategies with editorial guidelines, content calendars, and posting schedules. But very few take the time to carefully measure content marketing results. And unfortunately, this comprises the very integrity of these campaigns by limiting or suppressing optimum results.

In this article, we’re going to explore precise ways you can measure your content marketing efforts to get a clearer picture of what’s happening both at a micro and macro level. By the end, you should have some clear action steps on how you can proceed in the coming days and weeks.

Why Measure Content Marketing?

Before we dig into the how of measuring and analyzing content marketing, let’s explore the why. In other words, why should you measure your content marketing in the first place?

Though each individual brand will have its own unique list of reasons, there are ultimately three overarching purposes:

  • Clarity. It’s impossible to know how your content is being received if you don’t take the time to study the data and analyze the trends. Careful measurement and analysis pave the way for greater clarity.
  • Justification. If you’re investing in content marketing within a large organization or multi-layered business, you have to be prepared to justify the investment. Subjective statements and generalities will only go so far. Eventually, the people calling the shots will want to see objective data and numerical trends to offer their continued support.
  • Optimization. Trends come and go. Best practices evolve. New strategies emerge. A static content marketing strategy eventually crumbles into a heap of irrelevant ashes. The only way to optimize with any real strategy or direction is to measure what’s happening on the ground floor so that you can make the necessary changes and adjustments over time.

Measuring content marketing takes time. Analyzing the data and trends requires a hefty ongoing commitment. But when you understand the impact, it becomes much easier to stay committed and tuned in. When in doubt, return to these three purposes and let them guide your decision-making.

How Often Should You Measure Your Content Marketing?

This question of how often is ultimately one of personal preference. However, the real answer is that you should be measuring content marketing as often as you can. (Ideally it’s a continual process.)

According to one industry survey, leading experts set goals and track KPIs for every piece of content they create. Approximately 37 percent of marketers monitor the success of their content marketing every week, while another 26 percent do so on a daily basis.

How to Measure and Analyze for Optimal Clarity

Okay, now that we’ve laid the groundwork and developed a common understanding of why content marketing needs continual measurement and analysis, let’s dig in and look at the action steps you can take to get clear and insightful takeaways that lead to growth and improvement.

  • Get Clear on Your Goals

Every good content marketing strategy starts with a definitive set of goals and desired results. Before you move any further in the process, it’s imperative that you get very clear on what these goals are in order that you can track against them. This includes both overarching goals, as well as content-specific objectives that apply to individual mediums and pieces.

Begin with your overarching goal:

  • Are you trying to increase your brand exposure to relevant members of your target audience?
  • Is your primary objective to drive traffic to sales pages so that you can drum up conversions?
  • Is your goal to educate people in order that you can cultivate an informed following?

Then there are the content-specific goals, like:

  • Increasing blog readership
  • Gaining backlinks
  • Improving search rankings

Each of these goals requires a different approach on the analysis front. (And it’s possible that you’ll have a combination of overlapping goals.) By getting clear on what your goals are, you can select the right measurements to move forward with.

  • Track These Metrics

Based on your goals, here are some powerful metrics you can analyze to measure content marketing efficacy:

  • Website traffic. Track your website traffic data every single day and overlay it with your content posting schedule. Look for a correlation between when content is posted and how traffic fluctuates. Do you notice an uptick in traffic based certain types of content (quality) or the number of posts you publish (quantity)?
  • Subscriber growth. Email marketing is obviously a huge component of content marketing. By tracking your subscriber growth and opt-ins, you can see how many new people you’re reaching over time. You should also track opt-outs and other engagement metrics, which tells you if people like what they’re getting.
  • Average time on page. Google analytics has a neat metric that allows you to track the average amount of time people are spending on each page of content you produce. Keep an eye on this data point, as it’ll give you a good idea of whether people are quickly scanning your content and bouncing, or if they’re actually taking the time to consume what you’re publishing. Over time, you’ll notice that certain types of content lead to a spike in the average time on page.
  • Click-through rate (CTR). Your CTR tells you what percentage of a page’s visitors click through your content and go to other pages on your website. In other words, it tells you how well you’re doing at convincing people to continue the experience with your brand (versus leave for another website).
  • Social shares. Comments and likes on social media are one thing. But the true test of whether your content is resonating is how many shares it gets. You don’t need all of your content to go viral, but you should try to get a few shares per post. This increases the eyeballs/impressions and increases your likelihood of finding success.

This data can be pulled from a variety of sources, including website Analytics, email analytics, social media analytics, and a combination of standalone tools and trackers that you use.

  • Check Your Backlinks

It’s one thing to share your content and pump it out across a variety of social channels, but if you want to double or triple the impact of your content, you need a backlinking strategy that encourages other websites and blogs to link back to you.

Use a backlink checker to identify all of the inbound links to your site and consistently measure for growth and attrition. Ideally, you should be picking up dozens (or hundreds) of backlinks a year. This not only leads to the increased potential of referral traffic back to your website, but it also strengthens your search rankings.

If you find one specific website or blog that regularly links back to your content, it might be worth sending them a quick thank you message for their support. (It would also be smart to link back to their site, when relevant and appropriate.)

  • Study Search Ranking Trends

One of the primary goals of content marketing is to amplify your website’s SEO and improve search rankings, which enhances discoverability and subsequently increases your chances of driving organic traffic back to your URLs.

Study your search rankings over time – both on a domain-level and page-level. In other words, you should be tracking your website’s search ranking trends, as well as individual pieces of content and how they rank for particular keywords. This can all be done via a combination of tools like Google Analytics, Moz, Ahrefs, etc.

  • Look for Anecdotal Evidence of Engagement

If search rankings and SEO represent the technical side of content marketing, engagement is associated with the softer side of things. But just because it’s more anecdotal doesn’t mean it lacks measurable metrics. In fact, studying content engagement is one of the keys to being successful. Here are some different elements to analyze:

  • Blog comments. Comments on your blog posts – organic, not spammy – are a sign that your content is working. Don’t fret too much about whether these comments are positive or negative. The fact that you’re driving conversation is key.
  • Email replies. Are people replying to your email newsletters and blasts? This will tell you a lot about how effective the content is. (A lack of replies doesn’t necessarily indicate your emails are ineffective, but an abundance of them definitely shows you’re getting the job done.)
  • Scrolling. How far are people scrolling down on your blog posts and content? There are a variety of tools you can embed into your site to gather these insights. It’ll show you where people tend to drop off.

If you’re doing well in these areas, your engagement is high. This is perhaps the clearest indicator that your content marketing is working.

Adding it All Up

Don’t let the volume of data or the dozens of different KPIs and measurements overwhelm you. You don’t have to tackle everything at once. In fact, you probably shouldn’t.

