Archive for March, 2017

The Top 20 Content Marketing Blogs (By Traffic)

by Laura College on 03/27/2017

Marketers are always looking for more great content. Whether you’re hoping to improve your conversion rates, master landing pages, or write your first press releases, content marketing blogs offer endless resources — and for free!

We’ve collected the top 20 content marketing blog, based on purely on their traffic numbers, so you’ll never lack inspiration or knowledge.

1. HubSpot

There’s no disputing HubSpot’s claim on the content marketing world. In addition to its award-winning software, the company also publishes lengthy, thought-provoking posts on everything from lead generation to branding tips. The experts also create infographics and other mixed media to help convey data.

2. Moz

No, we don’t mean the character from “White Collar.” Moz (formerly SEOMoz) brings together numerous content marketing experts on its well-designed blog. The administrators often run series that cover a single subject in significant depth, and you won’t want to miss the insights gleaned from Whiteboard Friday at the end of your week.

3. Kissmetrics

This content marketing blog’s name might suggest that its content deals exclusively with numbers, but don’t let that assumption deter you. Kissmetrics covers all aspects of content marketing, often helping marketers and business owners better understand the metrics they collect from their own content. There’s a special focus on content generated for social media.

4. Social Media Examiner

Speaking of social media, let’s not forget Social Media Examiner. Like Kissmetrics, its name is a little misleading, because founder Andrew Pickering and his team of authors cover subjects that can help you improve every aspect of your content marketing game. With that said, it’s most useful when you’re active in social media networking and advertising.

5. Quick Sprout

If nothing else, Neil Patel never fails to plant a seed of an idea in his readers’ minds. Patel delivers consistently readable and insightful articles that dig deep into not only the genesis of an idea, but why that idea works in practice. He uses real numbers to back up his claims, which can help marketers feel more secure when trying out his ideas.

6. Optimizely

If you’re looking for content marketing tips from some of the most well-known names in the industry, look no further than the Optimizely blog. Its writers do a great job of conveying information in entertaining ways while still managing to serve up a delicious feast of actionable tips.

7. Content Marketing Institute

Yes, there’s an institute for that. Content marketing has created its own subculture on the internet, and the Content Marketing Institute sits at its helm. This organization’s blog covers news in the industry as well as emerging strategies and technologies. Check in with this blog when you want to catch up on the latest advancements.

8. Copyblogger

It’s been around since 2006, which makes Copyblogger practically prehistoric in content marketing terms. Don’t worry — you won’t encounter any dinosaurs when you delve into the archives. Instead, you’ll unearth consistent content marketing gems. Even the oldest posts on the website can still offer valuable insight and ideas.

9. Cision

Focused heavily on news and current events, the Cision blog keeps marketers up-to-date on the latest trends and events. If you’re planning to attend SXSW, for instance, you’ll want to stop by this blog before you go.

10. Problogger

Problogger has existed nearly as long as Copyblogger. It was founded by Darren Rowse, an Australian marketer who also helms the popular Digital Photography School blog. Here, you’ll find plenty of insights on the blog on social media, blogging, and advertising.

11. Convince & Convert

If you ever need inspiration for a quirky or lighthearted headline, this is the place to go. You’ll also love Convince & Convert’s blog for its frank take on subjects ranging from data mining to podcasting.

12. TopRank

Nearly a dozen marketers contribute to the TopRank Blog, which tackles content marketing subjects of every kind. It’s particularly useful for B2B companies that need new ways to tackle their target audiences.

13. Curata

Since 2012, Curata’s blog has offered inspiration and food for thought on content marketing. Although the company doesn’t post as often as some of its counterparts, the articles are detailed and informative.

14. Kapost

Innovation is the name of the game at Kapost. The writing team behind this successful blog doesn’t just want to explore new ideas and test new theories. The writers want to take content marketing tactics to their extremes and experiment with new ways to reach their audiences.

15. Duct Tape Marketing

Like a strip of its namesake adhesive, the Duct Tape Marketing blog focuses on combining content marketing strategies to great effect. The publishers view all content as parts of a greater puzzle, so this is a great resource if you’re hoping to branch out from just blogging or occasionally posting links to social media.

16. Heidi Cohen

Cohen’s resume speaks for itself. Not only has she practiced content marketing — she’s also taught it at some of the nation’s most prestigious schools. Her blog is full of tips and tricks that content marketers can use in their own efforts.

17. The Knowledge Bank

If your business is feeling a little poor on the content marketing side, take a withdrawal from Influence & Co’s The Knowledge Bank. It’s geared primarily toward business owners and new marketers who want to dip their toes in the content marketing pool, but don’t quite have their sea legs yet.

18. Brian Solis

Keynote speaker, published author, and marketing expert Brian Solis gives away some of his secrets for free. Check out his blog to learn about his unique, innovative approach to finding and keeping an audience.

19. Marketing Interactions

This is another blog that focuses on B2B business owners. If you’re hoping to hook a few new accounts, you won’t want to miss a single post on this blog.

20. idealaunch

As its name implies, ideaLaunch focuses on ideas: testing, weighing, quantifying, and judging them. How often should you publish to your blog? When should you join a social media platform? Get the answers to these questions and more.

Are you feeling inspired yet? After you search the archives for tidbits of useful information on the above sites, consider recruiting a few experts for your corner. Get three free content ideas from the friendly team at Media Shower and learn how we can help you step up your content marketing game.

NOTE: If you own a content marketing blog that you feel deserves a place on this list, get in touch with us to let us know!

 


How to Calculate the Value of Content Marketing

by Jenna Scaglione on 03/24/2017

“You will use math again when you get older,” my algebra teacher told me as I looked at him in disbelief thinking I would never need to use his chalkboard equations again in my adult life. Well, Mr. Stafford, you were right… and I was wrong. And never would I have ever imagined that I would be using math on the internet as a regular practice.

Calculations and numbers are a necessary evil if you want to measure the value of your content. It’s all fun and games when you are creating the content and coming up with cool ideas. But, at the end of the day, you have to dial down and start crunching the numbers. Thankfully, it’s not as hard as calculus or algebra and you don’t even need a math class to do it.


This was never me in my algebra class.

Calculating the value of your content marketing is a somewhat obscure topic. If you search through Google, you will find hundreds of thousands of articles discussing it, yet few that break down the actual numbers. That’s because there are dozens of metrics and calculations you can use and it can be confusing and overwhelming figuring out which ones apply to you. Not surprisingly, according to a Content Marketing Institute study, only 21% of marketers say they successfully track their content marketing ROI.

Don’t be another statistic in a content marketing study. Calculating a content marketing ROI isn’t that difficult. Let’s break it down, and I promise, no algebra!

Content Marketing ROI for Sales

While there are multiple content marketing metrics you can measure, in this article we will discuss sales revenue, as this is typically most important to organization decision makers (CMOs, CFOs).

What you want to measure is whether or not the content you are producing in a specific campaign translates to a greater return than the money you invested in creating it.

