ScribbleLive http://www.scribblelive.com ScribbleLive is the leading end-to-end platform for content marketing engagement. Thu, 04 Aug 2016 20:24:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://s3.amazonaws.com/scribblelive-com-prod/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/favicon-91x80.png ScribbleLive http://www.scribblelive.com 32 32 How To Get More Mileage Out Of Your Content http://www.scribblelive.com/blog/2016/07/25/get-mileage-content/ Mon, 25 Jul 2016 10:00:00 +0000 http://www.scribblelive.com/?p=27832 How do you make the most of a good story? The trick is to create derivative content and scale your marketing so that you get the most from what you have.

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Content marketing is “always on” and it’s putting new pressures on marketers. Last year 88% of B2B marketers said they were using content marketing, but only 30% said that they were effective at it. Marketers have to keep up with the content-hungry beast, and this means they have to be efficient with the time and resources at their disposal.

One of the scarcest (yet most valuable) resources is a strong narrative. A solid story isn’t a selling tool, it’s a method for building strong relationships with your customers. So how do you make the most of a good story? The trick is to scale your marketing so that you get the most from what you have.

We’re going to dive into the world of derivative content and walk you through how to squeeze every drop out of your tent-pole content. This strategy will not only save you time and resources but will also maximize your ROI.

Below, we’ve put together a short intro to derivative content so you can get a jump start on making the most of your content and maximizing ROI!

Turning tent-pole content into derivative content.

Derivative content is a cost-effective way to get the most out of a great narrative. But where do you find it? The key is to create really solid tent pole or anchor content. Tent pole content is longer-form content that drives deeper engagement. This might be a full-size infographic, eBook, whitepaper, webinar, guide, or original research piece. These pieces generally take longer to produce and consume, so it’s in your best interest to make sure it delivers a LOT of value.

To get this value, you need to create derivative content that gets a lot of mileage out of a single piece of content. This means taking an awesome guide, a webinar, or an original research paper and breaking it down into smaller micro content that can be distributed across your social channels.

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This is a great way to perform a taste test – is your audience interested in learning more? The micro content naturally leads your visitors to the more substantial piece of tent pole content.

Derivative content is essential to getting the most out of every piece of content your team produces.

How to create derivative content.

Derivative content is easy to produce once you have a clear process in place. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when creating derivative content.

Scale down your anchor content:

Short form content helps you generate ROI on a smaller scale. A well-researched guide takes time and resources, so it needs to create a lot of interest to generate ROI. However, a single infographic optimized for social is a low-cost quick hit. It doesn’t need to generate huge views, just enough interest to pull people back to your site or sign up for your newsletter. Break down the research paper into digestible content so you can create smaller content to generate additional ROI.

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Leverage influencers:

Partner with other people and companies in your space that have a broader reach to produce joint content. Co-producing content and sharing it across each other’s channels will help you leverage new networks.

Channel defines format:

The channel will have a big impact on the format of your content. Though the narrative is the same, the form and tone of the content will change depending on the channel you’re publishing to.

Know your audience:

Understand your audience and what type of content and channels are most appropriate for them. Who are you selling to? What channels are they using? What time of day are they most active?

Why does derivative content matter?

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The average human attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds, and by 2013 it was 8 seconds. That puts us 1 second shorter than a goldfish. This is why derivative content is so important – you only have a few seconds to get your audience’s attention.

We’ve seen a dramatic increase in the demand for mobile-optimized and social-optimized content. Mobile and social are where you are most likely to first engage with your audience. This means that you need mobile-optimized content that gives them a compelling reason to make that first click and invest some time in your content. If your first interaction with a customer is a long eBook, you’re not going to get much traction. You need something that your audience can quickly consume, and short-form derivative content is ideal for this first engagement.

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How to Become a Better Content Team Leader http://www.scribblelive.com/blog/2016/07/17/become-better-content-team-leader/ Mon, 18 Jul 2016 04:00:00 +0000 http://www.scribblelive.com/?p=28609 We’re all fully aware of how content marketing is shifting the way brands prioritize their creative resources. From scaling production of high quality content to creating socially engaging tactics that align with your demand-gen objectives; content marketing is how brands scale growth. Marketing teams build reputations around thought leadership and influential best Read more...

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We’re all fully aware of how content marketing is shifting the way brands prioritize their creative resources. From scaling production of high quality content to creating socially engaging tactics that align with your demand-gen objectives; content marketing is how brands scale growth. Marketing teams build reputations around thought leadership and influential best practices while also reducing overhead for their companies. And it’s all built around great content.

However, as more companies shift into the content marketing sphere, teams must continuously review, optimize, and differentiate their strategies from other thought leaders in their space. Often there is an underlying rush to reinvent the wheel, which can result in content that is misaligned with the overall marketing strategy.

Great content marketing teams are supported by great leaders. A content marketing manager or director of content reviews the goals of the organization and aligns the content team with those objectives. Content leaders help their teams with the creative process and establish unique yet valuable voices to stand out in an oversaturated industry. Leaders identify new paths to scale growth while ensuring all content remains on point with the brand tone and business objectives.

In this post, we’ll identify how great content marketing leaders empower their teams to become more dynamic and effective in their roles within an organization.

What Is Great Leadership?

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Excellent leadership is an indispensable quality. Leadership, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “the power or ability to lead other people.” This aligns with the similar perception of leadership as the power or ability to inspire others. A content marketing leader empowers their team to achieve common goals.

As much as content marketing has infused our lives, it is an industry still in its infant stages. This means leaders can inspire their teams to embrace their creativity and execute tactics that may be considered “unconventional” in more established industries.

However, visions considered unconventional by the masses are often looked back upon with greatness over time. Odysseus inspired the Greeks to use the Trojan Horse, a very unusual tactic that led to a massive victory during the Trojan War. Abraham Lincoln’s vision for an America where all citizens are equal helped end slavery and changed the country following the American Civil War.

Effective leaders have the ability to inspire their teams with visionary strategies and tactics. Effective content marketing leaders must do the same by helping their teams understand the impact of content for an organization. To provide this assessment, leaders must build their vision by defining the content strategy.

Define Goals and Strategize

Your goals as a content marketer should align with the broader goals of the marketing team. Those goals should reflect the overarching business objectives of the company as a whole. While building your strategy, always ask the question – how will the content created by the content team help achieve the company’s business objectives?

The ultimate goal of any marketing team is to move users through the funnel. Always think about the consumer journey and how your marketing campaigns best help people navigate that journey. Keep in mind a few marketing tactics that can help you provide value to the end user:

  • Build a reputation as a thought leader
  • Grow your total traffic to attract new potential customers
  • Encourage customers to share your content and advocate for your brand

Make sure you have a documented content marketing strategy. According to CMI, 53% of B2B marketers have documented content marketing strategies and are subsequently more effective in their roles. On the flip side, 40% of the least effective marketers have no strategy.

