7 Content Marketing Lessons Brands Can Learn from Journalists

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Before making my debut in the content marketing world, I was a journalist living out her days at coffee shops, city council meetings, ribbon cuttings and community gatherings. The daily grind was grueling at times, but it was also exciting. The prospect of breaking news always kept me on my toes and every day I worked to give my readers the latest and greatest news and information. And of course, I aimed to deliver that news and information before the competition.

Now as a content marketer, I find that while my job title has changed, the essence of what I do hasn’t. Like journalism, content marketing is all about providing your audience with quality content that informs, engages and develops your brand as a trusted go-to resource.

6 Ways to Use Video to Add More Value to Your Digital Marketing Strategy

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Humans are highly visual beings, so it’s certainly no surprise that online video content is becoming a favorite source of information and entertainment across the digital landscape—and it shows no signs of slowing down.

According to a HighQ infographic, experts believe that 69% of consumer Internet traffic will be from video by 2017—and that number will rise to 79% by 2018. As a result, video is becoming an increasingly important tool for marketers as they work to capture audience attention, provide value and increase engagement across their digital properties. In fact, the same infographic reports that 52% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI.

8 Ways to Build Credibility & Trust with Content Marketing

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Imagine if the Nigerian prince—you know, the one spamming your email—really did have millions of dollars he needed to smuggle out of the country. Imagine he was legitimately offering you a generous portion of the cash to help you out. Think how sad and baffled he would be as yet another email went unanswered, even unopened. His motives are pure—but he lacks credibility, and so he cries himself to sleep on a mountain of landlocked money.

You are offering something of value to your audience (aren’t you?). You’re striving to be authentic and transparent and customer-centric and every other buzzword. But like the theoretical Nigerian prince, your content can be ignored if you don’t establish credibility and build trust.

Hello, It’s Me: How to Add Conversation Back Into Content Marketing

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It was the video sensation of last year, currently sitting at over a billion views on YouTube. It features a smoky-voiced chanteuse in a big fur coat and a thoroughly obsolete flip-phone. And it’s a great example of what’s wrong with the current state of content marketing.

I’m referring, naturally, to Adele’s video for “Hello.” In case you missed it, or any of the hundreds of covers and parodies that it inspired, here it is:

Ostensibly, the song is about trying to make a connection with an old flame. But if you listen closely, it’s the most one-sided conversation imaginable. “Hello, it’s me,” Adele sings. “I’ve been wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet…they say time’s supposed to heal you, but I ain’t done much healing.” Notice how many times she says “I” in those opening lines?

Keeping it Real with Content Marketing: Why Integrity, Storytelling & Creativity Reign Supreme

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Marketing is often seen as a game. A game in which the marketers are the strategists and the customers are the pawns. Unfortunately, that is a game in which nobody wins. Marketers may feel a quick rush due to their success but customers that feel duped or mislead will surely, and quickly spread news of foul marketing practices.

There is no shortcut to providing value to customers through your marketing. In fact, now more than ever self-directed buyers are relying on the content they read online to lead their purchasing decisions and if something “feels fishy” they’ll quickly move on to a more reputable source.

Because of the amount of content being created today, that also means that not only integrity, but creativity and storytelling are an incredibly important part of creating content that connects your customers to your brand.

Learn Where Influencer Marketing Fits in the B2B Customer Journey

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When you lose a potential customer to a competitor it can leave you reeling with questions and wondering what they did to set themselves apart and how they did it. Companies that work hard to be the best answer wherever their customers are looking and build trust and credibility early in the sales cycle are typically those that win new business when it comes time for customers to make a decision.

One way that brands can begin building trust and credibility early on with prospects is to incorporate influencers into content meant to represent different stages of the buying cycle. In fact, recent research has found that 51% of marketers believe that incorporating influencers into their marketing helps them get better customers.

How Social Media Can Drive Success on Your Content Marketing Roadtrip

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I think most marketers would agree that social media and content marketing compliment each other nicely. Need proof? Recent research has found that 93% of B2B marketers list social media as one of their top five content marketing tactics.