The best approach is to start with one goal and to spend a week tracking it. Then add in another goal and measurement the next week. As you become more familiar with studying your content – and as you simultaneously add more analysis to your repertoire – you’ll gain even greater clarity into what’s happening and where you can improve.

Nate Nead

Nate Nead is the CEO of SEO.co, a full-service SEO company. For over a decade Nate had provided strategic guidance on scaling organic website traffic for some of the most well-known online brands. He and his team advise Fortune 500 and SMB clients on keyword research, link building, content marketing and paid online promotion. Nate and his team are based in Seattle, Washington and West Palm Beach, Florida.

Is Content Driving the Online Market?

Technology is evolving day by day, and so is everyone connecting to it. Marketing approaches took a sharp turn recently and paved the way to introduce digital marketing to all the online businesses out there. Though every one regarded it as an expensive and complicated approach first, it is slowly becoming a necessity for all…

Technology is evolving day by day, and so is everyone connecting to it. Marketing approaches took a sharp turn recently and paved the way to introduce digital marketing to all the online businesses out there. Though every one regarded it as an expensive and complicated approach first, it is slowly becoming a necessity for all the small and big companies.

Digital marketing comes with a lot of elements, and today we are going to discuss how content marketing is the most crucial among them all. But before getting into further details, let’s get to the basics.

What Is Content Marketing?

Traditional marketing is fading away pretty fast, and every marketer is looking forward to finding an effective alternative to enter the era of content marketing.

Content Marketing is a strategic online approach that aims at creating and distributing relevant, valuable, and compelling content to its readers to gain maximum visitors on its website without being promotional about the company and its services.”

Read that definition again and understand the worth of good content. It not only attracts more visitors to your website like a magnet but also keeps them lingering upon your profile in a longer run, thus being the most effective way to drive your online marketing campaigns.

Content marketing is more of a commitment than a campaign. Below, I have talked about some principal reasons that justify this statement.

1. Slides Your Brand Into the Audiences’ Minds

Content is the reason search began in the first place.

– Lee Odden

You see, it is the beauty of content marketing – it grabs the attention of a majority of audiences without even pitching them about the products or services you provide. How? I’ll explain this with an example.

Let’s say, you Google the recipe for egg-less chocolate cake, and notice the blog that popped up at the top out of 83,00,000 search results? You perceive that it has ranked the highest, so it might have the best content.

Moreover, every time you search for the same recipe, you witness almost the same results, so you prioritize reading the top-most blogs over the others. These blogs may have back-links to their website. You click on them because you find them relatable. As a result, you go through their site and come to know about the services that the marketer provides. Bingo. Great content always wins the audience.

2. Enhances Search Visibility and Website Ranking

The best place to hide a dead body is page two of Google.

Have you ever read that quote before? Well, now, you did.

When you search for a product or service, you only read the content available on the first page. You, most probably, don’t even go past the first five results, forget about clicking on the second page. A website, thus, needs a solid SEO to help rank on the first page, and content marketing is one of the most effective ways to do so.

Every new blog you add on your site becomes a new page for Google to index. High-quality content created with targeted keywords increases perceived expertise, relevance, and trust on a website. It leads to more inbound links from other sources, which, in turn, increases the domain authority. Higher D/A implies higher ranking and higher organic search visibility. Thus, a digital marketer must make sure that they create the highest quality content possible.

As a matter of fact, even the sites with low DA/PA rank quickly with relatable and valuable content for the masses.

3. Can be Utilized by Literally any Industry

Is there any topic on which you cannot find information on Google? Of course, there isn’t. When it comes to crafting content, one can do so for virtually any topic starting from assembling a lego game to building a motorcycle from scratch.

Your brand becomes more approachable for the viewers if you provide them with insights regarding the topics that you cover in your business. There is nothing that falls into the category of harmful content. You can create content for any niche you want to. You don’t have to add or come up with anything new. Just rewrite the things that you know in a way that others on the Internet didn’t do.

Page One Power explains this phenomenon very well with their quote, “You don’t have to reinvent the wheel; you just need to share your unique perspective on why the wheel is important.

4. Prime Source of Driving Traffic and Engagement

Traditional marketing talks at people. Content marketing talks with them.

Doug Kessler

Better content generate interest. The more your audience shares your blog, the more new viewers visit your site, and the more your existing customers feel connected to your brand.

When you have interesting content, your users will have reason to stick around your site, reading further topics and coming across more of the services that you provide. Thus, it becomes more convincing for them to believe in your services. You can also keep your audience engaged in your social media platforms using automation tools like Socinator, Hootsuite, BuzzSumo, etc.

Another way to effectively channel your creativity into your content is via guest posts. When you provide content to the external publications as a guest, you get the chance to link your website and services there. This way, your site gets exposure among the readers on their site. By doing so on a site with high D/A and good traffic, a marketer can earn thousands of audiences with a single guest post.

5. Assists You in Adapting the Changing Trends

How would you deliver what your consumers prefer if you don’t know about it in the first place? So, talk to them through your content, and try to understand what they want based on their response.

We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.

Craig Davis

The aim of crafting content is not limited to gaining more and more audience. As an online marketer, you need to keep an eye on the changing trends and shape your strategies accordingly. Talk to your audience about anything, in general. Write an article on a recent Instagram update, any upcoming technology, inclination towards a healthy lifestyle, the influence of social media- anything that resonates around your business, yet sounds trendy for the readers.

Analyze your posts and record everything- audience reach, number of shares, click-through rate, etc. This way, you get to know about the type of posts that your audience likes and talk about the services they want from you.

6. Fills the Gap Between a Buyer and a Seller

Content marketing is all the marketing that’s left.

Seth Godin

Let’s say you build the next big thing in the market. You come up with the best marketing strategies, and now, your brand becomes pretty popular among the potential audience. What next? How will you convince them to buy what they see? How will they know that your product is valuable for them unless you tell them directly about it?

People, these days, want to learn about things before they buy them. Convincing them becomes a lot easier with content, be it on a search engine or a social media site. Content is the only thing that bridges the gap between marketing and sales in the journey of a buyer.

Good content provides answers to the questions that your buyer has regarding how, what, where, and when should they buy your product.

The aim of any advertisement agency remains the same- to convey the right message to the viewers about the products displayed. This process becomes much more effective and seamless with content marketing.

7. Reaches A Myriad Of Audience

This point is as obvious as the noonday sun. One of the main reasons behind brands going digital from traditional is the amount of exposure that they are going to get with this shift. In the words of Jeremiah Owyang, Founder of Crowd Companies-

Google is the new corporate homepage.

Folks of the Internet make things go viral in no time (we all know about the egg that broke the Internet). Your brand can reach thousands of potential leads when marketed correctly.

With 4.48 billion active users there comes a lot of online competition. If your content is relatable, it will grab maximum eyeballs, will make sure that your brand remains on the top of their mind, and will assist you in getting conversions, not just clicks.

