Video Marketing



A Count Down of 9 of the Top B2B Marketing Trends of 2017

Top B2B Marketing Trends of 2017

Business-to-Business marketing also referred to as B2B implies the sale of an organization’s product or service to another organization. While B2B marketing employs the same concepts as consumer marketing, they are glaring differences in the way this strategy is implemented. Consumers are known to select products on the basis of price, popularity, status, and many different emotional factors. On the other hand, B2B buyers arrive at their buying decisions on the basis of the price of a product or service, and its profit potential. Social media sites have created new opportunities marketing between businesses. Here is a breakdown of the most common marketing trends 2017.

Content Marketing Vs Native Advertising

Content Marketing Vs Native Advertising

Content marketing is a technique used by marketers to distribute and create relevant, consistent and valuable content. The aim is to acquire and attract a clearly defined audience which can convert. It entails curating and creating relevant content that will attract and retain customers. Content ranges from blog entries, social media posts and comments, infographics, digital ads, and bylined articles.

Native advertising, unlike its counterpart is based on paying a third party to distribute content for you. A marketer pays an advertiser or content creator to develop content for them. It is then published and appears as the marketer’s own.

Most marketers find it challenging to choose between the two marketing techniques. Below are critical questions marketers should ask themselves before making a decision:

1. How much are you willing to spend?

The cost of native marketing is way higher when compared with that of traditional marketing. Studies reveal that marketers may have to issue a pay-check in the five-figure range for native marketing. This is certainly a challenge to most start-ups and small businesses.

In comparison, contributing ideas to influential media outlets may be a cost-effective way for marketers to put out their content. Marketers may also spread their content through digital ads on social media platforms to be able to reach the targeted customers.

2. What is the importance of reaching the targeted audience?

Every marketer desires to see their content reach the targeted audience at the right time. This can be achieved when the content is properly directed. Properly using marketing platforms and strategies helps marketers in controlling when their content is seen and who sees it.

Social media platforms help in scheduling and specifically targeting based on the behavior and interests of potential customers. This undoubtedly extends the life of the content. Marketers can leverage their content through digital advertising to ensure that it reaches the right audience.

Native advertising helps marketers to reach a wider market range. The challenging part is directing the content to the target audience. Marketers should thus conduct thorough research on the different levels and modes through which different techniques work before deciding on the models to use.

3. What is your goal and how will you measure your success?

There are numerous metrics that can be used to evaluate the success of your content marketing strategy:
  •  Click through rates
  •  Comments
  •  Impressions
  •  Likes
  •  Shares
As a marketer, you need to determine what to measure in order to track the success of your marketing campaign.

Native marketing has three pivotal benefits:
  •  A potential for a myriad back links to your site
  •  Millions of good impressions
  •  Increased brand awareness
This works best when it is directed to the right audience. However, if you are looking for engagement with your audience, marketing your content is the better option.

Marketers can target social content to particular people on specific forums or platforms. The forums need to have proper back-end analytics. This helps you to access customer demographics as well as quality metrics. This gives a clear picture about what people are viewing what type of content. Such data points can then be combined with analytics software to evaluate the success of your marketing campaign.

Content used for native marketing on the other hand is published on third-party platforms. You therefore need to know the metrics used by the third-party platform before kicking off your campaign.

Which is better between native marketing and content marketing?

An average online marketing campaign may deliver key performance indicators that are better or even equal to those delivered by a native advertising campaign. Note that the two marketing approaches are quite distinct.

If a marketer’s budget cannot support both techniques then what they want to achieve for their brand should be the main focus.

Below are key pointers that may further help a marketer to decide on whether to use content strategies or native advertisements:
  •  Both techniques will help in boosting your brand awareness. Content helps improve SEO while native ads on the other hand improves social engagement.
  •  Content brings about benefits such as optimized conversions, organic rankings and brand awareness.
  •  Content helps give rise to quality links, a high number of leads, and increased social shares
  •  Native campaigns on the other hand lead to increased site traffic, higher views, and audience engagement.
  •  Benefits of native marketing are brand engagement and awareness.
  •  Content faces the challenge of the need for long term publisher and investment partnerships.
  •  Native advertising on the other hand faces challenges such as lack of cost of scale, being perceived as an “ad” and the lack of SEO benefit.
  •  Native marketing tends to take a salesy and pushy tone which may be perceived to be friendly so as to follow the writing style used in the publication.
  •  Content marketing on the other hand takes a takes an authentic tone that does not seem to pressurize the reader to make a purchase. It rather identifies the reader’s pain points and gives actionable solutions. The solutions may not involve the product or service but the goal is to create a rapport with the reader by engaging them.

Evaluation

Evaluation is an important part of the two concepts that we are discussing here. It is critical in refining the campaign as needed in order to increase the return on investment. Investing in either of the techniques should be an ongoing process for every marketer and should not be perceived as a “one-off” procedure.

