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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. The term “content marketing” has recently reached buzzword status, although any marketers worth their salt have been doing it since the beginning of time. We spoke to content marketing experts Barry Feldman and Robert Rose and found out what they thought of content marketing today. Barry Feldman, of Feldman Creative, is a content marketing strategist and creative director. Robert Rose is chief strategist at the Content Marketing Institute and a senior analyst with Digital Clarity Group.
Both Robert and Barry agree that increased audience engagement is an essential stepping stone to creating more leads, which is a primary avenue to increased sales.
American Express’s “Unstaged” program organises live music events for streaming online as well as edited release after the show.
By knowing who their audience is and having their personal email addresses from the registration phase, they can effectively market their services directly to potential customers. Adapting content strategies to changing markets and keeping ahead of the crowd are important, but actually doing it is difficult.
Robert explains that, “The biggest challenge, and one that I’m primarily focused on these days, is teaching companies how to be good with the creation of content. Barry’s opinion on outsourcing your content creation is of a slightly different take, “…you can’t say ‘you’re the digital expert, here are the keys to the kingdom,’ I think you have to be involved.” He says of the people who create your content, “It’s getting harder and harder to master the skillset that it takes to succeed in marketing. Placing a value on content creation, instead of simply expecting it from everyone, can have dramatic effects on the quality of content that is produced by your organisation. Once you’ve prioritised your content creation and then want to improve the quality of it, taking a look at other markets for inspiration and taking risks are important. When it comes to audience targeting it’s usually best to be as specific as possible and then branch out, rather than start with a broad base and refining it.
Don’t forget about other forms of online advertising: they’re still important and both interviewees agreed they are essential in supporting content marketing efforts.
Finally, if you want some examples of “smaller” companies that have great content marketing programs then here are some that are bound to lend some inspiration: HelpScout, recommended by Barry, has great content especially in the form of blog posts and ebooks.
It seems that companies today are on quite a level playing field when it comes to content marketing, and not taking full advantage of it would definitely be a mistake. Director of Marketing for SweetIQ, inveterate traveler, writer, reader and general enjoyer of patios, mountains and people of all sorts. Youa€™ll be joining the 130,000 Smart Insights members from 80 countries who trust our advice to Plan, Manage and Optimize their marketing. Based on the results of a recent marketing trends poll conducted by Smartinsights (which asked users to share their views on marketing techniques that will have maximum commercial impact in 2016), here is a list of five of the top marketing trends as they relate to mobile marketing.
According to a report by Venture Beat, as many as 56% of companies use an email marketing provider.
A set of highly evolved marketing automation software - the ones that are A easy to use and reduces time, efforts and resources for digital marketers. In future, the platforms and tools will become more personalized, especially when it comes to predictive analytics.
Content marketing is another trend, which is going to make new waves in the mobile marketing industry. A VR (Virtual Reality) technology, 360A° Video allows viewers to pan around the video in a complete circle. Marketers who specialize in content marketing, can see 360-degree video as the a€?new form of contenta€™ and use it to grab the attention of their consumers. Online shopping will get a complete facelift with 36o-Degree video and especially Live Video Streaming, this will give them a real-time perspective about the products they are going to buy. 360-Degree video ads will create a more immersive and engaging environment and provide a richer user-experience. Customers will have a complete control over what they want to view in the video and from what angle. Since these videos are deep-rooted in Virtual Reality, they will retain viewersa€™ attention more than any other form of content.
With a number of hardware being created to accommodate 360-Degree video content, marketers should go all out in creating and promoting unique videos for their target audience and capture their attention. Big Data is getting more popular with each passing day as a large number of mobile users routinely use their devices to interact with brands or businesses.
Many leading companies understand the need for Big Data and use it to understand their customers, gain an insight about their competitors and analyze the results to implement a comprehensive plan, which can help them enhance their business strategies. Marketers therefore, need to curate and organize this massive volume of data to suit their requirements and implement the results to gain a competitive edge. For instance, when a customer checks in a luxury suite, he will no longer need to call for room service to ask for the wine of his choice. In a nutshell, Big Data will help marketers understand their buyersa€™ moves and this is what will help them maximize their ROI.
