The HBR post notes “Nine out of ten organizations are now marketing with content – that is, going beyond the traditional sales pitches and instead enhancing brands by publishing (or passing along) relevant information, ideas, and entertainment that customers will value.
That’s quite a shift in what is, by the standards of media and marketing, a very, very short time. And in the end, isn’t having a dialog with your customers what business, and brands, are supposed to be about? We’re still early in the shift to conversational marketing, and not all brands are excellent at it. Sure, there are as many examples of flat footed or poorly thought-out executions as there are screaming successes, but again, we’re just getting started. I love that there is this whole other spectrum of advertising because it gives companies much more scope to do something amazing no matter what size their budget. I think that content marketing is the best way to promote something right now and specially if you know how to tell a story, it could end up viral as well. Right now it’s really good if you can afford to pay some extra $$$ to get some mentions over the place and get a good story. John Battelle, 45, is an entrepreneur, journalist, professor, and author who has founded or co-founded scores of online, conference, magazine, and other media businesses.
Having content on a site may seem to be not too much of a big deal, but you would agree to the fact that if there is no quality content on a site it can cut its story short. If you can understand the role content plays in the global marketing sphere, you will understand why it is not only marketers who can’t afford to ignore it. In fact, content marketing can be described as a bigger approach that paves path for a business. From smartphones to tablets and desktops, users have access to different types of content almost everywhere like website content, blog content, promotional ads and so on. For this to succeed, your content should be interesting and helpful that can win the trust of your target audience so that they read it further and visit the site again. However, it is important that you don’t waste people’s time by offering them bad or poor content. You need to understand that the audience does not like to stay, if the content does not resonate with their interests or does not stir their curiosity to read any further. According to Nielsen Norman Group, users tend to leave a page within ten to twenty seconds if they do not find anything relevant on a webpage.
In addition to offering a great user experience, great content has several SEO benefits although great copywriting should always be the primary focus. It is the art curator who first creates the perception about an artwork among the audience even before the artist does.
There are many brands that understood the mileage of content marketing and used it to gain great benefits out of it in a timely manner.
For many successful brands – Intel, Virgin Mobile and American Express, to name a few – content has been a great help in connecting them easily with their consumers.
Every brand aspires to bring sales on their way and become a major profit-earning business. By now, the global marketing industry is already spending over 20 percent of its marketing budgets on content marketing, and it is yet to grow in the coming years. Content marketing means creating impressive content and sharing it with the audience to help them know you. About Alan SmithAlan Smith is an avid tech blogger with vast experience in various IT domains, currently associated with SPINX Digital Agency, a Los Angeles, California based website design, web development and internet marketing company. Usability Geek is a Usability & User Experience (UX) blog that provides practical and useful information. Our readership comes from various fields including those of Usability, User Experience, Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and Information Architecture (IA).
Content marketing is the perfect tool to use when it comes to driving traffic to an online store or a company’s general information website, so it should come as no surprise when people find out that some of the largest companies in the world are using content marketing to their own advantage. It should come as no surprise that technology is going to be the industry that benefits from corporate blogs more than anything else, and IBM has a unique blog that allows their employees to be vocal about their own views.
Although most companies have decided that they are only going to use their blog for product updates and specific announcements, you will actually get to take a peak behind the scenes when you take a look at Garmin’s blog. With the best corporate blog for an airline company, Southwest Airlines is able to connect with a group of consumers that other airline companies will never get to see. Starbucks is a company that you should not be surprised to see on this list because they are always willing to use the power of the Internet to their advantage. This is another company that likes to take advantage of their consumer base on the web, and the purpose of this blog is to help their customers understand more about the latest advancements in diet and health. Marriot has a classic corporate blog that is basically used as a speaking platform for the company as a whole. As you can see, there are plenty of huge companies that are willing to post their thoughts for the world to see on the Internet. In my own research, I haven’t seen much clarity in terms of direct response to this question. Author: Kevin JorgensenStarted my career as an engineer because I enjoy mastering the way things work but quickly learned that people are much more challenging and interesting than machines. Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, educators, journalists, general public.
The key is to offer your audiences content that’s so good and so useful to them, they keep coming back for more – and telling their friends. 4Keep it exciting. Look for ways to give your audiences useful information in a variety of forms — written, visual, online, through social media. Dennis Fischman helps organizations tell their stories, win friends and get support they need. I find it really helpful to create a persona, or profile, of someone who represents the audience I’m trying to reach.
