As great as it is to see so many B2B companies jumping onto the content marketing bandwagon, the reality is that many of them will struggle to drive meaningful business results. Why? Because they often overlook a simple reality: To create and deliver content that attracts and retains customers, a haphazard approach just won’t cut it. You need a strategic framework for conceptualizing, designing, and scaling your efforts.
You hear a lot of talk these days about crowdsourcing — the idea of using a large online community to complete tasks as diverse as compiling an online encyclopedia (thank you Wikipedia!) or creating a database of popular bars that directs you to watering holes around the world. It’s such a great concept, and yet, based on my conversation with other B2B content marketers, I’ve found that it hasn’t been incorporated into many content creation and promotion strategies.Continue Reading
As if the financial services industry hasn’t been beat up enough over the past few years, it’s also gotten something of a bad rap for its lackluster content marketing.
Let’s face it, while investment banks, asset managers, and other financial service providers are ahead of the curve in some ways, when it comes to content marketing, that’s rarely the case. Not only is the industry dealing with such heady topics as derivatives clearing and credit default swaps, it’s also hemmed in by an overwhelming array of complex and continuously evolving regulations. Continue Reading
Performance improvement expert H. James Harrington once said, “Measurement is the first step that leads to control and, eventually, to improvement.” For anyone trying to take their content marketing efforts to the next level, his words certainly ring true.
For content marketers, metrics provide deep insights into how our content is performing. They tell us how many people are consuming our content, what they are doing with it, and whether or not they like it. Metrics alert us to which ideas we should replicate and which we should look to improve. They’re also what give us credibility within our companies by demonstrating that content marketing is both a powerful and worthwhile investment. Continue Reading
Frequent updates to Google’s search ranking algorithm — notably Panda and Penguin — only complicate matters. Although such updates go a long way toward enhancing the quality of search results by, for example, discounting the high volumes of low-quality content produced by content farms, they also mean that the best ways to optimize content are constantly evolving.
Simply put, you’ve got to stay on your toes. Fortunately for those of us who aren’t in the habit of analyzing search engine algorithms but still want to optimize content, there are some basic tips that are easy to follow.Continue Reading
Since 1950, the National Book Awards have been celebrating the literary achievements of America’s greatest writers, including William Faulkner, John Updike, and Allen Ginsberg. Some National Book Award recipients have been acknowledged for their use of allegories and alliteration, while others are recognized for their beautiful prose, dramatic denouements, or mesmerizing motifs. The point, of course, is that there is no single formula for winning the National Book Award, just as there is no one definition of what constitutes great writing.
For B2B content marketers, the same rules apply, in theory. In practice, however, we have much clearer guidelines to follow that help ensure that our content is effective and truly stands out.Continue Reading
Every year, students at Michigan’s Lake Superior State University release a list of overused words and phrases that they deem worthy of banishment from the English language. Among the offenders in 2011 were some tried-and-true favorites (ginormous and man cave to name a couple), as well as relative newcomers to our daily vernacular like occupy (as in Zuccotti Park) and the new normal, a darling of Wall Street since the financial crisis.
All in all it’s not a bad list, but it seems to me that our friends at LSSU missed an obvious target. I’m talking about 17 letters that can be combined to form what has become a ubiquitous and, frankly, increasingly cliché term: thought leadership.Continue Reading
Let’s face it: The words content creator and writer are no longer synonymous. The internet and social media have made it so easy to share our thoughts (even if only in 140-character increments) that last year people sent an average of more than 144 million tweets a day and contributed to over 156 million public blogs.
As amazing as this proliferation of content is, in the business world, where writing is a very public reflection of a company’s professionalism, it can also be problematic. A company’s content — including its website, blogs, collateral, thought leadership, and social media — can help create and nurture a strong brand if it is clean, crisp, and consistent. Conversely, if your content lacks these characteristics, it can quickly undermine your brand.