Author name: Nikola Baldikov

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150+ Marketers to Follow

I don’t know about you, but, sometimes I struggle with staying inspired and innovative. When this happens, I look to other marketers in the industry and glean creativity from who I follow. To keep you inspired, I’ve put together this ginormous list of marketers to follow. For this list, I didn’t pay attention to number of followers. Rather, I curated a list of marketers with talent whether they’re new to the scene or a seasoned professional. Keep your marketing strategy fresh and follow all of these marketers on Twitter and connect with them on LinkedIn. I spent a ton of time researching this list and putting it together so I hope you enjoy! Mark Fidelman Brand: Fanatics Media Mark is a CMO for hire and he solves awareness and sales problems quickly. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Jan Orsula Brand: WeekHack Jan is a qualified online marketing blogger and Instagram marketing coach. Jan is on a mission to help aspiring entrepreneurs to stand out from the competition, to make boring social media channels sparkle and grow a laser-targeted email list. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Manny Hernandez Brand: Wealth Growth Wisdom Manny Hernandez is a CEO and the co-Founder of Wealth Growth Wisdom, LLC. He is a consummate marketer and information technology professional with over ten years of experience in the fast-evolving arena of direct response marketing. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Joydeep Bhattacharya Brand: SEO Sandwitch Joydeep Bhattacharya is a digital marketing evangelist and author of the SEO blog, SEOsandwitch.com, where he regularly shares the latest news related to SEO, SMO, PPC, and online marketing. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Chris Tradgett Brand: Publisher Discovery Chris Tradgett is CMO at Cloudfind, having joined on the acquisition of Publisher Discovery. New AI discovery and recruiting technologies help Affiliate Networks, Agencies and others in the industry to find their competitors’ leading publishers and affiliates. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Christofir Krihkori Brand: Plutus Brands Christofir has a successful background in finance and marketing, having spent over 15 years working with businesses, from start-ups to major global brands, to increase sales, productivity and overall success. He’s an innovator with a remarkable ability to determine and dictate success strategies and show entrepreneurs and companies how to seize global market opportunities. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Alex Cleanthous Brand: Web Profits Alex co-founded Web Profits in 2006 with the belief that there’s always a smarter and better way to do things. Web Profits is now a digital growth consultancy with offices in Australia, Singapore and the United States. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Brian W. Jones Brand: Always Feel Welcome Brian is a Los Angeles-based creative director, author, and coffee lover who develops lovable brands for tech, coffee, and lifestyle companies. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Landon Ledford Brand: Double L Brands Results-driven marketing leader with a broad range of experience. Through Double L Brands, Landon serves as Fractional CMO for the largest domestic Chili’s franchisee, while managing an agency team that provides growth marketing solutions to multiple growth-oriented organizations. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Chris Kelley Brand: Heinzeroth Marketing Group As Vice President, Senior Account Manager at Heinzeroth Marketing Group, Chris is a seasoned professional with a passion for client success. With more than 20 years in the business, he has a proven record of increasing key marketing and sales metrics in business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing through innovative strategy and thoughtful direction. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Jackie Zuk Brand: Next on Scene Media Showcasing tomorrow’s scene today for start ups to celebrities! Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Gordon Tredgold Brand: Leadership Speaker Gordon works with organizations that want to equip their leaders with the tools to drive engagement, performance, and profits. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Ashley Hayes Brand: Tech & Vine Ashley Hayes is a visionary community leader in the tech and hospitality space, with extensive experience in crafting global branding, marketing, social media, and public relations strategy and content for countless brands. She is responsible for leading teams in building international communities online and offline for numerous startups, as well as several major platforms at Google. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Grant Simmons Brand: Homes.com Energetic marketer, speaker, author, SEO & digital strategist. Grant Simmons helps businesses optimise their messaging and experience so that they can more easily define, connect, engage, and transact with their target audiences online. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Qamar Zaman Brand: Kiss PR As a growth expert at KissPR, a team of storytellers who have partnered to create a new kind of platform Brand Stories. He partners with some of the top news, pr, and social story distributions to help amplify and grow small brands. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Marc Palud Brand: Rev Gen Apps Marc Palud is the Founder of RevGenApps.com, a MarTech Agency focusing on software solutions and strategies to help businesses grow. Marc has provided training and educational webinars on marketing technologies that can have a positive impact and provide a competitive edge to local businesses. Marc is also a founding member and the current President of the Ritchot Chamber of Commerce. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Abbi Whitaker Brand: The Abbi Agency Abbi Whitaker heads up The Abbi Agency, a full-service digital marketing firm, and was recently recognized as one of Ragan’s communicators of the year as well as being a member of the Forbes Agency Council. She leads strategy for a variety of tech and tourism clients bringing performance-driven content campaigns to life that inspire, activate and influence decision-makers to engage. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Harrison Winter Brand: Co.MISSION Content Harrison is an entrepreneur, marketing executive and filmmaker who runs a global creative production company and has two new ventures launching later this year in the advertising and luxury watch industries.

