Posts tagged content

Why Marketing Artists and Marketing Scientists Need One Another

v. man 250x250 Why Marketing Artists and Marketing Scientists Need One Another

Mark McGuinness of Lateral Action guest posted a terrific blog at Copyblogger: Are You a Marketing Artist or Scientist? In it he describes two distinct tribes that most marketers fall into (1) the right-brain types that like to create and find inspiration in coffee shops journaling and brainstorming about their next blog, podcast, video or creation or (2) the left-brain types that are most on fire when they get to use gadgets to crunch numbers, run split tests or compare data sets.

McGuinness explains it matters not which camp you fall into. What matters is that both camps work closely together to achieve optimum marketing outcomes for your organization. While ethereal writers can create magnetic content in itself it isn’t marketing until the scientists optimize it to be found and shared on the web.

And while marketing scientists are terrific at setting up variable data projects,analysis models and optimizing content to be keyword and SEO rich and for capturing names and IP addresses via landing pages and micro sites, they aren’t good at creating copy or content that screams read me, share me, and use me to make your buying decision right now!

You Need Both Disciplines to Succeed

McGuinness goes on to say that while at one time you could succeed with just killer content or killer PPC, now you need a mixture of the art and science to succeed. Dave Reibstein, co-author of Marketing Metrics, agrees.

Read Reibstein’s full excerpt here about blending the art and science of marketing.

Allen Weiner of Gartner for Marketing Leaders shares three companies that he feels is blending the art and science of content marketing marvelously well. In his blog post, Understanding the Art and Science of Content Marketing, Weiner gives the thumbs up to Home Depot, Nike’s Better World micro-site and The Waffle Shop.

He says all three think like publishers in blending their content with proper workflow and outcomes. Home Depot succeeded by driving 29 million DIY-ers to a YouTube video on the forgotten art of whiskey barrel making. Many showed up in the store to buy materials and give it a go.

Nike’s Better World succeeded with its content by using HTML5 to present a scrolling storyboard explaining its company’s green initiatives and The Waffle Shop doubled connects with its customers through a live stream of customers sharing comments good or bad live at a Pittsburgh restaurant.

Is your marketing organization set up so the scientists can teach the artists and vice versus? Tell us in the comments section below.

How to Produce (and Distribute) a Successful White Paper (Part II)

content marketing, content, white paper

In How to Produce a Successful White Paper (Part I) you learned about the three types of white papers, how to launch a white paper like a new product launch and how the tone should be educational so as to position your company as a thought leader. In this follow-up blog, you’ll learn the pros and cons of gating your white papers behind a registration form rather than open access, your syndication options and if an ebook is the new white paper.

Pros and Cons of Gating Your Content

According to David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rule of Marketing & PR, there are two marketing camps on the subject of requiring prospects to register before downloading a white paper. The first camp believes a registration form is necessary because it allows your company to capture an email address and convert that person into a sales lead. The downside is your registration/download numbers often suffer because people don’t like to give away their emails, get spammed or lose their autonomy.

The second camp believes it is best to make content such as white papers totally free because it increases the spread of the information and therefore the interest level in their product or service.

Now let’s look at some very interesting math that Scott used when he was arguing his preference for non-gated content with a HubSpot in-bound marketer, who is in the first camp.

 

Gated Content with Landing Page Totally Free Content (no form to fill out) 

10,000 people saw white paper offer (form) 10,000 people saw white paper (no form)
x 5% register and download content X 50% downloads
+ Zero social shares + 10% shares and 5,000 more downloads
RESULTS: RESULTS:
500 email leads captured, 0 shares, 0 links 10,000 downloads, 500 shares, 25 links

As you can see above, the gated content only got downloaded 500 times, whereas the non-gated content received 10,000 downloads, 500 social media shares, and generated 25 backlinks to the company’s site or landing page. Of course you have to factor in that the free downloads may be less valuable than those willing to give their email address, but does the sheer volume and viral effect make up for this difference in your multi-channel marketing?