The calculation you will use is:

Content marketing ROI = Revenue from content piece x / (Production cost of x + Promotion cost of x)

Your production costs will include content creators, editors, graphic designers, developers, software, stock images, etc., basically any service/resource required to produce the content piece.

Your promotion costs may include advertising and/or media placements, press releases or any other PR costs.

The revenue is a bit trickier to calculate and one reason why many companies do not know how to effectively calculate a content marketing ROI.

How to calculate sales revenue from content

To calculate the revenue produced from a particular piece of content, you will need tracking in place at all of your content entry points. Create separate tracking links or links with identifiers for each piece of content so you can determine what revenue (from sales) comes from each piece.

There are several ways to set this up. One way is to use Google UTM parameters and set conversion goals in Google Analytics. This is free but takes a little know-how to set up. You can find some good information on that here.

Also, you can use a software platform that will automate this tracking and conversions process for you. Find some great solutions in this blog post here we did on the Ultimate List of Content Marketing Analytics Tools.

ROI Example

Let’s say you sell a full-scale dog training product for $100. You created a blog post on dog training and in your post, you link to your free lead offer, “How to Train Your Dog in 5 Easy Steps.” When people opt in to receive this lead offer, you take them through a series of emails where you eventually pitch your $100 dog training product.

Here is the simple calculation. Let’s say you spent $1000 on creating this lead magnet along with the corresponding blog post. You spent $500 promoting it on Facebook. So your total cost is $1,500 for the content creation + promotion.

From your tracking, you determined that 50 people who received this lead offer during your Facebook ad campaign purchased your dog training product. This translates into 50 people x $100 = $5,000 in revenue.

Inputting these numbers into our equation above, it would look like this:

$5,000 / $1,500 = 3.33 x 100 (to get a percentage) = 333% ROI for this piece of content.

 


You should be as happy as this dog with an ROI like that!

Generally, you will calculate your ROI during a specific promotional period, but don’t forget to also calculate your ROI continuously even when your promotional period has ended. If your content is being shared or getting some Google love, it will attract visitors for months and years. Therefore, keep an eye on your metrics monthly as your ROI will change over time as you develop momentum.

If you have more lead offers on your blog post, create unique tracking links for each one even though they are located on the same blog post. This way, you can calculate the ROI of each piece. Then, if you want to calculate the ROI of the actual blog post, add up the results from the individual ROI calculations from each content piece tied to that blog.

Content Scoring

For more advanced calculations, content scoring is another way marketers can determine the value for specific pieces of content. Content scoring measures the engagement and value of content distributed during the buyer’s journey.

To score your content and determine its value, the first step is to map out the content you produce for each stage of the buyer’s journey.

kapot roi

Source (Kapost)

Then, assign a numerical value to each piece of content a prospect touches during its journey.

Kapost uses the first/last touch model. In this model, you apply a higher content score to the content located at the first and last stage of your buyer’s journey.

Here is how Kapost assigns its content scores:

Source (Kapost)

Content scoring won’t give you an exact ROI but it can reveal how effective a piece of content is in your sales process. This data will expose positive trends and patterns you can use to evaluate which piece of content is most valued by your prospects and leads.

Need more advice? Media Shower works with brands to create and publish content and help them calculate an ROI for their content marketing initiatives. For more information, request a free content marketing assessment here. And we promise, no algebra!

How to Develop a Content Marketing Strategy in 5 Easy Steps

by Susan Payton on 03/22/2017

The single biggest mistake your brand could make in content marketing is having no strategy or goal. If you simply publish content because you think “you’re supposed to,” you probably will be disappointed with results.

Content marketing is just part of your overall strategy.
Content marketing is just part of your overall strategy.

On the other hand, if you spend time strategizing about why you’re using content marketing, and then brainstorming how you’ll reach your audience, you’re guaranteed to see more success.

Here’s how you can develop your own content marketing strategy.

Step 1: Ask Yourself Why

This is an important question to ask yourself and your marketing team: why do we want to get into content marketing? You may be successful with other types of marketing and advertising, so question your reasons for adding another marketing tool to your toolbelt.  There are many reasons why you’d want to invest in content marketing, but identify the key drivers. Maybe you want to:

 

Whatever your reasons, identifying them can help shape your strategy.

Step 2: Set Specific Goals

Some of those “whys” may actually be goals, while some of them will be more nebulous. For your content marketing goals, you want them to be as specific as possible, like:

  • Increase traffic to our website by 30% over 6 months
  • Convert 10% of blog traffic to customers
  • Boost average purchase amount to $150

 

Establish both a quantifiable goal and a timeframe for each so that you can then measure it. Look first at where you are now in terms of sales, web traffic, et cetera, so you have a benchmark to measure against.

Step 3: Identify Your Audience


Your content marketing is useless without an audience.

Who are you trying to reach with your blog content? You may have buyer personas established for your sales team, and these may come in handy if they align with the audience you want to reach through content. But dig deeper: where do these people go when they need the kinds of information you can provide? What types and formats of content do they prefer? The more you know your audience, the better you can strategize on how to reach them through content.

Step 4: Assess Content Needs at Each Stage of Buying Cycle

Someone who is just beginning to research solutions to a problem will have different content needs than someone who is ready to select a provider, so you want to make sure you identify the types of content (informative, product comparison, product benefits) that best connects with the buyer at each stage in her journey. You may include blog posts, ebooks, videos, and emails, depending on how they consume information at each stage.

Step 5: Develop Your Content Plan


Your content and promotion schedule will lead you to success.

Now comes the fun part: deciding what you’ll create, the format, and when you’ll publish and promote it.  Your blog should, by far, have the steadiest rate of publishing, with at least one post (better if it’s more) per week. You may decide to release an ebook or whitepaper once a quarter to boost your email subscribers. Perhaps you publish a weekly video as well.

Then lay out how you will promote each piece of content to ensure it is seen by the maximum number of people. Your email marketing and social media channels should be a part of the equation.

The key to a successful content marketing strategy is constantly monitoring results. Your website analytics, as well as your sales data, will tell you if your effort is paying off. If, after a few months of steady dedication, you don’t see the achievement of your goals, consider making tiny modifications, then measuring results once again.

Ready to dive into your content marketing strategy? Get three free content ideas guaranteed to engage your audience.

Get 3 Free Content Ideas

Expert Interview: Jeff Millett of Website Rocket on How Small Businesses Can Make the Most of SEO

by Chris Martin on 03/20/2017

jeff millett Jeff Millett is an SEO consultant and the owner of Website Rocket, a user-friendly SEO software system created with the small business owner in mind. We recently spoke with Jeff to learn about current best practices regarding SEO for small businesses.

How is Website Rocket different from a typical package of SEO software?

There are many different types of SEO software to be found on the web today, and so many of them can be extremely helpful to the small business owner. Here at WebsiteRocket.com, we don’t claim to be the best, but we are significantly different from your typical SEO software provider.

