Author: Michele Linn

Michele is the Content Development Director of the Content Marketing Institute and a B2B content marketing consultant who has a passion for helping companies use content to connect with their ideal buyers. You can follow her on Twitter at @michelelinn or read more of her posts on Savvy B2B Marketing.

By mlinn published October 31, 2014

How To Turn Your Customers into Brand Fans: 3 Examples

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Is there anything better for you as a marketer than having your customers share their passion for your company or product?

Not much.

In the content marketing space, we spend a lot of time (maybe too much time) focused on brand awareness. We don’t focus enough energy on using content to turn our customers into advocates or strengthen their evangelism for our brands.Continue Reading

By mlinn published October 24, 2014

Is Paid Advertising Worth It? B2B Content Marketers Share Their Insights

dollars-426026_640Did you know effective B2B marketers are using paid advertising more often than their less effective peers?

While we have talked a lot about the need for a documented content marketing strategy, CMI research also reveals that effective marketers are using more paid advertising, which makes sense. As we often say, you need to market your marketing. And, while earned and owned media are quite prominent, those who fare better in content marketing rely on paid media as well. Our qualitative, executive research and conversations with marketing leaders reveal the same thing.

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By mlinn published October 17, 2014

A Single Version of Truth: One Key to Content Marketing Measurement Success

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Content marketing measurement is something that has received a lot of attention lately, and it’s not hard to understand why. According to our new research, B2B Content Marketing 2015: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America:

  • Forty-nine percent of B2B marketers struggle with measuring content marketing effectiveness (up from 33 percent last year).
  • Only 21 percent of B2B marketers are having success tracking ROI.

In fact, when we had our Executive Forum in the spring, finding the best way to measure was the “big idea” most of the marketing leaders wanted to solve.

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By mlinn published October 10, 2014

How to Build a Better Content Marketing Strategy

better-content-marketingI would argue that a lot of marketers don’t understand what [a content marketing strategy] means. They think culling together a bunch of tactics is actually a strategy, but it’s not.
—Ardath Albee

Unless you have a focus on what it is you are trying to achieve with your content or your digital marketing in general, you will get distracted.
—Nick Panayi

These quotes are just two key points made in a recent roundtable discussion CMI developed around our B2B content marketing research. This series of conversations explores the “whys” behind our findings and provides expert advice on ways that content marketers can make their efforts more efficient and successful.

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By mlinn published October 3, 2014

Why Fewer People Are Using Content Marketing — and Why It’s Good News

sign image-question mark-arrowWhen the CMI team read the initial results from our newly-released B2B Content Marketing: 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends research, one finding immediately jumped out at us:

Eighty-six percent of B2B marketers are using content marketing — a number that has declined from last year’s adoption rate of 93 percent.

At first glance, this stat seems startling — especially considering how popular and prominent our discipline has become over the last few years. But when you take a look at the underlying message it conveys, this decrease is actually an encouraging sign. Let me explain. Continue Reading

By mlinn published September 8, 2014

6 Keys to Shifting an Enterprise to a Content Marketing Mindset

open pocket watch imageHow do you think content marketing will change — and what do you need to know to approach your job more successfully?

This question was recently posed to 27 marketing leaders during a series of in-depth interviews conducted by CMI, and a few key themes emerged. For example, we found many content marketers want to improve their editorial processes and centralize their content planning efforts; others took this a step further and were looking to integrate their editorial and demand generation processes so the content they publish can drive better business results.

At the crux of all of these desires for change is a fundamental need to transform an organization’s culture — a challenging prospect for enterprises to achieve, given that silos and strong histories often hold sway. Continue Reading

By mlinn published August 19, 2014

Marketing Research: How Enterprises Structure, Scale, and Spend on Content

content marketing research cover-enterprisesWhile the vast majority of organizations seem to be adopting content marketing in some shape or form, there are several questions that continue to confound them:

  • How should we operationalize around this discipline?
  • How are marketing leaders in our industry scaling this discipline?
  • How much are those leaders spending — and on what, specifically?

These are especially complex challenges for large, enterprise organizations to have to face.Continue Reading

By mlinn published July 18, 2014

Effective Content Marketing: 5 Steps to Track Your Efforts

ballcap official-measuring progressOne popular definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. The definition of content marketing insanity? Creating content, just throwing it out there and hoping for good results… and then repeating the process, ad infinitum.

To break this crazy cycle, you should periodically be taking a critical look at your content marketing to understand what’s working and what isn’t — even if this means you have less time to publish new content.

In this eighth and final installment of our “Back to Basics” series, we’ll walk you through one process you can use to understand how well your content efforts are working and continually refine your content marketing program for greater success.Continue Reading

By mlinn published July 4, 2014

Build a Successful Editorial Plan: Essential Skills Your Team Needs

Content_TeamWhile it takes a wide variety of skills to achieve content marketing success, there is one essential role that any company looking to get started in content marketing will need to fill: the managing editor.

Traditional marketing and social media skills are certainly helpful for organizations that are looking to transform their marketing machine from campaign-based to content-focused. But teams also need someone who can create, manage, and measure the components of an editorial plan — a set of skills that can vastly differ from what trained brand marketers intuitively possess.

This sixth installment of our “Back to Basics” series delves into the skills needed to build, implement, and execute your editorial plan.Continue Reading

By mlinn published June 27, 2014

The Basics of SEO for Successful Content Marketing

seo drawing-detective-magnifying glassIn the content marketing world, there is a lot of talk about SEO, and for good reason. As Lee Odden recently explained:

Think of SEO this way: If a customer-focused content marketing program is the sandwich, then SEO is the mayonnaise. It touches nearly everything and enhances the overall flavor of the sandwich, but on its own, it’s not very appetizing.

In this fifth installment of our Back to Basics content marketing series, we tackle the basics of SEO — the core principles and key considerations you should be aware of in order to produce the most successful content marketing possible.Continue Reading