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Keep up to date with the latest content marketing tips and news.

07/Apr/2017
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Content marketing is as much time consuming as it is challenging. After spending vast amounts of time creating the right content in the first place, brands then undergo lengthy periods trying to actually share the material. This is where automation can be extremely beneficial, helping strategists to disseminate content quickly.

There are three key principles when it comes to finding more content marketing time; content curation, social sharing and monitoring. Done correctly, these processes enable content marketers to optimise their strategies without taking more and more time.

Content curation 

Curating content can often seem a long-winded process; however, it is vital if brands are to grow their online presence and find the right audience. Of the many content-sharing rules, it’s generally agreed that at least half of social media updates should actually be content from others relevant to an organisation’s audience.

Finding this content can be time consuming, so automating this process is a good idea. There are a variety of tools available that, after having fed in relevant data for search terms, will automatically discover new and appropriate content that can then be shared with a target audience. Content is often provided in a daily updated stream, enabling marketers to oversee what they’re sharing and ensure it’s relevant.

Social sharing

Meanwhile, the best social media management includes scheduling as a way to provide a constant stream of content to fans, followers and audience members. It ensures that marketers, regardless of their time zone, can share updates with people at the most appropriate time of day.

To conduct this process, automation is required (unless strategists are going to be sitting at their social platforms 24-hours a day. Most integrated schedulers enable content to be queued up and delivered at specific times, including a brand’s personal blog posts.

It should be noted that marketers should not be over zealous in their scheduling. For example, queuing a news piece for two weeks time may give rise to a conflict of interest once the day to publish arrives.

Monitoring

Finally, it is crucial that strategists monitor their content, but with so much material out there, not to mention ongoing campaigns, it can be hard to keep an eye on everything. This is why automation can be useful, helping experts to manage their content and take note when a brand is mentioned.

There are many different tools for this, many of which can be programmed to alert brand strategists when there’s mention of their organisation. In addition, marketers can engage and reply with audiences from a central dashboard instead of having to log in and switch between the many various platforms. In addition to individual brand names, other relevant data, such as owner’s name or specific products, for example, can be included in search terms.

Automation is an essential part of running a content marketing campaign. Not only can it be used to keep an eye on how successful marketers have been, but also, it can provide experts with more time to work on optimising campaigns for increased success.
 


01/Apr/2017
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Content marketing has become a crucial tool for businesses wanting to increase their exposure and brand awareness. However, it is far from a quick fix and takes many resources to craft and run a successful campaign. All too often, many of the common mistakes occur, even when seasoned professionals are running advertising. Therefore, it is important to regularly review strategies.

Lack of content promotion 

In this era, it is crucial to promote content. Once upon a time, material could be posted onto a blog and then left to gain attention. No more. Now, even the best content has to be shared if it’s to gain the right attention – even if it’s an exceptional piece of carefully crafted content.

Without promoting posts across a varied range of platforms, there is less chance the right people will see it. Though focussing on SEO can help gain more views, organic reach shouldn’t be relied on. Instead, every single piece of work should be shared on multiple platforms to get as many views as possible. This helps build followers, brand awareness and consumer trust.

Publishing content on the wrong channel

There are many platforms available to content marketing strategists these days, but it’s important to publish the right content in the right place. For example, a blog post might work well as a link on Twitter, but it might not gain attention on Pinterest. Meanwhile, LinkedIn certainly isn’t the right place to share personal or funny GIFs, though these can work well as occasional content posted to FB pages.

Focussing on quantity instead of quality 

It’s unsurprising that marketers want to create a lot of content and publish it regularly to remain visible to their target audience. However, focusing solely on producing a lot of content instead of checking for quality is a huge mistake. Content must be genuinely useful to consumers, of high quality and with added value; there’s no point in producing average content.

Failing to harness the power of Google Analytics

Good Analytics is an extremely powerful tool, yet many content marketers fail to use it properly. It can give insights into which content is performing the best, thereby helping creators make material that is most likely to find appeal with audiences. It can also tell marketers which website pages get the most hits, and how long people spend on a website. This information is invaluable, and should be used as a matter of course.

Not listening to target consumers

To get more views on content, businesses need to know what their customers want. And to understand this, it’s vital to actually listen. There are many tools to help monitor specific keywords across social media platforms, allowing marketers to follow conversations about brands, products or people. It is also important to respond to all social media comments and act swiftly to correct problems; showing people the face behind the brand.

By avoiding the above mistakes, content marketers can help hone their strategies, develop better content, and give campaigns the best chance of success.