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150+ Marketers to Follow

I don’t know about you, but, sometimes I struggle with staying inspired and innovative. When this happens, I look to other marketers in the industry and glean creativity from who I follow. To keep you inspired, I’ve put together this ginormous list of marketers to follow. For this list, I didn’t pay attention to number of followers. Rather, I curated a list of marketers with talent whether they’re new to the scene or a seasoned professional. Keep your marketing strategy fresh and follow all of these marketers on Twitter and connect with them on LinkedIn. I spent a ton of time researching this list and putting it together so I hope you enjoy! Mark Fidelman Brand: Fanatics Media Mark is a CMO for hire and he solves awareness and sales problems quickly. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Jan Orsula Brand: WeekHack Jan is a qualified online marketing blogger and Instagram marketing coach. Jan is on a mission to help aspiring entrepreneurs to stand out from the competition, to make boring social media channels sparkle and grow a laser-targeted email list. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Manny Hernandez Brand: Wealth Growth Wisdom Manny Hernandez is a CEO and the co-Founder of Wealth Growth Wisdom, LLC. He is a consummate marketer and information technology professional with over ten years of experience in the fast-evolving arena of direct response marketing. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Joydeep Bhattacharya Brand: SEO Sandwitch Joydeep Bhattacharya is a digital marketing evangelist and author of the SEO blog, SEOsandwitch.com, where he regularly shares the latest news related to SEO, SMO, PPC, and online marketing. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Chris Tradgett Brand: Publisher Discovery Chris Tradgett is CMO at Cloudfind, having joined on the acquisition of Publisher Discovery. New AI discovery and recruiting technologies help Affiliate Networks, Agencies and others in the industry to find their competitors’ leading publishers and affiliates. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Christofir Krihkori Brand: Plutus Brands Christofir has a successful background in finance and marketing, having spent over 15 years working with businesses, from start-ups to major global brands, to increase sales, productivity and overall success. He’s an innovator with a remarkable ability to determine and dictate success strategies and show entrepreneurs and companies how to seize global market opportunities. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Alex Cleanthous Brand: Web Profits Alex co-founded Web Profits in 2006 with the belief that there’s always a smarter and better way to do things. Web Profits is now a digital growth consultancy with offices in Australia, Singapore and the United States. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Brian W. Jones Brand: Always Feel Welcome Brian is a Los Angeles-based creative director, author, and coffee lover who develops lovable brands for tech, coffee, and lifestyle companies. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Landon Ledford Brand: Double L Brands Results-driven marketing leader with a broad range of experience. Through Double L Brands, Landon serves as Fractional CMO for the largest domestic Chili’s franchisee, while managing an agency team that provides growth marketing solutions to multiple growth-oriented organizations. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Chris Kelley Brand: Heinzeroth Marketing Group As Vice President, Senior Account Manager at Heinzeroth Marketing Group, Chris is a seasoned professional with a passion for client success. With more than 20 years in the business, he has a proven record of increasing key marketing and sales metrics in business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing through innovative strategy and thoughtful direction. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Jackie Zuk Brand: Next on Scene Media Showcasing tomorrow’s scene today for start ups to celebrities! Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Gordon Tredgold Brand: Leadership Speaker Gordon works with organizations that want to equip their leaders with the tools to drive engagement, performance, and profits. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Ashley Hayes Brand: Tech & Vine Ashley Hayes is a visionary community leader in the tech and hospitality space, with extensive experience in crafting global branding, marketing, social media, and public relations strategy and content for countless brands. She is responsible for leading teams in building international communities online and offline for numerous startups, as well as several major platforms at Google. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Grant Simmons Brand: Homes.com Energetic marketer, speaker, author, SEO & digital strategist. Grant Simmons helps businesses optimise their messaging and experience so that they can more easily define, connect, engage, and transact with their target audiences online. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Qamar Zaman Brand: Kiss PR As a growth expert at KissPR, a team of storytellers who have partnered to create a new kind of platform Brand Stories. He partners with some of the top news, pr, and social story distributions to help amplify and grow small brands. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Marc Palud Brand: Rev Gen Apps Marc Palud is the Founder of RevGenApps.com, a MarTech Agency focusing on software solutions and strategies to help businesses grow. Marc has provided training and educational webinars on marketing technologies that can have a positive impact and provide a competitive edge to local businesses. Marc is also a founding member and the current President of the Ritchot Chamber of Commerce. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Abbi Whitaker Brand: The Abbi Agency Abbi Whitaker heads up The Abbi Agency, a full-service digital marketing firm, and was recently recognized as one of Ragan’s communicators of the year as well as being a member of the Forbes Agency Council. She leads strategy for a variety of tech and tourism clients bringing performance-driven content campaigns to life that inspire, activate and influence decision-makers to engage. Follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn Harrison Winter Brand: Co.MISSION Content Harrison is an entrepreneur, marketing executive and filmmaker who runs a global creative production company and has two new ventures launching later this year in the advertising and luxury watch industries.