Define Your Market

target-audienceMarketers with little experience often make the mistake of casting a wide net attempting to reach anyone and everyone. The idea is that the more people you go after, the more likely you have people who will convert into paying customers.

However, leaders recognize that this tactic is flawed. Companies are simply unable to appeal to every potential prospect with their content, their product messaging or brand positioning. This is why data and research helps teams carve out a small section of the broader market to improve results. A high conversion rate from a small group of targeted prospects is more effective than a low conversion rate from a broad pool of people.

As you build your team’s strategy, ask yourself questions such as:

  • What specific function does my product serve in the market?
  • How does my product set itself apart from similar products?
  • Why are people interested in my market?
  • What types of terms or phrases trigger interest from prospective clients?

Answers to these questions help you define the market and the types of people within that market that are most valuable to your brand’s goals. This will help you find your niche and exploit it.

Research Your Competitors

Great leaders have inspirational visions but those ideas don’t come out of thin air. As a leader, you must understand the lay of the land.

Conduct a competitive analysis and determine how your content will stand out from the rest of the competition. Document your findings and work with other members of your team (product, support, sales, and senior leaders) to construct a content marketing plan that works.

Source: Sample Templates
Source: Sample Templates

You should know who your competitors are, their strengths and weaknesses, their similarities and differences to your brand. You need to set yourself apart from the opposition in order to be successful. Your documented competitive analysis will not only help you identify the gaps where you can create valuable content around, but also help other teams in your organization better understand what really makes you stand out.

Identify Your Personas

Teams need to know who they are creating content for to make the material effective. Use the documentation from your market and competitive analyses to build profiles of your targeted personas and share those profiles with the rest of your team. This will help everyone involved in the creative process stay focused and on track.

Think of your audience personas as your content marketing map. Each piece of content and the messaging within the material should be aligned to at least one of these personas. Consistency in your messaging helps those targeted prospects recognize what your brand stands for and the value you can provide.

As people see more of this type of messaging, they will begin to interact with the content and learn more about your brand. Find out who is most interested in your brand by reviewing your analytics such as click-through rates, pages per session, and any comments that are provided by the user. Share this data with your team. This way everyone is inspired to create more of the types of content that work.

Stay Organized

Effective leaders establish workflows that others can follow. These workflows and processes help teams stay organized as new projects are added to the pipeline.

Create a content hub to manage all the actions of the content team. Insert all relevant data from your competitive research to your persona mapping. This way everyone on the team can access the information in one convenient location.

Label every task and assign each responsibility to the appropriate member of the team. This will help everyone on the team remain up to date with a documented workflow.

Interact With Your Team

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The most effective leaders are the ones that work closely with their teammates to produce the best content possible. The creative process is about brainstorming new ideas with others, which allows ideas with the most potential to be put on the table. Leaders are often the most experienced members of a team but new content marketers often provide fresh ideas that can yield value.

Be open to your team’s ideas. Every member of the content team should feel inspired to participate in the creative brainstorming process. The actions and tone of the leader allow teams to share their ideas but team members may be sheltered or reserved if they feel uncomfortable with the leader’s style.

Brent Gleeson, writing for Forbes, described 4 tactics that leaders can follow to improve the culture of a team.

“Anyone leading a team who believes they are above getting their hands dirty won’t last long. Professional development for any leader is critical, so why not leverage the amazing talent you’ve hired and learn from them?”

Internal communication – Feedback and Direction

Remain approachable and friendly to your team. The best leaders are able to provide feedback in a beneficial way, which is often called constructive criticism. Provide direction to team members to help them grow and become more effective content marketers.

A leader inspires their teammates to learn from mistakes yet remain undeterred from their goals. Establish weekly 1:1s with each member of your team to provide personal feedback and direction. Additionally, these sessions help teammates share their questions or concerns in a safe, secluded environment. When team members feel safe, they are more comfortable and more likely to produce quality content that makes an impact.

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How to Create Sports Content for Big Events http://www.scribblelive.com/blog/2016/07/11/create-sports-content-big-events/ http://www.scribblelive.com/blog/2016/07/11/create-sports-content-big-events/#respond Mon, 11 Jul 2016 20:08:29 +0000 http://www.scribblelive.com/?p=28558 Sports marketers create engaging content experiences during events like Euro 2016 to increase fan engagement.

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Sports is one of the largest industries on the planet. There are millions of engaged sports fans who are the foundation of a lucrative global market. According to Statista, sports marketing revenue totalled $76 billion in 2013, and is projected to surpass $90 billion in 2017.

This summer is a very impressive time of year for sports, sports fans, and sports marketers. The 2016 UEFA European Championship (or Euro 2016) came to a conclusion on July 10th with Portugal as the victorious squad over host nation France. The 2016 Summer Olympics will begin on August 5 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Publishers and marketers will broadcast the pinnacle of athleticism to millions of global fans until the tournament concludes on August 21.

These two events reach massive audiences who are inclined to

  • spend money on merchandise that supports their favorite athletes
  • engage with entertaining content highlighting the most impactful moments of the tournaments.

For brands and marketers, this is an optimal time to increase brand recognition and acquire a larger share of the passionate sports market.

How can content marketers capitalize on this opportunity? We’ve outlined a 5 steps to help your marketing team create interesting content experiences so you can engage with an eager market.

Step 1: Plan

The first step is to establish a plan for your campaign. Any effective content marketing strategy begins by outlining business objectives, key personas, targeted messaging, and how to manage the impact of the content. A solid content marketing strategy helps teams remain on track throughout the duration of the campaign.

  1. Establish an overarching goal for your campaign, and
  2. Create or curate content throughout the timeline of the event
  3. Ensure all content relates back to the primary objective of the campaign

According to CMI, teams with documented content marketing plans are far more likely to consider themselves effective at marketing. An established plan streamlines workflows and allows teams to more effectively collaborate on creating new content experiences.

Step 2: Tap Into Social Media

Second on the list is to incorporate the power of social media into your plan. Social media is an enormous part of our lives, and sports fans are plugged into experiences across many social platforms. According to
Stanford Business School, “70% of fans bring a mobile device to the stadium or arena and expect to use it during the game.”

Technology and social media have transformed the in-game experience for sports fans. Fans that attend games use their smartphones to capture game-breaking moments and highlights. Those moments are then uploaded to their social channels.

Marketing teams can tap into these fan experiences and empower their own social channels. Sports marketers thrive by building online communities and forums where fans can upload in-game experiences for others to view or comment on. The brands can then repurpose these pieces of content for new campaigns and increase their social networks with newer fans.

Some brands are very effective at incorporating user generated content into your broader marketing strategy. For example, Snapchat’s Live Stories feature allows event attendees to publish videos in a “live story” experience that can be shared with any Snapchat user around the globe. The content is then repurposed by Snapchat to promote their brand as a popular channel for users to share content.

