The Lean Content Marketing Blog

How to get more return on investment from content

Articles by Guillaume Decugis

How we built a resource center without resources (and doubled our traffic)

The new resource center: useful content for content marketers

Content Marketing is about sharing and education. It’s about being useful to your audience. As Carlton Hoyt was pointing out on the Content Marketing Institute’s blog: “Stop Thinking Content, Start Thinking Resources

At, we’ve always been eager to learn. We do that by curating great content from influencers, by deriving our own conclusions from our own experiments and by sharing with the community on this blog and on our social channels to spread the results and collect feedback.

We’ve been doing that for some time now and even though we never had more than one full-time employee in charge of content, we now have a pretty big collection of content published including:

While we’re certainly happy with this ramp-up and while this content helps on a daily or weekly basis, we’ve been progressively wondering about the following questions:
  • How should we structure this wide variety of content so that it’s useful for our audience not just today but over time?
  • How do we do that in such a way that is the least time-consuming and the most efficient?

So as we’ve seen many marketers go through the same questions, we felt it would be interesting to share what we learned on this question, what mistakes we made and what successes we had.

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A simple SEO guide in 2015 (Infographic)


“Penguin. Panda. Pigeon. Phantom. Navigating the constant pace of Google algorithm updates makes SEO in 2015 a much harder game to play. But companies and individuals who are producing high-quality branded content on a consistent basis are the ones that have the edge in terms of search visibility.”
Is SEO really a harder game to play as KunoCreative’s Dan Stasiewski put it in this excellent SEO guide infographic?

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How to efficiently measure the impact of content marketing on lead generation

How many leads does your content generate

Sooner or later, especially for B2B companies, you’re going to be asked how much of an impact your content marketing efforts had on the #1 metric of all: revenue.

Lead generation is already a key objective for 83% of B2B content marketers and the trend is going up.

So how do you effectively measure the impact of your content marketing on lead generation for your company?

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Winning with Authority: an integrated framework for online marketing, by 15 experts

“15 thought leaders presenting at the Authority Rainmaker conference share integrated marketing advice on Design, Content, Traffic and Conversion.”


Do Content Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Marketing Automation, Demand Generation, Community Management and other marketing practices work in silos?

Not if you want to win.

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Content Marketing ROI: Do eBooks and White Papers Generate More Leads Than Blogs? A Data-Driven Answer

Content Marketing ROI - Do eBooks and White Papers Generate More Leads Than Blogs? A Data-Driven Answer

There are so many content marketing formats that it can be hard to decide which to focus on. White papers, ebooks, slideshares, blogs, infographics, curated content, videos, etc. They all have their merits but don’t come at the same cost. On one hand you have long form, epic content that can take days/weeks to produce. […]

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11 Effective Lean Content Marketing Practices To Generate ROI

11 Effective Lean Content Marketing Practices To Generate ROI

According to the Content Marketing Institute’s and MarketingProfs yearly survey on the state of content marketing, lack of time and lack of budget are among the top challenges B2B content marketers face. The other 2 challenges in the Top 4 are “producing enough content” and “producing the type of content that engages”.

In short: most B2B content marketers don’t have enough resources to both scale their content volume and maintain the required quality to generate ROI.

For the past 3 years, we’ve worked with top marketers, influencers, marketing software founders as well as our customers and users to define Lean Content Marketing as a set of best practices that make it possible for SMB marketers to generate positive ROI with limited resources and budgets. We’ve compiled our findings, experiment results, advice and best practices in the Lean Content Marketing Handbook for SMBs and today, I’d like to focus on the most effective practices that generate ROI.

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How to share content with an image on Twitter for greater engagement

How to share share curated content with images for greater engagement

Twitter has become a very busy place. As we’re collectively following more and more people, our Twitter timelines become more and more crowded. The consequence: less organic reach, lower engagement.

Last year, observing the same phenomenon, I wrote that social media publishing had to dramatically change to keep yielding results for professionals and marketers. This post, which followed Facebook’s own admission that organic reach was declining for pages, was one of the most resounding ones on our blog with many of our readers confirming this trend through their own experience. Our recommendation back then was simple: use a content hub for all your content – not just your blogs and created content but also your curated content. Bring your social traffic to it so that you can have engagement on your own turf and drive conversions.