I like to think of social media as the vehicle that drives your content where you want it to go. But as social media continues to evolve, it’s important to remember that we’re not driving down a one-way street. Social media presents more opportunities than just a dissemination platform. It can also be used as a means for engaging your online community, publishing and targeting specific content and building brand awareness.

LinkedIn: 31 Sophisticated Content Marketing Thought Leaders to Follow

31 Sophisticated Content Marketers - LinkedIn

The team at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions (client) recently published a fantastic resource for content marketing called The Sophisticated Marketers Guide to Content Marketing for 2016.

At Content Marketing World 2014, LinkedIn’s Jonathan Lister proclaimed that LinkedIn was “All in with content marketing”. While that reference was mostly about the ability for users to publish content on LinkedIn, the content marketing efforts from the team at LinkedIn over the past 2 years has been nothing short of impressive.

This most recent eBook is a great example of depth, design, and utility that also serves as a case study for “big rock” content. Along with smart advice from marketing rock stars Jason Miller and his team (Sean, Alex, and Megan pictured on the cover below), industry thought leaders and influencers are included as well. Bringing in outside expertise to co-create content adds credibility, subject matter expertise and balance to what would otherwise be “brand content” – a smart move.

Beyond the Blog Post: What a GREAT Marketer Does with Content

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What is a blog post for?

Come to think of it, what is content for?

Sure, content should inspire our audience to form a relationship with the brand so they can be nurtured to a purchase decision that ultimately drives revenue. Duh.

Which is great. That’s what we want content to do. But—and forgive me for sounding like a broken record—what is it for?

The best answer I’ve seen comes from Dan Blumenthal: “Content Marketing is what web searchers are looking for.” Nine words. Mic drop.

That’s what our content is for—it’s for providing the best answer to people searching for information. It’s for delighting someone who clicks on your link in a search results page. If your content nails what it’s for, then it has a much better chance of accomplishing what you want it to do (form relationships/drive revenue/etc).

Empathy in Content Marketing: Three Stories to Tell Your Audience

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You are (presumably) a person. The people you are trying to reach with your brand’s message are, amazingly, people as well. Content works better when it comes from a place of empathy—that is, when you know your audience and can speak to them on a personal level.

For example, I can use my astounding powers of empathy to read your mind right now. “For crying out loud,” you’re saying, “tell me something I don’t know, Nite. I know what empathy is. I know it makes marketing better. Quit wasting my time!”

See? It’s like magic.

Empathy starts with a deep understanding of your audience, gained by social listening, interviews, and persona-building. But you can have a deep understanding of your audience and still fail to tell the stories that will engage them. When you use the insight you have to tell a story that resonates, that’s empathy in action.

Heidi Bullock of Marketo Helps Uncover Ways to Engage Self-Directed Buyers

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Last week at the Content2Conversion conference, Heidi Bullock, VP of Demand Generation at Marketo took the stage and covered a topic that is top of mind for all marketers. That is, how to create the right message at the right time to meet the needs of customers.

Today’s self-directed buyers typically go through up to 90% of their purchasing journey on their own. Which means that marketers need to find a way to build credibility, without even speaking with customers directly. Below we’ll discover some best practices for creating engaging to better meet the needs of self-directed buyers.

Content Marketing for Self-Directed Buyers

According to a 2016 report from MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute, B2B marketers list “producing engaging content” as their top challenge, followed closely by “measuring content effectiveness” and “producing content consistently”. To help with this top need, Heidi provided a formula for creating engaging content:

Content Marketing: 5 Unexpected Places to Find Inspiration for Your Blog Content

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Creative inspiration is like a butterfly: It’s beautiful from a distance, but full of weird insect parts up close.

Sorry, let me try that again. Creative inspiration is like a butterfly: Sometimes it seems like no matter how far you stretch, it flutters above your head, beautiful but just out of reach. Sure, you could sit perfectly still and wait for it to land, but your editorial calendar beckons. Few marketers have the free time to truly find their creative space. At the same time, you know that content with that creative spark will be far more compelling.

The next time your creative butterfly just won’t sit still long enough for you to get a good look at it, grab your butterfly net of proactivity and go after it. Here are five ways to get inspired when you’re stuck.