When choosing the technique to use, the basic determining factor is simple: who is your target audience? Other factors include:
  •  Your product, service or brand
  •  Your goal
  •  Your budget
Note that the digital marketing world is dynamic by many standards. As a marketer, you need to strive to know the relevant trends that you can keep adding to your marketing strategy. The two techniques discussed above should ultimately complement each other.

Conclusion

As we have discussed, content marketing and native advertising need to complement each other. Each technique has its own strengths, which when combined can result in incredible milestones. It all depends on what your goals are. How far can you stretch to reach them?

11 Types of Content That People Love To Share (Content Marketing)

11 Types of Content That People Love To Share

The reason why more tact is needed in today’s content marketing strategy is because people expect more for free. Since there is so much content, viral content marketing is needed for your brand to stand out. Great content must be coupled with proper distribution, for it to attract the attention and engagement of a large number of internet users. Your content needs to entertain, inspire and educate. Different platforms require different formats of content. So what are the 11 types of content that are irresistible to share?

8 Essential Tools to Simplify SEO for Content Marketing

8 Essential Tools to Simplify SEO for Content Marketing

One vital facet of your content marketing strategy is optimizing your content at all levels from the idea phase, research, creation to promotion. This can be very daunting and time-consuming. Here are 8 essential SEO tools that will make your work easier:

1. Preliminary phase

At the outset, optimizing content should begin with the identification of great keywords that can help your content to rank high in search engine results. Here are some helpful tools at this stage:

a) Google Adwords Keyword Tool

This is a rather obvious keyword research tool. It however is very beneficial in marketing strategies. All you need to do is key in a topic. It will give results with the suggested keyword phrases. To make the best choice among them, copy them onto an excel spreadsheet and sort them by their search volume. Take the top results and brainstorm the topics that you can write about them. This will help you in optimizing content. Moreover, you will have enough ideas for content for some time.

b) The Blog Topic Generator by Hubspot

This tool helps you come up with titles for some of the keywords that you may have chosen from Google AdWords. All you need to do is key in the keywords and the tool provides titles which you can use for your content. The tool can produce over 200 titles. This again gives you enough ideas to work with for some time.

2. Research phase

After you have brainstormed the ideas for your content, you can now begin doing some research that will add up to your final content. One of the things you need to consider here is your competitors. You also need to look at the type of content and what areas result in maximal user engagement and backlinks. This will help you estimate the length of your content and the areas to cover. This is especially crucial in YouTube Marketing, where you have to capture the attention of your audience within the first few seconds, and deliver a powerful message that will move them. Here are useful SEO tools for this content marketing phase:

a) BuzzSumo

This tool allows you to see the top content on a specific topic. Top content is usually based on social sharing volume. It also allows you to see the backlinks and the sharers buttons. You are therefore able to see specific backlinks from other content, and even the users that have shared it on social media. This will be profitable when it comes to promoting content.

b) Impactana

This tool helps you see the views, comments as well as backlinks that a piece of content has received. Some content may have many shares, links and comments, but with no traffic. If this is the case, there is a high likelihood that the links have been bought. The content therefore is not popular, and should be avoided.

3. The creation phase

It is now time to create your content. You already have an idea of how you are going to package it, whether it will be a blog post, infographic or You Tube video. Better still, you have the keywords that can help you to optimize it as well as the titles that you can choose.

During creation, ensure that the content is fully optimized for search engines and users too. Here are 2 SEO tools to help incorporate in your content marketing strategy:

a) Grammarly

This works for written content. If you do not have an editor to check your content, you can use it. It offers in-depth checking of errors. This tool can be configured to look for specific issues based on particular types of content. You can also choose the specific issues to be detected. When you use this tool, you will not lose links and shares due to avoidable grammatical errors.

b) WordPress SEO

This tool is ideal if you are creating content on WordPress or even on your own domain. It helps in the configuration of SEO settings for content. It also helps in analyzing content for keyword optimization. For details on how to improve keyword optimization for your content, open the Page Analysis tab on WordPress or on your site. If your site does not have this plugin, install it on your WordPress site. When you need to analyze SEO, save your content as a draft, and a run a copy of it run on WordPress where you have installed the plugin.

4. The promotion phase

After creating great content, one cannot look down upon this facet of content marketing. Let us look at the SEO tools that you can use here:

a) Sendible

This is a social management tool. It helps you to share content with a number of social networks. It also allows you to review the analytics for every share. You can also repost the content to different or even the same networks to increase the opportunity for visibility, sharing and conversion. It is a significant aspect of your YouTube Marketing.

b) BuzzBundle

This tool allows you to search questions that are related to your content. You can search on blogs, social media, and forums. All you need to do is enter your keyword phrase. The results will show all the posts that are related to your content. If you see people asking questions that your content can answer, give them a link to it. This way, you will be providing value for them.

c) GTmetrix

This is more of an overall tool, though it linked with your content and YouTube marketing strategies. It measures the speed of your webpages and offers suggestions for improvement. It will be senseless to create great content and promote it widely only for your visitors to come to your site and get disappointed. Load time is pivotal. It makes the difference between your visitor opting for your competitor’s website or not. This tool is thorough and user-friendly. Other tools that you can use to measure site speed are Pingdom, Google PageSpeed Insights, and WebPagetest.