 


09/Feb/2017

Over the past few years, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has come under fire and it now has some negative connotations associated with it. However, when used correctly it is still an important part of the content marketing process, helping strategists to not only formulate their advertising plan, but also to put content in the right places. Therefore, it remains as important as ever for guiding more eyes towards digital publications.

The past decade has seen the internet explode with various strategies to harness the power of content to drive website visits, leads and sales. SEO is used across many of these. This is the process of utilising keywords within content to gain the attention of search engines. Despite many people now disregarding the importance of SEO because it has so often been used badly, it is still an important tool.

Firstly, SEO provides a good basis for forming a strong content strategy. This is because when developing a keyword plan, brands have to ask important questions, the answers to which can be used to create the right content for the intended target audience. For example, SEO requires a business to establish who its target audience is, and what the brand needs to deliver to those potential customers. What’s the best material to create and how can this be enhanced to generate more interest?

Utilising SEO in content marketing can also help brands build trust and authority within their niche. Incorporating quality keyword terms into articles ensures that content has an extended digital lifespan. Over the months and years, any brand can build up its backlist of content in a particular market, thereby increasing its authority on the subject matter. In time, this will also increase consumer trust, helping companies attain long-term success in their content marketing strategies.

Finally, by using SEO practices within content marketing, firms are challenging their competitors. Within any field, it’s likely that companies are all striving towards producing high-quality, evergreen content to attract consumers. By using SEO, strategists can help a brand become a recognised authority within its field, thus putting pressure on competitors. Some of the best content includes podcasts, How-To articles, guides and videos. By providing these on a regular basis, adding keywords and building a reputation for expertise, even small companies in niche markets can gain dominance over bigger rivals.

The negativity surrounding SEO is unlikely to disappear. When it’s used badly, it’s all too obvious, with promotional keywords and phrases appearing inappropriately; however, when it’s used correctly, those targeted terms should fit seamlessly into content and be difficult to pinpoint. As such, content strategists should not immediately disregard the use of SEO. When used as part of a carefully considered marketing plan it can help a campaign realise resounding success.


06/Feb/2017
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Content marketing strategists are always on the lookout for ways to improve the efficiency of their advertising, whatever the goal, and with digital marketing taking off, developing a campaign with the potential to return great success has become more complex than ever. One platform often used for content marketers, particularly for the distribution of material, is Twitter. This micro blogging social network offers another way to engage with fans and followers via Twitter Moments.

Twitter Moments was first launched to the public in 2016. Instead of sharing a string of unrelated Tweets, users can actually create a story from tweets and multimedia. These are then uploaded to the networking platform as a ‘story’ for followers to engage with. Twitter’s move in this direction shows that the channel is clearly prioritising digestible, concise content that might be able to compete on an even footing with both Instagram and Snapchat.

For content marketers around the world, the Twitter Moments feature offers a great way to improve engagement with fans and dramatically drive return on investment (ROI) levels higher. One digital marketing and media analyst, Rebecca Lieb, was quoted recently as saying “Twitter Moments just leverages what Twitter is already about, which is real-time marketing.”

With this in mind, there are a few ways for advertisers to utilise Moments to their advantage. Firstly, companies can showcase not only their brand values, but the value of their brand in itself. For example, one healthcare provider developed a moment that focussed on their physician assistants. The company included data on the growth of the profession during the past five years, not only sharing valuable data and insights, but telling a story at the same time.

Another route content strategists could take is to use Twitter Moments to actively engage with their followers and brand advocates. It is best practice on social media platforms to actively share quality content from followers. However, this can be included in a Moment too, adding even deeper levels of trust and reputation among fans. It shows that social media teams really are paying attention to what their fans are saying and aren’t simply clicking the ‘Retweet’ button without properly engaging.

Finally, Twitter Moments can be used to help companies make their brand’s message more concise, while shaping their reputation. It is all too easy for messages on social media, particularly Twitter, to become lost or misrepresented, especially if a follower is out to cause trouble. Companies can also use Moments to deliver a statement, highlight specific messages or tweets, or to frame their perspective on a topic. The latter is particularly useful when responding to current affairs. Using Moments in this way enables brands to give a concise and focussed message that can keep reputations intact.

Overall, Twitter Moments can be a great method for content marketers to focus their follower attention on specific content, helping campaigns to find more success. It can also deliver concise messages, safeguarding a company’s reputation from negative press.


23/Jan/2017
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Effective content marketing is increasingly being regarded as vital, with many brands seeing it as a crucial way to help develop presence and increase success. Done right, a campaign not only generates revenue and growth but can boost brand awareness. However, there are ways in which content marketing should not be approached, so it’s wise to consider all the facts before launching a new campaign.

