Vary Marketing Content to Keep Readers Engaged

guy pulling marketing ideas out of a hatGreat marketing content comes in many different forms. Thinking through the different possibilities can spark loads of great new ideas.

Here are a dozen varied themes that have all been used repeatedly to create very popular marketing content. Have a look through the list and see if there are some forms here you haven’t used in a while.

1. Success stories. Some of the most engaging blog posts and articles are mini case studies. Has your company, or one of your customers using your product, had a recent win? Tell that story. Even if you decide to create a full-blown case study, you can create an abbreviated version for your blog or other publication.

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Published in Content Marketing

Why Use Author Names in Your B2B Content Strategy?

b2b content author signing his nameMost of what you read on the subject of "personalizing content" in B2B content strategy has to do with one of two things:

(1) Segmenting your target audience. Technology has given us far more capability for doing this, and it allows us to deliver the most relevant content to each prospect according to demographic, interest or need.

(2) Using personal names in salutations. Receiving an email that begins “Hi Tom” (providing your name is Tom) is invariably better than getting one addressed to “Dear Subscriber”.

Both of these are really important considerations, and worthy of all the attention they are given.

But here’s something that isn’t talked about nearly as much: the importance of using author names as part of your B2B content strategy. Or, in other words, who is this content coming from? I would argue that it’s not just important to get the address line right, but the signature line as well.

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Published in Content Marketing

Do You Have This Costly Misconception About B2B Buyers?

cartoon of b2b buyer listening to little angel and devil"There’s really no difference between writing for consumers (B2C) and writing for B2B buyers."

I was stunned as I read those words, written in a blog post by a professional copywriter!

Her viewpoint was that: "In the end, it’s all just selling."

That’s like saying “There’s no real difference between carnivores and vegetarians; in the end it’s all just feeding.”

Really? Go ahead and try your theory out in the real world. You may get a meat-eater to eat a garden salad every now and then (not too happily); you’ll probably have even less success serving up a filet mignon to a herbivore. Overall, however, you won’t make either one very happy, and you’ll have a lot of wasted leftovers.

When you’re writing for B2B buyers -- whether it’s direct response or content marketing -- you have to recognize that they come at it with very different concerns than consumers do. Master Copywriter Bob Bly describes 6 key differences:

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Published in B2B

A 5 Point Checklist For Maximizing Your New Twitter Profile

 twitter bird tweeting a hashtagIt seems like you either love the new Twitter profile, or hate it.

There’s not much ambivalence toward the new design Twitter rolled out just recently.

The haters say that it makes Twitter just that much more like Facebook; something they see as a trend. I pulled the following couple of representative tweets randomly from the #twitterprofile thread:

Have u seen the new design for Twitter profile ? Hmm looks too much like Facebook! Keep your own style Twitter! It's better! - @BernsyLuv

"Upgraded" to new Twitter profile. Looks suspiciously like FB. Will be interesting to see how next few weeks unfold as loyalists protest. - @daviesmoore

Ironically, I think the stats would probably reveal that most people -- for all their objections -- also have active Facebook accounts anyway.

The lovers, on the other hand, see the expanded real estate of the new Twitter profile page as an enhanced opportunity for branding. Perhaps, at the risk of gross generalization, that really reveals the difference between the haters and the lovers. It’s the difference between those who use Twitter as primarily a downtime social escape (think “high school cafeteria”), and those who use it as a tool for missional engagement (think “friendly business lunch”). These two crowds co-exist happily enough side-by-side all the time in the Twitterverse; but every now and then an event (like changing the Twitter profile design) reminds us of the real gulf between them.

Any which way you or I feel about the change, it is now the new reality. Some very sharp people live over at Twitterquarters, and they don’t roll out new directions on a whim. You can be sure it’s very calculated, and in line with their vision of the future. In other word, the loyalists may protest loudly, but don’t expect a rollback any time soon.

So, the first order of business has to be maximizing whatever opportunities it affords. With that in mind, let me give you a 5 point checklist of things every marketer should do immediately to capitalize on the new Twitter profile design:

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Published in Social Media

Take the Stress Out of Learning to Do A/B Split Testing [Site Review]

a/b split testing apples and orangesA/B Split Testing is absolutely essential in marketing.

If you want to optimize your website, blog, landing pages, headlines, direct mail, email, newsletter … heck, just about everything in your marketing arsenal, you're going to have to learn to do it.

A/B split testing is THE most basic kind of testing. And yet many marketers admit to struggling with how to do even this. They find it very time-consuming, often tedious, and sometimes confusing.

Here's some help. For inspiration and instruction, you should check out whichtestwon.com

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Published in Marketing

“Gotta Get Lead Generation” from Marketo [Music Video]

Okay, this is just fun.  Kudos to Marketo (and their enthusiastic employees) for being willing to take a risk and do something a little different to stand out.

"Gotta Get Lead Generation".

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Published in Lead Generation

The Power of eBooks in Content Marketing [Infographic]

eBooks in content marketingCompanies have utilized white papers in their content marketing for a long time; they're a proven workhorse. They predate the days of the internet, going back over 100 years in printed form. Since they began to be created as electronic documents, their popularity has grown even further.

But increasingly marketers are seeing the benefits of eBooks in content marketing as well.

"What's the difference?" you might ask?

Well, to begin with, it's true to say that eBooks are generally longer than white papers. The usual length of a white paper is between 5 and 12 pages, while an eBook can run as long as 200 pages.

But the length difference is not nearly as significant as their different purposes. White papers are most often used to position a product or service as the best solution to a particular need that the prospect has.  An eBook, on the other hand, is usually far less specific, being a more general discussion of a topic.

Both have their place in the marketing arsenal.

eBooks, however, bring some great benefits:

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Published in Content Marketing

What is a BANT Score in Lead Generation?

sales funnel bant scoreThe term “BANT score" has to do with the process of qualifying leads.

You can often determine a prospect’s place in the buying process by analyzing them using this helpful acronym “B.A.N.T.”.

“BANT” stands for: Budget, Authority, Need, and Time.

1. Budget:

Can this prospect afford your product or service?

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Published in Lead Generation

Know Your B2B Target Audience: A Tactical Guide

magnifying glass on a b2b target audienceThe importance of developing a typical buyer “persona” in B2B marketing is now widely recognized. It’s an effective way of expressing who it is that you’re trying to engage; your B2B target audience.

If you don’t go to the trouble of coming to an accurate understanding of your B2B target audience, you’re unlikely to craft a message that hits the mark and resonates with them. Not only that, but your overall marketing efforts will probably lack a unified direction.

The more you can get into your prospect’s world and mindset, the better. Even after the “persona” exercise has been completed, you should go on learning more about them.

Here are 10 ways you can get to know your audience:

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Published in B2B

5 Steps to Creating an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog

blogging calendarCreating an editorial calendar for your blog will make a marked difference.

Without one your content will tend to be posted aimlessly. It won’t be in sync with any predetermined objectives, and you run the risk of having lots of content on a few topics while others are ignored.

Here’s a step-by-step plan for getting an effective editorial calendar up and running:

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Published in Blogging
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