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Archive for the ‘Content marketing’ Category


Content Reach: 25 Tactics for Effective Content Promotion

25 Tactics for Effective Content Promotion

Content reach… Grr. Ugh. Sh*t.

It’s become a bit of a problem, hasn’t it?

Your recent masterpiece is the most helpful content you’ve ever published. You know it. But no one else does. Why? It’s found no audience—or no audience has found it.

This is the dirge of millions of content marketers around the world (sung to the tune of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Blog Post Band).

What gives?

You absolutely poured yourself into the content planning process. You did deep audience research and your content marketing strategy is locked and loaded. The most talented creative team tackled the assignment. Still, it’s drowning in a sea of content noise.

Content marketers, especially those joining the content party in the 2000-and-teens years, are learning how hard it is to find an audience.

Content reach calls for a content promotion plan

Most marketers post content on their blog then dispatch a few updates via their social media networks. If this strategy isn’t working for you (it works for very few), you need to do more.

Of course, you’ll have a unique set of objectives and how they map to your marketing process will also be unique. So, like everything in digital media, you’ll experiment with different tactics, measure, and refine.

To begin with, it’ll be helpful to understand the nuances of paid, earned and owned media and consider investing time, energy, and possibly, money, into all three.

We’ll take a look at each and dig into a heap of tactics that might serve your content promotion plan.



The 4 Indispensable Pillars of Effective Digital Marketing [Free eBook Too]

Pillars of effective digital marketing

We’re going to talk about post website depression (PWD).

If you’re a sufferer, I urge you not to be embarrassed. You’re hardly alone.

Generally, PWD is preceded with wild mood swings. For months you’re knee-deep in the grind. Meetings and conference calls. Site maps and wireframes. Copy and code. Layouts and links. Flurries of emails. Portals. Staging sites. Browser testing. Blood, sweat and title tags.

Then finally…

After an exhausting Friday of tedious troubleshooting you’ve blasted past every last imperfection (you think). The flip gets switched over the weekend and you’re live. The new site looks tight. It loads in a flash. Isn’t the web wonderful?

High fives are flying all around the office Monday morning. The boss even sprung for donuts. But in the coming days, the buzz wanes. A week or two later, the source of your depression becomes clear: a million perfectly composed pixels can amount to zero effect on the business.

4 Pillars - eBook



This is a 4,000-word post. If you’d rather “Pocket” it or download it to read at another time, click here or the image on the left to get a free eBook version.


It’s time to call a content marketer

That’s me. And this is a call I’m a part of a lot.

I’m happy to have this call because I can answer most of the questions and steer the ship forward from here. But I must admit, this call tends to include two waffles I could live without.

Waffle 1: Uncertainty

I told you the impetus behind this consultation: PWD. The company’s learned a new website in and of itself is no rainmaker. Now, at least to some extent, the marketer/owner/person I’m talking to realizes her or his company needs more than a shinier home on the web; they need a more significant digital footprint.

They need to publish content—onsite and off (but first, on) so they get discovered more. Known more. Liked more. Trusted more. This is how digital marketing works.

But then, ugh, the question, the inevitable question, dare I say, the “you’ve got to be kidding me” question…

“Barry, in our business we’re not so sure potential new clients go online to blah, blah, blah, blah, blah (read, research, make decisions, buy, etc.).

Here’s what I think at that moment: Are you serious? Where do you think they go? Where do they get their books? Where do they do research for their personal needs? Where did you find me? And WHY are we talking?

Here’s what I say at that moment: Yes, they do. (And the client knows it.)

And one more thing: In digital marketing it’s dangerous to forge a strategy based on what you think or your opinion. You need to know how your prospects and customers behave.

Waffle 2: Commitment

Somehow we get past the ridiculousness. It’s understood: content must be produced. We proceed to the double-headed time and money monster. This part of the conversation could go a number of ways and at this point it’s a bit premature to do a content marketing plan, but to do my part I say what needs to be said:

Yes, it’s going to take time and money. And if you’re not committed to it long term, you’ll be wasting both.

So what’s it to take to make digital marketing work?

The most successful businesses are becoming customer-centric marketing machines. They’re able to:

  • Define marketing strategy based on customer needs
  • Understand the customers’ behaviors
  • Engage with customers based on their behaviors

Research indicates buyers are commonly two-thirds (or more) of the way through their journey before they reach out to the vendor. Marketing’s role has become enormously different.

  • Marketing is sales. Marketing—not sales—guides buyers through the early stages of the buying process.
  • Touch points multiply. Marketers need to engage customers across an expanding array of channels.
  • Timeliness is crucial. Relevant marketing messages and content must be delivered fast and at every stage of the buyer’s journey.