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Consumers Don’t Care About Your Product or Service. Now What?

There is something called the false consensus effect which basically states that we marketers really care about brands and we transfer that passion to consumers. But, the reality is, consumers don’t care about brands nor do they want to hear from them. So what do you do when you know your audience doesn’t want to hear from you? Answer: Change gears and find more organic ways to promote your brand. Afterall, 61% of consumers report that they want brands to provide content that is useful, relevant or entertaining. They don’t want a sales pitch from your brand. So how can you do your job as a marketer and promote your brand to consumers who don’t want to hear from your brand? It sounds more complicated than it is. The simple explanation is that you ditch the sales pitch and embrace strategies that don’t feel like you’re trying to sell something. The following strategies should replace any blatantly self-promotion tactics that you are using now and the sales and brand awareness will escalate like you’ve never seen! So, let’s dive in… Develop Buyer Personas Start with your buyer personas and incorporate them into all aspects of your marketing. Buyer personas help you stay on course with understanding your target audience and they should be consulted on a daily basis. If you’ve not created buyer personas for your brand yet, I like HubSpot’s free template for buyer personas. You can access it here. Bottom line, create buyer personas before moving on to new marketing strategies. Identify Pain Points Take your buyer personas a step further and isolate some common pain points that your target consumers face. Use these pain points as the foundation of all of your content. Some ways to do this include: Title a blog post with a common question that your target consumers have Create educational guides that speak to pain points State the pain point and the resource that solves it in your social posts Run a webinar on the top 5 questions your consumers have Create Thought Leadership Resources While consumers don’t want a sales pitch, they’re thirsty for knowledge. Thought leadership content positions your brand as a knowledgeable authority in your space and helps consumers along their buyers journey. It’s your job to create a “sprinkle” of content that leads your target consumers back to your brand and become buyers. Just a few examples of thought leadership resources include: Blog posts that solve a pain point that your target consumers face A downloadable eBook that highlights industry data–consumers love factual findings An original research report A webinar on a topic that would intrigue your target customers An email with links to your best resources Work With Influencers Influencers have the ability to endorse your brand as a third-party making their recommendations highly trusted by your target consumers. They have a lot of followers and when you identify the right influencers, their audience becomes your new potential consumers. I could talk about influencer marketing all day but you can read more here. But, the basic message I want to convey is that no matter if your brand is big or small, B2C or B2B, new or old–there are influencers for every brand. If you keep in mind authenticity, get a solid understanding on the types of influencers your target demographic follows and get creative in your influencer marketing campaigns, you’ll see incredible results. Encourage User Generated Content User generated content or UGC is simply content generated by one of your consumers. It can be on social media, a blog post, an online review, etc. This “social proof” appeals to consumers because they love that third party endorsement. They love to see how other people like them are using your brand. You can also amplify UGC using strategies you used to use to promote your brand. Use UGC for social media ads, email blasts, on your homepage,etc. Bottom line, instead of promoting your brand, promote your users and their content. If UGC peaks your interest, check out this post for a thorough rundown on the topic. Consumers Want to Be Self-Driven When choosing a brand to purchase from, consumers do a ton of research. For a bit, it was hard for me to grasp that consumers want to learn about my brand but they don’t want to learn about it from me. But, that’s our reality. So, your job is to help your consumers along their journey. Make sure your strategic content is easy to find on your website, comes up often on social media, and that third parties are promoting your content. All of these resources that you’ll be creating create a trail of breadcrumbs that eventually leads back to your brand when the consumer is ready to purchase. Optimize Your Site to Increase Organic Traffic Organic traffic is a goldmine for your brand. When a potential consumer searches for a pain point or for a brand in your industry, you want your brand to show up on page 1 of Google. To rank high, you need to embrace SEO. SEO is a bit of a beast, but there are organic strategies you can implement today. Check out this post for more. It’s also wise to hire someone on UpWork for an SEO audit. Key Takeaways Let’s keep this section short and say the main take away from this post is that you need to keep your marketing authentic. Consumers have gotten really smart and don’t like to be “marketed” at. Content is the perfect way to gain consumer trust through your knowledge which leads to high conversion rates. What marketing tactics do you leverage to combat the fact that consumers don’t want to hear from your brand? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