Conclusion

As we have discussed, you must optimize your content at all levels- from the idea phase, research, creation to promotion. It can be very daunting. The above SEO tools needs to form part of your content marketing strategy. They could also come in handy in your YouTube marketing strategy.

9 Actionable Content Marketing Tips

9 Actionable Content Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

In a world where marketing strategies are rapidly changing, you need to harness the dynamicity of these shifts for your brand to stand out. The good news is that you can scale your strategy to your needs, options and budget. According to statistics by Kapost.com, only 32% of businesses believe that their marketing strategy is effective. Here are 9 actionable content marketing tips that the 32% are probably using:

7 Strategic Ways to Integrate Content Marketing and SEO

7 Strategic Ways to Integrate Content Marketing and SEO

The rise of content marketing has resulted the misconception that it can and should replace SEO. While it is true that many content marketers have made an improved emphasis on content, SEO has not faded into obsolescence. Ideally, the 2 concepts need to work together if any brand or product is going to achieve its goals. Let us delve into how we can integrate them:

What is the difference?

While there is an overlap between the 2 concepts, there are also marked differences between them. SEO has more technical aspects, for instance, use of title and ALT tags, correct URLs, and sitemaps. On the other hand, content marketing is broader and it is not necessarily confined to SEO goals.

How to integrate them

There is a belief that SEO entails creation of good content with a goal to have it indexed by search engines. However, there is more than meets the eye. The on-site SEO groundwork needs to be done. For example, if Google has a problem indexing pages or if your site has a penalty, you need to consult a SEO expert despite having valuable content. The bottom line is that the 2 concepts need to be integrated. Here is how to go about this:

1. Quality

A few years ago, creating poor quality content with well-placed keywords may have resulted in a higher ranking on search engine result pages. However, this will not yield any results in today’s competitive online marketing world. Poor quality content just to show that your site is active is also not beneficial.

From the perspective of SEO, original, engaging content should put you ahead of the competition. This is because in this case, the search engines will be indexing something that you cannot find anywhere else. On the other hand, it helps you reach your goals, as it will attract the specific audience that you are aiming at. Your content should inspire people to stay longer than a minute on your platform, whether it is on your website, blog, social media page or even YouTube channel. It also needs to provide value.

2. Longevity

You should aim at creating evergreen content. It not only improves search rankings, it also makes your site more relevant. News does well in terms of increasing traffic. Nonetheless, its effects stops being felt after a short time. An evergreen piece of content which provides value to your audience will result in engagement and attract links that will help Google to index your site, social media platform, or YouTube channel. Better still, it will rank high in search engine results for a longer period of time. A higher rank translates into more traffic to your site, leading to more links and ranking that is even higher. An evergreen piece of content stays relevant for a very long time.

3. Keywords

For the concepts of SEO and content marketing to work well, keyword research is indispensable. You must produce high quality content. However, it will only serve its purpose if it gets exposure. Exposure entails matching the search terms that people are keying in in their search queries to your content. Avoid using very many technical terms in your content as it will not match to what users are keying in search queries. Keyword research is necessary to find the terms that are likely to rank high in search engine results. One of the tools that you can use for keyword research is Soovle.

4. Monitoring

A crucial aspect of content marketing is monitoring your keyword goals so as to see whether you are actually achieving them. Some of the things to consider are:
  •  Whether the content produced hits the mark
  •  Whether it affects search positions
You must be realistic in your monitoring. It may take time for shifts in search to be seen, and some keywords may have stiff competition. You must be persistent for your efforts to eventually pay off. Your content must never be a slave to keywords. Write to provide value. Do not force keywords at the expense of losing the quality of your content.

5. Links

Good content will certainly attract backlinks. You need to distribute it widely and effectively so as to reach a large and influential audience. Another facet of links would be internal links. It is a way to use content so as to achieve SEO goals and improve user experience. It will help in indexing your site improving page rank, and it will lead users to more content that is relevant to what they are viewing or reading.

6. Evaluation

To determine whether SEO and content marketing are working well when they are combined, you need to do some evaluation. This needs to be in line with your goals. There are good tools that you can use for evaluation. Analytics will also help you to determine the change in search traffic volume over a period of time, and even the pages or content that result in higher search volumes. Content metrics like time on site, bounce rates and visitors who view multiple pages are also important in evaluation.

