Archive for the ‘Content Marketing’ Category

A 9-Step Crash Course on Content Distribution

Today’s post comes from Ritika Puri. In addition to sharing PR and content tips on the BuzzStream blog, Ritika has written for Forbes, The Next Web, Business Insider, and American Express OPEN Forum.

Content marketing is a customer acquisition powertool. The concept is simple — inspire, engage, and delight audiences through great storytelling. Write compelling, heartfelt blog posts. Create beautiful infographics. Produce never-before-seen e-books and guides. Delight your audiences, and pour your humanity into your brand.

It sounds simple, right? Produce great content, and you’re set.

Not quite.

The competition for audience attention has never been more cutthroat. More and more brands are jumping into the content ecosystem, with 78% of marketers believing in storytelling as the future of marketing. Meanwhile, human attention spans are getting shorter — goldfish are putting us to shame.

In addition to creating amazing content, your marketing team needs to build out a thoughtful and high-impact distribution strategy. Rely on this guide for the ultimate crash course.

 

1. Content Syndication

It takes time to build and grow your audience. One way to kickstart the process is to syndicate your content with established media channels. First, publish your content on your own blog. Then, pitch the story to editors at bigger publishers to redistribute.

Here is an example of a blog post on Coworks that was recently syndicated with The Next Web. The Coworks blog, at the time of syndication, was only 1-month-old:

 

Original Post on the Coworks Blog

 

TNWPost Syndicated on The Next Web

 

A syndication strategy takes time and patience to fully develop. Editorial relationships are tough to build, especially for brands. Prove to editors that you’re committed to delivering value. Keep networking, and keep asking. Syndication is a business development art — persistence and creativity are key.

 

2. Email Marketing

It’s unlikely that audiences will be visiting your blog (and content) on a regular basis. There is so much content on the web, and yours is likely to slip through the cracks.

The most effective way to reach consumers 1:1 is through email. When you publish a blog post, send your email subscribers a short-and-sweet snippet to tell them that you’ve published something awesome. Include a bold call-to-action (CTA) back to your blog to drive consistent traffic.

Here is an example email that promotes an article on the Coworks blog:

Email

Roughly one-in-ten users who opened our emails clicked through to finish reading the article on the Coworks blog:

GA

Visits from email about the post

Pay attention to open, click-through, and unsubscribe rates to learn how audience respond to and engage with your content. These data points will help you optimize your strategy.

 

3. Client Service Teams

Content is a tool for building relationships at scale. Your marketing team’s blog posts, infographics, videos, and ebooks can help spark natural conversations between sales teams and prospective clients.

These conversations provide a low-touch, yet high-impact say to say hello — “just because.” In some cases these “hellos” may materialize into strategic upselling opportunities.

Marketing teams should build feedback loops with account management, sales, and customer service reps — these teams are at the front-lines of your organization and are powerful distribution engines.

 

4. Paid Channel Advertising

Did your company recently publish an e-book or guide? Are you looking to generate leads? Paid channel advertisements can help you connect this long-form content with mid-funnel audiences. Here is what you do:

  • Step 1: Drive traffic to your website organically.
  • Step 2: Retarget these visitors on Facebook and AdSense with a CTA to your free e-book.
  • Step 3: Set-up a landing page to capture leads.

On Facebook, for instance, you can create ‘Lookalike audiences’ based on your existing CRM database — prospects who fit the same demographic and interest-based profiles of your most engaged customers.

Here is an example ad from General Assembly, a company that aims to democratize education. The company is promoting a free trial of its online content program.

Take a look at the paid channel ad:

Paid

…. and the corresponding landing page:

GenAssembly Landing page for paid social ad.

 

5. Social Visuals

You already know that Facebook and Twitter are invaluable channels for promoting your content. The challenge, however, is that these markets are saturated.

It’s crucial to give your tweets and status updates a ‘visual edge’ — to outsmart the crowd in capturing fleeting audience attention spans.

Be sure to include compelling images with your social media updates:

image Social updates with compelling images stand out in feeds.

 

6. Hashtags

Tap into existing conversations through #hashtags related to your content. Use hashtags strategically by pinpointing what’s trending and by tagging keywords in your tweets and status updates.