Firstly, content marketing is not the easy and cheap solution that many believe it to be. For companies believing that to be the case, attempts to start campaigns can be fraught with difficulties and, in some cases, might even damage a brand’s reputation. Therefore, it’s important to think about why undertaking such a challenge might not be such a good move. Those without the proper in-house skills might be wise to outsource the work if it is to stand any chance of success. Alternatively, other forms of advertising can be used.

One mistake that brands make is starting a content marketing plan as a way to stay ‘on-trend’. Unfortunately, if content doesn’t actually offer a target audience any value, it’s unlikely to succeed. Before beginning any content strategy, consider whether the resulting advertising is likely to find appeal. It also shouldn’t be thought of as a quick fix because it can take months, even years, to carefully construct a strategy that will work. Most things take time to evolve before they give anything in return and the content marketing niche is no exception. For example, many blogs are quickly abandoned; however, when blogs are maintained in the long-term, and generate around 15 blog posts each month, around 1,200 new leads can be generated.

Another misconception is that content marketing will instantly improve search rankings. Though it may well help in the long run, it certainly will not yield overnight results. One expert in the content niche, Ian Lurie, says: “Content isn’t ‘stuff we write to rank higher’ or ‘infographics’ or ‘long-form articles.’ Content is anything that communicates a message to the audience. Anything.”

Finally, it’s important to recognise that content marketing strategies are neither a cheap form of advertising, nor a way to gain direct sales. With regard to the former, there are many reports showing massive return on investment. In fact, three times as many leads can be generated as traditional advertising, with a 62 per cent markdown in cost. However, investment is required. Meanwhile, not every piece of content will generate direct sales and, in fact, many pieces shouldn’t be aimed at doing so. Some will build brand awareness, while others will lead customers into the mouth of the sales funnel. In fact, almost half of B2B marketers agree that between three and five buying stages are required to make a sale.

Content marketing can be hugely successful when it’s done correctly, pushing companies to the next level and spreading positive brand awareness. It is not cheap and it is not quick to yield results, however, those going into it with their eyes open could reap huge benefits over the medium to long term.


16/Jan/2017
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A new poll has shown that almost half of content marketers are not solely focused on generating leads – they’re aiming to boost brand awareness instead. Clutch’s ‘Content Marketing Survey 2016’ showed that though content marketing is developed with a variety of objectives in mind, 49 per cent of professionals focus on simply bringing more awareness to their company and brand as a whole. In addition, a variety of mediums, particularly original research and infographics, are expected to be successful in the coming year.

The new year has brought fresh opportunities for companies to jump on the latest trends in order to maximise their content marketing strategies in 2017. It is, therefore, extremely important to reflect on the industry trends noted in 2016. In the survey by Clutch, it was discovered that brand awareness was the leading objective for content strategists. Other goals that were placed as a priority included reaching a higher search engine visibility, with 30 per cent of respondents mentioning this. Meanwhile, lead generation was also important, finding favour with 21 per cent of those questioned.

Delving further into the type of content that saw the most success, it was shown that infographics, original research and data, and product reviews continue to do well. They were mentioned as the best performers by 17 per cent, 18 per cent and 16 per cent of respondents respectively. Other content formats included blog posts, which 14 per cent of people said excelled, and videos, mentioned by 13 per cent. At the other end of the scale, eBooks and podcasts failed to find success.

Clutch also investigated the ways that companies measure their success. For 32 per cent of respondents, content marketing success is directly tied to sales metrics, with campaigns perceived to be more successful, according to how many new customers are gained. Meanwhile, 29 per cent of firms focus on lead generation, whilst the same percentage take consumption metrics into account. Researchers said “metrics should tell a story about whether you achieved your goal… before creating content, you need to define what return-on-investment (ROI) means for that specific piece.”

For content marketing strategists, promotion remains a key way to boost the success of a campaign. It means that companies are using more methods to promote their work, with 71 per cent using paid advertisement options, 70 per cent making use of organic social media, and 69 per cent relying on traditional marketing channels in order to amplify their marketing efforts. The report writers noted “it’s important to prioritise paid forms of content distribution over organic efforts. In fact, we found that the majority of enterprise content marketers surveyed believe paid advertisements are more effective than organic approaches to content distribution.”

Elsewhere, a new report entitled “B2B Content Marketing 2017: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America’ found that 62 per cent of marketers in the B2B sector believe their current content strategies are already more successful than a year ago. This is largely attributed to increasing content priorities, producing better quality content, and developing strategies. Additionally, 52 per cent said that blogs would be vital for marketing in 2017, whilst email newsletter and social media content will also remain important.


