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Archive: Jul 2014

  1. Eight Ways to Rock Your Media Marketing

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    by Lisa Calhoun

    Marketers are buried in the plumbing more than ever—building out demand generation platforms, picking up the pieces IT left out of the new marketing automation integration, and running like gerbils to keep lead nurture systems playing nice with Google’s latest adjustments.

    But there’s one less-appreciated, but no less effective, way today’s leading marketing organizations can avoid the rat race and leap over competition—and that’s by being more accessible to media.

    Accessibility to media, and how technology has changed what that looks like, is something many marketing organizations are not taking into account.

    But for actual sales funnel development, a great article in the Wall Street Journal or a feature in a news network like AP still trumps even some of the most aggressive B2B lead nurture campaign successes.

    Yet even forward-thinking organizations are still stuck in embedded traditional methods, such as press releases, quarterly reports, and bicoastal media tours. Not wrong in and of themselves, those no longer properly prepare executives for the modern media landscape—and they don’t have the sales funnel impact they could.


    Smart tools helps media find stories

    The new media landscape is like a desert. Beautiful, arid, and with fewer and fewer authentic journalism oases.

    There are fewer journalists than ever before, but a lot of marketers haven’t processed the full impact of the fact that many media networks now use smart tools to mine the Internet for news, tips, and leads. I see a new social media news miner almost every week—and these things are getting good!

    Top media organizations don’t rely solely on people, producers, and relationships to build out the big stories; they rely increasingly on social media trend-spotting (automated) and source-scoring (also automated).

    The value of being more visible and influential is greater than ever, so you want to pop up on these automated systems with your best material, and your best people.

    Former Federal Reserve chair Allan Greenspan put it this way: “In today’s world, where ideas are increasingly displacing the physical in the production of economic value, competition for reputation becomes a significant driving force, propelling our economy forward.”

    How do you do it?

    Take advantage of new media methods

    How can marketers take reliable advantage of these new media realities? One of the best options is to invest more in coaching your executive team on critical modern communication methods:

    • Structure a blog or social post program to lift their exposure, building on LinkedIn as a base.
    • Provide programs (such as access to publicists) or platforms that make it easy for executives to contribute (such BufferApp), paired with a powerful writing team.
    • Budget for executive training and coaching; your public relations, communications, and social teams can help.

    You don’t have to hire 500 people to enhance the reputation of your executive team. In fact, one or two small-scale, authentic initiatives, such as an executive blog, might well suffice. And one or two writers or publicists drawn from agencies or even former media can make all the difference.

    Here’s a look at eight powerful ways to maximize the impact of the brain trust you already have on board:

    The Method

    How long per week

    How long per year


    Daily CEO tweet or LinkedIn Post

    7 minutes

    43 hours 
    (~ 2 days)

    Hundreds of thousands of individual perceptions. TryBufferApp to make it easy to post.

    Writing a book

    3 hours a week for 20 weeks 
    (1 hour for ghostwriter interview, 1 hour for draft review and prep)

    60 hours 
    (5 days)

    5,000 readers per year, plus 100,000 annual impressions on people who never read it—most of them journalists. Payoff!

    Monthly internalwebcast

    1 hour per week

    52 hours 
    per year 
    (~5 days)

    All your employees, plus the people they influence. Try one of the new video platforms such as Wistia to get deep insights into viewer analytics.

    Twice-monthly blog post on CEO blog

    30 minutes per week being interviewed by a writer, 15 minutes editing what they said you said, 15 minutes responding to comments on the blog

    52 hours per year (almost 5 days)

    Potentially, millions–also great fodder for social posts and truly being “in touch” with your people.

    Quarterly speaking engagement

    15 minutes approving list of possible conferences

    4 days (48 hours)

    The association or group you are speaking to will be moved to speak about you—thousands of impacts and much of it on Twitter from your audience.

    Winning executive leadership awards

    15 minutes approving list of awards

    1 day

    5,000-10,000 impressions from substantial awards, all among your target audience

    Media tour and desk-side briefings (e.g., Bloomberg)

    No executive time in setup except calendar check

    2 days (one prep, one activation)

    Hundreds of thousands if not millions of impressions based on how the journalists write about you in the future, after having met you

    Article writing for publications such as HBR, Fortune, WSJ, Bloomberg

    The same writer or publicist you’re working with on the blog is a natural resource

    1 day per article

    Millions of North American impressions from other business leaders and influencers

  2. How Consumers Feel About Sponsored Content

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    by Ayaz Nanji

    Most consumers (54%) say they do not trust pieces labeled “sponsored content” on online news websites, according to a recent report from Contently.

