2014 was a busy year for marketers. Content Marketing hit the big time, brands and agencies embraced micro-content, and video marketing proved that it is here to stay. Here are the 14 biggest content marketing trends we saw in ’14:
1. Content Marketing is the New Norm
Content Marketing has come a long way since its days as a buzzword. The practice has been embraced by big-name brands, innovative startups, and a few unexpected players. Beyonce’s self-titled album and complementary set of music videos is an example, and even the White House got in the game with its candid photo galleries. For more best in class examples, check out Kapost’s roundup of the top 50 content marketing brands.
2. (Visual) Content is King
At Visually, we've discovered a thing or two (or three) about best practices when it comes to creating compelling content. Time and time again, visual content outperforms others in terms of grabbing attention, persuading consumers, and telling a story. The data doesn’t lie – people recall 80% of what they see and do compared to just 20% of what they read and 10% of what they hear, according to research by Paul Martin Lester of Cal State Fullerton.
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Published on Apr 2, 2012
How do you build, implement and track the results of a successful digital marketing campaign in the education sector?
This video is a recording of a webinar presented in Australia in March 2012 outlining an approach to implementing digital marketing campaigns that align with the decision making process for prospective students.
The digital marketing landscape is evolving quickly and significantly in the education sector. Social media, search engines, web 2.0 and other channels are increasing the complexity of the marketing mix in this dynamic environment.
Compounding the problem is measuring the return on marketing investment in these marketing channels. It can take many months between the time that a student researches their options and their enrolling. This means that tracking the true effectiveness of your marketing campaigns is very difficult and typical approaches to measuring response rate and conversion may underestimate the value of the campaign.
The topics covered include:
- How to track success online,
- How to identify what works and what doesn't,
- Strategies for nurturing prospective students, and
- Aligning digital marketing to the prospective student decision making process.
- Standard YouTube License
Content Marketing is a skill that’s in high demand, but finding resources to learn about it can be difficult. They don’t teach content marketing in college, so you are truly starting from scratch. Only the dynamic world of online education is able to keep up with the nature of content marketing.
Market Motive instructor and president of SEO-PR Greg Jarboe describes learning content marketing as “learning how to fly off an aircraft carrier and hoping that it hasn’t deviated much from its last known course after you’ve hit your target and are ready to learn how to land.”
People learn content marketing from tons of different sources. SkilledUp acquired a breakdown of these resources during a study on content marketing:
It can be tough to sift through the loads of information you’ll find if you do a simple Google search for learning Content Marketing and then try to sift through the resources mentioned above. So, we decided to do the hard work for you!
We've gathered the best of the best for learning content marketing. We’ll start with the free resources and move into the paid. Don’t second-guess a resource just because it’s free. Free doesn't necessarily mean low quality! Everything in this list is a trusted source of Skilled Up or a recommendation from the aforementioned content marketing experts.
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The success of your content marketing strategy depends on the nature of your content. If your content is good and by good I mean straight out of the top drawer, it will bolster your content marketing efforts. On the other hand, if it is fairly ordinary, your inbound marketing campaign will fall apart faster than you realize.
If you are a part of the 77% B2C or 86% B2B organizations using content marketing to boost brand growth, you must make a concerted attempt to come up with high quality content that not only disseminates useful information but also does so in a manner that is engaging and arresting.
EPIC content marketing
A NewsCred study reveals that a mammoth 62% of millennials say their online loyalty towards a brand is driven by online content. While the figure is great news for content marketers, what you must realize is you can’t push any content to the target audience and expect it to deliver returns in the form of brand loyalty, reputation building, lead generation and brand awareness.
What works, is EPIC content. I am pretty sure you must have heard of the phrase EPIC content before. Saying this is the sort of content that strengthens content marketing is an understatement. It does much more than just shore up your campaign; it essentially reinforces your brand image.
Characteristics of Epic Content:
- It earns a lot of shares.
