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.
A common theme at Scoop.it is helping people with important things to say be heard through all of the noise that exists online today. Creating an integrated content strategy that includes a healthy mix of creation and curation is the first step to success in this area, but another very important aspect that’s often overlooked is lead generation.
A few weeks ago, content marketing expert Michael Brenner posted on his blog a list of signs that a business is not ready for content marketing. He brings up an interesting point in that many businesses believe they need to launch a content marketing strategy simply because everyone else is doing it, even though they may not be properly equipped to do so.
Feeling a little dull about your new content marketing efforts? Don’t worry, because despite what you may think, you’re certainly not alone. Getting started with a new content marketing strategy is no small task. It involves figuring out goals, strategies, tactics, deliverables, and other words that sound way scarier than they are.
In a recent survey of 1,550 US professionals on the impact of content curation for their business goals, 65% said content curation helped with regards to SEO. Not only that but data from 65M+ pieces of content curated on the Scoop.it platform show that an average of 40% of traffic comes from Google Search.
It seems today that everyone wants to start a blog, given that there are more than 150 million blogs on the Internet. Despite the competition, it’s still a great idea. A blog can help you market your business or improve your hobby, but with so much competition, how can you break into the blogosphere with a bang?
Is content marketing worth it? Can your company achieve a positive ROI by investing in blogging, social media, and marketing automation?
Guillaume Decugis‘s insight:
A great compilation of studies on the ROI of content marketing from Eloqua and Hubspot. There are lots of interesting numbers which show how valuable content marketing can be in the long run: unlike advertising which costs increase with success, content marketing scales up by delivering economies of scale with lower and lower costs per lead or visitor.
Now, the caveat is that these studies focus on sizeable organizations who can afford the following investments: “According to Eloqua’s findings, a mid-sized organization should expect to spend approximately $12,000 a month and a larger-sized company could expect about $33,000 a month.”
This raises the question of the accessibility of content marketing to small and mid-size businesses. To really be the new advertising, Content Marketing needs to become accessible to all – hence the growing interest for leancontent solutions and tools.
SlideShare is a great platform for visual content and an amazing company: in just a few years, it has become the YouTube of presentations, one of the Top 150 sites in the world with an impressive 3 Billion views per month from 60 million unique visitors. Perhaps like many others, I originally thought of SlideShare as a platform to use only on specific occasions: when I had talked at a conference, when we had produced great slides worth sharing or when we had something specifically visual to communicate. I had had great experience and results but I don’t talk to conferences every day and so I sometimes felt I was missing out. And then, one night of September last year, I heard Jason Miller present at one of our #leancontent events and it became all clear: the team and I realized we could use SlideShare in a very different way – not just as a tool to recycle and share what you already created for other purposes but as a media channel that we would update on a regular basis. In a word, as a visual blog.
We decided to try it: over the next few months, we tried to publish at least every other week to SlideShare, integrating it in our content calendar alongside our blog and our Scoop.it content curations.
These are the first results after 4 months running this experiment.
If you struggle with providing a steady stream of fresh, relevant content for your website, you’re not alone. Perhaps one of the best ways to overcome this challenge, while also increasing the value you provide to your audience, is through the process of editorialized content curation.
But while we know that this process (when done right) is beneficial in terms of driving traffic, extending reach and providing interesting and valuable content, what does Google think about content curation?
As the volume of content published on the Internet continues to grow, consumers can help shield themselves from the noise that doesn’t matter to them by curating only the content that matters on interest graph platforms
Guillaume Decugis‘s insight:
Content curation and the Interest Graph are two different things but are deeply connected. While some content curators like Maria Popova are great at being eclectic, a lot of value to readers come from being able to discover and read from publishers who address the specific niches they’re interested in.
Chad Politt from Digital Relevance clearly establishes that connexion in this contribution to the Huff Post and I would draw the following conclusions for content strategists and content curators:
As a platform that helps people, businesses or organizations with their content strategy, it’s always been natural for us to use content ourselves in our communication. For a lot of companies – including Scoop.it – communicating through content means having several distribution channels – including email – and today we’d like to share a few things we’ve learned using email newsletters as a content marketing distribution mechanism.