05/Dec/2016
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Content marketing is a complex topic for even the most expert of strategists. Conducted incorrectly, this form of marketing can easily fall far from the mark when it comes to satisfying audience needs, instead just adding noise to an already cluttered space. It is, therefore, essential to get marketing strategies right from the outset. Although brands and strategists will continue to learn throughout the process and evolve their plans constantly, staying away from these common pitfalls can help position organisations for success.

Internal reorganisation can be a challenge

One thing that can be problematic, especially for larger firms, is implementing internal changes to facilitate the real-time content creative process. For example, Rachel Hawkes, the group social head for travel and holiday brand, TUI, said that working with international teams can result in duplicate work. As a result, the firm is focussing on trying to gain a more centralised approach to creating content. At TUI in the UK, there are 70 employees creating social, web and print content. Meanwhile, 30 creators are doing the same in Germany, whilst other locations have fewer.

By centralising all content creation, Ms Hawkes says that local content can be created more quickly and duplication can be avoided. “If we have 3,000 beds in New York, we can send internal teams out to create social content that can be disseminated through the group,” she explained.

Culling platforms shouldn’t be dismissed

Another aspect of modern content marketing that many strategists struggle with is trying to cover the multitude of social media platforms available. Creating content for all of these can be challenging, especially when each piece needs to be tailored to where it will be broadcast. In some cases, brands might simply become overwhelmed by the amount of work required. However, it’s important to recognise that platforms can, and should, be culled if needed.

As a case in point, oil firm BP previously identified seven key audience areas and began developing content for them. They quickly realised that simply picking the fastest growing platform, the largest one, or the place where competitors were found didn’t necessarily guarantee success.

Ben Jefferies, BP’s global head of digital publishing, concluded: “I’m not afraid of killing a platform.” In fact, despite their Facebook platform having around 250,000 followers, they’ve noticed some stagnation since its heyday in 2010. As a result, BP now produces more content for LinkedIn instead. “Map your content to the right audience, and build a framework around it,” Mr Jefferies said. “Take the relevance of your content and what the audience wants to figure out, and put the platform at the centre of that.”

Watching market trends is essential 

Finally, experts suggest that watching market trends is essential. This is particularly true for identifying emerging innovations for content marketing. Ogilivy & Mather’s head of innovation, James Whatley, suggests that bots are fast becoming the next brand experience. Instead of spending money on developing brand applications that fans then have to download, using bots in Facebook Messenger can offer high returns. The company, which helped develop campaigns like Stoptober, has noticed success here.

By taking an informed approach to content marketing, the most common mistakes can be avoided. And this can help brands achieve success far faster, whilst providing their audiences with the right material.


28/Nov/2016
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Blogging remains one of the most important ways to gain readership, and whilst video is increasingly becoming an important aspect of any content marketing strategy, building a strong blog is essential. For modern bloggers, it’s vital to develop a smart strategy, not only to build branding, but also to use a blog as a launch point for other material.

One of the most important things for any blogger to understand is their target audience. The days when writers could simply upload to high-quality blogs and watch the readers roll in are long gone. Now, a marketing strategy is essential if people want to gain any longevity from their blog, and it all starts with the target audience.

Narrowing down a potential readership is extremely effective. Even the best articles cannot appeal to everyone, so it is best to focus on one niche and serve those in that group with the answers and information they’re looking for. It’s important to nurture a community of engaged participants, rather than readers who stop by for a couple of articles and then move on to the next thing that catches their eye. Therefore, identifying and homing in on a target audience can be a key factor in determining success.

Once audiences have been identified, it’s then essential to serve content that they want. And to make them notice content, it’s also important to find out where they hang out. Luckily, in the digital era, this is not very hard – particularly for content marketers who’ve targeted a specific interest. When it comes to serving adverts, Facebook can be a great tool, enabling marketers to use their audience insights to define readership and target the right people directly. As another avenue, it is wise to also identify different key websites audience members might like. These can then be harnessed to attract extra attention, either through guest posting or commenting on people’s posts.

As with all strategies, varying content is a must. Writing articles for a blog can be a good foundation to get people interested. However, to keep readers focussed, it’s important to change format now and then. This can be done by including infographics, producing podcasts and capitalising on the latest interest in video with film content that can be showcased on websites. Though it might seem like a lot of work, creating many different forms of content means that the same ideas can often be recycled. An expert interview is also an extremely good way to create interest, not only because current readers can find value in such content, but also because bloggers can gain the attention of the expert’s fans too.

The days of using great content to gain attention are gone, and though a small readership might be created, it’s unusual for content creators to gain huge followings from this alone. Most of the time, a smart content marketing strategy is required. But, by finding and serving target audience members with a variety of content, even the smallest blogs have a chance of success.