Snapchat Live Story Content Experience

Step 3: Be Informative

When it comes to sports, fans love to be informed. Sports knowledge is an indispensable part of every fan’s arsenal, and discussions often become a competition in itself about how much fans know about their chosen topic.

A content marketer should provide excellent and accurate analysis of any given sport on a regular basis. Many brands are even updating their networks in real time format, recognizing that the engaged sports fan constantly craves new information.

Fans that are interested in franchise players are often interested in the stories that help shape said players. This is why marketers should maintain updated and accurate player profiles at any mention of a player within the content. Popular topics may include:

  • Where did the player attend school
  • How many points do they score in an average season
  • Did they make any significant contributions to improve the quality of the sport

Richard Deitsch, an established author at Sports Illustrated, offered unique advice for a compelling sports marketing guide. He encourages content marketers to provide information they are unable to learn from television or sportscasters.

“Preparation and experience are important, but even more important is understanding additive value to the reader. I’m speaking from a sports-centric perspective. Tell me things I cannot see on television.”

Step 4: Be Entertaining

Entertainment is a critical asset when it comes to building engaging content experiences for fans. You have to give people a reason to view your content and keep coming back for more.

The Football League recognized a need to inject humor and lightheartedness into their content to
improve the content experience for fans. Marc Cooper, Head of Audience and Content for The Football League, summarized the process as a tactic that all sports marketers should follow.

“We wanted to change the tone of our websites: away from single-event press releases to an on-going, more fun experience for fans, enabling the clubs to engage in fan interaction and drive audiences to the sites.”

Cooper believes marketers should create content that brings out the fan in everyone. This means
building a lifestyle around your brand using sports as the common theme. Connect yourself as the publisher with the fans as the readers or watchers by inserting humorous comments, images, or videos whenever possible. This will help you build bridges with your audience and open up opportunities for feedback or shared dialogue.

Sometimes entertainment means interaction and encouraging fans to contribute to your content experience. Many marketers publish quizzes to encourage interaction and participation. Fans love to feel like part of a larger community and quizzes help people provide their opinions among like-minded enthusiasts.

Step 5: Track What Resonates

Measurement is a key part of any content experience, especially during a finite period of time like a tournament or an event. Marketers need to know what types of content are making an impact and avoid diverting resources away from content that is effective.

Monitor the activity on your social accounts and within your content hubs to identify what content has the most impact on the audience. Ensure all new content is fresh and contains up-to-date information. This allows fans to receive the most value by engaging with your brand. Stay active, and remember that
the game is always on.

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Mobile Myth Busting: How to Write Great Content for Mobile http://www.scribblelive.com/blog/2016/07/05/mobile-myth-busting-write-great-content-mobile/ Tue, 05 Jul 2016 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.scribblelive.com/?p=27766 We debunk 5 myths that mislead content marketers when writing for mobile so you create better content, regardless of the screen size.

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In 2014 the number of mobile users eclipsed desktop users. Since then, mobile technology has continued to change the way we browse the web and connect with brands. “The latest data shows that we are now well past the tipping point.” says Smart Insights, as “mobile digital media time in the US is now significantly higher at 51% compared to desktop (42%).”

 

Mobile stats vs desktop-users-global

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Today, 80% of internet users own a smartphone and consumers are “multiscreening” (browsing on both mobile and desktop devices), meaning it’s more important than ever to create consistent experiences across devices. This is about more than simply making your site mobile responsive. It means thinking about how the vertical screen changes the way we write and structure content.

Below we debunk 3 myths that mislead content marketers when writing for mobile so you create better content, regardless of the screen size.

Myth 1: Write for the Golden Triangle

“It’s time to toss the old paradigms,” says Neil Patel, and “forget everything you thought you knew about reading content online.”

Traditionally, content writers crafted content according to two paradigms – the golden triangle and the F-shaped pattern.

The Golden Triangle – During eye-tracking studies researchers learned that users focus primarily on the upper left corner of a website or search engine page results. This triangular region is where the majority of the eye movement was focused.

Image Source

F-Shaped Pattern – Researchers also noticed a variation on the golden triangle known as the f-shaped pattern for it’s resemblance to the letter. Users were likely to read horizontally through the first line before moving down the page and reading across in a second horizontal movement that covered a shorter area than the previous line. Users would then scan the content’s left side vertically, forming the stem of the “F”.

However, this all went out the window with the introduction of mobile screens. There’s simply not enough text on the screen to create these reading patterns. Instead, users focus on the center of the screen. The eye-tracking study below reveals that readers devote 86% of their attention to the upper two-thirds of the screen, missing most of the lower content.

Mobile SERPs eye tracking results and click through curve

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This means the way you structure information is extremely important. On a desktop web page there is plenty of room to craft a message and keep it above the fold (the area visible before the reader must scroll). However, on a mobile device you don’t have the luxury of space – every word has to count. Structure your content so that only the most important and gripping information appears above the fold.

Start with a powerful headline, followed by a few lines of text that function as a subheading. Headlines are especially important when writing mobile-optimized content and should compel the reader to move below the fold. A long headline will push your subheading offscreen, so keep them short, engaging, and to the point.

If you’re writing a blog post, don’t begin with a meandering anecdote or mobile-users might never scroll down to the meat and potatoes of your article. When creating a landing page, make sure that the text doesn’t push your CTA below the fold. Keep cutting away excess text until you simply can’t anymore.

Myth 2: Always Use Images

Make no mistake – visuals are important. In fact, Visual content gets 94% more total views and is 40 times more likely to be shared on social networks. However, those writing for the mobile screen should think carefully about how they integrate images into their content.

Content with visuals 94 percent more views

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Eye-tracking studies show that mobile users are likely to focus more on images than they do text. Use images sparingly and only when they add value to your content. In other words, include the graph that illustrates the research you quoted, but forget the stock image that you’re using just for the sake of including an image.

Some visual content, like infographics, are less conducive to the vertical screen. If you suspect that an infographic is going to get a lot of mobile traffic, try breaking it up into consumable pieces that don’t require the reader to zoom in and out to read.

It’s also important to pay attention to file sizes when considering how your images will render on a mobile device. Mobile devices often load images slower than a desktop or laptop computer, and large images can eat up valuable data. Try to keep the size of your image at 20K or less so you won’t lose your readers’ attention during long load times or drive up their phone bill.

Myth 3: Mobile Content Must Be Short

People use their mobile devices for messaging, calling, gaming, tweeting, snapping, scrolling through Instagram, swiping right – the list of distractions is endless.

This means that you’re not just competing against other content on the web for attention, you’re also up against the endless stream of notifications from apps that threaten to pull the reader away from your content. In order to maintain your audience’s attention, you need to create easily-digestible content.

According to Patel, this doesn’t mean writing less, but better. In other words, writing for mobile doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality or length. Instead of thinking about how you can cut down your article, think about how you can structure the content to ease readability and help your viewer focus.