- It offers actionable information.
- It is exhaustive.
- It has a long shelf life.
- It delivers sustainable results for the long term.
- It differentiates the brand as a thought leader in the niche.
- It develops trust and credibility for your business.
While there is no doubt, EPIC content works every single time, the problem is many businesses are finding it difficult to consistently produce the kind of content that has marketing merit. So how do you produce EPIC content that delivers on your branding expectations?
While it is difficult to come up with such content all the time, you could break down your content production process into a series of steps, for smoothing your journey towards epic content.
Content marketing facts and figures
Still need some convincing on the importance of epic content marketing. Here are some content marketing facts and figures from Visual.ly to highlight the role of content on a social web.
- $135 billion was spent on digital marketing content in 2014
- 78% of CMO’s think custom content is the future of marketing
- 65% of your audience are “visual learners”
Read more at http://www.jeffbullas.com/2015/02/28/7-step-content-creation-strategy-for-epic-content-marketing/#wMRP4vI944pmm7YW.99
The author's posts are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.
Building marketing strategies for small businesses is one of my favorite things. In my first marketing role, I worked in the marketing department for a small company before moving on to Distilled, where I've been lucky enough to continue working with small businesses that have enormous potential. Despite the various industries, locales, and personalities, one of the prevailing similarities between them is that small businesses often don't position their company or use the web as effectively as they could. While this is partially due to the time and resource crunch small business owners feel, it's also because, beyond building a website, they don't know where to begin.
It doesn't have to be so overwhelming though. I'll walk you through the preliminary steps I take my small business clients through.
1. Define the brand
A number of the small companies I've worked with didn't have a brand. That's not to say that they didn't have a name, a website, and a logo. It's that they didn't stand for something.
For example, what comes to mind when you think of Apple? Innovative and well-designed products? Exactly. So many small businesses are built from an individual wanting to work for themselves or because they see an opportunity to improve on an existing product. They figure, build the website and they will come.
But it's not that way. You need a brand. As we've seen throughout history, the companies that have staying power have a brand, something that differentiates them from their competitors, something that people connect with and, coupled with good products and customer service, something that keeps people coming back.
I'm sure you're thinking, "Well that's all fine and good, Morgan, but I don't know how you go about building a brand." That's fine. There are people who make careers out of building brands you could contact, market research surveys you could pass out, and focus groups you could run, but, realistically, small businesses don't usually have the financial resources to invest in these strategies. This doesn't mean you can't have a brand though; you'll just have to run a lightweight brand building exercise which goes something like this:
1. Think about your origin story
Ask yourself: "Why did I start this company? What am I proud of?" Oftentimes what drove you to start your own company and how it's reflected in your business practices is what makes you unique.
2. Talk to your customers
Ask your customers: "What do you like about our company? What don't you like? Why did you choose us over our competitors? What are your pain points?" When you listen to customers talk about your business, you'll have a better understanding of the aspects of your company that resonate with people and what should be reflected in your brand messaging.
3. Do competitor research
Take a look at your competitors' websites. Ask yourself: "What are they doing well? What aren't they doing well? How do they talk about their company?" You're looking for holes in your industry, a way to make your company different than your competitors.
4. Compile all information and develop a brand
Once you've researched your origin story, competitors' tactics, and customer sentiment, it's time to start building a brand. What from your origin story and customer conversations stood out and got you excited? How can you talk about those things in a way your competitors haven't? Once you have that figured out, you have a brand position.
Let's make this final step more concrete with an example. I worked with a tech consulting and recruiting firm that had a history of success in the immediate area, but was looking to attract people from the greater region as well as gain new client companies. In order to stand out from the other technical consulting firms and get people excited about working for them, we knew that they had to have more than a website that stated they were a consulting firm. They were going to have to develop a brand. We ran through the steps above with the following takeaways:
- Origin Story: The owner started the company because he liked working with really competent developers, and realized that the best way to ensure he did so was to start his own company.