Most of the SEO software programs that are available today come fully-loaded with various tools and in-depth analytics and reporting. Website Rocket is simple – not chock full of bells and whistles. When describing our system, one user stated, “Website Rocket is so easy to use, my Grandma could do it.”

Website Rocket offers busy small business owners simple daily SEO tasks that over time will help move their website up in rankings. Website Rocket is kind of like having an SEO consultant tell you what to do every day to help your website – except it won’t cost you thousands of dollars a month.

In general, what is the biggest advantage that small local businesses have over larger competitors that they aren’t leveraging properly?

One resource being neglected most by small local businesses is their website (and online marketing in general). First off, it’s generally understood that small businesses tend to work on tight budgets, but I believe that investing in a properly built website should be a higher priority than it is. Sure, a great website could cost tens of thousands of dollars, so a few thousand dollars for a decent site is all right. Too many businesses today think that spending only a few hundred dollars on a basic website is sufficient, but inexpensive websites like these can cost a business owner in the end. An established website can be a valuable lead generation tool and should be considered as such.

By the same token, it can be quite easy for smaller local businesses to promote their website but they don’t. Bigger competitors don’t have the advantage of being able to network with other small businesses, local newspapers, radio stations, high schools, local chambers, etc. to build powerful backlink profiles that would help them to dominate a local market.

When you perform SEO analyses on the website of your new clients, what are some of the common SEO-friendly elements that are lacking on their sites?

The most common issues we’ve found here at Website Rocket in regards to on-page SEO for most small business websites are:

Title Tag

Title tags should be readable and include only your main keyword, 2 to 3 supporting phrases, and your business name.

Meta Description

Meta descriptions should be readable and include your main keyword along with 3 to 5 supporting keyphrases.

Page Title (h1 tag)

Page titles should be readable and include only your main keyword, along with some supporting text.

Content

Content should be original and never spun. If written well, keywords will appear naturally throughout the content; so do not stuff keywords intentionally. Lastly, the content should be valuable. Pages with word counts of 1,000 to 2,000 have been proven to outrank pages with less content.

Most small business owners think you need to be a rocket scientist to perform on-page SEO, but a basic understanding and the right keyword choice are all you need.

If someone were to say to you, “Local SEO is nothing more than regular SEO with a city included in the keyword phrases,” how might you respond?

The differences between local SEO and regular SEO are the same differences you’d see in trying to rank “knee high donkey socks” and “free car insurance quotes.” One would require a bit less effort to rank while the next would require significantly more. SEO, whether it’s used to target local or national keywords, are both very similar. Websites that rank at the top of today’s most-used search engines have each proven to be an authority in their respective niche. Authority is determined, for the most part, by a combination of elements including on-page SEO, backlinks (even citations), and social signals.

Given how Google has been cracking down on unnatural links lately, what steps do small businesses need to take to remain careful and only obtain “good” links to their websites?

Good rankings on today’s top search engines, especially Google, is the result of a natural, clean, organic backlink profile. Gone are the days of spammy, keyword-heavy anchor text. A healthy backlink profile today consists of page title or blog post title anchors, URL anchors, and natural anchors (i.e. click here, visit site, read more) sprinkled lightly with only a few keyword anchors and partial keyword anchors. Properly applied on-page SEO will take care of the rest.

Is “on-page SEO” just a fancy term for incorporating more keyword phrases into the text on a site’s pages?

No. On-page SEO is as important today as it was when the first search algorithm was written. At their core, search engines are simply an electronic card cataloging system – the same as those used by libraries. What good is a cataloging system without subjects or titles?

On-page SEO is an essential step in marketing your website. If search engines don’t know what your site is all about, then they don’t know where to put it in their index. Researching your market, identifying keywords and phrases used by your market, and adding these keywords and phrases properly to your website make up the essence of good on-page SEO.

When measuring the success or failure of an SEO strategy, what are some of the metrics that you should not focus on or worry about?

SEO is a long-term marketing strategy. Too many website owners lose focus after only a few months of running an SEO campaign. In this sense, I think time is a metric that should not so much be ignored but looked at realistically. If you promote your business naturally, sell a great product or service, and build authority, good rankings will come.

Do you have any predictions for the future of SEO and how small businesses will have to embrace it to succeed?

The future of SEO runs parallel with user trends. Just like the word “advertising” includes print, radio, and television, “SEO” itself includes blogging, social media, and standard internet marketing practices. When done correctly, promoting your business online consistently and naturally may very well result in better rankings (even if the end goal is not to rank high in the search engines).

Need some help with your site’s SEO? Contact us today!

Developing a Content Marketing Process in 5 Easy Steps

by Jenna Scaglione on 03/19/2017

Remember when your blog was your “dear diary,” your electronic journal that chronicled every day of your boring, and somewhat narcissistic life? (Okay, I’m aging myself!) Fast forward some years, and blogs and online content have now become integral components of businesses’ web marketing strategies. In fact, 60% of marketers create one piece of content per day and 9 out of 10 B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major effect on their purchasing decisions.

The early stages of content marketing involved businesses churning out post after post without any thought to the what, where, when or why they were doing it. But as the internet grew and content marketing became the latest buzzword, they realized just how much they didn’t know—and needed to learn and apply to compete and take their business to the next level online.


Do you feel as accomplished as this yet about your content marketing process? 

Businesses are now aware they need to leverage content to grow and stay competitive, but they don’t know how and where to start to land an ROI.

Are you needing some assistance with this? Content marketing may seem like an uphill battle, but it really boils down to five easy process steps. Execute each effectively, and you will be on your way to success. It can help to look at the entire process from a higher vantage point like this. Only then can you drill down to get into the specifics you need to execute correctly.

Ready? Let’s go!

1. Goals and Planning

Define what your goals are before you start any content marketing campaign. If you don’t, you won’t know if your campaigns are successful or not. Also, your goals will define what your strategy should be as each goal may require a different tactic depending on what the desired outcome is.

Here are some example goals to get you started:

- Brand awareness; building trust
- Increase traffic to a landing page, website, etc.
- Attract new leads/prospects
- Convert leads into sales
- Increase customer retention
- Increase influencer-generated content

Once you determine your goals, establish some KPIs.

Examples:

  • Increase traffic to 500K unique visitors by xyz date
  • Convert 5% more leads into sales by xyz date
  • Get 100 more leads monthly

Creating KPIs will keep you accountable and also allow you to work backwards and create specific strategies that will get you to your goal.

2. Create Your Strategy


Once you define your exact goals, develop the best strategy that will allow you to meet them.

Here are some factors to consider adding to your content strategy:

Keywords – When choosing keywords, focus on those that are highly searched in your industry. This will mean that your topic is one that is in demand. Healthy competition is another determinant of a good keyword. You can find more detailed information on choosing valuable keywords here.

Whom you are targeting – If you haven’t already, create customer personas for your targets. Without customer personas, you will not be able to successfully target your audience. The more you can connect with your readers, the better results you will get.