Learning: We provide thousands of free articles, tutorials and resources to the social good community.
Marketing your content though is a challenge in a world where there are over 2 billion internet users who are bombarded with emails, streams of tweets and banner ads. The process of content marketing involves the creation of material that is informative but is also written on a perspective which shows your business in a positive light. Great content will position your business as a thought leader in its industry and it will also educate, inform, entertain and inspire. There are many ways of doing content marketing but not all methods yield the positive results! There is a tendency to create too much content, unleash it on the Internet and then expect it to carry traction throughout the year but this isn’t always a good idea. Once your content has been published, the main objective is to get as many people to see view it who may be interested in your business and leveraging social media is an excellent place to start in order to achieve this. In addition to this, we already know that Google uses social media signals when deciding your positions in the search results so an article that gets a good number of ‘Likes’, shares, comments, tweets, +1s is likely to improve your search engine positions as well. Find out what your target audience are interested in and create high quality, engaging, thought provoking content that they would be interested in.
Your article needs to be able to turn up in search engine results pages (the holy grail is to be on page one at the top of the page) and then by having the right headline and description attract the right people. People receive sales pitches all the time, be it in the electrical store, through the post, a popup advert on the Internet or whilst passing a billboard.
My book – Blogging the Smart Way “How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media” – will show you how. Thanks for the tips Jeff, this is valuable for a start-up business or an established one getting their business online.
Colleges and universities are constantly preparing or launching their next cycle of marketing campaigns aimed at both prospective applicants and donors. Yet across all sizes of colleges and universities, there is one theme that unites all campaigns: branding. Across the range of B2C vertical markets there is no industry for which content is more important than content marketing in higher education. When Advertising Age asked why branding is so important for a university, Northwestern University’s CMO Mary Baglivo replied, “Because the competition for the best and brightest students, faculty for transformational research and donor dollars is more competitive than ever . But creating an effective content marketing in higher education campaign is easier said than done. Learn How To use Boingnet to Personalize Education Content Campaigns –  Register for a 60 Day Free Trial! A college mails an informational brochure to a segment of prospective students based on a specific range of SAT scores. As she reads, she finds a personalized URL (pURL) containing her name and promising her more custom content if she visits the page. Simon Merryweather has worked in a variety of marketing and market research capacities for Boingnet. Boingnet is a lightweight marketing automation platform that helps agencies and small businesses get new leads, nurture them and turn them into loyal customers. Back in 2007 (!) I wrote a post that pointed to early examples of content marketing in a social and digital context, and offered a framework for why this nascent movement made sense. But even the most traditional brands are now deeply engaged in figuring out how to be part of conversations that matter to them.


Brands are finding their voice, and we, their audiences, will determine the value they add by our response to what they have to say.
I have seen some fantastic videos which have clearly not cost a small fortune, but still promoted a brand. In fact, we have already highlighted how usability and online marketing overlap in some areas. With the help of quality content, the audience gets to understand a brand, know about its products and services, and get interested into it.
This is one good way to keep the audience well connected to your site and not disappoint them when they visit on it next time. Good quality content helps in the making of a brand by establishing it and allowing the audience to look through the brand, its products and services.
Everyone values time and no one would give a damn to content that is not returning them anything in the exchange of their time ‘wasted’ into reading it. Likewise, the first impression about a brand is passed on to the audience through its content on the site. By the time these established brands have presented their innovative concepts, they knew that they had kicked off their sales and probably leading the market. If you are a digital marketer, you understand the importance of using content marketing for the benefit of your brand. While some companies decide that they will have a blog to post updates about their products, others decide that the best way to drive traffic to their website is through the use of content in the form of videos or infographics. IBM is also sure to let people know that the views of their employees are their own and do not represent the views of the company as a whole.
They also like to show off how some of their customers have been able to tweak their products and use them in a customized fashion.
This corporate blog has to do with the people who work at the company more than anything else, so this may not be the best spot to go if you are simply interested in staying up to date with the latest moves of the company.
You will find a wide range of topics discussed on this blog, and anything from specific company ideas to news on the coffee market as a whole can be found here.
This is the perfect kind of blog to create because it involves the process of helping the consumer make more informed decisions in the future.
This is now the voice of the business, and the blogs are posted by the actual President of the company. In addition to driving extra traffic to their products or services, these companies are also able to improve the friendship between themselves and their customers.