Reading long paragraphs of text takes a lot of concentration on any device, so keep them short and succinct to help your reader focus. Remember that paragraphs that seem short on a desktop can quickly turn into a wall of text on mobile devices. Help out your mobile readers by writing in snippets and cutting your paragraphs down to two or three sentences.

You can also experiment with subtitles, bulleted lists, and highlighted quotes to break up text into consumable nuggets and improve mobile readability.

 

As mobile devices continue to eclipse desktops, the best way to prepare your content for the vertical screen is to make sure that it’s not only optimized for mobile but also structured for mobile. Don’t fall into these three traps and you’ll be on the path to creating content that holds your readers’ attention regardless of the screen size.

Now that you know how to write for mobile, how do you measure your success? Check out our whitepaper How to Measure Success in Content Marketing for tips and expert advice on how to measure the success of your content marketing efforts.


Sophorn Chhay is the marketing guy at  Trumpia, an automated communications platform with mass text messaging, smart targeting, and automation. Follow Sophorn on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.

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Cocktails, Content, and Solutions to the Consumer Journey http://www.scribblelive.com/blog/2016/06/28/cocktails-content-solutions-consumer-journey/ Wed, 29 Jun 2016 04:00:00 +0000 http://www.scribblelive.com/?p=28481 ScribbleLive hosted a special Cocktails & Content event at Helen Mills in New York to discuss the #newpath of marketing and the consumer journey.

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Marketing in 2016 is a brand new practice compared to strategies that were implemented over the past 5 or 10 years. Why the major changes?

The fact is that people’s schedules are stretched very thin, and there is little time in busy lives for market research. When we describe time, we don’t just mean the flow of days, weeks or months that account for each calendar year. Time is one of the most valuable yet limited assets that each person manages within his or her everyday life. A line from Pink Floyd’s massive hit “Time” summarizes this dilemma brilliantly:

Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time.

pink_floyd

People don’t want to decipher through advertisements and unclear messages because there is little time to spare for such unnecessary tasks. Clarity is invaluable to prospective customers since concise messaging is quick and easy to process. A brand that clearly communicates the value of its products or content registers in the mind of a prospective customer. This recognition and awareness encompass the first stage of the consumer journey.

The ever-changing consumer journey has a tremendous impact on marketing and how marketing teams analyze the effectiveness of their campaigns. The consumer journey resembles the marketing funnel and is the path people follow to become paid customers and brand advocates.

The Consumer Journey is the #NewPath of Marketing

Establishing a community of engaged users is one of the primary objectives of any marketing team. How you build that community is a long and complicated process that requires a consumer-first approach to marketing. This means creating a consumer-first content strategy; developing a social media presence that encourages interaction; crafting an email marketing campaign that shares valuable insights with targeted end users; and on and on.

Community development and content marketing initiatives were the main focus of the
Cocktails & Content event hosted by ScribbleLive in New York City. The event was given the hashtag #NewPath as a representation of how effective marketing teams must address the needs of the end consumer to have success in 2016.

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The event was hosted inside the Helen Mills Event Space And Theater in Midtown Manhattan. Marketers were invited to partake in the event and listen to success stories from some of the industry’s most prominent leaders, including:

The speakers shared insights and solutions to help marketing teams stay ahead of the ever-changing consumer journey. Some of the broad themes that were addressed were:

  • The impact that millennials have on marketing in 2016
  • How B2B and B2C marketing teams execute similar yet different marketing campaigns
  • Content marketing recommendations to help your team stay ahead of the game

Effective Marketing Solutions in 2016

scribblelive-table

Topics of discussion revolved around the various changes in marketing over the past 5 to 10 years. Matt Cooper, who emceed the event, related each of the points raised by the speakers back to the broad theme of the event: how the consumer journey impacts marketing teams and effective communication campaigns.

Adapt to Mobile Friendly Marketing

Dan Levi stated that smartphones have made one of the most significant impacts on marketing over the past decade.

“The big change in the past five years is the emergence of mobile and data.”

Dan suggested that easy access to information allows people to conduct their research on the go and at their convenience. Many people establish feeds or streams in their social media accounts with interesting content from trusted publishers. Once the content is pulled in, they frequently skim the highlights using their smartphones.

To remain on the minds of mobile-savvy prospects, marketers must re-commit to social media marketing and create headline-worthy content. Teams should review their social analytics to decipher what types of content get the most clicks and who engages with the brand. Use this data to determine what types of content should be distributed on your brand’s social channels to increase engagement and clickthrough rates. There are many powerful social media tools that can help you interpret the meaning behind data and make logical decisions with marketing.

The Content Feed Is The New King

Penry Price took the mobile discussion one step further. He says the content feed had a tremendous impact on marketing strategies and the consumer journey.

“The feed has transformed all of us in the way we consume, discover and engage with content. This makes us think about ‘How do we build the best content for the feed experience?'”

iPhone

Penry said that marketers use the content feed to begin a dialogue rather than forcing a one-way line of communication upon people. Feeds make it easy for people to click, like, or share a piece of content that catches their interest. This interaction tells the publisher that the content was well received and that the consumer journey may begin.

Content feeds allow people to interact with brands in ways that were never possible before. The lines of communication between a company and a consumer are no longer a one-way street. Commenting solutions help brands build communities of engaged users who post feedback or participate in group discussions. Creative marketing and thought-provoking content help facilitate many of these interactions. Ensure your team uses these tactics to craft social marketing strategies that cut through the clutter and increase engagement.

Marketing And Sales Are Interconnected

Stefan Tornquist believes the biggest change in marketing is how marketing has become integral to sales success rates.

“Marketing has been thrust from understudy to sales in a leading role. Companies that are already customer centric are therefore marketing centric.”

Stefan believes that marketing success stories will become as important to corporate boardrooms as sales numbers and new product developments. Marketers who move people through the marketing lifecycle help sales teams convert prospects into paying customers or brand advocates. This process requires earning people’s trust, establishing a dialogue, and building credibility – all of which increase the value and reputation of a company or a brand.

Marketers create thoughtful and engaging content that allows people to connect to the brand. The marketing lifecycle, working in parallel with the consumer journey, increases the overall reach of the brand. This process is crucial for companies to scale growth.

Deepen The Relationship

Brad Young says the most important task for marketers in 2016 is to deepen the relationship with would-be customers or brand advocates.

“At the end of the day, all we’re trying to do is deepen the relationship. If we aren’t addressing a problem we can fill, we aren’t deepening the relationship.”

The fact is that the consumer controls what appears in their feeds and when to take the next step of the consumer journey. Marketers break through the clutter and earn a rightful place in those feeds using educational and thought-provoking content.

Content marketing is one of the most important parts of any marketing campaign in 2016. Content marketing allows teams to express a brand’s image and develop a reputation as providers of credible and valuable information. If the content is high quality and grabs attention , people are more likely to click and interact with that content. This process allows people to begin the consumer journey.