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The Definitive Guide to Creating Website Copy That Attracts and Converts Leads

Consumers do their research when deciding on the next product or service to purchase. During this research phase, target consumers will visit your website so it needs to be thorough and engaging. Your website is your digital first impression so it’s crucial that it’s dialed in and optimized for attracting new leads As you’ve probably noticed, the digital realm is saturated and competition is fierce. That means your website needs to be professional to stand out. And that starts with creating amazing and strategic copy for your website. Since I am a copywriter, my goal with this post is to offer you everything you need to know about updating your website copy so that you have a site that attracts and converts. So, read on! Finding the Right Writers The first step in refreshing your website is to find an experienced and talented writer. Maybe that’s you? If not, there are sites like UpWork where you can find copywriters. Be sure to vet their work so don’t hesitate to ask for samples of their writing for you to read. I’ve also been writing copy for 10 years so if you’re in need of a writer you can reach me any time at Kristen@Rubicly.com. SEO Optimization The more people interact with your website organically, the higher your Google ranking goes up so SEO optimization is key. There are some organic strategies you can implement. Do your keyword research and make sure these keywords are sprinkled throughout your site. However, don’t use these keywords too much as you want your content to be authentic and flow well. So, keep keywords in mind, but, write for your target audience not for Google’s algorithms. It’s a delicate balance! If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to hire someone to do an SEO audit of your website. Sites like Freelancer have SEO experts you can enlist. Downloadable Resources Downloadable resources like eBooks, white papers, and research reports are a great way to create thought leadership, add value and generate new leads. Be sure to gate your resources with a lead capture form so that they have to fill out their email address to access the content. From there, you can implement a lead nurturing campaign. Feature your downloadable content on your homepage so that target consumers don’t miss it! When creating your resources, think of topics that would resonate with your target consumers. Also, keep in mind that the goal of these resources isn’t to write a sales pitch about your brand, rather, they are supposed to educate and provide thought leadership. A Thought Leadership Blog Having a blog on your website will keep target consumers engaged and will make them want to return to your website. The continuous addition of content on your website in the form of your blog will also help with SEO. Feature the blog as a menu item so that it’s easy for consumers to find when they are researching your brand. Be sure that your blog topics are professional and well thought out. Feature Case Studies Case studies are arguably the most important pieces of content on your website. They offer proof from a third party that your brand can be a viable solution for a need they have. Work with client-facing team members to identify your happiest customers. Reach out to them and ask them if you can interview them for a case study. In my experience, it helps if you offer a gift card for them partaking. To read more about case studies and best practices, check out this post. Utilize Data Consumers love data pertaining to your industry. Concrete facts can sell your product or service better than a sales pitch on your website. Consider doing industry research through surveys and compile your own data. Here is an example of research I conducted and wrote about in this report so that you have an example. However, you don’t need to compile your own data, you can utilize data from credible resources that sell the need for your product or service. Regardless of how your go about it, leverage data throughout your website to add a layer of reputability to your website copy. Create and Utilize Buyer Personas It’s impossible to write website copy that converts without a thorough understanding of your buyer personas. You want to get to know your target audience so thoroughly that it borders on creepy. This template from HubSpot is my favorite resource to help brands create their buyer personas. And it’s free! Once you have a solid understanding of your buyer personas, put yourself in their shoes and write the type of content that they crave and this will make them trust your brand. When target consumers feel a connection with your copy and feel like your brand understands their pain points, the more your website copy will resonate with them. Authenticity is Key A big mistake that I see brands make is that they are too technical in their writing. I feel like a lot of brands want to come across as intelligent and they overcompensate with too technical of copy. When compiling your website content, write for your target consumers and don’t overcomplicate things. Be authentic and even conversational in your writing to make your target consumers feel like you understand them. Do Competitive Research By now I’m sure you have a solid understanding of your competitors. Spend time on all of their websites and make a list of stuff you like that they do and that you don’t like that they do. Use the components of their sites that you like. But, of course, put your own spin on it and write it in your own words. Write Solution-Based Content It’s likely that your brand offers a variety of services. Create a solutions menu item and write dedicated pages for each solution to common pain points that your brand serves. The goal is to make it easy for your target consumers to find content that speaks

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Easy-To-Implement Tips to Create SEO Worthy Blog Posts