You’re trying to get people to volunteer their time and donate their money – but you can’t even get them to pay attention.
What if, instead of your bidding for your supporters’ attention, they came looking for you? You’re already doing marketing any time you communicate with a specific group of people to move them toward taking an action you desire. It’s so easy to delete your email, ignore your press release, toss that annual report or printed appeal letter into the recycling bin. Good content marketing will create interest in your business, attracting traffic to your website and hopefully, sales or conversations as well. News and current events change all the time which means your target audience may not be searching for the same things as they were searching for two or three months ago. Once you find out what types of articles seem to be the most effect, you will have a better idea as to what types of content your target audience are interested in. Posting content on your social media accounts will bring your content to those following your social media accounts. To do this, you should include some relevant keywords into your article but don’t overdo it. They’ve become very good at noticing a blatant attempt to make them purchase something which is why all marketing articles should aim to inform rather than sell a product.
Once high quality content has been created, it needs to be promoted and monitored using web analytics and call tracking solutions.
I show you how to create and build a blog that rocks and grow tribes, fans and followers on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.
I have found that if your content is interesting, insightful, compelling, relevant AND you do not sell but rather provide value-adding information that can enable the recipient to solve problems (or look good in the boardroom) your subscriber base will continue to grow and the requests for more information, mettings, etc.
The part that I would have every blogger, or webmaster write and put on their fridge is quality, over quantity. Each school will go about its campaigns in slightly different ways, as each hopes to highlight some standout or differentiating facet of its programs.
It is an incredibly competitive market for attracting targeted students and donors, a carefully tailored brand name goes a long way. When segmenting prospective applicants and donors, universities have to deal with huge amounts of data ranging from SAT scores to donor histories. By addressing each potential donor or applicant individually without pressing a sales pitch on him or her, a university establishes a relationship of trust and friendliness in, ostensibly, the interest of the potential customer’s education. On the cover, each student’s name is printed as part of a friendly greeting, followed by some tagline specific to her home state or region. Upon visiting the page, the student finds a prefilled form for her, asking for one more piece of information (for example intended area of study) before she can access the next round of custom content.If she does fill out the form, an automatic thank you email will be sent to her, further building the personal and friendly atmosphere within which she is viewing content.
A passionate student and content creator with particular interests in data driven and content marketing principals, he can also be found on ski slopes of New England or fly fishing in the waters of the South Shore of Massachusetts.
Thus, content marketing helps in exposing a business for its audience to know it, and generates effective brand promotion for it.
Therefore, always focus on delivering interesting content to your audience and convince them about your brand. Therefore, publish valuable content that gives your audience quick updates about your brand when they visit your site. With the help of great content, you can connect with the online audience and promote your products and services for sales. Coca Cola is a great example to follow, especially in the way it continuously tells exciting stories to its audience, keeping them enticed. This way of marketing comes as an easy way of attracting the sales leads by the way of creating innovative stories of your brand. You will not be able to achieve the same rate of success with your online business if you do not use content marketing on a daily basis, so it’s important to learn how you can implement this form of marketing in your own business plans.
Getting some extra insight into the mind of the head of the company always adds an extra bit of interest to a corporate blog. Corporate blogs are the perfect tool to use when you want your company to become the friend of a customer instead of a simple store.
The Content Marketing Institute lists 26 ways to produce content, from research reports to online games. Most people will do just that – if they see your outreach as just another claim upon their time. Publish content consistently and persistently making your sure the content you produce has some relevancy to current events and what your target audience may be interested in at the present time.
If these people like your content, they may choose to share it with their followers and a snowball effect is created which may possibly result in your content going viral! Creating an interesting title will definitely be effective in getting a user to click on your article rather than the next person’s article but a poorly written, uninteresting article will just get scanned and then discarded. Provide genuinely useful information on a topic which would allow you to mention your product or service along with some of its merits.
It also includes dozens of tips to create contagious content that begs to be shared and tempts people to link to your website and blog. And of course, as in any industry, colleges and universities span a vast spectrum of size, budget, and technological capabilities. Schools want their names to be immediately associated with concepts that will drive both enrollment and donations from their target demographics. In short, content marketing is a company’s distribution of informative and helpful material that a given consumer will find interesting. First pioneered by the B2B market, it has now rapidly made its way to the B2C side, where it is still spreading as different industries find new uses for it. Every institution is trying to appeal to slightly different segments of both donors and students, so subtleties in branding offer a great way for institutions to distinguish themselves from their peers.