As we already discussed above, you get maximum site visits when your content ranks up on the first page of a search engine. It helps build trust in the minds of the readers and increases your brand reliability, thus increasing your revenues exponentially.

Wrapping It Up

If you think that content is the king, you probably need to expand your vision. It is not the king. It is the whole kingdom. As you might decipher how important it has become in the world of digital marketing, it is pretty safe to say that content drives the online market more than we expect.

The information we gather from the Internet has become one of the primary sources of knowledge. Folks rely a lot on the online content and find it very credible. Thus, every marketer needs to focus on the type of content they create in order to stand out among the competitors in their audiences’ eyes.

Content is, indeed, driving the online market, and probably it will keep doing so in the near future.

Let me know if I missed anything in the comments below.

Image Credit: Toa Heftiba, Pexels

Sumit Ghosh

Renowned performance marketer, user acquisition expert, and a product fanatic from Bangalore. He is a prominent speaker in masterminds and events in the performance marketing space. Sumit is the Founder of Socioboard, which owns products like PowerAdSpy, Socinator, Gramboard, DominatorHouse, and mobile apps in the social media automation space which have millions of users.

How to Repurpose Marketing Content for Your Small Business

Essential tips for all busy SMB owners. Here are several best practices SMB owners can apply when repurposing their marketing content to get more web traffic, demonstrate industry knowledge and, ultimately, increase sales. 

Syed Balkhi

Guest Writer

Entrepreneur, Growth Hacker and Marketer

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As a small or medium-sized business (SMB) owner, it’s a challenge to come up with new marketing concepts, but repurposing existing content is a surefire method for driving ongoing traffic to your site and a simple way to amplify your message without investing a lot more time or effort. That last part’s important because, as an SMB owner, you’re busy managing everything for your business, including marketing.

Repurposing your content increases ROI by taking each initial creation and spinning it into multiple pieces of content. You’ll reach more potential customers as you publish the content on different sites (e.g. guest posts) or various social media channels, and your SMB site will get an SEO boost through the new backlinks you’ll create.

Since it often takes multiple touches before someone buys, repurposing helps reinforce your message. Plus, it increases your authority and credibility because you’re positioning your SMB brand as an expert. You’ll be the one they remember when it comes time to ask a question or complete a transaction.

Here are several best practices SMB owners can apply when repurposing their marketing content to get more web traffic, demonstrate industry knowledge and, ultimately, increase sales.

Related: 5 Tips and Tactics to Repurpose Content Wisely

1. Syndicate your blog posts

Content-syndication networks allow you to get your blog posts in front of people who are reading other related posts. Paid services such as Outbrain and ARC will present your posts as “recommended reading” on their blog networks, and sites like Business2Community and Medium will syndicate your posts for free, which is a good option for SMBs to start with.

2. Use excerpts for social media posts

If you’ve been using social media to drive traffic to your SMB, you’ll always need a pipeline of content. Repurpose your blog posts by pulling out excerpts and publishing them on your social media channel. Pull out the best sentence or two from a post, combine it with an appropriate image and publish it on social media.

3. Change the medium of your content

Marketing content can take many forms, so why restrict your valuable information to just one? Here are a few quick ideas on how to change the format of your marketing content:

  • Repurpose a blog post into an infographic.
  • Repurpose a blog post series into a welcome email autoresponder or email newsletter.
  • Turn a presentation to a downloadable PDF lead magnet.
  • Create a podcast from a valuable blog post by reading it out loud, recording it and publishing it on iTunes, Stitcher or SoundCloud.
  • Turn a video or speech into a slide deck and publish it on SlideShare.
  • Convert a How-To post into a screencast video and publish it on your site and YouTube.

4. Update blog posts

For an updated post to be considered repurposed, you’ve got to do more than merely change a few words. You must update it with new stats or data, entirely new sections, new images and more. Consider tying several posts together as part of a series. Update each post with new information and link them to each other so readers will click from one to the next in the series.

5. Write a case study based on a post

Use the topic of an old blog post and write a case study from it based on one of your customers. Write about the problems they encountered and how they solved them with your products or services. Publish the post as a case study on your website and link it back to the old post. Customers and prospects love case studies, because they’re able to relate to the stories and imagine themselves solving their problems with your products too.

6. Write a guest post

Guest posts on related websites are great for your SMB, as they increase traffic, demonstrate your expertise and establish you as an authority. Use an old post as inspiration for the guest post or see if they’ll let you republish it as is; some of them do.

Related: This Is the Content Strategy I Use to Dominate Your Facebook Feed

7. Create a transcript from a video

Videos are wonderful sources to repurpose from. The simplest way to repurpose one is to create a transcript of the video. You can use a paid service or try Google Docs’s voice-typing feature for a free option. Speechnotes is another free option you can try. With either tool, turn on your microphone and start reading to create the transcript. These services are simple transcribing tools that print out word-for-word what you say, so you’ll need to go back into it to clean it up.

Repurposing content is a time-saving way for SMBs to create new marketing content regularly, without a lot of effort. Choose the way that works best for you and start repurposing today.

The 10-Step Effective Content Marketing Campaign

Content marketing isn’t hard. Follow these 10 steps to do it right.

Content marketing isn’t hard. Follow these 10 steps to do it right.

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Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now!

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Robert W. Bly

VIP Contributor

Author, Copywriter and Marketing Consultant

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is from Robert W. Bly’s The Content Marketing Handbook. Buy it now fromAmazon | Barnes & Noble

What makes for successful B2B and B2C lead-generating content marketing campaigns? There are 10 key steps.

Step 1: Define the Target Audience and Their Information Needs

In B2B, defining the target audience or readership involves knowing the industry, company size and prospect’s title, responsibilities, education and degree of knowledge in your chosen topic, as well as how they use your type of product in their business. You should also think about the information needs of prospects at the stage of the buying process at which you’re reaching them.

Step 2: Come Up with a Strategic or Useful Content Plan

A strategic content plan is one in which publishing and distributing the content solves a marketing problem. A useful content plan disseminates information that’s of value to the prospect in their job but isn’t a sales pitch for your product or service. For instance, a computer reseller might offer prospects and clients a special report on how to prevent data loss or avoid hackers, malware and viruses. This kind of actionable information doesn’t specifically accelerate the steps in the sales cycle or sell the prospect on the reseller or its solutions. But the prospect will appreciate the free tips and will reciprocate by viewing the reseller in a more favorable light. It builds goodwill and creates the impression that you’re an expert in your field.

Related: 9 Ways Your Content Marketing Can Generate Leads and Close Sales

Step 3: Select a Format or Medium for Your Lead Magnet

Content can be presented in many formats and media, and your choice can make a big difference in the success of your content marketing campaign.