- Customer Research: Customers preferred going with this particular company because the quality of work was always so high. People liked working for this company because there was always a lot of challenging work.
- Competitor Research: The rest of the companies weren't run by people with technical backgrounds. This company was, though, and as a result was able to do more rigorous testing and find the best people.
The main theme here was that the company only hired the best (origin story), because they had the technical chops to know who the best were (competitor research), which meant that this company's employees did exceptional work (customer research), which in turn made sure they landed challenging contracts (customer research).
Due to this insight, we positioned the company as the elite option, heavily citing the fact that only 4% of people could pass the technical interview—to work for this company was to work with the best and that to hire them was to have the best working for you. This resonated well with both target audiences, and they saw a heightened brand awareness with both potential recruits and clients.
2. Review the website content and language
Although most small businesses have websites, it's necessary for owners to take a step back and review the website through the eyes of a consumer. Too often people assume that website visitors have a certain level of company knowledge, or that they speak the same jargon. That's not always the case. For example, the aforementioned tech company originally wrote so vaguely about their services using insider jargon that neither target audience understood the company's mission. Once the text was rewritten with specific consumers in mind, people started coming to the owner and saying "Now that you've redone your website, I finally understand what your company is about." In order to not find yourself in that position, ask yourself:
1. Does the website have the information my target audience needs?
A company website is useless if it doesn't have the information your target audience needs. On the most basic level, this should include what your company does, in-depth product or service information, prices associated with your services, and contact information. It's actually astonishing how often companies, both large and small, don't do this.
Just the other day, I was looking at marketing software and even now I couldn't tell you what their product does. If they had taken a step back and assumed that people didn't know what their company did, their website would be more effective and they'd likely increase leads.
2. Am I using the language my target audience would use?
Oftentimes, we get so wrapped up in our industry that we forget that others, especially customers, don't necessarily use the same terms as us. By using terms that are different from those of your target audience, your organic traffic will suffer and your website won't be nearly as effective. When you talk to your customers during the branding exercise, see what terms they use. Use keyword research to validate your findings and use this language on the website.
Remember that your brand position is at the heart of this language and content. You want to talk about your core competencies in a language that's accessible, but through the lens of what makes you different. The tech consulting firm I worked with, for example, rewrote their text so that there were pages dedicated to both their recruiting and consulting services. Both of those pages used the terms that those specific audiences would use, spoke in depth as to what these services were, and did so by concentrating on the 'elite' factor in a way that appealed to both sides. The content and language need to be there for your audience, but use the defining aspects of your brand to spice it up.
3. Develop overarching marketing strategy
So at this point, you have a website that reflects your brand and differentiates you from your competitors. I'm going to assume that your website is already optimized for search engines and that you have a good user experience. You're done, right? Yes and no. You could be done if you're not relying on online to be a huge source of business. If you are counting on online, it's time to start working on your overarching online marketing strategy.
This is the part that tends to feel the most overwhelming for small businesses. With so many different avenues out there, it can be stressful knowing what to pursue. My first piece of advice? Don't pursue them all. It's okay not to. You're a small business owner with limited resources, so only go with the ones that will have the biggest ROI.
So how do you know which ones are worth your time?
In the online marketing world, content is king. Google wants you to deliver value to your site visitors and unique content is one way of going about this. Building a content strategy isn't easy though. You don't want to write the same thing that everyone else in your industry is writing about. There's no unique value in that, and because your site likely isn't strong from a domain authority perspective (yet!), you'll usually find it difficult to rank against the big sites who are writing the same content.
Instead, you'll need to take stances on issues or solve your clients' unique problems, giving them a reason to keep coming back to your site. If you can do this, great, but don't just write content for the sake of it. If you're a small ice cream shop for example, it's going to be difficult to write content that's on-brand and relevant to your audience. In this case, focus on other marketing strategies.
