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  • eBook: Winning with Authority Rainmaker – Integrated Content, Search & Social Media
    When faced with the seemingly insurmountable odds of information overload, 63GB per person per day in the USA, how can brands, let alone enterprising individuals stand out? Be the best answer wherever customers are looking. And how do you do that? By creating authority across channels and media from search to social to wherever content [...]

  • Online Marketing News: LinkedIn Gets Elevated, Foursquare Gets Pinpointed, The Firehose Gets Cut Off
    Content Creation vs. Content Sharing [INFOGRAPHIC] - If there were a magic wand to conquer the online content strategy, most, if not all, would give it a wave–or two. Unfortunately, there is no one magical solution to mastering your brand’s online presence, but there are a few ways you can revitalize it. See what content creation [...]

  • An Authoritative Interview with Podcast Master Jerod Morris, VP of Rainmaker.FM
    Who is Jerod Morris?  I think that’s an important question and one deserving of a public answer because if you’re in the online marketing and especially, the podcasting world, you need to know Jerod. So let’s get started. Jerod (@JerodMorris) is part of a small team that plans, produces, and markets the content for Rainmaker.FM, [...]

  • Four Ways CMOs Can Differentiate & Optimize Their Content Marketing Strategy

    CMO content marketing

    CMO content marketing

    Content isn't King, it's the Kingdom

    Taking inventory of the content we've produced over the past 10+ years, I realized I've written 1.4 million words myself on this blog as well as a book and numerous articles for industry publications.Looking to the future of our own content marketing strategy and the need for more visually creative, data-informed and cross platform content that's highly specialized for our audience, it's clear that simply creating "more" content isn't the answer.I'm not alone in that assessment after having the opportunity to discuss pressing content marketing challenges with a group of CMOs and senior marketing executives recently. Thinking about some of these key issues, I think there are 3 key trends in the content marketing world to be aware of:Understand the information environment. We live in an age of "Content Overload":
    • 90% of the world’s data has been created in the past 2 years (IBM)
    • Consumers in the U.S. are presented with an average of 63GB of media per day (USC/ICTM)
    • By the year 2020 there will be over 50 billion internet connected devices (Ericsson)
    Investments in content marketing continue - but there are challenges:
    • Over 90% of marketers are using content marketing (CMI / MarketingProfs)
    • Budgets for producing content have grown from 12.6% in 2013 to 23.3% in 2015. On track to surpass 33% by 2017 (The Content Council)
    • Only 42% of content marketers believe they are effective with it. (CMI / MarketingProfs)
    • 60-70% of B2B marketing content goes unused. (Sirius Decisions)
    • Only 44% of B2B Marketers have a documented content strategy. (CMI / MarketingProfs)
     While competition is high, so is the opportunity for content marketing:
    • 82% of senior executives say content is a significant driver in their buying decisions.” (Demand Gen Report)
    • 85% of consumers seek out trusted expert content when considering a purchase (Nielsen/InPowered)
    • 87% of B2B buyers say content has an impact on vendor selection (Social Media Today)
    With those trends and statistics as context, I think brand marketers are faced with the need to create more meaningful content for the right audience at the right time and in a relevant, meaningful way. Content needs to be compelling and serve the interests of customers as well as the brand. Reaching that goal requires a focus in strategy and at the same time, in order to stand out, marketers need to differentiate.Here are 4 ways marketers can do just that:1. Make content buyer centric: discovery, consumption, action
    • Understand customer segments and the information journey: What is it, how does it work, how does it solve? Not brand, brand, brand
    • How do your customers discover solutions? Search, social, subscriptions, events, influencers?
    • What are your customer preferences for content consumption? Visual, audio, text, interactive, long form, short form
    • What offers compel them to action? Share, subscribe, refer, transact, advocate
    2. Connect with influencers to co-create & promote brand content
    • Identify influencers with active communities - action is influence, not popularity
    • Co-create content with influencers for mutual goals - promote to their audiences
    • Help people become influential through community content co-creation UGC
    3. Make content marketing investments efficient with modular content & repurposing
    • Create content plans with matrix topics by segment, buying stage
    • Use microcontent (tips, stats, quotes) for social, then compile into blog posts, eBooks, newsletters, presentations
    • Break large content down into microcontent and repurpose: eBook to blog posts, Videos to images, Blog posts to presentations
    4. Keep content accountable: attract, engage, convert
    • Ensure all content assets are accountable for some level of performance
    • Attract - top of funnel discovery, search, social, referrals
    • Engage - content consumption and customer experience, social shares, conversations
    • Convert - buyer data captured through forms - registrations, subscriptions, transactions
    By empathizing with the customers you're after in a qualitative and meaningful way, brands can arm themselves with the kinds of insights to deliver differentiated, more relevant and meaningful content experiences.  Working with internal and external influencers will build amplification into the content assets themselves and a modular content approach creates efficiencies and facilitate personalization.Most importantly, ensuring content is accountable to marketing and business performance goals means everybody wins - customers and the brand.Photo: Shutterstock