Where your customers/prospects are in their journey – Target your content to where your customer is in the buying cycle. For example, if a potential prospect does not know you and they are visiting your blog, that content should be educational and not sales-focused. But, if you are targeting a lead who has already joined your email list and is familiar with your brand, this person may be close to a sale. Therefore, the content you deliver to this person may include case studies, testimonials, product demonstrations, etc.

Channels – What channels will you utilize to publish your content? Determine which platforms you will use and what your objectives are for each one.

If you want to dive deeper into these topics to help you create your content marketing strategy, here are some helpful resources:

Developing a Content Marketing Strategy
Marketing Through the Sales Cycle
Sending the Right Content at Every Stage of the Sales Cycle

3. Production

Once you formulate your goals and strategies, the next step is to start production of your content. If you need some inspiration on content ideas, here are 40 B2B content ideas to get you started. Don’t say we never gave you anything (*wink wink*)

You can either work with your in-house team or hire content creators for your content production. From personal experience, I find that many businesses have a difficult time creating content from within. The team members are either unavailable or too busy and if they aren’t, they may feel pressured for time while creating content and quality may lack as a result.

If you decide to outsource your content creation, look for writers who:

  • Embody your brand message
  • Possess practical experience in your industry
  • Know how to talk to your audience (give them your personas)
  • Understand the principles of content marketing
  • Can share your unique brand story

4. Marketing and Promotion

Softball Diamond
If you build it, they won’t come if you don’t promote it

What good is your content if no one sees it? Once you create your content, continue to promote it on your platforms and leverage those pieces as much as possible.

Here are 17 ways you can promote your new piece of content.

5. Measure, Rinse and Repeat

How well is your content doing? Are you meeting your KPIs?

It’s not uncommon for brands to forgo the measuring step and focus more on churning out high volumes of content instead. But, this is a waste of time if you are churning out content that is not meeting your goals.

To avoid falling into this trap, determine what metrics you want to measure before you hit “publish.”

Some of your metrics should also line up with your KPIs. Focus on the main KPIs more than metrics like shares and comments. Although both are valuable, focus on business objectives more than engagement objectives. Growing engagement metrics is valuable but if they aren’t increasing your ROI overall, they are not as useful. At the end of the day, your content should be helping your business grow and profit not just get more likes and shares.

Have a solid process in place? Rinse and repeat! Repeat what works and discard what doesn’t. It sounds easy because it actually is.

And if you want to simplify your content marketing process even further, don’t worry, we got you. Let us come up with three content ideas for you. Yes, we will send you three high-performing, lead-generating content ideas for free here to get you started or help you further your existing content marketing processes. Now, get going and get your content on!

Defining Content Marketing ROI in 4 Easy Steps

by Susan Payton on 03/15/2017

If there’s one buzzword that frustrates marketers more than any other, it’s ROI. Ever since digital marketing popped its head up years ago, marketers have struggled to measure the return on investment of things like email marketing, social media, and content marketing.

Measuring content marketing

Measuring content marketing can be frustrating, but is possible!

Some of these are easier to measure than others, naturally. But content marketing? It’s challenging to determine what kind of return you get, simply because people who read your blog may not make a straight line to buy from your site.

Brand recognition and loyalty play a large role here, just like they do with any marketing component that doesn’t result in immediate sales. Simply being known as a thought leader in your industry has tremendous value, even if you can’t assign a dollar value to it.

Still, you can measure your content marketing ROI with these steps.

Step 1: Determine the Cost of Your Content

Every piece of content you create has a cost, even if you develop it in-house and consider it “free.” If that’s the case, you can break down how long it took an employee to develop it and multiply that against her hourly rate.

If you outsource content, you’ll know exactly what it cost to create it. But don’t overlook other costs, such as those for stock photos added to the post, or the time it takes to upload the post to WordPress.

As an example, let’s say it costs you $100 to create a blog post. Now let’s move on to the next step.

Step 2: Decide What You Want to Measure

The issue in this step is that everyone assumes that “new customers” is the obvious thing you’d want to measure, but as I said before: there’s often not a straight path from your content to a sale. So consider other useful metrics like engagement. What does engagement look like?

  • How many social media shares a given post gets
  • How many comments the post itself receives
  • How many social media likes or hearts it gets
  • How many clicks from social media a post receives
  • How many people signed up for your email list

You can actually assign a dollar value to engagement, if you want to. You could research how much it would cost you to run a social media ad campaign, then use that as your dollar value for a click to your blog post.

Step 3: Set Goals

content marketing goals

Establishing goals helps you measure results.

Once you know what you want to measure, determine what you hope to achieve. Being specific can help you use Key Performance Indicators as a baseline to measure results against. So if currently, you’re seeing about 100 people sharing the average blog post on Twitter and you want to triple that number, you now have a goal to work toward.

Step 4: Figure Out the Cost to Acquire a New Customer

You will want to understand if content marketing continues to drive value for your brand’s marketing strategy, so looking at customer acquisition costs can come in handy. Now, this number is a little fuzzy, because we can’t necessarily decide that all the new customers from your blog became customers solely because of your blog. They could have first found you on social media, or through word of mouth.

Still, having a sense of the new sales you’re generating, measured against your content marketing costs, can give you a sense of where you stand with ROI.

Let’s say in an average month, you get five new customers.

We decided your blog posts cost you $100 to create, and you publish three a month. So $300 a month.

If we take that $300 content marketing budget and divide it by those five new customers, you get $60 as the cost to acquire a new customer. And the longer each one stays a customer, the lower that cost.

Yes, you can determine the return on investment of your content marketing efforts, but the more important thing is to constantly monitor how people respond to your content. When you see a drop-off in traffic or engagement, you need to assess the topics you’re delivering, as well as the quality of the writing. More important than having a killer ROI is simply providing your audience with amazing and useful content.

Not sure how well your content marketing strategy is at reaching your audience? Request a free content marketing assessment from us!

6 Challenges of Content Distribution and How to Conquer Them

by Laura College on 03/14/2017

Spread your content far and wide—it sounds like great advice. However, in practice, you might struggle to make it happen.

Content distribution helps you reach new audiences and perpetuate your brand message. If you’re facing the following six common obstacles, use our advice to conquer them.

Putting Together the Cash


The term “go for broke” doesn’t mean you should actually spend all your cash.

Marketing costs money. That’s a fact you can’t escape, but you don’t have to deplete your entire budget to get your content in front of readers’ eyes. The goal is to put your money where it will make the most impact.

Consider your audience. Does your target market spend lots of time on social media? Do your customers read high-profile news sites or niche blogs? Who’s the loudest voice in the industry?

Answering these questions will allow you to spend your money wisely.

How to Conquer Cost

Create a firm marketing budget. From the available cash, distribute it among channels that will get you the most ROI.

If you’re targeting Millennials, for instance, you might want to focus on mobile campaigns. Run retargeting ads on Facebook, for instance, that link back to your responsive website. You could also reach out to social media influencers who generate mobile-friendly content.

Making Time to Prepare


On your mark … Get set … Create!

Content generation takes time. Before you ever decide what to write, you need an editorial calendar, a list of topics that interest your audience, and a place to publish your content.