This is still the best thing you can do to align your social media and your content marketing efforts and get results. But today, we’re adding a new way to drive engagement up by making sharing your curated content as an image effortless.

Here’s how.

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Can You Afford The 10 Creative Types Needed To Build A Killer Content Marketing Team?


Creating content, especially in a lean marketing team, is an all-hands-on-deck endeavor. Having a dream team in place to create not only the social posts, blog pieces, and video snippets, but the strategy, big picture campaigns and creative long-term vision should be a top priority for marketers in 2015.


Michael Brenner makes an interesting list of all the various creative talents you would need in an ideal Content Marketing team. But while there’s no denying that this would be a dream team, it’s anything but lean.

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5 Top Marketing Experts, 15 Ideas and 2 ROI Analysis on Repurposing Content

Repurposing content

Repurposing is a key strategy of the lean content marketing methodology. Megan Marrs has 11 interesting best practices and ideas on how to repurpose content efficiently in this great post which made me want to elaborate on this topic.

So here’s the take of several other content marketing experts on the value of repurposing content, a cheat sheet that summarizes key ideas to repurpose content (Megan’s 11 plus 4 others I added) as well as the ROI analysis of two of our own experiment with content repurposing.

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Toward On-Demand Marketing

The rapid incorporation of digital approaches has made marketing an industry of silos. It’s time to rethink the way we build our teams and our skill sets to break those walls apart.


How is Marketing structured in your company? 

I’ve been thinking about how this translates to SMBs as obviously not every company has to do “government relations”. But whether the Marketing team is big or small, there are interesting distinctions made in this slide in terms of the skills they represent.

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Content is the fuel of email marketing: here’s how to ignite it

Content is fuel - ignite it

This post contains excerpts of our recently published ebook: “ROI or RIP: the lean content marketing handbook for SMBs” that you can download for free here.

According to research performed earlier in 2014 by Gigaom and reported by eMarketer, email marketing is still the most commonly used method of digital marketing, with a whopping 86% of respondents claiming to use it. If that’s not enough, though, over half (59%) of B2B marketers surveyed by HubSpot say that email marketing is the most effective channel for generating revenue.

Email marketing needs content and content marketing needs email

Why are email marketing and content marketing such a great match? And what does it mean for your marketing strategy?

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7 Actionable blogging tips for content marketers that are proven to get results

Blogging remains the pillar of content marketing, particularly for SMBs. But when you browse many company’s websites, you realize their blog is under optimized.


So why is blogging for content marketing so difficult?

1. It’s hard to maintain the discipline: even when you have an in-house team of content writers, creating content is time consuming and it takes a lot of efforts to maintain the rhythm. Publishing great content on a consistent basis costs a lot.

2. It’s easy to get demotivated by the lack of impact. Initially a blog doesn’t get much traffic so for ROI-driven management team, it’s tempting to dismiss it into the “tried this; didn’t work” category.

Fortunately, getting results out of your content marketing in general and out of your blogging efforts in particular is accessible to anyone. Sure, it requires some particular techniques but the good news is they’re not particularly hard to implement.

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8 Ways to Integrate Social Media and Blogging according to Guy Kawasaki

“A few years ago, blogging and social media were separate. Blogging was long-form, serious, and crafted. Social media was short-form, personal, and spontaneous. Some people predicted that social media would replace blogging because of declining attention spans. Now blogging and social media not only amicably coexist; they complement each other. The trick is to use a blog to enrich your social media with long-form posts and to use social media to promote your blog.”


Last year, one of our most successful blog post was titled: “Social Media Publishing Is Dead (as we know it)“. Its premise was that because of declining organic reach for brands and pages on Facebook (that the company was open about and that in fact is impacting all other social networks), social media could no longer be considered as a standalone publishing activity.

What do we mean by that?

Historically, many brands and companies have considered their Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+ pages as some form of web pages they could maintain by publishing content to it and generate engagement, independently of their main website. Community Managers who were independent from Content Strategists were managing these pages with different objectives than the ones being defined for the company’s Content Strategy.

This doesn’t work any more as many now agree, including Guy Kawasaki, the well-known evangelist and author of the Art of Social Media.

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The one decision we all make constantly. Or why we must curate or die in 2015.

The key to success in a myriad of web content that may drown us in 2015 is to curate content. The whys and hows are explained in-depth inside this article.