  • Content vs. Advertising – Is There Really A Debate?
    Recording last night’s BeanCast, Altruism or Consumerism, hosted by the talented Bob Knorpp brought up the topic of Content Marketing and whether paid placement of content is just advertising – among many other topics from Dove to Amazon Dash. This content vs. ad question was inspired by commentary from Mitch Joel in his post, Your Content Is Kidding [...]

  • Online Marketing News: No Millennial Trust, LinkedIn Gets Lynda, 5 Years Of YouTube Ads
    Content With Relevant Images gets 94% More Views [Infographic] - Do you want more eyes on your online content? It could be as simple as adding a photo or a video to your post. Visual storytelling is incredibly powerful. The good folks a Quicksprout recently published an infographic (below) outlining a few stats suggesting just how [...]

  • A Dangerous Threat to Your Small Business: Mediocrity.
    I think it’s safe to say that no one starts a new venture or a business simply to be average. There’s a drive, a passion and a vision of possibilities. There’s also confidence that great things can be achieved. People who start new companies often risk a great deal with substantial investments in time and money to make their ideas [...]

  • Content Marketing Tools A to Z That You Can Use in 2015 and Beyond
    Tools are only as effective as the skills of the person using them. In a world of digital marketing that’s 24/7 with ubiquitous connectivity from anywhere, anytime, marketers’ need for tools is greater than ever. Content Marketing in particular offers a competitive landscape where the effectiveness and efficiency offered by the right mix of tools [...]

  • Best Practices for Video Marketing on Social Networks from Cisco, SAP & Bally Switzerland