In addition to downloadable white papers or reports, there are many other options. You can:

  • Offer a free webinar, online course, podcast, infographic or poster.
  • Post a video on your site or YouTube.
  • Send an audio CD or a DVD.
  • Load useful data and content onto a thumb drive.

The key is to think beyond a downloadable report or white paper. Alternative media, because they’re less common, often gain more attention.

Step 4: Create a Great Title for Your Lead Magnet

Perhaps the biggest factor determining whether prospects will request your free content is the title of your lead magnet. The purpose is to grab the prospect’s attention, generate interest and curiosity and compel them to request the lead magnet.

Step 5: Research, Organize and Write the Content

The amount of research you need to do depends on your knowledge of the topic. But even if you know the topic well, do some outside research to augment your knowledge of the subject with facts, figures and ideas outside your own.

Once you’ve gathered your content, think about how to organize and present the material. Sometimes the content naturally dictates a particular organizational scheme, such as alphabetical or chronological order. At other times, something as simple as a numbered list might do. Or you might choose a Q&A format, as in a FAQ page on a website.

Finally, write your document. Once the document’s done, edit to make it tighter, clearer and better, then have a professional proofreader go over it.

Step 6: Create a Landing Page for Downloading the Lead Magnet

A landing page is a stand-alone web page where the prospect can request the free bait piece or lead magnet. On a properly designed, effective landing page, there are only two choices: Request the free lead magnet or leave. Therefore, the conversion rate — the percentage of visitors who fill in and submit your form — is much higher on dedicated landing pages than on homepages or any other web pages.

Step 7: Drive Traffic to Your Landing Page

How do you drive traffic to your site without burning through your available cash in a couple of weeks? There are seven cost-effective ways to get hits on your site: running Google ads, through affiliate marketing, participating in co-registration pop-ups, buying web-hosted ads, email markting, buying online ads or doing viral marketing by adding a line to your outgoing email marketing messages that says, “Please feel free to forward this email to your friends so they can enjoy this special offer.”

There are many other cost-effective ways to get hits on your site, including postcards, sales letters, print ads, blogs, social media ads or posts, webinars or podcasts.

Related: The 7 Rules of Writing Persuasive Technical Content

Step 8: Fulfill Inquiries

When a prospect requests the lead magnet, you must deliver electronic lead magnets, such as PDF downloads, within seconds or minutes. Physical lead magnets, such as books or DVDs, should be mailed within 24 to 48 hours.

Step 9: Follow Up

Though opinions vary, I prefer to require prospects to give both their phone number and their email address to enable salespeople to follow up.

Step 10: Secure an Appointment or Conversation

Marketers frequently need to be reminded that the ultimate goal of content marketing is not to give away information but to sell something. So eventually, you have to take the next step in the sales process, which is securing an appointment — either in person or on the phone — with the prospect to do some personal selling.

If you’ve done steps one through nine correctly, you’ll have an edge in making that sale, for several reasons. First, by offering a lead magnet, you’ll have gotten more leads, and thus more sales appointments. The more appointments you have, the more sales you’ll close.

Second, a well-written white paper or other lead magnet can educate prospects before the sales appointment. So when you have that first conversation with them, they’re already predisposed to buying your product.

Third, good content can anticipate and answer the most common objections prospects are likely to have. When objections are asked and answered before the first sales call, the conversation can focus on positives, because the negatives have already been dealt with and dismissed.


The 5 Cs of Content Marketing Copy

9 Ways Your Content Marketing Can Generate Leads and Close Sales

Content marketing performs nine functions that help both B2B and B2C marketers generate more leads and ultimately close more sales. Find out how upping your content marketing game can close more deals.

Find out how upping your content marketing game can close more deals.

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AzmanL | Getty Images

Robert W. Bly

VIP Contributor

Author, Copywriter and Marketing Consultant

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is from Robert W. Bly’s The Content Marketing Handbook. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Content marketing performs nine functions that help both B2B and B2C marketers generate more leads and ultimately close more sales. Let’s explore them:

1. Sets the specs. Content marketing can edu­cate prospects on what features, functions, and capabilities they should look for when buying a particular type of product or service. If you’ve presented your criteria in a white paper or other medium that looks like useful information and not a sales pitch, readers will absorb and accept your guidelines. They’ll then use the spec­ifications you’ve set.

Say you sell motionless mixers, one of the products I helped market at Koch Engineering. In your ads, you offer a booklet called 7 Things to Look for When Specifying Motionless Mixers. Prospects read it and use your criteria when looking to purchase motionless mixers. And whose mixer fits all seven criteria perfectly? Yours.

2. Makes the prospect beholden. This is the principle of reciprocity as described by marketing expert Robert Cialdini in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. When you give somebody something, they feel obligated to give you something in return. Giving a prospect free content doesn’t make them feel obligated to buy your product, but it does make them inclined to give you a little more of their time and attention than they otherwise might.

More than half of buyers strongly agree that if brands packaged relevant content together, it would help expedite the research phase of the buying cycle. Content marketing includes delivering person­alized, segmented, relevant content to your existing customers. By keeping your current customers engaged and updated with great content, you’ll improve your long-term customer retention rates.

Richie M., one of my newsletter subscribers, told me in an email, “This is just a short note to say that I really enjoy your emails. I can tell when they’re commercials, but don’t mind them, because you generally also give me worthwhile information. I believe that’s why you’re successful. When I receive useful information in free emails, I’m more likely to purchase additional information—and I have.” Richie’s response is what you hope for when writing content.

3. Generates more inquiries. A lead-generating promotion with a free content offer can produce more than double the response as the same campaign without the free offer. Good content marketing is that effective. By publishing new and relevant content on your digital channels, and doing so often, you can increase the likelihood of new customers finding out about your business, its services, and the value you can bring them. Plus, prospects are more likely to return to your website when they know you fre­quently add fresh content.

4. Gets you new customers. Many marketers acquire new customers through their blogs. Whether your content first caught a prospect’s eye on Google or a white paper they downloaded on your site tipped them over the edge, content marketing plays an important role in the B2B purchase life cycle.

Typically, a B2B prospect searching for a product may work through 70 to 90 percent of the product search, research, and eval­uation process before contacting the vendor, according to Forrester Research. B2B vendor research happens online, and one thing that can help move the prospect down the pipeline is publishing valu­able content on your website, email, search, and social channels.

For emails sent regularly to your opt-in elist, half or more of the messages should be content, while fewer than half should be sales emails. If you send too many sales pitches and not enough good content, your unsubscribe rate will spike. So will your “mental” unsubscribe rate, meaning that although people won’t ask to be removed from your list, they just stop reading or even opening your emails.

5. Establishes you as the expert. Publishing content on your industry, niche, or area of specialization helps position you as a recognized authority in your field, and prospects would rather buy from knowledgeable experts than ordinary salespeople. In a rapidly chang­ing industry, content marketing can help force your team to stay up-to-date on changes and trends, which can become invaluable in your product development efforts.