14/Nov/2016
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Content marketing certainly seems to be undergoing a revival as many B2B companies begin to realise that such strategies really can be successful. It was only in September that the ‘B2B Content Marketing 2017 – Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends – North America’ report was released. In this report, it was revealed that 62 per cent of companies believe their content marketing efforts for this year have already been more successful than in 2015. However, firms also continue to feel they’re stuck in a rut, largely because they simply do not have the time to prioritise.

Developing a successful content marketing strategy can take time. In fact, of those who said their strategy fared worse in 2016 than last year, 57 per cent admitted it was due to time constraints. Curating content can be extremely time-intensive, and most brands need to dedicate time to both writing content and developing fundamental strategy elements before campaigns begin. For those starting out on their marketing journey, or companies wanting to boost their efforts, there are some important questions to ask.

Brands must initially identify whether content marketing has become an organisational priority. The previously mentioned benchmark report said that 80 per cent of respondents want to generate leads from their content strategies. Growing a business can rely heavily upon lead generation, and if a firm’s aim for its content is to boost these leads, it is vital for content marketing to be seen as a priority. Content marketing is also much cheaper than attending trade shows and can generate leads just as well. Therefore, business priorities might need to be switched around so that enough time can be found for content creation and strategy.

B2B firms also need to ask themselves if they have foundational content marketing apps in place. For example, only 47 per cent of survey respondents are using buyer personas. Meanwhile, 43 per cent use social media calendars, and 62 per cent utilise an editorial calendar. Far higher efficiency can be found when using timesaving tools, helping firms carve out more time for content creation itself. However, foundational elements go beyond physical software aids to the development of new processes, such as a content approval system. These all boost time management and help strategies get the time resources they demand.

Finally, it’s important to recognise whether content is actually being created in an efficient way. All marketing teams need to evolve with the times, and if individuals are not equipped with the skills required for 2016, content creation strategies may well be outdated. Once the strategy for content development has been created, it’s vital for firms to realise that marketers have to be excellent writers with journalistic curiosity and the expertise to tell a story. Writers also need to be well versed in digital marketing, as well as having the ability to adapt their writing to suit various situations and platforms. For those unable to do this in-house, it’s well worth outsourcing content creation.

Overall, businesses must increasingly prioritise the carving out of time for content creation. Abandoning older practices that do not generate enough leads, along with optimising the foundational elements of a strategy, and ensuring that content creation itself is swift and efficient can make this happen.


31/Oct/2016
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Over the past few years, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has come under fire and it now has some negative connotations associated with it. However, when used correctly it is still an important part of the content marketing process, helping strategists to not only formulate their advertising plan, but also to put content in the right places. Therefore, it remains as important as ever for guiding more eyes towards digital publications.

The past decade has seen the internet explode with various strategies to harness the power of content to drive website visits, leads and sales. SEO is used across many of these. This is the process of utilising keywords within content to gain the attention of search engines. Despite many people now disregarding the importance of SEO because it has so often been used badly, it is still an important tool.

Firstly, SEO provides a good basis for forming a strong content strategy. This is because when developing a keyword plan, brands have to ask important questions, the answers to which can be used to create the right content for the intended target audience. For example, SEO requires a business to establish who its target audience is, and what the brand needs to deliver to those potential customers. What’s the best material to create and how can this be enhanced to generate more interest?

Utilising SEO in content marketing can also help brands build trust and authority within their niche. Incorporating quality keyword terms into articles ensures that content has an extended digital lifespan. Over the months and years, any brand can build up its backlist of content in a particular market, thereby increasing its authority on the subject matter. In time, this will also increase consumer trust, helping companies attain long-term success in their content marketing strategies.

Finally, by using SEO practices within content marketing, firms are challenging their competitors. Within any field, it’s likely that companies are all striving towards producing high-quality, evergreen content to attract consumers. By using SEO, strategists can help a brand become a recognised authority within its field, thus putting pressure on competitors. Some of the best content includes podcasts, How-To articles, guides and videos. By providing these on a regular basis, adding keywords and building a reputation for expertise, even small companies in niche markets can gain dominance over bigger rivals.

The negativity surrounding SEO is unlikely to disappear. When it’s used badly, it’s all too obvious, with promotional keywords and phrases appearing inappropriately; however, when it’s used correctly, those targeted terms should fit seamlessly into content and be difficult to pinpoint. As such, content strategists should not immediately disregard the use of SEO. When used as part of a carefully considered marketing plan it can help a campaign realise resounding success.