Content marketing brings things back to the concept of time and how people have little patience for brands with no value. Great content, if effective, saves people the time and the hassle of conducting market research. A great piece of content intrinsically encourages a prospect to begin the consumer journey with your brand.

Cocktails & Content

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Once the discussion was complete Matt Cooper thanked each of the speakers for participating on the panel, and thanked all attendees for coming to the Helen Mills Event Space. The feedback from both panelists and spectators was very positive, and the ideas raised during the event presented fresh opportunities for marketers to connect with clients throughout the consumer journey.

With the wrap-up complete, it was time for cocktails!

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Renew, Refresh, Rebrand: The Content-Centric ScribbleLive http://www.scribblelive.com/blog/2016/06/23/renew-refresh-rebrand-content-centric-scribblelive/ http://www.scribblelive.com/blog/2016/06/23/renew-refresh-rebrand-content-centric-scribblelive/#respond Thu, 23 Jun 2016 20:07:15 +0000 http://www.scribblelive.com/?p=28430 ScribbleLive has been innovating since the company was founded in 2008. ScribbleLive was originally known as a live blogging platform but has evolved into one of the industry’s leading content marketing platforms. This evolution was natural. Marketing and technology rapidly change as a result of innovation. We enhanced our visual Read more...

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ScribbleLive has been innovating since the company was founded in 2008. ScribbleLive was originally known as a live blogging platform but has evolved into one of the industry’s leading content marketing platforms. This evolution was natural. Marketing and technology rapidly change as a result of innovation. We enhanced our visual identity and branding to reflect our position in the marketplace as trailblazers that provide innovative marketing solutions. Today, we’re very excited to launch the new face of our company and hope our insight can help inspire you and your organization.

Long Live ScribbleLive

You might be asking yourself, why’d we do it? Why all the change? Our rebrand is all-encompassing and signifies more than just a change of fonts and colors. We wanted to rebuild ScribbleLive as a creative and effective platform for anyone that interacts with the brand or uses our products. We’ve added an image that contains our old logo, which was an appropriate representation of what our organization once was – a live blogging platform. The chat bubble and emphasis on the word LIVE were unmistakable.

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Our primary red was a bold use of color. We added subtle shades of gray and included simple icons and screenshots to communicate our message. However, combined with the italicized typeface and chat bubble, it didn’t exactly scream modern. What seemed cutting-edge in 2010 wasn’t holding its own in 2016. We had great success with the Visually rebrand launch earlier this year and decided to execute a similar strategy to energize the ScribbleLive brand.

Where to Begin?

Rebranding an established organization is quite a challenging task. Instead of creating everything from scratch, we had to incorporate the brand’s early success into the new tone, style, and messaging we want to convey in 2016 and beyond. ScribbleLive’s suite of products set us apart in three key areas. We allow marketers to:

  1. Make decisions with data
  2. Channel their creativity
  3. Deliver content effectively

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Making of Our Mark

Data, creativity, and effectiveness. How were we going to effectively represent these three values in one cohesive mark? Since we have top creative talent at our fingertips, we partnered with Agent Illustrateur from the Visually talent community, who provided invaluable direction during the Visually rebrand. Before starting to sketch, we did extensive research on tech logos to see what was already on the market.

“You’d be surprised at how many ideas are already in use and have been done before – some good, some bad,” says Agent Illustrateur.

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We had to illustrate how data (used to make rational decisions), creativity (unique, outside the box thinking) and effectiveness (people, operations, and scalability) combine into one platform. That’s a lot of things to consider visually. We went through many brainstorming sessions before deciding on a few creative directions to explore.

“After few experiments, I knew I had to simplify the rationale behind the visual cues. I ended up with the idea of interconnectedness, something they all had in common.”

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To Infinity and…

After crafting a few early concepts loosely inspired by the infinity loop, the Möbius strip and arches/radiations from connectivity, we explored countless variations of the mark. We made simple tweaks and wild new concepts before merging the infinity loop with the Möbius strip concepts into a distinct « S » shape that represents ScribbleLive.

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What exactly is the symbolism behind the infinity loop? It’s the universal metaphor of infinite possibilities, harmony, balance, flow and unlimited potential. We believe the infinity loop accurately represents ScribbleLive’s evolving mission, vision, and values. The rational, math-related aspect of the infinity loop symbol resonated with the data-driven elements of our content marketing platform. What about the symbolism of the Möbius strip? We uncovered this fascinating concept while researching ways to visualize the effectiveness of data. It’s a powerful symbol of never-ending transformation and unity across the multidimensional.

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Once we decided to blend these two concepts into our stylized « S », we fine-tuned the sharp edges and played with the roundness and width of each curve. We explored different fuchsia, magenta and orange colors before finalizing on a bright, profound style. The logomark is paired with a geometric sans serif font with the highly legible and harmonious Galano Grotesque. The intense warm and dynamic color palette of the symbol is grounded by the charcoal lowercase wordmark for a balanced and versatile arrangement.

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The Brand, the Look, the Feel

Our new logo isn’t the only thing we’ve been working on. We’re completely updating our branding across all mediums – from our brand new website to our product interface, messaging, and more. The energetic motion of our new logo inspired us to carry these same ideas throughout our rebrand by using geometric shapes and icons complimented by bright contrasting colors, and round legible typography. We’re ecstatic to share our transformed look with the world! See more at scribblelive.com.

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Eddie Shrake is the Senior Brand Designer at ScribbleLive.

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A Guide to Finding Your Brand Voice http://www.scribblelive.com/blog/2016/06/22/guide-finding-brand-voice/ Thu, 23 Jun 2016 04:00:00 +0000 http://www.scribblelive.com/?p=27838 A practical guide outlining how to craft a brand voice and how to use it to create content that your readers will read, and more importantly, trust.

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How important is a brand’s voice? Very! Especially if you’re a content marketer. Your brand voice reflects your core values and communicates your organization’s personality, and is incredibly important when building a relationship with your audience.

In fact, a study by Forbes revealed that 43% of millennials rank authenticity over content when consuming news. They have to trust a brand before they’ll even bother to read the content that they produce. A human, relatable, and authentic brand voice is the key to getting your foot in the door with audiences.

Yet too often, brands fail to develop or define a solid brand voice. Instead of crafting a unique voice, brands often mimic the word choice and tone of their competitors and fail to stand out as true individual and thought leader in their particular industry. Creating a brand voice and making a conscious decision to bring it forward in your content gives you the tools you need to sound more human and relatable, and will ultimately go much further in building relationships with your target personas.

Below we’ve put together a practical guide outlining how to craft a brand voice and how to use it to create content that your readers will read, and more importantly, trust.

Finding your brand voice

The first step to fine-tuning your brand identity is to pin down exactly what kind of voice you want to pair with your organization. Using the same voice across platforms and content creates a unified brand experience. It’s difficult to build a relationship with someone whose personality shifts from day to day. The same logic applies to a brand. Consumers are looking for authenticity, and a shifting brand voice can come across as disingenuous.