It shouldn’t be solely the marketing team’s job to generate all the material used in your content marketing efforts. Account managers, SMEs, and even long-term clients and site visitors can be engaged to help create great content.

6. Educates the market. Content marketing supports your sales efforts, but its first mission is to educate and inform, not make blatant product pitches. Nine out of 10 of the top-performing B2B content marketers put their audience’s informational needs ahead of their company’s sales message, reports the Content Marketing Institute.

One marketer of content management software (CMS) was the first to integrate their CMS with analytics, ecommerce, and other applications. But the market didn’t yet understand the benefits of this integration, so the marketer published a white paper explain­ing them, with good results.

7. Drives sales. Content can be strategically disseminated at various steps in the buying cycle, helping to accelerate each step and ulti­mately increasing sales. The sales funnel takes most buyers through four stages: getting their attention, gaining their interest, creating desire for the product, and asking for the order. Each stage can use both selling (copy) and education (content).

8. Improves search engine ranking and discovery. Search engines love new, relevant, indexed content. When you host content on your website—whether through blog posts, white papers, or web copy—you can improve your search engine ranking and the like­lihood customers will find your website. According to accounting firm Ignite Spot, a blog on your website will lead to 434 percent more indexed pages on Google and 97 percent more inbound links. By increasing your indexed pages and links, you’ll make your site more reputable in a search engine’s eyes. Higher search engine rankings mean interested prospects are more likely to discover your site when they search for relevant keywords.

9. Drives web traffic. Search engine discovery combined with social posts that point to your site can increase your web traffic consider­ably. According to HubSpot, if you’ve got 51 to 100 pages on your website (consider each blog post to be a unique page), you’ll gen­erate 48 percent more traffic than if you had under 50. Increased traffic means increased engagement means increased revenue.

The 7 Rules of Writing Persuasive Technical Content

Helping people understand what your technical products do will be easier if you follow these seven guidelines for writing B2B technical content. Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now! Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy Image credit: 10’000 Hours | Getty Images Robert W. Bly…

Helping people understand what your technical products do will be easier if you follow these seven guidelines for writing B2B technical content.

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now!

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10’000 Hours | Getty Images

VIP Contributor

Author, Copywriter and Marketing Consultant

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is from Robert W. Bly’s The Content Marketing Handbook. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

A lot of B2B marketing either promotes technical products, sells to a technical audience, or both. The nature of these marketing campaigns poses a challenge to those who must create them because the marketers tasked with executing these campaigns often lack a technical background. Therefore, they may have a steep learning curve and difficulty understanding what they’re selling and to whom they’re selling it.

I’ve been writing copy to sell technical products to engineers, scientists, programmers, and other techies for more than four decades. Here are seven tricks of the trade that give me an edge in creating copy that pleases the client and persuades the prospect:

1. Build an accurate “fact bank.” A fact bank is a series of statements describing the product and its features that have been vetted by a technical expert. Before I start writing my copy, I go through the source material for the project and write down five to 10 sentences that precisely describe the product, how it works, its major features, and how those features translate into important benefits. I email these sen­tences to my clients with the request that they review them and make any necessary corrections, additions, or deletions. After they do that, I incorporate their edits. Now I have a set of preapproved sentences I can use to construct my copy, and I know what I’m writing is technically accurate. The clients then get a first draft of copy on a highly technical subject that’s correct and on the mark.

2. Buy a children’s book on the topic. If you have to write copy about a technical subject, buy either a children’s book on the subject or an adult nonfiction book aimed at a lay audience. For example, when I had to write copy for an aerospace contractor, I was aided by an Isaac Asimov book for young readers about satellites. The children’s books especially will provide clear, easy-to-understand explanations of key terms and concepts. The adult books will likely have descriptions of features and functionality you can paraphrase in your own copy. (If I “borrow” from books, I alert the client by adding a footnote and make sure I’m not plagiarizing by rephrasing in my own words.) Another good purchase for the high-tech copywriter is a dictionary of industry terms. At various times, I’ve owned dictionaries for computers, telecom, banking, finance, and aerospace.

3. Ask the client for copies of PowerPoints. Engineers in partic­ular tend to be visually oriented, so you should have visuals to accompany your text. Rather than draw a lot of charts and graphs, I ask the client for copies of PowerPoints used in presentations by their technical and sales staff. I then paste into my copy whatever visuals I think will work best, carefully noting the name of the PowerPoint and the page number from the source. Sometimes I find an ideal diagram for illustrating my point on a website that’s not the client’s. If I use it, I add a note explaining that it’s for reference only and must be redrawn to avoid copyright infringement.

4. Understand that graphics have meaning. Unless you under­stand what a chart or graph means, don’t use it. It’s extreme­ly embarrassing to cut and paste a diagram from a client’s PowerPoint into your copy, only to be unable to explain to the client why you used it. You should understand each visual so well that you can write a clear, descriptive caption for it—and then do so.

5. Use email for interviews. I often interview subject matter experts (SMEs) over the phone when writing copy. But occa­sionally I get SMEs who can’t express themselves well verbally. In those cases, I offer to email them questions so they can email me their replies. Often technical people who can’t speak English well can write well—perhaps a result of the rise of email, which forces people to write often. At times, the email replies are so clear I can almost paste them right into my copy. If the answers are still unclear, I rewrite them in plain English and then email my rewrite back to the SME for review. Usually the SME makes a few minor edits, and after that, it’s ready to use.

6. Use Wikipedia—with caution. You can’t wholly rely on infor­mation in Wikipedia to be accurate because it’s compiled by volunteers. However, I’ve found that entries on technical terms usually start off with a plain English definition of the term, which can be invaluable. But when you’re researching statis­tics to augment your copy—for example, the date the laser was invented or the speed of sound in a vacuum—most clients want a better source than Wikipedia. Websites are also iffy when you don’t know who’s running them, as are blogs. I prefer to cite an article from a respected industry or scientific journal.

7. Get smart. If you’re going to be regularly writing about a product or technology, it makes sense to get some addi­tional education on the topic. One ad agency president told me he assigned an account executive to handle an industrial welding account. On his own, the account executive took night school courses in welding, eventually becoming a cer­tified welder. Smart move!

5 Content Marketing Trends You Need to Know for 2020

Use new content marketing tactics to engage customers. Image credit: Cecilie_Arcurs | Getty Images Syed Balkhi Guest Writer Entrepreneur, Growth Hacker and Marketer January 2, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. It’s a new decade and with it comes content marketing trends that will change content creation for businesses.Plus, content…

Use new content marketing tactics to engage customers.

Syed Balkhi

Guest Writer

Entrepreneur, Growth Hacker and Marketer

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It’s a new decade and with it comes content marketing trends that will change content creation for businesses.