7. Headlines

Headlines require to be very descriptive. They need to be beneficial and deliver on the promise. They also need to be written for the web. This means that you must include relevant keywords in your headlines. It is beneficial to consider factors like how your audience searches for content and what you intend to rank for. Keep headlines short. Here is why:
  •  They will be truncated in search results - it is important for the entire headline to be visible for the viewers to be more inclined to click on it
  •  Sharing - keeping the headline short will enable people to share it on social media without editing it
  •  Email - if the content is being distributed via email, the headline needs to be visible on the email’s subject line

Conclusion

Content marketing should not replace SEO. Instead, the 2 concepts need to be integrated in a way that is beneficial for content marketers, their audience and search engine indexing. You need to strike a balance between the 2 concepts, rather than emphasis one at the expense of the other.

How to Integrate Video into your Content Marketing Strategy

How to Integrate Video into your Content Marketing Strategy

In recent times, it has become crucial to include video marketing in your marketing strategy. Giant sites like Facebook and Twitter (via Periscope and Meerkat) are already picking pace. A study on video engagement revealed that an average user on the internet will spend 88% more time on a website which has video content. Unfortunately, only 24% of brands use video in their marketing strategies. There is a misconception that video content is time consuming, expensive, and that it is hard to make professional. However, these are just misconceptions. Let us delve into how to make video a part of your content marketing strategy:

1. Live-streaming

Periscope and Meerkat paved the way for live-streaming. You can stream live events, record a podcast live, share your thoughts about developments in your industry, and get feedback from your audience. Live-streaming supports transparency in a business, something that is highly beneficial. You can write a blog post, and discuss it with your audience via live stream. You will be sharing your content with a new audience in another format. This way, you extend the reach and the life of your blog post.

2. Tutorial videos

You can use tutorial videos as part of your video marketing strategy. You can create videos answering common questions. They can be easily shared on social media, your site or even sent out via email. You can even build a series that ultimately leads to a certification.

3. Drip email

A pivotal part of your content marketing strategy is adding video to your email drip campaigns. Video allows you to target different segments of customers using different types of content. For example, you could send more casual videos to your younger audience, and more formal ones to the older members of your audience. A study by Forrester showed that including a video in an email increased the click through rate by 200 to 300%. It also boosted email open rates by 19%.

4. Front page exposure

Putting a video on the home page on your site will increase page view length. It also decreases bounce rates. You can also package the video as a pop up or below the fold and let it be triggered by the actions portrayed by your visitors. An introduction video will not only engage users, but also make navigation on the site easier. As usual, keep it short.

5. Ads

Social media platforms have adopted video. You can create video ads and share them on the various social media sites. The videos are on auto play, for instance on Facebook. Video ads are a good way to increase clicks and conversions. All you need to know is what your target audience likes and package it in an interesting way. You can use tools on social media platforms to target the ads based on audience demographics and behavior on social media.

6. Align with your brand

Your videos need to use your brand identity and key messages. They should also support and build your brand through pace, quality, and style.

7. Using video to promote other types of content

If you have some content that you would like people to buy or download for 'free’ (in exchange of their email addresses), you can create a video and embed it on social media, your site, or on any other platform. The video needs to be educational, over and above being promotional. You can feature the author or a subject-matter expert giving some insights.

8. Video as a source

Another way to use video as part of your content marketing strategy is to interview an expert or thought leader and publish the video on You Tube, Vimeo or even on your site. To publish it on your site, you will need to use a marketing platform, for instance, Wistia or Vidyard. You can also create a regular series where your company employees respond to your clients’ questions. Remember to keep the videos short.

Better still, you can use video as a basis to create more content for your marketing strategy. For instance, you can syndicate the audio on iTunes, transcribe it, and even turn it into a blog post (a Q&A). This way, you will be able to reach more people in multiple formats. You can also publish it on Slideshare, on PR networks, social media, or even as an eBook. You can use Instagram video to announce a release of your product, or respond to questions on your FAQs.

9. User generated content

When used as part of your video marketing strategy, videos gives your company credibility. It makes your company stand out, increases brand engagement, and boosts sales. Video testimonials increase free trials of your product by potential customers by 25%. Just make the video accessible. User generated content is also more likely to be shared. This is because the users have relations like friends and family. This means that user generated content has the potential to reach a larger audience when compared to videos created by brands. You can package the user generated videos to a series that shows how you are connected to your audience.

10. Webinars

You can create a webinar based on a topic that your customers would like to know more about. This strategy involves your customers at a deeper level. A study by ReadyTalk revealed that out of the people who attended webinars, 20 to 40% became valuable leads.

11. Demos

Demos need to be part of your brand’s content marketing strategy. You can choose to record your demos or live stream them. This aspect of video marketing allows users to engage with your brand on a one-on-one basis. You also get to present your brand in a more specific way.