    Moreover, consumers are unsure about what the “sponsored content” label actually means: 48% of US adults surveyed believe it indicates that an advertiser paid for an article to be created and had influence on the content; 20% think it means the site wrote the content but the sponsor’s money enabled it to happen; 18% believe the advertiser just paid for their name to appear; and 13% think the label indicates that the sponsor wrote the content.

    Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on data from a survey of 542 Internet users in the United States age 18-65.

    Feeling Deceived

    • 67% of respondents say they have felt deceived after realizing that an article or video was sponsored by a brand.
    • Consumers with higher levels of education are more likely to have felt tricked by sponsored content: 77% of respondents with a graduate degree reported having felt deceived compared with just 46% of respondents with a high school diploma.

    Likelihood to Click

    • 66% of respondents say they are less likely to click on an article sponsored by a brand compared with regular site editorial content.
    • Respondents with college degrees report they are less likely to click on sponsored content than those with only high school diplomas.
    • Younger consumers also say they are less likely to click on sponsored content than older respondents.


    • 59% of respondents say that news sites lose credibility when they run articles sponsored by brands.
    • Millennials are more lenient, with only 49% of respondents age 18-29 saying that a news site loses credibility if it runs sponsored content.

    About the research: The report was based on data from a survey conducted in June of 542 Internet users in the United States age 18-65.

  3. Create Compelling Marketing Videos That Educate and Entertain

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    by Rebecca Toth

    A lot of articles discuss how video has become important in content marketing. And it has. But those articles usually don’t discuss how to create dynamic content and properly translate that content to video.

    So, here are some tips for doing exactly that. Together, these tips can help you make compelling content marketing videos that grab your audience’s attention and keep bringing them back for more.

    Know your audience

    The content you create depends on who you want to view it. For example, some audiences prefer humor, others prefer statistics and numbers.

    Unearthing what your audience wants can be an intensive process at times, but knowing what your audience wants greatly increases the odds that your audience will consume it.

    Help customers succeed

    Content marketing is all about helping your customer, so make sure your content does just that. Knowing your audience is 90% of the battle, so you’re already on your way!

    A good practice is to get other people at your company to review your content before you produce it. Also, get feedback from people outside your immediate team to bring in new perspectives.

    Put thought into your title

    The average attention span of an adult is just 2.8 seconds, so a catchy title is extremely important. Once again, knowing your audience is crucial. Understand when to use humor, when to be elusive, and when to get right to the point.

    Turn content into video

    Now, it’s time to translate that content into video. Here are three tips for doing that.

    1. Write a script

    Once you have decided on the content you want to cover, write a script. Having a script in place will help you focus on the key points you want to cover while you record. A script will also help to ensure that you stay on track and don’t ramble.

    2. Cut out unnecessary parts

    Edit out any parts of your video that aren’t essential to your message. Often, the shorter the video, the more effective it is.

    3. Include a clear call to action

    Toward the end of your video, you should provide a clear call to action for your viewers. You want to make sure they don’t stop with the video but continue onto your site… and eventually become a customer.

    According to the Online Publishers Association, 46% of users that recall watching a video ad on a website took action after viewing it, so make sure viewers are taking the action that you want them to take.

    Want more tips? Check out the infographic:

  4. #SocialSkim: What Gets Shared, Word Crimes, TSA on Instagram, Write Like a Spy, More!

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    by Angela Natividad

    What nightspots trend on Twitter? Heineken helps young people find out. You’ll also learn what people really share on social networks, how to write like a spy, why word crimes are way worse than blurred lines, and why joining Instagram may be the smartest thing the TSA ever did. Skim for your share of state secrets.

    Wouldn’t you selfie that World Cup win? Germany’s taken home World Cup gold for the fourth time, and the Net’s become a repository for the team’s victorious selfies and GIFs (check out Angela Merkel slummin’ it in the locker room!). We’re thrilled for them, even though it was hard to see so many Argentineans cry all at once.

    Speaking of the #WorldCup, who won social engagement—Twitter or Facebook? The answer is complicated. Facebook clocked three billion “interactions” (Likes, comments, shares, status updates), while Twitter racked up 672 million Tweets. But if you assume a Facebook comment is worth more than a mere “Like” and is more similar to a Tweet, the results flatten a bit: Facebook totaled approximately 818 million comments to Twitter’s 672 million Tweets. So Facebook still wins, but Twitter was still a powerful social force. GlobalWebIndex had its own take on the matter: 

    world cup social engagement

    What’s trending locally? Heineken’s launching @wherenext, a Twitter handle to which guys can tweet cities in exchange for info about its trendiest haunts. The data comes from check-ins, tweets, and pictures on Twitter, Foursquare, and Instagram. Head of Digital Paul Smailes says the goal isn’t to produce a branded-only app, it’s to create something truly useful. Though it has fewer than 600 followers so far and hasn’t yet launched its campaign, the effort resolves a problem relevant to the target… and indeed relevant to the brand. That’s the best kind of value-add.