Plus, content marketing isn’t the only thing that’s changing — people are always changing. The needs of your audience are constantly evolving and you need to keep up with what they want so that you can continue to create and distribute effective and engaging content.

Related: 3 Content Marketing Strategies to Skyrocket Your Revenue

Check out these five content marketing trends you need to know for 2020.

1. Video and live-streaming

Video and live-streaming have become huge recently thanks to popular platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Twitch — and it’s only going to get bigger in 2020. In fact, according to HubSpot, 54 percent of consumers want to see more video content from a brand or business they support. So, if you want your content marketing to connect and engage your audience in 2020, you need to start incorporating more videos.

You’re not just limited to YouTube, Twitch, and TikTok. Video does extremely well on a number of different platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and even on your own website. One of the easiest ways to try out the live-streaming trend is with Facebook Live and Instagram Live; your business can hold a live Q&A for instance, to interact in real-time with your audience.

2. Optimizing content for voice search

With smartphones and AI-powered assistants like Alexa and Siri in our lives, the use of voice search is skyrocketing. Canalys reports that the global market for voice search devices grew 187 percent in Q2 of 2018, with shipments reaching 16.8 million units. This means more and more people are searching online using their voice, instead of typing in a query. And the text we type into Google search is different than how we would speak to a digital assistant; instead of typing “weather las vegas”, we would ask “What’s the weather in Las Vegas today?”

Because of this, you need to optimize your content for voice search. Content marketers need to focus on anticipating the questions their audience would ask in a conversational manner and create content based on those conversational questions and longtail keywords.

3. AR-powered visuals

Users love augmented reality (AR) filters and lenses offered up by platforms like Snapchat; users can give themselves a puppy dog nose, tongue, and ears or place a pretty flower crown on top of their head — all via augmented reality. And there are a ton more AR filters and lenses users can play around with to create fun visual content.

And did you know that Snapchat gives you the ability to create your own filters and lenses? This means that you can create branded filters and lenses to promote your business to social media users. Taco Bell launched its own branded lens on Snapchat, and it was viewed 224 million times, making it the top campaign in the app’s history. Expect more AR-powered visuals like this in 2020.

Related: How to Maximize Your Startup’s Content Marketing Budget

4. Conversational marketing

More and more businesses are realizing that the fastest way to move buyers through their marketing funnels is with one-on-one conversations. That’s why conversational marketing will be a notable trend in 2020. When you can have one-on-one, personal conversations with your audience, you not only create a more human buying experience, but you can learn a lot about your audience, which will help you create more relevant content and marketing messages in the future.

Conversational marketing comes in many forms including email marketing, live customer support, customer success programs, Facebook Messenger marketing, chatbots and more. And with advances in artificial intelligence, chatbots are only going to get better at having life-like conversations with users.

So, if you want to keep up with the competition and learn more about your target customers faster, you need to step up your conversational marketing game in 2020.

5. Dynamic content delivery.

By now you probably have heard plenty about the importance of personalization. Today, consumers expect to receive emails and offers personalized to their specific needs. In fact, according to statistics from Instapage, 54 percent of shoppers anticipate a personalized discount within a day of sharing their information with a retailer.

But in 2020, consumers want next-level personalization. Enter dynamic content. Dynamic content, also known as adaptive content, refers to web content that changes based on the user’s demographics, behaviors, preferences, and interests. For instance, the content on a webpage can change based on the weather of the location the user is in, like in the example below.

Image Source

With personalization, you’re able to deliver content to users that is relevant and interesting to them. But with dynamic content, you can also provide them with the exact content that will encourage them to take the next step in the buying process.

Related: Content Marketing Is An Art — and a Science

Keep an eye on these trends in 2020

Now that you’re aware of these important content marketing trends for 2020, you can start coming up with a plan for how to implement them into your own content marketing strategy. Start planning for these trends ahead of time, and you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of the competition.

10 Step Content Marketing Strategy

How to juice social networks, become an authority in your niche, and grow your tribe with content marketing

How to juice social networks, become an authority in your niche, and grow your tribe


Step 1

Create one piece of pillar content. A pillar can be a white paper, a podcast, a video of a speech, or anything else substantial. Traditionally it’s long-form written. But video can be good pillar material. Written and audio versions can be created from the video.

Step 2

Recreate the pillar content in all sensible ways. E.g. a video may become an audio and a white paper. You now have multiple versions of the same pillar.

Step 3

From the pillar piece create (typically medium length) pieces of content that bring value in their own right. Bring context or developments to them to make them more than just extracts of the pillar. E.g. articles, expanding on the points in the pillar; video interview excerpts with new commentary. Use parts of the pillar that’re likely to resonate with your audience.

Step 4

From the pillar piece make short pieces of content. Some of these can be, in effect, ads for your pillar; others can bring value in their own right. Creative take offs, memes, quotes, quotes graphically presented, audio snips… Absolutely anything. Different media. Again use parts of the pillar that’re likely to resonate with your audience.

Be creative with the short pieces. They should be inspired by the pillar. They shouldn’t be only excerpts.

Step 5

Post all versions of the pillar on all appropriate social platforms. E.g. the white paper goes on medium and Linkedin. The video version goes on youtube and Linkedin. Etc. Etc.

When you post a pillar, explicitly ask people to tell you what part of the content strikes them most.

Post the pillar on your website also. Your website is structured for a library of content of different types. Content has ‘read later’ buttons, for the user to get content sent to email. It has email and SMS signups (though content may not be behind a wall). It has links to your social platforms so your users can choose which platform/s they consume your content on.

Step 6

Post a first round of short and medium length pieces to your social networks. This first round, the focus is on the social networks where the pillar isn’t posted.

Do this soon after posting your pillar. A few mins later is fine.

From these pieces, link to the pillar – whatever version of the pillar makes sense. E.g. one might link to the video version on youtube. Another might link to the readable download on your site.

You might prefer to bring users to one place, e.g. to build your subscriber count on youtube or to get more email signups on your website. Do this where it’s fine for the user; but you will need to sacrifice the tightness of your funnel to cater to people’s preferences. Think: where does the user want to go from here?

For example

Your pillar might not be on Instagram. It might be on Facebook and Linkedin. So link from Instagram to Facebook. (Instagram’s algorithm will be more friendly to Facebook than to Linkedin).

Different networks…

…have different ideal image sizes, ideal video lengths etc. Have a list to hand and repurpose each item for each network.

Step 7

Post your remaining short and medium pieces. This time you’re including the networks where you posted your pillar. Same deal: link to the pillar. These posts can be the day after posting your pillar and later. (See later note on time distribution.)

Which social networks?

LinkedIn, Quora, twitter, fb, medium, email list, youtube, podcast networks…etc. etc. If in doubt on whether to include a particular network in the list, include it – at least for a while as a test.