Doing paid, whether search, display, or social, can be really effective if done correctly. The downside? It can take a lot of time and money to monitor and improve on your campaigns. Highly competitive terms can have extremely high cost-per-click (CPC) rates, and the cost-per-action (CPA) is usually even higher. For example, terms in the insurance industry can have CPCs of $50 in a search environment.
In order to be as cost efficient with this strategy, you'll have to constantly monitor your campaigns and see what is working well and what isn't. Even though it can eat through your time and money, it's a good option for people who aren't showing up in SERPs or driving traffic from other avenues.
Social can be a really effective way of engaging consumers and building brand loyalty, but I normally only suggest starting a social strategy once a company has built out their brand and website. You're going to need unique content, images, or deals in order to have a social marketing strategy. It's often easier to start in other areas and build a catalog of resources before you launch into social.
Once you have content to share, decide which social platforms best fit your company's mission. For example, LinkedIn and Twitter are usually better for B2B while Facebook is better for B2C. Just like you don't have to chase every marketing strategy, you don't have to have a social campaign for every platform. Concentrate on the one or two that will best reach your audience. Make sure the content you're sharing will do well on that platform. For Facebook and Pinterest, you'll need image based content while Twitter and LinkedIn will be best for article-based content or quick updates.
Email marketing isn't an effective method of gaining new customers, but is a great avenue for businesses trying to increase retention or brand loyalty. If this is your goal, make sure your emails contain value. For example, you open email from your doctor's office reminding you about an appointment or from a local ice cream shop that offers discounts because these emails contain value. When people open these emails, their lives get easier or they're given something that gives them tangible value. It's vital that your email marketing communications do the same whether it be content or deals.
If you're a small business using the Internet to drive traffic to your store, I absolutely believe you should be invested in local. While there's the initial time investment to get it set up, there's a minimal time investment needed to keep it up-to-date.
At Distilled, we have a whole team responsible for reaching out to bloggers and publications in order to get our clients and their content featured in the right places. Their work not only helps build brand awareness but, when our clients' work is covered and linked to, also has the added SEO benefit of natural links and, in turn, a stronger site.
Most small businesses don't have the resources for this kind of promotion, but if you want your brand and organic traffic to grow, it's vital that you partake in a variation of this. Instead of scoping out bloggers and target publications like the New York Times though, start small. Build relationships with other businesses in your area or be active in industry specific forums. Building those relationships and positioning yourself as a thought leader will help your business as well as your own name grow which can then result in brand awareness and links. For small businesses, it's important to network even in a way that isn't necessarily 'online first.'
There's a lot that goes into marketing for any size company, but it can be particularly overwhelming for small businesses which have limited time and resources. It'll be a lot of work, no doubt about it, but will feel a little more manageable, even for one-person teams, if you take it one step at a time.
Start by figuring out what makes your company different and communicating that. In my experience, this alone will put you ahead of many of your small business counterparts. Then it's time to think about your customers' needs and how you'll address them. Having content that's valuable to your customers and their problems, content they'll actually want to consume, is a huge part of the battle.
Now that you've got the content, decide which marketing strategies will be most likely to help you reach your target audience. Just remember that you don't have to overextend yourself and use every possible marketing channel to do this. So: Brand. Language. Content. Share. You've got this.
Tell me about your small business branding adventures in the comments below!
About MorganChessman — Morgan Chessman is an online marketing consultant at Distilled. She's responsible for developing online marketing strategies for clients -- everything from SEO to branding and content strategy. She’s particularly interested in how companies build online brand awareness and loyalty.
- 1. Higher education institutes (HEIs) identify current business and industry challenges through extensive research on business environment and discussion with industry experts, management thinkers and corporate leaders. The HEIs conduct programmes for working professionals that are designed to provide timely learning interventions that help them upskill and progress in their careers, while impacting the organisations that they operate in. These programmes are available across multiple business areas, for different seniority levels, in various national and international locations. • Create and disseminate research-based knowledge in management • Develop and enhance business leadership through innovative world-class programmes in management • Utilise the knowledge and expertise to engage with business, government and society Objectives:
- 2. We, at Jigserv Digital, have been working with some of the leading higher education institutes, like Indian School of Business (ISB) and Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIMB), to help them achieve their business objectives.
