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6 Companies that are Getting Content Marketing Right

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The web is home to over 60 trillion individual pages. For a typical query, there are thousands (if not millions) of webpages with helpful information. As such, marketing today is about relationships. The way to do this is creating content that stands out.

content-marketing-examples

By definition, content marketing is the science and art of producing content that builds trust and authority in your industry.

Standout Examples of Good Content Marketing

1. Lush Digital Media’s LTV video series

The LTV- Leadership-Thought-Vision video series by Lush Digital Media is content marketing that stands out. Every fortnight, interviews with some of the biggest “Thought Leaders” today from a wide variety of industries including government, technology and healthcare, are published on the agency’s YouTube channel. There is no pitch there! It’s just great information to inspire motivation. The fortnightly dose becomes addictive!

LTV- Leadership-Thought-Vision-video-series

The take-away: Provide value content. It’s not all about selling.

2. ‘The Epic Split’ by Volvo Trucks

A live test aimed at demonstrating the stability and precision of Volvo Dynamic Steering, the Jean-Claude Van Damme stunt video from Volvo Trucks is majestic, powerful and visually spectacular to watch. It was the season finale of a series of 6 stunt videos by Volvo Trucks last year to test the quality of its trucks. Compared to its previous video ads (which have been documentary-style), last year Volvo Trucks invited several guest stars including World Champion slackliner Faith Dickey and Hollywood legacy Jean-Claude Van Damme to realize the ultimate ad for Volvo Trucks.

The take-away: Think outside the box.

3. Google Doodles

Doodles are fun and spontaneous variations of the Google logo to mark holidays and other special events such as anniversaries and the lives of famous people including scientists, artists and pioneers.

Google-Doodles

The first Google doodle was produced for Bastille Day in 2000. It was so well received by users of the search engine that over years, Google has created over 2000 doodles. And while for the most part, a team of illustrators and Google engineers are behind every doodle we see, users can email their ideas to proposals@google.com.

Google Doodles has turned into a much-loved tradition and makes an outstanding example of engaging content marketing.

The take-away: Ask and you shall receive. Your audience wants to feel like they belong.

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3 Brands That Are Getting Content Marketing Right

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Since the beginning of time, businesses have wanted to build relationships with customers.

1. The press gave rise to print advertising.

2. The radio enabled radio advertising.

3. Television allowed 30- and 60-second spots.

4. The web yielded banners and popups.

With each invention and new communications medium, businesses reached more and more customers piggybacking on content that people would pay attention to.

content-marketing

The Internet was by far the most important invention making it possible for brands to become publishers and to publish without the prohibitive fixed costs of presses and antennas while the next medium, dubbed “social” brought about a revolution allowing commercial brands to reach audiences with their messages in a much easier fashion. The challenge, however, was that social media gave distribution power to the people. This meant that brands had to start telling stories that inspire and provoke consumers’ attention and willingness to share.

If you’re in marketing, you’ve probably heard of the following:

1. Red Bull’s magazine that circulates to 2 million people a month.

2. American Express on OpenForum.com

3. Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” video

Because of social media’s new powerful influence, “publish or perish” is no longer just the dreaded axiom of academics. Commercial brands are also embracing the concept.

So Which are the Brands that are Getting Content Marketing Right in 2014?

1. American Express

If there is one brand that knows how to do rock content marketing, it’s American Express. One of their most booming endeavors is American Express Unstaged or AmexUnstaged. American Express Unstaged is a program that live streams concerts by high profile music celebrities. Fans from all over the world get to view, not only the event in live performance, but also exclusive videos before and after the event.

American-Express

According to Walter Frye, Director of Entertainment Marketing & Sponsorships at American Express, “Content is an important piece in all of our marketing efforts. Extending our messaging through content is a great way for us to continue to convert our customers from simply seeing a message to considering our brand.”

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9 Simple Ways to Create Content that aren’t Blogposts

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When people think content production, it’s an instinct thing to want to start writing right away. While that’s understandable, at some point though, you will need to define why you create content and what you’re trying to achieve with it. These decisions do two things:

– They give your content focus and clarity

– They make you a content publishing guru

Content-marketing

At the end of the day, producing and publishing content is a way to build relationships and a community around your business so people feel loyal to you. It’s a strategy for becoming recognized as a thought leader in your industry. And you want the content you create to achieve those goals be it:

  1. Prospecting; generating leads for follow-up
  2. Sales
  3. Marketing; generating interest in your business
  4. PR; building a public opinion about your products
  5. Customer support
  6. And/or thought leadership

When you are just starting out with content marketing, it makes sense to start with a blog. But as you then gain expertise, you can add one or two new types of content. The important thing to remember is you want the type of content you’re creating to check two boxes.

Ask yourself:

  1. Is it something easy to create?
  2. Will your audience appreciate information in that format?

The different types of content

Not including blog posts…

1. Video

With online video quickly becoming the preferred medium for people to satisfy their information and entertainment needs, small businesses failing to include it in their marketing strategies will do so at their peril. If you wish to increase the online visibility and impact of your business, you want a presence on video-hosting and sharing websites like YouTube and Vimeo. The common practice among marketers now is to upload videos to YouTube and these are then re-posted on their blogs. Others create a video blog, or vlog housed on YouTube.

