The Lean Content Marketing Blog

How to get more return on investment from content

Content Marketing

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.

Source: moz.com

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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Create great content by leveraging your analytics

content marketing analytics

It’s 5:02 a.m. on Friday as I am writing this. The dog is on the floor licking…something (he likes to lick a lot!) and my wife is asleep beside me in bed.
The last 10 minutes have gone something like this:
• What’s happening on Twitter? Boring.
• How about Facebook? Someone else got engaged. Yay for them.
• Any new emails? Delete. Delete. Inbox Zero!
• Hmm…

Source: blog.bufferapp.com

We’ve all been where Bryan Harris was when he wrote the above introduction to this post. As bloggers or content marketers, we always hear that voice in the back of our heads.

When are you going to just sit down and write that post? What are you even going to write about? How are you going to actually make an impact with the finished product?

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ROI or RIP: The Lean Content Marketing Handbook for SMBs

lean content marketing handbook

Some say content marketing is only for people with deep pockets, and that short of creating Star Wars, you’ll struggle to make an impact. We happen to disagree.

Over the past three years, we’ve been diligently working with SMBs to find success with content marketing via our products, our blog, a Meetup series, and endless conversations with clients as well as subject matter experts. The results of this work have added up the lean content marketing ideology, which is the practice of optimizing content strategies in order to create the highest impact with the least amount of time and resources.

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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.”

Source: blog.marketo.com

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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How to add influencer marketing to your content strategy

Content-Influence-Framework.jpg

Content Marketing and Influencer Strategy must work together for either to be successful. 90% of the world’s data has been generated in the past 2 years; and while content marketing is approaching mass adoption, getting a message in front of the right people at the right time is as formidable as it is essential. To rise above the noise, convey a message and mobilize buyers, content marketers are turning to influencers.

“Investing in a content and influencer marketing strategy can be one of the most impactful actions a business can make.” – Lee Odden, TopRank Marketing
In the last 10 years, B2B and B2C organizations alike have quickly adopted content-driven strategies to attract, nurture, enable, inspire, educate and support their customers. Even as the platforms and tactics change, content as a strategy to reach audiences remains powerful and continues to grow.

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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.”

Source: blog.idrsolutions.com

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.

Source: contentmarketinginstitute.com

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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Winning content marketing strategies for SMBs

Content marketing continues to grow in importance for both B2B and B2C organizations, and as more and more businesses come to realize the importance of establishing thought leadership in their fields, those same businesses are finding that a disciplined, intelligent, and focused content marketing strategy is one of the best mechanisms by which to achieve their objectives.

But while we’ve all marveled at the publicity stunts of RedBull and other major brands with huge marketing budgets, we wanted to recap why and how content marketing applied to SMBs which, by definition, dont’ have as deep pockets.

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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.

Source: www.slideshare.net

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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Content curation on WordPress: how to do it right.

Content Curation on Wordpress - how to do it right - compared benefits of the various solutions

One of the main ways to to leverage content curation for business is to add curated content to your website or blog. By selecting the most interesting content for your target audience and adding some context to it, you will naturally show your expertise to your visitors – a good objective in itself. But, if you do it right, you should also enjoy the following benefits:

  • Audience engagement as readers can now discover more interesting content than just your own stories or product news: loyal visitors will stay longer, hopping between related curated pieces, and have reasons for coming back or even subscribe to receive your email newsletters.

  • SEO as your Website now contains more quality content on your niche topic which can be indexed by Google. Not only will that content be well targeted and relevant but it will also be organized and contextualized which is what Google is looking for (more on seo benefits of content curation here).

  • Social Traffic as your readers can share content they like while directing traffic to your site (more on why you should use a content hub for your social media publishing here).

  • Conversions as readers of your curated content are not just clicking on links in your tweets or Facebook posts to end up on third-party websites, but are instead being directed to your own website that now acts as a content hub. You can incorporate call-to-actions in your hub to either contact you, subscribe to your newsletter or request a demo of your product (more on how to use content curation for inbound marketing and lead generation here).

So how do you integrate curated content to Wordpress in the right way, to reach these objectives?

Not all integrations are created equal, and some integrations will not deliver the above benefits in an optimal way. Here are the pros and cons of key integration options that you should be aware of:

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Report: SMBs Turn to Content Curation for Increased ROI


As the beginning of the end of 2014 approaches, marketers are likely reflecting upon the last year, the trends that have caught on, and the trends that haven’t. At this time in 2013, the digital marketing world was abuzz about content marketing and content curation. Over the last year or so, marketing experts have been debating how much importance content curation should have within a content marketing strategy.