Higher education institutions must organize this data and then use it to effectively reach out to a vast and largely uninformed population: they can’t just send everyone a hand written invitation to apply or donate. In fact, a report by DemandMetric showed that 82% of customers feel more positively about a company after receiving content customized to them.
The extent of personalization all depends on the strengths of the lists an institution is using.
Inside the brochure (which she decides to open after seeing her name and home state on the cover) is informative and interesting information about the school.
And whether or not she fills out the form, her visit to the page will be recorded, giving the college’s marketing team a lead for follow-up drip campaigns.
We can coordinate content marketing campaigns across direct mail, email, social media, and mobile, and then give it an extra personal touch with pURLs, custom landing pages and microsites, and easy to use variable logic. Content marketing has birthed native advertising, which has given new life to independent publications like Quartz and Vox.


Content is becoming the most robust yet candid part of the global marketing industry and giving both fun and information to the customers. Many professionals have confirmed that both marketers and the audience have severely suffered due to lack of good content.
Regularly posted, new and impressive content has the ability to tone up with the regular customers and retain them for a long-term.
Users visiting your site want valuable information that can generate their trust in your brand and help them buy.
Here are some of the biggest brands in the world that have decided that content marketing is worth their time. If you’re an online newspaper publishing reams of content every day, are you a content marketer? If you’re blogging on your website three times a week, are you doing content marketing? As a general rule you should always add keywords but the article should be written for a human, not a search engine. A well written article will make the reader come to a conclusion without sounding like a sales pitch. The colleges and universities with the largest endowments have the ability to spend the most on marketing, and use complicated and expensive products overflowing with channels and analytical features. High academic standards, sports success, outstanding programs, and proof that degrees from their universities lead to brighter futures are popular selling points, but each institution will tailor its message slightly differently in order to better appeal to its chosen demographic segment.
There is no sales pitch in a content marketing campaign; rather, it is designed to inform the consumer about a topic related to the company’s product in a friendly and helpful way.
Consumers have been very receptive to it, with 70% of consumers claiming to feel closer to a company after viewing content, according to a DemandMetric survey. All of a sudden you have a much larger world to communicate to and [it’s necessary] to make your brand clear in a much broader universe.” Whatever the institution’s goal, whether it be attracting chemistry geniuses or funding a new football stadium, content marketing is just the tool to accomplish it. It also proves itself valuable for expanding a university’s brand visibility, as 70% of consumers prefer to learn about a company through personalized content rather than a generic advertisement, according to the Custom Content Council.
These subsequent campaigns may be as specific as the marketer would like, potentially working off of the new information that the student filled out on her pURL.
With the data we collect from content opens, click-throughs, and landing page forms, we lay the foundations of drip campaigns to continue the conversation with the desired segments of the initial campaign. And it’s become the lifeblood of massive platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and LinkedIn.
If you’ve religiously published one new whitepaper, eBook or webinar a month for the past year, are you a content marketer?
On the other end, the marketing departments of the small to mid-sized institutions do not have the same human and financial resources at their disposal, often limiting their efforts to just one or two channels. This form of marketing requires no distinct sales pitch; it’s all about building the institution’s brand visibility and credibility. It is intended to build a sense of trust and amicability between consumer and supplier outside of the realm of sales.
In fact, the same survey reported that 86% of B2C marketers are using some form of content marketing, and that number is growing.
Just like Northwestern, every school has a target segment of donors and applicants, and proper branding helps to ensure the institution’s marketing success.
Sending overly sales-based, explicitly enrollment-oriented, or purely funds-oriented campaigns portrays a university as lifeless numbers-focused business, not the brand that they have worked hard to cultivate.
Thus, adding the personal component vastly increases readership of content and proves to be the most effective and inexpensive means of brand management and dissemination. In this way, the college is able to share and develop its chosen branding strategy in a friendly, informational way.