Perhaps you should test both in your next campaign and determine this for yourself. It’s worth a look because Scott says opening the gates to your content can increase download volume 16x what you were getting when it was gated.

Are You Syndicating Your White Papers?

Okay, so you’ve invested in a research firm, copywriter or journalist to write your library of white papers, which are posted on your site. Now what? According to Ryan Malone, founder of Smart Bug Media, you need to syndicate that white paper. Syndication generates additional leads and you can use both free and pay sites to maximize reach and interest in your product or service.

White paper syndication services exist in just about every niche, including banking, technology, business, and IT. Here is a brief list of syndicators to consider:

http://www.bankinfosecurity.com (banking)

http://www.cmp.com (technology)

http://www.cnet.com (business)

http://www.findwhitepapers.com (general)

http://www.idgconnect.com (IT and tech)

http://www.industryweek.com (manufacturers)

http://www.knowledgestorm.com (business and IT)

http://www.netline.com (trades)

http://www.retailwire.com (retail)

You can find additional white paper syndicates listed at Marketing Sherpa, Netline or through Michael Stelzner’s Writing White Papers.

arrow chart How to Produce (and Distribute) a Successful White Paper (Part II)

Source:Savvy B2B

White Papers vs. eBooks

No surprise that Scott thinks eBooks will eventually replace white papers. He feels this way because too many companies are churning out poorly written, researched and packaged white papers. He says too many white papers are more like warmed up sales sheets. Readers are becoming fed up with the bait and switch, giving companies their confidence and emails, only to be hammered by a hard sell or flamboyant hyperbole such as flexible, scalable, cutting-edge, mission-critical, world-class, etc.

Scott goes on to say that white papers still have a purpose, but because they can’t go viral because people won’t share them, they weaken your marketing efforts.

Ebooks, on the other hand, appear to be the more vogue and hip medium of business communications. Check out the top 10 ebook downloads on Ebook3000 and answer when the last time one of your white papers got download 22,548, 16, 639, or 13,821 times.

Principles of Corporate Finance (22548)

The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive (16639)

Principles of Microeconomics, 4th Edition (13821)

Agile Project Management with Scrum (12727)

Guide to Financial Management (11006)

Principles of Macroeconomics (10941)

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual E (10830)

The One Minute Manager (10507)

The Interpretation of Financial Statemen (8894)

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do (7961)

Your homework is to go through your existing white papers and tweak headlines, copy, graphs, cover pages and then submit and redistribute them as a press release to a syndication site or directly to a media outlet to ask for an interview slot on an appropriate business channel or radio talk show. Tell us about your repurposed success in the comments below.

How to Produce a Successful White Paper (Part I)

SEO Content white paper

White papers originated from governments in the roaring 20s as a way to share government policy preference prior to the introduction of legislation. Fast-forward to the ‘90s and marketers began using white papers as a way to communicate research findings about their products, services or technologies.

Used as marketing tools, these papers allow companies to help their customers solve problems. The big distinguisher and reason they are so popular is that the information is presented with an educational rather than sales twist. Facts opposed to propaganda. White papers work because buyers want to make up their own minds, do appropriate research and not be sold.

The proper definition of a white paper is an educational document that is approximately five pages long and written in a straight-forward manner with factual, well-sourced copy and graphs that establishes the company or person as an expert or thought leader. There are three types of white papers

  • The Backgrounder. Describes the technical or business benefits of working with a vendor.
  • Numbered List. Presents a number of points, questions or tips about a business issue.
  • Problem/Solution. The classic case study format is used to walk a prospect through a solution to their nagging business problem.

Written correctly, white papers remain the most relied on content tool used by B2B marketers today. A good paper is laser-focused, clear, understandable and sanitized of any propaganda or sales speak.

“White papers remain the most effective piece of marketing collateral, with 86% of respondents finding them moderately to highly influential in the purchasing decision,” according to a Eccolo Media study reviewed inB2B Magazine.