2. Podcasts

It’s a fact of life now that different people consume content in different ways and as a business, you want to get your message and brand out there across multiple channels. Podcasts serve the purpose of adding variety to the mostly text-based content strategy that most businesses use. Podcasts are often published on iTunes, Stitcher Radio or Blubrry. Their appeal lies in the fact that you can listen to them any time, anywhere whether you’re driving to work, riding in a train or even just sitting on the couch in your living room.

3. Webinars

Next up, let’s talk about webinars. As part of your content marketing strategy, you can host webinars and present information to a live audience. You can then use any recording of the event and slides that you used as content on your website, in newsletters and on your product pages.

4. Speeches, workshops & interviews

Marketers, particularly B2B marketers, have, for the last couple of years, struggled with the fact that content is now the key that unlocks all other marketing channels. And fair enough! Sharing quality content makes email messages more likely to be opened and social media more engaging. Workshops and interviews, when implemented correctly, promote both thought leadership and brand awareness.

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9 Triggers to Spark Ideas for Great Content

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Content marketing is helping businesses generate website traffic, online visibility and ultimately, sales leads. And as we proceed through 2014, good content will continue to be a key part of effective online marketing. As a business, we all know that running a blog is perhaps the central pivot around which content marketing revolves. The challenge is to know what to write about everyday but that’s how frequently you should generate content.

content-ideas

Do you often wonder, “What do I blog about today?”  Do you often have trouble coming up with fresh and interesting ideas for what would make great content for your audience?

We’ve got your back! Today we’ll talk about 9 amazing triggers to spark ideas and inspiration for valuable content.

1. Use Google’s Keyword Suggestions Tool

When you type in a search phrase in Google’s search box, a list of suggested keywords and phrases is produced (at the bottom of the results page). The search suggestions can sometimes provide you with valuable insights as to what people in your marketplace are searching for, and more importantly, what words they are using to search for what they need.

Useful tip:

In the Google search box, try using words like ‘tutorial’ or ‘how to’ in front of your usual set of keywords. This will help you figure out what your audience might need help with and you can then use this information to provide real value and expert information to your readers.

2. Go to Soovle.com

Soovle is another search engine that utilizes keywords to return results to its users. The difference is: In contrast to Google and some of the other search engines out there, Soovle filters results and gives keyword suggestions acquired from these 7 sources: Google, Yahoo, Bing, Answers, Wikipedia, Amazon and Youtube.

3. Try Quora

Websites such as Answers.com, Yahoo Answers and Quora provide a platform for netizens to ask for and receive specific information. Let’s take Quora for example. Take one look at Quora, and you’ll immediately see the potential there when it comes to finding something to write about for your blog. Quora is a platform with a HUGE collection of queries on all topics imaginable. Check out questions related to your industry and answer them in the form of a post on your blog.

4. Don’t Forget about the Social Media Networks

Mingle with your audience on the different social networks.  And not only because social signals are now important ranking factors in Google’s search algorithm but also because this is perhaps one of the best ways for you to learn more about your customers and potential customers and what it is they are looking for in a product or service in your marketplace. Engage in healthy conversation and ask them about what they would like to know about your industry. From the information you get, you can derive new and great ideas for content from the questions and opinions of your fans and followers on the social networks.

5. Check Out Other Blogs in Your Niche

It’s all about keeping an eye on what your contemporaries and competitors are doing! You see, reading blogs that are related to your industry is an absolute must if you run a business blog. Many bloggers write about trending topics. Every now and then, you could find inspiration for a blog post in what others choose to write about.

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5 Tips to Power up Your Content Marketing

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In 2014, we can see a fusion of what would have been considered a few years ago to be separate techniques. For example: social and search engine marketing. They are converging to become one. Another strategy that’s tending to fuse with that mix is content marketing.

Content-Marketing-strategy

If you want to thrive (or even just barely stay!) in business in the coming months and years, we strongly recommend you to get started with content marketing if you haven’t already.

In this article, we will be sharing 5 components that can make content marketing an investment or a waste (if they are missing!).

Know Your Audience

Even if you cater to a broad range of customers, you need to know who you want to target when writing any and every piece of content.

Nike for example has several Twitter accounts targeting different segments of its audience (nikebasketball, nikefootball, nikerunning, nikegolf, niketennis, etc.) This allows the brand to publish highly targeted pieces of content.

Get to know your audience. Find out what they are interested in, the language they use, etc. (this is where niche forums help!). With this information, you’ll be able to create content that resonates with your readers. Skip this, and you are risking writing or paying for content that is only going to get a couple of views, when it could be getting hundreds or thousands with a little research.

Ask Them to Participate!

A fancy term to describe that would be “User-Generated Content”. Encourage that. Tell them to ask questions. Ask them questions and for their feedback. Make a survey. Do contests. Provide an easy-to-see link on your page where they can contact you to make a guest post.