SEO can be a little overwhelming. When I first started in my digital marketing career, I always hired SEO help and then about a year ago I finally learned it for myself and what a great decision that was! SEO is crucial when it comes to content marketing. It allows your brand to rank high in organic search when done well. With consistent content creation and proper SEO optimization, you have the ability to be a SEO rockstar–you just don’t know it yet! This post isn’t going to get too technical. My goal is to give you strategies that you can implement right away to improve your blog posts so that they are SEO worthy. Afterall, you put a lot of time and effort into your blog posts so why not make them easy to discover with SEO best practices? Keyword Research The first step to executing a smart SEO strategy is to do keyword research. There are plenty of tools out there that will help with this including SEMrush, Moz and Google Keyword Planner just to name a few. When choosing the right keywords, a delicate balance comes into play. You want to identify keywords that have high search volume but low competition so that you’re not competing with giant brands with big budgets to rank. Once you have identified your target keywords, you want to include them in a few areas of your content for the biggest impact. These places include: Blog titles Meta description Image alt text URL Authentically sprinkled throughout your blog posts If you “keyword stuff” or use keywords that don’t flow naturally in your content, it can actually hurt your page authority so be mindful of this. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 1%-2% keyword density. For those of you who use WordPress, the Yoast plugin is great when ensuring your blog posts will rank well. Make Sure Your Posts are Mobile Ready More people than ever search for topics and posts on their phones. Therefore, Google favors mobile friendly blogs and ranks them higher so it’s super important that you make your blog posts responsive. Be Smart About Internal Links Linking to relevant posts and pages from your website in your blog posts clues search engines in on your best posts and helps readers navigate your brand. Be strategic about your anchor text and don’t use more than 5 words in your hyperlinks. For maximum benefit, go back and link to newer posts in older posts. Many marketers only link to older posts in new posts but if you reverse engineer that process, it’s a simple way to enhance your SEO efforts. Prioritize Readability Search engines rank for readability so it’s super important to embrace readable blog posts. I use a plugin called Yoast that rates the readability of my blog posts. Components of a readable blog post include: Structure Headings and subheadings Bullet points Images and videos Concise format Implement a Skyscraper Technique The skyscraper technique embraces the fact that like-minded brands are creating great content and you need to create similar content but better. Your content should rise above the clutter like a skyscraper. This technique is easy enough to understand and consists of 3 steps: Step 1: Find the top performing content in your niche. You’ve identified your keywords so perform a search for these keywords and read the blog posts that come up in the first 2 pages of your search results. Step 2: Create something better. Glean some inspiration and write a better blog post than what has shown up in your search results. Step 3: Reach out to the right people. Reach out to colleagues, influencers, professional connections, etc. and ask them to help you promote your new blog post. It always helps if you offer to promote something of theirs in exchange. You may notice that the skyscraper technique might add more time to the content you produce. But guess what!? That’s okay! It’s always best to think of quality over quantity. Producing blog posts that are well thought out, free of fluff, promote thought leadership, and are accompanied by a smart promotion plan are the types of blog posts that will rank well so take your time and be sure that you’re only publishing epic blog posts. What Does Google Look For When Ranking Blog Posts? Google’s search algorithms are constantly changing and they’re a lot of work to stay up to date on so I’ll just go over the basics. Google tries to rank authentic, high-quality content higher than content stuffed with keywords or content that was created for content sake. There are a few things Google looks at including: Fast load time Mobile optimization High click-through rate Low bounce rate High average time on page Social shares Do you have a tip to share when it comes to creating SEO worthy blog posts? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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10 Content Marketing Predictions and Trends for 2022