If you wait until the last minute to scribble down a blog post, you’ll not only waste time, but you’ll also irritate your audience. Sorry to break the news, but annoyed customers don’t buy things.

How to Conquer Time

View content distribution as a long game. It’s not something you cross off your to-do list overnight; in fact, many companies spend years building content archives.

If you never start, though, you’ll never reach your goal. Choose a channel on which to focus, such as your blog, then select a secondary focus, like your email newsletter or a desired influencer. Focus on connecting those two channels, then move on to other possibilities.

Generating High-Quality Content


Shoot for the stars with each piece of content you publish.

Do you read every article that appears on your screen? Of course not. There aren’t enough hours in the day.

You’re competing against millions of other pieces of content, some of which prove extremely engrossing. Your job is to beat your competition with high-quality, riveting content.

This is the other side of the time coin. The longer you spend crafting a content strategy, the better the rewards.

How to Conquer Quality

You might need a partner to help with quality control. If you don’t have the time to build a content campaign, trust experts to do it for you.  The top media companies can not only create compelling content, but also help you promote and syndicate it.

Professional writers don’t just research your industry and come up with interesting topics. They also double-check their grammar and spelling, select fitting images, and employ meaningful language. Working with a media partner costs less than hiring an in-house team, but you get the best of both worlds.

Finding New Ways to Get Creative


Don’t be afraid to be the blue banana.

It’s true that there’s no such thing as true originality. No matter what you come up with, someone else has done it before.

However, you can make content feel original by giving it your own spin. You know your industry better than anyone else, so what can you add to the conversation to make your content more desirable?

Even if you work with a writer or media company, you can still add your own spin to your content. The more creative you get, the easier content distribution becomes.

How to Conquer Creativity

Read widely in your industry. Find out what your competition has already said and done, then take your content in a completely different direction. Choose a different tone, voice, or spin to make your content seem unique.

Amassing a Decent Audience


If you give a speech in the woods and nobody hears it, did you ever actually say something?

You can’t buy an audience at the grocery store. There’s no Amazon for audiences; no eBay for readers. You have to earn your target customers’ attention.

Whether you’re publishing content on your own blog, syndicating it on a major media website, or recycling it via social media, your content can’t help your business unless other people find it.

How to Conquer a Lack of Audience

Borrow an audience from someone else. This is why influencers have become so popular; they automatically give your brand more exposure.

We’ve worked with more than 1,000 influencers to help our clients spread their messages. You can find your own influencers or work with content distribution companies. Either way, you get access to a built-in audience without having to build it over months and years.

Selecting the Right Channel


Think of your audience as channel surfers. They’re always looking for something better on the screen.

Business owners and marketers often suffer from analysis paralysis. They have so many options for content distribution that they get stuck in a state of perpetual inaction.

In other words, they can’t choose where to distribute their content, so they do nothing at all.

Avoid this trap. If you choose the wrong channel, you’ll learn from your mistake and select a better one next time. The worst thing a marketer can do is nothing.

How to Conquer Analysis Paralysis

Pick a channel out of a hat.

Okay, not really. However, you can take a similar approach. Make a list of all the available content distribution channels, then write an idea next to each one. Choose the one that seems the most appealing, or put it to a vote amongst your team members.

All content distribution channels—from press releases and influencers to social media advertising and syndication—offers benefits. You can’t do wrong if you take action.

Regardless of your industry or the size of your business, you don’t have to let these obstacles destroy your chances at success. As you can see, there’s a cure for every ailment, and we invite you to request a free content marketing assessment. We’ll show you how we can help grow your business, one piece of content at a time.

4 Content Distribution Strategies to Boost Your Business

by Laura College on 03/10/2017

You don’t create content just for the heck of it. You want people to read, share, and comment on what you put out there. To achieve that goal, you need at least one—and preferably several—content distribution strategies.

Just as television producers often syndicate their shows across multiple networks, companies need to find ways to get their content in front of new audiences. Here are a few ideas to inspire your future efforts.

1. Major Media


No business is too big or too small for major media.

We recently explored several content distribution companies, many of which revolved around major media. For instance, if newspapers and other publications pick up your press release, you gain exposure to people who might never have found your blog or other digital properties.

Of course, you can’t just type up a few paragraphs and send it off. Press releases and other content meant for major media publication require finesse.

A great press release consists of multiple essential parts:

  • Strong headline that captures attention and sums up the release’s content
  • Enticing lede that moves your readers past the first paragraph
  • Supporting details that intrigue the reader and build anticipation
  • Interesting quotes from members of your team
  • Brief closing paragraph that sums up your company’s purpose and mission

 

You also must start with a newsworthy event or situation. Your audience (and publication editors) won’t care that you recently adopted a pet hamster as your company mascot. They might, however, care that your R&D team has just developed a new prototype that could change the way your target market works, lives, or functions.

If you don’t have any press release material, you can consider giving quotes to media outlets on existing stories. Sign up for sites like HelpAReporter.com, which collects expert names and contact information and connects them to journalists.

Alternatively, consider native advertising. A native ad appears alongside other regular content on a news outlet’s website. It’s clearly labeled as an advertisement, but it contains useful, actionable information as well as a salesy pitch.

2. Social Status


Don’t be shy—connect with other people and businesses.

If you don’t use social media, you’ve fallen behind the times. However, it’s not enough to sign up for Twitter and start tweeting.

Did you know that 96 percent of consumers who talk about products and brands on social media don’t actually follow said brands’ profiles? In other words, you can’t count on company-owned profiles to spread the word.

Paid advertising can give your brand a boost in terms of audience awareness. You can also contribute posts to LinkedIn, which proves particularly useful for B2B businesses.

Don’t forget about influencers, either. If you partner with loud voices in your industry, more people will learn about your products and services. Ask your influencers to post snippets of your content to drive traffic to your website and to encourage conversions.

3. Profitable Partnerships


Who says you have to do it all alone?

As mentioned above, influencers make excellent partners for content distribution. They’ve built devoted audiences of people who trust their judgment, so a recommendation from a top influencer can be worth more than a billboard on the Pacific Coast Highway.

However, influencers aren’t the only potential partnerships to consider. You could work with another business in your industry—just steer clear of direct competitors.

For instance, maybe you run an online bookstore. Partner with a publisher, literary agent, book review website, or even a stable of authors to help generate traffic. Cross-post content on both channels so everyone benefits from increased exposure.

4. Reuse and Repurpose


Recycling isn’t just for paper products.

After you create a piece of content, don’t let it languish in your archives. Instead, give it a spruce, update the content, and republish it on your blog or website.

You can also cross-post articles on other websites. Consider tweaking the wording and takeaways a little to avoid duplicate content penalties. However, you’ll already have the research done and the main points outlined.

Consider repurposing content for other mediums besides online publication. You might include an old blog post in your latest email newsletter, for example, or add more meat to an article to use as a gated whitepaper.

When you spend hours or even days working on a piece of content, or when you pay a professional media content to create the content for you, it should work as hard as possible to get customers through your virtual doors.