Location-based mobile marketing strategies are going to get more traction in the coming years. The first example that comes to mind when we think of location based services is that of Apple iBeacon. This trend will help marketers create loyal customers the first and foremost and provide them more personalized services in the future. For instance, content-sharing website Pinterest announced a€?buyable pinsa€™ in its app version. Sensing the success of its virtual payment system, Apple went ahead and integrated its Passbook with Apple Pay. Likewise, Android device owners have the option to use Android Pay for making a purchase in the stores of their choice or through an app.
All these virtual, cashless and cardless payment systems hint at a future wherein customers will only have to walk in a store and get all the stuff they need without waiting in a queue. Also, let us not forget the fact that mobile payment options are getting more secure (Apple Pay doesna€™t even store your credit card pin or knows your transactions). The wearable can be used to unlock hotel rooms without keys and can also be used to regulate HVAC systems in home in the future. Similarly, wearables such as activity and fitness trackers also have an important role to play. For instance, an individual who pays a lot of attention to his health and fitness by tracking physical activities throughout the day and the calories intake, can get alerts on his device about a waiver on health insurance schemes. These are just some basic examples of how wearables and the IOT is going to be ingrained in our day to day lives. With wearables fast becoming the leading mobile devices of the future, marketers need to come up with cutting-edge marketing solutions for a win-win situation and these trends are definitely going to be of help. 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. 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. And of course, the largest search engine on the planet now holds a permanent position in the modern internet marketing agenda. Adwords, PPC and SEM – these buzzwords represent Google’s paid, non-organic features and functions.
Strike a chord with readers through a great piece of content and they’ll spread the word about across social networks from Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus to Pinterest, Reddit and everything in between.
Every like, tweet, comment and “plus 1” builds SEO-friendly back links to your website, boosting your page ranking in Google and other search engines. The key to successful content marketing is creating and publishing highly engaging, relevant and fresh content.
Linx is a strategic marketing organization which helps you meet your business objectives and challenges by linking your marketing strategies to your business strategies. Today, however, it has become essential in order to grab, and keep, the attention of an audience, because it has become second nature for them to tune out the barrage of advertising that they’re subjected to on a daily basis. In today’s crowded market for consumer attention Barry says advertisers are drowned out by noise and repetition, “therefore, audience engagement is harder and harder to get. Directed by respected film-makers including Spike Lee, Werner Hertzog and Steve Buscemi, the program is a great example of a digital event.
Constant learning is necessary in order to stay on top of your game, and outsourcing may play a role too. Robert says a common assumption is that great content creation is a mystical art that no organisation can develop in-house.
You have to push the envelope and to do that you have to take some risks and be unafraid to fail.
Barry says using PPC is essential if you want to accelerate your content marketing program. Due to rapid changes in mobile technology and marketing approaches, marketers have to be on their toes to adapt the new trends that come their way and integrate the same in their promotional strategies. It's surprising it's not more, but those who already use email marketing are 75% or more likely to purchase marketing automation software over the next year.A This means Marketing Automation is slated to grow exponentially in the coming year, irrespective of the business it caters to. This will allow marketers to carry out their marketing campaigns on mobile devices flawlessly. It will be easier for marketers to determine their most valuable customers, their purchasing and spending habits as well as their browsing habits.
One of the major highlight of content marketing in 2016 and beyond is that it is going to be more interactive and engaging for the target audience. In simple words, users can select the angle from which they want to view any video that has been shot with special cameras. With the scope of being more interactive in the future, these videos can be used by consumers to explore in-depth information about various products and service on their mobiles. This will help marketers make more impact on their target audience than advertisements on other channels. This means they can re-watch the entire content again, each time from a different angle and never miss a single thing! Using Big Data analysis, the hotel will know his preferences in wine, maybe from the recent purchases made by him and deliver the same to his room. These are tiny transmitters that use BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) technology that can easily and quickly detect nearby devices in various locations (retail outlets, shopping malls, point of sale displays etc.).