    Welcome to Instagram, TSA. The TSA, among the most derided government bodies around, has been on Instagram since last year. Thanks to The Daily Beast, people have begun to notice—and it’s fascinating. Each photo yields insight on how the TSA works, and on the (crazy!) things they find when sifting through luggage and shoes. (More than one ninja star… and a lot of knives-disguised-as-other-stuff.) The captions are funny and informative; crucially, they humanize an entity that we often think of with ire. (You’ll want to thank them when you see all the grenades.)

    What people share on social networks.
     Go-Gulf’s produced a super-long infographic that breaks users down by platform, gender, and nationality to reveal who’s sharing what. The most-shared emotions include awe (25%) and laughter (17%). In the US, you’re most likely to get news clips, while in India you’ll sooner get a film or movie trailer. Indonesians? Big on fashion. By and large, pictures get shared the most (43%)—and mostly on Facebook, of course.

    How do search marketers tweet? A study by Leadtail finds that Search Engine Land is the industry’s most-shared resource on Twitter. Search Engine Land is also the most-retweeted publisher/vendor in the pack. Other major industry sources include Search Engine Watch, Marketing Land, and Mashable. As for people? WordStream CTO Larry Kim takes the cake for most retweeted. Who are your industry authorities?

    Want more Pingagement? Turns out that videos are the most-engaging visual format on Pinterest… as well as the most-underused. Business2Community teaches you how to upload videos and optimize them for the best-possible visibility. Pro tip: Keep your video descriptions around 200 characters. They’re among the most-repinned media, so don’t get wordier than that; and, if possible, add hashtags, necessary keywords, and a link.

    Stories prove key… to Facebook ads. Facebook got together with Adaptly and Refinery29 to test the efficacy of direct-CTA ads versus “storytelling” ads. One campaign was dedicated to subscription generation (with direct calls to action), while the other featured “sequenced” ads that told the story of Refinery29’s brands. The ads in the “storytelling” group registered an 87% increase in visits to the landing page, and a 56% rise in subscriptions. It’s unintuitive but logical from a relationship point of view: Sometimes it makes more sense to elongate a campaign, and walk people through a story, instead of hitting them with a CTA right away. Stories are power, even for Facebook ads.

    Tips to improve your Tweets. Here’s an infographic from Social Marketing Writing that includes 15 tips for getting more retweets, favorites, and clicks. Advice includes using most-retweeted words, using digits (Tweets with numbers get 17% more retweets!), and using Bitly to shorten links—and there are 12 more where those came from! If you want to reinforce that knowledge with other handy facts, also check out Mention’s infographic about the five stats that will improve your strategy (partly shown below).

    Google Plus loosens its tie. And we’re not sure yet whether it’s good or bad. The underdog socnet just announced that you’re no longer obligated to use your real name, so you may soon see a proliferation of creative G+ handles. Enjoy the ride.



    Gamify for visibility. Vocus published a great article on how companies use gamification (addictive gaming elements) to improve PR and communications. You’ve probably already played a couple, such as McDonald’s ‘Monopoly’ or shaking your phone to pay for a Starbucks coffee. And with the existence of social platforms that people can access anytime via mobile, it’s easier than ever to use small rewards or actions to keep customers hooked.

    Because word crimes are way worse than blurred lines. Weird Al Yankovic’s appropriated Robin Thicke’s controversial “Blurred Lines” to produce “Word Crimes,” a manifesto for anyone who has ever trembled with rage at the misuse of “it’s.” At over 4 million views since its launch on July 15, it isn’t just a satisfying watch for content strategists and communicators, it’s a tribute to how appropriating cultural artifacts can produce something fresh, unexpected and even universally felt.

    Since grammar’s our game this week, we’ll wrap up with the CIA’s very own Elements of Style. The Central Intelligence Agency’s style guide leaked online this month, and along with the basics, such as using the Oxford comma, it sports whole swaths of proper diplomatic terminology: When religious terms should be capitalized, the titles of world leaders, and—crucially!—an admonition to avoid using a British spelling when an American one can be found. (Leo Benedictus of The Guardian had a field day with that.) Enjoy your foray into spy stylin’ (it’s all below). In related news, the UK’s GCHQ also suffered a leak of coder-led project descriptions. The CIA may be scoffed at for being heavy on the patriocy; but at least they haven’t been labeled misogynistic X-Men lovers.