Content distribution isn’t easy, but it’s extremely valuable. If you need well-written, well-researched, and engaging content, Media Shower’s professional writers and editors are available to help. We provide our clients with top-quality content that increases conversions and generates leads. If you don’t believe us, get three free content ideas and see for yourself!

Expert Interview: Ankit Pandey of SEOEaze on Content Marketing and SEO Copywriting

by Chris Martin on 03/08/2017

Ankit pandey

Ankit Pandey is the founder & CEO of Wisden Infotech, which runs multiple brands like SEOEaze, Wisden Writers, and more. He takes care of all strategy implementations and monitors the success rate of the company’s campaigns. We recently chatted with Ankit about Google’s changes in recent years, the various SEO techniques that produce success, and how to maximize the effectiveness of web content and social media marketing.

Tell us a bit about your background. Why did you decide to create an Internet marketing company?

I have a bachelor’s degree in information technology, and I started my company during my engineering days when I made my first website related to Orkut in 2008 and started getting some revenue from AdSense. After that, I started reading about blogging and SEO. I was a tech-savvy person from the very start, so when I learned a bit about content development, I started Wisden Infotech in 2009 with a small team of content writers. Initially, I was only into content writing, but within a few months, many clients started asking about SEO. So I finally added more people to my team and started SeoEaze.com to provide Internet marketing services to our clients.

Since your company offers complete link building, forum link building, and industry based links, could you explain the difference between these services and tell us about the advantages of each approach?

These all are content-based link building services. Complete link building is not an individual link building technique, but rather a combination of all main content-based link building services including forum link building and industry-based links. In forum link building, we create links for clients by replying to the client’s industry-related forums with signature links. It helps with SEO as well as spreading brand awareness. On the other hand, industry-based links are earned by connecting with blogs in the same industry and providing them with high-quality blog posts to gain backlinks from the most relevant and same-industry blogs. Backlinks from such blogs are the most trusted, since these links come from closely related blogs.

What are Panda and Penguin, and what do bloggers and site owners need to know about them?

Google keeps working on improving the search results and trying to show the best content for users; so they keep making changes in their result-ranking algorithm to guard against spam, unnatural link building, and poor content. They introduced Google Panda first in February 2011 to counter low-quality sites with thin content, particularly content farms which just posted content to rank highly using keyword stuffing and didn’t bother with readability, Google clearly explained through this update that the reader is the boss and you need to write what’s best for the reader. They have been doing the Panda update from time to time ever since then.

On the other hand, Google Penguin was introduced to counter low-quality backlinks. Penguin changed the fundamentals of the entire SEO realm, and websites which used black hat link building techniques or were involved in link spamming got penalized by this update. They first introduced a Google Penguin update in April 2012, which was an earthquake for all SEO firms. In September 2016, Google did the last Penguin update and stated that every future Penguin update would be in real time instead of through periodic updates.

What is a link wheel, and how does it help websites improve their visibility on the Internet?

A link wheel is a specific kind of link building in which we keep the client’s site at the center and build some content-based web 2.0 properties that link to the client website as well as another web 2.0 property we make. We connect the first property to the second, the second to the third, and so on to make a type of wheel-like structure. All properties link to the client’s website as well. The main benefit of this kind of structure is that all the backlinks we make are also connected and linked, so this passes “link juice” to the main website as well as the other backlinks. This way, we make a strong backlink profile to improve the visibility of the main site on the Internet.

Name one simple thing that most bloggers or site owners can start doing TODAY to increase their web traffic.

Write engaging content that you have an interest in.

Everyone likes to share content if it’s worth reading or is something unique. So write in a way that the readers can’t resist sharing it. Plus, always be interactive with your readers because reader engagement is very important. Make sure the person visiting your site or blog asks something from you or shares their thoughts as well.

When it comes to social media marketing, what are many site owners and bloggers doing wrong?

Most times, our clients don’t give much weight to social media marketing and want to focus on SEO only; however, social media marketing is an essential part of digital marketing. Any digital marketing campaign that doesn’t focus on social media is not complete.

With the introduction of artificial intelligence, Google is close to thinking like a real person, not just as a bot. So content which is popular on social media has a greater chance to earn links and rank better. Therefore, you must focus on SMM as much as search engine marketing.

Could you give us some suggestions on how to maximize the quality of a site’s web content writing?

Always make the content user-friendly and easy to read. Do not use jargon or fancy language. Be clear and to the point, while at the same time explaining what your site is all about or what it offers. Include studies, research analysis, and surveys in your content to make it factual.

What do you expect to see for the future of SEO? Will it change drastically over the next several years?

Much has already changed since the time I started my company, and it keeps changing with each update. SEO will become more focused and strict, and companies will have to shed all the wrong ways of ranking highly if they really want to be successful. Infographics are the latest additions to SEO; many more new changes will come with time. SEO will evolve as we get more into mobile marketing and other technological advances.

Can your website’s content marketing be better? Request a free content marketing assessment today!

 

 

The Ultimate List of B2B Content Marketing Ideas

by Jenna Scaglione on 03/07/2017

The numbers are dramatic.

Eighty-nine percent of B2B marketers are using content marketing, but only 19% say they’ve been “very successful” with their efforts.

Consistency is key to a high-performing content marketing campaign. According to Content Marketing Institute, 85% of top performers deliver content consistently, compared to 32% of bottom performers.

But content consistency requires time, creativity and research to execute effectively, and it all starts by generating the actual content marketing ideas. To help, we’ve compiled a list of 40 of ‘em to inspire you, categorized by blogs, emails and lead generation content for easy identification.

Blogs fall under the awareness or attraction phase of content marketing and their purpose is to educate new visitors to your site, identify their problems and connect them with your brand.

Lead generation content is meant to capture leads from people who are already familiar with your brand and have crossed the awareness stage. This type of content solves your audiences’ problems and issues.

Emails can be used to engage your current customers or prospects and massage relationships to birth new customers and increased loyalty.

Note that just because a piece of content falls under one category, doesn’t mean that it cannot be used for another. It’s more important to tailor your content to whatever stage of the sales cycle your prospect is in, regardless of what type it is.

We’ve also listed a DIY Difficulty Rating below each content marketing idea. The scale ranges from 1-5 (5 indicating an expert/pro is necessary for this, 1 is easy to do it yourself). I added this scale so you can gauge whether or not you want to create a specific type of content depending on its difficulty. This will allow you to more effectively prioritize your ideas.

Ready? Here we go!

Blogging

Below, you will find several content ideas for your B2B blog:

1. How To Posts

The classic “How To” post never gets old. The most popular how-to articles are in-depth pieces that border on tutorials.

This piece does not require any technical ability, but it needs to be in-depth, detailed and thorough enough to make an impact. Use videos and images where applicable.

2. FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

If your readers have questions, give them answers! What are the most frequently asked questions in your industry? To find some FAQs, research popular Q&A sites like Quora and Yahoo Answers. If you have a sales or customer service team, poll them for more detailed customer questions.