TV Series Doctor Who does this well:

DW

Doctor Who page post on Facebook

 

DW2

BBC network uses same #DoctorWho hashtag. 

 

7. Your Immediate Network

If you’re publishing a particularly meaningful piece of content, ask your network to promote it 1:1.  These could be offline and online networks. As an example, take a look at this blog post on Clarity.fm, which features the story of volcanologist turned nonprofit entrepreneur Jess Pelaez:

 Wisdom

As you can see, her interview received hundreds of shares. Her secret? It’s no secret at all — it’s her amazing network.

Jess does not have thousands of fans and followers — and neither does her nonprofit, Blueprint Earth (at least, not yet).

What she did, to promote this article, was to reach out to her network, which consists of scientific and geological associations. These groups promoted this article to their audiences. This promotion strategy helped drive visitors to the Clarity article.

 

8. Your Extended Network

Thanks to social media, today’s marketers are continuously in touch with anyone and everyone. Maybe you have thousands of LinkedIn connections. Maybe you’re an avid blogger who enjoys publishing on industry sites.

In either case LinkedIn is a platform that can help you get the word out to key communities in your industry —  in more ways than one.

When you publish your content on your blog, you can very easily promote it through the LinkedIn groups that you’re a part of:

LinkedIn

Promoting Content on LinkedIn

 

LinkedIn is also opening up its influencer program — a platform for writing content within LinkedIn — to the general public. If you’d like, you can re-publish your own content through these channels for more eyeballs (like Danny Wong did here, with this example from Coworks):

Wong

Original blog post

 

Wong2

Republished on LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s technology will help match these articles to new audiences, potentially driving high pageviews. Make sure to link back to the original article on your site:

takeaway

Post links back to original article.

 

9. Build Distribution into Your Content

Embeddable ‘click to tweet’ features and community interviews can help accelerate this process. Here is an example of an article of Clarity.fm that generated thousands of shares. Why?

  • The content was awesome, with a compelling human-interest element
  • The content was community-generated
  • The content was very easy to share, with integrated tweets

With natural engagement comes organic distribution:

C2T

Building in content distribution using Click to Tweet. 

 

Final Thoughts

Opportunities for distribution are limitless. Depending on your business model, there are incredibly opportunities to get your content out to the public, in a high-impact way.

You just need to scratch beneath the surface to look for the ‘less than obvious’ and ‘less than clear’ paths. These distribution touchpoints will be key opportunities to outrun the crowds and outsmart the noise.

What is your company’s approach to content distribution? How is it creative? You pick #10 to add to this list.

0 comments

Introducing The Advanced Guide to Content Promotion

Content marketing is all the rage, but it’s getting harder. Why? Because everyone is doing it. As more and more companies produce more and more content, it gets even harder to be heard, get found, and stick out. To help marketers, agencies, and anyone who’s crafted content meant to get in front of people, we’ve put together The Advanced Guide to Content Promotion.

 

The Advanced Guide to Content Promotion Banner

 

As New York Times bestselling author Jay Baer says:

“The notion that you can simply create interesting content and people will magically find it is a lie. If you build it, they won’t necessarily come. You have to treat your content executions like a product, and launch them the same way you would a product.”                              

This guide is a 75-page step-by-step walkthrough of how to handle that launch, from setting goals to targeting tweets.

Content Promotion: Rise Above the Noise – And Ring the Cash Register

One way to get heard above the roar of today’s marketing landscape is to promote your content effectively.  Most marketers aren’t doing this at all yet – certainly not effectively.

We’ve found (and discovered with our last big content project) content promotion that combines paid, owned, and earned media, that’s well-organized and well-scheduled, can create incredible visibility, break through the noise, inspire customers to take action, and most importantly, drive revenue.

It’s also a great opportunity for digital agencies to go above and beyond their clients’ expectations. Great content promotion requires excellent creative skills, a thorough understanding marketing persuasion, channel expertise, and a deep rolodex (or BuzzStream account) – all traditional strengths of marketing agencies.

We created the Advanced Guide to Content Promotion to help marketers earn the attention & success their content deserves.  After all, you should spend just as much time promoting your content and working on distribution as you do working on ideation and production.