Step 8

Look at comments and engagement. Not just figures – but what are people saying?

Create more short and medium form pieces based on what people are talking about. Post them. Link to the pillars.

Step 9

Create another pillar. May be based off what you learned of people’s interests in the previous pillar. May be something completely different.

Step 10

Repeat all steps. Ad infinitum.

What’s the schedule / time period to do all this in?

Calculate this based on when your next pillar will be ready. If you’re creating 1 pillar per day, distribute your 20–50 short and medium forms across all networks in 1 day. If you’re creating 1 pillar per month, distribute the 20–50 short and medium forms over the full month, posting more shorter pieces earlier in the month, and the medium pieces more evenly over the month.

So precisely how many short and medium pieces…?

What and how much you’re creating is contextual. You’re creating short and medium content based on what makes sense in relation to your pillar. With an overall figure of 20–50 short and medium pieces per pillar, including first and second rounds.

How much is too much content? How much social network activity is too much?

There’s no such thing as too much good content or too much good social network activity. The social network algorithms will show less to people less interested. More to those more interested. If people say “Hey you’re all over the internet,” they are at minimum slowing on your content as they scroll. You want people saying this. Even if that person is a friend who doesn’t really need to see the content, it’s a good indication re others (of course, you also have engagement analytics).

If your content is getting traction, more content means more traction, which ultimately means more sales. But many of the sales won’t come right away. So how much content is a question of what resources you want to put into it. This also relates back to other activities such as the balance of outbound sales versus inbound sales expectations; with some related sales-marketing tie-in considerations outside the scope of this document.

You might decide to put a hard-and-fast figure on number and scheduling of your short and medium pieces

But the answer to the following question should be enough to give you a solid approach:

How frequently will you produce a piece of pillar content?


It’s a long, work-intensive, creative process.

What else on social media?

  • Add in PPC / performance marketing to grow your tribe faster
  • When you post, you could add a comment yourself with a useful piece of info
  • Staff could make comments on posts to bring some activity
  • Always respond to users’ comments. So people feel listened to, and to increase activity on your social platforms
  • Do all your other social network stuff in addition to the steps in this document – reposting stuff, interacting, posting other updates, etc

You can hire Richard to help with your Brand Strategy, Brand Writing, and Lean Marketing.

7 Ways to Monitor a Competitor’s Content Marketing Strategy

A few creative ways to keep an eye on the competition’s content marketing strategy. Image credit: Robert Daly | Getty Images November 26, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Monitoring the competition’s content marketing efforts is an essential step for brands developing their own content marketing strategy. Finding out…

A few creative ways to keep an eye on the competition’s content marketing strategy.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Monitoring the competition’s content marketing efforts is an essential step for brands developing their own content marketing strategy. Finding out what works for a competitor allows brands to gain insights about the type of content their audience might also respond to and their needs.

There are plenty of tools marketing teams can use to dig deeper into content analytics and monitor a competitor’s content marketing strategy. Here are a few creative ways to keep an eye on the competition.

1. Sign up to receive email updates

According to a survey by BtoB Magazine, 59% of marketers reported that email is the most effective channel in generating revenue. This proves that marketing teams should be monitoring the emails that competitors are sending to their prospects and customers. Brands should subscribe to a competitor’s website using a personal email address, or one that doesn’t include their company name if they wish to be more discrete.

By signing up to a competitor’s email list, marketing teams can learn more about the company’s culture, business news, seasonal campaigns, types of content and frequency of publishing content, and how their competitor addresses their target audience.

2. Analyze video content

A Cisco study shows that by 2019, 81% of consumer Internet traffic will be video. Many brands include video as an integral part of their content marketing strategy. Marketing teams should check whether or not competitors are using video and look for interactions, such as comments, views, and shares.

Engagement is a good indicator of content performance. Check to see which videos have the most views, evaluate target keywords in the video title and description, and document anything noteworthy. Brands should also subscribe to a competitor’s YouTube channels to get alerts for new videos.

Related: How Content Marketing Can Help Your Company Do More For Less

3. Track social media presence

Many companies are active on numerous social media channels. Therefore, brands should be tracking competitors on all of the networks where they have a presence. Monitor a competitor’s activities by following or turning on notifications for any updates. Brands can observe the tone of their posts, the images they use, and the effectiveness of their overall social media strategy. If a particular type of content a competitor shares receives high levels of engagement, then brands may want to consider using a similar approach.

A useful tool to monitor a competitor’s social activity is Rival IQ. The tool helps companies see how quickly competitors are gaining followers, how often they post, their average engagement rate, and their most successful posts.

4. Review top-performing content

Brands can learn about their competitor’s content strategy by looking at their best-performing content. Social shares are the best metric to evaluate this content when no other metrics are available.

For instance, companies can use Buzzsumo or Social Animal to find and analyze a top-performing blog post for any competitor or topic. These tools dig deep into each article, showing total social shares, main keywords, article length, and more. Brands should consider what differentiates the popular content and what makes it so compelling. For example, what questions does the content answer and which keywords does it target? Reviewing a competitor’s top-performing content and gathering insights about what attracts an audience to the content can help marketers develop new content topics and ideas.

Related: 7 Steps to Start Your First Content-Marketing Campaign

5. Identify the best keywords to target

Selecting the right keywords for content dramatically increases the chances of a company’s website appearing in an online search. Ahrefs helps marketing teams monitor their competitors by revealing associated keywords, data on search volume, and the keyword proficiency for top-performing posts. The tool also shows users the competition for each keyword.

Knowing which keywords are driving traffic and have less competition, brands can find related keywords to target with each piece of content they create.

6. Attend a competitor’s webinars

Content Marketing Institutes says 61 percent of content marketers use webinars as part of their content marketing strategy. Webinars often delve deeper into a particular topic and brands can find out what interests their competitor’s audience by attending one of their webinars.

Webinars typically have a question-and-answer session at the end, so it’s important to stick around to hear questions from the audience. Brands can then address those questions through their own content or generate topic ideas based on the information shared during the webinar.

7. Monitor changes to a competitor’s site

Lastly, brands should monitor a competitor’s website or blog for any significant changes in design or messaging. For instance, marketers will need to know if a competitor launches a new product or service, and how their own site’s copy and messaging strategy. It’s important to evaluate the competitor’s overall content experience. What colors and fonts do they use on their site? How do they organize content on the site? Is it easy to find information? Brands should be aware of how competitors are delivering content and make sure they can give their audience a better experience.

Related: 4 Simple Steps to Creating an Effective Content Marketing Strategy

There are numerous ways for marketing teams to monitor their competition. Keeping track of a competitor’s content is essential to develop a content strategy that continues to grow and evolve with the business. As new competitors enter the industry, brands must be willing to make changes to their content strategies to adapt to the marketplace. Those that do will find themselves ahead of their competition.