This piece requires a little research but it is easy to craft.

3. Getting Started Guides

“Getting started” content is easy to neglect as businesses forget that their audience may also include subject-matter novices. Address the novices as they are often confused with top-level content. Ensure this content is easy to understand, in-depth and thorough.

This post may require some research, but it will be easy to create as the content is at an elementary level.

4. Industry Books

What are the most popular books in your industry? Compile a list and write about them. Include images of the books and link to each one for easy access.

These posts are easy to craft and they are typically not long.

5. Event Re-caps

Industry events are commonplace. I just attended a free webinar event via Hubspot Academy and event conversations took place on Twitter.

If you search for the hashtag #hubspotmasterclass on Twitter, you will find insights people gleaned from the event. Gather takeaways/insights from other tweeters during these events and compile them into a post. Link back to each Twitter account you mention.

This also works for in-person events. If your business attended an industry event, take notes and pics during the event and create a re-cap post after. Include your personal business takeaways to position your business as a fellow industry expert.

Event posts require some research and collaboration, especially if you are compiling in-person event information. They are powerful pieces that provide high value to readers who were unable to attend the events.

6. Podcasts

Brands use podcasts to disseminate helpful industry information to their readers or interview influencers. Podcasts not only help to drive traffic and create brand awareness, but you can also use them as lead generation tools and end each audio with a call to action to receive a piece of free content.

To do podcasts right, you will need some technical know-how around what audio/editing equipment to use and hosting.

7. Infographics

Infographics comprise some of the internet’s most beloved images. They provide high-value content pictorially so readers can visually grasp the content. Infographic content can include anything that resonates with your audience, from helpful tips and how-tos to interesting stats and research.

I gave infographics a 1-4 rating because the difficulty depends on how much customization you want. If you curate an infographic from another site, this is easy, yet it isn’t custom (Difficulty: 1). If you use a program such as Piktochart or Venngage, you can create the infographics yourself even if you are not a designer (Difficulty: 2-3). But if you want more custom graphics, it will require knowledge of a graphic design program like Photoshop (Difficulty: 4) or you can hire a designer to create it.

8. Behind the Scenes

Take readers behind the scenes of your establishment. Post images of your workspaces, whiteboards, break rooms or anywhere “hidden” to your online audience.

These posts are easy to craft and they are typically not long.

9. Round-up Posts

Who are the best influencers in your space? What are the top blogs on a specific subject? “Round up” the best of the best and post about it.

These posts are easy to craft, yet expert roundups require connecting with influencers and getting them to contribute. A quicker round-up would involve combing the web and curating experts’ content already published, but posting fresh content will attract more shares and buzz.

10. Internal Round-up

Periodically, create a round-up for your most popular posts. This is not only an easy way to create valuable content but it also keeps your best content top of mind for your audience.

These posts are easy to craft and they are typically not long.

11. Insider Information

Did you implement a strategy that resulted in a positive win? Post about it! Be transparent and post about the results of your win and exactly how it happened. These types of posts tend to do well as not a lot of businesses are transparent about their strategies.

Neil Patel regularly creates these insider posts and includes personal screenshots. In this post, he details his daily Facebook ad spend and how he runs his campaigns.

This piece is not difficult to create but it should be long enough to satisfy the topic. The more detailed, actionable advice you can give away, the better.

12. Influencer Interviews

Capitalize on an influencer’s popularity by conducting an interview with one. Here’s some tips on how to get an influencer to notice you and not throw away your email in the virtual wastebasket.

This one requires a little preliminary work, but if you can land a great influencer, you can use the interview as either featured blog content or an epic lead generation piece depending on how influential the person is.

13. Useful Tools

Do you use any useful tools in your day-to-day business that have made your life easier? If so, let your audience know about it. Similar to the “insider information” posts, be as transparent as possible and display screenshots of how you use the tools. Give your readers detailed, actionable advice.

This piece is not difficult to create but it should be long enough to satisfy the topic. The more detailed, actionable advice you can give away, the better

14. Popular Blog Post – Follow-up

Do you have any popular blog posts? Capitalize on their success and create a follow-up post detailing additional content and information.

This piece is easy to create as you already have a foundation of content to create it from (original popular post). Simply expound upon the original and provide more great content.

15. Customer Spotlight

Customer spotlights help brands connect with potential customers by featuring how customers use their products. Spotlights can also tell customer stories and instill a human dimension to your blog or website.

This piece is not difficult to create but it will require an interview with a willing customer and a detailed write-up.

16. Company News

Anything new happening? Share it! Keep your content audience in the loop on what is happening with your company. New buzz is always a good idea. It keeps your company looking active and fresh.

These posts are typically short news pieces and they are easy to create. Add images for increased engagement and authenticity.

17. Slideshare

Slideshare is popular in the B2B space and businesses use it to publish high-quality graphical presentations to increase brand awareness and gain leads (Pro users can add lead gen forms). Upload eBooks, infographics and even videos to a Slideshare presentation.

This process will get more difficult if you need custom images or videos created. In that case, hire a graphic designer or a video creator/editor. If you want to keep it simple, upload a Powerpoint presentation or eBooks you already have and add them to the Slideshare platform to publish it in a different format.

18. Future Trends

Businesses that predict future trends are thought to be industry leaders. Brands typically publish future trend articles at the beginning of every new year and predict the new year’s trends.

These posts are easy to create if you are engrossed in your industry and you are aware of how it is trending. You can curate trends (easier) but you’ll get more accolades if you can come up with your own.

19. Guest Bloggers

If your blog gets a good amount of traffic, you may receive requests from bloggers who want to write guest posts. This can help relieve the content creation pressure a bit, which is helpful, but ensure the blogger understands your brand and the value of the content you post.

The process is easy since you are not writing the post but send the content through a strict editing process so it aligns with your brand in terms of messaging and value.

20. Product Reviews / Ratings

Offer detailed reviews of products/services your readers would use. We do this at Media Shower occasionally. Here is a post about the ratings for the top 7 content automation platforms for 2017.

The piece will require some preliminary research depending on whether or not you have used the tools yourself.

Emails

An email list is gold to a content marketer. Cherish your subscribers and they will give back. Here are some examples of emails you can send depending on your type of business:

21. Newsletters

Create a monthly or weekly newsletter. The typical internet user gets 120 business emails and 105 personal emails a day. Your email will be fighting for your subscriber’s attention and a newsletter can keep your content at the forefront. Use your newsletter to offer helpful information, subscriber-only offers, links to popular blog posts and any exciting company news.

Halton, Pardee + Partners, a real estate brokerage firm in West LA, sends periodic newsletters announcing featured home listings, videos, industry news, and fun articles.

Crafting newsletters takes some compilation and graphics which will require more time and expertise. If you create a newsletter based on templates in your email program such as Aweber or GetResponse, the task will be easier. However, your newsletter may not be branded if you use a template.

22. Offers and Discounts

Make your subscribers feel special by offering special discounts to them. Free shipping is a crowd-pleaser as well as large discounts on substantial purchases.