Content marketing is nothing new. But, each year the industry evolves and consumers have new expectations. The marketing landscape is constantly changing and to get the most leverage out of your content marketing program, you need to be okay with constant change. You’ll know your strategy is on the right track when you see more traffic, more leads, more conversions, etc. from your content marketing efforts. I want your brand to have the best content marketing year ever so I’ve put together this post on content marketing trends in 2022, enjoy! Brands Will Put More Emphasis on Customer Retention Too many marketers put all of their efforts into brand awareness and gaining new customers. However, content marketing strategies can retain current customers and this will be a big focus in 2022. Here are some customer retention strategies that you can implement in 2022: Utilize data to scale the types of content that resonate with your customers Publish a help center of FAQs page Nurture customers with thought leadership emails Offer exclusive discounts in your email marketing efforts Run webinars just for your customers Create an ambassador program Personalize your interaction with customers Listen to customer feedback Give shoutouts to your customers on social More People Will Listen to Podcasts Did you know that over 50% of households are podcast fans? Entertaining and educational podcasts are standard and business podcasts are quickly rising in popularity. A podcast adds a human voice to your brand and is a great way to engage with potential consumers. They are also sharable and easy to promote via email and social. Voice Search Won’t be Ignored Voice activated searches are becoming the new norm and will continue to rise in popularity in 2022. To incorporate voice search into your content marketing strategy, think about how people search for information. Many times it’s by asking a specific question. Therefore framing content around your FAQs is going to make your brand more searchable by voice. ABM Will Become the Most Effective Way to Market Consumers crave a human connection and ABM is a great way to appeal to your target consumers. ABM in 2022 will involve personalizing your marketing efforts to individual brands and your tailored content will resonate with them better than ever before. Afterall, 85% of marketers feel ABM is more powerful than other marketing strategies that they implement. Content Will Need to Get to the Point Quicker Consumers have a lot of options when it comes to the content they digest. They also are limited on time and have short attention spans. Meld these facts together and it makes sense that your content should be short and get to the point quickly. Going into 2022, embrace strategies that make your content more digestible like splitting up blog posts with headlines and creating short videos. Budgets Will Increase 66% of marketers are increasing their content marketing budgets in 2022. This shows that content marketing is working and that it will continue to be a priority next year. Consumers Will Expect More Data-Driven Content Consumers are smart and they like to make decisions based on data, not empty claims from brands. Data supports your product or service and speaks for itself so your job is to gather the data and get it out into the world. Hybrid Events Will Be the New Normal The pandemic turned all events into virtual and now that things are normalizing, hybrid events have surfaced. Hybrid events give people options and can gather larger crowds since those who don’t feel comfortable traveling can tune in online. Consumers Want More “Unpolished” Content Consumers crave authenticity and a human connection from the brands they support. Instead of putting a lot of effort and budget into perfect videos, record them yourself and be okay with them being raw. Becoming a Thought Leader Will Be the Best Thing You Can Do For Your Brand When you grow and position yourself as an expert in your industry you are also creating more brand trust. This positioning will not only attract new consumers but also retain current consumers. To become a thought leader, consider the following strategies: Publish innovative blog posts about your industry insights Guest post on like-minded blogs Present at internal and external webinars Speak at conferences Create a video series Become more active on social media Produce your own research reports The bottom line is that you need to own a niche and share your insights wherever possible. What is one of your predictions about content marketing in 2022? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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How to Create Content to Support Your Sales Team and Help Them Close Deals

One thing that I have found that a lot of brands overlook is the value of content creation for their sales team. A lot of brands get hung up on content for marketing purposes, but, it’s very important for a marketer to create content for their sales team. From thought leadership blog posts that answer a common pain point that your target consumers face to sales decks for your sales team, there are many ways to help your sales team close more deals. In a world dealing with a pandemic, sales is struggling even more to make connections with the dwindling of tradeshows and in-person meetings to close deals. However, content is here to save the day with its ability to create thought leadership and brand trust. This reality just means that marketing and sales need to craft a plan to work more closely together to benefit their brands. A recent survey that I will dive into in more detail found that only 39% of the respondents in this survey reported that their sales team uses content to reach the right people at the right stage. That statistic inspired me to create this post because that number is way lower than what is ideal or expected. So, ready to dive in!? Familiarize Yourself With This Epic Research Report Content Marketing Institute and Vidyard recently released a research report that thoroughly explores how brands are aligning marketing and sales to produce great collaborative results. It’s full of insights. Here is the link if you want to check it out for yourself. I find the research report to be very eye opening so here are some key takeaways from it that will be sure to convince you to better the sales-marketing alignment at your brand. Less than half of the respondents report that marketing and sales collaborates on content topics frequently Only 22% of respondents report that marketing and sales meet about the types of content to produce 61% of respondents said that the content they produce for sales is self-promotional in nature 39% of respondents are unsure of how often content is audited Over half of respondents don’t have KPI’s that sales and marketing define Why Your Sales Team Needs Your Content Consumers are smart and they don’t like self-promotional messages. The right content has the ability to establish thought leadership and brand trust which leads to closing deals. Marketers and content creators are good at creating content for lead gen and to move leads through the buyer’s journey. However, it’s equally as important to create content for your sales team. Sales is customer facing and they will have more success if they are equipped with content to share with the leads they’re working on. Types of Content That Closes Deals I’ve been creating content for sales teams for 10 years and thanks to Google Analytics, I have had the luxury of tracking which type of content helps sales. Consider developing the following types of content for your sales team: Case studies Sales decks Blog posts that speak to common pain points Educational eBooks Develop Buyer Personas to Steer Your Content Efforts Buyer personas are crucial in identifying the content that will resonate with your target consumers. These should be created with the input of sales and client services. Here is a free template that I love to create your own buyer personas. Once your buyer personas are created, alternate content topics to speak to each persona. Coach sales in identifying these personas before they get on a call so that they’re equipped with the right content and talking points. Marketing and Sales Communication Strategies We are all busy so strategies that don’t produce immediate and tangible results can easily get brushed aside. So, it’s my recommendation that communication with marketing and sales needs to be thought out and stuck to. Here are a few strategies to make that happen: Set a weekly meeting for a half an hour once per week Create an internal landing page that links to all the pieces of content that will help sales Send out a weekly email with your latest content Constantly remind each other about using buyer personas to steer content Create a Google Form where sales can make content requests and/or log common pain points that they want content shaped around Should I Outsource Content For My Sales Team? By now it might sound a little overwhelming to add creating content for your sales team to your to-do list. Many marketers and content creators are spread thin. My rule of thumb is that if you can’t do something consistently and thoroughly, it’s time to outsource this strategy. There are plenty of places to find contract content creators like UpWork and LinkedIn just to name a few ways. If and when you decide to outsource your content creation efforts, be sure to set KPI’s with your sales team to track the lift of your sales enablement resources. Key Takeaways Research shows that most brands can approach sales and marketing alignment better. Part of that may be because marketing is spread thin and sales doesn’t have the experience to create great content. This disjointment can be overcome with the right communication strategies and the ROI from your efforts will surface pretty quickly. Buyer personas help keep both departments on task and ensure that content is reaching the right people at the right time. Do you have any strategies when it comes to creating content for a sales team? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