- 3. We are a multi-channel digital advertising, marketing & creative agency We have been helping the HEIs to drive awareness about their programmes to attract the best of candidates to the classroom using multiple digital media channels. We aim to maximize the returns on their digital media spends by optimizing campaigns across the multiple digital media channels.
- 4. GOOGLE ADS ORGANIC RESULT
- 5. FACEBOOK ADS
- 6. LINKEDIN ADS
- 7. ISB YLP (Young Leaders Programme) is a brand extension of the ISB Post Graduate Programme, wherein the undergraduate students are eligible and to apply and seek admission to the PGP Programme, but if offered admission through YLP they have to complete 2 years of work experience and then join the PGP. The awareness of the program was low among the target group • Drive awareness about the ISB Young Leaders Programme and communicate the value proposition • Drive relevant applications for selection of candidates for the YLP Programme • Created a platform (www.youngleadersprogramme.com) for “Leaders of Tomorrow” to share ideas, icons and inspirations with their peers. The students also vote and give comments and feedback on each others ideas. Leaders of Tomorrow property is powered as a Facebook Application • Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest were used as Social media vehicles for outreach Problem: Objective: Solution:
- 8. OUTCOME: • 1100+ young leaders joined the platform and shared ideas, leadership thoughts and icons for inspiration • 25000+ youngsters visited the platform and 2000+ voted on the leadership ideas • No. of completed applications went up by 80% YOY
- 9. 2 day digital marketing summit organised at ISB, Hyderabad campus (www.isbdigitalsummit.com) • Help the faculty and students at ISB to connect with the digital marketing industry to stay abreast with the latest developments in the industry • The ISB Digital Summit is a 2 day digital marketing event where academia, business leaders, marketers and digital experts unite to discuss the latest innovations and emerging business models • The summit draws over 500 executives and entrepreneurs from digital marketing, technology, digital media publishing, and entertainment industries, as well as Researchers, Academicians, Venture Capitalists and Investors with interest in the digital domain Solution: Outcome: Objective:
- 10. Indian School of Business offers a Certificate programme in Business Analytics, a high ticket programme • Drive awareness about the Business Analytics Programme and communicate the value proposition • Drive paid participation for the programme • Multi channel out reach to the relevant audience • Put to use Google search engine advertising, Facebook advertising and linkedin display advertising to reach the target audience • 40% increase in registrations • 300% return on investment for the digital marketing spend Solution: Outcome: Objective:
- 11. IIM-Bangalore offers short duration and long duration open/certificate programmes under its executive education segment • Drive paid registrations for the short duration and long duration programmes offered by IIM-B Executive education • Multi channel out reach to the relevant audience • Put to use Google search engine advertising, Facebook advertising and linkedin display advertising to reach the target audience • 200% increase in paid registrations • 600% return on investment for the digital marketing spend Solution: Outcome: Objective:
- 12. The Certificate in Wealth Management is a joint intellectual presentation by Singapore Management University (SMU) and Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB), two of Asia’s leading institutions in business and wealth management • Drive awareness about the Wealth Management Programme and communicate the value proposition • Drive paid participation for the programme • Multi channel out reach to the relevant audience • Put to use Google search engine advertising, Email marketing to the relevant target groups and display advertising to reach the target audience • 600% return on investment for the digital marketing spend Solution: Outcome: Objective:
- 13. We, at Jigserv Digital, have been working with some of the leading higher education institutes to help them achieve their business objectives • Targeting the right candidates through various digital outreach campaign • Marketing the course offering on various digital media channels • Helping the HEIs connect with the industry through events like ISB Digital Summit • Listening on social media and giving feedback about the courses offered by the institutes Objectives:
- 14. www.jigservdigital.com Shailendramahani +91-9987396547 firstname.lastname@example.org THANKS!