Good news: your company can shift into digital gear to become more in touch with your customers’ needs, more responsive in delivering the content they seek when it matters most, and more effective and efficient.

Though there are countless strategies that may come into play there are four pillars of effective digital marketing your company needs to master:

1. Content marketing
2. Search engine optimization
3. Social media marketing
4. Marketing analytics

None of the above is optional. Think of them as four legs of a stool or table that forms the foundation of your digital marketing. Try to get by without one and your foundation falls down.

I’m now going to dive into each of the four to help you begin to get a basic understanding of the pillars of effective digital marketing. (more…)


Does a Marketing Content Hub Make Sense for Your Brand?

Marketing content hub

Feeling like toast?

Content marketing burns you out.

You see it every day. Thousands of companies join the content marketing parade while thousands more bail. Why? They don’t have the resources to stay the course.

Like most, they understood if they consistently published the valuable content readers actually want to read, watch, listen to and look at, the content marketing dream would be realized. And like most, after awhile they’re toast.

You don’t want to suffer the same fate.

Consider creating a marketing content hub and populating it regularly not only with blog posts or homegrown content, but with curated, user generated, co-created and various types of media your prospects find relevant and useful.

I recently wrote Content Hubs Are Here: The Secret to a Long and Prosperous Life in Publishing, an eBook for ScoopIt. Yes, you should download it. The eBook reveals important details for creating a killer marketing content hub. I’ll give you the quick 411 here.

What’s a marketing content hub?

If you were to search the phrase “content hub” and begin scouring the results for its definition, you may get confused fast. The term gets thrown around quite a bit and is interpreted in various ways. I’ve preceded the phrase with the word “marketing,” as some companies now do, to further clarify.

The definition for “marketing content hub” we’re going to use (and the proven approach I’m going to tell you about) is:

A marketing content hub is a destination where website visitors can find branded, curated, social media, user generated, or any type of content related to a topic.

You might think… Isn’t that a website? Or isn’t that a blog? It could be. However, a marketing content hub is generally smaller than a website and bigger than a blog. The best ones—and I’ll show you examples—are microsites or branded resource centers published to help visitors find the information they seek in the form they prefer.



Terrifying Content, Unbearable Torture [Infographic]


A few years back us marketers started howling about the volumes of crap creeping across the web disguised as content. Perhaps we thought we’d scare away some of the murderous marketers. We didn’t.

The stench is staggering.

It’s inevitable. When something in the media heats up, the vultures shall emerge. If you’re aged like me, think of the golden age of sitcoms. For every classic like M*A*S*H* there were 50 stink bombs like One Day at a Time or The Cosby Show. If you grew up in age of American Idol, think of how many insidious contest programs infest the tube today.

I turn your attention back to today’s spooky content nightmare. As I wrote in the infographic here, anyone can create content. It doesn’t mean they should. Do we let it horrify us? I thought we’d just have some fun ghouling around with it instead.



9 Unforgettable Tips for Writing Headlines that Work [Video & Infographic]

When you battle for attention in the noise fest that is the Internet, the most important skill you could possibly possess is headline writing. Your headline is going to be the make-or-break element that determines whether or not your content is read.

I want to help make you a better headline writer.

I’ve created a cheat sheet you can use to hone your headline writing. It’s ultra-simple. I spell out 9 tips based on the word HEADLINES. I’ve made it an acronym, a memory device. Each letter is one of the 9 tips… easier to remember, right?



Interactive Content: It Makes You Think (And Respond)

Interactive content makes you think

“By its very nature, interactive content engages participants in an activity: answering questions, making choices, exploring scenarios. It’s a great way to capture attention right from the start. Individuals have to think and respond; they can’t just snooze through it.”

~ Scott Brinker, ion interactive, author of, in a guest post on Copyblogger

Internet. Interactive. The two were destined to collide.

The term “internet” came to be because it connected networks. The prefix “Inter” means “between.” It follows that “interactive” means “action between.” Or something like that.

The point is we were destined to interact online. We live for interaction and the Internet lives to give it to us.

Content marketers are getting “inter” it

The real measure of any form of marketing is action. In older and traditional channels, the actions we measured tended to include phone calls, faxes, coupon redemptions, sales meetings, and maybe sales. Remember “tip in” cards in trade magazines?

Today, with content marketing ruling the online space, marketers often measure more actions, and certainly, less meaningful ones: shares, clicks, even views. This is not to say content marketers don’t measure the more substantial actions. The good ones do.

The good ones also realize engagement is all-important. Building brand affinity leads to building the relationship that leads to building trust that leads to building sales that leads to building business. Got all that?

Enter interactive content. On the battlefield that is content marketing, reading, watching, listening to, or downloading something may be the equivalent to firing a shot, but getting a prospect emotionally involved via interaction is a hit.