Whether the university is reaching out to alumni networks or working to attract applicants, Boingnet’s software has it covered with our easy to use, straightforward user interface and surprisingly low prices. Brands might hear criticisms that are valid, and have the chance, through conversations with customers, to address those critiques. Because you use Google Analytics, Hubspot or one of the other marketing software platforms, does that make you a content marketer? A good content-based campaign will both reinforce the brand’s desired image and increase its broader visibility. Content regarding the institution’s programs, campus news, or school statistics is the answer, but how can a university convince an uninformed prospect to open and read through content? We want to help spread and develop a university’s brand to increase enrollment and donations, while at the same time solidifying that chosen brand’s position within the minds of its targeted students and donors. Customers have the chance to give their input on new versions of products, ask questions, learn more – in other words, have a dialog. Content marketing allows an institution to spread relevant information about itself without actually forcing a sales pitch on a prospective applicant or donor. It could easily be replicated with different content if, for example, the college wanted to target prospective donors rather than prospective applicants.
The prospective applicant or donor will internalize the information and thus allow it to alter his or her perception of the brand, which quickly and inexpensively accomplishes the institution’s short-term branding and marketing goals.
It’s a set of actions, executed in a specific sequence, designed to create a singular, repeatable result. So simply banging out blogs a few times a week on whatever topic happens to catch your fancy – even if those topics happen to be relevant to your business, school or non-profit, isn’t content marketing.
When a company like HubSpot publishes a statistic that demonstrates a positive correlation between blogging frequency and the number of leads generated on a website, there’s an important piece of information missing.
The blogging that generates more leads has to be created and published in a specific way to achieve that positive correlation. Simply producing more content, which might be the conclusion you draw from published statistics, does not make you a content marketer and does not help you generate more qualified leads.Roles MatterAnother important part of the definition of content marketing is the different roles that content plays.
Some content is designed to attract visitors, some to engage prospects and some to qualify leads. The more focused a piece of content is on one of these jobs, the more useful the information that you gather about how people interact with it will be. One-size-fits-all content is a no, no.If you’re constantly creating content that only performs one of these functions, you’re not doing content marketing. For example, if you only write content about general topics in your industry or cause and never create content about your specific branded solution you may be attracting visitors but you’re probably not doing much to generate leads… and you’re not doing content marketing. A classic case of this kind of content myopia is the content creator whose content only speaks to their branded solution. Their content always talks about how great their solution is, how it beats the competition hands down etc.
This type of content reads like an advertisement… the problem is that no one reads advertisements… and this type of content, as a result, is largely ineffective.Another common way that marketers falsely convince themselves that they are doing content marketing is by simply creating different types of content because someone told them they should or that video was better than blogging etc. Just because you have blogs, a few webinars, an eBook and a video on your website does not mean you’re doing content marketing. If you’re doing content marketing right, you’re creating the appropriate types of content to attract visitors, engage prospects and qualify leads and offering it to the people learning about your company, school or non-profit at the appropriate time. When practicing content marketing, the appropriate time is defined both by the process and by the person consuming your content. In content marketing we use the concept of a funnel to visualize how people move from a more casual, less engaged relationship with our value proposition to a fully qualified, engaged relationship, ready for sales follow-up.
While the concept of a sales funnel has been around for generations in content marketing there are some new twists that help the marketer identify the level of engagement and know what types of content to offer. Simple.Let Your Funnel Be Your GuideIn the top half of the funnel, visitors are consuming content on general topics related to the industry you’re in. Prospects in the top half of the funnel are learning about alternative answers to the questions they have.
For example if you are marketing running shoes for Acme company, in the top of your content marketing funnel, you’re attracting visitors with content that speaks to the general topics that people in the running community are concerned about. The people in the top half of your funnel are simply gathering information and if you’re providing it, you are becoming their go-to source. How you make the offer might be in a webinar, video, white paper… some sort of premium content that requires a person to identify themselves… on a form. The reader has told us they are specifically interested in my brand of pronation solution for runners. Now it’s time to qualify that interest with content designed to address potential objections to my solution… objections like, you’re too expensive or you take too long to deliver or your packaging doesn’t offer this particular combination of features. How a prospect consumes this qualifying bottom half of the funnel content ultimately tells your sales person what she or he should focus on in a sales call, which is typically the offer at the very bottom of your funnel where you have a fully engaged, qualified lead. And that’s what content marketing is all about, right?So you’re probably starting to get the picture that there are many, many ways to do content marketing wrong (and be convinced that you’re doing content marketing) and only one way to do content marketing right.
Whether you’re an inbound marketing agency, a frustrated marketer who needs structure around the content creation effort or someone aspiring to do content marketing, The Content Marketer’s Blueprint will help you achieve your goals and Innovative Marketing Resources can create one just for you.



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