Everything you need to know about content marketing. Browse our most recent news stories and expert columns about the most popular content marketing trends, tools and tactics. Refer to our library of How To Guides for marketers utilizing multiple forms of digital content to reach consumers online.

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LinkedIn Launches Direct Sponsored Content, Enables Testing With “Dark Posts”

linkedin-featured Today, LinkedIn launched a "dark" version of its Sponsored Updates ad product called Direct Sponsored Content. These new native-style ads don't get published to a company's LinkedIn page, so advertisers can customize and test ad messaging and creatives to targeted audiences. LinkedIn isn't the first social network to enable testing through posts that aren't published to a company or brand page. Facebook has offered "dark posts" for over a year now. Like Facebook's offering, LinkedIn Direct Sponsored Content ads gives companies the ability to target and test messaging without having to s [...]


How To Do Audience Research That Helps Focus Your Content Marketing

research-audience-targeting-shutterstock It's Sunday afternoon. You've popped around to see your gran, and she's asking after your health. "Well, Gran," you answer, "this weekend I got totally wasted and fell asleep in a trash can." An unlikely response? I'm guessing it is for most people. That's because, in real life, we tailor what we say to the person standing in front of us. However, when we're speaking to an online audience, how do we do that? How do we know the person reading our copy isn't horrified, offended or (possibly worse) bored? In this article, I'm going to outline a few different ways to get to know your targ [...]


‘Sponsored’ Brings Suspicion: Report Shows Paid Posts Have A Reputation Problem

Native-Thoughts While native advertising has been the hot topic over the past year, it turns out that this ad type may be leaving users feeling burned. Contently, a content creation company, took a deep dive into how native advertising is perceived by audiences. The short answer -- not well. A survey was implemented between users 18-65 that was administered online. The first finding was that "sponsored content" came with a very wide array of thoughts as to what it is. While 48.2% of respondents believed that the sponsor paid for and influenced the article, another 20% believed that the news site wro [...]


VIDEO + SLIDESHOW: The Importance Of Imagery

Content Marketing - the importance of imagery In the world of search engine marketing we tend to focus on copy, ad copy, web page copy, optimization copy, copy, copy, copy. But what about imagery, how can imagery influence digital marketing? Using imagery can influence performance. This presentation will show how you can utilize photos, graphics, and illustrations to gain results. Presented at SMX Advanced 2014 in Seattle. The Importance of Imagery Speaker: Rhonda Hanson, Sr. Director, Digital Marketing, Global Marketing, Concur Technologies Follow along with the presentation slides below: Related Resources Rea [...]


A Major Executive Move In Content Marketing — Q&A With Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner, SAP. Michael Brenner has long been a recognized leader in content marketing in his role as VP marketing at SAP. Very recently, he joined content marketing technology vendor NewsCred to head strategy for that company. NewsCred is a rapidly growing content marketing technology platform that also offers licensed and original content. Clients include Bank of America, Time Inc. and P&G. This is a rare moment when an executive from the brand side of content marketing has decamped to the vendor side of the industry.  In light of this, I decided to interview him to hear his motives for the [...]


An Interview With Joe Pulizzi On Content Marketing

joe-pulizzi Content marketing as a strategy has gained lots of steam over the past few years, though it isn't exactly a new concept. But long before content marketing became an everyday term among marketers, Joe Pulizzi knew its importance. Seven years ago, he founded what is now Content Marketing Institute, a website dedicated to all things content marketing, including practical how-tos and insight from industry leaders. Recently, I had the pleasure of discussing all things content marketing with Joe, including the challenges marketers face, the future of content marketing and the fate of his belov [...]


Too Bizarre Or Too Boring? Finding The Right Balance For B2B Content

shutterstock_147474611-scale-bizarre-boring B2B companies have been loosening their figurative ties in the past few years, and most everybody is breathing a sigh of relief. But for content marketers, it's a double-edged sword. On one hand, it's great news that we no longer need to fill our blog posts with meaningless jargon and clunky technical terms. On the other hand, we have a lot of possibilities and no real roadmap or set of guidelines that let us know we're doing the right thing. For big companies, this isn't a concern. They can afford to take risks and don't even have to worry about whether their efforts directly impact [...]


The Power Of The First Follower: Analyzing The Viral Spread Phenomenon

twitter-birds-followers-featured First, watch this video: [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GA8z7f7a2Pk[/youtube] What Is This? This is a perfect example of an offline viral phenomenon whereby a single creative act, without active encouragement, is spread and grown organically to many hundreds of times its original size in less than three minutes. Okay, But Why Did This Actually Work? This is where things get really interesting. By dissecting the event, we can see that there were a number of factors that contributed to its viral spread. More specifically, the performance is: An original act of creativity, und [...]


Native Ad Disclosures Come To The Forefront, Again, In ASA Ruling Against Outbrain

Outbrain changes headline to Promoted Stories We've all seen the "Around The Web" and "You May Also Like" content recommendation lists at the bottom of articles on publisher sites such as CNN, Slate and NBCNews.com. Now a UK-based advertising watchdog has ruled that these lists do not properly disclose that the article suggestions are actually paid ads. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which has no power to actually ban or fine organizations, issued a ruling that found its labeling of the native ad-style content recommendations was not adequate after looking at an example from UK-based publisher The Independent. The ASA sa [...]


Content Marketing Beyond Blog Posts And Whitepapers: Get Creative!

mazda-canada-instagram Content marketing is mainstream, with 90% of marketers using content to build their brands and achieve their business goals, according to the Content Marketing Institute. While it's now widely understood that content marketing is a critical component of any marketing strategy, the most forward-thinking content marketers are experimenting with how they create, distribute and track their content's success. That's leading to more long-form videos as well as more interesting trends, which we'll explore further here -- micro-content and interactive apps. As marketers, we don't have a lot o [...]