According to the findings of the Students Online: Global Trends report, social media marketing still has a long way to go before it outruns the big dogs of the higher education marketing world.
While some of the prospective students interviewed were skeptical about social media for universities as solely a marketing tool, most candidates accepted that social media for universities has its uses, particularly as a channel through which to seek and share ideas and inspiration.
From the survey results it’s clear that official university websites and university rankings websites reign supreme for prospective students looking for information. Social media remains at the bottom of the pile but, as a still-developing sector, it looks likely that the popularity of using social media marketing within higher education will continue to grow and overtake resources such as student forums in years to come.
- 1. Marketing Solutions Where business happens Marketing Solutions 1
- 2. LinkedIn’s Mission Connect the world’s professionals and businesses to make them more productive and successful Marketing Solutions 2
- 3. LinkedIn: The Only Global Social Platform Delivering Marketing Solutions in a Business Context Quality Audience Business Context Marketing Impact Reach the most Promote trust and Deliver compelling insights influential, affluent and message receptivity and results with social educated audiences at media solutions scale Marketing Solutions 3
- 4. 200+ million potential customers today making LinkedIn the 25th largest site in the U.S. with over 41 million unique users Sources: internal data and comScore Jan. ‘12, US Marketing Solutions 4
- 5. Targeting is key to everything we do Function, Seniority, Location, Industry, Company Size Group affiliations Education Marketing Solutions 5
- 6. Align Message with Business Opportunity Quality Audience Business Context Marketing Impact 3 out of 4 Members use LinkedIn for everything business, from keeping up on trends to reading business news 64% agree that LinkedIn helps develop relationships and grow new business Members are 2x more confident in the information found on LinkedIn than any other social site LinkedIn Audience 360 Survey, US, August 2011 Marketing Solutions 6
- 7. Extend Marketing Impact Quality Audience Business Context Marketing Impact Network effect Product portfolio Authentic data extends marketing engages on all levels powers reporting 2,000 38% 89%product recommendations in two lift in likelihood to apply for a more leads generated on LinkedIn weeks generating 500,000 viral credit card in the next 12 months than on a leading ad network at updates about products & services third the cost per lead Technology Customer Financial Services Customer Professional Organization Customer Marketing Solutions 7
- 8. LinkedIn Products Marketing Solutions 8
- 9. High Impact Display Media Easy to place. Hard to miss. Prominent placements above the fold One ad on the page Rich media enabled. Not a part of any ad networks 300x250, 160x600, 728 x90 and textlinks Marketing Solutions 9
- 10. LinkedIn Groups Ability to target users who are member of specific groups. Marketing Solutions 10
- 11. Content Ads Leverage Innovative Content & Messaging to showcase thought leadership Leverage innovative units to distribute content to desired target audience Connect activity across all social platforms (YouTube, Twitter, blogs, etc.) Marketing Solutions 11
- 12. Content Ads Expandable Video Option Marketing Solutions 12
- 13. Sponsored Polls Drive and sponsor conversation Drive member conversation Enjoy flexibility with questions. Display dynamic ads on results pag. Ability to share virally Marketing Solutions 13
- 14. Partner Message Your message delivered to your specific prospects Extensive targeting capabilities. Ability to share virally Members only receive (at most) one Partner Message per 60 days Marketing Solutions 14
- 15. Social Messaging Company Follow and Recommendation Ads Gain more followers to your LinkedIn Company Page Drive recommendations to promoted products/services Actions become viral within network update stream Marketing Solutions 15
- 16. Blake Boznanski, Account Executive email@example.com 415.970.5164 Neva Egloff, Account Manager firstname.lastname@example.org 415.970.5169 Marketing Solutions 16
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