 Advanced Guide to Content Promotion CoverDownload The Advanced Guide to Content Promotion for free. No email opt-in required. 

What You’ll Learn: Get Seen by the Right People

In the 75-page guide, you’ll learn how to:

  • Design Content Promotion Campaigns that Get Your Content Discovered By All the Right People

  • Select the Right Paid, Earned, and Owned Tactics to Accomplish Your Goals

  • Implement New Tactics that Combine the Power of Advertising, Digital Marketing, and PR

  • Execute Complex Promotional Campaigns that Run Like Clockwork 

The guide is absolutely free, and no opt-in is required.  Download it, enjoy it, share it with your friends and colleagues, and let us know what you think.

 

 The Advanced Guide to Content Promotion Banner
 
 
  
5 comments

Finding and Claiming Links for Content

You can find opportunities to claim links for your content (like ebooks and infographics) similarly to how you find unlinked mentions and links to reclaim for your brand. Acquiring all the links you deserve can move the needle on search and traffic. Here are three common missed opportunities and fixes for each.

Missed Opportunities Image via Lel4nd on Flickr

Missed Opportunity #1: Only Searching for Your Content’s Title

Fix: Also look for the titles that other sites give your content.

When sites like Mashable and HuffPo pick up your content, they’ll usually change the headline to suit their audiences. Then, when smaller sites pick up stories from those big players, they use the same wording.

Sometimes, the smaller sites do their homework and credit you by linking to your original content, but often they credit the sites like Mashable and HuffPo instead.

How to find these opportunities: Look at the post titles and headings that big sites use to describe your content and enter them into a tool like Fresh Web Explorer.

 

Fresh Web Explorer

Here’s an example of a Fresh Web Explorer unlinked mention search using the terms that big sites used to describe this Oscar dress infographic

 

How to reach out: Simply thank the site owner for sharing your content and ask if they’d be kind enough to credit the original with a link back. Whenever you can, use this outreach as an opportunity to build a relationship. Share the post on your own social media channels and offer to ping the blogger when you release similar content in the future.

 

Missed Opportunity #2: Ignoring Sub-Sections and Data Points

Fix: Looking for cropped versions and unique text, too.

 

If you have very large visual content, bloggers and journalists will likely take screenshots and create smaller versions that better fit their blogs’ layouts (or things like Twitter’s 2:1 aspect ratio). As you’re doing your own reporting roundup, look out for these smaller clips.

 

Google Analytics

For example, Google Analytics created a 2:1 image of a recent infographic to optimize a tweet.

 

How to find these opportunities: Do a reverse image search or set an Image Raider alert to find instances of bloggers using the cropped images. Hit the Buzzmarker to check for a link on those pages (or manually check using “View Page Source”).

In you have a lot of text content: If you did original research, look for instances of people sharing your data points and not crediting you.

In you created sub-content like diagrams: Run reverse image searches on those, too.

How to reach out: Again, a polite thank you and request for credit will serve you well.

 

Missed Opportunity #3: Forgetting about International

Fix: Get familiar with Google’s other TLDs.

Even content with a lot of english text can get picked up by non-english sites. Here, too, are many opportunities to earn high-authority links.

 

Infographic

Image of english infographic on non-english site.

 

How to find these opportunities: Run reverse image searches on domains like Google.es and Google.de to find these sites. (If you’re using Chrome, you can hit the “translate” button to understand what the sites are about.) Then hit the Buzzmarker or view page source to check for links.

How to reach out: Since this outreach is short and simple, translation tools work relatively well. However, investing a few dollars in a service like Gengo can give you a much better template to work from (which you can save and use in the future, too).

 

Learn More about Unlinked Mentions and Link Reclamation:

Link Reclamation Whiteboard Friday by Ross Hudgens of Siege Media
Guide to Using Unlinked Brand Mentions for Link Acquisition by Kiala Strong on Moz
Reclaiming Links to Your Infographics and Creative Common Images by Kristi Hines on iAcquire
Monitoring Your Brand — Unlinked Mentions by Sarah Gurbach of SEER Interactive
Link Building 101: Finding Web Mentions by Jon Ball of PageOnePower

0 comments

Lessons Learned from This Years Successful Valentine’s Day Stunts

Today’s post come from one of our favorite customers, Lexi Mills. Lexi has six years experience in online marketing and communications and spent 2 and a half years at an International SEO Agency becoming an SEO PR specialist.  She heads up digital at Dynamo PR.