With over 1.5 million freemium users on our platform, we decided to take a closer look at what the data says for small businesses who have been using curation over the last year. The findings were quite interesting, especially when comparing the returns of content creation vs. the returns of content curation with respect to how much investment is put into them.

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SEO: what it used to be vs what it is now

SEO: what it used to be vs what it is now

With Panda, Penguin and all the other Google updates, SEO has changed over the years. What used to work doesn’t anymore.

Source: www.quicksprout.com

As many have observed for some time now, SEO has completely changed over the past few years. From being machine-centric, it became people-centric. But what does it mean concretely to content marketers?

This infographic by Neil Patel gives a number of interesting points, a couple of which I want to comment:

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Be Human in Your Content Marketing

Don't be a robot content marketer

Here’s one of the most significant tenets of content marketing: People like to do business with other people. They don’t like to do business with faceless, anonymous, inhuman brands or big corporations.

Source: www.business2community.com

Occasionally people ask us how they could fully automate their content publishing. They’d like to not only get content suggestions automatically but also that this content be published automatically. They’d want to set up once and then forget their content marketing while just reaping the benefits of it. I don’t blame them and I even understand them. But content simply doesn’t work that way for the precise reason Amanda Clark from Grammar Chic introduces this post we’ve curated.

Communication is fundamentally human.

It’s not just an ethical question but it’s also a matter of efficiency

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Inbound Marketing: the power of content curation

Inbound marketing is definitely more efficient and appealing to the sophisticated modern customer than traditional interruptive outbound techniques. But for inbound marketing to work, you need to have its lifeblood: content.

Source: www.slideshare.net

This Slideshare is from a talk @Marc Rougier recently gave on how content curation helps to solve inbound marketing #1 pain point: scaling the content you publish to feed your landing pages and conversion loops.

Content curation has played an important role in content marketing for some time now. And as content Marketing and inbound marketing are converging – especially for B2B marketers who are looking for ROI – we wanted to look specifically at what it brought to inbound marketers specifically.

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Are you using Lego blocks to make your Content Marketing lean?

Creating original content on an ongoing basis can be a challenge, so most marketers practice the fine art of content repurposing.

Source: www.toprankblog.com

As a kid my favorite game was to play Lego and build, deconstruct and rebuild stuff (spaceships mostly: I’m a geek…). As a father, I’ve been fascinated to see that construction game becoming my kids’ favorite too and see what they came out with in terms of new ideas to build. This is what this post by Leed Odden made me think about so here’s a good question for all content marketers:

Are you thinking of your content as modular lego-type building blocks?

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3 Practical Ideas To Make Content Marketing Everybody’s Job

content marketing should be team work

“The need for content has moved beyond a traditional marketing department’s ability to create and is now everyone’s job.”

Source: www.ducttapemarketing.com

Or why Content Marketing needs to grow beyond the marketing team (as I also wrote about in that post). Now, where I disagree with John Jantsch is when he uses the word “creation”. I talk to hundreds of business owners, entrepreneurs and even VP Marketing at larger companies which all tell me how incredibly hard it is to get non-marketers to create content.

Don’t fool yourself: you won’t get everybody to create content.

But here’s what you can do very easily.

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Your Business Blog Sucks. Here are 6 Reasons Why.

“Content is king!”

“Content is the new SEO!”

“Content is the new PR!”

What isn’t content these days? You hear about it all the time, you know you have to do it, you might even be doing it. But, are you doing it right? Just because you’ve started a blog, doesn’t mean you’re a content marketer. Don’t worry, though, I’m here with a few reasons why your blog might suck and some tips to change that

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3 Key Take-Aways for Content Marketers From the 2015 CMI/MarketingProfs Benchmark

“This is the fifth year that MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute have put together this report on how marketers use content in their marketing mix. With changes in the industry, the report may look a little different than you remember.”

Source: www.slideshare.net

Content Marketing is being adopted very quickly, especially by B2B Marketers. The Content Marketing Institute together with MarketingProfs published this great report that gives many enlightening facts about the key challenges they face and how they resolve them.

Among other great findings, here’s what I found particularly interesting:

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Why even IBM needs SMB marketing software

“Employees at the brand at IBM. How about at your company?”