Interactive Content: The Successor Of The Landing Page

Passive vs. Interactive Content Conversion I've written about marketing apps and their role in the 4th wave of content marketing in my past two columns, describing some of the concepts behind them. To me, they are the interactive successor of the landing page -- the next generation of lightweight web experiences for marketing campaigns. This month, I'd like to share some independent evidence about how well interactive content performs in that role. Millions Of Reasons To Like Quiz Content As marketers are told to behave "more like publishers" with content marketing, it can't hurt to look at what the most successful digital [...]


Up Close @ SMX Advanced: Creating Blockbuster Content

creating-blockbuster-content Over the years, it seems that practically every site out there that wanted to be serious about search engine optimization (SEO) had to develop a ton of content. However, that content was often stale; it was a quantity thing, not a quality thing. “One of these posts will eventually stick” has been the mindset. At SMX Advanced last week, I had the privilege of attending a session on Creating Blockbuster Content where panelists Brent Csutoras of Kairay Media and Arnie Kuenn from Vertical Measures shared their philosophies and tips. [caption id="attachment_87462" align="aligncenter" wi [...]


5 Essential Thought Leadership Skills For Content Marketing Success

lightbulb-thought-leader-shutterstock There are a ton of people doing content marketing right now, but most of them aren't thought leaders. Thought leaders aren't just bloggers, or even the people speaking at conferences. Thought leaders are the people who drive conversations, influence others and shape perceptions in any given industry. Thought leadership means you create the news rather than simply sharing it -- that yours is a respected voice others turn to in order to better understand the state of the world. If you can earn the "thought leader" label, it's huge for building your brand and amplifying the reach of your [...]


The New Anything/Anyone Goes Competitive Landscape For Content Marketing Firms

Media Convergence Drives Stack Evolution Recently, I was chatting with the CEO of one of the leading digital agencies. Talk turned to competitors, and I asked what firms his firm found itself bidding against most frequently. Usual-suspect names cropped up (Digitas, Sapient Nitro). But so did PwC, a name that would have never cropped up in the same discussion five years ago. Neither would Cap Gemini, or other old-school consulting firms. But they’re increasingly common today. Even IBM is an agency now! Who Ya Gonna Call? Recently we, at the research-based advisory firm I work for, were in the consideration set for a project [...]


5 Places To Find Content Inspiration In A Dreary Office

office-work-boring-yawn-600 Wouldn't it be nice to write exactly where, when and how you wanted to? Imagine you could write the way Truman Capote did. In his interview with The Paris Review in 1957, he makes the author's life sound downright leisurely. "I am a completely horizontal author. I can't think unless I'm lying down, either in bed or stretched on a couch and with a cigarette and coffee handy. I've got to be puffing and sipping. As the afternoon wears on, I shift from coffee to mint tea to sherry to martinis." While freelance writers might enjoy this kind of luxury, most in-house writers don't. Best case, th [...]


How Long Should Your Content Be? What Works On Blogs, Facebook & More

measure-length-ruler-600 Ideal content length is something with which B2B and B2C marketers across industries constantly struggle. Unfortunately, the most common answer to content-length questions is the often-dreaded, extremely-ambiguous response that is the reply to many of marketing’s toughest questions: "It depends." And though ideal content length really does hinge on a variety of factors including industry norms and audience engagement, “it depends” isn’t very helpful for marketers looking for actionable advice. However, though there aren’t any hard and fast rules when it comes to content length, [...]


How To Activate Tribes For Viral Content Marketing Success

networking The idea of “Tribes,” popularized by Seth Godin and others, is just a fancy way of articulating the idea that the internet has allowed for massive segmentation of individuals. These silos of individuals can be thought of as tribes because they behave cohesively and respond similarly to stimuli that resonate with their shared interests, desires and goals. We’ve now entered a period in online marketing and advertising where forms of push mass persuasion are no longer as efficacious or appealing as they were in previous years. We’ve begun to realize that in order for brands to really e [...]


The 4th Wave Of Content Marketing: Marketing Apps

4 Waves of Content Marketing Last month, I introduced the concept of marketing apps -- more interactive features that marketers could deploy across their websites and campaigns to better engage prospects. As a follow up, I'd like to share some ideas with you about how such responsive web marketing apps can have a tremendous impact on the evolution of content marketing in particular. I propose that we've seen three waves of content marketing on the web, and that marketing apps may herald a fourth wave of interactive content on a mass scale. The First Three Waves Of Content Marketing The first wave of content ma [...]


Now You Can Pull RSS Feeds Into Buffer’s Social Media Management Tool

buffer-screen Buffer, the social media scheduling and analytics tool, is introducing a useful new feature today -- the ability to pull RSS feeds into its dashboard. It will allow users of Buffer's paid product to have an automatically populated queue of content to share on their connected social media accounts. It other words, it could be a godsend for people juggling multiple social channels. "This has been one of our most requested features," Leo Widrich, Buffer co-founder and chief operating officer, wrote in an email, "from big publishers to small bloggers and individuals who just want to follow t [...]


Facebook’s iOS Related Content Test Could Be A Boon For Marketers

merged Facebook wants check-ins to be more social, which could be good news for marketers. Facebook is testing a new iOS feature that shows users related information after they check into locations or post activity-based status updates. So if someone checks into Yosemite National Park, he might see a list of friends' Yosemite posts and photos that friends have taken at Half Dome. Or if someone posts that she watched "Caddyshack," a card will display showing who among her friends has recently done the same. A Facebook spokesperson explained: These cards can help you discover informatio [...]


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