Determining what content will be interesting and relevant to a large audience is one of the most challenging and sometimes frightening parts of a content marketeer’s job. 

One oft-used tactic is piggybacking on a topical event.  With over 180 million people exchanging cards and over 196 million roses being produced for Valentines Day, there can be no doubt that this event would be topical.   

However many have fallen into the trap of trying to link their product/service/content to a topical story or seasonal event and failed. So what is it that makes online content and seasonal PR stories sink or swim? How do you make your press release and content stand out amongst the avalanche of other brands trying to take advantage of this event?

Below I have reviewed some 2014’s Valentines stunts to help answer these questions and provided my top 5 tips for seasonal PR and content newsjacks:

(more…)

0 comments

Combining the Powers of Search, Content, and Digital PR

When I was 7, Captain Planet taught me a lot about marketing.  If you’ve never seen Captain Planet, it was a cartoon about a small group of international teenagers who each had a ring that gave them a relatively uninteresting power. (One guy could light things on fire, one woman could make it windy, Levar Burton’s character Kwame could make sinkholes, things like that.)

But when they put their rings together, and their ‘powers combine’, they made Captain Planet:

captain planet

Captain Planet had great super powers (unlike those kids with their rings), and regularly vanished all sorts of polluters, lobbyists, and other evil doers.  (Intriguingly, he also spoke English with a Californian accent and had a mullet. This was not explained.)

Increasingly, marketing is seeming like Captain Planet: while individual marketing experts who know their channel (SEO, PR, content, PPC, analytics, etc.) can do helpful things, when they combine their powers, they can create Captain Planet –  a customer acquisition flywheel.

SEO, PR, and Content: Long Lost Cousins with Complementary Powers

Individually, each of these disciplines can do cool things.  But by playing well together, they can build a growth machine.  Specifically, they can create a growth machine that scales non-linearly with investments of time and money – the best kind of growth machine. Allow me to explain:

SEO has long been excellent at attracting high-intent (and thus high-conversion rate) traffic to pages, consistently, at an affordable cost.  However, increasingly pure-play SEO strategies are coming under fire – from a mix of increased SEO competency and competition, an addition of more ads, answers, knowledge graph boxes, and things that seem to combine all of those things, increased risk and cost of certain link building techniques, and an increased focus on user-level metrics.

(more…)

0 comments

Using Paid, Owned, and Earned Media to Promote an eBook: How We Marketed Linking Outside the Box

how to use paid earned and owned media to promote an ebook

We hear a lot about earned, owned, and paid content promotion, but what does a campaign look like? And how can a marketer with limited resources put one together?

Recently, we here at BuzzStream launched our Linking Outside the Box ebook and promoted it across paid, earned, and owned media. This content and promotion effort had a meaningful impact on our marketing funnel and our business.

You can download the ebook here:

get the free link building guide

While we didn’t do everything right and will do some things differently next time, in this post I want to dig into some of the things we did, and how we used tools like Unbounce, Twitter Ads, LinkedIn Sponsored Updates, and of course BuzzStream to get the word out about our project effectively and affordably.

Goals, and How to Meet Them:

Our original goals with the project were:

  • Get 1000 downloads of our ebook within a month of launch
  • Get 100+ People Sharing the eBook
  • Get 500+ new non-customer names on our email list
  • Achieve a 10% increase in BuzzStream sign-ups over last month with average or greater free-to-paid conversion, 3-month retention and ASP. 

(Ed note: If you’re not familiar with SaaS businesses, free-to-paid conversion and retention are measures of how people continue to use and pay for the product. ASP is average selling price. Because it’s easy to drive low-quality traffic that doesn’t convert to paying, happy customers, sign-up goals should also have a quality goal to prevent ‘doing dumb things to move a metric’ syndrome.)

We also had some softer goals like getting positive mentions by industry leaders and improving our brand impression in the SEO space, which were also important but less measurable.