Marketers used to buy ads, PR and creative work. Now they also buy software. This is new and this is a big change. A clear example of that trend, Marketo‘s massive success is 100% built on marketing software – a category which didn’t exist 10 years ago. Beyond Marketo, an entire ecosystem has developed ranking from marketing automation to inbound marketing and content marketing. Some say this space is crowded but the fact is no one denies anymore that software tools have proven useful to understand “which 50% of my marketing spending is efficient“.

The success of these tools has been to be designed for marketers by marketers. The same way Salesforce.com used the language of the VP Sales and not the language of CFO’s, marketing software vendors owe a big part of their success to speaking the language of marketers. Demand generation, campaigns, leads, funnel, nurturing, editorial calendars, brand assets, landing pages, open rates, click-through rates… The jargon is undoubtably omnipresent in these tools because they’re focused on being understood and used by one unique user category: marketers.

This needs to change.

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SMBs: You Don’t Need an Expensive Content Calendar Tool

…you need good content.

Last week, back from Content Marketing World 2014, Jay Baer noted that over the last 12 months, the number of content marketing software vendors had exploded, forcing the vendor and expo area to massively expand. How many exactly were participating? Too many according to him. And because these companies were not sustainable yet but spending their VC’s money, he predicted a big shakeout will happen.

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How You Can Prepare for Twitter’s Potential Upcoming Changes

Twitter strategy might be shifting and the implications for our personal and business experience could be profound.

Source: www.businessesgrow.com

If you’re in social media marketing, you probably cringe at the mention of the word EdgeRank. I know I do, because it makes me think of how frustrating it is that even the best of my brand’s Facebook content might not be seen by more than 200 or 300 of our 57,000 fans unless I spend money to promote it.

Brace yourselves, social marketers, because algorithms just like Facebook’s EdgeRank might be coming to Twitter. In this post by our friend Mark Schaeffer, you can learn about some of the reasons why Twitter is thinking about implementing this, including the pressure from investors now that Twitter has gone public.

Mark brings up some great points for both sides like the fact that, with so many active users, “an unfiltered news stream can seem overwhelming,” but one of the best things about Twitter is that it’s completely unfiltered because  it allows for news to break in real time; something we see happening more and more each day.

According to Mark – and most marketers including myself happen to agree – Twitter will ultimately end up implementing an algorithm that determines what updates you see depending on elements like trending topics and interaction history, which will make organic reach plummet which would effectively eliminate the main differentiator of Twitter from Facebook.

What can do you, then, to prepare for this change?  

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Can you afford to have a content strategy that isn’t lean?

“As content marketing has become a vital strategy for brands and agencies, the need to measure the success of that content has grown as well.  An Aberdeen Group report revealed that the most effective content marketers are also those most likely to measure.”

Source: blog.visual.ly

This report by the Aberdeen Group highlights the need to measure results as a key success factor in content marketing.

Beyond this key findings – companies which measure tend to do better – there are interesting numbers as those in the above chart. The companies surveyed in this report had a customer acquisition cost of $20-$30,000.

Does this feel a lot to you?

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Third-party content is 4x to 7x more trusted than your own

“I had always believed that most of the marketing content used by a company should be developed internally (…). Because of three recent research studies, I now have a different view on this issue.”

Source: customerthink.com

Some people still think that the only type of content that can demonstrate your expertise and show your thought leadership is the one you create.

If you’re still thinking that, think again as the data has spoken.

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6 Ways to Infuse Your Content Marketing with Personality

When it comes to content marketing, businesses can easily lose their personality behind lackluster, “robotic” blogs and other web content. This can result in disengaged audiences, reduced thought leadership standing, and lower search engine ratings.

According to GetResponse blogger Marya Jan, creating quality content requires that you infuse the unique, mutual personality characteristics of businesses and their customers into whatever gets written.

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16 B2B Content Marketing Stats You Need to Know Today

Jeff Zabin, CEO of Starfleet Media and celebrated business researcher, recently released his 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation. The report was created with the intention of “provid[ing] a rich, up-to-date snapshot of how B2B companies are creating, licensing and utilizing content assets in their incessant quest to demonstrate thought leadership, raise brand visibility, and, perhaps most importantly, generate qualified leads.”

B2B content marketing is a unique field that’s still constantly developing, and this report has some important insights into it’s current state as well as where it’s headed. I’d recommend reading it for yourself, but in the meantime, I’ve pulled out some of the most interesting statistics and findings.

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