How Often Should You Feed Your Content Marketing Programs?

A new article from MarketingProfs’ Pawan Deshpande, takes on some of the biggest questions in content marketing:

  •  How often do I need to update my content?
  •  How often should I be publishing?
  •  What is too much?
  •  And how do you find the time to publish?

“The answer,” said Deshpande. “Which everyone hates to hear, is ‘it depends.’ But it does depend, on the channel and where you’re sharing your content.”

Here are Deshpande’s answers:
1) For Social Media, Post As Often As You Can. “The key to successful content engagement with your audience on social media is to be there when they are. You want to ensure that your content shows up in your prospects’ content streams when they log on.”
2) For Blogging, Post Weekly, At The Very Least. “Third-party content is critical in helping marketers fill the gap when they don’t have the bandwidth to create original content several times per week or every day. A good idea would be set the expectation with your readers from the start. Let them know the day you plan on posting. Alerting your audience to your new content is the best way to build your readership.”
3) For Email Newsletters, Ask Your Audience For Their Preferences. “Sometimes marketers get so wrapped up in marketing to prospects they forget that asking their audience is one of the best ways to find out what they want to hear from you, and when. A great way to gather this information simply and easily is to send your subscribers a quick survey via email, asking them what information they are looking for, and how often they would prefer to hear from you.”

(For additional information contact: MarketingProfs, 866-557-9625, www.marketingprofs.com.)

Forbes: The Five Questions Marketers Need to Ask Themselves in 2013

According to a new article by Forbes’ David Cooperstein, there are five questions marketers must ask themselves before trading in their traditional marketing strategies to jump on the content marketing bandwagon.

“Most annual ‘review’ blogs focus on predictions or notable outcomes to drive decisions in a twelve month timeframe,” said Cooperstein. “But the inflection point at which most marketers find themselves, [i.e.] throwing out old, reliable ways of reaching customers in exchange for data-infused, highly targeting, deeply measurable campaign options, means asking oneself some hard questions about why you do the things you do. To save you time, I am going to answer some of those questions.”

Here are Cooperstein’s top three questions and answers:
1) Question: “Why does the marketing organization need an overhaul?” Answer: There are team members who understand the more targeted results oriented side of marketing and team members who understand the more traditional advertising side. Both sides need to work together to “drive brand and sales results across all touchpoints. We heard that digital add-ons to traditional ad buys became more common in 2012. But unless brand objectives are aligned, this new enlightenment to digital will be short lived.”
2) Question: “Why are Facebook “likes” important?” Answer: Likes are only one of many tools to gain the attention of consumers, especially now that Facebook usage is more sporadic and users take breaks from the site. “You need a social content and marketing strategy that goes well beyond collecting likes, and actually turns those who raise their little blue hands, into brand advocates across all media. Start the conversation, and make it actionable all year long.”
3) Question: “Why is it so hard to measure real audience behaviors?” Answer: In this digital age there is more data on what people are doing right now than there ever has been in human history. And that’s the problem. Viewing data on what six billion people are doing and using that data to determine how those same people will respond to your brand are two different things. “This year, you must hire data analysts that can assess and make decisions based on these conflicting sources of truth.”

- Jack Bradman
Sr. Client Partner, G2Market

eMarketer: Web Development Top B2B Priority in 2013

According to eMarketer, a survey conducted by BtoB Magazine concludes that fewer than half of US business-to-business marketers plan to increase overall marketing budgets in 2013, however 70 percent of respondents plan to increase spending on web development this year.

Here are some of the other results from the study:

  •  67.2 percent of respondents will increase digital investment.
  •  62 percent indicated they would be spending more on email marketing.
  •  Web 2.0 technologies such as social media and video received less attention from respondents, however a more than half of them still plan to increase their budgets for both formats.
  •  Over one-third of respondents will be spending more on mobile this year.
  •  93 percent said they used their website for content marketing.
  •  65.4 percent said they used their website for social media.
  •  And an additional a study by Curata showed that 87 percent of B2B marketers used content marketing in 2012.

(For more information contact: eMarketer, 212-763-6010, www.emarketer.com.)

Top Of The Funnel Activities with Mobile Marketing Automation

Creating sales ready leads through mobile means having a proper strategy at every stage of the sales cycle. The first step in this process, the top of the funnel activities, gets your mobile website found by optimizing your content for mobile.

Let’s take a step back: every organization continuously works on their top of the funnel activities to attract visitors to their desktop website. Traditionally, this involves a lot of content creation, SEO efforts, and social media. The goal is to drive users to the desktop website, raise awareness, and hopefully move them onto the next stage of the sales cycle.