Experts recommend taking a series of steps to hone your unique brand voice:

1. Think about how you want to be perceived by your audience. Imagine your brand as a living and breathing person. Do you want to be authoritative? Fun? Straightforward? Reliable? Helpful? Quirky? Relatable? Brainstorm until you build a personality that feels right for your brand. These values will set the foundation and underscore all of your future writing.

2. Pull copies of existing content that hits the mark. For each piece of content, determine what you like about it and why it works. Think about how you can hone that voice through word choice, tone, style, and the format of the content you produce.

3. Narrow down your list to a specific set of qualities (we suggest 3-5) that encompass the voice you’d like to articulate. Create a chart that outlines what kind of content you can create to put this voice into practice – do you need to use more visual content? Develop a mascot? Switch to the active voice?

4. Write it down! Your content and product marketing team can’t start implementing the brand voice if they don’t have a clear and authoritative guide to follow. This is also important when asking freelancers or guest writers to contribute content. Make sure the document has solid examples of how to write (and how not to write) in your brand voice. Content Marketing Institute recommends creating a brand voice chart like the following example:

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You might also want to consider writing a guide for individual content types such as blog posts, social media posts, emails, landing pages, or newsletters. This guide would outline how to apply the brand voice to each content type. A guide with sample content can help people get a feel for the voice, learn how to use it, and start creating on-brand content with confidence.

5. Start experimenting with your new brand voice across your channels. Remember voice and tone aren’t the same thing. Your voice will remain consistent, but your tone might change depending on what channel you’re creating content for. MailChimp has a great article on the difference between voice and tone.

6. Review your content every quarter to see if the team is adhering to the brand voice guidelines and to determine whether your voice is working. Are new team members clear on how to use the brand voice guide? Does it need tweaking?

The web’s best style guides.

To get you started on the right path, it’s helpful to look at other brands that have developed a brand voice and used it to create amazing content.

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MailChimp has established one of the industry’s best style guides. This guide includes a section on voice and tone, which should be required reading for anyone building a brand voice (or simply as a refresher for those who haven’t thought about it in awhile).

Start by taking a look at their Writing Goals and Principles. This can help you conceptualize how to craft the foundation of your own brand voice guide.

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It’s also useful to take a look at their comparative statements, which give the reader a deeper understanding of their chosen qualities.

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Finally, read through their Content Types and use their examples of short, medium, and long-form content guides as a jumping off point for your own brand voice content guides.

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The Economist is another great example of brand with a clear brand voice guide. The guide begins with some important advice from George Orwell:

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Orwell’s six elements keep the Economist’s brand voice original (don’t overuse metaphors), clear (never use jargon or a long word where a short one will do), and authoritative (never use the passive where you can use the active voice).

The Economist has many contributors from around the world. So, instead of listing a set of qualities, the Economist defines their voice through a series of “do not” statements. This allows the  publication’s overall voice to remain consistent, while still allowing the journalists’ individual voices to come through in each article.

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Finally, 18F (an office inside the General Service Administration in Washington, D.C.) has a thorough Voice, Tone, and Style Guide. Their guide was designed to reduce reader frustration with the sterile and jargon-ridden writing often found on government websites, and create content that is both actionable and understandable. By incorporating user feedback into the creation of their content, 18F hopes to “engender trust by communicating in a consistent manner.”

Their voice guide is simple and to the point:

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Their brand voice is consciously designed to feel human and help readers find the information they need without friction.

18F’s voice and style guide also reminds us that “written communication is a conversation.” This gets to the heart of the purpose of a brand voice – to engage the audience and start a dialogue. As content marketers, we’re always looking for ways to start a conversation and develop a relationship with prospects. A solid and human brand voice is the foundation of this process.

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How To Build Landing Pages That Convert http://www.scribblelive.com/blog/2016/06/20/build-landing-pages-convert/ Tue, 21 Jun 2016 04:00:00 +0000 http://www.scribblelive.com/?p=27824 We take a look at how to build a great landing page that converts.

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Landing pages are important for two reasons – they motivate people to click further into the sales funnel and they capture user data so you can connect with prospects and create qualified leads.Though anyone can create a landing page, not everyone can do it well.

Landing pages are an indispensable part of an inbound marketing strategy. Approximately 96% of the people who arrive at your website are not ready to buy just yet – so a targeted landing page is essential to building a positive experience and helping prospective customers find what they need. Every campaign should have its own custom landing page that functions as a hub for your lead generation efforts.

With that in mind, we take a look at how to build a great landing page that converts.

1. A home page isn’t a landing page.

Visitors typically don’t arrive at your home page by accident – they’re probably already familiar with your brand if they searched for you through Google or typed your URL directly into the address bar. The home page is a general introduction to your brand, which is great for people who already know who you are and what you offer, but less ideal for people still getting acquainted with your brand.

A landing page lets you “narrow your focus and remove the clutter from your pages that could distract your visitor from taking the action you want them to take,” says Quicksprout. In other words, they allow you to take control of the interaction and direct them to the information they’re looking for without having to search through your entire website.

Visitors should reach a landing page after clicking on an ad, to get more information about a product launch, to download a piece of content, or sign up for a newsletter. Streamlining these initial interactions will save your visitors time and create a positive association with the brand.

Bonus – investing time in landing pages will not only help your visitor get the information they’re looking for, but can also have positive repercussions for your search rankings.

2. Less is more.

Don’t overwhelm your visitors with visual clutter and lots of text.

Minimalist landing page designs that clearly direct the visitor’s eye to the relevant information are the best performers. Visuals are important, but shouldn’t be distracting. Make sure images and videos are enhancing your message, not distracting from it.

It’s also important to remember that the more visuals you have, the longer it will take for your page to load. According to HubSpot, a one-second delay in page load time can result in 11% fewer page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and a 7% loss in conversions. Being selective in which images you choose to use won’t only reduce clutter, but will also increase conversions.

It’s not just visuals that can lead to higher bounce rates – too much text will overwhelm or bore visitors. The average human attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds but by 2013 it had already dropped to 8 seconds. That means our attention spans are already shorter than a goldfish! This is why it’s important to ensure that your text is short and engaging. Visitors will scan the page for relevant information so keep your text clear and succinct. Avoid empty “marketing jargon” and use stylistic tools like headers, sub-headers, bullet points, and italics to highlight the important information and keep things digestible.

Kissmetrics uses this MailChimp landing page as a great example of a brand that manages to get straight to the point. The brand immediately differentiates them from the competition with a large, clear, and bold headline. The supporting text is minimal and gets the point across in as few words as possible. The page also features a single image – the MailChimp mascot – to balance the text and facilitate brand recognition.

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3. Pay attention to layout and formatting.

