Archive for March, 2017

Amazon’s ‘Petlexa’ Gets Early Jump on April Fools’ Day Fun

by Sam Jordan on 03/31/2017

Well, this time Jeff Bezos and Amazon have really done it: They’ve created a voice assistant for animals!

Hey, when April Fools’ Day falls on a Saturday, what’re you gonna do, miss out on your chance to get all your regular co-workers and customers? No way.

April 1 really is a fantastic day for content marketing (if done right), but Amazon pulled this cute ploy on Alexa owners today – March 31 –  via email with the above video and following message:

The Petlexa feature allows dogs, cats, and other animals to communicate with Alexa just like you do. Petlexa gives pets the freedom to ask for food, place orders from Amazon, and activate smart home enabled toys.

Jumping the gun a day early with a video like this is a smart move. It gets in front of all the other businesses looking for positive PR with their pranks, and perhaps even fools a few more people who weren’t expecting to be cleverly conned in March. Two paws up!

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How to Use Google’s ‘People Also Ask’ Boxes to Create Magnetic Content

by Laura College on 03/29/2017


Let’s make 2017 your best content year ever.

Could your content marketing plan benefit from an instant influx of new ideas? We’re guessing it could.

There’s no magic well of content ideas (to our immense disappointment), but that doesn’t mean you have to depend on your own inspiration alone. You can find new ideas for magnetic content in hundreds of different ways, including a tool you probably use every day: Google search.

People Also Ask…

If Google’s tech ninjas know one thing, it’s how to anticipate consumers’ searches online. After all, their business is built around a search engine, so they have heaps of data to inform their choices.

In June of last year, Search Engine Land revealed that Google was testing a new feature in its SERPs (search engine results pages). The testing phase was clearly a success because it rolled out formally just a few months later.

Essentially, People Also Ask boxes take keywords or phrases from a search and suggest other topics that the user might find useful. The People Also Ask boxes don’t appear for every query — they’re typically associated with broad subjects that generate lots of content.

Google people also ask box

In the screenshot above, for example, I searched “how do you train a dog.” Google brought up a People Also Ask box with four more suggestions, all of which relate to dog training.

These suggestions can help users refine their searches or dig deeper into specific subjects. Either way, it’s good for Google, but it’s also good for you.

People Also Want Magnetic Content


Don’t miss the chance to find fresh content inspiration in Google SERPs.

Since your search for that magic well of magnetic content ideas has proved fruitless, let’s turn to a more practical solution.

When you need a topic for an email, blog post, white paper, or other piece of content, start typing queries into Google related to your industry. Look for the People Also Ask box to appear, then jot down a few of those queries for future use.

Intriguing New Content

Google only displays queries in People Also Ask boxes when those queries get lots of traffic. This means that you can capitalize on those search terms for your own content.

Think about it: If a user wants to know how to train a dog, he or she probably also wants to know about puppy commands. You’ve just found a new subset of your potential audience.

Down the Google Rabbit Hole

You’ll quickly discover that People Also Ask boxes can get addictive. If you click the downward-pointing arrow next to one of the suggestions, you get a link that allows you to search Google for that particular query.

Before you know it, you’ll have clicked links on 20 different boxes and found new content inspiration with each tap of your finger.

Creating Magnetic Content

Now that you know how to use the People Also Ask boxes, how can you apply them to your content marketing strategy?

For one thing, look for specific keywords in each of the queries. You might take it a step further and conduct keyword research on them to find other related terms.

Since you already know that those questions have gotten lots of searches on Google, you can depend on them to generate healthy traffic. Instead of writing blind, you’ll have a roadmap for content marketing success.

Of course, you don’t have to go it alone. We’re always here to help, and we love working with businesses to improve their web traffic, SEO, and sales performance. If you don’t have time to do your own keyword research, we’ll take that burden off your shoulders. Get three free content ideas to start the process!

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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

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.

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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!