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10 Ways for B2B Marketers to Use Instagram

Many B2B marketers think that Instagram is only viable for B2C brands. But, this post is here to show you that there are strategic ways that B2B brands can use Instagram to power their brands. Many B2B marketers don’t put enough time, if any, into their Instagram strategy. It’s actually a pretty common myth that Instagram can’t work for B2B marketing, but this post is here to debunk that myth and help marketers run a more powerful Instagram strategy. Many brands think that Instagram is just for millennials which is often not a B2B brand’s target market. However, 40% of Instagram’s users are 30-49 years old and it is the fastest growing age group on this channel. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that people on Instagram are there for human interaction. So, your business should take the opportunity to humanize you brand and be authentic to appeal to as many people as possible. With more than 1 billion people on Instagram, there are consumers out there just waiting to digest your content if you go about it in the right way. So, we came up with 10 ways that your brand can make the most out of this crucial social media strategy. Create New Content Instagram is a lot more visually driven then Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Because of this, it doesn’t work to reuse content that you post on your other social media accounts. Instagram content should be well thought out and lead with a crisp image. Use Quotes Quotes on top of a visually appealing image are great sources for Instagram content. Whether they are quotes from clients or thought leaders in your niche, use an Instagram template from a site like Canva to produce professional yet beautiful posts on Instagram. Don’t forget to tag your quote source in your post for maximum exposure! People Love Data B2B folks love new data so your brand should be leveraging interesting data points to create content for your Instagram channel. Whether it’s derived from an industry report or data that your company has on hand, utilizing data on Instagram is an easy but effective way to engage with target consumers. Hashtags Research shows that the posts that get the most engagement have 11 or more hashtags. In order not to make your post too cluttered, it’s a good idea to put your hashtags in the comments below your post. You can identify relevant hashtags by looking to like-minded brands for inspiration and note which hashtags they are using. You can also use a hashtag research tool like RiteTag or Hashtagify. Use Stories to Promote New Things or Events Instagram stories are available for 24 hours and are a great way to showcase conferences, trade shows, office Christmas parties or even feature your brand in action. Stories allows your brand to implement a CTA within in the content and they have a swipe through rate of 15%-25% leaving room for huge opportunities for your brand. There is also a big opportunity to add an element of authenticity and storytelling for your brand if done strategically. These are all things that consumers crave and lead to higher brand trust. Recruit Your Employees Instagram is a fantastic platform to showcase how fun life is it your company and let people know that you are hiring. Check out this post from HootSuite who did just that: Be Smart About the Link in Your Bio You get one link in the bio of your Instagram account. Some brands find it helpful to switch that link out with their homepage, blog and product links every few weeks. This is a great way to drive traffic to different areas of your business. Showcase Company Culture Another way to tap into Instagram is to use photos of your company’s employees. Whether it’s a Christmas part, happy hour or photo of your co-workers had at work in their office, be sure to add this humanizing element to your Instagram posts. Break Up Your Blog Posts Another way to use Instagram is to take sections out of your blog posts and showcase them in a visual way to digest which can increase both your Instagram and blog post. When posting snippets from your blog post, it may be a good idea to make sure your blog is the link you use in your bio. Showcase Your Products in Action Taking a screenshot of photo of your brand in action provides great content for you to use on your Instagram channel. It can create excitement and buzz and can make your followers feel like they are “in the know.” Next Steps Producing great content on Instagram is key, but, after you hit that “share” button your job isn’t done. It’s important to respond to all the comments that you get on your posts and engage with your followers. So be sure to allow time for this crucial part of your Instagram strategy. Do you have any tips for B2B marketers on how they can better their Instagram strategy? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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6 Engaging Content Types to Attract More Eyeballs