    video marketing social networks

    video marketing social networksDriven by consumers' insatiable appetite for video content, video marketing has become an important part of social media marketing. With platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram launching their own video applications, videos can be optimized for success beyond web pages and YouTube to where customers are actively seeking, consuming and sharing video content: social networks.Whether you’re a video marketing pro, or unsure of where to begin, here are several useful tips for launching video marketing campaigns on multiple social networks.But first...Is Video Marketing Really Worth It?Internet users have been watching videos to entertain or inform themselves for decades, but most marketers are only now beginning to take advantage of the power of video marketing. Video is becoming increasingly democratic, with self-service video editing programs making it so that you don’t have to have deep pockets or a degree in cinematography to create an effective marketing video.Digital Sherpa reports that one third of all online activity is spent watching video, and that videos increase peoples’ understanding of your product of service by 74%. Add a compelling element to your brand’s online presence and help people realize the value and utility of your product with video marketing and social media.Create a Video Marketing StrategyJumping on the video marketing bandwagon isn’t a good enough reason to create video for your Facebook or Twitter followers. A strategic approach to video marketing starts by identifying an objective and creating a plan for how video will attract, engage and persuade your customers. Determine what action you’d like the viewer to take after watching your video, and make it easy for the viewer to take that action.Targeting your video to a specific persona or customer segment will provide a more meaningful and relevant experience, resulting in a much greater chance of video marketing success.When it comes to content topics, be sure to use video to answer a common question about your brand, or to highlight a problem that your brand helps solve. Establishing an objective and actions to measure early on will make it easier to quantify the success of your video marketing campaign.Time Check: Keep Your Videos BriefAdWeek found that the average length of the top 50 YouTube videos was 2 minutes and 54 seconds. Tailor your video for short attention spans by keeping it under three minutes. The risk of creating longer videos is that they may not be watched in their entirety, meaning that viewers might miss important takeaways and calls to action in the final moments of the video.The length of your video will also depend on the platforms that you intend to distribute it on. For instance, Instagram videos are just 15 seconds long, and Vine videos just 6 seconds. Before you script and create your video, determine which social platforms you’d like to play it on, and the time limits associated with videos on those channels.Let your creativity shine in short videos, like this six second Vine created by Cisco. Cisco uses this short amount of time to share a tweetable fact, and create interest in a hashtag campaign. Since six seconds is not enough time to talk about the Cisco brand, the Cisco logo is simply visible in the upper left hand of the video.Include Text in your VideosSocial networks like Facebook and Instagram auto-play videos in the news feed without sound. That means many social media users watch videos on mute. With this in mind, your task as a marketer is to make sure that the message of your video comes across without sound.To capture the audience’s interest without sound, use a compelling title frame. Then use text to tell a story by projecting keywords or phrases over images. You can also edit in frames of text that explain what’s going to happen in the next scene. If dialogue is the most important element of your video, consider adding subtitles.SAP is a B2B brand that excels at video storytelling. SAP adds drama to their videos with text overlays that emphasize keywords in the storyteller’s narration. Text overlays make the narration more memorable, and help viewers understand the narrative arc of the video, even if they are watching without sound.Use Annotations to Embed Links into your VideosOnce you've attracted viewers and engaged them with useful video content, guide them through the marketing funnel by encouraging them to take action. You can accomplish viewers taking action by adding interactive annotations to your videos. There are a variety of annotation tools that allow you to add notes, text bubbles, and calls to action. Annotations can drive viewers to key pages of your website, or to other videos. However, be prudent in your use of annotations to ensure that they support, instead of distract from, the objective of the video.Bally Switzerland used annotations to make an interactive look book in this creative video marketing campaign. Annotations on the right side of the screen link to landing pages for handbags, shoes and more. The names of key items are also called out in the video, in case users want to know more about an item that they saw a model wearing.Upload your Video Directly To Each Social NetworkBecause each social network optimizes, archives, and plays videos slightly differently, best practices indicate that marketers should upload their video individually to each social network, instead of simply sharing a YouTube link. This will ensure that the video plays correctly on that social network, and will reduce the amount of steps between your audience and the video.For instance, uploading a video to Facebook will ensure that the auto play functionality works, allowing users to watch your video as soon as they see it in their newsfeed. This is easier that having viewers click a link to watch the video on a different social network like YouTube.Optimize Your Videos for SearchTo make videos easily discoverable, utilize SEO best practices with your video. Choose a keyword that encapsulates the theme of your video, and use it in the video’s title, description, and tag. Providing a relevant keyword in the video text content will make it easier for search engines to understand and can result in a much better ranking when customer search. Adding a clear call to action in the video’s description will provide another opportunity for viewers to take the desired action - even if they don't watch the full video.Report, Analyze, and ImproveTo understand how effective your videos are, use native social media analytics to analyze how your video performed across social channels. This means that you will have to collect data from multiple sources (Facebook, YouTube, etc.) in order to have a complete view of your video’s performance in attracting viewers, engaging them in a meaningful way and inspiring them to take action.Using social media video analytics, you can dive in to discover which channel your video performed best on, and why. Then you can use those insights to summarize what went well in the campaign and what you might do to make future video marketing efforts more successful.As you can see from the Bally, SAP and Cisco examples above, video marketing is now an essential part of social media marketing. Social networks are meeting marketers' demand for video marketing by rolling out new video tools and video ad options at a dizzying pace. Be sure to take advantage of all of the video creation, hosting, editing and distribution tools on social media platforms with a clever video marketing campaign that will attract, engage and inspire your customers.How does your brand use video marketing to connect with customers?Photo: Shutterstock

  • Not Happy With Your Business Blog Performance? Try These 5 Tips:
    For many companies, blogging is akin to content marketing. Of course there are many other content marketing tactics besides blogging, but because of the ease of publishing, promotion and optimization, it’s one of the more popular ways to connect with customers through content. And yet there are challenges for many of the businesses that rely [...]

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