It will help marketers create an interactive experience for their customers by offering real-time, customized alerts about discounts and deals, which in turn will help them earn loyal customers. Looking at this high adoption rate in a small period of time, it is safe to say that mobile payments do have a great potential in the future. This feature will allow users to directly buy anything of their choice by tapping the a€?buy ita€™ button and get the option to make payments using Apple Pay. Known as Wallet it lets users store all their credit and debit cards, tickets and even boarding passes so that they get a seamless experience while making payments.
When they like a product of their choice, they only need to scan the barcode with their device, add it to their cart, walk to the mobile payment counter and pay with their mobile. This means with a well-defined strategy, marketers can bring their target audience to the conversion funnel.
The a€?system of systemsa€™ is all set to be the next big thing in the world of mobile technology and is accelerating at a fast rate. This new wave of technology allow marketers to promote their products and services to their target audience on a more personal basis by relaying information on their devices in real-time. With time, these technologies are going to get more advanced and provide many opportunities to marketers to provide customized, real-time services to their customers. Let us wait and watch what the future holds and how the trends are going to be adopted by mobile marketers to enhance their promotional campaigns. 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. 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. Everyone wants prime real estate in the Google SERPs – and great content can get your foot in the door. There is a synergy to content marketing that, when done correctly, creates a powerful solution. It’s simply content consumers find sufficiently interesting, different or insightful (that was easy). Viral social content is an unprecedented leader in the modern marketing mix – but it’s only the beginning. Increased rankings bring new readers, who in turn bring more likes, tweets, comments and plus 1s. Great content is educational, humorous, controversial – anything to grab and hold on to people’s attention. If you’ve got a series of steps that lead to a marketing success story, audience engagement is the beginning of it. Of course your blog’s content is the main draw, and if it isn’t interesting then the blog is worthless.

He explains that “In most organizations, creating content is just something that’s kind of ‘expected’ of everyone. Many Marketing Automation suppliers have a desktop legacy - so do check their mobile capabilities carefully.
And one of the best examples of interactive technology that can become the mainstay of content marketing in 2016 is - 360A° Video.
They can also use the data to create customized menu for him and book a cab of his choice as and when he requires the service.
This bit of information will pop up on his screen and he will be able to avail the deal instantly with just a tap on the screen. As smart objects such as smart watches, smart cars and smart houses enter the mainstream, IOT will get more prominence than ever. She is a true believer in making the digital world accessible to all and covers latest technology, marketing & industry trends. 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.
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. Today, the old-time prince known as paid search has relinquished the throne to the new king of our modern search engine land: content marketing. The result is an opportunity for growth – all driven from one unique, well-researched and passionately written piece of content. Plug this formula into your content marketing strategy and expect huge gains in search engine traffic, social media exposure and loyal readership. Content marketing might require more work, more talent, more resources and more skill – but it’s the latest and greatest way to build a spectacular online profile. Barry mentions a myriad of possibilities and ends with “the ultimate in engagement and lead nurturing,” an email list to market directly to leads.
No prize for guessing that 360A° Video has a lot of potential, which is being explored by tech-giants Google (YouTube) and Facebook (Newsfeed videos). All these are real-time benefits provided to the customer, possible only through Big Data analysis. At the time of payment, he can redeem the deal and get a discount on the total billing amount. With cloud computing and sensors in almost everything around us, IOT aims for a€?zero human interventiona€™. Here are some of the biggest brands in the world that have decided that content marketing is worth their time.
In terms of social media and Google rankings, great content is the vehicle that drives traffic, engagement, trust, conversions – you name it. The modern social and search landscape simply promotes endless possibilities for successful content marketing. He also mentions “events” as an important component, but says that it’s often left off the list because it isn’t necessarily a digital channel. And that is not all, when he makes the payment, he will instantly get another deal popping up on the screen. 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?
If you’ve religiously published one new whitepaper, eBook or webinar a month for the past year, are you a content marketer?
Because you use Google Analytics, Hubspot or one of the other marketing software platforms, does that make you a content marketer? 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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