A logical layout and good formatting are the foundation of a seamless user experience. According to
Kissmetrics, 61% of companies do less than 5 tests per month on their landing pages, even though the layout is a major factor in the performance of a landing page. Don’t fall into this trap – make sure you test your layouts until you find one that works for you.

Keep fonts simple and structure information so that it’s easy to skim. Take a look at H.Bloom’s landing page below. It has a clear headline, a short form, and a bright CTA button. The page also features a clearly laid out and succinct 3-step explanation of the ordering process so users know exactly what they’re signing up for. The landing page’s structure is easy to understand and inspires confidence, facilitating more conversions.

This landing page also keeps the form short, simple, and above the fold. By sticking to the essentials, you reduce the amount of time visitors have to spend answering questions and ensure a higher conversion rate.

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Remember, now that mobile searches have eclipsed desktop searches on Google, it’s more important than ever to make sure that your layout and design translate into a seamless mobile experience. Make sure that your landing pages are optimized for mobile so you don’t lose out on this segment.

4. Have a strong CTA (and test often).

“A common trait across all top performing landing pages,” says Search Engine Land, is their “incredibly unique offers that help them stand out in their respective industry.” If your CTA isn’t compelling then even the best formatting and layout won’t convert.

In order to know what constitutes a unique CTA, you need to know what your target audience is looking for. Find out what their pain points are and how you can address them. The best way to do this is to ask them directly by adding an extra form field or seeking answers on social media. Getting creative and testing different CTAs will help you maximize your conversions.

It’s also important to make sure your CTA is clearly visible. HubSpot recommends using contrasting colors to direct the reader’s’ eye to the CTA. They use the following example to emphasize how contrasting colors (blue and white) can make the headline pop, and complimentary colors (blue and red) direct the eye to the ‘submit’ button and CTA.

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4. Build trust.

Good landing pages incorporate “trust signals” – content that lets first-time visitors know that you’re trustworthy.  We like to showcase the logos of reputable brands that currently use our products to let visitors know who else trusts and uses our product.

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If you have space below the fold, experiment with incorporating testimonials, links to case studies, endorsements, recognitions, or quotes from social media that advocate for your brand. Remember to keep them short and to-the-point, and ensure that they fit into the flow of your layout.

5. Always perform A/B tests!

It’s rare that you’ll get things right on the first try. That’s why it’s important to continuously perform A/B tests on different elements of your landing page to eliminate any points of friction.

Even if you put all of the previous tips into action, there’s no magic formula that guarantees a conversion. You have to continuously optimize until you find the right formula for your audience. According to Search Engine Land, if you want to break into the top 25% (of converting landing pages) you need to test four unique landing pages with different offers, messaging, and flow. If you want to break into the top 10%, you need to test at least ten different pages. This is how you’ll find your winning page.

You might consider changing the messaging depending on where your users are arriving from. Catering your message to different audience segments will help you personalize the experience and generate more leads.

Some guiding questions to ask yourself include:

  • Are my headlines large and to-the-point?
  • Is the text as clear and succinct as possible?
  • Is my form as short as possible?
  • Is the CTA clear? Am I using color to highlight its position on the landing page?
  • Is my CTA compelling? Is it enough to motivate a form fill or a click-through?
  • Do visitors have to scroll below the fold to find the CTA or important information?
  • Are visuals enhancing the message, or distracting from it?

With every A/B test, you’ll learn something new that can be applied to future landing pages and eliminate barriers to conversion!

Landing Pages Aren’t A Sales Pitch

Remember, landing pages are not a sales tool, but a means of building trust and ideally a relationship with your customer. This isn’t where you deliver a detailed pitch for your product, but rather an opportunity to give visitors something of value. Make a solid good impression and don’t pressure your visitors – they’ll come back on their own if they find you useful!

Now that you know how to build a landing page that converts its time to create some high-quality content to offer your audience in return for their form fill or click-through. Need some inspiration? Check out our guide to creating compelling ebooks for the best advice on creating content that gets results.

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Cut Through The Clutter (and earn more shares) http://www.scribblelive.com/blog/2016/06/07/cut-clutter-earn-shares/ Tue, 07 Jun 2016 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.scribblelive.com/?p=27760 Audiences are overwhelmed by content on a daily basis. So how do you break through the clutter and earn more shares? We break down 7 ways to cut through the clutter and give your audience the kind of content they're looking for.

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Every 60 seconds 300 hours of new video is uploaded to YouTube, Instagram users like 1,736,111 photos, Pinterest users pin 9,722 images, 1,041,666 Vines are uploaded, and 284,722 snaps are shared. This mountain of content will only grow as 77% of B2C brands and 76% of B2B brands say they plan to produce even more content in 2016.

Audiences are overwhelmed by content on a daily basis. So how do you cut through the clutter and earn more shares? Below we break down 7 ways to cut through the clutter and give your audience the kind of content they’re looking for.

1. Know your audience.

The first step in creating great content is knowing your audience inside and out. This is why it’s important to develop audience profiles during the planning phase of your content marketing strategy. Building demographic profiles and buyer personas will help you understand what grabs your audience’s attention, and identify what types of content they’re looking for.

2. Repost content.

Though quality content is the foundation of creating shareable content, it’s also important to repost this content regularly so that your audience actually gets a chance to see it. Forbes contributor Jason DeMers discovered that the average organic reach per fan on Facebook is 6-7%, while the typical lifespan of a tweet is around 18 minutes. Reposting existing content across your social channels on an ongoing basis can help increase the odds that your audience will get a glimpse of your work. As Jay Bayer says, “content is fire, social media is the gasoline.”

3. Repurpose content.

Get the most out of your content by turning anchor content into derivative content that can be shared across your social channels. Oli Gardner, co-founder of Unbounce, emphasizes the importance of getting the most out of your content; “Reuse, reuse, reuse – turn content into an ebook, infographic, webinar, guest blog post on sites with similar followers, Medium, Slideshare, podcast, [or] speaking topic.” This strategy will make you a more efficient team, improve ROI, and increase the number of people who click-through to your tent-pole content piece.

4. Use visuals.

This is a no-brainer. Visual content gets 94% more total views and is 40 times more likely to be shared on social networks. Images are also ideal for quickly communicating ideas, data, or concepts, and have been proven to make our brains happier! Neil Patel recommends using visual content like infographics, videos, GIFs, or memes. One of the videos Patel uploaded to Crazy Egg generates $21k of business every month!

5. Curate content.

“In a world of nearly infinite content, consumers are looking for a one-stop shop” observes Mike Kaput. Help your audience out by collecting the best content from around the web and organize it in a way that’s useful to your audience. If done right, curating content can help you fill your editorial calendar with quality content and drive traffic on an ongoing basis (without sacrificing quality).

Curating user-generated content (UGC) also showcases how your partners, fans, and stakeholders are interacting with your brand. “When you curate content, it means that you think that content is the best of the best, which is flattering to those content creators,” says Neil Patel. By re-sharing content created by the people who love you, you’re both strengthening your relationship with loyal advocates and tapping into new networks of potential leads.