4 Ways to Create Content Your Digital Audience Can’t Help But Consume

Create content that gives people what they want. Here’s how. Image credit: Hero Images | Getty Images Tom Popomaronis Guest Writer Vice President, Innovation at Massive Alliance October 30, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. These days, regardless of what industry you’re in, the best way to reach your…

Create content that gives people what they want. Here’s how.

Image credit:

Hero Images | Getty Images

Guest Writer

Vice President, Innovation at Massive Alliance

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

These days, regardless of what industry you’re in, the best way to reach your audience is through digital content. The 2019 Q3 Global Digital Statshot report from Hootsuite and We Are Social perfectly illustrates just how big of a role digital content now plays in our lives. More than 4 billion people watch online videos on a monthly basis. Of those, more than half are watching vlogs. Approximately 39 percent of internet users now listen to podcasts.

Related: The Simple Reason Creating Content Is Still Integral to Your Business’s Marketing

Even once-traditional forms of media are now seeing an uptick in digital consumption. For example, Statista reports that The New York Times exceeded 2.8 million digital subscribers in early 2018. For marketers, there also remains considerable value in blogging. Of course, with so much media out there, it is easy for your own content to get lost in the mix.

That being said, there are a few tactics you can use to better reach and engage your audience:

1. Diversify your content offerings.

The more variety you can provide in the content you create, the better. Each member of your target audience is unique, and they may engage with the internet in different ways. Offering a variety of content increases your chances of reaching the entire group.

For example, a study from IDG noted that while over 60 percent of B2B marketers rely on case studies and white papers, other top content marketing options include webinars, videos and electronic newsletters. Even varying your blog content by adding infographics and other visual content can help make it more engaging and interesting to your audience.

2. Become a storyteller.

We are naturally drawn to stories — even in content designed for marketing purposes. Whether you’re sharing a personal experience or using a case study to make your point, telling an engaging story builds trust and engagement.

The story doesn’t just make your content more engaging, it also makes it easier to remember, which can pay big dividends in keeping your brand relevant. Use your brand’s mission and vision to help guide the types of stories you will tell when you create content.

3. Get personal when you create content.

There is much to be said for the value of personalization, particularly when trying to nurture a lead in industries that have a longer sales process. By giving your audience something that has been tailored specifically to them, you can form a more powerful connection that fosters continual engagement.

Related: 13 Expert Tips on How to Create Content to Increase Online Conversations in 2020

A case study from Idomoo perfectly illustrates this point. The charitable organization Plan International Canada used Idomoo’s platform to send personalized videos to its high-value donors. The videos drew from each individual donor’s history with the organization to visualize the impact of their donations.

Sent via email, this personalized content saw a 51 percent higher open rate than their standard campaigns and an impressive clickthrough rate of 22 percent, while also increasing social media shares for the children’s rights organization.

Even if you don’t have a large dataset to draw from, a small amount of personalization will help your readers or viewers become more engaged from the moment they start interacting with your content.

4. Craft masterful headlines.

According to the Washington Post, roughly six in 10 readers only read headlines. Because of this, the headline you choose for your blog posts, emails and other written digital content will do much of the heavy lifting in determining whether someone decides to engage further or not.

A well-crafted headline will entice viewers to click so they can learn more. The headline doesn’t give away the final results of the story — instead, it poses a question or thesis that intrigues the viewer enough to make them want to click.

Related: How Experts Create Content to Establish Brand Authority and Increase Sales

A BuzzSumo analysis of the most successful headlines based on Facebook engagement revealed that emotional or useful headlines tend to be the most influential. Examples of this are headlines that include phrases like “will make you,” “This is why,” or “simple tips.” For B2B purposes, the inclusion of numbers and statistics can be especially effective.

Once again, storytelling comes into play.

If you can present the start of an intriguing story in your headline, you will pique your audience’s curiosity and drive clicks and engagement. The headline is a promise. Whether you are promising to share a story or provide an interesting explanation, make sure that the headline and the digital content itself are working in sync to live up to audience expectations.

Creating high-quality content that keeps your audience coming back for more will require continual effort. But the results are well worth it. By crafting engaging digital content, you will grow the audience and customer base you desire.

How to Make Your Writing Real

In this day and age, substance matters. What you say must be meaningful to the people you’re trying to attract. Your content must solve real problems and satisfy real desires. So why should it matter how you say it? The reality is, how you say it has always mattered, and it matters even more today.…

In this day and age, substance matters.

What you say must be meaningful to the people you’re trying to attract. Your content must solve real problems and satisfy real desires.

So why should it matter how you say it?

The reality is, how you say it has always mattered, and it matters even more today. For content marketing, it’s basically the difference between success and failure.

You’re in a battle for attention. A headline that doesn’t specifically convey a compelling promise results in content that is too often simply ignored.

Beyond that, your copy has to hold that precious attention, sentence by sentence, until the conclusion.

Even the appearance of your content on the page matters when trying to make a substantive point.

Finally, the way you convey information, no matter how independently valuable, affects everything from clarity to engagement to retention at a psychological level. Your ideas and advice must stick in people’s heads for you to succeed.

In short, how you say it is what you say.

Here’s an example

If someone asks you what’s for dinner, you can stick with the substance:

Tonight we’re having pasta for dinner.

Or you can add a bit of craft and style to make it more tangible:

Tonight we’ll enjoy a dinner of tender linguini, topped with a homemade marinara sauce featuring vine-ripened tomatoes, fragrant basil, and fresh oregano straight from our garden, accented with just a hint of garlic and red wine flavoring.

Same basic information — we indeed will be having pasta for dinner.

Is one more enticing and memorable than the other?

Let’s look at another example.

Popcorn is bad for you

The book Made to Stick gives us the case of Art Silverman, a guy with a vendetta against popcorn.

Silverman wanted to educate the public about the fact that a typical bag of movie popcorn has 37 grams of saturated fat, while the USDA recommends you have no more than 20 grams in an entire day.

Instead of simply citing that surprising — if dry — statistic, Silverman made the message meaningful by making it real.

He said:

“A medium-sized ‘butter’ popcorn contains more artery-clogging fat than a bacon-and-eggs breakfast, a Big Mac and fries for lunch, and a steak dinner with all the trimmings — combined!”

Ummm … I’ll go ahead and skip the popcorn, thanks.

Make the benefits tangible

Yes, substance matters. Your content must be more than just relevant — it’s got to be meaningful to the people you’re trying to attract.

But never forget that it’s the relevant and tangible expression of that substance that creates meaning.

People have to get connected with your content in the first place before they comment, share, buy, or recommend your products or services.

Make your messages as real to people as possible, and you’ll find that content marketing has a payoff way bigger than the investment. Really.

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