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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
“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.”
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:
“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.
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?
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
This is a solid summary by Heidi Cohen on why content curation is besoming essential to businesses. Its role to content strategy mix has evolved from being anecdotical a few years ago to becoming central as it not only helps fill the gap but provides meaningful synergies for your created content.
Now as Heidi puts it, content curation is not free: while it’s – as she puts it – “a low cost way to fill your content marketing pipeline“, low doesn’t mean zero. I still regularly have debates with people who think that automated aggregation can replace content curation: it doesn’t. There’s no way to set it up once and forget about it. You’ll need to invest as little as 15 minutes a day to achieve results but these 15′ need to be spent.
One of the Lean Content best practices we’ve seen several speakers at our meetups recommend is to leverage existing audiences on top of your own to increase the reach and the impact of your content. While your blog may or may not yet have a strong audience, there’s always more people to reach. By placing your content on publishing platforms which offer interesting discovery mechanisms or having blogs that are read in your industry re-publish it, you could in theory multiply your own reach by not doing much more.
Though the idea makes perfect sense, it also comes with questions:
1. Re-publishing on other platforms can be more or less complex: some like LinkedIn publishing platform or Medium are public or in the process of being public; some industry blogs (for example, in our space, Social Media Today or Business 2 Community) recruit contributors based on their own selection criteria.
2. Re-publishing content is creating potentially duplicatecontent which could hurt SEO and defeat the purpose.
3. Re-publishing content means it’s read on a platform from where we can’tconvert our audience: to subscribe to our blog, to sign up for a demo of Scoop.it, etc. As part of our own Content Marketing efforts, conversion is an important metric.
At Scoop.it, we like to put ideas to the test so we did an experiment a few weeks ago to come out with data that would support or reject this.
In this talk, Mark Burgess brings to our attention how employees, through social media, are changing how companies market to, and engage with, customers and prospects. With the transparency and opportunity for personal connections that social media offers, pushing fabricated, unauthentic sales pitches doesn’t work anymore. Instead, we are witnessing the rise of the social employee who creates a win/win proposition by leveraging their personal brands to build trust and increase the digital “surface area” of the brands for which they work. The result is nothing short of a revolution.
– engaging because they won’t do it if it’s not impacting,
– rewarding because that’s what’s in it for them.
Aggregating, promoting and spreading that knowledge through collaborative content hubs like the ones Scoop.it Enterprise offers that show the collective curation work of your brand’s employees is one of the most efficient ways to promote your brand: by promoting them.
When I started to publish content, I felt frustrated that it didn’t have the impact I wanted. I had spent hours, sometimes day on trying to get thoughts, data and examples together and when hitting publish, the post only lasted for a few minutes before being drowned in the social media flow.
Social media needs to be part of an overall sales and marketing strategy that includes your website, not something that is isolated from everything else you do to promote your business. It isn’t a one hit wonder that will magically drive people to your business.
Sue Cockburn makes a great point on SocialMediaToday; and one that I’ve often seen underestimated: just like in ancient Rome, all your social media roads should lead to the center of your online presence, aka your website (as a matter of fact, I was highlighting it myself in a talk last week).
As she pointed out, one of the reasons for this is certainly the hype on social media (and its apparent simplicity).
With the Scoop.it team, we’ve been trying to identify the other reasons explaining that by observing many companies – small or large – implementing their content strategy:
– small businesses are often finding it difficult to…
Last week, Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers presented her Internet Trends report for 2014 at the Code Conference in California. Each year since 2001, KPCB has partnered with some of the best data analysts in the country to create a comprehensive report of rising Internet trends across all industries. This year, the presentation resulted in a 164-slide deck that you can read in its entirety here. Since we’re fans of tl;dr analyses & content curation, though, here are some of the most important points from the first half of the report.