“But what about links?”, you might be asking yourself. This book was a mid-funnel play – we wanted people who had already come to the BuzzStream website to get further educated on both link building and BuzzStream.  While we certainly would like to get links (and we did indeed get a few new linking root domains), it wasn’t a key goal for this project.

If you’re curious as to where those numbers came from, they were picked through a three part process: researching comparable ebook case studies, calculating what would be required to see a meaningful ROI, and picking numbers large enough to make the project seem worthwhile and yet not so large as to be thought foolish.

I used the download numbers published by Velocity Partners and Mack Web from their ebook projects.  The other numbers worked backwards from that, and additionally worked forward from the business goals that would result in a positive and meaningful ROI for the project. (Once it became clear how long an ebook took, it was easy to see

So once we knew what we wanted to accomplish, we could go about achieving it.

Results (Fortunately Positive)

Fortunately, we achieved our objectives:

Downloads: Goal: 1000. Actual (as of 12/12/2013): 1221

The vast majority of these came in the first few days, but due to onsite promotion we continue to get 5-10 downloads a day.

Shares: Goal: 100 Actual: 127 tweets + 19 LinkedIn Shares + some other shares:

ebook shares 

As Calculated by http://sharetally.co

Now, some of these are from corporate accounts, and are from the same people sharing on multiple networks, but it looks like we just edged over this one as well.

New Non-Customer Names:  Goal: 500 Actual: 856

Sign-Up Lift: Goal 10%. Actual: 26.9% lift in sign-ups over the previous 4 weeks.

There were other, standard marketing activities (outreach & PR, blogging, social, retargeting) etc. going on during both periods, and the ebook was the only major program we ran in that time.  There’s also typically some seasonal decline around the holidays and into the end of Q4, but we didn’t observe that this year.

Brand Benefit:  This is harder one to measure, but we got some great feedback from industry leaders on the book:


“That’s great,” you might be thinking to yourself, “But how do I make that happen?”

(more…)

6 comments

5 Things Winning Content & Link Marketers Do Differently

One awesome part about working at BuzzStream is getting to engage with so many incredible marketers every day.  We get to work with a lot of link development/content marketing/digital PR groups – and so many of them are smart, driven people who are trying to make the internet a cooler place and drive great results for their clients and companies.

We talk with some marketers who are killing it – I mean just destroying it – and are putting up amazing numbers.  And we talk to some marketers who are doing fine and making strong, regular progress towards their goals, but aren’t getting the results they’d like – yet.

So what’s the difference between these two groups of marketers – especially as they embark on bigger projects?

We see 5 big differences between the companies that are absolutely dominating their content promotion and link development versus the ones where it’s not really working.

Differentiator #1: Investment in Ideas

ideas

The companies that win in this space make absolutely sure they get the best ideas together before they go out and make anything or talk to anyone.

They do exhaustive research – what’s been done before? What’s hot right now? Can we ‘draft’ off a current event? Is there a ‘top of the funnel’ topic we can tackle in our market and absolutely deliver standout results? (For example, the people at Makana created a big content hub around sales compensation planning. I would suggest you go look at it, but they were acquired by a larger company.)

And more importantly, what will resonate with their target audience while accomplishing their business goals?

Many marketers use the SUCCESS framework popularized by Dan & Chip Heath in their best-selling book, Made to Stick:

  • Simple – What’s the Core Message?
  • Unexpected - Violate a Schema, Create Curiousity, & Do Something Different.
  • Concrete - Go away from the abstract and create detailed mental pictures.
  • Credible -  Either external validation or a level of detail and statistics to add trust.
  • Emotional - Trigger emotions – even in B2B spaces – causes sharing and impact.
  • Stories - Stories drive action and stick in our minds. Help people get the story.

(This framework has been adequately discussed by other marketers and in a best selling book, so I won’t belabor it here. Go read the book – it’s an easy, airplane-type read and you’ll learn something new about storytelling and messaging – both from the book itself and at a meta-level in how they write.)