Looking at mobile, the top of the funnel activities are similar. In order for visitors to move through the sales cycle, they need to be able to find you on their mobile device and see that you offer relevant insights to topics of interest to them. Considering the many other organizations may offer similar services, it’s important to properly harness top of the funnel activities and create a lasting impression in the mind of the visitor.

People can be drawn to your mobile website in several different ways, but the core four are:

  • Blogging
  • Product Pages
  • Paid Search
  • Social Media

Blogging is a proven effective top of the funnel activity. Blogging creates value for visitors by providing useful, relevant and engaging content. Blogging also helps your mobile website to rank well in search engines. Product pages are similar, as they present a compelling argument for why your organization has tools that could benefit the mobile website visitor.

Social media is another top of the funnel activity that needs to be utilized properly. Actively tweeting the latest blog posts, for example, will draw people back to the mobile website. In addition, visitors already on the mobile website may share content to their social networks, drawing people back in. People who are unfamiliar with your brand may be willing to take a look at your content if shared by someone they know. Actively involving your brand in social media conversations, and allowing people to share your content on their own networks, reaches new audiences to draw back to your mobile website.

Harnessing SEO and Paid Search by using the right keywords in your mobile content is another way to draw traffic to your mobile website. The higher your mobile website ranks on search engines, the more likely people will discover your organization and click through to the mobile website.

The goal is to move visitors through the sales cycle by properly utilizing top of the funnel activities with mobile marketing automation. The more people that are drawn to your mobile website through top of the funnel activities, the more chances you will have to convert these people into leads by moving them through the sales cycle. In the next post, we’ll take a closer look at the second stage of the sales cycle: middle of the funnel activities.

- Neil Wadhwa
Marketing Manager, Panvista

The IAB Content Marketing Town Hall Break Down

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) on January 24 held its inaugural Content Marketing Town Hall, a collaborative meeting for publishers and brands to discuss the important issues of content marketing from what it is to who’s in charge of it. The Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) Joe Pulizzi opened the town hall with the story of one of content marketing’s oldest and lasting brands, John Deere. After nearly 120 years John Deere’s “The Furrow” is one of the largest farming magazines and is still inspiring great brand loyalty.

As Julie Van Ullen, of IAB, commented in her blog on the town hall, “John Deere has been doing it since 1895 with “The Furrow,” so what is making content marketing so attractive now to the modern marketer? While there is no clear cut definition of content marketing, I would put forth that it is content created by a brand, that even if the branding were removed, that the content would still be valuable and engaging to a reader. If done well, it creates positive brand connotation. And if we work with that definition, it makes sense that the modern marketer (much like the modern publisher) wants to get the attention of content-ravenous consumers, most of whom have one or more devices attached to them at any given moment with which to consume.”

Highlights of the town hall include:

  •  Five case studies on: NYT Richocet, Pepsi Pulse, Forbes Brandvoice, Sears, and Content Marketing & IAB Rising Star Ad Units.
  •  Hal Muchnick of Kontera and Ron Elwell of Swoop discussed ways to reduce the complexity of content marketing to ensure that consumers see what’s relevant to them and not crowded by annoying ads and irrelevant content.
  •  And an agenda setting Q&A with IAB’s Susan Borst and Julie Van Ullen. One discussion centered around the common concern that brand safety seemed to be a higher priority than publisher safety even though publishers take a bigger hit than brands when consumers feel that their trust has been breached. Some suggestions from the audience and presenters included:                                  a) Be Authentic: “People visit because they see something they like. They return because they know they will find something that speaks to them. They tell others because they feel appreciated. When spam and messaging focused on sales seeps through the cracks, they’ll leave. If sales attempts are aggressive, they’ll not only leave; they’ll take others with them and many will give a warning to other would-be visitors. Separate the content from the ads.”                                                                                                              b) Be Transparent: “Consumers can smell a misplaced article almost as soon as they see it. Be open and honest about your content sources. Label articles that are sourced from somewhere else. If an article is sponsored, say so.”                                              c) Make Policies Clear: “When working with partners, make sure that they know what your policies are for advertising and content marketing. Of course, you can only do that if you have policies and guidelines for content marketing in place. Companies that work together should understand each others’ businesses along with goals and expectations of everyone involved.”

IAB Consultant, Katie Stroud, who wrote up the Content Marketing Insights report of the event, said, “While practical, these guidelines were pulled out of a Q&A session at the IAB Content Marketing Town Hall. A lot of work needs to be done before more formal and detailed guidelines can better serve the content marketing community for both publishers and brands.”

(For additional information contact: Interactive Advertising Bureau, 212-380-4700, www.iab.net; www.iab.net/event/2626614; www.iab.net/iablog/2013/02/content-marketing-whos-the-boss.html; www.iab.net/media/file/ContentMarketingInsights2013.pdf.)