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Archive for the ‘Content marketing’ Category


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.



Eye-Popping, Reader-Stopping, Social Media-Rocking Visual Marketing

Eye Popping Visual Marketing

Presenting Visual Strategies for Smart Content Marketing

It’s often said, a picture is worth a thousand words.

But are they worth a thousand bucks? They can be because they start conversations. They attract attention. Pictures help you tell stories. They stop web surfers and turn them into readers, which is often a crucial first step toward winning a customer.

In this age of information overload the competition is fierce and the noise level is immeasurable. Getting you to read this article is a major feat. I’ve done something right.

We’re human. Our ability to take in information may be large, but it’s limited. Our attention spans are short and getting shorter.

As marketers, our first and most pressing goal is to get noticed. The challenge then evolves to keeping the reader’s interest for a short spell and making some sort of connection during the brief moment in time.

This decade’s seen explosive popularity of image-centric social channels like Instagram and Pinterest. Every social media network not considered to be visually magnetic is moving fast to overcome the problem.

And every marketer who hasn’t yet mastered the nuances of visual marketing needs to get on it. If you’re not acing the aesthetic parts of content marketing, you can expect to see your audience engaging with companies that are.

Your content needs to feature photos, images, and visuals that woo and wow. I’m hoping the rest of this post will help you understand how get it done effectively.



Content Marketing Roles: A Guide to Building Your Team

Content Marketing rolesHelp wanted? Let me help you with that.

Sooooo… You know you need to keep nailing your content marketing to increase traffic, leads and sales. And (I hope) you also know success in content marketing is enjoyed only by companies committed to hiring the best talent.

Content development director Michele Linn of Content Marketing Institute recently wrote:

Each year we track the challenges marketers are having with content marketing in our research. This year, one challenge was far more pronounced than it has been: finding trained content marketing professionals. 

Unsurprisingly, I’ve found in addition to a huge demand for hiring talented content marketers, companies are craving advice for how to go about it. As a content marketer and writer (who’s often hired to help market various types of marketing solutions), I’ve also found myself tackling these “help wanted” challenges a lot lately.

I encourage you to gather and read these resources, however, I’m going to roll much of the material up and into this post to help accomplish this mission. (more…)


The Content Marketing Challenges Doing You In

Content Marketing Challenges
Failure is an option.
In content marketing, the fails outnumber the successes 2:1.

I’ll assume you want to be on the right side of this ratio. But recent history suggests it’s more likely you’ll go left and meet the fate of the majority.

There are a number of reasons content marketers fail. If you want to summarize them all in one swoop for the sake of simplicity, it’d go something like this:

Content marketers want shortcuts to success, but there are none.

Content marketing expert John Miller of ScribeWise broke the problem down into six content marketing challenges. I got excited when I read his post about how the majority of content marketers fail because I’ve offered extensive advice (which I’m going to share again) for addressing each of the problems, which are:

  • No content marketing plan
  • Ill-equipped team
  • Low priority
  • Lack of content ideas
  • Self-centered content
  • Poor reach

If you want shortcuts, I don’t recommend you spend another second with this article. If you want insights on how to become a successful content marketer for the long haul, read on. I’ll be showing you resources that detail the solutions for each problem, so your reading list will be substantial.

Ready? Here are the problems—and the solutions.

You don’t have a content marketing plan

In recent years, Content Marketing Institute’s studies reveal approximately one-third of marketers have documented a content strategy.

They wing it.

No objectives. No mission statement. No personas. And it follows, they seldom have content mapped to the buyer’s journey—or an editorial calendar.

Markers must think, “Who needs a strategy?” The answer is: effective content marketers. I realized marketers feel overwhelmed by the process, so I simplified content marketing planning to its most essential elements.

Here’s the article, The Content Marketing Plan that Quadruples Your Leads.

Here’s the bulk of the content in a slide deck, which provides you a template.

Fast Track Your Content Marketing Plan from Barry Feldman

Here’s me presenting this lesson in a webinar.

A party of one can seldom get it done. Achieving success in content marketing takes a strategist, managing editor, writers, and more. As you expand into media beyond written works, you need to hire or contract additional specialists.

The skills that are useful in a traditional marketing department don’t always translate perfectly to a content-oriented team.

I don’t want to say you need to field a large team or toss in the towel, but you do need to tool your team to align with your needs. You must understand where to begin and a employ a smart approach for onboarding more talent as you scale.

I’ve written the perfect thing and it was designed to address the needs of companies large or small.