In addition to hitting these 6 key points, successful content marketers do real research – often spending hours looking through scientific journals, obscure news sources, and forgotten pages on the internet, looking for great new ideas and angles.  (And they don’t just ‘make it up’, as some content marketers do.) These marketers have seen that happen and been through a Reddit debunking – and know that bad research risks not only unsuccessful content marketing but ultimately brand damage.

Finally, the best content marketers test their ideas, before they ever put pen to paper or code to IDE.   They send it to a few folks, and ask questions like “Is this a fit? How could we make it better? What would it take for this to be the best piece on the internet about this topic?”

(more…)

6 comments

Making Big Content Work – 4 Experts Weigh In

bridge with big content

Big Content – content that requires significant time and resources – is all the rage today. But how do you turn this from a fun content project to something that really drives business?

I reached out to 4 marketers who make large content projects work for their companies and clients, and asked them how to make sure you get a return on investment from your Big Content.

Our Esteemed Panel

Cyrus Shepard - Senior Content Astronaut at Moz

Kelsey Libert - Director of Promotions at Fractl

Kane Jamison – Founder of Content Harmony

Doug Kessler – Co-Founder & Creative Director of Velocity Partners


Cyrus Shepard

cyrus for post

 

 

Cyrus Shepard is Senior Content Astonaut for Moz. Follow him on Twitter and Google+

 

 

How do you measure the ROI of your big content initiatives?

Our process at Moz isn’t much different than most companies. We look at the numbers of social shares, links, mentions and page views. Down the line, we also look at the number of assisted conversions the content contributed to our software Free Trial conversion funnel.

That said, the number one measurement of ROI can’t actually be measured. Our primary goal is to deliver value to our audience, and this is often hard to quantify through traditional means. The numbers can suggest value, but often you go with your gut.

(more…)

8 comments

Crafting Your Content Promotion Strategy

Without content promotion, the time and energy you’ve spent crafting your beautiful resource, blog post, or interactive visualization is wasted – because you won’t get the results you want.

But that begs the question – how do you build a content promotion strategy that gets the word out, accomplishes your goals, and dazzles your clients and/or boss?

Today I’ll show you how to craft your promotion strategy, so you can get seen in all the right places, and ultimately, achieve your business goals and a strong return on investment from your content efforts.

Start with Your Goals

 content-promotion-goals

Start by defining your goals and KPIs.  Without sounding too much like a management consultant, what gets measured gets managed, and if you can show your accomplishment against goals, you can more effectively lobby for more budget, a raise, etc.

Well-publicized, great content can:

  • Generate Revenue thru Leads, Sales, or Ad Impressions
  • Grow Permission Marketing Assets like Email Lists and Retargeting Pools
  • Increase Customer Retention
  • Build Inbound Links for Search Marketing
  • Grow Mindshare and Increase Influencer Awareness of Your Product/Offering
  • Build Your Brand and Grow Top of Mind Awareness

(more…)

5 comments

What I Learned at #MozCon 2013

I just got back from MozCon, where I learned the world is changing.

MozCon was a fascinating conference this year. In addition to lots of good food, nice moz swag, and generally spending time with one of the nicest companies in the search space, chatter between attendees showed some deep and fundamental changes in our world.

Old SEO tricks are less effective and even reliable channels like email marketing are being made more difficult by changes taking place in both user and robot behavior. It’s as if the long, idyllic childhood of online marketing is over, and…

Online Marketing Stops Being Nice and Starts Being Real

What was once a simple game of “Rank -> Traffic -> Convert -> Profit” has become exponentially more complicated.

3 Mega-trends – alluded to either directly or indirectly by many presentations – underlie major changes in the online marketing landscape.

These three fundamental shifts – new form factors, less data, and fundamentally smarter search – all change the game in massive ways. These changes will leave the marketers that refuse to adapt behind, while reaping huge rewards for those who embrace the new reality of digital marketing.

Let’s take a deeper look at each of these:

Fragmentation in Device Type and Use Cases

With the incredible adoption and growth of mobile and tablet devices, form factors have rapidly expanded into a menagerie of different device types and use cases. Moreover, this growth shows nothing resembling a sign of slowing down. What was once optimizing for one form factor and smaller range of use cases blossomed to include a variety of scenarios, devices, for factors, and use cases.

Let’s go to the numbers on this one:

(more…)

9 comments