  5. Guest Blogging: From Overused Loophole to Untapped Opportunity

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    by Grant Draper

    The kind of wake-up call nobody wants: 6 AM on your day off; builders have started drilling, and they’re not stopping any time soon. Some SEO practitioners likely had a similar feeling when Google’s Matt Cutts published his “The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO” blog post in January 2014.

    So long, guest blogging. Oh, and Happy New Year!

    Blogs started no-following their links, and some stopped accepting guest posts altogether. But here’s the thing, Cutts was doing everyone a favor. Poor content began to be culled, and companies refined their strategies to what those strategies should have been in the first place.

    It’s not about links

    If that’s all an SEO company thinks of SEO, it shouldn’t be hired.

    Guest posting is a cost-effective way of generating inbound leads. Anyone can be passionate. Anyone can write (in fact, everybody writes!). Guest posting is also highly powerful as a form of generating brand awareness and building relationships. You can tap into the audience the site owners have created, and the site gets free content: win-win.

    Editors used to get spammed daily with guest-posting requests. Now SEO firms have backed off (“Matt said we can’t be friends—sorry”). There is now a content gap that needs to be filled, and editors are more likely to listen. That gives you an open door, an opportunity. Maximize your use of it.

    Relevancy is not what you think

    Your time is precious, don’t waste it. Think long and hard about the audience behind the blog, the true meaning of relevance.

    For example, when I think of the highly technical SEO blogs I read, I would say (potentially) 90% of the readers are SEO companies. They are also the ones posting. Meanwhile, their target audience is consuming content elsewhere—possibly over at Business Insider or Forbes. Sure, the posters build some connections, but it’s highly likely these sites were stops on their journey for one reason: links. Oops.

    Guest posting is an effective inbound strategy only if you pick the blogs that your audiences are reading.

    Site quality has a new meaning

    You shouldn’t need to check a link profile to know the caliber of a site. Assuming I’ve landed on MarketingProfs for the first time today, I’m instantly hit with “Trusted by over 624,000 Marketing Professionals”. OK, these guys are serious. I go to the About Us page:

    • 600,000+ members
    • 221,000 followers on Twitter
    • 76,500 on Facebook

    The list goes on…

    Those figures are buttressed by two recent articles I notice (here and here), shared over 600 times, combined, in just a few days. Where do I sign?

    Pick sites of a similar caliber to this one. Is that site going to drive high levels of targeted traffic, build an essential relationship, or help you to gain credibility in that niche? If not, don’t post there.

    Dissect guidelines

    Use the site’s post-contribution guidelines as a way to make sure your content is a good fit. A guest post will give you brand awareness, exposure—traffic you’d have to pay for otherwise. It may be your only chance to give a lasting first impression to a potential client. So you can…

    1. Just about satisfy guidelines, or…
    2. Do your best to go above and beyond what the site editor requires

    Go the extra mile. Most blogs will reference examples of what they like. That’s usually because those posts were popular; check them out before you start.

    Look at layout, length, titles, how takeaways are presented, images, and more. Does your content meet the blog’s standards? What do the examples include that your content doesn’t? Is there anything that can be incorporated to make yours better than the examples provided?

    Attention to detail will give you a much better chance of having your contribution accepted.

    Contribute frequently

    Nearly 7 in 10 people (67%) like reading content from brands they are interested in. Interest, or awareness, takes multiple interactions and time to develop. So, it makes sense to contribute monthly to, say, five blogs (or whatever number is realistic for you), rather than five new blogs every month.

    Select sites you think will be the most powerful. One-off or ad-hoc contributions should be considered only when the site in question suggests it yet you really want to be associated with that site. If you’re doing the suggesting… you’re posting on the wrong site, or you’re approach isn’t right.

    Allocate time wisely

    It’s ridiculously easy to get overwhelmed after short-listing sites; writing is a lot of work. Be realistic. How many sites can you manage—2? 10?

    Take baby steps. Talk to editors, get articles approved—log how long the process for each site takes. If you act as a freelancer, or guest posting is going to be a small part of your routine, cap it at one day for guest posting per month. Monitor results and scale when you are happy doing so.

    Craft an effective bio

    When crafting your bio for the site you’ll be guest posting on, really put some thought into who your audience is. What is the next step you want them to take? Can you word your bio in a way so that it becomes a step they want to take? Don’t stop at a personal introduction or a company overview. Make your bio a solid call to action.

    That said, I see guest posting as a relationship-building process that progresses to leads. As a writer, I’m one component in the digital marketing process. Pushing the relationship-building angle rather than the “hire me” angle is going to be much more effective in the long term. I want people to email me, let me know what they are working on, share some views—that’s my angle.

    So, don’t fall at the final hurdle… What angle is going to get your readers to take the next step?