Here’s the guide, Tool Your Marketing Team with the Right Talent, published by Demand Media.

Tool Your Content Marketing Team

Here’s advice for hiring freelance writers from a post I wrote for Content Marketing Institute, How to Hire Freelance Writers Who Make Your Content Better.

Hire freelancers

Content marketing isn’t a priority at your company

The best intentioned marketers often say they have people focused on content creation. But client work comes first and pre-empts production.

If content marketing isn’t a priority, it simple doesn’t get done. It’s not good enough to have the planners, people, and processes unless they’re focused on setting schedules and abiding by them. Not for a month. Or a quarter. Or a year.

You have to commit to devoting resources to executing content marketing forever more.

Here’s an article explaining the chasm between success and failure.

Here’s why content marketing isn’t for everybody.

And here’s Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion, explaining how your content needs to come from people inside your company, but outside the marketing department.


You don’t know what to create content about

I feel this is only a short-term dilemma. You catch on after swimming in the content marketing waters for six to twelve months.

You get a feel for which topics resonate with your customers and create leads. You find sources of inspiration to draw from. You create conversations that inspire new ideas and marketing assets worthy of repurposing.

It’s coming out of the gate where you’re bound to struggle for subject matter and (with the help of Marcus) I can tell you exactly what to create content about: the questions prospects ask. It’s not the least bit complicated.

Read this, the most effective content marketing tip ever. You’ll be busy creating content for a good spell.

CM tip


Here’s Marcus once again, laying down the laws of content marketing success.

You think your content should be about your company

This problem is older than time. The self-centered marketer failed miserably in advertising dominated era and continues to chase away buyers today with online content.

Smart content strategy is not promotional. Get it? So many nod their heads and say they understand, but prove they do not by publishing the “we, we, we” and “me, me, me” garbage that bombs.

This article uncovers the hard truth, like it or not, The Most Effective Online Marketers Focus on One Thing.

Eye chart


Your killer content isn’t reaching an audience

People love blogs. And infographics. And YouTube videos. And so on.

Why don’t they love yours? Isn’t the key to content marketing creating great content? It’s not. It’s the table stakes, as they say.

I know you’ve read the frightening facts about the volume of content available in the information age. We’ve come a long way from the age of three TV networks. Or a leading source of news.

The “channels” are now as infinite as the creators. The webosphere can now be divided (though sometimes subtlety) between owner, earned and paid media. And your content marketing success will depend on you making strides in all three.

I wrote an eBook on this subject—content distribution—in collaboration with my friends at CoSchedule.

I want you to read “Amplify Content, Turn Up Demand, which you can get here. It’s a deep and valuable study on content distribution, if I do say so myself.

Amplify content

Here’s me presenting much of the advice in a webinar.

Much of your reach with earned media is dependent on your social media chops, so if you need help getting started with social media, here’s a resource you’ll benefit from. It’s one of the most well-received pieces I’ve created, so I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Want to be the first to know about EVERY online marketing lesson I create? Put your email in the field below.

Content marketing is challenging. I’m on a mission to help you nail it.


Digital Marketing Lead Generation Strategies [Free eBook]

Free ebook Three Deep Marketing

I wrote a 40-page eBook covering today’s most effective digital marketing lead generation strategies. It was recently published by Three Deep Marketing, a sizable agency in Minnesota that’s one of the nation’s premier practitioners of data-driven digital marketing. From content marketing to marketing automation and many other tactics, the eBook covers a lot of ground. You can scroll down to see the chapters list. Go here to download the eBook in its entirety. Or check out how the book begins here and now….

The story begins with the predictably unpredictable buyer

The customer’s buying path is forever unpredictable. The only thing that is predictable is they will do their research.

You’re doing research here and now. You might pull the trigger soon. You might not.

buyer journeyIn a way, you’re a lot like everyone else. The decision you’ll make—in this case, about your company’s marketing—will be an informed one. You’ll put in the time, do your homework and make an informed decision.

And in a way, you’re unlike anyone. You’ll bounce around from source to source however you please. No one knows the path you’ll take—including you.

Let’s lay it on the line. Buyers command the buying process now. They absorb information like sponges, but don’t stand in line to get it. They go online and get it entirely on their terms.

If you want them to consider buying from you, you have to buy into the realities of the new media landscape. You have to map your marketing to their journey. And again, the journey’s wildly unpredictable.

Go ahead and gulp. In the 2010s decade, marketing and media have matured. Keeping up with the changes is a priority, but a highly challenging ambition. Deny the dominance of digital marketing and you’ll go down in defeat. Digitally savvy companies shall inherit the earth.