It’s interesting to see that content curation is evolving from an opportunity to a necessity as Julia McCoy from ExpressWriters recently noted in the Search Engine Journal explaining how we must curate content in 2015.

Why is that happening? Why is this accelerating?

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Measuring content curation: Introducing new Analytics

Peter Drucker Quote

In a survey last year of more than 1,500 professionals using content curation, 76% of them said content curation helped them reach their business goals. As content becomes more and more important to achieve success, it also becomes critical to measure how it effectively helps. In fact, as renowned businessman & author Peter Drucker put it, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”

Having data is is one thing, but being able to analyze it is a completely different ballgame. Data needs to be visual in order to have an impact and guide future actions, and that is why we have created a beautiful new interactive Analytics center within We’ve taken into consideration some of the most important data points that guide content marketing strategies, including whether or not content resonates with an audience, times of day the audience is online, and work division between team members, and based our redesign off of them.

The bottom line is that today, we’re excited to announce a complete revamp of our analytics dashboard bringing not only better looking, easier to use analytics but also new metrics and KPI’s to better understand the impact of your content curation.

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Where to start for good SEO: great content or link building?

Is it possible to perform well in search rankings by simply producing good content? 


Just how far SEO evolved? “Good content is the new SEO” has been the new motto for a few years. But is it true to the point where you can ignore link building? 

Moz’s Rand Fishkin gives his view on the question in this video.

The short version of his answer is that “yes it’s possible but it’s very tough“. Up to the point where he admits to admiring these sites:

I find looking at websites that accomplish SEO without active link building fascinating, because they have editorially earned those links through very little intentional effort on their own. I think there’s a tremendous amount that we can take away from that process and optimize around this.

While I feel it’s a little disappointing that he doesn’t give any numbers or more conclusive arguments, I also think the interesting question is:

What should you focus on first? Good Content or link building?

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Using WordPress as an alternative to HubSpot?

“Recently we migrated our website so this time In this article we take a look at how to migrate a website from Hubspot to Wordpress.”


Hesitating to pay the full price for HubSpot when Wordpress is essentially free? This article gives an interesting perspective on how you can actually migrate to Wordpress from HubSpot.

Should you migrate from HubSpot to Wordpress?

A few things are interesting to note:

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5 Top Trends Emerging From CMI’s 60 Content Marketing Predictions for 2015 eBook

It’s time for our annual eBook of content marketing predictions. Read on to see what big trends, changes, and advances experts see on the horizon for our industry in the upcoming year.


What are the content marketing trends for next year? The Content Marketing Institute asked thought leaders around the world for their predictions and compiled that in this ebook. 

You can read mine above but there I encourage you to read the ebook for others as well. 

Jay Baer’s (slide 10) is particularly interesting:

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5 Signs you highly need a content curation diet in your marketing mix

Feeling hungover after the holiday? You’ll get over it. But how about your content strategy? Just like eating healthy largely depends on mixing diverse types of food, content marketing experts such as Heidi Cohen say you won’t achieve optimal results if you’re relying 100% on your own content for your marketing efforts. Don’t believe it? Read our own survey results on the ROI of content curation in the marketing mix.

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How the right influencer strategy can amplify your content marketing


To rise above the noise, convey a message and mobilize buyers, content marketers are turning to influencers.


Scaling Content Marketing is the key area of focus for many marketers these days. A number of strategies are being offered by experts, social networks or distribution platforms including the most natural one to them: pay for play. As Mark Schaefer wrote earlier this year, Content Marketing could be the victim of its own success if content strategists don’t put in place strategies to overcome the content abundance that results in diminishing returns. Earlier this year, Facebook for instance admitted to de-prioritize the organic reach of content from Facebook pages as users are more and more publishing content to more and more friends. The solution, they say? Buy ads to boost your post. And as LinkedIn and Twitter are also massively dependent on advertising revenue, this trend is here for good.

As mentioned in my reply to Mark, I believe there are ways to overcome content shock and scale Content Marketing through Lean Content. Interest-based content curation is an answer in the broad sense as it’s about leveraging existing content rather than adding to it but the team at Traackr puts it in a more specific context: influencer amplification.

Their point is a clear one: rather than paying for distribution, getting influencers to amplify your reach is a much more efficient approach.

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