Tagged by: Content

7 Fundamentals to Build a Content Marketing Competency

7 Fundamentals of Content Marketing

This post appeared first as a contribution to Kapost’s Marketter blog – http://marketeer.kapost.com/content-marketing-competency/  

For most marketers, content marketing is a priority. If you are in this camp, perhaps you have been thinking about how to build a content marketing machine.

It is not easy. Most marketing teams fail at it. Either because they cannot produce the content they need or because the content they create is not effective. You can only build effective content repeatedly and consistently if you build a competency.

That’s the topic of this presentation, which was presented at the Austin Digital Marketing Summit last week. In it, I make 7 key points that might help you build a content marketing competency:

This post appeared first as a contribution to Kapost's Marketter blog - http://marketeer.kapost.com/content-marketing-co...

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Welcome to The Age of Context – and Contextual Marketing

The Age of Context and Contextual Marketing

What is the future of technology? How will technology impact your business and how does it impact marketing?

The preceding two questions are very important. Companies that are not able to adapt to rapid changes in technology are left behind to die. Examples abound, even innovative companies that were ahead of their times in their use of technology such as Blackberry, Blockbuster, Circuit City, among others. Most business executives recognize the need to evolve, as do most marketers. After all, that’s why I named this blog the Adaptive Marketer.

My oldest daughter just turned 14. I have had to explain rotary phones, cassette tapes, film cameras and typewriters to her. Kids born today will have to ask their parents to explain what a music CD and a DVD are. The evolution of these technologies has created and destroyed entire industries who failed to foresee the importance and impact of these new technologies. Any business person should be asking: What is the next revolution? Where are things going? How will these changes affect my business?

I found many answers in The Age of Context by the dynamic duo: futurist & technology blogger Robert Scoble and writer and storyteller & writer Shel Israel.

What is the future of technology? How will technology impact your business and how does it impact marketing? The precedi...

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Content Marketing as an Antidote to Discounting

Flying back from San Francisco, I open the in-flight magazine and a half-page ad by Riedel catches my eye. Riedel a German company and one of the best known manufacturers of high quality wine glasses.

riedelad-275x300

It is a premium brand: a pair of wine glasses especially designed for Cabernet and Merlot retails for about $50. Their customers are either wine enthusiasts or people with a lot of money who don’t mind spending $25 for a wine glass.

It is a nice looking ad, but I was surprised to see the ad’s main message is an offer of  20% discount for a purchase of $100 or more. It does not seem to fit the brand. At the same time, it was not that surprising to see a discount oriented message: it is the easy answer.   ‘What should be the message? I know, let’s offer a 20% discount’

When a marketer’s creativity runs out he defaults back to price discounts.

Flying back from San Francisco, I open the in-flight magazine and a half-page ad by Riedel catches my eye. Riedel a Germ...

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Content Marketing Strategies You Can Use

Content Strategy and Content Marketing are some of the hottest topics in marketing today. With good reason – they are critical part of any solid marketing strategy, especially for considered purchases.

A few weeks ago I wrote a guest post on 10 steps to build a content marketing strategy, which was published in B2B Marketing Insider  , Michael Brenner‘s site. The post was very popular and was posted again  on the Business 2 Community and in SAP’s Business Innovation site.

Content Strategy

I want to summarize some of the key takeaways of the article and add a few additional thoughts.

  • Content Marketing is a response to changes in buying behavior: customers are doing much more reasearch before they buy and often making a decision before engaging with a company.
  • In this age, marketing is more about being helpful and education than broadcasting and clever headlines.
  • Content Marketing has been around for some time, especially in B2B – for example, white papers in technology marketing.
  • The most important aspect of a content marketing strategy is to be have an interesting and useful point of view. This means content must be written by subject matter experts and that content needs to be valuable and unique.
    • This is such a key point. As Ryo Chiba says “Great content marketing is neither spammy nor salezy. Solve a problem for your customers. Write posts that serve your audience”
  • A good content writer needs to be an expert. If you are not one, before you start writing start learning. Have a point of view.
  • Don’t lose sight of the fact that content’s main objective should be to influence buying decisions through customer education.
  • A content marketing pyramid is very effective at making the most of your valuable content: start with a solid white paper, turn it into a webinar or slidecast, extract interesting sections into a few blog posts, then extract nuggets into tweets.
  •  You can track leading indicators to determine which parts of your content strategy are working. ROI measures for content generally fall under three categories:
    • Consumption metrics: views and downloads (especially after someone downloads a white paper after reading a blog post, for example)
    • Engagement metrics:  shares, comments, votes, ratings and retweets
    • Funnel metrics: clicks from your content to the buying process on your site
    • Deal Influence: asking customers if they consumed any of their content and how much influence it had in earning their business

I encourage you to take a look at the original article and to share your thoughts below.

Content Strategy and Content Marketing are some of the hottest topics in marketing today. With good reason - they are cr...

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The Online Marketer’s Quest for Web Effectiveness

Online marketers, like most other professionals, are expected to do more with less – especially in challenging  economic times. Onlinemarketers are trying to find out how to increase Web site and campaign effectiveness, which can be measured in terms of unique visitors, click-throughs or leads. Marketers in eCommerce companies have a bit more focused goals, focusing on conversions and average order value, often acheved via up-selling and cross-selling.