A lot of sites run almost exclusively on user-generated content. You don’t have to be one of them, but making it simple for your audience to contribute to your content can’t hurt, can it?

Focus on Quality

Quality is one of those things that just keeps gaining more and more importance with time. Search engines and social networks spend millions of dollars on building algorithms that specifically find quality content.

If you intend to be in business long-term, your investment in quality content now will pay off for a long, long time to come, starting today.

Invest (time or money or both) in writing awesome blog posts, remarkable articles, kick-ass e-books and doing extraordinary webinars.

Quality encourages shares, signups, and purchases (We rarely buy when we are not impressed. What about you?)

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3 Ways to Make Your Content Smarter For Your Audience

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In 2013, everyone was talking about the significance of content marketing in search marketing and digital media business. For a start, let’s see what content marketing entails. In the broader scheme of things, content marketing is the practice of creating content and subsequently driving consumers to it in an endeavor to influence people to either talk about the content, share it or use it in some way that will drive your business sales.

content-creation

The key to successful content marketing it seems is to make the process scalable without compromising organic authenticity. Organic viability is what best distinguishes good content from marketing noise.  If truth were told, content has always been one of the most important aspects of marketing a business online but in this era of mobile devices and multimedia channels of communication including the social sites, the way people consume content has changed. They now consume content through their eyes, ears and hearts.

So What Distinguishes Branded Content from Noise?

1. Knowing your Consumers

know-your-audienceThis is the “who” of a content marketing strategy. If you own a business that you are marketing online to increase the reach and impact of the business you want to know who your consumers are so you can create content targeted to a specific audience. In general, content is created with two types of audiences in mind. First, there are people who already know you and consume your content. Then there are those people you want to influence. Effective content marketing depends on audience research, planning and measurement.

– Audience research means gathering information about your target audience to build a kind of database. The aim is to create buyer personas based on the data you collect. These are the people you want to influence with your content.

– With your buyer personas in place, the next thing is comparing your actual audience with your buyer personas. To that end, there are a number of tools you can use to collect demographic and social audience data. These include Google Analytics, comScore and BlueKai.

– The last step is the analysis and optimization of the content marketing strategy based on audience data.

2. Engagement Customer-Engagement

Equipped with a firm understanding of what your target audience expects from you, you can now use your knowledge to create the kind of content that reaches and impacts that audience. The best content marketers are captivating story tellers. People love stories and when used as part of a content marketing strategy, stories can help marketers build a certain level of trust with their subjects to deliver information that sticks.

At the same time, you need to understand that storytelling cannot be rushed or faked. It is not possible to automate such type of content. It is a kind of art that generates real-time engagement and feedback.

To help you create smarter content, use the data you collected and web analytics to understand what’s popular with your consumers? Do they prefer infographics to written content? Do they like product reviews? Do your product reviews get better engagement when they are in a video form?

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How to Create Location-Specific Content to Attract the Right Type of Visitors

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In the late 90s and early 2000s,  getting high search engines ranking was quite easy. There was only one thing to do: stuff pages with relevant keywords whether or not the generated content made sense contextually. It was enough to have fluffy, hollow and grammatically incorrect content on a page as long as the content had several mentions of the targeted keyword.

Content-Strategy

For example, if a snow management company in Syracuse, New York wanted to rank high in Google, having several mentions of the phrase “snow removal Syracuse NY” would be enough. Content was created to speak to the search engines rather than real people. Content like this:

“This year, snow removal Syracuse NY is expected to be bad. If you don’t want to spend a small fortune on snow removal Syracuse NY, contact us at XXX Plowing, a snow removal Syracuse NY service. At XXX Plowing, we have the equipment, manpower and technology for snow removal Syracuse NY. To sign up for our snow removal Syracuse NY service, contact us today by clicking on the subscribe button below.”

In mere 71 words, “snow removal Syracuse NY” is mentioned 5 times. Today, the rules of search engine optimization have changed. Keyword stuffing is perhaps the easiest way for websites to get penalized. Don’t misunderstand the problem. It’s OK to create geo targeted content but you have to optimize the content in a way that it provides real value.

3 Ways to Create Content that’s Both High Quality and Relevant for a Specific Location

If you are marketing a local business, you want your website to attract the right type of visitors. To that end, your online content needs to be tailored for people looking for information or services related to a specific city or geographic location. As the Google search algorithm gets smarter and smarter every year, the role of quality content in how a website ranks up the SERPs has grown dramatically. Today, it all boils down to how much value websites provide for human visitors, not only robots.

1. Communicate Clearly

At the end of the day, the top search engines only want one thing: To offer users an excellent service. The focus of all search algorithms is to understand websites and rank them according to the value they are providing. Forget about keyword stuffing. Just communicate clearly. Before posting any content on your website, just ask yourself: “ Is this content helping my prospects in any way?” If the answer is yes, just go ahead and publish it. In any content you create, you should be clear and concise about what you do and where you do it.

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