Learn how to come up with fresh and original content for your website and social media activity, and get tips on how to develop a winning editorial calendar for your blogging efforts, whitepapers and more to find success in creating relationships with customers by providing valuable content aligned with your brand.

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide To Finding Your Audience In Social Media

targeting-shutterstock Social media marketing platforms are constantly evolving, so newcomers are at a disadvantage compared to those who've been around the social media block over the last decade. There are more platforms to learn, more features to leverage, and larger audiences to engage. For small or new businesses venturing into social media marketing for the first time, focusing on the fundamentals is key. In this two-part series, we'll do just that.  Read on for a guide to getting started, including defining your target market and choosing the right channels to reach them. Step 1: Defining Your Target Mar [...]


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 [...]


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 [...]


The Highly Effective Habits Of Web Readers — What We Aren’t Doing

social-media-content-sharing-600 We all do it. When we read online, we skim, scan, and sometimes rifle through content, the same way we (used to) flip through fluff magazines or cumbersome pages of newsprint. Thanks to aggregate web analytics, we now have a better idea of what web readers are up to... and what they're not. Bottom line: read-through rates suck. I wrote about the issue in 2011, and it seems the problem has only gotten worse since. A 2013 aggregate web reader study conducted by Josh Schwartz, a data scientist at web traffic monitoring service Chartbeat, showed that: Over 30 percent of readers bounce [...]


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 [...]


Influencer Marketing Tools That Will Power Your Content In The Future

influencer_megaphone Influencer marketing is redefining the power of voice. Leveraging the clout of authoritative, influential voices can be the difference between a ripple and a tidal wave. This relatively new form of marketing has emerged from the intersection of public relations and social media, where the focus is less on the target market as a whole and more on a subset of individuals with a natural megaphone. Influencer marketing identifies writers and contributors with a large audience and orients marketing activities around their voices. In "The Tipping Point," Malcolm Gladwell poignantly illustra [...]


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 [...]


Optimize LinkedIn Like A Pro To Boost Your Personal Brand

LinkedIn-Connections As a professional marketer, you have a story to tell about your background and experience, your skills and interests, and what you can add to the conversation in your area of expertise. Together, these pieces of the story paint a picture of your personal brand -- a brand you create and grow over time as you move forward in your career whether you lead companies or join them. Today, one of the most viable places to tell that story online is LinkedIn. With more than 259 million members, professionals of all levels are connecting, sharing content and finding new business opportunities each day [...]


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, [...]


Data Vs. Creativity: The Content Marketer’s False Choice

personas_shutterstock I was at a conference last week where Adobe VP Marketing Insights & Operations David Welch was asked to sum up the future of marketing in six words. His response: "Creative thrills, but data pays bills." [caption id="attachment_85509" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Data and Creativity Should Work Together[/caption] As a writer, I had to respect his ability to turn a phrase. But I also felt a twinge of remorse. We've all accepted that data can and should be a powerful driver of our marketing activity, but most of us continue to prioritize creativity, as well. Of course, we've come [...]


Why Your Content-Based SEO Strategy Will Eventually Fail

Sixteen Handles How many channels does the average cable subscriber have access to? Hundreds? Thousands? And how many of those channels do they actually watch -- maybe 10 or 20? Over the past few years, most savvy search engine optimizers (SEOs) have traded in their outdated SEO tactics for a more modern, content-focused strategy. This is great, but make no mistake -- content, even really good content, will eventually fail to drive organic rankings due to the fact that it won't stand out. Consumers can only consume so much content in a day. The quality of content online used to be so low that any bra [...]


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 [...]


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