12. Company Vlog

A company vlog comes in handy to support your blog posts. The vlog can be integrated into your blog. It can also be a collection hosted on You Tube. You can base the content of your video on educational videos related to your blog posts or on fun company culture, for instance a behind the scenes.

13. Make them human

Ensure that your video is human. It should show the audiences the different personalities within a business. For instance, it can show how a team leader helps his team to perform.

Conclusion

If video marketing is not part of your content marketing strategy, then you are losing out on a myriad opportunities to sell your product or services.

6 Reasons to Master Inbound Marketing as a Content Marketer

Inbound Marketing Content Marketer

For the last 9 years, inbound marketing has been one of the most effective methods for content marketing on the web. Its main focus is on the creation of quality content that attracts prospective clients to your brand. This happens when you align the content that you publish with customer interests. Let us delve into why every content marketer needs to master inbound marketing:

Inbound marketing is a very strategic technique. It educates and nurtures prospective clients on their journey down the sales funnel. You provide value without asking for anything in return. This concept is based on the fact that before any customer contacts your sales person, they will have done some research online. You therefore need to provide this crucial information to your customer for them to find your brand.

Why every content marketer needs to master inbound marketing

There are a number of benefits of using inbound marketing:

1. Simplified marketing

Inbound marketing allows marketing and sales teams to work together to ensure that they are providing powerful, invaluable content for clients. The sales team have great information about customer needs and wants at different stages of the sales funnel. The marketing team will therefore build content based on this crucial customer information. The two teams can therefore work together to drive leads, nurture existing customers and increase conversion rates. The marketing team can also receive the problems and questions that clients may have, or even telephone and email conversations, and use them as the basis of creating valuable content, with the help of the sales team.

2. Increased brand visibility and awareness

Production of content that is aligned with the customer’s journey down the sales funnel will enable them to find information about your brand during the initial stages. If you have high value content, they will gladly share it via social networks and even via word of mouth. This will increase your brand’s visibility and awareness. You will stand out as a reputable brand and credible resource.

3. Helps in coming up with a feasible content marketing strategy

Unlike traditional outbound marketing where you put your brand out there for everyone, inbound marketing is based on the concept that the customer looks for the seller. 57 to 70% of prospective customers conduct research online before they contact the seller. As a content marketer, you need to do research so as to know where your prospects get information from. You also need to clearly define your buyer persona. This will help you know how to strategically distribute your information so that prospects can find it.

4. Increases trust

Inbound marketing is not intrusive. It allows customers to consume information at their own leisure, without being interrupted by calls or emails. Since it is largely on the buyer’s terms, ensure that you only pay your part by providing value. This way, you will gain their trust. Once they are ready to make a purchase, they will remember your brand.

5. Increases traffic and quality leads

While inbound marketing may not directly generate sales, it is more effective when the customer is doing research before settling on a product, service or brand. This approach to content marketing builds relationships that result in sales. If you have content that is targeted at your audience, it will result in increased traffic to your site. When prospects visit your site, you will lead them to purchase your product or brand via calls to action, more content offers and landing pages.

6. It ensures successful social prospecting

Social prospecting is the foundation on which inbound marketing is built. It entails ensuring that the first contact that a prospective customer makes with your brand ultimately results in a sale. When it is done correctly, your brand is seen as a relevant and reliable source of information. This concept ensures that content marketers begin to build a relationship with a buyer from the outset. This relationship is one of a trusted advisor. It increases brand awareness, as well as the content marketer’s.

How to get social prospecting right

There are several facets of social prospecting:
  •  Customer relationship management (CRM) - understanding this aspect is crucial in helping in the management of communication with prospective clients
  •  Lead intelligence – the information that you derive from lead intelligence helps to prepare for the qualification of leads
  •  Social profiles – it is vital to know that as a content marketer, you need to showcase yourself as a 'person' to prospective clients. After you have created great content, the clients may want to interact with you more, because they know that you an authority. They may also want some clarification about your brand. You therefore need to have a complete profile on social media and respond to clients’ questions.
A facet of social prospecting that could be easily overlooked is connecting with prospective customers. As a content marketer, you could go ahead and connect with your customers. For instance, if someone likes or shares your brand’s YouTube video or blog post, you could go and follow them too on social media. This shows that your brand can be trusted.

After you have posted a piece of content on your brand’s social media account, blog, website or You Tube channel, it will pay off to do the same on your personal social media account. This way, clients see you as a resourceful person, and will associate you with your brand. However, if you are in other forums, for instance, LinkedIn groups, only share content that will be relevant to the group. Sharing content about your brand may be seen as promotional, and will definitely put people off.

Conclusion

We have looked at the reasons why every content marketer needs to master inbound marketing. This strategy is largely effective because you only target people who are likely to become customers. The customers are the ones looking for your brand. All you need to do is ensure that you can easily be found by your clients. Inbound marketing is a part that you cannot overlook in your content marketing strategy. Why fail to capture your prospect from the outset all the way to conversion?