“Engaging a target audience” is an important excerpt from Content Marketing Institute’s definition of content marketing. According to nearly every marketing research study, it’s also consistently proven to be amongst our toughest challenges.

Marketers succeed when their audience not only consumes content, but also enjoys and acts upon it. Understanding this principle, more and more content marketers are stepping-up their static content to create content customers can interact with.



Digital Marketing Basics: Simplified and Comprehensive

Digital marketing basics

Marketing works differently now.

Push is out. Pull is in.

You have to think inbound.

Traditional “outbound” marketing tactics that dominated the pre-Google world are now alarmingly ineffective. We all have the power to filter out advertising and we’re not afraid to use it.

The customer is in control. The communications process begins if and when the customer wants. Without advertising. Without phone calls. Without you.

Instead of pushing out messages via paid media, to reach this customer, you must put the power of content marketing, search, and social media to work. The relationship with your brand begins there.

SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads
(such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate.
~ Search Engine Journal

To be an effective marketer, you have to do a complete 180. The strategy is to pull people to your website with magnetic content.

Additional resource: introduction to inbound marketing.

Define objectives by beginning with the end in mind

“Our digital marketing isn’t working.” 

The great thing about digital marketing is how easy it is to measure results. So if you say the program isn’t working, it’s only a valid assessment if you’ve defined what “working” actually means.

Your sales and marketing team must agree on the program’s objective. Objectives differ from company to company, site to site, and program to program. Generally speaking, the mission is to generate traffic, leads and sales.

Are you aiming to expand an email database? Sell off the page? Foster word of mouth?

You’re going to experience failure and success. Digital marketing is forever experimental. You know what you need to conduct a meaningful experiment, right?

You need an outcome.

Additional resource: fast-track approach to setting objectives and planning.



Content Marketing Experts: #CMWorld Speakers Answer 8 Great Questions

Content Marketing Experts #CMWorld2015Content Marketing World – the grandest of content marketing conferences – is next week. Leading up to the event, the team from Content Marketing Institute asked the experts speaking at the conference to answer 8 thoughtful questions on content marketing.

The answers have been shared in a series of blog posts published by CMI over the past two months. I’ll share links to all the posts at the end of this post, so you can read the responses from many content marketing experts, but first, here are the answers I offered (most are included in CMI’s series).

What brand(s) do you think excels at creating content that really pushes the envelope on what can be accomplished with content marketing? Why – and what can content marketers learn from this?

Dollar Shave Club leaps to mind because every touch point is fun. Do I look forward to grooming? Hell no. But I definitely look forward to Dollar Shave Club’s next video, post, social media update, email, and especially their packaging.

When you make the mundane insanely exciting, you make people smile. Joy may be hard to measure by way of marketing metrics, but it’s the universal spark of the spender.

At the risk of fixating on bathroom activities, I have to offer this post in which I examine seven great content marketers who know how to put a smile on your face even though the products they sell are all about the potty.

Sadly, though some B2B marketers push (or at least deliver) the envelope, it’s awfully rare they bring a sense of humor to bear. I’d sure like to see it though.



Hotties: Trends Rocking Content Marketing in 2015

Hot trends rocking content marketing


I want to show you two rocking articles about hot trends rocking content marketing this year. They’ll be around for awhile shaping the scene, so you’ll want to know a bit about them.

The first one’s titled “7 Smoking Hot Changes Coming to Content Marketing.” It comes from the blog of content marketing maniac Jeff Bullas, whose work often smokes, but is written by up-and-comer Andy Preisler. He looks pretty stern in his profile pic, but his writing is fun. And this post of his packs a ton of power. Andy digs into:

  1. Making mobile a priority
  2. Visual content [Here’s my how-to on eye-popping, reader-stopping, social media rocking visual marketing]
  3. Content personalization
  4. Collaborative marketing (great topic)
  5. The increasing investments companies are making in content
  6. Condensing content to make it more clickable
  7. The ascent of analytics

Read the full article at:

envelope pushers

How brands big and small are rocking content marketing today

This is the first in a series from Content Marketing Institute that will run on 8 consecutive Fridays (it launched July 17). You’re likely to hear more from me about it because (1) I know it’s going to be awesome, and (2) I’ve contributed to it.



100 Ways Your Company Loses to Better Online Marketers

It's a jungle online

It’s a jungle out there.

Online marketing has become a wild animal. But you don’t have to be a gorilla to dominate. Nor do you have to go ape and do absolutely everything. However, you do indeed need to understand what’s working for the leaders of the pack.

I thought I’d survey the landscape and give you my take on how the most cunning companies are killing it with online marketing tactics. So here you are: 100 ways companies are thriving on the wild, wild web.