This eBook is a roadmap of sorts. Our hope is it will equip you with the insights you’ll need to achieve success in the age of the carefully considered decision.



Is the Wrong Department Creating Your Content? [Video: Interview with Marcus Sheridan]

Marcus Sheridan creating content

Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion, always calls me “brother.” Though I’m way older than him, I see him more as a “father” than a sibling.

You see, it was just four years ago when I read “Inbound Marketing” by the founders of HubSpot. I thought, “I get it. This is how marketing works now.” Then I thought, “I want to learn more about it from someone that’s actually done it,” that is, drive mountains of traffic, leads and sales by creating content prospects seek and pulling them into your website to devour it.

I went to a conference to hear Marcus speak. He blew me and everyone else in the room away.

Then I got to know him. We became friends. I did what Marcus said to do, which essentially was blog. Answer your prospects’ questions. It worked.

I continue to pay close attention to what he teaches. I continue to learn. And now, I bring you some very special lessons from a cat that teaches and preaches content marketing like no one else.

Marcus wants you to understand something immensely important… (more…)


Infographics 101: The Big Idea (The Great Big List of Infographic Ideas)

Great big  list of infographics ideas

Infographics continue rocking. And rolling.

See, you may knock one out of the park with a blog post or another content type and earn links and social media shares, but something unique happens with a killer infographic …

It not only captures attention, it gets reposted. All over the place. And your brand goes with it, rolling across the social web like tumbleweed. Of course, it’s gratifying, but it’s also great for extending the reach of your brand and its message. (more…)


Your Guide to Mastering the Most Critical Content Marketing Skill

Content marketing skillYou’ll need a number of skills to master content marketing. The most important of them is teaching.

Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Pulizzi hit the concept squarely with his post “Why Education is a Powerful Content Marketing Strategy: 17 Examples.” As usual, Joe’s lesson was off-the-charts. I also loved the commentary stream that followed, especially this:

Content marketing is education

The post inspired me to write a “how to teach effectively” article featuring the ideas of two experts on the subject of learning: my daughters. The article details five lessons for earning an A in education. If you fear your content may sometimes lull readers to sleep, check it out.

Tapping into the minds of expert educators (and students)

In an effort to explore the topic further, I pecked my way around the web, digging up insights from a variety of experts qualified to opine on the qualities of the best teachers.

I wasn’t surprised to find a number of the themes my kids hit on re-emerge—especially humor, interaction, and unpredictability. It’s kind of a lesson within this lesson: Want to know what works best? Ask your audience.

You follow me, right? I’m saying if you want to know what makes a great teacher, ask the students. This simple principle applies to your content marketing in the biggest way. Are you in the habit of asking your customers how you can best school them? (more…)


20 Signs Your Web Content Writer Won’t Cut Through the Crap

Web content writer

I was on vacation in Vancouver with my family last week. We went to the famous public market on Granville Island. There’s a lot to see and do there. The market seems to offer every flavor of everything.

I would have enjoyed it more if my sinuses were not a stuffed-up mess. When I decided to give my throbbing head a break and sit down and listen to a busker play guitar, my family headed back into the market for tea.

When they came to rally me again, they presented me with a tea specially blended to kick colds. The concoction included ginger and cayenne pepper. I took a sip, gagged, and tossed it in the trash. The tea was nastier than my head cold.

It wasn’t the highlight of my trip, but it’s not an experience I’ll soon forget. I’ll remember where I got it and how it made me feel.

Who the hell puts cayenne pepper in tea?

The answer is a tea specialist, a tea specialist who wants to make someone feel better… a tea specialist that wants to make a bold statement… a tea specialist aiming to get a response from her customer.

For all the same reasons, I submit great copywriters mix in cayenne pepper too. They may not use pepper in every paragraph they serve. They may choose to forgo the pepper in favor of different flavor. But trust me on this: they shan’t shy away from peppering their prose with spice.

Everyone’s a web content writer now

The gold rush of 1849 produced the term 49er, meaning a person who had gone to California to mine gold.

I just did a Google search for “web content writer.” In a half-second the search engine returned 115-million results. From my POV, it seems today’s mother lode is content marketing, the treasure trove that connects customers to companies.

Will the legions of new web content writers earn the nickname 15ers?

I’ve written this post to help you understand wordsmiths are cut from different cloths. I hope to tool you with insights to spare you from the headaches symptomatic of hiring the wrong writer. (more…)