The 8 Most Important Content Marketing Metrics

Content Marketing Metrics

Measuring the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy is a facet that every marketer cannot underestimate. After coming up with a marketing strategy that incorporates various aspects, ranging from optimization, customer dynamics, and engagement, you must measure its efficacy and return on investment. Measuring content success is not easy. A single metric cannot give a wholesome conclusion on the success of your marketing strategy. Here are the 8 most important content marketing metrics:

1. Consumption

This is the most essential metric. You can derive it from YouTube insights or Google Analytics. The focus is on:
  •  the number of people who have consumed your content - views or downloads
  •  the channels they use to consume your content
  •  the frequency of the consumption

5 ways to get your Content to Influencers

Content Marketing to Influencers

The greatest challenge in content marketing is not even in creating content. Distribution is a daunting task. It beats sense to create impressive content if you cannot get it in front of the right audience. It may seem impossible to adequately distribute your content if you are a small brand, with a site with little traffic and a small following on social media. You certainly need to get influencers to share your content, if it is going to be seen by a large percent of the relevant audience. Here are some ways to go about it:

1. Prompts

This is the strategy that you should use most of the time. It involves presenting yourself as a committed follower, and then presenting your idea as one which you think is worthwhile. You then need to ask for the influencer’s viewpoint. Of course, remember to thank them.

5 Online Marketing Trends for the Future

5 Online Marketing Trends for the Future

Online marketing trends change very quickly. You therefore need to stay up to date on what is trending in your niche. These changes also mean that the audience is becoming more reachable. Some of the techniques were very new. They have however been used by some companies and people, and their effectiveness can now be seen. Here are the trends that will form a bulk of online marketing in the future:

1. Going Mobile

As a marketer, you need to reach your customers where they are. A recent research showed that businesses that fail to optimize their sites or landing pages for mobile result in a $1 trillion loss in sales. Your site, landing pages, emails, and even campaigns should all be mobile friendly.

2. Content marketing

Content marketing establishes you and your brand as an authority. It creates a connection with your audience, and increases their confidence in your brand too. It is also helpful in SEO and search rankings. Here are some formats for content:
  •  Dedicated social media posts
  •  Infographics
  •  Video
  •  Blog posts
  •  Interactive quizzes
  •  SlideShares
  •  Ebooks
  •  White papers

How to Create Innovative Content

Create Innovative Content Marketing

In today’s competitive online marketing world, there is very stiff competition for the customer’s attention. This means that there is a great need to come up with different and innovative ways to reach customers. There are many brands whose content marketing strategies involve developing content that will appeal to a wider audience, and go viral.

We agree that there are some basics to follow when we are creating content. However there are basically no limits to what we can do with content. Let us delve into some ways in which we can create innovative content, based on what some companies have done:

1. Using creative formats

a) Pixel art

This is a strategy that was first used by eBoy, a graphic design firm. They are usually referred to as the 'godfathers' of pixel art. They have been able to use pixels to create impressive backgrounds and images with some moving elements. As you scroll down the page, the pixel background seems to zoom in. This graphic design company uses "the HTML Canvas tag", a HTML element used to draw graphics via scripting. You can use it to make simple animations, draw graphs or even make photo composition. Pixel art is used to complement the well written content on the website. To see this, here is the URL: (http://www.theverge.com/2014/6/17/5803850/pixel-perfect-the-story-of-eboy)

b) WebGL

webGL is a JavaScript API used to render interactive 3D and 2D graphics within compatible browsers without using plug-ins. One of Chrome’s experiments used webGL. The experiment is called 'globe'. It is a visualization of the population growth in the earth, based on a set range of dates. Other webGL experiments include: Hello Racer, Twitter’s Tweetopia and Chrome Experiments. This approach can be incorporated into content marketing, if you want to explore a highly interactive and simulated environment.

c) SVG

SVG refers to vector based graphics in XML format. Unlike other image files, for instance, .jpg, .png, and .gif, it is light on file size, adjusts to responsive browser widths, and loads quickly. SVG can be manipulated to create simple but stunning effects. A company that uses this technique is Polygon. It used this method in a review of Playstation 4. As a content marketer, you can also think of a way that you can use this style to communicate and engage your clients.

One aspect of SVG is path animation. This captures your audience’s attention and engages them. Another good example of the use of SVG is Gridlocks and Bottlenecks by Lewis Lehe. It imitates gridlocks and bottlenecks in traffic.