Headlines and Wording for White Papers

The headline is imperative in your cross-channel marketing. Make it easy to scan and understand. Save your cleverness for your advertising pieces because a play-on-words doesn’t go over well in white papers, according to Marketing Sherpa. Five pivotal pieces of advice Marketing Sherpa offers are:

1. Use clear, but non-salesy wording

2. Shorter is better

3. If you must use a long headline, break it into a headline and sub-headline

4. Add “ing” to your titles. Prospects want to achieve something such as eliminating, preventing, defending, implementing, ect.

5. Run some marketing searches and statistics before naming your white paper

Think Like a Product Launch with your White Paper

According to Ryan Malone, writer for The Source for Writing and Marketing White Papers, you should think of your white paper the same way you would a new product launch.

Here is Malone’s 7-step launch process that he says will make your white paper a smashing success:

1.Create a strong landing page

2.Share your white paper in press release format on the wire

3.Distribute pitch letters to reporters

4.Get it placed in a publication as a bylined article

5.Pitch speaking opportunities

6.Syndicate your white paper (covered in Part II of this blog here)

7.Leverage social media

Make sure to read our Part II of this blog coming later this week, which goes into the pros and cons of giving your white papers away vs. gating them behind a form and what experts say about the effectiveness of a white paper compared to a blog.

 

Raise Your Optimism by Preparing a Content Marketing Plan

83252675 250x166 Raise Your Optimism by Preparing a Content Marketing PlanBusinesses of all sizes are posting content, but few have a content marketing plan. Why research, interview, write, edit and post, if you do not have a clear path where your blogs will take you and bring back leads, sales or deals in return?

With only half of small businesses achieving profit growth, according to the study below, doesn’t it make sense to craft a plan to turn your content into dollars in 2013?

Other key findings:

  • 50% of small businesses reported profit growth in 2012.
  • 44% say they are now both stronger and more determined to succeed than ever.
  • 38% say the weak economy has spurred them to work more efficiently.
  • 27% say they asked for outside help to solve a business problem in 2012.

SOURCE: Findings are from a survey of 500 US small business owners and managers, conducted by Hiscox in third quarter of 2012.

 

Content Marketing Plan Musts

Writing a content marketing plan forces everyone to clarify what they want prospects, visitors and loyal patrons to do.  Here is an abbreviated list of questions to answer, pulled from 50 Smart Ways to Craft a Social Media Content Marketing Plan written by Amanda Nelson of Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

  1. Set your goals and objectives (what do you wish to achieve and how)
  2. How will you measure your results and make adjustments?
  3. Where are your prospects, visitors, and patrons currently getting info about your niche in the area?
  4. What problems are your customers having when they come to you?
  5. What are your customers and prospects saying on Twitter and in News Groups?
  6. Which formats generate the best responses last year? (short post, long post, video, audio)
  7. What is working for your competition?
  8. Are you creating two-way communication and if not how can you in 2013?
  9. Is your content being shared?
  10. Is your content generating comments?
  11. Are other sites linking to your content? If not how can you make this happen?
  12. Are your keywords driving organic visits to your blog? If not, revisit and revise.
  13. What steps are you doing to promote your content?
  14. Are you posting 1-25 times a week? How can you increase quality postings?

Do you have a content marketing plan? According to Brendan Egan, CEO of Simple SEO Group, companies that blog more, make more. Egan challenged himself to posting two 575-word blogs a week consistently for five months to learn if increasing his posting schedule over a steady basis would bear fruit. It did.

Egan said his company’s website traffic, inquiries and new clients all increased as a result with no changes in any other variables.

So what’s your plan? It has to be more than increasing posts and sticking to a regular schedule. You really need to determine how your blogging content fits into your bigger marketing plan and creates value to your customers and two-way conversations.

Take 20 minutes to view Coca Cola’s content marketing plan called Coca Cola Content 2020 and you’ll realize your “plan” may need more meat to help you meet your long-term strategic goals. Coca Cola aims to make the world a better place, to live and dominate the beverage category through content marketing and story telling. How about you?