These emails are easy to write but if you use custom graphics, you may need a design expert. You can also try DIY graphics programs such as Canva and Pablo.

23. Earlybird Access

Are you launching a new product soon? Give your subscribers early access and create some buzz around your new launch.

These emails are easy to write but if you use custom graphics, you may need a design expert.

24. Thank You

Gratitude goes a long way. Thank your subscribers for being a part of your brand and make them feel connected and welcomed.

Thank you emails can be as simple as plain text. If you want to get fancier, consider some of the graphics tools I discussed above.

Lead Generation

Use the following content pieces to get leads and subscribers to your email list. Offer them for free in exchange for personal information and a subscription to your email list. Lead generation content should be high-value and solve a deep need of your target audience.

25. eBooks

Offer an eBook on a topic that is important to your audience. The book does not have to be super long; 10-20 pages will suffice as long as it flushes out the topic fully. Quality is more important than quantity.

If you are not a writer, hire a content creator who has experience creating eBooks. Your book should be professionally written and also include graphics (can be simple). Simple graphics will include adding images throughout with a professional footer, header, cover page and table of contents. If you want to make the eBook more visually stunning, you may need to consult with a design expert.

26. Industry Reports

Industry reports are smaller versions of eBooks. If you have 5-7 pages of content on a topic or a list of helpful resources, these would qualify as industry reports.

The same difficulty for eBooks applies to reports.

27. Live streams

Start a live video any time you want with Facebook live and Instagram live. Use live video to generate engagement, increase brand awareness and acquire leads for any new lead offers or products.

Conducting live videos is not technically difficult, but you will need to know a little about the social platforms so you can maximize the success of your campaigns.

28. Instagram Stories – swipe up feature

Instagram stories are limited-time videos that users post to their profiles. They expire in 24 hours and they can include images, videos and quick boomerang clips. Instagram recently announced a new feature (swipe up) to its Instagram stories that allows brands to use them to link to a specific piece of content. This feature is currently only available in verified accounts. Users can swipe up on their mobile screens and be taken directly to the URL specified by the Instagram account.

Though you can use this feature for lead generation, Foundr also uses this feature to send traffic to their latest blog post. Their recent Instagram story showed a series of three graphics and then prompted the user to swipe down to reveal the blog content. When users swipe down during any graphic, they are taken to the blog post. Here are the three graphics that appeared in succession, followed by the last call to action.


1st frame


2nd frame


3rd frame


Last frame – Call to action

Instagram stories are easy to create. Simply click on “Your Story” on the top of your Instagram newsfeed as shown below and then follow the instructions. If you want to create Instagram stories like Foundr, you may need some custom design/video work.

29. Quizzes

If you are on Facebook, chances are you got sucked into taking a quiz even though you knew it was meaningless. Quizzes have a way of drawing people into their cunning wiles. Businesses can use more professional quizzes to attract attention to their brand and collect email subscribers.

Creating quizzes will range from easy to difficult depending on how much custom work you want. There are platforms such as Qzzr and Riddle that will allow you to create quizzes easily by using their templates. However, you will need to produce the actual content of the quiz.

30. Whitepapers

Whitepapers are an industry standard for many B2B brands. They provide authoritative, detailed content on a specific topic that addresses an industry problem. They are professional and problem-solving. Brands give away white papers in exchange for email addresses and other personal information.

White papers should be highly professional so they may require a professional writer and designer to format the report.

31. Free Service / Assessment

Offer a free service to connect with potential prospects. At Media Shower, we give away free content marketing assessments to businesses that include specific tips on how you can promote your content and website. Consider offering something similar to your audience if you are in a services industry.

The difficulty rating is 3 because this content will require detailed research and analysis for each free service you offer. But, by over delivering with each assessment, it will allow you to engage with and attract the businesses that will be a good fit for your company.

32. Webinars

Use webinars as educational tools to build awareness or to capture leads/sales or both. Conduct webinars at any stage of your sales cycle. Use them on your blogs to educate, as tools to gain email subscribers/leads or as a precursor to a sales close at the end.

Webinars are one of my favorite content marketing tools as they provide high-value content, often 1+ hours’ worth, and they are interactive and allow for real-time conversation.

Running webinars is not super difficult but you may need to understand some technical items before you start. Review your webinar platform and run test webinars before you switch to live.

33. Case Studies

Though they can be used as blog content, businesses use case studies towards the end of the sales cycle to either gain leads or close sales. Case studies are powerful because they display the results businesses can achieve when working with you and your products/services.

Similar to whitepapers, case studies should be highly professional so they may require a professional writer and designer to format the report. You will also need to interview your customer to gather content for the case study.

34. Free Resources Page

If you have multiple lead offers, compile them into a resources page like this one from Kapost:

Creating a free resources page will require the work of a designer/developer if you want to go custom. If you use a CMS such as WordPress, you can create a simple page with images of your free reports linking up each image to your lead gen pages.

35. Product Demonstration

If you are a SaaS (software as a service) provider, run free product demonstrations to showcase how businesses can use the platform to solve their problems and simplify their workflow. Gather personal information when a business requests free demos.

Product demonstrations involve setting up an account for your prospect and taking them through the platform.

36. Spreadsheets / Worksheets

Create a helpful spreadsheet to simplify your target audiences’ business processes. Hubspot regularly gives away Excel worksheets in exchange for company information. Here is a page where Hubspot offers a free template to set up a Google Adwords Campaigns:

The difficulty here can range from somewhat simple to complex depending on the customization. To keep it simple, use Excel and leave out custom graphics.

37. Email Course

Email courses are effective lead generation tools because they allow you to send a series of emails that will help keep you at the forefront of your prospect’s mind. Consider at least 10 days of emails and let your subscribers know exactly how many emails they will receive before they sign up. Buffer does this with its 25-day social media strategies email course:

The rating here has to do with the creation of the email course. Loading it up in your email marketing program should be easy if you are already familiar with the platform. If you want to customize your emails, graphic design may be necessary, but you can also create them in plain text as well.

38. Giveaways

Contests and giveaways generate a lot of buzz for brands. Consider giving away a free product or service and encourage sharing.

Running a contest can get difficult depending on how in-depth it is and how much customization you need. Some platforms that will help keep your difficulty to a minimum are Rafflecopter and Wishpond.

39. Free Trials

If you have a SaaS, offer a free limited-time trial so people can get firsthand experience on how to use your product. Successful free trials always include detailed instructions, walkthroughs, and examples of how other businesses use the software.

If you are a Saas company, then you already have a team of developers working with you as you will need assistance setting up the free trial and locking people out after the trial ends, setting up payments, and other unique components.

40. Checklists

Create checklists on any and every topic related to your industry. Compile them into a report and create them on topics that speak directly to your target audience. For example, if your product is a time-management SaaS for small businesses, consider creating a worksheet that details a time-management plan and outline for small businesses to implement.

Checklists are easy to create, but custom graphics will add difficulty.

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