2. Using popular appeal

Another innovative content marketing strategy for the creation of innovative content is using popular appeal. This entails using an already popular concept or product and creating content around it. One good example is Hootsuite’s video, 'A Game of Social Thrones'. It is based on the popularity of the movie 'Game of Thrones'

3. Using Stories

According to a Business Review article, stories make the body to produce oxytocin, a neurochemical that makes people feel good. Another study by Berkeley scientists showed that the body produced this hormone when it was exposed to stories driven by characters. This means that every content marketing strategy needs to aim at producing some oxytocin.

One of the biggest companies that has mastered this art is Microsoft. They run a blog called Stories. Here, they use different stories to introduce products, for instance, Cortana, the search engine that is highly useful in Windows 10. They also tell personalized stories to introduce 'Independence Day' a pilot program that aims at helping visually impaired people to restore their sight. Generally, the blog tells real, personal stories, increasing some oxytocin.

While this approach does not directly sell the product, it raises good feelings, which subconsciously become associated with the product in question. To leverage this as a content marketer, you need to speak to humans about other humans, be humble, and remain relevant.

4. Transparency

This is a strategy that McDonalds has learned to leverage. It entails asking the customers to ask any question about the brand or the product, whether positive or not. McDonalds then goes ahead to answer most, if not all of them. As a content marketer, this method could be a great way to know the areas to focus content creation on. It would also help to improve your customer service or any other issues the customers may raise.

5. Inbound Marketing

This term was coined by Hubspot, and they have spearheaded the implementation of this strategy. It entails creating of numerous high quality content. You can create ebooks, guides, templates, case studies, worksheets, marketing kits, and webinars. These need to be very high quality for your visitors to find value in them.

6. Using platforms

A crucial part of strategic marketing is utilizing as many platforms as possible. Some of the forums you can use include:

a) Forbes BrandVoice

This forum enables marketers to share their content with the audience on Forbes.

b) Chambers of Commerce

These forums will help you in distribution of information. They will also promote the information to the relevant audience. Look out for the free submission calendar.

c) Reddit

On this social platform, the audience will affect your reach either positively or negatively using the downvote feature. This site may result in a higher ROI when compared to other social channels.

d) Contently

This forum helps you to connect with mainstream media journalists. It works via sponsorship, distribution, and publication.

e) LinkedIn Sponsored Updates

This helps in reaching the right audience, via appearing the news stream.

f) Outbrain & Taboola

These 2 platforms advertise content across a broad range of publications. Your content will appear at the end of other articles as related articles.

g) Onespot

This platform provides analytics and a detailed conversion tunnel. It will do an in-depth analysis of your content helping you to identify your target audience and the person it is most likely to engage.

h) Influitive

This is a recruiting platform. It will help you to develop and engage a brand advocate community. It does so by presenting a challenge and then rewarding the customers who participate. Incorporating CRM (content Relationship Management) and social media enables you to reach and recognize brand advocates.

Conclusion

As we have seen, there are no limits to what we can do with content. We need to embrace innovative ways of coming up with content in our content marketing strategies, and this way, we can grab our customer’s attention easily.

The 5 Most Common Content Marketing Myths

Content Marketing Myths

Over the past few years, many brands have come to realize the benefits of harnessing the power of content marketing. Unfortunately, there are a number of myths that have cropped up along the way. Let us delve into the most common ones:

1. It is cheap

Jay Baer posits that content is different expensive, rather than inexpensive. There is a common misconception among marketers that when compared to other marketing methods, content will be cheaper. Technology has to some extent leveled the ground making both small and big brands to benefit from content. Different brands invest different amounts in content. For instance, Orabrush got very impressive results from a YouTube video that cost them $500 while Neil Patel has to spend 5 figure sums for the free educational content on Quicksprout.

Most content marketing strategies will need consistency in their efforts for them to yield results. This means that content needs a budget allocation. Many marketers allocate at least 30% of their budgets to content. 58% of brands plan to increase their content budgets over the next year.

2. It can be automated

Creation of content that will engage clients requires a great deal of time. Automating this process is however not the way out. The truth is to an extent, we can automate content, for instance, alerts, monitoring on social media and curation. But not everything can be automated. Some of the things that you shouldn’t automate include: content creation and interaction with customers and visitors. You cannot put an auto-response on your comments. Someone needs to be available to respond to your clients, identify complaints, receive the compliments, and come up with ways to address the complaints.

3. It is easy

Content marketing’s main pillar is building trust. This is no mean feat. You can put in a lot of effort and time. It however takes a moment to destroy it. Each piece of content you create must work towards enhancing a good relationship with your clients and building your brand’s trust. You must provide value, engage with your audience, and keep them entertained. Unlike advertising where you create campaigns, they run their course and the results are measured, content entails creation of a lifetime campaign. Transparency and authenticity are essential for building trust. They help cushion your brand should something go wrong.

4. It can be done by anyone

The truth is that everyone does have some knowledge to share, and some of it may be very valid. Unfortunately, not everyone can clearly express themselves in writing. Content creation requires a particular set of skills: extensive and intensive research, a journalistic writing style, some humor, and a way to simplify complex subjects. Other people can be involved in other aspects of content creation, especially the design, product development, marketing and sales teams.