6. Be human.

Don’t pack your content with needless adjectives and marketing jargon – be conversational. Your readers are humans, so talk to them like a friend or colleague (depending on the tone of your brand). Ryan Hoover, Founder of ProductHunt, says authenticity is the key to building trust and establishing a rapport with audiences. When people feel a connection to the brand, they are more likely to share branded content and become a long-term customer.

Building this kind of loyalty takes time, patience, and a willingness to invest resources in quality content. However, brands that take the time to build these relationships are rewarded with
shared content and free publicity of their brand. A share is considered an unofficial stamp of approval and signals to the network that “this is a company worth your time.”

7. Be helpful.

Don’t just create content for the sake of creating content. Every piece of content you create should provide value to your audience. Is it entertaining? Does it solve a common problem? Does it communicate important information?

Matthew Lieberman, a professor of psychology and of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at UCLA, turned to neuroscience to explain why we share content. He discovered that our brains are constantly on the lookout for content that others will find helpful, amusing, or interesting. “The primary reason that people share things on their Facebook pages or Twitter feeds, research shows, is to be useful to others.” Similarly, a 2013 study by Ipsos revealed that 61% of socially active people share “interesting things.” Around 43% of people prefer to share “important things,” and another 43% prefer “funny things.” Leverage this aspect of the brain and create content that is entertaining, interesting, and above all, useful.

 

Content marketing is getting harder so it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re spending your time and resources creating the kind of content that people are looking for. Now that you know how to create content that cuts through the clutter, it’s time to put together a documented content marketing plan and map your content to the conversion funnel. So what are you waiting for? Get to it!

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7 Commandments For A Good Content Experience http://www.scribblelive.com/blog/2016/06/01/7-commandments-good-content-experience/ Thu, 02 Jun 2016 04:00:00 +0000 http://www.scribblelive.com/?p=27775 To help marketers better understand what audiences are looking for, we surveyed consumers to learn what content they like, how they consume it, and how it makes them feel.

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It’s no secret that consumers are taking control of what content they choose to see. The makers of the ad blocking software Adblock Plus recently reported that it has over 100 million active users worldwide, and a study by Forbes revealed that only 1% of millennials surveyed would trust a brand based on a compelling advertisement.

Marketing is getting tougher, and marketers need to do a better job of planning and creating content that hits the mark. To help marketers better understand what audiences are looking for, we surveyed 670 consumers in the U.S. to learn how they consume content, what they like, and how it makes them feel.

We published our findings in the ebook, Consumer Attitudes Towards Content. Below, we outline the seven commandments that emerged from the research so you can put your resources towards creating the best possible content.

Let the People Speak

We asked respondents to “describe something people who produce content could do to improve your online experience.” The response covered a lot of ground, but there were seven major themes that emerged from the data. We used these themes to develop the 7 commandments for a good content experience. Below we outline each commandment and provide a representative quote for each theme.

1. Deliver actual value.

“Stop using the internet for marketing. You are making the internet boring.”

Our study revealed that 43% of those surveyed are less likely to trust brands as publishers of content. This skepticism reinforces the idea that content marketing is all about driving value and building trust over time, and not just about pushing a product. Brands have to focus on building relationships over time, instead of trying to “close on the first date.”

Red Bull has emerged as a leader in creating valuable content for their target audience. The brand sponsors and hosts a number of extreme sports events and has created one of the most innovative snowboarding films to date. Their participation in the extreme sports community isn’t about selling an energy drink, but about pushing the limits of extreme sports and, above all, entertaining fans.

2. Don’t be annoying.

“I would appreciate less popups and disruptive ads.”

Last year mobile google searches surpassed desktop searches. In this new post-Mad Men mobile-centric world, traditional advertising strategies are no longer effective. Consumers have built-in Adblock or simply switch screens during commercials. Advertisers have to focus less on being the loudest voice, and more on being the most helpful one.

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3. Help them find what they want.

“Ease of navigation could be improved on some sites I visit.”

Last year Think With Google started to re-imagine the way we conceptualize content and popularized the term “micro-moments.” In a nutshell, micro-moments are instances of intent, when consumers turn to their mobile device (or desktop) for answers and information.

Meaningful and relevant content is more valuable to marketers than banner ads and billboards in these moments because they do something more than simply promote products. Great content informs, assists, and entertains. By providing real value in these moments of need, brands can forge a long-term relationship with consumers, create positive associations, and build brand advocates.

 

4. Demonstrate authority (and be professional).

“Credibility of the content can be improved.”

Choosing the right content type plays a role in building trust. For example, our survey revealed that consumers are more likely to rely on articles and videos for major purchase decisions. However, sometimes in our effort to be heard and to feed the “content hungry beast,” we put out content that isn’t fully formed or fleshed out. Maybe it could use some more work or better research.

Putting out content with real value is tough, so try to minimize your efforts by “using every part of the buffalo.” Turning tent-pole content into derivative content can help you maximize the reach of your quality content. For example, if you produce a well-researched e-book with original data, create derivative content like a whitepaper, webinar, and blog post showcasing the research to maximize the reach of your hard work. This strategy will not only help you produce credible work more consistently, but will also improve the ROI in the long-term.

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5. Design for mobile users.

“Mobile Optimization!!”

Our study revealed that consumers still show a strong preference for reading presentations and infographics on computers instead of tablets and phones (which are generally not responsive to window size). If you want to optimize for mobile publishers you need to do more than optimize for mobile, they need to re-think the structure of their content and break up content into digestible nuggets so that mobile readers can easily access information in-the-moment.

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6. Provide an outlet.

“Allow me to share my knowledge.”

Matthew Lieberman, a professor of psychology and of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at UCLA, discovered that our brains are constantly on the lookout for content that others will find helpful, amusing, or interesting. We are social creatures, and neuroscience reveals that our brains are hardwired to seek out information that we can share. Leverage this quality by giving your audience an outlet to share their knowledge and opinions.

When we asked our respondents to choose a “favorite” type of content, social media (23%) and emails (22%) were the most popular choices. These two types of content are based on social interactions, and tap into this notion that our brains are designed to search for information we can use to help others in our social network.

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7. Personalization should not be forced.

“It would be nice if they would just let me decide what was relevant to my life instead of trying to tell me that what they are saying/selling is relevant.”

Perhaps one of the biggest lessons we can draw from this post is listen to your audience. Instead of telling them what they like or need, find out what problems they need help solving. Consumers also value brands that take their opinion into consideration when developing products or services. A Forbes study revealed that 42% of respondents said that they are interested in helping companies develop future products and services. Instead of trying to personalize every aspect of the customer journey, empower your audience by asking for input.

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Creating effective content is becoming increasingly important (and difficult). Consumers actively avoid and distrust interruptive advertising, meaning marketers need to do a better job of planning and creating compelling content. To learn more about consumer attitudes towards content download the ebook here.

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