Key to meeting these objectives is to ensure people visiting your Web site or receive email communications from your company are presented with the most useful information and the most powerful offers for them. In this quest of finding the best message, the best offer, the best banner ad, marketers have tried a number of different tools from personalization to analytics to a/b testing. It is easy to get too exited about these tools, but at the end of the day, it is critical to understand these are only tools to improve relevance.

Relevance is the key to Web site effectiveness. But how to make your messages more relevant? Most studies show Web site visitors have very limited patience: if they can’t find what they need in three clicks, they are gone. This means you have one or two chances to give each individual customer exactly what he or she is looking for: the product they want, the answer to the question they have, the information they need. This post aims to provide an overview of the tools available to increase relevance.

The first step is Analytics. You can’t improve what you can’t measure. Analytics can tell you how many people are visiting each page or consume each of the resources that you make available  on your site, what are the most common click-through paths, exit pages and many other useful data points. Unfortunately, most organizations don’t have the people or the time to properly study the analytics data to derive business insight and to act on this insight. maybe because it is hard to show ROI for these activities outside of media and online commerce.

One of my favorite phrases is “Your opinion (as a marketer), while interesting, is irrelevant“. No matter how smart you are, you can only guess what will be most attractive for your customers. therefore, one of the fundamental principles of marketing communications is to test everything. In this age it is inconceivable to run a banner ad without at least testing a few messages. Testing multiple messages takes very little effort and, in my experience, the results often surprise you. When testing 4 or 5 different banner ads, it is not uncommon to find a 5x difference in performance. The same applies to direct mail, email promotions, etc.

But testing banner ads and messages manually is very time consuming, although certainly worthwhile for large campaigns. This is where a/b testing comes in. A/B testing tools automate the process of presenting multiple offers to customers, sometimes based on a specific segment, reporting results in real time and adapting your site to use the message that proved to be most effective in tests.

MVT Testing take this concept further by testing multiple variables: message, color, position, offer, etc. – and all their possible permutations. MVTcan be incredibly powerful to fine-tune offers and promotions in any website. As good as they are, adoption of A/B and MVT tools has been very limited, mostly in eCommerce companies. As with analytics, resourcing is part of the problem.

A/B and MVT have their own challenges: First, it is still for the most part a manual process. Second, you could be testing all the wrong things – the process still requires someone to decide what messages or what elements to test. Last, these tools require some time to run (the more variables in play the longer it takes for MVT to produce statistically-valid results) and they are focused on past behavior.

This is where a new breed of tools come in: Content Recommendations, offered by companies like Vignette, Omniture, Loomia and others. While there are differences between how these products work, the fundamental premise is the same: to observe customer behavior, and to automatically determine what is the most relevant content, product or offer for a particular customer based on what similar customers have found to be useful.

A short story to illustrate: An architect builds an office complex with multiple buildings a parking garage, a cafeteria and other services.  The buildings open to the tenants but there are no concrete pathways between buildings, the architect has left all the open space covered in grass. After a few weeks, the paths that people take to go from one building to the other are clear from the wear in the grass. Over time, the grass is gone in these paths. The architect then paves thee paths with concrete. He did not try to guess which way people would walk. He observed and acted on actual behavior. Recommendation technologies pave the path between website visitors and the content they want.

Now a specific example: An online tax service is trying to make their website more useful. During tax season, many customers would go to their site and look for “Form 1099”. Traditional search tools would use a keyword-based algorithm to find the web pages and documents where the keyword “Form 1099” occurred more often. Instead, Recommendations technology observes that most visitors who type “form 1099” in the search box actually end up opening, downloading and printing a file called IRS1099-A.pdf and then spend some time in a page labeled “how to fill your tax return”, so it presents these two resources at the top of the search results, even though the keyword may not even appear i the actual page or file. This scenario is what is being called social search.

Another advantage of Recommendations is that it can adapt in almost real-time to changes. Imagine a celebrity appearing on TV on a Friday afternoon wearing some very chic aluminum sunglasses. Everyone who is watching the TV show wants to buy these sunglasses. The first visitors to your eCommerce site would have to navigate a bit to find the exact product, but after a few visitors buy the item, recommendations technology “paves” the way for other visitors, a process that could take minutes. Your analytics person or campaign marketer could be asleep or on vacation and recommendations technology has learned from customers  and adapted the site to show the now very hot item in the most prominent position.

As with any new technology, there are differences between the offerings from recommendation technology vendors. There are a couple key aspects to consider when evaluating them:

  • The observation technology – it can go from the very simple (clicks-based) to te very advanced (some measure over 30 heuristics).
  • The algorithm to determine what to recommend – some call it the wisdom of crowds engine
  • How similar visitors are grouped – behavioral segmentation and integration with your explicit profile data
  • Content database – how it is organized, categorized and updated as items become available or are retired
  • Presentation model – how the recommendations are integrated into your overall website experience

This is very exciting technology that is likely to produce big results for most web sites who implement the technology but more importantly for customers in general.

Online marketers, like most other professionals, are expected to do more with less - especially in challenging  economic...

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