5. You cannot measure it

Measuring the ROI of content marketing is not easy, but it is possible. There are a number of ways and tools to aid in this. There are several metrics that help determine the frequency with which content is consumed and the actions that follow it. Marketing automation software goes a long way in making evaluation of the efficacy of your strategy easier.

6. It is all about news

News is not the sole reason why we need content for sites, blogs and social media platforms. Content aimed at customers and clients needs to be meaningful, shareable and educational. If you need to publish news, package it in a way that is relevant to your audience. For instance, you can do a blog post, like '5 reasons why you need to upgrade to windows 10'. You then need to provide more useful content like the prerequisite requirements, tips and things to look out for during and after installation. This approach systematically leads visitors down the sales funnel and creates interest and loyalty.

7. You cannot sustain it

It is possible to produce quality content regularly. You need to keep finding new and interesting ways to tell the story of your brand. Diversify topics about your brand and business. Find out what your persona’s pain points are and provide solutions using your content. If these means incorporating the services of an agency, then you better pay the price to produce value and engagement to your audience.

Conclusion

As more and more brands begin to harness the power of content marketing, it is important to ensure that you do not fall prey to myths.

13 Vital Questions to Help you Draft a Winning Content Marketing Strategy

Content Marketing Strategy

For your content marketing efforts to bear fruit, you need to have a content marketing strategy in place. It needs to be precise and point to the direction that your content marketing efforts will follow. Moreover, it needs to be on paper, or on screen, rather than in your head. According to a study by the Content Marketing Institute, only 39% of small businesses have documented their content strategy. These businesses are also more effective in various aspects of content marketing. So what are the vital questions that you need to ask yourself when drafting a content strategy?

6 Ways to Overcome Content Marketing Hurdles

6 Ways to Overcome Content Marketing Hurdles

Value has become a pivotal part in every content marketing strategy. It is therefore essential for SEO teams to find a nexus between content promotion and the strategies that revolve around it. While the marketing of content may mean different things to different brands, the bottom line is that there are a number of hurdles that you need to overcome before it becomes successful. Here are 6 ways to overcome them:

10 Things you must Include in Your Video Marketing Strategy

Video Marketing Strategy

2015 has been named the Year of Video Marketing. More and more businesses are finding new ways to use the platform so as to reach their customers. Videos give customers an overview of products within the shortest time possible. Creating videos is no longer a daunting task due to tools that help you make videos at little or no cost. In fact, one can use their smartphone to shoot a video. Alternatively, you can sign up for services that create animated explainer videos. As much as shooting videos has become easier, you still need to have an effective video marketing strategy in place to leverage the power of video. Here are 10 things your marketing strategy must include:

10 Killer Strategies Marketers can Learn from Top YouTube Video Ads

10 Killer Strategies Marketers can Learn from Top YouTube Video Ads

This year, YouTube celebrated its 10th anniversary. They did this in their own style. They looked back at their decade journey, and one of the things they did was to do a survey of how brand content was faring on the giant site. A list of the top 100 brands, based on "Interbrand 2014 Best Global Ranking" was made. Pixability analyzed the brands and gave a report of what had changed for those brands in their YouTube marketing strategy over the years. People also voted for their favorite brands via partnership with The Webby Awards.

6 Things you need to Know about Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content

There is a deluge of content on the internet today. This makes it very difficult for your content to get noticed. Approximately, 2.73 million blog posts are published daily. Some strategies like banner advertising are also become less effective over time. Marketers are therefore using different and more innovative approaches to content marketing, for instance influencers and native videos on You Tube.

A Comprehensive Guide to Content Marketing

Content Marketing A Comprehensive Guide to

In the digital world which we live today, the marketer is no longer the one looking for the client. Rather, the opposite is true. Here are some statistics that reflect this fact:
  • 81% of shoppers will conduct an online research before visiting any stores
  • Consumers spend around 79 days researching online before making any purchases
  • The buyer guides himself through 60 to 90% of the traditional sales funnel before contacting a sales person or even brand
In view of these statistics, there is need for the marketer to position himself in a way that is easily accessible and noticeable for the client to get to know where he is. One of the best way to do this is via creation of valuable and high quality content that will inform, engage, and attract an audience, while promoting the brand.

5 Things Digital Marketers Should Know About User Experience

Digital Marketing User Experience

User experience is crucial in digital marketing. It influences decisions like website design, SEO, and the type of content we have on our websites. User experience involves meeting the customer’s exact needs and expectations and even surpassing them. It has more to do with how people relate to technology, and how that relationship can be fostered. The digital landscape keeps changing. However, marketers do not always have a clear picture of what user experience entails, and even the impact it can have in their marketing efforts.