Are you stuck in a world of only publishing blog posts and an occasional eBook? Finding that your content isn’t getting as many views as you would like? Then engaging content might be the breath of fresh air that your content strategy needs. 86% of consumers report that they prefer interactive content that they can access on-demand. That’s a lot of consumers that your content program may not be appealing to at the moment. If you’re ready to increase the number of views on your content, consider these 6 engaging content types and soak up some strategies on how you can start implementing these forms of content today. Interactive Quizzes and Surveys There are a lot of use cases for interactive quizzes and surveys and they are a great way to engage your audience. Anywhere from a fun quiz about personality types to add some fun and interaction to your content strategy to surveys about your industry–quizzes and surveys serve a lot of purposes. For quizzes, I like Quiz Maker and for surveys, I like Google forms. Better yet, you can implement a lead capture form in your surveys and quizzes so that you can generate and nurture new leads. Time to dedicate: Dedicate 5 hours per quiz or survey. This will give you the time to create it and promote it. Cost: The only cost is the time you spend on this type of content. You of course, have the option to promote it with paid social ads but other than that, this is an inexpensive strategy. Metrics: To gauge whether or not your quiz or survey was a success you’ll want to track how many people filled in your quiz or survey, how many new email addresses you captured and how many times it was shared on social. Infographics Infographics combat the big wall of text in the form of blog posts that people don’t seem to have time for anymore. Instead, infographics present a lot of important information in a visually appealing way. Here is an example–a snippet of an infographic about infographics! Time to dedicate: You’ll need to brainstorm the copy for your infographic before you hand it off to a designer. You also need to reserve enough time to promote it. So this type of content will take about 15 hours of your time. Cost: I’m a fan of Fiverr as they have great designers and it’s affordable. I’d say you can find someone to do a good infographic for around $250. Metrics: Track how many impressions your infographic got in order to get a feel for how your infographic resonated with people and track social shares of it. Calculator Tools A customized calculator that target consumers can use to figure out something that aligns with your brand is an easy way to engage prospects. Your calculator should help the potential client answer a question they may have about your industry and can clue you into whether or not they’re a qualified lead. It can be a calculator to figure out mortgage rates, ROI of a strategy, savings, etc. Time to dedicate: As the owner of this project, your time will be spent brainstorming your calculator, conveying your vision to a designer and promoting it. I would say you should reserve 8 hours for yourself to do that. Cost: This is definitely the type of thing you should have a designer do. They will make a pretty landing page and create the calculator. The cost for this is about $1,000 but so worth it as this type of content is extremely engaging. Metrics: Track how many people used your calculator and from what promotion avenues they came from so that you can scale off of data. Tutorial Videos Tutorial videos that showcase how to use your brand’s product or service is a great asset to have in the later stages of the buyer’s journey. You can also make tutorial videos that help your target consumers overcome a pain point in your industry. 96% of consumers report that they made a purchasing decision because of a product video. That’s huge! You clearly have to be implementing video into your content plan. Personally, I think people’s attention spans are getting shorter and they would rather watch a video than read a bunch of text. Time to dedicate: If you’re savvy you can record and produce your video yourself. This will take about 12 hours to come up with the concept, outline and then time to record. Cost: If you do the video yourself, you’re only cost is your time. If you don’t feel comfortable doing the video yourself (which is totally fine), then you can hire a service. A short re-usable video will cost about $1,000 and is definitely worth it. Metrics: Track how many people viewed your video and while you’re at it, track the amount of time spent watching the video so that you can see for yourself if it’s engaging enough or not. Webinars With Polls Webinars are an easy way to engage your audience and you can elicit more interaction by sprinkling polls throughout your webinars. These polls can entertain people, they can clue your brand into what your target consumers want and polls can identify new leads based on how they respond. People like to feel involved and heard and polls during webinars are a great way to give your consumers what they want. Time to dedicate: You’ll need enough time to plan, promote and execute your webinar. This will take about 25 hours total. If you want to learn more about webinar planning, check out this post. Cost: You’ll need some budget for a webinar platform and be sure that the one you choose has polling functionality. You also will want a marketing budget to promote your webinar. So plan on spending about $750 for this strategy. Metrics: To determine whether or not your webinars and polls were a success, track how many people signed up, how many people attended

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